Why Daniel Hale came to violate the espionage act

Daniel Hale, who “accepted responsibility” for violating the Espionage Act, responded to the spitefulness of prosecutors by submitting a letter [PDF] to Judge Liam O’Grady, a judge for the district court in the Eastern District of Virginia. It could be construed as a plea for mercy from the court ahead of sentencing, but more than anything, it outlines a defense of his actions that the U.S. government and a U.S. court would never have allowed him to present before a jury.

Dear Judge O’Grady:

It is not a secret that I struggle to live with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Both stem from my childhood experience growing up in a rural mountain community and were compounded by exposure to combat during military services. Depression is a constant. Though stress, particularly stress caused by war, can manifest itself at different times and in different ways. The tall-tale signs of a person afflicted by PTSD and depression can often be outwardly observed and are practically universally recognizable. Hard lines about the face and jaw. Eyes, once bright and wide, now deepest and fearful. And an inexplicably sudden loss of interest in things that used to spark joy.

These are the noticeable changes in my demeanor marked by those who knew me before and after military service. [That] the period of my life spent serving in the United States Air Force had an impression on me would be an understatement. It is more accurate to say that it irreversibly transformed my identity as an American. Having forever altered the thread of my life’s story, weaved into the fabric of our nation’s history. To better appreciate the significance of how this came to pass, I would like to explain my experience

— source thegrayzone.com | Jul 27, 2021

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For Every $1 We Spend on Food, We Rack Up $2 in Public-Health and Environmental Damage

For about $7—less than an hour’s minimum wage—McDonald’s will dish up 1080 calories in the form of a Big Mac, some fries, and a soda. Taco Bell offers an even more enticing proposition: Its beef-laden “Grande Crunchwrap Meal” delivers 1290 calories for just $5. For years, critics of the US food system—Eric Schlosser, Michael Pollan, Raj Patel, Leah Penniman, Marion Nestle, others—have warned that such deals are actually no bargain when you add in the hidden costs. Those include poverty wages for workers from the farm field to the franchise counter; precious topsoil surrendered to the growing corn and soybeans for cattle feed; greenhouse gases and other deadly pollution emanating from livestock feedlots; widespread misery from diet-related diseases like Type 2 diabetes and heart conditions; and more.

A new Rockefeller Foundation report adds heft to the concerns about the high costs of cheap food. The United States boasts the “most affordable food in the world,” the foundation’s researchers found. But this cheap fare hides some dirty secrets. The authors dug into 14 metrics—most prominently, health, environment, biodiversity, and livelihoods—to quantify “externalized” costs that aren’t covered by the price of food.

Altogether, we spend $1.1 trillion feeding ourselves every year; and we rack up at least another $2.1 trillion in expenses that don’t show up in the prices we pay—or on the

— source motherjones.com | Tom Philpott | Jul 23, 2021

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We Can’t Trust the Unvaccinated

Experts are warning vaccine inequality could lead to a prolonged COVID-19 pandemic, even as the World Trade Organization has failed again to agree on a proposal to temporarily waive intellectual property rights for coronavirus vaccines. This comes as a new study by the People’s Vaccine Alliance finds the cost of vaccinating the world would be five times cheaper if vaccine manufacturers were not making billions in profit.

Meanwhile, in Tokyo, where the Olympics are underway, Japanese officials have reported record-breaking coronavirus cases that set an all-time high [in Tokyo and the country as a whole] since the pandemic began. In Indonesia, the new epicenter of the pandemic in Asia, officials have extended COVID-19 restrictions to August 2nd and stepped up vaccination drives.

Here in the United States, President Biden is formally announcing today that civilian federal employees must be vaccinated or face regular testing and follow social distancing guidelines. Google and Facebook have also announced vaccine mandates for workers, and more than 600 universities have announced mandates for students and employees. New York

— source democracynow.org | Jul 29, 2021

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Apple sued in nightmare case involving teen wrongly accused of shoplifting

Apple and its security contractor Security Industry Specialists (SIS) were sued on Friday in Massachusetts as part of a multijurisdictional defamation and malicious prosecution complaint brought on behalf of Ousmane Bah, a New York resident misidentified as a shoplifter multiple times in 2018 and 2019. The lawsuit contends that Apple and SIS exhibited reckless disregard for the truth by misidentifying Bah as the perpetrator of multiple shoplifting crimes at iStores, leading to his unjustified arrest and to his defamation. The filing [PDF] in US District Court in Massachusetts aims to revive charges relevant to events in Boston that were excluded from related ongoing litigation in New York. A third related case is being heard in New Jersey.

— source theregister.com | 29 May 2021

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U.S. military trained Colombians are in Haiti assassination plot, Pentagon says

Some of the former Colombian servicemen arrested after last week’s assassination of Haiti’s president previously received U.S. military training, according to the Pentagon, raising fresh questions about the United States’ ties to Jovenel Moïse’s death. Colombian officials initially said that 13 of 15 Colombian suspects in the July 7 assassination plot once served in that country’s military, including the two killed by Haitian authorities after Moïse was fatally shot inside his home. It is common for Colombian troops and other security personnel across Latin America to receive U.S. training and education. Colombia, in particular, has been a significant U.S. military partner for decades, receiving billions of U.S. dollars since 2000 in its effort to battle drug trafficking organizations, leftist guerrillas and far-right paramilitary groups. That effort has included CIA-backed missions and a close relationship between Colombian military personnel and the U.S. Green Berets, who help train their elite counterparts in guerrilla warfare.

— source washingtonpost.com | Jul 15, 2021

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African Americans Have Contracted and Died of Coronavirus at an Alarming Rate

The coronavirus entered Milwaukee from a white, affluent suburb. Then it took root in the city’s black community and erupted.

As public health officials watched cases rise in March, too many in the community shrugged off warnings. Rumors and conspiracy theories proliferated on social media, pushing the bogus idea that black people are somehow immune to the disease. And much of the initial focus was on international travel, so those who knew no one returning from Asia or Europe were quick to dismiss the risk.

Then, when the shelter-in-place order came, there was a natural pushback among those who recalled other painful government restrictions — including segregation and mass incarceration — on where black people could walk and gather.

“We’re like, ‘We have to wake people up,’” said Milwaukee Health Commissioner Jeanette Kowalik.

As the disease spread at a higher rate in the black community, it made an even deeper cut. Environmental, economic and political factors have compounded for generations, putting

— source propublica.org | Akilah Johnson, Talia Buford | April 3, 2020

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West Virginia Union Workers’ Jobs Outsource

On July 31, one of America’s largest pharmaceutical-manufacturing plants is scheduled to shut its doors.

Set on 22 acres in Morgantown, West Virginia, the plant, built in 1965 by the once-storied American generic-drug company Mylan Laboratories, has made 61 drug products, including a substantial portion of the world’s supply of levothyroxine, a critical thyroid medicine. Its 1,431 highly trained workers—analytical chemists, industrial engineers, and senior janitors among them—are represented by the steelworkers union. All are slated to be laid off by month’s end.

The Biden administration has a stated goal of increasing domestic production of pharmaceuticals, and the Morgantown plant is one of a dwindling number of facilities on home soil that produce vital and affordable medicine for the U.S. market. The plant has also lifted hundreds of West Virginia families into the middle class, with the children of its employees going on to become doctors and lawyers.

Under Mylan’s cofounder Mike Puskar, employees received free health care and medicine, turkeys on Thanksgiving, Christmas bonuses, and generous wages. “My father walked the plant once a week,” Puskar’s daughter, Johanna, told Vanity Fair. “He knew everyone’s names. He knew their children’s names. He knew their parents’ names.” Puskar died in 2011, nine years after he placed a businessman named Robert J. Coury at the company’s helm.

The new corporate entity, Viatris Inc., was formed in November 2020 when Mylan merged with the Pfizer subsidiary Upjohn. A month later it announced plans to close the Morgantown plant and told the staff it would move most manufacturing to India, and some to Australia, according to a plant employee.

— source vanityfair.com | Katherine Eban | Jul 23, 2021

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Harvard University of ‘spiritual bankruptcy’

Author, activist and scholar Cornel West has resigned from his role as professor at Harvard University, accusing the institution of “an intellectual and spiritual bankruptcy of deep depths”. West writes that his faculty supported him as a candidate for tenure, but went on to “timidly defer to a rejection based on the Harvard administration’s hostility to the Palestinian cause”, describing this as “disgusting” and lambasting Harvard for “an intellectual and spiritual bankruptcy of deep depths”. West had told the New York Times in March of his belief that the reluctance to grant him tenure could have been linked to his support for the Palestinian cause. Harvard declined to comment on the situation.

— source theguardian.com | 16 Jul 2021

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Exxon lobbyists paid the 6 Democrats named in sting video nearly $333,000

Exxon Mobil Corp. lobbyist Keith McCoy listed six Democrats the oil giant saw as key allies to push its legislative agenda in the Senate in a secretly recorded sting video Greenpeace UK published late last month. Today, Exxon Mobil funds trade associations that lobby against climate policies while offering a rhetorical contrast to oil giants that advocate for politically unpopular proposals unlikely to reach fruition in a bid to look like responsible actors. But a 2017 Ohio State University study indicates the donations have a measurable effect, particularly as they enter the five-figure range. For every $10,000 a lawmaker received from a major industrial polluter like Exxon Mobil, their probability of voting for pro-environmental legislation decreased by 2%, according to the study of donations between 1990 and 2010 published in the journal Environmental Politics. For Democrats, the effect of the donations was even stronger, reducing likelihood of a pro-environmental vote by 3%.

— source grist.org | Jul 16, 2021

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