Wednesday, May 10, 2017

BAUAW NEWSLETTER, WEDNESDAY, MAY 10, 2017



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BERKELEY CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTORS AND WAR RESISTERS' DAY EVENT

On International Conscientious Objectors' Day, Celebrate the 11th Annual
11:30 A.M. Monday, May 15, 2017
  • Sponsored by City of Berkeley Peace and Justice Commission
  • Endorsed by War Resisters League-West and Courage to Resist
Peace Flag raising ceremony, first at Civic Center flagpole at 2180 Milvia Street, corner of Allston Way and then at the flagpole at MLK, Jr. Civic Center Park, 2151 MLK, Jr. Way (between Center Street and Allston Way, across from Old City Hall), Berkeley Read more

Also:
This evening...
Free showing of the drone documentary "National Bird"
Friday, April 28, 7:45px at the Proxy outdoor movie theater

432 Octavia Blvd., at Hayes Street, San Francisco
This weekend...
Dr. King's Speech on Viet Nam War of April 4, 1967 - Full Reading
Sunday, April 30, 2 pm at Yerba Buena Gardens

Mission Street, between 3rd and 4th Streets
Presented by Veterans for Peace, Chapter 69, San Francisco


WEBSITE REDESIGN, RELAUNCH
website redesign

We've completely redesigned, and relaunched, our website for a great reading experience on either desktop or mobile. 

MAY 2017 PDF NEWSLETTER
pdf newsletter

COURAGE TO RESIST ~ SUPPORT THE TROOPS WHO REFUSE TO FIGHT!
484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland, California 94610 ~ 510-488-3559
www.couragetoresist.org ~ facebook.com/couragetoresist

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Labor Studies and Radical History

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

415.387.5700

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

Hours

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

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

Services

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

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Courage to Resist

We saved her life! 
Chelsea Manning free May 17

You and I may be wrong about Donald Trump.  Under his leadership, the US may finally find the policies of war and empire counter-productive.  An era of peaceful coexistence with our sisters and brothers here on Mother Earth may follow shortly thereafter.  Could that happen?  Sure, it’s “possible”—in the “I’m spending my paycheck buying lottery tickets, instead of buying food for my kids today” kind of way.
 
Ask yourself these two questions about where we’re heading under the leadership of the The Donald, his Twitter account, and what he happens to watch on Fox News any particular morning:  Is there an increased chance of direct US involvement in conflicts around the world, either by design, incompetency, or even illiteracy?  And, if so, might a significant number of US military service members openly question killing and dying for these insane plans and/or blunders?
 
I believe the answers to both questions are, unequivocally, yes.  Courage to Resist is working hard to prepare to do our part to support such common sense, infused with heroism.  That’s why, this month, we’ve launched a new podcast series, are debuting exclusive collaborative news and analysis articles, and have completely redesigned our website
 
We have a simple story to tell: Military war objectors are proof that courage and resistance is not futile, and that with support, we can win.
 
Within a few days, two heroic objectors, both of whom we have supported for much of the last decade, will walk out of prison and move on with their lives—Chelsea Manning, from Fort Leavenworth on May 17, and the following week, Iraq War refuser Ryan Johnson, from the Miramar Naval Brig near San Diego.  We’re extremely proud of what we’ve accomplished on behalf of Ryan and Chelsea.  However, the near future brings the very real possibility of mass resistance, certainly, unlike anything we’ve seen since the final years of the US war in Vietnam.
 
You're $35 donation today will allow us to continue doing this work on your behalf. 
 
Please, support the resistance. 
 
Sincerely,
Jeff for Courage to Resist
 
p.s. Yes, it's really happening. Chelsea will be walking out of Fort Leavenworth a week from now. This wouldn't be happening today, if not for the financial support of over 30,000 people who contributed to her Courage to Resist-hosted defense fund.
 



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Support:




CONTRIBUTE 
Thank you for being a part of this struggle.

Cuando luchamos ganamos! When we fight we win!

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

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

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Former Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar Lopez Rivera who recently received a commutation of his sentence  from President Obama will be coming to the Bay Area on Wednesday, May 31st.  This will be a memorable event, not to be missed!



Welcome Oscar Lopez Rivera 

  Oscar is Free and Coming to the Bay Area May 31st
                                                                       
            
           Oscar Lopez Rivera is coming to the Bay Area after 36 years in prison for his struggle in support for independence and sovereignty for Puerto Rican Independence. Help us support Oscar as he continues his work by making a financial commitment as he begins his new life.

            He will be visiting the Bay Area for a unique one time only public appearance on May 31st. For many of us, this is a welcome opportunity to celebrate his release and our shared victory. Let us show our support for Oscar in his new endeavors.

Please make a generous donation now: https://www.gofundme.com/welcomeoscar

Let us show Oscar that the SF Bay Area community supports him as he continues to advocate for sovereignty and independence for Puerto Rico. We look forward to seeing you in May.

Save the date: Wed. May 31, 2017  
                                 Recepcion 5pm
                                 Program 7pm - Place still to be determined 

For more information: freeoscarnow@gmail.com www.facebook.com/WelcomeOscartotheBayArea

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

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

Eight states  Alabama, California, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New York, and Utah  have at least one of every five prisoners serving a life or de facto life sentence in prison. 
The Sentencing Project will host an online press conference to discuss its report Still Life: America's Increasing Use of Life and Long-Term Sentences, on Wednesday, May 3rd at 11:00 a.m. EDT.   
Press Conference Details
WHAT: Online press conference hosted by The Sentencing Project regarding the release of its new report examining life and long-term sentences in the United States. REGISTER HERE to participate. The call-in information and conference link will be sent via email.  
WHEN: 
Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. EDT 
WHO: 

  • Ashley Nellis, The Sentencing Project's senior research analyst and author of Still Life: America's Increasing Use of Life and Long-Term Sentences

  • Evans Ray, whose life without parole sentence was commuted in 2016 by President Obama

  • Steve Zeidman, City University of New York law professor and counsel for Judith Clark—a New York prisoner who received a 75 year to life sentence in 1983
The full report will be available to press on Wednesday morning via email.

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

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Solidarity with the Jacksonville Five! Donate for bail and defense
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Committee to Stop FBI Repression (stopfbi.net)

Solidarity with the Jacksonville Five!
Donate for bail and defense!

Please donate to the Jacksonville Five bail and defense fund!

Call State Attorney Melissa Nelson at
904-255-2500 and say, "Drop the charges against the Jacksonville Five!"


April 13, 2017 - The Jacksonville Five are a group of anti-war protesters in Florida beaten and arrested by police at a "No War in Syria" rally held on Friday April 7, 2017. A right-wing provocateur appeared with a Trump flag, and then harassed and shoved anti-war activists, while police did nothing to him. Then the Jacksonville Sheriffs Office (JSO) physically attacked the anti-war protesters who did nothing wrong.

The police descended upon Connell Crooms, a deaf African American man, who had been leading chants. The police savagely beat, kicked and tased Crooms until he was unconscious and had to be taken to the hospital. Crooms is a well-known Teamster and a Black Lives Matter leader.

The police also punched Vietnam veteran Willie Wilder in the face and arrested the 74-year-old peace activist. Christina Kittle, the leader of the Jacksonville Coalition for Consent was thrown to the ground and arrested. Transgender activist Toma Beckwith was also tackled and arrested.

As protesters were leaving the park to do jail support, the police arrested union activist and anti-war speaker Dave Schneider, charging him with "felony inciting a riot" for organizing the anti-war protest. Police never arrested the right-wing provocateur. In fact, there are many photos on social media of him posing with JSO police, including Sheriff Mike Williams.

Jacksonville quickly rallied to the defense of the Jacksonville Five. The next day, April 8, over 200 people rallied to demand all charges be dropped. Leaders of the labor, African American, and progressive movements chanted, "Drop the charges!" The mother of Connell Crooms gave a tearful testament to her son's good character and denounced the police attack on her son, "JSO should not be allowed to get away with this type of behavior."

The rally demanded a full independent investigation into the police misconduct of April 7. Protesters are also demanding an independent investigation into a police spying program. Just weeks earlier the Florida Times Union newspaper reported the Sheriff's Office was spying on activists, including the Jacksonville Five, with photos of Dave Schneider, Connell Crooms and Christina Kittle appearing.

Jacksonville Sheriffs are lying and denying, claiming the protesters "incited a riot." Fortunately, dozens of people took video of the police brutality. The social media pages of the provocateur contain ties to white supremacist groups and to Sheriff Mike Williams who denies he knows him, despite their photo together at a Trump rally.

To add insult to injury, the total bail amount issued by the court for all five arrestees came out to over $157,000. They are outrageously charging the people who were beaten and arrested by the police with serious felony charges. We need to mobilize national support and raise enough money to cover this and pay for the defense.

There is a continuing campaign to drop the trumped-up charges and investigate the abuses by the JSO.

Please call the State Attorney for the Florida 4th Circuit, Melissa Nelson at 904-255-2500, and demand she drop the charges against the Jax5.

Please share this link to donate to the Jacksonville Five legal defense fund:


http://tinyurl.com/DefendJax5


Copyright © 2017 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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Please call to support Siddique Abdullah Hasan on hunger strike!

Call Director Gary Mohr at 614-387-0588 or email him at drc.publicinfo@odrc.state.oh.us as well as Northeast Regional Director Todd Ishee, 330-797-6398. 

Demand that the punishments being imposed on Jason Robb and Siddique Abdullah Hasan be reversed and that OSP authorities be severely reprimanded for violating their rights to due process and displaying bias toward them. 

Details and backstory (share this with media contacts, please):

Contact for interviews:

Staughton and Alice Lynd: salynd@aol.com, 330-652-9635


Prison Strike Leader Moved to Infirmary after Twenty Four Days Refusing Food.

Siddique Abdullah Hasan, a national prisoner leader has been on hunger strike since Monday, February 27th. On Friday, March 24th he was moved to the infirmary, presumably due to failing health. His appeal to the Rules Infraction Board (RIB) was also denied by Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) Director Gary Mohr.

The administration at Ohio State Penitentiary (OSP) has been targeting and restricting Hasan's communication access on any pretense they can find or invent since his outspoken support for the nation-wide prisoner strike on September 9th of 2016.

Hasan and another prisoner, Jason Robb began refusing food when the OSP administration put them on a 90 day communication restriction for being interviewed by the Netflix documentary series Captives. Hasan appealed the RIB's decision, arguing that they violated policies regarding timelines, access to witnesses, and prisoners' due process rights. Director Mohr's response to the appeal was a form letter that did not address any of the issues Hasan raised.

Hasan and Robb are on death row and have been held in solitary confinement since the 1993 prison uprising in Lucasville. They believe that the ODRC and the Ohio State prosecutors targeted them after the uprising because of their role in negotiating a peaceful surrender. State officials, in both the Captives documentary and a 2013 documentary called The Shadow of Lucasville, have admitted that some prisoners were given deals to testify against Hasan, Robb and others, and that no one really knows who committed the most serious crimes during the uprising. In court, they argued the opposite to secure death penalty convictions.

The Lucasville Uprising prisoners have been fighting to tell their story for decades, and are currently suing the ODRC over an unconstitutional media blockade, which the Captives documentary crew circumvented by unofficially recording video visits with Hasan and Robb. The current hunger strike is part of an ongoing struggle for equal protection, basic human rights and survival after decades of living under the most restrictive and torturous conditions of confinement at OSP, Ohio's supermax prison.

Supporters are asking people to please call Director Gary Mohr at 614-387-0588 or email him at drc.publicinfo@odrc.state.oh.us as well as Northeast Regional Director Todd Ishee, 330-797-6398. Demand that the punishments being imposed on Jason Robb and Siddique Abdullah Hasan be reversed and that OSP authorities be severely reprimanded for violating their rights to due process and displaying bias toward them.

For more information on the Lucasville Uprising, the struggles of these prisoners, and the media blockade against them, please visit LucasvilleAmnesty.org.

Hasan's Conduct Report and appeal: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bxez-nYn2VrpVTVESENUZENnaVU/view?usp=sharing

Gary Mohr's form letter response: https://drive.google.com/a/lucasvilleamnesty.org/file/d/0B9q-BEqATW6TeHVUUHM1ZVF5bnc/view?usp=sharing

Feb 28th announcement of hunger strike: http://www.lucasvilleamnesty.org/2017/02/uprising-prisoners-censored-respond.html

Info about the lawsuit against media blockade: http://www.lucasvilleamnesty.org/2014/04/aclu-articles-on-lucasville.html

Articles about Hasan's involvement with the September 9th prison strike: http://www.lucasvilleamnesty.org/search/label/strike%20september%209th

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100,000 protest in San Francisco, CA

Pictures From Women's
Marches on Every Continent



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Good News for Mumia Abu-Jamal

May 1, 2017: News sent today from Rachel Wolkenstein:

Judge Tucker granted discovery to Mumia Abu-Jamal pursuant to his claims brought under Williams v Pennsylvania that he was denied due process because his PA Supreme Court appeals from 1998-2008 were decided by Ronald Castille, who had previously been the District Attorney during Mumia's 1988 appeal from his conviction and death sentence, as well as having been a senior assistant district attorney during Mumia's trial.
The DA is given 30 days—until May 30, 2017—to produce all records and memos regarding Mumia's case, pre-trial, trial, post-trial and direct appeal proceedings between Castille and his staff and any public statement he made about it. Then Mumia has 15 days after receiving this discovery to file amendments to his PCRA petition.

This date of this order is April 28, but it was docketed today, May 1, 2017.

This is a critical and essential step forward!

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Dear Friend,

For the first time- a court has ordered the Philadelphia DA to turn over evidence and open their files in Mumia's appeal.   In a complacency shattering blow, the District Attorney's office is finally being held to account.  Judge Leon Tucker of the Philadelphia Common Pleas Court ordered the DA to produce all of the documents relevant to former PA Supreme Court Justice's role in the case. Castille was first a supervisory ADA during Mumia's trial, then District Attorney, and finally as a judge he sat on Mumia's appeals to the PA Supreme Court. 

This broad discovery order follows just days after the arguments in court by Christina Swarns, Esq. of the NAACP LDF, and Judith Ritter, Esq. of Widner Univ.


During that hearing, Swarns made it clear that the District Attorney's practice of lying to the appellate courts would not be tolerated and had been specifically exposed by the U.S. Supreme Court.  In the Terrence Williams case, which highlights Ronald Castile's conflict, the Supreme Court in no uncertain terms excoriated the office for failing to disclose crucial evidence.  Evidence the office hid for years.  This is an opportunity to begin to unravel the decades long police and prosecutorial corruption that has plagued Mumia's quest for justice.  


In prison for over thirty six years Mumia Abu-Jamal has maintained his innocence in the death of Philadelphia Police officer Daniel Faulkner on Dec. 9th 1981.  


"The Commonwealth  must  produce  any  and  all  documents  or  records  in  the  possession  or  control  of  the Philadelphia  District  Attorney's  Office   showing   former   District   Attorney   Ronald   Castille's   personal   involvement   in the  above-captioned  case  ... and public statements during and after his tenure as District Attorney of Philadelphia."

It is important to note that the history of the District Attorney's office in delaying and appealing to prevent exposure of prosecutorial misconduct and the resulting justice.  At every turn, there will be attempts to limit Mumia's access to the courts and release.   it is past time for justice in this case.  
Noelle Hanrahan, P.I.

Prison Radio is a 501c3 project of the Redwood Justice Fund. We record and broadcast the voices of prisoners, centering their analyses and experiences in the movements against mass incarceration and state repression. If you support our work, please join us.

www.prisonradio.org   |   info@prisonradio.org   |   415-706-5222

Thank you for being a part of this work!

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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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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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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)  Trump Targets Undocumented Families, Not Felons, in First 100 Days
        By Ryan Devereaux
        The Intercept, April 28 2017
        https://theintercept.com/2017/04/28/100-days-of-deportations-trump-policies-terrorize-immigrant-families-and-neglect-criminals/

        Jeff Sessions's first visit to the U.S.-Mexico border as attorney general kicked off with a ride in a Black Hawk helicopter. It began just after sunrise at the Davis-Monthan airbase outside Tucson, Arizona, and ended in Nogales, where he delivered a blistering address in which he vowed to take the "fight" to the criminal elements that have turned border communities into "war zones." The performance was repeated a week later in El Paso, Texas. This time around, Sessions was accompanied by John Kelly, the retired Marine general turned Department of Homeland Security secretary overseeing the nation's top immigration enforcement agencies. "This is ground zero," Sessions said. "This is the front lines and this is where we're making our stand."
        The display was typical of the Trump camp. From the moment he launched his campaign, Trump put a radically reimagined vision of immigration enforcement at the center of his agenda—one that emphasized a wall across the southern border and, at times, the removal of every undocumented immigrant in the country. The justification always had something to do with the tremendous, unprecedented threat emanating from the border and from immigrants. Now that Trump's 100th day in office is nearly here, the nation has had a glimpse of the president's response.
        Like the Sessions-Kelly border tour, the Trump administration's approach to immigration enforcement has leaned heavily on a combination of bellicose language and hardline directives effective at driving intense fear into immigrant communities. Beyond that, advocates and former U.S. immigration officials say, the White House agenda is basically a rehashing of some of the most counterproductive policies of the Obama administration, married to a series of mind-boggling and at times hypocritical proposals that threaten to plunge the already broken immigration system into further disarray, all while undermining public safety in the very areas it seeks to improve.
        "What we've seen from the Trump administration thus far is certainly a continuation of President Obama's hard-edged policies regarding immigration law enforcement, accompanied by a particularly vicious form of rhetoric," César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández, a law professor at the University of Denver, told The Intercept. "The bottom line is that there are many similarities with the Obama administration but, to be sure, President Trump and Attorney General Sessions have ratcheted up the severity of immigration law violations and are trying to further entangle the criminal justice system with the immigration law enforcement system."

        Deporter in chief

        At the core of the Trump administration's immigration platform are a series of executive orders the president signed off on during his first week in office. One of those orders resulted in the chaotic implementation of a ban on travelers coming to the U.S. from seven Muslim-majority countries. Two others, focused on domestic immigration enforcement, included sweeping implications for the nation's 11.5 million undocumented immigrants.
        In 2014, after years of bitter fighting in Washington over comprehensive immigration reform, Barack Obama announced that his administration would provide protection from deportation to hundreds-of-thousands of undocumented immigrants living in the country, shifting its enforcement focus to "felons, not families." The White House, by that time, had overseen the deportation of nearly two million people—according to an analysis by the New York Times, two-thirds of those cases involved individuals "who had committed minor infractions, including traffic violations, or had no criminal record at all." Obama's Department of Homeland Security (DHS) secretary, Jeh Johnson, operationalized the policy shift in a memo calling on his personnel to exercise prosecutorial discretion in order to prioritize enforcement of immigration laws against individuals who posed a threat to national security, border security, or public safety.
        The memo did not stop the Obama administration from deporting people who lacked criminal records or whose only offense was an immigration violation—a December 2016 analysis by the Marshal Project found roughly 60 percent of the 300,000 people deported after the president's speech fit that description—and advocates would often argue that splitting the immigrant population into two groups created its own set of problems. Still, defenders of the administration's efforts say, it was something. At the very least, Immigration and Customs Enforcement was supposed to be targeting its efforts with an eye toward more dangerous individuals, even if the reality on the ground was much different.
        Under Obama, the U.S. government focused the bulk of its immigration enforcement efforts on the southern border. Unlike its predecessors, the administration adopted a practice of putting unauthorized border crossers through formal removal proceedings, helping to fuel a rise in deportation numbers that led to Obama's "deporter in chief" nickname. While enforcement on the border surged, however, in the interior of the country, immigrants with longstanding roots—people who had been in the U.S. several years, for example, or had citizen children—could generally expect that they would not be targeted for deportation.
        Trump's executive orders have undone all that. Including not just convicted criminals, but anyone suspected of having "committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense," immigrants with prior orders for removal, and several other categories, the administration's view of who constitutes a priority for deportation is so broad that it makes nearly every undocumented immigrant in the country a target. Trump's orders called for a potential expansion of expedited removal, a process that allows individuals to be swiftly deported without seeing a judge, and the creation of new immigrant detention centers along the border. The orders also mandated an enormous surge in the hiring of immigration officers and agents, and used the threat of cuts to federal funding as a means to push local law enforcement agencies into deputizing officers as de facto immigration agents.
        In February, Kelly signed off on two implementation memos, drafted by a pair of former Sessions aides with no input from career DHS officials, directing his personnel on how to implement the president's directives. In a budget proposal released the following month, the administration requested $4.5 billion for immigration-related initiatives, including an initial $2.6 billion to begin Trump's border wall expansion and $314 million to hire 500 new Border Patrol agents and 1,000 new ICE staffers—intended as a first step in the push to 15,000 new hires for the agencies total. The funds are contingent on congressional approval and Democrats have vowed to resist the administration's immigration agenda.
        The White House also requested $1.5 billion to support the expansion of the nation's immigrant detention system. An internal DHS report on the implementation of Trump's executive orders, obtained by the Washington Post, revealed that ICE has so far identified 27 facilities that could house more than 21,000 additional immigrant detainees. The New York Times, meanwhile, reported that the administration is considering rolling back standards intended to ensure the well-being of detained immigrants in order to quickly fill those beds.
        Among the many U.S. immigration enforcement officials who attended this year's 11th annual border security expo in San Antonio, Texas, the most closely watched component of Trump's directives appeared to be his call for the hiring of 5,000 new Border Patrol agents and 10,000 new ICE agents. During a panel, Benjamin Hoffman, the Border Patrol's chief of strategic planning and analysis, said the proposed hiring surge presented unique challenges for his agency. Border Patrol currently employs roughly 19,500 agents, Hoffman explained, but is mandated to employ more than 21,000.
        "We have not hit that yet and haven't for a while," Hoffman said. "There's a real concern that a lot of the 10,000 agents that ICE is going to hire will be coming from the ranks of the U.S. Border Patrol. I don't blame them…but that makes it difficult."
        Huge post-9/11 hiring surges within the Border Patrol have fueled corruption and soaring rates of excessive force and misconduct complaints lodged against agents. Asked to increase its ranks once again, Border Patrol leadership is now considering relaxing some of its rules surrounding polygraphs for would-be agents who come from law enforcement or military backgrounds—a proposal that has raised concerns among critics, given the agency's recent history. Senior Border Patrol officials have maintained that they will prioritize quality over quantity as they move forward in the hiring process.
        In a decision that appears to reflect the administration's prioritization of deportations, Daniel H. Ragsdale, deputy director of ICE, told attendees at the Texas expo that the vast majority of personnel hired for his agency—"about 8,500"—would be devoted to its Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) wing, while the remaining 1,500 would be directed to ICE's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) program, which investigates transnational criminal organizations, money laundering, and a host of other issues in addition to immigration violations.
        That breakdown should raise concerns, said John Sandweg, formerly the acting director of ICE from 2013 to 2014, especially if claims by Sessions and others in the administration about a desire to tackle transnational organized crime are to be taken seriously. "They're talking about the gangs and MS-13," Sandweg told The Intercept. "HSI guys are federal special agents who go undercover and infiltrate the gangs, get up on wires, work with U.S. attorneys offices to bring prohibited possession charges or gun charges or whatever charges they can against them and put them in prison and/or deport them."
        "ERO, on the other hand, lacks that training, lacks the skills, and lacks the legal authorities," Sandweg went on. "They can't do wiretaps. They can't bring cases for prosecution. They don't do undercover operations. That's not what their skill set is. So to say we're going to plus up 85 to 15 percent on the ERO side, and then you throw this rhetoric out there about MS-13, it's just, it's hypocritical."
        The fate of ICE's powerful investigative wing under the Trump administration could have important implications, Sandweg added. "Are you going to see them forcing ICE-HSI to start abandoning the criminal enforcement work and the national security work?" he asked. "HSI has the second largest number of agents on the Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTF) across the country. Are you going to see them downsize their participation on JTTFs just so they can see them upsize the number of people they're arresting for deportation?"
        During the Bush years, HSI played a key role in supporting highly controversial worksite raids targeting undocumented immigrants and their employers. The practice was rolled back under Obama, though it wasn't ended, as HSI increasingly turned its focus to national security, organized crime, and financial crime investigations (during that time, HSI also became involved in gang investigations that have drawn their own share of criticism).
        HSI has participated in a number of enforcement actions under Trump, including at worksites, though the rate of the operations has not approached that of the Bush years. Whether that will continue to be the case remains to be seen. As a senator, Sessions was a vocal critic of ICE's turn away from worksite enforcement, suggesting the attorney general might support seeing his counterparts at DHS ramp such operations back up.
        Asked during a panel at the Texas conference if his agency would be diving back into the worksite enforcement business, Peter T. Edge, HSI's associate director, said, "We don't conduct worksite enforcement raids and as far as worksite enforcement as an investigative area, it's one of the areas that we enforce and we fully expect to be given clear and more concise direction on what type of worksite enforcement efforts we'll be conducting in the future."

        Families, not felons

        With Trump's orders in place, attorneys around the country have reported a drop in undocumented immigrants reporting crimes and showing up to court appearances, a shift advocates have attributed to ICE agents increasing arrests at courthouses. Viral videos and stories of mothers and fathers who have spent years living in the U.S., in some cases attending regular check-ins with ICE officials, being arrested and deported have compounded an intense fear coursing through immigrant communities. Meanwhile, on the border, apprehensions have dropped to levels not seen in decades, a development the administration's top officials have pointed to as a sign of their effectiveness in office.
        Discussing the president's orders at the Texas expo, Kate Christensen Mills, a former assistant director for congressional relations at ICE, now with the Monument Policy Group, said the public should expect to see more individuals with longstanding community ties arrested under the Trump administration. Because those individuals have spent years in the U.S., they will be more likely to fight their cases, Mills said, and as a result will spend more time locked up and fighting their deportation, all of which will cost taxpayers more money.
        "If you're going to have a decrease in people coming across the border, obviously ICE is going to have an increase in interior enforcement," Mills explained. "Some of these people are going to have to be put in detention. Some of them are going to have ties to the community. So processing them through the Department of Justice and the immigration courts is going to take a little bit longer because they are going to have lived here for a long time."
        Natalie Asher, ICE's acting assistant director for field operations at ERO, conceded that with her agency's ramped-up operations in the interior, arrests of noncitizens who "have more at stake" become more likely, and that those arrests can lead to longer stays in detention. "We continue to prioritize, but the volume that's coming at us is far larger than what we can really address on a regular basis," Asher said.
        In accordance with Trump's executive orders, ICE is actively recruiting local law enforcement agencies to sign up for a program that deputizes officers to act as immigration officials in the investigation, detention, or apprehension of undocumented individuals. The program, known as 287(g), has long been criticized by advocacy organizations and law enforcement professionals, who argue that such agreements foster fear of local authorities in immigrant communities. ICE is pressing on with the collaborations nonetheless. In the DHS progress report obtained by the Washington Post, officials said they had identified more than 50 jurisdictions interested in applying for the program.
        "By the end of this year, the hope is that we will have 63 online to sort of serve as force multipliers," Asher said of the effort.
        Asher insisted that ICE agents continue to "exercise prosecutorial discretion as we come upon individuals who may be amenable to removal proceedings and who may be amenable to detention." In practice, Asher said, prosecutorial discretion is "like anything in old cop work. You have two seats in the car, two beds at the jail, you've got five individuals in front of you. You look to take the worst of the worst. That's the same thing that we do as well."
        Whether ICE is taking the "worst of the worst" has been called into serious question. This month, the Washington Post reported that arrests of undocumented immigrants with no criminal record have more than doubled under the Trump administration. The paper described the push as "the clearest sign yet that President Trump has ditched his predecessor's protective stance toward most of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States."
        While the numbers provided important insights into ICE's arrests thus far, some pertinent facts about the data were perhaps less than clear. Indeed, the "noncriminal" ICE arrests seen during the first three months of the Trump administration are more than double those reported over the same period in 2016—in fact, the numbers from this year are more than those from 2016 and 2015 combined. However, the number of noncriminal arrests over the first three months of 2017 is lower than the number of noncriminal arrests during the same period in 2014. During that three-month period, which was before the Obama-era prioritization memo was issued, ICE arrested 7,483 non-criminals and 21,745 criminals, compared to 5,441 non-criminals and 15,921 criminals under Trump.
        In other words, the Trump administration appears to be moving enforcement back to a pre-2014 prioritization memo framework, in which immigrants with clean criminal records are fair game for enforcement.
        To draw deeper conclusions about of ICE's enforcement actions so far would require more data, and experts say that has become an increasing challenge under the Trump administration. For years, the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University has used Freedom of Information Act requests and court records to provide a public accounting of ICE's enforcement activity. In a recent report, published last week, the TRAC team reported that the filing of so-called notices to appear—the paperwork that initiates proceedings in immigration court—have shown no increase under Trump, while the number of individuals held in detention as their cases are processed has shot up significantly.
        When asked if the fact that notices to appear have not gone up means that the White House is not overseeing an immigration crackdown, Susan Long, director of the TRAC program, told The Intercept that the picture is more complex. "It's only a piece," Long said. "The major reason it's only a piece is because of ICE's intransigence and lack of transparency."
        Under the Trump administration, Long explained, ICE has stopped turning over enforcement data that it released under previous administrations, including case-by-case information regarding arrests. As a result, number crunchers at her office can only provide a partial picture of immigration enforcement nationwide. Critically, Long said, ICE no longer provides information on the individuals targeted with so-called detainers, a tool ICE uses to request the arrest or detention of immigrants from local law enforcement. "That's a key thing that they've started withholding," Long explained. "We used to get the entire criminal history of each person they targeted with a detainer—so the most serious criminal convictions, when they were charged, when they were convicted, their sentence that was meted out, and any other charges in their whole history and the status of those charges."
        According to Long, ICE's justifications for withholding the data have been "all over the map," including claiming that past disclosures were merely voluntary and that the data in question does not exist. As a result of ICE's position, Long argued, the public is lacking critical information needed to accurately assess Trump's immigration enforcement practices. "They're really central issues as to what they're doing to enforce the law," she said.
        Sandweg, the former acting director at ICE, said that based on the information that has emerged, it appears ICE has set its sights on individuals with prior orders for removal from the country—a population that as of February included 12,370 people currently in government custody and 960,483 individuals who were not. That segment of the noncitizen population is made up "primarily of people who have very sympathetic cases, people that ICE never felt compelled to go out and find because they generally were not criminals, they had family members," Sandweg said.
        The Obama administration's 2014 decision not to prioritize removal of these individuals, imperfect as it may have been in practice, went beyond humanitarian concerns, Sandweg explained—there are actual resource constraints on ICE that require enforcement to be targeted. "During my time at ICE, the priorities, just focusing on public safety nexus, border, convicted criminals, or people arrested for serious offenses…that population alone is more than the current ICE can handle," Sandweg said. "It's more than the system can handle. It's way more than the immigration courts can handle. So it's not like you're being soft on enforcement or dialing back on enforcement, it's just that you're targeting the enforcement."
        "With the same resources and the same backlog in the immigration courts and the same number of officers, they've now started going after this other population, which is this noncriminal, final order population, these very sympathetic cases you read about," he added. "When they spend their time on those cases though, it means some criminal is getting out of jail free."
        Given what he's seen so far, Sandweg believes the Trump administration is playing a dangerous numbers game. "The way it's being operationalized, it seems very clear to me, is that they're trying to drive up their numbers, the numbers of total people being deported, as high as possible," he said. "Despite the rhetoric about saying 'we're going to focus on criminals,' the actions they're taking really say they're really focused on driving up numbers because they're focused on this population with final orders."
        Margo Schlanger, a University of Michigan law professor who served as chief of civil rights and civil liberties at DHS from 2010 to 2011, said it will take time before the impact of the Trump administration's enforcement practices to show up in deportation numbers. As she pointed out, the administration has yet to expand its use of expedited removal nationwide, as the president's executive orders indicated it might. Still, she argued, a number of the administration's efforts so far could make the nation's already struggling immigration system even worse.
        During his appearance in Arizona earlier this month, Sessions called on prosecutors across the country to increase enforcement of several crimes directly relevant to immigrant communities, including statutes surrounding the harboring of undocumented individuals and the falsification of documents. It's an effort that has been tried before, and one that contributed directly to a build-up in immigrant detention and the massive backlog of cases in the immigration courts today—for several years now, immigration crimes have been the most frequently prosecuted offense on the federal docket.
        As a fix, Sessions has vowed to streamline the hiring process for immigration judges, with an aim of filling 125 positions in the next two years. That's easier said than done, Schlanger said.
        "You can't just on-board immigration judges," she pointed out. And even if the administration does add more judges, she added, the quality of the cases those judges hear matters, because just as ICE's resources are limited, so too are the DOJ's.
        "DOJ has a choice about where it's going to spend its prosecutorial resources, and it could spend it on chump change immigration violations or it can spend it on things that actually achieve something worthwhile," Schlanger said. If the administration falls into a habit of making "easy" arrests in order to drive up numbers—targeting people who voluntarily check in at ICE offices or show up at courts, rather than tracking down dangerous individuals—it could end up doing more damage than good, she argued.
        "If you're trying to deport the most people, you actually trade numbers against public safety," Schlanger explained. "The more people you deport, the less public safety you buy, because you've got a certain amount of resources and it's super easy to arrest law-abiding homebodies." In other words, she said, "By doing more you accomplish less."
        "I wouldn't say we're there yet," she added. "But the ship looks like it's turning."
        The Intercept, April 28 2017
        https://theintercept.com/2017/04/28/100-days-of-deportations-trump-policies-terrorize-immigrant-families-and-neglect-criminals/


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        2)  Trump's 'Very Friendly' Talk With Duterte Stuns Aides and Critics Alike
         APRIL 30, 2017
        https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/30/us/politics/trump-duterte.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=
        Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0

        WASHINGTON — When President Trump called President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines on Saturday, White House officials saw it as part of a routine diplomatic outreach to Southeast Asian leaders. Mr. Trump, characteristically, had his own ideas.
        During their "very friendly conversation," the administration said in a late-night statement, Mr. Trump invited Mr. Duterte, an authoritarian leader accused of ordering extrajudicial killings of drug suspects in the Philippines, to visit him at the White House.
        Now, the administration is bracing for an avalanche of criticism from human rights groups. Two senior officials said they expected the State Department and the National Security Council, both of which were caught off guard by the invitation, to raise objections internally.
        The White House disclosed the news on a day when Mr. Trump fired up his supporters at a campaign-style rally in Harrisburg, Pa. The timing of the announcement — after a speech that was a grievance-filled jeremiad— encapsulated this president after 100 days in office: still ready to say and do things that leave people, even on his staff, slack-jawed.
        "By essentially endorsing Duterte's murderous war on drugs, Trump is now morally complicit in future killings," said John Sifton, the Asia advocacy director of Human Rights Watch. "Although the traits of his personality likely make it impossible, Trump should be ashamed of himself."
        Senator Christopher S. Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut and a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said on Twitter, "We are watching in real time as the American human rights bully pulpit disintegrates into ash."
        Administration officials said the call to Mr. Duterte was one of several to Southeast Asian leaders that the White House arranged after picking up signs that the leaders felt neglected because of Mr. Trump's intense focus on China, Japan and tensions over North Korea. On Sunday, Mr. Trump spoke to the prime ministers of Singapore and Thailand; both got White House invitations.
        Mr. Duterte's toxic reputation had already given pause to some in the White House. The Philippines is set to host a summit meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in November, and officials said there had been a brief debate about whether Mr. Trump should attend.
        It is not even clear, given the accusations of human rights abuses against him, that Mr. Duterte would be granted a visa to the United States were he not a head of state, according to human rights advocates.
        Still, Mr. Trump's affinity for Mr. Duterte, and other strongmen as well, is firmly established. Both presidents are populist insurgent leaders with a penchant for making inflammatory statements. Both ran for office calling for a wholesale crackdown on Islamist militancy and the drug trade. And both display impatience with the courts.
        After Mr. Trump was elected, Mr. Duterte called to congratulate him. Later, the Philippine leader issued a statement saying that the president-elect had wished him well in his antidrug campaign, which has resulted in the deaths of several thousand people suspected of using or selling narcotics, as well as others who may have had no involvement with drugs.
        Mr. Trump's cultivation of Mr. Duterte has a strategic rationale, officials said. Mr. Duterte has pivoted away from the United States, a longtime treaty ally, and toward China. The alienation deepened after he referred to President Barack Obama as a "son of a whore" when he was asked how he would react if Mr. Obama raised human rights concerns with him.
        In October, Mr. Duterte called for a "separation" between the Philippines and the United States. "America has lost now," he told an audience of business executives in Beijing. "I've realigned myself in your ideological flow." He later threatened to rip up an agreement that allows American troops to visit the Philippines.
        Administration officials said Mr. Trump wanted to mend the alliance with the Philippines as a bulwark against China's expansionism in the South China Sea. The Philippines has clashed with China over disputed reefs and shoals in the waterway, which the two countries share.
        Mr. Trump's chief of staff, Reince Priebus, drew a connection between a visit by Mr. Duterte and the tensions with North Korea. Building solidarity throughout Asia, he said on ABC's "This Week," is needed to pressure North Korea on its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
        Experts said that argument was tenuous, however, noting that it was more important to corral a country like Malaysia, where North Koreans hold meetings to buy or sell weapons-related technology.
        Mr. Trump has a commercial connection to the Philippines: His name is stamped on a $150 million, 57-floor tower in Manila, a licensing deal that netted his company millions of dollars. Mr. Duterte appointed the chairman of the company developing the tower, Jose E. B. Antonio, as an envoy to Washington for trade, investment and economic affairs.
        Certainly, the two leaders have similar agendas. Mr. Duterte is battling Islamist extremists who have terrorized the southern islands of the Philippine archipelago. He once declared that if he were presented with a terrorism suspect, "give me salt and vinegar and I'll eat his liver."
        They are also in tune on the need for a crackdown on drugs, even if Mr. Trump is not advocating Mr. Duterte's brutal methods. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has revived the language of the "war on drugs," which the Obama administration shunned as part of its policy to reduce lengthy prison sentences for nonviolent drug offenders.
        Mr. Trump has drawn the line with one autocrat: President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, whose chemical weapons strike on his own people prompted the American president to order a Tomahawk missile strikeon a Syrian airfield.
        But Mr. Trump's affinity for strongmen is instinctive and longstanding. He recently called to congratulate President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey on his victory in a much-disputed referendum expanding his powers, which some critics painted as a death knell for Turkish democracy.
        At his rally in Harrisburg, Mr. Trump went after many of the targets he vilified during the campaign: the news media, Democrats, immigrants. But he reversed course on one — China — and the reason may be that he met recently with China's president, Xi Jinping, in Palm Beach, Fla.
        At home, Mr. Xi is cracking down on dissent and consolidating his power. But Mr. Trump has enlisted Mr. Xi to pressure China's neighbor, North Korea, and is giving him the benefit of the doubt. "I honestly believe he's trying very hard," Mr. Trump told the crowd. "He's a good man."
        Mr. Trump credited his relationship with Egypt's president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, as a factor in obtaining the release of an Egyptian-American aid worker, Aya Hijazi, who had been detained there. Mr. Trump played host at the White House to Mr. Sisi, who had not been granted an invitation since he seized power in a military coup nearly four years ago.
        Then there is, of course, Mr. Trump's vow during the campaign to pursue a warmer relationship with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. That effort has faltered somewhat because of persistent questions about links between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.
        Even Mr. Trump's prime antagonist — the North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-un — has earned a surprisingly generous assessment from the president in recent days. Speaking on CBS's "Face the Nation," Mr. Trump expressed admiration that Mr. Kim had been able to keep a grip on power.
        "A lot of people, I'm sure, tried to take that power away, whether it was his uncle or anybody else," Mr. Trump said. "And he was able to do it. So, obviously, he's a pretty smart cookie."

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        3)  Shaming Children So Parents Will Pay the School Lunch Bill
        "On the first day of seventh grade last fall, Caitlin Dolan lined up for lunch at her school in Canonsburg, Pa. But when the cashier discovered she had an unpaid food bill from last year, the tray of pizza, cucumber slices, an apple and chocolate milk was thrown in the trash."
        [See my NYT comment at:
        http://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/30/well/family/lunch-shaming-children-parents-school-bills.html?comments#permid=22332539 ]

         APRIL 30, 2017
        https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/30/well/family/lunch-shaming-children-parents-school-bills.html?hp&action=
        click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=
        second-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

        On the first day of seventh grade last fall, Caitlin Dolan lined up for lunch at her school in Canonsburg, Pa. But when the cashier discovered she had an unpaid food bill from last year, the tray of pizza, cucumber slices, an apple and chocolate milk was thrown in the trash.
        "I was so embarrassed," said Caitlin, who said other students had stared. "It's really weird being denied food in front of everyone. They all talk about you."
        Caitlin's mother, Merinda Durila, said that her daughter qualified for free lunch, but that a paperwork mix-up had created an outstanding balance. Ms. Durila said her child had come home in tears after being humiliated in front of her friends.
        Holding children publicly accountable for unpaid school lunch bills — by throwing away their food, providing a less desirable alternative lunch or branding them with markers — is often referred to as "lunch shaming."
        The practice is widespread — a 2014 report from the Department of Agriculture found that nearly half of all districts used some form of shaming to compel parents to pay bills. (About 45 percent withheld the hot meal and gave a cold sandwich, while 3 percent denied food entirely.)
        A Pennsylvania cafeteria worker posted on Facebook that she had quit after being forced to take lunch from a child with an unpaid bill. In Alabama, a child was stamped on the arm with "I Need Lunch Money." On one day, a Utah elementary school threw away the lunches of about 40 students with unpaid food bills.
        Hazel Compton, 12, remembers being given a sandwich of white bread with a slice of cheese instead of the hot lunch served to other children at her Albuquerque elementary school. (A school district spokeswoman said the sandwich met federal requirements.)
        "They would use the sandwich like a threat," Hazel recalled. "Like, 'If you don't want it, your parents have to pay.'"
        Oliver Jane, 15, said that when she had meal debt at Shawnee Heights High School in Tecumseh, Kan., she was told to return her tray of hot food and was given a cold sandwich instead.
        "If you didn't eat the lunch, they were just going to throw it away," she said. "It seems unfair to me to expect a bunch of kids to be responsible for putting money in their lunch accounts when they don't even handle their own funds."
        Marty Stessman, superintendent of the Shawnee Heights Unified School District, said that younger children were allowed to take a limited number of meals despite debt, but that high school students were not.
        "Notices are sent home automatically when they go below $5, so it shouldn't be a surprise," Dr. Stessman said. "They should know before they get to the cashier."
        The problem of meal debt is not new, but the issue has received more attention recently because the Department of Agriculture, which oversees school lunch programs, imposed a July 1 deadline for states to establish policies on how to treat children who cannot pay for food.
        "It has been a longstanding issue in schools, one that's gone on for decades," said Kevin W. Concannon, who was the department's under secretary for food, nutrition and consumer services in the Obama administration.
        After a 2010 overhaul of school nutrition standards, the department heard from schools and advocacy groups about the burden of lunch debt and the shaming practices that often result. Last summer, the Agriculture Department concluded that meal debt should be managed locally, but required states to formalize their debt policies.
        "We're not telling schools what to put in their policy, but we do want them to think about the issue," said Tina Namian, who oversees the school meals policy branch.
        The department does not prohibit practices that stigmatize children with meal debt, but offers a list of "preferred alternatives," such as working out payment plans and allowing children with unpaid balances to eat the regular hot meal.
        In March, New Mexico passed a law that directs schools to work with parents to pay debts and ends practices like cold sandwich substitutes that may embarrass children.
        "Our biggest hope for this bill is that no student will have to contemplate what meal they are going to get," said Monica Armenta, a spokeswoman for Albuquerque Public Schools, where Hazel Compton was given a cheese sandwich.
        Minnesota and the San Francisco Unified School District, among others, also have adopted anti-shaming policies. Recently, the Houston Independent School District notified its food service department that children with debt should be served the regular hot meal.
        "This is fundamentally a right-versus-wrong decision," said Brian Busby, the chief operating officer for Houston schools. "If a kid needs a meal, he's going to eat."
        But feeding hungry children whose families have meal debt does not solve the problem for schools, which still must grapple with paying the bill. In 2016, the School Nutrition Association published a review of almost 1,000 school lunch programs, finding that nearly 75 percent of districts had unpaid meal debt.
        One solution is the federal free meal program. But not every struggling family meets the income requirements, and those that do may have language barriers or fears over immigration status, or fail to file the paperwork.
        An Agriculture Department guidance document suggests that districts reach out to the community for help, for example through "random acts of kindness" funding and school fund-raisers. Such efforts around the country have begun to help some districts solve the problem.
        In 2014, when a theater technician, Kenny Thompson, was mentoring fourth graders in the Houston-area district of Spring Branch, he saw a cafeteria worker refuse to serve a child the hot meal of chicken, potatoes, fruit and milk.
        "The lunch lady says: 'I'm sorry, I told you yesterday you couldn't have this today. You need to tell your parents to pay their bill.' And then she turns around and gives him two slices of bread with cold cheese," Mr. Thompson said.
        He knew the child's mother was in the hospital, and he stepped in to pay the bill.
        Later, Mr. Thompson started Feed the Future Forward, which has hosted crawfish boils and charity golf tournaments to raise money for lunch debt. It has wiped out more than $30,000 in food bills and is planning an additional $23,000 in donations. The giving comes with a catch: Schools must promise they will not give alternative meals to children with unpaid bills. Spring Branch, where Mr. Thompson first witnessed the practice, has taken the pledge.
        Rob Solomon, chief executive of GoFundMe, said it had about 30 active campaigns to raise money for meal debt. Camille Billing, a teacher in Hamilton, N.J., recently started a GoFundMe page. In Galveston, Tex., a retired teacher, Donna Woods-Stellman, paid off the city's meal debt after raising $1,000.
        A YouCaring page has raised more than $6,000 for students at impoverished high schools in Virginia. In West Palm Beach, Fla., two high school juniors started School Lunch Fairy to help erase lunch debts.
        While the efforts are laudable, "they should be a last resort," said Abby J. Leibman, president and chief executive of Mazon, a Jewish anti-hunger organization.
        Others argue that school meals should be offered free to all children, regardless of income, as is the case in Sweden and Brazil.
        "We need to provide school meals on the same basis on which we provide school transportation and textbooks," said Janet Poppendieck, a senior fellow at the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute and author of "Free for All: Fixing School Food in America."
        Some cities, including Boston, Chicago and Detroit, offer free meals to all students under the Community Eligibility Provision, a federal regulation that allows schools and districts in high-poverty areas to do so regardless of individual need. In New York City, a pilot free lunch program is under review. Most schools in the United States, however, do not qualify for the provision, and only about half of those that do take advantage of it.
        As a result, districts struggling with unpaid lunch bills, which can run into the millions in large urban areas, often resort to shaming tactics to push parents to pay.
        Crystal Jarek, a retired teacher in Lee County, Fla., said she remembered the staff taking debt notices to class. "The cafeteria staff would come in at noon, wearing their hairnets, and hand out letters," she said. "All the kids would turn around to see who was getting one."
        During the 2015-16 school year, Lee County began offering free meals for all students at 76 of its schools, including the one where Ms. Jarek taught.
        Kerry Krepps, a retiree in Kansas City, Mo., has seen the lasting effects of lunch shaming. Her adult son refuses to eat peanut butter because it reminds him of middle school in western Minneapolis, when students with debt were sent to a table to make peanut butter sandwiches.
        "The humiliation has persisted for 20 years," she said. "It shows how lasting these experiences can be."


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        4)  From France to Indonesia, Marking May Day With Protests
        By The New York Times, May 1, 2017
        https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/01/world/europe/may-day-protests.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fworld&action=click&contentCollection=world&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=2&pgtype=sectionfront

        It began as a pagan commemoration of the transition to summer from spring, replete with maypole dancing. For many Christians, it kicks off a month devoted to the veneration of the Virgin Mary. But for most of the world these days, May 1 is best known as International Workers' Day, a general occasion for political protest. (A notable exception is the United States, where Labor Day is celebrated in September.) Here is how Monday unfolded around the world.

        Turkey

        Continue reading the main story
        Photo
        Turkish police arrested a protester in Istanbul on Monday. CreditYasin Akgul/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images 
        More than 70 people were detained as they tried to march to Taksim Square in central Istanbul to demand better pay and working conditions, defying a ban on May Day events. The country has moved in a sharply authoritarian direction under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He successfully campaigned to expand the powers of the presidency with a referendum amending the Constitution last month.

        South Korea

        Continue reading the main story
        Photo
        Union members hoisted symbolic umbrellas in Seoul, South Korea. CreditLee Jin-Man/Associated Press 
        Members of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions marched in Seoul holding red umbrellas, which symbolize the right of workers to form labor unions. Among their demands: that companies stop using temporary employees. The trend of circumventing traditional labor protections by classifying workers as independent contractors or as freelance labor is a major theme of the protests.

        Greece

        Continue reading the main story
        Photo
        In Athens, union members demonstrated against austerity measures. CreditAris Messinis/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images 
        Members of the Communist Party-affiliated All-Workers Militant Front held a 24-hour nationwide strike and protests against looming spending cuts that were demanded by the country's creditors in return for a third government bailout. Nearly a decade after the start of the global financial crisis, Greece continues to grapple with a debt burden that many economists view as unsustainable.

        Indonesia

        Continue reading the main storyIndonesia
        Continue reading the main story
        Photo
        Workers tried to remove razor wire blocking them from marching toward the presidential palace in Jakarta, Indonesia. CreditDita Alangkara/Associated Press 
        Thousands of workers marched toward the presidential palace in Jakarta to demand that the government raise minimum wages, limit outsourcing, provide free health care and improve working conditions. Indonesia, the world's fourth most-populous nation, is trying to build a robust middle class.

        France

        Continue reading the main story
        Photo
        Protesters in Lyon, France. CreditJeff Pachoud/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images 
        Protesters marched in traditional May Day rallies across the country. France will hold a presidential runoff election on Sunday, and the two candidates — Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right National Front, and Emmanuel Macron, an independent centrist and former economy minister — campaigned vigorously on Monday. One clash was violent: Several officers were hurt as masked youngsters throwing firebombs fought with the police, who used tear gas.

        Kenya

        Continue reading the main story
        Photo
        A parade celebrating International Workers' Day in Nairobi. CreditSayyid Abdul Azim/Associated Press 
        Workers marched in Nairobi on Monday. As in much of the developing world, they are becoming a potent political force, with former agricultural laborers moving to sprawling cities for jobs in manufacturing and in service industries.

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        5)  On May Day, Protesters Are Expected to Take to the Streets
         MAY 1, 2017
        https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/01/us/may-day-loyalty-day-protests-trump.html?rref=
        collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fus&action=click&contentCollection=us&region=
        stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=3&pgtype=sectionfront

        President Trump has proclaimed Monday to be "Loyalty Day," a time for Americans to reaffirm their commitment to "individual liberties, to limited government and to the inherent dignity of every human being" with Pledge of Allegiance ceremonies and a display of American flags.
        Monday, however, is also expected to be a major day of protest for those who oppose the administration and its policies on issues such as women's rights, worker's pay, health care and immigration.
        Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to take to the streets of cities that include Los Angeles; Miami; Milwaukee; New York; Raleigh, N.C.; and Scranton, Pa. Corporations including Google and Facebook are giving workers the opportunity to march without fear of retribution. Labor and immigrants' rights activists have called for a general strike to boycott Mr. Trump's policies.
        There is a long tradition of protest around the world on May Day, known in most other countries as International Workers' Day. But the last time any May Day swelled streets across the country with large numbers was in 2006, when more than a million people in hundreds of cities took part in a "Day Without Immigrants" to protest federal legislation that would have made it a felony to live in the country without legal status.
        Then, the marchers sought immigration overhaul. The demands this time around are more basic: To many would-be marchers, even a return to the status quo before Mr. Trump was elected would feel something like a win.
        "Trump has pitted the U.S. working class against migrant workers and refugees, and so we must strive to create bridges, not bans or walls, to connect our struggles together," representatives of the International Migrants Alliance wrote in its call to assemble on May 1, describing Mr. Trump as "a brazenly fascist, racist and anti-immigrant president."
        In New York, a day of demonstrations will culminate in an evening rally at Foley Square. In Los Angeles, groups marching for gay rights, immigrants, workers and women will gather at MacArthur Park. Racial justice activists are also expected to turn out across the country.
        The administration has called for government buildings to display American flags and for schools to honor the occasion with recitations of the Pledge of Allegiance.
        President Barack Obama also proclaimed May 1 as Loyalty Day, and previous presidents have chosen days other than May 1.

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        6)  Venezuela: Maduro calls for popular constituent assembly to remake constitution
        Green Left Weekly, May 2, 2017
        https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/venezuela-maduro-calls-popular-constituent-assembly-remake-constitution

        Speaking to tens of thousands of supporters gathered to commemorate International Workers Day on May 1, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced he would call a constituent assembly, effectively remaking the country's constitution.
        "Today, on May 1, I announce that I will use my presidential privileges as constitutional head of state in accordance with article 347, to convene the original constituent power so that the working class and the people can call a national constituent assembly," President Maduro said.
        The Venezuelan leader invoked article 347 of the Bolivarian Constitution, which allows for the convening of a national constituent assembly with the purpose of "transforming the state".
        "I call a constituent assembly that will be profoundly communal, from the working class, from the people," he added.
        The surprise announcement comes on the heels of weeks of violent protests called by opposition parties. The violence has cost the lives of more than two dozen people and wounding more than 400 others, while causing significant damage to public infrastructure and buildings including hospitals and schools. Small businesses have also been looted.
        Venezuela's current 1999, or Bolivarian, constitution, was the outcome of last president Hugo Chavez's election promise to rewrite the country's Magna Carta with the participation of Venezuelan society. The constitution is widely regarded as one of the most progressive in the world, not only enshrining broad social rights to the population, but also creating space for the population to directly intervene in political decision making beyond elections.
        According to the constitution, the constituent assembly would be comprised of 500 members, directly elected by Venezuelans. Additionally, a number candidates for these positions would be put forward by sectoral organizations, including student groups, unions, campesino organizations as well as private sector interests.
        The Venezuelan leader emphasised that this step would be an important measure to overcome the current political conflicts in the country.
        "I don't want a civil war," Maduro concluded. "Do you want dialogue? Constituent power! Do you want peace? Constituent power!"

        Nonetheless, opposition leader Henrique Capriles opposed the move, calling it a "coup".
        "We alert the democratic governments of the world, international public opinion, Maduro consolidates a coup d'etat and deepens the serious crisis!" Capriles tweeted following President Maduro's announcement.
        According to constitutional expert Hernan Escarra, while the constituent process is underway, the country's current political institutions would continue operating.
        On April 27, Venezuela announced it would begin the process of withdrawing from the Oorganization of American States, after repeated attempts by Almagro to sanction the South American country under the organization's so-called "Democratic Charter."
        Almagro has also been chided by Venezuelan officials and diplomats from other Latin American and Caribbean countries for his open support to Venezuela's opposition groups and leaders, including his unprecedented step in calling for general elections in Venezuela ahead of the 2018 date.

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        7)  A JURY JUST CONVICTED A WOMAN FOR LAUGHING AT JEFF SESSIONS
        BY TINA NGUYEN
        MAY 3, 2017
        The Justice Department prosecuted Desiree Fairooz for “disorderly and disruptive conduct” and for “parading, demonstrating, or picketing within the Capitol.” She, along with two other protesters, could face a year in prison.
        http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/05/jeff-sessions-protester-charged-laughing?mbid=nl_CH_590a0c426f58e778093fbf30&CNDID=22883833&spMailingID=10944068&spUserID=MTMzMTgyNTA3NjUyS0&spJobID=1160266751&spReportId=MTE2MDI2Njc1MQS2

        The Justice Department will not press federal charges against two white Baton Rouge police officers involved in last year's shooting death of a black man, Alton Sterling, multiple media outlets reported Tuesday, bringing renewed attention to how Attorney General Jeff Sessions, already controversial, is choosing to deal with allegations of police bias and racially motivated shootings. The decision is not entirely surprising: federal civil rights charges in such cases are rare, due to the high burden of proof, and even the Obama-era D.O.J. repeatedly declined to charge police officers involved in high-profile deaths. Still, it is stunning to see what cases Donald Trump’s attorney general has decided to prosecute.
        On Wednesday, a jury convicted a 61-year-old female activist who had laughed during Sessions’s January confirmation hearing in the Senate. Desiree Fairooz, a longtime protester affiliated with the anti-war group Code Pink, had been escorted out of the room for laughing in response to Senator Richard Shelby's assertion that Sessions had a “clear and well-documented” history of “treating all Americans equally under the law.” (Sessions had, in fact, been denied a federal judgeship in 1986 because of a history of racially charged remarks, and Shelby himself had once run a campaign ad suggesting that Sessions was a Klan sympathizer.) Fairooz, along with two other protesters, faces up to a year in prison.

        The Huffington Post’s Ryan J. Reilly, who was covering the hearing at the time, reported that Fairooz’s laugh was not disruptive to the hearing and did not interrupt Shelby’s speech. But Fairooz was arrested by a rookie Capitol police officer on her second week on the job who, according to Reilly, “had never conducted an arrest before nor worked at a congressional hearing.” Nevertheless, Katherine Coronado and the Capitol police booked Fairooz. She was later charged by the government with “disorderly and disruptive conduct” for her laugh, as well as a second charge for “parading, demonstrating, or picketing within the Capitol” as she was being led out.

        Fairooz has protested at several congressional hearings, and likely knows the difference between being intentionally disruptive and respectful of decorum. “Why am I being taken out of here?” she asked as she was arrested. “I was going to be quiet, and now you’re going to have me arrested? For what?”

        During Fairooz’s trial on Monday, fellow Code Pink activist Ariel Gold testified that Fairooz was reflexively laughing in response to Sessions’s claims, and that she was “appalled” when Fairooz was arrested. Coronado, on the other hand, said she did not think Shelby’s statement was funny enough to warrant a laugh and noted that Fairooz was laughing “very loudly”—enough for people to turn their heads and look at her.

        Fairooz was convicted along with Tighe Barry and Lenny Bianchi, who both dressed as K.K.K. members to protest Sessions and had been charged with breaking Senate rules.

        The decision to prosecute the three protesters suggests a distinctly Trumpian approach to law and order has taken hold within the Justice Department. It is also sure to have a chilling effect on protest and other forms of free speech that are already in the Trump administration’s crosshairs. On Sunday, White House chief of staff Reince Priebus said that pushing for a change to the nation’s libel laws “is being looked at”—a move that would restrict the press, though one that many legal experts suggest isn’t going anywhere. Trump has previously suggested that “We're going to open up the libel laws so when they write falsely we can sue the media and we can get these stories corrected and get damages.” He has also taken aim at protesters directly, claiming without evidence in February that an unspecified demonstration was composed of “professional anarchists” and “thugs.” He is currently facing multiple lawsuits accusing him of inciting violence against protesters at his rallies.

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        8) Mama's Bail Out Day
        “Money kept them in. Black love got them out.”
        — Pat Hussain, Co-founder of Southerns on New Ground
        https://nomoremoneybail.org/
        The week before Mother’s day organizations in Oakland, Los Angeles, St. Petersburg, Montgomery, Memphis, Minneapolis, Durham, Atlanta and beyond will bail out as many mothers as possible who otherwise would spend Mother’s Day in a cell simply because they cannot afford bail.
        National Mama’s Bail Out Day will give incarcerated mothers an opportunity to spend Mother’s Day with their families and build community through gatherings that highlight the impact of inhumane and destructive bail practices on our communities!
        We will bail out mama’s in all of our varieties — queer, trans, young, elder, and immigrant.

        The impact of money bail on our Mamas…

        Everyday an average of 700,000 people are condemned to cages and separated from their families simply because they cannot afford to pay bail. Since 1980 the number of incarcerated women has grown by 700%. Black women and Trans women are especially vulnerable to incarcerated. Black women are twice as likely as their white counterparts to be jailed. One in five transgender women have spent time in prison or jail and one in three of them reported being sexually assaulted while there.
        Eight in ten incarcerated women are mothers and nearly half are in local jails, locked in cages for crimes they have not been convicted of. Most of the women in jail are accused of minor drug and ‘quality of life’ offenses and are languishing in cells simply because they cannot afford to pay bail.
        In addition to the over $9 billion wasted to incarcerate people who have been convicted of no crime, pre-trial incarceration has catastrophic impacts on families and communities. Even a few days in jail can ruin a woman’s life. She may lose her job, her family may lose their housing and some even lose their children.

        What we can do…

        We can buy their freedom and push against mass criminalization and modern bondage!
        In the tradition of our enslaved Black ancestors, who used their collective resources to purchase each other’s freedom before slavery was abolished, until we abolish bail and mass incarceration, we’re gonna free ourselves.
        It is going to take our collective effort to give as many Black mamas their freedom this Mother’s Day, as possible. Now more than ever, we must support our people and dismantle this system that destroys our humanity and breaks up our families.

        Join a local Bail Day Action:

        Oakland
        Los Angeles
        St. Petersburg
        Montgomery
        Memphis
        Minneapolis
        Durham
        Atlanta
        Houston

        Additional locations that are doing bail-outs and need your support:

        New York City
        Chicago
        Little Rock
        Charlottesville
        Charlotte
        Kinston
        Birmingham
        Baltimore
        _______________________________________________
        News mailing list
        News@womenprisoners.org
        http://womenprisoners.org/mailman/listinfo/news_womenprisoners.org

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        9) The Prisoners’ Revolt: The Real Reasons behind the Palestinian Hunger Strike
        Gaza is the world’s largest open air prison. The West Bank is a prison, too, segmented into various wards, known as areas A, B and C. In fact, all Palestinians are subjected to varied degrees of military restrictions. At some level, they are all prisoners.
        East Jerusalem is cut off from the West Bank, and those in the West Bank are separated from one another.
        Palestinians in Israel are treated slightly better than their brethren in the Occupied Territories, but subsist in degrading conditions compared to the first-class status given to Israeli Jews, as per the virtue of their ethnicity alone.
        Palestinians ‘lucky’ enough to escape the handcuffs and shackles are still trapped in different ways.
        Palestinian refugees in Lebanon’s Ein el-Hilweh, like millions of Palestinian refugees in ‘shattat’ (Diaspora), are prisoners in refugee camps, carrying precarious, meaningless identification, cannot travel and are denied access to work. They languish in refugee camps, waiting for life to move forward, however slightly – as their fathers and grandfathers have done before them for nearly seventy years.
        This is why the issue of prisoners is a very sensitive one for Palestinians. It is a real and metaphorical representation of all that Palestinians have in common.
        The protests igniting across the Occupied Territories to support 1,500 hunger strikers are not merely an act of ‘solidarity’ with the incarcerated and abused men and women who are demanding improvements to their conditions.
        Sadly, prison is the most obvious fact of Palestinian life; it is the status quo; the everyday reality.
        The prisoners held captive in Israeli jails are a depiction of the life of every Palestinian, trapped behind walls, checkpoints, in refugee camps, in Gaza, in cantons in the West Bank, segregated Jerusalem, waiting to be let in, waiting to be let out. Simply waiting.
        There are 6,500 prisoners in Israeli jails. This number includes hundreds of children, women, elected officials, journalists and administrative detainees, who are held with no charges, no due process. But these numbers hardly convey the reality that has transpired under Israeli occupation since 1967.
        According to prisoners’ rights group, ‘Addameer’, more than 800,000 Palestinians have been imprisoned under military rule since Israel commenced its occupation of Palestinian territories in June 1967.
        That is 40 percent of the entire male population of the Occupied Territories.
        Israeli jails are prisons within larger prisons. In times of protests and upheaval, especially during the uprisings of 1987-1993 and 2000-2005, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were subjected to prolonged military curfews, sometimes lasting weeks, even months.
        Under military curfews, people are not allowed to leave their homes, with little or no breaks to even purchase food.
        Not a single Palestinian who has lived (or is still living) through such conditions is alien to the experience of imprisonment.
        But some Palestinians in that large prison have been granted VIP cards. They are deemed the ‘moderate Palestinians’, thus granted special permits from the Israeli military to leave the Palestinian prison and return as they please.
        While former Palestinian leaders Yasser Arafat was holed up in his office in Ramallah for years, until his death in November 2004, current Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is free to travel.
        While Israel can, at times, be critical of Abbas, he rarely deviates far from the acceptable limits set by the Israeli government.
        This is why Abbas is free and Fatah leader, Marwan Barghouti, (along with thousands of others) is jailed.
        The current prisoners’ hunger strike began on April 17, in commemoration of ‘Prisoner Day’ in Palestine.
        On the eighth day of the strike, as the health of Marwan Barghouti deteriorated, Abbas was in Kuwait meeting a group of lavishly dressed Arab singers.
        The reports, published in ‘Safa News Agency’ and elsewhere, generated much attention on social media. The tragedy of the dual Palestinian reality is an inescapable fact.
        Barghouti is far more popular among supporters of Fatah, one of the two largest Palestinian political movements. In fact, he is the most popular leader amongst Palestinians, regardless of their ideological or political stances.
        If the PA truly cared about prisoners and the well-being of Fatah’s most popular leader, Abbas would have busied himself forging a strategy to galvanize the energy of the hungry prisoners, and millions of his people who rallied in their support.
        But mass mobilization has always scared Abbas and his Authority. It is too dangerous for him, because popular action often challenges the established status quo, and could hinder his Israeli-sanctioned rule over occupied Palestinians.
        While Palestinian media is ignoring the rift within Fatah, Israeli media is exploiting it, placing it within the larger political context.
        Abbas is scheduled to meet US President Donald Trump on May 3.
        He wants to leave a good impression on the impulsive president, especially as Trump is decreasing foreign aid worldwide, but increasing US assistance to the PA. That alone should be enough to understand the US administration’s view of Abbas and its appreciation of the role of his Authority in ensuring Israel’s security and in preserving the status quo.
        But not all Fatah supporters are happy with Abbas’ subservience. The youth of the Movement want to reassert a strong Palestinian position through mobilizing the people; Abbas wants to keep things quiet.
        Amos Harel argued in ‘Haaretz’ that the hunger strike, called for by Barghouti himself, was the latter’s attempt at challenging Abbas and “rain(ing) on Trump’s peace plan.”
        However, Trump has no plan. He is giving Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, carte blanche to do as he pleases. His solution is: one state, two states, whichever ‘both parties like.’ But both sides are far from being equal powers. Israel has nuclear capabilities and a massive army, while Abbas needs permission to leave the Occupied West Bank.
        In this unequal reality, only Israel decides the fate of Palestinians.
        On his recent visit to the US, Netanyahu articulated his future vision.
        “Israel must retain the overriding security control over the entire area west of the Jordan River,” he said.
        Writing in the ‘Nation’, Professor Rashid Khalidi expounded the true meaning of Netanyahu’s statement.
        By uttering these words, “Netanyahu proclaimed a permanent regime of occupation and colonization, ruling out a sovereign independent Palestinian state, whatever fiction of ‘statehood’ or ‘autonomy’ are dreamed up to conceal this brutal reality,” he wrote.
        “Trump’s subsequent silence amounts to the blessing of the US government for this grotesque vision of enduring subjugation and dispossession for the Palestinians.”
        Why then, should Palestinians be quiet?
        Their silence can only contribute to this gross reality, the painful present circumstances, where Palestinians are perpetually imprisoned under an enduring Occupation, while their ‘leadership’ receives both a nod of approval from Israel and accolades and more funds from Washington.
        It is under this backdrop that the hunger strike becomes far more urgent than the need to improve the conditions of incarcerated Palestinians.
        It is a revolt within Fatah against their disengaged leadership, and a frantic attempt by all Palestinians to demonstrate their ability to destabilize the Israeli-American-PA matrix of control that has extended for many years.
        “Rights are not bestowed by an oppressor,” wrote Marwan Barghouti from his jail on the first day of the hunger strike.
        In truth, his message was directed at Abbas and his cronies, as much as it was directed at Israel.
        Dr. Ramzy Baroud has been writing about the Middle East for over 20 years. He is an internationally-syndicated columnist, a media consultant, an author of several books and the founder of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story (Pluto Press, London). His website is: ramzybaroud.net


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        10)  Jared Kushner’s Sister Highlights Family Ties in Pitch to Chinese Investors




        BEIJING — Jared Kushner has said that he has stepped away from the day-to-day business of his family’s real estate company while he serves as a senior adviser to his father-in-law, President Trump.
        But Mr. Kushner’s relatives are working feverishly to solicit overseas money for projects in the United States, and they are highlighting their ties to Mr. Kushner as they court investors.
        On Saturday afternoon, Mr. Kushner’s sister Nicole Meyer made a pitch to attract $150 million in financing for a Jersey City housing development, known as One Journal Square, to more than 100 Chinese investors gathered at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Beijing.
        The money would be provided through a much-criticized government program known as EB-5 that awards foreign investors a path to citizenship in exchange for investments of at least $500,000 in American development projects.

        Speaking in a ballroom, Ms. Meyer said the project “means a lot to me and my entire family.” She mentioned her brother’s service as chief executive of Kushner Companies, the family business from which he resigned in January, saying he had left to serve in the Trump administration.
        The project was advertised to Chinese investors as the latest offering from the “star Kushner real estate family.” The project, which includes two towers, 1,476 luxury apartments and even a medical center for pets, was promoted as “Kushner 1.” Construction is scheduled to begin in early 2018.
        Risa Heller, a spokeswoman for Kushner Companies, declined to comment.
        Mr. Kushner, who is married to Mr. Trump’s daughter Ivanka, has become a central voice on China, serving as a conduit between Beijing and Washington.
        As a businessman, he courted Chinese firms, most notably Anbang Insurance Group, the financial firm linked to members of the country’s ruling Communist Party. In March, Kushner Companies said it had ended talks with Anbang for an investment in its headquarters at 666 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. The potential deal raised eyebrows because of its favorable terms for the Kushners, who are seeking help with the troubled property.
        Even as Mr. Kushner seeks to keep a distance from the family business in his new role, his persistent ties to the company have come under scrutiny.
        He remains the beneficiary of a series of trusts that own his stakes in Kushner Companies properties and other investments, worth as much as $600 million, and probably more. Since his move into politics, he has divested his stakes in dozens of other entities used to hold the investments, although he has held on to the vast majority.
        Mr. Kushner’s government ethics disclosure form shows he was a manager or president at six entities associated with the Jersey City project until January. He divested his stake in one of them, K One Journal Square LLC, in January. It is unclear what happened with the other entities.
        “Mr. Kushner divested his interests in the One Journal Square project by selling them to a family trust that he is not a beneficiary of, a mechanism suggested by the Office of Government Ethics,” said Blake Roberts, an attorney at WilmerHale advising Mr. Kushner on ethics issues. “As previously stated, he will recuse from particular matters concerning the EB-5 visa program.”
        His relatives’ embrace of the EB-5 program may also pose complications for Mr. Kushner. The program has been labeled “U.S. citizenship for sale,” and it has come under scrutiny after a series of fraud and abuse scandals. Watchdogs have noted the program’s lax safeguards against illicit sources of money.
        Government ethics experts have criticized Mr. Kushner for retaining an interest in the business, given his broad White House portfolio, which could affect his financial position. The company has declined to make public a complete list of its partners and lenders.
        Noah Bookbinder, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a liberal nonprofit group, said the sales pitch by Kushner Companies in China was “highly problematic” and could be interpreted as selling access to Mr. Kushner. He called on Mr. Kushner to recuse himself from any decisions related to the EB-5 program.
        Lawmakers are considering major changes to the program, through which investors, mostly from mainland China, receive about 10,000 visas each year. Some critics have urged the government to abolish it entirely. A slide displayed at the event on Saturday identified Mr. Trump as a “key decision maker” on the fate of the EB-5 program.
        The program provides a cheap source of financing to developers, since investors are generally not looking for high returns, only a green card. Mr. Kushner raised about $50 million from Chinese investors for a different project in Jersey City, a Trump-branded luxury apartment tower that opened in November.
        Kushner Companies has declined to identify the investors it found through the program.
        On Saturday, Ms. Meyer talked about how family values had shaped Kushner Companies. She spoke of her grandparents, who survived the Holocaust, and about her father, Charles Kushner, who founded the company in 1985. He later spent time in prison for illegal campaign donations, tax evasion and witness tampering.
        “As children we would spend our Sundays visiting properties with my father and staying up late through the night, by his side, when closing an acquisition,” Ms. Meyer said. “Our father taught us about respect for our partners, hard work, dedication and most importantly, perseverance.”
        As Ms. Meyer spoke, journalists for The New York Times and The Washington Post were removed from the ballroom and told by organizers it was a “private event,” even though it had been publicly advertised. It was hosted by Qiaowai, a Chinese immigration agency that helps Chinese families move abroad. Ms. Meyer is scheduled to appear in other Chinese cities in the coming days.
        Ms. Meyer was asked after the event whether she was concerned about possible conflicts of interest facing her brother, but she did not respond. A man accompanying her, growing angry, shouted, “Please leave us alone!”




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        11)  Police Officer Who Fatally Shot 15-Year-Old Texas Boy Is Charged With Murder




        BALCH SPRINGS, Tex. — A police officer in a Dallas suburb was charged with murder on Friday, six days after he fired his rifle into a car full of teenagers leaving a party, killing a black 15-year-old in the front passenger seat.
        The Dallas County Sheriff’s Department issued a warrant on Friday for the arrest of the officer, Roy D. Oliver II, 37, the authorities said. Mr. Oliver turned himself in Friday night in Parker County, Tex., officials said.
        Mr. Oliver, who was a patrol officer with the Balch Springs Police Department, responded late last Saturday to reports of underage drinking at a house party. Mr. Oliver and another officer entered the house but left after the police said they heard gunshots outside the residence.
        As a car with five black teenagers inside drove away from the house, Mr. Oliver, who is white, fired his AR-15 rifle, fatally striking Jordan Edwards, a freshman at Mesquite High School, in the head, according to the police and the law firm representing the Edwards family.

        The Balch Springs police chief fired Mr. Oliver on Tuesday, saying he had violated departmental policies. In the Police Department’s first account of the fatal shooting, Chief Jonathan Haber had said that the car was reversing aggressively toward the officers when Mr. Oliver opened fire. But after Chief Haber reviewed the two officers’ body cameras, he corrected that description: The car had reversed but was accelerating forward and away from the officers when Jordan was struck.
        The Edwards family released a statement on Friday evening calling the arrest warrant “a bit of a reprieve in a time of intense mourning.”
        “Although we realize that there remain significant obstacles ahead on the road to justice, this action brings hope that the justice system will bend against the overwhelming weight of our frustration,” the family said.
        The warrant was issued the day before Jordan’s funeral. Friends and relatives are planning to gather Saturday at Mesquite Friendship Baptist Church in nearby Mesquite, Tex. The funeral is closed to the public.
        Cedric W. Davis Sr., a former mayor of Balch Springs, said the news of the murder charge would help ease tensions in the city, a working-class suburb of 25,000 east of Dallas.
        “I think the benefit here is that it moved fast,” said Mr. Davis, who became Balch Springs’s first black mayor when he was elected in 2008. “The charge came quickly. In those previous cases, it took months and months,” he said, referring to other high-profile shootings of young black men by police officers across the country.
        The Edwards family urged people on Friday not to protest at Jordan’s funeral. “Though we understand what his life and death mean symbolically, we are not ready to make a martyr of our son,” the family said.
        Linda Oliver, Mr. Oliver’s mother, said Friday night, “We are under a hard no comment.” She said that her son is being represented by James Lane, a Fort Worth lawyer, who did not return a call or an email.
        The charges against Mr. Oliver came during another week of national debate about race and police brutality and amid uncertainty over how police violence will be addressed by the Trump administration. The Justice Department under Attorney General Jeff Sessions has indicated it will move away from the aggressive efforts of the Obama administration to oversee law enforcement agencies.
        Events of the past week revealed little about the department’s new direction. Federal prosectors received a guilty plea by a white police officer who fatally shot a black man in South Carolina, but the department declined to press charges against two officers involved in the fatal shooting of a black Louisiana man.
        Still, the charges brought Friday by Dallas County were seen by black leaders in the region as a positive step.
        Mr. Oliver became a police officer after serving as an infantryman in the Army, eventually rising to sergeant. He was deployed twice to Iraq, from October 2004 to September 2005 and again in 2009 from January to November. In an interview this week, Ms. Oliver recalled that a suicide attacker set off an explosion at a military mess tent in December 2004, killing 22 people, while Mr. Oliver happened to be away from the base.
        Before he was hired by the Balch Springs Police Department, Mr. Oliver worked as a police officer for about a year starting in 2010 in Dalworthington Gardens, a small town outside Fort Worth. He received no disciplinary actions or complaints during his time as an officer there, according to the city’s Department of Public Safety. He submitted his voluntary resignation in May 2011 and began officially working for Balch Springs two months later.
        Mr. Oliver was reprimanded by the Balch Springs Police Department in 2013 for aggressive and unprofessional behavior while working with Dallas County prosecutors on a drunken-driving case. A prosecutor described the interactions with Mr. Oliver as “scary,” and others said Mr. Oliver was uncooperative and cursed at an assistant district attorney. Balch Springs suspended him for 16 hours and ordered him to attend anger management training.
        A lawyer for the Edwards family, S. Lee Merritt, reflected this week on Mr. Oliver’s past.
        “I think we see two things out of military-trained policemen,” he said. “Sometimes, you get some of the best policemen out there. They’re calm, they’ve learned to operate in the battlefield. They’ve been extensively trained, a lot more than your average officer. And at other times you have officers who are dealing with the effects of being in a war zone, the post-traumatic effects.”
        “As I learn more about this officer,” Mr. Merritt continued, “he seems to be one who had some problems. It should have been dealt with and it should have been identified a long time ago.”




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        12)  Tell Us 5 Things About Your Book: China Miéville on the Russian Revolution



        China Miéville is one of those fiction writers whose multivalent imagination — with its monsters, cityscapes of the future, and battles between good and evil — is capable of making readers’ heads explode. In The New York Times, Sarah Lyall once wrote that his novels “skitter among genres, magpie-ing elements from science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy, traditional fairy tales, steampunk, horror.” So perhaps the weirdest thing Miéville could do at this point is write about the real world, which is what he does in “October,” his new nonfiction book about the Russian Revolution in 1917. Below, he tells us about his interest in the subject, why he chose to write about it a century after the events he describes, and more.
        When did you first get the idea to write this book? 
        It was in discussion with a friend who is also the editor of the book, Sebastian Budgen. Although there’s a huge literature on the Russian Revolution, it’s actually quite difficult to find a nonintimidating text for the interested lay reader. Sebastian was talking about the potential for writing it in a novelistic way. Basically the idea was to tell the revolution as a story, because it was an extraordinary one, without blurring the politics, or pretending the politics aren’t there, or dumbing them down.
        Sebastian knew that I’ve been active on the left for a long time. Socialist politics and culture is something that’s been important to me. So he knew I had a political relationship with the revolution as well. It’s not just an astonishing story on an abstract level; it’s a very relevant story as well.
        There are certain rules I followed. There’s no event, no person, no reported speech that isn’t in the literature somewhere. There’s no invention like that. It’s a book with a relatively new reader in mind, but I want the specialists to realize I’ve taken the subject very seriously.
        What’s the most surprising thing you learned while writing it?
        The extent to which you couldn’t make this up. I did this enormous amount of research, and I kept thinking how genuinely strange, as well as everything else, the story was. There are points of low farce where it’s a little on the nose. The one I always return to is the Kornilov affair, the proto-fascist military revolt menacing St. Petersburg in August, and there’s this one extraordinary exchange between Lavr Kornilov and Alexander Kerensky. They’re talking at cross-purposes. They’re misunderstanding each other in a way where if you wrote it as a novel or play, the editor would send it back saying, “You can’t stretch the credibility this much.” There are points in the narrative where you just gape — the one telephone line in the Winter Palace that was still alive, the provisional government kind of huddling under the table to use it.
        In what way is the book you wrote different from the book you set out to write? 
        I was disappointed that I didn’t have more on the art and fiction of the period — I wanted to make it substantial but not off-putting — and about one or two very extraordinary individuals. The first draft was much, much longer, as they tend to be. In winnowing it down to a narrative with its own propulsion, some of that had to go. I had to restrict myself to a few references and a few phrases here and there. That was one of the things I was agonized about.
        Conversely, it might sound odd, because I was expecting it to be moving, but the process was more moving. I found myself moved by researching and then writing in a way that was different and felt even more urgent and kind of blooded than I expected it to. And I hope that comes across. Not that I expected it to be a bone-dry book, but I felt like the sense of urgency was even greater than I expected it to be.
        Who is a creative person (not a writer) who has influenced you and your work? 
        It could be many people, but someone who’s been looming very large to me for years now is the painter Toyen, who was extraordinarily transgressive about gender and refused to be pinned down in a certain structure of patriarchy. Toyen was instrumental in setting up the Czech surrealist group in 1934; shielded a partner during the Nazi occupation; and remained active at 70.
        I always loved the Surrealists. Discovering them in my early teens was a very momentous experience for me. I have a particular love for drawing as opposed to painting, though I like painting, too. I find myself endlessly compelled by Toyen’s brutal dreamscapes in pen and ink.
        Persuade someone to read “October” in less than 50 words. 
        The narrative of the Russian Revolution is as urgent and strange as that of any novel, and October is the key political event of the 20th century. We need its memory in these bleak, sadistic times. This is an attempt to tell the astonishing, inspiring story.
        This interview has been condensed and edited.

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        13)  Rikers Tumult Rises: Prison Official Accused of Spying on Investigator



        New York City’s Department of Investigation has picked apart practically every facet of the troubled Rikers Island jail complex in recent years, including abuses committed by guards and inmates and the misuse of official cars by the commissioner and his staff.
        Now it is taking aim at the very person who is supposed to prevent wrongdoing at the jail from within — the head of the Correction Department’s Investigation Division.
        The Department of Investigation believes the jail official, Gregory Kuczinski, has orchestrated a spying campaign against it and has called for his removal. On Monday morning, Mr. Kuczinsky was removed from his position and placed on modified duty.

        In a long letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio, the Department of Investigation said Mr. Kuczinski and his subordinates violated city rules and regulations by repeatedly listening in on telephone calls between an investigator with the agency and inmates who were serving as informants, several people with knowledge of the letter said.
        In an interview late on Sunday, the Correction Department commissioner, Joseph Ponte, insisted that “there was no improper eavesdropping.” As soon as Correction Department investigators determined that they had been listening in on a conversation involving a Department of Investigation staff member, he said, they stopped the surveillance.
        “Clearly there was no intent to interfere with D.O.I. and anything they were doing,” he said.
        Mr. Kuczinski, in a separate phone interview on Sunday, denied wrongdoing and called the reaction of officials at the investigation agency “ridiculous,” saying: “Are they trying to cover something up? I don’t know.”
        The letter from the head of the department, Mark G. Peters, was sent to Mayor de Blasio on Wednesday, according to the people. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because the contents of the letter were confidential.
        The letter said that Mr. Ponte had learned of the surveillance in February, after another official had shut it down, the people said. But Mr. Ponte did not report the surveillance to the investigation agency, nor did he take any action against Mr. Kuczinski, whom he had promoted into his current job.
        The accusation came just a week after the Department of Investigation issued a report sharply rebuking Mr. Ponte, Mr. Kuczinski and two other top correction officials for misusing their city cars. It was the latest in a series of embarrassing revelations of deep systemic problems in the city jails uncovered by the agency.
        Paired with the rebuke over the cars, the accusations in the letter underscore how Rikers continues to be plagued with problems, including brutality on the cell blocks, corruption in the correction officer ranks and a disturbing level of mismanagement from the commissioner’s suite on down.
        But the accusations against the city jails’ chief investigator, by another department’s investigators, represent a low point for the jails system. They suggest that the very person responsible for ferreting out wrongdoing at Rikers may have been focused instead on protecting the jail, and those who work there, from further scrutiny.
        The mayor, in a statement issued by his press secretary, Eric F. Phillips, acknowledged the gravity of the accusations and suggested that they would lead to change.
        “These are serious and troubling allegations,” the statement said. “We will work with the Department of Correction and the Department of Investigation to determine what happened and what changes must occur to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.”
        Two city officials said the mayor was expected to order that Mr. Kuczinski be removed from his post as early as Monday and that he be placed on modified duty.
        Mr. Kuczinski, in the interview on Sunday, defended his actions and disputed some aspects of the Department of Investigation’s account. He said he learned of the recordings only in early February, soon after he took over the unit that monitors phone calls, when Mr. Ponte asked him to investigate the suspicions of a senior Correction Department official. That official, Mr. Kuczinski said, believed that four of the calls suggested that someone from the investigations agency was trying to frame Correction Department officials.
        Mr. Kuczinski said he never listened to the recorded calls himself. Instead, he said, he assigned two members of his staff to investigate, but because of the demands of his new role, it took him two weeks to do so. It took the staff members several weeks to review the recordings and conclude that the calls did not indicate an attempt to frame anyone, he said. He said he did not initially notify the Department of Investigation about the matter in February because he believed it would have posed a conflict for the agency.
        Mr. Ponte defended Mr. Kuczinski, affirming Mr. Kuczinski’s assertion that he was not initially involved with the call monitoring unit that had picked up the conversation between the Department of Investigation employee and an inmate informant. Mr. Ponte acknowledged that better communication with the Department of Investigation could have prevented the monitoring of the investigator’s calls, but he placed some of the blame on the investigation agency.
        “There are ways that D.O.I. could have told us that, these numbers, don’t listen to them,” he said.
        The hiring of Mr. Kuczinski at the Correction Department remains something of a mystery.
        As the deputy commissioner in charge of the agency’s Investigation Division, he is responsible for uncovering administrative misconduct in the ranks of the department’s 10,000 officers and investigating crimes committed by inmates.
        But when he joined the jail agency in March 2015 as the division’s No. 2 official, Mr. Kuczinski, a retired New York Police Department sergeant and a lawyer, had little investigative and no internal affairs experience from his police tenure. Nonetheless, Mr. Ponte promoted him to the division’s top position about a year later, just days after he was rebuked and fined $1,500 for assigning an on-duty subordinate to drive him and his family to the airport for a summer vacation.
        Officials at City Hall, the Department of Investigation and the Correction Department could not explain how Mr. Ponte came to hire and then promote Mr. Kuczinski despite his limited relevant experience. Mr. Kuczinski said he was hired after responding to a newspaper advertisement.
        The investigation agency did not conclude that the spying was undertaken because of the report on vehicle misuse, the people with knowledge of the letter said. But the letter “did note concerns of the timing of certain actions regarding monitoring of D.O.I. investigator phone calls, especially at the direction of Kuczinski, that immediately followed D.O.C. being notified about the vehicle investigation,” one of the people said.
        Mr. Kuczinski’s investigators at the Department of Correction are permitted to listen to inmate calls, but not when they know they are with lawyers, clergy, doctors or investigators with the Department of Investigation. If Mr. Kuczinski believed he had uncovered a corrupt investigator, the person said, he should have notified the agency or some other city or law enforcement official. There is no indication, the person said, that he did so.
        In recent years, the Department of Investigation has prioritized inquiries into corruption and brutality at Rikers Island. Its investigations have identified officers who have smuggled drugs and weapons into the jails and determined that the Correction Department had hired gang members and people with criminal backgrounds as officers. Since 2014, 38 jail staff members have been arrested as a result of Department of Investigation inquiries.
        The Department of Investigation report on the misuse of city vehicles by Mr. Ponte, Mr. Kuczinski and other senior officials said they had been referred to the city’s ethics watchdog, the Conflicts of Interest Board, for possible discipline.
        Mayor de Blasio is facing increasing criticism for his vocal support of Mr. Ponte — and by implication, other correction officials. The mayor has said he accepts Mr. Ponte’s defense that he inadvertently violated city rules by repeatedly driving his government vehicle to Maine, where he spent a total of 90 days last year, because he had been advised by unnamed staff members that he was allowed to do so.
        The mayor’s support of the commissioner and other correction officials has prompted comparisons by department critics with the fate of low-level city employees who in recent years have been docked as much as 10 vacation days for using a city car for personal reasons for one day.
        Mr. Ponte has made a number of questionable appointments and promotions since becoming commissioner in April 2014. Months into his tenure, Mr. Ponte promoted William Clemons to chief of department, the top uniformed position, despite an objection from the Department of Investigation. Several years earlier, an internal Correction Department audit had recommended Mr. Clemons be fired for presenting distorted data that made it appear as if violence was decreasing when in fact it was going up. Mr. Ponte’s predecessor ignored the recommendation and also promoted Mr. Clemons.
        Mr. Clemons was forced to resign after a New York Times investigation into the distorted data.
        The Correction Department’s Investigation Division has been in disarray for a long time. In August 2014, Preet Bharara, then the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, published a report documenting astounding brutality at city jails and singled out the division for aiding what was described as a “deep-seated culture of violence” by failing to properly discipline guards.
        Shortly after, Mr. Ponte appointed Michael Blake, a former senior official with the Police Department, to lead the division. Mr. Blake was another unusual appointment. Previous division heads had spent many years as prosecutors. Mr. Blake had never been a prosecutor, and his only experience investigating officer misconduct came during a stint that lasted less than two years in the Patrol Services Bureau two decades ago.
        Mr. Blake lasted a little more than a year in the position. He left in December 2015, replaced by Mr. Kuczinski, who served as acting head of the division until April 2016.
        Although the unit has expanded in recent years and closes cases more rapidly than in the past, under Mr. Kuczinski it has still suffered from many of the same deficiencies outlined in Mr. Bharara’s report three years ago.
        In a report last month, a federal monitoring team responsible for overseeing the reform effort at Rikers harshly criticized the division, accusing it of failing “to pursue disciplinary action in cases where there was objective evidence of wrongdoing.”

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        14)  Puerto Rico’s Debt Crisis Claims Another Casualty: Its Schools




        AGUAS BUENAS, P.R. — Natalia Hernández stood before dawn with a bullhorn in her hand in front of the mountainside elementary school that four generations of her family attended, rattling off its academic accomplishments.
        More than half the pupils are on the honor roll. There are tutors, a social worker and even a speech therapist, she said. But there has been an exodus of families from Puerto Rico in the face of its economic collapse, so little Luis Santaella School has a big problem: Only 146 children are enrolled compared with about 250 in the past.
        And so, like 178 other schools across the island, it is set to close after the last day of the school term this week, in part to help Puerto Rico battle a $123 billion debt. The school, perched alongside a winding two-lane road 1,400 feet above sea level, will join the many casualties of a fiscal crisis that forced Puerto Rico to declare a form of bankruptcy last week and sent hundreds of thousands of people packing in the past decade.
        The school will join the shuttered businesses and abandoned homes as yet another indicator of the emergency gripping Puerto Rico and the desperate efforts to stop the hemorrhaging. For some, the closings represent not just another chip at Puerto Rico’s national budget, but also an opportunity to transform a struggling education system in which some schools are infested with termites, enrollment has dropped by nearly a third since 2010, and just 10 percent of eighth graders passed the standardized math test.
        But for parents like Ms. Hernández, the cuts feel both catastrophic and capricious.

        “She closed this school without visiting it!” Ms. Hernández said, explaining the parents’ decision to park themselves at the school’s front gates to prevent teachers, students or the principal from going inside. Her son, Javian, 10, missed class all week.
        By “she,” Ms. Hernández was referring to Julia Keleher, the Washington-based consultant who was recently named secretary of education in Puerto Rico. Ms. Keleher took control of the school system in January, a few months after Puerto Rico’s affairs were taken over by a governing board in New York.
        The oversight board has warned that the government must save up to $40 million a month, suggesting that about 300 schools close and that teachers be furloughed two days a month.
        As a former federal education official with experience in Detroit and Washington, Ms. Keleher said, the concept of receivership is not foreign to her.
        “We have to close schools,” Ms. Keleher said in an interview on Monday. “We are going to close schools.”
        The plan Ms. Keleher announced is less draconian than the one the fiscal board had suggested. She insists that the consolidation — which many principals learned of as she announced it on television — is not just about saving money, but improving student performance and empowering local officials to be accountable for what happens at their schools.
        She has covered her office’s long conference room table with spread sheets. She whipped out a tablet with pie charts and bus routes as she laid out the possibilities she said would be opened when waste is eliminated. (She wrote her doctoral dissertation on data-driven decision-making.)
        She said schools built for 800 students have just 300 enrolled. The district was still paying for water and power for abandoned school buildings. There are teacher shortages in some schools and surpluses in others. School facilities are rotting and infested with rats.
        If two $1 million schools merge, she said, the new $2 million school can afford computer labs that twice as many students could use.
        “It has been a nearly impossible conversation,” she said. “This is not about closing schools. This is about creating these kinds of opportunities with this savings in budget.”
        Aida Díaz, the president of a teachers’ union, says that while everyone recognizes some schools are in deplorable condition and others are underutilized, Ms. Keleher’s data-driven approach fails to consider nuances.
        Looking at the list of closings, she noted that two schools whose communities were longtime rivals were being merged. Another school populated mostly by children who live in public housing was being merged with a school 10 minutes away by highway — but it is unlikely that their parents have cars.
        Ms. Keleher said some schools did remain open for reasons just like those, including avoiding long commutes for children in rural areas. The list of closings dropped by five just since Friday.
        “There is no sense in getting mad: Schools will have to close,” Ms. Díaz said. “There are schools that really are so obsolete, with good ones next to it with empty classrooms.”
        Emilio Nieves Torres, who heads a different teachers’ union, said government officials are misleading the public about the cuts. Although Ms. Keleher has vowed “not to fire anybody,” at least 5,000 teachers work on year-to-year contracts, and in order for the consolidation to result in real savings, thousands of contracts will not be renewed, he said.
        Responding to the board’s demands, the government presented a fiscal plan that would freeze teacher salaries until 2021 — meaning that teachers, who earn about $21,000 a year and whose salaries have been frozen since 2008, would not get raises for 13 years, he said.
        “Our biggest preoccupation is that all of this will be in the hands of a judge, named by the Supreme Court of the United States, and we don’t know if she’s going to take into account basic essentials of safety, health and education,” Mr. Nieves said. “Right now, that board has proposed cutting school two days a month. That’s a month of classes. That impacts education.”
        On Friday, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. tapped Judge Laura Taylor Swain, of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, to preside over Puerto Rico’s filing for a form of bankruptcy relief from its many creditors.
        For now, the savings is just $7 million in water and power bills. But Ms. Keleher acknowledged that many teacher contracts will not be renewed, and more cost savings will come when others quit in frustration.
        “You’ll see a natural attrition with the kinds of changes we’re going to make,” she said. “I think people who are close to retirement will look at changes and say: ‘Do I want to do this? I’m not in my school anymore.’ Maybe they will choose to do something else.”
        Ms. Keleher has a six-month contract for what she estimates to be an eight-year task.
        “Everybody wanted something to change about public education in Puerto Rico,” she said, “up until we knocked on their door.”

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        15)  $1.2 Million City Settlement With Rikers Inmates Who Accused Guard of Rape




        New York City has agreed to pay about $1.2 million to settle a lawsuit filed by two women who claimed they had been repeatedly raped and sexually abused by the same correction officer at Rikers Island, a Law Department spokesman said.
        The lawsuit claimed that there was a “pervasive culture of rape and other sexual abuse” at the Rose M. Singer Center, the women’s jail, and it accused the city of giving correction officers a “perceived free hand to retaliate” against women who reported them.
        The women also settled legal claims separately against the officer, Benny Santiago, for an undisclosed sum, according to the women’s lawyers. The city did not represent Mr. Santiago, who had his own lawyers.

        The settlements come as violence at Rikers remains a topic of intense public scrutiny: The State Commission of Correction recently ordered a halt to all inmate transfers to Rikers from county jails outside the city, on the ground that the jail complex had become too dangerous. And last month, a federal monitor overseeing changes at the complex reportedthat guards were continuing to use brutal force against prisoners at an “alarming rate.”
        The lawsuit filed by the women was to go to trial this week before Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein of Federal District Court in Manhattan. In a recent brief, the plaintiffs accused Mr. Santiago of being “a serial sexual predator,” who they said had been the subject of allegations made by, or on behalf of, female inmates for many years.
        The plaintiffs were identified only as Jane Doe 1, who is now in a state prison, and Jane Doe 2, who resides in Queens, the brief says.
        According to the brief, Mr. Santiago raped and sexually abused Jane Doe 1 for more than four years, starting in 2008. In a declaration, Jane Doe 1 said she did not “complain about Santiago’s abuse because he let me know that he could hurt my family.”
        Jane Doe 2 was repeatedly raped and sexually abused by Mr. Santiago in 2013, the brief says. She said that she did not report him because he threatened to “write me an infraction and send me to solitary confinement.”
        The brief says she eventually told a mental health clinician and a doctor about Mr. Santiago’s abuse, but they said there was nothing they could do. The brief is highly critical of an eventual investigation by the city, which it says led to Mr. Santiago receiving no disciplinary action.
        The plaintiffs’ law firms — the Legal Aid Society and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton — said in a statement on Monday, “We hope this settlement delivers some justice and underscores the bona fide culture of sexual harassment, abuse and impunity” among guards at the Rose M. Singer Center.
        A Law Department spokesman, Nicholas Paolucci, said, “The city is committed to protecting all the individuals entrusted to its care from sexual abuse, and has implemented numerous reforms in this regard.” Settling the case, he said, “was in the best interest of the city.”
        Mr. Santiago remains employed as a correction officer but does not have contact with inmates, a correction spokeswoman said.
        Lawyers for Mr. Santiago did not respond to a request for comment.
        In the settlement, the two women are to receive a total of $325,000, with the remaining $850,000 earmarked for legal fees and expenses, the Law Department said.
        A Cleary lawyer, Mitchell A. Lowenthal, said that after expenses had been covered, they would donate the balance to their clients.

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        16)  Third Mysterious Death of a Black Ferguson Activist 
        Edward Crawford is the third mysterious death of a young Black activist man in Ferguson over the past three years. Glen Ford of the Black Agenda Report argues that this cannot be a coincidence
        May 9, 2017
        http://therealnews.com/t2/story:19046:Third-Mysterious-Death-of-a-Black-Ferguson-Activist

        Glen Ford is a distinguished radio-show host and commentator. In 1977, Ford co-launched, produced and hosted America's Black Forum, the first nationally syndicated Black news interview program on commercial television. In 1987, Ford launched Rap It Up, the first nationally syndicated Hip Hop music show, broadcast on 65 radio stations. Ford co-founded the Black Commentator in 2002 and in 2006 he launched the Black Agenda Report. Ford is also the author of The Big Lie: An Analysis of U.S. Media Coverage of the Grenada Invasion.
        Kim Brown: Welcome to the Real News Network in Baltimore, I'm Kim Brown. Another activist connected to the uprising in Ferguson, Missouri following the shooting death of teenager Mike Brown by police, has been found dead. Take a look at this photo. This was taken the night of August 11th, 2014 and it shows a man named Edward Crawford Jr wearing an American flag tank top, picking up a burning canister of tear gas fired by police and throwing it. 
        He later told reporters that he threw it away from children who was standing nearby. According to the St. Louis Police, 27 year old Crawford was found dead last Thursday of a self-inflicted gunshot wound while riding in the back seat of a car. His father told the St. Louis Post dispatch that he thought that his son accidentally shot himself. He did not think that he was suicidal. Edward Crawford Jr leaves behind four children.
        This makes the third such mysterious death in as many years of an activist connected to the Ferguson protest and uprisings. In September of 2016, activist Darren Seals was found shot inside of a burning vehicle. Police have ruled that a homicide which still remains open with no arrests. Another man, 20 year old Deandre Joshua was also found in Ferguson, shot, also inside of a burnt out car in November of 2014, which happened to be on the same night that grand jury declined to indict Darren Wilson, the admitted killer of Mike Brown.
        This begs the question, because many in the St. Louis area and throughout the country are really doubtful that these deaths are coincidental. In fact, the long history of the struggle, of the fight for civil rights for African Americans, which ranges from the abolitionist movement, to Black Lives Matter today, many leaders and participants have been either flat out assassinated, or died under unusual circumstances and it really clarifies and illuminates how the struggle for equality and freedom can literally cost you your life. 
        Well, to discuss this, we're joined with Glen Ford. He's the executive of the Black Agenda Report. He's also the author of the book titled The Big Lie. He joins us today from New Jersey. Glen, thank you so much for being here. 
        Glen Ford: Thanks for having me. 
        Kim Brown: Well, Glen, as I've mentioned in the intro, there a lot of unanswered questions, surrounding not only the death of Edward Crawford, but of that of Deandre Joshua and Darren Seals before him. What is your take on this sort of spat of mysterious deaths of those connected to Ferguson and how this ties into a longer history of activists losing their lives?
        Glen Ford: Well, certainly, we're not a case of mass black paranoia, and to point that up, even the St. Louis Police believe that there was a connection between the deaths of Seals and Joshua, who were killed in almost exactly the same way. You can't make up the similarities in those killings, but of course, the St. Louis Police have never brought a case. 
        If we're talking about just the death of young black men, not even young black activist men, who are in the public eye and whose faces are known as Crawford's face was known, his whole visage was iconic and known to millions of people around the world and in fact, it was the image of the Black Lives Matter movement. But let's just talk about that demographic, young black men. 
        If any other demographic or sub-demographic in the United States was dying under all kind of circumstances but most dramatically, violently, at the rate that young black men die, there would be a cottage industry of books and other media that would want to get to the root of this mystery. But when it's young black men, people just think that's normal. Well, these were young, political black men who were operating in a sea of not just police repression, but also a state that used to be a slave state which is infested, Missouri, infested with white supremacist militias, many of whom live very much nearby Ferguson, Missouri. 
        There are plenty of suspects and plenty of similarities and plenty of reasons for black folks to think that young black activists are on somebody's hit list. History certainly is replete with the victims of racist oppression, in and out of uniform. 
        Kim Brown: When we talk about Missouri, when speaking about the deaths of these three men, as you said, Missouri is a hot bed of white supremacy. Very active Ku Klux Klan chapters in Missouri. But Missouri was the basis of the Plessy v Ferguson Supreme Court Case that did rule that, I'm paraphrasing, that no black man has any rights that any white man is bound to abide to. I know I'm messing that all the way up, Glen Ford. 
        Glen, give us the quote, I'm sorry. What was the ... ?
        Glen Ford: You're talking about Judge Taney in 1857 in the Dred Scott Case who said that no slave, no, no black person has any rights that a white man is bound to respect and he based that on black folks not having citizenship and that the founders never envisioned or wanted black people to have citizenship and therefore this covenant, this social contract that the Constitution embodies does not apply. 
        Kim Brown: In the land of Constitutional rights, the First Amendment to free speech, the right to assemble, the right to religion, et cetera, why is it so dangerous for activists, particularly activists of color, black activists, to be on the public platform of advocating on behalf of civil rights? As you mentioned, some of these gentlemen were not famous, necessarily, they certainly weren't household names, but they were still present in the movement and present in the struggle. Even if you're not a Jesse Jackson or a Deray McKesson, you can still be vulnerable for these types of things to happen if you're simply even involved. 
        Glen Ford: You in fact are more vulnerable because you're not surrounded by an entourage. You're not constantly under media attention and your part, and this is the most important aspect, you're part of a group that dies in violent ways all of the time. That this kind of demise is considered normal, so the crime won't be seen as a crime and prosecution is very, very unlikely. Cops, of course, know this better than anybody else. 
        Kim Brown: Speaking of police here, Glen, again, if we're looking at this from a historical perspective, which is usually the prudent thing to do, the police historically have been complicit or have been directly involved with the murders of African American activists. Those who have been pushing for equality of rights, be it voting rights, be it pay equality. The police have usually been there and not always in the way to best seek justice. Talk about the role that law enforcement has played in silencing voices of the struggle. 
        Glen Ford: The police understand their mission. They're indoctrinated into their mission by the state. We're not talking about stray white folks acting out their own personal prejudices and that leading to random acts of violence against black folks. What we're talking about here is police as an institution whose mission, it's very, very clear to them, is to contain and control the black community. 
        That requires the use of terror. It requires that it be re-enforced daily. That the police have a monopoly on the use of deadly force and you have to use that deadly force on occasion in order to let people know that you have it. The people that you want to let know that you have this monopoly on deadly force are those who challenge it. People like folks who get in iconic photographs, like Mr. Crawford. 
        Kim Brown: What do you think that we can learn, or those who are in the movement, in the struggle, can learn from the very tragic and untimely demises that have come for people before this time? We live in an age of technology and social media, I mean, do activists need to constantly disclose where they are, what they're doing? Or maybe even tweet out, "Hey, I'm not suicidal." Just in case they get arrested or taken into custody and they are found dead for whatever reason. I know it sounds like a bit of hyperbole, but it really isn't because these things have happened and they have been happening for a long time. So what can people who are advocating on these fronts do to protect themselves, if anything?
        Glen Ford: Well, you know, you're asking me a very dangerous question and if I gave you my honest answer, then that might put me on a kind of list, not a list from stray policemen, or white militia men, but from our government and our police agencies. You counter attacks upon your community and the important people who made themselves targets in your community because they've stood up for that community, you counter that kind of violence against you by creating a situation in which the perpetrators pay a price. 
        So if you suspect where the violence is coming from, you demonstrate that a price must be paid. But if I speak any further on this, I think that I might be indicted, especially with this new administration which interprets free speech according to it's own set of rules. 
        Kim Brown: Indeed, well, Glen Ford, we will leave the rest of that unsaid. We appreciate you joining us today. 
        Glen Ford: Thank you. 
        Kim Brown: We've been speaking with Glen Ford, he is the executive editor of the Black Agenda Report. He is also the author of the book titled The Big Lie. My name is Kim Brown and I appreciate you joining us right here, on the Real News Network.



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        17) Philly DA Office Must Provide All Records of Top Judge’s Role as DA in Opposing Mumia Appeal 
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