Save the date! Wed., Feb. 6, 7:30 pm March 30 Spring Action Antiwar Coalition Meeting

Neibyl Proctor Library

6501 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland, CA



Six Boxes of Mumia Abu-Jamal's Files Found Hidden in DA Storage Room

Mumia Abu-Jamal


On January 3, 2019 the office of District Attorney Larry Krasner filed a letter memorandum to Judge Leon Tucker.  "DA [Larry Krasner], and members of his staff went to a remote and largely inaccessible of the DA's office marked "Storage" looking for office furniture." And found six boxes of files on Mumia Abu-Jamal's case that were not produced duringthe recent court proceedings.

The District Attorney Krasner's remarkable and suspicious discovery of six boxes of files marked Mumia or Mumia Abu-Jamal hidden in a storage room on December 28 was one day after Judge Tucker's historic decision granting Mumia Abu-Jamal new rights of appeal.

This is confirmation of what we've known for decades--the prosecution has hidden exculpatory evidence in Mumia's case.  Evidence that is likely proof that Mumia's guilt was intentionally manufactured by the police and prosecution and the truth of his innocence suppressed.

These files should be released to the public. DA Krasner should take this as evidence of the total corruptness of this prosecution against an innocent man. The remedy for this is nothing less than dismissal of the charges against Mumia and his freedom from prison!

It took DA Krasner six days to report this find to Judge Tucker. Why? And who has gone through those six boxes of files on Mumia's case? What assurance can DA Krasner give that there hasn't been further tampering with and covering up of the evidence, which led to an innocent man being framed for murder and sentenced to death?

The DA's letter was not publicly available, nor was the January 3 docket filing shown on the court's public access web pages of docket filing, until January 9.

Rachel Wolkenstein, January 10, 2019
WHYY (an affiliate of NPR)
Philly prosecutors discover mysterious 'six boxes' connected to Mumia Abu-Jamal in storage room
By Bobby AllynJanuary 9, 2019
A group of two dozen activists briefly block traffic during a rally outside the Philadelphia District Attorney's office on Friday. The group called on DA Larry Krasner to not challenge a Common Pleas court ruling that allows Mumia Abu-Jamal to file an appeal. (Bastiaan Slabbers for WHYY)

Days after Christmas, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner and some of his assistants went rummaging around an out-of-the-way storage room in the office looking for some pieces of furniture. What they stumbled upon was a surprising find: six boxes stuffed of files connected to the case of convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Five of the six boxes were marked "McCann," a reference to the former head of the office's homicide unit, Ed McCann. Some of the boxes were also marked "Mumia," or the former Black Panther's full name, "Mumia Abu-Jamal."

It is unknown what exactly the files say and whether or not the box's contents will shed new light on a case that for decades has garnered worldwide attention.

But in a letter to the judge presiding over Abu-Jamal's case, Assistant District Attorney Tracey Kavanagh wrote "nothing in the Commonwealth's database showed the existence of these six boxes," she said. "We are in the process of reviewing these boxes."

The surprise discovery comes just weeks after a Philadelphia judge reinstated appeals rightsto Abu-Jamal, saying the former radio journalist and activist should get another chance to reargue his case in front of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court due to a conflict-of-interest one of the justices had at the time Abu-Jamal's petition was denied.

Abu-Jamal's supportersare seizing on the mysterious six boxes as proof that his innocence has been systematically suppressed by authorities.

"There's no question in my mind that the only reason they could've been hidden like this is that this is the evidence of the frame-up of Mumia," said Rachel Wolkenstein, who has been a legal advocate and activist for Abu-Jamal for more than 30 years.

"What these missing boxes represent is confirmation of what we've known for decades: there's hidden, exculpatory evidence in Mumia's case, and that is evidence that Mumia's guilt was intentionally manufactured by the police and prosecution and the truth of his innocence was suppressed," Wolkenstein said.

The Philadelphia District Attorney's Office did not say anything at all about what is in the boxes, or whether there is evidence that the files are exculpatory, or capable of demonstrating that Abu-Jamal did not commit a crime. During his original trial three separate eyewitnesses testified Mumia did commit the murder of Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner.

Wolkenstein's assessment is wild speculation, according to Ed McCann, the former homicide unit chief whose name was scrawled across the six boxes. McCann left the office in 2015 after 26 years there as a prosecutor. He was never directly involved in Abu-Jamal's case.

"I can't tell you 100% what is in these boxes," McCann said Wednesday night. "But I doubt there is anything in them that is not already in the public eye."

How and why did six boxes tied to one of the most legendary and racially-charged cases the office has ever handled get relegated to a dusty storage room?

McCann is not sure. But he said when the office moved locations in 2006, hundreds of boxes with his name written them were moved into the current headquarters on South Penn Square, just across the street from Philadelphia City Hall.

"I don't remember these six boxes. But nobody over there discussed this with me before filing this letter," McCann said. "I would think if they were really interested in what happened, they would have reached out to me."

In the two-page letter to the court, assistant district attorney Kavanagh wrote that if Judge Leon Tucker would like to review the boxes, prosecutors will turn them over.

Tucker, who is the same judge who ordered that Abu-Jamal should be given a new appeals argument, has not weighed in on the newly-discovered boxes.

But in his opinion last month, Tucker said former Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Ronald Castille should have recused himself from hearing Abu-Jamal's petitions, since Castille himself was Philadelphia's District Attorney when the case was actively on appeal. "True justice must be completely just without even a hint of partiality, lack of integrity or impropriety," wrote Tucker, saying a new hearing in front of the state's high court is warranted.

Prosecutors have not taken a position yet on Tucker's opinion. The files unearthed in the six boxes could influence whether Krasner's office supports or opposes a new hearing for Abu-Jamal.

Wolkenstein said the thousands of people who have joined the "Free Mumia" movement around the globe should be able to review the documents themselves.

"These files should be released publicly," Wolkenstein said. "The remedy for this is nothing less than dismissal of Mumia's charges and his release from prison."

Tell DA Larry Krasner: Do NOT Appeal Judge Tucker's Decision Granting Mumia Abu-Jamal New Appeal Rights!

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner
Three South Penn Square
Corner of Juniper and South Penn Square
Philadelphia, PA 19107-3499



Here's an online petition to sign and share widely.
Mumia Abu-Jamal has always maintained his innocence in the 1981 fatal shooting of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. His prosecution was politically-motivated because of his Black Panther Party membership, his support of the MOVE organization and as a radical journalist. His 1982 trial and subsequent 1995 PCRA appeals were racially biased: the prosecution excluded African Americans from the jury; and PCRA trial Judge Albert Sabo, the same judge in Abu-Jamal's initial trial, declared, "I'm gonna help them fry the n----r." On Dec. 27, Mumia Abu-Jamal won a significant case before Judge Leon Tucker in a decision granting him new rights of appeal. Tell Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner:  We call on you to do the right thing.  Do not stand in the way of justice.  Do not appeal Judge Tucker's decision. As a progressive attorney you ran for Philadelphia District Attorney on a platform that included standing "for justice, not just for convictions."  You promoted reviewing past con



Statement: Academic Institutions Must Defend Free Speech

The International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity issued the following statement on 23 December, signed by 155 distinguished academics and human rights advocates.

Petition Text

Statement issued by the International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity:
We, the undersigned, oppose the coordinated campaign to deny academics their free speech rights due to their defense of Palestinian rights and criticism of the policies and practices of the state of Israel. Temple University in Philadelphia, USA and the University of Sydney, Australia have been under great pressure to fire, respectively, Marc Lamont Hill and Tim Anderson, both senior academics at their institutions, for these reasons. Steven Salaita and Norman Finkelstein have already had their careers destroyed by such attacks. Hatem Bazian, Ahlam Muhtaseb, William Robinson, Rabab Abdulhadi and others have also been threatened.
The ostensible justification for such action is commonly known as the "Palestinian exception" to the principle of free speech. One may freely criticize and disrespect governments – including one's own – religions, political beliefs, personal appearance and nearly everything else except the actions and policies of the state of Israel. Those who dare to do so will become the focus of well-financed and professionally run campaigns to silence and/or destroy them and their careers.
We recognize that much of the free speech that occurs in academic and other environments will offend some individuals and groups. However, as has been said many times before, the answer to free speech that some may find objectionable is more free speech, not less. We therefore call upon all academic institutions, their faculty and students, as well as the public at large, to resist such bullying tactics and defend the free speech principles upon which they and all free societies and their institutions are founded.


























Open letter to active duty soldiers on the border
Your Commander-in-chief is lying to you. You should refuse his orders to deploy to the southern U.S. border should you be called to do so. Despite what Trump and his administration are saying, the migrants moving North towards the U.S. are not a threat. These small numbers of people are escaping intense violence. In fact, much of the reason these men and women—with families just like yours and ours—are fleeing their homes is because of the US meddling in their country's elections. Look no further than Honduras, where the Obama administration supported the overthrow of a democratically elected president who was then replaced by a repressive dictator.
Courage to Resist has been running a strategic outreach campaign to challenge troops to refuse illegal orders while on the border, such as their Commander-in-Chief's suggestion that they murder migrants who might be throwing rocks, or that they build and help run concentration camps. In addition to social media ads, About Face, Veterans For Peace, and Courage to Resist, are also printing tens of thousands of these leaflets for distribution near the border. Please consider donating towards these expenses.

Don't turn them away

The migrants in the Central American caravan are not our enemies

Open letter to active duty soldiers
Your Commander-in-chief is lying to you. You should refuse his orders to deploy to the southern U.S. border should you be called to do so. Despite what Trump and his administration are saying, the migrants moving North towards the U.S. are not a threat. These small numbers of people are escaping intense violence. In fact, much of the reason these men and women—with families just like yours and ours—are fleeing their homes is because of the US meddling in their country's elections. Look no further than Honduras, where the Obama administration supported the overthrow of a democratically elected president who was then replaced by a repressive dictator.
"There are tens of thousands of us who will support your decision to lay your weapons down. You are better than your Commander-in-chief. Our only advice is to resist in groups. Organize with your fellow soldiers. Do not go this alone."
These extremely poor and vulnerable people are desperate for peace. Who among us would walk a thousand miles with only the clothes on our back without great cause? The odds are good that your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. lived similar experiences to these migrants. Your family members came to the U.S. to seek a better life—some fled violence. Consider this as you are asked to confront these unarmed men, women and children from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. To do so would be the ultimate hypocrisy.
The U.S. is the richest country in the world, in part because it has exploited countries in Latin America for decades. If you treat people from these countries like criminals, as Trump hopes you will, you only contribute to the legacy of pillage and plunder beneath our southern border. We need to confront this history together, we need to confront the reality of America's wealth and both share and give it back with these people. Above all else, we cannot turn them away at our door. They will die if we do.
By every moral or ethical standard it is your duty to refuse orders to "defend" the U.S. from these migrants. History will look kindly upon you if you do. There are tens of thousands of us who will support your decision to lay your weapons down. You are better than your Commander-in-chief. Our only advice is to resist in groups. Organize with your fellow soldiers. Do not go this alone. It is much harder to punish the many than the few.
In solidarity,
Rory Fanning
Former U.S. Army Ranger, War-Resister
Spenser Rapone
Former U.S. Army Ranger and Infantry Officer, War-Resister
Leaflet distributed by:
  • About Face: Veterans Against the War
  • Courage to Resist
  • Veterans For Peace
Courage to Resist has been running a strategic outreach campaign to challenge troops to refuse illegal orders while on the border, such as their Commander-in-Chief's suggestion that they murder migrants who might be throwing rocks, or that they build and help run concentration camps. In addition to social media ads, About Face, Veterans For Peace, and Courage to Resist, are also printing tens of thousands of these leaflets for distribution near the border. Please consider donating towards these expenses.
484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland, California 94610 ~ 510-488-3559
www.couragetoresist.org ~ facebook.com/couragetoresist*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*




New "Refuse War" Shirts

We've launched a new shirt store to raise funds to support war resisters.

In addition to the Courage to Resist logo shirts we've offered in the past, we now  have a few fun designs, including a grim reaper, a "Refuse War, Go AWOL" travel theme, and a sporty "AWOL: Support Military War Resisters" shirt.

Shirts are $25 each for small through XL, and bit more for larger sizes. Please allow 9-12 days for delivery within the United States.

50% of each shirt may qualify as a tax-deductible contribution.

Courage to Resist -- Support the Troops who Refuse to Fight!
484 Lake Park Ave. #41, Oakland, CA 94610, 510-488-3559
couragetoresis.org -- facebook.com/couragetoresist







Abu-Jamal Wins New Right to Appeal

By Rachel Wolkenstein

 On December 27, Court of Common Pleas Judge Leon Tucker granted Mumia's petition for new appeal rights, over the opposition of "progressive DA" Larry Krasner. 

This is the first Pennsylvania state court decision in Mumia's favor since he was arrested on December 9, 1981.  

 In his decision Judge Tucker ruled former Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Ronald Castille, who was the District Attorney during Mumia's first appeal of his frame-up conviction and death sentence, "created the appearance of bias and impropriety" in the appeal process when he didn't recuse himself from participating in Mumia's appeals. Judge Tucker relied heavily on Ronald Castille's public statements bragging that he would be a "law and order" judge, that he was responsible for 45 men on death row, that he had the political and financial support of the Fraternal Order of Police, and new evidence of Castille's campaign for death warrants for convicted "police killers." The appearance of bias and lack of "judicial neutrality" exhibited by Castille warranted his recusal.

Judge Tucker's order throws out the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decisions from 1998-2012 that rubber-stamped Mumia's racially-biased, politically-motivated murder conviction on frame-up charges of the shooting death of police officer Daniel Faulkner. 

Judge Tucker's decision means that Mumia Abu-Jamal's post-conviction appeals of his 1982 conviction, that he was framed by police and prosecution who manufactured evidence of guilt, suppressed the proof of his innocence and tried by racist, pro-prosecution trial Judge Albert Sabo who declared, "I'm gonna help them fry the nigger."   and denied him other due process trial rights must be reheard in the Pennsylvania appeals court. 

The new appeals ordered by Judge Tucker opens the door to Mumia Abu-Jamal's freedom. Abu-Jamal's legal claims and supporting evidence warrant an appeal decision of a new trial or dismissal of the frame-up charges that have kept him imprisoned for 37 years. 

The international campaign for Mumia Abu-Jamal's freedom has launched a new offensive. At the top of its actions is a call for letters and phone calls to DA Larry Krasner demanding he not appeal Judge Tucker's order granting new appeal rights to Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Tell DA Larry Krasner: Do NOT Appeal Judge Tucker's Decision Granting Mumia Abu-Jamal New Appeal Rights!

Email: DA_Central@phila.gov, Tweet: @philaDAO, Phone: 215-686-8000
Mail: Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner
3 S. Penn Square, Corner of Juniper and S. Penn Square
Philadelphia, PA 19107-3499

Write to Mumia at:
Smart Communications/PA DOC
SCI Mahanoy
Mumia Abu-Jamal #AM-8335
P.O. Box 33028
St. Petersburg, FL 33733

Listen to a radio report at Black Agenda Report:



Save the date! Wed., Feb. 6, 7:30 pm March 30 Spring Action Antiwar Coalition Meeting

Neibyl Proctor Library
6501 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland, CA

A Call for a Mass Mobilization to Oppose NATO, War and Racism
Protest NATO, Washington, DC, Lafayette Park (across from the White House)

1 PM Saturday, March 30, 2019.
Additional actions will take place on Thursday April 4 at the opening of the NATO meeting

April 4, 2019, will mark the 51st anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., the internationally revered leader in struggles against racism, poverty and war.

And yet, in a grotesque desecration of Rev. King's lifelong dedication to peace, this is the date that the military leaders of the North American Treaty Organization have chosen to celebrate NATO's 70th anniversary by holding its annual summit meeting in Washington, D.C. This is a deliberate insult to Rev. King and a clear message that Black lives and the lives of non-European humanity really do not matter.   

It was exactly one year before he was murdered that Rev. King gave his famous speech opposing the U.S. war in Vietnam, calling the U.S. government "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world" and declaring that he could not be silent.

We cannot be silent either. Since its founding, the U.S.-led NATO has been the world's deadliest military alliance, causing untold suffering and devastation throughout Northern Africa, the Middle East and beyond.

Hundreds of thousands have died in U.S./NATO wars in Iraq, Libya, Somalia and Yugoslavia. Millions of refugees are now risking their lives trying to escape the carnage that these wars have brought to their homelands, while workers in the 29 NATO member-countries are told they must abandon hard-won social programs in order to meet U.S. demands for even more military spending.

Every year when NATO holds its summits, there have been massive protests: in Chicago, Wales, Warsaw, Brussels. 2019 will be no exception.

The United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) is calling for a mass mobilization in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, March 30.  Additional actions will take place on April 4 at the opening of the NATO meeting. 

We invite you to join with us in this effort. As Rev. King taught us, "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."

No to NATO!
End All U.S. Wars at Home and Abroad!
Bring the Troops Home Now! 
No to Racism! 
The Administrative Committee of UNAC,

To add your endorsement to this call, please go here: http://www.no2nato2019.org/endorse-the-action.html

Please donate to keep UNAC strong: https://www.unacpeace.org/donate.html 

If your organization would like to join the UNAC coalition, please click here: https://www.unacpeace.org/join.html



To: Indiana Department of Corrections

Kevin "Rashid" Johnson Should Have Access to His Personal Property

Petition Text

1. IDOC regulation 02-01-101-VIII must be respected! Kevin Johnson (IDOC# 264847) must be allowed to select from his property the items that he most immediately needs. He has been left without any of the material he requires for contacting his loved ones, his writing (this includes books), his pending litigation, and for his artwork. 
2. Kevin Johnson (IDOC# 264847) should be released into General Population. Prolonged solitary confinement is internationally recognized as a form of torture. Moreover, he has not committed any infractions.

Why is this important?

Kevin "Rashid" Johnson (IDOC# 264847) – a Virginia prisoner – was transferred to Indiana on November 4. His transfer was authorized under the Interstate Corrections Compact, commonly used to ship prisoners out of state. Virginia is one of several states that make use of this practice as a tool to repress and isolate prisoners who speak up for their rights.
These transfers are extremely disruptive, and serve as an opportunity for prison officials to violate prisoners' rights, especially regarding their property. This is exactly what has been done to Rashid.
Rashid has 24 boxes of personal property. These are all of his possessions in the world. Much of these 24 boxes consist of legal documents and research materials, including materials directly related to pending or anticipated court cases, and his list of addresses and phone numbers of media contacts, human rights advocates, outside supporters, and friends.
At Pendleton Correctional Facility, where Rashid is now being kept prisoner and in solitary confinement, only one guard is in charge of the property room. This is very unusual, as the property room is where all of the prisoners' belongings that are not in their cells are kept. The guard in charge, Dale Davis, has a dubious reputation. Prisoners complain that property goes missing, and their requests to access their belongings – that by law are supposed to be met within 7 days, or if there are court deadlines within 24 hours – are often ignored, answered improperly, or what they receive does not correspond to what they have asked for.
Despite having a need for legal and research documents for pending and anticipated court cases, his requests to receive his property have not been properly answered. The property officer, Dale Davis, is supposed to inventory the prisoners' property with them (and a witness) present, according to IDOC regulation 02-01-101-VIII; this was never done. When Rashid did receive some property, it was a random selection of items unrelated to what he asked for, brought to the segregation unit in a box and a footlocker and left in an insecure area where things could be stolen or tampered with.
On December 19th, Rashid received notice that Davis had confiscated various documents deemed to be "security threat group" or "gang" related from his property. Rashid has no idea what these might be, as (contrary to the prison regulations) he was not present when his property was gone through. Rashid does not know how much or how little was confiscated, or what the rationale was for its being described as "gang" related. None of Rashid's property should be confiscated or thrown out under any circumstances, but it is worth noting that the way in which this has been done contravenes the prison's own regulations and policies!
Dale Davis has been an IDOC property officer for 8 years. He has boasted about how he does not need any oversight or anyone else working with him, even though it is very unusual for just one person to have this responsibility. Prisoners' property goes "missing" or is tampered with, and prisoners' rights – as laid out by the Indiana Department of Corrections – are not being respected.
Rashid is not asking to have all of his property made available to him in his cell. He is willing to accept only having access to some of it at a time, for instance as he needs it to prepare court documents or for his research and writing. 
After two months in Indiana, he has still not been supplied with his documents containing the phone numbers and addresses of his loved ones and supporters, effectively sabotaging his relationships on the outside. Rashid is not asking for any kind of special treatment, he is only asking for the prison property room to follow the prison's own rules.
We ask that you look into this, and make sure that Mr. Johnson's right to access his property is being respected, and that something be done about the irregularities in the Pendleton property room. We ask that the rules of the Indiana Department of Corrections be respected.

Sign the petition here:

you can also hear a recent interview with Rashid on Final Straw podcast here: https://thefinalstrawradio.noblogs.org/post/tag/kevin-rashid-johnson/
Write to Rashid:
Kevin Rashid Johnson's writings and artwork have been widely circulated. He is the author of a book,Panther Vision: Essential Party Writings and Art of Kevin "Rashid" Johnson, Minister of Defense, New Afrikan Black Panther Party, (Kersplebedeb, 2010).

Kevin Johnson D.O.C. No. 264847
G-20-2C Pendleton Correctional Facility
4490 W. Reformatory Rd.
Pendleton, IN 46064-9001



Prisoners at Lieber Correctional Institution in South Carolina are demanding recognition of their human rights by the South Carolina Department of Corrections and warden Randall Williams.  Prisoners are also demanding an end to the horrific conditions they are forced to exist under at Lieber, which are exascerbating already rising tensions to a tipping point and people are dying. 
Since the tragedy that occured at Lee Correctional earlier this year, prisoners at all level 3 security prisons in SC have been on complete lockdown, forced to stay in their two-man 9x11 cells 24 hours a day (supposed to be 23 hrs/day but guards rarely let prisoners go to their one hour of rec in a slightly larger cage because it requires too much work, especially when you keep an entire prison on lockdown) without any programming whatsoever and filthy air rushing in all day, no chairs, tables, no radios, no television, no access to legal work, no access to showers, and no light!  Administration decided to cover all the tiny windows in the cells with metal plates on the outside so that no light can come in.  Thousands of people are existing in this manner, enclosed in a tiny space with another person and no materials or communication or anything to pass the time.  
Because of these horific conditions tensions are rising and people are dying. Another violent death took place at Lieber Correctional; Derrick Furtick, 31, died at approximately 9pm Monday, according to state Department of Corrections officials:
Prisoners assert that this death is a result of the kind of conditions that are being imposed and inflicted upon the incarcerated population there and the undue trauma, anxiety, and tensions these conditions create.  
We demand:
- to be let off solitary confinement
- to have our windows uncovered
- access to books, magazines, phone calls, showers and recreation
- access to the law library and our legal cases
- single person cells for any person serving over 20 years
Lieber is known for its horrendous treatment of the people it cages including its failure to evacuate prisoners during Hurricane Florence earlier this year:
Please flood the phone lines of both the governor's and warden's offices to help amplify these demands from behind bars at Lieber Correctional.
Warden Randall Williams:  (843) 875-3332   or   (803) 896-3700
Governor Henry McMaster's office:  (803) 734-2100

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Get Malik Out of Ad-Seg

Keith "Malik" Washington is an incarcerated activist who has spoken out on conditions of confinement in Texas prison and beyond:  from issues of toxic water and extreme heat, to physical and sexual abuse of imprisoned people, to religious discrimination and more.  Malik has also been a tireless leader in the movement to #EndPrisonSlavery which gained visibility during nationwide prison strikes in 2016 and 2018.  View his work at comrademalik.com or write him at:

Keith H. Washington
TDC# 1487958
McConnell Unit
3001 S. Emily Drive
Beeville, TX 78102
Friends, it's time to get Malik out of solitary confinement.

Malik has experienced intense, targeted harassment ever since he dared to start speaking against brutal conditions faced by incarcerated people in Texas and nationwide--but over the past few months, prison officials have stepped up their retaliation even more.

In Administrative Segregation (solitary confinement) at McConnell Unit, Malik has experienced frequent humiliating strip searches, medical neglect, mail tampering and censorship, confinement 23 hours a day to a cell that often reached 100+ degrees in the summer, and other daily abuses too numerous to name.  It could not be more clear that they are trying to make an example of him because he is a committed freedom fighter.  So we have to step up.

Phone zap on Tuesday, November 13

**Mark your calendars for the 11/13 call in, be on the look out for a call script, and spread the word!!**

- Convene special review of Malik's placement in Ad-Seg and immediately release him back to general population
- Explain why the State Classification Committee's decision to release Malik from Ad-Seg back in June was overturned (specifically, demand to know the nature of the "information" supposedly collected by the Fusion Center, and demand to know how this information was investigated and verified).
- Immediately cease all harassment and retaliation against Malik, especially strip searches and mail censorship!

Who to contact:
TDCJ Executive Director Bryan Collier
Phone: (936)295-6371

Senior Warden Philip Sinfuentes (McConnell Unit)
Phone: (361) 362-2300


Background on Malik's Situation

Malik's continued assignment to Ad-Seg (solitary confinement) in is an overt example of political repression, plain and simple.  Prison officials placed Malik in Ad-Seg two years ago for writing about and endorsing the 2016 nationwide prison strike.  They were able to do this because Texas and U.S. law permits non-violent work refusal to be classified as incitement to riot.

It gets worse.  Malik was cleared for release from Ad-Seg by the State Classification Committee in June--and then, in an unprecedented reversal, immediately re-assigned him back to Ad-Seg.  The reason?  Prison Officials site "information" collected by a shadowy intelligence gathering operation called a Fusion Center, which are known for lack of transparency and accountability, and for being blatant tools of political repression.

Malik remains in horrible conditions, vulnerable to every possible abuse, on the basis of "information" that has NEVER been disclosed or verified.  No court or other independent entity has ever confirmed the existence, let alone authenticity, of this alleged information.  In fact, as recently as October 25, a representative of the State Classification Committee told Malik that he has no clue why Malik was re-assigned to Ad-Seg.  This "information" is pure fiction.   



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

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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:
    Security Processing Center
    Major Tillery AM 9786
    268 Bricker Road
    Bellefonte, PA 16823
    For More Information, Go To: JusticeForMajorTillery.org
    Kamilah Iddeen (717) 379-9009, Kamilah29@yahoo.com
    Rachel Wolkenstein (917) 689-4009, RachelWolkenstein@gmail.com



    Free Leonard Peltier!

    Art by Leonard Peltier
    Write to:
    Leonard Peltier 89637-132
    USP Coleman 1,  P.O. Box 1033
    Coleman, FL 33521



    Working people are helping to feed the poor hungry corporations! 
    Charity for the Wealthy!







    December 29, 2018

    Dear Comrades and Friends Across the Globe:

     On December 27, 2018, in a historic action, Court of Common Pleas Judge Leon Tucker granted Mumia's petition for new appeal rights, over the opposition of "progressive DA" Larry Krasner. 
    This is the first Pennsylvania state court decision in Mumia's favor since he was arrested on December 9, 1981.  The new appeals ordered by Judge Tucker open the door to Mumia Abu-Jamal's freedom. The legal claims and supporting evidence, previously denied in the PA Supreme Court with Justice Ronald Castille's participation, warrant a dismissal of the frame-up charges that have kept Mumia imprisoned for 37 years, or, at the very least, a new trial. 

     It is critical that Mumia can go forward immediately with these appeals. However, DA Larry Krasner has the authority to appeal Judge Tucker's decision. Krasner's position, to the surprise of many who had described him as the "new kind" of district attorney, more bent toward justice than mere conviction, with a history of defending dissident activists, been adamant in his opposition to Mumia' petition.  His legal filings, court arguments, and his statements on public radio have all argued that there is no evidence of Justice Castille's bias or the appearance of impropriety when he refused to recuse himself in Mumia's PA Supreme Court appeals from 1998-2012 (!).

     If the prosecution appeals, there will follow years of legal proceedings on the validity of Judge Tucker's order before Mumia can begin the new appeal process challenging his conviction. .Mumia is now 64 years old. He has cirrhosis of the liver from the years of untreated hepatitis C. He still suffers from continuing itching from the skin ailment which is a secondary symptom of the hep-C. Mumia now has glaucoma and is receiving treatment. He has been imprisoned for almost four decades.  An extended appeals process coming at the age of 64 to a person whose health had already been seriously compromised is the equivalent of a death sentence by continued incarceration.    

    We are asking you to join us in demanding that Larry Krasner stop acting in league with the Fraternal Order of Police. Mumia should be freed from prison, now!  We are asking you to call, email or tweet DA Larry Krasner TODAY and tell him: DO NOT Appeal Judge Tucker's Decision Granting New Rights of Appeal to Mumia Abu-Jamal.

    In his decision, Judge Tucker ruled that former PA Supreme Court Justice Ronald Castille, who was the District Attorney during Mumia's first appeal of his frame-up conviction and death sentence, had "created the appearance of bias and impropriety" in the appeal process when he didn't recuse himself from participating in Mumia's appeals. Judge Tucker relied heavily on Ronald Castille's public statements bragging that he would be a "law and order" judge, that he was responsible for putting 45 men on death row, that he had the political and financial support of the Fraternal Order of Police, and in recently discovered new evidence that Castille had particularly campaigned for immediate death warrants of convicted "police killers".  Judge Tucker states unequivocally that the appearance of bias and lack of "judicial neutrality" exhibited by Castille warranted his recusal. 

    Judge Tucker's order throws out the PA Supreme Court decisions from 1998-2012 that rubber-stamped Mumia's racially-biased, politically-motivated murder conviction on frame-up charges of the shooting death of police officer Daniel Faulkner. 

     Judge Tucker's decision means that Mumia Abu-Jamal's post-conviction appeals of his 1982 conviction must be reheard in the PA appeals court. In those appeals Mumia's lawyers proved that Mumia was framed by police and prosecution who manufactured evidence of guilt and suppressed the proof of his innocence. And, he was tried by a racist, pro-prosecution trial judge, Albert Sabo, who declared to another judge, "I'm gonna help them fry the n----r" and denied Mumia his due process trial rights.

    We can win Mumia's freedom! We have a legal opening. It is our opportunity to push forward to see Mumia walk out of prison! The international campaign for Mumia Abu-Jamal's freedom has launched a new offensive. At the top of its actions is this call for letters and phone calls to DA Larry Krasner demanding he not appeal Judge Tucker's order granting new appeal rights to Mumia Abu-Jamal.  Please take this action today.  Please send us back your name so we can compile a list of international signers.  Also, no matter how many letters for Mumia you have signed in the past year or two, please sign this one as well.  The moment is different, and the demand of Krasner is different.  We want all possible supporters included.

    CONTACT:    Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner. 
                            Phone: (215) 686-8000; Email: DA_Central@phila.gov; Tweet: @philaDAO
                            Mail: Phila. DA Larry Krasner, Three South Penn Square, Phila, PA 19107

    Tell DA Krasner:     Do Not Appeal Judge Tucker's Decision Reinstating Appeal Rights 
                                     for Mumia Abu-Jamal!

    In solidarity and toward Mumia's freedom,

    (Initiated by all the US based Mumia support organizations)
    International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal; The MOVE Organization; Educators for Mumia; International Action Center; Mobilization for Mumia; Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition (NYC); Campaign to Bring Mumia Home; Committee to Save Mumia; Prison Radio, Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal, Oakland; Oakland Teachers for Mumia; Workers World/Mundo Obrero


    1) Trump National Golf Club in N.Y. Fires Undocumented Workers, Lawyer Says
    By Mihir Zaveri and Annie Correal, January 26, 2019

    About a dozen workers at the Trump National Golf Club in Westchester, N.Y., were fired this month because they were in the country illegally, according to their lawyer.CreditCreditMike Segar/Reuters

    For eight years, it seemed to Margarita Cruz that the management at the Trump Organization's golf club in Westchester, N.Y., did not notice — or did not care — that the green card and Social Security card she had used to get hired were fake, purchased in Queens for about $120.
    Ms. Cruz, a housekeeper, said she cleaned guest rooms, offices and shops at the club. She laundered sheets and pool towels. But that all ended this month, she said.
    Ms. Cruz and about a dozen other employees — housekeepers, landscapers and a head chef — at the club, Trump National Golf Club, were fired Jan. 18 because they were in the country illegally, according to interviews with Ms. Cruz and the former workers' lawyer.

    The New York Times reported in December that undocumented immigrants had been employed at another club owned by the Trump Organization, the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., and that they were kept on the payroll for years even though management there had some knowledge of their fraudulent papers.

    Several workers deemed ineligible to work in the country had already been fired at the Bedminster club, according to people familiar with the matter.
    The employment of undocumented workers at Trump Organization properties runs counter to President Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric, which he has made central to his campaign and his presidency. He is currently in a heated political battle to build a wall along the border with Mexico, which he claims would stop drugs and crime. Evidence does not support Mr. Trump's thesis.
    There is nothing to indicate that Mr. Trump or Trump Organization executives knew about the workers' immigration status at either golf club. But Ms. Cruz, 44, said she believed that management at the Westchester club knew about her immigration status before January.
    Her papers were requested again two years ago, she said, not just when she was hired. Anibal Romero, who represents Ms. Cruz and 14 other former workers at the golf club, the majority of whom were fired Jan. 18, was stronger in his wording.

    "I'm not buying that they didn't know," Mr. Romero said.
    Neither Ms. Cruz nor the other former workers received benefits like health insurance or a pension, as other golf club employees did, Mr. Romero said. Most of his clients came into the country through Mexico, Mr. Romero said, and were originally from countries such as Mexico, Ecuador and Honduras.

    "This was a two-tiered system," he said. "The people who were legal and the people who are undocumented."
    He said the workers were fired by being individually called into a room by an executive, who read their names off a list.
    The White House referred questions to the Trump Organization on Saturday. The Trump Organization and the Westchester golf club did not respond to requests for comment.
    In a statement to The Post, Eric Trump, who manages the Trump Organization with his brother Donald Jr., said: "We are making a broad effort to identify any employee who has given false and fraudulent documents to unlawfully gain employment. Where identified, any individual will be terminated immediately."
    Ms. Cruz entered the United States in 2009 near Piedras Negras, Mexico, on the Texas border, she said, with a 12-year-old daughter and a 9-year-old son. Her parents had paid a coyote $11,000 for the trip.
    She said that in Mexico she earned about $40 a week working at a restaurant. She started at $11 per hour at the golf club, and then got a raise to $14 per hour. She said she did not have any savings when she was fired because she had been paying back her parents.
    Mr. Trump's political rhetoric has been surprising, she said, because he would regularly come by the golf club before his election and give the workers $50 tips in cash.

    "He would come over and say hello, ask your name and how long you had worked at the club," Ms. Cruz said. "He would ask you how you liked the rug, or a picture on the wall, things like that."
    She added, "If he really did hate Latinos so much, why did he come over to talk to us?"
    She said some of her colleagues had worked at the golf club for 18 years.
    "I couldn't understand why he started talking like that about Latinos now and why he fired us," she said.
    Mr. Romero said he is seeking federal and state investigations of the golf club to see if it had been exploiting the undocumented workers.


    2) Thousands More Troops Heading to Border as Defense Dept. Officials Defend Deployments
    By Helene Cooper and Catie Edmondson, January 29, 2019

    Soldiers last year at Base Camp Donna in Texas. The deployment of several thousand troops to secure the southwestern border will total more than $600 million by the end of September.CreditCreditTamir Kalifa for The New York Times

    WASHINGTON — The Pentagon is poised to send at least 2,000 more active-duty troops to the southwestern border, Defense Department officials said Tuesday, deployments that have already cost the military hundreds of millions of dollars and thrust the department into the center of the debate over border security and President Trump's proposed wall.
    The acting defense secretary, Patrick Shanahan, told reporters that the United States would be sending "several thousand" additional troops to provide more support for the Department of Homeland Security's border patrol efforts. Defense Department officials later said that they expect that number to be around 2,000.
    That would come on top of the 2,400 troops who are there now, bringing the deployed number at the border close to the high of 5,900 that it reached in the weeks surrounding the midterm elections in November.

    The deployment of several thousand military troops to secure the southwestern border will total more than $600 million by the end of the fiscal year in September, Pentagon officials also told the House Armed Services Committee on Tuesday.

    The deployment of active-duty troops through the end of January is estimated to cost $132 million, said Vice Adm. Michael Gilday, the director of operations for the joint staff. The cost of the National Guard's operations at the border through the fiscal year, he estimated, will cost $550 million.
    Since Mr. Trump declared what he called a national security crisis at the border that warranted the deployment of active-duty troops, the Defense Department has sought to limit their role. But the administration has kept them in the mix. The additional troops will be used to install concertina wire and provide more surveillance of the border area, Mr. Shanahan said.
    Mr. Shanahan replaced Jim Mattis, who resigned in December as defense secretary, in a rebuke of much of Mr. Trump's national security policy.
    At one point last year, Mr. Trump described a "wall of people" to stop caravans of Central American refugees and called for up to 15,000 troops to defend the border. The Pentagon reluctantly sent 5,900, then cut that number quickly back to 2,400. The president also spoke of telling the military to respond to migrants throwing rocks as if they were rifles.
    But the deployments can go only so far. The Posse Comitatus Act, dating to Reconstruction, bars American forces from engaging in law enforcement activities within the borders of the United States.

    Democrats say the deployments — especially the ones just before the midterms — were flagrantly political.

    "I am extremely concerned that we preserve the reality and perception that the U.S. military is apolitical," said Representative Elissa Slotkin, Democrat of Michigan. "It is hard to feel it wasn't political given how close it was to the midterms."
    Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and the chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, upon being told that Kirstjen Nielsen, the secretary of homeland security, declined his invitation to testify on the issue of border security, cried foul.
    "Your attempt to use the President's recent shutdown as an excuse not to testify before Congress prior to the impending shutdown is outrageous," Mr. Thompson wrote to Ms. Nielsen in a letter on Tuesday.
    Appearing before the House committee for the first time since Democrats took control this month, Admiral Gilday and John Rood, the under secretary of defense for policy, defended the deployments and said the military's presence have yielded "very successful" results.
    "We believe that our military's presence and support has served to increase the effectiveness" of operations at the border, Admiral Gilday said, adding that the Defense Department has a "long history" of supporting efforts to secure American borders.
    "We're not trying just to have a photo op down there," he continued.
    As negotiators from the House and the Senate begin meeting this week to hash out a plan to secure the southwestern border and fund the government, Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee seized on the Pentagon's cost estimates to press for more border security funding.

    "We're here at this moment in time because we failed to provide adequate resources" to the Department of Homeland Security, said Representative Paul Mitchell, Republican of Michigan.
    Democrats on the committee remained skeptical.
    It is "unclear why this is an appropriate use of the military's time and resources," said Representative Adam Smith of Washington, the chairman of the committee. "It appears service members are laying concertina wire and performing other tasks that are better suited for civilian law enforcement agencies."
    Admiral Gilday said active-duty troops were deployed before the midterms because thousands of migrants were "massing" along the border. The Trump administration chose to send troops because they could be deployed more quickly than the National Guard, he said. The Department of Homeland Security is currently tracking three migrant caravans containing 12,000 people moving toward the border, Mr. Rood said.
    Democrats pressed Defense Department officials to identify which projects would be affected if Mr. Trump declares a national emergency and moves funds to build a border wall. Mr. Rood declined to answer, and added that the department had "only done the preliminary preplanning" for such an event.
    "We are supporting our federal partners on the border, and that mission has been extended until September," said Lt. Col. Jamie Davis, a Pentagon spokesman. "We are currently sourcing the units involved and there will be an increase of a few thousand troops."


    3) 'The Nation Has Stood Up': Indigenous Clans in Canada Battle Pipeline Project
    By Amber Bracken, January 27, 2019

    The Royal Canadian Mounted Police clearing a roadblock set up by a First Nations group in remote British Columbia.CreditCreditAmber Bracken for The New York Times

    HOUSTON, British Columbia — Amid vast forests of spruce, pine and poplar trees, deep in the interior of British Columbia, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police arrived at a small bridge this month to clear a group of First Nations people who had set up a blockade across a narrow, gravel logging road.
    Dozens of officers, some equipped in military-style tactical uniforms and carrying semiautomatic rifles, stared across a plywood and barbed wire roadblock as the Wet'suwet'en people and their supporters gathered behind it. A helicopter circled overhead, and police boats were deployed on the pristine Morice River running nearby the protest site.
    "You're trespassing on Wet'suwet'en land," Molly Wickham yelled at the police. She is the spokeswoman for the Gitdumden checkpoint, as the blockade and surrounding encampment is known, after one of the clans of the Wet'suwet'en people who claim this part of the province.

    But the officers ignored her and started to systemically dismantle the blockade, cutting the wire and pushing against the wooden structure, testing for weak spots. Three protesters had locked their arms to it, and the pressure hurt, causing them to cry out.

    "You're going to break their arms," other protesters shouted. "Stop!"
    The police kept going, and the arrests began. The first person taken into custody was pulled over the top of the barricade and disappeared in a crush of uniforms. The second was tackled, his face pressed to the ground, after the officers breached the barricade.
    Fourteen were arrested in total, including Ms. Wickham. Other protesters scattered, setting fire to felled trees to cover their retreat. Some were headed to another blockade and encampment further down the same road, the Unist'ot'en checkpoint, named after another Wet'suwet'en clan.

    Protesters watch as the police dismantle the barricade.CreditAmber Bracken for The New York Times

    The police were there to enforce a temporary injunction from the British Columbia Supreme Court, allowing pre-construction to start on a 416-mile, 6.2 billion Canadian dollar pipeline that would cross the traditional territory of the Wet'suwet'en. It would carry gas extracted from the Dawson Creek area of the province to the liquefied natural gas export terminal in Kitimat, British Columbia.
    The protesters were hoping to prevent the work by blocking the lone access road to where construction would begin.
    The company behind the pipeline, Coastal GasLink, has signed agreements on the project with all 20 of the elected councils representing First Nations people along the route. Coastal GasLink has also conditionally awarded 620 million in Canadian dollars in contract work to Indigenous businesses as part of the pipeline project.

    But the protests at the two checkpoints highlight a dual leadership structure among the Wet'suwet'en people. Most of their elected councils, which operate on government-established reserves with set boundaries, gave their go-ahead for the pipeline.
    Most of the hereditary chiefs, however — who collectively claim title to a New Jersey-sized section of British Columbia and represent the traditional governance of the Wet'suwet'en — were opposed.
    A spokeswoman for Coastal GasLink, Jacquelynn Benson, said in an email that the company respects both leadership systems and has held 120 meetings with Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs since 2012, as well as logging 1,300 phone calls and emails with them, trying to reach a solution.
    In December, after the court injunction allowing work to proceed had been issued but before the police arrived, five of the hereditary chiefs gave a news conference at the Gitdumden checkpoint to explain why they remain opposed to the pipeline, despite the economic benefits promised the Wet'suwet'en people in the agreements with the councils.
    "Money means nothing to us," said Chief Madeek, 69, one of the hereditary leaders, who also goes by Jeff Brown. "Our children, our land, our future, is here and that's what we are going to protect."
    He added: "Our people never ever surrendered or ceded any portion of this territory. We are the rightful titleholders of the territory, we are the caretakers of this land and that's what we are going to do, take care of this land."

    The land claimed by the hereditary chiefs is covered by a landmark 1997 decision from Canada's Supreme Court, Delgamuukw v. British Columbia, which ruled that the province could not extinguish Indigenous titles to the land. But many of the details of the land claim, including the boundaries, remain unresolved.

    Protecting the Wet'suwet'en claim to the land is what drove Ms. Wickham to join the blockade at the Gitdumden site, a scrappy collection of canvas tents bathed in wood smoke.
    Before her arrest, she spoke about her hopes for her children as her daughter, Lily, 3, bounced around with a bright blue tutu pulled over her winter clothes.
    She said she sees a connection between the despair of her people, for whom suicide is the leading cause of death up until age 44, and the devastation of traditional land.
    "I need to protect my kids from that. I don't want them to grow up in a world where they feel like they have to kill themselves," she said, adding that she is determined for her children to know their language, their songs and the land of their ancestors.
    Like all of those arrested, Ms. Wickham, 37, was released from custody within two days.
    Some parts of the roughly 8,500 square miles of territory claimed by the Wet'suwet'en have become farmland, towns or industrial developments.
    But beyond the Unist'ot'en checkpoint, which anti-pipeline protesters have maintained for years, over 500 square miles of Wet'suwet'en-claimed land remains a refuge for spawning salmon as well as bears, moose, beaver, grouse, eagles and marten. It is abundant with the berries and plants the Wet'suwet'en harvest for food and medicine.
    The Unist'ot'en camp has become an important part of a broader movement of Indigenous resistance to Canada's fossil fuel ambitions. By asserting their sovereignty over the land, Indigenous groups have tried to stall, with varying degrees of success, oil and gas projects across the country.

    Freda Huson, 54, the spokeswoman at the Unist'ot'en camp, raised her family on a reserve and worked hard to pay off a house and five vehicles. Still, she said she wasn't happy, so she came to this wilderness area in 2010 where, as a child, she had spent her holidays fishing and hunting. Since her return, she said her spirit has come back to life.
    "Without our land, we aren't who we are," Ms. Huson said. "The land is us and we are the land."
    Of the energy industry, which she views as a threat to the land, she had little flattering to say. "They want to take, take, take," she said. "And they aren't taking no for an answer."
    Victor Jim, 67, an elected Wet'suwet'en chief, said he also deeply values the natural bounty and the cultural and spiritual importance of the land.
    But he said pipeline representatives had satisfied his concerns about the project's environmental impact and told him the project would go ahead, with or without his signature, so he decided to make a deal.
    The reserve he leads relies on federal government funding, and the community struggles to address underemployment and many social issues on a shoestring budget. With cash from the pipeline agreements, the community is planning a language center in hopes of reviving fluency in Wet'suwet'en.
    Mr. Jim is also a hereditary chief, and he said he wanted both arms of the leadership to find a shared solution to the split over the pipeline. "We have got to start working together," he said.
    A few days after the arrests at Gitdumden, the hereditary chiefs arrived at a difficult decision to comply with the temporary injunction, and, for the time being, the two checkpoints are open. The chiefs had expressed concern about exposing people to more arrests and violence, and the issue will return to court soon.
    "It's not over yet," Ms. Huson said. "The nation has stood up."


    4)  'I'm Going to Die Here,' She Told the Guards. They Didn't Listen.
    By Sarah Maslin Nir, January 30, 2019

    Lamekia Dockery with a relative. Ms. Dockery died within days of arriving at the Elkhart Community Corrections work-release center in Goshen, Ind.CreditCreditvia Charmel Dockery

    GOSHEN, Ind. — "Offender Dockery stated to me around 0800 at the front counter that she was having stomach pains for 2 days and wanted to go to the hospital," read the first entry in a corrections officer's log.
    It was the first of what became multiple pleas for help by a newly arrived inmate, Lamekia Dockery.
    The response? "I advised her to stop over-talking me."
    For the six days she was incarcerated at the Elkhart Community Corrections work-release facility, Ms. Dockery, vomiting and unable to eat, asked for medical attention, to no avail.

    "She sprawled out on the floor stating she couldn't breathe," reads an entry at 12:10 p.m. the next day. "She seemed to be talking just fine."

    She was dying.
    Ms. Dockery's death at age 36 underscores the dangers of the nation's jails, where inmates are either doing time for the least serious crimes or have not been convicted of the charges against them. Jails often have fewer resources than prisons and, like the work-release center here in Goshen, lack medical staff. Illness and injury can go untreated and every week, it seems, brings a new report of an unsafe jail or a death that was likely preventable.
    "It would be a national scandal if people realized exactly how bad it was and how much abuse inmates are subjected to when they become sick inside prisons and jails," said William R. Claiborne, a lawyer in Savannah, Ga., who specializes in cases of inadequate medical care, such as one in which an inmate was told he was faking fainting spells, only to die of congestive heart failure. "The more marginalized that you are, the more likely you are to not be believed, the more likely you are to get denied care," Mr. Claiborne said.
    The problem is worse, he said, for those already discounted by society: As a black woman and a drug user, Ms. Dockery was in that category. Jails have not adapted to the growth of the number of female inmates, which has far outpaced the growth in the number of men, according to the Vera Institute of Justice, a group that advocates criminal justice changes and is focused on jail, and experts say that racial bias has contributed to worse health outcomes for black women.
    In 2015, Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old black woman jailed after a traffic stop in Waller County, Tex., hanged herself in a cell. In December in Bexar County, Tex., Janice Dotson-Stephens, who was black and mentally ill, was "ignored to death," as her lawyer put it, after her family had been told that she was not even in custody.
    Ms. Dockery was sent to the work-release center for just shy of a year after she violated probation on a shoplifting conviction. Because she had failed a drug test on arrival, officers dismissed her complaints as those of a user in withdrawal, an ordeal that is rarely life-threatening. But she died of sepsis, probably caused by a perforated ulcer in her intestine, according to James P. Elliott, the Elkhart County coroner.

    Inmates said in interviews that Ms. Dockery begged for aid incessantly. Officially, she requested help at least a half-dozen times, according to internal emails and logs kept by corrections officers, which repeatedly noted her vomiting, moaning in pain, or even screaming. In response, she was punished with demerits and solitary confinement. When she kicked a door in protest, she was shackled.
    Ms. Dockery's death might have been averted, had the guards and administrators heeded her requests. But the Elkhart County prosecutor, Vicki E. Becker, declined to hold anyone criminally responsible.
    The guards were not culpable because "none of them expressed any belief that a stomachache could result in her death," Ms. Becker said in an interview.
    Staff members receive no medical training that could have helped them assess Ms. Dockery's condition. "I am pretty sure she is going through withdrawals," Tiffany Faigh, the work-release coordinator, wrote in an email to seven other employees. "She claims she hasn't ate since she has been here, which is probably why her stomach hurts."

    Her family believes her cries were dismissed because of who she was: "She was a black woman, and they say she was on drugs, so they looked down on her," said Bertina Slaughter, Ms. Dockery's aunt.
    "They didn't think she was worth nothing," Ms. Slaughter said. "But she was worth a lot to us."
    Ms. Dockery grew up singing gospel in a church choir in Gary, Ind. As a little girl, she would serenade the family with R&B songs on the porch, dressed up in her grandmother's pearls and too-big high heels. She loved math and babying her two little sisters, making them peanut butter and jelly sandwiches even if they weren't hungry.
    Ms. Dockery, a single mother of five who was nicknamed Mekia, had worked in a factory and as a hotel housekeeper. But after teachers at her children's school discovered burn marks on one of her sons, she lost custody of her children permanently. Her family said it was an accidental injury that occurred when two of her boys were roughhousing without supervision.

    The loss "swept her life from her," Ms. Slaughter said. She became homeless and lived intermittently on the streets of Elkhart, rebuffing her extended family's offers to stay with them because being around other people's children, Ms. Slaughter said, was too hard.
    Court records in Missouri, Michigan and Indiana, in which Ms. Dockery is sometimes referred to as Laminika, show a number of arrests and guilty pleas for offenses like marijuana possession and retail fraud. She entered the work-release center in Goshen on July 25, 2018.
    The center sits between Highway 33 and an overgrown stream called Rock Run Creek. It is a low-slung building that houses inmates in two open-plan barracks, separated by sex. Inmates typically labor at a local factory, their whereabouts tracked by GPS ankle bracelets.
    Ms. Dockery's troubles began on arrival, when she was placed on a seven-day lockdown because she failed a drug test. Her blood contained benzodiazepine, amphetamine and methamphetamines, according to a toxicology report provided by the corrections facility. Withdrawal from such substances does not typically entail vomiting.
    At any given time, there are between four and seven guards for the 323 inmates that can be held at Elkhart Community Corrections. That leaves few staff members available to accompany inmates to a medical facility.
    "She wants to go to the hospital," an officer named Jessica Newman wrote in an email to her supervisors on July 28. Ms. Newman added: "If you say to send her, third shift only has three on tonight."

    Ms. Faigh and Ms. Newman did not respond to emails or telephone messages. Jose Solis, a guard whom Ms. Dockery named in a complaint, could not be reached.

    Ms. Dockery spent much of her time on the floor of a communal bathroom, curled around a toilet, according to inmate interviews and official logs. She was written up for disobedience when she collapsed or refused to get up from a fetal position on the ground, and for "hooting and hollering."
    At one point, a guard instructed Ms. Dockery to seek out her caseworker for help, according to documents, but when another found her searching for her caseworker's office, she was accused of lying and given 15 more days confinement.
    When her wails disturbed the other prisoners, the guards locked her in what they called "the tank," a solitary confinement cell.
    She refused to stop banging on the door. "I spun Dockery to her stomach and proceeded to shackle her and double lock the shackles," a corrections officer recorded on July 30. "I ordered her to sit on her bunk and calm down." She died the next day.
    At a nearby church that many inmates are permitted to attend, many stood up on the Sunday after Ms. Dockery's death and detailed what they had witnessed of her ordeal, several in tears, the pastor, Tony Brinson, said.
    "There needs to be justice for her," said Renea Taylor, an inmate interviewed there on a later Sunday. "I close my eyes and I can hear her cry."
    Ms. Dockery's sole medical treatment appears to have been an Alka-Seltzer provided by the guards and some Tylenol that other inmates purchased for her from a vending machine after pooling their money, according to Nini Mora, another inmate.

    "She kept saying, 'I'm going to die here,'" said a third inmate, who asked that her name not be used for fear of retribution.
    In October 2018, Ms. Becker, the Elkhart County prosecutor, announced that there would be no criminal charges relating to Ms. Dockery's death after an investigation by its homicide squad.
    "If you look at it objectively and logically, there is no criminal law in Indiana that would appropriately address what went on," Ms. Becker said.
    In Indiana's criminal code, unlike in some other states, she said, inmates in correctional facilities are not considered dependents; Ms. Dockery's caregivers are thus not criminally liable for failing to provide help.
    "Do I want to see accountability? From the perspective of, no one should have to suffer like this, the answer is absolutely yes," Ms. Becker added. "From the perspective of, is that something I have the power to control? Unfortunately not," she said.
    Federal prosecutors could pursue criminal charges in such a case, but rarely do, Mr. Claiborne, the lawyer in Savannah, said.
    Some of the corrections officers who oversaw Ms. Dockery have resigned or now work in other jobs in the county. The board of commissioners declined to comment on her death.

    The family is considering a civil suit. When Ms. Dockery's family went to identify the body, the cheeks were streaked with tears, said Charmel Dockery, Ms. Dockery's mother.
    Among the pages of write-ups and reports, Ms. Dockery speaks in her own words just once, making a complaint after being shackled. She was treated so roughly by one officer, she wrote, that someone else intervened: "He told him that that wasn't right, to have me in handcuffs while I was in severe pain."

    Susan C. Beachy and Alain Delaquérière contributed research


    5) A Mother's Fatal Fall on Subway Stairs Rouses New Yorkers to Demand Accessibility
    By Michael Gold and Emma G. Fitzsimmons, January 29, 2019

    Malaysia GoodsonCreditMatthew Brown/Hearst Connecticut Media
    Malaysia Goodson entered a Manhattan subway station on Monday night pushing a stroller.

    Her 1-year-old daughter, Rhylee, was nestled inside. Ms. Goodson, 22, of Stamford, Conn., had brought her along on a shopping trip to the city
    Like so many New York City parents, Ms. Goodson faced a familiar but perilous challenge: hauling her stroller and daughter down the steps of a station that, like most stops in the city's creaking subway system, had no elevator.
    As Ms. Goodson made her descent, she fell, tumbling down a flight of stairs and onto the subway platform at the Seventh Avenue station, at 53rd Street, officials said.

    Her daughter survived the fall. Ms. Goodson did not.
    Her death reverberated throughout New York City, among stunned parents who often traverse crowded subway stairs with strollers and among people who are disabled and regularly encounter an inaccessible transit system.
    "Everybody who has been a parent or a caregiver knows that this is a problem," said Christine Serdjenian Yearwood, the founder of Up-Stand, an organization that has pushed to make transit more accessible for parents.
    "I've had a lot of people write and say, 'This could have been me,'" she said.
    Ms. Goodson was a doting parent and an outgoing person, her mother, Tamika Goodson, said. One of four children, she was raised in New York but moved to Stamford with her family nine years ago.
    Mark Marchesani, who was her guidance counselor at Westhill High School in Stamford, remembered Ms. Goodson as a teenager who "had a tough shell" but was "a sweetheart."
    "She was the kind of kid that when you made her smile," he said, "it felt like a real win."
    After graduating in 2015, her mother said, Ms. Goodson had big dreams. She worked for about a year at a day care center in Stamford, and loved it. But she had also talked about becoming a security guard or a flight attendant.

    Ms. Goodson's daughter was the light of her life, her cousin, Ronshuana Anthony, said.
    "Malaysia just gave so much of her self," Ms. Anthony said, adding, "She'd give her last breath to her if she could."
    When emergency responders arrived at the subway station on Monday night, Ms. Goodson was unconscious and unresponsive, police said.
    She was taken to the Mount Sinai West hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
    Ms. Goodson's daughter was found conscious and treated at the scene. She was reunited with her father and grandmother in the city and was doing well, Tamika Goodson said.
    It was not clear whether Ms. Goodson suffered a medical condition or if she was killed from the impact of the fall. The city's medical examiner will determine her cause of death, officials said.
    Shams Tarek, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates the subway, called the death "a heartbreaking tragedy" and said the agency would work with the police to investigate.
    While officials are continuing to probe the circumstances around Ms. Goodson's fall, her death has shined a light on the lack of elevator service and accessibility issues that have long plagued the city's subway system.

    The station where Ms. Goodson fell does not have an elevator. Only about a quarter of the subway system's 472 stations have elevators, and the ones that exist are often out of order.
    At the 7th Avenue subway station in Midtown Manhattan. The station, at 53rd Street, does not have elevators.CreditGabriela Bhaskar for The New York Times

    One survey of subway elevator breakdowns found that, on average, each elevator breaks down 53 times a year.
    When the elevators are functioning properly, they are often small, odoriferous and inconveniently positioned at the far ends of stations. That can make them frustrating for disabled subway riders who depend on them and an unappealing option for straphangers who do not.
    "The subway system is not accessible for everyone, and that's an environment the M.T.A. should not allow," Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Twitter. He was one of several politicians, including the City Council speaker, Corey Johnson, to call for a more accessible subway system.

    lawsuit filed in 2017 against the transit authority, which operates the subway, described New York's subway system as one of the least accessible in the country and accused the agency of violating the federal Americans With Disabilities Act.
    The case, which was joined by the Justice Department in 2018, is still active, according to Disability Rights Advocates, which is representing the plaintiffs.
    The authority has been slow to add elevators to its sprawling system, which first opened more than a century ago. Washington's subway, which was built in the 1970s and is much smaller than New York's, has far more elevators.
    Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's office, which called Ms. Goodson's death a tragedy, responded to questions about the system's lack of elevators with a statement saying that the transit agency "must make accessibility a priority.".

    Andy Byford, the subway's leader, embraced the cause when he announced a major plan to modernize the subway last year. The plan, Fast Forward, calls for increasing the rate of elevator installations, to more than 50 stations in the next five-year capital plan from 19 in the current capital plan.
    The plan would also add enough elevators to the subway system by 2025 so that no rider would be more than two stops from an accessible station, Mr. Tarek said. But Mr. Byford's proposal could cost $40 billion over 10 years and has not been funded.
    Currently, there are gaps as big as 10 stops between accessible stations in some places. Besides accessible stations, New Yorkers who rely on wheelchairs can use buses or Access-A-Ride, the city's notoriously unreliable paratransit service.
    Mr. Byford has made accessibility one of his major priorities since joining the transit agency one year ago. He hired Alex Elegudin as the subway's first "senior adviser for systemwide accessibility."
    Mr. Elegudin uses a wheelchair as a result of a spinal cord injury stemming from a deer-related car accident in 2003.
    Danny Pearlstein, of the Riders Alliance, an advocacy group, said the lack of an elevator at the Seventh Avenue station, a transfer point between three subway lines that cross four boroughs, was "indicative of how much the system falls short today, and how much we need to improve the situation."
    "At some point in each New Yorker's life, they will need an elevator to travel the subway," said Mr. Pearlstein, the alliance's policy and communications director.

    New Yorkers with young children said the scenario was all too familiar. On a popular Facebook group for mothers, UES Mommas, one woman posted about Ms. Goodson's death, quickly drawing dozens of comments.
    "How many of us do this on a daily basis?" the woman wrote, of lugging her stroller on subway stairs. "I know my family does."
    Christine Ann Denny, a mother of two and a psychiatry professor at Columbia University, said the stress of carrying her daughter on the subway was one reason she moved to New Jersey.
    "Carrying a stroller, my briefcase for work, my daughter and her backpack with bottles for day care — it was a nightmare," she said.
    Ms. Denny said she was not even surprised by the news.
    "Going down the stairs, I didn't feel safe," she said. "People are trying to push by you to get ahead of you. Once in a while, you'd meet a great human being who would help you get down the stairs."

    Debra West contributed reporting from Stamford.


    6)  DNA tests could reveal if Kevin Cooper was wrongly convicted of murder. Why didn't Jerry Brown order them?
    By Narda Zacchino, January 30, 2019
    Jerry Brown at his ranch in Williams, Calif. on Dec. 28, 2017. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

    On Christmas Eve, shortly before the end of his final term as California's governor, Jerry Brown ordered new DNA testing in a case that has been cited repeatedly as a possible miscarriage of justice.
    But Brown inexplicably stopped short of ordering all the testing needed to finally settle whether Kevin Cooper was wrongly convicted for the savage 1983 murders of a Chino Hills family and a child staying at their house.
    Cooper, a convicted burglar who had escaped from a nearby prison two days before the murders, was soon arrested, although the one family member who survived the attack, Joshua Ryen, 8, indicated immediately after being rushed to the hospital that there were three attackers and they were white. Cooper is African American.
    Brown authorized DNA tests on only four of nine critically important items on an evidence list Cooper's attorneys provided.
    Over the decades Cooper has fought to prove his innocence, DNA technology has become so precise that testing of key evidence could finally determine whether or not he is guilty. It might even point to one or more others involved in the killing of Chino Hills chiropractors and Arabian horse breeders Peggy and Doug Ryen, both 41; their daughter Jessica, 10; and neighbor Christopher Hughes, 11.
    That's why Brown's action is so puzzling.
    Brown took an important step in allowing additional analysis and appointing a special master to oversee the testing. But he authorized DNA tests on only four of nine critically important items on an evidence list Cooper's attorneys provided. They are a tan T-shirt believed worn by the killer; a never-tested bloody towel taken from the Ryen home; a hatchet believed to have been used in the murders; and ahatchet sheath that looks newer, found in the home where Cooper hid for two days after his escape.
    Most puzzling of the items Brown did not authorize for testing is a clump of long light-brown hairs found clutched in the hand of Jessica, quite possibly yanked from the head of her killer and clearly not Cooper's hair.
    Josh Ryen, now in his 40s, pleaded for further investigation in a 2004 television interview on "48 Hours": "The hair needs to be tested," he said. "Her hand is clenched fighting for her life with hair in it. So, I want to know. I need to know." Brown's order won't help.
    Brown also did not authorize DNA testing of the victims' fingernail scrapings, or items that could prove Cooper was framed, including a vial of Cooper's blood drawn when he was arrested. It contains the blood preservative EDTA, as expected, but also the blood of at least one unknown person.
    It was blood from this vial that Cooper's attorneys believe was planted on the medium-size tan T-shirt that Cooper (who wears a size large) demanded in 2002 to be tested. When it revealed his blood, he and his attorneys were shocked, and in 2004 they got a retest. This time, EDTA was found in the blood spot, which Cooper's attorneys said was proof that investigators took preserved blood from the vial taken when he was arrested and planted it on the shirt. The lab analyst later rescinded his EDTA finding, saying it was a result of contamination in his lab.
    Brown's order also excluded testing for EDTA of a tiny spot of blood determined to be Cooper's that was found on a wall in the Ryen home. Someone else's DNA was also found in the spot. This test is important because it was the lone bit of evidence putting Cooper at the crime scene; his attorneys believe it was planted.
    The testing Brown authorized does include important items. Advanced DNA testing technology today might be able to identify the killer who wore the T-shirt 35 years ago by testing the inside collar and armpit material. It might pinpoint the user of the hatchet wielded in the attack. The orange towel should reveal the DNA of anyone who touched it. The hatchet was found near the T-shirt on the side of a road near the Ryen residence.
    The San Bernardino County coroner initially said the victims were slain by three or four killers wielding a hatchet, knives and an ice pick, inflicting 144 wounds within four minutes. Several witnesses reported seeing three people in the Ryens' stolen car shortly after the killings, and when the car was found by police a few days later, it had blood on three seats.
    Five days after the slayings, a woman told a deputy she suspected her convicted-murderer boyfriend of being involved and gave the deputy bloody coveralls the boyfriend left at their house the night of the murders. She also identified the bloody tan T-shirt as one she bought, and said her boyfriend was wearing it the day of the killings; and she reported that his missing hatchet resembled the one identified as the murder weapon.
    Sheriff Floyd Tidwell seemingly had a solid lead.
    But when he learned that Cooper had escaped from a nearby minimum-security prison and hid out near the Ryens, he declared Cooper the lone suspect.

    It's jarring, of course, to think that investigators would have ignored evidence that didn't fit their theory. But in a minority opinion about the case, U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge William C. Fletcher wrote: "In the course of their investigation, they discounted, disregarded, and discarded evidence pointing to other killers." Fletcher has since said he believes the San Bernardino Sheriff's Department framed Cooper.
    The coveralls were discarded without being tested, and the woman who gave them to police was never called as a witness. The ex-boyfriend has consistently denied his involvement. Cooper's attorneys have his DNA and will turn it over the state in the testing process.
    As for Cooper, in a recent interview from a cramped visiting cell on death row, he talked about justice and the need for further tests: "People who want me executed say the families need closure. But closure is not justice. Truth is justice."

    Narda Zacchino is a journalist and author who has been researching the Kevin Cooper case for two years.


    7) Morton Sobell, Last Defendant in Rosenberg Spy Case, Is Dead at 101
    By Michael T. Kaufman and Sam Roberts, January 30, 2019
    Morton Sobell in 1969. He was convicted in 1951 with Julius and Ethel Rosenberg of conspiracy to commit espionage.CreditCreditNeal Boenzi/The New York Times

    Morton Sobell, who was convicted in the Cold War spy trial that delivered Julius and Ethel Rosenberg to their deaths and divided the nation for decades, died on Dec. 26 in Manhattan, his son, Mark, confirmed on Wednesday. He was 101.
    Mr. Sobell, whose death was not reported at the time, had lived in the Bronx and then on the Upper West Side and had recently been in a nursing home.
    Serving 18 years in prison until 1969, Mr. Sobell asserted his innocence until 2008, when, in an interview with The New York Times, he startled his defenders by reversing himself and admitting that he had indeed been a Soviet spy.
    "Yeah, yeah, yeah, call it that," he said. "I never thought of it as that in those terms."
    In the interview, he also implicated Mr. Rosenberg in a conspiracy that supplied the Soviets with non-atomic military and industrial secrets stolen from the United States government.

    Mr. Rosenberg, an engineer from the Lower East Side of Manhattan, was tried along with his wife and Mr. Sobell in 1951 on the same charge: conspiracy to commit espionage. The government portrayed Mr. Rosenberg as the mastermind of an espionage ring that provided Soviet scientists not only with classified conventional weapons technology, but also with the know-how to enable them, by 1949, to replicate the plutonium bomb developed by the United States that destroyed Nagasaki in 1945 and ended World War II.
    Mrs. Rosenberg was portrayed as her husband's partner and accomplice in a plot that prosecutors all but blamed for emboldening China, with Soviet coaxing, to invade Korea in 1950.
    Testimony by government witnesses entangled Mr. Sobell in the conspiracy, though no evidence was presented that tied him to the theft of any nuclear secrets.
    After a two-week trial, during which Mrs. Rosenberg's brother, David Greenglass, gave the most damning testimony, the jury found all three defendants guilty of conspiracy. Judge Irving R. Kaufman sentenced the Rosenbergs to death, calling their crime "worse than murder." Mr. Sobell was given a 30-year prison term and later remanded to Alcatraz. Mr. Greenglass later admitted that he had lied about the most incriminating evidence against his sister.

    On June 19, 1953, after exhausting two years of legal appeals, the Rosenbergs were executed in the electric chair at Sing Sing prison in New York. They were the only Americans to have been put to death for espionage-related crimes since the Civil War.

    The verdict, and particularly the penalty, which orphaned the Rosenbergs' two young sons, generated global protests, scarred America's psyche and divided progressives from pro-Soviet communists. It became an unbridgeable fault line that would open an enduring gulf between liberals and conservatives.
    Were all the defendants really spies? Did the information they deliver truly enable the Soviet Union to approach nuclear parity with the United States? Was the prosecution politically motivated, either to awaken Americans to the reality of Soviet espionage (as Mr. Sobell acknowledged decades later) or to shift public opinion and expedite another round of wholesale red-baiting?
    By the 1980s and ′90s, as the Cold War waned, new revelations about the case emerged. In memoirs, old Soviet leaders wrote about the role of the spy ring, and aging K.G.B. agents spoke of their contacts with the Rosenbergs.
    In 1995 the United States released the Venona papers, Soviet Embassy messages that American cryptographers had secretly deciphered a half-century earlier. They referred to a spy ring headed by a man code-named Liberal and Antenna, who was married to a woman identified only as Ethel.
    It was to be Mr. Sobell's lot to spend much of his life overshadowed by his co-defendants. For those who said that the Rosenbergs had been framed, or that their executions were unjustified, Mr. Sobel was at best a lesser martyr. And for those who believed that the Rosenbergs were indeed spies, Mr. Sobell was, at best, a second-rate villain.
    He often expressed ambivalence about his part in the episode. He would pay homage to the Rosenbergs — Julius had been his college classmate and Young Communist League comrade — as heroes who had refused to save their lives by confessing or implicating others.
    Mr. Sobell, too, had resisted government hints of a reduced sentence if he confessed. But he would also differentiate himself from the couple, arguing that he should have been tried separately and that the charges against him didn't mention the atomic bomb.

    In an interview with The Times in 1998, he implored a reporter: "When you write my obituary, please don't say that I was accused of treason. I was charged and found guilty of conspiracy, which, you know, is like talking about espionage."
    He insisted that the secrets he had supplied to the Soviets involved only defensive radar and artillery devices rather than "stuff that could be used to attack our country." But many military experts believe that one of the devices he mentioned specifically, the SCR-584 radar, was used against American aircraft in Korea and Vietnam.

    Mr. Sobell, center, in 1978 with Robert Meeropol, left, and his brother, Michael, the sons of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. The Meeropols, who took the surname of the couple who adopted them after their parents were executed, met with Mr. Sobol in an effort to have the Rosenbergs' case reopened. 

    While the defendants were tried together, Judge Kaufman distinguished between the Rosenbergs and Mr. Sobell when he sentenced them. The Rosenbergs, he said, had enabled the Soviet Union to develop an atomic bomb years earlier than the United States had anticipated, leading to Communist aggression in Korea, where American troops were then fighting.
    To Mr. Sobell, the judge said, "I do not for a moment doubt that you were engaged in espionage activities; however, the evidence in the case did not point to any activity on your part in connection with the atom bomb project."
    Still, the 30 years that Judge Kaufman meted out was the maximum sentence under the law.
    Morton Sobell was born in Manhattan on April 11, 1917, to Louis and Rose Sobell, who had emigrated from the same Russian village before the Russian Revolution. His father, a pharmacist, opened a drugstore in the Bronx. In a 1974 memoir, "On Doing Time," Mr. Sobell described Communist Party meetings held in his home.
    At Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan he befriended Max Elitcher. They both studied engineering at City College, where they joined the Young Communist League and met Julius Rosenberg, a fellow student.
    After graduation, Mr. Sobell and Mr. Elitcher worked for the Navy's Bureau of Ordnance and shared an apartment in Washington. After working for General Electric in Schenectady, N.Y., Mr. Sobell joined the Reeves Instrument Corporation of New York in 1948 as lead engineer on a radar tracking system. He recruited Mr. Elitcher for the project. They and their wives were next-door neighbors in Queens.

    At the trial, Mr. Elitcher supplied the bulk of the evidence against Mr. Sobell. He testified about a film canister that Mr. Sobell said he had at home — one that was too risky to keep but too valuable to destroy. According to Mr. Elitcher, at Mr. Sobell's request, he drove him to Lower Manhattan and parked two blocks from the Rosenbergs's apartment. Mr. Sobell got out and went inside. Mr. Elitcher waited in the car.
    Mr. Sobell returned a few minutes later and told him that "Julie" had said that Mr. Elitcher no longer needed to worry about being followed, as he had been previously. Mr. Sobell said he never heard from Mr. Elitcher again.
    Much of the case against Mr. Sobell rested on Mr. Elitcher's testimony and Mr. Sobell's sudden departure to Mexico with his wife and children after the arrest of Mrs. Rosenberg's brother. In Mexico he used aliases, rented an apartment and sought ship passage to hospitable countries. On Aug. 16, 1950, armed men broke into the Sobells' apartment and abducted Mr. Sobell, then turned him over to the F.B.I. at the border.
    Mr. Sobell never testified in his own defense.
    Once he was imprisoned, informants told the government that Mr. Sobell might reveal details of the espionage ring in return for a reduced sentence, but apparently his wife, Helen, persuaded him not to.

    In prison he met the racketeer Frank Costello and the union boss Jimmy Hoffa. By Mr. Sobell's account, Mr. Hoffa once saw him looking at personal photographs in the prison yard. "Hey, Morty," Hoffa called out, "what do you have there, secret plans?"
    In the prison library at Alcatraz, Mr. Sobell discovered an issue of Scientific American with an article about Robert Stroud, a convicted murderer who was being kept in isolation there. Mr. Stroud, who conducted ornithological studies in his cell, was portrayed by Burt Lancaster in the 1962 film "Birdman of Alcatraz." Mr. Sobell expressed pride that he was able to sneak the article to Mr. Stroud.
    The two later became friends while being held at the Springfield Medical Center in Missouri. "I was the only one who would eat with the Birdman at Springfield," Mr. Sobell said, "because after all those years in isolation without utensils, he only ate with his hands."

    While Mr. Sobell was in prison, his wife gave up her career as a physicist and mounted a drive for his release through petitions, rallies and legal appeals, all of which were monitored by the F.B.I. The United States Court of Appeals in New York ultimately ordered his release on Jan. 14, 1969.
    Mr. Sobell suggested that his wife had been aware of his guilt, but it was unclear what she knew and for how long.
    While writing his memoir, Mr. Sobell studied electronics at Columbia University and taught at Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn (now the New York University Tandon School of Engineering). He also worked for a medical supply company and developed a low-cost hearing aid, which he helped to distribute in Cuba and Vietnam.
    His confession in 2008, his stepdaughter, Sydney Gurewitz Clemens, told The Times, "complicated history and the personal histories of the many millions of people, all over the world, who gave time, energy, money and heart to the struggle to support his claims of innocence."
    Mr. Sobell's first marriage ended in divorce in 1980; Helen Sobell diedin 2002 at 84. In 1993 he married Nancy Gruber. She died last July. In addition to his son, he is survived by Ms. Gurewitz Clemens and grandchildren.
    Most of the protagonists in the case, Mr. Sobell included, were Jews who became Communists during the Depression, when capitalism seemed to be lacking and the Soviets asserted that they had outlawed anti-Semitism. They stayed committed to the cause when they spied, largely during World War II, when the Soviets were American allies against the Nazis.
    "Now I know it was an illusion," Mr. Sobell said of Communism in 2008. "I was taken in."

    Michael T. Kaufman, who was a correspondent and editor for The Times, died in 2010.


    8) What Is the Blood of a Poor Person Worth?
    Desperate people can make $30 donating plasma, up to 104 times a year, in this $20-billion industry.
    By Zoe Greenberg, February 1, 2019
    CSL Plasma, a blood plasma collection center, in a shopping center in the Olney neighborhood of Philadelphia.CreditCreditMichelle Gustafson for The New York Times

    PHILADELPHIA — Jacqueline Watson needed money. Her son had called her that morning from prison, where he is serving a life sentence, to ask her to make a deposit in his phone account. She didn’t have cash, but she did have something she could sell quickly and legally — her blood.
    So, on a crisp Monday morning in November, she traveled 40 minutes by bus to CSL Plasma, a blood plasma collection center wedged between a Dollar Tree and a Wells Fargo bank in a strip mall in North Philadelphia.
    “What always brings me here is money,” Ms. Watson, 46, said, as she waited in line to get her vitals taken. “I’m doing it for him, I guess you could say.” She earns about $30 each time she donates.
    The plasma business is booming in the United States, with the number of collection centers like this one more than doubling since 2005, and global sales roughly quadrupling since 2000 to be more than $21 billion in 2017. Many developed countries have banned paying people for their blood, but not the United States. Blood products made up 1.9 percent of all American exports in 2016, more than soybeans, more than computers.

    Plasma — the golden liquid that transports red and white blood cells and proteins through our bodies — is something of an elixir. It’s used to create lifesaving medicines for people with hemophilia, immune disorders, burns and other painful conditions, and it cannot be replicated in a lab. 
    The market for those medicines is “projected to grow radiantly by 2023,” according to a report from Market Research Future. But there is an underside to all that growth: The industry depends on the blood of the very poor. 
    Ethicists, sociologists, business executives and “plassers” themselves, as the donors are sometimes called, are increasingly asking: Is the business exploitative, taking advantage of desperate people? Or is it beneficial, offering much-needed income to those who have few avenues to make money? Should we encourage people to sell their lifeblood so frequently, or make it harder to do so?
    The Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association, a trade group, disputes the idea that the industry depends on desperate people.
    “When I go to centers, what I see in those centers is people of all walks of life. You see mothers, you see students, you see employed people, you see unemployed people,” said Jan Bult, the group’s president and chief executive.

    But plasma companies locate their collection centers disproportionately in destitute neighborhoods, according to Heather Olsen, who, as a graduate student researcher at Case Western Reserve University, examined 40 years of data on collection centers across the country. “They’re surgically placing these,” she said.
    Healthy people can donate plasma twice a week, up to 104 times a year. The plasma industry says that most people do not donate so frequently and that there are minimal health risks involved, but other researchers disagree. One 2010 study found that paid donors who sell their plasma frequently have fewer proteins in their blood, which some experts say could put them at risk for infections and liver and kidney disorders. In the short term, plassers have reported fatigue, tingling sensations, anemia and blacking out.
    Nonetheless, many are grateful for the opportunity. The money that comes from it can be the only form of cash income for families living in extreme poverty, as Luke Shaefer and Kathryn Edin note in their book “$2 a Day.”
    A number of people at the CSL collection center in North Philadelphia last November confirmed that the money they received there was their only income; they were putting it toward food, rent and bus fare. Some, like Kevin Hayway, were veteran plasma sellers; he estimated that he had sold his plasma more than 100 times a year for the past three years. Robert Jenkins said he had learned about the center when he was living at a homeless shelter; residents there recommended it as a good place to make fast cash. He planned to spend the money on food, starting at a McDonald’s across the parking lot. First time donors like Mr. Jenkins are paid the most, around $50; after five donations, payment is based on body weight, plus bonuses. 
    Mr. Shaefer, the poverty scholar, said the solution is not to ban the practice, but instead for policymakers to have a real debate about the risks. He suggested they might consider enforcing a minimum wage for plasma sellers.
    “Ideally,” he said, “I’d like to have a good discussion about what a fair price is.”
    His idea has some precedent: Selling whole blood used to be a reputable profession, with professional blood sellers living in collective boardinghouses and even forming a union in the 1930s, according to Rose George’s book “Nine Pints.” During World War II, a biochemist figured out how to separate plasma, which can be dried, from whole blood, which was perishable and difficult to ship to the front. Soon after, the plasma industry was born. 
    In the decades after the war, a growing body of research suggested that the blood supply would be healthier and safer if people voluntarily donated. In the 1970s, the Food and Drug Administration began requiring that whole blood be labeled either a voluntary or paid donation. Blood that had been paid for came to be seen as both morally and physically tainted, according to Ms. George; today, the Red Cross will not use it. The F.D.A. requirement never applied to plasma, perhaps because it is broken down and processed before entering another person’s body.

    The medicines manufactured from plasma do save lives. Seth Kaufman, a 44-year-old marketing executive and volunteer for the Immune Deficiency Foundation, had been sick most of his life, in and out of the hospital with relentless ear and sinus infections.
    Finally, at 36, he was diagnosed with an immunoglobulin deficiency, meaning his blood lacked crucial antibodies, and was prescribed a medicine derived from human plasma. Now he can work and travel and play with his children without fear of contracting a debilitating lung infection.
    “When I tell you that this changed my life, it’s a massive understatement,” Mr. Kaufman said.
    I wanted to see exactly what type of screening donors went through to provide the plasma for people like Mr. Kaufman, so I donated plasma at a CSL Plasma clinic in Linden, N.J., in a strip mall next to a shuttered Pay Half store.
    I watched a 23-minute safety video; my finger was pricked and my temperature was taken; I answered 63 questions, from whether I had lived with someone with hepatitis in the past 12 months to whether I had ever received money for sex; and my arms and ankles were examined for needle sticks.
    This screening is robust but not fail-proof: In a survey of plasma donors at a CSL Plasma Clinic in Ohio, Ms. Olsen found that 13 percent reported they had misled clinic workers about their health in order to donate.
    For three hours of my time and 689 mL of my plasma, I made $50, which was given to me on a prepaid debit card that charges a small fee when used.
    It made me wonder: Why, if money was changing hands, do plasma collection centers still use the language of donation?

    Harriet Washington, a bioethics lecturer at Columbia and the author of the book “Medical Apartheid,” said the semantics can mask the more troubling realities of the industry.
    “It’s really important to understand that the profit motive has sometimes been shown to outweigh concern for people’s health,” Ms. Washington said. “The problem with using words like ‘donors’ is that it creates the assumption of beneficence.”
    Mr. Hayway, who donates every week, said he originally came for the money, but he liked that his plasma was helping people, too. He’s just not sure he’s getting a fair shake.
    A donation of plasma, for which he will be paid about $30, will yield roughly $300 worth of wholesale immunoglobulin, according to Roger Kobayashi, a clinical professor at the UCLA School of Medicine.
    “I know they get a lot of money,” Mr. Hayway said of the companies that run the plasma centers. “I would say they should pay more, but that’s just my opinion.”
    Zoe Greenberg is on the editorial staff of the Opinion section.


    9) Sackler Scion’s Email Reveals Push for High-Dose OxyContin, New Lawsuit Disclosures Claim
    "The lawsuit alleges that the Sackler family received more than $4 billion in opioid profits since 2007, when the company pleaded guilty."
    By Barrry Meler, January 31, 2019

    Demonstrators outside Purdue Pharma’s headquarters in Stamford, Conn., in August.CreditCreditJessica Hill/Associated Press

    A member of the Sackler family that owns OxyContin’s maker directed the company to put a premium on selling high dosages of its potentially addicting painkillers, according to new disclosures in a lawsuit.
    Richard Sackler, a son of a founder of Purdue Pharma and its onetime president, told company officials in 2008 to “measure our performance by Rx’s by strength, giving higher measures to higher strengths,” according to an email written by Mr. Sackler, contained in the filing.
    The lawsuit, which was filed in June by the Massachusetts attorney general, Maura Healey, claims that Purdue Pharma and members of the Sackler family knew that putting patients on high dosages of OxyContin for long periods increased the risks of serious side effects, including addiction. Nonetheless, they promoted higher dosages because stronger pain pills brought the company and the Sacklers the most profit, the lawsuit has charged.

    A Purdue spokesman dismissed contentions in the lawsuit that the company promoted high-dose opioid use. “None of the documents cited by the attorney general support her fictional narrative that the company was only interested in promoting higher doses,” that spokesman, Robert Josephson, said.

    Richard Sackler has stated that he was not involved in the company’s marketing activities. However, the 2008 email appears to be among the first internal company emails to suggest that Mr. Sackler urged the promotion of higher strengths of OxyContin. Two other members of the family, Jonathan and Mortimer Sackler, were copied in on the email, according to the new disclosures.
    That email is one of several disclosures that emerged Thursday when Ms. Healey filed a version of her lawsuit that contained information that Purdue Pharma had sought to block from public view.
    In a filing last week, several parts of the lawsuit were redacted, but a Massachusetts state judge agreed with several groups, including The New York Times and other media organizations, that the entire complaint should be made public. A last-minute effort Thursday by Purdue Pharma to block the release failed.
    The drug maker has long sought to depict the Sackler family as removed from the company’s day-to-day operations. The Sacklers are one of the richest families in the United States, with much of their wealth derived from sales of OxyContin. Their name graces museums and medical schools around the world, and the new revelations are likely to renew calls for institutions to decline their philanthropic gifts.
    In a statement, Purdue Pharma, which is based in Stamford, Conn., said that Thursday’s release of the remaining portions of the Massachusetts lawsuit was “part of a continuing effort to single out Purdue, blame it for the entire opioid crisis, and try the case in the court of public opinion rather than the justice system.”

    Earlier this month, it had described the lawsuit as “littered with biases and inaccurate characterizations.” That statement said the company was working to curtail the use and misuse of prescription painkillers.

    In 2007, Purdue Pharma pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges that the company had misrepresented the dangers of OxyContin. Three of its top officials — its chief executive, Michael Friedman; its general counsel, Howard Udell; and its top medical officer, Dr. Paul Goldenheim — pleaded guilty to criminal misdemeanors associated with the company’s conduct. Together, the company and the men paid $634.5 million in fines.
    At that time, the Sacklers were not accused of any wrongdoing and have not faced personal legal consequences over the drug. The new disclosures show that after the pleas, the Purdue board, which includes several Sackler family members, voted to pay Mr. Friedman $3 million and Mr. Udell up to $6 million. The lawsuit contends the payments were efforts by the Sacklers to maintain the executives’ loyalty and protect the family.
    Mr. Udell is now deceased and Mr. Friedman did not return a telephone call seeking comment.
    The new disclosures also include a chart showing the billions of dollars the Sacklers have received from Purdue over the years. The lawsuit alleges that the Sackler family received more than $4 billion in opioid profits since 2007, when the company pleaded guilty.
    The lawsuit includes claims that McKinsey & Company, a consulting firm, prepared reports for Purdue Pharma to develop strategies that would increase the prescribing by doctors of the more powerful forms of the company’s painkillers.
    According to the complaint, McKinsey consultants advised Purdue Pharma to increase sales by claiming that opioids reduced stress and made patients less isolated. Patients on drugs such as OxyContin can in fact become socially withdrawn.
    McKinsey consultants, members of the Sackler family were told, also planned to study techniques for keeping patients on opioids longer and McKinsey urged Purdue Pharma to fight efforts taken by federal agencies to stop illegal drug sales, the lawsuit claims.

    A spokesman for McKinsey said in a statement that the company had only received the unredacted version of the Massachusetts lawsuit and was reviewing it. “We care deeply about the opioid crisis and the impact it has had on our communities,” the statement said.
    The filing also shows that in recent years Purdue Pharma considered selling drugs used to treat opioid addiction or counteract the effects of a potentially fatal opioid overdose.
    A slide that was part of a 2014 presentation to company officials, including a Sackler family member, about selling an addiction treatment drug stated that “pain treatment and addiction are naturally linked.” It also said, “There is an opportunity to expand our offering to be an end-to-end pain provider.”
    While that plan did not go forward, the company also considered the possibility of selling naloxone, or Narcan, which is a drug given to revive people suffering an opioid overdose. According to documents cited in the filing, a potential marketing plan called for studying “long-term script users” to “better understand target end-patients” for Narcan.
    Since OxyContin came on the market in 1996, more than 200,000 people have died in the United States from overdoses involving prescription opioids, and Purdue Pharma has been the target of numerous lawsuits. The Massachusetts case is one of hundreds of lawsuits filed by states, cities and Native American tribes against manufacturers and distributors of opioids. Many of those case have been consolidated for trial in an Ohio federal court.

    Katie Thomas contributed reporting.


    10) No Heat for Days at a Jail in Brooklyn. Hundreds of Inmates Are Sick and ‘Frantic’.
    By Annie Correal, February 1, 2019

    The Metropolitan Detention Center in Sunset Park Brooklyn in 2017.CreditCreditTodd Heisler/The New York Times

    More than a thousand inmates have been stuck in freezing cells at a federal jail on the Brooklyn waterfront that has had limited power and heat for at least this week, according to federal public defenders and leaders of the union representing the jail’s corrections officers.
    “They just stay huddled up in the bed,” said June Bencebi, a case manager at the jail and the treasurer of the local chapter of the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents about 500 corrections officers at the jail.
    The jail, the Metropolitan Detention Center, houses more than 1,600 inmates and lies in an industrial swath near the waterfront in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Some are linked to high-profile drug trafficking and terrorism cases, while other inmates are comparatively anonymous New Yorkers awaiting trial.

    The accounts of conditions at the jail were described to The New York Times by six lawyers and paralegals with local Federal Defenders offices, who had spoken with around three dozen inmates at M.D.C.; two union leaders; and an employee at the jail who was not authorized to speak publicly.

    A spokeswoman for Herman Quay, the jail’s warden, said in an email that the building experienced a partial power outage on Saturday but denied that it had affected heat and hot water in the jail’s housing units.
    Union leaders and defense lawyers refuted that account.
    Federal defenders said they were flooded with calls from inmates this week as temperatures began to drop. “Our phone was ringing off the hook,” said the lead federal defender in Brooklyn, Deirdre von Dornum. She said inmates, using a dedicated line that connects the jail to federal defenders offices, had gathered around the telephones on their floors to report poor heating, little to no hot water and no lights in their cells.
    On Thursday, Rachel Bass, a paralegal at the Brooklyn office of the Federal Defenders said that she had fielded calls from about 15 inmates. “In the past hour I have gotten 11 calls,” she said. “People are frantic. They’re really, really scared. They don’t have extra blankets. They don’t have access to the commissary to buy an extra sweatshirt.”
    She said many inmates complained of congestion and sore throats.
    The president of the local chapter of the union, Anthony Sanon, said the problems began around Jan. 5 when the jail lost power for the first time. The heating issues began last week, leaving inmates and staff to face freezing weather for the first time. “We didn’t have heat in the building, we didn’t have light,” Mr. Sanon said. “The weather was actually unbearable.”
    An electrical fire on Sunday further hobbled the functioning of the jail. The jail switched over to emergency power, leaving the corridors lit only by dim emergency lights, the cells dark and the building poorly heated during the coldest days of the winter so far. This week, the temperature plummeted to 2 degrees in New York City, as frigid weather swept over the Midwest and Northeast.

    “The heat isn’t coming out properly,” Mr. Sanon said.
    One inmate told a federal defender that a corrections officer had taken the temperature in a housing unit, which was warmer than the cells, and it was 34 degrees.
    New York City’s Fire Department confirmed that it responded to a small electrical fire in the jail’s control room on Sunday.
    But the warden’s spokesman, who signed her name V. Logan, said in the email the power outage had “minimally impacted” housing units.
    “All housing units have functional lighting,” she said. “Heat and hot water has not been impacted. Likewise, inmate meals are not impacted; inmates are receiving regularly scheduled hot meals each day.”
    Taken together, the accounts of nearly three dozen inmates given to federal defenders painted a different picture of conditions inside the jail.
    Heat was the main complaint. The heat was spotty to nonexistent, depending on the floor. Hot water was scarce. Hot food had not been served for several days, with canned food handed out cell by cell. One inmate, who kept kosher, said he had only been given canned sardines.
    The inmates were promised extra blankets, but they never came. The commissary, because of the limited electricity, was closed.

    “All said they were wearing whatever they could to stay warm,” said Randi Chavis, a federal defender in the Central Islip, N.Y., office who spoke to several people. “Extra pairs of socks, towels wrapped around their heads, durags, thermals if they have them.”
    The conditions were aggravated by the lack of electrical power, inmates told the lawyers and paralegals. The jail had abandoned its usual routines, with inmates kept on partial lockdown for safety reasons.
    Because power outlets were not working, the inmates could not use the computers that usually allow them to communicate with relatives and place requests for prescription refills.
    “One man takes anti-seizure medication which he is allowed to keep with him,” Ms. Chavis said. “He takes two pills a day and is down to his last three pills.”
    Legal visits and family visits had been canceled since Sunday, the lawyers said.
    The recent events come on the heels of the government shutdown, which impeded the ability of lawyers to visit their clients in federal jails, including at M.D.C. It was not immediately clear whether the power and heat issues were related to the shutdown.
    On Thursday, the federal defenders filed an emergency motion to remove from the jail an inmate whose asthma had worsened from the cold. . The inmate, Dino Sanchez, a Brooklyn man in his 40s, had recently entered the jail and was being held in the Segregated Housing Unit, a restrictive area where some inmates are kept in solitary, a federal defender, Benjamin Yaster, said.
    Mr. Yaster said in an interview that his client had been among those left in a dark cell, illuminated only by sunlight from the windows, virtually around the clock. “The population was kept in their cells for 23 hours,” he said. “He’s stuck in these cold conditions in a short sleeved jumpsuit and a short sleeved undershirt.”

    “He feels short of breath and is wheezing and coughing more than he normally would,” said Mr. Yaster.
    The federal defenders initially requested that the M.D.C. management provide backup heating or more blankets. They later requested that inmates be moved to an adjacent building, now empty but for a few dozen female inmates.
    They said they received no response. “Not only have the conditions been disgraceful but we have peppered them with questions and we get nothing but silence,” said David E. Patton, head of the federal defender office. The office represents thousands of indigent defendants.
    “They might say, ‘an incident occurred,’ or ‘visiting is canceled’ but when we follow-up to ask if people have heat, hot water, or adequate access to their families or attorneys, they stonewall us,” Mr. Patton said.
    The building next door, also run by the jail, has full power and heat.
    Mr. Sanon, the labor union leader, said he contacted the warden beginning early last week and toured the jail with him. He was assured heat would be monitored. “To no avail,” he said on Thursday.
    “This morning again I got a call,” he added. “It was freezing.”
    Ms. Bencebi, the union treasurer, said she was particularly concerned for elderly inmates. “I have several inmates that are very elderly,” she said. “One of them complained that he’s been sick for the last few days. He looks sickly. He’s walking slower. Talking slower.”


    11) Scientists Single Out a Suspect in Starfish Carnage: Warming Oceans
    By Kendra Pierre-Louis, January 30, 2019

    A sunflower star off Alaska. Their limbs can number between 16 and 24 and can span four feet across.CreditCreditJennifer Idol/Stocktrek Images, via Science Source

    In 2013, starfish — including the morning sun star, the richly hued ochre star and the sunflower star, whose limbs can span four feet across — started dying by the millions along the Pacific Coast from Mexico to Alaska.
    They were succumbing to a wasting disease. It began with white lesions on their limbs, the dissolution of the surrounding flesh, a loss of limbs and finally death. Understanding, let alone solving, the problem would take research.
    One day, shortly after the epidemic began, Drew Harvell, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Cornell University who had been sounding the alarm about the disease, received a curious letter.

    “I received a $400 check in the mail from a group of schoolchildren from Arkansas,” Dr. Harvell said. “These kids were so upset about the idea of starfish disappearing from the oceans that they went out and they did this fund-raiser and raised 400 bucks for us to help in our research. I never asked them to do this. They just did it.”

    Dr. Harvell matched it with her own money, and a donor kicked in quite a bit more. “That was what funded some of our early surveys,” she said. “These kids, who none of them had been to the Pacific Ocean, but they just needed to know those stars were there.” 
    One of the ultimate results of the children’s donation, a paper that sheds some light on the decline of the starfish, also known as sea stars, was published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances. The main suspect: our warming oceans.
    In 2013, parts of the Pacific Ocean became unusually warm as part of a broader marine heat wave, nicknamed the Blob, that would last through 2015 and that was very likely exacerbated by human-caused global warming. But while the ocean warmed, it didn’t warm evenly, making it hard to tell if the heat wave was contributing to the starfish deaths.
    In the study, which was led jointly by Cornell and the University of California, Davis, Dr. Harvell and her colleagues compiled data from citizen-scientists and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Then, they compared changes in the sunflower star population with changes in ocean temperature during the outbreak.
    While the disease affected 20 species of starfish, the researchers focused on the sunflower star because it was especially hard hit and because there was good historical data on its population before the epidemic.

    The researchers found that the die-off of the sunflower star matched the pattern of heat spreading through the ocean.

    According to Rebecca Vega Thurber, an associate professor of environmental microbiology at Oregon State University, who was not involved in the study, “What’s really exciting about this paper is the really strong correspondence between this temperature anomaly that occurred during that year when the sea stars started dying.”
    Everywhere the warming went, the sunflower stars sickened and died.
    The study showed a correlation between warming temperatures and the spread of the disease, not a direct cause. But it corroborates a hypothesis that was initially questioned because the virus that researchers think is responsible also shows up in healthy sea stars. 
    “That trigger, in the case of this paper, seems to be temperature,” Dr. Vega Thurber said.
    Dr. Vega Thurber pointed out that the presence of a particular pathogen does not necessarily mean a disease will develop.
    For example, if you’ve had chickenpox you are carrying the virus that causes shingles. Roughly a third of carriers will develop the disease, but two-thirds won’t. It takes something to prompt its emergence.
    Heat has also been implicated as a trigger in the spread of a fungus that is wiping out frog and toad populations around the globe, as well as in coral diseases. In fact, when corals bleach or lose their symbiotic algae because of warming oceans, it’s typically disease that ultimately kills them.
    There are things we can do to help marine life, Dr. Harvell said. We can replant seagrass beds and protect mangroves, for instance. But, ultimately, we need to stop climate change, she said. The world’s oceans have absorbed more than 90 percent of the atmospheric heat humans have caused by releasing greenhouse gases.

    While some affected sea stars have begun to return to American waters on the West Coast, the sunflower star has not returned off the lower 48 states.
    But last summer, on the south coast of Alaska, researchers saw a glimmer of hope: the reappearance of sunflower stars, which had disappeared from Prince William Sound during the outbreak.
    “We don’t know where exactly they came from,” said Brenda Konar, a professor of marine biology at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, who was not involved in the Science Advances study. “They were pretty small and we don’t know if they’re going to survive. So we’re really curious about what we’ll see next summer.”
    If they make a comeback, the Arkansas students, who are now teenagers, will likely be delighted.
    Kendra Pierre-Louis is a reporter on the climate team. Before joining The Times in 2017, she covered science and the environment for Popular Science. @kendrawrites

    12) The Truth Behind a Vietnam War Airstrike Uncovered
    In this week’s At War newsletter: An investigative report obtained by The Times reveals new details about one of the Vietnam War’s worst friendly-fire incidents.
    By John Ismay, February 1, 2019

    Paratroopers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade filing past bodies of fellow soldiers killed in the Battle of Dak To.CreditCreditAl Chang/Associated Press

    In the desperate fight for Hill 875 in South Vietnam’s Central Highlands, at least 20 soldiers from the United States Army’s 173rd Airborne Brigade were killed in one of the deadliest friendly-fire incidents of the entire Vietnam War. Just past dusk on Nov. 19, 1967, a Marine Corps A-4 attack jet dropped two 250-pound Mk-81 Snakeye bombs, which landed inside the 173rd’s hastily formed defensive perimeter. One of the bombs was a dud; the other exploded as it hit a tree, under which was the American command post as well as the collection point for the unit’s most seriously wounded soldiers.
    The story is based on an unredacted Air Force investigation, whose details have not previously been made public, into the incident and first-person accounts from service members who were there, including Jon Wambi Cook, a soldier who survived the battle. Cook vividly remembers what happened on the ground in the moments after the blast, as the investigative report recounts what happened in the air above him. The combined narratives point to the sorrow and doubt that endure for a lifetime after a battlefield mistake.

    In reporting this story, I consulted with two people who have written extensively on what became known as the Battle of Dak To. One, Edward F. Murphy, scoured the National Archives for records related to the battle before publishing a book about the fight in 1993. The second was a retired Army infantry colonel named Leonard B. Scott, who wrote his graduate thesis about the battle while a student at the Army War College in 1988, and searched through the school library’s hoard of primary-source documents related to Dak To. Both men told me that they had never seen the report before.

    Scott’s research helped him piece together what he heard as a young lieutenant when he reported as a platoon leader in the 173rd, arriving in Vietnam about a year after the Battle of Dak To. Back then, he said, the consensus was that the South Vietnamese were responsible for the errant strike, not the Americans. But the investigation, which was kept from view by the Defense Department, shows that though there were two A-1 Skyraider airplanes above Hill 875 during the battle, they were flown by the United States Air Force and not by the South Vietnamese.
    Scott heard more or less the same story throughout the 1970s and 1980s in professional settings and officers clubs alike, and Scott didn’t question it. “It kind of explained away everything for me,” Scott said. “It’s just easier to point to someone else, especially when there’s the option to point at someone else.” It wasn’t until I spoke to him earlier this month about the report’s findings did he finally learn that the South Vietnamese were not to blame for the short round. The investigation makes it clear exactly who dropped that bomb: a United States Marine lieutenant colonel who commanded an A-4 Skyhawk squadron at Chu Lai. Now living in an assisted-care facility, I spoke with the former pilot at length about Dak To. He still prays it was someone else who was responsible.


    13) Teenagers Emerge as a Force in Climate Protests Across Europe
    By Milan Schreuer, Ellan Peltier and Christopher F. Schuetze, January 31, 2019

    Thousands of students skipped school on Thursday and swamped the center of Brussels to demand better protection of the world’s climate.CreditCreditFrancisco Seco/Associated Press

    BRUSSELS — Tens of thousands of children skipped school in Belgium on Thursday to join demonstrations for action against climate change, part of a broader environmental protest movement across Europe that has gathered force over the past several weeks.
    In Germany, France, Sweden, Switzerland and elsewhere, activists have come together on social media to gather in large numbers and without much apparent preparation, the protests taking a different shape in each country.
    In Germany, students have protested on Fridays, communicating mainly through the messaging app WhatsApp; in Belgium, they organize on Facebook and have skipped school by the thousands on four consecutive Thursdays.

    Last Sunday, climate protests in Brussels swelled to an estimated 100,000 people of all ages. That same day, an estimated 80,000 took part in cities across France — more than turned out for the “Yellow Vest”protests the day before.

    BRUSSELS — Tens of thousands of children skipped school in Belgium on Thursday to join demonstrations for action against climate change, part of a broader environmental protest movement across Europe that has gathered force over the past several weeks.
    In Germany, France, Sweden, Switzerland and elsewhere, activists have come together on social media to gather in large numbers and without much apparent preparation, the protests taking a different shape in each country.
    In Germany, students have protested on Fridays, communicating mainly through the messaging app WhatsApp; in Belgium, they organize on Facebook and have skipped school by the thousands on four consecutive Thursdays.
    Last Sunday, climate protests in Brussels swelled to an estimated 100,000 people of all ages. That same day, an estimated 80,000 took part in cities across France — more than turned out for the “Yellow Vest”protests the day before.

    “To us, it is so self-evident that we can’t keep on going in this direction,” said Axelle, raising her voice above the drumming, whistling and shouting of her fellow protesters.
    “We come here with the right intentions, to protest in peace and to raise awareness about climate change, because we want to be on the right side of history,” Elisa Kiambi said. “It is time for the government to act.”
    After meeting this week with a delegation of climate activists, Belgium’s prime minister, Charles Michel, said he was prepared to act, but not at any cost.

    “Nothing is for free, someone always has to pay the bills,” he said.
    He seemed to refer to the Yellow Vest movement against economic woes and inequality, which has resonated with people across Europe, including in Belgium. That movement, which began in reaction to a planned fuel tax increase — presented as an environmental measure — has been at odds with concerns about the climate.
    “We need a climate policy that is positive for the environment, but also one that is positive for the purchasing power of the families,” Mr. Michel said.
    In France, few students have skipped school to protest, but an online petition demanding climate action by the government has gathered more than 2.1 million signatures. On the Place de la République in Paris last Sunday, protesters debated how to force climate change into President Emmanuel Macron’s nationwide dialogue in response to the Yellow Vests.
    In both movements, there are people who argue that the fights against inequality and climate should not conflict.

    “One shouldn’t think that the Yellow Vests aren’t mindful of ecology, of the planet,” said Ingrid Levavasseur, 31, a Yellow Vest protester who is running for a seat in the European Parliament.
    In Germany on Friday, about 3,500 high school and university students gathered in Munich under the banner “Fridays for Future.”
    In Berlin, about 10,000 climate activists with signs like “It’s our future you are playing with” and “Climate S.O.S.” demonstrated in front of the Ministry of Economics and Technology, joined by the Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei.

    “We tell people, dress warmly, because we are only getting started,” said Luisa Neubauer, 22, a university student who helps organize the Berlin protests.
    On Friday morning, organizers met with the economics minister, Peter Altmaier, and members of the government’s coal commission. The next day, the commission recommended ending the use of coal to generate electricity by 2038.
    In Brussels, Liam, 18, who was protesting for the third Thursday in a row, said there was “a growing momentum” in the movement, but he wondered if it should be more disruptive to draw more attention.
    “Most adults probably think it’s cute that children protest,” he said. “But maybe we should change the timing of the protests to rush hour.”


    14) Gilets Jaunes “Assembly of Assemblies” calls for massive strike
    The Gilets Jaunes of Commercy recently organized an “Assembly of Assemblies” to coordinate the radical democratization of the popular resistance in France.
    By ROAR Collective, January 30, 2019

    We, Gilets Jaunes of the roundabouts, parking lots, squares, assemblies and demonstrations, gathered on January 26 and 27 for an “Assembly of Assemblies”, which united members of over a hundred Gilets Jaunes delegations from across France, all answering the call of the Gilets Jaunes of Commercy.
    Since November 17, 2018, from the smallest villages deep in the country side to the biggest cities of France, we rose up against this deeply violent, unjust and unbearable society. We shall no longer be treated that way! We revolt against the cost of life, poverty, instability and misery. We wish for our relatives, friends, families and children, that they all will be able to live in dignity. Currently, 26 billionaires possess as much as half of the world population — this is totally unacceptable.
    Let’s share wealth and not misery! Down with the social inequalities! We demand the immediate increase of wages, of the social allowances, of the subsidies and pensions; we demand the unconditional right for lodging, health, education and free public services for all! It is for all these rights that we occupy the roundabouts across the country on a daily basis, that we organize direct actions, demonstrations and arrange public debates. With our yellow vests, we are reclaiming the power to speak, we who never had it before.
    And then, what is the response from the government? Repression, hubris, denial. Deaths, thousands of wounded, the massive use of weapons designed to maim, blind, injure and traumatize. Over 1.000 persons have been arbitrarily arrested, sentenced and jailed. Now a new, so-called “anti-arson law”, is designed to deny us the right of demonstration. We condemn all violence against the demonstrators, be it from the police forces or from violent groups. None of this will stop us! To manifest one’s discontent is a fundamental right. Down with the impunity of the police forces! Amnesty for all the victims of the repression!
    And what a sham is this idea of “Grand National Debate”. It is just a one big publicity stunt and PR campaign by the government, using and hijacking our will to debate and decide for ourselves! The true democracy is practiced within our popular and public assemblies and on the roundabouts. It is not on the stage of television sets nor is it in the so-called political round-table organized by Macron.
    After insulting us and treating us like we are nothing more than scum, they are now presenting us as a heinous, racist and fascist crowd. But we are the total opposite: neither racist nor sexist nor homophobic, we are simply proud to be together with all our differences to build a society in solidarity.
    We are as strong as the diversity of our debates. At this very moment, hundreds of assemblies are elaborating and proposing their own demands. These assemblies talk about real democracy, social justice, tax issues, working conditions, ecological justice and the end of discrimination. Among the most debated claims and strategical proposals we find: the end of misery in all its forms, the transformation of the institutions (with projects like the Citizen Initiated Referendum, constituent assembly, the end of the privileges of the elected representatives), the ecological transition (energetic scarcity, industrial pollution), equality and the recognition of anyone no matter what nationality (handicapped people, gender issues, an end to the isolation of the populous suburbs, neighborhoods, rural areas and overseas territories).
    We, Yellow Vests, are inviting anyone to join us with their own abilities and capacities. We call to pursue the actions with Act 12 against police violence in front of the police stations and the Acts 13, 14 etc… We call for the continuation of the occupation of the roundabouts and the blocking of the economy, to engage in a massive and unlimited strike starting on February 5, 2019.
    We call for the creation of popular committees in the workplaces, in study places and everywhere else in order that this strike could led from the grassroots by the strikers themselves, and not by the unions. Let’s take the matter in our own hands! Don’t stay alone, join us!
    Let’s organize ourselves democratically, independently and autonomously! This assembly of assemblies is a very important milestone which allows us to discuss about our demands and our means of action. Let’s federate to transform the society!
    We propose that all the Yellow Vests circulate this call. And if, as a Gilets Jaunesgroup, it resonates with you, send your signature to Commercy at (assembleedesassemblees@gmail.com). Don’t hesitate to discuss and formulate some proposals for the next “Assembly of Assemblies” which we already are preparing.
    Macron Resign! Long live the power of the people, for the people and by the people.
    This call is proposed by the Assembly of Assemblies in Commercy. This call will then be proposed for approval in all local assemblies.

    This call was translated from French by Resistance 71. The original version in French can be found here:



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