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Save The Date: Black Lives Matter at School Week, February 3-7, 2020.

Mark your calendar! The Black Lives Matter at School national week of action will be held from February 3-7th, 2020–and educators from coast to coast are organizing to make this the biggest coordinated uprising for racial justice in the schools yet. 
Black Lives Matter At School is a national coalition educators, parents and students organizing for racial justice in education.  We encourage community organizations and unions to join our annual week of action during the first week of February each year. To learn more about how to participate in the week of action, please check out the BLM@School starter kit
If you or your organization would like to support or endorse the week of action, please email us at: BlackLivesMatterAtSchool2@gmail.com.  
During the 2018-2019 school year, BLM@School held its second national week of action in some 30 different citiesaround the country. During the nationally organized week of action, thousands of educators around the U.S. wore Black Lives Matter shirts to school and taught lessons about the guiding principles of the Black Lives Matter Global Network, structural racism, intersectional black identities, black history, and anti-racist social movements. 
In addition to centering Blackness in the classroom, BLM at School has these four demands:
1) End "zero tolerance" discipline, and implement restorative justice
3) Mandate Black history and Ethnic Studies in K-12 curriculum
The lessons that educators teach during the week of action corresponded to the guiding principles of Black Lives Matter:
Monday: Restorative Justice, Empathy and Loving Engagement
Tuesday: Diversity and Globalism
Wednesday: Trans-Affirming, Queer Affirming and Collective Value
Thursday: Intergenerational, Black Families and Black Villages
Friday: Black Women and Unapologetically Black
With your help, this year's BLM at School week of action can continue to grow and provide healing for Black students.  Learn more about how to participate by visiting our website, www.BlackLivesMatterAtSchool.com. Let us know what you are planning for BLM at School week this school year or ask us how to get involved with the action by emailing us at: BlackLivesMatterAtSchool2@gmail.com.





Stop Kevin Cooper's Abuse by San Quentin Prison Guards!


On Wednesday, September 25, Kevin Cooper's cell at San Quentin Prison was thrown into disarray and his personal food dumped into the toilet by a prison guard, A. Young.

The cells on East Block Bayside, where Kevin's cell is, were all searched on September 25 during Mandatory Yard. Kevin spent the day out in the yard with other inmates. In a letter, Kevin described what he found when he returned:

"This cage was hit hard, like a hurricane was in here . . . little by little I started to clean up and put my personal items back inside the boxes that were not taken . . . I go over to the toilet, lift up the seatcover and to my surprise and shock the toilet was completely filled up with my refried beans, and my brown rice. Both were in two separate cereal bags and both cereal bags were full. The raisin bran cereal bags were gone, and my food was in the toilet!"

A bucket was eventually brought over and:

"I had to get down on my knees and dig my food out of the toilet with my hands so that I could flush the toilet. The food, which was dried refried beans and dried brown rice had absorbed the water in the toilet and had become cement hard. It took me about 45 minutes to get enough of my food out of the toilet before it would flush."

Even the guard working the tier at the time told Kevin, "K.C., that is f_cked up!"

A receipt was left in Kevin's cell identifying the guard who did this as A. Young. Kevin has never met Officer A. Young, and has had no contact with him besides Officer Young's unprovoked act of harassment and psychological abuse.

Kevin Cooper has served over 34 years at San Quentin, fighting for exoneration from the conviction for murders he did not commit. It is unconscionable for him to be treated so disrespectfully by prison staff on top of the years of his incarceration.

No guard should work at San Quentin if they cannot treat prisoners and their personal belongings with basic courtesy and respect. Kevin has filed a grievance against A. Young. Please:

1) Sign this petition calling on San Quentin Warden Ronald Davis to grant Kevin's grievance and discipline "Officer" A. Young.

2) Call Warden Ronald Davis at: (415) 454-1460 Ext. 5000. Tell him that Officer Young's behaviour was inexcusable, and should not be tolerated.

3) Call Yasir Samar, Associate Warden of Specialized Housing, at (415) 455-5037

4) Write Warden Davis and Lt. Sam Robinson (separately) at:

Main Street
San Quentin, CA 94964
5) Email Lt. Sam Robinson at: samuel.robinson2@cdcr.ca.gov



Sign the petition! Rodney Reed is Innocent!
Please sign a petition on Action Network telling Bastrop County DA Bryan Goertz to: (1) Cancel the November 20 execution date; (2) Test ALL the evidence; (3) Ensure a new, fair trial free of racial bias and false forensics. Rodney Reed should have an opportunity to fully prove his innocence in a courtroom.



Sign Global Petition to Dismiss Charges Against Anti-Nuclear Plowshares Activists Facing 25 Years


This is an urgent request that you join with distinguished global supporters including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, other Nobel laureates and many others by signing our global petition to dismiss all charges against the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 (KBP7). They face 25 years in prison for exposing illegal and immoral nuclear weapons that threaten all life on Earth. The seven nonviolently and symbolically disarmed the Trident nuclear submarine base at Kings Bay, GA on April 4, 2018, the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. (View KBP7 reading their statement here.)

This petition is also a plea for us all to be involved in rebuilding the anti-nuclear weapons movement that helped disarm the world's nuclear arsenals from 90,000 down to 15,000 weapons in the 1980s. We must abolish them all. The KBP7 trial is expected to begin this fall in Georgia. Time is short. Please sign the petition and visit kingsbayplowshares7.org. Help KBP7 by forwarding their petition to your friends, to lists, and post it on social media.

The Kings Bay Plowshares 7 have offered us their prophetic witness. Now it's up to us!

In peace and solidarity,

The Kings Bay Plowshares 7 Support Committee



Vote Socialist 2020!
Gloria La Riva and Leonard Peltier announce presidential run



Support the return of Leonard Peltier's Medicine Bundle

November 1, 2019

Dear Friends and supporters,
We need your help in getting Leonard Peltier's- (89637-132) Medicine Bundle returned to him. His Medicine Bundle includes: Pipe bowel, Pipe stem, Eagle feathers, sage and cedar. Leonard is at USP Coleman1, in Coleman FL. which has been locked down since mid-July. This lockdown has led to many "shakedowns" that is where the guards go in to a cell and check it for weapons. Leonard said in a legal letter,  that on"10/22/2019 the shakedown crew came to his cell and destroyed itThey came in and tore apart everything and threw out everything they couldjust because they couldThe most painfuland what caused me the most anger was when they took my religious itemsmyPipe (Chunapain myMedicine Bundleuse in my prayers.

Leonard's lawyer was immediately on top of the situation and asked us to hold off until he could reach Leonard's counselor and get the Bundlereturned.  I heard from the attorney last night and he said the prison has not returned Leonard his Medicine Bundle nor give them any reason for itbeing taken. 

Leonard Peltier as a citizen of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewaa federally recognized American Indian Nation is afforded all the legalprotections and rights pursuant to the American Indian Freedom of Religion Act codified at Title 42 United States Code 1996 et.seq.

I am asking if today you would send e-mails to Coleman I SR. Attorney J.C. DiNicola jcdinicola@bop.gov, public relations officer-COA/Publicinformation@bop.gov and to thenBOP-Southwest Regional office SERO/ExecAssistant@bop.gov requesting the return of Leonard Peltier 89637-132, Medicine Bundle

This lockdown has been extremely hard on Leonard and his Medicine Bundle is his way to help him maintain his relationship to his Creator!

Paulette Dauteuil ILPDC National Office
Sheridan Murphy- President of the ILPDC Board
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 863.9977 https://freedomarchives.org/


Courage to Resist
Reality Winner, a whistleblower who helped expose foreign hacking of US election systems leading up to the 2016 presidential election, has been behind bars since June 2017. Supporters are preparing to file a petition of clemency in hopes of an early release. Reality's five year prison sentence is by far the longest ever given for leaking information to the media about a matter of public interest. Stand with Reality shirts, stickers, and more available. Please take a moment to sign the letter
Vietnam War combat veteran Daniel Shea on his time in Vietnam and the impact that Agent Orange and post traumatic stress had on him and his family since. Listen now
This Courage to Resist podcast was produced in collaboration with the Vietnam Full Disclosure effort of Veterans For Peace — "Towards an honest commemoration of the American war in Vietnam." This year marks 50 years of GI resistance, in and out of uniform, for many of the courageous individuals featured. If you believe this history is important, please ...
484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland, California 94610 ~ 510-488-3559
www.couragetoresist.org ~ facebook.com/couragetoresist



New Evidence of Innocence Spurs two Court Filings for Mumia Abu Jamal

Press Release


September 9, 2019 Philadelphia—The struggle to free unfairly convicted Mumia Abu-Jamal took a significant step forward on September 3, 2019, when his attorneys submitted two documents to Pennsylvania Superior Court.
Judith L Ritter, Widener University-Delaware Law School, and Samuel Spital, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. released this statement: 
"This week, Mumia Abu-Jamal filed a brief in Pennsylvania Superior Court to support his claim that his 1982 trial was fundamentally unfair in violation of the Constitution. For example, he argues that the prosecution failed to disclose evidence as required and discriminated against African Americans when selecting the jury. And, his lawyer did not adequately challenge the State's witnesses. 
"Mr. Abu-Jamal also filed a motion containing new evidence of constitutional violations such as promises by the prosecutor to pay or give leniency to two witnesses. There is also new evidence of racial discrimination in jury selection."
Abu-Jamal has always said he is innocent and the new documents go a long way in supporting his case, undermining police and prosecution claims of how Philadelphia police officer Danny Faulkner was killed.
The filings are in response to the December 27, 2018 decision by Court of Common Pleas Judge Leon Tucker reinstating Post Conviction Relief Act (PCRA) petitions for the defendant. Tucker ruled Justice Ronald Castille unconstitutionally participated in deciding the appeals in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court after denying Mr. Abu-Jamal's motions asking for his recusal, creating an appearance of judicial bias.
The "Brief For Appellant" in support of his struggle to gain his freedom after 37 years in Pennsylvania prisons re-opens the PCRA petitions as ordered by Tucker.
The "Appellant's motion for remand to the court of common pleas to consider newly discovered evidence" ask the Superior Court that the case be sent back to the Court of Common Pleas "so that he may present newly discovered evidence."
Among the arguments resubmitted in the "Brief For Appellant:"
Ineffective Assistance of Counsel:Failure to make right argument because counsel did not know the law.
Brady Violation—District Attorney Withheld Evidence:Namely that Prosecutor said that he would look into reinstating the driver's license of key witness, Robert Chobert;
Rights Violation of fifth, sixth, and 14th Amendments:District Attorney manipulated key witness to falsely identify Abu-Jamal as the shooter.
Ineffective Assistance of Counsel:Failure to retain ballistics expert when the trial counsel knew Officer Faulkner was killed by a .44 caliber bullet even though it was known Abu-Jamal's firearm was not a .44 weapon.
Batson:Discrimination in jury selection that kept Black jurors from being sworn in.
Juror Misconduct:Several jurors violated court rules by conducting premature discussions, creating potential for prejudgment of evidence.
Basym Hassan, Philadelphia political activist, said: "The district attorney clearly violated Mumia's constitutional rights by withholding clear evidence that should have been exposed from the beginning. Throughout the entire process of Mumia's approaching the scene up until today's current developments, the law has not been applied as it was created—to get to the truth of a matter. Hopefully, Mumia will get a re-trial and the truth will finally get told. We await his release from hell."
Cindy Miller, Food Not Bombs, Solidarity and Mobilization for Mumia reminds us: "Does everybody remember on December 28, when current Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner and his staff happened to find six boxes of evidence that had not beforehand been shown? That evidence is partly the reason for this new motion."
The "Appellant's motion for remand to the court of common pleas to consider newly discovered evidence" Miller refers to, includes the suppression of evidence of improper prosecutorial interactions with the state's main two witnesses that were instrumental in ensuring Abu-Jamal's conviction. The motion charges that "Abu-Jamal's capital trial was fundamentally unfair and tainted by serious constitutional violations. Mr. Abu-Jamal respectfully requests that this Court remand the case to the Court of Common Pleas so that Mr. Abu-Jamal may litigate the claims arising from this new evidence."
Pam Africa: "Here's another example of why Mumia shoulda been home—an example of police and prosecutorial misconduct. That evidence has been there for years. It shoulda been in trial records but it was hidden. What else is hidden besides the few things that we have right here."
MOVE 9 member, Eddie Africa said: "If they deal with this issue honestly, they'll have to release him because they know what they did was wrong."
Mumia, 65-years-old, remains in SCI Mahanoy in poor health, suffering from severe itching and cirrhosis of the liver. He recently had cataract surgery in his left eye and is awaiting surgery in his right eye. He also has glaucoma. 
Janine Africa, from the MOVE 9, said: "I just got released from prison after 41 years in May. I want to say, everyone work hard to bring Mumia home so he can be taken care of and get proper medical care, and he don't deserve to be in jail from the beginning."
Mike Africa Jr. added: "The pressure of the people, and of the power of the people is squeezing the evidence of Mumia's innocence out. We shall win."



Board Game


Solidarity against racism has existed from the 1600's and continues until today
An exciting board game of chance, empathy and wisdom, that entertains and educates as it builds solidarity through learning about the destructive history of American racism and those who always fought back. Appreciate the anti-racist solidarity of working people, who built and are still building, the great progressive movements of history. There are over 200 questions, with answers and references.
Spread the word!!
By Dr. Nayvin Gordon



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/



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



One Democratic State of Palestine

Why One Democratic State of Palestine

The colonial entity and its imperial patrons have brought the people of Palestine to a historic juncture.  We, the residents of historic Palestine, must dismantle the terms of our collective extermination so as to set up relations which reject racial segregation and mutual negation.  We must dismantle the closed structure and replace it with an open, non-imperial and humane system.  This can only be achieved by establishing One Democratic State of Palestine for its indigenous people, the refugees who were forced out of the country and its current citizens.  This is the key to a 'fair and permanent resolution of conflict' in the region, and to a 'just solution' for the Palestinian cause.  Failing this, war and mutual destruction will continue.

Call for a Palestine Liberation Movement

Call initiated by the One State Assembly, February 9, 2019
We are calling for signatures on the statement to create national and global public opinion specially among Palestinians, Arabs and international supporters about the genuine, just and long lasting solution to the seven decades of the ethnic cleansing war and catastrophe of 1948. The One Democratic State  of Palestine (ODSP) initiative stands in opposition and objection to the dead solution of the two states, the Oslo Accords and exposing the latest racist Nation-State Law that was issued by the apartheid state of Israel which emphasizes the real nature of this manufactured colonial state.
This is a crucial time in the history of our struggle, which needs all activists, individuals and organizations, to consolidate and coordinate their efforts in an organized manner to make an impact, make a difference towards the only solution that guarantees the right of return and deals with our people as one united nation on one united homeland: the One Democratic State of Palestine.
Signatories include: Richard Falk, Alison Weir, Ann Wright, Cindy Sheehan, Tariq Ali, Paul Larudee, Kevin Zeese, Joe Lombardo, Tim Anderson, Amal Wahdan, Judith Bello, Ken Stone, Issa Chaer,  Ali Mallah, Alicia Jrapko …..
Endorsers: Free Palestine Movement, Palestine Solidarity Forum (India), Syria Solidarity Movement, International Committee for Peace Justice and Dignity, Hands Off Syria Coalition, Hamilton Coalition to Stop the War, United Front Against Facism and War (Canada), Communist Reconstruction (Canada), Palestine Solidarity Association/University of Western Cape (South Africa), India Palestine Solidarity Forum, Venezuela Solidarity Network, Free Palestine Movement, Akashma News, Media Review Network,  Solidarity Net, Kenya, Human Rights in the Middle East, Cleveland Peace Action, Interfaith Council For Peace In The Middle East Northeast Ohio, Pax Christi Hilton Head, Portsmouth South Downs Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Call for A Palestine Liberation Movement and One Democratic State of Palestine

We say YES to the just national struggle for our rights, which unifies the living energies of our people. We are inspired by our glorious history, our great leaders and their decisive battles, our martyrs, our prisoners, our restless youth and those in refugee camps, waiting on the realization of their inalienable right of return. We say NO to begging at the doors of the occupiers in pursuit of crumbs. This has led Palestinians and will lead them to more division and bloody infighting
Palestine was colonized for strategic, imperial reasons: it is at the junction of three continents, with key transport links and easy access for the hegemonic powers on their way to the oil wealth of the Arab nations. But the colonists could not evacuate the Palestinian people, who have lived here for more than 6,000 years.
After a century of dealing with the European colonial states and American imperialism, our Arab nation has been betrayed, and is still being betrayed, by the terror of these countries.
The illusion that Zionists want peace must be confronted. When will we wake up? We cannot speak of a national state for the Palestinians if we do not liberate ourselves from our petty differences while under siege and occupation. We have to recognize reality: that we continue in a period of national liberation, not in a period of state building.
For this reason we believe in the need to withdraw completely from farcical negotiations with the colonial entity. These only cover up and legalize the occupation. They suggest fair solutions which don't exist, deepening Palestinian conflicts and leading to bloody infighting.
The national liberation stage must precede the construction of the national state. Recognizing this provides a compass to guide us in our national priorities and relations with others. This means no more agreements with the occupiers. They will not commit to agreements, and experience shows they are part of a great deception, falsely called a 'peace process'.
This 'Peace Process' became a façade for the colonial entity to proceed with a so-called 'political solution'. Really, they needed Palestinian participation to pave the way for the oppressive Arab regimes to end the boycott and 'normalize' relationships with the entity.
As Arab markets were closed to the Zionist entity by a blockade, it was necessary to find ways to open them through 'normalization'. But Palestinian resistance had generated popular sympathy in the Arab and Islamic world, and formed a major obstacle to this 'normalization'. Zionist leader Shimon Perez admitted: "The main goal of the Oslo conventions was not Palestinians, but rather normalization with the Arab world and opening its markets."
Yet national liberation requires confronting, not submitting to, foreign hegemony. We say that the leadership of our national movement has ignored this, and has instead engaged in binding relations with the occupying entity and its patrons.
The history of the colonial entity in Palestine is nothing more than a history of the destruction of the Palestinian people and their civilization. Two thirds of our people have been displaced and more than 90% of our land has been stolen. Our land, water and houses are stolen and demolished every day, while apartheid walls are built and the racist nation-state law is being enforced by Israeli legislators. There is also a permanent aggression against the peoples of the region, to subjugate them through Salafist terrorism and economic siege.
The USA supports the Zionist entity with money, weapons, missiles and aircraft, while protecting it from punishment at the UN, recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, abolishing its financial support for the United Nations Refugees and Work Agency (UNRWA) and halting its financial aid to the Palestinian Authority. How can the USA or its regional puppets ever be 'honest brokers' for the people of Palestine?
The invaders falsely used divine religion in attempts to destroy the indigenous people and their cultures. They said this was an 'empty land', available for another people with no land, but with the 'divine promise' of a religious homeland. Yet hiding settler colonization behind the banner of Judaism wrongly places responsibility on religion for the crimes of the colonizers.
We have no problem with 'Jewish' people in Palestine. That problem emerged in capitalist Europe, not in our countries. We are not the ones to create a solution to Europe's 'Jewish problem'. Rather, we have to deal with colonization and foreign hegemony in our region.
The colonial entity and its imperial patrons have brought the people of Palestine to a historic juncture. We, the residents of historic Palestine, must dismantle the terms of our collective extermination so as to set up relations which reject racial segregation and mutual negation. We must dismantle the closed structure and replace it with an open, non-imperial and humane system. This can only be achieved by establishing One Democratic State of Palestine for its indigenous people, the refugees who we were forced out of the country and its current citizens. This is the key to a 'fair and permanent solution of conflict' in the region, and to a 'just solution' for the Palestinian cause. Failing this, war and mutual destruction will continue.
Yet the old Palestinian leadership has presided over regression. They make agreements for the benefit of the colonial entity and its patrons. They abandon 1948 Palestine and the refugees. They collaborate with our enemies while delivering no tangible benefit for our people.
For these reasons we say that this leadership has become a real obstacle to any future development or advancement for our people. This leadership has lost its qualifications to lead national action. It looks to its own benefit and is too weak to learn the lessons of the anti-colonial movements of the peoples of Asia, Africa and the Americas. It does not see the advances elsewhere in challenging US hegemony. It does not even see the resistance in the Arab and Muslim World, when they manage to foil US and Zionist projects.
Our movement must be an organic part of the Arab Liberation Movement, putting an end to foreign hegemony, achieving national unity and liberating Palestine from the current apartheid system. Yet this great humanitarian goal directly clashes with the interests of the dominant triad - the forces of global hegemony, settler apartheid and the comprador Arab regimes.
We warn all against chasing the myth of 'two contiguous states' in Palestine. This is a major deception, to portray ethnic enclaves within Palestine as an expression of the right to popular self-determination. The goal must be to replace apartheid with equal citizenship and this can only be achieved by establishing One Democratic State in historic Palestine for all, including its indigenous people, the refugees who we were forced out of the country and its current citizens, including those who were drawn into the country as settlers through the Zionist project.
Palestinian parties negotiating for unity and reform should focus on restoring liberation to the core of the Palestinian National Charter. The Arab homeland will never be liberated and unified by subordination to the USA! It will only be liberated by confronting and ending colonial and imperial dominance.
We say YES to national unity in the framework of our Palestinian Liberation Movement, freed from deceptive agreements which only serve the hegemonic powers and comprador regimes.
LONG LIVE PALESTINE, liberated from racial colonization and built on the foundations of equality for all its citizens, rejecting segregation and discrimination by religion, culture or ethnicity; friends with its regional neighbours and with all progressive forces of the world!
**Your Signature**




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



If you've just joined our list, welcome and thank YOU!  Together, we are making the difference...
You signed the petition demanding the Bastrop County Prosecutor withdrawal the Nov 20th execution date for Rodney Reed. Developments are happening almost daily on this case. We get to keep the pressure on! See updates on this and other urgent matters on the Death Penalty Action Facebook page.
Please call the following every day with the message "Stop Rodney Reed’s execution":
  • Governor Greg Abbott: 512-463-2000
  • Bastrop County DA Bryan Goertz: 512-581-7125
  • Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles: 512-406-5852. Send your own e-mail to the TBPP regarding Rodney Reed TDCJ #999271 to bpp_clemency@tdcj.texas.gov

Right now, Rodney's bother Rodrick Reed and sister-in-law, Wana Akpan, are on a cross-country trip raising awareness about this case. YOU are invited to chip in to assist the Reed Justice Initiative as Rodrick and Wana travel the country. Click here to help right now(The photo above is Roderick in the pulpit at Mt. Hermon Missionary Baptist Church in Columbus, Ohio, making the case for Rodney's freedom!)
Please share the petition on social media - we are planning to deliver signatures on November 12th:
Tell Bastrop County #Texas DA Bryan Goertz to stop the execution of #RodneyReed. Sign & share @DeathPenaltyAct petition: #RodneyReedIsInnocent #FreeRodneyReed Now!  https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/rodney-reed-is-innocent-free-him-now #TestTheDNA #TX #DeathPenalty
* * * * * * *
Also - Federal executions may resume for the first time in more than 16 years starting December 9th. Learn more and take action here.
Thank you. Yours in the Struggle,
--Abe & Scott
Co-Directors, Death Penalty Action.
PS: Please chip in $5 or more - as much as possible, really - using a credit card, Paypal or you can even do it the traditional way and send send a check. We can only do this work because of YOU! The info you need is herePlease make the most of every opportunity to work for justice this week and every week!


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The Campaign To Bring Mumia Home



As many of you know, Jalil has been to the parole board twelve times since 2002, when he first become parole eligible.

Jalil has been denied each time for a variety of reasons, all of which are tantamount to the nature of the crime—something that will never change.

Pursuant to NYS Constitutional Article IV, Section 4, Jalil has filed an Application to Commute the Sentence to Time Served with NYS Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. Governor Cuomo has the authority to grant the Application and order Jalil’s immediate release from NYS DOCCS custody.

Since the Application’s submission it has been revealed that the NYS Board of Parole had a “secret deal” with the NYC Police Benevolent Association (PBA), permitting them to submit opposition letters directly to the Board of Parole from their website. These opposition letters negatively influenced the decision-making process, ensuring Jalil would not receive a fair and impartial parole hearing. During Jalil’s 2014 parole hearing, he was told that “current and former members of law enforcement” were parole commissioners, many of whom decided to deny his release.

On December 4th & 5th, 2016, The New York Times published an extensive exposé entitled “The Scourge of Racial Bias in New York States Prisons” that informed: “The racism can be felt from the moment a black inmate enters New York’s upstate prisons.” This implacable racism has been institutionalized in the entire parole system, permitting subjective biases of parole commissioners to influence parole decisions.

Since the submission of the Application to Commute the Sentence to Time Served, Governor Cuomo has received many letters and communications urging him to grant Jalil’s Application. However, due to the revelation of political collusion between the Board of Parole and the PBA, and the PBA/media backlash and scrutiny of the Parole Board’s release of Jalil’s co-defendant, it has become necessary to launch this initiative in support of Jalil’s Application.

Jalil exceeds all requirements for release. His release on parole has been supported by activists, academics and community leaders from across the country and around the world, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the family of one of the victims. The political nature of his conviction has prevented parole commissioners from giving fair and impartial consideration to his release, despite the overwhelming community support.


During his 48+ years of his imprisonment, Jalil has accomplished the following: Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology, Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology, Certificate of Architectural Drafting, Certificate of Computer Literacy.

He has established many programs, such as the first Men’s Group for therapeutic training in the NY State prison system, an African/Black Studies program, a computer literacy class, a Sociology class and a poetry class. He has received two commendations for preventing prison riots. He has raised money for the children’s fund, was office manager of the computer lab and a teacher’s aide for GED classes.

Jalil is also the recipient of several certificates for rehabilitation programming, and is a published author, poet, educator and blogger.

As a human rights advocate, he had the first U.S. prisoners national petition heard and recorded by a Special Committee at the United Nations on U.S. prisons and the existence of U.S. political prisoners. He has litigated several civil rights complaints on behalf of prisoners. In 2000, Essence magazine featured an article on father-daughter relationships. The article, entitled “Daddy Says,” quoted Jalil stressing the importance of maintaining these relations even during incarceration.

We request that people do the following for Jalil throughout the months of November and December:

We are requesting that Friends and Supporters call, tweet, email and write NYS Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s office and appeal to him to grant Jalil’s Application to Commute the Sentence to Time Served.

We also request that this initiative be widely posted on social media platforms, encouraging freedom loving people around the world to join in this initiative.

Since this will be ongoing throughout the months of November and December, we propose that people tweet and/or email Governor Cuomo every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and call and write the Governor every Tuesday and Thursday.

Communications to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s office must refer to Jalil as: ANTHONY JALIL BOTTOM, 77A4283, Sullivan Correctional Facility, P.O. Box 116, Fallsburg, New York 12733-0115.

Write the Governor:

The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of the State of New York
Executive Chamber
State Capital Building
Albany, New York 12224

Call the Governor: 1-518-474-8390

Tweet the Governor: @NYGovCuomo

Email the Governor: https://www.governor.ny.gov/content/governor-contact-form

For more information concerning Jalil’s case, check his website: www.freejalil.com and https://thejerichomovement.com/

Click here to download a pamphlet to distribute to your family, friends, neighbors, faith group, etc.




“There is no time for despair, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. This is how civilizations heal.”

-Toni Morrison
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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



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!






    1) When 'Do No Harm' Means Evacuating Hospitals in California
    Medical evacuees are the new refugees of climate change.
    By Stephen Parodi, November 1, 2019

    Medical personnel evacuated patients from the Feather River Hospital as the Camp Fire raged through Paradise, Calif., in 2018.Credit...Noah Berger/Associated Press

    OAKLAND, Calif. — I must have missed the wildfire evacuation course in medical school. Learning how to move critically ill patients while flames lick the ground just feet away wasn't part of my residency training. Most physicians never anticipate having to empty their hospitals while smoke fills the halls and the sky glows red. 
    This is becoming our everyday reality in Northern California, where I lead an emergency management team for more than 4 million patients. Just last week, the Kincade fire broke out in Sonoma county. The blaze, fueled by an extreme wind event, rapidly engulfed tens of thousands of acres of land. Nearly 190,000 people were evacuated. 
    At the same time, more than 2.5 million people across Northern California were without power for several days — a preventive measure by the local utility to stem the chance of a fire caused by transmission lines.
    Every autumn now ushers in a season of uncertainty and fear.

    During the massive 2017 Tubbs fire, I oversaw the physicians and care teams who moved 122 patients to safety as hurricane-force winds drove flames toward our hospital doors.

    Throughout the night, critically ill babies were bundled up, placed in incubators and then put in ambulances. Laboring mothers and their families were presented with unimaginable choices: Should we wait for the baby to be born while fires rage outside? Should we move now and risk delivery in the ambulance? Surgeries underway in the operating room required battlefield-like urgency. Close the patient. Stabilize. Get everyone out.
    Medical evacuees are the new refugees of climate change.
    We managed to safely evacuate all patients that night in 2017, but there was tremendous loss. My colleague, a fellow physician who helped lead the hospital evacuation, called home to warn his family about the fires. As he listened to his 15-year-old daughter scream through the phone, fire engulfed their home. His daughter and wife survived — but they lost pets and everything they owned.
    When I stood outside the hospital the day after the Tubbs fire, surrounded by smoldering embers and soot so thick I could taste it, I saw a war zone. The hospital was intact. But everything beyond the makeshift firebreak had turned to cinders.
    In October 2017, more than 250 fires ravaged Northern California — names like Tubbs, Nuns and Atlas left a permanent imprint, one that I had hoped would be an isolated memory of a tragic situation. But in 2018, the fires returned. The city of Paradise was devastated in the deadliest wildfire in California's history. 
    Now, the Kincade fire has forced the evacuation of the Santa Rosa Medical Center for the second time. Last Saturday, in the dark of night, 70 ambulances lined the facility while my colleague led the orderly transport of 110 patients to safety. His wife packed what they could from their temporary rental home and fled the area, again.

    From the command center, I face heart-wrenching decisions. In the hospitals that remain open, we must delay elective surgeries because we're operating on emergency power. And every week we do this creates months of backlogs. A patient with a sick gall bladder who delays an elective surgery could wind up in an emergency room — or worse — if the gall bladder becomes inflamed and bursts.
    As wildfire smoke fills the air, respiratory issues flare and underlying chronic conditions become acute. Patients who rely on insulin, which must be refrigerated, wonder how they will keep their medication cold and their sugar levels managed without power. Cellphone towers falter without generator backup, roads close and the ability to communicate with our patients is compromised.
    When the lights come back on and the firefighters manage to tame the flames, we face traumatized communities. Children who packed up their toys in the middle of the night and parents who wondered whether they were leaving their homes for the last time relive the experience, like a horror movie on repeat.
    The shelters where our physicians and others volunteer are filled with people who already live on the margins — medically, socially, financially. We donate supplies, we give our hearts, yet their mental, medical and social health needs only increase.
    We have been told that this is the "new normal." 
    The health care system often serves as an early warning for larger challenges: Food and housing insecurity, unsafe physical environments and social isolation often present at the doors of our hospitals. These issues demand a medical response, but a cure can't be found through the tools that physicians and care providers have at their disposal.
    The consequences of climate change will not be effectively addressed by individuals alone; society must take collective responsibility. Improved infrastructure and preparedness, like de-energizing the power grid, are important steps, but we need a concerted effort at the local, state and federal levels.
    We must update the infrastructure required to meet basic human needs, including clean water, clean air and a safer environment. These are the bedrock principles of public health. We need to return our focus to restoring the foundational elements necessary to support human life.

    As an infectious disease specialist, what I did learn in medical school was that 100 years ago, we changed the course of human history with sewer lines and water treatment facilities. Next, vaccines saved lives on a massive scale. The climate crisis is this generation's own great problem to solve.
    The health care system's early warning light is blinking red. The power grid goes dark. The smoke moves with the wind. Our stethoscopes and scalpels won't suffice. When I took my solemn oath as a doctor, it wasn't to evacuate hospitals. We must refuse to let this be our new normal.

    Stephen Parodi (@StephenParodiMD) is an associate executive director at the Permanente Medical Group at Kaiser Permanente.



    2)  Suicide Has Been Deadlier Than Combat for the Military
    The Pentagon has made strides in helping those in need, but the rate of deaths is rising.
    By Carole Giacomo, November 1, 2019

    Alex Wong/Getty Images

    Struggling with mental demons, Kayla Williams went to her bathroom and held a gun in her hand, contemplating suicide. It was 2004, and she'd been home for only a few months after serving as an Army sergeant and Arab linguist in the Iraq war.
    But hers is one story that doesn't end in tragedy: Ms. Williams held those demons at bay long enough to get help and learn to manage the challenges of marriage to a combat-wounded veteran while writing two books about her experiences. "I'm doing well," she told me. She is now the director of the Military, Veterans and Society program at the Center for a New American Security. 
    Her journey, like that of so many others, has not been smooth. Recovery sometimes requires working with several therapists, changing providers when one isn't working and undergoing repeated treatment. The government has begun to acknowledge the danger that suicide poses for an all-volunteer fighting force and has invested $1 billion in seeking solutions. 
    But that hasn't proved to be enough. Suicide rates for active-duty service members and veterans are rising, in part, experts say, because a culture of toughness and self-sufficiency may discourage service members in distress from getting the assistance they need. In some cases, the military services discharge those who seek help, an even worse outcome.

    More than 45,000 veterans and active-duty service members have killed themselves in the past six years. That is more than 20 deaths a day — in other words, more suicides each year than the total American military deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq.
    The latest Pentagon figures show the suicide rate for active-duty troops across all service branches rose by over a third in five years, to 24.8 per 100,000 active-duty members in 2018. Those most at risk have been enlisted men under 30. 
    The data for veterans is also alarming. In 2016, veterans were one and a half times more likely to kill themselves than people who hadn't served in the military, according to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. Among those ages 18 to 34, the rate went up nearly 80 percent from 2005 to 2016. The risk nearly doubles in the first year after a veteran leaves active duty, experts say.
    The Pentagon this year also reported on military families,estimating that in 2017 there were 186 suicide deaths among military spouses and dependents. 
    Military officials note that the suicide rates for service members and veterans are comparable to the general population after adjusting for the military's demographics — predominantly young and male. But given the military's size and influence, it is an institution that is well placed to lead the nation in suicide prevention.

    Other than pointing to national trends, officials have offered few explanations for why military suicides are rising. Studies seeking more answers are underway.
    Experts say suicides are complex, resulting from many factors, notably impulsive decisions with little warning. Pentagon officials say a majority of service members who die by suicide do not have mental illness. While combat is undoubtedly high stress, there are conflicting views on whether deployments increase risk.
    Where there seems to be consensus is that high-quality health care and keeping weapons out of the hands of people in distress can make a positive difference.
    Studies show that the Department of Veterans Affairs provides high-quality care, and its Veterans Crisis Line "surpasses most crisis lines" operating today, according to Terri Tanielian, a researcher with the RAND Corporation. (The Veterans Crisis Lineis staffed 24/7 at 800-273-8255, press 1. Services also are available online or by texting 838255.)
    But Veterans Affairs often can't accommodate all those needing help, resulting in patients being sent to community-based mental health professionals who lack the training to deal with service members. 
    Kim Ruocco's husband, John, a decorated Cobra gunship pilot who flew 75 combat missions as a Marine, also returned home tormented. But he did not seek help to deal with depression and combat trauma. He killed himself in 2005 as he prepared for a second deployment to Iraq. As an executive at the nonprofitTragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, Ms. Ruocco now helps grieving families and friends and raises awareness about the risk of suicide. She says even when service members in distress know about available resources, they often resist.
    "One of the biggest battles is the military culture," Ms. Ruocco said. "Seeking mental health treatment goes against everything they are taught in boot camp," where service members are told "to push through pain, to think of everybody else before self, to solve problems with lethal force if necessary."

    Marines wouldn't think of not working out physically, she said, but "there is no space and time for self-care until it interferes with their ability to do their jobs." She is confident that if Marines had been drilled on the importance of mental and emotional health, her husband would have found a safe way to cope.
    Not only do these deaths devastate families; suicides can also undermine morale and cohesion within units that lose a member this way and can discourage potential recruits, threatening the viability of the all-volunteer force.
    The other obvious imperative is doing more to reduce easy access to firearms — the most widely used method of suicide — by distributing gun locks, training individuals in safe storage methods and enabling military commanders to remove a service member's firearm if warranted. Health care professionals who treat service members and veterans should discuss this issue with their patients, just as they encourage people to wear seatbelts and bike helmets.
    In the end, everyone has a role in helping those we love who are experiencing tough times to discuss their struggles, reduce alcohol and drug use and seek professional help. 
    To quote the Marine commandant, Gen. David Berger, "We must create a community where seeking help and assistance are simply normal, important decisions Marines and sailors make."
    As mentioned above, the crisis line for veterans is 1-800-273-8255(press 1). Another resource for those having thoughts of suicide is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK). You can find a list of additional resources at SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources.



    3) Gary Jones, U.A.W. President, to Take a Leave of Absence
    He is taking a leave amid a federal investigation into financial wrongdoing at the union.
    By Laura M. Holson, November 2, 2019

    Federal agents in August raided the home of Gary Jones, the president of the United Automobile Workers, and executed search warrants at a union resort in Michigan.Credit...Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    Gary Jones, the president of the United Automobile Workers union, which is under investigation over allegations of financial wrongdoing, is taking a leave of absence, the union said in a statement on Saturday.
    The union said Mr. Jones sought the leave of absence after a vote by its executive board. The statement did not elaborate on the board's vote.
    In August, federal agents raided his home and executed search warrants at a U.A.W. resort in Michigan, the F.B.I. said at the time. 

    The investigation has uncovered the improper use of millions of dollars of funds and bribery of union officials by auto executives. In some cases, money was spent on personal travel, Rolex watches and other high-priced items.

    In the statement, Mr. Jones said the union was fighting for its members.
    "I do not want anything to distract from the mission," he said. "I want to do what's best for the members of this great union." 
    His leave will begin on Sunday. The union's vice president, Rory Gamble, will serve as interim president.



    4) Hong Kong Protests: Police Face Off With Demonstrators After Election Rally
    The event, which was billed as a campaign event for local elections, quickly descended into chaos around the city.
    By Amy Qin, Austin Ramzy and Tiffany May, November 2, 2019

    Protesters marched Saturday near Victoria Park in the Causeway Bay district of Hong Kong, shortly before a clash with the police.Credit...Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times

    HONG KONG — Police officers in Hong Kong on Saturday fired tear gas and clashed with protesters around the city, capping 21 weeks of antigovernment demonstrations that have convulsed this international financial hub and helped to sink it into a recession.
    In scenes throughout the night that have become part of the new normal in Hong Kong, the city's central financial district and several dense commercial neighborhoods were enveloped in shrouds of tear gas as riot police battled with protesters, who wore masks in defiance of a ban on face coverings enacted last month. Earlier in the afternoon, police shut down two rallies in the Central district that had received official authorization, citing the clashes elsewhere.

    The day began when several thousand protesters turned out for a rally at Victoria Park in Causeway Bay. It had been billed as a campaign event for Hong Kong's upcoming district council elections, after the police rejected the organizers' initial application to hold a demonstration. (Police permission is not always required for election events.)

    Here's the latest on the Hong Kong protests.

    • The mood was tense from the beginning, as police quickly declared the Victoria Park rally an unauthorized assembly and tried to disperse protesters using tear gas, pepper spray and water cannons. Later, as the police continued their dispersal efforts, some protesters responded by throwing petroleum bombs, vandalizing metro stations and shops seen as sympathetic to the Chinese government, spraying graffiti and building barricades on streets.For the first time, protesters also targeted the offices of Xinhua, China's state-run news agency.
    • Dozens of protesters were detained, adding to the more than 2,800 who have been arrested since the movement began. Two pro-democracy election candidates, Osman Cheng and Richard Chan, were seen being taken away by the police.

      • A Hong Kong court on Friday granted a government request to temporarily bar anyone from "disseminating, circulating, publishing or republishing" information that "promotes, encourages or incites the use or threat of violence."
      • The order specifically cited Telegram, a messaging app, and LIHKG, a Reddit-like messaging forum. Both are widely used by demonstrators to organize protests.
      • The ban came one week after another court barred the publicfrom harassing police officers, including taking their photos while on duty or posting their personal details online.

      • Chinese Communist Party leaders who met in Beijing during the past week signaled that they were exploring a tougher approach to the unrest in Hong Kong. Mainland officials renewed a call for "patriotic education" in the territory, aimed at fostering greater loyalty to China.
      • Shen Chunyao, the head of a central government committee that oversees policy in Hong Kong, also indicated that Beijing might revise how the top official in Hong Kong, called the chief executive, is appointed. He confirmed that the Chinese government was considering new legal measures to "safeguard national security" in Hong Kong.

      • The demonstration on Saturday in Victoria Park was an unusual combination of protest and election rally. Candidates for district council carried banners and wore sashes bearing their names; they talked with potential voters as thousands of people dressed in black milled about.
      • "There are many ways to struggle and fight back against the government, from inside the institutions and outside the institutions," said Sam Cheung, 26, a university tutor and district council candidate from the Tuen Mun area in northern Hong Kong.
      • The elections, scheduled for Nov. 24, will test the protest movement's ability to take advantage of its momentum to gain institutional influence. That effort suffered a blow this past week when a government official barred Joshua Wong, a prominent activist, from running in the district council race.
        Elaine Yu contributed reporting from Hong Kong, and Christopher Buckley from Beijing.



    5) Iraq Demonstrations Grow, and Government Scrambles to Respond
    By Alissa J. Rubin, November 1, 2019

    The demonstration in Baghdad on Friday was the largest in a month's worth of protests.Credit...Khalid Mohammed/Associated Press

    BAGHDAD — Tens of thousands of Iraqis, with support from Shiite religious authorities and the country's president, gathered in the center of the capital on Friday in the largest of a month's worth of antigovernment protests.
    Two demonstrators were killed, but pronouncements from religious and political leaders appear to have staved off a repeat of the violence of the early days of the demonstrations, when security forces killed nearly 150 protesters. 
    The religious authorities said Friday that the government should protect peaceful protesters who have called for an end to corruption and a change in leadership, a message that was echoed by President Barham Salih. 

    Although casualties were down and the security forces appear to have exercised restraint, the respite rests on a knife's edge.

    Behind the scenes, the security forces and civilian officials have discussed almost daily whether to use force to oust protesters from the Jumhuriya Bridge, which spans the Tigris River and leads to the Green Zone, a government and diplomatic center. 
    So far they have not, in order to avoid a repeat of the deadly, early-October violence that transformed what were initially small antigovernment protests into a nationwide movement. In addition to the deaths, thousands of protesters were wounded.
    Parliament and government officials are discussing ways to meet at least some of the protesters' demands, and Mr. Salih seemed to put himself squarely on the side of the demonstrators.
    "The status quo is unsustainable. We are in need of big changes," Mr. Salih said.
    "There is no security solution," he added. "We reject repression and the use of force and violence. The solution is in reforms." 
    Mr. Salih has proposed discarding the current electoral system, in which voters cast ballots for a list of candidates belonging to a particular political party. Instead, under his plan, they would vote for representatives by district, a move intended to make members of Parliament more accountable to constituents and to reduce the influence of the political parties.

    Mr. Salih also said that Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi would resign, but only after the parties anoint a successor to avoid a power vacuum. 
    Opposition politicians and many protesters have called on Mr. Mahdi to resign, prompting him to offer to step down in a letter this week to the Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr, who has been encouraging the protests. 
    The president's repetition of Mr. Mahdi's intentions seemed aimed at reassuring Iraqis that the offer was genuine. "The prime minister has expressed his willingness to submit his resignation, asking the political blocs to reach an acceptable alternative," Mr. Salih said.
    Both the United States and Iran have weighed in on the protests, signaling that they view calm in Iraq as a priority. But while the United States has sided with the demonstrators, Iran has charged that the unrest has been fomented by Israel and the United States. 
    One of the victims on Friday, the first woman to lose her life in the demonstrations, was hit on the head by a tear-gas canister. 
    The tear gas used by Iraqi security forces is delivered in metal canisters that function like grenades, causing "gruesome wounds and death after the grenade embeds in the skull," Amnesty International said in a report this week. 
    "The tear gas is not being used as a dispersal mechanism," added Belkis Wille, the senior Iraq researcher for Human Rights Watch. "It's being used in lieu of live ammunition."
    Falih Hassan contributed reporting.



    6) 'Chile Woke Up': Dictatorship's Legacy of Inequality Triggers Mass Protests
    By Amanda Taub, November 3, 2019
    "As free trade, new technologies, the rise of China, and other seismic changes have reshaped the world's economies, political divisions have emerged between those who gain from the current system and those who do not."

    A million or more Chileans took to the streets on Oct. 25. (Photo by Tomas Munita)

    SANTIAGO, Chile — The suddenness of the protests, the anger that spilled onto the streets every day, might have been surprising anywhere. But in the country often lauded as Latin America's great economic success story, it has shocked the world.
    For three weeks, Chile has been in upheaval. One day alone, more than a million people took to the streets of Santiago, the capital.
    Perhaps the only people not shocked are Chileans. In the chaos, they see a reckoning. The promise that political leaders from the left as well as right have made for decades — that free markets would lead to prosperity, and prosperity would take care of other problems — has failed them.
    "Chile woke up," thousands of protesters chanted one recent Sunday afternoon in Santiago's O'Higgins Park.

    For a while, the promise seemed to be working. The country moved from dictatorship to democracy in 1990, and decades of economic growth and democracy followed, with one government peacefully replacing another. 
    But that growth did not reach all Chileans.
    Inequality is still deeply entrenched. Chile's middle class is struggling with high prices, low wages, and a privatized retirement system that leaves many older people in bitter poverty. And a series of corruption and tax-evasion scandals have eroded faith in the country's political and corporate elite.

    "This is a sort of legitimacy crisis," said Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser, a political scientist at Diego Portales University in Santiago. "People start to say, 'O.K., why is it we have to pay that, and the very rich are not paying their fair share?" 
    "And at the same time, we have a political class that's totally out of touch," Mr. Kaltwasser added.

    In an attempt to restore order, President Sebastián Piñera scrapped the four-cent subway fare increase that set off the initial demonstrations. Then he deployed the military in Chile's streets for the first time since the country's transition to democracy. 
    When that didn't quell the protests, Mr. Piñera went on television to ask for forgiveness and promise higher pensions, better health coverage, higher taxes for the rich and pay cuts for politicians. Later, he asked his cabinet to resign.
    But demonstrators were not convinced.

    At the protest in O'Higgins park, that was certainly the view of Luis Ochoa Pérez, who was selling flags near the entrance. 
    "The abuses haven't stopped," he said, "so we have to go into the streets."
    His best-selling flag, of his own design, demanded Mr. Piñera's resignation.

    Minutes later, it sold out.

    Javiera López Layana, 24, an activist and student at the University of Chile who helped organize the protest, was buzzing with excitement. 
    Many of the speakers had used the term "el pueblo" when describing the Chilean people, she pointed out. To an outsider, it seemed like a tiny detail. But that term, which in Latin America is associated with the left, had been taboo in Chile for as long as Ms. López could remember. Its resurgence seemed as if it could be a harbinger of more significant change.
    The end of the Pinochet dictatorship, in 1990, came with an implicit caveat: Military rule would end, but the socialist policies of Salvador Allende, the leftist president Gen. Augusto Pinochet had deposed in a coup, would not return. Subsequent governments preserved the extreme laissez-faire economic system imposed in the 1970s and 1980s.
    But today, widespread public anger over the inequality and economic precarity that many Chileans see as a consequence of that system means that conservative economic policies may be more of a threat to political stability than a means of ensuring it. 
    "It's not 30 pesos, it's 30 years" has become one of the slogans of the protests — a reference to the proposed metro fare increase that set off the crisis and to the three decades since military rule ended.

    The country's median salary is now about $540 per month — below the poverty line for a family of four, said Marco Kremerman, an economist with the Fundación Sol, a left-leaning think tank in Santiago. Median payments in the national private pension program, the only safety net for retirees, are about $200 per month.
    There is broad agreement, among protesters and experts alike, that the country needs structural reforms. Replacing the current Constitution, which was adopted under the dictatorship, would also signify that Chile is emerging from the 30-year shadow of the Pinochet regime.
    "When we're in debt, living in misery and impoverished, we don't necessarily think of the Constitution," Ms. López said. "But in the end, we need to make changes."

    That evening, Ms. López and her family gathered around the kitchen table at their home in Lo Espejo, a working-class municipality far from the city center, and discussed the protest movement. 
    Seeing the military once again patrolling the streets had brought painful memories, long repressed, to the surface.
    Ms. López's grandfather revealed to her, for the first time, that he had been arrested during the military regime, and his sister killed by the government, because they had hidden a leftist politician and his family, then helped them escape to safety abroad.

    Her father described how dictatorship had divided Lo Espejo in his youth. One neighbor, who still lived nearby, was interrogated and tortured by a man they had both grown up with. Another had a sister who worked for DINA, the feared secret police.

    In part because of those experiences, they have been cautious about joining the protests, even if they support the goals.
    "Javiera's generation, they grew up without fear of the dictatorship," said Ms. López's mother, Pamela Inés Layana Guendelman. "She's fearless."
    "I'm not afraid," Ms. López said.
    "But it enrages me" she said, as tears welled in her eyes. "Every time I go to a protest in Plaza Italia, or a protest in La Alameda, I have to come back here, to Lo Espejo, and see the same crap, the same misery, that has been there for many governments. And nothing has changed at all."
    In many ways, Ms. López personifies the contradictions of Chile's political crisis.
    Her parents and grandfather strained to send her to private schools, she was the first in her family to go to college, and she now hopes to attend graduate school. At least on paper, Ms. López seems to be a success story, proof of the benefits that hard work is supposed to bring under Chile's free-market system.
    But when she reached the University of Chile, she said, she confronted an educational system that seemed designed to keep her in Lo Espejo forever. Though a scholarship covered much of her tuition, she has still had to borrow money to complete her degree. Getting a master's will mean borrowing even more.

    "Education was supposed to be our ladder out of poverty," she said. "But the debt turns out to be a heavy backpack." Her background may also dilute the value of her degree: Employers are widely believed to discriminate against candidates from poorer social classes.
    Families like hers have become a new constituency in Chile, one that has sacrificed to succeed in a supposedly meritocratic system, only to find that they are still excluded from its benefits. 
    "There is this discourse of merit, of striving, of how 'you should get up earlier,'" she said. "But even if we get up early, nothing is going to change."

    One recent day, at the near-shuttered University of Chile, as clouds of tear gas billowed outside, student leaders scrolled through Instagram and Twitter posts announcing demonstrations.
    "We are the generation for whom the joy never came," said one of them, Nicole Martínez, 26. Her words were a bitter twist on "joy is coming," the slogan from the campaign that ended military rule.
    But the Chilean political crisis is not unique to Chile. It carries unmistakable echoes of a problem that is at the center of political conflict all over the developed world.

    As free trade, new technologies, the rise of China, and other seismic changes have reshaped the world's economies, political divisions have emerged between those who gain from the current system and those who do not.

    In much of Europe and the United States, onetime industrial towns declined as economic growth accrued to large, globally connected cities, instead. For many, even those who have seen modest objective improvements in their own standards of living, watching others surge ahead while they struggle has left them feeling angry and disillusioned. In many countries, trust in institutions is falling, surveys show.
    The same economic changes have shattered longstanding political coalitions, weakening mainstream parties. Far-right populists and other outsider politicians have moved to fill the vacuum left behind.
    And with no effective channels for public anger, mass frustration has erupted into protest movements like France's Yellow Vests and the demonstrations in Chile.
    The Chilean movement, like the Yellow-Vest movement, has no clear leaders, said Ms. Martínez, with information mostly spreading through people's social networks.

    "It is a social explosion," she said.

    Pascale Bonnefoy contributed reporting



    7) E.P.A. Weakens Rules Governing Toxic Water Pollution From Coal Plants
    By Lisa Friedman, November 4, 2019

    Workers in Conway, S.C., checked a dam built to keep coal ash from reaching the flooded Waccamaw River after Hurricane Florence last year.Credit...Randall Hill/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — The Trump administration on Monday moved to weaken an Obama-era regulation aimed at limiting the seepage of toxic pollution into water supplies from the ash of coal burning power plants, a change that coal industry leaders say could keep plants open longer and which environmental groups fear will increase the risk of water contamination. 
    Andrew Wheeler, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, issued the proposed regulation, which relaxes rules set in 2015 imposing stringent inspection and monitoring rules at coal plants and requiring plants to install new technology to protect water supplies from arsenic, lead, selenium and other toxic effluent. 
    The rules are part of President Trump's vast environmental deregulation agenda aimed largely at eliminating rules the fossil fuel industry finds burdensome and extending the life of coal burning power plants. In addition to discharging pollutants into the air and water, coal plants are the top source of United States carbon dioxide emissions, the principal greenhouse gas warming the planet.

    The new measures lower pollution limits, extend the deadline for power plants to comply with new technologies until Dec. 31, 2028, and exempt many coal plants altogether.
    Mr. Wheeler on Monday also issued a related proposal that moves back a deadline by eight years for disposing coal ash sludge. According to data compiled by environmental groups, 95 percent of coal ash ponds are unlined, which means the ash has no barrier between it and the groundwater. Under the new rule companies will have one more year before they are forced to close or retrofit unlined ponds near aquifers. 
    In issuing the rules the E.P.A. estimated that it would save industry more than $175 million annually. Officials also maintained that the flexibility to install less costly controls, and the additional time to implement them, would result in 100 million pounds fewer discharged pollutants each year.

    Mr. Wheeler in a statement said the rules will "provide more certainty to the American public." He added "These proposed revisions support the Trump Administration's commitment to responsible, reasonable regulations by taking a common sense approach, which also protects public health and the environment."
    Environmental groups said the proposal will be particularly harmful to poor communities. Mustafa Santiago Ali, who was the director of the E.P.A.'s office of environmental justice under the Obama administration, noted that Americans living within three miles of a coal fired power plant are disproportionately people of color and lower income levels.

    "The rule announced today puts millions of people's drinking water in jeopardy," he said. "When tragedy strikes from a flood, hurricane or a breach from an unlined coal ash pit or pond, everyday citizens are left with contaminated water."
    Coal ash, the residue produced from burning coal, was dumped for years in holding areas near power plants, largely without regulation. It came to the public's attention after spills in North Carolina and Tennessee sent mercury, cadmium, arsenic and other heavy metals from the ash into water supplies.
    According to the E.P.A., about 1.1 million Americans live within three miles of a coal plant that discharges pollutants into a public waterway. The 2015 rule set deadlines for power plants to invest in modern wastewater treatment technology to keep toxic pollution out of local waterways. 
    The regulation also required them to monitor local water quality and make more of the information publicly available. The Obama administration estimated the regulations would stop about 1.4 billion pounds of toxic metals and other pollutants from pouring into rivers and streams.
    But the rule would have also raised the cost of operating the plants, further endangering their economic viability. The E.P.A. will hold an online only public hearing on the proposed rule on Dec. 19.



    8) When 'Big Brother' Isn't Scary Enough
    There are lots of metaphors for mass surveillance. The most common one is failing us.
    By Lora Kelley, November 4, 2019

    Seven decades after the publication of George Orwell's "1984," "Big Brother" remains the go-to metaphor for surveillance, big and small. "Fried onion meets 1984," read the header of a Wired article on Outback Steakhouse's surveillance cameras. "China's Cryptocurrency Plan Has a Powerful Partner: Big Brother," a New York Times headline announced last month. 
    As surveillance technology grows more complex, it outpaces public understanding of the threats it poses. The future of surveillance looks far more expansive and invasive than the Big Brother metaphor can capture. Where we're headed, we're going to need better metaphors — ones that accurately capture the diffuse, discriminatory and often secretive nature of both government and private surveillance.

    When we talk in simple terms about complicated topics, metaphors are tremendously helpful. But they can often carry with them an implicit solution: If something is an "enemy," it must be defeated; if something is "cancer," it must be eradicated; and so on. Precise metaphors can lead to appropriate solutions, while imprecise metaphors can lead us to the wrong course of action (or to apathy). 

    In "1984," Big Brother never actually appears. Rather, he is the figurehead of a totalitarian political party that tries to break citizens of their free will, partly through warnings of persistent surveillance. "Big Brother is watching you" goes the (sinister) refrain. While chilling, this doesn't quite capture what we're up against today. In Orwell's Oceania, citizens don't also face the threats of privately funded drones, for example, or apps that spy on them, or police lineups containing their driver's license photos. In the real world, we face a panoply of surveillance threats that go beyond even the most frightening coordinated government surveillance. Big Brother captures only a slice. 
    In terms of usage, "1984" and Big Brother stomp other surveillance metaphors: In 2014, a study from PEN America found that in more than 100 blog posts and articles about surveillance, "1984" was the sole literary metaphor employed.
    Little wonder that "1984" had a 7,000 percent swell in popularity on Amazon after revelations of cybersurveillance conducted by the National Security Agency in 2013. Yet even as many Americans visit (or revisit) the text, its ubiquity in media suggests that the metaphor has long since taken on a life of its own. (The reality television show "Big Brother" may have played a role, too.)
    When it comes to proposing better metaphors, even heterodox thinkers have to kiss the ring before throwing down their takes.
    Shoshana Zuboff, author of "The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power," created "Big Other." The sociologist William G. Staples warned of the proliferation of "Tiny Brothers."

    Imagine: "China's Cryptocurrency Plan Has a Powerful Partner: Tiny Brothers.That's sort of alarming.
    Others take a wide — even metaphysical — view. Benjamin Saltzman, an assistant professor of English at the University of Chicago, thinks that a helpful way to understand contemporary surveillance is to compare it to a medieval conception of an omniscient God. 
    Both require citizens (whether they have opted in or not) to operate in a society structured around a mysterious, all-seeing force. In the Middle Ages, God could even be brought in as a witness to court cases. Mr. Saltzman wrote in a recent article, "God knew all human secrets, yet God's secrets remained fundamentally unknowable to human beings." That's getting closer to a network of devices that are constantly gathering data and trying to predict human behavior.
    "The idea of 'God's eye' is frequently used as a metaphor for surveillance. It speaks of a gaze that is all-seeing and, because it is God's eye, all-powerful," wrote David Lyon, director of the Surveillance Studies Center at Queen's University in Ontario. "For some, this implies fearful if not actually violent undertones, suggesting a God whose primary task is one of moral overseer who invisibly scrutinizes humanity for failure and transgression."
    "China's Cryptocurrency Plan Has a Powerful Partner: God's Eye." Yikes.
    Other metaphors capture the loss of control over personal information in a surveillance state. Franz Kafka's "The Trial," in which a man is told he's guilty but is never told of what, and plods under endless, uncoordinated bureaucracy, is more useful than Big Brother to describe our big-data reality, said Daniel Solove, a professor at the George Washington University Law School. Mr. Solove does not think that one metaphor is inherently better or worse; he just wants whatever we use to get an accurate diagnosis since, he said, "if you don't depict and understand and capture the problem well, you can't get a good solution to it."
    Noah Berlatsky, a journalist, made the argument in The Atlanticthat using "Big Brother" is actively misleading the public to think that the weight of the surveillance state falls equally on all citizens, rather than more heavily on vulnerable and marginalized people. He thought Philip K. Dick's "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" presented this truth better than "1984." In the book, androids are more heavily surveilled than people. "The surveillance apparatus and the murderous force of the state are targeted, specifically, towards those defined as different," he wrote.
    In their 2013 Slate article "The Eye of Sauron Is the Modern Surveillance State," David Rosen and Aaron Santesso wrote that it's the vulnerabilities of J.R.R. Tolkien's Sauron that make him a good metaphor.

    "China's Cryptocurrency Plan Has a Powerful Partner: Sauron."Boom! 
    Andrew Ridker, the editor of "Privacy PolicyClose X: The Anthology of Surveillance Poetics," warned, "If we can't devise a way to talk about what's going on in a new and unnerving fashion, we'll just become completely inured to it." Poets in his volume engage a wide range of metaphors, from more obvious ones like light and windows to God. 
    What if a proliferation of new, untested metaphors confuses people further? Overselling the intrusive capabilities of a particular technology isn't helpful, either. "Choose the wrong story, and you can overstate the risk," the author Deji Bryce Olukotun wrote in his analysis of the PEN study. 
    Unless overselling is the point. "Gorgon Stare" is the name of a surveillance drone flown by the Pentagon over battlefields like Afghanistan and Iraq. Designed to track insurgents, it has nine camera sensors that can both monitor entire cities and zoom in on multiple moving targets at once. Its dystopian edge is no accident: Its engineers appear to have been inspired by the 1998 blockbuster movie "Enemy of the State," in which Will Smith's character is persistently (and wrongly) surveilled. 
    The choice of this nefarious name, plumped up by a sinister Greek mythology reference (the Gorgon turns people that gaze upon it into stone), was no accident, either, said Arthur Holland Michel, a co-director of the Center for the Study of the Drone at Bard College. "Part of the goal of surveillance is to give your adversary the impression that you're constantly watching them," he said.
    In the civilian sphere, creators of mass surveillance often take the opposite approach. In Baltimore, when the city started secretly surveilling citizens a few years ago using technology similar to Gorgon Stare, the company providing the technology put a sign on its door reading "Community Support Program." 
    As surveillance technology reaches dystopian dimensions, the use of apt, specific language and sharper metaphors can better inform the people who live under its gaze. It could even inspire action to rein it in.



    9) Victim of Milwaukee Acid Attack Says He Was Told to 'Go Back to Your Country'
    Mahud Villalaz, a U.S. citizen who received second-degree burns to his face, recalled his attacker saying, "You came here to invade."
    By John Ismay, November 4, 2019

    Mahud Villalaz received second-degree burns to his face after he was confronted by a man he says accused him of being in the country illegally.Credit...Lauren Justice for The New York Times

    The police in Milwaukee on Monday were investigating an attack on a Hispanic man as a possible hate crime after the victim, who was severely burned on his face and neck, reported that his attacker threw acid on him and told him to "go back to your country."
    The victim, Mahud Villalaz, 42, was assaulted outside a Mexican restaurant in the Lincoln Village neighborhood of Milwaukee on Friday. He described being attacked by a white man who hurled racist insults at him and accused him of being an "illegal" before splashing acid on him.
    The police said they had arrested a 61-year-old white man in connection with the attack, but as of Monday night they had not announced any charges nor released the suspect's identity.

    Mr. Villalaz, an American citizen who came to the United States from Peru 19 years ago, said the episode began when he parked near the taqueria and was confronted by the man about how close his pickup truck was to a bus stop. Mr. Villalaz returned to his vehicle and moved it about a block away. As he walked toward the restaurant again, he said, the man said, "You came here to invade."

    A nearby surveillance camera captured video of the attack, showing a man splashing a liquid onto the left side of Mr. Villalaz's face.

    Mr. Villalaz said he rushed into the restaurant's bathroom and rinsed his face with water, which may have lessened his injuries. The police described the liquid only as a "corrosive substance," though Mr. Villalaz said doctors told him they thought it was battery acid and it also burned a jacket, sweater and shirt he was wearing.
    Mayor Tom Barrett of Milwaukee and members of the city's Hispanic community said they were alarmed by the attack and were worried that statements made by President Trump had cultivated an anti-immigrant sentiment.
    "This anger towards people from other countries is being fed by our president and by his followers," Mr. Barrett, a Democrat, told reporters on Monday. "What we saw over the weekend is a manifestation of that anger."

    "The victim is a United States citizen," Mr. Barrett added. "He has as much right to be here as any one of us."
    Darryl Morin, the president of Forward Latino, an advocacy group based in the Milwaukee area, said, "Sadly this is following the pattern we're seeing nationwide," citing the mass shooting in which Hispanics were targeted in El Paso, Texas, as the most horrifying example.
    The attacker's reported use of the word "invade" was particularly troubling, Mr. Morin said, given Mr. Trump's public warnings of an "invasion" by immigrants on America's southwestern border — language also echoed by the El Paso suspect. Mr. Trump also told a group of four minority Democratic congresswomen to "go back" to their countries this summer.
    "What we are seeing is not just an attack on immigrants, it's an attack on all Hispanics," Mr. Morin said. "It's an attack on America as a whole."
    According to José G. Pérez, who represents Lincoln Village and seven nearby neighborhoods on the City Council, the area around the attack is overwhelmingly Hispanic and has been attracting new businesses. 
    "Latinos are the backbone of population growth in the city and in the district," he said.
    Mr. Villalaz was treated at a hospital for second-degree burns on his face and third-degree burns on his neck, as well as irritation to his left eye. He was recovering at home on Monday. 
    Mr. Morin, whose organization has been providing assistance to Mr. Villalaz, said the victim and his family were comforted somewhat by the arrest of a suspect, and grateful for the efforts of the Milwaukee Police Department. An online campaign to raise funds for Mr. Villalaz's medical expenses has already exceeded its goal of $15,000.

    Mr. Villalaz, the father of two young boys — Alain, 7, and Aayden, 5 — said the attack had been hard on his sons. "The younger one started crying and said, 'Why would somebody do this to you, Daddy, when you did nothing to him?'" he said. "How do you explain this to a little boy?"
    "But my older son understands a little better. He said, 'It was crazy people out there.'"
    Amy Osorio contributed reporting.



    10) Is the 'War on Drugs' Over? Arrest Statistics Say No
    Arrests for marijuana possession are most common, even as public opinion has shifted in favor of its legalization.
    By Susan Stellin, November 5, 2 019

    Despite bipartisan calls to treat drug addiction as a public health issue rather than as a crime — and despite the legalization of marijuana in more states — arrests for drugs increased again last year.
    According to estimated crime statistics released by the F.B.I. in September, there were 1,654,282 arrests for drugs in 2018, a number that has increased every year since 2015, after declining over the previous decade. Meanwhile, arrests for violent crime and property crime have continued to trend downward.

    Drugs have been the top reason people have been arrested in the United States for at least the past 10 years, and marijuana has been the top drug involved in those arrests.

    The percentage of drug arrests that have been for possession (instead of for sale or manufacturing charges) has also risen, to 86 percent last year from around 67 percent in 1989. And the majority of drug arrests have involved small quantities.
    "We've gotten so used to the idea that this is normal to arrest so many people for tiny amounts of drugs, but it's not normal," said Joseph E. Kennedy, a professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law who was an author of a paper titled Sharks and Minnows in the War on Drugs: A Study of Quantity, Race and Drug Type in Drug Arrests.

    Although many arrests don't result in conviction — some are dismissed and some result in pleas to a lesser offense — any drug conviction can harm employment, housing and educational prospects. And this continues to disproportionately affect African-Americans and Hispanics, even as many conservatives have joinedliberals in saying that racial disparities in the criminal justice system need to be addressed.
    The F.B.I. annual report compiles information from thousands of law enforcement agencies that voluntarily participate in its Uniform Crime Reporting (U.C.R.) program. Of the 18,586 federal, state, local and other agencies eligible to participate, 16,659 submitted data for 2018, so the arrest statistics are estimates that don't include some jurisdictions, like New York City.

    Drug arrests are classified into four categories: 1) heroin or cocaine and their derivatives, 2) marijuana 3) synthetic or manufactured drugs like fentanyl and 4) other dangerous non-narcotic drugs like barbiturates.
    In 2018, there were 663,367 arrests involving marijuana, up from 659,700 in 2017, nearly 92 percent of them for possession. The F.B.I.'s crime data includes only the top charge for each arrest, so if a suspect is found with drugs while being arrested on a more serious charge, the drug possession would not be counted in the agency's statistics.
    "I always caution people to read the U.C.R. data as an approximation because it's imperfect," said Tess Borden, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union who worked on a report published by the A.C.L.U. and Human Rights Watch in 2016: Every 25 Seconds: The Human Toll of Criminalizing Drug Use in the United States.
    According to New York State's Division of Criminal Justice Services, there were 75,897 arrests for drug felonies and misdemeanors in New York in 2018, which includes any arrest where fingerprints were taken. About 35 percent of those arrests involved people who were identified as white; 37 percent as black; 25 percent as Hispanic; and 2 percent as Asian. The remainder were listed as other/unknown. (In New York State, blacks make up 18 percent of the population, and Hispanics 19 percent.)
    "We know from national survey data that people of all races use drugs in their adult lifetimes at approximately the same rates," Ms. Borden said. "So the fact that we have great variances in who is arrested tells us about police priorities."
    In 2021, the F.B.I. plans to begin using its National Incident-Based Reporting System to track crime data, which has more detail about a greater number of crimes.
    This reporting system also contains information about the quantity of drugs involved in an arrest. Analyzing 700,000 drug arrests using this data for 2004, 2008 and 2012, the authors of the "Sharks and Minnows" paper found that about 40 percent of those arrests were for possessing or selling a quarter of a gram or less of drugs. And 20 percent were for possessing or selling drugs weighing between 0.25 grams and one gram. (A packet of Splenda sweetener weighs one gram.)

    Mr. Kennedy wrote the paper with Isaac Unah, associate professor of political science at U.N.C.-Chapel Hill, and Kasi Wahlers Robinson, a graduate of the University of North Carolina School of Law now in private practice. Their analysis found that although the highest number of drug arrests involve marijuana, some key differences drive racial disparities that flow through the criminal justice system.

    "Whites are mainly arrested for heroin and meth, among the hard drugs, and blacks are much more likely to be arrested for crack," Mr. Kennedy said. "But we don't arrest as many people for heroin and meth."
    It's not clear why drug arrests are rising after a downturn in those arrests from 2006 to 2015. It may reflect in part a tougher enforcement approach begun under Jeff Sessions by the current administration, even with respect to marijuana. Even in states where marijuana is legal, people can still be arrested if they violate state laws like limits on the amount allowed for personal use. And increasing use nationwide — perhaps with an assumption of more leniency — may put more people at risk of arrest. According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 43.5 million people 12 and older used marijuana in the past year, a number that has risen since 2011. 
    Public opinion has shifted decisively in favor of marijuana legalization. But Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, pointed out that 39 states haven't passed laws making recreational marijuana legal, and that police practices and attitudes toward drugs vary among law enforcement agencies across the nation. "Some departments still see arrest as a measure of productivity, even though many of us see that as outdated," he said.
    Mr. Wexler says the overdose epidemic has contributed to how police departments respond to drugs, particularly in communities that lack diversion programs like the one in Seattle.
    "Today you have more recognition that you need to get people into treatment, but treatment is expensive and resources aren't equal around the country," he said, adding that "in many parts of the U.S., arrest is viewed as the only alternative that they have."

    Better data collection and reporting about drug arrests would help inform policy as attitudes toward the drug war shift, particularly with respect to marijuana.
    "Anyone who's spending money and law enforcement resources on this needs to be keeping track of this data," said Mr. Kennedy, the U.N.C. law professor. "We have a right to know who we are arresting."



    11)  Zimbabwe’s Civil Servants in Unprecedented Strike for Better Wages
    Government workers say their earnings are disappearing under skyrocketing inflation.
    By Jeffrey Moyo, November 6, 2019

    Credit...Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/Associated Press

    HARARE, Zimbabwe — Civil servants stung by Zimbabwe’s galloping inflation staged what they hoped would be a crippling one-day strike on Wednesday in a demand for increased wages, saying that their earnings are disappearing under skyrocketing prices.
    It is the first time that government workers in Zimbabwe have been allowed to strike against their employer, and the action in the Southern African nation comes as inflation stands at approximately 300 percent, according to recent International Monetary Fund figures.
    There were signs that the strike could spiral down into violence, as clashes erupted between government workers and police forces on Wednesday.

    The civil servants’ work stoppage comes amid another ongoing walkout, this time by Zimbabwean doctors, many of whom have been on strike for about two months to demand increased wages paid in American dollars.

    On Tuesday, the government fired 77 of the striking doctors, out of the total of 1,680 doctors in the country. The 77 doctors were accused of failing to attend a disciplinary hearing that they had been summoned to attend by the country’s Health Service Board.
    The government workers’ strike followed a walkout on Monday by nurses in local authority clinics in the capital, Harare. The nurses said that they were incapacitated and unable to work because of poor wages.
    The Zimbabwean government seems acutely aware of the mounting crisis. On Tuesday, Monica Mutsvangwa, the minister of information, said at a news conference after a cabinet meeting that “medical services at most central hospitals” remained limited because “the public hospitals medical doctors’ strike has now gone beyond 63 days.”
    The government has over the past months tried to appease its workers by providing allowances to help meet the rising cost of living. But that has not stopped the board representing civil servants in Zimbabwe, the Apex Council, from calling a strike. 
    A member of the council, Takavarasha Zhou, said, “Government workers are earning an equivalent of $40 or less, and so we appeal to government to pay us better.”

    The country’s police had approved the strike action, even though in August, with the backing of a court, the authorities banned demonstrations by members of opposition political parties and civil society organizations.
    The striking workers on Wednesday sang and danced as they gathered outside the offices of the Apex Council. They waved placards with protest slogans directed at the government as armed police officers stood by. 
    The protesters had wanted to march to the offices of the Ministry of Finance, where they had intended to hand over a petition outlining their grievances. But heavily armed police officers blocked their movement.
    “It’s like police gave us the right to march with their right hand, but quickly snatched it away with their left hand,” said Cecilia Alexander, the president of the Apex Council.
    In the petition, the council appealed to the minister of finance, Mthuli Ncube, to “take our concerns seriously, without which the situation will lead to serious unrest.” 
    Charles Mubwandarikwa, chairman of the Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe, which joined the strike in solidarity with other government workers, said, “Today we have come to send a clear message to the government.”
    “We need increased salaries to be able to keep coming to work,” he added.
    In the past, teachers’ unions have demonstrated against the government for better wages and improved working conditions with or without the assent of the authorities.

    Since coming to power, President Emerson Mnangagwa’s government has resorted to using force to quell any antigovernment protests.
    In August 2018, after demonstrators in Zimbabwe’s capital called the country’s peaceful elections a sham and demanded the immediate release of the results in the July presidential poll, Mr. Mnangagwa’s government unleashed the army on protesters.
    At least six people were shot and killed in the clashes.
    In January this year, Mr. Mnangagwa’s government again deployed the military when antigovernment protests broke out against a rise in fuel prices, leaving 17 people fatally shot in Harare and nearby towns.
    Mr. Mnangagwa’s government has struggled to sell its open-for-business mantra to the developed world, but it has received the support of the South African Development Community to lift sanctions imposed by the United States on Zimbabwean government officials.
    In October, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced sanctions against the minister of state security, Owen Ncube, and denied him entry to the United States for “a gross violation of human rights in Zimbabwe.”

    Thousands were called to march on the same day against American and European sanctions in Zimbabwe, with Mr. Mnangagwa telling the crowds that the impact of sanctions “on our daily lives is immeasurable and the consequences are dire.”

    Even as Zimbabwe has tried to re-engage Washington, a diplomatic fallout between Zimbabwe and the United States has complicated matters. 
    The foreign affairs minister, Sibusiso Moyo, accused the United States ambassador to Zimbabwe, Brian Nicholson, of acting like a member of the country’s opposition. Mr. Moyo this month threatened to cut off diplomatic ties after Mr. Nicholson apparently suggested that corruption, not sanctions, were behind the country’s economic malaise.



    12) Italy’s Students Will Get a Lesson in Climate Change. Many Lessons, in Fact.
    Public schools will require children in every grade to study sustainability. That could put Italy at the forefront of environmental education.
    By Jason Horowitz, November 5, 2019

    Credit...Massimo Percossi/ANSA, via Associated Press

    ROME — Yes, children, climate change will be on the test.
    Italy’s education minister said Tuesday that its public schools would soon require students in every grade to study climate change and sustainability, a step he said would put Italy at the forefront of environmental education worldwide. 
    The lessons, at first taught as part of the students’ civics education, will eventually become integrated throughout a variety of subjects — a sort of “Trojan horse” that will “infiltrate” all courses, the education minister, Lorenzo Fioramonti, said.
    Environmental advocates welcomed the new subject matter, with some caveats.
    Teaching children about sustainability is “certainly very important” said Edoardo Zanchini, vice president of Legambiente, Italy’s leading environmental group. But he warned that responsibility should not simply be passed on to children.

    “Science tells us the next 10 years are crucial,” he said. “We cannot wait for the next generation.”

    Mr. Fioramonti is a member of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement, which has long put environmental concerns at the heart of its identity. He has already become a target of conservatives for backing taxes on sugar and plastics, and for encouraging students to take part in climate protests last September instead of attending class.
    Starting in September 2020, he said, teachers in every grade will lead lessons in climate change and environmental sustainability.That 33-hour-a-year lesson, he said, will be used as a pilot program to ultimately fold the climate agenda of the United Nations into the entire curriculum.
    So merely studying place names and locations in geography class? “Forget that,” Mr. Fioramonti said. Geography courses will soon study the impact of human actions on different parts of the planet, too, he said. 
    In an interview, Mr. Fioramonti said that a group of experts — including Jeffrey D. Sachs, director of the Harvard Institute for International Development, and Kate Raworth of Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute — will act as “peer reviewers” for ministry staff preparing the curriculum. By January, he said, the ministry will be ready to train teachers.

    For children age 6 to 11, he said, “we are thinking of using the fairy-tale model,” in which stories from different cultures would emphasize a connection to the environment. Middle schoolers would be expected to learn more technical information, and high school students would explore the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in depth.

    Until August, Five Star had governed Italy for more than a year with the nationalist League party, led by Matteo Salvini, who is still the country’s most popular politician, and who has a skeptical view of climate change.
    One cold spring day in Milan, Mr. Salvini, then the interior minister, appeared to trivialize climate change.
    “Talking about global warming — we are in the middle of May and call upon global warming, because we haven’t had a cold like this in Italy in recent years,” he said. “We are turning on our heaters.”
    Mr. Fioramonti suggested that Mr. Salvini needed to be educated.
    “That’s the kind of nonsense we want to avoid by educating children that this is the most important challenge humanity has ever faced,” he said. “And I want to secure this before there is any change in government that can imperil that kind of process.”
    But Mr. Salvini still looms over the wobbly Five-Star-led government, and Italy’s many government collapses in recent years have cut short other educational programs. An attempt by a left-leaning government to teach children how to spot disinformation, for example, was discontinued after it lost power.
    Mr. Fioramonti said a law passed last year, when Five Star was still aligned with the League, gave him the authority to introduce lessons on climate change. He said that the conditions had not been right to go forward with the new curriculum then, but that they were now.

    Still, many Italians are concerned that Five Star’s emphasis on environmental issues — or, perhaps, its failure to pursue such goals competently — is destroying the country’s economy. 
    This month, Italy faced a new economic emergency when the foreign operator of a southern Italian steel plant, Ilva, said it would pull out because the Five Star-led government had decided to end criminal immunity for environmental breaches even as the company sought to clean up the polluted facilities. Such a move could cost Italy more than 8,000 jobs.
    One environmental activist expressed reservations that Mr. Fioramonti’s plan may be too dogmatic.
    Chicco Testa, president of the environmental group Assombiente, urged officials to make sure children were exposed to varied views, including those who claim that climate change is not primarily caused by man. “To listen to people who say different things is good,” he said. “What the U.N. says is not gospel.”
    But as President Trump began pulling the United States out of the landmark Paris Agreement this week, Mr. Fioramonti said that every country needed to do its part to stop the “Trumps of the world” and that his ambition was to show children there was another way. 
    “The 21st century citizen,” he said, “must be a sustainable citizen.”
    Anna Momigliano contributed reporting.



    13) What We Know About Rodney Reed’s Death Row Case in Texas
    Celebrities including Kim Kardashian West have taken up his cause after new evidence cast doubt on his guilt.
    By Nicholas Borgel-Burroughs, November 6, 2019

    Credit...Ralph Barrera/Austin American-Statesman, via Associated Press

    The case of a man who is set to be put to death in Texas later this month has drawn high-profile attention from celebrities, after several people came forward with new testimony throwing his conviction into doubt.
    Rodney Reed, 51, is scheduled for execution on Nov. 20 for the 1996 murder of Stacey Stites in Bastrop, Tex. In recent weeks, celebrities including Rihanna, Kim Kardashian West and Meek Mill have called on Gov. Greg Abbott to intervene. Texas executes far more people than any other state, including seven so far this year.
    Ms. Stites, who was 19, was raped and strangled, and her body was dumped alongside a rural road. Mr. Reed was arrested based mostly on DNA tests. He said he and Ms. Stites had been having an affair in secret, which would explain his DNA being recovered from her body. His lawyers say witnesses have since corroborated the existence of the affair. 
    Here’s what else you need to know about the case.

    Mr. Reed’s lawyers have argued previously that the state’s forensic investigators made critical errors regarding the timeline of the killing, which some investigators later admitted in affidavits. The lawyers have also pushed for the murder weapon — Ms. Stites’ belt — to be tested for DNA evidence, which has yet to happen.

    The lawyers work for the Innocence Project, which seeks to exonerate people who might have been wrongly convicted. Along with their forensic argument, they have objected to a Texas judge scheduling Mr. Reed’s execution before his federal appeals had been exhausted.
    Most recently, at least three people have come forward with new testimony regarding Ms. Stites’ fiancé, Jimmy Fennell. Mr. Fennell is a former police officer who was released from prison in 2018; he pleaded guilty in 2008 to kidnapping a woman he had encountered while on duty. The woman said he had also raped her.
    Arthur J. Snow Jr., who served time in prison with Mr. Fennell, said last month in a sworn affidavit that he heard Mr. Fennell confess to the murder of Ms. Stites. Mr. Snow, a former member of a white-only prison gang called the Aryan Brotherhood, said Mr. Fennell, who is white, had bragged about killing his fiancée because she had cheated on him with a black man. Mr. Reed is black.
    Mr. Snow said he believed that Mr. Fennell had bragged about killing Ms. Stites to try to impress him and other members of the Aryan Brotherhood, whom Mr. Fennell had sought out for protection. Mr. Snow said he came forward after reading about the Reed case in a newspaper.
    Other witnesses have also described statements by Mr. Fennell that the Innocence Project lawyers say warrant further investigation. A former insurance sales representative said he had heard Mr. Fennell say he would kill Ms. Stites if he caught her “messing around.” Charles W. Fletcher, a former friend of the couple, said Mr. Fennell had complained that Ms. Stites was cheating on him. And Jim Clampit, a former sheriff’s deputy, said that at Ms. Stites’ funeral, Mr. Fennell looked at her body and said, “You got what you deserved.”

    Mr. Fennell’s lawyer, Robert M. Phillips, said that Mr. Fennell denies killing Ms. Stites, and that the Innocence Project was merely recycling claims that were made at trial. It was inconceivable, he said, that the people now coming forward would have stayed silent for so long if their accounts were true.
    Mr. Phillips said Mr. Fennell had converted to Christianity, had found a job and a girlfriend, and was “living a law-abiding life.” He said he did not know whether Mr. Fennell supports the death penalty for Mr. Reed. 

    Mr. Reed’s lawyers and his supporters have pleaded with Governor Abbott to delay the execution by 30 days and to order the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to investigate the possibility of commuting Mr. Reed’s sentence.
    Mr. Abbott’s office did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday. The governor has stopped just one execution in nearly five years in office, while allowing 47 to go forward, according to The Texas Tribune
    The one case came in February 2018, when the governor granted clemency to Thomas Whitaker, who had been sentenced to death for killing his brother and mother. Mr. Whitaker’s father, a survivor of the murders, had asked the governor to spare his son’s life, and Mr. Whitaker had agreed to waive his right to seek parole, meaning he would spend the rest of his life in prison.
    Mr. Abbott commuted Mr. Whitaker's sentence after a unanimous recommendation from the state parole board, the same panel that Mr. Reed’s lawyers want to investigate his sentence. Bryce Benjet, one of Mr. Reed’s lawyers, said the Whitaker case gave him and his client hope.
    “Anybody will tell you that the death penalty is a very serious matter in Texas,” Mr. Benjet said. “But I think the Whitaker case does show that where there is compelling evidence, people are willing to take action.”

    Ms. Kardashian West, who has lobbied President Trump on criminal justice issues and persuaded him to release a woman serving life in prison, has urged Mr. Abbott to keep the state from killing Mr. Reed.
    “How can you execute a man when, since his trial, substantial evidence that would exonerate Rodney Reed has come forward and even implicates the other person of interest,” Ms. Kardashian West wrote on Twitter.
    Dr. Phil McGraw, the television host, has been posting frequently about the case online. On his show, he said that Mr. Reed had not been able to present all of the evidence in the case to the courts.
    “I don’t think it’s a question of whether he’s guilty or not guilty,” Mr. McGraw said, according to The Austin American-Statesman. “I think the question is whether he had a full trial, with a full airing of all the evidence. I think the answer to that question, in my opinion, is not just no, but hell, no.”
    Other celebrities who have drawn attention to Mr. Reed’s case include Pusha T, the rapper; Eric Andre, the comedian; and Cyntoia Brown, who was released from prison this year after serving time for killing a man who had picked her up when she was a victim of teenage sex trafficking.
    Mr. Reed’s team of lawyers has been digging hard for new evidence and witnesses, but Mr. Benjet said the rise in public attention might also have encouraged some to speak up. 
    “Basically, every case I’ve worked on, the more attention that comes to the case, the more people hear about it and come forward,” he said. “It just takes a lot of time for innocence cases to get proven.”























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


    Posted by: bonnieweinstein@yahoo.com

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