Bay Area United Against War Newsletter, June 19, 2021

Update on #BLOCKTHEBOAT Seattle ~ Article + Emergency Update re arrest


Article with photos:


'Stop taking anything from Israel': Block the Boat movement aims to halt cargo ship at Seattle Port – June 17, 2021




EMERGENCY UPDATE From June 17th – 11:30 P.M.


 Our community protest tonight was violently broken up by the police. At least 8 of us are currently in jail. We picketed against an apartheid-profiteering ship that had already been officially asked to leave the port, arm in arm with several city council members, and with the solidarity of dock workers, truckers, and thousands of community members.


These brutal tactics show the true face of ZIM; and the complicit relationship between Zionist attacks in Palestine and police brutality here in Seattle. Don't let them get away with it!


 Please call the King County Sheriff’s office and King County Prosecuting Attorney’s office as soon as you can and demand the release of the peaceful protesters whose only crime was to stand up to Israeli apartheid:

·      King County Sheriff - (206) 296-3311  Sheriffs Dept. say the Seattle police dept. made the arrest Tel.# (206) 625-5011 

·      King County Prosecuting Attorney - (206) 296-9000

·      #BlockTheBoat #BDS #ShutDownApartheid




    San Francisco Caravan: End the U.S. Blockade of Cuba!


Today, Sunday, June 20, 11:30 A.M.


1875 Marin St, San Francisco

Across the United States and around the world, car caravans and other solidarity demonstrations are taking place in the lead up to the June 23rd United Nations vote on the resolution calling for the end of the U.S. blockade on Cuba.

The Trump administration signed more than 240 measures against Cuba, tightening the blockade, including banning remittances from Cuban-Americans to their families in Cuba ($1.5 billion in 2019), placing Cuba on the "sponsor of state terrorism" list, forcing other countries to also deny Cuba trade. This is false and an outrage. It is Cuba that has suffered from U.S.-backed terrorist attacks that have killed 3,478 Cuban citizens and injured 2,099.


The 60-year blockade is a violation of International law. It is a criminal and inhumane policy to punish the Cuban people for their independence and sovereignty.


If there is any doubt about the intention of the U.S. blockade directly targeting the Cuban people, one only has to read this 1960 excerpt from a secret, now declassified memorandum by Lester D. Mallory, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State under President Eisenhower. He wrote it to propose an economic blockade:


Mallory wrote on April 6, 1960: "Most Cubans support Castro…There is no effective political opposition (…) The only possible way to make the government lose domestic support is by provoking disappointment and discouragement through economic dissatisfaction and hardships (…) Every possible means should be immediately used to weaken the economic life (…) denying Cuba funds and supplies to reduce nominal and real salaries with the objective of provoking hunger, desperation and the overthrow of the government."

Cuba has resisted 60 years of cruel blockade. It is time that we people in the United States stand with Cuba to say No More!


Please join us on Sunday, June 20!


Endorsed by: Task Force on the Americas, Venceremos Brigade - Bay Area, Bay Area Saving Lives Campaign

We hope your organization can endorse and take part in this important mobilization. For endorsements and any questions you can email answer@answersf.org or call 415-821-6545


We ask that you also help us publicize the caravan. We will have plenty of signs to share. You are welcome to bring your own as well.


Even if you are unable to attend, you can still support by contributing to the syringe campaign for Cuba's national vaccination drive! Check out the campaign here: bit.ly/SupportCuba


ANSWER Coalition · United States 



The International Tribunal “In the Spirit of Mandela” coalition 
cordially invites you to our Third Webinar:

“Leading Up till Tomorrow!”:
International Perspectives on
Legal, Educational & Political Imperatives
to hold the US government Accountable and
END Human Rights Violations NOW!

Tuesday, June 22, 2021 @ 8 p.m. (Eastern), 5 p.m. (Pacific)


Mary-Louise Patterson, MD: Board member, Physicians for a National Health Program; 
daughter of William Patterson (co-petitioner with Paul Robeson of historic 
1951 WE CHARGE GENOCIDE filings to the United Nations)

Lennox Hinds: International Association of Democratic Lawyers; convenor of the 
historic 1979 Petition to the UN on Human Rights Violations in the US; convenor of 
the historic 2021 International Commission of Inquiry on Systemic Racist 
Police Violence Against People of African Descent in the US

Dr. Kwame-Osagyefo Kalimara: Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Provisional Government 
of the Republic of New Afrika; co-founder of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement and the 
New Afrikan People’s Organization; professor of law, psychology, and history

Olga Sanabria Dávila: Comité de Puerto Rico en Naciones Unidas: 
Advisor to the annual United Nations Decolonization Committee of 24 hearings on Puerto Rico

Joy James (invited): Abolition Collective Black Internationalist Unions; 
editor of The New Abolitionists and Imprisoned Intellectuals

With SPECIAL GUESTS… and emcees: Matt Meyer (IPRA; NEPPC) & A’isha Mohammad (Jericho)

To attend the webinar, register at: https://www.crowdcast.io/e/international-tribunal/3

To get involved with and endorse the Tribunal: https://spiritofmandela.org/

Jihad Abdulmumit
Tribunal Coordinating Committee 
In the Spirit of Nelson Mandela




Saturday, June 26, 2021 – 2:00 P.M.

Islamic Cultural Center of Northern California

1433 Madison Street

Oakland, CA 94612


$20 - $10 sliding scale admission at the door. No one turned away for lack of funds. Wheelchair accessible with advanced notice.


Masks and Social Distancing Requirements Observed


Freedom for Julian Assange, San Francisco Bay Area Presents:


John and Gabriel Shipton, the father and brother of award-winning Australian journalist Julian Assange, as their nationwide tour stops in the Bay Area. They are raising awareness of the importance of protecting whistleblowers and journalists and calling on the U.S. government to drop its prosecution and finally let Julian come home.


Joining the Shiptons live are Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Alice Walker and Pentagon Papers defendant and whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg. Noam Chomsky, linguist and author, and Mamia Abu-Jamal, innocent political prisoner and journalist, will be joining via Zoom.


Additional Speakers Include:

·      Joe Lombardo, National Coordinator UNAC

·      Cynthia Papermaster, CODEPINK

·      Jeff Mackler, National Steering Committee, assangedefense.org

·      Dennis Bernstein, host of KPFA's Flashpoints

·      Nozomi Hayase, author, WikiLeaks, the Global Fourth Estate: History Is Happening

and more...


Download the flyer here:






Sponsored By:

Freedom for Julian Assange, San Francisco Bay Area

affiliated with the National assangedefense.org


Co-Sponsored By:

Courage Foundation (assangedefense.org) • San Francisco Bay Area National Lawyers Guild

Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal • Black Alliance for Peace • Socialist Action

Code Pink, Golden Gate and nationally • United National Antiwar Coalition • International Action Center

Syria Solidarity Movement • Peninsula Peace and Justice Center • Peace and Freedom Party

Green Party of Alameda County • U.S. Peace Council • BAYAN USA • Haiti Action Committee

Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists Social Justice Committee • Task Force on the Americas

Mt. Diablo Peace and Justice Center • Workers World Party • San Jose Peace and Justice Center

Women's International League for Peace & Freedom • Bay Action Committee to Free Julian Assange


For additional information: jmackler@lmi.net    Online donations: assangedefense.org



People's March & Rally 2021

SUNDAY, JUNE 27, 2021,10:30 AM – 6:00 PM

1800 Polk St, San Francisco, the route of the very first Gay Liberation March


A call for action from Juanita MORE! and Alex U. Inn. All Black Lives Matter! All-Trans Lives Matter! All Brown Lives Matter, All Indigenous Lives Matter!
On Sunday, June 27, 2021, on the route of the very first Gay Liberation March, 51 years ago, we will roar our voices in solidarity with our Black, Brown, and Indigenous Trans and Queer family, friends, lovers, and neighbors. We stand in protest of transgender and racial injustice, police violence, killings, unjust healthcare, and unrelentless gun control, and let’s not ever forget the reparations to Black People. We demand changes!
We will show up in droves with amplified voices to advocate for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, denounce and condemn police violence against our communities, and raise awareness for the need to defund police departments, which will allow for funds to be reallocated to social services, mental healthcare providers, and social justice organizations., After losing 600,000 lives to Covid-19, most of which are Black, Latinx, and Indigenous, we insist on consistent universal healthcare for everyone and support the continuance of the Affordable Care Act.
People’s March will be led by an all-Black, Brown, and Indigenous committees of Trans and Queer activists, community leaders, artists, and performers.
Join us as we Unite To Fight for our civil rights!
We will not be silenced!
PLEASE BE RESPONSIBLE. People’s March & Rally Organizers ask for you to please be in compliance with our Federal and California state laws to wear Masks, if not vaccinated, and to remain safely physically distant. (CDC Info.) Masks will not be provided.



Pacifica Radio: Mumia and Leonard Peltier Say NO to Undemocratic Bylaws Scheme!


KPFA and other Pacifica stations are the only media outlets that have covered environmental health struggles sympathetically at times, [ that most others] have ignored altogether. Pacifica is an important grassroots resource that must be defended.


An advisory to listeners of Pacifica's community radio stations:


There is yet another undemocratic by laws scheme underway.


If you are a member of KPFA, or of KPFK in Los Angeles, or know people who may be subscribers to KPFT (Houston), WBAI (New York City), or WPFW (Washington, DC), a ballot should have come by email to each member today (June 7.)


PLEASE use that ballot to VOTE ***NO*** on this wasteful and ill-advised scheme !!!


Endorsers of a NO vote include Harry Belafonte, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Leonard Peltier, Cindy Sheehan, Danny Glover, Oscar Lopez Rivera, Lenny Foster and Lydia Ponce (AIM), Jack Heyman and Clarence Thomas (ILWU Local 10), Black Agenda ReportThe San Francisco Bay ViewBlack Star News, Alameda County Peace & Freedom Party, and both the Oakland Greens and the San Francisco Green Party 


Numerous others endorsing a NO vote include popular Pacifica producers; see: :








At least two endorsements claimed for the bylaws scheme are bogus, those of Martin Sheen and of Jane Fonda:




To find out how bizarre, dishonest, and thoroughly undemocratic the “New Day” schemers are, see:




Most especially:  


Vote No on the New Day Bylaws:  KPFA Local Board Hitting New Heights of Crazy




New Day Moves to Eradicate right of its own Staff to Vote on bylaws overhaul:




1,000 Word Statement Against the Proposed New Day Pacifica Bylaws:




For more analysis of the proposed new bylaws and their implications see:








If you did not receive your ballot, here is where to go, to request a replacement:




Let’s remind these costly schemers that we said “NO" to them before, and that we mean now what we meant then:  NO  



For those of you that missed the Memorial Meeting for revolutionary socialist, Ernie Tate, you have a chance to watch this dynamic and inspiring event:

Hi everyone,

We hope all is well with you.

We are happy to announce that the video recording of "No Life Like It: A A Tribute to the Revolutionary Activism of Ernie Tate" is now available for viewing on LeftStreamed

here: https://youtu.be/_sXWHaIC8D0

and here: https://socialistproject.ca/leftstreamed-video/no-life-like-it/

Please share the link with your comrades and friends.

All the best,

The organizers





Photo from San Francisco rally and march in support of Palestine Saturday, May 15, 2021

Stand with Palestine!

Say NO to apartheid!



Join the global movement in solidarity with the Palestinian people. 






#Nakba73 #homeisworthstrugglingfor



Contact Us

Alliance for Global Justice
225 E 26th St Ste 1

Tucson, Arizona 85713-2925



Great news for Kevin Cooper, an innocent man 

on San Quentin's death row:




Contact: Governor's Press Office


Friday, May 28, 2021


(916) 445-4571


Governor Newsom Announces Clemency Actions, Signs Executive Order for Independent Investigation of Kevin Cooper Case

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today announced that he has granted 14 pardons, 13 commutations and 8 medical reprieves. In addition, the Governor signed an executive order to launch an independent investigation of death row inmate Kevin Cooper’s case as part of the evaluation of Cooper’s application for clemency.

The investigation will review trial and appellate records in the case, the facts underlying the conviction and all available evidence, including the results of the recently conducted DNA tests previously ordered by the Governor to examine additional evidence in the case using the latest, most scientifically reliable forensic testing.

The text of the Governor’s executive order can be found here:


The California Constitution gives the Governor the authority to grant executive clemency in the form of a pardon, commutation or reprieve. These clemency grants recognize the applicants’ subsequent efforts in self-development or the existence of a medical exigency. They do not forgive or minimize the harm caused.

The Governor regards clemency as an important part of the criminal justice system that can incentivize accountability and rehabilitation, increase public safety by removing counterproductive barriers to successful reentry, correct unjust results in the legal system and address the health needs of incarcerated people with high medical risks.

A pardon may remove counterproductive barriers to employment and public service, restore civic rights and responsibilities and prevent unjust collateral consequences of conviction, such as deportation and permanent family separation. A pardon does not expunge or erase a conviction.


A commutation modifies a sentence, making an incarcerated person eligible for an earlier release or allowing them to go before the Board of Parole Hearings for a hearing at which Parole Commissioners determine whether the individual is suitable for release.

A reprieve allows individuals classified by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation as high medical risk to serve their sentences in appropriate alternative placements in the community consistent with public health and public safety.

The Governor weighs numerous factors in his review of clemency applications, including an applicant’s self-development and conduct since the offense, whether the grant is consistent with public safety and in the interest of justice, and the impact of a grant on the community, including crime victims and survivors.

While in office, Governor Newsom has granted a total of 86 pardons, 92 commutations and 28 reprieves.

The Governor’s Office encourages victims, survivors, and witnesses to register with CDCR’s Office of Victims and Survivors Rights and Services to receive information about an incarcerated person’s status. For general Information about victim services, to learn about victim-offender dialogues, or to register or update a registration confidentially, please visit:

 www.cdcr.ca.gov/Victim_Services/ or call 1-877-256-6877 (toll free).

Copies of the gubernatorial clemency certificates announced today can be found here:


Additional information on executive clemency can be found here:





Martha Hennessy and Carmen Trotta released from prison


Martha Hennessy was released yesterday, May 26, from Danbury prison after 5 1/2 months confinement to a halfway house in Manchester, New Hampshire which is about a two hour drive from her home in Vermont. Her husband, Stephen Melanson, picked her up and drove her to the halfway house. She expects to have to spend a week or two at the halfway house before being allowed to return home to finish the last few months of her 10 month sentence. She had applied for early release through the CARES Act which allows release for the qualified elderly to reduce the risk of catching COVID. She is looking forward to return to her home and family and her gardening soon. Martha gave a short video statement on getting out and it will be posted on the website shortly.

Carmen Trotta was furloughed today from Otisville prison after being denied release 10 days ago at the last minute because his proposed residence at St. Joseph Catholic Worker house where he has lived and worked for more than 30 years was considered too risky for the virus. He was subsequently approved to live in a friend's apartment near the Catholic Worker. Three friends picked him up at the prison at 9 am and drove him to a halfway house in the Bronx where he was processed for 4 hours and informed of all the rules and restrictions. An ankle monitor was attached and then the friends drove him to the apartment in the East Village where he will be under home confinement. He had not applied for early release. He is supposed to remain in the apartment unless he gets permission to go out for shopping, medical visits or church.

Mark Colville is scheduled to report to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, NY on June 8 to finish his 21 month sentence. He has already served 15 months in the county jails in Georgia before the trial in October 2019. He may also be eligible for an earlier release but does not intend to apply for any special consideration.


EMAIL: kingsbayplowshares@gmail.com

WEBSITE: www.kingsbayplowshares7.org

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/Kingsbayplowshares

TWITTER: https://www.twitter.com/kingsbayplow7

INSTAGRAM: https://instagram.com/kingsbayplowshares7



Demand Mumia's Freedom:

Governor Tom Wolf -1(717) 787-2500  Fax 1 (717) 772-8284
Office of the Governor
508 Main Capitol Building
HarrisburgPA  17120    
After calling the governor, send an online communication about our concerns.   https://www.governor.pa.gov/contact/#PhoneNumber
Let us know what there response was, Thank you.  Mobilization4Mumia@gmail.com


Questions and comments may be sent to: info@freedomarchives.org



For all those who missed the tribute to the life of revolutionary socialist, Ernie Tate:

Hi everyone,

We hope all is well with you.

We are happy to announce that the video recording of "No Life Like It: A A Tribute to the Revolutionary Activism of Ernie Tate" is now available for viewing on LeftStreamed

here: https://youtu.be/_sXWHaIC8D0

and here: https://socialistproject.ca/leftstreamed-video/no-life-like-it/

Please share the link with your comrades and friends.

All the best,

The organizers






Jeff Bezos has at least $180 Billion!



The Washington State Supreme Court just ruled to allow the right-wing Recall Campaign against Councilmember Kshama Sawant to move forward.


In response, Councilmember Sawant said “This ruling is completely unjust, but we are not surprised. Working people and oppressed communities cannot rely on the capitalist courts for justice anymore than they can on the police.”


“Last summer, all across the country, ordinary people who peacefully protested in multi-racial solidarity against racism and police brutality themselves faced brutal police violence. The police and the political establishment have yet to be held accountable, while in stark contrast, more than 14,000 protestors were arrested.”


“In October, the Washington State Supreme Court unanimously threw out the grassroots recall campaign launched in response to Amazon-backed Mayor Jenny Durkan’s overseeing a violent police crackdown against Seattle protests. Now, this same Supreme Court has unanimously approved the recall against an elected socialist, working-class representative who has unambiguously stood with the Black Lives Matter movement.”


“The recall law in Washington State is inherently undemocratic and well-suited for politicized use against working people’s representatives, because there is no requirement that the charges even be proven true. In effect, the courts have enormous leeway to use recall elections as a mechanism to defend the ruling class and capitalist system. It is no accident that Seattle’s last elected socialist, Anna Louise Strong, was driven out of office by a recall campaign for her links to the labor movement and opposition to World War I.”


The recall effort against Councilmember Sawant explicitly cited her role in Black Lives Matter protests and the Amazon Tax campaign in their articles of recall. In 2019, Kshama was elected for the third time despite a record-breaking influx of corporate money in Seattle elections, including $1.5 million in corporate PAC spending from Amazon, as well as donations from top Amazon executives and numerous wealthy Republican donors directly to Kshama’s opponent. 


The Recall Campaign is backed by a host of corporate executives and developers, including billionaire landlord and Trump donor Martin Selig; Jeannie Nordstrom of the billionaire union-busting, retail giant Nordstrom dynasty; Airbnb Chief Financial Officer and former Amazon Vice President Dave Stephenson; Merrill Lynch Senior Vice President Matt Westphal; wealthy Trump donors like Dennis Weibling, Vidur Luthra and Greg Eneil; and plethora of major real-estate players, such as John Stephanus, whose asset management company, Epic, has ranked amongst Seattle’s top 10 landlords for evictions.


Now, because of the Supreme Court’s ruling, the Recall Campaign is able to begin collecting signatures to get a recall election on an upcoming ballot. With the financial backing of the corporate elite, we know the Recall Campaign will have unlimited resources to collect their signatures.


That’s why we need your support to massively expand our Decline-to-Sign campaign and defeat this attack on all working people. The Recall Campaign has already raised $300,000. Can you make a contribution to the Kshama Solidarity Campaign today so that we have the necessary resources to fight back?


In solidarity,

Hannah Swoboda

Fundraising Director

Kshama Solidarity Campaign


Copyright © 2021 Kshama Solidarity Campaign, All rights reserved

PLEDGE: Stand with Kshama Sawant Against the Right-Wing Recall! 

The right wing and big business are going after Councilmember Sawant because she’s been such a powerful voice for working people – for leading the way on the Amazon Tax, on the $15 minimum wage, and for her role in the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Amazon spent millions trying to unseat Kshama last year and failed. Now the Recall Campaign is raising money from corporate executives and rich Republicans to try to overturn that election and all our victories. Their campaign is saying Kshama’s support for Black Lives Matter was promoting “lawlessness” – this is a racist attack on the movement. The right wing will be collecting signatures to get the recall on the ballot; we’re building a Decline-to-Sign movement to keep our voice on the City Council and win COVID relief for working people.

Sign the pledge at:



Paid for by Kshama Solidarity Campaign

PO Box 20611, Seattle, WA 98102



  9 minutes 29 seconds

I've been hearing over and over again on the news—on TV and in print—the figure of "almost eight minutes." Even in Charles M. Blow's Opinion Piece this morning in the New York Times, "On Hallowed Ground," he reported "almost nine minutes" that Derik Chauvin kneeled on George Floyd's neck. But that was not true. It was nine minutes and twenty-nine seconds—not until the paramedics brought the gurney beside George's body did Chauvin finally get up. All the while the other cops stood by and threatened bystanders, including a first responder, to keep away from Chauvin—to let him continue to murder George Floyd. 

I wrote a comment to Blow's column this morning as follows:

"CORRECTION: It wasn't "nearly nine minutes." It was nine minutes and twenty-nine seconds! Let that sink in! Nine minutes and twenty-nine seconds. Not until the paramedics arrived, felt for George Floyd's non-existent pulse at his neck, Chauvin still kneeling on his neck, that finally, with the gurney beside his body, did Chauvin finally get up. By then George was dead. Chauvin made sure of that, and the other cops stood by and did NOTHING except threaten the people standing by in horror." —Bonnie Weinstein




This beautiful and powerful exhibit is ongoing 

and can be viewed online at:



Pass COVID Protection and Debt Relief


Stop the Eviction Cliff! 

Forgive Rent and Mortgage Debt!

Sign the Petition:




Millions of Californians have been prevented from working and will not have the income to pay back rent or mortgage debts owed from this pandemic. For renters, on Feb 1st, landlords will be able to start evicting and a month later, they will be able to sue for unpaid rent. Urge your legislator and Gov Newsom to stop all evictions and forgive COVID debts!


The COVID-19 pandemic continues to rock our state, with over 500 people dying from this terrible disease every day. The pandemic is not only ravaging the health of poor, black and brown communities the hardest - it is also disrupting our ability to make ends meet and stay in our homes. Shockingly, homelessness is set to double in California by 2023 due the economic crisis unleashed by COVID-19. [1]


Housing is healthcare: Without shelter, our very lives are on the line. Until enough of us have been vaccinated, our best weapon against this virus will remain our ability to stay at home.


Will you join me by urging your state senator, assembly member and Governor Gavin Newsom to pass both prevent evictions AND forgive rent debt?


This click-to-call tool makes it simple and easy.




Renters and small landlords know that much more needs to be done to prevent this pandemic from becoming a catastrophic eviction crisis. So far, our elected officials at the state and local level have put together a patchwork of protections that have stopped a bad crisis from getting much worse. But many of these protections expire soon, putting millions of people in danger. We face a tidal wave of evictions unless we act before the end of January.


We can take action to keep families in their homes while guaranteeing relief for small landlords by supporting an extension of eviction protections (AB 15) and providing rent debt relief paired with assistance for struggling landlords (AB 16). Assembly Member David Chiu of San Francisco is leading the charge with these bills as vehicles to get the job done.  Again, the needed elements are:  


Improve and extend existing protections so that tenants who can’t pay the rent due to COVID-19 do not face eviction


Provide rent forgiveness to lay the groundwork for a just recovery


Help struggling small and non-profit landlords with financial support


Ten months since the country was plunged into its first lockdown, tenants still can’t pay their rent and debt is piling up. This is hurting tenants and small landlords alike. We need a holistic approach that protects Californians in the short-run while forgiving unsustainable debts over the long term. That’s why we’re joining the Housing Now! coalition and Tenants Together on a statewide phone zap to tell our elected leaders to act now.


Will you join me by urging your state senator, assembly member and Governor Gavin Newsom to pass both prevent evictions AND forgive rent debt?


Time is running out. California’s statewide protections will start expiring by the end of this month. Millions face eviction. We have to pass AB 15 before the end of January. And we will not solve the long-term repercussions on the economic health of our communities without passing AB 16.




Let’s do our part in turning the corner on this pandemic. Our fight now will help protect millions of people in California. And when we fight, we win!


In solidarity,


Sasha Graham

[1] https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2021-01-12/new-report-foresees-tens-of-thousands-losing-homes-by-2023

ACCE Action




Tell the New U.S. Administration - End 

Economic Sanctions in the Face of the Global

 COVID-19 Pandemic

Take action and sign the petition - click here!



To: President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and all Members of the U.S. Congress:  


We write to you because we are deeply concerned about the impact of U.S. sanctions on many countries that are suffering the dire consequences of COVID-19.


The global COVID-19 pandemic and global economic crash challenge all humanity. Scientific and technological cooperation and global solidarity are desperate needs. Instead, the Trump Administration escalated economic warfare (“sanctions”) against many countries around the globe.


We ask you to begin a new era in U.S. relations with the world by lifting all U.S. economic sanctions.


U.S. economic sanctions impact one-third of the world’s population in 39 countries.


These sanctions block shipments and purchases of essential medicines, testing equipment, PPE, vaccines and even basic food.  Sanctions also cause chronic shortages of basic necessities, economic dislocation, chaotic hyperinflation, artificial famines, disease, and poverty, leading to tens of thousands of deaths. It is always the poorest and the weakest – infants, children, the chronically ill and the elderly – who suffer the worst impact of sanctions.  


Sanctions are illegal. They are a violation of international law and the United Nations Charter. They are a crime against humanity used, like military intervention, to topple popular governments and movements.


The United States uses its military and economic dominance to pressure governments, institutions and corporations to end all normal trade relations with targeted nations, lest they risk asset seizures and even military action.


The first step toward change must be an end to the U.S.’ policies of economic war. We urge you to end these illegal sanctions on all countries immediately and to reset the U.S.’ relations with the world.

Add your name - Click here to sign the petition:




A Plea for the Compassionate Release of 

Leonard Peltier

Video at:


Screen shot from video.




Resources for Resisting Federal Repression

Since June of 2020, activists have been subjected to an increasingly aggressive crackdown on protests by federal law enforcement. The federal response to the movement for Black Lives has included federal criminal charges for activists, door knocks by federal law enforcement agents, and increased use of federal troops to violently police protests. 

The NLG National Office is releasing this resource page for activists who are resisting federal repression. It includes a link to our emergency hotline numbers, as well as our library of Know-Your-Rights materials, our recent federal repression webinar, and a list of some of our recommended resources for activists. We will continue to update this page. 

Please visit the NLG Mass Defense Program page for general protest-related legal support hotlines run by NLG chapters.

Emergency Hotlines

If you are contacted by federal law enforcement you should exercise all of your rights. It is always advisable to speak to an attorney before responding to federal authorities. 

State and Local Hotlines

If you have been contacted by the FBI or other federal law enforcement, in one of the following areas, you may be able to get help or information from one of these local NLG hotlines for: 

National Hotline

If you are located in an area with no hotline, you can call the following number:

Know Your Rights Materials

The NLG maintains a library of basic Know-Your-Rights guides. 

WEBINAR: Federal Repression of Activists & Their Lawyers: Legal & Ethical Strategies to Defend Our Movements: presented by NLG-NYC and NLG National Office

We also recommend the following resources: 

Center for Constitutional Rights

Civil Liberties Defense Center

Grand Jury Resistance Project

Katya Komisaruk

Movement for Black Lives Legal Resources

Tilted Scales Collective






1) I Taught Online School This Year. It Was a Disgrace.

By Lelac Almagor, Ms. Almagor teaches fourth grade at a public charter school in Washington, D.C., June 16, 2021

Ashley Gilbertson/VII for The New York Times

Our prepandemic public school system was imperfect, surely, clumsy and test-crazed and plagued with inequities. But it was also a little miraculous: a place where children from different backgrounds could stow their backpacks in adjacent cubbies, sit in a circle and learn in community.


At the diverse Washington, D.C., public charter school where I teach, and which my 6-year-old attends, the whole point was that our families chose to do it together — knowing that it meant we would be grappling with our differences and biases well before our children could tie their own shoes.


Then Covid hit, and overnight these school communities fragmented and segregated. The wealthiest parents snapped up teachers for “microschools,” reviving the Victorian custom of hiring a governess and a music master. Others left for private school without a backward glance.


Some middle-class parents who could work remotely toughed it out at home, checking in on school between their own virtual meetings. Those with younger kids or in-person jobs scraped together education and child care — an outdoor play pod or a camp counselor to supervise hours of Zoom classes. With schools closed, the health risks and child care hours didn’t disappear. They simply shifted from well-educated, unionized, tax-funded professional teachers to hourly-wage, no-benefit workers serving only those who could afford to pay.


The families with the fewest resources were left with nothing. No child care, only the pallid virtual editions of essential services like occupational or speech therapy.


If they could work out the logistics, their kids got a couple of hours a day of Zoom school. If they couldn’t, they got attendance warnings. In my fourth-grade class, I had students calling in from the car while their mom delivered groceries, or from the toddler room of their mom’s busy day care center.


Home alone with younger siblings or cousins, kids struggled to focus while bouncing a fussy toddler or getting whacked repeatedly on the head with a foam sword. Others lay in bed and played video games or watched TV. Many times each day, I carefully repeated the instructions for a floundering student, only to have them reply, helplessly, “I’m sorry, I can’t hear you,” their audio squealing and video freezing as they spoke.


Even under optimal conditions, virtual school meant flattening the collaborative magic of the classroom into little more than an instructional video. Stripped of classroom discussion, human connection, art materials, classroom libraries, time and space to play, virtual school was not school; it was busywork obscuring the “rubber-rooming” of the entire school system.


Some educators sneered that the parents who complained just wanted free babysitting. But I’m not ashamed to say that child care is at the heart of the work I do. I teach children reading and writing, yes, but I also watch over them, remind them to be kind and stay safe, plan games and activities to help them grow. Children deserve attentive care. That’s the core of our commitment to them.


I am still bewildered and horrified that our society walked away from this responsibility, that we called school inessential and left each family to fend for itself. Meanwhile nurses, bus drivers and grocery workers all went to work in person — most of my students’ parents went to work in person — not because it was safe but because their work is essential. Spare me your “the kids are all right” Facebook memes. Some children may have learned to do laundry or enjoy nature during the pandemic. Many others suffered trauma and disconnection that will take years to repair.


I don’t know the first thing about public health. I won’t venture an opinion on what impact the school closures had on controlling the spread of Covid. What I do know is that the private schools in our city quickly got to work upgrading HVAC systems, putting up tents, cutting class sizes and rearranging schedules so that they could reopen in relative safety. Public schools in other states and countries did the same.


More of our public school systems should have likewise moved mountains — repurposed buildings, reassigned staff, redesigned programming, reallocated funding — to offer consistent public schooling, as safely as possible, to all children.


Instead we opened restaurants and gyms and bars while kids stayed home, or got complicated hybrid schedules that many parents turned down because they offered even less stability than virtual school. Even now, with vaccinations rising and case rates dropping, some families remain reluctant to send their kids back to us in the fall. I can’t help thinking that’s because we broke their trust.


Does virtual learning work for some kids, in some circumstances? Sure. So does home-schooling, or not attending school at all. But I am profoundly relieved that most districts, including my own, plan to shut down or restrict the online option.


I hope this means that we are renewing our collective commitment to true public education. Just as before, we will have to fight to make our schools safer, more equitable and more flexible. Just as before, coming together will be messy and complicated. Children, families and teachers will all need time to rebuild relationships with our institutions.


But we’ll be back together, in the same building, eating the same food. We’ll find that the friend who helps us in the morning might need our help in the afternoon. We’ll have soccer arguments at recess and patch them up in closing circle. We’ll sing songs, tell stories, plant seeds and watch them grow. That’s schooling in real life. That’s what public school is for.



2) 8,000 Homeless People to Be Moved From Hotels to Shelters, New York Says

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s announcement signals the beginning of the end to an arrangement that many homeless people said provided a better living environment.

By Andy Newman, June 16, 2021


Homeless people and advocates protested across from Gracie Mansion on Monday against the city’s plan to move people from hotel rooms back to group shelters.

Homeless people and advocates protested across from Gracie Mansion on Monday against the city’s plan to move people from hotel rooms back to group shelters. Credit...Andrew Seng for The New York Times

New York City plans to move about 8,000 homeless people out of hotel rooms and back to barrackslike dorm shelters by the end of July so that the hotels can reopen to the general public, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Wednesday.


When the pandemic lockdown began last spring, New York City moved the people out of the shelters, where in some cases as many as 60 adults stayed in a single room, to safeguard them from the coronavirus. Now, with social distancing restrictions lifted and an economic recovery on the line, the city is raring to fill those hotel rooms with tourists.


“It is time to move homeless folks who were in hotels for a temporary period of time back to shelters where they can get the support they need,” Mr. de Blasio said at a morning news conference.


The mayor said the city would need the state’s approval to remove the homeless people from 60 hotels, but a spokesman for Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said that as long as all shelter residents — even vaccinated ones — wore masks, the state had no objections to the plan.


“The governor has lifted social distancing restrictions, so now people just have to follow the C.D.C. guidelines on masks,” said the spokesman, Rich Azzopardi.


On Tuesday, Mr. Cuomo announced that the state was lifting nearly all remaining coronavirus restrictions and social distancing measures, after more than 70 percent of the state’s adults had received at least a first dose of a vaccine.


It was unclear when the city would move forward with its plan. When asked when people would be moved back to shelters, a spokesman for the city’s Department of Homeless Services said the agency still believed it needed the state’s approval.


The announcement signals the beginning of the end to a living arrangement that was popular with many homeless people, many of whom said that a private hotel room provided a vastly better living experience than sleeping in a shelter. Some said they would sooner live in the street than go back to a group shelter, where many residents are battling mental illness or substance abuse or both.


“I don’t want to go back — it’s like I’m going backward,” Andrew Ward, 39, who has been staying at the Williams Hotel in Brownsville, Brooklyn, after nearly two years at a men’s shelter nearby, said Wednesday afternoon. “It’s not safe to go back there. You’ve got people bringing in knives.” He said he had his belongings stolen countless times at the shelter.


At the hotel, he said: “It’s peaceful. It’s less stressful.” He said that if he was transferred back to a congregate shelter, “I’d just stay in the street like before.”


But the arrangement at the hotels, many of them located in densely populated middle-to-upper-class neighborhoods of Manhattan, has been a source of friction with neighbors who have complained of noise, outdoor drug use and other nuisances and dangers from the hotel residents.


The city’s decision last year to move nearly 300 people from a shelter on an island off Manhattan into the Hotel Lucerne on the Upper West Side touched off a monthslong battle. A state appeals court earlier this month ruled the city could move the people out of the hotel.


The mayor has said for months that the hotels were never intended to be permanent homes and that he wanted to move people out of them as soon as it was safe. But some advocates for the homeless have noted that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has offered to pay for the hotel rooms until the end of September and called Wednesday’s announcement premature.


At a small protest outside Gracie Mansion, the mayor’s residence, on Monday, homeless people and organizers from the advocacy group Vocal-NY demanded that the homeless remain in the hotels until they could be offered permanent apartments.


“Why the rush to put us back into the shelters now?” said Milton Perez, 45, who has spent five years in the shelter system. “Why the rush to put us in danger?”


The coronavirus hit the city’s shelter residents hard. More than 3,700 people in the city’s main shelter system contracted the virus, and 102 died of it, the city says.


During the pandemic, some congregate shelters closed entirely. Others moved most people out to create more space but stayed open.


Advocates noted that vaccination rates for homeless people might be much lower than the rate in the general population. The city said that about 6,300 homeless single adults had been fully vaccinated through Homeless Services sites, though it did not know how many had been vaccinated elsewhere. More than 17,000 single adults are in the main shelter system.


About 65 percent of adults in New York City have received at least a first dose of a vaccine.


“There are people sleeping in shelters who are still testing positive and getting sick,” Giselle Routhier, policy director at the Coalition for the Homeless, said in a statement on Wednesday. “Until permanent affordable housing can be secured, the safest option remains placement in hotel rooms.”


Ms. Routhier also took issue with Mr. de Blasio’s implication that people were not receiving needed social services at the hotels. In fact, several shelter operators said in interviews in recent weeks that they had found ways to offer most of the same treatment and counseling services at the hotels.


When the city decided to move people to hotel rooms last spring, many shelter operators were worried that many residents would fall prey to substance abuse or withdraw from social supports that kept their mental health from declining.


The actual results have been mixed. Some shelters have seen increases in overdoses, but others have seen reductions and reported that removing sources of tension seemed to have improved many people’s mental health, which resulted in fewer fights between residents.


“We had far fewer incidents,” said Andrea Kepler, the former director of a BronxWorks shelter in the Bronx that moved en masse to the OYO Times Square hotel, where each room had a microwave and a refrigerator and housekeeping services. She said that more people obeyed curfews at the hotel because they did not want to lose their spots.


“When you get down to it, it’s not science,” she said. “It’s about really doing basic human things that we would all want for ourselves.”



3) Driver Who Plowed Into Protesters in Minneapolis Is Charged With Murder

Nicholas Kraus of St. Paul, Minn., was drunk at the time of the crash, the authorities said. Deona Marie Erickson, 31, a social justice advocate, was killed in the episode.

By Neil Vigdor, Published June 16, 2021, Updated June 17, 2021

A memorial for Deona Marie Erickson in Minneapolis on Monday, the day after she was killed by a vehicle whose driver plowed into a crowd.
A memorial for Deona Marie Erickson in Minneapolis on Monday, the day after she was killed by a vehicle whose driver plowed into a crowd. Credit...Richard Tsong-Taatarii/Star Tribune, via Associated Press

The drunken driver who plowed a sport-utility vehicle into a crowd of protesters in Minneapolis on Sunday night, killing a woman and injuring several other people, was charged on Wednesday with intentional second-degree murder, the authorities said.


The demonstrators had been protesting the death of Winston Smith, a Black man who was shot by members of a federal law enforcement task force this month, when, officials said, the driver, Nicholas Kraus, barreled into them in a Jeep Grand Cherokee.


Mr. Kraus, 35, of St. Paul, Minn., was intoxicated at the time and had been driving with a suspended license, according to the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, which said that he had been convicted several times of driving under the influence of alcohol.


The protesters pulled Mr. Kraus from the vehicle, and some of them began to strike him, the Minneapolis Police Department said.


Michael O. Freeman, the Hennepin County attorney, said at a news conference on Wednesday that there was clear evidence that Mr. Kraus had intentionally driven into the crowd.


“He said he saw the cars and the barricades and the people,” Mr. Freeman said. “And at that point in time, he intentionally accelerated and went right at them. He said afterwards that he might have hit a person or two while he was driving his vehicle.”


The authorities said Mr. Kraus told investigators that he wanted to get over the barricade. They said there was no indication that he was motivated by politics or antipathy toward the protesters.


The attack on protesters has exacerbated the unrest in Minneapolis, which began last year after the killing of George Floyd while in police custody and continued this year with the trial of the former police officer Derek Chauvin, who was convicted of murdering Mr. Floyd.


It was not immediately clear if Mr. Kraus, who is scheduled to appear in court on Thursday, had a lawyer. He was also charged with two counts of second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon, according to a criminal complaint.


The woman who was killed in the episode was identified on Wednesday by the Hennepin County medical examiner as Deona Marie Erickson, 31. She also went by the name Deona Marie Knajdek and was known for her social justice activism.


She had two children and was a program manager for the Cottages Group, a residential services provider for vulnerable adults in the Twin Cities area.


“She was one of the most selfless people we have had the pleasure of knowing, she earned the respect and trust of those she served because of her true compassion for her work,” her employer said in a Facebook post on Monday.


Ms. Erickson’s relatives told local media outlets that she would have turned 32 this week and was drawn to the cause of social justice.


“I knew that she was going to use her voice for this,” Deb Kenney, Ms. Erickson’s mother, told the television station WCCO. “And I’m proud of her for doing so.”


The episode, which occurred at just before 11:40 p.m. Sunday at West Lake Street and Girard Avenue South, spurred outrage among the crowd of people, who had gathered to protest police brutality and commemorate the death of Mr. Smith. He was fatally shot by members of a fugitive task force who had been trying to arrest him.


“I’ve never seen anything that horrendous,” Zachery James, 28, said from the scene, where several of the crowd were still gathered hours later.


Mr. James said the protesters had blockaded an area of the road, using their own cars, and that he and about 40 to 50 people had been “occupying peacefully” when he first heard a vehicle driving toward the group at high speed. He said it smashed into one of the protesters’ parked cars, which hit a woman, sending her flying several yards into a pole.


Mr. James described Ms. Erickson as “an uplifting, kind, beautiful spirit” who was always curious and considerate toward others. He said she had recently joined the Black Lives Matter movement in Minneapolis.


“She was just here for us and with us,” he said. “I watched her body fly.”



4) Honolulu Police Officer Is Charged With Murder in the Shooting of a 16-Year-Old

Geoffrey H.L. Thom shot Iremamber Sykap eight times after a high-speed chase on April 5, prosecutors said. Two other officers were charged with attempted murder.

By Neil Vigdor, June 17, 2021

A diagram used in the investigation into the death of Iremamber Sykap shows the trajectory of bullets fired by the police at the car he was driving.
A diagram used in the investigation into the death of Iremamber Sykap shows the trajectory of bullets fired by the police at the car he was driving. Credit...Honolulu Police Department

A Honolulu police officer has been charged with second-degree murder in what prosecutors called the unjustified fatal shooting of a 16-year-old boy after a high-speed chase in April. Two other officers have been charged with second-degree attempted murder for their roles in the confrontation.


The charges were announced on Tuesday by prosecutors in Honolulu, less than a week after a grand jury had declined to indict the officers in connection with their actions leading up to the death of Iremamber Sykap on April 5.


“The evidence supports the conclusion that the defendants’ use of deadly force in this case was unnecessary, unreasonable, and unjustified under the law,” Christopher T. Van Marter, a deputy prosecuting attorney, wrote in a criminal complaint.


Prosecutors said that Geoffrey H.L. Thom, the officer charged with second-degree murder, had fired 10 shots “without provocation” into the rear window of a Honda driven by Iremamber, hitting him eight times.


Iremamber died shortly after the shooting, according to prosecutors, who said that one of the bullets fired by Officer Thom had pierced Iremamber’s aorta and another had fractured his spine and that one of the bullets had pierced his lung, causing extreme internal bleeding.


Iremamber’s brother, Mark Sykap, who was in the front passenger seat, was struck in the right shoulder and the left hand when the officers opened fire, a criminal complaint said. He survived.


The shooting happened after a high-speed chase, according to investigators, who said that the car had been idling on a city street when three officers opened fire. The police said that the car had been reported stolen two days earlier and had been connected to an armed robbery, a purse snatching and a theft.


The gearshift lever of the car was still in the drive position when Iremamber was shot, and the vehicle struck an empty patrol car, climbed onto the sidewalk, went through a fence and landed in a canal about 10 feet below street level, investigators said.


Prosecutors said that Officer Thom had written in a police report that the Honda had rammed his patrol car and had reversed toward him. But body camera footage, they said, contradicted those statements. His patrol car had a few minor paint chips and scuff marks, a criminal complaint said.


Officer Thom, 42, a five-year veteran of the Honolulu Police Department, did not immediately respond to a phone message on Wednesday requesting comment. It was not clear if he had a lawyer.


The two officers who were charged with second-degree attempted murder were identified by prosecutors as Zackary K. Ah Nee and Christopher J. Fredeluces.


Prosecutors said that Officer Ah Nee, 26, a three-year police veteran, had fired four shots without provocation toward the passenger side of the Honda after it struck his empty patrol car. Two of those shots hit Iremamber’s brother, according to a criminal complaint.


Officer Ah Nee wrote in his report that he thought he had seen the butt of a firearm in the lap of the front-seat passenger, but body camera footage contradicted his account, the criminal complaint said.


A message seeking comment from Officer Ah Nee was left with a person who answered the phone at his home on Wednesday. It was not clear if he had a lawyer.


Prosecutors said that Officer Fredeluces, 40, a 10-year veteran of the Police Department, had fired one round from his Glock 9-millimeter pistol into the driver’s side door of the Honda, but the bullet did not strike Iremamber.


Officer Fredeluces could not immediately be reached for comment on Wednesday.


If convicted, all three officers would face mandatory sentences of life in prison and would be eligible for parole only after serving 20 years because semiautomatic firearms were used in the shooting.


Their police powers have been removed, according to the Honolulu Police Department, which said that they had been placed on desk duty.


The decision to charge the three officers perplexed Honolulu’s interim police chief, Rade Vanic.


“We are surprised by the prosecuting attorney’s announcement to seek charges against the officers after a grand jury comprised of citizens decided not to indict them,” Chief Vanic said in a statement. “This is highly unusual, and we are not aware of a similar action having been taken in the past.”


Matt Dvonch, special counsel to the Honolulu prosecutor, Steven S. Alm, said in an interview on Wednesday that it was not the first time that the office had asked a judge to determine if there was probable cause after a grand jury did not return an indictment.


“It is not that common,” he said, “but it does happen on occasion.”


Eric Seitz, a lawyer for the Sykap family, was not immediately available for comment on Wednesday, but he told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he was gratified that prosecutors were pursuing the case.


“We have suspected from the beginning, when we began to get information about how the events unfolded, that the shooting was entirely unjustified,” he said. “Now that we’ve seen the further evidence that’s contained and attached to the charges, there’s no question in our minds that this was an event that could have been — and should have been — prevented.”


In May, the Sykap family filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the city of Honolulu and the officers who were involved in the shooting.


The head of the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday, but in a statement to The Associated Press on Tuesday, he voiced support for the officers.


“We continue to trust the process and will continue to stand by our officers,” said Malcolm Lutu, the union’s president.



5) Israel Strikes Gaza Again, After Militants Set Fires in Israel

The exchanges on Thursday and into Friday stopped short of a full-scale escalation, but they underscored the fragile nature of the cease-fire that ended last month’s war.

“The new Israeli government does not want to appear weak, and is trying to differentiate itself from Benjamin Netanyahu, whose administration it replaced on Sunday. Mr. Netanyahu tended to ignore the balloons, whereas his successors want to show that the balloons will be met by a military response. … More than 8,000 remain homeless after their homes were destroyed in the war, with some living in classrooms of a U.N.-run school in Gaza City.

By Patrick Kingsley, June 17, 2021

A street vendor works near a building that was destroyed by last month’s airstrikes in Gaza City.

A street vendor works near a building that was destroyed by last month’s airstrikes in Gaza City. Credit...Mohammed Abed/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

JERUSALEM — Israeli airstrikes hit several sites in Gaza on Thursday night for the second time in three days, after Palestinian militants sent incendiary balloons into farmland in southern Israel for the third day in a row.


There were no reported casualties in either Israel or Gaza, but the exchange raised the specter of a return to full-scale conflict for the first time since an 11-day air war ended nearly a month ago.


The Israeli Army said it had targeted military compounds and a rocket launching site near Gaza City and Khan Younis, two of the biggest cities in the strip, shortly before midnight on Thursday. A Hamas-linked media outlet in Gaza reported hits on sites near Gaza City and Khan Younis, as well as in Jabalia, a town in the north of the strip.


About an hour later, early on Friday morning, sirens sounded in areas of southern Israel close to Gaza, a warning that the Israeli military said was prompted by gunfire from militants in Gaza, not rockets, which might have led to an even more forceful Israeli response.


The Israeli airstrikes followed attempts by militants in Gaza to set fires in Israeli farmland surrounding the strip. Militants sent balloons over the perimeter fence that were attached to incendiary devices. Eight fires were reported on Thursday, in addition to scores earlier in the week.


Analysts and diplomats are skeptical that either Hamas or Israel wants a repeat of the war in May. Israel’s new government is barely a few days into its term, while Hamas is still counting the cost of the damage caused last month. The chief of staff of the Israeli Army, Aviv Kochavi, is still planning to visit counterparts in the United States this weekend.


“If there had been an appetite to upscale and uptick, it would have happened already,” Tor Wennesland, the United Nations special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, said in a phone interview on Thursday morning.


But while the exchanges on Thursday and into Friday stopped short of a full-scale escalation, they underscored the fragile nature of the cease-fire that followed the air war in May.


The new Israeli government does not want to appear weak, and is trying to differentiate itself from Benjamin Netanyahu, whose administration it replaced on Sunday. Mr. Netanyahu tended to ignore the balloons, whereas his successors want to show that the balloons will be met by a military response.


“What was is not what will be,” said a Defense Ministry official this week.


Hamas is reluctant to let recent behavior by the Israeli police and far-right activists in Jerusalem, which many Palestinians considered offensive and provocative, pass uncontested.


Despite mediation by Egyptian and United Nations officials, Hamas and Israel have yet to conclude a lasting cease-fire agreement.


Reconstruction in Gaza of thousands of homes, clinics, schools and major infrastructure systems has barely begun, with a damage assessment yet to be completed by Egypt and the United Nations. Israel is still blocking the import and export of most items, including millions of dollars in aid from Qatar, on which the Gazan economy depends.


For years, an Israeli and Egyptian blockade has limited what comes in and out of Gaza, while Israel controls Gaza’s airspace, access to water, cellular data and birth registry, and prohibits Palestinian access to farmland at the edge of the strip.


Talks on a new reconstruction arrangement have stalled over disagreements of the role that the Palestinian Authority should play in managing the efforts. Hamas forced the authority from Gaza in 2007, and it now administers only parts of the occupied West Bank.


Hamas is also seeking to include in the agreement the release of hundreds of Palestinians held in Israeli jails. Israel wants Hamas to hand over two missing Israeli citizens and the remains of two Israeli soldiers.


Amid these disagreements and delays, many Palestinians in Gaza are still waiting for some kind of normalcy.


More than 8,000 remain homeless after their homes were destroyed in the war, with some living in classrooms of a U.N.-run school in Gaza City.


“The war will be over when I leave this place,” one newly homeless man, Mohammad Gharbain, 36, said in an interview at the school on Wednesday. “The war still goes on as long as I am here.”


Iyad Abuheweila contributed reporting from Gaza City, and Isabel Kershner from Jerusalem.



6) ‘Disorder and Chaos’ in N.Y.C. Jails as Pandemic Recedes

Six incarcerated people have died, a man accused of murder was accidentally released and a captain was charged with criminally negligent homicide, while the future of Rikers Island remains unclear.

By Jan Ransom, June 19, 2021


Tomas Carlo Camacho, left, died after being found unresponsive in a mental health observation unit on Rikers Island. Kevin Carlo, his son, said the family wanted someone to take responsibility for his father’s death.

Tomas Carlo Camacho, left, died after being found unresponsive in a mental health observation unit on Rikers Island. Kevin Carlo, his son, said the family wanted someone to take responsibility for his father’s death. Credit...via Kevin Carlo

Violence on Rikers Island is surging. Exhausted guards are working triple shifts. And staffing shortages have triggered lockdowns at some of the jail’s largest facilities.


More than a year after the coronavirus sickened thousands in New York City’s jail system, the Department of Correction has plunged further into crisis as complaints of severe mismanagement, persistent violence and deaths of incarcerated people continue to mount.


Correction officers and incarcerated people alike have described a tumultuous first half of the year: Six detainees have died, including at least two by suicide, compared with seven through all of 2020. Guards have been forced to work triple and occasionally quadruple shifts, staying on duty for 24 hours or longer, to make up for staffing shortages.


Last month, a report by a federal monitor appointed to oversee the troubled jails described a system in a state of disorder, and expressed grave concern about the agency’s ability to change course.


The crisis comes at a pivotal moment for Rikers Island. Mayor Bill de Blasio and leaders in the City Council are moving forward with an $8 billion plan to replace the complex with four smaller jails in five years. But most of the candidates vying to replace Mr. de Blasio when his term expires at the end of the year have expressed opposition to the plan. Several candidates have said they want to close Rikers Island without building jails to replace it, instead focusing on mental health treatment. Other candidates have expressed concern about the size and location of the planned new jails.


The chaos at Rikers Island, one of the nation’s largest and most notorious jails, has erupted at a time when officials across the country are grappling with the pandemic, violence and abuse behind bars.


In New Jersey, the governor announced this month that the state’s only prison for women will be shuttered after a Justice Department review found there was a pervasive culture of sexual violence by guards. At the same time, officials in California, Connecticut and elsewhere have moved to close facilities in response to a drop in the prison population and a broad rethinking of how and when people should be incarcerated.


New York City’s correction department, meanwhile, has endured a punishing streak of scandals: A captain was charged with criminally negligent homicide in April after she left a man hanging in a Manhattan jail cell and stopped a subordinate from intervening.


A captain, an assistant deputy warden and two correction officers were suspended in March after a man accused of murder was accidentally released from jail. And now, the department is investigating the wrongful release of yet another detainee who escaped on Monday. The department, in March, also came under fire following a report in the Daily News that more than 1,500 phone calls between defendants and their lawyers had been illegally recorded.


And late last month, several guards and other correction workers were charged with taking bribes to smuggle contraband into city jails.


“I have real questions about what’s happening with the agency,” said Councilman Keith Powers, a Manhattan Democrat who heads the criminal justice committee. “I think we all recognize that Covid has added a new layer of stress to the system, but it still doesn’t help us account for the various issues we have seen over the last few months.”


At least some of the problems inside the jails appear to be the result of mismanagement, the federal monitor found, such as staffing shortfalls resulting not from a lack of officers but from a failure to properly deploy them.


In interviews, guards described being too exhausted to break up fights or to complete necessary paperwork. For some officers, the longer hours have led to shorter tempers and irritability when interacting with inmates, they said. Officer morale remains low. Up to 2,000 officers — more than 20 percent of the work force — are out sick or unable to work daily, jail officials said.


In response, incarcerated people have grown frustrated by a reduction in basic services. Inadequate staffing has forced them to miss meetings with their lawyers, and limited access to commissary, the law library, and medical and mental health care.


Cynthia Brann, the former jails commissioner who stepped down at the end of last month, declined an interview.


Speaking at a jail oversight hearing, Ms. Brann acknowledged “significant challenges” since the beginning of the pandemic.


“I can assure you we’ve taken all measures to ensure that we are safely staffed and operations go on,” Ms. Brann said.


But the 342-page report released by the federal monitor provided a strikingly different view.


“Issues plaguing the department are systemic and deep-seated and have been passed down and accepted by all levels of staff across the agency,” the monitor, Steve J. Martin, a lawyer and national corrections expert, said.


He said the jail’s use-of-force rate was at a five-year high, and added that “the pervasive level of disorder and chaos in the facilities is alarming.”


‘We just want answers’


Instances of self harm have been on the rise in the city’s jails in recent months, statistics show. In March, 148 people harmed themselves, including 12 seriously, according to Correctional Health Services data.


Yet, training officers to better respond to suicide attempts has lagged. As of May 6, just 10 percent of the city’s more than 9,000 officers and their supervisors had received a required annual refresher course in suicide prevention training, the department said.


Underscoring the issue, Manhattan prosecutors in April charged a correction captain, Rebecca Hillman, with criminally negligent homicide after they say she left Ryan Wilson hanging in his cell for 15 minutes on Nov. 22 and stopped another officer from saving him.


Two days later, another man, Ishmael Hamilton, 26, tried to kill himself while in a mental health clinic on Rikers Island, according to an official with knowledge of the incident. The city’s Department of Investigation is now investigating.


On Jan. 23 at another facility on Rikers Island, Wilson Diaz-Guzman, 30, used a bedsheet to hang himself from a sprinkler head in his cell, the official said. An officer discovered Mr. Diaz-Guzman at 7 p.m. He was pronounced dead 30 minutes later.


Tomas Carlo Camacho, 48, was in a mental health observation unit on Rikers on March 2 when he was found unresponsive and on his knees with his head through a small slot in the cell door known as a cuffing slot. He died at a hospital. Earl Ward, a lawyer for the family said Mr. Carlo Camacho should have been under constant surveillance.


Mr. Carlo Camacho’s son, Kevin Carlo, said his father had schizophrenia disorder.


“He was a God-fearing man, he had two kids and grandkids who love him,” Mr. Carlo, 28, said. “We just want answers. We want somebody to take responsibility.”


Seventeen days later, Javier Velasco, 37, used a bedsheet to hang himself while also housed in a mental health observation unit. Mr. Velasco had been transferred to the unit after he had attempted suicide three days earlier, according to two people with knowledge of the incident.


Given the earlier suicide attempt, advocates say, jail officials failed to protect Mr. Velasco.


With the pandemic starting to recede behind bars — 10 percent of incarcerated people have already had the virus and 38 percent were at least partially vaccinated as of last week — new issues have arisen.


“This isn’t even about Covid anymore,” said Kelsey De Avila, the jail service project director at the Brooklyn Defender Services. “This is the aftermath now, this is the crisis that follows the pandemic.”


‘Our officers feel defeated’


The correction officer had not eaten or had a break from her post at a facility on Rikers Island in more than 16 hours. When a fight erupted in the jailhouse, she said, she was too tired to stop it.


It was not the first time the officer, 27, who spoke anonymously because she was not authorized to speak to the media, had to work a triple shift. She said she had worked 15 24-hour shifts since the fall. She had started sleeping in her car, she said, because she was too tired to drive home and often had to return in a matter of hours.


Another officer, 31, said she had worked so many long hours that it began to affect her health. She was only relieved after she suffered a medical emergency on duty, when her heart was racing and she had chest pain.


Benny Boscio Jr., president of the union representing correction officers, said 1,000 officers had resigned in the past two years, in part because of the work conditions. “Our officers feel defeated,” he said.


Jail staff and elected officials had questioned Ms. Brann’s leadership in the months before her departure. Many welcomed the appointment of her successor, Vincent Schiraldi, who is widely seen as a reformer. Mr. Schiraldi has said he plans to downsize the system and move forward on efforts to close Rikers Island.


In an interview, Mr. Schiraldi said he would focus attention on young adults and incarcerated people with mental illnesses at a time when more than half of the city’s detainees receive mental health services. These groups have experienced the highest rates of violence and use-of-force by guards, he said.


Mr. Schiraldi said he also wanted to prioritize getting jail officers to return to work.


“It’s like peeling an onion, there are many layers to the violence that’s occurring there and that includes an insufficient number of staff coming to work, the pandemic, programs being closed down,” Mr. Schiraldi said. “We need a multifaceted approach.”


Councilwoman Adrienne E. Adams said Ms. Brann, the previous commissioner, was “failing her employees in not getting to the bottom of sick outs and making a better work environment.”


Mr. de Blasio, during an “Inside City Hall” interview on NY1 in March, praised Ms. Brann for her work on the plan to close Rikers and, following pressure from advocates for incarcerated people, a move to end solitary confinement.


“Commissioner Brann has taken on an incredibly tough situation and made real progress,” Mr. de Blasio said.


Joseph Russo, president of the union representing assistant deputy wardens and deputy wardens, said that staff members felt “trapped” and that some had resorted to calling out sick to avoid being forced to work multiple shifts.


Jail officials said that staff had been redeployed from headquarters, specialized and support units to make up for the wave of absences. The city also plans to hire 400 new correction officers this year.


But the staffing issues, the monitor’s report said, had led to problems, including the elevated use of excessive force, tension among detainees, and morale issues among staff members working extra shifts.


The monitor also said that jail officers tended to rely too heavily on emergency response teams to assist with routine jailhouse matters, often resulting in extreme uses of force.


“The department struggles to manage its large number of staff productively, to deploy them effectively, to supervise them responsibly, and to elevate the base level of skill of its staff,” the monitor said.


Mr. Boscio, the correction officer union leader, said the work force felt abandoned.


“People are frustrated with the working conditions we’re forced to work in,” Mr. Boscio said. “We feel like they’ve forsaken us.”



7) A 14-Year-Old Bride, Wed to Her Rapist, Playing on a Jungle Gym

By Nicholas Kristof, June 19, 2021

Zlatka Paneva

For years, the United States has campaigned against child marriage around the world, from Guatemala to Zimbabwe. But we should listen to ourselves: Forty-five states here in America continue to allow girls and boys under 18 to wed.


Girls as young as 10 are occasionally married quite legally in the United States. Nine states have established no absolute minimum age for marriage.


A study this year found that nearly 300,000 children — meaning age 17 and under — were married in the United States from 2000 to 2018. An overwhelming majority were 16- or 17- year-old girls, on average marrying a man four years older. But more than 1,000 were 14 or younger, and five were only 10 years old. Some were wed to people far older.


“No one asked me for consent,” remembered Patricia Abatemarco, who as an eighth grader was married just after her 14th birthday to a man who was 27. “There was nothing romantic about it. I wasn’t in love with him. I didn’t have a crush on him. I was afraid of him.”


A judge in Florence, Ala., married the couple in the courthouse, and then the couple went to the park outside — where the new bride spotted a playground and left the groom to play on the jungle gym.


Abatemarco, now 55, said the path to this marriage began when she was 12 and living in a middle-class home. Her parents were secular, but she had become quite religious and during a personal crisis sought help from an evangelical Christian telephone hotline. A counselor, Mark, showed up and offered free counseling services; these became increasingly intense, she said, and he began to forcibly rape her repeatedly.


At 13, she became pregnant by these rapes. She didn’t know what to do, but Mark and her mother favored marriage. This solved their problems: For Abatemarco’s mother, it averted the stigma of an out-of-wedlock baby in the house, and for Mark, it allowed him to dodge rape charges. Abatemarco desperately wanted to keep the baby, in hopes of having someone to love and comfort her, and her mom told her this was the only way she could do so.


While this happened decades years ago, similar reasoning leads to many youthful marriages today.


I’ve been writing about child marriages in the United States since 2017, when I came across the case of an 11-year-old girl, Sherry Johnson, who had been forced to marry her rapist in Florida. Child marriage was then allowed in some form in all 50 states.


Now, thanks in part to heroic work by an advocacy organization, Unchained at Last, five states have completely barred marriages by people under 18: Delaware, Minnesota, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and (just this month) Rhode Island. New York has passed a similar bill that is awaiting the governor’s signature.


The states that allow child marriages mostly do so in particular circumstances, such as with the permission of a parent and a judge. These safeguards don’t work very well. The marriages sometimes involve a girl, perhaps pregnant, marrying an older man who may be her rapist.


The new study found that 60,000 of the child marriages since 2000 involved couples with a large enough gap in ages that sex would typically be a crime. “The marriage license became a get-out-of-jail-free card in most of those states,” said Fraidy Reiss, a victim of forced marriage who founded Unchained at Last.


There are, of course, 17-year-olds who fall deeply in love and can handle a marriage. We can understand that if a girl becomes pregnant, the couple may prefer to marry right away. But it’s complicated: The legal system withholds many rights from people under 18, so a married 17-year-old can become trapped in a Kafkaesque nightmare.


If the marriage sours, an underage girl will often not be accepted at a women’s shelter. She will have difficulty retaining a lawyer to get assistance. Astonishingly, she may even have trouble getting divorced, because children often cannot initiate a legal proceeding without going through a guardian. And if a minor flees a violent husband, the police may send her right back to her abuser.


That’s what happened to Abatemarco.


Her marriage at 14 didn’t work. Within months, Abatemarco said, Mark began beating her almost daily and sometimes the new baby as well. (Mark died in 2008, so I don’t know his version of events.)


One night, she said, she fled a beating and was walking on the road about midnight with her baby in a stroller. A police officer stopped her for violating curfew, drove her and the baby back home, gave a copy of the written warning to her husband and then drove off.


“My husband then beat me,” Abatemarco said.


Eventually, Abatemarco fled for good and put her baby daughter up for adoption. With the help of her parents, she was able to get a divorce — on a school day, with enough time to catch her 11th-grade English class.


The United States is quite right to campaign to end child marriage in Bangladesh and Yemen. Let’s do the same at home.