"This is a people's victory"  Pam Africa.

Who would ever think that we would see this headline, in our lifetime.  This is the press release up on the Philadelphia District Attorney's website posted minutes ago.

The path to freedom is going to be hard and long, but we are on it.  When We Fight, We Win,
Noelle Hanrahan, P.I. Prison Radio

Mumia Abu-Jamal

See below: 

Statement: Philadelphia District Attorney's Office withdraws appeal in Mumia Abu-Jamal case 

Contact: Ben Waxman
PHILADELPHIA (April 17th, 2019) — Today the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office withdrew its recent appeal of an opinion granting a re-hearing of some previously decided issues in the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. We withdrew the appeal because the opinion we appealed has been modified consistent with our primary concern — -that ruling's effect on many other cases.
By way of background, Mumia Abu-Jamal was convicted of the murder of a young police officer, Daniel Faulkner, that occurred on December 9, 1981. Even after Maureen Faulkner, the wife of the victim, chose not to continue seeking the death penalty several years ago in hopes of closure, the case has evoked polarizing rhetoric and continues to assume a symbolic importance for many that is distinct from the factual and often technical legal issues involved in the case.
The technical issue at stake here is simply whether or not some decided issues need to be re-heard by a Pennsylvania appellate court due to one former judge's having worn two hats — -the hat of an apparently impartial appellate judge deciding Abu-Jamal's case after he earlier wore the hat of a chief prosecutor in the same case. Although the issue is technical, it is also an important cautionary tale on the systemic problems that flow from a judge's failing to recuse where there is an appearance of bias.
Justice Castille did not recuse himself before deciding appeals in the Abu-Jamal case and several others, including the Williams case. In the Williams case, the United States Supreme Court decided that Castille should have recused himself because of the role he took as a chief prosecutor in Mr. Williams's matter. The U.S. Supreme Court ordered that Mr. Williams's appeal be re-heard by the Pennsylvania appeals judges, without the taint of Castille's participation.
A similar question of Castille's role exists in the Abu-Jamal case. In order to help resolve it, our Office exhaustively searched hundreds of file boxes in relation to the Mumia Abu-Jamal matter, including six previously undisclosed boxes (now turned over to the defense, as required by law). While we did not find any document establishing the same level of involvement by Castille in the Abu-Jamal case as in the Williams case, we did find (and turned over) a June, 1990 letter from then-District Attorney Castille to then-Governor Robert Casey, urging that the Governor issue death warrants, especially in cases involving people who have killed police, in order to "send a clear and dramatic message to all police killers that the death penalty actually means something." Although the letter does not mention Mr. Abu-Jamal or his case by name, at the time Justice Castille wrote to Governor Casey, there were only three cases involving people who had been convicted of killing police that were pending. One was Mr. Abu-Jamal's.
In the end, the trial-level judge considering this issue wrote an opinion that agreed with us that these indications of strong feelings on the part of Justice Castille did not rise to the level of the direct and active involvement Justice Castille took in the Williams case but went further, deciding there should be a re-hearing of Abu-Jamal's decided issues anyway, based on more general principles of judges needing to recuse to avoid the appearance of bias.
We appealed, making it extremely clear in our court papers that our primary concern was with the overly broad language of the opinion and its potentially devastating effect on hundreds of long settled cases, decades after their cases were resolved, including its hurtful effect on victims and survivors. We highlighted our concern with the overly broad language of that opinion in five specific respects and specifically noted that we would re-consider appealing if the trial-level court issued another decision addressing the concerns we raised.
Although the judge was not required to do so, on March 27 he issued another decision that addressed the concerns we raised. The judge made clear that his opinion should not be read to mean that several hundreds of cases were disturbed — -it should be applied only to people convicted of killing police officers whose cases were in the District Attorney's Office while Castille was District Attorney (the category of cases Castille highlighted in his June 1990 letter to Casey). Given that the trial-level court has now addressed the concerns that led us to appeal in the first place, we have withdrawn the appeal.
Our decision to withdraw the appeal does not mean Mr. Abu-Jamal will be freed or get a new trial. It means that he will have the appeals that Justice Castille participated in deciding reconsidered by a new group of appellate court judges, untainted by former Chief Justice Castille participating in their decision. The trial-level judge has ordered the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office and the defense to re-submit the legal briefs done in the past (which were written under prior administrations), effectively setting the clock back to where it was in the past.
The result will be that long-settled convictions in other cases will not be disturbed and that decisions made by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on the legal issues raised decades ago in the Abu-Jamal matter will no longer be tainted by the appearance of bias.  ===========end press release====================
Cuando luchamos, ganamos. When We fight, we win. 

Noelle Hanrahan
Director, Prison Radio
To give by check: 
PO Box 411074
San Francisco, CA

Stock or legacy gifts:
Noelle Hanrahan



Funds for Kevin Cooper


For 34 years, an innocent man has been on death row in California. 

Kevin Cooper was wrongfully convicted of the brutal 1983 murders of the Ryen family and houseguest. The case has a long history of police and prosecutorial misconduct, evidence tampering, and numerous constitutional violations including many incidences of the prosecution withholding evidence of innocence from the defense. You can learn more here . 

In December 2018 Gov. Brown ordered  limited DNA testing and in February 2019, Gov. Newsom ordered additional DNA testing. Meanwhile, Kevin remains on Death Row at San Quentin Prison. 

The funds raised will be used to help Kevin purchase art supplies for his paintings . Additionally, being in prison is expensive, and this money would help Kevin pay for stamps, paper, toiletries, supplementary food, and/or phone calls.

Please help ease the daily struggle of an innocent man on death row!



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


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) Demonizing Minority Women
    Representative Ilhan Omar is the latest target in a trend of conservatives attacking women of color.
    By Charles M. Blow, April 14, 2019

    Representative Ilhan Omar. White supremacy has routinely painted minority women as pathological and reprobate.CreditCreditJim Lo Scalzo/EPA, via Shutterstock

    Last month at an event hosted by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Representative Ilhan Omar, a Minnesota Democrat and one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress, delivered a speech in which she correctly derided Islamophobia, a real and persistent problem in this country and others.
    In that speech, Representative Omar invoked the attacks of Sept. 11, saying the council was created "because they recognized that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties."
    (As The New York Times pointed out, "The Council on American-Islamic Relations was actually founded in 1994.)

    The congresswoman could have used different, more severe language to describe the attacks, but she didn't. Maybe we could judge her use of language as inartful, but we all succumb to that occasionally, me included. Error is inevitable among the loquacious. But the Omar of the speech stands. I saw nowhere in it a thread of terror apologia.

    And yet, conservative media has pounced on four of Omar's words — "some people did something" — as just that. Brian Kilmeade, one of the dull and delusional on "Fox & Friends," questioned her patriotism, saying, "You have to wonder if she's an American first."
    Donald Trump upped the ante, retweeting a video of Omar saying, "Some people did something," interspersed with the still-chilling video of the 9/11 attacks. Some things should be too sacred to exploit for political gain, but Trump is an amoralist. Nothing is beyond the pale.
    While the unrelenting attacks on Omar are newsworthy unto themselves as a conservative peculiarity, I believe that the attacks should be viewed through a wider and longer lens. Omar is only the most recent minority woman onto whom conservatives have trained their fire.
    While white supremacy has historically tried to paint minority men as physically dangerous, it has routinely painted minority women, particularly those strong and vocal, as pathological and reprobate.
    There is a pattern here. It is expressed not only in the attacks on, and in elevation of, Omar, but also on Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.

    Before them, Trump and his cohorts demonized Representative Maxine Waters, who Trump dubbed "Low I.Q.," and Representative Frederica Wilson of Florida.
    And before they tried to make Omar and Ocasio-Cortez the face of the Democratic Party, they did the same to Wilson and Waters. In October 2017, Trump tweeted about Wilson:
    "Wacky Congresswoman Wilson is the gift that keeps on giving for the Republican Party, a disaster for Dems. You watch her in action & vote R!"
    In June, Trump said, "The face of the Democrats is now Maxine Waters."
    The strategy is simple: While sexism and racism are potent individually, they are devastating in combination, particularly when appealing to a party dominated by white men and which exalts white supremacy and white patriarchy.
    The only women they truly honor are white women who obsequiously condone or actively participate in the oppression.
    All manner of inhumanity and barbarism have been conducted under the guise of protecting the honor and purity of these white women. There are untold rope-burned necks and fully burned bodies in American history to attest to this.
    There is a reason that Trump launching his campaign by calling Mexicans murderers and rapists had such resonance among the people who came to support him.
    One of the most memorable scenes in "The Birth of a Nation" was a white woman throwing herself off a cliff to keep from being raped by a black man.

    There is a reason that many white people viewed slavery as the guard against the vulnerability of women, and black freedom as the gateway to white woman victimization.
    As the Binghamton University historian Diane Miller Sommerville put it in her book, "Rape & Race in the Nineteenth-Century South": "Black-on-white rape figured prominently in these historical treatments of Reconstruction. Portraying Freedmen as intoxicated with new political power, historians like Claude Bowers described how 'an awful fear rested upon the [white] women of the communities.' "
    Sommerville would quote Bowers saying, "Rape is the foul daughter of Reconstruction."
    To advance their oppression, these white men treated white women as victims, and many white women reciprocated by playing the role of victim. In that way, barbarity could be passed off as chivalry.
    But for the women who fall outside this constraint — minority women, lesbian and transgender women, liberal women, "nasty" women — the rebuke is brutal. They didn't need protection, but rather, suppression.
    These women herald calamity — both the dislodging of white supremacy and the subversion of male supremacy. Conservatives attack these women because the threat they pose is existential.
    We can fuss over the language any of these women have used, and whether some remarks crossed lines of propriety, but to have them as the only arena of discussion about why conservatives are so offended is to be intentionally blind.
    These people hate women like Omar because they see them as omens.

    2) Insurers Want to Know How Many Steps You Took Today
    The cutting edge of the insurance industry involves adjusting premiums and policies based on new forms of surveillance.
    By Sarah Jeong, April 10, 2019

    CreditCreditClaire Merchlinsky

    A smartphone app that measures when you brake and accelerate in your car. The algorithm that analyzes your social media accounts for risky behavior. The program that calculates your life expectancy using your Fitbit
    This isn't speculative fiction — these are real technologies being deployed by insurance companies right now. Last year, the life insurance company John Hancock began to offer its customers the option to wear a fitness tracker — a wearable device that can collect information about how active you are, how many calories you burn, and how much you sleep. The idea is that your Fitbit or Apple Watch can tell whether or not you're living the good, healthy life — and if you are, your insurance premium will go down

    This is the cutting edge of the insurance industry, adjusting premiums and policies based on new forms of surveillance. It will affect your life insurance, your car insurance and your homeowner's insurance — if it hasn't already. If the Affordable Care Act's protections for people with pre-existing conditions should vanish, it will no doubt penetrate the health insurance industry as well.

    Consumers buy insurance from companies to protect against possible losses. But this contractual relationship is increasingly asymmetrical. The insurance companies once relied on a mix of self-reported information, public records and credit scores to calculate risk and assess how much to charge. But thanks to advances in technology, the capacity to collect, store and analyze information is greater than ever before.

    A 2018 report from the consulting firm McKinsey notes that "smart" devices — fitness trackers, home assistants like Alexa, connected cars and smart refrigerators — are proliferating in homes. The "avalanche of new data" they can provide will change the face of insurance.
    In 2014, the insurance company State Farm filed a patent applicationfor a system that "aggregates and correlates" data for "life management purposes." The application lists a wide range of information, such as "home data, vehicle data and personal health data associated with the individual."
    Some of the changes heralded by these new technologies will be better for everyone, like faster claims processing. But the use of data collection and artificial intelligenc also raises serious questions about what McKinsey calls "personalized pricing" and what the State Farm patent application calls "personalized recommendations" and "insurance discounts."
    Before the A.C.A., data brokers bought data from pharmacies and sold it to insurance companies, which would then deny coverage based on prescription histories. Future uses of data in insurance will not be so straightforward.
    As machine learnin works its way into more and more decisions about who gets coverage and what it costs, discrimination becomes harder to spot.
    Part of the problem is the automatic deference that society has so often given to technology, as though artificial intelligence is unerring. But the other problem is that artificial intelligence is known to reproduce biases that aren't explicitly coded into it. In the field of insurance, this turns into "proxy discrimination." For example, an algorithm might (correctly) conclude that joining a Facebook group for a BRCA1 mutation is an indicator of high risk for a health insurance company. Even though actual genetic information — which is illegal to use — is never put into the system, the algorithmic black box ends up reproducing genetic discrimination.
    A ZIP code might become a proxy for race; a choice of wording in a résumé might become a proxy for gender; a credit card purchase history can become a proxy for pregnancy status. Legal oversight of insurance companies, which are typically regulated by states, mostly looks at discrimination deemed to be irrational: bias based on race, sex, poverty or genetics. It's not so clear what can be done about rational indicators that are little but proxies for factors that would be illegal to consider.
    Placing those biases inside a secret algorithm can prevent critical examination of inequality. ProPublica found that people in minority neighborhoods paid higher car insurance premiums than residents of majority-white neighborhoods with similar risk, but its reporters could not determine exactly why, since the insurance companies would not disclose their proprietary algorithms or data sets.
    A handful of lawsuits in other arenas have challenged this practice. After Idaho's Medicaid program started using an automated system to calculate benefits, recipients suddenly saw their benefits cut by as much as 30 percent. When the state refused to disclose its algorithm, claiming it was a trade secret, the A.C.L.U. of Idaho sued to gain access to the code, and ultimately discovered that the formula was riddled with flaws.
    Artificial intelligence, in all its variations, holds great promise. The automated processin of car accident photos or machine reading of medical scans can help cut down costs, and even save lives. But the opacity around many applications of automation and artificial intelligence are reason for pause. Not only do people have limited access to the code that determines key facets of their lives, but the bar to understanding the "reasoning" of algorithms and data sets is high. It will get higher as more industries begin to use sophisticated technologies like deep learning.

    A. I. research should march on. But when it comes to insurance in particular, there are unanswered questions about the kind of biases that are acceptable. Discrimination based on genetics has already been deemed repugnant, even if it's perfectly rational. Poverty might be a rational indicator of risk, but should society allow companies to penalize the poor? Perhaps for now, A.I.'s more dubious consumer applications are better left in a laboratory.

    My New York Times comment to this article:
    Well, this sure brings me back to the 1983 song by the Police from their album, "Synchronicity" titled "Every Breath You Take:"
    Every breath you take
    Every move you make
    Every bond you break
    Every step you take
    I'll be watching you
    Only I don't think the group ever imagined how aptly it would apply to the corporate surveillance each and every one of us are under today. Of course, when I say "each and every one of us," it must be understood that the wealthy are exempted—perhaps not from the surveillance—but from the dire health, welfare and financial consequences of it. If you're wealthy, you don't have to worry about affording healthcare, or housing, or education, or transportation, or food, or, even the right to abortion. (Wealthy women were always able to get abortions from private physicians—even if they had to travel to other countries!)  It's all the rest of us that will and are being dictated by the never-ending corporate grab for more wealth for the tiny few who need it the least. It is we, the masses of working people that are under their pompous and greedy thumb. —Bonnie Weinstein


    3) Anti-Zionists Deserve Free Speech
    The Trump administration bars a critic of Israel from America.
    By Michelle Goldberg, April 15, 2019

    Omar Barghouti, a permanent resident of Israel, last week was denied entry to the United States.CreditCreditMohamad Torokman/Reuters

    The Palestinian activist Omar Barghouti, one of the founders of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, was supposed to be on a speaking tour of the United States this week, with stops at N.Y.U.'s Washington campus and at Harvard. He was going to attend his daughter's wedding in Texas. I had plans to interview him for "The Argument," the debate podcast that I co-host, about B.D.S., the controversial campaign to make Israel pay an economic and cultural price for its treatment of the Palestinians.
    Yet when Barghouti, a permanent resident of Israel, showed up for his flight from Israel's Ben Gurion International Airport last week, he was informed that the United States was denying him entry. When I spoke to him on Sunday, he still didn't know exactly why the country where he went to college and lived for many years wasn't letting him in, but he assumed it was because of his political views. If that's the case, Barghouti said, it was the first time someone has been barred from America for B.D.S. advocacy. He has proceeded with his public events, but he's been appearing at them via Skype.
    In recent years, the American right has presented itself as a champion of free expression. Conservatives are constantly bemoaning a censorious campus climate that stigmatizes their ideas; last month, Donald Trump signed an executive order on campus free speech, decrying those who would keep Americans from "challenging rigid far-left ideology." The president said, "People who are confident in their beliefs do not censor others."

    If that last line is true — and, uncharacteristically for Trump, I think it is — it says something about the insecurity of Israel's defenders. There have indeed been illiberal attempts to silence conservative voices on college campuses, but they pale beside the assault on pro-Palestinian speech, particularly speech calling for an economic boycott of Israel. Around two dozen states have laws and regulations denouncing, and in many cases penalizing, B.D.S. activities, and the Senate recently passed a bill supporting such measures. According to the American Association of University Professors, some public universities in states with such laws require speakers and other contractors to "sign a statement pledging that they do not now, nor will they in the future, endorse B.D.S." It's hard to think of comparable speech restrictions on any other subject.

    What are pro-Israel forces afraid of? The B.D.S. movement doesn't engage in or promote violence. Its leaders make an effort to separate anti-Zionism from anti-Semitism; the Palestinian B.D.S. National Committee recently demanded that a Moroccan group stop using the term "B.D.S." in its name because it featured anti-Semitic cartoons on its Facebook page.
    Barghouti couches his opposition to Zionism in the language of humanist universalism. The official position of the B.D.S. movement, he says, is that "any supremacist, exclusionary state in historic Palestine — be it a 'Jewish state,' an 'Islamic state,' or a 'Christian state' — would by definition conflict with international law and basic human rights principles."
    The movement is agnostic on a final dispensation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But it calls for the right of Palestinian refugees — both those displaced by the creation of Israel and their descendants — to return to their familial homes, which would likely end Israel's Jewish majority. Barghouti told me he personally believes in the creation of a single state in which Israeli Jews, as individuals, would have civil rights, but Jews as a people would not have national rights.
    I'd planned to argue with him about this view, which is largely dismissive of Jewish claims on Israel, and would likely lead to oppression or worse for Israeli Jews. My guess is that many if not most Jews find such a position offensive, even frightening.

    But for years now, the right has been lecturing us all about the need to listen to and debate ideas we might consider dangerous. Barghouti wants this sort of dialogue. "We've been dying to debate anyone on the other side," he told me. "We would debate anyone except Israeli government officials and professional lobbyists." A government that tries to prevent Americans from engaging with his views cannot claim a commitment to free speech. 
    You could argue, I suppose, that Israel's legitimacy as a Jewish state should not be up for discussion. If you do, realize it's the exact same sort of argument that certain campus leftists make when they refuse to debate people they see as racist, sexist or otherwise bigoted. Sometimes this refusal is justified, because certain ideas shouldn't be dignified with discussion. But sometimes it just makes the people unwilling to test their ideas in public look scared.
    Ultimately, Barghouti threatens Israel's American defenders not because he's hateful, but because he isn't. Israel has aligned itself with the global far right. Recently re-elected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to unilaterally annex the West Bank, which would create a single state where Jews rule over Arabs. That prospect makes it ever more difficult for Israel's American defenders to make coherent arguments against the sort of one-state solution that Barghouti espouses. "Israel is winning the far right around the world," Barghouti said at an N.Y.U. event last week, where the journalist Peter Beinart interviewed him remotely. But, he added, "it is losing its moral stature around the world." American authorities may be able to quash this message on some college campuses, but it won't stop being true.


    4) When Slaveowners Got Reparations
    Lincoln signed a bill in 1862 that paid up to $300 [$7,550.55 today] for every enslaved person freed.
    By Tera W. Hunter, April 16, 2019

    The Capitol stands in the background of this 1830 engraving.CreditCreditLibrary of Congress/Corbis, via VCG, via Getty Images

    On April 16, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill emancipating enslaved people in Washington, the end of a long struggle. But to ease slaveowners' pain, the District of Columbia Emancipation Act paid those loyal to the Union up to $300 for every enslaved person freed. 
    That's right, slaveowners got reparations. Enslaved African-Americans got nothing for their generations of stolen bodies, snatched children and expropriated labor other than their mere release from legal bondage.
    The compensation clause is not likely to be celebrated today. But as the debate about reparations for slavery intensifies, it is important to remember that slaveowners, far more than enslaved people, were always the primary beneficiaries of public largess.

    The act is notable because it was the first time that the federal government authorized abolition of slavery, which hastened its demise in Virginia and Maryland as runaways from these states fled to Washington. It offered concrete proof to enslaved people and their allies that the federal government might facilitate the destruction of slavery everywhere. And it confirmed the worst fears of their foes about an interloping tyrannical president.

    Abraham Lincoln, however, was anxious to preserve his fragile alliance with loyal slaveholders. He had advocated abolition of slavery in Washington in 1849 as a congressman, to no avail. As president, he encouraged the border states to voluntarily end slavery. He chose Delaware as an ideal place to take the lead in late 1861. But it became clear that Union slaveowners could not be so easily persuaded. This reinforced the need to make congressional emancipation conditioned on compensating them, which put abolitionists in a bind. 
    They welcomed the end of slavery in the capital, but chafed at payments that validated the right to own property in the form of human beings. "If compensation is to be given at all," the abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison said at the National Anti-Slavery Convention in Philadelphia in 1833, "it should be given to the outraged and guiltless slaves, and not to those who have plundered and abused them."
    Moderate antislavery advocates like Lincoln did not agree. To the contrary, they believed that any manumission plan had to placate property rights that were buttressed by the Fifth Amendment, which required "just compensation" for government seizure of private assets.
    Lincoln appointed a board of commissioners to oversee the process of compensation, headed by the North Carolina abolitionist and New York Times reporter Daniel Reaves Goodloe. The board reviewed more than 1,000 slaveholders' petitions to claim more than 3,000 enslaved people, close to the entirety of the dwindling population. Most of the petitioners received the full amount allowed. The largest individual payout was $18,000 for 69 [$453,033.27 today] slaves. 
    Although the District of Columbia Emancipation Act marked the only time the federal government would compensate slaveowners, there is a longer history of slaveowners requesting and receiving indemnification for the loss of their chattel.

    Slaveowners felt entitled to and often received compensation from local, colonial and state legislatures, especially in times of crisis — when enslaved women and men ran away, participated in rebellions or were executed for crimes. During the American Revolution, owners asked to be compensated when bondspeople had died while working in lead mines in Virginia, for example, and when they sided with the British and ran away.
    After the revolution, as Northern states carried out gradual-emancipation plans, compensation was attractive to slaveowners seeking to ease their financial burdens. The 1804 Gradual Abolition Act in New Jersey, for example, did not free anyone immediately. It allowed children of enslaved women to be treated as "apprentices" (slavery by another name) until they reached a certain age and would be freed. The law included a clause that allowed slaveowners to gain compensation by letting their bondspeople go free and then reclaiming them as "bound out labor," which gave them access to state funds for their troubles.
    In a break from tradition in the 1850s, the abolitionist Elihu Burritt organized the National Compensated Emancipation Convention in Cleveland to advocate payments to slaveowners, as well as smaller sums to be paid to the people they had enslaved. Nothing came of his dual proposal, however.
    To be sure, the major benefactors of slaveowner reparations within the Atlantic slave system were Europeans. When England abolished slavery in its Caribbean colonies, it offered compensation to 46,000 slaveowners at the cost of around $26.2 million. 
    France went further by penalizing Haiti for the revolution that abolished slavery in its former colony St. Domingue. It levied a huge sum on the island, which crippled it in decades of debt. Former slaves were forced to pay indemnities to former slaveowners in exchange for official recognition as the first black independent nation-state in the Western Hemisphere.
    The long and insistent coupling of compensation for slaveowners with emancipation is useful for consideration in current debates about reparations for the descendants of the enslaved. Critics and skeptics are fond of saying that enslaved people should have asked for recompense back then. African-Americans did precisely that, going back to the colonial era. They petitioned for "freedom dues," they sued the estates of former masters for their unrequited toil, and they asked for land to restart their lives as free men and women. Relatively few of those efforts were successful.
    An overwhelming majority of white people believed that slaveowners, not enslaved African-Americans, deserved recompense for the benevolence of manumission. The only "reward" that was widely supported was colonization: a trip "back to Africa." The act allocated $100,000 for the voluntary removal of the newly freed people (at $100 per person) to go to Liberia or Haiti, which rarely happened. 
    Preserving sacred property rights and moving the Negro problem offshore meant that there was no justice for enslaved African-Americans. All of the candidates running for president must support the federal government's issuing of reparations to African-Americans who were economically affected by slavery. Justice requires this.
    Tera W. Hunter (@TeraWHunter) is a professor of history and African-American studies at Princeton and the author of "Bound in Wedlock: Slave and Free Black Marriage in the Nineteenth Century."

    My NYT Comment:
    "This is the part of American history not taught to children in this country. Every Black person in this country deserves reparations in today's dollars for having endured generations of degradation and exploitation at the hands of capital. Things are not that different today. Black, Brown and poor people are paid pittance for work that brings corporate CEOs billions. And the banks that fraudulently stole homes from millions were rewarded with bailouts—also paid for off the backs of poor working people. I say hell yes to reparations—to all former and current slaves!" —Bonnie Weinstein


    5) Israel Invokes Anti-Boycott Law to Order Human Rights Worker Deported
    By Isabel Kershner, April 16, 2019

    Omar Shakir, Human Rights Watch's Israel and Palestine director, at work in Ramallah last year.CreditCreditAbbas Momani/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

    JERUSALEM — An advocate for Human Rights Watch must leave the country by May 1, an Israeli court ruled on Tuesday, upholding a deportation order issued under a contentious law that bars entry to foreigners who have publicly called for a boycott of Israel or its settlements in the occupied West Bank.
    The deportation order against Omar Shakir, an American citizen and the organization's Israel and Palestine director, is the first application of the law against a person lawfully present in Israel.
    The case against Mr. Shakir comes as part of a broader Israeli clampdown against the international movement to boycott Israel, a campaign that the government, empowered by the staunch support of President Trump, says delegitimizes the country and smacks of anti-Semitism.

    Activists defend the movement as a nonviolent means to protest Israel and its policies toward Palestinians, along with its settlements, which most of the world considers to be a violation of international law. Last week, the United States barred entry to Omar Barghouti, one of the co-founders of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, also known as B.D.S., without explanation.

    Human Rights Watch, which is based in New York, said it would file an appeal with Israel's Supreme Court. The Jerusalem District Court said its May 1 deadline would not be enforced pending an injunction and resolution of the appeal.
    "Israel portrays itself as the region's only democracy, but is set to deport a rights defender over his peaceful advocacy," Tom Porteous, deputy program director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.
    The Israeli authorities have accused Human Rights Watch of anti-Israel bias in the past and compiled a dossier on Mr. Shakir documenting his activities in support of a boycott, mostly from before he joined the advocacy group.
    Like the dossier, the Jerusalem District Court ruling also pointed to reports and advocacy by Human Rights Watch that called on businesses to cease activities that benefit Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.
    The judgment cited recent Twitter posts written by Mr. Shakir, including some promoting a decision by Airbnb to stop listing properties in West Bank settlements — a decision Airbnb has since reversed.

    "The decision sends the chilling message that those who criticize the involvement of businesses in serious abuses in Israeli settlements risk being barred from Israel and the Israeli-occupied West Bank," Mr. Porteous said.
    Human Rights Watch described Tuesday's decision as "a new and dangerous interpretation" of the entry law.
    In her ruling on Tuesday, Judge Tamar Bazak-Rappaport of the district court wrote, "It has been proven that the petitioner continues to call publicly for a boycott against the state of Israel or parts within it, and in the same breath requests that it will open its gates to him."
    The decision came the same day that a Jewish-American board member of an organization that promotes cooperation between Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel was questioned at length on her way out of the country.
    The organization, the Abraham Initiatives, said the authorities at Ben-Gurion International Airport had tried to use "intimidation" against its board member, Laura Mandel, writing in a Twitter post, "We will continue to work for a shared and inclusive Israel, free from discrimination against Arab citizens and those who support #Shared_Society."

    Last year, Israel's Supreme Court ordered the government to permit entry to an American woman, Lara Alqasem, who arrived with a valid student visa, overruling the Interior Ministry, which had sought to deport her because of her pro-Palestinian advocacy while she was an undergraduate at the University of Florida.

    The Israeli government has also sought to curb the activities of Israeli nongovernmental organizations that have been critical of the country's policies toward Palestinians.
    One of them, B'Tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, issued a statement on Tuesday in support of Mr. Shakir.
    "The government," it said, "seems to expect all those arriving in Israel to swear allegiance to its policy of endless occupation, settlements and blockade, basically stating: Take it, or leave."


    6) As Rich Lavish Cash on Notre-Dame, Many Ask: What About the Needy?
    By Liz Alderman and Steven Erlanger, April 17, 2019

    The north face of Notre-Dame cathedral after the fire.CreditChristophe Petit Tesson/EPA, via Shutterstock

    PARIS — The pledges came in quick succession.
    François-Henri Pinault, France's second-richest man, put up an eye-popping 100 million euros to rebuild Notre-Dame, just as firefighters were dousing the last flames at the cathedral early Tuesday morning. Not to be outdone, Bernard Arnault, France's wealthiest scion and a fierce rival to Mr. Pinault and to his father, François Pinault, upped the ante with a 200-million-euro gift a few hours later.
    By Wednesday, the government had welcomed some 850 million euros — more than $960 million — offered in the patriotic name of salvaging the cultural treasure, as money from wealthy French families, French companies and international corporations poured in.
    But the spectacle of billionaires trying to one-up one another quickly intensified resentments over inequality that have flared during the Yellow Vest movement, just as President Emmanuel Macron was looking to transform the calamity into a new era of national unity. There were accusations that the wildly rich were trying to wash their reputations during a time of national tragedy.

    "Can you imagine, 100 million, 200 million in one click!" said Philippe Martinez, the head of the militant CGT labor union. "It really shows the inequalities in this country."

    "If they're able to give dozens of millions to rebuild Notre Dame," he added, "they should stop telling us that there is no money to pay for social inequalities."
    Ollivier Pourriol, a French philosopher and novelist, summed up the sentiment more drolly.
    "Victor Hugo thanks all the generous donors ready to save Notre Dame and proposes that they do the same thing with Les Misérables," he wrote on Twitter, referring to another one of Hugo's famous novels, about the lives of the poor.

    Manon Aubry, a senior figure in France Insoumise, the main radical left party, called the funding an "exercise in public relations." She said the donors' list "looks like the rankings of companies and people located in tax havens."

    She added: "I want to tell them: Start by paying your taxes. That will add to the state culture budget."
    The bickering was about as far as possible to imagine from the image of a united France the president painted when he gave a national address on Tuesday. Mr. Macron said "it is up to us to transform this catastrophe" into a moment to become "better than what we are."
    The firestorm began when Jean-Jacques Aillagon, a former culture minister and now adviser to Mr. Pinault's father, went on Twitter after Mr. Pinault announced his gift Tuesday to suggest that corporate contributions to Notre-Dame's restoration be given a 90 percent tax deduction, rather than the 60 percent that corporations normally get for charitable contributions.
    "That's when the whole thing exploded," said Pierre Haski, a commentator for France-Inter, the public radio station. "That produced outrage, that this act of generosity turns into fiscal advantage."
    The reaction was so intense that Mr. Aillagon went on the radio Wednesday morning to retract his suggestion. The Pinault family then announced that they would seek no tax deduction at all for the gift.

    "It was very revealing about the sensitivity of the whole issue," Mr. Haski said, coming in the midst of a great national debate about the Yellow Vests and their protests against inequality and fiscal privileges.

    In general many are relieved that Notre-Dame still stands, and if there is now a billion euros to reconstruct it, without calling too deeply on an already stretched national budget, that may be enough.
    But taxes have been one of the pressing issues in the Yellow Vest movement, and the one that Mr. Macron has had most trouble defusing.
    The protests that began last autumn were originally over a gasoline tax, but morphed into a larger collective outcry over declining living standards that many average French people complained were rooted in high taxes, while the upper-middle classes in the big cities, let alone the rich, were doing just fine.
    The protesters have lashed out at Mr. Macron for favoring the very rich by eliminating a wealth tax, among other inducements as part of his plan to stimulate the economy.
    While he has since announced a series of modest tax cuts to help people struggling to make ends meet, he has refused to reinstate the wealth tax, a symbolic slap in the face of the protesters that redoubled their anger.

    Ingrid Levavasseur, a founding leader of the Yellow Vests, said France should "get back to reality."

    "There is growing anger on social media over the inertia of big corporations over social misery while they are proving able to mobilize a crazy amount of dough overnight for Notre-Dame," she added.
    The companies contributing are among the largest in France, and account for tens of thousands of jobs at home and abroad in the luxury, energy and construction industries.
    But for many, they are also symbols of an untouchable class of superrich who keep getting richer, thanks to a host of fiscal advantages.
    Both Mr. Arnault and Mr. Pinault made fortunes in the world of luxury — Mr. Arnault built the LVMH Louis Vuitton empire, and Mr. Pinault's family owns Kering, the second-largest luxury group in France.
    The two billionaires' families have been rivals ever since the so-called "handbag wars," when they sparred for control of the Italian luxury group Gucci. Mr. Pinault's family eventually won.

    They have both amassed huge personal fortunes, although Mr. Arnault's, which Forbes estimated at 76 billion, far outpaces Mr. Pinault's, estimated at a mere 26 billion euros.

    Both families have built up priceless art collections and have scrambled to outdo one another over the years with new museums in France and Italy to house their treasures.
    So when the billionaires announced their generous donations to Notre-Dame, critics were quick to note that the ample deductions would be made up for by the French taxpayers.
    "These billionaires want to pass for heroes," Esther Benbassa, a senator with the Green party, said on Twitter. "They would do better to renounce tax evasion and fiscal optimization."

    In the past, Mr. Pinault's father had declined to take a tax break on the refurbishment of Paris's historic commercial bourse in the center of Paris, which he is converting into a modern art museum, saying French taxpayers shouldn't foot the bill for his personal spending.
    When it looked like other wealthy donors might be able to benefit from a generous tax perk for their largess, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe sought to douse tensions at a news conference on Wednesday.

    "We must be delighted that very low-income individuals, very wealthy individuals as well as companies want to participate in the effort to rebuild a cathedral that is at the heart of our history," he said.

    So far, other wealthy donors have stayed mum on the issue. Mr. Arnault, who quickly doubled down on Mr. Pinault's pledge, has not issued any further statement.
    Nor has another wealthy donor, the global cosmetics giant L'Oréal. The company's heirs, the Bettencourt-Meyers, announced a 200-million-euro donation for Notre-Dame on Tuesday through the Bettencourt Schueller Foundation.
    "Of course there is reputation washing involved," said Anne-Elisabeth Moutet, a French commentator, who saw the initial gifts as fundamentally sincere.
    "There's a muscle memory of Catholicism in France and it came back," she said. "We're a secular country, but when push comes to shove," religious feelings come forward.
    For some French people, like Grâce Kitoudi, a customer service representative working in an airport, the issue seemed overblown.
    In her view, the Yellow Vest crisis and the Notre-Dame fire "are two very different debates," she said. "We must not confuse everything. If we can have donations to rebuild this incredible monument, that's all good."

    Constant Meheut contributed reporting.


    7) How Banning Abortion in the Early Weeks of Pregnancy Suddenly Became Mainstream
    By Sabrina Tavernise, April 18, 2019

    "Now is our time," said Michael Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life in Columbus. "This is the best court we've had in my lifetime, in my parents' lifetime."

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — For years, Ohio Right to Life, the state's largest and oldest anti-abortion group, steered clear of a bill that would ban abortion in the very early weeks of pregnancy — after a fetal heartbeat is detected.
    The reason was simple. The bill, which would have been the toughest abortion restriction on record, would be dead on arrival once it reached an unfriendly Supreme Court.
    But after seven years of avoiding the ban, Ohio Right to Life's board gathered in an office building outside Toledo in November and voted unanimously to support it.
    The reversal is evidence of a fundamental shift in the landscape of abortion in America. The math on the Supreme Court has changed with President Trump's choice of Brett Kavanaugh last year. And now, in the first legislative cycle after the midterm elections last fall, states are rushing to make changes. Newly confident red states are passing some of the strictest prohibitions the country has ever seen. Blue states are enacting ever stronger protections, like ones for later-term abortions in New York and Virginia.

    "Now is our time," said Michael Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life in Columbus. "This is the best court we've had in my lifetime, in my parents' lifetime."
    In their sights is overturning Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court case that established a federal protection for abortion in 1973. And many in the movement believe that the so-called heartbeat bill — a ban on abortion as early as six weeks of pregnancy, often before a woman even knows she is pregnant — is the way to do it. The bill flies in the face of decades of Supreme Court decisions, like a dare to the American legal system.
    "It's a pretty bold step, I'll be honest," said William Seitz, a state representative in Ohio who voted for the bill, which was signed into law last week. "But at least there is some chance that this would provide an opportunity to either further limit Roe, or perhaps jettison it entirely."
    In the first three months of this year, heartbeat bills, which had been at the fringes of the anti-abortion movement for years, have passed in four states — Kentucky, Mississippi, Georgia and Ohio. More are moving through the legislatures of 11 others, according to Elizabeth Nash, a policy expert at the Guttmacher Institute.
    "You weren't seeing the six-week bans move before," Ms. Nash said. "Now it's a front burner issue."
    In 2011, Ohio became the first state to attempt such a ban. Its main proponent was a determined activist named Janet Porter, who has a long history of taking on conservative Christian causes.

    As president of an anti-abortion group called Faith 2 Action, Ms. Porter became the gadfly of the anti-abortion movement in Ohio, giving news conferences denouncing anyone who did not support her bill, even if they were friendly to the cause.
    "She disparaged a lot of good elected officials and members of the pro-life community along the way," said Mr. Gonidakis, who at times was the target of her attacks.
    (Ms. Porter agreed to an interview but when she answered the door at a house in suburban Cleveland on Monday, she said she would give it only if she was allowed to videotape it.)
    Despite all this, the bill remained alive, occasionally coming up for a vote. In the early years, Mr. Seitz, a Republican from Cincinnati, remembers thinking that pushing it did not make much sense, given the composition of the Supreme Court, which as late as 2016 sided with abortion clinics in a prominent case in Texas.
    "I didn't detect any appetite on part of the court majority to significantly limit Roe," he said. "I just didn't see it."
    Then came President Trump's election. Mr. Gonidakis remembers meeting with him and other anti-abortion activists in New York and being surprised at the language Mr. Trump used. He sounded more like an activist than a presidential candidate, Mr. Gonidakis said.
    "He said, 'I'm only going to nominate pro-life judges,'" he recalled. "That's language we use. To hear the candidate use it was astonishing. In a good way."

    Right away, Mr. Trump nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch — replacing one conservative, Justice Antonin Scalia, with another. Then the bombshell dropped: Justice Anthony Kennedy, who had voted with the liberal majority in 2016 on the Texas case, announced he would retire.
    "Our phones started lighting up," said Mr. Gonidakis, who was in Columbus at the time. He started calling friendly lawmakers in Washington and Ohio. "There were a lot of unknowns right away and a lot of excitement."
    At the center of the Ohio bill is a legal strategy based on questioning one of the standards that federal abortion protections rest on: fetal viability. The Supreme Court has ruled that states can regulate abortion only after a fetus could survive outside a mother's womb. The bill suggests that standard be scrapped, and replaced with something else: a heartbeat.
    Kristina Roegner, a Republican state senator who sponsored the bill, said viability was a flawed standard because medical technology had changed so much since 1973.
    "I don't think the Supreme Court realized what a moving target they were creating," she said. "We need a new standard. A heartbeat doesn't change. It's there or it's not."
    B. Jessie Hill, a lawyer who plans to challenge the law in court on behalf of one of the abortion clinics in the state, thinks the argument is a long shot. The court was not persuaded in the past by arguments that a fetus is a person under state law. Surviving outside the womb is key, and forbidding a woman to end a pregnancy before that is "like the state telling you that you have to give someone a kidney or bone marrow because you have it and they need it to survive," she said. "The law can't — and doesn't — do that."
    Even before the confirmation of Justice Kavanaugh, conservatives had made considerable progress in appointments to federal appeals courts, often a critical last stop before the Supreme Court. Today, Republicans have appointed 69 percent of the active judges on the Sixth Circuit, which encompasses Ohio, compared with 45 percent in 2001, according to Russell Wheeler, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington. Other states in the Sixth Circuit are Tennessee, Kentucky and Michigan.

    "Judicial philosophy has been the dominant issue for appellate nominations in Republican administrations for the last 30 years in a way that it has not been for Democrats," said Jonathan Adler, a law professor at Case Western Reserve University.
    That unwavering focus has helped to turn the tide on abortion in a broad swath of the country's middle and the south: Six states are down to one abortion clinic. In Ohio, there were 16 abortion clinics in the early 2000s. Today there are 7.
    Just last month in Ohio, in a rare move that was a major victory for anti-abortion activists, the full Sixth Circuit panel of judges reversed its own decision from a year ago, ruling against Planned Parenthood in a funding case.
    Ms. Hill, the lawyer who will challenge Ohio's new ban in court, said she had reasonable confidence that the law will be struck down in lower courts and not make it to the Supreme Court, at least in the near term. Taking such a case could be seen as political, and tarnish the reputation of the court, she said. But the long-term outcome is less clear. If Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg retires and Mr. Trump is able to appoint a third justice, that could be the decisive blow against Roe.
    Mr. Gonidakis said he was cautiously optimistic.
    "We haven't won but we are winning," he said. "We are winning a battle that we always used to lose."

    My NYT Comment:
    "How many times have we heard 'if you can't feed your babies, you shouldn't have had them!' This is also the rallying cry of the ruling elite every time a single parent needs food, healthcare or housing assistance. You hear it every day. That's the thing about the anti-abortionists that is so unconscionable and so hypocritical. The wealthy never worry about food, housing, healthcare or about getting an abortion. They've done it safely and securely even before Roe v. Wade. They just hired private doctors or traveled to places where it was legal—offshore hospitals like their offshore bank accounts. No one wants an abortion for the fun of it. But it is our right, our bodies and our lives to determine what's best for us and our families. I sure wish men could get pregnant!" —Bonnie Weinstein


    8) 10 Years After an Exercise Study, Benefits Persist
    By Gretchen Reynolds, April 17, 2019

    The workouts we completed years ago may continue to influence and improve our health today, according to a fascinating new study of the current lives and health of people who joined an exercise study a decade before
    The findings suggest that the benefits of exercise can be more persistent than many of us might expect, even if people are not exercising to the same extent as they previously did. But the impacts also may depend on the types and amounts of exercise involved.
    In medicine, lingering health consequences from experiments, known as legacy effects, are common and often commendable. Participants in past diabetes experiments, for instance, whose blood sugar was tightly controlled with diet, drugs or other methods, often had better heart health years later than diabetics outside of the study, even though the volunteers' blood-sugar levels had risen in the interim.
    But whether exercise studies likewise produce legacy effects has been unknown, although the issue matters. We know from other science and disheartening personal experience that we lose much of our fitness and associated health benefits if we stop or reduce how much we exercise over the years.

    But do all of those gains disappear, or might exercise change us in some ways that stick with us?
    For the new study, which was published this week in Frontiers in Physiology, scientists at Duke University decided to find out. Most of the researchers had been involved a decade earlier in a large-scale exercise experiment called Strride (for Studies Targeting Risk Reduction Interventions through Defined Exercise). 
    In that experiment, which ran from 1998 to 2003, hundreds of sedentary, overweight volunteers between the ages of 40 and 60 had remained inactive as a control group or begun exercising.
    Their exercise was either moderate, such as walking, or more vigorous, comparable to jogging, and lasted until people had burned at least several hundred calories per workout. Volunteers completed three session of their assigned workout each week for eight months, while scientists tracked changes to their aerobic fitness, blood pressure, insulin sensitivity and waist circumference.
    In general, each of those health markers improved in the people who exercised and not in the controls.
    The scientists then said farewell and did not get in touch with the participants again until about a decade later, when they contacted volunteers who still lived near Duke and asked if they would join a reunion study. More than a hundred, representing each of the exercise and control groups, said, sure.

    These men and women returned to the lab for new tests of their aerobic fitness and metabolic health. They also completed questionnaires about their current medical condition and medications and how often they exercised each week.
    Then the researchers started comparing results and found telling differences.
    Most of the men and women from the control group, who had not exercised 10 years before, had larger waistlines now, while the exercisers displayed little if any middle-aged spread compared to their decade-earlier selves.
    Those from the control group also were less fit now. Most had lost about 10 percent of their aerobic capacity, which is typical of the declines seen after about age 40, when most of us will lose about 1 percent of our fitness annually.
    But those men and women who had exercised vigorously for eight months during Strride retained substantially more fitness. On average, their aerobic capacity had fallen by only about 5 percent, compared to when they had joined the Strride study, and those few who reported still exercising at least four times a week were more fit now than they had been a decade before.
    Interestingly, those Strride volunteers who had walked — meaning their exercise had been moderate, not intense — did not seem to have enjoyed the same lasting fitness benefits as those who had exercised more vigorously. Most of them had shed about 10 percent of their aerobic capacity during the past decade, much like the controls.
    On the other hand, they showed surprisingly persistent improvements in their metabolic health, more so than among the intense exercisers. The walkers from 10 years ago still had healthier blood pressures and insulin sensitivity than they had had before joining Strride, even if they rarely exercised now. They had also had relatively healthier metabolisms than the men and women who had exercised intensely all those years before.
    Taken as a whole, these results suggest that "exercise is a powerful modulator of health, and some effects can be quite enduring," says William Kraus, a professor of medicine and cardiology at Duke, who oversaw the new study.

    But the effects also can differ, depending on how hard someone works out, he says. To build and maintain high endurance, we may have to sweat and strain. But to better our metabolic health, a walk likely will do.
    Of course, this study does not explain how exercise alters our body in ways that last. We may, in part, be building a physiological reserve, Dr. Kraus says. Raise aerobic capacity or improve insulin sensitivity with exercise, and even as those measures decline later with inactivity and age, we will be better off than if we had never worked out.
    Exercise also probably leaves long-lasting imprints on our genes and cells that affect health, Dr. Kraus says.
    He and his colleagues hope to investigate those issues in coming studies, so that we can better appreciate how past exercise might echo through our bodies well into the future.


    9) Chanting Crowds and Camo Chic
    Sixty years ago Fidel Castro came to New York, mesmerizing throngs and leaving an enduring mark on fashion.
    By Tony Perrottet, April 16, 2019

    Fidel Castro, in signature military fatigues, being interviewed during his trip to New YorkCreditThe New York Times

    It was like Sinatra headlining in Vegas. On April 21, 1959 — 60 years ago this Sunday — thousands of adoring New Yorkers gave a tumultuous welcome to a young celebrity emerging from Penn Station: Fidel Castro, leader of the Cuban guerrillas.
    Less than four months earlier, he had overthrown a vicious military dictatorship after an against-all-odds campaign, and he was wildly popular in the city, drawing crowds larger than any foreign leader in its history. As throngs chanted "Fi-del, Fid-el, Fi-del," Castro burst through police lines and began shaking hands, as if he were running for office.
    It was the opening public-relations volley of a four-day victory lap that captivated New York, and it was a milestone in the history of fashion. According to Sonya Abrego, a historian of men's fashion in the 20th century, this was the moment when what later became known as radical chic (the once-provocative use of visual markers related to militant causes that still influences what we wear today) was really born.

    When Castro's photo appeared on the front page of The New York Times after his arrival, it hardly needed a caption: He was instantly recognizable for his unique sartorial style, combining military fatigues, forage cap and unkempt beard.

    His 70-strong entourage was packed with khaki-clad ex-guerrillas, whose raffish facial hair had become such a powerful symbol in Cuba that they were known simply as "los barbudos" ("the bearded ones").
    "In a way, Fidel, Che and the barbudos were the first hippies," said Jon Lee Anderson, the author of "Che: A Revolutionary Life" and a forthcoming biography of Castro. "They burst onto the scene at the dawn of the TV age as the ultimate sexy rebels. Their sum total of their 'look,' with long hair and beards and berets, was potent, and it played into the cultural zeitgeist."
    Che Guevara with Lisa Howard, an ABC journalist, in Cuba in 1964.CreditElliott Erwitt/Magnum Photo

    At the time, many young Americans were showing the first signs of disenchantment with what they saw as the leaden conformity of the Cold War era. Allen Ginsberg's paean to freedom, "Howl," was published in 1956; Jack Kerouac's "On the Road" in 1957. "The Second Sex," by Simone de Beauvoir, was in translation, and the civil rights movement was gaining pace. 
    The Cubans formed a stylistic bridge between the Beats and the 1960s counterculture, Dr. Abrego said.

    "The history of fashion is not linear," she said. "There could have easily been longhaired hippies without Che. But the impression the Cubans made on the sartorial landscape is real." Their revolution was a most photogenic one, and the Cubans' rebellious style infiltrated America.
    The beards had been born of necessity. Castro and a band of some 20 fellow survivors from his amphibious landing in eastern Cuba in December 1956 had no razors.
    But their blossoming facial topiary had quickly turned into a "badge of identity," the leader later explained to the Spanish journalist Ignacio Ramonet, whose interviews with Castro are collected in "Fidel Castro: My Life: A Spoken Autobiography." The accidental style was made permanent "to preserve the symbolism."
    Other elements of the revolutionary look came together during the campaign, lovingly cataloged by glossy magazines. In 1958, Fidel's younger brother Raúl was photographed by Life sporting shoulder-length hair and a jaunty cowboy hat.

    Che Guevara in what became his signature beret.CreditRia Novosti/Sputnik, via Associated Press

    Photos of the mysterious, handsome Argentine-born medic Ernesto Guevara, known as Che, showed that he, too, was growing his hair long and modeling a soon-to-be-famous black beret.

    And it wasn't only men. In early 1958, a Spanish photographer traveled to the Sierra Maestra for Paris Match and came back with images that included a top guerrilla leader, the M.I.T.-educated Vilma Espín, with a white mariposa bloom behind her ear, looking like a prototype flower child. 
    Also featured was Celia Sánchez, the rebels' key organizer, who had designed her own uniform with green twill tapered slacks and V-neck overblouse (according to Dickie Chapelle, one of the first American war photographers, who traveled with them). 
    In July 1958, Espín appeared in Life toting a rifle on her hip like Cuba's answer to Bonnie Parker, of Bonnie and Clyde fame. In a Doris Day world on the cusp of the feminist movement, the semiotics were subversive.

    Before Castro's 1959 visit to the United States, the Cubans had hired a Madison Avenue P.R. agent, Bernard Rellin, for a princely $6,000 a month, to advise their leader on how to appeal to Americans.

    Edgar Leonardo Prada Rosales, a student and fan of Che Guevara, adopted the revolutionary's look.CreditThomas Hoepker/Magnum

    When they met in Havana, Rellin told Castro that the guerrillas should all cut their hair. Castro refused. He knew the power of the rebellious "barbudo" look.

    It was a canny decision. By April, Castro's so-called brand had become so renowned that an American toy company produced 100,000 forage caps with strap-on beards for kids, which were put on sale alongside Davy Crockett coonskin hats and G.I. Joe helmets. 
    Each was emblazoned with the black-and-red logo of the revolutionary 26th of July Movement and the words "El Libertador" ("The Liberator"), evoking the independence hero Simón Bolívar.
    Castro's four-day New York visit unfurled in a whirlwind of whiskers and khaki. His picturesque image cropped up in settings both official and touristic: He was received at City Hall by Mayor Robert F. Wagner, he greeted wide-eyed students at Columbia University, he visited The New York Times offices and he spoke to a crowd of 16,000 at the band shell in Central Park.
    All of this occurred at the perfect time to influence Americans, said Nathaniel Adams, a writer who specializes in fashion subcultures. The flood of media imagery coincided with the economic boom in the West that created a new class of young consumers with disposable cash.

    From left, Vilma Espín, a guerrilla leader who married Raúl Castro; Raúl Castro, the brother of Fidel Castro; and Che Guevara, during a 26th of July celebration in 1964.CreditLee Lockwood/The LIFE Images Collection, via Getty Images

    "This was the first time teenagers around the world started to consciously copy each other's styles," Mr. Adams said. "And the fashions were being created by the kids themselves, not handed down by adults." The highly educated Castro was like James Dean with a progressive political agenda: a rebel with a cause.

    On the surface, New York's Fidel infatuation seemed to fade relatively quickly. By the time of his next visit to the city, to address the United Nations in September 1960, Castro was derided for the same style choices that had once seemed so seductive. 
    The New York Daily News mocked him as "El Beardo," or just "The Beard"; Senator Barry Goldwater lamented that the Cuban "knight in shining armor" had turned out to be "a bum without a shave." Before long, some Americans buzz cuts were staging anti-hippie rallies, holding placards with sayings like "Long Hair Is Communism."
    But Castro's influence on fashion would endure. For his 1960 New York visit, he and his entourage moved on from white middle-class America and decamped to a Harlem hotel, the Theresa, where they met Malcolm X and other black leaders. 

    This time, the style highlight was a cocktail party in the ballroom organized by the progressive group Fair Play for Cuba and attended by 250 bohemian luminaries, including the poets Allen Ginsberg and Langston Hughes, the photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson and an array of civil rights activists.

    Fidel Castro's army chief of staff, Major Juan Almeida, left, and Captain Antonio Nunez Jimenez, head of Cuba's National Agrarian Reform Institute, at the Hotel Theresa in Harlem, when the Cubans met the leaders of the black empowerment movement and other civil rights activists.CreditWilliam N. Jacobellis/NYP Holdings, Inc., via Getty Images

    "The proletarian staff of the hotel, the olive green uniform of the 'guerilleros,' the general lack of formality, all helped to emphasize the gaiety and the stimulating, if not revolutionary, character of the meeting," wrote one guest, the European journalist K.S. Karol, of the party.

    Ten years later, Tom Wolfe coined the term "radical chic" to mock New York intellectuals who were hypnotized by revolutionary fashions at a party hosted by Leonard Bernstein for the Black Panthers — who, of course, had taken the paramilitary look from the Cubans and made it their own. 
    Since then, fashion has only further denatured the style, and now camo pants are available everywhere from Old Navy to Balmain.
    "'Radical chic' is a term that seems so 20th century," Ms. Abrego said. "It was once very negative, referring to a style that developed organically, but has been appropriated as a fashionable look without any further political commentary or personal risk. I struggle to explain it to kids wearing Che T-shirts today."


    10) Cool Jewelry Inspired by Frida Kahlo
    The artist was debilitated throughout her life by a spinal injury, and heaping on trinkets was a way of arming herself against pain.
    By Rugh La Ferla, April 16, 2019

    Adorned: Frida Kahlo in front of one of her paintings and a wooden bird cage, circa 1945, wearing flowers in her hair and a wooden necklace.CreditCreditHulton Archive/Getty Images

    She's been tagged the original influencer, her familiar unibrow, coiled braid and hoops showing up on key rings, coffee mugs, dish towels and dinner plates. Even a Barbie has been cast in her image, down to her signature flower crown and the ropelike chains snaking to her waist.
    She's Frida Kahlo, of course: artist, activist and feminist idol, her image invoked in regular cycles since at least the late '70s, with a reverence more often reserved for popular saints.

    She's back once more, her sway, strong as ever, reflected in an outpouring of Frida-inspired jewelry: sculptured hands suspended from earrings and necklaces, Day of the Dead skulls charms, bracelets and pendants stamped with the artist's vivid features.

    A choker, bracelet and brooches from "Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving," which is at the Brooklyn Museum until May 12.CreditJonathan Dorado

    "Frida Kahlo: Making Herself Up," an exhibition last fall at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, helped spark this latest revival, and with it an influx of Frida-like baubles. A version of that show, "Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving," at the Brooklyn Museum this year, is focused largely on Kahlo's wardrobe and accouterments, not least the painter's penchant for piling on rings, layering weighty chokers and silver bangles, and weaving garlands through her hair.

    Making the most of the moment, jewelers at every level of the marketplace are racing to cite Frida as their muse. "She was the 1940s counterpart to an influencer; a walking painting," said Holly Dyment, a Canadian jeweler with a Hollywood following.
    Like Kahlo's personal jewelry, Ms. Dyment's collection of gold and enamel portrait rings have a talismanic quality. "Wearing one," she said, "is like having a little piece of Frida that might give you strength and courage."
    A "Frida" ring by Holly Dyment.

    Terry Gibralter feels a similar connection. House of Terrance, her website, is awash in items meant to conjure the artist. Like the Kahlo originals, some pieces, including evil eye earrings and hammered gold hands resembling a pair Picasso was said to have given Kahlo, are imbued with touches of mysticism. "Wearing them can make you feel kind of protected," Ms. Gibralter said.

    The artist predates Madonna, Lady Gaga and Cardi B as a mistress of self-invention. "Kahlo's jewels were a crucial and carefully considered part of the face (and hands) she presented to the world," Clare Phillips writes in the volume of Frida lore that accompanied the V&A exhibition. They offer, she adds, "a compelling vision of strength and power."
    For Kahlo, debilitated throughout her life by a spinal injury she suffered in her youth, heaping on trinkets was a way of arming herself against pain. It was also a form of celebration. As the American muralist Lucienne Bloch told the Kahlo biographer Hayden Herrera, Frida tore through New York dime stores "like a tornado; she'd find cheap costume jewelry," Ms. Bloch recalled, "and she'd make it look fantastic."
    Often confined to her bed, she traveled widely in her imagination. She welcomed small gifts of jewelry from visitors and freely dispensed her own. "If receiving gifts was a way of bringing the world to her, giving was a way of extending herself out into it," Ms. Herrera observes in the 1983 biography.
    Kahlo countered her frailty by threading flowers through her hair, freighting her torso with Colombian jade and her fingers with gobstopper rings. "She dressed every day as if she were preparing for a fiesta," Ms. Herrera writes.
    Her exuberance is contagious even now. "She has invented a style that everybody wants to follow," said Carole Le Bris Perez, whose ornate pieces including tourmaline, sapphire, turquoise and diamond encrusted skull rings and pendants were created in homage to Kahlo's fascination with the Mexican cult of death. "I do try to create her vibe," Ms. Perez said.

    Skull ring and pendants by Carole Le Bris Perez.

    Kahlo-inflected jewelry is proliferating on Etsy, the online bazaar full of Mexican silver marketed as Frida-inspired and highlighted by items including Day of the Dead skull brooches, hand-painted wooden pins, glass drop earrings, bracelets and bangles, many of them embellished with the artist's strikingly androgynous, widely recognizable features.
    That influx is in tune with a perceptible shift in fashion's direction, said Dayna Isom Johnson, who charts trends for Etsy. "People are moving away from the minimal look and embracing maximalism," she said, "piling on color and texture, which is the definition of Frida style."
    Even jewelers whose connection to Kahlo is tenuous at best are claiming some kinship these days.
    A relationship is evident, Deirdre Featherstone maintained, in the fanciful drop earrings and necklaces she designs and sells at Bergdorf Goodman, pieces carved from pale coral, tourmaline and lavender jade.
    "Frida adorned herself in color. She lived in color," Ms. Featherstone said. And, she added blithely, "She could rock a pair of earrings."


    11) Two Virginia Police Officers Are Fired Amid Allegations of Links to White Nationalists
    By Karen Zraick, April 18, 2019

    Sgt. Robert A. Stamm of the Virginia Division of Capitol Police was fired this week after an investigation into a report that he had ties to white nationalists.CreditCreditVirginia Capital Police

    Two Virginia police officers who worked for different agencies were fired this week after an anti-fascist group linked them to white nationalist organizations.
    The first case involved Sgt. Robert A. Stamm of the Virginia Division of Capitol Police, who had been assigned to protests calling on Gov. Ralph Northam to resign over a racist yearbook photo that surfaced in February.
    Anti-Fascists of the Seven Hills, which said it was based in Richmond, Va., wrote online in February that Sergeant Stamm came to its attention because he had a large Band-Aid covering his neck while patrolling. The group found photos on social media of Sergeant Stamm with tattoos, flags and banners that used white supremacist symbols and images, it said in a blog post.
    It also said he was linked to the Asatru Folk Assembly, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has described as an extremist group that invokes pre-Christian Nordic spirituality. In 2015, the F.B.I. foiled a plotby men it described as followers of an extremist variant of the Asatru faith to attack black churches and synagogues in the Chesterfield area.

    Sergeant Stamm was suspended after the group published its post. On Wednesday, Col. Anthony S. Pike, the Capitol Police chief, announced in a statement that Sergeant Stamm had been "separated from his employment." He did not explain what had led to the firing.
    In Facebook messages on Thursday night, Mr. Stamm said that he was discriminated against for his Asatru religion.
    "My religion is not politics, it is faith," he wrote. "My constitutional rights were violated. Period."
    In the second case, Daniel Morley, a school resource officer with the Chesterfield County Police Department, was fired Thursday following an investigation into allegations that he was affiliated with the group Identity Evropa, also known as the American Identity Movement. Members of that group helped plan the 2017 "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Va., according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
    Antifa Seven Hills had identified Mr. Morley as a "pledge coordinator" for the group, which recruits on college campuses and elsewhere. Antifa said that Mr. Morley was responsible "for guiding new applicants through the vetting process" and had been a member since 2017.

    Mr. Morley was suspended in March while the department investigated the claims. Col. Jeffrey S. Katz, the police chief, wrote on social mediaon Thursday that investigators had authenticated the online postings and activities.
    "The views espoused by and attributed to Mr. Morley violate county and departmental policy and our organizational values; his continued employment is antithetical to the expectations of our personnel and those we serve," he wrote.
    The anti-fascist group also alleged that Mr. Stamm and Mr. Morley knew each other, and in March it posted what it said was a photo of the two together.
    Efforts to Mr. Morley on Thursday night were unsuccessful.

     Jack Begg contributed research.


    12) Black Columbia Student's Confrontation With Security Becomes Flashpoint Over Racism on Campus
    A video of Alexander McNab being pinned down by security officers is adding to a broader conversation about how students of color are treated at one of the nation's most prominent universities.
    By Sharon Ottoman, April 18, 2019

    Alexander McNab, 23, said he hoped that his encounter with campus security officers would start a conversation about racial bias at Barnard College and Columbia University.CreditCreditJosé Alvarado Jr. for The New York Times

    Alexander McNab, a black Columbia University senior, was walking through the gates of Barnard College on his way to the library at about 11:30 p.m. last Thursday. 
    He heard a voice calling out "Hello, Sir," repeatedly, after he had entered the gates. He figured it was a school public safety officer, wanting to see his school ID. 
    Mr. McNab had been stopped several times around campus recently — when students wouldn't normally be asked to show ID, he said — and he thought to himself, "not this time," and kept walking.

    Within a few minutes, Mr. McNab was being forcibly pinned down by public safety officers inside the library. And within 24 hours, a video of the encounter had gone viral, drawing accusations of racial profiling and adding to a broader conversation about how students of color are treated at one of the country's most prominent universities.

    The incident has highlighted growing tensions between students, the administration and public safety officers, and has led to several protests and listening groups over the past week. A petition stating that acts of harassment by Barnard and Columbia public safety officers against people of color are daily occurrences has been signed by dozens of student groups, 15 professors and some 2,000 individuals. 
    In an interview, Mr. McNab said he "intended this to be a communicative act" and he had decided to keep walking to draw attention to how students of color seemed to be asked to show their IDs more often than white students. 
    "What I realized," he added, "is every time I show my ID when I'm asked, the conversation about this remains silent."
    But, he said, he did not intend for the encounter become physical: "Neither my words nor my body at any point connoted any form of threat to them."
    On Friday, the five officers and their supervisor were placed on paid administrative leave by Barnard and the school said it had hired an independent firm to investigate the encounter. Barnard, a women's college that is part of Columbia but has its own administration and public safety department, released a statement, calling the incident "unfortunate." Columbia University's three undergraduate deans sent a note to students decrying racism and calling the incident "disturbing."

    On Sunday, Sian Leah Beilock, Barnard's president, went further, sending a letter to the school's community noting she understood there was "a pervasive sense that racial bias remains pernicious on our campus," and apologizing to Mr. McNab. She has since met with him to apologize in person.
    "The confrontation," she wrote in her letter, "puts into stark relief what some members of the Barnard College community, particularly people of color, have been saying about their relationship with the Office of Public Safety and the lack of trust they have in it to keep them safe."
    Mr. McNab, 23, an anthropology student, said in the interview that he had been asked to show his ID three other times in recent months. Each time, he said, he felt he was stopped because of his race and appearance, but had complied. 
    One time, a group of officers approached him in a hallway at Barnard, while he was taking a break from his Afrobeats dance practice. He was barefoot, because he dances barefoot. They asked to see his ID, he said, and told him there was a problem with homeless people sleeping at the college.

    Several students said black students having to prove their identity more than other students was an ongoing issue at the university. 
    "This is not an isolated incident, and we urge the school to not consider it as such," Robrenisha Williams, 22, a Barnard senior and vice president of the Barnard Organization of Soul Sisters, said on Tuesday.

    Tirzah Anderson, 18, who is a representative on the Barnard student government, said she hears "pretty often" from students of color that public safety officers asked for ID when they were walking through campus, "even though they just saw other people walk by and they weren't asked."
    Mr. McNab said on Tuesday that he knew there was a rule that students were supposed to show ID entering Barnard's campus after 11 p.m., but he wasn't aware it was being enforced, because it often was not. The college's campus is directly across from Columbia, just south of Harlem.
    Hungry after dance practice, he said he had checked a Facebook pagewhere students posted when there was food leftover from school events. He said had already entered the Millstein Center, which houses the library, greeted some of the students and had started putting Indian food on a plate, when several public safety officers rushed in.
    When asked to show ID by the officers, Mr. McNab said he raised his voice so the other students could hear, and then said no, telling them this was the third time he had been asked recently. When asked to leave the building, he also refused, saying he was a student who had a right to be there; Columbia students are allowed to use Barnard facilities.
    A Barnard spokeswoman said that when Mr. McNab had failed to show his ID at the front gate, the officer had called in a "10-13," meaning he needed immediate assistance. 
    "Coupled with the 10-13 call, Mr. McNab's continued refusal to stop and show his ID once inside a building filled with students was alarming," said Rochelle Ritchie, the Barnard spokeswoman.
    Mr. McNab said he was not asked for ID at the front gate. 
    The video of the encounter begins as the officers start to get physical, holding Mr. McNab down and then pinning him against a counter.

    "You have no right to touch me, take your hands off me," Mr. McNab is heard saying.
    After about 30 seconds, one of the officers relaxes his grip. Mr. McNab, his clothing askew, then agrees to show them his ID and takes it out of his wallet.
    The officer then says he will hold on to his ID to verify if he is an active student. After the filming ends, the ID was returned, and Mr. McNab said he was permitted to stay on campus and get food. 
    Ms. Ritchie said its public safety officers "are trained to not engage in physical contact unless they encounter someone who poses a direct threat to themselves or others." She added that "at the time that physical contact was made, our officers were not aware that Mr. McNab was a Columbia University student." 
    Daria Forde, 21, a junior at Barnard who witnessed the confrontation on Thursday night, questioned the officers' response. "Public Safety should have just approached him with one officer. I don't think it needed to be six, and I don't think he needed to be pinned down at all. The fact that they thought he was actually a threat is very telling."
    "There are people who criticize him and say: He did it on purpose, why didn't he just show his ID?" she added. "But there are students who wouldn't have had that same treatment that he did." 
    Ms. Forde, who appears in a second video where a security officer tells Ms. Forde to "relax" when she objects to his assertion that Mr. McNab had run into the building, said she had black friends who had been asked for ID while sitting at night on the library steps where students often congregate. 
    "I think as black students," she said, "we are heavily racialized and we are not seen as people who are supposed to be here."


    13) Billionaires face 'yellow vest' scorn over Notre-Dame pledges
    By James Rothwell and Henry Samuel, April 18, 2019
    Anti-government protesters at the Place de la Republique Square during yellow-vest protests in Paris.
    Anti-government protesters at the Place de la Republique Square during yellow-vest protests in Paris CREDIT: ARINA LEBEDEVA/TASS

    Billionaire French tycoons faced a mounting backlash on Wednesday over tax breaks on their huge donations to restore Notre-Dame, as Yellow Vest protestors said the hundreds of millions of euros should be spent on tackling France's social problems.
    The contributions to the cathedral's renovation approached €900 million (£780m) on Wednesday as the owners of Chanel and Dior stepped forward with donations along with Disney and the technology giant Apple.
    However, the outpouring of cash has angered supporters of France's Yellow Vest movement, which noted that President Emmanuel Macron's "rich friends" stood to receive major tax breaks linked to donations in support of the public good and restoring national treasures. 

    They also pointed out that the sudden willingness of wealthy businesses to turn out their pockets showed that money was available to boost the French government's coffers.
    French corporations are eligible for a 60-percent tax rebate on cultural donations.  "There is growing anger on social media over the inertia of big corporations over social misery while they are showing themselves capable of mobilising a crazy amount of cash overnight for Notre Dame," said Ingrid Levavasseur, one of the founding members of the Yellow Vests.
    Benjamin Cauchy, a spokesman for the Yellow Vests, added: "It's fine that the oligarchy is paying for Notre Dame. Good consciences do not hide misery and austerity."
    The Yellow Vests say they will be holding more demonstrations against Mr Macron this Saturday despite the Notre-Dame catastrophe. 
    Previous protests have led to violent clashes on the streets of French towns and cities with riot police.
    Stung by such criticism, Francois-Henri Pinault, the billionaire CEO of the Kering luxury goods empire, announced he would forfeit his rebate on the €100m he has pledged.
    "The donation for Notre-Dame of Paris will not be the object of any tax deduction. Indeed, the Pinault family considers that it is out of the question to make French taxpayers shoulder the burden," he said in a statement.
    The government said the 60 per cent tax break would remain unchanged but increased the rebate to 75 percent on individual donations for Notre-Dame of up to €1,000. 
    The French president has called the fire an opportunity for the nation to show unity and that now is "not a time for politics."
    "It is up to us to convert this disaster into an opportunity to come together, having deeply reflected on what we have been and what we have to be and become better than we are. It is up to us to find the thread of our national project," he said in a television address earlier this week.  

    14) Life on Mars Should Not Look This Appealing
    Before we set our sights on other planets, let’s take better care of Earth.
    By Maeve Higgins, April 21, 2019

    “Mars Base 1”, a project by the company C-Space in China’s Gobi Desert, is a Mars base simulator.CreditCreditWang Zhao/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

    A couple of years ago, I was a guest on a comedy and science panel discussion — a combination that works well because when you laugh your mouth opens, allowing information to float freely in to your head. We were talking about the possibility of travel to Mars. The conversation had turned to how moving to Mars would be useful if and when we wreck our own planet.
    James L. Green, a physicist who has since become the chief scientist at NASA, said the reason he wants to send humans to Mars is to colonize it: “As explorers, as Americans, this is what we do.” The audience cheered, the atmosphere was jubilant, and that’s when something inside me flinched a little.
    I’ve been trying to work out why. Obviously, there’s the whole colonialism thing, which has historically been not that great for many of us. Also, there’s the enormous resources we’d need to get to Mars. So far, only Matt Damon has made it safely there. Mainly though, I balked at the thought of us marauding around the solar system instead of simply getting a hold of ourselves back here on Earth and working to prevent our own extinction.

    Ghosting, in modern dating parlance, is when your beloved vanishes without explanation, having taken what he or she needed. Rhiana Gunn-Wright, whose expertise helped shape the Green New Deal, says that humans are ghosting the planet. The joke is a perfect analogy: We’re in this fabulous life-giving relationship with Earth, this ideal planet, but we’re messing her around. We’re using her and we’re not answering her calls, and planning on leaving her for a cooler planet as soon as we figure out how.

    The irony is that Earth is probably better off without us, and can certainly carry on long after we are gone. I can see her twirling into the future now, flaunting her revenge body made of lava and poisonous tides, completely inhospitable to us poor clowns. Then we’ll be sorry. Well, we’ll be dead, but I was raised Irish Catholic, so I believe it’s possible to feel guilt well into the afterlife.
    Mars is a fantasy, a faraway and icy mistress beckoning us to leave this mess we’ve made and take our oxygen-starved chances with her. It is a seductive distraction from what ails us, not a viable solution. Government agencies from countries around the world, as well as billionaires and futurists, say that travel to Mars is an insurance policy, that they’re working on a “planet B,” but I don’t buy that. Not just because I can’t afford it. When we break something, we need to fix it, or at least try to fix it. 
    What can any one person do? Scolding does come naturally to my thin lips, and I love to be right. But while I feel good after making someone feel bad — “Oh. Hmm. Is that a single-use plastic bottle?” — nothing is ever that simple. 
    For the past year I’ve been co-hosting a podcast on the theme of climate justice, and I’ve learned a lot. Not one of the scientists or farmers or Native American activists I’ve spoken to has taken me aside and said “Listen — Maeve the Martian has a nice ring to it, get on up there girl!” 
    Rather, I’ve learned that the way to prevent further climate catastrophe is much closer to home: personal behavior change combined with collective action and political progress. A conversation with Anne Poelina helped teach me that. She is a researcher at the University of Notre Dame Australia, a member of the Nyikina indigenous community, and what is known as a traditional owner from the lower Fitzroy River. Her people and lands have faced enormous threats throughout the years, but she never left to pursue opportunity elsewhere. She has worked consistently and cheerfully to connect traditional ecological knowledge to Western science.

    Perhaps, like me, you’ve felt terrified and paralyzed by this existential threat, but I’ve learned that despair is actually a luxury. Most of us can’t plan an escape. We’re also not willing to accept a dystopian future.
    The trip to Mars will take around nine months, assuming you make it through the meteors and cosmic radiation. You’d then have to figure out how to land, and that’s when the work would truly begin: creating entirely new conditions that could allow you to survive. Even thinking about it a tiny bit seriously is an enormous feat of imagination and ingenuity, and such a wasted opportunity to use that same imagination and ingenuity right here on Earth, right now, when we need it so desperately. 
    Ghosting the planet is the worst thing we could do to ourselves. It’s difficult to fully love the one you’re with, though, if you don’t see a future together. So I’m imagining a beautiful future for us and this planet, the happiest of marriages with coral and forests and honeybees all around for eternity. There will be no tut-tutting about where your takeout boxes end up because we’ll have all calmed down and traveled back to a time when we sit around for hours and eat from real plates. We’ll reminisce about that time we almost ruined everything but we’re fine again now and, actually, aren’t the butterflies getting to be a little much?
    This Earth Day, if what we are doing to our planet breaks your heart, let it. Just make sure it breaks open wide enough to allow hope in.
    Maeve Higgins is the author of “Maeve in America: Essays by a Girl From Somewhere Else” and a contributing opinion writer.

    15) The Giants at the Heart of the Opioid Crisis
    By Danny HakimWilliam K. Rashbaum and Roni Caryn Rabin, April 22, 2019

    The headquarters of McKesson Corporation, the drug distributing giant, in San Francisco.CreditCreditAnastasiia Sapon for The New York Times
    There are the Sacklers, the family that controls Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin. There are the doctors who ran pill mills, and the rogue pharmacists who churned out opioid orders by the thousands.
    But the daunting financial muscle that has driven the spread of prescription opioids in the United States comes from the distributors — companies that act as middlemen, trucking medications of all kinds from vast warehouses to hospitals, clinics and drugstores.
    The industry’s giants, Cardinal Health, McKesson and AmerisourceBergen, are all among the 15 largest American companiesby revenue. Together, they distribute more than 90 percent of the nation’s drug and medical supplies.

    New civil suits from the attorneys general in New YorkVermont and Washington State accuse distributors of brazenly devising systems to evade regulators. They allege that the companies warned many pharmacies at risk of being reported to the Drug Enforcement Administration, helped others to increase and circumvent limits on how many opioids they were allowed to buy, and often gave advance notice on the rare occasions they performed audits.

    Three-fourths of prescriptions at a Queens pharmacy supplied by Amerisource were written by doctors who were later indicted or convicted, the New York complaint said. For more than five years, Cardinal shipped to a pharmacy with the highest oxycodone volume in Suffolk County, N.Y., despite continually flagging its orders as suspicious. McKesson kept shipping to two pharmacies six years after learning that they had been filling prescriptions from doctors who were likely engaging in crimes. The shipments stopped only last year, after the doctors were indicted.
    “How do the C.E.O.s of these companies sleep at night?” Bob Ferguson, Washington’s attorney general, said at a recent news conference.
    Executives of drug distribution companies testified before a House hearing on the opioid crisis in May 2018. From left, George Barrett of Cardinal Health; Dr. Joseph Mastandrea of Miami-Luken Inc.; John Hammergren of McKesson; J. Christopher Smith of H.D. Smith Wholesale Drug Company; and Steven Collis of AmerisourceBergen Corporation.CreditAlex Brandon/Associated Press

    Now, in what could be a test case, the United States attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York and the D.E.A. are wrapping up an investigation that appears likely to result in the first criminal case involving a major opioid distributor, Rochester Drug Cooperative, one of the 10 largest, people familiar with the matter said. The investigation began with an examination of possible crimes including wire and mail fraud and various drug violations, according to three people with knowledge of a federal grand jury subpoena served on Rochester in 2017, but it remains unclear what charges might be brought.
    The state lawsuits also present evidence that government at all levels has been ineffective at policing the distributors. For the first decade of the crisis, the three largest companies did not even have meaningful programs to monitor suspicious orders, despite being required by federal law to track narcotics and to look out for spikes in orders and cash payments. Since then they have promised and failed to build robust systems to prevent widespread opioid abuse.The distributors rebutted the new allegations.
    “We reject the state’s suggestion that our employees circumvented safeguards to increase sales,” Kristin Chasen, a spokeswoman for McKesson, said in a statement. Cardinal, in its statement, said it had “developed and implemented a constantly adaptive and rigorous system to combat controlled substance diversion.”
    Amerisource put the onus on the D.E.A., which it said receives data on all orders shipped and notifications of suspicious ones. “It defies common sense for distributors such as AmerisourceBergen to be singled out,” the company said in a statement.
    In the two decades since OxyContin was introduced in 1996, there have been nearly 218,000 overdose deaths related to prescription opioids, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While overdose deaths continue to rise, the number of opioid prescriptions has been falling since 2012.
    But that is mostly because of a classification change that made drugs like Vicodin (which mix opioids with milder drugs) Schedule II narcotics, which placed more restrictions on prescribing them. Oxycodone, the powerful narcotic that is the main ingredient in OxyContin, was already a Schedule II drug and its sales have continued to rise, according to figures compiled by Iqvia, a health data provider.
    The three largest distributors sold 1.6 billion oxycodone pills in New York alone between 2010 and 2018. It was distributors, said the office of Attorney General Letitia James of New York, who “jammed open the floodgates.”
    A page from the complaint filed by the New York attorney general’s office.
    In 2017, after years of allegedly flouting legal requirements to monitor suspicious orders of opioids, McKesson agreed to a $150 million settlement with the Justice Department, a record for a distributor.

    For most businesses, $150 million would be a lot of money. At McKesson, it was less than the $159 million retirement package the company granted its longtime chief executive, John H. Hammergren, in 2013. (After a public backlash — a Forbes headline asked if it was “The World’s Most Outrageous Pension Deal?” — the company later reducedthe package to $114 million.)
    It was among a string of settlements, and others came far cheaper.
    In 2008, McKesson, which supplies Walmart, paid $13.25 million and Cardinal, the main CVS supplier, paid $34 million to settle federal claims that they had been filling suspicious orders.
    Before 2007, only two of Cardinal’s roughly 40,000 employees were dedicated to addressing the problem, according to court filings. One McKesson compliance officer complained that asking for resources was like “asking for a Ferrari,” according to New York’s lawsuit.
    More settlements followed, but little changed. Cardinal paid a total of $64 million in settlements with the Justice Department in 2012, 2016 and 2017, with similar agreements struck by its rivals. The policing of opioid sales continued to be largely delegated by law to the distributors.
    The companies created order volume thresholds for different drugs that would trigger reporting to the D.E.A., but some were so lofty that they resulted in relatively few such reports, the complaints said.
    Or they worked around them. In one industry practice, known as “cutting,” Cardinal canceled pharmacy orders “that exceeded a threshold” and allowed “a subsequent, often smaller order,” Vermont’s complaint said.

    Brandi Martin, a Cardinal spokeswoman, said that “cut orders are reported to the D.E.A.” and were not “a tactic to avoid reporting.”

    Egregious moves spurred limited responses, according to the complaints. McKesson allowed one pharmacy a fivefold oxycodone increase over six months, then refused another request for an 80 percent increase. The company continued shipping to the pharmacy anyway, even after a rival stopped.
    McKesson, in its statement, said it was continuing “to enhance and evolve” its compliance efforts.
    By last year, executives were summoned by Congress. Both Mr. Hammergren, of McKesson, and George Barrett, the executive chairman of Cardinal at the time and its former chief executive, played down their roles in the supply chain.
    During the hearings, Representative Kathy Castor, a Florida Democrat, picked out a single drugstore in rural West Virginia that had been swamped with opioids — 4,000 pills a day at one point from Cardinal, 5,000 from McKesson.
    “Don’t you take responsibility?” she asked, adding, “You saw that paying the penalties on your settlement agreements was a cost worth paying because you were making so much money?”
    “I wish we had moved earlier to stop shipping to that pharmacy,” Mr. Barrett said at the hearing. Mr. Hammergren echoed that, saying, “I would have liked to have made a decision faster.”
    Ms. Castor was not satisfied. “This was the opposite of due diligence,” she said.
    There was little enthusiasm for policing opioids at Rochester Drug Cooperative, New York’s complaint alleges.

    For years, only two people at Rochester were assigned to compliance, and one had other responsibilities. Amid discussions about hiring a compliance consultant, Laurence F. Doud III wrote in an email when he was the company’s chief executive that it was “making me ill as to how much this is going to cost.”
    Mr. Doud is now suing Rochester, claiming wrongful termination and contending it conspired to blame him for conduct that the D.E.A. and federal prosecutors in New York are investigating in the criminal inquiry. (His suit was previously reported by The Democrat and Chronicle of the city of Rochester.) The current chief executive, Joseph Brennan, is on leave.
    Rochester is a cooperative of pharmacies, so monitoring suspicious orders meant monitoring its own members. But it had practices that were similar to those of its larger rivals. Rochester’s upper limits on how many pills pharmacies could buy were “invariably so high that customers could not reach them unless their order volumes tripled from their historical purchasing patterns, rendering the system virtually useless,” New York alleges.
    Sales were brisk. Between 2010 and 2018, Rochester sold 143 million oxycodone pills in New York.
    The company added a Queens pharmacy with numerous cash buyers as a customer in 2016. The pharmacy was also filling prescriptions from out-of-state doctors and one who had been arrested over oxycodone prescribing practices, the complaint says.
    In 2013, Rochester continued shipping to a pharmacy run by a pediatrician who had surfaced in headlines as running a pill mill, according to the complaint. In an email, one Rochester consultant called the situation “a stick of dynamite waiting for the D.E.A. to light the fuse.” The shipments continued.
    In a $360,000 settlement in 2015, Rochester admitted that it had failed to report thousands of opioid transactions over five years. The subsequent criminal inquiry sought records including loans and lines of credit that Rochester had extended to its customers, according to people with knowledge of the 2017 subpoena.

    Criminal charges are soon expected, with the company and current and former executives under scrutiny, the three people familiar with the matter said. They, like those with knowledge of the subpoena, spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the developing investigation. Such a prosecution would appear to be the first time a major distributor has been held criminally responsible in connection with opioids.

    The D.E.A. and the office of Geoffrey S. Berman, United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, declined to comment on the inquiry.
    Jeff Eller, a Rochester spokesman, declined to answer specific questions, citing the investigation, but he said that Rochester’s compliance department is more than six times larger than it was in 2013 and that the company “will continue to make a significant investment.”
    Louis Crisafi’s opioid of choice was Actiq, a powerful fentanyl lollipop.
    He allegedly left wrappers around the office, which was a bad idea, since he was a senior investigator for the Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement, a branch of the New York State Department of Health that monitors opioid sales.
    Mr. Crisafi’s fentanyl use was noticed at work by several other investigators and was among the topics of a 2008 report issued by the state inspector general that raised concerns about the bureau, where many investigators reported to a pharmacist. (Mr. Crisafi, who left the bureau at the time, said he had a legal prescription and never used opioids on the job.)
    States have had trouble policing opioid use — even among their own. Like similar agencies elsewhere, the New York narcotics bureau was ill-equipped, with fewer than 20 investigators overseeing distributors and manufacturers, along with the state’s 5,586 pharmacies and more than 120,000 prescribers.

    Kenneth Post, a former director of the bureau, said it does not belong in the Health Department, which has close ties with health care providers.
    “They’re policing their own, and it doesn’t work,” said Mr. Post, who left the agency in 2010. The Health Department called him a “disgruntled former employee.”
    A 2012 audit by the state Comptroller’s Office found that the bureau had overlooked hundreds of thousands of flawed opioid prescriptions over two years.
    The Health Department said in a statement that the bureau had only “limited investigatory” power, deflecting responsibility “to federal, state and local law enforcement.”
    At the federal level, the D.E.A. does not closely monitor the millions of transactions involving controlled substances, said Paul T. Farrell, a lawyer who represents municipalities in lawsuits against drugmakers.
    “The D.E.A. is not the T.S.A., which is responsible for looking at every passenger going through and screening out those who are threats,” he said, referring to the Transportation Security Administration. Instead, he said that “once a tip is made,” the D.E.A. will “reconstruct what actually happened.”

    In a statement, the D.E.A. said investigations are presented to federal prosecutors, who choose “the appropriate litigation strategy.”
    Distributors have marshaled lobbyists, contributing $1.5 million to sponsors and co-sponsors of a 2016 law thwarting the D.E.A.’s efforts to freeze suspicious drug shipments.
    Distributors have also lined up lobbyists with ties to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York, where lawmakers included $100 million in opioid taxes or surcharges in two consecutive budgets, though last year’s measure is tied up in court. They have hired two firms founded or co-founded by onetime aides to former Gov. Mario M. Cuomo as well as Mercury Group, whose executives include former advisers to the current governor.
    For now, distributors remain largely in control.
    “It’s not a good system,” said Dr. Andrew Kolodny, an addiction expert. “It’s the fox guarding the henhouse.”


    16) A Leading Cause for Wrongful Convictions: Experts Overstating Forensic Results
    These three men spent decades in prison as a result of statistical exaggerations. They were among 150 men and women released from prison after their wrongful convictions were overturned in 2018.
    By Heather Murphy, April 20, 2019

    In 1987, a forensic expert testified that there was a less than one in 10,000 chance that these hairs came from the same person. The problem? Those odds were plucked from thin air.CreditCreditVirginia Journal of Criminal Law

    More than 150 men and women in American prisons were exonerated in 2018, according to a recent report by a registry that tracks wrongful convictions. Combined, these individuals spent more than 1,600 years in prison, a record for the database, which has data back to 1989. 
    The leading culprit in convicting innocent people was official misconduct, according to the report by the National Registry of Exonerations. Nearly one third of these cases involved a police corruption scheme in Chicago through which a police officer framed individuals on drug charges. 
    Another prominent factor in wrongful convictions across the country was misleading forensic evidence. A close look at these cases reveals how experts in fields like hair analysis, bite marks and DNA analysis have used exaggerated statistical claims to bolster unscientific assertions. 

    Once experts meet the qualifications to take the stand in a courtroom, there are few limits on the words that come out of their mouths.

    “An expert can say whatever they want,” said Simon Cole, the director of the registry and a professor of Criminology, Law and Society at UC -Irvine.
    That includes offering up invented odds like “one in a million” or “1 in 129,600,” the registry says. 
    “A lot of the problem with forensic testimony is that the diagnosticity is overstated,” said Barbara O’Brien, a professor at the Michigan State University College of Law and author of the report. A hair sample at the crime scene that resembles a suspect’s hair “gets dressed up with this scientific certainty that isn’t justified,” she said.
    Here are three examples from the study’s case files. 
    In 2013, the F.B.I. reported that testimony asserting that microscopic hair comparison could produce a “match” between two hairs was scientifically invalid.
    Four years later, a man named Glenn Payne was still grappling with the consequences of three sets of misleading odds. In 1990, when he was 28, he was charged with sexually abusing his 2-year-old neighbor. Upon arrest, Mr. Payne was asked to disrobe. A hair was left behind on a sheet of butcher paper. Investigators located a second hair on a tablecloth draped over the girl.

    In court, a lab analyst testified that the hair on the butcher paper had a 1 in 2,700 chance of matching someone other than the victim, and the hair on the tablecloth had a 1 in 48 chance of belonging to someone other than Mr. Payne. He then multiplied these figures together to get a “1 in 129,600” chance of anything other than a random occurrence. 
    In 2017, lawyers who were reinvestigating the case reached out to the analyst. He acknowledged that the statistical evidence was invalid. He said he should have indicated “that the hair sample found on the defendant could have come from the victim, and the hair sample found on the tablecloth used to cover the victim could have come from the defendant.” 
    A new medical report also suggested that the charges were a product of a misunderstanding. The little girl wasn’t suffering from abuse, it concluded: She had a strep infection.
    Ms. O’Brien said bite mark analysis was even more bogus than hair comparisons. Often you can’t even tell if a wound is a bite mark, she said. “It doesn’t even get past the barest suggestion of scientific reality.”
    This pseudoscience cost Steven Chaney decades of his life. In 1987, Mr. Chaney was charged with murdering a couple who sold him drugs. 
    At trial, a medical consultant testified that he’d compared a wax model of Mr. Chaney’s mouth to a mark on the male victim’s arm. Mr. Chaney’s upper and lower arches “matched” the bite, he said, adding that “only one in a million” people could have made that impression.
    In 2018, an appeals judge concluded that “scientific knowledge underlying the field of bite mark comparisons has evolved” since Chaney’s trial “in a way that contradicts the scientific evidence relied on by the State at trial.”

    Though this was an extreme example, Mr. Cole said, exaggerated odds are common. “Often they are just saying this person is the source of the bite mark or it’s practically impossible that they are not the source of the bite mark,” he said. 
    He remains concerned that, even though this type of analysis has been widely disavowed by forensic scientists, “not one court in the entire United States has said that bite mark evidence shouldn’t be admissible in court.”
    DNA evidence analysis continues to be far more scientifically respected than the older methods of matching hair samples and bite marks, but the case of Mayer Herskovic is a reminder of how testimony about genetic odds can be misleading in court.
    In 2013, as a group of men was attacking a victim, an assailant grabbed the victim’s shoe and flung it onto a nearby roof. The genetic sample collected from the shoe was too small to be useful. 
    But the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in New York had developed software that it claimed could amplify samples. At trial, an expert testified that the probability that the shoe sample contained Mr. Herskovic’s DNA was 133 times greater than the likelihood that it came from an unknown person.
    He was convicted. Two years later, a higher court concluded that the expert witness had oversold this newfangled technique. Mr. Herskovic was exonerated. And the medical examiner’s office abandoned the amplification tool.

    Heather Murphy is a science reporter. She writes about the intersection of technology and our genes and how bio-tech innovations affect the way we live.


    7) The Conviction in Karina Vetrano’s Murder Was Swift, but a Juror Now Says It Was Tainted
    A holdout juror accused other jurors of misconduct in the trial of the man convicted of killing Ms. Vetrano, whose body was found in a Queens park.
    By Jan Ransom, April 21, 2019

    The sentencing of Chanel Lewis, 22, who faces life without parole, has been delayed as a result of allegations of juror misconduct. CreditCreditPool photo by Charles Eckert/EPA, via Shutterstock

    It took only five hours for a jury to convict a Brooklyn man this month in the high-profile slaying of Karina Vetrano, whose badly beaten body was found partially clothed in a Queens park after she had gone out for a late-afternoon jog.
    But now, one of the jurors in the case is saying he was improperly pressured to convict the defendant, Chanel Lewis, of first-degree murder and sexual abuse. Mr. Lewis’s defense lawyers have accused the other jurors of misconduct.
    The juror, who said he was the final holdout against finding Mr. Lewis guilty, accused other jurors of violating the judge’s orders not to discuss the case before deliberations. The holdout juror said that on the second day of the trial, after Ms. Vetrano’s parents had testified, the foreman announced that his mind was made up.

    The juror said he had deep misgivings about the verdict and still harbors doubts about Mr. Lewis’s guilt. He spoke to The New York Times on Saturday, but asked that his name not be disclosed because he said he feared retaliation.

    “This is bigger than Chanel Lewis,” the juror said. “I’m standing up to the system. Showing people what the inside of a jury room is really like.”
    The allegations are an unexpected coda in a case that has already become embroiled in a broader debate over police conduct in the investigation into the killing of Ms. Vetrano, 30, in August 2016.
    The first trial of Mr. Lewis ended in a hung jury in November after several jurors agreed with the defense’s argument that Mr. Lewis’s confession was coerced, and that DNA evidence was tainted. 
    The sentencing of Mr. Lewis, 22, after the second trial has been delayed because of the holdout juror’s claims. He faces life in prison without parole. A hearing about the claims will be held Monday at the State Supreme Court in Queens.
    The jurors accused of misconduct have denied his claims or said they did not recall the incidents in a motion filed by the Queens district attorney’s office.

    A spokeswoman for that office declined to comment on Sunday. But the lead prosecutor in the case, Brad A. Leventhal, said last week that he supported holding a hearing on the allegations.
    “We believe that in the interest of justice that a hearing should be held so that this court could see and the public could see that this was a valid and a good verdict,” Mr. Leventhal said.
    Ms. Vetrano’s family, who hailed the conviction of Mr. Lewis, declined to comment on Sunday on the juror’s allegations.
    Some of Mr. Lewis’s supporters believe that DNA evidence was planted in order to convict him. Mr. Lewis’s mother, Veta Lewis, has said her son was framed. Police and prosecutors have said that the evidence was handled properly. 
    In the interview, the juror said he had doubts about Mr. Lewis’s guilt, but gave in because he believed that the judge was going to keep the jurors there well into the night until they delivered a guilty verdict. 
    He said he was also dismayed about technical difficulties that prevented the jury from viewing Mr. Lewis’s videotaped confession. 
    When the jurors voted to convict Mr. Lewis, it was after 9 p.m. and they had been in the courthouse for about 12 hours.

    “I was getting flustered, having migraines, and they were serving food from a pizza joint — not the healthiest,” said the holdout juror, referred to as “Juror A” in the defense’s motions. “I felt I needed to get out of there.”
    Juror A said he also felt subtly pressured by the judge, Justice Michael B. Aloise, to reach a guilty verdict. 
    He said he noticed during the trial that the judge was wearing purple, which he learned was Ms. Vetrano’s favorite color, and he believed it was a deliberate show of solidarity with the victim’s family. 
    The judge did not respond to requests for comment. 
    After the jury received the case on April 1, deliberations became contentious, Juror A said.
    He said he tried to send a note to the judge to find out how long the jury would have to stay that evening, but the foreman, known as “Juror B” in the motion, ripped up the message.
    The foreman, in his court response to the allegations, said he did not recall making any statements to Juror A about his opinion before deliberations and that he had “no recollection” of ripping up a note.
    Juror A said he told his fellow jurors that he did not believe prosecutors had proven Ms. Vetrano had been sexually abused, and noted the absence of DNA establishing that there had been such an attack.

    But he said one of the jurors, called “Juror D” in the motion, recalled her experience of having been raped and persuaded the other jurors that Mr. Lewis was guilty. (The jurors could convict on the first-degree murder charge only if they also found Mr. Lewis guilty of sexual abuse.)
    Another panelist, known as “Juror C” in the motion, used evidence and testimony from an unrelated rape case to evaluate the likelihood that Ms. Vetrano had been sexually abused, according to the affidavit. 
    Juror C acknowledged drawing a comparison between evidence in Mr. Lewis’s trial and another case on which he had also been a juror, but stopped after another juror asked him to, according to the court response. Juror D denied in the response that she had ever been raped. 
    On Aug. 2, 2016, Ms. Vetrano went for a jog in Spring Creek Park in the Howard Beach section of Queens. When she did not return, her father, Philip Vetrano, contacted a neighbor, a chief in the police department, setting off an extensive manhunt.
    After investigators learned the DNA found on her body belonged to a black man, detectives sought DNA samples from hundreds of black men who had been arrested in parts of Queens and Brooklyn.
    Detectives focused on Mr. Lewis on the recommendation of a police lieutenant who had seen him on two occasions “acting suspiciously” in Howard Beach, a predominantly white neighborhood.
    Mr. Lewis lived three miles away in East New York, Brooklyn, with his mother and had graduated from a school for students with learning disabilities.

    The DNA taken from Mr. Lewis matched traces found on Ms. Vetrano’s neck and cellphone, and a mixture sample from two of her fingernails. 
    But his lawyers have argued that the DNA evidence was weak — and suggested an alternate theory that Mr. Lewis might have touched the same surface as Ms. Vetrano at some point before she was killed. 
    Mr. Lewis initially denied killing Ms. Vetrano, but after 11 hours in police custody, he confessed in a videotaped interview to beating her. At times during the confession, he appeared confused and mumbled through some of his responses.
    Vinoo Varghese, the holdout juror’s lawyer, said that if it were not for the jurors’ actions and the judge’s decision to keep the jurors into the night on the first day, the outcome might have been different. 
    He said his client was steamrollered. “He was bullied in the jury room,” said Mr. Varghese. “That is an insane coercive atmosphere for any juror to be in.”



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