TONIGHT! 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.
























Courage to Resist
Hi Bonnie. Courage to Resist is working closely with our new fiscal sponsor, the Objector Church, on a couple projects that we're excited to share with you.
objector registry
Objector Registry launches as draft registration of women nears
The first ever Objector Registry (objector.church/register) offers a declaration of conscience for anyone to assert their moral opposition to war, regardless of age, gender, or religious affiliation. This serves to create a protective record of beliefs and actions with which to oppose a later forced draft. Given last week's release of the report by the Congressionally mandated commission on military service, this free registry is coming online just in time. Please sign up yourself and share with friends!
weekly meetup
You're invited to join us online weekly
This is a great way to find out more about the Objector Church and why we might be the religious humanist interfaith peace and justice community you have been looking for! Our live meetups are lead by Minister James Branum from Oklahoma City. This Sunday at 5pm Pacific / 8pm Eastern, if your not excited by the NFL's "big game", pop online and check us out at objector.church/meetup
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

P.O. Box 3565, New York, NY 10008. All Right Reserved. | Unsubscribe
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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) When the Suffrage Movement Sold Out to White Supremacy
    African-American women were written out of the history of the woman suffrage movement. As the centennial of the 19th Amendment approaches, it's time for a new look at the past.
    By Brent Staples, February 2, 2019

    Americans are being forced to choose between a cherished lie and a disconcerting truth as they prepare to celebrate the centennial of the 19th Amendment in 2020. The lie holds that the amendment ended a century-long struggle by guaranteeing women the right to vote. The truth is that it barred states from denying voting rights based on gender but "guaranteed" nothing. More than a dozen states had already granted millions of women voting rights before ratification, and millions of other women — particularly African-Americans in the Jim Crow South — remained shut out of the polls for decades afterward.
    While middle-class white women celebrated with ticker tape parades, black women in the former Confederacy were being defrauded by voting registrars or were driven away from registration offices under threat of violence. When the black suffragist and civil rights leader Mary Church Terrell petitioned her white sisters for help, they responded that the disenfranchisement of black women was a race problem — not a gender problem — and beyond the movement's writ.
    Mary Church TerrellCreditIllustrations by Lauren Nassef

    This counterfeit distinction was familiar to black suffragists, who had argued for more than 50 years that they could no more separate gender from race in themselves than shed their skins. The movement, however, had tended toward a definition of "women" that was implicitly limited to people of the gender who were white and middle class. Its most prominent advocates — Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony — drove home that notion by rendering black women nearly invisible in their hugely influential "History of Woman Suffrage." As the push for white women's rights neared its goal — a constitutional amendment — the movement hedged its bets by compromising with white supremacy.
    Historians like Glenda GilmoreMartha JonesNell Irvin Painter and Rosalyn Terborg-Penn have recently revised the whitewashed depiction of the women's rights campaign by rescuing black suffragists from anonymity. This new, more inclusive portrait of the movement grows richer by the year and shows African-American women at the forefront of a struggle for universal rights that was far from over when white suffragists declared victory in 1920.

    The official suffrage history reduces the poet and novelist Frances Ellen Watkins Harper to a bit player, even though she was central to the struggles for both African-American and women's rights and delivered what has come to be recognized as a visionary speech on the relationship between the two at the founding meeting of the American Equal Rights Association in 1866.
    A formidable intellectual, Harper had forged her ideas about universal rights in the abolitionist movement, where she earned acclaim as a speaker sharing the platform with luminaries like Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison and Lucretia Mott. 
    Harper believed deeply in interracial collaboration but committed to it on the condition that white women treat black women as equals. As the historian Alison M. Parker has written, Harper vexed white women reformers by accusing them "of being directly complicit in the oppression of blacks," and by demanding that they rid themselves of racism.

    Frances Ellen Watkins Harper

    A committed egalitarian, she balked when suffragists embraced a definition of "women" that included only the educated and the affluent. In a now famous speech given in New York, Harper told the audience that fates of black and white, rich and poor were "all bound up together." She refused to decouple race from gender, arguing that the day-to-day racism she and other black women experienced was in fact a "women's issue" that suffragists were obligated to confront. 
    "You white women speak here of rights," Harper said that day in 1866."I speak of wrongs." Reciting the litany of humiliations that black women had to endure on public conveyances — not because they were women but because they were black — she asked, "Are there no wrongs to be righted?"

    Harper's speech anticipated by more than a century the "intersectional" legal analysis of the critical race theorist Kimberlé Crenshaw, who showed how policies that treat race and gender as mutually exclusive deprive black women of redress in discrimination cases while also obscuring the fact that they struggle under the dual burdens of racism and sexism. 
    "History of Woman Suffrage" draws heavily on the proceedings of the 1866 meeting but tellingly leaves out Harper's momentous speech. The historian Nell Irvin Painter argues that her words were "too strong" for white suffrage leaders who saw her polished, self-assured style as antithetical to what they viewed as blackness. They preferred the uneducated version of black womanhood embodied by the formerly enslaved suffragist Sojourner Truth, who entertained her audiences as she imparted her ideas. 
    Yet Harper's poise and self-possession were the norm among the affluent freeborn black women who had time to engage with the suffrage movement. For example, the sisters Harriett Forten Purvis and Margaretta Forten — daughters of the wealthy Philadelphia sailmaker and abolitionist James Forten and his wife, Charlotte — were central players in the staging of the Fifth National Woman's Rights Convention in their hometown in 1854. The Boston journalist Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin, who played a leadership role in the Massachusetts suffrage movement in the late 1800s, was the wife of the pro-suffrage state legislator George L. Ruffin.
    Another respected suffragist and abolitionist — but again, whose voice is missing from the suffragist narrative — is Sarah Parker Remond, who grew up in a prominent New England family. Remond, like Harper, was a member of the American Equal Rights Association. She was popular on the abolitionist speaking circuit and also toured the Northeast with her brother, Charles, in the late 1860s in support of women's voting rights. 
    Chroniclers of the suffrage struggle tended not to record their black peers. Fortunately, the 1853 lawsuit Remond filed against two men who ejected her from an opera in Boston for reasons of race provides a window into what she believed. The archivist Dorothy Porter Wesley writes in her study of the Remond family that the judge issued a forceful decision, "fully sustaining the equal rights of our Colored citizens." We also know that Remond grew sufficiently tired of racism in the United States and fled to Europe.
    While Remond stumped for suffrage in the North, Charlotte Rollin of Charleston, S.C., pursued the same mission in the Reconstruction-era South. The historian Rosalyn Terborg-Penn lists Rollin as the first South Carolinian to serve as a delegate at a national suffrage convention. In an 1870 speech — a rare occasion in which a black suffragist's comments were set down — she argued for women's rights under the universalist principle that denying rights to anyone endangers the rights of everyone: 
    "We ask suffrage not as a favor, not as a privilege, but as a right based on the ground that we are human beings, and as such entitled to all human rights. While we concede that woman's ennobling influence should be confined chiefly to home and society, we claim that public opinion has had a tendency to limit woman's sphere to too small a circle, and until woman has the right of representation this will last and other rights will be held by an insecure tenure."
    Last year, Chicago renamed a prominent downtown street for the celebrated newspaper editor and anti-lynching campaigner Ida B. Wells, who also played a starring role in the earlier 20th-century suffrage movement. Less well known in the city today is the estimable Wells contemporary Fannie Barrier Williams, a member of the black elite who had a profound impact on Chicago during more than three decades of civic and political activism.

    As her biographer, Wanda Hendricks, points out, Barrier Williams broadened her influence by crossing racial lines, becoming the first black woman admitted to the Chicago Women's Club, one of the most powerful white women's groups in the country. She led the charge to get black women politically engaged and worked tirelessly to open the business world to them as well. 
    As Harper did, she dissented from the white suffrage movement's gender-centric view of voting rights, arguing that "black women had unique needs that were defined as much by race as they were by gender and region," making clear that she was less interested in a political candidate's gender than in what he or she had to say about the plight of African-Americans. Beyond that, she bluntly reminded white women that racism in their ranks represented a prime obstacle for black women, writing "that the exclusion of colored women and girls from nearly all places of employment is due mostly to the meanness of American women."

    Mary Ann Shadd Cary

    The New York Times last year published a belated obituary of Mary Ann Shadd Cary, another pathbreaking African-American suffragist, who died in 1893. Shadd Cary is thought to be the first black woman in North America to edit and publish a newspaper and was also one of the first African-American female lawyers in the United States. 
    The newspaper —  founded in Canada in 1853 and called The Provincial Freeman — reveled in the accomplishments of black women in particular and provided a rich forum for its readership to express itself in ways that would have been unthinkable a short time earlier. The Freeman set out what the historian Martha Jones describes as "an ambitious array of rights to which women were entitled." These included the right to speak and write in public, to own and control property, to hold elective office and to enter the professions. 
    Shadd Cary galvanized black women in Washington when she tried unsuccessfully to register to vote in 1871 — a year before Anthony was arrested in Rochester for voting illegally in the presidential election. 
    Shadd Cary's biographer, Jane Rhodes, writes that she was attracted to ideas put forward by Stanton and Anthony's National Woman Suffrage Association and stayed close to the organization even though its leaders "spurned any association with the cause of black suffrage" and adopted the stance that "educated white women were better suited to vote than illiterate black males." Shadd Cary was typical; black women often stayed with white organizations that were hostile to African-American interests to raise issues that would otherwise be ignored.
    The ratification of the 19th Amendment set off celebratory parades all across the country. But confetti was still rustling in the streets when black women across the South learned that the segregationist electoral systems would override the promise of voting rights by obstructing their attempts to register.

    Some black women succeeded in adding their names to the rolls. But as the historian Liette Gidlow shows in her revelatory study of the period, the files of the Justice Department, the N.A.A.C.P. and African-American newspapers were soon bursting with letters, investigations and affidavits documenting the disenfranchisement of black women, especially in but not limited to former Confederate states.
    In Virginia, Gidlow writes, a college-educated mother of four named Susie W. Fountain was required to take "a "literacy test" that consisted of a blank sheet of paper; the registrar subsequently determined that she had failed. She later told an N.A.A.C.P. investigator she was "too humiliated and angry to try again." A Birmingham, Ala., teacher, Indiana Little, was arrested and sexually assaulted after leading a large crowd to the registrar's office. As Little said in a sworn affidavit, she was "beat over the head unmercifully and … forced upon the officer's demand to yield to him in an unbecoming manner."
    In what became known as "The Election Day Massacre," a white mob burned to the ground a prosperous black community in the Central Florida town of Ocoee after African-Americans tried to vote.
    By this time, white suffragists had declared the battle for women's voting rights won and embarked on a campaign to prove the amendment successful. They had no interest in signing on to a cause that would undercut that story line.

    Coralie Franklin Cook

    This betrayal was especially painful for the black suffragists like Coralie Franklin Cook, who had once said of her idol, Susan B. Anthony, who died 14 years before the ratification of the 19th Amendment, that "thousands of torches lighted by her hand will yet blaze the way to freedom for women." By 1921, however, Cook lamented that, even though she had been "born a suffragist," she had no choice but to retire from the field. The movement, she said, had "turned its back on women of color." Organizations that are gearing up to commemorate next year's centennial of the 19th Amendment are at risk of repeating that insult.

    Brent Staples joined the Times editorial board in 1990 after working as an editor of the Book Review and an assistant editor for metropolitan news. Mr. Staples holds a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Chicago. @BrentNYT


    2) Are 'Natural Flavors' Really Natural?
    Food manufacturers add flavorings to a surprising number of basic products, like Breyers Natural Vanilla ice cream.
    By Ron Caryn Rabin, February 1, 2019
    CreditCreditPolar Beverages

    Q. I heard that "natural flavors" added to flavored seltzer water are not natural, because of a loophole in the regulations covering additives. Is that true?
    A. Government regulations define natural flavors as those that derive their aroma or flavor chemicals from plant or animal sources, including fruit, meat, fish, spices, herbs, roots, leaves, buds or bark that are distilled, fermented or otherwise manipulated in a lab. This distinguishes them from artificial flavors, which use man-made chemicals to give a product its particular flavor or aroma. 
    The loophole, as it were, is that for nonorganic foods, the regulations do not restrict the dozens of other ingredients like preservatives and solvents that can go into a so-called natural flavor. Ultimately, because of the wide variety of ingredients that typically go into "natural" flavorings, "there does not seem to be much of a difference between natural and artificial flavors," said David Andrews, a scientist at the Environmental Working Group, a research and advocacy organization.
    While food processors must list all of the ingredients on a food label, flavor manufacturers do not have to disclose their ingredients. They can add synthetic solvents, preservatives, emulsifiers, carriers and other additives to a flavor that qualifies as natural under current regulations. Natural flavors allowed for use in certified organic foods are subject to a different, far more restrictive set of regulations. They cannot contain a long list of ingredients, including synthetic solvents, carriers and emulsifiers or artificial preservatives, said Gwendolyn Wyard, the Organic Trade Association's vice president of regulatory and technical affairs. They must use non-petroleum-based solvents, cannot be irradiated and cannot use flavor extracts derived from genetically engineered crops.

    Flavors labeled "organic flavors" or "organic natural flavors" are even more strictly regulated, consisting almost entirely of organic ingredients; the latter may contain a small amount of natural flavor as well.
    Some food safety advocates recommend people with food allergies or dietary restrictions avoid food flavorings because the ingredients are not disclosed, but that is a difficult task. Food manufacturers add them to a surprising number of basic items, not just highly processed foods like candy, granola bars and frozen dinners but also to some cold cereals, flavored yogurts, canned soups and spaghetti sauces and even to some apple sauces and ice creams (including Breyers Natural Vanilla).

    3) Many Children Are Overdoing It on the Toothpaste, C.D.C. Study Says
    By Julie Jacobs, February 3, 2019

    Professional guidelines suggest this would be too much toothpaste on a young child's brush. Children ages 3 to 6 should use no more than a pea-size amount of fluoride toothpaste, officials say.CreditCreditElaine Thompson/Associated Press

    Many parents are squeezing potentially unhealthy amounts of toothpaste on their children's brushes, health officials warned in a study released on Friday.
    The study, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said nearly 40 percent of children ages 3 to 6 used more toothpaste than recommended by dental professionals. For young children with emerging teeth, swallowing too much fluoride toothpaste can cause discoloration of their teeth, a condition called dental fluorosis.
    Parents of children in that age bracket should squeeze no more than a pea-size amount of toothpaste on their brush, the C.D.C. and American Dental Association recommend.

    The C.D.C.'s survey of nearly 1,700 children in that age range found that about 38 percent of them used more than the recommended amount of toothpaste, which has the potential to exceed the daily recommendation of fluoride intake. Exceedingly high concentrations of fluoride in drinking water can also contribute to dental fluorosis, the dental association says on its website.

    Children under 3 should be using even less toothpaste, according to the guidelines. For those children, parents should be squeezing only a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste — roughly the size of a grain of rice. Young children are more susceptible to fluorosis and less capable of spitting out the toothpaste in the sink, making it more likely they will ingest it, the C.D.C. said.
    Fluorosis only affects children because the damage occurs when teeth are developing under the gums. It does not affect overall dental health, but it can lead to white lines or streaks on the teeth, the American Dental Association said.
    The study results were a "red flag" that the public does not fully understand the guidelines for toothpaste application, Dr. Jonathan Shenkin, an association spokesman and a pediatric dentist in Augusta, Me., said on Saturday.
    One problem, Dr. Shenkin said, is that parents tend to receive contradictory advice on how much toothpaste children should be using, as well as whether the youngest children should be using fluoride toothpaste at all.
    Parents get mixed messages from dentists, pediatricians and the internet, he said.
    For children under 2, C.D.C. guidelines diverge from two dental associations.

    In 2014, the dental association changed its guidelines and recommended that parents brush their children's teeth twice a day with a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste as soon as they erupt. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends the same. However, the C.D.C. continues to recommend that parents wait to introduce fluoride toothpaste to children until they turn 2.
    Dr. Alene Marie D'Alesio, chief of pediatric dentistry at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, said that problems following brushing guidelines often arise from parents not being present alongside their children when they are brushing.
    "What's really happening is that parents are following the rules of brushing twice a day, but they might not always be there," Dr. D'Alesio said.
    She advised that the earliest that parents should leave their child alone when they brush their teeth is 6, although they might consider sticking around until their child is 8.
    The C.D.C. study, which was based on more than 5,000 children from ages 3 to 15, also found that nearly 80 percent of children included in the analysis started brushing later than recommended. The analysis was based on data from 2013 to 2016.
    According to professional guidelines, parents should start brushing their children's teeth when the first tooth erupts, which can be as early as six months. But just over 20 percent of parents or caregivers in the study reported that their child started brushing before age 1.
    The C.D.C. offered a few caveats to the results: Parents were self-reporting information, leaving room for more inaccuracy than if the researchers were observing the brushing directly. Additionally, participants were not asked to specify whether the toothpaste had fluoride. (The American Dental Association only endorses toothpastes with fluoride.)
    Dr. Shenkin said the message that parents should take away is not that they should stop using fluoride toothpaste. Instead, he advised, "Use it, but use it in the proper quantity so your children don't swallow too much."


    4) 'If Beale Street Could Talk' Offers a Tour of a Lost New York
    The film, directed by Barry Jenkins and nominated for three Academy Awards, was adapted from the 1974 James Baldwin novel and shot largely on the city's streets.
    By John L. Dorman, February 3, 2019

    In "If Beale Street Could Talk," a pivotal scene between Tish (KiKi Layne) and Fonny (Stephan James) was filmed at the intersection of Minetta Lane and Minetta Street in Greenwich Village.CreditCreditTatum Mangus/Annapurna Pictures

    f you ask even a longtime New Yorker for directions to Minetta Lane, you will likely be met with a blank stare.
    The quaint one-way street, nestled in the heart of Manhattan's Greenwich Village between Sixth Avenue and Macdougal Street, is only a few blocks from the wonderfully frenetic Washington Square Park, but it remains largely unknown. Still, it feels timeless.

    For Barry Jenkins, director of the film "If Beale Street Could Talk," which was adapted from the 1974 James Baldwin novel and tells the story of love and injustice in 1970s New York, largely in the African-American cultural mecca of Harlem and what was then a more rough-and-tumble Greenwich Village, capturing the New York City of yesteryear was paramount.

    "I knew this was going to be an intimate film," Mr. Jenkins said in a recent interview. "This is a period piece about New York. It's James Baldwin's sometimes acrimonious love letter to New York, but a love letter nonetheless."

    From 1958 to 1961, James Baldwin lived in an apartment at 81 Horatio Street in Greenwich Village.CreditJohn L. Dorman/The New York Times

    Daniel Carty (Brian Tyree Henry) and Fonny (Stephan James) embrace on Lenox Avenue near West 123rd Street in Harlem.CreditTatum Mangus/Annapurna Pictures

    New York has, of course, changed dramatically since the 1970s. Local institutions like B. Altman and Horn & Hardart are no longer part of the landscape. Entire neighborhoods have become denser and more vertical. However, on foot, remnants of the past still stick out, providing a sensory overload that is distinctly New York.
    While many of the rough spots in Greenwich Village have been smoothed out over the years, many scenes in the film were still shot there, and other neighborhoods — within walking distance or an easy subway ride away — were able to stand in. Throughout the city, narrow streets, urban parks and restaurants that have seen better days give a sense of the time and place that the novel and the movie sought to convey. 
    To visually reflect the richness of Baldwin's prose, Mr. Jenkins worked closely with the film's production designer, Mark Friedberg, and Samson Jacobson, the locations manager, both native New Yorkers. 
    "I leaned on those guys to not only try and find what places are organically part of the world of our characters, but also are New York, in all caps," Mr. Jenkins said.
    In the film, a pivotal scene between main characters Tish (KiKi Layne) and Fonny (Stephan James) at the intersection of Minetta Lane and Minetta Street, reflected such a sentiment and revealed New York as a place of promise, despite the many obstacles that both characters would soon face.

    "The Minetta scene was interesting because it was pouring rain," Mr. Jenkins said. "This wasn't our intention in the script, but on the day of filming these two young black actors who are unfamiliar to many people were just walking down the block on the night of essentially their first love and the skies have opened. It's so picturesque, like 1950s Hollywood Americana."

    In the novel, Tish and Fonny share an intimate moment in Washington Square Park. In the film, the Washington Square Park scenes were shot in Stuyvesant Square Park.CreditTatum Mangus/Annapurna Pictures

    If you visit Greenwich Village now, you'll see a mishmash of boutiques and local restaurants, especially on the side streets like Charles Street and Greenwich Avenue, roads that don't adhere to the uniform Manhattan street grid. Longtime music haunts like Village Vanguardand the Bitter End remain. 
    In the novel, Greenwich Village is richly narrated in Tish's voice, who observes not only the layout of Washington Square Park, but the eclectic people who have defined its existence.
    "We passed Minetta Tavern, crossed Minetta Lane, passed the newspaper stand on the next corner, and crossed diagonally into the park, which seemed to huddle in the shadow of the heavy new buildings of N.Y.U. and the high new apartment buildings on the east and the north. We passed the men who had been playing chess in the lamplight for generations, and people walking their dogs, and young men with bright hair and very tight pants, who looked quickly at Fonny and resignedly at me. We sat down on the stone edge of the dry fountain, facing the arch."
    Fonny tells Tish that he used to occasionally sleep in the park. Filming for the Washington Square Park scenes actually took place at Stuyvesant Square Park near the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village development on the East Side of Manhattan.
    Washington Square Park, with its 1892 triumphal arch, remains a magnet for chess players and social activism. Its large size allows it to thrive as a universal meeting place of sorts, while Stuyvesant Square Park, located between East 15th and East 17th Streets and bisected by Second Avenue, is a much smaller park.
    "Washington Square Park doesn't look at all like their Washington Square Park," Mr. Friedberg said. "It looks like Versailles right now compared to the Washington Square Park that Fonny slept in. We ended up shooting in Stuyvesant park, which was also nice, but had the old benches and wrought iron."

    Barry Jenkins, center, and KiKi Layne, on location at Bergdorf Goodman, which allowed a limited amount of filming on its premises.CreditTatum Mangus/Annapurna Pictures

    Tish, who was employed in a department store, worked tirelessly through her pregnancy. Bergdorf Goodman, the luxury retailer on Fifth Avenue and 57th Street, allowed scenes to be filmed in their store, but with a caveat.
    "They were really cool about us shooting there, but we had to get there when they closed and be out of there before they opened," Mr. Friedberg said.

    After a lot of prodding, Mr. Friedberg was able to film in El Quijote, the Spanish restaurant at the Hotel Chelsea which operated for 88 years before it closed last year. (There are tentative plans for the restaurant, at 226 West 23rd Street in the Chelsea neighborhood, to reopen after a renovation.) In the film, El Quijote stood in for El Faro, a long-gone Spanish restaurant that was located at the corner of Greenwich and Horatio streets in Greenwich Village.
    Fonny has a basement apartment on Bank Street in the West Village, which was extensively designed by Mr. Friedberg on a sound stage to resemble an older apartment, complete with a bathtub in the kitchen. In the novel, Tish is accosted at a market on Bleecker Street by a deranged man, which resulted in Fonny defending her and subsequently being framed for rape by a racist police officer; the filming for those dramatic scenes was completed on location in the Bronx.
    On Arthur Avenue, the "Little Italy" of the Bronx, located south of Fordham Road, a few minutes from the Fordham Road station (B and D lines) and the Fordham Metro North station, excellent pizzerias, delis and bakeries remain a way of life. It is a perfect stand-in for 1960s-era Greenwich Village. 
    "The area still has the last bit of its Italian commercial culture," Mr. Friedberg said. "Also, like Greenwich Village, the streets don't perfectly line up in that area."
    From 1958 to 1961, Baldwin himself lived in an apartment at 81 Horatio Street in Greenwich Village. However, he was born and raised in Harlem, the cultural nexus of the novel and the film. (From Greenwich Village, Harlem is an easy ride uptown on the New York City subway, with express service on the A and No. 2 and 3 lines and the 125th Street stations serving as gateways to the heart of the neighborhood.)

    Fonny (Stephan James) speaks with Sharon Rivers (Regina King) on St. Nicholas Avenue in Harlem.CreditTatum Mangus/Annapurna Pictures

    The bar scene featuring Joseph Rivers (Colman Domingo) was filmed at Showmans Jazz Club in Harlem.CreditTatum Mangus/Annapurna Pictures

    Tish and Fonny first meet as children in Harlem. On film, we see them as adults, walking in Riverside Park, with the Hudson River and the sounds of the Henry Hudson Parkway in the distance. When Tish finds out that she is pregnant and is comforted by her mother, Sharon Rivers (Regina King), her family invites Fonny's family to their apartment to tell them the news about the impending baby. The apartment scenes were filmed on location in Harlem, in a townhouse near St. Nicholas Park, which runs alongside St. Nicholas Avenue from West 128th to West 141st Streets. 
    When Daniel Carty (Brian Tyree Henry) runs into Fonny on Lenox Avenue near 123rd Street, it feels like a family reunion of sorts; it goes back to the theme of Harlem as this unifying force for African-Americans. They were in a neighborhood filled with brownstones and grand avenues that also produced Baldwin and was at the heart of the Harlem Renaissance. While Harlem experienced a high level of urban decay in the 1970s, which Baldwin details, it still is seen as a force more positive than not throughout the film.

    Reflecting on some of the most memorable film locations in the city, Mr. Jenkins honed in on the Showmans Jazz Club on 125th Street near Convent Avenue in Harlem, which featured a scene with Joseph Rivers (Colman Domingo) and Frank Hunt (Michael Beach), two fathers sitting at a bar, trying to figure out how to save Fonny from a jail sentence. The bar impressed Mr. Jenkins during the film preproduction, and made it into the film.
    "Showmans is a place where I would go to unwind if I lived in the neighborhood," he said. "It's one of my favorite Harlem locations because it's still there. The essence and spirit of your work really comes alive when you can get a lot of the city into a film.


    5) Trump Admin Says It's Too Hard To Reunite Thousands Of Separated Families: Court Filing
    It referred to the process of reuniting separated families as a "burden."
    By Angelina Chapin, February 2, 2019
    "I think the policy of taking the children away in the first place was cruel," said an ACLU lawyer, "but to not even have a system to return the parents to the children just increases the magnitude of the cruelty."

    On Friday, officials from the Trump administration said it would require too much effort to reunite the thousands of families it separated before implementing its "zero-tolerance" policy in April, according to a declaration filed as part of an ongoing lawsuit between the American Civil Liberties Union and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
    Last month, the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services released a report stating that "thousands" more immigrant families had been separated than the government had previously disclosed. In the declaration submitted Friday, HHS officials said they don't know the exact number of children who were taken from their parents before "zero tolerance" and that finding them would be too much of a "burden" since there was no formal tracking system in place.
    "The Trump administration's response is a shocking concession that it can't easily find thousands of children it ripped from parents and doesn't even think it's worth the time to locate each of them," said Lee Gelernt, the lead lawyer in the ACLU's ongoing lawsuit against ICE, in a statement. "The administration also doesn't dispute that separations are ongoing in significant numbers."
    HHS did not respond to HuffPost's request for comment.
    The deputy director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, Jallyn Sualog, said that 100 ORR analysts would have to work eight hours each day for between seven and 15 months to "even begin reconciling" data on separated families. "In my judgment, ORR does not have the requisite staff for such a project," Sualog wrote in the declaration.
    Immigration advocates are appalled by the fact that the government didn't bother to properly track separated families and that it is now shirking its responsibility to reunite parents and children.
    "They are saying they just don't care," said Michelle Brané, the director of the Migrant Rights and Justice Program at the Women's Refugee Commission. "It's shocking from a human rights perspective for a government to behave this way."
    "I think the policy of taking the children away in the first place was cruel," said Gelernt, the ACLU lawyer, "but to not even have a system to return the parents to the children just increases the magnitude of the cruelty."
    The government also failed to properly track the roughly 2,800 children that it separated from their parents under the "zero-tolerance" policy between April and June. The administration was required to reunite families as part of an ACLU lawsuit, an ongoing process that has at times required immigration advocates to search for deported parents on foot in remote, crime-ridden areas of Central America.
    According to the inspector general's report, 159 children who were separated under "zero tolerance" are still in ORR care, most of whose parents were deported and decided to keep their kids in the U.S. due to dangerous situations back home. If the government doesn't allow those parents to re-apply for asylum in the U.S., families may remain permanently separated. Gelernt worries that before "zero tolerance" the government could have deported hundreds more parents who might not have had a say in their children's futures.
    In the declaration, Jonathan White, a commander with the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, said that most unaccompanied children are released to family sponsors and that in addition to logistical challenges, trying to reunite separated kids with their parents could be destabilizing and "would present grave child welfare concerns."
    But Gelernt says the government should not be making decisions on behalf of mothers and fathers. "[The administration] had no right to just give these kids away unless the parent was making an informed decision," he said. "This is not a situation where the parents put the child up for adoption. This is a situation where the child was forcibly taken from the parents."
    On Feb. 21, Gelernt will argue in front of a federal judge in California that all families separated before "zero tolerance" should be part of the ACLU's ongoing lawsuit and that the government has a responsibility to reunify these parents with their children. He is disappointed that the administration failed to act humanely towards immigrant families in its declaration.
    "The [government] is saying it's not legally required for them to [reunite families] and therefore they won't do it," he said. "But why not do it because it's the right thing to do?"


    6) Calamity at a Brooklyn Jail
    A vivid display of the Trump administration's callousness toward vulnerable people.
    By The Editorial Board, February 3, 2019
    The Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, where inmates had been forced to remain in their cells without reliable heat, hot food or showers for the better part of a week.CreditStephen Speranza for The New York Times

    Locked away in dark and freezing cells with little heat for days, left to languish alone in the dead of winter — this is how the federal government of the United States thinks that it can treat the people in its care.
    No, this isn't some C.I.A. black site overseas. It is a federal detention center in Brooklyn, where inmates were being held in abominable conditions in America's largest city.
    Representative Jerrold L. Nadler, after touring the Metropolitan Detention Center in the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn on Sunday, reported that it was much warmer, and power would be restored on Monday. But this after some 1,600 inmates had been forced to remain in their cells without reliable heat, lights, hot food or showers for the better part of a week, a week of freezing temperatures.
    Inmates told local elected officials — who after demanding to be let in, toured the facility Saturday — that they had been on lockdown in their cold cells for days. Jail officials told the visiting lawmakers that a power outage sparked by a fire had made it unsafe to allow the prisoners out of their cells. Visiting hours and communication with family members were also cut off.

    The wider public only learned of the horrific conditions at the detention center thanks to the family members of those incarcerated at the jail and the tireless group of public defenders in this city who represent them. It took a court order before the legal advocacy group Federal Defenders of New York was allowed to enter the facility on Friday. David Patton, the group's executive director, described the inmates as "scared and frantic," and as having "no idea if the outside world knows what's going on with them."
    The federal officials in charge of the jail have responded to concerns about the welfare of their charges with little more than a shrug, even initially rejecting the city's offer to send emergency generators and blankets to the facility, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio's Twitter feed. 
    Councilman Brad Lander, who visited the jail on Saturday, said the warden and facilities manager were dismissive about concerns over the welfare of inmates. They told Mr. Lander and his colleagues that a contractor working on the electrical system had gone home for the day and couldn't return until Monday.
    The Federal Bureau of Prisons said in a statement Saturday night that "a work ticket has been submitted by the electrical contractor to schedule a work crew to restore power to the new temporary service switch," and they hoped electrical service would be restored by Monday. They said the inmates had access to hot showers and hot water in their cells, and that medical attention was continuing to be provided. They offered no acknowledgment of the human suffering they had caused when they failed to do their jobs.
    The history of abuses in federal jails, prisons and detention centers, whose populations are disproportionately black and Hispanic, long predates the Trump administration — and rarely draws much attention. Maybe current officials thought they could treat people callously at the Metropolitan Detention Center because they were mostly poor, and black and brown.

    Maybe they assumed no one would notice or care.
    Not this time. Once news of the prisoners' plight spread on Friday, New Yorkers in large numbers showed up at the jail to protest. Politicians like Mr. de Blasio and Mr. Lander rallied to the inmates' cause. "Just because you're incarcerated does not mean that we don't treat you with dignity and respect," Mr. Nadler tweeted. "Heat and hot water is not a luxury." 
    He is, of course, right. (Though one is forced to wonder whether the mayor also plans to send blankets to the 10,000 residents of public housing in the city without heat.)
    The prisoners, who could see the protest from their cells, responded by banging against the metal bars on their windows, a haunting call and response that hinted at the mass of humanity inside, and out.

    7) Washington's Cold Hypocrisy on New York's Public Housing
    A new agreement adds some federal oversight, but no new funding.
    "the agreement includes deadlines for resolution to problems, although it gives the agency 20 years to resolve all lead paint problems"
    By Mara Gay, January 31, 2019

    Ben Carson, the secretary of housing and urban development, in New York on Thursday.CreditCreditJoshua Bright for The New York Times

    The teaser came in a mid-evening tweet.
    Lynne Patton, the Trump family event planner whom the president named regional administrator for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, had a surprise for Mayor Bill de Blasio.
    Oh, and for the 400,000 people who live in New York City's public housing, too.
    "Thrilled to announce that @SecretaryCarson is coming to NYC tomorrow to make a huge & historic announcement that will be great news for the residents of @NYCHA!" Ms. Patton wrote on TwitterWednesday night. "However, whether or not this announcement will be great news for the @NYCMayor remains to be seen …"
    That would be Ben Carson, HUD secretary, who once said that public housing should not be "a comfortable setting that would make somebody want to say: 'I'll just stay here. They will take care of me.' " And Nycha is the New York City Housing Authority, the public housing system plagued with broken furnaces and elevators, mold, vermin, lead paint and about $32 billion in needed repairs over the next five years.

    In New York, Ms. Patton's tweet set off a small panic, as officials, reporters and public housing residents scrambled to find out just what the Trump administration had in mind for a system crippled by decades of neglect and underfunding from Washington and mismanagement by its city-appointed leadership.

    Was HUD going to take over Nycha? Was the president planning to level the Queensbridge Houses and replace them with a gleaming tower of Trump condos?
    Ms. Patton wasn't saying. "Maybe. Maybe not," she tweeted to a journalist who said it sounded like HUD might take over the city housing authority.
    In other words, New York, stay tuned!
    The City Council speaker, Corey Johnson, who grew up in public housing, may have put it best. "Playing coy," Mr. Johnson said, when so many residents are "living in horrific conditions — is disgusting," he tweeted. "This isn't a ratings ploy. This is real life. Enough with the games."

    On Thursday, Mr. Carson came to New York City for the big reveal about a new agreement with the city, Nycha and the federal prosecutors who had threated a lawsuit over the dismal living conditions and a lead paint scandal
    The new agreement gives HUD somewhat more powers than a deal that a federal judge rejected last year.
    The judge said that the earlier deal did not create strict enough standards to make sure problems would be solved, and that HUD had failed in its duty to conduct proper oversight of the agency.

    The new plan calls for HUD and federal prosecutors, rather than the judge, to appoint a monitor at the housing authority. It requires the mayor to choose a new head of the authority from a list of candidates preapproved by federal officials, rather than on his own. And the agreement includes deadlines for resolution to problems, although it gives the agency 20 years to resolve all lead paint problems. 
    Shoulder to shoulder with the mayor at a news conference Thursday in Lower Manhattan, Mr. Carson talked about turning public housing into "safe and clean and nurturing environments to give people an opportunity to move up the ladder," and said he was "very excited" about the agreement.
    It's no wonder. Under the deal, the federal government commits nothing new, while the city recommits to spend over $2 billion on repairs over the next 10 years. The city is being forced to pay for the federal monitor, too. This, after the federal government starved public housing of funds for decades, leaving cities like New York without the ability to build new units or make basic repairs.
    In his nearly two years in office Mr. Carson has done little but stand by as the Trump administration proposed devastating cuts to his agency, which Congress, fortunately, blocked.
    At every level of government, public housing is seen as somebody else's problem. While the mayor and the HUD secretary put on a good show of resolve, neither has done much to earn the confidence of Nycha residents. Mr. de Blasio has done and spent more than his predecessors, and has said that repairs have been quicker. But the city's public housing has a long way to go. 
    Ms. Patton has discussed showing solidarity with residents by temporarily moving into a New York City public housing unit. Thursday, when roughly 10,000 residents were left without heat on a bitterly cold January day after the authority's boilers had failed again, would have been a good day to try it.


    8) No Kneeling During Super Bowl LIII National Anthem, but Still Plenty of Talk
    By Ken Nelson, February 4, 2019

    Representative John Lewis, left, and Ambassador Andrew Young were part of the pregame coin toss at midfield.CreditCreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

    ATLANTA — Dr. Bernice A. King, the youngest child of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King, was brought out to midfield for the coin toss before the start of Super Bowl LIII. She was joined by two other titanic civil rights leaders, Ambassador Andrew Young and Representative John Lewis.
    Before the game began, the N.F.L. also played a video in the stadium that included images of Dr. King and other civil rights leaders, interspersed with images of N.F.L. players doing charity work.
    On television, CBS ran a public service announcement that showed Commissioner Roger Goodell and other league executives touring the Ebenezer Baptist Church and other landmarks associated with Martin Luther King Jr.

    For the many Super Bowl viewers who do not closely follow the league, and perhaps many who do, such imagery probably came across as proper and right for a game played in Atlanta, known as the cradle of the Civil Rights Movement.

    Yet it underscored something else, a league still struggling with race and seeking a balance between fans and players who find no reason to talk about it and those who find it front and center in a simmering controversy over a player who has not played a down since the 2016 season.
    The presence of the civil rights leaders did not seem to win over supporters of the player, Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who in 2016 began taking a knee during the national anthem to protest racism and police brutality against people of color and has not played a down since that season.
    Even before the game, many resolved not to watch, including the film director Ava DuVernay, who accused the N.F.L. of "racist treatment of @Kaepernick7" and lamented an "ongoing disregard for the health + well-being of players."

    And the presence of the civil rights leaders was met with confusion, and in some cases derision, by those who feel Kaepernick has been blackballed.

    "Ummmm why are Bernice King, John Lewis, and Andrew Young standing on this field giving the N.F.L. cover," wrote the voting rights advocate Kat Calvin.

    Yet the overture spoke to an effort by the N.F.L. to thread the needle between appeasing conservative fans — there were military flyovers and giant flags and shout-outs to war veterans — and addressing the questions and criticism it has received over racial issues.
    It has undertaken a public relations move to line up African-American figures who either have objected to Kaepernick's form of protest or are willing to look past it. Their message, after all, has long been about bridge-building and healing.
    "My mission is #JusticeForAll,'' Ms. King wrote on Twitter after the coin toss. "Humanity is turning the tide and our efforts must include bridge builders, strategic negotiators and ambassadors."

    In the end, Gladys Knight, who had taken aim at Kaepernick for kneeling during the song, sung the national anthem. No players knelt, the moment far less weighted than it has been in the past.

    As Knight sang the anthem, the Air Force Thunderbirds flew over Mercedes-Benz Stadium, where the retractable roof was opened for the occasion. During a timeout in the third quarter, military veterans who won the Medal of Honor were shown on the stadium scoreboard and given a standing ovation. Military veterans in the stadium were encouraged to stand as well.
    Still, the anthem issue promises to take another twist in the off season.
    In the coming months, Kaepernick's grievance accusing the league of colluding to keep him off a team will be ruled on by an arbitrator hearing the case.
    Win or lose, the league could find itself on the defensive among fans it has been courting with its civil rights overtures.

    If the league wins its case, supporters of Kaepernick may doubt the outcome — a string of lesser quarterbacks statistically have found teams. If the league loses, a conventional wisdom would be validated and the league would be in the embarrassing position of paying millions dollars to a player who has not suited up since 2016.
    Kaepernick for his part has spent the past several days posting images on social media of celebrities — LeBron James, among them — supporting him.
    The one thing the league seems certain to count on is that not many players kneel at all these days.
    This has been a season of get back to football. Even though the Super Bowl game lacked the thrill of recent nail-biters — the Patriots beat the Rams, 13-3, the lowest-scoring Super Bowl ever — the N.F.L. can take the lack of drama, in the game and off, as a sign of regaining its footing.


    9) At Least 28 Haitian Migrants Dead After Their Boat Sinks Off Bahamas
    By Mike Ives, February 3, 2019

    A boat smuggling Haitian migrants has sunk off the Bahamas, leaving at least 28 dead and 17 others in police custody, officials said on Sunday.
    Chief Petty Officer Jonathan Rolle of the Royal Bahamas Defense Force said that residents of the island of Abaco had found four bodies and at least 15 survivors off the Bahamian coast on Saturday, The Associated Press reported. Mr. Rolle said the ship appeared to be an American vessel engaged in people-smuggling.
    By Sunday afternoon, local forces and the United States Coast Guard had found 28 bodies in and around a sunken ship, The A.P. said. The number of total rescued had risen to 17. The boat's final destination was unclear.
    The American Embassy in Haiti described the accident in a tweet early on Monday morning as "another tragic loss of life" and said the vessel had been "trafficking people out of Haiti."

    "No journey is worth risking lives," the embassy said.
    The Bahamian authorities have apprehended about 300 Haitians for illegal entry this year, the Royal Bahamas Defense Force said in a statement on Saturday.
    In 2013, at least 30 Haitians who tried to sail to the United States were found drowned after their overloaded boat ran aground off the Bahamas and capsized. Fishermen had tipped off the local authorities about the 40-foot vessel days earlier, but the military was unable to conduct air searches because all three of its planes were out of service.
    Once the Coast Guard eventually deployed a helicopter, it found the boat in about an hour, about 20 miles from where the fishermen had first reported seeing it.


    10) Colonists Brought Climate Change to the Americas, Study Finds
    By Niraj Chokshi, February 5, 2019

    A depiction of Christopher Columbus landing in the Bahamas in 1492. The huge number of deaths of native populations in the Americas after colonization is believed by some researchers to have contributed to the "Little Ice Age," a period from about 1400 to 1900.CreditCreditJohn Vanderlyn

    When they arrived in the Americas centuries ago, European colonists brought pestilence and death. Their arrival was so devastating, in fact, that it may have contributed to a period of global cooling, according to a new study.
    The research, to be published in the March issue of the journal Quaternary Science Reviews, represents an ambitious attempt to show that, through a series of events, human activity was affecting the climate long before the industrial revolution and global warming.
    The authors found that disease and war wiped out 90 percent of the indigenous population in the Americas, or about 55 million people. The earth, they argue, then reclaimed the land that these populations left behind. The new vegetation pulled heat-trapping carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and into the land, contributing to what scientists refer to as the "Little Ice Age."

    "It was a drastic change in the earth's system," said Alexander Koch, the study's lead author and a Ph.D. candidate at the University College London Department of Geography.

    The study stemmed from Mr. Koch's decision about three years ago to wade into a debate in geological science over how to define the start of the Anthropocene, the name for Earth's most recent, human-dominated time period.
    At the time, Mr. Koch was beginning his graduate studies and came across research that had linked a dip in atmospheric carbon dioxide centuries ago to carbon sequestered in the land. If colonization had spurred that dip, as others had hypothesized, then that period would be a good candidate for when the Anthropocene should begin.
    "I thought that sounds like quite an interesting topic to research," he said. "It's quite interdisciplinary."
    In the end, Mr. Koch and his colleagues pulled from a wide range of disciplines for the study, synthesizing the latest credible estimates on population, land use, mortality and the carbon uptake of plants and trees throughout the Americas.

    Based on 119 regional estimates, the authors concluded that 60.5 million people lived in North and South America before Christopher Columbus arrived in the Bahamas in 1492. By 1600, though, that population had been decimated.

    Diego Rivera's depiction of the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés's arrival in Mexico in 1519. After European colonization of the Americas, an estimated 55 million people died, or about 90 percent of the population.CreditFrédéric Soltan/Corbis, via Getty Images

    At the same time, carbon stored on land increased and carbon dioxide in the air decreased, supporting the hypothesis that colonization may have been to blame.
    The approach is imperfect, but several scientists who study past climates, known as paleoclimatologists, said the study was a careful and compelling review of the literature.
    "It's hard to piece together what the world was like," said Bianca Perren, a paleoclimatologist for the British Antarctic Survey. "This adds just another puzzle piece to figuring out the complexity of this whole period."
    But the research isn't without critics.
    Robert Rohde, the lead scientist for the independent climate research group Berkeley Earth, said that while the authors clearly took care to assemble the estimates, the study, and some media coverage of it, overstated the role colonization played in the Little Ice Age.
    "At best, it explains a portion of part of the Little Ice Age," he said.
    The Little Ice Age was centuries in the making and, he said, other factors like weak solar activity and increased volcanic activity were more likely culprits. (There is disagreement over when the Little Ice Age began and ended, though some say it lasted from about A.D. 1400 to 1900.)
    Mr. Koch and his colleagues acknowledged those other factors, which they say accounted for about half of the decrease in atmospheric carbon dioxide. But the other half, they argued, could only be accounted for by a large increase in vegetation caused by the effects of colonization.
    In the end, they found that the deaths caused by colonization led to a drop of about 3.5 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

    That finding can be instructive, Ms. Perren said. It not only reinforces that human activity can affect the climate, but it also shows that there are natural ways to address the modern global warming problem.
    "We're always searching for these great technologies that will do it on a megascale, but the most efficient way you can pull CO₂ out of the atmosphere is with trees," she said.
    Still, the effect that the authors describe pales compared to the toll modern humanity has taken — in the opposite direction.
    While the cascading effects of colonization reduced atmospheric carbon dioxide by about 3.5 parts per million over more than a century, atmospheric carbon dioxide today is increasing at a rate of about 2.3 parts per million each year, warming the earth.


    11) An Inmate's Death in Jail and a Journalist's Search for Why
    By Sarah Maslin Nir, February 1, 2019

    A drawing of Lamekia Dockery when she was a girl, with her mother and grandmother.CreditCreditCourtesy of Charmel Dockery

    Times Insider explains who we are and what we do, and delivers behind-the-scenes insights into how our journalism comes together.
    It was the headline of a news release issued by the prosecutor's office in Elkhart County, Ind., on an October morning last year. Instantly, the journalist's ever-present question pinged through my head: Why?

    Why was no one charged in the death of Lamekia Dockery, which occurred while she was in custody at the Goshen, Ind., work-release center? And a much bigger question: Why did a 36-year-old woman jailed for a probation violation, for shoplifting at a Walmart, die?
    Lamekia Dockery in an undated family photo. Courtesy of Charmel Dockery
    I was posted to The New York Times's Chicago bureau, on loan for a month to the National desk from the Metro section, where I cover the intersection of the president and New York City. Most national correspondents are posted to one of our 15 bureaus, each of which covers a swath of states. Every morning, my colleague Mitch Smith did the painstaking work of reading about 200 news sites and sending a list of the most interesting stories to our many correspondents across the country. When the story from Elkhart came along in his daily roundup, I was intrigued and disturbed.
    My first call was to Vicki E. Becker, the Elkhart County prosecutor, to ask why no one would be charged in the death, which was a result, according to the coroner's office, of sepsis from an untreated perforated ulcer. As I later reported, she said the guards were not culpable because "none of them expressed any belief that a stomachache could result in her death."
    For Ms. Becker, the case was closed. But for a reporter, the story of how Ms. Dockery died still needed to be told.
    With the blessing of Monica Davey, the Chicago bureau chief, I jumped into my rental car and sped to Goshen to find out more. By the edge of Rock Run Creek, I found the work-release center, and outside it inmates hustling back from their jobs at area factories to make curfew. Nevertheless, when I asked them what happened, many stopped to speak to me, risking penalization for being tardy.
    Ms. Dockery had died over the course of six days, begging for help from guards who did not listen in the open-ward jail. Her fellow inmates all heard her screams, and they wanted the world to know.

    Around the corner from the center is St. Mark's United Methodist Church, where prisoners in good standing can attend services. They crowded the sanctuary with their babies, partners and other visiting family members as I joined them for prayers one Sunday. The week Ms. Dockery died — the pastor, Tony Brinson, told me — inmates stood up during services to speak of what they had witnessed, many in tears. I interviewed several as we sat in the pews; each was wearing a GPS-tracking ankle monitor.

    Other inmates, such as Nini Mora, who used her own money to buy Ms. Dockery Tylenol — some of the only medical care she received during her ordeal — were not eligible for outside privileges. So I interviewed Ms. Mora over Facebook Messenger, asking her to record her thoughts as diary entries and send me the audio clips. I also spoke with Ms. Dockery's mother, her sisters and her aunt, who all told me of their searing loss.
    Eyewitness testimony, I knew, was not enough. So I reached out to the Elkhart Board of Commissioners, which runs corrections in the county. Not once was I allowed to speak with a member; over the months I was working on the article, the board responded solely through a lawyer, Michael DeBoni of the Goshen law firm Yoder, Ainlay, Ulmer & Buckingham.
    Typically, a reporter and a representative of a public entity will engage in on-background conversations to answer simple questions of fact, such as: How many inmates are there? And how many guards? But Mr. DeBoni refused to ever get on the phone with me. Nearly every snippet of conversation was conducted through formal legal letters, each delayed by several days.
    It was such an unusual correspondence that I have since initiated a freedom of information request to find out how many hours Mr. DeBoni's firm spent working on responses to my questions and the hourly rate the firm has charged the county. (I may report back when and if that request is fulfilled.)
    Nonetheless, little by little, my editor Shaila Dewan and I found that the official picture of what Ms. Dockery endured was emerging. It came via documents I obtained through the Indiana Access to Public Records Act.
    The contents were so startling that, as I read the documents back in The Times's headquarters in New York, I gasped, startling my colleagues beside me.
    What the inmates had told me — that when Ms. Dockery became irate at not receiving medical help she was put in solitary confinement, or "the box"; that when she kicked the door there, she was shackled — was backed up completely in corrections officers' logs. And there was more: When she went to find help from a caseworker, she was punished. When she vomited into a cup of noodle soup in a day room, she was castigated. When she said she was dying, she was ignored.
    Ms. Dockery's death was likely preventable. But she died because, experts told me, as a drug user, a black woman and an incarcerated person, her human anguish was dismissed. My hope is that, by telling her story, Lamekia Dockery can finally be seen and heard.

    Sarah Maslin Nir covers breaking news for the Metro section. She was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for her series "Unvarnished," an investigation into New York City's nail salon industry that documented the exploitative labor practices and health issues manicurists face. @SarahMaslinNir
    CreditCourtesy of Charmel Dockery

    12) FamilyTreeDNA Admits to Sharing Genetic Data With F.B.I.
    By Matthew Haag, February 4, 2019

    FamilyTreeDNA, an at-home DNA testing company, apologized for failing to disclose it was sharing genetic information with the F.B.I. to help solve rapes and murders. Some of the site's users felt the company had betrayed them.CreditCreditSue Ogrocki/Associated Press

    The president of FamilyTreeDNA, one of the country's largest at-home genetic testing companies, has apologized to its users for failing to disclose that it was sharing DNA data with federal investigators working to solve violent crimes.
    In the booming business of consumer DNA testing and genealogy, FamilyTreeDNA had marketed itself as a leader of consumer privacy and a fierce protector of user data, refusing, unlike some of its competitors, to sell information to third parties.
    But unbeknown to its users, the Houston-based firm quietly and voluntarily agreed in 2018 to open its database of more than two million records to the F.B.I. and examine DNA samples in its laboratory to identify suspects and victims of unsolved rapes and murders.

    FamilyTreeDNA confirmed the deal on Thursday, in a report by Buzzfeed News, setting off a backlash among its loyal users who felt betrayed and igniting another debate over privacy and ethical issues with investigators using genealogical sites to solve crimes.

    In an email to its users on Sunday, the company's president, Bennett Greenspan, defended the agreement with the F.B.I. but apologized for not revealing it sooner.
    "I am genuinely sorry for not having handled our communications with you as we should have," Mr. Greenspan wrote, according to a copy of the email obtained by The New York Times. "We've received an incredible amount of support from those of you who believe this is an opportunity for honest, law-abiding citizens to help catch bad guys and bring closure to devastated families."
    The news underscored the lack of universal regulations governing direct-to-consumer genetic testing in the United States and how companies can use their data without consumers' knowledge.
    "It's a good example of, are you willing to stay abreast of every terms of service change with FamilyTreeDNA, or are you doing it once because it was a holiday present?" Erin E. Murphy, a professor at New York University School of Law who wrote the book "Inside the Cell: The Dark Side of Forensic D.N.A.," said in an interview.
    "Even if you were reading all of your spam email about all the privacy changes, did you get one that says you have agreed to be the F.B.I.'s testing lab? No, they did not issue that," Ms. Murphy said.

    Alan Butler, the senior counsel at the Electronic Privacy Information Center, described the situation as "'bait and switch' behavior that consumer protection laws are meant to prohibit."
    "The company needs to either roll back the change or else delete all stored DNA data it has collected from individuals under the previous agreement," Mr. Butler said.
    Consumer DNA tests have skyrocketed in popularity in recent years, with major sites like Ancestry.com and 23andMe offering personalized ancestry reports and tools to find possible relatives. They have also become useful tools for law enforcement agencies, helping detectives solve high-profile cases such as the Golden State Killer last year.
    While investigators have used open-source sites such as GEDmatch, which is free, to find DNA matches and possible relatives, the arrangement with FamilyTreeDNA includes the first known commercial site to provide some services without a subpoena or warrant.
    According to FamilyTreeDNA, the F.B.I. will have access to its website like any other user: After uploading a person's DNA file, investigators can search for potential relatives with overlapping DNA. Detectives will have access to the same repository of genealogical records as all users, the company said.
    In addition, the company's genetic testing laboratory, Gene by Gene, has agreed to create data profiles from DNA samples provided by the F.B.I., which can then be plugged into other family history sites. The company said on its website that the F.B.I. would need a subpoena to gain access to information not already available on its website.
    The company has not disclosed how many cases it has worked on, but Mr. Greenspan said in the email to users that it was "a handful of DNA samples for cold cases from the F.B.I."

    Mr. Greenspan defended the deal by saying his company was forcing law enforcement agencies to be transparent, unlike other DNA testing companies.
    "Law enforcement has the ability to test DNA samples from crime scenes and upload the results into databases, like any other customer can, and it appears they have been doing it at other companies for the past year," he said. "The distinction is that, according to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, we expect the FBI and law enforcement agencies to let us know when they submit something to our database."
    A company spokesman said late Monday that the F.B.I. is only able to see other DNA profiles on FamilyTreeDNA that share some of the same genetic profile. Users can disable the "matching" option in their account settings, which would prevent the F.B.I., as well as ordinary users, from seeing their information, the spokesman said.
    "Unless a valid court order is issued, such as a subpoena or search warrant, with which FamilyTreeDNA would have no choice but to comply, there is no difference in the level of database access provided to law enforcement than to an ordinary user of FamilyTreeDNA," the spokesman, Patrick W. Murphy, said in an email.
    The F.B.I. declined to comment.
    After Buzzfeed reported on the arrangement, genealogists revolted. Some discussed creating a petition to encourage FamilyTreeDNA to reverse its decision, while others threatened to delete their profiles.
    "Not being upfront about what it wanted to do and quietly changing its terms with no notice to current customers is a big 'no no,'" Rachel King, the founder of Toll Genealogy, a resource for genealogists, said in an email. "At the end of the day, this is valuable work. Anything that helps put a name to unidentified body, potentially enabling their loved ones to finally know what happened to them, is a good thing."
    More than 15 million people have submitted their DNA to companies like FamilyTreeDNA in recent years. While they represent a small fraction of all people, the pool of profiles is large enough to allow 60 percent of white Americans — the primary users of DNA sites in the United States — to be identified through the databases, according to researchers.

    As the number of tests expands in the coming years, researchers believe that 90 percent of Americans of European descent will be identifiable, even if they did not submit their own DNA, according to researchers.
    "It's about their third cousin that they don't know exists or their child that they haven't had yet," Ms. Murphy said. "We shouldn't be having this conversation about just the users on the site. It's more than their privacy that is at stake."


    13) Jazmine Headley, Whose Child Was Torn From Her Arms at a City Office, Gets a Public Apology
    By Nikita Stewart, February 4, 2019

    In December, video footage of Jazmine Headley enduring having her 1-year-old son wrested from her arms was widely shared on social media.CreditCreditMike Catalini/Associated Press

    Jazmine Headley, whose chaotic arrest at a public benefits office in Brooklyn two months ago sparked a national outcry, testified with tears in her eyes at a City Council hearing Monday, recounting the day that her 1-year-old son was wrested from her arms as she struggled to hold on to him.
    "It's not just the fact that I was arrested. It was the harsh way that I was treated by people who are supposed to help me," she said, adding later, "In my case, I was just sitting. A peaceful act."
    Video footage of the young mother desperately holding on to her baby went viral on social media and prompted the Council to introduce a package of more than a dozen bills aimed at improving the treatment of people who receive public assistance.

    In brief, but emotional, testimony she reminded Council members that she was one of thousands of New Yorkers who go to public benefits offices each day and face long waits, poor service and even disdain from caseworkers, security guards and police officers.

    Her remarks ended with the room offering a standing ovation, and Council members publicly apologizing to her.
    On Dec. 7, Ms. Headley had gone to an office in the Boerum Hill neighborhood to find out why public assistance she had been receiving for her son to attend day care had been suddenly cut off. To make the trip, she missed a day from her job cleaning offices and had to take her son with her because he could not go to day care.
    Seats in the main waiting area were taken, so Ms. Headley sat on the floor. A security guard told her to move, saying she was blocking a fire zone. Ms. Headley took exception to the guard's tone and refused. (Officials later determined that Ms. Headley was not blocking a fire zone.)
    The security guards, who are called peace officers and who work for the Human Resources Administration, called police. Chaos then ensued after a security guard grabbed Ms. Headley's arm as she tried to walk away. Ms. Headley was arrested and had to spend four nights at Rikers Island before she was released and charges were dropped.
    One guard has resigned, and the city is moving to fire another.
    During the hearing, some Council members cited a report by the Safety Net Project, an advocacy group that has closely monitored how poor people are treated in seeking social services.

    One of the bills in the legislative package would require the Department of Social Services, which oversees the Human Resources Administration, to issue quarterly reports on use-of-force incidents. Another bill would require the social services agency to create an "Office of the Special Handler," which would act as an ombudsman for complaints and questions.
    Other bills would create space for children, streamline appointments, hire social workers for all offices and administer training in de-escalation for employees.
    Steven Banks, the commissioner of social services, described similar pilot programs and efforts that were already underway. But Mr. Banks said the Council and Ms. Headley reminded him that his agency sometimes falls short. "I want everyone to hear our commitment to do more," he said.
    Mr. Banks, who publicly apologized to Ms. Headley in December, apologized again at the hearing, which was heavy on contrition from elected officials.
    Laurie Cumbo, a council member who represents Brooklyn, is a new mother like Ms. Headley. Sniffling through her own tears, Ms. Cumbo talked about the obstacles facing mothers as they pack up toys and supplies and navigate the city, only to face more obstacles in seeking assistance. Ms. Cumbo was so moved that she invited Ms. Headley and her son to attend her son's birthday party.
    Corey Johnson, the Council speaker, stepped down from the dais and hugged Ms. Headley. He addressed her directly, used the word "sorry" five times and apologized that she had to spend time in jail and endure poor treatment.

    "I am similarly deeply, deeply grateful for your bravery, for you wanting to tell your story, for you wanting to ensure that this doesn't happen to anyone else," he said.


    14) Brooklyn Federal Jail Had Heat Failures Weeks Before Crisis, Employees Say
    By Benjamin Weiser and Ali Winston, February 5, 2019

    A protester outside the Metropolitan Detention Center, a federal jail in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. A Manhattan federal judge visited the jail on Tuesday to investigate conditions.CreditCreditStephanie Keith for The New York Times
    The heat at a troubled Brooklyn jail started to fail as early as mid-January, weeks before the problem erupted into a public crisis, staff members and current and former inmates testified on Tuesday at a hearing on the deteriorating conditions.
    The hearing, before Judge Analisa Torres of Federal District Court in Manhattan, followed complaints that inmates at the jail, the Metropolitan Detention Center, were being housed in intolerable conditions.
    They were forced to huddle under blankets in frigid cells, lawyers said, after an electrical fire on Jan. 27 plunged much of the building into darkness. It led the jail to cancel lawyer and family visits for a week.

    The heating problems were unrelated to the electrical issues but worsened just as the city experienced temperatures that were among the coldest of the winter.

    Reports of the conditions drew crowds of protesters and a phalanx of elected officials to the jail over the weekend. Hugh J. Hurwitz, the acting director of the federal Bureau of Prisons, toured the jail on Monday. Power and heat now have been restored and family visits have also resumed, officials said.
    After the hearing, Judge Torres took the unusual step of visiting the M.D.C., which sits on the Brooklyn waterfront in Sunset Park, for more than two hours to carry out her own inspection. Afterward, she rejected a request, raised by lawyers for two inmates, that she appoint a neutral observer to investigate jail conditions and report to the judge.
    The judge noted that the federal public defender’s office in New York City had already made the same request in a civil suit filed against the Bureau of Prisons on Monday in Brooklyn, and she said that court should take up the issue.
    The conditions at the jail also prompted defense lawyers to file emergency bail requests in Brooklyn federal court. Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis, who heard three bail cases, condemned the conditions in the jail.
    “I can’t imagine people in the dark, in subfreezing temperatures, without any understanding of when it will end. It’s not humane,” Judge Garaufis said during the proceedings.

    “They’re keeping it together with Scotch tape,” Judge Garaufis added, comparing the jail to an old, patched-up car. For years, he said, the jail’s physical state had been deteriorating, and its disrepair was exacerbated by a perfect storm of the federal government shutdown, equipment failures and a fire that knocked out the electrical grid.
    The hearing before Judge Torres in Manhattan offered some of the first public accounts by jail employees and inmates about the jail problems, which federal defenders have called a humanitarian crisis.
    Anthony Sanon, the leader of the local chapter of the correction officers union, testified that problems with the heat began as early as mid-January, and another employee, John Maffeo, a facility manager, placed the date at about a week or two before the Jan. 27 fire. A third employee, Hai June Bencebi, remembered it became “extremely cold” in the jail about two days before Martin Luther King’s Birthday, when temperatures in New York were plummeting.

    Current and former inmates testified that the cold and darkness of last week made living conditions almost unbearable.
    Miguel Cruz, who was recently released from the jail and is awaiting trial, said he slept “completely dressed” and wearing two pairs of socks. His cellmate, he said, used book covers to try to block cold air blowing through vents into their cell. There was no hot water, he said, so he did not shower.
    “It was horrible,” Mr. Cruz testified. “I wasn’t going to take a shower with frozen water.”
    The jail houses more than 1,600 federal inmates who are being prosecuted in Brooklyn and, in some cases, Manhattan. Most of the detainees are awaiting trial and have not been found guilty of a crime.
    Judge Torres held the hearing in Manhattan after a lawyer for one of the defendants, Jose Segura-Genao, complained that his client was living with limited heat and light in the jail, and, because he had no money in his commissary account, could not buy thermal undershirts and underwear.

    “The last time I visited Mr. Segura-Genao, he was not wearing socks,” the lawyer, Ezra Spilke, wrote.
    The United States attorney’s office in Manhattan, which represented the government at the hearing before Judge Torres, declined to comment Tuesday night. The office had asked that the judge delay the hearing, telling her in a letter that the living conditions at the jail were “evolving and continue to require intensive work by M.D.C. personnel.” The judge denied the government’s request.
    Among those attending the packed hearing was Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York.
    During the hearing, Mr. Sanon, the correctional officer and president of the officers’ union chapter, testified about a power blackout at the M.D.C. in January, two weeks before the fire, which sent almost the entire building into darkness.
    “I saw the institution pretty much in the dark,” Mr. Sanon said. The poor visibility created “a dangerous situation” inside the jail, he said, and complicated tasks such as searching inmates for contraband or moving them back to their cells in a lockdown.
    He said there were also problems with cold that he reported to his superiors in mid-January as corrections officers were wearing scarves, coats and hats on duty.
    “Numerous C.O.s, — I would say all of the C.O.s — called and complained that it was freezing in the building,” Mr. Sanon testified.

    Family members of prisoners were among the spectators in the courtroom and in two overflow areas that showed the proceedings on a live monitor.
    Clara Salazar, 27, who sat in one of the overflow rooms, said that her father — whom she declined to name out of concern for his privacy — is an inmate at the M.D.C. and that the last time she saw him there was from the street. She was with protesters and he was inside, banging on a window alongside other inmates in a loud, clattering protest against conditions at the jail.
    “We didn’t get to talk to him for a very long time,” Ms. Salazar said. “No phone calls, no emails.”

    Sean Piccoli and Nate Schweber contributed reporting.
    Follow Benjamin Weiser and Ali Winston on Twitter: @BenWeiserNYT and @awinston.


    15) Officer Faces No Charges in Fatal Shooting in an Alabama Mall
    By Richard Fausset, February 5, 2019
    Emantic F. Bradford Jr. was fatally shot by the police on Nov. 22 at a mall in Hoover, Ala.

    An Alabama police officer will not be criminally charged for killing a young black man whom he had mistaken for the gunman in a shopping-mall shooting Thanksgiving night, the state attorney general’s office said Tuesday. The decision is likely to extend the debate over a tragedy at the intersection of gun rights and concerns over racial biases in policing.
    The shooting death of Emantic F. Bradford Jr., 21, at the Riverchase Galleria mall in Hoover, Ala., prompted protests and raised questionsabout whether police officers are too quick to assume that a nonwhite person who is armed is a wrongdoer.
    In a 24-page report, Attorney General Steve Marshall concluded that the Hoover police officer — identified only as Officer 1 — who shot Mr. Bradford had “reasonably exercised” his duties.
    “Officer 1’s actions were reasonable under the circumstances and were consistent with his training and nationally accepted standards for ‘active shooter’ scenarios,” the report stated.

    The police officer shot Mr. Bradford, who went by E.J., a few seconds after gunshots rang out at the mall on Nov. 22, sending shoppers racing for safety and leaving an 18-year-old man, Brian Wilson, injured by two bullets.
    The officer, who was on duty at the mall, said in a statement that he had turned toward the sound of the gunfire with his weapon drawn, and saw an injured man clutching his stomach near a railing, with another man helping him. He said he also saw “an armed suspect” who was “quickly moving towards the two males standing near the railing.”
    “The suspect was advancing on the two males and had a black handgun in his right hand,” the officer said. “I fired my duty weapon at the armed suspect to stop him.” That man was Mr. Bradford.
    The officer said he thought Mr. Bradford was going to kill the two men, and the report said the officer had “mistakenly believed” Mr. Bradford had fired the initial shots.

    The officer said he was unable to issue verbal commands before firing, “due to the quickness of the event and the immediate threat Bradford posed” to the two men he was approaching.
    The police later arrested another man — Erron Martez Dequan Brown, 20 — and charged him with attempted murder in connection with the shooting of Mr. Wilson, the injured man by the railing.
    The attorney general’s report said there was no evidence that Mr. Bradford’s handgun was fired at the mall.
    The report said the F.B.I. had found no evidence to prompt an investigation into whether Mr. Bradford’s civil rights had been violated, a basis for federal prosecutions in cases that are otherwise under state jurisdiction. An F.B.I. spokeswoman declined to comment on the matter Tuesday.
    The decision not to bring charges did little to quell the suspicions and anger of Mr. Bradford’s relatives and supporters. “I’m outraged,” his mother, April Pipkins, said in a telephone interview Tuesday. “In no way was justice served.”
    Some surveillance video images of the events at the mall were released on Tuesday. But Benjamin L. Crump, a lawyer for the family, said he believed there was additional footage that had not been released, and he demanded that the public be allowed to see it. In a prepared statement, he said that Mr. Bradford’s “only ‘crime’ was being black.”
    Ashlyn McMillan, a witness to the mall shootings, told The New York Times that she considered Mr. Bradford a hero, saying that he had directed frantic shoppers to safety and had warned her to get down and seek cover inside a store.

    A man named Roosevelt Poole filled in some of the night’s narrative blanks at a recent preliminary hearing in the case. According to the Alabama news website AL.com, Mr. Poole said that he and another man were with Mr. Brown, the suspected gunman, in front of the J.C. Penney store in the mall when Mr. Bradford, Mr. Wilson and about eight other people showed up.
    Soon, Mr. Poole said, Mr. Wilson was slapping and punching Mr. Brown, the website reported. Mr. Brown’s lawyers say that he shot Mr. Wilson in self-defense.
    The attorney general’s report said that video footage showed Mr. Brown and his friends running into the J.C. Penney store after the shots were fired. For his part, Mr. Bradford initially ran away from the store entrance after the shots, the report said, but then drew his weapon and chambered a round.
    “Bradford then charges back toward J.C. Penney, gun drawn,” the report states.
    Mr. Crump said in a telephone interview that he believed Mr. Bradford was in no way intending to engage in a shootout.
    The attorney general’s report concludes that the officer’s initial mistaken belief that Mr. Bradford had shot Mr. Wilson did not render the officer’s actions “unreasonable.”
    “First, a reasonable person could have assumed that the only person with a gun who was running toward the victim of a shooting that occurred just three seconds earlier fired the shots,” it said.
    The report also asserted that Mr. Bradford “still posed an immediate deadly threat to persons in the area. Video evidence suggests that Bradford, who was carrying a firearm, was running toward the initial shooter, Erron Brown, who was also carrying a firearm. Multiple shoppers were nearby, including a mother and child directly in between the two armed men.”


    16) Elliott Abrams, Trump’s Pick to Bring “Democracy” to Venezuela, Has Spent His Life Crushing Democracy
    By Jon Schwarz
    Via Email, February 5, 2019
    Elliott Abrams, 2019

    On December 11, 1981 in El Salvador, a Salvadoran military unit created and trained by the U.S. Army began slaughtering everyone they could find in a remote village called El Mozote. Before murdering the women and girls, the soldiers raped them repeatedly, including some as young as 10 years old, and joked that their favorites were the 12-year-olds. One witness described a soldier tossing a 3-year-old child into the air and impaling him with his bayonet. The final death toll was over 800 people. The next day, December 12, was the first day on the job for Elliott Abrams as assistant secretary of state for human rights and humanitarian affairs in the Reagan administration. Abrams snapped into action, helping to lead a cover-up of the massacre. News reports of what had happened, Abrams told the Senate, were “not credible,” and the whole thing was being “significantly misused” as propaganda by anti-government guerillas. This past Friday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo named Abrams as America’s special envoy for Venezuela. According to Pompeo, Abrams “will have responsibility for all things related to our efforts to restore democracy” in the oil-rich nation. The choice of Abrams sends a clear message to Venezuela and the world: The Trump administration intends to brutalize Venezuela, while producing a stream of unctuous rhetoric about America’s love for democracy and human rights. Combining these two factors — the brutality and the unctuousness — is Abrams’s core competency. Abrams previously served in a multitude of positions in the Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush administrations, often with titles declaring their focus on morality. First, he was assistant secretary of state for international organization affairs (in 1981); then the State Department “human rights” position mentioned above (1981-85); assistant secretary of state for inter-American affairs (1985-89); senior director for democracy, human rights, and international operations for the National Security Council (2001-05); and finally, Bush’s deputy national security adviser for global democracy strategy (2005-09). In these positions, Abrams participated in many of the most ghastly acts of U.S. foreign policy from the past 40 years, all the while proclaiming how deeply he cared about the foreigners he and his friends were murdering. Looking back, it’s uncanny to see how Abrams has almost always been there when U.S. actions were at their most sordid.

    Abrams, a graduate of both Harvard College and Harvard Law School, joined the Reagan administration in 1981, at age 33. He soon received a promotion due to a stroke of luck: Reagan wanted to name Ernest Lefever as assistant secretary of state for human rights and humanitarian affairs, but Lefever’s nomination ran aground when two of his own brothers revealed that he believed African-Americans were “inferior, intellectually speaking.” A disappointed Reagan was forced to turn to Abrams as a second choice. A key Reagan administration concern at the time was Central America — in particular, the four adjoining nations of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua. All had been dominated by tiny, cruel, white elites since their founding, with a century’s worth of help from U.S. interventions. In each country, the ruling families saw their society’s other inhabitants as human-shaped animals, who could be harnessed or killed as needed. But shortly before Reagan took office, Anastasio Somoza, the dictator of Nicaragua and a U.S. ally, had been overthrown by a socialist revolution. The Reaganites rationally saw this as a threat to the governments of Nicaragua’s neighbors. Each country had large populations who similarly did not enjoy being worked to death on coffee plantations or watching their children die of easily treated diseases. Some would take up arms, and some would simply try to keep their heads down, but all, from the perspective of the cold warriors in the White House, were likely “communists” taking orders from Moscow. They needed to be taught a lesson.

    El Salvador
    The extermination of El Mozote was just a drop in the river of what happened in El Salvador during the 1980s. About 75,000 Salvadorans died during what’s called a “civil war,” although almost all the killing was done by the government and its associated death squads. The numbers alone don’t tell the whole story. El Salvador is a small country, about the size of New Jersey. The equivalent number of deaths in the U.S. would be almost 5 million. Moreover, the Salvadoran regime continually engaged in acts of barbarism so heinous that there is no contemporary equivalent, except perhaps ISIS. In one instance, a Catholic priest reported that a peasant woman briefly left her three small children in the care of her mother and sister. When she returned, she found that all five had been decapitated by the Salvadoran National Guard. Their bodies were sitting around a table, with their hands placed on their heads in front of them, “as though each body was stroking its own head.” The hand of one, a toddler, apparently kept slipping off her small head, so it had been nailed onto it. At the center of the table was a large bowl full of blood. Criticism of U.S. policy at the time was not confined to the left. During this period, Charles Maechling Jr., who had led State Department planning for counterinsurgencies during the 1960s, wrote in the Los Angeles Times that the U.S. was supporting “Mafia-like oligarchies” in El Salvador and elsewhere and was directly complicit in “the methods of Heinrich Himmler’s extermination squads.” Abrams was one of the architects of the Reagan administration’s policy of full-throated support for the Salvadoran government. He had no qualms about any of it and no mercy for anyone who escaped the Salvadoran abattoir. In 1984, sounding exactly like Trump officials today, he explained that Salvadorans who were in the U.S. illegally should not receive any kind of special status. “Some groups argue that illegal aliens who are sent back to El Salvador meet persecution and often death,” he told the House of Representatives. “Obviously, we do not believe these claims or we would not deport these people.” Even when out of office, 10 years after the El Mozote massacre, Abrams expressed doubt that anything untoward had occurred there. In 1993, when a United Nations truth commission found that 95 percent of the acts of violence that had taken place in El Salvador since 1980 had been committed by Abrams’s friends in the Salvadoran government, he called what he and his colleagues in the Reagan administration had done a “fabulous achievement.”

    The situation in Guatemala during the 1980s was much the same, as were Abrams’s actions. After the U.S. engineered the overthrow of Guatemala’s democratically elected president in 1954, the country had descended into a nightmare of revolving military dictatorships. Between 1960 and 1996, in another “civil war,” 200,000 Guatemalans were killed — the equivalent of maybe 8 million people in America. A U.N. commission later found that the Guatemalan state was responsible for 93 percent of the human rights violations.

    Efraín Ríos Montt, who served as Guatemala’s president in the early 1980s, was found guilty in 2013, by Guatemala’s own justice system, of committing genocide against the country’s indigenous Mayans. During Ríos Montt’s administration, Abrams called for the lifting of an embargo on U.S. arms shipments to Guatemala, claiming that Ríos Montt had “brought considerable progress.” The U.S. had to support the Guatemalan government, Abrams argued, because “if we take the attitude ‘don’t come to us until you’re perfect, we’re going to walk away from this problem until Guatemala has a perfect human rights record,’ then we’re going to be leaving in the lurch people there who are trying to make progress.” One example of the people making an honest effort, according to Abrams, was Ríos Montt. Thanks to Ríos Montt, “there has been a tremendous change, especially in the attitude of the government toward the Indian population.” (Ríos Montt’s conviction was later set aside by Guatemala’s highest civilian court, and he died before a new trial could finish.)

    Abrams would become best known for his enthusiastic involvement with the Reagan administration’s push to overthrow Nicaragua’s revolutionary Sandinista government. He advocated for a full invasion of Nicaragua in 1983, immediately after the successful U.S. attack on the teeny island nation of Grenada. When Congress cut off funds to the Contras, an anti-Sandinista guerrilla force created by the U.S., Abrams successfully persuaded the Sultan of Brunei to cough up $10 million for the cause. Unfortunately, Abrams, acting under the code name “Kenilworth,” provided the Sultan with the wrong Swiss bank account number, so the money was wired instead to a random lucky recipient.

    Abrams was questioned by Congress about his Contra-related activities and lied voluminously. He later pleaded guilty to two counts of withholding information. One was about the Sultan and his money, and another was about Abrams’s knowledge of a Contra resupply C-123 plane that had been shot down in 1986. In a nice historical rhyme with his new job in the Trump administration, Abrams had previously attempted to obtain two C-123s for the Contras from the military of Venezuela. Abrams received a sentence of 100 hours of community service and perceived the whole affair as an injustice of cosmic proportions. He soon wrote a book in which he described his inner monologue about his prosecutors, which went: “You miserable, filthy bastards, you bloodsuckers!” He was later pardoned by President George H.W. Bush on the latter’s way out the door after he lost the 1992 election.

    While it’s been forgotten now, before America invaded Panama to oust Manuel Noriega in 1989, he was a close ally of the U.S. — despite the fact the Reagan administration knew he was a large-scale drug trafficker. In 1985, Hugo Spadafora, a popular figure in Panama and its one-time vice minister for health, believed he had obtained proof of Noriega’s involvement in cocaine smuggling. He was on a bus on his way to Panama City to release it publicly when he was seized by Noriega’s thugs. According to the book “Overthrow” by former New York Times correspondent Stephen Kinzer, U.S. intelligence picked up Noriega giving his underlings the go-ahead to put Spadafora down like “a rabid dog.” They tortured Spadafora for a long night and then sawed off his head while he was still alive. When Spadafora’s body was found, his stomach was full of blood he’d swallowed.

    This was so horrific that it got people’s attention. But Abrams leapt to Noriega’s defense, blocking the U.S. ambassador to Panama from increasing pressure on the Panamanian leader. When Spadafora’s brother persuaded North Carolina’s hyper-conservative GOP Sen. Jesse Helms to hold hearings on Panama, Abrams told Helms that Noriega was “being really helpful to us” and was “really not that big a problem. The Panamanians have promised they are going to help us with the Contras. If you have the hearings, it’ll alienate them.”

    And That’s Not All
    Abrams also engaged in malfeasance for no discernible reason, perhaps just to stay in shape. In 1986 a Colombian journalist named Patricia Lara was invited to the U.S. to attend a dinner honoring writers who’d advanced “inter-American understanding and freedom of information.” When Lara arrived at New York’s Kennedy airport, she was taken into custody, then put on a plane back home. Soon afterward, Abrams went on “60 Minutes” to claim that Lara was a member of the “ruling committees” of M-19, a Colombian guerrilla movement. She also, according to Abrams, was ”an active liaison” between M-19 ”and the Cuban secret police.” Given the frequent right-wing paramilitary violence against Colombian reporters, this painted a target on Lara’s back. There was no evidence then that Abrams’s assertions were true — Colombia’s own conservative government denied it — and none has appeared since. Abrams’s never-ending, shameless deceptions wore down American reporters. “They said that black was white,” Joanne Omang at the Washington Post later explained about Abrams and his White House colleague Robert McFarlane. “Although I had used all my professional resources I had misled my readers.” Omang was so exhausted by the experience that she quit her job trying to describe the real world to try to write fiction. Post-conviction Abrams was seen as damaged goods who couldn’t return to government.. This underestimated him. Adm. William J. Crowe Jr., the one-time chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, tangled fiercely with Abrams in 1989 over the proper U.S. policy toward Noriega once it become clear he was more trouble than he was worth. Crowe strongly opposed a bright idea that Abrams had come up with: that the U.S. should establish a government-in-exile on Panamanian soil, which would require thousands of U.S. troops to guard. This was deeply boneheaded, Crowe said, but it didn’t matter. Crowe presciently issued a warning about Abrams: “This snake’s hard to kill.”

    To the surprise of Washington’s more naive insiders, Abrams was back in business soon after George W. Bush entered the White House. It might have been difficult to get Senate approval for someone who had deceived Congress, so Bush put him in a slot at the National Security Council — where no legislative branch approval was needed. Just like 20 years before, Abrams was handed a portfolio involving “democracy” and “human rights.”

    By the beginning of 2002, Venezuela’s president, Hugo Chavez, had become deeply irritating to the Bush White House, which was filled with veterans of the battles of the 1980s. That April, all of a sudden, out of nowhere, Chavez was pushed out of power in a coup. Whether and how the U.S. was involved is not yet known, and probably won’t be for decades until the relevant documents are declassified. But based on the previous 100 years, it would be surprising indeed if America didn’t play any behind-the-scenes role. For what it’s worth, the London Observer reported at the time that “the crucial figure around the coup was Abrams” and he “gave a nod” to the plotters. In any case, Chavez had enough popular support that he was able to regroup and return to office within days.

    Abrams apparently did play a key role in squelching a peace proposal from Iran in 2003, just after the U.S. invasion of Iraq. The plan arrived by fax, and should have gone to Abrams, and then to Condoleezza Rice, at the time Bush’s national security adviser. Instead it somehow never made it to Rice’s desk. When later asked about this, Abrams’s spokesperson replied that he “had no memory of any such fax.” (Abrams, like so many people who thrive at the highest level of politics, has a terrible memory for anything political. In 1984, he told Ted Koppel that he couldn’t recall for sure whether the U.S. had investigated reports of massacres in El Salvador. In 1986, when asked by the Senate Intelligence Committee if he’d discussed fundraising for the contras with anyone on the NSC’s staff, he likewise couldn’t remember.)

    Israel and Palestine
    Abrams was also at the center of another attempt to thwart the outcome of a democratic election, in 2006. Bush had pushed for legislative elections in the West Bank and Gaza in order to give Fatah, the highly corrupt Palestinian organization headed by Yasser Arafat’s successor, Mahmoud Abbas, some badly needed legitimacy. To everyone’s surprise, Fatah’s rival Hamas won, giving it the right to form a government. This unpleasant outburst of democracy was not acceptable to the Bush administration, in particular Rice and Abrams. They hatched a plan to form a Fatah militia to take over the Gaza Strip, and crush Hamas in its home territory. As reported by Vanity Fair, this involved a great deal of torture and executions. But Hamas stole a march on Fatah with their own ultra-violence. David Wurmser, a neoconservative who worked for Dick Cheney at the time, told Vanity Fair, “It looks to me that what happened wasn’t so much a coup by Hamas but an attempted coup by Fatah that was pre-empted before it could happen.” Yet ever since, these events have been turned upside down in the U.S. media, with Hamas being presented as the aggressors. While the U.S. plan was not a total success, it also was not a total failure from the perspective of America and Israel. The Palestinian civil war split the West Bank and Gaza into two entities, with rival governments in both. For the past 13 years, there’s been little sign of the political unity necessary for Palestinians to get a decent life for themselves. Abrams then left office with Bush’s exit. But now he’s back for a third rotation through the corridors of power – with the same kinds of schemes he’s executed the first two times. Looking back at Abrams’s lifetime of lies and savagery, it’s hard to imagine what he could say to justify it. But he does have a defense for everything he’s done — and it’s a good one.

    In 1995, Abrams appeared on “The Charlie Rose Show” with Allan Nairn, one of the most knowledgable American reporters about U.S. foreign policy. Nairn noted that George H.W. Bush had once discussed putting Saddam Hussein on trial for crimes against humanity. This was a good idea, said Nairn, but “if you’re serious, you have to be even-handed” — which would mean also prosecuting officials like Abrams. Abrams chuckled at the ludicrousness of such a concept. That would require, he said, “putting all the American officials who won the Cold War in the dock.” Abrams was largely right. The distressing reality is that Abrams is no rogue outlier, but a respected, honored member of the center right of the U.S. foreign policy establishment. His first jobs before joining the Reagan administration were working for two Democratic senators, Henry Jackson and Daniel Moynihan. He was a senior fellow at the centrist Council on Foreign Relations. He’s been a member of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, and now is on the board of the National Endowment for Democracy. He’s taught the next generation of foreign policy officials at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. He didn’t somehow fool Reagan and George W. Bush — they wanted exactly what Abrams provided.

    So no matter the gruesome particulars of Abrams’s career, the important thing to remember — as the U.S. eagle tightens its razor-sharp talons around yet another Latin American country — is that Abrams isn’t that exceptional. He’s mostly a cog in a machine. It’s the machine that’s the problem, not its malevolent parts.

    Before joining First Look, Jon Schwarz worked for Michael Moore’s Dog Eat Dog Films and was Research Producer for Moore’s “Capitalism: A Love Story.” He’s contributed to many publications, including the New Yorker, the New York Times, The Atlantic, the Wall Street Journal, Mother Jones, and Slate, as well as NPR and “Saturday Night Live.” In 2003 he collected on a $1,000 bet that Iraq would have no weapons of mass destruction.


    Posted by: bonnieweinstein@yahoo.com

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