2/07/2020

bauaw2003 BAUAW NEWSLETTER, FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 2020

 




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Stop the Extradition! Free Julian Assange!


Julian Assange is an innocent political prisoner. He is a journalist and publisher. His work with Wikileaks has provided vital information about what is being done behind our backs by the US government, information that we need to know. His upcoming trial on the 25th of February in London threatens him with likely imprisonment for life. 


See article, below.


Upcoming events in defense of Assange:


Saturday, 2 pm 15 February:

The Prosecution  of Julian Assange: His Right to Publish is Our Right to Know

Speakers: Jim Goodale, former New York Times General Counsel; Renata Avila, international lawyer, public and legal advocate for Assange; Max Blumenthal, journalist, The Grayzone; Glen Ford, executive editor, Black Agenda Report.

- at 2 Ct Square West, Long Island City, NY, 11101.


Monday, 24 February:

Global Protests: First Day of Julian Assange's extradition hearing

New York City: 11 am: UK Consulate, 2nd Ave & E 48th St., New York City.

San Francisco: 12 pm: British Consulate General, 1 Sansome St, San Francisco


Also:

Bay Area: Every Friday 4 pm: Basta! Free Chelsea and Julian, Fruitvale and MacArthur, Oakland


And see: Courage Foundation at couragefound.org





Tuesday, 25 February: Extradition trial begins in Belmarsh Prison, London.

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This Article is from Socialist Viewpoint, Jan-Feb, 2020.  socialistviewpoint.org






The Torture of Julian Assange:

US Takes One More Step Towards Fascism

By Chris Kinder

Julian Assange is a journalist who has committed no crime. He is only "guilty" of publishing information revealing the war crimes and other deceits of US imperialism, ie, things we the public should all know. Yet he--the truth teller and publisher of Wikileaks--is treated by the US as if he was the worst criminal the world has ever seen. This is all done to intimidate the media, and cover up the crimes of the imperialist ruling class of the US. 

The crimes of the US include the murder of innocent civilians, including children and journalists. The now famous video "Collateral Murder" showing one such incident in brutal detail, had been provided by Chelsea Manning, formerly (as Bradley Manning) of the US military in Iraq. Manning is a heroine truth-teller who was jailed once for releasing documents, and is now locked up for a second time by the US for refusing to testify against Julian Assange in a kangaroo-court grand jury set up to frame Assange.

Manning is not the only one jailed for refusing to testify against Assange before this secretive grand jury. Jeremy Hammond, a member of the hacktivist network Anonymous, is serving a decade in prison for allegedly disclosing information about the private intelligence firm Strategic Forecasting, Inc. (Stratfor), revealing that they had been spying on human rights defenders at the behest of corporations and governments; documents which were published by Wikileaks.  

Assange Faces Bogus Charge of Espionage

Assange is accused by the US, under the World War I-era Espionage Act, of conspiring with Manning to obtain secret documents. There is no evidence for this alleged conspiracy whatsoever. Assange is a journalist/publisher, not a whistle-blower. He receives documents from whistle-blowers and publishes them. No one has ever accused him of illegal activity, nor shown his revelations to be inaccurate in any way. Furthermore, all the major US media, the NY Times, Washington Post and many others, have published the same material, straight from Wikileaks!

That is what the US ruling class wants to never happen again. But they can't treat the US media as they are treating Assange! After all the US media is already about as subservient as it can be, and is owned by big corporations, for whom the US government is the lap-dog. But what they can do is the modern-day equivalent of putting Assange's head on a spike, displayed for all to see. The message to both journalists and publishers is: first amendment rights be damned, don't publish leaked material ever again! The threat to freedom of speech is blatant.(1)

UK-US Extradition Is Not For Political Offenses

This is why the US is determined to extradite Assange from Britain--even though he is not a US citizen (he's Australian) and his work with Wikileaks is based in Britain, not the US. They want to give him a life sentence--likely in solitary confinement--to shut him away in some US dungeon until he dies. And that's if they don't manage to kill him while he is in Belmarsh. All this is to intimidate any journalist or any publisher from repeating Assange's exposure of US war crimes..

Assange is falsely accused under the Espionage Act, but his actual "crime" was in exposing US war crimes for all to see. He didn't steal this evidence, he just published it, after it was already revealed. Clearly, this was a political act, not a criminal one. If the law actually played any role in this, which obviously it does not for the US and UK officials, it would prevent Assange's extradition from the UK to the US, because extradition for political offenses is illegal under the treaty governing extradition between the US and the UK. The treaty is clear: "Extradition shall not be granted if the offense for which extradition is requested is a political offense." (2) 

Assange had Asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy, Until...

Assange now awaits an extradition hearing set for February 2020. He is currently confined in Belmarsh, the top-security prison in Britain, a hell-hole on the outskirts of London where accused "terrorists" are sent to be tortured, rot away and/or die. Assange is kept there in isolation for 23 hours per day. Assange is no terrorist, and indeed no criminal whatsoever. He was sent there after police, at the behest of the US, invaded the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, and dragged him out. He was then locked up in Belmarsh for the crime of... skipping bail! Normally there would be no jail time for this at all, and certainly not in Belmarsh. But not so with Julian Assange. 

Assange's earlier political asylum, granted by Ecuador under Rafael Correa had been withdrawn by the new right-wing president Lenin Moreno. Moreno has allowed the US to use the Galapagos Islands--a precious natural site explored by Darwin--as  a military airfield, signed an agreement with the IMF, and agreed to hand over Assange to the US and its CIA vultures.(3)  

Police were allowed to come into the Ecuadorean embassy in London, where Assange had found refuge from the threat of extradition to the US for years. The US now had Assange where they wanted him: imprisoned, and on a fast-track to extradition to the US, under a trumped-up charge of "espionage." But that is just the beginning.

US/CIA Interference Against Assange In UK Court

In order to cater to the support of the US on the eve of Britain's separation from the European Union, British authorities have bent over backward to do whatever the US wants. That was shown in the Westminster Magistrates Court on 21 October 2019 in which Assange appeared for a hearing on the management and timing of the extradition proceedings. Assange's lawyers wanted to allow more time for Assange to prepare his defense before the extradition hearing. All of Assange's records and documents had been seized when he was arrested and forced out of the Ecuadorean Embassy, and he has been allowed only very limited contact with his lawyers while in Belmarsh prison. 

As if to add insult to injury, officials from the US embassy were seen to be openly conferring with the prosecution in the Magistrates Court during the hearing. And the magistrate (judge), Vanessa Baraitser, completely ignored all the defense arguments and denied their claims for delay at the end of the hearing, without any further consideration. This was the same magistrate who a month earlier had ruled that Assange will remain in prison, despite the fact that his sentence for "absconding" bail expired on September 22. The extradition trial stays set for February, but in addition, it will now be held, not in the Westminster Magistrates Court, but in the much more restricted court in Belmarsh prison, which is hard to get to and has only 3 seats for public observers of the proceedings!

The CIA Spied on Assange's Privileged Contact With His Lawyers!

Even more importantly, a case now proceeding in a Spanish court shows that the CIA had contracted with a Spanish company to spy on Assange while in the Embassy, including recording privileged conversations between Assange and his lawyers, in which his defense against the up-coming extradition proceedings was discussed. Such a charge would normally be grounds for the immediate dismissal of the case for extradition. Assange's lawyers sought a delay to the extradition trial in order to allow time for the Spanish court to submit its findings, so that they could be heard at the upcoming extradition hearing. But Magistrate Baraitser ignored this.

All this was reported by a former British ambassador and friend of Assange, Craig Murray, who attended the hearing, and who said, "The charade might as well have been cut and the US government simply sat on the bench to control the whole process." (4) 

Did the CIA Torture Assange in a British Prison?

Murray also said that from his appearance at the hearing, Assange appears to have been viciously tortured while in Belmarsh Prison. Murray reported: "I was badly shocked by just how much weight my friend has lost, by the speed his hair has receded and by the appearance of premature and vastly accelerated aging. He has a pronounced limp I have never seen before. Since his arrest he has lost over 15 kg in weight." Murray goes on, "But his physical appearance was not as shocking as his mental deterioration. When asked to give his name and date of birth, he struggled visibly over several seconds to recall both... it was a real struggle for him to articulate the words and focus his train of thought." 

UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer, who found earlier in 2019 that Assange was the victim of a protracted campaign of "psychological torture," has repeatedly condemned the British authorities for jailing him in a maximum-security prison. In a letter to the British government in May, Melzer stated that the conditions of Assange's detention had resulted in his "continued exposure to progressively severe psychological suffering and the ongoing exacerbation of his pre-existing trauma."(5)

Assange's Health--and Life--is at Stake

On 25 November 2019 the New York Times reported that "The mental and physical condition of Julian Assange has so deteriorated that he could die in a British jail before his February hearing on extradition to the United States, a group of international doctors has warned." In an open letter to the UK Home Secretary, the doctors called for Mr. Assange to be transferred from the high-security Belmarsh prison in London to a university teaching hospital to receive an expert medical assessment.(6)

These alarming reports about Assange, who was coherent and relatively healthy when arrested, combined with the US Embassy officials directing the prosecution with British officials at the October hearing, which signifies their deep and direct involvement, leads to only one conclusion: the CIA is torturing Assange in Belmarsh Prison to the point of incapacity to deal with his own case. This severe treatment could be destroying his mind, and even threatening him with death.

The CIA MK-Ultra Program

Death was a frequent occurrence for the victims of the CIA's secret MK-Ultra program, run for 20 years in the 1950s through early 1970s. This CIA "mind control" program involved giving huge doses of LSD and other drugs to various experimental victims who were often not informed that experiments were being performed on them. Besides LSD, MK-Ultra used other chemicals, electroshocks, hypnosis, sensory deprivation, solitary confinement, and verbal and sexual abuse, all amounting to torture.

A new book by Stephen Kinzer reports on this in a description of how one man, Sidney Gottlieb, conducted this "work" in secret--even in secret within the CIA. CIA tops ordered it, but didn't want to know about the gruesome details. The original purpose was to both destroy a person's mind completely, and then recreate it in accordance with the desires of the perpetrators. As reported by Kinzer, this CIA project "was a continuation of the work begun in World War II-era Japanese facilities and Nazi concentration camps on subduing and controlling human minds."  Kinzer cites evidence that this was a continuation of a Nazi agenda, pursued at the Dachau concentration camp, and facilitated through the CIA's secret recruitment of Nazi torturers and vivisectionists at the end of the war.(7)

The MK-Ultra program was terminated in 1973, but anyone who thinks that the CIA would not now use these techniques to attempt to destroy the mind of a perceived enemy such as Assange is delusional.

Torture, a Long CIA Record

The MK-Ultra project headed by Gottlieb began on the order of CIA director Allen Dulles; it was a part of the Cold War against the Soviet Union. The conclusion of this particular program was that while it was possible to destroy a person's mind, it was not possible to recreate a new mind in it's place. But that was not the end of the story.

"Rendition" proved that the US was not done with torture, far from it. Ronald Reagan authorized a rendition in 1987, and Clinton authorized rendition to nations known to practice interrogation, which was dubbed "torture by proxy." George W Bush rendered hundreds for detention in foreign sites, and "extraordinary rendition" was continued under Obama. The UK authorities, specifically MI5 and MI6 (British security units), were complicit in renditions done by the US. "The Report," a new documentary film on CIA torture in rendition sites, displays CIA "enhanced interrogation" techniques, including use of graphic images, and shows that the real extent of this torture has been underestimated and hidden from the world.(8)

Belmarsh prison is the latest "rendition" torture site, with Assange in the CIA's cross hairs.

Did Assange Commit Rape?

Perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of this case for some leftists to understand is the "charge" of the rape of two women in Sweden which was leveled against Assange in the press. In general, believing the woman in a rape charge is important for many reasons: women are often afraid to come forward after the fact, the police are highly disrespectful and don't bother to process "rape kits," and while DNA evidence may be available, often the lack of con-sensuality in the act is difficult to prove. And while Assange has always maintained his innocence in this, and offered to be interrogated by Swedish officials, the charge still leaves a question as to his character. 

But unlike most rape cases, this one is vastly different: it has the footprints of the CIA all over it!

First of all, this alleged "rape" came up just months after Assange enraged the US war makers with the release of the "Collateral Murder" video, which showed the blatant killing of civilians in Iraq by US troops from a helicopter. 

Secondly, no official charge of rape has ever been leveled against Assange! The two women involved did not allege rape, and would not sign onto a charge of rape. A Swedish tabloid went public with the story of an alleged rape, which is how Assange found out about it.

It Was All About Assange's Extradition to the US 

After a senior Swedish prosecutor cancelled an arrest warrant for Assange, saying the evidence "disclosed no crime at all," another prosecutor mysteriously re-started the case. Assange went to the police to make a statement, and waited for 5 weeks to be questioned. He left Sweden only after being told by a prosecutor that he was not wanted for questioning.

After Assange left Sweden, Interpol strangely issued a Red Notice for Assange, something usually used for dangerous criminals and terrorists. At the same time--as we now know--a grand Jury in Eastern Virginia (which is notoriously in the home turf of the CIA-US Intelligence community) had begun proceedings to find a way to put Assange to death or jail him for life. 

As grand juries often are, this was a set-up. For us to not add 2 and 2 to make four... 

"You Would Have To Be Out of Your Mind"

We should have no doubt: the "rape" charge against Assange was a CIA construct from day one. Since when does the US or UK governments concern themselves with rape charges abroad (or even at home)? Yet the UK Supreme Court ruled that Assange should be extradited to Sweden for something he was not even charged with; and the Swedish government refused to give any assurance that Assange would not be extradited from there to the US! This--in 2012--is when Assange sought and received asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. 

Caitlin Johnstone, who defines herself as a 100% reader funded "rogue journalist" believes that, "rape culture is a ubiquitous societal illness that needs to be rolled back far beyond the conventional understanding of rape as a stranger in a dark alley forcibly penetrating some man's wife or daughter at knife point."

And about Assange? Johnstone said, "...you'd have to be out of your mind to believe a completely unproven allegation about a known target of US intelligence agencies. It's just as stupid as believing unproven claims about governments targeted for US regime change, like believing Saddam had WMD." (my emphasis) And: "...the fact remains that even if Assange were somehow to be proven guilty of rape, the argument 'he's a rapist' is not a legitimate reason to support a US extradition and prosecution which would set a precedent that poses a threat to press freedom everywhere." (9)

The Official Swedish Report  

A piece in the Observer, a London-based weekly newspaper, revealed facts as laid out in the official Swedish report on the Assange alleged rape case. Published in 2016, this report confirms that 1. neither woman charged Assange with rape; 2. both women kept him in their respective abodes for days after the sexual incidents concerned; 3. The two women "make it clear that their negative feelings after their sexual adventures with Mr. Assange were entirely due to the broken condoms and their fear of HIV"; 4. Assange remained in Stockholm for 5 weeks in mid-August 2010 in which he was wanted for questioning, and left only after the Swedish prosecutors dropped the case. (10)

The investigation was immediately reopened by another prosecutor, but after Assange was safely locked up and expected to be railroaded into US clutches for extradition, the case was closed for a final time in November 2019.

Women Against Rape Oppose Extradition of Assange

We do not tolerate any phony defense arguments against a rape charge, such as "how was she dressed" or "she was asking for it," or "having unprotected sex without the woman's permission shouldn't qualify as sexual assault." That is not what this is about! 

As Women Against Rape spokespersons Katrin Axelsson and Lisa Longstaff put it in a Guardian article, "When Julian Assange was first arrested, we were struck by the unusual zeal with which he was being pursued for rape allegations. It seems even clearer now, that the allegations against him are a smokescreen behind which a number of governments are trying to clamp down on Wikileaks for having audaciously revealed to the public their secret planning of wars and occupations with their attendant rape, murder and destruction."

Axelsson and Longstaff also point out that the two women involved have been mistreated as well, both by the system and the public. This not withstanding, they oppose extradition for Assange.(11)

Socialists Must Defend Julian Assange

This a no-brainer: No extradition! Free Julian Assange immediately! And, freedom for Chelsea Manning and Jeremy Hammond now!

 Assange falls in the category of muckraker, or in modern usage, investigative reporter. But journalists like Assange have played an important part in exposing the crimes of capitalism and imperialism throughout history. Consider, Upton Sinclair (1878–1968) who wrote The Jungle (1906), which exposed the US meat-packing industry; John Spargo (1876–1966), who was an early biographer of Karl Marx, a reformer and author of The Bitter Cry of Children about child labor; and Lincoln Steffens (1866–1936), who produced The Shame of the Cities (1904), which uncovered the corruption of several political machines in major cities.

Also, Ida M. Tarbell (1857–1944). She was one of the leading muckrakers of the Progressive era, and an early pioneer of investigative journalism. She wrote the expos√©, The History of the Standard Oil Company




And Ida B. Wells (1862-1931), an African American investigative journalist who was born in slavery. Wells came to co-own and write for the Memphis Free Speech and Headlight, and was one of the founders of the NAACP. She condemned the flaws in the United States justice system that allowed lynching to happen, and supported the women's suffrage movement, among many other things. 




Working people need these important truth-tellers.

The harsh treatment of many of these Progressive Era journalists and investigators was severe. But what Assange is going through today? The treatment of Assange shows how the US imperialist ruling class has used modern control of information and advanced torture techniques to tighten the screws on opposition, wherever it arises. This is not fascism yet. But the essential ground work needed to solidify the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie in a fascist fashion is being built. The torture of Julian Assange is one important tentacle of this capitalist octopus.

Julian Assange is a libertarian, not a socialist, but his cause is critical to the class struggle against imperialist capitalism: we must know the truth of ruling class crimes.  

The working class needs to mobilize behind a program which includes defense of muckrakers and whistle-blowers such as Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, and Jeremy Hammond. This is an important part of revolutionary solution to the increasingly corrupt and oppressive bourgeois society that confines us all.


Notes:

(1) Displaying heads on a pike after the crushing of a revolt, and posting them on the roads leading into town, is an ancient tyrannical practice which was widely used by slaveocracy rulers in the US after crushing slave revolts.

(2) See the US-UK Extradition Treaty, at: https://fas.org/irp/world/uk/extradite.pdf 

(3) The Long Coup in Ecuador 




(4) Craig Murray, "Assange In Court," 22 October 2019. www.craigmurray.org.uk

(5) "British Judge Jails Assange Indefinitely, Despite End of Prison Sentence..." https://williambowles.info/2019/09/14/british-judge-jails-assange-indefinitely-despite-end-of-prison-sentence-by-oscar-grenfell/  




(6) New York Times, Julian Assange 'Could Die' in U.K. Jail, Doctors Warn. And see the Open Letter at: https://gallery.mailchimp.com/b8b7715550074d7bd8f284baa/files/9a2a226f-067a-4b4c-86c9-100edf4e3681/Letter_from_medical_doctors_re_Mr_Julian_Assange_22_Nov_2019_EMBARGO_TILL_MIDNIGHT_NOVEMBER_24.pdf.




(7) Stephen Kinzer, Poisoner In Chief, Sidney Gottlieb and the CIA Search for Mind Control, New York 2019.  

(8) "The Report review – gripping, fiery drama on CIA torture investigation," The Report review – gripping, fiery drama on CIA torture investigation. "The Report" is available for streaming on Amazon Prime.




(9) Caitlin Johnstone, "Responding To Assange's Critics 1-3," in Tariq Ali and Margaret Kunstler, editors, In Defense of Julian Assange, OR Books, 2019. Find the complete original Johnstone article, "Debunking All the Assange Smears," (29 total) at The Medium: Debunking All The Assange Smears 




(10) Celia Farber, "Exclusive New Docs Throw Doubt on Julian Assange Rape Charges in Stockholm," Observer, 05 February 2016. Exclusive: Best Western Rides Off Into the Sunset With J Public Relationsnew-docs-throw-doubt-on-julian-assange-rape-charges-in-stockholm/.




(11) Katrin Axelsson and Lisa Longstaff, We are Women Against Rape but we do not want Julian Assange extradited, the Guardian, 23 August 2012. We are Women Against Rape but we do not want Julian Assange extradited | Katrin Axelsson and Lisa Longstaff





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Presidential candidate Gloria La Riva denounces Trump's new Iran sanctions

La Riva speaking on human impact of U.S. Sanctions

Campaign tweet of La Riva at anti-war protest speaking on the human impact of U..S. sanctions

"Sanctions are a silent killer that have already had devastating effects in Iraq and Iran. I denounce Mike Pompeo's and Steven Mnuchin's announcement of more sanctions on Iran, which are solely intended to create suffering on the Iranian people," said Gloria La Riva, 2020 presidential candidate and longtime anti-war activist.

"It is clear that the Trump administration is not backing down from its belligerence. In fact, Trump is forcefully pursuing further confrontation, and is all the more reason for us to remain mobilized against a new war on Iran."

Join the Sat. Jan. 25 – Global Day of Protest – No War On Iran!

"Sanctions are an act of war," she continued, "I traveled three times to Iraq during the 1990's when the United States government imposed a total blockade of the country for more than 12 years. I witnessed the human toll, thousands of people dying every month from the blocking of food, medicine, and infrastructure materials after the 78-day U.S.. military bombing of 1991."

La Riva produced the 1998 award-winning documentary, Genocide by Sanctions: The Case of Iraq, based on her investigative work there...

"And now President Trump, via executive order, is virtually tightening a noose on Iran." In the Friday address Treasury Secretary Mnuchin announced that Trump's sanctions included penalties that would be applied to any individual or governments trading with or involved with Iranian construction, manufacturing, textiles or mining industries.

"Sanctions are designed to destabilize a country's society, they are part of a larger war drive," La Riva said. "They hit the most vulnerable people first, the sick, young children, elderly and the poor because they lose access to necessary items. In Iran the prices of potatoes have already increased over 300% from previous sanctions. The costs of rice and chicken and many other goods have gone up.... The point of sanctions is to create suffering—with these kinds of acts it is no wonder Iran and the Iraqi Parliament have called for the expulsion of the U.S. military from the region.

"There is no justification for these sanctions. In fact United Nations resolutions state that there is no justification for policies that target a whole population.. Such an act of aggression is recognized as genocide."

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed that Iranian general Qassem Soleimani was behind imminent threats to Americans but when asked for specifics, he only cited the death of a U.S.. contractor killed in Iraq. However, that was weeks prior to the killing of Soleimani.

La Riva said, "by logic and definition a past occurrence does not constitute not an imminent threat. What we know instead is that with Trump's abrogation of the JCPOA, he embarked a while ago on an offensive that the people of the United States and worldwide are extremely worried about.."

La Riva has been in the streets of San Francisco with thousands of other people demanding No New War on Iran...

She is running nationally for the Party for Socialism and Liberation, and in California she is seeking the Peace and Freedom Party nomination. Her vice-presidential candidate is Leonard Peltier, Native political prisoner unjustly held in federal prison now for 43 years.

Point five of La Riva's Presidential 10 Point Program reads, "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!"

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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!

★ 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.

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Chelsea Manning just spent another birthday behind bars.


Sign the Petition: Free Chelsea Manning Now

Judge Anthony Trenga

Chelsea-1000x600

In 2010, former military intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning disclosed earth-shattering information about the nature of asymmetric warfare and U.S. handling of global affairs. And she paid dearly for it. Chelsea was incarcerated for years, including long stretches in solitary confinement, under conditions that the United Nations condemned as torture.

After millions of people around the world spoke out and demanded her release, Chelsea's sentence was commuted. But the US government did not stop persecuting her.

Now, Chelsea has been back in jail for nine months, and faces nine more. Not because she has committed any crime, but because of her conscientious objection to participating in a secretive grand jury investigation into the publication of her 2010 disclosures.

Between their original forensic investigation and Chelsea's detailed statement at court martial, the government gained exhaustive knowledge about her role in the disclosures. They have no need for her testimony—they obtained at least one indictment a full year before she was called to testify before the grand jury, and disclosed another two months after she was jailed for her refusal to do so.

Chelsea's refusal to participate in this process is part of a long history of resistance to grand juries, which are routinely used to harass and entrap activists, journalists, and truth tellers. In a shocking move, the judge in the case has imposed massive fines on Chelsea, charging her $1,000 per day while the US government holds her in "coercive confinement," ostensibly to convince her to agree to their demand that she give testimony to the grand jury.

We know Chelsea Manning's name because she is a principled and fearless advocate for her beliefs. She is prepared to spend another nine months in confinement, and to bear the crushing debt of these unprecedented fines..... Senior U...S... officials, including the Secretary of State and the President himself have publicly expressed their hostility toward her. It could not be more clear that the government wishes to punish Chelsea further for her 2010 disclosures. It could not be more clear that she will never comply with the grand jury.

Chelsea has already served half of the 18 month maximum that the government can hold her. She's about to spend another birthday in a jail cell.. The US government has no legal justification for continuing to imprison her. This must stop. Sign the petition now to send the following letter to Judge Trenga demanding Chelsea Manning's immediate release.

To: Judge Anthony Trenga 
From: 

Dear Honorable Judge Trenga,

I am writing to ask you to recognize that continuing to keep Chelsea Manning behind bars is both futile and cruel. She is known to the world as a principled advocate, and everything she does and says demonstrates her strong will and commitment to her ideals. Her testimony in this grand jury is not needed, and her current incarceration appears to be an attempt to punish her further for past offenses.. As she will never be convinced to betray her principles, even by jail time or burdensome fines, her imprisonment does not serve the interests of the grand jury, the government, the court, or the law.

Please make the right decision and order her release so that she may return to her community and heal in peace.

Questions and comments may be sent to info@freedomarchives....org


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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



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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&




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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

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Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 863......9977 https://freedomarchives.....org/




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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.....


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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.....



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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

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Mobilization4Mumia

215-724-1618

Mobilizatio4Mumia.com

  mobilization4mumia@gmail.com

PRESS RELEASE

Contact Sophia Williams 917-806-0521, Ted Kelly 610-715-6924 or Joe Piette 610-931-2615


Philadelphia, Jan. 30 - Mumia Abu-Jamal has always insisted on his innocence in the death of police officer Daniel Faulkner, blaming police, judicial and prosecutorial misconduct for his politically-tainted conviction. Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner is expected to announce his response this week to the legal briefs for Post Conviction Relief Act hearings and the request to remand Abu-Jamal's case back to Common Pleas court, filed by his attorneys in early September 2019.


Abu-Jamal's supporters will rally outside DA Krasner's office at 4:30 on Friday, January 31, whether or not he challenges Mumia's appeals. We call for Mumia's release.


Recent exonerations of 10 Philadelphia residents unfairly convicted for crimes they did not commit reveal a simple truth - the Philadelphia police, courts and prosecutors convicted innocent Black men based on gross violations of their constitutional rights. The same patterns of constitutional violations plague the case of Abu-Jamal.

Since Jan. 2018, Sherman McCoy, James Frazier, Dwayne Thorpe, Terrance Lewis, Jamaal Simmons, Dontia Patterson, John Miller, Willie Veasey, Johnny Berry and Chester Holmann III have all been exonerated by DA Larry Krasner's Conviction Integrity Unit


Philadelphia is not alone. The National Registry of Exonerations counted 165 exonerations last year. The registry has tallied 2,500 wrongful convictions since 1989, costing defendants more than 22,000 years of incarceration.

Seven of the ten men released in Philadelphia were convicted by longtime district attorney Lynne Abraham, a "tough-on-crime" prosecutor who regularly sought maximum punishments and death spentences. Abraham as Common Pleas Court Judge arraigned Abu-Jamal in 1981and years later as District Attorney fought his post conviction relief hearings..


Ineffective counsel, false witness testimony, witness coercion and intimidation, phony ballistics evidence, prosecution failure to turn over evidence to the defense as required by law, racist jury selections -- these and other legal errors led to the exoneration of these innocent defendants after decades in prison. These are the same police, judicial and prosecutorial misconduct practices Abu-Jamal's attorneys and supporters have been citing since 1982.


In the late 1970s and early 80s, Abu-Jamal was a daily radio reporter for WHYY and NPR who earned acclaim for his award-winning reporting. As a journalist who reported fairly on the MOVE organization's resistance against state repression, he drew the ire of the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police and the notoriously racist Police Commissioner and later Mayor Frank Rizzo.


On Dec. 9, 1981, while driving a cab to supplement his income, Abu-Jamal happened upon his brother in an altercation with Faulkner. Faulkner was killed. Abu-Jamal, who was shot and severely beaten by police, was charged in Faulkner's death, even though witnesses reported seeing another man, most probably the passenger in Abu-Jamal's brother's car, running from the scene.

Imprisoned for nearly four decades, Abu-Jamal has maintained his innocence. He successfully won his release from Pennsylvania's death row in 2011. In December 2018 he won the right to appeal his 1982 conviction because of biased judicial oversight by PA Supreme Court Justice Ronald Castille

In early January 2019, DA Krasner reported finding six boxes of previously undisclosed evidence held by prosecutors in the case and allowed Abu-Jamal's attorneys to review the files.

In September 2019 Abu-Jamal's lawyers filed new appellate briefs, including a request that the case be returned for a hearing before the Philadelphia Common Pleas Court based on finding of concrete evidence of prosecutorial misconduct by the DA's office in his 1982 trial.

A Sept.. 9, 2019 Abu-Jamal's attorneys Judith Ritter and Sam Spital filed a brief in PA Superior Court to support his claim that his 1982 trial was fundamentally unfair and violated the Constitution. They argue the prosecution failed to disclose evidence as required and discriminated against African Americans when selecting the jury. And, his 1982 lawyer did not adequately challenge the State's witnesses.                                                                                              

The attorneys also filed a motion revealing new evidence of constitutional violations such as promises by the prosecutor to pay or give leniency to two witnesses. There is also new evidence of racial discrimination in jury selection.

Attorney Ritter contends that the new evidence shows Abu-Jamal's trial was "fundamentally unfair and tainted by serious constitutional violations."

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ZgI0jvcWY5soAh_DXKdNnJJZSY0HEftuRwthQMurgd8/edit?usp=sharing


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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...

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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!

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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.

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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


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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



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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.......



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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/



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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


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Move 9 member Delbert Orr Africa freed after 42 years in prison

Ed Pilkington - January 18, 2020


One of the great open wounds of the 1970s black liberation struggle came closer to being healed on Saturday with the release of Delbert Orr Africa, a member of the Move 9 group who has been imprisoned for 42 years for a crime he says he did not commit...

Del Africa walked free from Pennsylvania's state correctional institution, Dallas, on Saturday morning after a long struggle to convince parole authorities to release him. He is the eighth of the nine Move members – five men and four women – to be released or to have died while in prison.

Only one of the nine, Chuck Africa, remains behind bars.

The nine were arrested and sentenced to 30 years to life following a dramatic police siege of their communal home in Philadelphia which culminated with a shootout on 8 August 1978. In the maelstrom a police officer, James Ramp, was killed with a single bullet. Move has always denied that any of its members were responsible......

Brad Thomson, a member of Del Africa's legal team, said the decision to release him on parole "affirms what the movement to free the Move 9 has been arguing for decades: that their continued incarceration is unjust".

Thomson added: "With the release of Delbert, that leaves Charles 'Chuck' Africa as the last member of the Move 9 to still be in prison. Chuck went before the parole board last month and we are optimistic that he will be released in the very near future."

The Guardian told the story of Del Africa and his fellow Move 9 member Janine Phillips Africa in a series of articles on black radicals who have been incarcerated for decades as a result of their activities in the 1960s, 70s and 80s.

Move was formed in Philadelphia as a group of black radicals committed not only to the liberation from racial oppression, in tune with the Black Panther party of the time, but also to environmentalist and back-to-nature ideals. They lived, as they still do today, as a family, taking "Africa" as their shared last name.

Over two years, from prison, Del Africa related his story to the Guardian in emails and a three-hour interview. He recounted how he became engaged in the black struggle when a girlfriend introduced him to the Black Panther Party in Chicago in the late 1960s.

Later, he moved to Philadelphia and drifted into Move.... He was inside the Move house in Powelton Village in the summer of 1978 when it came under police siege.

The city, under a notoriously brutal mayor, Frank Rizzo, wanted to evict the group on the grounds that they were a nuisance and an affront to public decency.

When the shootout broke out, police went in with guns and water cannon. Del Africa provided one of the astonishing images of the black liberation struggle when he emerged from the house with his arms outstretched, as if on the cross, while a police officer jabbed a rifle in his neck.

Video footage shows two officers throwing him to the ground and kicking him on the head, which bounces between them like a ball.

Africa described the event: "A cop hit me with his helmet.... Smashed my eye. Another cop swung his shotgun and broke my jaw.. I went down, and after that I don't remember anything till I came to and a dude was dragging me by my hair and cops started kicking me in the head."

For six years of his incarceration, Delbert Africa was put in an infamous solitary confinement wing known by prisoners as the "dungeon"... His isolation was imposed because he refused to have his dreadlocks cut – part of the Move philosophy.

He recalled in Guardian interviews how he survived in solitary confinement by developing a black history quiz with other prisoners, which they would play by tapping out messages. Other prisoners joined the game, which asked questions like: when was the Brown v Board of Education ruling in the US supreme court? What year was the Black Panther party founded? Who was Dred Scott? For what is John Brown remembered?

In 1985, when Del Africa had been in prison for almost seven years, tragedy struck again. He learned that Philadelphia police had conducted a second siege on the Move communal home, which was now located in Osage Avenue..

On this occasion, the police dropped an incendiary bomb from a helicopter... The bomb ignited a fire that spread through the overwhelmingly African American neighborhood...

City leaders allowed the fire to rage. Sixty-one houses were razed and 11 people in the Move house were killed, including five children. One of the survivors, Ramona Africa, was badly burned. She was duly put on trial and sentenced to seven years in prison..

One of the children who died was Delisha, Del Africa's 13-year-old daughter.. He told the Guardian how he responded to the news that she had been killed in an inferno: "I just cried. I wanted to strike out.. I wanted to wreak as much havoc as I could until they put me down. That anger, it brought such a feeling of helplessness. Like, dang! What to do now? Dark times."

With the 35th anniversary of the bombing approaching in May, Del Africa is free.. At the end of the Guardian's interview with him, he described how he had managed to endure four decades behind bars...

"I keep staying on the move. Stagnation is the worst thing. I'm on the move, and I hope you are too," he said.

"We've suffered the worst that this system can throw at us – decades of imprisonment, loss of loved ones. So we know we are strong. For all of that, we are still here and I look on that with pride."


Questions and comments may be sent to info@freedomarchives.org




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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


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Celebrating the release of Janet and Janine Africa

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





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


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


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




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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!






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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


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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


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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

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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





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    1) Trump Administration Moves to Ease Rules Against Killing Birds

    By Lisa Friedman, January 30, 2020

    https://www.nytimes..com/2020/01/30/climate/trump-bird-deaths.html?action=click&module=News&pgtype=Homepage

    Since 1918, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act has helped restore the populations of birds like the great egret, and covers more than 1,000 species.Credit...Brandon Thibodeaux for The New York Times


    WASHINGTON — The Trump administration will move on Thursday to weaken a century-old law protecting migratory birds by dropping the threat of punishment to oil and gas companies, construction crews and other organizations that kill birds "incidentally" in the course of their operations.

    The proposed regulation, if finalized, would cement a legal opinion that the Department of Interior issued in 2017.. The agency's top lawyer argued that previous administrations had interpreted the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 too broadly, and that only actions explicitly intended to kill birds should be forbidden under the federal law. The death of a bird from an oil slick, the blade of a wind turbine or the spraying of illegal pesticides would no longer trigger penalties.

    That interpretation has already had significant consequences for thousands of migratory birds. According to internal agency documents recently obtained by The New York Times, the Trump administration has discouraged local governments and businesses from taking simple precautionary measures to protect birds, and federal wildlife officials have all but stopped investigating most bird deaths..


    With the outcome of November's presidential election uncertain, the Trump administration is moving quickly to finalize dozens of regulatory rollbacks and other actions to weaken environmental protections viewed as burdensome by industry.


    In recent weeks, the administration has scrapped a clean water regulation aimed at protecting streams and wetlands, and blocked an effort to require Americans to use energy-efficient light bulbs.. Within the next month the administration plans to weaken vehicle emissions standards and a rule restricting mercury, a toxic chemical emitted from coal-burning power plants. Completing the rule curtailing the Migratory Bird Treaty Act before the November presidential election will be difficult, but the agency has indicated it will push aggressively to do so.

    "It's a race against the clock," Bob Dreher, senior vice president of conservation programs at Defenders of Wildlife, an environmental organization, said of the proposed regulation.


    Any legal guideline, like the one now governing bird-death enforcement, can be easily overturned; the 2017 opinion on "incidental" avian deaths reversed guidelines written by the Obama administration to enshrine the government's ability to fine and prosecute those who accidentally kill migratory birds. Mr. Dreher noted that codifying the opinion into regulation, as the Trump administration is trying to do, would make it harder for a future Democratic president to issue a quick reversal.


    "They're trying to entrench this as much as they can, and get stuff locked into place," he said, but added, "We're going to fight it."


    Six conservation groups and eight states have already sued to block the underlying legal opinion.. Last week, a group of former Interior Department officials from both Republican and Democratic administrations filed an amicus brief in support of the lawsuit.

    Oil industry officials argued that they have worked voluntarily to protect birds and will continue to do so. They also accused the Obama administration of abusing the law by singling out oil and gas companies for prosecution. The new rule, several business leaders said, brings regulatory certainty to companies worried that bird deaths would make them criminally liable for millions of dollars.

    The Migratory Bird Treaty Act 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.

    In 2010, the Deepwater Horizon disaster killed 11 people and spewed more than 210 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.. Hundreds of thousands of birds were killed, and BP agreed to pay $100 million for criminal violations under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

    Under the current legal guidance and the proposed regulatory changes, that incident would no longer trigger criminal liability because the birds were killed unintentionally. Illegal acts are also protected under the plan. For example, a farmer who sprayed a banned pesticide that killed birds would not be held liable as long as the birds were not the "intended target."


    My NYT Comment:

    "There is only one reason to "roll back" protections for birds and other wildlife caused by careless corporate construction, production or distribution of products from skyscrapers to factories, farms and oil pipelines and that's to maximize profits—to hell with everything and everyone else. The profits aren't shared. They are hoarded by the wealthy elite ever in search of ways to grab more wealth. This is capitalism's end-game. "More money for me. No food for you!" We, the overwhelming majority of human and all other life on the planet must fight for scraps of bread to eat or shelters to keep warm in. We do the work, but we get the bare minimum while the wealthy have morel then they can spend in a hundred lifetimes. Capitalism—production for private profit—is ruining the planet. Socialism—production for want, need and environmental health—is the only system that will save all of us."  —Bonnie Weinstein

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    2) The Supreme Court's Collapsing Center on Religion

    A case over vouchers threatens to breach the wall separating church and state.

    By Linda Greenhouse, January 30, 2020

    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/30/opinion/supreme-court-religion.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage


    People lined up outside the Supreme Court to hear oral arguments in a case about religious freedom and school choice.Credit...Lawrence Hurley/Reuters


    Every Supreme Court case tells a story. Both sides vie to persuade the justices — and, in big cases, the public as well — to see the issues through one particular narrative lens. Heading into last week's argument on whether Montana was obliged by the federal Constitution to keep subsidizing religious-school tuition under a scholarship program that violated the state Constitution, it was easy to see which story line was winning. "School Choice Battle May Boost Religious Freedom" was the headline on USA Today's preview of the argument.

    That is indeed the narrative put forward by lawyers for the school-choice movement, which seeks to use this case to break through the barriers that in many states have prevented parents from using school tuition vouchers for parochial school tuition. The libertarian Institute for Justice, long a leading proponent of vouchers, is framing its appeal, Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, as a case about religious freedom. (It's worth noting that this is not a religion case brought by the religious right; conservative religious groups, along with the Trump administration, are riding the Institute for Justice's libertarian coattails in a symbiosis of convenience.)

    The state, defending its high court's decision to shut down the scholarship program for all private schools, secular and religious, has no correspondingly snappy one-liner to offer. It argues that religious freedom is enhanced rather than threatened by preventing the flow of public money to religious institutions. That argument gained no traction last week with a Supreme Court majority determined to lower the constitutional barrier between church and state. That this odd case is a glaringly defective vehicle for reaching that goal only shows the depth of the majority's determination.

    The case is also a perfect vehicle for showing something else: the contradiction at the heart of the religious claims being pressed on increasingly receptive federal courts. Those making these claims say that religion and nonreligion must be treated equally. "The rule is religious neutrality," Richard D. Komer, a senior attorney with the Institute for Justice, told the justices. So if parents are able use publicly financed scholarships for secular private school tuition, this argument goes, there should be no difference when it comes to religious school tuition.


    When pressed, however, as they are in this case, religion advocates seek something more than equal treatment. It turns out that what they want is special treatment. That's this case. The plaintiffs are claiming a continued entitlement to scholarships for their parochial school tuition despite the fact that the state court ended the scholarship program for religious and secular schools alike. No one gets the money.

    It's not enough that all parents are being treated the same, no matter where they choose to enroll their children. It's different from the invitingly simple "religious freedom" story line, more complex, with deep implications for how Americans will live in an increasingly diverse society..

    Montana's Constitution, which the voters ratified in 1972, carried forward the principle of no aid to religious schools that was part of the state's original 1889 Constitution. The current Article X prohibits using state money "for any sectarian purpose or to aid any church, school, academy, seminary, college, university, or other literary or scientific institution, controlled in whole or in part by any church, sect, or denomination."

    The one exception was something new in the state's Constitution: an exception for money from federal grants "provided to the state for the express purpose of distribution to nonpublic education," which may pass through the state's hands and into the coffers of religious schools. This exception won the Montana Catholic Conference's support for the new Constitution. A brief filed by a majority of the surviving constitutional convention delegates cites the Catholic support to refute the allegation — offered forcefully in the briefs and during the argument — that the no-aid clause reflects anti-Catholic bigotry.

    In 2015, following a model used in other states, the Montana Legislature established a tax credit of up to $150 for taxpayers who donated to a "student scholarship organization.." That organization in turn would use the pooled money to offer need-based scholarships to parents for use at any private school.. As in most states, the majority of Montana's private schools are religious; in Montana, all the religious schools are Christian. (No non-Christian religion claims more than 1 percent of Montana's population.) Thirteen schools participated in the program, of which 12 were religious; the single secular school serves children with disabilities.


    Parents who were using the scholarships at religious schools sued in state court after the state's Department of Revenue issued a rule requiring the program to conform to the Constitution's no-aid clause. The Montana Supreme Court, declaring itself bound by the clause, invalidated the entire tax-credit program; there are no more scholarships for use at any private school, religious or secular.

    "And the consequence of this decision is that there is no discrimination," Justice Elena Kagan told Mr. Komer. "Neither set of parents is getting what they want," she went on. "Now, you might say, well, both should get what they want, and maybe that would be a better world. Maybe. But the constitutional harm that it seems that you have to allege here is the discrimination. And there is no discrimination."

    Exactly..

    When the clock ran out on Mr. Komer, the administration's principal deputy solicitor general, Jeffrey Wall, picked up the plaintiffs' argument. It was a question, Mr. Wall said, of the religious school parents' constitutional right to free exercise of religion. "Their free exercise is being penalized," he said.

    There is so much about this case that is simply backward. The administration argues in its brief that "the constitutional violation in this case is especially egregious because it involves the education of children." But to the contrary, that's exactly where the wall of separation has to be maintained with the greatest care.. Religious education serves a purpose, inculcating religious values and preserving religious traditions. A parochial school is not just another neighborhood school down the block.

    Certainly, parents are constitutionally entitled to choose a religious education for their children. And under a 2002 Supreme Court decision, Zelman v. Simmons-Harris, states are free to offer parents the choice of using vouchers to help pay for religious education. That was a bitterly fought 5-to-4 decision. The administration now would go further: not only that a state mayinclude religious schools in a voucher program, but that it must include them, if it wants to have a voucher program at all.

    And where is the stopping point of that argument? Justice Stephen Breyer pressed that question on Deputy Solicitor General Wall. Cities and states support public schools, Justice Breyer observed, asking: "If I decide for you, am I saying that they have to give money — same amounts, proportionate — to the parochial school?"

    Mr. Wall deflected the question, instead pointing to the court's decision three years ago that a state program in Missouri to enhance playground safety couldn't exclude the playgrounds of church-run schools.


    "The court said you can't deny a generally available public benefit to an entity that's otherwise qualified based solely on its religious character or nature," Mr. Wall said of that 2017 ruling.

    In fact, the court both did and didn't say that in the decision. Chief Justice John Roberts's opinion in Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Comer contained a footnote: "This case involves express discrimination based on religious identity with respect to playground resurfacing. We do not address religious uses of funding or other forms of discrimination."

    "That rule applies equally to schools as to playgrounds," Mr. Wall nonetheless asserted.

    Does it? Will it? How can it not, now?

    The footnote in the Trinity Lutheran case was extremely odd. It provoked an objection from Justice Neil Gorsuch that the Supreme Court rules on general principles rather than specific facts, and that "general principles here do not permit discrimination against religious exercise — whether on the playground or not."

    Chief Justice Roberts no doubt included the footnote as a necessary play to the center to satisfy some member or members of a majority more fragile than the eventual 7-to-2 vote made it appear. Justice Kagan? Justice Anthony Kennedy, whose seat is now filled by Justice Brett Kavanaugh? The chief justice himself?

    "The center cannot hold," Yeats wrote in "The Second Coming." He didn't have the United States Supreme Court in mind when he wrote that line. That doesn't mean it doesn't fit.

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    3) 12 Deaths in Mississippi Tell a Grim Story

    The only way to "fix" a problem like the American prison system is to end it.

    "The history of Parchman is a prime example of how dehumanization and neglect are intrinsic to separating people from their freedom."

    By Jamelle Bouie, January 31, 2020

    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/31/opinion/mississippi-prison-deaths.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage


    Demonstrators alarmed by deaths at Mississippi prisons protested at the State Capitol in Jackson last week..Credit...Rogelio V. Solis/Associated Press


    Twelve people have died in Mississippi state prisons since the start of the new year. Nine deaths occurred in the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman. At least one was a suicide. Most were a result of violence between inmates: beatings, stabbings and other fatal altercations.

    State officials have promised to stop the violence. After news of two of those deaths broke last week, Gov. Tate Reeves, a Republican who took office earlier this month, said he would work "around the clock" with the state Department of Corrections to "respond immediately" and prevent new incidents "going forward."

    What's striking about this situation is how little of it is new.. The Parchman prison, which dates to 1904, has a long and infamous history of violence and abuse. It also has a history of reform. But no amount of change has been able to break the cycle of brutality. And why would it? The history of Parchman is a prime example of how dehumanization and neglect are intrinsic to separating people from their freedom.


    The Mississippi of the late 19th century was a rigid apartheid state, its criminal justice system defined by cruel, gratuitous punishment. Black suspects bore the brunt of state violence. Often arrested for petty crimes like theft, gambling and "vagrancy" — traveling without a work permit or evidence of a job — black Mississippians were given hefty fines and lengthy sentences. They were then leased out to private companies for de facto slave labor on railroads and plantations. Conditions were abysmal.


    "The prisoners ate and slept on bare ground, without blankets or mattresses, and often without clothes," writes the historian David Oshinsky in "Worse Than Slavery: Parchman Farm and the Ordeal of Jim Crow Justice." "Convicts dropped from exhaustion, pneumonia, malaria, frostbite, consumption, sunstroke, dysentery, gunshot wounds, and 'shackle poisoning' (the constant rubbing of chains and leg irons against bare flesh)." In the 1880s, Oshinsky notes, the annual mortality rate for Mississippi's convict population ranged from 9 percent to 16 percent.


    Convict leasing was on the wane by the turn of the last century, but Mississippi's white elite was still obsessed with "Negro crime." Enter Gov. James K. Vardaman. Elected in 1903 on a demagogic platform of rural chauvinism and white supremacy — he promised to tax the planters, give aid to the (white) poor and turn back "social equality" — Vardaman was a kind of reformer. He opposedconvict leasing as a public giveaway to wealthy landowners and an oppressive burden on impoverished offenders, including blacks.

    "Vardaman would spend a lifetime fighting to deny blacks political rights and social equality," explains Oshinsky, "Yet he also believed that Negroes who accepted their lowly place in the human order should be protected from abuse."


    Vardaman wanted a prison that would socialize black criminals into, as Oshinsky paraphrases the idea, "proper discipline, strong work habits, and respect for white authority." He also wanted it to turn a profit. Under his leadership, the state cleared thousands of acres near the Yazoo-Mississippi Delta in an area called Parchman place, named after the family that had owned it for years.. Workers planted crops and constructed prison buildings. The Parchman Penitentiary was born. By the 1910s it was self-sufficient, operating on the same principles as an antebellum plantation, with black convict laborers supervised by white overseers, although the share of white prisoners would increase with time.

    Prisoners of the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman, equipped with hoes, marching to work in the cotton fields in 1939.Credit......Associated Press


    Parchman would, in short order, become notorious for its hard labor and brutality. (The blues musician Bukka White immortalized his experience of the prison in a 1940 song, "Parchman Farm Blues.") Inmates slept on dirt floors. Violence was common. In 1954 officials added a maximum security unit where one prisoner recalled, "they just beat the living crap out of you." Serious reform would come after the Civil Rights movement with Gates v. Collier, a class-action lawsuit filed in 1971 on behalf of four inmates but constructed with testimony from hundreds of prisoners. They attested to murders, rapes, beatings and tortures — one inmate, Danny Bennett, died after he was shocked with cattle prods and left unconscious under the sun in 100-degree heat. They also spoke to poor conditions, from open sewage and polluted water supplies to "kitchens overrun with insects, rodents, and the stench of decay." A federal judge would describe the prison as "unfit for human habitation."

    Decided for good in 1974, Gates would essentially create minimum standards for incarceration in the United States.. At Parchman, this meant desegregation and civilian guards, freedom of worship, minimum living space and an end to forced labor. It also spurred the state of Mississippi to create a Department of Corrections to oversee its penal facilities.

    But reform had limits. New facilities and professional staff doesn't change the fact that prisons are a place of confinement, where society isolates many of its least-wanted and most vulnerable members. By the 1990s, according to a report from the American Civil Liberties Union, death row prisoners at Parchman — renamed Mississippi State Penitentiary — reported "profound isolation, unrelieved idleness and monotony, denial of exercise, intolerable stench and pervasive filth, grossly malfunctioning plumbing, and constant exposure to human excrement.." H.I..V. positive prisoners in the general population told lawyers from the A.C.L.U. that they "were living in squalor, categorically segregated from the rest of the prison population, and barred from all prison educational and vocational programs and jobs." Assaults between inmates, often part of rival gangs, remained common.


    Parchman is hardly alone in its history of violence and neglect. If anything, it's just an extreme example of conditions that occur throughout American prisons. Even so, there's worse. Last year, the Department of Justice released a 56-page report on the Alabama prison system, where guards are few and far between and where prisoners experience high rates of homicide and sexual assault, where — The New York Times reported — "One prisoner had been dead for so long that when he was discovered lying face down, his face was flattened.." The nation's jails — local facilities where arrestees are placed pending trial or sentencing — aren't much better. According to the most recent data, a 2015 report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1,053 people died in local jails in 2014. The leading cause, suicide, accounted for 35 percent of those deaths.


    Change, for Parchman and other facilities, will almost certainly come. We should understand, however, that reform is only ever temporary. There's only so much you can do within the paradigm of incarceration. A prison may or may not be humane, but it will always be dehumanizing.. The isolation, the lack of liberty — the separation from family and community — are antithetical to human life. In which case, the only way to "fix" a problem like the American prison system is to end it.. But for an unequal, racially stratified country like ours, that destination is on the far horizon, if it's on the horizon at all.

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    4) Greece's Answer to Migrants, a Floating Barrier, Is Called a 'Disgrace'

    Rights groups have condemned the plan, warning that it would increase the dangers faced by asylum seekers.

    By Niki Kitsantonis, February 1, 2020

    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/01/world/europe/greece-migrants-floating-barrier.html


    Migrants arriving by rubber raft on the Greek island of Lesbos in 2015.. The number of arrivals remains far below the peak that year, but it has begun to rise again.Credit...Tyler Hicks/The New York Times


    ATHENS — As Greece struggles to deal with a seemingly endless influx of migrants from neighboring Turkey, the conservative government has a contentious new plan to respond to the problem: a floating net barrier to avert smuggling boats.

    But rights groups have condemned the plan, warning that it would increase the perils faced by asylum seekers amid growing tensions at camps on the Aegean Islands and in communities there and on the mainland. The potential effectiveness of the barrier system has also been widely questioned, and the center-right daily newspaper Kathimerini dismissed the idea in an editorial on Friday as "wishful thinking."

    Moreover, the main opposition party, the leftist Syriza, has condemned the floating barrier plan as "a disgrace and an insult to humanity."

    The authorities aim to install a 1..7-mile barrier between the Greek and Turkish coastlines that would rise more than 19 inches above the water and display flashing lights, according to a description posted on a government website this past week by Greece's Defense Ministry.


    Citing an "urgent need to address rising refugee flows," the 126-page submission invited private contractors to bid for the project that would cost an estimated 500,000 euros, or more than $554,000, including the cost of four years of maintenance. The government is expected to assign the job in the next three months, though it is unclear when the barrier would be erected..

    Greece's defense minister, Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos, told Greek radio on Thursday that he hoped the floating barrier would act as a deterrent to smugglers, similar to a barbed-wire fence that the Greek authorities built along the northern land border with Turkey in 2012.


    "In Evros, physical barriers had a relative impact in curbing flows," he said. "We believe a similar result can be achieved with these floating barriers."

    The construction will be overseen by the Defense Ministry, which has supervised the creation of new reception centers on the Greek islands and mainland in recent months, and will be subject to "nonmilitary specifications" to meet international maritime standards, the submission noted.


    A spokesman for Greece's government, Stelios Petsas, said the barrier system would have to be tested for safety...

    But rights activists warn that the measure would increase the dangers faced by migrants making the short but perilous journey across the Aegean. Amnesty International's research director for Europe, Massimo Moratti, condemned the proposal as "an alarming escalation in the Greek government's ongoing efforts to make it as difficult as possible for asylum-seekers and refugees to arrive on its shores."

    He warned that it could "lead to more danger for those desperately seeking safety."

    The head of Amnesty International's chapter in Greece, Gavriil Sakellaridis, questioned whether the Greek authorities would respond to an emergency signal issued by a boat stopped at the barrier.

    The European Commission has expressed reservations and planned to ask the authorities in Greece, which is a member of the European Union, for details about the proposal. Adalbert Jahnz, a commission spokesman, told reporters in Brussels on Thursdaythat any Greek sea barriers to deter migrants must not block access for asylum seekers....

    "The setting up of barriers is not in and of itself against E.U. law," he said. "But physical barriers or obstacles of this sort should not be an impediment to seeking asylum which is protected by E..U.. law," he said, conceding, however, that the protection of external borders was primarily the responsibility of member states.

    The barrier was proposed amid an uptick in migrants from Turkey. The influx, though far below the thousands of daily arrivals at the peak of the crisis in 2015, has put an increasing strain on already intensely overcrowded reception centers..

    According to Greece's migration minister, Notis Mitarakis, 72,000 migrants entered Greece last year, compared with 42,000 in 2018.. The floating barrier will help curb arrivals, Mr. Mitarakis said.


    "It sends out the message that we are not a place where anything goes and that we're taking all necessary measures to protect the borders," he said, adding that the process of deporting migrants who did not merit refugee status would be sped up.

    "The rules have changed," he said.

    Greece has repeatedly appealed for more support from the bloc to tackle migration flows, saying it cannot handle the burden aloneand accusing Turkey of exploiting the refugee crisis for leverage with the European Union.


    Repeated threats by Turkey's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to "open the gates" to Europe for Syrian refugees on his country's territory have fueled fears that an agreement signed between Turkey and the European Union in 2016, which radically curbed arrivals, will collapse.

    Growing tensions between Greece and Turkey over energy resources in the Eastern Mediterranean and revived disputes over sovereignty in the Aegean have further undermined cooperation between the two traditional foes in curbing human trafficking, fragile at the best of times.

    The Greek government of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is also under growing pressure domestically since it came to power last summer on a pledge to take a harder line on migration than that of his predecessor, Alexis Tsipras of Syriza.

    Plans unveiled in November to create new camps on the Aegean Islands have angered residents, who staged mass demonstrations last month, waving banners reading, "We want our islands back."

    Rights groups have also warned of the increasingly dire conditions at existing camps on five islands hosting some 44,000 people, nearly 10 times their capacity.

    Tensions are particularly acute on the sprawling Moria camp on Lesbos, with reports of 30 stabbings in the past month, two fatal.