SAVE THE DATE!    Saturday, August 3, 2019
Join us in support of the 2020 Freedom Flotilla to GAZA!

2020 Flotilla to Gaza
Plan for August 3rd, 2019
San Francisco Educational Outreach

1:00 pm
Meet at the Main Terminal behind the Ferry building at the foot of Market Street at The Embarcadero in San Francisco.  http://goldengatetransit.org/services/documents/Map_SFFerry.pdf 

Distribute flyers to people waiting for the ferry.
Catch the 1:25 pm ferry, arriving in Sausalito at 1:55.
Distribute flyers and stand at the four corners (at least) of the ferry boat with five (3 x 5') Palestinian Flags and a two Pink PEACE flags (upper deck?).  

Enjoy Sausalito, photo ops with flags, signs, banners, …  At 3:00 we'll hold a Vigil (four of us dressed in black with white masks and FREE GAZA letters). Some of us will distribute flyers in Sausalito before boarding the 3:50 Ferry, and arrive in San Francisco at 4:20. If we have any flyers left, we'll distribute them at the Ferry Building when we return.

Participants could join us on the ferry one way, both ways, or on land at either end.  
See the Ferry Schedule here:  
It would be nice to have some folks on land at each end, to photograph the ferry departing and/or arriving.  And of course, we would encourage participants, both individuals and organizations, to be creative in their attire and bring your signs and flags (Palestinian, VFP, JVP, PEACE, ...) in support of GAZA and the 2020 Flotilla.



You're Invited to Livermore Lab on Hiroshima Day

Tuesday, August 6, 2019, 8:00 A.M.
Livermore Lab

Bay Area groups will jointly mark the 74th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the Livermore Lab, where the Trump Administration is presently spending billions to create new nuclear warheads.

The Tuesday, August 6, 2019 commemoration is titled, "Designing Armageddon at Livermore Lab: Rally, March and Nonviolent Direct Action for Nuclear Disarmament." Participants will gather at the northwest corner of the Livermore Lab (Vasco Road and Patterson Pass Road). The rally will begin at 8 AM and will feature music, speakers, poetry, art and more. There is free parking at the event site.

Daniel Ellsberg will deliver the keynote address.  Ellsberg is the military analyst and whistleblower who shone a bright light on U.S. policy and helped end the Vietnam War when he released the Pentagon Papers. Ellsberg published an award-winning memoir in 2017, "The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner." He remains a brilliant analyst, commentator and sought-after speaker.

Nobuaki Hanaoka, an atomic bomb survivor, will be the rally's special guest speaker. Hanaoka was an infant when the bomb fell on Nagasaki on August 9, 1945. His mother and sister died from illnesses linked to radiation poisoning and his brother died at age 39 from premature aging associated with fallout from the bomb. Hanaoka is a retired minister in the United Methodist Church, who came to the U.S. following seminary training in Japan. He has settled in the Bay Area where he speaks, writes and teaches on topics of peace and human rights.

Rafael Jesús González, the first poet-laureate of Berkeley and an organizer of the 1983 International Day of Nuclear Disarment will speak.

Marylia Kelley of Tri-Valley CAREs will also be featured. 

Immediately following the rally program, at approximately 9:15 AM, will be a "call to action," in which participants will be invited to march a short distance to the Livermore Lab West Gate. At the gate, Japanese activists will lead a traditional bon dance. Everyone is invited to participate.

Following the dance will be a commemorative die-in and symbolic chalking of the bodies to mimic the "shadows" left by men, women and children vaporized by the A-bomb blast. Those who choose will then peaceably risk arrest. Others will conduct a legal witness and support. 

A flyer is available with nonviolence guidelines, vanpool info, and how to RSVP for the August 4th and 5th kid-friendly Peace Camp. 
We hope you can join us.

Marylia Kelley
Executive Director, Tri-Valley CAREs (Communities Against a Radioactive Environment)
Main office: 4049 First St., Suite 243, Livermore, CA 94551
Satellite office: 902 N. Central Ave., Tracy (office hours vary; call for appointment)

Website: www.trivalleycares.org



San Francisco-Bay Area Veterans For Peace and 
Other Organizations and Individuals will hold a:

Vigil to Expose Monsanto, on
International AGENT ORANGE DAY
Saturday, August 10, 2019
12 Noon to 2 pm, Union Square, San Francisco
< We have Large Striking Photo Boards of Viet Namese Victims of Agent Orange, < plus a large, long banner: 
"Vietnam Veterans and Vietnamese People Still Suffering from Agent Orange."
&  2 new smaller banners:  
"August 10 - International Agent Orange Day"  &
"Agent Orange - Monsanto's Chemical Weapon in the Viet Nam War"
 - all with the VFP Logo and VFP/AO Webs.
< We will have 1/2 page hand-outs and Orange Cards for the public to sign, making the Agent Orange connection to Monsanto-Bayer and recent high-profile lawsuits.
We hope you all might be willing to join us.   
CONTACT: Nadya Williams
Cell: (415) 845-9492,  E-mail: NadyaNomad@gmail.com



We're excited to announce our new fact sheet series outlining the reasons why we should abolish war. 
  1. War Is Immoral
  2. War Endangers Us
  3. War Threatens Our Environment
  4. War Erodes Liberties
  5. War Impoverishes Us
  6. War Promotes Bigotry
  7. We Need $2 Trillion/Year for Other Things
The fact sheets are designed as printable handouts that can be used for tabling events, grassroots lobbying meetings, and much more. Each one contains a list of references, so you can learn more about any of the details mentioned.

We believe that education is a critical component of a global security system, and an essential tool for getting us there. We educate both aboutand for the abolition of war. Our educational resources are based on knowledge and research that expose the myths of war and illuminate the proven nonviolent, peaceful alternatives that can bring us authentic security.

Thank you to numerous volunteers, including Gayle, Joanne, Tim, and Ben, who helped us complete the fact sheet series!

For questions or more information about our peace education programs and volunteer opportunities, please email me at greta@worldbeyondwar.org

For a world BEYOND war,

Greta Zarro
Organizing Director
World BEYOND War

World BEYOND War is a global network of volunteers, activists, and allied organizations advocating for the abolition of the very institution of war. Our success is driven by a people-powered movement – 
support our work for a culture of peace. 
World BEYOND War 513 E Main St #1484 Charlottesville, VA 22902 USA
Privacy policy.
Checks must be made out to "World BEYOND War / AFGJ" or we can't deposit them.



Solidarity with Wayfair workers in their struggle to end profiteering from im/migrant suffering!

Worker power can bring an end to the concentration camps!



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!


Prison officials turn away thousands of petitions for Mumia

Dozens of community activists traveled hundreds of miles from four states to Mechanicsburg, Penn., on July 24 to deliver petitions signed by 3,000 people from around the world, simply requesting the right to proper vision care for political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal. They expected at the very least that someone with authority in the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections would step out to accept the petitions.

The PA DOC instead placed several burly Capitol District cops and a couple of DOC staff members outside the front doors to “greet” the community representatives.

The activists fighting for Abu-Jamal’s freedom — representing a global movement for the freedom of all political prisoners — insisted on their right to speak to John Wetzel, head of the state prison authority or one of his near-equals, before handing over the signatures from thousands of Mumia supporters.

Agreement to meet

Outside the main doors of the state facility, the first of two non-uniformed men to speak to the activists was a Mr. Barnacle. When Pam Africa, representing the International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal, asked who he was, he pulled out a badge marked “staff,” dated 2018. When told someone with real authority and current identification was needed, Barnacle eventually agreed to allow three participants to enter the building to deliver the petitions to a DOC official.

While the assembled activists waited to be joined by people in two additional vehicles from New York City, Megan Malachi, from REAL Justice, read the petition to the press titled “Act Now to Save Mumia’s Eyesight and to Demand His Release.” (tinyurl.com/y4s3ekpr)

Aminata Sandra Calhoun, from Mobilization4Mumia, followed with a statement from Mumia’s medical proxy, Rev. Mark Taylor, a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary, serving presently as Mumia’s “spiritual advisor.” The statement read in part:

“So far, the prison officials are discouraging and making complicated the eye-doctor’s ability to share with me the medical information that Mumia wants me to have. They have not scheduled his surgery. Every cooperative effort on these matters is being made by Mumia’s family and friends; still there is too much stalling by prison officials.

“We insist that SCI-Mahanoy and the PA DOC honor every legal step that Mumia needs to be taken, so that he receives quality eye-care immediately. He must no longer be subject to medical neglect or to any withholding of full information about his medical condition.

“The abuse Mumia suffered in the past nearly killed him, and even when finally addressed left him with cirrhosis of the liver. There is time for PA officials to turn a new corner.” (tinyurl.com/yxvmabkr)

Abu Jamal has a lot of trouble reading and doing other tasks that require good eyesight. His eyesight is seriously threatened by glaucoma, a vitreous detachment and cataracts in both eyes. These jeopardize his quality of life and wellbeing, as well as his journalistic profession.

The ophthalmologist whom Abu-Jamal was taken to see outside Mahanoy Prison recommends surgical procedures to remove the cataracts on both eyes.
But months of delays echo the years of delays Abu-Jamal experienced before the DOC was finally forced by a federal court to treat him with the cure for hepatitis C in 2018.

DOC reneges on agreement

When three designated activists — Dr. Suzanne Ross, Rev. Keith Collins and a videographer — later tried to enter the DOC state headquarters, they were met by another DOC staff member, Ken Smith, who claimed he was a Major in “Special Operations,” but would not show any valid identification to that effect.

Smith then reneged on the earlier agreement and said he would take the petitions, but would not allow the representatives to enter the building and meet with a DOC official. 

The activists were unbending in their demand that a valid DOC person of authority formally accept, “on the record,” the inch-think bundle at a location inside the building.

Dr. Ross, designated as one of the petition delivery trio, told Smith: “The DOC has already failed from 2015 to 2017 to make available to Mumia the cure that was available for hep C at that time. The two-year delay left Mumia with cirrhosis of the liver [and other hep C-related damage]. Mumia supporters are determined to prevent the damage that could be caused by a comparable delay in treating his visual problems … . We’ve been here before and met with people. One time it was with the head of the press office. Send us the press officer.”

Rev. Keith Collins, who visited Mumia on July 4 and was also appointed to deliver the petitions, said: “I’m a pastor, a decorated veteran, a paratrooper, also an ex-cop … . We just want to deliver these petitions … . Mumia told me he can see to get around but not to read and that’s very important — for a journalist to read and to study … . So we’re here … to get him access to the doctor … and to let him come home. He’s served forty years for a crime he did not commit.”

Despite arguing for over an hour, the activists could not get the DOC to relent. Because of the commotion and locked doors, when a FedEx worker tried to deliver a package, no one on the outside would sign for it, and he was told to come back another time.

Yet the DOC wanted petitions from 3,000 people to be handed over to undesignated staff, off the record, with no way of tracking the petitions, which could immediately be trashed.

Finally, Abu-Jamal’s supporters marched away, but not before Pam Africa said: “We’re leaving now, but it’s not over. Wetzel, we’re going to find out wherever you be at, cause there ain’t no power like the power of the people.” The group left chanting, with the petitions in Rev. Collins’ hands, undelivered.

Legal struggle continues

The DOC’s refusal to meet with community representatives comes less than a week after the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower-court decision that Corrections Department employees could be sued for their decisions regarding the 65-year-old Mumia. Abu-Jamal asserts his initial denial of treatment with two antiviral drugs for hepatitis C violated his constitutional right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. In an unprecedented January 2017 decision, Federal District Court Judge Robert Mariani used that argument to order the DOC to treat Abu-Jamal with direct-acting antiviral medications for his hep C infection.
Abu-Jamal’s supporters argue that because deliberate delay resulted in Mumia’s cirrhosis of the liver and because the current delay in cataract surgery may cause further deterioration in his overall health, he should immediately be released to seek treatment that the DOC refuses to make readily available to him.

Abu-Jamal is not alone in enduring these cruel and unusual assaults on his health. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the number of state prisoners age 55 or older increased 400 percent between 1993 and 2013. Across the nation elderly prisoners experience a torturous journey toward the end of their lives, suffering from life-threatening illnesses without adequate treatment or any “compassionate release.” Abu-Jamal’s appeals for his right to treatment and for his release could result in increased rights for the freedom of all prisoners experiencing cruel and unusual conditions.

Abu-Jamal is serving a life sentence in the Pennsylvania prison system. The sentence, for the alleged 1981 murder of a Philadelphia policeman, came down in the context of a corruption-ridden and racist police department. That sentence has been declared unfair by human rights organizations and prison activists the world over.

Although Abu-Jamal has suffered a travesty of justice in the denial of his many appeals over the years, now both the Philadelphia District Attorney and the courts have recognized his right to have his appeals re-argued. This was determined by a momentous decision by Common Pleas Court Judge Leon Tucker in December 2018. Abu-Jamal is currently waiting for his Post Conviction Relief Act appeals to be reheard before a new panel of Pennsylvania Superior Court judges.

While the PA DOC remains resistant to giving Abu-Jamal his full rights to timely health care, and while the political powers in Pennsylvania continue to vilify him, Abu-Jamal and his supporters remain strong and energized by his recent court victories.
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 863.9977 https://freedomarchives.org/
Questions and comments may be sent to info@freedomarchives.org

Mumia Abu-Jamal

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/



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. 



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



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. 

Share This 

[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.]



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) Tree Stumps Are Dead, Right? This One Was Alive
    When two ecologists hiking in New Zealand discovered this stump, they had to figure out how it could still be alive.
    By JoAnna Klein, July 25, 2019

    A kauri tree stump in a rain forest in New Zealand with sap flow sensors and other equipment attached.CreditCreditSebastian Leuzinger

    In a rain forest near Auckland, New Zealand, a leafless kauri tree stump rises a few feet off the ground. These trees can become giants: The country's biggest, Tāne Mahuta, or the "Lord of the Forest," has grown 168 feet high, with a 115-foot canopy. 
    But this stump is just a stump, so unassuming most would pass it by.
    One day, two ecologists from Auckland University of Technology spotted it on a hike.
    "A normal person would just think it's dead. It looks dead to a point, but if you look a bit closer, you can see living tissue," said Sebastian Leuzinger. "We both said to each other, 'It's clearly not dead. How does it live?'"
    Naturalists have observed living tree stumps in New Jerseythe Sierra Nevadas, British Columbia and elsewhere. But for more than 150 years, how the stumps survived without leaves for photosynthesis was a mystery.

    Dr. Leuzinger and Martin Bader discovered that the kauri stump lives by sharing water with neighboring trees. Most likely, they're connected through an underground plumbing system formed when their roots naturally fused, or grafted, together, the researchers reported in a study published Thursday in the journal iScience
    These types of relationships may be more common among trees in forests than once thought, adding evidence to the notion that while trees may appear solitary aboveground, they're intimately connected underground.
    Most trees communicate through subterranean networks of symbiotic fungi referred to as the "wood wide web," sharing nutrients, carbon and other information. But a tree needs roots for water, and leaves to sustain itself.
    During photosynthesis, plants open pores on their leaves to allow carbon dioxide to flow in. Open pores also allow water the plant hasn't used to be released into the atmosphere. This process, called transpiration, draws water up from the roots so the plant doesn't wilt.
    But a leafless stump needs another way to circulate water.
    To figure how it was surviving, Dr. Leuzinger and Dr. Bader measured water moving in the stump as well as in a neighboring tree. They found that when the tree transpired on sunny days, it took in water, but the stump didn't.

    But during rainy days and at night, the stump drank and the tree shut down. The stump had somehow rerouted its circulatory system, and it seemed to take turns with the tree.

    To confirm their hypothesis, the scientists will need to clear away soil to expose the roots. But their early finding strongly suggests the stump received and circulated water through grafted roots.
    Why would a tree support a stump that can't reproduce or make its own food? And for the stump, why bother?
    "It's a bit unlikely that the tree dies, and goes and knocks on the other trees' doors and says, 'Hey, can I get a little carbon off of you? I'm dead,'" said Dr. Leuzinger. 
    The stump may be an oddball that got lucky from a connection formed before it became a stump. And that could mean such connections are quite common, he suggested.
    Natural root grafts have been reported in some 150 tree species. But how the roots fuse and the evolutionary reason for these grafts are buried mysteries.

    Scientists think grafting could have developed between trees because it's cheap and easy. Trees may not sense death, recognize dying connections, or spend energy cutting off little stumps with small appetites. A stump's extra roots may also add stability to other trees.
    And Camille Defrenne, who studies tree communication at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, thinks exploring potential root grafts and fungal connections could reveal more: Perhaps a tree supports a stump to maintain its symbiotic relationships with helpful fungi.
    The researchers also say their results have implications for how forests respond to disease and drought. In New Zealand, a root fungus thought to spread through human foot traffic is killing off kauris, which are among the largest trees in the world. But changing our view of forest ecology to include root grafts will take years of follow-up.
    "We probably know more about the surface of the moon than how a tree internally functions," said Dr. Leuzinger.


    2) U.S. to Resume Executions of Death-Row Inmates
    The federal government has not executed an inmate since 2003, a moratorium reversed by the attorney general.
    By Katie Benner, July 25, 2019

    Attorney General William P. Barr, center, announced that the federal government will resume executions. He toured a federal prison in Edgefield, S.C., this month with Senators Tim Scott, left, and Lindsey Graham.CreditCreditTravis Dove for The New York Times

    WASHINGTON — The federal government will resume executions of death-row inmates after a nearly two-decade moratorium, Attorney General William P. Barr said Thursday. 
    The announcement reverses what had been essentially a moratorium on the federal death penalty. The federal government has not executed an inmate since 2003, though prosecutors still seek the death penalty in some cases, including for Dylann S. Roof, an avowed white supremacist who killed nine African-American churchgoers in 2015, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the Boston Marathon bomber. 
    "Under administrations of both parties, the Department of Justice has sought the death penalty against the worst criminals," Mr. Barr said in a statement. "The Justice Department upholds the rule of law — and we owe it to the victims and their families to carry forward the sentence imposed by our justice system."

    Mr. Barr said that Hugh Hurwitz, the acting director of the Bureau of Prisons, has scheduled executions in December and January for five men convicted of murder. They will take place at the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Ind., and additional executions will be scheduled later, Mr. Barr said.

    3) 2 Brothers, Same Crime: Why One Got Out First
    A patchwork of attempts to roll back mass incarceration and harsh sentences for crack cocaine resulted in a reunion after 13 years.
    By Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, July 25, 2019

    Lionel Henderson was given a longer prison sentence than his younger brother, Keith, but was released earlier.CreditCreditEmily Kask for The New York Times

    Lionel and Keith Henderson did everything together. 
    They played football, camped in the woods and fished side by side in Amelia, La., not far from the Gulf of Mexico. And after Lionel began selling cocaine as a teenager, Keith, four years younger, began doing the same, despite his brother's protests.
    In 2006, the brothers were tried together and were convicted of drug trafficking and conspiring — with each other — to sell crack. Keith was sentenced to more than 24 years in prison, and Lionel to life.
    But last Sunday, the two reunited at a cookout near their hometown, embracing amid family, friends and lots of seafood. 

    Though Lionel, 43, had the more severe sentence, he was released earlier, having been granted clemency by President Barack Obama in 2017. Keith, 39, stepped out of a federal prison in Arkansas last week because of the First Step Act, a bipartisan criminal justice bill that President Trump signed in December.

    The story of the brothers shows the patchwork nature of efforts, by all three branches of government and under both parties, to roll back mass incarceration, a process as complex as the maze of sentencing rules that led to their prison terms in the first place.
    Separated for 13 years, Keith Henderson, left, and his brother, Lionel, reunited at a family cookout last weekend.CreditProvided by Angela Henderson

    Some 3,100 people were freed last week because of a change, under the new law, in how the Bureau of Prisons calculates time off for good behavior. But Keith was freed under a different provision, which made retroactive a 2010 law, signed by Mr. Obama, reducingthe disparity between sentences for crack and powder cocaine
    The 2010 law lowered crack sentences, which have been widely criticized for filling prisons with a disproportionate number of young black men, but it did not make the change retroactive. 
    Legal experts said changes over the last decade show an increase in support for overhauling the criminal justice system, but also reluctance to release those who are currently incarcerated.

    "They're all wary of doing something that looks like they're giving someone a break," said Rachel Barkow, a law professor at New York University, citing the "Willie Horton effect." Mr. Horton raped a woman and stabbed her boyfriend while released on a prison furlough program in Massachusetts; his case was featured in an adattacking the 1988 Democratic presidential nominee, Michael S. Dukakis, who had been governor at the time of his release.
    "That concern that anything that might be viewed as a benefit or an early release could come back to haunt you makes politicians very wary of doing these kinds of things," Professor Barkow said.
    Lionel and Keith Henderson were initially sent to the same prison compound but were housed in different buildings. Lionel was imprisoned in a more secure facility because of his longer sentence, which was the result of prior drug convictions. Their only contact for the next 13 years was through a prison email service.
    In 2014, Keith's sentence was reduced by more than four years after federal sentencing guidelines were lowered for many drug crimes, but he still had years to go.
    Lionel walked free in 2017, among hundreds of people who were granted clemency by Mr. Obama just days before President Trump was sworn in. Keith's last petition for clemency had been filed toward the end of Mr. Obama's time in office and was not reviewed.
    Keith rejoiced at his brother's release, but knew his loved ones, including his four children, were waiting for him to get out, too.

    "I knew my family still wasn't whole," Keith said. "My kids were saying, 'How's my uncle released and my dad still not home?'"

    "And my mom was saying the same thing: 'Y'all went to trial together; y'all were found guilty together; y'all went to prison together. How are you not released together?'" Keith added.
    In separate interviews, the Hendersons recalled how Lionel had admonished Keith to stick to football and to avoid getting caught up in the streets. He got into a fight with Keith one night trying to keep him from following him, and he even told neighborhood drug pushers to keep crack out of Keith's hands.
    But then Lionel did time in juvenile detention. When he returned, he said, his younger brother "was headfirst in it." They didn't look back until they were charged by federal agents.
    It was never his intention "to make it a lifestyle," Lionel said of dealing. "You end up more addicted than the users."
    After the two were convicted, Keith addressed the judge at his sentencing hearing, saying the prison term he was about to receive was effectively a death sentence.
    "To tell you the truth, your honor, if that's what I get sentenced to today — I mean, what's left?" Keith said to the judge, Tucker L. Melançon, according to a transcript. "Ain't no more life. It's over. And that's about all I have to say."

    Judge Melançon, who had sentenced Lionel earlier that day, expressed dismay at the length of the prison terms.
    "I'm not unmindful when I sentence you that I'm sentencing not only your four kids, but a lot of these other folks out here who love or care about you," the judge said to Keith, later adding: "Even though I'm society's voice right now, it's not Judge Melançon that did that. And, you know, I feel for you as one human being to another."
    Judges have a close-up view of the effects of criminal justice statutes that lawmakers do not.
    "They were thinking El Chapo, and the judges are seeing the actual people in front of them facing these sentences," said Professor Barkow, who until January served on the United States Sentencing Commission, which has recommended lowering crack sentences since 1995. 
    When Keith was released last week, it wasn't without opposition. The United States attorney for the Western District of Louisiana argued that the First Step Act shouldn't apply because a report filed with the court before Keith's sentencing said he had handled far more cocaine than was reflected in the jury's conviction. 
    Reuters reported on Tuesday that Justice Department lawyers have opposed scores of sentence reductions for similar reasons, and have sought to put some people who were released back behind bars.
    The judge who reviewed Keith's petition for release, Robert G. James, sided with him, ruling that the statue he was convicted under, rather than the behavior outlined in the report, should dictate whether he was eligible for release.
    Out of prison for more than two years, Lionel is living in Lafayette, La., and working as a field service technician, servicing heat exchangers around the country for Kelvion, a chemical company. Keith will be job hunting in Plano, Tex., beginning this week, but first he had something to tell his son.

    Keith had always instructed his son to stick to football, echoing the advice he had ignored from his older brother a quarter-century ago.
    "I said, 'Hey man, you see what happened to me and Lionel? It's got to stop with you, bro. It's got to stop,'" Keith said. "I told him what I wanted him to do, and I'm proud of him, because he did it."
    Keith Henderson Jr. will be playing football at Nicholls State University as a freshman in the fall.

    4) Pay or Die
    By Sonia Nazario, Jul 26, 2019

    TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras It's Monday: Time to pay the gangs.

    A bus owner wearing a red knit hat waits for the call he's gotten every Monday morning for 10 years. That's when Honduras's gangs began charging anything with wheels — buses, taxis, motorcycle taxis — a "war tax." Just here in the capital, the owners of these businesses pay an estimated $23 million to gangs each year.
    Nonpayment equals death.
    Read more at:


    5) A Heat Wave Bakes Europe, Where Air-Conditioning Is Scarce
    By Iliana MagraElian Peltier and 

    Sunbathing by the Trocadéro fountain in Paris on Thursday.CreditCreditAndrea Mantovani for The New York Times

    LONDON — Never in recorded history has Paris been hotter than it was on Thursday, when the temperature neared 110 degrees. The same was true of Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands, as a dangerous heat wave scorched Western Europe.
    Parisians could be seen plunging fully clothed into the fountains of the Trocadéro, Viennese cooled themselves in municipal misters, and Amsterdamers dangled their feet in a repurposed kiddie pool at a cafe. But here is what is far less likely to be seen: air-conditioners.

    That's because the technology that transformed American homes and offices over the last century still gets a chilly reception in much of Europe.

    "Air-conditioners are expensive and consume a lot of energy," Sadio Konte, a 26-year-old cooling himself in the waters of the Trocadéro, by the Eiffel Tower, said Thursday. "Making the most of fresh and natural places is a smarter solution. And it's free."

    In that spirit, German music lovers, among them Chancellor Angela Merkel, attended the Wagner festival at an un-air-conditioned opera hall in the southern city of Bayreuth on Thursday afternoon. Temperatures there topped 93 degrees (about 34 Celsius), but propriety won over practicality, and formal wear was the order of the day.
    Still, when tradition-proud cultures meet relentlessly heating planets, it is not usually the planets that bend, and there are signs that sweltering Europeans are rethinking their views on air-conditioning.

    "We have seen regular year-on-year growth," said Maximilian Schichtl, head of a company in Munich that installs and maintains cooling units.

    That, scientists say, may only worsen the global-warming problem down the road.
    "By cooling off the inside and warming the outside, we are feeding a disastrous vicious circle," said Brice Tréméac, head of the Laboratory of Cold, Energy and Thermic Systems, a Paris-based public research institute.
    On Thursday, however, Europe's concerns were more immediate.
    Owen Landeg, the chief environmental public health scientist at Public Health England, warned that the extremely high temperatures were endangering older people, those in poor health and very young children.

    "The extreme heat means that our bodies, especially our hearts and lungs, have to work harder to maintain a normal temperature," he said in a statement.
    In France, the authorities issued hundreds of warnings, hoping to avoid a repeat of the devastating death toll the country suffered in a 2003 heat wave. That was believed to have contributed to almost 15,000 deaths.
    "Everyone is at risk with these kinds of temperatures," the health minister, Agnès Buzyn, told reporters.

    Volunteers could be seen on the streets of Paris on Thursday handing out water, and City Hall introduced restrictions on cars because of air pollution.
    In Germany, all but the northeastern coastal region was under a heat warning, with officials urging people to drink enough fluids and avoid going outdoors in the afternoon hours.
    In Austria, the national railway service began painting stretches of track in white, in the hopes of preventing them from getting so hot that they would bend. Similar projects were taking place in parts of Germany and Switzerland.

    The British national weather service placed five of England's nine regions, including London, on a rare Level 3 health watch, one short of a national emergency.
    "This is only the second time temperatures over 100 Fahrenheit have been recorded in the U.K.," the weather service said.
    The hottest summers in Europe in the past 500 years have all come in the past 17 years, scientists say. Several heat waves have been linked to human-caused climate change — and in the years ahead, they say, many more are likely to scorch temperate zones like northern Europe.

    In Belgium, where the temperature reached 107, people and infrastructure alike struggled to keep up.
    "It's really shocking to have this heat in Brussels," said Francesca Van Daele, a student of political science at the Free University of Brussels-VUB. "Our urban planning is not really made for heat waves like this."
    A Eurostar train en route from Brussels to London broke down Wednesday morning in Tubize, Belgium. Despite the heat, passengers were not allowed to open windows or leave the train for three hours because of safety concerns.

    "Everything was suddenly down: no air-conditioning, no electricity," said Paul De Grauwe, a Belgian economist who was on the train. "I have never been so hot in my life."
    Commuters on a crowded subway train had it a bit better in London, where the weather led to some odd sights. After a sweating man in a half-unbuttoned, pink-striped shirt opened a window on the train, sweltering passengers made rare eye contact, trading looks of approval and relief.

    Forecasters predicted a break in the temperatures as soon as Friday.
    But health officials and planners were already talking about the next heat wave, and how to soften the impact of rising temperatures without resorting to air-conditioning.

    Europe accounts for just 6 percent of the global share of air-conditioners, compared with 23 percent for the United States and 35 percent for China, according to a 2018 report by the International Energy Agency. More than 90 percent of Japanese and American households have an air conditioning system; fewer than 10 percent of Europeans' have one. In Germany, the figure is below 2 percent.
    The architecture in many European countries once helped keep cities and towns cool. Narrow streets coupled with high buildings shaded them, while thick-walled buildings and open windows allowed the inside of buildings to keep cool, said Cécile de Munck, a researcher at Météo France, the national weather service said.
    But the traditional approaches are no longer up to the job.
    Experts have suggested that some simple steps may help, like placing shutters inside buildings, not outside, where they bake in the sun. Trees, loose soils and permeable material on roads also help, they say.

    There are also higher-tech approaches.
    In cities, underground chilled water pipes offer one alternative to air-conditioning. In Paris, for example, a 49-mile underground network helps cool a big patch of the city, including the Louvre museum. The system pumps cold water from the Seine.

    By noon in Paris on Thursday, people were looking for relief wherever they could find it — but only to a point.
    Luce Tainturier, a 25-year-old urban planning consultant who abandoned her sweltering office building to work from home, said that hard as it may be to bear, the heat wave offered a lesson.
    "It's better not to have air-conditioning," she said, "so we can feel the real effects of climate change."

    Iliana Magra reported from London, and Elian Peltier and Constant Méheut from Paris. Reporting was contributed by Keerthana Annamaneni from Brussels; Melissa Eddy from Berlin; Raphael Minder from Madrid; Palko Karasz, Claire Moses, Megan Specia and Richard Pérez-Peña from London; and Joshua Barone from Bayreuth, Germany.

    6) Man Dies of 'Brain-Eating' Amoeba After Swimming in Lake
    Naegleria fowleri, a single-celled organism found in warm freshwater, can be fatal if it enters the body through the nose.
    By Jacey Fortin, July 25, 2019

    Naegleria fowleri is a single-celled living organism that can cause a rare and devastating infection of the brain.CreditCreditCenters for Disease Control and Prevention

    A man in North Carolina died on Monday after he went swimming in a lake and was infected by Naegleria fowleri, a single-celled organism known as the "brain-eating amoeba."
    The man, Eddie Gray, 59, fell ill after he visited the Fantasy Lake Water Park in Cumberland County July 12, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement on Thursday.
    Naegleria fowleri infections are rare, but deadly. There were 145 known infected people in the United States from 1962 through 2018, and all but four cases were fatal.

    The amoeba is typically found in warm freshwater, and the majority of cases in the United States have occurred in Florida and Texas.

    "Mr. Gray's death was tragic and untimely," Justin Plummer, a lawyer representing his estate, said in a statement. "The family is currently asking for privacy and respect during this difficult time."
    According to his obituary, Mr. Gray was an active member of the Sedge Garden United Methodist Church who enjoyed kayaking, camping, hunting, fishing and NASCAR.
    "Our sympathies are with the family and loved ones," Zack Moore, North Carolina's state epidemiologist, said in a statement. "People should be aware that this organism is present in warm freshwater lakes, rivers and hot springs across North Carolina, so be mindful as you swim or enjoy water sports."
    According to the North Carolina health department, Naegleria fowleri "does not cause illness if swallowed but can be fatal if forced up the nose, as can occur during diving, water-skiing or other water activities."
    Most of those affected have been children and adolescents, and more than three-quarters have been male, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    A couple of cases have also been linked to neti pots — vessels that are used to wash out the nasal passages.
    Early signs of infection can include headache, nausea and vomiting. The illness progresses rapidly, making it hard to diagnose, and most people who are infected die within one to two weeks.
    After Naegleria fowleri enters the body through the nose, it can migrate to the brain along the olfactory nerve. Then, it can begin to destroy brain tissue. The technical name for the infection is primary amebic meningoencephalitis. 
    To prevent infection, people swimming in warm freshwater should try to limit the amount of water that goes up their nose.
    "Hold your nose shut, use nose clips or keep your head above water when taking part in warm freshwater-related activities," the North Carolina health department said in the statement. It recommended that people avoid water activities when water levels are low and water temperatures are high, and that they refrain from stirring up sediment in shallow bodies of freshwater.
    The department added that "there is no means to eliminate this amoeba from freshwater lakes."
    Fantasy Lake Water Park, which centers on a six-acre, man-made lake, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday evening. But a swimming advisory on the park's website cautions visitors that "there is a low level of Naegleria fowleri risk when entering any warm freshwater."


    7) When Tossing a Bucket of Water Is Worse Than a Chokehold
    Why is a man facing more severe punishment for dousing a police officer than Officer Daniel Pantaleo is for choking Eric Garner?
    By Ginia Bellafante, July 26, 2019

    Recent graduates from the Police Academy enter a force where reform is at odds with a history of unquestioned authority.CreditCreditBebeto Matthews/Associated Press

    In what has emerged as one of the least predictable trends of the summer, police officers in New York City have been getting doused with buckets of water while on the beat. This has happened on three occasions over the span of just a few days, each case captured on video — expressions either of impish seasonal boredom or deeper, more meaningful antagonisms.

    The scenes read almost as slapstick: In the videos, the police are shown going about their business, in one instance making an arrest, and then suddenly someone approaches and the drenching begins.

    Perhaps because we are supposed to have entered a new era of more compassionate and connected policing, or perhaps because it has been hot and the water might not have been entirely unwelcome, the officers involved responded calmly to these incursions. There were no signs of retaliation or anger. In one shot, two cops just keep walking as they get increasingly soaked.

    In a certain version of these events, senior law enforcers might have praised this equanimity, given how hard the Police Department has worked to rebuild trust in the communities it alienated during the long period when officers stopped and frisked young black and Latino men as if it were an addiction.

    Last year, a high ranking member of the department explained that relationships were evolving along a new intimate model, with people in various neighborhoods essentially assigned their own police officers whose cellphone numbers and email addresses they could acquire and use.
    "Have you ever had a personal issue, like if you had an ailment you had to go see a doctor? You always go see the same doctor," Rodney Harrison, chief of patrol said. "Well, it's kind of the same thing now."
    But the notion that you might move on after getting water poured over your head was not met warmly. Speaking to a group of officers at an awards ceremony on Tuesday, Terence Monahan, who is the top uniformed official in the police department, addressed the subject. "Any cop who thinks that that's all right, that they can walk away from something like that," he said, "maybe should reconsider whether or not this is the profession for them.'' The audience applauded.

    The bucket incidents are surprisingly complicated. On the one hand they represent untenable displays of disrespect; at the same time no one victimized by them was seriously harmed. At the core, they reveal the considerable tensions in a criminal justice system transitioning from a history in which police and prosecutorial authority too often went unquestioned to a future in which reform has brought new demands for forgiveness and bonding.
    By Wednesday three men had been arrested in conjunction with the incidents. One of them, Courtney Thompson, was charged with obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and harassment. African-American business and political leaders as well as former mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Vice President Mike Pence have condemned the dousings.

    But while few would argue that throwing water at a police officer is something that should pass without consequence, the reality is that Mr. Thompson is currently facing more severe punishment than Daniel Pantaleo, the police officer whose chokehold resulted in the death of Eric Garner five years ago.
    Earlier this month, the Justice Department decided not to bring federal civil rights charges against Mr. Pantaleo in the case, sparking a fresh round of protests and reflection. Why was he still on the force? Why hadn't Mayor Bill de Blasio fired him? The city maintains that it is not up to the mayor, that its charter authorizes only the police commissioner to fire an officer — a position that ignores hundreds of years of management history in which bosses push subordinates to get rid of people all the time. 
    The Police Department in turn is waiting for a recommendation of what to do, not from an independent investigator but from its deputy commissioner of trials, who adjudicates these kinds of disciplinary cases.
    One aspect of the case that has caused so much rage relates to the shield of privacy that Mr. Pantaleo has been afforded, thanks to a longstanding law in the state's civil rights statute — known as 50a — that allows personnel and disciplinary records of police officers to be protected from public view. The law, drafted during the high-crime years of the 1970s, was predicated in part on the idea that officer safety would be compromised — by far worse than buckets of water — if the misdeeds of law enforcement were disseminated.

    About Mr. Pantaleo's past we know that a city watchdog agency had recommended sanctioning him four times, before Garner's death, only because of documents leaked to the website ThinkProgress two years ago, not because the city believed it was in the civic interest to make these facts known.
    While officials make broad claims about the need for more police transparency and the need to revise or repeal Statute 50a specifically, they seem to keep honoring it. When the leak about Mr. Pantaleo surfaced, the city, instead of simply doing nothing, which would have given substance to its rhetoric, began an investigation to go after the leaker
    And yet the same system that works so hard to conceal the pasts of its officers is quick to reveal the sins of defendants. It took virtually no time for the police to let the world know that Courtney Thompson was a gang member affiliated with a Crips subsidiary and that he had been arrested many times.
    Despite the recent progressive turn of the New York State Legislature and the passage of bills, including a reform of the bail system, 50a was not repealed in the last session. It did not even come up for a vote. Around the country, similar laws have been softened or effectively dismantled.
    In a recent law review article, Cynthia Conti-Cook, a staff attorney at the Legal Aid Society and an expert in police and privacy matters, pointed out that when an advocacy group in Chicago successfully petitioned local government for years of police records, the public database resulting from those findings did not produce the feared outcome: assaults on officers whose misbehavior was no longer hidden. She argued essentially that more transparency could only enhance the reputations of the many, many officers serving New York City who do absolutely nothing wrong.
    Jamaal Bailey, a state senator from the Bronx, is the person in the Legislature most committed to repealing 50a. We talked about the bucket incidents and the grim ironies when they are held up against what has happened in the aftermath of Eric Garner's death.
    "You're looking at a loss of life and a bucket of water, and each of them should be looked at with the weight of the law," Mr. Bailey said. "But let's not act like choking a man is not a big deal."
    Ginia Bellafante has served as a reporter, critic and, since 2011, as the Big City columnist. She began her career at The Times as a fashion critic, and has also been a television critic. She previously worked at Time magazine.


    8) Under Brazil's Far Right Leader, Amazon Protections Slashed and Forests Fall
    By Letícia Casado and 

    The Amazon rain forest in Para State, Brazil. Deforestation is increasing in the country, but the current government has reduced enforcement of protective laws.CreditCreditMauro Pimentel/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

    Deforestation in the Western Amazon region of Brazil.CreditCarl De Souza/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

    BRASÍLIA — The destruction of the Amazon rain forest in Brazil has increased rapidly since the nation's new far-right president took over and his government scaled back efforts to fight illegal logging, ranching and mining.
    Protecting the Amazon was at the heart of Brazil's environmental policy for much of the past two decades. At one point, Brazil's success in slowing the deforestation rate made it an international example of conservation and the effort to fight climate change.

    But with the election of President Jair Bolsonaro, a populist who has been fined personally for violating environmental regulations, Brazil has changed course substantially, retreating from the efforts it once made to slow global warming by preserving the world's largest rain forest.
    While campaigning for president last year, Mr. Bolsonaro declared that Brazil's vast protected lands were an obstacle to economic growth and promised to open them up to commercial exploitation.
    Seven months into his term, that is already happening.
    Brazil's part of the Amazon has lost more than 1,330 square miles of forest cover since Mr. Bolsonaro took office in January, a 39 percent increase over the same period last year, according to the government agency that tracks deforestation.
    In June alone, when the cooler, drier season began and cutting trees became easier, the deforestation rate rose drastically, with roughly 80 percent more forest cover lost than in June of last year.
    The deforestation of the Amazon is spiking as Mr. Bolsonaro's government pulls back on enforcement measures like fines, warnings and the seizure or destruction of illegal equipment in protected areas.
    A New York Times analysis of public records found that such enforcement actions by Brazil's main environmental agency fell by 20 percent during the first six months of the year, compared with the same period in 2018. The drop means that vast stretches of the rain forest can be torn down with less resistance from the nation's authorities.

    The two trends — the increase in deforestation and the government's increasing reluctance to confront illegal activity — is alarming researchers, environmentalists and former officials who contend that Mr. Bolsonaro's tenure could lead to staggering losses of one of the world's most important resources.

    "We're facing the risk of runaway deforestation in the Amazon," eight former environment ministers in Brazil wrote in a joint letter in May, arguing that Brazil needed to strengthen its environmental protection measures, not weaken them.
    Mr. Bolsonaro has dismissed the new data on deforestation, calling his own government's figures "lies" — an assertion experts called baseless. During a gathering with international journalists last week, the president called the preoccupation with the Amazon a form of "environmental psychosis" and argued that its use should not concern outsiders.
    "The Amazon is ours, not yours," he told a European journalist.
    The Bolsonaro government's stance has drawn sharp criticism from European leaders, injecting an irritant to a trade deal struck last month between the European Union and a bloc of four South American countries, including Brazil.
    During a recent visit, Germany's minister of economic cooperation and development, Gerd Müller, called protecting the Amazon a global imperative, especially given the rain forest's vital role in absorbing and storing carbon dioxide, essential to the effort to slow global warming. And when trees are cut, burned or bulldozed, carbon dioxide goes directly back into the atmosphere.
    Germany and Norway help finance a $1.3 billion Amazon conservation fund, but the Bolsonaro administration has questioned its effectiveness, raising the possibility that the effort could be shut down.
    "Without tropical rain forests, there's no solving the climate" issue, Mr. Müller said during an event in São Paulo.

    During the campaign, Mr. Bolsonaro promised to do away with the ministry of the environment altogether. He ultimately scrapped the plan under pressure from the nation's agriculture sector, which feared the move would incite a boycott of Brazilian products.

    A few weeks before his inauguration, Brazil abruptly pulled out of its commitment to host a global summit on climate change. Then, once he took office, Mr. Bolsonaro's administration cut the main environmental agency's budget by 24 percent, part of a broader cost savings across the government.
    He has denounced environmental fines as an "industry" that needs to be shut down. And his administration has said it plans to weaken the authority of environmental protection agents to burn vehicles and other equipment belonging to loggers and miners in protected areas.
    Mr. Bolsonaro has brushed off international criticism of his positions, arguing that calls to preserve large parts of Brazil are part of a global plot to hamper his country's development. This month, he accused European leaders of pushing for stronger conservation of the Amazon because they hope to develop it themselves in the future.
    "Brazil is like a virgin that every pervert from the outside lusts for," he said.
    Brazil had previously tried to portray itself as a leader in protecting the Amazon and fighting global warming. Between 2004 and 2012, the country created new conservation areas, increased monitoring and took away government credits from rural producers who were caught razing protected areas. This brought deforestation to the lowest level since record-keeping began.
    But it has suffered setbacks before. As the economy plunged into a recession in 2014, the country became more reliant on the agricultural commodities it produces — beef and soy, which are drivers of deforestation — and on the powerful rural lobby. Land clearing began to tick upward again.

    Mr. Bolsonaro has promised to do away with the remaining barriers to developing protected lands. He has also spoken derisively about the environmental agency's enforcement work, which he has experienced firsthand.
    On Jan. 25, 2012, environmental agents intercepted a small fishing boat in an ecological reserve in Rio de Janeiro state that Mr. Bolsonaro, then a federal lawmaker, was aboard. He argued with the agents for about an hour and ignored their demands that he leave, said José Augusto Morelli, the agent in charge of the team.
    Mr. Bolsonaro refused to identify himself, Mr. Morelli said. But the agent took a photo of Mr. Bolsonaro, who was wearing white Speedo-like bathing suit.

    Mr. Bolsonaro never paid the fine, which was rescinded shortly after he was sworn in as president in January. In late March, Mr. Morelli was demoted, a decision he sees as a form of retaliation for the 2012 fine.
    Mr. Bolsonaro's refusal to pay the fine is common. All but about 5 percent of environmental fines in Brazil are contested in court, a process that often drags on for several years.
    Now Mr. Bolsonaro's environment minister, Ricardo Salles, wants to create a mechanism that would give a government panel the discretion to lower or suspend environmental penalties, worrying former officials who say it would weaken enforcement even further.

    Mr. Salles, who did not respond to several requests for an interview, has acknowledged the shortcomings of the environmental enforcement agencies tasked with policing commercial activity in protected areas. But he has argued that the system had been hollowed out by previous governments.
    As for the environment, Mr. Salles has said that the government is prioritizing urban problems, like upgrading waste management and sewage treatment systems, which he said were in a "shameful" state.
    Other senior officials in Mr. Bolsonaro's government have responded to the sharp rise in deforestation with a mix of denial and defensiveness.
    Taking a different approach, Mr. Bolsonaro's chief of staff, Onyx Lorenzoni, took aim at what he called attempts from abroad to shape Brazil's environmental policy.
    "We're not naïve," Mr. Lorenzoni said. "There's a view out in the world, sponsored by nongovernmental organizations, that relativizes Brazil's sovereignty over the Amazon."
    But, he warned in a recent meeting with reporters: "Here's a little message: 'Don't play around with us.'"


    9) Miners Kill Indigenous Leader in Brazil During Invasion of Protected Land

    Brazilian Wajãpi in the state of Amapá in 2017. Land invasions in indigenous territories are on the rise across Brazil, where indigenous leaders say they regularly come under threat by miners, loggers and farmers.CreditCreditApu Gomes/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

    RIO DE JANEIRO — Several dozen heavily armed miners dressed in military fatigues invaded an indigenous village in remote northern Brazil this week and fatally stabbed at least one of the community's leaders, officials said Saturday.
    The killing comes as miners and loggers are making increasingly bold and defiant incursions into protected areas, including indigenous territories, with the explicit encouragement of Brazil's far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro. Officials warned the conflict could escalate in the coming hours.
    Mr. Bolsonaro has said that indigenous communities are in control of vast territories that should be opened up to industries to make them profitable.

    Land invasions in indigenous territories are on the rise across Brazil, where indigenous leaders say they regularly come under threat by miners, loggers and farmers. Yet assassinations of indigenous leaders are rare.

    Leaders of the Wajãpi indigenous community made urgent pleas to the federal government on Saturday, warning that the conflict between the miners and members of their community who live in remote villages in the northern state of Amapá risked turning into a blood bath.
    "They are armed with rifles and other weapons," Jawaruwa Waiãpi, a leader of the community, said in a voice message sent to one of the state's senators, referring to the miners. "We are in danger. You need to send the army to stop them."
    It was not immediately clear when the killing took place.
    Rodolfe Rodrigues, the senator, said Saturday night that residents of the village that had been invaded had fled. Citing local accounts, he said there was concern in the area that men from the tribe would return to the village to try to reclaim it.
    "There is significant risk that the conflict will escalate in the coming hours," Mr. Rodrigues said in a phone interview. "The Indians are going to retaliate."
    Mr. Rodrigues, who belongs to an opposition party, said Mr. Bolsonaro's views on indigenous territories and the rights of native communities had put the descendants of Brazil's original inhabitants in mortal danger.

    "The president is responsible for this death," he said.
    A representative for the president declined to comment on Saturday night.
    Mr. Rodrigues identified the slain indigenous leader as Emyra Wajãpi. He said the miners tossed his body in a river after stabbing him to death.
    On Saturday night, an elite police force was en route to the area. The National Indian Foundation, a federal agency that was created to protect indigenous rights, said Saturday that its personnel in the area were trying to ascertain the facts surrounding the killing.
    The Wajãpi, who have lived for centuries in the area that straddles northern Brazil and French Guiana, lived in isolation until the 1970s, when the Brazilian government built a road that made their areas accessible to miners and other outsiders.
    Their territory was designated a protected area in 1996 as part of the process established by Brazil's 1988 Constitution. That charter, which was adopted after a 21-year period of military rule, set out to make amends for the brutality indigenous communities had endured since Europeans arrived on the continent in the 1400s.

    Letícia Casado contributed reporting from Washington.


    10) Why American Cruelty Doesn't Deter Migrants
    By Fernando Chang-Muy and 

    Forensic personnel at the scene where a student from Vicente Caceres Central Institute was murdered on her way to class, in Tegucigalpa last year.CreditCreditOrlando Sierra/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

    In response to growing criticism that the state of immigrant detention centers at America's southern border is inhumane, President Trump this month tweeted a sweeping dictum meant to deter migration from Central America: "If Illegal Immigrants are unhappy with the conditions," he wrote, "just tell them not to come. All problems solved!"
    But the two of us have seen firsthand that merely telling potential asylum seekers of the terrors that may await them in the United States will not work.
    This summer, we traveled across Honduras speaking about the asylum laws of the United States. We aimed not to influence decisions about fleeing but rather to inform potential asylum seekers of the legal obstacles they would face, and the rights to which they are entitled, if they chose to make the trip north.

    At the beginning of each presentation, we asked attendees to raise their hand if they could name five protected grounds of asylum — race, religion, nationality, political opinion or particular social group — or if they had heard of the new "remain in Mexico" policy.Among all of our audiences — whether at an elite private university in San Pedro Sula, a rural church in the mountains or a firehouse on the coast — no one raised a hand.

    In our presentations, we did not hide the harsh realities of the current asylum process. We cautioned that asylum-seekers might be separated from their families, forced to wait for months in crime-ridden border towns in Mexico, placed in "perreras" (literally, "dog pounds") and detained with no opportunity for bail. Even if they are released inside the United States as they wait for their case to be heard, we explained, life outside of detention can be exceedingly difficult.
    If Mr. Trump's proposal were effective, our audiences would have been discouraged. They would have accepted that the costs of fleeing outweigh the benefits, and "all problems solved!" But this wasn't the case.
    Instead, at the end of our presentations, dozens of participants discussed the sense of hopelessness that pervades their country. A firefighter told us he was considering fleeing because of threats against his daughter's life after declining a local gang's offer to sell drugs. A businessman from a rural town explained his plan to fleethe death threats he expected for failing to pay an extortion fee. An administrator for a school described the huge drop in enrollment after rival gangs recently battled over the surrounding territory.
    On some days during our travels, we found that Hondurans were blocking the roads to protest privatization of education and medical services as well as the government's rampant corruption. Only days after we left, the military opened fire at protesting university students.
    When potential asylum-seekers are faced with these kinds of horrors at home, simply communicating with them about President Trump's cruel border policies aren't a deterrent. Indeed, around the globe, past and present, this tactic has rarely worked: Pirates roaming the seas did not deter countless Vietnamese migrants fleeing the American war. And the European Union's interdiction policies in the Mediterranean didn't stop Syrians or North Africans from boarding rafts and dinghies and journeying away from civil unrest at home, despite the threat of discrimination that often awaited them.

    The new bilateral agreement reached on Friday between the United States and Guatemala — under the threat of tariffs and a travel ban — that Guatemala will now officially be designated as a safe third country will do little to stem the flow of migration because Guatemala like the rest of the "Northern Triangle" countries is, in reality, not safe. People will still leave.
    In El Porvenir, in northern Honduras, one young teacher spoke of her students' "dream drawings." The vast majority of her students, she explained, drew pictures of themselves living in the United States as adults. "They know there's no future in Honduras," she said to us at a small town hall meeting. "These barriers at your border won't stop them from trying to achieve their dream."
    As lawyers, we aren't experts in foreign aid, international development or foreign policy. But based on what we saw and heard, to actually deter migrants, America must go to the root of the problem. That would mean a recommitment to support Honduras and the other Central American countries producing the vast majority of asylum seekers. In doing so, it cannot simply put money into the hands of a transparently corrupt government that has failed the public and completely lost its trust. 
    The United States could instead back the many local civil society organizations we met with that are doing exceptional work in job training, education and community building. With extra aid aimed at reducing violence, strengthening infrastructure, getting desperately needed medicines back into hospitals and books back into schools, more people will stay.
    Many fairly argue that the United States should be making these investments anyway, as amends for its interventions in Central America throughout the 20th century, which significantly contributed to the pain these nations are experiencing now.
    Of course, this sort of extended strategy precludes overnight success. However, with a long-term commitment the United States can help ensure that the "dream drawings" of the next generation of Hondurans include drawings of themselves as presidents, doctors and firefighters in their home country.

    Fernando Chang-Muy, a former legal officer for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, is a lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where Adam Garnick is a second-year student.

    11) The Mosquitoes Are Coming for Us
    They are our apex predator, the deadliest hunters of human beings on the planet.
    By Timothy C. Winegard, July 27, 2019

    CreditCreditArmando Veve

    It has been one of the most aggravating sounds on earth for more than 100 million years — the humming buzz of a mosquito.
    She gently lands on your ankle and inserts two serrated mandible cutting blades and saws into your skin, while two other retractors open a passage for the proboscis. With this straw she sucks your blood, while a sixth needle pumps in saliva that contains an anticoagulant that prevents that blood from clotting. This shortens her feeding time, lessening the likelihood that you splat her across your ankle.
    The female mosquito needs your blood to grow her eggs. Please don't feel singled out. She bites everyone. There is no truth to the myths that mosquitoes prefer women over men or blondes and redheads over those with darker hair. She does, however, play favorites. Type O blood seems to be the vintage of choice. Stinky feet emit a bacterium that woos famished females, as do perfumes. As a parting gift, she leaves behind an itchy bump (an allergic reaction to her saliva) and potentially something far worse: infection with one of several deadly diseases, including malaria, Zika, West Nile, dengue and yellow fever.

    Mosquitoes are our apex predator, the deadliest hunter of human beings on the planet. A swarming army of 100 trillion or more mosquitoes patrol nearly every inch of the globe, killing about 700,000 people annually. Researchers suggest that mosquitoes may have killed nearly half of the 108 billion humans who have ever lived across our 200,000-year or more existence.

    Flying solo, the mosquito does not directly harm anyone. It is the diseases she transmits that cause an endless barrage of death. Yet without her, these pathogens could not be vectored to humans. Without her, human history would be completely unrecognizable.
    The mosquito and her diseases have accompanied traders, travelers, soldiers and settlers (and their captive African slaves) around the world and have been far more lethal than any manufactured weapons or inventions.
    Malarious mosquitoes patrolling the Pontine Marshes facilitated both the rise and the fall of the Roman Empire. Initially shielding the Eternal City from the Visigoths, Huns and Vandals, they eventually pointed their proboscises inward on Rome itself. Mosquitoes defended the Holy Land during the Crusades by laying waste to armies of cross-adorned Christian soldiers. By infecting European soldiers with malaria and yellow fever, they reinforced numerous successful rebellions in the Americas during the late 18th and early 19th centuries, including the British surrender at Yorktown during the American Revolution.
    Mosquitoes also played a role in steering slave ships from Africa across the Atlantic, because plantation owners in the Americas believed that Africans withstood the onslaught of mosquito-borne disease better than indigenous slaves or European indentured servants. During the American Civil War, Confederate forces suffered from shortages of the antimalarial drug quinine, and the mosquito eventually helped hammer the final nail in the coffin of the institution of slavery. But these examples only scratch the surface of her historical impact.
    Malaria, a parasitic disease, is the unsurpassed scourge of humankind. Dr. W. D. Tigertt, an early malariologist at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, said, "Malaria, like the weather, seems to have always been with the human race." He continued, "And as Mark Twain said about the weather, it seems that very little is done about it." Even today, more than 200 million unlucky people contract malaria each year.

    Malaria often produces a synchronized and cyclical pattern of symptoms: a cold stage of chills and shakes, followed by a hot stage marked by fevers, headaches and vomiting, and finally a sweating stage. After a period of respite, this progression repeats itself. For many, especially children under 5, malaria triggers organ failure, coma and death.
    Mosquitoes also transmit a catalog of viruses: dengue, West Nile, Zika and various encephalitides. While debilitating, these diseases are generally not prolific killers. Yellow fever, however, is the viral exception. It can produce fever-induced delirium, liver damage bleeding from the mouth, nose and eyes, and coma. Internal corrosion induces vomit of blood, the color of coffee grounds, giving rise to the Spanish name for yellow fever, vómito negro (black vomit), which is sometimes followed by death.
    Today, roughly four billion people are at risk from mosquito-borne diseases. As our ancestors can attest, our battle with the mosquito has always been a matter of life and death, and it's beginning to look as though this confrontation is coming to a head.
    In "Silent Spring," Rachel Carson wrote that "our attitude toward plants and animals is a singularly narrow one," that "if for any reason we find its presence undesirable or merely a matter of indifference, we may condemn it to destruction forthwith." She could not have anticipated the arrival of Crispr — the gene-editing technology that can tremendously speed up the meaning of "forthwith."
    Unveiled in 2012, Crispr snips out a section of DNA sequencing from a gene and replaces it with another one, permanently altering a genome. This innovation has been called the extinction machine because it allows us to intrude on natural selection to wipe out any undesirable species. Crispr has been used to design mosquitoes that produce infertile offspring. If those mosquitoes were released into the wild, the species could become extinct. Humanity would never again have to fear the bite of a mosquito.
    And yet, it would also mean that science fiction would become reality. "We can remake the biosphere to be what we want, from woolly mammoths to nonbiting mosquitoes," Henry Greely, the director of the Center for Law and the Biosciences at Stanford University, told Smithsonian magazine. The question is: "How should we feel about that? Do we want to live in nature, or in Disneyland?"
    We also have valid, although yet unknown, reasons to be careful what we wish for. If we eradicate disease-vectoring mosquito species, would other mosquito species or insects simply fill the ecological niche? Would one disease be swapped out for another? What effect would eliminating mosquitoes (or any other animal) have on mother nature's biological equilibrium?

    But perhaps now, as in the past, we are underestimating the mosquito. She evolved to endure global showers of the eradication chemical DDT and may genetically outflank Crispr as well. History has shown the mosquito to be a dogged survivor. She has ruled the earth for millions of years and has killed with unremitting potency throughout her unrivaled reign of terror. She has steered the course of history, scratching her indelible mark on the modern world order.
    Dr. Rubert Boyce, the first dean of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, bluntly stated in 1909 that the fate of human civilization would be decided by one simple equation: "Mosquito or Man?" Across the ages, we have been locked in a life-or-death struggle for survival with the not-so-simple mosquito. Historically, we did not stand a chance.
    Timothy C. Winegard is the author of the forthcoming book "The Mosquito: A Human History of Our Deadliest Predator," from which this essay is adapted.


    12) Cuba Expands Internet Access to Private Homes and Businesses
    By Kirk Semple and 

    Smartphone users using their devices in Havana, Cuba, last year. On Monday, Cuba, put into effect new regulations that seek to expand internet access on the island.CreditCreditDesmond Boylan/Associated Press

    The airy three-story rental house on the outskirts of Havana would seem to have all the luxury attributes a cosmopolitan tourist might want: elegant appliances, high-end artwork, a rooftop plunge pool and ocean views.
    Yet it is lacking one critical amenity, an absence that has become a deal breaker for some prospective clients: Wi-Fi.
    "It's ridiculous to have to turn away a potential client just because of a lack of internet," lamented the house's owner, Leandis Díaz, 47. "Everyone who comes to Cuba wants to use the internet — that's normal."

    On Monday, though, Cuba, one of the least wired nations in the Western Hemisphere, took a step that may soon solve Ms. Díaz's problem. It put into effect a new set of regulations that seek to expand internet access on the island.

    The measures permit the creation of private wired and Wi-Fi internet networks in homes and businesses and allow the importation of routers and other networking equipment — though also maintain the government's iron-fisted monopoly over commercial internet access.
    Cuba went online in the 1990s, and has since lagged behind much of the world in the rush toward greater connectivity. For years, access has remained expensive and tightly controlled, inhibited in part by the government's concerns about the potentially subversive effect of free-flowing information.
    While the Cuban government has acknowledged that the modernization of its economy required greater connectivity, it has worried that broader access could fuel dissent, said William LeoGrande, a professor of government at American University in Washington and a specialist in Latin American politics.
    "There has always been a tension between the political risk of expanding internet access and the economic necessity for expanding access," Mr. LeoGrande said.
    While the new regulations permit citizens to connect to the internet with their own routers and other equipment and share their signals with others, they do not allow those small-network operators to sell that service, thus maintaining the position of Etecsa, the state-run telecommunication firm, as the nation's only internet provider.

    The measures permit the creation of private wired and Wi-Fi internet networks in homes and businesses and allow the importation of routers and other networking equipment — though also maintain the government's iron-fisted monopoly over commercial internet access.
    Cuba went online in the 1990s, and has since lagged behind much of the world in the rush toward greater connectivity. For years, access has remained expensive and tightly controlled, inhibited in part by the government's concerns about the potentially subversive effect of free-flowing information.
    While the Cuban government has acknowledged that the modernization of its economy required greater connectivity, it has worried that broader access could fuel dissent, said William LeoGrande, a professor of government at American University in Washington and a specialist in Latin American politics.
    "There has always been a tension between the political risk of expanding internet access and the economic necessity for expanding access," Mr. LeoGrande said.
    While the new regulations permit citizens to connect to the internet with their own routers and other equipment and share their signals with others, they do not allow those small-network operators to sell that service, thus maintaining the position of Etecsa, the state-run telecommunication firm, as the nation's only internet provider.

    Under the new regulations, which were announced in May, operators of illegal networks have two months to bring their systems into line with the law.
    "These regulations contribute to the informatization of society, to the well-being of citizens, to the sovereignty of the country, to the avoidance of interference in the radio spectrum and to the prevention of the harmful effects of non-ionizing radiation," Cuba's Ministry of Communication said in announcing the measures.
    Ted A. Henken, a professor and Cuba expert at Baruch College in New York, predicted that the short-term effect of the regulations will be "minimal," and that long-term consequences will depend on what he called "the devil in the details."
    "Cuba has the tradition of accompanying new regulations that seem to 'open' things up (the market, travel, the internet, etc.) with new punishments and controls," he wrote in an email on Monday.
    If the law does, in fact, "regularize" the many digital workarounds that have multiplied in recent years, he said, "this will be a significant step forward."
    Despite the invitation to connect, at least one Cuban entrepreneur is not terribly enthusiastic about the possibility of broader access.
    Nelson Rodríguez, 39, the owner of El Café, a thriving brunch spot in the tourist epicenter of Old Havana, said he has no plans to set up a Wi-Fi network in his establishment.

    In general, he explained, he bemoans the internet-driven demise of human interaction in public spaces, and he suspects a Wi-Fi router in his place would only encourage further isolation.
    He also doesn't want to see his cafe turned into a de facto co-working space, with customers camping out in front of laptops all day but purchasing nothing more than a couple of lattes.
    "I might even put up a Wi-Fi blocker so that people will be forced to interact," he said.







    Posted by: bonnieweinstein@yahoo.com

    Reply via web post                       Reply to sender            Reply to group                       Start a New Topic           Messages in this topic (1)                       


      Posted by: bonnieweinstein@yahoo.com

      Reply via web post Reply to sender Reply to group Start a New Topic Messages in this topic (1)