Bay Area United Against War Newsletter, October 27, 2020





Judge Lisa Godbey Wood sentenced Patrick O'Neill of Garner, NC, to 14 months in prison for his role in the nonviolent protest on April 4, 2018 at the Kings Bay Naval Base in St. Mary’s, GA.

The remaining codefendants, Mark Colville, Martha Hennessy, Clare Grady, and Carmen Trotta, go before Wood for sentencing on November 12 and 13. 

October 16, 2020

Patrick Challenges Judge, Judge Surprises Patrick

BRUNSWICK, GA—In a decision likely unexpected by both the defendants and prosecutors, a federal judge today passed down a significantly lower prison sentence to one of the Kings Bay Plowshares 7.

Judge Lisa Godbey Wood sentenced Patrick O'Neill of Garner, NC, to 14 months in prison for his role in the nonviolent protest on April 4, 2018 at the Kings Bay Naval Base in St. Mary’s, GA.

“I’m grateful that we were able to pull the heartstrings of the judge and help her be as merciful as she can be under the circumstances,” Patrick said afterwards. “Mercy is not her forte.”

Wood began the proceedings by telling Patrick she’d “received quite a lengthy, quite tall stack of records, of letters on your behalf.” (The KBP7 and their support team thank everyone who has written Judge Wood on their behalf!)

Federal prosecutors argued Patrick, 64, should serve the full extent of the recommended prison sentence, up to 26 months, because of his “past criminal history” of nonviolent protest and “noncooperation” during them as well as his “criminal associations” with nonviolent protesters. They argued that Patrick was not remorseful, risked his life and the lives of the people on the base including security personnel, and helped cause more the $33,000 in damages. The prosecutors’ so-called "risk of death" argument is unprecedented in 40 years of Plowshares federal prosecutions.

Representing himself before the judge, and once referring to “the fool for a lawyer that I am," Patrick objected to dozens of the prosecutors’ arguments. Over the course of the first hour the judge overruled all of Patrick’s objections to the prosecutors’ rationales for lengthening his prison sentence. 

Countering the argument that lives were at risk by their action, Patrick said the seven activists were at the site for three hours and seen by guards who repeatedly passed by but kept going. When a guard finally approached Patrick and some of the others the Navy sergeant cracked a joke.

”Now you know you're all in a bit of trouble don't you?” he said.

“I don't think he was feeling at risk of death at that time,” O’Neil told the judge.

Video from the body camera Patrick wore on his head the entire night provided the primary evidence against the defendants. “I went far beyond any acceptance of responsibility of any defendant. I signed a conspiratorial document with my codefendants,” he said. 

"You brought to bear the possibility, the specter, of deadly use,” the judge replied. "Thank goodness that nobody was shot."

Neither the judge nor prosecutor made mention that this protest took place at the locus of the most destructive weaponry in the known universe.

When Wood asked the prosecutor if there are any "victims" of the Plowshares’ “crime” available to speak, the prosecutor said there were none. 

Two of Patrick’s children testified on his behalf as character witnesses, as did his uncle who helped raise him after his father died when he was five years old.

On a video link from his home in Connecticut, Patrick’s uncle Dennis O’Donnell, 80, described his pride of his long time as a soldier in the US Army and 35 years as a Yonkers, NY police officer. O’Donnell, a Trump supporter, then spoke of his long admiration of his nephew and his wife Mary Rider’s kindness and generosity.

"I don't want to find fault with Patrick because I love him and the other parts of our family love him as well. He's a committed pacifist and that's not a dirty word. I'm not against the military in any way. I'm a proud soldier and so are my children. I’m proud of Patrick. I'm proud of Mary. And I'm proud of their children."

Patrick’s daughter, Bernadette Naro, 32 and a campus minister at a Catholic school in Atlanta, then read a statement describing growing up in the Fr. Charlie Mulholland Catholic Worker House founded by her parents. (The statement will be available at www.kingsbayplowshares7.org.)

“Women and children who were in crisis came to live alongside us,” she said. “My parents chose to live in this way because of their commitment to living out their Christian faith, their commitment to sharing all that they have with the poor, and to taking personal responsibility for the problems they saw in our world. They centered their life around a few questions: Who is Jesus? What was he all about? And, especially what does he require of us?  He taught me to dig into these questions as I grew up and considered what to do with my life.

“When we were younger, and my sister and I would argue, my dad’s approach was to sit me down, stand my sister in front of me and say to me emphatically, ‘See your sister in front of you? See her? She is the body of Christ.’ His life is guided by the question of what it means to be a Christian. Not in words, but as a lived reality.”

When Wood asked her if there should be consequences to her dad's actions Bernadette replied, "I guess there already have been consequences.”

Timmy Patrick, 21, and a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said his father exemplifies "love incarnate, just positive intention towards everyone... (as opposed to) money and power and status.”

“He provides love and care not just for our family but for other people in our community, town, church community, and many of them receive substantial assistance in housing, food, and clothing, and human necessity from my father and mother.

“Dad's service to community is extended through this action,” Timmy Patrick said. “The Plowshares movement is a very internally consistent group with very strong held religious beliefs who are inspired by the teachings of activists and theologians throughout history.”

His father and his codefendants see nuclear holocaust as “a matter of when. They express legitimate dissent against the hegemony of militarism and violence that exists throughout our nation.”

Although his family members are the most important people in the world to him and they all share the same perspective, they do not agree on all things, he told the court. 

Judge Wood asked Timmy if it is possible to go too far in protesting nuclear weapons. He replied no, not compared to the trillions spent on war.

Seeming to some in the courtroom to be deflated following the testimony of the character witnesses, US Attorney Greg Gilluly referred to Patrick as "a man who has done so much good in this world and has a family to care for."

He then read a litany of Patrick’s offenses repeating the phrase "Unlike Martin Luther King... Unlike Martin Luther King…” arguing the sentencing guidelines are appropriate. 

Patrick then read a long statement to the judge. (It will be available at www.kingsbayplowshares7.org.)

“My hope is to never be vindicated. I hope the world can survive the nuclear arms race, and for global warming to turn out to be no big deal. I want our children and grandchildren to have a future with as much love, hope, and prosperity as most of you and I have enjoyed in our upbringings under First World circumstances. 

“I want my efforts on April 4, 2018 to essentially be viewed as misguided, foolish and in vain. In essence, I want to be judged wrong — not just by the findings of this court — but by the world,” he said. “For me to be a failure and a fool would be so much better than the calamity I fear for future generations if the Kings Bay Plowshares´ message turns out to be the horror we fear will come.

“This court, by its refusal to consider the lawlessness of weapons of mass destruction, is essentially declaring the end of the world to be acceptable. If the trident D-5 missiles are ever launched and millions of people die, including many of you who reside here at the center of Ground Zero, one fact will remain clear: No laws were broken.

“Rather than criminals, we are messengers, just like the abolitionists were in the face of legalized slavery, or pacifists who went to prison rather than kill. And we took a chance, risked our freedom, and were mischaracterized by this court as threats to the safety of the community.”

The “decision to invent, build, deploy and possibly use nuclear weapons will not stand the test of time as good moral choices,” just as slavery and other historical wrongs have now been judged by history to have been horrible mistakes, he said.

Patrick reminded the court that only three more nations are now needed for global ratification of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Ratification is expected soon.

In response to the defendants’ prior petition under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, an earlier judge concluded their act was "prophetic, sacramental, symbolic denuclearization.” Judge Wood, Patrick said, concluded instead that the compelling interest the court has in is to protecting the sanctity of Naval Station Kings Bay. That makes the unusual nature and risk of the action necessary above, he said, lobbying and writing letters.

“No one in this room today can deny that the theatrical tactics of the Kings Bay Plowshares has gotten your attention and the attention of thousands of people all over the world in a way no letter or phone call to Congress could.”

“I want you to see incarceration from the perspective of the convicted,” he said. “For me, walking into this courtroom is agonizing, emotionally horrifying and makes me feel physically sick. A person coming here for sentencing is likely experiencing one of the worst days of his or her life.”

“Trident is the opposite of love. It is a machine of mass destruction, that robs our neighbors of love and hope. 

“While I have not heard much support for us expressed by this court, my hope is that I have been part of an effort to plant a seed that will sprout and grow in your souls, and eventually bear the fruit of true peace in your hearts. And that all humanity will come together to reject war and trident and embrace the teachings of Jesus to Love One Another.”

Before passing her sentence Wood told Patrick, "You have a lot to put on the good side. And that must be counted for during sentencing…. But I have to take into consideration.... we are all bound by the laws of this country... There are consequences.”

Patrick must report to prison within 90 days. With time served and good behavior he might be eligible for release about 10 months later. He will then have supervised release for three years. Like the others, he is required to pay towards restitution to the Navy in the amount of $33,504 and $310 in special assessments. The judge ordered probation officers to have access to financial information, permission needed for getting credit, half of Patrick’s wages garnished.

The day before sentencing Patrick, Wood sentenced his codefendant, Jesuit Father Steve Kelly, to 33 months. Kelly has spent every day since the action in a southern Georgia jail and may be released soon, pending another judge’s decision about his probation violation from a protest at Kitsap-Bangor Naval Base in Washington state, the only other Trident submarine base in the US. 

"Your criminal history is not a storied as Fr. Kelly’s,” she told Patrick. Codefendant Elizabeth McAlister was sentenced to time served in June. The remaining codefendants, Mark Colville, Martha Hennessy, Clare Grady, and Carmen Trotta, go before Wood for sentencing on November 12 and 13. 

Patrick intends to appeal.

It is perhaps a sideways victory. Patrick has received at least six months less time than expected. Still, he must serve a 14-month sentence in federal prison during a pandemic that has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives in the United States alone. Twenty seven people, including a guard, have died of COVID at the Butner Federal Correction Institution, which Wood recommended for his sentence, Patrick said. He said 824 people there have contracted the disease. 

But, standing before the judge with his hands behind his back he gave a thumbs up to his family and supporters in the courtoom when Wood read his sentence.

“I think she saw how I live my life and she decided she wasn’t going to give me the maximum,” he said afterwards. “I’m not going away for as long as I thought I was going to be.

“I think this is a good omen for my codefendants.”

We understand that many are struggling financially at this time. We ask for donations only if you are able and doing well. Thank you for all the support you have given through these past two and a half years. Your support for the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 will help cover the ongoing costs surrounding the seven co-defendants while in prison and their families and communities. Checks can be sent to Plowshares, PO Box 3087, Washington, DC 20010. Or donate online here at this link: https://www.nonviolenceinternational.net/donate_isaiah

TWITTER: https://www.twitter.com/kingsbayplow7

Emile de Antonio’s 1983 film, In the King of Prussia, is about the trial of the Plowshares Eight. The judge is played by Martin Sheen and the defendants are played by themselves. It’s available for viewing on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kUph8GWFupE

The Plowshares 8: Fr. Carl Kabat, O.M.I., Elmer Mass, Phil Berrigan, Molly Rush, Fr. Dan Berrigan, S.J., Sr. Anne Montgomery, R.S.C.J., John Schuchardt, and Dean Hammer

You can read Fr. Daniel Berrigan’s reflections on the Plowshares Eight action from the book Swords Into Plowshares: Nonviolent Direct Action for Disarmament (1987), edited by Art Laffin and Anne Montgomery: http://www.nukeresister.org/2015/09/08/swords-into-plowshares-fr-daniel-berrigans-reflections-on-the-plowshares-8-nuclear-disarmament-action/

Here’s an article written by Anna Brown and Mary Anne Muller ten years ago, for the 30th anniversary: https://wagingnonviolence.org/2010/09/the-plowshares-8-thirty-years-on/

And here is a 1990 New York Times article about the Plowshares Eight: https://www.nytimes.com/1990/04/11/us/eight-sentenced-in-1980-protest-at-nuclear-unit.html

“They shall beat their swords into plowshares; their spears into pruning hooks. One nation shall not lift sword against another. Nor shall they train for war anymore.” (Is. 2:4) 



VICE News Video: What Really Happened at Standing Rock, Featuring Chase Iron Eyes

We worked with VICE News to produce this powerful episode of "I Was There." Featuring an exclusive interview with Chase Iron Eyes, the episode describes the NoDAPL protests in depth and in relation to the present moment.

View video at:




Denver Black Lives 

Matter Activists 


Above: PSL activists marching in Colorado anti-racist protest 

By Left Voice

On September 17, six protest leaders, including four members of the Party of Socialism and Liberation, were arrested in Denver, Colorado in a coordinated  police action. Those arrested are now being threatened with a litany of bogus felony charges, including “kidnapping.” Four of the arrested individuals—Russel Ruch, Lillian House, Joel Northam, and Eliza Lucero—are protest leaders who have denounced the crimes of the Colorado police, most notably the racist murder of Elijah McClain. The repression against these activists, and many others, is nothing short of police-state retribution. As a PSL statement noted, 

“This attack on the Denver anti-racist movement and the PSL is part of a concerted national assault on the Black Lives Matter movement, an attack driven directly from the White House, from Governor’s mansions, and from local police chiefs and police departments around the country.”

It is clear from the manner of the arrests that the Denver area police are trying to punish and intimidate activists. Russel Ruch, for instance, was followed to Home Depot and arrested in the parking lot; Lillian House was surrounded by five police cars as she was driving; and a S.W.A.T. team was sent to Joel Northam’s home. According to the 30-page long arrest affidavits, the police used livestream footage, call transcripts, and social media posts to build a case against those arrested. These coordinated arrests, which utilized both surveillance and brute force, aim to instill fear in every Denver area activist. “Protest, and you could be next” is the message being sent. And the absurd list of felony charges, known as “charge stacking,” means the arrested activists could be facing years, if not decades, in prison. 

The arrest of these protest leaders in Denver are part of a larger nationwide crack-down on the Black Lives Matter movement. Across the country, protesters have been snatched off the streets by the police or federal forces in unmarked vehicles. In New York City, the NYPD used facial-recognition software to find and harass a Black Lives Matter activist. And earlier this month, in Washington, federal marshals gunned down Portland activist Michael Reinoehl without warning as he walked to his car. 

Left Voice denounces the attempts to repress or otherwise intimidate anti-racist, anti-police activists. It is unacceptable that the state, under direction from both Republican and Democratic Party leaders, targets and intimidates activists fighting for racial justice, while the murderers of Elijah McClain, Breonna Taylor and many more walk free. The real threat to public safety can be found in every police precinct, every city hall, and every seat of political power. 

Drop the charges against Denver PSL activists—Free all the arrested protesters! 

To sign the PSL’s petition to have the charges dropped, click here: 


To donate to the PSL’s legal defense, click here:


— Left Voice, September 18, 2020




History, Great Britain, and Julian Assange

By Clifford D. Conner

Below are the comments Clifford D. Conner made at a September 8, 2020 press conference in front of the British consulate in New York City. Conner is an historian and author of Jean Paul Marat: Tribune of the French Revolution and The Tragedy of American Science: From Truman to Trump. The court in Britain is holding hearings on the Trump administration’s request to have Julian Assange, the Australian editor, publisher and founder of WikiLeaks, extradited. Assange would be tried in a Virginia court on 17 counts of espionage and one count of conspiracy to commit a computer crime. If convicted, he could face up to 175 years in prison.

In 2010 Assange had the audacity to post a video showing a U.S. Apache helicopter indiscriminately murdering a dozen civilians and two Reuters’ journalists in the streets of Baghdad.

Daniel Ellsberg, the Pentagon Papers whistleblower, testified in court on September 16 that Assange could not receive a fair trial in the United States. When he pointed out that the Collateral Murder video was clearly a war crime, the prosecution maintained that Assange was not wanted by Washington for it but for publishing documents without redacting names. Ellsberg pointed out that when he leaked the Pentagon Papers, he did not redact a single name.

Assange’s lawyer has since informed the London court that in 2017 former Republican U.S. Representative Dana Rohrabacher and Charles Johnson, a far-right political activist, relayed Trump’s offer to pardon Assange if he provided the source for the hacking of Democratic National Committee emails. This was described to Assange as a “win-win” situation for all involved.

A National Committee to Defend Assange and Civil Liberties, chaired by Noam Chomsky, Daniel Ellsberg, and Alice Walker has been set up. For further information, go to: www.facebook.com/CommitteeToDefendJulianAssangeThe press conference was organized by the New York City Free Assange Committee. The press conference was organized by the New York City Free Assange Committee: NYCFreeAssange.org

—Dianne Feeley for The Editors, Against the Current

Comments by Clifford D. Conner

I am here at the British Consulate today to protest the incarceration and mistreatment of Julian Assange in Belmarsh Prison in Great Britain, to demand that you immediately release him, and above all, to demand that you NOT extradite Julian Assange to the United States.

As a historian who has written extensively on the case of the most persecuted journalist of the 18th century, Jean Paul Marat, I am in a position to make historical comparisons, and in my judgement, Julian Assange is both the most unjustly persecuted journalist of the 21st century and arguably the most important journalist of the 21st century.

Julian Assange is being hounded and harassed and threatened with life in prison by the United States government because he dared to publish the truth about American war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan for the whole world to see. This persecution of Julian Assange is an assault on the fundamental principles of journalistic freedom.

The sociopathic Donald Trump and his accomplice, Attorney General William Barr, are demanding that you deliver Assange to them to face false charges of espionage. Every honest observer in the world recognizes Trump and Barr as utterly incapable of acting in good faith. If they succeed in suppressing Julian Assange’s right to publish, it will be a devastating precedent for journalists and publishers of news everywhere—and above all, for the general public, who will lose access to the information necessary to maintaining a democratic society.

If you allow yourselves to become co-conspirators in this crime, History will not look kindly on Great Britain for that.

Last November, more than 60 doctors from all over the world wrote an open letter to the British government saying that Julian Assange’s health was so bad that he could die if he weren’t moved from Belmarsh Prison, where he was being held, to a hospital, immediately. Your government chose to ignore that letter and he was not hospitalized, then or later. History will not look kindly on Great Britain for that.

Of all crimes against humanity, the most unforgivable is torture. No nation that perpetrates torture has the right to call itself civilized. United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer, has unequivocally characterized Julian Assange’s treatment in Belmarsh Prison as torture. History will neither forget nor forgive that terrible moral transgression.

Furthermore, the exposure of the widespread use of torture by the United States military and the CIA at Abu Ghraib in Iraq, at Guantánamo Bay, and at so-called “black sites” all over the world, absolutely disqualifies the United States from sitting in moral judgement of anybody. If you deliver Julian Assange into the hands of torturers, history will not look kindly on Great Britain for that.

So, I join together today with human rights advocates and advocates of journalistic freedom around the world.

I stand with the Committee to Protect Journalists, which declared: “For the sake of press freedom, Julian Assange must be defended.”

I stand with the Center for Constitutional Rights, which said that the attempt to prosecute Julian Assange is “a worrying step on the slippery slope to punishing any journalist the Trump administration chooses to deride as ‘fake news’.”

And I stand with the ACLU, which said: “Any prosecution by the United States of Mr. Assange for WikiLeaks’publishing operations would be unprecedented and unconstitutional and would open the door to criminal investigations of other news organizations.”

History will not only record the names of the countries that collaborate in this travesty of justice, but also the names of the individuals—the judges, the prosecutors, the diplomats, and the politicians—who aid and abet the crime. If you, as individuals, choose to ally yourselves with the likes of Donald Trump and William Barr, be prepared for your names to be chained to theirs in infamy, in perpetuity.

History will certainly absolve Julian Assange, and it certainly will not absolve his persecutors.

Against the Current, November/December 2020




Sign the petition at:




Call for the immediate release of 


Syiaah Skylit from CDCR custody! 



Sign the petition here: https://www.change.org/p/gavin-newsom-call-for-the-immediate-release-of-syiaah-skylit-from-cdcr-custody-blacktranslivesmatter?recruiter=915876972&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=abi_gmail&utm_campaign=address_book&recruited_by_id=7d48b720-ecea-11e8-a770-29edb03b51cc 

Syiaah Skylit is a Black transgender woman currently incarcerated at Kern Valley State Prison (KVSP). Syiaah has been a victim of multiple acts of brutal, senseless violence at KVSP at the hands of prison staff and others in custody. Many of these attacks are in retaliation for her advocacy for herself and other trans women. 

Syiaah’s life is currently at risk due to racist, transmisogynist violence at the hands of the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation (CDCr). While all the offending officers should be fired, this isn’t about a couple of bad apples. We have centuries of evidence that prison will never be safe — for Black people, for trans people, and especially not for Black trans women.

“I’m not going to make it out of this prison alive if I’m left here any longer.” 

— Syiaah Skylit, June 2020

While incarcerated at Kern Valley State Prison between 2018 and the present, prison staff have subjected Syiaah to severe and persistent physical, sexual, and psychological abuse (see below for examples, with content warnings). Staff at Kern Valley State Prison are also responsible for the 2013 death of Carmen Guerrero, a transgender woman who was forced to be housed with an individual who made it clear to officers that he would kill Ms. Guerrero if he was celled with her. Earlier this year, that individual was given the death penalty for killing Ms. Guerrero just eight hours after CDCR officers forced them to cell together. 

Facing immediate danger, Syiaah has repeatedly asked to be transferred to a women’s facility and CDCR has repeatedly denied her requests. We demand that Governor Newsom and CDCR immediately release Syiaah to her community and family before she falls further victim to the lethal danger that transgender people face in prison. 

[Content note: assault, sexual violence, anti-Black racism, transmisogny]

While in CDCR custody between 2018 and the present, Syiaah has:

- Been physically attacked by CDCR staff multiple times;
- Been threatened with sexual assault with a baton by CDCR staff; 
- Been forced by CDCR staff to parade through the yard naked from the waist down;
- Been stripped naked by CDCR staff and left overnight in her cell without clothes, blankets, or a mattress;
- Been attacked by other people in custody who admitted that CDCR staff directed them to do so;
- Had her property stolen and destroyed by CDCR staff;
- Been maced in the face and thrown in a cage after reporting an assault;
- Been intentionally placed on the same yard as an individual she testified against who is facing attempted murder charges for his assault of a transgender woman. As Syiaah feared, this individual violently attacked her as revenge. This man was then allowed to attack a gay man after attacking Syiaah. 
- Been intentionally placed on the same yard as individuals with histories of attacking trans women and other LGBTQI+ people, in spite of her pleas to be placed separately;
- Been thrown in administrative segregation after being the victim of an attack;
- Has had all of her recent documented complaints of discrimination and violence rejected under false pretenses;
- Has had contact with her legal representatives restricted to one phone call a week;
- Has been humiliated and discriminated against for going on a hunger strike as a form of protest;
- Has expressed numerous, documented concerns for her safety and had them blatantly ignored.

In spite of the constant violence Syiaah continues to survive, she continues to demonstrate her resilience and dedication to learning and growing. She has earned certifications in many educational and vocational programs and support groups. 

We as Syiaah’s community and chosen family are ready to support her with a safe and successful reentry plan if Governor Newsom uses his executive powers to grant her clemency. Organizations that can offer Syiaah comprehensive reentry support including housing and employment upon her release include TGI Justice Project, Transgender Advocacy Group (TAG), and Medina Orthwein LLP. 

You can read more about Syiaah's story in this article by Victoria Law for Truthout as well as this one by Dustin Gardiner for the SF Chronicle

Please sign and share this petition to #FreeSyiaah and declare #BlackTransLivesMatter! 

Please also check out our social media toolkit to support Syiaah!

[Please do not donate as prompted after signing, as the money goes to change.org and not to any cause associated with Syiaah.] 

Art by Micah Bazant at Forward Together.




Snowden vindicated by court ruling – time to drop 


his charges.

Last week, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the NSA telephone surveillance program revealed by Edward Snowden was illegal and likely unconstitutional. This ruling should finally end any remaining debate on whether Snowden’s actions constituted whistleblowing, and on his necessity of going to the press. The question now is how to remedy the legal and ethical dilemma he was placed into. It’s time to either drop his charges or pardon him.

The court’s ruling validates Snowden on multiple levels. It settles beyond doubt that his belief in the illegality of the programs he witnessed was reasonable. The panel of judges ruled that the mass telephone surveillance conducted under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act was illegal. And while they refrained from issuing a ruling on the Constitutional challenge, they strongly suggested that the program was in violation of the Fourth Amendment. They ruled that the government’s claims about the effectiveness of the surveillance had been lies, and that its legal theory about the necessity of mass collection of phone data was “unprecedented and unwarranted.”

Legally, a whistleblower does not need to ultimately be proved correct about the concerns they report. If they simply have a “reasonable belief” their employer is breaking the law, they are entitled to whistleblower protections. While any plain reading of the Fourth Amendment and the FISA statutes should have sufficed to prove a reasonable concern, this ruling is beyond sufficient affirmation that Snowden’s concern was “objectively reasonable”. 

While he should have been able to make a protected whistleblower disclosure based on such concerns, those channels were not a realistic option. As an outside contractor, he would not have been guaranteed protection under the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act (ICWPA) statute in place at that time. Critics of Snowden also conveniently ignore the history of other NSA employees who blew the whistle on these programs before him. The internal channels were used to “catch and kill” the complaints of at least four previous surveillance whistleblowers, placing them – and even the Congressional intelligence committee staffer they went to – under criminal leak investigations. Snowden saw, for example, the punitive treatment of NSA whistleblower, Thomas Drake. Drake went through every conceivable internal channel: his boss, the NSA Inspector General (IG), the Defense Department IG, and the House & Senate Intel Committees. Not only did they fail to redress his grievances, many acted to further punish him: ignored his concerns, marginalized him, forced him out, blacklisted him, and ultimately drove his failed criminal prosecution.

Snowden correctly assessed that the only remaining option was to go to the press, and the 9th Circuit ruling credits him for choosing that path, noting that his disclosures enabled “significant public debate over the appropriate scope of government surveillance”. Indeed, this ruling simply would not have been possible without his public disclosures. The government had long maneuvered to keep mass surveillance programs beyond this kind of judicial scrutiny.

As a witness to large scale illegality, and without effective or safe channels, Snowden was placed in a dilemma: break his agreement to protect classified information, or break his sworn oath to uphold the laws and defend the Constitution. He chose to honor his higher duty and so turned to the only other available channel that could serve as a check against government wrongdoing: the press. Snowden turned to the “Fourth Estate” and it played exactly the role the Founders intended. We cannot now prosecute him as a spy or abandon him to a lifetime of exile for having done so.

In solidarity,


Jesselyn Radack
Whistleblower & Source Protection Program (WHISPeR)

Twitter: @JesselynRadack

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From Across the Pond

Johnson the Invisible Brat

By John Blackburn

Johnson the invisible brat,

Thinks he’s better than us all,

For he’s a posh prime minister,

Who defies international law,

No matter how many graves get filled,

Or the cupboards are running bare,

You bet you can rely on this,

Johnson won’t be there.


Hancock, Priti, any sycophant,

It doesn’t matter who,

Can keep a straight face on camera,

While reading the lies on the autocue.

Nursing homes, schools there’s Covid everywhere,

But whenever there’s a crisis,

Johnson isn’t there


Depravity, depravity there’s no match for his depravity.

He is nastiness in human form, with not a shred of common humanity.

You may read him in a by-line, or see his face in the morning paper,

But when there’s a problem to deal with,

Boris Johnson won’t be seen till later.


Depravity, depravity the are no bounds to his depravity,

He’s already broken every law and conduct of normality,

His powers of crass dishonesty are way beyond compare,

He lies in every sentence and doesn’t seem to care,

You may look for him in Downing Street or in another lair,

But when a job is needing done,

Boris Johnson is never there.


He’ll sack anyone who happens in his way 

And tear up any treaty he doesn’t like today,

He is outwardly respectably but he cheats all his friends

He’ll trample over anyone to get to his own ends,

Or he’ll send his hoodlum Cummings to crush dissenting minds.

Lies, corruption, negligence we know he doesn’t care

But when there is money to be made,

This time,

Johnson and mates will be there.


In Britain he acts like a dictator doing just as he wants,

Ignoring real life tragedies while posing for photo stunts,

For all his fake bravado, he’s just another coward,

A liar, a bully a posh self-centred fraud.

He’s an invisible prime minister who is never here, 

But whenever there’s Trump’s arse to kiss,

You can be sure that,

Boris Johnson will reappear.


Calamity then catastrophe with grand theft larceny,

Another billion of our money flushed down the lavat’ry,

He cares not for our suffering our deaths and our pain,

Fake news and lies again and again,

When things go wrong and account is called,

It is always someone else’s fault,

What ever the problem no matter where

He always can claim that he wasn’t there.


Covid 19’s, coming, 

He says we’ll take it on the chin,

World beating, moonshot, track and trace,

Endless lies and spin

Just more meaningless hot air from this uncaring buffoon,

Exam results fiasco, yet he never showed his face.

Children going hungry a national disgrace

We must take matters in our own hands,

To make things proper here,

Have confidence in our own powers,

Make Johnson and his kind 

Completely disappear.



In April of 1971, Edward Poindexter and Mondo we Langa, formerly David Rice, were sentenced to life in prison for the death of an Omaha police officer- a crime they did not commit. The two were targeted by law enforcement and wrongfully convicted due to their  affiliation with the Black Panther Party, a civil rights and anti-fascist political group.  Nearly 50 years later, Ed is still in prison and maintains his innocence. He has earned several college degrees, taught anti-violence classes to youth, authored screenplays, and more. His last chance for freedom is to receive a commutation of sentence from the Nebraska Board of Pardons. At age 75, he is at high risk for COVID related health complications. He must receive an immediate and expedited commutation hearing from the Board.-EMAIL: freedomfored@gmail.com@freedom4ed
Take Action Now
Write, email and call the Nebraska Board of Pardons. Request that they expedite Ed’s application, schedule his hearing for the October 2020 meeting and commute his sentence. 
WRITE: Nebraska Board of Pardons/ P.O. Box 95007/ Lincoln, NE 68509
*please email a copy of your letter..to freedomfored@gmail.com---EMAIL: ne.pardonsboard@nebraska.gov
CALL:  Governor Pete Ricketts--402-471-2244  & SoS Robert B. Evnen---402-471-2554  & AG Doug Peterson--402-471-2683



Urgent Action: Garifuna leader and 3 community members kidnapped and disappeared in Honduras

Share This 
On the morning of Saturday, July 18, Garifuna leader Snider Centeno and other three members of the Triunfo de la Cruz community where kidnapped and disappeared by a group of men wearing bullet proof vests with the initials of the Honduran National Police (DPI in Spanish). The DPI is the Investigative Police Directorate and when it was formed years ago, was trained by the United States. As of this Monday Morning, there is still no word on the whereabouts of Mr. Centeno, Milton Joel Marínez, Suami Aparicio Mejía and El Pri (nickname).
Snider was the president of the elected community council in Triunfo de la Cruz and his community received a favorable sentence from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in 2015. However, the Honduran state has still not respected it. The kidnapping and disappearance of Snider and the 3 other men is another attack against the Garifuna community and their struggle to protect their ancestral lands and the rights of afro-indigenous and indigenous people to live.
National and international pressure forced the Honduran Ministry of Human Rights to put out a statement urging authorities to investigate and act. Your support can make the difference!
For more information and updated on what is happening in Honduras, please follow the Honduras Solidarity Network

Contact Us

Alliance for Global Justice
225 E 26th St Ste 1

Tucson, Arizona 85713-2925
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About Albert Einstein

In September 1946, (after the war, before the civil rights movement), Albert Einstein called racism America’s “worst disease.” Earlier that year, he told students and faculty at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, the oldest Black college in the Western world, that racial segregation was “not a disease of colored people, but a disease of white people, adding, “I willl not remain silent about it.” 

His peers criticized this appearance. The press purposefully didn't cover it. He simply wanted to inspire young minds with the beauty and power of science, drawing attention to the power of ALL human minds, regardless of race.

“The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it.” -Albert Einstein



Party for Socialism and Liberation

Gloria La Riva nominated by Peace and Freedom Party in California

Now on the ballot in California, Colorado, Illinois, New Jersey and New Mexico!
Longtime San Francisco labor and anti-war activist Gloria La Riva was chosen today as the Peace and Freedom Party nominee for U. S. President. The party's state central committee cast 62 votes for La Riva and 3 votes for Howie Hawkins, with three abstentions. Anti-racist and disability rights advocate Sunil Freeman of Washington DC was then chosen without opposition as the party's nominee for Vice President.
La Riva received over 2/3 of the vote for the nomination in the March primary, but the State Central Committee's action Saturday will officially place the La Riva / Freeman ticket on California's November general election ballot. They will appear in a number of other states on the ballot lines of the Vermont Liberty Union Party and the Party for Socialism and Liberation.
Gloria La Riva said "We are honored to be the nominees of the Peace and Freedom Party. We are running not just to represent voters, but to represent the millions without the right to vote: undocumented immigrants, permanent residents, prisoners and parolees who are unable to cast a ballot. This is their country too."
Kevin Akin of Riverside, the new California State Chair of the party, reports that the ticket expects to get more votes in California than in any other state. "It's a clear way for a voter to show support for peace, socialism, and the immediate needs of the working class."

Read our Campaign Statements

Gloria La Riva Condemns Israeli Annexation Plan Calls for Solidarity with Palestinian People and End to U.S. Aid to Israel

Upcoming Events

Follow the campaign on twitter
Questions? Comments? Contact us.
You can also keep up with the PSL on Twitter or Facebook.
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Resources for Resisting Federal Repression

Since June of 2020, activists have been subjected to an increasingly aggressive crackdown on protests by federal law enforcement. The federal response to the movement for Black Lives has included federal criminal charges for activists, door knocks by federal law enforcement agents, and increased use of federal troops to violently police protests. 

The NLG National Office is releasing this resource page for activists who are resisting federal repression. It includes a link to our emergency hotline numbers, as well as our library of Know-Your-Rights materials, our recent federal repression webinar, and a list of some of our recommended resources for activists. We will continue to update this page. 

Please visit the NLG Mass Defense Program page for general protest-related legal support hotlines run by NLG chapters.

Emergency Hotlines

If you are contacted by federal law enforcement you should exercise all of your rights. It is always advisable to speak to an attorney before responding to federal authorities. 

State and Local Hotlines

If you have been contacted by the FBI or other federal law enforcement, in one of the following areas, you may be able to get help or information from one of these local NLG hotlines for: 

National Hotline

If you are located in an area with no hotline, you can call the following number:

Know Your Rights Materials

The NLG maintains a library of basic Know-Your-Rights guides. 

WEBINAR: Federal Repression of Activists & Their Lawyers: Legal & Ethical Strategies to Defend Our Movements: presented by NLG-NYC and NLG National Office

We also recommend the following resources: 

Center for Constitutional Rights

Civil Liberties Defense Center

Grand Jury Resistance Project

Katya Komisaruk

Movement for Black Lives Legal Resources

Tilted Scales Collective



 Reality Winner Tests Positive for COVID, Still Imprisoned
With great anguish, I’m writing to share the news that NSA whistleblower Reality Winner, still in federal prison, has tested positive for COVID-19. Winner, despite her vulnerable health conditions, was denied home release in April – the judge’s reasoning being that the Federal Medical Center, Carswell is “presumably better equipped than most to deal with the onset of COVID-19 in its inmates”. 
Since that ruling, COVID infections at Carswell have exploded, ranking it now as second highest in the nation for the number of cases, and substantially increasing the likelihood that its medical capacity will be overwhelmed.
This news comes one week after Trump’s commutation of convicted felon Roger Stone, and two months after the home release of Trump’s convicted campaign manager, Paul Manafort:

Roger Stone’s Freedom Is All the More Outrageous While Reality Winner Languishes in Prison

Donald Trump’s commutation of Roger Stone’s prison sentence is galling on numerous levels. It’s a brazen act of corruption and an egregious obstruction of an ongoing investigation of the President and his enablers. There are few figures less worthy of clemency than a Nixonian dirty trickster like Stone. But the final twist of the knife is that Reality Winner, the honest, earnest, anti-Stone of the Russian meddling saga, remains in federal prison.

Continue Reading
Please share this with your networks, and stand with us in support of Reality Winner and her family during this critical time.
Thank you,
Jesselyn Radack
Whistleblower & Source Protection Program (WHISPeR)
Twitter: @JesselynRadack

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WHISPeR Project at ExposeFacts 1627 Eye Street, NW Suite 600 Washington, DC 20006 



Note: Below are comments from Ambassador Andrew Young, who is also the former Mayor of Atlanta. The Ambassador notes that Imam Jamil Al-Amin was wrongfully convicted and that it's time to 'rejudge'.

Below is also a correction in the title of the previous posting about Otis Jackson, who admitted to the killing of which Imam Jamil Al-Amin was falsely accused of committing. The article is included below with the title correction being, "There are demands for a new trial"

And again, please sign the petition for a new trial and ask your friends to do so as well.

August 10, 2020
Justice Initiative

"(There's one case) that weighs heavy on my heart because I really think he was wrongfully convicted."
This Man, a Muslim, helped "clean up" Atlanta's West End.
"I'm talking about Jamil Al-Amin," he said, "H. Rap Brown."
"I think it's time to rejudge. He's been dying of cancer and has been suffering away from his family in the worst prisons of this nation." 
Ambassador Andrew Young Jr. 

Otis Jackson Speaks - 
The Man Who Committed 
The Crime Imam Jamil Is Serving Life For
There are demands for a new trial for 
Imam Jamil Al-Amin
Please sign the petition for a new trial

The Confession - My Name Is James Santos aka Otis Jackson (We Demand A Retrial For Imam Jamil)
The Confession - My Name Is James Santos aka OtisJackson (We Demand A Retrial For Imam Jamil)

Otis Jackson is a self-proclaimed leader of the Almighty Vice Lord Nation (AVLN). Founded in the late 1950s, the AVLN is one of the oldest street gangs in Chicago.
According to Jackson, the group under his leadership was focused on rebuilding communities by pushing out drug dealers and violence.
In a never-before published sworn deposition, Jackson recalls the events of the night of Thursday, March 16, 2000, in vivid detail.
It was a cool night as Jackson remembers. He wore a knee-high black Islamic robe with black pants, a black kufi-Muslim head covering-underneath a tan hat, and a tan leather jacket. His silver sunglasses with yellow tint sat above his full beard and mustache.
He arrived at Mick's around 7PM, when he realized his schedule had changed. He was no longer the food expediter in the kitchen; his title was now dishwasher/cook, which meant he would wash dishes and then help close the kitchen at night.
Since his title changed, he wasn't required to work that Thursday night. It immediately dawned on him that he had a 10-hour window to do whatever he wanted. As a parolee under house arrest, the opportunity to have truly free time was rare if even existent. Jackson decided to fill his new found freedom like most people fill their free time-he ran a few errands.
His first stop was the West End Mall where he got a bite to eat, did some shopping and then headed toward the West End community mosque, led by Al-Amin. He knew it was a regular building off of Oak Street, but wasn't sure which one exactly.
He parked his black Cadillac in an open field and walked down toward a house that turned out to be the mosque. He passed a black Mercedes before he got to the mosque, where he met a man named Lamar "Mustapha" Tanner. They talked for a while during which Jackson explained to Tanner that he was looking for Al-Amin to talk about how the AVLN could help Al-Amin's community.
Tanner told Jackson to check the grocery store, since Al-Amin could usually be found there. Tanner then gave Jackson his phone number and hurried away to go pick up his wife. Jackson proceeded to the grocery store. He wanted to discuss with Al-Amin how his AVLN organization could help further clean the streets of drug dealers in the West End community.
By the time Jackson made his way to Al-Amin's store, it was already late. He was afraid the store would be closed since he didn't see anyone else on the street. His fear was affirmed; the store wasn't open.
Hoping that maybe the owner would be in the back closing up, he knocked on the door a few more times. No answer. As he turned to leave, Jackson saw a patrol car pull up. By the time Jackson walked by the black Mercedes, the patrol car was parked in front of it, nose-to-nose. The driver of the patrol car got out and asked Jackson to put his hands up.
Immediately, this scenario flashed through Jackson's head: Here he was, violating his parole by not being at work, with a 9mm handgun in his waist. Jackson was afraid the cops would think he was breaking into the store. That meant they would probably frisk him and find the gun. The gun would be a direct violation of his parole; he'd be sent back to prison in Nevada.
Jackson ignored the order to put his hands up and instead began to explain that he was not trying to break into the store. He stated that he wasn't trying to steal the Mercedes either; his car was parked down the street. Both officers were out of the car with guns drawn and demanding Jackson put his hands up. The cops were closing in and there was little space between them. Jackson made a quick decision. He backed up against the Mercedes, pulled out his gun and began to fire.
He fired off two shots. The officers, while retreating, returned fire. Jackson wasn't hit and bolted toward his car, where in the trunk he had an arsenal of other weapons. As Jackson explains, "the organization I was about to form, the Almighty Vice Lord Nation, we're anti-oppression, and we fight, you know, drug dealers and what not, so...we need artillery."
He quickly opened the trunk - the lock was broken and held together with shoe string-and grabbed a lightweight, semiautomatic carbine Ruger Mini-14 with an extended clip housing 40 .223 caliber rounds. Jackson then headed back toward the cops; one was moving for cover behind the Mercedes, the other was on the police radio screaming for backup.
Jackson approached the officer he thought was the most aggressive, who was using the Mercedes for cover and resumed firing his rifle. The officer returned fire, hitting Jackson in the upper left arm twice.
Jackson, now angered and fearful for his life, shot back, downing the officer. Jackson stood over him and shot him in the groin up to four times. The fallen officer, Deputy Kinchen, in a last attempt to plead with his killer, described his family, mother, and children to Jackson, hoping for mercy.
But Jackson admits that by this time, "my mind was gone, so I really wasn't paying attention." Jackson fired again at the officer on the ground. Dripping his own blood on the concrete where he stood, Jackson then turned his attention to Deputy English who was running toward the open field. Jackson believed English was flagging down another officer; he couldn't let him get away.
Jackson hit English four times. One shot hit him in the leg; he soon fell, screaming, thereby confirming Jackson's shot. After English went down, Jackson, in a state of shock, walked down pass the mosque.
Nursing his bleeding wounds, he tried to stop three passing cars on the road; no one dared pull over. He then walked back down the street and knocked on three different doors for assistance. Only one even turned the light on, but no one opened the door for Jackson. He then made his way back to his car and drove to his mother's home.
As he walked in the door, the phone rang. His mother was asleep, so Jackson hurriedly answered it in the other room. It was a representative from the Sentinel Company that provided the monitoring service for Jackson's ankle bracelet. The man on the phone asked where Jackson was; he responded that he was at work. The Sentinel representative explained that his unaccounted for absence would have to be marked down as a violation. Jackson agreed and quickly ended the conversation.
Although one bullet exited through the back of his arm, the other was still lodged in his upper left arm. Jackson called a couple of female friends, who were registered nurses. The women, who were informed by Jackson that he was robbed in the middle of the night, arrived at his house and worked for three hours to remove the bullet from his arm. Jackson then called Mustapha Tanner, whom he just met earlier in the evening, and asked him to come by his house.
Tanner arrived before 10am. Jackson explained what had happened the previous night and said he needed to get rid of the guns and the car. Jackson's car trunk contained enough artillery for a mini-militia: three Ruger Mini-14 rifles, an M16 assault rifle, a .45 handgun, three 9mm handguns and a couple of shotguns. Once Tanner left, Jackson called his parole officer Sarah Bacon and let her know that he "had been involved in a situation," but left out the details.
In the following days, Jackson was asked to report to the Sentinel Company. He checked in with the monitoring company and his parole officer, and was then given a ride back home. As they pulled onto his street, Jackson noticed many unmarked police cars. After entering his driveway, multiple police officers emerged. The police searched Jackson's house and found rounds of Mini-14, .223, 9mm, and M16 ammunition. Jackson's bloody clothes and boots from the shootout with the deputies the night before were left untouched in his closet.
On March 28, 2000, Jackson's parole was revoked and he was sent back to prison to serve the remainder of his sentence in Nevada. Upon his detainment in Florida and later transfer to Nevada, Jackson confessed the crime to anyone who would listen. Jackson claims that when he reached the Clark County Jail in Las Vegas, Nevada, he made numerous phone calls to the F.B.I., after which an agent arrived to discuss the incident with him. Jackson recalls telling his story to "Special Agent Mahoney."
Special Agent Devon Mahoney recalls documenting the confession, but not much beyond that. Mahoney remembers getting a call from a superior to "talk to someone" in a Las Vegas jail and then to "document it and file it up the chain of command." The confession was documented and filed on June 29, 2000.

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Subject: Shut Down Fort Hood! Justice for Vanessa Guillén. Sign the petition!




Timeless words of wisdom from Friedrich Engels:

This legacy belongs to all of us:

“Let us not, however, flatter ourselves overmuch on account of our human victories over nature. For each such victory nature takes its revenge on us. Each victory, it is true, the first place brings about the results we expected, but in the second and third places it has quite different, unforeseen effects which only too often cancel the first. The people who, in Mesopotamia, Greece, Asia Minor and elsewhere, destroyed the forest to obtain cultivable land, never dreamed that by removing along with the forests the collecting centres and reservoirs of moisture they were laying the basis for the present forlorn state of those countries. . . Thus at every step we are reminded that we by no means rule over nature like a conqueror over a foreign people, like someone standing outside nature–but that we, with flesh, blood and brain, belong to nature, and exist in its midst, and that all our mastery of it consists in the fact that we have the advantage over all other creatures of being able to learn its laws and apply them correctly.” The Part played by Labour in the Transition from Ape to Man 1876. —Friedrich Engels



Marvin Gaye - What's Going On (Official Video 2019)


Because once is not enough. Because sometimes music is my only solace. Because sometimes it hurts too much too care but to be human is to hurt. Because I feel lucky to have grown up with great music. Because that music was harmonic and melodious. Because that music had soul. Because I grew up with Blues and Motown and Jazz. Because I grew up with Black friends and we played ball everyday and we had fun and we were winners. Because they taught me about music and soul and acceptance. Because they didn't hate me for being white. Because I was brought up with Irish Catholics who taught me that fighting and arguing for justice kept depression in its place. Because they taught me that if you never quit fighting you haven't lost so never quit fighting for justice. Because I was in a union and learned that solidarity is the original religion. Because without solidarity you are alone. And alone is hell and because I have never been in hell. Because I am part of the human race. Because the human race is the only race on earth. Because I am grateful for Marvin Gaye, and John Coltrane, and Sam Cooke and because you know what I am talking about. Because we are going to win and we are going to have fun. Because that's the truth. Because no lie can defeat truth. Because you are there to hear me. Because I know I am not alone.  —Gregg Shotwell


(Gregg Shotwell is a retired autoworker, writer and poet.)




Tell Blackrock: stop investing in Tasers that police have used to kill thousands of Americans!

BlackRock loves to make a killing on killing: Over a thousand Americans have been killed by Tasers — 32 percent of them are Black Americans. Tasers are made by the colossal law enforcement supplier Axon Enterprise, based in Arizona.
One of their top shareholders happens to be Blackrock. Recently Blackrock has been trying to be sympathetic to the atrocities of murders waged on Black Americans and communities of color. If we ramp up massive pressure and blow the whistle on their deadly stocks, we can highlight that divesting from Tasers and the war in our streets will be a step in the right direction in building a fair and just society.
This issue is important to having peace in our streets. But this will only work if people participate. Send an email to Blackrock to divest from the Taser manufacturer Axon Enterprise which is responsible for the killing of thousands of Americans, and CODEPINK will pull out all the stops to make sure Blackrock execs hear our call:

Tell Blackrock: stop investing in Tasers!

Blackrock could do this. They recently announced that they were divesting from fossil fuels — signaling a shift in their policies. If CEO Larry Fink cares about “diversity, fairness, and justice” and building a “stronger, more equal, and safer society” — he should divest from Tasers.
Plus, compared to Blackrock’s other holdings, Taser stocks aren’t even that significant!

But if Blackrock does this, it could be the first domino we need to get other investment companies on board too. Send an email to BlackRock and share this widely! 

Tell Blackrock: stop investing in Tasers!

If there’s one thing our community stands for, it’s peace and social justice. And one way we can help achieve that is by cutting off the flow of cash into the manufacturing of Tasers. So, let’s come together to make that happen, and help prevent more innocent Americans from being killed with these senseless tools.

With hope,
Nancy, Carley, Jodie, Paki, Cody, Kelsey, and Yousef

Donate Now!

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Rayshard Brooks, 27 years old, was shot to death while running away from police in Atlanta Friday, June 12, 2020.





Kimberly Jones

If you haven't seen this, you're missing something spectacular:

On Saturday May 30th filmmaker and photographer David Jones of David Jones Media felt compelled to go out and serve the community in some way. He decided to use his art to try and explain the events that were currently impacting our lives. On day two, Sunday the 31st, he activated his dear friend author Kimberly Jones to tag along and conduct interviews. During a moment of downtime he captured these powerful words from her and felt the world couldn’t wait for the full length documentary, they needed to hear them now.

Kimberly Jones on YouTube 






Ultimately, the majority of human suffering is caused by a system that places the value of material wealth over the value of
human life. To end the suffering, we must end the profit motive—the very foundation of capitalism itself.
(Bay Area United Against War Newsletter)



George Floyd's Last Words
"It's my face man
I didn't do nothing serious man
please I can't breathe
please man
please somebody
please man
I can't breathe
I can't breathe
man can't breathe, my face
just get up
I can't breathe
please (inaudible)
I can't breathe sh*t
I will
I can't move
I can't
my knee
my nuts
I'm through
I'm through
I'm claustrophobic
my stomach hurt
my neck hurts
everything hurts
some water or something
I can't breathe officer
don't kill me
they gon' kill me man
come on man
I cannot breathe
I cannot breathe
they gon' kill me
they gon' kill me
I can't breathe
I can't breathe
please sir
please I can't breathe"

Then his eyes shut and the pleas stop. George Floyd was pronounced dead shortly after.






Trump Comic Satire—A Proposal
          By Shakaboona

Hello everyone, it's Shakaboona here, on May 29, 2020, Friday, it was reported by NPR and other news agencies that when protestors marched on the White House, the Secret Service (SS) rushed Pres. Trump to a protective bunker in the basement of the White House for his safety. When I heard that news I instantly visualized 3 scenes - (Scene 1) a pic of Pres. Saddam Hussein hiding in an underground cave in fear of the U.S. Army, (Scene 2) a pic of Pres. Donald Trump hiding in an underground bunker shaking in fear beneath a desk from U.S. Protestors as Secret Service guards (with 2 Lightning bolts on their collars) in hyper security around him with big guns drawn out, and (Scene 3) a pic of Pres. Trump later stood in front of the church across from the White House with a Bible in hand & chest puffed out & threatened to activate the U.S. Army against American citizen protestors.
 ~ I think this would be an underground iconic image of the power of the People & the cowardice/fear of Pres. Trump, not to mention that I think such a creative comic satire of Trump would demolish his self image (haha). I ask for anyone's help to turn my above visual satire of Trump into an actual comic satire strip & for us to distribute the finished comic satire strip worldwide, esp. to the news media. Maybe we can get Trump to see it and watch him blow a gasket (lol).
 ~ Please everyone, stay safe out there, b/c Trump is pushing this country to the verge of Civil War. Be prepared in every way imaginable. Peace. - Ur Brother, Shakaboona

Write to Shakaboona:
Smart Communications/PA DOC
Kerry Shakaboona Marshall #BE7826
SCI Rockview
P.O. Box 33028
St. Petersburg, FL 33733









Still photo from Stanley Kubrick's "Dr. Strangelove"released January 29, 1964

Enough is Enough: Global Nuclear Weapons 

Spending 2020

  In its report "Enough is Enough: Global Nuclear Weapons Spending 2020" the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons has produced the first estimate in nearly a decade of global nuclear weapon spending, taking into account costs to maintain and build new nuclear weapons. ICAN estimates that the nine nuclear-armed countries spent $72.9 billion on their 13,000-plus nuclear weapons in 2019, equaling $138,699 every minute of 2019 on nuclear weapons, and a $7.1 billion increase from 2018.
These estimates (rounded to one decimal point) include nuclear warhead and nuclear-capable delivery systems operating costs and development where these expenditures are publicly available and are based on a reasonable percentage of total military spending on nuclear weapons when more detailed budget data is not available. ICAN urges all nuclear-armed states to be transparent about nuclear weapons expenditures to allow for more accurate reporting on global nuclear expenditures and better government accountability.
ICAN, May 2020



Shooting and looting started: 400 years ago

Shooting, looting, scalping, lynching,
Raping, torturing their way across
the continent—400 years ago—
Colonial settler thugs launched this
endless crimson tide rolling down on
Colonial settler thugs launched this
endless crimson tide leaving in-
visible yellow crime
scene tape crisscrossing Tallahassee
to Seattle; San Diego to Bangor… 
Shooting Seneca, Seminole, Creek,
Choctaw, Mohawk, Cayuga, Blackfeet,
Shooting Sioux, Shawnee, Chickasaw,
Chippewa before
Looting Lakota land; Looting Ohlone
Looting Ashanti, Fulani, Huasa, Wolof,
Yoruba, Ibo, Kongo, Mongo, Hutu, Zulu…
Colonial settler thugs launched this
endless crimson tide—hot lead storms—
Shooting, looting Mexico for half of New
Mexico; a quarter of Colorado; some of
Wyoming and most of Arizona; Looting
Mexico for Utah, Nevada and California
So, next time Orange Mobutu, Boss Tweet,
is dirty like Duterte—howling for shooting;
Next time demented minions raise rifles to
shoot; Remind them that
Real looters wear Brooks Brothers suits;
Or gold braid and junk medals ‘cross their
chests. Real looters—with Capitalist Hill
Steal trillions
Not FOX-boxes, silly sneakers, cheap clothes…
© 2020. Raymond Nat Turner, The Town Crier. All Rights Reserved.       











Veterans Join Call for a Global Ceasefire, The Lasting Effects of War Book Discussion, Sir, No Sir Viewing, VFP's Online Convention, Workshop Proposals, Convention FAQ, No More COVID-19 Money For the Pentagon, Repeal the AUMF, Community Conversation on Hybrid Warfare, St Louis VFP Delivers VA Lunch, In the News and Calendar

Veterans Join Call for a Global Ceasefire 

Veterans For Peace, as a United Nations Department of Global Communication affiliated NGO, is most gratified to see UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres make his plea for a worldwide ceasefire during this global pandemic. 

The first line of the Preamble of the UN's Charter says that they originated to save “succeeding generations from the scourge of war”. But sadly, because the UN was created by the victors of WW2 who remain the powers of the world, and because the UN depends for funding on those same militarily and economically dominant nation-states, primarily the U.S., much more often than not the UN is very quiet on war. 

Please join Veterans For Peace in appealing to U.S. Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft to support the Secretary General's call for a GLOBAL CEASEFIRE! 

For more information about events go to:




Courage to Resist
www.couragetoresist.org ~ 510.488.3559 ~ facebook.com/couragetoresist

484 Lake Park Ave # 41
OaklandCA 94610-2730
United States
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From Business Insider 2018



"The biggest block from having society in harmony with the universe is the belief in a lie that says it’s not realistic or humanly possible." 

"If Obama taught me anything it’s that it don’t matter who you vote for in this system. There’s nothing a politician can do that the next one can’t undo. You can’t vote away the ills of society people have to put our differences aside ban together and fight for the greater good, not vote for the lesser evil."

—Johnny Gould (Follow @tandino415 on Instagram)







When faced with the opportunity to do good, I really think it’s the instinct of humanity to do so. It’s in our genetic memory from our earliest ancestors. It’s the altered perception of the reality of what being human truly is that’s been indoctrinated in to every generation for the last 2000 years or more that makes us believe that we are born sinners. I can’t get behind that one. We all struggle with certain things, but I really think that all the “sinful” behavior is learned and wisdom and goodwill is innate at birth.  —Johnny Gould (Follow @tandino415 on Instagram)



















Support Major Tillery, Friend of Mumia, Innocent, Framed, Now Ill

Major Tillery (with hat) and family

Dear Friends of the Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia,

Major Tillery, a prisoner at SCI Chester and a friend of Mumia, may have caught the coronavirus. Major is currently under lockdown at SCI Chester, where a coronavirus outbreak is currently taking place. Along with the other prisoners at SCI Chester, he urgently needs your help.

Major was framed by the Pennsylvania District Attorney and police for a murder which took place in 1976. He has maintained his innocence throughout the 37 years he has been incarcerated, of which approximately 20 were spent in solitary confinement. The U.N. Special Rapporteur on torture has said that 15 days of solitary confinement constitutes torture.

When Mumia had Hepatitis C and was left to die by the prison administration at SCI Mahanoy, Major Tillery was the prisoner who confronted the prison superintendent and demanded that they treat Mumia. (see https://www.justiceformajortillery.org/messing-with-major.html). Although Mumia received medical treatment, the prison retaliated against Major for standing up to the prison administration. He was transferred to another facility, his cell was searched and turned inside out repeatedly, and he lost his job in the prison as a Peer Facilitator.

SCI Chester, where Major is currently incarcerated, has been closed to visitors since mid-March. Fourteen guards and one prisoner are currently reported to be infected with the coronavirus. Because the prison has not tested all the inmates, there is no way to know how many more inmates have coronavirus. Major has had a fever, chills and a sore throat for several nights. Although Major has demanded testing for himself and all prisoners, the prison administration has not complied.

For the past ten days, there has been no cleaning of the cell block. It has been weeks since prisoners have been allowed into the yard to exercise. The food trays are simply being left on the floor. There have been no walk-throughs by prison administrators. The prisoners are not allowed to have showers; they are not allowed to have phone calls; and they are not permitted any computer access. 

This coronavirus outbreak at SCI Chester is the same situation which is playing out in California prisons right now, about which the Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia, along with other groups, organized a car caravan protest at San Quentin last week. Prisons are enclosed indoor spaces and are already an epicenter of the coronavirus, like meatpacking plants and cruise ships. If large numbers of prisoners are not released, the coronavirus will infect the prisons, as well as surrounding communities, and many prisoners will die. Failing to release large numbers of prisoners at this point is the same as executing them. We call for "No Execution by COVID-19"!

Major is close to 70 years old, and has a compromised liver and immune system, as well as heart problems. He desperately needs your help. 

Please write and call Acting Superintendent Kenneth Eason at:

Kenneth Eason, Acting Superintendent
SCI Chester
500 E. 4th St.
Chester, PA 19013

Telephone: (610) 490-5412

Email: keason@pa.gov (Prison Superintendent). maquinn@pa.gov (Superintendent's Assistant)
Please also call the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections at:Department of Corrections
1920 Technology Parkway
Mechanicsburg, PA 17050

Telephone: (717) 737-4531
This telephone number is for SCI Camp Hill, which is the current number for DOC.
Reference Major's inmate number: AM 9786

Email: ra-contactdoc@pa.gov
Demand that the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections immediately:

1) Provide testing for all inmates and staff at SCI Chester;
2) Disinfect all cells and common areas at SCI Chester, including sinks, toilets, eating areas and showers;
3) Provide PPE (personal protective equipment) for all inmates at SCI Chester;
4) Provide access to showers for all prisoners at SCI Chester, as a basic hygiene measure;
5) Provide yard access to all prisoners at SCI Chester;
6) Provide phone and internet access to all prisoners at SCI Chester;
7) Immediately release prisoners from SCI Chester, including Major Tillery, who already suffers from a compromised immune system, in order to save their lives from execution by COVID-19.

It has been reported that prisoners are now receiving shower access. However, please insist that prisoners be given shower access and that all common areas are disinfected.

In solidarity,

The Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal



Kiah Morris

May 7 at 6:44 AM

So, in MY lifetime....

Black people are so tired. 😓

We can’t go jogging (#AhmaudArbery).

We can’t relax in the comfort of our own homes (#BothemJean and #AtatianaJefferson).

We can't ask for help after being in a car crash (#JonathanFerrell and #RenishaMcBride).

We can't have a cellphone (#StephonClark).

We can't leave a party to get to safety (#JordanEdwards).

We can't play loud music (#JordanDavis).

We can’t sell CD's (#AltonSterling).

We can’t sleep (#AiyanaJones)

We can’t walk from the corner store (#MikeBrown).

We can’t play cops and robbers (#TamirRice).

We can’t go to church (#Charleston9).

We can’t walk home with Skittles (#TrayvonMartin).

We can’t hold a hair brush while leaving our own bachelor party (#SeanBell).

We can’t party on New Years (#OscarGrant).

We can’t get a normal traffic ticket (#SandraBland).

We can’t lawfully carry a weapon (#PhilandoCastile).

We can't break down on a public road with car problems (#CoreyJones).

We can’t shop at Walmart (#JohnCrawford)p^p.

We can’t have a disabled vehicle (#TerrenceCrutcher).

We can’t read a book in our own car (#KeithScott).

We can’t be a 10yr old walking with our grandfather (#CliffordGlover).

We can’t decorate for a party (#ClaudeReese).

We can’t ask a cop a question (#RandyEvans).

We can’t cash our check in peace (#YvonneSmallwood).

We can’t take out our wallet (#AmadouDiallo).

We can’t run (#WalterScott).

We can’t breathe (#EricGarner).

We can’t live (#FreddieGray).

We’re tired.

Tired of making hashtags.

Tired of trying to convince you that our #BlackLivesMatter too.

Tired of dying.




So very tired.

(I don’t know who created this. I just know there are so many more names to be added and names we may never hear of.)








1) Purdue Pharma Plea Offers Little Solace to Survivors of Opioid Crisis

The company, which produced OxyContin, faces penalties of $8.3 billion. But families of those addicted are skeptical of the tangible benefits.

By Dan Levin, Oct. 21, 2020

Family and friends who had lost loved ones to OxyContin and opioid overdoses protested outside of Purdue Pharma’s headquarters in 2018. Credit...Jessica Hill/Associated Press

Emily Walden’s son T.J. was prescribed opioids throughout his childhood to help him recover from a series of operations. But he became addicted only once he started using OxyContin. He was a 21-year-old member of the Kentucky National Guard when he died of an opioid overdose four years later.


Ever since her son’s death, Ms. Walden has devoted herself to a singular mission: convincing the federal government to hold pharmaceutical executives personally responsible for their role in the nation’s opioid crisis. At the top of her list is the maker of OxyContin, Purdue Pharma, and the wealthy Sackler family that owns the company.


Yet Ms. Walden felt little relief when the Justice Department announced on Wednesday that Purdue would plead guilty to criminal charges as part of an $8.3 billion settlement, or that the Sacklers would pay $225 million in civil penalties. The company is in bankruptcy court, so it is unlikely to pay anything close to the negotiated settlement, and the Sacklers remain free.


“Purdue, once again, played the game and won,” said Ms. Walden, the chairwoman of The Fed Up! Coalition, an advocacy group.


More than 20 years after the introduction of OxyContin — and nearly 450,000 opioid overdose deaths later — Wednesday’s announcement brought little solace to the survivors of the opioid crisis and the families whose loved ones became its victims. Purdue agreed to plead guilty to felony charges of defrauding federal health agencies and violating anti-kickback laws.


The deal does not end thousands of lawsuits brought by states, cities and others against the most prominent defendant in the opioid epidemic.


In North Caldwell, N.J., Lora Goldwater recalled the agony of watching her son struggle with an opioid addiction that began with OxyContin in college, leading to heroin and seven stints in rehab before he became sober nearly four years ago.


“I’m lucky because my son did not die,” she said. “But between the ages of 18 and 25, he must have gone to at least half a dozen funerals, if not more, of people who did not make it to the other side.”


For Ms. Goldwater, the settlement is insufficient unless the Sacklers and Purdue executives face criminal charges, which prosecutors said could still happen. “They definitely engaged in criminal activity due to greed, insensitivity and because they felt they could get away with it.”


Jake Bradshaw was a 17-year-old high school student in rural Minford, Ohio, two decades ago when OxyContin pills began appearing at parties. Soon, what started as a weekend dalliance became an unrelenting dependence for Mr. Bradshaw and many of his classmates. They swallowed opiates before school, snorted painkillers in the bathrooms and crushed up pills with a baseball at the back of classrooms. “In a very short amount of time, 30 percent of my class was addicted to a hard opiate that’s pretty much like heroin,” he said. “And no one knew how to deal with it.”


Over the next decade, Scioto County, which includes Minford, would become ground zero in Ohio’s fight against opioids. It would lead the state with high rates of fatal drug overdoses, drug-related incarcerations and babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome. Drug overdoses killed more Ohio residents in May than in any month in at least 14 years, according to state data, as drug abuse has increased amid the coronavirus pandemic.


“I’m a huge believer that if we had not seen OxyContin in this area, we would not have a heroin and fentanyl epidemic,” said Mr. Bradshaw, who was addicted to opioids for more than 10 years. While he was heartened by the news that Purdue would plead guilty to criminal charges, he questioned the tangible benefits of the deal for devastated communities. “Hopefully, it’ll bring some kind of closure to the families whose kids got addicted to OxyContin and now are dead,” he said.


One of Mr. Bradshaw’s former classmates, Ralph Boggs, 38, recounted how a doctor prescribed OxyContin to him in the early 2000s, a few years after he was seriously injured in a car crash. Soon, he was buying OxyContin at pill mills in the Midwest and Florida, where doctors took cash and asked no questions. “It was like walking in and out of a Family Dollar,” he said.


He ended his addiction during a seven-year prison sentence, but Mr. Boggs could not escape the destruction wrought by the opioid crisis. In March, his 18-year-old son, Ethan, fatally overdosed on fentanyl, shortly after his high school in Portsmouth, Ohio, closed amid the pandemic.


Mr. Boggs dismissed the $8.6 billion settlement as a slap on the wrist for causing so much grief to so many people. “We can’t get our loved ones back,” he said. “To me that’s not worth anything. You can’t write a dollar amount for that.”



2) OSHA Criticized for Lax Regulation of Meatpacking in Pandemic

Critics say the agency has applied scant oversight and negligible penalties despite virus outbreaks at many plants in the spring.

By Noam Scheiber, Oct. 22, 2020

Mourners with the coffin of a JBS employee who died of Covid-19 in April after an outbreak at the meat processing plant in Greeley, Colo. The plant was later cited for safety lapses. Credit...Alex Mcintyre/The Greeley Tribune, via Associated Press

When the pandemic hit in March, a JBS meatpacking plant in Greeley, Colo., began providing paid leave to workers at high risk of serious illness.


But last month, shortly after the plant was cited by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration for a serious virus-related safety violation and given two initial penalties totaling about $15,500, it brought the high-risk employees back to work.


“Now the company knows where the ceiling is,” said Kim Cordova, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers union local that represents the workers, about half a dozen of whom have died of Covid-19. “If other workers die, it’s not going to cost them that much.”


JBS USA said the return of the vulnerable workers in late September had nothing to do with the citation. “It was in response to the low number of Covid-19 cases at the facility for a sustained period of time,” a spokesman said, noting that the company began informing workers of the return in late July.


The JBS case reflects a skew in OSHA’s Covid-related citations, most of which it has announced since September: While the agency has announced initial penalties totaling over $1 million to dozens of health care facilities and nursing homes, it has announced fines for only two meatpacking plants for a total of less than $30,000. JBS and the owner of the second plant, Smithfield Foods, combined to take in tens of billions of dollars worldwide last year.


The meat industry has gotten the relatively light touch even as the virus has infected thousands of its workers — including more than 1,500 at the two facilities in question — and dozens have died.


“The number of plants with outbreaks was enormous around the country,” said David Michaels, an epidemiologist who headed the agency in the Obama administration and now teaches at the George Washington University School of Public Health. “But most OSHA offices haven’t yet issued any citations.”


The disparity in the way OSHA has treated health care and meatpacking is no accident. In April, the agency announced that it would largely avoid inspecting workplaces in person outside a small number of industries deemed most susceptible to coronavirus outbreaks, like health care, nursing homes and emergency response.


Experts concede that with limited resources for inspections, OSHA, part of the Labor Department, must set priorities according to risk. Some, like Dr. Michaels, argue that this makes it more important to issue a rule instructing employers on the steps they must take to keep workers safe. But the agency chose instead to issue a set of recommendations, like six feet of distance between workers on a meat-processing line.


A Labor Department spokeswoman said OSHA already had more general rules that “apply to protecting workers from the coronavirus.”


Around the time of the recommendations, President Trump signed an executive order declaring meatpacking plants “critical infrastructure” to help ensure that they remained open during the pandemic.


Some union officials representing health care workers praise OSHA for its enforcement work. “Given the times we live in, frankly I am thrilled that we’ve gotten OSHA to issue so many citations,” said Debbie White, president of the Health Professionals and Allied Employees, which represents about 14,000 nurses and other health workers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.


“We see improved health and safety in the workplace because of those citations,” she said. “That’s a win for us.”


But when it comes to meatpacking, many union officials and safety experts said there had largely been a regulatory vacuum, one they worry will lead to another round of outbreaks as cases spike again this fall.


“We’re worried that we’re going to see what happened happen again,” Ms. Cordova of the Colorado local said.


OSHA’s oversight of the meatpacking industry has been in the spotlight in a case filed by workers at a Maid-Rite plant in Dunmore, Pa., accusing the agency of lax regulation.


The suit contended that OSHA had done little for weeks after a worker filed a complaint in April describing insufficient precautions amid an outbreak at the plant, and after other workers filed a complaint in May asserting that they faced “imminent danger” because of the risk of infection there.


When OSHA finds that conditions pose an “imminent danger” to workers, it typically intervenes quickly and asks the employer to mitigate the risk. But in a hearing before a federal judge in late July, a local OSHA official testified that she did not consider the term to be appropriate in the Maid-Rite case.


The official said that because OSHA’s central office had designated all meatpacking facilities to be “medium risk,” the agency would not rush to conduct a formal inspection absent some “outlying” issue. The OSHA area director said that of nearly 300 Covid-related complaints his office had received at the time, it had not deemed any an imminent danger.


The agency inspected the Maid-Rite plant on July 9, months after the initial complaint, finding that many workers were spaced two to three feet apart with no barriers separating them. A Labor Department lawyer said at the hearing that OSHA was still studying the feasibility of requiring the company to space them farther apart.


A Maid-Rite spokeswoman said the company was following guidelines suggested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “as we have been since they were released.”


OSHA has also been accused by union officials and even company executives of having been slow to visit the two meatpacking facilities that it has cited so far.


Ms. Cordova sent the agency a letter on March 23 asking it to conduct a spot check of the JBS plant and several other workplaces that her union represents. In response, she said, a local OSHA official told her that his office did not have capacity for inspections.


The agency eventually visited the 3,000-worker plant on May 14, after the plant had closed amid an outbreak and then reopened, and several workers had died.


At Smithfield, whose plant in Sioux Falls, S.D., was the other one cited by OSHA, even the company professed frustration over the agency’s inspection constraints.


Keira Lombardo, a Smithfield executive vice president, said in a statement that the company had “repeatedly urged OSHA to commit the time and resources to visit our operations in March and April,” adding, “They did not do so.”


The Labor Department spokeswoman said the agency had six months to complete an investigation under the law.


B.J. Motley, the president of the United Food and Commercial Workers local representing workers at the plant, said an OSHA inspection there in mid-May had been thorough, including several dozen interviews. But he said that the company had taken too long to add safety features, and that the penalty was insufficient.


According to Ms. Cordova and Mr. Motley, both plants have provided protective equipment like masks since the spring, but workers often still stand within a few feet of one another.


JBS and Smithfield said they were contesting their citations because the violations applied to conditions at their plants before OSHA had issued guidance. “It attempts to impose a standard that did not exist in March,” the JBS spokesman said.


The companies do not have to take the steps the agency recommended, such as distancing, while they contest the citations, but said their current standards largely exceeded OSHA’s guidance. Both companies said that they had installed barriers between many workers, taken air-purification measures and started virus screening and testing programs. They said that many of the safety measures were in place by late April, and that the rates of infection among their workers were low today.


The Labor Department has defended the penalties for JBS and Smithfield as the maximum allowed under the law for a single serious violation. While OSHA could have cited each plant for multiple instances of the same safety lapses, John L. Henshaw, who served as head of OSHA under President George W. Bush, said this practice was supposed to be reserved for employers who willfully failed to protect workers.


“Either the inspector or the area director or the solicitor’s office — somebody sort of looked at all the evidence and saw what maybe the company was trying to do and did, even though it wasn’t successful,” Mr. Henshaw said.


But Ann Rosenthal, who retired in 2018 as the Labor Department’s top OSHA lawyer after working under administrations of both parties, said the agency could have cited each facility for multiple violations — for different portions of the plant where there were hazards.


“They could well have said that hazards exist on the first floor, the second floor, etc., and could have gotten the penalty over $100,000,” Ms. Rosenthal said. “At least it would have looked like an effort to start to be serious.”


Other experts said the agency could fall further behind in protecting meatpacking workers in the coming months, pointing not just to rising infection rates nationally but to recent changes in the way OSHA regulates employers.


Dr. Michaels, the former OSHA head, cited the agency’s recent reinterpretation of an Obama-era rule that had required employers to report any hospitalization or amputation that resulted from a workplace incident.


Under the new interpretation, outlined last month, an employer is no longer required to report a Covid-related hospitalization within 24 hours of learning about it. Instead, the employer must report only hospitalizations that occur within 24 hours of the worker’s exposure to the virus on the job — timing that may be impossible to determine.


The spokeswoman for the Labor Department said that after initially considering the more expansive interpretation, it had concluded that only the narrower interpretation could be defended in court.


Dr. Michaels said that the regulation was critical for highlighting hot spots and problem areas, and that its weakening was deeply concerning.


“It’s a way to guarantee you have no reports,” he said of the change. “They’re telling employers: ‘Don’t worry. We’re not going to make you do anything.’”



3) How Many Americans Will Ayn Rand Kill?

Liberty doesn’t mean freedom to infect other people.

By Paul Krugman, Opinion Columnist, Oct. 22, 2020


Michael Reynolds/EPA, via Shutterstock

A long time ago, in an America far, far away — actually just last spring — many conservatives dismissed Covid-19 as a New York problem. It’s true that in the first few months of the pandemic, the New York area, the port of entry for many infected visitors from Europe, was hit very hard. But the focus on New York also played into right-wing “American carnage” narratives about the evils of densely populated, diverse cities. Rural white states imagined themselves immune.


But New York eventually controlled its viral surge, in large part via widespread mask-wearing, and at this point the “anarchist jurisdiction” is one of the safest places in the country. Despite a worrying uptick in some neighborhoods, especially in religious communities that have been flouting rules on social distancing, New York City’s positivity rate — the fraction of tests showing presence of the coronavirus — is only a bit over 1 percent.


Even as New York contained its pandemic, however, the coronavirus surged out of control in other parts of the country. There was a deadly summer spike in much of the Sunbelt. And right now the virus is running wild in much of the Midwest; in particular, the most dangerous places in America may be the Dakotas.


Last weekend North Dakota, which is averaging more than 700 new coronavirus cases every day, was down to only 17 available I.C.U. beds. South Dakota now has a terrifying 35 percent positivity rate. Deaths tend to lag behind infections and hospitalizations, but more people are already dying daily in the Dakotas than in New York State, which has 10 times their combined population. And there’s every reason to fear that things will get worse as cold weather forces people indoors and Covid-19 interacts with the flu season.


But why does this keep happening? Why does America keep making the same mistakes?


Donald Trump’s disastrous leadership is, of course, an important factor. But I also blame Ayn Rand — or, more generally, libertarianism gone bad, a misunderstanding of what freedom is all about.


If you look at what Republican politicians are saying as the pandemic rips through their states, you see a lot of science denial. Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota, has gone full Trump — questioning the usefulness of masks and encouraging potential super-spreader events. (The Sturgis motorcycle rally, which drew almost a half-million bikers to her state, may have played a key role in setting off the viral surge.)


But you also see a lot of libertarian rhetoric — a lot of talk about “freedom” and “personal responsibility.” Even politicians willing to say that people should cover their faces and avoid indoor gatherings refuse to use their power to impose rules to that effect, insisting that it should be a matter of individual choice.


Which is nonsense.


Many things should be matters of individual choice. The government has no business dictating your cultural tastes, your faith or what you decide to do with other consenting adults.


But refusing to wear a face covering during a pandemic, or insisting on mingling indoors with large groups, isn’t like following the church of your choice. It’s more like dumping raw sewage into a reservoir that supplies other people’s drinking water.


Remarkably, many prominent figures still don’t seem to understand (or aren’t willing to understand) why we should be practicing social distancing. It’s not primarily about protecting ourselves — if it were, it would indeed be a personal choice. Instead, it’s about not endangering others. Wearing a mask may provide some protection to the wearer, but mostly it limits the chance that you’ll infect other people.


Or to put it another way, irresponsible behavior right now is essentially a form of pollution. The only difference is in the level at which behavior needs to be changed. For the most part, controlling pollution involves regulating institutions — limiting sulfur dioxide emissions from power plants, requiring cars to have catalytic converters. Individual choices — paper versus plastic, walking instead of driving — aren’t completely irrelevant, but they have only a marginal effect.


Controlling a pandemic, on the other hand, mainly requires that individuals change their behavior — covering their faces, refraining from hanging out in bars. But the principle is the same.


Now, I know that some people are enraged by any suggestion that they should bear some inconvenience to protect the common good. Indeed, for reasons I don’t fully understand, the rage seems most intense when the inconvenience is trivial. Case in point: with around 5,000 Americans dying each week from Covid-19, Donald Trump seems obsessed with the problems he apparently has with low-flush toilets.


But this is no time for people to indulge their petty obsessions. Trump may complain that “all you hear is Covid, Covid, Covid.” The fact, however, is that the current path of the pandemic is terrifying. And we desperately need leadership from politicians who will take it seriously.



4) The Rich in New York Confront an Unfamiliar Word: No

The pandemic is causing inequality to soar, but increasingly the privileged are discovering that they can’t bend the world to their will.

By Ginia Bellafante, Oct. 23, 2020


Homeless advocates painted slogans at the townhouse of the lawyer leading the charge to remove homeless men from a hotel on the Upper West Side. Credit...Gregg Vigliotti for The New York Times

On Monday, a group of Upper West Siders who had organized against the placement of 235 homeless men in a residential hotel in their neighborhood received some unwelcome news. On the morning the men were supposed to move far downtown, a judge ruled that they could remain where they were. Relocating would be too disruptive and traumatic to people piecing their lives back together amid a pandemic


Until that point, it seemed the antagonists had civic power on their side; self-interest was coming up ahead as it so often does. Last month, Mayor Bill de Blasio agreed to get the homeless men out of the complainants’ way — removing them from the Labradoodle serenity of the West 70s, where a vocal minority was maintaining that their lives had been upended by ugliness and disorder.


The idea that it would take at least a month before the homeless men could be relocated prompted rage in a closed Facebook group, where little effort was made to conceal the most unsettling prejudices.


As one woman, a corporate executive, theorized, the men probably sought to stay in the neighborhood, not in pursuit of some stability but rather because there are “lots of stores to shoplift from” and “unmanned vestibules they can vandalize.” In fact, the overall crime rate in the neighborhood over the past month is down from the same period last year; there have been no murders, no shootings.


The anger among some of those opposed to the temporary shelter wasn’t just that they hadn’t been given what they wanted but that they didn’t get what they paid for. In this instance, they had hired an expensive lawyer, Randy Mastro, a former deputy mayor to Rudy Giuliani, to help them get the unhoused out of view. Now in their private social media postings they wondered where he was and what he had really done for them.


Clearly his contributions were sufficient enough to ignite the fury of protesters on the other side of the debate, who defaced Mr. Mastro’s East Side townhouse this week, marking it with red paint and profanities (“Randy Mastro You Can’t Displace Us”).


The fight over sheltering exemplifies just one of the ways the pandemic has deepened the class divide, while paradoxically revealing that old-style transactionalism no longer reliably yielded the same gifts. The privileged were now playing on a game board that had changed.


This bewildered entitlement is not confined to those hoping to buy their way to a version of the Upper West Side that felt like Westchester. It was echoed by parents in New York’s private-school world, as plans for reopening were announced in August. Many schools — because of teacher resistance, building constraints and so on — were not going to be able to offer live instruction five days a week.


This infuriated many parents, who believed that their high tuition fees ought to serve as a hedge against inconvenience during a global crisis. One email I came across from a father sent to the head of his children’s school began by calling the proposed schedule “a failure” and pointing out that for $50,000 a year, his exposure, essentially, should be minimized.


An excellent article in the new issue of the Atlantic that ignited the schadenfreude of parents from Bethesda, Md., to Newton, Mass., made similar observations about the diminishing returns on a particular kind of loaded investment. In the piece, the writer, Ruth S. Barrett, outlines the shifting fortunes of wealthy and maniacal parents who immerse their children in boutique sports — squash, fencing — purely as a means of lubricating the path to the Ivy League.


For a long time, a commitment to 10,000 hours, live-in coaches and sports psychologists on speed-dial could position a child toward that goal well enough. But the coronavirus killed sports at a time when a focus on equity was already causing universities to re-evaluate the patrician leanings of their athletic programs. The course was shutting down; the dream of Dartmouth was becoming the reality of Michigan State.


During the seven months the pandemic has had us by the scruff, millions of people have been propelled into crises of joblessness, grief, fear, faith, poverty, dislocation. But even as the rich have managed to accelerate their gains in a perpetual war against fairness, the victories have become more complicated. This has become especially obvious at the level of urban policy, where the disparity is the most pronounced.


If the world were not in such chaos at the moment, the fate of a luxury condominium building on West 66th Street would have surely gained much more attention. Last month, a New York State Supreme Court judge unexpectedly overruled the city’s decision to allow the construction of what would have become the tallest building on the Upper West Side. Extell, a major developer and birther of Billionaire’s Row, had planned to fill the tower with 198 feet of empty vertical space to create more apartments on higher floors, which command more money.


But the effect of what the judge equated to “putting a frankfurter in the middle of a hamburger” was “too brazen to be called a subterfuge.’’ Instead, he wrote, “the developer simply thumbed its nose at the rules.” (A few days earlier, the same judge, Arthur F. Engoron, ordered Eric Trump to sit for a deposition in an investigation of fraud into his family’s real estate business.)


For a brief time, the homeless men housed at the Lucerne, the residential hotel on the Upper West Side where they have been permitted to stay, were to be sent to a Radisson Hotel near Wall Street. There, too, some residents balked at the prospect of their arrival. At a community meeting a few weeks ago, one woman living in a 408-unit building on Pine Street, where the condominiums were designed by Armani/Casa, said that it was “inevitable” that congregating 235 men, some with substance-abuse and mental-health issues, would “increase violent events throughout the neighborhood.”


When it was determined that the men would remain at the Lucerne after all, it looked as if the residents of the financial district had “won.’’ But as it happened, other homeless men were soon going to be coming to the Radisson. And eventually, it would be made into a permanent shelter.



5) Outcry in Philippines Over General’s ‘Warning’ to Female Celebrities

Accusing a women’s rights group of ties to Communist rebels, the general told an actress she could be killed if she associated with the organization.

By Jason Gutierrez, Oct. 23, 2020

Catriona Gray, center left, in Manila in 2018, the year she won the Miss Universe pageant. Credit...Aaron Favila/Associated Press

MANILA — The 22-year-old actress’s voice broke last week as she talked about being threatened online with rape. She said she worried about the environment that her young nieces would grow up in, and called for creating “a better future for everyone.”


This week, a Philippine general said that unless she changed her ways, she could end up dead.


The general, Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade — the de facto head of a military task force fighting a long-running Communist insurgency in the Philippines — directed his criticism not at the remarks made by the actress, Liza Soberano, but at the forum where she made them: an online discussion on the rights of women and girls organized by the youth wing of Gabriela, a women’s rights group that the military claims is tied to Communist guerrillas. (Gabriela denies the accusation.)


“Liza Soberano, there’s still a chance to abdicate that group,” General Parlade said on Facebook. Otherwise, he said, she would “suffer the same fate” as Josephine Ann Lapira, a young activist who was killed in a 2017 battle between the military and the Communist rebels, the New People’s Army.


The general’s comments led to an outcry from social media users, liberal politicians and the Commission on Human Rights, an independent government body.


“Coming from a high-ranking military official, such a statement is a form of suppression and restriction that serves to dissuade those who speak up for their beliefs and advocacies,” a member of the rights commission, Gwendolyn Pimentel-Gana, said on Friday.


A lawyer for Ms. Soberano, Jun Lim, said that the actress was “apolitical,” and accused General Parlade of “red-tagging” her — that is, accusing her of being a Communist. “Expressing her love and respect for women and children is her personal advocacy,” Mr. Lim said.


General Parlade denied implying that Ms. Soberano was a Communist, saying that he had meant only to warn her against associating with militants. He said he supported women’s rights.


But some of the general’s critics said his comments reflected a hostility toward women that is prevalent in President Rodrigo Duterte’s government.


In his Facebook remarks, General Parlade also warned another Filipina celebrity — Catriona Gray, who won the Miss Universe pageant in 2018 — against associating with left-leaning activist groups. And he accused Angel Locsin, an outspoken actress, of being involved with the rebels.


Ms. Gray, in particular, has been vocal about the government’s crackdown on human rights organizations and its passage of a contentious antiterrorism law that rights groups say was designed to stifle opposition voices.


“To Liza and Catriona: It is difficult and painful to be at the front lines fighting beside persons oppressed by a norm that advocates rape, murder and exploitation,” Senator Risa Hontiveros said by telephone.


“We will be monitoring him from now on,” Senator Hontiveros said of General Parlade. “He should not use his power as a general and threaten these women.”


Mr. Duterte, a self-confessed womanizer, has been repeatedly accused of misogyny. He once joked about the gang rape of an Australian missionary during a prison riot in the southern Philippines, saying that he should have been allowed to participate.


The New People’s Army, the armed wing of the country’s Communist Party, has been waging guerrilla warfare since 1969. Mr. Duterte, who calls himself a leftist and who once studied under the party’s founder, Jose Maria Sison, wooed the rebels to the negotiating table soon after taking office and had hoped to complete a peace deal before stepping down in 2022.


But the relationship soured, with the rebels and the military accusing each other of continuing to foment violence. Mr. Duterte scrapped the peace talks and said he would resume them only if Mr. Sison returned to the Philippines from self-imposed exile in the Netherlands.


Gabriela, the country’s most prominent women’s rights organization, has denied having ties to the Communist Party or the rebels. Arlene Brosas, a Philippine lawmaker who is a member of Gabriela, said the military was using a “rehashed script” to attack the group.


“Our 20 years of advancing women and children’s rights inside and outside of Congress cannot be smeared by their repeated lies,” she said.


Ms. Soberano is a popular film and television actress whose breakthrough came with “Forevermore,” a soap opera on the ABS-CBN network. On Friday, ABS-CBN issued statements in support of both Ms. Soberano and Ms. Locsin, who also appears on the network.


In the online discussion last week, Ms. Soberano became emotional as she talked about supportive messages she had received from women after filing a criminal complaint against someone alleged to have posted a rape threat against her on social media.


“I cried when they sent me those messages,” she said, “because I didn’t realize how many women were struggling to stand up for themselves.”



6) The Radicalization of a Small American Town

The change has occurred so slowly that at times I hardly noticed it.

By Brian Groh, Mr. Groh is a novelist, Oct. 23, 2020

Leonardo Santamaria

LAWRENCEBURG, Ind. — For 20 years, off and on, I’ve lived in this small, blue-collar town about 30 minutes west of Cincinnati. My grandparents, immigrants from Germany, bought my old farmhouse, on 15 acres, during World War II. I’ve always felt that this town embodies much of what I love about the Midwest: friendliness, a lack of pretension and a prevailing sense of decency among neighbors.


A few weeks ago, I met up with a good friend, an 84-year-old retiree named Frank, who lives nearby. He told me that he’d put up a “Biden-Harris” lawn sign, and within 36 hours it had been stolen. In response, his girlfriend taped another sign to the inside of their ranch home’s front window. Frank immediately took it down. “The chair I like to sit in is right there,” he explained. “The next time they come, I’m afraid it might be a brick, or a bullet.” Just a few years ago, I would have said that Frank was overreacting. Now I’m not so sure.


Over the past four years, my hometown has become radicalized. This is a loaded word, but it’s the only way to describe it.


As recently as 2008, I saw Bill Clinton speak at our community center, where the crowd was so large that people had to listen to him from loudspeakers in a nearby firehouse. The mood was electric. “People are broke at the end of every month,” he said. “This has to change.” He promised that with Democratic leadership, it would. An aggressive new energy policy would bring jobs, with higher incomes.


And this promise was very welcome. At the time, the best job I could find was at a call center, selling home security systems. But I felt hopeful. I stuck an Obama sign in my yard and a campaign bumper sticker on my old Corolla. Like a lot of my neighbors, I believed that Democrats would, in fact, improve the town’s fortunes, and on election night, Barack Obama carried the state.


But things didn’t improve. Not really. The latest census reports median household income in Lawrenceburg as $30,735, with a little over 32 percent of us in poverty. And in 2014, according to The New York Times, our small county (which is over 97 percent white) sent more people to prison than San Francisco. In January, our hospital cited a “higher number of uninsured patients” as a reason it needed to “right-size” its work force by laying off 31 employees and eliminating behavioral health services.


And there are darker omens. Last fall, my teenage nephew came running into the house, wide-eyed, saying he’d found a human skull in the woods. I followed him until, panting at the bottom of a ravine, I saw the skull trapped in a thicket of sticks and leaves, missing several of its front teeth. The police arrived, and for the rest of the night, I watched from my bedroom window as flashlights swept over the long grass, through the woods, until they were finally swallowed by darkness.


It was an overdose, an officer told me later, the victim most likely another casualty of the nation’s opioid epidemic. (In 2017, in this county, there were 80 opioid prescriptions for every 100 residents.) The young man seemed to have died higher up on the hill, where they found more of his remains. The rain must have washed his skull down the slope.


The skull felt like a portent, but also a turning point. Months later, I noticed a vendor at a roadside stand selling Trump flags. “Trump 2020: Keep America Great,” one read. Another read “Trump 2020: No More [Expletive].” It was more than half a year away from the election, and I remember thinking: Why flags? A flag was something people fought under, and for; something people carried to war. By the summer, another vendor popped up selling flags with even bolder slogans like “Trump 2020: [Expletive] Your Feelings,” “Liberty or Die,” “Make Liberals Cry Again.” The economy was in the dumps but the flag business was booming.


And not just Trump flags. In the past few months, I have seen three Confederate flags hoisted in neighbors’ yards, where previously I’d seen none. Just a few weeks ago, two masked men appeared outside our high school, holding a large KKK flag and fliers, apparently scouting for young recruits.


At times, all of this has felt like a horror movie, where it starts off happily enough — in a sun-drenched, idyllic farmhouse — and then the darkness slowly takes over. The change has occurred so slowly that at times, I hardly noticed it, until one day I barely recognized my hometown.


Last week, I drove down for a closer look at the nearest Trump stand, where alongside the flags hung Trump T-shirts. One read, “I’m a Deplorable.” And it reminded me of my grandparents, of how they felt while still in Germany: willing to work as hard as anyone but seeing no way to improve their circumstances. In my more charitable moments, I can see my neighbors’ xenophobia and racism and their Trump-loving thuggishness as symptoms of alienation from people who feel forsaken and disdained. This is, perhaps, the part of me that still feels deeply connected to where I live. But I’ve been appalled by the ugliness I’ve seen here this past year. And more often, in the dwindling autumn light, I find myself staring at my grandparents’ old farmhouse and wondering if it’s finally time to pack my bags.


Brian Groh (@BrianHGroh) is the author of the novel “Summer People.”



7) Inside the Refugee Camp on America’s Doorstep

A squalid tent camp on the border is the result of President Trump’s unprecedented limits on asylum. Some people have waited in filthy conditions for more than a year to obtain refuge in the United States.

By Caitlin Dickerson, Oct. 23, 2020


Children ran through the migrant camp in Matamoros, Mexico, while it was being fumigated. Ilana Panich-Linsman for The New York Times

MATAMOROS, Mexico — A butter yellow sun rose over the crowded tent camp across the river from Texas and a thick heat baked the rotten debris below, a mixture of broken toys, human waste and uneaten food swarming with flies.


Clothing and sheets hung from trees and dried stiff after being drenched and muddied in a hurricane the week before.


As residents emerged from the zipper-holes of their canvas homes that morning in August, some trudged with buckets in hand toward tanks of water for bathing and washing dishes. Others assembled in front of wash basins with arms full of children’s underwear and pajamas. They waited for the first warm meal of the day to arrive, though it often made them sick.


The members of this displaced community requested refuge in the United States but were sent back into Mexico, and told to wait. They came there after unique tragedies: violent assaults, oppressive extortions, murdered loved ones. They are bound together by the one thing they share in common — having nowhere else to go.


“Sometimes I feel like I can’t hold on anymore,” said Jaqueline Salgado, who fled to the camp from Southern Mexico, sitting outside her tent on a bucket as her children played in the dirt. “But when I remember everything I’ve been through, and how it was worse, I come back to the conclusion that I have to wait.”


Ms. Salgado is one of about 600 people stranded in a place that many Americans might have thought would never exist. It is effectively a refugee camp on the doorstep of the United States, one of several that have sprung up along the border for the first time in the country’s history.


After first cropping up in 2018, the encampment across the border from Brownsville, Texas, exploded to nearly 3,000 people the following year under a policy that has required at least 60,000 asylum seekers to wait in Mexico for the entirety of their legal cases, which can take years.


Those who have not given up and returned home or had the means to move into shelters or apartments while they wait have been stuck outside ever since in this camp, or others like it that are now strung along the southwest border.


Many have been living in fraying tents for more than a year.


The Trump administration has said the “remain in Mexico” policy was essential to end exploitation of American immigration laws and alleviate overcrowding at Border Patrol facilities after nearly two million migrants crossed into the United States between 2017 and 2019.


The Mexican authorities have blamed the American government for the situation. But they have also declined to designate the outdoor areas as official refugee camps in collaboration with the United Nations, which could then have provided infrastructure for housing and sanitation.


“It has been the first time we have been in this situation,” Shant Dermegerditchian, director of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ office in Monterrey, Mexico. “And we certainly don’t support this.”


The U.S. Supreme Court agreed this week to review the policy after it was successfully challenged in the federal Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The case will not be resolved until after the election, so those living in the camp have months of waiting ahead, if not longer.


The camp drew attention during Thursday night’s presidential debate, when former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. noted, “This is the first president in the history of the United States of America that anybody seeking asylum has to do it in another country,” he said. “They’re sitting in squalor on the other side of the river.”


The arrival of the coronavirus has made things much worse. Though only a few cases broke out at the camp, most of the American aid workers who entered regularly to distribute supplies stopped coming, hoping to avoid transporting the virus.


The Gulf Cartel, which traffics drugs across the border and is as powerful a force as local law enforcement, moved in to fill the void.


The gang charges tolls to camp residents who decide to swim across the river on their own and sometimes kidnaps them for ransom. Beatings and disappearances have also become more common — sometimes to protect women or children who are being abused, but other times because camp residents have violated the gang’s rules about when and where they are permitted to roam outside their tents.


Nine bodies have washed ashore on the banks of the Rio Grande near the camp in the last two months; the Mexican authorities said most of the deaths were a result of a rise in gang activity during the pandemic.


“I haven’t done anything, I haven’t stolen anything, and still I have to keep escaping. Why?” Ms. Salgado said that day in August.


She said she and her children were on the run from her abusive husband, who drank excessively and would beat them when he was upset, and because her brother had been kidnapped and killed. Just then, her 11-year-old son, Alexander, who seemed to have only vaguely been paying attention, put down his toys and started to heave.


“He is constantly nervous,” his mother said. “Every time we fought, his anxiety would make him sick and he would end up vomiting.”


Most children in the camp have not attended formal schooling since they left home. Parents agonize over whether they will be able to make up for the lost time. Some have become worried enough to launch their children across the river on the backs of smugglers, sending them alone on the last leg of their dangerous journey to the United States.


Those who cannot bear to make such a decision are often tormented by second-guessing.


“I was scared I would never see him again because he’s all I have,” said Carmen Vargas, clinging to the arm of her 13-year-old son, Cristopher, who has a mop of curly brown hair and is tall for his age. “But my son needs to go to school. He’s only 13 years old and practically he has lost two years already.”


Cristopher teared up listening to his mother describe the life they had left behind. She pulled out identification cards showing that she had been a municipal police officer in Honduras, but said her success became a liability when she put a powerful drug cartel member in jail in 2018. Within hours, the cartel announced a hit on Ms. Vargas. She and Cristopher fled, leaving behind the ornate wooden furniture she had saved up to buy and a refrigerator full of food.


With cupped palms, Ms. Vargas caught beads of sweat that dripped down her forehead as she spoke. She apologized for the stench; just outside her tent, insects crawled around a pile of feces that had washed up when the river flooded. “You have to withstand everything here: sun, water, cold, heat, we have it all.”


The camp residents are chronically sick with flulike viruses and stomach bugs that wend endlessly through the tents and with respiratory problems aggravated by the dusty air. Their skin is pockmarked from the throngs of mosquitoes that overwhelm the camp after it rains.


Most acknowledge that life on the other side of the border would hardly be charmed — especially if they lost their asylum cases and had to live in the shadows.


“Without papers is it still better to be in the U.S. rather than here? Yes, it’s a thousand times better,” said Lucia Gomez, from Guerrero, Mexico, as she picked up clothing and toys that had been scattered outside their tent by hurricane winds. “They might find you, detain you and deport you,” she said. “But if you manage to avoid them, you will be able to put food on the table.”


In her arms, she held her youngest child, an 8-month-old boy named Yahir, whose back was covered in a bumpy heat rash. Her son William, 16, plopped cherries into his mouth from a plate that was covered in flies.


Ms. Gomez said her family had made a run for the camp from Southern Mexico after their home was ransacked and her husband and father-in-law were shot to death. “A man came in and shouted, ‘Put your hands up!’” her 8-year-old son Johan chimed in, holding his arms up as if he were holding an imaginary gun.


“That is why we wait,” she said. “We try to get through this unworthy life. And we try to resist for our children’s sake.”


Volunteer groups bought the laundry basins and water tanks, as well as hand-washing stations and a row of concrete showers that, after months of laying dry in the middle of the camp, were recently connected to a water source.


But their efforts have often felt futile. Since the camp appeared, the invisible wall of policies blocking its inhabitants from being allowed into the United States has only grown taller and more fortified.


Some have found ways to improvise a modicum of comfort. Antonia Maldonado, 41, from Honduras, stood in a kitchen she had cobbled together under tattered blue tarps suspended from trees. She placed raw chicken onto a grate over an open flame, using a scavenged piece of wood resting on two stacks of upside-down buckets as a countertop.


She said she had been looking toward the election for hope that a new administration might ease some of the restrictions put into place by President Trump.


“Not a leaf gets into that country without his permission,” Ms. Maldonado said, adding, “I just want to live with dignity. I’m not asking for riches.”


Some parents pinch pesos to buy decorations and treats from supermarket reject bins for their children’s birthdays. But many walk around the camp with bloodshot eyes, constantly on the brink of tears, or in a zombielike state, as if they have shut down emotionally.


When Rodrigo Castro de la Parra arrived in Matamoros, he alternated between emotional extremes. In the span of a year, he had gone from being a shy high school student who liked to stay up late at night and draw flowers in his notebook to the head of his entire family. That was after the 18th Street Gang, the most brutal and powerful gang in Guatemala, murdered his mother and sister — signaling a grudge that meant he and the rest of his relatives could be next on its kill list.


“I can’t sleep,” he said one afternoon, sitting outside the tents where he lived with his wife, daughter, grandmother, orphaned niece and his 16-year-old-sister, who had given birth after arriving at the camp. “Sometimes I feel hysterical.” He said he worried that someone else in his family could be killed.


But only two weeks later, it was Mr. Castro de la Parra’s body that washed out of the river at one edge of the camp. His death was a mystery. The police investigated it as a possible homicide but ultimately determined that he had drowned.


His wife, Cinthia, was still in shock when she took a bus back to Guatemala City for the repatriation of her husband’s body. She also hoped to replace her travel documents that had been soaked in his pants when he died.


She would need them when she went back with their 2-year-old to try again.



8) The Price for Not Wearing Masks: Perhaps 130,000 Lives

The pandemic death toll could be lowered by next spring if more Americans wear masks, a new analysis finds.

By Apoorva Mandavilli, Oct. 23, 2020

“Increasing mask use is one of the best strategies that we have right now to delay the imposition of social distancing mandates and all the economic effects of that, and save lives,” said one expert. Credit...Brendan Mcdermid/Reuters

Universal mask use could prevent nearly 130,000 deaths from Covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, in the United States through next spring, scientists reported on Friday.


The findings follow an assertion by Dr. Scott W. Atlas, the president’s science adviser, that masks are ineffective, in a tweet later taken down by Twitter for spreading misinformation. On Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new guidance recommending mask use in public settings, including public transportation.


A surge of infections, driven in part by neglect of safety precautions, has begun to overwhelm hospitals in much of the nation. More than 75,000 new cases were reported in the United States on Thursday, the second-highest daily total nationwide since the pandemic began. Eight states set single-day case records.


These numbers are likely to continue through the fall and winter, with a steady rise in cases and deaths until January and staying high after that point, said Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington and lead author of the report.


“We strongly believe we are heading into a pretty grim winter season,” Dr. Murray said.


The new study, published in the journal Nature Medicine, also offered a rough estimate of the pandemic’s toll in the United States: perhaps 500,000 deaths by March 2021, even with social distancing mandates reinstated in most states.


Other experts cautioned that, as with any model, the new estimates are based on many assumptions and should not be seen as predictions.


“It’s not a prediction or forecast, because we can will this number out of existence,” said Shweta Bansal, an infectious disease modeler at Georgetown University who was not involved in the new work.


Instead, she said, the model should be seen as a “sophisticated thought experiment” whose conclusions can significantly change if people alter their behavior.


“I’d like for people to see this study as a call to action, sort of a wake-up call, especially for those individuals who are unconvinced by the devastation that this pandemic is causing,” she said.


Epidemiological models that try to predict trends far into the future, as the new one does, are particularly prone to flaws “given how dynamic the situation is, and how quickly things can change,” added Ashleigh Tuite, an infectious disease modeler at the University of Toronto.


Still, she and others said, the numbers seem reasonable as a rough estimate of the toll by March 2021 if current trends continue.


Dr. Murray and his colleagues analyzed the number of cases, testing rates, mask use and cellphone data to estimate people’s movements from the first recorded case in each state through Sept. 21. They then estimated the death toll until March 2021 for each state, with or without mandates for social distancing and mask use.


If many states continue to roll back the mandates in place, the team found, the number of deaths by Feb. 28 could top one million, with one-third occurring in California, Florida and Pennsylvania.


More plausibly, states might reinstate distancing mandates when daily deaths reach a threshold of eight deaths per million. That would result in 511,373 deaths by the end of February 2021, according to the model.


Other models don’t look as far into the future or haven’t taken seasonality into account, and have underestimated the number of deaths that could result, Dr. Murray said.


Such models “feed the not very science-based views that are circulating out there that the epidemic is over, or the worst is behind us,” he said. “And that’s a pretty risky strategy.”


But Dr. Tuite said she was unsure whether even accounting for seasonality, deaths would peak in the spring, as the model estimates. Dr. Murray’s model does not take into account the treatments available now for people who are hospitalized, she added.


For example, deaths among hospitalized patients have dropped to 7.6 percent from 25.6 percent in the spring, according to one study.


The new research rests on other flawed assumptions, Dr. Bansal said. The model offers estimates for individual states but does not account for age- or location-based variations within states, and the figures are based on limited testing and death data from the early part of the pandemic.


Because of these and other assumptions, the estimated number of deaths is at best an approximation. Still, the figure underscores the need for individual and population-wide precautions.


Dr. Murray and his colleagues showed that mask use, in particular, has a considerable impact, cutting down the risk of infection at both an individual and population level by about half.


As of Sept. 20, just under half of Americans reported that they always wear a mask. But regular mask use by 95 percent of the population would save 129,574 lives, according to the new analysis. Regular mask use by just 85 percent of Americans could prevent 95,814 deaths by March 2021, possibly forestalling restrictive lockdowns, Dr. Murray said.


“Increasing mask use is one of the best strategies that we have right now to delay the imposition of social distancing mandates and all the economic effects of that, and save lives,” he said.


Mask mandates and penalties for not wearing a mask can raise the numbers of people wearing the face coverings, he suggested.


The mask estimates are also likely to be rough approximations, but even so, Dr. Tuite said, “the qualitative finding is really important, which is that it has an impact, and an impact in a way that’s far less disruptive than lockdowns or other more restrictive types of interventions.”


Masks are an effective and inexpensive tool to stem the spread of the virus and yet have unfortunately become politicized, like much else in the pandemic, said Dr. Carlos del Rio, an infectious disease expert at Emory University in Atlanta.


“If you wear a mask, you’re a Democrat,” he said. “If you don’t wear a mask, you are a Republican. And I think that’s what’s totally wrong.”


“The fact that we continue making masks such a political issue is really upsetting,” he added, “because quite frankly, I don’t want to see people die.”



9) Trump and Biden agree: U.S. empire should reign supreme

Jordan Woll, October 23, 2020


The Party for Socialism and Liberation is running Gloria La Riva for president as an alternative to the two parties of war and capitalism


The final presidential debate of the 2020 campaign took place last night. While most of the time was taken up by vapid sloganeering or demagoguery, at least one concrete conclusion can be drawn from the event: on matters of war and empire, Donald Trump and Joe Biden fundamentally agree.


The two candidates argued about who has been more of a friend to Ukraine, which has been ruled by right wing governments riddled with overt neo-Nazis since the 2014 U.S.-backed overthrow of the country’s corrupt but democratically-elected government of President Viktor Yanukovych. Biden was tasked to be something of a colonial governor of Ukraine for a time after the overthrow of Yanukovych, overseeing the transfer of power during his tenure as Vice President to Barack Obama.


Trump on the other hand boasted about how he has equipped the Ukrainian military — where open fascists hold particular sway — with “tank-buster” weapons which Biden had been unwilling to provide himself. These weapons, ostensibly for defense against some future Russian aggression, are more likely to be used against the anti-government Ukrainians who took up arms in the country’s east in response to the 2014 right-wing putsch.


Genuflecting to the Pentagon’s “great power competition” doctrine of preparation for world war, Trump was swift to point out the severe sanctions he has imposed on Russia and the fact that he has convinced many NATO allies to contribute billions of dollars they would rather not have in order to “guard against Russia.” Trump has also scrapped important arms control treaties with Russia, increasing the likelihood that the nuclear arsenal which the Obama administration previously decided to “modernize” and expand will actually be used.


For his part, Biden pointedly reiterated the debunked claim that Russian president Putin has personally put bounties on the heads of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, as if Afghans need a monetary incentive to resist the U.S. occupation of their country. The Democrat cryptically warned that Russia would not want to see Joe Biden as president “because they know I know them, and they know me.”


China has been the primary target of renewed Cold War rhetoric by the ruling class of the United States and it was another popular punching bag for the two candidates. While Trump mostly focused on blaming China for COVID-19 and bragging about the supposed successes of his trade war, Biden reminded viewers that during his term as Vice President, B52 and B1 bombers were sent on missions to fly through China’s Air Defense Identification Zone. Biden explained that these dangerous U.S. incursions into areas surrounding China are examples of how he will make China “play by the rules.”


On the issue of peace in Korea, Biden managed to position himself to the right of Trump. Objecting to Trump’s position that his negotiations with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un have helped ensure peace, and that it is desirable to avoid war, Biden argued that Trump “legitimized North Korea”. Biden bragged about how the Obama administration engaged in a military buildup on the Korean peninsula, called Kim Jong-un a “thug” and — most ridiculously — compared Kim to Hitler.


While there are some contrasts in politics and style between the two, 2020’s final presidential debate demonstrated clearly that the political parties of the United States ruling class are united in their aggression toward China, Russia and any other entity that stands in the way of the rule of U.S. banks and corporations over the whole world.



10) Philadelphia Police Fatally Shoot a Black Man Who They Say Had a Knife

Protesters clashed with the police hours after the death of Walter Wallace Jr. The mayor said the shooting raised “difficult questions that must be answered.”

By Azi Paybarah, Oct. 27, 2020


Video player loading

The Philadelphia police on Monday fatally shot a 27-year-old Black man who they said was armed with a knife, touching off protests and violent clashes. Tom Gralish/The Philadelphia Inquirer, via Associated Press

The Philadelphia police on Monday fatally shot a 27-year-old Black man who they said was armed with a knife, touching off protests and violent clashes hours later.


Mayor Jim Kenney said the shooting, which was partially captured on video by a bystander, raised “difficult questions that must be answered,” and the police commissioner promised an investigation.


Late Monday night, protesters marched through West Philadelphia, and video posted on social media appeared to show the police clashing with demonstrators. A police car was burned, and four officers were reported to have been hospitalized after being struck by bricks. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that another officer was hit by a truck.


The shooting took place around 4 p.m., as the police responded to a report of a man armed with a knife. Video that was posted on social media shows the man, later identified by a City Council member as Walter Wallace Jr., walking into the street as people yell and two police officers aim their guns at him.


At one point, Mr. Wallace, who is several feet away from the officers in the video, walks toward them as they quickly move backward. The camera points down toward the ground as about a dozen shots are heard.


The camera quickly moves up as Mr. Wallace falls to the ground, and people rush toward him, including the officers. One woman who is screaming appears to throw something at one of the officers.


“Bro, they just killed him in front of me,” a man can be heard saying. “Y’all ain’t have to give him that many shots.”


Sgt. Eric Gripp, a spokesman for the Philadelphia Police Department, told The Inquirer that officers had ordered Mr. Wallace to drop the knife and that he had “advanced toward the officers.” After the officers shot Mr. Wallace, one of them drove him to Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, he said.


The Police Department did not respond to email messages seeking comment.


Mr. Wallace’s father, Walter Wallace Sr., said his son had struggled with mental health issues, and was on medication, The Inquirer reported. “Why didn’t they use a Taser?” he asked. “His mother was trying to defuse the situation.”


Mr. Kenney, the mayor, said he had watched “the video of this tragic incident” and spoken with Mr. Wallace’s family “to hear their concerns firsthand, and to answer their questions to the extent that I am able.”


The city’s police commissioner, Danielle Outlaw, said in a statement, “I recognize that the video of the incident raises many questions.” She added, “I will be leaning on what the investigation gleans to answer the many unanswered questions that exist.”


In a statement, the council member who identified Mr. Wallace, Jamie Gauthier, said she wanted the police to “immediately” release the officers’ body camera video from the incident. “The public deserves a full, unvarnished accounting of what took place today,” she said.


Ms. Gauthier also criticized the officers for firing their weapons. “Had these officers employed de-escalation techniques and nonlethal weapons rather than making the split-second decision to fire their guns, this young man might still have his life tonight,” she said.


The Philadelphia district attorney, Larry Krasner, said his office was looking into the shooting and urged the public to be patient.


“We intend to go where the facts and law lead us and to do so carefully, without rushing to judgment and without bias of any kind,” he said in a statement. “In the hours and days following this shooting, we ask Philadelphians to come together to uphold people’s freedom to express themselves peacefully and to reject violence of any kind.”


At around 9:30 p.m., protesters were marching through the streets of West Philadelphia, with a parade of vehicles honking behind them. Just after 11 p.m., video posted on Twitter showed police officers using batons as they clashed with a large group of people on a residential street. Taryn Naundorff, 21, who recorded the video, said the police “started forcefully pushing back the crowd and beating anyone who wouldn’t back up.”


At least one police car was set on fire. A protest outside the 18th District Police Station turned violent, with four officers being hit with bricks and being taken to the hospital, according to a local NBC television station.


There have been widespread demonstrations against police violence and racial injustice across the country since May, when George Floyd, a Black man, was killed by the police in Minneapolis.



11) Number of Women Alleging Misconduct by ICE Gynecologist Nearly Triples

Advocates briefed senators on allegations that a doctor working with an ICE detention center performed unnecessary or overly aggressive procedures.

By John Washington, Jose Olivares, October 27 2020


AT LEAST 17 women treated by a doctor alleged to have performed unnecessary or overly aggressive gynecological procedures without proper informed consent remain in detention at Irwin County Detention Center, a privately run facility in Georgia housing U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement detainees, according to a briefing and written materials submitted by attorneys and advocates to Senators in a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill. The total number of women known to have been seen by the doctor since 2018 who say they underwent or were pressured to undergo unnecessary treatments has risen to 57 — a higher number than previously known — according to the group of lawyers.


The new numbers of relevant cases and women who remain in detention were included in the materials submitted to the closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill about the ordeal over women’s medical care at Irwin. Organized by the Senate Democratic Caucus, attorney Sarah Owings of Owings MacNorlin law firm in Atlanta, two women previously detained in Irwin, and four independent doctors presented recent findings, including more than 60 pages of written materials, in a Monday briefing for the senators. The briefings came as part of Congressional investigations into the allegation, which Democratic leaders in both houses of Congress have pledged to look in to.


As the number of women alleging medical misconduct at Irwin, which is run by the private prison company LaSalle Corrections, grows, advocates for detainees worry that there may never be a full accounting. The numbers presented to the Senate on Monday were limited to only those cases lawyers could identify, the advocates said. Because of the opacity of the immigration system and the constant flux of detainees — as well as the deportation of witnesses and survivors — a comprehensive review is unlikely.


“It pains me to know that there could be many more women out there who will never be able to talk about what happened to them and the abuse that they suffered while at Irwin, let alone receive a measure of redress, while living with the life-long damage to their bodies and spirits,” said Azadeh Shahshahani, the legal and advocacy director of Project South, which first raised the issues in a whistleblower complaint. “ICE and the private prison corporation LaSalle must be held to account.”


In the Senate briefing, the doctors and former detainees outlined a pattern of gynecological operations conducted by Dr. Mahendra Amin, the doctor at the center of the allegations, and the “uniform absence of truly informed consent,” according to materials submitted on Capitol Hill by the coalition of attorneys, advocates, and women recently detained in Irwin. After allegations of the medical abuses came to light in September, following the whistleblower complaint first reported by The Intercept, ICE said it stopped referring patients to Amin.


The materials submitted to Congress were compiled by on-the ground organizations; attorneys, including Owings; and advocates, led by the South Georgia Immigrant Support Network, Project South, the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, Georgia Detention Watch, and the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative.


In response to an inquiry from The Intercept about the growing numbers of women alleging medical misconduct and congressional interest in the case, Amin’s lawyer, Scott Grubman, sent a statement responding to a Los Angeles Times story published last week about a medical review of some of the immigration detainees’ cases. In the statement, Grubman, who said the doctor could not comment on individual cases because of privacy regulations, claims that there are “serious questions to the veracity” of the LA Times reporting, specifically citing that the team of medical experts didn’t request medical records from Irwin County Hospital or Amin himself. (Records of medical procedures are also maintained by ICE and can be requested by attorneys or detainees.)


Grubman, who did not respond to specific follow-up questions from The Intercept, has maintained throughout the ordeal that Amin is cooperating with investigators and that the doctor will be cleared of any wrongdoing.


Mounting Allegations


The widespread attention on the women at Irwin has amplified calls for better medical care in immigration detention, where there has been a dramatic increase in deaths over the past year. Advocates for immigration detainees have long complained of dangerously poor medical care in the sprawling patchwork of often privately run detention facilities.


Initial reports estimated that 20 or more women detained in Irwin had undergone full or partial hysterectomies in the last six years. Amin and his attorney dispute the claims. New information collected by attorneys and advocates who spoke with The Intercept — and who presented their findings to the Senate, including the written materials, which The Intercept reviewed — points to a broader pattern of women being pressured to undergo potentially unnecessary procedures.


Overall, the attorneys counted 57 confirmed patients of Amin, 17 of whom remain at Irwin as of October 25. (The Intercept was able to speak with attorneys who represented at least 52 of those women.) None of them have received any follow-up gynecological care since ICE stopped sending patients to Amin five weeks ago.


“The recent allegations by the independent contracted employee raise some very serious concerns that deserve to be investigated quickly and thoroughly,” said Tony Pham, ICE’s acting director, in a statement to The Intercept. Pham said ICE welcomes efforts of both the Department of Homeland Security, ICE’s parent agency, as well as the department’s Office of Inspector General to investigate. The statement concluded, “If there is any truth to these allegations, it is my commitment to make the corrections necessary to ensure we continue to prioritize the health, welfare and safety of ICE detainees.”


The Senate briefing comes on the heels of an independent medical review led by the ALLGOOD Foundation. The review, which was first reported in the LA Times article, was conducted by nine board-certified OB-GYNs and two nursing experts who reviewed over 3,200 pages of medical records for 19 of the women who had alleged medical misconduct by Amin. The team, according to their report, found “a disturbing pattern of aggressive treatment, including ‘overcalling’ the need for invasive surgeries, unwarranted pressure to undergo surgery, and a failure to obtain informed consent.”


“Not Something You Can Go Back From”


Over the past five weeks, since the whistleblower complaint emerged, a steady stream of women who visited with Amin have shared their stories with the press. One, Jamileth, whose name has been changed for fear of retaliation, told The Intercept that Amin did procedures on her without getting her permission. In May, amid a nine-month stint at Irwin, she began experiencing stomach pain and irregular periods. The ICE detention center sent her to Amin.


“He did a vaginal ultrasound, but he didn’t ask me if I wanted one or not. He just did it,” Jamileth told The Intercept in Spanish. “I don’t know, he treated me in a very — well, in a very rough way.”


According to Jamileth, Amin said she had an ovarian cyst. She said he asked if he could give her an injection — Jamileth does not know for what — and then suggested surgery to remove the cyst. Jamileth refused both the injection and the operation, saying she needed to consult with her family first. In the end, she refused to see Amin again.


“I didn’t want to return, because I had seen other examples,” Jamileth said, explaining that she had seen other women in detention after visits with Amin. She described, in one instance, seeing a woman return from surgery: “She was bleeding through the wound, she was purple, black in her stomach, and it looked really bad.”


Several women told their attorneys they were prescribed Depo-Provera, a hormonal birth control shot with sometimes serious side effects, without their consent. One woman, after her operation and shot of Depo-Provera, was “still unclear what exactly happened to her body,” according to the briefing materials provided to Senate Democrats. There were a number of cases that resulted in lasting confusion. One woman was deported to El Salvador and thinks that she had a hysterectomy but remains unsure, according to the materials provided to senators.


Another woman went to Amin for pain she suspected resulted from having fibroid cysts removed from her uterus before her time in detention, according to the Senate briefing. Amin administered three shots to her, explaining they were “for the pain,” according to her recollection in the briefing. Only after she was returned to Irwin did she learn from a nurse there that she had been given Depo-Provera.


When the woman asked about the shots at a follow-up appointment, Amin got defensive. “I’m trying to help you,” he said, according to the testimony in the briefing. He later pressured her into submitting to a hysterectomy, the testimony said, telling the detainee, “You’re an old woman, why would you want to have more babies?” She refused the surgery.


Yet another woman said she felt lucky when she was diagnosed with Covid-19 — the detention center failed to take basic precautionary measures, refused to test symptomatic detainees, and underreported cases of Covid-19, according to the earlier whistleblower report — and her hysterectomy was delayed. ”I felt like I didn’t have control over my life,” she said. She eventually refused the surgery and was deported.


The medical review of pathology reports conducted by ALLGOOD showed “a pattern of overly aggressive care,” including “inappropriate, unconsented transvaginal procedures,” “exaggerated interpretations of imaging results,” and less invasive methods not being pursued.


Attorney Benjamin Osorio, who represents two of the women tallied in the Senate briefing, said in an interview with The Intercept that one of his clients was told a hysterectomy was the only possible option to remove a possibly cancerous cyst. “There are less invasive, less aggressive treatments, but he took out her whole reproductive system,” Osorio explained “That’s not something you can go back from.”


The Intercept spoke to Yuridia, who was deported three days after undergoing an operation she said she did not comprehend and did not consent to. She was dumped into Mexico not knowing what happened to her, still bleeding, wondering if she still had a uterus, her attorney Kathleen Hoyos told The Intercept. It was a month before Yuridia, who asked to be identified by her first name because of an ongoing immigration case, was able to see a gynecologist in Mexico and learn what had happened to her. (She had been given a shot of a hormonal contraceptive and underwent a dilation and curettage to remove a cyst.) Hoyos said, “All she knew was what happened to her was wrong.”


Deportations Concern Congress


Since the initial whistleblower report was submitted in September, ICE has deported at least five women who were seen by Amin. At least two more women may be deported this week, according to the Senate briefing. “ICE, LaSalle, and DHS are ensuring fewer witnesses are able to participate in the pending federal investigation,” the Senate briefing materials say.


Members of Congress are taking note. “Advocates have shared with my team that many of the women who questioned Dr. Amin’s advice were quickly deported, and that many others at the facility are now fearful of seeking medical care at all,” Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., said in a statement to The Intercept. “We need a full accounting of what has been done to the women at Irwin, so we can hold perpetrators of any horrific actions accountable, and give the American people the answers they deserve.”


Last Friday, eight members of Congress, including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.; Ilhan Omar, D-Minn.; Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich.; and Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., sent a letter to United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet outlining concerns about gynecological procedures on women in Irwin. They requested that Bachelet lead an investigation into the procedures conducted on immigrant women.


“These allegations illustrate a clear pattern of alleged human rights violations by DHS,” the letter says. “This pattern of behavior is perpetuated and encouraged by the consistent and unforgivable failure of the United States government and its institutions to take these allegations seriously by investigating them in a transparent, thorough, and impartial manner.”


Last week, Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., also sent a letter to ICE, along with Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Adriano Espaillat, D-N.Y., demanding that Irwin be shut down.


One detained woman quoted in Monday’s Senate briefing materials also called for Irwin to be shut down, adding, “We could die locked up in here.”



12) Philadelphia Protests Continue After Fatal Shooting by Police

Demonstrators gathered in the streets for a second night after Walter Wallace Jr. was killed by two officers.

By Jon Hurdle, Oct. 28, 2020

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Demonstrators gathered in the streets for a second night Tuesday after Walter Wallace Jr., a 27-year-old Black man, was killed by two officers. Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

PHILADELPHIA — Protesters looted stores and scuffled with police late Tuesday in a second night of street protests over the fatal police shooting of Walter Wallace Jr., a 27-year-old Black man, during a confrontation more than 24 hours earlier.


Local television and news websites showed looters entering stores in the Port Richmond neighborhood, northeast of the city center, while officers struggled with protesters in the heart of West Philadelphia, where Mr. Wallace was killed on Monday afternoon after approaching police officers with a knife.


The victim’s father, Walter Wallace Sr., urged looters to stop. “It will leave a bad scar on my son, with all this looting and chaos,” Mr. Wallace said in an interview on CNN. “This is where we live, and it’s the only community resource we have, and if we take all the resource and burn it down, we don’t have anything.”


Danielle Outlaw, the police commissioner, told reporters on Tuesday afternoon that she would release information about the shooting within the next few days but that she did not know whether it would include body camera footage from the officers who shot Mr. Wallace.


“It’s common for officers to respond to domestic disturbance or any type of call with a gun because it’s one of the tools we carry on our tool belt,” said Commissioner Outlaw, who added that the officers were not carrying stun guns.


The protests in Philadelphia are the latest in a series of nationwide demonstrations demanding justice after the police killings of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ky., and Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta, among others.


In addition to signs and chants, some of the rallies from New York to Portland, Ore., have included looting, arson and destruction of police vehicles. Officers have aggressively targeted protesters at times, firing tear gas and striking them with batons.


In a joint statement on Tuesday, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic presidential nominee, and his running mate, Senator Kamala Harris of California, sought to validate protesters’ anger over the death of Mr. Wallace while discouraging violence and attacks on the police.


“We cannot accept that in this country a mental health crisis ends in death,” Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris said. But, they added: “Looting is not a protest, it is a crime. It draws attention away from the real tragedy of a life cut short.”


Thirty officers were injured on Monday as protesters threw bricks and rocks at them, a police spokesman said, adding that one officer had a broken leg after being struck by a pickup truck. The Pennsylvania National Guard was expected to send hundreds of people to Philadelphia within the next few days, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.


Demonstrators gathered in response to the death of Mr. Wallace. In a video posted on social media, shouts of “Back up!” and “Put the knife down!” can be heard he walks toward two officers before collapsing in a flurry of gunshots. A woman wails as more officers arrive.


“Bro, they just killed him in front of me,” a man can be heard saying in the video. “Y’all ain’t have to give him that many shots.”


Mayor Jim Kenney said in a statement on Monday night that he had spoken with Mr. Wallace’s family and that a full investigation of the shooting would be conducted.


“I have watched the video of this tragic incident,” he said, “and it presents difficult questions that must be answered.”


Azi Paybarah contributed reporting from New York.













































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