Bay Area United Against War Newsletter, March 1, 2023


Spring Action Week:  April 15 - 22, 2023
Holloman AFB, Southern New Mexico

Co-sponsored by CODEPINK & Ban Killer Drones

Mark your calendars & Join Us! 

Come for all or part of the week!



Help U.S. Workers Visit Cuba on May Day

Los Angeles U.S. Hands Off Cuba committee members and supporters meeting to discuss solidarity with Amazon workers organizing unions and Cuba solidarity work.

World-Outlook is encouraging readers to donate to help workers from the United States, involved in union organizing efforts at Amazon warehouses, participate in an upcoming trip to Cuba. The Los Angeles US Hands Off Cuba Committee is organizing the delegation, which will coincide with May Day celebrations on the island.

There are many reasons to travel to Cuba. First and foremost, participants in a delegation such as this one will have the chance to see the Cuban Revolution for themselves; to meet and talk with Cuban workers, farmers, and political leaders. It is also a chance to show solidarity with the Cuban people who face Washington’s six-decades-long economic blockade, escalated in recent years by 243 new sanctions levied by the Trump administration, then continued and augmented by the Biden administration.

This 2023 May Day tour will be composed primarily of young people, unionists, and those seeking to build unions.

Nine Amazon workers involved in the Amazon Labor Union (ALU) at the JFK8 warehouse in Staten Island, New York — where last year workers won the first union representation election at an Amazon facility — plan to join the delegation. They include ALU president Chris Smalls and Cassio Mendoza, editor of the ALU newspaper. A worker at Amazon’s Moreno Valley ONT8 facility in the Los Angeles area also plans to participate.

Last week, three members of Carolina Amazonians United for Solidarity and Empowerment (C.A.U.S.E.), a group working to organize a union at an Amazon fulfillment center in Garner, North Carolina, said they too will join the delegation.

Other delegation members will include International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) workers, Steelworkers, L.A. teachers, and fifteen young activists from the Los Angeles Hands Off Cuba Committee.

The tour members will be in Cuba for the huge outpouring on May Day, the international workers holiday. A full schedule of political and cultural activities, including a meeting with the Confederation of Cuban Workers (CTC) is planned. The delegation will also meet with the Federation of Cuban Women (FMC), as well as visit the new Fidel Castro Museum and the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM).

This fund-raising effort is specifically to help defray the expenses for the Amazon workers who need some help, as their pay does not allow for much disposable income. Your contribution will help the Amazon workers participate. The goal is to raise $4,500. As of today, $1,800 has been contributed so far. World-Outlook will donate $100.

The cost per person to participate in this 10-day trip is $1,300. That figure includes airfare, housing, food, and transportation in Cuba, museum admissions, and visas. Each Amazon worker is contributing a minimum of $500 for their expenses. Many of these Amazon workers have their airline tickets and passports ready but additional funds are needed to ensure their participation.

We encourage you to help.

There are two ways to donate:

1.     Go-Fund Me Account:


2.     Send a check to the LA Hands Off Cuba Committee made out to the group’s treasurer: 

             Diana Cervantes

             12206 Trinity St. 

             Los Angeles, CA 90061

Please share this appeal with friends, family, and fellow workers who may want to help.

In solidarity,

World-Outlook editors

—World-Outlook, March 2, 2023






Dear friends and supporters of Kevin Cooper, 

We are horrified by the terrible report put out by the Morrison Foerster (MoFo) law firm who were assigned to conduct an independent investigation of Kevin Cooper’s case. As Kevin’s chief attorney, Norman Hile, says: "In short, Mofo did not do an innocence investigation. Instead, they simply looked at the evidence the prosecution used and then hired some of their own experts to affirm what the prosecution said.”

Attached is a brief press statement issued by Kevin’s defense law firm. If you would like to receive the link to the MoFo report (over 200 pages) let me know and I will email it to you.

More analysis and information will follow soon.

An immediate act of solidarity we can all do right now is to write to Kevin and assure him of our continuing support in his fight for justice. Here’s his address:

Mr. Kevin Cooper

C-65304. 4-EB-82

San Quentin State Prison

San Quentin, CA 94974



January 14, 2023


Kevin Cooper has suffered imprisonment as a death row inmate for more than 38 years for a gruesome crime he did not commit. We are therefore extremely disappointed by the special counsel’s report to the Board of Parole Hearings and disagree strongly with its findings.  Most fundamentally, we are shocked that the governor seemingly failed to conduct a thorough review of the report that contains many misstatements and omissions and also ignores the purpose of a legitimate innocence investigation, which is to independently determine whether Mr. Cooper’s conviction was a product of prosecutorial misconduct. The report failed to address that critical issue. The evidence when viewed in this light reveals that Kevin Cooper is innocent of the Ryen/Hughes murders, and that he was framed by the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department. 


The special counsel’s investigation ordered by Governor Newsom in May 2021 was not properly conducted and is demonstrably incomplete. It failed to carry out the type of thorough investigation required to explore the extensive evidence that Mr. Cooper was wrongfully convicted. Among other things, the investigation failed to even subpoena and then examine the files of the prosecutors and interview the individuals involved in the prosecution. For unknown reasons and resulting in the tragic and clearly erroneous conclusion that he reached, the special counsel failed to follow the basic steps taken by all innocence investigations that have led to so many exonerations of the wrongfully convicted. 


In effect the special counsel’s report says: the Board of Parole Hearings can and will ignore Brady violations, destruction of exculpatory evidence, planted evidence, racial prejudice, prosecutorial malfeasance, and ineffective assistance of trial counsel; since I conclude Cooper is guilty based on what the prosecution says, none of these Constitutional violations matter or will be considered and we have no obligation to investigate these claims.


Given that (1) we have already uncovered seven prosecutorial violations of Brady v. Maryland during Mr. Cooper’s prosecution, (2) one of the likely killers has confessed to three different parties that he, rather than Mr. Cooper, was involved in the Ryen/Hughes murders, and (3) there is significant evidence of racial bias in Mr. Cooper’s prosecution, we cannot understand how Mr. Cooper was not declared wrongfully convicted.  The special counsel specifically declined to address ineffective assistance of counsel at the trial or the effect of race discrimination.  We call on the governor to follow through on his word and obtain a true innocence investigation.

Anything But Justice for Black People

Statement from Kevin Cooper concerning recent the decision on his case by Morrison Forrester Law Firm

In 2020 and 2022 Governor Newsom signed in to law the “Racial Justice Act.” This is because the California legislature, and the Governor both acknowledged that the criminal justice system in California is anything but justice for Black people.

On May 28th, 2021, Governor signed an executive order to allow the law firm of Morrison Forrester (MoFo) to do an independent investigation in my case which included reading the trial and appellant transcripts, my innocence claims, and information brought to light by the 9th circuit court of appeals, as well as anything else not in the record, but relevant to this case.

So, Mr. Mark McDonald, Esq, who headed this investigation by Morrison Forrester and his associates at the law firm, went and did what was not part of Governor Newsom’s order, and they did this during the length of time that they were working on this case, and executive order. They worked with law enforcement, current and former members of the L.A. Sheriff’s department, and other law enforcement-type people and organizations.

Law enforcement is the first part of this state’s criminal justice system. A system that both the California legislature, and the Governor acknowledge to be racist, and cannot be trusted to tell the truth, will present, and use false evidence to obtain a conviction, will withhold material exculpatory evidence, and will do everything else that is written in those two racial justice act bills that were signed into law.

So, with the active help of those pro-police, pro-prosecutor, pro-death penalty people working on this case to uphold my bogus conviction we cannot be surprised about the recent decision handed down by them in this case.

While these results are not true but based on the decisions made in 1983 and 1984 by the San Bernardino County district attorney’s office, these 2023 results were not reached by following the executive orders of Governor Newsom.

They ignored his orders and went out to make sure that I am either executed or will never get out of prison.

Governor Newsom cannot let this stand because he did not order a pro-cop or pro-prosecutor investigation, he ordered an independent investigation.

We all know that in truth, law enforcement protects each other, they stand by each other, no matter what city, county, or state that they come from. This is especially true when a Black man like me states that I was framed for murder by law enforcement who just happened to be in the neighboring county.

No one should be surprised about the law enforcement part in this, but we must be outraged by the law firm Morrison Forrester for being a part of this and then try to sell it as legitimate. We ain’t stupid and everyone who knows the truth about my case can see right through this bullshit.

I will continue to fight not only for my life, and to get out of here, but to end the death penalty as well. My entire legal team, family and friends and supporters will continue as well. We have to get to the Governor and let him know that he cannot accept these bogus rehashed results.

MoFo and their pro-prosecution and pro-police friends did not even deal with, or even acknowledge the constitutional violations in my case. They did not mention the seven Brady violations which meant the seven pieces of material exculpatory evidence were withheld from my trial attorney and the jury, and the 1991 California Supreme court that heard and upheld this bogus conviction. Why, one must ask, did they ignore these constitutional violations and everything that we proved in the past that went to my innocence?

Could it be that they just didn’t give a damn about the truth but just wanted to uphold this conviction by any means necessary?

No matter their reasons, they did not do what Governor Gavin Newsom ordered them to do in his May 28, 2021, executive order and we cannot let them get away with this.

I ask each and every person who reads this to contact the Governor’s office and voice your outrage over what MoFo did, and demand that he not accept their decision because they did not do what he ordered them to do which was to conduct an independent investigation!

In Struggle and Solidarity

From Death Row at San Quentin Prison,

Kevin Cooper


Call California Governor Newsom:

1-(916) 445-2841

Press 1 for English or 2 for Spanish, 

press 6 to speak with a representative and

wait for someone to answer 

(Monday-Friday, 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. PST—12:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. EST)



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



The writers' organization PEN America is circulating this petition on behalf of Jason Renard Walker, a Texas prisoner whose life is being threatened because of his exposés of the Texas prison system. 

See his book, Reports from within the Belly of the Beast; available on Amazon at:


Petition: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/protect-whistleblowers-in-carceral-settings



In the past year, we've learned that dozens of Federal Correction Institution Dublin employees sexually abused countless incarcerated people at the facility. Survivors' stories make clear that FCI Dublin staff specifically targeted immigrant women for abuse, and that ICE has knowingly detained and deported survivors and witnesses of sexual abuse by federal prison employees. Advocates have spoken with seven women who were sexually assaulted by prison staff and have already been deported, and at least 15 who are currently facing deportation (including at least six who are indefinitely detained by ICE).


We are writing to ask you to sign on to an open letter to the ICE leadership, demanding that they cease detaining and deporting noncitizen survivors and witnesses of prison staff sexual abuse, and release those currently in immigration detention. 


Sign on here:



You can read the full text of the open letter, and you can sign your organization on to the letter here:



Thanks for your consideration.





The Diabolic Intent to Murder: Medical Professionals’ & Prisoncrats’ constant delay game of untreated Cancer of Kevin Rashid Johnson                                                                                 

By Peter "Comrade Pitt" Mukuria

Kevin Rashid Johnson  is the Minister of Defense for the Revolutionary Intercommunal Black Panther Party (RIBPP). He is someone that I've been honored to have known for over a decade.  I've learned quite a lot from him over the years. In fact, he played a critical role in my political consciousness & growth.  

Prior to knowing Rashid personally or through his political work, my political awareness was rather undeveloped.  To know Rashid, is to learn from him.  One of the qualities about Rashid, which separates him from most, is that he practices what he preaches.   

By reviewing his work, it’s conspicuous to note, that, he is someone who advocates for the voiceless, poor, & oppressed, those dubbed, The wretched of the earth.  His advocacy for his incarcerated peers isn't limited to writing about the horrible conditions of confinement.  He also involves himself in direct action. 

In countless cases, he has placed himself in direct conflict against the pigs, by advocating for his peers.  As a result of his political consciousness and his courageous spirit intertwined, he has been Interstate transferred to 8 different state prisons. In each of these prisons, he has encountered much of the same inhumane conditions of confinement & abuse of prisoners. Each time, he adamantly spoke out against it. Exposing the prisons & if needed, he implemented physical actions in defense of other prisoners. 

 As a result of his unbroken spirit and activism, he has actively, politically awakened his peers. He transformed their lumpen mentality into a revolutionary mentality. He, thus, became a nightmare to the prisons. 

In  October 2021 , Rashid, had blood tests conducted, however, he wasn’t made aware of the results in a timely manner. No news is usually an indicator of good health.  

A year later, he learned the results of the October 2021 bloodwork. The findings revealed that he had prostate cancer.  Given the amount of time that had passed, the cancer had spread and metastasized. I'm no medical professional, but it is a well-known fact that prostate cancer is the 2nd leading cause of death in men & can only be cured if detected & treated early. It's quite conspicious that it was a deliberate act for prison officials to be aware that he had prostate cancer & intentionally delayed notifying him for a year. 

Furthermore, they then played games with his scheduled appointments. The latest one was to have a PET Scan. They intentionally transported him there hours late to ensure that he wouldn’t receive his treatment & a new appointment would have to be scheduled. This same transportation delay tactic actually transpired on multiple occasions.  

Their sinister, diabolical intent is obviously to prolong his treatment to ensure the spread of the cancer & lead to a fatal outcome.  In the case of political & politicized prisoners, medical neglect is a common retaliatory response from the prison officials & this current medical mistreatment is an example. 

 All in all, it is of utmost importance that public protests continue. We must demand that Rashid receives proper treatment as his life is truly in danger.  

For decades, Rashid has stood up against violent guards in defense of other incarcerated people. He has risked his own comfort, advocating for his peers countless times.  Even those he didn’t know. He has exposed the dire & inhumane conditions the incarcerated are subjected to.  The abuse & the constant mistreatment. 

Prisons tend to act if pressured by the public or if actions are court ordered. Given the urgency of this matter- literally life or death-Public involvement would be far more effective as the courts would surely take too much time, which is a luxury we can’t afford as too much time has already passed.  As much as Rashid has fought for others, we must now reciprocate & fight for our brother & comrade. For updates on his health & conditions visit www.Rashidmod.com 

Dare To Struggle 
Dare To Win 
All Power To The People! 

 Comrade Pitt 

Peter Kamau Mukuria #5194931 
PO Box 534 
Jessup, MD 20794 

Minister of Labor ~RIBPP 


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.



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.



February 6, 2023 

Statement from Leonard Peltier

Leonard Peltier released this statement from his prison cell to mark the 48th anniversary of his unjust incarceration.[1]

Greetings my friends, supporters, loved ones. I know I’ve probably said this, or things like this, many times. Every time I say it, it is as heartfelt as the first time. From the bottom of my soul, I thank you for your support. Living in here, year after year, day after day, week after week, plays on your concepts of time and your process of thought beyond what you can imagine.

Every day, I have to say a prayer in the morning, about keeping my spirit up and the spirits of our people.

The struggles of the American Indian Movement, which are the struggles of all of us, have never ended for me. They go on, week after week, month after month, year after year.

When I speak, sometimes I think I may sound a bit too sensitive, but my love for my people and the love supporters have shown me over the years is what keeps me alive. I don’t read your letters with my intellect. I read them with my heart.

My imprisonment is just another example of the treatment and policies our people have faced since the arrival of the first Europeans. I’m just an ordinary man and I come from a live-and-let-live society, like all our people. And yet we have had to live in a state of survival ever since Columbus landed.

There is nothing about my case, nothing about the Constitution, which is a treaty between the American people and the government, that warrants my continual imprisonment.

They have historically imprisoned or killed our people, taken our land and resources. Any time the law was in our favor they ignored the law or changed the law to benefit their agenda.

After they have gotten what they wanted, a generation later, some politician would apologize. They have never negotiated sincerely with us unless we had something they wanted and could not take, or we were an embarrassment before the world, or we were some sort of opposition. The opposition has always been the dominant reason for them making treaties with us. I could go on and on about the mistreatment of our people and on and on about my case, but the United Nations said it.

That the United States has kept me locked up because I am American Indian. The only thing that really makes me different from other American Indians who have been mistreated, had land taken, or been imprisoned by our government, is that it is all a matter of court record in my case. The violation of my Constitutional rights has been proven in court. The fabrication of every piece of evidence used to convict me has been proven in court.

The United Nations itself, comprised of 193 nations, has called for my release, noting I am a political prisoner. In my case as a political prisoner there does not have to be a prisoner exchange. The exchange they need to make is from their policy of injustice to a policy of justice.

It does not matter what your color and ethnicity are. Black, red, white, yellow, brown—if they can do it to me, they can do it to you. The Constitution of the United States is hanging by a thread. Again.

I want to say, from my heart to your heart, most sincerely—do your best to educate your children. Teach them to defend themselves physically, mentally, and spiritually. Make them aware of our history. Teach them to plant a food forest or any plant that will provide for them in the future.

Again, from my heart to yours, plant a tree for me.

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse.


Leonard Peltier

—Liberation, February 6, 2023



Write to:

Leonard Peltier 89637-132

USP Coleman 1  

P.O. Box 1033

Coleman, FL 33521

Note: Letters, address and return address must be in writing—no stickers—and on plain white paper.

[1] To learn what his case is about click here:


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) At Least 10 Palestinians Killed During Israeli Raid in West Bank

An hourslong gunfight broke out between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian gunmen during an Israeli operation to arrest Palestinian fighters. The violence left the region braced for further unrest.

By Patrick Kingsley, Feb. 22, 2023

Reporting from Jerusalem


Top photo—rocks being thrown by Palestinians at Israeli military truck. Bottom photo—injured Palestinian being carried to ambulance. (Screenshots)

At least 10 Palestinians were killed and more than 100 others wounded on Wednesday, Palestinian officials said, in an hourslong gun battle between Israeli security forces and armed Palestinian groups in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. The firefight occurred during an operation to arrest Palestinian gunmen based in the city of Nablus, the Israeli military said.


Three armed Palestinian groups said that six of the casualties were fighters in their movements. Others appeared to be noncombatants: Time-stamped CCTV footage from late Wednesday morning that circulated on social media seemed to show the shooting of at least two unarmed Palestinians as they ran away from gunfire.


A spokesman for the Israeli Army, Lt. Col. Richard Hecht, said that the bloodshed on Wednesday began after its forces entered Nablus to arrest members of the Lions’ Den, a local armed group that was planning imminent assaults and that was also responsible for an attack that killed an Israeli soldier in October while he was patrolling a nearby part of the northern West Bank.


Asked for comment, the Israeli military said that it was looking into the video. The military acknowledged that Israeli forces had killed three gunmen and fired at other armed Palestinians during riots that followed the raid.


The violence left the region braced for further unrest in the coming days, with Hamas, the Islamist group that controls the Gaza Strip, warning that the killings would not pass “without a response.”


Militant groups in Gaza often fire rockets into Israeli airspace after violence in the West Bank, actions that typically then prompt Israel to strike Gaza, raising the risk of a full-scale air war in the blockaded territory. Israeli raids are also often followed by reprisals from lone Palestinian gunmen; in January, a Palestinian shot dead seven Israelis in Jerusalem, the day after an Israeli raid in the West Bank city of Jenin killed 10 Palestinians.


The deaths on Wednesday brought the number of Palestinians killed in the occupied West Bank since the start of the year to nearly 60, most of them during shootouts that the Israeli military says began during operations to arrest Palestinian gunmen.


That toll marks the deadliest start to a year for Palestinians in the West Bank in the past decade and a half, prompting comparisons with events at the start of this century, when a Palestinian insurgency known as the second intifada left roughly 3,000 Palestinians and 1,000 Israelis dead.


At least 11 Israelis have been killed by Palestinians since the start of the year, including the seven in the mass shooting on Jan. 27 by the Palestinian in East Jerusalem — the deadliest attack in the city since 2008.


Colonel Hecht said that a four-hour gun battle broke out when three suspects started firing on Israeli forces who had come to apprehend them from a safe house in central Nablus.


He said that one of the three was killed after emerging from the building, while the two others were killed inside. During the exchange, Israeli soldiers fired anti-tank missiles at the building, Colonel Hecht said.


In a recording circulated by Palestinian media outlets on Wednesday morning, a man identified as one of the cornered Palestinian gunmen vowed to go down fighting. “I will not surrender myself,” the man in the recording said. “Please don’t abandon the gun after us,” he added, “and complete the path.”


Unrest also broke out across the center of Nablus on Wednesday, video and photographs showed, with Palestinians throwing stones at Israeli military trucks and Israeli forces firing tear gas. The Israeli military and the police both separately said that their forces had shot at other armed people who approached them during the operation.


Video suggested that at least two people were shot with their backs to gunfire. Four of the casualties had no known affiliation with any armed faction. One was 72 and another 61, according to a statement by the Palestinian health ministry.


Three Palestinian armed groups issued conflicting statements that competed to assert connections with some of the slain fighters. The Lions’ Den claimed responsibility for six of the 10 victims, while the Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, another armed group affiliated with Fatah, the dominant Palestinian movement in the West Bank, said that three of those six were members of its group. Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a third armed group, claimed responsibility for two of the six.


Jockeying for influence, Palestinian groups sometimes issue competing claims over people killed during clashes with Israel, while Lions’ Den is known to contain fighters who originated from both Fatah and Islamic Jihad.


The raid on Wednesday was the second in less than a month to end in the death of at least 10 Palestinians — two of the deadliest such incidents in years.


Palestinians attribute the unusually high death tolls to an increased readiness among Israeli soldiers to shoot to kill. But Israeli officials say that the army’s rules of engagement have not changed, instead attributing the toll to a proliferation of guns within Palestinian society and an increased readiness among Palestinian gunmen to fire on Israeli soldiers instead of surrendering without a fight.


Analysts also believe that the rare Israeli decision to raid Nablus and Jenin after sunrise — instead of during the night, when the army usually conducts its operations — heightened the risk of escalation. During the day, there is a higher chance that nearby residents will get caught in the crossfire or join the clashes themselves.


The involvement of Lions’ Den, a group founded only last year, reflects a growing willingness among some young Palestinians to engage in armed resistance to Israel’s 55-year occupation of the West Bank. Roughly 2.7 million Palestinians live under varying degrees of Israeli control in the territory, where Israel has created a two-tier legal system in which Palestinians are tried in Israeli military courts and Israelis in civilian ones.


Frustrated at the failures of the aging Palestinian leadership, dozens of young Palestinian men have joined new armed movements that operate independently of traditional Palestinian chains of command, like the Lion’s Den in Nablus or the Jenin Brigade in Jenin.


Some members of these groups come from families affiliated with Fatah, but have distanced themselves from the movement because of its association with the Palestinian Authority, the semiautonomous institution that administers parts of the West Bank and which cooperates with the Israeli security forces to curb violence in the territory.


Analysts say that groups like the Lions’ Den resent the Palestinian Authority almost as much as they resist Israel. In parallel, the authority is reluctant to clamp down on the dissidents to avoid further denting its own popularity — a decision that Israeli officials say leaves Israel with little option other than to combat the groups itself.


Hiba Yazbek and Gabby Sobelman contributed reporting.



2) Justice Dept. Struggles to Carry Out Early Release Program for Abused Inmates

Prison officials and judges have been reluctant to support “compassionate releases” unless an inmate is ill, dying or incapacitated by age.

By Glenn Thrush, Feb. 22, 2023


The Federal Correctional Institution is shown in Dublin, Calif.

Aimee Chavira, a federal prisoner currently incarcerated in Arizona, claimed she was repeatedly sexually abused by male staff at the Dublin women’s prison, near Oakland. Credit...Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Bureau of Prisons has rejected the early release of a female inmate who said she had been sexually abused by male employees at a notorious California penitentiary, reflecting a broader struggle by the Justice Department to free inmates abused in federal custody, when appropriate.


In late January, the general counsel of the prison bureau denied an application filed by Aimee Chavira, 43, who claimed her experience at the Federal Correctional Institution Dublin, near Oakland, Calif., made her eligible for immediate release on humanitarian grounds. She is among a number of women who have detailed pervasive misconduct during their incarceration at Dublin, and five former employees, including the warden, have been charged with sexual abuse.


Ms. Chavira’s case — the first of its kind to make its way through the system — is seen by prisoners’ rights groups as a key test of the department’s commitment to use so-called compassionate release protocols for victims of abuse.


But doing so represents a shock to an institution more focused on locking up inmates than letting them go. Prison officials, and judges — who are the ultimate arbiters — have been reluctant to support early release unless an inmate is ill, dying or incapacitated by age, and more than four-fifths of compassionate release requests are rejected in court.


The department’s senior leaders fear provoking a backlash that will undermine the policy shift, and have moved slowly to incorporate a departmental system to investigate abuse claims on applications — so that judges will not have to conduct unpredictable mini trials to determine the veracity of those accusations, according to people familiar with the situation.


James B. Wills, the bureau’s counsel, acknowledged that Ms. Chavira’s assertions of being groped and forced to disrobe by male staff members were “extremely concerning,” but described her documentation of those claims as insufficient.


Privately, officials familiar with the case, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, do not dispute her allegations. They believe that Ms. Chavira, who was convicted on a drug charge and is currently being held at a federal prison in Arizona, does not pose a public safety threat if freed. She is scheduled to be released in 2026.


They characterized the rejection as temporary, although they did not say what factors would lead to an approval or offer a timetable for instituting the new system of internal reviews. Dublin is a particular point of focus for the Justice Department, which is investigating a culture of abuse there.


“There are some cases they should be agreeing to immediately, if this policy is really about justice at all,” said Erica Zunkel, Ms. Chavira’s lawyer, who represents clients through a law clinic at the University of Chicago, where she is a professor.


“The department’s leadership had promised they would reconsider the policy, so this was an important decision that sends a big signal,” she added.


The allegations of widespread sexual abuse at Dublin have increased pressure on the bureau, which is responsible for about 160,000 inmates around the country.


Last year, Lisa O. Monaco, the deputy attorney general, instructed Bureau of Prisons officials to prioritize applications from victims of sexual misconduct, the first time the department had formally made such a request. Colette S. Peters, a former Oregon state prison official tapped to lead the bureau in July, has backed the initiative.


In November, a working group convened by Ms. Monaco made a series of recommendations, including expansion of early release programs “to better protect the safety and well-being of those in B.O.P. custody and better hold accountable those who abuse positions of trust.”


But taking this relatively modest step has proved more difficult than anticipated.


The path to early release is a complex tangle of laws and regulations intended to prevent violent criminals and repeat offenders from taking advantage of the system by falsely claiming maladies or hardships.


Under current rules, the Bureau of Prisons initiates the process of requesting a compassionate release, filing a formal motion with the judge who presided over the original trial.


Rank-and-file prosecutors and prison officials play a vital role — their support, or ambivalence, about an application can often be the deciding factor — and many have been resistant to free anyone, even an inmate in the final stages of a terminal illness.


Department officials are still exploring ways to fortify and repurpose internal administrative procedures to help verify the hundreds of sexual abuse claims filed by prisoners each year, according to a draft letter of a proposal to a judicial policy panel outlining possible changes.


Without reliable internal investigations, sentencing judges are more likely to reject compassionate release requests after conducting their own fact-gathering efforts, department officials say, unless a prison official is criminally charged with abusing a particular inmate.


In his letter, Mr. Wills encouraged Ms. Chavira to submit a new request “upon receipt of a final adjudication of her allegations,” without offering further explanation.


That was an apparent reference to an open federal criminal investigation into a male employee who is believed to have abused Ms. Chavira and other inmates, according to a person with knowledge of the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity.


In the meantime, the delays are taking their toll. Thus far, only a handful of the women at Dublin have applied for compassionate release, but many others are waiting to see the outcome of the requests from Ms. Chavira and others before taking action.


“B.O.P. releases — or should release — people who have a diagnosis of impending death, and they take an expert’s word on it,” said Kevin Ring, president of Families Against Mandatory Minimums, a prisoners’ rights group in Washington.


“If B.O.P. believes a woman, after talking to her, has been sexually abused, why is that not the same thing?” he added. “Why make the standard so high for someone who risks so much retaliation and hardship in making a complaint to begin with?”


Ms. Peters has said that addressing prisoner abuse, along with the overreliance on restrictive housing units, are among her top priorities. Last week, she ordered the closing of a troubled special detention unit in Illinois where inmate deaths, suicides and reports of sexual harassment by guards have been rampant.


For the past year, several working groups in the Justice Department have sought to determine how to fix a system long plagued by health and safety problems, corruption, staff turnover and physical and sexual abuse that has disproportionately targeted female inmates and prison workers.


Ms. Monaco has pushed federal prosecutors to crack down on sexual abuse at federal facilities, even though proving such crimes is often time-consuming and difficult.


The department is also taking other steps. Ms. Monaco’s aides support a proposal before the U.S. Sentencing Commission, an independent agency that creates guidelines for federal judges, to carry out a law that gives inmates and their lawyers the right to directly petition courts for compassionate release without having to go through the Bureau of Prisons.


The commission is expected to hold public hearings on Thursday and Friday to discuss a range of potential changes, including to the compassionate release rules.



3) Biden Administration Announces New Border Crackdown

A tough new immigration measure could disqualify the vast majority of migrants from being able to seek asylum at the southern border.

By Miriam Jordan, Published Feb. 21, 2023, Updated Feb. 22, 2023

Migrants were apprehended in December at the border in Eagle Pass, Texas.
Migrants were apprehended in December at the border in Eagle Pass, Texas. Credit...Ilana Panich-Linsman for The New York Times

In a bid to prevent a surge of migrants at the southern border when a pandemic measure is lifted in May, the Biden administration on Tuesday announced its toughest policy yet to crack down on unlawful entries.


The proposed rule, which has been opened for 30 days of public comment before taking effect, would presume that migrants are ineligible for asylum if they entered the country unlawfully, a significant rollback in the country’s traditional policy toward those fleeing persecution in other countries.


It would allow rapid deportation of anyone who had failed to request protection from another country while en route to the United States or who did not notify border authorities through a mobile app of their plans to seek asylum.


Administration officials said the policy would take effect on May 11 with the expected termination that day of Title 42, a Trump-era health emergency rule that has allowed border authorities to swiftly expel migrants back to Mexico. The new rule would then remain in place for two years.


President Biden took office vowing to restore a humane approach to the border crisis after his predecessor, former President Donald J. Trump, introduced a series of harsh immigration policies, including the separation of migrant children from their parents. But as the Biden administration has struggled to quell a surge of migrants fleeing economic ruin in their countries, including Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela, it has turned to more restrictive measures.


The decision, announced jointly by the Homeland Security and Justice Departments, was sharply rebuked by human rights advocates who said the policy mirrored an earlier, much-criticized restriction under Mr. Trump that denied asylum to most migrants who had not first applied for it in Mexico or another country along their way. That policy had been struck down by several federal courts.


Many migrants do not apply for asylum in Mexico, preferring to try their luck in the United States. The new policy was expected to erect a formidable barrier to those hoping to submit U.S. applications.


“The Biden administration’s proposed rule would send asylum seekers back to danger, separate families, and cost lives, as human rights advocates have been asserting for weeks,” said Jane Bentrott, counsel at Justice Action Center, an immigrant rights nonprofit.


“It is in direct contravention of President Biden’s campaign promises to reverse Trump’s racist, xenophobic immigration policies, and give all folks seeking safety a fair shot at asylum,” she said.


On a call with reporters, administration officials said that failure by Congress to pass an overhaul of the nation’s outdated immigration laws and a spate of lawsuits from Republican-led states had prevented the government from effectively managing the southern border. The lifting of Title 42 in May could lead to large crowds attempting to cross the border, they said.


The regulation is designed “to help ensure secure, orderly, and humane processing of migrants once Title 42 eventually lifts,” said one official on the call, whose organizers spoke on the condition that they not be identified.


The officials said that the “new standards” were intended to discourage people without a legitimate need for U.S. protection from coming to the border while allowing others to seek asylum “outside the United States or in a country they are transiting through,” one official said.


The demographics of border crossings have shifted in recent years with the arrival of ever-greater numbers of non-Mexicans who are far more likely to make asylum claims. Because it can take years to process and deport those ultimately found ineligible to receive U.S. protection, applicants have been allowed to remain in the country and receive employment authorization, a situation that incentivizes even more people to come.


Border authorities last year registered more than two million encounters with migrants, a record number. Many of those they intercepted were repeat crossers, who had already been expelled under Title 42. And chaotic scenes of migrants wading across the Rio Grande in Texas prompted fierce criticism from Republican governors, who said the Biden administration had lost control of the border.


The administration’s plan to eliminate Title 42 drew legal challenges from Republican-led states that argued its demise would cause a spike in crossings and mayhem in border communities.


In the meantime, the government has increasingly made use of the emergency health policy to contain the recent influx of migrants.


While still pledging to end the measure, the administration extended it to cover migrants from more countries. In early January, it unveiled a plan to use it to turn back a new flood of crossers from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela, while simultaneously establishing a program that enabled nationals of those countries to apply for parole to enter the United States from their countries of origin if they had a financial sponsor.


Since that program’s inception, overall unlawful crossings have plummeted by 97 percent. On the call with reporters on Tuesday, administration officials said that the decline proved that pairing a humanitarian program with punitive measures that have consequences for illegal crossers was effective.


In its proposed rule, the administration said that projections suggested that lifting Title 42 could lead to an increase in border crossings to 13,000 encounters a day, from last year’s high of about 7,000 a day, absent policy changes and a mechanism to quickly remove those who arrive without authorization.


It cited the growing impact of climate change on migration, political instability in several countries, the evolving recovery from the pandemic, and uncertainty generated by border-related litigation among factors that are pushing migrants to try to cross into the United States.


Under the proposed rule, asylum seekers who arrive at an official port of entry and claim asylum would be allowed to enter if they met the initial criteria and used a mobile app, known as CBP One, to schedule an appointment with U.S. authorities to review their application. But those who cross illegally between ports of entry, if caught, would have to prove that they were denied safe haven while in transit to the United States, such as from Guatemala or Mexico, to be allowed in.


The mobile app, intended to provide an orderly, streamlined system of processing asylum seekers, has been in use since January, but the system has been overloaded by huge demand and plagued with glitches since tens of thousands of migrants staying in shelters on the Mexican side of the border began using it.


Migrants have been rising before dawn to go online, hoping to maximize their chances of securing an appointment through the app. The vast majority fail to get a spot in the virtual queue that opens at 6 a.m. and offers appointments for exactly two weeks later, several immigrant advocates said.


At a shelter in Tijuana, across from San Diego, 150 families recently tried unsuccessfully to make an appointment, said Lindsay Toczylowski, an immigration lawyer who was on site.


“With lives on the line, they got pop-ups,” said Ms. Toczylowski. Screenshots reviewed by The New York Times read, “Time Slot Full,” “System Error,” or “Unable to Verify Location,” even though the migrants were on the border where applicants must be to apply. The messages appeared over and over again, she said.


At another shelter the lawyer visited, only two out of 240 people had managed to secure an appointment when they tried early that morning.


“It’s almost like a lottery,” said Ms. Toczylowski, executive director of Immigrant Defenders Law Center, a nonprofit law firm in California that serves asylum seekers. “You have to win a ticket to be able to seek protection in the U.S.”



4) Turkish Builders Come Under Intense Scrutiny Over Shoddy Construction

More than 43,000 deaths in Turkey from an earthquake have raised painful and angry questions over whether some of those fatalities could have been avoided with better building standards.

By Ben Hubbard, Elif Ince and Safak Timur, Feb. 23, 2023


Rescue workers in Adiyaman, Turkey, this month.

Rescue workers in Adiyaman, Turkey, this month. Credit...Emin Ozmen for The New York Times

ISTANBUL — Two dozen student volleyball players, four teachers and 12 parents visiting Turkey for a competition this month checked into the Grand Isias Hotel in the southern city of Adiyaman. When a powerful earthquake struck on Feb. 6, the building collapsed and killed dozens of people including everyone in the entourage except for four adults.


A university engineer who examined the wreckage found indications of weak concrete and insufficient steel reinforcements, he and his colleagues wrote in a preliminary report, concluding that shoddy construction had left the building vulnerable, even to smaller quakes.


In the weeks since, the Turkish authorities have arrested three men connected to the hotel on unspecified charges as part of a wide-ranging dragnet targeting hundreds of building contractors and owners among others suspected of criminal negligence that contributed to deadly building collapses.


The suspects — some nabbed at the airport with stacks of cash or perp-walked on national television — have become the focus of public rage, with many now questioning whether they padded their profits by flouting the codes put in place over the last two decades to make buildings more quake resistant.


Construction industry experts say that contractors responsible for flawed buildings should be punished. But they also caution that targeting only them obscures gross negligence throughout the system meant to make buildings safe, which may have contributed to thousands of deaths. During most of the past decade, contractors could freely choose which private companies to hire to inspect their buildings, an arrangement that the government eventually concluded had led to “illegal commercial ties.”


“Putting the blame only on the contractors would be the easy way out,” said Ali Ozgunduz, a former state prosecutor who investigated collapsed buildings after another catastrophic earthquake in Turkey in 1999.


Since the 7.8-magnitude quake struck in early February, more than 100,000 buildings have been damaged and more than 43,000 people have been killed in southern Turkey; more than 5,500 have died in Syria.


So far, the Turkish government has investigated 564 people suspected of connections to flawed or collapsed buildings, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Wednesday. Of those, 160 have been detained pending trial; 175 are on probation; and arrest warrants have been issued for dozens more. Many of them are contractors and builders.


The government has released few specifics about who is being investigated and why, but flaws in some buildings that fell were well documented before the quake. In some cases, buildings so new that they should have followed updated seismic standards toppled over. In others, contractors paid fines for violating building codes, but no steps were taken to evacuate or strengthen the vulnerable structures, according to lawyers involved in the cases.


Cemal Gokce, a former president of Turkey’s Chamber of Civil Engineers, a professional organization, accused President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government and his ruling Justice and Development Party of fostering a lax regulatory environment that left cities more vulnerable to earthquake damage.


“The government is trying to avoid responsibility by dumping it onto engineers and architects,” he said. “But the main culprit is the government because they put profits over the public interest.”


During visits to the disaster zone over the past few weeks, Mr. Erdogan seemed to suggest that Turkey should improve its earthquake preparedness.


All Turks “have lessons to learn from the disaster we lived through,” he said on Tuesday. “It is highly important that we eliminate our shortcomings and fortify our strengths in light of past experiences.”


A seismically active country with a history of quakes, Turkey has upgraded its building codes since a powerful tremor near Istanbul in 1999 killed more than 17,000 people. But according to a 2021 parliamentary report, more than 7.8 million buildings constructed before the year 2000 are highly vulnerable to earthquakes.


For newer buildings, construction professionals say the strengthened building codes are technically good. But builders sometimes fail to adhere to those codes.


Mr. Ozgunduz, the former state prosecutor, pointed out weak links at various levels: local officials who greenlit poorly designed projects; inspectors who overlooked flaws during construction; and the Parliament’s passing of a blanket amnesty in 2018 for building code violations in millions of units.


“The political authority is liable too,” he said.


Hoping to broaden the scope of accountability, professional associations are preparing lawsuits against government officials they accuse of complicity.


“We will make sure it is not only the contractors who are held accountable, but also the municipalities, the ministry, the ruling party and all other authorities who are responsible for so many lost lives,” said Eren Can, a lawyer with the Istanbul Bar Association whose parents were killed when their apartment collapsed in the quake.


“I promise my mother and father that we will never let them get away with this.”


Mr. Gokce said problems with the inspection regime let bad practices slip through. So far, at least two building inspectors are among the suspects under scrutiny, suggesting that the government could broaden its inquiry.


Many inspectors lack experience. And from 2011 to 2019, when contractors were allowed to select and pay the private companies that inspected their buildings, it encouraged builders to hire low-cost inspectors who would “give them the least amount of trouble,” Mr. Gokce said.


Some contractors even went as far as setting up their own inspection companies, which they would then pay to effectively inspect themselves.


The government changed the system in 2019 and began assigning inspectors, eliminating what it called “the system’s biggest problem.”


For some buildings that collapsed, signs of trouble were clear before the quake.


In the southern city of Antakya, one of the areas hardest hit by the earthquake, Ebru Ulas and her husband, Gorkem, both lawyers, had filed 51 court cases over the last few years alleging code violations against a single contractor, Omer Cihan, Ms. Ulas said in an interview.


The complaints covered at least seven buildings and experts found problems with at least three of the structures, according to court documents. One of them was the Kule Apartments, a residential tower.


Ms. Ulas said that last year, a judge convicted Mr. Cihan on charges of violating construction regulations there, first sentencing him to a year in prison, then reducing his punishment to a fine of about $650.


On Feb. 6, the building came crashing down, and it is not yet clear how many people died there.


“I had fought as much as I could,” Ms. Ulas said of her legal efforts.


The authorities arrested Mr. Cihan last week. He testified that he had done all the necessary inspections and didn’t know why the building collapsed.


Some people arrested since the quake had connections to political parties, both government and opposition, although it was not immediately clear what role, if any, that may have played in their business practices.


The men arrested in connection to the Isias Hotel, where the volleyballers from Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus died, had ties on both sides of Turkey’s political divide — the government and the opposition.


One of them, Mehmet Fatih Bozkurt, had served as an Adiyaman City Council member in 2014 for Mr. Erdogan’s ruling party, but resigned from the party when his father, Ahmet Bozkurt, ran for Parliament for the largest opposition party the following year, according to Turkish news media.


The elder Mr. Bozkurt told the authorities that he had built the hotel in 1995 and could not remember who had inspected it, according to his testimony reported by Sabah, a pro-government newspaper. He denied accusations that he later modified the building in ways that would have weakened it.


Sahin Avsaroglu, the builder of a large and newly constructed residential project called Badi Saba, which collapsed in the city of Kahramanmaras near the quake’s epicenter, served as a district head for Mr. Erdogan’s party.


He filled his Instagram account with photos of himself with top officials, including Mr. Erdogan’s son-in-law, who was a former finance minister; Mr. Erdogan’s chief spokesman; and other former ministers from the party.


The authorities have since arrested Mr. Avsaroglu, and Turkish news media reported that the party removed him from his position. Representatives of Mr. Avsaroglu could not immediately be reached for comment.


Other projects were so new that they should have followed the more recent buildings codes, last updated in 2018.


Tezcan Karakuş Candan, chairwoman of the Ankara branch of Turkey’s Chamber of Architects, said the onus was on the government to ensure that regulations were followed.


“This is a major earthquake for sure, but this is not the first earthquake in Turkey,” she said. “The legislation does not mean anything on its own: There must be a public authority to inspect it,” she added.


“The system is broken.”


Gulsin Harman contributed reporting.



5) At Sing Sing, Prisoners’ Charges of Brutal Beatings Prompt U.S. Inquiry

Dozens of inmates sued after the November incident, which sent seven to the hospital. They described systematic abuse by special teams of correctional officers.

By Benjamin Weiser, Feb. 23, 2023


Gray prison walls overlook a gray Hudson River.
According to affidavits, the violence unfolded over two days in the prison as teams forced prisoners to strip before attacking them. Credit...Dave Sanders for The New York Times

A young man with a thin beard and black shirt.
Shamel Capers, wrongly imprisoned, said he absorbed a beating without resisting so as not to endanger his release. Credit...Dave Sanders for The New York Times

Federal prosecutors are investigating allegations that corrections officers at Sing Sing Correctional Facility in Ossining, N.Y., orchestrated beatings during a prisonwide search in November, sending at least seven prisoners to the hospital and more than 20 others to a medical unit.


A flood of officers, including special teams from other prisons, converged on cells over at least two days, ordering prisoners to strip to their boxer shorts and then punching and kicking them and slamming their heads against walls or floors, according to affidavits by 26 inmates who are part of a lawsuit filed Jan. 31 against New York State.


The allegations are buttressed by hospital records and a separate interview with Shamel Capers, a former Sing Sing inmate who is not part of the lawsuit and gave a firsthand account of violence that occurred just days before he was released.


The prisoners in their sworn statements describe one officer holding a man’s arm against a radiator, burning him, and another officer twisting a prisoner’s wrist and thumb and threatening to break his hand. Another prisoner describes how he was blinded for days after being pepper-sprayed while he was handcuffed.


“Every part of my body was burning, like nothing I ever experienced,” the prisoner, Vincent Poliandro, says in his account.


Bruce A. Barket, a lawyer whose firm filed the lawsuit in the State Court of Claims, said it reported the allegations to the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York, which he said was investigating along with the F.B.I.


Mr. Barket said federal investigators have interviewed at least seven prisoners represented by the firm.


“This was nothing short of a planned attack on incarcerated men by correction officers,” said Mr. Barket. “Worse, it was approved of and overseen by high-ranking officials in the prison.”


He added, “In our view, staff and supervisors engaged in criminal conduct, and should be held accountable. The suit seeks $1 million in damages for each prisoner.


The U.S. attorney’s office and the F.B.I. declined to comment on the investigation.


Thomas Mailey, a spokesman for the State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, which runs the prisons, said in a statement that the agency cooperates with all investigations, but does not comment “to ensure the integrity of those investigations.” 


The department said it has 21 of the special Corrections Emergency Response Teams, known as CERT, based in correctional facilities around the state that conduct facility searches, among other tasks. Many of those officers who participated in the incident at Sing Sing wore black tactical gear with visors, according to the affidavits and Mr. Capers.


A spokesman for the union for state corrections officers said the organization had no comment.


Sing Sing, a maximum-security prison opened in 1825 on the Hudson River, is about 30 miles north of New York City and holds about 1,400 inmates, the corrections department said. The facility is perhaps best known as the former home of the state’s execution chamber, where more than 600 people went to their deaths in the electric chair.


According to the affidavits, the beatings occurred largely on Nov. 9 in a housing area known as A block, and the next day in B block, when the prison was on lockdown.


Most accounts begin the same way: A prisoner is ordered to strip and carry his mattress out to be scanned for contraband. The prisoner is then directed to return to his cell and face the back wall, with his hands touching the wall above his head.


Then the beatings begin, the affidavits say.


Brian Johnson says five officers entered his cell about 8 a.m., kicking and punching him and causing him to fall. As one grabbed his genitals, another put his head against the rim of the toilet, with his dreadlocks inside the bowl. An officer then grabbed him by the hair, he says in the affidavit.


Mr. Johnson was taken to Montefiore Mount Vernon Hospital, where he received pain medication, a CT scan of his back and an X-ray of his heel, his affidavit says.


Six other inmates were taken to the same hospital, the affidavits say.


One, Anthony McNaughty, says four officers entered his cell and one placed him in a chokehold. He was then pinned face down on his bed, with an officer placing his knees on Mr. McNaughty’s back, making it hard for him to breathe. The officers punched his head and face and one pulled on the fingers of his left hand.


“I started screaming,” Mr. McNaughty says.


He says that after being escorted to the medical unit, an officer again pulled on his fingers.


Hospital records show Mr. McNaughty had a chip fracture to his left hand.


Prisoners say they were accused of disobeying orders even though they say they never resisted.


Aaron Jackson says he stripped and faced the wall. “I complied. I said nothing,” he says.


Officers then began punching his head, back and genitals — “It felt like they were all trying to get blows in,” Mr. Jackson says. “They kept saying, ‘Stop resisting’ and ‘This is our house.’”


Later, as he was led in handcuffs to the medical unit, CERT officers “took turns” punching and kicking him, he says.


Other prisoners had similar accounts of being punched as they were led through a gantlet of officers.


“As they walked me down the gallery,” Travis Matthews says, “CERT officers took turns punching me in the face.” He says he saw officers “do the same thing” to three other inmates.


Danielle Muscatello, a lawyer at Mr. Barket’s firm, said some 20 prisoners who signed affidavits were cited for infractions in connection with the incident. Of those, she said, nearly half were found guilty and transferred to other facilities, including two near the Canadian border.


In the case of one prisoner, Sean Davis, a hearing officer did not believe the allegations.


Mr. Davis says three officers hit him with fists, feet and batons. He was cited for infractions like “assault on staff” and “refusing direct order,” records show. At a hearing, a sergeant testified he had observed Mr. Davis in his cell and in the medical unit, and that the allegations were untrue.


“The evidence and testimony provided clearly shows that the incident that is described in misbehavior report is not accurate,” the hearing officer wrote on Nov. 18.


Ms. Muscatello said she first learned of the beatings at Sing Sing from the mother of Anthony Grigoroff, a prisoner whose appeal she is handling.


When she visited Mr. Grigoroff a few days after the incident, she found him with a black eye and still appearing shaken.


He had heard that 60 to 70 prisoners were assaulted in the incident, Ms. Muscatello recalled. She asked him to provide her name to any prisoner who wanted to contact her, and soon she was hearing from the mothers and relatives of other prisoners with similar accounts. “Family members just kept calling,” Ms. Muscatello said.


She and a colleague began visiting Sing Sing and taking sworn statements from the men. They also attended their clients’ interviews with federal authorities investigating the incident.


“Today I got a visit from 2 federal prosecutors and 2 special agents from the F.B.I. and with them was my lawyer,” Mr. Poliandro, the prisoner who says he was pepper-sprayed, told his mother in a recent email. Ms. Muscatello confirmed Mr. Poliandro’s meeting, but declined to discuss it.


Many of the prisoners who have joined the lawsuit still have years to go on their sentences.


But Mr. Capers, 25, is represented by different lawyers and said his assault occurred just days before he was ordered released by a Queens judge who found he was wrongly convicted in a murder case for which he had already served eight years of a 15 years-to-life sentence.


“He was an innocent kid trapped behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit,” said Elizabeth Geddes, a lawyer with one of the firms representing him. “When he finally reached the end of that very dark tunnel, officers decided to brutally beat him for no reason.”


Mr. Capers, in the interview with The New York Times, said he complied with orders to strip to his boxers and place his hands high on the back wall of his cell before four officers and started beating him, and stomped on him after he fell. One, he said, bent his hands back.


“One officer is screaming, ‘Break something — break something on him,’” Mr. Capers recalled.


He said that as he was led handcuffed behind his back to the medical unit, he was punched again, in the face, upper torso and stomach.


Mr. Capers said he did not try to defend himself, so that he would not incur a new charge that would imperil his release, which happened Nov. 17.


“I really wanted to get home,” he said. “I didn’t move an inch to even resist.”



6) Doctor Describes and Denounces C.I.A. Practice of ‘Rectal Feeding’ of Prisoners

In a hearing at Guantánamo Bay, an expert gave a graphic public depiction of torture after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

By Carol Rosenberg, Published Feb. 24, 2023, Updated Feb. 25, 2023

Dr. Sondra S. Crosby, an expert on torture and trauma, testifying in a Connecticut court in 2009.
Dr. Sondra S. Crosby, an expert on torture and trauma, testifying in a Connecticut court in 2009. “This was a very, very distressing painful, shameful stigmatizing event,” she said of the C.I.A. torture practice. Credit...Pool photo by Bob Child

GUANTÁNAMO BAY, Cuba — Over the years, the Central Intelligence Agency’s use of waterboarding and other forms of torture in its secret overseas prisons after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks has been revealed in government leaks, testimony and a damning Senate investigation.


But an expert’s testimony this week in pretrial hearings at Guantánamo Bay offered some of the most graphic details made public about the C.I.A.’s shadowy use of rectal feeding on its prisoners, a discredited practice kept secret long after other torture methods had been exposed.


Dr. Sondra S. Crosby, a court-approved expert on torture and other trauma, testified in a long-running defense effort by lawyers for Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who is accused of orchestrating the 2000 bombing of the U.S.S. Cole. The lawyers are seeking to suppress from his eventual trial admissions he made to federal investigators as tainted by torture.


She held up a tube that is designed to be put in a patient’s windpipe and said that — according to the agency’s once-secret records —C.I.A. prison staff inserted one just like it into Mr. Nashiri’s anus in May 2004. Agency personnel then used a syringe to inject a protein enriched nutritional shake into his body.


She testified that at Guantánamo Bay in 2013, Mr. Nashiri confided that, years earlier, C.I.A. personnel grabbed him from his cell, stripped him naked, shackled him at the wrists and ankles, bent him over a chair and administered the liquid.


He asked that she never again speak to him about it. And he did not attend the court session when she discussed it at length on Thursday.


“This was a very, very distressing painful, shameful stigmatizing event,” Dr. Crosby testified. “He experienced it as a violent rape, sexual assault.”


Another year would pass before Dr. Crosby found corroboration of the account. In December 2014, the Obama administration released a 500-page summary of a classified Senate study of the C.I.A.’s so-called black site program. It revealed the agency’s practice of using “rectal rehydration” and “rectal feeding” to punish prisoners.


At the time, the C.I.A. defended it as a sound medical procedure. The group Physicians for Human Rights then condemned the practice as “sexual assault masquerading as medical treatment.”


But this week the agency declined a request for a comment on the descriptions that were attributed to the C.I.A. in open court. Nor would an agency spokeswoman respond to Dr. Crosby’s testimony that Mr. Nashiri also told her that he was sodomized with a broom stick while the C.I.A. held him in a cell, nude with his wrists shackled above his head.


The testimony emerged in pretrial hearings in which the judge, Col. Lanny J. Acosta Jr., is being asked to decide which evidence can be used at Mr. Nashiri’s eventual capital trial. Mr. Nashiri, 58, is accused of orchestrating Al Qaeda’s Oct. 12, 2000, suicide attack on the U.S.S. Cole destroyer that killed 17 U.S. sailors during a refueling stop at the port of Aden, Yemen.


Defense lawyers argue that the testimony, in tandem with other litigation, should persuade the judge to exclude statements the prisoner gave to interrogators in 2007, soon after he was transferred to Guantánamo for trial — or, alternatively, to remove the possibility of a death sentence.


Dr. Crosby is a Boston internist who has been evaluating and treating torture victims since the 1990s. She is paid by the Pentagon to serve as a consultant to Mr. Nashiri’s legal defense team and was granted a security clearance.


In preparation for her testimony, Dr. Crosby said, she was given access to C.I.A. materials. She related the facts that she found in a clinical fashion.


“They left the tube in for an additional 30 minutes ‘to aid in colonic absorption,’” Dr. Crosby said, dismissing the procedure as bogus. The liquid nutritional supplement “would have acted just like an enema, and it would been expelled.”


Daniel Jones, who led the research for the Senate investigation, hailed the testimony as consistent with the findings of his team, which consulted medical experts and found the practice of rectal feeding or hydrating to be anything but health care.


“C.I.A. officers consistently discussed it as a technique to punish or manipulate detainees — writing that it was done to gain ‘total control over the detainee’ or to help ‘clear a person’s head,’” he said. “No medical personnel or C.I.A. officers were ever held accountable for these actions.”


In court, Dr. Crosby held up a breathing tube, 7 millimeters in diameter, that she said was like the tube the C.I.A. used for Mr. Nashiri’s “rectal feeding.” She offered an explanation of how human beings process foods through the stomach — “it cannot be done in reverse” — and then offered a history lesson.


In battlefield situations, medics have forced fluid into the rectum of gravely wounded soldiers to rehydrate them, she said. But an experiment carried out on medical students in the 1930s showed that the practice of trying to nourish people that way was ineffective. “There is no medical benefit ever to administering any form of nutrition through the rectum,” she said.


The testimony was the most detailed public accounting of the procedure, from a medical perspective.


In October 2021, the since-released prisoner Majid Khan told his sentencing jury that C.I.A. agents used “green garden hoses” connected to a faucet to force water inside his rectum. His descriptions of what the C.I.A. did to him so troubled a military jury that they urged the Pentagon to grant Mr. Khan clemency.


At a hearing in 2018 in the Sept. 11 conspiracy case, a prosecutor read aloud from a C.I.A. cable that described something similar being done to Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in March 2003, his first month of detention, for twice refusing an interrogator’s order to drink a glass of water.


Mr. Mohammed was taken to another room, “placed on a plastic sheet” and a C.I.A. “medical officer” carried out the procedure. “When he was returned to the interrogation room, he then complied and drank water.”



7) Urgent Statement Condemning the eviction of Mr. Takao Shito from his farmland
Sanrizuka-Shibayama United Opposition League against Construction of the Airport

Japan. February 16, 2023

The Sanrizuka-Shibayama United Opposition League against Construction of the Airport strongly condemns the violent eviction that destroyed and robbed the farmland and buildings of our member Takao Shito, as well as the tower and signs owned by the League.

The Narita International Airport Corporation (NAA) and Chiba Prefectural Police’s riot unit have taken away with physical violence Mr. Shito’s habitat and land, which his family has cultivated since his grandparent’s generation for 100 years and yields a bountiful harvest. They have also destroyed the tower and signs that have shown farmers’ unyielding will to fight against the state brutality to construct airport for nearly 60 years. We will never forgive the NAA, the police and Chiba District Court, which legal-washed their criminal act.

On February 15, the NAA and the police riot unit carried out this enforcement action at night in a despicable manner, like a nighttime burglary. This shows how unjust and anti-people this enforcement measure is.

Late last year, the NAA stated its intention to enforce compulsory seizure under court order. The Opposition League, determined to take on the enemy assault, created a decisive fighting structure, and has continued to block enforcement through daily sit-ins, protests, and gathering signatures on street against the planned seizure. Being afraid of people’s struggle, the NAA and the state power resorted to trickery, their usual tactic in the construction of Narita Airport.

Upon receiving the news of the “enforcement on February 15,” the League and its supporters gathered and prepared the counteraction from early morning on the same day. The number of supporters exceeded 100, and as the sun was setting, everyone thought that there would be no enforcement on that day, and many of them started to head home. However, at 8:00 p.m., when darkness fell, hundreds of the police with riot gear—helmets, shields, batons, pistols, and even water cannons—appeared, blocked the road in front of Shito’s house, and rushed into his fields, workshop, and detached house, and surrounded them with iron fences.

On that news, however, the League’s supporters rapidly came back. Once again, 100 people gathered there, stood arm-in-arm, confronting the police. But the riot police used their concentrated force to remove the League and the supports one by one and heavy machinery entered the fields and yard to destroy and rob them.

Where is a “rule of law”! Where is a “democracy”, “protection of people’s lives and livelihoods”! What has actually taken place in this enforcement action is the destruction of the life and livelihood of a farmer by a blatant and brutal state force, a very robbery.

Why has the state power, the NAA and the court decided to carry out the violent seizure, breaching their promise of “no forcible measures”? The bent taxiway cannot be straightened by this land seizure. Passenger numbers have plummeted because of the Covid-19 pandemic. There are no economic reasons for this forcible eviction.

The real reason of it is the necessity to crush the League and its supporters, which has been violently fighting state power, calling the Narita Airport “a military airfield”, while the U.S. and Japanese governments are accelerating their push for aggressive war on China since the outbreak of the Ukraine war. The CSIS, U.S. imperialist think tank, recently published The First Battle of the Next War: Wargaming a Chinese Invasion of Taiwan, which reads, “Although local political opposition may obstruct peacetime and possibly wartime access to Japanese civilian airports, the significant payoff justifies a strong effort.”

The Japanese government evicted a farmer from his land in the name of “national policy,” “national interest.” The war is a continuation of such politics. Now is the time to shout more loudly than ever the slogan, which the opposition alliance has advocated from the outset of our struggle, “Smash the Narita Military Airport!” 

The League and its supporters shared Mr. Shito’s raging fury throughout the night, confronting the riot police blockade line that attempted to seize the farmland and engaging in a fierce battle on the tower and the rooftops of the detached house. From the young students to the older generations in their 70s engaged in the action and strengthened their solidarity. The common motto of the Sanrizuka Struggle, “Defend farmland to the death! Hold firm! Direct action!” has been consolidated. Let’s take back three students who were unjustly arrested immediately!

They forcefully executed the eviction. Nevertheless, the League and supporters are getting stronger, and the justice of the Sanrizuka struggle is shining brighter and brighter. The League fiercely denounces the latest outrage of the state power and the NAA and is determined to continue to fight until the airport is closed. We will defend Mr. Shito’s farm and livelihood and pledge to fight until we get back the farmland that was taken away from him.



8) Their Hair Long and Flowing or in Ponytails, Women in Iran Flaunt Their Locks

Defiant resistance to Iran’s mandatory hijab law has exploded across the country after nationwide protests that erupted last year.

By Farnaz Fassihi, Feb. 25, 2023


Varying degrees of head coverings in Tehran.
Varying degrees of head coverings in Tehran. Credit...Arash Khamooshi for The New York Times

An engineer strode onstage at an event in Tehran, wearing tight pants and a stylish shirt, and clutching a microphone in one hand. Her long brown hair, tied in a ponytail, swung freely behind her, uncovered, in open defiance of Iran’s strict hijab law.


“I am Zeinab Kazempour,” she told the convention of Iran’s professional association of engineers. She condemned the group for supporting the hijab rules, and then she marched offstage, removing a scarf from around her neck and tossing it to the floor under a giant image of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.


The packed auditorium erupted in cheers, claps and whistles. A video of Ms. Kazempour went viral on social media and local news sites, making her the latest champion for many Iranians in a growing, open challenge to the hijab law.


Women have resisted the law, uncovering their hair an inch or a strand at a time, since it went into effect two years after the Islamic Revolution in 1979.


But since the death last year of Mahsa Amini, 22, while in the custody of the country’s morality police, women and girls have been at the center of a nationwide uprising, demanding an end not only to hijab requirements but to the Islamic Republic itself.


Women are suddenly flaunting their hair: left long and flowing in the malls; tied in a bun on the streets; styled into bobs on public transportation; and pulled into ponytails at schools and on university campuses, according to interviews with women in Iran as well as photographs and videos online. While these acts of defiance are rarer in more conservative areas, they are increasingly being seen in towns and cities.


“I have not worn a scarf for months — I don’t even carry it with me any more,” said Kimia, 23, a graduate student in the Kurdish city of Sanandaj, in western Iran, who, like other women interviewed for this article, asked that her surname not be used for fear of retribution.


Kimia said that many female students at her college did not cover their hair even in classrooms in the presence of male professors. “Whether the government likes to admit it or not,” she said, “the era of the forced hijab is over.”


Iran’s hijab law mandates that women and girls over 9 cover their hair, and that they hide the curves of their bodies under long, loose robes.


Many women still adhere to the rule in public, some by choice and others from fear. Videos of the traditional bazaar in downtown Tehran, Iran’s capital, for example, show most women covering their hair.


But videos of parks, cafes, restaurants and malls — places popular with younger women — show more of them uncovered. Many prominent women, including celebrities and athletes, have removed their hijab in Iran and while representing the country abroad.


The state has long promoted the hijab law as a symbol of its success in establishing the Islamic Republic, but enforcement has varied, depending on which political faction was in power.


After the election in 2021 of Ebrahim Raisi, a hard-liner, as president, the rules have been increasingly enforced, and with a strictness and brutality that have enraged Iranian women, many of whom were fined, beaten or arrested by the morality police after they were said to be in violation.


But anger over the law boiled over in September, when the young woman, Ms. Amini, 22, died in the custody of the morality police, and as the street protests that broke out across Iran quickly morphed into broader calls for an end to being ruled by the country’s clerics.

The protests have largely fizzled amid a violent crackdown by the authorities that has included mass arrests, death sentences and the executions of four young protesters.


But many acts of civil disobedience continue daily, including chanting “death to the dictator” from rooftops, writing graffiti on walls and tearing down and setting ablaze government banners.


And women have been going out in public without their hijabs.


Officials said in December they had disbanded the morality police, and they have not been seen on the streets since. For the moment, the authorities are only occasionally enforcing the hijab rules, according to women and activists in Iran.


The authorities recently shut down two pharmacies, one in Tehran and another in the northern city of Amol, after female employees were reported for not wearing a hijab. And in the religious city of Qum, they reprimanded the manager of a bank for catering to clients without hijabs. The judiciary has also opened a case against Ms. Kazempour, the engineer, according to Iranian news reports.


Officials say they are reviewing the enforcement rules and plan to announce updated measures. One conservative lawmaker has said that alternative enforcement methods are being considered, like warning women by text message, denying them civic services or blocking their bank accounts.


“Head scarves will be back on women’s heads,” the lawmaker, Hossein Jalali, was reported as saying in December on Iranian media.


But the defiance remains too widespread to contain and too pervasive to reverse, women’s rights activists say.


“The core and heart of this movement is really the revolutionary act of these women turning their head scarves into the most effective and most powerful weapon against religious dictatorship and deep layers of misogyny and patriarchy,” said Fatemeh Shams, a women’s rights activist and an assistant professor of Persian literature at the University of Pennsylvania.


The women who have stopped covering their hair say that they are determined to do as they wish, but that they are in favor of a “voluntary hijab.” They also say that they respect the rights of women who choose wear scarves.


Leila, 51, who lives in Tehran, said she and her teenage daughter had been dressing in public as they did in private and when they traveled abroad — in dresses, skirts, skinny jeans and tight sweaters.


“I recently had to travel and struggled over whether I should wear the hijab at the airport because there are a lot of security agents, but decided against it,” Leila said in a telephone interview. She was stunned to see the majority of the women at the airport that day had also ditched their hijabs. “We all got through security and passport control with our hair uncovered, and they said nothing. Our power is in numbers.”


Hathis, 25, who reviews books and movies online, posted a photograph of herself on Instagram in December sitting, hair uncovered, with a friend at an outdoor cafe in Tehran. “Is this what it feels like to feel the cool fall breeze blow through your hair? And for 25 years I was denied this?”


Even many religious women who wear a hijab by choice have joined the campaign to repeal the law. A petition with thousands of names and photographs of women is circulating on Instagram and Twitter with the message, “I wear the hijab, but I am against the compulsory hijab.”


Maryam, 53, who observes the hijab law and lives in Tehran, recently traveled with her daughter to the holiday island of Kish in the Persian Gulf. They were surprised to find most women wearing short-sleeved sun dresses, sandals, capri pants and T-shirts. “Are we in Turkey or Iran?” asked her daughter, Narges, 26.


Shortly after the trip, Narges changed all of her social media profile photos to one in which her long brown hair was flowing over her shoulders and her fist was raised in the air. It announced to her religious conservative family that she was taking off her hijab.


“I will never bring down my fist until freedom, even if we have to wait for many years,” Narges wrote on her Instagram page.


Maryam said in an interview that she was flooded with messages and calls from relatives and friends, some supportive and some critical of her daughter.


“I told them that times have changed,” she said. “I respect my daughter’s choice and so should you. It’s nobody’s business.”


Leily Nikounazar contributed reporting.



9) Revenge Attacks After Killing of 2 Israeli Brothers Leave West Bank in Turmoil

Settlers burned and vandalized hundreds of cars and homes in four Palestinian villages, according to Israeli rights groups and Palestinian officials, and the area was braced for more violence.

By Patrick Kingsley and Isabel Kershner, Feb. 27, 2023

Patrick Kingsley reported from Huwara, West Bank; and Isabel Kershner from Jerusalem.


Damaged buildings and gutted vehicles on Monday after Jewish settlers set fire overnight to a scrapyard in the Palestinian town of Huwara, south of the West Bank city of Nablus.

Damaged buildings and gutted vehicles on Monday after Jewish settlers set fire overnight to a scrapyard in the Palestinian town of Huwara, south of the West Bank city of Nablus. Credit...Ronaldo Schemidt/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

When a Palestinian gunman shot dead two Israeli settlers on Sunday afternoon in the northern part of the occupied West Bank, the residents of nearby Palestinian towns knew from long experience to await sporadic acts of revenge.


But few anticipated the systematic ferocity with which mobs from nearby Israeli settlements responded on Sunday night. Settlers burned and vandalized at least 200 buildings in four Palestinian villages near the site of the killings, according to initial tallies from Israeli rights groups and Palestinian officials. And a Palestinian official said that one Palestinian had been killed in the settler attack.


It was one of the most intense episodes of settler-led violence in memory and worsened what had already been the deadliest start to a year in the West Bank since 2000, according to Palestinian officials. The surge in violence has shown little sign of abating, even as Israeli and Palestinian leaders and their regional neighbors stepped up efforts to calm the crisis at a meeting in Jordan on Sunday.


Hopes of a rapprochement were slim, however, with Israel’s government, the country’s most right-wing and religious administration ever, counting settlers among its ministers, and Palestinian leaders losing control over armed Palestinian groups. On Monday evening, another shooting attack was reported in the southern West Bank, with one person critically injured, medics said.


Often acting within sight of Israeli soldiers, hundreds of settlers, some of them armed with knives and guns, set ablaze hundreds of cars and homes in a five-hour rampage Sunday after the killing of the two settlers, brothers who had been shot dead as they drove through the Palestinian town of Huwara hours earlier.


“We usually say ‘God help the neighbors,’ because we aren’t usually affected,” said Ammar Damedi, 37, a gold trader in Huwara whose family lives beyond the areas habitually targeted in reprisals by settlers, who are rarely convicted of such attacks.


But on Sunday night, Mr. Damedi’s family compound was one of the worst hit. On Monday morning, the embers were still burning in his guesthouse.


“This is the tax for living in Palestine,” added Mr. Damedi, his arm in a sling after he said he was hit by a stone thrown by a settler.


About 60 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank since the start of 2023, mainly in gun battles between Palestinian armed groups and Israeli soldiers, and at least 13 Israelis have been killed in Palestinian attacks in Jerusalem and the West Bank.


The violence is increasing despite U.S.-led efforts to calm the situation, culminating in a rare, one-day summit on Sunday of Israeli and Palestinian officials, along with American, Egyptian and Jordanian representatives, in the Jordanian resort of Aqaba. The conference was intended to discuss how to de-escalate tensions before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which starts in late March, but ended with no concrete plans.


The same day, settlers began to surge through the northern West Bank, undermining the aims of the conference while underscoring its necessity.


On Monday, more violence seemed inevitable after armed Palestinian groups warned of further attacks; protesters in the Gaza Strip held demonstrations at the edge of the enclave, risking confrontations with Israeli soldiers there; and settler activists — backed by some far-right members of the governing coalition — called for Israelis to gather at friction points in the West Bank after the funerals of the two brothers.


Senior government ministers, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, called for calm and condemned vigilantism, while the Israeli Army said that it would send two additional battalions to the occupied territory. “I ask — even when the blood is boiling — not to take the law into one’s hands,” Mr. Netanyahu said on Sunday night.


But other figures in the coalition set a different tone. One far-right lawmaker, Limor Son Har-Melech, traveled on Sunday night to the area where the brothers were killed and where settlers later attacked Palestinians to “support the righteous cry” of settlers who “came out to protest and demand security.”


A second far-right coalition lawmaker, Tzvika Foghel, said that the settler violence had created a deterrent. “I am very pleased with the result,” he said. “Wherever terrorists come to murder me, I want to see that place in flames. Metaphorically.”


Among Palestinians attacked on Sunday night, there was a strong perception that the settlers had been galvanized by the governing coalition, which includes several settler leaders in key ministries, including finance and national security.


The government was “the main reason” for the settler violence, Mr. Damedi said. Even during earlier periods of heightened violence, in the late 1980s and early 2000s, violent settlers “never came this far into the town and never went from one village to another like they went last night,” he added.


His own compound was testament to the spread of the violence. Settlers smashed most of the compound’s windows, burned several cars outside, and stole electronic equipment and perfume before setting ablaze a guesthouse and prompting several children to shelter in a bathroom for several hours, several family members said.


The family cat was burned alive, they added, and the embers were still smoldering Monday morning.


Asked why the Israeli Army had been unable to prevent the settler violence and even stood by as some attacks took place, a military official, who requested anonymity in line with protocol, acknowledged that mistakes had been made and that commanders had not expected the settlers to fan out through Huwara’s back streets instead of remaining on the main thoroughfare.


The official said that the army and other security services, including the police, were scaling up efforts to arrest the settlers involved in the attacks, and that 10 had already been apprehended. But he said that there were no plans to install additional checkpoints outside nearby settlements to detain suspects — even though similar posts were placed outside nearby Palestinian towns after the brothers’ killing, creating hourslong tailbacks.


The brothers, Hillel and Yagel Yaniv, were buried in Jerusalem on Monday afternoon. Both in their early 20s, they were residents of Har Bracha, a Jewish settlement built in the hills above Nablus in 1983 and considered illegal under international law by most countries after Israel captured the territory during the Arab-Israeli War of 1967.


Hillel Yaniv, a student at a religious seminary, had served as a staff sergeant in the Israeli Navy, while his younger brother, Yagel, was also a seminary student. Hillel was the “hardest-working man we knew — whatever he could do, he would,” his aunt, Tamar Naumburg, said in a eulogy on Monday. Yagel was “filled with life and fun,” Ms. Naumburg added.


Long-running tensions between residents of settlements like Har Bracha, which have expanded considerably since their creation, and the surrounding Palestinian towns, like Huwara, have led to frequent outbreaks of violence.


More than 100 Palestinians were reported injured in the settler rampage on Sunday, most from inhalation of smoke or tear gas. One man, Moataz Deek, 28, said that he had been stabbed multiple times by several settlers, narrowly avoiding serious injury, and held up his shirt to show at least 22 fresh knife marks.


Palestinian officials said that another person had been hit with an iron bar.


Israel’s two-month-old government had vowed a more aggressive stance toward Palestinian attackers and more support for Jewish settlements in the West Bank.


But on Sunday night, as fires raged in Huwara, many Israelis expressed the sense that the security forces had been unprepared and that things were spinning out of control. Israel is already in turmoil, deeply divided over the new government’s plans for a drastic judicial overhaul that critics say will undermine the country’s democratic foundations and, indirectly, its armed forces. Reservist soldiers have increasingly expressed reservations about serving a country undergoing such judicial change.


Settlers also returned on Sunday night to an unauthorized Jewish settlement outpost, Evyatar, another West Bank friction point that was evacuated by the previous government. Israeli forces were trying to evacuate the outpost again on Monday.


In Huwara, Palestinians were bracing for more violence.


The Damedis recounted how four generations of the family had taken shelter in bathrooms and bedrooms to avoid the stones being thrown through their windows by settlers.


But worse was to come, according to Jamelah Damedi, 59, Ammar’s mother.


“You haven’t seen anything yet,” she said.



10) Why 23 Dead Whales Have Washed Up on the East Coast Since December

Another humpback whale was spotted dead late Monday, floating near a shipping channel between New York and New Jersey, the 13th whale found in the two states in three months.

By Tracey Tully and Winston Choi-Schagrin, Feb. 28, 2023


Several people in winter coats stand alongside a dead minke whale on a beach.
Members of the Unkechaug Nation tribe on Long Island performed a burial ceremony before a front-end loader pushed a minke whale into a deep sand grave. Credit...Andrew Seng for The New York Times

First a North Atlantic right whale, a critically endangered species, washed ashore in Virginia. Then a humpback floated onto a beach in New Jersey. Not long afterward, a minke whale, swept in on the morning tide, landed on the Rockaway Peninsula in New York City.


And that was in just a single week this month.


In all, 23 dead whales have washed ashore along the East Coast since early December, including 12 in New Jersey and New York, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The pace of the deaths is worrisome to federal scientists, even if the total numbers are below some prior years.


Late Monday, the Coast Guard spotted another whale floating south of the Ambrose shipping channel, between New York and New Jersey; two teams from New York located the animal and determined that it was a humpback, but it was not clear where it might wash ashore.


Most of the fatalities have been humpbacks, and post-mortem examinations have suggested that ship strikes are likely the cause of many of the deaths.


Scientists believe the mortality rate may be tied to an unlikely confluence of factors.


The population of humpbacks, hunted legally until 1985, has rebounded, thanks in part to decades of efforts to clean the Atlantic Ocean and heavily polluted tributaries like the Hudson River. As the climate changes and oceans warm, whales and a favored prey, menhaden, are migrating and feeding in new locations, often closer to shore.


Online pandemic buying habits are also fueling a record-setting surge in cargo shipments that last year made ports in New York and New Jersey the nation’s busiest. Much of the merchandise is now toted on far bigger ships — some of which have altered their routes to help alleviate the supply-chain chaos that last year left some store shelves bare.


As a result, more whales appear to have found themselves in the direct path of more ships.


“When the whales are in these channels,” said Paul Sieswerda, executive director of Gotham Whale, a New York City-based whale research group, “you have to cross your fingers and hope there are no collisions.”


This winter’s quick succession of stranded whales also coincides with work being done in advance of the installation of roughly a dozen large offshore wind farms from Massachusetts to Virginia. Opponents of offshore wind have said that the sonar used by energy companies to map the ocean floor or the noise from seabed rock sampling might be contributing to the whale deaths, though NOAA and the Marine Mammal Commission say there is no evidence that this is true.


The humpback whale found on Feb. 13 in Manasquan, N.J., had been spotted about a month earlier feeding in the Raritan Bay, 30 miles from where it washed ashore.


Sheila Dean’s phone at the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine, N.J., rang that day, as it often does when dead whales turn up. It had been an exceptionally busy few weeks for Ms. Dean, who joined the center in 1978 after years working as a sea lion and dolphin trainer on Atlantic City’s famed Steel Pier.


She and a team of 10 volunteers arrived on the beach the next morning and found a whale known by her markings as NYC0298.


There is no way to X-ray a creature as large as a school bus on a beach, so researchers check for injuries manually, pulling back thick layers of blubber and reaching up to a foot into the body cavity to look for parasites, scarring or bruises, a telltale sign of a vessel strike. The work is strenuous, and the smell is foul.


“Our job is to find out what is killing them,” Ms. Dean said.


On Feb. 17, another volunteer necropsy team was called to the Rockaways, in Queens, to investigate the death of the minke found with deep propeller gashes in its side.


Harry Wallace, chief of the Unkechaug Nation, a Native American tribe from Long Island, was there, too. He performed a burial service after the whale sleuths had finished their work.


After the prayer, a front-end loader pushed the minke into a deep hole in the beach and covered the carcass with sand — the method used to dispose of most beached whales. The animals are buried deep enough to avoid a stench; over time, extra sand is often needed to fill in the divot as the whale decomposes and the grave settles.


“It’s our responsibility to recognize and remind that all living things have a spirit,” Chief Wallace said after the ceremony.


For more than half of all whales found stranded, investigators are not able to determine a definitive cause of death. Most of the animals are too decomposed; others may have died of infections that are impossible to detect or differentiate from the bacteria that quickly begins to form on dead tissue.


Sixteen of the whales stranded in the last three months have been humpbacks, nearly half as many as washed ashore in all of 2017, a peak year for deaths of both humpbacks and right whales. That year, humpbacks, right whales and minkes were all found to be experiencing what NOAA calls an “unusual mortality event,” which has led to extra resources from the federal government for inquiry into the deaths.


Since then, at least 335 of these three species have washed ashore along the East Coast.


Still, this winter’s quick succession of deaths over a short period is unusual, NOAA officials say.


Investigators found evidence of vessel strikes in all three of the whales that washed ashore during the week of Valentine’s Day.


Even before the coronavirus pandemic fueled a surge in online shopping — and shipping — local cargo ports had undergone a significant change. Starting in 2017, ports near New York opened for the first time to the world’s biggest ships after the Bayonne Bridge was lifted, an engineering feat that raised the waterway clearance by 64 feet.


Last year, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey moved more cargo at its ports than ever before, representing a 27 percent increase in volume from 2019.


In the last six months, ships that typically traveled only south before returning to international ports have also begun making northbound return trips to retrieve empty cargo containers, said Amanda Kwan, a Port Authority spokeswoman. The round-trip routes reduce the number of empty shipping containers that accumulate in port — one of several factors that contributed to last year’s supply-chain havoc — but have also added to shipping traffic up and down the seaboard.


Last summer, NOAA proposed enforcing a 10-knot speed limit farther from port and applying it to boats as small as 35 feet, a rule thought to limit injuries if a collision occurs and to give whales time to get out of the way.


“We’re extremely careful,” said Capt. Timothy J. Ferrie, a president of the Sandy Hook Pilots Association who has steered ships in and out of New York Harbor for more than 43 years.


“If the bait is there,” he added, “the whales are there.”


Some of the loudest voices drawing attention to the uptick in whale deaths are longtime opponents of offshore wind energy, who have found in the gruesome images of rotting whale carcasses a new 40-ton mascot.


Several local groups have found common cause with national organizations that have accepted funding from the fossil fuel industry, including the Caesar Rodney Institute, a right-leaning nonprofit that David T. Stevenson helps to lead.


Mr. Stevenson, who opposes offshore wind farms, is not convinced that it is greenhouse gases that have caused Earth to heat up, contradicting settled science. He believes offshore wind energy will be too expensive, and he recently founded the American Coalition for Ocean Protection, which now has chapters in coastal communities in New Jersey and New York.


“If an emotional response is what it takes,” he said about concern for the whales, “I’m not going to turn them down.”


Over the last month, Republican congressmen, conservative talk-show hosts and dozens of Jersey Shore mayors have called for an immediate moratorium on wind-energy projects.


“It’s not reasonable that it’s not going to cause real ecological damage,” said Cindy Zipf, director of Clean Ocean Action in New Jersey, which is calling for additional study before offshore wind projects receive final authorization.


But environmental protection organizations have largely supported wind energy. Thirteen such groups in New Jersey have reiterated support for offshore wind, a pillar of President Biden’s ambitious goals for reducing carbon emissions and combating climate change.


“The organizations that are serious about protecting marine life recognize there are trade-offs,” said Matthew B. Eisenson, who runs a legal defense initiative at the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University. “Climate change can impact marine life — and we need renewable energy to mitigate climate impacts.”



11) Biden Administration Asks Congress to Reauthorize Warrantless Surveillance Law

Facing steeper political headwinds than past cycles, the executive branch is packaging the spying authority known as Section 702 as more than a counterterrorism tool.

By Charlie Savage, Feb. 28, 2023


People looking at their cellphones on the subway in New York.

The law requires cellphone network operators to provide the government with copies of any phone calls, texts and internet communications to or from a foreign target. Credit...Karsten Moran for The New York Times

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration urged Congress on Tuesday to renew a controversial warrantless surveillance law, emphasizing that security officials use it for a broad range of foreign policy and national security goals like detecting espionage by countries like China and Iran or stopping hackers.


The administration’s effort is likely to face particularly steep headwinds because many Republicans have adopted former President Donald J. Trump’s distrust of security agencies and surveillance, bolstering privacy advocates who have long been skeptical of the law, known as Section 702.


To head off the resistance, the Biden administration has sought to cast the law, which would otherwise expire at the end of the year, as a tool that is used not only for counterterrorism but has also aided the government in identifying economic risks and preventing foreign actors from creating weapons of mass destruction.


In a letter to lawmakers, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland and Avril Haines, the director of national intelligence, described the law as vital.


“There is no way to replicate Section 702’s speed, reliability, specificity and insight,” they wrote.


Enacted in 2008, Section 702 legalized a form of a warrantless wiretapping program code-named Stellarwind, which President George W. Bush secretly started after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. It continues to be a counterterrorism tool; the letter also stressed, as the N.S.A. director Paul M. Nakasone said last month, that the surveillance program played a role in the drone strike in August that killed the Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri.


But despite its recent shift in emphasis on uses beyond counterterrorism, the government has relied on Section 702 for the full array of foreign intelligence purposes from the start.


It allows the government to collect — on domestic soil and without a warrant — the communications of targeted foreigners abroad, including when those people are interacting with Americans. The National Security Agency can order email services like Google to turn over copies of all messages in the accounts of any foreign user and network operators like AT&T to furnish copies of any phone calls, texts and internet communications to or from a foreign target.


Section 702 is an exception to the Foreign Intelligence Act of 1978, or FISA, which generally requires the government to obtain individualized warrants from a court to carry out electronic surveillance activities for national-security purposes on domestic soil.


Republicans lawmakers have traditionally been more supportive of national-security powers like surveillance. But Mr. Trump’s repeated efforts to stoke mistrust of the F.B.I. and surveillance has altered the political calculus in the effort to renew the Section 702.


As part of the Russia investigation, F.B.I. applications for FISA wiretaps of Carter Page, a former adviser to the 2016 Trump campaign, were riddled with errors and omissions, an inspector general found. Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, a Trump ally who is the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, which shares jurisdiction over FISA with the Intelligence Committee, told Fox News in October that “I think we should not even reauthorize FISA, which is going to come in the next Congress.”


Notably, however, the kind of wiretapping that the F.B.I. botched in the Russia investigation involved warrants, the authority for which is not expiring.


Section 702 has long attracted skepticism by civil libertarians for privacy reasons: When a targeted foreigner is communicating with an American, the government collects that target’s messages to and from the American without a warrant, too.


The letter on Tuesday, addressed to the top Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress, came as Matthew G. Olsen, the head of the Justice Department’s national security division, made the case for extending the law during a speech at the Brookings Institution.


“Its value cannot be overstated,” he said. “Without 702, we will lose indispensable intelligence for our decision makers and warfighters, as well as those of our allies. And we have no fallback authority that could come close to making up for that loss.”


Even as Mr. Olsen acknowledged that government officials have sometimes failed to comply with rules limiting when they can query for Americans’ information gathered under Section 702, he argued that various changes to ensure compliance should give lawmakers and the public confidence. “Unfortunately, in this highly sensitive area, we’ve made mistakes in recent years that have undermined trust,” he said.


Some privacy advocates have proposed requiring officials to obtain a warrant requirement before querying the raw repository of intercepts in search of Americans’ information. National security officials have opposed that idea, portraying it as potentially hamstringing the government to prevent it from gaining access to potentially important information it has already lawfully collected.


“As in past reauthorization cycles,” the letter said, the intelligence community and the Justice Department “are committed to engaging with Congress on potential improvements to the authority that fully preserve its efficacy.”



12) A Drug Company Exploited a Safety Requirement to Make Money

With a history as a date rape drug, a medication needed strict distribution controls. Its maker, Jazz Pharmaceuticals, used that to delay competition.

By Rebecca Robbins, Feb. 28, 2023

Brian Mahn, wearing a dark shirt and tan pants, sits on a bed and holds a medicine bottle.
Brian Mahn said he had to stop taking Xyrem because it was too difficult to wake up in the middle of the night for the second dose. Credit...Michael Stravato for The New York Times

The pharmaceutical industry is rife with tales of companies dreaming up ways to prolong their monopolies on lucrative drugs. They tinker with chemicals. They tweak dosing. They swap out capsules for tablets.


By piling up patents, drug companies delay the day when competitors can introduce similar, cheaper products.


Jazz Pharmaceuticals has figured out a way to push the boundaries even further — a feat that demonstrates the lengths to which drug makers go to eke out extra profits and that two federal courts have now ruled was improper.


Jazz’s most important product is a medication for the sleep disorder narcolepsy. The company patented the drug’s formulation. But Jazz also went further, arming itself with a new weapon to block competition.


Because of the drug’s serious side effects and its history of being abused for date rape, federal regulators required Jazz to come up with a plan to ensure that the drug was safely distributed to patients without falling into unintended hands. Jazz’s program included having a single pharmacy nationwide send the medication directly to patients.


Jazz took the unusual step of patenting that safety program and then listing those patents in a federal registry known as the Orange Book. Under an obscure federal rule, if a rival contested one of the patents in certain circumstances, federal regulators would be barred for more than two years from approving that competitor’s product.


That was precisely the strategy that Jazz deployed when a rival was poised to introduce an improved version of the drug.


Jazz’s narcolepsy drug, which is used by thousands of patients, is enormously lucrative, generating more than $13 billion in revenue since Jazz acquired it in 2005. Medicare now spends hundreds of millions of dollars annually for it. The drug accounted for 58 percent of Jazz’s revenue in 2021.


In other words, for every month that Jazz could delay the arrival of competition, the company and its shareholders stood to benefit financially.


But the tactics deprived narcolepsy patients of access to a new drug that was much easier to take.


Patent law experts say Jazz’s strategy of enforcing the patent on how the drug is distributed has strayed far from the ostensible purpose of the U.S. intellectual property regime, which is meant to reward drug makers for taking risks to develop and improve innovative products. The case, they say, is an egregious example of how drug companies exploit the patent system to shield their products from competition for as long as possible.


“It has very little to do with all of the reasons why we allow the patenting of drugs,” said Michael Carrier, a drug patent expert at Rutgers Law School in Camden, N.J. “A lot of this stuff is just a computer program.”


Jazz’s strategy has been criticized by the Federal Trade Commission and knocked down in court. A federal court in Delaware ruled in November that the company had inappropriately used the Orange Book to block the drug from its rival, Avadel Pharmaceuticals. Jazz appealed, and a federal circuit court on Friday upheld the lower court’s ruling.


The ruling won’t have a big impact on the availability of Avadel’s product, which was going to come to market in the coming months regardless of the court’s decision. But it is important because it shows there may be limits to how far the drug industry can go in exploiting the patent system to lock out rivals.


Aimee Christian, a spokeswoman for Jazz, defended the company’s patent strategy but said Jazz would comply with the court’s order to request that its patent be removed from the Orange Book, which is named for its brightly colored cover page.


“We remain confident in the strength of our patent portfolio and will continue to appropriately defend our intellectual property as we continue to focus on ensuring the safety of patients on oxybate therapy,” she said, referring to the company’s narcolepsy drug.


Since 2005, Jazz has enjoyed a near monopoly on treating the main symptoms of narcolepsy, which include excessive daytime sleepiness, loss of muscle control and interrupted sleep. Jazz sells two versions of its drug, called Xyrem and Xywav.


The list price of the highest dose of each version is now more than $200,000 annually, according to SSR Health, a data company. Xyrem is now 19 times as expensive as it was in 2007, when SSR began tracking it.


Jazz’s medication is a pharmaceutical-grade derivative of gamma-hydroxybutyric acid, or GHB, which is tightly regulated because of its history of abuse as a date rape drug after health food stores sold it as a dietary supplement in the late 1980s.


GHB was first synthesized and tested in the 1960s. Jazz, which is legally domiciled in Ireland but has many top executives based in California, did not do the original development work on the prescription version of the drug; the company acquired it nearly three years after its first approval.


Both versions of Jazz’s medication come as a bottled liquid. Patients mix it with water and drink it. Patients must take two doses daily: the first at bedtime and the second up to four hours later.


Brian Mahn, a 53-year-old consultant in Cypress, Texas, said he had to stop taking Xyrem several years ago because the dosing schedule was too difficult. He would sleep through the multiple alarms he set between 2:30 and 3 a.m., disrupting his family. Mr. Mahn would often take the second dose too late, leaving him with such severe brain fog in the morning that he was unable to drive to work.


Avadel’s product, Lumryz, shares the same drug substance as Xyrem but comes as a powder and, crucially, has an easier dosing schedule. Avadel’s powder is taken only once daily at bedtime, so patients don’t have to wake up in the middle of the night.


Because of that advantage, many patients are expected to switch to the Avadel drug once it becomes available.


Jazz decided to take action to defend its golden goose. Its strategy hinged on the federally mandated safety program, known as Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies, or REMS, that it had patented and listed in the Orange Book.


Jazz’s REMS program consisted of a computerized system for tracking which physicians can prescribe a drug and having a single pharmacy ship the drug to patients nationwide.


About a decade ago, Jazz received seven patents related to its REMS program, and it listed them in the Food and Drug Administration’s Orange Book, according to an analysis by Mr. Carrier.


One of those patents, granted and listed in 2014, is at the center of Jazz’s dispute with Avadel.


Listing a patent in the Orange Book had important implications. Under a 1984 federal law, if a drug company accuses a rival of infringing on a patent in the Orange Book in certain circumstances, the F.D.A. cannot approve the competitor’s drug for at least 30 months.


The catch is that only certain types of drug patents — such as those protecting a medication itself or a method of using it — are allowed to be listed in the Orange Book. It is unclear how a REMS program, which is a system for getting the drug from a pharmacy to patients, fits either definition.


Because of those limitations, it is unusual but not unprecedented for a drug company to patent a REMS program and list it in the Orange Book.


Jazz has taken this strategy to a new level, with its chief executive even bragging to investors about how its REMS patents would make it hard for a manufacturer of generic drugs to set up its own REMS program.


Before the Avadel case, Jazz had sued nine companies that sought authorization for a generic version of Xyrem, accusing them of infringing on Jazz’s REMS patents. The strategy worked: Those manufacturers reached settlements with Jazz agreeing to delay the introduction of their products.


Experts in drug patents said such tactics were an abuse of the patent system.


REMS programs are “supposed to promote drug safety,” said Dr. Aaron Kesselheim, a professor of medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. “That’s not supposed to be a mechanism for extending revenue streams.”


In 2020, Avadel asked the F.D.A. to approve its powdered narcolepsy drug. Over the next two years, Jazz filed a barrage of lawsuits claiming that Avadel was infringing on various patents. Included in those was a suit last summer that accused Avadel of violating the 2014 REMS patent in the Orange Book.


Because of the 1984 federal law, the lawsuit automatically meant that for 30 months, the F.D.A. couldn’t approve Avadel’s drug, even though, days after the suit was filed, the agency determined that the product was safe and effective.


In this case, the automatic delay was to last only about 12 months, not 30, because Jazz’s REMS patent was set to expire on June 17.


Jazz’s lawyers, at the firms Sidley Austin and Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, argued that Jazz’s REMS program represented “a method of using” the drug for the purposes of being included in the Orange Book.


But both federal courts rejected that argument, ruling that Jazz’s patent was inappropriately listed in the Orange Book because the REMS program was not related to the drug itself or to a method of using it. As a result, Jazz should not have been able to delay the F.D.A.’s approval of the rival drug.


“We have considered Jazz’s remaining arguments and find them unpersuasive,” judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit wrote in their ruling on Friday.



13) ILWU shuts down SF/Oakland docks for Mumia Abu-Jamal

By Dave Welsh, February 22, 2023

San Francisco

Clarence Thomas, at the mic, Feb. 16, 2023. (Photo Credit: Labor Media)

Members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union shut down the ports of Oakland and San Francisco Feb. 16 to demand that journalist and innocent political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal be exonerated and set free.


Local 10 workers began the day with a “stop-work meeting” at their union hall, then marched along the San Francisco Embarcadero to an inspiring rally at Harry Bridges Plaza. Bridges was the founder of the ILWU in 1937. 


They contend that the at least 200 “newly discovered” boxes of evidence — including a hand-written letter from the prosecution’s star witness demanding payment for his false but incriminating testimony at trial — will prove Mumia’s innocence. The boxes, found hidden in the DA’s office, also showed evidence of attempts to exclude Black people from the jury.


At the rally, Clarence Thomas, a third-generation longshore worker and former Local 10 officer, said that during the Black uprising of the 1960s, “we all had our consciousness raised by the movement: Malcolm X, the struggles of Martin Luther King, the Deacons for Defense, Stokely Carmichael, Huey P. Newton, Bobby Seale.” 


Thomas himself joined the Black Panther Party at the time.


“Mumia has personally thanked the ILWU for the actions we have taken, including in 1999 when we shut down all 29 ports on the West Coast to stop his execution,” Thomas said.


South Africa connection


In 1984 ILWU dockers refused to unload South African cargo at Pier 80 in San Francisco for 10 days to protest South Africa’s apartheid regime. Nelson Mandela recognized the important role of the ILWU in helping their freedom struggle, when he spoke at the Oakland Coliseum in 1990, soon after his release from prison.


Thomas pointed out that his union sent 14 ILWU members to South Africa this past January “to build the campaign for Mumia’s freedom. What kind of union does something like that?”


“Today,” said Thomas, “our union did not go to work in the ports of Oakland and San Francisco to demand Mumia’s freedom. No cargo moved. Trucking and railroad schedules got disrupted.


“Can you imagine if the Teamsters, the railroad workers, the airline pilots, if all the transportation unions had also taken off today? Mumia would be out of prison.”


While they were in South Africa, longshore worker David Newton, nephew of Black Panther Party co-founder Huey Newton, and ILWU retiree Jack Heyman met with Irvin Jim, General-Secretary of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA). They agreed to use the period from Feb. 16 to March 16 to mobilize for Mumia. NUMSA is the largest single union in South Africa and one of the largest in Africa.


Other international protests for Mumia were scheduled for Sao Paulo, Brazil; Pretoria, South Africa; Tokyo; and several cities in Europe.


The Oakland Education Association, with its 3,000 teachers, sent a letter to Judge Lucretia Clemons urging Mumia’s release from prison. Mumia himself sent a letter thanking his labor supporters with these words: “When workers unite, the Earth trembles and the heavens shake.”



14) VISUAL INVESTIGATIONS: How an Israeli Raid on a Safe House Ended With Civilians Killed

A New York Times analysis of videos shows how an Israeli raid to capture Palestinian gunmen rippled into one of the most violent encounters in the West Bank in decades.

By Haley Willis, Christiaan Triebert, Hiba Yazbek and Patrick Kingsley, March 1, 2023


10:16 a.m.

Military vehicle

swerves into crowd


11:02 a.m.

Gunman killed




72-year-old man killed


Around 10 a.m.–1 p.m.

Raid on safe house

Between noon

and 1 p.m.

Two civilians killed

outside clinic














Satellite image by Planet LabsBy Scott Reinhard

When Israeli forces entered the city of Nablus in the occupied West Bank on the morning of Feb. 22, their goal was to apprehend three members of an armed Palestinian group in a single safe house. But after a firefight broke out with the three gunmen, chaos and violence spread well beyond the stated targets and into the busy surrounding streets.


Minutes after the rare and risky daytime raid began, additional support vehicles from Israel’s military and the police entered Nablus, establishing a perimeter around the old city, and blocking entry and exit points. Traveling in armored vehicles, the security forces were pelted with stones and oranges, and in some cases fired upon by other Palestinian gunmen.


The three men in the safe house and another gunman were killed. But in other cases, videos show that Israeli soldiers used deadly force against unarmed Palestinians, killing at least four people who did not appear to pose a threat.


In total, 11 people were killed and over 100 wounded, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. The Israel Defense Forces reported no injuries.


The operation came at a time when the situation in the West Bank has been rapidly deteriorating. One act of violence is typically responded to by another, accelerating a cycle of bloodshed. Palestinian officials said this was the deadliest start to a year there since 2000. Sixty-four Palestinians have been killed over the last two months, and at least 13 Israelis have been killed in the territory and Jerusalem.


The Times obtained security camera footage, witness video and testimony from multiple locations in Nablus, and reviewed posts and live streams from social media that captured the operation to establish where and when the raid and ensuing lethal action played out.


In response to questions from The Times, the I.D.F. said that “the circumstances” of the raid were under examination.


Just before 10 a.m., men who appeared to be undercover Israeli soldiers infiltrated the old city’s market area, two witnesses told The Times. A resident, Sahar Zalloum, 63, saw a stranger wearing a long gray robe underneath a coat. “I asked him if he needed anything,” Ms. Zalloum said. “He immediately pulled out a gun and said, ‘Go home.’”


A military spokesman, Lt. Col. Richard Hecht, said the Army made the decision to conduct the raid during daytime — when streets and markets would be brimming with civilians — because they had to act fast on new intelligence about the gunmen’s location.


“In Nablus, you have a situation where you had a raid take place in the middle of the day, which is different than some of the other conduct,” said Omar Shakir, Israel and Palestine director at Human Rights Watch. “And it seems one of the end results of that was a lot of injuries.”


Videos show Israeli security forces in combat gear making their way on foot through the busy market and taking up positions in homes and on rooftops surrounding the safe house where three gunmen with the Lions’ Den militia — the targets of the raid — are sheltering. When they refuse to surrender, a firefight breaks out, and will continue for several hours.


By 10:15 a.m., Israeli reinforcements are entering Nablus along a main road, and crowds of local residents, angered by the Israelis’ presence across the old city, start congregating.


Nablus is technically under Palestinian control, but Israeli forces often run missions into the city to arrest members of armed groups like the Lions’ Den, which Israeli officials accuse of being involved in terrorist activities.


At an intersection about a quarter-mile north of the safe house, a group hurls stones and other objects at the passing convoy when one Israeli military vehicle suddenly swerves toward the gathering, narrowly missing several people on the street.


“They didn’t care if they hurt civilians,” said Amid al-Masry, a political leader in central Nablus.


Security camera footage of the same incident, captured at a nearby shop, shows that no one in the crowd appears to be carrying a firearm. A military spokesman said that the driver might have lost control of the vehicle accidentally because of heavy stone throwing.


Video from the nearby city center shows several Palestinian gunmen gathering and repeatedly firing rifles — though it’s not clear at what. Israeli support vehicles have also taken up positions in the area.


Security camera footage shows that as one Palestinian fighter, Musab Awais, appears to take aim with a rifle at an Israeli vehicle across the street, he is shot and falls to the ground. Several men rush in to help. One man picks up his rifle. More shots are fired in their direction as they carry Mr. Awais, who later died, into an ambulance.


By this time, about half a mile away, Israeli military vehicles have spread along the southern edge of the old city. One rams a parked civilian car against a wall. Down the street, another vehicle plows through a makeshift barricade of steel dumpsters at an intersection, nearly hitting a person before crashing into a building.


Twenty minutes later, Muhammad Anbousi, 24, approaches the same intersection and, concealed by a parked car, sets off fireworks toward a military vehicle parked there, cellphone video obtained by The Times shows. A soldier inside the vehicle, about 85 yards away, shoots at Mr. Anbousi as he hides behind the car. He appears to sustain a leg injury. Photographs taken by The Times at the scene show the car riddled with bullet holes.


Mr. Anbousi calls for help, and another man, Jasser Qaneer, comes to his aid. A minute later, the two men begin running away from the Israeli vehicle. Mr. Anbousi is limping. They appear to be posing no threat to the Israeli forces when they are shot from behind. A military spokesman told The Times that the incident was under investigation.


“It’s difficult to see from the footage how Muhammad Anbousi or Jasser Qaneer posed any threat, much less the imminent threat to life that would justify the use of lethal force under international law, at the moment Israeli forces gunned them down,” said Mr. Shakir, the Human Rights Watch director. “This appears to be yet another case of Israeli forces using unlawful, excessive force.”


As Mr. Anbousi and Mr. Qaneer lie motionless on the pavement, the Israeli military vehicle pulls up to the scene and then backs away. Mr. Qaneer appears to have been shot in his head, and a video filmed several minutes later shows blood drenching the area around Mr. Anbousi’s chest.


Khaled Lidawi, a witness who helped retrieve the bodies of the two men, told The Times that Mr. Qaneer died instantly and that Mr. Anbousi was dead by the time a Palestinian ambulance arrived.


By now, around 12:30 p.m., Israeli forces begin withdrawing from Nablus. Video evidence shows that two bystanders are shot and killed as the vehicles are heading out.


A group of onlookers is gathered near a courtyard between Al-Rahma medical clinic and a mosque. A man standing along the sidewalk, separate from the group, appears to fire a shot at a passing Israeli vehicle.


He runs into the courtyard where others are standing. Two more armored vehicles drive by and fire multiple shots at the crowd. A military spokesman said that the soldiers were responding to live fire.


The flurry of bullets kill the 65-year-old Abd al-Hadi Ashqar, who had just left the mosque, and the 16-year-old Muhammad Shaaban, three clinic workers told The Times.


“If you look at this objectively, it’s clear that the security forces involved violated human rights law by indiscriminately firing on a group of bystanders and taking the lives of those who didn’t pose a threat,” said Sarah Harrison, a former Pentagon attorney who now works at the International Crisis Group as a senior analyst focused on military partnerships of the United States. By law, U.S. officials are required to evaluate footage like this to assess whether Israeli military units should remain eligible for security assistance, she added.


“It should be noted that this was an operational event during which armed gunmen fired massively at the soldiers, who responded with live fire,” the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement to The Times. “In addition, violent riots were instigated, in which suspects hurled rocks, Molotov cocktails and explosive devices toward the forces.”


At the safe house, after an hourslong firefight, the three gunmen Israeli forces initially set out to apprehend are dead. But so are other local residents. Video shows Adnan Beara, 72, lying slain on the ground. He had visible injuries to his arm, neck and waist, a medic at the scene told J-Media Network, a local news agency.


“It shows the recklessness of the raid,” said Mr. al-Masry, the local political leader. “They didn’t think about the collateral damage.”



15) New York Will Pay Millions to Protesters Violently Corralled by Police

The police boxed in racial justice demonstrators in 2020, an anti-protest practice known as “kettling,” then hit them with batons and pepper spray. Hundreds will receive $21,500 each.

By Maria Cramer, March 1, 2023


People in masks raise their hands as the police surround them on a street.
During the racial justice protests of 2020, the police corralled demonstrators around New York City and arrested them en masse, a practice known as kettling. Credit...Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times

New York City has agreed to pay $21,500 to each of hundreds of demonstrators who were penned in by the police in the Bronx during racial justice protests in 2020, then charged at or beaten with batons, according to a legal settlement.


If a judge approves the settlement filed in federal court late Tuesday, the amount would be one of the highest ever awarded per person in a class action case of mass arrests, and could cost the city between $4 million and $6 million.


The case concerned roughly 300 people who were arrested on June 4, 2020, in the Mott Haven neighborhood of the Bronx during protests against the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers the week before. His death set off protests across the country, including in New York, where thousands of people demonstrated in May and June.


On June 4, the police boxed in hundreds of protesters who had peacefully gathered on 136th Street and then prevented them from leaving, a practice known as “kettling,” according to the lawsuit.


They were restrained with tight plastic handcuffs also known as zip ties by officers who were not masked as the pandemic raged. Officers wielding batons swung at protesters and hit them with pepper spray, according to the lawsuit.


Samira Sierra, 31, one of the protesters who sued the city and who lives in the Bronx, said she was “violated” by the police during the demonstrations.


“We had every right to protest, yet, the City of New York made an explicit statement that day that the people of the Bronx are at will to be terrorized,” she said in a statement.


The kettling strategy was broadly defended at the time by Mayor Bill de Blasio and the police commissioner, Dermot F. Shea, who said it was needed because protesters were defying curfews and looters had ransacked parts of Manhattan, though the demonstrations had been largely peaceful.


According to the lawsuit, the protesters arrested in the Bronx were surrounded by police officers before an 8 p.m. curfew and prevented from leaving.


City leaders approved the tactics in an effort to “suppress the protests with well-orchestrated operations corralling and violently arresting the protesters,” the lawsuit said. “Many protesters were left injured and bleeding. Some protesters fainted, or lost consciousness and went into convulsions.”


The people who were arrested eventually had their cases dismissed, said Rob Rickner, one of the lawyers for the protesters, who said the kettling strategy was a part of a “preplanned show of force.”


In a statement, the police said that two and a half years after the protests, many of the department’s policies and training for large-scale demonstrations have been revised. Those revisions were made based on internal reviews and recommendations from three outside agencies that investigated police actions during that period.


“The NYPD remains committed to continually improving its practices in every way possible,” the statement said.


The 2020 protests were “a challenging moment for the department as officers who themselves were suffering under the strains of a global pandemic did their utmost to help facilitate people’s rights to peaceful expression all while addressing acts of lawlessness including wide-scale rioting, mass chaos, violence, and destruction,” the statement said.


Lawyers for the demonstrators described the settlement as “historic.” They said that before this agreement, the highest amount paid per person in a case of mass arrests was in 2010, when a federal judge awarded $18,000 per person to demonstrators picked up in a mass arrest during a 2000 protest near the World Bank and International Monetary Fund buildings in Washington, D.C., in a $13.7 million settlement.


The final amount New York City will have to pay in the Bronx case is not clear.


The lawyers said that while about 330 people were eligible to receive payments, as many as 90 of them have already settled with the city in separate complaints.


Other protesters may have decided to file separate claims against the city, especially those people who reported more severe injuries during their encounters with the police, Mr. Rickner said.


The agreement was filed weeks after the city released data showing that it had paid out $121 million last year to settle police misconduct cases. That amount, the most in five years, was awarded mainly to people whose criminal convictions were reversed years after their trials, but also included settlements from lawsuits filed following Black Lives Matter protests in 2020.


The city and lawyers for the protesters agreed to settle the Bronx case in December, but asked the court to file the motion detailing the settlement in February to give both sides time to finalize it.


The class action lawsuit was brought by five of the protesters — Ms. Sierra and her sister Amali Sierra, Ricardo Nigaglioni, Alex Gutierrez, and Charles Wood, who are all in their 30s.


The shocking scenes of looting, scuffles between the police and protesters and destruction of police cars led then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mr. DeBlasio to announce on June 1 that they would deploy twice as many police officers and impose a curfew.


“There comes a point where enough is enough,” Mr. de Blasio said.


But videos and photos from protesters and reporters showed police officers cornering and striking protesters who were demonstrating peacefully.


Over a period of several days, New York Times journalists covering the protests saw officers repeatedly charge at demonstrators after curfew with seemingly little provocation, shoving them onto sidewalks, striking them with batons and using other rough tactics.


Mr. DeBlasio, who was booed during a memorial for Mr. Floyd, later pledged to review reports of police officers behaving inappropriately.