Don't extradite Assange!

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



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

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













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

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

ctr video
We shared our new 75 second promotional video on Facebook this week. Yes, FB is kind of evil, but we still reach a lot of folks that way. Please check it out, share with friends, and "like" our FB page.
ctr video
During Sunday's Objector Church online meetup, James Branum discussed the heroism of US Army Master Sergeant Roddie Edmonds (1919–1985). MSgt Edmonds was the ranking US NCO at the Stalag IX-A POW Camp when he was captured in Germany during WWII. At the risk of his life, he prevented an estimated 200 Jews from being singled out from the camp for Nazi persecution and likely death. Watch the video here.
484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland, California 94610 ~ 510-488-3559
www.couragetoresist.org ~ facebook.com/couragetoresist


DA Krasner: At long last, turn the page on Mumia Abu-Jamal case!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-- The RootsAction.org Team

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

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


On January 3, 2019 the office of District Attorney Larry Krasner filed a letter memorandum to Judge Leon Tucker.  "DA [Larry Krasner], and members of his staff went to a remote and largely inaccessible of the DA's office marked "Storage" looking for office furniture." And found six boxes of files on Mumia Abu-Jamal's case that were not produced duringthe recent court proceedings.

The District Attorney Krasner's remarkable and suspicious discovery of six boxes of files marked Mumia or Mumia Abu-Jamal hidden in a storage room on December 28 was one day after Judge Tucker's historic decision granting Mumia Abu-Jamal new rights of appeal.

This is confirmation of what we've known for decades--the prosecution has hidden exculpatory evidence in Mumia's case.  Evidence that is likely proof that Mumia's guilt was intentionally manufactured by the police and prosecution and the truth of his innocence suppressed.

These files should be released to the public. DA Krasner should take this as evidence of the total corruptness of this prosecution against an innocent man. The remedy for this is nothing less than dismissal of the charges against Mumia and his freedom from prison!

It took DA Krasner six days to report this find to Judge Tucker. Why? And who has gone through those six boxes of files on Mumia's case? What assurance can DA Krasner give that there hasn't been further tampering with and covering up of the evidence, which led to an innocent man being framed for murder and sentenced to death?

The DA's letter was not publicly available, nor was the January 3 docket filing shown on the court's public access web pages of docket filing, until January 9.

Rachel Wolkenstein, January 10, 2019
WHYY (an affiliate of NPR)
Philly prosecutors discover mysterious 'six boxes' connected to Mumia Abu-Jamal in storage room
By Bobby AllynJanuary 9, 2019
A group of two dozen activists briefly block traffic during a rally outside the Philadelphia District Attorney's office on Friday. The group called on DA Larry Krasner to not challenge a Common Pleas court ruling that allows Mumia Abu-Jamal to file an appeal. (Bastiaan Slabbers for WHYY)

Days after Christmas, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner and some of his assistants went rummaging around an out-of-the-way storage room in the office looking for some pieces of furniture. What they stumbled upon was a surprising find: six boxes stuffed of files connected to the case of convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Five of the six boxes were marked "McCann," a reference to the former head of the office's homicide unit, Ed McCann. Some of the boxes were also marked "Mumia," or the former Black Panther's full name, "Mumia Abu-Jamal."

It is unknown what exactly the files say and whether or not the box's contents will shed new light on a case that for decades has garnered worldwide attention.

But in a letter to the judge presiding over Abu-Jamal's case, Assistant District Attorney Tracey Kavanagh wrote "nothing in the Commonwealth's database showed the existence of these six boxes," she said. "We are in the process of reviewing these boxes."

The surprise discovery comes just weeks after a Philadelphia judge reinstated appeals rightsto Abu-Jamal, saying the former radio journalist and activist should get another chance to reargue his case in front of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court due to a conflict-of-interest one of the justices had at the time Abu-Jamal's petition was denied.

Abu-Jamal's supportersare seizing on the mysterious six boxes as proof that his innocence has been systematically suppressed by authorities.

"There's no question in my mind that the only reason they could've been hidden like this is that this is the evidence of the frame-up of Mumia," said Rachel Wolkenstein, who has been a legal advocate and activist for Abu-Jamal for more than 30 years.

"What these missing boxes represent is confirmation of what we've known for decades: there's hidden, exculpatory evidence in Mumia's case, and that is evidence that Mumia's guilt was intentionally manufactured by the police and prosecution and the truth of his innocence was suppressed," Wolkenstein said.

The Philadelphia District Attorney's Office did not say anything at all about what is in the boxes, or whether there is evidence that the files are exculpatory, or capable of demonstrating that Abu-Jamal did not commit a crime. During his original trial three separate eyewitnesses testified Mumia did commit the murder of Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner.

Wolkenstein's assessment is wild speculation, according to Ed McCann, the former homicide unit chief whose name was scrawled across the six boxes. McCann left the office in 2015 after 26 years there as a prosecutor. He was never directly involved in Abu-Jamal's case.

"I can't tell you 100% what is in these boxes," McCann said Wednesday night. "But I doubt there is anything in them that is not already in the public eye."

How and why did six boxes tied to one of the most legendary and racially-charged cases the office has ever handled get relegated to a dusty storage room?

McCann is not sure. But he said when the office moved locations in 2006, hundreds of boxes with his name written them were moved into the current headquarters on South Penn Square, just across the street from Philadelphia City Hall.

"I don't remember these six boxes. But nobody over there discussed this with me before filing this letter," McCann said. "I would think if they were really interested in what happened, they would have reached out to me."

In the two-page letter to the court, assistant district attorney Kavanagh wrote that if Judge Leon Tucker would like to review the boxes, prosecutors will turn them over.

Tucker, who is the same judge who ordered that Abu-Jamal should be given a new appeals argument, has not weighed in on the newly-discovered boxes.

But in his opinion last month, Tucker said former Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Ronald Castille should have recused himself from hearing Abu-Jamal's petitions, since Castille himself was Philadelphia's District Attorney when the case was actively on appeal. "True justice must be completely just without even a hint of partiality, lack of integrity or impropriety," wrote Tucker, saying a new hearing in front of the state's high court is warranted.

Prosecutors have not taken a position yet on Tucker's opinion. The files unearthed in the six boxes could influence whether Krasner's office supports or opposes a new hearing for Abu-Jamal.

Wolkenstein said the thousands of people who have joined the "Free Mumia" movement around the globe should be able to review the documents themselves.

"These files should be released publicly," Wolkenstein said. "The remedy for this is nothing less than dismissal of Mumia's charges and his release from prison."



Statement: Academic Institutions Must Defend Free Speech

The International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity issued the following statement on 23 December, signed by 155 distinguished academics and human rights advocates.

Petition Text

Statement issued by the International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity:
We, the undersigned, oppose the coordinated campaign to deny academics their free speech rights due to their defense of Palestinian rights and criticism of the policies and practices of the state of Israel. Temple University in Philadelphia, USA and the University of Sydney, Australia have been under great pressure to fire, respectively, Marc Lamont Hill and Tim Anderson, both senior academics at their institutions, for these reasons. Steven Salaita and Norman Finkelstein have already had their careers destroyed by such attacks. Hatem Bazian, Ahlam Muhtaseb, William Robinson, Rabab Abdulhadi and others have also been threatened.
The ostensible justification for such action is commonly known as the "Palestinian exception" to the principle of free speech. One may freely criticize and disrespect governments – including one's own – religions, political beliefs, personal appearance and nearly everything else except the actions and policies of the state of Israel. Those who dare to do so will become the focus of well-financed and professionally run campaigns to silence and/or destroy them and their careers.
We recognize that much of the free speech that occurs in academic and other environments will offend some individuals and groups. However, as has been said many times before, the answer to free speech that some may find objectionable is more free speech, not less. We therefore call upon all academic institutions, their faculty and students, as well as the public at large, to resist such bullying tactics and defend the free speech principles upon which they and all free societies and their institutions are founded.



Updates from the Committee to Stop FBI Repression

Justice for Rasmea Odeh! Justice for Palestine!

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

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

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

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

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

-- NYC Committee to Stop FBI Repression

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

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

Add us to your address book























Courage to Resist
Hi Bonnie. Courage to Resist is working closely with our new fiscal sponsor, the Objector Church, on a couple projects that we're excited to share with you.
objector registry
Objector Registry launches as draft registration of women nears
The first ever Objector Registry (objector.church/register) offers a declaration of conscience for anyone to assert their moral opposition to war, regardless of age, gender, or religious affiliation. This serves to create a protective record of beliefs and actions with which to oppose a later forced draft. Given last week's release of the report by the Congressionally mandated commission on military service, this free registry is coming online just in time. Please sign up yourself and share with friends!
weekly meetup
You're invited to join us online weekly
This is a great way to find out more about the Objector Church and why we might be the religious humanist interfaith peace and justice community you have been looking for! Our live meetups are lead by Minister James Branum from Oklahoma City. This Sunday at 5pm Pacific / 8pm Eastern, if your not excited by the NFL's "big game", pop online and check us out at objector.church/meetup
484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland, California 94610 ~ 510-488-3559
www.couragetoresist.org ~ facebook.com/couragetoresist




New "Refuse War" Shirts

We've launched a new shirt store to raise funds to support war resisters.

In addition to the Courage to Resist logo shirts we've offered in the past, we now  have a few fun designs, including a grim reaper, a "Refuse War, Go AWOL" travel theme, and a sporty "AWOL: Support Military War Resisters" shirt.

Shirts are $25 each for small through XL, and bit more for larger sizes. Please allow 9-12 days for delivery within the United States.

50% of each shirt may qualify as a tax-deductible contribution.

Courage to Resist -- Support the Troops who Refuse to Fight!
484 Lake Park Ave. #41, Oakland, CA 94610, 510-488-3559
couragetoresis.org -- facebook.com/couragetoresist







To: Indiana Department of Corrections

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

Petition Text

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

Why is this important?

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

Sign the petition here:

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

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



Get Malik Out of Ad-Seg

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

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

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

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

Phone zap on Tuesday, November 13

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

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

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

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


Background on Malik's Situation

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

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

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



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

By Michael Barbaro, May 30, 2018

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

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

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



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

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

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

NO ESTÁN SOLOS (You are not alone).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Major Tillery and family

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

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

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




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

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

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

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    Write to:
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    USP Coleman 1,  P.O. Box 1033
    Coleman, FL 33521



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





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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    2) Cuba's worker bees boost thriving honey business
    By Rigoberto Diaz, April 10, 2019

    Beekeepers collect honeycombs in Navajas, Matanzas province, Cuba where bees are flourishing despite shrinking populations elsewhere in the world

    In the floral valleys of Cuba's Matanzas province, old fashioned farming means bees can swarm without the threat of pesticides that have decimated populations across the world.

    Life is sweet for Cuba's winged wonders, and Europe's honey-lovers are catching on.
    "The bee is made neither for urban areas nor rural areas. It is made for the mountains," says Rogelio Marcelo Fundora, surveying a lush mountain valley east of Havana where his bees are thriving. 
    Fundora, 51, is a mechanical engineer by trade. His 54-year-old brother Santiago Esteban is a teacher. But both have become Cuba's best-known beekeepers by passion, owning 600 hives in the valley.
    In this idyllic valley a few hours drive from the capital, "last year we produced 80 tonnes of honey," said Santiago, his face covered by a black net to avoid stings while bees swarmed in agitation as he manipulated a hive.
    Shrinking bee populations around the world have caused scientists and conservationists to sound the alarm over the effects of intensive agriculture, disease and pesticides.
    But not in Cuba, a Communist-run island nation that has become a kind of apicultural paradise, thanks to the purity of its countryside.
    That environmental integrity dates back to Cuba's crippling economic crisis of the 1990s, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, which once provided the island with thousands of tonnes of pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides.
    Deprived of that support, Cuba had no choice but to develop natural alternatives. In the process, it reduced to almost zero the use of chemicals, so harmful to bee populations and the quality of their honey.
    Average production is 51 kilograms (112 pounds) of honey per hive, a level considered high.
    However, the Fundora brothers, considered the nation's beekeeper kings, show yields of up to 160 kilos of honey per hive—triple the national average.
    "There's no miracle, just a lot of work," said Santiago. "It's endless work to change out the queen, select the bees," he said, his face tanned by many hours working under the sun.
    From their 21 apiaries on the flank of a hill near the village of Navajas, east of Havana, the two brothers extract a honey they say is absolutely "clean"—meaning chemical free.
    The beekeepers' success means organic honey has joined rum and cigars as one of Cuba's quality exports. 
    The island produced 8,834 tonnes of honey in 2018, 1,500 tonnes more than the target set by the Apicuba, the Cuban Beekeeping Company. 
    There's still some way to go to catch Argentina, however. Latin America's leading producer brought 76,000 tonnes to the market in 2017, according to UN Food and Agriculture Organization figures.
    Of the total, around 1,900 tonnes of Cuba's honey have been certified as organic honey, a "national record" said Dayron Alvarez, the director of technology and development at Apicuba.
    Almost every drop is exported, with Germany, France, Spain, Britain and Switzerland the main markets worth $18 million in 2017.
    And there's likely more to come: "We are working on entering the Chinese and Saudi markets," said Alvarez.
    Apicuba has a monopoly on exports—beekeepers with more than five hives must sell it their honey. In exchange, the organization provides them with discounted fuel and equipment. 
    It pays up to $1,000 per tonne to beekeepers and sells honey at different prices depending on the country, which is not disclosed. Based on the most recent figures, from 2017, Cuba received an average of $2,655 per tonne for its honey abroad.
    And the quality is excellent, according to Adolfo Perez, head of the Apicultural Research Center.
    "Because of the tendency to use very little chemicals, we can say that the honey of Cuba is almost all organic honey," says Perez.
    In the Cuban countryside, bees are exposed to no great natural risk or human threat and enjoy year-long summer temperatures with enough humidity to ensure a permanent supply of flowers. "The bees are in very good health," said Santiago.
    "We don't use any chemicals when fumigating apiaries or weeding," and "no antibiotics"—products that are anyhow hard to come by because of the US trade embargo in place since 1962.
    That's not to say they don't have to use a certain ingenuity to keep pests at bay, particularly the potentially devastating Varroa mite—a tiny red parasite that sucks the blood from the bees.
    The Fundoras use a "nest trap" technique that attracts the parasite and diverts it from the rest of the hive.
    On harvest day, the two brothers head up the hill in an old truck they call Frankenstein, accompanied by eight young workers. They pay them 80 dollars a month, 50 dollars above the national average.
    Nearly all of them are in military uniform, because the material is resistant and the camouflage pattern doesn't excite the bees. 
    Under a crushing sun, they will spend the day collecting honeycombs and put them in a mechanical centrifuge that separates the wax from the honey.
    Here, the downside of Cuba's years of isolation is apparent. Rogelio complains about the equipment, which he says is "a little archaic."
    "We need an efficient centrifuge to extract the honey, and the truck is very old."


    3) Don't Let a Killer Pollutant Loose
    The Trump administration is moving to ease standards on a particularly deadly air contaminant.
    By John Balmes, April 14, 2019

    Kim Ryu

    PM 2.5 kills people. There has been little dispute that microscopic particulate matter in air pollution penetrates into the deepest parts of the lungs and contributes to the early deaths each year of thousands of people in the United States with heart and lung disease. 
    One recent study called PM 2.5 "the largest environmental risk factor worldwide," responsible for many more deaths than alcohol use, physical inactivity or high sodium intake.
    The Environmental Protection Agency's own website says: "Numerous scientific studies have linked particle pollution exposure to a variety of problems, including: premature death in people with heart or lung disease, nonfatal heart attacks, irregular heartbeat, aggravated asthma, decreased lung function, increased respiratory symptoms."
    Which makes it deeply troubling that the very people at the helm of the Trump administration's E.P.A. responsible for protecting public health and the environment are now pursuing a course that would make the air we breathe even more hazardous.

    Last week, a recently reconstituted panel of science advisers to the E.P.A., the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee, sharply questioned the agency's longstanding position that particulate pollution is causally linked with premature death, and it called for a new assessment of the pollutant. In letter to the E.P.A. administrator, Andrew Wheeler, the committee's chairman, Louis Anthony Cox Jr., said the agency had not provided "a sufficiently comprehensive, systematic assessment of the available science." This is despite the fact that epidemiological studiesfrom around the world have shown a robust association between real-world exposure to PM 2.5 and premature mortality.
    The committee's action is clearly a step toward weakening the standard for fine particulates and other air pollutants and would erode a central objective of the Clean Air Act, the 1970 law that is a pillar of the agency's mission of protecting public health.
    That law requires the E.P.A. to set standards, or limits, on certain so-called priority air pollutants at levels "requisite to protect public health" with "an adequate margin of safety" based on a review of the scientific knowledge about that pollutant. The agency does this by evaluating peer-reviewed scientific evidence and making a decision based on the weight of that evidence. Once the agency determines the standards, cities and counties must reduce their pollution to meet those limits.
    Most of these particulates form through complex reactions with pollutants emitted from power plants, industries and motor vehicles. PM 2.5's tiny particles are less than one-thirtieth the diameter of a human hair and are easily inhaled. On days when PM 2.5 levels spike, more people with heart and lung disease die than on cleaner days. Living in a place with chronically high levels of PM 2.5, as people do in Los Angeles, Pittsburgh and the San Joaquin Valley in California, for instance, increases one's risk of dying prematurely.
    For years, anti-regulatory forces, including some members of Congress, have been trying to characterize epidemiology, the study of disease and health outcomes in populations, as "pseudoscience." They have argued that epidemiological studies should not be used to set air quality standards because the health effects of air pollution are hopelessly confounded by other risk factors, like poverty, poor diet, smoking and diabetes. This view contradicts decades of public health and medical science accepted by the National Academies of Scienceand the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, among others.

    No matter. 
    The administration's previous E.P.A. administrator, Scott Pruitt, last year broke with decades of standard practice when he appointed members of the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee, and his appointments included only one academic scientist and no epidemiologist. Mr. Wheeler further weakened the agency's review process by disbanding a 20-member advisory panel for PM 2.5 that included highly qualified epidemiologists. (I served on that panel).
    Dr. Cox, the current chairman of the clean air committee, runs a Denver-based applied research company. He has been pushing a narrow statistical approach that would exclude most epidemiological studies from consideration by the E.P.A. in reviews of clean air standards. Unfortunately, there is no longer an epidemiologist on the committee to challenge Dr. Cox's view.
    In a letter to Dr. Cox, I joined with 16 former members of the committee and the recently dismissed PM 2.5 review panel, some who served on both, to express our concern about the process and scientific substance of the PM 2.5 review now underway. In addition, over 200 air pollution and public health experts have urged the E.P.A. to reconvene the disbanded PM 2.5 review panel.
    The Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee is aggressively and irresponsibly challenging the abundant and well established evidence of the dangers of fine particulate matter. More than 23 million Americans live in areas where air pollution exceeds the PM 2.5 standards. If the E.P.A. revises air pollution standards that reject the weight of the evidence, the health of millions of Americans will be put at risk, and lives will be cut short.
    John Balmes is a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and of environmental health sciences at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the physician member of the California Air Resources Board and a volunteer for the American Lung Association.

    4) Morehouse College, a Traditionally Black All-Male School, Says It Will Accept Transgender Men
    By Sandra E. Garcia, April 14, 2019

    Morehouse College, an all-male historically black college in Atlanta, said it will allow transgender men to enroll.CreditCreditAudra Melton for The New York Times

    Morehouse College, an all-male, historically black school in Atlanta, said it would open its enrollment to transgender men, a shift that comes as protections for those in the transgender community are under fire.
    The school's gender identity policy, which was announced on Saturday, will continue to ban from enrollment anyone who identifies as a woman.
    David A. Thomas, the president of the college, said the decision was driven by a greater awareness of gender identity and the college's need to have a clear policy.

    "We found that when our admission representatives were going out, oftentimes people would ask them, 'Does Morehouse admit transgender people?'" he said on Sunday.

    The new policy states that "once admitted, students are expected to continue to self-identify as men throughout their matriculation."
    Morehouse is not the first all-male institution in the country to change its policy to allow transgender men. In 2016, St. John's University, an all-male school in Collegeville, Minn., changed its policy to consider "applicants who consistently live and identify as men, regardless of the gender assigned to them at birth."
    The new policy at Morehouse, which has 2,200 students, comes as the transgender community faces a breakdown of protections under federal civil rights law. The Obama administration helped to broaden these protections through a series of decisions that loosened the legal concept of gender in federal programs.
    The Trump administration, however, is trying to define gender as a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth. This definition would affect 1.4 million Americans who identify as a gender other than the one they were assigned at birth.
    Morehouse announced its new policy a day after the United States military implemented its policy for transgender troops, which allows transgender people to enlist but only if they present as the gender they were assigned at birth. They are also not allowed to transition while in the military.

    A Morehouse student, Marquintas Oldham, 21, who identifies as "queer, non-binary" and who prefers to use the pronouns "they" and "their," instead of singular pronouns, said their existence was being erased. Students such as Mx. Oldham said they identified as men when they were initially enrolled but no longer do.
    "Who I am on this campus, they are trying to kind of like remove me from self-identifying myself," Mx. Oldham said. "They said in their policy that they are going to still use male-gendered language and that affects me. Sometimes I do dress as a feminine, non-binary person, so when I dress the way I want to dress and it's a problem, that affects me."
    Mx. Oldham, who is set to graduate in 2021, transitioned while they were enrolled. "I knew I was part of the queer community, I knew I was gay, but I got here to Morehouse and this was different for me," Mx. Oldham said. "I decided to just live."
    Transgender students who began to transition while attending Morehouse and now identify as women said the new policy ostracized them. Tatiana Rafael, 28, a Morehouse student, was accepted when she identified as male and transitioned to female while she was enrolled.
    "It is very lonely being the only transsexual woman on campus," Ms. Rafael said. "I feel erased and marginalized most of the time because the image that Morehouse presents is the all-male image and in that image they don't make room for a trans woman."
    Under the policy, a student who transitions from male to female would no longer be eligible to matriculate at Morehouse. It was unclear how many students might be in transition.
    Mr. Thomas, the president of the college, said he was "not aware as to whether currently we have a trans man on campus."

    "The policy was not driven by trans individuals who are on the campus," Mr. Thomas said. "Our students were unclear if we were welcoming or open to transgender men applying. It wasn't stirred by transgender men on campus."
    Founded in 1867, Morehouse has historically been an all-male institution. Rashad Raymond Moore, 29, who graduated from Morehouse in 2012, said keeping the college all male was at the crux of the school's history.
    "It is the only black institution in the United States that is dedicated to the intellectual and moral formation of black men and to allow trans women to enroll or matriculate or graduate from Morehouse would change the moral fiber of the institution completely," he said on Sunday.
    He said the new policy was a move in the right direction.
    "I do believe Morehouse needs to move forward in an intentional way," he said, adding that the culture of the campus also needed to change to support transgender men.
    Mx. Oldham said that leaving or transferring to another school was not an option because they felt at home at Morehouse.
    "Morehouse has brought me the best education that I've ever had," Mx. Oldham said. "Being here is a dream come true because this is the college that I love."


    5) Officer Who Used Gun Instead of Taser Won't Face Charges for Shooting Unarmed Man
    By Emily S. Rueb, April 15, 2019

    The Bucks County district attorney released a video showing a police officer shooting an unarmed man in a holding cell. The district attorney said that the officer would not be charged because of an "honest but mistaken" belief he was using a Taser.CreditCreditBucks County District Attorney's Office

    A police officer in Pennsylvania will not be charged after shooting and wounding an unarmed man in the torso in the "honest but mistaken" belief he was using a Taser, the authorities said.
    In a letter to the police chief of New Hope, a town about 40 miles northeast of Philadelphia, District Attorney Matthew D. Weintraub of Bucks County said the shooting of the man, Brian Riling, "was neither justified, nor criminal, but was excused."
    The officer violated a department rule that a Taser be worn on the opposite hip from a firearm, but he "did not possess the criminal mental state required to be guilty of a crime under state law," Mr. Weintraub said in a statement that quoted his letter to the police chief.

    The statement references a Pennsylvania law that states that a person cannot be charged with a crime "if he makes a mistake as a matter of fact for which there is a reasonable explanation or excuse."

    The officer, who was not named because charges were not filed, did violate the department's policy by wearing the Taser on his right side, in front of his firearm, the district attorney's investigation found. Officers are required to wear Tasers on their non-dominant side, known as the "cross-draw position."
    Video of the March 3 incident, released by the district attorney's office, showed Mr. Riling entering a holding cell and removing his belt in response to an officer's instructions. In the process, "a white, rectangular object consistent with a drug baggie" fell from his waistband to the floor, Mr. Weintraub said. When Mr. Riling moved to cover the object with his foot, an officer pushed him onto a bench in the cell, resulting in a skirmish.
    A second officer entered the cell and yelled "Taser!" before shooting Mr. Riling in the torso with his gun.
    Mr. Riling was taken to a hospital in critical condition, where he spent several days before being released, according to the district attorney's statement.
    The officer who fired the gun was on paid administrative leave until he retired from the police department, three days before the district attorney released his findings.

    "Given the totality of circumstances, the officer would have been justified in using his Taser to regain control of Riling inside the holding cell," Mr. Weintraub said, "as the officer had a reasonable belief the scuffle posed a danger to his fellow officer."
    On the day of the shooting, Mr. Riling was in police custody on charges of intimidation and retaliation against a victim, simple assault and related offenses from an incident on March 3, Mr. Weintraub said in his statement. He was also charged with burglarizing the same victim's home.
    The officer "was aware of these two criminal episodes ahead of the holding cell incident, and had himself heard threats of violence made by Riling during a phone call between Riling and the previously mentioned victim," Mr. Weintraub said.
    William Goldman, a lawyer representing the officer, told The Intelligencer newspaper that the officer had acted "in defense of a fellow officer with a large man."
    The New Hope Police Department thanked the district attorney's office for the investigation in a statement posted online.
    Chief Michael V. Cummings of the New Hope police could not be reached for comment on Sunday night.
    Police departments have a complicated past with Taser stun guns, which shoot electrified barbs instead of bullets. The devices became a popular tool for police officers in the 2000s as a less-lethal weapon, like pepper spray or batons.
    But some studies have shown there is no evidence that the adoption of Tasers reduce the use of firearms by police officers. And Tasers, too, can be deadly.


    6) Removing Fuel Rods, Japan Hits Milestone in Fukushima Nuclear Cleanup
    By Mike Ives, April 15, 2019

    The third reactor at the ruined Fukushima nuclear power plant, where workers began removing radioactive fuel rods on Monday.CreditCreditKimimasa Mayama/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

    The operator of Japan's ruined Fukushima nuclear power plant began removing radioactive fuel rods on Monday at one of three reactors that melted down after an earthquake and a tsunami in 2011, a major milestone in the long-delayed cleanup effort.
    Thousands of former residents have been barred from the area around the plant for years as crews carried out a large-scale radioactive waste cleanup in the aftermath of the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl. The process of removing the fuel rods from a storage pool had been delayed since 2014 amid technical mishaps and high radiation levels.
    The plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power, said in a statement that workers on Monday morning began removing the first of 566 spent and unspent fuel rods stored in a pool at the plant's third reactor. A radiation-hardened robot had first located the melted uranium fuelinside the reactor in 2017.

    "Thanks to their training, the work has been going smoothly," Tomohiko Isogai, the director of the nuclear plant, was quoted as saying by the Japanese broadcaster NHK, referring to workers involved in the fuel cleanup. He added that plant officials were "very sorry" over the delays in the process.

    There are 1,573 fuel rods still inside the storage pools of the three reactors that melted down in 2011, the Kyodo News agency reported on Monday. Tokyo Electric said that the cleanup at the third reactor would take just under two years, and that it planned to eventually remove uranium from all three reactors.
    Workers at the third reactor are using a remotely operated crane to remove the fuel rods, in a process that occurs underwater to prevent radiation leaks. The rods are dangerous partly because the pools are not enclosed, and they could be vulnerable in the event of another major earthquake.
    Tokyo Electric's announcement comes a few days after people began moving back to Okuma, a town near the ruined plant, after the authorities said that radiation levels there had fallen to a safe level.
    Last year, Japan acknowledged for the first time that exposure to radiation at the site had caused a death. The announcement came after a man who had worked mostly at the plant over 28 years died of lung cancer.
    The authorities had previously acknowledged that three other Fukushima workers developed leukemia and thyroid cancer after working on the plant cleanup. But experts are divided on whether exposure to radiation can be linked to illnesses among children who lived near the plant.

    Makiko Inoue contributed reporting from Tokyo.


    7) 'We're not a dump' – poor Alabama towns struggle under the stench of toxic landfills
    Imports of waste from across the country have turned parts of the state into 'a toilet bowl' – and residents are fighting back
    By Oliver Milman, April 15, 2019

     "That smell ... it makes you want to vomit. The pecan trees, they don't bear anymore," said Esther Calhoun, a longtime resident of Uniontown. Photograph: Lynsey Weatherspoon/The Guardian

    West Jefferson, Alabama, a somnolent town of around 420 people north-west of Birmingham, was an unlikely venue to seize the national imagination. Now, it has the misfortune to be forever associated with the "poop train".
    David Brasfield, a retired coalminer who has lived in West Jefferson for 45 years, thought at first the foul stench came from the carcass of a shot pig. By the time he realized that human feces was being transported from 1,000 miles away to a nearby landfill site, a scene of biblical pestilence was unfolding upon West Jefferson.
    "The odor was unbearable, as were the flies and stink bugs," said Brasfield, who sports a greying handlebar moustache and describes himself as a conservative Republican. "The flies were so bad that you couldn't walk outside without being inundated by them. You'd be covered in all sorts of insects. People started getting headaches, they couldn't breathe. You wouldn't even go outside to put meat on the barbecue."
    The landfill, called Big Sky Environmental, sits on the fringes of West Jefferson and is permitted to accept waste from 48 US states. It used a nearby rail spur to import sewage from New York and New Jersey. This epic fecal odyssey was completed by trucks which took on the waste and rumbled through West Jefferson – sometimes spilling dark liquid on sharp turns – to the landfill.
    Outrage at this arrangement reached a crescendo in April last year when Jefferson county, of which West Jefferson is part, barred the landfill operator from using the rail spur. Malodorous train carriages began backing up near several neighbouring towns.
    "Oh my goodness, it's just a nightmare here," said Heather Hall, mayor of Parrish, where the unwanted cargo squatted for two months. "It smells like rotting corpses, or carcasses. It smells like death."
    Residents started hounding the phone lines of elected officials and showed up at public meetings with bags of dead flies. One man described the smell as similar to "25,000 people taking a dump around your house". The growing national media attention eventually stung New York and New Jersey, which halted convoys of human waste to the site.
    But while the distress lifted from West Jefferson, other communities across Alabama struggle forlornly in a miasma of nearby landfills. Alabama has gained a reputation as the dumping ground of the US, with toxic waste from across the country typically heaped near poor, rural communities, many with large African American populations.
    Alabama has a total of 173 operational landfills, more than three times as many as New York, a state with a population four times greater but with just 54 dumps. California – three times larger than Alabama and containing eight people for every Alabamian – has just a handful more landfills than the southern state."You take a poor rural area, take advantage of the people and turn their farming land into a dumping ground so a few people can make a profit," said Nelson Brooke, head of the Black River Riverkeeper organization. "Parts of our state have been turned into a toilet bowl and there isn't the political spine to stop it."
    Many of the largest landfills are clustered in a region known as the Black Belt, a stretch of counties around Alabama's midriff named initially for its fertile topsoil but latterly known for the tenant farmers and sharecroppers that helped form the basis of its large black population today.
    The low land values and extreme poverty of the region make it a magnet for landfills, with waste hauled in from across the country for as little as $1 a ton. Acceptance of landfills is delegated to counties, causing potential conflicts of interest with local officials involved in waste disposal. Residents are often blindsided by the appearance of new dumps.
    "A continual refrain for decades in Alabama is that politicians are selling out the people," said Conner Bailey, an academic at Auburn University. "It's a long tradition."
    A crucible of the civil rights movement – from the Selma-to-Montgomery march to the Rosa Parks-inspired bus boycotts to the Birmingham church bombing – Alabama's racial disparity in pollution exposure has become only more stark.
    A landfill near Emelle in Sumter county, where the neighbouring community is about 90% black and a third of people live in poverty, at one point accepted 40% of all hazardous waste disposed in the US. Anniston, Alabama, where half the residents are black, won a high-profile settlement from Monsantoafter the dumping of so much PCBs, chemicals linked to cancers and liver damage, that a local creek turned red.

    "There are still major problems in Alabama resulting from environmental injustice and there does not appear to be will on part of its government to reverse these problems," said Ryke Longest, a law professor at Duke University.
    "Alabama's history with Jim Crow and preservation of segregation as well as suppressing voting rights made these problems worse by segregating communities and disenfranchising black Americans in their communities."
    Many homes near the sprawling Stone's Throw landfill, east of Montgomery, are now abandoned. The landfill, which can accept 1,500 tons of construction debris, ash, asbestos, sludge and other material each day, is located in the Ashurst Bar/Smith community, which is around three-quarters African American.
    "It's almost unbearable to live there, even three miles away my eyes burn and I get nauseous," said Phyllis Gosa, now retired and living in Selma but still visits family who have owned property in the community since the end of slavery. "It's our heritage, we are losing who we are. When it comes to people of color, we are still three-fifths of a human being. The 14th amendment doesn't apply to us. That's who Alabama is, that's its legacy."
    Ron Smith, a neighbour and pastor, said there is pressure on black families to sell devalued land to the expanding landfill. He grows blueberries in his back yard but is uncertain if he should eat them. "Our government picked an area where people couldn't defend themselves," he said. "This is the perfect area."
    Unlike the 1960s civil rights push, there has been no federal savior. In April 2017 a group of residents claimed that Alabama's tolerance of the Stone's Throw landfill had caused chronic illnesses such as asthma and cancer, pungent smells and water pollution, thereby breaching the Civil Rights Act's prohibition of race-based discrimination.
    In December, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) decided there was "insufficient evidence" for the complaint despite finding that the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) hadn't properly enforced a requirement that six inches of covering soil be placed upon landfill waste every day. ADEM wrote to the landfill, also in December, scolding it for excessive discharges of copper, oil, grease and "suspended solids" between 2016 and 2018.
    However, while the EPA found "a preponderance of the evidence that a lack of enforcement did result in adverse impacts", other, white-majority, communities also live under this inadequate regime, meaning the blight couldn't be defined as racist.
    The finding follows a familiar pattern by the EPA: the agency's civil rights office went 22 years without deciding that discrimination laws were broken, despite hundreds of complaints.
    More than 40 black residents have now turned to the courts, suing Advanced Disposal Services, which operates Stone's Throw, and two water utilities for allowing heavy metals, E coli and a cocktail of harmful chemicals to leach into the water supply and, they claim, cause their abdominal cancers.
    "Alabama seems to have an inordinate number of these big landfills that have created a variety of problems," said Ted Mann, the attorney representing the residents. Mann, an Alabamian Democrat who has an abstract painting of Abraham Lincoln in his Birmingham office, said his clients feel "trapped".
    "ADEM doesn't do much of anything," he said. "Underfunded, understaffed and woefully and inadequately involved in the environmental issues in our state."
    The crossover between pollution and racism "is hard to not see", Mann said. "If you see it and you ignore it, it's because you just want to ignore it."
    Other communities aren't able to muster legal recourse. Uniontown, half an hour west of the civil rights touchstone of Selma, is a place where nine out of 10 residents are black and the median household income is $14,000 a year. Uniontown's roads are derelict, the only grocery store closed last year and its elementary school can only afford to educate children up to grade three.
    Uniontown is also home to the Arrowhead landfill, an artificial green mountain twice the size of New York's Central Park that looms over the tumbledown town. It can accept up to 15,000 tons of waste a day, from 33 states. In 2012, ADEM allowed Arrowhead to expand in size by two-thirds.
    A group of residents have spent the past decade complaining about a smell similar to rotten eggs coming from the landfill, as well as the site's coal ash for causing an array of health problems, such as sore throats and nosebleeds (Arrowhead said that no coal ash has been delivered to the landfill since 2010).
    The landfill is a "huge hill in the midst of the community," said Esther Calhoun, who has lived in Uniontown most of her life. "That smell … it makes you want to vomit. The pecan trees, they don't bear any more. Even the garden that I had, we don't use it any more."
    But in March last year, a few months before its similar Civil Rights Act decision over Stone's Throw, the EPA ruled that Uniontown has not been subjected to "a prima facie case of discrimination."
    This knockback has shrouded Uniontown in fatalistic hopelessness, according to local activists. "They are trying to break our spirit," said Ben Eaton, a retired teacher who speaks in a rumbling baritone and moves around with the aid of a walker. Eaton, now a county commissioner, had just come from a meeting where Arrowhead was asked to pay some fees up front so the county could afford an ambulance service.
    "It's a sort of learned helplessness," he said. "People are hanging on by a thread right now. Well, my folks have always taught me to go down fighting, even if you go down."
    Mike Smith, an attorney for Arrowhead, said neither ADEM nor the EPA have ever found excessive odor, air pollution or water contamination. "The residents you may have spoken to have been offered multiple opportunities, both formal and informal, to present any evidence of pollution and have failed to do so," he said.
    Smith added that the Uniontown community and surrounding Perry county "benefit substantially" from jobs and "host fee" payments provided by Arrowhead, with the landfill also sponsoring school supplies for the past decade.
    ADEM insists it has environmental justice top of mind in its regulatory activities, with a spokeswoman stating the agency went "above and beyond" its legal requirements when consulting with residents living in West Jefferson, Uniontown and Ashurst Bar/Smith.
    "The department is confident that it has the resources and statutory authorization to properly regulate and monitor landfills in Alabama to ensure the protection of human health and the environment," the spokeswoman added.
    But even in West Jefferson, where the "poop train" was defeated, there is little hope of a lasting resolution in the tensions between the desire to generate income and community concern over quality of life.
    In July, ADEM handed the Big Sky Environmental landfill a five-year extension to its permit. ADEM has also proposed changing the rules so that permits last for 10 rather than five years and has rescinded its environmental discrimination procedures, claiming its existing complaints process is sufficient.
    "Let every state take care of their own trash but don't bring it to Alabama," said David Brasfield, the retired miner. "We just don't need it. We're better than that. We're not a dump.
    "But it will happen again if we let it. We cannot forget it and put it out of our minds. This is my home and I plan on defending it."


    8) A France in Turmoil Weeps for a Symbol of Paris's Enduring Identity
    By Michael Kimmeimen, April 15, 2019

    For centuries, Notre Dame has enshrined an evolving notion of French-ness.CreditCreditDmitry Kostyukov for The New York Times

    Notre-Dame has occupied the heart of Paris for the better part of a millennium, its twin medieval towers rising from the small central island wedged between the storied left and right banks.
    Now, France is burning.
    The fire at Notre-Dame happened on the day that the country's troubled president, Emmanuel Macron, was supposed to explain how he intended to address the demands of the "Yellow Vest" movement. An anguished, restless nation has struggled to cope with the monthslong uprising and with the frayed social safety net that spurred the protests. Generations that had come to rely on this social safety net, as a matter of national pride and identity, see it going up in smoke.

    On Monday, so was the cathedral, which for centuries has enshrined an evolving notion of Frenchness. The symbolism was hard to miss.

    This fire is not like other recent calamities.
    When flames killed dozens trapped in Grenfell Tower in London, it exposed a scandalous lack of oversight and a city of disastrous inequities. When a bridge collapsed in Genoa, Italy, also taking life, it revealed the consequential greed of privatization and a chronic absence of Italian leadership. When the National Museum of Brazil burned down, also through unconscionable government neglect, it wiped a tangible swath of South American history from the face of the earth, incinerating anthropological records of lost civilizations.
    Notre-Dame, where no one died, represents a different kind of catastrophe, no less traumatic but more to do with beauty and spirit and symbolism.
    Visited by some 13 million people a year, the cathedral, established during the 12th century, is the biggest architectural attraction in Paris. It is an emblem of the old city — the embodiment of the Paris of stone and faith — just as the Eiffel Tower exemplifies the Paris of modernity, joie de vivre and change.

    Not that Notre-Dame hasn't changed. Scarred repeatedly, it is a kind of palimpsest of French history. Finding its Gothic architecture outmoded and ornate, Louis XIV destroyed much of the church's interior and swapped it out for one he regarded as more classically tasteful.

    During the Revolution, insurgents ransacked the cathedral, plundering treasures and decapitating statues of Old Testament figures on the building's facade, which they mistook for portraits of French kings. They rededicated Notre Dame to the Cult of Reason, melting its great bells.

    By the time Victor Hugo's "Hunchback of Notre Dame" imprinted the cathedral in the minds of countless readers, the building was pretty much a wreck. Hugo called it a "vast symphony in stone" as "powerful and fecund as the divine creation," and despaired that it had come to be an object of ridicule.

    The popularity of his book helped reposition Notre-Dame as a symbol of French identity, inspiring its restoration by the 19th-century architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc. Viollet attempted to restore the church's Gothic character, undertaking a vast project of architectural reinvention and private imagination, redoing the figures on the facade, recreating stained glass windows and adding many ornate touches, including to the spire that just burned down.
    When the spire collapsed, all those layers of history seemed to evaporate.
    Through its many transformations, Notre-Dame has remained "the great stage where great events in France have been rehearsed and repeated for centuries," as the historian Robert Darnton has put it — where the cathedral's archbishop blessed the flags carried by French armies going off to war, before crowds of weeping parents and spouses. Where Parisians wept Monday, as they also did along the banks of the Seine and at the plaza of the Hôtel de Ville.
    Back in 1871, the Paris Communards, their revolt dying out, adopted a scorched-earth policy and burned down the Hôtel de Ville, with its paintings by Delacroix and Ingres. So the building from which Parisians watched the fire is a reconstruction.
    The cathedral had been undergoing an extensive restoration. Gargoyles were broken, balustrades had collapsed, flying buttresses were stained by pollution. Water had seeped through cracks in the spire's wood frame.

    What a sad paradox it would be if it turns out that the restoration somehow accidentally led to the conflagration. It seemed, from early reports, to be the wood in the spire that accelerated the blaze, causing most of the roof to collapse.
    Promising the French people he would rebuild Notre-Dame, which he called "the epicenter of our lives," President Macron canceled his speech about the Yellow Vests. He still plans to proceed with his proposals.
    France today is wrestling with how to reinvent itself for a new age. Considering the great sweep of time, the current Yellow Vest uprising will no doubt come to seem like just another data point in the long evolution of a nation that has survived setbacks and returned, again and again, to an abiding glory.
    In his landmark television series "Civilization," standing before Notre-Dame, the art historian Kenneth Clark asked: "What is civilization? I don't know. I can't define it in abstract terms — yet. But I think I can recognize it when I see it."
    He turned toward the cathedral: "And I am looking at it now."
    Someday, the fire of 2019 may fade into the history of Notre-Dame. It may take many years to repair the damage.
    But the great cathedral will reinvent itself, too.

    9) French 'yellow vests' protests intensify ahead of measures

    Tens of thousands of 'yellow vest' protesters took to the streets Saturday for the 22nd week running, rejecting measures to be unveiled by President Macron this week

    By Daily Sabah, April 15, 2019

    French 'yellow vest' protesters at the Place de la République in Paris, April 13, 2019.

    President Emmanuel Macron presented measures based on the analysis of nationwide debates held to find a way of ending a social crisis that has lasted nearly five months.
    Interior ministry figures put the number of demonstrators at 31,000 which would represent an increase on last week, when 22,300 were said to have turned out nationwide.
    In Paris the numbers were 5,000 on Saturday and 3,500 last week, though protest organizers say all the official figures are seriously underestimated.
    "Great National Debate, great blabla," and "Macron, we expect nothing from your announcements" read banners carried by protestors in Paris, where police backed up by a new law made 15 arrests and 5,885 identity checks, according to the local prefecture.
    Demonstrators were barred from the Champs-Élysée Avenue, the site of widespread violence during previous protests.
    Toulouse, southern France, was the movement's "capital" on Saturday, and the city where tension appeared to have risen the highest, with police firing tear gas and stun grenades, and protestors setting fire to construction equipment and a van.
    Smaller protests took place in Bordeaux and Montpellier, southern France.
    They were the first since Macron signed into law legislation that gave se- curity forces greater powers at demon- strations but which opponents claimed violated civil liberties.
    One measure banned protestors from covering their faces, but France's Constitutional Council, its highest constitutional authority, refused this month to give its green light to one of the most contentious parts of the leg- islation.
    The bill, which was approved by lawmakers in February, aims to crack down on violence that has marred the "yellow vest" protest movement, which has rocked France since erupting in November.
    Interior Minister Christophe Castaner on Thursday hailed the law as a "text which protects the French in the face of insecurity and violence." "It's a text that protects our institutions and our liberties," he wrote on Twitter. It would have given the authorities the power to ban from demonstrations any individual "posing a particularly serious threat to public order."
    The "yellow vest" movement is now targeting April 20th as the date on which they are to respond to Macron's measures, which are expected to be announced in the coming days. In response to deep dissatisfaction with higher fuel taxes that have since been scrapped, the president might an- nounce an income tax cut or a plan to align pension payment increases with inflation. Other more symbolic measures might include a reform of the elite ENA school of administration, or an end to certain advantages enjoyed by former presidents and ministers.
    Despite the origins of the yellow vest protests, their movement has evolved into an anti-elitist, anti-Macron character, which sees the president as a globalist oligarch, caring little about the middle and working classes as showcased by his former plans to raise taxes. This sentiment is not new in France, a country long-skeptical of elitists in power, as Macron had often been derogatorily linked with Marie Antoinette, the last Queen of France before the French 1789-1799 Revolution.


    10) UK police arrest 113 environmental activists in London for blocking roads
    By Daily Sabah, April 16, 2019

    Police detain a protester as climate change activists demonstrate during a Extinction Rebellion protest at the Waterloo Bridge in London, Britain April 15, 2019. (Reuters Photo)

    British police have arrested 113 people after climate change activists blocked some of London's most famous roads including Oxford Circus, Marble Arch and Waterloo Bridge in an attempt force the government to do more to tackle climate change.
    The protests led by British climate group Extinction Rebellion, a civil disobedience campaign that also saw action in other parts of Europe, brought parts of central London to a standstill on Monday and some stayed overnight for a second day of protest on Tuesday.
    Extinction Rebellion, which generated headlines with a semi-nude protest in the House of Commons earlier this month, is demanding the government declare a climate and ecological emergency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025. It was established last year in Britain by academics and has become one of the world's fastest-growing environmental movements.
    "There have been 113 arrests in total, the majority of which are for breach of Section 14 Notice of the Public Order Act 1986 and obstruction of the highway," London's Metropolitan Police said.
    Tents littered the roads at Oxford Circus with some activists huddled beneath a pink boat with the words "Tell the Truth" across its side. One placard read: "Rebel for Life."
    Police said five of those arrested had been detained after the U.K. offices of energy giant Royal Dutch Shell near the River Thames was targeted.
    Two protesters on Monday scaled up scaffolding writing 'Shell Knows!' in red paint on the front of the building and three protesters glued their hands to the revolving doors at the entrance.
    The protest saw more than a thousand people block off central London's Waterloo Bridge and lay trees in pots along its length. Later, people set up camps in Hyde Park in preparation for further demonstrations throughout the week.
    The police have ordered the protesters to confine themselves to a zone within Marble Arch, a space at the junction of Hyde Park, the Oxford Street main shopping thoroughfare and the Park Lane street of plush hotels.
    "The information and intelligence available at this time means that that Met (police) feels this action is necessary in order to prevent the demonstrations from causing ongoing serious disruption," the police said.
    The group wants to governments to declare a climate and ecological emergency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2025, halt biodiversity loss and be led by new "citizens' assemblies on climate and ecological justice."
    Spokesman James Fox said the group had attempted to maintain a blockade overnight at four sites in central London before the police came to impose the new restriction.
    People were arrested "mostly at Waterloo Bridge where the police came to try to stop everyone, but there were too many of us," he told AFP.
    Fox said the protesters attached themselves to vehicles and to each other using bicycle locks.
    "We have no intention of leaving until the government listens to us," he said.
    "Many of us are willing to sacrifice our liberty for the cause."

    11) 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.

    12) 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


    13) 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.


    14) 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


    15) 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.”





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