Bay Area United Against War Newsletter, September 25, 2022





Saturday, October 1, 1pm

24th and Mission Street Bart Plaza, San Francisco


Dear Friends,


La Lucha Sigue/The Struggle Continues! Rosie Jimenez died on October 1, 1977 from a back alley abortion after the Hyde Ammendment took away federal funds for the procedure. She was a low-income student, struggling mother of three, and could not afford to have another child. This story is not new. Now, with the loss of Roe v. Wade, stories just like Rosie will be even more horrendous with the criminalization to this healthcare right. We honor her and want to fight like hell for free, quality, safe abortion with no apology!

We, the People, Overrule SCOTUS


We Demand:


·      No forced sterilization!

·      Repeal the Hyde Amendment; full access to abortion

·      Uphold the Indian Child Welfare Act

·      End racism in reproductive health care!

·      Affordable childcare, Reunite immigrant families

·      Solidarity against bigotry and homophobia/transphobia 


We Stand For:


·      Restore & expand Roe v. Wade; safe, legal abortion on demand without apology

·      Repeal the Hyde Amendment

·      Overturn state barriers to reproductive choices

·      Stop forced sterilization

·      No to caged kids, forced assimilation, & child welfare abuses

·      End medical & environmental racism; for universal healthcare

·      Defend queer & trans families

·      Guarantee medically sound sex education & affordable childcare

·      Sexual self-determination for people with disabilities

·      Uphold social progress with expanded voting rights & strong unions


For more information or to get involved

contact 415-864-1278 or reprojustice.sf@gmail.com

For national information: www.reprojusticenow.org

Social Media, FB, IG, and Twitter: sfreprojustice

Copyright © 2022 Freedom Socialist Party, All rights reserved.

Keeping you up to date on FSP events.


Our mailing address is:

Freedom Socialist Party

747 Polk Street

San Francisco, CA 94109



The West Coast Book Tour

The West Coast Book Tour is about two revolutionaries from two different generations— one who was a part of the Revolutionary Movement in the 60's and one who became a revolutionary while serving his 18 year prison sentence in the 2000's. Hy Thurman's book "Hillybilly Nationalists" talks about his life growing up all the way up to the late 60's when he transitioned from a "gang" mentality to a revolutionary outlook on life. He is one of the living legends, who co-founded the Young Patriots Organization, which were white revolutionaries who organized with other legends like Deputy Chairman Fred Hampton of the Original Black Panther Party and Jose "Cha Cha" Jimenez, the founder of the Young Lords Organization. He, along with those leaders went on to constitute the First Rainbow Coalition. 

Kwame Shakur's journey that he highlights in his autobiography "My Search for Answers, Truth, and Meaning" is a story of young Black man, who loses 18 years of his life to the penitentiary for a bank robbery that he caught at the tender age of 19. His book weaves together a brilliantly written story of how he went from a criminal mentality to a revolutionary one. Like Hy Thurman, he finds his cause in historical legends like Deputy Chairman Fred Hampton, whose first speech he read "Power Anywhere There's People", unbeknownst to him sets him on a revolutionary trajectory that he never takes a look back once discovering it. This journey takes him into the New Afrikan Black Panther Party, which avows to carry on the Original Black Panther Party and the Rainbow Coalition that Fred Hampton founded April 4th, 1969. Today, Kwame Shakur is one of the co-founder of the Second Rainbow Coalition which intends to take off where Fred Hampton, Jose "Cha Cha" Jimenez, and Hy Thurman left off. 

This book tour is an intersection and continuation of a vision of two generations, who have a similar Rainbow Coalition vision of revolutionary politics in the US— both past and present.





Leonard Peltier’s Walk to Justice Demands Release of Political Prisoner

By Stephanie Pavlick and Kit Baril

Minneapolis, Minnesota – On September 1, Leonard Peltier’s Walk to Justice departed from Minneapolis, Minnesota. The march will pass through multiple cities, finally ending in Washington, DC on November 14. Rallies and prayer sessions will be held along the route. The walk is being coordinated by the American Indian Movement Grand Governing Council to demand elder Leonard Peltier’s release from federal prison.


Leonard Peltier’s fight for justice

Leonard Peltier has been unjustly held as a political prisoner by the U.S. government for over 46 years, making him one of the world’s longest incarcerated political prisoners. He is the longest held Native American political prisoner in the world. Peltier was wrongly convicted and framed for a shooting at Oglala on June 26, 1975.


At the time, members of the Lakota Nation on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation were being endlessly terrorized and targeted by paramilitaries led by the corrupt, U.S.-government backed tribal chairman Dick Wilson. 64 people were killed by these paramilitaries between 1973 and 1975. The Lakota people called on the American Indian Movement (AIM) for protection, and Peltier answered the call. During the night of June 26, 1975, plainclothes FBI officers raided the AIM encampment at Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. A shootout ensued, and two FBI officers, Jack Coler and Ronald Williams, and one Native man, Joe Stuntz, were left dead.


In the ridiculous trial that followed, the two other Native defendants, Bob Robideau and Dino Butler, were completely exonerated. Peltier, on the other hand, was used to make an example. The FBI coerced a statement from a Native woman who had never met Peltier at the time she gave her statement. This false evidence was used to extradite Peltier from Canada, where he had fled after the shootout, and is used to imprison Peltier to this day.


The struggle continues

Leonard’s true “crime” is daring to fight back against the everyday oppression Native people face under the imperialist regime of the United States. Growing up on the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation in North Dakota, Leonard lived through the U.S. government’s genocidal programs to forcibly assimilate Native peoples. Recently, Peltier opened up about his experiences in the Wahpeton Indian School. This was one of many boarding schools used to brutalize Native children into leaving behind their culture. Children were beaten constantly, especially for practicing any portions of their culture or speaking their language. Many didn’t make it out alive. This was part of the U.S. government‘s larger policy of intensifying attacks on the sovereignty of the First Nations. These experiences, among many more, led Peltier to become a member of the American Indian Movement to continue the fight back against genocide of Native peoples.


Peltier is a lifelong liberation fighter who has sacrificed immensely for the movement. He is also a 77-year-old elder with numerous chronic health problems, exacerbated by his fight with COVID earlier this year. Despite his innocence and health problems, the U.S. government has refused repeated calls for clemency for Peltier. Throughout his years of imprisonment, many have demanded Peltier’s freedom, including Nelson Mandela and, most recently, a UN Human Rights Council working group.


The time for Leonard Peltier to finally be released from prison is now. Join the fight  to free Leonard Peltier, and to free all political prisoners!


There are many ways to support the march and strengthen the call to free Peltier. These include:


·      Joining all or part of the walk

·      Joining a rally

·      Sponsoring the caravan with a hot prepared meal

·      Dry food donations

·      Hosting lodging/camping

·      Driving a support vehicle

·      Raising awareness of Peltier’s cause locally

·      Promoting the caravan and rally

Monetary donations (can be sent via PayPal here)

Those interested in volunteering with the caravan can sign up here.


Learn more about Leonard Peltier and his case here:



Liberation News, September 3, 2022










We demand that ALL "illegal abortion" charges against Madison County, Nebraska women be dropped


In Madison County, Nebraska, two women- one the mother of a pregnant teenager who was a minor at the time of her pregnancy and is being charged as an adult- are facing prosecution for self managing an abortion. In an outrageous violation of civil liberties, Facebook assisted the police and county attorney in this case by turning over communication between the daughter and her mother regarding obtaining abortion pills which is not illegal in Nebraska. The prosecutor has used this information to charge the daughter, her mother, and a male friend who assisted them after the fact with illegal abortion along with additional trumped up charges of "concealing a body."


We demand that ALL charges be dropped against all three of them and we ask that you call the office of Madison County Attorney Joseph Smith at 402-454-3311 Ext. 206 with the following:


"I am calling to demand that all charges against Jessica Burgess, her daughter, and their friend be dropped. In your own words- no charges like this have ever been brought before. That is because criminalizing abortion is unjust and unconstitutional. We will not stand for any charges being brought against any pregnant person for the outcome of their pregnancy OR anyone who assists that pregnant person. Drop all charges NOW."


You can also email County Attorney Smith here.


If you pledged to #AidAndAbetAbortion- NOW is the time to stand up for these women in Nebraska as this could be any of us in the future.


About NWL


National Women's Liberation (NWL) is a multiracial feminist group for women who want to fight male supremacy and gain more freedom for women. Our priorities are abortion and birth control, overthrowing the double day, and feminist consciousness-raising.


NWL meetings are for women and tranpeople who do not benefit from male supremacy because we believe we should lead the fight for our liberation. In addition, women of color meet separately from white women in Women of Color Caucus (WOCC) meetings to examine their experiences with white supremacy and how it intersects with male supremacy to oppress women of color.


Learn more at womensliberation.org.


Questions? Email nwl@womensliberation.org for more info.





Doctors for Assange Statement


Doctors to UK: Assange Extradition

‘Medically & Ethically’ Wrong 



Ahead of the U.K. Home Secretary’s decision on whether to extradite Julian Assange to the United States, a group of more than 300 doctors representing 35 countries have told Priti Patel that approving his extradition would be “medically and ethically unacceptable”.


In an open letter sent to the Home Secretary on Friday June 10, and copied to British Prime Minster Boris Johnson, the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice Robert Buckland, the Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and the Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong, the doctors draw attention to the fact that Assange suffered a “mini stroke” in October 2021. They note:


“Predictably, Mr Assange’s health has since continued to deteriorate in your custody. In October 2021 Mr. Assange suffered a ‘mini-stroke’… This dramatic deterioration of Mr Assange’s health has not yet been considered in his extradition proceedings. The US assurances accepted by the High Court, therefore, which would form the basis of any extradition approval, are founded upon outdated medical information, rendering them obsolete.”


The doctors charge that any extradition under these circumstances would constitute negligence. They write:


“Under conditions in which the UK legal system has failed to take Mr Assange’s current health status into account, no valid decision regarding his extradition may be made, by yourself or anyone else. Should he come to harm in the US under these circumstances it is you, Home Secretary, who will be left holding the responsibility for that negligent outcome.”


In their letter the group reminds the Home Secretary that they first wrote to her on Friday 22 November 2019, expressing their serious concerns about Julian Assange’s deteriorating health.


Those concerns were subsequently borne out by the testimony of expert witnesses in court during Assange’s extradition proceedings, which led to the denial of his extradition by the original judge on health grounds. That decision was later overturned by a higher court, which referred the decision to Priti Patel in light of US assurances that Julian Assange would not be treated inhumanely.


The doctors write:


“The subsequent ‘assurances’ of the United States government, that Mr Assange would not be treated inhumanly, are worthless given their record of pursuit, persecution and plotted murder of Mr Assange in retaliation for his public interest journalism.”


They conclude:


“Home Secretary, in making your decision as to extradition, do not make yourself, your government, and your country complicit in the slow-motion execution of this award-winning journalist, arguably the foremost publisher of our time. Do not extradite Julian Assange; free him.”


Julian Assange remains in High Security Belmarsh Prison awaiting Priti Patel’s decision, which is due any day.



Sign the petition:


If extradited to the United States, Julian Assange, father of two young British children, would face a sentence of 175 years in prison merely for receiving and publishing truthful information that revealed US war crimes.

UK District Judge Vanessa Baraitser has ruled that "it would be oppressive to extradite him to the United States of America".

Amnesty International states, “Were Julian Assange to be extradited or subjected to any other transfer to the USA, Britain would be in breach of its obligations under international law.”

Human Rights Watch says, “The only thing standing between an Assange prosecution and a major threat to global media freedom is Britain. It is urgent that it defend the principles at risk.”

The NUJ has stated that the “US charges against Assange pose a huge threat, one that could criminalise the critical work of investigative journalists & their ability to protect their sources”.

Julian will not survive extradition to the United States.

The UK is required under its international obligations to stop the extradition. Article 4 of the US-UK extradition treaty says: "Extradition shall not be granted if the offense for which extradition is requested is a political offense." 

The decision to either Free Assange or send him to his death is now squarely in the political domain. The UK must not send Julian to the country that conspired to murder him in London.

The United Kingdom can stop the extradition at any time. It must comply with Article 4 of the US-UK Extradition Treaty and Free Julian Assange.



Dear friends, 

Recently I’ve started working with the Coalition to Free Ruchell Magee. On March 17, Ruchell turned 83. He’s been imprisoned for 59 years, and now walks with a walker. He is no threat to society if released. Ruchell was in the Marin County Courthouse on August 7, 1970, the morning Jonathan Jackson took it over in an effort to free his older brother, the internationally known revolutionary prison writer, George Jackson. Ruchell joined Jonathan and was the only survivor of the shooting that ensued. He has been locked up ever since and denied parole 13 times. On March 19, the Coalition to Free Ruchell Magee held a webinar for Ruchell for his 83rd birthday, which was a terrific event full of information and plans for building the campaign to Free Ruchell. (For information about his case, please visit: www.freeruchellmagee.org.)

Below are two ways to stream this historic webinar, plus 

• a petition you can sign

• a portal to send a letter to Governor Newsom

• a Donate button to support his campaign

• a link to our campaign website. 

Please take a moment and help. 

Note: We will soon have t-shirts to sell to raise money for legal expenses.

Here is the YouTube link to view the March 19 Webinar: 


Here is the Facebook link:


Sign the petition to Free Ruchell:


Write to Governor Newsom’s office:




Ruchell’s Website: 



Charlie Hinton


No one ever hurt their eyes by looking on the bright side



Tell Congress to Help #FreeDanielHale


U.S. Air Force veteran, Daniel Everette Hale has recently completed his first year of a 45-month prison sentence for exposing the realities of U.S drone warfare. Daniel Hale is not a spy, a threat to society, or a bad faith actor. His revelations were not a threat to national security. If they were, the prosecution would be able to identify the harm caused directly from the information Hale made public. Our members of Congress can urge President Biden to commute Daniel's sentence! Either way, Daniel deserves to be free.





Laws are created to be followed

by the poor.

Laws are made by the rich

to bring some order to exploitation.

The poor are the only law abiders in history.

When the poor make laws

the rich will be no more.


—Roque Dalton Presente!

(May 14, 1935 – Assassinated May 10, 1975)[1]

[1] Roque Dalton was a Salvadoran poet, essayist, journalist, political activist, and intellectual. He is considered one of Latin America's most compelling poets.







Screenshot of Kevin Cooper's artwork from the teaser.


 “In His Defense” The People vs. Kevin Cooper

A film by Kenneth A. Carlson 

Teaser is now streaming at:



Posted by: Death Penalty Focus Blog, January 10, 2022



“In his Defense,” a documentary on the Kevin Cooper case, is in the works right now, and California filmmaker Kenneth Carlson has released a teaser for it on CarlsonFilms.com


Just over seven months ago, California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered an independent investigation of Cooper’s death penalty case. At the time, he explained that, “In cases where the government seeks to impose the ultimate punishment of death, I need to be satisfied that all relevant evidence is carefully and fairly examined.”


That investigation is ongoing, with no word from any of the parties involved on its progress.


Cooper has been on death row since 1985 for the murder of four people in San Bernardino County in June 1983. Prosecutors said Cooper, who had escaped from a minimum-security prison and had been hiding out near the scene of the murder, killed Douglas and Peggy Ryen, their 10-year-old daughter, Jessica, and 10-year-old Chris Hughes, a friend who was spending the night at the Ryen’s. The lone survivor of the attack, eight-year-old Josh Ryen, was severely injured but survived.


For over 36 years, Cooper has insisted he is innocent, and there are serious questions about evidence that was missing, tampered with, destroyed, possibly planted, or hidden from the defense. There were multiple murder weapons, raising questions about how one man could use all of them, killing four people and seriously wounding one, in the amount of time the coroner estimated the murders took place.


The teaser alone gives a good overview of the case, and helps explain why so many believe Cooper was wrongfully convicted.



New Legal Filing in Mumia’s Case

By Johanna Fernández

The following statement was issued January 4, 2022, regarding new legal filings by attorneys for Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Campaign to Bring Mumia Home

In her novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston wrote, “There are years that ask questions, and years that answer.”

With continued pressure from below, 2022 will be the year that forces the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office and the Philly Police Department to answer questions about why they framed imprisoned radio journalist and veteran Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal. Abu-Jamal’s attorneys have filed a Pennsylvania Post Conviction Relief Act (PCRA) petition focused entirely on the six boxes of case files that were found in a storage room of the DA’s office in late December 2018, after the case being heard before Judge Leon Tucker in the Court of Common Pleas concluded. (tinyurl.com/zkyva464)

The new evidence contained in the boxes is damning, and we need to expose it. It reveals a pattern of misconduct and abuse of authority by the prosecution, including bribery of the state’s two key witnesses, as well as racist exclusion in jury selection—a violation of the landmark Supreme Court decision Batson v. Kentucky. The remedy for each or any of the claims in the petition is a new trial. The court may order a hearing on factual issues raised in the claims. If so, we won’t know for at least a month. 

The new evidence includes a handwritten letter penned by Robert Chobert, the prosecution’s star witness. In it, Chobert demands to be paid money promised him by then-Prosecutor Joseph McGill. Other evidence includes notes written by McGill, prominently tracking the race of potential jurors for the purposes of excluding Black people from the jury, and letters and memoranda which reveal that the DA’s office sought to monitor, direct, and intervene in the outstanding prostitution charges against its other key witness Cynthia White.

Mumia Abu-Jamal was framed and convicted 40 years ago in 1982, during one of the most corrupt and racist periods in Philadelphia’s history—the era of cop-turned-mayor Frank Rizzo. It was a moment when the city’s police department, which worked intimately with the DA’s office, routinely engaged in homicidal violence against Black and Latinx detainees, corruption, bribery and tampering with evidence to obtain convictions. 

In 1979, under pressure from civil rights activists, the Department of Justice filed an unprecedented lawsuit against the Philadelphia police department and detailed a culture of racist violence, widespread corruption and intimidation that targeted outspoken people like Mumia. Despite concurrent investigations by the FBI and Pennsylvania’s Attorney General and dozens of police convictions, the power and influence of the country’s largest police association, the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) prevailed. 

Now, more than 40 years later, we’re still living with the failure to uproot these abuses. Philadelphia continues to fear the powerful FOP, even though it endorses cruelty, racism, and multiple injustices. A culture of fear permeates the “city of brotherly love.”

The contents of these boxes shine light on decades of white supremacy and rampant lawlessness in U.S. courts and prisons. They also hold enormous promise for Mumia’s freedom and challenge us to choose Love, Not PHEAR. (lovenotphear.com/) Stay tuned.

Workers World, January 4, 2022


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



A Plea for the Compassionate Release of 

Leonard Peltier

Video at:


Screen shot from video.

Sign our petition urging President Biden to grant clemency to Leonard Peltier.




Email: contact@whoisleonardpeltier.info

Address: 116 W. Osborne Ave. Tampa, Florida 33603


Bury My Heart with Leonard Peltier

How long will he still be with us? How long will the genocide continue?

By Michael Moore

—VIA Email: michaelmoore@substack.com

LEONARD PELTIER, Native American hero. An innocent man, he’s spent 44 years as a political prisoner. The prosecutor who put him behind bars now says Peltier is innocent. President Biden, go to Mass today, and then stop this torture. (Sipa/Shutterstock)

American Indian Movement leader, Leonard Peltier, at 77 years of age, came down with Covid-19 this weekend. Upon hearing this, I broke down and cried. An innocent man, locked up behind bars for 44 years, Peltier is now America’s longest-held political prisoner. He suffers in prison tonight even though James Reynolds, one of the key federal prosecutors who sent Peltier off to life in prison in 1977, has written to President Biden and confessed to his role in the lies, deceit, racism and fake evidence that together resulted in locking up our country’s most well-known Native American civil rights leader. Just as South Africa imprisoned for more than 27 years its leading voice for freedom, Nelson Mandela, so too have we done the same to a leading voice and freedom fighter for the indigenous people of America. That’s not just me saying this. That’s Amnesty International saying it. They placed him on their political prisoner list years ago and continue to demand his release.


And it’s not just Amnesty leading the way. It’s the Pope who has demanded Leonard Peltier’s release. It’s the Dalai Lama, Jesse Jackson, and the President Pro-Tempore of the US Senate, Sen. Patrick Leahy. Before their deaths, Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa and Bishop Desmond Tutu pleaded with the United States to free Leonard Peltier. A worldwide movement of millions have seen their demands fall on deaf ears. 


And now the calls for Peltier to be granted clemency in DC have grown on Capitol Hill. Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI), the head of the Senate committee who oversees the Bureau of Indian Affairs, has also demanded Peltier be given his freedom. Numerous House Democrats have also written to Biden. 


The time has come for our President to act; the same President who appointed the first-ever Native American cabinet member last year and who halted the building of the Keystone pipeline across Native lands. Surely Mr. Biden is capable of an urgent act of compassion for Leonard Peltier — especially considering that the prosecutor who put him away in 1977 now says Peltier is innocent, and that his US Attorney’s office corrupted the evidence to make sure Peltier didn’t get a fair trial. Why is this victim of our judicial system still in prison? And now he is sick with Covid.


For months Peltier has begged to get a Covid booster shot. Prison officials refused. The fact that he now has COVID-19 is a form of torture. A shame hangs over all of us. Should he now die, are we all not complicit in taking his life? 


President Biden, let Leonard Peltier go. This is a gross injustice. You can end it. Reach deep into your Catholic faith, read what the Pope has begged you to do, and then do the right thing. 


For those of you reading this, will you join me right now in appealing to President Biden to free Leonard Peltier? His health is in deep decline, he is the voice of his people — a people we owe so much to for massacring and imprisoning them for hundreds of years. 


The way we do mass incarceration in the US is abominable. And Leonard Peltier is not the only political prisoner we have locked up. We have millions of Black and brown and poor people tonight in prison or on parole and probation — in large part because they are Black and brown and poor. THAT is a political act on our part. Corporate criminals and Trump run free. The damage they have done to so many Americans and people around the world must be dealt with. 


This larger issue is one we MUST take on. For today, please join me in contacting the following to show them how many millions of us demand that Leonard Peltier has suffered enough and should be free:


President Joe Biden


Phone: 202-456-1111

E-mail: At this link



Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland


Phone: 202-208-3100

E-mail: feedback@ios.doi.gov


Attorney General Merrick Garland


Phone: 202-514-2000

E-mail: At this link



I’ll end with the final verse from the epic poem “American Names” by Stephen Vincent Benet: 


I shall not rest quiet in Montparnasse.

I shall not lie easy at Winchelsea.

You may bury my body in Sussex grass,

You may bury my tongue at Champmedy.

I shall not be there. I shall rise and pass.

Bury my heart at Wounded Knee.



PS. Also — watch the brilliant 1992 documentary by Michael Apted and Robert Redford about the framing of Leonard Peltier— “Incident at Oglala”



The Moment

By Margaret Atwood*


The moment when, after many years 

of hard work and a long voyage 

you stand in the centre of your room, 

house, half-acre, square mile, island, country, 

knowing at last how you got there, 

and say, I own this, 


is the same moment when the trees unloose 

their soft arms from around you, 

the birds take back their language, 

the cliffs fissure and collapse, 

the air moves back from you like a wave 

and you can't breathe. 


No, they whisper. You own nothing. 

You were a visitor, time after time 

climbing the hill, planting the flag, proclaiming. 

We never belonged to you. 

You never found us. 

It was always the other way round.


*Witten by the woman who wrote a novel about Christian fascists taking over the U.S. and enslaving women. Prescient!



Union Membership—2021

Bureau of Labor Statistics

U.S. Department of Labor

For release 10:00 a.m. (ET) Thursday, January 20, 2022

Technical information: 

(202) 691-6378 • cpsinfo@bls.gov • www.bls.gov/cps

Media contact: 

(202) 691-5902 • PressOffice@bls.gov

In 2021, the number of wage and salary workers belonging to unions continued to decline (-241,000) to 14.0 million, and the percent who were members of unions—the union membership rate—was 10.3 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The rate is down from 10.8 percent in 2020—when the rate increased due to a disproportionately large decline in the total number of nonunion workers compared with the decline in the number of union members. The 2021 unionization rate is the same as the 2019 rate of 10.3 percent. In 1983, the first year for which comparable union data are available, the union membership rate was 20.1 percent and there were 17.7 million union workers.

These data on union membership are collected as part of the Current Population Survey (CPS), a monthly sample survey of about 60,000 eligible households that obtains information on employment and unemployment among the nation’s civilian noninstitutional population age 16 and over. For further information, see the Technical Note in this news release.

Highlights from the 2021 data:

• The union membership rate of public-sector workers (33.9 percent) continued to be more than five times higher than the rate of private-sector workers (6.1 percent). (See table 3.)

• The highest unionization rates were among workers in education, training, and library occupations (34.6 percent) and protective service occupations (33.3 percent). (See table 3.)

• Men continued to have a higher union membership rate (10.6 percent) than women (9.9 percent). The gap between union membership rates for men and women has narrowed considerably since 1983 (the earliest year for which comparable data are available), when rates for men and women were 24.7 percent and 14.6 percent, respectively. (See table 1.)

• Black workers remained more likely to be union members than White, Asian, or Hispanic workers. (See table 1.)

• Nonunion workers had median weekly earnings that were 83 percent of earnings for workers who were union members ($975 versus $1,169). (The comparisons of earnings in this news release are on a broad level and do not control for many factors that can be important in explaining earnings differences.) (See table 2.)

• Among states, Hawaii and New York continued to have the highest union membership rates (22.4 percent and 22.2 percent, respectively), while South Carolina and North Carolina continued to have the lowest (1.7 percent and 2.6 percent, respectively). (See table 5.)

Industry and Occupation of Union Members

In 2021, 7.0 million employees in the public sector belonged to unions, the same as in the private sector. (See table 3.)

Union membership decreased by 191,000 over the year in the public sector. The public-sector union membership rate declined by 0.9 percentage point in 2021 to 33.9 percent, following an increase of 1.2 percentage points in 2020. In 2021, the union membership rate continued to be highest in local government (40.2 percent), which employs many workers in heavily unionized occupations, such as police officers, firefighters, and teachers.

The number of union workers employed in the private sector changed little over the year. However, the number of private-sector nonunion workers increased in 2021. The private-sector unionization rate declined by 0.2 percentage point in 2021 to 6.1 percent, slightly lower than its 2019 rate of 6.2 percent. Industries with high unionization rates included utilities (19.7 percent), motion pictures and sound recording industries (17.3 percent), and transportation and warehousing (14.7 percent). Low unionization rates occurred in finance (1.2 percent), professional and technical services (1.2 percent), food services and drinking places (1.2 percent), and insurance (1.5 percent).

Among occupational groups, the highest unionization rates in 2021 were in education, training, and library occupations (34.6 percent) and protective service occupations (33.3 percent). Unionization rates were lowest in food preparation and serving related occupations (3.1 percent); sales and related occupations (3.3 percent); computer and mathematical occupations (3.7 percent); personal care and service occupations (3.9 percent); and farming, fishing, and forestry occupations (4.0 percent).

Selected Characteristics of Union Members

In 2021, the number of men who were union members, at 7.5 million, changed little, while the number of women who were union members declined by 182,000 to 6.5 million. The unionization rate for men decreased by 0.4 percentage point over the year to 10.6 percent. In 2021, women’s union membership rate declined by 0.6 percentage point to 9.9 percent. The 2021 decreases in union membership rates for men and women reflect increases in the total number of nonunion workers. The rate for men is below the 2019 rate (10.8 percent), while the rate for women is above the 2019 rate (9.7 percent). (See table 1.)

Among major race and ethnicity groups, Black workers continued to have a higher union membership rate in 2021 (11.5 percent) than White workers (10.3 percent), Asian workers (7.7 percent), and Hispanic workers (9.0 percent). The union membership rate declined by 0.4 percentage point for White workers, by 0.8 percentage point for Black workers, by 1.2 percentage points for Asian workers, and by 0.8 percentage point for Hispanic workers. The 2021 rates for Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics are little or no different from 2019, while the rate for Asians is lower.

By age, workers ages 45 to 54 had the highest union membership rate in 2021, at 13.1 percent. Younger workers—those ages 16 to 24—had the lowest union membership rate, at 4.2 percent.

In 2021, the union membership rate for full-time workers (11.1 percent) continued to be considerably higher than that for part-time workers (6.1 percent).

Union Representation

In 2021, 15.8 million wage and salary workers were represented by a union, 137,000 less than in 2020. The percentage of workers represented by a union was 11.6 percent, down by 0.5 percentage point from 2020 but the same as in 2019. Workers represented by a union include both union members (14.0 million) and workers who report no union affiliation but whose jobs are covered by a union contract (1.8 million). (See table 1.)


Among full-time wage and salary workers, union members had median usual weekly earnings of $1,169 in 2021, while those who were not union members had median weekly earnings of $975. In addition to coverage by a collective bargaining agreement, these earnings differences reflect a variety of influences, including variations in the distributions of union members and nonunion employees by occupation, industry, age, firm size, or geographic region. (See tables 2 and 4.)

Union Membership by State

In 2021, 30 states and the District of Columbia had union membership rates below that of the U.S. average, 10.3 percent, while 20 states had rates above it. All states in both the East South Central and West South Central divisions had union membership rates below the national average, while all states in both the Middle Atlantic and Pacific divisions had rates above it. (See table 5 and chart 1.)

Ten states had union membership rates below 5.0 percent in 2021. South Carolina had the lowest rate (1.7 percent), followed by North Carolina (2.6 percent) and Utah (3.5 percent). Two states had union membership rates over 20.0 percent in 2021: Hawaii (22.4 percent) and New York (22.2 percent).

In 2021, about 30 percent of the 14.0 million union members lived in just two states (California at 2.5 million and New York at 1.7 million). However, these states accounted for about 17 percent of wage and salary employment nationally.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Impact on 2021 Union Members Data

Union membership data for 2021 continue to reflect the impact on the labor market of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Comparisons with union membership measures for 2020, including metrics such as the union membership rate and median usual weekly earnings, should be interpreted with caution. The onset of the pandemic in 2020 led to an increase in the unionization rate due to a disproportionately large decline in the number of nonunion workers compared with the decline in the number of union members. The decrease in the rate in 2021 reflects a large gain in the number of nonunion workers and a decrease in the number of union workers. More information on labor market developments in recent months is available at: 

www.bls.gov/covid19/effects-of-covid-19-pandemic-and- response-on-the-employment-situation-news-release.htm.



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) Russia-Ukraine War

As Moscow Begins Troop Call-Up, Some Men Flee the Country

By Valerie Hopkins, September 22, 2022


Antiwar protests erupted across Russia September 21, 2022, against Putin’s massive draft of 300,000 people, and the escalation of the war on Ukraine. (Screenshot)

Russians are already receiving draft papers.

A day after President Vladimir V. Putin announced a call-up that could see 300,000 civilians swept into military service, thousands of Russians across the country had received draft papers and were being bundled into buses on Thursday for training — and soon, possibly, to the front lines in Ukraine, according to witnesses, local media reports, video and social media posts by local residents and relatives of conscripts who have been summoned to fight.


In mountainous eastern Siberia, the Russian news media reported that school buses were being commandeered to move troops to training grounds, and schools were becoming draft centers, with teachers writing “povestki,” or draft papers for people who were being called up, rather than teaching. Videos circulated on social media purporting to show new conscripts saying tearful goodbyes before boarding buses.


The call-ups reportedly began within hours of a recorded video announcement by Mr. Putin in which he raised the stakes in the war and escalated his confrontation with the West despite Russia’s humiliating setbacks on the battlefield. By declaring for the first time that Russian civilians could be pressed into service in Ukraine, Mr. Putin risked a public backlash but said the move was “necessary and urgent” because the West had “crossed all lines” by providing sophisticated weapons to Ukraine.


Despite the Kremlin’s crackdown on dissent, protests erupted on Wednesday night across Russia in response to Mr. Putin’s move, with at least 1,312 people arrested, according to the human rights watchdog OVD-Info. Many Russians sought to travel to other countries to escape being called up to fight as men across the country reported to draft offices.


Russian officials said the call-up would be limited to people with combat experience. But Yanina Nimayeva, a journalist from the Buryatia region of Siberia, wrote on Thursday that her husband — a father of five and an employee in the emergency department in the regional capital — had been called up despite never having served in the military. She said he had received a summons to an urgent meeting at 4 a.m. in which it was announced that a train had been organized to bring reservists to the city of Chita.


“My husband is 38 years old, he is not in the reserve, he did not serve,” Ms. Nimayeva said in a video addressed to the regional leader, Aleksei S. Tsydenov of Mr. Putin’s United Russia party. In a sign of how the call-up is deepening discontent with Mr. Putin’s government, Ms. Nimayeva continued: “I understand that we have plans. Our republic needs to gather 4,000 soldiers. But some parameters and principles of this partial mobilization must be respected.”


Others also voiced anger at the government.


“Buryatia experienced today one of the most terrible nights in its history,” Alexandra Garmazhapova, the head of the antiwar Free Buryatia Foundation, wrote on Facebook. She said she had received “hundreds of messages asking how to leave for Ulaanbaatar,” the Mongolian capital.


It is not known how many people have received summonses. A woman from Dagestan, one of Russia’s poorest regions, who had already lost one of her sons in the war with Ukraine, told a New York Times reporter that three buses carrying newly mobilized soldiers had left her town. She sent videos showing armored personnel carriers driving along the potholed roads, although their authenticity could not be immediately verified.


In Ulan-Ude, the regional capital of Buryatia, draft papers “were distributed to houses and apartments all night,” according to a report from Arig-Us, a local independent television station. The local news media reported that new recruits had gathered at a military facility a short walk from a sports complex where funerals are held for soldiers who die in Ukraine.


Farther northeast, in the city of Neryungri, one video showed four buses lined up at a stadium. Similar videos showing new recruits gathering appeared on social media from across the country — including Vladivostok in the far east, Pskov and Belgorod on the Ukrainian border, the working-class Moscow suburb of Lyubertsy, and Chechnya and Dagestan in the Caucasus.


Ivan Nechepurenko, Alina Lobzina and Oleg Matsnev contributed reporting.



2) ¡Basta de Apagones! The Rot in Puerto Rico Runs Deeper Than Its Disastrous Power Company.

By Israel Meléndez Ayala, Sept. 22, 2022

Mr. Meléndez Ayala is an anthropologist and historian.

Protesters outside the governor’s mansion La Fortaleza in San Juan, Puerto Rico in July.

Protesters outside the governor’s mansion La Fortaleza in San Juan, Puerto Rico in July. Credit...Ricardo Arduengo/Reuters

SAN JUAN, P.R. — Hurricane Fiona made landfall on Sunday morning. By 1 p.m. the entire island had been plunged into darkness. Days later, roughly a million homes and businesses in Puerto Rico still lacked power and access to clean water, my own home included. As I sit in a cafe and write, I am overwhelmed by the feeling of déjà vu.


LUMA Energy began supplying power to Puerto Rico after the government privatized what had been a public service in June 2021. It was hired in part to help fix our fragile power grid. But LUMA has not done the job it was contracted to do, including investing in green energy. In the past year, blackouts, sometimes lasting for days, have become a part of our daily life. Even hospitals have been left to rely on generators. Yet, despite the poor service, our electric bills have more than doubled.


Puerto Rico was unraveling economically and politically long before LUMA and Hurricane Fiona. Austerity programs cut deeply into the public service budget, health care, pensions and education to pay off creditors. Newly elected officials reward party loyalists with government employment, creating a series of sycophants who use public office for their own gain. They award million-dollar contracts to companies that are sometimes owned by party members or relatives, in exchange for kickbacks, or, worse yet, create ghost companies to divert the funds into their own pockets.


As a result, our roads and highways are pockmarked with potholes. While the rest of us struggle to make ends meet, the Senate goes on shopping sprees, spending hundreds of thousands on furniture, laptops and other goods that don’t provide services to taxpayers. While austerity measures closed businesses and schools, Puerto Ricans paid over $15 million to cover the costs of legal representation and claims related to officials’ violation of civil rights.


I was born and raised in Old San Juan. Despite my being a young professional with a master’s degree and a full-time job, an ever-increasing electric bill comes as a shock each month, cutting into potential savings. The dream of owning a home in the city I grew up in, that I call home, feels out of reach because of the high cost of living.


It’s not what I imagined my life would be like.


In the 1950s, new highways supplanted dirt roads for horses and mules. Rows of wooden houses that lacked basic services in the island’s mountainous interior and coastal urban areas were replaced by sprawling concrete developments. Illiteracy declined, families sent their children to universities, and the poverty rate dropped. The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, or PREPA, created in 1941, had a hand in powering industrialization and prosperity into the 1970s.


But as industries and people displaced by natural disasters or in search of resources and better-paying jobs left the island en masse, PREPA faced both sharply decreasing revenue and an obligation to provide power for the remaining citizens. The monopoly began skimping on maintenance and borrowed billions of dollars just to stay afloat, accruing $9 billion in debt. In July 2017, PREPA filed for bankruptcy. The decades-long culture of neglect and corruption had left the power grid in shambles, then in September of that year, Hurricane Maria delivered the final blow.


In the wake of an island-wide blackout, PREPA approved a $300 million no-bid contract with Whitefish Energy, based in Montana, to help rebuild Puerto Rico’s electricity grid two months after Hurricane Maria hit. It made little difference that the company had minimal experience with disaster relief and few employees. The deal was later scuttled amid questions about how Whitefish got the job and allegations of price-gouging. In 2018, Gov. Ricardo Rosselló introduced a plan to sell off the power company.


LUMA, a consortium of the Canadian company ATCO and the Houston-based Quanta Services, was contracted to work with PREPA to manage the island’s power last June. It was supposed to cut costs and make desperately needed upgrades to the power grid. Yet despite chronic blackouts, this June I paid $242 for our electric bill, compared with $87 for that month last year. The thing is, the biggest part of LUMA’s fee for running the grid will be paid whether the job is done well or not. There is little accountability for the parties in the agreement.


But there is reason for hope. While Puerto Rico’s Department of Justice, which is responsible for the enforcement of the local law, allows impunity to go unchecked, Washington has begun to pay attention. A 2019 investigation by the United States Department of Justice found that after Hurricane Maria, PREPA employees accepted or demanded bribes to restore power to residences and businesses before serving critical locations like San Juan’s Rio Piedras Medical Center. The power authority also mismanaged a warehouse where materials were stored that should have been available to help restore power on the island. And over six years, more than $300 million in public funds was spent on consultants related to PREPA.


Last month the former governor Wanda Vázquez was arrested on corruption charges, and at least nine mayors have been accused of corruption. They include Eduardo Cintrón-Suárez, the former mayor of the Municipality of Guayama, who in July was sentenced to 30 months in prison for receiving cash payments in exchange for executing municipal contracts and approving invoice payments for an asphalt and paving company. Many more are believed to be under investigation.


Puerto Ricans shouldn’t have to rely on the U.S. government to deliver justice on a local level. Our own justice system must root out the corruption that threatens to suck the island dry. It can do that by investigating and prosecuting corruption to prove, in part, that the island itself can take the reins of justice. It should demand that the federal government carry out a fiscal restructuring that puts safeguards in place that curb corruption.


Hurricane Fiona was just a Category 1 storm, which is why the scale of destruction has taken so many of us by surprise. We knew things were bad, but we didn’t realize just how agonizingly bad. In the years since Hurricane Maria, our battered infrastructure has only gotten worse. As of Wednesday night, my water service and power were restored. With other storms churning in the Atlantic Ocean, it remains to be seen for how long. At least 20 hospitals are still running on generators.


What is most galling is that it is our own people who rob and abuse us. The betrayal is so insidious that I seethe with anger if I think about it too much. We’re tired of being displaced by wealthy foreigners, who flock to the island to bask on our beaches and get the tax breaks that are not available to us. We’re tired of politicians enriching themselves at our expense. We’re fed up with the blackouts.


After the hurricane passed, my neighbors and I checked on one another. I was moved to tears when my upstairs neighbor told me that our community spirit, the way we look out for one another, is what has helped us survive these past few years. No one is coming to save us. We’ve proved ourselves capable of ousting one governor from office, and we won’t stop until we have created a better, fairer Puerto Rico.



3) The World Got Diamonds. A Mining Town Got Buried in Sludge.

Waste from a diamond mine in South Africa grew ever higher as the ownership changed from De Beers to a billionaire to a Dubai-based retailer. The mining town paid the price.

By John Eligon and Lynsey ChutelPhotographs by Ilan Godfrey, Sept. 23, 2022


Mr. Sephaka had worked at the mine but quit because the conditions were bad. The mine’s problems caught up with him anyway.

Mr. Sephaka had worked at the mine but quit because the conditions were bad. The mine’s problems caught up with him anyway.

JAGERSFONTEIN, South Africa — The dirt wall holding in mucky waste from diamond mining grew over the years to resemble a wide, towering plateau. Suspended like a frozen tsunami over neat tracts of Monopoly-like homes in the rural South African mining town of Jagersfontein, the dam alarmed residents who feared it may collapse.


“We saw it long time, that one day this thing will burst,” said Memane Paulus, a machine operator at the dam for the past decade.


The worst fears of residents came true this month when a section of the dam crumbled, sending a thunderous rush of gray sludge through the community that killed at least one person, destroyed 164 houses, and turned a six-mile stretch of neighborhoods and grassy fields into an ashen wasteland.


The Jagersfontein disaster has caused alarm in a nation where heaping dams of mining waste, known as tailings, are part of the landscape. Experts estimate that South Africa has hundreds of tailings dams, which mining watchdogs say is the legacy of an exploitative industry that extracts lucrative gems for jewelry stores abroad, while poor communities are saddled with toxic waste at home.


The townspeople in Jagersfontein, home to one of the world’s oldest diamond mines, had watched the wall of waste mount, looming over their homes and streets. But there was little they could do to stop it because it was big business.


A consortium that bought the mining waste from the mine’s former owner, De Beers, was sifting through the tailings to extract any diamonds left behind — an increasingly popular offshoot of mining. In doing so, the operation was piling up even more waste, and government oversight was lax. Some mine workers were scared when their colleagues reported finding leaks in the dam.


“It was definitely avoidable,” said Mariette Liefferink, chief executive of the Federation for a Sustainable Environment, an environmental organization focused on mining. “The damage to the ecosystem, to human lives, to future generations — the risks are significant.”


The international mining industry had promised to do better after a similar dam collapse in Brazil three years ago killed more than 250 people. Some of the leading mine operators collaborated to develop standards for tailings dams. But many smaller operators, like the one in Jagersfontein, don’t follow the standards and lack the resources and expertise to manage tailings dams, Ms. Liefferink said.


Marius de Villiers, the legal compliance officer for the mine’s operating company, Jagersfontein Development, said it complied with all requirements set by South African regulators. The dam was regularly inspected, he said, and an engineering report from July declared it was structurally sound.


“We were not even contemplating that something like this would happen,” Mr. de Villiers said. He said that while the company was still investigating the dam break, it “must accept liability that comes with the operations and with the break.”


‘That thing is going to blast’


At about 2 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 11, a truck driver at the dam spotted a crack in the facade, several workers there that day said in interviews. The driver reported it to a foreman, who checked it out but did not do anything, the workers said.


Joe Makalajane, a pan operator at the mine, did not see the crack himself but spoke to the driver as they were ending their shift, he said.


“He said, ‘I’ll tell you, that thing is going to blast,’” said Mr. Makalajane, 45, recalling his conversation. Of management, he added, “They didn’t take it seriously.”


Mr. de Villiers and Johan Combrink, the plant manager, denied that there was any report of a crack early that morning.


The dam wall collapsed between 6 and 7 a.m. Some residents are furious at the prospect that they could have been alerted earlier.


Rio-Rita Breytenbach, whose home is near the dam, stood on a chair in the kitchen as the barrage of slime barreled toward her. She was swept off the chair and out of the house. Caught in the raging current, Ms. Breytenbach, 39, said she floated on her back and paddled in the muck to keep her head above water.


“I was praying that I would survive,” she said.


She finally came to rest on a farm, where the police found her — more than six miles from her house.


The sludge wiped out much of two residential neighborhoods to the south and the east. Fields, stretching for miles, looked like frozen cement lakes, some dotted with mangled cars and sunken utility poles.


Jack Sephaka was visiting his mother across town when the dam broke. He stared from a distance in horror — his three-bedroom house was being washed away with, as far as he knew, his wife and one of his sons inside.


“I thought they were dead,” he said.


To his relief, his wife eventually called his mother to say they had made it to a shelter.


Now he has to rebuild a home that he bought 20 years ago for 40,000 rand ($2,300), now missing its entire front facade.


Mr. Sephaka had worked at the mine shortly after it reopened in 2010, but quit after four years because conditions were bad, he said.


“I was not happy,” he said, with “the stress of the mine.”


But the mine’s problems still caught up to him.


A colonial past


With its first diamonds extracted in 1870 by colonial settlers, the Jagersfontein mine is a relic of a diamond rush that often exploited Black South Africans while enriching white owners. It yielded a 650-carat diamond, among the world’s largest, that was acquired by British merchants and from which was cut the jubilee diamond, named in honor of Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee.


De Beers, the global mining titan, operated the mine from 1932 to 1971. It then sat idle, but in the early 2000s, De Beers sought to capitalize on improving technology to extract minerals from tailings. It sued for the right to mine tailings without a mining license and won a judgment in 2007.


De Beers then sold the tailings at Jagersfontein in 2010 to a consortium that eventually came under the control of Johann Rupert, a South African billionaire whose companies own luxury brands like Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels. In April, just six months before the collapse, Mr. Rupert’s holding company, Reinet Investments S.C.A., sold all of its shares in Jagersfontein Development to Stargems, a Dubai-based diamond manufacturer and retailer, according to a Stargems announcement.


Reinet did not respond to requests for comment.


The companies could be prosecuted for violating South Africa’s environmental and water laws, or could be forced to pay compensation, said Tracy-Lynn Field, a law professor at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg who specializes in environmental and mining law. Government officials may also have to answer, she said.


The ruling in 2007 in De Beers’s lawsuit removed responsibility for tailings dams from the government’s minerals department. Instead, because tailings are processed in dams, the Department of Water and Sanitation was left to oversee them, despite limited expertise in mining, Ms. Field said.


Warning signs


Residents said they were excited when the mine roared back to life in 2010, believing it would create jobs.


But soon they were coughing from all the dust in the air, and watching with angst as the dam’s dirt facade nearly doubled in height.


“We kept saying, ‘What if something happens here? What if it breaks?’” said Itumeleng Monageng, 28, who unfortunately found out the answer: This month he was knee-high in muck, salvaging whatever he could from his home.


Fears heightened in recent years when residents said they periodically saw water seeping through the dam wall. The mayor of Jagersfontein, Xolani Tseletsele, said community members aired their concerns with officials from the water department.


But Mr. Combrink, the plant manager, denied that the dam ever had a leakage problem, or that employees had reported holes in the facade. He attributed any moisture to storm water runoff.


According to a copy of a water department directive, inspectors visited the dam, and in January 2021, ordered the operation to stop, citing several violations. Chief among them was that the facility disposed more than two and a half times as much waste in the dam as it was allowed to in 2020 — and had continued disposing waste even after department officials told it to stop.


Five months later, the department cleared the facility to reopen, noting in a memorandum that Jagersfontein Development had agreed to be inspected more closely and installed new equipment to reduce the waste water disposed in the dam. Although the water department said in its memo that Jagersfontein Development still needed to address issues of dam safety raised in an independent engineering report, it gave no directive or deadline for the company to do so.


Richard Spoor, an attorney with decades of experience litigating mining cases, said it was extraordinary that water department officials, “having found that that high-level report showed a serious risk,” allowed it to reopen.


Sputnik Ratau, a spokesman for the water department, said that the dam had been allowed to reopen while safety issues were being addressed because dam officials had already satisfied other conditions.


In 2018, Jagersfontein Development built a new section of the dam that would increase its capacity by 30 percent and increase profitability, according to a 2019 annual report filed by Reinet Investments.


Even with that expansion, the dam was still having capacity issues — it has applied for a permit to dump waste in the original mining pit, which is a national heritage site.


An analysis of satellite images conducted after the collapse by a data and analytics company shows that from Aug. 1 to 13, the corner of the dam that broke had become slightly deformed, indicating weakness, said Dave Petley, a geologist  at the University of Hull in England. The new section is the one that collapsed, he said.


Mining companies and regulators with proper expertise should have caught those warning signs, he said.


For Mr. Sephaka, the former mine worker whose house was ruined, this was the latest sour chapter in the long life of a mine that he felt had brought little benefit to the community.


“It’s painful,” he said, surveying the wreckage.



4) Supreme Court Says Alabama Can Kill Prisoner With Method He Fears

Alan Eugene Miller says that he is afraid of needles and that the state lost his request to die by nitrogen hypoxia. The court decided that the state could proceed with lethal injection instead.

By Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Sept. 23, 2022


The lethal injection chamber at William C. Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore, Ala., in 2002.

The lethal injection chamber at William C. Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore, Ala., in 2002. Credit...Dave Martin/Associated Press

The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that Alabama could kill a death row prisoner by lethal injection despite his assertion that the state had lost his request to be killed by nitrogen hypoxia, a method of suffocation.


The prisoner, Alan Eugene Miller, who was convicted of murdering three men in 1999, was set to die after the Supreme Court said, in a 5-4 order without explanation, that his execution should not be blocked. Justice Amy Coney Barrett joined the court’s three liberal members in dissent, saying the legal battle over Mr. Miller’s execution method should be allowed to play out.


For several hours on Thursday night, it appeared that Mr. Miller, 57, would be executed by lethal injection, the method he had sought to avoid. But early on Friday morning, local journalists reported that the prison commissioner said the state had not been able to kill Mr. Miller before its midnight deadline.


Mr. Miller was convicted of killing three men on Aug. 5, 1999, at two Alabama businesses where he had worked, a plumbing company and a warehouse selling oxygen canisters.


In 2018, Alabama passed a law allowing death row prisoners to choose to be killed by the untested method of nitrogen hypoxia, in which a person is fatally deprived of oxygen, in part because the state was having difficulty obtaining drugs for lethal injections. Mr. Miller said he had signed a form opting to be killed that way because of a fear of needles, but the state said it had no record of the request.


A federal judge had halted the execution after the head of Alabama’s prisons said the state would not be ready to execute Mr. Miller by nitrogen hypoxia on Thursday. The judge ruled that it was quite likely that Mr. Miller had filled out the form and that prison officials, who had no formal system of recording prisoners’ responses, had misplaced it. An appellate court upheld that decision on Thursday, but it was overturned later that night by the Supreme Court.


Robert Dunham, the executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, a nonprofit that collects data on executions, said the Supreme Court had eroded its credibility by saying the execution could take place.


“Today is another clear example that, when it comes to executions, it’s the outcome that matters to this court, whether or not it’s legal,” Mr. Dunham said. “That’s not what a neutral arbiter of the law does. That’s not what a legitimate court does.”


Alabama is among several states that have sought new execution methods as political pressure on pharmaceutical groups has made it more difficult for states to obtain lethal injection drugs.


South Carolina had planned to kill a prisoner by firing squad until a judge ruled this month that the method was unconstitutional. In Oklahoma, after a series of botched lethal injections, the state’s attorney general said in 2018 that it would pursue the use of nitrogen gas in executions; but it has used only lethal injection since, killing five prisoners with the method since last year.



5) We Document Human Rights Violations. Israel Wants to Silence Us.

By Shawan Jabarin, Sept. 23, 2022

Mr. Jabarin is the general director of Al-Haq. 


A banner at the Al-Haq office calling for solidarity with civil society organizations labeled “terrorist” by Israel.

A banner at the Al-Haq office calling for solidarity with civil society organizations labeled “terrorist” by Israel. Credit...Atef Safadi/EPA, via Shutterstock

RAMALLAH, West Bank — Just after 3 a.m. on Aug. 18, Israeli soldiers blasted open the locked doors of Al-Haq, the oldest and largest human rights organization in the occupied Palestinian territories, for which I serve as general director. The soldiers ransacked the administrative and finance departments, the meeting room and my office. When they were done, the soldiers sealed the offices with a reinforced iron door welded into place. On the door, they posted a military order declaring that Al-Haq is an illegal group.


A few hours later, as I took in what was happening, my phone started beeping with messages that soldiers had also invaded and sealed off the offices of six other leading Palestinian organizations, including Defense for Children International-Palestine, the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees, the Bisan Center for Research and Development and Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association. This was an escalation in Israel’s campaign against us — last October, it labeled six of our organizations “terrorist” entities and tried to choke off the international funding we receive.


Israel’s attempts to suppress Al-Haq are based on false claims that I am a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which Israel and the United States consider a terrorist organization. When I was a university student, I was briefly involved in student activities with the Popular Front and in 1985, I was convicted by an Israeli military court of assisting the group. I was imprisoned for nine months.


In the years that followed, while I was working as a field researcher for Al-Haq, I spent a total of about eight years in Israeli prisons without charges or a trial, and endured abuse. And throughout much of the 1990s and for six years after I became the head of Al-Haq in 2006, Israel repeatedly banned me from traveling abroad. This treatment was condemned by Amnesty International, which declared me a prisoner of conscience in 1990, as well as by Human Rights Watch and others.


Israel has refused to provide us with any evidence to support its claim from October that Al-Haq and the other organizations are front groups for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. In August, The Guardian reported that a classified C.I.A. report that reviewed the evidence supplied by Israel earlier this year had found nothing to validate it. Israel’s persecution of our organizations has been roundly criticized.


Israel clearly aims to discredit and defund Palestinian civil society organizations, especially those that monitor Israel’s abuses of our rights and call for justice. Al-Haq documents violations of the individual and collective rights of Palestinians in the occupied territories, whether committed by Israel or the Palestinian Authority, and presses for accountability. We have made joint submissions to the International Criminal Court to urge an investigation into Israel’s attack on Gaza in May 2021, which killed more than 200 Palestinians, and efforts to evict Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem.


In the aftermath of the raid in August, I received a threatening phone call from someone claiming to be from Israel’s domestic spy agency, the Shin Bet. The caller ordered me to present myself at the Ofer military prison for interrogation, and threatened me with imprisonment if I continued my work with Al-Haq. The head of Defense for Children International-Palestine received a similar call. He was detained for two hours by the Shin Bet. I didn’t go.


I don’t take Israel’s threats lightly.


My main concern, however, is not for myself or Al-Haq. It’s about the wider implications the raid has for Palestinian civil society. The organizations targeted by Israel provide vital social services and support to a Palestinian population devastated by more than half a century of brutal Israeli military occupation and colonization by Israeli settlers. Over the past year and a half, leading international and Israeli human rights organizations have joined Palestinians in concluding that the oppressive system Israel has imposed on us amounts to apartheid. Perhaps this is why Israel has intensified its efforts to suppress our work.


So far at least, it has not succeeded. Following Israel’s accusations against us last year, the European Union suspended support for Al-Haq. However, after reviewing our finances, it said that it found no evidence of irregularities and that it would restore our funding. After Israel’s raid on our office, we responded by reopening our doors and resuming our work. We are pushing back with all means at our disposal.


The Israelis are obviously grasping at straws. To justify the closing of our offices, an Israeli delegation reportedly met this month with American officials to present the supposed evidence of wrongdoing. As it reviews this information, the United States must keep in mind that if Israel manages to shut down Al-Haq and the other organizations by eliminating our funding or imprisoning our staff, it will make it harder for Palestinians to find recourse for the injustices they face. It could also embolden Israel to go after other Palestinian rights groups.


The Biden administration must make clear that U.S. support for Israel is not unconditional and that there will be consequences for Israel’s continued violations of Palestinian human rights, including sanctions. Washington and European nations must show that they are serious about supporting human rights and democracy in the Palestinian territories and Israel. Our organizations must be allowed to do their crucial work. Otherwise, it’s only a matter of time before Israel intensifies its repression and finally succeeds in silencing us.



6) Arizona Judge Reinstates Strict Abortion Ban From 1864

A 15-week abortion ban passed this year will take effect on Saturday. But the attorney general has argued that the near-total ban from the 19th century should take precedence.

By Eliza Fawcett, Sept. 23, 2022


Dr. Jill Gibson, the medical director for Planned Parenthood Arizona, at a clinic in Tempe that stopped performing abortions after this year’s Supreme Court ruling.

Dr. Jill Gibson, the medical director for Planned Parenthood Arizona, at a clinic in Tempe that stopped performing abortions after this year’s Supreme Court ruling. Credit...Matt York/Associated Press

A judge on Friday ruled that a near-total abortion ban written before Arizona became a state must be enforced, throwing abortion access into question one day before the start of a 15-week ban that passed the Legislature this year.


The stricter ban, which can be traced to 1864, was blocked by a court injunction in 1973 shortly after the Supreme Court, in Roe v. Wade, determined that there was a constitutional right to abortion.


On Friday, Judge Kellie Johnson of Pima County Superior Court lifted that injunction, noting that Roe had been overruled in June and that Planned Parenthood’s request for the court to “harmonize the laws” in Arizona was flawed.


The 1864 law, first established by the state’s territorial legislature, mandates a two- to five-year prison sentence for anyone who helps a woman obtain an abortion. In 1901, the state updated and codified the law.


“No archaic law should dictate our reproductive freedom,” Brittany Fonteno, the president and chief executive of Planned Parenthood Arizona, said in a statement after the judge’s ruling.


In an interview, Ms. Fonteno said the organization had stopped providing abortions in Tucson, at the sole Planned Parenthood location in the state where women were still getting them. “I cannot overstate how cruel this decision is,” she said. “It feels like we’re back to square one.”


Even though abortion remained legal in Arizona after the Supreme Court’s decision this year, it has been all but unavailable, as doctors and abortion clinics have tried to sort out confusion about which law would ultimately take effect. Even politicians disagreed on the relationship between the laws, which each include exceptions in the case of a medical emergency.


Gov. Doug Ducey has said that the 15-week ban he signed in March would supersede the century-old ban, but Attorney General Mark Brnovich, a fellow Republican, has argued that the older ban should take precedence. Mr. Brnovich filed the motion to vacate the injunction from 1973.


“I have and will continue to protect the most vulnerable Arizonans,” Mr. Brnovich said in a statement after the ruling. Mr. Ducey’s spokesman, C.J. Karamargin, said that the governor was proud to have signed the 15-week ban and that “Arizona remains one of the most pro-life states in the country.”


Planned Parenthood Arizona had argued that the state’s conflicting laws should be reconciled so licensed physicians could continue providing abortions under the 15-week regulation, with the much earlier law only applying to others performing the procedure.


Judge Johnson, who was appointed by the governor, disagreed. “The court finds that because the legal basis for the judgment entered in 1973 has now been overruled, it must vacate the judgment in its entirety,” she wrote. “The court finds an attempt to reconcile 50 years of legislative activity procedurally improper.”


Abortion rights supporters like Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, the Democratic candidate for governor, were critical of the decision. “Medical professionals will now be forced to think twice and call their lawyer before providing patients with oftentimes necessary, lifesaving care,” she said in a statement.


Women seeking abortions had already been traveling to New Mexico, California and Nevada amid the legal turmoil that erupted in Arizona after Roe was struck down, and providers said they anticipated those waves would now swell.


Dr. Gabrielle Goodrick, the medical director of Camelback Family Planning, an abortion clinic in Phoenix, said the clinic saw its last patients who were more than 15 weeks pregnant on Friday, in anticipation of the Legislature’s recent ban taking effect.


“I don’t know what we’ll do on Monday,” she said. “We’ll help get people to another state, help them with transportation and work releases for time off.”


Cathi Herrod, the president of the Center for Arizona Policy, which opposes abortion, said that Friday’s ruling would “protect unborn babies and their mothers.”


“Abortion ends one life and puts the woman at risk of physical and emotional harm,” she said. “Arizona’s abortion law effectively affirms that life is a human right and should not be sacrificed unless the mother’s life is at risk.”


Reporting was contributed by Kate Zernike, Jack Healy and Allison McCann.



7) ‘They Have Nothing to Lose’: Why Young Iranians Are Rising Up Once Again

Amid growing repression, a sickly economy and bleak prospects, the death of one young woman was all it took.

By Vivian Yee and Farnaz Fassihi, Published Sept. 24, 2022, Updated Sept. 25, 2022


Protesters in the streets of Tehran on Wednesday.

Protesters in the streets of Tehran on Wednesday. Credit...Associated Press

The 22-year-old woman emerged from the Tehran subway, her dark hair covered with a black head scarf and the lines of her body obscured by loose clothing, when the capital city’s Guidance Patrol spotted her. They were members of Iran’s notorious morality police, enforcers of the conservative Islamic dress and behavior rules that have governed daily life for Iranians since the 1979 revolution, and newly energized under a hard-line president who took office last year.


By their standards, Mahsa Amini was improperly dressed, which could mean something as simple as a wisp of hair protruding from her head scarf. They put her in a van and drove her away to a detention center, where she was to undergo re-education. Three days later, on Sept. 16, she was dead.


Now, over eight days of rage, exhilaration and street battles, the most significant outpouring of anger with the ruling system in more than a decade, her name is everywhere. Iranian protesters in dozens of cities have chanted “women, life and freedom” and “death to the dictator,” rejecting the Iranian Republic’s theocratic rule by targeting one of its most fundamental and divisive symbols — the ailing supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.


In several of the videos of the uprising that have torn across social media, women rip off their head scarves and burn them in street bonfires, including in deeply religious cities such as Qum and Mashhad. In one, a young woman atop a utility cabinet cuts off her hair in front of a crowd of roaring demonstrators. In another, young women dare to dance bareheaded in front of the riot police.


“Death to the dictator,” protesters at Tehran University chanted on Saturday. “Death to the head scarf! Until when must we tolerate such humiliation?”


Previous protests — over fraudulent elections in 2009, economic mismanagement in 2017 and fuel price hikes in 2019 — have been ruthlessly suppressed by Iran’s security forces, and this time may be no different. Yet, for the first time since the founding of the Iranian Republic, the current uprising has united rich Iranians descending from high-rise apartments in northern Tehran with struggling bazaar vendors in its working-class south, and Kurds, Turks and other ethnic minorities with members of the Fars majority.


The sheer diversity of the protesters reflects the breadth of Iranians’ grievances, analysts say, from a sickly economy and in-your-face corruption, to political repression and social restrictions — frustrations Iran’s government has repeatedly tried, and failed, to quash.


“The anger isn’t over just Mahsa’s death, but that she should have never been arrested in the first place,” said Shadi Sadr, a prominent human rights lawyer who has campaigned for Iranian women’s rights for two decades.


“Because they have nothing to lose,” she added, “they are standing up and saying, ‘Enough of this. I am willing to die to have a life worth living.’”


Information about the protests remains partial at best. Internet access continues to be disrupted or fully blocked, especially on widely used messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Instagram, making it difficult for Iranians to communicate with one another or to share updates on the unrest with the outside world.


But witnesses say the demonstrations, which spread to at least 80 cities on Saturday, are the most forceful, vitriolic and emboldened they can remember, far more intense than the previous tremors of unrest. Desperate to damage the powers-that-be before the inevitable crackdown, videos circulating on social media and shared with The New York Times show, protesters have set fire to security vehicles and assaulted members of Iran’s widely feared paramilitary forces, in some cases killing them.


The information that has leaked out, after many hours’ delay, also suggests an escalating crackdown. The authorities have moved to crush the demonstrations with violence, including live fire and tear gas. Dozens of people have died. The Committee to Protect Journalists said on Saturday that at least 17 journalists had been detained, including one of the first to report on Ms. Amini’s hospitalization, and arrests of activists are also mounting.


With Iran’s economy at a nadir and Ayatollah Khamenei in ill health, the government is likely to dig in rather than show any signs of weakness, analysts said. But violence will only buy time, they say, not long-term peace.


The regime’s top leaders have “always said, ‘We’re not going to make concessions, because if we make one small concession, we’ll have to make bigger concessions,’” said Mohamed Ali Kadivar, an Iranian-born sociologist at Boston College who studies protest movements in Iran and elsewhere. “Maybe they’ll push people off the street, but because people want change, repression is not going to stop this. Even with a crackdown, then they would just go home for a while and come back.”


Avenues for pushback have dwindled in recent years, leaving Iranians with only protest as a means of demanding change. Just how much their political freedoms had shrunk became clear last year, when the country’s leadership disqualified virtually all candidates except the supreme leader’s preferred one, the ultraconservative Ebrahim Raisi, from the presidential election. In the process, they degraded what had once been a forum for Iranians to debate political issues and choose their representatives, even if the candidates were always preselected from within the governing apparatus.


Mr. Raisi opposed returning to the 2015 nuclear deal with the United States that had put limits on Iranian nuclear development in exchange for lifting sanctions and economic openness. His election, combined with the worsening economy, left Iranians who craved better opportunities, more social freedoms and closer ties with the rest of the world in despair.


“The reason the younger generation is taking this kind of risk is because they feel they have nothing to lose, they have no hope for the future,” said Ali Vaez, Iran director for the International Crisis Group, noting that protests were now a regular feature in Iran.


By continually blocking reforms, the country’s leadership has “created a situation where people no longer believe that the system is reformable,” he added. “I think people would be willing to tolerate a milder version of the Islamic Republic, but they’ve just entrenched their positions and have created this situation. It’s turned Iran into a tinderbox.”


The head scarf, known as the hijab, is an especially inflammatory issue: The law requiring women to wear loose robes and cover their hair in public has been a pillar of the ruling theocracy and a lightning rod for reform-minded Iranians for decades, drawing one of the first protests against the ayatollahs after the 1979 revolution from women who did not want to be forced to cover up.


During the tenure of Mr. Raisi’s predecessor, the reformist Hassan Rouhani, the ‌‌morality police had been discouraged from enforcing Iran’s often draconian laws against women, particularly the requirement that they wear the hijab in public in the proper fashion, entirely covering their hair. That led to young women showing more hair, even in devoutly conservative cities such as Qum. Unmarried men and women were allowed to mingle in public in some places, while contemporary Western music thumped in Western-style cafes in upscale northern Tehran.


But the country’s conservative leadership saw the slippage in standards as a threat to the republic’s theocratic foundations. Mr. Raisi called in July for the conservative dress laws to be implemented “in full,” saying that “the enemies of Iran and Islam” were targeting the “religious foundations and values of the society,” the official news agency IRNA reported.


Over the summer, Iran’s morality police, which patrols public areas for infringements of Islamic rules, stepped up enforcement of hijab standards, and three coffee shops in central Qum were closed down for having bareheaded customers. In a video that was widely shared on Iranian social media in July, a mother threw herself in front of a van taking away her daughter for violating hijab rules and screamed, “My daughter is sick, I beg you not to take her.”


The backlash to Ms. Amini’s death has been so strong that religiously conservative Iranians have spoken up alongside liberal ones. On social media, women who wear the hijab by choice have started solidarity campaigns questioning the harsh enforcement of the laws, and a prominent religious leader has said the morality police were only driving young women away from religion. Even tightly controlled state media outlets have acknowledged the issue, broadcasting at least three debates that featured reformist voices — a rarity.


The authorities have denied using violence on Ms. Amini. They claimed that she suffered from an underlying health condition, which her family has disputed, and that she had a heart attack in custody. But to many Iranians, photos of her lying on a hospital bed, her face bloodied, told a different story.


While Mr. Raisi has promised an investigation in a small nod to the fury, Iran’s response to the protests has been to give no quarter. It is the same as in previous uprisings: bullets, tear gas, arrests and blood.


In 2009, millions of urban, educated Iranians flooded the streets of cities across the country, furious at what they believed was election rigging by their leaders to guarantee a hard-line president and thwart reforms. The elite Revolutionary Guards and the Basij paramilitary forces opened fire, killing dozens and arresting far more, and eventually the “Green Movement” was stamped out.


As 2017 turned to 2018, protesters in dozens of cities demonstrated against high inflation and a weak economy. Again, they were met with force. In 2019, the government abruptly hiked gasoline prices, sparking weeklong protests by Iranians fed up with ever-thinning wallets, corruption and repression. The authorities killed at least 300 in the crackdown that followed, according to Amnesty International, and slowed the protests’ momentum by blocking or disrupting the internet.


The internet outages have now returned. To help Iranians access the internet, the Biden administration on Friday authorized technology companies to offer secure platforms and services inside Iran without risk of violating United States sanctions that normally prevent doing business with Iran. It also greenlit the export of private satellite internet equipment, such as the Starlink service offered by Elon Musk’s SpaceX, to Iran.


But Iranians may face odds that are too great.


“At some stage, I think it’ll become impossible for them to control these movements,” Mr. Vaez said of the governing authorities. “But as of now, the system is bound to bring down its iron fist and try to nip this movement in the bud.”



8) Death of Iranian Woman Ignites Fury Among Fellow Kurds

The protests that have swept Iran following the death of a woman in police custody have been especially intense in the country’s minority Kurdish population.

By Jane Arraf and Farnaz Fassihi, Published Sept. 25, 2022, Updated Sept. 26, 2022


Protesters in Erbil, the capital of Iraq’s semiautonomous Kurdistan Region, burning an Iranian flag on Saturday.

Protesters in Erbil, the capital of Iraq’s semiautonomous Kurdistan Region, burning an Iranian flag on Saturday. Credit...Safin Hamed/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

ERBIL, Iraq — The protests that have thrust Iran into turmoil since the death of a young woman in police custody have been striking for the way they have cut across ethnic and social class divides, but there is one group that has risen up with particular fury.


The woman who died after being swept up by Iran’s notorious morality police was a member of Iran’s Kurdish minority, which has long suffered discrimination, and the group’s rage in recent days reflects its longstanding grievances.


“This is not all about the head scarf,” said Hana Yazdanpana, a spokeswoman for the Kurdistan Freedom Party, an Iranian paramilitary group based in Iraq. “The Kurds want freedom.”


The protests have been especially intense in northwest Iran, where Kurds, who make up about 10 percent of the Iranian population, are concentrated. On Sunday, Iranian troops appeared to have retaken a Kurdish city in the region, Oshnavieh, that had been briefly seized by protesters.


The catalyst for the protests was the death of Mahsa Amini, 22, who died on Sept. 16, three days after she was arrested in the capital, Tehran, by the morality police, accused of violating the country’s strict codes on modest dress for women.


Ms. Amini’s story drew protests from Iranians furious not only over the treatment of women under the country’s conservative clerical rulers, but also over a host of other issues, including an economy crippled by years of sanctions, the pandemic, corruption and repression.


The protests began with Ms. Amini’s burial nine days ago in her hometown, Saqhez, in the northwest and then, fueled by social media, quickly spread to the rest of the country.


Since then, at least 50 people have been killed and hundreds more injured or arrested, rights groups say. They believe the death toll is likely higher. In Kurdish regions, 17 people were shot dead, including four children, according to the Hengaw Human Rights Association and Kurdistan Human Rights.


The Iranian authorities claimed that Ms. Amini had died of a heart attack. But her father, Amjad Amini, told BBC Persian service last week that he believed she had been beaten in custody, and he said he had been prevented from viewing the autopsy report. He has not been heard from since.


The unrest is the most significant outpouring of anger over theocratic rule in the country since the 2009 Green Movement. In dozens of cities, protesters have been heard chanting, “Women, life and freedom” and “Death to the dictator,” deriding one of the government’s most fundamental and divisive symbols, the ailing supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.


In social media videos that have captured widespread attention, women can be seen ripping off their head scarves and burning them in the street. The government has responded with deadly force and by blocking internet across the country.


The confrontations over the weekend in Oshnavieh, which is mostly Kurdish, signaled not just the level of rage among many Iranians, but also the determination of the government to quell the protest.


From Friday evening into Saturday, protesters there flooded the streets, some throwing firebombs and stones at security forces, setting fires and overturning police cars. At least some security forces withdrew from the city, according to multiple Kurdish sources.


But on Sunday, Iranian security forces moved to re-establish control over Oshnavieh, according to Ms. Yazdanpana, the Kurdistan Freedom Party spokeswoman, whose group has members in the city. A Kurdish activist in touch with residents of the city said the security forces had returned to areas of the town they had vacated.


Ms. Yazdanpana said members of Iran’s powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps armed with machine guns and backed by artillery on the outskirts of town were operating in Oshnavieh on Sunday. Some went door to door making arrests, she said.


“They are moving forward,” she said.


But many protesters were refusing to leave the streets, Ms. Yazdanpana said. “The people do not want to go home,” she said. “They are trying to send their voice to the world.”


In the nearby town of Balo, protesters burned the houses of Revolutionary Guard members on Thursday, and the Guards withdrew from parts of the town after clashes that killed at least two protesters, according to Rebin Rahmani, director of the Kurdistan Human Rights Network. But they were replaced by anti-riot forces, he said.


A resident of Balo reached by phone said that in addition to the two dead, several young men had been seriously wounded, with their families forbidden to visit them in the hospital. He said Basij fighters, members of the Revolutionary Guard, were carrying out arrests but keeping a low profile because they did not want to risk retaliation. The resident insisted on being identified only by his first name, Youssef, out of fear of security forces.


Kurds in Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Syria, although politically divided, form what is generally considered the largest contiguous ethnic group in the world without an independent state.


“We salute the uprising,” said Mazloum Abdi, security leader of the Kurdish-led region of northeastern Syria, which broke away from Syrian government rule in 2013.


In Iraq, the former president of the Kurdistan region, Massoud Barzani, called Ms. Amini’s family last week to express his condolences, saying he hoped justice wold be served. The region, aided by the help of a U.S.-led no-fly zone, broke away from Iraqi government control after 1991, establishing the semiautonomous region, which is recognized by the United Nations and the United States.


On Saturday, Iran launched a cross-border attack into that region. The Revolutionary Guards said they were targeting “terrorist and anti-revolutionary groups,” referring to Iranian Kurdish opposition forces based there.


Analysts said that despite Mr. Barzani’s unusually outspoken statement regarding Iran, the Kurdistan Region was unlikely to enter the fray in support of Iranian Kurds.


In Iran on Sunday, as the protests continued, student unions at two universities issued a statement saying that campus security officers had kidnapped at least 20 students at gunpoint. A national teachers’ union committee called for teachers and students to strike on Monday and Wednesday in protest.


But some protesters were paying a heavy price.


Videos posted on social media showed the police dragging one woman by the hair, banging the head of another onto a street curb, shoving a man into the trunk of a police car and firing bullets into crowds.


The protesters appeared to be receiving increasing support.


Public figures in Iran — including athletes, writers and musicians — have issued statements of solidarity. A national fencing team captain, Mojtaba Abedini, resigned in support of the protesters. Even an author close to the government, Mostafa Mostour, criticized the violence being used to suppress the uprising.


“Our women are only asking to live a normal and ordinary life,” he said.



9) Former Texas Police Officer Acquitted in 2020 Shooting Death of Black Man

Officer Shaun Lucas, who is white, shot 31-year-old Jonathan Price four times. After the encounter, he was fired.

By Neelam Bohra, Sept. 25, 2022


A memorial for Jonathan Price outside the gas station where he was killed in Wolfe City, Texas, in 2020.

A memorial for Jonathan Price outside the gas station where he was killed in Wolfe City, Texas, in 2020. Credit...Montinique Monroe/Getty Images

A white police officer who shot and killed a 31-year-old Black man in Texas two years ago and whose response was deemed “not objectively reasonable” by a preliminary investigation was acquitted of murder by a jury on Thursday.


The officer, Shaun Lucas, shot the man, Jonathan Price, four times in the torso on Oct. 3, 2020, after responding to reports of a fight at a gas station in Wolfe City, a small town northeast of Dallas. Mr. Price had tried to break up the quarrel, his lawyer said.


The officer arrived after the fight and tried to detain Mr. Price after he came to believe Mr. Price might have been involved in the altercation, according to the authorities. When Mr. Price told the officer he would not be detained, Mr. Lucas tried to use a Taser on Mr. Price, who reached out and grabbed the Taser, according to an initial affidavit. Mr. Price’s lawyer said he was only extending his hand.


Mr. Lucas then pulled out his gun and shot him, the affidavit said. Mr. Price died shortly after being taken to Hunt Regional Hospital. He had not been armed.


The Wolfe City Police Department, which employed three officers, immediately put Mr. Lucas on administrative leave and then fired him. The Texas Rangers, a state law enforcement unit that investigates shootings involving officers, arrested him two days later for actions they condemned in their initial investigation.


Mr. Price had “resisted in a nonthreatening posture and began walking away,” the Texas Rangers said about the confrontation.


Mr. Price’s death followed a string of deaths in 2020 in which white police officers killed Black people, including George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, whose names became synonymous with the protests over social justice that swept the country and increased consciousness about institutional racism.


Mr. Lucas’s acquittal “goes against the weight of the evidence and leaves Black Texans exposed to state sanctioned violence,” Lee Merritt, the Price family’s lawyer, said on Twitter.


“Shaun Lucas was acquitted in rural Hunt County Texas by an all white jury,” Mr. Merritt added on Twitter. “Every law enforcement professional that reviewed the facts concluded Lucas’ use of force was unjustified.”


Mr. Lucas’s lawyers, Robert Rogers and Toby Shook, could not be reached for immediate comment. In a 2020 statement, Mr. Rogers said Mr. Price “did not claim to be an uninvolved, innocent party” before Mr. Lucas tried to detain him.


“After Mr. Price refused repeated instructions and physically resisted,” Mr. Rogers said, “Officer Lucas deployed his Taser and continued to give Mr. Price instructions. Mr. Price resisted the effects of the Taser and attempted to take it away from Officer Lucas.”


Mr. Rogers and Mr. Shook also represented Amber Guyger, a Dallas police officer, in the trial in which she was convicted of murdering her neighbor Botham Jean in 2018 after accidentally entering his apartment, mistaking him for an intruder and shooting him. She was sentenced to 10 years in prison.


Footage taken from Mr. Lucas’s body camera was played in court but not released to the public, and the courtroom did not allow any video recording to take place.


Mr. Lucas, now 24, spent the past two years in jail and was released after the jury issued its verdict.


Mr. Merritt, who ran and lost in the Democratic primary election for Texas attorney general last year, said he was appealing to the Justice Department to intervene and bring federal criminal charges against Mr. Lucas.


The fatal shooting in Wolfe City once again strained race relations in Hunt County, where deep-seated tensions go back decades. One city, Greenville, is still associated with its old official town slogan, “The Blackest Land, the Whitest People,” which hung on a banner over the main road from 1921 to the 1960s, when city officials changed it during the civil rights movement. Another city, Quinlan, was considered the headquarters for the Texas Rebel Knights of the Ku Klux Klan as recently as 2017, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.


In 2019, a year before the shooting of Mr. Price, more than 80 people in Wolfe City received racist and antisemitic fliers on their driveways. The perpetrators were never caught, and an investigation into the incident by the Hunt County sheriff was dropped.