Friday, August 18, 2017

BAUAW NEWSLETTER, FRIDAY, AUGUST 18, 2017



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UNAC Alert!  No to Trump's Threat of Nuclear War on North Korea!



Today's more overt U.S. imperial warmonger-in-chief, President Donald Trump, threatened North Korea on August 8 with an apocalyptic nuclear "fire and fury like the world has never seen."  

Within hours, Trump's imperial threats from his Bedminster, N.J. golf course was backed to the hilt by Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson and Trump's national security adviser Gen. H. R. McMaster. Both held open the "nuclear option" if the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK/North Korea) refused to terminate its deterrent intercontinental missile and nuclear weapons program. The DPRK has every reason to believe that Trump's threat to order a pre-emptive military strike is real.

Need we recall that Trump, the candidate, scored President Obama for not bombing Syria to smithereens when Syria was alleged to have crossed Obama's "red line" with regard to sarin gas? Trump, the president, followed through with his own "red line" pledge to bomb Syria, while 46 of the 47 major U.S. newspapers editorialized in support. Again, no proof was offered to confirm Trump's sarin gas allegations. 

In April, again with hyper warmongering bravado, Trump proclaimed,  "We are sending an armada [to North Korea]. Very powerful. We have submarines. Very powerful, far more powerful than the [USS Carl Vinson] aircraft carrier. That I can tell you." This was no idle boast. The U.S. Ohio-class Trident submarine is capable of launching 192 nuclear warheads able to simultaneously obliterate/incinerate scores of cities.
Similarly, the U.S. military's use of its Massive Ordinance Air Blast Bomb (MOAB, nicknamed "Mother of all Bombs") in Afghanistan was yet another signal that this most powerful U.S. non-nuclear weapon of mass destruction, capable of obliterating everything within a one-mile diameter, was aimed more at intimidating North Korea, if not China and Syria, than it was to destroy underground ISIS tunnels. Indeed, the MOAB was never designed for tunnel destruction.
In recent months, the Trump administration turned its attention to China, demanding that it either pressure the DPRK to cease its missile test or face dire economic consequences as well as another round of unilateral and massive U.S./South Korean coordinated military maneuvers off China's coastal waters. 
Last week's unanimous United Nations Security Council sanctions against the DPRK reflected this pressure. The unprecedented sanctions are aimed at crippling North Korea's economy, with its traditional trading partners now banned from purchasing mineral resources and seafood commodities that amount to one-third of its total GDP output. Such sanctions are nothing less than a U.S.-imposed and UN-approved act of war against the North Korean people.
Make no mistake, the demonization of North Korean President Kim Jon-un, as with U.S. imperialism's demonization of the presidents of Iraq, Libya and Syria, coupled with the invention of various pretexts to justify war and invasion, cannot be dismissed as the idle bluster of a rouge racist, sexist and warmongering president. 
Trump is not the first U.S. president to threaten North Korea with nuclear war. Presidents Obama, Clinton and others before them have done the same, albeit with more "diplomatic" or "presidential" language employed to cast a veneer of civility or rationality over U.S. foreign policy as compared to the crude imagery that would-be strongman Trump believes is a requirement when U.S. imperial interests are at stake. And U.S. long-term imperial interests in North Korea, as with Iraq and Libya, are real, with estimates of its vast and largely untapped natural resource and mineral wealth in the range of  $6 to $10 trillion according to the June 29, 2017 Business Insider. (See http://www.businessinsider. com/north-korea-stockpile- minerals-worth-trillions-2017- 6?international=true&r=US&IR=T ).

Trump, and Obama before him, preside over an unprecedented militarized state, with as many as 1,000 foreign military bases. The U.S. is engaged in simultaneous wars in seven nations as well as covert wars, sanction wars, secret "special operation" wars, and drone wars. 

President Obama approved one $trillion to update, over a period of 30 years, the U.S. nuclear weapons program, which already boasts 5,000 nuclear warheads. The annual U.S. war budget exceeds the combined military expenditures of most of the rest of the world.

Today's Hydrogen or H-bombs have a destructive power that exceeds by a factor of 5,000 the atomic bombs that were exploded by the U.S. over Hiroshima and Nagasaki 72 years ago, almost to the day. Scientists at that time warned that just 10 such bombs, hypothetically launched by the USSR in key urban areas across the U.S., would obliterate the majority of the population, not to mention bring on a life-destroying multiple hundred-years "nuclear winter," while reducing the country to an uninhabitable radioactive nightmare.

Yet this insanity is today routinely contemplated by U.S. imperialism's chief representatives, whether they be Bill Clinton, Barack Obama or today, Donald Trump – none of whom have declared that the use of these doomsday weapons is unthinkable.

Indeed, U.S. President Harry Truman, a "civilized" president from middle class lineage, authorized the dropping of the two A-bombs, nick-named "little boy" and "fat man," on Japan in 1945. 250,000 people, almost all civilians, were incinerated.

What is left out of today's U.S. warmongering hyperbole is the colonial history of Korea itself, including the U.S. post-WWII occupation where the vast majority of people in what became North and South Korea, opposed the U.S. occupier's slaughter of the social forces allied with the Korean Communist Party/Workers Party of Korea, who allied with the Soviet Union to defeat the Japanese occupation. 

During the Korean war, the U.S. and its allies may have killed as many as one-third of the Korean population and destroyed the bulk of the buildings in the country. 

Today, the US maintains a force of tens of thousands of troops in South Korea; it has installed Thaad missiles and conducts joint nuclear-armed military exercises in the region twice a year.  The DPRK justly sees these as practice for a U.S. invasion.   

As in Vietnam, where the ten-year U.S. war cost the lives of four million Vietnamese, the U.S. is today threatening yet another genocidal war, this time against North Korea, a nation that has never invaded another country. The United National Antiwar Coalition stands opposed to all U.S. wars and threats of war.

We call upon all peace and social justice groups to organize emergency actions against the U.S. war drive.  Please see a list of actions being organized and add your own action by going here: http://nepajac.org/ koreaevents.htm.

UNAC demands:
U.S. Hands Off North Korea!
The Immediate and Total Nuclear Disarmament of the U.S. War Machine as a Prelude to the Abolition of All Nuclear Weapons! 
No to U.S. Military Exercises Against North Korea and China!
No to the U.S. Military "Pivot to Asia"!
Remove THAAD Missiles and U.S. Bases from So. Korea!

Please contribute to UNAC:  https://www.unacpeace.org/donate.html
If your organization would like to join the UNAC coalition, please click here: https://www.unacpeace.org/join.html

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Have Black Lives Ever Mattered?


Have Black Lives Ever Mattered? (City Lights Open Media)
By Mumia Abu-Jamal
A Book Review by Robert Fantina

With the recent acquittal of two more police officers in the deaths of unarmed Black men, the question posed by the title of this book is as relevant as it ever was. Through a series of concise, clear essays, Mumia Abu-Jamal details the racism against Blacks, comparing today's behaviors with the lynchings that were common in the south prior to the decade of the sixties. He points out the obvious: The passage of Civil Rights legislation hasn't changed much; it simply changed the way racism operates.

The ways in which the white establishment has worked to oppress Blacks is astounding. After the Civil War, when slavery was no longer legal, "whites realized that the combination of trumped-up legal charges and forced labor as punishment created both a desirable business proposition and an incredibly effective tool for intimidating rank-and-file emancipated African Americans and doing away with their most effective leaders."

Abu-Jamal states that, today, "where once whites killed and terrorized from beneath a KKK hood, now they now did so openly from behind a little badge." He details the killing of Black men and women in the U.S. with almost complete impunity.

There are two related issues Abu-Jamal discusses. The first is the rampant racism that enables the police to kill unarmed Blacks, as young as 12 years old, for no reason, and the second is the "justice" system that allows them to get away with it.

One shocking crime, amid countless others, occurred in Cleveland, Ohio. In 2012; a police officer was acquitted in the deaths of two, unarmed Blacks, after leaping onto the hood of their car and firing 15 rounds from his semi-automatic rifle into the car's occupants. That is 137 shots, at point blank range, into the bodies of two unarmed people.

If this were an anomaly, it would be barbaric, but it is not: it is common practice for the police to kill unarmed Blacks, and, on the rare occasions that they are charged with a crime, for the judges and juries to acquit them.

In the U.S., Black citizens are disproportionally imprisoned. With for-profit prisons on the rise, this injustice will only increase.

Abu-Jamal relates story after story with the same plot, and only the names are different. An unarmed Black man is stopped by the police for any of a variety of reasons ranging from trivial (broken tail light), to more significant (suspect in a robbery). But too often, the outcome is the same: the Black man is dead and the police officer who killed him, more often than not white, is either not charged, or acquitted after being charged.

The Black Lives Matter movement formed to combat this blatant injustice, but it will be an uphill battle. As Abu-Jamal says, "Police serve the ownership and wealth classes of their societies, not the middling or impoverished people. For the latter, it is quite the reverse." As a result, people of color suffer disproportionately, too often winding up on the wrong side of a gun.

What is to be done? Abu-Jamal refers to the writings of Dr. Huey P. Newton, who calls not for community policing, but for community control of the police. Abu-Jamal argues forcefully for a new movement, "driven by commitment, ethics, intelligence, solidarity, and passions; for without passion, the embers may dim and die."

Have Black Lives Ever Mattered? is powerful, disturbing, well-written, and an important book for our day.

Robert Fantina is the author of Empire, Racism and Genocide: A History of U.S. Foreign Policy. His articles on foreign policy, most frequently concerning Israel and Palestine, have appeared in such venues as Counterpunch and WarIsaCrime.org.
New York Journal of Books, July 2017

http://www.nyjournalofbooks.com/book-review/Black-lives

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Haiti: Stop the Repression. 
No impunity. NO NEW ARMY
 The people of Haiti need our solidarity in the face of the increasing violence of the fraudulently imposed government of Jovenel Moise

Thursday July 14, 2017, in Petionville, Haiti, near Port-au-Prince, a young book vendor was shot to death by a police officer in front of horrified witnesses. The police used tear gas and batons against a crowd outraged by the murder and the quick, forcible removal of the body in a perceived attempt at a cover up. This is the latest of recent extra-judicial killings by the Haitian police and paramilitary forces.

The brutal killing occurred as the occupation government of Jovenel Moise, installed in the fraudulent elections of November 2016, is pushing to restore the brutal and corrupt Haitian military, which was disbanded by then-President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 1995. Moise has stated that he wants the Army back within two years. Haitians remember the US-supported bloody rampage by former members of this army that claimed thousands of lives during the period of the 2004 coup d'etat against the elected government. The US/UN forces and occupation governments subsequently integrated many of these killers into the Haitian police and government paramilitary units.  

This announcement takes place at a volatile moment in Haitian society. The Haitian police and other government paramilitary forces, accompanied by UN occupation forces, have carried out criminal attacks against protesting teachers, students, factory workers, market women, street vendors and others who are victims of government extortion, theft of land, money and merchandise.

On July 10 - 12, 2017, during three days of peaceful protest for an increase in the minimum wage, Haitian police attacked the workers from the industrial park in Port-au-Prince with tear gas, batons and cannons shooting a liquid skin irritant. One of the beaten workers is a woman who had recently returned to work from giving birth.

·      On June 12, the government-appointed rector of the Haitian State University used his car to hit and run over a protesting university student. The government prosecutor has ignored the complaint filed by the students against the rector and is instead pursuing the victim's colleagues in a blatant attempt to harass and intimidate them. 

·      In May 2017, units of the Haitian police and paramilitary forces again attacked the people of Arcahaie protesting the government's plan to remove the main revenue-generating district from the community, located about 30 miles northwest of Port-au-Prince.

·      In May 2017, a food vendor in Petionville was killed after he was deliberately hit and run over by a car of the municipal paramilitary forces according to outraged witnesses.

 ·      On March 20th, 2017, police officers were videotaped shooting at the car carrying President Aristide and Fanmi Lavalas presidential candidate Dr. Maryse Narcisse as they returned from court. The police officers were reportedly observed returning to the national palace; there was no condemnation of this blatant assassination attempt by the government.

Adding a newly organized Haitian Army to this mix is a sign that the Haitian government is planning on more repression. The Haitian military's purpose was to protect Haitian dictatorships and to attack any challenges by the Haitian people.  Whether under the Duvalier dictatorships from 1957-1986 or when the military overthrew the democratically elected Aristide government in 1991, leading to the killing of over 5000 people, the military has been a central anti-democratic institution in Haitian society. When then-President Aristide disbanded the narco-trafficking Haitian military in 1995, the Army was eating up 40% of the national budget in a country with fewer than two doctors per 10,000 people.

Now this infamous military is being restored just as the United Nations is said to begin a staged withdrawal of its troops. This is similar to what happened following the U.S. occupation of Haiti from 1915-1934, a period in which 20,000 Haitians were killed. As the U.S. forces withdrew, they left in place a neo-colonial army with Haitian faces to do their bidding and continue the repression of popular discontent.

Haitians are saying NO to the restoration of an additional repressive military force.  They are demanding an end to police terror and an end to impunity.  We join their call.

E-mail and phone-in campaign to:

·       Say No to the Restoration of the brutal Haitian military
·       Hold the US and UN occupation accountable for the terror campaign by the Haitian    police and security forces they train and supervise.
·       Say No to impunity for police terror in Haiti

Contact:
-  US State Department: HaitiSpecialCoordinator@state.gov
-  Your Member of Congress: 202-224 3121
- UN Mission in Haiti: minustah-info@un.org

Sent by Haiti Action Committee
@HaitiAction1 and on FACEBOOK

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Bay Area United Against War Newsletter

Table of Contents:


A) EVENTS, ACTIONS 
AND ONGOING STRUGGLES

B) ARTICLES IN FULL


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A) EVENTS, ACTIONS AND ONGOING STRUGGLES


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MILLIONS FOR PRISONERS HUMAN RIGHTS MARCH ON WASHINGTON - AUGUST 19, 2017






Millions For Prisoners Human Rights march and rally, Washington, DC, August 19, 2017
March participants are asked to meet at Freedom Plaza, located at the corner of 14th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW at 11:00 am, but may arrive as early as 9 am. The March will begin promptly at 11:30 am from Freedom Plaza to Lafayette Park where the Rally will begin at 12 noon and will continue until 5. Individuals who are unable to participate in the Marching demonstration can go straight to Lafayette Square, directly north of the White House on H Street, Pennsylvania Avenue NW and 16th Street NW. 
Millions for Prisoners Human Rights core demands for Action:

A) We DEMAND the 13th amendment ENSLAVEMENT CLAUSE of the United States Constitution be amended to abolish LEGALIZED slavery in America.

B) We DEMAND a Congressional hearing on the 13th Amendment ENSLAVEMENT CLAUSE being recognized as in violation of international law, the general principles of human rights and its direct links to:
  1. Private entities exploiting prison labor
  2. Companies overcharging prisoners for goods and services
  3. Private entities contracted by states/federal government to build and operate prisons. This would also include immigration detentions
  4. Racial disparities in America's prison population and sentencing
  5. Policing: the disproportionate (unaccountable) killings by police in the black and brown communities
  6. Felony Disenfranchisement laws
  7. Immigration and Customs Enforcement 34,000 detention quotas
  8. Producing the world largest prison population

There are multiple ways to get from Union Station to Freedom Plaza and Lafayette Park. The easiest way might be to walk or take a metrobus or train. Please visit WMATA to find the best option. Cars and other vehicles can utilize Union Station Parking Garage, 30 Massachusetts Ave NE, Washington, DC 20002. Buses can utilize Union Station – Bus & RV, 1st St NE, Washington, DC 20002. For specific parking fee information and to make reservations please visit https://www.ecolonial.com/

Supporters across the nation are planning solidarity events to coincide with the Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March on August 19th in Washington. Thus far events are being held in Riverside CA, San Jose CA, Asheville NC, Montgomery AL, Carrabelle FL, Kansas City MO, St Louis MO, Albuquerque NM, Duluth MN and Omaha NE. 

Visit iamweubuntu.com to stay connected or get involved.

LOC's (Local Organizing Committees) are being established in cities all throughout the country to bring awareness and promote the March on Washington!
Additional Support is need in the following areas:
– Lawyers – Legal Observer – Lobbyist – Public Relations – Event Planners – Fundraisers
Please contact us if you want to support us in these or other areas:
Email: millionsforprisonersmarch@gmail.com
Tel.: 803-220-4553
Website: www.iamweubuntu.com
Facebook: Facebook.com/groups/MillionsforPrisonersMarch/
Twitter: Twitter.com/milli4prisoners
Address:
iamWE
P.O Box 58201
Raleigh NC 27658​

Update 6-24-2017:
More details here.


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CODEPINK Fall Action at Creech:  
Oct. 5 to Oct. 12    (All welcome!)
(Oct. 7 is the 16th Anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan)

SHUT DOWN CREECH: Spring 2018: Apr. 8-14.  (National Mass Mobilization to Resist Killer Drones)


(Thanks to Sandy Turner, from Ukiah, CA, for sharing this link!)

The Pentagon and CIA now have Brett Velicovich, their own drone veteran and CEO of an "online drone retail store" (Dronepire, Inc. and Expert Drones) , to glorify drone killing. Shameful that NPR couldn't ask the very difficult and important questions.  Lots of public education is needed to help people separate fact from fiction!

Would love for someone to do research on this guy!

Please listen to this interview (filled with misinformation), and consider joining us at Creech in the fall and/or spring to be a voice against the slaughter.  
(Dates below).

Life As A 'Drone Warrior'


NPR interview "with Brett Velicovich about his memoir, Drone Warrior, which details his time hunting and killing alleged terrorists using drones in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places."


http://www.cbsnews.com/news/drone-warrior-author-brett-velicovich-hunting-terrorists/


PS:  We should have a massive letter writing and phone calling to NPR for this totally biased and dangerous misrepresentation!


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SIGN THE PETITION: DROP THE CHARGES AGAINST REALITY WINNER

https://couragetoresist.org/drop-charges-reality-winner/

Jun 8, 2017
Department of Justice:
Drop the changes against Ms. Reality L. Winner, the defense contractor who allegedly shared with the media evidence of attacks against US election systems by foreign agents. This information should not have been classified. Ms. Winner's prosecution appears politically motivated.
Courage to Resist will attempt to keep signers of the Reality Winners petition up-to-date with periodic news and alerts from her family and attorney. You will be able to opt out at any time.

WHY ALLEGED WHISTLE-BLOWER REALITY WINNER DESERVES SUPPORT

BY JEFF PATERSON, COURAGE TO RESIST. JUNE 8, 2017

Reality Winner is a 25-year-old Air Force veteran who was arrested in Augusta, Georgia on June 3rd. She allegedly released classified NSA documents to The Intercept, which were the basis for a story about Russian hacking efforts against US election systems leading up to last year's presidential election. Reality is currently in the Lincoln County Jail in Georgia, and faces up to ten years in prison.
Reality Winner—yes, that is her given legal name—did the right thing, and she should be defended.
Reality allegedly leaked information regarding attempted interference in an election, tampering that many believe assisted in Donald Trump's presidential win—despite earning nearly four million fewer votes than Hillary Clinton. The documents published by The Interceptonly confirm earlier accounts of US election hacking attempts and, given the current administration's extreme antagonisms against facts, the release of these documents was clearly in the public interest. Like the vast majority of government documents that are hidden from public view, these reports should have been declassified by now anyway.
Now Trump's own Department of Justice has targeted Reality. It's a sinister move, but on the other hand, simply a continuation Obama's unprecedented zeal in prosecuting whistle-blowers. Trump inherited an atrocious War on Leaks, and Reality is the latest victim of that war. Her arrest is a signal to the world, and the four million other Americans with access to classified information: Only sanctioned leaks benefiting the government will be tolerated.
There's a striking hypocrisy to Trump's crackdown. Less than a month ago the President was criticized for carelessly leaking classified information to Russian officials during a White House meeting. We now know this information concerned a bomb that is being developed by ISIS. This is standard operating procedure: lawmakers have no issue leaking classified information if it somehow furthers their interest, but they aggressively prosecute citizens who expose actual wrongdoing.
I believe that Reality Winner's possible actions should be understood within the context of recent heroic whistleblowing. Shortly before leaving office, Barack Obama commuted the remaining sentence of US Army soldier Chelsea Manning, who was facing 27 more years in prison for exposing war crimes and corruption. Edward Snowden, who leaked information about our government's massive spying program, was granted asylum in Russia but faces espionage charges back home. Just like Manning, it seems that Reality was able to see the inner workings of the United States' war machine.
She served in the Air Force from 2013 until early this year, working as a linguist. Like Snowden, she would have had a better view than most as to how our security state works. Up until last week, she was a military defense contractor with the Pluribus International Corporation in the suburbs outside of Augusta, Georgia, and had Top Secret security clearance.
The US government has spent tens of millions of dollars in better auditing capabilities since the disclosures by Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden. Those that would rather keep the public in the dark as to what their government is doing with their tax dollars and in their name, have redoubled their efforts to identify whistle-blowers much more quickly. Winner's arrest was facilitated by the government's increased ability to more easily identify the relatively small number of people that recently accessed documents in question as well as the yellow-colored, nearly-invisible micro dots that most color printers today use to include a printer's serial number and time stamp on each printed page. This appears to have contributed to the focus on Reality Winner.
Reality is expected to plead not guilty to charges against her today. We don't know exactly why she allegedly released the NSA documents to the press, but we do have some insight into her views about the world. Her social media accounts show a woman who, like a clear majority of Americans, is critical of Donald Trump. She has also voiced support for Edward Snowden, and opposition to the US fabricating a reason to attack Iran.
According to The Intercept, [Winner's leak] "ratchets up the stakes of the ongoing investigations into collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives . . . If collusion can ultimately be demonstrated – a big if at this point – then the assistance on Russia's part went beyond allegedly hacking email to serve a propaganda campaign, and bled into an attack on U.S. election infrastructure itself."
We are talking about a potentially monumental story that might require prosecutions, but Reality Winner shouldn't be the one who ends up in jail. While the details of the story continue to unfold, by all indications she deserves our support, and the release of these documents should be celebrated.

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Solidarity Statement from the California Coalition for Women Prisoners

Friends,

CCWP sent the solidarity statement below expressing support with the hunger strikers at the Northwest County Detention Center (NWDC) in Tacoma Washington, one of the largest immigration prisons in the country.  People at NWDC, including many women, undertook the hunger strike starting at the beginning of April 2017 to protest the horrendous conditions they are facing.  Although the peak of the hunger strike was a few weeks ago, the strikers set a courageous example of resistance for people in detention centers and prisons around the country. 

Here is a link to a Democracy Now! interview with Maru Villalpando of Northwest Detention Center Resistance (http://www.nwdcresistance.org/) and Alexis Erickson, partner of one of the hunger strikers, Cristian Lopez.
For live updates, visit: 

California Coalition for Women Prisoners Statement

California Coalition for Women Prisoners (CCWP) stands in solidarity with the hunger strikers, many of them women, detained by ICE at the Northwest Detention Center (NWDC), a private prison operated by the GEO group contracted by ICE in Washington state.  We applaud the detainees at NORCOR, a county jail in rural Oregon, who recently won their demands after sustaining six days without meals. 

Since April 10th, those detained in NWDC have refused meals to demand changes to the abhorrent conditions of their detention, including poor quality food, insufficient medical care, little to no access to family visits, legal counsel or legal documents, and lack of timely court proceedings. Hunger strikes are a powerful method of resistance within prisons that require commitment and courage from prisoners and their families. We have seen this historically in California when tens-of-thousands of prisoners refused meals to protest solitary confinement in 2011 and 2013, and also currently in Palestine where over 1,500 prisoners are on hunger strike against the brutal conditions of Israeli prisons. 

As the Trump administration continues to escalate its attacks on Latinx/Chicanx and Arab/Muslim communities, deportations and detentions serve as strategies to control, remove, and erase people—a violence made possible in a context of inflamed xenophobia and increasingly visible and virulent racism. We stand with the families of those detained as well as organizations and collectives on the ground in Washington State struggling to expose the situation inside these facilities as well as confront the escalating strategies of the Trump administration.

CCWP recognizes the common struggle for basic human dignity and against unconstitutional cruel and inhumane treatment that people of color and immigrants face in detention centers, jails, and prisons across the United States. We also sadly recognize from our work with people in women's prisons the retaliatory tactics such as prison transfers and solitary confinement that those who fight oppression face. Similar abuses continue to occur across California at all of its prisons and  detention centers, including the GEO-run women's prison in McFarland, California.. CCWP sends love and solidarity to the hunger strikers in the Northwest. Together we can break down the walls that tear our families and communities apart. ¡ya basta! #Ni1Más #Not1More

    Northwest Detention Center Press Release May 4, 2017

Despite threats and retaliation, hunger strikers continue protest 

ICE ignores demands for improved conditions 

Tacoma, Washington/The Dalles, Oregon—Immigrants held at ICE facilities in two states—the Northwest Detention Center (NWDC), run by GEO Group, and NORCOR, a rural public jail—continued their hunger strike today, despite growing weakness from lack of food. The exponential growth of immigration detention has led ICE to contract the function of detaining immigrants out to both private prison companies and to county governments, with both treating immigrants as a source of profit. ICE has been using NORCOR as "overflow" detention space for immigrants held at NWDC, and is regularly transferring people back and forth from the NWDC to NORCOR. People held at NORCOR have limited access to lawyers and to the legal documents they need to fight and win their deportation cases. They are often transferred back to NWDC only for their hearings, then shipped back to NORCOR, where they face terrible conditions. Jessica Campbell of the Rural Organizing Project affirmed, "No one deserves to endure the conditions at NORCOR—neither the immigrants ICE is paying to house there, nor the people of Oregon who end up there as part of criminal processes. It's unsafe for everyone."

The strike began on April 10th, when 750 people at the NWDC began refusing meals. The protest spread to NORCOR this past weekend. Maru Mora Villalpando of NWDC Resistance confirmed, "It's very clear from our contact with people inside the facilities and with family members of those detained that the hunger strike continues in both Oregon and Washington State." She continued, "The question for us is, how will ICE assure that the abuses that these whistle-blowing hunger strikers have brought to light are addressed?"

From the beginning of the protest, instead of using the strike as an opportunity to look into the serious concerns raised by the hunger strikers, ICE and GEO have both denied the strike is occurring and retaliated against strikers. Hunger strikers have been transferred to NORCOR in retaliation for their participation. One person who refused transfer to NORCOR was put in solitary confinement. Just this week, hunger striking women have been threatened with forced feeding—a practice that is recognized under international law to be torture. In an attempt to break their spirit, hunger strikers have been told the strike has been ineffective and that the public is ignoring it.

Hunger striker demands terrible conditions inside detention center be addressed—including the poor quality of the food, the dollar-a-day pay, and the lack of medical care. They also call for more expedited court proceedings and the end of transfers between detention facilities.   Hunger strikers consistently communicate, "We are doing this for our families." Despite their incredibly oppressive conditions, locked away and facing deportation in an immigration prison in the middle of an industrial zone and in a rural county jail, hunger strikers have acted collectively and brought national attention to the terrible conditions they face and to the ongoing crisis of deportations, conditions the U.S. government must address.Latino Advocacy

Maru Mora Villalpando
For live updates, visit: 
News mailing list: News@womenprisoners.org

Activist Goes on Hunger Strike Outside the Northwest Detention Center
Maru Mora Villalpando Joins the Tacoma 12 and Adelanto 9 in Calling for an End to Human Rights Abuses in Immigrant Detention

Tacoma, WA - On Monday, June 19th, Maru Mora Villalpando, member of the NWDC Resistance, will begin  a hunger strike to call attention to the plight of up to 1,600 immigrants held in detention suffering human rights abuses at the Northwest Detention Center (NWDC). On June 15, 2017, at least a dozen detainees went on hunger strike to call attention to inhumane detention conditions, refusing to eat for multiple days. By June 18, NWDC Resistance organizers received reports that more than 25 hunger strikers are calling on GEO Group to provide edible, nutritious food, on ICE to provide fair and timely hearings, and on civil society to step up and take action for the injustices in our communities. In response, Maru Mora Villalpando is going on hunger strike, and is joined by other members of civil society who are stepping up their solidarity.

As hunger strikers on the inside are discussing ceasing their strike on the inside, Maru will keep the hunger strike continuous by holding space on the outside. A female hunger striker in detention said: "I feel more deteriorated every day, more bad, more worse, because of what we are living through and what we are seeing inside. What we are suffering is horrible, horrible. Here they don't care what conditions we are living in… they don't care about anything." To listen to her story, go to: http://bit.ly/2sIyXzZ

GEO Group's human rights abuses are not a case of "bad apples." Just this week, GEO employees have refused to complete basic maintenance, such as repairing a broken air conditioner when projected temperatures are expected to reach 78 degrees. Likewise, people in detention have noted repeated problems with incorrect medications resulting in hospital visits, suicide attempts, and inadequate access to medical treatment -- even in diagnosed cases of malignant cancers.

There are also 9 asylum seekers on hunger strike at the GEO-owned Adelanto Detention Facility in Southern California. Rather than releasing asylum seekers pending their hearing, they were subjected to further trauma -- pepper spray, beating and solitary confinement. The #Adelanto9 continue on hunger strike to call attention to these blatant human rights abuses, meaning that people inside and outside detention centers are on hunger strike throughout the West Coast.

Call to Action: Hunger strikers and solidarity supporters are holding down a 24-7 encampment outside the Northwest Detention Center. Please join them to show people held in detention that they are not alone, and the state of Washington will no longer tolerate human rights abuses!

For live updates on the #Tacoma12 and solidarity hunger strikes, visithttps://www.facebook.com/ NWDCResistance/.

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NWDC Resistance is a volunteer community group that emerged to fight deportations in 2014 at the now-infamous Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, WA. NWDC Resistance is part of the #Not1More campaign and supported people detained who organized hunger strikes asking for a halt to all deportations and better treatment and conditions.

Contact: Maru Mora Villalpando, (206) 251 6658, maru@latinoadvocacy.org


#Tacoma12     #Adelanto9     #Not1More      #NoEstánSolos

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Labor Studies and Radical History

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

415.387.5700

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

Hours

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

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

Services

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

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Support:




CONTRIBUTE 
Thank you for being a part of this struggle.

Cuando luchamos ganamos! When we fight we win!

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

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

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

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


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

  • Ashley Nellis, The Sentencing Project's senior research analyst and author of Still Life: America's Increasing Use of Life and Long-Term Sentences
  • Evans Ray, whose life without parole sentence was commuted in 2016 by President Obama
  • Steve Zeidman, City University of New York law professor and counsel for Judith Clark—a New York prisoner who received a 75 year to life sentence in 1983
The full report will be available to press on Wednesday morning via email.

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

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When they knock on your front door: Preparing for Repression

BAY AREA ANTI-REPRESSION COMMITTEE

When they knock on your front door: Preparing for Repression
 BY 

Mothers Message to the NY/NJ Activist Community 

In order to effectively combat the existing opportunism, hidden agendas and to better provide ALL genuinely good willed social justice organizations and individuals who work inside of the New York and New Jersey metropolitan areas... with more concrete guidelines; 

The following "10 Point Platform and Justice Wish List" was adopted on Saturday, May 13, 2017    during the "Motherhood: Standing Strong 4 Justice" pre-mothers day gathering which was held     at Hostos Community College - Bronx, New York.......

"What We Want, What We Need" 

May, 2017 - NY/NJ Parents 10 Point Justice Platform and Wish List 

Point #1 - Lawyers and Legal Assistance:  Due to both the overwhelming case loads and impersonal nature of most public defenders, the Mothers believe that their families are receiving limited options, inadequate legal advise and therefore; WE WANT and NEED for community activists to help us in gaining access to experienced "pro-bono" and/or activist attorneys as well as the free resources provided by non-profit social justice and legal advocacy groups.

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Point #2 - First Response Teams: The Mothers felt that when their loved ones were either killed or captured by the police that they were left in the hands of the enemy and without any support, information or direction on how to best move forward and therefore; WE WANT and NEED community activists to help us develop independently community controlled & trained first response teams in every borough or county that can confirm and be on the ground within 24 hours of any future incident.

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Point #3 - Security and Support At Court Appearances: The Mothers all feel that because community activist support eventually becomes selective and minimal, that they are disrespected by both the courthouse authorities, mainstream media and therefore;   WE WANT and NEED community activists to collectively promote and make a strong presence felt at all court appearances and; To always provide trained security & legal observers... when the families are traveling to, inside and from the court house.

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Point #4 - Emotional/Spiritual Healing and Grief and Loss Counseling: After the protest rallies, demonstrations, justice marches and television cameras are gone the Mothers all feel alone and abandoned and therefore;                                                                             WE WANT and NEED for community activists to refer/help provide the families with clergy, professional therapy & cultural outlets needed in order to gain strength to move forward. 

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Point #5 -  Parents Internal Communication Network: The Mothers agreed as actual victims, that they are the very best qualified in regards to providing the needed empathy and trust for an independent hotline & contact resource for all of the parents and families who want to reach out to someone they can mutually trust that is able understand what they are going through and therefore;           WE WANT and NEED for community activists to help us in providing a Parents Internal Communication Network to reach that objective.

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Point #6 -  Community Offices and Meeting Spaces: The Mothers agreed that there is an extreme need for safe office spaces where community members and family victims are able to go to for both confidential crisis intervention and holding organizing meetings and therefore;                                                                                                                                                                                                 WE WANT and NEED for community activists to help us in securing those safe spaces inside of our own neighborhoods.   

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Point #7 - Political Education Classes and Workshop Training: The Mothers agreed in implementing the "each one, teach one"   strategy and therefore;                                                                                                                                                                                         WE WANT and NEEDfor community activists to help us in being trained as educators and organizers in Know Your Rights, Cop Watch, First Response, Emergency Preparedness & Community Control over all areas of public safety & the police in their respective neighborhoods.

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Point #8 - Support From Politicians and Elected Officials: The Mothers believe that most political candidates and incumbent elected officials selectively & unfairly represent only those cases which they think to be politically advantageous to their own selfish personal success on election day and therefore;                                                                                                                                WE WANT and NEED for community activists to help us in either publicly exposing or endorsing these aforementioned political candidates and/or elected officials to their constituents solely based upon the uncompromising principles of serving the people.

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Point #9 - Research and Documentation: The Mothers believe that research/case studies, surveys, petitions, historical archives, investigative news reporting and events should be documented and made readily available in order to counter the self-serving  police misinformation promoted by the system and therefore;                                                                                                                          WE WANT and NEED for community activists to help us by securing college/university students, law firms, film makers, authors, journalists and professional research firms to find, document & tell the people the truth about police terror & the pipeline to prison.

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Point #10 - Grassroots Community Outreach and Information: The Mothers believe that far too much attention is being geared towards TV camera sensationalism with the constant organizing of marches & rallies "downtown"  and therefore; WE WANT and NEED for community activists to provide a fair balance by helping us to build in the schools, projects, churches and inside of the subway trains and stations of our Black, brown and oppressed communities where the majority of the police terror is actually taking place. 



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My Heartfelt "Thank You!"

By Mumia Abu-Jamal

Several days ago I received a message from both of our lawyers, Bob Boyle and Bret Grote, informing me that the latest lab tests came in from the Discovery Requests.  

And they told me that the Hepatitis C infection level is at zero and as of today I'm Hepatitis C free. 

This is in part due to some fine lawyering by Bret and Bob who—remember—filed the suit while I was in the throes of a diabetic coma, unconscious and thus unable to file for myself.  
But it's also due to you, the people.  Brothers and sisters who supported our efforts, who contributed to this fight with money, time, protests and cramming court rooms on our behalf, who sent cards, who prayed, who loved deeply.  

I can't thank you all individually but if you hear my voice or read my words know that I am thanking you, all of you. And I'm thanking you for showing once again the Power of the People. 

This battle ain't over, for the State's cruelest gift is my recent diagnosis of cirrhosis of the liver. With your love we shall prevail again.  I thank you all. Our noble Dr.'s Corey Weinstein, who told us what to look for, and Joseph Harris who gave me my first diagnosis and who became the star of the courtroom by making the mysteries of Hep C understandable to all.  An internist working up in Harlem, Dr. Harris found few thrills better than telling his many Hep C patients that they're cured.  

This struggle ain't just for me y'all. 

Because of your efforts thousands of Pennsylvania prisoners now have hope of healing from the ravages of Hepatitis C. [singing] "Let us march on 'til victory is won." So goes the old Negro Spiritual, "The Black National Anthem." 

We are making it a reality. I love you all.

From Prison Nation,
This is Mumia Abu-Jamal

Prison Radio, May 27, 2017

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Court order to disclose DA files in Mumia Abu-Jamal's legal case [video]

This 9-minute video gives background on new revelations about conflict of interest -- an appeals judge who had previously been part of the prosecution team -- in upholding the 1982 conviction of journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal on charges of killing a police officer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17Tp5NlllLU

A ruling to implement a judge's recent order for "discovery" could be made on May 30.

Judge Tucker granted discovery to Mumia Abu-Jamal pursuant to his claims brought under Williams v Pennsylvania that he was denied due process because his PA Supreme Court appeals from 1998-2008 were decided by Ronald Castille, who had previously been the District Attorney during Mumia's 1988 appeal from his conviction and death sentence, as well as having been a senior assistant district attorney during Mumia's trial.

The DA is given 30 days—until May 30, 2017—to produce all records and memos regarding Mumia's case, pre-trial, trial, post-trial and direct appeal proceedings between Castille and his staff and any public statement he made about it. Then Mumia has 15 days after receiving this discovery to file amendments to his PCRA petition.

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

This is a critical and essential step forward!

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Dear Friend,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for being a part of this work!

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Kevin "Rashid" Johnson Packed Off to Florida!

Rashid: I'm off to Florida and a new phase of reprisals for publicizing abuses in US prisons

July 14, 2017

Readers are urged to share this story widely and write to Rashid right away; mail equals support, and the more he gets, the safer he'll be: Kevin Johnson, O-158039, RMC, P.O. Box 628, Lake Butler FL 32054

by Kevin 'Rashid' Johnson
http://sfbayview.com/2017/07/rashid-im-off-to-florida-and-a-new-phase-of-reprisals-for-publicizing-abuses-in-us-prisons/

Packed off to Florida

Following Texas prison officials planting a weapon in my cell on March 26, 2017, then stealing most of my personal property on April 6, 2017, in an ongoing pattern of retaliation for and attempts to repress my writing and involvement in litigation exposing and challenging abuses in Texas prisons, including their killing prisoners, I was unceremoniously packed off to the Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) on June 22, 2017.
This transfer came as outside protests mounted against the abuses, and Texas officials became more and more entangled in a growing web of their own lies invented in their efforts to cover up and deny their reprisals against me, and also while a contempt investigation was imminent upon a motion I filed in a federal lawsuit brought by relatives of one of the prisoners they'd killed – a killing I'd witnessed and publicized.
Florida, notorious for its own extremely abusive prisons, readily signed on to take up Texas's slack. And being an openly corrupt system unaccustomed to concealing its dirt, FDC officials shot straight from the hip in expressing and carrying on efforts to repress and act out reprisals for my exposing and challenging prison abuses.

The Welcoming Committee

Following a four-hour flight from Texas to Florida, I was driven in a sweltering prison van from an airport just outside Jacksonville, Florida, to the FDC's Reception and Medical Center (RMC) in Lake Butler, Florida. I was forced to leave most all my personal property behind in Texas.
Upon reaching RMC, I was brought from the van, manacled hand and foot into an enclosed vehicle port, where I was met by a mob of white guards of all ranks. I was ordered to stand in a pair of painted yellow footprints on a concrete platform as the guards crowded around me.

I was ordered to stand in a pair of painted yellow footprints on a concrete platform as the guards crowded around me. "This is Florida, and we'll beat your ass! We'll kill you!" said the spokesman.

Their "chosen" spokesman, a tall goofy guard, R. Knight, stepped forward and launched into a speech consisting of threats and insults. He emphasized that I was "not in Virginia or wherever else" I'd been. That "this is Florida, and we'll beat your ass! We'll kill you!" He assured my "Black ass" that my tendency to protest "won't be tolerated here."
He went on and on, like an overseer explaining the plantation's code of decorum and the "place" to a newly arrived Black slave. The analogy is apt. "You will answer us only as 'no sir' and 'yes sir,' 'no ma'am' and 'yes ma'am.' You forget this and we'll kick your fucking teeth out," he barked.
I was then taken through the various stages of being "processed" in: fingerprinted, examined and questioned by medical staff etc. Knight took possession of my property and stole a number of documents and all my writing supplies (five writing tablets, four ink pens, 19 envelopes, stamps), all my hygiene supplies (deodorant, shampoo, two bars of soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, nail clippers) and so on.
All these items that I brought with me from Texas were inventoried and logged by Texas officials. Knight logged and inventoried me as receiving from him only my watch, some legal papers, 15 envelopes and my eyeglasses.
Next, I was taken into an office and sat before a Sgt. L. Colon, RMC's "gang (or STG, Security Threat Group) investigator." He proceeded in the same hostile terms. He explained that he knew all about me and his displeasure with my published articles about prison abuses, and he assured that FDC would put an end to it. He admitted his purpose was to put an STG profile on me, refer it to FDC's central office in Tallahassee to be upheld, and I would then be put on STG file, which in turn would be used to stop my writings.
He proceeded to ask about me being a "Black Panther leader" and, using a thoroughly amateur interrogation method, attempted to have me characterize myself and my party as a gang. When his efforts failed, he charged me with being a "bullshitter." I told him only that I am a member of a constitutionally protected, non-violent communist party and whatever false stigma he wanted to try and invent against me and us was typical of fascist governments and we'd address it publicly and in court. Our "interview" was terminated.

Another nurse did my medical history check, remarking that my blood pressure reading was extremely high, 145/103. Although she had all my medications sitting there in front of her, and I told her I had not received my dose that day, she refused to provide them and did nothing.

Upon arriving in Florida, I had not received my hypertension medications since the prior morning. The sweltering heat was aggravating my condition. During the intake process a routine blood pressure check was done and my reading was around 145/103. The nurse who did the reading passed me on to another nurse who did my medical history check, remarking that my reading was extremely high. Although she had all my medications sitting there in front of her, and I told her I had not received my dose that day, she refused to provide them and did nothing.

Barbaric housing

Following completing the intake process, I was walked a substantial distance across the prison yard carrying my bag of property in handcuffs and the sweltering midday heat, dizzy from my elevated blood pressure.
I was led to K-building, the solitary confinement unit, where I was put into a cell, K-3-102, which had no bunk in it and had a commode that had to be flushed by guards from outside the cell – often they would not flush it when it needed to be and I asked them to. The commode had otherwise been obviously left unflushed for long periods, because inside the bowl was and is a thick, yellowed layer of calcium and waste residue and it reeked of fermented urine and feces.
Just before I entered the cell, it was wet-mopped, not to sanitize it, but to cover the entire floor with water that would not, and did not, dry for over a day afterward due to the extreme humidity and lack of air circulation in the cells. There is no air conditioning in the cell blocks and, unlike in Texas, FDC prisoners may not have in-cell fans.
My cell was infested with ants which would find their way into my bed as I slept on the floor. I received numerous bites from them and I believe also roaches that frequently crawled into the cell. At night, in the pitch black cells – and even when the lights were on – mice and huge, two-inch-long cockroaches, along with the "regular" smaller breed of roaches, ran into and explored the cell.

My cell was infested with ants which would find their way into my bed as I slept on the floor. I received numerous bites from them. At night, even when the lights were on, mice and huge, two-inch-long cockroaches, along with the "regular" smaller breed of roaches, ran into and explored the cell.

The K-building lieutenant, Jason Livingston, posted a special note outside my cell door stating I was on a heightened security status, that I and the cell were to be specially searched any time I exited or entered the cell, that I was to be specially restrained and the ranking guards had to accompany me to and from any destination outside the cell. The pretense was that I was an extreme physical threat.
I was denied my hypertension medications until I briefly fell unconscious on the evening of June 24, 2017.
Following sending word out to an attorney and others about my conditions and experiences, who apparently raised complaints on my behalf, I was moved to a "regular" cell, K-1-204, on June 30, 2017, with a bunk and a commode I can flush. I was repeatedly confronted by various guards who've commented that I'm no dangerous person and they don't understand why I've been profiled or treated as though I am.
A week later FDC officials would come clean, exposing on the record their actual motives for my mistreatment, and "special" security status.

Solitary confinement for publicizing abuses

My readers and others will recall when, in January 2017, I was given a disciplinary infraction by Texas officials for a statement I wrote about suffering their abuses that was published online. When confronted about such retaliatory acts by a PBS reporter, Ms. Kamala Kelkar, TDCJ spokesman Jason Clark initially lied, denying that I received any such infractions, until Ms. Kelkar emailed him a copy of the charge I'd received. He then suddenly changed his story, lying yet again to claim the infraction had been overturned, then declined to answer any further questions.[i]
Clark knew enough to deny and try to cover up such acts of retaliation against a prisoner exercising his right to freedom of speech. Florida officials, however, have come right out admitting and exposing such actions.[ii]
On July 6, 2017, I was confronted by RMC classification officer Jeremy Brown, who notified me that I am to be formally reviewed for placement on Close Management I status, which is the FDC's name for solitary confinement. The reason he gave for this review was the exact STG pretext Sgt. L. Colon told me on my first day was going to be created to justify suppressing my writings about prison abuses.
Brown served me written notification stating my CMI review was based upon my alleged "documented leadership in a Security Threat Group that is certified by the Threat Assessment Review Committee in Central Office." Remember, this is the very same illegal basis upon which California prison officials were indefinitely throwing prisoners in solitary confinement which prompted three historic mass prisoner hunger strikes in 2011 and 2013 and was abolished upon the settlement of a class action lawsuit against the practice in 2015.

My assignment to solitary confinement is for "documented leadership in a Security Threat Group" … This is the very same illegal basis upon which California prison officials were indefinitely throwing prisoners in solitary confinement which prompted three historic mass prisoner hunger strikes in 2011 and 2013 and was abolished upon the settlement of a class action lawsuit against the practice in 2015.

But FDC officials went much further in supporting "comments" to state their true motives for devising to put me in solitary and for my mistreatment up to that point.
As Colon had threatened, an STG label was invented against the New Afrikan Black Panther Party, a party about which Colon admitted he and the FDC had no prior knowledge. The reason the party was designated an STG and gang was because (get this!) I'd written articles while in Oregon and Texas prison systems that were published online about abuses in the prisons which generated concern and perfectly legal protests from the public, which was characterized as my gang following that "caused disruption in the orderly operations" of the prisons.
The notice went on to admit, as I've long contended in my writings, that these writings are the actual reason I've been transferred from state to state – illegal retaliatory transfers – which was characterized as STG activities.
Passing mention was made that I'd received disciplinary infractions while in Oregon and Texas, but no attempt was made to show those infractions bore any connection to my party affiliation. In fact, those who have followed my writings and the series of official reprisals – which is now being admitted by FDC officials – know those infractions were fabricated retaliations, many of which I was prevented from contesting.
So, according to FDC officials, I am a confirmed gang leader because I publicize prison abuses through articles that are posted online and my gang members and followers are members of the public who read my articles and make complaints and inquiries of officials, which acts are characterized as presenting disruptions to prison operations – or in other words throwing a monkey wrench in their business-as-usual abuses.

According to FDC officials, I am a confirmed gang leader because I publicize prison abuses through articles that are posted online and my gang members and followers are members of the public who read my articles and make complaints and inquiries of officials, which acts are characterized as presenting disruptions to prison operations.

For this I am to be thrown into solitary, which means any future posting and publishing of writings by me about prison abuses will be characterized as my continuing to engage in STG or gang activities, and any legal public protests as my gang members threatening prison security.
I didn't make this up, it's all in writing; read it HERE (scroll down to "SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS"). This is where taxpayers' monies are going in financing these ubiquitous gang busting units. And should you protest, you will be labelled a gangster yourself. I won't belabor the point.
Dare to struggle, Dare to win!
All Power to the People!
[i] Kamala Kelkar, "Resistence Builds Against Social Media Ban in Texas Prisons," PBS NewsHour Weekend, Jan. 29, 2017, 5:23 p.m. EST
Send our brother some love and light – and share this urgent story widely. The more people who write to him now, the safer he'll be: Kevin Johnson, O-158039, RMC, 7765 S. Cr. 231, P.O. Box 628, Lake Butler FL 32054.

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Defying the Tomb: Selected Prison Writings and Art of Kevin "Rashid" Johnson featuring exchanges with an Outlaw Kindle Edition

by Kevin Rashid Johnson (Author), Tom Big Warrior (Introduction), Russell Maroon Shoatz(Introduction)

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Major Battles On
For over 31 years, Major Tillery has been a prisoner of the State.
Despite that extraordinary fact, he continues his battles, both in the prison for his health, and in the courts for his freedom.
Several weeks ago, Tillery filed a direct challenge to his criminal conviction, by arguing that a so-called "secret witness" was, in fact, a paid police informant who was given a get-out-of-jail-free card if he testified against Tillery.
Remember I mentioned, "paid?"
Well, yes--the witness was 'paid'--but not in dollars. He was paid in sex!
In the spring of 1984, Robert Mickens was facing decades in prison on rape and robbery charges. After he testified against Tillery, however, his 25-year sentence became 5 years: probation!
And before he testified he was given an hour and a ½ private visit with his girlfriend--at the Homicide Squad room at the Police Roundhouse. (Another such witness was given another sweetheart deal--lie on Major, and get off!)
To a prisoner, some things are more important than money. Like sex!
In a verified document written in April, 2016, Mickens declares that he lied at trial, after being coached by the DAs and detectives on the case.
He lied to get out of jail--and because he could get with his girl.
Other men have done more for less.
Major's 58-page Petition is a time machine back into a practice that was once common in Philadelphia.
In the 1980s and '90s, the Police Roundhouse had become a whorehouse.
Major, now facing serious health challenges from his hepatitis C infection, stubborn skin rashes, and dangerous intestinal disorders, is still battling.
And the fight ain't over.
[©'16 MAJ  6/29/16]
Major Tillery Needs Your Help and Support
Major Tillery is an innocent man. There was no evidence against Major Tillery for the 1976 poolroom shootings that left one man dead and another wounded. The surviving victim gave a statement to homicide detectives naming others—not Tillery or his co-defendant—as the shooters. Major wasn't charged until 1980, he was tried in 1985.
The only evidence at trial came from these jailhouse informants who were given sexual favors and plea deals for dozens of pending felonies for lying against Major Tillery. Both witnesses now declare their testimony was manufactured by the police and prosecution. Neither witness had personal knowledge of the shooting.
This is a case of prosecutorial misconduct and police corruption that goes to the deepest levels of rot in the Philadelphia criminal injustice system. Major Tillery deserves not just a new trial, but dismissal of the charges against him and his freedom from prison.
It cost a lot of money for Major Tillery to be able to file his new pro se PCRA petition and continue investigation to get more evidence of the state misconduct. He needs help to get lawyers to make sure this case is not ignored. Please contribute, now.

HOW YOU CAN HELP
    Financial Support: Tillery's investigation is ongoing, to get this case filed has been costly and he needs funds for a legal team to fight this to his freedom!
    Go to JPay.com;
    code: Major Tillery AM9786 PADOC
    Tell Philadelphia District Attorney
    Seth Williams:
    Free Major Tillery! He is an innocent man, framed by police and and prosecution.
    Call: 215-686-8711 or

    Write to:
    Major Tillery AM9786
    SCI Frackville
    1111 Altamont Blvd.
    Frackville, PA 17931

      For More Information, Go To: Justice4MajorTillery/blogspot
      Call/Write:
      Rachel Wolkenstein, Esq. (917) 689-4009RachelWolkenstein@gmail.com





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      Commute Kevin Cooper's Death Sentence

      Sign the Petition:
      http://www.savekevincooper.org/pages/petition.php


      Urge Gov. Jerry Brown to commute Kevin Cooper's death sentence. Cooper has always maintained his innocence of the 1983 quadruple murder of which he was convicted. In 2009, five federal judges signed a dissenting opinion warning that the State of California "may be about to execute an innocent man." Having exhausted his appeals in the US courts, Kevin Cooper's lawyers have turned to the Inter American Commission on Human Rights to seek remedy for what they maintain is his wrongful conviction, and the inadequate trial representation, prosecutorial misconduct and racial discrimination which have marked the case. Amnesty International opposes all executions, unconditionally.

      "The State of California may be about to execute an innocent man." - Judge William A. Fletcher, 2009 dissenting opinion on Kevin Cooper's case

      Kevin Cooper has been on death row in California for more than thirty years.

      In 1985, Cooper was convicted of the murder of a family and their house guest in Chino Hills. Sentenced to death, Cooper's trial took place in an atmosphere of racial hatred — for example, an effigy of a monkey in a noose with a sign reading "Hang the N*****!" was hung outside the venue of his preliminary hearing.

      Take action to see that Kevin Cooper's death sentence is commuted immediately.

      Cooper has consistently maintained his innocence.

      Following his trial, five federal judges said: "There is no way to say this politely. The district court failed to provide Cooper a fair hearing."

      Since 2004, a dozen federal appellate judges have indicated their doubts about his guilt.

      Tell California authorities: The death penalty carries the risk of irrevocable error. Kevin Cooper's sentence must be commuted.

      In 2009, Cooper came just eight hours shy of being executed for a crime that he may not have committed. Stand with me today in reminding the state of California that the death penalty is irreversible — Kevin Cooper's sentence must be commuted immediately.

      In solidarity,

      James Clark
      Senior Death Penalty Campaigner
      Amnesty International USA

        Kevin Cooper: An Innocent Victim of Racist Frame-Up - from the Fact Sheet at: www.freekevincooper.org

        Kevin Cooper is an African-American man who was wrongly convicted and sentenced to death in 1985 for the gruesome murders of a white family in Chino Hills, California: Doug and Peggy Ryen and their daughter Jessica and their house- guest Christopher Hughes. The Ryens' 8 year old son Josh, also attacked, was left for dead but survived.

        Convicted in an atmosphere of racial hatred in San Bernardino County CA, Kevin Cooper remains under a threat of imminent execution in San Quentin.  He has never received a fair hearing on his claim of innocence.  In a dissenting opinion in 2009, five federal judges of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals signed a 82 page dissenting opinion that begins: "The State of California may be about to execute an innocent man." 565 F.3d 581.

        There is significant evidence that exonerates Mr. Cooper and points toward other suspects:

          The coroner who investigated the Ryen murders concluded that the murders took four minutes at most and that the murder weapons were a hatchet, a long knife, an ice pick and perhaps a second knife. How could a single person, in four or fewer minutes, wield three or four weapons, and inflict over 140 wounds on five people, two of whom were adults (including a 200 pound ex-marine) who had loaded weapons near their bedsides?

          The sole surviving victim of the murders, Josh Ryen, told police and hospital staff within hours of the murders that the culprits were "three white men." Josh Ryen repeated this statement in the days following the crimes. When he twice saw Mr. Cooper's picture on TV as the suspected attacker, Josh Ryen said "that's not the man who did it."

          Josh Ryen's description of the killers was corroborated by two witnesses who were driving near the Ryens' home the night of the murders. They reported seeing three white men in a station wagon matching the description of the Ryens' car speeding away from the direction of the Ryens' home.

          These descriptions were corroborated by testimony of several employees and patrons of a bar close to the Ryens' home, who saw three white men enter the bar around midnight the night of the murders, two of whom were covered in blood, and one of whom was wearing coveralls.

          The identity of the real killers was further corroborated by a woman who, shortly after the murders were discovered, alerted the sheriff's department that her boyfriend, a convicted murderer, left blood-spattered coveralls at her home the night of the murders. She also reported that her boyfriend had been wearing a tan t-shirt matching a tan t-shirt with Doug Ryen's blood on it recovered near the bar. She also reported that her boyfriend owned a hatchet matching the one recovered near the scene of the crime, which she noted was missing in the days following the murders; it never reappeared; further, her sister saw that boyfriend and two other white men in a vehicle that could have been the Ryens' car on the night of the murders.

        Lacking a motive to ascribe to Mr. Cooper for the crimes, the prosecution claimed that Mr. Cooper, who had earlier walked away from custody at a minimum security prison, stole the Ryens' car to escape to Mexico. But the Ryens had left the keys in both their cars (which were parked in the driveway), so there was no need to kill them to steal their car. The prosecution also claimed that Mr. Cooper needed money, but money and credit cards were found untouched and in plain sight at the murder scene.

        The jury in 1985 deliberated for seven days before finding Mr. Cooper guilty. One juror later said that if there had been one less piece of evidence, the jury would not have voted to convict.

        The evidence the prosecution presented at trial tying Mr. Cooper to the crime scene has all been discredited…         (Continue reading this document at: http://www.savekevincooper.org/_new_freekevincooperdotorg/TEST/Scripts/DataLibraries/upload/KC_FactSheet_2014.pdf)

             This message from the Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal. July 2015


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        B. ARTICLES IN FULL


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        1)  Ferraris and Opera Were Urgent, but Grenfell Tower Risks Went Unheeded
         AUG. 15, 2017
        https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/15/world/europe/london-inequality-grenfell-tower-fire.html?hp&action=
        click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=second-column-region&region=top-
        news&WT.nav=top-news

        LONDON — The Ferraris were driving people batty in affluent South Kensington. Drivers revved their engines and ripped past Harrods. Residents were already irritated by the dust and noise from superrich neighbors building underground swimming pools and cinemas. Now came complaints about Middle Eastern "types" drag racing at night.
        Up in North Kensington, a part of London that is home to some of Britain's poorest residents, the complaints were more elemental. People were fighting plans to close a day care center, lease out a public library and demolish a community college. At one public housing project, Grenfell Tower, residents had complained about fire safety issues for years: power surges that blew up television sets and filled rooms with smoke, outdated fire extinguishers and the absence of a communal fire alarm.
        The very different complaints from the opposite ends of Kensington received very different responses from the 50-member council representing the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. The Ferraris were debated in the council chamber. Fines of up to 1,000 pounds were imposed on revving engines. Underground construction projects were restricted.

        The concerns in North Kensington, particularly those of Grenfell Tower residents, were mostly ignored. By last November, one resident, Edward Daffarn, was so frustrated that he predicted "only a serious fire" resulting in a "serious loss of life" would make the council pay attention. The councilor in charge of housing, Rock Feilding-Mellen, dismissed him as a ''fantasist.''
        Seven months later, as a deadly blaze engulfed the building in the early morning hours of June 14, Mr. Daffarn fled his apartment on the 16th floor. Stumbling through the smoke-filled landing, he was found by a fireman and guided to safety. But at least 80 of his neighbors died.
        "This council does not represent the people of North Kensington," Mr. Daffarn said.
        Last year's referendum on whether Britain should leave the European Union, known as Brexit, exposed the deep resentment of working-class Britons outside London toward the elites in the wealthy, cosmopolitan capital. But the charred remains of Grenfell Tower have become a shocking symbol of inequality at the heart of the capital itself. They have changed the national narrative.
        If the Brexit vote was driven by a populist message that immigrants and Europe's open borders were to blame for the nation's malaise, the fire has brought back into focus how years of steep government cuts have disproportionately hit the poorest, amplifying the pain from stagnant wages after the financial crisis.
        "These are volatile and uncertain times," Alan Milburn, the chairman of the government's Social Mobility Commission, said last month after warning that social and economic divisions were dangerously widening. "Whole tracts of Britain feel left behind," he said. "The growing sense that we have become an us-versus-them society is deeply corrosive of our cohesion as a nation."
        Kensington and Chelsea is a microcosm of a divided Britain. The south is home to Kensington Palace Gardens, better known as Billionaires' Row, one of the most expensive streets in the country. Roman Abramovich, the Russian billionaire, owns a mansion there reportedly worth £125 million ($163 million). And Kensington Palace is where Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge will be raising their children.
        To the north, Golborne ranks as one of the two poorest wards in London. Victorian-era diseases like tuberculosis and rickets have made a comeback. Life expectancy in parts of North Kensington is 20 years lower than in South Kensington.
        In recent years, the council has spent millions of pounds subsidizing opera tickets and paying tax rebates to all except the poorest at a time when services for youths and toddlers were reduced, and free swimming classes for state-funded schools and older residents were canceled. The contempt directed at those raising concerns about fire safety at Grenfell Tower was not an exception, residents said, but the fire exposed the disconnect between an elitist council and poor residents in the north.
        "They don't know how the other side lives," said Monica Press, a Labour councilor from North Kensington.
        The council leader, Elizabeth Campbell, admitted last month that in her 11 years as a council member she had never set foot inside a high-rise housing project.
        Ms. Campbell, who took over as leader after the Grenfell fire, has vowed to rebuild trust. But local residents said the social contract between those who govern and those they purport to represent is broken. Police officers investigating the fire have told survivors that there were "reasonable grounds to suspect" that the council and the organization managing its social housing might have committed corporate manslaughter.
        On Tuesday, the head of the inquiry into the fire said it would examine the conduct of the local authorities but would not take into account the broader issues involving social housing, although Prime Minister Theresa May said she was "determined" to address those questions.
        Niles Hailstones, whose youngest son attended school with several children who died in the fire, said, "How do you think our children feel seeing people not care about their mothers, fathers, grandparents, uncles, aunties?"
        He added: "We watched the building burn down in front of our eyes."

        Of Earls and Ladies

        Today, the face of London is the Muslim son of a bus driver. Sadiq Khan, the city's directly elected mayor, in many ways represents how the city sees itself: multicultural, liberal and socially mobile.
        But much local governing authority is devolved to the councils that run London's 32 boroughs, which can look very different from that.
        Of the Kensington council's 50 members, 46 are white and 37 are Conservatives. The cabinet, led by Ms. Campbell, is entirely white. One of her fellow councilors is Lady Catherine Faulks. Another is Mr. Feilding-Mellen, the stepson of the Earl of Wemyss and March. Another is Prof. Sir Anthony Coates, known locally as a man of letters — the letters being those he lists after his name to highlight his credentials.
        Timothy Coleridge, one of several councilors who attended Eton, Britain's most exclusive private school, has served on the council since 1986, as did his father before him. Two years ago, he received an email from a distressed resident.
        Subject line: "Our borough is becoming a nightmare!!"
        Sports cars were speeding in his Knightsbridge neighborhood, one of the most expensive in London, the resident complained. Limousines hogged parking spaces outside his home.
        "The super car situation was ghastly during the last few summers, keeping us all awake in North Terrace," the resident wrote on June 2, 2015, demanding urgent action.
        Mr. Coleridge sympathized. "We totally agree with you, and our experiences as local residents matches yours," he replied, 14 hours after receiving the complaint. Lawyers were put to work. The police were consulted. Five months later, a Public Space Restriction Order imposing steep fines had been passed.
        Councilors representing the north of the borough acknowledged that in the lives of the rich, this was a legitimate concern. "But the alacrity with which they took it up was remarkable," said Robert Atkinson, a Labour councilor.
        Grenfell Tower residents were treated differently. The council kept deducting rent from a Grenfell survivor even after the fire, a mistake Lady Faulks called a "tiny" thing before backtracking. The council's former leader, Nicholas Paget-Brown, defended the body's decision not to install sprinklers, suggesting residents did not want them. And his deputy, Mr. Feilding-Mellen, a property developer, had insisted on keeping down the cost of the external cladding used in a £10 million renovation in 2014, according to a leaked email, resulting in the choice of what turned out to be highly flammable materials.
        Mr. Feilding-Mellen declined to be interviewed.
        With the national government pursuing policies of economic austerity, grants for local councils have been slashed by more than half since 2010. Yet the Kensington council routinely underspent its budget. It currently has £274 million in usable reserves — money that critics said should have been invested in the north.
        And a £100 tax rebate, for those who paid council tax in full before the 2014 local elections, was met with broad approval.
        Yet South Kensington has hardly been neglected. A recent enhancement of Exhibition Road outside the Victoria and Albert Museum featuring an inset granite diamond pattern cost nearly £30 million, with the council picking up roughly half the cost.
        Mr. Coleridge, until recently in charge of the arts, oversaw a £5 million grant to Holland Park Opera to make opera tickets more accessible. "The seats are very good value," he said, "only £60 to £65" ($78 to $84).
        Daniel Moylan, another Conservative councilor, blames welfare policy for the fraught relations between North Kensington residents and the council. "Social housing embeds disempowerment," he said. "I'm a big believer in private property."
        In the 1980s, Margaret Thatcher, as prime minister, introduced "Right to Buy" — allowing established tenants in social housing to buy their homes at a discount. But soaring house prices have put Right to Buy out of reach for most.
        "If a flat costs £500,000, a £100,000 discount doesn't make it affordable," said Tony Auguste, a local campaigner who is disabled and relies on social housing. "It's an insult, really." A £500,000 apartment is equivalent to $650,000.

        Social Cleansing

        North Kensington Library, a stately Victorian building near Portobello market, is the rare place where children from the housing projects mix with those from Notting Hill Preparatory School and Chepstow House School, two private schools that cost more than £6,000 ($7,800) a term. But now the public library might have to move out so that one of the prep schools can move in.
        Mr. Feilding-Mellen negotiated a deal to lease the building to Notting Hill Preparatory School, which is getting a year rent-free so it can refurbish the building.
        The council says this arrangement is not unusual. Local critics say it is practically paying for the refurbishment. Mr. Feilding-Mellen's twins are on the waiting list for the school.
        Meanwhile, the council is spending over £18 million of public money on a new building in which the public section of the library will be limited to the ground floor, while students from Chepstow House will get their own access and separate floor.
        Mr. Feilding-Mellen's children are on the Chepstow House waiting list, too. At a council meeting on Oct. 19, 2016, he insisted that he did not have a conflict of interest, although he conceded that it might be "perceived" as such.
        "This council seems more interested in handing over public premises to prep schools than it is to provide homes for hard-pressed local families," said Mr. Atkinson.
        The library is just one flash point. Many North Kensington residents speak of "managed decline," a strategy to allow public institutions and spaces to fall into disrepair and then create a case for redeveloping them with a commercial motive.
        Social cleansing, they call it.
        Two years ago, the Maxilla day care center near Grenfell Tower was closed. More recently, plans to demolish and relocate Kensington and Chelsea College, a vocational school, and build an apartment block that will include commercial housing were announced.
        "This place is my success story," Drei Mullings, a young black man, said of the college at a recent public meeting. His course enabled him to go to the University of Northampton, he said.
        "We are market-led," a college representative told the crowd.
        "You should be community-led," a woman shouted back.
        Opposite the condemned college building, Wornington Green, once a public park, has already been turned into an apartment block. The whole street, once filled with social housing, is being redeveloped as "Portobello Square." 
        Conservative councilors argue that they have done their best to protect public services and have invested over £70 million in North Kensington infrastructure in recent years, including the ill-fated renovation of Grenfell Tower. They refute any suggestion of social cleansing.
        "Utterly not true," Mr. Coleridge said. "Some people live in a dream world of conspiracy theories."
        The council is creating more social housing — just not much of it inside the borough. Certain new housing developments are supposed to include a quota of social housing — but private developers often dodge the requirement by paying the council a fee instead. The council struck deals to receive £33.4 million in such fees in the year through September 2016.
        While the council has built only 336 new affordable housing units in the borough since 2011, instead of the 200 a year it had originally pledged, it has bought units in cheaper parts of London as alternatives.
        In the south of the borough, by contrast, thousands of apartments are routinely empty, the second, third and fourth homes of members of the global elite. Until four years ago, second-home owners even got a discount on council tax.
        Scores of Grenfell survivors have yet to be rehoused. Two weeks after the fire, the City of London Corporation bought 68 apartments in a new luxury block for that purpose. Some existing inhabitants, who enjoy a 24-hour concierge service, a swimming pool and a private cinema, were not happy.
        "My service charge bill, and this is a low one this year, is £15,500, and I would feel really resentful if someone got the same thing for free," said a woman named Donna who phoned in to LBC radio in June. "I feel sorry for those people, but my husband and I work very hard to be able to afford this."

        A Bitter Awakening

        One night in May 2013, the light in Mr. Daffarn's Grenfell Tower living room started flickering wildly. Soon his stereo stopped working and his television box blew up. Some of his neighbors reported sparks flying from their light fittings and smoke coming from their toasters.
        The complaints were mostly ignored until three weeks later, when entire rooms were filling with smoke. Residents marched to the tenant management office, and the electrical wiring was eventually repaired.
        Mr. Daffarn, a social worker who has lived in Grenfell Tower since 2001, has meticulously documented the grievances of residents in seven years of email correspondence with the council. Some 350 blog items he wrote with a fellow resident are being archived by the British Library.
        "I wanted to create a resource for anyone, who in 30 years' time wants to study how London ended up like this, with only rich people left," he said.
        But the Grenfell Tower fire has changed his motivation. "Now, it's evidence," Mr. Daffarn said, alluding to the criminal inquiry. He hopes the investigation will bring convictions and also document "the institutionalized contempt" for poor people.
        Some things have already changed.
        "People have woken up to the two extremes of Kensington," said Emma Dent Coad, the member of Parliament for Kensington. "Everyone now knows that Kensington is not just about cafes and museums and designer shops and fabulousness. That facade has dropped and we can see the rest of Kensington that has been betrayed by a very, very rich council refusing to spend what is pocket money to them on the things that help people better themselves."
        Since the fire, Ms. Campbell, the council leader, has promised to use the council's reserves to build more social housing. And she has put on hold all redevelopment projects, including North Kensington Library and Kensington and Chelsea College pending a review. But distrust remains.
        "Nothing has changed until they put it in black and white," Mr. Daffarn said. "They need to go, all of them," he added. "They're all implicated."

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        2)  Sperm Count in Western Men Has Dropped Over 50 Percent Since 1973, Paper Finds
         AUG. 16, 2017
        https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/16/health/male-sperm-count-problem.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fus&action=
        click&contentCollection=us&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=6&pgtype=sectionfront

        The sperm count of men in Western countries has been declining precipitously with no signs of "leveling off," according to new research, bolstering a school of thought that male health in the modern world is at risk, possibly threatening fertility.
        By examining thousands of studies and conducting a meta-analysis of 185 — the most comprehensive effort to date — an international team of researchers ultimately looked at semen samples from 42,935 men from 50 countries from 1973 to 2011.
        They found that sperm concentration — the number of sperm per milliliter of semen — had declined each year, amounting to a 52.4 percent total decline, in men from North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

        Total sperm count among the same group also tumbled each year for a total decline of 59.3 percent over the nearly 40-year period.
        Decreasing sperm count was first reported a quarter century ago, but the new analysis shows that "this decline is strong and continuing," said Dr. Shanna H. Swan, one of the study's authors and a professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York.
        And while this paper offers the most data yet on a subject of lengthy debate, it is far from settled, as the cause and the impact on fertility — and whether it has any real-life consequence — remain unknown.
        llan Pacey, a professor of andrology at the University of Sheffield in Britain — who wrote an article in 2013 questioning this sort of research— has been skeptical of studies that claim a recent decline in sperm count.
        He noted that a 52.4 percent decline in concentration "may sound a lot," but it represents a change from "normal (99 million sperm per milliliter) to normal (47 million sperm per milliliter)."
        Still, Professor Pacey conceded in a recent interview that the new paper piqued his interest and represented "a step forward in the clarity of the data, which might ultimately allow us to define better studies to examine this issue."

        Possible causes

        That the downtrend in sperm count is seen in Western countries suggests that "chemicals in commerce" are playing a role, Dr. Swan said.
        While this survey did not focus on the causes of these declines, its authors pointed to existing research that showed that exposure to cigarette smoke, alcohol and chemicals while in utero, as well as stress, obesity and age, were factors in the drop.
        "If the mother smokes, her son's sperm count is decreased — that's been shown in multiple studies," she said.
        2005 study, Dr. Swan said, showed that prenatal exposure to phthalates, also called plasticizers, affected the development of sons.
        Phthalates are a group of chemicals used to make plastics more flexible and harder to break. In several studies over the last two decades, they have been shown to disrupt the operation of male hormones like testosterone and have been linked to genital birth defects in male infants.
        Dr. Swan, who conducted a 2008 study about phthalate exposure, said that scientists have had the ability to measure exposure to plasticizers only since about 2000, via urine. That has led to a 20-year lag in the process since researchers cannot enroll men to produce sperm until they are in their 20s.
        That evidence is the "missing piece of the puzzle," she said.
        Professor Pacey cautions that while the changes in data may be driven by "greater exposure of pregnant women or adult men to more man-made chemicals," it is too soon draw a conclusion.
        No trend studies were performed in the first half of the 20th century, said Niels Skakkebaek, a reproduction researcher at the University of Copenhagen, but in the 1940s, fertility doctors claimed that men should have at least 60 million sperm per milliliter to be considered normal and that many had more that 100 million per milliliter.
        "Nowadays, average young men have 40-50 per milliliter," he said.
        Professor Skakkebaek, an author of a 1992 study that suggested chemicals play a role in the steady decline in semen quality, has since indicated that a rise in abnormal male reproductive systems may be linked to exposures to endocrine-disrupting chemicals.
        "We must find out which ones are to blame for the problems with male reproduction, including male infertility and testicular cancer," Professor Skakkebaek said.
        The website for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the effects from low-level exposure to phthalates are unknown, but it acknowledges that some types of phthalates have affected the reproductive system of laboratory animals and that more research is needed. The agency declined to offer further comment.
        The National Institutes of Health also declined to comment on the research. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine did not respond to a request for comment.

        The practical effects

        Professor Skakkebaek pointed to Denmark and Germany as examples of how this course is playing out.
        "In Denmark, 8 percent of all children are now born after assisted reproduction," he said. "In spite of this activity, the birthrates have for 40 years been significantly below replacement level."
        "The number of young Germans have already declined 50 percent since the 1960s," he said, adding that a similar pattern has been seen in Japan, which while not a Western country, is a developed one.
        In the United States, he said, the fertility rate among white people is "below the levels where the population can be sustained."
        Data about assisted pregnancies has been linked to women having children later in life, and in developed nations, statistics have shown that more women are choosing to have fewer (or no) babies, which may also contribute to the fluctuations.

        Non-Western men

        In the recently released research, no significant decline in sperm quality was seen in men from non-Western countries, but this segment made up only about a quarter of the results.
        Dr. Hagai Levine, the head of the Environmental Health Track at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who led the team, said that one of the differences between Western and non-Western countries is that man-made chemicals like phthalates "became widespread much earlier in time" in developed nations.
        Professor Skakkebaek said that reproductive issues among African men were less common: "It is already known that Africans have significantly lower rates of another testicular problem: testicular cancer."
        A study published last fall that looked at samples from just over 30,600 Chinese men asserted that semen quality and sperm count in the men had declined over a 15-year period ending in 2015 — with the percentage of qualified donors at a Hunan clinic falling from 55.8 percent to 17.8 percent in that time. To qualify, donors need to meet acceptable semen parameters including sperm concentration, sperm motility and semen volume.
        "We urgently need international research collaboration to detect the causes," Professor Skakkebaek said.

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        3)  1 in 7 New York City Elementary Students Will Be Homeless, Report Says
         AUG. 15, 2017
        https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/15/nyregion/report-says-elementary-students-homeless-new-york.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fnyregion&action=click&contentCollection=nyregion&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=sectionfront

        There were 100,000 homeless students in New York City public schools during the 2015-16 school year, a number equal to the population of Albany.
        The daunting challenges that creates, both for individual children struggling to learn and for schools trying to improve performance, are laid out in a report to be released on Wednesday by the Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness. If current trends continue, the report's authors say, one in every seven New York City public school students will be homeless at some point during elementary school.
        "In every school classroom, that's two or three kids," said Anna Shaw-Amoah, principal policy analyst at the institute. "And the challenges are not just about whether you're currently living in a shelter or a doubled up setting, but did they have that experience last year, or did they have this experience in kindergarten? The instability really travels with students. If you fall behind in one year, it's going to be harder to get on grade level the next year."
        Within the last six years, more than 140,000 New York City students have been homeless, the report said.
        The growing number of homeless children is part of the fallout of the city's housing crisis, which has seen a growing number of families in city shelters, as rents have risen, federal and state aid has dwindled, and a state rental assistance program ended. The de Blasio administration has struggled to slow the rising numbers, but with little success.
        Homelessness is difficult under any circumstances, but for children, the stress and physical dislocation can be like a tornado dropped into the school day. Students bounce from school to school as their family leaves home, perhaps staying with friends, before entering the shelter system, where they are often moved from place to place. Getting children to school each day becomes an enormous challenge, especially if families have recently moved across the city.
        The typical homeless elementary school student missed 88 days of school, according to the report, which is almost half of a school year.
        Families who have lost their home must make the wrenching choice of leaving a child in a school they know, or transferring them to a school closer to where they are staying. Moving to a new school may further the feeling of dislocation, but it makes it easier for the child to get to class. The report found that the typical homeless child transferred schools midyear at least two times during elementary school.
        Homeless children were more likely than those with stable housing to be on the wrong side of a huge array of indicators. They were more likely to to be suspended or drop out, more likely to face delays in being identified as needing special education services, and more likely to need services to help them learn English. Their proficiency rates on the state math and English exams for third through eighth graders were about 20 points lower than classmates'. And homeless students graduated at a rate of just 55 percent, while students with stable housing graduated at a rate of 74 percent.
        One in every six students identified as still learning English was classified as homeless, according to the report. Most of them were doubled up. Children learning English who were homeless were more likely to need services longer than their peers with a stable place to live.
        The institute relied on the city's data for its report. The definition used by the city for homelessness includes any child in "temporary housing" at some point during the school year. This can mean a student whose family is living in its car or in a motel, staying with extended family or friends, or living in shelters. The number of students in shelters during the 2015-16 school year was 33,000, according to the city's Independent Budget Office.
        "We recognize students in temporary housing face additional challenges and are providing more resources," Toya Holness, a spokeswoman for the city's education department, said in an email. She cited bus services for students in kindergarten through sixth grade who live in shelters, and said the city has hired more social workers in schools with large numbers of homeless students.
        The city has also made a push to register more homeless students for pre-K, an effort the report found to be working — the institute found a 17 percent increase in pre-K enrollment among homeless children from the 2014-15 school year to the 2015-16 school year. More broadly, the de Blasio administration has announced a plan to open 90 new sheltersto replace a makeshift network of hotels and temporary apartments scattered across the city and to try to allow families to stay closer to their home neighborhood and schools.
        Another crucial point in the report is how homeless students are distributed among the city's schools, with some schools and districts seeing intense concentrations, while others bear a relatively light burden. In Bayside, Queens, 823 students were homeless in the 2015-16 school year, while in District 10 in the Bronx, which includes neighborhoods like Fordham and Belmont, more than 10,000 students did not have a stable place to live.



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        4)  The Real Opioid Emergency





        Every Friday evening, with sadness and with pride, I make a 90-minute trek from Columbia University to Sing Sing Correctional Facility to teach a drugs and behavior course. My students, who are bright and predominantly black, enthusiastically engage with the curriculum, not least because some of them have a personal stake in the subject. Several are serving time for a drug-related offense, as are hundreds of thousands of other Americans.
        On Aug. 10, driven largely by public perception that many white Americans are experiencing problems and even dying from opioid use, Donald Trump proclaimed the opioid problem a national emergency. The president’s announcement appeared to consolidate a shift in the way we view certain drug users. They are now patients in need of our help and understanding, rather than criminals deserving scorn and incarceration.
        This was made abundantly clear in 2014 when the governor of Vermont, Peter Shumlin, devoted his entire State of the State address to the “heroin crisis.” He urged his overwhelmingly white electorate to deal with addiction “as a public health crisis, providing treatment and support, rather than simply doling out punishment, claiming victory and moving on to our next conviction.” Public officials from both parties and throughout the United States have echoed these sentiments, which ultimately spurred the White House to form the task force that urged Mr. Trump to declare an emergency.
        What looks like a radical shift to a more enlightened drug policy — one that favors treatment over incarceration — has encouraged many to hope that there will be far fewer drug-related arrests than there were in previous decades. I don’t count myself among the optimists.

        Don’t get me wrong: I support the approach. It’s what we should do. But it is not, historically, what we have done for all of our citizens.
        During the so-called crack epidemic in the late 1980s, the perceived user and trafficker of crack was black, young and menacing. But a majority of crack users were white, and most drug users buy their drugs from dealers within their own racial group. In 1992, though, more than 90 percent of those sentenced under the harsh crack cocaine laws that were passed in the late ’80s were black. They were required to serve a minimum prison sentence of at least five years for small amounts of crack, even if they were first-time offenders.
        To the extent that the use of crack among whites was acknowledged, newspaper articles sympathetically detailed the plight of white middle-class crack users. It was seen as a hazard of stressful professional lifestyles. According to this scenario, the victims — Wall Street executives, computer programmers and the like — had initially snorted cocaine recreationally after hours but had gradually moved on to smoking the drug during work time.
        For this demographic, medical experts were quoted extolling the effectiveness of treatment. Any law enforcement perspective was conspicuous by its absence. Public service announcements, geared toward middle-class crack users, encouraged sympathy and not judgment.
        This pattern of racial differentiation — one drug policy for white users and another for black users — followed the format of the heroin crisis of the 1970s. The face of the heroin addict then, as the newspapers told it, was black, destitute and engaged in repetitive petty crimes to feed his or her habit. New York State’s infamous 1973 Rockefeller drug laws created mandatory minimum prison sentences of 15 years to life for possession of small amounts of heroin or other drugs — and served as a model for the federal cocaine law. More than 90 percent of those convicted under the Rockefeller laws were black or Latino, even though they represented a minority of drug users.
        This punitive approach to black heroin users coincided with a great expansion of methadone maintenance programs — for mainly white “patients.” Even President Richard Nixon was a fan, praising methadone as “a useful tool in the work of rehabilitating heroin addicts,” one that “ought to be available to those who must do this work.”
        This characteristically American pattern of cognitive flexibility on drug policy, with harsh penalties for some and sympathetic treatment for others, thus has a long history — one that continues to this day.
        Most opioid users are white. The country recognizes this. That is one reason Republican senators from those states hit hardest by opioid-related deaths withheld their support from the recent Senate health care bill — they saw it as underfunding treatment for opioid dependence. But the humane approach is only part of the picture.
        Multiple states have drafted or passed legislation that enhances penalties for opioid possession and trafficking. In some states, prosecutors can now charge a drug dealer with murder for selling drugs to someone who died from an overdose. Deaths related to fentanyl, a potent synthetic opioid, have fueled such initiatives. Kentucky’s new law makes the sale of fentanyl, in any amount, punishable by prison sentence of up to 10 years. Sound familiar?
        If past drug law enforcement action is predictive of future behavior, most of those convicted of opioid-related crimes will be black and brown. Recent federal data back this up: More than 80 percent of those convicted of heroin trafficking are black or Latino, although all racial groups buy and sell drugs at roughly the same rate. This is largely because of the discretionary nature of drug law enforcement, which continues to focus mostly on black and Latino communities. This is well documented: For example, police are three times more likely to search the car of a stopped black driver than that of a stopped white driver.
        The reimposition by Attorney General Jeff Sessions of more mandatory minimum prison sentences for drug offenses will result in more black and brown people locked away. This is not just anachronistic, mean and racist but also helps to obscure the actual black experience of opioid use: While the death rate among whites from overdose has risen most steeply in recent years, by 267 percent from 2010 to 2014, the mortality rate for black users has risen by a comparable 213 percent over the same period. Yet the face of the sympathetic, suffering opioid addict who deserves help and treatment is not black. Not in Mr. Sessions’s world, nor in Mr. Trump’s.
        The corrections officer’s abrupt, loud knock on the thick glass window signals the end of our class period. My students stoically prepare to go back to being inmates. And I prepare to leave, as I do every Friday night, with the same sinking feeling that our approach to dealing with drugs hasn’t appreciably changed in more than a century. I want better for my students at Sing Sing and better for all Americans, including the black and brown ones.

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        5)  The Justice Department Goes Fishing in DreamHost Case




        Do you use the internet? Are you interested in politics? Do you value your privacy? If you answered yes, you should be alarmed by the shockingly broad search warrant sought by the Justice Department, and approved by a judge in Washington, D.C., last month, targeting DreamHost, an internet hosting company based in Los Angeles.
        As DreamHost explained in a blog post on Monday, it hosts disruptj20.org, a website that helped organize anti-Trump protests on Inauguration Day, and posted pictures of those protests in the days after. There were large-scale protests across Washington on Jan. 20, most of which involved peaceful marches or sit-ins. But some people turned to violence, breaking store windows, setting fires, throwing rocks at police officers and, in one case, assaulting Richard Spencer, the white nationalist, during a television interview. More than 200 people have been charged with felony rioting.
        As part of its continuing investigation, the Justice Department demanded that DreamHost turn over “all records or other information” relating to the site, which received more than 1.3 million requests to view its pages in six days after the inauguration. Those records include personal information like I.P. addresses, which identify a specific computer; data about which of the site’s pages a user viewed, and when; and the type of operating software on that person’s computer. Federal prosecutors are also seeking all emails, photos and other content sent to and from the site.

        “That information could be used to identify any individuals who used this site to exercise and express political speech protected under the Constitution’s First Amendment,” DreamHost wrote in its blog post.
        It doesn’t matter whether the visitor is suspected of participating in a crime, or is even known to have attended the protests. If someone clicked anywhere on the site from anywhere in the world, the government wants to know.
        DreamHost has so far refused to turn over this information, and for good reason: The indiscriminate “digital dragnet,” as the Electronic Frontier Foundation has called it, may well violate the Fourth Amendment’s ban on unreasonable searches and seizures.
        That amendment requires the government to be specific about what it wants to seize, but nowhere does the DreamHost warrant justify a need for the logs of all visitors to the site.
        Prosecutors aim to vacuum up millions of points of data about people’s political associations, sift through it all and only then decide what they want — a process that has been used in other criminal investigations. But given that the investigation into the riots has been active for months, it shouldn’t be hard for prosecutors to narrow their search. DreamHost also objects that the warrant fails to provide any protocol for how investigators would examine the sprawling data, or explain what would happen to personal information that is found to be of no use in the case.
        This is a dangerous way for any Justice Department to conduct an investigation, especially one involving political speech and association, activities that enjoy the First Amendment’s strongest protections. As the Supreme Court said in a 1958 case, the “inviolability of privacy in group association may in many circumstances be indispensable to preservation of freedom of association, particularly where a group espouses dissident beliefs.” Sweeps like this have the potential to be even more chilling to speech when conducted under a thin-skinned president like Donald Trump, who has already made his intolerance of protest clear.
        By forcing the government to defend this data sweep, DreamHost is doing an important service not only to its users, but also to the public at large. Prosecutors know that most companies don’t have the resources to fight such warrants, so a common tactic is to overreach and then wait for pushback. If the site or service provider folds and turns over the requested data, any constitutional violation may not be revealed until years later, when a diligent defense lawyer is challenging a conviction in a single criminal case. That’s a bad recipe for protecting all Americans’ right to freely associate, and to be free of unreasonable government intrusion, in the digital age.

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        6)  Mother of Woman Killed in Charlottesville Says She Will Not Speak to Trump



        The mother of the woman who was run down by a car during violent clashes in Charlottesville, Va., said Friday that after seeing President Trump’s comments equating white supremacist protesters with those demonstrating against them, she does not wish to speak with him.
        “I’m not talking to the president now; I’m sorry,” Susan Bro said. “After what he said about my child.”
        In an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Ms. Bro said that she had initially missed several calls from the White House, the first of which came during the funeral of her daughter, Heather D. Heyer, who was killed when a man drove a car into a crowd of counterprotesters on Saturday.
        She said that she had been too busy with the funeral and working to set up a foundation in her daughter’s name to watch the news until Thursday night. That was when she saw footage of Mr. Trump’s explosive Tuesday news conference, in which he said that there was “blame on both sides” for the violence in Charlottesville.

        “I saw an actual clip of him at a press conference equating the protesters like Ms. Heyer with the K.K.K. and the white supremacists,” Ms. Bro said.
        She acknowledged a statement that she had released on Monday, in which she thanked Mr. Trump for his “words of comfort and for denouncing those who promote violence and hatred” that day. But she said that after hearing his Tuesday comments, which effectively reversed what he had said the day before, she decided that she did not want to hear from him.
        “You can’t wash this one away by shaking my hand and saying ‘I’m sorry,’” she added. “I’m not forgiving for that.”
        Asked toward the end of the interview on Friday if there was a message she wanted to convey to the president, Ms. Bro was brief:
        “Think before you speak,” she said.
        A White House spokeswoman, Lindsay Walters, had said that the White House was looking to set up a “convenient” time for the president to talk to Ms. Bro. Mr. Trump had tweeted Wednesday that Ms. Heyer was “a truly special young woman” who would be “long remembered by all!”
        He did not mention Ms. Heyer by name in his Tuesday news conference, but several times he referred to Ms. Bro’s statement thanking him for asserting that “racism is evil” and condemning hate groups including the K.K.K., neo-Nazis and white supremacists.
        “I thought that the statement put out, the mother’s statement, I thought was a beautiful statement,” Mr. Trump said. “I tell you, it was something that I really appreciated. I thought it was terrific.”
        Ms. Heyer, 32, was one of a crowd of counterprotesters struck by a Dodge Challenger that the police say was driven by James Alex Fields Jr. of Maumee, Ohio. Nineteen people were injured. At her memorial service on Wednesday, her family and friends remembered her as passionate and strong in her political convictions.
        Ms. Bro said at the memorial service that her daughter’s death should serve as a rallying cry for those who stood up against discrimination. She received a standing ovation after telling attendees to fight for their values, as her daughter had.
        “They tried to kill my child to shut her up,” Ms. Bro said. “Well, guess what — you just magnified her.”

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        7)  Indian Girl, 10, Who Was Raped and Denied an Abortion Gives Birth




        NEW DELHI — A 10-year-old Indian girl who was raped by an uncle, and then lost her legal battle to have an abortion, gave birth on Thursday to a girl.
        The girl, who was under general anesthesia while the baby was delivered by cesarean section, had not been told that she was pregnant and had no idea that she had given birth, doctors said. She was told instead that she had a kidney stone that needed to be removed.
        The baby was premature and weighed a bit more than five pounds. She was placed in an intensive care unit and will ultimately be put up for adoption.
        “Neither the girl nor her family even saw the child,” said Dr. Dasari Harish, head of the team that performed the surgery, adding that the family wanted nothing to do with the newborn.
        The case, which many Indians found shocking, was watched closely by activists working to overhaul India’s abortion law. In India, it is forbidden to abort a fetus after more than 20 weeks unless an exception is granted. Abortion rights activists tried to get an Indian court to allow the exception, arguing that abortion procedures are much safer than they were when the 20-week law was enacted more than 40 years ago. But the effort failed.

        The 10-year-old was admitted nearly a week ago to a state-run hospital in Chandigarh, in northern India. To make sure nothing went wrong, a large team of physicians attended the birth, including three gynecologists, two pediatricians, two psychologists, a dietitian and a cardiologist.


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