Don't extradite Assange!

To the government of the UK
Julian Assange, through Wikileaks, has done the world a great service in documenting American war crimes, its spying on allies and other dirty secrets of the world's most powerful regimes, organisations and corporations. This has not endeared him to the American deep state. Both Obama, Clinton and Trump have declared that arresting Julian Assange should be a priority. We have recently received confirmation [1] that he has been charged in secret so as to have him extradited to the USA as soon as he can be arrested. 
Assange's persecution, the persecution of a publisher for publishing information [2] that was truthful and clearly in the interest of the public - and which has been republished in major newspapers around the world - is a danger to freedom of the press everywhere, especially as the USA is asserting a right to arrest and try a non-American who neither is nor was then on American soil. The sentence is already clear: if not the death penalty then life in a supermax prison and ill treatment like Chelsea Manning. The very extradition of Julian Assange to the United States would at the same time mean the final death of freedom of the press in the West. 
The courageous nation of Ecuador has offered Assange political asylum within its London embassy for several years until now. However, under pressure by the USA, the new government has made it clear that they want to drive Assange out of the embassy and into the arms of the waiting police as soon as possible. They have already curtailed his internet and his visitors and turned the heating off, leaving him freezing in a desolate state for the past few months and leading to the rapid decline of his health, breaching UK obligations under the European Convention of Human Rights. Therefore, our demand both to the government of Ecuador and the government of the UK is: don't extradite Assange to the US! Guarantee his human rights, make his stay at the embassy as bearable as possible and enable him to leave the embassy towards a secure country as soon as there are guarantees not to arrest and extradite him. Furthermore, we, as EU voters, encourage European nations to take proactive steps to protect a journalist in danger. The world is still watching.
[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/16/us/politics/julian-assange-indictment-wikileaks.html
[2] https://theintercept.com/2018/11/16/as-the-obama-doj-concluded-prosecution-of-julian-assange-for-publishing-documents-poses-grave-threats-to-press-freedom/



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













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







To: Indiana Department of Corrections

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

Petition Text

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

Why is this important?

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

Sign the petition here:

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

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



Get Malik Out of Ad-Seg

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

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

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

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

Phone zap on Tuesday, November 13

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

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

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

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


Background on Malik's Situation

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

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

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



Listen to 'The Daily': Was Kevin Cooper Framed for Murder?

By Michael Barbaro, May 30, 2018

Listen and subscribe to our podcast from your mobile deviceVia Apple Podcasts | Via RadioPublic | Via Stitcher

The sole survivor of an attack in which four people were murdered identified the perpetrators as three white men. The police ignored suspects who fit the description and arrested a young black man instead. He is now awaiting execution.

On today's episode:
• Kevin Cooper, who has been on death row at San Quentin State Prison in California for three decades.



Last week I met with fellow organizers and members of Mijente to take joint action at the Tornillo Port of Entry, where detention camps have been built and where children and adults are currently being imprisoned. 

I oppose the hyper-criminalization of migrants and asylum seekers. Migration is a human right and every person is worthy of dignity and respect irrespective of whether they have "papers" or not. You shouldn't have to prove "extreme and unusual hardship" to avoid being separated from your family. We, as a country, have a moral responsibility to support and uplift those adversely affected by the US's decades-long role in the economic and military destabilization of the home countries these migrants and asylum seekers have been forced to leave.

While we expected to face resistance and potential trouble from the multiple law enforcement agencies represented at the border, we didn't expect to have a local farm hand pull a pistol on us to demand we deflate our giant balloon banner. Its message to those in detention:

NO ESTÁN SOLOS (You are not alone).

Despite the slight disruption to our plan we were able to support Mijente and United We Dream in blocking the main entrance to the detention camp and letting those locked inside know that there are people here who care for them and want to see them free and reunited with their families. 

We are continuing to stand in solidarity with Mijente as they fight back against unjust immigration practices.Yesterday they took action in San Diego, continuing to lead and escalate resistance to unjust detention, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and to ICE. 

While we were honored to offer on-the-ground support we see the potential to focus the energy of our Drop the MIC campaign into fighting against this injustice, to have an even greater impact. Here's how:
  1. Call out General Dynamics for profiteering of War, Militarization of the Border and Child and Family Detention (look for our social media toolkit this week);
  2. Create speaking forums and produce media that challenges the narrative of ICE and Jeff Sessions, encouraging troops who have served in the borderlands to speak out about that experience;
  3. Continue to show up and demand we demilitarize the border and abolish ICE.

Thank you for your vision and understanding of how militarism, racism, and capitalism are coming together in the most destructive ways. Help keep us in this fight by continuing to support our work.

In Solidarity,
Ramon Mejia
Field Organizer, About Face: Veterans Against the War

P.O. Box 3565, New York, NY 10008. All Right Reserved. | Unsubscribe
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Major George Tillery
April 25, 2018-- The arrest of two young men in Starbucks for the crime of "sitting while black," and the four years prison sentence to rapper Meek Mill for a minor parole violation are racist outrages in Philadelphia, PA that made national news in the past weeks. Yesterday Meek Mills was released on bail after a high profile defense campaign and a Pa Supreme Court decision citing evidence his conviction was based solely on a cop's false testimony.
These events underscore the racism, frame-up, corruption and brutality at the core of the criminal injustice system. Pennsylvania "lifer" Major Tillery's fight for freedom puts a spotlight on the conviction of innocent men with no evidence except the lying testimony of jailhouse snitches who have been coerced and given favors by cops and prosecutors.

Sex for Lies and Manufactured Testimony
For thirty-five years Major Tillery has fought against his 1983 arrest, then conviction and sentence of life imprisonment without parole for an unsolved 1976 pool hall murder and assault. Major Tillery's defense has always been his innocence. The police and prosecution knew Tillery did not commit these crimes. Jailhouse informant Emanuel Claitt gave lying testimony that Tillery was one of the shooters.

Homicide detectives and prosecutors threatened Claitt with a false unrelated murder charge, and induced him to lie with promises of little or no jail time on over twenty pending felonies, and being released from jail despite a parole violation. In addition, homicide detectives arranged for Claitt, while in custody, to have private sexual liaisons with his girlfriends in police interview rooms.
In May and June 2016, Emanuel Claitt gave sworn statements that his testimony was a total lie, and that the homicide cops and the prosecutors told him what to say and coached him before trial. Not only was he coerced to lie that Major Tillery was a shooter, but to lie and claim there were no plea deals made in exchange for his testimony. He provided the information about the specific homicide detectives and prosecutors involved in manufacturing his testimony and details about being allowed "sex for lies". In August 2016, Claitt reaffirmed his sworn statements in a videotape, posted on YouTube and on JusticeforMajorTillery.org.
Without the coerced and false testimony of Claitt there was no evidence against Major Tillery. There were no ballistics or any other physical evidence linking him to the shootings. The surviving victim's statement naming others as the shooters was not allowed into evidence.
The trial took place in May 1985 during the last days of the siege and firebombing of the MOVE family Osage Avenue home in Philadelphia that killed 13 Black people, including 5 children. The prosecution claimed that Major Tillery was part of an organized crime group, and falsely described it as run by the Nation of Islam. This prejudiced and inflamed the majority white jury against Tillery, to make up for the absence of any evidence that Tillery was involved in the shootings.
This was a frame-up conviction from top to bottom. Claitt was the sole or primary witness in five other murder cases in the early 1980s. Coercing and inducing jailhouse informants to falsely testify is a standard routine in criminal prosecutions. It goes hand in hand with prosecutors suppressing favorable evidence from the defense.
Major Tillery has filed a petition based on his actual innocence to the Philadelphia District Attorney's Larry Krasner's Conviction Review Unit. A full review and investigation should lead to reversal of Major Tillery's conviction. He also asks that the DA's office to release the full police and prosecution files on his case under the new  "open files" policy. In the meantime, Major Tillery continues his own investigation. He needs your support.
Major Tillery has Fought his Conviction and Advocated for Other Prisoners for over 30 Years
The Pennsylvania courts have rejected three rounds of appeals challenging Major Tillery's conviction based on his innocence, the prosecution's intentional presentation of false evidence against him and his trial attorney's conflict of interest. On June 15, 2016 Major Tillery filed a new post-conviction petition based on the same evidence now in the petition to the District Attorney's Conviction Review Unit. Despite the written and video-taped statements from Emanuel Claitt that that his testimony against Major Tillery was a lie and the result of police and prosecutorial misconduct, Judge Leon Tucker dismissed Major Tillery's petition as "untimely" without even holding a hearing. Major Tillery appealed that dismissal and the appeal is pending in the Superior Court.
During the decades of imprisonment Tillery has advocated for other prisoners challenging solitary confinement, lack of medical and mental health care and the inhumane conditions of imprisonment. In 1990, he won the lawsuit, Tillery v. Owens, that forced the PA Department of Corrections (DOC) to end double celling (4 men to a small cell) at SCI Pittsburgh, which later resulted in the closing and then "renovation" of that prison.
Three years ago Major Tillery stood up for political prisoner and journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal and demanded prison Superintendent John Kerestes get Mumia to a hospital because "Mumia is dying."  For defending Mumia and advocating for medical treatment for himself and others, prison officials retaliated. Tillery was shipped out of SCI Mahanoy, where Mumia was also held, to maximum security SCI Frackville and then set-up for a prison violation and a disciplinary penalty of months in solitary confinement. See, Messing with Major by Mumia Abu-Jamal. Major Tillery's federal lawsuit against the DOC for that retaliation is being litigated. Major Tillery continues as an advocate for all prisoners. He is fighting to get the DOC to establish a program for elderly prisoners.
Major Tillery Needs Your Help:
Well-known criminal defense attorney Stephen Patrizio represents Major pro bonoin challenging his conviction. More investigation is underway. We can't count on the district attorney's office to make the findings of misconduct against the police detectives and prosecutors who framed Major without continuing to dig up the evidence.
Major Tillery is now 67 years old. He's done hard time, imprisoned for almost 35 years, some 20 years in solitary confinement in max prisons for a crime he did not commit. He recently won hepatitis C treatment, denied to him for a decade by the DOC. He has severe liver problems as well as arthritis and rheumatism, back problems, and a continuing itchy skin rash. Within the past couple of weeks he was diagnosed with an extremely high heartbeat and is getting treatment.
Major Tillery does not want to die in prison. He and his family, daughters, sons and grandchildren are fighting to get him home. The newly filed petition for Conviction Review to the Philadelphia District Attorney's office lays out the evidence Major Tillery has uncovered, evidence suppressed by the prosecution through all these years he has been imprisoned and brought legal challenges into court. It is time for the District Attorney's to act on the fact that Major Tillery is innocent and was framed by police detectives and prosecutors who manufactured the evidence to convict him. Major Tillery's conviction should be vacated and he should be freed.

Major Tillery and family

    Financial Support—Tillery's investigation is ongoing. He badly needs funds to fight for his freedom.
    Go to JPay.com;
    code: Major Tillery AM9786 PADOC

    Tell Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner:
    The Conviction Review Unit should investigate Major Tillery's case. He is innocent. The only evidence at trial was from lying jail house informants who now admit it was false.
    Call: 215-686-8000 or

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




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

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

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

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





    1) Black Hole Picture Revealed for the First Time
    Astronomers at last have captured an image of the darkest entities in the cosmos.
    By Dennis Overbye, April 10, 2019

    The first image of a black hole, from the galaxy Messier 87.CreditCreditEvent Horizon Telescope Collaboration, via National Science Foundation

    Astronomers announced on Wednesday that at last they had seen the unseeable: a black hole, a cosmic abyss so deep and dense that not even light can escape it.

    "We've exposed a part of our universe we've never seen before," said Shep Doeleman, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and director of the effort to capture the image, during a Wednesday news conference in Washington, D.C.

    The image, of a lopsided ring of light surrounding a dark circle deep in the heart of the galaxy known as Messier 87, some 55 million light-years away from here, resembled the Eye of Sauron, a reminder yet again of the power and malevolence of nature. It is a smoke ring framing a one-way portal to eternity.

    To capture the image, astronomers reached across intergalactic space to a giant galaxy known as Messier 87, in the constellation Virgo. There, a black hole about seven billion times more massive than the sun is unleashing a violent jet of energy some 5,000 light years into space.
    The image offered a final, ringing affirmation of an idea so disturbing that even Einstein, from whose equations black holes emerged, was loath to accept it. If too much matter is crammed into one place, the cumulative force of gravity becomes overwhelming, and the place becomes an eternal trap, a black hole. Here, according to Einstein's theory, matter, space and time come to an end and vanish like a dream.
    On Wednesday morning that dark vision became a visceral reality. When the image was put up on the screen in Washington, cheers and gasps, followed by applause, broke out.
    The image emerged from two years of computer analysis of observations from a network of radio antennas called the Event Horizon Telescope. In all, eight radio observatories on six mountains and four continents observed the galaxy in Virgo on and off for 10 days in April 2017. 
    The telescope array also monitored a dim source of radio noise called Sagittarius A* (pronounced Sagittarius A-star), at the heart of our Milky Way galaxy. There, 26,000 light-years from Earth, and buried in the depths of interstellar dust and gas, another black hole, with a mass of 4.1 million suns, almost certainly lurks.

    The network is named after the edge of a black hole, the point of no return; beyond the event horizon, not even light can escape the black hole's gravitational pull.
    For some years now, the scientific literature, news media and films such as "Interstellar" and the newly released "High Life" have featured remarkably sophisticated and highly academic computer simulations of black holes. But the real thing looked different. For starters, the black holes in movies typically are not surrounded by fiery accretion disks of swirling, doomed matter, as are the black holes in Virgo and Sagittarius.
    Perhaps even more important, the images provide astrophysicists with the first look at the innards of a black hole. The energy within is thought to be powerful enough to power quasars and other violent phenomena from the nuclei of galaxies, including the jets of intense radiation that spew 5,000 light years from the galaxy M87. 
    As hot, dense gas swirls around the black hole, like water headed down a drain, the intense pressures and magnetic fields cause energy to squirt from either side. As a paradoxical result, supermassive black holes, which lurk in the centers of galaxies, can be the most luminous objects in the universe.

    The unveiling, before a crowd at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. and five other venues around the world, took place almost exactly a century after images of stars askew in the heavens made Einstein famous and confirmed his theory of general relativity as the law of the cosmos. That theory ascribes gravity to the warping of space and time by matter and energy, much as a mattress sags under a sleeper, and allows for the contents of the universe, including light rays, to follow curved paths.
    General relativity led to a new conception of the cosmos, in which space-time could quiver, bend, rip, expand, swirl like a mix-master and even disappear forever into the maw of a black hole.
    To Einstein's surprise, the equations indicated that when too much matter or energy was concentrated in one place, space-time could collapse, trapping matter and light in perpetuity.
    Einstein disliked that idea, but the consensus today is that the universe is speckled with black holes waiting for something to fall in.

    Many are the gravitational tombstones of stars that burned up their fuel and collapsed. But others, crouching in the centers of nearly every galaxy, are millions or billions of times more massive than the sun.
    Nobody knows how such behemoths of nothingness could have been assembled. Dense wrinkles in the primordial energies of the Big Bang? Monster runaway stars that collapsed and swallowed up their surroundings in the dawning years of the universe?
    Nor do scientists know what ultimately happens to whatever falls into a black hole, nor what forces reign at the center, where according to the math we know now the density approaches infinity and smoke pours from God's computer.
    Any lingering doubts about the reality of black holes vanished three years ago when the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, or LIGO, detected the collision of a pair of distant black holes, which sent a shiver through the fabric of space-time.

    Since then, other collisions have been recorded, and black holes have become so humdrum that astronomers no longer bother sending out news releases about them.
    Now the reality has a face.

    The proof that these objects are really black holes would be to find that the darkness at the heart of Virgo was smaller than the mathematical predictions for a black hole. But the more astronomers narrowed it down, the harder they had to work.
    Interstellar space is filled with charged particles such as electrons and protons; these scattered the radio waves emanating from the black hole into a blur that obscured details of the source. "It's like looking through frosted glass," said Dr. Doeleman, director of the Event Horizon Telescope..
    To penetrate the haze and see deeper into the shadows of Virgo, astronomers needed to be able to tune their radio telescope to shorter wavelengths. And they needed a bigger telescope. The bigger the antenna, the higher the resolution, or magnification, it can achieve.
    Enter the Event Horizon Telescope, named for a black hole's point of no return; whatever crosses the event horizon falls into blackness everlasting. The telescope was the dream-child of Dr. Doeleman, who was inspired to study black holes by examining the mysterious activity in the centers of violent radio galaxies such as M87.

    By combining data from radio telescopes as far apart as the South Pole, France, Chile and Hawaii, using a technique called very long baseline interferometry, Dr. Doeleman and his colleagues created a telescope as big as Earth itself, with the power to resolve details as small as an orange on the lunar surface.

    The network has gained antennas and sensitivity over the last decade. In the spring of 2015 an effort using seven telescopes took aim at the centers of the Milky Way and M87, but bad weather hampered the observations.
    Two years later, in April 2017, the network of eight telescopes, including the South Pole Telescope, synchronized by atomic clocks, stared at the two targets off and on for 10 days.
    It took the Event Horizon team two years to reduce and collate the results from their 2017 observations. The data were too voluminous to transmit over the internet, and so had to be placed on hard disks and flown back to M.I.T.'s Haystack Observatory, in Westford, Mass., and the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy, in Bonn, Germany.

    The data from the South Pole could not arrive before December 2017, Dr. Doeleman said, "because it was Antarctic winter, when nothing could go in or out."
    Last year the team divided into four groups to assemble images from the data dump. To stay objective and guard against bias, the teams had no contact with each other, Dr. Doeleman said.

    In the meantime, the telescope kept growing. In April 2018, a telescope in Greenland was added to the collaboration. Another observation run was made of the Milky Way and M87, and captured twice the amount of data gathered in 2017.
    "We've hitched our wagon to a bandwidth rocket," Dr. Doeleman said last week. The new observations weren't included in Wednesday's reveal, but they will allow the astronomers to check the 2017 results and to track changes in the black holes as the years go by.
    "The plan is to carry out these observations indefinitely," said Dr. Doeleman, embarking on his new career as a tamer of extragalactic beasts, "and see how things change."


    2) California Today: How Large Is the Bay Area's Homeless Population?
    By Jill Cowan, April 10, 2019
    The Jungle, a homeless encampment in San Jose, in 2014.CreditCreditMarcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    Good morning.
    (Here's the sign-up, if you don't already get California Today by email.)
    In recent years, journalists and advocates have tried to capture the scope of the Bay Area's homelessness crisis — a problem that often feels unfathomable in its depth and complexity.
    Still, much of the discussion has centered on San Francisco, or on the efforts of individual cities throughout the region.

    Today, the Bay Area Council Economic Institute, the think-tank arm of a business group, is set to release a report that examines the issue through a regional lens.

    "One of the things about the Bay Area is, it's a wonderful place, but it's very divided up," Jim Wunderman, the council's president and chief executive, told me. "We have 101 cities in nine counties around this very large bay and there's no one city that dominates the landscape."
    But that isn't how programs aimed at moving people into housing have been implemented, he said, even as more people in smaller suburbs find themselves in tenuous housing situations, and more people live out of their cars, which means they're mobile.
    The group wanted to explore ways to scale up successful programs and boost coordination among communities. To do that, Mr. Wunderman said, the group needed to better understand what was at stake.
    The report found:
    • Roughly 28,200 people were homeless across the Bay Area, according to point-in-time counts in 2017. That was the third largest population in the country, after New York (76,500) and Los Angeles (55,200). The next largest overall number was 11,600 in Seattle and King County.
    • But the Bay Area has a relatively large percentage of homeless people without shelter (indicating there's a shortage of subsidized housing, short-term shelters and transitional housing). That was 67 percent.

    That's compared with just 5 percent in New York and 47 percent in Seattle and King County. Once again, though, Los Angeles had the largest percentage of unsheltered homeless people: 75 percent.
    • The analysis found that spending on services for people experiencing homelessness or people who were at risk varied widely across the region. Part of that stems from the fact that the costs to build vary widely.
    For instance, the report said, building new permanently supportive housing costs $730,560 on average per unit in San Francisco County, compared with $393,580 per unit on average in Solano County.
    However, Mr. Wunderman said that particular finding shouldn't be taken as a sign that services, housing and emergency shelter should be concentrated in the least expensive parts of the Bay.
    "We're going to continue to need to develop programs locally," he said. "I think this is a burden that has to be shouldered by everyone."
    Mr. Wunderman suggested one way to persuade communities to do their part: Tie state money to initiatives.


    3) How Capitalism Betrayed Privacy
    By Tim Wu, April 10, 2019

    For much of human history, what we now call "privacy" was better known as being rich. Privacy, like wealth, was something that most people had little or none of. Farmers, slaves and serfs resided in simple dwellings, usually with other people, sometimes even sharing space with animals. They had no expectation that a meaningful part of their lives would be unwatchable or otherwise off limits to others. That would have required homes with private rooms. And only rich people had those.
    The spread of mass privacy, surely one of modern civilization's more impressive achievements, thus depended on another, even more impressive achievement: the creation of a middle class. Only over the past 300 years or so, as increasingly large numbers of people gained the means to control their physical environment through the acquisition of wealth and private property, did privacy norms and eventually privacy rights come into existence. What is a right to privacy without a room of your own?
    The historical link between privacy and the forces of wealth creation helps explain why privacy is under siege today. It reminds us, first, that mass privacy is not a basic feature of human existence but a byproduct of a specific economic arrangement — and therefore a contingent and impermanent state of affairs. And it reminds us, second, that in a capitalist country, our baseline of privacy depends on where the money is. And today that has changed.
    The forces of wealth creation no longer favor the expansion of privacy but work to undermine it. We have witnessed the rise of what I call "attention merchants" and what the sociologist Shoshana Zuboff calls "surveillance capitalism" — the commodification of our personal dat by tech giants like Facebook and Google and their imitators in telecommunications, electronics and other industries. We face a future in which active surveillance is such a routine part of business that for most people it is nearly inescapable. In this respect, we are on the road back to serfdom.

    That future, however, is not preordained, for Americans overwhelmingly want stronger privacy protections. But that will require laws that do not merely tinker with but fundamentally alter the economics of privacy.

    To be sure, ours is not the first era in which privacy has come under attack. American moralists at the height of the temperance movement pushed for laws that gave the police broad authority to break into homes and arrest drinkers, adulterers and gay men. Authoritarian and totalitarian states, insecure in their power, have always fought mass privacy with their spies and extensive networks of secret police, as have democratic countries at war or in times of unrest.
    But none of these opponents of privacy had capitalism firmly on its side. In the United States, it is safe to say, privacy "won" the 20th century. Its crowning triumph was the Supreme Court's recognition in 1965 of a constitutional right to privacy, but the legal victory should not obscure the economic forces that were its foundation.
    By the 1960s the rise of a propertied middle class had put each man in his "castle," each drinker in his saloon, each worker in his own office and each child in her own bedroom. Private physical spaces, along with semiprivate spaces like motels, bathhouses and dance clubs, created their own expectations of privacy (as did, later, virtual spaces like personal computers and hard drives). It was on those foundations that legal thinkers and activists began to speak of the masses enjoying a right to privacy, to be unwatched — a right to be "left alone." Capitalism was on privacy's side.

    In those earlier times, surveillance wasn't particularly profitable, but over the last two decades, new technologies coupled with new theories of value have transformed the economics of privacy. A drastic decrease in the cost of mass surveillance (thanks to the internet) has increased the value of two types of asset: our data and our attention. The race to maximize those assets by companies big and small has made surveillance a growth industry. It is in this sense that capitalism has begun to change sides.
    [As technology advances, will it continue to blur the lines between public and private? Sign up for Charlie Warzel's limited-run newsletter to explore what's at stake and what you can do about it.]
    You can, of course, still make plenty of money in more traditional ways. But the richest companies in the world now generate wealth by putting as many trackers, devices and screens inside our homes and as close to our bodies as possible. Accumulated data creates competitive advantage, and money can be made by consolidating everything that is known about an individual.
    This business model was pioneered by Facebook, Google and the online advertising industry, but other sectors of the economy now want in. Amazon is a convert, as are cable and telecom companies like Comcast and Verizon, as well as the electronics industry with its "smart" devices that spy as they serve. Many employers also now constantly watch their employees. There is good reason to believe that, if nothing is done, gratuitous surveillance will be built into nearly every business and business model.
    Some have argued that there's no need to be concerned. After all, even in an age of constant surveillance, we're talking about being watched not by the secret police but by advertisers and other commercial enterprises. This "spying," the argument goes, only makes products better and advertisements more "personalized." The end result is selling people stuff, not sending them to Siberia.
    But this argument ignores several hard truths that we have learned in the last decade. One is that data and surveillance networks created for one purpose can and will be used for others. You must assume that any personal data that Facebook or Android keep are data that governments around the world will try to get or that thieves will try to steal.
    A similar lesson can be drawn from the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Facebook collected information from millions of users for one set of purposes, but Cambridge Analytica, a political data company working for Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, used that information to try to influence American voters.

    Perhaps the hardest truth we've learned is that once you realize you're being watched, it is a tough sensation to shake. As our experiences with social media have made all too clear, we act differently when we know we are "on the record." Mass privacy is the freedom to act without being watched and thus in a sense, to be who we really are — not who we want others to think we are. At stake, then, is something akin to the soul.
    Some 92 percent of Americans say they want stronger privacy protections. This is why there has been a spate of new state privacy laws and new privacy bills in Congress. But too many of these interventions are small bore — more notices and disclaimers to read and click through, more excessively complex options for how to manage your account. Tinkering around the edges will not work.
    To be truly effective, privacy laws must seek to change the incentives that foster gratuitous surveillance and the reckless accumulation of personalized data. We need strong bans, including those that prohibit companies from sharing their customers' personal informatio. New rights for consumers have to be easy to understand (like the European Union's "right to be forgotte") and easy to use (like a national "do not track" list). And companies that repeatedly fail to protect sensitive data need to face dire consequences.
    Nor is there any reason not to use our buying power strategically. Those who want privacy should support and reward the companies who respect it. The economics of privacy would change if enough consumers bought from companies that don't spy on us and whose products actually help people avoid an unwanted gaze.
    Privacy is sometimes characterized as the concern only of an overly sensitive elite. But it was once only an overly sensitive elite that cared about public literacy or stopping child labor. The driving ambition of modern civilization has been to pull us out of a feudal existence, to extend what were once thought of luxuries to everyday people.
    Now is no time to drift backward — especially not in the name of progress.
    Tim Wu is a law professor at Columbia, the author of "The Attention Merchants: The Epic Struggle to Get Inside Our Heads" and a contributing opinion writer.

    4) Global Executions Fall 31 Percent, Driven by Iran, Report Finds
    "While even repressive governments like Iran's have taken steps to reduce death sentences, executions still rose, albeit in small numbers, in Belarus, Japan, Singapore, South Sudan and the United States."
    By Niraj Chokshi, April 10, 2019
    People protesting Iran's use of the death penalty in London in October.CreditCreditJohn Keeble/Getty Images

    The number of executions around the world fell by about a third in 2018, reaching the lowest level in at least a decade as several countries scaled back or abolished the death penalty, Amnesty International said in a report released on Wednesday.
    The global decline was driven largely by Iran, where executions were halved because of legal reforms that included eliminating the death penalty for a number of drug-related crimes.

    "The trend points toward a world ridding itself of the death penalty," said Oluwatosin Popoola, Amnesty International's adviser on the death penalty.

    Over all, at least 690 people were executed last year, compared with 993 the year before, the organization said. Despite the reforms, Iran still executed more than 250 people last year, second only to China. Iran was followed by Saudi Arabia, Vietnam and Iraq in executions.

    Critically, though, the report's headline figure omits the thousands of estimated annual executions carried out by China, which Amnesty International calls "the world's top executioner." The group stopped providing estimates for China a decade ago, after the government there began misrepresenting the numbers, which are only minimum estimates.

    The country-by-country figures, published annually by Amnesty International since 2008, are based on what the group can reasonably confirm through official and informal sources. Some countries, such as China, consider death sentences to be a state secret, while little information can be gathered on others that are too restrictive or marred by conflict, such as North Korea or Syria.
    While even repressive governments like Iran's have taken steps to reduce death sentences, executions still rose, albeit in small numbers, in Belarus, Japan, Singapore, South Sudan and the United States.

    In the United States, 25 people were executed last year, slightly up from the year before. Executions in the country peaked in 1999, when 98 people were put to death, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.
    In Sri Lanka, President Maithripala Sirisena announced plans to resurrect the death penalty after a 40-year moratorium, while Thailand carried out its first execution in a decade.
    Amnesty International also expressed concern about an increase in death sentences in some countries. In Iraq, for example, the number of people sentenced to death last year quadrupled to 271. In Egypt, 717 were sentenced to death last year, compared with 402 the year before.
    Still, the group found that the death penalty is generally on the decline, with a growing number of countries limiting its use or banning it outright, as Gambia and Malaysia announced last year. By the end of last year, 142 countries had abolished the death penalty by law or in practice.


    5) Suspect Arrested in Fires at Black Churches in Louisiana
    By Alan Binder and Karen Zraick, April 10, 2019

    The Greater Union Baptist Church in Opelousas, La., after a fire on April 2.CreditCreditWilliam Widmer for The New York Times

    BATON ROUGE, La. — A suspect has been arrested in the burnings of three historically black churches in one south Louisiana parish in the last month, a federal prosecutor said Wednesday night.
    David C. Joseph, the United States attorney for the Western District of Louisiana, confirmed in a statement that a suspect was in custody. He did not elaborate.
    Representative Clay Higgins of Louisiana said the suspect was the son of a St. Landry Parish deputy sheriff.

    The fires, which destroyed the three churches, occurred on March 26, April 2 and April 4 in St. Landry Parish, north of Lafayette. The first was at St. Mary Baptist in Port Barre; the two others were at Greater Union Baptist Church and Mount Pleasant Baptist in Opelousas, the St. Landry Parish seat. Officials had said they found "suspicious elements" in each case.

    "They burned down a building," the Rev. Harry J. Richard of the Greater Union church said as he preached at a gathering on April 7 after the fire. "They didn't burn down our spirit."
    ['They didn't burn down our spirit': black churches in Louisiana were worried but defiant after the fires.]
    A fourth fire, a small blaze that officials said was "intentionally set," was reported on March 31 at a predominantly white church in Caddo Parish, about a three-hour drive north. It was unclear if that fire was connected to the others.
    Gov. John Bel Edwards of Louisiana and law enforcement officials were scheduled to provide details on the arrest at a news conference on Thursday morning in Opelousas.
    The F.B.I. and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives had been involved in the investigation, as well as the Louisiana and Florida state fire marshals, the cybercrime unit of the Louisiana attorney general's office, and state and local police.

    Since the 1950s, black churches across the South have been the targets of racist attacks, from arson and bombing to armed assault.

    John Eligon contributed reporting


    6) 'I Don't Want to Stay Here': Half a Million Live in Flood Zones, and the Government Is Paying
    By Sarah Mervosh, April 11, 2019

    Residents of Arbor Court evacuating in 2016. Nationwide, about 450,000 government-subsidized households are in flood plains, according to a 2017 report by the Furman Center at New York University.CreditBrett Coomer/Houston Chronicle, via Associated Press

    When a deadly rainstorm unloaded on Houston in 2016, Sharobin White's apartment complex flooded in up to six feet of water. She sent her toddler and 6-year-old to safety on an air mattress, but her family lost nearly everything, including their car.
    When Hurricane Harvey hit the next year, it happened all over again: Families rushed to evacuate, and Ms. White's car, a used Chevrolet she bought after the last flood, was destroyed.
    "It's not safe," said Ms. White, now 29. "Everybody gets to panicking when it rains. You can't live like that."

    But Ms. White and many of her neighbors cannot afford to leave. They are among hundreds of thousands of Americans — from New York to Miami to Phoenix — who live in government-subsidized housing that is at serious risk of flooding, a danger that is becoming increasingly urgent in the era of climate change.

    Global warming has been linked to heavier rainfall, making record-breaking flooding more likely. But the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which oversees some of the at-risk properties, does not currently have a universal policy against paying for housing in a designated flood zone.
    There may be good reason for that: Much of the nation's affordable housing stock was built before climate change was well understood, and many properties already sit in flood zones. So the government continues to pay — a strategy that keeps a roof over families' heads, but potentially leaves them in harm's way.
    Nowhere is that tension more acute than in Houston, where residents of the nation's fourth-largest city have been pounded by severe storms in recent years — and where HUD is facing a lawsuit brought by Ms. White and a dozen of her neighbors. The residents say they are trapped in a dangerous area because their housing vouchers can be used only at that apartment complex, which sits in a particularly flood-prone area next to a bayou.
    Daija Jackson, left, and Sharobin White at Arbor Court. "I don't want to stay here," Ms. Jackson said. "Period."
    CreditWilliam Chambers for The New York Times

    The complex, Arbor Court Apartments, which is run by a private landlord that contracts with HUD, has been in a flood plain since 1985 and under HUD's oversight since at least 1991, according to the lawsuit, filed in federal court last year.

    After the 2016 flood, HUD renewed its contract with the owner, for about $1.6 million a year. Only a year later, Hurricane Harvey wiped out the first floor, leaving many families displaced and others complaining of major problems, including mold.
    "Arbor Court is not a close question," said Michael M. Daniel, a civil rights lawyer whose firm has worked with Lone Star Legal Aid and the affordable-housing group Texas Housers on behalf of the residents. "How in the world it hasn't flunked the 'decent, safe and sanitary' test — it's beyond belief."
    Kenneth B. Chaiken, a lawyer for Arbor Court, said his client was a "terrific owner" that was deeply committed to offering affordable housing to families who need it. And he said the property's location in a flood plain alone did not make it unsafe.
    "People can safely live there," he said. While families may occasionally suffer damage or displacement in an unusual storm, he said, "those are all the same risks that everybody else everywhere in Houston that suffered flooding experienced."
    HUD, citing the dire shortage of rental homes for extremely low-income families, says its goal is to preserve affordable housing whenever possible. So while the agency takes flood risk into account for new and substantially rehabilitated housing, it continues to fund existing properties in flood plains.
    A senior HUD official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal conversations, said the agency was evaluating that strategy.

    "Properties like Arbor bring that policy into question," the official said. But if the agency institutes a blanket "we're not going to renew in flood plains" policy, the official added, "then communities and residents lose that housing."

    Nationwide, about 450,000 government-subsidized households — about 8 to 9 percent — are in flood plains, according to a 2017 report by the Furman Center at New York University.
    Many of those, including traditional public housing, low-income housing for older people and Section 8 properties like the one in Houston, are financed by HUD. There are also properties in flood plains that receive tax credits to rent to low-income tenants, which are subsidized with other federal money allocated to states.
    But the federal government's maps to assess risk are based partly on historical data and don't necessarily account for climate effects, like increased local precipitation, said Laurie Schoeman, a disaster recovery and resilience specialist for Enterprise Community Partners, a nonprofit group based in Maryland.
    "If anything," she said, "that is an underestimate of areas that are at risk."
    Climate change is putting everyone at greater risk for natural disasters, including flooding, wildfires and drought. Low-income and minority communities are especially vulnerable. Families like those at Arbor Court, who qualify for assistance and are 95 percent black, are not only among the least able to recover when disaster strikes, but they also tend to live in flooding-prone areas because the land was historically cheaper to build on.
    Robert D. Bullard, an environmental justice advocate and a professor at Texas Southern University in Houston, said that subsidizing low-income families in flood zones overlaid with the government's record of redlining and placing African-American families near industrial sitesand other undesirable areas.
    "It's the same history," he said.
    When Ms. White moved into Arbor Court, she said, she had no idea it was at risk of flooding. But one night in 2016, water came bursting through a wall in her bathroom, she said, sending her and her two children fleeing to a neighbor's apartment upstairs. By daylight, the area around the complex looked like a lake.

    "They were putting kids in refrigerators, in baskets — that's how bad the water was," she said.
    Her belongings destroyed, Ms. White shuffled among relatives' houses — a trauma that was compounded because she had recently been fired from her warehouse job after missing work when her son was hospitalized for a fever, she said.
    She returned to Arbor Court a few months later, unaware that flooding would come again so soon.

    When Hurricane Harvey dumped staggering amounts of rain on the city in 2017, another young mother, Daija Jackson, had recently moved into what she hoped would be a starter apartment for her young family. Flooding soaked their clothes and toys, and more precious items, like her newborn daughter's bassinet, she said.
    "We were trying to get on our feet, but then the storm hit," said Ms. Jackson, now 22. "It pushed us way back."
    They lived in a hotel for months, only to return to find that their new apartment had problems with mold, according to the lawsuit.
    Although moving isn't ideal for everyone — it can be especially disruptive for seniors and people with disabilities — Ms. Jackson is among those leading the fight to get out.
    "I don't want to stay here," she said. "Period."
    As the nation grapples with both its affordable housing crisis and the realities of living on a warming planet, the tensions gripping Arbor Court could soon play out in other communities across the country.

    "It's not something that is going to go away," Dr. Bullard said. "You can point to this apartment and say, How many times or how much damage and harm must those residents fare? And how many times do we have to say, Not again?"
    Ms. Schoeman acknowledged that the government could not suddenly withdraw support from all properties in flood plains without creating a new crisis of homelessness. But she said HUD could lead the way by coming up with creative solutions.
    The agency could incentivize communities to use grant money to come up with local plans, a strategy a housing authority in North Carolina hopes to use to relocate two public housing properties out of flood zones. Last year, HUD allocated nearly $16 billion for states to use on disaster mitigation.
    Ms. Schoeman also raised the possibility of "climate vouchers," to give people living in vulnerable areas the choice to relocate.

    In Houston, Arbor Court has requested to move its contract to another apartment complex 25 miles away and on the other side of town. Mr. Chaiken said that his client was working on fixing up the property and that it would be ready for families to live in soon.
    Residents' lawyers argue that would perpetuate racial segregation — the new address is in a ZIP code that is about 70 percent black. They are instead asking for portable housing vouchers, often thought of as "golden tickets" that allow families to move into better neighborhoods of their choosing. But in reality, many landlords refuse to accept them, particularly in hot housing markets.

    Officials said HUD was working toward a solution, which could include giving the residents a choice between the two options.
    Until then, Ms. White is still living at Arbor Court, waiting out each new rainstorm. She also worries about safety and roaches in the kitchen. But she hopes not for much longer.
    Her vision for her next home is simple.
    "No roaches, no gunshots, no flooding," she said. "Everything opposite from where I am now."


    7) Julian Assange Charged by U.S. With Conspiracy to Hack a Government Computer
    By Eileen Sullivan and Richard Richard Pérez-Peña, April 11, 2019
    Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, was arrested Thursday at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, where he had sheltered since 2012.
    CreditCreditHenry Nicholls/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — The United States has charged WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange with one count of conspiracy to hack a computer related to his role in the 2010 release of reams of secret American documents, according to an indictment unsealed Thursday just hours after British authorities arrested him in London.

    The single charge, conspiracy to commit computer intrusion, stems from what prosecutors said was his agreement to break a password to a classified United States government computer. It is not an espionage charge, a significant detail that will come as a relief to press freedom advocates. The United States government had considered until at least last year charging him with an espionage-related offense.

    Mr. Assange, 47, has been living at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since 2012. British authorities arrested him after he was evicted by the Ecuadoreans. The Metropolitan Police said that Mr. Assange had been detained partly in connection with an extradition warrant filed by the authorities in the United States.

    Mr. Assange, born in Australia, has long been in the sights of the United States government since his 2010 release of American documents and videos about the wars in Afghanistan and in Iraq, and confidential cables sent among diplomats.

    Mr. Assange has most recently been under attack for his organization's release during the 2016 presidential campaign of thousands of emailsstolen from the computer systems of the Democratic National Committee, leading to a series of revelations that embarrassed the party and Hillary Clinton's campaign. United States investigators have said that the systems were hacked by Russian agents.
    Mr. Assange will have the right to contest the United States extradition request in British courts. Most people who fight extradition requests argue that the case is politically motivated rather than driven by legitimate legal concerns.

    Eileen Sullivan reported from Washington, and Richard Pérez-Peña from London. David D. Kirkpatrick contributed reporting from London, Adam Goldman and Katie Benner from Washington, and Raphael Minder from Madrid.


    8) Nipsey Hussle Loved His Blackness
    His story is so compelling because love was at the core of his beliefs and behavior.
    By Michael Eric Dyson, April 12, 2019

    The rapper Nipsey Hussle.CreditCreditPrince Williams/Wireimage, via Getty Images

    “How you die 30-something after banging all them years?”
    Nipsey Hussle posed that question about a fallen colleague on a song released about a month before he met a similar fate. After his friend died, the ex-gangbanger Hussle said he took to the “sauna sheddin’ tears/All this money, power, fame and I can’t make you reappear.” 
    Nor can Hussle’s fans make him reappear. On March 31, the rapper and activist was shot to death outside his clothing store in Los Angeles.
    Yet he is more present in the culture than he has ever been. How does a rapper who was just coming into his own fill the Staples Center for his funeral and cast a spell over a society that barely knew his name the day he died?

    One reason Hussle’s death struck a collective nerve is because his story fit into competing narratives across an ideological spectrum. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps? Hussle believed in hard work and black uplift and self-reliance, and started several businesses in the hood. Fight the powers that be? Hussle joined fellow rapper YG on an indictment of Donald Trump: “I’m from a place where you prolly can’t go/Speakin’ for some people that you prolly ain’t know.”

    But the main reason his story is so compelling is because love was at the core of his beliefs and behavior. Love of his craft. Love of his blackness. Love of his neighborhood. Love of his partner, the actress Lauren London, and their kids. And, belatedly, across the nation, in vigils and outpourings of unashamed adoration, we show our love of him for loving so faithfully while few of us paid attention. His death is even more haunting because the love he showed took place against the backdrop of unsettling violence, both real and imagined, both in structural forces and intimate spaces, often conjured or measured by his own pen.
    Hussle captured both his métier and his pedigree when he dubbed himself the “2Pac of my generation,” a cleareyed if fatal prophecy. There are certainly differences. Tupac’s resonant baritone, steeped in the sonic registers of the East and West Coasts where he came of age, echoed eerily across the culture and gained him global fame before death made him a transcendent icon. Hussle’s voice drawled in a Southern cadence inflected with California bravado that produced a Louisiangeles accent. Death amplified a sound that has only now been heard for the first time in many quarters. Both Tupac and Hussle were transformed in death from hood griots to ghetto saints, from verbal magicians to generational martyrs.
    Hussle loved and embraced his blackness, a blackness that was bigger than the sum of its intriguing parts. He was every bit the unapologetic patron of Slauson, Crenshaw and South Central Los Angeles. But he also embraced his East African roots in his father’s homeland of Eritrea when he was 18. Hussle, his brother and his father made another pilgrimage to Eritrea in 2018 that gave him renewed inspiration for his reverse-gentrification Husslenomics: Own your master recordings, master your own entrepreneurial terrain, recycle capital in the hood by reinvesting earnings back into the people who inspired your art. 
    Hussle also embodied the trans-Atlantic routes of black identity — the crisscrossing and crosscutting ways of global blackness and the awareness that no one culture or country or tribe has ownership of a blissfully variegated blackness. It was that sense of blackness that linked a scholar like me and a rapper like him when we shared a six-hour flight last year from Los Angeles to New York. 
    “Are you Michael Eric Dyson?” he asked as he slid into the seat next to me. “I read your books.”
    “Yes, sir. Are you Nipsey Hussle?” I replied as I showed him that I had downloaded his latest album on my smartphone. “I listen to your music.”

    We both smiled. We had an epic conversation and talked about the psychologist Abraham Maslow, whom he brought up. We discussed Hussle’s journey from gangbanging to hip hop, but especially our unblushing love for black culture. 
    Hussle’s murder reveals a darker side of blackness: The revelation that the man charged in his murder is named Eric Holder is an unavoidable metaphor of the destructive doppelgänger that often lurks in black life. That for all the effort to do well and to be right, there are opposing forces that seek to subvert, distract and destroy. Hussle was a more delightful doppelgänger, borrowing his nom de plume from Nipsey Russell, the black comedian known as the “poet laureate of television” whose comedy reveled in aphorism and rhymes.
    Each day since Hussle’s death, more of his words surface like Dead Sea Scrolls and shed light on the secular scriptures he spat in rhyme. His death at 33 inevitably suggests the arc of resurrection, or at least a biblical reckoning with his time on earth. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith,” another marathon runner said. Or as Hussle said, “Hopin’ as you walk across the sand, you see my shoe print/And you follow til it change your life, it’s all an evolution.”


    9) The Massacre That Led to the End of the British Empire
    The events at Jallianwala Bagh, in the Indian city of Amritsar, marked the beginning of the resistance against colonial governance.
    By Gyan Prakash, April 13, 2019

    A painting depicting the Amritsar Massare at Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar.CreditCreditNarinder Nanu/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

    On April 13, 1919, Gen. Reginald Dyer led a group of British soldiers to Jallianwala Bagh, a walled public garden in the Sikh holy city of Amritsar. Several thousand unarmed civilians, including women and children, had gathered to celebrate the Sikh New Year.
    Viewing the gathering as a violation of the prohibitory orders on public assembly, General Dyer ordered his troops to fire without warning. According to official figures, the 10 minutes of firing resulted in 379 dead and more than a thousand injured.

    As news of the massacre became public, many British officials and public figures hailed General Dyer’s actions as necessary to keep an unruly subject population in order. For Indians, “Jallianwala Bagh” became a byword for colonial injustice and violence. The massacre triggered the beginning of the end of the colonial rule in India.

    General Dyer’s very British determination to teach the colonized population a lesson was rooted in the memories of the Great Rebellion of 1857, when Indian rebels — sepoys of the British Indian Army, peasants, artisans and dispossessed landholders and rulers — revolted against the East India Company, killed several Europeans and brought the company to its knees in much of northern India. The British responded ferociously, decisively defeated the rebels, and carried out wanton retribution to teach the natives a lesson in imperial governance.

    The fear and panic of 1857 was still alive among the colonial authorities in 1919. The East India Company had always portrayed its governance of India as the rule of law. But the company was in fact a conquering regime, and saw itself surrounded by the disaffection and sedition of its conquered subjects.
    In 1859, the British Crown assumed direct control of the colony. Forever fearful of sedition and conspiracies, the colonial government used the opportunity offered by the First World War to introduce the Defense of India Act in 1915. The wartime legislation gave the government extraordinary powers of preventive detention, to lock up people without trial and to restrict speech, writing and movement.
    The war’s end did not diminish the government’s anxiety. In March 1919, it introduced the Anarchical and Revolutionary Crimes Act, popularly known as the Rowlatt Act, which extended its wartime emergency powers into peacetime.
    Not long after the war began, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi had returned to India after 21 years in South Africa fighting for the rights of Indian immigrants. Gandhi was loyal to the British Empire and supported Britain in the First World War. Upon his return to India, he spent the first few years leading nonviolent struggles on local grievances.

    But when news of the impending Rowlatt legislation became public, Gandhi immediately expressed his opposition and called for a nationwide general strike on April 6, 1919. He asked people to engage in nonviolent struggle, or satyagraha: Observe a daylong fast and hold meetings to demand the repeal of the legislation.
    Anger in the northern Indian province of Punjab was already heating up well before Gandhi called for the satyagraha. Across the state, Hindu, Muslim and Sikh nationalist leaders had been agitating against the Rowlatt Act; Gandhi’s call raised the popular fervor against the law to a boil.
    The unrest was of particular concern to the British because Punjab was a vital economic and military asset. They had invested heavily in canal irrigation to turn the province into a food basket of the empire. The colonial army recruited heavily in the region, regarding the Sikhs as a “martial race.” By World War I, soldiers from Punjab constituted three-fifths of the British Indian Army, which was extensively deployed in the war. The combustible presence of the demobilized soldiers in the heat of the anticolonial agitation alarmed the British.
    Tensions mounted as Gandhi announced his decision to travel to Punjab. On April 10, the colonial government stopped the train carrying Gandhi, arrested him and sent him back to Bombay. Protesters in Amritsar clashed with the authorities; the troops killed at least 10 people. The crowd attacked government property and set fire to two banks. Five Europeans were killed, but the event that angered the British the most was the assault of Marcella Sherwood, a European missionary, who was wounded and left for dead on the street.
    Dispatched to Amritsar, General Dyer took control from the civil authorities on April 11. He issued a proclamation prohibiting public assembly and warning that such gatherings would be dispersed by force. Peace was restored, but the people were not cowed.
    On April 13, several thousand gathered in Jallianwala Bagh in defiance of General Dyer’s orders. Incensed, he rode to the venue with his troops on two armored vehicles. Finding the lane leading up to the walled garden too narrow, they dismounted, marched to the ground and opened fire.
    The massacre made headlines worldwide. Rabindranath Tagore, the poet and Nobel laureate, returned his knighthood in protest. Winston Churchill condemned the shooting as “monstrous.” The government was forced to institute an inquiry commission, where the unrepentant general acknowledged that his principal aim was not to disperse the crowd but to produce a “moral effect.” The colonial government of India determined that General Dyer’s actions were unwarranted and dismissed him from service.

    The fear of insurgency, kept alive by the memories of “native treachery” in 1857, had made violence and laws of exception part of the colonial government’s arsenal of rule. General Dyer’s actions stemmed from this — a fact that the British could not officially acknowledge. Much of the colonial bureaucracy shared his views. The conservative press in London hailed him as a hero upon his return home.
    For Indians, General Dyer became a symbol of British oppression. When they reacted violently to the news of the massacre, Gandhi withdrew the Rowlatt satyagraha, calling his belief in Indians’ readiness for his message of nonviolence a “Himalayan blunder.” But Jallianwallah Bagh also shook his faith in British justice.
    A year later, Gandhi resumed the struggle against the British. He led India to independence less than three decades later, in 1947, setting into motion a process of decolonization that profoundly shaped the 20th century.
    The Jallianwala Bagh massacre marked the beginning of the resistance against the exceptional laws of colonial governance. Ironically, the postcolonial Indian state retained several of these laws of exception, the very same ones that people in Amritsar had died fighting against.
    Gyan Prakash is a professor of history at Princeton and the author, most recently, of “Emergency Chronicles: Indira Gandhi and Democracy’s Turning Point."

    10) Extraditing Assange Promises to Be a Long, Difficult Process
    By Richard Pérez-Peña, April 12, 2019

    The WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange being transported in a police van in London on Thursday. The United States is seeking his extradition from Britain.CreditCreditHenry Nicholls/Reuters

    LONDON — With the arrest in London of the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and the news of a criminal case against him in the United States, anyone expecting him to appear in an American courtroom should be warned: Extraditing him will not be quick, and it will not be easy.
    The American authorities made a preliminary extradition request on Thursday, soon after Mr. Assange was jailed for jumping bail, but that was just the first in a long series of legal filings, hearings, appeals and administrative decisions. And in the end, experts say, the result is far from certain.
    The process is mostly up to the courts, but politicians will have a hand in it, too, and were already drawing battle lines over Mr. Assange. Complicating matters, prosecutors in Sweden could reopen a rape investigation involving Mr. Assange and request extradition to that country, forcing the British government to decide which case would take precedence.

    “It’s not simple, and the defense will argue everything they can,” said Rebecca Niblock, a partner at the British law firm Kingsley Napley who specializes in extradition law. “I think it is going to be a long one. I’d say minimum a year and a half, but if things get complicated, it could be much longer.”

    Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of Britain’s opposition Labour Party, wrote on Thursday on Twitter, “The extradition of Julian Assange to the U.S. for exposing evidence of atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan should be opposed by the British government.”

    The Conservative Party government has avoided taking a position, while signaling that it takes a much less favorable view of Mr. Assange — and sees in him a potent political issue.
    Sajid Javid, who as home secretary has a role in the process, said in Parliament on Thursday that he “won’t be drawn into the request for extradition” or discuss “the details of the accusations against Mr. Assange, either in the U.K.’s criminal justice system, or in the U.S.”

    Diane Abbott, Mr. Javid’s Labour counterpart, said, “Julian Assange is not being pursued to protect U.S. national security; he’s being pursued because he has exposed wrongdoing by U.S. administrations and their military forces.”

    The partisan divide raises the prospect that a change of government could change Mr. Assange’s fortunes, because his case could take years to end. Britain’s next scheduled general election would be in 2022, and there is widespread speculation that Prime Minister Theresa May might call early elections.
    For years, Mr. Assange has been simultaneously hailed as a hero for transparency, and cursed as a reckless anarchist and publicity-seeker. In 2016, WikiLeaks published stolen Democratic Party emails, damaging the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton.
    Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel who investigated Russian interference in that election, reported in court documents that Russian intelligence was the source of those emails, which Mr. Assange has denied.
    But Mr. Assange has been in the sights of American officials since 2010, when WikiLeaks published an immense trove of classified material, primarily about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, taken from military computer systems by Chelsea Manning, an analyst in Army intelligence. Ms. Manning was convicted of espionage and sentenced to 35 years in prison, and spent nearly seven years in prison before her punishment was commuted by President Barack Obama.
    WikiLeaks and its defenders argue that it was following a standard practice of news organizations, publishing information of public interest, even if the person who supplied the information obtained it illegally.
    The case is about the “publishing of documents, of videos of killing of innocent civilians, exposure of war crimes,” Kristinn Hrafnsson, a WikiLeaks editor, told a news conference on Thursday. “This is journalism.”

    But the indictment unsealed on Thursday alleges that Mr. Assange, a native of Australia, went further, conspiring with Ms. Manning, then known as Bradley Manning, to help her hack into the military network.
    Mr. Assange’s defenders, including a number of human rights activists, contend that the case against him is not about hacking, but about releasing information that embarrassed the United States.
    For extradition to proceed under British law, the United States must submit a full extradition request, and Britain’s home secretary must certify that it is legally valid and send it to the courts — all by mid-June, Mr. Javid said. Then the matter goes to an extradition hearing before a judge, whose rulings can be appealed all the way up to Britain’s Supreme Court.
    Two recent, high-profile cases could point the way for Mr. Assange’s defense. The American authorities sought the extradition of Lauri Love, a British man charged with hacking into dozens of United States government computer systems, and Stuart Scott, a banker charged with currency manipulation.
    In each case, a judge ruled against the defendant but the decision was overturned on appeal, partly on the grounds that the alleged illegal acts occurred in Britain, which meant any prosecution should take place in Britain.
    If the courts uphold extradition, it is up to the home secretary to actually order it. The law gives the home secretary some leeway to defy the ruling and refuse extradition, though not much.

    In another hacking case, the United States sought to prosecute Gary McKinnon, who was accused of gaining unauthorized access to dozens of government computers, in search, he said, of information about U.F.O.s.

    After a decade of legal battles, the British courts ultimately decided against him. But in 2012, the home secretary at the time, Mrs. May, refused to order extradition based on Mr. McKinnon’s mental health and the risk that he might commit suicide.
    Since then, court decisions have narrowed the range of discretion available, but the courts could take Mr. Assange’s condition into account, said Ms. Niblock, the extradition lawyer.
    “His physical and mental health have undoubtedly deteriorated over the past seven years,” she added.
    In 2010, Swedish prosecutors ordered the arrest of Mr. Assange, who was living in Britain, to be questioned about allegations of sexual misconduct and rape in Sweden. While free on bail, he fought extradition to Sweden — which he said would turn him over to the United States — until he exhausted his appeals in 2012. Mr. Assange has denied the allegations against him.
    Rather than submit to extradition, he took refuge in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, and the country granted him asylum. British prosecutors charged him with violating the terms of his bail.

    In 2017, Swedish prosecutors set aside the rape case and the extradition request, saying that the effort was moot with Mr. Assange in the embassy.
    On Thursday, Ecuador’s government withdrew his asylum status after almost seven years, and allowed British police to enter the embassy and arrest him. He was swiftly convicted on the bail charge, for which he could be sentenced to up to a year in prison.
    The next day, the Swedish Prosecution Authority said it was looking into the possibility of reopening its case against him.


    11) California Governor Seeks to Protect Utilities From the Cost of Wildfires
    By Peter Eavis, April 12, 2019

    Gov. Gavin Newsom of California said one solution to protect utilities would be for the state to create two funds to pay for the damage caused by wildfires.CreditCreditSalvador Melendez/Associated Press

    With another wildfire season looming, Gov. Gavin Newsom of California on Friday urged the state Legislature to help Pacific Gas & Electric and other utilities bear the cost of fires started by their equipment.
    Mr. Newsom’s announcement came in response to PG&E’s bankruptcy filing in January, which has raised difficult questions about who should pay for the billions of dollars in damage caused by wildfires and how California could reduce the frequency and severity of those fires.
    “If we don’t begin to try and manifest the ideas in this report, our future is not very bright,” Mr. Newsom said after releasing a document that outlined several proposals in general terms without providing many hard details.

    Utility equipment has caused many of California’s deadliest recent wildfires, but PG&E’s bankruptcy shows that these companies may not be able to bear those costs. In PG&E’s case, those costs could total an estimated $30 billion for fires in 2018 and 2017. If more utilities have to file for bankruptcy because of such expenses, California may not be able to to meet its ambitious clean energy goals.

    One solution, Mr. Newsom said on Friday, would be for the state to create two funds to pay for the damage caused by wildfires. The report issued by his office said these funds could disburse payments to homeowners and businesses who lost property in wildfires more quickly than the utilities could.
    But it is unclear whether Mr. Newsom’s funds would be large enough to address the problem. The governor did not say how much money the funds should have at their disposal and whether California would back them with taxpayer funds. His report said one fund, referred to as the “liquidity only” fund, could be financed by ratepayers and utility investors. The other pool of money, the wildfire fund, could get capital from California’s three main investor-owned utilities, as well as some municipally owned utilities.
    But those proposals could face resistance from some lawmakers, consumer groups and victims of wildfires. Some of those groups are likely to oppose legislation that shields the utilities from liability while potentially exposing taxpayers and ratepayers to billions of dollars in costs.
    PG&E’s stock closed up more than 20 percent on Friday, a sign that investors believe that Mr. Newsom’s proposals would protect the investment of its shareholders.
    The company welcomed the governor’s report in a statement. “We appreciate the important and timely work of the governor’s strike force,” PG&E said.

    Mr. Newsom acknowledged that his plan would require sacrifices, and said they were necessary because wildfires were becoming more common and destructive because of climate change. “We all have a burden and a responsibility to assume the costs,” he said.
    The breadth of the plan impressed scholars who work on the financial costs of catastrophes. “They’ve teed up a number of policy options that, with some refinement and development, would be useful,” said Carolyn Kousky, executive director of the Wharton Risk Center. “But I think they need some more details there.”
    One of the most contentious parts of the governor’s report says the state should seek to change a California legal provision that holds utilities liable for damages if their equipment causes a wildfire even if the companies did not act negligently. The plan says utilities should be held liable only if they have acted improperly, like not trimming trees or replacing aging equipment. Mr. Newsom said the state could petition the California Supreme Court to seek changes to that provision, which is known as inverse condemnation.
    But representatives of ratepayers and wildfire victims say the governor’s proposal could amount to letting utilities off the hook for not maintaining their transmission lines and other equipment.
    “If the governor is thinking about petitioning the Supreme Court, it would be nice to develop that policy in town halls where fire victims and ratepayers can speak out,” said Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog.
    PG&E’s poor reputation looms over the report. The company is still under court-ordered probation stemming from a 2010 gas explosion in San Bruno, just south of San Francisco. A federal jury convicted the company of violating a pipeline safety law and obstructing an investigation. And PG&E recently said that its equipment probably caused last year’s Camp Fire, California’s deadliest wildfire.
    Mr. Newsom’s report included a short section on holding PG&E accountable. There are limits to what the governor can do to the company. The bankruptcy judge overseeing its case has more influence over the company than Mr. Newsom in many ways.

    But Mr. Newsom said he had not ruled out taking action against PG&E if it did not improve safety. He said one option was to break up the company and turn parts of it into municipal utilities owned and operated by local governments. Officials in San Francisco are already considering a proposal to take over PG&E’s operations in their city.
    Mr. Newsom said he was willing to give the company and its new chief executive and board time to make amends. “We’ve got to give these folks a chance,” he said.







    Posted by: bonnieweinstein@yahoo.com

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