See the beautiful murals created Saturday, September 8th, 2018 at the climate, jobs and justice action around City Hall, San Francisco

View video online at:




Transform the Justice System

Statement regarding the ongoing Nationwide Prison Strike

Issued September 11, 2018 by the Prison Strike Media Team

Amani Sawari

official outside media representative of Jailhouse Lawyers Speak


Jared Ware

Freelance journalist covering prisoner movements


@jaybeware on Twitter

Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC)

National Media Subcommittee, media@incarceratedworkers.org

@IWW_IWOC on twitter

New confirmed prison action reports

(full list & details below)

  • Missouri: at least one prisoner on a hunger strike at Leavenworth (USP).

  • New York: strike activity at Coxsackie Correctional Facility, strike activity and boycotts at Eastern Correctional Facility.

  • Ohio: at least one block engaged in a 3 day fast on first days of the strike and a commissary boycott throughout at Ohio State Penitentiary, plus a work stoppage in late July in response to preemptive repression by staff.

  • Texas: More prisoners involved in the hunger strike at Michael Unit.

Statement from prison strike media team

September 9th has passed, but it is up to the people in each prison who are participating in boycotts, hunger strikes, work strikes or sit-ins to determine the right day and time to close out their actions — from the outset, Jailhouse Lawyers Speak and national organizers have endorsed local strikers to set their own end dates, or strike indefinitely.

With ongoing communication repression (including heightened censorship of mail, lockdowns, and constant searches and seizures of prisoner property), there is undoubtedly a great deal of information on strike activity that has not yet traveled outside. As organizers have said from the beginning of this process, there is a wall of silence around prisons in the US, which should itself be of great concern for the human rights of those held inside. Actions to further restrict and surveill contact with prisoners, such as Pennsylvania and Maryland's "drug elimination efforts" which curtail access to reading materials under the false pretext of guard safety, would be a huge loss for the already extremely limited freedoms of US prisoners.

Repression against strikers by prison authorities continues to be fought with phone zaps and letter-writing campaigns: reporting on these issues will directly prevent harm to inside organizers, particularly as coverage of the strike itself winds down. The next step for Jailhouse Lawyers Speak is the endorsement of a campaign to pressure politicians to enact legislative change; both JLS and IWOC will be taking stock of the strike with their members over the coming weeks to consider what other future actions will be necessary to build a movement strong enough to push for the rights of incarcerated peoples. For now, the most urgent tasks for anyone following the strike are to continue to push the demands inside and out, highlight ongoing or previously-unreported strike activity, and work to prevent or limit retaliation against strikers wherever possible.

Incarcerated organizers never believed that their demands would be met a negotiating table during the past three weeks; it has been a huge success of the 2018 prison strike that the 10 points have been pushed into the national and international consciousness. The work of spreading and fighting for these demands will continue on all fronts until they are actualized, and then beyond that onto what JLS aptly calls "the dismantling process," as we build a movement toward abolition.

Jailhouse Lawyers Speak will be releasing an official statement from inside organizers this week.

List of demands

"These are the NATIONAL DEMANDS of the men and women in federal, immigration, and state prisons:

  1. Immediate improvements to the conditions of prisons and prison policies that recognize the humanity of imprisoned men and women.

  2. An immediate end to prison slavery. All persons imprisoned in any place of detention under United States jurisdiction must be paid the prevailing wage in their state or territory for their labor.

  3. The Prison Litigation Reform Act must be rescinded, allowing imprisoned humans a proper channel to address grievances and violations of their rights.

  4. The Truth in Sentencing Act and the Sentencing Reform Act must be rescinded so that imprisoned humans have a possibility of rehabilitation and parole. No human shall be sentenced to Death by Incarceration or serve any sentence without the possibility of parole.

  5. An immediate end to the racial overcharging, over-sentencing, and parole denials of Black and brown humans. Black humans shall no longer be denied parole because the victim of the crime was white, which is a particular problem in southern states.

  6. An immediate end to racist gang enhancement laws targeting Black and brown humans.

  7. No imprisoned human shall be denied access to rehabilitation programs at their place of detention because of their label as a violent offender.

  8. State prisons must be funded specifically to offer more rehabilitation services.

  9. Pell grants must be reinstated in all US states and territories.

  10. The voting rights of all confined citizens serving prison sentences, pretrial detainees, and so-called "ex-felons" must be counted. Representation is demanded. All voices count!

Strike action round-up

Here is the list of such activity as reported to Jailhouse Lawyers Speak or the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee as of September 9, 2018:



Confirmations of work strikes & boycotts (via Jailhouse Lawyers Speak):

  • Charlotte Correctional Institution

  • Dade Correctional Institution

  • Holmes Correctional Institution

  • Appalachee Correctional Institution

  • Franklin Correctional Institution


Confirmations of work strikes & boycotts (via Jailhouse Lawyers Speak)

  • Georgia State Prison "Reidsville"

  • Georgia Diagnostic and Classification State Prison in Jackson, GA


  • Wabash Valley Correctional Institution, prisoners in a segregation unit initiated a hunger strike on Monday August 27, demanding adequate food and an end to cold temperatures in the unit.


Boycott activity confirmed by Jailhouse Lawyers Speak:

  • FCI Manchester (Federal)


  • Jessup Correctional Institution - small group engaged in work stoppage reported by JLS and another independent source.



  • Leavenworth (USP) has at least one prisoner on a hunger strike.

New Mexico

North Carolina

New York

  • Coxsackie Correctional Facility - strike activity confirmed by JLS and NYC Books Through Bars

  • Eastern Correctional Facility - work strike activity and boycotts confirmed by JLS


South Carolina

Confirmations of work strikes & boycotts (via Jailhouse Lawyers Speak):

  • Broad River CI

  • Lee Correctional C

  • McCormick CI

  • Kershaw CI

  • Lieber CI

Boycott activity confirmed by Jailhouse Lawyers Speak:

  • FCI Edgefield (Federal)


  • IWOC was forwarded a message dated 8/23 from inside administrative segregation, (solitary) of a Texas gulf prison confirming that 2 people are on hunger strike in solidarity with the national action:  "I feel great. But very hungry! And not because I don't have food but because of our 48 hours solidarity with our brothers and sisters. It's the only way we can show support from inside of Seg. Let everyone know we got their backs."

  • IWOC has confirmed that Robert Uvalle is on hunger strike in solitary at Michael Unit, Anderson County, TX in solidarity with the nationwide strike. Robert has been in solitary for most of his 25 years inside. IWOC has subsequently confirmed that more prisoners are involved in the hunger strike.

  • IWOC has confirmed that there is a work stoppage at the McConnell Unit in Texas.


  • Sussex II a group of has released a communique related to a hunger strike


  • Northwest Detention Center - Representatives of over 200 immigrant detainees at Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington declared a hunger strike on day one of the national prison strike. Amid fears of retaliation, 70 across three blocks participated. As of this time, seven continue to refuse food into a second week.

Nova Scotia, Canada

Burnside County Jail in Halifax prisoners went on strike and issued a protest statement in solidarity with the strike and naming local demands. They went through a lockdown and extensive negotiations with authorities; those who refused to cooperate with humiliating body scans were punished by being locked in a dry cell

(no water or working toilets) for three days.







Tell Missouri Gov. Mike Parson: 

Appoint a special prosecutor for Mike Brown's case!

Four years ago, my son, Mike Brown, was fatally gunned down by Officer Darren Wilson as he surrendered with arms in the air, pleading for his life. The world erupted and nothing has been the same since that nightmarish summer. My family and community took their outrage and pain to the streets. We made public pleas for the officer who murdered my son in broad daylight to be indicted and convicted. Yet, we were denied justice. My heart was broken over and over again. It has been 4 years, but I cannot forget. I will not stop fighting until Mike gets the justice he deserves.

Newly elected Missouri Governor, Mike Parson, has the opportunity to right this terrible wrong by appointing a special prosecutor to reopen my son's case. 

Over the course of three months after Mike was murdered, my family and I waited as St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney, Bob McCulloch presented my son's case to a grand jury before the police investigation was over. McCulloch completely ignored standard protocol for a Prosecuting Attorney by enlisting the help of a grand jury to determine the charges against Officer Darren Wilson. It was a setup from the beginning. McCulloch abdicated his role as a County Prosecutor by making a politically calculated move that would shield him from criticism from the police and the media. 

Here are the facts:

  • McCulloch overwhelmed the jury with redundant and misleading information in an effort to manipulate the jury's confidence in Wilson's guilt.
  • A lawsuit was filed by one of the grand jurors detailing challenges and exposing their experiences on the grand jury.2
  • McCulloch admitted to allowing witnesses he knew were NOT telling the truth to testify before the grand jury. 3

The evidence is too significant to ignore. McCulloch thought he could avoid public scrutiny and accountability at the conclusion of this case. But he is wrong. I will not allow Bob McCulloch to get away with obstructing justice for my son. 

McCulloch cannot be allowed to get away with forgoing any and all responsibility as a high-level prosecutor. McCulloch's actions set a horrible precedent for prosecutors across the country. The primary charge for a prosecuting attorney is to fairly seek and achieve justice. McCulloch instead chose to make a political move with no regard for my family's pain. Furthermore, the relentless state-sanctioned violence against Black people has been nonstop since this nightmare began. Year after year, month after month, day after day, Black people remain targets for a bloodthirsty police force. This year alone, there have been over 600 incidents of deadly police encounters.4 Prosecutors are one of the few leverage points we have over the police. We must send a strong message to not only people in Missouri but to everyone around the country - killer cops will be held accountable.  

I am holding onto all hope that we get the justice we deserve. I believe in the resilience of our communities. And I believe that we will win. 

With love, 

Lezley McSpadden


    1. https://act.colorofchange.org/go/77984?t=12&akid=15843%2E46097%2EOtfN0y
    2. https://act.colorofchange.org/go/77985?t=14&akid=15843%2E46097%2EOtfN0y
    3. https://act.colorofchange.org/go/77735?t=16&akid=15843%2E46097%2EOtfN0y
    4. https://act.colorofchange.org/go/7854?t=18&akid=15843%2E46097%2EOtfN0y

Sign Here:




Court: Evidence To Free Mumia, To Be Continued...

Rachel Wolkenstein, lawyer for Mumia, reports on the August 30th hearing, 2018

  _  _  _  _  _  _  _

District Attorney Larry Krasner Opposes Mumia Abu-Jamal's Petition for New Rights of Appeal – Despite Clear Evidence of Ronald Castille's Bias and Conflict of Interest When He Participated As a PA Supreme Court Justice Denying Abu-Jamal's Post-Conviction Appeals from 1998-2012

Next Court Date: October 29, 2018

September 1—Additional demands for discovery made by Mumia's lawyers at the August 30 court proceeding led to Judge Tucker granting a 60-day continuance. The new date for oral argument that Mumia's appeal denial should be vacated and new appeal rights granted is now scheduled for October 29, 2018.  

Two weeks ago, Mumia's lawyers were told by the DA's office that they discovered close to 200 boxes of capital case files that had not been reviewed. A half-dozen were still not found. Last Monday, just days before the scheduled final arguments, a May 25, 1988 letter from DA Castille's office to PA State Senator Fisher (a virulent proponent of expediting executions) naming Mumia Abu-Jamal and 8 other capital defendants was turned over to the defense. 

Krasner's assistant DA Tracey Kavanaugh said the letter was meaningless and opposed the postponement, insisting there is no evidence that Castille had anything to do with Mumia's appeals. Mumia's lawyers argued that finding the background to this communication would likely support their central argument that DA Ronald Castille actively and personally was developing policy to speed up executions, and that he was particularly focused on convicted "police killers." Mumia Abu-Jamal was unquestionably the capital prisoner who was most zealously targeted for execution by the Fraternal Order of Police. 

Judge Tucker agreed with Mumia's lawyers that a search is needed to establish whether Castille was personally involved in this communication. Additional discovery was ordered with Judge Tucker's rhetorical question, "What else hasn't been disclosed?" But the Judge narrowed the required search to particulars around the May 25, 1988 letter.

Not brought out in court is the fact that Mumia's appeal of his trial conviction and death sentence was still pending in May 1988. The PA Supreme Court didn't issue its denial of this first appeal of Mumia until March 1989. This makes any reference of Mumia's case as a subject of an execution warrant highly suspect and extraordinary, because his death sentence was not "final" unless and until the PA Supreme Court affirmed. [The lawyers have not publicly released a copy of the May 25, 1988 letter, so analysis is limited.]

Mumia's lawyers said they would discuss discovery issues with the prosecution and might file a further amended petition with the intention of proceeding to oral argument on the next court date, October 29. 

On Judge Tucker—He is the chief administrative judge overseeing post-conviction proceedings. On August 30 and previously on April 30 opened his courtroom early to for Maureen Faulkner and the Fraternal Order of Police to occupy half of the small courtroom. Not surprising, no consideration was given to Mumia's family including his brother Keith Cook, international supporters from France and the dozens of other supporters who had lined up before 8AM to get into the courtroom. Even press reps suggested that the press be given seats in the jury box to open up space for even lawyers working with Mumia. Even that small consideration was rejected by Judge Tucker.

A more in-depth piece on DA Larry Krasner's opposition to Mumia's petition will be sent out soon. In the meantime, go to: www.RachelWolkenstein.net.

Free Mumia Now!

Mumia's freedom is at stake in a court hearing on August 30th. 

With your help, we just might free him!

Check out this video:

This video includes photo of 1996 news report refuting Judge Castille's present assertion that he had not been requested at that time to recuse himself from this case, on which he had previously worked as a Prosecutor:

A Philadelphia court now has before it the evidence which could lead to Mumia's freedom. The evidence shows that Ronald Castille, of the District Attorney's office in 1982, intervened in the prosecution of Mumia for a crime he did not commit. Years later, Castille was a judge on the PA Supreme Court, where he sat in judgement over Mumia's case, and ruled against Mumia in every appeal! 

According to the US Supreme Court in the Williams ruling, this corrupt behavior was illegal!

But will the court rule to overturn all of Mumia's negative appeals rulings by the PA Supreme Court? If it does, Mumia would be free to appeal once again against his unfair conviction. If it does not, Mumia could remain imprisoned for life, without the possibility for parole, for a crime he did not commit.

• Mumia Abu-Jamal is innocent and framed!

• Mumia Abu-Jamal is a journalist censored off the airwaves!

• Mumia Abu-Jamal is victimized by cops, courts and politicians!

• Mumia Abu-Jamal stands for all prisoners treated unjustly!

• Courts have never treated Mumia fairly!

Will You Help Free Mumia?

Call DA Larry Krasner at (215) 686-8000

Tell him former DA Ron Castille violated Mumia's constitutional rights and 

Krasner should cease opposing Mumia's legal petition.

Tell the DA to release Mumia because he's factually innocent.



Usher in the "Age of the Healer," and Abolish the "Age of the Warrior."


September 30 - October 6, 2018

Come for all or part of the week!


Shut Down Creech 2016

This summer 2,500 peace activistsconverged at U.S. Air Base Ramstein, in Germany, in their first courageous mass civil resistance to Stopp Ramstein!Ramstein, the largest foreign U.S. military base, plays a critical role in the U.S. Drone Killing Program by acting as THE KEY RELAY STATIONin the U.S. global drone assassination program. Without a relay base like Ramstein, the U.S. could not successfully kill remotely from the other side of the planet. German activists demand an end to Germany's complicity in the illegal and immoral U.S. remote killing apparatus. As one German activist shouted out passionately and movingly in this video: "Stop the Murder!"At least 5 American citizens participated in the protest, including CODEPINK members Ann Wright, Toby Blomé and Elsa Rassbach. Dozens of us blocked two merging roads into one gate for nearly an hour, and ultimately about 15 people were arrested, including 2 Americans. It was an amazing collective stance for peace & justice, and the German police were remarkably humane and civil in how they responded. Fortunately all were released after being detained briefly.

Ramstein's "partner drone base," CREECH AFB, plays an equally important role as a CENTRAL DRONE COMMAND CENTERin the U.S. 

Learn more about Ramstein and Creech in this important Intercept investigative report.

SF Bay Area CODEPINKcalls on activists from across the country to converge this fall at Creech AFB for our 4th annual nonviolent, peaceful, mass mobilization to SHUT DOWN CREECH, and help us put an end to the barbarism of drone murder. Per a NY Times articleover 900 drone pilots/operators are actively working at Creech, remotely murdering people in foreign lands, often away from any battlefield, while victims are going about their daily lives: driving on the highway, praying at a mosque, attending schools, funerals and wedding parties, eating dinner with their family or sleeping in their beds. 


Shockingly, one recent report indicated that about 80% of all drone strikes go totally unreported.We must stand up for the right of all people around the planet to be safe from the terror of remote controlled slaughter from abroad. Drone killing is spreading like wildfirewith at least 10 countries now who have used drones to kill. The U.S is fully responsible for this uncontrolled Pandora's box, by developing and proliferating these horrendous weapons without giving concern to the long term consequences. 


Last April our protestat Creech was reported in over 20 states across the country by mainstream media, including TV, radio, print and military media, thus reaching tens of thousands of Americans about our resistance to these covert and brutal practices. It is remarkable the impact a small handful of peacemakers can have with a well planned action. We need you to help us educate the public and awaken the consciousness of U.S. military personnel. Drone operators themselvesare victims of this inhumanity by bearing deep psychic wounds within. Through our twice daily vigils, we call them over to the side of peace, and encourage them to assess the consequences and reality of having a daily job of remote-control murdering. U.S. drones are the main tool used to terrorize and dominate the planet. We must stand up to these barbaric policies and the system that gives little thought to the world our children's grandchildren will be living in, and the harm it is doing now to our young men and women in uniform. 



Check out our updated website for details on the 4TH Annual SHUT DOWN CREECH.

Let's show the Germans that we have a thriving U.S. resistance to U.S. Global Militarism and Drone Killing too!

We hope to see you there,

Eleanor, Maggie, Toby, Ann, Mary and Tim

Sponsored by S.F. Bay Area CODEPINK

Check out these inspiring videos of this summer's 2018 drone protest at Ramstein, Germany:

Great Overview of Stopp Ramstein(13.5 min - watch the first and last 2-3 minutes)

In Closing: Inspiring words

from Rafael Jesús González, Poet Laureate of Berkeley, Xochipilli Men's Circle

"We cannot say the purpose these millenniums of the Patriarchy have served, but their lopsided reign is toxic and has maimed and sickened men and women and greatly harmed the Earth. It must come to an end. Women, our grandmothers, mothers, aunts, sisters must now take the reins for we men have made a botch of things. Women must take their power and men must step aside, follow, and support them even as we heal and liberate ourselves by freeing and honoring that which is feminine in our nature: loving, caring, nurturing. We must all free ourselves or none will. The long, long Age of the Warrior must come to an end and we must usher in the Age of the Healer.
Please lead us, our sisters. Together we must heal and heal the Earth or court the demise of all that lives."






presidio 27

Presidio 27 "Mutiny" 50 years later

Podcast with Keith Mather

During the Vietnam War era, the Presidio Stockade was a military prison notorious for its poor conditions and overcrowding with many troops imprisoned for refusing to fight in the Vietnam War. When Richard Bunch, a mentally disturbed prisoner, was shot and killed on October 11th, 1968, Presidio inmates began organizing. Three days later, 27 Stockade prisoners broke formation and walked over to a corner of the lawn, where they read a list of grievances about their prison conditions and the larger war effort and sang "We Shall Overcome." The prisoners were charged and tried for "mutiny," and several got 14 to 16 years of confinement. Meanwhile, disillusionment about the Vietnam War continued to grow inside and outside of the military.

"This was for real. We laid it down, and the response by the commanding general changed our lives," recalls Keith Mather, Presidio "mutineer" who escaped to Canada before his trial came up and lived there for 11 years, only to be arrested upon his return to the United States. Mather is currently a member of the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of Veterans for Peace. Listen to the Courage to Resist podcast with Keith.

50th anniversary events at the former Presidio Army Base

October 13th & 14th, 2018


Saturday, October 13, 7 to 9 pm

Presidio Officers' Club

50 Moraga Ave, San Francisco

Featuring panelists: David Cortright (peace scholar), Brendan Sullivan (attorney for mutineers), Randy Rowland (mutiny participant), Keith Mather (mutiny participant), and Jeff Paterson (Courage to Resist).


Sunday, October 14, 1 to 3 pm

Fort Scott Stockade

1213 Ralston (near Storey), San Francisco

The events are sponsored by the Presidio Land Trust in collaboration with Veterans For Peace Chapter 69-San Francisco with support from Courage to Resist.


484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland, California 94610 ~ 510-488-3559

www.couragetoresist.org ~ facebook.com/couragetoresist



Cindy Sheehan and the Women's March on the Pentagon

A movement not just a protest

By Whitney Webb

  WASHINGTON—In the last few years, arguably the most visible and well-publicized march on the U.S. capital has been the "Women's March," a movement aimed at advocating for legislation and policies promoting women's rights as well as a protest against the misogynistic actions and statements of high-profile U.S. politicians. The second Women's March, which took place this past year, attracted over a million protesters nationwide, with 500,000 estimated to have participated in Los Angeles alone.

  However, absent from this women's movement has been a public antiwar voice, as its stated goal of "ending violence" does not include violence produced by the state. The absence of this voice seemed both odd and troubling to legendary peace activist Cindy Sheehan, whose iconic protest against the invasion and occupation of Iraq made her a household name for many.

  Sheehan was taken aback by how some prominent organizers of this year's Women's March were unwilling to express antiwar positions and argued for excluding the issue of peace entirely from the event and movement as a whole. In an interview with MintPress, Sheehan recounted how a prominent leader of the march had told her, "I appreciate that war is your issue Cindy, but the Women's March will never address the war issue as long as women aren't free."

  War is indeed Sheehan's issue and she has been fighting against the U.S.' penchant for war for nearly 13 years. After her son Casey was killed in action while serving in Iraq in 2004, Sheehan drew international media attention for her extended protest in front of the Bush residence in Crawford, Texas, which later served as the launching point for many protests against U.S. military action in Iraq.

  Sheehan rejected the notion that women could be "free" without addressing war and empire. She countered the dismissive comment of the march organizer by stating that divorcing peace activism from women's issues "ignored the voices of the women of the world who are being bombed and oppressed by U.S. military occupation."

  Indeed, women are directly impacted by war—whether through displacement, the destruction of their homes, kidnapping, or torture. Women also suffer uniquely and differently from men in war as armed conflicts often result in an increase in sexual violence against women.

  For example, of the estimated half-a-million civilians killed in the U.S. invasion of Iraq, many of them were women and children. In the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan, the number of female casualties has been rising on average over 20 percent every year since 2015. In 2014 alone when Israel attacked Gaza in "Operation Protective Edge," Israeli forces, which receives $10 million in U.S. military aid every day, killed over two thousand Palestinians—half of them were women and children. Many of the casualties were pregnant women, who had been deliberately targeted.

  Given the Women's March's apparent rejection of peace activism in its official platform, Sheehan was inspired to organize another Women's March that would address what many women's rights advocates, including Sheehan, believe to be an issue central to promoting women's rights.

  Dubbed the "Women's March on the Pentagon," the event is scheduled to take place on October 21—the same date as an iconic antiwar march of the Vietnam era—with a mission aimed at countering the "bipartisan war machine." Though men, women and children are encouraged to attend, the march seeks to highlight women's issues as they relate to the disastrous consequences of war.

  The effort of women in confronting the "war machine" will be highlighted at the event, as Sheehan remarked that "women have always tried to confront the war-makers," as the mothers, daughters, sisters and wives of the men and women in the military, as well as those innocent civilians killed in the U.S.' foreign wars. As a result, the push for change needs to come from women, according to Sheehan, because "we [women] are the only ones that can affect [the situation] in a positive way." All that's missing is an organized, antiwar women's movement.

  Sheehan noted the march will seek to highlight the direct relationship between peace activism and women's rights, since "no woman is free until all women are free" and such "freedom also includes the freedom from U.S. imperial plunder, murder and aggression"that is part of the daily lives of women living both within and beyond the United States. Raising awareness of how the military-industrial complex negatively affects women everywhere is key, says Sheehan, as "unless there is a sense of international solidarity and a broader base for feminism, then there aren't going to be any solutions to any problems, [certainly not] if we don't stop giving trillions of dollars to the Pentagon."

  Sheehan also urged that, even though U.S. military adventurism has long been an issue and the subject of protests, a march to confront the military-industrial complex is more important now than ever: "I'm not alarmist by nature but I feel like the threat of nuclear annihilation is much closer than it has been for a long time," adding that, despite the assertion of some in the current administration and U.S. military, "there is no such thing as 'limited' nuclear war." This makes "the need to get out in massive numbers" and march against this more imperative than ever.

  Sheehan also noted that Trump's presidency has helped to make the Pentagon's influence on U.S. politics more obvious by bringing it to the forefront: "Even though militarism had been under wraps [under previous presidents], Trump has made very obvious the fact that he has given control of foreign policy to the 'generals.'"

  Indeed, as MintPress has reported on several occasions, the Pentagon—beginning in March of last year—has been given the freedom to "engage the enemy" at will, without the oversight of the executive branch or Congress. As a result, the deaths of innocent civilians abroad as a consequence of U.S. military action has spiked. While opposing Trump is not the focus of the march, Sheehan opined that Trump's war-powers giveaway to the Pentagon, as well as his unpopularity, have helped to spark widespread interest in the event.

Different wings of the same warbird

  Sheehan has rejected accusations that the march is partisan, as it is, by nature, focused on confronting the bipartisan nature of the military-industrial complex. She told MintPress that she has recently come under pressure owing to the march's proximity to the 2018 midterm elections—as some have ironically accused the march's bipartisan focus as "trying to harm the chances of the Democrats" in the ensuing electoral contest.

  In response, Sheehan stated that: 

   "Democrats and Republicans are different wings of the same warbird. We are protesting militarism and imperialism. The march is nonpartisan in nature because both parties are equally complicit. We have to end wars for the planet and for the future. I could really care less who wins in November."

  She also noted that even when the Democrats were in power under Obama, nothing was done to change the government's militarism nor to address the host of issues that events like the Women's March have claimed to champion.

  "We just got finished with eight years of a Democratic regime," Sheehan told MintPress. "For two of those years, they had complete control of Congress and the presidency and a [filibuster-proof] majority in the Senate and they did nothing" productive except to help "expand the war machine." She also emphasized that this march is in no way a "get out the vote" march for any political party.

  Even though planning began less than a month ago, support has been pouring in for the march since it was first announced on Sheehan's website, Cindy Sheehan Soapbox. Encouraged by the amount of interest already received, Sheehan is busy working with activists to organize the events and will be taking her first organizing trip to the east coast in April of this year. 

  In addition, those who are unable to travel to Washington are encouraged to participate in any number of solidarity protests that will be planned to take place around the world or to plan and attend rallies in front of U.S. embassies, military installations, and the corporate headquarters of war profiteers.

  Early endorsers of the event include journalists Abby Martin, Mnar Muhawesh and Margaret Kimberley; Nobel Peace Prize nominee Kathy Kelly; FBI whistleblower Coleen Rowley; and U.S. politicians like former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney. Activist groups that have pledged their support include CodePink, United National Antiwar Coalition, Answer Coalition, Women's EcoPeace and World Beyond War.

  Though October is eight months away, Sheehan has high hopes for the march. More than anything else, though, she hopes that the event will give birth to a "real revolutionary women's movement that recognizes the emancipation and liberation of all peoples—and that means [freeing] all people from war and empire, which is the biggest crime against humanity and against this planet." By building "a movement and not just a protest," the event's impact will not only be long-lasting, but grow into a force that could meaningfully challenge the U.S. military-industrial complex that threatens us all. God knows the world needs it.

  For those eager to help the march, you can help spread the word through social media by joining the march's Facebook page or following the march'sTwitter account, as well as by word of mouth. In addition, supporting independent media outlets—such as MintPress, which will be reporting on the march—can help keep you and others informed as October approaches.

  Whitney Webb is a staff writer forMintPress News who has written for several news organizations in both English and Spanish; her stories have been featured on ZeroHedge, theAnti-Media, and21st Century Wire among others. She currently lives in Southern Chile.

  —MPN News, February 20, 2018





The Quakers about Jamil Al-Amin

Newark Office

89 Market St. 6th floor - Newark, NJ 07102 (973) 643 1924 - nymro@afsc.org

Re: Imam Jamil Al-Amin (formerly known as H. Rap Brown) (PDF)

July 7, 2018

Dear John Lewis:

I am addressing this to you with copies to others because this is both a professional as well as a personal letter. I spent almost eight years in the south during the civil rights era, serving in Tennessee under the leadership of Maxine and Vasco Smith of the Memphis NAACP and then at Highlander for a year and a half. Professionally, I have the privilege of directing the Prison Watch Program for the American Friends Service Committee. The AFSC is a faith based Quaker organization with a deep belief in the worth of every person and faith in the power of love to overcome injustice. Our Prison Watch Program has been providing witness to conditions of confinement in United States prisons for over four decades, speaking truth to power via publications, public speaking and all forms of media.

In my professional capacity as a monitor of US prisons, I am often called upon to document the treatment endured by a specific person in our criminal legal system. Imam Jamil Al-Amin has been of special interest to me because of his leadership during that important era opposing the racism with which this country has governed. Since then, he has been convicted of serious charges in Georgia, spending the last 18 years in different prisons. He has sustained a number of physical transfers away from his family in Georgia, including spending many of those years in solitary confinement in both the state and federal systems, with no explicit charges for this type of placement. The use of isolated confinement for political dissidents from the civil rights era has been well documented. It was Andrew Young who, as US representative to the United Nations, noted that the United States had what he "would consider political prisoners". In later years, any number of us noted the differential treatment borne by political dissenters who ended up in US prisons. The use of extended isolation was used on many of them, including the Imam. The impact of this extended isolation has been medically documented as extremely damaging to the human psyche.

This should serve as a letter of human rights concern about the Imam. Of specific and current concern is his medical condition, as well as his age. The Imam was diagnosed at the federal Butner Medical Center in 2014 with a pre-cursor stage of multiple myeloma, an incurable form of cancer related to leukemia. This disease causes weight loss, kidney failure, rib fractures and other skeletal abnormalities. It is a medical condition which needs regular medical monitoring. He has been moved twice since his time in a medical facility and is currently at the USP in Arizona. His family and supporters feel continuing concern about his well-being. His disease coupled with his age make the Arizona weather often difficult for him. The long physical, and therefore emotional, separation from family is wearing on the Imam and his entire family. Punishment for a verdict of guilt in the United States is removal from society. The isolation and neglect he endured at ADX, and the current isolation from his home state of Georgia is beyond acceptable. It is hard for me, as a professional witness, to fathom the rationale for this ongoing placement. It also remains difficult for me to understand why this person, or any other person in prison, would be denied access to scholars and journalists. Because of his well-documented history of activism, there are those who would like to interview the Imam as a way of authenticating and studying this history.

Because I have been an activist since the Civil Right Era, my personal awareness of the Imam's life has been ongoing during the decades I have coordinated the AFSC Prison Watch Program. I remain profoundly impacted by the treatment of the Imam and other imprisoned political dissenters from my era of activism. They have endured inappropriate torture in the form of years of solitary confinement. Many, including the Imam, have also endured what can only be described as purposeful medical neglect. It seems to me that it is time for legislators of conscience to investigate our elderly imprisoned citizens, many who have suffered severely for their political beliefs. They need to be released. Short of that, they need to be close to home and cared for medically.

On a personal level, I have always felt very attached to my brave generation - from those who served in Vietnam to those who marched in the South. My own youthful experience in the south was full of many of those people being murdered, being spit at, called a race traitor and feeling unprotected from such hatred. I remember not understanding what there was to hate so deeply and feeling as if we were in a war against black and brown people. H. Rap Brown was an integral part of that very important force to the country towards real social change.

I have been witness since that time to what has happened to so many protesters from my generation who ended up in US prisons. You cannot give me a reason for their "specialized" treatment - the poor medical care which feels purposeful; for keeping families miles apart for no understandable reason; and for the general cruelty to the elderly in our society's prisons no matter why they were convicted. The Imam is currently 75 years old and is serving a life sentence without parole. It doesn't seem logical to keep him from his family, from Georgia or from dialogue with those who seek that with him. It certainly doesn't speak well of our criminal legal system to not provide appropriate medical care.

We need legislators of integrity to consider interceding in what can only be seen as ill-chosen restrictions and neglect. I am specifically reaching out to you because I have imagined a dialogue between you and the Imam, and I wondered if even you would be allowed to see him. Aside from his conditions of confinement issues, perhaps the most disturbing thing of all is that his voice has been deliberately silenced.


Bonnie Kerness, MSW


Prison Watch Program

Cc: Ben Chavis

Bennie Thompson

# # #



[HS-Support] @GovernorVA: Don't transfer activist inmate Kevin #Rashid Johnson again

Please sign and share. 

If you are not familiar with the brilliant, compassionate, and courageous imprisoned activist, writer, artist, Kevin Rashid Johnson, check out rashidmod.com

He is not in the federal prison system, he is in the Virginia state system.  However, due to his persistence and depth in exposing the horrific conditions and treatment inside the prisons, he has been locked in solitary confinement and moved around to prisons in Florida, Virginia, and Texas! Please support Rashid with this simple petition

and make a call if you can. It looks like you can also tweet @GovernorVA!


Rashid Threatened with Transfer — Hearing on Sept 10th — BLOCK THE PHONES!

Rashid Threatened with Transfer — Hearing on Sept 10th — BLOCK THE PHONES! We have learned that the Virginia Department of Corrections is planning to hold a hearing Monday September 10th, to have R…


I just got a phone call from Rashid. He's been told that he will have a
hearing on Monday to process him for an Interstate Transfer. He's not
being told where he's going.

We need to get this news out as broadly as possible, and to state that
this is retaliation for his recent publications and interviews. Please
share the news on all your social media accounts, you might do it while
also sharing his Guardian article or other recent works.

Can anyone organize protest? Perhaps an action alert to have people
flood VADOC with complaints, and/or we could prepare to flood wherever
he goes with complaints. If we could organize a street protest of VADOC
HQ before or after the transfer, that would be amazing.

Dustin McDaniel

To: Virginia Department of Corrections; Chief of VA Corrections Operations David Robinson

Release Kevin "Rashid" Johnson From Solitary Confinement Immediately

We call on the Virginia Department of Corrections to immediately release Kevin "Rashid" Johnson from solitary confinement and not to transfer him again out of state.
Why is this important?

After signing the petition, please use the tools on the next webpage to share it with your friends.

This work is only possible with your financial support. Please chip in $3 now. 

-- The RootsAction.org Team

P.S. RootsAction is an independent online force endorsed by Jim Hightower, Barbara Ehrenreich, Cornel West, Daniel Ellsberg, Glenn Greenwald, Naomi Klein, Bill Fletcher Jr., Laura Flanders, former U.S. Senator James Abourezk, Frances Fox Piven, Lila Garrett, Phil Donahue, Sonali Kolhatkar, and many others.






All Hands on Deck:  Get Malik Washington out of Ad-Seg!

Several weeks ago, friends and supporters of incarcerated freedom fighter Comrade Malik Washington were overjoyed to hear that he was getting released, finally, from Administrative Segregation (solitary confinement) at Eastham Unit in Texas--until TDCJ pulled a fast one, falsely claiming that he refused to participate in the Ad-Seg Transition Program to get him released back to general population.  

This is a complete lie:  Malik has been fighting to get out of Ad-Seg from the moment he was thrown in there two years ago on a bogus riot charge (which was, itself, retaliation for prison strike organizing and agitating against inhumane, discriminatory conditions).  

Here's what actually happened:  when Malik arrived at Ramsey Unit on June 21, he was assigned to a top bunk, which is prohibited by his medical restrictions as a seizure patient.  TDCJ had failed to transfer his medical restrictions records, or had erased them, and are now claiming no record of these restrictions, which have been on file and in place for the past ten years.  Malik wrote a detailed statement requesting to be placed on a lower bunk in order to avoid injury; later that night, he was abruptly transferred back to Ad-Seg at a new Unit (McConnell).  

Malik was told that Ramsey staff claimed he refused to participate in the Ad-Seg Transition program--this is NOT true, and he needs to be re-instated to the program immediately!  He also urgently needs his medical restrictions put back into his records!


We are extremely concerned for Malik's safety, and urgently need the help of everyone reading this. Please take one or more of the following actions, and get a couple friends to do the same!

1. Call Senior Warden Phillip Sifuentes at Malik's current facility (McConnell) and tell them Keith Washington (#1487958) must be transferred out of McConnell and re-admitted to the Ad-Seg Transition Program!

Phone #: (361) 362-2300 (**048) 00 --  ask to be connected to the senior warden's office/receptionist--try to talk to someone, but also can leave a message. 

Sample Script: "Hello, I'm calling because I'm concerned about Keith H. Washington (#1487958) who was recently transferred to your facility.  I understand he was transferred there from Ramsey Unit, because he supposedly refused to participate in the Ad-Seg transition program there, but this is not true; Malik never refused to participate, and he needs to be re-admitted to the transition program immediately!  I am also concerned that his heat restrictions seem to have been removed from his records.  He is a seizure patient and has been on heat and work restriction for years, and these restrictions must be reinstated immediately."

Please let us know how your call goes at blueridgeABC@riseup.net

2. Flood TDCJ Executive Director Bryan Collier with calls/emails!  You can use the above phone script as a guide for emails.  

(936) 437-2101 / (936) 437-2123

3. Flood TDCJ with emails demanding that Malik's health restrictions and work restrictions be restored: Health.services@tdcj.texas.gov

You can use the call script above as a guide; you don't need to mention the Ad-Seg situation, but just focus on the need to restore his heat and work restrictions!

4. File a complaint with the Ombudsman's Office (the office in charge of investigating departmental misconduct); you can use the above phone script as a guide for emails.

5. Write to Malik!  Every letter he receives lifts his spirit and PROTECTS him, because prison officials know he has people around him, watching for what happens to him.

Keith H. Washington


McConnell Unit

3100 South Emily Drive

Beeville, TX 78103



Listen to 'The Daily': Was Kevin Cooper Framed for Murder?

By Michael Barbaro, May 30, 2018


Listen and subscribe to our podcast from your mobile deviceVia Apple Podcasts | Via RadioPublic | Via Stitcher

The sole survivor of an attack in which four people were murdered identified the perpetrators as three white men. The police ignored suspects who fit the description and arrested a young black man instead. He is now awaiting execution.

On today's episode:

• Kevin Cooper, who has been on death row at San Quentin State Prison in California for three decades.



Last week I met with fellow organizers and members of Mijente to take joint action at the Tornillo Port of Entry, where detention camps have been built and where children and adults are currently being imprisoned. 

I oppose the hyper-criminalization of migrants and asylum seekers. Migration is a human right and every person is worthy of dignity and respect irrespective of whether they have "papers" or not. You shouldn't have to prove "extreme and unusual hardship" to avoid being separated from your family. We, as a country, have a moral responsibility to support and uplift those adversely affected by the US's decades-long role in the economic and military destabilization of the home countries these migrants and asylum seekers have been forced to leave.

While we expected to face resistance and potential trouble from the multiple law enforcement agencies represented at the border, we didn't expect to have a local farm hand pull a pistol on us to demand we deflate our giant balloon banner. Its message to those in detention:

NO ESTÁN SOLOS (You are not alone).

Despite the slight disruption to our plan we were able to support Mijente and United We Dream in blocking the main entrance to the detention camp and letting those locked inside know that there are people here who care for them and want to see them free and reunited with their families. 

We are continuing to stand in solidarity with Mijente as they fight back against unjust immigration practices.Yesterday they took action in San Diego, continuing to lead and escalate resistance to unjust detention, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and to ICE. 

While we were honored to offer on-the-ground support we see the potential to focus the energy of our Drop the MIC campaign into fighting against this injustice, to have an even greater impact. Here's how:

  1. Call out General Dynamics for profiteering of War, Militarization of the Border and Child and Family Detention (look for our social media toolkit this week);
  2. Create speaking forums and produce media that challenges the narrative of ICE and Jeff Sessions, encouraging troops who have served in the borderlands to speak out about that experience;
  3. Continue to show up and demand we demilitarize the border and abolish ICE.

Thank you for your vision and understanding of how militarism, racism, and capitalism are coming together in the most destructive ways. Help keep us in this fight by continuing to support our work.

In Solidarity,

Ramon Mejia

Field Organizer, About Face: Veterans Against the War

P.O. Box 3565, New York, NY 10008. All Right Reserved. | Unsubscribe

To ensure delivery of About Face emails please add webmaster@ivaw.org to your address book.



Feds extend deadline for public comments on future draft

The feds initially provided only a few days for the public to submit comments regarding the future of the draft in the United States. This mirrored their process of announcing public hearings with only a few days notice. Due to pressure, they have extended the deadline for your online comments until September. 

They need to hear from us!

  • It's time to end draft registration once and for all.
  • Don't expand the draft to women. End it for everyone.
  • No national service linked to the military--including immigration enforcement.
  • Until the US is invaded by a foreign power, stop pretending that the draft is about anything other than empire.
  • Submit your own comments online here.

As we have been reporting to you, a federal commission has been formed to address the future of draft registration in the United States and whether the draft should end or be extended.

The press release states "The Commission wants to learn why people serve and why people don't; the barriers to participation; whether modifications to the selective service system are needed; ways to increase the number of Americans in service; and more."

Public hearings are currently scheduled for the following cities. We encourage folks to attend these hearings by checking the commission's website for the actual dates and locations of these hearings (usually annouced only days before).

  • September 19/21, 2018: Los Angeles, CA

For more background information, read our recent post "Why is the government soliciting feedback on the draft now?"

Courage to Resist Podcast: The Future of Draft Registration in the United States

We had draft registration resister Edward Hasbrouck on the Courage to Resistpodcast this week to explain what's going on. Edward talks about his own history of going to prison for refusing to register for the draft in 1983, the background on this new federal commission, and addresses liberal arguments in favor of involuntary service. Edward explains:

When you say, "I'm not willing to be drafted", you're saying, "I'm going to make my own choices about which wars we should be fighting", and when you say, "You should submit to the draft", you're saying, "You should let the politicians decide for you."

What's happening right now is that a National Commission … has been appointed to study the question of whether draft registration should be continued, whether it should be expanded to make women, as well as men register for the draft, whether a draft itself should be started, whether there should be some other kind of Compulsory National Service enacted.

The Pentagon would say, and it's true, they don't want a draft. It's not plan A, but it's always been plan B, and it's always been the assumption that if we can't get enough volunteers, if we get in over our head, if we pick a larger fight than we can pursue, we always have that option in our back pocket that, "If not enough people volunteer, we're just going to go go to the draft, go to the benches, and dragoon enough people to fight these wars."

The first real meaningful opportunity for a national debate 

about the draft in decades . . .

Courage to Resist -- Support the Troops Who Refuse to Fight!

484 Lake Park Ave. No. 41, Oakland, CA 94610




Incarceration Nation

Emergency Action Alert:


In October, 2017, the 2 year court monitoring period of the Ashker v. Governor settlement to limit solitary confinement in California expired. Since then, the four drafters of the Agreement to End Hostilities and lead hunger strike negotiators – Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa, Arturo Castellanos, George Franco, and Todd Ashker, have all been removed from general population and put in solitary in Administrative Segregation Units, based on fabricated information created by staff and/or collaborating "inmate informants." In Todd Ashker's case, he is being isolated "for his own protection," although he does not ask for nor desire to be placed in isolation for this or any reason. Sitawa has since been returned to population, but can still not have visitors.

Please contact CDCr Secretary Scott Kernan and Governor Edmund G. Brown and demand CDCr:

• Immediately release back into general population any of the four lead organizers still held in solitary

• Return other Ashker class members to general population who have been placed in Ad Seg 

• Stop the retaliation against all Ashker class members and offer them meaningful rehabilitation opportunities

Contact Scott Kernan. He prefers mailed letters to 1515 S Street, Sacramento 95811. If you call 916-324-7308, press 0 for the Communications office. Email matthew.westbrook@cdcr.ca.gov and cc: scott.kernan@cdcr.ca.gov

Contact Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.,  c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173, Sacramento, CA 95814; Phone: (916) 445-2841Fax: (916) 558-3160; Email: https://govapps.gov.ca.gov/gov39mail/

As a result of the administrative reviews established after the second prisoner hunger strike in 2011 and the Ashker settlement of 2015, California's SHU population has decreased from 3923 people in October 2012 to 537 in January 2018.  Returning these four men and many other hunger strikers back to solitary in the form of Ad Seg represents an intentional effort to undermine the Agreement to End Hostilities and the settlement, and return to the lock 'em up mentality of the 1980's.

Sitawa writes: "What many of you on the outside may not know is the long sordid history of CDCr's ISU [Institutional Services Unit]/ IGI [Institutional Gang Investigator]/Green Wall syndicate's [organized groups of guards who act with impunity] pattern and practice, here and throughout its prison system, of retaliating, reprisals, intimidating, harassing, coercing, bad-jacketing [making false entries in prisoner files], setting prisoners up, planting evidence, fabricating and falsifying reports (i.e., state documents), excessive force upon unarmed prisoners, [and] stealing their personal property . . ." 

CDCr officials are targeting the Ashker v. Governor class members to prevent them from being able to organize based on the Agreement to End Hostilities, and to obstruct their peaceful efforts to effect genuine changes - for rehabilitation, returning home, productively contributing to the improvement of their communities, and deterring recidivism.

Please help put a stop to this retaliation with impunity. Contact Kernan and Brown today:

Scott Kernan prefers mailed letters to 1515 S Street, Sacramento 95811. If you call 916-324-7308, press 0 for the Communications office. Email matthew.westbrook@cdcr.ca.gov and cc: scott.kernan@cdcr.ca.gov

Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.,  c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173, Sacramento, CA 95814; Phone: (916) 445-2841Fax: (916) 558-3160; Email: https://govapps.gov.ca.gov/gov39mail/

Read statements from the reps: 

Todd – We stand together so prisoners never have to go through the years of torture we did  (with Open Letter to Gov. Brown, CA legislators and CDCR Secretary Kernan)



"There Was a Crooked Prez"

By Dr. Nayvin Gordon

There was a crooked Prez, and he walked a crooked mile,

He found a crooked lawyer upon a crooked isle,

They bought a crooked election which caught a crooked mission,

And they both lived together in a little crooked prison.

April 28, 2018

"Trumpty Dumpty"

By Dr. Nayvin Gordon

Trumpty Dumpty sat on his wall,

Trumpty Dumpty had a great fall.

All the kingpin's forces and all the KKKlansmem

Couldn't put Trumpty together again.

July 25, 2018

Dr. Gordon is a California Family Physician who has written many articles on health and politics.



It is so beautiful to see young people in this country rising up to demand an end to gun violence. But what is Donald Trump's response? Instead of banning assault weapons, he wants to give guns to teachers and militarize our schools. But one of the reasons for mass school shootings is precisely because our schools are already militarized. Florida shooter, Nikolas Cruz, was trained by U.S. Army Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) program while he was in high school.

Yesterday, Divest from the War Machine coalition member, Pat Elder, was featured on Democracy Now discussing his recent article about the JROTC in our schools. The JROTC teaches children how to shoot weapons. It is often taught by retired soldiers who have no background in teaching. They are allowed to teach classes that are given at least equal weight as classes taught by certified and trained teachers. We are pulling our children away from classes that expand their minds and putting them in classes that teach them how to be killing machines. The JROTC program costs our schools money. It sends equipment. But, the instructors and facilities must be constructed and paid for by the school.

The JROTC puts our children's futures at risk. Children who participate in JROTC shooting programs are exposed to lead bullets from guns. They are at an increased risk when the shooting ranges are inside. The JROTC program is designed to "put a jump start on your military career." Children are funneled into JROTC to make them compliant and to feed the military with young bodies which are prepared to be assimilated into the war machine. Instead of funneling children into the military, we should be channeling them into jobs that support peace and sustainable development. 

Tell Senator McCain and Representative Thornberry to take the war machine out of our schools! The JROTC program must end immediately. The money should be directed back into classrooms that educate our children.

The Divest from the War Machine campaign is working to remove our money from the hands of companies that make a killing on killing. We must take on the systems that keep fueling war, death, and destruction around the globe. AND, we must take on the systems that are creating an endless cycle of children who are being indoctrinated at vulnerable ages to become the next killing machine.  Don't forget to post this message on Facebook and Twitter.

Onward in divestment,

Ann, Ariel, Brienne, Jodie, Kelly, Kirsten, Mark, Medea, Nancy, Natasha, Paki, Sarah, Sophia and Tighe

P.S. Do you want to do more? Start a campaign to get the JROTC out of your school district or state. Email divest@codepink.org and we'll get you started!





Major George Tillery




April 25, 2018-- The arrest of two young men in Starbucks for the crime of "sitting while black," and the four years prison sentence to rapper Meek Mill for a minor parole violation are racist outrages in Philadelphia, PA that made national news in the past weeks. Yesterday Meek Mills was released on bail after a high profile defense campaign and a Pa Supreme Court decision citing evidence his conviction was based solely on a cop's false testimony.

These events underscore the racism, frame-up, corruption and brutality at the core of the criminal injustice system. Pennsylvania "lifer" Major Tillery's fight for freedom puts a spotlight on the conviction of innocent men with no evidence except the lying testimony of jailhouse snitches who have been coerced and given favors by cops and prosecutors.

Sex for Lies and Manufactured Testimony

For thirty-five years Major Tillery has fought against his 1983 arrest, then conviction and sentence of life imprisonment without parole for an unsolved 1976 pool hall murder and assault. Major Tillery's defense has always been his innocence. The police and prosecution knew Tillery did not commit these crimes. Jailhouse informant Emanuel Claitt gave lying testimony that Tillery was one of the shooters.

Homicide detectives and prosecutors threatened Claitt with a false unrelated murder charge, and induced him to lie with promises of little or no jail time on over twenty pending felonies, and being released from jail despite a parole violation. In addition, homicide detectives arranged for Claitt, while in custody, to have private sexual liaisons with his girlfriends in police interview rooms.

In May and June 2016, Emanuel Claitt gave sworn statements that his testimony was a total lie, and that the homicide cops and the prosecutors told him what to say and coached him before trial. Not only was he coerced to lie that Major Tillery was a shooter, but to lie and claim there were no plea deals made in exchange for his testimony. He provided the information about the specific homicide detectives and prosecutors involved in manufacturing his testimony and details about being allowed "sex for lies". In August 2016, Claitt reaffirmed his sworn statements in a videotape, posted on YouTube and on JusticeforMajorTillery.org.

Without the coerced and false testimony of Claitt there was no evidence against Major Tillery. There were no ballistics or any other physical evidence linking him to the shootings. The surviving victim's statement naming others as the shooters was not allowed into evidence.

The trial took place in May 1985 during the last days of the siege and firebombing of the MOVE family Osage Avenue home in Philadelphia that killed 13 Black people, including 5 children. The prosecution claimed that Major Tillery was part of an organized crime group, and falsely described it as run by the Nation of Islam. This prejudiced and inflamed the majority white jury against Tillery, to make up for the absence of any evidence that Tillery was involved in the shootings.

This was a frame-up conviction from top to bottom. Claitt was the sole or primary witness in five other murder cases in the early 1980s. Coercing and inducing jailhouse informants to falsely testify is a standard routine in criminal prosecutions. It goes hand in hand with prosecutors suppressing favorable evidence from the defense.

Major Tillery has filed a petition based on his actual innocence to the Philadelphia District Attorney's Larry Krasner's Conviction Review Unit. A full review and investigation should lead to reversal of Major Tillery's conviction. He also asks that the DA's office to release the full police and prosecution files on his case under the new  "open files" policy. In the meantime, Major Tillery continues his own investigation. He needs your support.

Major Tillery has Fought his Conviction and Advocated for Other Prisoners for over 30 Years

The Pennsylvania courts have rejected three rounds of appeals challenging Major Tillery's conviction based on his innocence, the prosecution's intentional presentation of false evidence against him and his trial attorney's conflict of interest. On June 15, 2016 Major Tillery filed a new post-conviction petition based on the same evidence now in the petition to the District Attorney's Conviction Review Unit. Despite the written and video-taped statements from Emanuel Claitt that that his testimony against Major Tillery was a lie and the result of police and prosecutorial misconduct, Judge Leon Tucker dismissed Major Tillery's petition as "untimely" without even holding a hearing. Major Tillery appealed that dismissal and the appeal is pending in the Superior Court.

During the decades of imprisonment Tillery has advocated for other prisoners challenging solitary confinement, lack of medical and mental health care and the inhumane conditions of imprisonment. In 1990, he won the lawsuit, Tillery v. Owens, that forced the PA Department of Corrections (DOC) to end double celling (4 men to a small cell) at SCI Pittsburgh, which later resulted in the closing and then "renovation" of that prison.

Three years ago Major Tillery stood up for political prisoner and journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal and demanded prison Superintendent John Kerestes get Mumia to a hospital because "Mumia is dying."  For defending Mumia and advocating for medical treatment for himself and others, prison officials retaliated. Tillery was shipped out of SCI Mahanoy, where Mumia was also held, to maximum security SCI Frackville and then set-up for a prison violation and a disciplinary penalty of months in solitary confinement. See, Messing with Major by Mumia Abu-Jamal. Major Tillery's federal lawsuit against the DOC for that retaliation is being litigated. Major Tillery continues as an advocate for all prisoners. He is fighting to get the DOC to establish a program for elderly prisoners.

Major Tillery Needs Your Help:

Well-known criminal defense attorney Stephen Patrizio represents Major pro bonoin challenging his conviction. More investigation is underway. We can't count on the district attorney's office to make the findings of misconduct against the police detectives and prosecutors who framed Major without continuing to dig up the evidence.

Major Tillery is now 67 years old. He's done hard time, imprisoned for almost 35 years, some 20 years in solitary confinement in max prisons for a crime he did not commit. He recently won hepatitis C treatment, denied to him for a decade by the DOC. He has severe liver problems as well as arthritis and rheumatism, back problems, and a continuing itchy skin rash. Within the past couple of weeks he was diagnosed with an extremely high heartbeat and is getting treatment.

Major Tillery does not want to die in prison. He and his family, daughters, sons and grandchildren are fighting to get him home. The newly filed petition for Conviction Review to the Philadelphia District Attorney's office lays out the evidence Major Tillery has uncovered, evidence suppressed by the prosecution through all these years he has been imprisoned and brought legal challenges into court. It is time for the District Attorney's to act on the fact that Major Tillery is innocent and was framed by police detectives and prosecutors who manufactured the evidence to convict him. Major Tillery's conviction should be vacated and he should be freed.

Major Tillery and family


    Financial Support—Tillery's investigation is ongoing. He badly needs funds to fight for his freedom.

    Go to JPay.com;

    code: Major Tillery AM9786 PADOC

    Tell Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner:

    The Conviction Review Unit should investigate Major Tillery's case. He is innocent. The only evidence at trial was from lying jail house informants who now admit it was false.

    Call: 215-686-8000 or

    Write to:

    Major Tillery AM 9786

    SCI Frackville

    1111 Altamont Blvd.

    Frackville, PA 17931

    For More Information, Go To: JusticeForMajorTillery.org


    Kamilah Iddeen (717) 379-9009, Kamilah29@yahoo.com

    Rachel Wolkenstein (917) 689-4009, RachelWolkenstein@gmail.com



    Free Leonard Peltier!

    On my 43rd year in prison I yearn to hug my grandchildren.

    By Leonard Peltier

    Art by Leonard Peltier

    Write to:

    Leonard Peltier 89637-132 

    USP Coleman I 

    P.O. Box 1033 

    Coleman, FL 33521

    Donations can be made on Leonard's behalf to the ILPD national office, 116 W. Osborne Ave, Tampa, FL 33603




    1) Top Cancer Researcher Fails to Disclose Corporate Financial Ties in Major Research Journals

    By Charles Ornstein and Katie Thomas, September 8, 2018


    Dr. José Baselga, the chief medical officer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, in 2015.

    This article was reported and written in a collaboration with ProPublica, the nonprofit investigative journalism organization.

    One of the world's top breast cancer doctors failed to disclose millions of dollars in payments from drug and health care companies in recent years, omitting his financial ties from dozens of research articles in prestigious publications like The New England Journal of Medicine and The Lancet.

    The researcher, Dr. José Baselga, a towering figure in the cancer world, is the chief medical officer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. He has held board memberships or advisory roles with Roche and Bristol-Myers Squibb, among other corporations, has had a stake in start-ups testing cancer therapies, and played a key role in the development of breakthrough drugs that have revolutionized treatments for breast cancer.

    According to an analysis by The New York Times and ProPublica, Dr. Baselga did not follow financial disclosure rules set by the American Association for Cancer Research when he was president of the group. He also left out payments he received from companies connected to cancer research in his articles published in the group's journal, Cancer Discovery. At the same time, he has been one of the journal's two editors in chief.

    At a conference this year and before analysts in 2017, he put a positive spin on the results of two Roche-sponsored clinical trials that many others considered disappointments, without disclosing his relationship to the company. Since 2014, he has received more than $3 million from Roche in consulting fees and for his stake in a company it acquired.

    Dr. Baselga did not dispute his relationships with at least a dozen companies. In an interview, he said the disclosure lapses were unintentional.

    He stressed that much of his industry work was publicly known although he declined to provide payment figures from his involvement with some biotech startups. "I acknowledge that there have been inconsistencies, but that's what it is," he said. "It's not that I do not appreciate the importance."

    Dr. Baselga's extensive corporate relationships — and his frequent failure to disclose them — illustrate how permeable the boundaries remain between academic research and industry, and how weakly reporting requirements are enforced by the medical journals and professional societies charged with policing them.

    A decade ago, a series of scandals involving the secret influence of the pharmaceutical industry on drug research prompted the medical community to beef up its conflict-of-interest disclosure requirements. Ethicists worry that outside entanglements can shape the way studies are designed and medications are prescribed to patients, allowing bias to influence medical practice. Disclosing those connections allows the public, other scientists and doctors to evaluate the research and weigh potential conflicts.

    "If leaders don't follow the rules, then we don't really have rules," said Dr. Walid Gellad, director of the Center for Pharmaceutical Policy and Prescribing at the University of Pittsburgh. "It says that the rules don't matter."

    The penalties for such ethical lapses are not severe. The cancer research group, the A.A.C.R., warns authors who fill out disclosure forms for its journals that they face a three-year ban on publishing if they are found to have financial relationships that they did not disclose. But the ban is not included in the conflict-of-interest policy posted on its website, and the group said no author had ever been barred.

    Many journals and professional societies do not check conflicts and simply require authors to correct the record.

    Officials at the A.A.C.R., the American Society of Clinical Oncology and The New England Journal of Medicine said they were looking into Dr. Baselga's omissions after inquiries from The New York Times and ProPublica. The Lancet declined to say whether it would look into the matter.

    Christine Hickey, a spokeswoman for Memorial Sloan Kettering, said that Dr. Baselga had properly informed the hospital of his outside industry work and that it was Dr. Baselga's responsibility to disclose such relationships to entities like medical journals. The cancer center, she said, "has a rigorous and comprehensive compliance program in place to promote honesty and objectivity in scientific research."

    Asked if he planned to correct his disclosures, Dr. Baselga asked reporters what they would recommend. In a statement several days later, he said he would correct his conflict-of-interest reporting for 17 articles, including in The New England Journal of Medicine, The Lancet and the publication he edits, Cancer Discovery. He said that he did not believe disclosure was required for dozens of other articles detailing early stages of research.

    "I have spent my career caring for cancer patients and bringing new therapies to the clinic with the goal of extending and saving lives," Dr. Baselga said in the statement. "While I have been inconsistent with disclosures and acknowledge that fact, that is a far cry from compromising my responsibilities as a physician, as a scientist and as a clinical leader."

    The corporate imprint on cancer research

    Dr. Baselga, 59, supervises clinical operations at Memorial Sloan Kettering, one of the nation's top cancer centers, and wields influence over the lives of patients and companies wishing to conduct trials there. He was paid more than $1.5 million in compensation by the cancer center in 2016, according to the hospital's latest available tax disclosures, but that does not include his consulting or board fees from outside companies.

    Many top medical researchers have ties to the for-profit health care industry, and some overlap is seen as a good thing — after all, these are the companies charged with developing the drugs, medical devices and diagnostic tests of the future.

    Dr. Baselga's relationship to industry is extensive. In addition to sitting on the board of Bristol-Myers Squibb, he is a director of Varian Medical Systems, which sells radiation equipment and for whom Memorial Sloan Kettering is a client.

    In all, Dr. Baselga has served on the boards of at least six companies since 2013, positions that have required him to assume a fiduciary responsibility to protect the interests of those companies, even as he oversees the cancer center's medical operations.

    The hospital and Dr. Baselga said steps had been taken to prevent him from having a say in any business between the cancer center and the companies on whose boards he sits.

    The chief executive of Memorial Sloan Kettering, Dr. Craig B. Thompson, settled lawsuits several years ago that were filed by the University of Pennsylvania and an affiliated research center. They contended that he hid research conducted while he was at Penn to start a new company, Agios Pharmaceuticals, and did not share the earnings. Dr. Thompson disputed the allegations. He now sits on the board of Merck, which manufactures Keytruda, a blockbuster cancer therapy.

    Ms. Hickey said the cancer center cannot fulfill its charitable mission without working with industry. "We encourage collaboration and are proud that our work has led to the approval of novel, lifesaving cancer treatments for patients around the world," she said.

    Some disclosures are required; others aren't

    After the scandals a decade ago over lack of disclosure, the federal government began requiring drug and device manufacturers to publicly disclose payments to doctors in 2013.

    From August 2013 through 2017, Dr. Baselga received nearly $3.5 million from nine companies, according to the federal Open Payments database, which compiles disclosures filed by drug and device companies.

    Dr. Baselga has disclosed in other forums investments and advisory roles in biotech start-ups, but he declined to provide a tally of financial interests in those firms. Companies that have not received approval from the Food and Drug Administration for their products — projects still in the testing phases — do not have to report payments they make to doctors.

    Serving on boards can be lucrative. In 2017, he received $260,000 in cash and stock awards to sit on Varian's board of directors, according to the company's corporate filings.

    ProPublica and The Times analyzed Dr. Baselga's publications in medical journals since 2013, the year he joined Memorial Sloan Kettering. He failed to disclose any industry relationships in more than 100, or about 60 percent of the time, a figure that has increased with each passing year. Last year, he did not list any potential conflicts in 87 percent of the articles that he wrote or co-wrote.

    Dr. Baselga compiled a color-coded list of his articles and offered a different interpretation. Sixty-two of the papers for which he did not disclose any potential conflict represented "conceptual, basic laboratory or translational work," and did not require one, he said. Questions could be raised about others, he said, but he added that most "had no clinical nor financial implications." That left the 17 papers he plans to correct.

    Early-stage research often carries financial weight because it helps companies decide whether to move ahead with a product. In about two-thirds of Dr. Balsega's articles that lacked details of his industry ties, one or more of his co-authors listed theirs.

    In 2015, Dr. Baselga published an article in the New England Journal about a Roche-sponsored trial of one of the company's drugs, Zelboraf. Despite his financial ties to Roche, he declared that he had "nothing to disclose." Fourteen of his co-authors reported ties to Roche.

    Dr. Baselga defended the articles, saying that "these are high-quality manuscripts reporting on important clinical trials that led to a better understanding of cancer treatments."

    The guidelines enacted by most major medical journals and professional societies ask authors and presenters to list recent financial relationships that could pose a conflict.

    But much of this reporting still relies on the honor system. A study in August in the journal JAMA Oncology found that one-third of authors in a sample of cancer trials did not report all payments from the studies' sponsors.

    "We don't routinely check because we don't have those kind of resources," said Dr. Rita F. Redberg, the editor of JAMA Internal Medicine, who has been critical of the influence of industry on medical practice. "We rely on trust and integrity. It's kind of an assumed part of the professional relationship."

    Jennifer Zeis, a spokeswoman for The New England Journal of Medicine, said in an email that it had now asked Dr. Baselga to amend his disclosures. She said the journal planned to overhaul its tracking of industry relationships.

    The American Association for Cancer Research said it had begun an "extensive review" of the disclosure forms submitted by Dr. Baselga.

    It said that it had never barred an author from publishing, and that "such an action would be necessary only in cases of egregious, consistent violations of the rules."

    Among the most prominent relationships that Dr. Baselga has often failed to disclose is with the Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche and its United States subsidiary Genentech.

    In June 2017, at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago, Dr. Baselga spoke at a Roche-sponsored investor event about study results that the company had been counting on to persuade oncologists to move patients from Herceptin — which was facing competition from cheaper alternatives — to a combination treatment involving Herceptin and a newer, more expensive drug, Perjeta.

    The results were so underwhelming that Roche's stock fell 5 percent on the news. One analyst described the results as a "lead balloon,and an editorial in The New England Journal called it a "disappointment."

    Dr. Baselga, however, told analysts that critiques were "weird" and "strange."

    This June, at the same cancer conference, Dr. Baselga struck an upbeat note about the results of a Roche trial of the drug taselisib, saying in a blog post published on the cancer center website that the results were "incredibly exciting" while conceding the side effects from the drug were high.

    That same day, Roche announced it was scrapping plans to develop the drug. The news was another disappointment involving the class of drugs called PI3K inhibitors, which is a major focus of Dr. Baselga's current research.

    In neither case did Dr. Baselga reveal that his ties to Roche and Genentech went beyond serving as a trial investigator. In 2014, Roche acquired Seragon, a cancer research company in which Dr. Baselga had an ownership stake, for $725 million. Dr. Baselga received more than $3 million in 2014 and 2015 for his stake in the company, according to the federal Open Payments database.

    From 2013 to 2017, Roche also paid Dr. Baselga more than $50,000 in consulting fees, according to the database.

    These details were not included in the conflict-of-interest statements that are required of all presenters at the American Society of Clinical Oncology conference, although he did disclose ownership interests and consulting relationships with several other companies in the prior two years.

    ASCO said it would conduct an internal review of Dr. Baselga's disclosures and would refer the findings to a panel.

    Dr. Baselga said that he played no role in the Seragon acquisition, and that he had cut ties with Roche since joining the board of a competitor, Bristol-Myers, in March. As for his presentations at the ASCO meetings in the last two years, he said he had also noted shortcomings in the studies.

    The combination of Perjeta with Herceptin was later approved by the F.D.A. for certain high-risk patients. As for taselisib, Dr. Baselga stands by his belief that the PI3K class of drugs will be an important target for fighting cancer.

    Charles Ornstein is a senior editor at ProPublica.



    2) Colin Kaepernick Will Not Be Silenced

    By Dave Zirin, September 7, 2018


    Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick on January 1, 2017.

    With a new ad by Nike, and new recriminations from the amoral White House, Colin Kaepernick has been the leading topic of conversation as the NFL season gets underway. But lost in the debates about his Nike campaign—and people setting fire to their own sneakers—is what is new about his collusion case against the NFL.

    On Thursday of last week, NFL franchise owners were dealt a serious blow when their efforts to dismiss Kaepernick's collusion case were denied by independent arbitrator Stephen Burbank. In his statement, released by Kaepernick's attorney Mark Geragos, Burbank wrote, "On August 28, 2018, the System Arbitrator denied the NFL's request that he dismiss Colin Kaepernick's complaint alleging that his inability to secure a player contract since becoming a free agent in March 2017 has been due to an agreement among team owners and the NFL that violates Article 17, Section 1 of the collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and the NFLPA [union]."

    The significance of the ruling is not only that the NFL's efforts were stymied. The collective-bargaining agreement is central to the labor question in the arbitrator's ruling. As NFL veteran Russell Okung tweeted, "What started as a protest to highlight systemic injustice, continues to evolve & now encompass a legit labor dispute. Encouraged by the System Arbitrator's level headed interpretation of the CBA & decision to deny the NFL's request to dismiss @Kaepernick7's case. Huge! #ImWithKap"

    If NFL owners were savvy, rather than mostly legacy billionaires who live in fear of Donald Trump's tweets, they would make every effort at this point to settle with Kaepernick. Geragos and his investigators have now been sanctioned to dig even deeper, to depose owners and executives and excavate the shadowy corners of the league that NFL owners seem to think is their birthright to keep hidden— that means e-mails, phone records, text messages. In addition, if found guilty of collusion—if Geragos can summon smoking-gun evidence, a whistle-blower or some tangible proof—the verdict could invalidate the league's collective-bargaining agreement with the players' union two and a half years before it is due to expire in 2021. With the season about to get underway, the NFL Players Association would have the ownership over the proverbial barrel.

    But NFL owners' settling this case would be more surprising than a Cleveland Browns Super Bowl run. This is a predominantly conservative ownership fraternity that has a reservoir of cultural capital invested in making an example out of Colin Kaepernick. They need him to be a ghost story, a cautionary tale that can be used against any player who even dreams of using the NFL as a political platform to speak out against racism.

    Already, this strategy has proven to be disastrous. Kaepernick has instead become first a martyr, someone whose memory inspired players to keep protesting last season, and then an icon of resistance, the kind of person who gets standing ovations at the US Open.

    Even if NFL owners come to their senses and offer a settlement, Colin Kaepernick is not going to settle. He clearly believes that this is about more than money. It is about police violence and being vocal for those who don't have a voice. It is about standing up to this idea that billionaires seem to have that they can silence whomever they want without repercussions. This is so much bigger than the NFL. We are about to witness a case that will determine whether the powerful can treat free speech as a privilege. Colin Kaepernick is determined to define it as a right.



    3)  Don't Let Migrant Kids Rot

    By The Editorial Board, September 9, 2018


    Undocumented immigrants at a bus station in McAllen, Tex.

    For all the human brain's mysteries, its development is quite well understood. Early childhood and adolescence are crucial times of unparalleled neural growth. Just as trust and stability can enhance that growth, fear and trauma can impede it. Institutionalization, in particular, can have profound and deleterious effects, triggering a range of developmental delays and psychiatric disorders from which recovery can be difficult, if not impossible. 

    In light of that knowledge, the Trump administration's latest move against immigrant children is especially troubling. On Thursday, the Department of Homeland Security proposed new regulations that would allow the government to detain migrant children indefinitely. Officials are now prohibited from detaining such minors for more than 20 days by an agreement known as the Flores settlement, which has been in place since 1997. The new rules would end that settlement and would likely open the door to an expansion of detention centers across the country.

    D.H.S. says that by eliminating Flores, officials will deter illegal immigration, reasoning that undocumented adults will be less likely to enter the country to begin with if they know they can't avoid long-term detention simply by having a child in tow. Immigration activists say the proposed rule's true aims are both simpler and more diabolical than that: "They want to strip away every last protection for detained immigrant children," says Omar Jadwat, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Immigrants' Rights Project.

    Even with Flores in place, those protections have proved thin. Youth migrant shelters — there are roughly 100 such facilities housing more than 10,000 minors across the country — have been cited for a long list of abuses, including physical abuse, sexual abuse, blatant medical neglect, the forcible injection of antipsychotic medications, the unlawful restraint of children in distress and harsh rules that prohibit even siblings from hugging one another. The shelters in question, several of which are facing lawsuits, are part of a network that has received billions of federal dollars in the past four years alone. That money has continued to pour in even as abuse allegations have multiplied.



    4) Looking Our Racist History in the Eye

    By Margaret Renkl, September 10, 2018


    A boy and his mother hold hands as they walk to school on the first day of desegregation in Nashville's public schools, Sept. 9, 1957. An exhibit of photographs at the Frist Art Museum in Nashville shatters the civic myth that the city peacefully accepted racial integration.

    NASHVILLE — In 1960, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave a speech in this city, which was emerging as a training center for nonviolent protest. "I came to Nashville not to bring inspiration," he said, "but to gain inspiration from the great movement that has taken place in this community."

    That movement was the work of people who later became some of the most influential figures in the national struggle for civil rights: James Lawson, John Lewis, Z. Alexander Looby, Diane Nash. When people today think of the civil rights era in the South, they think of Birmingham, Ala. They think of Little Rock, Ark. They think of Forsyth County, Ga., which warned African-Americans passing through not "to let the sun go down on your head." They don't think of Nashville.

    The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. prepares to address an audience at Fisk University in Nashville in 1960 following the bombing of the home of a prominent civil rights attorney.

    But this was the first major city in the South to desegregate public facilities, lunch counters and movie theaters. It developed a calm, one-year-at-a-time approach to integrating city schools. When Ms. Nash, confronting Mayor Ben West, asked if it was wrong "to discriminate against a person solely on the basis of color," Mr. West answered, simply, "Yes."

    These are the stories Nashville tells itself again and again: We aren't like the rest of the South. Dr. King said so.

    The problem with civic memory is that it is both true and deeply false. Some layer of reality inevitably undergirds a public fairy tale. A myth always contains enough truth to make it seem like the final word. But there's no such thing as the final word. That's because any history is a narrative construction, one that files off the roughest edges of the story. The past itself is shaggy, troubled, unruly. It will not be contained. William Faulkner said it best: "The past isn't dead. It isn't even past."

    Here's what's true: Nashville did not attack its own children with fire hoses, as Birmingham did. Tennessee did not call out the National Guard to integrate its universities, as Mississippi did. There is no "Bloody Sunday" in our history, as there is in the history of Selma, Ala. But our stories about the orderly desegregation of schools and the peaceful desegregation of lunch counters and the benign treatment of black people by the white people in power? That's all a myth.

    "We Shall Overcome: Civil Rights and the Nashville Press, 1957-1968," a set of photographs assembled by the Frist Art Museum, exposes such mythmaking for what it is. The collection features work by photographers at Nashville's two daily newspapers, The Tennessean and the now-defunct Nashville Banner, taken during the African-American struggle for civil rights in the city. Very few of these images were published; only a handful were seen by people of the time.

    Part of the collection is on display in the museum's ground-level public gallery, through which virtually all visitors pass. The full collection appears in a companion book just released by Vanderbilt University Press. Because of the violence depicted in them, the most troubling images appear only in the book. "As a mother of young children, I very conscientiously attempted to address the dark moments of the history, but without the images that may be viewed as most disturbing, especially for a family unprepared for what they were going to see or even participants in the movement who may still be traumatized by their experience," said exhibit curator Kathryn Delmez.

    Z. Alexander Looby, a civil rights attorney and Nashville City Council member, right, survived an early dawn bombing that destroyed his home in 1960. The remains of his house, left.

    One 1957 photo depicts a crowd gathered in the middle of the night outside the newly integrated Hattie Cotton School, which had been bombed shortly after midnight. A photo from 1960 shows the aftermath of a bomb set off at the home of Mr. Looby, an attorney who defended sit-in demonstrators in court. Another, from 1962, depicts the Rev. Cephus Coleman standing in front of his own house as it burns to the ground. Two 1963 photos show a girl — all of 15 — lying unconscious in the street, beaten by a police officer with a club. In another photo from 1963, an effigy of Dr. King is hung by the neck in the headquarters of the Nashville police.

    The civil rights era in Nashville, in other words, was "peaceful" only in the context of the even greater brutality of our neighbors to the south.

    Rev. Cephus C. Coleman (center), a minister, watches as his home burns. In a predominantly white neighborhood it was the third blaze to break out in the same night, Aug. 7, 1962.

    And to the north and west, too. People in other parts of the country like to imagine that their own histories contain nothing like the dark shame of racism that haunts the South, but that belief, too, is a myth. In 1964, the year the Civil Rights Act passed, there were protests and violence in Chicago; St. Augustine, Fla.; Tulsa, Okla.; New York City; Rochester, N.Y.; Philadelphia and Jersey City. In Cambridge, Md., National Guard troops — bayonets drawn — surrounded black people kneeling in prayer.

    For some time now, Nashville's civic institutions have been issuing correctives to the persistent myth of peaceful integration here. The astonishing Civil Rights Room at the Nashville Public Library tells the whole story of African-Americans' struggle for full civil rights in Nashville. The nonprofit organization Historic Nashville offers a tour of civil rights landmarks in the city. Last year, The Tennessean published a series of unvarnished stories about the conflicts of that time. In 2016, when Representative Lewis returned to Nashville to accept the Nashville Public Library Literary Award for his National Book Award-winning graphic memoir, "March: Book Three," the mayor gave him prints of his first police mug shots, taken after his arrest at the lunch counter sit-ins and long believed to be lost to history. In Nashville, we no longer want our ugliest moments to be lost to history.

    The photography exhibit at the Frist closes Oct. 14, but this record of Nashville's past will endure: Copies of the companion volume to the photography exhibit will be distributed to all branches of the Nashville Public Library and to every public school in the city, and all members of the Tennessee General Assembly will receive a copy to deliver to the public libraries in their own communities. Here's hoping they pause to take a look first. There's a truth in these photographs that many of them have likely never seen before.

    Margaret Renkl is a contributing opinion writer who covers flora, fauna, politics and culture in the American South.



    5) Rich Nations Vowed Billions for Climate Change. Poor Countries Are Waiting.

    By Mike Ives, September 9, 2018


    Farmers on a parched field in Bang Pla Ma district, north of Bangkok, in 2015.

    HONG KONG — When industrialized nations pledged in 2009 to mobilize $100 billion a year by 2020 to help the poorest countries deal with climate change, it won over some skeptics in the developing world who had argued that rich nations should pay up for contributing so much to the problem.

    But the money has been slow to materialize, with only $3.5 billion actually committed out of $10.3 billion pledged to a prominent United Nations program called the Green Climate Fund. President Trump's decision last year to cancel $2 billion in promised aid did not help.

    At a climate change conference in Thailand this past week, some delegates reached by telephone said that the setting — the heart of Southeast Asia, a region where challenges relating to warming are readily apparent — was grimly fitting. They described the United Nations program's shortcomings as a symbol of a broken promise.

    "The fund of hope is becoming a fund of hopelessness," said Meena Raman, legal adviser to the Third World Network, an advocacy group in Malaysia, and a former nonvoting member of the Green Climate Fund's board.

    The meeting in Bangkok of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is a prelude to a larger one in December in Poland, where countries will try to set rules for carrying out the 2015 Paris climate accord.

    The Bangkok meeting did not specifically address financing to mitigate climate change. But it came two months after disagreements among the Green Climate Fund's board members prevented the fund from approving new projects at a routine meeting.

    Activists demonstrating in front of the United Nations building on Friday in Bangkok, where a climate change conference was being held.

    Some observers say the fund's funding shortfall and bureaucratic malaise have dimmed expectations for the talks in Poland, which were already bound to be difficult.

    "The lack of real money coming through is really undermining trust in the negotiations" around how to put the Paris accord in place, said Brandon Wu, the director of policy and campaigns at ActionAid USA, an advocacy group that monitored the Bangkok meeting. "That's a big part of the logjam."

    The Green Climate Fund was designed to help developing countries prepare for climate disasters and develop low-fossil-fuel economies. It was part of a larger plan, led by Hillary Clinton, as secretary of state in 2009, to put together $100 billion a year for poor economies through a combination of government contributions and private investments.

    Many academics see contributions to the fund by wealthy countries as a moral imperative, arguing that the developing world is most vulnerable to the effects of climate change but least responsible for causing them.

    "Certainly, the richer countries should bear more of the burden in the G.C.F. because they have more means and more at stake," said Thitinan Pongsudhirak, a political scientist at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, referring to the fund by its initials. "Richer countries also have benefited from wealth accumulated over decades when climate issues were not at the forefront."

    The Obama administration delivered $1 billion of a $3 billion pledge to the program. But last year, Mr. Trump, while announcing plans to exit the Paris accord, said the United States would no longer pay into the Green Climate Fund. He explained his decision by saying that the contributions could eventually cost the United States "billions and billions and billions" of dollars.

    Ms. Raman said that while she still hoped to see other developed nations "step up" by contributing more to the fund, they had not yet made their exact commitments clear.

    An Indonesian woman and child walking through a thick haze shrouding the city of Palangkaraya, Indonesia, in 2015.

    "We're very horrified by the stance taken by the United States, but it's not the only one," she said. "All the developed countries are united around the United States in not making any progress on finance."

    World leaders vowed in Paris to avoid a warming of 2 degrees Celsius over preindustrial levels (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), a threshold that they deemed unacceptably risky. Yet there are widely varying estimates of how much money is being spent on fighting climate change in poor economies. One reason for the discrepancy is that there is no consensus over which contributions should be counted in the tally.

    And critics of the Green Climate Fund have questioned why much of the money it is distributing has been channeled through large development banks, or private-sector enterprises led by global investment firms. They argue that more climate aid should go directly to governments in the developing world, or the communities at risk.

    "We want money, but we're hard-pressed to give our full blessing to the projects coming on board," said Lidy Nacpil, the coordinator of the Asian Peoples' Movement on Debt and Development, a regional alliance of nonprofits and community groups.

    But even critics of the fund worry about the shortfall, saying it poses risks for people in poor regions where governments are either unable or unwilling to spend more on climate mitigation and adaptation.

    The initial, Obama-era goal of securing $100 billion in climate finance and investment per year by 2020 "was the amount needed by the countries to implement their ambitions," said Neha Rai, an expert on climate finance at the International Institute for Environment and Development, a think tank in Britain. "But at the same time, irrespective of the amount, it gives a policy signal that climate-relevant investments are important."

    Southeast Asia is a case in point.

    People who live in the Asia-Pacific region are "particularly vulnerable" to the effects of a changing climate, the Asian Development Bank said last year in a report, which projected Southeast Asia to be "most affected by heat extremes" in the wider area by the end of the century.

    Rowing boats through the streets of Hanoi after floods last month. Vietnam said state investments could provide only 30 percent of what it needs to adapt.

    Of 74 approved Green Climate Fund projects worth $3.5 billion, three are in Southeast Asia and they have a combined value of nearly $156 million, according to data provided by the program. Nineteen others in the program's pipeline directly target the region and are worth $904 million.

    Ms. Nacpil said climate finance was important in Southeast Asia partly because so many cities are in coastal areas that are vulnerable to sea-level rise and must adapt. And because the number of coal-fired power plants in the region is expected to increase, she added, governments should be encouraged to bend national policies toward investments in renewable energy.

    Jenty Kirsch-Wood, a climate specialist with the United Nations Development Program, defended the Green Climate Fund by pointing to its benefits in Vietnam, where part of a $30 million grant from the program has funded the distribution of free, storm-resistant housing to people in typhoon-prone coastal areas.

    "The Green Climate Fund has revitalized hope for countries like Vietnam that they can meet their Paris agreement targets — embracing the green energy revolution, but also helping their citizens to adapt to climate change," Ms. Kirsch-Wood said.

    But $30 million goes only so far in a country of 93 million people with an economy worth more than $200 billion and a long, exposed coastline. And in a 2015 climate plan submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention, Vietnam said that state investments could provide only 30 percent of what it needs to adapt.

    "Many developing countries have made clear that they will not be able to reach their Paris agreement targets without international climate finance," said Oyun Sanjaasuren, the Green Climate Fund's director of external affairs.

    "For its part, G.C.F.'s pipeline of climate projects in developing countries shows that demand for climate finance already exceeds supply," she said.



    6) Dallas Officer Charged With Manslaughter After Killing Neighbor in His Apartment

    By Sarah Mervosh and Matt Stevens, September 9, 2018


    Officer Amber Guyger, 30, was arrested on Sunday on a charge of manslaughter.

    A Dallas police officer was arrested on Sunday, three days after she shot and killed a neighbor in his apartment, claiming she mistook the unit for her own and the man for an intruder, the authorities said.

    The officer, Amber R. Guyger, 30, was charged with manslaughter and booked into the Kaufman County jail. She was freed on $300,000 bail on Sunday night.

    Her arrest followed days of rising tensions in the community, accusations of preferential treatment for the police and questions about what role race may have played in a deadly encounter between a white police officer in uniform and a black man startled in his own home.

    Officer Guyger went home from work in her police uniform late Thursday night and tried to enter the apartment, where she encountered and shot Botham Shem Jean, the police said.

    Mr. Jean, 26, was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

    Officer Guyger was placed on administrative leave but was not immediately arrested, and the Dallas Police Department handed the investigation over to the Texas Rangers, the state's top law enforcement agency. The Texas Rangers announced the arrest on Sunday night but declined to provide details about the case.

    A lawyer for Officer Guyger could not be reached for comment on Sunday. The Dallas Morning News reported that she could be heard on a 911 call crying and apologizing. "I'm so sorry," she said.

    Lee Merritt, a lawyer for Mr. Jean's family, said in an interview late Sunday that Officer Guyger's arrest was a "step in the right direction." But he questioned why the authorities had waited, saying, "We don't want it lost on anyone that, had this been a regular citizen, she would have never left the crime scene."

    Officials have not said how Officer Guyger may have mistaken the apartment for her own, or what interaction she had with Mr. Jean just before the shooting.

    In an interview with CNN on Sunday, Mayor Mike Rawlings of Dallas called the case "bizarre" and "confusing to all of us." He said that Officer Guyger apparently parked her car on the wrong floor of the building's parking lot and then walked to the apartment. "We don't know how she got into that door," he said. "We have to get to the bottom of this for everybody."

    Ben Crump, another lawyer for the family, said that Mr. Jean had been unarmed when Officer Guyger arrived and shot him in the chest.

    Botham Shem Jean, shown at the college he attended, was fatally shot at his Dallas apartment by a police officer who said she mistook the apartment for her own, the authorities said.

    "You know, we're still dealing in an America where black people are being killed in some of the most arbitrary ways: Driving while black, walking while black — and now, we have to add living while black," he said Sunday at a news conference.

    Mr. Jean, he said, "went to his grave never knowing why the police came through his door and shot him."

    Office Guyger has been a member of the Dallas Police Department for four years. She was involved in a shooting last year, when she shot and injured a suspect after he grabbed a police Taser during a confrontation. She was not indicted in that episode, The Dallas Morning News reported.

    On Thursday night, after working a full shift, she returned home to her apartment complex, South Side Flats, the police said. The complex is less than a quarter-mile from the Dallas Police Department headquarters.

    Officer Guyger called 911 at about 10 p.m. to report the shooting.

    Alyssa Kinsey, 29, who lives next door to Mr. Jean's apartment, said she was sitting with her back to the tenants' shared wall when she heard a gunshot, followed by a commotion. She said she ran to her door to listen and heard a female voice calling 911.

    Staring through her peephole, Ms. Kinsey said she saw a police officer pacing and heard her "hyperventilating."

    To get to Mr. Jean's apartment, Officer Guyger would have had to walk past 15 to 20 apartments — many of which have distinct wreaths, doormats and trash cans, Ms. Kinsey said. Mr. Jean, for instance, had a red doormat outside his apartment.

    "It doesn't look the same," she said. "So my main question is: What was she doing?"

    Mr. Merritt, the lawyer, said that that the officer and Mr. Jean did not know each other but that she lived in a unit below Mr. Jean, who had received noise complaints from a downstairs neighbor. He said the apartment complex uses electronic keys, which blink red when used incorrectly. Officer Guyger's key was found in the doorway of Mr. Jean's apartment, he said.

    Mr. Jean was born in the Caribbean and later moved to the United States, where he graduated in 2016 from Harding University in Arkansas. He then moved to Dallas, where he worked for the accounting firm PwC.

    He was from a prominent family in St. Lucia, his home country. Mayor Rawlings said he planned to meet with the prime minister of St. Lucia this week.

    At the apartment complex, people had left flowers, a balloon and photos near Mr. Jean's door, Ms. Kinsey said. She said that the lights in his apartment were still on, his patio furniture still outside.

    "This is the last person I ever thought this would happen to — and this is the last place," Ms. Kinsey said. "It's so secure here. The Police Department is a block away."

    Sandra E. Garcia contributed reporting.



    7)  Players and Fans See Sexism in Serena Williams's Treatment at U.S. Open

    By Melissa Gomez, September 9, 2018


    At the trophy ceremony after the United States Open final, Serena Williams, right, consoles Naomi Osaka, who defeated Williams, 6-2, 6-4.

    The United States Open final between the tennis legend Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka, a rising star in her own right, could have been a celebration of talent and determination, regardless of the outcome.

    Instead, the match on Saturday will be remembered for what Williams charged were "sexist" code violations against her by the chair umpire, who penalized her for verbal abuse after she called him a "thief."

    Osaka went on to win the game in two sets, 6-2, 6-4, but she was also upset and apologized to the crowd and Williams's fans.

    Reactions on social media largely focused on the umpire, Carlos Ramos, for penalizing Williams for behavior that critics said would ordinarily result in just a warning for other players.

    On Sunday, Williams was fined $17,000 for three code violations, The Associated Press reported.

    Chris Evert, a former top tennis player, tweeted that Ramos should have warned Williams about the verbal abuse violation before penalizing her. During the game, Andy Roddick, who retired from the sport in 2012, wrote on Twitter, "Worst refereeing I've ever seen ...... the worst !!!"

    James Blake, a retired tennis star, tweeted that he had said worse things on the court and did not get penalized.

    "And I've also been given a 'soft warning' by the ump where they tell you knock it off or I will have to give you a violation," he wrote. "He should have at least given her that courtesy. Sad to mar a well played final that way."

    Billie Jean King, a tennis legend and a pioneer for women in the sport, congratulated Osaka in a tweet before thanking Williams in a separate one for calling out a double standard between men and women in the sport.

    (2/2) When a woman is emotional, she's "hysterical" and she's penalized for it. When a man does the same, he's "outspoken" & and there are no repercussions. Thank you, @serenawilliams, for calling out this double standard. More voices are needed to do the same.



    8) How Teeth Became Tusks, and Tusks Became Liabilities

    By Natalle Angler, September 11, 2018


    Elephants from one family group, some tuskless, greet a calf from another family in Gorongosa. Only three of the 19 adult females in the calf's family have tusks.

    GORONGOSA NATIONAL PARK, Mozambique — We are flying in a Bat Hawk aircraft — which may be named for a raptor that preys on bats but looks more like a giant, lime-green dragonfly — and my hair, thanks to the open cockpit, has gone full Phyllis Diller.

    Scudding above flood plains the color of worn pool table felt and mud flats split like jigsaw puzzles, we dip toward the treetops and see herds of waterbuck scatter with an impatient flash of their bull's-eye rumps. 

    We are searching for the elusive tuskless elephants of Gorongosa, elephants that naturally lack the magnificent ivory staffs all too tragically coveted by wealthy collectors worldwide. 

    Tuskless elephants can be found in small numbers throughout Africa, but Gorongosa is known to harbor a sizable population of them, the legacy of a violent 15-year civil war. Tusked elephants were slaughtered for their ivory at a harrowing rate, and the park's rare tusk-free residents thus gained a sudden Darwinian advantage.

    Today, about a quarter of the park's 700 or so elephants are tuskless, all of them female, and I am determined to catch a glimpse of at least one. Yet a week of ground searches has proved fruitless, and now we are circling in a plane and still nothing and, holy mother of Horton, how can such massive creatures go missing? 

    "There!" Alfredo Matavele, the pilot, cries triumphantly, pointing toward a cluster of trees. "And there!" pointing toward a watering hole. And there and there. "Do you see them?" he demands. 

    Oh yes, I see them. Dozens, scores, cliques and claques of elephants, ears flapping like flags, trunks slowly swinging, and many of their faces decidedly free of ivory eruptions. I have found them at last, my sisters in dental deprivation.

    Other people may admire elephants for their brains or their complex social lives; I feel a bond with this mutant crew. After all, I've learned that we share a basic developmental anomaly, which may well be traceable to the same underlying glitches in our DNA. 

    Elephant tusks happen to be overgrown versions of the upper lateral incisors — the teeth right next to the front teeth, before you get to the canines. Simply put, tuskless elephants lack lateral incisors.

    I, too, lack lateral incisors; moreover, the trait runs in families. Tuskless elephants often have tuskless kin. Both my daughter and my younger brother are missing their lateral incisors. No wonder we've always had trouble ripping the bark off trees.

    An X-ray of human teeth with highlighted incisors.

    Scientists do not yet know the precise cause of tusklessness, but they've made great progress in deciphering the genetic program behind mammalian tooth development generally. It turns out to be an old and widely shared code. 

    "Tooth development has been very conserved during evolution," said Irma Thesleff, a developmental biologist at the University of Helsinki in Finland. She has found that mutations associated with tooth abnormalities in mice also show up in genetic studies of people with missing or malformed teeth. 

    "Elephants are no more different from humans than mice are," Dr. Thesleff said, "so it's quite possible that the same gene or genes are involved" in elephant tusklessness and human toothlessness. 

    For example, it could be a typographical error in the genetic code for a signaling molecule called wnt10a. "This is one of the most commonly mutated genes in humans with missing teeth," Dr. Thesleff said.

    And oh, we gap-mouths are everywhere. An estimated 8 percent of the population is missing one or more of the 32 teeth found in the standard adult set, and that figure rises to about 30 percent if you include a natural absence of the four extra wisdom teeth that many people get yanked out anyway.

    Missing lateral incisors is thought to be the second most common form of so-called tooth agenesis. One archaeological study of a 9,000-year-old farming community in Basta, Jordan, found that 36 percent of the inhabitants lacked lateral incisors. Researchers viewed the elevated rate as evidence of inbreeding. 

    The normal background rate of the condition is more like 2 percent to 4 percent, which, coincidentally or otherwise, is close to the background rate of tusklessness among African elephants

    Even more common in humans than a lack of lateral incisors, said Ariadne Letra, an associate professor at the University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston, is the absence of the lower second premolars, the teeth with two cusps located in the bottom jaw just before the four-cusped molars. 

    (I discovered in the course of reporting this story that my husband was born without his second premolars, so I guess I'm grateful my daughter has any teeth at all.)

    A rare narwhal tusk found in an English country house. Scientists are not yet certain how narwhals use their tusks.

    Through animal studies, scientists have learned that teeth can grow in macabre isolation from other body systems, as though they yearned for a career as novelty dentures at a Halloween party. Isaac Salazar-Ciudad, a theoretical biologist who studies tooth development at the University of Helsinki, explained that if you remove part of the primordial mouth of a mouse embryo and culture it in a dish, it will develop an array of normal-looking mouse teeth. 

    Although the basic genetic program is widely shared, tooth building is also flexible, susceptible to evolutionary influences.

    Teeth develop through the interaction of two types of embryonic tissue, epithelial and mesenchymal, which early in gestation — by about Day 28 in humans — start folding up into each other origami-style to form a series of large and small buds. Those buds can then be sharpened into canines or incisors for slicing into flesh, or flattened and sculpted into molars with any number of cusps for processing high-fiber plants. 

    The core of a tooth, the pulp, holds the blood vessels and nerve fibers, while the bulk consists of a bone-like material called dentin. The outer coating of calcium phosphate enamel is the hardest substance in the body, which is why animal teeth account for a disproportionate share of the fossil record. 

    And when lengthened into structures that breach the boundary of the mouth and grow throughout life, teeth become tusks — for digging, fighting, hauling, piercing, threat display.

    The diversity of shapes that teeth can assume, combined with their mineralized hardness, said Dr. Salazar-Ciudad, "could be why they have been repurposed as tusks and used for so many tasks."

    Walruses use their tusks as grappling hooks and weapons, but not to forage.

    In most cases, tusks are recast canines, curving to the side and upward in wild boars and warthogs, or drooping down in walruses like Yosemite Sam's mustache. In narwhals, the unicorns of the Arctic, the tusk is built of a single overgrown canine that penetrates through the narwhal's left upper lip in a permanent open wound, which ends up hosting tiny shrimplike creatures with an appetite for shed whale skin. 

    The narwhal tusk "is the only straight tusk in nature, and the only spiral tusk, too," said Martin Thomas Nweeia, a narwhal expert who lectures at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine.

    Tusks, as a rule, are multipurpose devices. Boars and warthogs apply theirs offensively and defensively, to battle one another during mating season and to gore predators many times their size. 

    Walruses use their tusks like grappling hooks, to haul themselves out of the water and onto the ice, and as weapons against polar bears and in sexual contests — but not, as commonly believed, to forage for food or pry open oysters. 

    The purpose of the narwhal's tusk remains a subject of contention. Some researchers suggest the whales use it to stun their fish prey. Dr. Nweeia and his co-workers propose that it is a kind of sensory organ, for detecting changes in water salinity and temperature. 

    Elephants are the true masters of the Swiss Army tusk. They use their mighty incisors to dig for salts and minerals, to break off branches and get at the foliage, to pry into trees and peel off the bark — "They really love to to eat bark," said Joyce Poole, scientific director of Elephant Voices, a research and advocacy group working at Gorongosa — to scoop an errant calf out of a mudhole or lift a sleeping one to its feet. 

    They coordinate tusks, trunks and feet to de-thorn acacia trees and soften tough grasses, and they stash leafy branches across their ivory shelves for later consumption. 

    Just as people are left- or right-handed, so elephants have a favored tusk. "If they're going to break a branch over a tusk, they use the same tusk repeatedly," Dr. Poole said. A groove forms in the preferred tusk over time. 

    But it can take two tusks to tangle. From my perch in the Bat Hawk, I watched a pair of large bull elephants spar by locking together their massive tusks, which can weigh well over 100 pounds each — seven times the weight of an average female tusk.

    Yet the biophysical properties that make tusks such splendid tools to own have all too often proved their owners' undoing. People have long coveted ivory for its beauty, ductility and presumed magical properties. 

    The first appearance of narwhal tusks in medieval Europe is thought to have given rise to the myth of the unicorn, and to a mad surge in demand for the nine-foot spiraling spears. Elizabeth I is said to have paid 10,000 pounds for a narwhal tusk, then the price of an average castle. 

    The drive to harvest walrus ivory may well have contributed to the settlement of Greenland in the 10th century, and led to the near extinction of walrus populations around Norway, Iceland and other parts of the North Atlantic.

    A customs officer in Hong Kong with contraband products made from endangered species, including elephant ivory.

    Elephant ivory, however, is considered the finest in the world, and elephants have long been slaughtered to supply it. Despite international efforts to ban the ivory trade, demand still drives a business worth at least a billion dollars a year. 

    The persistence of elephant poaching has prompted researchers to wonder whether elephants really needed their tusks, and whether they might not be better off if the tuskless trait were to spread more widely through the African population. 

    Shane Campbell-Staton, an assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of California, Los Angeles, and his colleagues have begun systematically comparing tusked and tuskless elephants in Gorongosa, seeking not only to identify the genes involved in tusklessness but also to solve perplexing patterns of inheritance.

    Why, for example, are nearly all the tuskless elephants of Africa female? Among Asian elephants, a related species, many males are tuskless, and recent studies suggest they fare surprisingly well on the sexual battlefieldwhen pitted against tusked rivals. 

    Dr. Campbell-Staton is also looking at downstream effects of tusklessness. 

    "We know tusks play an important role in obtaining food," he said, "so if individuals don't have that tool, are they using the environment differently, and could those changes have consequences for other animals dependent on elephants as ecosystem engineers?"

    Maybe, but from the look of it, the tuskless elephants of Gorongosa are thriving. "They're in fantastic condition, this is a very good habitat for them, and there's no indication they're suffering nutritionally," Dr. Poole said. 

    Lateral incisors: who needs them? Better by far to keep the poachers at bay.



    9)  The Handmaid's Court

    By Michelle Goldberg, September 10, 2018


    A protester dressed as a character from "The Handmaid's Tale" attended the first day of Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing last week.

    Shortly after his inauguration, Donald Trump, uniquely attentive to his debt to the religious right, appointed the anti-abortion activist E. Scott Lloyd to head the Office of Refugee Resettlement, despite Lloyd's lack of relevant experience. The position gave Lloyd authority over unaccompanied minors caught crossing into the United States, authority Lloyd exploited to try to stop pregnant migrants from getting abortions.

    Last year, thanks to Lloyd's interference, a 17-year-old from Central America had to wage a legal battle to end her pregnancy. Known in court filings as Jane Doe, the girl learned she was pregnant while in custody in Texas, and was adamant that she wanted an abortion. In keeping with Texas's parental consent law, she obtained a judge's permission, helped by a legal organization called Jane's Due Process. Jane's Due Process raised money for the abortion, which was scheduled for the end of her first trimester.

    But under Lloyd's direction, the shelter where she was being detainedrefused to cooperate. Doe went back to court, and a federal judge ruled in her favor, issuing a temporary restraining order against the government. The administration appealed, and the case, Garza v. Hargan, went to a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. One of the judges was Brett Kavanaugh.

    Garza v. Hargan was the only major abortion-rights case Kavanaugh ever ruled on. His handling of it offers a clue about what's in store for American women if he's confirmed to the Supreme Court. No one knows whether Kavanaugh would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade outright or simply gut it. But even on a lower court, Kavanaugh put arbitrary obstacles in the way of someone desperate to end her pregnancy. Thanks to Trump, he may soon be in a position to do the same to millions of others.

    It's fitting that last week's Kavanaugh confirmation hearings were regularly interrupted by the sound of women screaming. Again and again, protesters, most of them female, cried out for the preservation of their rights, and were arrested. Republican men were contemptuous. "What's the hysteria coming from?" asked Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska.

    Let me answer. It is true, as Sasse said, that protesters have claimed for many years that if Roe v. Wade is overturned, women will die. It's a fair prediction; women died before Roe, and where abortion is illegal, unsafe abortion leads to maternal death. In the past, however, Roe has been saved. Should Kavanaugh be confirmed, it will either fall or be eviscerated. 

    In Garza, Kavanaugh and another judge vacated the temporary restraining order that prevented the government from hindering Doe's abortion. Brigitte Amiri, an A.C.L.U. lawyer who represented the girl, was stunned, because it seemed clear that Doe, who'd already obtained the necessary judicial signoff, had the law on her side. "It wasn't what I was expecting from any judge that would have read Roe v. Wade," Amiri said of the ruling. "Conservatives, progressives, anyone."

    Indeed, a few days later, the full court reversed the panel's decision. Kavanaugh, dissenting, wrote that "the government has permissible interests in favoring fetal life."

    By the time Jane Doe got her abortion, she was 15 weeks pregnant and needed a more complicated second-trimester procedure. On Friday, Rochelle Garza, a lawyer who served as Doe's temporary legal guardian during the proceedings, testified at Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings.

    "She was one of the most vulnerable people in our community," Garza said of the girl, adding, "She was an immigrant, she didn't speak English, she was in detention, and she was being put under extreme pressure. And I felt it was unfortunate that Judge Kavanaugh did not take that into consideration."

    We shouldn't expect a Trump nominee, however personally decent his friends say he is, to care about women's wishes. Kavanaugh's defenders insist that he's the sort of judge any Republican would appoint, and they are correct. Still, it's a particularly bitter insult that women stand to lose reproductive autonomy thanks to the minority presidential victory of a louche misogynist.

    Politicians sometimes say that they are personally opposed to abortion, but believe it should be legal. Trump and some of his enablers reverse that formulation.

    The president, who does not, according to two of his lovers, wear condoms, has declined to say whether he's ever been involved with an abortion. According to court papers unsealed on Friday, Elliott Broidy, former deputy finance chairman of the Republican National Committee, also refused to wear condoms during sex with his mistress, Shera Bechard, then demanded she get an abortion when she became pregnant. According to the unsealed papers, Broidy admired Trump's "uncanny ability to sexually abuse woman and get away with it."

    A famous pro-choice poster from the 1980s proclaimed, "Your body is a battleground." Kavanaugh is likely to join the Supreme Court because in 2016, the woman whom most women voted for was defeated. Now our bodies are subject to occupation.

    Michelle Goldberg has been an Opinion columnist since 2017. She is the author of several books about politics, religion and women's rights, and was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize for public service in 2018 for reporting on workplace sexual harassment issues.



    10) The Recovery Threw the Middle-Class Dream Under a Benz

    By Nelson D. Schwartz, September 12, 2018


    Once a year or so, the economist Diane Swonk ventures into the basement of her 1891 Victorian house outside Chicago and opens a plastic box containing the items that mean the most to her: awards, wedding pictures, the clothes she was wearing at the World Trade Center on the day it was attacked. But what she seeks out again and again is a bound diary of the events of the financial crisis and their aftermath.

    "It's useful to go back and see what a chaotic time it was and how terrifying it was," she said. "That time is seared in my mind. I looked at it again recently, and all the pain came flooding back."

    A decade later, things are eerily calm. The economy, by nearly any official measure, is robust. Wall Street is flirting with new highs. And the housing market, the epicenter of the crash, has recovered in many places. But like the diary stored in Ms. Swonk's basement, the scars of the financial crisis and the ensuing Great Recession are still with us, just below the surface.

    The most profound of these is that the uneven nature of the recovery compounded a long-term imbalance in the accumulation of wealth. As a consequence, what it means to be secure has changed. Wealth, real wealth, now comes from investment portfolios, not salaries. Fortunes are made through an initial public offering, a grant of stock options, a buyout or another form of what high-net-worth individuals call a liquidity event.

    Data from the Federal Reserve show that over the last decade and a half, the proportion of family income from wages has dropped from nearly 70 percent to just under 61 percent. It's an extraordinary shift, driven largely by the investment profits of the very wealthy. In short, the people who possess tradable assets, especially stocks, have enjoyed a recovery that Americans dependent on savings or income from their weekly paycheck have yet to see. Ten years after the financial crisis, getting ahead by going to work every day seems quaint, akin to using the phone book to find a number or renting a video at Blockbuster.

    The financial crisis didn't just kill the dream of getting rich from your day job. It also put an end to a fundamental belief of the middle class: that owning a home was always a good idea because prices moved in only one direction — up. The bubble, while it lasted, gave millions in the middle class a sense of validation of their financial acumen, and made them feel as if they had done the Right Thing.

    In theory, if you lost your job, or suffered some other kind of financial setback, you could always sell into a real estate market that was forever rising. Ever-higher home prices became a steam valve, and the "greater fool" theory substituted for any conventional measure of value.

    The kindling for the fire that consumed Wall Street and nearly the entire economy was mortgages that should never have been taken out in the first place. Homeowners figured the more house the better, whether or not their income could support the monthly payment, while greedy banks and middlemen were all too happy to encourage them.

    When the bubble burst, the bedrock investment for many families was wiped out by a combination of falling home values and too much debt. A decade after this debacle, the typical middle-class family's net worth is still more than $40,000 below where it was in 2007, according to the Federal Reserve. The damage done to the middle-class psyche is impossible to price, of course, but no one doubts that it was vast.

    Banks were hurt, too, but aside from the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the pain proved transitory. Bankers themselves were never punished for their sins. In one form or another — the Troubled Asset Relief Program, quantitative easing, the Fed's discount window — the financial sector was supported in spectacular fashion.

    Like the bankers, shareholders and investors were also bailed out. By cutting interest rates to near zero and pumping trillions — yes, you read that right — into the economy, the Federal Reserve essentially put a trampoline under the stock market. The subsequent bounce produced a windfall, but only for a limited group of beneficiaries. Only about half of American households have any exposure to the stock market, including 401(k)'s and retirement plans, and ownership of the shares of individual companies is clustered among upper-income families.

    For homeowners, there wasn't much of a rescue package from Washington, and eight million succumbed to foreclosure. Sometimes, eviction came in the form of marshals with court orders; in other cases, families quietly handed over the keys to the bank and just walked away. Although home prices in hot markets have fully recovered, many homeowners are still underwater in the worst-hit states like Florida, Arizona and Nevada. Meanwhile, more Americans are renting and have little prospect of ever owning a home.

    Worsening the picture, the post-crisis era has been marked by an increased disparity in wealth between white, Hispanic and African-American members of the middle class. That's according to an analysis of Fed data by the Pew Research Center, which found that families in the latter two groups were more dependent on housing as their principal form of investment. Not only were both minority groups harder hit by foreclosures, but Hispanics were also twice as likely as other Americans to be living in Sun Belt states where the housing crash was most severe.

    In 2016, net worth among white middle-income families was 19 percent below 2007 levels, adjusted for inflation. But among blacks, it was down 40 percent, and Hispanics saw a drop of 46 percent. For many, old-fashioned hard work has simply not been a viable path out of this hole. After unemployment peaked in the fall of 2009, it took years for joblessness to return to pre-recession levels. Slack in the labor market left the employed and unemployed alike with little leverage to demand raises, even as corporate profits surged.

    Maybe it was inevitable that when half the population watches its wages stagnate while the other half gets rich in the market, the result is President Donald Trump and Brexit.

    "It peeled away the facade and revealed an anger that had been building for decades," said Ms. Swonk, who is chief economist at Grant Thornton in Chicago. "The crisis was horrific, but its legacy pushed us over the edge in terms of the discontent."

    It also made inequality and the One Percent an urgent topic, and made unlikely celebrities of wonky intellectuals such as the economist Thomas Piketty. His best seller, "Capital in the Twenty-First Century," published in 2013, was 816 data-laden pages that laid out a grim diagnosis. Mr. Piketty argued that the decades after World War II, when the divisions between the classes narrowed and opportunities to move up the economic ladder expanded — that is, when the middle class as we knew it was formed — may actually have been an aberration. Society, Mr. Piketty wrote, risks a return to the historical norm of a yawning gap between rich and poor.

    Whether or not he is right, the concentration of wealth that is a legacy of the financial crisis will make itself felt far into the future. Younger Americans, in particular, will be marked by the experience of 2008 much as the Crash of 1929 and the Great Depression haunted the generations who lived through it in the last century. Not only were they unable to accumulate assets in the lean years of the early recovery, but they also missed out on the recent stock market rally that benefited their older and richer peers.

    recent study by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis found that while all birth cohorts lost wealth during the Great Recession, Americans born in the 1980s were at the "greatest risk for becoming a lost generation for wealth accumulation."

    For those fortunate enough to still possess wealth after the crisis, the future looks very different. With the security provided by assets, rather than just income, they and especially their children are on a glide path for a gilded financial future. 

    "Over and over, you see that family wealth is an important determinant of opportunity for the next generation, over and above income," said Fabian T. Pfeffer, a sociologist at the University of Michigan. "Wealth serves as a private safety net that allows you to behave differently and plan differently."

    A wealthy person who loses a job can afford to be more choosy and wait for an opportunity suited to his or her skills and experience. The risk of going to an expensive college and taking on debt is lower when there is parental wealth to fall back on.

    Timothy Smeeding, who teaches public affairs and economics at the University of Wisconsin, put it more bluntly. "You can see dynasties starting to form," he said.

    Ten years have passed since the trauma of 2008, the nerves are still raw, and the pain still has a way of flaring up. Every time she goes down into the basement and peruses her diary, Diane Swonk feels it anew.

    "It is the diary of an economist, as well as a mother and a human being," Ms. Swonk said. It includes her published writings for clients, as well as her feelings, thoughts and fears as the crisis unfolded. She also recorded her impression of key figures she met during those fateful months, including Lawrence H. Summers, a top White House economic official at the time, and Ben S. Bernanke, then the chairman of the Federal Reserve.

    "The financial crisis became a delineator," she said. "There were those who could recoup their losses and those who could not. Some people have amnesia, but we are still living with the wounds."

    Nelson D. Schwartz has covered economics since 2012. Previously, he wrote about Wall Street and banking, and also served as European economic correspondent in Paris. He joined The Times in 2007 as a feature writer for the Sunday Business section.



    11)  $10 Million From FEMA Diverted to Pay for Immigration Detention Centers, Document Shows

    By Ron Nixon, September 12, 2018


    Homeland security personnel deliver supplies toWASHINGTON — The Department of Homeland Security transferred nearly $10 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to a budget document released by a Democratic senator late Tuesday night, diverting funds from the relief agency at the start of the hurricane season that began in June. The release of the document comes as a major storm barrels toward the East Coast.

    The document, which was released by the office of Senator Jeff Merkley, of Oregon, shows that the money would come from FEMA's operations and support budget and was transferred into accounts at ICE to pay for detention and removal operations. The document also shows that the Department of Homeland Security transferred money from accounts at Customs and Border Protection that pays for border fencing and technology.

    The transfer was a part of more than $200 million the Department of Homeland Security moved from the budgets of other agencies to ICE's detention and removals.

    Mr. Merkley, appearing Tuesday night on "The Rachel Maddow Show" on MSNBC, said the Trump administration was taking money from FEMA'S "response and recovery" and "working hard to find funds for additional detention camps." Mr. Merkley has been a vocal critic of the administration's immigration policies. Puerto Rico in the aftermath of a hurricane.

    The Department of Homeland Security denies that any money transferred came from FEMA's disasters relief accounts, which pay for work related to hurricanes and other natural disasters.

    "Under no circumstances was any disaster relief funding transferred from @fema to immigration enforcement efforts," Tyler Q. Houlton, an agency spokesman, said on Twitter. "This is a sorry attempt to push a false agenda at a time when the administration is focused on assisting millions on the East Coast facing a catastrophic disaster."

    Mr. Holton added that money transferred from FEMA could not have been used to pay for hurricane relief efforts because of "appropriation limitations."

    "DHS/FEMA stand fiscally and operationally ready to support current and future response and recovery needs," he said.

    In an email, the agency said funds taken from FEMA's accounts amounted to less than one percent of the agency's operational accounts and was taken from money to pay for employee travel expenses, training, basic purchase cards and office supplies, among other things. FEMA's funding for disaster response is in a separate, $25 billion account, the agency said.

    The agency said it is prepared for Hurricane Florence, which is expected to hit North and South Carolina, and Virginia on Thursday or Friday. FEMA officials said the hurricane could be the strongest storm to hit the Carolinas and Virginia region "in decades."

    The release of the budget documents showing the money transfers between FEMA and ICE came after President Trump in an interview called last year's hurricane response efforts by FEMA in Puerto Rico an "unsung success"

    "The job that FEMA and law enforcement and everybody did working along with the governor in Puerto Rico, I think was tremendous," Mr. Trump said.

    In an early Wednesday morning Twitter post, Mr. Trump doubled down on the agency's performance: "We got A Pluses for our recent hurricane work in Texas and Florida (and did an unappreciated great job in Puerto Rico, even though an inaccessible island with very poor electricity and a totally incompetent Mayor of San Juan). We are ready for the big one that is coming!"

    New data shows that nearly 3,000 people died as a result of the hurricane and many people continue to live without power on the island. An after-action report by FEMA released in July shows that they agency vastly underestimated how much food and fresh water it would need, and how hard it would be to get additional supplies to the island.

    The report describes the initial response as chaotic and disorganized and plagued with logistical problems as the agency tried to get food and other equipment onto the island.



    12)  The Racism Inside Fire Departments

    By Addington Stewart, a retired St. Louis firefighter, September 12, 2018


    An electrician for the New York Fire Department, Gregory Seabrook, second from left, with his lawyers at a news conference in 2011. Mr. Seabrook said he found a noose outside his work locker after he complained about discrimination.

    Imagine how you would feel if you showed up at work and found a noose waiting for you. It happened just last year to a young black firefighter in Miami. In our profession, that garish expression of racism was unfortunately not an anomaly. In the aftermath of California's summer wildfires and the well-deserved praise of the heroism of the people who risked their lives to extinguish them, it's also important to confront the bigotry that puts individual firefighters and the people we serve at risk.

    I've served 35 years as a firefighter, and the racism today is as bad as I can remember. My organization, the International Association of Black Professional Firefighters, is monitoring or pursuing legal or administrative action on a dozen major cases of discrimination.

    Though the noose incident took place in Florida, this is not just a Southern problem. Complaints come from liberal bastions including New York City, where just last year seven African-American employees of the Fire Department filed a lawsuit over "a broad pattern of racial discrimination." In Ohio, a volunteer firefighter announced on Facebook that he'd rather save a dog than an African-American. Beyond the obvious implications for citizens who might need help, this statement is representative of the kind of attitude many black firefighters confront at work each day.

    I believe incidents like those I've described here are underreported. In my experience, repercussions for reporting discrimination or harassment can be as career-damaging as the despicable actions that prompted an appeal for justice. Black firefighters who have taken a stand against unfair treatment report having been punished with increased harassment, social exclusion, reduced pay, transfers and demotions.

    Despite a rich history of black firefighting heroes that goes back to the beginnings of a professionalized service in the early 19th century, firefighting in this country is stained by a tradition of exclusion. Post-segregation, discrimination was reinforced through deep-rooted nepotism and cronyism. For those whose great-grandfather, grandfather and father weren't firefighters — and especially for applicants with the wrong color, gender or sexuality — training and testing became an impermeable barrier. Notoriously, white male recruits received special mentoring and reduced scrutiny by those in charge of hiring. 

    So-called bad apples can't be blamed for all the racial problems in fire departments today. The problems are system-deep. To begin to solve them, local fire department leaders must step up their efforts to support and enforce inclusivity. We should prioritize hiring fire chiefs who are fully committed to dismantling nepotism and tackling those professional traditions that degrade opportunity. We need an impartial, standardized and professional process for testing at entry level and on promotional exams to inoculate against the effects of bias and favoritism. Fire departments must enforce workplace rules already in place.

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, fewer than 8 percent of our nation's firefighters are African-Americans, and an even smaller percentage hold leadership positions. In that way, our nation's fire service is like many other industries that are still battling hate and bias, both subtle and in-your-face.

    What makes firefighting unusual is that as we're rolling out of the firehouse with sirens on — whether responding to a fire, drug overdose or car crash — we know that what we encounter may be the worst moment in someone's life. Our hearts are pounding, and we're aware that any call could be a one-way trip for us. Smoke inhalation, building collapse and backdraft are known risks and we accept them.

    But the hazards of bigotry within our ranks are an unacceptable burden. When we step into a life-threatening situation, we need to work as a team and know each one of us has the others' back.

    Unchecked hate and discrimination obliterate that essential trust. They put us in greater danger, and they can put you in greater danger, too.

    Addington Stewart is president of the International Association of Black Professional Firefighters.











































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