Friday, June 07, 2019

BAUAW NEWSLETTER, FRIDAY, JUNE 7, 2019




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On Abortion: From Facebook

Best explanation I've heard so far..., Copied from a friend who copied from a friend who copied..., "Last night, I was in a debate about these new abortion laws being passed in red states. My son stepped in with this comment which was a show stopper. One of the best explanations I have read:, , 'Reasonable people can disagree about when a zygote becomes a "human life" - that's a philosophical question. However, regardless of whether or not one believes a fetus is ethically equivalent to an adult, it doesn't obligate a mother to sacrifice her body autonomy for another, innocent or not., , Body autonomy is a critical component of the right to privacy protected by the Constitution, as decided in Griswold v. Connecticut (1965), McFall v. Shimp (1978), and of course Roe v. Wade (1973). Consider a scenario where you are a perfect bone marrow match for a child with severe aplastic anemia; no other person on earth is a close enough match to save the child's life, and the child will certainly die without a bone marrow transplant from you. If you decided that you did not want to donate your marrow to save the child, for whatever reason, the state cannot demand the use of any part of your body for something to which you do not consent. It doesn't matter if the procedure required to complete the donation is trivial, or if the rationale for refusing is flimsy and arbitrary, or if the procedure is the only hope the child has to survive, or if the child is a genius or a saint or anything else - the decision to donate must be voluntary to be constitutional. This right is even extended to a person's body after they die; if they did not voluntarily commit to donate their organs while alive, their organs cannot be harvested after death, regardless of how useless those organs are to the deceased or how many lives they would save., , That's the law., , Use of a woman's uterus to save a life is no different from use of her bone marrow to save a life - it must be offered voluntarily. By all means, profess your belief that providing one's uterus to save the child is morally just, and refusing is morally wrong. That is a defensible philosophical position, regardless of who agrees and who disagrees. But legally, it must be the woman's choice to carry out the pregnancy., , She may choose to carry the baby to term. She may choose not to. Either decision could be made for all the right reasons, all the wrong reasons, or anything in between. But it must be her choice, and protecting the right of body autonomy means the law is on her side. Supporting that precedent is what being pro-choice means.", , Feel free to copy/paste and re-post., y
Sent from my iPhone

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Celebrating the release of Janet and Janine Africa
Take action now to support Jalil A. Muntaqim's release


Jalil A. Muntaqim was a member of the Black Panther Party and has been a political prisoner for 48 years since he was arrested at the age of 19 in 1971. He has been denied parole 11 times since he was first eligible in 2002, and is now scheduled for his 12th parole hearing. Additionally, Jalil has filed to have his sentence commuted to time served by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Visit Jalil's support page, check out his writing and poetry, and Join Critical Resistance in supporting a vibrant intergenerational movement of freedom fighters in demanding his release.

48 years is enough. Write, email, call, and tweet at Governor Cuomo in support of Jalil's commutation and sign this petition demanding his release.

http://freedomarchives.org/Support.Jalil/Campaign.html
Write:
The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of the State of New York
Executive Chamber State Capital Building
Albany, New York 12224

Michelle Alexander – Author, The New Jim Crow
Ed Asner - Actor and Activist
Charles Barron - New York Assemblyman, 60th District
Inez Barron - Counci member, 42nd District, New York City Council
Rosa Clemente - Scholar Activist and 2008 Green Party Vice-Presidential candidate
Patrisse Cullors – Co-Founder Black Lives Matter, Author, Activist
Elena Cohen - President, National Lawyers Guild
"Davey D" Cook - KPFA Hard Knock Radio
Angela Davis - Professor Emerita, University of California, Santa Cruz
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz - Native American historian, writer and feminist
Mike Farrell - Actor and activist
Danny Glover – Actor and activist
Linda Gordon - New York University
Marc Lamont Hill - Temple University
Jamal Joseph - Columbia University
Robin D.G. Kelley - University of California, Los Angeles
Tom Morello - Rage Against the Machine
Imani Perry - Princeton University
Barbara Ransby - University of Illinois, Chicago
Boots Riley - Musician, Filmmaker
Walter Riley - Civil rights attorney
Dylan Rodriguez - University of California, Riverside, President American Studies Association
Maggie Siff, Actor
Heather Ann Thompson - University of Michigan
Cornel West - Harvard University
Institutional affiliations listed for identification purposes only
Call: 1-518-474-8390

Email Gov. Cuomo with this form

Tweet at @NYGovCuomo
Any advocacy or communications to Gov. Cuomo must refer to Jalil as:
ANTHONY JALIL BOTTOM, 77A4283,
Sullivan Correctional Facility,
P.O. Box 116,
Fallsburg, New York 12733-0116



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A Visit With Kevin Cooper
Saturday, June 1, 2019

Top photo from left to right: Norm Hile, Ken Carlson (film maker), Kim Kardashian West, Kevin Cooper, Elspeth Farmer

Bottom Photo: Kim Kardashian West and Kevin Cooper


Kevin Cooper is an innocent man on San Quentin's Death Row in California. He continues to struggle for exoneration and to abolish the death penalty in the whole U.S. Learn more about his case at: www.kevincooper.org.

Write to:
Kevin Cooper #C-65304 4-EB-82           
San Quentin State Prison
San Quentin, CA 94974
www.freekevincooper.org


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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. 

Share This 

[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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Brief Medical Update on Mumia Abu Jamal


"Like a Cheesecloth over both my eyes"


Mumia's visual impairment has rapidly progressed.


I reviewed Mumia's chart and saw the patient for a regular monthly f/u on Memorial Day 5/27/19

Mumia's suffers from multiple medical conditions including Glaucoma, (Open Angle) as well as Vitreous Detachment and Cataracts.

This in addition to Cirrhosis, Hypertension, NIDDM, (Type 2 diabetes), Hepatitis C.

The patient reports being unable to read or write anything for over 5 weeks in March and April and although reporting improvement over the last 3-4 weeks given the over all clinical context:

1. Several Severe risk factors-positive family history, NIDDM, poorly controlled hypertension, Hx of Cirrhosis, as well as the demands of his profession as a journalist (incessant reading under conditons of poor lighting) and the increased stress typical of the correctional envirionment, it is nearly certain that Mumia Abu-Jamal will progress to near- total if not total Blindness within 2-4 years.

2. Immediate release on a Medical and Compassionate basis to his community and family would be the standard of care in this situation. The has indicated an extensive social network that would assist him in his release.

3. If a question of Public Safety is posed home confinement would be an acceptable alternative.



Full report to follow.

The patient Mumia Abu-Jamal gave permission to discuss his medical case publicly.

I will seek to personally visit District Attorney this week to discuss this medical need.


Best,

Peace,


Joseph Harris MD


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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.
      

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    Free Leonard Peltier!


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

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



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    1) I gave water to migrants crossing the Arizona desert. They charged me with a felony.

    As the government cracks down on humanitarian aid, my case may set a dangerous precedent

    By Scott Warren, May 28, 2019
    Scott Warren is a geographer living in Ajo, Arizona.
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/05/28/i-gave-water-migrants-crossing-arizona-desert-they-charged-me-with-felony/?utm_term=.661592f33574
    Volunteers with the humanitarian aid organization No More Deaths walk with buckets of food and jugs of water on May 10 near Ajo, Ariz. (John Moore/Getty Images)

    AJO, Ariz. — After a dangerous journey across Mexico and a difficult crossing through the Arizona desert, someone told Jose and Kristian that they might find water and food at a place in Ajo called the Barn. The Barn is a gathering place for humanitarian volunteers like me, and there the two young men were able to eat, rest and get medical attention. As the two were preparing to leave, the Border Patrol arrested them. Agents also handcuffed and arrested me, for — in the agency's words — having provided the two migrants with "food, water, clean clothes and beds."
    Jose and Kristian were detained for several weeks, deposed by the government as material witnesses in its case against me and then deported back to the countries from which they had fled for their lives. This week, the government will try me for human smuggling. If convicted, I may be imprisoned for up to 20 years.
    In the Sonoran Desert, the temperature can reach 120 degrees during the day and plummet at night. Water is scarce. Tighter border policies have forced migrants into harsher and more remote territory, and many who attempt to traverse this landscape don't survive. Along what's become known as the Ajo corridor, dozens of bodies are found each year; many more are assumed to be undiscovered.
    Local residents and volunteers organize hikes into this desert to offer humanitarian aid. We haul jugs of water and buckets filled with canned food, socks, electrolytes and basic first-aid supplies to a few sites along the mountain and canyon paths. Other times, we get a report that someone has gone missing, and our mission becomes search and rescue — or, more often, to recover the bodies and bones of those who have died.
    Over the years, humanitarian groups and local residents navigated a coexistence with the Border Patrol. We would meet with agents and inform them of how and where we worked. At times, the Border Patrol sought to cultivate a closer relationship. "Glad you're out here today," I remember an agent telling me once. "People really need water." In a town as small as Ajo, we're all neighbors, and everybody's kids go to the same school. Whether it was in the grocery store or out in the field, it was commonplace for residents and volunteers to run into Border Patrol agents and talk.
    Those kinds of encounters are rare these days. Government authorities have cracked down on humanitarian aid: denying permits to enter the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, and kicking over and slashing water jugs. They are also aggressively prosecuting volunteers. Several No More Deaths volunteers have faced possible imprisonment and fines of up to $10,000 on federal misdemeanor charges from 2017 including entering a wildlife refuge without a permit and "abandonment of property" — leaving water and cans of beans for migrants. (I face similar misdemeanor charges of "abandonment of property.")
    My case in particular may set a dangerous precedent, as the government expands its definitions of "transportation" and "harboring." The smuggling and harboring laws have always been applied selectively: with aggressive prosecutions of "criminal" networks but leniency for big agriculture and other politically powerful industries that employ scores of undocumented laborers. Now, the law may be applied to not only humanitarian aid workers but also to the millions of mixed-status families in the United States. Take, for instance, a family in which one member is undocumented and another member, who is a citizen, is buying the groceries and paying the rent. Would the government call that harboring? If this family were driving to a picnic in the park, would the government call that illegal transportation? Though this possibility would have seemed far-fetched a few years ago, it has become frighteningly real.
    The Trump administration's policies — warehousing asylees, separating families, caging children — seek to impose hardship and cruelty. For this strategy to work, it must also stamp out kindness.
    To me, the question that emerges from all of this is not whether the prosecution will have a chilling effect on my community and its sense of compassion. The question is whether the government will take seriously its humanitarian obligations to the migrants and refugees who arrive at the border.
    In Ajo, my community has provided food and water to those traveling through the desert for decades — for generations. Whatever happens with my trial, the next day, someone will walk in from the desert and knock on someone's door, and the person who answers will respond to the needs of that traveler. If they are thirsty, we will offer them water; we will not ask for documents beforehand. The government should not make that a crime.
    As told to Post editor Sophia Nguyen.
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    2) I Was an Anti-Abortion Crusader. Now I Support Roe v. Wade.
    Overturning the Supreme Court's 1973 decision would not be "pro-life." It would be destructive of life.
    By Rob Schenck, May 30, 2019
    Mr. Schenck is an evangelical minister.
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/30/opinion/abortion-schenck.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage

    An abortion rights event at the Supreme Court.CreditCreditPete Marovich/Getty Images

    For more than 30 years I worked to overturn Roe v. Wade. As an evangelical minister, I was deeply engaged in the world of the religious right, beginning with my vote for Ronald Reagan for president in 1980. I believed he would appoint Supreme Court justices committed to protecting unborn children, and Antonin Scalia, appointed in 1986, fulfilled my expectations. Later, when President George Bush nominated to the court another strong pro-lifer, Clarence Thomas, I led a vigil at our church to pray for his successful confirmation.
    During those years I also recruited, trained and directed thousands of protesters who blocked the doors to abortion clinics, marched in the streets to decry "baby killing" and staged sit-ins at the offices of legislators. I was a leader of Operation Rescue, the activist pro-life group; I helped stage the epic 1992 anti-abortion demonstrations in Buffalo. I went to jail and paid exorbitant fines for my advocacy, and was even arrested by the Secret Service for my role in thrusting an aborted fetus at Gov. Bill Clinton during his 1992 presidential campaign. Eventually, I founded a national organization to advance the anti-abortion agenda.
    Given my history, you might think I would be thrilled at the perilous threshold at which Roe now stands, following the passage of sweeping new abortion restrictions in such states as Alabama, Georgia and Missouri. I'm not.
    Over the last decade, I have changed my view on Roe. I've come to believe that overturning Roe would not be "pro-life"; rather, it would be destructive of life. I have witnessed firsthand and now appreciate the full significance of the terrible poverty, social marginalization and baldfaced racism that persists in many of the states whose legislators are now essentially banning abortion. If Roe is overturned, middle- and upper-class white women will still secure access to abortions by traveling to states where abortion is not banned, but members of minorities and poor whites will too often find themselves forced to bear children for which they cannot adequately care.

    What is "pro-life" about putting a woman in a situation where she must risk pregnancy without proper medical, social and emotional support? What is "pro-life" about forcing the birth of a child, if that child will enter a world of rejection, deprivation and insecurity, to say nothing of the fear, anxiety and danger that comes with poverty, crime and a lack of educational and employment opportunities?
    Consider the situation in Alabama. The Alabama Senate approved a measure this month that would outlaw almost all abortions in the state. I know Alabama well. I was arrested and served jail time there for my activism in the early 2000s. While being processed and incarcerated, I met men and women — primarily members of minorities and poor whites — whose daily lives consisted of one crisis after the next. Many of them lacked even the most rudimentary life skills, including what it takes to parent a child. They were in a state of perpetual panic about money, about the bewildering circumstances they found themselves in, feeling victimized by their very existence. Some spoke to me of their children, agonizing over how helpless they felt in providing anything for them.
    The experience left me feeling hollow inside. Alabama does have a network of "crisis pregnancy centers," which offer support for women and their babies. But that support is limited, and should Roe be overturned, those centers will be woefully insufficient to help these women and their families raise and care for their children. 
    I'd like to think that the churches and pro-life organizations I worked with for those 30 years would provide the necessary tens of millions of dollars, thousands of volunteer hours, extensive social services, medical and dental care, educational support, food, clothing and spiritual assistance. But I suspect — frankly, I know — that they cannot or will not.
    No doubt, many of my former allies will call me a turncoat. I don't see it that way. I still believe that every abortion is a tragedy and that when a woman is pregnant, bringing the child into the world is always ideal. Reality, though, is different from fantasy. I wish every child could be fully nurtured and cared for, and could experience all the wonderful possibilities that life can offer.

    But that is not how things turn out for every mother and child. As I've preached countless times, loving our neighbors means meeting them where they are, not where we want them to be.
    I can no longer pretend that telling poor pregnant women they have just one option — give birth and try your luck successfully raising a child, even though the odds are stacked against you — is "pro-life" in any meaningful sense. And when this message is delivered to poor women by overwhelmingly middle- or upper-class white men (as most of the legislators passing these laws are), it adds insult to injury.
    To my former allies who are cheering on the challenges to Roe, I say: Put your money where your mouth is. Devote yourself and your considerable resources to taking care of poor women and their children before you champion laws that hem them into impossible situations.
    Otherwise, you are violating the Bible you purport to obey. In the New Testament's Book of James we read, "If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, 'Go in peace, be warmed and filled,' without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also, faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead."
    The admonition doesn't end there. The Book of James goes on to call such a perpetrator of fake religion a "fool."
    Passing extreme anti-abortion laws and overturning Roe will leave poor women desperate and the children they bear bereft of what they need to flourish. This should not be anyone's idea of victory. Anyone who thinks otherwise is indeed a fool.
    Rob Schenck (@RevRobSchenck1) is the president of the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Institute in Washington and the author of "Costly Grace: An Evangelical Minister's Rediscovery of Faith, Hope and Love."

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    3) The Racist Origins of San Francisco's Housing Crisis

    For decades, the city used strict zoning laws to target the poor and people of color. Today, liberal NIMBYs are fighting to preserve them.

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    4) Seeking Refuge, Legally, and Finding Prison
    Power is condemning lawful asylum seekers to a system designed for criminals.
    "In fiscal year 2016, roughly two-thirds of all detained migrants (more than 260,000 people) were held in for-profit facilities, generating more than $4 billion in revenue."
    By Francisco Cantú, May 31, 2019
    Mr. Cantú is a former Border Patrol agent and an author
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/31/opinion/power-asylum-seekers.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage

    Maddie McGarvey for The New York Times

    For more than seven months, Ysabel has been incarcerated without bond at an immigrant detention center in southern Arizona, part of a vast network of for-profit internment facilities administered by private companies under contract with the Department of Homeland Security.
    I visit Ysabel (who has asked not to be identified by her real name for her protection) every two weeks as a volunteer with the Kino Border Initiative, one of a handful of migrant advocacy groups running desperately needed visitation programs in Arizona, includingMariposas Sin Fronteras and Transcend. As volunteers, our primary role is to provide moral support; facilitate communication with family members and legal service providers; and serve as a sounding board for frustration, confusion and, often, raw despair.
    Ysabel and the other asylum seekers we visit often ask for simple forms of support, such as small deposits into their commissary accounts to let them call relatives or purchase overpriced goods like dry ramen, tampons, shampoo or headphones for watching telenovelas. They often ask us to send them books in Spanish — one of the few things that they are permitted to receive through the mail without clearance from a property officer. Large-print Bibles are the most popular, along with books of song and prayer, bilingual dictionaries and English course books, romance novels, and other books that provide ways to pass the time — word puzzle collections, coloring books, books for learning how to draw and instruction manuals for making origami figurines.
    Ysabel arrived at the United States border last October after leaving her home and two children in eastern Venezuela. The region she fled was plagued by disorder long before the more widely reported upheavals of recent months, suffering frequent power outages, widespread violence and unrest, and severe shortages of food, water and medication. In the years leading up to her flight from the country, Ysabel told me that she had been kidnapped, robbed at gunpoint multiple times and shot at during an attempted carjacking.

    Like millions of her compatriots, Ysabel became disillusioned after her government failed to provide even the most basic security and public services. She joined a local opposition movement, and after participating in several antigovernment demonstrations, she was marked as an enemy of the governing regime. After her house was raided by Venezuelan intelligence forces, she decided to leave for good.
    To get to the United States, Ysabel went to Caracas before embarking on nearly three weeks of circuitous travel via airplane, car, bus and taxi. She journeyed through Panama City, Bogotá, Cancún, Mexico City and Mexicali, before finally arriving in San Luis Rio Colorado, a Mexican border town adjacent to Yuma, Ariz., where she presented herself to be considered for asylum at the designated port of entry.

    Ysabel, it should be noted, has now been detained for more than half a year despite following American immigration and asylum laws to the letter. When interviewed by officials from the Department of Homeland Security, she was quickly found to have a legitimate fear of returning to Venezuela. Nevertheless, like tens of thousands of asylum seekers like her, she has been made to endure the suffocating precarity of our criminal justice system despite never having committed, nor ever being accused of, a crime.

    Instead of appearing in criminal court, those who seek asylum in the United States undergo civil proceedings. Public defenders are not provided in civil court, so most migrants and asylum seekers receive no legal counsel as they fight their immigration cases, instead relying entirely on pro-bono legal services like The Florence Project, Arizona's only nonprofit dedicated to representing migrants. According to a 2016 report by the American Immigration Council, only 14 percent of immigrant detainees are represented by an attorney — a number that has likely fallen with recent increases in asylum seekers arriving at the border. The overwhelming majority of those without lawyers — almost 91 percent — have their cases rejected.

    America's immigration system takes the myth of due process and turns it on its head. Instead of a presumption of innocence, migrants face the assumption of inadmissibility. They are tasked with demonstrating that they face a certifiable risk to their lives, though in most of their home countries there are few tangible ways to document their plight. Asylum seekers are thus saddled with a confounding burden of proof in an entirely unfamiliar legal system.

    Our detention and deportation system is further obscured by a Kafkaesque, multi-agency bureaucracy that must be navigated in a language foreign to most of those ensnared in it. Even along the border with Mexico, prison guards and judges often do not speak or understand Spanish, distancing them even further from the population over whom they wield staggering control. This, in turn, exacerbates the vulnerability of detainees and their families, who are commonly preyed upon by lawyers, bail bondsmen and a microeconomy of individuals offering dubious document preparation, translation support and myriad other "services."
    In Arizona, the immigration judges who decide cases inside detention facilities are often notorious for their hard-line approach. For instance, from 2013 to 2018, one southern Arizona judge, John W. Davis, denied 96.9 percent of his cases, granting only nine asylum claims out of the 291 that came before him (the nationwide denial rate during this same period was dramatically lower, at 57.6 percent). In one two-year stretch, Judge Davis ordered the deportation of every single asylum seeker who entered his courtroom.
    Despite all the odds stacked against her, Ysabel was granted asylum by a federal immigration judge in February, winning her case even without a lawyer. When I visited her a few days after the decision, she was visibly changed, carrying herself with a lightness I have rarely seen inside the walls of the detention center. After half a year suffering the oppression of uncertainty, a path had finally been laid out before her. Any day now, she told me, she would be released, the exit door into America finally opened.
    Days and weeks passed, however, and still the door remained inexplicably shut. Week after week, I arrived at the detention center expecting Ysabel's name to have disappeared from our list, only to find her sitting again in the visitation room among the other women seeking refuge — mothers, grandmothers, sisters, daughters. Each time we spoke, her freedom seemed to be slipping further away. The government had asked that her release be delayed while officials prepared an appeal. The deadline to file came and went without Ysabel receiving any updates regarding her case. Finally, she heard that the government had indeed filed its appeal, but she was given no follow-up court date — the one piece of information that allows detained asylum seekers to build a potential timeline for their near future, the single point around which some glimmer of hope might coalesce.

    Ysabel's case, I later determined after an hour of being referred from one phone line to another, had been transferred to the Board of Immigration Appeals — America's highest administrative body for interpreting and applying immigration law. When I finally got ahold of someone from the office to inquire whether a court date had been set for Ysabel's case, I was told that there was none. Instead of holding hearings, the court decides most cases behind closed doors, usually based solely on "paper review." When I asked if the office could estimate how long it might take for a decision to be reached, I was told bluntly "there's no timeline for the board."
    The power the government wields over Ysabel's fate is difficult to fully grasp. The purgatory she and other asylum seekers are made to endure often lasts for months or even years. All across the country, migrants like her are being shut off from public view in hundreds of facilities that are largely unaccountable to the outside world. Few other countries are engaged in imprisoning noncriminals at such a scale: According to the Geneva-based Global Detention Project, the American immigration detention system is the largest in the world, and one of the few that locks up migrants in criminal-style prisons.
    An internal report conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in 2009 plainly states that the agency's detention model "relies primarily on correctional incarceration standards designed for pretrial felons," standards that, ICE admits, "impose more restrictions and carry more costs than are necessary." But these costs represent immense profits for the private detention industry: In fiscal year 2016, roughly two-thirds of all detained migrants (more than 260,000 people) were held in for-profit facilities, generating more than $4 billion in revenue.
    Prolonged detention magnifies the most dehumanizing elements of the migrant experience — the commodification of bodies that occurs as migrants are trafficked, the dangers they endure along our militarized border and the criminalization thrust upon them from the moment they cross it. All of that is concentrated within the walls of the detention center. The women I meet feel this keenly. "I hope I can soon leave these four walls," they tell me, because within them, "it's like we are animals."
    The acute power of this dehumanization is also meant to serve as a tool of deterrence. Deterrence, after all, has become the underlying philosophy of border enforcement — the ever-growing danger and expense of crossing our Southwestern deserts, the horrifying prospect of parents being separated from their children, the destabilizing uncertainty of being imprisoned with no end in sight. All of it is meant to discourage, dissuade and ultimately break the spirit of the would-be migrant.
    One of the women I visit regularly, a 57-year-old grandmother from Guatemala, recently admitted to me that she was considering dropping her asylum claim in order to be deported as soon as possible. The power she felt crushing her after more than half a year of detention was becoming even more unendurable than the overwhelming fear that led her to flee her home in the first place. "No puedo aguantar mas," she told me — "I can't take it any longer."
    This, I wanted to tell her, was the system working as it was designed. Instead, I told her not to lose faith, not to give up, wondering all the while if the refuge she sought here might be withheld from her forever.
    Francisco Cantu is a former Border Patrol Agent and the author of "The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches From the Border."

     
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    5)  Julian Assange Suffering Psychological Torture, U.N. Expert Says
    By Nick Cumming-Bruce, May 31. 2019
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/31/world/europe/julian-assange-torture-un.html

    Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, could not hold a normal conversation at the high-security prison in Britain where he is being held, a United Nations official said after a visit.CreditCreditHannah Mckay/Reuters

    GENEVA — A United Nations expert on torture sharply rebuked Britain, Sweden and the United States on Friday for what he called a concerted campaign of persecution and abuse against the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and said he should not be extradited into American hands.
    The United Nations special rapporteur on torture and ill treatment, Nils Melzer, who is also an international law professor, said the evidence was "overwhelming and clear" that Mr. Assange had been deliberately exposed for several years "to progressively severe forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the cumulative effects of which can only be described as psychological torture."
    Mr. Melzer said this included systematic abuse of judicial powers; arbitrary confinement in Ecuador's London Embassy, where he had sought asylum and was eventually ousted in April and arrested by the British police; harassment and surveillance inside the embassy; and a "relentless and unrestrained campaign of public mobbing, intimidation and defamation" outside it, including threatening statements by senior politicians and judicial officials.

    Mr. Melzer issued his statement three weeks after visiting Mr. Assange at Britain's high-security Belmarsh prison, accompanied by two medical experts, to conduct a physical and psychological examination. He said he had sent his findings to the governments of Britain, Sweden and the United States, along with Ecuador.

    A spokesman for the British government said it supported the important work of the special rapporteur's mandate but disagreed with some of his observations and would reply in due course.
    Mr. Melzer said the examination of Mr. Assange, carried out in early May, showed that "his capacity to focus and coordinate have been clearly affected" by his circumstances and by the extreme stress and chronic anxiety arising from them.
    "He was extremely jumpy and stressed," Mr. Melzer said in an interview. "It's difficult to have a structured conversation with him. There's so much going on in his mind it's difficult to have a dialogue with him."
    WikiLeaks also said that when Mr. Assange's Swedish lawyer, Per Samuelson, visited him in Belmarsh on Friday, he found "that it was not possible to hold a normal conversation with him."
    The website disclosed on Thursday that Belmarsh prison authorities had moved Mr. Assange to its hospital wing after he had experienced drastic weight loss, and expressed concern over a serious deterioration in his health.

    Mr. Assange, 47, had stayed in Ecuador's Embassy in the British capital for seven years to avoid being extradited to the United States. After the Ecuadorean government withdrew its protection and allowed the police to remove him, a British court sentenced him to 50 weeks in jail for jumping bail.
    He now faces possible extradition to Sweden, for an investigation into rape allegations, or to the United States, which has charged him with multiple counts of espionage for his part in the release of thousands of classified military and diplomatic cables in 2010. Critics say the Trump administration's charges against Mr. Assange take direct aim at previously sacrosanct press protections.

    Sweden's deputy public prosecutor, Eva-Marie Persson, said that on Monday she would apply to a court in Uppsala, Sweden, for Mr. Assange to be detained in absentia, paving the way for her to issue a European warrant for his arrest. The British government would then have to decide if the Swedish or the American case had priority.
    Mr. Assange was to appear by video link on Thursday from Belmarsh at a court hearing on the United States' application for his extradition, but his British lawyer, Gareth Peirce, said her client had not been well enough to participate. The presiding magistrate set June 12 for the next hearing and suggested it could be held in Belmarsh prison.
    Mr. Melzer said that Britain should not extradite Mr. Assange to the United States or to any other country that did not provide reliable guarantees that it would not transfer him to the United States.
    He cited the treatment experienced by Chelsea Manning, the former Army intelligence analyst who sent WikiLeaks classified cables on events in Iraq and Afghanistan, as grounds for concern about the conditions in which Mr. Assange would be held. He also said that he was convinced Mr. Assange would not receive a fair trial.

    Mr. Melzer is not the first United Nations expert to criticize the treatment of Mr. Assange. The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention condemned the 50-week sentence for jumping bail as excessive and said that sending him to a high-security prison was akin to a conviction for a serious crime.
    Mr. Melzer said he had initially been sceptical about Mr. Assange's case and had turned down a request from Mr. Assange's lawyers in December to investigate his situation.
    But what he found after accepting a second request from the lawyers in March changed his mind, he said.
    "Wherever I delved into the case, I found a lot of dirty stuff," he said in a phone interview.
    In 20 years of working with victims of war, violence and political persecution, Mr. Melzer added in his statement, he had "never seen a group of democratic states ganging up to deliberately isolate, demonize and abuse a single individual for such a long time and with so little regard for human dignity and the rule of law."
    He also challenged the conduct of Sweden's prosecutors and criticized Britain's treatment of Mr. Assange, saying that the limitations imposed on his access to lawyers and to the complex documents relating to the charges severely impaired his ability to prepare his defense.
    Mr. Assange has been hailed by many as a champion of transparency. But to some government officials, he has been seen as something of a menace.
    John Demers, the head of the Justice Department's National Security Division, told reporters in May that Mr. Assange was "no journalist."He added: "No responsible actor, journalist or otherwise, would purposefully publish the names of individuals he or she knew to be confidential human sources in a war zone, exposing them to the gravest of dangers."
    And after the relationship with Ecuador turned sour and its officials said they were subjected to threats and leaks — an anonymous website published intimate images of President Lenín Moreno and his family on vacation, text messages from his wife and a photo of the president eating lobster in bed — the country's vice president blamed WikiLeaks, saying its actions were "despicable" and vowing to take action.

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    6) Are We Fighting a War on Homelessness? Or a War on the Homeless?
    "While the moment might have been politically galvanizing on a national level, it passed by with comparative silence. Months later, in fact, the compassion deficit surrounding the issue of homelessness revealed itself with a bold clarity in San Francisco. When plans were announced for a social services center for those with nowhere to live, to be built on a parking lot, neighboring residents responded with a crowdfunding campaign that quickly raised more than $100,000 for legal fees opposing the facility."
    By Ginia Bellafante, May 31, 2019
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/31/nyregion/homelessness-shelters.html

    New York City has the largest homeless population in the country, more than 63,000 people.CreditCreditBenjamin Norman for The New York Times

    Last fall, a special investigator for the United Nations presented a report to the General Assembly on the global housing crisis, pointing out that a quarter of the world's urban population now live in "informal settlements" or encampments, increasingly in the most affluent countries. The fact-finding mission took the investigator to cities like Mumbai, Belgrade and Mexico City, where she found rodent infestations, children playing on garbage heaps "as if they were trampolines" and people living in shacks or in damp abandoned buildings full of exposed wires.
    At the invitation of academics and advocates, she also went to to San Francisco, where the median home price is $1.6 million.
    There she witnessed equally deplorable conditions. Crucial to the report's assessment was the finding that the city's resistance to providing help and basic necessities in the encampments there qualified as "cruel and inhuman treatment," which was in line with violations of international standards of human rights.

    While the moment might have been politically galvanizing on a national level, it passed by with comparative silence. Months later, in fact, the compassion deficit surrounding the issue of homelessness revealed itself with a bold clarity in San Francisco. When plans were announced for a social services center for those with nowhere to live, to be built on a parking lot, neighboring residents responded with a crowdfunding campaign that quickly raised more than $100,000 for legal fees opposing the facility.

    Among the many candidates in the Democratic field running for president, the subject of homelessness has had very little airing, even as more than 550,000 people remain homeless in the United States. Progressive politicians around the country, who have brought so much energy to successfully fight for a higher minimum wage — and in New York, for example, against an Amazon headquarters in Queens that would have driven housing prices up in a precariously gentrifying part of the city — have applied considerably less vigor toward the project of combating homelessness.
    The reductive answer to the question of "why'' is that homeless people don't vote. But the real reasons are obviously far more complex, rooted not just in a willingness among so many people to disregard the issue but in a hostility, sublimated or otherwise, toward the very poor that percolates even in some of the most liberal quarters of the country. In Denver, for instance, where you can chew on gummy bears full of weed in your Prius undisturbed and where housing prices have also soared in recent years, residents recently voted to preserve a ban on "urban camping,'' the right to sleep in tents or blankets outside, by a margin of 82 percent.
    In New York City, which has the largest homeless population in the country — more than 63,000 men, women and children—a familiar script plays out every time a new shelter is announced. While many New Yorkers welcome shelters in their neighborhoods, a vocal minority nearly always comes together to try and stop them. Residents will complain that an influx of new people into a neighborhood will bring new infrastructural burdens. They will say that the city engaged the community too late, that people were not given enough time to consider all the implications even though the city often gives neighborhoods more notice than the law requires.
    These reactions are expected in more conservative parts of New York, but they happen in neighborhoods that span the ideological spectrum. Earlier this month, various residents in Park Slope, Brooklyn's leftist epicenter, began to push back against plans for two shelters for women and families that would go up next to each other on Fourth Avenue. The buildings, together containing approximately 240 units, were meant to include market-rate apartments, but when it became clear that they would not be filled, the city decided to rent them for shelter space from the developer.
    The shelters would be operated by WIN, a social-service agency under the direction of former City Council speaker, Christine Quinn, who spoke at a contentious town hall meeting about the plan a few weeks ago. "I was not the picture of pleasantry,'' she acknowledged.

    While legitimate concerns have been raised over the shelters—Will the nearby school be able to successfully accommodate new children? Shouldn't the city be focusing on permanent supportive housing rather than transitional housing?—a NIMBY tenor has been hard to conceal.
    A petition that addresses mayor Bill de Blasio and City Councilman Brad Lander says that although residents of Park Slope and Gowanus would support a shelter of "reasonable size," under certain conditions, they believe locating two big shelters on adjacent blocks is "not fair." The petition goes on to point out that the city had not yet fulfilled its promise of turning Fourth Avenue into "a flourishing residential neighborhood," as if homeless families could not contribute to that vision, and that the stretch of the avenue on which the shelters would be located still has only "a single restaurant."
    When I asked Shruti Kappor, one of the organizers of the petition, to elaborate on the concerns she and others shared, she focused on the city's "lack of transparency," Ms. Quinn's "abrasive approach" and on the fact that Fourth Avenue was overbuilt and "at capacity." Not surprisingly, there had been no protest about "capacity" when the buildings were going up as luxury rental units.
    The irony of Ms. Kappor's opposition is that she is the founder of an initiative that seeks to educate women about domestic violence. (One Park Slope resident who was angered by her resistance to the shelters proceeded to amend Ms. Kappor's Wikipedia page to alert readers that she had started a petition that would stand in the way of abused women receiving shelter in her neighborhood.)
    On the North Shore of Staten Island, the most diverse and liberal part of the borough, local Democrats have spoken up against another WIN shelter, suggesting it would be better located somewhere else. These politicians include newly elected congressman Max Rose and the local city council representative, Debi Rose, the first African-American from Staten Island to be elected to public office there. Ms. Quinn said that some residents have couched their opposition in the view that a nearby park would be unfit for children living in the shelter. WIN has cleaned up parks up before.
    "People will throw everything including the kitchen sink into their opposition of homeless shelters which is at its core fear-fueled ignorance," Ms. Quinn said. "The raising of the concern isn't where you see the hypocrisy, it is the lack of desire to address the concern that reveals the hypocrisy."
    At the same time in Queens, the borough president, Melinda Katz, who is currently running for district attorney on a progressive platform of criminal justice reform is now, paradoxically, opposing a men's shelter planned for College Point, arguing that the neighborhood is "deficient in requisite resources." Residents of the neighborhood have been protesting the shelter for months. Ms. Katz has joined them only recently. She is running for office after all.

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    7) The Indian Law That Helps Build Walls
    The Supreme Court's legal abuse of Native Americans set the stage for America's poor treatment of many of its vulnerable populations.
    "As Gen. Andrew Jackson said, long before he became one of President Trump's heroes, "The laws of war did not apply to conflicts with savages.""
    By Maggie Blackhawk, May 26, 2019
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/26/opinion/american-indian-law-trump.html?smid=nytcore-ios-share

    CreditCreditRose Wong

    The first two years of the Trump administration have brought us horror story after horror story about our government: children separated from their families, men and women detained without due process, communities punished because of their faith. These horrors may seem new, but in fact these abuses — and in particular the law that authorizes them — have been part of our constitutional order since the founding of this country.
    In many ways, America is just beginning to reckon with slavery and Jim Crow segregation. But at least we have reformed the laws that allowed these abuses. We have overruled the Dred Scott and Plessy v. Ferguson court decisions, banishing the doctrines of overt racism and "separate but equal" from our law, if not from our society. No government would cite these doctrines to justify its actions today.
    But we have not yet fully dismantled the legal infrastructure that permitted abuse of Native Americans. On reservations starting in the mid-19th century, the United States established military-run detention camps where the executive branch held limitless power. 

    In these camps, children were forcibly separated from their families and sent to federally run boarding schools that used violence to "kill the Indian in him, and save the man," as Capt. Richard Henry Pratt, founder of Carlisle Indian Industrial School, put it in 1892. Native Americans were incarcerated for practicing their faith. Naming ceremonies were forbidden for children, whose hair was cut at the schools, where they were also forced to practice Christianity.

    We have not yet reformed the laws that allowed for such abuse of Native Americans. For example, the Dred Scott of federal Indian law, United States v. Rogers (1846), has not been explicitly overruled. Rogers — drafted by the same infamous justice, Roger Taney, who wrote the Dred Scott decision — established the "plenary power doctrine." 
    According to this doctrine, the United States could wield power over the "unfortunate race" of Native Americans without constitutional limit. The doctrine prevented the Supreme Court from intervening, even to protect constitutional rights. It was the plenary power doctrine that provided the federal government with the authority to establish detention camps and boarding schools, to engage in family separation and to criminalize religious beliefs.
    Some speculate that the Nazis used these detention camps, much admired by Hitler, as a basis for the concentration camps during World War II — and, as recent work by the law professor James Q. Whitman documents, "the single most important figure in the Nazi assimilation of American race law," Heinrich Krieger, studied the plenary power doctrine and published an article in The George Washington Law Review on federal Indian law.
    Beyond the plenary power doctrine, much of our constitutional law, from the treaty power to the war power, was established within the context of westward expansion and Manifest Destiny. The United States determined the reach and meaning of the war power in its very first war under the new Constitution — a war fought against Native people in the Northwest Territory from 1790 to 1795 — and the young nation remained at war with Native American nations for over a hundred years after its birth.
    The so-called Indian Wars were wars fought without legal limits, including military commissions, indefinite detention and unbridled violence. As Gen. Andrew Jackson said, long before he became one of President Trump's heroes, "The laws of war did not apply to conflicts with savages."

    The federal government has been increasingly drawing on these doctrines to justify its actions. The last three administrations have pointed to the Indian Wars as precedent to justify executive action in the war on terrorism, with the Trump administration invoking the plenary power doctrine as justification for family separation, migrant detention camps and religious persecution. 
    Last summer, in Trump v. Hawaii, the Supreme Court invoked the plenary power doctrine to hold that the Trump administration's so-called Muslim travel ban did not violate the First Amendment. Rather than applying the strict scrutiny afforded most constitutional rights, the Supreme Court deferred to the executive under the plenary power doctrine and applied rational basis review, a much weaker standard. The rights to religious liberty and freedom of expression were subsumed under a doctrine developed by Justice Taney and used to dispossess Native Americans.
    Since its inception, the plenary power doctrine has been expanded beyond Indian Country to justify seemingly limitless power over all kinds of people at the margins of American empire. As in Trump v. Hawaii, the doctrine fuels much of our current immigration law and policy, including executive detention and family separation. 
    In upholding the travel ban, the Supreme Court tried to erase this past — treating Japanese internment during World War II and Korematsu v. United States, which authorized it, as aberrations. Rather than overturning the plenary power doctrine entirely, the court applied it but at the same time disclaimed the connection between the doctrine and the "morally repugnant order" upheld in Korematsu — "Korematsu," the opinion declared, "has nothing to do with this case."
    But Japanese internment was just one chapter in a long history of detentions under this doctrine. Two of the 10 Japanese internment camps, the Colorado River and Gila River Relocation Centers, were established on Native American reservations. The man who oversaw Japanese internment as the head of the War Relocation Authority, Dillon Myer, was subsequently appointed to head the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Yet neither the court, the dissenters, nor the amicus briefs in Trump v. Hawaii recognized the origins of the plenary power doctrine and its genesis in the detention and religious persecution of Native Americans.
    We are long overdue to confront the abuses of Native Americans and the failure of American colonialism. At the very least, no government should be able to cite the violent detention and oppression of Native Americans as justification for harming other vulnerable populations. The court should overturn the plenary power doctrine; the Indian Wars should serve as precedent for nothing.
    Only then can these doctrines take their rightful place beside Dred Scott and Plessy v. Ferguson in the anti-canon of constitutional law.
    Maggie Blackhawk (Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe) is an assistant professor of law at the University of Pennsylvania and the author of "Federal Indian Law as Paradigm Within Public Law." @MaggieBlackhawk

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    8) Trump State Visit to U.K. Faces Turbulence Amid Brexit Chaos
    By Mark Landler and Maggie Haberman, June 2, 2019
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/02/world/europe/trump-uk-visit-may.html

    President Trump will arrive in London on Monday for a state visit.CreditCreditTom Brenner for The New York Times

    LONDON — President Trump prides himself on being the great disrupter, but when he arrives in London on Monday for a state visit, it's not clear how much more he can shake up a country that is already convulsed, divided and utterly exhausted by the long debate over its departure from the European Union.
    Still, Mr. Trump's penchant for uncensored opinions and unsolicited advice is likely to capture as many headlines, if history is any guide, as the visit's stately rituals: a banquet with Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace and afternoon tea with the Prince of Wales at his official residence, Clarence House.

    Mr. Trump got an early start, telling The Sunday Times in an interview published before his arrival that Britain's next leader should "walk away" from Brexit negotiations with Brussels to extract a better deal, and should make Nigel Farage, the fiery populist who was one of the leaders of the Brexit movement, the country's chief negotiator.

    The president proposed Boris Johnson, the pro-Brexit former foreign secretary and onetime mayor of London, as a good candidate to succeed Prime Minister Theresa May, who will step down as leader of her party on Friday. Her meeting with Mr. Trump on Tuesday will be one of the last acts of her star-crossed residency at 10 Downing Street.

    Mrs. May worked for months to arrange this visit, the first stop of a five-day tour for Mr. Trump that will also commemorate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion with solemn ceremonies in Britain and France and will most likely squeeze in a round of golf at his club in Doonbeg, Ireland.
    British and American officials said the White House had been deferential to 10 Downing Street in planning the trip, letting the British government set the program and avoiding demands, such as a presidential address to Parliament, which the hosts would have found difficult to grant.
    "The 'special relationship' is in worse shape than either side will admit," said Thomas Wright, an expert on Europe at the Washington-based Brookings Institution, a think tank. "The combination of Brexit, Farage and Huawei makes it particularly fraught," he added, referring also to the Trump administration's targeting of the Chinese telecommunications company. "This could be the tipping point where the problems become more public."
    Mr. Trump remains unpopular in Britain, not least with the newest member of the royal family, the Duchess of Sussex, formerly known as Meghan Markle. She told a television interviewer in 2016 that if Mr. Trump were elected president, she would consider staying in Canada, where her television series was filmed.

    Asked about her comments in an Oval Office interview published on Friday by The Sun tabloid, Mr. Trump said: "What can I say? I didn't know that she was nasty." But he also said she would make "a very good" American princess.

    The duchess, who is married to Prince Harry and who is recovering after the birth of their first child, is not expected to meet the president. But the rest of the royal family will be on hand — including Harry's brother, Prince William, and his wife, Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge. All four of Mr. Trump's adult children are expected to accompany the president and the first lady, Melania Trump.
    Despite Mrs. May's lame-duck status, administration officials said that she and Mr. Trump would have a full list of issues to discuss, including Brexit, a trade deal with the United States and the threats posed by China and Iran.
    The problem is that several of those issues are potentially divisive. Britain opposed Mr. Trump's decision to withdraw the United States from the Iran nuclear deal, while the United States has been pressuring Britain not to allow Huawei into its domestic market.
    While Mr. Trump has promised to negotiate a trade deal with Britain if it makes a clean break from the European Union, the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, has warned that such a deal would be a nonstarter in Congress if Brexit undermines the Northern Ireland peace agreement.
    Before his last visit to Britain, in July 2018, Mr. Trump warned that Mrs. May's proposed Brexit deal would kill off any hopes of a trade deal with the United States, startling American and British officials and creating another political headache for the prime minister as her cabinet was fracturing over the withdrawal plans.

    Supporters of Brexit have held up a trade deal as one of the prizes of a complete break with Europe. It would be controversial, however: Some experts say it would force Britain to lower its food and agricultural standards to let in American products, and hand over too much influence to American companies in Britain's health system.
    The White House did not reveal a detailed policy agenda for the visit, and some officials have questioned the utility of having Mr. Trump meet Mrs. May three days before she relinquishes power. That has put more focus on whether he would meet Mr. Farage or Mr. Johnson, something that is not on the formal schedule but that could happen during Mr. Trump's ample downtime.
    In his interview with The Sunday Times, Mr. Trump was unstinting in his praise for Mr. Farage. "He is a very smart person," the president said. "They won't bring him in. Think how well they would do if they did."
    For Mr. Trump, the triumph of Mr. Farage's Brexit Party in recent elections for the European Parliament could be seen as an endorsement of the Briton's brand of populism. But the political picture across Europe is murkier, with new parties on the left and right advancing, while the mainstream parties, including the Conservative and Labour parties in Britain, shrank.
    For all the potential static in London, Mr. Trump's meetings here might be the most congenial of his trip. On his layover in Ireland, the president will meet with Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, who has spoken out passionately against Brexit. And while in Normandy for the D-Day commemoration, Mr. Trump will meet with President Emmanuel Macron of France, with whom his once warm relationship has chilled.
    "They still have a functioning relationship, even if the romance is gone," Mr. Wright of the Brookings Institution said of the American and French leaders. "If there is anything substantive on the agenda, it will be Macron trying to dissuade Trump from moving from China to Europe with tariffs."

    Mark Landler reported from London and Maggie Haberman from New York. Benjamin Mueller contributed reporting from London.

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    9) Colorado Bans 'Conversion Therapy' for Minors
    By Derrick Bryson-Taylor, June 1, 2019
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/01/us/gay-conversion-therapy-colorado.html

    Gov. Jared Polis of Colorado signs legislation banning "conversion therapy," which he said had been widely discredited by medical and mental health professionals.CreditCreditJim Anderson/Associated Press

    Colorado on Friday became the 18th state to ban "conversion therapy" for minors, a discredited practice that aims to change a person's sexual orientation or gender expression.
    Gov. Jared Polis of Colorado, who is gay, signed the bill into law a day before the start of Pride Month for the L.G.B.T. community. He also signed a bill making it easier for transgender people to change the gender listed on state-issued documents.
    On Wednesday, Maine outlawed conversion therapy, and New York and Massachusetts have also enacted laws banning the practice this year.

    Conversion therapy has been around for more than a century. Its most common technique is talk therapy, although it is not uncommon for practitioners to use aversion treatment such as inducing nausea, vomiting or paralysis when a person is aroused by same-sex images, according to a 2018 study by the Williams Institute of the School of Law at the University of California, Los Angeles. In some cases, electric shock has been used, the study said.

    The law in Colorado specifically prohibits a licensed physician from engaging in conversion therapy with a minor.
    "Colorado has joined a growing list of states that have banned so-called conversion therapy," Mr. Polis said on Twitter. He called it a torturous practice "that has long been widely-discredited by medical and mental health professionals."
    One Colorado, a group that focuses on achieving equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Colorado residents, was pleased with the governor's actions. Its deputy director, Sheena Kadi, said there were several active conversion therapy practitioners in Colorado.
    "What this bill does is states that those who are licensed medical and mental health professionals cannot participate in that therapy," she said on Saturday. "What this does is gives assurance to these families that are looking for that professional guidance that they will not be misled by a licensed medical or mental health professional that this is a credible practice."
    In cases in which medical professionals are also religious leaders, Ms. Kadi said, they must choose which role they are acting in.

    "If you are a religious leader that also holds a license by the state of Colorado, you cannot offer these services as a licensed medical and mental health professional," she said.
    Ms. Kadi said the bills have been legislative priorities over the last five years and celebrated their passage but added that "the work is far from done."
    "There's still a gap," she said. "While we may have those legal protections in the day-to-day lives of folks, they are still experiencing discrimination."

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    10) Did I Need to Know What Gender My Nonbinary Interviewees Were Assigned at Birth? Maybe Not.
    To write about the debate over adding an "X" option to state IDs, I was trying to better understand how the issue plays out in everyday life.
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/02/reader-center/nonbinary-teens-reporting.html

    Flynn Djan, left, who is nonbinary, and Beau Bryant, a transgender man, embracing during a meeting of an L.G.B.T. group at Centennial High School in Ellicott City, Md.CreditCreditGabriella Demczuk for The New York Times

     Times Insider explains who we are and what we do, and delivers behind-the-scenes insights into how our journalism comes together.

    I knew certain things about Charley Fogel, the person I was interviewing a few weeks ago at a Starbucks in Bethesda, Md.

    Their pronouns were they/them. They had adopted their gender-neutral name a few years ago, when they began to consciously identify as nonbinary — that is, neither male nor female. They were in their late 20s, working as an event planner, applying to graduate school. They favored adding an "X" gender option to the "M" and "F" on state IDs, the debates about which I had been reporting on for a recent front-page article.


    What I did not recall, I realized as I settled in across the table from them, was the gender they had been raised to express, the one that corresponded with the sex entered on their birth record.

    It was in my notes. But I had interviewed a dozen nonbinary people by phone before traveling to Maryland, one of several states where "Gender X" legislation was under consideration. Some of the biographical details had blurred in my mind. And now it seemed rude to ask.
    After all, why did I need to know? Many nonbinary people I had talked with had already asked me not to mention whether they had been assigned female or male at birth, to deter readers from making false presumptions. I couldn't imagine how the information would change what I asked or how I acted. Yet I could not quiet the part of my mind that insisted on guessing. It felt too much like I was flying blind.
    Mx. Fogel wore jeans and a button-down shirt. For the average woman, they were a bit tall, I calculated, or maybe they were a touch shorter than the average man. The pitch of their voice was moderate, their blond hair cut short.
    It wasn't much to go on. I considered surreptitiously opening the file with my earlier notes, but I was busy taking new ones as they told me how information on nonbinary gender identities had been hard to come by just a few years earlier.

    "The first nonbinary person I knew," they said, "may have been me."
    The rapid rise of younger Americans asking to be called by gender-neutral pronouns — over a third of teenagers personally know someone who does — has baffled many of their gender-conforming elders. 
    My own teenager, after hearing me announce that I'd had my first interview with a nonbinary individual whom I proceeded to refer to as "she," forbade me to schedule my reporting trip to Maryland: "Mom," she implored me, "you can't talk to anyone."

    A name tag created by R. Kolesar, who identifies as gender-fluid, indicating their preferred pronoun use, during the meeting at Centennial High.CreditGabriella Demczuk for The New York Times



    From left, Ed Luiggi (nonbinary), Chris Diaz (nonbinary), Beau Bryant (transgender man) and R. Kolesar (gender-fluid).  Gabriella Demczuk for The New York Times

    But to write about the arguments over state IDs, I needed to better understand the challenges facing nonbinary individuals in the realm of the interpersonal. In Maryland, Ed Luiggi, a student at Centennial High School who testified on behalf of the "X" license, invited me to attend a weekly meeting for L.G.B.T. students at the school, in Ellicott City. At one point, there was some debate between transgender students who identify as one of the binary genders and those who identify as nonbinary, about which group faced more social stigma.
    "It's a whole lot easier to be binary," the group's faculty adviser, Susan Gerb, who identifies as nonbinary, told me. "With nonbinary, a lot of people don't even know what it is."
    Nonbinary gender identities include androgyne (a combination of masculine and feminine), agender (the absence of gender), gender-fluid (moving between genders) and third-gender (a gender not related to the binary genders).
    I visited with several nonbinary adults as well as gender-conforming parents of nonbinary children, many of whom reassured me that it took time to get the hang of using "they" to refer to one person.

    Lisa Reff, a Maryland lawyer who had urged her state representative to sponsor the "Gender X" legislation, said she had struggled with her teenager's request until another parent told her it was standard for the verb to match the pronoun.
    "'I was saying 'they is,'" Ms. Reff explained. "Saying 'they are' is so much easier."
    Ms. Reff, who said she disliked wearing skirts and dresses as a child, also voiced a confusion I heard from several other women who grew up as 1970s- and 1980s-era feminism was vowing to smash gender-role stereotypes. "My question was, how is this different from being a tomboy?" she said.
    One scientist with whom I spoke felt ambivalent about the new convention at professional conferences that attendees write their pronouns on name tags. After decades of fighting for women in the field to be seen as scientists first, she noted, they are now literally being labeled by gender.
    But Jamie Grace Alexander, a nonbinary college student who helped to craft testimony on the Maryland bill, told me there was value in having "a name for what I am" rather than trying to expand deeply ingrained conceptions of "male" and "female.''
    "I could subvert their expectations when I come into the room,'' they said, "but why can't I subvert their expectations with my identity itself?"
    The degree to which expectations of appearance, abilities and behaviorare still attached to the binary genders, many informed me, tends to become more evident in light of identities that combine, reject, partially embrace or alternate between them. Parents became aware of how often they are asked the gender of their children as a kind of small talk. Students became aware of how frequently teachers address them as "ladies and gentlemen." The Facebook group Ah Yes, the Two Genders specializes in documenting gender-reveal party cakes, bathroom signs and other reflections of this penchant for the binary-gender classification.
    Dr. Jason Rafferty, the author of the American Association of Pediatrics' first policy statement on the care of gender-nonconforming children, which was issued last fall, said most of the bullying in middle and high school is based on gender.

    "It's not having the right body, not being masculine enough, not being feminine enough," Dr. Rafferty explained. "I think we all struggle with gender, but we just don't realize it."
    I'm not sure at what point in our 90-minute conversation at Starbucks my discomfort at not being able to slot Mx. Fogel into one of the two standard gender categories dissipated. During the rest of my interviews with nonbinary people on that trip, I sometimes needed to ask about their gender-identity history. But other times I came to understand that rather than flying blind, I was seeing all I needed to see.
    Amy Harmon is a national correspondent, covering the intersection of science and society. She has won two Pulitzer Prizes, for her series "The DNA Age", and as part of a team for the series "How Race Is Lived in America."
    My NYT Comment:

    I now have a transgender granddaughter. Since she began her transition she has become a more outgoing, relaxed, self-confident, lovely person. (She always was a lovely person, but now she's so much more confident in herself.) I wasn't sure how she identified herself so I just asked. She told me, "she" and that was that. Why not just ask how a person wishes to be referred to and leave it at that. When we ask someone we just met their name we don't need to know their whole past history. —Bonnie Weinstein
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/02/reader-center/nonbinary-teens-reporting.html#commentsContainer&permid=100760444:100760444

    CreditGabriella Demczuk for The New York Times
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    11) When We Talk About Abortion, Let's Talk About Men
    Since women don't have unwanted pregnancies without them.
    By Michelle Oberman and W. David Ball, June 2, 2019
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/02/opinion/abortion-laws-men.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage

    A man in Atlanta protesting Georgia's restrictive abortion law in May. CreditCreditElijah Nouvelage/Getty Images
    Abortion opponents won major victories last week when Louisiana lawmakers voted to ban abortions as early as six weeks into a woman's pregnancy and the Supreme Court upheld an Indiana law requiring the burial of fetal remains in Box v. Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky Inc.
    So what happens if Roe v. Wade falls?
    Abortion won't disappear. Our research shows that countries where abortion is illegal have higher rates of abortion than in the United States — figures which are largely a function of unwanted pregnancies. Nearly half of all pregnancies here are unintended, of which four in 10 end in abortion.
    But it takes two to make an unwanted pregnancy. That's why we need to talk about men when we talk about abortion.

    The last time we included men in the discussion was 1992, when the Supreme Court wisely overturned Pennsylvania's law requiring a woman seeking an abortion to prove she had first notified her husband. That's right — attempting to give men veto power over women was the only meaningful effort to include men in abortion regulation.

    Our entire abortion debate pits the fetus against the woman. Men are absent. They can shrug off an unwanted pregnancy as someone else's problem, even though they contributed half the genetic material to the fetus. Most men probably won't think the abortion bans littering statehouses have anything to do with them.
    They are both wrong and right.
    It would be easy to apply these laws to men, to punish them in the ways we have long punished women. But we also know that's not going to happen.
    Alabama's abortion ban, for example, exempts women from criminal punishment. But if the Supreme Court allows the law to stand, and all abortions become illegal, a man could easily be prosecuted.
    Here's how. Say John and Jane have gotten pregnant, and they want to end the pregnancy. This is a common scenario, as ethics professor Katie Watson has found. Nearly nine in 10 unwanted pregnancies happen in relationships, and most abortion patients say their male partners support their decision.
    If John buys abortion drugs online, or even encourages Jane to, then he could serve from 10 to 99 years in prison for aiding her. This happened in 2014 to a Pennsylvania mother, imprisoned for buying her teenage daughter abortion drugs.

    Things get worse for John when you consider that Alabama, along with other states that have passed embryonic heartbeat laws, grants personhood to fetuses as early as two weeks after a missed period.
    If a fetus is a child, then John is a parent.
    John can't abandon his child and is legally obligated to protect it. Current law gives Jane the exclusive right to decide whether to end her pregnancy. But if abortion is a crime, John's obligations to the fetus may shift. If John walks away, knowing he got her pregnant and suspecting she will have an abortion, he may be committing child neglect. Or worse — mothers have been found guilty of murder for having failed to prevent their partners from fatally abusing their children. It's not clear what John is supposed to do. Nor is it clear whether John can avoid liability.
    John may even have broken Alabama law before Jane got pregnant, by failing to take precautions to avoid unwanted pregnancy. Like most states, Alabama law criminalizes recklessly engaging in "conduct which creates a substantial risk of serious physical injury to another person." When John ejaculated inside Jane without knowing whether she wanted a baby, he arguably showed a conscious disregard for the risks caused by pregnancy, whether from childbearing or abortion.
    We know these prosecutions sound absurd. Indeed, we think they are a terrible idea. Prosecution won't deter men from having unprotected sex. And the threat of any abortion-related prosecution already jeopardizes pregnant women's lives, which is why the American Medical Association, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and many states oppose prosecuting those who end their own pregnancies. Prosecuting men would intensify those risks: if John is angry or panicked about his own legal jeopardy, he might threaten or hurt Jane to force her not to abort.
    And surely the last thing we need is another way to fill the nation's prisons with men — especially since, as so often happens, punitive laws are disproportionately enforced against low-income people and people of color.
    Maybe Alabama prosecutors will head to the white fraternities in Tuscaloosa and begin to arrest young men for conspiring to recklessly endanger the lives of the partygoers they hope to have unprotected sex with. But we doubt it.
    Think about it, though. The novelty of prosecuting men for abortion — despite the sound legal footing of such charges — tells us something important about the way we have, until now, framed the debate. Boys will be boys, but women who get pregnant have behaved irresponsibly

    We are so comfortable with regulating women's sexual behavior, but we're shocked by the idea of doing it to men. Though it might seem strange to talk about men and abortion, it's stranger not to, since women don't have unwanted pregnancies without them.
    All men, whether leaders, legislators or just regular guys, should know that abortion is personal for them, too. They shouldn't just speak to and about women. They must take responsibility for themselves.
    Michelle Oberman is the author of "Her Body, Our Laws: On the Front Lines of the Abortion War, From El Salvador to Oklahoma" and a law professor at Santa Clara University, where W. David Ball is also a law professor.

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    12) Canadian Inquiry Calls Killings of Indigenous Women Genocide
    By Dan Bilefsky, June 2, 2019
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/02/world/canada/indigenous-women-girls-violence-inquiry.html?action=click&module=News&pgtype=Homepage

    A memorial for Tina Fontaine sits by the Red River in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The teenager's killing in 2014 angered many people, setting off protests and questions about the deaths of Indigenous women in Canada.CreditCreditAaron Vincent Elkaim for The New York Times

    MONTREAL — A national inquiry into the widespread killings and disappearances of Indigenous women and girls equates the violence with genocide and holds Canada itself responsible for much of it, in a report to be released on Monday.
    That powerful rebuke of violence against one of the country's most vulnerable minorities comes after a nearly three-year inquiry during which more than 1,500 families of victims and survivors testified in emotional hearings across the country.
    The report, which will be officially released in a ceremony Monday, says the violence against women and girls amounts "to a race-based genocide of Indigenous peoples, including First Nations, Inuit, and Métis."
    "This genocide has been empowered by colonial structures," the report adds.

    The report cites, among other events, Canada's onetime practice of sending thousands of Indigenous children to residential schools, where they were abused over decades.

    Referring to the chronic mistreatment of Indigenous people, the report chastises "Canadian society" for showing "appalling apathy."
    ["Canada and the system failed Tina at every step." The death of 15-year-old Tina Fontaine was one of an increasing number of deaths and disappearances of Indigenous women and girls that spurred a national inquiry.]
    In 2015, Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission called the country's former policy of forcibly removing Indigenous children from their families for schooling a "cultural genocide."
    The new report offers a damning indictment not just of the killers but of a country that has too often allowed them to act with impunity.
    "Yes, genocide is exactly what's happening, and Canada is still in denial about this," said, Lorelei Williams, a leading Indigenous advocate in Vancouver whose aunt went missing four decades ago and whose cousin was murdered by the serial killer Robert Pickton.

    Indigenous women and girls make up about 4 percent of Canada's females but 16 percent of the females killed, according to government statistics. Some 1,181 Indigenous women were killed or disappeared across the country from 1980 to 2012, according to a 2014 report by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Indigenous advocates say the number is far higher since so many deaths have gone unreported.

    Among those taken to task in the new report are the police and the criminal justice system. Both have historically failed Indigenous women by ignoring their concerns and viewing them "through a lens of pervasive racist and sexist stereotypes," it says.
    That, in turn, has created mistrust of the authorities among Indigenous women and girls, the report says.
    Police "apathy often takes the form of stereotyping and victim-blaming, such as when police describe missing loved ones as 'drunks,' 'runaways out partying' or 'prostitutes unworthy of follow-up,'" the report says. Survivors and their families told the inquiry that they often found the "court process inadequate, unjust and retraumatizing."
    In recent years, human rights advocates have bemoaned the lack of representation of Indigenous people on juries, which some have blamed for the acquittals of white suspects in crimes involving Indigenous victims of both genders.
    One prominent case was that of Colten Boushie, a 22-year-old Cree man from Saskatchewan, who in 2016 was fatally shot in the head by Gerald Stanley, a white farmer. There was a national outcry and protests across the country after Mr. Stanley was found not guilty of second-degree murder by an all-white jury.

    To help improve law enforcement and prevent violence against women, the report calls for expanding Indigenous women's shelters and improving policing in Indigenous communities, in particular in remote areas; increasing the number of Indigenous people on police forces; and empowering more Indigenous women to serve on civilian boards that oversee the police.
    It also calls for changing the criminal code to classify some killings of Indigenous women — whether premeditated or not — as first-degree murder.
    Recognizing that cultural discrimination has marginalized Indigenous people, it also calls for the federal and provincial governments to give Indigenous languages the same status as Canada's official languages, English and French
    For decades, Indigenous languages in Canada were suppressed, including at residential schools where children were forbidden to speak their native languages.
    The report seeks to humanize the suffering Indigenous women have been forced to endure.
    So many Indigenous women have been killed or have disappeared on a stretch of highway in British Columbia that passes through economically deprived Indian reserves that it is known as the Highway of Tears. In Winnipeg, Manitoba, which has a large native population, volunteers routinely dredge the Red River to search for the bodies of missing Indigenous women and girls.
    The national inquiry into the killings was convened after the body of Tina Fontaine, a 15-year-old girl from the Sagkeeng First Nation, was found in the Red River in 2014, wrapped in a duvet weighed down with 25 pounds of rocks.

    Her death and the subsequent acquittal of the main suspect in it spawned outrage and protests across Canada, as well as calls for an investigation into why so many Indigenous girls and women were dying.

    The case attracted particular opprobrium because Ms. Fontaine had been in contact with provincial social workers, the police and health care professionals in the 24 hours before her death.
    Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government has made a priority of addressing the country's troubled colonial past. More than two years ago, he told the United Nations General Assembly that he was committed to righting historical wrongs.
    "For First Nations, Métis Nation and Inuit peoples in Canada, those early colonial relationships were not about strength through diversity, or a celebration of differences," he said. "For Indigenous peoples in Canada, the experience was mostly one of humiliation, neglect and abuse."
    [For more Canada coverage in your inbox, sign up for the Canada Letter newsletter.]
    Paul Tuccaro, a member the Mikisew Cree First Nation in northern Alberta, said he hoped the report would hold accountable any police officers who failed the women.
    Mr. Tuccaro's younger sister Amber, 20, disappeared in August 2010, he said. The mother of a 14-month-old son, she vanished after hitching a ride. Her remains were found in a farmer's field, and a killer has never been found.
    Mr. Tuccaro said it was accurate to call the killings a genocide.
    "Whoever is doing what they're doing, they think they can kill all these women, and nothing will come of it because they're just 'Indians,'" he said.

    The reconciliation commission documented widespread physical, cultural and sexual abuse at the government-sponsored schools that Indigenous children were forced to attend.
    The residential schools also fractured Indigenous families, and many of the victims turned to alcohol and drugs. Experts say Indigenous girls and women have been vulnerable to domestic violence and abuse, and the report cites the lack of sufficient access to public services including health care and education.
    The report notes that "intergenerational trauma" resulting from decades of colonial abuses — including the forced sterilization of some Indigenous women and the forced adoptions of Indigenous children by non-Indigenous families — has also contributed to the cycle of violence against women.
    Some critics have criticized the inquiry, saying it was not transparent and did not communicate well with victims' families.
    Speaking before the report was released, Cindy Blackstock, a professor of social work at McGill University, who is director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada, said she feared that the government had not allocated sufficient money to put in place the inquiry's recommendations.
    "We have seen the same recommendations time and time again, and they aren't implemented," she said. "Without oversight or legally binding laws, these are just lofty words while indigenous women and girls continue to die."

    Brandi Morin contributed reporting from Edmonton, Alberta.

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    13) Caught Between U.S. and Taliban, a Family Dies and the Survivor Seeks Justice
    This article is by Thomas Gibbons-NeffChristiaan TriebertFahim Abed and Jessica Purkiss., June 3, 2019
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/03/world/asia/us-taliban-family-dies-justice.html

    Twelve members of one family — 11 of them children — were killed when an American airstrike hit their home in September 2018. They were buried just feet away.CreditFazul Ur-Rahman Ahmadi

    KABUL, Afghanistan — Masih Ur-Rahman Mubarez was working in Iran when his wife called him at 4 a.m. from their home in eastern Afghanistan. American and Afghan troops were inside the house, she said. It was a raid.
    It was Sept. 23, 2018, and the next time Mr. Mubarez, 39, managed to get a phone call through, her phone was off.
    Between 10:30 a.m. and noon, as Mr. Mubarez waited for word from his wife and seven children in Wardak Province, American aircraft dropped a GPS-guided bomb on his house, killing them and four other members of his family, according to Mr. Mubarez and the villagers who helped pull the 12 bodies from the rubble.

    The American-led military mission in Afghanistan initially denied the bombing. Three months later, it confirmed the airstrike down to the exact coordinates of Mr. Mubarez's house in the small hamlet of Mullah Hafiz. But the American command said that they had been receiving sniper fire from the building, and that "after review, it is our assessment that only combatants were killed."

    The disparity between Mr. Mubarez's claim — that 12 members of his family were killed — and the matter-of-fact denial from the American military are emblematic of the nearly 18-year-old war, where civilians in virtually every corner of Afghanistan have been touched by violence and death at the hands of both sides.
    After interviews with Mr. Mubarez and villagers at the scene, and an analysis of footage before and after the strike, an open-source investigation by The New York Times and The Bureau of Investigative Journalism determined that civilians were killed in an airstrike that used an American-made, precision-guided bomb. In Afghanistan, only American forces use this type of weapon, The Times confirmed.

    Mr. Mubarez is still searching for an explanation of why his family was killed, and for justice. When he asked the Taliban for answers, they denied the American claim that insurgent fighters had holed up in his home.
    "When I went away my home was fine; when I returned it was destroyed, my children were in the grave," Mr. Mubarez said in an interview with The Times last month. "But I will not sit silent."

    Mr. Mubarez had worked for four years as a teacher with a Swedish aid organization in his village before moving to Iran out of economic necessity, he said.
    What happened that September morning in Mullah Hafiz, a Taliban-controlled village where cell towers are regularly shut down and outside communication is sporadic, is still not completely clear.
    Abdul Rahman Mangal, a spokesman for the governor of Wardak Province at that time, denied that there had been any civilian deaths. Mr. Mangal told Pajhwok Afghan News that the operation had been conducted against a jail used by the Taliban, and that Taliban leadership were among the dead.
    But Raz Mohammad Hemat Wazir, the district governor, said that the airstrike on Mr. Mubarez's house killed 12 civilians, including women and children. "The airstrike was carried out by American air power during a military raid in the village," he said.
    Safiullah Rasooli, Mr. Mubarez's cousin, who was in Mullah Hafiz at the time of the strike, said that the night before there had been a series of airstrikes before Afghan commandos and Americans came to the village. Both Mr. Rasooli and Noor Khan, a village farmer, confirmed that the troops searched houses around the Taliban prison. Some villagers were held and then released, Mr. Khan said. Three people were arrested and taken to Kabul.

    Mr. Rasooli said the suspects were bound and beaten, forced to huddle in a single room overnight in a nearby house.

    The next morning, with Afghan and American troops still in the village, witnesses said, the Americans bombed Mr. Mubarez's house. Mr. Rasooli said that he looked up and saw several aircraft circling overhead.
    Some villagers and Afghan government officials told Mr. Mubarez that Taliban fighters were firing at the aircraft and forces on the ground before the strike, some shooting from his house.
    But both Mr. Khan and Mr. Rasooli said there was no gunfire from the village that morning. For people who live in a village under Taliban control, like Mullah Hafiz, confirming that there was gunfire would leave them open to Taliban retribution.
    Bob Purtiman, a spokesman for the American forces in Afghanistan, said that American and Afghan troops had been in a gun battle with the Taliban after the small force was airlifted into the area on the night of Sept. 22.
    Hours before Mr. Mubarez's house was bombed, an American soldier had been wounded and evacuated from Mullah Hafiz village, he said, and American troops there reported they were taking "effective sniper fire" from Mr. Mubarez's house. The Americans then requested the airstrike, Mr. Purtiman said. The American command offered no additional evidence that the Taliban had been in the house.
    Mr. Mubarez, whose house is roughly 150 yards from the Taliban prison, said that the Taliban denied entering his house. A day after the strike, Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, accused the Americans of killing 12 members of Mr. Mubarez's family, all civilians.

    But Taliban fighters have long used civilians as shields against American airstrikes.
    Several days after the bombing, Mr. Mubarez returned to Mullah Hafiz from Iran. He found his house destroyed, his children's bicycles twisted and mangled. On a nearby hill were the graves of his family: Amina, his wife; his four daughters, Anisa (14), Safia (12), Samina (7) and Fahima (5); his three sons, Mohammad Wiqad (10), Mohammad Ilyas (8) and Mohammad Fayaz (4); and their four teenage cousins.

    "When I see my family's grave, that moment is the most painful moment for me,'' Mr. Mubarez said. "And when I see my ruined home, I don't have any energy to accept it."
    A United Nations report released in April said airstrikes were the third-highest cause of civilian casualties in Afghanistan, killing 145 civilians and wounding 83 during the first quarter of the year, a 41 percent increase compared with the same quarter in 2018. The United States Air Force reported that American aircraft dropped 7,362 munitions in Afghanistan in 2018, almost twice as much as in 2017 and the most since the service started publicly keeping track in 2013.
    Mr. Mubarez said he planned to rebuild his house, but for now he is living in Kabul. He has gone to the Afghan government, the United Nations and the Afghan Human Rights Commission looking for answers and for help.
    "Whether there were Taliban or not, they have technology and modern equipment,'' Mr. Mubarez said about the American and Afghan military forces. "They can kill the enemy, but they only destroy my home. So far neither local authorities or the defense ministry say that they will investigate and take action. They just say that there was a mistake."

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    14) Attacks Mount Against Philippine Human Rights Advocates
    by John Witeck & Seiji Yamada - June 1, 2019
    Approximately 300,000 or one-fourth of Hawaii’s population is Filipino. Hawaii’s substantial economic, personal, and family ties with the Philippines means that all of us here have a great stake in what is happening there. The government of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has been threatening and attacking a growing number of human rights advocates, labor, church and community organizers, and indigenous people and the poor.

    Over the past three years, an estimated 27,000 Filipinos, mostly from poor communities, have been killed without trial by police, military officers, and unknown assailants in the name of the Duterte government’s so-called “war on drugs.” The killings continue on a daily basis despite domestic and international condemnation. 

    Human rights defenders who have called for an end to the killings have been harassed and detained, including Senator Leila de Lima, jailed for over two years on politically-motivated and false drug charges. News outlet Rappler and its CEO Maria Ressa have been harassed by 11 government complaints, and Ressa, Time Magazine’s Person of the Year, and several other journalists and human rights lawyers have been publicly accused of working to destabilize the government.

    Last November human rights attorney Ben Ramos was shot and killed; he was the Secretary-General of the National Union of Peoples Lawyers in Negros. At least 34 human rights and peoples’ lawyers have been killed since 2016 when Duterte became president. More than 60 farmers have been killed in Negros alone, including the 14 farmers massacred in Negros Oriental in April; over 205 killings of farmers have been reported nationwide over the past 3 years.

    In early 2019, peace talks consultant Randy Malayao was assassinated. Last May 1 Archad Ayao, an investigator for the Philippine Commission on Human Rights, was shot dead in Cotabato City, southern Philippines, by an unidentified gunman. On April 22, human rights worker and local official Bernardino Patigas was gunned down in Escalante City, Negros Occidental. Hours later, several of his colleagues in the Karapatan human rights organization, including Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay, received threatening text messages from an unknown person warning them that they are targeted to be killed this year.

    Besides direct physical violence, human rights defenders have been “red-tagged” and called “communists” by the Philippine military officials, including Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous Peoples. She and others have been accused of involvement in “terrorist activities” due to their human rights work. Groups that the Duterte government has “red-tagged” include Karapatan, Rural Missionaries of the Philippines, the Ibon Foundation, the Alliance of Health Workers, and the National Union of People’s Lawyers, which has been giving legal assistance to political prisoners, activists, and relatives of victims of extrajudicial executions sanctioned by Duterte.
    The Duterte regime has failed to conduct prompt, effective, and impartial investigations into the attacks on human rights defenders, and to bring those responsible to justice. Amnesty International (AI) recently called on the government to do so, but there has been little response. AI has also called on the government to cease “red-tagging” and threatening human rights advocates and organizations and to protect them from harm.

    It is time that we in Hawaii speak up and insist that our representatives in Congress –Senators Brian Schatz and Mazie Hirono, and Representatives Tulsi Gabbard and Ed Case -- work to halt all aid to the Philippine military and police forces while these atrocities, threats and jailings continue. Last year, the U.S. government provided $184.5 million in economic aid to the Philippine military and national police, the main perpetrators of the atrocities.

    Our Congressional representatives should also urge the US State Department to insist that the Philippine government investigate these killings and stop its attacks against journalists and human rights advocates and cease its extra-judicial killings. These are crimes against humanity and gravely threaten the safety and security of the Filipino people.
    __________________________________________________________________
    JOHN WITECK is a retired labor unionist and human resources who currently works part-time for the State Department of Education and is a lecturer at the Honolulu Community College. He has been hosted on four occasions by labor, community, and human rights organizations in the Philippines and attended International Solidarity events. He edited the bimonthly periodical Philippine Labor Alert for over a decade.
    SEIJI YAMADA is a family physician practicing and teaching in Hawaii.
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    15) Trump Allows High-Tech U.S. Bomb Parts to Be Built in Saudi Arabia
    By Michael LaForgia and Walt Bogdanich, June 7,2019
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/07/us/saudi-arabia-arms-sales-raytheon.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

    President Trump discussing weapon sales with the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, at the White House last year.CreditCreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

    WASHINGTON — When the Trump administration declared an emergency last month and fast-tracked the sale of more American arms to Saudi Arabia, it did more than anger members of Congress who opposed the sale on humanitarian grounds.
    It also raised concerns that the Saudis could gain access to technology that would let them produce their own versions of American precision-guided bombs — weapons they have used in strikes on civilians since they began fighting a war in Yemen four years ago.
    The emergency authorization allows Raytheon Company, a top American defense firm, to team with the Saudis to build high-tech bomb parts in Saudi Arabia. That provision, which has not been previously reported, is part of a broad package of information the administration released this week to Congress.

    The move grants Raytheon and the Saudis sweeping permission to begin assembling the control systems, guidance electronics and circuit cards that are essential to the company’s Paveway smart bombs. The United States has closely guarded such technology for national security reasons.

    Multiple reports by human rights groups over the past four years have singled out the weapons as being used in airstrikes on civilians. One attack, on a Sana funeral home in October 2016, led the Obama administration to suspend bomb sales to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.
    The new arrangement is part of a larger arms package, previously blocked by Congress, that includes 120,000 precision-guided bombs that Raytheon is prepared to ship to the coalition. These will add to the tens of thousands of bombs that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have already stockpiled, and some in Congress fear the surplus would let the countries continue fighting in Yemen long into the future. The move also includes support for Saudi F-15 warplanes, mortars, anti-tank missiles and .50-caliber rifles.

    The emergency declaration, invoked in part because of tensions with Iran, prompted a broad bipartisan pushback from lawmakers who were concerned not only about the war, but also about whether the Trump administration was usurping congressional authority to approve arms sales.
    A group of senators that includes Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican, Rand Paul, the Kentucky Republican, and Robert Menendez, the New Jersey Democrat, announced on Wednesday that they would introduce 22 separate measures expressing disapproval of the deals.

    “Few nations should be trusted less than Saudi Arabia,” Mr. Paul said in a statement on Thursday. “In recent years, they have fomented human atrocities, repeatedly lied to the United States and have proved to be a reckless regional pariah. It is concerning and irresponsible for the United States to continue providing them arms.”
    In the House, the Foreign Affairs Committee has scheduled a hearing for next week in which members plan to question R. Clarke Cooper, the State Department official whose bureau licenses arms exports.
    “The Saudis and Emiratis have become so intertwined with the Trump administration that I don’t think the president is capable of distinguishing America’s national interests from theirs,” said Representative Tom Malinowski, a New Jersey Democrat who sits on the committee. “The administration has presented us no evidence that Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. face any substantially new or intensified threat from Iran that would justify declaring an emergency.”
    Mr. Malinowski, a top human rights official under President Obama, said the bombs were for use in Yemen, not for defending the Saudi or Emirati homeland from Iran, as some Trump administration officials have suggested.
    The White House did not respond to a request for comment.
    A Raytheon spokesman said there was nothing unusual about the production arrangement.

    “Industrial participation by local partners has been an element of international sales of military equipment for decades,” said the spokesman, Mike Doble. “These activities and related technologies are governed by the Arms Export Control Act, controlled by the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, and conform to all licensing rules and restrictions of the United States government.”

    Defense contractors have established close ties with the Trump administration, and key executives from several companies, including Raytheon, have made their way into high-ranking positions. Raytheon’s former vice president for government relations, Mark T. Esper, was confirmed as Army secretary in 2017.
    The defense firm has also cultivated ties to the Saudi government. During President Trump’s visit to the kingdom in May 2017, Raytheon signed an agreement to work more closely with the Saudi Arabian Military Industries Company, a holding company owned by the country’s sovereign wealth fund. It was unclear whether the new production deal fell under that plan.
    The production agreement took some lawmakers by surprise. Representative Ted Lieu, a California Democrat and an outspoken critic of the Yemen war, said it seemed “to serve no purpose other than to forfeit our technology and prevent future congressional oversight.”
    The arrangement, which would effectively outsource jobs, appears to be at odds with Mr. Trump’s position that arms sales are important because of the American jobs they create.
    Rob Berschinski, a senior vice president at Human Rights First, an advocacy group, said the administration’s decision was “about siding unreservedly with favored Middle Eastern authoritarians, no matter who they kill or how they repress their citizens.” Mr. Berschinski, a former deputy assistant secretary of state, added, “It has nothing to do with American jobs.”
    Congress had been informally blocking the sale of the smart bombs at least since May last year, when Mr. Menendez and Representative Eliot L. Engel, the New York Democrat, expressed concerns over how the Saudis were using the weapons in Yemen. Opposition intensified after American intelligence officials concluded that the Saudi government played a role in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi dissident and columnist for The Washington Post.

    But then, last month, on the Friday before Memorial Day weekend, Mr. Trump took the rare step of declaring an emergency to push these weapons out the door.

    In a May 24 letter, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo notified congressional leaders of the emergency declaration, waiving congressional review of the weapon sales. Mr. Pompeo said he took into account “political, military, economic, human rights and arms control considerations.” The State Department on Monday disclosed more details to Congress, including the nature of the arms sales.
    “If Saudi Arabia is able to develop an indigenous bomb-making capability as a result of this deal, it will undermine U.S. leverage to prevent them from engaging in indiscriminate strikes of the kind it has carried out in Yemen,” said William D. Hartung, director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy, a think tank.
    The authorization paperwork signed by Mr. Pompeo offers no timeline for the shared operations to get underway, and Raytheon representatives have said they are still negotiating over details with the Saudi government, according to a congressional aide.
    Aside from potentially providing the Saudis with more bombs to use in Yemen airstrikes, the arrangement raised security concerns among lawmakers, who were seeking assurances that the Saudis could prevent the American technology from falling into the wrong hands.
    Both Republicans and Democrats also noted that it called for creating manufacturing jobs in Saudi Arabia that might otherwise have been located in the United States. And they expressed worry that the Saudis might eventually copy the technology and use it to produce their own weapons, which they would be free to use in Yemen or sell to whomever they chose.
    The Saudis have been carrying out regular airstrikes in Yemen since March 2015, when Houthi rebels overthrew the Saudi-backed government. The war has created what the United Nations has called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, pushing millions to the edge of starvation and leading to the spread of cholera and the deaths of thousands of civilians.

    Eric Schmitt contributed reporting.

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    16) Why Should Immigrants ‘Respect Our Borders’? The West Never Respected Theirs
    Immigration quotas should be based on how much the host country has ruined other countries.
    "Today, a quarter of a billion people are migrants. They are moving because the rich countries have stolen the future of the poor countries. Whether it is Iraqis and Syrians fleeing the effects of illegal American wars, or Africans seeking to work for their former European colonial masters, or Guatemalans and Hondurans trying to get into the country that peddles them guns and buys their drugs: They are coming here because we were there. Before you ask them to respect our borders, ask yourself: Has the West ever respected anyone’s borders?"
    By Suketu Mehta, June 7, 2019
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/07/opinion/immigration-reparations.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage

    In Iraq, the United States imposed a war that resulted in 600,000 deaths and countless injuries.CreditCreditTyler Hicks/The New York Times

    There is a lot of debate these days about whether the United States owes its African-American citizens reparations for slavery. It does. But there is a far bigger bill that the United States and Europe have run up: what they owe to other countries for their colonial adventures, for the wars they imposed on them, for the inequality they have built into the world order, for the excess carbon they have dumped into the atmosphere.
    The creditor countries aren’t seriously suggesting that the West send sacks of gold bullion every year to India or Nigeria. Their people are asking for fairness: for the borders of the rich countries to be opened to goods and people, to Indian textiles as well as Nigerian doctors. In seeking to move, they are asking for immigration as reparations.
    Today, a quarter of a billion people are migrants. They are moving because the rich countries have stolen the future of the poor countries. Whether it is Iraqis and Syrians fleeing the effects of illegal American wars, or Africans seeking to work for their former European colonial masters, or Guatemalans and Hondurans trying to get into the country that peddles them guns and buys their drugs: They are coming here because we were there. 

    Before you ask them to respect our borders, ask yourself: Has the West ever respected anyone’s borders?

    A vast majority of migrants move from a poor to a less poor country, not a rich one. Immigration quotas should be based on how much the host country has ruined other countries. Britain should have quotas for Indians and Nigerians; France for Malians and Tunisians; Belgium for very large numbers of Congolese. 
    And when they come, they should be allowed to bring their families and stay — unlike the “guest workers” who were enticed to build up the postwar labor force of the colonizers and then asked to leave when their masters were done exploiting them.
    The Dominican Republic, where the United States propped up the dictator Rafael Trujillo for three decades, should be high on the American preference list. So should Iraq, upon which we imposed a war that resulted in 600,000 deaths. Justice now demands that we let in 600,000 Iraqis: for each death we caused there, someone should get a chance at a new life here.
    Some 12 million Africans were enslaved and carried across the Atlanticby European powers. Should not 12 million people from Africa be allowed to live in the countries enriched by the toil of their ancestors? Both will be better off: the African still suffering from what slavery has done to his country, and the host country that will again benefit from African labor, but this time without enormous pain and for a fair wage.
    Just as there is a carbon tax on polluting industries, there should be a “migration tax” on the nations who got rich while emitting greenhouse gases. The United States is responsible for one-third of the excess carbon in the atmosphere; Europe, another one-quarter. A hundred million refugees fleeing hurricanes and droughts will have to be resettled by the end of the century. The United States should take a third, and Europe another quarter.

    A huge bill would come to the West, but it is one it should look forward to paying. Without immigration, America’s economic growth would have been 15 percent lower from 1990 to 2014; Britain’s would have been a full 20 percent lower. Immigrants are 14 percent of the American population, but they started a quarter of all new businesses and since 2000 earned over a third of the American Nobel Prizes in chemistry, physics and medicine.
    Migrants are 3 percent of the world’s population but contribute 9 percent of its gross domestic product. Their taxes prop up the pension systems of the wealthy nations, which are not making enough babies of their own. 
    If you want to help the poorest people in the world, the fastest way to do so is to ease barriers to migration. Migrants sent back $689 billion in remittances last year, which amounts to three times more than the direct gains from abolishing all trade barriers, four times more than all the foreign aid given by those governments and 100 times the amount of all debt relief.

    Are the rich countries obligated to take in any and all comers from the countries they have despoiled? There are serious arguments against open borders: that the United States is a lifeboat in an ocean of poor nations, and letting too many people in will sink the boat; that even if we owe reparations to people we have dispossessed, those reparations can come in the form of cash payments or resettlement in another territory.
    There are no serious arguments that demonstrate long-term economic damage to countries that accept immigrants, even in large numbers. During the age of mass migration, a quarter of Europe moved to the United States, which went on to replace Europe at the pinnacle of wealth and power.
    A world with more open borders would have a brief spasm of mass movement, and then migration might actually decrease, because money and happiness would be more equitably spread around, and more people would stay home.

    To avoid paying the “migration tax,” the rich countries would have to stop propping up dictators, stop starting savage and unnecessary wars, restrain their multinational corporations from ripping off mineral wealth of poor countries and make sure that global trade is more equitable. Or else the migration bill from the devastated country would be prohibitive.
    What is good immigration policy for the United States is separate from what is just and moral for the peoples whose destiny America, past and present, has affected. It might make economic sense for the United States to let in more skilled Indians and fewer unskilled Latinos, but America owes them more, and it should open its doors more to its southern neighbors. 
    History is what has happened and can never un-happen; history is happening right now. Attention needs to be paid. So does the bill.
    Suketu Mehta, is the author, most recently, of “This Land Is Our Land: An Immigrant’s Manifesto” and teaches journalism at New York University.

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