Sunday, June 09, 2019

BAUAW NEWSLETTER, SUNDAY, JUNE 9, 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) 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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    2) 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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    3) 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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    4) 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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    5) 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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    6) 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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    7) The Elderly Are Getting Complex Surgeries. Often It Doesn’t End Well.
    Complication rates are high among the oldest patients. Now a surgeons’ group will propose standards for hospitals operating on the elderly.
    By Paula Spa, June 7, 2019
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/07/health/elderly-surgery-complications.html?action=click&module=Discovery&pgtype=Homepage

    CreditStuart Briers

    People over 65 represent roughly 16 percent of the American population, but account for 40 percent of patients undergoing surgery in hospitals — and probably more than half of all surgical procedures.
    Those proportions are likely to increase as the population ages and more seniors consider surgery, including procedures once deemed too dangerous for them.
    Dr. Clifford Ko, a colorectal surgeon at the University of California, Los Angeles, recently performed major surgery on an 86-year-old with rectal cancer, for instance.

    “Ten years ago, I’d think, ‘My god, can this person even survive the operating room?’” Dr. Ko said. “Now, it’s increasingly common to see octogenarians for these types of operations.”

    He and Dr. Ronnie Rosenthal, a surgeon and geriatrician at the Yale University School of Medicine, lead the American College of Surgeons’s Coalition for Quality in Geriatric Surgery.
    As older people undergo more operations, the coalition has focused on the results. Perhaps unsurprisingly, older surgical patients often fare worse than younger ones.
    One study reviewing major, nonemergency surgery in 165,600 adults over 65 found that mortality and complications increased with age; hospital stays often lengthened.
    Patients in their 80s undergoing major surgery for lung, esophageal and pancreatic cancer have substantially higher mortality rates than those aged 65 to 69, another study found; they’re also more likely to go to nursing homes afterward.
    Why? Older patients often have chronic health problems, aside from whatever the surgery is supposed to fix, and take long lists of drugs. The hospital itself, where they risk acquiring infections or losing mobility after days in bed, can endanger them.

    Frailty, an age-related physiological decline, particularly correlates with increased mortality and complications. “How we talk to them, how we care for them, their outcomes — there’s a lot of opportunity to do better” for older surgical patients, said Dr. Ko.
    Hence, the college’s new geriatric surgery verification program, to be unveiled next month at a conference in Washington, D.C., after four years of planning and research. It sets 30 standards that hospitals should meet to improve results for older patients.
    In October, hospitals will begin applying for verification, an assurance to patients and families that the best possible surgical care will be provided. The college previously devised similar quality programs for trauma, cancer and pediatric surgery.
    “People understand that children are different from adults,” Dr. Rosenthal said. “It’s taken a surprisingly long time to come around to the realization that older adults are also different.”
    A team will visit each applying hospital. “We’ll look at charts, we’ll interview people,” she said. “We’ll see if they’re actually meeting the standards, so the public can have confidence.”
    Some of the standards, based on published research, relate to staffing or physical changes like “geriatric-friendly” patient rooms. Some involve managing medications, with less reliance on opioids.
    Participating hospitals will screen older patients for vulnerabilities — including advanced age, cognitive problems, malnutrition and impaired mobility — that put them at higher risk. Some of these risks can be addressed before surgery, through “pre-habilitation,” to help patients gain strength.

    But many of the standards involve not infrastructure and surgical approaches but communication: ensuring that patients truly grasp their risks and alternatives, and that physicians ascertain patients’ wishes.
    “The goals of a patient who’s 80 might be very different from someone who’s 50,” Dr. Rosenthal said. “They may value a higher quality of life for a shorter amount of time.”
    Without clear understandings, things can go very wrong in the hospital. Consider this account from Dr. Gretchen Schwarze, a vascular surgeon and ethicist at the University of Wisconsin.
    Dr. Schwarze helped care for a woman, 77, who contended with multiple health problems, including heart failure, weakened kidneys and emphysema.
    “She was on oxygen,” Dr. Schwarze recalled. “She had terrible arthritis and used a walker.”
    She also had a large aortic aneurysm extending from her chest into her abdomen — a weakened blood vessel wall that had ballooned and could burst. But she and her doctors had agreed not to repair it; the risks of the surgery, involving an incision from armpit to pelvis, seemed too high.
    Then the aneurysm began bleeding, a painful and life-threatening development that sent the woman to the emergency room.
    Her surgeon, Dr. Schwarze’s colleague, carefully explained to the woman that her odds of surviving surgery were about 50 percent (“which I think was a little optimistic,” Dr. Schwarze noted). Afterward, the patient would likely require ongoing dialysis and might remain indefinitely on a ventilator.

    The surgeon made clear that, alternatively, she could choose a palliative approach to maintain comfort. Despite his concerns, the woman opted for surgery.
    The problem, said Dr. Schwarze, was that “the kind of language we use to explain surgery doesn’t really describe the experience.”
    After eight hours in the operating room, the woman went to intensive care, then suffered cardiac arrest. She underwent another six-hour operation before returning to the I.C.U.
    The next day, “when the surgical team saw her, they were thrilled — ‘Wow, she’s doing great,’” Dr. Schwarze said. “Then her family came in.”
    The woman for years had told them, but not her surgeons, that she feared life support and nursing homes. Now — sedated, swollen, breathing through a tube — she was unable to open her eyes, speak or squeeze a hand.
    Even had the procedure gone perfectly, she was bound for a nursing facility, probably permanently.
    “They had no idea this was part of the routine,” Dr. Schwarze said of the stricken family. “They said, ‘This is not O.K. You can’t do this to her. You have to stop.’”
    At their insistence, the hospital discontinued treatment, allowing the woman to die.
    The geriatric surgery verification program, now being piloted at eight hospitals across the country, could help prevent such horrors. Eventually, patients and families will be able to choose hospitals that participate over those that don’t.

    But that option might be years off. The coalition hopes 100 hospitals will apply in the program’s first year; however, more than 4,500 community hospitals perform adult surgery in the United States.
    Some hospitals may balk at the fee the College of Surgeons will charge for verification — “in the low five figures,” Dr. Ko said. Or they’ll simply defer: “There’s the response, ‘We’re doing fine. We don’t need anything more.’”
    Still, insurers, including Medicare, are already paying attention to how well hospitals meet quality standards. In any event, Dr. Ko said, surgeons can adopt some of the required practices on their own.
    Take the frail 86-year-old with rectal cancer. Standard treatment involved radiation, chemotherapy and “a pretty big surgery,” necessitating a colostomy bag afterward. But the patient also had heart disease, pulmonary disease and failing kidneys.
    “It was dicey,” Dr. Ko said. “We really needed to talk about quality of life and quantity of life and complications.” The patient could have chosen less aggressive treatments, but wanted curative surgery.
    Sensitized by years of discussing geriatric surgery, Dr. Ko prescribed a “pre-hab” program to help his patient stop smoking, begin walking for exercise and increase his protein intake.
    Subsequently, “he had the surgery, had a wound infection afterward, but no heart or lung complications,” Dr. Ko said. “Knock on wood, the patient did well and continues to do well.”

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    8) Elephants May Sniff Out Quantities With Their Noses
    Understanding how the endangered mammals smell the world could help with their conservation, researchers say.
    By Ver0nique Greenwood, June 4, 2019
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/04/science/elephants-smell-quantity.html?action=click&module=Discovery&pgtype=Homepage

    Asian elephants at the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation in Chiang Rai, Thailand.CreditCreditHoi-Lam Jim/Vetmeduni Vienna

    Elephants keep surprising us.
    They live complex social lives, cooperate, show altruism and grieve their dead. And now in the latest evidence of their sophisticated cognitive abilities, elephants appear to be able to distinguish relative amounts of food merely by smell, researchers say. The finding, reported Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests that elephants’ olfactory worlds are richer and more informative than ours.
    Many tests of animal cognition rely on vision — an elephant or a crow is shown, say, two buckets with different amounts of food, and prompted to choose between them. Some species do quite well at this task, suggesting they can make visual estimates of quantity. Others don’t seem to notice the difference. But such visual tests overlook that other senses, like smell and hearing, may be even more important to how some animals navigate the world.
    Elephants raise their trunks up like a submarine periscope to sniff their environment, potentially gathering information to aid in decision making, said Joshua Plotnik, a professor of psychology at Hunter College in New York, an author of the new study. To see if elephants could distinguish different amounts of food using only scent, Dr. Plotnik and his colleagues devised a series of experiments that were performed at the Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp and Resort in Chiang Rai, Thailand.

    Six Asian elephants were presented with pairs of plastic buckets, one of which had more sunflower seeds than the other, in a range of ratios. The buckets were covered with lids that the elephants could not see through, but with holes that smells could escape through. The elephants were allowed to choose one bucket to open and eat.

    As researchers analyzed the elephants’ selections, they found something surprising in some of the tests.
    “Remarkably, when we put two different quantities in the buckets, the elephants consistently chose the quantity that had more over less,” Dr. Plotnik said.
    The larger the difference between the two quantities — say, 30 and 180 sunflower seeds presented side by side, in contrast with 150 and 180 — the better the elephants were at picking the larger amount. For some of the tighter ratios, the elephants did not succeed more than half the time, suggesting that the magnitude of the difference between the buckets is important.
    Additional tests ruled out the possibility that the elephants were responding to the experimenters’ body language, residual odors left in the buckets from earlier trials or the height of the seeds in the buckets.
    How elephants might be able to tell how much food is present using only their senses of smell is still a mystery, said Dr. Plotnik. But he speculates that they may have different ways of getting information from smell than humans: For our part, we can’t say whether a bread box has a whole loaf or a single slice by sniffing the outside, though we might be able to tell there is bread inside.

    Understanding how elephants use smell to find food may have profound implications for conservation of these highly endangered animals, Dr. Plotnik said.
    In Thailand, conflict with humans often arises when elephants leave protected areas to seek human crops. Could it be that they are responding to a higher concentration of food odors from crops, or some other olfactory cue?
    Currently, most strategies for avoiding human and elephant conflict rely on frightening elephants away, rather than using some understanding of their behavior.
    “You put up an electric fence to keep an elephant away, you shoot firecrackers over their heads — the whole point is to try and physically prevent elephants from getting to human habitat,” Dr. Plotnik said.
    A better knowledge of how elephants find and make decisions about food may result in more effective approaches to keeping them in protected areas.


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    9) Warsaw Holds Gay Pride Parade Amid Fears and Threats in Poland
    By The Associated Press, June 8, 2019
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/08/world/europe/warsaw-gay-pride-parade.html

    Crowds filled the streets of Warsaw at Saturday’s pride parade.CreditCreditJanek Skarzynski/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

    WARSAW — The largest pride parade in central and Eastern Europe brought tens of thousands of people to the streets of Warsaw on Saturday, at a time when the gay rights movement in Poland is under siege by hate speech and a government campaign depicting it as a threat to families and society.
    Diplomats from Canada, the United States and other Western nations continued a tradition of joining the Equality Parade to show their support for what is considered a basic human right in many places. Warsaw’s mayor, Rafal Trzaskowski, joined the parade for the first time.
    “Not everyone has to go to the Equality Parade, but everyone should respect minority rights,” he told the crowd from a parade float. “It’s really important for me that Warsaw be open, that Warsaw be tolerant.”

    While many Poles in Warsaw and other cities have grown increasingly supportive of the rights of lesbians, gay men and bisexual and transgender people, a backlash is underway. In recent months, officials from the right-wing governing party, Law and Justice, have portrayed the rights movement, particularly calls for sex education stressing tolerance, as a threat to families and children.

    Poland is to have 20 pride parades this year, a record number. In some cases, even centrist and left-wing mayors have tried to ban them, usually citing security concerns.
    The Law and Justice leader, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, recently called the gay rights movement a foreign import that threatens the nation’s identity. In conservative areas, town councils have been declaring their municipalities “L.G.B.T. free.”
    On the eve of the parade, a far-right journalist on public television, Rafal Ziemkiewicz, sent chills down the spines of the L.G.B.T. community with a Twitter post. “One must shoot at L.G.B.T.” people he wrote, before adding, “Not in the literal sense of course — but these are not people of good will or defenders of anybody’s rights, (the movement is) a new mutation of Bolsheviks and Nazis.”
    The head of the Campaign Against Homophobia, Slava Melnyk, warned about the possible consequences of such provocative language.
    “His words are read by hundreds of thousands of people,” he said. “It’s possible that one of those people will take his word about shooting at L.G.B.T. people literally.”

    Hubert Sobecki, the head of Love Does Not Exclude, a group that seeks marriage equality, said the situation was particularly frightening for young people struggling with their sexual identity. He said some were afraid to come out, and some straight youth were being bullied because they were perceived as gay.
    Call centers have been working to prevent suicides, but they don’t always succeed, he said.
    Last month, a transgender girl killed herself by jumping from a bridge in Warsaw. When a group went later with a rainbow flag to the bridge to honor her, its members were assaulted.
    “There is lots of hate in the public media and by the ruling party, but you also have a growing movement of people realizing we are fighting for our lives,” Mr. Sobecki said. “This movement is not about luxury or privilege; it’s about the privilege of staying alive when you are a teenager. It’s about survival.”
    L.G.B.T. rights became a topic of public debate this year when Mr. Trzaskowski, the Warsaw mayor, who is from the centrist opposition party Civic Platform, issued a rights declaration setting out the city’s commitment to try to help find shelter for gay youths rejected by their parents. He also promised to incorporate World Health Organization guidelines on sex and tolerance education into Warsaw’s school system.
    Poland’s education minister, who was sworn in on Tuesday, described the declaration as an attempt to groom children for pedophiles and said that sex education was the responsibility of families only.
    By seizing on the issue, Mr. Kaczynski has managed to energize the country’s conservative base and divide the political opposition. His party celebrated an overwhelming victory in elections for the European Parliament last month.
    Many in the opposition have concluded that supporting L.G.B.T. rights did not help them and are now seeking to back away from that issue before national elections in the fall.
    Warsaw’s pride parade is being answered a day later with a “March for Life and the Family” in 130 Polish towns. The event will begin on Sunday with a Mass for children, and the theme this year is protecting children from sexualization.

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    10) Amid Deaths and Violations at Cleveland Jail, Ohio Governor Plans to Increase Oversight
    By Mihir Zaveri and Sandra E. Garcia, June 8, 2019
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/08/us/ohio-governor-jail-inspections.html

    Deaths and substandard conditions at the Cuyahoga County Corrections Center in Cleveland have prompted increased state oversight and federal scrutiny.CreditCreditTony Dejak/Associated Press

    Amid mounting accusations of civil rights violations and unsafe conditions at a Cleveland jail where several inmates have died, Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio announced plans this week to increase state oversight of local jails.
    In recent months, the problems at the jail, Cuyahoga County Corrections Center, have coalesced into a crisis that has prompted civil lawsuits, an F.B.I. investigation and criminal charges against multiple corrections officers.
    According to the announcement, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction will begin sharing inspection reports more widely with local prosecutors and administrative judges. Mr. DeWine said he also planned to add to the staff of the department’s Bureau of Adult Detention.

    “We have increased the number of people who work in our inspection department,” the governor said in an interview on Saturday, referring to the detention bureau. “That section just did not have enough people in it when I took office,” added Mr. DeWine, a Republican who took office in January. “That is a bigger issue than just Cuyahoga jail.”

    But Mr. DeWine wants to put a “spotlight” on the Cleveland corrections center. In his announcement, posted on Friday, Mr. DeWine said he had directed the detention bureau to conduct regular inspections of the Cuyahoga County jail at least every 30 days. Ohio jails are inspected for “essential” state standards annually.
    “While we do not have any power or authority to run the jail and we do not desire to run the jail, by keeping the spotlight on the jail with these frequent inspections, we are hopeful it will lead to a permanent change in the culture,” Mr. DeWine said on Saturday.
    Cuyahoga County officials could not be reached for comment.
    The jail faced renewed scrutiny this week after Cuyahoga County released a jarring surveillance video to The Plain Dealer that showed two corrections officers repeatedly punching an inmate who was strapped to a chair. The Plain Dealer, which covers northeast Ohio, identified the officers as Timothy M. Dugan and Cpl. Nicholas D. Evans, and the inmate as Terrance Debose.
    In the video, Mr. Debose is wheeled into a room with his arms strapped to his chair, a blanket over his lap and a covering over his mouth. Mr. Debose can be seen speaking to Corporal Evans.
    Corporal Evans then leans over and begins swinging multiple times at Mr. Debose’s face. Officer Dugan also walks over and punches Mr. Debose in the face.

    The two men face charges including felonious assault, unlawful restraint and interfering with civil rights, according to the Ohio attorney general’s office. Court records show that both officers pleaded not guilty in April.
    Brian Rothenberg, a spokesman for the United Auto Workers Region 2B, a labor union that represents corporals working in the jail, declined to comment on “pending legal matters.”
    Adam Chaloupka, a lawyer for Officer Dugan, said he expected to argue the case in court in July.
    “The video is what it is: It is evidence,” Mr. Chaloupka, of the Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, said on Saturday. “We can’t run from the video; it doesn’t mean there’s enough evidence,” he said, adding that the prosecution has to prove that the assault was a felonious assault, as opposed to a simple assault.
    “They need to prove serious physical harm,” Mr. Chaloupka said, adding that Mr. Dugan has had a clean disciplinary record in the 19 years he has worked at the jail.
    The problems in the jail have been longstanding, said David B. Malik, a civil rights lawyer for a former inmate of the jail who is suing Cuyahoga County.
    “There have been effective policies in place, and prisoners and inmates have more or less been fairly well protected from harm,” Mr. Malik said. “The problem begins to change when new political administrations come in and policies that were enforced are no longer enforced,” he said.
    Mr. DeWine said he considered the correctional officers’ behavior “unacceptable.”
    “This goes back to training and discipline, and there should be no tolerance for that type of behavior,” Mr. DeWine said.

    This week’s developments continues months of troubling news about the Cuyahoga County jail. In October, a Cleveland Municipal Court judge said he would release people charged with low-level crimes instead of sending them to the jail to be held on bail, citing safety concerns.
    “Six deaths means the jail is unsafe,” Judge Michael L. Nelson Sr. said at the time. “You shouldn’t die before we see you in court.”
    review of Cuyahoga County jail facilities conducted for the United States Marshals Service that was published in November raised questions about the deaths of several inmates and found that inmates were not getting enough food and were held in cells far exceeding capacity (a cell designed for two people, for example, held 12). Some federal detainees are held in the jail, the report said.
    An inspection by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction released in February said the jail had failed to comply with 84 state standards. Inmates had been denied hygiene products, clean linens and visitation hours, according to the state’s report.
    The state inspected the jail again this month and found it was still not compliant with 66 standards. A statement from Mr. DeWine’s office released on Thursday said that “additional legal action may be taken should this jail fail to demonstrate significant improvements.”
    “My purpose is to make sure that we stay right on this and that we keep the pressure on Cuyahoga County and keep the jail in better shape,” Mr. DeWine said.
    David Dustin, a supervisory special agent in the F.B.I.’s Cleveland office, confirmed on Friday that the F.B.I. was investigating possible civil rights violations at the jail, but he declined to provide further details, citing the continuing investigation.

    Elisha Brown contributed reporting.

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