Thursday, October 19, 2017

BAUAW NEWSLETTER, THURSDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2017








Dear Comrades, attached is some new art, where Xinachtli really outdid himself some.














Kaepernick sports new T-shirt:




Love this guy!



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Prison Radio UPDATE:

Please sign this petition:
Release all the records and files regarding Mumia Abu-Jamal's legal case!
https://diy.rootsaction.org/petitions/release-mumia-abu-jamal-case-record
A ruling to implement Judge Leon Tucker's recent order to release Mumia's court documents could be made as soon as May 30, 2017. Please call or e-mail the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office now to pressure them to follow the court's order to release all the records and files regarding Mumia Abu-Jamal's legal case.
Phone: 215-686-8000

Judge Orders DA to Produce Complete File for Mumia's Case

Dear Friend,

This just in! Judge Leon Tucker of the Common Pleas Court of Philadelphia has ordered the District Attorney of Philadelphia to produce the entire case file for Cook v. the Commonwealth- the case file in Mumia Abu-Jamal's criminal conviction, by September 21st.

The DA's office has to produce the entire file for "in camera" review in Judge Tucker's chambers. This mean Judge Tucker thinks that a thorough review of all the relevant files is in order! Or in other words, what has been produced under court order from the DA'a office has been woefully deficient.

Judge Tucker worked as an Assistant District Attorney in the late 90's, so he knows what is in -and not in- files. Cook v. the Commonwealth comprises at least 31 boxes of material held by the DA. Will they turn over "all information and the complete file" for Mumia's case, as Judge Tucker has ordered?

This in camera review by Judge Tucker himself means that an independent jurist will personally inspect the documents the DA produces. See the order here.  Stay tuned for more information following September 21. This is just one step in a long walk to freedom. It is a step that has never been taken before.

OPEN the files. Justice Now!

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Have Black Lives Ever Mattered?


Have Black Lives Ever Mattered? (City Lights Open Media)
By Mumia Abu-Jamal
A Book Review by Robert Fantina

With the recent acquittal of two more police officers in the deaths of unarmed Black men, the question posed by the title of this book is as relevant as it ever was. Through a series of concise, clear essays, Mumia Abu-Jamal details the racism against Blacks, comparing today's behaviors with the lynchings that were common in the south prior to the decade of the sixties. He points out the obvious: The passage of Civil Rights legislation hasn't changed much; it simply changed the way racism operates.

The ways in which the white establishment has worked to oppress Blacks is astounding. After the Civil War, when slavery was no longer legal, "whites realized that the combination of trumped-up legal charges and forced labor as punishment created both a desirable business proposition and an incredibly effective tool for intimidating rank-and-file emancipated African Americans and doing away with their most effective leaders."

Abu-Jamal states that, today, "where once whites killed and terrorized from beneath a KKK hood, now they now did so openly from behind a little badge." He details the killing of Black men and women in the U.S. with almost complete impunity.

There are two related issues Abu-Jamal discusses. The first is the rampant racism that enables the police to kill unarmed Blacks, as young as 12 years old, for no reason, and the second is the "justice" system that allows them to get away with it.

One shocking crime, amid countless others, occurred in Cleveland, Ohio. In 2012; a police officer was acquitted in the deaths of two, unarmed Blacks, after leaping onto the hood of their car and firing 15 rounds from his semi-automatic rifle into the car's occupants. That is 137 shots, at point blank range, into the bodies of two unarmed people.

If this were an anomaly, it would be barbaric, but it is not: it is common practice for the police to kill unarmed Blacks, and, on the rare occasions that they are charged with a crime, for the judges and juries to acquit them.

In the U.S., Black citizens are disproportionally imprisoned. With for-profit prisons on the rise, this injustice will only increase.

Abu-Jamal relates story after story with the same plot, and only the names are different. An unarmed Black man is stopped by the police for any of a variety of reasons ranging from trivial (broken tail light), to more significant (suspect in a robbery). But too often, the outcome is the same: the Black man is dead and the police officer who killed him, more often than not white, is either not charged, or acquitted after being charged.

The Black Lives Matter movement formed to combat this blatant injustice, but it will be an uphill battle. As Abu-Jamal says, "Police serve the ownership and wealth classes of their societies, not the middling or impoverished people. For the latter, it is quite the reverse." As a result, people of color suffer disproportionately, too often winding up on the wrong side of a gun.

What is to be done? Abu-Jamal refers to the writings of Dr. Huey P. Newton, who calls not for community policing, but for community control of the police. Abu-Jamal argues forcefully for a new movement, "driven by commitment, ethics, intelligence, solidarity, and passions; for without passion, the embers may dim and die."

Have Black Lives Ever Mattered? is powerful, disturbing, well-written, and an important book for our day.

Robert Fantina is the author of Empire, Racism and Genocide: A History of U.S. Foreign Policy. His articles on foreign policy, most frequently concerning Israel and Palestine, have appeared in such venues as Counterpunch and WarIsaCrime.org.
New York Journal of Books, July 2017

http://www.nyjournalofbooks.com/book-review/Black-lives


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Bay Area United Against War Newsletter

Table of Contents:


A) EVENTS, ACTIONS 
AND ONGOING STRUGGLES

B) ARTICLES IN FULL


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A) EVENTS, ACTIONS AND ONGOING STRUGGLES


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From Chelsea Manning to Reality Leigh Winner, Governmental Prosecution of Whistle Blowers
https://www.facebook.com/events/606442303077700
Thursday, October 19th, 7:00 PM, 
3050 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley (Close to the Ashby BART)

Since 2006, Jeff Paterson has served as the project director of Courage to Resist, an organization dedicated to supporting GI resisters. In 1990, then-Marine Corporal Paterson was the first US military serviceperson to publicly speak out against a US war on Iraq. Jeff was the campaign director of the successful effort to free whistle-blower Chelsea Manning.

Jeff is currently working to defend NSA contractor Reality Leigh Winner against an overzealous prosecution by Trump's Department of Justice. Ms. Winner is currently jailed without bail, facing 10 years in prison, for allegedly giving a document vital to the public's understanding of potential Russian interference in US election systems to a news organization. Jeff will report on the background of the case and its current status.

After the program, there will be a discussion of active cases and issues. Free MCLE credit is available to attorneys.

Please call 510-848-4752, X4 for more information.
https://standwithreality.org
https:://couragetoresist.org

stand with reality winner
patriotDoes Reality hate America? Or does the government just hate Reality?Announcing that Reality would be denied bail a second time, judge Brian Epps cited as his justification that Reality Winner "hates America" and "plotted against the government".
This statement is an outrageous slander against a young woman who's spent her entire adult life serving this country, right up to the day she was arrested.
In this way of thinking, to want America to be better is to hate it. To spend your entire adult life working hard and making sacrifices for America is to hate it. To be so outraged by a threat to America that you'd risk your career and your freedom to stop it is to hate it.
And it makes no sense. What does it mean to say that Reality "hates America," and why is it important to the prosecution that the public believes this?
What is this really about?
The real reason is the text of the Espionage Act. The 100-year-old law has been used since its passage as a loophole to deny Americans their rights to a free press, free speech, and whistleblower protections. The Espionage Act doesn't mention "classified information" at all -- the law is intended to punish people who transmit information with an intent to harm the United States or aid its enemies.
The document Reality is charged with releasing contains information about threats to our election integrity, which is still being covered up by the government. Voters and election officials have a right to know about these threats so they can take action to fix them. Having this information in the open is critically important, and the idea that releasing it "harmed America" is so absurd it's barely worth dignifying with a response.
The idea is so absurd that Reality's prosecutors are doing everything they can to avoid having to argue for it, because they would absolutely lose. Instead, they're trying to put Reality's politics on trial.
Read our full article on Reality's unjust prosecution here.
Reality's defense team intends to not only prove her innocence, but to turn the tables on this outrageously unjust prosecution, and put the Espionage Act on trial. We have the chance to permanently end this tactic, and to force the government to honor whistleblower protections, but only if we have the resources for the fight. We're up against the unlimited resources of Trump's justice department, and all we have is each other. Please donate today and help us win.

TAKE ACTION: Reality will be sitting in jail for another 5 months as she awaits trial. We need to let her know we have her back. Can you write her a letter of support? Visit StandWithReality.org for instructions on how to write her and let her know you're thinking of her!

art-bannerNew gallery of Reality's artwork onlineWe recently posted a gallery of Reality's drawing and paintings, including a few she's sent her mom from jail. Check it out here!
STAND WITH REALITY WINNER ~ PATRIOT & ALLEGED WHISTLEBLOWERc/o Courage to Resist, 484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland CA 94610 ~ 510-488-3559
standwithreality.org ~ facebook.com/standwithreality


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Please forward and distribute widely
The Fight to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
A Fight Against Racist U.S. Capitalism

Having finally been properly treated for Hepatitis-C, Mumia is now trying to show that his case was compromised by former Philadelphia District Attorney Ronald Castille, who was a judge of the PA Supreme Court during Mumia's appeals.
Throughout Mumia's appeals, Judge Castille refused to step down or recuse himself from Mumia's appeals, despite his role in prosecuting Mumia. Mumia has won "discovery" of documents that should demonstrate Judge Castille's role in framing him. 
If proven, this could overturn Mumia's negative appeals rulings, and open the case to new examination. But will the court allow this evidence to be brought forth? This is now in question!
This needs to be a mass struggle. Please join us for this effort...
The Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Invites you to attend:
Public Forums
Rachel Wolkenstein
Lawyer for Mumia from the beginning of his case. 
ALSO: Other speakers, and a special segment: solidarity with anti-fascist fighters.
San Francisco: 6:30 PM, 27th October 2017
Hastings Law School, 198 McAllister St, Room A
Co-sponsors for the SF forum: San Francisco Law  School Chapter,
and UC Hastings Chapter, National Lawyers Guild
Oakland:  7 PM, 28th October 2017
Niebyl Proctor Marxist Library, 6501 Telegraph Ave.
INITIAL ENDORSERS:
Workers World Party, Justice for Palestinians, Leonard Peltier Support Group, Transport Workers Solidarity Committee, Alameda County Peace and Freedom Party, Taking Aim, Socialist Viewpoint, Bay Area National Lawyers Guild, Mobilization To Free Mumia, Kiilu Nyasha

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Dr. Mustafa Barghouti Direct from Palestine
November 6 in Berkeley
The Middle East Children's Alliance Presents
Nobel Peace Prize Nominee
DR. MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI
Speaking on
100 Years after the Balfour Declaration:
The Anti-Colonial Struggle in Palestine
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 2017 – 7pm
First Congregational Church of Berkeley
2345 Channing Way @ Dana
(near downtown Berkeley BART)
Mustafa Barghouti is General Secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative & President of the Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees
Introduced by Professor Khalil Barhoum, Stanford University
$100 ticket includes seats reserved up front
If you want to avoid the service charge, tickets will be available soon directly from MECA; $15 tickets will be at local bookstores soon
Benefit for the Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees
Wheelchair Accessible
For info: 510-548-0542, meca@mecaforpeace.org
Cosponsored by KPFA 94.1 FM

Save the Dates
Joining Hands and MECA's Annual Palestinian Crafts Bazaar

Saturday, December 9 and Sunday, December 10 in Berkeley
Join us for another year of supporting Palestinian artisans and cooperatives! We will have beautiful crafts from Palestine, delicious Arabic food, and fun activities! 
Saturday, December 9, 10am-5pm
Sunday, December 10, 11am-3pm

More details coming soon!

21st Arab Film Festival Starts Today!

San Francisco Bay Area - October 13-22
Los Angeles - October 27-29

Info, Schedule, Programs, Tickets and More!

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Union Time: Film screening and director talk
Thursday, November 9, 2017, 6:00 - 8:00 P.M.
UC Berkeley Labor Center
2521 Channing Way, Berkeley

Union Time: Fighting for Workers' Rights tells the story of one of the greatest union victories of the 21st century—the fight to organize Smithfield Foods' pork processing plant in Tar Heel, North Carolina. From 1993 to 2008, workers struggled against dangerous working conditions, intimidation, and low pay. They were organized by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, whose "Justice for Smithfield Workers" campaign brought national attention to the plight of the plant workers. The victory led to the formation of UFCW Local 1208 and fair working conditions for 5,000 workers.










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Labor Studies and Radical History

4444 Geary Blvd., Suite 207, San Francisco, CA 94118

415.387.5700

http://www.holtlaborlibrary.org/mayday.html

Hours

(call 415.387.5700 to be sure the library is open for the hours you are interested in. We close the library sometimes to go on errands or have close early) suggested)

7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Closed on all major holidays and May Day 
We can arrange, by request, to keep the library open longer during the day or open it on weekends. Just ask.

Services

  • Reference Librarian On-site
  • Email and Telephone Reference
  • Interlibrary Loan
  • Online Public Access Catalog 
  • Microfilm Reader/Printer
  • DVD and VCR players
  • Photocopier
  • Quiet well-lighted place for study and research 
For an appointment or further information, please email: david [at] holtlaborlibrary.org 

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Support:




CONTRIBUTE 
Thank you for being a part of this struggle.

Cuando luchamos ganamos! When we fight we win!

Noelle Hanrahan, Director
Facebook
Twitter
Website
To give by check: 
PO Box 411074
San Francisco, CA
94141

Stock or legacy gifts:
Noelle Hanrahan
(415) 706 - 5222

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MEDIA ADVISORYMedia contact: Morgan McLeod, (202) 628-0871
mmcleod@sentencingproject.org
NEW REPORT FINDS RECORD NUMBER OF PEOPLE SERVING
LIFE SENTENCES IN U.S. PRISONS
Washington, D.C.— Despite recent political support for criminal justice reform in most states, the number of people serving life sentences has nearly quintupled since 1984. 

A new report by The Sentencing Project finds a record number of people serving life with parole, life without parole, and virtual life sentences of 50 years or more, equaling one of every seven people behind bars. 


Eight states  Alabama, California, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New York, and Utah  have at least one of every five prisoners serving a life or de facto life sentence in prison. 
The Sentencing Project will host an online press conference to discuss its report Still Life: America's Increasing Use of Life and Long-Term Sentences, on Wednesday, May 3rd at 11:00 a.m. EDT.   
Press Conference Details
WHAT: Online press conference hosted by The Sentencing Project regarding the release of its new report examining life and long-term sentences in the United States. REGISTER HERE to participate. The call-in information and conference link will be sent via email.  
WHEN: 
Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. EDT 
WHO: 
  • Ashley Nellis, The Sentencing Project's senior research analyst and author of Still Life: America's Increasing Use of Life and Long-Term Sentences
  • Evans Ray, whose life without parole sentence was commuted in 2016 by President Obama
  • Steve Zeidman, City University of New York law professor and counsel for Judith Clark—a New York prisoner who received a 75 year to life sentence in 1983
The full report will be available to press on Wednesday morning via email.

Founded in 1986, The Sentencing Project works for a fair and effective U.S. criminal justice system by promoting reforms in sentencing policy, addressing unjust racial disparities and practices, and advocating for alternatives to incarceration.

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SUPPORT THE RESISTANCE

Support the Resistance
Donate to Courage to Resist 

oct 2017 pdf newsletter

Thank you again for contributing to Chelsea Manning's freedom, and supporting war resisters like Ryan and Jenna Johnson. Now let's get some justice for Reality Winner!

Support the resistance. Donate to Courage to Resist today.

One year ago, I was asking folks such as yourself to donate, likely for a second or third
time, to Chelsea Manning's defense efforts. At the time, Chelsea continued to languish in the Fort Leavenworth military prison, facing down the remaining 27 years on her sentence for exposing war crimes and the reality of the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. After seven years of building support for Chelsea, and funding her legal teams, I wouldn't have blamed you for being skeptical that one more donation could lead to her release any time soon.
Yet, following former President Obama's last-minute commutation of Chelsea's sentence, she's again in the headlines. Not as a prisoner, but as a young woman travelling the country advocating for social justice—including being invited and disinvited to teach at Harvard just last week. Wow. Just wow.
Chelsea's trial attorney David Coombsrecently shared with us his insight on what happened:
"Because of our trial strategy, and more importantly because of the efforts outside of the courtroom in positively portraying Manning, the message was that [Chelsea] was not the type of person who deserves 35 years. Ultimately, even though a judge was not convinced of that, a President of the United States was. If not for the efforts of… the Manning Support Network and Courage to Resist, there's no way that a president would spend the political capital to grant a commutation."
In short, Chelsea Manning is free because people like yourself signed petitions, called the White House switchboard, marched in the streets, and gave money to her defense. Thank you!
Today, Courage to Resist is at it again. Again, we need your help.
We've taken up the fight to support whistleblower Reality Leigh Winner. A young woman facing the wrath of Trump's Justice Department for sharing a classified NSA report with the media that allegedly detailed how foreign agents were attempting to undermine the integrity of the 2016 US presidential election. Just out of the Air Force, she's being held without bail and faces 10 years in prison for attempting to alert US citizens to weaknesses in our election systems—and to hold President Trump accountable for addressing them.
This case may become the most substantial First Amendment challenge to the antiquated 100-year-old Espionage Act yet. With the Justice Department now regularly using the Espionage Act against whistleblowers—and not spies as was originally intended—US v. Winner can be expected to set significant legal precedents.
Reality and her team of attorneys are hopeful that they will be able to win her release on bail prior to her March 2018 scheduled trial in Augusta, Georgia.
Not all of our work makes national headlines. One example, that we're just now able to share, is the case of Iraq War resister Ryan Johnson. Ryan had been AWOL from the Army for over 11 years, after resisting deployment to Iraq. He spent much of that time living in Canada and organizing fellow war objectors. For personal reasons, Ryan returned to the United States, and to the US Army to resove his legal situation.
During Ryan's court martial, we agreed with Ryan's decision to downplay his history of activism, in the hopes of getting a shorter prison sentence. In this context, we were not able to raise significant funds for him by way of direct appeals. Regardless, we helped support his wife Jenna while Ryan was jailed at the Miramar Naval Brig near San Diego for much of last year. Recently, upon Ryan's release, we helped the two of them resettle in the Denver area, providing them with over $10,000 beyond what donors contributed directly to their earmarked support fund.
Support the resistance. Donate to Courage to Resist today.
Jeff Paterson
p.s. For up-to-date information about Reality Winner, and to donate to her defense online, visit standwithreality.org. To donate by check to Reality Winner's defense fund, send to Courage to Resist, 484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland CA 94610, and note "Reality Winner" on the memo line.
COURAGE TO RESIST ~ SUPPORT THE TROOPS WHO REFUSE TO FIGHT!
484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland, California 94610 ~ 510-488-3559
www.couragetoresist.org ~ facebook.com/couragetoresist



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When they knock on your front door: Preparing for Repression

BAY AREA ANTI-REPRESSION COMMITTEE

When they knock on your front door: Preparing for Repression
 BY 

Mothers Message to the NY/NJ Activist Community 

In order to effectively combat the existing opportunism, hidden agendas and to better provide ALL genuinely good willed social justice organizations and individuals who work inside of the New York and New Jersey metropolitan areas... with more concrete guidelines; 

The following "10 Point Platform and Justice Wish List" was adopted on Saturday, May 13, 2017    during the "Motherhood: Standing Strong 4 Justice" pre-mothers day gathering which was held     at Hostos Community College - Bronx, New York.......

"What We Want, What We Need" 

May, 2017 - NY/NJ Parents 10 Point Justice Platform and Wish List 

Point #1 - Lawyers and Legal Assistance:  Due to both the overwhelming case loads and impersonal nature of most public defenders, the Mothers believe that their families are receiving limited options, inadequate legal advise and therefore; WE WANT and NEED for community activists to help us in gaining access to experienced "pro-bono" and/or activist attorneys as well as the free resources provided by non-profit social justice and legal advocacy groups.

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Point #2 - First Response Teams: The Mothers felt that when their loved ones were either killed or captured by the police that they were left in the hands of the enemy and without any support, information or direction on how to best move forward and therefore; WE WANT and NEED community activists to help us develop independently community controlled & trained first response teams in every borough or county that can confirm and be on the ground within 24 hours of any future incident.

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Point #3 - Security and Support At Court Appearances: The Mothers all feel that because community activist support eventually becomes selective and minimal, that they are disrespected by both the courthouse authorities, mainstream media and therefore;   WE WANT and NEED community activists to collectively promote and make a strong presence felt at all court appearances and; To always provide trained security & legal observers... when the families are traveling to, inside and from the court house.

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Point #4 - Emotional/Spiritual Healing and Grief and Loss Counseling: After the protest rallies, demonstrations, justice marches and television cameras are gone the Mothers all feel alone and abandoned and therefore;                                                                             WE WANT and NEED for community activists to refer/help provide the families with clergy, professional therapy & cultural outlets needed in order to gain strength to move forward. 

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Point #5 -  Parents Internal Communication Network: The Mothers agreed as actual victims, that they are the very best qualified in regards to providing the needed empathy and trust for an independent hotline & contact resource for all of the parents and families who want to reach out to someone they can mutually trust that is able understand what they are going through and therefore;           WE WANT and NEED for community activists to help us in providing a Parents Internal Communication Network to reach that objective.

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Point #6 -  Community Offices and Meeting Spaces: The Mothers agreed that there is an extreme need for safe office spaces where community members and family victims are able to go to for both confidential crisis intervention and holding organizing meetings and therefore;                                                                                                                                                                                                 WE WANT and NEED for community activists to help us in securing those safe spaces inside of our own neighborhoods.   

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Point #7 - Political Education Classes and Workshop Training: The Mothers agreed in implementing the "each one, teach one"   strategy and therefore;                                                                                                                                                                                         WE WANT and NEEDfor community activists to help us in being trained as educators and organizers in Know Your Rights, Cop Watch, First Response, Emergency Preparedness & Community Control over all areas of public safety & the police in their respective neighborhoods.

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Point #8 - Support From Politicians and Elected Officials: The Mothers believe that most political candidates and incumbent elected officials selectively & unfairly represent only those cases which they think to be politically advantageous to their own selfish personal success on election day and therefore;                                                                                                                                WE WANT and NEED for community activists to help us in either publicly exposing or endorsing these aforementioned political candidates and/or elected officials to their constituents solely based upon the uncompromising principles of serving the people.

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Point #9 - Research and Documentation: The Mothers believe that research/case studies, surveys, petitions, historical archives, investigative news reporting and events should be documented and made readily available in order to counter the self-serving  police misinformation promoted by the system and therefore;                                                                                                                          WE WANT and NEED for community activists to help us by securing college/university students, law firms, film makers, authors, journalists and professional research firms to find, document & tell the people the truth about police terror & the pipeline to prison.

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Point #10 - Grassroots Community Outreach and Information: The Mothers believe that far too much attention is being geared towards TV camera sensationalism with the constant organizing of marches & rallies "downtown"  and therefore; WE WANT and NEED for community activists to provide a fair balance by helping us to build in the schools, projects, churches and inside of the subway trains and stations of our Black, brown and oppressed communities where the majority of the police terror is actually taking place. 



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Defying the Tomb: Selected Prison Writings and Art of Kevin "Rashid" Johnson featuring exchanges with an Outlaw Kindle Edition

by Kevin Rashid Johnson (Author), Tom Big Warrior (Introduction), Russell Maroon Shoatz(Introduction)

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Major Battles On
For over 31 years, Major Tillery has been a prisoner of the State.
Despite that extraordinary fact, he continues his battles, both in the prison for his health, and in the courts for his freedom.
Several weeks ago, Tillery filed a direct challenge to his criminal conviction, by arguing that a so-called "secret witness" was, in fact, a paid police informant who was given a get-out-of-jail-free card if he testified against Tillery.
Remember I mentioned, "paid?"
Well, yes--the witness was 'paid'--but not in dollars. He was paid in sex!
In the spring of 1984, Robert Mickens was facing decades in prison on rape and robbery charges. After he testified against Tillery, however, his 25-year sentence became 5 years: probation!
And before he testified he was given an hour and a ½ private visit with his girlfriend--at the Homicide Squad room at the Police Roundhouse. (Another such witness was given another sweetheart deal--lie on Major, and get off!)
To a prisoner, some things are more important than money. Like sex!
In a verified document written in April, 2016, Mickens declares that he lied at trial, after being coached by the DAs and detectives on the case.
He lied to get out of jail--and because he could get with his girl.
Other men have done more for less.
Major's 58-page Petition is a time machine back into a practice that was once common in Philadelphia.
In the 1980s and '90s, the Police Roundhouse had become a whorehouse.
Major, now facing serious health challenges from his hepatitis C infection, stubborn skin rashes, and dangerous intestinal disorders, is still battling.
And the fight ain't over.
[©'16 MAJ  6/29/16]
Major Tillery Needs Your Help and Support
Major Tillery is an innocent man. There was no evidence against Major Tillery for the 1976 poolroom shootings that left one man dead and another wounded. The surviving victim gave a statement to homicide detectives naming others—not Tillery or his co-defendant—as the shooters. Major wasn't charged until 1980, he was tried in 1985.
The only evidence at trial came from these jailhouse informants who were given sexual favors and plea deals for dozens of pending felonies for lying against Major Tillery. Both witnesses now declare their testimony was manufactured by the police and prosecution. Neither witness had personal knowledge of the shooting.
This is a case of prosecutorial misconduct and police corruption that goes to the deepest levels of rot in the Philadelphia criminal injustice system. Major Tillery deserves not just a new trial, but dismissal of the charges against him and his freedom from prison.
It cost a lot of money for Major Tillery to be able to file his new pro se PCRA petition and continue investigation to get more evidence of the state misconduct. He needs help to get lawyers to make sure this case is not ignored. Please contribute, now.

HOW YOU CAN HELP
    Financial Support: Tillery's investigation is ongoing, to get this case filed has been costly and he needs funds for a legal team to fight this to his freedom!
    Go to JPay.com;
    code: Major Tillery AM9786 PADOC
    Tell Philadelphia District Attorney
    Seth Williams:
    Free Major Tillery! He is an innocent man, framed by police and and prosecution.
    Call: 215-686-8711 or

    Write to:
    Major Tillery AM9786
    SCI Frackville
    1111 Altamont Blvd.
    Frackville, PA 17931

      For More Information, Go To: Justice4MajorTillery/blogspot
      Call/Write:
      Rachel Wolkenstein, Esq. (917) 689-4009RachelWolkenstein@gmail.com





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      Commute Kevin Cooper's Death Sentence

      Sign the Petition:
      http://www.savekevincooper.org/pages/petition.php


      Urge Gov. Jerry Brown to commute Kevin Cooper's death sentence. Cooper has always maintained his innocence of the 1983 quadruple murder of which he was convicted. In 2009, five federal judges signed a dissenting opinion warning that the State of California "may be about to execute an innocent man." Having exhausted his appeals in the US courts, Kevin Cooper's lawyers have turned to the Inter American Commission on Human Rights to seek remedy for what they maintain is his wrongful conviction, and the inadequate trial representation, prosecutorial misconduct and racial discrimination which have marked the case. Amnesty International opposes all executions, unconditionally.

      "The State of California may be about to execute an innocent man." - Judge William A. Fletcher, 2009 dissenting opinion on Kevin Cooper's case

      Kevin Cooper has been on death row in California for more than thirty years.

      In 1985, Cooper was convicted of the murder of a family and their house guest in Chino Hills. Sentenced to death, Cooper's trial took place in an atmosphere of racial hatred — for example, an effigy of a monkey in a noose with a sign reading "Hang the N*****!" was hung outside the venue of his preliminary hearing.

      Take action to see that Kevin Cooper's death sentence is commuted immediately.

      Cooper has consistently maintained his innocence.

      Following his trial, five federal judges said: "There is no way to say this politely. The district court failed to provide Cooper a fair hearing."

      Since 2004, a dozen federal appellate judges have indicated their doubts about his guilt.

      Tell California authorities: The death penalty carries the risk of irrevocable error. Kevin Cooper's sentence must be commuted.

      In 2009, Cooper came just eight hours shy of being executed for a crime that he may not have committed. Stand with me today in reminding the state of California that the death penalty is irreversible — Kevin Cooper's sentence must be commuted immediately.

      In solidarity,

      James Clark
      Senior Death Penalty Campaigner
      Amnesty International USA

        Kevin Cooper: An Innocent Victim of Racist Frame-Up - from the Fact Sheet at: www.freekevincooper.org

        Kevin Cooper is an African-American man who was wrongly convicted and sentenced to death in 1985 for the gruesome murders of a white family in Chino Hills, California: Doug and Peggy Ryen and their daughter Jessica and their house- guest Christopher Hughes. The Ryens' 8 year old son Josh, also attacked, was left for dead but survived.

        Convicted in an atmosphere of racial hatred in San Bernardino County CA, Kevin Cooper remains under a threat of imminent execution in San Quentin.  He has never received a fair hearing on his claim of innocence.  In a dissenting opinion in 2009, five federal judges of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals signed a 82 page dissenting opinion that begins: "The State of California may be about to execute an innocent man." 565 F.3d 581.

        There is significant evidence that exonerates Mr. Cooper and points toward other suspects:

          The coroner who investigated the Ryen murders concluded that the murders took four minutes at most and that the murder weapons were a hatchet, a long knife, an ice pick and perhaps a second knife. How could a single person, in four or fewer minutes, wield three or four weapons, and inflict over 140 wounds on five people, two of whom were adults (including a 200 pound ex-marine) who had loaded weapons near their bedsides?

          The sole surviving victim of the murders, Josh Ryen, told police and hospital staff within hours of the murders that the culprits were "three white men." Josh Ryen repeated this statement in the days following the crimes. When he twice saw Mr. Cooper's picture on TV as the suspected attacker, Josh Ryen said "that's not the man who did it."

          Josh Ryen's description of the killers was corroborated by two witnesses who were driving near the Ryens' home the night of the murders. They reported seeing three white men in a station wagon matching the description of the Ryens' car speeding away from the direction of the Ryens' home.

          These descriptions were corroborated by testimony of several employees and patrons of a bar close to the Ryens' home, who saw three white men enter the bar around midnight the night of the murders, two of whom were covered in blood, and one of whom was wearing coveralls.

          The identity of the real killers was further corroborated by a woman who, shortly after the murders were discovered, alerted the sheriff's department that her boyfriend, a convicted murderer, left blood-spattered coveralls at her home the night of the murders. She also reported that her boyfriend had been wearing a tan t-shirt matching a tan t-shirt with Doug Ryen's blood on it recovered near the bar. She also reported that her boyfriend owned a hatchet matching the one recovered near the scene of the crime, which she noted was missing in the days following the murders; it never reappeared; further, her sister saw that boyfriend and two other white men in a vehicle that could have been the Ryens' car on the night of the murders.

        Lacking a motive to ascribe to Mr. Cooper for the crimes, the prosecution claimed that Mr. Cooper, who had earlier walked away from custody at a minimum security prison, stole the Ryens' car to escape to Mexico. But the Ryens had left the keys in both their cars (which were parked in the driveway), so there was no need to kill them to steal their car. The prosecution also claimed that Mr. Cooper needed money, but money and credit cards were found untouched and in plain sight at the murder scene.

        The jury in 1985 deliberated for seven days before finding Mr. Cooper guilty. One juror later said that if there had been one less piece of evidence, the jury would not have voted to convict.

        The evidence the prosecution presented at trial tying Mr. Cooper to the crime scene has all been discredited…         (Continue reading this document at: http://www.savekevincooper.org/_new_freekevincooperdotorg/TEST/Scripts/DataLibraries/upload/KC_FactSheet_2014.pdf)

             This message from the Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal. July 2015


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        B. ARTICLES IN FULL


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        1)  U.S. Stood by as Indonesia Killed a Half-Million People, Papers Show
        "In 2015, Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico reintroduced a resolution in the Senate calling for Indonesia to face up to its traumatic history. He also held the United States to account for its "military and financial support" there, which included providing lists of possible leftist sympathizers to the Indonesian government and, as one cable released Tuesday showed, pushing to bury foreign news coverage of the killings."
         OCT. 18, 2017
        https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/18/world/asia/indonesia-cables-communist-massacres.html?hp&action=
        click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region&region=
        top-news&WT.nav=top-news


        BANGKOK — It was an anti-Communist blood bath of at least half a million Indonesians. And American officials watched it happen without raising any public objections, at times even applauding the forces behind the killing, according to newly declassified State Department files that show diplomats meticulously documenting the purge in 1965-66.
        In one of the documentsreleased on Tuesday, an American political affairs counselor describes how Indonesian officials dealt with prisons overflowing with suspected members of the Indonesian Communist Party, known by the acronym P.K.I.
        "Many provinces appear to be successfully meeting this problem by executing their P.K.I. prisoners, or by killing them before they are captured," said the cable sent in 1965 from the American Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia's capital, to the State Department.
        Another cable describes how clerics from an influential Muslim organization in Indonesia advised their flocks that atheist "P.K.I. members are classified as lowest order of infidel, the shedding of whose blood is comparable to killing a chicken."
        The level of detail in the cables helps fill out a picture, outlined by previous declassifications of documents, relating to how an anti-American leader in Indonesia was deposed by the military amid mass extrajudicial executions.
        "We knew about these things more generally, but it's great to have this information in black and white so it's not just based on oral interviews with victims," said John Roosa, an associate professor of history at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and author of a book on the events of 1965. "The U.S. was following what was happening very closely, and if it weren't for its support, you could argue that the army would never have felt the confidence to take power."
        The Indonesian slaughter took place at a time when Southeast Asia, still emerging from colonialism, was energized by socialist ideology.
        The United States already had boots on the ground in Vietnam. Indonesia, then led by President Sukarno and home to one of the world's largest Communist parties, was seen by Washington as the next domino that could fall.
        When a group of hard-line generals blamed Communist Party operatives for a failed coup attempt in 1965, with China accused as a mastermind, Washington did little to challenge that narrative.
        The United States government largely stayed silent as the death toll mounted at the hands of the Indonesian Army, paramilitaries and religious mobs. The extrajudicial killings spread beyond suspected Communists to target ethnic Chinese, students, union members and anyone who might have personal feuds with the hit men. Tens of thousands of others were thrown into tropical gulags.
        Eventually, President Sukarno, with his anti-American talk and socialist sympathies, was replaced by Suharto, a general who held power for 32 years, instituting a policy he called the New Order to reinvigorate the economy through foreign aid and investment.
        Another of the newly released cables shows how the American Embassy in Jakarta made clear that any aid from the United States was contingent on Sukarno's being removed from power. Upon Suharto's ascension in March 1966, that American aid began to flow.
        In some of the cables, American diplomats exulted in the abrupt political transition, even as they noted the rising body count. One file refers to the political changes as a "fantastic switch."
        The Indonesian military, which still wields considerable power today, has tried to blame the orgy of violence on a public furious with the excesses of the Communist Party, absolving itself of direct culpability.
        But the cables indicate how members of the American foreign service, at least, held the military directly responsible for some of the deaths. One cable alleges that Suharto gave the orders for certain mass executions.
        In 2015, Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico reintroduced a resolution in the Senate calling for Indonesia to face up to its traumatic history. He also held the United States to account for its "military and financial support" there, which included providing lists of possible leftist sympathizers to the Indonesian government and, as one cable released Tuesday showed, pushing to bury foreign news coverage of the killings.
        The legacy of the massacre continues to divide Indonesia. For decades, under Suharto's rule, Indonesians dared not call for justice. Even after he was deposed in 1998, there was little effort to set up an Indonesian form of a truth and reconciliation commission.
        But in part after the filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer released a documentary in 2012 called "The Act of Killing," chronicling the life of an unrepentant hit man in the purge, members of Indonesian society began to delve into its history.
        Joko Widodo, the Indonesian president, has talked about the need to address past human rights violations.
        Still, there are limits to how far Indonesia is willing to go. Nursyahbani Katjasungkana, a human rights lawyer, helped convene an international people's tribunal on the killings at The Hague in 2015. (The court had no real authority beyond an airing of testimony, but it held the Indonesian government responsible for crimes against humanity and accused the United States, Britain and Australia of complicity.)
        But in recent months, conservative groups have rekindled anti-Communist sensibilities in Indonesia. Efforts last month to organize screenings of Mr. Oppenheimer's second documentary, "The Look of Silence," were restricted by a military directive. A mob gathered around a building where Ms. Katjasungkana and others were believed to be gathering to talk about the violence.
        "I just hope these new documents will encourage the Indonesian government to be more open and stop the state denial that the military was involved in these atrocities," she said. "Hopefully, America will also admit its involvement."
        Jusuf Wanandi is a Chinese-Indonesian who supported Suharto for decades, even if he grew disillusioned with his strongman-like leadership. Unlike many of Suharto's former acolytes, Mr. Wanandi admits that the events of 1965-66 spiraled out of control.
        Yet even he advised patience.
        "It is impossible to move forward because emotions are still raw," Mr. Wanandi said. "We need some more time."

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        2)  Rohingya Refugees Fleeing Myanmar Await Entrance to Squalid Camps
         OCT. 18, 2017
        https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/18/world/asia/rohingya-refugees-myanmar.html?rref=
        collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fworld&action=click&contentCollection=world&region=rank&module=
        package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=sectionfront


        Nearly two months after Muslim Rohingya began fleeing a military-led campaign of violence in western Myanmar, thousands of refugees continue to mass on the Bangladesh border, seeking the relative safety of squalid, muddy camps.
        An estimated 582,000 Rohingya have fled into Bangladesh since Aug. 25, when the military began a wave of rape, killing and village burning following attacks on security posts by a Rohingya militant group. The United Nations high commissioner for human rights has called the campaign a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing."
        Drone footage released by the United Nations refugee agency Tuesday shows thousands of Rohingya crowded on embankments just inside Bangladesh, where they gathered while waiting to move to camps that have swollen with refugees in recent weeks.
        Since Sunday, 10,000 to 15,000 Rohingya have crossed into Bangladesh at Anjuman Para, Andrej Mahecic, a spokesman for the United Nations high commissioner for refugees, said Tuesday. As they waited to enter camps in Bangladesh, gunfire could still be heard from the Myanmar side of the border, he said.
        Myanmar's government has said Rohingya have burned their own villages. But human rights groups say that explanation defies logic.
        An Amnesty International report issued Wednesday said the pattern of burning "is deliberate, organized, widespread, consistent over time and across northern Rakhine State, and targeted at Rohingya homes and other structures."
        The report, which is based on interviews with 120 refugees, said witnesses "indicate that in some instances burnings were clearly orchestrated and planned in advance by the military and local government authorities."
        Refugees continue to surge into Bangladesh one month after Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the de facto leader of Myanmar, said the government was prepared to welcome back those who had fled.
        But refugee accounts and surveys of village destruction indicate the military and aligned vigilante groups are still trying to force the Rohingya from the country.
        Human Rights Watch said Tuesday that analysis of satellite photos of 288 burned villages shows that at least 66 and possibly as many as 100 were attacked after Sept. 5, which Aung San Suu Kyi said was the end of the security clearance campaign in Rakhine state.
        "We don't believe those operations did stop," said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch. "The narrative pushed by the military and Aung San Suu Kyi on the clearance operations is patently false."
        Refugees told U.N. refugee agency workers at the border this week that they had initially tried to stay, but fled after their villages were burned. They walked for about a week to reach the border.
        About 1 million Rohingya lived in Rakhine State in western Myanmar before the latest exodus. The latest estimates of arrivals to Bangladesh means more than half have fled their homes. Among those who remain in northern Rakhine are Rohingya who are trapped in isolated villages and cannot escape without passing by hostile communities of ethnic Rakhine.
        The Rohingya are members of a predominantly Muslim ethnic group that have long faced discrimination and loss of basic rights in Myanmar, a majority Buddhist nation.
        Rohingya who live near Sittwe, the provincial capital in central Rakhine, are largely interned in camps, with far less ability to flee. Ethnic Rakhine groups have blocked the shipment of aid to the internment camps in central Rakhine, adding to the misery there.
        While those who have made it to Bangladesh are able to escape the violence of Rakhine, they face other dangers. Refugees are crowded into muddy camps where they face a risk of disease in the unsanitary conditions. The World Health Organization said on Oct. 10 that more than 10,000 cases of diarrhea had been reported among refugees in Bangladesh over the previous week, raising concerns about the threat of a deadly cholera outbreak.
        Bangladesh's Ministry of Health has begun a campaign to deliver 900,000 doses of cholera vaccine in the camps, one of the largest ever such efforts.

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        3)  Women Denounce Harassment in California's Capital
         OCT. 17, 2017
        https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/17/us/california-women-sexual-harassment-sacramento.html?rref=
        collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fus&action=click&contentCollection=us&region=rank&module=
        package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=2&pgtype=sectionfront


        LOS ANGELES — The groundswell over sexual harassment that has rocked Hollywood moved into California's capital on Tuesday as more than 140 women — including legislators, senior legislative aides and lobbyists — came forward to denounce what they describe as pervasive sexual misconduct by powerful men in the nation's most influential legislature.
        Women complained of groping, lewd comments and suggestions of trading sexual favors for legislation while doing business in Sacramento. Their grievances, contained in a public letter and detailed in a series of interviews, mark the latest fallout from the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse scandal.
        The women who drafted the letter say they were flooded with anguished responses from women who reported enduring, or witnessing, sexual harassment from male legislators, aides and lobbyists, after they began circulating their statement in recent days.
        The letter comes as the scandal involving Mr. Weinstein had set off a wave of investigations, recriminations and accusations across the nation, including in state capitals in Rhode Island and South Dakota. Women from all walks of life — from actresses to corporate leaders — have used social media to report instances of abuse, often marked #metoo.
        "As women leaders in politics, in a state that postures itself as a leader in justice and equality, you might assume our experience has been different," the letter said. "It has not. Each of us has endured, or witnessed or worked with women who have experienced some form of dehumanizing behavior by men in power in our workplaces."
        "Men have groped and touched us without our consent, made inappropriate comments about our bodies and our abilities," the letter said, adding: "Why didn't we speak out? Sometimes out of fear. Sometimes out of shame. Often these men hold our professional fates in their hands."
        The California legislature has set the national agenda on a variety of issues, including the environment, immigration and taxes. Although the state has produced a number of powerful female politicians, about 80 percent of the legislature is male.
        Cristina Garcia, a Democratic member of the state Assembly who signed the letter, said Tuesday she has been routinely accosted by men who harassed her and made comments about her appearance while she was trying to discuss legislation
        "Multiple people have grabbed my butt and grabbed my breasts," she said. "We're talking about senior lobbyists and lawmakers."
        Ms. Garcia, and the other women who came forward, did not name the lobbyists or lawmakers involved in the encounters. The letter was first published in The Los Angeles Times on Tuesday morning.
        Pamela Lopez, a partner at a Sacramento lobbying firm, said that for years she has dealt with inappropriate suggestions from male officials, but the most disturbing episode came early last year, at a social gathering of lawmakers and lobbyists in a Sacramento bar.
        As Ms. Lopez walked into the restroom, she said, she felt a large body pressing behind her. When she turned around, she saw that a lawmaker had locked the door behind him, had undone his pants and asked her to touch his genitals.
        "He had exposed himself and begun masturbating," she said. "All I was thinking was what do I do, what do I do. And of course, I didn't want to cause a scene."
        "I said, 'No, I am not going to touch you,' " she said. "I was firm and clear but I did not want to make a scene and he continued to masturbate and he kind of moved toward me and said, 'Just put your hand on me.' I said no."
        Karen Skelton, a political strategist and lawyer in Sacramento who signed the letter, said she experienced harassment firsthand when she was hired by a Fortune 500 company six years ago to run a campaign on behalf of a major legislative initiative. Her job included dealing with an elected California official involved with the issue.
        "This guy did things to me like touch my leg under the table at lunch and brush back my hair over my shoulder and sending me texts at 1 in the morning asking where I was," she said, declining to name him. "I felt creeped out. I'm a big girl. I can deal with it. What if I had been 22, someone new to this, who needed to support their family?"
        There has been a long and notorious history of sexual misconduct in state houses and Congress going back over at least the past 50 years. Many state Capitols are famous for being old boys' clubs. Many, including the one in Sacramento, are in relatively isolated parts of the state, away from family, friends and onlookers, in a culture marked by late-night dinners and drinking.
        Albany, the New York capital, has had an outsize reputation for sexual misbehavior, exemplified by an episode in 2012 in which Assemblyman Vito J. Lopez, a powerful Brooklyn Democrat, was found to have sexually harassed female staff members. The leader of the State Assembly at the time, Sheldon Silver, was harshly criticized for keeping Mr. Lopez's behavior, and financial settlements to victims, secret, perhaps allowing additional women to be abused. Mr. Lopez resigned in 2013, and the Assembly enacted a series of reforms, including mandatory reporting of any complaint of sexual harassment, an independent investigator and a ban on confidential settlements.
        Christine Pelosi, a signer of the letter who is the leader of the California Democratic Women's Caucus, said that legislators "act differently in Sacramento — which is almost fantasy camp — as opposed to how they act as home.".
        Anthony Rendon, the speaker of the California State Assembly, said he did not think the Assembly ethics committee, which handles charges of sexual misconduct, could launch an investigation based on the letter, because it did not mention any names of offenders. He said the Assembly had created a committee in August to establish new rules aimed at cracking down on sexual harassment or intimidation.
        "The letter shows that sexual harassment is as prevalent in the Capitol as it is anywhere else in society," Mr. Rendon said.
        Samantha Corbin, a lobbyist and former legislative aide who helped organize the drive, said many of the California women who signed the letter had overcome fears of retaliation, emboldened by the women who related their stories about Mr. Weinstein in stories published by The New York Times and The New Yorker.
        She said until now women had routinely engaged on quiet rescue missions to help women caught what she described as predatory situations while working in lawmakers' offices.
        "We give each other tips on how to avoid certain situation – who might exercise predatory behavior," she said.
        "You are talking about power brokers in the largest state in the country," she said.
        Ms. Pelosi, who is the daughter of Nancy Pelosi, the minority leader of the House of Representatives, said it was difficult for many of the women to sign the letter. "I understand the courage of these women – Republicans and Democrats – coming forward. It is very, very, very hard."
        Kevin de Leon, the president of the state Senate, issued a statement saying he applauded "the courage of women working in and around the Capitol who are coming forward and making their voices known."
        Mr. de Leon, who announced this week he was running for the Senate, did not say whether he was aware of these kinds of episodes and did not return a request for comment.
        Scott Wiener, a newly elected member of the state Senate, said he had been struck by the culture he had found since coming to Sacramento. "The kind of sexism and misogynism that is pervasive in our culture is definitely prevalent in Sacramento," Mr. Wiener said.
        New allegations of harassment have emerged in other states in recent days, too. Teresa Tanzi, a Democratic state representative in Rhode Island, said on Tuesday that a male lawmaker who outranked her once told her "that if I want to see my bills advance, there was one thing I could do to make that happen."
        "It was stated very matter of factly that if I would have sex with this person, it would increase the likelihood of my bills passing," Ms. Tanzi said in an interview, although she declined to name the lawmaker or specify when the comment was made.
        And in South Dakota, Angie Buhl O'Donnell, a former state senator, published a Facebook post last week accusing a legislative colleague of sexually harassing her after a 2016 charity dodgeball game in Pierre, the state capital.

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        4)  Brooklyn Judge Seeks to Examine Prevalence of Police Lying
         OCT. 17, 2017
        https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/17/nyregion/brooklyn-judge-police-perjury-nypd.html?rref=
        collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fnyregion&action=click&contentCollection=nyregion&region=
        stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=3&pgtype=sectionfront


        A federal judge in Brooklyn has told the city to prepare for a court hearing regarding the prevalence of lying by New York City police officers and whether the New York Police Department has done too little to discipline officers who testify falsely.
        For years, federal judges in New York City have been issuing rulings in individual criminal cases casting doubt on the credibility of some police testimony. But the opinion issued on Tuesday by Judge Jack B. Weinstein of Federal District Court in Brooklyn may signal a broader judicial inquiry into police perjury.
        In interviews, lawyers and experts on policing in New York were unaware of any recent decisions like Judge Weinstein's.
        In his decision on Tuesday, Judge Weinstein did not make any determination himself about the extent of police lying. But he cited a number of newspaper articles in recent years about accusations of false statements and perjury by the police.
        Moreover, Judge Weinstein suggested that giving a jury the question of whether the department has permitted widespread police perjury could prompt important reforms. "It may indicate the need for more careful tracking of individual police officer's litigation history and a more effective discipline policy to avoid repeated lying by a number of officers," his ruling stated.
        Judge Weinstein's decision came in a routine case, involving a lawsuit brought by a 59-year-old bodega cashier, Hector Cordero, who was arrested on Oct. 24, 2014, and charged with drug dealing on slight evidence. Plainclothes officers from the 83rd Precinct in Bushwick, Brooklyn, claimed to have seen a man walk out of the bodega where Mr. Cordero worked and sell two bags of drugs to a man waiting outside. The dealer then re-entered the bodega, according to the police account. The officers arrested the man they described as the purchaser, but there was some initial difficulty finding the dealer, according to the officers' accounts, which were summarized in the decision.
        Officers who initially went inside the bodega left after being unable to identify the suspect, according to the court decision handed down Tuesday. A little later, however, officers arrest Mr. Cordero, the cashier, and accused him of being the dealer.
        Mr. Cordero, who was a police officer in the Dominican Republic before immigrating to the United States, had no criminal record. A co-worker testified that he could not have been the drug dealer, as he was in the store during the period in question. No drugs were found on him during a strip search that Mr. Cordero said involved him taking off his underwear. Eventually the charges against him were dropped.
        In his lawsuit against the police, Mr. Cordero accused the officers of arresting him because they wanted to make the overtime pay that ensued from an arrest near the end of their shift. In his decision, Judge Weinstein noted that one of the officers involved in arresting Mr. Cordero, Hugo Hugasian, had previously been suspended from the force for 60 days and required to pay $1,203.74 in restitution for claiming overtime pay for hours he did not work. And Judge Weinstein noted that officers were paid at least 22 hours of overtime for the arrests of Mr. Cordero and the other man outside the bodega.
        In the ruling, Judge Weinstein said that after holding a trial on Mr. Cordero's case early next year, he would, if Mr. Cordero proved his case, hold a second proceeding — to examine the prevalence of police lying and whether false arrests were being carried out to generate overtime. That second hearing, Judge Weinstein said, would focus on whether the Police Department has a policy of not taking "reasonable steps to control lying by police officers."
        In a statement, Nicholas Paolucci, a spokesman for the city's Law Department, downplayed the significance of Judge Weinstein's decision. Mr. Paolucci also said that the arrest of Mr. Cordero was "supported by probable cause and that there is no evidence to support any legal claim against the City of New York."
        Gabriel Harvis, a lawyer for Mr. Cordero, said that Judge Weinstein's ruling set the stage for the biggest challenge to unconstitutional policing practices in New York City since a trial in 2013 over the department's overreliance on stop-and-frisk tactics.
        Mr. Harvis said that he intended to call as witnesses high-ranking police officials, though he noted that he also remained open to settlement offers from the city before trial.

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        5) Blood and Beauty on a Texas Exotic-Game Ranch







        A giraffe named Buttercup moved closer to Buck Watson, a hunting guide, as he looks on from a vehicle at the Ox Ranch in Uvalde, Tex.CreditDaniel Berehulak for The New York Times 
        'We humans are at a turning point. There is no doubt that we have survived as a species by consuming other living beings. But to hunt animals for fun and profit, that's an entirely different story. We no longer have to hunt to eat. And, we have already begun to grow real meat in a laboratory. It's not impossible to envision a time when eating real animals is no longer necessary. It's a choice that we, as a communal society, could make in an economic system NOT driven by the profit motive—where the well being of each is dependent on the well being of all. Can you/we imagine?' —Bonnie Weinstein, my comment to the New York Times.

        UVALDE, Tex. — On a ranch at the southwestern edge of the Texas Hill Country, a hunting guide spotted her cooling off in the shade: an African reticulated giraffe. Such is the curious state of modern Texas ranching, that a giraffe among the oak and the mesquite is an everyday sort of thing.
        “That’s Buttercup,” said the guide, Buck Watson, 54.
        In a place of rare creatures, Buttercup is among the rarest; she is off limits to hunters at the Ox Ranch. Not so the African bongo antelope, one of the world’s heaviest and most striking spiral-horned antelopes, which roams the same countryside as Buttercup. The price to kill a bongo at the Ox Ranch is $35,000.
        Himalayan tahrs, wild goats with a bushy lion-style mane, are far cheaper. The trophy fee, or kill fee, to shoot one is $7,500. An Arabian oryx is $9,500; a sitatunga antelope, $12,000; and a black wildebeest, $15,000.
        “We don’t hunt giraffes,” Mr. Watson said. “Buttercup will live out her days here, letting people take pictures of her. She can walk around and graze off the trees as if she was in Africa.”
        The Ox Ranch near Uvalde, Tex., is not quite a zoo, and not quite an animal shooting range, but something in between.
        The ranch’s hunting guides and managers walk a thin, controversial line between caring for thousands of rare, threatened and endangered animals and helping to execute them. Some see the ranch as a place for sport and conservation. Some see it as a place for slaughter and hypocrisy.
        The Ox Ranch provides a glimpse into the future of the mythic Texas range — equal parts exotic game-hunting retreat, upscale outdoor adventure, and breeding and killing ground for exotic species.
        Ranchers in the nation’s top cattle-raising state have been transforming pasture land into something out of an African safari, largely to lure trophy hunters who pay top-dollar kill fees to hunt exotics. Zebra mares forage here near African impala antelopes, and it is easy to forget that downtown San Antonio is only two hours to the east.
        The ranch has about 30 bongo, the African antelopes with a trophy fee of $35,000. Last fall, a hunter shot one. “Taking one paid their feed bill for the entire year, for the rest of them,” said Jason Molitor, the chief executive of the Ox Ranch.
        To many animal-protection groups, such management of rare and endangered species — breeding some, preventing some from being hunted, while allowing the killing of others — is not only repulsive, but puts hunting ranches in a legal and ethical gray area.
        “Depending on what facility it is, there’s concern when animals are raised solely for profit purposes,” said Anna Frostic, a senior attorney with the Humane Society of the United States.
        Hunting advocates disagree and say the breeding and hunting of exotic animals helps ensure species’ survival. Exotic-game ranches see themselves not as an enemy of wildlife conservation but as an ally, arguing that they contribute a percentage of their profits to conservation efforts.
        “We love the animals, and that’s why we hunt them,” Mr. Molitor said. “Most hunters in general are more in line with conservation than the public believes that they are.”
        Beyond the financial contributions, hunting ranches and their supporters say the blending of commerce and conservation helps save species from extinction.
        Wildlife experts said there are more blackbuck antelope in Texas than there are in their native India because of the hunting ranches. In addition, Texas ranchers have in the past sent exotic animals, including scimitar-horned oryx, back to their home countries to build up wild populations there.
        “Ranchers can sell these hunts and enjoy the income, while doing good for the species,” said John M. Tomecek, a wildlife specialist with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.
        Animal-rights activists are outraged by these ranches. They call what goes on there “canned hunting” or “captive hunting.’’
        “Hunting has absolutely nothing to do with conservation,” said Ashley Byrne, the associate director of campaigns for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. “What they’re doing is trying to put a better spin on a business that they know the average person finds despicable.”
        A 2007 report from Texas A&M University called the exotic wildlife industry in America a billion-dollar industry.
        At the Ox Ranch, it shows. The ranch has luxury log cabins, a runway for private planes and a 6,000-square-foot lodge with stone fireplaces and vaulted ceilings. More animals roam its 18,000 acres than roam the Houston Zoo, on a tract of land bigger than the island of Manhattan. The ranch is named for its owner, Brent C. Oxley, 34, the founder of HostGator.com, a web hosting provider that was sold in 2012 for more than $200 million.
        “The owner hopes in a few years that we can break even,” Mr. Molitor said.
        Because the industry is largely unregulated, there is no official census of exotic animals in Texas. But ranchers and wildlife experts said that Texas has more exotics than any other state. A survey by the state Parks and Wildlife Department in 1994 put the exotic population at more than 195,000 animals from 87 species, but the industry has grown explosively since then; one estimate by John T. Baccus, a retired Texas State University biologist, puts the current total at roughly 1.3 million.
        The Ox Ranch needs no local, state or federal permit for most of their exotic animals.
        State hunting regulations do not apply to exotics, which can be hunted year-round. The Fish and Wildlife Service allows ranches to hunt and kill certain animals that are federally designated as threatened or endangered species, if the ranches take certain steps, including donating 10 percent of their hunting proceeds to conservation programs.
        The ranches are also issued permits to conduct activities that would otherwise be prohibited under the Endangered Species Act if those activities enhance the survival of the species in the wild. Those federal permits make it legal to hunt Eld’s deer and other threatened or endangered species at the Ox Ranch.
        Mr. Molitor said more government oversight was unnecessary and would drive ranchers out of the business. “I ask people, who do you think is going to manage it better, private organizations or the government?” Mr. Molitor said.
        Lawyers for conservation and animal-protection groups say that allowing endangered animals to be hunted undermines the Endangered Species Act, and that the ranches’ financial contributions fail to benefit wildlife conservation.
        “We ended up with this sort of pay-to-play idea,” said Tanya Sanerib, a senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity. “It is absolutely absurd that you can go to a canned-hunt facility and kill an endangered or threatened species.”
        The creatures are not the only things at the ranch that are exotic. The tanks are, too.
        The ranch offers its guests the opportunity to drive and shoot World War II-era tanks. People fire at bullet-ridden cars from atop an American M4 Sherman tank at a shooting range built to resemble a Nazi-occupied French town.
        “We knew the gun people would come out,” said Todd DeGidio, the chief executive of DriveTanks.com, which runs the tank operation. “What surprised us was the demographic of people who’ve never shot guns before.”
        Late one evening, two hunters, Joan Schaan and her 15-year-old son, Daniel, rushed to get ready for a nighttime hunt, adjusting the SWAT-style night-vision goggles on their heads.
        Ms. Schaan is the executive director of a private foundation in Houston. Daniel is a sophomore at St. John’s School, a prestigious private school. They were there not for the exotics, but basically for the pests: feral hogs, which cause hundreds of millions of dollars in damage annually in Texas.
        “We are here because we both like to hunt, and we like hunting hogs,” Ms. Schaan said. “And we love the meat and the sausage from the hogs we harvest.”
        Pursuing the hogs, Ms. Schaan and her son go off-roading through the brush in near-total darkness, with a hunting guide behind the wheel. Aided by their night-vision goggles, they passed by the giraffes before rattling up and down the hilly terrain.
        Daniel fired at hogs from the passenger seat with a SIG Sauer 516 rifle, his spent shell casings flying into the back seat. Their guide, Larry Hromadka, told Daniel when he could and could not take a shot.
        No one is allowed to hunt at the ranch without a guide. The guides make sure no one shoots an exotic animal accidentally with a stray bullet, and that no one takes aim at an off-limits creature.
        One of the hogs Daniel shot twitched and appeared to still be alive, until Mr. Hromadka approached with his light and his gun.
        Hundreds of animals shot at the ranch have ended up in the cluttered workrooms and showrooms at Graves Taxidermy in Uvalde.
        Part of the allure of exotic game-hunting is the so-called trophy at the end — the mounted and lifelike head of the animal that the hunter put down. The Ox Ranch is Graves Taxidermy’s biggest customer.
        “My main business, of course, is white-tailed deer, but the exotics have kind of taken over,” said Browder Graves, the owner.
        He said the animal mounts he makes for people were not so much a trophy on a wall as a symbol of the hunter’s memories of the entire experience. He has a mount of a Himalayan tahr he shot in New Zealand that he said he cannot look at without thinking of the time he spent with his son hunting up in the mountains.
        “It’s God’s creature,” he said. “I’m trying to make it look as good as it can.”
        Small herds passed by the Jeep being driven by Mr. Watson, the hunting guide. There were white elk and eland, impala and Arabian oryx.
        Then the tour came to an unexpected stop. An Asiatic water buffalo blocked the road, unimpressed by the Jeep. The animal was caked with dried mud, an aging male that lived away from the herd.
        “The Africans call them dugaboys,” Mr. Watson said. “They’re old lone bulls. They’re so big that they don’t care.”
        The buffalo took his time moving. For a moment, at least, he had all the power.

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        6) ‘Drug Dealers in Lab Coats’
        "You get 15 people hooked on opioids, and you’re a thug who deserves to rot in hell; you get 150,000 people hooked, and you’re a marketing genius who deserves a huge bonus."
        By Nicholas Kristof, Oct. 18, 2017
        https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/18/opinion/opioid-pharmaceutical-addiction-pain.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-left-region&region=opinion-c-col-left-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-left-region



        For decades, America has waged an ineffective war on drug pushers and drug lords, from Bronx street corners to Medellin, Colombia, regarding them as among the most contemptible specimens of humanity.
        One reason our efforts have failed is we ignored the biggest drug pushers of all: American pharmaceutical companies.
        Our policy was: You get 15 people hooked on opioids, and you’re a thug who deserves to rot in hell; you get 150,000 people hooked, and you’re a marketing genius who deserves a huge bonus.
        Big Pharma should be writhing in embarrassment this week after The Washington Post and “60 Minutes” reported that pharmaceutical lobbyists had manipulated Congress to hamstring the Drug Enforcement Administration. But the abuse goes far beyond that: The industry systematically manipulated the entire country for 25 years, and its executives are responsible for many of the 64,000 deaths of Americans last year from drugs — more than the number of Americans who died in the Vietnam and Iraq wars combined.
        The opioid crisis unfolded because greedy people — Latin drug lords and American pharma executives alike — lost their humanity when they saw the astounding profits that could be made.
        It used to be in America that people became addicted to opioids through illegal drugs. In the 1960s, for example, 80 percent of Americans hooked on opioids began with heroin.
        That has completely changed. Today, 75 percent of people with opioid addictions began with prescription painkillers. The slide starts not on a street corner, but in a doctor’s office.
        That’s because pharmaceutical companies in the 1990s sought to promote opioid painkillers as new blockbuster drugs. Company executives accused doctors of often undertreating pain (there was something to this, but pharma executives contrived to turn it into a crisis that they could monetize). The companies backed front organizations like the American Pain Foundation, which purported to speak on behalf of suffering patients.
        These front organizations, as well as professionals sometimes funded by the pharmaceutical industry, heralded pain as the “fifth vital sign,” along with pulse, temperature, respiratory rate and blood pressure. The opioid promoters hailed opioids as “safe and effective,” and they particularly encouraged opioids for returning veterans — one reason so many veterans have suffered addictions.
        Pharma companies spent heavily advertising opioids — $14 million in medical journals in 2011 alone, almost triple what they had spent in 2001 and pitched them for a wide range of chronic pains, such as arthritis and back pain.
        Companies even argued that signs of addiction were a reason to prescribe more opioids. Endo Pharmaceuticals distributed a book suggesting that when a patient showed strange behavior, “the clinician’s first response” should be to increase the dose of opioids.
        Several of these examples come from a lawsuit by Ohio against major pharmaceutical companies, including Purdue, Teva, Cephalon, Johnson & Johnson and Janssen. A company affiliated with Purdue pleaded guilty of felony fraud in connection with its marketing of OxyContin, but none of its executives went to prison.
        Drug companies employed roughly the same strategy as street-corner pushers: Get somebody hooked and business will take care of itself. So last year, Americans received 236 million opioid prescriptions — that’s about one bottle for every adult.
        A Senate investigation found that one company, Insys Therapeutics, successfully redirected a powerful opioid called Subsys, meant for cancer pain, to patients without cancer. Sarah Fuller, a woman with neck and back pain, was prescribed Subsys by her doctor, who received payments from Insys.
        Fuller died of an overdose of Subsys.
        Meanwhile, Insys had the best-performing initial public offering in 2013, and revenue tripled in the next two years, the Senate report said. Likewise, the Sackler family, owner of the company that makes OxyContin, joined Forbes’s list of richest American families in 2015, with $14 billion.
        It’s maddening that the public narrative is still often about an opioid crisis fueled by the personal weakness and irresponsibility of users. No, it’s fueled primarily by the greed and irresponsibility of drug lords — including the kind who inhabit executive suites. The Washington Post quoted a former D.E.A. official as referring to pharmaceutical company representatives as “drug dealers in lab coats.”
        I was invited the other day to a gala honoring the C.E.O. of one of these pharma companies for his moral leadership. I wanted to throw up. Since 2000, more than 200,000 Americans have died from overdoses of prescription opioids — the consequence of a deliberate strategy to make money by ignoring public welfare.
        Our pattern of opioid addiction points to a tragedy, driven by the greed of some of America’s leading companies and business executives, systematically manipulating doctors and patients and killing people on a scale that terrorists could never dream of.
        There’s a lot of talk in the Trump administration about lifting regulations to free up the dynamism of corporations. Really? You want to see the consequences of unfettered pharma? Go visit a cemetery.


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        7)  Spain Sets Stage to Take Control of Catalonia in Independence Fight






        BARCELONA, Spain — The standoff over Catalonia intensified significantly on Thursday as the Spanish government said it would take emergency measures to halt a secessionist drive after the leader of the restive region said that separatist lawmakers might declare independence.
        The announcement from Madrid came almost immediately after the Catalan leader, Carles Puigdemont, warned that regional lawmakers were prepared to press ahead with independence if the national government employed emergency powers.
        Facing a second deadline on Thursday to state Catalonia’s intentions, Mr. Puigdemont sent a defiant letter to Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, blaming him for escalating the conflict by refusing to meet and negotiate “despite all our efforts and our will to dialogue.”
        The Spanish government, in turn, announced that it would convene an emergency cabinet meeting on Saturday “to defend the general interest of Spaniards, among them the citizens of Catalonia.”
        The rapid succession of events moved what was already one of the gravest crises in Spain’s relatively young democracy to a far more serious and unpredictable stage.
        The Catalan government has said that 90 percent of voters in an Oct. 1 referendum supported independence. But Mr. Rajoy’s government and the courts had declared the vote illegal, and the police officers who were sent to block polling places wounded hundreds in clashes. Only about 40 percent of the Catalan electorate took part, after Madrid advised those who opposed secession to stay away from polling stations.
        Catalonia — which has its own language and culture as well as a long history of resistance to Madrid — is an important engine of the Spanish economy. Independence aspirations have built in recent years over a host of social and economic grievances.
        Those tensions grew as Mr. Rajoy and Catalan leaders talked past one another, turning the kind of dispute that might have been defused years ago into a full-blown constitutional crisis.
        The latest statements from each side now move the dispute to the brink of explosive confrontation, with the prospect that Madrid could take over the running of Catalonia — and provoke new street demonstrations in a region where many are already bridling at what they see as Madrid’s heavy hand.
        Íñigo Méndez de Vigo, spokesman for the Spanish government, said at a news conference that Madrid was ready to use “all the means within its reach to restore the legality and constitutional order as soon as possible.”
        Yet such steps are fraught with uncertainty in a country that adopted its democratic constitution only in 1978, after the death of its longtime dictator, Gen. Francisco Franco.
        Last week, Mr. Rajoy initiated a request to invoke a broad and forceful tool that has never before been used — Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution — which would allow him to take direct control of Catalonia.
        He said he could resort to such a step if the Catalan leader, Mr. Puigdemont, did not clearly back down from a threat to declare independence.
        In his letter on Thursday, Mr. Puigdemont concluded with a clear threat of a breakup.
        “If the government continues to prevent dialogue and maintains the repression,’’ he wrote, “the Parliament of Catalonia could go ahead, if it deems it opportune, and vote the formal declaration of independence.”
        The letter was sent shortly before the deadline of 10 a.m. Thursday that Mr. Rajoy had set for Mr. Puigdemont to clarify whether Catalonia had declared independence, a question that arose after Mr. Puigdemont delivered a deeply ambiguous speech last week before Catalonia’s regional Parliament.
        In that speech, he appeared to declare independence but then immediately suspended the decision. Separatist lawmakers then signed a declaration of independence, but without first voting on the text, as had been expected.
        Officials in Madrid have repeatedly warned in recent days that Mr. Rajoy would consider anything short of a clear withdrawal of the declaration of independence to be unacceptable blackmail, after what he deemed an unsatisfactory response from Mr. Puigdemont on Monday.
        Article 155 would give Madrid the authority to suspend Mr. Puigdemont and other Catalan lawmakers, and to take charge of the region’s autonomous administration, including the Catalan broadcaster and autonomous police force, although Mr. Rajoy has not publicly committed to an emergency intervention.
        It is unclear what Mr. Rajoy will propose to his cabinet on Saturday, but he may try to gradually raise pressure on the fragile coalition of Catalan separatists, rather than risk a forceful intervention that could backfire and galvanize the independence movement. José Luis Ábalos, an official from the main opposition Socialist party, indicated at a news conference on Thursday that the party would support Mr. Rajoy — as long as the prime minister made a limited and short usage of Article 155, and also somehow kept “self-government” in Catalonia.
        Using constitutional powers, Mr. Rajoy could appoint a caretaker administration in Catalonia. Mr. Puigdemont, on the other hand, could face sedition charges and ultimately a long prison sentence for presenting a unilateral declaration of independence that violates Spain’s Constitution.
        Politicians in Madrid have recently demanded that Catalonia hold regional elections as soon as possible, but Mr. Puigdemont made no mention of such a vote in his letter on Thursday.
        The separatist leaders of Catalonia are already claiming that Madrid has used disproportionate means to push them out of office, with the help of Spanish police and the courts.
        About 200,000 demonstrators gathered on Tuesday in central Barcelona, according to the local police, to demand the release of two separatist leaders who were sent to prison without bail, pending a trial on sedition charges. In his letter on Thursday, Mr. Puigdemont mentioned the arrest of the two leaders as evidence of Spain’s repressive stance.
        The rising uncertainty and the threat of declaring independence have already prompted hundreds of companies to relocate their headquarters outside Catalonia, further straining the unwieldy separatist coalition that holds a majority of the seats in the regional Parliament.
        Hard-line secessionists want an abrupt and unilateral rupture with the central government in Madrid, while conservative and more moderate separatists are increasingly worried about the economic consequences for Catalonia.
        Luis de Guindos, the Spanish economy minister, told Parliament on Thursday that the relocation of Catalan companies was “only an appetizer of what could happen if independence was confirmed — something that the government will not allow.”
        Mr. Puigdemont sent his latest letter after an emergency meeting of his conservative party late Wednesday, during which lawmakers gave clear support for not withdrawing the declaration of independence, according to local news reports.
        Still, secessionism has divided Catalonia. Separatist parties won control of the regional Parliament in 2015, but with only 48 percent of the vote.
        Núria Marín, the Socialist mayor of L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, the second-largest city in Catalonia, just southwest of Barcelona, said on Thursday that politicians on both sides should take the blame for plunging Catalonia into a crisis.
        “I believe that with threats on the part of one side or the other, we won’t now solve this situation,” she said. “We are sadly seeing that companies are leaving while we are sending letters to one another.”
        Whatever the government decides on Saturday, the Catalan crisis is set to drag on: Mr. Rajoy would need approval from the Senate before intervening in Catalonia.
        Mr. Rajoy’s governing Popular Party has a majority in the Senate, and Podemos, a far-left party, is the only major opposition group that is opposed to using Article 155 in Catalonia. Instead, Podemos has suggested that Spain should hold a nationwide referendum over Catalonia’s future statehood.
        Pablo Iglesias, the leader of Podemos, said Thursday morning that “Spain can’t appear to be like a banana republic that has problems of democracy.” He added, “We don’t want to threaten or repress Catalonia, but we want to convince Catalonia that Spain is a collective project that is worth it.”

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        8)  Californians Will Soon Have Nonbinary as a Gender Option on Birth Certificates






        Californians who don’t identify themselves as male or female will soon be able to get a gender-neutral birth certificate.
        Until now, people who wanted to obtain a nonbinary gender designation had to get a physician’s affidavit stating that they had undergone treatment for the purpose of gender transition. That’s what A. T. Furuya, a 35-year-old advocate for transgender youth at the San Diego LGBT Community Center, had to do to become one of the first people in the country to obtain a legally designated gender that is neither male nor female.
        The court papers resolving that ordeal in February prompted tears. “I was shocked,” A. T. said. “I was like, ‘Oh my god, this just happened.’”
        The physician letters have become a thing of the past in California. Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill into law Monday that simplifies the process, and provides nonbinary and intersex people with the ability to request a new birth certificate with a third, nonbinary category. It is the first state to offer such an option.
        Those who define themselves as nonbinary consider themselves neither male nor female, whereas those who are intersex have atypical sexual anatomy. Both groups have long sought legal documents that represent their identity.
        The California law, S.B. 179, which was written by two Democratic state senators, Toni G. Atkins and Scott D. Wiener, goes into effect starting in 2018.
        Oregon and Washington, D.C., have recently offered residents gender-neutral options on driver’s licenses, and the Washington State Department of Health is planning to hold a public hearing this year on the inclusion of a nonbinary option on birth certificates, the public radio station KUOW reported.
        For A. T., having gender-neutral state-issued documentation means no longer being told by doctors or employers that the gender originally indicated on a birth certificate is all that matters.
        “They don’t get to decide for you based on what you’re assigned at birth,” A. T. said. “Someone can go into a new job as nonbinary and have paperwork to back that up and there’s no way for the employer to know.”
        The legislation has faced some resistance. One conservative group expressed concerns that the new law, which eliminates the need for a physician’s letter in support of a gender transition, could lead to identity fraud.
        And the California Family Council said the inclusion of a third gender on state documents would create the need for nonbinary sports teams at public schools, at a great expense.
        In an opinion articlepublished in The San Diego Union-Tribune in July, the group’s president, Jonathan Keller, warned that if the law were enacted, “California’s nearly 150 public colleges and universities, and all 10,453 public schools would be required to provide not only male and female athletic teams and facilities but nonbinary ones as well,” to comply with the Title IX federal civil rights law.
        But legal experts and supporters reject that claim.
        “It’s a surprising argument to hear because it’s not as if the Department of Education is increasing its enforcement of Title IX as a protector of transgender civil rights,” Erin E. Buzuvis, a law professor at Western New England University, said in a phone interview. “The regulations are clearly written with the gender binary in mind.”
        Kristine E. Newhall, an assistant professor of kinesiology at SUNY Cortland, agreed.
        The N.C.A.A. doesn’t regulate gender identity for the purposes of being on a team, Dr. Newhall said. They use biological markers instead.
        “It’s not how you identify in terms of your gender,” she said. “You can have that N on your license, and the N.C.A.A. doesn’t care about that. They care about whether you’re on hormones or not.”

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        9)  The world has nearly 15,000 nuclear weapons. This year’s Nobel Peace Prize honors the quest to abolish all of them.
         




         An international group dedicated to eliminating nuclear weapons won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, a recognition of efforts to avoid nuclear conflict at a time of pronounced global tensions.
        The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons was honored for its work to foster a global ban on the destructive weapons, the Norwegian Nobel Committee said. 
        The scrappy civil-society movement was behind a successful push this summer for a U.N. treaty that prohibits nuclear weapons. It promotes nuclear disarmament around the world.
        The award comes amid rising global alarm about a potential nuclear conflagration. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has hurled threats of nuclear missile strikes against the United States, and President Trump has warned that he could “totally destroy North Korea” if provoked. The barbed exchanges have raised fears among many global leaders of a miscalculation that could end in cataclysmic conflict.

        Separately, Trump plans next week to “decertify” the international agreement that limits Iran’s nuclear program, a step that European allies worry could lead to nuclear proliferation.
        “The risk of nuclear war has grown exceptionally in the last few years, and that’s why it makes this treaty and us receiving this award so important,” Beatrice Fihn, the Swedish executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, or ICAN, said in a telephone interview. “We do not have to accept this [risk]. We do not have to live with the kind of fear that Donald Trump could start a nuclear war that would destroy all of us. We should not base our security on whether or not his finger is on the trigger.”
        ICAN recognizes that nuclear weapons will not disappear any time soon. But Fihn said a ban is still a realistic long-term goal, similar to the way an international taboo was created around the use of chemical weapons.
        “Keeping nuclear weapons legal isn’t going to help things,” she said.
        The decade-old Geneva-based coalition, which was modeled on international efforts to ban land mines, has branches in more than 100 countries.
        The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was approved by two-thirds of U.N. members in July, but it has not attracted support from any of the world’s nine nuclear powers, which together possess nearly 15,000 atomic weapons. The United States and others boycotted the U.N. discussions that led to the treaty.
        Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said at the timethat “we have to be realistic” about the nuclear threat of rogue nations such as North Korea, and she warned that the ban could actually increase the risk of nuclear war, not reduce it.
        Nuclear powers around the world repeated their opposition to efforts to ban the weapons following the Nobel announcement Friday.
        “The Nuclear Ban Treaty does not move us closer to the goal of a world without nuclear weapons,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in a statement. “In fact, it risks undermining the progress we have made over the years in disarmament and non-proliferation.” 
        The White House and leaders of other nuclear powers have instead endorsed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which limits but does not ban the powerful weapons. Russia and the United States hold the world’s largest stockpiles of nuclear weapons.
        Signatories to the prohibition treaty would be banned from developing, testing and possessing nuclear weapons, as well as threatening to use them. The treaty will go into effect once 50 nations ratify it. Guyana, Thailand and the Vatican were the first three to do so.
        The Norwegian Nobel Committee recognized ICAN for “its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its groundbreaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons,” chairwoman Berit Reiss-Andersen of Norway said as she announced the prize in Oslo. 
        “There is a popular belief among people all over the world that the world has become more dangerous, and that there is a tendency where we experience that the threats of nuclear conflict have come closer,” Reiss-
        Andersen said. The group has been successful in “engaging people in the world who are scared of the fact that they are supposed to be protected by atomic weapons,” she said.
        Asked whether the award was intended as a pushback to Trump’s martial messages, Reiss-Andersen said that “we’re not kicking anybody’s leg with this prize. We are giving great encouragement.”
        The Nobel committee said it chose to honor ICAN because of the group’s concrete success in pushing the treaty forward. The idea of a nuclear-free world is broader, and an aging group of U.S. hawks gave it a prominent kick-start.
        Former secretaries of state George P. Shultz and Henry Kissinger, former defense secretary William J. Perry and former senator Sam Nunn (D-Ga.), a ­bipartisan quartet with deep ­national security credentials, made headlines in 2007 when they endorsed ridding the world of nuclear weapons. Their ideas helped launch the anti-nuclear Global Zero movement.
        Anti-nuclear campaigners say they recognize the challenge of persuading nuclear powers to agree to give up their weapons.  
        But the advocates believe that the treaty creates an international norm that will eventually pressure nuclear-armed countries into compliance, even if they never formally sign on, said Rebecca Johnson, executive director of Britain’s Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy.
        “Nuclear weapons became a tool for weak leaders to take shortcuts instead of providing their own people with safety, ­security and food,” said Johnson, a founding co-chairwoman of ICAN. “We have to take that value away in order to pull down numbers to zero.”
        She said that nuclear tensions between Washington and North Korea represent a setback to world peace.
        “That has to be done with diplomacy and politics, and definitely not nuclear saber-rattling between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un,” she said. “They are very dangerous leaders that think they are exercising nuclear deterrence but in their irrationality are actually risking nuclear war.”
        Indeed, world peace seems especially fragile now. North Korea in recent months has embarked on a series of ambitious tests of nuclear-weapons technology and has threatened to strike the mainland United States. 
        Meanwhile, Trump is poised next week to decertify the deal limiting Iran’s nuclear program. Under the 2015 accord, Iran pledged that “under no circumstances” would it “ever seek, ­develop or acquire any nuclear weapons” and said its aim was only to make progress on “an exclusively peaceful” nuclear energy program.
        Separately, the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi, has come under fire for failing to stop or condemn the ethnic cleansing of her nation’s Rohingya Muslim minority in recent months.
        William Branigin in Washington contributed to this report.
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