203 Freed in Egypt; Shawkan Not Among Them

A journalist’s job is to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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The “Detained Youth Committee” that was established by Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in 2016 to “look into the conditions of pre-trial detainees arrested in cases related to freedom of expression” gave him on Monday its second list of detainees to release or pardon. A total of 203 names were on the list and today Egypt’s president announced pardons for all 203, according to news agencies.

Mahmoud Abu Zeid (photo at top), an Egyptian photojournalist who goes by the name “Shawkan,” was not one of the 203. His name was not on the list.

The president does not possess the authority to interfere in Egypt’s judicial processes, but he can issue pardons.

Photographs of the happy reunions between the newly released prisoners and their family members started to be published this morning: “Prisoners pardoned by presidency released.” It is the sort of news story that Shawkan would have been reporting with his camera, but his livelihood and more than three years of his life have both been stolen by Egypt.
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A Storm Named Stella

Here in Orange County, New York, a blizzard named Stella has us under a “Severe Alert.” A red banner scrolls across my weather app—which is one way the information that Winter Storm Stella has dropped snow on us for the last several hours and will continue for another fourteen hours or so. The other way I can learn that the storm is throwing two to four inches of snow per hour is found when I look out my windows.

I prefer the first method. The red banner is less scary.
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Hospitality in Mexico, An Essay by Matt DeHart

Published exclusively in The Gad About Town.

This is the second article in a series. The first part is here: “‘You don’t act like an American.'”

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In May 2012, Judge Aleta A. Trauger of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee released Matt DeHart on bond. He had spent the previous twenty-one months in prison with two pornography indictments against him.

Judge Trauger had learned that computer materials seized from Matt’s home in Indiana, where he lived with his parents, had not been sent to Tennessee, the proper jurisdiction, but to FBI headquarters in Washington, DC. The judge finally learned from the U.S. Department of Justice that Matt DeHart had been “arrested for questioning in an espionage matter.”

Thus, what she said from the bench that day remains important:
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100,000 Thank Yous

The website you hold in your hands was launched at the end of 2013. Three full years later, on this date of today, it will be visited for the one-hundred thousandth time.

If this was a commercial enterprise, 100,000 views in three years would be an abject failure; there are defunct websites that draw greater traffic. Instead, this website is one person’s production and reflects the things he finds interesting or in need of attention (his own and others’). No more, no less. Nothing abstract about it.
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Lauri Love Banned from Twitter

Lauri Love, the British hacktivist who the United Kingdom has agreed to send to the United States to face charges despite pleas from over 100 MPs that he not be extradited, was permanently banned from Twitter this week. His account was @LauriLoveX.

The reasons are unclear, as no specific charges were fully explained to Love. It is understood that the reasons are related to an “alleged violent threat.” He wrote a few hours ago, “Being an actual Nazi on twitter: fine and dandy. Advocating punching Nazis on twitter: permanently banned for violent threats. This is why we can’t have nice things… (Only told I will never get my account back for obscure probably made-up reasons after starting a dozen support threads.)”
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ICE Detainees: Working for $1 a Day

When Will We Know?”—an ongoing series

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The federal government established the rate of pay for undocumented workers in detention centers and prisons at $1 per day back in 1979 and this pay rate has not been adjusted since. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) does not consider $1 for a day’s labor to be pay, anyway; officially, what it pays detained immigrants is referred to in its documentation as an “allowance.”

José Coyote Pérez (seen at top), an immigrant laborer and labor activist in upstate New York, was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement on February 24 and is prisoner number A#099757267 in the Buffalo Federal Detention Facility in Batavia, New York. He and other new detainees held at the Buffalo facility are working there and they are being paid $1 per day, it has been confirmed by activists.
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‘You don’t act like an American,’ An Essay by Matt DeHart

Published exclusively in The Gad About Town …

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The Courage Foundation supports the legal needs of individuals around the world who are faced with prosecution (and persecution) for whistle-blowing—funds go towards legal fees and the foundation organizes public campaigns on behalf of the whistle-blower.

As the Courage Foundation states in its materials, “Whistle-blowers become the public’s regulators of last resort. Without them, we would know far less about international diplomacy, offshore banking or the excesses of the War on Terror. Because whistleblowers are a vital link in the chain, they are also vulnerable.”

At present, the Courage Foundation supports seven individuals: Edward Snowden, Jeremy Hammond, Matt DeHart, Emin Huseynov, Barrett Brown, Lauri Love, and Chelsea Manning.

Matt DeHart, former U.S. Air National Guard intelligence analyst, is prisoner #06813-036 at the low-security federal correctional institution FCI Ashland in Ashland, Kentucky. The essay published below is one of the few public statements he has made.
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ICE Arrests Green Card Holder; Community Responds

UPDATED, March 11: Eight days after a GoFundMe page was established to help the family of Joel and Jessica Guerrero of New Paltz, New York, 394 people have donated more than $16,140. The amount requested to assist Jessica, a new wife who is six months pregnant with the couple’s first child, is $15,000, so the campaign, which will continue to accept donations, will go forward and help the family. The GoFundMe page website is here: “Support Jessica Guerrero.”

With Joel Guerrero arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at his regularly scheduled biannual appointment on March 1 in New York City, the Guerrero family (Mr. Guerrero serves as primary caregiver for his fifteen-year-old nephew) has lost its primary income. Mrs. Guerrero was suddenly thrust into a life in which she now needs assistance with rent, groceries, basic living expenses. Mr. Guerrro is an immigrant from the Dominican Republic who is a green card holder, which entitles him to legal residency in the U.S.

WABC News in New York City featured the story on March 6.

In a post on Facebook, Jessica wrote yesterday: “I visited Joel today and he is so grateful for the outpouring of support and love from our community. He sends his gratitude to each and everyone one of you for taking care of his family through this—whether it has been through kind words, prayers, donations, offers to help, etc. He (and I) want to again express our love and gratitude.”
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