Stop ICE Raids! Stop Detentions!

Friday, July 5, 4:30pm

San Francisco Federal Building

7th Street (at Mission), San Francisco

On June 17, President Trump announced raids to deport thousands of immigrants from cities across the country, including San Francisco. Although the sweeps, to have begun June 23, were postponed, immigrants, their supporters, and working people in general need to demand an end to all ICE raids and detentions.

The profit-driven policies of both Democratic and Republican politicians over the years have driven the economic, political, and environmental devastation that forces migrants and refugees to cross the U.S. border for survival. It's time to reignite the movement to defend immigrants and hold the federal government accountable. They cannot be trusted to do the right thing, so it is up to us to take action. 

Join with other community members, advocates and activists to demand that Senators Harris and Feinstein, and Representatives Pelosi, Speier and others withhold all funding for deportation raids, shut down ICE, close detention centers, and reunite families.  

Click here to see the current Freedom Socialist. To subscribe to the FS by postal mail, email, or audio CD, visit here or send $10 for one year or $17 for two to Freedom Socialist, 5018 Rainier Ave. S., Seattle, WA 98118. (Students $8 for one year, strikers and unemployed $5.)

Please contribute to sustain our work. You can donate to the Freedom Socialist Party now via PayPal

To see the booklist at Red Letter Press or to find out more about the Freedom Socialist Party, go to www.socialism.com, or reply to this message. We would love to hear from you!

Our mailing address is:

Freedom Socialist Party

747 Polk Street

San Francisco, CA 94109

Add us to your address book

Telephone: 415-864-1278



End Human Detention Camps Lights for Liberty Worldwide Vigil Protesting U.S. Concentration Camps

Friday, July 12, 2019

Lights for Liberty will organize five main events in El Paso, Texas; Homestead, Florida; San Diego, California; New York City and Washington, D.C.

Look for groups holding protests in your city on that day!

In San Francisco:

Friday, July 12, 2019 at 7 PM – 10 PM

Powell St. Cable Car Turnaround

Photo of migrants detained under the Paso del Norte International Bridge on March 27, 2019.   pin

Photo of migrants detained under the Paso del Norte International Bridge, March 27, 2019.



Campaign for Medicare for All

At San Francisco Mime Troupe Shows In July

Dear Healthcare Activist, 

We invite you to help us collect postcards in support of HR 1384, the Medicare for All Act of 2019.

We send the postcards to the constituent's Congress Member asking them to support HR 1384 or thanking them if they are already a cosponsor.

In July we will be asking people at many of the San Francisco Mime Troupe shows.  This year's show is about development on Treasure Island.

We will be asking people to sign postcards from noon to 2pm.

The show starts at 2pm. 

Please let us know when you can help.

___ Yes, on July 4 at noon I can collect HR 1384 postcards at Dolores 

Park (18th St and Dolores - 5 blocks from 16th St BART)

___ Yes, on Sat. July 6 at noon I can collect HR 1384 postcards at 41          

Somerset Pl in Berkeley In John Hinkel Park.

___ Yes, on Sun. July 7 at noon I can collect HR 1384 postcards at 41 

Somerset Pl in Berkeley In John Hinkel Park.

___ Yes, on Sat. July 13, I can help collect HR 1384 postcards at         

Frances Willard/Ho Chi Minh Park. Derby & Hillgrass in Berkeley

___ Yes, on Sat. July 20 at noon I can help collect HR 1384 postcards in

          McLaren Park at the Jerry Garcia Amphitheater in San Francisco

___ Yes, on Sat. July 27 at noon I can help collect HR 1384 postcards in 

Balboa Park (San Jose Ave & Havelock in San Francisco)

I look forward to working with you.

Don Bechler

Chair - Single Payer Now


And if you would like to make a financial contribution to keep us strong, you can send a contribution to:

Single Payer Now

PO Box 460622

San Francisco, CA 94146

Or to make a credit cards contribution: Click here



Political Prisoners and Assange: Carole Seligman At S.F. Assange Rally

As part of an international action to free Julian Assange, a rally was held on June 12, 2019 at the US Federal Building in San Francisco and Carole Seligman was one of the speakers. She also speaks about imperialist wars and  the cases of Mumia Abu-Jamal and Fumiaki Hoshino.

For more info:

Production of Labor Video Project




Act Now to Save Mumia's Eyesight and to 

Demand His Release!

Tell them to approve Mumia's cataract surgery immediately!

Tell them to release Mumia Abu-Jamal NOW because he can receive better healthcare outside of prison and also because he is an innocent man!

Update June 3, 3029:

Forwarded message from Dr. Joseph Harris:

To All:

With a more complete history I was able to clarify:

1. Mumia is currently suffering from severe visual impairment "functionly" blind.
2. Under current conditions of incarceration his prognosis is dismal. I estimate he will be partially blind in less than 1 year and will be totally or near totally blind in 2 years.


J. Harris MD
(Please circulate)

P.S. In a subsequent email, Dr. Harris said that Mumia gave his permission to circulate this information. 

Mumia Abu-Jamal

To: Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, Pennsylvania Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel, SCI Mahanoy Superintendent Theresa A. Delbalso, Dr. Courtney P. Rodgers

Mumia's vision has rapidly deteriorated. It has been confirmed that Mumia currently suffers conditions that seriously threaten his eyesight. These include glaucoma, a vitreous detachment and cataracts in both eyes. This threat seriously jeopardizes his life and well-being, as well as his journalistic profession.

An outside eye doctor is recommending surgical procedures to remove the cataracts on both eyes, but SCI-Mahanoy Doctor Courtney Rodgers is delaying scheduling the needed examinations and surgeries with Mumia's outside ophthalmologist. Rodgers works for Correct Care Solutions, a notorious for-profit prison and immigration detention medical company that, according to the Project on Government Oversight, has been sued at least 1,395 times with complaints alleging a range of charges, including wrongful death, malpractice and inadequate healthcare.

Meanwhile Mumia faces increasing nerve damage to his eyes. He is unable to read or do other things requiring normal vision. This delay echoes the years of delays Mumia experienced getting treatment for hepatitis C. By the time the DOC was finally forced by Federal Court to treat Mumia with the Hep C cure, it was too late to prevent cirrhosis of the liver.

African Americans are 1.5 times more likely to develop cataracts than the general population and five times more likely to develop related blindness.

Not only is his overall health deteriorating as he is threatened by permanent blindness, his failure now to receive the immediate attention he requires is cruel and unusual punishment, especially as an innocent man who has been unjustly incarcerated for almost four decades.

Furthermore, considering his multiple ailments and the threat of blindness, we demand that Pennsylvania officials allow a real and humane "compassionate release" now, not the "fake compassionate release" of transfers from prison to care facilities that Pennsylvania will only grant when a prisoner is within a year of dying. Mumia's family, friends and supporters are ready now to provide the healthcare Mumia requires if he were home.

Mumia is not alone in enduring these cruel and unusual assaults on the health of those ageing and ill behind prison walls. According to Bureau of Justice statistics, over 130,000 of U.S. prisoners are elderly, a 400 percent increase between 1993 and 2013. Mumia himself has noted the significant number of those confined at his own prison who suffer similar life-threatening illnesses that require immediate attention. Across the nation elderly prisoners experience a torturous journey toward the end of their lives without any "compassionate release." Once again, as we fight for Mumia's right to treatment and for his release, we fight for the freedom of all the imprisoned from mass incarceration's cruel and unusual conditions.

Mumia should be released now not only because he can receive better healthcare outside of prison but also because he is an innocent man!

Take Action:

1.    Sign the petition

2.    Call: Dr. Courtney P Rodgers – (570) 773-7851 and SCI Mahanoy Superintendent Theresa A. Delbalso - (570) 773-2158

3.    Call: Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf – (717) 787-2500; PA DOC Secretary John Wetzel – (717) 728-2573; Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner – (215) 686-8000

Write to Mumia at:

Smart Communications/PA DOC

Mumia Abu-Jamal #AM-8335

SCI Mahanoy

P.O. Box 33028

St. Petersburg, FL 33733



50 years in prison: 


FREE Chip Fitzgerald 

Grandfather, Father, Elder, Friend

former Black Panther 


Romaine "Chip" Fitzgerald has been in prison since he was locked up 50 years ago. A former member of the Black Panther Party, Chip is now 70 years old, and suffering the consequences of a serious stroke. He depends on a wheelchair for his mobility. He has appeared before the parole board 17 times, but they refuse to release him.

NOW is the time for Chip to come home!

In September 1969, Chip and two other Panthers were stopped by a highway patrolman. During the traffic stop, a shooting broke out, leaving Chip and a police officer both wounded. Chip was arrested a month later and charged with attempted murder of the police and an unrelated murder of a security guard. Though the evidence against him was weak and Chip denied any involvement, he was convicted and sentenced to death.

In 1972, the California Supreme Court outlawed the death penalty. Chip and others on Death Row had their sentences commuted to Life imprisonment with the possibility of parole. All of them became eligible for parole after serving 7 more years. But Chip was rejected for parole, as he has been ever since. 

Parole for Lifers basically stopped under Governors Deukmajian, Wilson, and Davis (1983-2003), resulting in increasing numbers of people in prison and 23 new prisons. People in prison filed lawsuits in federal courts: people were dying as a result of the overcrowding. To rapidly reduce the number of people in prison, the court mandated new parole hearings:

·        for anyone 60 years or older who had served 25 years or more;

·        for anyone convicted before they were 23 years old;

·        for anyone with disabilities 

Chip qualified for a new parole hearing by meeting all three criteria.

But the California Board of Parole Hearings has used other methods to keep Chip locked up. Although the courts ordered that prison rule infractions should not be used in parole considerations, Chip has been denied parole because he had a cellphone.

Throughout his 50 years in prison, Chip has been denied his right to due process – a new parole hearing as ordered by Federal courts. He is now 70, and addressing the challenges of a stroke victim. His recent rules violation of cellphone possession were non-violent and posed no threat to anyone. He has never been found likely to commit any crimes if released to the community – a community of his children, grandchildren, friends and colleagues who are ready to support him and welcome him home.

The California Board of Parole Hearings is holding Chip hostage.

We call on Governor Newsom to release Chip immediately.

What YOU can do to support this campaign to FREE CHIP:

1)   Sign and circulate the petition to FREE Chip. Download it at https://www.change.org/p/california-free-chip-fitzgerald

Print out the petition and get signatures at your workplace, community meeting, or next social gathering.

2)   Write an email to Governor Newsom's office (sample message at:https://docs.google.com/document/d/1iwbP_eQEg2J1T2h-tLKE-Dn2ZfpuLx9MuNv2z605DMc/edit?usp=sharing

3)   Write to Chip: Romaine "Chip" Fitzgerald #B27527,

P.O. Box 4490
Lancaster, CA 93539


Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 863.9977 https://freedomarchives.org/

Free Chip Fitzgerald


We the residents of California are calling for the release of Romaine "Chip" Fitzgerald, a former member of the Black Panther Party who has served 50 years in the California State prison system. He was first eligible for parole in 1976 and has served more than three times the average sentence ...


Free Chip Fitzgerald. 215 likes. Romaine "Chip" Fitzgerald was born and raised in Compton, California. In early 1969, he joined the Southern California...


by Ann Garrison. On April 26, former Black Panther Herman Bell was released from prison in New York State after 45 years. That leaves at least 10 surviving members of the Black Panther Party behind bars, including Romaine "Chip" Fitzgerald, who is currently held at the California State Prison-Los Angeles.


Not an average day for us at KAOS NETWORK, today was a petition signing for the well known Late black panther ROMAINE " CHIP " FITZGERALD ...

Free Romaine "Chip" FitzgeraldPolitischer Gefangener in Kalifornien, USA



Support Chuck Africa for Parole

Michael Africa Jr. started this petition to Pennsylvania Governor

Charles Sims Africa #AM 4975 has been in prison since age 18. He is now 59 years old and a recovering cancer patient. He has been eligible for parole since 2008 but continually denied because of  his political views.

Charles has 8 codefendants. Two has died in prison, four has been released from prison onto parole. Chuck's sister Debbie Sims Africa is one of the four codefendants released onto parole.

Since coming home from prison, Debbie is thriving. Our community of support has supported Debbie to excel and we are committed to do the same for Chuck so that he can excel as well. 




Kim Kardashian visits inmate on death row at San Quentin State Prison

By Lee Brown, May 31, 2019

Kim Kardashian at San Quentin State Prison

Kim Kardashian's social justice crusade has taken her to death row.

The reality TV star spent two hours inside a cell in California's San Quentin State Prison, one of the most notorious jails in the US, as part of her latest crusade to free convicted murderer Kevin Cooper, sources confirmed.

"They met for two hours in a cell in the visitors' area of death row — a proper cell with bars," a source said.

The 38-year-old "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" star was pictured wearing an all-black jumpsuit as she entered the prison.

"Kim decided to pay a visit so she could have her first face-to-face with the guy she's trying to free," TMZ said.

She left "more convinced than ever he was framed," the site insisted.

The 61-year-old death row inmate was convicted in 1985 of four murders — including two 10-year-old children — but has maintained his innocence.

Kevin CooperCourtesy Photo

Kardashian — who is studying to be a lawyer to help her social justice mission — publicly announced her involvement in Cooper's case last year.

"Governor Brown, can you please test the DNA of Kevin Cooper?" Kardashian tweeted then-California Gov. Jerry Brown last June.

Cooper's advocates have argued that DNA found on a T-shirt that Cooper says he never wore should be retested.

The current governor of California, Gavin Newsom, has ordered that DNA testing, with results yet to be announced, according to TMZ.

Newsom is also a death penalty opponent and has decided to suspend all executions while he is in office.

Earlier this month, it emerged that Kardashian had quietly bankrolled a successful campaign to free 17 federal inmates serving life sentences for low-level drug crimes over the past three months.


Write to:

Kevin Cooper #C-65304 4-EB-82           

San Quentin State Prison

San Quentin, CA 94974




On Abortion: From Facebook

Best explanation I've heard so far..., Copied from a friend who copied from a friend who copied..., "Last night, I was in a debate about these new abortion laws being passed in red states. My son stepped in with this comment which was a show stopper. One of the best explanations I have read:, , 'Reasonable people can disagree about when a zygote becomes a "human life" - that's a philosophical question. However, regardless of whether or not one believes a fetus is ethically equivalent to an adult, it doesn't obligate a mother to sacrifice her body autonomy for another, innocent or not., , Body autonomy is a critical component of the right to privacy protected by the Constitution, as decided in Griswold v. Connecticut (1965), McFall v. Shimp (1978), and of course Roe v. Wade (1973). Consider a scenario where you are a perfect bone marrow match for a child with severe aplastic anemia; no other person on earth is a close enough match to save the child's life, and the child will certainly die without a bone marrow transplant from you. If you decided that you did not want to donate your marrow to save the child, for whatever reason, the state cannot demand the use of any part of your body for something to which you do not consent. It doesn't matter if the procedure required to complete the donation is trivial, or if the rationale for refusing is flimsy and arbitrary, or if the procedure is the only hope the child has to survive, or if the child is a genius or a saint or anything else - the decision to donate must be voluntary to be constitutional. This right is even extended to a person's body after they die; if they did not voluntarily commit to donate their organs while alive, their organs cannot be harvested after death, regardless of how useless those organs are to the deceased or how many lives they would save., , That's the law., , Use of a woman's uterus to save a life is no different from use of her bone marrow to save a life - it must be offered voluntarily. By all means, profess your belief that providing one's uterus to save the child is morally just, and refusing is morally wrong. That is a defensible philosophical position, regardless of who agrees and who disagrees. But legally, it must be the woman's choice to carry out the pregnancy., , She may choose to carry the baby to term. She may choose not to. Either decision could be made for all the right reasons, all the wrong reasons, or anything in between. But it must be her choice, and protecting the right of body autonomy means the law is on her side. Supporting that precedent is what being pro-choice means.", , Feel free to copy/paste and re-post., y

Sent from my iPhone





24 June 2019 ASA 35/0587/2019



Responding to the killings of four Filipino activists over a three-day period, Amnesty International calls on the

Philippine authorities to cease from 'red-tagging' legitimate organizations, or branding them as "communist fronts"which, according to these organizations, have led to increased harassment and attacks by unknown individuals against them. Peaceful activists should not be targeted based on their political views. The authorities must also carry out a prompt, thorough, impartial and effective investigation into the killings, and bring to justice those suspected to

be responsible for the killings. They must take proactive steps to ensure, protect, and promote the human rights of human rights defenders and activists in the country, and guarantee the right to an effective remedy and access to justice to victims and their families.

Local human rights group Karapatan said that two of its staff, 22-year-old Ryan Hubilla and 69-year-old Nelly Bagasala, were gunned down by unidentified persons in Sorsogon City, Sorsogon, on 15 June. The following day, 16 June, farmer-activist Nonoy Palma was shot dead outside his house in San Fernando, Bukidnon, by unknown persons riding a motorcycle. On 17 June, former activist Neptali Morada was driving his motorcycle to the provincial capitol

when he was gunned down by an unknown man in Naga City, Camarines Sur.

Hubilla, Bagasala, Palma and Morada all belonged to 'leftist organizationsthat have been 'red-tagged', or named by the government as "legal fronts" for the Communist Party of the Philippines. In a speech in January 2018, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said that he would "go after the legal fronts," referring to groups with alleged ties to the

communist movement, and reiterated his order to the military to "destroy the [communist] apparatus.Many of these groups say that in the wake of such provocative allegations, they have faced increased attacks by unknown individuals, including killings. Out of concern for the safety of their staff, Karapatan and several other groups have filed a court petition seeking information and protection; in fact, Hubilla had been planning to participate as a witness in hearings relating to this petition. Further evidencing the threats being faced by human rights defenders and activists, a group of UN human rights experts issued a statement on 7 June asking the UN to "establish an

independent investigation into human rights violations in the Philippines ... including sustained attacks on people and institutions defending human rights."

Amnesty International calls on the Philippine authorities to fulfil their international obligations to respect, protect, promote and fulfil the rights of human rights defenders and activists, including their rights to life, freedom of

expression, and freedom of peaceful assembly. All these rights are guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which the Philippines is a state party. In particular, Amnesty International calls on the Philippine government to conduct prompt, thorough, impartial and effective investigations into the killings of human rights defenders and activists in the country. Philippine authorities should also publicly instruct their officials to end the harassment and intimidation of human rights defenders and activists simply for carrying out human rights work. The authorities should encourage rather than disparage the work of human rights defenders and activists which, in some cases, puts these defenders' lives in danger.

As the human rights situation in the Philippines continues to deteriorate, Amnesty International has called on member states of the UN Human Rights Council to open an independent investigation into human rights violations in the context of the "war on drugs,". This investigation should examine, among other issues, attacks on human rights defenders and activists.


According to the human rights group Karapatan, Ryan Hubilla and Nelly Bagasala had been assisting political prisoners, three of whom were released the day before Hubilla and Bagasala were killed, and had been subjected tosurveillance because of their work. Farmers' group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas said that Nonoy Palma was a member of its local chapter. Neptali Morada was a regional coordinator of the group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan


Amnesty International Public Statement 1

(Bayan) until 2000 and was working as a staff of a former local politician when he was killed; Bayan, however, said that Morada continued to experience surveillance and harassment even after he left the group.

According to media reports, Philippine National Police Chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde has said that he has ordered an investigation into the killings. The reports say that Albayalde has told Karapatan, however, that it has to prove that

both Hubilla and Bagasala are indeed staff of the organization, adding that Karapatan may just be "taking advantage"of the situation by putting the blame on state forces.



Celebrating the release of Janet and Janine Africa

Take action now to support Jalil A. Muntaqim's release

Jalil A. Muntaqim was a member of the Black Panther Party and has been a political prisoner for 48 years since he was arrested at the age of 19 in 1971. He has been denied parole 11 times since he was first eligible in 2002, and is now scheduled for his 12th parole hearing. Additionally, Jalil has filed to have his sentence commuted to time served by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Visit Jalil's support page, check out his writing and poetry, and Join Critical Resistance in supporting a vibrant intergenerational movement of freedom fighters in demanding his release.

48 years is enough. Write, email, call, and tweet at Governor Cuomo in support of Jalil's commutation and sign this petition demanding his release.



The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo

Governor of the State of New York

Executive Chamber State Capital Building

Albany, New York 12224

Michelle Alexander – Author, The New Jim Crow

Ed Asner - Actor and Activist

Charles Barron - New York Assemblyman, 60th District

Inez Barron - Counci member, 42nd District, New York City Council

Rosa Clemente - Scholar Activist and 2008 Green Party Vice-Presidential candidate

Patrisse Cullors – Co-Founder Black Lives Matter, Author, Activist

Elena Cohen - President, National Lawyers Guild

"Davey D" Cook - KPFA Hard Knock Radio

Angela Davis - Professor Emerita, University of California, Santa Cruz

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz - Native American historian, writer and feminist

Mike Farrell - Actor and activist

Danny Glover – Actor and activist

Linda Gordon - New York University

Marc Lamont Hill - Temple University

Jamal Joseph - Columbia University

Robin D.G. Kelley - University of California, Los Angeles

Tom Morello - Rage Against the Machine

Imani Perry - Princeton University

Barbara Ransby - University of Illinois, Chicago

Boots Riley - Musician, Filmmaker

Walter Riley - Civil rights attorney

Dylan Rodriguez - University of California, Riverside, President American Studies Association

Maggie Siff, Actor

Heather Ann Thompson - University of Michigan

Cornel West - Harvard University

Institutional affiliations listed for identification purposes only

Call: 1-518-474-8390

Email Gov. Cuomo with this form

Tweet at @NYGovCuomo

Any advocacy or communications to Gov. Cuomo must refer to Jalil as:


Sullivan Correctional Facility,

P.O. Box 116,

Fallsburg, New York 12733-0116



Painting by Kevin Cooper, an innocent man on San Quentin's death row. www.freekevincooper.org

Decarcerate Louisiana

Declaration of Undersigned Prisoners

We, the undersigned persons, committed to the care and custody of the Louisiana Department of Corrections (LDOC), hereby submit the following declaration and petition bearing witness to inhumane conditions of solitary confinement in the N-1 building at the David Wade Corrections Center (DWCC). 

Our Complaint:

We, the Undersigned Persons, declare under penalty of perjury: 

1.    We, the undersigned, are currently housed in the N-1 building at DWCC, 670 Bell Hill Road, Homer, LA 71040. 

2.    We are aware that the Constitution, under the 8th Amendment, bans cruel and unusual punishments; the Amendment also imposes duties on prison officials who must provide humane conditions of confinement and ensure that inmates receive adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and must take reasonable measures to guarantee the safety of the inmates. 

3.    We are aware that Louisiana prison officials have sworn by LSA-R.S.15:828 to provide humane treatment and rehabilitation to persons committed to its care and to direct efforts to return every person in its custody to the community as promptly as practicable. 

4.    We are confined in a double-bunked six-by-nine foot or 54 square feet cell with another human being 22-hours-a-day and are compelled to endure the degrading experience of being in close proximity of another human being while defecating. 

5.    There are no educational or rehabilitation programs for the majority of prisoners confined in the N-1 building except for a selected few inmates who are soon to be released. 

6.    We get one hour and 30 minutes on the yard and/or gym seven days a week. Each day we walk to the kitchen for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, which takes about one minute to get there. We are given ten minutes to eat. 

7.    The daily planner for inmates confined in the N-1 building is to provide inmates one hour and 30 minutes on yard or gym; escort inmates to kitchen for breakfast, lunch, and dinner to sit and eat for approximately ten minutes each meal; provide a ten minute shower for each cell every day; provide one ten minute phone call per week; confine prisoners in cell 22-hours-a-day. 

8.    When we are taking a shower we are threatened by guards with disciplinary reports if we are not out on time. A typical order is: "if you are not out of shower in ten minutes pack your shit and I'm sending you back to N-2, N-3, or N-4"—a more punitive form of solitary confinement. 

9.    When walking outside to yard, gym or kitchen, guards order us to put our hands behind our back or they'll write us up and send us back to N-2, N-3, N-4. 

10.  When we are sitting at the table eating, guards order us not to talk or they'll write us up and send us back to N-2, N-3, N-4. ) 

11.  Guards are harassing us every day and are threatening to write up disciplinary reports and send us back to a more punitive cellblock (N-2, N-3, N-4) if we question any arbitrary use of authority or even voice an opinion in opposition to the status quo. Also, guards take away good time credits, phone, TV, radio, canteen, and contact visits for talking too loud or not having hands behind back or for any reason they want. We are also threatened with slave labor discipline including isolation (removing mattress from cell from 5:00 A.M. to 9:00 P.M.,) strip cell (removing mattress and bedding and stationery from cell for ten to 30 days or longer), food loaf  (taking one's meal for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and mixing it all together into one big mass, bake it in oven and serve it to prisoners for punishment.)

12.  When prison guards write up disciplinary reports and transfer us to the more punitive restrictive solitary confinement in N-2, N-3, N-4 or N-5, guards then enforce an arbitrary rule that gives prisoners the ultimatum of sending all their books and personal property home or let the prison dispose of it. 

13.  Louisiana prison officials charge indigent prisoners (who earn less than four cents an hour) $3.00 for routine requests for healthcare services, $6.00 for emergency medical requests, and $2.00 for each new medical prescription. They wait until our family and friends send us money and take it to pay prisoners' medical bills. 

Our concerns:

14.  How much public monies are appropriated to the LDOC budget and specifically allotted to provide humane treatment and implement the rehabilitation program pursuant to LSA- R.S.15:828? 

15.  Why does Elayn Hunt Correctional Center located in the capitol of Louisiana have so many educational and rehabilitation programs teaching prisoners job and life skills for reentry whereas there are no such programs to engage the majority of prisoners confined in the N-1, N- 2, N-3, and N-4 solitary confinement buildings at DWCC. 

16.  It is customary for Louisiana prison officials and DWCC prison guards to tell inmates confined in the prison's cellblocks to wait until transfer to prison dormitory to participate in programs when in fact there are no such programs available and ready to engage the majority of the state's 34,000 prisoner population. The programs are especially needed for prisoners confined in a six-by-nine foot or 54 square feet cell with another person for 22-or-more-hours-per-day. 

17.  Why can't prisoners use phone and computers every day to communicate with family and peers as part of rehabilitation and staying connected to the community? 

18.  Why do prisoners have to be transferred miles and miles away from loved ones to remote correctional facilities when there are facilities closer to loved ones? 

19.  Why are prison guards allowed to treat prisoners as chattel slaves, confined in cages 22-or-more-hours-per-day, take away phone calls and visitation and canteen at will, and take away earned good time credits for any reason at all without input from family, one's peers and community? 

20.  Why do the outside communities allow prison guards to create hostile living environments and conditions of confinement that leaves prisoners in a state of chattel slavery, stress, anxiety, anger, rage, inner torment, despair, worry, and in a worse condition from when we first entered the prison? 

21.  Why do state governments and/or peers in the community allow racist or bigoted white families who reside in the rural and country parts of Louisiana to run the state's corrections system with impunity? For example, DWCC Warden Jerry Goodwin institutes racist and bigoted corrections policies and practices for the very purpose of oppression, repression, antagonizing and dehumanizing the inmates who will one day be released from prison. 

22.  David Wade Correctional Center Colonel Lonnie Nail, a bigot and a racist, takes his orders from Warden Jerry Goodwin, another racist and bigot. Both Goodwin and Nail influences subordinate corrections officers to act toward prisoners in a racist or bigoted manner and with an arrogant attitude. This creates a hostile living environment and debilitating conditions of confinement for both guards and prisoners and prevents rehabilitation of inmates.

23.  In other industrialized democracies like Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, et al, it is reported that no prisoner should be declared beyond reform or redemption without first attempting to rehabilitate them. Punitive or harsh conditions of confinement are not supported because they see the loss of freedom inherent in a prison sentence as punishment enough. One Netherlands official reported that their motto is to start with the idea of "Reintegration back into society on day one" when people are locked up. "You can't make an honest argument that how someone is treated while incarcerated doesn't affect how they behave when they get out," the official added. 

24.  Additionally, some Scandinavian countries have adopted open prison programs without fences or armed guards. Prisoners who prove by their conduct that they can be trusted are placed in a prison resembling a college campus more than a prison. The result is a 20 percent recidivism rate, compared to a 67 percent rate in the United States. 

25.  The National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC) in a position statement says: "Prolonged (greater than 15 consecutive days) solitary confinement is cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment, and harmful to an individual's health."

 What We Believe: 

26.  We believe that when the greater portion of public monies goes to war and the military, this leaves little funds left for community reinvestment and human development.The people have less access to resources by which to get a better idea of human behavior and rely on higher education instead of prison to solve cultural, social, political, economic problems in the system that may put people at risk to domestic violence and crime as a way to survive and cope with shortcomings in the system. 

27.  We believe that investing public monies in the rehabilitation program LSA-R.S.15:828 to teach prisoners job and life skills will redeem inmates, instill morals, and make incarcerated people productive and fit for society. 

28.  We believe that confining inmates in cellblocks 15-or-more=hours-per-day is immoral, uncivilized, brutalizing, a waste of time and counter-productive to rehabilitation and society's goals of "promoting the general welfare" and "providing a more perfect union with justice for all." 

29.  We believe that corrections officers who prove by their actions that incarcerated people are nothing more than chattel slaves are bucking the laws and creating hardening criminals and these corrections officers are, therefore, a menace to society. 

Our Demands:

30.  We are demanding a public conversation from community activists and civil rights leaders about (1) the historic relationship between chattel slavery, the retaliatory assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, and the resurrection of slavery written into the 13th Amendment; (2) the historic relationship between the 13th Amendment, the backlash against Reconstruction, Peonage, Convict Leasing, and Slavery; (3) the historic relationship between the 13th Amendment, the War Against Poverty, the War on Drugs, Criminal Justice and Prison Slavery. 

31.  We demand that the Louisiana legislature pass the Decarcerate Louisiana Anti-Slavery and Freedom Liberation Act of 2020 into law and end prison slavery and the warehousing of incarcerated people for the very purpose of repression, oppression, and using prisoners and their families and supporters as a profit center for corporate exploitation and to generate revenue to balance the budget and stimulate the state economy. 

32.  We are demanding that Warden Jerry Goodwin and Colonel Lonnie Nail step down and be replaced by people are deemed excellent public servants in good standing with human rights watchdog groups and civil rights community. 

33.  We are demanding that the LDOC provide public monies to operate state prison dormitories and cellblocks as rehabilitation centers to teach incarcerated people job and life skills five-days-a-week from 7:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. 

34.  We are demanding that the LDOC release a public statement announcing that "from this day forward it will not support punitive or harsh conditions of confinement," and that "no prisoner should be declared beyond reform or redemption without first attempting to rehabilitate them."

35.  We are demanding that the prison cellblocks be operated as open dormitories (made in part a health clinic and part college campus) so that incarcerated people can have enough space to walk around and socialize, participate in class studies, exercise, use telephone as the need arise. Prisoners are already punished by incarceration so there is no need to punish or further isolate them. Racism and abuse of power will not be tolerated. 

36.  We are demanding an end to unjust policies and practices that impose punishments and deprive incarcerated people of phone calls, visitation, canteen, good time credits, books and other personal property that pose no threat to public safety. 

37.  We are demanding that LDOC provide incarcerated people cellphones and computers to communicate with the public and stay connected to the community. 

38.  We are demanding the right to communicate with reporters to aid and assist incarcerated persons in preparing a press release to communicate to the public Decarcerate Louisiana's vision and mission statements, aims, and plans for moving forward. 

39.  We are demanding the right to participate in the U.S.-European Criminal Justice Innovation Project and share our complaint, concerns, and demands for a humane corrections program. 

40.  We are only demanding the right to enough space to create, to innovate, to excel in learning, to use scientific knowledge to improve our person and place and standing in the free world. The rule of law must support the betterment and uplifting of all humanity. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said: "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." 

41.  We demand that the responsibility for prisoner medical care be removed from DOC wardens and place it under the management of the state's health office; increase state health officer staff to better monitor prisoner healthcare and oversee vendor contracts. 

42.  We have a God-given right and responsibility to resist abuse of power from the wrongdoers, to confront unjust authority and oppression, to battle for justice until we achieve our demands for liberation and freedom. 

We, the undersigned, declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct. 

Executed on this 28th Day of January 2019. 

Ronald Brooks #385964 

David Johnson #84970 

Freddie Williams #598701 

Earl Hollins #729041 

James Harris #399514 

Tyrone Carter #550354 

Kerry Carter #392013 

Ivo Richardson #317371 

Rondrikus Fulton #354313 

Kentell Simmons #601717 

Jayvonte Pines #470985 

Deandre Miles #629008 

Kenneth P. #340729 

Brandon Ceaser #421453 

Tyronne Ward #330964 

Jermaine Atkins #448421 

Charles Rodgers #320513 

Steve Givens #557854 

Timothy Alfred #502378 

—wsimg.com, January 2019




New Prison and Jail Population Figures Released by U.S. Department of Justice

By yearend 2017, the United States prison population had declined by 7.3% since reaching its peak level in 2009, according to new data released by the Department of Justice. The prison population decreases are heavily influenced by a handful of states that have reduced their populations by 30% or more in recent years. However, as of yearend 2017 more than half the states were still experiencing increases in their populations or rates of decline only in the single digits. 

Analysis of the new data by The Sentencing Project reveals that: 

  • The United States remains as the world leader in its rate of incarceration, locking up its citizens at 5-10 times the rate of other industrialized nations. At the current rate of decline it will take 75 years to cut the prison population by 50%.
  • The population serving life sentences is now at a record high. One of every seven individuals in prison – 206,000 – is serving life.
  • Six states have reduced their prison populations by at least 30% over the past two decades – Alaska, Connecticut, California, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont.  
  • The rate of women's incarceration has been rising at a faster rate than men's since the 1980s, and declines in recent years have been slower than among men.
  • Racial disparities in women's incarceration have changed dramatically since the start of the century. Black women were incarcerated at 6 times the rate of white women in 2000, while the 2017 figure is now 1.8 times that rate. These changes have been a function of both a declining number of black women in prison and a rising number of white women. For Hispanic women, the ratio has changed from 1.6 times that of white women in 2000 to 1.4 times in 2017. 

The declines in prison and jail populations reported by the Department of Justice today are encouraging, but still fall far short of what is necessary for meaningful criminal justice reform. In order to take the next step in ending mass incarceration policymakers will need to scale back excessive sentencing for all offenses, a key factor which distinguishes the U.S. from other nations. 

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[Note: China's population is 1,419,147,756* as of April 26, 2019 with 1,649,804 in prison***; while the population of the USA is 328,792,291 as of April 27, 2019** with 2,121,600 in prison.*** 






Courage to Resist

daniel hale drone activist

Drone vet turned activist facing 50 years for whistle-blowing

Daniel Hale, an Air Force veteran and former US intelligence analyst was arrested May 9th and charged with violating the Espionage Act. Daniel is a well-known anti-drone activist who has spoken out a number of anti-war events and conferences. He's a member of About Face: Veterans Against the War, and he's featured in the documentary "National Bird." For years, Daniel has expressed concern that he'd be targeted by the government.  Learn more.

Hal Muskat

Podcast: "There were US anti-war soldiers all over the world" - Hal Muskat

"I told my command officer that I wasn't going to, I was refusing my orders [to Vietnam] … In his rage, he thought if he court-martialed me, he'd have to stay in the Army past his discharge date." While stationed in Europe, Hal Muskat refused orders to Vietnam and joined the GI Movement, resulting in two court martials. This Courage to Resist podcast was produced in collaboration with the Vietnam Full Disclosure effort of Veterans For Peace. Listen to Hal Muskat's story.

Chelsea Manning returned to jail after brief release; Faces half million dollar fine in addition to another 18 months prison

chelsea manning resists

Since our last newsletter less than two weeks ago, Chelsea Manning was freed from jail when the grand jury investigating Julian Assange and WikiLeaks expired. However, a few days later, she was sent back to jail for refusing to collaborate with a new grand jury on the same subject. District Court Judge Anthony Trenga ordered Chelsea fined $500 every day she is in custody after 30 days and $1,000 every day she is in custody after 60 days -- a possible total of $502,000. Statement from Chelsea's lawyers.

Stand with Reality Winner, rally in DC

chelsea manning resists

June 3, 2019 at 7pm (Monday)
Lafayette Square, Washington DC 

Please join friends and supporters as we raise awareness of the persecution of this young veteran and brave truth teller. This marks two years of imprisonment of Reality for helping to expose hacking attempts on US election systems leading up to the 2016 presidential election. For more info, visit the "Stand with Reality" pages on Twitter or FacebookOrder "Stand with Reality" shirts, banners, and buttons from Left Together protest shirts.


484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland, California 94610 ~ 510-488-3559



Funds for Kevin Cooper


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

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

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

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

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



Don't extradite Assange!

To the government of the UK

Julian Assange, through Wikileaks, has done the world a great service in documenting American war crimes, its spying on allies and other dirty secrets of the world's most powerful regimes, organisations and corporations. This has not endeared him to the American deep state. Both Obama, Clinton and Trump have declared that arresting Julian Assange should be a priority. We have recently received confirmation [1] that he has been charged in secret so as to have him extradited to the USA as soon as he can be arrested. 

Assange's persecution, the persecution of a publisher for publishing information [2] that was truthful and clearly in the interest of the public - and which has been republished in major newspapers around the world - is a danger to freedom of the press everywhere, especially as the USA is asserting a right to arrest and try a non-American who neither is nor was then on American soil. The sentence is already clear: if not the death penalty then life in a supermax prison and ill treatment like Chelsea Manning. The very extradition of Julian Assange to the United States would at the same time mean the final death of freedom of the press in the West. 

The courageous nation of Ecuador has offered Assange political asylum within its London embassy for several years until now. However, under pressure by the USA, the new government has made it clear that they want to drive Assange out of the embassy and into the arms of the waiting police as soon as possible. They have already curtailed his internet and his visitors and turned the heating off, leaving him freezing in a desolate state for the past few months and leading to the rapid decline of his health, breaching UK obligations under the European Convention of Human Rights. Therefore, our demand both to the government of Ecuador and the government of the UK is: don't extradite Assange to the US! Guarantee his human rights, make his stay at the embassy as bearable as possible and enable him to leave the embassy towards a secure country as soon as there are guarantees not to arrest and extradite him. Furthermore, we, as EU voters, encourage European nations to take proactive steps to protect a journalist in danger. The world is still watching.

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/16/us/politics/julian-assange-indictment-wikileaks.html

[2] https://theintercept.com/2018/11/16/as-the-obama-doj-concluded-prosecution-of-julian-assange-for-publishing-documents-poses-grave-threats-to-press-freedom/




Words of Wisdom

Louis Robinson Jr., 77

Recording secretary for Local 1714 of the United Auto Workers from 1999 to 2018, with the minutes from a meeting of his union's retirees' chapter.

"One mistake the international unions in the United States made was when Ronald Reagan fired the air traffic controllers. When he did that, the unions could have brought this country to a standstill. All they had to do was shut down the truck drivers for a month, because then people would not have been able to get the goods they needed. So that was one of the mistakes they made. They didn't come together as organized labor and say: "No. We aren't going for this. Shut the country down." That's what made them weak. They let Reagan get away with what he did. A little while after that, I read an article that said labor is losing its clout, and I noticed over the years that it did. It happened. It doesn't feel good."

[On the occasion of the shut-down of the Lordstown, Ohio GM plant March 6, 2019.]




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.

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.

Who to contact:

TDCJ Executive Director Bryan Collier

Phone: (936)295-6371

Senior Warden Philip Sinfuentes (McConnell Unit)

Phone: (361) 362-2300



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.

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.

Major Tillery has Fought his Conviction and Advocated for Other Prisoners for over 30 Years

Major Tillery Needs Your Help:

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.


    Free Leonard Peltier!

    Art by Leonard Peltier

    Write to:

    Leonard Peltier 89637-132

    USP Coleman 1,  P.O. Box 1033

    Coleman, FL 33521



    Working people are helping to feed the poor hungry corporations! 

    Charity for the Wealthy!




    1) Israel Is Blamed for Deadly Missile Strikes in Syria

    By Isabel Kershner, July 1, 209


    A still from a video showing smoke near the Syrian capital, Damascus, after a reported Israeli airstrike.CreditCreditYoussef Karwashan/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

    JERUSALEM — Israeli warplanes struck several military sites in Syria overnight and killed several fighters and civilians, Syrian state media reported on Monday, in what appeared to be a stepping up of Israel's long-running, partly covert campaign to thwart Iranian military entrenchment in Syria and stop weapon transfers to Lebanon.

    The warplanes fired missiles from Lebanese airspace, according to SANA, the official Syrian news agency, which reported that a baby was among four civilians who were killed. The airstrikes hit a variety of targets, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based monitoring group identified with the Syrian opposition.

    The targets included the headquarters of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps of Iran in the south of the Syrian capital, Damascus; a scientific research center in the countryside around the city; and positions held by Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Lebanese group, in the mountains near the border with Lebanon, the Observatory said.

    The Hezbollah sites that were targeted included ammunition warehouses, resulting in explosions and huge fires, the Observatory reported.

    Israel has carried out many strikes in Syria. The military and government officials declined to comment, in line with their usual policy of ambiguity, an approach intended to avoid forcing the government of Bashar al-Assad or his allies into retaliating.

    The attack came amid escalating tensions in the region between Iran and the United States over sanctions and the downing of an American reconnaissance drone, and just hours before the International Atomic Energy Agency reported that Iran had surpassed a key limitation on how much nuclear fuel it can possess.

    Last week, Israel hosted an extraordinary meeting of the national security advisers of Israel, Russia and the United States that was planned long before the recent rise in tensions. Iran and Hezbollah, both archenemies of Israel, together with Russia, have helped Mr. Assad of Syria gain the upper hand in a civil war that began in 2011.

    Opening that trilateral meeting in Jerusalem, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel pressed for the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Syria, in particular those of Iran and Iranian proxies near the frontier with Israel. He said Israel had acted "hundreds of times" to prevent Iranian military entrenchment in Syria and the transfer of weapons.

    The Israeli campaign, however surgical, risks miscalculations and unintended consequences. Last year, Syrian forces accidentally shot down a Russian military plane after an Israeli airstrike on Syrian territory, causing a temporary crisis in Israeli-Russian relations.

    On Monday, the foreign minister of Turkish-held Northern Cyprus, Kudret Ozersay, said that what appeared to be a Russian-made antiaircraft missile fired by Syria at Israeli jets had missed its mark and fallen on the island. There were no reports of casualties.

    Citing a military source, the Syrian news agency, SANA, said that Syria's air defense had responded to the missiles fired by Israeli warplanes.

    Another figure close to the Syrian government who was briefed on the strikes and who requested anonymity to discuss secret military information put the total death toll from the attacks higher, saying that at least 16 had been killed, including five Syrian Army personnel, one Iranian and 10 civilians and that 49 others had been wounded. He added that many of the targets had been vacated ahead of time because of the tensions between Iran and the United States and that the civilian casualties had been caused by explosions from munition stores.

    Though hardly a supporter of Mr. Assad, Israel has professed neutrality in the Syrian civil war, saying that it only acts in the country in the interests of maintaining its own red lines and protecting its own interests. Israel has said it would like to see stability restored there.

    Speaking on Monday at an annual conference on national security, Yossi Cohen, director of the Mossad, Israel's intelligence service, said that the country had "no interest in a conflict with Syria, but we cannot agree to Syria serving as an arena in which Iranian forces or forces operated by it become entrenched against us."

    Without specifically addressing the overnight activity, Mr. Cohen added that Israel would not allow Syria to become a logistical base for the transfer of weapons to Hezbollah and Lebanon.

    "Israel has operated in the past four years, overtly and covertly — only a small part of that has been reported — to prevent and destroy the entrenchment of Iranian forces in Syria and the infrastructure for manufacturing precision weapons," he said. "Thanks to that resolute action, I believe the Iranians will ultimately reach the conclusion that it's not worth their while."

    He said that Iran and Hezbollah were now seeking to move some of their bases to northern Syria, "a place where they believe, mistakenly, that we will have trouble reaching."

    Hwaida Saad contributed reporting from Beirut, Lebanon; and David M. Halbfinger from Herzliya, Israel.



    2) Poachers Are Invading Botswana, Last Refuge of African Elephants

    By Rachael Nuwer, July 1, 2019

    "From 2009 to 2014, Tanzania's elephant population fell by 60 percent, while Mozambique's Niassa National Reserve lost 78 percent of its elephants over the same period. The illegal trade in ivory is driven by nearly insatiable demand in China and elsewhere in Asia. ...'Addressing poverty and unemployment in the rural areas would go a long way in protecting our wildlife.'"


    A dead elephant inspected by a soldier in Chobe, northern Botswana, in September. Poachers, mostly from Zambia, now are operating in Botswana, conservationists report.CreditCreditMonirul Bhuiyan/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

    In September, conservationists in Botswana discovered 87 dead elephants, their faces hacked off and tusks missing. Poaching, the researchers warned, was on the rise

    The news had international repercussions. Botswana had been one of the last great elephant refuges, largely spared the poaching crisis that has swept through much of Africa over the past decade. 

    The country is home to some 126,000 savanna elephants, about a third of Africa's remaining population — plentiful enough that they are increasingly in conflict with villagers in the northern part of the country. 

    Following the announcement in September, Botswana's ministry of the environment denied that there was a poaching crisis of any sort, and in May the government lifted a ban on trophy hunting that had been in place for five years, provoking worldwide condemnation.

    Even some scientists wondered whether the illegal ivory trade really had found its way to Botswana. Now, the researchers have published data in the journal Current Biology that seems to confirm their initial findings. 

    Based on aerial surveys and field visits, the authors report that fresh elephant carcasses in Botswana increased by nearly 600 percent from 2014 to 2018.

    Samuel Wasser, a conservation biologist at the University of Washington in Seattle who was not involved in the research, said that "there's no question" about the authors' findings. 

    "The work was exceptional in every way," he said. "There were so many features they carefully and meticulously documented. And they also looked at alternative hypotheses, and none were supported by data."

    Such careful documentation of poaching is sorely needed across Africa, Dr. Wasser added: "This is an example of how to do it right, and hopefully others will learn from it."

    Reached by phone, Cyril Taolo, director of research at Botswana's Department of Wildlife and National Parks, said that he and his colleagues "are still interrogating this paper and coming up with a response" to the concerns raised by the conservationists.

    The survey was led by Michael Chase, founder and director of Elephants Without Borders, a nonprofit conservation organization based in Kasane, Botswana. 

    Squeezed into a fixed-wing Cessna, Dr. Chase and his colleagues crisscrossed 36,300 square miles of habitat, counting and photographing all living and dead elephants they spotted 300 feet below. 

    They recorded 156 carcasses they believed to be poached, clustered at five hot spots.

    One criticism of the earlier report had been that an elephant's cause of death is impossible to determine from the air. Scott Schlossberg, a data analyst at Elephants Without Borders and co-author of paper, disagreed: "When an elephant's face has been chopped off, you can often see that from the plane." 

    But to assuage such concerns, he and his colleagues used a helicopter to make field visits to 148 carcasses. About half were fresh, the rest at least a year old.

    With close inspections, the researchers confirmed that recent carcasses were exclusively poached animals; roughly 80 percent of the older carcasses had been poached, as well. Older bulls accounted for all of the remains that the scientists were able to age, indicating that poachers, for now, are targeting individuals with the largest tusks.

    A herd in the Chobe district in September.CreditMonirul Bhuiyan/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

    The findings revealed a 593 percent increase in the number of freshly killed carcasses, compared to survey results from 2014. Extrapolating the numbers, the researchers estimated that a minimum of 385 elephants had been poached in Botswana between 2017 and 2018.

    "Those scientists and colleagues who cast doubt on our initial findings I hope now find that the science and evidence that we describe in our paper is indeed convincing," Dr. Chase said.

    The results of this "state of the art" study speak for themselves, putting to rest any doubt that Botswana has a poaching problem, said Keith Lindsay, a collaborating researcher at the Amboseli Trust for Elephants, a nonprofit research group in Kenya, who was not involved in the study.

    "The few people who did speak against Mike's original results were researchers who have a history working in Botswana and who want to be seen as supporting the government," Dr. Lindsay said. "My own interpretation is that they wanted to support their future position in Botswana."

    While 400 elephants killed out of a population of 126,000 does not sound like a lot, the study authors warn that the situation could quickly escalate. Small increases in poaching — similar to the rates now being seen in Botswana — have preceded dramatic elephant declines in other places. 

    "Poaching doesn't go away on its own," Dr. Schlossberg said. "Based on scenarios from other countries, it starts small and gets bigger and bigger."

    From 2009 to 2014, Tanzania's elephant population fell by 60 percent, while Mozambique's Niassa National Reserve lost 78 percent of its elephants over the same period. The illegal trade in ivory is driven by nearly insatiable demand in China and elsewhere in Asia.

    Conservationists have been warning for years that poaching would eventually reach Botswana, said Mary Rice, executive director of the Environmental Investigation Agency, a nonprofit group in London that has worked to combat illegal ivory trade for decades.

    "My feeling is that this has been a long time coming and that Botswana is still not taking the information seriously," she said. "A country won't be judged by the fact that it has a poaching problem, but it will be judged by how it responds to the problem."

    At the end of June, poachers killed at least three more elephants with poison, the government confirmed. More than 500 endangered vultures that fed off the carcasses also died — the largest mass poisoning of vultures in Africa, Dr. Chase said.

    Arrest records and seizure data indicate that poachers behind the recent elephant killings in Botswana mostly originate from Zambia. But while organized criminal networks may be established outside Botswana, Ms. Rice pointed out, poachers cannot operate in isolation. 

    "Usually there's local support," she said.

    For rural villagers in Botswana, the temptation may be rising. Unsafe conditions in neighboring countries have caused elephants to gather in the north, increasing conflict and breeding animosity, said Neil Fitt, an independent conservation consultant in Botswana.

    Recently, he said, three Botswanans were killed by elephants in one week.

    "I'm not saying that poaching is O.K., but whilst we have these problems, it is difficult to get the communities on board to assist in protecting wildlife," Mr. Fitt said. "Addressing poverty and unemployment in the rural areas would go a long way in protecting our wildlife."



    3) Welcome to the K-12 Surveillance State

    Is tech really the solution to student safety?

    By Charlie Warzel, July 3, 2019


    Security cameras at a middle school in Sidney, Ohio.CreditCreditAndrew Spear for The New York Times

    This article is part of a limited-run newsletter. You can sign up here.

    The home page for Gaggle, a software program that scans student activity across digital platforms like email, computer files and online assignments, features a staggering, if unprovable, statistic. "This past academic year, Gaggle helped districts save 542 students from carrying out an act of suicide," it reads. 

    Calculating figures like suicide prevention is a murky science at best (Gaggle emailed to say that the number was "actually 722 students saved"), but that hasn't stopped digital student monitoring systems like Gaggle, which has roughly five million users, from growing in popularity. In the wake of mass shootings like Parkland, school districts are facing pressure to find new ways to deter violence, and many of them force administrators to make a choice between student safety and privacy. 

    Their decisions are ushering in a K-12 surveillance state. This spring, Western New York's Lockport City School District started testing facial recognition technology with "the capacity to go back and create a map of the movements and associations of any student or teacher." There have been gunfire-detecting microphones installed in New Mexico schools and playgroundsthat require iris scans. A recent ProPublica report explored the deployment of unreliable "aggression detector" cameras in places like Queens, New York. The increase is most likely linked to the number of security and surveillance technology vendors courting school district budgets. 

    "This technology is being promoted by tech vendors, not educators, and it's certainly not being promoted by parents," Monica Bulger, a senior fellow at the Future of Privacy Forum's Education Privacy Project told me. Despite federal statistics that show schools are among the safest places for children, the public believes that schools are more dangerous than ever. "School administrators feel they need to provide a solution. The tech seems to provide a quick, easy fix," Bulger said. "Schools aren't considering whether it is the best fit; they're choosing the fastest one."

    Arguably more troubling than the collection of student data is where that data is stored and who has access to it. As Education Week reported in May, Florida lawmakers are planning to introduce a statewide database "that would combine individuals' educational, criminal-justice and social-service records with their social media data, then share it all with law enforcement." 

    Such a database is likely to reveal sensitive information like which students were bullied or harassed, because of a protected characteristic like their sexual orientation, according to Amelia Vance, who directs the Education Privacy Project. All this information, once compiled, could be exposed through data breachesClose X, sent to child data brokersClose X or misclassified, which could lead to outing students or wrongly identifying innocent students as threats.

    And there's no consensus that monitoring every aspect of a student's life, both in school and via their devices, is a universal good. Bulger, who has been interviewing families of children between the ages of 9 and 17 on their attitudes toward privacy in schools, argued that students are stressed by constant monitoring, while their parents tend not to know it's going on. "Generally, parents feel insecure that they don't understand how their kids are using technology. School is the one place where they feel like somebody is in control and they trust the schools are acting in the child's best interests," she added.

    Worse yet, the students can't opt outClose X. "It's a binary choice for the kids," Bulger said. "A teacher told me years ago, 'If you want to opt out of using the Google education suite, then you'll also need to opt out of fourth grade.'"

    Which is why Vance and Bulger suggest that parents ought to read up on student monitoring in their districts, ask questions and, if necessary, speak out. When it comes to student privacy, parents may be complacent, but the tech companies sure aren't.

    New York Times Archives

    Continuing on this theme, our trip to the archives takes us back to January 1985 to a story about a Supreme Court ruling on student privacy. It's a great historical primer that shows, as the archives tend to show, how little our biggest debates change over the years:

    "Students in school as well as out of school are 'persons' under our Constitution and are possessed of fundamental rights which the state must respect," the Court held in Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District. Young people do not, it stated, "shed their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse gate."

    The piece shows how this stuff gets thorny quickly. The 1985 case describes how "the Court ruled for the first time that the Fourth Amendment's protection against unreasonable search and seizure applied to schoolchildren." But there's nothing straightforward about the law when it comes to the definition of unreasonable:

    "'Reasonable suspicion' in the courts is no more than a hunch, and I don't think this is an appropriate standard when student rights are involved," said Gerald Lefcourt, a New York lawyer who handles many search-and-seizure cases. "If school officials take an aggressive approach, students' privacy rights will almost evaporate."

    [If you're online — and, well, you are — chances are someone is using your information. We'll tell you what you can do about it. Sign up for our limited-run newsletter.]

    If you're reading this, you probably already know that you're being tracked everywhere online to serve up targeted (read: relevant) advertisements. Since this sort of monitoring is baked into the core of web-browsing architecture, there's not a lot you can do (you can go 'Incognito' and clear cookiesClose X or use an ad blocker). Which is why I enjoyed this experiment in online civil disobedience from researchers at Mozilla. It's called "Hey, Advertisers, Track This!" and it's designed to scramble the brains of the myriad ad trackers that monitor your every move. 

    The experiment, which you can do for yourself here, allows you to choose from one of four fake user profiles (Hypebeast, Influencer, Doomsday and Filthy Rich). Then it launches 100 (yes, 100) tabs in your browser that are designed to make your browsing behavior look like one of its stereotypical profile types. For example, picking Influencer will launch dozens of tabs with Amazon searches for holistic remedies, pages for meditation apps and other online New Age goodies. 

    Once the tabs open, you can close out of the window or delete them individually. If it's successful, the ads that follow you around the internet should change drastically. The hope, according to Mozilla, is to "throw off brands who want to advertise to a very specific type of person."

    A few days ago I tried this for myself. Before the experiment I was getting a lot of tech-related ads for services like Google Fi and Verizon (there were also, somewhat inexplicably, a lot of ads for what appeared to be baggy hemp and linen clothes for women over 30). I dialed up the "Track This!" page and chose Doomsday. I let the cascade of prepper tabs wash over me like an early-aughts Alex Jones monologue. In an instant I navigated to a dozen Amazon pages for products like the Emergency Zone Urban Survival 72-Hour Bug Out bag. There were searches for water purification tablets, survivalist tutorials and a few Home Depot links for "outside equipment."

    True to its word, the banner ads that followed me around the internet changed pretty quickly. Sensible and chic linen garments became tactical camouflage raincoats. The advertising powers that be thought I'd taken up a sudden interest in Medicare enrollment. The brands had been thrown off!

    As the website for the experiment notes, this is more of a stunt than a solution. After all, you're still seeing ads, just not relevant ones. Still, it's a stunt that lays bare how the online ad ecosystem works. And if there's one revealing truth about the whole thing, it's how it demonstrates what a brute-force tool ad targeting is. Despite the constant intrusions and collection of reams of browsing and personal data, much of what's served up to us via interstitial online ads is semi-relevant at best. The machines may know us, but they don't know us. Yet!

    We just saw the first conviction of a murder suspect who was identified using genealogy website data.

    Here's a great feature on how Amazon is rather quietly building a huge, networked surveillance infrastructure (that we're all willingly welcoming into our homes).

    Just a wee bit more Amazon creepiness: Amazon Is Working on a Device That Can Read Human Emotions

    Like other media companies, The Times collects data on its visitors when they read stories like this one. For more detail please see our privacy policy and our publisher's description of The Times's practices and continued steps to increase transparencyClose X and protections.

    Follow @privacyproject on Twitter and The New York Times Opinion Section on Facebook and Instagram.

    Charlie Warzel, a New York Times Opinion writer at large, covers technology, media, politics and online extremism. He welcomes your tips and feedback: charlie.warzel@nytimes.com | @cwarzel



    4) Hacking, Glitches, Disinformation: Why Experts Are Worried About the 2020 Census

    The government plans to deploy new technology for next year's head count, but risks abound.

    By Chris Hamby, July 3, 2019


    The Trump administration dropped efforts to add a question on citizenship to the 2020 census after being blocked by the Supreme Court.CreditSamuel Corum for The New York Times

    In the run-up to the 2020 census, the government has embraced technology as never before, hoping to halt the ballooning cost of the decennial head count. For the first time, households will have the option of responding online, and field workers going door to door will be equipped with smartphones to log the information they collect.

    To make it all work, the Census Bureau needed more computing power and digital storage space, so it turned to cloud technology provided by Amazon Web Services.

    What the bureau didn't realize — until an audit last year — was that there was an unsecured door to sensitive data left open. Access credentials for an account with virtually unlimited privileges had been lost, potentially allowing a hacker to view, alter or delete information collected during recent field tests.

    The Census Bureau says that it has closed off this vulnerability and that no information was compromised. But the discovery of the problem highlights the myriad risks facing next year's all-important head count.

    Most concerns about the census have been focused on the Trump administration's effort to include a question about citizenship status, which officials said Tuesday they were abandoning after being blocked by the United States Supreme Court. But far less attention has been paid to other issues that could threaten the census's accuracy.

    Each census is a staggering logistical lift, but the 2020 count presents challenges the Census Bureau has never confronted before.

    The government has ambitious plans to use new digital methods to collect data. But the Census Bureau has had to scale back testing of that technology because of inadequate funding — raising the risk of problems ranging from software glitches to cyberattacks.

    Also new is the threat of online disinformation campaigns reminiscent of the 2016 presidential cycle. The heated political discourse about the citizenship question has supplied ample fuel, and researchers say they are already beginning to see coordinated online efforts to undermine public trust in the census and to sow chaos and confusion.

    The intense focus on the citizenship question "has drawn away energy and resources in ways that have really been counterproductive to the bureau's efforts," said Arturo Vargas, chief executive of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. "To some extent, the bureau is going into 2020 blindfolded."

    The consequences could be profound and enduring. Information gathered during the census is used to determine which states gain or lose seats in the House and votes in the Electoral College, to redraw congressional districts and to allocate hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funding for a host of services, such as health care, education and affordable housing. Businesses rely heavily on the data to make decisions about where to open stores or ship goods.

    The Census Bureau said that it has fixed problems identified during testing and is working with other government agencies and private companies to guard against technical mishaps, cyber-related vulnerabilities and the spread of misinformation. "We are confident in the resources we have to conduct a complete and accurate census," the bureau said.

    But the danger if anything goes wrong, said Terri Ann Lowenthal, a former congressional staff member and longtime census expert, is that "public confidence plummets and people decide this is not going to be a good census so we're not going to respond."

    "At that point," she said, "we could be headed toward a failed census."

    Mandated by the Constitution, the census has been conducted without fail every 10 years since 1790. The first was conducted by United States marshals who traveled on horseback and asked residents just six basic questions.

    Since then, the census has grown far more elaborate, though the process for conducting it — mailing out paper forms and relying heavily on field workers going door to door — remained essentially the same from 1970 through 2010.

    Over time, however, costs have soared while response rates have declined. The average cost, in 2020 dollars, to count one housing unit increased from about $16 in 1970 to about $92 in 2010, a Government Accountability Office analysis found.

    "We needed a breakthrough," said Robert Groves, director of the bureau during the 2010 census. "We couldn't continue the trend of inflating costs using the same methods."

    The transition to new technologies for 2020, such as issuing smartphones to field workers, represents a "huge jump" in the right direction, Mr. Groves said.

    The greater use of data collected by other agencies, such as Medicare and Medicaid, could help identify vacant households, making more costly in-person follow-up visits unnecessary. Software that tracks field workers' progress and directs them to optimal routes could save time.

    For experts, the greater use of technology raises two primary questions: Does it work, and is it secure? The Census Bureau's efforts to answer those questions have been hampered by inadequate resources.

    Security tests of some IT systems that were originally supposed to take up to eight weeks had to be completed in about one week, the G.A.O. found. The bureau conducted its critical 2018 dress rehearsal, planned to take place in three communities, in just one: Providence County, R.I.

    Though the bureau said it has fixed the problems identified during this dry run, the G.A.O. expressed concern over the missed opportunity to test new technology in places such as rural West Virginia or tribal land in Washington State — areas that would have been covered under the original plan.

    "Our concern is that the bureau may not know what it doesn't know," said Robert Goldenkoff, director of the Government Accountability Office's strategic issues team. "Not every place looks like Providence, Rhode Island."

    In Providence and during other, smaller-scale field tests, census workers encountered technological issues, the G.A.O. reported. A software glitch sent multiple canvassers to the same block. Some workers had trouble finding an internet connection to transmit the information they had collected. Others had trouble recording people's responses in an application on their smartphones.

    These types of small hang-ups, while manageable in one community, could amount to big problems on a national scale, G.A.O. has warned.

    And then there is the risk of a cyberattack. The Commerce Department's Office of Inspector General, which discovered the cloud security problem last year during an audit, said the vulnerability it found was "potentially catastrophic." If a hacker had gained access to the lost user credentials, the inspector general found, the Census Bureau "would have been powerless to stop an attacker from causing irreparable harm."

    Hackers could also target bureau employees with phishing emails containing links that, when clicked, install malware, for example. In 2016, a cyberattack forced a temporary shutdown of the Australian census's online response site, prompting the social media hashtag #CensusFail.

    The Census Bureau said it has been able to test its IT systems in a variety of settings and that its cybersecurity team "is partnering with federal agencies including the Department of Homeland Security, the federal intelligence community, as well as industry experts to share threat intelligence information."

    "In the case we do face an incident," the bureau said, "our team is prepared to take action to contain the threat and share information, as soon as possible, if there is any impact on the American public."

    The potential spread online of bogus or misleading information presents another novel risk.

    "If you wanted to provoke fears among the population as to how the census data could be used," said Nathaniel Persily, a professor at Stanford Law School who studies the interplay of technology and government, "the American population is fertile ground right now for conspiracy theories and manipulation."

    The controversy over the citizenship question could provide fodder for provocateurs seeking to spread falsehoods and confusion. Groups monitoring for this sort of content said they had already seen examples appearing, primarily on far-right websites.

    Numerous experts cited a recent post on a neo-Nazi website urging people to apply for a job going door to door for the Census Bureau so they could report suspected noncitizens to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Doing so, however, would be illegal. Census workers are required to swear a lifetime oath not to disclose respondents' personal information, including to other government agencies, under the penalty of up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

    So far, such posts seem to originate within the United States, said Maria Filippelli, a public interest technology census fellow at New America. But she expects eventually to see foreign actors intervene as well.

    "There are a lot of people who want to undermine our democracy, very similar to what we saw in the 2016 election," she said.

    The Census Bureau said it is working with big technology companies, including social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, to detect and counter disinformation efforts. One way, the bureau said, is to make sure that accurate information is highlighted at the top of search results, while fake websites and misinformation are pushed to the bottom.

    Facebook announced on Sunday that it is expanding its efforts to combat election interference to include bad information about the census or threats of violence toward anyone participating in it.

    A Twitter spokesperson said the company has met several times with Census Bureau officials "to discuss the best ways to support a healthy conversation on Twitter regarding the 2020 Census."

    Given the distrust among groups that historically have been undercounted, the bureau's efforts to build trust through partnerships with businesses and local community leaders will be both more important and more difficult than ever, census experts said.

    Convincing the reluctant to respond "will require much more repetition than in the past," Steve Jost, a former Census Bureau official, said.

    Enlisting the aid of businesses to promote participation is proving much more challenging now, said Mr. Vargas, of the organization of Latino officials. In the past, he said, companies agreed to incorporate census-related messages in advertisements and store displays, for example. This cycle, that has changed, he said.

    "I have not seen the level of reluctance among business leaders to participate in a census like this one," Mr. Vargas said. "Business leaders are allergic to issues that are perceived to be controversial, especially if they have any kind of racial controversy mixed in."

    The greatest risk to the census, former officials say, is that the public loses faith in the legitimacy of an independent institution at the core of American democracy — whether because of a crashed website, a partisan fight or a drumbeat of disinformation.

    "The price is poor quality data," Mr. Jost said, "and the price of that lives with us for a decade."



    5) Teenager Accused of Rape Deserves Leniency Because He's From a 'Good Family,' Judge Says

    The family court judge also said the victim should have been told that pressing charges would destroy the accused's life.

    By Luis Ferré-Sadurní, July 2, 2019


    Supreme Court of New Jersey Appellate Division

    The 16-year-old girl was visibly intoxicated, her speech slurred, when a drunk 16-year-old boy sexually assaulted her in a dark basement during an alcohol-fueled pajama party in New Jersey, prosecutors said.

    The boy filmed himself penetrating her from behind, her torso exposed, her head hanging down, prosecutors said. He later shared the cellphone video among friends, investigators said, and sent a text that said, "When your first time having sex was rape."

    But a family court judge said it wasn't rape. Instead, he wondered aloud if it was sexual assault, defining rape as something reserved for an attack at gunpoint by strangers.

    He also said the young man came from a good family, attended an excellent school, had terrific grades and was an Eagle scout. Prosecutors, the judge said, should have explained to the girl and her family that pressing charges would destroy the boy's life.

    So he denied prosecutors' motion to try the 16-year-old as an adult. "He is clearly a candidate for not just college but probably for a good college," Judge James Troiano of Superior Court said last year in a two-hour decision while sitting in Monmouth County.

    Now the judge has been sharply rebuked by an appeals court in a scathing 14-page ruling that warned the judge against showing bias toward privileged teenagers.

    In doing so, the appeals court cleared the way for the case to be moved from family court to a grand jury, where the teenager, identified only as G.M.C. in court documents, will be treated as an adult. New Jersey law allows juveniles as young as 15 to be tried as adults when accused of serious crimes, and the grand jury will weigh whether to indict him on the sexual assault accusation.

    In recent years, judges across the country have come under fire for the way they have handled sexual abuse cases. One of the most notorious was in 2016, when a judge in California sentenced a Stanford University student to six months in jail after he was found guilty of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman. After an intense public backlash, California voters recalled the judge. 

    Judge Troiano, who is roughly 70, was one of two family court judges whom appeals courts in New Jersey have criticized in recent weeks over relatively similar issues.

    In the other case, the appellate division reversed another judge's decision not to try a 16-year-old boy as an adult after he was accused of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl in 2017. 

    The second family court judge, Marcia Silva, sitting in Middlesex County, denied a motion to try the teenager as an adult and said that "beyond losing her virginity, the State did not claim that the victim suffered any further injuries, either physical, mental or emotional."

    The appellate judges also upbraided Judge Silva, overturning her decision and noting that the teenager could be culpable because the 12-year-old was not old enough to provide consent in the first place.

    The judge in Monmouth County, Mr. Troiano, was scolded by the appellate court, according to the panel's decision. "That the juvenile came from a good family and had good test scores we assume would not condemn the juveniles who do not come from good families and do not have good test scores from withstanding waiver application," the panel wrote in its decision.

    A spokeswoman for the administrative office of the courts said the judges had no comment on the case. She said Mr. Troiano, a veteran judge who retired several years ago, was asked to occasionally fill vacancies on the bench.

    Family court cases are typically closed to the public, but the judges' comments surfaced in June when the appeals court decisions were made public, joining a series of contentious sexual assault cases that have ignited outrage over a legal system that advocates for victims say is warped by bias and privilege.

    In the first case, heard by Judge Troiano, it is unclear from court documents when and specifically where in New Jersey the incident involving the two 16-year-olds took place.

    But prosecutors said it occurred during a party packed with 30 other teenagers. The case was highlighted by a New Jersey radio station, 101.5.

    The victim was identified only as Mary, an alias to protect her identity. 

    Before the episode, prosecutors said, both teenagers walked into a darkened area of the basement and Mary stumbled as she walked.

    "While on the sofa, a group of boys sprayed Febreze on Mary's bottom and slapped it with such force that the following day she had hand marks on her buttocks," according to court documents. 

    After the assault, prosecutors said, G.M.C. left the room, but some of his concerned friends checked on her. Mary was found on the floor vomiting, and she was driven home by a friend's mother. 

    When Mary woke up the following morning, she was confused about her torn clothing and bruises on her body, and told her mother she feared "sexual things had happened at the party"without her consent, court documents said.

    Over the next several months, she learned that G.M.C. had shared the video among friends, but, when confronted, he denied recording the encounter and said the friends were lying, according to court documents.

    Eventually, Mary learned that the boy had continued to share the video, prompting her mother to contact the authorities and ultimately pursue criminal charges in 2017.

    In September 2017, the Monmouth County prosecutor's office recommended that the case be tried in adult criminal court in part because the boy's actions were "sophisticated and predatory."

    "At the time he led Mary into the basement gym, she was visibly intoxicated and unable to walk without stumbling," the prosecutor wrote. "For the duration of the assault, the lights in the gym remained off and the door was barred by a foosball table. Filming a cellphone video while committing the assault was a deliberate act of debasement."

    The prosecutor said that the boy lied to Mary in the following months, while simultaneously sharing the video.

    "This was neither a childish misinterpretation of the situation, nor was it a misunderstanding," the prosecutor wrote. "G.M.C.'s behavior was calculated and cruel."

    In an interview, Christopher J. Gramiccioni, the county prosecutor said, "This is conduct that should be punished in adult court." 

    "We subscribe to the idea that the juvenile system is supposed to be rehabilitative," he said. "But when you're dealing with charges as serious as these, it's a whole different ball of wax."

    Mitchell J. Ansell, a lawyer for the teenage boy, did not return requests for comment.

    Mr. Gramiccioni said New Jersey has a progressive juvenile system: Juvenile cases are not shown to juries, juvenile records are kept from public view and sentences are typically more lenient than when a person is tried as an adult.

    A recent law made it illegal to try defendants younger than 15 as adults.

    On July 30, 2018, Judge Troiano denied the waiver to try the teenager as an adult, arguing that prosecutors had abused their discretion.

    Judge Troiano said there was a "distinction" between "a sexual assault and a rape."

    He said "the traditional case of rape" generally involved two or more males using a gun or weapon to corner a victim into an abandoned house, shed or shack, "and just simply taking advantage of the person as well as beating the person, threatening the person."

    It was under those egregious circumstances, he said, that the state would try a juvenile in adult court.

    He delved into the facts of the case, questioning "whether or not this young lady was intoxicated to the point that she didn't understand what was going on." 

    He said the boy's actions were not sophisticated or predatory, and dismissed G.M.C.'s text messages as "just a 16-year-old kid saying stupid crap to his friends."

    "This young man comes from a good family who put him into an excellent school where he was doing extremely well," the judge said. "His scores for college entry were very high."

    The appellate decision criticized the judge, writing that rather than focusing on whether prosecutors met the necessary standards for a waiver, "the judge decided the case for himself."

    The judge overstepped in deconstructing the circumstances of the case, making his own assessment of the boy's culpability and considering the defendant's prior good character, the appellate panel said.

    "His consideration of these elements, however, sounded as if he had conducted a bench trial on the charges rather than neutrally reviewed the State's application," the panel said.

    In 2004, Judge Troiano imposed a gag order to prohibit people in a courtroom from discussing the high-profile case of two Montclair High School football players accused of sexually assaulting a schoolmate. The charges were eventually dropped.



    6) Nike Drops 'Betsy Ross Flag' Sneaker After Kaepernick Criticizes It

    By Tiffany Hau, Kevin Draper, Sandra E. Garcia and Niraj Chokshi, July 2, 2019


    The controversial special edition of the Air Max 1 Quick Strike sneakers.CreditCreditNike, via SneakerNews

    Nike planned to celebrate the Fourth of July with a new sneaker, a special edition of the Air Max 1 Quick Strike featuring that most patriotic of symbols: an American flag.

    But rather than including a flag with 50 stars as part of its design, the sneaker's heel featured the 13-star model, a design associated with the Revolutionary War, the Philadelphia seamstress Betsy Ross and, for some people, a painful history of oppression and racism.

    On Tuesday, Nike canceled the release of the sneaker, again plunging headlong into the nation's culture wars.

    The abrupt cancellation came after Colin Kaepernick, the former National Football League quarterback and social justice activist, privately criticized the design to Nike, according to a person with knowledge of the interaction.

    Mr. Kaepernick, who signed a lucrative deal to serve as a Nike brand ambassador last year, expressed the concern to the company that the Betsy Ross flag had been co-opted by groups espousing racist ideologies, the person said.

    Sandra Carreon-John, a company spokeswoman, said in a statement on Tuesday that Nike had made the decision to "halt distribution" of the sneaker "based on concerns that it could unintentionally offend and detract from the nation's patriotic holiday." The company's initial acknowledgment of the recall hours earlier did not explain the reasoning behind the decision.

    While people all across the political spectrum debated the issue on social media, Gov. Doug Ducey, Republican of Arizona, announced on Twitter that he would pull back state support for a Nike facility that would have employed more than 500 people. Nike had proposed to open the $184 million plant in Goodyear, Ariz.

    "Words cannot express my disappointment at this terrible decision," Mr. Ducey said in a series of tweets, adding that Nike "has bowed to the current onslaught of political correctness and historical revisionism."

    The governor, who had previously called the factory "an exciting project," also said: "Arizona's economy is doing just fine without Nike. We don't need to suck up to companies that consciously denigrate our nation's history."

    Susan Marie, a spokeswoman for the Arizona Commerce Authority, said the economic development agency was withdrawing the offer of a grant to Nike, worth up to $1 million, "at the governor's discretion."

    In a statement Tuesday, the City of Goodyear called the furor "a difficult situation" but said its offer of financial incentives to Nike still stood, as elected officials from New Mexico sought to capitalize on the uncertainty and lure the plant across the state line.

    The Wall Street Journal first reported on the cancellation of the sneaker and Mr. Kaepernick's involvement.

    Betsy Ross is widely credited with creating the first American flag at George Washington's behest, though most scholars dispute that story as legend, according to the Library of Congress.

    To many, the flag is merely a relic, a design that shows up at historical sites like Colonial Williamsburg and on government insignia, like the seal of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

    "People just see it as a symbol of early America and the founding of our nation," said Lisa Moulder, the director of the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia, which draws more than 1,000 visitors a day. "In Betsy's time, the flag was strictly utilitarian, a military tool."

    But the flag has, at least in recent years, cropped up in association with racist ideologies. When the Ku Klux Klan tried to recruit new followers in upstate New York last year, its fliers featured a Klansman flanked by the Confederate flag and the Betsy Ross flag. Similar imagery was reportedly included in a letter sent by the Klan to a college newspaper in Washington in 2017.

    In 2016, a school superintendent in Michigan apologized after students waved the 13-star flag alongside a Trump political banner at a football game, writing in a letter to parents that the flag had come "to some symbolizes exclusion and hate." And according to a 2013 investigation by The Albany Herald in Georgia, at least some local Klan units were required to use either that flag or the Confederate flag at ritualistic meetings.

    Prominent conservatives argued that Nike's cancellation of the shoe was unpatriotic.

    "It's a good thing Nike only wants to sell sneakers to people who hate the American flag," Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, a Republican, wrote on Twitter.

    Herman Cain, the former Republican presidential candidate, tweeted, "Just so you know how this works now: Nothing can happen in America anymore if Colin Kaepernick doesn't like it."

    Mr. Kaepernick, who led the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl after the 2012 season, became a face of the social justice movement in 2016 after he began kneeling during "The Star-Spangled Banner" to protest police violence against black people and racial inequality in the United States.

    His acts of protest inspired similar demonstrations from other professional athletes, but they came under fire from politicians including President Trump, who argued that they were disrespecting the country and the military, and some fans boycotted the N.F.L.

    After receiving no offers to join with a team after the 2016 season, Mr. Kaepernick accused the N.F.L. of trying to keep him and a former teammate, Eric Reid, out of the league. In February, the two reached a surprise settlement with the N.F.L. The terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

    A Nike billboard in Manhattan featuring Colin Kaepernick. The company made Mr. Kaepernick the face of its "Just Do It" campaign last year.CreditAlba Vigaray/EPA, via Shutterstock

    As part of his lucrative endorsement arrangement with Nike, Mr. Kaepernick appeared prominently in an advertising campaign celebrating the 30th anniversary of the company's "Just Do It" slogan. In the wake of the ad, some consumers called for a boycott of Nike, while others destroyed their Nike products.

    But analysts said that Nike had not suffered financially from its association with an athlete who had become a symbol of the so-called Resistance movement.

    "Pretty much every metric you can look at was positive for Nike — their social media mentions went up, their sales rose the week after, and they won a bunch of awards for the ad campaign," said Matt Powell, a sports industry analyst for the NPD Group. "They are clearly aligned with their core customer base — the millennial and the Gen Z consumer — and if they have alienated others, those are not the folks who buy a lot of Nikes."

    The decision to cancel the special Air Max shoe is a sign of Mr. Kaepernick's power at Nike, said Americus Reed, a marketing professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

    "Nike is signaling that they're going to go all-in on this road, whatever the consequences are, even if it's going to get some consumers to burn their shoes on Twitter," he said.

    But it can be risky for corporations to ally themselves with divisive brand ambassadors.

    "When you get into the game of commodifying social issues in a time of ultra-volatile global political sensitivity, you better create a department in your organization that does nothing all day and night but monitors and understands that state of play," David A. Hollander, an assistant dean and associate professor at New York University's Tisch Institute for Global Sport, said in an email.

    Companies have reacted quickly to brand gaffes in the past. H & M apologized last year for using a black child to model a hoodie that said "coolest monkey in the jungle" and removed the sweatshirt from its stores. The year before, Zara withdrew a miniskirt featuring a cartoon that resembled Pepe the Frog, a character designated as an alt-right hate symbol.

    Those examples were more obviously offensive than the commemorative Nikes, several branding experts said. But Mr. Reed, of the Wharton School, said that, for many consumers, the 18th-century flag was representative less of the fight for freedom from British rule than of a period of race-based oppression.

    "For lots of people, it's quite similar to, say, the Confederate flag," Mr. Reed said. "The revolution now is one of diversity, of all kinds of dimensions that go beyond just white males — women, people of color, people of different sexual orientations. It's a different world, and it's a different flag."



    7) US activist Scott Warren to be retried in aiding migrants case

    By Al Jazeera, July 2, 2019


    Scott Warren speaks outside federal court in Tucson, Arizona after a mistrial was declared in the federal case against him [File: Astrid Galvan/AP Photo]

    A US border activist will be retried after a jury was unable to reach a verdict on charges related to aiding migrants near Arizona's border with Mexico, US prosecutors said on Tuesday.

    The government dropped a conspiracy charge and will retry Scott Warren on November 12 on two counts of harbouring migrants, said Glenn McCormick, a spokesman for the US Attorney's office in Tucson.

    Warren was arrested early last year. During his trial in June, defence attorneys argued the 36-year-old college geography instructor was just being kind by giving two migrants water, food and lodging.

    Prosecutors countered that the migrants were not in distress when the aid was given at a property used for helping migrants near the border.

    Warren is a volunteer for No More Deaths, a faith-based group providing water, food and medical aid to migrants in the harsh deserts of southern Arizona.

    Humanitarian groups say they face increasing scrutiny under President Donald Trump's hardline immigration policies. 

    The initial trial had been expected to set a precedent on what aid US citizens can legally give undocumented migrants after the Trump administration urged federal prosecutors to crack down on people found sheltering them.

    "The federal government shouldn't have arrested Scott Warren in the first place," said the Mary Katherine Morn, president and CEO of Unitarian Universalist Service Committee.

    The retrial "highlights just how far the Trump administration is willing to go to punish migrants and those who provide them with life-saving assistance," she said.

    Thousands found dead since 2001

    More than 3,000 undocumented migrants have died since 2001 trying to cross a stretch of land where temperatures can exceed 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46 Celsius), according to Pima County Office of the Medical Examiner data.

    Warren was arrested the same day No More Deaths published a video showing US Border Patrol agents destroying water supplies the group left for migrants.

    Warren's lawyers argue the arrest was in retaliation for the video. They say he was lawfully exercising his religious beliefs and rights to help the migrants after they spent two days crossing the desert.

    His parents had collected more than 128,000 signatures calling on the US Attorney's Office in Tucson to drop all charges. 

    Tuesday's announcement came on the same day that Amnesty International released a report accusing the US government of misusing the law to conduct a "discriminatory campaign of intimidation, threats, harassment, and criminal investigations against people who defend the human rights of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers" on the US-Mexico border.

    "The Trump administration's targeting of human rights defenders through discriminatory misuse of the criminal justice system sets it on a slippery slope toward authoritarianism," said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Amnesty's Americas director.

    "The US government is disgracing itself by threatening and even prosecuting its own citizens for their vital work to save the lives of people in a desperate situation at the border," she said in a statement.




    8) Hong Kong Police Announce First Arrest in Storming of Legislature

    By Amy Qin and Tiffany May, July 4, 2019


    Protesters broke into the Legislative Council building in Hong Kong on Monday and vandalized it. Demonstrators are now bracing for a wave of arrests.CreditCredi
    tLam Yik Fei for The New York Times

    HONG KONG — The Hong Kong police have announced their first arrest in connection with Monday's assault on the territory's legislative building, as protesters gird themselves for the possibility of more detentions and what they fear will be a citywide dragnet.

    The police said in a statement Wednesday night that they had detained a 31-year-old man on charges that included forcible entry into the building that houses the Legislative Council, as well as causing damage to the premises and attacking the police. The man was identified only by his surname, Poon.

    Several hundred demonstrators broke into the legislature on Monday night after a day of protests, centered on an unpopular bill that would allow extradition to mainland China. Some of them defaced portraits, destroyed surveillance cameras and spray-painted political slogans on walls, as riot police officers looked on. Hundreds of thousands of other people marched peacefully on Monday in a separate demonstration.

    Hong Kong, a semiautonomous Chinese territory, has been roiled by protests since the city's leaders tried last month to push the extradition bill through the legislature. The bill would make it possible for criminal suspects to be sent to the mainland, where the courts are controlled by the Communist Party, and many residents believe it would put dissidents and others in jeopardy and mark an alarming new development in the erosion of the former British colony's civil liberties.

    After enormous protests in June, which included some violent clashes with the police, Carrie Lam, Hong Kong's chief executive, said she would suspend the bill. But demonstrators have demanded that it be fully withdrawn and that Mrs. Lam step down.

    Earlier Wednesday, the police had announced 12 arrests in connection with the protests Monday, but those were connected with attempts to disrupt a flag-raising ceremony, not the attack on the legislative building.

    Reporters were invited by the Hong Kong government on Wednesday to tour the ransacked building, where they saw detectives collecting boxes and bags of evidence. Billy Li, the head of the Progressive Lawyers Group, a pro-democracy association, said the police would crosscheck the evidence with their DNA and fingerprint databases. That process usually takes weeks but can be accelerated, he said.

    Many of the protesters are expecting more arrests in the coming days. On messaging apps, which the largely leaderless movement has been using to coordinate its activities, tips have circulated about what to tell the police if arrested: "I have nothing to say. I demand to see a lawyer. I have the right not to unlock my phone. I need to eat, drink water, go to the bathroom, have a blanket."

    Since the clashes on Monday, questions have been raised about why the police stood by for hours as demonstrators laid siege to the walls of the building, then retreated when it became clear that they had breached the legislature's inner chamber. Hours later, after most of the protesters had left, the police used tear gas to disperse the remaining crowd outside.

    In a statement on Wednesday, the police said that a physical confrontation within the Legislative Council's confined space could have had "unpredictable" consequences. The police have come under intense criticism for using tear gas and rubber bulletsagainst protesters on June 12.

    While leaders in Beijing and Hong Kong have condemned the mostly young protesters who stormed the legislature on Monday as "extreme radicals," many demonstrators who had not joined them said they condemned the vandalism but understood those protesters' frustrations.

    Jasper Tsang, a former president of the Legislative Council, joined the ranks of a small group of pro-Beijing lawmakers who have unexpectedly urged the government to give more consideration to the protesters' demands. In a televised interview with a local broadcaster, Now News, on Wednesday night, Mr. Tsang raised the possibility that Mrs. Lam could grant amnesty to the protesters.

    "The chief executive could consider that the whole event was caused by conflict on a deeper level," Mr. Tsang said. "If the punishments of the young people could be pardoned, then that would be beneficial for the entire society." Mr. Tsang also suggested that Hong Kong's political system needed reform.

    Some protesters have pointed to one of the slogans spray-painted in the Legislative Council as summing up their frustrations: "It was you who taught me peaceful protests don't work." They noted that nonviolent marches, some of them among the largest in the city's history, have not pressured Mrs. Lam to fully withdraw the extradition bill or to step down, as they have also demanded.

    On Thursday, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology student union said Mrs. Lam had reached out to propose a closed-door meeting with its members, an apparent bid to follow through on her promises to improve communications with the public. But the student union said it had turned her down, saying that any such meeting must be open to the public.

    "The union cannot represent all protesters, and those discussing with Carrie Lam's government must include all sectors of society," the student union said in a statement.

    The Progressive Lawyers Group appealed to protesters to exercise self-restraint, saying in a statement that their cause "may be undermined by any unwarranted use of force." But the statement added that "the abuse of power by those in public office does far more damage to the rule of law than disobedience of the law."



    9) Manslaughter Charge Dropped Against Alabama Woman Who Was Shot While Pregnant

    By Farah Stockman, July3, 2019


    Marshae Jones in a photo provided by her family.

    Prosecutors in Alabama said on Wednesday that they were dropping a manslaughter charge against a woman over the death of the fetus she was carrying when she was shot in the belly, in a case that stirred national outrage.

    The woman, Marshae Jones, was accused of beating up a co-worker who ultimately drew a gun and fired it, wounding Ms. Jones in the stomach and killing her five-month-old fetus. A grand jury in Jefferson County, convened by District Attorney Lynneice Washington, dismissed charges against the co-worker, saying she had acted in self-defense. But it indicted Ms. Jones for "initiating a fight knowing she was five months pregnant."

    Under Alabama law, a fetus is considered to have the same rights as a child who has already been born. The grand jury sought to hold someone accountable for its death and Ms. Jones was arrested last week. The charges against her quickly drew national attention.

    On Wednesday, Ms. Washington, who had signed the indictment, said in a brief news conference that she had weighed the evidence and decided to dismiss the case.

    "I have determined that it is not in the best interest of justice to pursue prosecution of Ms. Jones on the manslaughter charge for which she was indicted by the grand jury," she told reporters. "No further legal action will be taken against Ms. Jones in this matter."

    The decision, a reversal, came after her office was flooded with angry calls and messages about the injustice of arresting a woman who was shot, while allowing the person who fired the weapon to walk free.

    Ms. Jones's arrest came just weeks after Alabama lawmakers passed a law effectively banning abortion at any stage of pregnancy, even in cases of rape and incest. The state has some of the strictest abortion laws in the country.

    Reproductive rights activists saw Ms. Jones's arrest as an illustration of the legal ramifications of treating a fetus as a person in a court of law. Some also said it was a cautionary tale of how pregnant women could be arrested and prosecuted in cases where they are seen to have endangered the unborn. Alabama state law recognizes a fetus at any stage of development as a person and potential victim for criminal homicide or assaults.

    Ms. Washington, the first black female district attorney in Alabama's history, appeared surprised and stung by the vehemence of the criticism, some of which centered on the notion that Ms. Jones, a working-class black woman, was being treated in a way that no wealthy white woman would have been. Over the weekend, Ms. Washington defended herself before a mostly black audience at a play in Birmingham, according to Al.com.

    "There was a barrage of insults — desecration of my integrity, my character, my name," she was quoted as saying. "I am a black woman in black skin. So, don't tell me how I don't appreciate the sensitivity of a woman and the rights of women."

    Moments after news broke that Ms. Jones would not be prosecuted, lawyers from the firm White Arnold & Dowd, who had taken up Ms. Jones's case, issued a statement: "We are gratified the district attorney evaluated the matter and chose not to proceed with a case that was neither reasonable nor just."

    Despite the angry national reaction, many in Alabama and Pleasant Grove, a city of 10,000 people where the shooting occurred, defended the grand jury's decision, saying that they agreed with the laws protecting the unborn and that women who endanger them should face legal consequences. But the prosecutor's decision was welcomed by reproductive rights advocates in Birmingham.

    [Read: Why many in Alabama defended the arrest of Ms. Jones.]

    Shante Wolf-Sisson, a founder of a health and wellness organization called BLK Pearl, said the decision gave her hope for women's rights in Alabama, adding, "We could use a lot of hope right now."

    Both prosecutors and the police have sought to distance themselves from the charges in the wake of the national outcry. Police officers in Pleasant Grove arrested Ms. Jones's co-worker, Ebony Jemison, after the Dec. 4 shooting, but made statements to reporters that Ms. Jones was to blame for the fight and that her actions would be presented to the grand jury to determine whether she should be charged with a crime.

    "When a five-month-pregnant woman initiates a fight and attacks another person, I believe some responsibility lies with her as to any injury to her unborn child," Lt. Danny Reid of the Pleasant Grove Police Department said at the time. "That child is dependent on its mother to try to keep it from harm, and she shouldn't seek out unnecessary physical altercations."

    The actions of both women were presented to the grand jury, using evidence from the police. Prosecutors were on hand at the time to answer the grand jury's legal questions. The grand jury indicted Ms. Jones, and Ms. Washington signed the indictment in May.

    On Wednesday, Ms. Washington said the decision not to move forward with the case was in no way a criticism of the grand jury. "The citizens took the evidence presented them by the Pleasant Grove Police Department and made what they believed to be a reasonable decision to indict Ms. Jones," she said.

    She added that they had heard hundreds of cases in a matter of days. "The members of the grand jury took to heart that the life of an unborn child was violently ended and believed someone should be held accountable. But in the interests of all concerned, we are not prosecuting the case."

    Valerie Hicks Powe, the chief assistant district attorney, said it was not the first time that Ms. Washington had declined to bring a case to trial after a grand jury indictment.

    "It's not rare that the district attorney — not just this district attorney, but any district attorney — uses discretion regarding cases that come off the grand jury," she said.

    Several factors go into deciding whether to bring a case to trial, she said, including whether it is worth the resources, whether the facts support the charge, whether a jury is likely to convict, and whether a prosecution would serve "the cause of justice."

    Mark White, one of several lawyers who assembled a team to defend Ms. Jones, said she had burst into tears when she heard the news that she would not be prosecuted.

    "She cried," he said. "We both cried. Then she said, 'Thank you.'"

    Mr. White also said that investigators working with his law firm had found on Wednesday morning a cellphone video of the fight, which showed Ms. Jones backing away at the time Ms. Jemison fired the gun.

    "The investigators have been working around the clock," he said. "We also got all of her medical records. The video and the medical records 100 percent substantiate that she was in retreat when the woman shot her."

    Mr. White's account contradicts an account given by the police, which indicated that witnesses had described Ms. Jemison being pinned inside her car, taking blows.

    Ms. Powe said that neither the district attorney nor the grand jury saw the cellphone video, and that it was not a factor in the decision to drop the case. She also expressed doubt about its contents.

    Jenny Carroll, a professor at the University of Alabama School of Law said that the prosecution of Ms. Jones was part of a dangerous trend in Alabama.

    "You are opening up a Pandora's box of whenever a pregnant woman puts her fetus at any risk, they can seek an indictment," Professor Carroll said. "A jury can ultimately say that the risk wasn't great enough to convict, but in the meantime, this woman was arrested, she was put in jail."

    The uproar over the indictment of Ms. Jones was not the first time that the application of Alabama's fetal-rights laws has attracted criticism and concern.

    Alabama has prosecuted hundreds of women for using controlled substances while they are pregnant, under a 2006 "chemical endangerment" law, according to an investigation by ProPublica and Al.com. Doctors have argued that such prosecutions discourage pregnant addicts from seeking the treatment that they and their fetuses need.

    Although many in Alabama felt Ms. Jones had acted irresponsibly and deserved to be punished for endangering her unborn baby, many in Pleasant Grove also expressed sympathy for her loss and felt she deserved mercy. Kristina Poole, 34, a caregiver for the disabled and elderly, said prison was not an appropriate punishment for Ms. Jones.

    "She lost a baby," she said. "She's been punished enough."



    10) Anchorage Has Never Reached 90 Degrees. That Could Change This Week.

    By Mike Baker, July 4, 2019


    Fischer Nyce, left, and Robin Nyce cooled off at Goose Lake in Anchorage on Wednesday. Anchorage has had 34 days in a row of above-average temperatures.CreditCreditJoshua Corbett for The New York Times

    In more than 100 years of Anchorage history, weather stations have never recorded a single 90-degree reading. If current forecasts hold, it could happen multiple times in the coming days.

    With the combined forces of climate change that has disrupted temperature trends around the state, a remarkable dearth of ice in the Bering Sea and weather patterns generating a general heat wave, Alaska is facing a Fourth of July unlike any before. Anchorage has canceled its fireworks display because of wildfire concerns, city officials are worrying about air quality and forecasters expect temperatures to rival those in Miami.

    "This is unprecedented," Anchorage's mayor, Ethan Berkowitz, said in an interview. "I tease people that Anchorage is the coolest city in the country — and climatically that is true — but right now we are seeing record heat."

    By any measure, the numbers are unusual. Alaska had its warmest March on record — in some places 20 degrees above normal. Once all the data is tabulated, it is likely to be the second-warmest June on record.

    The highest temperature ever recorded at Anchorage's official station was 85 degrees, while other stations in the area have gone a couple of degrees higher. Bob Clay, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said forecasters expected a high-pressure system to push temperatures well into the 80s starting on Thursday and potentially reach the 90-degree threshold in parts of the Anchorage area on Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

    While the weather has disrupted fireworks plans, Anchorage will still proceed with a Fourth of July pancake breakfast, a community parade and a festival with food vendors. A local Reddit thread was advising overheated residents to put jugs of ice in front of their fans, though a second thread warned those who didn't already have a fan: "They are sold out everywhere. EVERYWHERE!"

    Anchorage has now had 34 days in a row of above-average temperatures — "an exceptional run," said Brian Brettschneider, a climatologist at the International Arctic Research Center. In Kotzebue, on the shores of northwestern Alaska, that above-average trend has extended for 105 days.

    Alaska is experiencing many of the effects of a heating planet, as the nation's fastest-warming state, according to the Fourth National Climate Assessment. The state's temperatures are rising at twice the global average rate, with spring temperatures averaging about two to five degrees warmer than those of half a century ago.

    One of the more dramatic changes in the state is the retreat of ice on the Bering and Chukchi Seas, which this year disappeared weeks earlier than normal in some areas. Ice reflects sunlight more than open water, which can absorb it and contribute to warmer air temperature above the surface. Surface temperatures on the seas are about four degrees above normal, while some areas are departing the norm by 10 degrees.

    "For sea surface temperatures, that's just astronomical," said Rick Thoman, a climate specialist at the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy.

    Mr. Thoman worries about the impact on communities that depend on hunting and fishing for survival, sometimes with the aid of ice. "Our communities are resilient, but things are happening so fast," he said.

    Wildfires this year have not been abnormally extreme, but they have consumed about 650,000 acres, which would match a typical full year. Last weekend, the National Weather Service issued its first Dense Smoke Advisory for the Anchorage area, with officials warning of both health and visibility problems caused by the plumes from the Swan Lake Fire that has spent a month charring the Kenai Peninsula south of the city.

    Along with the fireworks cancellation in Anchorage, the Alaska State Fire Marshal has banned the sale and use of fireworks in much of the state. Still, with the heat rising and conditions dry, officials were also expecting fresh wildfires that could ignite by other methods.

    "We could be up and running with fires here in the next couple days," said Beth Ipsen, a spokeswoman with the Bureau of Land Management.













































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