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



How to buy a gun in the U.S. and New Zeland:

New Zealand to Ban Military-Style Semiautomatic Guns, Jacinda Ardern Says
By Damien Cave and Charlotte Graham-McLay, March 20, 2019













Gaza's Great March of Return - 1 Year Anniversary, Rally and March- March 30th, SF @noon

We call on supporters of freedom, justice and humanity to join us in solidarity with Gaza and the Palestinian struggle as a whole. We will meet at 24th and Mission Bart in SF, then march through the Mission. 

Saturday, March 30, 2019 marks the first anniversary of the Great March of Return in the Gaza Strip and the 43rd anniversary of Land Day in Palestine. This is an invitation for supporters of justice around the world to raise their voices. One year ago March 30th, tens of thousands of Palestinian refugees from Gaza began weekly peaceful protests calling to lift the Israeli-Egyptian blockade and for the right to return to their ancestral homes. Since the Great Return March protests began Israeli snipers have killed 256 Palestinian men, women and children in cold blood-and injured 30,000. Meanwhile today, US made bombs are literally raining down on 2 million trapped Gazans.

The Higher National Commission for the March of Return and Breaking the Siege announced preparations to organize a mega march on the first anniversary of the March of Return and on the Land Day, March 30. In a news conference held in Gaza, head of the Commission Khaled al-Batsh said that this event would be a hundred percent peaceful and would take place in the five border camps of the March of Return. He also called for a general strike in all of Palestine on the same day of the anniversary, urging Palestinians in the West Bank and the world to organize marches to confront the dangers threatening their lives as a result of Israeli barriers and settlements.  Join us!  #GreatReturnMarch #March30

Noura Khouri


Call for a Palestine Liberation Movement

The 1st Anniversary of the 'Great March of Return' is March 30. 

                   Call initiated by the One State Assembly, February 9, 2019
All articles represent the opinions of the authors – not UNAC Positions

The 1st Anniversary of the 'Great March of Return' is March 30.  This is also the commemoration known as Land Day to Palestinians.   Land Day commemorates a massacre of 6 Palestinian 'citizens' of Israel who were protesting the Israeli government's appropriation of thousands of donums of Palestinian land in 1976.  
Today, more than 40 years later, Israel is murdering Palestinian protesters in the Great March of Return on a daily basis.  While claiming that others threaten the state of Israel, the Israeli occupation of the ancient land of Palestine (and parts of Lebanon and Syria as well) is increasingly genocidal.   

What follows is a statement by the One State Assembly in support of One Democratic State of Palestine.    Please sign and endorse the statement to support the Palestinian right of return and a future for an open democratic state in historic Palestine rather than an ethno-religious encampment.  Sign before March 30th and stand with the Palestinian people and Palestine on Land Day.  

Call for A Palestine Liberation Movement and One Democratic State of Palestine
We say YES to the just national struggle for our rights, which unifies the living energies of our people. We are inspired by our glorious history, our great leaders and their decisive battles, our martyrs, our prisoners, our restless youth and those in refugee camps, waiting on the realization of their inalienable right of return. We say NO to begging at the doors of the occupiers in pursuit of crumbs. This has led Palestinians and will lead them to more division and bloody infighting

Palestine was colonized for strategic, imperial reasons: it is at the junction of three continents, with key transport links and easy access for the hegemonic powers on their way to the oil wealth of the Arab nations. But the colonists could not evacuate the Palestinian people, who have lived here for more than 6,000 years.

After a century of dealing with the European colonial states and American imperialism, our Arab nation has been betrayed, and is still being betrayed, by the terror of these countries.
The illusion that Zionists want peace must be confronted. When will we wake up? We cannot speak of a national state for the Palestinians if we do not liberate ourselves from our petty differences while under siege and occupation. We have to recognize reality: that we continue in a period of national liberation, not in a period of state building.

For this reason we believe in the need to withdraw completely from farcical negotiations with the colonial entity. These only cover up and legalize the occupation. They suggest fair solutions which don't exist, deepening Palestinian conflicts and leading to bloody infighting.

The national liberation stage must precede the construction of the national state. Recognizing this provides a compass to guide us in our national priorities and relations with others. This means no more agreements with the occupiers. They will not commit to agreements, and experience shows they are part of a great deception, falsely called a 'peace process'.

This 'Peace Process' became a façade for the colonial entity to proceed with a so-called 'political solution'. Really, they needed Palestinian participation to pave the way for the oppressive Arab regimes to end the boycott and 'normalize' relationships with the entity.
As Arab markets were closed to the Zionist entity by a blockade, it was necessary to find ways to open them through 'normalization'. But Palestinian resistance had generated popular sympathy in the Arab and Islamic world, and formed a major obstacle to this 'normalization'. Zionist leader Shimon Perez admitted:
"The main goal of the Oslo conventions was not Palestinians, but rather normalization with the Arab world and opening its markets."
Yet national liberation requires confronting, not submitting to, foreign hegemony. We say that the leadership of our national movement has ignored this, and has instead engaged in binding relations with the occupying entity and its patrons.

The history of the colonial entity in Palestine is nothing more than a history of the destruction of the Palestinian people and their civilization. Two thirds of our people have been displaced and more than 90% of our land has been stolen. Our land, water and houses are stolen and demolished every day, while apartheid walls are built and the racist nation-state law is being enforced by Israeli legislators. There is also a permanent aggression against the peoples of the region, to subjugate them through Salafist terrorism and economic siege.

The USA supports the Zionist entity with money, weapons, missiles and aircraft, while protecting it from punishment at the UN, recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, abolishing its financial support for the United Nations Refugees and Work Agency (UNRWA) and halting its financial aid to the Palestinian Authority. How can the USA or its regional puppets ever be 'honest brokers' for the people of Palestine?

The invaders falsely used divine religion in attempts to destroy the indigenous people and their cultures. They said this was an 'empty land', available for another people with no land, but with the 'divine promise' of a religious homeland. Yet hiding settler colonization behind the banner of Judaism wrongly places responsibility on religion for the crimes of the colonizers.

We have no problem with 'Jewish' people in Palestine. That problem emerged in capitalist Europe, not in our countries. We are not the ones to create a solution to Europe's 'Jewish problem'. Rather, we have to deal with colonization and foreign hegemony in our region.

The colonial entity and its imperial patrons have brought the people of Palestine to a historic juncture. We, the residents of historic Palestine, must dismantle the terms of our collective extermination so as to set up relations which reject racial segregation and mutual negation. We must dismantle the closed structure and replace it with an open, non-imperial and humane system. This can only be achieved by establishing One Democratic State of Palestine for its indigenous people, the refugees who we were forced out of the country and its current citizens. This is the key to a 'fair and permanent solution of conflict' in the region, and to a 'just solution' for the Palestinian cause. Failing this, war and mutual destruction will continue.

Yet the old Palestinian leadership has presided over regression. They make agreements for the benefit of the colonial entity and its patrons. They abandon 1948 Palestine and the refugees. They collaborate with our enemies while delivering no tangible benefit for our people.

For these reasons we say that this leadership has become a real obstacle to any future development or advancement for our people. This leadership has lost its qualifications to lead national action. It looks to its own benefit and is too weak to learn the lessons of the anti-colonial movements of the peoples of Asia, Africa and the Americas. It does not see the advances elsewhere in challenging US hegemony. It does not even see the resistance in the Arab and Muslim World, when they manage to foil US and Zionist projects.

Our movement must be an organic part of the Arab Liberation Movement, putting an end to foreign hegemony, achieving national unity and liberating Palestine from the current apartheid system. Yet this great humanitarian goal directly clashes with the interests of the dominant triad – the forces of global hegemony, settler apartheid and the comprador Arab regimes.

We warn all against chasing the myth of 'two contiguous states' in Palestine. This is a major deception, to portray ethnic enclaves within Palestine as an expression of the right to popular self-determination. The goal must be to replace apartheid with equal citizenship and this can only be achieved by establishing One Democratic State in historic Palestine for all, including its indigenous people, the refugees who we were forced out of the country and its current citizens, including those who were drawn into the country as settlers through the Zionist project.

Palestinian parties negotiating for unity and reform should focus on restoring liberation to the core of the Palestinian National Charter. The Arab homeland will never be liberated and unified by subordination to the USA! It will only be liberated by confronting and ending colonial and imperial dominance.

We say YES to national unity in the framework of our Palestinian Liberation Movement, freed from deceptive agreements which only serve the hegemonic powers and comprador regimes.

LONG LIVE PALESTINE, liberated from racial colonization and built on the foundations of equality for all its citizens, rejecting segregation and discrimination by religion, culture or ethnicity; friends with its regional neighbours and with all progressive forces of the world!
One State Assembly
Jerusalem, Palestine

Signatories include: Richard Falk, Tariq Ali, Paul Larudee, Kevin Zeese, Tim Anderson, Amal Wahdan, Judith Bello, Ken Stone, Issa Chaer,  Ali Mallah, Alicia Jrapko …..
Endorsers: Free Palestine Movement, Palestine Solidarity Forum (India), Syria Solidarity Movement, United Front Against Facism and War (Canada), Communist Reconstruction (Canada), Hamilton Coalition to Stop the War, Hands Off Syria Coalition, International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity




Please note change of venue:



Courage to Resist
free chelsea manning
Free Chelsea Manning (again)!
U.S. Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning has been sent back to jail after refusing to answer questions before a grand jury investigating WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange. She could be jailed for up to 18 months this time.
As she was being taken back into custody on March 8th, she declared, "I will not participate in a secret process that I morally object to, particularly one that has been historically used to entrap and persecute activists for protected political speech."  Here's how to offer your support.

randy rowland
Podcast: Randy Rowland, GI resister
"I was the reluctant guy who's bit by bit by bit, just had to face the facts that things weren't the way I had been raised to believe that they were. It wasn't like I planned to be a resister or a troublemaker or anything of the sort," explains Randy Rowland, an organizer of the "Presidio 27 Mutiny."
This Courage to Resist podcast is the first in series to be produced in collaboration with the Vietnam Full Disclosure effort of Veterans for Peace — "Towards an honest commemoration of the American war in Vietnam." This year marks 50 years of GI resistance, in and out of uniform, for many of the courageous
individuals featured. Listen to Randy's story here.

ctr video
We shared our new 75 second promotional video on Facebook this week. Yes, FB is kind of evil, but we still reach a lot of folks that way. Please check it out, share with friends, and "like" our FB page.
ctr video
During Sunday's Objector Church online meetup, James Branum discussed the heroism of US Army Master Sergeant Roddie Edmonds (1919–1985). MSgt Edmonds was the ranking US NCO at the Stalag IX-A POW Camp when he was captured in Germany during WWII. At the risk of his life, he prevented an estimated 200 Jews from being singled out from the camp for Nazi persecution and likely death. Watch the video here.
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DA Krasner: At long last, turn the page on Mumia Abu-Jamal case!

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In 1981, Mumia Abu-Jamal was a former Black Panther and respected public radio journalist in Philadelphia, when he was jailed after a disputed incident in which police officer Daniel Faulkner was killed. In 1982, Abu-Jamal was convicted of murder and sentenced to death by Judge Albert Sabo, known as a "hanging judge" who'd sent more people to Death Row than any other U.S. judge.

Human rights groups like Amnesty International criticized the trial, pointing to racial bias and "possible political influences that may have prevented him from receiving an impartial and fair hearing." Unsuccessful appeals over the years have argued that prosecutors suppressed evidence and that blacks were systematically purged from the jury.

But after 37 years behind bars, much of it on death row in solitary confinement, Abu-Jamal now has some real hope.

Click here to tell Larry Krasner, Philadelphia's progressive District Attorney, that it's time to turn the page on Abu-Jamal's case.

Last December, Abu-Jamal won a major victory when Philadelphia Judge Leon Tucker ruled that he had the right to re-appeal his case because of the appearance of bias during the appeals process – specifically that a former DA-turned-Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice who'd blocked Abu-Jamal's appeals should have recused himself from the case.

This victory, clearing the path for a possible new trial, seemed especially hopeful because in 2017 Philadelphia voters, especially African American voters, had elected Krasner – a longtime foe of mass incarceration, the death penalty, and racism in criminal justice.

Click here to urge DA Krasner not to resist Judge Tucker's ruling and let justice be served.

At the end of January, Krasner shocked many by announcing that he would challenge Judge Tucker's decision to give Abu-Jamal the right to appeal, apparently over his concern that it might open up appeals for other convicted prisoners. Days later, Krasner was disinvited from a progressive law conference at Yale which he was to keynote, and conference organizers urged Krasner to drop his resistance to Abu Jamal's appeal: "We cannot understand how DA Krasner's decision in this case serves justice or the transformative vision that he ran on."

Add your voice to those who want DA Krasner to reverse course on Abu-Jamal's case – and to ask the DA: "Isn't nearly four decades behind bars more than enough?!" 

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

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

-- The RootsAction.org Team

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

>> Amnesty International: "A Life in the Balance: The Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal" (Feb. 2000)
>> Essence: "Judge Rules Mumia Abu-Jamal Can Reargue Appeal To The Pennsylvania Supreme Court" (Dec. 28, 2018)
>> Philly.com: "Philly DA Larry Krasner disinvited to speak at Yale Law conference" (Feb. 2, 2019)
>> The Intercept.com: "Larry Krasner Responds to Progressive Critics" (Feb. 9, 2019)
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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."



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.



Updates from the Committee to Stop FBI Repression

Justice for Rasmea Odeh! Justice for Palestine!

The Committee to Stop FBI Repression strongly supports Rasmea Odeh's right to speak in Berlin about the Palestinian liberation struggle. We stand with the many other organizations who condemn the German, Israeli, and U.S. governments' attacks on Rasmea and their attempts to silence her by revoking her visa and prohibiting her from political activity (see article about the March 15 incident).

The actions of these governments blatantly reflect their racist anti-Palestinian and anti-Muslim views. But we want to draw attention to the underlying reason for their targeting of Rasmea. The attack on her right to speak is deeply tied to U.S. and German support for the Israeli apartheid and settler colonialism in Palestine. Moreover, the attack on Rasmea reflects these countries' imperialist strategies for control of the Middle East. By the same token, these governments are clearly acting out of fear - fear that when Palestinian women and activists like Rasmea speak up, it chips away at such countries' grasp on Palestine and the surrounding region.

The attacks on Rasmea and Palestine also relate to political repression taking place across the globe. Germany, the U.S. and Israel are attempting to silence Rasmea for the same fundamental reasons that the Duterte government has murdered and attacked activists and human rights defenders in the Philippines; that the U.S. government is trying to forcibly install a new government in Venezuela; and that the NYPD's Strategic Response Group is surveilling and harassing leaders and activists in the Black Lives Matter movement. The imperialists who are in power are clearly afraid that people like Rasmea might inspire others to rise up and fight back against the racist and oppressive system in place.

We want to send a message to these imperialist powers, to say that fighting back is exactly what we plan to do. It is imperative that we fight back against this unjust system that tries to silence Palestinian women like Rasmea. We demand that Rasmea Odeh be permitted to speak in Germany, and we demand an end to state repression against all Muslim women, and all Palestinians who have boldly raised their voices against the imperialist and colonialist powers that are oppressing people across the world.

Activists are not terrorists! We stand in solidarity with Rasmea and all Palestinian people in their struggle for liberation.

-- NYC Committee to Stop FBI Repression

Copyright © 2019 Committee to Stop FBI Repression, All rights reserved.
Thanks for your ongoing interest in the fight against FBI repression of anti-war and international solidarity activists!

Our mailing address is:
Committee to Stop FBI Repression
PO Box 14183
MinneapolisMN  55414

Add us to your address book























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:



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



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




    On Monday March 4th, 2019 Leonard Peltier was advised that his request for a transfer had been unceremoniously denied by the United States Bureau of Prisons.

    The International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee appreciates and thanks the large number of his supporters who took the time to write, call, email, or fax the BOP in support of Leonard's request for a transfer.
    Those of us who have been supporting Leonard's freedom for a number of years are disappointed but resolute to continue pushing for his freedom and until that day, to continue to push for his transfer to be closer to his relatives and the Indigenous Nations who support him.
    44 years is too damn long for an innocent man to be locked up. How can his co-defendants be innocent on the grounds of self-defense but Leonard remains in prison? The time is now for all of us to dig deep and do what we can and what we must to secure freedom for Leonard Peltier before it's too late.
    We need the support of all of you now, more than ever. The ILPDC plans to appeal this denial of his transfer to be closer to his family. We plan to demand he receive appropriate medical care, and to continue to uncover and utilize every legal mechanism to secure his release. To do these things we need money to support the legal work.
    Land of the Brave postcard-page-0

    Please call the ILPDC National office or email us for a copy of the postcard you can send to the White House. We need your help to ask President Trump for Leonard's freedom.

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    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) Chelsea Manning Jailed Again
    By Barry Sheppard, March 12, 2019

    Chelsea Manning, a transgender U.S. soldier who blew the whistle on U.S. war crimes, and spent 2013 to 2017 in an army stockade as a result, is back in prison again.
    This time because she refuses to join a bipartisan campaign against WikiLeaksthat seeks to bring Julian Assange from his refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London to the U.S. in order to put him on trial and send him to prison.
    In 2010, she leaked hundreds-of-thousands of documents about the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. She first tried to get mainstream media to publish them, to no avail, before turning to WikiLeaks, which did publish them.
    One of these was a video, shown on TV at the time. The video was taken by U.S. soldiers aboard a helicopter gunship as they machine-gunned Iraqi civilians in the street as they attempted to flee. The soldiers joked and laughed while they committed murder.
    Daniel Ellsberg, who released the secret Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam War that documented the long campaign Washington engaged against Vietnam from the end of WWII through the Vietnam War itself, said recently on Democracy Now!
    "She also revealed massive, widespread torture being conducted by our Iraqi allies, with our knowledge and complicity, going from George W. Bush on into President Obama's term.
    "So there is a lot of resentment against her in the intelligence community and the Army about the shameful things she revealed. Also assassination squads, death squads, corruption in general."
    Manning is in prison once again for refusing to answer questions before a grand jury investigating WikiLeaksand its founder, Julian Assange. She was subpoenaed by federal prosecutors to appear for questioning about her 2010 leak to WikiLeaks, and jailed for contempt for refusing to do so. In 2010 she testified that she acted alone (on record if the prosecutors really want to know,) and now stands by that.
    Journalist Glenn Greenwald said on Democracy Now!
    "I don't think it's a surprise to anybody that Chelsea Manning is extraordinarily heroic. She has demonstrated that repeatedly over the last decade in all kinds of ways. But what she's doing here is really remarkable, because the context is that the Trump administration is trying to do what the Obama administration tried to do but concluded it couldn't do without jeopardizing press freedoms, which is to prosecute WikiLeaksand Julian Assange for what it regards as the crime of publishing top secret or classified documents."
    He added: 
    "The Obama administration tried to create theories to say that WikiLeaksdid more than passively receive documents from Chelsea Manning and then publish them…. The Justice Department under Obama, searched high and low for evidence that WikiLeaks participated in Chelsea Manning's taking of those documents. They found no evidence….
    "And unfortunately, between the Republicans, who have long hated WikiLeaksfor exposing the war crimes of the Bush administration and Democrats, who now hate WikiLeaksbecause they published documents that reflected poorly on Hilary Clinton and the Democratic Party, very few people are willing to stand up to this very serious attack on press freedom."
    The latter refers to WikiLeakspublishing Democratic National Committee documents that exposed Clinton's and the DNC's dirty tricks to sabotage Bernie Sanders' campaign in 2016. That is, WikiLeakspublished the truth. But the Democrats are joining the Trump administration in going after WikiLeaksfor a deeper reason—the whole U.S. government operates behind a vast wall of secrecy, and hates it when they are exposed for their crimes.
    In 2017, then head of the CIA Mike Pompeo, who is now Secretary of State, charged that: 
    "WikiLeakswalks like a hostile intelligence service and talks like a hostile intelligence service and has encouraged its followers to find jobs at the CIA in order to obtain intelligence. It directed Chelsea Manning in her theft of specific secret information…. It's time to call out WikiLeaksfor what it is: a nonstate, hostile intelligence service…."
    That's what the federal prosecutors are now trying to substantiate to criminalize WikiLeaksand jail Assange. Chelsea Manning won't go along with this, and is sitting in jail, with nary a squeak of protest by Democrats.  
    —March 12, 2019



    2) Who Will Save the Rain Forest?
    Indigenous leaders battle to save their land and way of life.
    By Carol Giacomo, March 19, 2019

    Sônia Guajajara in São Paulo, Brazil, on Saturday.CreditCreditDado Galdieri for The New York Times

    The indigenous peoples of the Amazon rain forest are the shock troops in the struggle against climate change. "We are the first ones to be affected," says Sônia Guajajara, one of Brazil's best known indigenous leaders.
    "We're seeing floods that last longer, we're seeing droughts that are longer, we're seeing a reduction in fish with the drying out," she recently told The Times's editorial board. "And so it affects our food security. It also affects our culture." 
    The Amazon rain forest, an environmental treasure of more than two million square miles across Brazil and eight other countries, is sometimes called "the lungs of the planet" because the trees release so much oxygen and absorb so much carbon dioxide, mitigating the effects of climate change. It is also home to an unparalleled diversity of animal and plant species as well as roughly one million indigenouspeople in Brazil alone.

    Although long imperiled, the forest is at greater threat now under the presidency of Jair Bolsonaro, a polarizing populist leader in the mold of President Trump who took office in January and will meet Mr. Trump at the White House on Tuesday.

    Mr. Bolsonaro moved quickly to undermine protections for the environment, indigenous land rights, nongovernmental organizations and basically anyone who disagrees with him.
    "Just in the first 50 days of the Bolsonaro government there has been a reversal of 30 years of progress," Ms. Guajajara said. "Everything we have been trying to construct, trying to build since then, we are trying to keep standing."

    Smoke rising above the Amazon rain forest outside an indigenous reservation in Roraima State, Brazil.CreditDado Galdieri/Bloomberg

    Her work with Brazil's Association of Indigenous Peoples centers on securing their rights, including claims to ancestral rain forest lands. Brazil lost nearly 10 percent of its tree cover between 2000 and 2017, according to the World Resources Institute. Now Mr. Bolsonaro is raising the threat even more with a call for economic investment to exploit the country's forests, minerals and other natural resources.
    Since his inauguration, Mr. Bolsonaro has weakened or defunded government agencies that oversee protections for the Amazon and indigenous people and given those responsibilities to the pro-farming, pro-mining, pro-timber agriculture ministry.

    The result is that indigenous people, who have secured government protection for about 13 percent of Brazil's territory, fear there will be no more lands set aside, Ms. Guajajara said.
    Lands that are formally recognized as "collective lands" are owned by the government but guaranteed under the Constitution for the exclusive use of indigenous groups. Mr. Bolsonaro says he wants those lands made "more productive."
    Ms. Guajajara, who ran unsuccessfully for vice president in the recent election as a candidate of the leftist Socialism and Liberty Party, said that would mean the beginning of the end to indigenous cultures. "And for me, that's kind of ethnocide," she said. "Ethnocide is when you kill the culture. Genocide is when you kill the people."
    Wiser leaders than Mr. Bolsonaro would look for ways to expand economic development while also respecting the indigenous tribes and recognizing the Amazon's irreplaceable contributions to halting climate change. Research shows indigenous communities are better stewards of the land. 
    Brazil has a history of conflict over development and conservation. That is now playing out in a civil suit that accuses the state of genocidewhen hundreds, maybe thousands, of Waimiri-Atroari tribe members died between 1968 and 1977 as a highway was forcibly being built through the Amazon, The Associated Press reported.
    At a hearing in a remote Amazon reserve last month, six tribal elders told a judge how the military dictatorship had tried to eradicate them with arms, bombs and chemicals.
    Now, decades after that period, according to Ms. Guajajara, Mr. Bolsonaro is asserting "there's no such thing as an indigenous people" and insisting he wants to "unify us all into one culture." That is offensive and unrealistic, given that Brazil encompasses more than 300 ethnic groups, including perhaps 100 that have no contact with society whatsoever, and about 274 languages.

    At least, Mr. Bolsonaro's election seems to be making clear what could be lost to his policies and to be persuading marginalized groups — the poor, women, children, indigenous people — to unite in common cause.
    The Bolsonaro election also calls into question the fate of a proposal by an international coalition of Amazon indigenous groups to the United Nations Biodiversity Conference last year to create a rain forest sanctuary the size of Mexico.
    If there is hope for the rain forest, and for countries where authoritarians threaten democracy and progressive agendas, it lies in the determination and power of civil society activists like Sônia Guajajara.


    3) The March of White Supremacy, From Oklahoma City to Christchurch
    As we struggle against the forces behind decades of violence, we must remember that we aren't fighting with strangers.
    By Jamelle Boule, March 18, 2019

    The Oklahoma City National Memorial marks the site of the 1995 bombing that killed 168 people.CreditCreditJamelle Bouie/The New York Times

    OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma City National Memorial consists of two stark structures connected by a reflecting pool, intended as monuments to the strength and resiliency of the city. It's also a contemplative space, where visitors can reflect on and honor the 168 people who died in the April 1995 bombing, carried out by a white power terrorist with ties to a network of like-minded extremists.
    Attached to this memorial is a museum, which walks attendees through the events of the day — the rescue efforts and the aftermath — with an unbroken focus on the men, women and children who lost their lives. I hadn't planned to visit, but I was in Oklahoma City and thought it was an appropriate stop, given the latest outbreak of white power terror, an attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, that took the lives of 50 Muslim worshipers and maimed dozens of others. I thought visiting the memorial might help me reflect on the recurring nature of white supremacist violence, at home and abroad.

    The museum portion of the memorial is a harrowing experience for visitors who give it their full attention. You can listen to recordings of routine government proceedings that suddenly erupt with the sound of the blast. You can examine debris and watch interviews with survivors. Again and again, you see the faces of those victims. The young children stand out.
    Photographs of people killed in the Oklahoma City bombing are on display at the museum there.CreditRuth Fremson/The New York Times

    The museum doesn't avoid either Timothy McVeigh or his chief accomplice, Terry Nichols, who orchestrated the bombing. Visitors are given an almost play-by-play description of McVeigh's arrest. You can examine his getaway car and watch interviews with the law enforcement officers who captured him. There is a map of the United States showing every location he visited as he prepared his attack on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. An entire section of the exhibit is devoted to his trial and execution.

    But in all of this detail, there is little discussion of McVeigh's ideology. We learn, briefly, how he was angered by the sieges at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, and Waco, Tex., but those aren't placed in a larger context of white power activity. We learn that McVeigh read and drew from "The Turner Diaries" — a lurid fantasy of apocalyptic "race war" by the neo-Nazi author William Pierce — but we're left in the dark about his ties to larger networks of white power activists. At one point, McVeigh is described as an antigovernment extremist, but even this obscures the depth of his white supremacist, nativist and anti-Semitic ideology and commitment to revolutionary violence against the state.
    It makes sense that a memorial would not want to focus too closely on the perpetrators. But there's no way to understand McVeigh or his accomplices without looking deeper. As the historian Kathleen Belew notes in "Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America," "McVeigh, trained as a combatant by the state, belonged to the white power movement. He acted without orders from movement leaders, but in concert with movement objectives and supported by resistance cell organizing."
    That understanding of McVeigh and Nichols as part of a movement with well-defined goals and a theory of action — which itself fits into a history of ideologically driven hate networks — is important if the mission of the Oklahoma City memorial is education as much as remembrance. And in visiting the site and museum, I was troubled by shallow treatment of that context. Are visitors making the connections between past and present? Do they see the relationship between the violence in Oklahoma City and the shooting of nine black churchgoers in Charleston, S.C., in 2015 or the murder of 11 Jewish worshipers at a synagogue in Pittsburgh in 2018? Do they see McVeigh as a singular threat or as an important antecedent to our present-day white power killers?
    In the manifesto he released, the accused Christchurch shooter made frequent references to "white genocide," the idea that nonwhite immigration and mixed-race relationships constitute a genocidal threat to "white" people. He recites the "14 words" — a white supremacist mantra — and elsewhere posted images of a gun with the number 14 written on it. As Jane Coaston noted in Vox, the term "white genocide" was coined by David Lane, a white supremacist responsible for the murder of a Jewish radio host in 1984. He, like McVeigh, was also inspired by William Pierce. Again, the museum devotes some space to this movement and those ideas — copies of Pierce's books "Hunter" and "The Turner Diaries" are on display — but they are overshadowed by exhibits that focus on the experience of the bombing and its aftermath.

    If visitors aren't making those connections, they wouldn't be alone.
    President Trump doesn't see them, and in the wake of the New Zealand attack, he called white power violence a minor problem. "I think it's a small group of people that have very, very serious problems. It'scertainly a terrible thing." Of course, it's in the president's interest to downplay this activity, given his past equivocation on white supremacist violence and use of white nationalist language.
    Likewise, there's been little soul-searching among Trump's Republican allies about their tolerance (or worse) of language that legitimizes anti-Muslim prejudice or places white nationalist ideas into wider circulation. Instead, they are busy denying the weight of their words. "If you find yourself using the tragedy in New Zealand to take backhanded swipes at conservatives in America — many of my colleagues already have — then you really have no shame and you are part of the problem," said Dan Crenshaw, a Republican congressman from Texas, on Twitter.
    But you can't separate the current wave of white power activity from the president's dark warnings of foreign "invaders" or the pervasive anti-Muslim rhetoric from conservative media personalities or the outright use of white supremacist tropes from a sitting congressperson. Words have weight, and this weight makes targets more vulnerable to all forms of dehumanization, including those that end in violence.
    But this problem goes far deeper than the particular rhetoric of a particular political party. If the United States and other western democracies have a recurring problem with white power and white supremacist violence, it's because they grow out of habits and assumptions that are still embedded in our societies. The extremists who dream of a white ethno-state aren't too far removed to the more ordinary people who see no problem with (and even defend) continued segregation of schools and neighborhoods. The people who target mosques at home are channeling our disregard for Muslim lives abroad. Settler societies built on the removal and extermination of native peoples will produce ideologies that treat those actions as good, even laudatory.
    Which is just to say that as we struggle against the forces behind these decades of violence, from Oklahoma City to Christchurch, we must remember that we aren't fighting with strangers. Instead, we are confronting the very worst of our legacy — wrestling with our own shadows.


    4) New Zealand Is Loath to Use Suspect's Name to Avoid Amplifying His Cause
    By Damien Cave and Emily Steel, March 19, 2019

    A police cordon near Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, on Tuesday.CreditCreditAdam Dean for The New York Times
    "And to others, I implore you," she added, "speak the names of those who were lost, rather than the name of the man who took them. He may have sought notoriety, but we in New Zealand will give him nothing. Not even his name."

    CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand — The man accused of carrying out the attack that killed 50 people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, is expected to represent himself in court, but the country's prime minister said on Tuesday that she wants to do everything possible to deny him the attention he craves.

    "He is a terrorist. He is a criminal. He is an extremist," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in an address to Parliament. "But he will, when I speak, be nameless."

    Her comments — which included a demand for internet platforms like Facebook to do a better job controlling hateful content — reflect a global struggle that has caught this small, open and friendly country by surprise: how to avoid fueling fame for a man accused of killing and his message even as officials and the news media try to better understand the forces that led to his apparent radicalization.
    The push to deny oxygen for what feels like a perpetual flame of hate has been gathering momentum ever since the attack, and reaches beyond the government.
    On Tuesday, New Zealand's largest broadband providers published an open letter to the chief executives of Facebook, Twitter and Google, calling on them "to be a part of an urgent discussion at an industry and New Zealand government level" about how to deny access to content created by the suspected killer, Brenton Harrison Tarrant, 28.
    A makeshift memorial in Christchurch on Tuesday.CreditAdam Dean for The New York Times

    The companies — Vodafone NZ, Spark and 2degrees — acknowledged suspending access to websites that were hosting video footage of the Friday attacks that had been streamed live online. But they said there was only so much they could do without more engagement from the tech platforms.

    "Internet service providers are the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, with blunt tools involving the blocking of sites after the fact," the companies said, adding that social media companies "have a legal duty of care to protect their users and wider society by preventing the uploading and sharing of content such as this video."
    The Association of New Zealand Advertisers also said in a statement Tuesday that local businesses were considering pulling their ads from Facebook, questioning whether they wanted to be "associated with social media platforms unable or unwilling to take responsibility for content on those sites."
    "The events in Christchurch raise the question — if the site owners can target consumers with advertising in microseconds, why can't the same technology be applied to prevent this kind of content being streamed live?" the group said.
    Facebook, in an effort to combat the criticism, updated details Monday on how the gunman's video of the shooting spread. The company said that video of the live broadcast was viewed 4,000 times, but it also said that within the first 24 hours it pulled about 1.5 million copied videos of the attack.
    Of those, more than 1.2 million videos were blocked as they had been uploaded, and the company also said it cut off content that looked or sounded similar.

    Missing from the data was the total number of views for all versions of the video.
    [Read about how the Christchurch attack became an internet-native mass shooting.]

    The gunman's efforts were clearly choreographed for internet fame and to spread a message of hate. Minutes before the attacks started, he published a manifesto to message boards where white supremacists gather, and included a link to the page where the streaming video of the shooting would appear.
    But experts say it may not be enough to focus just on that content. New Zealand, like many countries, has often struggled with how seriously to take white supremacy, offline and online.
    Anjum Rahman, the head of the Islamic Women's Council of New Zealand, reported that her organization had tried to warn the government for years about growing vitriol toward Muslims and the rise of the so-called alt-right in New Zealand. In an op-ed for The Spinoff, a news website, she said her organization had asked for help from New Zealand's security agencies and had written a "comprehensive report" for the government five years ago, outlining the group's concerns.
    "As far as we know, nothing concrete was done with that report," she wrote.
    In fact, one of the two mosques attacked Friday had pigs' heads delivered to it in 2016 by men who gave Nazi salutes.
    Jarrod Gilbert, a University of Canterbury sociologist who studies gangs in New Zealand, said that when Christchurch had a problem in the 1980s and 1990s with white supremacist skinheads, the authorities tended to dismiss them as a fringe group "because people never really wanted them here."
    A man who frequented Al Noor Mosque but was away during the attacks prayed at a memorial near the mosque on Tuesday.CreditAdam Dean for The New York Times

    "They're entirely different, and this poses very different challenges," he said. "The street thugs are easy to monitor, count, and counter; international online communities are very difficult to monitor."
    Part of the issue is that these groups are often private, hard to find and steeped in anonymity, and their words rarely translate into action.
    And yet what the Christchurch attacks now show — according to government officials, including the prime minister — is that these groups need to be carefully watched because a handful of adherents may be motivated to act violently.
    "There is no question that ideas and language of division and hate have existed for decades, but their form of distribution, the tools of organization — they are new," Ms. Ardern said Tuesday.
    And in the aftermath of such attacks, the cycle of attention can amplify risk. Studies have shown that terrorists often try to up the ante from the last high-profile attack. Ms. Ardern said Monday that her government was dealing with a flood of copycat threats and messages of hate.
    A memorial for Ansi Alibava, one of the 50 people killed in last week's attack.CreditAdam Dean for The New York Times

    The multiplier effect could also be seen on websites where white supremacists have tended to gather. While websites for at least two white nationalist groups in New Zealand — the New Zealand National Front and Dominion Movement — were disabled in the wake of Friday's shooting, cached versions still allow readers to view the immediate responses to attacks.

    On a cached site for the National Front, which has campaigned under the slogan, "It's O.K. to be white," reactions to the attack were divided. Some commenters expressed compassion for the victims, while others said the shootings were a "natural outcome."
    "This is 'bad optics.' I hope and pray that no one in the ethno-nationalist community has had anything to do with this," one person wrote. "Because we know what's coming: government crackdown, surveillance, increased gun control and an emboldened Antifa harassing us."
    Another person called the shootings a "brutal wake-up call" and said the victims deserved "no sympathy."
    A user called Celtic Warrior said, "Harsh medicine, indeed, but sadly, very necessary."
    The Dominion Movement is a year-old group that describes itself as a "fraternity of young New Zealand nationalists" united by the belief that "Europeans are the defining people of this nation and that they were essential in its creation."
    "We oppose the animosity and contempt this system holds for us and our people, we reject the entire concept of White guilt," a cached version of its website reads.
    As of Tuesday, the group's Twitter and Instagram accounts had been suspended.
    Whether these groups or others have a chance to amplify whatever Mr. Tarrant says when he appears in court — his next appearance is scheduled for April 5 — is still unknown. The judge in the case could ban cameras or find other ways to suppress information, according to lawyers.
    Richard Peters, the duty lawyer at the suspected gunman's first court appearance Saturday, said he didn't know whether the man's decision to represent himself would draw more attention to the case or less.
    But for Ms. Ardern and many others, his efforts are best ignored, in court, and on the internet.
    "I don't have all of the answers now, but we must collectively find them," she said. "And we must act."

    Charlotte Graham-McLay contributed reporting.


    5) Honey as a Pollution Detector? It's a Sweet Idea
    Beehives and their contents are a sensitive detector of lead emissions, a study of Canadian urban apiaries showed.
    By Veronique Greenwood, March 18, 2019

    Kate Smith, a graduate student at the University of British Columbia, taking samples from a hive.CreditCreditJ.Common

    Organic things can carry coded messages about their home environments. Tree rings can tell scientists what the atmosphere was like when the tree was young. Lichens can reveal local air pollution levels. Now, scientists in Canada report that honey carries a message, too.
    A survey of urban beehives around Vancouver, which was published last week in Nature Sustainability, showed that the hives' honey contained minute levels of lead, especially downtown and near the city's port. The readings suggest that honey can be a sensitive indicator of air quality. And with urban hives growing in number and already more numerous than many people realize, tracking their pollutant levels may offer an inexpensive way to monitor what's in the air all over the world, said Dominique Weis, a professor of geochemistry at University of British Columbia and a co-author of the paper.
    The project began when Hives for Humanity, a nonprofit that manages community beehives around the city, asked Dr. Weis to check the honey for lead and other substances. Bees are known to pick up trace amounts of metals, which settle on leaves and flowers from the air, as they forage for pollen.

    The results showed very small levels of lead, along with traces of iron, zinc and other substances. A person would have to eat more than a pound of the honey a day to reach the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's provisional tolerable lead intake level for an adult, Dr. Weis said. The Hives for Humanity honey compares favorably with honey elsewhere; its lead levels are below the worldwide average.

    More interesting to the scientists, however, was that the technique showed how honey could serve as a sensitive pollution detector. The chemistry of different samples can reveal where the honey came from. Volcanoes, river rocks, coal and other natural sources of lead have their own distinctive signatures, based on the ratio of different isotopes of the heavy metal in them, said Kate Smith, a graduate student who worked with Dr. Weis and led the study. It was clear that the ratio of lead isotopes in the honey the team studied did not match the ratios detected in the nearby Fraser River or local sediments.
    "What we can tell you is that the source is man-made, because it doesn't correspond to anything that we have naturally," Dr. Weis said.

    She and her colleagues think that fuel burned by ships in Vancouver's harbor, as well as emissions from cars in the city's streets, might be sources of the lead. Going forward, scientists might be able to track improvements or declines in air quality over time by monitoring the beehives and analyzing the honey. 
    With sensitive instruments to pick up on these messages, and urban apiaries becoming more common, it's possible to paint a picture of a world that appears ever more connected. The researchers hope to expand their honey-monitoring efforts to other cities.

    "There are over 17,000 registered hives in the metro Vancouver region," said Ms. Smith. "People come out of the woodwork and say, 'You can come to my backyard and sample my hive.' Or, 'Show me how to do it, I want to know what's in my honey.'"


    6) What One Old Tower Says About PG&E's Lax Safety Culture
    By Jill Cowan, March 20, 2019

    The PG&E transmission tower that sparked the Camp Fire in 2018. 

    Pacific Gas & Electric has faced increased heat from regulators and outrage from consumers who have watched the state's largest utility file for bankruptcy protection, then say that its equipment probablystarted the deadly Camp Fire
    San Francisco is exploring a public takeover, and various financial stakeholders in the company have circled as complex bankruptcy negotiations start. But how did PG&E get here? 
    This week, my colleagues published a piece detailing how the company has overlooked risks in favor of its bottom line over the years. And nothing explains it better than one very old tower in the Sierra Nevada foothills. I asked Ivan Penn, a business reporter based here in L.A., to explain how they got the story:
    After the latest wave of wildfires in which Pacific Gas & Electric has been implicated, Peter Eavis, James Glanz and I were assigned to take a deep look at a persistent question: What kind of safety culture has PG&E built?
    I am an energy reporter; Peter is a financial reporter in New York, and Jim is a veteran investigative reporter. Each of us brought pieces of the puzzle to the table, and one stood out: Tower 27/222, a 99-year-old transmission tower suspected of causing the 2018 Camp Fire, the worst wildfire in California history. A source pointed us to one document in particular, a form filed with federal regulators in which PG&E noted that the "useful life" of such towers expired at 75 years.

    The utility kept Tower 27/222 in operation despite warnings about aging equipment along the line where it stood, storms that knocked down five deteriorating PG&E structures in the area, and the threat posed by powerful winds akin to the Santa Anas of Southern California.
    We conducted dozens of interviews and pored over thousands of pages of documents and court depositions taken from PG&E employees who recounted how supervisors ignored concerns and warnings about vulnerabilities of the system and its equipment.
    It wasn't a one-of-a-kind incident with PG&E. And it wasn't just one side of the company.
    Explosions in PG&E's gas pipeline system have also been deadly, and practices in that part of its business resulted in a felony conviction.
    But wildfires associated with the company have been especially devastating, including the Camp Fire, which killed 85 people. Among them was Andrew Downer, an amputee who died on his porch with his service dog when no one could reach him. "There are days it's very hard to get up in the morning," his partner, Iris Natividad, told us.
    Over and over, the reporting showed that practices at PG&E were driven by the company's focus on its bottom line. The question now is how its safety culture can be remade.


    7) Monsanto Weedkiller Roundup Was 'Substantial Factor' in Causing Man's Cancer, Jury Says
    By Mihir Zaveri, March 19, 2019

    Activists gathered Thursday outside the headquarters of Bayer AG, which acquired Monsanto last year, to protest what they say are the negative health and environmental impacts of the weed killer Roundup.CreditFrancois Mori/Associated Press

    A federal jury found Tuesday that Monsanto's popular weedkiller Roundup was a "substantial factor" in causing a California man's cancer, dealing a significant blow to the company as it aggressively defends its products against thousands of similar claims.
    The six-member jury delivered the unanimous verdict in the United States District Court in San Francisco, months after a groundskeeper who said Roundup caused his cancer was awarded about $80 million in a separate case in California.
    Tuesday's verdict concluded the first of two phases in the federal case about the possible health risks of Roundup and whether Monsanto misled the man, Edwin Hardeman, about those risks.

    Mr. Hardeman used Roundup to control weeds and poison oak on his property for 26 years. He learned he had non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2015.

    The second phase of the case, which begins Wednesday, will focus on whether Monsanto, which was acquired by Bayer AG last year, should be held liable for partly causing Mr. Hardeman's cancer, said his lawyer, Jennifer Moore. Ms. Moore said lawyers would seek to prove that Monsanto manipulated public opinion and science to play down Roundup's health risks.
    Lawyers will argue that Monsanto knew or should have known that Roundup causes cancer, Ms. Moore said in an interview Tuesday. Mr. Hardeman's team will ask that the jury have the company pay his medical bills and an undetermined amount of damages, she added.
    "We feel confident based on the evidence that a jury, when presented with all of the evidence, will see that Monsanto has committed 40 years of corporate malfeasance," Ms. Moore said.
    Bayer said in a statement Tuesday that it was disappointed in the jury's verdict and that "the evidence in phase two will show that Monsanto's conduct has been appropriate and the company should not be liable for Mr. Hardeman's cancer."
    "We have great sympathy for Mr. Hardeman and his family, but an extensive body of science supports the conclusion that Roundup was not the cause of his cancer," Bayer said in the statement. "Bayer stands behind these products and will vigorously defend them."

    The verdict in the closely watched case is a milestone in the contentious public debate over Roundup, which was Monsanto's flagship product. Its active ingredient, glyphosate, is the world's most widely used weedkiller.
    Ms. Moore said the verdict would most likely influence the thousands of other similar cases — about 11,200 people had sued Monsanto over Roundup as of February, according to Bayer.

    Bayer, on the other hand, said the jury's decision Tuesday "has no impact on future cases and trials because each one has its own factual and legal circumstances."
    Edward K. Cheng, a Vanderbilt University law professor, said that legally, Tuesday's finding cannot be used as precedent in other Roundup cases. But practically, he said, Tuesday's verdict and the verdict from last year, in which juries have found a link between Roundup and cancer, "have some import."
    "What ends up happening is these start to be markers," he said. "I would expect that Monsanto is going to start thinking about 'How much risk do we face here?' if one jury after another is going to say 'Yes.'"
    Bayer has consistently defended the safety of Roundup and glyphosate, and industry-funded research has long found the herbicide to be relatively safe. Regulators have mostly agreed.

    In December 2017, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a draft human health risk assessment that said glyphosate was most likely not carcinogenic to humans.
    Central to the criticism of Roundup, however, is a decision by the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer in 2015 to declare glyphosate a probable carcinogen.
    That spurred Mr. Hardeman to file a lawsuit in February 2016, and prompted California to declare glyphosate a chemical that is known to cause cancer.
    In August, a California jury found that Monsanto had failed to warn a school groundskeeper of the cancer risks posed by Roundup, which he used as part of his job as a pest control manager. Monsanto was ordered to pay $289 million in damages.
    In October, a judge reduced that total to about $80 million, saying the jury's award was too high. Monsanto is appealing that verdict, a spokesman said.
    Mr. Hardeman's case was the first federal case to go to trial, Ms. Moore said. She said the legal team presented expert testimony and research that Roundup causes mutations in human cells and that human populations that are exposed to Roundup are more likely to develop non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
    Documents unsealed in 2017 in Mr. Hardeman's case suggested that Monsanto had ghostwritten research that was later attributed to academics. The documents indicated that a senior official at the E.P.A. had worked to quash a federal review of glyphosate.
    The documents also revealed that there was some disagreement within the E.P.A. over its own risk assessment.

    Concepción de León contributed reporting.


    8) Why Were Only 7 Black Students Admitted to Stuyvesant?
    By Azi Paybarah, March 20, 2019

    Students at Stuyvesant High School.CreditChristopher Lee for The New York Times

    Two years ago, only 13 black students were offered seats at the city's elite Stuyvesant High School.
    This week, only seven black students were accepted into the incoming freshman class.
    Whose fault is it, and what do racial disparities at the city's highly selective public high schools say about New York?
    Eliza Shapiro, a Times education reporter, helped explain in an interview:
    What are the numbers?
    Eight New York City specialized high schools accept students based on their score on a high-stakes test. Stuyvesant has the highest cutoff score for admission, and now has the lowest percentage of black and Hispanic students of the city's roughly 600 public high schools.
    Of the 895 students accepted into Stuyvesant's next freshman class:
    • 587 are Asian-American
    • 194 are white
    • 33 are Hispanic
    • 7 are black
    The remaining students are of various backgrounds.
    How should we interpret these numbers?

    Either, 1) the test is flawed and not accurately capturing the best and brightest students, or 2) the test is fair, and the schools that are preparing these children are bad.

    What are the solutions for reducing disparity?
    The main focus is on the test. With the stroke of a pen, Mayor Bill de Blasio could change the admission criteria for the five elite schools created by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg (Stuyvesant is not one of them).
    Mr. de Blasio said that option would create a confusing two-tiered system. He wants state lawmakers to change the rules for all the elite high schools. But that path is all but dead in Albany, where the focus is on more popular progressive issues.
    Carl Heastie, the Assembly speaker, previously said his conference had not raised the matter because it was divisive: The schools' alumni organizations and Asian-American families had argued that any change would undermine academics or discriminate against the low-income Asian-Americans who attend the specialized schools in large numbers.
    (On Tuesday evening, Mr. Heastie wrote on Twitter that the Assembly might hold hearings on the issue in May.)
    Is "just fix the K-8 schools" a possibility?
    This is what every leader in New York City has tried to do for the last 70 years. It's not as if the city isn't trying to improve all schools. That's the explicit goal of the Department of Education. That is the work that is going on every hour of every day. "Fix the education system" is not the whole story.
    What would any changes to admissions criteria be trying to achieve? 
    More racial diversity at elite high schools. This is a question about who deserves the scarcity of these excellent seats, and how you determine that.
    And whatever changes are made, Asian-Americans stand to lose a large number of the seats they hold.
    Might this be an issue in the 2021 mayoral election?

    Or sooner. We're no longer in a place where you can't take a position on this if you're an elected official. You can't just say, "Oh, these numbers are unfortunate."
    If the test keeps producing a student body that looks nothing like the school system, but you don't want to get rid of the test, what do you want to do?
    Many lawmakers aren't even proposing solutions. Governor Cuomo and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have mostly avoided taking a definitive position on this.


    9) Doomed Boeing Jets Lacked 2 Safety Features That Company Sold Only as Extras
    By Hiroki Tabuchi and David Gelles, March 21, 2019

    Standard 737 Max planes are not equipped with a so-called angle of attack indicator or an angle of attack disagree light. The indicator will continue to cost airlines extra, but the light won't.CreditCreditRuth Fremson/The New York Times

    As the pilots of the doomed Boeing jets in Ethiopia and Indonesia fought to control their planes, they lacked two notable safety features in their cockpits.
    One reason: Boeing charged extra for them.
    For Boeing and other aircraft manufacturers, the practice of charging to upgrade a standard plane can be lucrative. Top airlines around the world must pay handsomely to have the jets they order fitted with customized add-ons.
    Sometimes these optional features involve aesthetics or comfort, like premium seating, fancy lighting or extra bathrooms. But other features involve communication, navigation or safety systems, and are more fundamental to the plane's operations.

    Many airlines, especially low-cost carriers like Indonesia's Lion Air, have opted not to buy them — and regulators don't require them.

    Now, in the wake of the two deadly crashes involving the same jet model, Boeing will make one of those safety features standard as part of a fix to get the planes in the air again.
    It is not yet known what caused the crashes of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on March 10 and Lion Air Flight 610 five months earlier, both after erratic takeoffs. But investigators are looking at whether a new software system added to avoid stalls in Boeing's 737 Max series may have been partly to blame. Faulty data from sensors on the Lion Air plane may have caused the system, known as MCAS, to malfunction, authorities investigating that crash suspect.
    That software system takes readings from two vanelike devices called angle of attack sensors that determine how much the plane's nose is pointing up or down relative to oncoming air. When MCAS detects that the plane is pointing up at a dangerous angle, it can automatically push down the nose of the plane in an effort to prevent the plane from stalling.
    Boeing's optional safety features, in part, could have helped the pilots detect any erroneous readings. One of the optional upgrades, the angle of attack indicator, displays the readings of the two sensors. The other, called a disagree light, is activated if those sensors are at odds with one another.
    Boeing will soon update the MCAS software, and will also make the disagree light standard on all new 737 Max planes, according to a person familiar with the changes, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they have not been made public. The angle of attack indicator will remain an option that airlines can buy.

    Neither feature was mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration. All 737 Max jets have been grounded.
    "They're critical, and cost almost nothing for the airlines to install," said Bjorn Fehrm, an analyst at the aviation consultancy Leeham. "Boeing charges for them because it can. But they're vital for safety."
    [After a Lion Air 737 Max crashed in October, questions about the plane arose.]
    Earlier this week, Dennis A. Muilenburg, Boeing's chief executive, said the company was working to make the 737 Max safer.
    "As part of our standard practice following any accident, we examine our aircraft design and operation, and when appropriate, institute product updates to further improve safety," he said in a statement.

    Add-on features can be big moneymakers for plane manufacturers.
    In 2013, around the time Boeing was starting to market its 737 Max 8, an airline would expect to spend about $800,000 to $2 million on various options for such a narrow-body aircraft, according to a report by Jackson Square Aviation, a consultancy in San Francisco. That would be about 5 percent of the plane's final price.
    [The F.A.A.'s approval of the Boeing jet has come under scrutiny.]
    Boeing charges extra, for example, for a backup fire extinguisher in the cargo hold. Past incidents have shown that a single extinguishing system may not be enough to put out flames that spread rapidly through the plane. Regulators in Japan require airlines there to install backup fire extinguishing systems, but the F.A.A. does not.

    "There are so many things that should not be optional, and many airlines want the cheapest airplane you can get," said Mark H. Goodrich, an aviation lawyer and former engineering test pilot. "And Boeing is able to say, 'Hey, it was available.'"
    But what Boeing doesn't say, he added, is that it has become "a great profit center" for the manufacturer.
    Both Boeing and its airline customers have taken pains to keep these options, and prices, out of the public eye. Airlines frequently redact details of the features they opt to pay for — or exclude — from their filings with financial regulators. Boeing declined to disclose the full menu of safety features it offers as options on the 737 Max, or how much they cost.
    But one unredacted filing from 2003 for a previous version of the 737 shows that Gol Airlines, a Brazilian carrier, paid $6,700 extra for oxygen masks for its crew, and $11,900 for an advanced weather radar system control panel. Gol did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
    The three American airlines that bought the 737 Max each took a different approach to outfitting the cockpits.
    American Airlines, which ordered 100 of the planes and has 24 in its fleet, bought both the angle of attack indicator and the disagree light, the company said.
    Southwest Airlines, which ordered 280 of the planes and counts 36 in its fleet so far, had already purchased the disagree alert option, and it also installed an angle of attack indicator in a display mounted above the pilots' heads. After the Lion Air crash, Southwest said it would modify its 737 Max fleet to place the angle of attack indicator on the pilots' main computer screens.

    United Airlines, which ordered 137 of the planes and has received 14, did not select the indicators or the disagree light. A United spokesman said the airline does not include the features because its pilots use other data to fly the plane.
    Boeing is making other changes to the MCAS software.
    When it was rolled out, MCAS took readings from only one sensor on any given flight, leaving the system vulnerable to a single point of failure. One theory in the Lion Air crash is that MCAS was receiving faulty data from one of the sensors, prompting an unrecoverable nose dive.
    In the software update that Boeing says is coming soon, MCAS will be modified to take readings from both sensors. If there is a meaningful disagreement between the readings, MCAS will be disabled.
    Incorporating the disagree light and the angle of attack indicators on all planes would be a welcome move, safety experts said, and would alert pilots — as well as maintenance staff who service a plane after a problematic flight — to issues with the sensors.
    The alert, especially, would bring attention to a sensor malfunction, and warn pilots they should prepare to shut down the MCAS if it activated erroneously, said Peter Lemme, an avionics and satellite-communications consultant and former Boeing flight controls engineer.
    "In the heat of the moment, it certainly would help," he said.

    Jack Nicas and Natalie Kitroeff contributed reporting.


    10) New Zealand to Ban Military-Style Semiautomatic Guns, Jacinda Ardern Says
    By Damien Cave and Charlotte Graham-McLay, March 20, 2019

    A community-led vigil in tribute to victims near Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, on Wednesday.CreditCreditAdam Dean for The New York Times

    CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand — Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand on Thursday announced a national ban on all military-style semiautomatic weapons, all high-capacity ammunition magazines and all parts that allow weapons to be modified into the kinds of guns used to kill 50 people at two mosques in Christchurch last week.

    "What we're banning today are the things used in last Friday's attack," she said, adding: "It's about all of us, it's in the national interest and it's about safety."

    Ms. Ardern is expected to encounter little resistance to the weapons ban in Parliament; the largest opposition party quickly said it supported the measures.

    Ms. Ardern said her goal was to eliminate from New Zealand the weapons that the killer used in Christchurch. She emphasized that it would require a buyback of banned weapons in circulation now, plus regulation around firearms and ammunition.
    "The guns used in these terrorist attacks had important distinguishing features," she said at a news conference at Parliament in Wellington, the capital. "First, big capacity, and also their delivery. They had the power to shoot continuously, but they also had large capacity magazines."
    Ms. Ardern's plan for immediate gun policy changes, announced six days after a mass shooting, stands in stark contrast to the stalemate and resistance to change that has stymied similar calls for restrictions on firearms in the United States.

    Ms. Ardern's handling of the massacre and its aftermath have resonated around the world and thrust her into the spotlight as a force on the issue of guns.

    The shooting in New Zealand comes after the United States has experienced an alarming number of mass shootings in recent years, including the Sandy Hook, Conn., school shooting that took 27 lives in 2012; the Orlando nightclub shooting in 2016, which killed 49; the Las Vegas concert shooting in 2017 that left 58 dead; and the Parkland, Fla., school shooting, which killed 17 people in 2018.
    Gun policy experts called Ms. Ardern's plans to restrict access to certain forms of guns and ammunition far-reaching in scope.
    "It's a very bold move," said Philip Alpers, a University of Sydney academic who runs GunPolicy.org, an international clearinghouse for gun research.
    Chris Cahill, the president of the Police Association, the union representing New Zealand's police officers, praised Ms. Ardern's plan, saying that his group had been calling for such measures for years.
    "This addresses the key concerns we have," he said. "It's hitting those military-style semiautomatics. It's exactly what we wanted."

    The overhauls, Ms. Ardern said, are inspired partly by what Australia set in motion after a mass shooting there in 1996: a mix of buybacks, registration and outright bans that severely reduced mass shootings.

    But experts said there were some key differences.
    "In Australia, it was a very simple definition, all semiautomatic rifles and shotguns, full stop," Mr. Alpers said. "Here I can see a few gray areas."
    New Zealand's plan takes aim at capability, not just a particular class of weapons.
    Gun owners in New Zealand, responding online to the announcement, said it was confusing and began asking which of their weapons would be banned or exempted. Others seemed more resigned to giving up their guns.
    "Glad I took my ar15 for a walk up the range today," one commenter wrote, referring to a type of firearm. "We had a blast could be the last time."
    The "capability" approach — which is likely to lead to a list of banned items, Mr. Alpers said — could be watered down through furious lobbying. But it could also amount to a new global standard, broad enough to go beyond Australia's because it could include weapons and accessories not yet developed.
    That seemed to be Ms. Ardern's intent.
    "Today, I'm announcing New Zealand will ban all military-style semiautomatic weapons," Ms. Ardern said in outlining the changes. "We will also ban all assault rifles. We will ban all high-capacity magazines. We will ban all parts with the ability to convert semiautomatic or any other type of firearm into a military-style semiautomatic weapon."
    "We will ban parts that cause a firearm to generate semiautomatic, automatic or close-to-automatic gunfire," she added. "In short, every semiautomatic weapon used in the terror attack on Friday will be banned in this country."

    How to Buy a Gun in 16 Countries

    Many Americans can buy a gun in less than an hour. In New Zealand, the process can take weeks or months.

    Mr. Alpers said the challenge for New Zealand would mainly be getting the ammunition and guns that already exist out of circulation. Half of Australia's states had some kind of gun registration plan in place before the 1996 reforms, making it easier for the authorities to know what weapons were out there and what needed to be brought in.
    New Zealand only registers 4 percent of its weapons. According to the police, about 250,000 people in the country own an estimated 1.2 million to 1.5 million firearms. It is unclear how many of them would be affected by the ban.
    "New Zealand is at a considerable disadvantage to countries that have had registries, because there's no way of tracing the firearms because they don't know who's got them," Mr. Alpers said. "We're relying entirely on the honesty of the gun owner to turn it in."
    Ms. Ardern said that fair compensation would be paid to all those who participate.
    Noting that there would be some limited exceptions for specific purposes, especially in rural areas, she said she expected the new law to be in place by April 11, the end of Parliament's next session.
    In the interim, as of Thursday afternoon, a change in regulations would alter the licensing rules for the weapons that would eventually be banned. To avoid a rush on purchases, weapons that now require a basic A Class license will fall under an E Class gun license, which is already much harder to obtain, and which the prime minister said would now be impossible to get.
    "I can assure people there is no point in applying for such a permit," she said.
    The suspect in the shootings, Brenton H. Tarrant, 28, was a licensed gun owner and member of a local gun club. An official with one gun retailer said his company had sold Mr. Tarrant four firearms along with ammunition between December 2017 — a month after Mr. Tarrant received his gun license — and March 2018.

    But officials still do not know the source of a semiautomatic rifle that can be seen in a video of the attack on Al Noor Mosque, one of the two mosques the gunman targeted. The authorities say that five guns acquired legally, including two semiautomatic assault weapons, were used in the assault.

    On Wednesday, the authorities said that when the suspect was arrested, he had two weapons with him along with explosives and that he was planning to continue his attack.
    His efforts were optimized for internet fame and to broadcast a message of white supremacy. Minutes before the attacks started, he published a manifesto to message boards where white supremacists gather, and included a link to the page where the streaming video of the shooting would appear.
    In addition to gun policy, Ms. Ardern has been arguing nearly every day since the attacks that there is a need for the world's most powerful tech platforms to take responsibility for spreading messages of hate that lead to violence.
    Leaders in many countries, she said, need to be united in making clear that with profit comes responsibility.
    "There are some things we need to confront collectively as leaders internationally," she said at a news conference in Christchurch on Wednesday. "We cannot, for instance, allow some of the challenges we face with social media to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis."

    For now, though, she has made clear that her focus will be on another international industry that her government can regulate immediately — guns.
    The goal, she said on Thursday, is simple: "to prevent an act of terror from happening in our country ever again."


    11) No Pipelines, No Service: Con Ed Cuts Off New Gas Hookups
    By Debra West, March 21, 2019

    Residential buildings in Yonkers, one of the cities and towns in Westchester County where Con Edison, the main utility, has imposed a moratorium on new natural gas hookups.CreditCreditJohn Taggart for The New York Times

    YONKERS — [What you need to know to start the day: Get New York Today in your inbox.]
    Across the suburbs north of New York City, clusters of luxury towers are rising around commuter rail stations, designed to lure young workers seeking easy access to Manhattan. In all, 16,000 apartments and condominiums are in the works in more than a dozen towns, along with spaces for restaurants and shops.
    But the boom unfolding in Westchester County is under threat — not from any not-in-my-backyard opposition or a slumping real estate market.
    Instead, it is coming from something unexpected: a lack of natural gas.
    Con Edison, the region's main utility, says its existing network of pipelines cannot satisfy an increasing demand for the fuel.

    As a result, the utility has taken the extreme step of imposing a moratorium on new gas hookups in a large swath of Westchester, including for residential buildings planned in Yonkers, White Plains and New Rochelle. The only other places in the country with similar restrictions are in Massachusetts, gas industry officials said.

    "It's just a question of how people are going to be able to heat their homes and cook their food with the energy that's available right now,'' said Michael Clendenin, a spokesman for Con Ed.
    There is an ample supply of natural gas in the United States, but opposition to building or expanding interstate pipelines has caused delivery challenges in the Northeast, according to industry officials. Two counties in western Massachusetts have had a moratorium on new gas hookups since 2014.
    In Westchester, Con Ed's moratorium, which is primarily concentrated in the southern section of the county, has set off anger and panic among developers and elected leaders who say it has left dozens of projects in limbo, creating uncertainty about housing, jobs and the area's economic future.
    "I'm still traumatized by the last decade when we had a head of steam and it all fell apart due to the economy," said Noam Bramson, the mayor of New Rochelle, where dozens of projects are under construction or planned. "There are windows of opportunity when you can accomplish something and windows can close quickly.''

    In Yonkers, a developer has offered the city $16 million to buy a municipal parking lot and turn it into a complex with housing, shopping and a hotel. But the deal has yet to close and the city's mayor, Mike Spano, is concerned that without access to gas the developer may pull out.

    The developer, Michael Mitnick, declined to comment on the project's fate, but said other options, like green heating technology, can be less reliable and more expensive.
    "You do not want to get too fancy or too creative with major building systems,'' he said.
    But Con Ed's decision has also been met with deep skepticism — many elected leaders and residents question whether the utility is creating a crisis to make it easier to win approval from the Cuomo administration for new pipelines. State regulators with the power to force Con Ed to lift the moratorium are reviewing the situation.
    "This would be a good game of chicken, especially when the target is lower Westchester," Mr. Spano said. "If you want to get the governor's attention, this is the way to do it."
    Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo lives in Mount Kisco, a town included in Con Edison's moratorium, and wants the state to move away from fossil fuels toward cleaner energy, like wind. He has banned fracking, a process to extract gas from shale rock, and two years ago his administration rejected a major interstate pipeline project, saying its construction would endanger wetlands.
    That rejection, Con Ed officials said, cast a chill over the gas industry and has made it difficult for the utility to entice any pipeline developers willing to build in Westchester. State officials also turned down a proposal by Con Ed to help finance a new pipeline, utility officials said.
    "The market changed,'' Mr. Clendenin said. "Investors were no longer willing to take the risk.''
    But Mr. Cuomo's office said Con Ed was seeking to make excuses for its failure to anticipate market changes in Westchester.

    "The current issues these localities are facing are a result of poor planning by the utilities," said Dani Lever, a spokeswoman for the governor. "Con Edison never even proposed new infrastructure or alternative solutions that would have adequately met increased demand for certain products prior to announcing its moratorium."
    In response to the moratorium, the state recently announced a package of incentives, including grants, for developers and residents in Westchester seeking clean-energy systems.
    Considered a cheaper and less polluting alternative to heating oil, natural gas consumption nationwide increased 30 percent between 2009 and 2016, said Lori Traweek, chief operations officer for the American Gas Association. But efforts to transport more gas to the Northeast from other parts of the country, especially from Pennsylvania and West Virginia, have been blocked over safety and environmental worries.
    "Is it better or worse to have a pipeline?" Ms. Traweek said. "Without it, you are taking away consumers' affordable choice, potentially increasing emissions and reducing reliability. That doesn't seem like a good energy policy."

    In New York, the state Public Service Commission, which oversees utilities, is investigating Con Ed's claims about the natural gas situation in Westchester and plans to issue its findings in July. It could overturn the moratorium, require Con Ed to find an additional gas supply or allow the moratorium to stand.
    "The P.S.C. is committed to ensuring reliable, safe and affordable energy for New Yorkers, and considers all proposals from utilities to meet that need on the merits," said James Denn, a commission spokesman.

    The tension in Westchester touches on a wider debate about climate change, fossil fuels, renewable energy and environmental policy.
    National Grid — a utility that supplies natural gas to 1.8 million customers in Brooklyn and parts of Queens, as well as on Long Island and Staten Island — is seeking the state's approval to build a 24-mile pipeline from New Jersey through lower New York Bay.
    "We cannot continue to sign up customers for new service if we don't have the supply to back it up," said John Bruckner, a top executive at National Grid.
    In Westchester, developers rushed to submit applications for gas hookups before the moratorium went into effect on March 15. About 900 applications were submitted and Con Ed will notify applicants in the coming weeks if their requests have been approved.
    Joe Apicella, managing director of MacQuesten Development, was one of the applicants. His company plans to build a 28-story residential tower in New Rochelle that will also include a new city hall and firehouse.
    "To shut the spigot off entirely without a well-thought-out plan is just irresponsible,'' Mr. Apicella said. "It's a monopoly. You can't go to company B."
    Dr. Courtney M. Williams, who lives in Peekskill and is a founder of Safe Energy Rights Group, an environmental group, said the moratorium should lead to a broader discussion about climate change and greener energy policies.
    "Any investment in pipeline infrastructure is locking us into a fossil fuel future," Dr. Williams said. "These companies have invested millions in antiquated infrastructure. The writing is on the wall. It is really clear that we need to invest in renewable energy."


    12) Florida Republicans Push to Make Ex-Felons Pay Fees Before They Can Vote
    By Karen Zraick, March 20, 2019

    Pastor Wesley Tunstall was one of a number of people who registered to vote in January after Amendment 4, which restored the right to vote for most felons in Florida, went into effect.CreditCreditDan Wagner/Sarasota Herald-Tribune, via Associated Press

    A Florida House panel this week approved a bill that would require former felons to pay fees and fines before having their voting rights restored, prompting criticism from those who say it would undermine a new amendment that allows more than a million former felons to vote again.
    Supporters of the bill, approved by the Republican-controlled House Subcommittee on Criminal Justice on Tuesday, contend that it is meant merely to resolve questions over how to put Amendment 4, which voters approved in November, into practice.
    But voting rights advocates say the bill would unfairly punish those who are unable to pay and undermine the central objective of the amendment: ending permanent disenfranchisement.

    "This bill is just flying directly in the face of what two-thirds of Florida voters said very clearly," said Sean Morales-Doyle, a lawyer at the Brennan Center for Justice in New York.

    Since the amendment took effect in January, it has caused some confusion. It did not apply to those convicted of murder or sexual offenses, and questions arose about which crimes should be counted in those categories.
    More contentious is the financial issue: Would felons be required to pay up for their sentence to be pronounced "completed?"
    The bill, which would also clarify the relevant offenses, passed the subcommittee by a vote of 10 to 5, split along party lines, with the Democrats opposed.
    The financial question led a Democratic opponent of the bill, Representative Adam Hattersley, to label it "blatantly unconstitutional as a poll tax," a reference to the fees used to keep African-Americans from voting in the South starting in the 1890s. (African-Americans are disproportionately affected by felony disenfranchisement, though the majority of Floridians with felony convictions are white.)
    Representative James Grant, a Republican and the subcommittee's chairman, who sponsored the bill, disputed that characterization, saying it "diminishes the atrocity of what a poll tax actually was," The Miami Herald reported. Mr. Grant did not immediately return a call for comment on Wednesday.

    Mr. Grant has said that the goal of the bill is to establish a uniform set of criteria to determine who is legally eligible to vote, and that the language reflects what lawyers said while explaining the ballot question language to the state's Supreme Court.
    Politico reported Tuesday that the measure was expected to move easily through the House, and that the Senate was preparing its own bill containing "guidance" on how the amendment should be put into effect. Both chambers are controlled by Republicans. Gov. Ron DeSantis, also a Republican, opposed the amendment and has voiced support for legislation on its implementation.
    The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, which led the fight for the amendment, said it opposed the bill because it would broaden the definition of "completion of sentence" beyond what was previously established by the state's Clemency Board, among other concerns.

    "We are hopeful that improvements can be made to this bill that secure bipartisan support before it moves to the next committee," Desmond Meade, president of the coalition, said in a statement.
    "Amendment 4 passed with broad support from people all over the state and from all walks of life," he sad. "Any legislation proposed should neither limit the rights created by Amendment 4 nor infringe upon the will of Florida voters."
    The matter is especially pernicious in Florida because of the state's rigid rules on fines and fees, said Ashley Thomas, the Florida director of the nonprofit Fines and Fees Justice Center.

    Almost no waivers are granted to the indigent, she said. Fines and fees can rise quickly with late penalties, and can be sent to private collection agencies that add their own hefty surcharges. A 2010 report by the Brennan Center on the Florida court system's reliance on fees noted that observers had coined a term for it: "cash register justice."
    Julie Ebenstein, a lawyer with the Voting Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union, criticized the bill as "truly untethered to the text of the amendment."
    "What this will do, in effect, is disenfranchise people who can't afford to pay all of these obligations," she said.
    Both the Brennan Center and the A.C.L.U. acted as consultants to the coalition in drafting Amendment 4, they said.
    Phil Telfeyan, executive director of the nonprofit Equal Justice Under Law, which focuses on economic discrimination, said his organization was considering filing a lawsuit challenging the Florida bill.
    People who have recently been released from prison often already face considerable financial challenges, having been out of the work force and having to rebuild their lives, he noted.
    "The Legislature is essentially punishing poverty," Mr. Telfeyan said.


    13) Offensive History at the Museum of Natural History
    By Azi Paybarah, March 21, 2019
    A diorama at the American Museum of Natural History now points out its own inaccuracies.CreditAndrea Mohin/The New York Times

    Visiting the American Museum of Natural History often feels like a New York rite of passage, whether you're a student on a field trip, a tourist escaping the rain or a 20-something taking a hiatus from the Bushwick scene.
    For decades, the museum has educated and entertained. But now it is acknowledging that some of its exhibits have also offended.
    One of the solutions: labels.
    What is happening at the museum?
    As my colleague Ana Fota wrote, a diorama there depicts an imagined 17th-century meeting between Dutch settlers and the Lenape, a Native American tribe inhabiting New Amsterdam (now New York City).
    Critics said the diorama depicted cultural hierarchy, not a cultural exchange. The women did not wear impractical skirts that dragged behind them. Canoes would have been in the water next to the European ships.

    To address that, the museum added 10 labels, identifying problems with the diorama and correcting the record.

    What prompted the change?
    The labels were quietly added in October, after three years of protests from Decolonize This Place, a group urging institutions to acknowledge how marginalized people were represented. The museum consulted with outside experts but not the protest group.
    Amin Husain, a visual artist and member of Decolonize This Place, said the labels work on this diorama "because it honors the fact that that was there to begin with, so it references the harm that has been perpetuated over the years. And then it says, 'We're going to tell you how that was wrong.'"
    The group has said that more needs to be done. It has asked the museum to re-evaluate other exhibits and to move a statue of Theodore Roosevelt outside the building.
    "That has a Native figure and an African figure subjugated to a Roosevelt president, on a horse," Mr. Husain said. "Put it in the museum itself, and then label it."
    Natasha Singh, 34, another visual artist and member of Decolonize This Place, said she wanted to see "complete systematic changes of the museum."
    What else in town should be changed?
    A lot, Ms. Singh and Mr. Husain said. They are not alone.
    When city officials discovered that there were only five statues depicting real women in public spaces, they rushed to plan at least five more.
    Last year, focus turned to a statue of a 19th-century surgeon who conducted experimental operations on female slaves. It was moved from Central Park to Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, where the surgeon was buried.

    No other dioramas at the American Museum of Natural History are immediately slated to get new labels, but a review is underway of its Northwest Coast Hall, according to a museum spokesman.
    Ana Fota contributed reporting.

    14) Amazon and Union at Odds Over Firing of Staten Island Warehouse Worker
    By Noam Scheiber, March 20, 2019

    Justin Rashad Long accuses Amazon of firing him for speaking out about working conditions in its Staten Island warehouse.CreditCreditLaylah Amatullah Barrayn for The New York Times

    Amazon's plan for a major corporate presence in New York ran headlong into concerns about the company's labor practices in the city. The giant project fell apart, but the labor friction lives on.
    A former employee at an Amazon warehouse on Staten Island is accusing the company of firing him last month in retaliation for speaking out about what he says are difficult working conditions.
    A union trying to organize a few thousand workers at the Staten Island warehouse formally complained to the National Labor Relations Board on Wednesday on behalf of the former employee, Justin Rashad Long, opening a new phase in the organizing push.

    "Instead of firing Rashad, Amazon should have listened to him and addressed the specific issues that he and other warehouse workers have raised," said Stuart Appelbaum, the president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, which is pursuing the case.

    The retail workers' union played a leading role in resisting the deal that would have brought a second Amazon headquarters to Queens in exchange for nearly $3 billion in public subsidies. The union said it was opposed to the project unless Amazon established a "fair process" for allowing warehouse workers in the city to unionize, although it said it was willing to negotiate what that meant.
    At a meeting with labor leaders and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo last month, Amazon officials agreed to continue discussing the matter, but the company abandoned the Queens project the next day.
    There are no unionized Amazon warehouse employees in the United States. Last year, some workers at a warehouse in Minnesota became the first in the United States known to have negotiated with management. The employees, many of them originally from Somalia and elsewhere in East Africa, were upset about strict productivity targets that some said made it hard for Muslim workers to pray at work. Amazon has said it saw this not as a negotiation but as an exercise in community engagement.
    "Amazon already offers what unions are requesting for employees," said Ashley Robinson, an Amazon spokeswoman. "We encourage anyone to compare our overall pay, benefits, and workplace environment to other retailers and major employers."
    The union's action on Mr. Long's behalf is its first for a worker at the Staten Island warehouse. The union has also been involved in efforts to organize workers at Whole Foods Market, which Amazon owns.

    Before he was fired, Mr. Long asserted at public meetings and in comments to the news media that Amazon required him and other workers to work 12-hour shifts five or even six times a week with few breaks during the peak holiday season, and that warehouse managers had unreasonable production targets.

    "Getting out customer orders is all they care about," Mr. Long said in an interview. "They don't care if you're tired, if you've worked 60 hours. It's irrelevant."
    Ms. Robinson, the Amazon spokeswoman, said that employees at the warehouse never worked more than 60 hours a week during the peak season, and that 52 hours a week was more common. More than three-quarters of the workers at the warehouse meet the production targets that Mr. Long complained about, she said.
    While at Amazon, Mr. Long was involved in the retail workers' organizing campaign, and he appeared at a rally with union officials who read a statement from him criticizing conditions at his warehouse. He also described the conditions at a breakfast the union hosted. Video from both events is available online.
    Mr. Long, whose job was to pick items from robotic pods and to place them in plastic boxes for other workers to pack for shipping, was fired on Feb. 12. The company cited a safety violation. Mr. Long said he had picked up the wrong item and reached back out to return it to the pod, something the company discourages because of the risk of injury.
    The union's filing says the safety violation cited as the reason for Mr. Long's dismissal "was pretext for being outspoken against the working conditions at the facility."

    Under federal labor law, employees have the right to take part in organizing activities and are generally entitled to complain publicly about their working conditions. The labor board's regional office will investigate Mr. Long's allegation, and the agency's general counsel could bring a complaint against Amazon if the case is found to have merit.
    Several labor lawyers said that winning or favorably settling a case like Mr. Long's, something that would probably entail his reinstatement with back pay, was critical for a union in the early phases of an organizing campaign because it would put other workers at ease about coming forward.
    "Firing people silences other people," said Molly Elkin, a labor lawyer at Woodley & McGillivary. "It becomes difficult to organize. But if the employee is successful getting his job back, you're back at square one. It's very, very important."
    Hanan Kolko, a labor lawyer at Cohen, Weiss & Simon, said that Mr. Long's case would hinge partly on whether Amazon was aware of his public comments and his participation in union activities when it fired him. He said the labor board would also have to consider whether the safety issue was a pretext for dismissal.
    Perhaps most important, Mr. Kolko said, was determining whether the company had treated other workers similarly for comparable safety violations. Mr. Long said that some of his fellow workers had not suffered serious consequences for returning an item to a pod.
    The Amazon spokeswoman said that the infraction was serious and grounds for dismissal, and that if other workers went unpunished in such cases, it might only mean the violation had not been noticed. She said that the company had offered Mr. Long a chance to appeal his firing to a panel of workers and managers, but that he had declined. Mr. Long said he had not known that he had that option.
    Mr. Kolko said evidence of company hostility toward unions could bolster Mr. Long's case. Amazon has distributed a video to managers at its Whole Foods stores on how to defuse union organizing efforts, but lawyers differed on whether that could be cited as evidence.


    15) Racism in Jury Selection Is Real. Can the Supreme Court Put an End to It?
    The ordeal of death-row inmate Curtis Flowers will yet again test the court’s commitment to equal justice under law.
    By The Editorial Board, March 21. 2019

    Two years ago, the Supreme Court reaffirmed that there existed a constitutional “imperative to purge racial prejudice from the administration of justice.” 
    In the case of the Mississippi death-row prisoner Curtis Flowers, which the justices heard on Wednesday, the court is once again poised to send a message that racism has no place in the courtroom — this time in the area of jury selection, which remains an especially urgent issue in capital cases.
    Mr. Flowers has faced trial an astonishing six times for the 1996 murder of four people at a furniture store in Winona, Miss. — a crime that he has said all along he did not commit. At question in Flowers v. Mississippi is whether District Attorney Doug Evans, who tried Mr. Flowers all those times, unconstitutionally excluded a number of blacks from serving as jurors at the sixth trial. (Mr. Flowers is black.)
    With all-white or nearly all-white juries that Mr. Evans helped put together, each of Mr. Flowers’s first three trials resulted in guilty verdicts and death sentences. Those convictions were later reversed by the Mississippi Supreme Court on the basis of repeated instances of prosecutorial mischief. Mr. Flowers’s fourth and fifth trials resulted in mistrials because the jurors, some of whom were black, could not agree on a guilty verdict. And the sixth trial — the one the Supreme Court examined on Wednesday — resulted in Mr. Flowers’s conviction, again with a nearly all-white jury.

    The oral arguments in Mr. Flowers’s case attracted wide notice because Justice Clarence Thomas, who hasn’t asked a question from the Supreme Court bench in three years, broke his silence toward the end of Wednesday’s hearing. He wanted to know from Mr. Flowers’s attorney whether the public defender who represented Mr. Flowers at his sixth trial had struck any jurors on the basis of race.
    It turns out that Mr. Flowers’s defense team struck three jurors, all of them white, according to Mr. Flowers’s lawyer.
    But Justice Thomas’s line of inquiry misses that the real outrage of Mr. Flowers’s many trials, which the podcast “In the Dark” has chronicled in painstaking detail, is the clear racism that has visited the jury selection process from the start.
    As versions of the case made their way through the Mississippi court system, judges and appellate courts took notice of Mr. Evans’s disregard for Batson v. Kentucky, the 1986 decision that said that prosecutors cannot use peremptory challenges to dismiss prospective jurors on the basis of race. 
    When Mississippi’s highest court reversed Mr. Flowers’s third conviction, the judges chastised Mr. Evans for what they deemed “as strong a prima facie case of racial discrimination as we have ever seen in the context of a Batson challenge.”

    But Mr. Evans didn’t seem to learn his lesson. He kept targeting his peremptory challenges at black prospective jurors almost exclusively and with near-surgical finesse. At the last Flowers trial, he allowed just one black citizen on the jury; he peppered the other five black people being considered with probing, race-neutral questions, only to later strike them from the jury.
    The justices on Wednesday appeared ready to chastise Mr. Evans yet again. “The history of the case prior to this trial is very troubling,” said Justice Samuel Alito, adding that Mr. Evans’s record in the case “is cause for concern and is certainly relevant to the decision that ultimately has to be made in the case.”
    There’s little chance that the Supreme Court will do away with or put greater limits on the use of peremptory challenges — a radical solution not presented in Mr. Flowers’s case but one has been advanced by the likes of Justice Thurgood Marshall and legal scholars who have studied the abuse of the practice.
    But, as Justice Brett Kavanaugh acknowledged on Wednesday, the court could once again uphold the principle that equality in the realm of jury selection is “not just for the fairness to the defendant and to the juror, but that the community has confidence in the fairness of the system.” That would be a worthy outcome — and may, at long last, give Mr. Flowers the fair trial he deserves.




    Posted by: bonnieweinstein@yahoo.com

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