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Message to the troops: Do not collaborate with the illegal immigrant detention camps
Dear Friend.
In our new October PDF newsletter, we're again talking about the massive military-hosted immigrant detention camps decreed this summer by the Trump Administration. Just the idea of these concentration camps brings back memories of the forced relocation and incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II. While resistance has slowed them down, they are moving forward. Many of us thought something like that could never happen again, and yet, here we are.
We need to reach the troops with this simple challenge: Do not collaborate with the illegal immigrant detention camps. With your help, we'll spend one penny per military service member--$20,000--on a strategic outreach campaign. Our stretch goal is two cents.
Along with everything else you can do to resist this affront to humanity, please support our campaign to challenge military personnel to refuse these illegal orders. Your tax-deductible donation of $50 or $100 will make a huge difference.
Also in this issue: Army Capt. Brittany DeBarros / Shutting down recruiting center; Hoisting peace flag / Presidio 27 "mutiny" 50th anniversary events / Whistleblower Reality Winner update--"So unfair" says Trump

Upcoming Events
presidio mutiny50th anniversary events of the Presidio 27 mutiny
San Francisco, California
Panel discussion on Saturday, October 13
Commemoration on Sunday, October 14
At the former Presidio Army Base
More info

484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland, California 94610 ~ 510-488-3559
www.couragetoresist.org ~ facebook.com/couragetoresist



"Behind every great fortune there is a great crime." —Honoré de Balzac



A soldier's tale of bravery and morality

Chris Hedges interviews former combat veteran and US Army officer Spenser Rapone about bravery and morality. The second lieutenant was given an "other than honorable" discharge June 18 after an army investigation determined that he "went online to promote a socialist revolution and disparage high-ranking officers," and thereby engaged in "conduct unbecoming an officer."





Unite / Here Local 2 is on STRIKE at 7 SF Hotels!! Please support them by participating on the picket lines! This is a 24/7 picket!
From Local 2 :
“Hello friends and allies - 

If you haven't heard already, today Local 2 is struck the 7 Marriott properties in San Francisco:

Marriott Marquis at Mission and 4th
Marriott Union Square at 480 Sutter St.
Courtyard Marriott Downtown at 299 2nd St.
St. Francis at Powell & Geary
Palace at Market & New Montgomery
St. Regis at 125 3rd St.
W at 181 3rd St.

This is an open-ended strike, so we'll be out until we win!  Except for the Courtyard Downtown, all picket lines are 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  There is a Courtyard picket everyday, but just no overnight shift (10p-5a).

PLEASE JOIN US!  The workers love to know that our labor and community allies have their back, and it lifts their spirits to see people besides their co-workers walk the line.  We know that we never win alone!

It may go without saying, but the way Local 2 wins strikes is with loud, militant, non-stop, disciplined picket lines.  We don't get into physical fights with scabs or others crossing the line, as tempting as that may be, because it doesn't help us win (and in fact can lead to picket lines being shut down).  All shifts should have picket captains, most of whom are rank-and-file leaders from the hotel they're picketing.  

Thank you so much for your support, and hope to see you on the line -

Saturday, 10:00am – 2:30pm, Yes on 10 & C Mission Mobilization

Meet at:
24th Street BART Station

YES Yes on Prop 10 - The Affordable Housing Act - is the BIGGEST statewide measure to protect tenants in decades.

Yes on Prop C - Our City Our Home - is the BIGGEST local measure to seriously address homelessness in decades.

Tenants, advocates, families and friends, come out to Prop C's field kickoff.
You can pick up dual YesOnC & YesOn10 doorhangers (in English & Spanish) to drop and door knock with around the neighborhood We will train you on how to do this and what to day. We can pair you with a partner if you have never done this before.

Hosts: Democratic Socialist of America – SF, Causa Justa Just Cause, Yes on C – Our City Our Home SF, SF Tenants Union, Housing Rights Committee SF



Saturday, 5:00pm, Oakland Does Not Consent (possible demo)

Oscar Grant Plaza
1 Frank Ogawa Plaza (nr. 12th Street BART)

In the event that Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed to the Supreme Court, we will gather at 5pm on the day of the vote to show that #WeDoNotConsent to the appointment of yet another sexual predator into a position of power in the US govt. Join us to express our collective outrage and to continue the process of healing for survivors of the 'justice' system.

Bring silver duct tape and chapstick if you are able. We will continue to update on this page as details about the vote are released.

Host: Bay Resistance

 Sunday, 1:00pm – 4:00pm, Protest Militarized Fleet Week

Meet at:

Crissy Field
on Marina Green,
Marina Blvd. and end of Webster St.

Protest Militarized Fleet Week with water based large scale visual activism.  Join the Peace Flotilla on the Bay at Crissy Field.

Support boats displaying giant banners with messages of peace.  Allies need to be on shore handing out flyers explaining the mission of the flotilla.  Fight Bomber Jet Fire With Water



Monday, 5:00am – 9:00am, Groundworks by Dancing Earth Indigenous Peoples Sunrise Ceremony

Alcatraz National Park

Purchase tickets on-line is recommended

Boats departing from Pier 33 to Alcatraz for Sunrise Ceremony Ceremony leave starting at 5:00am. Get your tickets today! They will sell out!

Dancing Earth will be honoring Indigenous People's Day, on Yemalu occupied Ramaytush Ohlone territory (known today as San Francisco) on Monday Oct. 8th at Indigenous People's Day Sunrise Ceremony 2018, Alcatraz.

Dancing Earth Indigenous Contemporary Dance Creations is honored to present a Contemporary Indigenous Dance performance entitled GROUNDWORKS, which honors and centers the perspectives of California Native collaborators of Pomo, Ohlone, Wappo, Miwuk, Paiute Nations.

This work has been a collaboration of in-depth, cultural learning with Pomo, Wappo, Ohlone California Native tribes, elders, community leaders and artists. Dancing Earth brings Indigenous cultural knowledge and stories from Native communities through dance to tell stories of our Native ancestors and our contemporary, Indigenous selves.

We also invite the community to join us in a finale of Pomo language FLASH MOB dance at the end of performance taking place on the ferry loading dock before departure from Alcatraz



Monday, 12Noon – 3:00pm, Celebrate San Francisco's 1st Official Indigenous Peoples' Day

Yerba Buena Gardens

Free and Open to the Public

Join us in Yelamu (San Francisco) Ohlone territory to celebrate San Francisco's 1st Indigenous Peoples' Day! This event will feature Indigenous dancers, music, speakers, vendors and more. Additional info to come. Contact International Indian Treaty Council's San Francisco office at (415) 641-4482 or at iitc@treatycouncil.org.


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Pardon Whistleblower Reality Winner
Hi Bonnie.
On June 3, 2017, NSA contractor Reality Leigh Winner was arrested and charged under the Espionage Act for providing a media organization with a single five-page top-secret document that analyzed information about alleged Russian online intrusions into U.S. election systems.
Reality, who has been jailed without bail since her arrest, has now been sentenced to five years in prison. This is by far the longest sentence ever given in federal court for leaking information to the media. Today, she is being transferred from a small Georgia jail to a yet-unknown federal prison.
Several months before her arrest, the FBI's then-Director James Comey told President Trump that he was (in the words of a subsequent Comey memo) "eager to find leakers and would like to nail one to the door as a message." Meanwhile, politically connected and high-level government officials continue to leak without consequence, or selectively declassify material to advance their own interests.
Join Courage to Resist and a dozen other organizations in calling on President Trump, who has acknowledged Winner's treatment as "so unfair," to pardon Reality Winner or to commute her sentence to time served.


towards a world without war
Upcoming Events
troopsFeds holding last public hearing on draft registration
Los Angeles, California
Thursday, September 20
At California State University Los Angeles
More info
presidio mutiny50th anniversary events of the Presidio 27 mutiny
San Francisco, California
Panel discussion on Saturday, October 13
Commemoration on Sunday, October 14
At the former Presidio Army Base
More info

to support resistance
484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland, California 94610 ~ 510-488-3559
www.couragetoresist.org ~ facebook.com/couragetoresist


Transform the Justice System







We are off to a terrible start. Today President Trump addressed the United Nations General Assembly. He praised Saudi Arabia, doubled down on his decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem and went on theattack against Iran. Tomorrow we expect it to get even worse when he chairs the United Nations Security Council. We expect he will continue to lambast Iran, using the same rhetoric that may well lead to war.
What we need now is an educated public who will stand up the to absurd claims by the Trump administration that Iran poses a threat to the United States. In the lead up to the war in Iraq 15 years ago, the press failed us by spreading President Bush's lies about Iraq possessing weapons of mass destruction. Are they going to do it again with Iran? Add your name to our letter to the New York Times and Washington Post demanding they debunk Trump as he beats the drums of war. 
We see what is happening. Trump is trying to take us into war. He tore up the Iran deal, despite the fact that Iran was adhering to it and despite the wishes of the other countries that were signatories to it. Now he is imposing draconian sanctions that are hurting the Iranian people.
Did you see my disruption of US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook? It is part of our new campaign to send social media messages of friendship and support to the people of Iran. Join us by creating a video of yourself telling the people of Iran that you want to be friends and spread a message of peace. You can even try to do it in Persian. Go to our page to learn how to say "I want to be friends" in Persian. Then send us the video by email or post it on social media with the hashtag #PeaceWithIran.
So much is at stake if we let Trump take us into war with Iran. Iraq is still suffering from the death, destruction and destabilization we caused there over a decade ago. We must act now to stop the next war!   
Towards peace and diplomacy,
Medea and the entire CODEPINK team

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URGENT:  Calling all boat and kayak owners to join the PEACE FLEET!
Please share this with all boat and kayak owners…..

Hi Peacemakers!

Image result for peace boat
The Golden Rule

Do you or someone you know own a sailboat, kayak or some other floating vehicle?
Want to join our "Peace Fleet" or "Peace Navy" on October 7, Sunday?

We are getting together as many boats as we can to create an alternative to war image during Fleet Week.
We want to sail our beautiful and colorful Peace Fleet around the S.F. bay on Sunday, October 7, the last day of the SF annual Fleet Week.
We'll be offering colorful sails and banners with beautiful messages of PEACE to bay visitors who come to admire those big, powerful, noisy, and very DEADLY war toys that our military displays during fleet week.


Help us create a big colorful response to the U.S. military's annual effort to market war and global domination to the public.
Please pass the word around: We need boats, the more the merrier!

Contact Toby Blomé if you can supply a boat:

Unfortunately the "Golden Rule" boat, pictured above, will not be able to join us, because she will be on her global journey soon to educate people on the dangers of the nuclear world that we live in.

Please contact me asap. Preferably by Sept. 15 re: the Peace Navy.

Thanks for any help you can offer.

Toby Blomé




I've Been Away Now for a Full Year
By Rasmea Odeh

Today is the one-year anniversary of my deportation, and I miss you all very much. I miss the colorfulness of my life with you, and the value that you added to it! My life now is as grey as everything else in Jordan, but it would be worse without the legacy of struggle that we built together. Our wonderful, strong relationships have deep roots that continue to grow, and these lovely memories accompany me every day, especially on the difficult ones.

This summer was busy and full, despite the fact that I did not have a regular work schedule. When people ask me how my day looks, I do not have an answer! Each day is different than the previous one, and it is extremely difficult to retain my commitment to order. I have never lived a life of such spontaneity. Others cannot understand this! To release this pressure, I go to the gym at least twice a week. Caring for my health and body reenergizes me!
Jordan links Palestine with all the other countries in the region, which causes a buzz here, especially during the summer, so on many days, I received visitors who were in transit to or from Palestine, as well as many from the U.S.

Some of these were already in my schedule, but I enjoyed offering space to those who were not, especially the young people, the oxygen of life and the instrument of change! I am eager to communicate with them and give them some of my time. (Coincidentally, I will be hanging out with two wonderful young Palestinian women from the U.S. today!)

Additionally, I am attempting to build a wide network of relationships with different segments of the citizenry, and restoring connections with old friends. Building and maintaining these relationships takes time and continuous effort, while I also keep up my activism through my travels and my writing.

My dear friends and supporters, I have already told you that you are my chosen family. This is not meant as a courtesy; it is a fact. You are an inseparable part of me—the blood that ran through my veins and the oxygen that kept me alive while the U.S. government tried to suffocate me! You embraced me and stood by my side at the toughest of times.

I spent more time with you than with my family. We combined joy with sadness, laughter and cheer with crying, precautions with courage, marches and demonstrations with strategic planning—all on the path to freedom, justice, and equality!

Lately, I have been pausing to recall the memories, both sweet and bitter, of my case, which persist in my heart and soul. They mean so much to me. I continue to follow your struggle in the U.S., as you, no doubt, follow my Palestinian people's struggle here in the Arab World; and I continue to see the blossoming of our collective uprising against racism, exploitation, and injustice in the U.S., Palestine, and all across the world!

Our challenges are difficult, but we must elevate our will to struggle, and our determination to succeed, so that our tree of resistance is better able to withstand the storms that we face these days!

Before I close, I want to let you know that you are all, as individuals and collectively, valued treasures in my life; you are like bright full moons illuminating my darkest nights in the desert!
The power of your support flows in me despite my exile and deportation. I know that we will continue to make new memories together while accomplishing the goal of making life better for us all. I met you along my Palestinian life's journey on the path of social, political and national resistance, and you have helped me appreciate and value it.

Our future will be full of sunshine, happiness, and love. We will draw strength from each other, because "that which does not kill me will strengthen me," and I add, "…will also provide me with courage, confidence, and steadfastness.

Even with the pain that was inflicted on me by the unjust deportation that turned my life upside down and forced me to re-arrange my entire life, I will never be discouraged or disillusioned! As I have already said so many times, I will continue my organizing wherever I land!

And so on this occasion, I want to repeat a piece of the poem I read in Arabic at my farewell event last year:

لن أدع الابعاد يكسرني
 ولا المسافات تعزلني
دروس الثورة علمتني
بأن حبوب القمح
إذا جفت
تملأ سنابلها الوديان

I will not let the deportation break me

Nor distance isolate me

The lessons of the revolution taught me

That if wheat grain dries

It fills the valleys with stalks

I miss and love you all very much.

Rasmea Odeh

September 19, 2018

Donate to Support USPCN

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GIVE ONLINE by clicking on the "Donate" button at the top right hand panel of this page!


Checks are also appreciated, and should be made out to the "WESPAC Foundation" (with "USPCN" in the memo line) and mailed to the following address:
WESPAC Foundation
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Thank you for your support!



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 and 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




[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! 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.



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: 
    Kamilah Iddeen (717) 379-9009, 
    Rachel Wolkenstein (917) 689-4009, 


    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) Billionaire's Fight to Close Path to a California Beach Comes to a Dead End
    The Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal by Vinod Khosla, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist whose belief in property rights outweighed his affinity for a state access law.
    By Nellie Bowles, October 1, 2018

    "If I were to ever win in the Supreme Court, I'd be depressed about it," Vinod Khosla has said.

    SAN FRANCISCO — It was a happy day for the Silicon Valley venture capitalist Vinod Khosla: He lost his battle.
    On Monday, the United States Supreme Court refused to hear Mr. Khosla's appeal to overturn a ruling that the beach access path cutting through a coastal village he owns near Half Moon Bay, Calif., must stay open. 
    Now Mr. Khosla, a billionaire who founded Sun Microsystems and helped lay the foundations of the consumer internet, has to apply for a permit to close the narrow road down to a popular surfing spot known as Martin's Beach. That's it. 
    But over nearly a decade in the courts, the battle became deeply symbolic to Mr. Khosla, who has said he was fighting on principle to stop a violation of property rights. So why was he likely to be happy he lost? He has said he never wanted to win.

    As the case wound its way up to the Supreme Court, it threatened to gut California's Coastal Act of 1976, which enshrines public access to beaches as a right.
    "If I were to ever win in the Supreme Court, I'd be depressed about it," he told The New York Times this year. "I support the Coastal Act; I don't want to weaken it by winning. But property rights are even more important."
    The situation began shortly after 2008 when Mr. Khosla bought a 53-acre hillside on the Northern California coast. It had about 47 cottages on it and was known as Martin's Beach. While the previous owners had largely left the gate to the beach open and charged for parking, Mr. Khosla decided not to do the same. He tried to close the road, immediately sparking a controversy.
    Over the years, the battle grew increasingly contentious. At one point, Mr. Khosla, who owns the land through a holding company, hired guards to stand at the top of the road. In 2012, five surfers were arrested and became known as the Martin's Five. 
    The Surfrider Foundation, which led the fight to keep the road open, hailed the Supreme Court's decision as one that saves the coast from being slowly privatized by wealthy landowners.

    "Whether you have to drive an hour to the coast and picnic or whether you can spend $32 million and buy property adjacent to the coast, the beach belongs to everybody," said Eric Buescher, an attorney working on the case for the Surfrider Foundation. "The Coastal Act survives the whims of a billionaire and continues to protect the people of California."
    If the Supreme Court had heard the case and ultimately ruled in favor of Mr. Khosla, the ruling could have not only reshaped the laws that govern 1,100 miles of California shoreline but also affected public access to beaches, lakes and waterways in 22 states, according to the Surfrider Foundation. 
    "This case reaffirms that you cannot make a unilateral decision to shut down a beach that has provided generations of families with memories," Lisa Haage, chief of enforcement at the California Coastal Commission, said in a statement.
    For Mr. Khosla, this means the state is forcing him to keep open a money-losing business. The beach, he had argued, is not as popular as it used to be, and charging for parking no longer covers the cost of an attendant and maintenance of public facilities. 
    "No owner of private business should be forced to obtain a permit from the government before deciding who it wants to invite onto its property," Mr. Khosla's lawyer Dori Yob Kilmer said in a statement. "No business owner should be forced to obtain a permit from the government to shut down a private business, to change prices from those that existed in 1972 (as the state has demanded) or to change hours of operation."
    The Supreme Court's action on Monday ends this peculiar saga, which has captivated Silicon Valley. 
    Well, it may end it. Mr. Khosla, who referred questions to Ms. Kilmer, must now apply for that permit to close the road to Martin's Beach. 
    "If denied," Ms. Kilmer said, "we will start this process over again."


    2) Donald Trump and the Self-Made Sham
    Now let's see your tax returns, Mr. President.
    By The Editorial Board, October 2, 2018

    "I built what I built myself."
    This boast has long been at the core of the mythology of Donald Trump, Self-Made Billionaire. As the oft-told story goes, young Mr. Trump accepted a modest $1 million loan from his father, Fred, a moderately successful real estate developer from Queens, and — through smarts, hard work and sheer force of will — parlayed that loan into a multibillion-dollar global empire.
    It's a classic American tale of ambition and self-determination. Not Horatio Alger, exactly, but appealing, and impressive, nonetheless.
    Except that, like so much of what Mr. Trump has been selling the American public in recent years, this origin story was a sham — a version of reality so elaborately embellished that it qualifies as fan fiction more than biography. Also, as we've come to expect from Mr. Trump, the creation of this myth involved a big dose of ethically sketchy, possibly even illegal activity.
    As an in-depth investigation by The Times has revealed, Mr. Trump is only self-made if you don't count the massive financial rewards he received from his father's business beginning as a toddler. (By age 3, little Donald was reportedly pulling in an annual income of what today would be $200,000 a year.) These benefits included not only the usual perks of hailing from a rich, well-connected family — the connections, the access to credit, the built-in safety net. For the Trumps, it also involved direct cash gifts and tens of millions in "loans" that never charged interest or had to be repaid. Fred Trump even purchased several properties and business ventures, putting ownership either fully or partly in the names of his children, who reaped the profits.

    As Donald Trump emerged as the favorite son, Fred made special deals and arrangements to increase Donald's fortunes in particular. The Times found that, before Donald had turned 30, he had received close to $9 million from his father. Over the longer haul, he received upward of what, in today's dollars, would be $413 million.
    Along the way, it seems that certain liberties were taken with tax laws. The Times found that concocting elaborate schemes to avoid paying taxes on their father's estate, including greatly understating the value of the family business, became an important pastime for Fred's children, with Donald taking an active role in the effort. According to tax experts, the activities in question show a pattern of deception, a deliberate muddying of the financial waters. Asked for comment on The Times's findings, a lawyer for the president provided a written statement denying any wrongdoing and asserting that, in fact, Mr. Trump had little to do with the dizzying transactions involving his family's wealth.
    Everyone can understand the impulse to polish one's background in order to make a good impression. For Mr. Trump, whose entire life has been about branding and selling a certain type of gaudy glamour, this image-polishing has been all the more vital to his success. And he has pursued it with a shameless, at times giddy, abandon.
    Veterans of New York news media still laugh to recall how Mr. Trump would call them up, pretending to be a publicist named John Barron, or sometimes John Miller, in order to regale them with tales of Mr. Trump's glamorous personal life — how many models he was dating, which actresses were pursuing him, which celebrities he was hanging out with. As gross and tacky and bizarre as this all seemed, it was aimed squarely at fostering the image of Donald Trump as a master of the universe who, as the cliché goes, women wanted and men wanted to be.

    This mythos was burnished and expanded by Mr. Trump's years on "The Apprentice," where he played the role of an all-powerful, all-knowing business god who could make or break the fortunes of those who clamored for his favor. Occasionally he could be harsh or even insulting, but it was always in the context of delivering the tough love that the contestants so needed to hear. And who was more qualified to deliver those lessons than Donald Trump? As with all reality TV, it was total bunk. But it promoted precisely the golden image that Mr. Trump — with a multimillion-dollar assist from his father — had carefully cultivated for his entire life.

    With this glimpse into the inner workings of the Trump family finances, some of the grimier, ethically suspect aspects of Mr. Trump's mythmaking begin to emerge — and with them, many questions about all that we still do not know about the man and his business empire. Seeing as how that empire and his role in building it are so central to who Mr. Trump claims to be — the defining feature of his heroic narrative — the American public has a right to some answers. For starters, now would be an excellent time for Mr. Trump to hand over those tax returns on which he has thus far kept a death grip.
    In his 1987 memoir "The Art of the Deal," Mr. Trump famously offered his take on the origins of his success: "I play to people's fantasies. People may not always think big themselves, but they can still get very excited by those who do. That's why a little hyperbole never hurts. People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular. I call it truthful hyperbole. It's an innocent form of exaggeration — and a very effective form of promotion."
    But increasingly, Mr. Trump's willingness to bend the truth — and the rules — in the service of his myth looks less like innocent exaggeration than malicious deception, with a dollop of corruption tossed in for good measure. It's not the golden, glittering success story he has been peddling. It's shaping up to be something far darker.


    3)  A Bad Move That Could End Up Exposing Kids to Chemicals
    By Phillip J. Landrigan and Lynn R. Goldman, October 2, 2018

    Last week, the leadership of the Environmental Protection Agency took aim at its own Office of Children's Health Protection by placing its director, Dr. Ruth Etzel, a distinguished pediatrician and epidemiologist, on "administrative leave."
    At first glance, the action might look like mere bureaucratic shuffling, though the agency, while saying she was not facing disciplinary action, offered no explanation for the move. 
    But we worry that it signals one of two actions: closing the office, which has argued for tougher regulations on industrial pollutants, or minimizing its role in rule-making. For its part, the E.P.A. says children's health programs are not in jeopardy. But there is no question that if Dr. Etzel is pushed aside, the chemical industry will benefit and America's children will be harmed. 
    In 1993, the National Academy of Sciences reported that children and especially infants in the womb are profoundly different from adults in how they are harmed by exposure to pesticides and other chemicals. The academy's Committee on Pesticides in the Diets of Infants and Children, of which one of us (Dr. Landrigan) was chairman, concluded that children are not merely little adults. They are uniquely sensitive and keeping them healthy requires special protections.

    Exposure to even low levels of toxic chemicals during pregnancy and in the first years after birth can damage children's brains and other developing organs, leading to increased risk of learning disabilities, A.D.H.D., dyslexia, autism and breathing and reproductive problems. Laws and regulations aimed at protecting adult health do not protect children. The academy committee urged that federal pesticide law be fundamentally restructured to shield infants in the womb and young children from chemical harm.
    Since then, Congress has passed two laws that contain explicit provisions protecting children's health. One of them, the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996, directed the E.P.A. to impose a child-protective safety benchmark in setting standards for pesticides used on food crops, a requirement that has reduced pesticide applications and led to the banning of several highly toxic chemicals.
    The safeguards for children's health embedded in these laws are much needed in the United States today. Air pollution remains a problem and will worsen if the Trump administration succeeds in increasing coal combustion and relaxing vehicle emission standards. More than 80,000 chemicals are being used in food packaging, clothing, building materials, furniture, carpets, cleaning products, cosmetics, toys and baby bottles. They are also widespread in the environment. Among children aged 1 to 5, for instance, some 500,000 are estimated to have elevated levels of lead in their blood.
    Exposure to chemicals is linked to a wide array of pediatric diseases. Lead and mercury can cause brain damage with loss of intelligence. Polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, are linked to reductions in children's intelligence and alterations in behavior. Baby boys exposed in the womb to phthalates, a chemical used in plastics, are at risk of birth defects in their reproductive organs and behavioral abnormalities. Prenatal exposure to brominated flame retardants, used in electronics and furniture, is linked to I.Q. reduction and shortening of attention span.
    Prenatal exposure to the insecticide chlorpyrifos is associated with reduced head circumference at birth, developmental delays and cognitive impairments. The regulatory story of this chemical is particularly instructive about the E.P.A. under President Trump. Last year, Scott Pruitt, the agency's administrator at the time, declined to remove chlorpyrifos from the market despite the recommendation of the agency's own scientists, based on health studies that suggested it was harming children. In August, a federal appeals court ordered the agency to ban the chemical.

    To shield children from these hazards, the E.P.A. formed the Office of Children's Health Protection in 1997, a year after passage of the Food Quality Protection Act. For more than two decades this office has played an outsize role in safeguarding children's health. It has worked with teachers and school boards to improve air quality in schools. It helped push the E.P.A. to strengthen risk assessments for carcinogens. It educates pediatricians, obstetricians and parents about how to reduce infants' chemical exposure. 
    It has also insisted that the E.P.A.'s plan for enforcing the 2016 Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act protect children's health. That law requires, among its other mandates, a risk-based review of all chemicals in commerce. In recent months, the office has played a critical role in trying to protect children from atmospheric mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants as the Trump administration reconsiders an Obama-era rule regulating those discharges. 
    The Office of Children's Health Protection plays a vital role in safeguarding America's children — born and unborn — against toxic environmental hazards. It is a small but highly effective program that protects the health of all Americans by protecting the most vulnerable among us. Dismantling it could do irreparable harm.
    Philip J. Landrigan is the director of the Global Public Health Initiative at Boston College. Lynn R. Goldman is the dean of the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University and a former assistant administrator at the E.P.A. for toxic substances.


    4) 'Better to Drown': A Greek Refugee Camp's Epidemic of Misery
    By Patrick Kingsley, October 2, 2018

    Refugees from Afghanistan at a makeshift camp outside Moria, in Lesbos, Greece. Moria has become the most visible symbol of the hard-line stance European countries have taken on migrants since 2016.

    MORIA, Greece — He survived torture in Congo, and a perilous boat journey from Turkey. But Michael Tamba, a former Congolese political prisoner, came closest to death only after he had supposedly found sanctuary at Europe's biggest refugee camp.
    Stuck for months at the camp on the Greek island of Lesbos, Mr. Tamba, 31, tried to end his life by drinking a bottle of bleach. The trigger: Camp Moriaitself.
    "Eleven months in Moria, Moria, Moria," said Mr. Tamba, who survived after being rushed to hospital. "It's very traumatic."
    Mr. Tamba's experience has become a common one at Moria, a camp of around 9,000 people living in a space designed for just 3,100, where squalid conditions and an inscrutable asylum process have led to what aid groups describe as a mental health crisis.

    The overcrowding is so extreme that asylum seekers spend as much as 12 hours a day waiting in line for food that is sometimes moldy. Last week, there were about 80 people for each shower, and around 70 per toilet, with aid workers complaining about raw sewage leaking into tents where children are living. Sexual assaults, knife attacks and suicide attempts are common.
    The conditions have fueled accusations that the camp has been left to fester in order to deter migration and that European Union funds provided to help Greece deal with asylum seekers are being misused. In late September, the European Union's anti-fraud agency announced an investigation.
    At the height of the European migrant crisis in 2015, Moria was merely a way station as tens of thousands of asylum seekers — many fleeing wars in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan — poured through the region on their way to northern Europe. Then, the numbers were so great, the migrants were effectively waved through.
    Gradually, European Union countries tried to gain control over the situation by closing internal borders and building camps at the bloc's periphery in places like Lesbos, where so many of the refugees arrived. Now they are stuck here.

    Today, Moria is the most visible symbol of the hardening European stance toward migrants — one that has drastically reduced unauthorized migration, but at what critics see as a deep moral and humanitarian cost.
    Rulam Heidari, 35, from Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan, with his eight-month-old daughter, Firish, at their makeshift tent.
    Afghan migrants among the makeshift tents just outside Moria. Designed for 3,100 people, the camp's population has swelled to 9,000. Many live under tarpaulins beyond its fences.

    Outside Europe, the European Union has courted authoritarian governments in TurkeySudan and Egypt, while Italy has negotiated with warlords in Libya, in a successful effort to stem the flow of migrants toward the Mediterranean.
    Inside Europe itself, those who still make it to the Greek islands — about 23,000 have arrived this year, down from 850,000 in 2015 — must now stay at camps like Moria until their cases are settled. It can take as long as two years before the asylum seekers are either sent home or move on.
    "I have been in some pretty horrendous camps and situations," said Louise Roland-Gosselin, who is head of mission in Greece for Doctors Without Borders and spent five years in crisis zones in Congo and South Sudan. "I have to say that Moria is the camp in which I've seen the highest level of suffering."
    The group's lead psychiatrist on Lesbos, Alessandro Barberio, said he had never seen such overwhelming numbers of severe mental health cases. Of the roughly 120 people his team has the capacity to treat, the vast majority have been prescribed anti-psychotic medication.
    "Moria has become a trigger for an acute expression of psychosis and post-traumatic stress disorder," Dr. Barberio said.

    The International Rescue Committee, an aid group with a smaller presence on the island, said that just under a third of the 126 people its psychosocial workers have assessed at Moria since March have attempted suicide.
    The majority of the camp's residents are Syrian, Iraqi and Afghan refugees, many of whom have suffered wartime traumas that are then exacerbated by the overcrowded and static conditions, which fuel their despair.

    As in Mr. Tamba's case, few suicide attempts result in death, conditions being so crowded that they are usually discovered quickly, aid workers say. But the damage can be lasting — Mr. Tamba's attempt scarred his stomach, which still pains him.
    After finally being identified as a vulnerable case, Mr. Tamba, who was said he was arrested at a political protest in Congo, has been allowed to move to another camp on the Greek mainland. But conditions there are not much better, and Mr. Tamba worries whether he will be able to access medication now that he has been moved.
    The Greek government says it plans to move a third of residents to the mainland in the coming weeks. The camp's population in September was so large that many were living under tarpaulins on a windswept spillover site beyond its fences.

    Since 2015, the camp has often relied on smaller overflow encampments, but in five visits over the past three years, I had never seen the spillover extend so far.

    Rahmuddin Ashrafi, an Afghan farmer, arrived here in June with his wife, Sohaela, and their three small children. In Afghanistan, Mr. Ashrafi, 34, said their house and land were destroyed in fighting between the Taliban and the Afghan army. At Moria, the five of them now share a small two-person tent.
    The family's typical day begins at 4 a.m., when Mr. Ashrafi joins a line for water and bread that is usually served four hours later at 8 a.m. At around 9:30 a.m., he joins the line again for lunch, which tends to arrive after another four hours of waiting. Two hours later, he joins another four-hour line for dinner.

    On the days when he needs to line up for official paperwork, or to visit the doctor — his three-year-old daughter was recently hospitalized with appendicitis — he sometimes has to skip meals altogether, or rely on leftovers from other Afghans.
    "Before, I thought that Greece would be one of the best places to live," Mr. Ashrafi said. "Now I feel it would have been better to drown while crossing the sea."
    Few residents feel safe. In the privacy of his tent, a 25-year-old Iraqi student rolled up his sweatshirt to reveal a recent set of stab wounds. These were the result of an attack by other campers, he said, asking that his name not be published for fear of further reprisals.

    Sexual violence is also common. The International Rescue Committee has assessed over 70 people since March who have reported being sexually abused at the camp. Women say they are wary of walking alone through the camp at night.
    Compounding these issues, many residents feel trapped in an endlessly bureaucratic asylum application process that they do not fully understand.
    Mr. Ashrafi had to miss a scheduled interview because he had to take his daughter to the hospital. Now he must wait months for another appointment.

    Those arriving at the camp in the coming weeks can expect to wait until at least March for an interview, said Philip Worthington, managing director of European Lawyers in Lesvos, a legal aid group operating on the island.
    Should an applicant be rejected, there are currently no state-sponsored lawyers to assist them with their appeal, in contravention of both Greek and European law, Mr. Worthington said.

    There is growing acrimony — and now an investigation — over why the camp is so bad when so much money has been provided by the European Union to help improve the Greek asylum system since migration levels started to rise in 2014.
    The European Union has allocated nearly 1.62 billion euros — about $1.9 billion — to the Greek asylum effort over the past half-decade, of which €1.1 billion has already been paid out, according to data supplied to The New York Times by the bloc. Over 20 government departments and nongovernmental organizations have received European Union money, a piecemeal approach in which no institution has complete oversight over how the money is spent.
    A spokesman for the Greek migration ministry, Alexis Bouzis, denied any financial misuse on the part of the government, and attributed the situation to a small rise in migration flows over the summer, which led to a backlog.

    "No one could have predicted it," Mr. Bouzis said.
    Aid groups have been warning of a need for expanded facilities for several years, however. For some, the failure to improve the camp and hasten the asylum process suggests neglect on the part of the Greek government and the European Union departments that fund it.
    This perception was reinforced at a private meeting of Greek and European Union officials and aid workers on Sept. 4. According to two people present, a British official representing the European Commission, the bloc's civil service, suggested keeping living standards low at Moria in order to deter future migration to Greece.


    5) Chicago Police Officer Defends His Shooting of Laquan McDonald
    By Mitch Smith, October 2, 2018

    Jason Van Dyke, a Chicago police officer, testified during his murder trial for the shooting death of Laquan McDonald, 17. [Note: No photo of Laquan in this article who Van Dyke shot 16 times! —BW]

    CHICAGO — For two weeks, Jason Van Dyke sat silently in a courtroom here, watching as prosecutors played a video of him jumping out of his Chicago police cruiser and shooting Laquan McDonald, a black teenager, 16 times.
    On Tuesday, Officer Van Dyke spoke. Before jurors who will decide whether he is guilty of first-degree murder, he testified that Laquan waved a knife and angled it toward him, stared at him menacingly and tried to get up from the ground after being shot. The video showed none of that.
    The case — a rare murder prosecution of a Chicago police officer — may now rest on whether jurors believe the explanations Officer Van Dyke gave for the gaps between what he says happened and what the police video showed.
    "That video may not show it, but that wasn't from my perspective," Officer Van Dyke said when pressed by prosecutors about his decision to continue shooting after pausing briefly. "I was coming at it from a completely different angle."

    This trial is seen by many here as a referendum on whether police officers can ever be held accountable for taking a life. The death of Laquan, who was 17, led to upheaval at City Hall and within the Police Department over police conduct and officers' treatment of black residents. Rules for when officers can shoot were tightened. Activists have promised massive protests if Officer Van Dyke, who is white, is acquitted.
    But inside Courtroom 500, where this trial has been unfolding for weeks, the focus is on a period of only a few seconds, when Officer Van Dyke and Laquan's paths crossed on Pulaski Road on Oct. 20, 2014. Prosecutors say Officer Van Dyke acted unreasonably, repeatedly shooting the teenager when he posed no lethal threat and as he was veering away. Defense lawyers say Officer Van Dyke acted as he was trained to do when dealing with someone with a knife.
    "I just kept on looking at that knife and I shot at it," Officer Van Dyke said, referring to his second volley of gunfire, when Laquan had fallen to the street. "I just wanted him to get rid of that knife."
    Across the country, police officers are seldom charged for on-duty shootings and convicted even less. Lawyers advise many defendants against taking the stand in their own cases, but an officer's words can be seen as essential in a self-defense case, particularly if jurors are trying to reconcile a video of a shooting with what was running through the officer's mind at the time.
    "It is so often the case that they are the main witnesses in a case, sometimes the only witness," said David A. Harris, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law who studies police accountability.

    In many recent, high-profile prosecutions of police shootings, officers testified on their own behalf, though experts said the number of such cases is too low to draw many conclusions. The outcomes, too, have been mixed. Last year, police officers who testified in shooting trials in MinnesotaMissouri and Oklahoma were acquitted. Another officer in Wisconsin was acquitted without testifying. And this summer, an officer in Texas was convicted of murder after taking the witness stand.
    Often, police officers have used similar language on the witness stand to defend their actions. In the Minnesota case, Officer Jeronimo Yanez said he "had no choice" but to shoot at Philando Castile, a black motorist. In the Oklahoma case, in which an officer shot Terence Crutcher, an unarmed black man, Officer Betty Jo Shelby told jurors that she believed he had a gun. "I meet a gun with a gun," she said. And in Ohio, where two juries failed to reach a verdict in the fatal shooting of Samuel DuBose, Officer Ray Tensing said last year that he opened fire after "my police instinct kicked in."
    In the Chicago courtroom on Tuesday, Officer Van Dyke described hearing a colleague radio for help after a report of someone breaking into vehicles, and racing to the scene that evening in 2014. He said he became worried after learning that Laquan had popped the tire of a police cruiser, presumably with a three-inch folding knife he was carrying. When Officer Van Dyke arrived at the scene, he said Laquan's demeanor heightened his concern.
    "His face had no expression. His eyes were just bugging out of his head. He had just these huge white eyes just staring right through me," Officer Van Dyke said. "I was yelling at him, 'Drop the knife!'"
    The police dashboard camera video of the shooting did not capture audio of what took place, and the camera angle, from behind Laquan, did not show Laquan's facial expressions or the front of his body. Officer Van Dyke began shooting within seconds of pulling up to the scene, the video showed. About 10 other officers on the scene, some of whom had been following Laquan for several blocks, did not fire their guns.
    On cross-examination, prosecutors questioned Officer Van Dyke about why he did not wait for a colleague with a Taser to arrive, why he stepped toward Laquan as he was firing and why he said Laquan was approaching him when the video showed the teenager steering away, toward the other side of the street.
    "You didn't even have to get out of the car at that point, did you?" asked Jody Gleason, a prosecutor.

    "You could say I also didn't have to go to work that night," Officer Van Dyke snapped back.
    Officer Van Dyke, who is free on bond and on unpaid leave from the Police Department, has said little in public since he was charged in 2015. His testimony grew emotional at times; he dabbed his face and spoke of pride about not being involved in other shootings.
    The trial has featured dueling accounts of the shooting from experts and witnesses. Defense lawyers are expected to rest their case on Wednesday.
    Earlier in the trial, Officer Van Dyke's partner, Joseph Walsh, defended the shooting and acted out a dramatic scene for jurors that he said showed Laquan preparing to attack. The video showed no such movements.
    "He was, I believe, parallel to Officer Van Dyke at which time he raised his right arm, knife in hand, swung that up to shoulder level rounding his right shoulder," Mr. Walsh told jurors. Mr. Walsh is charged separately with lying on official reports about the shooting.
    Jose Torres, a bystander who parked nearby and saw the shooting, provided a far different account. He told jurors that Laquan was walking away when the gunshots started and that the gunfire continued for several seconds after the teenager collapsed on the road.
    "I said, 'Why the 'f' are they still shooting him when he's on the ground?'" Mr. Torres testified.

    Timothy Williams contributed reporting.


    6)  Homeland Security's Computers Couldn't Track Separated Families, Report Finds
    By Ron Nixon, October 2, 2018

    Migrant children at a tent encampment in Tornillo, Tex., in June. Some parents didn't understand that they would be separated from their children at the border, a report found.

    WASHINGTON — The Department of Homeland Security was so unprepared for the Trump administration's zero-tolerance immigration policy that its computer systems were unable to track family members separated at the Mexican border and the agency held migrant children in detention centers far longer than the law allowed, a report released on Tuesday found.
    Agency officials also gave inconsistent information to migrant parents arriving at the border, so some did not understand that they would be separated from their children, according to the report by the department's Office of Inspector General.
    The agency's problems in identifying, tracking and reuniting familiesstemmed from limits in its computer systems, the report said. For example, only one part of Customs and Border Protection, the Border Patrol, had systems that could send information about migrant children directly to Department of Health and Human Services computers.
    But the Office of Field Operations, another part of Customs and Border Protection, could not. Customs officers, who staff ports of entry, had to send their information to Health and Human Services in emails with Microsoft Word documents as attachments. (Under federal law, unaccompanied children may be held for no more than 72 hours before being transferred to the health agency's Office of Refugee Resettlement.)

    "Each step of this manual process is vulnerable to human error, increasing the risk that a child could be lost in the system," the auditors wrote.
    The report also concluded that a database said to be developed jointly by the homeland security and health departments to track the separated families did not exist. The agencies would later admit that there was no "direct electronic interface" between their computer systems.
    The Department of Homeland Security also detained migrant children far longer than the 72 hours allowed by law in facilities that were designed only for short-term detention.
    The report found that 564 children in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, for example, were kept in these facilities for longer than three days. In the El Paso area, 297 children were detained in the short-term facilities for more than 72 hours, according to the report.
    In an emailed statement, Katie Waldman, a spokeswoman for the department, said the inspector general's report illustrated the "difficulties in enforcing immigration laws that are broken and poorly written."

    Ms. Waldman also criticized the report for including steps the agency took to address migrants seeking asylum legally at ports with those caught by the Border Patrol trying to cross the border illegally. Asylum seekers who arrived at ports of entry were not subject to the zero-tolerance policy, she said.
    "This administration will no longer turn a blind eye to illegal immigration and will continue to refer illegal border crossers for prosecution," Ms. Waldman said.
    The report is the first after-action report issued by the watchdog office about the administration's so-called zero-tolerance policy, announced in April by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
    Under the policy, prosecutors from the Justice Department on the southwestern border were told to charge every illegal entry offense "to the extent practicable."
    A month later, Mr. Sessions announced that the Department of Homeland Security would refer "100 percent of illegal southwest border crossings" for criminal prosecution — a decision that led to the separation of families at the border.
    That decision set off weeks of protests, with Democrats and many Republicans calling on Mr. Trump to end the policy.
    Facing international condemnation, Mr. Trump signed an executive order in June ending the policy. Later that month, a federal court ordered the government to begin reunifying children with their families. Many of the children, some younger than 5, had been placed in detention centers thousands of miles from their parents.

    On Tuesday, Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, called on Kirstjen Nielsen, the homeland security secretary, to resign over what he said were misleading statements she made to Congress over the zero-tolerance policy.
    Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by two groups seeking greater government transparency — the Project on Government Oversight and Open the Government — suggest that Ms. Nielsen signed off on actions that led to children being separated from their families.
    But during a May 15 Senate hearing, Ms. Nielsen told Senator Kamala Harris, Democrat of California, "We do not have a policy to separate children from their parents."
    Mr. Durbin disputed that on Tuesday.
    "Secretary Nielsen signed off on this family separation policy, falsely claimed that the policy did not exist, and then callously failed to address the policy's tragic and inevitable fallout," Mr. Durbin said on Twitter. "In light of this devastating report, she should resign."
    Ms. Waldman, the homeland security spokeswoman, said the document cited by Mr. Durbin was taken out of context.
    "The oft-cited quote pulled from the April 23 memo simply states the premise that D.H.S. has the legal authority to take an action — however, it did not direct a policy of family separation for the purposes of deterrence," she said. "Conflating authority versus actual policy based on a redacted memo provides a disservice to the public and does not show the full picture of considerations presented to the secretary."


    7) F.D.A. Seizes Documents From Juul Headquarters
    By Jan Hoffman, October 2, 2018

    The F.D.A. inspection at Juul Labs's headquarters in San Francisco was a follow-up for a request of documents in April.

    The Food and Drug Administration conducted a surprise inspection of the headquarters of the e-cigarette maker Juul Labs last Friday, carting away more than a thousand documents it said were related to the company's sales and marketing practices.
    The move, announced on Tuesday, was seen as an attempt to ratchet up pressure on the company, which controls 72 percent of the e-cigarette market in the United States and whose products have become popular in high schools. The F.D.A. said it was particularly interested in whether Juul deliberately targeted minors as consumers.
    "The new and highly disturbing data we have on youth use demonstrates plainly that e-cigarettes are creating an epidemic of regular nicotine use among teens," the F.D.A. said in a statement. "It is vital that we take action to understand and address the particular appeal of, and ease of access to, these products among kids."
    F.D.A. officials described the surprise inspection as a follow-up to a request the agency made for Juul's research and marketing data in April. Kevin Burns, Juul's chief executive officer, said the company had already handed over more than 50,000 pages of internal documents to the F.D.A. in response to that request.

    "We want to be part of the solution in preventing underage use, and we believe it will take industry and regulators working together to restrict youth access," he said.
    In recent months, the F.D.A. has increasingly expressed alarm over the prevalence of vaping among youths in high school and even middle school, which its commissioner, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, said had reached "epidemic proportions."

    A high school student with a Juul e-cigarette in Cambridge, Mass. The F.D.A. is particularly concerned that Juul deliberately marketed to teenagers, who are also increasingly using vaping devices for marijuana use.

    The number of high-school students who used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days has risen roughly 75 percent since last year to about three million, according to preliminary unpublished data, confirmed by the F.D.A. Dr. Gottlieb has repeatedly noted that the candy-like names and flavors of many vaping liquids seem intended to attract younger users.
    A RAND Corporation study of 2,039 Californians from ages 16 to 20 beginning in 2015 through 2017, released Tuesday, offered new evidence for concern about teenage vaping. Published in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research, the report said that as teenagers who used e-cigarettes grew older, many began smoking traditional cigarettes, which are more dangerous, as well.

    By the end of the study period, over half of e-cigarette users were also smoking cigarettes.
    In another report released on Tuesday and published in the journal JAMA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highlighted the dominance of Juul in the e-cigarette market. The C.D.C. noted that Juul Labs' sales soared from 2.2 million devices in 2016 to 16.2 million devices last year. The C.D.C.'s figures only included those from retail stores, not the internet, which is also a major source of sales.
    Other recent studies have also pointed out that teenagers are increasingly using vaping devices for marijuana consumption.
    Many adult consumers of e-cigarettes say the devices have helped them move away from smoking traditional cigarettes, or quit entirely. But a growing number of teenagers who have never smoked are also turning to e-cigarettes, believing that they are relatively harmless products.
    But though e-cigarettes do not have the carcinogens that come from burning tobacco, they, especially Juul, can have strong concentrations of nicotine, which is highly addictive, and detrimental to the developing adolescent brain.
    In September the F.D.A. announced a flurry of fines and warning letters that it had sent to convenience stores for selling e-cigarettes to underaged customers. (It is illegal to sell the devices to anyone under 18.) The agency said it would also go after online sales, pointing out that bulk purchases were possible red-light indicators that a buyer might then resell devices to minors.
    The agency has given Juul and four other e-cigarette manufacturers a 60-day deadline to produce plans showing how they will limit access to teenagers. Recently, it started its own multimillion-dollar campaign of posters for high school bathrooms and public service announcements on popular websites to warn teens of the dangers of vaping nicotine.


    8) What's Housework Worth? $1.6 Trillion a Year in U.K., Officials Calculate
    By Ceylan Yeginsu, October 4, 2018
    "The overall total is greater than the combined output of Britain's retail and manufacturing companies, and amounts to an average of nearly £19,000 of unpaid work by each person in Britain, whether otherwise employed or not."

    According to new figures, unpaid domestic labor such as cooking, cleaning, laundry and child care is worth more than the combined output of Britain's retail and manufacturing companies.

    LONDON — Household chores like washing dishes and taking care of children have long been undervalued, feminists and others argue.
    But an official study in Britain has put a price on such unpaid contributions to society: 1.2 trillion pounds a year, about $1.6 trillion.
    The findings, published on Tuesday by the British Office for National Statistics, are likely to bring a grim smile to parents who accuse their children of using them as a free taxi, with transport services — shuttling children back and forth, for example — representing the largest slice of unpaid household work, at £358 billion.
    That was followed by child care, at £352 billion. Nutritional services — cooking and serving food — were valued at £158 billion, with laundry set at £89 billion.

    The overall total is greater than the combined output of Britain's retail and manufacturing companies, and amounts to an average of nearly £19,000 of unpaid work by each person in Britain, whether otherwise employed or not.

    In reality, however, the value is not so evenly spread. A previous official study found that women shouldered most of the burden of unpaid work in Britain, doing proportionally more than twice as much cooking, child care and laundry as men. Transport, including driving to work, was the only area where men put in more unpaid working hours than women.
    "Women are at a clear disadvantage by the unfair burden of the amount of household work they are expected to do," said Alexandra Holt, a volunteer researcher for the Fawcett Society, a women's rights charity.
    "While it's useful to have these figures available to us, nothing will change before we fix the ingrained perception in society that equates femininity with domesticity," Ms. Holt added.
    The fair valuation and distribution of domestic work has long been a subject of debate, sometimes in the form of a demand for wages for houseworkCampaigners in Italy and in India have called for women who work in the home to be paid a salary.

    The aim of the study, which covers 2016 and is based on information gleaned from a range of national surveys, statistics and census information, is to supplement the gross domestic product to fully capture the true size and shape of the British economy and the population's living standards, the agency said.
    "Our headline measures of the economy focus on paid-for activity, such as when someone employs a childminder or uses a travel agent," Richard Tonkin, the statistics office's head of income and wealth, said in an email.
    "To give a complete picture of the U.K. economy and society, we publish these additional numbers to estimate the value of activity where there is no payment involved," he added.
    According to the agency's studies, the value of unpaid household work in Britain has increased by 80 percent since 2005.
    The statistics also show that 2.2 million vulnerable adults were being cared for without charge in 2016, equating to the work of more than four million adult social workers working every week of the year.
    Vulnerable adults in Britain are becoming increasingly dependent on their families and volunteers for care, with adult social services in many parts of the country under huge pressure from budget cuts and the rising costs of meeting complex needs.
    "The overall value of unpaid adult care is increasingly being driven by those requiring around-the-clock, full-time care, with continuous care hours accounting for 86.9 percent of total adult care hours in 2005 and 89.7 percent of adult care hours in 2016," the statistics office said in a statement.


    9) Connie Chung, in Washington Post Op-Ed, Reveals Her Own Sexual Assault
    By Niraj Chokshi, October 3, 2018

    In an opinion piece published by The Washington Post, the veteran TV news anchor Connie Chung wrote that she was sexually assaulted by her family doctor five decades ago.

    Connie Chung, the longtime television news anchor, said on Wednesday that she was sexually assaulted about 50 years ago, lending yet another high-profile voice of support to Christine Blasey Ford.
    In an opinion piece in The Washington Post, written as a letter to Dr. Blasey, Ms. Chung said that she was in college when she was assaulted by the very physician who delivered her in 1946.
    "I, too, was sexually assaulted — not 36 years ago but about 50 years ago," Ms. Chung, who has worked for all three major broadcast news networks, CNN and MSNBC, wrote. "I have kept my dirty little secret to myself. Silence for five decades."
    In the piece, Ms. Chung said that she was still a virgin at the time and had visited the doctor, whom she did not name, to inquire about contraception. He assaulted her during a gynecological examination, she said.

    In sharing her story, Ms. Chung joined a growing chorus of women to come forward with stories of assault since Dr. Blasey last month publicly accused Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, of assaulting her at a high school party decades ago.
    The women who have revealed stories of assault include Patti Davis, the author and daughter of President Ronald Reagan, and Padma Lakshmi, the television host and A.C.L.U. ambassador for immigration and women's rights.
    Ms. Davis said in a Washington Post opinion piece that she was assaulted about four decades ago, while Ms. Lakshmi wrote in an opinion piece for The New York Times that she was raped about three decades ago.
    Ms. Chung, Ms. Davis and Ms. Lakshmi did not name their attackers, but each cited Dr. Blasey's story and each said that she had long kept her story to herself.
    Experts say that isn't uncommon: Women can take years to come forwardfor a variety of reasons, such as fear of being doubted or not wanting to suffer the emotional toll of pursuing charges.

    After President Trump questioned why Dr. Blasey did not report her assault when it happened, many women rallied around a new social media hashtag, #WhyIDidntReport, to highlight the difficulties, fear, anger and shame they themselves faced after being harassed or assaulted.
    It also isn't uncommon for women to struggle to remember some details of their assault, a reality that is often used against them, as was the case with Dr. Blasey.
    On Tuesday night, President Trump did just that, criticizing her before a crowd of thousands and derisively parodying the testimony she gave before a Senate committee last week: "How did you get home? I don't remember. How'd you get there? I don't remember. Where is the place? I don't remember. How many years ago was it? I don't know. I don't know. I don't know. I don't know," he said to applause.
    In the piece published on Wednesday, Ms. Chung said that she, too, did not remember all of the details of her assault.
    "I am writing to you because I know that exact dates, exact years are insignificant," she wrote. "We remember exactly what happened to us and who did it to us. We remember the truth forever. Bravo, Christine, for telling the truth."


    10)  A White Officer Shot a Black Teenager 4 Years Ago. A Changed Chicago Awaits a Verdict.
    By Mitch Smith, Timothy Williams and Monica Davey, October 4, 2018

    Protesters prepared to march on Thursday.

    CHICAGO — Three years ago, grainy video of a white police officer shooting a black teenager 16 times upended this city. The police superintendent was forced out, the prosecutor lost her election, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel has since announced he is not seeking re-election. Chicagoans were furious and a Justice Department investigation confirmed their anger, finding far-reaching failures by the police, including rampant excessive force aimed at African-Americans and Latinos.
    Now Chicago is awaiting a final chapter.
    A jury, which began its second day of deliberations on Friday, must decide whether the police officer in the video, Jason Van Dyke, is guilty of murdering the teenager, Laquan McDonald. As closing arguments were made Thursday on the fifth floor of a county courthouse southwest of downtown, the case had become a proxy for longstanding questions about police accountability. It has been nearly 50 years since a Chicago police officer was convicted of murder in an on-duty shooting, and the trial deliberations were being watched closely.
    Public school officials encouraged teachers to discuss the case with their students, offering possible topics like “What does the trial and its outcome mean for Chicago?” Ministers and activists met to plan demonstrations in case Officer Van Dyke is not convicted.
    Barricades were in place outside the courthouse, police officers were asked to work 12-hour shifts and cancel their days off, and City Hall officials said they had developed a 150-page action plan for every city agency in preparation for a possible public response to a verdict.
    In some neighborhoods, a handful of yard signs read, “Praying For Our City #Justice4Laquan.” And at least one city alderman, Derrick G. Curtis, issued a “Special Alert” on Facebook, noting that a verdict could come soon, and urging residents to “help me keep our neighborhood safe.”
    “There’s a real sense of anxiety when it comes to this case and what it says about relations between the police and residents,” said the Rev. Michael Pfleger, a Roman Catholic priest who leads a South Side parish. “There’s a segment of people who have almost completely given up their hope and belief in the system, and if nothing happens to the officer this time? There’s a whole lot of folks that are going to say, ‘That’s my last chance of trying to believe in justice.’ It’ll set the relationship back decades.”
    At the center of the case are two people whose lives intersected for only seconds along a road on the Southwest Side on Oct. 20, 2014: Officer Van Dyke, 40, who joined the department 17 years ago and was described by a fellow officer as “your average Chicago police officer,” and Laquan, who had recently turned 17 and had struggled, spending time in foster care and juvenile detention and wrestling with the death of a great-grandmother who helped raise him.
    After a truck driver reported someone breaking into vehicles in a parking lot that evening, police officers followed Laquan, who was carrying a three-inch pocketknife and refused to stop when they told him to. The pursuit — Laquan walking down the street and officers on foot and in squad cars behind him — ended when Officer Van Dyke arrived in a car, stepped out and shot him repeatedly, even as his body was crumpled on the street.
    The shooting came during a national conversation over the treatment of young black men by white police; only a few months before, a white officer shot and killed Michael Brown, 18, in Ferguson, Mo. Still, Laquan’s death initially drew little public notice and only a few mentions in local news media. Early reports from the police suggested that Laquan had lunged toward Officer Van Dyke with his knife, and some officers backed up that story in reports they filed.
    What Chicagoans did not know at the time was that a video camera on the dashboard of a police car had captured the whole thing. The city waited 13 months to release the video, and then only after a judge ordered it.
    The video immediately set off protests, accusations of a broad cover-up and demands for change. The video did not match what the police said had happened; it showed Laquan continuing to walk along, away from a growing group of officers when Officer Van Dyke shot him. Officer Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder, though the charges were not filed until hours before the video was to be made public.
    “That video opened a lot of people’s eyes,” said the Rev. Ira Acree, a West Side minister. “There were people who really didn’t know how bad it was out here, how corrupt it was, until that.”
    Over three weeks of testimony in Officer Van Dyke’s trial, prosecutors have said that the shooting never needed to happen, and have focused their case mainly on the video. Jurors have been shown the video, over and over, on large screens. Another officer testified that he arrived less than a minute after Laquan was shot, carrying a Taser, which dispatchers had called for and which might have defused the situation. Prosecutors also told jurors this: Of 10 officers there that night, no one but Officer Van Dyke fired their gun.

    “It wasn’t the knife in Laquan’s hand that made the defendant kill him that night,” a prosecutor, Jody Gleason, said during closing arguments. “It was his indifference to the value of Laquan’s life.” She reminded jurors that Officer Van Dyke had acknowledged telling his partner, before they even arrived, that they would have to shoot the person who was being chased.
    For its part, Officer Van Dyke’s defense team showed jurors its own video. It used laser-based technology to create an animation that, the team said, depicted what the events would have looked like from Officer Van Dyke’s perspective. Taking the stand in his own defense, Officer Van Dyke testified, emotionally at times, that the dashboard camera video had not captured all that he could see that night. Laquan had a menacing look in his eye, the officer said, and angled the knife in his direction. Witnesses for the defense also spoke of Laquan’s behavior in the past, saying he had acted up while in juvenile detention and used drugs, though witnesses conceded that Officer Van Dyke did not know Laquan and would have known nothing about his background when he shot him.
    Calling Laquan “the author, the choreographer of this story,” Daniel Herbert, Officer Van Dyke’s defense lawyer, said that his client acted reasonably and lawfully when he opened fire.
    “Police are here to serve and protect,” he said. “They can’t retreat. They can’t run away like us.”
    As the jury began deliberations on Thursday afternoon, attention to the trial, which has been live-streamed on local news websites for days, has seemed mixed. Some people said the years it had taken to get to trial had made the issue fade some, and that they were only vaguely aware. Others, particularly in some of the South Side’s predominantly black neighborhoods, said they were closely following the proceedings. Chicago, which has long wrestled with segregation and gun violence, has roughly equal numbers of white, black and Hispanic residents.
    “Him getting off would just be almost a confirmation to a lot of people of color who feel like we are devalued here, we are discriminated against here,” said Asiaha Butler, a resident association leader in Englewood, a South Side neighborhood. “There’s so much racial bias here that no one wants to unpack and talk about.”
    Some residents said it was unfair that unflattering parts of Laquan’s past had been a focus of attention but Officer Van Dyke’s past had not. There were indications that Laquan’s life might have been steadying before he died: His mother was working to regain custody, and his school principal said he was “coming every day, joking and even giving hugs.” Records show that Officer Van Dyke had at least 18 citizen complaints, including allegations of racial slurs and excessive force. In each case, he denied wrongdoing and was not disciplined.
    Fallout from the video has forced changes in the Police Department, including new rules for use of force. But people in Englewood said little felt different.

    “They can say what they want, but there’s nothing different about the ways policemen act,” said Robert Butler, 38. “They still ride around here like they own it.”
    The trial has also been watched intently by another group: Chicago police officers. Leaders of the police union sat alongside Officer Van Dyke’s wife, Tiffany, in court, and some with ties to the Police Department have questioned the wisdom of prosecuting an officer for shooting an armed person. Officer Van Dyke, whom the city placed on unpaid leave after he was charged, has been working as a janitor at the police union.
    “A majority of police officers know that they could be Jason, and they’re watching it closely,” said Brian Warner, a former Chicago police officer who met Officer Van Dyke in a support group for officers involved in shootings. “It’s probably already slowed down others doing their job. Maybe they’re not being as proactive as they were.”
    Across the nation, even in the rare cases when an officer is charged in a fatal shooting, convictions can be elusive. Police officers have wide discretion to use deadly force, and juries and judges often give them the benefit of the doubt. Last year, officers were acquitted in deadly shootings in MilwaukeeSt. Louissuburban St. Paul and Tulsa, Okla.
    There are exceptions: A suburban Dallas police officer was sentenced to prison this summer for murder; a volunteer sheriff’s deputy in Oklahoma was convicted of manslaughter two years ago; and a New York City patrolman was found guilty of manslaughter in a 2014 shooting.
    Here, Mr. Acree said some people are waiting anxiously for the decision from the jury, which, some residents have noted with concern, includes only one black member. Other people have turned away entirely, Mr. Acree said, resigned to a sense that no police trial would ever end in conviction.
    “They’re just numb, and saying, ‘This is Chicago,’” Mr. Acree said. “It’s a tale of two cities. It is what it is.”


    11) As Afghanistan Frays, Blackwater Founder Erik Prince Is Everywhere
    By Mujib Mashal, October 4, 2018

    An American soldier overseeing the training of Afghan forces in Helmand Province in 2016.

    KABUL, Afghanistan — A new crop of senior American officials in Afghanistan has been racing to contain a dual crisis on the battlefield and in a potentially explosive election dispute. But it is a different American figure — the mercenary executive Erik D. Prince — who has been the talk of Kabul these days.
    More than a year after first laying out his plan to President Trump to privatize the American war in Afghanistan with a cadre of contractors — and a private air force — Mr. Prince, the founder of the Blackwater security firm that became infamous for killing civilians in Iraq, has seemingly been everywhere.
    And as he has made his sales pitch directly to a host of influential Afghans, he has frequently been introduced as an adviser to Mr. Trump himself.
    Mr. Prince is pushing his plan at a particularly vulnerable time for the country. Afghan security forces are dying at a record number of 30 to 40 a day largely in a defensive posture against a Taliban that has gained territory. The government is beset by repeated political crises as parliamentary elections, delayed for three years, are scheduled for this month. Presidential elections are set for April.
    Interviews with a half-dozen political figures who have met Mr. Prince in recent months — as well as an interview with Mr. Prince by The New York Times during his trip to Kabul in September — reveal an executive determined to sell a vision of how his contractors could offer an official military withdrawal from Afghanistan to a war-weary American public and president.
    Now, those officials say, he has increasingly found a receptive audience among Afghanistan’s power brokers, meeting everyone from lowly militia commanders, to former cabinet officials and entrenched regional strongmen, to several potential presidential candidates.
    What most of those Afghans have in common is a desire to see President Ashraf Ghani gone. And Mr. Prince’s lobbying circuit, including multiple visits to Kabul, Washington and the United Arab Emirates, has made him increasingly unwelcome with Mr. Ghani, who has rejected repeated requests to meet with Mr. Prince.
    Some in the government even tried to block Mr. Prince’s visa, according to Afghan officials and those close to Mr. Prince.
    Several officials close to Mr. Ghani say they see Mr. Prince’s plan not only as unviable amid a complex conflict and peace effort with the Taliban, but also as a politicized threat to the Afghan president himself before next year’s presidential election.
    And they say Mr. Ghani’s adamant opposition to a privatized security presence has made him an obstacle to Mr. Prince’s ambitions.
    In a speech on Monday, an angry Mr. Ghani aimed a barely veiled criticism at Mr. Prince and his plan.
    “Foreign mercenaries will never be allowed in this country,” he said.
    A statement by Mr. Ghani’s national security adviser on Thursday said the Afghan government would not allow fighting terrorism to become a “for-profit business.”
    “We will consider all legal options against those who try to privatize war on our land,” the statement said.
    Mr. Prince is positioning his pitch as a cheaper middle option between continuing a largely failed military strategy at an expensive annual tab of tens of billions of dollars, and a complete security withdrawal that some fear would abandon 17 years of costly Western efforts to remake Afghanistan.
    He contends that his proposal can achieve what more than 140,000 American and NATO troops at the heart of the troop surge in 2009 and 2010 could not. He compares the current mission, which is reduced to about 15,000 American troops supported on their bases by more than 20,000 private contractors, to the failures of the Soviet Union. (An American service member was killed on Thursday in Afghanistan, the United States military command here said without providing any details. It was the eighth death of an American soldier in the country this year.)
    In the interview, Mr. Prince laid out what he called a “rationalization” of private contracting already happening: a leaner mission of 6,000 private contractors providing “skeletal structure support” and training for Afghan forces. Small teams of Special Forces veterans embedded with Afghan battalions for about three years, he said, would ensure the continuity lacking now with American soldiers rotating out every year.
    They would be supported by air through a fleet of contracted aircraft flown by joint teams of Afghans and contractors. About 2,500 American Special Operations forces would remain in the country for counterterrorism missions. All of this, Mr. Prince said, would bring down the annual cost of the war to roughly a fifth of the current amount.
    He denied he was trying to influence the Afghan political process to achieve that vision. He said the only money he had spent on Afghanistan was the $1,500 production cost of a 10-minute video to explain his plan.
    “The Afghan people will have an election, and they will make the choices that they are going to live with,” Mr. Prince said. “But I will talk to whichever party in Afghanistan that wants to think about a different way to this that actually stops the bleeding.”
    Mr. Prince has also tied his proposal to an effort to exploit Afghanistan’s mineral wealth, including rare earth deposits — a favorite topic of Mr. Trump, who has complained that the United States does not gain enough resources from its war efforts.
    In one multimedia presentation that The Times has seen, Mr. Prince lists one of his goals as: “Develop and produce key rare earth minerals to restore U.S. high-tech manufacturing supply chain.” During his visits here in Afghanistan, he has also met with Afghan mining officials, which he has described as exploratory meetings.
    Mr. Prince’s former company, Blackwater, won hundreds of millions of dollars in United States military contracts, mainly in Iraq, before it was essentially blacklisted after the firm’s contractors massacred civilians in Baghdad in 2007.
    His business has since gone through several reincarnations. His latest venture, the Hong Kong-based Frontier Services Group, has contracts in Africa and Asia, and is backed by Citic Group, a large state-owned Chinese investment company.
    Mr. Prince’s initial push last year to privatize the Afghan war was quashed by two of the most senior members of Mr. Trump’s national security team: H.R. McMaster, the national security adviser at the time, and Jim Mattis, the defense secretary. They persuaded Mr. Trump to increase the number of troops and resources in Afghanistan.
    Mr. Prince now gauges the winds in Washington as shifting in his favor, with Mr. McMaster gone and Mr. Mattis often at odds with Mr. Trump.
    A spokesperson for the National Security Council, who was not authorized to speak publicly for attribution, said the administration was open to new approaches but was not reviewing a proposal from Mr. Prince.
    During some of the meetings in Afghanistan, Mr. Prince has been introduced as someone who has Mr. Trump’s ear, with his close relations to the president’s inner circle listed as a selling point.
    In the letter Mr. Prince sent to Mr. Ghani in spring 2017 seeking a meeting, he mentioned that his sister, Betsy Devos, was a member of Mr. Trump’s cabinet, one Afghan official said.
    Still, Mr. Prince’s actual plan for Afghanistan has many skeptics.
    “The idea that these contractor-soldiers embedded into Afghan units are only going to be ‘training’ is almost laughable,” said Laurel Miller, a senior foreign policy expert at RAND and a former top United States diplomat on Afghanistan and Pakistan.
    “And the idea that privatizing the war is going to save money is certainly laughable,” she continued. “If this idea didn’t promise to be a significant moneymaker, then those who stand to profit from it wouldn’t be pushing it so hard.”
    Ms. Miller said the proposal was based on an incorrect diagnosis for why the conflict is in a stalemate. Although there are problems of leadership and capability in the Afghan forces, the Taliban have proved they can sustain their insurgency against the application of much more force than Mr. Prince’s proposal would bring, she said.
    Changes to the tactics of training and advising would not convert the stalemate to a victory or an end to the war, she said.
    “If anything, bringing in foreign mercenaries would be likely to provide terrific recruiting slogans for the insurgents,” she added.
    That was a reference to how the Taliban have already made a propaganda point of the American occupation, and would most likely view a wave of American-backed mercenary forces as even more contemptible.
    Even many of the Afghan political leaders who see merit in elements of Mr. Prince’s proposal — including having trainers of Afghan forces embedded for longer periods, and establishing better air and medevac support accessible to Afghan commanders — express concern about the possibilities of a private security presence less accountable than the United States military.
    When pressed on what Mr. Prince’s proposal could look like in practice, many of the political figures gave the example of the C.I.A.-run Afghan strike forces that are active in several parts of the country. But those militias, backed by intelligence contractors, have repeatedly been accused of violence against civilians.
    Mr. Prince insists the greater danger is in an impatient American public forcing a complete withdrawal from Afghanistan and leaving a security vacuum.
    “Eventually America is going to grow tired,” he said. “At that point you are one suicide vest in a chow hall away from a mass casualty incident that kills a bunch of Americans and makes people say: ‘What the hell are we doing there? We have been doing this for 18, 19 years.’”

    Peter Baker contributed reporting from Washington.



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