Wednesday, May 22, 2019

BAUAW NEWSLETTER, WEDNESDAY, MAY 22, 2019

Join us to Remember the 
Chinese "Comfort Women"

Saturday, May 25th at 11:30am 

Please attend a Memorial in honor of Grandma Wei Shaolan and Tang Genzhen who recently died in May, 2019.  

"This will be the first time San Francisco has a Memorial for two Chinese "Comfort Women"," says Judge Lillian Sing, ret.  

"They are like our mothers," cries Chairwoman Soon Ran Kim of Jin Duck & Kyung Sik Kim Foundation.  

"We urge everyone to attend to witness the Memorial for the two courageous women who broke silence," said Dr. Jonathan Kim, CEO of Jin Duck & Kyung Sik Kim Foundation.  

Lunch will follow at New Saba Restaurant at 646 Washington St., San Francisco.  


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"Comfort Women" Justice Coalition 
P.O. Box 27635
San Francisco, CA 94127  






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Painting by Kevin Cooper, an innocent man on San Quentin's death row. www.freekevincooper.org

Decarcerate Louisiana

Declaration of Undersigned Prisoners 
We, the undersigned persons, committed to the care and custody of the Louisiana Department of Corrections (LDOC), hereby submit the following declaration and petition bearing witness to inhumane conditions of solitary confinement in the N-1 building at the David Wade Corrections Center (DWCC). 
Our Complaint:
We, the Undersigned Persons, declare under penalty of perjury: 
1.    We, the undersigned, are currently housed in the N-1 building at DWCC, 670 Bell Hill Road, Homer, LA 71040. 
2.    We are aware that the Constitution, under the 8th Amendment, bans cruel and unusual punishments; the Amendment also imposes duties on prison officials who must provide humane conditions of confinement and ensure that inmates receive adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and must take reasonable measures to guarantee the safety of the inmates. 
3.    We are aware that Louisiana prison officials have sworn by LSA-R.S.15:828 to provide humane treatment and rehabilitation to persons committed to its care and to direct efforts to return every person in its custody to the community as promptly as practicable. 
4.    We are confined in a double-bunked six-by-nine foot or 54 square feet cell with another human being 22-hours-a-day and are compelled to endure the degrading experience of being in close proximity of another human being while defecating. 
5.    There are no educational or rehabilitation programs for the majority of prisoners confined in the N-1 building except for a selected few inmates who are soon to be released. 
6.    We get one hour and 30 minutes on the yard and/or gym seven days a week. Each day we walk to the kitchen for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, which takes about one minute to get there. We are given ten minutes to eat. 
7.    The daily planner for inmates confined in the N-1 building is to provide inmates one hour and 30 minutes on yard or gym; escort inmates to kitchen for breakfast, lunch, and dinner to sit and eat for approximately ten minutes each meal; provide a ten minute shower for each cell every day; provide one ten minute phone call per week; confine prisoners in cell 22-hours-a-day. 
8.    When we are taking a shower we are threatened by guards with disciplinary reports if we are not out on time. A typical order is: "if you are not out of shower in ten minutes pack your shit and I'm sending you back to N-2, N-3, or N-4"—a more punitive form of solitary confinement. 
9.    When walking outside to yard, gym or kitchen, guards order us to put our hands behind our back or they'll write us up and send us back to N-2, N-3, N-4. 
10.  When we are sitting at the table eating, guards order us not to talk or they'll write us up and send us back to N-2, N-3, N-4. ) 
11.  Guards are harassing us every day and are threatening to write up disciplinary reports and send us back to a more punitive cellblock (N-2, N-3, N-4) if we question any arbitrary use of authority or even voice an opinion in opposition to the status quo. Also, guards take away good time credits, phone, TV, radio, canteen, and contact visits for talking too loud or not having hands behind back or for any reason they want. We are also threatened with slave labor discipline including isolation (removing mattress from cell from 5:00 A.M. to 9:00 P.M.,) strip cell (removing mattress and bedding and stationery from cell for ten to 30 days or longer), food loaf  (taking one's meal for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and mixing it all together into one big mass, bake it in oven and serve it to prisoners for punishment.)
12.  When prison guards write up disciplinary reports and transfer us to the more punitive restrictive solitary confinement in N-2, N-3, N-4 or N-5, guards then enforce an arbitrary rule that gives prisoners the ultimatum of sending all their books and personal property home or let the prison dispose of it. 
13.  Louisiana prison officials charge indigent prisoners (who earn less than four cents an hour) $3.00 for routine requests for healthcare services, $6.00 for emergency medical requests, and $2.00 for each new medical prescription. They wait until our family and friends send us money and take it to pay prisoners' medical bills. 
Our concerns:
14.  How much public monies are appropriated to the LDOC budget and specifically allotted to provide humane treatment and implement the rehabilitation program pursuant to LSA- R.S.15:828? 
15.  Why does Elayn Hunt Correctional Center located in the capitol of Louisiana have so many educational and rehabilitation programs teaching prisoners job and life skills for reentry whereas there are no such programs to engage the majority of prisoners confined in the N-1, N- 2, N-3, and N-4 solitary confinement buildings at DWCC. 
16.  It is customary for Louisiana prison officials and DWCC prison guards to tell inmates confined in the prison's cellblocks to wait until transfer to prison dormitory to participate in programs when in fact there are no such programs available and ready to engage the majority of the state's 34,000 prisoner population. The programs are especially needed for prisoners confined in a six-by-nine foot or 54 square feet cell with another person for 22-or-more-hours-per-day. 
17.  Why can't prisoners use phone and computers every day to communicate with family and peers as part of rehabilitation and staying connected to the community? 
18.  Why do prisoners have to be transferred miles and miles away from loved ones to remote correctional facilities when there are facilities closer to loved ones? 
19.  Why are prison guards allowed to treat prisoners as chattel slaves, confined in cages 22-or-more-hours-per-day, take away phone calls and visitation and canteen at will, and take away earned good time credits for any reason at all without input from family, one's peers and community? 
20.  Why do the outside communities allow prison guards to create hostile living environments and conditions of confinement that leaves prisoners in a state of chattel slavery, stress, anxiety, anger, rage, inner torment, despair, worry, and in a worse condition from when we first entered the prison? 
21.  Why do state governments and/or peers in the community allow racist or bigoted white families who reside in the rural and country parts of Louisiana to run the state's corrections system with impunity? For example, DWCC Warden Jerry Goodwin institutes racist and bigoted corrections policies and practices for the very purpose of oppression, repression, antagonizing and dehumanizing the inmates who will one day be released from prison. 
22.  David Wade Correctional Center Colonel Lonnie Nail, a bigot and a racist, takes his orders from Warden Jerry Goodwin, another racist and bigot. Both Goodwin and Nail influences subordinate corrections officers to act toward prisoners in a racist or bigoted manner and with an arrogant attitude. This creates a hostile living environment and debilitating conditions of confinement for both guards and prisoners and prevents rehabilitation of inmates.
23.  In other industrialized democracies like Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, et al, it is reported that no prisoner should be declared beyond reform or redemption without first attempting to rehabilitate them. Punitive or harsh conditions of confinement are not supported because they see the loss of freedom inherent in a prison sentence as punishment enough. One Netherlands official reported that their motto is to start with the idea of "Reintegration back into society on day one" when people are locked up. "You can't make an honest argument that how someone is treated while incarcerated doesn't affect how they behave when they get out," the official added. 
24.  Additionally, some Scandinavian countries have adopted open prison programs without fences or armed guards. Prisoners who prove by their conduct that they can be trusted are placed in a prison resembling a college campus more than a prison. The result is a 20 percent recidivism rate, compared to a 67 percent rate in the United States. 
25.  The National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC) in a position statement says: "Prolonged (greater than 15 consecutive days) solitary confinement is cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment, and harmful to an individual's health."
 What We Believe: 
26.  We believe that when the greater portion of public monies goes to war and the military, this leaves little funds left for community reinvestment and human development.The people have less access to resources by which to get a better idea of human behavior and rely on higher education instead of prison to solve cultural, social, political, economic problems in the system that may put people at risk to domestic violence and crime as a way to survive and cope with shortcomings in the system. 
27.  We believe that investing public monies in the rehabilitation program LSA-R.S.15:828 to teach prisoners job and life skills will redeem inmates, instill morals, and make incarcerated people productive and fit for society. 
28.  We believe that confining inmates in cellblocks 15-or-more=hours-per-day is immoral, uncivilized, brutalizing, a waste of time and counter-productive to rehabilitation and society's goals of "promoting the general welfare" and "providing a more perfect union with justice for all." 
29.  We believe that corrections officers who prove by their actions that incarcerated people are nothing more than chattel slaves are bucking the laws and creating hardening criminals and these corrections officers are, therefore, a menace to society. 
Our Demands:
30.  We are demanding a public conversation from community activists and civil rights leaders about (1) the historic relationship between chattel slavery, the retaliatory assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, and the resurrection of slavery written into the 13th Amendment; (2) the historic relationship between the 13th Amendment, the backlash against Reconstruction, Peonage, Convict Leasing, and Slavery; (3) the historic relationship between the 13th Amendment, the War Against Poverty, the War on Drugs, Criminal Justice and Prison Slavery. 
31.  We demand that the Louisiana legislature pass the Decarcerate Louisiana Anti-Slavery and Freedom Liberation Act of 2020 into law and end prison slavery and the warehousing of incarcerated people for the very purpose of repression, oppression, and using prisoners and their families and supporters as a profit center for corporate exploitation and to generate revenue to balance the budget and stimulate the state economy. 
32.  We are demanding that Warden Jerry Goodwin and Colonel Lonnie Nail step down and be replaced by people are deemed excellent public servants in good standing with human rights watchdog groups and civil rights community. 
33.  We are demanding that the LDOC provide public monies to operate state prison dormitories and cellblocks as rehabilitation centers to teach incarcerated people job and life skills five-days-a-week from 7:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. 
34.  We are demanding that the LDOC release a public statement announcing that "from this day forward it will not support punitive or harsh conditions of confinement," and that "no prisoner should be declared beyond reform or redemption without first attempting to rehabilitate them."
35.  We are demanding that the prison cellblocks be operated as open dormitories (made in part a health clinic and part college campus) so that incarcerated people can have enough space to walk around and socialize, participate in class studies, exercise, use telephone as the need arise. Prisoners are already punished by incarceration so there is no need to punish or further isolate them. Racism and abuse of power will not be tolerated. 
36.  We are demanding an end to unjust policies and practices that impose punishments and deprive incarcerated people of phone calls, visitation, canteen, good time credits, books and other personal property that pose no threat to public safety. 
37.  We are demanding that LDOC provide incarcerated people cellphones and computers to communicate with the public and stay connected to the community. 
38.  We are demanding the right to communicate with reporters to aid and assist incarcerated persons in preparing a press release to communicate to the public Decarcerate Louisiana's vision and mission statements, aims, and plans for moving forward. 
39.  We are demanding the right to participate in the U.S.-European Criminal Justice Innovation Project and share our complaint, concerns, and demands for a humane corrections program. 
40.  We are only demanding the right to enough space to create, to innovate, to excel in learning, to use scientific knowledge to improve our person and place and standing in the free world. The rule of law must support the betterment and uplifting of all humanity. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said: "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." 
41.  We demand that the responsibility for prisoner medical care be removed from DOC wardens and place it under the management of the state's health office; increase state health officer staff to better monitor prisoner healthcare and oversee vendor contracts. 
42.  We have a God-given right and responsibility to resist abuse of power from the wrongdoers, to confront unjust authority and oppression, to battle for justice until we achieve our demands for liberation and freedom. 
We, the undersigned, declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct. 
Executed on this 28th Day of January 2019. 
Ronald Brooks #385964 
David Johnson #84970 
Freddie Williams #598701 
Earl Hollins #729041 
James Harris #399514 
Tyrone Carter #550354 
Kerry Carter #392013 
Ivo Richardson #317371 
Rondrikus Fulton #354313 
Kentell Simmons #601717 
Jayvonte Pines #470985 
Deandre Miles #629008 
Kenneth P. #340729 
Brandon Ceaser #421453 
Tyronne Ward #330964 
Jermaine Atkins #448421 
Charles Rodgers #320513 
Steve Givens #557854 
Timothy Alfred #502378 
—wsimg.com, January 2019
https://img1.wsimg.com/blobby/go/1f4bce95-7ddd-4b2d-8ee7-d8edf36f394f/downloads/Declaration_of_Undersigned_Prisoners.pdf?ver=1555809786117

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New Prison and Jail Population Figures Released by U.S. Department of Justice

By yearend 2017, the United States prison population had declined by 7.3% since reaching its peak level in 2009, according to new data released by the Department of Justice. The prison population decreases are heavily influenced by a handful of states that have reduced their populations by 30% or more in recent years. However, as of yearend 2017 more than half the states were still experiencing increases in their populations or rates of decline only in the single digits. 
Analysis of the new data by The Sentencing Project reveals that: 
  • The United States remains as the world leader in its rate of incarceration, locking up its citizens at 5-10 times the rate of other industrialized nations. At the current rate of decline it will take 75 years to cut the prison population by 50%.
      
  • The population serving life sentences is now at a record high. One of every seven individuals in prison – 206,000 – is serving life.
      
  • Six states have reduced their prison populations by at least 30% over the past two decades – Alaska, Connecticut, California, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont.  
  • The rate of women's incarceration has been rising at a faster rate than men's since the 1980s, and declines in recent years have been slower than among men.
      
  • Racial disparities in women's incarceration have changed dramatically since the start of the century. Black women were incarcerated at 6 times the rate of white women in 2000, while the 2017 figure is now 1.8 times that rate. These changes have been a function of both a declining number of black women in prison and a rising number of white women. For Hispanic women, the ratio has changed from 1.6 times that of white women in 2000 to 1.4 times in 2017. 
The declines in prison and jail populations reported by the Department of Justice today are encouraging, but still fall far short of what is necessary for meaningful criminal justice reform. In order to take the next step in ending mass incarceration policymakers will need to scale back excessive sentencing for all offenses, a key factor which distinguishes the U.S. from other nations. 

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[Note: China's population is 1,419,147,756* as of April 26, 2019 with 1,649,804 in prison***; while the population of the USA is 328,792,291 as of April 27, 2019** with 2,121,600 in prison.*** 
*http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/china-population/
**https://www.census.gov/popclock/
***https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_incarceration_rate]


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Plea for Medical Release for Mumia Abu-Jamal



Mumia and Dr. Harris

Dr Joseph Harris MD Speaks on Mumia Abu-Jamal's need for medical release. Conversation with the O.G.M.D Series
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHcirzjCH-c&feature=youtu.be



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"This is a people's victory"  Pam Africa.

Who would ever think that we would see this headline, in our lifetime.  This is the press release up on the Philadelphia District Attorney's website posted minutes ago.

The path to freedom is going to be hard and long, but we are on it.  When We Fight, We Win,
Noelle Hanrahan, P.I. Prison Radio


Mumia Abu-Jamal


See below: 

Statement: Philadelphia District Attorney's Office withdraws appeal in Mumia Abu-Jamal case 

PHILADELPHIA DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE
April 17, 2019 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Ben Waxman
PHILADELPHIA (April 17th, 2019) — Today the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office withdrew its recent appeal of an opinion granting a re-hearing of some previously decided issues in the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. We withdrew the appeal because the opinion we appealed has been modified consistent with our primary concern — -that ruling's effect on many other cases.
By way of background, Mumia Abu-Jamal was convicted of the murder of a young police officer, Daniel Faulkner, that occurred on December 9, 1981. Even after Maureen Faulkner, the wife of the victim, chose not to continue seeking the death penalty several years ago in hopes of closure, the case has evoked polarizing rhetoric and continues to assume a symbolic importance for many that is distinct from the factual and often technical legal issues involved in the case.
The technical issue at stake here is simply whether or not some decided issues need to be re-heard by a Pennsylvania appellate court due to one former judge's having worn two hats — -the hat of an apparently impartial appellate judge deciding Abu-Jamal's case after he earlier wore the hat of a chief prosecutor in the same case. Although the issue is technical, it is also an important cautionary tale on the systemic problems that flow from a judge's failing to recuse where there is an appearance of bias.
Justice Castille did not recuse himself before deciding appeals in the Abu-Jamal case and several others, including the Williams case. In the Williams case, the United States Supreme Court decided that Castille should have recused himself because of the role he took as a chief prosecutor in Mr. Williams's matter. The U.S. Supreme Court ordered that Mr. Williams's appeal be re-heard by the Pennsylvania appeals judges, without the taint of Castille's participation.
A similar question of Castille's role exists in the Abu-Jamal case. In order to help resolve it, our Office exhaustively searched hundreds of file boxes in relation to the Mumia Abu-Jamal matter, including six previously undisclosed boxes (now turned over to the defense, as required by law). While we did not find any document establishing the same level of involvement by Castille in the Abu-Jamal case as in the Williams case, we did find (and turned over) a June, 1990 letter from then-District Attorney Castille to then-Governor Robert Casey, urging that the Governor issue death warrants, especially in cases involving people who have killed police, in order to "send a clear and dramatic message to all police killers that the death penalty actually means something." Although the letter does not mention Mr. Abu-Jamal or his case by name, at the time Justice Castille wrote to Governor Casey, there were only three cases involving people who had been convicted of killing police that were pending. One was Mr. Abu-Jamal's.
In the end, the trial-level judge considering this issue wrote an opinion that agreed with us that these indications of strong feelings on the part of Justice Castille did not rise to the level of the direct and active involvement Justice Castille took in the Williams case but went further, deciding there should be a re-hearing of Abu-Jamal's decided issues anyway, based on more general principles of judges needing to recuse to avoid the appearance of bias.
We appealed, making it extremely clear in our court papers that our primary concern was with the overly broad language of the opinion and its potentially devastating effect on hundreds of long settled cases, decades after their cases were resolved, including its hurtful effect on victims and survivors. We highlighted our concern with the overly broad language of that opinion in five specific respects and specifically noted that we would re-consider appealing if the trial-level court issued another decision addressing the concerns we raised.
Although the judge was not required to do so, on March 27 he issued another decision that addressed the concerns we raised. The judge made clear that his opinion should not be read to mean that several hundreds of cases were disturbed — -it should be applied only to people convicted of killing police officers whose cases were in the District Attorney's Office while Castille was District Attorney (the category of cases Castille highlighted in his June 1990 letter to Casey). Given that the trial-level court has now addressed the concerns that led us to appeal in the first place, we have withdrawn the appeal.
Our decision to withdraw the appeal does not mean Mr. Abu-Jamal will be freed or get a new trial. It means that he will have the appeals that Justice Castille participated in deciding reconsidered by a new group of appellate court judges, untainted by former Chief Justice Castille participating in their decision. The trial-level judge has ordered the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office and the defense to re-submit the legal briefs done in the past (which were written under prior administrations), effectively setting the clock back to where it was in the past.
The result will be that long-settled convictions in other cases will not be disturbed and that decisions made by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on the legal issues raised decades ago in the Abu-Jamal matter will no longer be tainted by the appearance of bias.  ===========end press release====================
Cuando luchamos, ganamos. When We fight, we win. 

Noelle Hanrahan
Director, Prison Radio
To give by check: 
PO Box 411074
San Francisco, CA
94141

Stock or legacy gifts:
Noelle Hanrahan

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Courage to Resist
daniel hale drone activist
Drone vet turned activist facing 50 years for whistle-blowing
Daniel Hale, an Air Force veteran and former US intelligence analyst was arrested May 9th and charged with violating the Espionage Act. Daniel is a well-known anti-drone activist who has spoken out a number of anti-war events and conferences. He's a member of About Face: Veterans Against the War, and he's featured in the documentary “National Bird.” For years, Daniel has expressed concern that he'd be targeted by the government.  Learn more.
Hal Muskat
Podcast: "There were US anti-war soldiers all over the world" - Hal Muskat
“I told my command officer that I wasn’t going to, I was refusing my orders [to Vietnam] … In his rage, he thought if he court-martialed me, he’d have to stay in the Army past his discharge date.” While stationed in Europe, Hal Muskat refused orders to Vietnam and joined the GI Movement, resulting in two court martials. This Courage to Resist podcast was produced in collaboration with the Vietnam Full Disclosure effort of Veterans For Peace. Listen to Hal Muskat's story.

Chelsea Manning returned to jail after brief release; Faces half million dollar fine in addition to another 18 months prison
chelsea manning resists
Since our last newsletter less than two weeks ago, Chelsea Manning was freed from jail when the grand jury investigating Julian Assange and WikiLeaks expired. However, a few days later, she was sent back to jail for refusing to collaborate with a new grand jury on the same subject. District Court Judge Anthony Trenga ordered Chelsea fined $500 every day she is in custody after 30 days and $1,000 every day she is in custody after 60 days -- a possible total of $502,000. Statement from Chelsea's lawyers.
Stand with Reality Winner, rally in DC
chelsea manning resists
June 3, 2019 at 7pm (Monday)
Lafayette Square, Washington DC 

Please join friends and supporters as we raise awareness of the persecution of this young veteran and brave truth teller. This marks two years of imprisonment of Reality for helping to expose hacking attempts on US election systems leading up to the 2016 presidential election. For more info, visit the "Stand with Reality" pages on Twitter or FacebookOrder "Stand with Reality" shirts, banners, and buttons from Left Together protest shirts.
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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Funds for Kevin Cooper

https://www.gofundme.com/funds-for-kevin-cooper?member=1994108

For 34 years, an innocent man has been on death row in California. 

Kevin Cooper was wrongfully convicted of the brutal 1983 murders of the Ryen family and houseguest. The case has a long history of police and prosecutorial misconduct, evidence tampering, and numerous constitutional violations including many incidences of the prosecution withholding evidence of innocence from the defense. You can learn more here . 

In December 2018 Gov. Brown ordered  limited DNA testing and in February 2019, Gov. Newsom ordered additional DNA testing. Meanwhile, Kevin remains on Death Row at San Quentin Prison. 

The funds raised will be used to help Kevin purchase art supplies for his paintings . Additionally, being in prison is expensive, and this money would help Kevin pay for stamps, paper, toiletries, supplementary food, and/or phone calls.

Please help ease the daily struggle of an innocent man on death row!





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Don't extradite Assange!

To the government of the UK
Julian Assange, through Wikileaks, has done the world a great service in documenting American war crimes, its spying on allies and other dirty secrets of the world's most powerful regimes, organisations and corporations. This has not endeared him to the American deep state. Both Obama, Clinton and Trump have declared that arresting Julian Assange should be a priority. We have recently received confirmation [1] that he has been charged in secret so as to have him extradited to the USA as soon as he can be arrested. 
Assange's persecution, the persecution of a publisher for publishing information [2] that was truthful and clearly in the interest of the public - and which has been republished in major newspapers around the world - is a danger to freedom of the press everywhere, especially as the USA is asserting a right to arrest and try a non-American who neither is nor was then on American soil. The sentence is already clear: if not the death penalty then life in a supermax prison and ill treatment like Chelsea Manning. The very extradition of Julian Assange to the United States would at the same time mean the final death of freedom of the press in the West. 
The courageous nation of Ecuador has offered Assange political asylum within its London embassy for several years until now. However, under pressure by the USA, the new government has made it clear that they want to drive Assange out of the embassy and into the arms of the waiting police as soon as possible. They have already curtailed his internet and his visitors and turned the heating off, leaving him freezing in a desolate state for the past few months and leading to the rapid decline of his health, breaching UK obligations under the European Convention of Human Rights. Therefore, our demand both to the government of Ecuador and the government of the UK is: don't extradite Assange to the US! Guarantee his human rights, make his stay at the embassy as bearable as possible and enable him to leave the embassy towards a secure country as soon as there are guarantees not to arrest and extradite him. Furthermore, we, as EU voters, encourage European nations to take proactive steps to protect a journalist in danger. The world is still watching.
[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/16/us/politics/julian-assange-indictment-wikileaks.html
[2] https://theintercept.com/2018/11/16/as-the-obama-doj-concluded-prosecution-of-julian-assange-for-publishing-documents-poses-grave-threats-to-press-freedom/
https://internal.diem25.org/en/petitions/1

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Words of Wisdom

Louis Robinson Jr., 77
Recording secretary for Local 1714 of the United Auto Workers from 1999 to 2018, with the minutes from a meeting of his union's retirees' chapter.

"One mistake the international unions in the United States made was when Ronald Reagan fired the air traffic controllers. When he did that, the unions could have brought this country to a standstill. All they had to do was shut down the truck drivers for a month, because then people would not have been able to get the goods they needed. So that was one of the mistakes they made. They didn't come together as organized labor and say: "No. We aren't going for this. Shut the country down." That's what made them weak. They let Reagan get away with what he did. A little while after that, I read an article that said labor is losing its clout, and I noticed over the years that it did. It happened. It doesn't feel good."

[On the occasion of the shut-down of the Lordstown, Ohio GM plant March 6, 2019.]
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/05/01/magazine/lordstown-general-motors-plant.html

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How to buy a gun in the U.S. and New Zeland:

New Zealand to Ban Military-Style Semiautomatic Guns, Jacinda Ardern Says
By Damien Cave and Charlotte Graham-McLay, March 20, 2019
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/21/business/boeing-safety-features-charge.html


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Statement: Academic Institutions Must Defend Free Speech

The International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity issued the following statement on 23 December, signed by 155 distinguished academics and human rights advocates.



Petition Text


Statement issued by the International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity:
We, the undersigned, oppose the coordinated campaign to deny academics their free speech rights due to their defense of Palestinian rights and criticism of the policies and practices of the state of Israel. Temple University in Philadelphia, USA and the University of Sydney, Australia have been under great pressure to fire, respectively, Marc Lamont Hill and Tim Anderson, both senior academics at their institutions, for these reasons. Steven Salaita and Norman Finkelstein have already had their careers destroyed by such attacks. Hatem Bazian, Ahlam Muhtaseb, William Robinson, Rabab Abdulhadi and others have also been threatened.
The ostensible justification for such action is commonly known as the "Palestinian exception" to the principle of free speech. One may freely criticize and disrespect governments – including one's own – religions, political beliefs, personal appearance and nearly everything else except the actions and policies of the state of Israel. Those who dare to do so will become the focus of well-financed and professionally run campaigns to silence and/or destroy them and their careers.
We recognize that much of the free speech that occurs in academic and other environments will offend some individuals and groups. However, as has been said many times before, the answer to free speech that some may find objectionable is more free speech, not less. We therefore call upon all academic institutions, their faculty and students, as well as the public at large, to resist such bullying tactics and defend the free speech principles upon which they and all free societies and their institutions are founded.
https://diy.rootsaction.org/petitions/academic-institutions-must-defend-free-speech?just_launched=true

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Updates from the Committee to Stop FBI Repression

Justice for Rasmea Odeh! Justice for Palestine!


The Committee to Stop FBI Repression strongly supports Rasmea Odeh's right to speak in Berlin about the Palestinian liberation struggle. We stand with the many other organizations who condemn the German, Israeli, and U.S. governments' attacks on Rasmea and their attempts to silence her by revoking her visa and prohibiting her from political activity (see article about the March 15 incident).

The actions of these governments blatantly reflect their racist anti-Palestinian and anti-Muslim views. But we want to draw attention to the underlying reason for their targeting of Rasmea. The attack on her right to speak is deeply tied to U.S. and German support for the Israeli apartheid and settler colonialism in Palestine. Moreover, the attack on Rasmea reflects these countries' imperialist strategies for control of the Middle East. By the same token, these governments are clearly acting out of fear - fear that when Palestinian women and activists like Rasmea speak up, it chips away at such countries' grasp on Palestine and the surrounding region.

The attacks on Rasmea and Palestine also relate to political repression taking place across the globe. Germany, the U.S. and Israel are attempting to silence Rasmea for the same fundamental reasons that the Duterte government has murdered and attacked activists and human rights defenders in the Philippines; that the U.S. government is trying to forcibly install a new government in Venezuela; and that the NYPD's Strategic Response Group is surveilling and harassing leaders and activists in the Black Lives Matter movement. The imperialists who are in power are clearly afraid that people like Rasmea might inspire others to rise up and fight back against the racist and oppressive system in place.

We want to send a message to these imperialist powers, to say that fighting back is exactly what we plan to do. It is imperative that we fight back against this unjust system that tries to silence Palestinian women like Rasmea. We demand that Rasmea Odeh be permitted to speak in Germany, and we demand an end to state repression against all Muslim women, and all Palestinians who have boldly raised their voices against the imperialist and colonialist powers that are oppressing people across the world.

Activists are not terrorists! We stand in solidarity with Rasmea and all Palestinian people in their struggle for liberation.

-- NYC Committee to Stop FBI Repression


Copyright © 2019 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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Courage to Resist
Courage to Resist is working closely with our new fiscal sponsor, the Objector Church, on a couple projects that we're excited to share with you.
objector registry
Objector Registry launches as draft registration of women nears
The first ever Objector Registry (objector.church/register) offers a declaration of conscience for anyone to assert their moral opposition to war, regardless of age, gender, or religious affiliation. This serves to create a protective record of beliefs and actions with which to oppose a later forced draft. Given last week's release of the report by the Congressionally mandated commission on military service, this free registry is coming online just in time. Please sign up yourself and share with friends!
weekly meetup
You're invited to join us online weekly
This is a great way to find out more about the Objector Church and why we might be the religious humanist interfaith peace and justice community you have been looking for! Our live meetups are lead by Minister James Branum from Oklahoma City. This Sunday at 5pm Pacific / 8pm Eastern, if your not excited by the NFL's "big game", pop online and check us out at objector.church/meetup
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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COURAGE TO RESIST


New "Refuse War" Shirts


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

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

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

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

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

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To: Indiana Department of Corrections

Kevin "Rashid" Johnson Should Have Access to His Personal Property

Petition Text

1. IDOC regulation 02-01-101-VIII must be respected! Kevin Johnson (IDOC# 264847) must be allowed to select from his property the items that he most immediately needs. He has been left without any of the material he requires for contacting his loved ones, his writing (this includes books), his pending litigation, and for his artwork. 
2. Kevin Johnson (IDOC# 264847) should be released into General Population. Prolonged solitary confinement is internationally recognized as a form of torture. Moreover, he has not committed any infractions.

Why is this important?

Kevin "Rashid" Johnson (IDOC# 264847) – a Virginia prisoner – was transferred to Indiana on November 4. His transfer was authorized under the Interstate Corrections Compact, commonly used to ship prisoners out of state. Virginia is one of several states that make use of this practice as a tool to repress and isolate prisoners who speak up for their rights.
These transfers are extremely disruptive, and serve as an opportunity for prison officials to violate prisoners' rights, especially regarding their property. This is exactly what has been done to Rashid.
Rashid has 24 boxes of personal property. These are all of his possessions in the world. Much of these 24 boxes consist of legal documents and research materials, including materials directly related to pending or anticipated court cases, and his list of addresses and phone numbers of media contacts, human rights advocates, outside supporters, and friends.
At Pendleton Correctional Facility, where Rashid is now being kept prisoner and in solitary confinement, only one guard is in charge of the property room. This is very unusual, as the property room is where all of the prisoners' belongings that are not in their cells are kept. The guard in charge, Dale Davis, has a dubious reputation. Prisoners complain that property goes missing, and their requests to access their belongings – that by law are supposed to be met within 7 days, or if there are court deadlines within 24 hours – are often ignored, answered improperly, or what they receive does not correspond to what they have asked for.
Despite having a need for legal and research documents for pending and anticipated court cases, his requests to receive his property have not been properly answered. The property officer, Dale Davis, is supposed to inventory the prisoners' property with them (and a witness) present, according to IDOC regulation 02-01-101-VIII; this was never done. When Rashid did receive some property, it was a random selection of items unrelated to what he asked for, brought to the segregation unit in a box and a footlocker and left in an insecure area where things could be stolen or tampered with.
On December 19th, Rashid received notice that Davis had confiscated various documents deemed to be "security threat group" or "gang" related from his property. Rashid has no idea what these might be, as (contrary to the prison regulations) he was not present when his property was gone through. Rashid does not know how much or how little was confiscated, or what the rationale was for its being described as "gang" related. None of Rashid's property should be confiscated or thrown out under any circumstances, but it is worth noting that the way in which this has been done contravenes the prison's own regulations and policies!
Dale Davis has been an IDOC property officer for 8 years. He has boasted about how he does not need any oversight or anyone else working with him, even though it is very unusual for just one person to have this responsibility. Prisoners' property goes "missing" or is tampered with, and prisoners' rights – as laid out by the Indiana Department of Corrections – are not being respected.
Rashid is not asking to have all of his property made available to him in his cell. He is willing to accept only having access to some of it at a time, for instance as he needs it to prepare court documents or for his research and writing. 
After two months in Indiana, he has still not been supplied with his documents containing the phone numbers and addresses of his loved ones and supporters, effectively sabotaging his relationships on the outside. Rashid is not asking for any kind of special treatment, he is only asking for the prison property room to follow the prison's own rules.
We ask that you look into this, and make sure that Mr. Johnson's right to access his property is being respected, and that something be done about the irregularities in the Pendleton property room. We ask that the rules of the Indiana Department of Corrections be respected.

Sign the petition here:
https://diy.rootsaction.org/petitions/kevin-rashid-johnson-should-have-access-to-his-personal-property?bucket&source=facebook-share-email-button&time=1547257147&fbclid=IwAR3rjpTZog631Oxv6oqjZmaJQv1GLIMHMuhDaP4g0Xu_EajWwW6X1faBPbE


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

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

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Get Malik Out of Ad-Seg


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

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

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

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


Phone zap on Tuesday, November 13

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

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

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

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

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Background on Malik's Situation

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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



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

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

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

NO ESTÁN SOLOS (You are not alone).

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


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

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

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


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


P.O. Box 3565, New York, NY 10008. All Right Reserved. | Unsubscribe
To ensure delivery of About Face emails please add webmaster@ivaw.org to your address book.


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

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

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


Major Tillery and family

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

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

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




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    ILPDC NEWSLETTER BANNER
      

    On Monday March 4th, 2019 Leonard Peltier was advised that his request for a transfer had been unceremoniously denied by the United States Bureau of Prisons.

    The International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee appreciates and thanks the large number of his supporters who took the time to write, call, email, or fax the BOP in support of Leonard's request for a transfer.
    Those of us who have been supporting Leonard's freedom for a number of years are disappointed but resolute to continue pushing for his freedom and until that day, to continue to push for his transfer to be closer to his relatives and the Indigenous Nations who support him.
    44 years is too damn long for an innocent man to be locked up. How can his co-defendants be innocent on the grounds of self-defense but Leonard remains in prison? The time is now for all of us to dig deep and do what we can and what we must to secure freedom for Leonard Peltier before it's too late.
    We need the support of all of you now, more than ever. The ILPDC plans to appeal this denial of his transfer to be closer to his family. We plan to demand he receive appropriate medical care, and to continue to uncover and utilize every legal mechanism to secure his release. To do these things we need money to support the legal work.
    Land of the Brave postcard-page-0

    Please call the ILPDC National office or email us for a copy of the postcard you can send to the White House. We need your help to ask President Trump for Leonard's freedom.
      

    Powered by
    GoDaddy Email Marketing ®

    Free Leonard Peltier!


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

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



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    1) White House Reviews Military Plans Against Iran, in Echoes of Iraq War
    By Eric Schmidtt and Julian E. Barnes, May 13, 2019
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/13/world/middleeast/us-military-plans-iran.html

    The aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln last week in the Persian Gulf. As a precaution, the Pentagon has moved an aircraft carrier and more naval firepower to the gulf region.CreditCreditU.S. Navy, via Associated Press


    WASHINGTON — At a meeting of President Trump's top national security aides last Thursday, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan presented an updated military plan that envisions sending as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East should Iran attack American forces or accelerate work on nuclear weapons, administration officials said.
    [To follow new military deployments to the Middle East, sign up for the weekly At War newsletter.]
    The revisions were ordered by hard-liners led by John R. Bolton, Mr. Trump's national security adviser. They do not call for a land invasion of Iran, which would require vastly more troops, officials said.
    The development reflects the influence of Mr. Bolton, one of the administration's most virulent Iran hawks, whose push for confrontation with Tehran was ignored more than a decade ago by President George W. Bush.

    It is highly uncertain whether Mr. Trump, who has sought to disentangle the United States from Afghanistan and Syria, ultimately would send so many American forces back to the Middle East.

    It is also unclear whether the president has been briefed on the number of troops or other details in the plans. On Monday, asked about if he was seeking regime change in Iran, Mr. Trump said: "We'll see what happens with Iran. If they do anything, it would be a very bad mistake."
    There are sharp divisions in the administration over how to respond to Iran at a time when tensions are rising about Iran's nuclear policy and its intentions in the Middle East.
    Some senior American officials said the plans, even at a very preliminary stage, show how dangerous the threat from Iran has become. Others, who are urging a diplomatic resolution to the current tensions, said it amounts to a scare tactic to warn Iran against new aggressions.
    European allies who met with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday said that they worry that tensions between Washington and Tehran could boil over, possibly inadvertently.
    More than a half-dozen American national security officials who have been briefed on details of the updated plans agreed to discuss them with The New York Times on the condition of anonymity. Spokesmen for Mr. Shanahan and Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, declined to comment.

    The size of the force involved has shocked some who have been briefed on them. The 120,000 troops would approach the size of the American force that invaded Iraq in 2003.
    Deploying such a robust air, land and naval force would give Tehran more targets to strike, and potentially more reason to do so, risking entangling the United States in a drawn out conflict. It also would reverse years of retrenching by the American military in the Middle East that began with President Barack Obama's withdrawal of troops from Iraq in 2011.
    But two of the American national security officials said Mr. Trump's announced drawdown in December of American forces in Syria, and the diminished naval presence in the region, appear to have emboldened some leaders in Tehran and convinced the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps that the United States has no appetite for a fight with Iran.

    Several oil tankers were reportedly attacked or sabotaged off the coast of the United Arab Emirates over the weekend, raising fears that shipping lanes in the Persian Gulf could become flash points. "It's going to be a bad problem for Iran if something happens," Mr. Trump said on Monday, asked about the episode.
    Emirati officials are investigating the apparent sabotage, and American officials suspect that Iran was involved. Several officials cautioned, however, that there is not yet any definitive evidence linking Iran or its proxies to the reported attacks. An Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman called it a "regretful incident," according to a state news agency.
    In Brussels, Mr. Pompeo met with the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany, cosignatories of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, as well as with the European Union's foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini. He did not speak to the media, but the European officials said they had urged restraint upon Washington, fearing accidental escalation that could lead to conflict with Iran.

    "We are very worried about the risk of a conflict happening by accident, with an escalation that is unintended really on either side," said Jeremy Hunt, the British foreign secretary. 
    The Iranian government has not threatened violence recently, but last week, President Hassan Rouhani said Iran would walk away from parts of the 2015 nuclear deal it reached with world powers. Mr. Trump withdrew the United States from the agreement a year ago, but European nations have urged Iran to stick with the deal and ignore Mr. Trump's provocations.
    The high-level review of the Pentagon's plans was presented during a meeting about broader Iran policy. It was held days after what the Trump administration described, without evidence, as new intelligence indicating that Iran was mobilizing proxy groups in Iraq and Syria to attack American forces.
    As a precaution, the Pentagon has moved an aircraft carrier, B-52 bombers, a Patriot missile interceptor battery and more naval firepower to the gulf region.
    At last week's meeting, Mr. Shanahan gave an overview of the Pentagon's planning, then turned to General Dunford to detail various force options, officials said. The uppermost option called for deploying 120,000 troops, which would take weeks or months to complete.
    Among those attending Thursday's meeting were Mr. Shanahan; Mr. Bolton; General Dunford; Gina Haspel, the C.I.A. director; and Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence.
    "The president has been clear, the United States does not seek military conflict with Iran, and he is open to talks with Iranian leadership," Garrett Marquis, a National Security Council spokesman, said Monday in an email. "However, Iran's default option for 40 years has been violence, and we are ready to defend U.S. personnel and interests in the region."

    The reduction of forces in the Middle East in recent years has been propelled by a new focus on China, Russia and a so-called Great Powers competition. The most recent National Defense Strategy — released before Mr. Bolton joined the Trump administration — concluded that while the Middle East remains important, and Iran is a threat to American allies, the United States must do more to ensure a rising China does not upend the world order.
    As recently as late April, an American intelligence analysis indicated that Iran had no short-term desire to provoke a conflict. But new intelligence reports, including intercepts, imagery and other information, have since indicated that Iran was building up its proxy forces' readiness to fight and was preparing them to attack American forces in the region.
    The new intelligence reports surfaced on the afternoon of May 3, Mr. Shanahan told Congress last week. On May 5, Mr. Bolton announced the first of new deployments to the Persian Gulf, including bombers and an aircraft carrier.

    It is not clear to American intelligence officials what changed Iran's posture. But intelligence and Defense Department officials said American sanctions have been working better than originally expected, proving far more crippling to the Iranian economy — especially after a clampdown on all oil exports that was announced last month.
    Also in April, the State Department designated the Revolutionary Guards a foreign terrorist organization over objections from Pentagon and intelligence officials who feared reprisals from the Iranian military.
    While much of the new intelligence appears to have focused on Iran readying its proxy forces, officials said they believed the most likely cause of a conflict will follow a provocative act, or outright attack, by the Revolutionary Guards' navy. The Guards' fleet of small boats has a history of approaching American Navy ships at high speed. Revolutionary Guards commanders have precarious control over their ill-disciplined naval forces.

    Part of the updated planning appears to focus on what military action the United States might take if Iran resumes its nuclear fuel production, which has been frozen under the 2015 agreement. It would be difficult for the Trump administration to make a case that the United States was under imminent nuclear peril; Iran shipped 97 percent of its fuel out of the country in 2016, and currently does not have enough to make a bomb.
    That could change if Iran resumes enriching uranium. But it would take a year or more to build up a significant quantity of material, and longer to fashion it into a weapon. That would allow, at least in theory, plenty of time for the United States to develop a response — like a further cutoff of oil revenues, covert action or military strikes.
    The previous version of the Pentagon's war plan included a classified subset code-named Nitro Zeus, a cyberoperation that called for unplugging Iran's major cities, its power grid and its military.
    The idea was to use cyberweapons to paralyze Iran in the opening hours of any conflict, in hopes that it would obviate the need to drop any bombs or conduct a traditional attack. That plan required extensive presence inside Iran's networks — called "implants" or "beacons" — that would pave the way for injecting destabilizing malware into Iranian systems.
    Two officials said those plans have been constantly updated in recent years.
    But even a cyberattack, without dropping bombs, carries significant risk. Iran has built up a major corps of its own, one that successfully attacked financial markets in 2012, a casino in Las Vegas and a range of military targets. American intelligence officials told Congress in January that Iranian hackers are now considered sophisticated operators who are increasingly capable of striking United States targets.
    Since Mr. Bolton became national security adviser in April 2018, he has intensified the Trump administration's policy of isolating and pressuring Iran. The animus against Iran's leaders dates back at least to his days as an official in the George W. Bush administration. Later, as a private citizen, Mr. Bolton called for military strikes on Iran, as well as regime change.
    The newly updated plans were not the first time during the Trump administration that Mr. Bolton has sought military options to strike Iran.

    This year, Defense Department and senior American officials said Mr. Bolton sought similar guidance from the Pentagon last year, after Iranian-backed militants fired three mortars or rockets into an empty lot on the grounds of the United States Embassy in Baghdad in September.
    In response to Mr. Bolton's request, which alarmed Jim Mattis, then the defense secretary, the Pentagon offered some general options, including a cross-border airstrike on an Iranian military facility that would have been mostly symbolic.
    But Mr. Mattis and other military leaders adamantly opposed retaliation for the Baghdad attack, successfully arguing that it was insignificant.

    Edward Wong and David E. Sanger contributed reporting from Washington, and Steven Erlanger from Brussels.

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    2) Supreme Court Could Change Abortion Rights Without the Alabama Law
    By Adam Liptak, May 15, 2019
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/15/us/politics/supreme-court-abortion.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

    The Supreme Court controls its own docket, and it may choose to hear other cases that chip away at abortion rights instead of overturning Roe v. Wade outright by ruling on a new law in Alabama.CreditCreditT.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times
    WASHINGTON — Abortion rights are at risk at the Supreme Court, but the short-term threat may not come from extreme laws like the one passed by Alabama lawmakers on Tuesday.
    The court led by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. is more likely to chip away at the constitutional right to abortion established in 1973 in Roe v. Wade than to overturn it outright. It will have plenty of opportunities to do so.
    As soon as Monday, the court could announce whether it will hear challenges to three different provisions of Indiana abortion laws. It will in the coming months almost certainly agree to hear a challenge to a Louisiana law that could reduce the number of abortion clinics in the state to one.

    The Alabama law is a different kind of law, one that squarely conflicts with Roe. It would ban almost all abortions in the state, without exceptions for rape and incest, and subject abortion providers to harsh criminal penalties, but the Roberts court tends toward incrementalism, and is not likely to want to take on a direct confrontation with that precedent.

    Nor in all likelihood will it have to.
    Lower courts will almost certainly strike down the Alabama statute and other direct bans on abortion, like the ones that ban the procedure after doctors can detect what the measures call a "fetal heartbeat," which happens at around six weeks of pregnancy. The lower courts will have little choice, as controlling Supreme Court precedents prohibit outright bans on abortion until the fetus is viable outside the womb, usually at about 24 weeks.
    Since the Supreme Court controls its own docket, it can simply deny review after lower courts strike down laws squarely at odds with Roe.
    To be sure, recent changes on the court have given opponents of abortion rights fresh hope for a wholesale reconsideration of Roe. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who retired last year, had been a cautious supporter of abortion rights and was an author of the key opinion in 1992 in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which both reaffirmed and modified the core of Roe, announcing that states may not impose "undue burdens" on abortion rights.

    Justice Kennedy has been replaced by Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, whose limited record as an appeals court judge suggests that he will be more skeptical about the right to abortion. But Justice Kavanaugh has also exhibited some caution in his first months on the court, and he may not be eager for an immediate confrontation with the basic issue when intermediate steps are available.

    But there are three members of the court — Justice Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Neil M. Gorsuch — who seem less patient. It takes only four votes to add a case to the court's docket, meaning that either Chief Justice Roberts or Justice Kavanaugh could force the court to confront the ultimate question of the fate of a constitutional right to abortion when a case concerning the Alabama law or a similar one reaches the court.
    Melissa Murray, a law professor at New York University, said much will turn on Chief Justice Roberts, who may have conflicting impulses.
    "Recent departures and appointments, coupled with an increasing skepticism of established precedents, suggests the Supreme Court is more amenable than ever to overruling Roe," she said. "The recent spate of restrictive abortion regulations reflects this new reality."
    "These laws are an obvious provocation — a clear attempt to take the question of Roe's continued viability straight to the court," Professor Murray said. "The real question is whether Chief Justice Roberts's interest in preserving the court's institutional legitimacy will outweigh the conservative interest in legislating abortion out of existence."
    The court's liberal justices certainly seem nervous. On Monday, in a case overruling a precedent in a different area of the law, Justice Stephen G. Breyer's dissent chastised the majority for acting rashly. Repeatedly citing the Casey decision, Justice Breyer said he feared for the future.
    "Today's decision can only cause one to wonder which cases the court will overrule next," he wrote.
    Richard W. Garnett, a law professor at Notre Dame, said the constitutional confrontation over the right to abortion sought by the sponsors of the Alabama law was unlikely to come to pass.
    "It appears that the proposal's supporters intend to create an opportunity for the current court to revisit its decisions creating that right," he said. "However, it is not clear that the current justices who have expressed doubts about the correctness of decisions like Roe and Casey will want to take up a case that squarely presents the question whether these decisions should be overruled. Instead, they might well prefer to first consider less sweeping abortion regulations and to uphold them even under the current doctrine."

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    3) San Francisco Bans Facial Recognition Technology
    By Kate Conger, Richard Fausset and Serge F. Kovaleski, May 14, 2019
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/14/us/facial-recognition-ban-san-francisco.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

    Attendees interacting with a facial recognition demonstration at this year's CES in Las Vegas.CreditCreditJoe Buglewicz for The New York Times


    SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco, long at the heart of the technology revolution, took a stand against potential abuse on Tuesday by banning the use of facial recognition software by the police and other agencies.
    The action, which came in an 8-to-1 vote by the Board of Supervisors, makes San Francisco the first major American city to block a tool that many police forces are turning to in the search for both small-time criminal suspects and perpetrators of mass carnage.

    The authorities used the technology to help identify the suspect in the mass shooting at an Annapolis, Md., newspaper last June. But civil liberty groups have expressed unease about the technology's potential abuse by government amid fears that it may shove the United States in the direction of an overly oppressive surveillance state.

    Aaron Peskin, the city supervisor who sponsored the bill, said that it sent a particularly strong message to the nation, coming from a city transformed by tech.

    "I think part of San Francisco being the real and perceived headquarters for all things tech also comes with a responsibility for its local legislators," Mr. Peskin said. "We have an outsize responsibility to regulate the excesses of technology precisely because they are headquartered here."
    But critics said that rather than focusing on bans, the city should find ways to craft regulations that acknowledge the usefulness of face recognition. "It is ridiculous to deny the value of this technology in securing airports and border installations," said Jonathan Turley, a constitutional law expert at George Washington University. "It is hard to deny that there is a public safety value to this technology."
    There will be an obligatory second vote next week, but it is seen as a formality.
    Similar bans are under consideration in Oakland and in Somerville, Mass., outside of Boston. In Massachusetts, a bill in the State Legislature would put a moratorium on facial recognition and other remote biometric surveillance systems. On Capitol Hill, a billintroduced last month would ban users of commercial face recognition technology from collecting and sharing data for identifying or tracking consumers without their consent, although it does not address the government's uses of the technology.
    Matt Cagle, a lawyer with the A.C.L.U. of Northern California, on Tuesday summed up the broad concerns of facial recognition: The technology, he said, "provides government with unprecedented power to track people going about their daily lives. That's incompatible with a healthy democracy."

    The San Francisco proposal, he added, "is really forward-looking and looks to prevent the unleashing of this dangerous technology against the public."
    In one form or another, facial recognition is already being used in many American airports and big stadiums, and by a number of other police departments. The pop star Taylor Swift has reportedly incorporated the technology at one of her shows, using it to help identify stalkers.
    The facial recognition fight in San Francisco is largely theoretical — the police department does not currently deploy such technology, and it is only in use at the international airport and ports that are under federal jurisdiction and are not impacted by the legislation.
    Some local homeless shelters use biometric finger scans and photos to track shelter usage, said Jennifer Friedenbach, the executive director of the Coalition on Homelessness. The practice has driven undocumented residents away from the shelters, she said.
    Still, it has been a particularly charged topic in a city with a rich history of incubating dissent and individual liberties, but one that has also suffered lately from high rates of property crime.
    The ban prohibits city agencies from using facial recognition technology, or information gleaned from external systems that use the technology. It is part of a larger legislative package devised to govern the use of surveillance technologies in the city that requires local agencies to create policies controlling their use of these tools. There are some exemptions, including one that would give prosecutors a way out if the transparency requirements might interfere with their investigations.
    Still, the San Francisco Police Officers Association, an officers' union, said the ban would hinder their members' efforts to investigate crime.

    "Although we understand that it's not a 100 percent accurate technology yet, it's still evolving," said Tony Montoya, the president of the association. "I think it has been successful in at least providing leads to criminal investigators."
    Mr. Cagle and other experts said that it was difficult to know exactly how widespread the technology was in the United States. "Basically, governments and companies have been very secretive about where it's being used, so the public is largely in the dark about the state of play," he said.
    But Dave Maass, the senior investigative researcher at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, offered a partial list of police departments that he said used the technology, including Las Vegas, Orlando, San Jose, San Diego, New York City, Boston, Detroit and Durham, N.C.
    Other users, Mr. Maass said, include the Colorado Department of Public Safety, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office in Florida, the California Department of Justice and the Virginia State Police.
    U.S. Customs and Border Protection is now using facial recognition in many airports and ports of sea entry. At airports, international travelers stand before cameras, then have their pictures matched against photos provided in their passport applications. The agency says the process complies with privacy laws, but it has still come in for criticism from the Electronic Privacy Information Center, which argues that the government, though promising travelers that they may opt out, has made it increasingly difficult to do so.
    But there is a broader concern. "When you have the ability to track people in physical space, in effect everybody becomes subject to the surveillance of the government," said Marc Rotenberg, the group's executive director.
    In the last few years, facial recognition technology has improved and spread at lightning speed, powered by the rise of cloud computing, machine learning and extremely precise digital cameras. That has meant once-unimaginable new features for users of smartphones, who may now use facial recognition to unlock their devices, and to tag and sort photos.

    But some experts fear the advances are outstripping government's ability to set guardrails to protect privacy.
    Mr. Cagle and others said that a worst-case scenario already exists in China, where facial recognition is used to keep close tabs on the Uighurs, a largely Muslim minority, and is being integrated into a national digital panopticon system powered by roughly 200 million surveillance cameras.
    American civil liberties advocates warn that the ability of facial surveillance to identify people at a distance, or online, without their knowledge or consent presents unique risks — threatening Americans' ability to freely attend political protests or simply go about their business anonymously in public. Last year, Bradford L. Smith, the president of Microsoft, warned that the technology was too risky for companies to police on their own and asked Congress to oversee its use.
    The battle over the technology intensified last year after two researchers published a study showing bias in some of the most popular facial surveillance systems. Called Gender Shades, the study reported that systems from IBM and Microsoft were much better at identifying the gender of white men's faces than they were at identifying the gender of darker-skinned or female faces.
    Another study this year reported similar problems with Amazon's technology, called Rekognition. Microsoft and IBM have since said they improved their systems, while Amazon has said it updated its system since the researchers tested it and had found no differences in accuracy.
    Warning that African-Americans, women and others could easily be incorrectly identified as suspects and wrongly arrested, the American Civil Liberties Union and other nonprofit groups last year called on Amazon to stop selling its technology to law enforcement.
    But even with improvements in accuracy, civil rights advocates and researchers warn that, in the absence of government oversight, the technology could easily be misused to surveil immigrants or unfairly target African-Americans or low-income neighborhoods. In a recent essay, Luke Stark, a postdoctoral researcher at Microsoft Research Montreal, described facial surveillance as "the plutonium of artificial intelligence," arguing that it should be "recognized as anathema to the health of human society, and heavily restricted as a result."

    Alvaro Bedoya, who directs Georgetown University's Center on Privacy and Technology, said that more than 30 states allow local or state authorities, or the F.B.I., to search their driver's license photos.
    Mr. Bedoya said that these images are tantamount to being in a perpetual police lineup, as law enforcement agencies use them to check against the faces of suspected criminals. He said that the difference is that an algorithm, not a human being, is pointing to the suspect.
    He also said that comprehensive regulation of the technology is sorely lacking. "This is the most pervasive and risky surveillance technology of the 21st century," he said.
    Daniel Castro, director of the Center for Data Innovation at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, is among those who opposed the idea of a ban. He said he would prefer to see face-recognition data accessible to the police only if they have secured a warrant from a judge, following guidelines the Supreme Court has set for other forms of electronic surveillance.
    But proponents of the bans say they are an effort to hit the pause button and study the matter before harm is done. The proposed ban in Somerville, the Boston suburb, was sponsored by a councilor, Ben Ewen-Campen. "The government and the public don't have a handle on what the technology is and what it will become," he said on Tuesday.
    Next door in Boston, Ed Davis, the former police commissioner, said it was "premature to be banning things." Mr. Davis, who led the department during the Boston Marathon attack, said that no one in the United States wanted to follow the Chinese model.
    But he also sees the potential. "This technology is still developing," he said, "and as it improves, this could be the answer to a lot of problems we have about securing our communities."

    Joel Engardio, the vice president of Stop Crime SF, said that he agreed that current facial recognition technologies were flawed, but said that the city should not prohibit their use in the future, if they were improved.
    "Instead of an outright ban, why not a moratorium?" Mr. Engardio asked. "Let's keep the door open for when the technology improves. I'm not a fan of banning things when eventually it could actually be helpful."

    Kate Conger reported from San Francisco; Richard Fausset from Atlanta and Serge F. Kovaleski from New York. Reporting was also contributed by Natasha Singer and Adeel Hassan in New York.

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    4) Chelsea Manning Ordered Back to Jail for Refusal to Testify in WikiLeaks Inquiry
    "The judge, Anthony J. Trenga of United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, also ordered Ms. Manning to be fined $500 for every day she remains in custody after 30 days, and $1,000 for every day she remains in custody after 60 days."
    By Jacey Fortin, May 18, 2019
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/16/us/chelsea-manning-jail.html?searchResultPosition=1

    Chelsea Manning, the former Army intelligence analyst who provided secret documents to WikiLeaks in 2010, arriving for her hearing in Alexandria, Va., on Thursday.CreditCreditShawn Thew/EPA, via Shutterstock


    Chelsea Manning, the former Army intelligence analyst who provided secret military and diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks in 2010, was sent to jail again on Thursday after refusing to testify before a grand jury investigating the organization, which publishes leaks online.
    Ms. Manning was jailed for similar reasons in March, but was released last week when the term of the grand jury that had served her with a subpoena in January expired.
    This month she was served with another subpoena to appear before a new grand jury. At a closed hearing on Thursday, she told a federal judge that she would not answer questions, and he ordered her to be sent back to Alexandria Detention Center in Virginia, either until she agrees to testify or until the grand jury's term expires in 18 months.

    The judge, Anthony J. Trenga of United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, also ordered Ms. Manning to be fined $500 for every day she remains in custody after 30 days, and $1,000 for every day she remains in custody after 60 days.

    "We are of course disappointed with the outcome of today's hearing," Moira Meltzer-Cohen, a lawyer for Ms. Manning, said in a statement. "But I anticipate it will be exactly as coercive as the previous sanction — which is to say not at all."
    Prosecutors have granted immunity to Ms. Manning for her testimony, but she has said that she had already answered pertinent questions during a court-martial in 2013, and will not cooperate with a grand jury no matter how long she is detained.
    "As a general principle, I object to grand juries," she said in a video statement after being released last week. "Prosecutors run grand juries behind closed doors and in secret without a judge present. Therefore, I declined to answer any questions."
    Prosecutors said the jail time was meant to persuade Ms. Manning to testify. After the hearing on Thursday, G. Zachary Terwilliger, United States attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said that Ms. Manning was being treated like any other citizen who might have relevant information, The Associated Press reported.
    "All we want is for her to truthfully answer any questions," he said.
    But lawyers for Ms. Manning have argued that jail time is pointless and punitive because she refuses to answer questions no matter what.

    "I would rather starve than change my principles in this regard," Ms. Manning said to Judge Trenga on Thursday.
    Both the subpoenas served to Ms. Manning by the Eastern District of Virginia this year came after prosecutors inadvertently disclosed in November that Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, had been charged under seal in that district.
    The investigation into Mr. Assange is part of a criminal inquiry that began during the Obama administration. Mr. Assange evaded the investigation for seven years by sheltering in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, where he continued his activities with WikiLeaks, including working on the release of thousands of Democratic Party emails stolen by Russian hackers during the presidential campaign of 2016.
    But Ecuador suspended the citizenship it had granted him and kicked Mr. Assange out of the embassy last month. He was arrested to face allegations in the United States that he had conspired to hack into a Pentagon computer network in 2010.
    During her 2013 court-martial, Ms. Manning admitted sending secret documents to WikiLeaks, including hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables and Army reports from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. She also confessed to interacting online with someone who was probably Mr. Assange, but she said she had acted on principle and was not working for WikiLeaks.
    A military judge sentenced Ms. Manning to 35 years in prison in 2013. She served seven years, including pretrial custody, by the time President Barack Obama commuted the remainder of her sentence in 2017. It was the longest amount of time that any American had served in prison for leaking government secrets to the public. Ms. Manning, who was known as Bradley at the time of her conviction and transitioned to life as a woman while in a prison for men, was lauded by some free speech advocates as well as gay and transgender activists while she was incarcerated.
    Ms. Manning spent 63 days in jail when she was detained earlier this year, including 28 days in solitary confinement conditions, her lawyers said in a statement on Thursday.

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    5) When Will Eric Garner Get Justice?
    Mayor de Blasio owes Mr. Garner's family — and the city — answers.
    "Mr. Pantaleo not only remained on the force but also saw his income rise after Mr. Garner's death, collecting a 35 percent increase in overtime pay the following year, even though he was on modified duty. ...'He's most likely DOA,' the sergeant wrote in a text message to Lt. Christopher Bannon. 'Not a big deal,' Lieutenant Bannon replied. 'We were effecting a lawful arrest.'"
    By Mara Gay, May 17, 2019
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/17/opinion/eric-garner-trial.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage

    Gwen Carr, Eric Garner's mother, leaving One Police Plaza, Police Headquarters in Lower Manhattan, on Monday.CreditCreditStephanie Keith for The New York Times


    As Eric Garner lay dying, he was gasping for air and bleeding in his neck and eyes. The arm of a New York City police officer was pressed hard against his throat.
    When the medical examiner described Mr. Garner's last minutes in the small, airless courtroom at Police Department headquarters, police officers, news reporters and family members of Mr. Garner drew sharp breaths.
    Some cast their eyes to the floor.
    One woman wept as the man beside her gently stroked her back.
    Mr. Garner's family has seen no justice in the five years since his death.

    Daniel Pantaleo, the officer who put Mr. Garner in a chokehold during the fatal arrest in July 2014, never faced criminal charges after a grand jury on Staten Island, one of the most police-friendly areas of the city, declined to indict him.

    Mr. Pantaleo not only remained on the force but also saw his income rise after Mr. Garner's death, collecting a 35 percent increase in overtime pay the following year, even though he was on modified duty.
    The federal civil rights investigation into the death fell into a dispute between federal prosecutors in Brooklyn and veteran civil rights prosecutors in Washington over whether to file charges. The attorney general at the time, Loretta Lynch, ultimately authorized prosecutors to move ahead toward indictment, but problems with the initial F.B.I. investigation delayed the case until after President Trump took office. 
    At long last, however, Mr. Pantaleo is standing for a departmental trial, on charges brought by the city's Civilian Complaint Review Board. The review board accused him of reckless use of a chokehold and intentional restriction of breathing. If a judge finds him guilty, his fate will reside with the police commissioner.

    One of the many people waiting in line to attend the departmental trial of Officer Daniel Pantaleo.CreditYana Paskova/Getty Images

    The disciplinary hearing, which is being held at Police Headquarters, in downtown Manhattan, has forced a brutal reassessment of a dark moment in the city's history.

    It also serves as a visceral reminder of the cost of refusing to hold the nation's largest police department accountable when something goes wrong.
    On Thursday, when lawyers showed the court an exchange of text messages between a sergeant at the scene of the deadly arrest and a supervising lieutenant, we learned how warped we have allowed the city's policing culture to become.
    "He's most likely DOA," the sergeant wrote in a text message to Lt. Christopher Bannon. "Not a big deal," Lieutenant Bannon replied. "We were effecting a lawful arrest."
    New York has made considerable progress in its policing practices over the years, but there still is not adequate accountability when abuses arise. 
    One reason is that the department, understandably, has gotten the credit for one of New York's greatest successes: a celebrated, decades-long drop in crime.
    Another is that the department took on a nearly heroic status after the Sept. 11 attacks, which is also understandable. The department also enjoys the political power that comes with having the nation's largest police union.

    These forces have cemented the Police Department's nearly untouchable status in city politics.
    Mayor Bill de Blasio learned this when hundreds of cops turned their backs on him at the funerals of two police officers killed by a man who had spouted anti-police vitriol. The officers were angry that a few months earlier Mr. de Blasio had the audacity to say that the Garner case made him think of the possibility of losing his biracial son in an encounter with the police.

    Rudy Giuliani was able to ride the Police Department's political power to win the 1993 mayoral election, whipping up racist sentiment among the force to unseat Mayor David Dinkins, the city's first and only black mayor.
    Sometimes, deference to the Police Department comes with a price. Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg's unquestioning support of the overbroad use of stop-and-frisk under Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, for instance, threatened to tarnish Mr. Bloomberg's legacy.
    Wary of the N.Y.P.D's power, New York's mayors have largely allowed the 36,000-officer force to police itself.
    What other possible explanation is there for allowing the department to handle Officer Pantaleo with such kid gloves over the past five years?
    Mayor Bill de Blasio and his police commissioners initially said they would await the outcome of a federal civil rights investigation into the death before moving forward with any disciplinary measures.
    Yet, at the trial this week, the public learned that the department's own internal affairs investigators found that Officer Pantaleo had used a banned chokehold on Mr. Garner, and they were ordered by a supervisor to recommend that the department bring disciplinary charges against him. But the Police Department never brought those charges, even after it was clear that federal prosecutors had dropped the ball. Why not? Mayor Bill de Blasio owes the Garner family and the public an explanation.

    Mr. de Blasio also vowed to retrain the entire police force in the wake of Mr. Garner's death. But half a decade later, the data shows that officers are still using chokeholds, and that they rarely face serious punishmentfor doing so.
    Few have paid a higher price for the city's refusal to take police abuse seriously than the family of Eric Garner.

    Erica Garner at a vigil for her father in 2015.CreditCarlo Allegri/Reuters

    In 2017, Erica Garner, Mr. Garner's daughter, died of a heart attack at the age of 27 after years of activism against police brutality in the aftermath of her father's death.
    Gwen Carr, Mr. Garner's mother, has been relentless. This week, she brought earplugs to the trial so she wouldn't have to hear her son's cries for help as a video of his arrest played in the courtroom.
    Outside Police Headquarters on Thursday, Ms. Carr said she wouldn't rest until the officers involved were off the force. "They do not think of us New Yorkers as human beings," she said.
    Ms. Carr is right. Eric Garner deserved better, and so do we.

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    6) How the 'Welfare Queen' Was Born
    The woman behind a pernicious and racist myth didn't represent anyone or anything but her own striking criminal enterprise.
    By Josh Levin, May 17, 2019
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/17/opinion/sunday/welfare-queen-myth-reagan.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage

    Linda Taylor leaving court in 1974 following her arraignment on a 31-count indictment involving her alleged receipt of illegal welfare benefits, medical assistance, food stamps and Social Security and veterans' benefits.CreditCreditBettmann Archive, via Getty Images


    In the fall of 1974, The Chicago Tribune anointed Linda Taylor the "welfare queen," reporting that she received public aid checks and food stamps while driving a Cadillac and planning a Hawaiian vacation. An Illinois bureaucrat declared that Taylor was responsible for "the most massive case of welfare fraud that has ever been perpetrated in the 50 states." Ronald Reagan then shone a spotlight on Taylor and her crimes, asserting during his 1976 presidential run that she used 80 aliases and that "her tax-free cash income alone has been running $150,000 a year." In a recording of one campaign event, you can hear the crowd emit a collective gasp when Reagan recites that enormous dollar figure.

    Linda Taylor became the living template for a racist stereotype: the greedy black woman getting rich off taxpayer money. That vicious, baseless caricature demonized some of the nation's most vulnerable people, laying the groundwork for bipartisan welfare reforms that slashed direct aid to the poor. And the Taylor-inspired trope continues to haunt our political conversation, as elected officials claim that aid programs are plagued by fraud and call for food stamp recipients to be banned from purchasing "luxury" items like lobster. (There is no evidence that people who get food stamps eat a disproportionate amount of lobster.)

    While the welfare queen stereotype endured, Linda Taylor herself has been totally forgotten. At the height of her infamy in the mid-1970s, Taylor wasn't just depicted as a brazen thief. She was seen as a shape-shifter, a woman who used dozens of aliases and her own racial ambiguity to abet her scams. "Her skin is sallow — like a medium yellow — and she has no features that make her peculiar to any racial background," a detective explained in one national news item about Taylor. "So she passes as a Filipino. She puts on a black wig and becomes a Negro, and with other makeup and wigs, she passes for white." Another article said that Taylor, who in the 1970s self-identified as black, was able to pass for "Spanish, Filipino, [and] white."

    As I researched Taylor's life decades later, I discovered that much of what had been said about her was inaccurate, misleading, or worse. Taylor, who died in obscurity in 2002, hadn't actually pilfered $150,000 in welfare money in a single year. Her take was estimated at $40,000 over many years, and she was officially charged with stealing around $9,000. And welfare fraud, it turned out, was the least of her crimes. Taylor was a known kidnapper, and in the 1970s and 1980s, three people she'd become close to ended up dead under suspicious circumstances. Those disturbing incidents were never adequately investigated. The press, politicians, and government officials saw Taylor as the country's biggest welfare cheat. Nothing else she'd done, no matter how heinous, could overpower that image.
    At least one part of the Linda Taylor legend was true: She had no fixed identity, and she changed her name and appearance constantly. Taylor had picked up that habit from an early age. As a child in the Deep South, the color of her skin had marked her as a target, someone whose very existence was seen as a shameful mistake.
    Taylor's mother, Lydia Mooney, was white, and her family came from Cullman County, Ala., an area where white separatism was official policy. In 1908, a pair of small newspapers reported that the county seat was "the only strictly white town in North Alabama, if not in the entire state." In the 1930s, a black newspaper in Virginia wrote that black "motorists buy all the gasoline their cars can hold in order not to have to stop at Cullman for any purpose."
    Lydia left her home in Alabama when she was 17. Her husband, who she'd married when she was 14, later filed for divorce, accusing her of infidelity. Lydia's daughter Martha — the future Linda Taylor — was born in 1926, in a tiny town on the banks of Mississippi River called Golddust, Tenn. While no county or state record was issued to mark the child's arrival, Lydia's family whispered that the child had been the product of an affair, and that the father was a black man.
    I don't know if Taylor ever met her father or knew her father's family. I did learn that her parentage made her a nonperson in the eyes of many of her white relatives. One of her mother's brothers refused to let Taylor set foot inside his home. A first cousin also remembered seeing Taylor sitting in a car, alone, during a big family gathering — none of her relatives spoke to her, and she didn't speak to any of them.

    Taylor wasn't just denied feelings of kinship and family connections. She was deprived of an education. In a court hearing in the 1960s, Taylor's aunt would testify that her niece "didn't go to no school I went to." Taylor's older sister Mary Jane, who had two white parents, did have the opportunity to spend time in a classroom.
    While Taylor's family didn't let her forget her heritage, they did their best to obscure it publicly. Not long after Taylor was born, her mother and her stepfather, J.J. Miller, moved to Mississippi County, Ark., to find work planting and picking cotton. In both 1930 and 1940, Taylor was marked as white on the census, just like the rest of the Millers. This government-adjudged racial purity affirmed that the Millers were law-abiding citizens. Arkansas law at the time banned the "cohabitation of persons of the Caucasian race and of the Negro race, whether open or secret." According to a state statute, "Any woman who shall have been delivered of a mulatto child, the same shall be prima facie evidence of guilt without further proof and shall justify a conviction of the woman." If Taylor had been declared a "Negro," her mother would have been guilty of a felony.
    When she became a young adult, Taylor traveled the same road as millions of other black Americans, leaving the South for a locale that was reputedly more equitable. Taylor landed in the Bay Area during the World War II shipbuilding boom. But while California was often depicted as a place full of opportunity and relatively free of prejudice, the reality often didn't live up to that dreamy vision. Taylor found herself in a rat-infested apartment building in West Oakland. She was arrested multiple times in the mid-1940s for prostitution-related offenses.
    In California, as in Arkansas, Taylor hid her racial identity. In March 1948 — six months before the Supreme Court of California declared the state's miscegenation ban unconstitutional — she married a man with German ancestry. Their marriage license identified Taylor as Hawaiian, a fiction that allowed her to account for the color of her skin while still conforming to the government's parameters for whiteness.
    That marriage wouldn't last, nor would her stint in California. She eventually moved to Chicago, managing to blend in for a time while living in the predominantly white neighborhood of Lincoln Park. But in 1964, Taylor chose to pursue an outlandish, risky gambit, claiming that she was the daughter of a black gambling kingpin and the rightful heir to his substantial fortune. Taylor didn't assume this new identity all that skillfully. The documents she presented to affirm her heirship were clear forgeries. More painfully, her white relatives came from Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Texas to tell a probate court judge that Taylor was a liar.
    Linda Taylor's family was motivated less by a burning desire to tell the truth than an impulse to bury an uncomfortable secret. Taylor's uncle claimed improbably that her father was Portuguese. Taylor's mother also denied that she'd given birth to her own daughter, testifying that the child had been left on her doorstep as a 3-month-old infant.
    That was a laughable story. It was also a pitiable one, confirmation that Taylor had never been wanted. The judge in that heirship case ruled, correctly, that Taylor had no claim on the gambling kingpin's estate. At that point, one of her sons told me, Taylor decided that she was done with white people — that they'd done nothing but abandon and abuse her. Taylor left Lincoln Park and moved to a part of Chicago's South Side that was essentially all black. That's where she was living in the 1970s, when she was christened the welfare queen.
    Linda Taylor was inarguably a villain. She had no regard for other people, and she preyed on most everyone she met, including her own children. It doesn't excuse her crimes to acknowledge that she was also a victim, and she was victimized because of her race. It's impossible to understand her life without understanding where she came from, a place and time where the line between black and white could not be smudged. When Taylor changed identities, she wasn't deviously leveraging race to her advantage. She defied America's strict racial categories to secure a life she couldn't otherwise grasp, and to construct a private mythology that made more sense to her than the grim reality of what she'd seen and what she'd done.

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    7) Colombian Army's Kill Orders Put Civilians at Risk, Officers Say
    By Nicholas Casey, May 18, 2019
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/18/world/americas/colombian-army-killings.html

    A Colombian soldier watching over the border with Ecuador in Nariño, Colombia, last year.CreditCreditFredy Builes/Reuters


    BOGOTÁ, Colombia — The head of Colombia's army, frustrated by the nation's faltering efforts to secure peace, has ordered his troops to double the number of criminals and militants they kill, capture or force to surrender in battle — and possibly accept higher civilian casualties in the process, according to written orders and interviews with senior officers.
    At the start of the year, Colombian generals and colonels were assembled and told to sign a written pledge to step up attacks. Daily internal presentations now show the number of days that brigades have gone without combat, and commanders are berated when they don't carry out assaults frequently enough, the officers said.
    One order causing particular worry instructs soldiers not to "demand perfection" in carrying out deadly attacks, even if significant questions remain about the targets they are striking. Some officers say that order has instructed them to lower their standards for protecting innocent civilians from getting killed, and that it has already led to suspicious or unnecessary deaths.

    The military tried a similar strategy to defeat Colombia's rebel and paramilitary groups in the mid-2000s, before a landmark peace deal was signed to end decades of conflict.

    But the tactics caused a national outrage when it emerged that soldiers, aiming to meet their quotas, engaged in widespread killings and disappearances of civilians.
    Now, another incarnation of the policy is being pushed by the new government against the country's remaining criminal, guerrilla and paramilitary groups, according to orders reviewed by The New York Times and three senior officers who spoke about them.
    The new orders have sent a chill down the ranks of the army. Colombia's military remains under investigation for the series of illegal killings in the mid-2000s, known as "false positives."
    Soldiers repeatedly killed peasants and claimed they were guerrilla fighters, sometimes even dressing them in fatigues and planting weapons near their bodies. The tactics stemmed from superiors demanding increased body counts, prosecutors say.
    Two of the officers said in lengthy interviews that Colombian soldiers were under intense pressure yet again — and that a pattern of suspicious killings and cover-ups had begun to emerge this year.

    In a meeting recounted by one of the officers, a general ordered commanders to "do anything" to boost their results, even if it meant "allying ourselves" with armed criminal groups to get information on targets, a divide-and-conquer strategy.
    Beyond that, officers said, soldiers who increase their combat kills are being offered incentives, like extra vacation, in a pattern they fear is strikingly similar to the unlawful killings of the mid-2000s.
    "We have gone back to what we were doing before," said one the officers, who all spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals by their superiors.

    Major Gen. Nicacio Martínez Espinel, the top commander of Colombia's army, acknowledged issuing the new orders and having officers set concrete goals for killing, capturing or forcing criminal groups and militants to surrender.
    He said he had issued the written order that instructed top commanders to "double the results" because of the threat that Colombia continues to face from guerrilla, paramilitary and criminal organizations.
    "The criminal threat rose," he said. "If we continued at the pace that we were going at, we would not have completed our objectives."

    Still, the general disputed how officers have interpreted his instructions.
    "The orders are that you are operationally effective," he said. "Some told me they wanted a 10 percent increase, good, you do 10 percent. Some told me they wanted a 50 percent increase, but with no dead. Some said, 'I want a 100 percent increase.' There are some who have kept their word, and others that haven't been able to."
    He also acknowledged that the orders tell commanders to conduct operations when they are still uncertain about their targets.
    However, General Martínez argued that the instructions referred only to planning missions, not to carrying them out.
    "Respect for human rights is the most important thing," he said. "Everything has taken place within the letter of the law."
    But the order itself says, "You must launch operations with 60 to 70 percent credibility or exactitude" — leaving enough room for error that the policy has already led to questionable killings, two of the officers said.
    The new orders signal an increase in military campaigns against guerrilla and paramilitary groups in Colombia, which reached a peace deal with the nation's largest rebel group — the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC — just two years ago.
    Peace has been elusive. Many former guerrillas have returned to fighting, while other criminal and paramilitary groups have expanded their control over parts of the country.

    One rebel group that never signed a peace deal carried out a deadly car bombing in the capital in January.
    Colombia is also under pressure from the Trump administration to show progress in cracking down on drug trafficking, a battle that has shown little progress despite $10 billion in American aid.

    As the pressure mounted, President Iván Duque, a conservative who campaigned against the peace deal because he thought it was too soft on the rebels, replaced the country's top army commanders in December.
    Mr. Duque's government appointed nine officers linked to killings in the mid-2000s, including some who now hold top positions directing military offensives throughout Colombia, according to documents published by Human Rights Watch. One of the commanders linked to the killings, according to the rights group, is General Martínezwho at the time held a lower-ranking position.
    General Martínez says he did not participate in any of the unlawful killings and that he is not under investigation by Colombia's attorney general's office.
    The unlawful killings are a particularly contentious chapter in Colombia's recent history. From 2002 to 2008, as many as 5,000 civilians or guerrillas were killed outside of combat, according to the United Nations. At least 1,176 members of the security forces have been convicted of crimes related to the illegal deaths, according to the government.

    Two of the officers who spoke to The Times said they had served during the killings and risen in rank through subsequent periods of reckoning and reform.
    But a major shift took place, they say, when General Martínez called a meeting of his top officers in January, a month after assuming command of the army.
    The meeting included the country's top 50 generals and colonels, who met in a hangar in the mountains outside of Bogotá. Many were eager to hear whether there would be a new direction under the new leadership.
    After a break, the commanders returned to tables where they found a form waiting for each one of them, the officers said. The form had the title "Goal Setting 2019" at the top and a place for each commander to sign at the bottom.
    The form asked commanders to list the "arithmetic sum of surrenders, captures and deaths" of various armed groups for the previous year in one column, and then provide a goal for the following year.
    Some of the commanders seemed confused — until they were instructed to double their numbers this year, the officers said.
    Soon afterward, the same order appeared from General Martínez, this time in writing.
    "The goal is to double the operational results at all levels of command," read the orders, which included his signature.

    Three days after the meeting near Bogotá, a group of military intelligence officers and regional commanders were convened in the city of Cúcuta, on the border with Venezuela, the officers said.

    At the meeting, the officers said they were told, "We have to do anything now," including using illegal paramilitary groups provide information on rival armed groups "in order to get results."
    The suggestion of working with one armed group to defeat another created a hush among the people there, said one of the officers.
    On Feb. 19, a new document titled "50 Command Orders" emerged. One order demanded "opportune and massive strikes" against the enemy.
    But the instructions on the threshold required for ordering deadly attacks were the largest shift from previous policy, the officers said.
    In the past, they argued, military operations needed to be carried out with at least 85 percent of certainty of the target, after a series of meetings between commanders and intelligence agents to approve a strike. The new order called for a lower standard.

    Soon after, the officers said they began identifying suspicious killings or arrests.
    One of the officers cited the killing of what an army report called the death on Feb. 23 of a member of the paramilitary group Clan del Golfo. The report said that three members of the group had fought an army platoon, and that the fight ended in one death and two arrests. A pistol and revolver were found with the men.
    The report was provided to The Times by the officer. He found it unlikely that three lightly armed criminals would combat an entire platoon of 41 men.
    Perhaps the most disputed killing since General Martínez took command occurred around April 22, when the body of Dimar Torres, a former guerrilla who had disarmed under the peace deal, was found outside a village near the Venezuelan border.
    Cellphone video circulated by villagers showed Mr. Torres's body shot through the head. Villagers could be heard screaming epithets against paramilitary groups.
    It turned out Mr. Torres was killed by the army. Colombia's defense minister, Guillermo Botero, at first defended the shooting by saying Mr. Torres had been killed during a struggle over a weapon with a soldier. But days later, the general in charge of the region offered a public apology.
    José del Carmen Abril, a peasant leader in the village, said townspeople had found soldiers near Mr. Torres' body trying to "dig a grave to make him disappear" that night. Cellphone video showed soldiers near a half-dug grave.
    The officers said they had also been told that the soldiers were trying to hide Mr. Torres' body. While the case has become a national controversy, the officers said that other killings were likely to go unnoticed.
    They produced a copy of a slide from a February presentation with the title "Days Without Combat." It listed brigades and task forces, tallying how long each had gone without doing battle. The instructions were clear, they said: Increase kills, captures and surrenders.

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    8) What Does It Really Mean to Be 6 Weeks Pregnant?
    So-called 'heartbeat' legislation restricting abortion as early as six weeks into pregnancy has started a conversation aboutwhen most women actually learn that they're pregnant.
    "Lower-income women, rural women and women with limited access to health care will be disproportionately affected by these laws," Dr. Horvath said. "Women of means will be able to travel to other states, or other countries, just as they did before Roe v. Wade."
    By Christina Caron, May 18, 2019
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/18/parenting/abortion-six-weeks-pregnant.html

    CreditCreditAmber Vittoria


    Now that several states have passed bills that effectively ban abortion after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, the new laws are raising a lot of questions about early pregnancy and miscarriage treatments. 
    The fetal heartbeat can typically be seen on an ultrasound at around six weeks into pregnancy, but many women have no idea they're pregnant at that time. So when do women typically realize that they are pregnant? And how often are pregnancies unplanned? We'll explain all of this and more. 
    It sounds odd, but doctors measure the beginning of a pregnancy as being the first day of your last period. Why? They're tracking the length of pregnancy using a nearly 200-year-old calculation called Naegele's Rule, named after Franz Karl Naegele, the German obstetrician who is credited with creating it in the 1800s. 

    Here's how it works: To figure out when a woman will give birth, doctors start with the first day of the woman's last menstrual period, count back three calendar months and then add one year and seven days to that date.

    The rule is somewhat confusing, because conception usually doesn't occur until around 14 days after the first day of your period, assuming you have a 28-day cycle (which many women do not for a variety of reasons). The reason doctors still use the last menstrual cycle as a benchmark is because it is difficult to know exactly when the sperm fertilized the egg. 
    So when doctors say a woman is six weeks pregnant, it typically means the embryo started developing about four weeks ago. 
    The heart, which can be seen flickering on an ultrasound, is still maturing and cannot be heard until several weeks later.
    Perhaps this is the simplest way to say it: Six weeks pregnant is two weeks after a woman misses her period. 
    Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi and Ohio have this year passed so-called heartbeat bills, which effectively prohibit abortion after six weeks, and other states are poised to follow in their footsteps.

    Most notably, Alabama's governor recently signed into law the nation's most restrictive abortion bill, which bans abortions at every stage of pregnancy and criminalizes the procedure for doctors. 
    According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, one of the biggest concerns of their members right now is about how to interpret the scope and application of these laws in their practice. In some instances, that extends beyond the delivery of abortion care to questions about miscarriage treatments like dilation and curettage, which removes tissue from inside of the uterus. 
    Women are also wondering how miscarriage will be interpreted under the law. But it's not entirely clear because of the way the laws are written. 
    For now, abortion is still legal because these laws have not yet taken effect. In addition, the legislation is expected to be challenged in courtbecause of the precedent set by the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, which says abortion is legal until the fetus reaches viability, usually at 24 weeks.
    While there isn't clear data as to when women typically find out that they are pregnant, Dr. Dana R. Gossett, the vice chair of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of California, San Francisco, said that in her practice she often sees women who don't realize they are pregnant until after the six-week mark. 
    "Typically, clinical symptoms like fatigue and nausea don't start until after six weeks," Dr. Gossett said, though there are some women who are more sensitive to early pregnancy symptoms. 
    What's more, women with irregular menstrual cycles might find it "especially challenging" to discover that they're pregnant right away, Dr. Gossett said. "What are they supposed to do? Check pregnancy tests every four or five weeks?"

    Dr. Sarah Horvath, a family planning fellow at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, agreed. 
    "Unless a woman is actively trying to get pregnant, she is unlikely to know that she is pregnant at six weeks," she said. 
    Nikki Young, 42, who lives in Riverview, Fla., said she and her husband were surprised to discover eight years ago that she was pregnant. 
    "It was mixed feelings," she said. 
    At the time, their second child was only about 1-year-old and she wasn't actively monitoring her period.
    "I didn't really keep track of it that closely," she recalled. But then, one day she noticed she was spotting and realized she had missed her period entirely. A home pregnancy test and a visit to the doctor confirmed that her third child was on the way. 
    Nearly half of pregnancies in the United States are unplanned. 
    2016 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine examined the rate of unintended pregnancy in the United States from 2008 to 2011 and found that 45 percent of pregnancies in 2011 were not planned. That's 2.8 million unintended pregnancies, of which more than 40 percent would end in an abortion. 
    While the rate of unintended pregnancies declined from 2008 to 2011, the number of women who sought abortions for their unintended pregnancies changed very little. And in 2011, just like in 2008, unintended pregnancy remained most common among women and girls who were poor and those who were cohabiting.

    "Lower-income women, rural women and women with limited access to health care will be disproportionately affected by these laws," Dr. Horvath said. "Women of means will be able to travel to other states, or other countries, just as they did before Roe v. Wade."


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    9) Why a Witness to Eric Garner's Death Is Giving Up on 'Justice'
    The only public hearing into what happened to Mr. Garner — who exclaimed "I can't breathe" as he died from a police chokehold — takes a microscopic view of a galvanizing event, our columnist writes.
    By Jim Dwyer, May 19, 2019
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/19/nyregion/eric-garner-case.html

    A plaque hangs where Eric Garner died on Staten Island.CreditCreditGareth Smit for The New York Times


    Over the last two weeks, a Staten Island man named James received an unexpected FedEx delivery. Then a certified letter. His phone rang constantly with calls from people on the 13th floor of Police Headquarters in Lower Manhattan. A taxi was parked outside his home, waiting for him.
    James did not open the FedEx, the mail or the taxi door.
    No matter the entreaties, James said, he was not going to testify at the disciplinary trial of Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who is accused of recklessly using a chokehold that led to the death of Eric Garner. One of the most important witnesses to Mr. Garner's death, James, who had twice given his account under oath in earlier proceedings, said this latest one trivialized the killing of a man. In fear of police retaliation, he said, he does not want his last name published. 
    "I'm done," he said. 
    The unanswered calls, the unopened letters, might well stand for the dwindling urgency of coming to grips with a police encounter and a death that not long ago had galvanized the country. 

    Mr. Garner's final moments, calling out, "I can't breathe" 11 times, were captured on videotape nearly five years ago and helped propel the Black Lives Matter movement. Mr. Garner, who was being arrested on suspicion of selling loosies, or single untaxed cigarettes, had objected to being handcuffed.

    What seemed to be a landmark case, a moment of reckoning for how the police treat people in poor and minority neighborhoods, appears to be petering out with an administrative hearing that carries neither criminal penalties nor the burden of understanding how a man who posed no obvious physical threat to anyone could end up dead over the sale of cigarettes. 
    Still, some clues to what happened in July 2014 have emerged at the hearing. In addition to Mr. Garner's unforgettable words anticipating his death, another statement was made that day, and it became public for the first time on Thursday
    Moments after learning that Mr. Garner had no pulse and was likely to die, a police lieutenant sent a text message, writing, "Not a big deal. We were effecting a lawful arrest." 
    The lieutenant's union representative said he was not being callous about the death, but was trying to reassure subordinate officers who were upset. They were doing the jobs that their department and society wanted. 
    That assurance by the police commander on July 17, 2014, has, so far, turned out to be as prophetic as Mr. Garner's last words that same afternoon.

    The disciplinary hearing is the first public airing, and could be the last, of the circumstances of Mr. Garner's death beyond the viral video.

    While the police trial is weighing whether the actions of Officer Pantaleo and a sergeant violated departmental rules and warrant punishment, the issues are so narrowly tailored that none of the other dynamics that drove the fatal encounter — such as leadership, expectations placed on officers, police culture, race and community complaints — are under serious consideration.
    The disciplinary hearing will not include testimony from James, believed to be one of the last people to speak with Mr. Garner other than the police. He has already testified in two secret grand jury proceedings, he said, and was exasperated that nothing had come of what appeared to him to be a misuse of power that anyone could see on the video. 
    When he was first approached about appearing at the disciplinary trial, James said he asked the investigators what consequences it might hold for the officer. 
    "They said, 'He can lose vacation time or he can lose his job,'" James said. "Get out of here. Lose vacation time? Give me a break. He killed someone." 
    James spends most of his days on the streets around Tompkinsville Park on Staten Island, the same neighborhood where Mr. Garner died, making him vulnerable, he believes, to harassment by the police. "I'm a brother. I walk a thin line," he said. "I try to stay on the right side."

    The hearing has revealed that a police supervisor recommended in 2015 that internal charges be filed over Mr. Garner's death, but the department's own disciplinary unit did not pursue them. The current proceeding was initiated by the Civilian Complaint Review Board, which operates independently of the Police Department. So the judge's findings are not binding on the police commissioner, James P. O'Neill.
    If the video of Mr. Garner's death seemed unequivocal in meaning to many viewers, a halting uncertainty within law enforcement over the proper response to it has extended from the City of New York to the top of the United States Department of Justice, from the Obama to the Trump administrations. 
    Last year, civil rights prosecutors in Washington asked permission to seek indictments for use of excessive force, but they were opposed by other federal prosecutors, including a contingent from the Brooklyn office. 
    The dispute was presented for resolution to Rod J. Rosenstein, who was deputy attorney general at the time, but no decision has been announced. The statute of limitations on any federal crimes expires in July, the fifth anniversary of the police encounter with Mr. Garner.
    James, 58, said he spoke at length with F.B.I. agents about the events, and then before a federal grand jury in Brooklyn. 
    "I was down," he said. "For a while. Down for whatever it takes. I wanted to get justice."
    He also testified in front of a state grand jury on Staten Island that declined to indict any police officers in Mr. Garner's death. 
    Mr. Garner, who was well over six feet tall, weighed 395 pounds and suffered from asthma and hypertension. Officer Pantaleo's lawyers said it was Mr. Garner's poor health that led to his death after he refused to comply with a lawful order. In fact, he died from an asthma attack, a city medical examiner testified at last week's hearing — the last in a chain of medical calamities that the examiner said had been set in motion by a chokehold,

    Autopsy photographs show hemorrhaging to four layers of muscle and tissue in Mr. Garner's neck. These injuries, the medical examiner said, had been caused by the chokehold and compression, and led to the fatal siege of asthma.
    Although chokeholds are not against the law, the police are forbiddenby policy from using them in almost all circumstances. Even so, they continued to be occasionally employed by officers, and departmental punishment is rare and light, a review of records by The New York Times found. 
    Officer Pantaleo's lawyers argued that he did not put Mr. Garner into a chokehold, and had instead used a technique called a "seatbelt" hold, a view they claim was buttressed by a doctor employed by the police department who said that there were no injuries to Mr. Garner's trachea. 
    Not so, replied the disciplinary prosecutors; the police doctor, they say, did not review the actual autopsy. And that doctor was contradicted by a police supervisor and other internal affairs officers who testified that the video showed Officer Pantaleo using the chokehold.
    The streets where Mr. Garner died are, today, an often raucous bazaar, featuring a regular parade of drug users who stroll past high school students waiting for Victory Boulevard buses, clients of a social services office and customers of fast-food restaurants, a laundromat, a coffee shop run by a commune and check-cashing services.

    Some younger people in the neighborhood did not know about the death of Mr. Garner. 
    But Joseph Evans, 48, who said he was "10 feet away" from Mr. Garner as he died, believes the police have dialed back enforcement tactics.

    "Someone is holding the reins in, because they did slow down," said Mr. Evans, who is homeless and spends his days around Tompkinsville Park. "There's people selling loosies and making a fortune, and no one is sweating them."
    Moments later, that lighter police touch described by Mr. Evans was on display just a few feet away, at the corner of Victory Boulevard and Bay Street. 
    A fight broke out — complete with slaps, punches and profanities bellowed above the din of wheezing buses — between a woman and a man she had accused of stealing her phone. Within minutes, four police vehicles arrived and eight officers emerged. They separated the combatants, leading one safely off the block. 
    No arrests were made. No force was used. "This is the worst corner on Staten Island to have a fight," the woman who lost her phone said. "The police are all over here."
    After that ruckus, James, who was standing nearby, picked up a discussion about the recent hearing. For him, three words of the lieutenant's text message nail the stakes of the disciplinary trial: no big deal.
    "All he was going to lose is vacation time?" James said, repeating one possible outcome of the hearing. "I don't give a hoot."
    Reporting was contributed by Gareth Smit, Ali Winston and Ashley Southall

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    10) Italy unions refuse to load Saudi ship in protest over Yemen war
    May 20, 2019
    https://en.zamanalwsl.net/news/article/44137/

    Italian unions refused on Monday to load electricity generators onto a Saudi Arabian ship with weapons on board in a protest against the war in Yemen.


    The Bahri-Yanbu vessel loaded arms in the Belgian city of Antwerp earlier this month, but was prevented from picking up another consignment of weapons in the French port of Le Havre following protests by humanitarian groups.

    Rights campaigners say the weapons contravene a U.N. treaty because they might be used against civilians in Yemen, where an Arab military coalition is battling the Iran-backed Houthis in a war that has killed tens of thousands.

    Unions in Genoa had tried to have the boat banned from Italy, but the ship docked just after dawn, met by a handful of protesters who gathered on the quay.

    "No to war" read one of their banners.

    Union workers refused to load two generators aboard the boat, saying that although they were registered for civilian use, they could be instead directed to the Yemen war effort.

    "We will not be complicit in what is happening in Yemen," union leaders said in a statement. Port officials confirmed the generators were blocked on the quay, but said non-critical goods would be loaded.

    The vessel was expected to leave Genoa for Jeddah, in Saudi Arabia, later in the day.

    The four-year-old conflict in Yemen has devastated the country, leaving much of the population on the brink of famine.

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    11) A Transgender Woman Who Was Attacked in Dallas Last Month Has Been Found Dead
    By Jacey Fortin, May 19, 2019
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/19/us/muhlaysia-booker-shot.html?action=click&module=Well&pgtype=Homepage&section=US

    Muhlaysia Booker spoke at a rally in Dallas last month after she was attacked in a parking lot. On Saturday, she was found dead.CreditCreditRyan Michalesko/The Dallas Morning News


    When a transgender woman was attacked in a Dallas parking lot in April, cellphone camera footage of the episode made national headlines, and the police investigated it as a possible hate crime.
    A month later, on Sunday, the Dallas Police Department announced that the woman, Muhlaysia Booker, 23, had been shot and killed. The police said it had no evidence linking the killing to the earlier attack.
    At a news conference, Maj. Vincent Weddington said that officers found Ms. Booker shortly before 7 a.m. on Saturday, and that her identity was confirmed on Sunday. They had been responding to a report of a shooting and found Ms. Booker "lying facedown in the street, deceased from homicidal violence," he said.

    Major Weddington added that Edward Thomas, the man who was arrested after he was filmed repeatedly punching Ms. Booker last month, was no longer in police custody, but that there was no indication he was linked to the killing.

    Last month's attack took place on April 12, shortly after Ms. Booker was involved in an automobile accident in the parking lot of an apartment complex.
    video of the episode showed a man the authorities identified as Mr. Thomas repeatedly punching a woman on the ground as she struggled. Other men in the crowd kicked her before a group of women helped her get away. The police said that people in the crowd shouted anti-gay slurs during the beating, and that Ms. Booker was hospitalized with a concussion and a fractured wrist.
    Attacks on transgender people have been rising, according to advocacy groups. At least 26 transgender people were killed in the United States last year, most of them black transgender women, according to the Human Rights Campaign, an advocacy group. The group has listed three transgender people who were killed in 2019 — not including Ms. Booker — and all were black women who were fatally shot.
    Those numbers may understate the problem because local officials are not required to report such killings to any central database, and because the police sometimes release incorrect names or genders, making it difficult to know that a homicide victim was transgender.
    At a news conference after she was attacked last month, Ms. Booker stood on a podium and faced a group of supporters, several of whom carried signs in support of transgender people.

    "This has been a rough week for myself, the transgender community and also the city of Dallas," Ms. Booker said.
    "This time, I can stand before you," she added. "Whereas in other scenarios, we are at a memorial."

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    12) Medical School Doesn't Teach the 'Woman's Life Is in Danger' Curriculum
    I'm a doctor and I know how misguided these new anti-abortion laws are.
    By Jen Gunter, May 20, 2019
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/20/opinion/abortion-laws.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage

    Melissa Golden for The New York Times


    Over the past few weeks, Georgia, Alabama and several other states have passed restrictive, medically illiterate abortion laws that allow the procedure if the mother's life is at risk.
    I am an obstetrician and gynecologist trained to do abortions. I do not know how to translate these laws into clinical practice because often the language is preposterously vague and they include terms with no medical meaning. 
    In Alabama, for example, a doctor can "deliver the unborn child prematurely to avoid a serious health risk to the unborn child's mother." 
    The legislation does not define what constitutes a "serious" maternal medical condition nor how "serious" it must be to prompt intervention. The language about how to terminate the pregnancy is similarly problematic. Does the vague word "deliver" mean an induction of labor, or does it also apply to a surgical abortion?

    Consider this untenable scenario from 1998 that sadly may become more common if these laws stand.
    I was asked to perform an abortion for a very sick pregnant women in her first trimester. She had a medical condition that was deteriorating much more rapidly than expected because of her pregnancy. She was not seconds away from dying, but her medical specialists were concerned that, in the next day or two, she would be likely to develop kidney failure. 
    While kidney failure can be managed with dialysis, preventing that from happening is the best medical course. Not only in the short term, but saving my patient's kidneys also would prevent a cascade of medical events that could end her life prematurely in the long term. After all, life expectancy is shorter on dialysis. That's why we do renal transplants. 
    My patient's specialists believed that, if she were not pregnant, they might be able to avoid dialysis. Ending her pregnancy would not save her life that day, but it might next week or next month or in five years. We don't have crystal balls in medicine, so we often can't say with certainty who will deteriorate with a given medical condition or precisely when.
    But that year, the Kansas legislature had passed a law banning abortions on state property, which included the medical center where I worked. But under the law, an abortion would be allowed to save the life of the pregnant woman.
    So when I received a call asking whether I could help this patient, my next phone call was not to the operating room to make arrangements — instead I called the hospital's attorneys. They did not know how to interpret the law either. Unless my patient was actively dying — for example, we were running a code for a cardiac arrest — an abortion would most likely be illegal. If I did the procedure, I would be fired.

    To reconcile our disagreement, the hospital's attorneys felt the only course of action was to get the opinion of the legislator who wrote the law. An attorney set up a conference call with this man so that I could plead my patient's case.
    I began to explain the medical situation, how ill she was. He interrupted me after a few seconds: "Whatever you think is best, doctor."
    My patient got the abortion and her health improved as a result. But I was furious. How dare some legislator applaud this monstrous law in public all the while deferring to a doctor's expertise in private.
    And things could have gone very differently. If the hospital's attorney had agreed that the abortion fit the legal requirement, then I would have provided the abortion without calling the legislator. But someone could still have reported me to the police. And then who would have adjudicated whether I was in acting in line with the law? The police? The district attorney? Twelve jurors? The governor?
    How would I have defended myself if I had been arrested? Medical malpractice insurance does not cover criminal prosecution. 
    Or what if the hospital attorneys had simply said no? I could have risked being fired. Or I could have faced a malpractice lawsuit for not intervening as was medically indicated. I would have had to endure the emotional burden of knowing I had the training to help save a patient but did not act because I was afraid of the government.
    If abortion restrictions come to pass, doctors may have to start calling politicians at home to find out how a law applies to their patient or else deal with the various ways these situations can go wrong.

    And what of the answers they might get when they call? I know a woman who is 21 weeks pregnant with ruptured membranes who has an intrauterine infection and medically needs an abortion. Does Gov. Kay Ellen Ivey of Alabama know this? 
    Women will die if laws like those passed in Georgia and Alabama are allowed to stand.
    The people who write our abortion laws are living in a post-truth world.So let me share some medical truths: Abortion is sometimes medically necessary, and women will have abortions whether they are safe and legal or not. Creating legislation that suggests otherwise does not change that truth.

    Jen Gunter, an obstetrician and gynecologist, is a columnist for The Cycle, which covers women's reproductive health, and appears regularly in The Times's Styles section.

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    13) The Economy Is Strong. So Why Do So Many Americans Still Feel at Risk?
    By Jacob S. Hacker, May 21, 2019
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/21/opinion/trump-economy.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage

    A Ford worker on the assembly line at a plant in Dearborn, Mich., last year. CreditCreditBill Pugliano/Getty Images


    President Trump is running for re-election on the strength of the economy, and why not? The unemployment rate is lower than it's been in five decades. The stock market is booming. Overall economic growth has been steady.
    There's just one problem: Voters are not particularly enthused about it. Recent polls suggest a substantial majority of Americans feel the economy is working only for "those in power." 
    A big reason for this disconnect is that many Americans feel insecure. They may be doing well at the moment, but they fear that, however high they are on the economic ladder, a single bad step or bad event could cause them to slip. A booming economy hasn't quieted these concerns, because insecurity remains a huge and growing problem in ways that voters and candidates instinctively get but the sunny job numbers largely hide. 
    Insecurity is the broad challenge that all 2020 presidential candidatesmust address — and it helps explain why Democrats are tripping over one another to present bold plans for universal health care, public retirement supplements, guaranteed jobs and a much higher minimum wage.


    Even with unemployment at a 50-year low, the job market is failing to reach millions of potential workers. That's because those who aren't working or looking for work are left out of the unemployment statistics. And the number of such workers has been growing: When unemployment was last down near 3.5 percent, in 1969, virtually all men ages 25 to 54 were in the work force. Today, the proportion is below 90 percent, the result of a long-term decline in work force participation that has hit men most severely, but has recently affected women, too.
    Other rich countries haven't seen this troubling fall, in part because they have policies that help workers find jobs, keep their skills up-to-date and balance work and family. Unfortunately, the United States hasn't done much on any of these fronts. It once nearly led the world in levels of work force participation; now it's toward the back of the pack.
    This reversal has had many bad effects. It's reduced the incentive to bid up wages, which used to be seen as the inevitable consequence of tight labor markets. It's also made unemployment less and less useful as a measure of job security.

    The basic problem is that most of the jobs offered today don't provide the guarantees that workers once expected. This transformation is obvious in "gig economy" jobs like driving for Uber. But the gig economy is still pretty small; for most Americans, the problem is that their work has been gig-ified. Corporations used to pool major economic risks within their labor forces. They did so because they could — the pressures of financial markets and global competition were less constraining. And they did so because they thought they had to if labor unions were to remain satisfied. Now those risks are mostly on workers alone.

    These changes aren't unique to the United States. Yet they're uniquely consequential because of how we safeguard economic security. The United States spends more on social benefits than any affluent country besides France once you take into account tax breaks and employer-sponsored benefits. But there is a big difference: We have a system that is premised on employers providing many of the benefits that governments elsewhere provide directly.

    In the mid-20th century, American corporations came to be seen as mini-welfare states, providing workers not only with job security and continuous training but also with generous health benefits and a secure retirement income. That world is gone, and it's not coming back. 
    In short, the implicit social contract that once bound employers, families and government has unraveled, and nothing has taken its place.
    This unraveling has taken different forms in different areas. In metropolitan America, it's seen in rising income volatility and the disconnect between wages and the skyrocketing costs of housing, health care and education. In rural and small-town America, the loss of productive employment looms larger. But what I've called the "great risk shift" is more or less universal for all Americans. 
    Which helps explain why ideas for tackling rising insecurity have broad appeal. At a recent town hall with Bernie Sanders on Fox News, the host thought he was setting a trap by asking audience members if they'd be willing to give up their employer-sponsored insurance for Medicare — and the audience cheered.
    Universal health care would go a long way toward strengthening economic security (I've advocated achieving universality through a big expansion of Medicare). Moreover, Medicare's ability to contain costs is so superior to the private sector's that a broadened Medicare program would ultimately free up enormous amounts of state and federal spending to tackle insecurity in other domains. 
    Equally important are new measures to help people cope with an insecure labor market. Candidates running to unseat Mr. Trump have presented a range of ideas — from the familiar (ensuring unemployment insurance reaches all workers and limiting employers' ability to classify their workers as independent contractors) to the pathbreaking (a federal system of paid family leave and a retraining and jobs guarantee to draw discouraged workers back into the labor market).

    Similarly, young Americans need a system for financing college that does not leave them deeply in debt. In an age in which the returns to college are not only higher but also more variable, it makes no sense to have young adults borrowing heavily to make a risky investment. Fortunately, proposals for debt-free college and income-contingent repayment of student loans are at the top of candidates' agendas, too.
    Forty years of risk-shifting won't be reversed easily or quickly. The jury-rigged system that is crumbling still has powerful defenders, and it still works tolerably well for advantaged workers. Most daunting of all, it's still far too easy to scare Americans into thinking that extending security to those historically denied it will make them worse off, rather than better protected.
    In an era in which trust in the public sector has plummeted, restoring economic security will require rebuilding that trust — and increasing the capacity of our governing institutions to earn it. But if Americans' unease amid affluence tells us anything, it's that we won't fix what's ailing our economy until we rebuild our fraying social contract.

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    14) Pregnancy Kills. Abortion Saves Lives.
    Every Pregnancy poses a "serious health risk" to the mother
    "In Alabama, the overall maternal mortality ratio in 2018 was 11.9 per 100,000. Among white women, the 2018 maternal mortality ratio was 5.6; among black women, it was 27.6..."
    By Warran M. Hern, May 21, 2019
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/21/opinion/alabama-law-abortion.html

    Dr. Whitney Goldsberry, center, who practices gynecologic oncology, protesting with a group of medical professional in downtown Birmingham, Alabama, during the the March For Reproductive Freedom there on Sunday.CreditCreditMelissa Golden for The New York Times


    Pregnancy is a life-threatening condition. Women die from being pregnant. We have known that for thousands of years.
    They die from hemorrhage, infection, pre-eclampsia (which can lead to fatal seizures), obstructed labor, amniotic fluid embolism, thromboembolism, a ruptured uterus, retained placenta, hydatidiform mole, choriocarcinoma and many other causes that fill the obstetrics textbooks. Modern medicine can prevent and treat many, but not all, of these conditions. Some potentially fatal problems cannot be foreseen or prevented. Pregnancy always comes with some irreducible risk of death.
    There are factors that put some women at higher-than-average risk of death from pregnancy: age (to be an early adolescent is more dangerous), high blood pressure, many previous pregnancies, diabetes, obesity, a history of cesarean delivery, uterine abnormalities, a scarred cervix, a placenta previa (in which the placenta covers the cervix). A placenta previa can result in sudden, catastrophic hemorrhage that is fatal, and it can require a cesarean delivery — which carries its own risks — since a normal vaginal delivery is impossible.

    The measure of risk to a woman’s life from pregnancy itself is called the “maternal mortality ratio.” That is the number of women who die of causes related to or aggravated by pregnancy per 100,000 live births.

    In Alabama, the overall maternal mortality ratio in 2018 was 11.9 per 100,000. Among white women, the 2018 maternal mortality ratio was 5.6; among black women, it was 27.6, making black women in Alabama almost five times more likely to die as a result of pregnancy than white women. For the United States overall, the maternal mortality ratio was 20.7.
    By comparison, a study in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology on abortion mortality from 1998 to 2010 found that for the 16.1 million abortions performed during that time, the overall death rate was 0.7 per 100,000 procedures. The death rate for early-abortion procedures — those that took place within the first eight weeks of the pregnancy — was less: 0.3 per 100,000.
    Pregnancy is dangerous; abortion can be lifesaving.
    Alabama’s new law claims that it does not prohibit abortion if there is a “reasonable medical judgment” that the pregnancy poses a “serious health risk” to the woman. An abortion may be performed if a “reasonable medical judgment” “necessitates” that a pregnancy be terminated to “avert her death or to avert serious risk of substantial physical impairment of a major bodily function.” The definition of a “major bodily function” is not given, nor is it distinguished from a minor bodily function.
    But pregnancy itself poses a “serious health risk” — including the risk of dying and losing all bodily functions. A woman’s life and health are at risk from the moment that a pregnancy exists in her body, whether she wants to be pregnant or not.
    All of the above raises multiple important questions: Could a doctor who determines that a woman is pregnant also determine, as a consequence of that pregnancy, that a “serious health risk” exists? Could that doctor then end her pregnancy without fear of prosecution? Who decides what a “reasonable medical judgment” is or what a “major bodily function” is? What are the criteria for these judgments?

    Does the Alabama legislature recognize that the effects of its new law, depending on how it is enforced, are unequal, since black women are more likely to die from pregnancy in Alabama than white women and so are more likely to benefit from the availability of safe abortion?
    Surely the Alabama legislature has carefully considered all of the above in drafting this law, which affects more than 2.5 million women in that state, some of them more than others.
    Or perhaps not. Maybe all of this is moot. Perhaps the goal of the Alabama law, in addition to triggering a legal challenge to Roe v. Wade, may be to discourage doctors from even practicing medicine in that state, lest they be accused of performing an illegal abortion and sentenced to prison for the rest of their lives. Perhaps the vagueness of the law and the confusion is the point. Vagueness and confusion are tools of tyranny.
    The intent of the Alabama legislature and its new law is clearly to prohibit and prevent abortions from being performed. But does it?

    Warren M. Hern, a physician and epidemiologist, is director of the Boulder Abortion Clinic in Boulder, Colo., where he specializes in late-abortion services. He is the author of the medical textbook “Abortion Practice,” a comprehensive guide to performing safe abortions.

    My NYT comment:
    "It was the summer of 1950. I was five years old and my sister was three. My mom had been gone most of the day before and when she came home, she came into our room and laid down on the bottom bunk bed in the only bedroom in our small, three-room apartment in Brooklyn, New York. It was my sister's bed, so she had to slept on the top bunk with me that night. It was early morning when my dad came in and saw the blood. Then the ambulance came and took my mother away. My sister and I were crying. Our mom came home a few days later. It wasn't until I was an adult that I found out what had happened to her. It was at a meeting in support of Roe v. Wade and my mother told of her abortion. It was with a doctor and a nurse. It took place in an empty apartment on a kitchen table. There were no vacuum aspirators at the time so the doctor performed a D and C. After it was over, the nurse took my mom to a movie and made her stay there till the movie was over so she had an alibi as to where she was that day. The abortion didn't go so well. When my mother was taken to the hospital the doctors threatened not to treat her unless she told them who did this to her. She said it just happened. She didn't want to get the doctor in trouble—or herself. This is what women are up against. This is why my mother fought so hard for Roe v. Wade—she defended clinics, marched, spoke at meetings and rallies in defense of Roe v. Wade until her death on August 14, 2001. Her name was Sylvia Weinstein."

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/21/opinion/alabama-law-abortion.html#commentsContainer&permid=100599367:100599367

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