Bay Area United Against War Newsletter, January 7, 2023


Free Abortion on Demand! No Forced Sterilization!

Counter Demonstration against the Walk for Life:

Saturday, January 21st at 11:00 am

We'll gather at the Philip Burton Federal Courthouse, 450 Golden Gate Avenue to rally, then march to Civic Center where the Walk for Life West Coast will hold their rally.

The National Mobilization for Reproductive Justice is still fighting for bodily autonomy for all, in spite of the overturn of Roe v Wade. The misogynists and racists are emboldened and are working to ban the abortion pill and contraceptives, roll back queer rights and strip protection of Native American and trans children.

Here in San Francisco, Reproductive Justice SF is organizing a rally and counter-protest against the Walk for Life West Coast. And we need you! 

It is only weeks away and we will be rallying for reproductive justice to show everyone that we are a pro-abortion city. We need you to join us for a united action that includes everyone who is deeply concerned about the far right's agenda. We especially need people to support the tasks of organizing this united effort! Contact us at reprojustice.sf@gmail.com with questions and to volunteer.

Spread the word by sharing the flyer linked here, and via social media on Instagram and Facebook .

Join our upcoming planning meetings:

Thursdays: 1/5 and 1/19 at 6:30 pm

Via Zoom: https://bit.ly/reprosfcoalition 

Together we can insist that the right wing will not continue their reign of terror unopposed.


Look for future National Mobilization events on the anniversary of Roe V Wade at https://reprojusticenow.org.


What we call 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


#AbortTheCourt            #MyDecisionAlone        #UnjustLawsWillBeBroken



Our mailing address is: 

Reproductive Justice - San Francisco

747 Polk Street

San Francisco, CA 94109



Ruchell is imprisoned in California, but it is important for the CA governor and Attorney General to receive your petitions, calls, and emails from WHEREVER you live! 


SIGN THE PETITION: bit.ly/freeruchell




Call CA Governor Newsom:

CALL (916) 445-2841

Press 1 for English or 2 for Spanish, 

press 6 to speak with a representative and

wait for someone to answer (Mon. - Fri., 9 AM - 5 PM PST / 12PM - 8PM EST)


Call Governor Newsom's office and use this script: 


"Hello, my name is _______ and I'm calling to encourage Governor Gavin Newsom to commute the sentence of prisoner Ruchell Magee #A92051 #T 115, who has served 59 long years in prison. Ruchell is 83 years old, so as an elderly prisoner he faces health risks every day from still being incarcerated for so long. In the interests of justice, I am joining the global call for Ruchell's release due to the length of his confinement and I urge Governor Newsom to take immediate action to commute Ruchell Magee's sentence."


Write a one-page letter to Gov Gavin Newsom:

Also, you can write a one-page letter to Governor Gavin Newsom about your support for Ruchell and why he deserves a commutation of his sentence due to his length of confinement (over 59 years), his age (83), and the health risks of an elderly person staying in California’s prisons. 


YOUR DIGITAL LETTER can be sent at bit.ly/write4ruchell


YOUR US MAIL LETTER can be sent to:

Governor Gavin Newsom

1303 10th Street, Suite 1173

Sacramento, CA 95814


Email Governor Newsom




Under "What is your request or comment about?", select "Clemency - Commutation of Sentence" and then select "Leave a comment". The next page will allow you to enter a message, where you can demand:


Commute the sentence of prisoner Ruchell Magee #A92051 #T 115, who has served 59 long years in prison. 

He was over-charged with kidnapping and robbery for a dispute over a $10 bag of marijuana, a substance that is legal now and should’ve never resulted in a seven-years-to-life sentence.  Ruchell is 83 years old, so as an elderly prisoner he faces health risks every day from still being incarcerated for so long.


Write to District Attorney Gascon

District Attorney George Gascon

211 West Temple Street, Suite 1200

Los Angeles, CA 90012


Write a one-page letter to D.A. George Gascon requesting that he review Ruchell’s sentence due to the facts that he was over-charged with kidnapping and robbery for a dispute over a $10 bag of marijuana, a substance that is legal now and should’ve never resulted in a seven-years-to-life sentence. Ruchell’s case should be a top priority because of his age (83) and the length of time he has been in prison (59 years).


·      Visit www.freeruchellmagee.org to learn more! Follow us @freeruchellmagee on Instagram!

·      Visit www.facebook.com/freeruchellmagee or search "Coalition to Free Ruchell Magee" to find us on Facebook!

·      Endorse our coalition at:

·      www.freeruchellmagee.org/endorse!

·      Watch and share this powerful webinar on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4u5XJzhv9Hc



Ruchell Magee

CMF - A92051 - T-123

P.O. Box 2000

Vacaville, CA 95696


Write Ruchell uplifting messages! Be sure to ask questions about his well-being, his interests, and his passions. Be aware that any of his mail can be read by correctional officers, so don’t use any violent, explicit, or demoralizing language. Don’t use politically sensitive language that could hurt his chances of release. Do not send any hard or sharp materials.



of Detroit Shakur Squad


The Detroit Shakur Squad holds zoom meetings every other Thursday. We educate each other and organize to help free our Elder Political Prisoners. Next meeting is Thurs, Jan 12, 2022.  Register to attend the meetings at tinyurl.com/Freedom-Meeting




Supporters of Mumia Abu-Jamal march down JFK Blvd. past the Juanita Kidd Stout Center for Criminal Justice and City Hall, in Philadelphia, Friday, December 16, 2022.Jessica Griffin / Staff Photographer

Results of Mumia Abu-Jamal's Court Hearing 

December 16, 2022


In October, Common Pleas Court Judge Lucretia Clemons strongly signaled in a 30-page opinion that she is leaning toward dismissing the defense appeal.

However, she gave the two sides one last chance Friday, Dec. 16, 2022 to argue their positions. The lawyers did so in a courtroom filled with about 50 Abu-Jamal allies, as well as Faulkner’s widow, Maureen, and a smaller number of her supporters. Mumia Abu-Jamal was not present.

Clemons said she would rule within three months. Before ending the hearing, the judge asked the prosecutors and defense lawyers to make sure that Abu-Jamal’s lawyers had reviewed every scrap of evidence that the District Attorney’s Office could share.

“I do not want to do this again,” she said.




Watch the live-stream of the Dec. 16 Court Rally at youtu.be/zT4AFJY1QCo.

The pivotal hearing follows a hearing Oct. 26 at which the Judge said she intended to dismiss Abu-Jamal’s appeal based on six boxes of evidence found in the District Attorney’s office in Dec. 2018. Clemons repeatedly used procedural rules – rather than allowing for an examination of the new evidence – in her 31-page decision dismissing Mumia Abu-Jamal’s petition for a new trial. (https://tinyurl.com/mtvcrfs4 ) She left the door open on Abu-Jamal’s appeal regarding the prosecution’s selection of jurors based on race.

Abu-Jamal’s attorneys Judith Ritter, Sam Spital  and Bret Grote filed a “ Petitioner’s Response to the Court’s Notice of Intent to Dismiss PCRA Petition” (https://tinyurl.com/mvfstd3w ) challenging her refusal to hold a hearing on the new evidence.

Just this week, the UN Working Group on People of African Descent filed an Amicus brief, a friend of the court document that reinforced the facts and arguments in Mumia's attorney's PRCRA filing. (https://tinyurl.com/587r633p ) They argued that no judicial time bar should be applied when the defendant is a victim of historic racial bias that may have tainted the possibility of a fair trial and due process.

At a press conference Dec. 13 announcing the Amicus brief, the Hon. Wendell Griffen, Division 5 judge of the 6th Judicial Circuit Court for Pulaski County, Arkansas said, “Clemons is only the second Black judge to hear any aspect of Abu-Jamal’s case. Will she have the courage to say that there are too many factors here that compel for Mumia to justify dismissing the motion? This evidentiary hearing is required, because exculpatory evidence was concealed.” (https://youtu.be/Xh38IKVc_oc )

Griffen clarified his statement on Dec 14 during a Democracy Now interview (https://youtu.be/odA_jjMtXQA): “Under a 1963 decision that every law student knows about, and every lawyer that does criminal law practice, in Brady v. Maryland, the Supreme Court of the U.S. held that due process of law is violated when the prosecution conceals evidence relevant to guilt or punishment from the bench. In this country, that kind of precedent should have required Mumia to be released and the Commonwealth decide whether or not to prosecute him based upon having revealed the right evidence. That hasn’t been done.”

More details on Abu-Jamal’s case can be found at 
https://tinyurl.com/ymhvjp8e and https://tinyurl.com/34j645jc.





Urgent support needed for cancer-stricken, imprisoned writer/artist, Kevin “Rashid” Johnson’s Legal Fund!

Fundraiser for an attorney to represent Rashid’s struggle for medical care
A campaign is underway to hire an attorney to represent Kevin Rashid Johnson’s struggle for medical care. The prison has denied this care to him, despite a cancer diagnosis discovered over one year ago for which no treatment has yet been provided.

Here is the donation link for Rashid’s legal fund: 
Please be as generous as you can.


Prostate cancer can be cured if discovered and treated before it spreads (metastasizes) beyond the prostate. But once it spreads it becomes incurable and fatal.

Rashid's prostate cancer was discovered over a year ago and diagnosed by biopsy months ago, before it had spread or any symptoms had developed. However, he has now developed symptoms that indicate it likely has metastasized, which would not have happened if he had begun receiving treatment earlier. Denied care and delayed hospital appointments continue, which can only be intended to cause spreading and worsening symptoms.

I just received word from Rashid through another prisoner where he is, that he was transported on October 25, 2022 to the Medical College of Virginia (MCV) hospital, which is a state hospital where Virginia Department of Corrections (VDOC) officials also work. MCV appears to have a nefarious relationship with the VDOC in denying prisoners needed treatment. Upon arrival to the hospital he was told the appointment had been rescheduled, which has now become a pattern.

The appointment was for a full body PET scan to determine if and to what degree his cancer has metastasized. When he met with a radiologist on October 4, 2022, after 3 prior re-schedulings, there was concern that his cancer may have spread because of symptoms he's begun developing. This is his fourth rescheduled hospital appointment which has delayed appointments for weeks to months, preventing him from receiving care.

Because of delayed testing and denied care Rashid has developed symptoms that continue to worsen, which include internal bleeding and pain. The passage of time without care is worsening his condition and making the likelihood of death from the spread of his cancer more certain.



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.



Tell Congress to Help #FreeDanielHale


I’m pleased to announce that last week our client, Daniel Hale, was awarded the Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence. The “Corner-Brightener Candlestick” was presented to Daniel’s friend Noor Mir. You can watch the online ceremony here.

As it happens, this week is also the 20th anniversary of the first drone assassination in Yemen. From the beginning, the drone assassination program has been deeply shrouded in secrecy, allowing U.S. officials to hide significant violations of international law, and the American Constitution. In addition to the lives directly impacted by these strikes, the program has significantly eroded respect for international law and thereby puts civilians around the world in danger.

Daniel Hale’s revelations threw a beam of light into a very dark corner, allowing journalists to definitively show that the government's official narrative was a lie. It is thanks to the great personal sacrifice of drone whistleblowers like Hale that public understanding has finally begun to catch up to reality.

As the Sam Adams Associates note:

 “Mr. Hale was well aware of the cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment to which other courageous officials have been subjected — and that he would likely suffer the same. And yet — in the manner of his famous ancestor Nathan Hale — he put his country first, knowing what awaited him at the hands of those who serve what has become a repressive Perpetual War State wreaking havoc upon much of the world.”

We hope you’ll join the growing call to pardon or commute Hale’s sentence. U.S. citizens can contact your representatives here.

Happy new year, and thank you for your support!


Jesselyn Radack
Whistleblower & Source Protection Program (WHISPeR)

Twitter: @JesselynRadack



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.



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



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!



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) Why Saving Kids Is

Bad Business in America

Video by Alexander Stockton and Lucy King


Screenshot from video.

It’s happening again. Hospital I.C.U.s are swamped with patients suffering from severe respiratory illnesses. Overworked doctors and nurses are scrambling to save lives. Another surge of infections, another national health crisis.


But this time it’s not just Covid-19. It’s respiratory syncytial virus and other viruses, too. And the patients now include many young children.


As the Opinion video above argues, this crisis is not simply the result of a sharp rise in case numbers. The wave of respiratory illnesses in recent months has revealed a health care industry ill equipped to care for critically ill children.


Profit-driven management has eroded pediatric health care in America. Health care providers make more money treating adults than they do children. As a result, the number of hospitals offering pediatric care has decreased dramatically over the past two decades.


So when the number of R.S.V. cases skyrocketed in late 2022, the American health care system wasn’t prepared. Hospitals were overwhelmed, and families struggled to find appropriate care. And once again, the nation’s health care workers have shouldered much of the burden, going to extraordinary lengths to care for society’s most vulnerable.



2) Workers Are Losing in the Inflation Battle

By Peter Coy, Jan. 4, 2023

Opinion Writer

“The cause of inflation can be found in the class conflict between capitalists and workers.”


A line drawing of a series of hands holding a dollar bill that appear to fade into the background.
Illustration by The New York Times; image by CSA Images

Memo to staff: We highly value your work for us. However, we are not going to give you raises this year that are big enough to catch you up with inflation. We’re just doing what the Federal Reserve wants us to do.


That’s not a real memo, of course, but it fits the facts. Most workers get a raise once a year, typically in March or April. This spring would be employers’ chance to give pay increases large enough to restore their workers’ purchasing power, which has been eroded by unexpectedly high inflation. But it appears they aren’t going to do that.


The Bureau of Labor Statistics is likely to report next week that consumer prices in the 12 months through December rose about 7.1 percent, according to Action Economics, a consulting firm in Boulder, Colo. Yet the average increase in the compensation budgets of medium-size and large U.S. employers for 2023 is 4.3 percent, according to a November survey by Mercer, a consulting firm that’s part of Marsh McLennan.


Employers rarely cut workers’ nominal pay — the dollar number that appears on their checks — because they realize it’s bad for morale. But as the Mercer survey goes to show, employers have fewer qualms about cutting workers’ real pay, which is the nominal number adjusted for inflation. Real pay is what matters, because it determines what you can and can’t afford to buy.


The decline in inflation-adjusted pay appears to be “the most severe faced by employed workers over the past 25 years,” Robert Rich and Joseph Tracy, economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, wrote in October, in an article with a former Dallas Fed intern, Mason Krohn. That’s somewhat surprising given the low unemployment rate, which would seem to give workers the leverage they need to demand higher pay. But high inflation came on so quickly that workers fell behind, and they haven’t caught up. Plus, a smaller share of workers belong to unions that bargain on their behalf.


Oh, as for the part of the imaginary memo about the Fed? Jerome Powell, the Fed chair, made clear at a Dec. 14 news conference that the Fed doesn’t want wage increases to catch up with prices. “It’s not that we don’t want wage increases. We want strong wage increases. We just want them to be at a level that’s consistent with 2 percent inflation,” he told reporters.


Inflation hawks such as Powell appear to believe that if wages did go up a lot this year — say 7 percent — employers would pay for them with another round of big price increases, which would trigger another round of demands for higher wages and so on ad infinitum. That would be bad. It’s true, as Powell repeatedly says, that low and stable inflation is a prerequisite for steady economic growth that leaves workers better off in the long run.


Unfortunately, in the short run, in trying to prevent a wage-price spiral from starting, the Fed is slowing the economy in a way that is likely to lock in employers’ advantage over employees.


Corporations have used high inflation as an opportunity to push through highly profitable price increases, and now workers are being deprived of the opportunity to even things out. “Inflation is fundamentally the outcome of the distributional conflict, between firms, workers, and taxpayers,” Olivier Blanchard, a professor emeritus at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, wrote in a weekend tweet cited Tuesday by my Opinion colleague Paul Krugman.


On Twitter, Blanchard sounds a lot like Michal Kalecki, a Polish economist, who in 1943 wrote an influential article for Political Quarterly, “Political Aspects of Full Employment.” Kalecki was also channeled in an article published by the Federal Reserve Board in May by two Fed economists, David Ratner and Jae Sim — representing themselves, not the institution — who cited the “conflict theory” of inflation as follows: “The cause of inflation can be found in the class conflict between capitalists and workers.”


Economists tend to attribute the end of high inflation in the early 1980s to the increase in the federal funds rate to as high as 19 percent during Paul Volcker’s chairmanship of the Fed in 1980 and 1981, but President Reagan’s firing of more than 11,000 air traffic controllers in August 1981, which weakened organized labor, may have been a factor as well, Ratner and Sim wrote. (Since they happened around the same time, it’s hard to tell.)


According to conflict theory, wage-price spirals occur when capital and labor are evenly matched, like a pair of heavyweights in a 10-round boxing match. Spirals don’t develop when the capitalists get a first-round knockout, which appears to be the present case. What’s worse for workers is that the referee — i.e., the Federal Reserve — is making it harder for them by pushing up unemployment and thus reducing their bargaining power. “I honestly think that a guy like Jerome Powell is embarrassed by this, but he won’t tell you,” Mario Seccareccia, a professor of economics at the University of Ottawa, told me.


Is there a better way to heal the economy than jacking up interest rates until the economy cracks and workers lose their jobs? Seccareccia mentions “incomes policy,” an old idea that involves government-mediated coordination between business and labor to restrain both prices and wages. Blanchard, a former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, mentioned the same notion in his weekend tweets, as did Krugman. A Fed-induced slowdown, Blanchard wrote, is “a highly inefficient way to deal with distributional conflicts.” He added, “One can/should dream of a negotiation between workers, firms, and the state, in which the outcome is achieved without triggering inflation and requiring a painful slowdown.”


Incomes policy can get messy if the government meddles too forcefully or clumsily in the workings of the labor market. But the status quo ain’t great, either — especially for those of us who are staring at a pay “raise” this year that isn’t a raise at all.



3) Call for Solidarity Actions with Antiwar Activists in Russia
By Ilya Budraitskis

CounterPunch, January 5, 2023


Video of Russian police arresting antiwar protesters March 6, 2022 (Screenshot)

This is a call for solidarity with Russian anti-war activists by Ilya Budraitskis on behalf of The Russian Socialist Movement.

For over a decade, Russian antifascists have commemorated January 19 as their day of solidarity. This is the date when in 2009, in the center of Moscow, the human rights and leftist activist Stanislav Markelov and the journalist and anarchist Anastasia Baburova were gunned down by neo-Nazis.

The murder of Markelov and Baburova became the culmination of the ultra-right terror of the 2000s, which killed hundreds of migrants and dozens of anti-fascists. For many years, while it was still possible, Russian activists held antifascist demonstrations and rallies on January 19 under the slogan “To remember is to fight!”

Today, when the Putin regime has invaded Ukraine and unleashed unprecedented repression against its own citizens who oppose the war, the date of January 19 takes on a new meaning. Back then the danger was posed by neo-Nazi groups, often acting with the connivance of the authorities.

Today, the ideology and practice of right-wing radicals have become the ideology and practice of the Russian regime itself, which is rapidly turning fascist over the course of its invasion of Ukraine.

Vladimir Putin is waging war not only against the Ukrainian people, but also against the Russian civil society resisting aggression. The brutal repressions hit, among other things, the left-wing movement: socialists, anarchists, feminists, labor unionists.

Before the New Year, the most famous left–wing politician in Russia, the democratic socialist Mikhail Lobanov, was arrested and beaten. The platform “Nomination” he created united the antiwar opposition in the municipal elections in Moscow in September 2022.

Kirill Ukraintsev, the leader of the Courier labor union and a well-known left-wing video blogger, has been in custody since April. The reason for the arrest were the protests and strikes the couriers organized as they sought to improve their working conditions.

A feminist, artist, and anti-war activist Alexandra Skochilenko, who distributed antiwar symbols, faces a long prison term.

Six Anarchists—Kirill Brik, Deniz Aydin, Yuri Neznamov, Nikita Oleinik, Roman Paklin, Daniil Chertykov—were arrested in the so-called “Tyumen case.” They were brutally tortured, seeking confessions in the preparation of sabotage.

Daria Polyudova, an activist of the Left Resistance group, was recently sentenced to nine (!) years in prison for “calls to extremism.” Leftist journalist Igor Kuznetsov has been in prison for a year now, accused of “extremism” for his anti-war and anti-Putin views.

This is a far from exhaustive list of Russian leftists recently imprisoned or persecuted for their beliefs. As Russian activists forced to leave Russia for political reasons, we ask our foreign comrades and all those who care to support the antifascist action on January 19 under the slogans:

·      No to Putin’s war, fascism, and dictatorship!

·      Freedom to all Russian political prisoners!

·      Solidarity with Russian antifascists!

·      To remember is to fight!

We ask you to send us information about any solidarity actions during the week of January 19-24—pickets, open meetings, online discussions, and even personal photos with posters—by e-mail at: rsdzoom@proton.me.

Ilya Budraitskis writes regularly on politics, art, film and philosophy for e-flux journal, openDemocracy, LeftEast, Colta.ru and other outlets, and teaches at the Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences and the Institute of Contemporary Art Moscow. The Russian edition of his essay collection Dissidents Among Dissidents (Verso) was awarded the prestigious Andrei Bely prize in 2017.



4) Military Investigation Reveals How the U.S. Botched a Drone Strike in Kabul

Documents obtained through a lawsuit reveal how biases led to the deadly August 2021 blunder, and that officials made misleading statements concealing their assessment of civilian casualties.

By Azmat Khan, Jan. 6, 2023


A group looks at a destroyed and burned out vehicle next to a wall.

Relatives and neighbors at the site of a U.S. drone strike that killed 10 civilians in August 2021. Credit...Jim Huylebroek for The New York Times

WASHINGTON — In the chaotic final days of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021, U.S. military analysts observed a white Toyota Corolla stop at what they believed was an Islamic State compound.


The Americans were already on edge. Three days earlier, a suicide bomber had killed scores of Afghans and 13 U.S. troops at a main gate of the Kabul airport. Now, officials had intelligence that there would be another attack there, and that it would involve a white Corolla.


They tracked the car around Kabul for the next several hours. After it pulled into a gated courtyard near the airport, they authorized a drone strike. Hours later, U.S. officials announced they had successfully thwarted an attack.


As reports of civilian deaths surfaced later that day, they issued statements saying they had “no indications” but would assess the claims and were investigating whether a secondary explosion may have killed civilians.


But portions of a U.S. Central Command investigation obtained by The New York Times show that military analysts reported within minutes of the strike that civilians may have been killed, and within three hours had assessed that at least three children were killed.


The documents also provide detailed examples of how assumptions and biases led to the deadly blunder.


Military analysts wrongly concluded, for example, that a package loaded into the car contained explosives because of its “careful handling and size,” and that the driver’s “erratic route” was evidence that he was trying to evade surveillance.


The investigation was completed a week and a half after the strike and was never released, but The New York Times has obtained 66 partially redacted pages of it through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against Central Command.


Central Command declined to provide additional comment beyond statements it had previously made about the strike. The Pentagon previously acknowledged that the strike was a “tragic mistake” that killed 10 civilians, and told The Times that a new action plan intended to protect civilians drew on lessons learned from the incident.


Among those killed was Zemari Ahmadi, a longtime aid worker and the driver of the car.


Responding to a description of the document released to The Times, Hina Shamsi, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer representing families of victims, said the investigation “makes clear that military personnel saw what they wanted to see and not reality, which was an Afghan aid worker going about his daily life.”


The Attack


On Aug. 29, 2021, an American MQ-9 Reaper drone shot a Hellfire missile at a white Toyota Corolla in a neighborhood near the Kabul airport.


Within 20 minutes, multiple military officials and members of the strike team learned that analysts had seen possible civilian casualties in video feeds, according to their sworn statements for the investigation.


Two to three hours after the attack, analysts who had reviewed the footage frame by frame assessed that three children had been killed. An officer then shared that information with two top commanders in Afghanistan, Maj. Gen. Christopher Donahue, the ground force commander, and Rear Adm. Peter G. Vasely.


In sworn statements, six of nine witnesses described learning immediately after the strike that civilians were in the area and may have been killed.


Later that day, Central Command said in a statement that officials were “assessing the possibilities of civilian casualties” but had “no indications at this time.”


An update several hours later noted that powerful subsequent explosions may have caused civilian casualties but did not mention that analysts had already assessed three children were killed.


Three days later, Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters that the strike was “righteous” and had killed an ISIS facilitator as well as “others,” but who they were, “we don’t know. We’ll try to sort through all of that.”


Over the next several weeks, Pentagon officials continued to say that an ISIS target was killed in the strike, even as evidence mounted to the contrary.


On Sept. 10, a Times investigation based on video evidence and interviews with more than a dozen of Mr. Ahmadi’s co-workers and family members in Kabul found no evidence that explosives were present in the vehicle.


Mr. Ahmadi, who worked as an electrical engineer for a California-based aid group, had spent the day picking up his employer’s laptop, taking colleagues to and from work and loading canisters of water into his trunk to bring home to his family.


Officials insisted that their target had visited an ISIS “safe house,” but The Times found that the building was actually the home of Mr. Ahmadi’s boss, whose laptop he was picking up.


A week after the Times investigation was published, military officials acknowledged that 10 civilians had been killed and that Mr. Ahmadi posed no threat and had no connection to ISIS.


Tracking a White Toyota


A subsequent review led by the Air Force inspector general, Lt. Gen. Sami D. Said, remains classified. But the general acknowledged that confirmation bias — a tendency to look for, analyze or remember information in a way that supports an existing belief — was an important factor in how Mr. Ahmadi became a target.


The documents obtained by The Times offer specific examples of how confirmation bias led to errors, including the military’s conclusion that the car it was looking for was the one Mr. Ahmadi was driving.


According to the documents, U.S. intelligence reports on Aug. 29 indicated that an Islamic State affiliate known as ISIS-K was planning an imminent attack on the airport that could involve suicide bombers, “rockets on timers” in the back of a vehicle, and a white Toyota Corolla.


Surveillance aircraft began tracking the white Corolla that Mr. Ahmadi was driving after it stopped at an “established ISIS-K compound.” Drones followed the car to “a second building,” where they observed Mr. Ahmadi as he “carefully loaded” a “package” into the trunk. Analysts assessed the package to be explosives “based on the careful handling and size of the material.”


Over the next several hours, analysts watched as the car made stops and dropped off “adult males,” some of whom were carrying “bags or other box-shaped objects.” At one point, an analyst described how the car was “gingerly loaded with a box carried by five adult males.”


The investigation notes the car’s other movements that day, including that it entered a mall parking garage, that “bags” and “jugs” were unloaded from the trunk, and that it stopped at a Taliban checkpoint.


Analysts said the car followed an “erratic route” that was “consistent with ISIS-K directives to avoid close circuit cameras and pre-attack posture historically demonstrated by the group.”


By the time the car pulled into an open-air garage at a house enclosed by “high walls” about one mile from the airport, military officials were ready to authorize the strike.


A man who was seen opening and closing the gate for the car was also assessed to be a part of the threat. “I personally believed this to be a likely staging location and the moving personnel to likely be a part of the overall attack plot,” one official recounted to investigators. “That was my perception, and it was largely based on both someone immediately shutting the gate behind the vehicle and someone running in the courtyard.”


At this point, new intelligence indicated the airport attack would be delayed until the following day, according to one of the investigation’s interviewees, but military personnel were concerned that they could lose the target.


Thinking that the walls would limit the blast radius from reaching pedestrians on the street, the strike team launched a Hellfire missile at the vehicle. Shortly after impact, witnesses said they saw large secondary explosions, which helped confirm investigators’ belief that the vehicle contained explosives.


But the documents present a less definitive understanding of the source of the secondary explosion. “Conflicting opinions from experts regarding the secondary explosion makes it inconclusive regarding the source of the flame seen after the strike,” according to the report’s findings, which recommended further investigation.


Footage of the minutes after the strike obtained by The Times shows a fireball from the blast, which expands several seconds later. On Sept. 17, after additional review, military officials said the explosion was probably a propane or gas tank.


The investigation refers to an additional surveillance drone not under military control that was also tracking the vehicle but does not specify what it observed. The Times confirmed that the drone was operated by the C.I.A. and observed children, possibly in the car, moments before impact, as CNN had reported.


The military investigation includes recommendations for better coordination, but the documents do not mention that the C.I.A. drone observed children before impact.


“When confirmation bias was so deadly in this case, you have to ask how many other people targeted by the military over the years were also unjustly killed,” Ms. Shamsi said.


The investigation noted that a rocket attack at the airport did occur the next day, about 200 meters from the supposed “ISIS compound” where Mr. Ahmadi first stopped — the event that triggered the initial surveillance. Times journalists identified the car from which the rockets were launched as a white Toyota.


A year later, in August 2022, the Pentagon announced a plan for preventing civilian deaths in U.S. military operations that includes imposing a new system to reduce the risk of confirmation bias and misidentifying targets.


The Pentagon is still developing the policy, which incorporates training on mitigating cognitive bias and creates “civilian harm assessment cells.” It will also give the U.S. military more ways to respond to victims, in addition to condolence payments to survivors and family members of those harmed.


None of Mr. Ahmadi’s surviving relatives have received monetary assistance from the U.S. government as a result of the strike.


One of Mr. Ahmadi’s brothers, Emal Ahmadi, whose toddler Malika was also killed in the strike, arrived in the United States last week.


“I thought the U.S. government would welcome us, meet with us,” he said. “We are waiting for them.”


Christoph Koettl and Eric Schmitt contributed reporting.



5) 6-Year-Old Shoots Teacher at Virginia Elementary School, Police Say

A teacher at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News has “life-threatening injuries” after being shot by one of her students, the authorities said.

By Livia Albeck-Ripka and Eduardo Medina, Jan. 6, 2023


A crowd outside a brick building with a sign that says Richneck Elementary School.

A shooting in a classroom at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, Va., happened on Friday after an altercation between a student and a teacher, officials said. Credit...Billy Schuerman/The Virginian-Pilot, via Associated Press

A 6-year-old first-grader at an elementary school in Newport News, Va., shot a teacher on Friday afternoon during an altercation in a classroom, the authorities said, leaving her with “life-threatening” injuries and renewing calls for greater gun restrictions.


The boy, who shot the teacher once with a handgun at about 2 p.m., was in police custody on Friday evening, Steve Drew, the chief of the Newport News Police Department, said at a news conference. He added that the teacher, a woman in her 30s, was taken to a local hospital and that her condition had slightly improved by late Friday afternoon.


The superintendent of Newport News Public Schools, Dr. George Parker, said at the news conference that “we need to keep guns out of the hands of our young people.”


Photos and video taken immediately after the shooting at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News on Friday showed the chaos that had ensued as officers swarmed the school’s brick building: children appeared afraid and confused, parents stood beside crime scene tape and dozens of officers patrolled the area.


Trannisha Brown, whose 11-year-old son, Carter Jackson, is a fifth-grader at Richneck, said in an interview that shortly after the shooting, she received a frightening call from her son.


Carter, she said, sheltered on the floor of his classroom with his friends after they heard gunfire.


“It shook me up hearing those kids crying and going frantic,” said Ms. Brown, 32. “All they knew was that there was a shooter in the school and they didn’t know where the shooter was.”


She stayed on the phone with Carter, trying to comfort him. “You are going to be all right,” she recalled telling him.


At the news conference, Chief Drew said that school officials had worked quickly to bring all of the students and teachers to the school’s gymnasium, and that the authorities had been in touch with lawyers to determine how to best proceed.


“I cannot control access to weapons,” Dr. Parker said. “My teachers cannot control access to weapons.” He added, “Today our students got a lesson in gun violence and what guns can do to disrupt not only an educational environment, but also a family, a community.”


Dr. Parker said school would be closed on Monday “as we work on the mental health of our staff and our students.”


The shooting in Newport News, a city of more than 180,000 people, about 70 miles southeast of Richmond. Va., stunned officials as they began to investigate what had gone wrong inside the school.


“I’m in shock, and I’m in awe, and I’m disheartened,” Dr. Parker said.


The mayor of Newport News, Phillip Jones, said at a news conference that while the shooting was “still raw” the city was taking steps to ensure that something similar did not happen again.


Curtis Bethany, a councilman for the city, said Newport News was dealing with “unchartered” territory. “I’ve never heard of a 6-year-old going to school with a loaded gun.”


Incidents at schools involving a shooter so young are exceptionally rare.


David Riedman, who founded the K-12 School Shooting Database after the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla., in 2018, has compiled data on every school shooting — anytime a firearm has been discharged on school property — dating back to 1970. He found 16 cases involving shooters under the age of 10.


Three of them involved 6-year-old children. Two of those were ruled accidental shootings: One in 2011 at an elementary school in Houston in which a student had a gun that went off, injuring three people; and another in Mississippi in 2021, when a first-grader shot a fellow student with a gun he had brought to school and was playing with. In the third case, which attracted national attention, a 6-year-old boy shot and killed a young girl as the teacher was lining up students in a hallway.


According to Mr. Riedman’s research, there has been only one shooting at a school that involved someone under 6 years old: a kindergartner, aged 5, shot a gun in the cafeteria of his school in Memphis, Tenn., in 2013. No one was injured.


The violent episode in Newport News underscored the persistent threat of gun violence at schools across the country. In May, a mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, left 19 children and two teachers dead. In September, another school shooting in Oakland, Calif., left six injured.


The president of the Virginia Education Association, Dr. James J. Fedderman, said in a statement that he was “saddened that we must respond to another school shooting here in Virginia.”


Becky Pringle, the president of the National Education Association, said: “We send all of our hopes for a full recovery to the educator injured in yet another horrific act of gun violence in our schools. But today we are again discussing the carnage of another school shooting. This will not stop until elected leaders take consequential action and stand up to the gun lobby to prevent gun violence in our communities and school.”


Dr. Parker said that while district schools have “metal detection capability,” the schools do not make children walk through a metal detector every day.


“If we have a perceived threat, or an issue, we administer random metal detections on those days,” he said.


Still, he emphasized that guns appear on campus because of “access in the community.”


“This is not a Newport News problem,” he said. “It’s a bigger and broader problem than what we’re seeing today.”


Christopher Mele, Tim Arango and Leah Small contributed reporting.



6) Here Are the People Iran Sentenced to Death in Its Protest Crackdown

An updated look at the Iranians marked for execution in the government’s attempt to curb a monthslong uprising.

By Farnaz Fassihi and Cora Engelbrecht, Jan. 7, 2023


An image from social media of Iranians who in October were marking 40 days since the death of Mahsa Amini in the custody of Iran’s morality police.

An image from social media of Iranians who in October were marking 40 days since the death of Mahsa Amini in the custody of Iran’s morality police. Credit...via Agence France-Presse - Getty Images

They are a doctor, a rapper, a karate champion, a barber and an actor, sons, grandsons and fathers. They are among the 13 people Iran has hurriedly sentenced to death in its campaign to quash the monthslong uprising against the Islamic Republic.


In December, two men were hanged in quick succession. On Jan. 7, two others met the same fate, while nine others remain at risk of execution, according to the human rights group Amnesty International. Other groups cite higher numbers, which The New York Times was not able to independently verify.


Most of the men have been charged with “moharebe,” a broad term that means waging a war on God and typically carries the death penalty in Iran.


Their trials were fast-tracked behind closed doors by Iran’s Revolutionary Court system, with government-assigned lawyers representing the defendants. The evidence presented has often been opaque, sometimes relying on coerced confessions or grainy video footage. Rights groups say that in some of the cases of the accused, there are accounts and evidence of torture.


At least 15 others have been charged with capital offenses and are awaiting sentencing, according to Amnesty.


Not every detail of the judicial proceedings or the alleged crimes could be confirmed, but The Times interviewed some of the defendants’ friends and families and corroborated information on social media accounts with activists and reports by Amnesty and other major human rights groups.


This article will be updated as individual circumstances change or new information is found.


Sentenced to death


Sahand Nourmohammad-Zadeh, 26, a bodybuilding champion.

Sahand Nourmohammad-Zadeh.

Sahand Nourmohammad-Zadeh.

Credit...via Human Rights in Iran

Sahand Nourmohammad-Zadeh was arrested on Sept. 23 in Tehran after participating in protests. He was accused of burning a trash can and tires and destroying highway rails. The court’s evidence relied on grainy video footage that his lawyer said does not depict him.


On the day he was arrested, he was told he would be executed, he said in a phone call with his family that was posted on BBC Persian.


Mr. Nourmohammad-Zadeh is a bodybuilder who, according to social media posts, has won medals in statewide competitions.


He worked at a small jewelry shop in a mall, near which protests broke out in September. Mr. Nourmohammad-Zadeh has said all he did was kick a trash can outside the mall and move rails that were already broken, according to the tape published on BBC Persian. More than 100 employees and shop owners at the mall signed a petition vouching for his innocence.


Part of a religiously conservative family, he said that he prays three times a day, reads the Quran in his cell and that he did not understand the charge of “moharebe,” a term he had been unfamiliar with until his arrest.


His two grandmothers made a video pleading for his exoneration. “Our child is innocent, we are two desperate old women begging you to forgive him,” one of the women said.


Mahan Sadrat Marani, 22.

Mahan Sadrat Marani.

Mahan Sadrat Marani

Mahan Sadrat Marani was arrested in late October in Tehran. He was accused of attacking a Basij member with a knife, setting a motorcycle on fire and damaging a mobile phone. The court’s evidence relied on low-quality video footage in which no knife is visible, according to Amnesty.


Since his arrest, the Basij member and the cleric who filed the complaints have withdrawn them to try to save Mr. Sadrat Marani from execution, they said.


Mr. Sadrat Marani’s father told Iranian media that the family had “kissed the hands of the two men,” hoping to persuade them to speak out against their son’s sentence. Mr. Sadrat Marani’s grandmothers made a video pleading mercy on him.


After a public backlash and a campaign by the Basij member, Mr. Sadrat Marani’s execution was suspended just hours before he was scheduled to be hanged at dawn. His situation remains precarious.


Photos on his social media show Mr. Sadrat Marani riding motorbikes and wearing fashionably mismatched sneakers. He trained as a bodybuilder and lived with his parents and sisters, working three jobs to help his family get by, according to his two grandmothers in a video appeal to save his life.


Mohammad Boroughani, 19.

Mohammad Boroughani.

Mohammad Boroughani. Credit...via Twitter

Mohammad Boroughani was arrested in Pakdasht, Karaj, near Tehran. He was accused of wielding a machete, setting fire to the governor’s building and injuring an official on duty with a knife. The court, citing Instagram messages, called him “a leader of the riots” in Pakdasht.


“I went out to the streets because of an Instagram story my friend posted. I don’t know anything about politics,” Mr. Boroughani said in his trial, according to a Tasnim News Agency report. When the judge asked him why he took videos of the clashes he replied, “I ask for forgiveness and mercy. I got caught up in the moment and did these things.”


When Mr. Boroughani turned 18, he rapped about his life.


“I won’t forget the games of childhood, bikes and playing — we were so happy — now we don’t know if we are down or up — only memories are left, the more we get older the less joy — now my only friend is a cigarette and I’m suddenly 18,” he rapped.

His father makes his living by gathering metal scraps to sell, according to Iranian media reports.


On Jan. 2, Iran’s Supreme Court announced that it had upheld the verdict against Mr. Boroughani.


Mohammad Ghobadlou, 22, a barber.

Mohammad Ghobadlou.

Mohammad Ghobadlou. Credit...via Amnesty

Mohammad Ghobadlou was arrested in Tehran on Sept. 22, and accused of running over a police officer with a car, killing one person and injuring five others. As evidence, the court relied on a confession that Amnesty said was coerced under torture.


Mr. Ghobadlou worked at a barbershop in Tehran. In his Instagram videos, he joking with his clients: In one video, he says that in Iran they call the sons of rich politicians “aghazadeh,” which translates roughly as gentlemen, but “the real aghazadehs are the ones who earn their own living.”


On Dec. 24, the Supreme Court announced that it had upheld the verdict against Mr. Ghobadlou.


Saman Seydi (stage name Yasin), 24, a rapper and graphic artist.

Saman Seydi.

Saman Seydi. Credit...@samanyasinorg

Saman Seydi, known professionally as Yasin, was arrested on Oct. 2 in Tehran. He was accused of possessing a pistol and shooting three times in the air during protests. As evidence, the court relied on confessions that Amnesty said were forced under torture.


Mr. Seydi, a rapper and graphic artist, is from Iran’s Kurdish minority and had lived with his parents and two sisters. He posted his music videos on his Instagram page, often rapping in Kurdish about social injustice.


“You never know how strong you are until you become someone’s rock,” he wrote on his page alongside a selfie.


Mr. Seydi’s father, a veteran of the Iran-Iraq war, told the ILNA news agency that he worked in a wood factory and had lost one son in a car accident. He said that he and his family members had dedicated their lives to defending the Islamic Republic and many of them, including his brother, were martyrs of the war.


“My son is an artist, my son is not a rioter,” Mr. Seydi’s mother said in a video posted on social media.


Hamid Ghare Hassanlou, 53, a radiologist.

Hamid Ghare Hassanlou and his wife, Farzaneh.

Hamid Ghare Hassanlou and his wife, Farzaneh. Credit...via Amnesty

Hamid Ghare Hassanlou, a radiologist, was arrested on Nov. 4 in Karaj, just outside Tehran, and was accused of being involved in the killing of a Basij member during protests.


His wife, Farzaneh, 46, who was with him, has been sentenced to 25 years in prison without visitation rights. The court relied on confessions that Amnesty said were extracted under torture from his wife, who later withdrew them.


The Iranian medical community around the world has mobilized to stop Dr. Ghare Hassanlou’s execution, with thousands of doctors demanding the release of him and his wife.


Dr. Ghare Hassanlou is known in Iran’s medical community for having long served underprivileged areas. He built several schools in rural and low-income towns, donated medical equipment to clinics, treated patients for free and volunteered in a public clinic, according to his colleagues and his family’s online posts.


The day before their arrest, Dr. Ghare Hassanlou and his wife were driving home from work when they encountered a large protest honoring a young woman who was killed by security forces. When they left their car in the traffic to walk, they were caught up in a melee of people assaulting a Basij member, according to his colleague and Amnesty.


In a video released by state media, Mrs. Ghare Hassanlou can be seen trying to stop the assault on the Basij member.


On Jan. 3, the Supreme Court announced that it had overturned Dr. Ghare Hassanlou’s verdict, citing shortcomings in the investigation. The case was returned to the original judge for retrial, leaving the doctor still at risk of a death sentence.


Hossein Mohammadi, 26, a theater actor.

Hossein Mohammadi.

Hossein Mohammadi. Credit...via Amnesty

Hossein Mohammadi was arrested on Nov. 5 at his home in Karaj, and accused in the killing of a Basij member during a large protest in Karaj. The court used forced confessions aired on state television against him, according to Amnesty.


Mr. Mohammadi, an award-winning theater actor,  wrote poems, sang and acted in several short films and plays, and won the best actor award at a local art festival.


On Jan. 3, the Supreme Court announced that it had overturned Mr. Mohammadi’s verdict, citing shortcomings in the investigation. The case was returned to the original judge for retrial. He is still at risk of receiving a death sentence.


Manouchehr Mehman Navaz, 45.

Manouchehr Mehman Navaz.

Manouchehr Mehman Navaz. Credit...via Iran Human Rights

Manouchehr Mehman Navaz was arrested on Sept. 25 in Gharchak, in Tehran province.


He was accused of setting fire to a government building and to several cars, and attacking a security guard’s outpost by throwing Molotov cocktails. In its decision against him, the court relied on his text messages to a friend, which the judge said placed him in a protest, and grainy footage. Prosecutors requested he be hanged in public at the same place as the arson.


As with other defendants, very little information is publicly available about Mr. Mehman Navaz. He is married and has two teenage daughters, according to Iran Human Rights Network.




Mohammad Mehdi Karami, 22, a karate champion, hanged on Jan. 7.

Mohammad Mehdi Karami.

Mohammad Mehdi Karami. Credit...via Amnesty

Mohammad Mehdi Karami was hanged on Jan. 7, about two months after being arrested in Karaj. He was accused in the killing of a Basij member during protests in that city. The court relied on forced confessions that were broadcast on state television, according to Amnesty.


Mr. Karami was the winner of more than a dozen medals in national karate competitions, according to a video message made by his parents.


His family migrated from Kurdistan province to Karaj for work; his father told a newspaper, Etemad, that he sells napkins and tissues on the street.


A video of Mr. Karami competing in a karate match shows him with a red belt and an audience cheering his name. He bows at the end and gives a high five to another athlete.


Sayed Mohammad Hosseini, 39, hanged on Jan. 7.

[No Photo]


Sayed Mohammad Hosseini was killed by hanging on Jan. 7, also about two months after his arrest in early November. He was accused of the same crime as Mr. Karami: the killing of the Basij member during the protest in Karaj.


After a visit to the prison where he was being held, his lawyer, Ali Sharifzadeh Ardakani, said on Twitter that his client had suffered physical abuse: “He has been severely tortured, beaten up with tied hands and closed eyes, kicked in his head and falling unconscious, beaten up with an iron bar to his soles of the feet and given electric shocks on different parts of his body.”


There was very little personal information about him, and his extended family has not spoken publicly to the media.


Mr. Mohammad Hosseini had said he was on his way to the cemetery where his parents were buried when he ran into traffic and was arrested.


“The knife I had on me was for planting flowers and plants around their graves,” he told the court judge.


Mohsen Shekari, 23, a barista hanged on Dec. 8.

Mohsen Shekari.

Mohsen Shekari. Credit...via Twitter

Mohsen Shekari was executed by hanging on Dec. 8, less than three months after his arrest. He was the first protester known to be killed in an official execution.


He was accused of burning a trash can, blocking a road, stabbing a member of the Basij militia with a machete and threatening public safety.


Mr. Shekari had lived in Tehran with his parents. He worked at a coffee shop in a working-class neighborhood of Tehran. He liked baggy cargo jeans and bandannas wrapped around his wrist, photos on social media show.


In one video posted on social media, he can be seen singing at a cafe accompanied by a guitar.


“I now have one wish only, that is to see you one more time,” he sang. “You are my lone star.”


Majid Reza Rahnavard, 23, a shop worker hanged on Dec. 12.

Majid Reza Rahnavard.

Majid Reza Rahnavard. Credit...Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Majid Reza Rahnavard was arrested on Nov. 19 in the northeastern city of Mashhad and was hanged from a crane in public on Dec. 12, less than a month after his arrest. He was the second protester known to be officially executed.


He was accused of stabbing to death two members of the Basij militia and wounding four other people in Mashhad.


A video shared with The Times by one of Mr. Rhanavard’s relatives shows family members bringing flowers to his graveside. “There is nothing I feared more than them taking my 23-year-old son,” his mother can be heard saying through sobs. “God damn all of you who killed my son.”


Mr. Reza Rahnavard worked at a shop selling women’s clothing and shoes in Mashhad. He was an avid athlete who trained as a gymnast and a wrestler, according to his family.


In a video taken before his execution and verified by his family, Mr. Rahnavard appears blindfolded with a hand in a cast. In the video, he tells a reporter, “I don’t want them to cry at my grave, I don’t want them to pray and recite the Quran for me. ” He adds, “Be happy and play joyful music.”


Leily Nikounazar contributed reporting.



7) After 6-Year-Old Is Accused in School Shooting, Many Questions and a Murky Legal Path

The teacher who was shot was in stable condition on Saturday, the police said, but details surrounding the gun remained unknown.

By Paul Bibeau, Sarah Mervosh and Tim Arango, Jan. 7, 2023

A sign outside Richneck Elementary School reads “Happy New Year.”
A 6-year-old boy shot a teacher at Richneck Elementary School on Friday, the police said, just days after students returned from the holiday break. Credit...Jay Paul/Getty Images

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — The scene was heartbreakingly familiar. Inside Richneck Elementary School, children and teachers hunkered down in fear. At a family reunification center nearby, desperate parents waited for answers. Some were so panicked that they struggled to breathe. Once again, a school shooting had left a community reeling.


Only this time, the authorities said, the gun had been fired by a 6-year-old boy.


The incident, which initially set off fears about potential mass violence, quickly morphed into another kind of tragedy: a rare example of a school shooting involving an exceptionally young child.


The 6-year-old, a first grader at Richneck Elementary in Newport News, Va., shot a teacher with a handgun on Friday afternoon, the Newport News Police Department said, in an incident that the police said was “not an accidental shooting.” The boy and the teacher had been involved in an altercation in a classroom before the boy shot the teacher once, the police said. The teacher suffered “life-threatening” injuries but had improved by Saturday and was in stable condition.


Police radio traffic posted online by Broadcastify, a streaming service, captured the chaotic moments as a dispatcher communicated with officers responding to the scene.


“We have a female victim shot in the abdomen,” the dispatcher said. She added that the victim had also been shot through the hand and was waiting for medical assistance in the school’s office, where she was “in and out of consciousness.”


A medic was also called to a nearby church, where some parents were reported to be hyperventilating as they waited for information.


It took only six days for the country to register its first school shooting of 2023, according to a tracker by Education Week, a count that is almost certain to grow as school shootings become more common in the United States. Outside Richneck Elementary, a sprawling, green-roofed building in a quiet neighborhood of Newport News, the school’s sign on Saturday still read “Happy New Year.”


Yet school shootings by young children are exceedingly rare, experts say. The K-12 School Shooting Database, which has compiled data on every gun incident at a school — anytime a firearm has been discharged on school property — dating back to 1970, has identified just 16 incidents involving shooters under the age of 10, and even fewer by children as young as 6.


The situation in Newport News left many shaken, with major questions still unanswered.


Among them: How did a 6-year-old child obtain access to a gun? The authorities have not publicly identified the child or the teacher, detailed the nature of the altercation or offered information about whether the gun was taken from home, school or elsewhere.


The boy was in police custody Friday evening, the authorities said, but the unusual nature of the situation leaves the path forward far from clear. While it is possible that the child could be criminally charged, legal scrutiny could also fall on the child’s parents or another adult. Virginia law prohibits leaving a loaded gun where it is accessible to children under the age of 14.


On Saturday, some families were left in a stunned grief.


“It’s scary,” said Ramon Gonzalez-Hernandez, who said his son was in the classroom where the teacher was shot.


“I’m just here trying to keep my son occupied so he’s not thinking about everything,” Mr. Gonzalez-Hernandez added, speaking briefly from his porch. He said he was waiting to hear from detectives to set up counseling sessions and was considering whether to home-school his son.


Tucked on a quiet street where parents and children can often be seen walking in the neighborhood, Richneck Elementary serves a diverse student body of more than 550 students in kindergarten through fifth grade. Newport News, a city of about 185,000 in southeast Virginia, is home to a large military community and is known for its shipyard, which builds aircraft carriers and other vessels for the U.S. Navy.


Daniel Smith, 51, who lives near the elementary school, said he was surprised by the shooting because the surrounding neighborhood is generally safe. “We’re a quiet neighborhood,” he said. “Nobody bothers anybody and they look out for each other.”


The shooting renewed calls from teachers’ unions and gun control groups for tougher laws to keep guns out of schools, including laws requiring safe storage. “When will the shock of gunshots in school be enough to inspire the action necessary to prevent guns in schools and the shattering of lives it causes?” Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, said in a statement.


Virginia, unlike some other states — notably Oregon and Massachusetts — does not have a broad law that requires all guns to be safely stored in homes.


“Virginia’s law is on the weaker end of the spectrum of these types of laws,” said Allison Anderman, senior counsel and director of local policy at Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.


The state’s Republican governor, Glenn Youngkin, said on Saturday that he believed Virginia already had “some of the toughest gun laws in the nation” but that the next step was to invest more money in mental health treatment and to pass tougher penalties for crimes committed with guns.


In a state budget proposed last month, ahead of the Legislature’s 2023 session next week, the governor requested $230 million for increased capacity to respond to people with mental health issues, including mobile crisis teams, expanded mental health care in schools and same-day care for people in crisis. He also said on Saturday, during a brief interview in Virginia Beach, that he wanted the Legislature to enact tougher penalties for gun crimes, though it was unclear whether either initiative would address how a 6-year-old was able to wield a loaded handgun in school.


Under Virginia law, a 6-year-old cannot be charged as an adult. And while it is possible the child could be charged criminally in juvenile court, the minimum age to be sentenced to a juvenile prison in Virginia is 11.


“The juvenile justice system is not really equipped to deal with really young kids who commit criminal offenses and is probably the wrong place to deal with a situation like this,” said Andrew Block, a professor at the University of Virginia School of Law and the former director of the Virginia Department of Justice.


The unsettling situation in Virginia comes as greater attention is being paid to gun violence in elementary schools, especially after a gunman killed 19 students and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, last year.


In the 2020-21 school year, the most recent year for which data is available, 59 elementary schools reported an incident involving a gun, up from 32 the prior year and up from single digits as recently as 2016, according to data from the K-12 School Shooting Database reported by the National Center for Education Statistics.


Not all of the incidents, though, resulted in injury or death. The count includes incidents in which a gun was brandished or fired, or a bullet hit school property, regardless of motive or whether someone was hurt.


“It’s not necessarily that shootings are increasing based on how those incidents are defined, but that the presence of firearms is increasing,” said Jaclyn Schildkraut, the interim executive director of the Regional Gun Violence Research Consortium at the Rockefeller Institute of Government.


Trip Gabriel, Ava Sasani, Chris Mele and Leah Small contributed reporting. Jack Begg contributed research.