12/28/2019

bauaw2003 BAUAW NEWSLETTER, SATURDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2019

 

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*


*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*



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.

Related

https://blacklivesmatteratschool.....com/2019/10/15/save-the-date-black-lives-matter-at-school-week-feb-3-7-2020/










*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*


*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*


Join the International Days of Action against Sanctions and Economic War March 13-15, 2020

Sanctions Kill!

Sanctions are War!

End Sanctions Now!


Organize an event in your area against U.S. imposed sanctions! Help build a Global Movement with hundreds of actions around the world March 13-15


Help expose this war crime against people of the world.


Add your endorsement at: https://sanctionskill.org/


List events and contact info at: info@SanctionsKill.org

Sanctions Kill!

Sanctions are War!

End Sanctions Now!


Please add your endorsement and help spread the word



*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*


*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*


Party for Socialism and LiberationMeet the CandidatesSign UpEndorse
Share on FacebookShare on Twitter

La Riva / Peltier 2020 Campaign 
10-Point Program

10 Point Program

The 10-Point Program of the La Riva/Peltier 2020 Campaign is a fighting program that represents the interests and needs of the vast majority of people of the United States and extends international solidarity to the peoples of the world. Our campaign will reach to every corner of the U.S. with the message that only socialism can solve the crises of climate change, racism, poverty and war. It will take a people's movement for real, lasting and sustainable change. We hope you will join us!

Donate to our campaign today!

★ 1 | Make the essentials of life constitutional rights

The U.S. has more than enough so that all the essentials of life — food, housing, water, education, health care and a job or basic income can be guaranteed rights — rather than distributed only for profit. Create a completely free and public healthcare system.. Make education free—cancel all student debt. Fully fund rebuilding of the infrastructure in transport, water and utility systems. Stop all foreclosures and evictions. End all discrimination based on ability/disability.

★ 2 | For the Earth to live, capitalism must be replaced by a socialist system

Global warming, pollution, acidified and depleted oceans, fracking, critical drought, plastics choking the seas, nuclear weapons and waste — it is clear that capitalism and production for profit are destroying the planet and threatening all life. The crisis is already here, with the most vulnerable and oppressed areas of the U.S. and Global South bearing the brunt. Using truly sustainable energy and seizing the oil and coal companies to stop fossil fuel pollution, are urgent steps needed to reverse climate change. Ultimately, only the socialist reorganization of society can assure the future of the people and the planet.

★ 3 | End racism, police brutality, mass incarceration. Pay reparations to the African American community

Mass incarceration and racist policing are symptomatic of the 400 years of brutal repression meted out to African-descended peoples in the U.S. Reparations must be paid! More than 2.2 million people are behind bars in the largest prison complex in the world. End mass incarceration of all oppressed and working-class people. Fully prosecute all acts of police brutality and violence. Free Leonard Peltier, Mumia Abu-Jamal and all political prisoners!

★ 4 | Full rights for all immigrants

Abolish all anti-immigrant laws. Stop the raids and deportations and demonization of immigrants. Shut down ICE and the concentration camps and reunite families. The government's war on immigrants must end. The border wall must be dismantled. Amnesty and citizenship for those without documents. Full rights for all!

★ 5 | Shut down all U.S. military bases around the world—bring all the troops, planes & ships home

U.S. foreign policy uses the pretext of national security to enforce the imperialist interests of the biggest banks and corporations. That is what is behind the endless wars and occupations. Use the $1 trillion military budget instead to provide for people's needs here and worldwide. Abolish nuclear weapons. Stop U.S. aid to Israel. Self-determination for the Palestinian people, including the right of return. End the U.S. blockade of Cuba and sanctions against Venezuela, Iran and all countries. Independence for Puerto Rico and cancel its debt!

★ 6 | Honor Native treaties. Free Leonard Peltier now

Both major parties have continued to allow the destruction and theft of Native lands by mining and corporate agricultural interests in blatant disregard of indigenous sovereign rights. 33% of Native children live in poverty and many of the poorest U.S. counties are reservations. The crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women and the over-incarceration of Native peoples shows the bankruptcy of capitalism from its earliest inception in the Americas until today.

★ 7 | Full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people

Fight back against anti-LGBTQ discrimination and violence. Defend marriage equality. Full equality in all matters governed by civil law, including employment, housing, healthcare and education. No to "religious exemption" laws that allow discrimination against LGBTQ people!

★ 8 | Equality for women and free, safe, legal abortion on demand

Stop the attack on women's reproductive rights and defend Roe v. Wade. Women must have the fundamental right to choose and to control their own bodies. Women still earn 22 percent less than men, and the gap is even more severe for Black and Latina women. Close the wage gap and end the gender division of labor.

★ 9 | Defend and expand our unions

Support the right of all workers to have a union. Fight back against the attacks on collective bargaining. Require employers to recognize card check union votes. Repeal the Taft-Hartley Act. Focusing on low-wage worker organizing, rebuild a fighting labor movement.

★ 10 | Take over the stolen wealth of the giant banks and corporations – Jail Wall St. criminals

The vast wealth of the giant banks and corporations is created by workers labor and the exploitation of the world's diminishing natural resources. The billionaires looted and destroyed the economy. It is time to seize their assets and use those resources in the interests of the vast majority. Power must be taken out of the hands of the super rich, and Wall Street criminals must be jailed.

Share on FacebookShare on Twitter
Dona




*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*


*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*


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

https://www.change.org/p/san-quentin-warden-ronald-davis-stop-kevin-cooper-s-abuse-by-san-quentin-prison-guards-2ace89a7-a13e-44ab-b70c-c18acbbfeb59?recruiter=747387046&recruited_by_id=3ea6ecd0-69ba-11e7-b7ef-51d8e2da53ef&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink&utm_campaign=petition_dashboard&use_react=false


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

US ATTORNEY GENERAL WILLIAM BARR

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

https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/sign-global-petition-to-dismiss-charges-against-anti-nuclear-plowshares-activists-facing-25-years?source=direct_link&




*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*


*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*


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!


Miigwech

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/




*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*



Leonard Peltier's 2019 Thanksgiving Message: "Walking on Stolen Land"

by Levi Rickert

Published November 23, 2019


COLEMAN, FLORIDA – Leonard Peltier, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, who is incarcerated at the U.S. Penitentiary in Coleman, Florida, for his 1977 conviction in connection with a shootout with U.S...... government forces, where two FBI agents and one young American Indian lost their lives...

Peltier, who is considered a political prisoner of war by many, released this statement on Thanksgiving through the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee:


The year of 2019 is coming to a close and with it, comes the day most Americans set aside as a day for Thanksgiving. As I let my mind wander beyond the steel bars and concrete walls, I try to imagine what the people who live outside the prison gates are doing, and what they are thinking. Do they ever think of the Indigenous people who were forced from their homelands? Do they understand that with every step they take, no matter the direction, that they are walking on stolen land? Can they imagine, even for one minute, what it was like to watch the suffering of the women, the children and babies and yes, the sick and elderly, as they were made to keep pushing west in freezing temperatures, with little or no food? These were my people and this was our land.. There was a time when we enjoyed freedom and were able to hunt buffalo and gather the foods and sacred medicines.. We were able to fish and we enjoyed the clean clear water! My people were generous, we shared everything we had, including the knowledge of how to survive the long harsh winters or the hot humid summers. We were appreciative of the gifts from our Creator and remembered to give thanks on a daily basis.. We had ceremonies and special dances that were a celebration of life.


With the coming of foreigners to our shores, life as we knew it would change drastically. Individual ownership was foreign to my people..... Fences?? Unheard of, back then. We were a communal people and we took care of each other. Our grandparents weren't isolated from us! They were the wisdom keepers and story tellers and were an important link in our families.. The babies? They were and are our future! Look at the brilliant young people who put themselves at risk, fighting to keep our water and environment clean and safe for the generations yet to come.. They are willing to confront the giant, multi-national corporations by educating the general public of the devastation being caused. I smile with hope when I think of them. They are fearless and ready to speak the truth to all who are willing to listen.. We also remember our brothers and sisters of Bolivia, who are rioting, in support of the first Indigenous President, Evo Morales. His commitment to the people, the land, their resources and protection against corruption is commendable. We recognize and identify with that struggle so well.


So today, I thank all of the people who are willing to have an open mind, those who are willing to accept the responsibility of planning for seven generations ahead, those who remember the sacrifices made by our ancestors so we can continue to speak our own language, practice our own way of thankfulness in our own skin, and that we always acknowledge and respect the Indigenous linage that we carry..


For those of you who are thankful that you have enough food to feed your families, please give to those who aren't as fortunate. If you are warm and have a comfortable shelter to live in, please give to those who are cold and homeless, if you see someone hurting and in need of a kind word or two, be that person who steps forward and lends a hand. And especially, when you see injustice anywhere, please be brave enough to speak up to confront it.


I want to thank all who are kind enough to remember me and my family in your thoughts and prayers. Thank you for continuing to support and believe in me. There isn't a minute in any day that passes without me hoping that this will be the day I will be granted freedom. I long for the day when I can smell clean fresh air, when I can feel a gentle breeze in my hair, witness the clouds as their movement hides the sun and when the moon shines the light on the path to the sacred Inipi. That would truly be a day I could call a day of Thanksgiving.


Thank you for listening to whomever is voicing my words. My Spirit is there with you.


Doksha,

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,

Leonard Peltier



Levi Rickert, a tribal citizen of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, is the publisher and editor of Native News Online. Previously, he served as editor of the Native News Network. He is a resident of Grand Rapids, Michigan..


*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*


*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*


Eddie Conway's Update on Forgotten Political Prisoners


EDDIE CONWAY: I'm Eddie Conway, host of Rattling the Bars. As many well-known political prisoners like Mumia Abu-Jamal continue to suffer in prison…

MUMIA ABU JAMAL: In an area where there is corporate downsizing and there are no jobs and there is only a service economy and education is being cut, which is the only rung by which people can climb, the only growth industry in this part of Pennsylvania, in the Eastern United States, in the Southern United States, in the Western United States is "corrections," for want of a better word. The corrections industry is booming. I mean, this joint here ain't five years old.

EDDIE CONWAY: …The media brings their stories to the masses. But there are many lesser-known activists that have dropped out of the spotlight, grown old in prison, or just been forgotten... For Rattling the Bars, we are spotlighting a few of their stories... There was a thriving Black Panther party in Omaha, Nebraska, headed by David Rice and Ed Poindexter... By 1968, the FBI had began plans to eliminate the Omaha Black Panthers by making an example of Rice and Poindexter. It would take a couple of years, but the FBI would frame them for murder.

KIETRYN ZYCHAL: In the 90s, Ed and Mondo both applied to the parole board. There are two different things you do in Nebraska, the parole board would grant you parole, but because they have life sentences, they were told that they have to apply to the pardons board, which is the governor, the attorney general, and the secretary of state, and ask that their life sentences be commuted to a specific number of years before they would be eligible for parole.

And so there was a movement in the 90s to try to get them out on parole.... The parole board would recommend them for parole because they were exemplary prisoners, and then the pardons board would not give them a hearing. They wouldn't even meet to determine whether they would commute their sentence..

EDDIE CONWAY: They served 45 years before Rice died in the Nebraska State Penitentiary. After several appeals, earning a master's degree, writing several books and helping other inmates, Poindexter is still serving time at the age of 75.

KEITRYN ZYCHAL: Ed Poindexter has been in jail or prison since August of 1970. He was accused of making a suitcase bomb and giving it to a 16-year-old boy named Duane Peak, and Duane Peak was supposed to take the bomb to a vacant house and call 911, and report that a woman was dragged screaming into a vacant house, and when police officers showed up, one of those police officers was killed when the suitcase bomb exploded...

Ed and his late co-defendant, Mondo we Langa, who was David Rice at the time of the trial, they have always insisted that they had absolutely nothing to do with this murderous plot, and they tried to get back into court for 50 years, and they have never been able to get back into court to prove their innocence. Mondo died in March of 2016 of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and Ed is going to turn 75 this year, I think.... And he has spent the majority of his life in prison.. It will be 50 years in 2020 that he will be in prison.

EDDIE CONWAY: There are at least 20 Black Panthers still in prison across the United States. One is one of the most revered is H. Rap Brown, known by his Islamic name, Jamil Al-Amin.

KAIRI AL-AMIN: My father has been a target for many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many years of the federal government, and I think him being housed these last 10 years in federal penitentiaries without federal charges show that the vendetta is still strong. The federal government has not forgotten who he was as H.. Rap Brown, or who he is as Imam Jamil Al-Amin..

JAMIL AL-AMIN: See, it's no in between.. You are either free or you're a slave. There's no such thing as second-class citizenship.

EDDIE CONWAY: Most people don't realize he's still in prison. He's serving a life sentence at the United States Penitentiary in Tucson...

KAIRI AL-AMIN: Our campaign is twofold.. One, how can egregious constitutional rights violations not warrant a new trial, especially when they were done by the prosecution... And two, my father is innocent. The facts point to him being innocent, which is why we're pushing for a new trial. We know that they can't win this trial twice. The reason they won the first time was because of the gag order that was placed on my father which didn't allow us to fight in the court of public opinion as well as the court of law.. And so when you don't have anyone watching, anything can be done without any repercussion.

EDDIE CONWAY: Another well-known political prisoner that has been forgotten in the media and in the public arena is Leonard Peltier. Leonard Peltier was a member of the American Indian Movement and has been in prison for over 40 years and is now 75 years old.

SPEAKER: Leonard Peltier represents, in a very real sense, the effort, the struggle by indigenous peoples within the United States to exercise their rights as sovereign nations, recognized as such in treaties with the United States.. For the government of the United States, which has colonized all indigenous peoples to claim boundaries, keeping Leonard in prison demonstrates the costs and consequences of asserting those rights.

EDDIE CONWAY: Leonard Peltier suffers from a host of medical issues including suffering from a stroke. And if he is not released, he will die in prison..

LEONARD PELTIER: I'll be an old man when I get out, if I get out.

PAULETTE D'AUTEUIL: His wellbeing is that he rarely gets a family visit. His children live in California and North Dakota. Both places are a good 2000 miles from where he's at in Florida, so it makes it time consuming as well as expensive to come and see him. He is, health-wise, we are still working on trying to get some help for his prostate, and there has been some development of some spots on his lungs, which we are trying to get resolved..... There's an incredible mold issue in the prison, especially because in Florida it's so humid and it builds up. So we're also dealing with that..

EDDIE CONWAY: These are just a few of the almost 20 political prisoners that has remained in American prisons for 30 and 40 years, some even longer. Mutulu Shakur has been in jail for long, long decades. Assata Shakur has been hiding and forced into exile in Cuba.. Sundiata has been in prison for decades; Veronza Bower, The Move Nine.... And there's just a number of political prisoners that's done 30 or 40 years.

They need to be released and they need to have an opportunity to be back with their family, their children, their grandchildren, whoever is still alive. Any other prisoners in the United States that have the same sort of charges as those people that are being held has been released up to 15 or 20 years ago. That same justice system should work for the political prisoners also.

Thank you for joining me for this episode of Rattling the Bars. I'm Eddie Conway....



*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*


*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*


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 ...





COURAGE TO RESIST ~ SUPPORT THE TROOPS WHO REFUSE TO FIGHT!

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

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*


*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*



Mumia Abu-Jamal: New Chance for Freedom

Police and State Frame-Up Must Be Fully Exposed!

Mumia Abu-Jamal is innocent. Courts have ignored and suppressed evidence of his innocence for decades. But now, one court has thrown out all the decisions of the PA Supreme Court that denied Mumia's appeals against his unjust conviction during the years of 1998 to 2012! 

This ruling, by Judge Leon Tucker, was made because one judge on the PA Supreme Court during those years, Ronald Castille, was lacking the "appearance of impartiality." In plain English, he was clearly biased against Mumia. Before sitting on the PA Supreme Court, Castille had been District Attorney (or assistant DA) during the time of Mumia's frame-up and conviction, and had used his office to express a special interest in pursuing the death penalty for "cop-killers." Mumia was in the cross-hairs. Soon he was wrongly convicted and sent to death row for killing a police officer.

*     *     *     *     *

Mumia Abu-Jamal is an award-winning and intrepid journalist, a former Black Panther, MOVE supporter, and a critic of police brutality and murder.  Mumia was framed by police, prosecutors, and leading elements of both Democratic and Republican parties, for the shooting of a police officer. The US Justice Department targeted him as well. A racist judge helped convict him, and corrupt courts have kept him locked up despite much evidence that should have freed him. He continues his commentary and journalism from behind bars. As of 2019, he has been imprisoned for 37 years for a crime he did not commit. 

Time is up! FREE MUMIA NOW!

*     *     *     *     *

DA's Hidden Files Show Frame-Up of Mumia

In the midst of Mumia's fight for his right to challenge the state Supreme Court's negative rulings, a new twist was revealed: six boxes of files on Mumia's case--with many more still hidden--were surreptitiously concealed for decades in a back room at the District Attorney's office in Philadelphia. The very fact that these files on Mumia's case were hidden away for decades is damning in the extreme, and their revelations confirm what we have known for decades: Mumia was framed for a crime he did not commit!

So far, the newly revealed evidence confirms that, at the time of Mumia's 1982 trial, chief prosecutor Joe McGill illegally removed black jurors from the jury, violating the Batson decision. Also revealed: The prosecution bribed witnesses into testifying that they saw Mumia shoot the slain police officer when they hadn't seen any such thing.. Taxi driver Robert Chobert, who was on probation for fire-bombing a school yard at the time, had sent a letter demanding his money for lying on the stand.. Very important, but the newly revealed evidence is just the tip of the iceberg! 

All Evidence of Mumia's Innocence Must Be Brought Forward Now!

Mumia Abu-Jamal's trial for the murder of police officer Daniel Faulkner was rigged against him from beginning to end. All of the evidence of Mumia's innocence--which was earlier suppressed or rejected--must now be heard:

• Mumia was framed - The judge at Mumia's trial, Albert Sabo, was overheard to say, "I'm gonna help 'em fry the n____r." And he proceeded to do just that. Mumia was thrown out of his own trial for defending himself! Prosecution "witnesses" were coerced or bribed at trial to lie against Mumia.. In addition to Chobert, this included key witness Cynthia White, a prostitute who testified that she saw Mumia shoot Faulkner.. White's statements had to be rewritten under intense pressure from the cops, because she was around the corner and out of sight of the shooting at the time! Police bribed her with promises of being allowed to work her corner, and not sent to state prison for her many prostitution charges.

• Mumia only arrived on the scene after Officer Faulkner was shot - William Singletary, a tow-truck business owner who had no reason to lie against the police, said he had been on the scene the whole time, that Mumia was not the shooter, and that Mumia had arrived only after the shooting of Faulkner. Singletary's statements were torn up, his business was wrecked, and he was threatened by police to be out of town for the trial (which, unfortunately, he was)...

• There is no evidence that Mumia fired a gun - Mumia was shot on the scene by an arriving police officer and arrested. But the cops did not test his hands for gun-powder residue--a standard procedure in shootings! They also did not test Faulkner's hands. The prosecution nevertheless claimed Mumia was the shooter, and that he was shot by Faulkner as the officer fell to the ground. Ballistics evidence was corrupted to falsely show that Mumia's gun was the murder weapon, when his gun was reportedly still in his taxi cab, which was in police custody days after the shooting!

• The real shooter fled the scene and was never charged - Veronica Jones was a witness who said that after hearing the shots from a block away, she had seen two people fleeing the scene of the shooting.. This could not have included Mumia, who had been shot and almost killed at the scene. Jones was threatened by the police with arrest and loss of custody of her children. She then lied on the stand at trial to say she had seen no one running away. 

• Abu-Jamal never made a confession - Mumia has always maintained his innocence. But police twice concocted confessions that Mumia never made. Inspector Alfonso Giordano, the senior officer at the crime scene, made up a confession for Mumia. But Giordano was not allowed to testify at trial, because he was top on the FBI's list of corrupt cops in the Philadelphia police force... At the DA's request, another cop handily provided a second "confession," allegedly heard by a security guard in the hospital... But at neither time was Mumia--almost fatally shot--able to speak. And an earlier police report by cops in the hospital said that, referring to Mumia: "the negro male made no comment"!

• The crime scene was tampered with by police - Police officers at the scene rearranged some evidence, and handled what was alleged to be Mumia's gun with their bare hands.. A journalist's photos revealed this misconduct. The cops then left the scene unattended for hours. All of this indicates a frame-up in progress...

• The real shooter confessed, and revealed the reason for the crime - Arnold Beverly came forward in the 1990s. He said in a sworn statement, under penalty of perjury, that he, not Mumia, had been the actual shooter. He said that he, along with "another guy," had been hired to do the hit, because Faulkner was "a problem for the mob and corrupt policemen because he interfered with the graft and payoffs made to allow illegal activity including prostitution, gambling, drugs without prosecution in the center city area"! (affidavit of Arnold Beverly).

• The corruption of Philadelphia police is documented and well known - This includes that of Giordano, who was the first cop to manufacture a "confession" by Mumia. Meanwhile, Faulkner's cooperation with the federal anti-corruption investigations of Philadelphia police is strongly suggested by his lengthy and heavily redacted FBI file..

• Do cops kill other cops? There are other cases in Philadelphia that look that way. Frank Serpico, an NYC cop who investigated and reported on police corruption, was abandoned by fellow cops after being shot in a drug bust. Mumia was clearly made a scape-goat for the crimes of corrupt Philadelphia cops who were protecting their ill-gotten gains.

• Politicians and US DOJ helped the frame-up - Ed Rendell, former DA, PA governor, and head of the Democratic National Committee--and now a senior advisor to crime-bill author Joe Biden--is complicit in the frame-up of Mumia. The US Justice Department targeted Mumia for his anti-racist activities when he was a teenager, and later secretly warned then-prosecutor Rendell not to use Giordano as a witness against Mumia because he was an FBI target for corruption.

*     *     *     *     *

All this should lead to an immediate freeing of Mumia! But we are still a ways away from that, and we have no confidence in the capitalist courts to finish the job. We must act! This victory in local court allowing new appeals must now lead to a full-court press on all the rejected and suppressed evidence of Mumia's innocence!

Mass Movement Needed To Free Mumia! 

Mumia's persecution by local, state and federal authorities of both political parties has been on-going, and has generated a world-wide movement in his defense.. This movement has seen that Mumia, as a radio journalist who exposed the brutal attacks on the black community by the police in Philadelphia, has spoken out as a defender of working people of all colors and all nationalities in his ongoing commentaries (now on KPFA/Pacifica radio), despite being on death row, and now while serving life without the possibility of parole (LWOP)..

In 1999, Oakland Teachers for Mumia held unauthorized teach-ins in Oakland schools on Mumia and the death penalty, despite the rabid hysteria in the bourgeois media. Teachers in Rio de Janeiro held similar actions. Letters of support came in from maritime workers and trade unions around the world.. Later in 1999, longshore workers shut down all the ports on the West Coast to free Mumia, and led a mass march of 25,000 Mumia supporters in San Francisco. 

A year later, a federal court lifted Mumia's death sentence, based on improper instructions to the jury by trial judge Albert Sabo. The federal court ordered the local court to hold a new sentencing hearing. Fearing their frame-up of Mumia could be revealed in any new hearing, even if only on sentencing, state officials passed. Much to the chagrin of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP)--which still seeks Mumia's death--this left Mumia with LWOP, death by life in prison. 

Mumia supporters waged a struggle to get him the cure for the deadly Hepatitis-C virus, which he had likely contracted through a blood transfusion in hospital after he was shot by a cop at the 1981 crime scene. The Labor Action Committee conducted demonstrations against Gilead Sciences, the Foster City CA corporation that owns the cure, and charged $1,000 per pill! The Metalworkers Union of South Africa wrote a letter excoriating Governor Wolf for allowing untreated sick freedom fighters to die in prison as the apartheid government had done. Finally, Mumia did get the cure. Now, more than ever, struggle is needed to free Mumia!

Now is the Time: Mobilize Again for Mumia's Freedom!

Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal


Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal | Mumia Abu-Jamal is an I...



November 2019


"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


*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*


*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*



Board Game

https://www.thegamecrafter.com/games/race-for-solidarity


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



*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*


*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*


Action Alert for Shaka Shakur

Urgent Action Alert: Stop Prison Officials from Blocking Shaka Shakur's Access to Educational and Vocational Services


Shaka Shakur is a politically active, incarcerated, New Afrikan who was transferred on December 18th, 2018, from the Indiana Department of Corrections (IDOC) to the Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) as part of campaign to neutralize his activism by prison officials. This transfer was done in violation of his due process rights as a prisoner. He is currently incarcerated at the Sussex 1 State Prison in Waverly, Virginia... His VA DOC # is 135647.....  Since being held there, his right to access educational and vocational programs has been violated. Below is a summary of these violations in Shaka's own words:


"1) i was moved out of the state of Indiana against my will in violation of Indiana Code and due process.. i was never afforded any form of hearing where i was informed as to why i was being shipped out of state nor allowed to present evidence challenging the decision to move me...


2) Upon my arrival to the prison system in Virginia, i was never given any form of orientation.. I've never been informed as to what my rights are, nor informed as to how i can go about challenging any decision made by the state of Va. I've only been informed that the state of Va has custody of my body and that all decisions pertaining to my classification, security level and placement was being determined and controlled by the state of Indiana and its Department of Corrections (IDOC).


3) There is supposed to be an IDOC liaison that oversees my placement in Va and communicates with an official in the Virginia Department of Corrections (VDOC) named Ms. Collins. She has refused to respond to any and all efforts to contact her by myself or any outside sources. Any questions i've had pertaining to video visits, security level, placement, and classification have gone unanswered except for being told that it is up to Indiana.


4) Per Indiana Code i am supposed to be afforded the same rights and privileges as if i was still in Indiana. That includes jobs, programming, religious services etc..s To deny me such is a const violation and discrimination.... In fact, it denies me equal protection under the law. I am not being allowed to find a job outside of the housing unit.. i'm being told that i'm not going to be allowed to drop my security level even though my points will drop as low as 10 points in Va and less than 15 in indiana. Both of which would qualify me for a level 3 security level placement.


5) The counselor Ponce falsified my classification review/progress report by lying and saying that i had assaulted a staff member within the last 12 months. This was in order to justify my continued placement at a level 4/5 prison. When this was brought to her attention, she pretended that she had corrected it and instead further falsified the report and then blamed it on Indiana. i have copies of these documents and my lawyer have the originals [see images posted in event below]."


Furthermore:


6) The doctors at Sussex 1 have not been provided with Shaka's medical records past 2014.. Shaka experiences nerve and other issues due to a degenerative disc on which he has been operated. Without these records he cannot be provided with the necessary care for his chronic condition.


7)There is no appeals process available to Shaka or any other out-of-state inmate. Indiana code establishes the sender state [Indiana] as having unchallenged authority in cases of interstate transfer. Having access only to internal grievance procedures in Virginia, Shaka is unable to appeal decisions made in Indiana


You can read about Shaka's long history of activism and rebellious activity in Indiana prisons here and here..


What You Can Do to Support Shaka:


On Monday, 11/11, call  the Indiana DOC Executive Director of Classification Jack Hendrix at (317) 232-2247. Leave a message with whoever you are able to speak to, or a voicemail. You can also email Jack Hendrix at jdhendrix@idoc.in..gov.


Please tell them to drop Shaka's  security level dropped to a level 3 for which he qualifies so that he can access vocational and educational programs, or to authorize Shaka's lateral transfer to a facility where he can be allowed to participate in vocational and educational programs..


As Shaka stated:


"How am i supposed to work my way back to Indiana if i'm not being allowed to participate in anything positive or constructive?"


To make a donation to Shaka Shakur's legal defense fund and for more info on his case, go to https://www....gofundme.com/f/shaka-shakur-legal-defense-fund


For more information, contact Seth Donnelly at sethdonnelly2000@yahoo..com...



*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*


*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

50 years in prison: 

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!


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,

CSP-LAC

P.O. Box 4490

B-4-150

Lancaster, CA 93539


--

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



*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*


*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

Support Chuck Africa for Parole

Michael Africa Jr. started this petition to Pennsylvania Governor


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

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

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

http://chng.it/Yprs8pXBBp


*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*


*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*






On Abortion: From Facebook


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

Sent from my iPhone


*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*


*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*





Celebrating the release of Janet and Janine Africa

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





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


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


http://freedomarchives.org/Support.Jalil/Campaign.html

Write:

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:

ANTHONY JALIL BOTTOM, 77A4283,

Sullivan Correctional Facility,

P.O. Box 116,

Fallsburg, New York 12733-0116




*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*


*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*




Funds for Kevin Cooper

https://www.gofundme....com/funds-for-kevin-cooper?member=1994108


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/

https://internal.diem25.org/en/petitions/1


*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*


*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*


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..]

https://www..nytimes.com/interactive/2019/05/01/magazine/lordstown-general-motors-plant..html


*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*


 *---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*



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 TILLERY FILES NEW LEGAL PETITION

SEX FOR LIES AND MANUFACTURED TESTIMONY




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:



HOW YOU CAN HELP

    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

    Call/Write:

    Kamilah Iddeen (717) 379-9009, Kamilah29@yahoo.com

    Rachel Wolkenstein (917) 689-4009, RachelWolkenstein@gmail..com





    *---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

    *---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*


    Articles:



    *---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

    *---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*



    1) Japan Wants to Dump Nuclear Plant's Tainted Water.. Fishermen Fear the Worst.

    The water from the Fukushima disaster is more radioactive than the authorities have previously publicized, raising doubts about government assurances that it will be made safe.

    "If the water is processed so that the only radioactive materials that remain are low levels of tritium, said Kazuya Idemitsu, a professor of nuclear engineering at Kyushu University, releasing it into the ocean would be 'the best solution in terms of cost and safety.'"

    By Motoko Rich and Makiko Inoue, December 23, 2019

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/23/world/asia/japan-fukushima-nuclear-water.html


    The Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant.Credit...Ko Sasaki for The New York Times


    IWAKI, Japan — The overpowering earthquake and tsunami that ripped through northern Japan in March 2011 took so much from Tatsuo Niitsuma, a commercial fisherman in this coastal city in Fukushima Prefecture.

    The tsunami pulverized his fishing boat. It demolished his home. Most devastating of all, it took the life of his daughter..

    Now, nearly nine years after the disaster, Mr. Niitsuma, 77, is at risk of losing his entire livelihood, too, as the government considers releasing tainted water from a nuclear power plant destroyed by the tsunami's waves.

    Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's cabinet and the Tokyo Electric Power Company — the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi plant, where a triple meltdown led to the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl — must decide what to do with more than one million tons of contaminated water stored in about 1,000 giant tanks on the plant site.


    On Monday, Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry proposed gradually releasing the water into the ocean or allowing it to evaporate, saying a controlled discharge into the sea would "stably dilute and disperse" it. The ministry ruled out alternatives like continuing to store it in tanks or injecting it deep into the ground. Mr. Abe's cabinet will make the final decision..

    The water becomes contaminated as it is pumped through the reactors to cool melted fuel that is still too hot and radioactive to remove. For years, the power company, known as Tepco, said that treatment of the water — which involves sending it through a powerful filtration system to remove most radioactive material — was making it safe to release. 

    But it is actually more radioactive than the authorities have previously publicized. Officials say that it will be treated again, and that it will then be safe for release.

    Regardless of government assurances, if the water is discharged into the sea, it will most likely destroy the livelihoods of hundreds of fishermen like Mr. Niitsuma. Consumers are already worried about the safety of Fukushima seafood, and dumping the water would compound the fears.


    It would "kill the industry and take away the life of the boats," he said. "The fish won't sell."

    With Fukushima preparing to host baseball games during the Summer Olympics next year, and the plant running out of land on which to build storage tanks, the debate has taken on a sense of urgency.


    Until last year, Tepco indicated that with the vast majority of the water, all but one type of radioactive material — tritium, an isotope of hydrogen that experts say poses a relatively low risk to human health — had been removed to levels deemed safe for discharge under Japanese government standards.

    But last summer, the power company acknowledged that only about a fifth of the stored water had been effectively treated.

    Last month, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry briefedreporters and diplomats about the water stored in Fukushima. More than three-quarters of it, the ministry said, still contains radioactive material other than tritium — and at higher levels than the government considers safe for human health.

    The authorities say that in the early years of processing the deluge of water flowing through the reactors, Tepco did not change filters in the decontamination system frequently enough. The company said it would re-treat the water to filter out the bulk of the nuclear particles, making it safe to release into the ocean.


    Some experts and local residents say it is difficult to trust such assurances.

    "The government and Tepco were hiding the fact that the water was still contaminated," said Kazuyoshi Satoh, a member of the city assembly in Iwaki.


    "Because next year is the Tokyo Olympics, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants to present the image that everything is 'under control,'" said Mr. Satoh, referring to a speech by the Japanese leader to the International Olympic Committee when Tokyo was bidding to host the 2020 Games. 

    The power company acknowledged that it had not made it easy for the public to get information. The water treatment data "has not been presented in a manner that is easy to understand," said Ryounosuke Takanori, a Tepco spokesman.

    "As long as the water was stored in the tanks, we thought it didn't matter whether the water" exceeded safety standards for discharge, said Junichi Matsumoto, a general manager in the Fukushima Daiichi decontamination and decommissioning office. 

    Mr. Niitsuma, for whom fishing is not just a livelihood but also a balm against grief over the loss of his daughter, said he thought both Tepco and the government needed to come clean.

    "I want them to see the reality squarely and disclose information fully," said Mr. Niitsuma, who goes out alone on his two-ton boat at dawn three times a week.

    His wife, Yoko, waits on the pier. On a recent morning, she helped drag the nets out of the boat and dump squirming octopus, flounder and a few red gurnard into buckets that the couple loaded onto a small flatbed truck to drive to a warehouse where wholesalers bid on the fish.


    Mrs. Niitsuma said she didn't believe the government was looking out for Fukushima's fishing families.. "They are talking about discharging the water," she said. "That itself means they are not thinking about us."

    The question of whether the water could be decontaminated to safe levels is a matter of degree, scientists say.

    If the water is processed so that the only radioactive materials that remain are low levels of tritium, said Kazuya Idemitsu, a professor of nuclear engineering at Kyushu University, releasing it into the ocean would be "the best solution in terms of cost and safety."

    Mr... Idemitsu added that functioning nuclear plants around the world release diluted water containing tritium into the ocean.

    Some scientists said they would need proof before believing that the Fukushima water was treated to safe levels.

    "I want to see the numbers after they've removed these additional radionuclides," said Ken Buesseler, a senior scientist in marine chemistry and geochemistry at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts. "Then, and only then, can I make a judgment on the quality of the rationale for releasing it or the consequences of releasing it."


    Government officials argue that the water is not so much a scientific problem as a perceptual one.

    "If the water is discharged into the ocean, the price of seafood products may drop, or consumers won't want to buy them at all," said Shuji Okuda, director for decommissioning and contaminated water management at the economy and trade ministry. "So even though there is no scientific evidence that the water is dangerous, we are worried about the effects."

    More than 20 countries still have import restrictions on Japanese seafood and other agricultural products that were imposed after the 2011 disaster. Earlier this year, the European Union lifted its ban on some products.

    In Fukushima, the fishing industry brings only about 15 percent of its pre-disaster catch levels to market.. Every haul is sampled and screened in labs run by Fukushima's prefectural government and the fisheries cooperative. 

    According to the co-op, the central government currently prohibits the sale of only one species, a rare type of skate.

    Tadaaki Sawada, the co-op's division chief, said that if the water was discharged, buyers would be unlikely to believe government safety assurances.


    "Most people can live without fully understanding the details of radioactivity," Mr. Sawada said. "They can just say 'because I don't understand fully, I won't buy Fukushima fish.'"


    In the prefecture, where thousands of residents never returned after evacuating, those who have come back harbor lingering doubts.

    "In the corner of my mind, I wonder if it is safe or not," Keiko Nagayama, 65, said as she browsed at a seafood freezer in Naraha, a hamlet in the original 12-mile exclusion zone around the Fukushima plant. 

    A government evacuation order was lifted in 2015. Although flounder and Pacific saury from Iwaki were on sale, Ms. Nagayama chose flounder from Hokkaido, in far northern Japan.

    Yukiei Matsumoto, Naraha's mayor, declined to offer an opinion on the idea of water disposal from the nuclear plant.

    "Nuclear policy is central government policy," Mr. Matsumoto said. "The contaminated water is their business."

    Naraha is one of several Fukushima towns where the central government has spent heavily to draw people back to their communities.

    Just 3,877 people — a little over half of the original population — have returned. Tokyo has devoted large sums to subsidize a new school, a strip mall and a new arena that cost 4 billion yen, or about $37 million.


    On a recent afternoon, a smattering of people worked out in the gym, while just one man used the 25-meter swimming pool in the arena complex. 

    Yukari Nakamura, 33, a local artist, had been hired to paint murals on the walls and windows. Her husband, Yuuki, and two young children were the only family in a spacious playroom.

    Ms. Nakamura said a Fukushima label on fish gave her pause. "My heart aches to reject the seafood, and I feel such pain not being able to recommend it," she said, tearing up. "I don't want to hurt the fishermen who caught it, but it is so complicated."


    MyNYT Comment:

    One sentence in this article stands out: "If the water is processed so that the only radioactive materials that remain are low levels of tritium, said Kazuya Idemitsu, a professor of nuclear engineering at Kyushu University, releasing it into the ocean would be 'the best solution in terms of cost and safety.'"And two words of that sentence stands out: "cost and safety." There is no such thing as "cost effective safety." The water is either safe or it is not. Cost should have no bearing on the issue. The energy companies and their CEOs are wealthy. They should be obligated to spare no cost to ensure the safety of that water and the nuclear plant. And it should be independently examined by world experts in the field—again, sparing no cost. And all those whose livelihoods that depend upon safe, clean water should be compensated until their safety is guaranteed at the cost of the energy companies that fouled things up to begin with—to cut costs. —Bonnie Weinstein

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/23/world/asia/japan-fukushima-nuclear-water.html#commentsContainer&permid=104287995:104287995

    *---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

    *---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*


    2) A Trump Policy 'Clarification' All but Ends Punishment for Bird Deaths

    By Lisa Friedman, December 24, 2019

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/24/climate/trump-bird-deaths.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage


    A new interpretation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in 2017 means that as of now, companies are no longer subject to prosecution or fines even after a disaster like the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010 that destroyed or injured about one million birds and for which BP paid $100 million in fines.Credit...Lee Celano/Reuters


    WASHINGTON — As the state of Virginia prepared for a major bridge and tunnel expansion in the tidewaters of the Chesapeake Bay last year, engineers understood that the nesting grounds of 25,000 gulls, black skimmers, royal terns and other seabirds were about to be plowed under. 

    To compensate, they considered developing an artificial island as a safe haven. Then in June 2018, the Trump administration stepped in. While the federal government "appreciates" the state's efforts, new rules in Washington had eliminated criminal penalties for "incidental" migratory bird deaths that came in the course of normal business, administration officials advised. Such conservation measures were now "purely voluntary.

    The state ended its island planning. 

    The island is one of dozens of bird-preservation efforts that have fallen away in the wake of the policy change in 2017 that was billed merely as a technical clarification to a century-old law protecting migratory birds. Across the country birds have been killed and nests destroyed by oil spills, construction crews and chemical contamination, all with no response from the federal government, according to emails, memos and other documents viewed by The New York Times. Not only has the administration stopped investigating most bird deaths, the documents show, it has discouraged local governments and businesses from taking precautionary measures to protect birds.

    In one instance, a Wyoming-based oil company wanted to clarify that it no longer had to report bird deaths to the Fish and Wildlife Service. "You are correct," the agency replied.


    In another, a building property manager in Michigan emailed the Fish and Wildlife Service to note that residents had complained about birds being killed while workers put up siding and gutters around the apartment. Not to worry, the agency replied: "If the purpose or intent of your activity is not to take birds/nests/eggs, then it is no longer prohibited.." 

    And when a homeowners' association in Arizona complained that a developer had refused to safely remove nesting burrowing owls from a nearby lot, Fish and Wildlife said that, because of the new legal interpretation, it could not compel the developer to act.

    "Of course, we just got sued over that interpretation, so we'll see how it ends up," the enforcement officer wrote.

    The revised policy — part of the administration's broader effort to encourage business activity — has been a particular favorite of the president, whose selective view of avian welfare has ranged from complaining that wind energy "kills all the birds" to asserting that the oil industry has been subject to "totalitarian tactics" under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. 

    Habitat loss and pesticide exposure already have brought on widespread bird-species declines. The number of adult breeding birds in the United States and Canada has plummeted by 2.9 billion since 1970.


    Now, said Noah Greenwald, the endangered species director for the Center for Biological Diversity, the Trump administration has engineered "a fundamental shift" in policy that "lets industrial companies, utilities and others completely off the hook." Even a disaster like the Deepwater Horizon oil spill of 2010, which killed or injured about a million birds, would not expose a company to prosecution or fines. 

    Gavin Shire, a spokesman for the Fish and Wildlife Service, the agency responsible for protecting migratory birds, said in a statement that other federal laws like the Endangered Species Act remain on the books. The Trump administration, he said, "will continue to work cooperatively with our industry partners to minimize impacts on migratory birds."


    The documents tell a different story. In nearly two dozen incidents across 15 states, internal conversations among Fish and Wildlife Service officers indicate that, short of going out to shoot birds, activities in which birds die no longer merit action. In some cases the Trump administration has even discouraged local governments and businesses from taking relatively simple steps to protect birds, like reporting fatalities when they are found.

    "You get the sense this policy is not only bad for birds, it's also cruel," Mr. Greenwald said.

    The Migratory Bird Treaty Act was originally enacted to protect the birds from over-hunting and poaching at a time when feathered hats were all the rage and the snowy egret was hunted almost to extinction. It makes it illegal "by any means or in any manner" to hunt, take, capture or kill birds, nests or eggs from listed species without a permit.

    Beginning in the 1970s, federal officials used the act to prosecute and fine companies up to $15,000 per bird for accidental deaths on power lines, in oil pits, in wind turbines and by other industrial hazards.

    Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Western Energy Alliance, an oil and gas trade association, said fossil fuel companies had been unfairly targeted by the law, pointing to an Obama administration prosecution of seven oil companies in North Dakota for the deaths of 28 birds.


    "It felt like it was weaponized against one industry," she said. 

    Changes to the interpretation of the law topped the association's wish list for the Trump administration. Six months after that list was released, the Interior Department ended prosecutions for bird deaths "when the underlying purpose of that activity is not to take birds."

    If landowners destroys a barn knowing it is filled with baby owls, they would not be liable, as long as the intent was not to kill owls, the opinion said. The illegal spraying of a banned pesticide would not be a legal liability either as long as the birds were not the "intended target."

    In the case of the Hampton Roads, Va., bridge and tunnel project, Stephen C. Birch, the commissioner of the Virginia Department of Transportation, said the agency is seeking an alternate solution for the seabirds.. A spokeswoman for the agency said the Trump administration's opinion "had no direct impact" on the decision to abandon the bird island.

    But conservationists who had been working closely with the state to protect the seabirds' nesting grounds said they had no doubt it had a chilling effect.

    "The dynamics really changed," said Sarah Karpanty, a professor of fish and wildlife conservation at Virginia Tech and a member of the team that had been working with the state. "They were basically conservation partners, and in 2017 all indications were that they were going to be a conservation partner again. Then the solicitor's opinion changed everything."

    The loss of the Hampton Roads nesting area will devastate some bird species because it was the last they had; other sites in the Chesapeake Bay have been lost to sea level rise and erosion. The birds, now south for the winter, will return in March and April to land that has been paved. Construction crews may have to take aggressive measures to prevent the birds from nesting wherever they can, like in cracks in the asphalt.

    "If there's no new habitat construction, they will most likely not reproduce," Ms. Karpanty said. "The frustrating thing is about this situation is, there is a solution, a relatively easy solution."


    In another case, the United States Coast Guard notified the Fish and Wildlife Service in January 2018 that it had identified a vessel responsible for an oil spill near Woods Hole, Mass., that killed about two dozen sea birds. Federal wildlife police replied that because the "birds protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act" were killed incidentally, "there's currently no enforcement action plan." 

    In other cases, states and companies are still acting voluntarily. In June 2018 a state official in Michigan alerted the Fish and Wildlife Service that a logger had spotted a great blue heron rookery in a red pine forest and wanted to know how to proceed. The federal agent replied that while the effort to minimize harm to the birds was appreciated, action was considered "strictly voluntary and not required in any way." 

    In that instance, the company worked with the state to agree on a 300-foot buffer around the nests where no commercial activity would occur until after nesting season, said Dan Kennedy, an endangered species coordinator with the Michigan environment office.

    Sarah Greenberger, senior vice president for conservation at the Audubon Society, said such voluntary actions cannot be counted on.

    "I'm sure there are still conscientious actors who are taking steps," she said. "But we don't know that, and we don't know how long they will continue to do that, especially if their competitors aren't."

    Erik Milito, president of the National Ocean Industries Association, which represents offshore wind companies and drillers, said the Trump administration's reinterpretation had given his industry more certainty.


    "There's a balance here as to what extent should something that happened to a bird be criminalized, versus how do we ensure that they're protected," he said.


    Builders, developers and property managers are also benefiting. In Washington D.C.., the district's Department of Energy and Environment asked Fish and Wildlife in July 2018 to help resolve a puzzling issue: a condominium had installed netting to keep birds out of its insulation, but the net was instead trapping songbirds and migratory birds, "many who do not make it out and end up dying." The Trump administration replied that migratory birds that are killed "non-purposefully" are not subject to enforcement and offered voluntary guidelines

    "It's part of a broader dirty blanket that the administration is using over the whole environment," said Tommy Wells, director of the district's energy program, who fears that administration policies could reverse a resurgence of wildlife in the city..

    In Albuquerque, N.M., Alan Edmonds, an animal cruelty case manager with New Mexico's animal protection agency, pushed back after the Fish and Wildlife Service gave only a verbal warning to a company that had trapped and killed a Cooper's hawk. The agency replied that, without proof that the company wanted to kill the hawk, "we can't do anything."

    Mr. Edmonds said the company received "not even a slap on the wrist." He acknowledged the hawk was just one bird. But Ms. Greenberger of the Audubon Society said, "This is how we lose birds." 

    "We don't lose them a billion at a time," she said. "We lose them from small incidents happening repeatedly over the vast geography of our country."

    *---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

    *---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*


    3) As Rail Strike Upends Holiday Plans in France, a Fight Over Blame

    With no Christmas truce in the long strike, many travelers can't get to family gatherings, and the government and unions are pointing fingers at each other.

    By Norimitsu Onishi, December 23. 2019

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/23/world/europe/france-transportation-strike.html


    Train platforms in Paris were crowded on Monday as a general strike continued.Credit....Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters


    PARIS — There was just one day left before Christmas Eve, and the mood inside the Gare de Lyon train station in Paris on Monday was tense. 

    Travelers, many with shopping bags laden with gifts, were waiting for trains that might never come. Striking rail workers suddenly marched into the station, chanting noisily, followed a few minutes later by scores of police officers in riot gear.

    "Usually, 15 of us get together for Christmas, but this year it's just going to be my wife and me," said Florian Cercea, 28, whose train had been delayed by several hours. "Christmas comes only once a year, and it's very important for my family."

    He added: "It's going to be a sad Christmas. It means, even if we have presents, we can't give them to the children. I guess we'll give them next year after the strike is over."


    Exactly when the strike — over the government's push to overhaul the nation's generous pension system — might end remains up in the air. Despite President Emmanuel Macron's call for a "truce" during the holidays, the three-week general strike that has crippled transportation in France and already hurt its economy has now upended people's plans.

    In the final countdown to Christmas, the work stoppage was jeopardizing traditional family gatherings and meals of roasted capon for travelers in the Gare de Lyon and elsewhere across France.

    "Because of the strike, I might end up with no holiday or meal," said Michel Esmingeot, 65, who had walked five miles to the station only to find that his train was delayed by several hours. "I'm not even sure there is a train. I'll sleep in the train station if I have to and try again tomorrow. I don't want to end up alone on Christmas."

    Late last week, government officials and labor union leaders failed to reach an agreement to end one of the biggest general strikes in decades. Since Dec. 5, it has shut down most of Paris's public transportation network, forcing thousands to squeeze into the few running trains, or to commute by bike and scooter or on foot.

    Transportation workers have taken the lead against the government's plans to eliminate special retirement plans and create a universal points-based system, as part of an effort to encourage the French to work longer. 

    After meeting with the government last week, Philippe Martinez, the head of the General Confederation of Labor, one of the largest unions opposed to the changes, gave no indication of backing down and demanded the withdrawal of the government's plans.

    "We haven't changed course," Mr. Martinez said.

    Union leaders have scheduled a national day of strike on Jan. 9. But some labor officials said it was necessary to keep up the pressure during the holidays.

    On Monday, hundreds of strikers protested near the Gare de Lyon, and some set off smoke bombs inside the metro station and clashed with the riot police.

    Despite the inconvenience, the majority of the French population remained behind the strikers, though the level of support has dipped a couple of percentage points. According to a poll published Sunday in Le Journal du Dimanche, 51 percent backed the strike and 34 percent were opposed, with the rest expressing no opinion.

    In a continuing battle over public opinion, both the government and the unions have tried to capitalize on the public's frustrations over the holiday disruptions.


    Over the weekend, the national railway company and the unions pointed fingers at each other when rail officials announced the cancellation of a service allowing children to travel alone on certain trains.


    Company officials said that a lack of personnel because of the strike had given them no choice. Union officials said that workers accompanying the children were contractors who were not on strike, and accused company officials of "using children and their families to try to discredit" the strikers.

    The Christmas plans of at least 5,000 children were at stake.

    The railroad company eventually announced that it had secured 14 TGV trains to transport the children from Paris to Lyon, Marseilles, Bordeaux and other cities.

    Mr. Macron, who was in Ivory Coast over the weekend as part of a visit to West Africa, tried to take credit. "Solutions were found in response to our demands, in particular for the young children traveling alone," Mr. Macron said at a news conference in Abidjan, Ivory Coast's economic capital.

    Mr. Macron said the Constitution allowed the unions to strike.

    "But I believe that there are moments in the life of a nation when it's also good to know how to call a truce to respect families and the lives of families," he said, adding that respect was due those who "were separated and want to get together during the holidays."

    On Monday, only two of five TGV trains were operating, with regional express trains also having limited service.

    At the Gare de Lyon train station, many travelers were unsure whether they would make it to their final destinations.


    "It's already a miracle that I was able to come here this morning," said Samir Abdou-Eid, 68, who had managed to squeeze into a crowded commuter train from a suburb to the station, but arrived to find that his morning train to Montargis, about two hours southeast of Paris, had been canceled.


    He was not sure whether there was another train for him.

    "I'll sleep tonight in the station if I have to," said Mr... Abdou-Eid, a bag filled with chocolates and a cuddly toy rabbit and bear for his grandchildren at his feet. "I want to spend Christmas with them." 

    Asked about the strikers, Mr. Abdou-Eid held his nose and said, "No comment."

    Others expressed support for the strikers even though their holidays had been severely affected..

    The strike had wreaked havoc with Eric and Yolaine Ramond's plans to travel six days earlier, forcing them to adjust twice. 

    On Monday, they were finally able to take a TGV from their home in Valenciennes, in the north of France, to Paris, where they were hoping to catch a train south for a family gathering.

    "We're just a week late," Mr. Ramond, 58, said, adding, however, that he fully supported the transportation strikers.


    "The government is trying to rob them of something," he said, referring to a special pension plan enjoyed by some transportation workers.. "So they have to show that they're not sheep. Of course, it's inconveniencing us, but I support their right to strike."

    "It's the only way for them to be heard," Ms. Ramond, 57, said, though she added that she had been "frustrated" by the six-day delay.

    "I was fine," her husband said. "As long as we get there, it's fine — but not after the holidays."

    *---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

    *---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*


    4) Crisis Looms in Antibiotics as Drug Makers Go Bankrupt

    First Big Pharma fled the field, and now start-ups are going belly up, threatening to stifle the development of new drugs.

    By Andrew Jacobs, December 25, 2019

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/25/health/antibiotics-new-resistance.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage


    The former offices of Achaogen in South San Francisco. The company sold off the last of its lab equipment and fired its remaining scientists this past spring.Credit...Brian L.. Frank for The New York Times


    At a time when germs are growing more resistant to common antibiotics, many companies that are developing new versions of the drugs are hemorrhaging money and going out of business, gravely undermining efforts to contain the spread of deadly, drug-resistant bacteria. 

    Antibiotic start-ups like Achaogen and Aradigm have gone belly up in recent months, pharmaceutical behemoths like Novartis and Allergan have abandoned the sector and many of the remaining American antibiotic companies are teetering toward insolvency. One of the biggest developers of antibiotics, Melinta Therapeutics, recently warned regulators it was running out of cash.

    Experts say the grim financial outlook for the few companies still committed to antibiotic research is driving away investors and threatening to strangle the development of new lifesaving drugs at a time when they are urgently needed. 

    "This is a crisis that should alarm everyone," said Dr. Helen Boucher, an infectious disease specialist at Tufts Medical Center and a member of the Presidential Advisory Council on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria.


    The problem is straightforward: The companies that have invested billions to develop the drugs have not found a way to make money selling them. Most antibiotics are prescribed for just days or weeks — unlike medicines for chronic conditions like diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis that have been blockbusters — and many hospitals have been unwilling to pay high prices for the new therapies. Political gridlock in Congress has thwarted legislative efforts to address the problem.

    The challenges facing antibiotic makers come at time when many of the drugs designed to vanquish infections are becoming ineffective against bacteria and fungi, as overuse of the decades-old drugs has spurred them to develop defenses against the medicines.

    Drug-resistant infections now kill 35,000 people in the United States each year and sicken 2.8 million, according a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released last month. Without new therapies, the United Nations says the global death toll could soar to 10 million by 2050.

    The newest antibiotics have proved effective at tackling some of the most stubborn and deadly germs, including anthrax, bacterial pneumonia, E. coli and multidrug-resistant skin infections.

    The experience of the biotech company Achaogen, is a case in point. It spent 15 years and a billion dollars to win Food and Drug Administration approval for Zemdri, a drug for hard-to-treat urinary tract infections. In July, the World Health Organization added Zemdri to its list of essential new medicines.


    By then, however, there was no one left at Achaogen to celebrate.

    This past spring, with its stock price hovering near zero and executives unable to raise the hundreds of millions of dollars needed to market the drug and do additional clinical studies, the company sold off lab equipment and fired its remaining scientists. In April, the company declared bankruptcy.

    Public health experts say the crisis calls for government intervention. Among the ideas that have wide backing are increased reimbursements for new antibiotics, federal funding to stockpile drugs effective against resistant germs and financial incentives that would offer much needed aid to start-ups and lure back the pharmaceutical giants. Despite bipartisan support, legislation aimed at addressing the problem has languished in Congress.

    "If this doesn't get fixed in the next six to 12 months, the last of the Mohicans will go broke and investors won't return to the market for another decade or two," said Chen Yu, a health care venture capitalist who has invested in the field.


    The industry faces another challenge: After years of being bombarded with warnings against profligate use of antibiotics, doctors have become reluctant to prescribe the newest medications, limiting the ability of companies to recoup the investment spent to discover the compounds and win regulatory approval. And in their drive to save money, many hospital pharmacies will dispense cheaper generics even when a newer drug is far superior.

    "You'd never tell a cancer patient 'Why don't you try a 1950s drug first and if doesn't work, we'll move on to one from the 1980s," said Kevin Outterson, the executive director of CARB-X, a government-funded nonprofit that provides grants to companies working on antimicrobial resistance. "We do this with antibiotics and it's really having an adverse effect on patients and the marketplace."

    Many of the new drugs are not cheap, at least when compared to older generics that can cost a few dollars a pill. A typical course of Xerava, a newly approved antibiotic that targets multi-drug resistant infections, can cost as much as $2,000.


    "Unlike expensive new cancer drugs that extend survival by three-to-six months, antibiotics like ours truly save a patient's life," said Larry Edwards, chief executive of the company that makes Xerva, Tetraphase Pharmaceuticals. "It's frustrating."

    Tetraphase, based in Watertown, Mass., has struggled to get hospitals to embrace Xerava, which took more than a decade to discover and bring to market, even though the drug can vanquish resistant germs like MRSA and CRE, a resistant bacteria that kills 13,000 people a year.

    Tetraphase's stock price has been hovering around $2, down from nearly $40 a year ago. To trim costs, Mr. Edwards recently shuttered the company's labs, laid off some 40 scientists and scuttled plans to move forward on three other promising antibiotics.

    For Melinta Therapeutics based in Morristown, N.J., the future is even grimmer. Last month, the company's stock price dropped 45 percent after executives issued a warning about the company's long-term prospects. Melinta makes four antibiotics, including Baxdela, which recently received F.D.A. approval to treat the kind of drug-resistant pneumonia that often kills hospitalized patients. Jennifer Sanfilippo, Melinta's interim chief executive, said she was hoping a sale or merger would buy the company more time to raise awareness about the antibiotics' value among hospital pharmacists and increase sales.

    "These drugs are my babies, and they are so urgently needed," she said.

    Coming up with new compounds is no easy feat. Only two new classes of antibiotics have been introduced in the last 20 years — most new drugs are variations on existing ones — and the diminishing financial returns have driven most companies from the market. In the 1980s, there were 18 major pharmaceutical companies developing new antibiotics; today there are three.

    "The science is hard, really hard," said Dr. David Shlaes, a former vice president at Wyeth Pharmaceuticals and a board member of the Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership, a nonprofit advocacy organization. "And reducing the number of people who work on it by abandoning antibiotic R & D is not going to get us anywhere."

    A new antibiotic can cost $2.6 billion to develop, he said, and the biggest part of that cost are the failures along the way.


    Some of the sector's biggest players have coalesced around a raft of interventions and incentives that would treat antibiotics as a global good. They include extending the exclusivity for new antibiotics to give companies more time to earn back their investments and creating a program to buy and store critical antibiotics much the way the federal government stockpiles emergency medication for possible pandemics or bioterror threats like anthrax and smallpox.

    The DISARM Act, a bill introduced in Congress earlier this year, would direct Medicare to reimburse hospitals for new and critically important antibiotics. The bill has bipartisan support but has yet to advance.

    One of its sponsors, Senator Bob Casey, Democrat of Pennsylvania, said some of the reluctance to push it forward stemmed from the political sensitivity over soaring prescription drug prices. "There is some institutional resistance to any legislation that provides financial incentives to drug companies," he said.

    Washington has not entirely been sitting on its hands. Over the past decade, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, or BARDA, a federal effort to counter chemical, nuclear and other public health threats, has invested a billion dollars in companies developing promising antimicrobial drugs and diagnostics that can help address antibiotic resistance.

    "If we don't have drugs to combat these multi-drug resistant organisms, then we're not doing our job to keep Americans safe," Rick A. Bright, the director of the agency, said.

    Dr. Bright has had a firsthand experience with the problem. Two years ago, his thumb became infected after he nicked it while gardening in his backyard. The antibiotic he was prescribed had no effect, nor did six others he was given at the hospital. It turned out he had MRSA.

    The infection spread, and doctors scheduled surgery to amputate the thumb. His doctor prescribed one last antibiotic but only after complaining about its cost and warning that Dr. Bright's insurance might not cover it. Within hours, the infection began to improve and the amputation was canceled.


    "If I had gotten the right drug on Day 1, I would have never had to go to the emergency room," he said.

    Achaogen and its 300 employees had held out hope for government intervention, especially given that the company had received $124 million from BARDA to develop Zemdri.

    As recently as two years ago, the company had a market capitalization of more than $1 billion and Zemdri was so promising that it became the first antibiotic the F.D.A. designated as a breakthrough therapy, expediting the approval process.

    Dr. Ryan Cirz, one of Achaogen's founders and the vice president of research, recalled the days when venture capitalists took a shine to the company and investors snapped up its stock. "It wasn't hype," Dr. Cirz, a microbiologist, said. "This was about saving lives."

    In June, investors at the bankruptcy sale bought out the company's lab equipment and the rights to Zemdri for a pittance: $16 million. (The buyer, generics drug maker Cipla USA, has continued to manufacture the drug.) Many of Achaogen's scientists have since found research jobs in more lucrative fields like oncology.

    Dr. Cirz lost his life savings, but he said he had bigger concerns. Without effective antibiotics, many common medical procedures could one day become life-threatening.

    "This is a problem that can be solved, it's not that complicated," he said. "We can deal with the problem now, or we can just sit here and wait until greater numbers of people start dying. That would be a tragedy."

    Matt Richtel contributed reporting.

    *---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

    *---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*


    5) A Barrier to Trump's Border Wall: Landowners in Texas

    Construction of President Trump's border wall has been slow going, in part because the Texans who own the land have to be coaxed or coerced to sell it, whether they want to or not.

    By Zolan Kanno-Youngs, December 26, 2019

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/26/us/politics/trump-border-wall.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage


    President Trump hopes to deliver on his campaign promise to build 450 miles of new border wall by 2021.Credit...Ilana Panich-Linsman for The New York Times


    PROGRESO, Texas — Two days after giving the federal government his signature, Richard Drawe paused with his wife and mother on a levee that his family has owned for nearly a century to watch the cranes and roseate spoonbills.

    A border wall that he reluctantly agreed to put on his land will soon divide this Texan family from the whole scene: the levee, a lake, an onion field and all of those birds.

    Mr. Drawe, 69, doubts the wall will do much to stop illegal immigration, and though he supports the president who ordered it, he believes that the construction will "ruin" his life. But selling the land early on seemed better and cheaper than facing the government in court, only to have it take the land anyway, he reasoned. The wall, the lights and the roads will be built on about a dozen acres that his grandfather bought in the 1920s, and that will cut him off from the priceless views of the Rio Grande that he cherishes.


    "We just finally gave up," he said. "If they offered me a million dollars to build the wall, I would refuse it if I knew they wouldn't build it. I don't want the money. This is my life here."


    The White House is hoping more landowners along the border will make the same decision — and help President Trump deliver on his campaign promise to build 450 miles of new border wall by 2021.


    The list of challenges still facing Mr. Trump's "big, beautiful" wall include an investigation into construction contracts, funding delays and a recent legal decision blocking emergency access to Defense Department funds to build it. The nationwide injunction has, for now, curtailed wall work on 175 miles in Laredo and El Paso, Texas; in Yuma, Ariz.; and El Centro, Calif. 

    But access to private land like Mr. Drawe's may be the tallest barrier standing between the president and his wall. 

    The administration has thus far built only 93 miles of the new wall, nearly all of it on federal land where dilapidated barriers existed or vehicle barriers once stood, according to Customs and Border Protection. The border wall's final path is not yet set, but 162 miles of it will run through Southern Texas, and 144 miles of that is privately owned, according to the border agency. The Trump administration has acquired just three miles since 2017.


    The list of challenges still facing Mr. Trump's "big, beautiful" wall include an investigation into construction contracts, funding delays and a recent legal decision blocking emergency access to Defense Department funds to build it. The nationwide injunction has, for now, curtailed wall work on 175 miles in Laredo and El Paso, Texas; in Yuma, Ariz.; and El Centro, Calif. 

    But access to private land like Mr. Drawe's may be the tallest barrier standing between the president and his wall. 

    The administration has thus far built only 93 miles of the new wall, nearly all of it on federal land where dilapidated barriers existed or vehicle barriers once stood, according to Customs and Border Protection. The border wall's final path is not yet set, but 162 miles of it will run through Southern Texas, and 144 miles of that is privately owned, according to the border agency. The Trump administration has acquired just three miles since 2017.


    Throughout Mr. Trump's term, the White House has pushed the Department of Homeland Security to speed wall construction, an effort that has been led most recently by Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law. As the sense of urgency has grown, Mr. Trump — no stranger to the powers of eminent domain — has suggested during meetings to "take the land" of private landowners.

    The law is on the administration's side. Eminent domain lawyers and scholars said in interviews that landowners along the border have limited options once they receive a request from the government. 

    They can voluntarily allow the authorities to access and survey their land and, if officials decide they want it, accept the government's offer. Or they can be taken to court where they can argue for higher compensation. 

    But under the law, even before the landowners are paid in full, the government can begin construction.


    By using eminent domain powers, federal lawyers can argue in court that the construction of the wall is an emergency, which almost always results in the court granting the government physical possession of the land, according to Efrén C. Olivares, an attorney with the Texas Civil Rights Project. The government can then begin building — even as landowners litigate for full pay for years. 

    "It's like agreeing to sell your house, but only after do you agree on a set price," Mr. Olivares said. 

    The United States brought more than 300 cases against landowners for their property after President George W. Bush signed a bill to begin installing fencing along the border in 2006, according to the Texas Civil Rights Project. Just 46 of those cases are still ongoing. The government reached a settlement to acquire the land of most of the other property owners, and some of that fencing is now turning into a more substantial wall. Many landowners voluntarily let the government access their lands, Justice Department officials said.


    The Trump administration has picked up where the Bush administration left off, filing 48 lawsuits to survey and begin work on other parcels of property. 

    "They're going to acquire the land for their wall, whether you negotiate with them upfront or they end up filing a lawsuit and taking it by a declaration of taking," said Roy Brandys, an attorney specializing in eminent domain who represented Mr.. Drawe.

    Adding to the heartache is where the wall is actually going. The construction is not on the border, which runs along the Rio Grande. It is well within the U.S. side. Mr. Drawe will lose easy access to the land between the wall and the river — about 350 of his 525 acres. The government has agreed to pay him about $42,000 for the 12 acres that the wall will be built on and about $197,000 to compensate for depressing the value of his farm, Mr. Drawe said. Gates are supposed to provide access to his property south of the wall.


    By Mr. Drawe's reckoning, that might be of limited value. He has found packages of drugs on his farm before, he said, and is concerned that the cartel members Mr. Trump cites as the reason for the construction will take control of all the land south of the wall.

    "If the wall goes up," Mr. Drawe said, "it will be the new border."

    Becky Jones is preparing for a fight.. The administration recently sent Ms. Jones, 69, and her family a letter saying that they were preparing to take them to court if they did not allow the government to survey their farmland for border wall construction. 

    For Ms. Jones, the construction undercuts language in Congress's 2019 spending bill that said land within the Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge adjacent to her property would be exempt from the wall. She said the construction, which will run on the road alongside the refuge, will harm the wildlife she grew up admiring.

    "Forget deplorable Americans," she said, "you're disposable Americans if you happen to be on the south side of the wall."


    Ms. Jones and Mr. Drawe said they support Customs and Border Protection and border security. They just wish the administration would focus on changing the nation's immigration laws, adding agents and paying for technology to monitor the border instead of building an ineffective wall.

    To prove that point, Mr. Drawe produced a wooden ladder that he said was left abandoned by migrants in his fields near an old section of border wall.. Earlier this month, a video of a migrant using such a ladder to scale one side of the newly constructed wall and slide down to El Centro, Calif., went viral.


    Customs and Border Protection officials said the video showed the wall worked as planned: It slowed the migrant down long enough for agents to arrest the 16-year-old Mexican teenager.

    Officials with the Border Patrol said they are similarly not worried about migrants using power tools to cut through the wall. Despite Mr. Trump's boast of a "virtually impenetrable" barrier, Customs and Border Protection officials know full well breaches are coming and have lined up repair money from a $107 million infrastructure fund. 

    "When we see that this country is at the crisis that it's in, we need to take steps that may not be popular with everybody," said Carmen Qualia, the Rio Grande Valley assistant chief patrol agent. "But our responsibility has not changed." 

    In fact, the reality at the border has changed since Mr. Trump declared a national emergency. 

    His administration has severely limited the American asylum program, forcing more than 55,000 migrants to wait in Mexico for the duration of their cases. It has signed deals that return families back to Central America and limited the number of families that are released into the public with notice to return to immigration court. 

    Those policies and colder weather have pushed down arrests at the border by more than 70 percent since May, the height of the crossings this year, to 42,649 in November. And the demographics of those crossing are shifting from Central American families to Mexicans, who are easier to deport. 

    And while many of the migrant families surrendered to agents to request asylum last spring, agents along the border said they're preparing to see individuals take a more dangerous route to the United States as a result of Mr. Trump's strict policies.


    In the past three months, agents have found migrants hiding in a tractor-trailer in Texas and others hiding in furniture and washing machines in San Diego. 

    A 29-foot unfinished tunnel extending into Mexico was found in Nogales, Ariz. Immigration and Customs Enforcement found two pounds of heroin in another tunnel in the city in recent days. Customs and Border Protection intercepted $500,000 worth of methamphetamine and fentanyl on a remote-controlled ultralight plane in Tucson in May. 

    "It's almost like the wall is obsolete at that point," said Michael Maldonado, the 30-year-old son of Pamela Rivas, a landowner who has been fighting the government in court for 11 years. 

    The federal government in 2008 took Ms. Rivas to court to acquire portions of her land, which surrounds the Los Ebanos, Texas, port of entry to Mexico. Ms. Rivas has refused to agree to a payment, hoping her intransigence will delay the government's plans. 

    The government has not begun construction on her property yet, but it has secured possession of some of it, meaning the project can begin at any point, according to her attorney, Mr. Olivares. 

    Border Patrol agents regularly travel the dusty area, driving past the Rivas family's dilapidated shack that used to operate as a souvenir store for tourists. The land has been the family's since 1890, and they have so far outlasted the efforts of two presidents.


    "The longer that we can endure it, maybe something might change," Mr. Maldonado said. "Maybe a new administration comes in and says, 'you know, we're not going to deal with this.'"

    Kitty Bennett contributed research.

    *---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

    *---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*


    6) 30 Prosecutors Say Lamar Johnson Deserves a New Trial. Why Won't He Get One?

    Prosecutors nationwide say there is evidence of innocence for Lamar Johnson, who was convicted of murder. But Missouri's attorney general said a new trial would violate state law.

    By Richard A. Oppel Jr., December 26, 2019

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/25/us/criminal-justice-missouri-conviction.html?action=click&module=News&pgtype=Homepage


    Brittany Johnson urged the release of Mr. Johnson, her father, in St. Louis this month. His case was investigated for years by the Midwest Innocence Project.Credit...Jim Salter/Associated Press


    More than 30 elected prosecutors around the country have signed legal papers supporting a new trial for a Missouri man who has been in prison since his 1995 conviction for first-degree murder. 

    Now the case is headed for the Missouri Supreme Court in a legal effort that could bolster or undermine efforts by prosecutors nationwide to reopen cases where there are glaring questions about the verdict but unclear legal avenues for pursuing exoneration. 

    On Tuesday, a Missouri appeals court said it had no choice but to dismiss a case that sought to allow the elected prosecutor in St. Louis, Kim Gardner, to obtain a new trial for Lamar Johnson, whose case has become a cause célèbre for many recently elected district attorneys across the country. 

    Ms. Gardner is seeking the trial to present new evidence in hopes of finding Mr. Johnson innocent; in the years since his conviction, the only significant witness against him recanted, and two other men confessed that they alone were responsible for the crime.. St. Louis prosecutors say the case was also marred by other perjury and prosecutorial misconduct.


    Ruling on Christmas Eve, the Missouri appeals court judges made sure the case is not over. They specifically ordered it sent to the State Supreme Court for further review, saying the fight over Mr. Johnson's fate was an important case of "first impression" — the first time courts were having to interpret these legal issues.. 

    They also said the case raised "questions fundamental to our criminal justice system," such as to what extent prosecutors have a duty to correct wrongful convictions. And they added: "Resolution of these issues may require re-examination of existing law."

    Missouri's attorney general, Eric Schmitt, has fought the case in court, arguing that St. Louis prosecutors did not have the power to seek a new trial for Mr. Johnson, and that the courts did not have the power to consider the motion so long after his conviction. 

    Ms. Gardner's request for a new trial is simply not allowed under Missouri state law, Mr. Schmitt said in a court filing.

    She and Mr. Johnson are asking the court system "to act outside its authority and overturn the jury's verdict, decades after it became final," Mr. Schmitt stated. "This court has no power to hear Johnson's motion or to grant a new trial in this case.."


    Mr. Schmitt's objections mirror a growing number of cases where state attorneys general and governors have sought to curtail the power of a new wave of recently elected prosecutors to re-examine old convictions or curb prosecutions of minor crimes. 

    A judge in St.. Louis has already ruled against a new trial for Mr. Johnson; if the ruling were ultimately upheld it could make it almost impossible for prosecutors in Missouri to reopen similar cases in the future, no matter how persuasive any new evidence of innocence.


    Mr. Johnson's case was investigated for years by the Midwest Innocence Project, which turned its findings over to a conviction integrity unit that Ms. Gardner set up inside her office after she won election in 2016. Almost 60 district attorneys across the country now have conviction integrity units, which are charged with reviewing potentially wrongful verdicts. Collectively, they have played a role in almost 400 exonerations over the past dozen years.

    Any decision by Missouri's highest court would be binding in that state alone. But the closely watched case could influence the course of similar proceedings in other states that also do not have clear statutory mechanisms for allowing inmates a way to obtain a new trial when significant evidence of innocence emerges years after conviction.

    That appeared to be one reason the appeals judges ordered the case to the Missouri Supreme Court. Mr.. Johnson's case has "garnered national attention given the numerous jurisdictions with conviction integrity units facing similar questions of significance to the administration of justice in those states," the judges noted.

    The 34 prosecutors who have joined together to support Ms. Gardner's right to pursue a new trial for Mr. Johnson include district attorneys from Dallas, San Antonio and Milwaukee, and those from smaller municipalities in states including Mississippi, Virginia and Alabama.


    "Elected prosecutors should not be expected to await or rely on the actions of others to correct legal wrongs; indeed, they are ethically required to proactively address these concerns," the prosecutors wrote in a filing with the Missouri appeals court. They added, "Any erosion of this duty impedes the work of prosecutors and undermines the public trust."

    Miriam Krinsky, a former federal prosecutor who helped gather friend-of-the-court briefs supporting Ms. Gardner, said the appeals judges appeared to be frustrated that they did not have a way to resolve a case with such significant evidence of innocence.

    The "task list" the judges sent to the State Supreme Court "suggests they were deeply troubled about where they were forced to come out on this, and that they did not have a solution within their control," said Ms. Krinsky, executive director of Fair and Just Prosecution, an umbrella group of prosecutors elected on platforms of overhauling the criminal justice system. 

    "They wanted to ensure that this was not the end of it," she said.

    *---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

    *---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*


    7) In Indian Country, a Crisis of Missing Women. And a New One When They're Found.

    The federal government is trying to catch up with a crisis of missing Native American women. But no one is addressing the problems that arise when they're found.

    By Jack Healy, December 25, 2019

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/25/us/native-women-girls-missing.html?action=click&module=Well&pgtype=Homepage&section=US%20News


    From January to October, 86 Navajo people have gone missing nationwide, said Meskee Yanabah Yatsayte, a missing-persons advocate for the Navajo Nation.


    GALLUP, N.M.. — Prudence Jones had spent two years handing out "Missing" fliers and searching homeless camps and underpasses for her 28-year-old daughter when she got the call she had been praying for: Dani had been found. She was in a New Mexico jail, but she was alive. 

    It seemed like a happy ending to the story of one of thousands of Native American women and girls who are reported missing every year in what Indigenous activists call a long-ignored crisis. Strangers following Dani's case on social media cheered the news this past July: "Wonderful!" "Thank you God!" "Finally, some good news."

    But as Ms. Jones visited Dani in jail, saw the fresh scars on her body and tried to comprehend the physical and spiritual toll of two years on the streets, her family, which is Navajo, started to grapple with a painful and lonely epilogue to its missing-persons saga.

    "There's nothing for what comes after," said Ms. Jones, 48, who has five daughters. "How do you heal? How do you put your family back together? The one thing I've found is there's no support."


    Indigenous activists say that generations of killings and disappearances have been disregarded by law enforcement and lost in bureaucratic gaps concerning which local or federal agencies should investigate. 

    There is not even a reliable count of how many Native women go missing or are killed each year. Researchers have found that women are often misclassified as Hispanic or Asian or other racial categories on missing-persons forms and that thousands have been left off a federal missing-persons database.

    From state capitals to tribal councils to the White House, a grass-roots movement led by activists and victims' families is casting a national spotlight on the disproportionately high rates of violence faced by Indigenous women and girls.


    Several states, including New Mexico, have set up task forces. President Trump signed an executive order last month creating a task force to improve cooperation among Balkanized law enforcement agencies and address problems with basic data collection.


    Some tribal officials praised the move, but other activists criticized it as a hollow, belated gesture that failed to include tribes or survivors in its membership, and would do nothing to give tribes more authority to prosecute sex traffickers or others who prey on women and girls. They said its focus on rural reservations has also overlooked the large numbers of Native people in cities who become targets of violence.

    Tara Sweeney, assistant secretary for Indian Affairs in the Interior Department, said the task force had already met with survivors and Indigenous leaders in Arizona, Alaska, South Dakota and Washington State and was committed to including their voices in its recommendations.

    "We need to do something," she said.

    But for all the official promises to help, families like Dani's say they get little assistance in navigating a patchwork of tribal, state and federal law-enforcement agencies to find their missing relatives or heal their families if they are found.

    "Nothing happens afterwards — that's the scary thing," said Annita Lucchesi, whose group, the Sovereign Bodies Institute, has tallied numbers of missing and murdered from a jumble of police reports, news clippings, family contacts and social media posts. "Maybe a victim advocate from their tribe might offer some assistance. But that's a case-by-case basis."


    Activists describe the crisis as a legacy of generations of government policies of forced removal, land seizures and violence inflicted on Indigenous people. Hundreds of the missing never return, and families said they have struggled to find counseling and treatment for those who do. Some are trying to cope with the trauma of being trafficked. Some are confronting addiction or grappling with violence they suffered on the streets. Some had fled abuse at home and do not have a safe place to welcome them back. 

    There are also authorities and counselors who have failed to screen located Navajo women and girls as victims of sex trafficking, said Amber Kanazbah Crotty, a Navajo Nation Council delegate who has been studying the issue.

    On the Yakama reservation in Washington State, Larise Sohappy's family spent three weeks looking for her after she went missing in August 2018. Ms. Sohappy, 36, said she had been "lost in my addiction" after being in an abusive relationship.

    Her family rejoiced after relatives and tribal police found her, but Ms. Sohappy said she felt humiliated to suddenly be known as a Missing Person reading local newspaper articles about her family's search. One day, she walked into a convenience store in Toppenish and saw her own "Missing" poster on the wall. But when she tried to enroll in a tribal substance-abuse clinic, she said, she was told there was a two-week wait.

    "I kind of stopped trying," Ms. Sohappy said.

    She said her drinking got worse and she grew more despondent until one night in November, when she texted a suicide hotline as a last plea for help. This time, it worked. She is now in an outpatient treatment program in Portland, Ore., and taking classes in medical billing.

    "While I was gone I felt like nobody loved me and nobody cared about me," she said. "We're overlooked as a people."

    A lack of support or follow-up from social workers or victims' advocates makes it more likely that women and girls will go missing repeatedly. Some are written off as habitual runaways, activists said. In Washington State, Ms. Lucchesi has collected data showing that 83 percent of missing girls had been reported missing more than once.


    "We see these kids going missing over and over again until eventually they don't come back," she said.

    The crisis has turned families into search parties and parents into private detectives. They draw grids across rural reservations and fan out through chaparral and sagebrush. They crack into their children's social media accounts to search for a telltale direct message.

    Around the Navajo Nation, volunteer activists set up their own version of an Amber Alert to supplement the spotty official alert systems. They pin "Missing" posters to the bulletin boards of grocery stores.

    They provide a live accounting of missing-persons cases. From January to October, 86 Navajo men and women have gone missing nationwide, said Meskee Yanabah Yatsayte, a missing-persons advocate for the Navajo Nation since 2013. She said 55 of them had been found safe, 21 were found dead and 10 were still missing. 

    Ms. Yatsayte said the focus on missing women and girls had also ignored a parallel crisis among men and boys, and she has urged tribal leaders and other government officials to widen their focus.

    Dani went missing from Gallup in September 2017 after years of drug use and personal and legal problems. Court records show she had lost custody of her two young children and been arrested several times earlier that year on charges that included burglary and fleeing the police in a stolen truck after a police officer reported seeing her and another man — both apparently on drugs — trying to break into a self-storage unit..


    Dani's family, which asked that she not be identified by her full name because of concerns about her privacy and mental condition, called the police and began papering streetlights with "Missing" posters.. 

    Her twin sisters, Ashley and Renee, 20, posted on her Facebook account in the hopes that Dani would log in and notice. The family followed sightings and rumors of her to Las Vegas and Southern California. 

    The charges against Dani were dropped, and she was released from jail after she was found not competent. It was the only psychological examination she has received, Ms.. Jones said. 

    Dani has told her family little about what happened during the two years she was missing, living mostly on the streets and in homeless camps. "It was hard," she said one afternoon.

    If she spoke in straight lines before, her thoughts now meander. She arranges and rearranges shampoo and soaps on the windowsill of the motel room she shares with her mother and her sister Ashley. She collects scraps of dirty fabric and sometimes forgets she is no longer 26..

    "28, honey," Ms. Jones reminded her one night. "It's been two years."

    When missing children are located, police officers and child-protection investigators are often tasked with following up. But Dani is a legal adult, though one with no Medicaid coverage or bank account.. 

    Ms. Jones said she and Dani's sisters have tried to welcome her back with love and comfort. But Dani has resisted when Ms. Jones suggested going to the packed walk-in clinic at the Indian Health Service hospital, and Ms. Jones worries that if she pushes too hard for counseling or drug treatment or the doctor, Dani will slip away. 

    One chilly afternoon, she did. She had not returned to the motel on Route 66 where the family now lives, and it was getting dark fast. 

    So Ms. Jones set out to find her daughter again, swinging her gray Chevy by landmarks that might have drawn her. They passed a street preacher sermonizing to a group of homeless people. An ex-boyfriend's house.

    "I didn't see her," said Ashley, sitting in the back seat.

    "Shoot," Ms. Jones murmured. "We might get her.. We might not."

    Then, they pulled into an alley and there she was, talking to two friends in a car. Ashley approached and told her, gently, "I like your hair."


    Ashley and her twin, Renee, said they grew up being mothered by Dani and their two other older sisters, carried around on her back at family parties. "I'm the big sister now," Ashley said. They struggled with not knowing whether Dani was alive or dead, and now, loving her despite not knowing who, exactly, their sister is.

    "She's there, but she's not the same Dani," Renee said. "You can kiss her and talk to her, but the Dani who's here isn't there as much."


    One night, the four women sat on the double beds in the motel room, looking at old photos of themselves riding horses, at parties and Disneyland, and talking about their hopes of leaving Gallup for a fresh start with relatives in the Eastern United States. Then Dani started pacing the room, twirling a cigarette as she edged toward the door.

    Her mother looked up: "Stay close, O.K.?"

    John Eligon contributed reporting from Kansas City, Mo.


    *---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

    *---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*


    8) Anguish and Anger From the Navy SEALs Who Turned In Edward Gallagher

    Video interviews and group texts obtained by The Times show men describing their platoon leader in grim terms.

    By David Phillipps, December 27, 2019

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/27/us/navy-seals-edward-gallagher-video.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage


    The murder of a twelve-year-old wounded boy.