Thursday, March 16, 2017

BAUAW NEWSLETTER, THURSDAY, MARCH 16, 2017


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March 22 #OurCity College Mobilization Teach-In

Event details:

March 22, 2017
CCSF, Ocean Campus (50 Phelan Avenue)
Multi-Use Building (MUB), Room 370
12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.


CAMPAIGN DEMANDS (Updated 3/7/17):

1. Stop the dangerous proposal to arm the CCSF campus police with firearms.

2. Re-grow CCSF, fully fund all student resources and programs, and end the disastrous 26 percent downsizing plan.

3. Make CCSF a true sanctuary campus, and ensure that the Free City College program and all student services apply equitably to all undocumented people, regardless of their AB540/DACA eligibility.

4. Defend and restore CCSF's ethnic and diversity studies programs.

5. End the privatization of public land, and keep the Balboa Reservoir (lower level parking lot) out of corporate hands.

6. Divest from the Wells Fargo bank, and seek ethical investments that better reflect CCSF's community values.

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Responding to Mental Health Crisis Without the Police: A Community Conversation



When: April 8, 2017 @ 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Where: Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists
1924 Cedar St
Berkeley, CA 94709
USA

BERKELEY COPWATCH PRESENTS

What can mental health care and crisis response look like without police involvement? Join the Justice 4 Kayla Moore Coalition and Berkeley Copwatch for a forum to address that question. The forum will feature individuals and organizations who are fighting for, building and living out mental health alternatives to the police. We will also discuss next steps for our campaign to fight for changes in how our communities and the City of Berkeley approach mental health crises.

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ANSWER Coalition
palestine.jpgNational March and Rally
Support Palestine in D.C.! Protest AIPAC!
Sunday, March 26 - Gather 12 Noon
March from the White House to the Convention Center
At last year's AIPAC conference, Donald Trump made an outrageous pledge: "We will move the American embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem ... The Palestinians must come to the table knowing that the bond between the United States and Israel is absolutely, totally unbreakable." Now that he is the president, Trump seems dead set on following through on his promise.
This would be an extreme provocation that tramples on the Palestinian right to self-determination. Every progressive person needs to mobilize to stop this.
In the short time since Trump took the oath of office, the Israeli government has already announced thousands of new illegal settler homes in the Palestinian territories seized in the 1967 war. The Palestinian people need our solidarity now more than ever as they resist these wanton acts of aggression.
From Palestine to Mexico, all the walls have got to go!
Just like Trump is encouraging Israel to step up its violation of Palestinian rights, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is cheer leading for Trump's extreme right agenda. On Jan. 28, Netanyahu sent this outrageous tweet:
tweet.png
The fight for justice for Palestine and the fight to stop the Trump Agenda are one in the same! 

Join the National Rally and March on Sunday, March 26
Al-Awda, The Palestine Right To Return Coalition and the ANSWER Coalition will once again spearhead this National Rally to Support Palestine in DC 2017!
This rally will start at the White House with thousands of people from across the nation and around the world, and end up in front of AIPAC's annual convention! AIPAC is the primary organization lobbying to continue the brutal illegal occupation of Palestine for over 68 years.
We must protest to end this outrageous lobby that ultimately supports the oppression and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people. Please come out and support the Palestinian people in their noble struggle to be free.

End U.S. aid to Israel — End the occupation now!

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ANSWER Coalition · United States
This email was sent to karenlee726@gmail.com.
To stop receiving emails, click here.
You can also keep up with ANSWER Coalition on Facebook.

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John T. Kaye invited you to Moms Clean Air Force's event
People's Climate March
Saturday, April 29 at 9 AM EDT
Washington, District of Columbia in Washington, District of Columbia


Going
  

Interested
  

Not Interested
Join us April 29th in Washington, DC to let Trump know that we won't let him destroy the environment on our watch. There is no denying it: Donald Trump's election is a threat to the future of our pla...
John T. Kaye and Dave Schubert are going.
  

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Committee to Stop FBI Repression (stopfbi.net)

Rasmea Defense Committee statement - December 21, 2016

Rasmea retrial set for May 16, 2017

Support the defense now!


This morning, Rasmea Odeh and her defense attorney Michael Deutsch were called into Judge Gershwin Drain's courtroom in Detroit, where the judge and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Tukel were in attendance. The parties all agreed on May 16, 2017, as the new starting date for Rasmea's retrial.

The defense committee will continue to send regular updates regarding any pre-trial hearings or other appearances that Rasmea must make between now and the retrial, as well as requests to participate in regular defense organizing and activities.

In addition, we urge supporters to continue to
call U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade
 at 313-226-9100,
or tweet @USAO_MIE
and demand that she stop wasting taxpayer money, that she stop persecuting a woman who has given so much to U.S. society, and that she #DropTheChargesNow against Rasmea.

Lastly, and in the spirit of the season, please help us win #Justice4Rasmea by making your end-of-year donation to the defense fund! We thank you all for your continued support!



Background info

Statement from Tuesday, December 13


U.S. Attorney extends political attack on Rasmea, brings new indictment against the Palestinian American


Today, U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade announced that a grand jury she had empaneled returned a new, superseding indictment against Rasmea Odeh for unlawful procurement of naturalization. This new indictment, just four weeks before her retrial, is a vicious attack by prosecutors desperate after a series of setbacks in their case against the Chicago-based Palestinian American community leader. From the outset, the government has attempted to exclude and discredit evidence of Rasmea's torture at the hands of Israeli authorities, but the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the prosecution, which led to the retrial; and the government's own expert affirmed that Rasmea lives with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Knowing that it faces the real prospect of losing a retrial before a jury, the U.S. Attorney's office has reframed its case against Rasmea, putting allegations of terrorism front and center. In the first trial in 2014, prosecutors were barred from using the word "terrorism," because Judge Gershwin Drain agreed the word would bias the jury. The new indictment adds two allegations that preclude this protection: first, that the crimes she was forced by torture to confess to are "terrorist activity"; and second, that she failed to report an alleged association with a "Designated Terrorist Organization." Despite the government's claim that this is a simple case of immigration fraud, this new indictment is written to ensure that Rasmea stands before a jury as an accused terrorist.

The Rasmea Defense Committee is urging supporters to call U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade at 313-226-9100, or tweet @USAO_MIE, and demand that she stop wasting taxpayer money, that she stop persecuting a woman who has given so much to U.S. society, and that she #DropTheChargesNow against Rasmea. In addition, the committee is calling on supporters to help win #Justice4Rasmea by donating to the defense and organizing educational events about the case.

"They [the prosecutors] are switching course because they know that a jury will believe Rasmea," says Nesreen Hasan of the Rasmea Defense Committee and its lead organization, the U.S. Palestinian Community Network. "We have always said, from day one, that this is a political case, and that the government is prosecuting Rasmea as part of a broader attack, the criminalization of the Palestine liberation movement. This new indictment is literally the same charge, with the same evidence - immigration forms. Only now, they want to paint Rasmea, and all Palestinians, as terrorists. The real criminals in this case are the Israelis who brutally tortured Rasmea 45 years ago, as well as those in the U.S. government who are trying to put her on trial for surviving the brutality committed against her."

Prosecutors will be disappointed to find that these new allegations fail to erode Rasmea's support. People have mobilized by the hundreds for countless hearings, every day of her 2014 trial, and her appeal earlier this year. "We have people ready to come from across the Midwest to stand with Rasmea in Detroit on January 10, but we are also prepared to adjust those plans to be there whenever we are needed," says Jess Sundin of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, who lives in Minneapolis and has mobilized dozens of Minnesotans and others in support of the defense. "We will redouble our organizing and fundraising work, and make certain Rasmea has the best defense possible."

According to lead defense attorney Michael Deutsch, "We also intend to challenge this indictment as vindictive and politically-motivated."

Visit www.justice4rasmea.org for more information.

### End ###
Copyright © 2016 Committee to Stop FBI Repression, All rights reserved.
Thanks for your ongoing interest in the fight against FBI repression of anti-war and international solidarity activists!
Our mailing address is:
Committee to Stop FBI Repression
PO Box 14183
MinneapolisMN  55414

Add us to your address book

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100,000 protest in San Francisco, CA

Pictures From Women's
Marches on Every Continent



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MILITARISM IS 

AN ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUE

USLAW supports the April 29th DC People's Climate March ... but ...


The organizers of the multi-issue People's Climate March tell us they're discussing whether and how to include peace in the agenda. 
Please encourage them by adding your name to the petition below, by re-tweeting it, by sharing it on facebook, and by forwarding this email.Thanks!!

Will you stand for peace?
A petition to the organizers of the
April 29 People's Climate March

PeoplesClimate.org website calls for a march on Washington on April 29, 2017, to "unite all our movements" for "communities," "climate," "safety," "health," "the rights of people of color, workers, indigenous people, immigrants, women, LGBTQIA, young people," and a much longer list . . . but not peace
Approximately half of federal discretionary spending is going into wars and war preparation. This institution constitutes our single biggest destroyer of the environment. [One reason peace is an environmental issue - see others below.] 
Will you please add "peace" to the list of things you are marching for?

NINE REASONS WHY THE ENVIRONMENTAL
MOVEMENT MUST ALSO FIGHT FOR PEACE:

    1. War is an environmental nightmare that continues to poison people and the planet long after the fighting ends.

    2. The Pentagon is the largest consumer of fossil fuels in the world.

    3. The Pentagon is the largest emitter of CO2 gases in the world.

    4. Wars are fought for oil and other energy resources. The U.S. drive for global hegemony is intimately bound up with its aim to control energy resources.

    5. The military consumes 54% of all discretionary spending. War and preparation for war divert financial and human resources needed to meet social needs (including investment in renewable energy and a sustainable energy system).

    6. The manufacture of arms and other military gear adds considerably to the carbon burden of the world.

    7. The military-industrial complex is fully integrated with and dependent upon the fossil fuel energy complex, serving as its enforcer as well as its client.

    8. To successfully address the climate crisis requires creating a sustainable new economy, but that is impossible so long as our economy remains dominated by the military-industrial-security-energy complex.

    9. To achieve a just transition to a new sustainable economy will require the environmental movement see its connection to movements for social justice, economic justice and peace.  The quest for peace is also a social justice struggle.

    The environmental movement must stop avoiding the connection between our militarized foreign policy and the challenge of climate change. 

Your contribution will be greatly appreciated. 


This is a low-volume email list operated by US Labor Against the War

1718 M St, NW #153 | Washington DC 20036 | 202-521-5265 | Contact USLAW

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Dear Friend,

The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) is now in Contempt of Court

On January 3, 2017, Federal District Court Judge Robert Mariani ordered the DOC to treat Mumia with the hepatitis C cure within 21 days.

But on January 7, prison officials formally denied Mumia's grievances asking for the cure. This is after being informed twice by the court that denying treatment is unconstitutional.


John Wetzel, Secretary of the PA DOC, is refusing to implement the January 3rd Federal Court Order requiring the DOC to treat Mumia within 21 days. Their time has run out to provide Mumia with hepatitis C cure!

Mumia is just one of over 6,000 incarcerated people in the PA DOC at risk with active and chronic Hepatitis C. Left untreated, 7-9% of people infected with chronic hep C get liver cancer every year.  

We need your help to force the DOC to stop its cruel and unusual punishment of over 6,000 people in prison with chronic hepatitis C. Click here for a listing of numbers to call today!


Water Crisis in the Prison


Drinking water remains severely contaminated at the prison in which Mumia and 2,500 others are held, SCI Mahanoy in Frackville, PA. Mumia filed a grievance regarding the undrinkable water: read it here.

We are asking you to call the prison now to demand clean drinking water and hepatitis C treatment now! 


Protest Drinking Water Contamination Rally
When: 
From 4-6pm on Thursday, Feb 9
Where: Governor's Office- 200 South Broad St, Philadelphia
We're sending our mailing to you, including this brilliant poster by incarcerated artist Kevin Rashid Johnson. Keep an eye out it next week!
Cuando luchamos ganamos! When we fight, we win!

Noelle Hanrahan, Director

About the recently appealed Court victory:

On January 3rd, a federal court granted Mumia Abu-Jamal's petition for immediate and effective treatment for his Hepatitis-C infection, which has hitherto been denied him. The judge struck down Pennsylvania's protocols as "deliberate indifference to serious medical need."

This is a rare and important win for innocent political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal in a court system that has routinely subjected him to the "Mumia exception," i.e., a refusal of justice despite court precedents in his favor. Thousands of Hep-C-infected prisoners throughout Pennsylvania and the US stand to benefit from this decision, provided it is upheld. 

But, it is up to us to make sure that this decision is not over-turned on appeal--something the State of Pennsylvania will most likely seek.

Hundreds demonstrated in both Philadelphia and Oakland on December 9th to demand both this Hep-C treatment for prisoners, and "Free Mumia Now!" In Oakland, the December 9th Free Mumia Coalition rallied in downtown and then marched on the OPD headquarters. The Coalition brought over two dozen groups together to reignite the movement to free Mumia; and now we need your support to expand and build for more actions in this new, and likely very dangerous year for political prisoners. 


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Protect Kevin "Rashid" Johnson from Prison Repression!

PLEASE FORWARD WIDELY

WHEN: Anytime
WHAT: Protect imprisoned activist-journalist Kevin "Rashid" Johnson
FACEBOOK EVENT: https://www.facebook.com/events/1794902884117144/


On December 21, 2016, Kevin "Rashid" Johnson was the victim of an
assault by guards at the Clements Unit where he is currently being held,
just outside Amarillo, Texas. Rashid was sprayed with OC pepper gas
while handcuffed in his cell, and then left in the contaminated cell for
hours with no possibility to shower and no access to fresh air. It was
in fact days before he was supplied with new sheets or clothes (his bed
was covered with the toxic OC residue), and to this day his cell has not
been properly decontaminated.

This assault came on the heels of another serious move against Rashid,
as guards followed up on threats to confiscate all of his property – not
only files required for legal matters, but also art supplies, cups to
drink water out of, and food he had recently purchased from the
commissary. The guards in question were working under the direction of
Captain Patricia Flowers, who had previously told Rashid that she
intended to seize all of his personal belongings as retaliation for his
writings about mistreatment of prisoners, up to and including assaults
and purposeful medical negligence that have led to numerous deaths in
custody. Specifically, Rashid's writings have called attention to the
deaths of Christopher Woolverton, Joseph Comeaux, and Alton Rodgers, and
he has been contacted by lawyers litigating on behalf of the families of
at least two of these men.

As a journalist and activist literally embedded within the bowels of the
world's largest prison system, Rashid relies on his files and notes for
correspondence, legal matters, and his various news reports.
Furthermore, Rashid is a self-taught artist of considerable talent (his
work has appeared in numerous magazines, newspapers, and books);
needless to say, the guards were also instructed to seize his art
materials and the drawings he was working on.

(For a more complete description of Rashid's ordeal on and following
December 21, see his recent article "Bound and Gassed: My Reward for
Exposing Abuses and Killings of Texas Prisoners" at
http://rashidmod.com/?p=2321)

Particularly worrisome, is the fact that the abuse currently directed
against Rashid is almost a carbon-copy of what was directed against
Joseph Comeaux in 2013, who was eventually even denied urgently needed
medical care. Comeaux died shortly thereafter.

This is the time to step up and take action to protect Rashid; and the
only protection we can provide, from the outside, is to make sure prison
authorities know that we are watching. Whether you have read his
articles about prison conditions, his political or philosophical
polemics (and whether you agreed with him or not!), or just appreciate
his artwork – even if this is the first you are hearing about Rashid –
we need you to step up and make a few phone calls and send some emails.
When doing so, let officials know you are contacting them about Kevin
Johnson, ID #1859887, and the incident in which he was gassed and his
property confiscated on December 21, 2016. The officials to contact are:

Warden Kevin Foley
Clements Unit
telephone: (806) 381-7080 (you will reach the general switchboard; ask
to speak to the warden's office)

Tell Warden Foley that you have heard of the gas attack on Rashid.
Specific demands you can make:

* That Kevin Johnson's property be returned to him

* That Kevin Johnson's cell be thoroughly decontaminated

* That Captain Patricia Flowers, Lieutenant Crystal Turner, Lieutenant
Arleen Waak, and Corrections Officer Andrew Leonard be sanctioned for
targeting Kevin Johnson for retaliation for his writings

* That measures be taken to ensure that whistleblowers amongst staff and
the prisoner population not be targeted for any reprisals from guards or
other authorities. (This is important because at least one guard and
several prisoners have signed statements asserting that Rashid was left
in his gassed cell for hours, and that his property should not have been
seized.)

Try to be polite, while expressing how concerned you are for Kevin
Johnson's safety. You will almost certainly be told that because other
people have already called and there is an ongoing investigation – or
else, because you are not a member of his family -- that you cannot be
given any information. Say that you understand, but that you still wish
to have your concerns noted, and that you want the prison to know that
you will be keeping track of what happens to Mr Johnson.

The following other authorities should also be contacted. These bodies
may claim they are unable to directly intervene, however we know that by
creating a situation where they are receiving complaints, they will
eventually contact other authorities who can intervene to see what the
fuss is all about. So it's important to get on their cases too:

TDCJ Ombudsman: ombudsman@tdcj.texas.gov

The Inspector General:  512-671-2480

Let these "watchdogs" know you are concerned that Kevin Johnson #1859887
was the victim of a gas attack in Clements Unit on December 21, 2016.
Numerous witnesses have signed statements confirming that he was
handcuffed, in his cell, and not threatening anyone at the time he was
gassed. Furthermore, he was not allowed to shower for hours, and his
cell was never properly decontaminated, so that he was still suffering
the effects of the gas days later. It is also essential to mention that
his property was improperly confiscated, and that he had previously been
threatened with having this happen as retaliation for his writing about
prison conditions. Kevin Johnson's property must be returned!

Finally, complaints should also be directed to the director of the VA
DOC Harold Clarke and the VA DOC's Interstate Compact Supervisor, Terry
Glenn. This is because Rashid is in fact a Virginia prisoner, who has
been exiled from Virginia under something called the Interstate Compact,
which is used by some states as a way to be rid of activist prisoners,
while at the same time separating them from their families and
supporters. Please contact:

VADOC Director, Harold Clarke
804-887-8081
Director.Clarke@vadoc.virginia.gov

Interstate Compact director, Terry Glenn
804-887-7866

Let them know that you are phoning about Kevin Johnson, a Virginia
prisoner who has been sent to Texas under the Interstate Compact. His
Texas ID # is 1859887 however his Virginia ID # is 1007485. Inform them
that Mr Johnson has been gassed by guards and has had his property
seized as retaliation for his writing about prison conditions. These are
serious legal and human rights violations, and even though they occurred
in Texas, the Virginia Department of Corrections is responsible as Mr
Johnson is a Virginia prisoner. Despite the fact that they may ask you
who you are, and how you know about this, and for your contact
information, they will likely simply conclude by saying that they will
not be getting back to you. Nonetheless, it is worth urging them to
contact Texas officials about this matter.

It is good to call whenever you are able. However, in order to maximize
our impact, for those who can, we are suggesting that people make their
phone calls on Thursday, January 5.

And at the same time, please take a moment to sign the online petition
to support Rashid, up at the Roots Action website:
https://diy.rootsaction.org/petitions/prison-activist-gassed-in-clements-unit-prison-texas-law-enforcement-is-violently-out-of-control

Rashid has taken considerable risks in reporting on the abuse he
witnesses at the Clements Unit, just as he has at other prisons. Indeed,
he has continued to report on the violence and medical neglect to which
prisoners are subjected, despite threats from prison staff. If we, as a
movement, are serious about working to resist and eventually abolish the
U.S. prison system, we must do all we can to assist and protect those
like Rashid who take it upon themselves to stand up and speak out. As
Ojore Lutalo once put it, "Any movement that does not support their
political internees ... is a sham movement."

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To learn more about Kevin "Rashid" Johnson, the abuses in the Texas
prison system, as well as his work in founding and leading the New
Afrikan Black Panther Party-Prison Chapter, see his website
athttp://www.rashidmod.com

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As Robert Boyle, Esq. said, "The struggle is far from over: the DOC will no doubt appeal this ruling. But a victory! Thanks Pam Africa and all the Mumia supporters and all of you."

"Everyone has to get on board to keep the pressure on. We have an opportunity here that we have never had before. We are going to do it as a unified community, everyone together." - Pam Africa  

Let me be honest. We fundraise like we breathe. We have to. We are going to win-- with your key help. We've got until midnight tomorrow to raise just $2,021! We're 97% there. Please pitch in today to help us reach $60K!

Tomorrow your phone will ring with a special message from Mumia. In it, he says, "This is indeed a serious time for me, and for us all. It is not easy to take on the state and prevail; however, it is right to do so. With your help, we may be able to prevail. This is Mumia Abu-Jamal, thanking you for supporting Prison Radio."

John, the clock's running out- but it's not too late to chip in and help us reach our goal! You can open the airwaves for prisoners to speak out in this urgent time of massive incarceration.

Will you pitch in with a gift of $103, $35 or even $250 to bring us to our goal by midnight and amplify the voices of prisoners?
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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Bay Area United Against War Newsletter

Table of Contents:

A. EVENTS AND ACTIONS

B. ARTICLES IN FULL



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A. EVENTS AND ACTIONS

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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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http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B013RU5M4S



Join the Fight to Free Rev. Pinkney!

Click HERE to view in browser

http://www.iacenter.org/prisoners/freepinkney-1-28-15/

UPDATE:

Today is the 406th day that Rev. Edward Pinkney of Benton Harbor, Michigan
languishes in prison doing felony time for a misdemeanor crime he did not
commit. Today is also the day that Robert McKay, a spokesperson for the
Free Rev. Pinkney campaign, gave testimony before United Nations
representatives about the plight of Rev. Pinkney at a hearing held in
Chicago. The hearing was called in order to shed light upon the
mistreatment of African-Americans in the United States and put it on an
international stage. And yet as the UN representatives and audience heard
of the injustices in the Pinkney case many gasped in disbelief and asked
with frowns on their faces, "how is this possible?" But disbelief quickly
disappeared when everyone realized these were the same feelings they had
when they first heard of Flint and we all know what happened in Flint. FREE
REV. PINKNEY NOW.

Please send letters to:
Marquette Branch Prison
Rev. Edward Pinkney N-E-93 #294671
1960 US Hwy 41 South
Marquette, MI 49855

Please donate at http://bhbanco.org (Donate button) or send checks to BANCO:
c/o Dorothy Pinkney
1940 Union St.
Benton Harbor, MI 49022

Contributions for Rev. Pinkney's defense can be sent to BANCO at Mrs Dorothy Pinkney, 1940 Union St., Benton Harbor, MI 49022

Or you can donate on-line at bhbanco.org.

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State Seeks to Remove Innocent PA Lifer's Attorney! Free Corey Walker!


The PA Office of the Attorney General (OAG) filed legal action to remove Corey Walker's attorney, Rachel Wolkenstein, in November 2014. On Tuesday, February 9, 2016 the evidentiary hearing to terminate Wolkenstein as Corey Walker's pro hac vice lawyer continues before Judge Lawrence Clark of the Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas in Harrisburg, PA.

Walker, assisted by Wolkenstein, filed three sets of legal papers over five months in 2014 with new evidence of Walker's innocence and that the prosecution and police deliberately used false evidence to convict him of murder. Two weeks after Wolkenstein was granted pro hac vice status, the OAG moved against her and Walker.

The OAG claims that Wolkenstein's political views and prior legal representation of Mumia Abu-Jamal and courtroom arrest by the notorious Judge Albert Sabo makes it "intolerable" for her to represent Corey Walker in the courts of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Over the past fifteen months the OAG has effectively stopped any judicial action on the legal challenges of Corey Walker and his former co-defendant, Lorenzo Johnson against their convictions and sentences to life imprisonment without parole while it proceeds in its attempts to remove Wolkenstein.

This is retaliation against Corey Walker who is innocent and framed. Walker and his attorney won't stop until they thoroughly expose the police corruption and deliberate presentation of false evidence to convict Corey Walker and win his freedom.

This outrageous attack on Corey Walker's fundamental right to his lawyer of choice and challenge his conviction must cease. The evidence of his innocence and deliberate prosecutorial frame up was suppressed for almost twenty years. Corey Walker must be freed!

Read: Jim Crow Justice – The Frame-up Of Corey Walker by Charles Brover

Go to FreeCoreyWalker.org to provide help and get more information.


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The Oasis Clinic in Oakland, CA, which treats patients with Hepatitis-C (HCV), demands an end to the outrageous price-gouging of Big Pharma corporations, like Gilead Sciences, which hike-up the cost for essential, life-saving medications such as the cure for the deadly Hepatitis-C virus, in order to reap huge profits. The Oasis Clinic's demand is:

PUBLIC HEALTH, NOT CORPORATE WEALTH!


WE DEMAND:

PUBLIC HEALTH, NOT CORPORATE WEALTH!

IMMEDIATE AND FREE TREATMENT FOR ALL HCV-INFECTED PRISONERS!

NO EXECUTION BY MEDICAL NEGLECT!

JAIL DRUG PROFITEERS, FREE MUMIA!

This message from:
Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
PO Box 16222 • Oakland CA 94610 • www.laboractionmumia.org
06 January 2016

Mumia Is Innocent!  Free Mumia!
 

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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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        CANCEL ALL STUDENT DEBT!

        Sign the Petition:

        http://cancelallstudentdebt.com/?code=kos



        Dear President Obama, Senators, and Members of Congress:


        Americans now owe $1.3 trillion in student debt. Eighty-six percent of that money is owed to the United States government. This is a crushing burden for more than 40 million Americans and their families.

        I urge you to take immediate action to forgive all student debt, public and private.

        American Federation of Teachers
        Campaign for America's Future
        Courage Campaign
        Daily Kos
        Democracy for America
        LeftAction
        Project Springboard
        RH Reality Check
        RootsAction
        Student Debt Crisis
        The Nation
        Working Families


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        Campaign to Free Lorenzo Johnson


        Updates from Team Lorenzo Johnson

        Dear Supporters and Friends,


        Show your support for Lorenzo by wearing one of our beautiful new campaign t-shirts! If you donate $20 (or more!) to the Campaign to Free Lorenzo Johnson, we will send you a t-shirt, while supplies last. Make sure to note your size and shipping address in the comment section on PayPal, or to include this information with a check.




        Here is a message from Lorenzo's wife, Tazza Salvatto:


        My husband is innocent, FREE HIM NOW!
        Lorenzo Johnson is a son, husband, father and brother. His injustice has been a continued nightmare for our family. Words cant explain our constant pain, I wish it on no one. Not even the people responsible for his injustice. 
        This is about an innocent man who has spent 20 years and counting in prison. The sad thing is Lorenzo's prosecution knew he was innocent from day one. These are the same people society relies on to protect us.

        Not only have these prosecutors withheld evidence of my husbands innocence by NEVER turning over crucial evidence to his defense prior to trial. Now that Lorenzo's innocence has been revealed, the prosecution refuses to do the right thing. Instead they are "slow walking" his appeal and continuing their malicious prosecution.
        When my husband or our family speak out about his injustice, he's labeled by his prosecutor as defaming a career cop and prosecutor. If they are responsible for Lorenzo's wrongful conviction, why keep it a secret??? This type of corruption and bullying of families of innocent prisoners to remain silent will not be tolerated.
        Our family is not looking for any form of leniency. Lorenzo is innocent, we want what is owed to him. JUSTICE AND HIS IMMEDIATE FREEDOM!!! 

                                  Lorenzo's wife,
                                   Tazza Salvatto
        Lorenzo is continuing to fight for his freedom with the support of his lead counsel, Michael Wiseman, The Pennsylvania Innocence Project, the Jeffrey Deskovic Foundation for Justice, and the Campaign to Free Lorenzo Johnson.
        Thank you all for reading this message and please take the time to visit our website and contribute to Lorenzo's campaign for freedom!
        Write: Lorenzo Johnson
                    DF 1036
                    SCI Mahanoy
                    301 Morea Rd.
                    Frackville, PA 17932
         Email: Through JPay using the code:
                      Lorenzo Johnson DF 1036 PA DOC
                                              or
                      Directly at LorenzoJohnson17932@gmail.com
                                             or
                      Directly on ConnectNetwork -- instructions here

        Have a wonderful day!
        - The Team to Free Lorenzo Johnson

        Write: Lorenzo Johnson
                    DF 1036
                    SCI Mahanoy
                    301 Morea Rd.
                    Frackville, PA 17932

         Email: Through JPay using the code:
                      Lorenzo Johnson DF 1036 PA DOC
                                             or
                      Directly at LorenzoJohnson17932@gmail.com

        freelorenzojohnson.org

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        B. ARTICLES IN FULL


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        1)  WikiLeaks Releases Trove of Alleged C.I.A. Hacking Documents
         MARCH 7, 2017
        https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/07/world/europe/wikileaks-cia-hacking.html?rref=collection%2
        Fsectioncollection%2Fus&action=click&contentCollection=us&region=stream&module=stream_
        unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=2&pgtype=sectionfront

        WASHINGTON — WikiLeaks on Tuesday released thousands of documents that it said described sophisticated software tools used by the Central Intelligence Agency to break into smartphones, computers and even Internet-connected televisions.
        If the documents are authentic, as appeared likely at first review, the release would be the latest coup for the anti-secrecy organization and a serious blow to the C.I.A., which maintains its own hacking capabilities to be used for espionage.
        The initial release, which WikiLeaks said was only the first part of the document collection, included 7,818 web pages with 943 attachments, the group said. The entire archive of C.I.A. material consists of several hundred million lines of computer code, it said.

        Among other disclosures that, if confirmed, would rock the technology world, the WikiLeaks release said that the C.I.A. and allied intelligence services had managed to bypass encryption on popular phone and messaging services such as Signal, WhatsApp and Telegram. According to the statement from WikiLeaks, government hackers can penetrate Android phones and collect "audio and message traffic before encryption is applied."
        The source of the documents was not named. WikiLeaks said the documents, which it called Vault 7, had been "circulated among former U.S. government hackers and contractors in an unauthorized manner, one of whom has provided WikiLeaks with portions of the archive."
        WikiLeaks said the source, in a statement, set out policy questions that "urgently need to be debated in public, including whether the C.I.A.'s hacking capabilities exceed its mandated powers and the problem of public oversight of the agency." The source, the group said, "wishes to initiate a public debate about the security, creation, use, proliferation and democratic control of cyberweapons."
        The documents, from the C.I.A's Center for Cyber Intelligence, are dated from 2013 to 2016, and WikiLeaks described them as "the largest ever publication of confidential documents on the agency." One former intelligence officer who briefly reviewed the documents on Tuesday morning said some of the code names for C.I.A. programs, an organization chart and the description of a C.I.A. hacking base appeared to be genuine.
        A C.I.A. spokesman, Dean Boyd, said, "We do not comment on the authenticity or content of purported intelligence documents."
        WikiLeaks, which has sometimes been accused of recklessly leaking information that could do harm, said it had redacted names and other identifying information from the collection. It said it was not releasing the computer code for actual, usable cyberweapons "until a consensus emerges on the technical and political nature of the C.I.A.'s program and how such 'weapons' should be analyzed, disarmed and published."
        Some of the details of the C.I.A. programs might have come from the plot of a spy novel for the cyberage, revealing numerous highly classified — and in some cases, exotic — hacking programs. One, code-named Weeping Angel, uses Samsung "smart" televisions as covert listening devices. According to the WikiLeaks news release, even when it appears to be turned off, the television "operates as a bug, recording conversations in the room and sending them over the internet to a covert C.I.A. server."
        The release said the program was developed in cooperation with British intelligence.
        If C.I.A. agents did manage to hack the smart TVs, they would not be the only ones. Since their release, internet-connected televisions have been a focus for hackers and cybersecurity experts, many of whom see the sets' ability to record and transmit conversations as a potentially dangerous vulnerability.
        In early 2015, Samsung appeared to acknowledge the televisions posed a risk to privacy. The fine print terms of service included with its smart TVs said that the television sets could capture background conversations, and that they could be passed on to third parties.
        The company also provided a remarkably blunt warning: "Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party through your use of Voice Recognition."
        Another program described in the documents, named Umbrage, is a voluminous library of cyberattack techniques that the C.I.A. has collected from malware produced by other countries, including Russia. According to the WikiLeaks release, the large number of techniques allows the C.I.A. to mask the origin of some of its cyberattacks and confuse forensic investigators.
        Assuming the release is authentic, it marks the latest in a series of huge leaks that have changed the landscape for government and corporate secrecy.
        In scale, the Vault 7 archive appears to fall into the same category as the biggest leaks of classified information in recent years, including the quarter-million diplomatic cables taken by Chelsea Manning, the former Army intelligence analyst, and given to WikiLeaks in 2010, and the hundreds of thousands of documents taken from the National Security Agency by Edward J. Snowden and given to journalists in 2013.
        In the business world, the so-called Panama Papers and several other large-volume leaks have laid bare the details of secret offshore companies used by wealthy and corrupt people to hide their assets.
        Both government and corporate leaks have been made possible by the ease of downloading, storing and transferring millions of documents in seconds or minutes, a sea change from the use of slow photocopying for some earlier leaks, including the Pentagon Papers in 1971.
        he National Security Agency and the military's closely related Cyber Command have the most extensive capabilities for breaking into foreign communications and computer networks and, if required, destroying them. But the C.I.A. maintains a parallel set of programs, mainly for gathering information.
        A set of N.S.A. hacking tools, evidently leaked from the agency or stolen in an electronic break-in, was put up for auction on the web last summer by a group calling itself the Shadow Brokers. Those tools were among the N.S.A.'s arsenal for penetrating foreign computer networks. At first glance the Vault 7 programs appeared to be aimed at smaller, individual targets rather than large networks.

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        2)  Black People More Likely to Be Wrongfully Convicted of Murder, Study Shows
         MARCH 7, 2017
        https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/07/us/wrongful-convictions-race-exoneration.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection
        %2Fus&action=click&contentCollection=us&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=
        3&pgtype=sectionfront

        Black people convicted of murder or sexual assault are significantly more likely than their white counterparts to be later found innocent of the crimes, according to a review of nearly 2,000 exonerations nationwide over almost three decades.
        Innocent blacks also had to wait disproportionately longer for their names to be cleared than innocent whites, the review, released on Tuesday by the National Registry of Exonerations, found. Blacks wrongfully convicted of murder, for example, spent an average of three more years in prison before being released than whites who were cleared.

        "It's no surprise that in this area, as in almost any other that has to do with criminal justice in the United States, race is the big factor," said Samuel R. Gross, a University of Michigan law professor and a senior editor of the registry, a project of the law school that aims to provide data on false convictions to prevent them in the future.
        The analysis focuses on the three types of crimes for which exonerations are most common: murders, sexual assaults and drug-related offenses. It is based on 1,900 wrongful convictions from 1989 to mid-October of last year, about 47 percent of which involved exonerated black defendants. Because of limited data for other groups, the authors compared only black and white populations in detail.
        While the Tuesday report confirms what previous studies have found — that blacks make up a disproportionate share of the wrongfully convicted — it also uses the registry's ever-growing collection of data to explore potential factors driving that disparity.
        "The causes we have identified run from inevitable consequences of patterns in crime and punishment to deliberate acts of racism," write Mr. Gross and his fellow authors, Maurice Possley, a senior researcher, and Klara Stephens, a research fellow.
        When it comes to murder, black defendants account for 40 percent of those convicted of the crime, but 50 percent of those wrongfully convicted, they found. Whites accounted for 36 percent of wrongfully convicted murder defendants.
        A high murder rate within the black community contributes to the high number of wrongfully convicted black murder defendants, but it alone does not explain the disparity, the authors write.
        Racial bias may play a role. Only about 15 percent of all murders committed by black people involve white victims, yet 31 percent of blacks eventually cleared of murder convictions were initially convicted of killing white people, they found.
        Misconduct, such as hiding evidence, tampering with witnesses or perjury, may also have contributed to the racial disparity.
        The authors found such wrongdoing was present in 76 percent of cases in which black murder defendants were wrongfully convicted, but just 63 percent of cases in which white defendants were exonerated.
        The report's authors found similar patterns for sexual assault, with 59 percent of all exonerations going to black defendants, compared with 34 percent for white defendants.
        Again, the authors concluded that racial bias may contribute to the disparity. Previous research has found that white Americans are more likely to misidentify black people for one another than white people, a phenomenon they said may play a role in eyewitness misidentification.
        The registry found eyewitness errors in 79 percent of sexual assault cases involving wrongfully convicted black defendants, compared with 51 percent in cases with exonerated white defendants.
        In a separate report released on Tuesday, the registry said it counted at least 166 exonerations last year in the United States, a record. Of those, 54 defendants were wrongfully convicted of homicides, 24 of sexual assaults and 15 of other violent crimes. At least 70 of the exonerations involved official misconduct.
        The registry data is based on a variety of sources, including nonprofit organizations that fight for the wrongfully convicted, reviews conducted by prosecutors' offices and studies conducted by the registry's researchers. Still, Mr. Gross said, there may be many that the group has missed.
        "There are probably more exonerations that we don't know about than there are that we do know about," he said.

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        3)  On 'Day Without Women,' Two Districts Cancel School
         MARCH 6, 2017
        https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/06/us/on-day-without-women-two-districts-cancel-
        school.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fus&action=click&contentCollection=
        us&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=6&pgtype=sectionfront

        School districts in Virginia and North Carolina are telling students to stay home on Wednesday, on a nationwide day of protest called "A Day Without Women," because so many staff members do not plan to show up for work.
        In Alexandria Public Schools in Northern Virginia, more than 300 staff members have asked for the day off, prompting district officials to take the extraordinary step of canceling class. In a note on its website, the superintendent said its 18 schools would not have enough teachers on Wednesday.

        "This is not a decision that was made lightly," the superintendent, Alvin L. Crawley, said, adding that "it is not based on a political stance or position."
        In the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools in North Carolina, a "significant" number of teachers have said they will skip work on Wednesday, the district said. The roughly 12,300 students are to stay home, and the day will be an optional teacher workday.
        "It is my determination that we will not have enough staff to safely run our school district," the interim superintendent, Jim Causby, said in a letter on the district's website.
        Both school districts cited the observance of International Women's Day as the reason for the staffing shortages. Nationwide, more than three-quarters of all teachers are women, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics.
        The leaders of the Women's March on Washington, which drew more than a million demonstrators the day after the inauguration of President Trump, have encouraged women to strike on Wednesday to highlight their economic importance and power. The movement, which grew out of concerns about Mr. Trump and has spawned protests around the world, has emerged as a vocal champion of women's rights.
        The protest on Wednesday comes a few weeks after another protest, "Day Without Immigrants," had a similar effect on businesses. Immigrant workers displayed their contribution to the labor force by staying home, forcing businesses to close. Students in some schools districts also stayed home and others walked out during class.


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        4)  Lynne Stewart, Lawyer Imprisoned in Terrorism Case, Dies at 77
         MARCH 7, 2017
        https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/07/nyregion/lynne-stewart-dead-radical-leftist-lawyer.html


        Lynne F. Stewart, with her husband, Ralph Poynter, after she was found guilty in 2005 of helping to smuggle messages from Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, below, to his followers in Egypt. Mr. Abdel Rahman died in prison last month. CreditChang W. Lee/The New York Times 
        Lynne F. Stewart, a radical-leftist lawyer who gained wide notice for representing violent, self-described revolutionaries and who spent four years in prison herself, convicted of aiding terrorism, died on Tuesday at her home in Brooklyn. She was 77.
        Her son, Geoffrey Stewart, said the cause was complications of cancer and a series of strokes.
        Ms. Stewart, who had been treated for breast cancer before entering prison, was granted a "compassionate release" in January 2014 after the cancer had spread and was deemed terminal. Doctors at the time gave her 18 months to live.
        A former librarian and teacher, she had taken up the law in the cause of social justice after seeing the squalor in the area around the public school in Harlem where she taught. She built a reputation for representing the poor and the reviled, usually for modest, court-paid fees.
        Believing that the American political and capitalist system needed "radical surgery," as Ms. Stewart put it, she sympathized with clients who sought to fight that system, even with violence, although she did not always endorse their tactics, she said.
        One such client was Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, the blind Egyptian cleric who was found guilty in 1995 of leading a plot to blow up New York City landmarks, including the United Nations, after some of his followers had driven a powerful bomb into a garage beneath the World Trade Center in 1993, killing six people. Ms. Stewart would visit him in prison, where he was serving a life sentence in solitary confinement. Her death came less than three weeks after his: He died in prison on Feb. 18.
        Ms. Stewart was convicted in 2005 of helping to smuggle messages from the imprisoned sheikh to his violent followers in Egypt. Her prison sentence, initially set at 28 months, was later increased to 10 years after an appeals court ordered the trial judge to consider a longer term.
        The administration of President George W. Bush had brought the case as part of its tough approach to terrorism prosecutions after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
        But Ms. Stewart and her supporters maintained that she had not committed any crimes and that the administration had targeted her to discourage lawyers from forcefully defending terrorism suspects.
        After her release, she continued her public advocacy of radical-left causes, speaking at rallies and forums on behalf of releasing prisoners convicted of killing law enforcement agents or engaging in terrorism — "political prisoners" to their supporters — and in opposition to charter schools, which she saw as antidemocratic corporate ventures.
        Photo

        Lynne F. Stewart in 2004. As a lawyer, she represented violent, self-described revolutionaries.CreditChester Higgins Jr./The New York Times 
        Her trial in 2005 drew wide publicity. Belying the image of a dangerous radical, Ms. Stewart, a short, round-faced woman, often arrived at court wearing a New York Mets cap and a floral-print housedress, dangling a cloth tote bag rather than the lawyer's typical briefcase and inevitably drawing a clutch of news photographers.
        News articles in later years often described her as grandmotherly — infuriating her critics, who insisted that such a description distracted the public from seeing the ally of terrorists they saw.
        Many mainstream lawyers who believed that Ms. Stewart had acted criminally nonetheless argued that the charges of abetting terrorism were excessive. Her critics, though, including other lawyers, said the charges were justified, maintaining that she had crossed a professional line into criminal conspiracy.
        During the trial, prosecutors said that on several prison visits Ms. Stewart — by loudly chattering and making other "covering noises" — had tried to conceal from guards that her translator was actually a go-between, updating Mr. Abdel Rahman on what his followers in Egypt were doing and receiving oral instructions from him to be relayed back to them.
        Ms. Stewart testified that she had engaged in such behavior to safeguard her client's right to a confidential conversation with her.
        Prosecutors said further that Ms. Stewart had criminally aided the sheikh when she called a reporter in Cairo in 2000 to read a news release quoting Mr. Abdel Rahman as withdrawing his support for a cease-fire that his followers had been observing in Egypt. She testified that she had only been trying to keep him in the public eye, consistent with her policy of zealous representation.
        In giving her a 28-month prison term, the trial judge cited Ms. Stewart's long service in representing poor and unpopular defendants. But the sentence angered prosecutors, who had sought a 30-year term. They appealed the sentence while Ms. Stewart appealed the conviction.
        In November 2009, an appellate court upheld the conviction and directed the trial judge, John G. Koeltl of Federal District Court in Manhattan, to determine whether she should be resentenced to a longer term.
        The next July, Judge Koeltl did lengthen her prison term, to 10 years, citing, among other factors, Ms. Stewart's public statements after the first sentencing, including her boast that she could do 28 months "standing on my head." She had shown "a lack of remorse," he said.
        Ms. Stewart's critics and supporters did agree on one point about her 30-year career, which ended in disbarment with her conviction: Like William M. Kunstler and other lawyers who were proud to be called radical leftists, Ms. Stewart sympathized with the causes of violent clients who deemed themselves revolutionaries in America.
        "I think that to rid ourselves of the entrenched voracious type of capitalism that is in this country that perpetuates sexism and racism, I don't think that can come nonviolently," she testified at her trial.
        But she added that she was against "anarchistic violence," which she defined as violence not supported by a majority of the people, and that terrorist violence was "basically anarchistic."
        Ms. Stewart testified in the same measured tones in which she had methodically presented evidence and argued to juries on behalf of her clients. "I'm not abrasive," she told an interviewer about her courtroom manner. Outside court, her demeanor was positively jaunty, even when she was speaking of the United States as a sick society needing "radical surgery."
        Ms. Stewart's other high-profile clients included David J. Gilbert, a member of the radical group the Weather Underground. He was convicted of murder and robbery in the 1981 Brink's armored car robbery in Rockland County, N.Y., in which two police officers and a Brink's guard were killed.
        Another client, Richard C. Williams, was convicted of killing a New Jersey state trooper and setting off bombs at military centers and corporate offices in the early 1980s.
        In 1988, Ms. Stewart and Mr. Kunstler won the stunning acquittal of a drug dealer, Larry Davis, on charges of trying to murder nine police officers in a Bronx shootout in which he wounded six of them. The lawyers argued that Mr. Davis had fired in self-defense; he was found guilty only of weapons possession.
        Mr. Davis, whom the police had been trying to arrest on charges of murdering several fellow drug dealers, became a folk hero in some quarters because of the shootout and his ability to elude a manhunt for 17 days after fleeing the scene.
        While many people denounced such admiration or were bewildered by it, Ms. Stewart had no trouble with it from her radical-left perspective.
        The Davis case, she told The New York Times in 1995, "captured the feelings of the third-world community in the city because here's a kid, whether you liked what he did or not, he stood up to the police" at a time when "a lot of black people were being assaulted and murdered by the police." (Mr. Davis was stabbed to death in prison in 2008.)
        In that interview, Ms. Stewart acknowledged that some of her leftist colleagues had questioned whether she should have taken Mr. Abdel Rahman's case. They told her, she said, that as an Islamic fundamentalist he had long sought the overthrow of the Egyptian government in favor of a religious, authoritarian state that would quickly crush left-wing dissenters like her.
        But she agreed to represent him, she said, because she believed that he was "being framed because of his political and religious teachings." Moreover, she said, she sympathized with Egyptians seeking to end an oppressive government and saw the fundamentalist movement as "the only hope for change there."
        At her own trial a decade later, though, Ms. Stewart testified that she did not endorse the Islamic holy war that Mr. Abdel Rahman had preached, and that she had not intended to help his followers in Egypt.
        Interviewed by The Times in 2008 — while she remained free during her appeal — Ms. Stewart was asked if she had second thoughts about her actions.
        "Would I do it again?" she said. "I would like to think I would if I was confronted with the same set of circumstances. But I might do it differently."
        Lynne Feltham Stewart was born on Oct. 8, 1939, in Brooklyn. A daughter of schoolteachers, she grew up in Queens and graduated in 1961 from Wagner College on Staten Island. She was a public school librarian and teacher for a decade before entering the law school at Rutgers University and graduating in 1975.
        Her first marriage, to Robert Stewart, ended in divorce. Besides her son, Geoffrey, from that marriage, her survivors include her husband, Ralph Poynter; their daughter, Zenobia Brown; another daughter from her first marriage, Brenna Stewart; a sister, Laurel Freedman; a brother, Donald Feltham; and six grandchildren.
        Recalling the development of her radical views, Ms. Stewart said she had led a sheltered early life in an all-white, middle-class neighborhood and had become aware of economic and racial injustices only when she began working at the Harlem public school. Seeing the poverty around her, she said, she decided to switch to the law.
        "I wanted to change things," she said.

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        5) World faces worst humanitarian crisis since 1945, says UN official
        Twenty million people face starvation without an immediate injection of funds in Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and Nigeria, warns Stephen O'Brien
        Associated Press
        Friday 10 March 2017
        https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/11/world-faces-worst-humanitarian-crisis-since-1945-says-un-official

        The world faces the largest humanitarian crisis since the end of the second world war with more than 20 million people in four countries facing starvation and famine, a senior United Nations official has warned.
        Without collective and coordinated global efforts, "people will simply starve to death" and "many more will suffer and die from disease", Stephen O'Brien, the UN under secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, told the security council in New York on Friday. 
        He urged an immediate injection of funds for Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and northeast Nigeria plus safe and unimpeded access for humanitarian aid "to avert a catastrophe."
        "To be precise," O'Brien said, "we need $4.4bn by July".
        Unless there was a major infusion of money, he said, children would be stunted by severe malnutrition and would not be able to go to school, gains in economic development would be reversed and "livelihoods, futures and hope lost".
        UN and food organisations define famine as when more than 30% of children under age 5 suffer from acute malnutrition and mortality rates are two or more deaths per 10,000 people every day, among other criteria.
        "Already at the beginning of the year we are facing the largest humanitarian crisis since the creation of the United Nations [in 1945]," O'Brien said. "Now, more than 20 million people across four countries face starvation and famine."
        O'Brien said the largest humanitarian crisis was in Yemen where two-thirds of the population — 18.8 million people — need aid and more than seven million people are hungry and did not know where their next meal would come from. "That is three million people more than in January," he said.
        Yemen is engulfed in conflict as Saudi Arabia and Iran wage a proxy war in the Arab world's poorest nation. O'Brien said more than 48,000 people fled fighting just in the past two months.
        During his recent visit to Yemen, O'Brien said he met senior leaders of the Saudi-backed government and the Tehran-backed Shiite Houthi rebels who control the capital Sanaa, and all promised access for aid.
        "Yet all parties to the conflict are arbitrarily denying sustained humanitarian access and politicise aid," he said, warning if that behaviour did not change "they must be held accountable for the inevitable famine, unnecessary deaths and associated amplification in suffering that will follow".
        For 2017, O'Brien said $2.1bn was needed to reach 12 million Yemenis "with life-saving assistance and protection" but only 6% has been received so far. He announced that secretary-general Antonio Guterres will chair a pledging conference for Yemen on 25 April in Geneva.
        The UN humanitarian chief also visited South Sudan, the world's newest nation which has been ravaged by a three-year civil war, and said "the situation is worse than it has ever been."
        "The famine in South Sudan is man-made," he said. "Parties to the conflict are parties to the famine — as are those not intervening to make the violence stop."
        O'Brien said more than 7.5 million people need aid, up by 1.4 million from last year, and about 3.4 million South Sudanese are displaced by fighting including almost 200,000 who have fled the country since January.
        "More than one million children are estimated to be acutely malnourished across the country, including 270,000 children who face the imminent risk of death should they not be reached in time with assistance," he said. "Meanwhile, the cholera outbreak that began in June 2016 has spread to more locations."
        In Somalia, which O'Brien also visited, more than half the population — 6.2 million people — need humanitarian assistance and protection, including 2.9 million who are at risk of famine and require immediate help "to save or sustain their lives."
        He warned that close to one million children under the age of five would be "acutely malnourished" this year.
        "What I saw and heard during my visit to Somalia was distressing — women and children walk for weeks in search of food and water. They have lost their livestock, water sources have dried up and they have nothing left to survive on," O'Brien said. "With everything lost, women, boys, girls and men now move to urban centers."
        He said current indicators mirror "the tragic picture of 2011 when Somalia last suffered a famine". But he said the UN's humanitarian partners have a larger footprint, better controls on resources, and a stronger partnership with the new government which recently declared the drought a national disaster.
        "To be clear, we can avert a famine," O'Brien said. "We're ready despite incredible risk and danger ... but we need those huge funds now."
        In north-east Nigeria, a seven-year uprising by the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram has killed more than 20,000 people and driven 2.6 million from their homes. A UN humanitarian coordinator said last month that malnutrition in the north-east is so pronounced that some adults are too weak to walk and some communities have lost all their toddlers.


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        6) The Government Remains the Enemy of the People
         
        March 10, 2017
        http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/03/10/the-government-remains-the-enemy-of-the-people/

        "Rights aren't rights if someone can take them away. They're privileges. That's all we've ever had in this country, is a bill of temporary privileges. And if you read the news even badly, you know that every year the list gets shorter and shorter. Sooner or later, the people in this country are gonna realize the government … doesn't care about you, or your children, or your rights, or your welfare or your safety… It's interested in its own power. That's the only thing. Keeping it and expanding it wherever possible."
        — George Carlin
        My friends, we're being played for fools.
        On paper, we may be technically free.
        In reality, however, we are only as free as a government official may allow.
        We only think we live in a constitutional republic, governed by just laws created for our benefit.
        Truth be told, we live in a dictatorship disguised as a democracy where all that we own, all that we earn, all that we say and do—our very lives—depends on the benevolence of government agents and corporate shareholders for whom profit and power will always trump principle. And now the government is litigating and legislating its way into a new framework where the dictates of petty bureaucrats carry greater weight than the inalienable rights of the citizenry.
        We're in trouble, folks.
        Freedom no longer means what it once did.
        This holds true whether you're talking about the right to criticize the government in word or deed, the right to be free from government surveillance, the right to not have your person or your property subjected to warrantless searches by government agents, the right to due process, the right to be safe from soldiers invading your home, the right to be innocent until proven guilty and every other right that once reinforced the founders' belief that this would be "a government of the people, by the people and for the people."
        Not only do we no longer have dominion over our bodies, our families, our property and our lives, but the government continues to chip away at what few rights we still have to speak freely and think for ourselves.
        If the government can control speech, it can control thought and, in turn, it can control the minds of the citizenry.
        The unspoken freedom enshrined in the First Amendment is the right to think freely and openly debate issues without being muzzled or treated like a criminal.
        In other words, if we no longer have the right to tell a Census Worker to get off our property, if we no longer have the right to tell a police officer to get a search warrant before they dare to walk through our door, if we no longer have the right to stand in front of the Supreme Court wearing a protest sign or approach an elected representative to share our views, if we no longer have the right to protest unjust laws by voicing our opinions in public or on our clothing or before a legislative body—no matter how misogynistic, hateful, prejudiced, intolerant, misguided or politically incorrect they might be—then we do not have free speech.
        What we have instead is regulated, controlled speech, and that's a whole other ballgame.
        Protest laws, free speech zones, bubble zones, trespass zones, anti-bullying legislation, zero tolerance policies, hate crime laws and a host of other legalistic maladies dreamed up by politicians and prosecutors are conspiring to corrode our core freedoms purportedly for our own good.
        For instance, the protest laws being introduced across the country—in 18 states so far—are supposedly in the name of "public safety and limiting economic damage."
        Don't fall for it.
        No matter how you package these laws, no matter how well-meaning they may sound, no matter how much you may disagree with the protesters or sympathize with the objects of the protest, these proposed laws are aimed at one thing only: discouraging dissent.
        In Arizona, police would be permitted to seize the assets of anyone involved in a protest that at some point becomes violent.
        In Minnesota, protesters would be forced to pay for the cost of having police on hand to "police" demonstrations.
        Oregon lawmakers want to "require public community colleges and universities to expel any student convicted of participating in a violent riot."
        proposed North Dakota law would give drivers the green light to "accidentally" run over protesters who are blocking a public roadway. Florida and Tennessee are entertaining similar laws.
        Pushing back against what it refers to as "economic terrorism," Washington wants to increase penalties for protesters who block access to highways and railways.
        Anticipating protests over the Keystone Pipeline, South Dakota wants to apply the governor's emergency response authority to potentially destructive protests, create new trespassing penalties and make it a crime to obstruct highways.
        In Iowa, protesters who block highways with speeds posted above 55 mph could spend five years in prison, plus a fine of up to $7,500. Obstruct traffic in Mississippi and you could be facing a $10,000 fine and a five-year prison sentence.
        North Carolina law would make it a crime to heckle state officials. Under this law, shouting at a former governor would constitute a crime.
        Indiana lawmakers wanted to authorize police to use "any means necessary" to breakup mass gatherings that block traffic. That legislation has since been amended to merely empower police to issue fines for such behavior.
        Georgia is proposing harsh penalties and mandatory sentencing laws for those who obstruct public passages or throw bodily fluids on "public safety officers."
        Virginia wants to subject protesters who engage in an "unlawful assembly" after "having been lawfully warned to disperse" with up to a year of jail time and a fine of up to $2,500.
        Missouri wants to make it illegal for anyone participating in an "unlawful assembly" to intentionally conceal "his or her identity by the means of a robe, mask, or other disguise."
        Colorado wants to lock up protesters for up to 18 months who obstruct or tamper with oil and gas equipment and charge them with up to $100,000 in fines.
        Oklahoma wants to create a sliding scale for protesters whose actions impact or impede critical infrastructure. The penalties would range from $1,000 and six months in a county jail to $100,000 and up to 10 years in prison. And if you're part of an organization, that fine goes as high as $1,000,000.
        Michigan hopes to make it easier for courts to shut down "mass picketing" demonstrations and fine protesters who block entrances to businesses, private residences or roadways up to $1,000 a day. That fine jumps to $10,000 a day for unions or other organizing groups.
        Ask yourself: if there are already laws on the books in all of the states that address criminal or illegal behavior such as blocking public roadways or trespassing on private property—because such laws are already on the books—then why does the government need to pass laws criminalizing activities that are already outlawed?
        What's really going on here?
        No matter what the politicians might say, the government doesn't care about our rights, our welfare or our safety.
        How many times will we keep falling for the same tricks?
        Every despotic measure used to control us and make us cower and fear and comply with the government's dictates has been packaged as being for our benefit, while in truth benefiting only those who stand to profit, financially or otherwise, from the government's transformation of the citizenry into a criminal class.
        Remember, the Patriot Act didn't make us safer. It simply turned American citizens into suspects and, in the process, gave rise to an entire industry—private and governmental—whose profit depends on its ability to undermine our Fourth Amendment rights.
        Placing TSA agents in our nation's airports didn't make us safer. It simply subjected Americans to invasive groping, ogling and bodily searches by government agents. Now the TSA plans to subject travelers to even more "comprehensive" patdowns.
        So, too, these protest laws are not about protecting the economy or private property or public roads. Rather, they are intended to muzzle discontent and discourage anyone from challenging government authority.
        These laws are the shot across the bow.
        They're intended to send a strong message that in the American police state, you're either a patriot who marches in lockstep with the government's dictates or you're a pariah, a suspect, a criminal, a troublemaker, a terrorist, a radical, a revolutionary.
        Yet by muzzling the citizenry, by removing the constitutional steam valves that allow people to speak their minds, air their grievances and contribute to a larger dialogue that hopefully results in a more just world, the government is deliberately stirring the pot, creating a climate in which violence becomes inevitable.
        When there is no steam valve—when there is no one to hear what the people have to say, because government representatives have removed themselves so far from their constituents—then frustration builds, anger grows and people become more volatile and desperate to force a conversation.
        Then again, perhaps that was the government's plan all along.
        As John F. Kennedy warned in March 1962, "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
        The government is making violent revolution inevitable.
        How do you lock down a nation?
        You sow discontent and fear among the populace. You terrorize the people into believing that radicalized foreigners are preparing to invade. You teach them to be non-thinkers who passively accept whatever is told them, whether it's delivered by way of the corporate media or a government handler. You brainwash them into believing that everything the government does is for their good and anyone who opposes the government is an enemy. You acclimate them to a state of martial law, carried out by soldiers disguised as police officers but bearing the weapons of war. You polarize them so that they can never unite and stand united against the government. You create a climate in which silence is golden and those who speak up are shouted down. You spread propaganda and lies. You package the police state in the rhetoric of politicians.
        And then, when and if the people finally wake up to the fact that the government is not and has never been their friend, when it's too late for peaceful protests and violence is all that remains to them as a recourse against tyranny, you use all of the tools you've been so carefully amassing—the criminal databases and surveillance and identification systems and private prisons and protest laws—and you shut them down for good.
        As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, once a government assumes power—unconstitutional or not—it does not relinquish it. The militarized police are not going to stand down. The NSA will continue to collect electronic files on everything we do. More and more Americans are going to face jail time for offenses that prior generations did not concern themselves with.
        The government—at all levels—could crack down on virtually anyone at any time.
        Martin Luther King saw it coming: both the "spontaneous explosion of anger by various citizen groups" and the ensuing crackdown by the government.
        "Police, national guard and other armed bodies are feverously preparing for repression," King wrote shortly before he was assassinated. "They can be curbed not by unorganized resort to force…but only by a massive wave of militant nonviolence….It also may be the instrument of our national salvation."
        Militant nonviolent resistance.
        "A nationwide nonviolent movement is very important," King wrote. "We know from past experience that Congress and the President won't do anything until you develop a movement around which people of goodwill can find a way to put pressure on them… This means making the movement powerful enough, dramatic enough, morally appealing enough, so that people of goodwill, the churches, laborers, liberals, intellectuals, students, poor people themselves begin to put pressure on congressmen to the point that they can no longer elude our demands.
        "It must be militant, massive nonviolence," King emphasized.
        In other words, besides marches and protests, there would have to be civil disobedience. Civil disobedience forces the government to expend energy in many directions, especially if it is nonviolent, organized and is conducted on a massive scale. This is, as King knew, the only way to move the beast. It is the way to effect change without resorting to violence. And it is exactly what these protest laws are attempting to discourage
        We are coming to a crossroads. Either we gather together now and attempt to restore freedom or all will be lost. As King cautioned, "everywhere, 'time is winding up,' in the words of one of our spirituals, corruption in the land, people take your stand; time is winding up."
        John W. Whitehead is the president of The Rutherford Institute and author of Battlefield America: The War on the American People.

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        7)  Struggling With Japan's Nuclear Waste, Six Years After Disaster
         MARCH 11, 2017
        https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/11/world/asia/struggling-with-japans-nuclear-waste-six-years-
        after-disaster.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fworld&action=click&contentCollection=
        world&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=5&pgtype=sectionfront

        FUKUSHIMA DAIICHI NUCLEAR POWER STATION — Six years after the largest nuclear disaster in a quarter-century, Japanese officials have still not solved a basic problem: what to do with an ever-growing pile of radioactive waste. Each form of waste at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, where three reactors melted down after an earthquake and a tsunami on March 11, 2011, presents its own challenges.
        400 Tons of Contaminated Water Per Day
        The Tokyo Electric Power Company is pumping water nonstop through the three reactors to cool melted fuel that remains too hot and radioactive to remove. About 400 tons of water passes through the reactors every day, including groundwater that seeps in. The water picks up radiation in the reactors and then is diverted into a decontamination facility.
        But the decontamination filters cannot remove all the radioactive material. So for now, all this water is being stored in 1,000 gray, blue and white tanks on the grounds. The tanks already hold 962,000 tons of contaminated water, and Tokyo Electric is installing more tanks. It is also trying to slow the flow of groundwater through the reactors by building an underground ice wall.
        Within a few years, though, and no one is sure exactly when, the plant may run out of room to store the contaminated water. "We cannot continue to build tanks forever," said Shigenori Hata, an official at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
        The authorities are debating whether it might be acceptable, given the relatively low radioactive levels in the water, to dilute the contaminated water and then dump it into the ocean. But local fishermen are vehemently opposed. Many people still do not trust Tokyo Electric because of its bungled response to the disaster, the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl.
        3,519 Containers of Radioactive Sludge
        The process of decontaminating the water leaves radioactive sludge trapped in filters, which are being held in thousands of containers of different sizes.
        Tokyo Electric says it cannot quantify the amount of radioactive sludge being generated. But it says it is experimenting with what to do with it, including mixing it with cement or iron. Then it will have to decide how to store it.
        64,700 Cubic Meters of Discarded Protective Clothing
        The estimated 6,000 cleanup workers at the site put on new protective gear every day. These hazmat suits, face masks, rubber gloves and shoe coverings are thrown out at the end of each shift. The clothing is compressed and stored in 1,000 steel boxes stacked around the site.
        To date, more than 64,700 cubic meters of gear has been discarded, the equivalent of 17 million one-gallon containers. Tokyo Electric says it will eventually incinerate all this contaminated clothing to reduce the space needed to store it.
        Branches and Logs From 220 Acres of Deforested Land
        The plant's grounds were once dotted with trees, and a portion was even designated as a bird sanctuary. But workers have cleared about 220 acres of trees since the meltdown spewed radiation over them.
        Now, piles of branches and tree trunks are stacked all over the site. Officials say there are about 80,000 cubic meters of this waste, and all of it will have to be incinerated and stored someday.
        200,400 Cubic Meters of Radioactive Rubble
        Explosions during the meltdown filled the reactors with rubble. Workers and robots are slowly and carefully trying to remove this tangled mass of crushed concrete, pipes, hoses and metal.
        Tokyo Electric estimates that more than 200,400 cubic meters of rubble — all of it radioactive — have been removed so far and stored in custom-made steel boxes. That is the equivalent of about 3,000 standard 40-foot shipping containers.
        3.5 Billion Gallons of Soil
        Thousands of plastic garbage bags sit in neat rows in the fields and abandoned towns surrounding the Fukushima plant. They contain soil that was scraped from land that was exposed to radiation in the days after the accident.
        Japan's Ministry of the Environment estimates that it has bagged 3.5 billion gallons of soil, and plans to collect much more. It will eventually incinerate some of the soil, but that will only reduce the volume of the radioactive waste, not eliminate it.
        The ministry has already begun building a massive, interim storage facility in Fukushima prefecture and negotiating with 2,360 landowners for the thousands of acres needed to complete it. And that is not even a long-term solution: The government says that after 30 years it will need another site — or sites — to store radioactive waste.
        1,573 Nuclear Fuel Rods
        The ultimate goal of the cleanup is to cool and, if possible, remove the uranium and plutonium fuel that was inside the three reactors at the time of the disaster.
        Hundreds of spent fuel rods are in cooling pools inside the reactors, and the company hopes to have cleared away enough rubble to begin removing them next year. The much bigger challenge will be removing the fuel that was in use in the reactor core at the time of the meltdown.
        The condition and location of this molten fuel debris are still largely unknown. In one reactor where a robot was sent in January, much of the melted fuel is believed to have burned through the bottom of the inner reactor vessel and burrowed into the thick concrete foundation of the containment structure.
        The plan is to completely seal the containment vessels, fill them with water and use robots to find and remove the molten fuel debris. But the rubble, the lethal levels of radiation and the risk of letting radiation escape make this an exceedingly difficult task.
        In January, the robot sent into one of the reactors discovered radiation levels high enough to kill a person in less than a minute. Another had to be abandoned last month after debris blocked its path and radiation disabled it.
        Tokyo Electric hopes to begin removing fuel debris from the reactor cores in 2021. The entire effort could take decades. Some say the radioactive material may prove impossible to remove safely and have suggested leaving it and entombing Fukushima under a concrete and steel sarcophagus like the one used at Chernobyl.
        But the Japanese government and Tokyo Electric say they are committed to removing all the waste and cleaning the site, estimated at a cost of $188.6 billion.
        "We want to return it to a safe state," said Yuichi Okamura, general manager of the company's nuclear power and plant siting division. "We promised the local people that we would recover the site and make it a safe ground again."



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        8)  When a Common Sedative Becomes an Execution Drug
         MARCH 13, 2017
        https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/13/us/midazolam-death-penalty-arkansas.html?rref=
        collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fus&action=click&contentCollection=us&region=
        rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=2&pgtype=sectionfront

        TUCSON — When a chemist named Armin Walser helped invent a sedative more powerful than Valium more than 40 years ago, he thought his team's concoction was meant to make people's lives easier, not their deaths.
        Yet decades after the drug, known as midazolam, entered the market, a product more often used during colonoscopies and cardiac catheterizations has become central to executions around the country and the debate that surrounds capital punishment in the United States.
        "I didn't make it for the purpose," Dr. Walser, whose drug has been used for sedation during 20 lethal injections nationwide, said in an interview at his home here. "I am not a friend of the death penalty or execution."

        Midazolam's path from Dr. Walser's laboratory into use in at least six of the country's execution chambers has been filled with secrecy, political pressure, scientific disputes and court challenges.
        The most recent controversy is the extraordinary plan in Arkansas to execute eight inmates in 10 days next month. The state is racing the calendar: Its midazolam supply will expire at the end of April, and given the resistance of manufacturers to having the drug used in executions, Arkansas would most likely face major hurdles if it tried to restock.
        Supporters of midazolam's use, which the United States Supreme Court upheld in a case from Oklahoma less than two years ago, say it is a safe and effective substitute for execution drugs that have become difficult to purchase. Death penalty critics, citing executions that they say were botched, argue that midazolam puts prisoners at risk of an unconstitutionally painful punishment because the condemned may be insufficiently numbed to the agony caused by a paralytic drug.
        A major legal test is in Ohio, where a federal appeals court heard arguments last week about the drug's future there.
        "The states will be watching the legal proceedings out of Ohio, but also the on-the-ground experiences out of Arkansas, Virginia and elsewhere," said Megan McCracken, who specializes in lethal injection litigation at the law school of the University of California, Berkeley. "Time and time again when you see executions with midazolam, you see, at best, surprises and, at worst, very bad executions."
        States have resisted such critiques, and during arguments last weekbefore a federal appeals court in Cincinnati, Eric Murphy, the Ohio state solicitor, said midazolam's use in a three-drug protocol "does not create a substantial risk of pain that is sure or very likely to occur."
        The relatively recent emergence of midazolam at the center of far-reaching legal battles has startled Dr. Walser, who was working in New Jersey for Hoffmann-La Roche, a Swiss pharmaceutical company, when he helped to invent the drug in the 1970s. It was a water-soluble alternative to Valium, and, as Dr. Walser recounted in a company publication, the discovery "required the coincidence of several events and also a portion of luck."
        Midazolam was patented in 1979, a few years after it was synthesized, and evolved into a medical star. An anesthesiology textbook described midazolam, sometimes referred to as Versed, as "the most frequently used benzodiazepine in the elderly," and in 2011 the World Health Organization added the drug to its Model List of Essential Medicines.
        But court filings and depositions show that by the time of the W.H.O.'s decision, American corrections officials were more than a year into their consideration of midazolam for a new purpose: sedating condemned prisoners for execution. In 2009, Ohio adopted midazolam as part of its backup execution protocol.
        It was a matter of years before midazolam went from being part of a backup procedure in a single state to a crucial drug in at least six, as prison systems increasingly struggled to buy the barbiturates they had long used to sedate prisoners for executions. In 2013, Florida added midazolam to its execution protocol and became the first state to carry out an execution involving the drug.
        "The way executions have proceeded in the United States has been, in a sense, through the herd mentality: One state does something and it appears to work, and others hop on board," said Robert Dunham, the executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, a research group.
        Most executions involving midazolam drew little sustained criticism, but problems emerged during some. In Ohio, a murderer's executiontook longer than previous injection-induced deaths in the state. Testifying later in Federal District Court in connection with a lawsuit over Ohio's lethal injection protocol, a reporter said the prisoner had been "coughing, gasping, choking in a way that I had not seen before at any execution."
        Midazolam was also used in an execution in Oklahomathat state officials said had gone awry because of an improperly placed intravenous line. Critics said the episode still proved the inadequacy of midazolam's effectiveness during lethal injections.
        And in Arizona, the execution of Joseph R. Wood III took nearly two hours, long enough that a federal judge was holding an emergency hearing about the matter at the moment Mr. Wood died.
        An outside review commissioned by the Arizona Department of Corrections "found no breakdowns in the implementation of the process or the mechanical systems supporting the execution," and the department's director said Mr. Wood was "fully sedated, was totally unresponsive to stimuli and as a result did not suffer."
        Arizona later agreed that it would "never again use midazolam, or any other benzodiazepine, as part of a drug protocol in a lethal injection execution."
        In some ways, Arizona's pledge, in December, was unsurprising: Earlier last year, the state had said its midazolam supply had expired, and pharmaceutical companies have tried to curb the drug's use for lethal injections. Dr. Walser's former employer, for instance, said in 2015 that it "did not supply midazolam for death penalty use and would not knowingly provide any of our medicines for this purpose."
        "Drugs are supposed to be used to cure people, to help them, and I'm surprised that any drug is used to kill people," said Dale A. Baich, an assistant federal defender in Phoenix who witnessed Mr. Wood's execution and helped to negotiate the banishment of midazolam from Arizona's lethal injections.
        But the drug's critics have found limited solace in the courts, including the Supreme Court, which last month declined to hear cases from Alabama and Arkansas, both of which include midazolam in their lethal injection protocols. Those moves amounted to reinforcement of a ruling in 2015, when Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., writing for a divided court, noted that the court had found "that the Constitution does not require the avoidance of all risk of pain."
        He continued: "After all, while most humans wish to die a painless death, many do not have that good fortune. Holding that the Eighth Amendment demands the elimination of essentially all risk of pain would effectively outlaw the death penalty altogether."
        Indeed, some supporters of the death penalty, including people who have witnessed executions that included midazolam, have defended lethal injections and any pain they might cause violent offenders.
        Proponents also acknowledge that midazolam is far from a drug of choice for executions, but they blame abolitionists for effectively leaving states with limited choices.
        "No state would use it if they could get the barbiturates," said Kent S. Scheidegger, the legal director of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation. "The opponents have created the situation where states are forced to use a drug that is not the optimum."
        Some people have already begun to wonder when or whether another drug will materialize as a substitute for midazolam, a development they predicted would lead to more contentious litigation.
        In Tucson, where Dr. Walser excitedly sketched organic structures on his patio on a recent morning, the retired chemist has been left to grapple, uncomfortably, with what has come of his team's innovation. He said he hadn't known about midazolam's use in executions until a reporter from Oklahoma called him in 2015.
        "I didn't feel good about it," he recalled. Then, with resignation, he said, "The doctors can do with it what they want."

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        9)  While Scolding Trump, Mexico Seeks to Curtail Citizens’ Rights
        Leer en español 

        Beyond that, the bill, which has not yet been approved by Congress, flips the very premise of modern justice on its head: Rather than innocent before proved guilty, it would require concrete evidence of reasonable doubt, essentially shifting the burden of proof to the accused."




        MEXICO CITY — Even as Mexico fumes over President Trump’s aggressive stance toward its people, the Mexican government is quietly trying to rip up basic legal protections for its citizens at home and gut longstanding efforts to fix the nation’s broken rule of law.
        Legal experts fear the move will set back human rights in Mexico by decades.
        The tool is an innocuous-sounding bill, submitted last month by a close ally of President Enrique Peña Nieto — only a day after his government publicly chided the Trump administration to respect the rights of all Mexicans.
        The governing party says the bill, labeled a reform to the criminal code, will make “adjustments” to Mexico’s new legal system, a linchpin of cooperation with the United States that was completed last year with more than $300 million in American aid. It is widely considered Mexico’s most important legal advancement in the past century.

        But while the American-backed legal system is supposed to enshrine human rights in a nation desperately lacking them, this new bill heads squarely in the other direction. Legal scholars say it will broaden the power of the Mexican government to detain suspects for years before trial, enable the police to rely on hearsay in court and potentially allow prosecutors to use evidence obtained by torture.
        Beyond that, the bill, which has not yet been approved by Congress, flips the very premise of modern justice on its head: Rather than innocent before proved guilty, it would require concrete evidence of reasonable doubt, essentially shifting the burden of proof to the accused.
        “It is not only a counter reform, but it has reforms that contravene the right to a proper defense,” said Alejandra Ramos, a judge in the state of Chihuahua. “They want to pass this because it is easier to do than to train police officers and prosecutors, clean up the entire system and break the use of torture as the main tool of investigation.”
        The legislation reflects a central contradiction of modern Mexico under Mr. Peña Nieto and his party: the version of the country that his government promotes to the world versus the reality it creates on the ground.
        In promoting Brand Mexico, the government has fashioned the image of an ascending nation, a regional leader ready to take its place on the global stage, competitive on issues of trade, economics and culture. And yet, presented with mounting violence, vast inequality and a human rights crisis in which torture at the hands of security forces is “generalized,” in the words of the United Nations, the same government frequently runs roughshod over the rights it claims to defend.
        The government’s recent scolding of the Trump administration — while actively trying to roll back the rights of Mexicans at home — underscores the paradox.
        When Mr. Trump ordered a wall between the two nations, the Mexicans called it an alarming assault on their dignity, vowing to defend their citizens in the United States and publicly insisting last month that “all Mexicans should be treated with absolute respect to their civil rights and human rights.”
        But back home, the Mexican government was busy doing the opposite, introducing a bill to reverse central tenets of the new justice system with such little publicity that many lawmakers, judges and defense lawyers do not even know about it.
        International bodies that oversee Mexico’s human rights record say the legislation is part of a long pattern by the government. In its handling of the vast corruption that runs through the justice and political systems, the impunity of its security forces, or the investigations into the tens of thousands of disappearances across the country, they say, the government often undermines the major breakthroughs it claims to be making.
        “Mexico has worked hard to promote its image as a state that defends or advances international human rights,” said James Cavallaro, a commissioner on the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and a professor at Stanford Law School. “But at home, the human rights situation is simply dreadful: severe abuse, torture, summary executions and virtually guaranteed impunity.”
        The bill is part of a broader packet of changes. The governing party and other lawmakers have also submitted several versions of the law that would legalize the army’s enforcement of domestic security, a role the military has played without a legal mandate since the drug war began a decade ago.
        During that time, torture and extrajudicial killings have soared. According to the government’s own data, the military kills far more combatants than it injures, a lopsided record that defies the history of war. The elite marine forces, for instance, kill 30 people for every person they injure, a ratio that experts say points to a high likelihood of extrajudicial killings.
        Very few soldiers are ever punished for crossing the line. Of the roughly 4,000 complaints of torture that the attorney general’s office has reviewed since 2006, only 15 have resulted in convictions, raising broad international concerns about impunity and the government’s willingness to tackle human rights abuses.
        The government says the military bill will help regulate the armed forces, giving them the legal authority to continue their essential role in fighting organized crime.
        “But that isn’t the right question,” said Jan Jarab, the representative for the United Nations high commissioner for human rights in Mexico. “The right question is, Should they continue to do it at all? The right question is, Has the military paradigm been successful? The answer to that, in a huge and overwhelming majority, is no.”
        Driving the government’s legislative push is a profound fear: that the nation’s fragile security situation, already a major stain on Mexico’s international image, could unravel further.
        The new legal system, for example, retooled with the United States over a period of eight years, affords more protections for defendants and requires robust evidence to detain people. As a result, Mexican officials say, suspects are walking free, to the frustration of prosecutors, the police and even regular citizens.
        “Like all recently implemented systems, it is necessary to make certain adjustments for it to work as it should,” the president’s office said in a statement explaining the proposed changes. “Different sectors of the new justice system and civil society groups have expressed the need to make adjustments.”
        The government added that it was fully committed to human rights, had pressed forward vigorously to enact the legal system and had “trained all of the police in the country” in the new legal standards.
        But under the government’s proposals, critics say, longstanding efforts to tighten rules on evidence and train a functioning police force would most likely be abandoned for a more expedient approach to dealing with crime, leaving untouched a central problem plaguing Mexico today: impunity.
        “If you look at both of these laws, they are geared towards the same goal — the police having more power and slowly transitioning the country into something like a police state,” said Javier Carrasco, the executive director of the Institute of Penal Justice. “They are both geared towards the same horizon.”
        The United States has been notably quiet about the bills, given how much it has invested to overhaul Mexico’s legal system. The Americans have equipped courtrooms across the country and trained judges, prosecutors, police officers and law professors.
        To some critics, the United States’ silence is a reflection of the new relationship between the two countries, with American influence waning amid the hostilities between Mr. Trump and Mexico.
        “We have lost our ability to have a dialogue with them now,” said Mark Feierstein, the former director of Western Hemisphere affairs at the National Security Council under President Barack Obama. “With the Trump administration’s attitude towards our press and judicial system, and the coarse language he uses, we have lost our standing globally.”
        When the legal reform was first passed in 2008, it was hailed across Mexico’s political spectrum as a seminal moment for the country. No longer would court decisions remain shielded under an opaque written system. Instead, the entire country would move to a so-called accusatorial system, in which prosecutors and defense lawyers presented their evidence in public.
        But the new criminal justice system has exposed deep flaws in the capacity of law enforcement to collect evidence and investigate cases. Despite eight years of training, the authorities still often rely on a single confession obtained through torture, and some officials have condemned the higher burden of proof, especially when suspects are released because of it.
        “What is absurd is that they are not letting the 2008 reform sit, or allowing it to be managed by the judges first,” Fernando Gómez Mont, a former Mexican interior minister, said of the government’s push to undercut the legal system.
        For all of the criticism of the military, there is widespread agreement in Mexico that no other institution is ready to battle organized crime. Sending soldiers back to their barracks could create a security vacuum, a point leaders of the army have repeatedly made when demanding legal protections.
        Mr. Peña Nieto, whose approval ratings are the lowest of any president in a quarter century, has been supportive of both measures.
        In 2014, one of his allies submitted a similar package of changes to the new legal system. Then, as now, the effort came at a time of national tension and distraction, just two months after the mysterious disappearance of 43 students. Opponents fought the changes and prevented their passage.
        Then, in December, during a session with his National Security Council, Mr. Peña Nieto urged lawmakers to broaden the military’s power in domestic affairs and promised that in 2017 his administration would work on “correcting the operational flaws of the new penal justice system.”
        To gain support for the bills, Mr. Peña Nieto has relied on a strategic ally, César Camacho, the leader of his party in Congress who submitted them. Mr. Camacho, a longtime politician, is in a unique position: He was a principal shepherd of the new legal system that was hailed as a breakthrough for Mexico. But he has been conspicuously quiet about his legal reform bill, even when publicly discussing the problems it is supposed to be solving.
        On a recent panel in Mexico City, Mr. Camacho shared the dais with several legal experts invited to assess the “New System of Justice: What Is Lacking for Its Consolidation?”
        For more than two hours, the panelists talked about the legal system, discussing the need to ensure that prosecutors and police officers are better trained. Not a single person, including Mr. Camacho, mentioned his bill to reverse significant elements of the system, a reflection of the lawmaker’s power and the reluctance of many to challenge him.
        After the discussion, when asked about his bill in an interview, Mr. Camacho shook his head and smiled.
        “I am a proponent of the accusatory system, and I know it inside out,” he said. “What is necessary now is to make adjustments that allow for an absolute respect to civil liberties, and to give the Mexican state instruments and elements to make it more efficient.”
        Mr. Camacho has been more outspoken about the military bill, tamping down opposition in January by saying that it would ultimately benefit human rights.
        “This law is not intended to militarize the country,” he said during a radio interview, “but rather to give certainty to the population so we know the boundaries of the armed forces’ actions.”
        But rather than curtailing the scope of the military’s operations, Mr. Camacho’s bill would expand its official powers to include police functions like executing arrest warrants, tapping private communications, overseeing crime scenes, interviewing witnesses and investigating cases.
        Mr. Camacho has told officials that while the legislation carries his name, its true authors are the arms of law enforcement in the country: the attorney general’s office, the National Security Council and the military.
        The decision to install the military on the front lines with drug traffickers was, from the beginning, a tacit admission that the police could not manage the fight. With the police picked apart by corruption, poor training and disorganization, the army was the only force left capable of confronting the growing power and violence of the cartels.
        But a decade’s worth of research has shown that deploying the army has only deepened the country’s crisis. Beyond human rights violations, many argue that the strategy has been a failure from a security standpoint alone. Violence in Mexico today is once again approaching the peak levels of the drug war reached six years ago.
        New research has also shown that when the army is deployed in a community, violence tends to rise. Homicide rates increased 8 percent in areas where the armed forces deployed, and 9 percent where the army specifically was active, according to research published by CIDE, a Mexican research center.
        “We have been through the same strategy of militarizing public safety, and it has been a tremendous failure,” said Catalina Perez-Correa, a professor at CIDE who has studied the issue. “Not only has it not diminished violence, we now have evidence that it has worsened violence in Mexico.”
        Justice has always been a moving target in Mexico, where 98 percent of homicides go unsolved. But most legal scholars say the new legal system is infinitely better than the one it replaced. Still, its execution, they warn, relies on civil servants with poor training and, in some cases, bad habits.
        “We have not done what was necessary to make the system function properly,” José Ramón Cossío Díaz, a Supreme Court justice, said in an interview with the newspaper Universal. “I think a lot of people are assuming that just because we have oral trials and courtrooms, because we have the scenery, that the trials will work, but this is not a play.”
        The state of Chihuahua, along the border with Texas, was the first to undergo the transition in 2008, and the first to pass legislation to essentially reverse it after an outcry from law enforcement officials in 2010 and 2011.
        “A reform of this size and relevance requires a complex transition process, a cultural change of mind, a generational turnover even,” said Pablo Gonzalez, a judge in Chihuahua. “But that doesn’t mean we should stop walking the path towards that goal, no matter how complex and how much time it takes us to get there.”
        Fundamentally, he said, it boils down to a choice between controlling crime with arbitrary arrests or delivering something closer to justice.
        “We cannot play the same game on the federal level,” he said. “We cannot make that bet, because there is simply too much at stake.”
        Correction: March 16, 2017 
        An earlier version of this article misidentified the communities where the research group CIDE found that the homicide rate had risen 9 percent. It rose in places where the army — not the navy — had been active.







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        10)  Florida Poised to Strengthen ‘Stand Your Ground’ Defense
        MIAMI — Florida, which spearheaded the country’s use of the Stand Your Ground defense, is poised to significantly alter its self-defense laws, making it easier for defendants to use them.
        The Florida Legislature is on the verge of passing legislation that would bolster self-defense laws and shift the burden to prosecutors during immunity hearings to show that such laws should not apply.
        The Senate on Wednesday passed a revised Stand Your Ground bill by a vote of 23 to 15, paving the way for the House to take up the bill in the coming weeks. Gov. Rick Scott, a strong proponent of gun rights, is widely expected to sign the final measure.
        “I think of all the people who will be saved because we did this right and put the burden of proof where it belongs,” State Senator Dennis Baxley, one of the authors of the original 2005 Stand Your Ground bill, said during a passionate floor debate that touched on the importance of self-defense and the reality of race in America. “I’m sorry if that burden seems too heavy. That’s what we do in America. You are innocent until proven guilty.”
        Florida, nicknamed the Gunshine State, became a symbol of strong self-defense laws after George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager, in 2012 and was later acquitted when a jury found he was justified in pulling the trigger. (While Mr. Zimmerman argued self-defense, he did not offer a Stand Your Ground case.)
        The furor surrounding the shooting brought renewed attention to Florida’s far-reaching self-defense laws and cast a light on several notorious Stand Your Ground claims. In one 2012 case, a Miami man spotted a thief stealing his car radio. After the thief tried to strike him with a bag full of stereos, the man chased him down the street and stabbed him to death. He hid the knife and later sold a few stereos from the bag. The defendant’s case was dismissed by a judge after a Stand Your Ground hearing.
        If the new measure is enacted, the state would again be at the forefront of expanding self-defense laws. Florida would become the first state to apply a tougher standard to the law, putting the onus on prosecutors at the immunity hearing. The burden of proof would be shifted to prosecutors, and defendants would no longer have to present evidence, typically by taking the stand, to prove their claim of self-defense.
        Instead, prosecutors would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt — the highest legal standard — that the use of force was not justified.
        The Stand Your Ground provision allows people to use deadly force, without first attempting to retreat from a dangerous situation, if they “reasonably believe” their lives are threatened. Supporters of the revised bill said they did not want people who act in self-defense to face unfair hurdles in getting the charges dismissed before a trial.
        Senate Democrats spoke sharply against the bill, calling it an opportunity for wrongdoers to take advantage of self-defense laws.
        “What constitutes being a bad dude, or being fearful of their life?” Senator Bobby Powell asked. “Is it me walking down the street, looking suspicious? Does that make somebody fearful of their life? Does that mean I no longer have the reason to live?
        “We live in a society where many of us are guilty until proven innocent every day. And, in this instance,” he said incredulously, “we want to take the burden of proof and shift it to the prosecution.”
        Prosecutors have fought the measure, saying it cuts against the grain. Typically, when defendants admit killing or wounding someone but seek the dismissal of charges at a hearing — arguing entrapment, for example — it is up to them to present evidence and persuade the court, not the other way around.
        The new standard would require prosecutors to essentially put on a nonjury mini-trial, requiring victims and witnesses to testify twice, prosecutors said. And with defendants no longer required to offer evidence — which usually means taking the stand — there will be little, if any downside, for them to claim Stand Your Ground.
        “If all they have to do is file a motion and say ‘I claim Stand Your Ground,’ we are going to have to go through an entire trial because we don’t know what specific facts they are using or claiming,” said Glenn Hess, the president of the Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association. “We have to present our whole case. There is something wrong with that.”
        This would create a logjam of cases, prosecutors said, because under Florida law anyone with a self-defense claim — not just those involving a death — can ask for immunity hearings. That includes people charged with misdemeanors, battery, assault and domestic violence. This would cost the courts more money and delay trials, one reason defense lawyers like the bill.
        “There would be zero risk now for a defendant to ask for a hearing,” said Phil Archer, the state attorney for the 18th Circuit Court in Florida, which covers Brevard and Seminole Counties.
        Right now, Florida, along with most of the 22 states with similar self-defense laws, places a lower burden of proof on the defendant at the pretrial hearing — a preponderance of the evidence, not beyond a reasonable doubt.
        Defendants are free to claim self-defense before a judge and request immunity from criminal and civil prosecution. But they must present evidence or take the stand to support the self-defense claim, which can be a big deterrent for most defendants.
        If immunity is granted, the charges are dismissed. If immunity is denied, the case moves to trial, where the self-defense claim can still be presented before a jury. Last week, Curtis J. Reeves Jr., the so-called popcorn shooter who shot and killed a man in a Tampa movie theater, lost his immunity hearing after invoking Stand Your Ground. He will now go to trial.
        Two other states — Kansas and Kentucky — also place the burden of proof on the government during Stand Your Ground hearings. But the standard of proof is considerably lower. Prosecutors must simply establish probable cause that force was not legally justified.
        Senator Rob Bradley, who sponsored the bill, argued that people who act in self-defense should have their charged dismissed as early and easily as possible. Someone’s freedom is at stake, so “the burden should be high on the government.”
        But the nuts-and-bolts of how the Stand Your Ground hearing would play out in courtrooms would change considerably.
        Mr. Archer said only four Stand Your Ground hearings were held in his jurisdiction in 2016, an area with a million people. He predicted that next year the number would be 4,000 if the law changes.
        State attorneys said that they were confident they would win most of the hearings, but that succeeding at trial could become more difficult. Delays seldom work in the prosecution’s favor because memories fade and witnesses disappear. Some victims, particularly those in domestic violence cases, are often reluctant to testify twice, an additional complication.
        But, more important, they argue that if someone wants immunity from killing or hurting a person they need to make a case for it.
        “If you want complete immunity, where you never ever face a jury of your peers, then take the stand and tell us why,” Mr. Archer said.

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