Bay Area United Against War Newsletter, November 10, 2020







Upcoming Action:


No Matter Who Wins:

Close the Camps!

Saturday, 11/14, 1 pm

Union Square, SF




Summary: November 11, 2020

Update: November 11, 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 virtual sentencing on November 12 and 13. 

With the nation's attention being drawn to Georgia and the pending runoffs to determine the majority in the US Senate, three of the Kings Bay Plowshares defendants have arranged with the federal court in Brunswick, GA to appear virtually for sentencing this week. The disarmament activists have received little national attention since their action against the Trident submarine base more than two years ago while the stakes are much higher, our future existence and the very survival of our world as we know it.

Since Judge Wood would not grant them any further extensions they had to waive their right to appear in person to be sentenced. This was their preference but they had to subordinate it in order to avoid the health risks of traveling to Georgia during a spiking pandemic. 

  • Carmen Trotta will be sentenced at 10 am EST on Thursday, Nov. 12.
  • Clare Grady will be sentenced at 1 pm that same day. 
  • Martha Hennessy will be sentenced on Friday, Nov. 13, at 1 pm

Mark Colville opposed a virtual sentencing and after appeal has now been given a December 18 date. 

The number and access code to call in to listen to the proceedings will be the same as in the previous sentencing. If one number isn't working well, try calling with the other access code.

And please remember to MUTE as sometimes the court has trouble with that.

  • Dial 888-684-8852, Access Code: 8878734, Security Code: 1234.
  • An alternate number is available: 888-684-8852, Access Code: 2296092, Security Code: 1234.

There was a virtual "Festival of Hope" with the defendants and their supporters on Sunday, Nov. 8. We understand that a number of people were unable to get on the Zoom webinar because the limits were less than what we expected. However, you can watch the recording on Youtube; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6EMJOZPYD8

On Oct. 24 the historic Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was ratified by the 50thnation necessary for this international law to enter into force. This law now takes effect on Jan. 22, 2021, a little more than 75 years after the US dropped atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Read about the treaty here: https://www.icanw.org/the_treaty
The Alliance for Nuclear Accountability (ANA), Nukewatch, the Nuclear Resister and the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance (OREPA) invite people across the U.S. and beyond to be part of a major media event, holding signs and banners at nuclear weapons related sites and other places on this important day to call for the elimination of all nuclear weapons.
For more information, please contact nuclearbantreatyEiF@gmx.com. You can also keep updated by joining the Nuclear Ban Treaty EIF Facebook group, and resources will be available here: https://orepa.org/nuclear-ban-treaty-entry-into-force.../


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) 



SIGN PETITION: Don't reincarcerate Jalil Muntaquim

Support for Jalil Muntaqim petition from the Movement for Black Lives:

Please click the below link to sign & share widely.

Support for Jalil Muntaqim
STATEMENT OF COMMUNITY SUPPORT FOR JALIL MUNTAQIM We the undersigned fully support the New York State Parole Board’s decision to release Jalil Muntaqim. The parole process is meant to evaluate a person for release based on who they are today, not to extend one’s sentence into perpetuity. Mr. Muntaqim has been incarcerated since 1971, when he was 19 years old. During his 49 years in prison, Mr. Muntaqim has led education/mentorship programs for prisoners, earned several educational degrees and mentored many younger incarcerated men. He has been commended for preventing prisoner violence and promoting safety. As a result, hundreds of organizations and individuals have stepped forward to support his release including community and faith leaders, family members, and the NY State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus. The Board finally acted honorably in following the guidelines put forth by New York State Executive Law 259-(i). A 2011, bi-partisan amendment to the law passed by Republican and Democratic lawmakers makes it clear that an individual’s readiness for successful re-entry should take priority in the decision to grant release. Upon his release, Mr. Muntaqim was warmly welcomed by a large, diverse set of community leaders and residents of Rochester, New York. He reported to his parole officers and followed instructions to sign up for various social services required by all senior citizens in his position. He was handed a large stack of paperwork including a voter registration form. Muntaqim, eager to follow instructions, appropriately filled out and signed everything required of him. Now, the Rochester District Attorney is attempting to reincarcerate an elder recovering from COVID-19 because he filled out a form as instructed. We are statewide and national organizations, community and faith leaders, elected officials, civil rights organizations, public defenders, and residents of the Rochester area. We pledge our continuing support for Mr. Muntaqim and our assistance in facilitating his reintegration into society. We vehemently oppose any efforts to remove him from our community and/or place him back in prison.
Please click the below link to sign & share widely.

Charlie Hinton
No one ever hurt their eyes by looking on the bright side



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

Donate Now



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




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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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.

Gray & Associates, PO Box 8291, ATLANTA, GA 31106
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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)





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) Kentucky Police Training Quoted Hitler and Urged ‘Ruthless’ Violence

A training slide show that urged officers to “always fight to the death” is no longer used but has raised an outcry in a state that has struggled with police violence.

By Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Oct. 31, 2020

A slide in a training manual used by the Kentucky State Police includes a quote from Adolf Hitler encouraging the “regular employment of violence.” Credit...Kentucky State Police

A slide show once shown to cadets training to join the Kentucky State Police includes quotations attributed to Adolf Hitler and Robert E. Lee, says troopers should be warriors who “always fight to the death” and encourages each trooper in training to be a “ruthless killer.”


The slide show, which came to light on Friday in a report from a high school newspaper, brought harsh condemnation from politicians, Jewish groups and Kentucky residents, but not from the Kentucky State Police department itself, which said only that the training materials were old.


Morgan Hall, a spokeswoman for the Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, which oversees the State Police, said that the slide show was “removed” in 2013 and was no longer in use but declined to answer a list of questions, including queries about how long the material was used and how many cadets had seen the training.


Ms. Hall said in a statement that it was “unacceptable” that such material had ever been included in law enforcement training. “Our administration does not condone the use of this material,” she said. She added that the cabinet agency “began an internal review” after learning about the material on Friday.


Kentucky State Police have assisted the Louisville Metro Police Department during protests over Louisville police officers’ killing of Breonna Taylor, a Black emergency room technician shot by the police when they raided her apartment in March. The state agency also helped to investigate the Taylor killing, providing a ballistics report to the state attorney general before he determined that the officers who shot Ms. Taylor were justified.


The quotations attributed to Hitler, the genocidal leader of Nazi Germany, and Lee, the Confederate general, are included among 33 slides that were shown to cadets in the Kentucky State Police Academy as part of a slide show entitled “The Warrior Mindset.”


“The very first essential for success is a perpetually constant and regular employment of violence,” reads one quotation attributed to Hitler, who is quoted more than anyone in the training document. Some of the statements attributed to Hitler link to a website providing biographical information about him and listing books by and about him.


The training itself emphasizes that troopers must be ready to employ violence in order to do their jobs properly. One of the slides that quotes Hitler — under the heading “Violence of Action” — also says troopers should “be the loving father, spouse, and friend as well as the ruthless killer.” Another says warriors “always fight to the death, they never quit” and that they must be willing to “commit to the fight.”


The title page indicates that the training was created by a retired captain, Curt Hall, who could not be reached for comment. Local news reports, Mr. Hall’s LinkedIn page and a news release from the State Police in 2018 indicate that Mr. Hall was an assistant commander at the police academy from 2005 to 2015 and later served as a commander in the internal affairs department and as the commander of one of the agency’s 16 regional posts.


The lesson appears to be at least partially in line with “warrior training,” a controversial practice that often begins during basic training in academies and is modeled on military boot camp, which many police departments embrace. Many of the nation’s police academies and departments have long emphasized a warrior mentality, experts have said, with officers trained for conflict and equipped with the gear and weapons of modern warfare. Critics have said the specialized training can lead officers to believe they are under constant threat of being harmed and can intensify encounters with civilians.


The slide show was obtained by a lawyer who is suing a Kentucky State Police trooper who shot and killed Bradley J. Grant, 37, in 2018. David Ward, the lawyer, said he had received a copy of the slide show after filing a public records request for documents that the trooper had seen when he was going through training at the academy in 2013.


Mr. Ward said he was shocked by the material, and that it seemed to coincide with the combative nature of the trooper’s encounter with Mr. Grant that preceded the fatal shooting. The State Police said at the time that Mr. Grant had confronted two officers with a shotgun before he was killed, but Mr. Ward said Mr. Grant had been pointing the shotgun at his own chin and asking officers to shoot him.


“This type of training — these quotes — creates a mind set that these troopers are at war, that they need to come to work ready for battle,” Mr. Ward said. “This type of mind set is likely to create an adversarial situation or a violent encounter, and I think that becomes even more likely when you encounter a person who is suffering a mental health crisis and is less likely to respond to verbal commands in a rational way.”


The slide show was first reported by The Manual Redeye, a student newspaper at duPont Manual High School in Louisville, in an article written by the 16-year-old and 14-year-old sons of another lawyer involved in the lawsuit against the trooper.


“This is absolutely unacceptable,” Gov. Andy Beshear of Kentucky, a Democrat, said in a statement. “It is further unacceptable that I just learned about this through social media. We will collect all the facts and take immediate corrective action.”


The 33-slide presentation ends with a quotation usually attributed to Theodore Roosevelt about credit belonging to “the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood.”


It ends: “Questions??”


Giulia McDonnell Nieto del Rio contributed reporting.



2) How the Wealthy World Has Failed Poor Countries During the Pandemic

Despite pledges for debt relief and expanded programs, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund have delivered meager aid, say economists.

"Since the pandemic began, the I.M.F. has allocated $500 million to cover the costs of debt suspension, while handing out more than $100 billion in fresh loans. More than $11 billion from the loan proceeds has paid off private creditors, according to a report from the Jubilee Debt Campaign."

By Peter S. Goodman, Nov. 1, 2020


Women lined up to receive cash assistance in Hyderabad, Pakistan, earlier this month. Families have lost livelihoods and struggled to feed themselves in the pandemic. Credit...Nadeem Khawar/EPA, via Shutterstock

LONDON — Like much of the developing world, Pakistan was alarmingly short of doctors and medical facilities long before anyone had heard of Covid-19. Then the pandemic overwhelmed hospitals, forcing some to turn away patients. As fear upended daily life, families lost livelihoods and struggled to feed themselves.


On the other side of the world in Washington, two deep-pocketed organizations, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, vowed to spare poor countries from desperation. Their economists warned that immense relief was required to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe and profound damage to global prosperity. Emerging markets make up 60 percent of the world economy, by one I.M.F. measure. A blow to their fortunes inflicts pain around the planet.


Wages sent home to poor countries by migrant workers — a vital artery of finance — have diminished. The shutdown of tourism has punished many developing countries. So has plunging demand for oil. Billions of people have lost the wherewithal to buy food, increasing malnutrition. By next year, the pandemic could push 150 million people into extreme poverty, the World Bank has warned, in the first increase in more than two decades.


But the World Bank and the I.M.F. have failed to translate their concern into meaningful support, say economists. That has left less-affluent countries struggling with limited resources and untenable debts, prompting their governments to reduce spending just as it is needed to bolster health care systems and aid people suffering lost income.


“A lost decade of growth in large parts of the world remains a plausible prospect absent urgent, concerted and sustained policy response,” concluded a recent report from the Group of 30, a gathering of international finance experts, including Lawrence Summers, a former economic adviser to President Barack Obama, and Treasury secretary in the Clinton administration.


The wealthiest nations have been cushioned by extraordinary surges of credit unleashed by central banks and government spending collectively estimated at more than $8 trillion. Developing countries have yet to receive help on such a scale.


The I.M.F. and the World Bank — forged at the end of World War II with the mandate to support nations at times of financial distress — have marshaled a relatively anemic response, in part because of the predilections of their largest shareholder, the United States.


During a virtual gathering of the two organizations this month, the U.S. Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, urged caution. “It is critical that the World Bank manage financial resources judiciously,” he said, “so as not to burden shareholders with premature calls for new financing.”


The World Bank is headed by David Malpass, who was effectively an appointee of President Trump under the gentlemen’s agreement that has for decades accorded the United States the right to select the institution’s leader. A longtime government finance official who worked in the Trump administration’s Treasury Department, he has displayed contempt for the World Bank and the I.M.F.


“They spend a lot of money,” Mr. Malpass said during congressional testimony in 2017. “They’re not very efficient. They’re often corrupt in their lending practices.”


Under his leadership, the World Bank has required that borrowers deregulate domestic industry to favor the private sector as a condition for loans.


“There is an ideological attitude here, a more conservative attitude of, ‘Well, it’s going to be money that goes to waste,’” said Scott Morris, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development. In the midst of a crisis caused not by profligacy but by a pandemic, he added, “that’s a very wrongheaded attitude.”


World Bank officials said the institution had expanded lending at a historic pace, while defending Mr. Malpass’s demand for tighter conditions on loans as responsible stewardship. “He wants to have good country outcomes,” said Axel van Trotsenburg, the World Bank’s managing director of operations. “He wants to make sure that the programs reach people.”


The I.M.F. is run by a managing director, Kristalina Georgieva, a Bulgarian economist who previously worked at the World Bank. She is answerable to the institution’s shareholders. The Trump administration has resisted calls to expand the I.M.F.’s reserves, arguing that most of the benefits would flow to wealthier countries.


In April, as worries about poor countries intensified, world leaders issued elaborate promises for help.


“The World Bank Group intends to respond forcefully and massively,” Mr. Malpass said. At the I.M.F., Ms. Georgieva said she would not hesitate to tap the institution’s $1 trillion lending capacity. “This is, in my lifetime, humanity’s darkest hour,” she declared.


But the I.M.F. has lent out only $280 billion. That includes $31 billion in emergency loans to 76 member states, with nearly $11 billion going to low-income countries.


“We have really stepped up in terms of quick disbursement to be able to support countries that are in need,” Ceyla Pazarbasioglu, director of the I.M.F.’s Strategy Policy and Review department, said in an interview.


The World Bank more than doubled its lending over the first seven months of 2020 compared with the same period a year earlier, but has been slow to distribute the money, with disbursements up by less than a third over that period, according to research from the Center for Global Development.


The limited outlays by the I.M.F. and the World Bank appear to stem in part from excessive faith in a widely hailed initiative that aimed to relieve poor nations of their debt burdens to foreign creditors. In April 2020, at a virtual summit of the Group of 20, world leaders agreed to pause debt payments through the end of the year.


World leaders played up the program as a way to encourage poor countries to spend as needed, without worrying about their debts. But the plan exempted the largest group of creditors: the global financial services industry, including banks, asset managers and hedge funds.


“The private sector has done zilch,” said Adnan Mazarei, a former deputy director at the I.M.F., and now a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington. “They have not participated at all.”


Concerns about developing countries’ debts rested atop the reality that many were spending enormous shares of their revenues on loan payments even before the pandemic.


Since 2009, Pakistan’s payments to foreign creditors have climbed to 35 percent of government revenues from 11.5 percent, according to data compiled by the Jubilee Debt Campaign, which advocates for debt forgiveness. Ghana’s payments swelled to more than 50 percent of government revenues from 5.3 percent.


As the pandemic spread, Pakistan raised health care spending but cut support for social service programs as it prioritized debt payments.


The debt suspension was at best a short-term reprieve, delaying loan payments while heaping them atop outstanding bills.


Some 46 countries, most of them in sub-Saharan Africa, have collectively gained $5.3 billion in relief from immediate debt payments. That is about 1.7 percent of total international debt payments due from all developing countries this year, according to data compiled by the European Network on Debt and Development.


Mr. Summers recently described the debt suspension initiative as “a squirt gun meeting a massive conflagration.”


But the program has proved powerful in one regard: It conveyed a sense that the troubles of the poorest countries have been contained.


“Part of the reason why so little has been done is that there was a misguided expectation that you could provide all the support low-income countries needed simply by deferring payments on their debts,” said Brad Setser, a former U.S. Treasury official and now a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.


This month, the G20 extended the program into the middle of next year. Ms. Georgieva has chided private creditors for remaining on the sidelines.


Private creditors have been reluctant to offer debt suspension in part because of uncertainty over who will reap the benefits. Many developing countries have borrowed aggressively from Chinese institutions in a process both opaque and uncoordinated. If American or European institutions forgo collecting on their debts, the money may simply be passed on to a Chinese lender rather than lifting health care spending.


Private creditors maintain that poor countries have not requested relief, recognizing that credit rating agencies may treat debt suspension as a default — a status that jeopardizes their future ability to borrow.


“They don’t want to lose the market access,” said Clay Lowery, executive vice president of research and policy at the Institute of International Finance, a trade association representing financial companies around the world.


But that fear has been actively fomented by creditors, discouraging poor countries from seeking relief.


“The private sector is often highly misleadingly aggressive in suggesting that debt restructuring will cut countries off forever, and that complying with its wishes will get them new money very soon,” Mr. Summers said in an interview.


Some argue that anything short of debt restructuring, in which terms are renegotiated and creditors absorb losses on loans, merely extends the pain — for borrowers and lenders alike.


Critics of the I.M.F. say its handling of the pandemic has displayed the same trait that has long defined its mission — a bias toward ensuring that creditors get paid, even at the expense of wrenching spending cuts in poor countries.


Since the pandemic began, the I.M.F. has allocated $500 million to cover the costs of debt suspension, while handing out more than $100 billion in fresh loans. More than $11 billion from the loan proceeds has paid off private creditors, according to a report from the Jubilee Debt Campaign.


“International financial institutions are going to leave countries in much worse shape than they were before the pandemic,” said Lidy Nacpil, coordinator of the Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development, a Manila-based alliance of 50 organizations. “Their interest is not primarily about these countries getting back on their feet, but to get these countries back into the business of borrowing.”



3) Jeremy Corbyn Victim of Slander
By Daniel Taylor

Red Flag, October 30, 2020


After years of being slandered, Jeremy Corbyn has been suspended from the British Labour Party. It’s a shocking development. It’s not just an attack on Corbyn; it’s an attack on the entire left that will have global consequences. The more it goes unopposed, the worse those consequences will be.

Let’s start by stating the facts. Jeremy Corbyn is not anti-Semitic. There is no evidence that he has ever done or said anything indicating prejudice against Jews. The accusation is a cynical lie intended to intimidate and silence the left.

Unlike the cretins and liars—in Labour, in the British media and elsewhere—who are now slandering him and all his supporters, Corbyn has a decades-long record of struggle against racism and fascism. Like many of us on the left, stretching from left-wing reformists to revolutionary Marxists, he rightly decided that the best way to learn the lessons of all the atrocities carried out in the name of Nazi anti-Semitism is with a lifelong struggle against racism, oppression and imperialist violence.

Even having to write that feels a little dirty. It’s like having to write that there’s no evidence that the Moon landing was faked or that the Earth is flat. Why would a serious political publication spend time engaging with such a self-evidently ridiculous idea as the claim that Jeremy Corbyn was responsible for a revival of institutional anti-Semitism in Britain?

Because that monstrous lie is again being circulated now that Corbyn has been suspended from Labour. The myth of Corbynite anti-Semitism is getting wall-to-wall coverage and near universal endorsement from the entire British political establishment, especially in Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour and its allies in the liberal media.

Jeremy Corbyn was suspended for observing that, for the last few years, claims of anti-Semitism have been exaggerated for political reasons. Not only is this blindingly obvious— it is a massive understatement.

The notion that Corbyn had encouraged or cultivated anti-Semitism, or was even anti-Semitic himself, was a complete fraud from beginning to end, elevated to the level of national myth by the right-wing Labour bureaucracy and their friends in the media, from the formerly fascist Daily Mail to the liberal Guardian. The pretense that it had something to do with fighting racism was pure theatre: it was a coordinated attack on the most consistently anti-racist leader of a major party in British history, whose track record of anti-fascism was gleefully distorted and buried at a time when the global far right is on the rise.

Anyone who stands up for Arabs and Muslims against Islamophobia, for colonized peoples against military conquest, or for anti-fascism against the modern far right was a target in this supposedly “anti-racist” campaign. Each time Corbyn and his supporters made a gesture of conciliation towards it, the campaign of slander only intensified, until it fatally wounded his electoral support, demoralized his supporters and helped drive him from the leadership.

When Corbyn was leader, for a little while he offered hope to the young, the poor and the oppressed, who thought they had a champion at the head of a major party. Now, Labour is run by a former prosecutor who prefers to fight the left than to take on Boris Johnson’s murderous failure to protect people from the coronavirus. Yet it is Corbyn’s time as leader—not that of Starmer, or the war criminal Tony Blair—that the scum in Labour are calling the darkest and most shameful period of Labour’s history.

This provocation should be met with outrage and action: defiant collective gestures of solidarity with Corbyn, and with the Palestinian people whose basic right to live free of military occupation is now called “anti-Semitism;” and a renewal of the struggle against austerity and imperialist war that inspired Corbyn’s initial popularity. 

But so far, that hasn’t happened. Corbyn and his supporters—parliamentarians such as John McDonnell and left-wing union bureaucrats like Len McCluskey—have condemned Corbyn’s suspension only because it undermines the unity of the Labour Party. What’s needed now isn’t “unity” with Sir Keir Starmer. What’s needed is a forthright defense of the right to challenge austerity, to oppose imperialism and to point out the most obvious injustices of neoliberal capitalism without being smeared and browbeaten into silence and submission.

It’s needed because in Britain, Johnson’s profits-first approach to the coronavirus—which included paying people to eat in restaurants and encouraging them to work from their office at the height of a global pandemic—has killed 50,000 people so far. It’s needed because more than 12,000 illegal settlement units have been approved in the Israeli-occupied West Bank this year, and no global movement against the injustices of capitalism can be built if activists are scared to talk about that fact openly. It’s needed because this successful attack on Corbyn will be generalized and used against the left anywhere that a movement against the rich and powerful starts to gain traction.

Israel’s lobbyists will be delighted with the suspension of Corbyn. But although they’ve helped build the narrative, they aren’t responsible for what’s happened to him. When Corbyn accidentally became Labour leader in 2015, it was an affront to the capitalist class that it could not tolerate. Its servants in Labour have led this charge. Those McCarthyite witch-hunters and their capitalist supporters are ultimately responsible for this: they are the enemies to be identified and defeated.

The attack on Corbyn is cut from the same cloth as the war against “Islamo-leftism” in France, led by the suave neoliberal Emmanuel Macron. In both cases, the wealthy and educated “sensible center” of politics is whipping up a frenzy of hatred to destroy any solidarity between the left and the oppressed. They’re portraying both left-wing activists and religious minorities as an enemy within, who should have no rights to participate in the political process and whose opinions should be dismissed out of hand.

And in France as well, some on the left have softly complained that this right-wing offensive undermines “unity”—this time, the unity of the nation after tragic terrorist attacks. But when you’re under attack from all sides, there’s no point demanding unity with your oppressor. It’s not clever politics. It’s not triangulation. It doesn’t make you look noble. You need to land blows and expose your attackers as the ones encouraging racism, spreading lies and shifting society to the right for their own narrow gain.

How did it come to this? A few years ago, Corbyn was riding a wave of popular support, speaking at enormous demonstrations about the importance of socialism, seemingly unassailable. Now he is part of an embattled minority, being driven in disgrace from a party to which he has shown incredible loyalty through its decades of criminal policies. There was barely any sign of “Corbynism” when British capitalism buckled under the coronavirus crisis; it was like that political movement had never existed.

As leader, Corbyn was obsessed with the idea of forming an anti-austerity government and overturning the legacies of Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair. But he could win that majority only with the support of right-wing Labour MPs—so whenever momentum was on his side, he never initiated a fight that would risk a split in the party.

In particular, he never campaigned to build a wide understanding among his young supporters that anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism. While Corbyn was leader, after years of growing attacks on him from the right wing and center of the party, Labour even adopted the ridiculous IHRA (International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance)  “definition” that formally classes opposition to Zionism—a principled anti-racist position—as a form of anti-Semitism. At a small meeting of a leadership committee, Corbyn moved an amendment to the policy; his amendment was defeated, the policy made it through, and no more fight was waged against this terrible concession.

Bit by bit, the campaign of slander advanced and extracted concessions, while Corbyn prioritized maintaining the “unity” of a party that was trying to crush his project. Those priorities pose a serious challenge now the fight has reached this extreme. The lure of parliamentary majorities will make it much harder for decent supporters of Corbyn to do what they should have done decades ago—fight for socialism outside the constraints of a right-wing, pro-capitalist, imperialist Labour Party.

The occupation of Iraq provoked a massive outpouring of antiwar resistance that defined a generation and discredited the most extreme parts of Blair’s neoliberal project, but Labour remained as a lure to those who wanted the world to be a better place. That has given Labour’s right-wing bureaucrats the power to smear and sabotage anti-racist fighters like Corbyn, knowing that the promise of a “big tent” party that might form government will dampen down any counter-attack from the left. Let’s hope that the present crisis of capitalism, and the vile slanders on Corbyn, provoke some resistance that can reach new levels of radicalism, and break free of those political limits, and hasten the development of an anticapitalist current that builds its power elsewhere.

Forget cobbling together parliamentary majorities in the search for governmental power. Forget “unity” with the forces of the establishment and the bureaucrats who are leading this charge or passively endorsing it. We need unity of the oppressed in the struggle against the system that threatens us all. That task is made harder everywhere if any inch is given to this slanderous campaign against Jeremy Corbyn—because the target of the slander tomorrow will be whoever next makes a political breakthrough against the ruling class.



4) 2,258 N.J. Prisoners Will Be Released in a Single Day

By March, officials expect to have reduced the state’s prison population by about 35 percent since the start of the pandemic.

By Tracey Tully, Nov. 4, 2020


More than 1,000 additional prisoners will be freed in New Jersey in the coming weeks and months. Credit...Curt Hudson/Bloomberg News

In a sweeping acknowledgment of the risks of the coronavirus in cramped prisons, New Jersey will release more than 2,000 inmates on Wednesday as part of one of the largest-ever single-day reductions of any state’s prison population.


More than 1,000 additional prisoners will be released in the coming weeks and months after earning early-release credits for time served during the health crisis — resulting in a roughly 35 percent reduction in New Jersey’s prison population since the pandemic began ravaging Northeast states in March.


Beyond the health imperatives, the emptying of prisons and jails comes at a moment when there is intense national debate over transforming a criminal justice system that ensnares people of color in disproportionate numbers.


In New Jersey, supporters of the freeing of prisoners said it would not only help make prisons safer, but would also build on the state’s efforts to create a fairer penal system. But opponents said they were worried about releasing so many inmates at once and potentially posing a public safety risk in communities where they end up.


The mass releases were made possible by a bill that passed with bipartisan support in the New Jersey Legislature and was signed into law last month by Gov. Philip D. Murphy, a Democrat, as part of the first legislative initiative of its kind in the country.


Prisoners in New Jersey within a year of completing sentences for crimes other than murder and sexual assault are eligible to be released as many as eight months early. They will be freed through the gates of state prisons and halfway houses, or driven by bus to transit hubs to begin treks to the county where they last lived, according to state officials and criminal justice advocates.


The releases are set to start less than 24 hours after polls closed on one of the most consequential Election Days in modern history, amid concerns about the potential for civil unrest after President Trump repeatedly sought to sow distrust in the voting process itself.


Assemblyman Jon M. Bramnick, the Republican minority leader, said he opposed the bill because it included people convicted of certain violent crimes and left too many questions unanswered.


“The legislation is way too broad for me to give my rubber stamp,” Mr. Bramnick said. “Is the public aware of who is being released and where they are going?”


Other states have made large virus-related reductions to their prison populations this year, including Connecticut and California. California’s governor ordered the release of about 8,000 nonviolent offenders and two weeks ago was told by a judge to free or transfer 1,500 inmates from San Quentin, the state’s oldest and most notorious prison where more than 2,000 inmates contracted the virus and 28 have died from it.


New Jersey had already released nearly 1,000 inmates early from its prison system under a pandemic-related executive order in April and freed close to 700 people from its county jails after a legal challenge.


But the decision to take a systemwide step on a single day is unique and has drawn criticism from the mayor of Trenton, the state’s capital where gun violence is surging, and from lawmakers in Cumberland County, home to three sprawling state prisons.


Those who fought for the releases have argued that there was no time to waste in a state where the virus was seeping anew into prison populations after tapering off in the summer following outbreaks that killed at least 52 inmates.


The infection rate in state prisons is now below 1 percent, but a federal prison in Fort Dix in central New Jersey is experiencing an outbreak involving at least 166 inmates and 10 staff members. An additional 41 people at Fort Dix have recovered from Covid-19, federal officials said.


In the days before the release on Wednesday, criminal justice advocates and relatives of inmates expected to be freed said they had been given conflicting information about where people would be released and when.


One woman said she was initially told by a social worker to pick up her husband at the gate of New Jersey State Prison in Trenton between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m., but was later instructed to meet him in a parking lot of a McDonald’s across the street during a four-hour window in the afternoon.


The hundreds of inmates without permanent addresses to return home to have been connected with county social services agencies and will be placed in shelters, senior Murphy administration officials said.


Joe Derella, a Democrat who leads the board of commissioners in Cumberland County, a rural region with only two small transit hubs, said the county sent a letter in September urging state officials to plan for ways to transport the former inmates to the counties where they lived when they were sentenced.


“Understand the reasoning,” Mr. Derella said about the releases. “Really, really concerned about the process.”


About the prisoners who are being freed, he added: “We don’t want them to fail. We want them to be as successful as possible.”


State correction officials have said the 2,258 people being released on Wednesday will leave with necessary prescription medicines and state ID cards, which are crucial for applying for social services.


Social service teams have also provided housing and transportation assistance, as well as food stipends for those with minimal financial resources, according to Liz Velez, a spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections.


“We are taking a process that normally takes six months and compressing it into a very short time-frame,” a spokesman for the governor, Michael Zhadanovsky, said in a statement.


Multiple state agencies have been “working diligently” with local officials, Mr. Zhadanovsky added, “to identify areas of anticipated need and fill those gaps with necessary resources so that people can thrive in their communities.”


James E. McGreevey, the former governor who now runs New Jersey Re-entry Corporation, a nonprofit that contracts with the state to help people transition out of prison, said the number of soon-to-be released inmates who had been signed up for Medicaid had increased over the last several weeks after a slow start.


This, he said, was a positive sign that would help them to access vital health and addiction treatment services.


Criminal justice advocates are preparing to fan out across the state at prisons and transit hubs to offer a friendly welcome and to help connect new arrivals access social services.


But even advocates who fought for passage of the bill have been critical of its implementation.


“We stand as ready as we can be, but we’re getting mostly really halfhearted gestures from the state,” said J. Amos Caley, lead organizer for New Jersey Prison Justice Watch, a coalition of social justice advocacy organizations that championed the bill. “It’s felt like we’ve been either dragging them along, or educating them at every step, or just outright wrestling with them.”


The bill, pushed by the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, is considered a model that other states are looking to replicate, according to Amol Sinha, executive director of the state chapter of the A.C.L.U.


Mr. Murphy said the releases were part of a yearslong effort to reduce New Jersey’s prison population, and he said he rejected the claim that it had been handled poorly.


“We know we can’t just throw people into the ether,” Mr. Murphy said on Tuesday. “We’ve got to responsibly get them back integrated into society, and we’re working really hard at that.”


Justice Watch volunteers will be dressed in red and will be handing out bags filled with masks and information about area homeless shelters and social service groups.


To find the former inmates, volunteers will look for telltale garb: gray sweatpants and a gray sweatshirt.


“And they’ll be carrying a white mesh laundry bag, holding all their possessions,” Mr. Caley said.


Deb Johnson, 55, said she planned to be helping out at a bus and train station in Camden, N.J., and dreaming of the day her 30-year-old son, who was convicted of a weapons possession charge, walks out of South Woods State Prison. Under the bill, he is eligible for early release before Christmas.


“For me, it’s bittersweet,” Ms. Johnson said. “It’s sweet because it’s my child. I get to hold him a little sooner, especially during the holidays that we haven’t shared in five years. But there’s still a lot of other people who are incarcerated and could die.”


Since March, more than 252,000 people in jails and prisons across the country have been infected with the virus, and at least 1,450 inmates and correctional officers have died, according to a New York Times database.


“You have a child who has done something to get them incarcerated,” Ms. Johnson said. “But now you’re worried that you’re going to be getting a phone call telling you your son is dead.”


Jessica S. Henry, a former public defender who is now a criminal justice professor at Montclair State University, said the confusion accompanying Wednesday’s release underscored problems that existed with the prison re-entry process long before the pandemic.


“They are often released with $10, a bus ticket and the shirt on their back, and wished good luck,” Professor Henry said.


Amid a pervasive virus that has left hundreds of thousands residents out of work, the challenges are compounded.


“You’re releasing people because of the pandemic, into the pandemic,” she said. “Unless there are safe places for them to go, what are we doing with all these people to make sure they can begin to build new lives?”



5) Police ‘Kettle’ and Arrest Nearly 60 Protesters in Manhattan

The police broke up crowds after peaceful demonstrations turned into heated confrontations in the West Village and near Union Square.

By Ed Shanahan, Published Nov. 4, 2020, Updated Nov. 5, 2020

A protester is taken into custody near Union Square in Manhattan on Wednesday as the police moved to break up a crowd. Credit...Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times

In a reprise of the violent street altercations that erupted at times in New York over the summer, a day of peaceful demonstrations in Manhattan on Wednesday turned into clashes between protesters and the police after night fell, leading to nearly 60 arrests.


The protests and subsequent confrontations came as the city and much of the rest of the United States remained on edge amid the presidential election’s uncertain outcome and with the Police Department prepared to quell any potential unrest.


At around 8:30 p.m. in the West Village, a phalanx of officers moved on a group of several hundred people who had gathered earlier outside the New York Public Library in Midtown before marching to Washington Square Park.


The protesters had briefly shut down traffic in the neighborhood while chanting slogans like “every city, every town, burn the precincts to the ground” as they passed boutique restaurants where patrons were enjoying dinner on an unseasonably warm evening.


Employing the law enforcement tactic known as kettling, the officers pushed protesters out of the street and sought to contain them on sidewalks. At one point, as a few dozen demonstrators walked down an empty side street near the park, police officers on bicycles raced past them and blocked them at the next cross street.


As the protesters banged against signposts and shouted at the police to move, more officers in riot gear joined the fray. Yet another group of police officers, their bright blue and black helmets bobbing beneath the lights from apartments above, approached from behind.


With the protesters surrounded, dozens of officers in riot gear moved in, encircling the group and pushing protesters to the ground as they made arrests.


“Why are you in riot gear, we don’t see no riot here,” protesters who had not been hemmed in screamed.


Smoke, flashing red and blue police lights and the sound of yelling filled the streets as officers, some of them grabbing their targets in rough fashion, tried to break up the crowd. A recorded message that the gathering was unlawfully blocking traffic blared from a speaker.


At least three people were detained for setting trash-can fires, the police said; others were arrested because they had blocked subway entrances, the police said. Still others who were taken into custody had thrown garbage and eggs, the police said.


At least 58 people were arrested in connection with the protests, said a senior law enforcement official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the cases publicly.


“We appreciate and value the importance of freedom of speech,” the Police Department said in a statement posted on Twitter, adding that those who were arrested had “attempted to hijack a peaceful protest.”


The scene in the West Village contrasted sharply with the near-giddy mood that had carried the protesters along earlier as they called to “defund the police,” have every vote counted and end racial injustice.


As the confrontation unfolded, Chloe Hartstein recorded the arrest of a friend while standing across from a row of officers clad in riot gear.


Ms. Hartstein said that her friend, whom she identified as a member of the activist group Street Riders NYC, had been walking on Sixth Avenue with dozens of other people when officers surrounded the group near Ninth Street and put him in the back of a police van.


“They didn’t give a reason for his arrest,” she said. “They just took him.”


A second confrontation occurred around 9:30 p.m. near Union Square Park and involved a separate group that had marched through the Manhattan streets, flanked at all times by officers on bicycles, after gathering outside the Plaza Hotel.


The crowd was milling around near the intersection of 14th Street and Third Avenue when officers rushed in. One demonstrator, Bahlya Yansane, 29, said it appeared that an officer had fallen off or dropped his bike after jousting repeatedly with a protester who had been trying to force the officer onto the sidewalk.


Throngs of officers raced into and separated the crowd, arresting several people and wrestling some to the ground, he said.


“I’m shook up right now,” said Mr. Yansane, who noted that he had been attending street protests in the city since May.


Beyond the trash fires, there was no evidence of the property damage that some business owners were clearly anticipating when they boarded up their storefronts against the kind of looting and rioting that broke out briefly in June in New York amid protests after the police killing of George Floyd.


This week, police officials, on guard for violent unrest, had used trucks and barricades to create a “frozen zone” around President Trump’s showpiece property in Midtown, Trump Tower, while dispatching officers to each of the more than 1,200 polling stations in the city on Tuesday.


Terence A. Monahan, the chief of department and the police force’s top uniformed official, said at a news conference this week that officers were “fully prepared” to keep the city safe in the event of unrest.


“My message to anyone who wants to cause violence and destruction is don’t even try it,” he said.


Police officials sounded confident that officers would handle any unrest differently than they did over the summer, when they appeared to be caught off guard by what turned into huge protests. Thousands of officers were pulled onto patrol, many for the first time in years, with little or no training in how to handle large crowds.


Police officials said they had conducted an internal review of the department’s handling of the protests and had introduced changes that included training rank-and-file officers as well as senior leaders in disorder control.


“We hold the line, we don’t react on our own,” said Juanita Holmes, who was appointed last week as chief of patrol, a job in which she oversees the department’s largest and most visible arm. “We don’t just arbitrarily arrest people, even if they throw a bottle.”


Christina Goldbaum, Edgar Sandoval, Ashley Southall and Ali Watkins contributed reporting.



6) Philadelphia Releases Body-Camera Video of Fatal Police Shooting of Black Man

Amid calls for calm, officials also announced measures to help officers respond to mental health crises.

By Michael Levenson, Nov. 4, 2020


Protesters in Philadelphia marched near City Hall on Wednesday, the day officials released police body-camera footage from the shooting of Walter Wallace Jr. Credit...Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

Officials in Philadelphia urged calm on Wednesday as they released body-camera footage from last week of two police officers fatally shooting a Black man with a history of mental illness who was holding a knife. The police also announced new training measures intended to help officers respond to mental health crises.


The man, Walter Wallace Jr., 27, was fatally shot by officers on Oct. 26 in an encounter that was also captured on video by a bystander and shared on social media.


In the bystander’s video and in the police body-cam footage, Mr. Wallace is seen walking into the street in the direction of the officers, who back away and aim their guns at him. The officers yell repeatedly at Mr. Wallace to “put the knife down” and then fire multiple rounds. After Mr. Wallace falls to the ground, his mother screams and rushes to his body.


A lawyer for the family had said that Mr. Wallace was experiencing a crisis that day and that the family had told officers about it when they arrived at the scene.


In the body-cam footage, a woman can be heard repeatedly screaming that Mr. Wallace is “mental” as the officers point their guns at him.


The shooting touched off protests and looting in the city, which prompted Gov. Tom Wolf to call in the National Guard and the city to order a 9 p.m. curfew, which expired last week.


In the days that followed, more than 200 people were arrested, cars were burned and more than 50 officers were hurt, ratcheting up tensions in a nation that was already on edge before Election Day.


The White House blamed the “liberal Democrats’ war against the police” for the destruction, while former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Senator Kamala Harris lamented Mr. Wallace’s death, condemned the looting and castigated Mr. Trump for fanning “the flames of division in our society.”


At a news conference on Wednesday, Philadelphia’s mayor, district attorney and police commissioner joined Black clergy members in expressing sadness and grief over Mr. Wallace’s death. They urged people not to resort to violence in response to the body-cam footage, as well as 911 calls and police radio transmissions that were released.


“We know this moment is incredibly painful, given so many failures over generations to protect all of Philadelphia’s residents, especially those who are Black or brown,” Mayor Jim Kenney said.


The “very painful” videos, he said, “will elicit anger, rage, distress, evoke more questions — and rightfully so.”


Larry Krasner, the district attorney, called the shooting “a terrible tragedy” and said that it showed that officers had failed to properly respond to a mother in distress about her son’s mental health crisis.


“Government failed because her son was killed within a minute of government’s arrival,” he said. “As a part of government, I apologize for that.”


Still, Mr. Krasner said that if residents wanted to honor Mr. Wallace and respect his family’s wishes, they should not “disgrace his memory by tearing up the city.”


Mary Floyd Palmer, one of the clergy members who spoke at the news conference, said Mr. Wallace “should be here today.” She said Philadelphians should show compassion and care in response to his death.


“God is watching,” she said. “So are our children. What will they say about what you have done?”


On Wednesday, about 300 people gathered outside City Hall to protest the killing. They stood in front of a banner that read Count Every Vote, near the Pennsylvania Convention Center where city officials were tallying ballots in the presidential election.


As helicopters flew overhead, about two dozen National Guard troops stood alongside Philadelphia police officers.


City officials said the Police Department and the District Attorney’s Office were continuing to investigate the shooting.


The officers were identified on Wednesday as Sean Matarazzo, 25, who has been with the department since 2018, and Thomas Munz, 26, who has been on the force since 2017. The Police Department said both officers had been placed on “restrictive duty” while the investigation continues.


John McNesby, the president of the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #5, the union that represents the city’s officers, said it had been calling for the release of the video and the 911 calls since last Tuesday.


“Eight days later, city officials held an hour-long press conference casting blame on these officers for this incident in which they were forced to make a split-second decision,” Mr. McNesby said. “This is baseless and not supported by facts.”


He said the officers had followed their training and department policy.


“Mayor Kenney has called this ‘police violence,’” Mr. McNesby said. “However, the real violence was perpetrated by a knife-wielding man who confronted our police officers.”


City officials said they were expanding programs intended to help the police defuse mental health crises without violence.


Next week, officials said, 911 call takers and dispatchers will be trained to better identify calls related to people in crisis, so they can dispatch specially trained officers.


By January, specially trained officers will respond to such calls along with civilian mental health experts, officials said.


“We firmly believe that mental illness, disabilities and substance use disorders are not crimes,” said Jill Bowen, acting commissioner of the Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services. “Individuals affected by these challenges have the right to treatment, recovery, wellness and life.”


Jon Hurdle contributed reporting.



7) Tears, Hugs and Fresh Clothes: New Jersey Prisoners Rejoice at Release

More than 2,000 inmates were freed to reduce the spread of Covid in the state’s prison system.

By Tracey Tully, Nate Schweber and Kevin Armstrong, Photographs by Hannah Yoon, Jonah Markowitz and Michelle Gustafson, Nov. 5, 2020


Shameka Henry, left, hugs Deborah Walker after Ms. Henry’s release from prison Wednesday. Credit...Hannah Yoon for The New York Times

TRENTON, N.J. — Brenton McPherson took a long sip of fresh air, borrowed a stranger’s phone to call his mother and walked across a busy highway Wednesday toward a train station, his back turned away from a hulking state prison for what he hoped was the last time.


After five years, the 35-year-old father of two was free.


“I tell him this is his last chance,” his mother, Christine Guidas, said after wrapping him in a hug outside a McDonald’s in Trenton.


“Look! I’m bigger than you,” his 15-year-old son — who was 10 when Mr. McPherson was convicted of second-degree robbery — teased from the back of a black minivan.


He was, by at least four inches.


Mr. McPherson was one of 2,258 inmates released on Wednesday from prisons and halfway houses across New Jersey in one of the largest-ever single-day reductions of any state’s prison population.


Only prisoners within a year of completing sentences for crimes other than murder and sexual assault are eligible to be released up to eight months early.


Over the coming months, another 1,167 prisoners will be freed to reduce the risks of the coronavirus in crowded lockups where social distancing is next to impossible. In all, the releases will result in a roughly 35 percent reduction in New Jersey’s prison population since the start of the pandemic.


The initiative grew out of legislation signed into law last month and comes at a moment of intense national debate over transforming a criminal justice system that imprisons people of color in disproportionate numbers.


But politics and criminal justice policy were far from the minds of most people waiting in crowds to spot their loved ones walking out of prison gates, or off buses and trains, into their arms.


Outside Northern State Prison in Newark, a line of cars stretched along the road early on Wednesday.


Allan Campbell, a 41-year-old Passaic County man imprisoned for a parole violation, was released around 7 a.m. His mother, who had traveled to Newark from Paterson, had expected him to be let out in the afternoon, so he waited on the roadside for a ride.


“I’m so glad to get out — I just thank God,” said Mr. Campbell, dressed in a freshly issued pair of jeans and a white shirt.


The released prisoners were easy to spot: Each carried a white mesh laundry bag filled with manila envelopes that held their prison health records, state ID cards and leaflets about addiction treatment programs and re-entry services.


The uncle of a 32-year-old man who was leaving New Jersey State Prison in Trenton after more than a decade passed around his cellphone so the half-dozen men waiting to take a train toward home could create PIN codes for the bank debit cards that held the balance of their commissary accounts.


The men spoke of people they knew who had contracted the virus, and the lockdown measures in place since March that kept them inside small rooms with a bunk mate for as many as 23 hours a day.


Mr. Campbell said a man in his unit died of Covid-19, one of at least 52 virus-related inmate fatalities in New Jersey prisons. He said he had worried about getting the virus, and in June he was quarantined for seven days with a fever of 100.7.


Deborah Walker said she could not sleep Tuesday night, anxious about the two-hour drive to Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women in Clinton, N.J., and her reunion with Shameka Henry, 32, a young woman she considers her daughter.


Ms. Walker began to cry as she embraced Ms. Henry, who cried, too.


Then Ms. Henry, who was serving time for burglary and assault, changed into fresh clothes and a pair of Timberland boots that Ms. Walker had brought, and made quick work of her prison garb: She stuffed the uniform into a plastic bag and tossed it into a dumpster across the parking lot.


As the two women prepared to pull away, Ms. Henry shouted to a guard: “Bye, J Rod.”


“Look at you!” he said about the new outfit. “I don’t even know who you are.”


Maria Gellatly, 42, was imprisoned for possessing heroin and shoplifting. She served about a year, but violated the terms of her parole after she was released and was sent back to prison for another 14 months.


“I’m a little shaky,” she said. “I’m happy that I’m out, but I’m just really overwhelmed about going back into society with the whole pandemic.”


She was released on a day when New Jersey, which is grappling with an alarming uptick in virus cases, reported 2,472 new infections, the largest number since May.


Ms. Gellatly said that while she was locked up, her wife, Melanie Marshall, died.


“Her not being here — I’m happy but sad,” Ms. Gellatly said. “It’s all bittersweet.”


Opponents of the bill, which was the first legislative initiative of its kind in the country, said they were worried about releasing so many inmates at once and potentially creating a public safety risk.


Assemblyman Jon M. Bramnick, the Republican minority leader, said he opposed the bill because it included people convicted of certain violent crimes.


Reed Gusciora, the mayor of Trenton, where killings have more than doubled since last year, has said he was concerned that many of the people returning home early will be unable to find jobs and will return to the patterns that put them behind bars in the first place.


Prisoners in all state lockups are tested regularly for the virus, and the infection rate is now less than 1 percent after surging in the spring. But the legislation, which enables prisoners to earn credit for time served during the health crisis, is binding, and even those who had contracted the virus had to be released if they were eligible.


Dr. Mark Wade, the director of the Department of Health and Human Wellness in Newark, said he called the state on Tuesday to ask for enough rapid Covid-19 tests so that each of the 160 people who were expected to arrive in Newark after being released from prison could be assessed.


Not only did the state send the tests, Dr. Wade said, but it provided workers to administer them.


Anyone who did test positive would be taken to a hotel to quarantine, he said.


Many people whose family members picked them up left directly from prison; others were taken to transit hubs and given vouchers to pay for a bus or train.


Near the Trenton train station, families began arriving at 6:30 a.m., and many were still waiting for relatives in the afternoon.


Kory Hiii, 26, of Newark, was waiting for his brother who had been in prison for six years. New silver sneakers and a button-down shirt monogrammed with his brother’s initials sat waiting on the hood of his car.


The distance, Mr. Hiii said, has been especially hard since the virus hit in March.


“It’s a nerve-racking thing,” said Mr. Hiii. “But he’s coming home today, and God willing he just moves forward.”


Volunteers from an array of social justice organizations and re-entry groups fanned out to greet people at major train stations across the state.


At the New Jersey Transit station in Somerville, two volunteers lined up sweaters, coats, masks and bottles of hand sanitizer near a large sign that read, “Welcome Home.”


“Would you like a doughnut?” Catherine Lent, a volunteer with American Reentry Initiative, asked a woman who was headed to Camden and still wearing her correctional facility ID badge clipped to her prison-issued sweatpants.


“Oh, my God!” said the woman, Ronnelle Boyce. “Yes!”


Ms. Boyce, 37, tried on coats and gloves and claimed a roller suitcase to carry the new clothing.


“I just chose the wrong path before,” Ms. Boyce, who was imprisoned for aggravated assault, said before running off to catch a train. “I’m not going back. This is all a blessing!”


After the train left with a dozen newly released women on board, a denim jacket, issued by the New Jersey Department of Corrections, still hung on a railing. A half-full cup of coffee sat beneath it.



8) Voters Say Black Lives Matter Protests Were Important. They Disagree On Why.

About a fifth of all voters said the protests were the single most important factor in their decision at the ballot box, according to a new survey.

By Sabrina Tavernise and John Eligon, Published Nov. 7, 2020, Updated Nov. 8, 2020

A George Floyd memorial in Minneapolis in June. Credit...Joshua Rashaad McFadden for The New York Times

The protests that broke out after the police killing of George Floyd in May were some of the biggest racial justice marches organized in decades. In the early weeks, polling showed broad and deep support for them across the country.


But as the summer wore on and with it, sporadic looting and acts of vandalism, Americans became much more divided in how they saw the protests.


Just how divided became clear on Election Day.


Alfonse Bowman of Philadelphia said that as he cast his ballot for Joseph R. Biden Jr., he was thinking of how just a week before, the police in his hometown had fatally shot a young Black man. Mr. Bowman, who is Black, said he thought to himself of President Trump: “We have to get this man out of office.”


But Anne Marie Kelly, a white medical worker who lives a couple of hours away in Stroudsburg, Pa., said she was horrified by the vandalism and looting that followed protests in some cities. It made her feel that “this is not the America I want to live in anymore,” and reinforced her resolve to vote for Mr. Trump.


As the election grinds to a close, and the nation begins sifting through the results, one thing is clear: The protests this summer and what came after weighed heavily on Americans’ minds.


About nine of every 10 voters said the protests over police violence were a factor in their voting, with more than three-fourths calling it a major factor, according to preliminary data from A.P. VoteCast, a large voter survey conducted for The Associated Press by NORC at the University of Chicago. About a fifth of all voters said the protests were the single most important factor in their decision at the ballot box, according to the survey, which interviewed over 140,000 respondents by phone and online.


But these voters were split deeply on who should be in the White House. Among those who cited the protests as a factor, 53 percent voted for Mr. Biden, and 46 percent for Mr. Trump, according to the survey.


Interviews with a number of voters this week showed there were strong differences that often ran along racial lines — with many Black voters viewing the protests through the lens of police violence threatening their lives, while many conservative white voters saw unrest encroaching on their communities.


“All this rioting, it’s childish,” said Crystal Daddario, 32, who was standing in line to vote for Mr. Trump outside a fire station in Reeders, Pa., on Tuesday. Ms. Daddario, who is white, is the wife of an Iraq War veteran, and said they were living in Louisville, Ky., where the police killed Breonna Taylor during a botched raid, but “left because it was getting too close to home.”


The protests, which drew many white Americans as well, were especially potent as an issue in places like Louisville and Minneapolis, where Mr. Floyd was killed. Unrest also roiled Philadelphia, where dozens were arrested and many police officers hurt in late October after the fatal police shooting of Walter Wallace Jr., a Black man with a history of mental illness.


Mr. Bowman, 19, a student at Morehouse College in Atlanta who is taking classes online from home there, said he watched a protest from his car. He said he yelled at the police, and claimed that an officer came over and struck him in the face with a baton, fracturing bones in his face.


The experience “made me want to vote, and it made me want to help other people understand the importance of voting,” he said. His vote for Mr. Biden was the first of his life.


In the heady early days of the protests, several months before Election Day, liberal activists began making calls to “defund the police,” arguing that reducing police department budgets would allow for greater investments into communities struggling with poverty.


The electoral impact of that message is now being debated by Democrats, who emerged from Tuesday’s results with a weakened majority in the House. During a conference call among House Democrats on Thursday, Abigail Spanberger, a centrist Democrat in a Republican-leaning district in Virginia, angrily blamed liberals for embracing the “defund the police” movement. Ms. Spanberger, who narrowly escaped defeat, had faced an opponent who attacked her by tying her to the “defund” message.


But Representative Pramila Jayapal of Washington, a leader of the Progressive Caucus, said that embracing liberal messages had energized young voters, “who will ultimately save the day in the race for the White House.”


During the campaign Mr. Biden distanced himself from the progressive wing of his party and said he opposed cutting resources for law enforcement. Regardless, Mr. Trump, running on a “law and order” message, often made false claims about Mr. Biden’s record on fighting crime.


It is too early to tell precisely how much of the greatly increased turnout — the highest rate of eligible voters since the turn of the 20th century, according to the United States Elections Project — went to Mr. Biden and whether the protests were a driving force.


But there are clues that they might have helped. In Wayne County, Mich., which includes Detroit, there were more votes cast this year than during Barack Obama’s re-election bid in 2012, a recent high-water mark for Black voter turnout.


In Jefferson County, which includes Louisville, turnout did not reach 2012 levels but rose by more than 10 percent this election compared with 2016.


Bernice Bigham, a 75-year-old Louisville resident, wore a T-shirt into the voting booth that summed up her feelings. It read, in all caps, “Black Voters Matter.” On the back it said, “It’s About Us.”


“I’m fearful,” said Ms. Bigham, who voted for Mr. Biden. “Every time there’s a killing, I’m calling around to make sure that my Black son and my Black grandsons are OK, and that’s no way to live — it’s awful.”


And in Flower Mound, Texas, Brooke Wright, 39, often voted Republican because she opposed abortion, but this fall she voted for Mr. Biden. On down ballot races, she and her husband selected women and minority candidates.


Ms. Wright, who is white and goes to an evangelical church, had gone to her first Black Lives Matter protest this summer. Tears streamed down her face as she held a sign to support her husband, who is Black, and their two biracial young sons.


“The protests made me want change so much,” she said. “I was ready to have the hard conversations with people who didn’t understand why I didn’t vote Republican anymore, instead of quietly staying out of those conversations.”


There is also evidence that the protests helped Mr. Trump.


“Downtown’s tore all to hell,” said Teresa Stidham, 43, a white Louisville resident, noting that the windows of many buildings in downtown have been covered by plywood for months. She said that she voted for Mr. Trump primarily because he would fight for the working class, but that the city’s civil unrest was an important factor, too.


In Minneapolis, Adrian Anderson, a retail worker, said he was turned off by the vandalism and looting of businesses in the aftermath of protests over the killing of Mr. Floyd.


“I don’t think it’s Trump’s fault that the police are acting the way they are acting,” said Mr. Anderson, 30, who is Black, white and Native American. He said he voted for Mr. Trump.


Black voters said they did not think Mr. Biden would be a fix for all of the problems of policing in their communities. But at least he acknowledged systemic racism, they said, something Mr. Trump has refused to do. They hoped that Mr. Trump’s exit would mean more civility.


“We’ve got a lot of people who have shown their face and their horns,” said Lakaisha Stoner, 27, a small-business owner in Louisville, adding that she hoped racism would be less on display in the future. “I’m just ready for a positive change, I can’t stress that enough,” she said.


A new president is the place to start, she added.


In a sign that the video of a police officer killing Mr. Floyd had made an impression on the public, even among the president’s backers, 70 percent of voters polled in the A.P. VoteCast survey said racism in policing was a very serious or somewhat serious problem, and of those voters, three in 10 cast their ballots for Mr. Trump.


And for some immigrants who are neither Black nor white, the protests played in complicated ways. Jose Nunez, an electrician who immigrated from the Dominican Republic in 2002, said he voted for Mr. Trump in 2016, but this time voted for Mr. Biden. He switched because he had noticed an ugliness among supporters of Mr. Trump with flapping flags and angry signs. But, he said, the Democrats also needed to expand their appeal to him.


“I don’t want to be talking about race or police brutality on a daily basis,” he said. “It’s crazy.”


Others badly wanted both parties to talk about other things. Jose Soto, 37, a Navy veteran in Madison, Wis., who now works for the Department of Veterans Affairs, said he cared most about education and health care, but neither issue seemed to come up in the campaign. He liked Bernie Sanders, saying, “it feels like every time he talks, he talks to me,” and voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. On Tuesday, he voted for Mr. Trump.


“When Democrats focus their speech, it’s not on work or what they have to offer us,” said Mr. Soto, who immigrated from the Dominican Republic when he was 8.


As for protests, he said racial injustice had been around for a long time and the Democrats had not done much to solve it.


“I don’t think any candidate has a solution for that,” he said.


Elizabeth Dias, Will Wright and Giovanni Russonello contributed reporting.



9) Covid Infections in Animals Prompt Scientific Concern

Mink in Denmark are not the only animals that could become reservoirs for the coronavirus to spread new mutations to people.

By James Gorman, Nov. 8, 2020, 10:42 a.m. ET

Mink were collected for processing on a farm in Naestved, Denmark. Credit...Mads Claus Rasmussen/EPA, via Shutterstock

The decision this week by the Danish government to kill millions of mink because of coronavirus concerns, effectively wiping out a major national industry, has put the spotlight on simmering worries among scientists and conservationists about the vulnerability of animals to the pandemic virus, and what infections among animals could mean for humans.


The most disturbing possibility is that the virus could mutate in animals and become more transmissible or more dangerous to humans. In Denmark, the virus has shifted from humans to mink and back to humans, and has mutated in the process. Mink are the only animals known to have passed the coronavirus to humans, except for the initial spillover event from an unknown species. Other animals, like cats and dogs, have been infected by exposure to humans, but there are no known cases of people being infected by exposure to their pets.


The versions of the virus that have mutated in mink and spread to humans are not more transmissible or causing more severe illness in humans. But one of the variants, found in 12 people so far, was less responsive to antibodies in lab tests. Danish health authorities worried that the effectiveness of vaccines in development might be diminished for this variant, and decided to take all possible measures to stop its spread. This included killing all of the country’s mink and effectively locking down the northern part of the country, where the mutated virus was found. The United Kingdom has banned travelers from Denmark who are not U.K. citizens.


The World Health Organization and scientists outside of Denmark have said they have yet to see evidence that this variant will have any effect on vaccines. They have not, however, criticized Denmark’s decision to cull its mink population.


Mink are not the only animals that can be infected with the coronavirus. Dogs, cats, tigers, hamsters, monkeys, ferrets and genetically engineered mice have also been infected.


Dogs and cats, including tigers, seem to suffer few ill effects. The other animals, which are used in laboratory experiments, have exhibited varying responses. Farmed mink, however, have died in large numbers in Europe and in the United States, perhaps partly because of the crowded conditions on those ranches, which could increase the amount of exposure.


Public health experts worry, however, that any species capable of infection could become a reservoir that allowed the virus to re-emerge at any time and infect people. The virus would likely mutate in other animal species, as it has been shown to do in mink. Although most mutations are likely to be harmless, SARS-CoV-2 conceivably could recombine with another coronavirus and become more dangerous. Conservation experts also worry about the effect on animal species that are already in trouble.


One approach to studying susceptibility has been to look at the genomes of animals and see which ones have a genetic sequence that codes for a protein on cells called an ACE2 receptor, which allows the virus to latch on. One team of researchers studied the genomes of more than 400 animals. Another group did a similar study of primates, which are often infected with human respiratory viruses.


“One of the premises for doing this research was that we thought that great apes would be very at risk because of their close relationship to humans, genetically,” said Amanda D. Melin, an anthropologist at the University of Calgary and an author of the primate study.


But, she added, she and her colleagues also wanted to consider “all of the other primates and their potential risk.” In addition to investigating genomes, the team also did computer modeling of the interaction of the virus spike protein with different ACE2 receptors.


The findings of both papers reinforced each other, revealing old world monkeys and all apes to be most at risk. Both papers were released as non-peer-reviewed studies earlier this year.


Dr. Melin and her colleagues have been talking to representatives of wildlife sanctuaries and zoos about the need for caution. Many of these facilities have increased restrictions for the interactions between people and the primates.


Zarin Machanda, of Tufts University, who studies chimpanzee behavior at the Kibale Chimpanzee Project in Uganda, said that the preserve had increased its safety precautions because of the pandemic.


“We’re always cautious about respiratory viruses,” she said, because such viruses are the leading cause of death in the chimps at Kibale. Even the human common cold can be lethal.


Chimpanzees have suffered from outbreaks of other coronaviruses. Normally, humans at Kibale maintain a minimum distance of two dozen feet from chimpanzees; that has been increased to 30 feet or more. Local workers have been staying at the reserve, rather than commuting back and forth to their communities. And the project has reduced the hours for field studies. All these measures were directed by the Ugandan government.


Tony Goldberg, a veterinarian at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and the head of the Kibale EcoHealth Project, said that he has seen the devastation wrought by respiratory diseases among chimpanzees. A deadly outbreak in 2013 at the reserve turned out to be the result of human rhinovirus C, the most common cause of the common cold worldwide. Until then, it had never been seen in chimps.


“The last thing we need is for SARS-CoV-2 to move into an animal reservoir from which it could re-emerge,” Dr. Goldberg said.


Other researchers are studying species from Beluga whales to deer mice for signs of the coronavirus. Kate Sawatzki, the animal surveillance coordinator for a testing project in pets and other animals at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, said: “To date, we have tested 282 wildlife samples from 22 species, primarily bats in New England rehabilitation facilities, and we are happy to report that none have been positive.”


They have also tested 538 domestic pets, including from households with people with Covid-19, and none have shown signs of active virus. However, Dr. Sawatzki said, the lab also conducted blood tests for antibodies, showing exposure, and there they did find antibodies, as is common in humans. The pets seemed to be getting infected but not getting sick or passing the virus on.


So far, the mink in Denmark are the only known instance of the virus infecting an animal, mutating, and transferring back to humans. Emma Hodcroft of the University of Basel, Switzerland, traces various mutated versions of the coronavirus as it has spread through Europe and has reviewed scientific information released by Danish health authorities. She said she applauded the government’s decision to take swift action and cull the mink: “Many countries have hesitated and waited before acting, and it can be incredibly detrimental in the face of SARS-CoV-2, as we see.”


But she did not approve of the way the information was released, particularly in the government’s Wednesday news briefing, which warned of a dire threat to potential human vaccines but offered no detail for the concern. “The communication of the science could have been much clearer and led to less worry around the world,” Dr. Hodcroft said.



10) NJ Releases 2,000 Prisoners After Election Day; ICE Seizes 88

New Jersey released more than 2,000 prisoners to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. But not all of them made it home.

By Eric Kiefer, Patch Staff, Nov 10, 2020

New Jersey released more than 2,000 prison inmates the day after the 2020 election as a way to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

New Jersey released more than 2,000 prison inmates the day after the 2020 election as a way to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. (John Moore/Getty Images)

NEWARK, NJ — New Jersey released more than 2,000 prison inmates last week to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. Many were embraced in their home communities, getting a warm welcome back.


But for nearly 100 of those inmates, the day ended much differently when they were immediately re-apprehended by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.


Last month, Gov. Phil Murphy signed S2519/A4235 into law, which means an early release for about 3,000 people nearing the ends of their sentences in state prisons.


Under the new law, eligible inmates and parolees can get four months of "credit" for every month they serve during a public health emergency such as the coronavirus pandemic. It will apply to adults and juveniles with less than a year of their sentences left. Anyone who is serving a sentence for murder or aggravated sexual assault, or who has been deemed a "repetitive, compulsive sex offender" is not eligible, lawmakers said.


On Wednesday – the day after the election – New Jersey coordinated a mass release for about 2,000 inmates under the new law. It was celebrated as a huge victory among civil rights advocates, including the ACLU-NJ, which said that by the end of the day, the state's prison population was expected to drop by a whopping 13 percent.


The move is also expected to help protect the safety of prison correctional officers and other staff members, its supporters say.


However, the day ended behind bars again for 88 inmates, who were sent right back into the penal system courtesy of ICE. All are "violent offenders" or have convictions for serious crimes, federal authorities said.


An ICE-ERO Newark spokesperson offered Patch the following statement on Thursday: "Eighty-eight inmates with ICE detainers who were released from New Jersey state prisons were taken into ICE custody on [Nov. 4]. All are violent offenders or have convictions for serious crimes such as homicide, aggravated assault, drug trafficking and child sexual exploitation. Some were placed in removal proceedings and housed in ICE facilities outside of NJ, while others were detained locally pending execution of their final orders of removal."


Last week's events came as New Jersey rolls out another new law, which restored the voting rights of New Jersey residents on probation or parole. According to advocates, about 83,000 people regained their right to vote just in time for the 2020 election as a result – nearly the population of the state's capital city, Trenton.


Last week's mass inmate release was blasted by some conservatives, including state Sen. Joe Pennacchio (District 26).


According to Pennacchio, the prisoner release showcases the "double-standards and jumbled priorities" that have marked Gov. Murphy's administration throughout the COVID-19 crisis.


"From Day 1 of the pandemic, Trenton has been playing favorites – from picking winners and losers when selecting businesses that could remain open, to prioritizing the well-being of prisoners while 'sentencing' innocent senior citizens to locked-down nursing homes where the virus was spreading like wildfire," Pennacchio said.


"This latest maneuver once again demonstrates the administration is more concerned about releasing criminals than protecting elderly New Jerseyans," Pennacchio added.


But other elected officials have praised the prisoner release as a humane way to slow the spread of the virus.


On Thursday, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka said that in the Brick City, newly released inmates were greeted with a "heartfelt welcome" and vital information from the city's Office of Violence Prevention and Trauma, Office of Homeless Services, Department of Health and Community Wellness and Department of Public Safety.


They were also given 15-minute rapid coronavirus tests. Nobody tested positive, Baraka added.


"We're in a time where it's critical that we engage with those who have returned home to Newark, and we want to ensure they have the resources to stay on a successful path," the mayor said.


The philosophy of preparing inmates for success is also a key belief of the New Jersey Reentry Corporation (NJRC), which has been on the forefront of the effort to rehabilitate former inmates for years. Part of that effort has included ensuring that recently released prisoners have access to vital benefits such as food stamps/SNAP, rental assistance, Medicaid, Medication Assisted Treatment and NJMVC identification cards.


The coronavirus pandemic hasn't made the already-tricky task any easier, the NJRC said. But tough situations also inspire innovative solutions, including a new mobile phone app that gives all formerly incarcerated New Jersey citizens a step-by-step-guide to help get them signed up for social services.


ACLU-NJ Executive Director Amol Sinha said the new law is one of the most significant criminal justice policies passed during the pandemic.


Leaders and community members around the country are looking at New Jersey as a roadmap, Sinha added.


"While lawmakers throughout America almost universally recognize the need for criminal justice reform, rarely do they take the necessary steps to dismantle the injustices that we know are pervasive," Sinha said.



11) Alexander Hamilton, Enslaver? New Research Says Yes

A paper by a researcher at the Schuyler Mansion finds overlooked evidence in letters and Hamilton’s own account books indicating that he bought, sold and personally owned slaves.

By Jennifer Schuessler, Nov. 9, 2020

A statue of Alexander Hamilton in front of the United States Treasury in Washington. Credit...Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The question has lingered around the edges of the pop-culture ascendancy of Alexander Hamilton: Did the 10-dollar founding father, celebrated in the musical “Hamilton” as a “revolutionary manumission abolitionist,” actually own slaves?


Some biographers have gingerly addressed the matter over the years, often in footnotes or passing references. But a new research paper released by the Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site in Albany, N.Y., offers the most ringing case yet.


In the paper, titled “‘As Odious and Immoral a Thing’: Alexander Hamilton’s Hidden History as an Enslaver,” Jessie Serfilippi, a historical interpreter at the mansion, examines letters, account books and other documents. Her conclusion — about Hamilton, and what she suggests is wishful thinking on the part of many of his modern-day admirers — is blunt.


“Not only did Alexander Hamilton enslave people, but his involvement in the institution of slavery was essential to his identity, both personally and professionally,” she writes.


“It is vital,” she adds, “that the myth of Hamilton as ‘the Abolitionist Founding Father’ end.”


The evidence cited in the paper, which was quietly published online last month, is not entirely new. But Ms. Serfilippi’s forceful case has caught the eye of historians, particularly those who have questioned what they see as his inflated antislavery credentials.


Annette Gordon-Reed, a professor of history and law at Harvard and the author of “The Hemingses of Monticello,” called the paper “fascinating” and the argument plausible. “It just shows that the founders were nearly all implicated in slavery in some way,” she said.


Joanne Freeman, a professor of history at Yale and editor of the Library of America edition of Hamilton’s writings, said that the detailed evidence remained to be fully weighed. But she said the paper was part of a welcome reconsideration of what she called “the Hero Hamilton” narrative.


“It’s fitting that we are reckoning with Hamilton’s status as an enslaver at a time that is driving home how vital it is for white Americans to reckon — seriously reckon — with the structural legacies of slavery in America,” she wrote in an email.


Ms. Serfilippi’s research “complicates his story, and in so doing, better reflects the central place of slavery in America’s Founding,” she said. “It also more accurately reflects Hamilton.”


But Ron Chernow, whose 2004 biography calls Hamilton an “uncompromising abolitionist,” said the paper presented a lopsidedly negative view.


The paper, he said in an email, “seems to be a terrific research job that broadens our sense of Hamilton’s involvement in slavery in a number of ways.” But he said he was dismayed at the relative lack of attention to Hamilton’s antislavery activities. And he questioned what he called her sometimes “bald conclusions,” starting with the claim that slavery was “essential to his identity.”


“I don’t fault Jessie Serfilippi for her tough scrutiny of Hamilton and slavery,” he said. “The great figures in our history deserve such rigor. But she omits all information that would contradict her conclusions.”


Hamilton married into the powerful Schuyler family in 1780. Slavery was common among New York State’s elite, and the Schuylers were some of the largest slaveholders in their area, with more than 40 people enslaved at the Albany mansion and another estate over the years.


In recent years, the mansion has done extensive research into “the servants” (as the enslaved people of the household were usually referred to), which has been incorporated into its tours. That the Schuylers were enslavers does not necessarily shock visitors, Ms. Serfilippi said. But the extent of Hamilton’s connections with slavery is a different story.


“There are some people who come here knowing he wasn’t exactly an abolitionist,” she said. “But there is surprise when I talk about the details of the research.”


Travis Bowman, the senior curator for the New York State Bureau of Historic Sites, who supervised the internal review of Ms. Serfilippi’s paper, said the relative lack of research on enslaved people in Hamilton’s household partly reflects the overall paucity of scholarship on Northern slavery. And the complexities of gradual abolition (New York’s gradual abolition law of 1799 phased slavery out over decades) makes tracking enslaved people, and clearly determining their status, particularly difficult.


“It’s a very odd period,” Mr. Bowman said. “Many people were granting half-freedom. If enslaved people walked away, they didn’t go after them.”


The idea that Hamilton stood apart from the institution goes back to the very first biography of him, by his son John Church Hamilton, who asserted in 1841 that his father “never owned a slave.”


That claim was flatly contradicted by Hamilton’s grandson, Allan McLane Hamilton. In his 1910 biography, he called it “untrue,” noting that Hamilton’s own account books included entries showing him purchasing slaves for himself and others.


But the idea of a resolutely antislavery Hamilton has endured, and has become more pronounced in recent decades. It’s certainly an image that appeals to contemporary readers seeking a founding father relatively untainted by slavery.


In her paper, Ms. Serfilippi challenges what she suggests are persistent myths, starting with the much-repeated claim that his childhood exposure to the brutalities of slavery on St. Croix left him with what Mr. Chernow, in his biography, calls “a settled antipathy to slavery.”


“To date,” she writes, echoing other scholars, “no primary sources have been found to corroborate” the notion that Hamilton’s childhood instilled a hatred of slavery.


Hamilton did criticize slavery at different points in his life, and compared with most white contemporaries held enlightened views on the abilities of Black people. He was also an early member of the New-York Manumission Society, founded in 1785 to advocate gradual abolition and encourage voluntary freeing of the enslaved. (A number of members, including Philip Schuyler, his father-in-law, were slave owners.)


But Ms. Serfilippi also notes documented cases of Hamilton consulting with legal clients on slavery-related issues. Hamilton would not likely have been hired for such work, she argues, “if he were known amongst his peers as having only abolitionist leanings.”


That Hamilton helped legal clients and family members, including his sister-in-law Angelica Schuyler Church, buy and sell enslaved people, has been noted by biographers. But whether Hamilton enslaved people in his own household is a murkier question.


Some modern biographers, Ms. Serfilippi notes, do address the question, if often briefly. In his biography, Mr. Chernow writes that Hamilton and his wife, Elizabeth, “may have owned one or two household slaves,” citing “three oblique hints in his papers.” But she offers a more definitive reading, arguing that a range of primary sources “prove Hamilton purchased enslaved people for himself.”


Her case rests in large part on notations in his cash books and in family letters. For example, in May 1781, six months after his marriage to Elizabeth, Hamilton wrote to George Clinton, mentioning waiting for a sum of money “to pay the value of the woman Mrs. H[amilton] had of Mrs. Clinton.”


Some historians, she writes, have read this as paying for the value of her labor. But Hamilton, Ms. Serfilippi argues, was clearly “exchanging money for the woman herself.”


She also cites a number of similar references in other letters, corroborated, she asserts, by information in the cash books. For example, in an August 1795 letter to Hamilton, Philip Schuyler refers to “a Negro boy and woman engaged for you.” In March 1796, Hamilton’s cash books record a payment of $250 to Schuyler for “2 Negro servants purchased by him for me.”


Ms. Serfilippi also cites several letters by Philip Schuyler referring to “maids” traveling with Elizabeth and the Hamilton children, at a time when Hamilton’s cash books, she argues, show no record of wages to maids — an indication, she says, that they were enslaved.


In another entry in the cash book, from June 1798, Hamilton records receiving $100 for the “term” of a “Negro boy.” That Hamilton could lease him out to another person — a common practice — “absolutely indicates that Hamilton enslaved the boy,” Ms. Serfilippi writes.


And the Hamiltons, Ms. Serfilippi contends, appear to have enslaved people up until the time of Hamilton’s death.


She points to a piece of paper included near the end of the cash book, giving an inventory of Hamilton’s property apparently made after his death in the duel with Aaron Burr in July 1804. The inventory lists his house (valued at 2,200 pounds) and his furniture and books (300 pounds). There are also “servants,” valued at 400 pounds.


Hamilton’s own inventory, which he made shortly before the duel, includes no reference to servants. But Ms. Serfilippi believes the posthumous inventory, drawn up to settle his affairs, is more likely to be accurate.


“The Hamiltons were in debt,” she said. “It would make sense to include everything within their possession.”


It remains to be seen if Ms. Serfilippi’s firm conclusions will be broadly accepted by scholars. To her, what’s at stake is more than just how we see Hamilton.


“When we say Hamilton didn’t enslave people, we’re erasing them from the story,” she said. “The most important thing is they were here. We need to acknowledge them.”



12) Meet Maria Bakalova, the Breakout Star of the ‘Borat’ Sequel

The actress, who plays the title character’s daughter, Tutar, talks about body hair, her “nonbiological father” Sacha Baron Cohen, and that scene with Rudy Giuliani.

By Dave Itzkoff, Nov. 11, 2020

Bakalova in West Hollywood, Calif. In her native Bulgaria, she was a “super-disciplined” child who hadn’t seen the original “Borat.” Credit...Elizabeth Weinberg for The New York Times

Sacha Baron Cohen may be the star of “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,” but it is Maria Bakalova who has emerged its hero.


In this raucous prank comedy, now streaming on Amazon, Bakalova plays Tutar Sagdiyev, the downtrodden 15-year-old daughter of the titular Kazakh journalist portrayed by Baron Cohen. Raised in a barn and miseducated by her oblivious father, Tutar contrives a way to accompany Borat on his latest journey to the United States, becoming both the bait and the co-conspirator in her father’s schemes to deliver her to Vice President Mike Pence.


Through numerous awkward encounters with unsuspecting marks — including a now-infamous interview with Rudolph W. Giuliani — Tutar discovers her self-worth while calling attention to the quiet (and sometimes not-so-quiet) misogyny around her.


It is a breakthrough performance for Bakalova, a 24-year-old Bulgarian actress whose previous film and television work (including the Italian TV crime drama “Gomorrah”) had yet to bring her the kind of acclaim that one gains for playing a naïve teen who is unaware that women can read, drive or masturbate.


As Bakalova explained in a Zoom conversation on Tuesday, she sees the “Borat” sequel as being fundamentally the story of Tutar’s education and liberation. “It’s a movie of how a girl can grow up and should grow up,” she said, speaking from Los Angeles, where she currently lives. “How people can treat you as not equal because you’re a woman and what kind of options you have.”


For Bakalova, a prominent role in a major American film is also a satisfying opportunity to honor her home country.


“Things like that are not happening to people like us, Bulgarians,” she said. “Most of the time, there is eventually a small, small extra part in a movie, two or three lines as like a prostitute or a Mafia guy. I will be really grateful to Sacha for giving this platform to an Eastern European, to play a strong and complicated character who’s not just one thing.”


Bakalova spoke further about the making of “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,” her work with Baron Cohen and her highly scrutinized scene with Giuliani. These are edited excerpts from that conversation.


What was your upbringing in Bulgaria like? How did you get into performing?


I started singing at the age of 5 or 6 and then I started flute lessons. But at some point, I wanted to explore more. I wanted to escape from reality. Because in acting, you can become anybody. You can do everything. You can live on Mars. I was really obsessed with Scandinavian cinema and the Dogme 95 movement, and inspired by actresses like Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman and Natalie Portman — how strong they can be and the important stories they can tell.


Were you ever a prankster or practical joker?


Actually, no. I was a super-disciplined child. I was reading too many books. I was obsessed with Dostoyevsky, at like 15, 16. When the first “Borat” movie was released [in 2006], I was 10, so I never even watched it before they gave me the part. But even if I had, I for sure wouldn’t have understood it.


How did you come to be cast in the sequel?


I heard from a friend there was an open call for the lead role in a Hollywood movie. And I was like, that’s not possible. We are Bulgarians. Nobody can actually see us in lead roles. I sent out self-tapes, then they called me for a screen test in London. But the project was so confidential, I was like, is this actually a project? I was sure it was going to be a human trafficking situation. I had no idea I was going to meet Sacha — it was a surprise.


How did you prepare with him in London?


There were three days of screen tests. The first one, we had a small rehearsal; the second one, we started working with real people. They had to believe that we’re real people, that we are not actors, for this to work for the movie. We had to stay undercover.


So it’s you and Sacha playing Tutar and Borat together. Who were you acting opposite and how did you pick them?


It was at a house and there was a super-sweet, nice old couple from England. And we went at them in our crazy way. I’m not quite sure that I know how they actually did it. At the same time, let’s not break the idea of how the magic is happening. Sacha is the person who knows how this whole machine is running.


As you started making the film, how did Sacha describe the character of Tutar to you?


Sacha explained that Tutar should be as crazy as Borat, maybe even crazier. She should be completely disoriented — what is right, what is wrong — and through this journey, she should learn how to be a normal human. It’s a satirical movie, it’s over the top, but he got me thinking about me what it would be like, living this life, even if it’s fake. He’d be like, would you be happy if people treated you this way — if the whole purpose of your life was to get married and live in a cage?


And how her perspective would be warped by a sexist manual that misinforms her about her own body?


The manual is a metaphor for how society and the patriarchy are asking us to behave and what people are expecting. Should I be ashamed that I menstruate? Should I be ashamed that I have body hair? Should I be ashamed that I’m a woman? That’s what Tutar has believed from the beginning, and Sacha wanted to show that in 2020, this is a moment when people should start treating each other equally.


When we first meet Tutar, she is in an extremely degraded state. How did you approach those scenes?


It’s something like hypnosis. You’re just going for it. We actually decided that I would grow out my real body hair. L.A.’s hot almost all the time. Every time I’m supposed to wear a dress or a top, you were able to see my armpit hair and leg hair. It was kind of gross. My facial hair never grows. I tried my best. But my eyebrows are never growing out. The facial part is because of my makeup artist, Katy Fray, but everything else is completely natural. It was so interesting when I finally shaved — I was able to feel the wind on my arms and my legs.


Were there ever times when it was hard for you to stay in character?


When Sacha starts doing his thing, and you’re right next to him, he has this super serious face. I have to act like it’s the most normal thing ever. But he’s so funny. There were moments when the scene was extremely funny and you just can’t stop laughing. It’s bad, because people were able to realize that it’s a joke. He taught me a trick to cross my fingers, to put pressure on my fingers, to stop laughing.


Continue reading the main story


Were there any marks that you sympathized with? Jeanise Jones, the woman hired as Tutar’s babysitter, was extremely kind to you — did you feel you were deceiving her?


We spent maybe five, six hours with Jeanise and she is the person you see onscreen. She is just incredible. She’s not an actress — she just wanted to help Tutar and for Tutar to appreciate herself, to follow her dreams and educate herself. We need people like Jeanise. She is an angel.


Were there ever times when you felt that you were in physical danger?


Sacha, he’s my nonbiological father and he will be like that forever. So I trusted him from the beginning and I knew he would never put me in a dangerous situation. At the same time, we had a security team that was able to save us in a moment. Maybe the scene when we were at the hotel and Rudy Giuliani called the police, I was kind of scared that something would happen. But fortunately, we escaped.


Did you know who Giuliani was before you recorded your interview with him?


I knew who he was, because 9/11 is something everybody should know. It’s one of the hardest moments in recent history. But I’m not American, I don’t get into American politics. I don’t think I’m that informed with the situation in America and its political system. Sacha has been living here for a long time. I trust him.


How did you and Sacha prepare to shoot that scene?


We’d been talking a lot about different scenarios. How should I act, this way or this way? What should I do? What is smarter? But in all of the scenarios, I was confident that Sacha will save me and he will save the scene, so it’s not going to be a disaster. He’s my guardian angel.


Were you still nervous about filming it?


Yeah. I was nervous. My heart was racing. But Sacha was like, you should be nervous in this situation. So use your nerves. Convert them and accept them and they’re going to help you through everything.


Giuliani has said that he was never inappropriate to you and that he was tucking in his shirt, but other viewers believe he was doing something illicit. What happened in that scene?


[Laughs] I saw everything that you saw. If you saw the movie, that’s our message. We want everybody to see the movie and judge for themselves.


But did you come to a conclusion yourself as to what he was doing?


I believe it’s my back [to the camera] there, we can see what he’s doing in the mirror.


What do you think was taking place? You’re the only other person who was in the room. Did you have any other indication as to what he was doing?


[Long pause] What do you think he was doing?


I can see how either interpretation could be correct. But I wasn’t there, and you were. Do you have an opinion either way?


Sacha jumped into the room quickly, because he’s been worried about me. So, if he were late, I don’t know how things were going to go. But he came just in time.


Did Giuliani think that Tutar was 15 years old when he agreed to do the interview?


I’m not the person who is actually booking these people, so when we get to the scene, I’m just doing the scene, without introducing myself. I’m not sure what he knows or does not know.


Giuliani has been widely mocked and criticized for being duped by you and the “Borat” filmmakers. Do you feel bad at all for that?


Movies like this are showing people’s true colors. It’s going to show Jeanise’s true colors. It’s going to show the real character of [Judith Dim Evans], the lady in the synagogue. It’s going to show Rudy’s real character. You’re responsible for your own decisions. So, no, I don’t feel bad.


What have you since learned about Americans, living among them after the film’s release?


I was extremely happy to see how happy people were over the weekend [following the presidential election]. Because in my country, there has been years and years, through different systems, when people haven’t had the right to vote. Now seeing that people are actually voting, and all over the streets people were celebrating and crying and dancing and singing. It was probably one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen in my life. It was really inspiring, seeing that there is, for the first time in history, a woman as vice president. Like in the movie, women can do anything. And sometimes we can do it better.



























































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