Bay Area United Against War Newsletter, October 28, 2021

Join the Global Day of Action to #DefundClimateChaos, for a #FossilFreeFuture on the eve of the Glasgow Climate Summit. 
Deadline Glasgow: We demand that all financial institutions stop financing and funding the corporations engaged in climate destruction and human rights abuses by the start of the Glasgow Climate Talks on November 1, 2021, If we stop the flow
of money, we stop the
flow of oil.
Mural Action: Help paint a block-long street mural using paint made from ashes for CA wildfires
Youth March: Support the #FridayforFuture global student-youth climate strike, led locally by YouthVS Apocalypse
Street Mural Action Initiated by: NDN Collective, Idle No More SF Bay, Climate Justice Street Mural Arts Project, AIM Central Foothills Chapter, CA MMIWP2S
Co-Sponsors: Idle No More SF Bay, Youth Versus Apocalypse, Climate Justice Street Mural Project, Butte County 350, 350 Bay Area, 1000 Grandmothers Bay Area, NDN Collective, Climate Health Now, Stop the Money Pipeline, CA Poor Peoples Campaign-Bay Area, and many others 
to unsubscribe from this list http://lists.riseup.net/www/sigrequest/bayareacodepinkaction





Thursday, November 11, 2021, San Francisco


Timeline of Events:

12:30-1:00 P.M.

Meet at The Ferry Building, grab signs and get ready to march.

1:00-2:00 P.M.

March along the scenic Embarcadero, the route is two miles, flat and wheelchair accessible

2:00-3:30 P.M.

End at Aquatic Park near Hyde St. Pier for a short rally.

COP26 in Glasgow this November has the stated aim of “uniting the world to tackle climate change”.

Yet at the previous 25 COP conferences since 1995, world leaders have repeatedly failed to deliver on this.

We will not accept this failure—governments must act now!

Stop killing us” is the message from XR Global South groups already suffering the most catastrophic consequences of climate change. We must also provide a voice for the millions of species and future generations who cannot speak for themselves.

XR will continue demanding immediate action to tackle the climate and ecological emergency in the run up to, during and beyond COP26.

Join us. Together we will tell these leaders to listen.

Bring yourself, friends, colleagues, neighbors, schoolmates, children, and community for a demonstration to let the power that be know we are watching them.

We will march with signs, hand crafted puppets, banners, a safety team, and each other to call for our right to safe and healthy planet for future generations by Non-Violent Direct Action.




To: U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives

End Legal Slavery in U.S. Prisons

Sign Petition at:








Español  Português

On the anniversary of the 26th of July Movement’s founding, Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research launches the online exhibition, Let Cuba Live. 80 artists from 19 countries – including notable cartoonists and designers from Cuba – submitted over 100 works in defense of the Cuban Revolution. Together, the exhibition is a visual call for the end to the decades-long US-imposed blockade, whose effects have only deepened during the pandemic. The intentional blocking of remittances and Cuba’s use of global financial institutions have prevented essential food and medicine from entering the country. Together, the images in this exhibition demand: #UnblockCuba #LetCubaLive

Please contact art@thetricontinental.org if you are interested in organising a local exhibition of the exhibition.



Kevin Rashid Johnson is Back in Virginia!


Rashid just called with the news that he has been moved back to Virginia. His property is already there, and he will get to claim the most important items tomorrow. He is at a "medium security" level and is in general population. Basically, good news.


He asked me to convey his appreciation to everyone who wrote or called in his support during the time he was in Ohio.


His new address is:


Kevin Rashid Johnson #1007485

Nottoway Correctional Center

2892 Schutt Road

Burkeville, VA 23922




Freedom for Major Tillery! End his Life Imprisonment!

Major Tillery and his family have set up a new Change.org petition to submit to the Board of Pardons in support his petition to commutation of his sentence to parole while maintaining his legal fight for exoneration and overturning of his conviction.
Major's commutation petition focuses on both his factual innocence as well as his decades of advocacy for other prisoners while serving almost 40 years as a lifer, over 20 of those years in solitary.

Please circulate and support the petition:





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:





Mumia Abu Jamal Appeal Denied!



We regret to share with you some alarming news on the continued case of Political Prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio)—The Pennsylvania Superior Court has challenged Mumia Abu-Jamal’s latest effort for an overturned conviction and new trial—nearly 40 years after he was convicted of killing Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner.


The high court said Abu-Jamal’s appeal was untimely, adding that the lower court shouldn’t have reinstated any part of his appeal because it lacked jurisdiction.


This fifth appeal attempt—filed in 2016—was based on a federal ruling involving former Philadelphia District Attorney Ron Castille, who later became a state Supreme Court justice and ruled on a death penalty appeal. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Castille had an “unconstitutional risk of bias” as the district attorney.




And, they pointed to a letter Castille penned to the governor in 1990, urging the death penalty be used to send a “clear and dramatic message to all police killers that the death penalty in Pennsylvania actually means something.”


The Pennsylvania Superior Court concluded that “the 1990 letter cannot create a reasonable inference that Justice Castille had a personal interest in the outcome of the litigation,” court documents say. “There is no evidence that Castille had ever personally participated in the prosecution of Abu-Jamal.


“The 1990 letter is not evidence of prior prosecutorial participation. It is evidence that while acting as an advocate, District Attorney Castille took a policy position to advance completion of the appellate process for convicted murderers: ‘I very strongly urge you immediately to issue death warrants in each and every one of these cases. Only such action by you will cause these cases to move forward in a legally appropriate manner.’ He was not arguing that the law should be changed or should be ignored. Rather, he simply took a position to facilitate collateral review of death sentences which was subscribed to by many prosecutors at the time.” But, the state Superior Court noted, Castille didn’t list Abu-Jamal, and they say Abu-Jamal didn’t file a new petition, using the letter as an argument, in time.


“Further,” the decision reads, “the 1990 letter was dated June 15th. At that time, Abu-Jamal’s direct appeal was still pending before the Supreme Court of the United States. … As such, Abu-Jamal was not even in the class of litigants that District Attorney Castille was referencing in the letter. The 1990 letter therefore cannot create a reasonable inference that Justice Castille was personally biased against Abu-Jamal.”




Pa. Supreme Court denies widow’s appeal to remove Philly DA from Abu-Jamal case


Abu Jamal was convicted by a jury of first-degree murder of Faulkner in 1982. Over the past four decades, five of his appeals have been quashed.


In 1989, the state’s highest court affirmed Abu-Jamal’s death penalty conviction, and in 2012, he was re-sentenced to life in prison.


Abu-Jamal, 66, remains in prison. He can appeal to the state Supreme Court, or he can file a new appeal.


KYW Newsradio reached out to Abu-Jamal’s attorneys for comment. They shared this statement in full:


“Today, the Superior Court concluded that it lacked jurisdiction to consider issues raised by Mr. Abu-Jamal in prior appeals. Two years ago, the Court of Common Pleas ordered reconsideration of these appeals finding evidence of an appearance of judicial bias when the appeals were first decided. We are disappointed in the Superior Court’s decision and are considering our next steps.


“While this case was pending in the Superior Court, the Commonwealth revealed, for the first time, previously undisclosed evidence related to Mr. Abu-Jamal’s case. That evidence includes a letter indicating that the Commonwealth promised its principal witness against Mr. Abu-Jamal money in connection with his testimony. In today’s decision, the Superior Court made clear that it was not adjudicating the issues raised by this new evidence. This new evidence is critical to any fair determination of the issues raised in this case, and we look forward to presenting it in court.”



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



This beautiful and powerful exhibit is ongoing 

and can be viewed online at:



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) The Surprising History of Roe v. Wade

By Joshua Prager, Oct. 29, 2021

Joshua Prager is the author of “The Family Roe: An American Story.”

Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Before the Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade that abortion was legal in all 50 states, the case did nothing for the women of Texas, where it began. A federal panel in Dallas ruled that Texas’ anti-abortion laws were unconstitutional. But the panel was concerned about interfering in state affairs. And so although it granted doctors and women the legal right to perform and have abortions, they could still be prosecuted.


“Apparently, we’re free to try them,” Dallas County’s District Attorney Henry Wade told the press, “so we’ll still do that.” Fearing the consequences, a hospital refused to abort the pregnancy of a 15-year-old girl who said she had been raped by her father.


A half-century later, another court has refused to block the enforcement of another unconstitutional law that is, in effect, forcing Texas women to carry unwanted pregnancies. And on Monday, that court, the highest in the land, will hear oral arguments about that law — Texas’ Senate Bill 8, which deputizes private citizens to enforce a ban on abortions after around six weeks of pregnancy, before many women even know they’re pregnant.


The extremity of that law recalls what the majority opinion in Roe termed the “seemingly absolute convictions” that abortion inspires. But when Justice Harry A. Blackmun wrote those words in 1973, that absolutism was largely contained. Though there were, of course, Americans — Catholics predominant among them — who opposed the legalization of abortion absolutely, the public reception of Roe was largely positive. For example, while a Wall Street Journal editorial wondered “whether the court stepped too far into the legislative arena,” it declared Roe “a reasonable balance on an exceedingly difficult question.”


Most of the country moved on. From the time Roe was decided in January 1973 until year’s end, abortion clinics opened in 34 states, and at least 745,000 women reportedly had abortions in compliance with Roe — the procedure tax-deductible and covered by most insurance companies. When the Senate next convened to vet a potential Supreme Court justice, no one so much as asked the judge, John Paul Stevens, his opinion of Roe.


Had they asked him, he likely would have answered honestly — something that’s impossible to do in such hearings today. People were generally much more open about Roe back then. They were openly conflicted about it, too, even its protagonists. Months after she filed Roe, the feminist lawyer Linda Coffee, who was a religious Baptist, confided her hope that abortion would become “sort of obsolete.” She added that while she did not believe the law ought to restrict abortion until the point of fetal viability, the standard established in the Roe decision, she “would have little personal sympathy for a woman who used abortion at any stage as contraception or to avoid personal responsibility.”


The defendant Ms. Coffee named in Roe, Mr. Wade, the Dallas County district attorney, was secretly a liberal democrat who, as his son Kim recalled to me, did not oppose legalizing abortion. And the plaintiff, Jane Roe, a Dallas waitress named Norma McCorvey, later campaigned against Roe after a religious rebirth. Even then, she privately felt that abortion ought to be legal through the first trimester — a position that she articulated to me from her hospital bed at the end of her life and that she first expressed to a Baptist news service days after Roe. “It’s hard to determine when human life begins,” she said in January 1973, in her very first media interview. “I wouldn’t want to wait over three months for any abortion, because I might be ending a human life after that time.”


Activists on both sides of Roe had also agreed that choice and life had their limits. Dr. Mildred Jefferson, a surgeon and a future president of the National Right to Life Committee, publicly stated months after Roe was filed that she thought of herself as being less “against abortion” than “for the sanctity of life.” What upset her most was not abortion, she said, but that her fellow doctors were performing them. And at the time of Roe, Dr. Curtis Boyd of Texas, a committed Christian who is today among the largest providers of third-trimester abortions in the country, would perform no abortion past 16 weeks.


The Roman Catholic Church also once drew a line there; it was at roughly 16 weeks that movement of the fetus was discernible, and in 1211, Pope Innocent III wrote that abortion could be ruled a homicide only if it terminated a pregnancy after this period of “quickening.”


This canon law stipulated for all but three of the next 658 years, until 1869, when Pope Pius IX wrote in a papal bull that any woman who had an abortion would be censured. A priest and canon lawyer named Thomas Carr then determined (at the behest of the Irish church), that the pope had thus negated the distinction between abortions early and late. A 1917 papal codification of canon law agreed, and it was settled: The church would henceforth prohibit abortion from the moment of conception.


The Bible, meanwhile, said nothing of abortion. And just as the pro-life were left to intuit its prohibition from Scripture, so were the pro-choice left to intuit its legality from the U.S. Constitution. Ms. Coffee initially suggested that the right to abortion might be grounded in any of six amendments. The Supreme Court settled on the 14th, ruling that its due process clause guaranteed a right to privacy, which in turn secured a right to abortion. That analysis has been assailed ever since, not least by feminists, including the future Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who believed that the right to abortion ought to be grounded not in privacy but in equality.


Some critics of Roe thus dismiss it as jurisprudentially flawed. But some of their arguments against it are no more sure-footed, such as the contention that women who have abortions suffer from a form of post-traumatic stress called post-abortion syndrome. Though the medical community has debunked this syndrome — C. Everett Koop, the pro-life surgeon general under President Ronald Reagan, determined that the psychological toll of abortion on women was, from a public health perspective, “minuscule” — it is nonetheless expressly invoked in the Mississippi abortion law that the Supreme Court will rule on this term in deciding the fate of Roe.


That law draws the line between legal and illegal abortion at 15 weeks; the Texas law draws it at six. Roe, of course, draws it at viability, the point at roughly 24 weeks when a fetus can survive outside the womb. That Roe constitutionalized viability owed in part to happenstance; only months before the 1973 ruling, a district judge in Connecticut became the first judge in the country to attach constitutional significance to viability, and several justices on the Supreme Court, including Lewis Powell and Potter Stewart, mentioned it to Justice Blackmun, who then inserted viability into his third and final draft of the Roe decision.


Critics of Roe thus say that the viability threshold is arbitrary. But arbitrariness has marked the battle lines in Roe for decades. And it should not be politically disadvantageous to acknowledge that no matter how far along the 40 or so weeks from conception to birth, there is a philosophical argument that can be made to end a pregnancy or mandate its continuation. Abortion is fraught for good reason: The humanity of the fetus and the reasons a pregnant woman might want to abort it are both viable considerations. Not that long ago, Ms. McCorvey grappled with that clash. So did Mr. Wade and Ms. Coffee and Dr. Jefferson and Dr. Boyd and the Catholic Church.


It is a dangerous thing when an issue that demands nuance comes instead to engender absolutes. It is a mark of polarization. And it has led our country exactly here — to a moment when a state has turned citizens against citizens in the hope of catching them exercising a right that has been constitutionally established for nearly 50 years.



2) The Constitution Was Made for Us, Not the Other Way Around

By Jamelle Bouie, Oct. 29, 2021


Ed Jones/AFP via Getty Images

As flawed and incomplete as the American Revolution was, there is no question that it unleashed an impulse toward democracy and political equality that has shaped our history and continues into the present. That impulse, however, is in tension with the Constitution, which not only structures American democracy but arguably was written to constrain it.


I write, on occasion, about the need to reform the structures of American government, from the Electoral College to the Senate itself. The immediate (and obvious) response from readers is often to ask “why?”


After all, the barrier to constitutional amendment is impossibly high. There is almost no chance that a two-thirds majority of Congress (and a three-fourths majority of the states) would, for example, vote to require direct popular election of the president and vice president. And the final clause of Article 5 of the Constitution — “no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate” — is an insurmountable obstacle to ending the distortions caused by equal state representation in that chamber.


It is equally difficult, if not impossible, to imagine much in the way of reform to the unwritten parts of the American political order. The Supreme Court’s power of judicial review — which does not exist in the Constitution — is virtually untouchable. The two-party system is similarly resistant to change, for the simple reason that incumbent lawmakers would have to vote to radically transform the landscape in which they operate.


Yes, the odds of serious reform are low to the point of nonexistent, right now and for the foreseeable future. And yet I still think it’s worth it to make the case.


I should say that I am inspired here by the political scientist Robert Dahl, whose illustrious and influential career spanned most of the 20th century. Dahl was preoccupied with the democratic ideal, the actual mechanics of democracy and the profound distance between the two in even the most mature democratic states. Or, as he wrote in his 1998 book “On Democracy,” “In almost all, perhaps all, organizations everywhere there is some room for some democracy; and in almost all democratic countries there is considerable room for more democracy.”


An American, Dahl applied this maxim to his own country, writing, at the start of the new millennium, a book-length critique of our political institutions called “How Democratic is the American Constitution?”


Dahl, who was then in his late 80s, did not think that constitutional change of any kind was on the horizon. “My reflections lead me to a measured pessimism about the prospects for greater democratization of the American Constitution,” he wrote. “Changes … that would be desirable from a democratic point of view seem to me to have very little chance of coming about in the indefinite future.”


Still, Dahl made the argument. Not for the sake of change to the Constitution as much as for the sake of “changes in the way we think about our constitution.”


Most Americans revere the Constitution. Some even believe that it is divinely inspired. Few want fundamental change. But despite the way we often talk about it, the Constitution was not actually chiseled on stone tablets. “The Framers were not philosophers searching for a description of an ideal system,” wrote Dahl. “Nor — and we may be forever grateful to them for this — were they philosopher kings entrusted with the power to rule. They were practical men, eager to achieve a stronger national government, and as practical men they made compromises.”


To think about the framers as practical men making practical choices should lead us to think of their Constitution in practical terms. Does it serve us well? Does it meet the democratic standards of the present day? Does it, Dahl asks, help us “maintain the democratic system; protect fundamental democratic rights; ensure democratic fairness among citizens; encourage the formation of democratic consensus; and provide a democratic government that is effective in solving problems?”


Now the usual, and frankly facile, response to these kinds of questions is that the United States is a “republic” and not a “democracy.” This, I’ve argued before, is nonsense. When James Madison critiqued “pure democracy” in Federalist No. 10, he meant direct democracy, “a society consisting of a small number of persons, who assemble and administer the government in person.” A republic, by contrast, was government by representation. “The two great points of difference between a democracy and a republic,” wrote Madison, “are first, the delegation of the government, in the latter, to a small number of citizens elected by the rest; second, the greater number of citizens, and greater sphere of the country, over which the latter may be extended.”


To say that the present-day United States should be “more democratic” is to say that it should have greater representation and political equality, not that it should refashion itself into an Athenian-style assembly. Madison, for his part, would become an important figure in the democratization of American politics as the founder, with Thomas Jefferson, of the Republican (or Democratic-Republican) Party.


It is not for nothing that, toward the end of his long career as a practical politician, Madison defended in no uncertain terms the concept of political equality. Here he is, in 1821, criticizing the views of his younger self as they had been expressed at the Philadelphia Convention 34 years earlier.


Under every view of the subject, it seems indispensable that the Mass of Citizens not be without a voice, in making the laws which they are to obey, & in chusing the Magistrates, who are to administer them, and if the only alternative be between an equal & universal right of suffrage for each branch of the Govt. and a confinement of the entire right to a part of the Citizens, it is better that those having the greater interest at stake namely that of property & persons both, should be deprived of half their share in the Govt. than, that those having the lesser interest, that of personal rights only, should be deprived of the whole.

All of this is to say that I do not write about structural reform because I believe it will happen in my lifetime, although, of course, no one knows what the future will bring. I write about structural reform because, like Dahl, I want to think expansively about (and readers to think expansively about) American democracy, to understand that it is, and has always been, bigger than the Constitution.


If there is anything else useful in these arguments, it’s in how they make the lines of political conflict as clear as possible. There are, we cannot forget, Americans who do not believe in political equality and the democratic ideal, Americans with a narrow and circumscribed vision of “freedom” and “liberty.” A debate over reform can, in the course of the argument, drag those views out of the shadows and into the open.


I am fond of the expression, from the Gospel of Mark, that “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” I think it captures a basic truth: that our rules and institutions exist for us and our flourishing, not for their own sake. And if those rules and institutions do not work, if they constrain our aspirations or violate our sense of justice, then it is the role of people like me to agitate for at least a little change.



3) For First Time in Public, a Detainee Describes Torture at C.I.A. Black Sites

In a sentencing hearing, Majid Khan, a Pakistani who lived in suburban Baltimore before joining Al Qaeda, detailed dungeonlike conditions and episodes of abuse.

By Carol Rosenberg, Published Oct. 28, 2021, Updated Oct. 29, 2021


“The more I cooperated, the more I was tortured,” said Majid Khan, who is now cooperating with the government.
“The more I cooperated, the more I was tortured,” said Majid Khan, who is now cooperating with the government. Credit...Center for Constitutional Rights

GUANTÁNAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba — A suburban Baltimore high school graduate turned Al Qaeda courier, speaking to a military jury for the first time, gave a detailed account on Thursday of the brutal forced feedings, crude waterboarding and other physical and sexual abuse he endured during his 2003 to 2006 detention in the C.I.A.’s overseas prison network.


Appearing in open court, Majid Khan, 41, became the first former prisoner of the black sites to openly describe, anywhere, the violent and cruel “enhanced interrogation techniques” that agents used to extract information and confessions from terrorism suspects.


For more than two hours, he spoke about dungeonlike conditions, humiliating stretches of nudity with only a hood on his head, sometimes while his arms were chained in ways that made sleep impossible, and being intentionally nearly drowned in icy cold water in tubs at two sites, once while a C.I.A. interrogator counted down from 10 before water was poured into his nose and mouth.


Soon after his capture in Pakistan in March 2003, Mr. Khan said, he cooperated with his captors, telling them everything he knew, with the hope of release. “Instead, the more I cooperated, the more I was tortured,” he said.


The dramatic accounting capped a day in which eight U.S. military officers were selected to serve on a jury, which will deliberate Friday on his official sentence in the range of 25 to 40 years, starting from his guilty plea in February 2012.


But the sentence is largely symbolic, a military commission requirement.


Unknown to the jurors, Mr. Khan and his lawyers reached a secret deal this year with a senior Pentagon official in which his actual sentence could end as early as February and no later than February 2025 because Mr. Khan had become a government cooperator upon pleading guilty.


Jurors were told that in 2012 Mr. Khan pleaded guilty to terrorism charges, including murder in violation of the law of war, for delivering $50,000 of Al Qaeda money from Pakistan to an Al Qaeda affiliate in early 2003. The money was used in a deadly bombing of a Marriott hotel in August 2003, while Mr. Khan was a prisoner of the C.I.A. He has said he did not know how the money would be used.


He also admitted to plotting a number of other crimes with Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the accused mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, notably by wearing a suicide vest in a failed effort in 2002 to assassinate the president of Pakistan at the time, Pervez Musharraf, a U.S. ally in the war on terrorism.


Sentencing was delayed for nearly a decade to give Mr. Khan time and opportunity to cooperate with federal and military prosecutors, so far behind the scenes, in federal and military terrorism cases. In the intervening years, prosecutors and defense lawyers clashed in court filings over who would be called to testify about Mr. Khan’s abuse in C.I.A. custody, and how.


In court on Thursday, Mr. Khan read from a carefully worded 39-page account that did not identify C.I.A. agents or the countries and foreign intelligence agencies that had a role in his secret detention at black sites — information that is protected at the national security court. He expressed remorse for hurting people through his embrace of radical Islam and Al Qaeda, but also found a way around a labyrinth of U.S. intelligence classifications to realize a decade-long ambition to tell the world what U.S. agents had done to him.


But the sentence is largely symbolic, a military commission requirement.


Unknown to the jurors, Mr. Khan and his lawyers reached a secret deal this year with a senior Pentagon official in which his actual sentence could end as early as February and no later than February 2025 because Mr. Khan had become a government cooperator upon pleading guilty.


Jurors were told that in 2012 Mr. Khan pleaded guilty to terrorism charges, including murder in violation of the law of war, for delivering $50,000 of Al Qaeda money from Pakistan to an Al Qaeda affiliate in early 2003. The money was used in a deadly bombing of a Marriott hotel in August 2003, while Mr. Khan was a prisoner of the C.I.A. He has said he did not know how the money would be used.


He also admitted to plotting a number of other crimes with Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the accused mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, notably by wearing a suicide vest in a failed effort in 2002 to assassinate the president of Pakistan at the time, Pervez Musharraf, a U.S. ally in the war on terrorism.


Sentencing was delayed for nearly a decade to give Mr. Khan time and opportunity to cooperate with federal and military prosecutors, so far behind the scenes, in federal and military terrorism cases. In the intervening years, prosecutors and defense lawyers clashed in court filings over who would be called to testify about Mr. Khan’s abuse in C.I.A. custody, and how.


In court on Thursday, Mr. Khan read from a carefully worded 39-page account that did not identify C.I.A. agents or the countries and foreign intelligence agencies that had a role in his secret detention at black sites — information that is protected at the national security court. He expressed remorse for hurting people through his embrace of radical Islam and Al Qaeda, but also found a way around a labyrinth of U.S. intelligence classifications to realize a decade-long ambition to tell the world what U.S. agents had done to him.


“To those who tortured me, I forgive you,” he said, noting that while he was in custody he had rejected Al Qaeda, terrorism, “violence and hatred.”


“I hope in the day of judgment that Allah will do the same for you and for me. I ask forgiveness from those whom I have wronged and I have hurt.”


It was an emotional day for Mr. Khan. His father, Ali, and a sister, both U.S. citizens, sat behind the court in a gallery, seeing him in person for the first time since he left the United States and joined Al Qaeda after the Sept. 11 attacks. They were 50 feet from him and did not seem to recognize the now balding middle-age man with a gray goatee when he first entered the court.


After many minutes he caught their eyes, then waved. His father looked startled. Mr. Khan craned his neck frequently during the proceedings to see his family — and at one point formed a heart with his hands.


He juxtaposed his remarks of contrition with previously unheard details of what happened to him at the hands of the United States, the country his parents and siblings adopted by becoming citizens even as he did not.


His father wept through long stretches of the descriptions, at times hiding his head in his hands, while his sister, also tearful, tried to comfort him. The jury of Marine, Navy and Army officers watched and listened soberly, but displayed no emotion.


He received beatings while nude and spent long stretches in chains — at times shackled to a wall and crouching “like a dog,” he said, or with his arms extended high above his head and chained to a beam inside his cell. He was kept in darkness and dragged, hooded and shackled, his head slamming into floors, walls and stairs as he was moved between cells.


Before the C.I.A. moved him from one prison to another, he said, a medic inserted an enema and then put him in a diaper held in place by duct tape so he would not need a bathroom break during flights. Guards moving him would hood him, aside from the time he had his face duct taped.


While held in a Muslim country, he said, his captors allowed him to pray. But at times the Americans did not.


Earlier accounts released by his lawyers said he was so sleep deprived for a time that he began to hallucinate. He described the experience: images of a cow and a giant lizard advancing on him inside a cell while he was chained to a beam above his head. He tried to kick them away but lost his balance, causing his chains to jerk him.


Mr. Khan gained attention with the release of a 2014 study of the C.I.A. program by the Senate Intelligence Committee that said, after he refused to eat, his captors “infused” a puree of his lunch through his anus. The C.I.A. called it rectal refeeding. Mr. Khan called it rape.


The C.I.A. pumped water up the rectum of prisoners who would not follow a command to drink. Mr. Khan said this was done to him with “green garden hoses. They connected one end to the faucet, put the other in my rectum and they turned on the water.” He said he lost control of his bowels after those episodes and, to this day, has hemorrhoids.


He spoke about failed and sadistic responses to his hunger strikes and other acts of rebellion. Medics would roughly insert a feeding tube up his nose and down the back of his throat. He would try to bite it off and, in at least one instance, he said, a C.I.A. officer used a plunger to force food inside his stomach, a technique that caused stomach cramps and diarrhea.


The intelligence agency declined Thursday to comment on the descriptions offered in the hearing but noted that the C.I.A.’s detention and interrogation program ended in 2009.


Lawyers sought permission to bring Mr. Khan’s wife and daughter, who was born after his capture, to the court, but the commander of the military’s Southern Command, which oversees prison operations, opposed their attendance. Like Mr. Khan, who acquired permanent resident status as a boy in the United States but never became a U.S. citizen, his wife and daughter are citizens of Pakistan.


Mr. Khan began by telling the jury that he was born in Saudi Arabia and was raised in Pakistan, the youngest son of eight siblings, until his father acquired a gas station in Maryland and moved the family to the United States when he was 16. He went on to graduate from a high school in suburban Baltimore and was working for a telecommunications contractor that managed the Pentagon phone system at the time of the Sept. 11 attacks.


He described the attacks and the death of his mother months earlier in 2001 as a turning point in his life.


Until then, he said, he had straddled two worlds: his traditional Pakistani family life and that of an American teenager who “smoked weed occasionally and had my share of girlfriends,” both of which he hid from his mother. After she died, he said, he was drawn to practicing Islam.


He rejected the explanation that Muslims had carried out the attack, “thinking that this was just another way the universe was kicking me while I was down, making me question my faith in Islam.”


During a family trip to Pakistan in 2002 — in which both he and his sister found spouses in arranged marriages — he encountered relatives, cousins and an uncle who had in earlier years joined the jihad in Afghanistan and had ties to Al Qaeda.


“I was lost and vulnerable, and they went after me,” he said, including by showing him “propaganda videos” about the detention operation at Guantánamo, the base where he would be transferred for trial in 2006.


“I went willingly to Al Qaeda,” he said. “I was stupid, so incredibly stupid. But they promised to relieve my pain and purify my sins. They promised to redeem me, and I believed them.”



4) After Supreme Court Lifts Stay, Oklahoma Executes Inmate

The prisoner, John Marion Grant, convulsed and vomited as he was put to death by lethal injection. The court also cleared the way for another execution next month.

By Adam Liptak, Oct. 28, 2021

The two inmates had argued to the Supreme Court that Oklahoma’s lethal injection protocol, which uses three chemicals, could subject them to excruciating pain.
The two inmates had argued to the Supreme Court that Oklahoma’s lethal injection protocol, which uses three chemicals, could subject them to excruciating pain. Credit...Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Thursday lifted a stay of execution that a federal appeals court had granted to two Oklahoma death row inmates, clearing the way for the men to be put to death by lethal injection.


One of them, John Marion Grant, who was convicted of murdering a prison cafeteria worker in 1998, was executed on Thursday, a few hours after the Supreme Court ruled.


Like other executions in the state, this one — the first in six years — did not go smoothly, The Associated Press reported. Mr. Grant, who was strapped to a gurney, convulsed and vomited as the first chemical, a sedative, was administered. After several minutes of this, members of the execution team wiped vomit from his face and neck.


The Oklahoma Department of Corrections said the execution was carried out in accordance with protocols and “without complication.”


Mr. Grant and the other inmate, Julius Jones, had argued that the state’s lethal injection protocol, which uses three chemicals, could subject them to excruciating pain.


They also objected on religious grounds to a requirement imposed by a trial judge that they choose among proposed alternative methods of execution, saying that doing so would amount to suicide.


As is the court’s custom, its brief order gave no reasons. The three more liberal members of the court — Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan — dissented, also without providing reasons. Justice Neil M. Gorsuch did not participate in the case, presumably because he had considered an aspect of it when he was a federal appeals court judge.


Mr. Jones, who was convicted of killing a man in 1999 in front of the man’s sister and daughters during a carjacking, is set to be put to death on Nov. 18.


The Supreme Court has been skeptical of challenges to lethal injection protocols and requires inmates to demonstrate that they would be subjected to “a substantial risk of severe pain.” Inmates challenging a protocol must also propose an alternative.


“A prisoner must show a feasible and readily implemented alternative method of execution that would significantly reduce a substantial risk of severe pain and that the state has refused to adopt without a legitimate penological reason,” Justice Gorsuch wrote in 2019, summarizing earlier decisions.


The two inmates proposed four alternatives but declined to choose among them on religious grounds. That failure caused Judge Stephen P. Friot, of the Federal District Court in Oklahoma, to remove them from a lawsuit brought by several inmates challenging the protocol.


A divided three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit granted a stay of execution to Mr. Grant and Mr. Jones, saying they were not required to “check a box” choosing how they were to die.


“We find nothing in the relevant case law that specifically requires a prisoner to designate a method of execution to be used in his case by ‘checking a box’ when the prisoner has already identified in his complaint the very same alternative methods given as choices on the form,” the majority wrote in an unsigned order.


In dissent, Judge Timothy M. Tymkovich wrote that inmates must do more than propose “a conditional, hypothetical or abstract designation.” An inmate must, he wrote, “designate an alternative method that can be used in his case.”


Calling the appeals court’s decision a “grievous error,” John M. O’Connor, Oklahoma’s attorney general, filed an emergency application asking the Supreme Court to lift the stay.


In opposing that request, the inmates’ lawyers wrote that Judge Friot had drawn an improper distinction between prisoners willing to choose a particular alternative method of execution and those who would not.


Oklahoma has a history of botched executions.


In 2014, Clayton D. Lockett appeared to moan and struggle during an execution that took 43 minutes. Doctors concluded that Mr. Lockett had not been fully sedated.


In 2015, Charles F. Warner underwent an 18-minute execution in which officials mistakenly used the wrong drug to stop his heart. Later that year, Richard E. Glossip, a death row inmate who challenged the constitutionality of Oklahoma’s lethal injection protocol before the Supreme Court, was granted a stay of execution after the state’s supplier of lethal injection drugs sent prison officials the wrong drug.


Next month, the Supreme Court will hear arguments about a Texas inmate’s request that his pastor be able to touch and pray aloud with him in the death chamber.



5) Family Members Separated at Border May Each Get Up to $450,000

After the Trump administration separated migrant parents from children at the southern border, President Biden pledged to make it up to the families.

By Miriam Jordan, Oct. 28, 2021

In 2018, Milka Pablo, 35, and her 3-year-old daughter, Darly, were reunited after four months apart.
In 2018, Milka Pablo, 35, and her 3-year-old daughter, Darly, were reunited after four months apart. Credit...Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

Migrant families separated at the border by the Trump administration may be eligible to each receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in compensation for the damage inflicted on them by the policy, according to several people familiar with the matter.


Some families could receive as much as $450,000 for each member who was directly affected, the sources said. However, negotiations between the Biden administration and lawyers representing the families are not over, and many might get far less, they said.


About 5,500 children were separated from parents at the southern border under President Donald J. Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy, mainly in the spring of 2018. Most were from Central America, but the measure also affected people from Brazil, Mexico and Romania, among other countries.


“There is no question that the Biden administration is doing the right thing by providing meaningful monetary compensation, given that the U.S. government deliberately brutalized these families, including babies and toddlers,” said Lee Gelernt, the lead negotiator on behalf of the families and deputy director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s immigrant rights project.


“But ultimately,” he added, “the Biden administration will be judged on whether it provides a pathway for these families to remain in the United States, to allow them to once and for all try to put this trauma behind them.”


In one set of negotiations, the lawyers have alleged that the United States government, including the Homeland Security Department, had wronged the families by separating parents from children, and that they should be entitled to financial compensation. In parallel negotiations, the A.C.L.U. is trying to reach a settlement with the government that would provide, among other things, a pathway to remain in the United States and social services for the families.


The family separation policy was a key component of the Trump administration’s crackdown on unauthorized immigration. The goal was to create a powerful deterrent for those hoping to come to the United States — and it affected even families who may have been legally entitled to asylum due to persecution in their home countries.


The policy was first made public with a memo in April 2018. Later it surfaced that families had been separated as early as 2017 as part of a pilot program conducted near El Paso, Texas. About 1,000 of the 5,500 families have yet to be reunited because the parents were deported to their home country.


Under the policy, Border Patrol agents criminally charged parents with illegally entering the United States, imprisoned them and placed their children in government-licensed shelters around the country. Images and audio recordings of children weeping after being forcibly removed from their parents drew widespread condemnation.


In June 2018, a federal judge in California ordered the government to rescind the policy and promptly reunify families, saying that the practice “shocks the conscience” and violates the Constitution. Government officials struggled to meet a series of court-ordered deadlines to reunite families.


Reunions were marked by heartbreak and confusion: Many young children did not recognize their parents after months apart. Some cried, rejecting their parents. Children who had been potty-trained before the separation had regressed to diapers.


President Biden pledged to make it up to the families after taking office.


In February, his administration formed a task force, with representatives of the Departments of Homeland Security, Health and Human Services and State, to reunite migrant families that remained separated and determine how to make amends for the harm caused by the policy.


In recent months, a few dozen parents who were deported after separation from their children have been allowed to enter the United States, with permission to remain here for two years. The government has allowed entire families, including siblings, to come.


Only a minority of the families may be eligible for financial compensation, according to sources familiar with the talks. Many have not filed an administrative complaint to the government for fear of reprisal, and lawyers are still negotiating to secure compensation for them.


The maximum $450,000 per family member that is under discussion was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.


Following a federal court order last year, Seneca Family of Agencies, a social services provider, has been coordinating counseling for parents and children reunified in the United States.


“What we have seen is that families desperately need mental health services and are eagerly receiving them,” said Mark Rosenbaum, the lead counsel in the case, who sought the services for the families.


The scope of the services is under negotiation as part of the settlement, as is the question of whether or not additional services should be provided.


Joselaine Cordeiro of Brazil and her son, James, then 14, were among the first migrant families separated at the border in 2017. They were apart for more than nine months. She remained in immigration detention and he lived at a government-run shelter for children.


Ms. Cordeiro, 35, became the second named plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit that the A.C.L.U. brought against the family separation policy; the A.C.L.U. and its partners have accomplished much of the work of identifying relatives all over the world.


After filing an asylum claim, Ms. Cordeiro got permission to work in the U.S. She is now employed as a housekeeper in the Boston area. Her son cannot work because he lacks any legal status, and she cannot afford to pay for him to attend community college.


“If there’s some financial help, it would make a huge difference,” she said.


“This separation caused me depression that has impeded me from working consistently,” she added. “I have been trying to be strong.”


Eileen Sullivan contributed reporting from Washington, D.C.



6) Review: ‘Colin in Black & White’ Finds Kaepernick Before He Took a Knee

This inventive Netflix docudrama, created by Colin Kaepernick and Ava DuVernay, is a coming-of-age story in the rearview mirror of an activist adulthood.

By James Poniewozik, Oct. 27, 2021

Jaden Michael stars as a young Colin Kaepernick in “Colin in Black & White,” about the early life of the athlete and activist.
Jaden Michael stars as a young Colin Kaepernick in “Colin in Black & White,” about the early life of the athlete and activist. Credit...Ser Baffo/Netflix

Kaepernick, a creator and executive producer, also appears in the series.
Kaepernick, a creator and executive producer, also appears in the series. Credit...Netflix

Even if you don’t watch football, you probably know Colin Kaepernick. You likely have seen images of the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback kneeling through the national anthem, a protest against racism that spread among athletes in many sports. You may have seen him as a hot topic on cable news, a target in political rallies or an icon in Nike ads.


The season when Kaepernick began his protest, in 2016, was his last in the N.F.L. — he and others have accused the league of blackballing him — but he has become more famous in not playing the game than he ever did on the field.


So it might surprise you how little screen time that part of Kaepernick’s life takes up in “Colin in Black & White,” which arrives Friday on Netflix. A quick montage in the third episode shows the athlete being trashed by Fox News commentators and former President Donald Trump. (Kaepernick’s 2019 settlement with the N.F.L. included a confidentiality agreement.)


Instead, the “Colin” of the title is Kaepernick as a high school athlete, whose road to football and discovery of his identity are the main subjects of this earnest but breezy docudrama.


If you react to the word “docudrama” the way I do, this is where I should tell you to stick with this one. The genre conjures up memories of clunky Frankenfilms that shoehorn wooden, expository re-enactments into heavily voiced-over real-life footage. These works fail at the “-drama” part, taking the “docu-” down with it.


Kaepernick and his co-creator, Ava DuVernay (“Selma”), instead give us a fresh, entertaining take on the genre that emphasizes character and story as much as message. Most of the six-episode limited series is a scripted coming-of-age reminiscence about young Colin (Jaden Michael), growing up biracial with two white adoptive parents, Rick (Nick Offerman) and Teresa (Mary-Louise Parker), in small-town Turlock, Calif.


A talented multisport athlete, Colin has his pick of baseball scholarship offers but really wants to play football, though coaches worry that he’s too gangly and fragile. He also wants the stuff other teens want: popularity, friends, a date. But this typical tale is complicated by his dawning awareness of his difference in a milieu that a white friend calls “Whitey Whiteville.”


His co-star is the adult Kaepernick, who narrates vignettes that connect his young experience to America’s racial history. The first compares the N.F.L. “combine,” where would-be pros are prodded and assessed by coaches, with slave auctions, where human bodies were likewise inspected, measured and objectified. “They say they want you to be an animal out there,” he says. “And you want to give them that.”


DuVernay shoots the scene with piercing directness. Players appear to step out of a viewscreen and into a living diorama of an auction block. Kaepernick is suited in all black and gestures with a notebook, like an activist professor-deacon.


While Kaepernick’s later protest gets only a brief mention, it informs the whole narrative. “Colin in Black & White” speaks loudest in the distance between the young Colin’s dreams and the adult Kaepernick’s indignation.


The effect is less like documentary than a socially minded network-TV sitcom, in the mold of “black-ish” or the new “Wonder Years.” (Although whether this particular show could have aired on network TV is questionable, considering that ABC once shelved an episode of “black-ish” that touched on Kaepernick’s protests.)


The series can be sitcom-y to a fault, with its riffs on Teresa’s cooking and Rick’s fondness for Christian rock, though Offerman and Parker ground their characters well. But its treatment of race in family, school and sport is more nuanced.


Colin’s parents are fiercely supportive and protective of his ambitions, and they’re regularly reminded of how the world can view white parents with a biracial son. (On a baseball road trip, a stranger asks them what country Colin is from. He was born in Wisconsin.)


But they’re not entirely prepared for the specifics — the first episode involves finding a Black stylist to put Colin’s hair in cornrows — and they sometimes ignore or rationalize the double standards he increasingly encounters. When a coach demands that Colin cut his hair, citing a rule that does not seem to apply to white players, they defend the decision. “You look like a thug,” Teresa says.


Colin chafes against these slights with a teenager’s sense of injustice, though he shows little sign of being a budding protester so much as a competitor who wants his shot. He’s a composed, driven kid, good-natured and popular, who knows what he wants and learns to weather disappointment. Michael is a gem, giving the young Colin an easy charm and vulnerability that contrast with the media images of Kaepernick as either demonized or iconized.


Of course, as the adult Kaepernick’s presence reminds you, this is autobiography, not an outside assessment. It’s showing you its subject the way that he wants to present himself, and it has a definite thread of self-justification.


But in the end, its tone isn’t tendentious so much as encouraging, even sweet, and hopeful in a hard-earned way. It’s an argument, but not necessarily the kind you’d expect. It seems less to be aimed at persuading or refuting Kaepernick’s older critics than to be speaking to the next generation of kids like him. (Indeed, the generally wholesome tone is closer to that of a young-adults’ show than that of a gritty streaming series.)


That this message comes from someone whose football career seemingly ended after he put his own power to use is left unspoken in this open-eyed but optimistic series. “Colin in Black & White” may not be the story that you were expecting about Kaepernick’s protest. But it shows how much he loved the sport he risked being driven out of when he took a knee.



7) Lawyer Who Won $9.5 Billion Judgment Against Chevron Reports to Prison

Steven Donziger, an environmental activist who won what is considered the largest ever lawsuit against an oil company, was found guilty of contempt of court in July.

By Isabella Grullón Paz, Oct. 27, 2021

The lawyer Steven Donziger embracing his son Matthew outside the U.S. District Court in Manhattan after a hearing this month.
The lawyer Steven Donziger embracing his son Matthew outside the U.S. District Court in Manhattan after a hearing this month. Credit...Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

Steven Donziger, the environmental and human rights lawyer who won a $9.5 billion settlement against Chevron over oil dumped in Indigenous lands in the Amazon rainforest, surrendered himself to the federal authorities on Wednesday to begin a six-month prison sentence.


Mr. Donziger was found guilty in July of six counts of criminal contempt of court for withholding evidence in a long, complex legal fight with Chevron, which claims that Mr. Donziger fabricated evidence in the 1990s to win a lawsuit he filed against the oil giant on behalf of 30,000 Indigenous people in Ecuador. The convictions were preceded by Mr. Donziger’s disbarment last year.


Late Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Donziger turned himself in to a federal prison in Danbury, Conn., where he will serve his six-month sentence. He had already spent more than 800 days under home detention after the court cited flight-risk concerns, his lawyer, Ronald L. Kuby, said on Wednesday.


“After 100 pages of legal briefing, the appellate court today denied my release in 10 words,” Mr. Donziger said on Twitter on Tuesday. “This is not due process of law. Nor is it justice.”


“We will get through this,” he added.


Representatives for Chevron did not immediately respond to requests for comment.


On July 31, 2019, Judge Lewis A. Kaplan of the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, a former corporate lawyer, tried to charge Mr. Donziger with contempt of court based on his refusals in 2014 to give the court access to decades of client communications on devices like his phone and his computer. That year, Judge Kaplan supported Chevron’s complaint in a 500-page ruling finding that Mr. Donziger and his associates had engaged in a conspiracy and criminal conduct by ghostwriting an environmental report used as a crucial piece of evidence and bribing a judge in Ecuador.


After the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York declined to prosecute the case, Judge Kaplan took the rare step of appointing a private law firm, Seward & Kissel, to prosecute Mr. Donziger in the name of the U.S. government, Mr. Kuby said.


Seward & Kissel has represented many oil and gas companies throughout the years, including Chevron in 2018.


Misdemeanor criminal contempt carries a maximum sentence of one year. If the penalty is more than six months for this type of charge, Mr. Kuby said, a defendant would get a trial by jury. Even after multiple objections by Mr. Donziger, Judge Loretta A. Preska lowered the sentencing to six months — it had previously been set to a year — and denied Mr. Donziger’s request for a jury trial.


In July, Judge Preska found Mr. Donziger guilty of all charges. On Oct. 1, Mr. Donziger was sentenced to six months in prison, a day after he asked the court to consider an opinion by independent United Nations experts that found his court-ordered home confinement of more than two years a violation of international human rights law.


Judge Preska agreed to not incarcerate Mr. Donziger immediately, giving him a chance to appeal the conditions of his bail. In a court order on Oct. 12, Judge Preska declared that if Mr. Donziger’s appeal failed, he would have to surrender himself within 24 hours of the decision.


In 1993, Mr. Donziger sued the Chevron Corporation for oil spills that had a detrimental effect on the Amazonian region of Ecuador. Mr. Donziger has argued that Texaco, which was acquired by Chevron in 2001, cut through the Amazon, spilled oil into pristine rain forests and left behind a toxic mess.


At the time, Chevron said Mr. Donziger fabricated facts for his own ends, blaming the company for pollution mostly caused by Petroecuador, the national oil company that was once a partner of Texaco and continues to produce oil in the region.


Chevron has long argued that a 1998 agreement that Texaco signed with Ecuador after a $40 million cleanup absolves it of liability. It contends that Ecuador’s state-run oil company is responsible for much of the pollution in the oil patch that Texaco left in the 1970s.


Correction: Oct. 27, 2021

An earlier version of this article misstated the month and year that Steven Donziger was found guilty of contempt of court. He was found guilty in July 2021, not August 2019. He was charged in 2019.