U.S. Hands Off Venezuela!
Stop U.S. Wars and Racism!
No to NATO!

Sunday, March 31, 2019 Oakland Federal Building
13th Street and Clay, Oakland, CA @ 1:00 PM

Honor Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr. and his famous April 4 speech against the Vietnam war, racism and poverty.

No to Racism, Sexism, LGBTQI discrimination, Anti- Immigrant Walls/Deportations and Environmental Destruction. U.S. Hands Off Africa, Latin America & the Middle East- from Haiti, Nicaragua and Cuba to the Philippines, Palestine & Syria

Sponsors: Spring Action Coalition 2019; United National Antiwar Coalition For information contact: jmackler@lmi.net or judygreenspan1952@gmail.com 

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


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



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) Gaza Rocket Sets Off Daylong Battle Between Hamas and Israel
    By Isabel Kershner, March 25, 2019

    Fire and smoke envelop buildings in Gaza City during reported Israeli strikes on Monday.CreditMahmud Hams/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

    MISHMERET, Israel — Israel and Hamas exchanged blows on Monday after a rocket launched from Gaza struck a house in central Israel, wounding seven people.
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel said that he was cutting short his visit to the United States, with the rocket attack posing a new challenge to his bid for re-election just two weeks before Israelis go to the polls.
    But the lack of enthusiasm for an all-out conflict was apparent on both sides. Just hours after the fighting began, Hamas announced that Egyptian mediators had succeeded in brokering a new, albeit fragile, cease-fire.

    The Israeli military said that Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza, had fired a long-range rocket at dawn that struck the pastoral village of Mishmeret, about 20 miles north of Tel Aviv.

    "I heard a kind of whoosh and a second later a boom," said a resident, Robert Wolf, 60. "I turn around and my whole house has gone." His wife, Susan, was hospitalized for a head wound and other members of his family suffered light injuries.
    Hamas neither confirmed nor denied that it had carried out the attack.
    Twelve hours later, at sunset, Israeli warplanes began striking back at Hamas targets throughout the Gaza Strip.

    Appearing at the White House with President Trump before returning to Israel, Mr. Netanyahu said, "As we speak, Israel is responding forcefully to this wanton aggression."
    Mr. Netanyahu appeared to be conducting the air campaign from his guest accommodation in Blair House, where aides said he was approving targets and overseeing the attacks after delaying his departure from Washington.

    ntent on deterring Hamas after several recent bouts of rocket fire, Israel scaled up its response, opening with attacks on several buildings the Israelis said Hamas had used for military purposes in populated areas of Gaza City.
    The Gaza health ministry said seven Palestinians were injured in the Israeli airstrikes, none of them seriously.
    Gaza militants fired back, launching barrages of rockets into southern Israel. The Israeli military said it identified about 30 rocket launches from Gaza from dusk until 10 p.m., when the cease-fire was announced.
    The rocket fire and the airstrikes appeared to taper off after that.
    The Israeli authorities had ordered bomb shelters to be opened in cities as far north as Netanya on the Mediterranean coast. Most of the rockets or mortar shells were intercepted or fell in open ground.
    Earlier Monday, the Israeli military said it was deploying an additional infantry brigade and an armored brigade to bolster forces around the Palestinian coastal territory, and was calling up a limited number of reservists from specialized units.

    The flare-up presented a test for Mr. Netanyahu, who also serves as Israel's defense minister and has made his national security credentials a cornerstone of his re-election campaign.

    Both Hamas and Israel have been avoiding another all-out conflict since 50 days of fighting ended in the summer of 2014, but Mr. Netanyahu's political rivals have been denouncing what they call his lack of decisive action or clear policy regarding Gaza, despite several recent rounds of violence.
    A strong response could protect Mr. Netanyahu politically while helping restore his reputation as a national security hawk. But a prolonged conflict that could put Israelis under heavy rocket fire and cause Israeli casualties could damage his political campaign.
    Perhaps seeking a balance, the military bombed high profile buildings in Gaza that appeared to have been vacated by Hamas ahead of the attacks. They included Hamas's Internal Security offices, a five-story building in the Rimal neighborhood where the group interrogates Palestinians belonging to extremist groups or suspected of collaborating with Israel. Israeli bombers also destroyed the office of Hamas's leader, Ismail Haniya.
    There were no immediate reports of fatalities on either side.
    Already facing indictment for bribery and other corruption charges, Mr. Netanyahu, who has long presented himself as Israel's security czar, is in a tight election race with his chief rival, Benny Gantz, a retired military chief of staff.
    Mr. Gantz, who was also visiting Washington, criticized Mr. Netanyahu for allowing the situation in Gaza to fester.
    "The reality in which Hamas turned Israel into a hostage is unprecedented and unfathomable," he wrote on Twitter. "Netanyahu has to pack up now and return to Israel to handle this serious escalation."

    At the United Nations, Stéphane Dujarric, a spokesman for Secretary General António Guterres, called the rocket strike on Israel "a serious and unacceptable violation," and urged all sides to "exercise maximum restraint" in the long-simmering conflict.

    "A further escalation is likely to make a bad situation worse," he said.
    Magen David Adom, an Israeli rescue service, said it had treated seven people for burns, blast injuries and shrapnel wounds in Mishmeret, as well as several others suffering stress symptoms. The wounded included two children and an infant, the service reported.
    Eli Bin, the director of Magen David Adom, said at the scene that the event had ended "miraculously with only light to moderate injuries."
    Maj. Mika Lifshitz, a spokeswoman for the Israeli military, said the rocket had been manufactured by Hamas, had a range of about 75 miles and was fired from Rafah at the southern end of the Gaza Strip, meaning it probably had reached its maximum range.
    Though incoming rocket sirens sounded in Mishmeret, sending residents rushing to bomb shelters shortly before the rocket struck, there was no interception attempt by Israel's Iron Dome air defense system.
    "Iron Dome protects the areas in which it is deployed," Major Lifshitz said, refusing to elaborate, but suggesting that the system did not cover Mishmeret.
    The rocket attack came less than two weeks after Israel and Hamas worked to de-escalate tensions after two rockets from Gaza were fired at Tel Aviv. One struck open ground near the suburb of Holon. The other may have exploded in midair or fallen into the sea.

    In that attack, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, a more militant group in Gaza that also possesses long-range rockets, distanced themselves from the rocket fire, and the Israeli military accepted an explanation that the two rockets had been launched "by mistake," possibly because of a technical error.
    Eran Lerman, a former deputy director of Israel's National Security Council and now vice president of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security, a research group, said the latest rocket attack was "no longer something that can be explained away as a mistake or a technical failure."
    He told reporters that the militant groups in Gaza may have come to "the very dangerous conclusion that Israel's hands may be tied because of the impending elections on April 9 and that the prime minister and his government would be very wary about taking action so close to an election which could lead to a broad-scale confrontation." Hamas, he warned, was "playing with fire."
    In Gaza, Hamas has come under harsh criticism for its recent violent crackdown on protesters demonstrating against harsh living conditions in the territory.
    Mr. Netanyahu came under immediate attack from political rivals from the right, left and center.
    The New Right party, led by the ministers Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked, said in a statement, "Israel's deterrence has collapsed and it has to be said in all honesty, Netanyahu has failed against Hamas."
    The leader of the Israeli Labor Party, Avi Gabbay, and his No. 2, Tal Rousso, a retired general, went to Mishmeret, where Mr. Gabbay denounced Mr. Netanyahu as a "failed prime minister and defense minister" and a man of "talk and not actions."

    Mr. Wolf, whose house in Mishmeret was destroyed, was wandering around in a daze on Monday, a bottle of beer in hand. The roof was blown off his single-story house and the yard was strewn with rubble. A lemon tree heavy with fruit and a plastic children's swing were untouched.
    His son, Daniel, 30, had fallen asleep watching a soccer game on television. He heard the incoming rocket siren at around 5:20 a.m. and woke up the rest of the family, who rushed into a safe room.
    "He saved our lives, no doubt," Mr. Wolf said.
    Mr. Wolf said he did not want to talk politics. But he said: "I don't want anyone killed because of me. Nobody. I don't look for revenge."

    Reporting was contributed by Mike Ives from Hong Kong, Iyad Abuheweila and Ibrahim El-Mughraby from Gaza City, Rick Gladstone from New York and David M. Halbfinger from Washington.


    2) Canada Gives Asylum to Refugee Who Sheltered Edward Snowden
    By Austin Ramzy, March 26, 2019

    Vanessa Rodel, second from left, with her daughter, Keana Nihinsa, and their lawyer, Robert Tibbo, third from left, at Toronto Pearson International Airport on Monday.CreditCreditCole Burston/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

    HONG KONG — A Filipino woman who sheltered Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor, when he fled to Hong Kong has been granted asylum in Canada, where she arrived on Monday with her daughter.
    The woman, Vanessa Mae Bondalian Rodel, was part of a group of asylum seekers in Hong Kong who briefly allowed Mr. Snowden to stay in their homes in 2013.
    "This is a really great day," said her lawyer, Robert Tibbo. "She's departed Hong Kong. She's left behind all the distress, hopelessness and uncertainty in life, the discrimination and marginalization she has suffered."

    The Hong Kong government in 2017 rejected the asylum claims of all seven migrants connected with Mr. Snowden. Since then they have been living in limbo, fearing deportation while awaiting decisions on asylum applications to Canada.

    Ms. Rodel did not know who Mr. Snowden was when she took him in to her tiny apartment. She brought him an Egg McMuffin and ice tea from McDonald's. And on his second day there, she bought him a copy of The South China Morning Post, an English-language newspaper, and saw his image splashed on the front page.
    "Oh my God, unbelievable," she recalled herself saying. "The most wanted man in the world is in my house."
    At that time, Mr. Snowden was the focus of international scrutiny as government officials and news media outlets rushed to find the source of leaks about some of the United States' most closely guarded surveillance programs.
    Like Ms. Rodel, Mr. Snowden was represented by Mr. Tibbo, who figured that the tiny apartments of his asylum-seeker clients in some of Hong Kong's poorest neighborhoods would be the last place anyone would look for the contractor.
    Mr. Snowden, who initially stayed in the five-star Mira Hotel when he arrived in Hong Kong, disappeared from public view for about two weeks before leaving for Moscow, where he lives in exile to this day.

    He faces charges in the United States, including two counts under the Espionage Act, after he revealed details of secret surveillance programs that collected communications of hundreds of millions of people.
    His location during most of his time in Hong Kong was secret until 2016. The revelation that he had stayed with asylum seekers focused attention on their difficult circumstances in the territory. They cannot work in Hong Kong and live on small government stipends while they await decisions on their applications, which are usually rejected.
    Mr. Tibbo was criticized by some other lawyers in Hong Kong, who said he had put the asylum seekers at risk and undermined their cases by helping news organizations cover their plight. But clients including Ms. Rodel said that he was a tireless advocate and that they felt reassured when he took on their cases.
    Ms. Rodel, 42, and her 7-year-old daughter, Keana Nihinsa, are now set to live in Montreal. Their expenses for their first year will be provided by For the Refugees, an organization that was set up to handle the group's asylum claims.
    The group will also provide her with professional and educational counselors to help her figure out how to proceed now that she will be allowed to work again, said Marc-André Séguin, the president of For the Refugees.
    "This is a huge victory for Vanessa and her daughter," Mr. Séguin said. "Both left Hong Kong earlier today as refugee claimants and landed in Toronto as Canadian permanent residents."

    Five other asylum seekers who sheltered Mr. Snowden are awaiting decisions on their applications in Canada. Among them is Ajith Pushpakumara, from Sri Lanka, who said he had fled to Hong Kong after being tortured for deserting the military and faces the possibility of execution if he returns to his native country.

    Mr. Snowden tweeted a message of thanks on Monday. "After so many years, the first of the families that helped me is free and has a future," he wrote. "But the work is not done. With solidarity and compassion, Canada can save them all."


    3) Shell Sees New Role for Former Steel Region: Plastics
    The oil and gas company is returning to the polyethylene market, building a 386-acre plant on the site of a long-shuttered zinc smelter on the Ohio River.
    By Keith Schneider, March 26, 2019

    Construction early last year on a Shell chemical processing plant in Monaca, Pa. The company is planning a return to polyethylene production.CreditCreditJared Wickerham for The New York Times

    MONACA, Pa. — The expansive Royal Dutch Shell chemical processing plant under construction on a big bend of the Ohio River in western Pennsylvania is one of the largest and most expensive projects ever to be built along the tributary.
    It's not only the plant's mammoth scale that has attracted attention. Just as significant is the project's location: 30 miles northwest of Pittsburgh, on a river that for four decades has been a corridor of Rust Belt industrial ruin.
    That era is over, Shell executives say. The sentiment is shared by the region's tradespeople, business executives and political leaders, who are eager to strengthen the economies of towns along the river.

    For the first time in two generations, steel girders and worn tubing are not being dismantled along the banks of the upper Ohio and shipped away. Instead, new parts are being assembled by Bechtel, Shell's primary contractor, into a world-scale, state-of-the-art chemical processor to convert liquid natural gas into polyethylene, a common plastic.

    The 386-acre plant replaces a long-shuttered zinc smelter. It is among the most expensive industrial production projects ever built along the 981-mile Ohio River and the first sizable new factory on the Ohio since North American Stainless opened its metal manufacturing operation in 1992, downriver in Ghent, Ky.

    "We repurposed a previous industrial area, and we created a place with new jobs to take the place of jobs at that old plant," said Hilary Mercer, Shell's vice president for Pennsylvania Chemicals, who is supervising the construction. "This was a huge steel area, and steel has largely disappeared. We are bringing a new industry to take its place."
    Shell never discloses the cost of its projects, said Ms. Mercer, who has worked for Shell for 31 years and overseen projects to build liquid natural gas processing plants in 12 other countries. But an economic analysis prepared several years ago for Shell by Robert Morris University and submitted to the state projected that the cost would be $6 billion.
    Trey Hamblet, vice president for global research of Industrial Info Resources, a consulting firm in Texas that tracks plant construction around the world, said that price was inaccurate. Based on his firm's research and interviews, the Shell plant will cost at least $10 billion, he said.

    Shell ended its polyethylene production in 2005 in the face of increasing costs and growing competition, but it began evaluating a return in 2012. At the time, the colossal dimensions of the natural gas reserves bound up in shale formations deep beneath the rural upper Ohio River counties in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia were becoming clearer, and technology was making it easier to tap those reserves.
    In 2005, the first wells were drilled in the region. Since then, some 17,000 more gas wells have been drilled and hydraulically fractured under high pressure to release a torrent of "dry" methane for electrical generation and heating and "wet" gas liquids like ethane, pentane and propane.
    During the same period, billions of dollars were spent on gas separation plants, pipelines, pumping stations, gas-fired electrical generating stations and shipping terminals. The investments turned the upper Ohio River Valley into the largest natural gas field in the United States. The region produced nine trillion cubic feet of fuel last year, a third of the national production.

    The gas supply in the three-state region is enough to last at least half a century at current rates of consumption, according to the Energy Information Administration, the statistics unit of the Department of Energy. The national market demand for polyethylene is projected to increase to 60 million metric tons over the next two decades, up from 40 million metric tons last year.
    The company's decision in June 2016 to build the plant opened the third stage of gas development: the production of ethane and polyethylene.
    "One of Shell's growth aspirations is in chemicals," Ms. Mercer said. "If you look at chemical companies in the world, one of the largest growing sectors in chemicals is polyethylene. If you want to grow in chemicals, then logically you want to grow in polyethylene."

    Almost every polyethylene factory in the United States is on the Gulf Coast. But more than 70 percent of the American plastics manufacturing sector is within 700 miles of Shell's plant, according to the findings of a 2017 IHS Markit study.
    Proximity to markets, lower transportation costs and lower prices for ethane are competitive advantages that strengthened Shell's decision to proceed, Ms. Mercer said. Shell was also encouraged by a $1.65 billion, 25-year tax reduction package offered by state lawmakers.
    The Ohio River plant will subject ethane to high heat and pressure to "crack" the chain of carbon molecules to produce ethylene. When completed and operational in the early 2020s, the Shell plant will turn 1.6 billion gallons of ethane into 3.3 billion pounds of little white polyethylene beads annually.
    More than 6,000 tradespeople and laborers will be on the site during the peak summer construction period. Some 600 full-time workers will manage automated technology to operate the completed plant. A 97-mile pipeline from gas separation installations in Ohio and West Virginia will supply ethane; a 250-megawatt gas-fired electrical generating station will power the plant.
    The Shell plant is already drawing attention from competitors. In December, Ohio issued air-emissions and water-discharge permits to PTT Global Chemical of Thailand and its partner, South Korea's Daelim Industrial, for a proposed polyethylene plant in Shadyside, about 80 miles downriver. That plant would be about the same size as Shell's. Ohio lawmakers are discussing tax incentives valued at more than $1 billion. PTT Global's decision is expected this year.
    China Energy Investment Corporation, the country's largest energy company, signed a memorandum of understanding with West Virginia in 2017 to invest $83.7 billion in gas-related power, chemical and storage projects in the upper Ohio River Valley. The agreement was the largest among a number of deals that were announced during a summit meeting in Beijing between President Trump and President Xi Jinping of China.
    All the activity has generated resistance from environmental and public health groups, which have expressed concern about the effects of the chemical corridor on air and water quality. Emissions of volatile organic chemicals into the air and discharges into the river will increase in an area that already has some of the nation's worst pollution.
    "Industry calls it a game changer," said Dustin White, project coordinator for the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition in Huntington, W.Va. "We see it as game over."
    Real estate developers, though, are enjoying a rebound in construction.

    Charles J. Betters, chairman of C.J. Betters Enterprises, a real estate company in neighboring Aliquippa, said his company had built retail, office and residential projects across the East but none for years near his home. He said he was now building 200 residential units and undertaking a major hotel renovation in Beaver County.
    "This is the best thing to happen in our region in 40-plus years," he said.
    The leaders of the Community College of Beaver County, two miles from the plant, also anticipate sharp growth in the market for skilled labor. The college is training students to complete a two-year associate degree in chemical-processing technology that will earn many of them $60,000 a year in starting salaries at the plant.
    Such job opportunities and wages are starting to break through the deep economic and psychic torpor that gripped the region, said Roger W. Davis, the college president.
    "People were still mourning the steel mills that closed in 1985," Dr. Davis said. "We are moving into a new energy and manufacturing model."


    4) Testing Novel Power, Trump Administration Detains Palestinian After Sentence Ends
    By Charlie Savage, March 26, 2019

    Adham Hassoun's case is the latest chapter in a series of disputes over when the government may label people terrorism risks to hold them in open-ended detention.CreditCreditJohn L. White/South Florida Sun Sentinel

    WASHINGTON — Swept up by authorities after the Sept. 11 attacks, Adham Hassoun, a Palestinian computer programmer who lived in Florida, served 15 years in prison for sending support to Islamist militants abroad. His sentence completed, he then waited in immigration detention more than a year and a half while the government fruitlessly hunted for a place to deport him.
    Finally, a judge ordered him temporarily released in the United States. But instead, the Trump administration, citing a little-used immigration regulation issued after 9/11, notified Mr. Hassoun last month that he was being declared a security risk and would be kept locked up indefinitely.
    Mr. Hassoun, 56, has sued the government in a case that is shaping up to be the first legal test of that assertion of executive power. The lawsuit is the latest chapter in a series of disputes — dating back to the opening of the Guantánamo Bay prison in January 2002 — over when the government may label people terrorism risks to hold them in open-ended detention, and what due-process rights they have to contest their indefinite lockup.

    "The government is saying it can hold someone solely because it claims he is a danger, without a justification like he's a combatant in an armed conflict or has a mental illness that prevents him from controlling his own actions," said Jonathan Hafetz of the American Civil Liberties Union, who is consulting in the case. "This is a monumentally important issue courts have never addressed."

    Mr. Hassoun is difficult to deport because he is stateless. He was born in Lebanon, which did not grant him citizenship and has declined to take him. While the Palestinian Authority said he may go to the West Bank, Israel and Jordan have not consented to letting him get there, according to his volunteer lawyers, Nicole Hallett and Jonathan Manesof the University at Buffalo School of Law.
    Before Mr. Hassoun's case, the government had invoked the Bush-era regulation only once, the Department of Homeland Security said. That was in a 2015 case in which the Obama administration cited the regulation to justify keeping another Palestinian man detained; he had finished a prison sentence for planting a bomb on a Hawaii-bound airliner in 1982, and the government was having trouble finding a place to deport him, too. But before a judge could rule on whether his continued detention was lawful, Mauritania took him in.
    Mr. Hassoun is linked to a far more famous terrorism case: Jose Padilla, an American citizen who was arrested in Chicago in 2002. The Bush administration deemed him an enemy combatant and held him for years at the Charleston, S.C., naval brig — including a 22-month period when he was denied access to a lawyer and interrogators subjected him to extreme isolation and sensory deprivation.
    Eventually, to avoid Supreme Court review of whether its handling of Mr. Padilla was unconstitutional, the Bush administration transferred him to the criminal justice system for a trial. Mr. Hassoun was a co-defendant. They had attended mosque together, and Mr. Hassoun — an outspoken advocate of helping oppressed Muslims — was accused of recruiting Mr. Padilla to the "global jihad" cause.
    Evidence presented at the trial showed that Mr. Hassoun had separately been under F.B.I. surveillance for years. He was accused of sending money and supplies to mujahedeen fighting in places like Bosnia, Kosovo and Chechnya, under the guise of humanitarian relief for Muslims facing oppression.

    Prosecutors sought a life sentence. But Judge Marcia Cooke balked, noting that there were no specific, identifiable victims of his crimes and that the F.B.I. had known what he was doing for years before arresting him — a fact that she said "does not support the government's argument that Mr. Hassoun poses such a threat to the community that he needs to be imprisoned for the rest of his life."
    In the lawsuit, Mr. Hassoun's lawyers accused the government of seeking "to impose what amounts to a life sentence on the very same basis that the trial judge considered and rejected."
    The Departments of Homeland Security and Justice declined to comment.
    Complicating matters, the lawsuit says that the F.B.I. has produced a memorandum assessing Mr. Hassoun as a security risk for reasons that go beyond his actions two decades ago, citing allegations that he used unspecified "incendiary rhetoric" in Muslim prayer services at the immigration facility and tried to recruit three unidentified fellow detainees for illegal activities.
    Neither the government nor his defense team would provide the memo to The New York Times or describe the purported illegal activities. Ms. Hallett and Mr. Manes called the claims false, and said making the details of such "slander" public would only smear their client's reputation. Part of their argument is that he has a right to a hearing to confront his accusers and contest the credibility of such claims.
    While the dispute over Mr. Hassoun is new, the dilemma it raises is not. A longstanding immigration statute says that when a foreigner is subject to a final removal order, the government should take him into custody for deportation. But it does not dictate what should happen if that goal proves impossible.
    In June 2001, the Supreme Court rejected the idea that the government can hold such people indefinitely. Writing for a five-justice majority, Justice Stephen G. Breyer said that it would be unconstitutional to interpret the law as permitting perpetual civil detention, and set a general six-month limit for such custody.
    Still, in that case, Zadvydas v. Davis, the majority also suggested that exceptions could be made for "special circumstances," like if a detainee had a mental illness that caused him to pose a threat to public safety. Justice Breyer also noted that the case before the court in 2001 did not involve terrorism.

    Several months later, the Sept. 11 attacks touched off a period of heightened fears about Islamist terrorism, including sweeps aimed at rounding up and prosecuting or deporting hundreds of noncitizen Muslim men — like Mr. Hassoun.
    Meanwhile, in November 2001, the Bush administration issued its regulation responding to the Zadvydas ruling. Among other things, it carved out an exception to the six-month release rule for foreigners deemed to be linked to terrorism. But that provision sat on the books, unused, for years.
    Mr. Hassoun's lawsuit challenging it may face steep obstacles, legal experts said.
    The five-member conservative bloc that now controls the Supreme Court appears less sympathetic to people facing deportation than the court was in 2001. The court ruled 5 to 4 last week that immigrants facing deportation proceedings because they committed crimes, including minor ones for which they were released from criminal custody long ago, must be detained during that process without bail.
    The Supreme Court will be unlikely to order Mr. Hassoun released if the Trump administration says he poses a security threat, predicted Jamil Jaffer, a George Mason University law professor who held several national-security positions in the Bush administration.
    "The government's hand is stronger when it comes to evaluating a national-security threat because courts generally give the president more deference in that space," he said. "I just don't see a court granting him relief."
    Stephen Vladeck, a University of Texas, Austin, law professor, noted that a provision in the USA Patriot Act, enacted in October 2001, creates a way for the attorney general to hold terrorism-linked foreigners in open-ended custody if they cannot be deported. While the government is not invoking that statute, he said, it may argue in court that its existence means the regulation is reasonable.
    Several dozen noncitizens will complete prison sentences for terrorism-related crimes in the coming years, according to a database compiled by the Center on National Security at Fordham Law. Many are from troubled nations like Somalia where officials may be reluctant to repatriate them.
    "The creation of any precedent will be a big deal," Mr. Vladeck said. "Once there is case law on the books that the government is able to subject even some immigrants to perpetual detention, it's not hard to imagine the government taking advantage of it."


    5) After Boeing Crashes, Sharp Questions About Industry Regulating Itself
    By Thomas Kaplan, March 26, 2019

    The Wilbur Wright Federal Building in Washington, part of the headquarters of the Federal Aviation Administration. Whether the F.A.A. has gone too far in allowing Boeing to regulate itself has emerged as a key question after two recent Boeing 737 Max crashes.CreditCreditTing Shen for The New York Times

    WASHINGTON — Seven years ago, an internal government watchdog took a hard look at the part of the Federal Aviation Administration responsible for certifying new Boeing jetliners. The watchdog's investigation came to some alarming conclusions.
    F.A.A. employees viewed their management, the inquiry by the Transportation Department's inspector general's office found, as "having too close a relationship with Boeing officials." F.A.A. managers, the report said, had not always backed efforts by agency employees "to hold Boeing accountable," and employees feared retaliation for trying to do so.
    The part of the F.A.A. under scrutiny, the Transport Airplane Directorate, was led at the time by an aerospace engineer named Ali Bahrami. The next year, he took a job at the Aerospace Industries Association, a trade group whose members include Boeing. In that position, he urged his former agency to allow manufacturers like Boeing to perform as much of the work of certifying new planes as possible.
    Mr. Bahrami is now back at the F.A.A. as its top safety official.

    The question of whether the F.A.A. has gone too far in allowing Boeing to regulate itself has emerged as one of the key issues after the crash of a Boeing 737 Max in Ethiopia this month, the second deadly crash of the new plane in less than five months. The practice is already coming under scrutiny from Congress, and lawmakers are likely to press the F.A.A.'s acting administrator on Wednesday when he appears at a Senate hearing.

    The practice has been repeatedly endorsed by Congress and successive administrations to speed up the certification process for Boeing and the rest of the aviation industry while holding down costs for the government.
    In theory, delegating much of the day-to-day regulatory work to Boeing allows the F.A.A. to focus its limited resources on the most critical safety work, taps into existing industry technical expertise at a time when airliners are becoming increasingly complex, and allows Boeing in particular to bring out new planes faster at a time of intense global competition with its European rival Airbus.
    But over the years, government watchdogs and unions have raised flags, warnings that are getting renewed attention in light of the two Boeing crashes.
    It is not clear what role Boeing employees played in vetting the automated flight-control system, known as MCAS, that appears to have played a central role in the crash of Lion Air Flight 610 in October, and may have played a role in the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 this month as well. The Seattle Times reported last week that a safety analysis for MCAS was delegated to Boeing, and that the company produced a document that had significant flaws.

    Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao has requested that her department's inspector general conduct an audit of how the 737 Max 8, the model involved in both deadly crashes, was certified. Lawmakers have asked the inspector general to examine the role that the delegation program played in the Max's certification. And the Justice Department is investigating the plane's development, a person briefed on the inquiry said.

    Under the delegation program, "the staff responsible for regulating aircraft safety are answerable to the manufacturers who profit from cutting corners, not the American people who may be put at risk," Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, wrote to the inspector general last week.
    In testimony prepared for the Senate hearing on Wednesday, the F.A.A.'s acting administrator, Daniel K. Elwell, described the system of delegating authority outside of his agency as "critical to the success and effectiveness of the certification process."
    "This is not self-certification; the F.A.A. retains strict oversight authority," Mr. Elwell said in the prepared remarks.
    In the case of the 737 Max, Mr. Elwell said that the F.A.A. was "directly involved" in reviewing the safety of MCAS. The agency's engineers and flight test pilots participated in evaluating the system, he said, calling the certification process for the plane "detailed and thorough."
    In draft testimony for the Senate hearing, the Transportation Department's inspector general, Calvin L. Scovel III, said the F.A.A. was revamping how it supervises manufacturers that perform certification work on its behalf. He said the F.A.A. planned by July "to introduce a new process that represents a significant change in its oversight approach."
    The practice of delegating authority from regulators to plane makers stretches back decades. For the Boeing 747-400, approved in 1989 as an update to the iconic jumbo jet, the F.A.A. estimated that it had delegated 95 percent of the certification work, according to a 1993 report from the agency now known as the Government Accountability Office.

    The report raised concerns that the F.A.A. had turned over responsibility for critical work, including "analyses of hypothetical failures of systems."
    The F.A.A. overhauled its approach to delegation in 2005, creating a new program that expanded the authority given to manufacturers to help certify their own products. Under the new program, called Organization Designation Authorization, companies like Boeing can choose their own employees to work on behalf of the F.A.A.
    When the F.A.A. moved to create the program, Boeing called it "an important building block toward increased delegation throughout the aviation industry."
    But not everyone in aviation circles shared that positive view. The National Air Traffic Controllers Association, whose members include F.A.A. certification employees, said at the time that the F.A.A.'s new approach "provides less specific and technical F.A.A. oversight and therefore would in time lower the safety of the flying public."
    Another F.A.A. union now known as the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists said it would oppose "any system that allows industry to self-regulate oversight via the honor system." The union wrote that the F.A.A.'s "blatant outsourcing" was "reckless" and would "actually compromise public air safety, not enhance it."

    The F.A.A. was "rushing to hand off their oversight responsibilities to industry and virtually establishing a 'fox guarding the henhouse' mentality," the union wrote.

    The delegation program has come under scrutiny on multiple occasions since then.
    In 2011, after a review stretching nearly two years, the Transportation Department's inspector general's office released an audit that raised concerns about the F.A.A.'s oversight of the program.
    The report warned that the new delegation program created the risk that plane makers could choose employees "with inadequate qualifications or a history of poor performance to approve certification projects." The report cited an instance where F.A.A. engineers were concerned about the "integrity" of an employee acting on the agency's behalf at an unnamed manufacturer because the employee was "advocating a position that directly opposed F.A.A. rules on an aircraft fuel system in favor of the manufacturer."
    Representative Daniel Lipinski, Democrat of Illinois, had requested the review. On Monday, he said that the delegation program, known in aviation lingo as the O.D.A. program, had not been a source of concern in recent years, but that the two crashes should prompt another look at it.
    "Part of the question is, did the O.D.A. program, did that in any way impact the certification of these planes?" he said. "I think it's a legitimate question."
    In another audit released in 2015, the inspector general's office again reviewed the F.A.A.'s oversight of the delegation program. Once again, the watchdog raised concerns about the F.A.A.'s supervision of the program, including about the focus of its oversight work and whether there was adequate staffing to perform that work.
    "Industry representatives expressed concern that F.A.A.'s focus was often on paperwork — not on safety-critical items," the report said.
    One factor in the debate is the F.A.A.'s budget. If Congress wanted the government to handle more certification work without slowing down the approval of new planes, lawmakers would most likely need to drastically increase funding for the F.A.A. so it could expand its staff. Instead, Congress has encouraged the F.A.A. to delegate more certification work to manufacturers.

    A report accompanying a spending bill last year said that utilizing the F.A.A.'s program for delegating authority to manufacturers was "key to improving the effectiveness and efficiency of product certification."
    "Ideally, if resources are no constraint, you would want the regulator to be doing it all," said Christopher A. Hart, a former F.A.A. official and National Transportation Safety Board chairman. "But this isn't the ideal world and resources are constrained."
    Mr. Hart cited the stellar safety record of commercial air travel in the United States in recent years as evidence of the delegation system's success. "If it's properly done," he said, "it can equate to the safety of not delegating."


    6) Want to Reduce Opioid Deaths? Get People the Medications They Need
    By The Editorial Board, March 26, 2019

    The federal government released a report last week that came to a striking conclusion: More than 80 percent of the roughly two million people struggling with opioid addiction in the United States are not being treated with the medications most likely to nudge them into remission or prevent them from overdosing. This denial of care is so pervasive and egregious, the report's authors found, that it amounts to a serious ethical breach on the part of both health care providers and the criminal justice system.
    The Food and Drug Administration has approved three medications to treat opioid use disorder — methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone. All of them work by binding to the brain's opiate receptors in a way that reduces the cravings that people addicted to drugs like OxyContin and heroin experience, but without causing the same euphoric high as those drugs. Methadone and buprenorphine have proved especially effective. Patients who take one of those medications are half as likely to die from their addiction; they are also more likely to stay in treatment, and they tend to have better long-term health outcomes.
    Neither drug is new or experimental — methadone was approved to treat opioid addiction in 1972 and buprenorphine in 2002. Some countries have shown that increasing access to them can significantly drive down the rate of overdose deaths. In France, for example, policies that enabled more doctors to prescribe buprenorphine helped lead to a tenfold increase in the number of people whose opioid use disorder was being treated and to a nearly 80 percent decline in overdose deaths in just four years.
    Yet, many drug courts and most residential treatment programs in the United States prevent participants from using these medications; and the rehabilitation programs that do offer them rarely offer all three options. The treatments are not available in most emergency rooms, as The Times has reported, even though studies show that patients given buprenorphine in an E.R. are twice as likely to be in treatment a month later than those who are given an information pamphlet. They are also not available in most prisons, even though a significant portion of the federal inmate population suffers from opioid use disorder. Opioid overdose is a leading cause of death among those who've been recently released.

    Part of the problem is stigma and a profound lack of awareness. Methadone and buprenorphine are opioids. They are weaker than drugs like OxyContin, fentanyl and heroin that have fueled the current crisis, but many law enforcement and medical professionals still see them as trading one addiction for another. Or they mistakenly believe that the medications should be used only temporarily, to help wean patients off stronger opioids. Or they see them as an optional complement to behavioral interventions instead of an essential component of opioid addiction management.
    None of these perceptions is supported by the balance of scientificevidence. 
    There's also a logistical barrier to getting these drugs into the hands of people who need them. Doctors are allowed to give methadone only at specialized clinics where patients must report every day for their dose. Lines at such clinics are often long, and according to the federal report, which came from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, Medicaid does not cover the treatment in at least 14 states.
    Buprenorphine is available by prescription, but health care professionals must obtain a special license to write those prescriptions, a process that requires them to complete hours of additional training, grant the Drug Enforcement Administration access to all of their patient records and agree to strict limits on the number of patients they can treat with the medication. In many states, would-be buprenorphine prescribers also must submit to stringent criteria for insurance reimbursement. These restrictions also are not justified by scientific evidence. They are not employed by other countries, and they are not used to manage the treatment of other chronic medical conditions in the United States.
    Fewer than seven percent of the nation's doctors have gone through the trouble of clearing these hurdles. As a result, more than half of all counties have no licensed buprenorphine prescriber at all. That's too bad. According to the national academies report, just about anyone with opioid use disorder — teenagers, pregnant women, people with other serious medical conditions — can be treated safely and effectively with the medication.
    President Trump declared a public health emergency to respond to the opioid crisis in 2017, but so far that declaration has led to very littlemeaningful action. Congress passed a suite of opioid bills in the fall, but that legislation contained almost no funding. And in most states, strategies that might truly mitigate the disaster — from evidence-based addiction treatments like methadone and buprenorphine to proven harm-reduction approaches like needle exchanges and safe injection sites — remain vastly underutilized or outright illegal.

    Public health forecasts indicate that the opioid overdose epidemic might claim another 500,000 lives in the next decade. Many of those deaths could be avoided — if existing technologies would just be put to use.


    7) This New Generation of Weapons Could Mean More Covert Airstrikes Around the World
    By John Ismay, March 27, 2019

    Somali soldiers at Sanguuni military base, near the capital of Mogadishu.CreditMohamed Abdiwahab/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

     On March 10, The New York Times reported that under the Trump administration the American military had drastically increased airstrikes in Somalia against the Shabab, an insurgent group affiliated with Al Qaeda, even as it scaled back counterterrorism operations in other parts of the world. In recent years, Africa Command has acknowledged using unmanned MQ-9 Reaper drones, which are mainly armed with Hellfire missiles and 500-pound guided bombs. But as far back as November 2017, the Pentagon deployed Air Force variants of C-130 Hercules cargo planes with dispensers called common launch tubes, or C.L.T.s, to launch a new kind of guided weapon at Somali targets, according to a report released by Amnesty International on March 20. While Africa Command would not confirm to The Times its use of ground-attack aircraft in the region, Amnesty International found photographs of an American airstrike site that showed the remains of a GBU-69 Small Glide Munition, a bomb that can be dropped only using a C.L.T., which in this instance was fitted to an AC-130 gunship.

    The escalation of airstrikes, as well as the introduction of manned gunships, has transformed the Defense Department's Africa Command, based in Germany, into a war-fighting element akin to Central Command, which directs the wars in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. Africa Command, which was created only in 2007, has stressed that its role on the continent is to focus on training and equipping allied troops on the continent, but the rise in strikes points to a change in both posture and mission. Current and former American officials previously told The Times that there wasn't one clear reason for the increase, but they noted that the drawdown of American military operations elsewhere in the world has given Africa Command more drones and gunships to use in Somalia. The loosening of regulations under the Trump administration on using force in the country has also contributed to the rise.
    At just four feet long and slightly less than seven inches in diameter, the launch tube attached to these manned gunships dispenses a type of air-to-ground weapon that the Pentagon is buying in greater numbers. These tubes can, according to manufacturers' websites, be fitted onto much of the Defense Department's fleet of previously unarmed surveillance planes to enable covert attacks — and thus potentially vastly increase the number of aircraft capable of carrying out airstrikes, allowing the American military to discreetly move converted gunships around the world.

    The C.L.T. has gone from concept to killer relatively quickly by defense industry standards. Developed in 2009 as a joint project between Special Operations Command and Systima Technologies, its first use in combat was in November 2010, according to Lt. Phillip Chitty, a spokesman for Special Operations Command. Chitty declined to provide additional details of that airstrike, saying that "the location and scenario are classified." Systima Technologies did not respond to numerous requests for comment.

    The types of weapons the Pentagon has tested with the launch tube offer some insight into how Special Operations forces plan to fight in the future. In interviews with The Times, military officials said they placed a premium on long-range silent weapons with smaller explosive warheads over traditional airdropped bombs. By removing solid rocket motors and adding aerofoil wings to produce lift, these "glide bombs" use gravity to reach their targets without making any noise. Contracting documents reviewed by The Times indicate that Special Operations Command required one such munition to weigh approximately 50 pounds, take no more than one minute to reach targets four nautical miles away, hit moving targets traveling up to 70 miles per hour and either burst in the air above the target or from contact with the target. According to those documents, only one weapon currently meets those requirements: the GBU-69 Small Glide Munition, made by Dynetics and dropped solely from C.L.T.s. This 60-pound glide bomb, which can be GPS-guided for stationary targets and laser-guided for moving targets, is a marked departure from weapons like the Hellfire missile. 
    Nearly two decades of nonstop combat has revealed the limitations of weapons like the Hellfire, which was originally designed to destroy tanks. Even though Hellfire's warhead has been redesigned for use against combatants, when fired the missile still produces a sound that pilots say can tip off people on the ground, prompting them to flee. By contrast, the Small Glide Munition reportedly makes far less noise than a Hellfire missile. Dynetics says its range exceeds 20 nautical miles, which could allow for a gunship to drop the bomb far enough away that people on the ground would not even see or hear the plane. In June 2018, Dynetics received a $470 million "indefinite quantity" contract to supply Special Operations Command with GBU-69s. A spokeswoman said that Special Operations Command has ordered more than 2,000 so far.
    Special Operations Command has also been firing a small guided missile called Griffin from its dispensers. It is similar to the Hellfire missile in design and function, but is only two-thirds as long, weighs two-thirds less and has a similarly sized warhead.

    In its development of new munitions like the GBU-69, the military has also come up with new ways to launch them. As the war in Iraq ground on, the Marine Corps decided in 2008 to arm its KC-130J Hercules refueling aircraft and turn them into close air support gunships. The resulting program, the Hercules Airborne Weapons Kit, added Hellfire missiles under the wings and two rows of five C.L.T.s strapped to the planes' cargo ramp. By 2012, the Navy refitted the left-side passenger door toward the rear of these cargo planes with pressure-sealed fittings that allowed crewmen to load two launch tubes inside the plane side by side and drop them through the bottom of the door. The Navy called this the "Derringer Door" after the double-barreled pocket pistol designed for easy concealability. In a further evolution, Air Force AC-130 gunships now have a modified tail ramp with similar pressure-sealed fittings that allow up to 10 tube-launched weapons to be dropped before reloading.
    Air Force Special Operations Command declined to identify other aircraft that it intends to outfit with C.L.T. dispensers. But a review of available material from defense companies offers some clues that the Pentagon may be attaching the launch tubes to lower-profile aircraft like helicopters and small propeller-driven planes.
    As the Special Operations Command evaluated different weapons for the launch tube, defense firms armed civilian planes for testing them. In 2012, MBDA, a defense giant in the weapons manufacturing industry, reported dropping a GBU-44 Viper Strike glide bomb from a Cessna Caravan, and in 2015, Textron dropped a G-CLAW guided bomb from the same kind of plane. Though the Pentagon has stopped buying the Viper Strike bomb and never purchased any G-CLAW guided bombs, the demonstrated ability to dispense these munitions from small propeller-driven airplanes is a notable development. A promotional video from Raytheon shows its Griffin missile being fired from a launch tube slung underneath the stub wing of an Army OH-58 Kiowa Warrior helicopter, and a manufacturer in Arizona advertises such mounts on its website. All these aircraft are much easier to hide in plain sight than huge, weaponized C-130 Hercules airplanes.
    Thomas Gibbons-Neff contributed reporting.


    8) Graffiti Citing New Zealand Attack Is Found After Mosque Fire in California
    By Christine Hauser, March 26, 2019

    An arson investigation is underway at the Islamic Center of Escondido, Calif.CreditCreditRamon Galindo/KNSD TV/NBC, via Associated Press

    Seven Muslim worshipers gathered on Saturday night for an overnight spiritual retreat at the Islamic Center mosque in Escondido, Calif., about a week after dozens of Muslims were massacred thousands of miles away in New Zealand.
    Shortly before dawn prayers on Sunday, someone noticed a fire outside the building, the police said. One person called 911. Someone rushed to put out the flames using a fire extinguisher. An outside wall was scorched but not badly damaged, and no one was injured. Still, harm was done: There was anti-Muslim graffiti referring to the New Zealand attack.
    On Tuesday, an Escondido Police Department official, Lt. Chris Lick, said in a phone interview that the fire had been set with an accelerant. But there were no suspects, he said, and investigators were examining video surveillance "from anywhere we could get it."

    The department, which announced in a statement on Sunday that the fire was being investigated as arson and a hate crime, is working with the F.B.I., the San Diego Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives on the case.

    The suspected arson in Escondido, a city about 30 miles north of San Diego, targeted a place of worship for hundreds of Muslims in the area. It was one of a series of acts of vandalism and threats that have sprung up after the attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, on March 15, in which 50 people were killed. A 28-year-old Australian man has been charged in the killings.
    In the United States, many Muslims remain on edge. On Monday, the Council on American-Islamic Relations encouraged the nation's mosques and community leaders to have Department of Homeland Security advisers evaluate their readiness for mass shootings and other emergencies. CAIR also held online security meetings with hundreds of mosques and said it planned to reissue a pamphlet that would help them increase safety measures.
    Several threats have been reported. A man was arrested in Phoenix on March 19 after the police said he made a threatening gesture at a mosque.
    In Howard County, Md., last week, a mosque received an online threat from someone saying "maybe you'll be next" and threatening to "really show up" at a fund-raising event over the weekend. Law enforcement officials stepped up patrols for Friday prayers on March 22 and for the fund-raising event, CAIR said in a statement.
    Islamic centers abroad have also been vandalized. Last week, there were attacks on five mosque buildings in Birmingham, one of Britain's largest cities and home to one of its biggest Muslim communities.

    Dustin Craun, the executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations in San Diego, said Muslims were seeing the "same hatred" that motivated the attacks in New Zealand.
    "It is disturbing enough that some sick individual would attempt to burn a house of worship to the ground, but referencing the slayings in New Zealand is beyond the pale," he said in a statement after the Escondido mosque fire.
    The Escondido mosque, also known as the Dar-ul-Arqam center, is one of two dozen mosques that serve about 120,000 Muslims in the San Diego County area, Mr. Craun said in a phone interview on Tuesday. He said the leaders of the mosque, which was converted from a former church and holds about 100 people, were away at the time.
    Investigators have not released details about the message left at the site beyond its reference to the New Zealand attack. But Mr. Craun said that by Sunday night, after the fire, writing that appeared to have been scrawled on the building was painted over, as mosque members and local residents gathered for a vigil.
    "There was a beautiful gathering," he said. "A lot of people from the neighborhood were saying how sorry they were."


    9) The Implicit Punishment of Daring to Go to College When Poor
    A documentary to be screened on Capitol Hill next month, in which I am featured, chronicles the experience of low-income students navigating college admissions.
    By Enoch Jemmott, March 28, 2019

    The author, Enoch Jemmott, at Queens College, where he majors in communication.CreditDamon Winter/The New York Times

    When I heard that federal prosecutors were charging 50 people in six states for a college admissions bribery scheme and read the accounts that followed, outlining all of the other extensive, mostly legal, help that applicants from rich families get, it underscored how different the admissions experience was for me and my high school classmates in Canarsie.
    The Canarsie neighborhood of eastern Brooklyn is an hour subway ride from the gleaming skyscrapers of Manhattan and a world away from the door-opening privileges enjoyed by the children of households in “good” school districts (much less the dirty-rich families implicated in the bribery scandal.) Many of us came from low-income families, and few had parents who had attended college. We vaguely knew that college was crucial for future success, but we had little understanding of how to get there — and no idea how difficult it would be to navigate the process.

    We all knew of the SAT, for instance, but had no concrete idea of how to prepare for it. We knew that you had to apply to college, and for financial aid, but didn’t know the necessary or “smart” steps. When you’re 17, and pretty much doing it all on your own, the sight of all the hurdles you have to jump can be demoralizing, even paralyzing.

    Most public schools in the United States don’t have a single staff member dedicated to helping students apply to college. Instead, that duty falls on school counselors who have an enormous range of other duties, like assisting teenagers in crisis and making referrals to social welfare support services, coordinating school events, and working with students with learning disabilities. A 2017 survey by the National Association for College Admissions Counseling, found school counselors spend only about 20 percent of their time on college admissions.

    Nationally, the average counselor-to-student ratio is 1 to 464. According to a report released this year by the A.C.L.U., 1.7 million students attend schools that have police officers roaming the halls but no counselors. At my high school, most of us wrote our college essays without adults or savvy older relatives to advise us what topics would make us more attractive candidates.
    We were also on our own when it came time to fill out the dreaded Free Application for Federal Student Aid: the document you have to fill out if you need financial aid — which was the case for nearly everyone in my high school. And the Fafsa can be numbingly complex for families without a high level of financial literacy — which was also the case for nearly everyone in my high school.
    The Fafsa is pages upon pages of details about your parents’ finances. I had never filed taxes, so I didn’t know what half of the terms meant. It was scary because there was so much at stake.
    At the time, I was living with my sister, sleeping on her couch, because my mom was in a homeless shelter. I almost missed out on qualifying for aid because I couldn’t get the forms I needed from my mother, who was still my legal guardian.

    There were days I had to skip school to get to I.R.S. and Social Security offices when they were open. (I learned only much later that because I was technically homeless, I might have been able to receive a waiver, and not had to submit all those forms.)
    I was not alone — many of my friends and classmates also had difficulty getting the forms and the information needed to apply for financial aid.
    But the stress doesn’t stop when you submit the Fafsa. Instead of celebrating when we received acceptance letters, and announcing them online to virtual cheers, we anxiously awaited financial aid award letters and wondered if we’d be able to afford to enroll. And the fortunate among us who got into state schools were then prompted to apply to “opportunity programs” that help disadvantaged students pay for college. That meant submitting separate applications with additional essays and financial aid forms that require even more financial documentation than the Fafsa.
    I came to realize that, in every step along the way, we had to do more because we had less. So, the summer before my senior year, I attended a summer program in New York City, run by an organization called College Access: Research and Action, that trained me to work as a peer college counselor in my high school.

    I would sit with my classmates for hours as they made their way through the applications. When the time came to review complicated loan offers, we did our best to decipher the terminology in the contracts, and to steer students away from the many predatory offers we received. The wide scale of such predation is an interlocking harm that sows even further distrust of financial institutions in working-class communities.
    My experience and that of two other peer counselors is chronicled in the documentary “Personal Statement,” which will be screened on Capitol Hill next month. We hope the tangible, harsh realities depicted in the film will help those who witness it see the urgency of the issue.

    Right now, the system feels like it is crafted to keep low-income students like us out of college. If it is, it’s working: Only nine percent of people from the lowest income quartile receive a bachelor’s degree by the age of 24, compared to 77 percent for the top income quartile.

    That some rich families bribe their children’s way into college is the least of our problems. We’re more concerned by the college guidance gap and the maze of applying for financial aid. It shouldn’t be that difficult, fiscally or strategically, to get college advice and to fill out the Fafsa. Higher education’s admissions system should be designed to support our success, not to suppress it.

    Enoch Jemmott is a senior at Queens College, where he studies communications.


    10) Brunei to Punish Adultery and Gay Sex With Death by Stoning
    By Austin Ramzy, March 28, 2019

    The sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, center, has advocated a conservative vision of Islam.CreditCreditAmel Pain/EPA, via Shutterstock

    HONG KONG — When Brunei announced in 2013 that it was bringing in harsh Islamic laws that included punishments of death by stoning for adultery and gay sex, the move was met with international protest. Some investments by the country’s sovereign wealth fund, including the Beverly Hills Hotel, were targets of boycotts and calls for divestment.
    Following the outcry, Brunei, a sultanate of about 430,000 on the island of Borneo, delayed carrying out the harshest provisions of its Shariah law.
    Now, it is quietly going ahead with them.
    Beginning on April 3, statutes allowing stoning and amputation will go into effect, according to an announcement posted by the country’s attorney general last year that has only recently received notice.
    That has set off a renewed outcry from human rights groups.

    “Brunei’s Penal Code is a deeply flawed piece of legislation containing a range of provisions that violate human rights,” Rachel Chhoa-Howard, a researcher for Amnesty International, said in a statement. “As well as imposing cruel, inhuman and degrading punishments, it blatantly restricts the rights to freedom of expression, religion and belief, and codifies discrimination against women and girls.”

    Brunei has had the death penalty on the books since it was a British protectorate, but in practice executions are not typically carried out.
    Homosexuality is already illegal in Brunei, with a punishment of up to 10 years in prison, but the new laws allow for penalties including whipping and stoning. The new laws also introduce amputation of hands or feet as a punishment for robbery.
    “To legalize such cruel and inhuman penalties is appalling of itself,” Ms. Chhoa-Howard said. “Some of the potential ‘offenses’ should not even be deemed crimes at all, including consensual sex between adults of the same gender.”
    Brunei is ruled by a sultan, Hassanal Bolkiah, who lives in a 1,788-room palace and whose wealth amounts to tens of billions of dollars thanks to Brunei’s oil riches. In recent decades he has advocated a conservative vision of Islam that has clashed with the more moderate strains generally practiced in the region, and with the royal family’s own luxurious lifestyle.
    long-running feud between the sultan and his brother, Prince Jefri Bolkiah, unfolded in courtrooms around the world after the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s and brought attention to the prince’s reputation for extravagance, including cars, mansions, mistresses and erotic statues.

    Under the laws about to come into effect, a person can be convicted of adultery or having gay sex only if there are multiple Muslim witnesses. The law will apply to Muslims and non-Muslims alike, although some offenses, such as apostasy, apply specifically to Muslims, who make up about two-thirds of Brunei’s population.
    In an update to its travel advice for Brunei, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs said the new Shariah code “applies to Muslims, non-Muslim and foreigners even when on Brunei registered aircraft and vessels.” It recommended that travelers “exercise normal safety precautions” when visiting the sultanate.


    11)Mammy Jars Mock Black People. Why Are They Still Collected?
    Racist objects, created as propaganda tools during the Jim Crow era, reflect ugly stereotypes about black people. Yet some people see nostalgia, not dehumanization, in the memorabilia.
    By Elisha Brown, March 27, 2019

    The deadly 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va. The documentary “Black Memorabilia” includes footage from the demonstration.CreditEdu Bayer for The New York Times

    n a Black History Month roiled by tone-deaf scandals in politics and fashion involving blackfaceshoes and balaclavas, you may have missed the one about mammy jars.
    Grace Coddington, a former creative director of American Vogue, was photographed with a collection of so-called mammy ceramics in her kitchen for a French lifestyle magazine. The images surfaced in early February and were condemned.
    “I am ashamed and embarrassed that I didn’t see the mammy jars in the photo until an Instagram commenter pointed them out to me,” the photographer, Brian Ferry, said in a statement. “I’m sorry for my mistake and the hurt it caused,” he added. “I am committed to doing better in the future.” Representatives for Ms. Coddington did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

    The mammy stereotype portrays black women as obedient maids to white families. Like blackface, racist objects such as mammy jarsperpetuate deep-rooted stereotypes about African-Americans by portraying them as docile, dumb and animated. But some white families view these objects as keepsakes, passed down through generations as relics of the past.

    More than a century after the heyday of minstrel shows and the peak production of racist objects, some Americans are still learning about the how these cultural products — viewed as forms of entertainment and decorations during the Jim Crow era — dehumanize black people.
    This year, February — a month usually set aside for celebrating the achievements of African-Americans — was dominated by a national reckoning with blackface and a series of apologies for racist behavior.

    Ralph S. Northam, the governor of Virginia, first apologized for appearing in a photo on his yearbook page that shows a man in blackface standing next to a man in a Ku Klux Klan robe, and then he denied appearing in the photo at all. The governor later admitted to putting shoe polish on his face to dress up as Michael Jackson. Days later, Virginia’s attorney general apologized for wearing blackface at a college party. (Both men are still in office.)
    Conversations about racist controversies, in politics or fashion, are often framed in terms of how they are offensive to black people, but that leaves out a crucial issue, according to Chico Colvard, the director of a new documentary about the history of racist objects.

    “The other part of the equation is that these are persistent markers of white supremacy,” Mr. Colvard said.
    Racist objects were originally used as propaganda tools to spread falsehoods about the Civil War.
    Their production spiked in the 1890s, said Rhae Lynn Barnes, an assistant professor of American cultural history at Princeton University.
    “A lot of this iconography is specifically around the kitchen and making jokes about cooking and cleaning,” Dr. Barnes said. While blackface, a signature of minstrel shows, was often performed in public by white men to mock African-Americans, black figurines were found in homes, according to Dr. Barnes. 
    Mammy miniatures — jars, salt and pepper shakers, kitchen bells — show a black woman with exaggerated lips in a red-and-white gown and a matching head scarf. Lawn jockeys depict hunched-over black men holding lanterns. Mechanical banks feature bugged-out eyes that roll back into a man’s head when coins are inserted into his smiling mouth.

    “They were everyday objects which portrayed black people as ugly, different and fun to laugh at,” said David Pilgrim, the founder of the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia at Ferris State University in Michigan. “They were, in a word, propaganda.”

    The objects still show up in our society today.
    When Barack Obama first ran for president, “jolly Obama banks” appeared online as gag gifts.
    And in an episode of the Netflix comedy “Master of None,” the main character, Dev Shah, played by Aziz Ansari, ends a series of bad Tinder dates with a promising hookup. His partner asks him to grab a condom from her bedside table, and he finds one stashed in a mammy cookie jar.
    “Isn’t it a little racist?” Dev asks the woman, who is white.
    She gets defensive and asks Dev why he waited until after having sex with her to comment on the object. “Just show it to a black person sometime,” he replies.
    Some people collect the objects as investment pieces: At antique shows a few decades ago, the banks were priced from $400 to $600, and mammy jars were sold for $200 to $400, according to Dr. Pilgrim. But sites like eBay led to lower price points.
    “What an interesting culture we have, where you have price guides not just for mammy ceramics and salt and pepper shakers, but also for lynching postcards,” Dr. Pilgrim said.
    Black Memorabilia,” Mr. Colvard’s documentary, which aired on PBS in February, follows a worker who makes mechanical banks at a small factory in China, a woman who sells antiques at a flea market in North Carolina and an artist who grapples with racism through performance art.

    Mr. Colvard, who is black, was born in Germany and raised in the United States. He grew up “unconsciously consuming a steady diet” of racist images, he said, from Aunt Jemima on boxes of pancake mix to Saturday morning specials with Shirley Temple in blackface.
    “A child is not going to gravitate toward a toy that’s hideous or not well designed,” Mr. Colvard said. “Of course it’s appealing — the colors are bright, welcoming and animated.”

    His documentary often weaves in clips from Black Lives Matter protests and the 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., to draw connections between the pain African-Americans feel when seeing household caricatures of themselves and the political trauma they experience today.
    One scene from the documentary shows Joy, the antiques dealer, at a market outpost in Massachusetts. The camera cuts to a black boy drinking water out of a spigot. “I want the little one, you’re too cute,” says Joy, who is white.
    An innocuous comment on its own, her words take on a darker tone in view of the types of items she sells and collects: mechanical banks, minstrel postcards, slave documents, K.K.K. pamphlets. “She sees herself as a preserver of history, of real black history,” Mr. Colvard saidin an interview. “She sees this as a history of travail.”

    The antiques dealer says she collects the artifacts to “take the wall down between the races.” But profiting from objects that exploit black suffering may suggest a skewed understanding of African-American history and identity. “These are objects used to dehumanize us,” Mr. Colvard said.
    Dr. Pilgrim, who is black and has been a collector since he was a child, said some people collect the figurines to keep them off the market. 
    “I knew people who bought them because they wanted to remind themselves of how far black people had come and how resilient black people had been,” he said.
    But others collect them as investment pieces and as a form of nostalgia.
    “Where a person like myself is likely to see the vestiges of slavery and segregation,” he said, “someone else might be reminded of good times spent with their parents or grandparents and not see the connection at all.”
    Nostalgia for these objects nods to the post-Reconstruction era, a time when the United Daughters of the Confederacy mapped out the blueprint for the Lost Cause, a cultural campaign that denied slavery was the reason for the Civil War.
    “These figurines laud that time and present a ‘moonlight and magnolias’ view of slavery,” said Keri Leigh Merritt, an Atlanta-based historian and the author of “Masterless Men: Poor Whites and Slavery in the Antebellum South.” “They show happy slaves and try to minimize the brutality and the violence and the horror that we know actually happened.”

    Dr. Pilgrim, whose museum houses over 5,000 collectibles, hopes the mass presentation of the memorabilia encourages people from various groups to interrogate the messages behind the figurines.
    “There’s a reason we need to have these things: To serve as reminders so we’ll never forget,” Mr. Colvard said.
    “They shouldn’t be erased from history,” he added, “but I’m not sure they should be casually bought and sold in a regular stream of commerce either.”


    12) Cholera, Lurking Symptom of Yemen’s War, Appears to Make Roaring Comeback
    By Rick Gladstone, March 27, 2019

    Yemeni health workers sprayed disinfectant in a neighborhood of Sana earlier this month amid a cholera outbreak.

    Cholera, a potentially fatal disease that has come to symbolize the humanitarian crisis of the war in Yemen, has surged again in the country, health workers reported Wednesday, with some areas hit by as many as 2,000 suspected or confirmed cases per week.
    Doctors without Borders, the medical charity, said in a statement that its teams had recently seen a “dramatic increase in cholera cases, demonstrating the urgent need for humanitarian assistance to improve water and sanitation in the war-torn country.”
    The World Health Organization said that from the beginning of 2019 through March 17, nearly 109,000 cases of severe acute watery diarrhea and suspected cholera had been reported, with nearly 200 deaths. About one-third of the reported cases afflicted children underage 5, the organization said.
    Spread by poor hygiene and contaminated drinking water, cholera can cause fatal dehydration without treatment. It has long been considered endemic to Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest country.

    But cholera cases exploded after the war began in March 2015 between Yemen’s Houthi rebels and a Saudi-led coalition, which led to a basic collapse in public health and sanitation systems.
    Two years ago Yemen suffered the world’s largest cholera outbreak, with more than 1 million cases. Although the disease was brought under control, medical organizations operating in the country have continued to see cases in almost every region.
    Doctors without Borders said that its facilities had admitted more than 7,900 patients with suspected cholera in Amran, Hajjah, Ibb and Taiz governorates in western Yemen since Jan. 1.
    Over the past three months, the charity said, “the number of suspected or confirmed cholera patients increased from 140 to 2,000 per week.”
    Hassan Boucenine, the head of the charity’s Yemen mission, said the increase was particularly concerning because the rainy season, which could aggravate the problem, had not even started yet.

    Dr. Ahmed Al Mandhari, the regional director of the World Health Organization, and Geert Cappelaere, the regional director for Unicef, said in a joint statement that they had begun scaling up the response “to assist immediately the people affected and to prevent the disease from spreading further.”
    But they also acknowledged that “we face several challenges, including the intensification of fighting, access restrictions and bureaucratic hurdles to bring lifesaving supplies and personnel to Yemen.”
    The United Nations considers Yemen, where the war has just entered its fifth year, to be the world’s worst man-made humanitarian crisis. Relief officials have said 24 million people, close to 80 percent of Yemen’s population, need protection and assistance, hunger is rampant, and famine threatens hundreds of thousands.


    13) Monsanto Ordered to Pay $80 Million in Roundup Cancer Case
    By Julia Jacobs, March 27, 2019

    Edwin Hardeman leaving a federal courthouse with his wife in San Francisco last month. A jury ordered that Monsanto be held liable for the role its weedkiller played in Mr. Hardeman’s cancer.CreditCreditJeff Chiu/Associated Press

    A federal jury on Wednesday ordered Monsanto to pay more than $80 million in damages to a California man whose cancer it determined was partly caused by his use of the popular weedkiller Roundup.
    The six-member jury found that Monsanto should be held liable for the man’s illness because it failed to include a label on its product warning of the weedkiller’s risk of causing cancer.
    The verdict, delivered in United States District Court in San Francisco, is a milestone in the continuing public debate over the health effects of Roundup and its active ingredient, glyphosate, the world’s most widely used weedkiller. Monsanto is currently defending itself against thousands of similar claims.

    The plaintiff, Edwin Hardeman, 70, used Roundup to control weeds and poison oak on his property for 26 years. In 2015, he learned that he had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The next year, after the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer declared glyphosate a probable carcinogen, Mr. Hardeman sued Monsanto.

    Wednesday’s verdict ended the second of two phases in the trial. Last week, the jury issued an initial verdict saying that the weedkiller was a “substantial factor” in causing Mr. Hardeman’s cancer. The jury then started deliberating on Tuesday afternoon about whether Monsanto demonstrated negligence and should be held liable.
    In determining that Monsanto was responsible, the jury awarded Mr. Hardeman $75 million in punitive damages, Jennifer Moore, one of his lawyers, said in a phone interview. About $5 million was also awarded for Mr. Hardeman’s past and future suffering, as well as more than $200,000 for medical bills, Ms. Moore said.
    Ms. Moore said that Monsanto had continually ignored scientific studies showing the harmful health effects of Roundup.

    “The evidence is overwhelming that Roundup can cause non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma,” she said. “And despite that, Monsanto continues to deny that.” She said that Mr. Hardeman’s cancer was in remission.

    A statement from Bayer, which acquired Monsanto last year, said that the company would appeal the jury’s verdict.
    “We are disappointed with the jury’s decision, but this verdict does not change the weight of over four decades of extensive science and the conclusions of regulators worldwide that support the safety of our glyphosate-based herbicides and that they are not carcinogenic,” the statement said.
    In December 2017, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a draft human health risk assessment that said glyphosate was most likely not carcinogenic to humans.
    During the court proceedings, Mr. Hardeman’s 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.
    Bayer’s statement said that it believed the jury was most likely divided over the scientific evidence presented in the case, which it said was indicated by the fact that the jurors took more than four days to decide last week’s verdict.
    In a similar case decided last year, a California jury found that Monsanto had failed to warn a school groundskeeper of the cancer risks posed by Roundup. The jury ordered Monsanto to pay $289 million in damages, but a judge later reduced that payment to about $80 million. Monsanto is also appealing that verdict.
    “Now two different juries have held that Roundup causes an individual’s non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma,” Ms. Moore said, “and that Monsanto should be punished for its conduct.”

    Mihir Zaveri contributed reporting.


    14) Pennsylvania Police Chief Charged in Child Rape Case
    By Jacey Fortin, March 28, 2019

    Brent Getz, left, and Gregory Wagner. The authorities accused the men of sexually assaulting a child over a seven-year period.CreditCreditPennsylvania Attorney General's Office, via Associated Press

    A case was opened in 2012, when a 12-year-old girl in Pennsylvania told her substitute teacher that a man had sexually assaulted her for years, and the teacher then told the police, according to a statement from the state attorney general’s office.
    But seven more years passed before anyone was criminally charged — and one of the men who the girl said had abused her became a police chief.
    On Wednesday, the Pennsylvania attorney general, Josh Shapiro, announced that Gregory Wagner, 28, and Brent Getz, 27, had been arrested on several charges, including child rape and aggravated indecent assault.

    Both men are of Lehighton, Pa., and Mr. Getz was the chief of police in the neighboring borough of Weissport.

    “This young girl was forced to face not one abuser, but two, who were working together, for seven years,” Mr. Shapiro said in a recorded statement. “Thank you to this survivor in this case, who bravely shared her truth and will bring her abusers to justice.”
    Weissport is a small borough in Carbon County on the eastern side of the state, nestled between the Lehigh Canal and the Lehigh River. It is home to about 400 people. Mr. Getz was hired as a part-time officer for Weissport in 2017 and promoted to the chief of police in February, according to local news reports. The department is tiny, consisting of just one officer as recently as 2016.
    It is unclear how many are on the force now. Neither the mayor nor the police department immediately responded to requests for comment on Wednesday evening, and borough council members could not be reached.
    When the girl first reported the abuse to her teacher in 2012, she said she had been abused by Mr. Wagner, who was then 22, multiple times, according to the attorney general’s statement. The teacher went to the Franklin Township Police Department, which opened an investigation.
    But for reasons that remain unclear, no charges were filed at the time. The Franklin Township police did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday evening.

    About three years later, the case was reassigned, and the police prepared a criminal complaint against Mr. Wagner. But a magisterial district judge dismissed the complaint because of a paperwork error, the attorney general’s statement said.
    The charges were not refiled. Three more years passed.
    In August 2018, another Franklin Township officer looked at the case and interviewed the victim again. She then said that Mr. Getz, too, had sexually assaulted her.
    “The victim revealed that, consistent with her prior disclosures and examinations, from age 4 to 11 she was orally, vaginally and anally raped by Wagner,” the statement from the attorney general said. “She reported that Getz would also join in these assaults. Additionally, she said that Wagner often made her watch pornography with him, which she recalled depicted teenagers.”
    On Monday, Mr. Wagner’s residence was searched by the authorities, who found electronic devices with search histories indicative of child pornography, the attorney general’s office said. Mr. Wagner then admitted to sexually abusing the victim for years and said that Mr. Getz had abused her, too, the office said.
    It was unclear whether the men had been appointed lawyers on Wednesday.



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