Thursday, December 13, 2018

BAUAW NEWSLETTER, THURSDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2018

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We refuse to pay to protest!


Women's March on the Pentagon, October 2018


For Immediate Release
Contact: CindySheehan@MarchonPentagon.com

What: The day before Thanksgiving, Cindy Sheehan, co-coordinator of the recent Women's March on the Pentagon (WMOP) was presented with a $540.00 gill for "police escort" by the Arlington County Virginia Police Department (ACPD).

Background: Beginning in July, leadership of WMOP began taking steps to secure permits from the two jurisdictions that the WMOP would take on October 21st (51st anniversary of the March on the Pentagon during the Vietnam War): 

Arlington County (brief march) and the Pentagon. Although WMOP eventually obtained a permit from the Pentagon, WMOP was never able to obtain a permit from Arlington County and many phone messages left by DC area Co-ordinator Malachy Kilbride were never returned by the ACPD.

On the day of the March, about 1500 people gathered at the Pentagon City Metro station (for a 12pm March start) in front of the mall and at about 10:30am, to the surprise of March organizers, ACPD showed up and did stop traffic for the brief March through Arlington County.

The organizers of the WMOP are outraged and appalled by this obvious violation of our First Amendment rights to gather “peaceably” and demonstrate one of the sacrosanct rights to our Freedom of Speech. 

The DC area co-ordinator for the WMOP Malachy Kilbride had this to say upon receipt of the bill:  “As a former resident of Arlington County of over 20 years I am disturbed that the county is following in the footsteps of the Trump Administration which wants to charge people for First Amendment activity. Shame on Arlington County! The First Amendment is priceless and shouldn’t be monetized.”

The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF)* the D.C. based non-profit legal organization that works to protect and advance the constitutional rights of protestors has issued the following letter to the ACPD on behalf of the Women’s March on the Pentagon:

Chief Jay Farr

Lt. John Feden

Arlington County Police Department

1425 North Courthouse Rd
. Arlington, VA 22201
Dear Chief Farr and Lt. Feden:

We are writing on behalf of Cindy Sheehan in response to Lt. John Feden’s e-mail correspondence dated November 21, 2018. 

The Arlington County Police Department (ACPD) has issued an invoice to Ms. Sheehan seeking to charge her for engaging in constitutionally protected First Amendment activities. Specifically, the invoice is stated to be “for the police services we provided October 21st during the March On the Pentagon,” and demands $540.00 for what is described as “police escort for The Women’s March on the Pentagon.” 

This attempt to tax free speech is without lawful basis and violates Ms. Sheehan’s constitutional rights. We request that this invoice be immediately withdrawn.

Ms. Sheehan did not request police “services,” nor was she given prior notice that the ACPD intended to send police to the demonstration and charge her for their time.  At no time did Ms. Sheehan agree to pay for any such charges. 

Indeed, the ACPD actually refused to respond to Ms. Sheehan’s efforts to coordinate the First Amendment activities with them. An application for a permit was submitted for the March and thereafter, Arlington Country was nonresponsive to follow up efforts. After failing and refusing to return phone calls regarding the March, the ACDP appeared at the Pentagon City mall in front of the metro stop entrance at the starting point for the march, well before the march was scheduled to step off. At that time Ms. Sheehan expressed her surprise at their presence given their refusal to communicate with the March organizers. 

The ACPD may not charge demonstrators for First Amendment activities at its own discretion. We are requesting that the ACPD provide all policy documents, guidelines, and criteria that the department relies upon in assessing charges on demonstration activities as well as any notice it believes was given to Ms. Sheehan of such policies and procedures. 

We further request that the ACPD issue instructions to personnel consistent with constitutional obligations to ensure that organizers of demonstration activity are not improperly charged in the future.

Sincerely,



                                
Mara Verheyden-Hilliard (PCJF)  

The Women’s March on the Pentagon adamantly refuses to pay for this appalling violation of our constitutional rights.

*The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund is a free speech and civil rights organization that has defended First Amendment rights for over 20 years in Washington, D.C. and around the country. It is currently challenging the Trump Administration’s proposed anti-protest rules that would levy potentially bankrupting fees and costs on demonstrators who engage in constitutionally protected free speech on public parkland in the nation’s capital. More information here.

*(Women’s) March on the Pentagon is a women-led coalition of activists, professionals, military veterans, and everyday citizens of the world with one thing in common: we are anti-imperialist. More info can be found here.


  This press release can also be found on our website:
https://marchonpentagon.com/we-refuse-pay-protest/


Join the Facebook group:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/183987719112273/

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America has spent $5.9 trillion on wars in the Middle East and Asia since 2001, a new study says

  • The U.S. wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Pakistan have cost American taxpayers $5.9 trillion since they began in 2001.
  • The figure reflects the cost across the U.S. federal government since the price of war is not borne by the Defense Department alone.
  • The report also finds that more than 480,000 people have died from the wars and more than 244,000 civilians have been killed as a result of fighting. Additionally, another 10 million people have been displaced due to violence.
  • https://www.cnbc.com/2018/11/14/us-has-spent-5point9-trillion-on-middle-east-asia-wars-since-2001-study.html
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Open letter to active duty soldiers on the border
DON'T TURN THEM AWAY
THE MIGRANTS IN THE CENTRAL AMERICAN CARAVAN ARE NOT OUR ENEMIES
Your Commander-in-chief is lying to you. You should refuse his orders to deploy to the southern U.S. border should you be called to do so. Despite what Trump and his administration are saying, the migrants moving North towards the U.S. are not a threat. These small numbers of people are escaping intense violence. In fact, much of the reason these men and women—with families just like yours and ours—are fleeing their homes is because of the US meddling in their country's elections. Look no further than Honduras, where the Obama administration supported the overthrow of a democratically elected president who was then replaced by a repressive dictator.
Courage to Resist has been running a strategic outreach campaign to challenge troops to refuse illegal orders while on the border, such as their Commander-in-Chief's suggestion that they murder migrants who might be throwing rocks, or that they build and help run concentration camps. In addition to social media ads, About Face, Veterans For Peace, and Courage to Resist, are also printing tens of thousands of these leaflets for distribution near the border. Please consider donating towards these expenses.


Don't turn them away

The migrants in the Central American caravan are not our enemies

Open letter to active duty soldiers
Your Commander-in-chief is lying to you. You should refuse his orders to deploy to the southern U.S. border should you be called to do so. Despite what Trump and his administration are saying, the migrants moving North towards the U.S. are not a threat. These small numbers of people are escaping intense violence. In fact, much of the reason these men and women—with families just like yours and ours—are fleeing their homes is because of the US meddling in their country's elections. Look no further than Honduras, where the Obama administration supported the overthrow of a democratically elected president who was then replaced by a repressive dictator.
"There are tens of thousands of us who will support your decision to lay your weapons down. You are better than your Commander-in-chief. Our only advice is to resist in groups. Organize with your fellow soldiers. Do not go this alone."
These extremely poor and vulnerable people are desperate for peace. Who among us would walk a thousand miles with only the clothes on our back without great cause? The odds are good that your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. lived similar experiences to these migrants. Your family members came to the U.S. to seek a better life—some fled violence. Consider this as you are asked to confront these unarmed men, women and children from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. To do so would be the ultimate hypocrisy.
The U.S. is the richest country in the world, in part because it has exploited countries in Latin America for decades. If you treat people from these countries like criminals, as Trump hopes you will, you only contribute to the legacy of pillage and plunder beneath our southern border. We need to confront this history together, we need to confront the reality of America's wealth and both share and give it back with these people. Above all else, we cannot turn them away at our door. They will die if we do.
By every moral or ethical standard it is your duty to refuse orders to "defend" the U.S. from these migrants. History will look kindly upon you if you do. There are tens of thousands of us who will support your decision to lay your weapons down. You are better than your Commander-in-chief. Our only advice is to resist in groups. Organize with your fellow soldiers. Do not go this alone. It is much harder to punish the many than the few.
In solidarity,
Rory Fanning
Former U.S. Army Ranger, War-Resister
Spenser Rapone
Former U.S. Army Ranger and Infantry Officer, War-Resister
Leaflet distributed by:
  • About Face: Veterans Against the War
  • Courage to Resist
  • Veterans For Peace
Courage to Resist has been running a strategic outreach campaign to challenge troops to refuse illegal orders while on the border, such as their Commander-in-Chief's suggestion that they murder migrants who might be throwing rocks, or that they build and help run concentration camps. In addition to social media ads, About Face, Veterans For Peace, and Courage to Resist, are also printing tens of thousands of these leaflets for distribution near the border. Please consider donating towards these expenses.
COURAGE TO RESIST ~ SUPPORT THE TROOPS WHO REFUSE TO FIGHT!
484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland, California 94610 ~ 510-488-3559
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COURAGE TO RESIST


New "Refuse War" Shirts


We've launched a new shirt store to raise funds to support war resisters. 

In addition to the Courage to Resist logo shirts we've offered in the past, we now  have a few fun designs, including a grim reaper, a "Refuse War, Go AWOL" travel theme, and a sporty "AWOL: Support Military War Resisters" shirt.

Shirts are $25 each for small through XL, and bit more for larger sizes. Please allow 9-12 days for delivery within the United States.

50% of each shirt may qualify as a tax-deductible contribution.

Courage to Resist -- Support the Troops who Refuse to Fight!
484 Lake Park Ave. #41, Oakland, CA 94610, 510-488-3559
couragetoresis.org -- facebook.com/couragetoresist

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Judge to Soon Rule on Mumia’s Appeal Bid
By Kyle Fraser, December 4, 2018
Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Leon Tucker promised a decision on whether a former prosecutor unlawfully took part as a judge in rejecting Mumia Abu Jamal’s appeal of his 1981 conviction in the killing of a police officer. “We’re not going to stop fighting until we see Mumia walk out of these prison walls,” said Johanna Fernandez, of the Campaign to Bring Mumia Home. Pam Africa, of the MOVE organization, said Abu Jamal’s supporters have sustained his defense for decades “no matter what kind of devious tricks this government has used to try to break this movement.”
Listen to a radio report at Black Agenda Report:
https://www.blackagendareport.com/judge-soon-rule-mumias-appeal-bid

Free Mumia Now!
Mumia's freedom is at stake in a court hearing on August 30th. 
With your help, we just might free him!
Check out this video:

This video includes photo of 1996 news report refuting Judge Castille's present assertion that he had not been requested at that time to recuse himself from this case, on which he had previously worked as a Prosecutor:
A Philadelphia court now has before it the evidence which could lead to Mumia's freedom. The evidence shows that Ronald Castille, of the District Attorney's office in 1982, intervened in the prosecution of Mumia for a crime he did not commit. Years later, Castille was a judge on the PA Supreme Court, where he sat in judgement over Mumia's case, and ruled against Mumia in every appeal! 
According to the US Supreme Court in the Williams ruling, this corrupt behavior was illegal!
But will the court rule to overturn all of Mumia's negative appeals rulings by the PA Supreme Court? If it does, Mumia would be free to appeal once again against his unfair conviction. If it does not, Mumia could remain imprisoned for life, without the possibility for parole, for a crime he did not commit.
• Mumia Abu-Jamal is innocent and framed!
• Mumia Abu-Jamal is a journalist censored off the airwaves!
• Mumia Abu-Jamal is victimized by cops, courts and politicians!
• Mumia Abu-Jamal stands for all prisoners treated unjustly!
• Courts have never treated Mumia fairly!
Will You Help Free Mumia?
Call DA Larry Krasner at (215) 686-8000
Tell him former DA Ron Castille violated Mumia's constitutional rights and 
Krasner should cease opposing Mumia's legal petition.
Tell the DA to release Mumia because he's factually innocent.
Write to Mumia at:
Smart Communications/PA DOC
SCI Mahanoy
Mumia Abu-Jamal #AM-8335
P.O. Box 33028
St. Petersburg, FL 33733

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A Call for a Mass Mobilization to Oppose NATO, War and Racism
Protest NATO, Washington, DC, Lafayette Park (across from the White House)

1 PM Saturday, March 30, 2019.
Additional actions will take place on Thursday April 4 at the opening of the NATO meeting

April 4, 2019, will mark the 51st anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., the internationally revered leader in struggles against racism, poverty and war.

And yet, in a grotesque desecration of Rev. King's lifelong dedication to peace, this is the date that the military leaders of the North American Treaty Organization have chosen to celebrate NATO's 70th anniversary by holding its annual summit meeting in Washington, D.C. This is a deliberate insult to Rev. King and a clear message that Black lives and the lives of non-European humanity really do not matter.   

It was exactly one year before he was murdered that Rev. King gave his famous speech opposing the U.S. war in Vietnam, calling the U.S. government "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world" and declaring that he could not be silent.

We cannot be silent either. Since its founding, the U.S.-led NATO has been the world's deadliest military alliance, causing untold suffering and devastation throughout Northern Africa, the Middle East and beyond.

Hundreds of thousands have died in U.S./NATO wars in Iraq, Libya, Somalia and Yugoslavia. Millions of refugees are now risking their lives trying to escape the carnage that these wars have brought to their homelands, while workers in the 29 NATO member-countries are told they must abandon hard-won social programs in order to meet U.S. demands for even more military spending.

Every year when NATO holds its summits, there have been massive protests: in Chicago, Wales, Warsaw, Brussels. 2019 will be no exception.

The United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) is calling for a mass mobilization in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, March 30.  Additional actions will take place on April 4 at the opening of the NATO meeting. 

We invite you to join with us in this effort. As Rev. King taught us, "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."

No to NATO!
End All U.S. Wars at Home and Abroad!
Bring the Troops Home Now! 
No to Racism! 
The Administrative Committee of UNAC,

To add your endorsement to this call, please go here: http://www.no2nato2019.org/endorse-the-action.html



Please donate to keep UNAC strong: https://www.unacpeace.org/donate.html 

If your organization would like to join the UNAC coalition, please click here: https://www.unacpeace.org/join.html

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In Defense of Kevin "Rashid" Johnson


Update on Rashid in Indiana
By Dustin McDaniel

November 9, 2018—Had a call with Rashid yesterday. He's been seen by medical, psych, and
dental. He's getting his meds and his blood pressure is being monitored,
though it is uncontrolled. The RN made recommendations for treatment
that included medication changes and further monitoring, but there's
been no follow up.

He's at the diagnostic center and he (along with everyone else I've
talked to about it) expect that he'll be sent to the solitary
confinement unit at Wabash Valley Correctional Facility, though it could
be 30 days from now.

He's in a cell with no property. He has no extra underwear to change
into. The cell is, of course, dirty. He's in solitary confinement. He
didn't say they were denying him yard time. He didn't say there were any
problems with his meals.

They are refusing him his stationary and stamps, so he can't write out.
He gets a very limited number of phone calls per month (1 or 2), and
otherwise can only talk on the phone if a legal call is set up.

They are refusing to give him his property, or to allow him to look
through it to find records relevant to ongoing or planned litigation.
He's already past the statute of limitations on a law suit he planned to
file re abuses in Texas and other deadlines are about to pass over the
next month.

He has 35 banker boxes of property, or 2 pallets, that arrived in IDOC.
He needs to be allowed to look through these records in order to find
relevant legal documents. Moving forward, I think we need to find a
place/person for him to send these records to or they are going to be
destroyed. It would be good if we could find someone who would also take
on the task of organizing the records, getting rid of duplicates or
unnecessary paperwork, digitizing records, and making things easier to
search and access.

Although he does not appear in the inmate locator for IDOC, he does
appears in the JPay system as an Indiana prisoner (#264847). At his
request, I sent him some of his money so hopefully he can get stamps and
stationary.

Hold off on sending him more money via JPay - I've been told that some
of the IDOC facilities are phasing out JPay and moving to GTL and
wouldn't want to have a bunch of money stuck and inaccessible due to
those changes. If you want to send him more money immediately, send it
to Abolitionist Law Center. You can send it via Paypal to
info@abolitionistlawcenter.org, or mail it to PO Box 8654, Pittsburgh,
PA 15221. We will hold on to it and distribute it according to Rashid's
instructions.

Please write to him, if you haven't already. He's got nothing to do in
solitary with nothing to read and nothing to write with.


FOR UPDATES CHECK OUT RASHID'S WEBSITE AT RASHIDMOD.COM
you can also hear a recent interview with Rashid on Final Straw podcast here: https://thefinalstrawradio.noblogs.org/post/tag/kevin-rashid-johnson/
Write to Rashid:
Kevin Rashid Johnson's writings and artwork have been widely circulated. He is the author of a book,Panther Vision: Essential Party Writings and Art of Kevin "Rashid" Johnson, Minister of Defense, New Afrikan Black Panther Party, (Kersplebedeb, 2010).

Kevin Johnson D.O.C. No. 264847
G-20-2C Pendleton Correctional Facility
4490 W. Reformatory Rd.
Pendleton, IN 46064-9001
www.rashidmod.com

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Prisoners at Lieber Correctional Institution in South Carolina are demanding recognition of their human rights by the South Carolina Department of Corrections and warden Randall Williams.  Prisoners are also demanding an end to the horrific conditions they are forced to exist under at Lieber, which are exascerbating already rising tensions to a tipping point and people are dying. 
Since the tragedy that occured at Lee Correctional earlier this year, prisoners at all level 3 security prisons in SC have been on complete lockdown, forced to stay in their two-man 9x11 cells 24 hours a day (supposed to be 23 hrs/day but guards rarely let prisoners go to their one hour of rec in a slightly larger cage because it requires too much work, especially when you keep an entire prison on lockdown) without any programming whatsoever and filthy air rushing in all day, no chairs, tables, no radios, no television, no access to legal work, no access to showers, and no light!  Administration decided to cover all the tiny windows in the cells with metal plates on the outside so that no light can come in.  Thousands of people are existing in this manner, enclosed in a tiny space with another person and no materials or communication or anything to pass the time.  
Because of these horific conditions tensions are rising and people are dying. Another violent death took place at Lieber Correctional; Derrick Furtick, 31, died at approximately 9pm Monday, according to state Department of Corrections officials:
Prisoners assert that this death is a result of the kind of conditions that are being imposed and inflicted upon the incarcerated population there and the undue trauma, anxiety, and tensions these conditions create.  
We demand:
- to be let off solitary confinement
- to have our windows uncovered
- access to books, magazines, phone calls, showers and recreation
- access to the law library and our legal cases
- single person cells for any person serving over 20 years
Lieber is known for its horrendous treatment of the people it cages including its failure to evacuate prisoners during Hurricane Florence earlier this year:
Please flood the phone lines of both the governor's and warden's offices to help amplify these demands from behind bars at Lieber Correctional.
Warden Randall Williams:  (843) 875-3332   or   (803) 896-3700
Governor Henry McMaster's office:  (803) 734-2100
Status 

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Get Malik Out of Ad-Seg


Keith "Malik" Washington is an incarcerated activist who has spoken out on conditions of confinement in Texas prison and beyond:  from issues of toxic water and extreme heat, to physical and sexual abuse of imprisoned people, to religious discrimination and more.  Malik has also been a tireless leader in the movement to #EndPrisonSlavery which gained visibility during nationwide prison strikes in 2016 and 2018.  View his work at comrademalik.com or write him at:

Keith H. Washington
TDC# 1487958
McConnell Unit
3001 S. Emily Drive
Beeville, TX 78102
Friends, it's time to get Malik out of solitary confinement.

Malik has experienced intense, targeted harassment ever since he dared to start speaking against brutal conditions faced by incarcerated people in Texas and nationwide--but over the past few months, prison officials have stepped up their retaliation even more.

In Administrative Segregation (solitary confinement) at McConnell Unit, Malik has experienced frequent humiliating strip searches, medical neglect, mail tampering and censorship, confinement 23 hours a day to a cell that often reached 100+ degrees in the summer, and other daily abuses too numerous to name.  It could not be more clear that they are trying to make an example of him because he is a committed freedom fighter.  So we have to step up.


Phone zap on Tuesday, November 13

**Mark your calendars for the 11/13 call in, be on the look out for a call script, and spread the word!!**

Demands:
- Convene special review of Malik's placement in Ad-Seg and immediately release him back to general population
- Explain why the State Classification Committee's decision to release Malik from Ad-Seg back in June was overturned (specifically, demand to know the nature of the "information" supposedly collected by the Fusion Center, and demand to know how this information was investigated and verified).
- Immediately cease all harassment and retaliation against Malik, especially strip searches and mail censorship!

Who to contact:
TDCJ Executive Director Bryan Collier
Phone: (936)295-6371

Senior Warden Philip Sinfuentes (McConnell Unit)
Phone: (361) 362-2300

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Background on Malik's Situation

Malik's continued assignment to Ad-Seg (solitary confinement) in is an overt example of political repression, plain and simple.  Prison officials placed Malik in Ad-Seg two years ago for writing about and endorsing the 2016 nationwide prison strike.  They were able to do this because Texas and U.S. law permits non-violent work refusal to be classified as incitement to riot.

It gets worse.  Malik was cleared for release from Ad-Seg by the State Classification Committee in June--and then, in an unprecedented reversal, immediately re-assigned him back to Ad-Seg.  The reason?  Prison Officials site "information" collected by a shadowy intelligence gathering operation called a Fusion Center, which are known for lack of transparency and accountability, and for being blatant tools of political repression.

Malik remains in horrible conditions, vulnerable to every possible abuse, on the basis of "information" that has NEVER been disclosed or verified.  No court or other independent entity has ever confirmed the existence, let alone authenticity, of this alleged information.  In fact, as recently as October 25, a representative of the State Classification Committee told Malik that he has no clue why Malik was re-assigned to Ad-Seg.  This "information" is pure fiction.   

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Listen to 'The Daily': Was Kevin Cooper Framed for Murder?

By Michael Barbaro, May 30, 2018
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/30/podcasts/the-daily/kevin-cooper-death-row.html?emc=edit_ca_20180530&nl=california-today&nlid=2181592020180530&te=1

Listen and subscribe to our podcast from your mobile deviceVia Apple Podcasts | Via RadioPublic | Via Stitcher

The sole survivor of an attack in which four people were murdered identified the perpetrators as three white men. The police ignored suspects who fit the description and arrested a young black man instead. He is now awaiting execution.

On today's episode:
• Kevin Cooper, who has been on death row at San Quentin State Prison in California for three decades.



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Last week I met with fellow organizers and members of Mijente to take joint action at the Tornillo Port of Entry, where detention camps have been built and where children and adults are currently being imprisoned. 

I oppose the hyper-criminalization of migrants and asylum seekers. Migration is a human right and every person is worthy of dignity and respect irrespective of whether they have "papers" or not. You shouldn't have to prove "extreme and unusual hardship" to avoid being separated from your family. We, as a country, have a moral responsibility to support and uplift those adversely affected by the US's decades-long role in the economic and military destabilization of the home countries these migrants and asylum seekers have been forced to leave.

While we expected to face resistance and potential trouble from the multiple law enforcement agencies represented at the border, we didn't expect to have a local farm hand pull a pistol on us to demand we deflate our giant balloon banner. Its message to those in detention:

NO ESTÁN SOLOS (You are not alone).

Despite the slight disruption to our plan we were able to support Mijente and United We Dream in blocking the main entrance to the detention camp and letting those locked inside know that there are people here who care for them and want to see them free and reunited with their families. 


We are continuing to stand in solidarity with Mijente as they fight back against unjust immigration practices.Yesterday they took action in San Diego, continuing to lead and escalate resistance to unjust detention, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and to ICE. 

While we were honored to offer on-the-ground support we see the potential to focus the energy of our Drop the MIC campaign into fighting against this injustice, to have an even greater impact. Here's how:
  1. Call out General Dynamics for profiteering of War, Militarization of the Border and Child and Family Detention (look for our social media toolkit this week);
  2. Create speaking forums and produce media that challenges the narrative of ICE and Jeff Sessions, encouraging troops who have served in the borderlands to speak out about that experience;
  3. Continue to show up and demand we demilitarize the border and abolish ICE.

Thank you for your vision and understanding of how militarism, racism, and capitalism are coming together in the most destructive ways. Help keep us in this fight by continuing to support our work.


In Solidarity,
Ramon Mejia
Field Organizer, About Face: Veterans Against the War


P.O. Box 3565, New York, NY 10008. All Right Reserved. | Unsubscribe
To ensure delivery of About Face emails please add webmaster@ivaw.org to your address book.
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Major George Tillery
MAJOR TILLERY FILES NEW LEGAL PETITION
SEX FOR LIES AND
MANUFACTURED TESTIMONY
April 25, 2018-- The arrest of two young men in Starbucks for the crime of "sitting while black," and the four years prison sentence to rapper Meek Mill for a minor parole violation are racist outrages in Philadelphia, PA that made national news in the past weeks. Yesterday Meek Mills was released on bail after a high profile defense campaign and a Pa Supreme Court decision citing evidence his conviction was based solely on a cop's false testimony.
These events underscore the racism, frame-up, corruption and brutality at the core of the criminal injustice system. Pennsylvania "lifer" Major Tillery's fight for freedom puts a spotlight on the conviction of innocent men with no evidence except the lying testimony of jailhouse snitches who have been coerced and given favors by cops and prosecutors.

Sex for Lies and Manufactured Testimony
For thirty-five years Major Tillery has fought against his 1983 arrest, then conviction and sentence of life imprisonment without parole for an unsolved 1976 pool hall murder and assault. Major Tillery's defense has always been his innocence. The police and prosecution knew Tillery did not commit these crimes. Jailhouse informant Emanuel Claitt gave lying testimony that Tillery was one of the shooters.

Homicide detectives and prosecutors threatened Claitt with a false unrelated murder charge, and induced him to lie with promises of little or no jail time on over twenty pending felonies, and being released from jail despite a parole violation. In addition, homicide detectives arranged for Claitt, while in custody, to have private sexual liaisons with his girlfriends in police interview rooms.
In May and June 2016, Emanuel Claitt gave sworn statements that his testimony was a total lie, and that the homicide cops and the prosecutors told him what to say and coached him before trial. Not only was he coerced to lie that Major Tillery was a shooter, but to lie and claim there were no plea deals made in exchange for his testimony. He provided the information about the specific homicide detectives and prosecutors involved in manufacturing his testimony and details about being allowed "sex for lies". In August 2016, Claitt reaffirmed his sworn statements in a videotape, posted on YouTube and on JusticeforMajorTillery.org.
Without the coerced and false testimony of Claitt there was no evidence against Major Tillery. There were no ballistics or any other physical evidence linking him to the shootings. The surviving victim's statement naming others as the shooters was not allowed into evidence.
The trial took place in May 1985 during the last days of the siege and firebombing of the MOVE family Osage Avenue home in Philadelphia that killed 13 Black people, including 5 children. The prosecution claimed that Major Tillery was part of an organized crime group, and falsely described it as run by the Nation of Islam. This prejudiced and inflamed the majority white jury against Tillery, to make up for the absence of any evidence that Tillery was involved in the shootings.
This was a frame-up conviction from top to bottom. Claitt was the sole or primary witness in five other murder cases in the early 1980s. Coercing and inducing jailhouse informants to falsely testify is a standard routine in criminal prosecutions. It goes hand in hand with prosecutors suppressing favorable evidence from the defense.
Major Tillery has filed a petition based on his actual innocence to the Philadelphia District Attorney's Larry Krasner's Conviction Review Unit. A full review and investigation should lead to reversal of Major Tillery's conviction. He also asks that the DA's office to release the full police and prosecution files on his case under the new  "open files" policy. In the meantime, Major Tillery continues his own investigation. He needs your support.
Major Tillery has Fought his Conviction and Advocated for Other Prisoners for over 30 Years
The Pennsylvania courts have rejected three rounds of appeals challenging Major Tillery's conviction based on his innocence, the prosecution's intentional presentation of false evidence against him and his trial attorney's conflict of interest. On June 15, 2016 Major Tillery filed a new post-conviction petition based on the same evidence now in the petition to the District Attorney's Conviction Review Unit. Despite the written and video-taped statements from Emanuel Claitt that that his testimony against Major Tillery was a lie and the result of police and prosecutorial misconduct, Judge Leon Tucker dismissed Major Tillery's petition as "untimely" without even holding a hearing. Major Tillery appealed that dismissal and the appeal is pending in the Superior Court.
During the decades of imprisonment Tillery has advocated for other prisoners challenging solitary confinement, lack of medical and mental health care and the inhumane conditions of imprisonment. In 1990, he won the lawsuit, Tillery v. Owens, that forced the PA Department of Corrections (DOC) to end double celling (4 men to a small cell) at SCI Pittsburgh, which later resulted in the closing and then "renovation" of that prison.
Three years ago Major Tillery stood up for political prisoner and journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal and demanded prison Superintendent John Kerestes get Mumia to a hospital because "Mumia is dying."  For defending Mumia and advocating for medical treatment for himself and others, prison officials retaliated. Tillery was shipped out of SCI Mahanoy, where Mumia was also held, to maximum security SCI Frackville and then set-up for a prison violation and a disciplinary penalty of months in solitary confinement. See, Messing with Major by Mumia Abu-Jamal. Major Tillery's federal lawsuit against the DOC for that retaliation is being litigated. Major Tillery continues as an advocate for all prisoners. He is fighting to get the DOC to establish a program for elderly prisoners.
Major Tillery Needs Your Help:
Well-known criminal defense attorney Stephen Patrizio represents Major pro bonoin challenging his conviction. More investigation is underway. We can't count on the district attorney's office to make the findings of misconduct against the police detectives and prosecutors who framed Major without continuing to dig up the evidence.
Major Tillery is now 67 years old. He's done hard time, imprisoned for almost 35 years, some 20 years in solitary confinement in max prisons for a crime he did not commit. He recently won hepatitis C treatment, denied to him for a decade by the DOC. He has severe liver problems as well as arthritis and rheumatism, back problems, and a continuing itchy skin rash. Within the past couple of weeks he was diagnosed with an extremely high heartbeat and is getting treatment.
Major Tillery does not want to die in prison. He and his family, daughters, sons and grandchildren are fighting to get him home. The newly filed petition for Conviction Review to the Philadelphia District Attorney's office lays out the evidence Major Tillery has uncovered, evidence suppressed by the prosecution through all these years he has been imprisoned and brought legal challenges into court. It is time for the District Attorney's to act on the fact that Major Tillery is innocent and was framed by police detectives and prosecutors who manufactured the evidence to convict him. Major Tillery's conviction should be vacated and he should be freed.


Major Tillery and family

HOW YOU CAN HELP
    Financial Support—Tillery's investigation is ongoing. He badly needs funds to fight for his freedom.
    Go to JPay.com;
    code: Major Tillery AM9786 PADOC

    Tell Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner:
    The Conviction Review Unit should investigate Major Tillery's case. He is innocent. The only evidence at trial was from lying jail house informants who now admit it was false.
    Call: 215-686-8000 or

    Write to:
    Security Processing Center
    Major Tillery AM 9786
    268 Bricker Road
    Bellefonte, PA 16823
    For More Information, Go To: JusticeForMajorTillery.org
    Call/Write:
    Kamilah Iddeen (717) 379-9009, Kamilah29@yahoo.com
    Rachel Wolkenstein (917) 689-4009, RachelWolkenstein@gmail.com




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    Free Leonard Peltier!


    Art by Leonard Peltier
    Write to:
    Leonard Peltier 89637-132
    USP Coleman 1,  P.O. Box 1033
    Coleman, FL 33521

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



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    1)  Victorina Morales Spoke Out Against President Trump. 
    By Miriam Jordan, December 7, 2018
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/07/us/trump-housekeeper-undocumented.html
    Victorina Morales, an undocumented immigrant who spoke about working on the housekeeping staff for the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J.

    Victorina Morales, a housekeeper at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., disclosed in an interview with The New York Times this week that she had been working illegally at the facility for more than five years.
    Ms. Morales, 45, a Guatemalan immigrant, entered the United States at the California border without inspection in 1999 and settled in Bound Brook, N.J., a community that is about a 20-minute drive from Mr. Trump’s flagship golf club.
    Before working there, she packed Huggies disposable diapers, Dove soap and Neutrogena products at a warehouse and cleaned bathrooms at a hotel.
    At the Trump golf course, Ms. Morales was often called on to clean Mr. Trump’s private residence. She said he was demanding in terms of cleanliness, but also friendly, sometimes handing out tips of $50 or $100. But she said a supervisor often taunted her about her undocumented status, and she was deeply disturbed when Mr. Trump began publicly railing against undocumented immigrants from Latin America, often characterizing them as criminals.

    She described how supervisors at the golf club were not only aware of her undocumented status, but took steps to help keep her and others at work. A manager, she said, helped her procure a phony green card and Social Security card.
    On Friday, Ms. Morales, who has now appeared on nearly every major television network, said she was uncertain what the future would bring. “The truth is I’m sad, I feel bad,” she said. “Many people are pointing their finger at me. But I don’t regret what I did.”

    Ms. Morales has said she thinks it best that she not return to the club, where she would most likely be immediately fired. The Trump Organization, which owns the golf club, said in a statement Thursday that any employee found to be working without legal authorization would be “immediately terminated.”

    Sandra Diaz, a former member of the housekeeping staff at the Trump National Golf Club. She was undocumented when she worked there from 2010 to 2013.

    She and a second woman who came forward, Sandra Diaz, who was undocumented at the time she worked at the golf club between 2010 and 2013, have been in New York with their lawyer, Anibal Romero, who is trying to make sure they suffer no reprisals. Ms. Diaz is now a legal resident of the United States, but Ms. Morales is more vulnerable.

    Any undocumented person can be deported if they are encountered by federal immigration authorities. If a full state and federal investigation is conducted, there are protections that should kick in for Ms. Morales because she came forward with information that raises credible questions of civil and criminal violations by the Trump Organization, according to lawyers.
    She and other undocumented workers at Bedminster could be granted visas that protect victims of crime and trafficking as well as witnesses. This means they would not be viewed as perpetrators of illegal activity at the club; their employer would be.
    “There are serious questions that need to be fully investigated by federal and state authorities,” said David Leopold, a former president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, who practices in Cleveland.
    “The allegations that someone inside the organization procured false documents for its workers suggest a level of coercion over these workers, which is precisely what federal law protects them from,” Mr. Leopold said. “You can’t hire someone and coerce them to continue working for you.”

    Mr. Romero has filed a petition seeking asylum for Ms. Morales and her family. About five years ago, she said, her father-in-law was hacked with a machete by a group of men who invaded his home in Guatemala to extort money they assumed he possessed because he had family members in the United States. They then dragged him to a field and fatally shot him. The assault happened in front of her son, Marvin Gonzalez, when he was a child.
    That could give her family some basis for protection under asylum laws, though it is by no means guaranteed.

    Ms. Morales has an interview on her asylum petition scheduled for Dec. 17 with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. But Mr. Romero said that he plans to request a postponement because the attention generated by her revelations has changed her profile and hampered their ability to prepare appropriately.

    “We need more time,” Mr. Romero said. “Experts, psychologists will be required for the case. She is now a public figure in the United States. That puts her more at risk of returning to Guatemala than before.”
    Even if Ms. Morales is placed in removal proceedings, the asylum application buys her time. If asylum is denied, Mr. Romero said that he would appeal to an immigration judge. “I can go all the way to the Supreme Court,” he said.

    Ms. Morales and Ms. Diaz insist they were not the only undocumented employees at the golf club, but the women said Friday that three co-workers have told them that work there had been continuing as usual.
    Ms. Morales received a call from the housekeeping supervisor but did not take the call.
    She said she was not certain what she would do next. She has a second job cleaning offices at night, and hopes to continue working there.
    A large number of people have spoken out on her behalf on social media; one started a GoFundMe campaign.
    “This is a five-foot Guatemalan woman who stood up to the most powerful man in the world,” said Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice, a national immigration advocacy group. “She exposed the hypocrisy of a president who rails against undocumented workers and then has what appears to be a criminal operation to do that at Bedminster.”

    There are nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States. About 8 million of them, the overwhelming majority, have jobs. They are vital to industries such as agriculture, hospitality and construction.
    Companies in several sectors have been calling for years for Congress to pass immigration reform legislation that would offer some form of legalization to longtime undocumented residents.

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    2)  N.Y. Today: Officer Who Choked Eric Garner Faces Police Charges
    By Azi Paybarah, December 7, 2018
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/07/nyregion/newyorktoday/new-york-news-eric-garner-pantaleo-wu-tang.html
    “I felt sort of numb being in the same room as my son’s murderer,” Gwen Carr, Eric Garner’s mother, said after a disciplinary hearing for Officer Daniel Pantaleo.

    Four years after placing Eric Garner in a fatal chokehold, Officer Daniel Pantaleo appeared at Police Headquarters on Thursday.
    So did Mr. Garner’s mother, sister and supporters.
    People packed a fourth-floor trial room at One Police Plaza for the first hearing of Officer Pantaleo’s disciplinary case. He is accused of violating Police Department policy by using excessive force against the 43-year-old Mr. Garner.

    Mr. Garner’s final words became a rallying cry for a national movement after he gasped “I can’t breathe” while Officer Pantaleo restrained him in a chokehold on a sidewalk in Staten Island.
    The New York Times’s Ali Winston was at Police Headquarters. Here’s his report:
    Officer Pantaleo, wearing a dark suit, was escorted into the room by police union officials.
    Deputy Commissioner Rosemarie Maldonado set a trial date for May.
    Officer Pantaleo’s attorney, Stuart London, argued for a trial date in July, after the statute of limitations expires for potential federal civil rights charges that the Department of Justice may still bring against his client. (In 2014 in state court, a grand jury declined to indict Officer Pantaleo.)
    Proceedings are expected to last 10 days, with testimony from about a dozen witnesses . The evidence is voluminous: More than 40,000 pages of documents were turned over in discovery.
    After the hearing, Mr. Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, said, “I felt sort of numb being in the same room as my son’s murderer.”

    Patrick Lynch, the head of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, yelled over protesters outside that the trial was a “kangaroo court.”
    He said the Civilian Complaint Review Board, the independent agency prosecuting Officer Pantaleo, was rushing the case.



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    3) Monumental Disaster at the Department of the Interior
    A new report documents suppression of science, denial of climate change, the silencing and intimidation of staff
    By Joel Clement, December 4, 2018
    https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/monumental-disaster-at-the-department-of-the-interior/
    Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. Credit: Mark Wilson Getty Images

    This is a tough time to be a federal scientist—or any civil servant in the federal government. The Trump administration is clamping down on science, denying dangerous climate change and hollowing out the workforces of the agencies charged with protecting American health, safety and natural resources.
    At the Department of the Interior (DOI), with its mission to conserve and manage America’s natural and cultural resources, the Trump administration’s political appointees are stumbling over one another to earn accolades for disabling agency operations. I should know; I was one of dozens of senior executives targeted by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke for reassignment in a staff purge just six months into the new administration.
    From that day onward, Zinke and his political staff have consistently sidelined scientists and experts while handing the agency’s keys over to oil, gas and mining interests. The only saving grace is that Zinke and his colleagues are not very good at it, and in many cases the courts are stopping them in their tracks. The effects on science, scientists and the federal workforce, however, will be long-lasting.
    This is a tough time to be a federal scientist—or any civil servant in the federal government. The Trump administration is clamping down on science, denying dangerous climate change and hollowing out the workforces of the agencies charged with protecting American health, safety and natural resources.
    At the Department of the Interior (DOI), with its mission to conserve and manage America’s natural and cultural resources, the Trump administration’s political appointees are stumbling over one another to earn accolades for disabling agency operations. I should know; I was one of dozens of senior executives targeted by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke for reassignment in a staff purge just six months into the new administration.
    From that day onward, Zinke and his political staff have consistently sidelined scientists and experts while handing the agency’s keys over to oil, gas and mining interests. The only saving grace is that Zinke and his colleagues are not very good at it, and in many cases the courts are stopping them in their tracks. The effects on science, scientists and the federal workforce, however, will be long-lasting.
    It is challenging to keep up with the relentless attacks on science coming from Secretary Zinke and his team of political appointees. Since the finalization of UCS’s report, we have seen Secretary Zinke blame “radical environmental groups” as the cause of wildfires, with no mention of climate change, which scientists know is creating the conditions for bigger, hotter, more ferocious fires. Like President Trump, he continues to suggest that poor forest management is the real reason for the deadly fires, regardless of whether they occur in suburbs or shrublands, far from federally managed forests. His ignorance of science is perhaps only surpassed by that of his boss.
    It has also recently come to light that DOI has taken steps to roll back protections for individuals impacted the most by the agency’s anti-science actions. In November, it was reported that DOI rescinded two environmental justice policy memos that were put in place over 20 years ago to reverse decades of environmental racism and the marginalization of low-income communities. This is an affront to Native American communities suffering from the ongoing impacts of fossil fuel development.
    Zinke’s disdain for science was on display again the day after Thanksgiving, when the Trump administration quietly released two groundbreaking climate reports that featured the work of DOI scientists: the 2018 National Climate Assessment (NCA) and a report on the greenhouse-gas emissions produced from fossil fuel development on federal lands. The NCA describes a stark future for the United States if climate change is left unchecked: destructive sea-level rise, long-lasting droughts, infectious disease outbreaks and crippling economic costs. The federal lands emissions report pointed out that carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels produced on federal lands represent nearly 24% of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. These are vitally important reports sounding a clarion call that climate action on federal lands is essential to the safety and well-being of the American public.
    How did Zinke respond? With the standard anti-science lies being trotted out by Trump and others in the administration. Like his colleagues, Zinke claimed that the NCA was based only on extreme scenarios, when in fact it considered a broad range of emissions scenarios; he also claimed that the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) at DOI had “concerns” with the NCA when in fact dozens of USGS staff, as well as scientists from other DOI bureaus, were co-authors and contributors to the report. Apparently he didn’t have time to get to the other administration talking point about how climate scientists are just trying to get rich off of their work—a laughable assertion for anyone familiar with the compensation afforded to scientists who volunteer to contribute to such reports. He had nothing at all to say about the federal lands emissions report that was produced entirely within DOI.
    It is a desecration of the concept of public service for Zinke to ignore science aimed to protect the public’s best interest, and an insult to the taxpayers who pay his salary and those of his political colleagues. Zinke won’t be around forever, but he has filled the ranks of political appointees at DOI with like-minded industry lobbyists and climate deniers, so things are not likely to change at Interior anytime soon unless Congress, with a vocal public behind it, insists on transparency, scientific integrity and immediate climate action.
    America’s public lands, and the natural and cultural resources they contain, belong to all of us. It is astounding that a small group of ideologues thinks they can hand these resources, and the agencies that manage them, over to industries eager to carve them up for private profit. To do so with blithe disregard for the impact upon our planet’s operating system is careless and dangerous, and we must demand better.
    In addition to the comprehensive new report, UCS is providing resources and support for Americans eager to fight for science in our democracy while supporting federal scientists under siege. A new Congress will soon be asking harder questions and holding DOI leadership accountable for its actions. We can make it much harder for Zinke and his colleagues to run roughshod over the agency at the expense of our health, our safety, our heritage and our shared public lands.
    Joel Clement served as director of the Office of Policy Analysis in the U.S. Department of the Interior. He left DOI in 2017 and is now a Senior Fellow with the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

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    4) Yellow Vest Protests Grow in Belgium and The Netherlands
    By Lorne Cook and Mike Corder, December 8, 2018
    "In the Dutch city of Rotterdam, a few hundred protesters in the high-visibility vests that have become a symbol of the movement walked peacefully across the downtown Erasmus Bridge singing a song about the Netherlands and handing flowers to passers-by.
    "Sisters Beb and Ieneke Lambermont, aged 76 and 67 respectively, were among them.
    “ 'Our children are hard-working people but they have to pay taxes everywhere. You can’t get housing anymore. It is not going well in Dutch society,' Ieneke said. 'The social welfare net we grew up with is gone,' she said. 'The government is not there for the people. It is there to protect its own interests,' she said."
    http://time.com/5474753/yellow-vest-protests-belgium-the-netherlands/?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=social-share-article&utm_content=20181209

    (BRUSSELS) — Belgian police fired tear gas and water cannons at yellow-vested protesters calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Charles Michel after they tried to breach a riot barricade, as the movement that started in France made its mark Saturday in Belgium and the Netherlands.
    Protesters in Brussels threw paving stones, road signs, fireworks, flares and other objects at police blocking their entry to an area where Michel’s offices, other government buildings and the parliament are located.
    Brussels police spokeswoman Ilse Van de Keere said that around 400 protesters were gathered in the area.
    About 100 were detained, many for carrying dangerous objects like fireworks or clothing that could be used as protection in clashes with police.
    The reasons for the protests are not entirely clear. Neither Belgium nor the Netherlands has proposed a hike in fuel tax — the catalyst for the massive and destructive demonstrations in France in recent weeks.
    Instead, protesters appeared to hail at least in part from a populist movement that is angry at government policy in general and what it sees as the widening gulf between mainstream politicians and the voters who put them in power. Some in Belgium appeared intent only on confronting police.
    Earlier in Brussels, police used pepper spray and scuffled with a small group of protesters who tried to break through a barricade blocking access to the European Parliament and the European Union’s other main institutions.
    The rallies, which started at different locations around the city and converged on the European quarter, disrupted road and rail traffic on one of the busiest Christmas shopping days of the year.
    Walking behind a banner reading “social winter is coming,” the protesters chanted “(French President Emmanuel) Macron, Michel resign.”
    Dozens of people were searched as they arrived, and police warned people to stay away from the area.
    Several hundred police officers were mobilized. Last week, yellow vest protesters clashed with police and torched two police vehicles in the same area. More than 70 people were detained.
    In the Dutch city of Rotterdam, a few hundred protesters in the high-visibility vests that have become a symbol of the movement walked peacefully across the downtown Erasmus Bridge singing a song about the Netherlands and handing flowers to passers-by.
    Sisters Beb and Ieneke Lambermont, aged 76 and 67 respectively, were among them.
    “Our children are hard-working people but they have to pay taxes everywhere. You can’t get housing anymore. It is not going well in Dutch society,” Ieneke said. “The social welfare net we grew up with is gone,” she said.
    “The government is not there for the people. It is there to protect its own interests,” she said.
    About 100 protesters gathered in a peaceful demonstration outside the Dutch parliament in The Hague. At least two protesters were detained by police in central Amsterdam.
    Jan Dijkgraaf, the editor of a Dutch “resistance newspaper” had called for peaceful protests in Amsterdam and Rotterdam.
    Dijkgraaf said people are yearning for a past, more socially equitable, era of Dutch history, describing it as “a feeling of unity, but also looking after asylum-seekers well, taking good care of one another.”
    Other protesters appear more extreme — at a small and non-violent rally last week in The Hague one protester waved a historic Dutch flag that has become an emblem for the far right — and Dijkgraaf said some demonstrators are unhappy at his moderate plans.
    But he said violence like that seen last week in France and to a lesser extent Belgium does not work in the Netherlands.
    “The Netherlands is not like France — you light 100 cars on fire and you get what you want,” he said in a phone interview this week. “If you torch 100 cars here you are never allowed to demonstrate again and nothing more happens.”

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    5) Temple University Chairman Ready to Fire Marc Lamont Hill for ‘Unnecessarily Blackening’ the School’s Image with UN Comments
    By Tanesia Kenney, December 3, 2018
    https://atlantablackstar.com/2018/12/03/temple-university-chairman-ready-to-fire-marc-lamont-hill-for-unnecessarily-blackening-the-schools-image-with-un-comments/
    Marc Lamont Hill, 39, blasted critics for painting his comments as anti-Semitic.

    “It should be made clear that no one at Temple is happy with his comments …,” O’Connor said in a statement. “Free speech is one thing. Hate speech is entirely different.”
    The remarks ultimately cost Hill, 39, his job as a contributor at CNN. Although the network didn’t give a reason for parting ways with the academic, news of his firing came amid fierce backlash to his speech delivered before the UN’s Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.
    As reported by The Philadelphia Inquirer, the address was part of the organization’s Int’l Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People during which, Hill, who teaches Media Studies and Urban Education at Temple University, accused Israel of discriminating against Palestinians. In his speech, Hill proceeded to call on countries to boycott and divest from Israel.
    It was one sentence in particular that landed the professor in hot water: “We have an opportunity to not just offer solidarity in words but to commit to political action, grass-roots action, local action and international action that will give us what justice requires and that is a free Palestine from the river to the sea.”
    Critics, including the Anti-Defamation League, decried Hill’s use of the phrase “a free Palestine from the river to the sea,” arguing it was an anti-Semitic slogan often spewed by militant Palestinian groups.
    In essence, critics said Hill was calling for the destruction of Israel.
    Hill, who also holds an endowed chair in Temple’s Klein College of Media and Communications, denied the accusations in a series of tweets following his ouster from CNN but defended his speech.
    “My reference to ‘river to the sea’ was not a call to destroy anything or anyone,” he wrote on Twitter. “It was a call for justice, both in Israel and in the West Bank/Gaza. The speech very clearly and specifically said those things.”
    Hill wrote in a follow-up tweet, “I support Palestinian freedom. I do not support anti-Semitism, killing Jewish people, or any of the other things attributed to my speech. I have spent my life fighting these things.”
    Still, O’Connor was less than pleased with the negative publicity Hill’s comments have brought to Temple.
    “I’m not happy. The board’s not happy,” he said. “The administration’s not happy. People wanted to fire him right away. “We’re going to look at what remedies we have.”
    University president Richard M. Englert issued a milder rebuke of Hill’s speech, saying his reference to Palestine from “the river to the sea” was interpreted by many as a “perceived threat.”
    The Philadelphia Enquirer pointed out that Hill is a tenured employee, making it much more difficult and unlikely that he’ll be fired from Temple.
    “Long-established tenure rules exist to protect academic freedom, the right of a professor to say unpopular things,” the newspaper reported.
    Had Hill worked for a private institution, O’Connor told the paper that he and others would have moved to “fire him immediately.”
    Hill has since apologized for his remarks.
    http://www2.philly.com/philly/news/breaking/marc-lamont-hill-temple-israel-anti-semitic-20181130.html
    https://www.timesofisrael.com/marc-lamont-hill-apologizes-for-urging-free-palestine-from-river-to-sea/

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    6) How Phoenix Explains a Rise in Police Violence: It’s the Civilians’ Fault
    By Richard A. Oppel Jr., December 10, 2018
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/10/us/phoenix-police-shootings.html?action=click&module=News&pgtype=Homepage
    Poder in Action, a nonprofit group in Phoenix, marks shootings by the city’s police officers on a wall map in its office. Since the photo was taken, the tally for 2018 has risen to 41.

    PHOENIX — All Marco Zepeda, a 44-year-old blind man, wanted to do when he went inside a convenience store last June was use the bathroom.
    But as he tried to find his way, the police report said, Mr. Zepeda had the misfortune of walking near a police officer using a urinal. Thinking Mr. Zepeda had come too close, the officer pushed him, according to his account. They scuffled. Mr. Zepeda was tackled after he threw a punch, the officer said.
    “You just turned around and started pushing me like crazy,” Mr. Zepeda, a father of four who sells brooms from a pushcart, says on a video that captured the aftermath. “I didn’t know you were a cop.”
    But rather than chalk up the scuffle to an unfortunate misunderstanding, the police upped the ante, taking Mr. Zepeda to jail.

    There, he was treated like a serious criminal, charged with aggravated assault on an officer, a felony. He denies punching the officer.
    Mr. Zepeda’s story illustrates what community activists say is a serious issue: The Phoenix police are unusually quick to use force, slow to back down, and make a habit of releasing selective or misleading information about what happened. That is why, the activists say, the police here have shot more civilians this year than officers in any other city of its size, by far.
    Despite the Police Department’s vows to improve transparency, the city has not provided reports on officer-involved shootings and disciplinary cases that were requested by The New York Times almost four months ago.
    Critics say the department has avoided confronting the issue, despite having 41 shootings so far this year, almost twice as many as last year and 11 more than the combined total for the three cities closest in size — Philadelphia, San Antonio and San Diego.
    While many departments have reacted to police violence with soul-searching and an emphasis on de-escalating tense situations, some Phoenix officials blame people who they say are just too aggressive toward the police.

    “I don’t think there’s a sense that there’s something wrong in the department,” said Ed Zuercher, the city manager. “The issue is, ‘What’s going on in our community in total that assaults on police officers are up, the use of weapons against police officers is up, and that police officer-involved shootings are up?’”
    Critics say the Police Department cannot — or will not — substantiate such assertions. The department “makes these really biased claims against the community, and when we push back asking for the stats, they refuse to release the cases they say they’re citing,” said Viridiana Hernandez, executive director of Poder in Action, a Phoenix-based community group.
    Since the early 1990s, Phoenix’s violent crime rate has declined along with the rest of the nation’s, despite ticking up in the past few years, and is on a par with that of other large cities.
    Chief Jeri Williams has commissioned a study of the rise in shootings and increased officer training — though a spokeswoman did not respond to questions about what kind of training. Chief Williams said the shootings this year have had little in common with one another. “If you look at other cities across the country, they might be able to point to one geographical area, one group of people, one criminal element,” but not so in Phoenix, she said.
    In Mr. Zepeda’s case, he says he was the victim. The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office declined to prosecute him, citing “no reasonable likelihood of conviction.”
    Alex Andrich, in a photo provided by his family, was shot and killed by a police officer in Phoenix.
    After the police shot and killed Alex Andrich, on June 12, a police spokesman offered this explanation: Mr. Andrich had advanced on an officer while holding an “object” that the officer “believed was a threat.” It turned out to be the handcuffs that officers had just affixed to one of his wrists.
    After an officer shot Edward Brown, leaving him a paraplegic, the police said it was self-defense: Mr. Brown had charged at an officer and tried to get his gun, even touching the barrel. But none of Mr. Brown’s D.N.A. was found on the weapon, and he had been shot in the back.
    After Mohammed Muyhamin, a schizophrenic 43-year-old, died during an arrest, the police told local news outlets that he had “assaulted” an employee at a community center where he had sought to use the bathroom. But the 128-page police report obtained by The Times described an argument over whether Mr. Muyhamin could bring his small service dog inside without a leash.
    The assault described in the report was an allegation that he had “pushed past” the employee because he needed to get to the restroom.
    David Chami, a lawyer for Mr. Muhaymin’s estate and eldest son, said at least one officer on the scene had previously interacted with his client and knew he had mental health problems. Officers decided to take him in on an existing warrant for drug paraphernalia, he said, forcing him to the ground as he resisted and struggled.

    Mohammed Muhaymin died during an arrest.

    “I can’t breathe!” Mr. Muhaymin, whose post-mortem showed he was on methamphetamines, screamed. A witness cited in the medical examiner report said that one of the officers replied: “Then stop resisting.”
    The medical examiner ruled his death a homicide.
    In each of these cases, the police offered selective or misleading accounts of what happened.

    In the Andrich case, they say they were called for trespassing and then had a “knock-down, drag-out fight,” getting one handcuff on Mr. Andrich before he broke free, injuring an officer’s knee. They tried and failed to subdue him with a Taser, they said. Minutes later, they shot him as he advanced on an officer, according to the police account.
    But in a bystander’s video, Mr. Andrich can be seen walking away, briefly turning to face the officer, then seeming to turn back away when he was shot. And while the police said the officer had stepped back before he fired, the video shows him following Mr. Andrich down the sidewalk.
    Louise Andrich, Mr. Andrich’s sister, said that the police were aware he had schizophrenia and that her brother had not been violent in previous interactions with officers.
    “I know exactly what my brother was saying — he was saying ‘leave me alone,’” Ms. Andrich said. The police version, she added, “did not fit the narrative of who he was as a human being, but it fit the narrative they needed to tell to make it seem legitimate.”
    Officers breaking up a protest in 2016 against fatal shootings of black men.
    As controversy over the shootings heated up this summer with protests at City Hall, the police said they were the ones under attack. Assaults against officers had jumped 45 percent during the first five months of the year, they said, and they were the largest contributing factor in officer-involved shootings.
    Community groups say, though, that the police use aggravated assault charges to deflect attention from their own conduct. Under the law, any assault on an officer is automatically considered aggravated. An assault charge does not require physical contact — intentionally giving someone “reasonable apprehension of imminent physical injury” is enough.

    “All the officer has to say is, ‘I thought you were going to hurt me,’” said Heather Hamel, a civil rights lawyer representing Mr. Zepeda, the blind man. “That is how you twist the narrative. Every time there is a case of police brutality and the person lives, they’re going to get hit with an aggravated assault charge.”
    Mr. Brown, the man the police shot in the back, was also charged with aggravated assault on an officer.
    Some politicians have taken up the Police Department’s argument. “When people get stopped, they think it is O.K. to approach the officer in a threatening way,” City Councilman Sal DiCiccio said at a hearing in June. “Of course they’re going to get shot at that point.”
    In an interview, Mr. DiCiccio faulted the city for not hiring enough police. “We have a more violent population,” he said.
    By the numbers, Phoenix is about as dangerous as a typical large American city. At 7.6 violent crimes per thousand residents, Phoenix’s violent crime rate was the same as the aggregate for cities with populations over 250,000, and slightly higher than that for cities with over a million, according to F.B.I. data for 2017.
    A police spokeswoman said the department did not intentionally withhold public information, but that processing requests could take time. The city does not post data on civilian complaints.
    One Phoenix police officer has been shot this year. He was wounded during a traffic stop in August.
    At the behest of Chief Williams, city officials have hired the National Police Foundation, a nonprofit research firm, to study the problem. The move displeased police union officials, who said it amounted to placating activists by second-guessing officers who have done nothing wrong.

    When the Phoenix police chief Daniel Garcia was fired in 2014, he blamed two police unions that had each called for a vote of “no confidence” in him.
    “Our city management needs to decide whether the Police Department is to be run by the unions, or by the police chief,” Mr. Garcia said at a news conference that led to his firing.
    Mr. Garcia complained that the city’s review board, whose members are appointed by the City Council, sometimes sided with officers who committed crimes or used excessive force.
    Out of 41 cases appealed since 2014, discipline imposed by the Police Department was reduced or overturned in 27 cases, either by the review board or through settlements with the city’s own lawyers.
    In 2015, the board reinstated Officer Kevin McGowan, who had been fired for stomping on the neck of an 18-year-old as he was lowering himself to the ground to surrender. The attack, which was caught on a surveillance video, knocked out three of the man’s teeth.
    Last year, Officer McGowan was one of 10 officers at the fatal arrest of Mr. Muhaymin. Sgt. Mercedes Fortune, the police spokeswoman, said that Officer McGowan “was not involved in the initial contact or takedown” of Mr. Muhaymin, but that he “assisted by applying the leg restraint after the suspect was on the ground and in handcuffs.”

    She did not respond to other questions about Mr. Muhaymin’s arrest and death.
    Ken Crane, the president of the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association, the main police union, said that officers were not the problem in Phoenix. People should submit to police commands, he said: “We all go home safe if everybody remembers this one little word: compliance.”
    Asked why there were so many more police shootings than in other large cities, Mr. Crane said Phoenix has “a lot more people that want to pull guns and knives on the cops.”
    The evidence? The number of times, he said, that officers have had to shoot at someone.

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    7) ‘Appalling’ Video Shows the Police Yanking 1-Year-Old From His Mother’s Arms
    By Ashley Southall, December 9, 2018
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/09/nyregion/nypd-jazmine-headley-baby-video.html?action=click&module=Latest&pgtype=Homepage
    Police officers arresting a woman in Brooklyn while she was holding her 1-year-old son. A video of the encounter was posted to Facebook.

    A video that shows police officers trying to remove a woman’s 1-year-old son from her grasp as they arrested her in a Brooklyn food stamp office ignited a fury on social media and prompted calls on Sunday for an explanation from the police.
    A Facebook user who uploaded the video said the police had been called on Friday after the woman, identified by the police as Jazmine Headley, 23, sat on the floor of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program office in Boerum Hill because there were no available chairs.
    After a verbal dispute with a security guard, someone called the police, according to Nyashia Ferguson, who posted the video.
    It begins with Ms. Headley lying on the floor, cradling her son and yelling, “They’re hurting my son! They’re hurting my son!”

    A female sergeant and three police officers, two of whom appear to be women, surround Ms. Headley and attempt to pull the child away. Then one officer, her back facing the camera, repeatedly yanks the child in an apparent attempt to separate him from his mother.
    After more officers join the fray, the officer who yanked the child waves a yellow stun gun at the outraged crowd of onlookers, which includes several children and people filming with their cellphones.
    The encounter was the latest in New York to spark outrage over excessive policing against unarmed civilians, despite the Police Department’s implementation of de-escalation training.
    Nearly all of the civilians involved in those incidents have been black or Latino. The training followed the death of an unarmed black man, Eric Garner, from a police chokehold in 2014 on Staten Island.
    The Patrol Guide, the official police manual, states that stun guns should be used in limited circumstances: against people who are physically resisting being taken into custody; people who indicate verbally that they intend to do so; and people who are acting in a manner that could cause injury to themselves or someone else.

    The Police Department called Friday’s incident “troubling” in a statement on Sunday, and said officers had responded to a 911 call for harassment. When the officers arrived, security guards told them that Ms. Headley had refused to leave.
    The police officers told Ms. Headley to leave “numerous times,” the police said, and after she refused, the security guards “brought the woman to the floor.” Police officers then tried to arrest her; despite her resistance, she was taken into custody, the police said.
    Ms. Headley was charged with resisting arrest, acting in a manner injurious to a child, obstructing governmental administration and trespassing. The police said she refused medical treatment for herself and her son, who was placed in the care of a relative.
    She could not be reached for comment on Sunday because she was being held without bail on Rikers Island, according to online corrections records and Brooklyn Defender Services, the public defender organization representing her.
    Deputy Commissioner Phillip Walzak, a police spokesman, said the officers involved are all assigned to the 84th Precinct and remained on full-duty status. He declined to give their names or say whether they followed department protocols, citing its investigation.
    The department is investigating the incident with the city Human Resources Administration, which administers public benefits. A spokeswoman for Allied Universal, the parent company of the security firm visible on security guards’ patches, FJC Security, did not respond to requests for comment.
    “They’re always rude,” Ms. Ferguson said about the guards in an interview. “They think that people that are poor don’t have nothing, so you can treat them any kind of way.”

    She disputed the police account of the incident and said the officer who waved the stun gun, not a security guard, had forced Ms. Headley to the ground.
    The police “didn’t help at all,” she said. “They made it way worse.”
    For the city’s poor, applying for public assistance requires copious amounts of patience, and Friday had been no different for Ms. Headley, Ms. Ferguson said.
    Ms. Headley had been waiting for about two hours, sitting on the floor the entire time, in the part of the office that helps families get child care, Ms. Ferguson said. The office was more crowded than usual, she said, and the wait times were agonizing.
    A female security guard eventually approached Ms. Headley, and several more guards followed as a verbal dispute escalated. Ms. Ferguson said they taunted Ms. Headley and laughed in her face before leaving.
    Ten minutes later, they returned with the police, Ms. Ferguson said. A fearful expression crossed Ms. Headley’s face as they approached, she said.
    The police officers asked Ms. Headley to come with them, Ms. Ferguson said. When she tried to explain, they cut her off. The situation quickly devolved into chaos.
    “The baby was screaming for his life,” said Ms. Ferguson, who was there with her 7-month-old daughter. “The lady was begging for them to get off of her. I was scared.”

    On social media, some people fumed over the police officers’ actions, and wondered what Ms. Headley could possibly have done to warrant their response.

    “This is unacceptable, appalling and heart breaking,” Corey Johnson, the City Council speaker, wrote on Twitter. “I’d like to understand what transpired and how these officers or the NYPD justifies this. It’s hard to watch this video.”
    Letitia James, the city’s public advocate, called in a statement for the officers to be placed on desk duty and the results of the investigation to be made public.
    “Being poor is not a crime,” said Ms. James, who is also the state’s attorney general-elect. She added, “No mother should have to experience the trauma and humiliation we all witnessed in this video.”
    Alex S. Vitale, a sociology professor at Brooklyn College who coordinates its Policing and Social Justice Project, said that rather than defusing tensions, the officers appear to be needlessly using force against someone who refused to comply with their requests. He said the officers deserved to be suspended.
    “It’s just hard to imagine what possibly could have transpired before the video starts that would have warranted that level of force in those circumstances,” he said.

    Professor Vitale added that he was baffled that no one in the food stamp office, which has security guards and social workers, could figure out how to handle the situation without calling the police.
    A police officer who waved a stun gun at teenagers near Midwood High School in Brooklyn in March 2017 is facing disciplinary charges after Professor Vitale recorded the incident. “You want to ride the lightning?” the officer asked one of the teenagers, after pushing her with his baton.
    In an era when New York City’s police commissioner has pushed for stronger ties between neighborhoods and the police who patrol them, Professor Vitale said incidents like these only harden mistrust of the police among poor people of color.
    “This just reinforces their sense that police are a source of violence and injustice,” he said.

    Nikita Stewart contributed reporting.

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    8) Tear Gas Still Lingering, France’s President Will Address the Nation
    By Alissa J. Rubin, December 8, 2018
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/09/world/europe/france-macron-yellow-vests.html?action=click&module=Latest&pgtype=Homepage
    Protesters gathered at the Place de la République in Paris on Saturday.

    PARIS — With the smell of tear gas and smoke still lingering in Paris and other cities after a fourth weekend of protests, France’s president planned a nationwide address on Monday to respond to the anger among many middle-class and working-poor citizens frustrated over their declining economic means.
    The televised speech by President Emmanuel Macron, announced by the Élysée Palace on Sunday, will be his first substantive public answer to the so-called Yellow Vest movement that has transfixed France and spilled into other countries in Europe.
    Mr. Macron has been conferring with advisers and ministers and will meet with a wider group on Monday, including local elected officials, members of Parliament and union representatives, to discuss proposals aimed at addressing at least some of the movement’s demands.

    “Clearly we have underestimated the need of our fellow citizens to speak up about the difficulties they face and to be involved in the formulation of solutions,” Benjamin Griveaux, a government spokesman, said in an interview Sunday on Europe 1 Radio

    “The solutions that we need to find must take into consideration each person’s reality — it’s almost like tailored to fit,” he said. “The anger that is being expressed is sometimes very different from one area to another.”
    The Yellow Vests take their name from the fluorescent hazard vests adopted by the protesters as a sign of their economic distress.
    The challenges Mr. Macron will face in speaking to his fellow citizens are considerable.
    He must connect with the many who feel abandoned and make clear not only that he understands their anger but also that he is prepared to listen to their ideas and take action, analysts said.
    At the same time, he must project strong resolve against the destruction of private property to preserve the allegiance of the small-business owners who have seen their shops vandalized or who have been forced to close on successive Saturdays. Mr. Macron must also stand with the many French who have been outraged by the desecration of national monuments, or who have seen their cars burned or other property destroyed.

    With fires lit by protesters still smoldering in some of France’s largest cities on Sunday, local officials and small businesses voiced their dismay over the vandalism and lost business during the usually busy Christmas season.

    Although the authorities released numbers suggesting that the protests on Saturday were smaller than those on earlier weekends, the final total showed that there was no difference between those on Saturday and those a week earlier, suggesting they were not abating.
    The mayor of Bordeaux, Alain Juppé, who has been generally supportive of Mr. Macron, summed up the messages he hoped the president would send on Monday as he walked through his city. Fires burned there for several hours on Saturday as violent confrontations between the police and the Yellow Vests punctuated the protests.
    Mr. Macron needs to “speak to the French people and speak quickly,” said Mr. Juppé. The president, he said, needs “to respond concretely to certain legitimate expectations” with “understanding, empathy.”
    But Mr. Juppé said Mr. Macron also had to project firmness and speak with “authority” about the need to maintain order and stop the vandals.
    Mr. Macron’s address will be the first time in about 10 days that he has said anything beyond a short statement at a news conference in Buenos Aires at the end of the G-20 meeting.

    That statement came just a few hours after attacks on the Arc de Triomphe by Yellow Vests and vandals, known as “casseurs.” They defaced it with graffiti and broke into its museum. Then they smashed shop windows on a nearby avenue, stealing goods and destroying bank machines.
    This past weekend’s violence was notable both for its spread to a couple of neighborhoods of Paris that had been less affected in past weeks and by unprecedented violence in Bordeaux, where protesters and casseurs set multiple street fires and besieged one of its oldest shopping streets.
    If the Yellow Vests movement’s ability to bring business to a halt appears unchanged, so does its standing with the public nationwide. Although relatively small numbers of people go into the streets — France has a population of 67 million and the most that have turned out to protest is less than 300,000 — support for their grievances remains at about 70 percent, despite the violence and destruction of property, according to several different polls.
    The movement’s persistence suggests that despite the government’s announcement that it would drop a planned increase in the fuel tax in 2019 and delay an increase in the cost of home heating until after the winter, the protesters and those who support them may not be appeased without a deeper look at the distribution of wealth in France.
    The main difference between the protests this weekend and those on the last one was an increase in the police presence and a more aggressive strategy by the authorities. That meant there were many more arrests, some even before the demonstrations began. Nearly 2,000 people were taken into custody nationwide, almost three times as many as on Dec. 1, when 682 were arrested.
    The numbers of injured this past Saturday were fewer than on Dec. 1. A total of 325 people were hurt, including police officers, compared with a total of 485 the preceding week, according to revised figures from the Interior Ministry.

    Aurelien Breeden contributed reporting.

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    9) Mr. Mayor, Why No Outrage Over a Mother’s Brutal Arrest?
    The Editorial Board, December 10, 2018
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/10/opinion/deblasio-nypd-video-baby-mother-welfare.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage
    At a public event, Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday made no mention of a disturbing arrest captured on video.

    “The most sacred duty of government is to protect people,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said, “especially defenseless children. There is nothing more barbaric than separating children from their parents. There is no excuse for this horror and certainly no reason.”
    Was that the mayor’s response to a stomach-churning video of a mother’s arrest in a New York City welfare office on Friday as police officers tried to yank her child from her? No, it was a tweet by Mr. de Blasio in May about the Trump administration’s family separation policy for asylum seekers at the border.
    He’s shown much less passion in his response to the arrest. 
    In the video, a woman identified by officials as Jazmine Headley is seen on her back on the floor of a Brooklyn benefits office surrounded by officers from the New York Police Department and the city’s Human Resources Administration. Ms. Headley desperately tries to hold on to her 1-year-old as a police officer tries to tug the boy from her arms.

    You’re hurting my son!” the woman screams on the video, recorded by a bystander and posted to Facebook. Ms. Headley was held without bail on Rikers Island over the weekend. Relatives are caring for her son.

    For most of Monday, Mr. de Blasio said nothing about the video — even as he hosted an event celebrating the 25th anniversary of the city’s police oversight board, the Civilian Complaint Review Board. It would have been the perfect moment to brief the city on the episode. Instead, he ignored a flurry of questions shouted by reporters and walked out of the room. 
    It was only several hours later that he tweeted about the video, calling it “a disturbing incident.”
    “Like anyone who’s watched this video, I have a lot of questions about how this was handled,” he wrote, adding that the city agencies involved would “get to the bottom” of what happened. 
    Police Commissioner James O’Neill also called the video “disturbing” and said his department was investigating the incident. But why can’t the city explain why the police were called in the first place and why Ms. Headley was being arrested, apparently for refusing to leave the office? 
    The social services commissioner, Steven Banks, who oversees the Human Resources Administration, which administers many benefit programs, was appropriately upset.

    “H.R.A. centers must be safe havens for New Yorkers needing to access benefits to improve their lives,” Mr. Banks said. “I am deeply troubled by the incident, and a thorough review was launched over the weekend to get to the bottom of what happened.”
    He said he would improve training for officers and other staff members to defuse difficult situations before calling the Police Department. The agency’s officers who were involved in the matter have been put on leave.
    Mr. de Blasio’s handling of the incident shows how far he has strayed from his righteous roots as a candidate promising to hold the police accountable and change the way they interact with minority residents like Ms. Headley, who is black.
    There has been some progress. Police stops have continued to decline sharply under the mayor, for example. The city moved this year to reduce marijuana arrests, another important effort at improvement. But since the moment early in his first term when officers turned their backs on him at the funerals of two police officers, he has largely shied from backing more aggressive efforts at police oversight and has brushed aside concerns from City Council members, the Department of Investigation and others.
    For years now Mr. de Blasio has been standoffish to the department, leaving his commissioner to deal with the toughest questions about policing, just as he did on Monday. That’s disappointing from a mayor who said he wanted to make New York City America’s fairest big city.

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    10) Dozens More Cambodian Immigrants to Be Deported From U.S., Officials Say
    By Charles Dunst, December 12, 2018
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/12/world/asia/trump-deport-cambodians.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fworld&action=click&contentCollection=world&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=8&pgtype=sectionfront
    Advocates at an October rally in Sacramento, Calif., hold banners and signs backing pardons for Southeast Asian refugees who face deportation because they have committed crimes in the United States.

    PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — The Trump administration is preparing to deport the largest group yet of legal Cambodian immigrants to the United States over the next few days, according to human rights groups and an American official, continuing a wave of deportation that has fallen heavily on refugees who fled the upheaval surrounding the Vietnam War.
    The new deportations include an expected 46 people who are scheduled to arrive in Cambodia on Dec. 19, the American official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss details of deportations that had not been officially announced.
    Many of those being deported have few or no memories of Cambodia, as they were part of an exodus fleeing Khmer Rouge massacres and were granted refugee status in the United States. Some actually have green cards and have been convicted of a felony while in the United States, though often from many years ago.
    “We are expecting more than 40 later this month,” Bill Herod, the founder of the Khmer Vulnerability Aid Organization, a Phnom Penh-based group that works to integrate Cambodian deportees into the country, said in an interview. Mr. Herod said that the exact number and arrival date of deportees often changes due to variables including last-minute legal challenges and weather complications.
    Reached for comment, the United States Embassy in Phnom Penh referred The Times to the Department of Homeland Security, whose officials did not respond to requests for comment. The Cambodian government did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
    That effort has included what American officials describe as a renewed push by the White House this month to negotiate with Vietnam to take back a category of refugees in the United States — those who immigrated before 1995 — who had been considered protected under an earlier agreement.
    In the case of Cambodians living in the United States, some deportations began in 2002 under a bilateral agreement signed by both countries. But the Trump White House has greatly stepped up the process, widening the numbers of Cambodians it considers deportable.
    Rights groups have criticized the new deportation push because many of those designated for deportation will be separated from families who remain in the United States. Others are the children of Cambodians who fled torture and massacre by the Khmer Rouge regime and are being returned to a developing country in which they have never lived or of which they have little memory.
    During the Vietnam War, the United States secretly bombarded Cambodia and dropped 2.7 million tons of explosives on the country in operations that some credit with partially enabling the Khmer Rouge’s rise to power.
    “Virtually all are the children of Khmer Rouge refugees,” Mr. Herod said of those being deported from the United States. “Virtually all have a difficult time adjusting.”
    Cambodia’s government began resisting the push for more deportations in 2017, citing human rights concerns and expressing an interest in negotiating a new agreement.
    The Trump administration responded by classifying Cambodia as “recalcitrant” and imposing visa sanctions on some high-ranking government officials and their families. The American and Cambodian governments reached an agreement to resume deportations in February, and Cambodia has since accepted its nationals in increased numbers.
    An Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman, Brendan Raedy, declined to confirm the new deportations set for Dec. 19, citing security concerns. He did, however, say that as of Sept. 17, “there were 56 Cambodian nationals in I.C.E. detention with a final order of removal, and 1,799 non-detained Cambodians with a final order of removal.”
    Mr. Herod, of the Khmer Vulnerability Aid Organization, said that American officials alerted him in December 2017 “to prepare to receive 200 new arrivals each year for the next several years.”
    Only 74 and 29 Cambodians were deported in 2016 and 2017, respectively, according to I.C.E. reports. Mr. Herod said he was aware of 94 Cambodians who had already been deported this year.

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    11) Jerry Brown, Save the 740 People on Your Death Row
    Six former governors call on California’s governor to follow in their footsteps and grant clemency to death row prisoners.
    "If the state were to execute a single person every day, people would still be waiting on death row after two years."
    By Richard CelesteJohn KitzhaberMartin O’MalleyBill RichardsonPat Quinn and Toney Anaya
    The authors granted clemency to death row prisoners in their states
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/13/opinion/jerry-brown-california-death-row.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage
    A condemned inmate in a cell in the yard outside the death row adjustment center at San Quentin State Prison in California in 2016.

    Among a governor’s many powers, none is more significant than signing a death warrant. It’s a terrible responsibility, hard even to imagine until you’re asked to carry it out, as we were. But we became convinced that it wasn’t something a civilized society should ask of its leaders. That’s why we halted executions in our states, and we call on Gov. Jerry Brown of California to do the same. 
    Mr. Brown has done a remarkable job in his four terms. His overhaul of the state’s criminal justice system has ensured his legacy as one of the most courageous and effective governors in California’s history. Some of the changes include eliminating cash bail; prohibiting the incarceration of children under 12; no longer allowing children younger than 16 to be tried as adults; and prohibiting prosecutors from charging accomplices with first-degree murder.
    Given this good work, we know it must weigh on Mr. Brown that, unless he acts soon, he will leave behind 740 men and women on California’s death row. It’s a staggering number and our hearts go out to him. From a humanitarian perspective, it is horrifying to imagine executing that many humans. As a practical matter, it’s beyond comprehension. 
    Even the most ardent proponents of capital punishment would shudder at composing a plan to execute 740 people. Would California’s citizens allow mass executions? If the state were to execute a single person every day, people would still be waiting on death row after two years.
    Vicente Benavides might have been one of them. In April, the California Supreme Court released him from death row at San Quentin, where he spent 25 years after being convicted based on evidence that the court found was “false, extensive, pervasive and impactful.” We know a leader must then ask: “Are there more people wrongly convicted among the 740 in my custody?” 
    Perhaps. The Death Penalty Information Center reports that 164 men and women have been found innocent and released from death rows around the country since 1973, five of them from California. Even more disturbing, the National Academy of Sciences found that at least 4 percent of people on death row were and are probably innocent. This is the horror every governor of a killing state has to live with.
    Since the death penalty was reinstated in the United States in 1976, 11 governors have granted clemency to death row prisoners in their states. They did not free them; they either reduced their sentences to life, declared a moratorium on executions or repealed their death penalty. We have all done one of these; so have Gov. George Ryan of Illinois in 2003; Gov. Jon Corzine of New Jersey in 2007; Gov. Dannel Malloy of Connecticut in 2012; Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington in 2014; and Gov. Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania in 2015.
    The achievement of high office demands that one be courageous in leadership. Mr. Brown now has the chance to do what others in our ranks have done after they became aware of the price paid for taking a human life. We were compelled to act because we have come to believe the death penalty is an expensive, error-prone and racist system, and also because our morality and our sense of decency demanded it. 
    Mr. Brown has the power to commute the sentences of 740 men and women, to save 740 livesOr, he can declare a moratorium on the death penalty and give Governor-elect Gavin Newsom the time he will need to figure out how to end a system broken beyond repair. Such an act will take political will and moral clarity, both of which Mr. Brown has demonstrated in the past. In the interest of his legacy, the people of California need his leadership one more time before he leaves office.
    Richard Celeste was the governor of Ohio. John Kitzhaber was the governor of Oregon. Martin O’Malley was the governor of Maryland. Bill Richardson was the governor of New Mexico. Pat Quinn was the governor of Illinois. Toney Anaya was the governor of New Mexico.

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    12) N.Y. Today: Backlash for Mayor After Police Grab Child
    By Azi Paybarah, December 13, 2018
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/13/nyregion/newyorktoday/new-york-news-jazmine-headley.html
    More policing headaches for the mayor.

    Sorry, said the mayor

    Rewind: Mayor Bill de Blasio took office in 2014 promising to bring the police and communities closer together.
    Yesterday: He apologized because law enforcement personnel ripped a 1-year-old from his mother’s arms at a government building in Brooklyn on Friday.
    The woman, Jazmine Headley, had been sitting on the floor of the Human Resources Administration building in Boerum Hill. She said she had waited four hours for service and that there were no seats.
    And whom did Mr. de Blasio blame? Not the police but the city officials who called them after Ms. Headley got into a dispute with a security guard.
    “I want to issue a formal apology to Ms. Headley, and I’d be very happy to talk to her as well,” Mr. de Blasio told reporters on Wednesday.
    “By the time N.Y.P.D. arrived, this situation was already out of control.”
    Look ahead: The entire incident, captured on bystander videos, is under review.

    The chairman of the City Council’s public safety committee wants the officers fired.
    “If they didn’t know to use common sense, you shouldn’t be here,” the councilman, Donovan Richards, told me.
    “By allowing these individuals to stay, it sends the message that this behavior is O.K.”

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