Bay Area United Against War Newsletter, March 6, 2023

On Feb. 23, 2023, a general strike organized by Palestinians spread throughout the Occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza to denounce to the world the massacre perpetrated by 150 Israeli soldiers in Nablus the previous day. The siege resulted in the death of 11 Palestinians and the wounding of 120 others, including elderly people and children.

Since the new year started, the Israeli military has killed 65 Palestinians, including 13 children. In January, IDF soldiers killed 10 Palestinians in a Jenin refugee camp. The military assault in Nablus was the third major raid this year under the new ultranationalist, expansionist government. And there are nearly daily IDF raids on the Occupied West Bank.

The Palestine Action Network has called for a protest on Friday, March 10, 4-6 p.m. in front of the Israeli Consulate, 456 Montgomery Street, SF. Let Israel and its biggest financial backer, the U.S. government, know that we will fight for the reality of this slogan: From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be Free!





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





National Mobilization for Reproductive Justice

ReproJusticeNow.org info@reprojusticenow.org 

Facebook @ ReproJusticeNow

Statement to the Media

March 3, 2023


National Mobilization for Reproductive Justice

Email: info@reprojusticenow.org

Contact: Helen Gilbert (National Coordinator)

206-473-0630 (cell), 206-985-4621 (office)


For Release: Immediately

Interviews welcome


"Hands off abortion medications!" says National Mobilization for Reproductive Justice

Republican and rightwing pressure has intimidated the massive Walgreens drugstore chain from providing legal, safe and effective abortion drugs in 20 states, it was reported today. This comes even before a nationwide day of protests called on Saturday, March 4 by #StopAbortionRX, Students for Life of America and affiliated conservative and religious groups. Their “National Day of Protest to Cancel Abortion Cartels" targets CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid.


The anti-abortion activists use inflammatory and untrue language in describing a common, safe and necessary medical procedure. Their tactic of trying to intimidate customers by demonstrating at entrances and inside stores is nothing but bullying. These actions have the potential to interrupt people’s access to needed medical prescriptions of all kinds. By demonstrating at the access point between pharmacist and patient, anti-abortionists contribute to an already broken US healthcare system.


The FDA-approved drugs mifepristone and misoprostol are used together to terminate a pregnancy. Mifepristone stops the body from producing a hormone necessary to an embryo’s development. Since 2000, it has been approved to end pregnancies up to 10 weeks after gestation. Misoprostol is used a few days later to help the body expel the tissue with more speed and safety. In 2020, 53% of all abortions in the U.S. were medication-induced, which has been shown to be safe and 90% effective. Medication abortions are also less expensive, more accessible, and more private than surgical abortions.


In tandem with physical harassment of people seeking anti-pregnancy drugs, legal harassment is threatening reproductive choices across all states. A federal court case lodged by Alliance Defending Freedom is pending in Texas, where a Trump-appointed, historically anti-abortion judge, Matthew Kacsmaryk, could reverse FDA approval for mifepristone. Medical experts say that inducing abortion with only misoprostol is less effective and more painful – adding punishment and abuse to the individual seeking relief.


A decision in the Texas case could come any time and could dramatically alter abortion access   at least as much as the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, which overturned decades of abortion-rights precedent.


These further attempts to undermine what should be rights to reproductive and bodily autonomy are an attack on all people’s healthcare needs. And opponents of reproductive justice won’t stop there. Also threatened are contraception, sex education, non-religious health care providers, and social services that are vital to safely bearing and raising children in marginalized communities. Reproductive justice also includes an end to forced sterilization, the right to gender-affirming care, support for LGBTQ+ families and children, and an end to immigration policies that separate families.


The National Mobilization for Reproductive Justice and its affiliates across the country vow to defend all forms of reproductive rights and bodily autonomy. See the Mobilization’s website, www.ReproJusticeNow.org, for information on meetings and activities, endorsers, resources and its full list of demands.


The National Mobilization for Reproductive Justice was initiated by Radical Women in 2021 in order to build a grassroots coalition of forces to defend reproductive rights. It has organized numerous actions and currently has more than 30 endorsing organizations from around the country including unions, and racial justice, LGBTQI+, religious, radical, and feminist groups. Click here to add your organization's endorsement.


Mailing Address:

National Mobilization for Reproductive Justice

4710 University Way NE #100

Seattle, WA 98105


Add us to your address book.


For more information

Phone: 206-985-4621




Daniel Ellsberg Continues the Fight

Message sent by Kip Waldo


(Message from Daniel Ellsberg Below)


At the beginning of March, Daniel Ellsberg sent a message to “friends and supporters” letting them know that he faces a life-ending medical condition—inoperable pancreatic cancer. He said that the doctors believe that he has another three to six months to live.


This letter, full of Dan Ellsberg’s passion and humor, reflect his concern for and sense of responsibility to people who have come to know him. It is a reflection of the man who risked his future with his release, in 1971, of 7000 pages of top-secret documents exposing the systematic policy of lies told to the U.S. population and the world about the U.S. war on Vietnam. Those papers, which became known as “The Pentagon Papers,” were published in a number of newspapers including the Washington Post, the New York Times—the two major East-coast newspapers in the U.S. at the time. Their publication served to change the perspective of many who still believed those lies. 


He knew the risk he was taking. It resulted in Nixon, who was the president at the time, branding him as the “most dangerous man in America” and launched a massive manhunt to bring him to trial for espionage. The charges against him, a total of 12 felonies, were dropped after he stood trial for four months. It was a lucky coincidence that investigations surrounding the impeachment of Nixon for orchestrating the burglary of Democratic Party headquarters revealed that Nixon’s operatives had also broken into the offices of Ellsberg’s psychiatrist in hopes of finding damning information. 


Instead of just breathing a sigh of relief at not having to spend the rest of his life in prison, Ellsberg continued on the path that his so-called treasonous act had set him on. He became one of the best-known public intellectuals in the U.S., sharing his understanding of the workings of the U.S. government, his constant concerns regarding the development and use of nuclear weapons, also an area of his expertise as a nuclear war planner. 


He published books and articles, was interviewed constantly, and spoke throughout the U.S. and many parts of the world. He rose in defense of other so-called whistleblowers like Julian Assange of WikiLeaks, Chelsea Manning who released secret information that exposed U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Edward Snowden who exposed the extent of government surveillance of U.S. citizens, and John Kiriakou, the CIA case officer and analyst, who exposed the CIA's torture program, along with others. He not only spoke, but he also demonstrated with others against the nuclear weaponization of war, against the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan, policies toward Iran, carried out by the U.S., in support of Chelsea Manning who was imprisoned, for first amendment rights, in support of the Occupy movement and many more. For his actions he has been arrested more than 80 times.


It is impossible to measure the impact that he has had on others, with the example he set with his life, hoping to give others the courage to question and stand up against the murderous functioning of this system.


His letter (published below) reflects the qualities he embodies and that we could all hope to embody to some degree.


Message from Daniel Ellsberg


Dear friends and supporters,


I have difficult news to impart. On February 17, without much warning, I was diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer on the basis of a CT scan and an MRI. (As is usual with pancreatic cancer—which has no early symptoms—it was found while looking for something else, relatively minor.) I’m sorry to report to you that my doctors have given me three to six months to live. Of course, they emphasize that everyone's case is individual; it might be more, or less. 


I have chosen not to do chemotherapy (which offers no promise) and I have assurance of great hospice care when needed. Please know right now, I am not in any physical pain, and in fact, after my hip replacement surgery in late 2021, I feel better physically than I have in years! Moreover, my cardiologist has given me license to abandon my salt-free diet of the last six years. This has improved my quality of life dramatically: the pleasure of eating my former favorite foods! And my energy level is high. Since my diagnosis, I've done several interviews and webinars on Ukraine, nuclear weapons, and first amendment issues, and I have two more scheduled this week.


As I just told my son Robert: he's long known (as my editor) that I work better under a deadline. It turns out that I live better under a deadline!


I feel lucky and grateful that I've had a wonderful life far beyond the proverbial three-score years and ten. (I’ll be ninety-two on April 7th.) I feel the very same way about having a few months more to enjoy life with my wife and family, and in which to continue to pursue the urgent goal of working with others to avert nuclear war in Ukraine or Taiwan (or anywhere else). 


When I copied the Pentagon Papers in 1969, I had every reason to think I would be spending the rest of my life behind bars. It was a fate I would gladly have accepted if it meant hastening the end of the Vietnam War, unlikely as that seemed (and was.) Yet in the end, that action—in ways I could not have foreseen, due to Nixon’s illegal responses—did have an impact on shortening the war. In addition, thanks to Nixon's crimes, I was spared the imprisonment I expected, and I was able to spend the last fifty years with Patricia and my family, and with you, my friends.


What's more, I was able to devote those years to doing everything I could think of to alert the world to the perils of nuclear war and wrongful interventions: lobbying, lecturing, writing, and joining with others in acts of protest and non-violent resistance. 


I wish I could report greater success for our efforts. As I write, "modernization" of nuclear weapons is ongoing in all nine states that possess them (the U.S. most of all). Russia is making monstrous threats to initiate nuclear war to maintain its control over Crimea and the Donbas—like the dozens of equally illegitimate first-use threats that the U.S. government has made in the past to maintain its military presence in South Korea, Taiwan, South Vietnam, and (with the complicity of every member state then in NATO) West Berlin. The current risk of nuclear war, over Ukraine, is as great as the world has ever seen. 


China and India are alone in declaring no-first-use policies. Leadership in the U.S., Russia, other nuclear weapons states, NATO and other U.S. allies have yet to recognize that such threats of initiating nuclear war—let alone the plans, deployments and exercises meant to make them credible and more ready to be carried out—are and always have been immoral and insane: under any circumstances, for any reasons, by anyone or anywhere.


It is long past time—but not too late!—for the world's publics at last to challenge and resist the willed moral blindness of their past and current leaders. I will continue, as long as I'm able, to help these efforts. There's tons more to say about Ukraine and nuclear policy, of course, and you'll be hearing from me as long as I'm here.


As I look back on the last sixty years of my life, I think there is no greater cause to which I could have dedicated my efforts. For the last forty years we have known that nuclear war between the U.S. and Russia would mean nuclear winter: more than a-hundred-million tons of smoke and soot from firestorms in cities set ablaze by either side, striking either first or second, would be lofted into the stratosphere where it would not rain out and would envelope the globe within days. That pall would block up to 70 percent of sunlight for years, destroying all harvests worldwide and causing death by starvation for most of the humans and other vertebrates on earth. 


So far as I can find out, this scientific near-consensus has had virtually no effect on the Pentagon's nuclear war plans or U.S./NATO (or Russian) nuclear threats. (In a like case of disastrous willful denial by many officials, corporations and other Americans, scientists have known for over three decades that the catastrophic climate change now underway—mainly but not only from burning fossil fuels—is fully comparable to U.S.-Russian nuclear war as another existential risk.) 


I'm happy to know that millions of people—including all those friends and comrades to whom I address this message!—have the wisdom, the dedication and the moral courage to carry on with these causes, and to work unceasingly for the survival of our planet and its creatures.


I'm enormously grateful to have had the privilege of knowing and working with such people, past and present. That's among the most treasured aspects of my very privileged and very lucky life. I want to thank you all for the love and support you have given me in so many ways. Your dedication, courage, and determination to act have inspired and sustained my own efforts. 


My wish for you is that at the end of your days you will feel as much joy and gratitude as I do now. 


Love, Dan


PS: I will enjoy reading any message you send me to this email, though I may or may not be able to respond to every message or call. I prefer email to calls, and in general I am avoiding personal visits, from concern about covid. Please know that I hold you in my heart.





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) Ohio law enforcement links Erin Brockovich to potential for 'special interest terrorism' threat in East Palestine

The report assesses the risk posed by Brockovich and activist groups in the wake of the Norfolk Southern train derailment.

By Jana Winter, Investigative Correspondent, March 2, 2023

Erin Brockovich poses with three small dogs, two of whom are Pomeranians, in a large armchair.

Activist Erin Brockovich poses at her home In Agoura Hills, Calif., on March 16, 2021. (Valerie Macon/AFP via Getty Images)

Ohio law enforcement issued a report late last month warning that events planned in East Palestine by the environmental activist Erin Brockovich could prompt a terrorist threat from violent extremists, according to an intelligence bulletin obtained by Yahoo News.


Dated Feb. 24 and distributed to law enforcement agencies by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Ohio Statewide Terrorism Analysis & Crime Center Terrorism Analysis Unit Situational Awareness [STACC TAU] report obtained by Yahoo News "assesses that special interest extremist groups will continue to call for changes in governmental policy, which may lead to protests in/around East Palestine and/or at the Statehouse in Columbus.”


The report then singles out the reaction by Brockovich, a whistleblower who helped build a successful lawsuit against the California utility company Pacific Gas and Electric in a case involving contaminated groundwater, to the Feb. 3 train derailment and release of toxic chemicals in East Palestine.


“On 24 February, environmental activist Erin BrockovichUSPER [United States person] is scheduled to be in East Palestine to explain residents’ legal rights. Brokovich has urged the community to use common sense and ask questions. Brockovich is also placing blame solely on Norfolk Southern.The STACC TAU assess this event could potentially increase tensions within the community.”


The report assesses the risk posed by Brockovich and other activist groups that have planned events in East Palestine in the wake of the Norfolk Southern train derailment and the controlled burn of vinyl chloride, a carcinogenic ingredient used in the production of plastic products after the derailment.


“According to the FBI, special interest terrorism differs from traditional right-wing and left-wing terrorism in that extremist special interest groups seek to resolve specific issues, rather than effect widespread political change,” the report states. “Such extremists conduct acts of politically motivated violence to force segments of society, including the general public, to change attitudes about issues considered important to the extremists’ cause.”


Brockovich, who was played by the actress Julia Roberts in the 2000 film named after her, was in East Palestine on Thursday afternoon to host an event. She did not immediately respond to Yahoo News’ request for comment.


This situational awareness report is highly problematic, said former FBI agent Mike German, who worked on a recent Brennan Center report about issues with DHS fusion centers.


“Obviously, there is no reason to have included Erin Brockovich's name or a description of her advocacy in a law enforcement intelligence report, much less a ‘situational awareness’ report by a state fusion center's terrorism analysis unit,” German told Yahoo News. “Almost all of the activity described in this report is rightly protected by the First Amendment and poses no threat of harm, and therefore should be of no interest to terrorism intelligence units.”


Contacted by Yahoo News, the Ohio Department of Public Safety denied that it had issued a report identifying Brockovich as a possible terrorist threat.


“Erin Brokovich is listed as an ‘environmental activist’ and the brief mention of her falls under the heading of ‘various individuals or groups have responded to the train derailment,’” the Ohio Department of Public Safety’s Jay Carey told Yahoo News in an email. “The fact that she is an ‘environmental activist’ that has ‘responded to the train derailment’ is factual and has been well documented by media accounts. Any inference otherwise is incorrect.”


DHS posted the report on its intelligence sharing platform on Feb. 28, making it available to its more than 150,000 local, state and federal police and other partners nationwide.


“Fusion Centers are state and locally owned and operated centers that actively share, analyze, and operationalize threat-related information between federal, state, local, tribal, territorial, and private sector partners,” a DHS spokesperson said in an emailed statement to Yahoo News. “DHS supports Fusion Centers through the presence of DHS personnel and information sharing technology, but DHS does not run or operate Fusion Centers.”


The report also referred to the environmental group Earthjustice, which, it stated “called on Governor DeWineUSPER to declare a state of emergency," pointing to the "contaminated waterways" and subsequent deaths of thousands of fish.


“Earthjustice works with communities across the country to protect people’s health,” Debbie Chizewer, managing attorney for Earthjustice’s Midwest Regional office, told Yahoo News.


“In East Palestine, Earthjustice is supporting partners that have been exposed to toxic chemicals as they call for much needed resources, monitoring, cleanup of the contamination, as well as protections to prevent disasters like the explosion of a chemical-carrying cargo train in the future.”


The report obtained by Yahoo News stated that East Palestine police and fire department officials reported having received threats but had determined they were not credible. It was not clear, however, why they were mentioned in the report.


“This report should not have described any noncriminal activity, particularly after it stated that the terrorism analysis unit is ‘unaware of any credible direct threats regarding the East Palestine train derailment,’” German said. “This flawed reporting only clogs our national intelligence networks with inappropriate materials that undermine effective counterterrorism and law enforcement analysis, by overwhelming intelligence analysts with unhelpful misinformation that dulls the response to genuine threat warnings.”


Former DHS Acting Undersecretary John Cohen agreed that the inclusion of Brockovich’s name was, as he put it, “a bit problematic,” and said that law enforcement needed to be more careful in describing what is and is not considered a threat.


“When reporting on online or other activity that may be protected speech, authorities need to be very clear how that speech relates to threat-related activities or other public safety issues,” Cohen told Yahoo News. “It’s fine to catalog what different people are saying, but from a law enforcement perspective, they need to be clear where there is a nexus with the need for an operational response.”



2) Study: Extreme heat is driving deaths in US prisons

New research makes clear the link between climate change and prison mortality.

By Alleen Brown, Mar. 01, 2023

A view down a prison corridor, showing bars and cell doors.
MoreISO/Getty Images

Extreme heat is killing people in prisons across the United States, according to a new study published in the academic journal PLOS ONE. The research provides some of the first epidemiological evidence of the link between the climate crisis and prison mortality in the nation with the highest incarceration rate in the world. 

The study examined deaths in both state-run and privately run prisons during the hot summer months of June, July, and August between 2001 and 2019. Researchers found that a ten-degree temperature increase above the average correlated with a 5.2 percent increase in deaths—or a 6.7 percent increase among prisoners with heart disease. 

To Julie Skarha, the study’s lead author, who recently finished her doctorate in epidemiology at Brown University, “The biggest surprise was that the highest increase of mortality was in the Northeast,” she told Grist. The study found that a two-day heat wave meant a mortality increase of 21 percent in the Northeast, compared to 0.8 percent in the Midwest, 1.3 percent in the South, and 8.6 percent in the West.

Also startling was the link between heat and suicide in prisons nationally. In the three days following an extreme heat day, the researchers noted a 22.8 percent increase in suicides.

To the researchers as well as advocates for people who are incarcerated, the findings hint at deepened desperation among prisoners in the summer, even in states not known for their heat. To Skarha and others, the data is a call to action for policymakers. “There should be more regulation around what kind of temperatures people are exposed to in these settings,” Skarha said. “If temperature regulation isn’t happening in these settings, then they shouldn’t be operating.”

Outside of prison, people protect themselves from heat by moving to a cooler area, turning on a fan or air conditioner, taking a cool shower, or drinking water. Such options are not readily available to people in prisons.

Making matters worse, people in prison are uniquely vulnerable to heat-sensitive illness. People age more rapidly while incarcerated and are disproportionately diagnosed with diseases like diabetes. A 2016 survey found that about 43 percent of people incarcerated in state prisons had received a mental health diagnosis. A class of drugs known as psychotropics, used as a treatment for certain mental illnesses, is known to cause heat-sensitivity. 

Joseph Jackson, executive director of the Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition, said he was surprised to hear that death correlated with heat in Northeastern prisons. Last September, Jackson’s organization helped organize a “Stop Killing Us” rally to protest over a dozen jail and prison deaths so far that year in Maine. “We didn’t attribute them to heat,” he told Grist. However, he added, they seemed to occur disproportionately during summer.

Heat’s impact depends on how acclimated people are to the weather, helping explain the heightened Northeastern death toll. It’s also a result of the fact that the study didn’t take into account whether a facility had air conditioning. While no publicly available national data set exists that describes which prisons lack air conditioning, Northeastern prisons are likely less prepared for heat than those in the South, according to Skarha. 

Jackson, who was incarcerated for 20 years, recalled that, early in his sentence, he was placed in an old concrete and steel building with poor ventilation. “During summer, when the walls heated up, it was miserable,” he said. 

An earlier study by Skarha found that air conditioning means the difference between life and death for some prisoners in Texas. In facilities lacking air conditioning, her team estimated that more than 250 Texans died over the past two decades due to heat. Reporters at USA Today found that 44 states lack universal prison air conditioning.

The population at risk is vast and disproportionately Indigenous, Black and Latino. Over ten million people move in and out of the U.S. prison system every year, the study underlines. Meanwhile, scientists expect heatwaves to come more frequently as the climate crisis deepens, further imperiling the lives of prisoners.

Skarha said the study underestimates the impact of heat on prisons. For example, the majority of people incarcerated at the jails of New York City’s Rikers Island, which were not a part of the study, also lack air conditioning, said Julia Solomons, senior policy social worker at Bronx Defenders, a public defender nonprofit. City officials say the infrastructure is unfit to install it but plans to close the notorious jails are moving at a snail’s pace. 

“People tell us that they are suffering without access to breathable air,” she said. “Every summer we know this is coming and nothing changes.”



3) How the Fall of Roe Turned North Carolina Into an Abortion Destination

The state, which is near others with abortion bans and restrictions, has had a 37 percent rise in abortions since the constitutional right to abortion was overturned.

By Kate Kelly, March 4, 2023

An empty room filled with blue chairs in a circle and exam curtains.
North Carolina, where abortion remains legal up to 20 weeks, has become a top destination for people from states where it is banned. Credit...Desiree Rios/The New York Times

RALEIGH, N.C. — Clinic by clinic, county by county and up to the highest levels of state government, no state embodies the nation’s post-Roe upheaval like North Carolina.


In the eight months since the federal right to abortion was eliminated, leaving states free to make their own abortion laws, North Carolina, where the procedure remains legal up to 20 weeks, has become a top destination for people from states where it is banned or severely restricted. North Carolina experienced a 37 percent jump in abortions, according to WeCount, an abortion-tracking project sponsored by the Society for Family Planning, which supports abortion rights. Providers in the state performed 3,190 abortions in April 2022. That number soared to 4,360 in August, after Roe fell. It was the biggest percentage increase in any state.


The state’s abortion providers are under strain, with women sometimes having to wait a month for an appointment. In Chapel Hill, nurses at the Planned Parenthood clinic say they often pull into the parking lot to find patients sleeping in their cars. The license plates are from Tennessee, Georgia, even Texas.


The large influx of patients has energized local volunteer networks offering rides, money for clinic fees and places to stay. It has also alarmed anti-abortion activists who last June were rejoicing when the court struck down Roe v. Wade, only to later discover a surge of abortions in their state.


“Right now people are flocking here because they believe they can take the life of the unborn, and that concerns me,” said Ron Baity, a Baptist minister in Winston-Salem who is president of the anti-abortion group Return America.


The atmosphere around clinics has grown more tense as new activist groups emerge, and as more patients show up. Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, issued an executive order last year directing state officials to help ensure safety around abortion clinics.


In Raleigh, the capital, a Republican-led state legislature is now considering rolling back the threshold to around 12 weeks or less. Mr. Cooper has pledged to veto any new abortion restrictions.


Meanwhile, half a dozen counties in North Carolina’s rural Piedmont and mountain regions have voted to become “sanctuaries” for the unborn, declaring their opposition to abortion.   The designation is largely symbolic, state legal experts said, but the Personhood Alliance, which backs the movement, says such declarations send a message that can lay the political groundwork to help outlaw abortion later.


“We’re preparing for the hardest fight of our life,” said Jenny Black, chief executive of Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, which includes North Carolina. “And we’re sober about the realities of how difficult that is going to be.”


The influx of patients was unexpected in this politically polarized place, where lawmakers have been tangling over abortion for years.


The Clinic


One Thursday in early December, Dr. Jonas Swartz rapped on a side entrance to the Chapel Hill Planned Parenthood clinic. He was hoping to avoid the protesters often gathered out front, a protocol that has become second nature since he started practicing at the clinic more frequently to help meet demand.


“Who is it?” asked a voice on the inside.


“Jonas,” he said.


A staff member ushered him in.


Over the next few hours, Dr. Swartz saw patients back to back, toggling between two procedure rooms.


At midday, roughly 20 people — patients and their friends and family members — were spread out in the waiting room, many of them napping.


Planned Parenthood estimates that more than a third of its abortion patients in North Carolina are from out of state these days. But the no-show rate has also climbed.


“It’s just hard to get here,” said Dr. Swartz, a Duke Health obstetrician and gynecologist. “It’s a lot. You’ve got to arrange child care. If someone gets sick, if you lose transportation, you may just not be able to get here on the day you thought you were going to.”


The volume of patients is higher, Dr. Swartz said, and may become more difficult to handle as other Southern states consider more severe restrictions on abortion. “It sort of feels right now like the walls are closing in,” he said.


A federal judge in Texas could order the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to withdraw its approval of mifepristone, a key component in medication abortions, affecting the availability of abortion pills across the country.


Medication was the method for 59 percent of abortions performed on North Carolina residents in 2020, with surgical procedures accounting for 37 percent, according to the most recent state data.


Members of the clinic’s staff said they were anxious about the shifting legal landscape. One nurse, Caroline Christopher, wore a gold chain with a coat-hanger pendant — a homage to her grandmother, she said, who had been an activist in the 1970s and wears a matching necklace. “We’re all trying to stay positive,” she said.


Ultimately, the clinic saw two dozen patients that day. A dozen canceled. Since the fall of Roe, the site has treated up to 35 people per day.


Journals the clinic keeps in the recovery room were filled with entries about challenges the patients had faced.


“I am here from Johnson City, TN (4 hour drive) due to my state not providing the right to an abortion,” one patient wrote. “I have a 3 yr. old son, and am just now to a point in my life where I am stable enough to take care of us comfortably. Another child at this time is just not in the cards for us.”


The Divide


Last year, Tina Marshall started a new group: the Black Abortion Defense League. She was hoping to engage more Black volunteers to work with her to preserve abortion rights. On a clear January morning, Ms. Marshall stood in front of a Charlotte clinic yelling, “Baa-aaa-aaa-aaa” at anti-abortion activists, whom she likened to sheep.


Anti-abortion protesters with a group called Love Life shouted through megaphones at women approaching the clinic: “The world says it’s OK to go out and have sex with whoever you want and then just come here and take care of the problem, quote unquote!”


Ms. Marshall said she wanted to bolster participation of Black women in an issue that has an especially large effect on their lives. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for 2020, the most recent year available, showed that 52 percent of abortion recipients in North Carolina were Black, compared with 28 percent who were white. Hispanic women made up 13 percent.


The increase in out-of-state patients has supercharged the clash over abortion, activists on both sides say.


The abortion issue is more urgent than ever in North Carolina, said Philip “Flip” Benham, an anti-abortion activist, because “we’ve become sort of a destination state for abortions.”


In many ways, the scenes in front of clinics here are the same as they have been for decades: Protesters who believe abortion is murder shout through loudspeakers and film people arriving at or leaving the facilities. Volunteers use oversize umbrellas to shield patients from the protesters, who they say sometimes physically block patients entering the clinic.


In October, the Charlotte police confronted Mr. Benham over what witnesses described as his swinging a baseball bat around the driveway of the Planned Parenthood clinic. Mr. Benham was charged with undefined criminal activity, according to a police report. Mr. Benham said the charges had been dropped.


Mr. Benham isn’t focused on the legislative battles in Raleigh because he believes no laws will be changed until Mr. Cooper leaves office. “We’re winning this battle in the streets,” he said.


In June in Asheville, Mountain Area Pregnancy Services, which opposes abortion and steers women toward carrying their pregnancies to term, was defaced with red paint, its walls splattered with the message “If abortions aren’t safe, neither are you!” A center worker, Kristi Brown, said it had cost $90,000 to repair the facility and add security.


Last summer, the center received a flurry of calls from women in neighboring Tennessee and even Kentucky — states that had quickly outlawed most abortions after Roe’s overturn — who were seeking abortion appointments and didn’t realize the center doesn’t provide them, Ms. Brown said. Even as the volume of those calls diminished, the center last year had a 10 percent uptick, compared with the year before, in clients who were seeking a range of services, including counseling for patients who had already received abortions, she added.


The Battle Ahead


North Carolina’s political showdown over abortion is personified by two leaders: its Democratic governor, Mr. Cooper, and Tim Moore, the Republican speaker of the State House of Representatives.


Mr. Cooper, a former attorney general, wants to preserve the state’s current law. He has ordered additional protections, including preventing the extradition of anyone involved in carrying out an abortion that is legal in North Carolina.


But Republican dominance in the legislature means the ability to veto is Mr. Cooper’s most potent tool. “Our law is restrictive enough in North Carolina right now,” Mr. Cooper said in a February interview.


Public polling explains the state’s political friction: A recent Meredith College poll of registered voters found that 57 percent of respondents wanted to preserve North Carolina’s current abortion law or expand it beyond the 20-week limit. About 35 percent of those surveyed supported a rollback of abortion access to 15 weeks or less.


Mr. Moore has said that a ban after 12 weeks — with some exceptions — is more likely to “garner the necessary support to become law.”


Mr. Moore also said in a recent podcast that a swing Democrat, whom he declined to name, was willing to vote for a 12- or 13-week curb. That crossover is potentially significant because House Republicans are one vote shy of a supermajority that would allow them to override a veto.


For now, even North Carolina residents are feeling the effect of bans in neighboring states: When Maria, a 31-year-old who lives outside Asheville, learned that she was unexpectedly pregnant in late June, she knew a baby was more than she could handle. Maria, who did not want to reveal her full name because of her family’s opposition to abortion, was coping with depression and, she says, several other medical conditions.


She called the nearest abortion clinic, which is in Asheville. The wait, she was told, was two months. She then called two clinics in Charlotte, about a two-hour drive away. One never responded. The other said it could take her the following month. She grabbed the appointment.



4) Credit Card Points Are Being Paid For by the Poor

By Chenzi Xu and Jeffrey Reppucci, March 4, 2023

Ms. Xu is a finance professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Mr. Reppucci is a candidate for a Master of Business Administration and Master of Public Policy at Stanford. 


An illustration of a sand castle and a shovel casts a shadow over a small pile of sand with a flag in it and a spoon in front of it.

Kaitlin Brito

There’s an undeniable feeling of excitement when you turn your daily credit card swipes at Starbucks into first-class airfare or a weekend jaunt to Costa Rica. Thanks to mobile banking and the ease of autopay, you can scrupulously avoid any additional costs by paying your monthly bill in full. Free flights and exclusive discounts abound.


Something for nothing, right?


Not exactly nothing. Credit card perks for educated, usually urban professionals are being subsidized by people who have less. In other words, when you book a hotel room or enjoy entry to an airport lounge at no cost, poor consumers are ultimately footing the bill.


Demand for rewards is only going up. In 2016, Chase launched its Sapphire Reserve card. The card comes with perks, bonuses and points multipliers that for big-spending travelers and diners are worth far more than its steep $550 annual fee. There was so much initial demand that Chase ran out of the metal slabs it prints the cards on. Sapphire’s enormous success set off a credit card perks war, with numerous banks flooding the market with sign-on bonuses worth thousands of dollars.


In 2022, the Federal Reserve published data showing that the cost of rewards, as a share of total transaction volume on credit cards, increased 25 percent from 2015 through 2021. This bonanza has helped affluent professionals flood Instagram with envy-inducing shots of white sand beaches, hotel suites and plush airport lounges.


But these high-income travelers are also less likely to carry balances that incur interest charges and late fees, which traditionally increase profits for card issuers. So, to offset the cost of paying lavish rewards to these consumers, banks have sought to maximize other usage-based revenues.


Enter interchange fees, or the money it costs merchants to accept noncash payments. A recent study at Stanford found that when credit card rewards increase, so do these fees.


The United States now has some of the highest credit card processing costs in the world, typically at 2 percent to 2.25 percent of every purchase. This is eight to nine times as much as the prevailing swipe fee in the European Union. The vast majority of merchants pass these costs on to consumers by charging more for their products — regardless of how one pays.


The result? Lower-income consumers are forced to pay higher prices on the goods they buy, but they rarely receive any benefit from rewards programs, according to the Federal Reserve, which has been tracking the distributional effects of card rewards. Its December 2022 report estimates an annual redistribution of $15 billion in rewards value from poorer people to richer people, from low-education people to highly educated people and from diverse communities to less diverse communities.


Put another way, credit card rewards are essentially a tax on less affluent consumers, who are much more likely to pay for their goods with cash, debit cards or standard credit products that accrue no such rewards.


According to the San Francisco Fed, Americans with annual incomes at the national median (a bit less than $70,000) use credit cards for 23 percent of purchases. The numbers drop off precipitously as income decreases. Roughly half of all households use cash or debit cards for most purchases. Households with annual incomes over $150,000 use a credit card the most frequently, or 44 percent of the time.


The poor are much less likely to have access to rewards credit cards, even if they want them. Why? Cards with the highest value rewards are often available only to the rich. First, you’ll need a credit score of at least 700 to qualify for a premium card. That eliminates half the country. And only 21 percent of Black households have FICO scores above 700. Second, issuers consider your income and debt-to-income ratio, which can be used to disqualify card applicants with high credit scores. Banks just don’t want to issue rewards-heavy cards and pay lucrative sign-on bonuses to consumers who have low credit limits and spend much less overall.


Now consider the design of these rewards programs: five times as many points on hotels, three times as many points on dining, a $300 credit to SoulCycle, a $100 credit to Saks Fifth Avenue. This generation of prestige points cards often rewards discretionary, even luxury purchases, further transferring dollars to the highest income card holders. Cash-back cards available to households with lower credit scores and incomes offer more modest rewards than their prestige alternatives do.


Visa and Mastercard operate the two largest card networks, accounting for 77 percent of about 650 million general purpose credit cards in the United States. They act as agents for thousands of banks and dictate the terms and fees that merchants must pay.


And business is booming. In 2021 these two companies generated $77 billion in credit card interchange fees, which they share with issuing banks.


The aggregate costs of credit card points, driven by Visa and Mastercard’s longstanding interchange duopoly, spurred Senators Richard Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, and Roger Marshall, Republican of Kansas, to introduce the Credit Card Competition Act last July. The House soon followed with its own bipartisan bill. Yet multiple attempts to attach the legislation to military and omnibus funding bills by year’s end failed.


The act would have forced Visa and Mastercard to compete head-to-head with other processors, reducing their overwhelming market power to set rates. Lower interchange fees can mean lower prices for consumers. (Despite expected opposition from the now-Republican-controlled House, Mr. Durbin plans to reintroduce the bill this year, his office said.)


The American Bankers Association argues that such legislation would result in net harm. It points to reductions in credit card rewards programs and hints at the creation of new fees by banks to make up the lost revenues.


The first part is certainly true; however, it’s hard to muster a defense for preserving rewards at Saks Fifth Avenue in the name of consumer welfare. The latter may also be true — and sounds like something the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau should look into.


Opponents of the bill also correctly point out that network security could suffer in the short run: Introducing smaller players and novel technologies would create vulnerabilities that hackers might exploit. Visa and Mastercard do use their systemwide scale in the name of effective fraud protection. However, the economics of competition suggest that all companies, especially Visa and Mastercard, would be heavily incentivized to innovate on network security to preserve market share against new entrants.


A problem for any reform that helps working-class families will be that consumers who enjoy great privileges from premium credit cards would end up worse off. But they would be returning economic value to working Americans, whose production and consumption sustains the economy in the first place.


And prestige card holders surely will manage. They may have hoped to use points toward an overwater villa in the Maldives. If Congress acts, they can settle for a free hotel room in Hawaii.



5) A New Front Line in the Debate Over Policing: A Forest Near Atlanta

Six weeks after a protester was shot and killed, officials are bracing for more confrontations with activists seeking to stop a police and fire training center.

By Sean Keenan and Joseph Goldstein, March 4, 2023


A photo of an individual surrounded by colorful blankets, flowers, candles and other trinkets.

A memorial for Manuel Esteban Paez Terán, 26, an environmental activist known as Tortuguita who was killed in what the police described as an exchange of gunfire. Credit...Cheney Orr/Agence France-Presse, via Getty Images

A group of people walking along a city street at night, carrying a banner that reads: “Trees give life. Police take it.”

A vigil in Atlanta after Manuel Terán was killed in January. Credit...Dustin Chambers for The New York Times

Several large gray armored vehicles driving down a dirt road, with people in camouflage gear on top.

Law enforcement officers in military-style vehicles accompanied building crews beginning to clear the woods last month in anticipation of construction. Credit...John Spink/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, via Associated Press

ATLANTA — When construction crews rolled into a patch of pine and maple trees southeast of Atlanta last month, the scene had more in common with a military incursion than a municipal building project in the suburbs. Police officers in armored trucks escorted construction workers as they cleared a pathway for heavy equipment and installed anti-erosion fences.


For 18 months, this parcel of woodland — once a prison farm for low-level convicts, now mostly reclaimed by the surrounding forest — has galvanized both environmental advocates who want to preserve one of the region’s largest remaining green spaces and activists concerned about the increased militarization and aggressive tactics of police forces.


Mounting protests and scattered violence culminated in January in what the police described as a shootout that left a protester dead, a state trooper seriously wounded and Georgia’s governor authorizing the National Guard to intervene. Now, with organizers staging mass demonstrations starting this weekend — hundreds of activists gathered on Saturday near the training site to protest the development — officials worry that confrontations may resume, and that the conflict could escalate.


The tension was sparked by a plan, authorized by the Atlanta City Council in 2021, to build an enormous training center for the city’s Police and Fire Departments on property owned by Atlanta in DeKalb County. Blueprints for the 85-acre complex include classrooms, an amphitheater, a driving course, a shooting range, pastureland for police horses and what is described by supporters as a “mock city for real-world training” that includes apartments, a nightclub and a convenience store.


Opponents deride it as “Cop City.”


Protests against police violence have been a feature of big-city life in the near decade since the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and the chokehold death of Eric Garner on a Staten Island sidewalk, which galvanized a movement. The demonstrations have often erupted after a police killing of a Black man and the release of video, such as in the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols in January, which led to five Memphis officers being charged with murder.


What is happening in Atlanta, according to some experts, is different: It is a movement squarely confronting the police over their training, and questioning how much support cities should provide to law enforcement. These issues have become increasingly fraught as police forces adopt military-inspired tactics and equipment, and as widely publicized incidents like the Nichols beating appear to show officers escalating routine interactions into deadly violence.


“Very rarely do you see the flash point be about training,” said Arthur Rizer, a former police officer in Washington State and a scholar of policing. Like many of the critics and protesters, he thinks Atlanta’s plan for the training facility is a recipe for increased police militarization — a trend that accelerated after the Sept. 11 attacks with the infusion of surplus military equipment and antiterrorism money and thinking.


“I do share the concern of the citizens of Atlanta,” Mr. Rizer said, “that the apparent focus is going to be a paramilitary-type training, urban assault tactics, which quite frankly have not been effective at reducing crime.”


Atlanta officials say that for years, the police have run their academy out of old school buildings or, more recently, a college, and have needed a more modern facility. And the Fire Department has long wanted to teach rookies how to drive fire engines on a training track, instead of on city streets at night.


Bryan Thomas, a spokesman for Atlanta’s mayor, Andre Dickens, said the center — approved under Mr. Dickens’s predecessor, Keisha Lance Bottoms, who joined the Biden administration after deciding not to run for re-election — was designed to help officers train for situations that have become increasingly common in modern America, such as convenience store robberies and mass shootings.


“We need to make sure officers are prepared for real-life scenarios, like if you have a shooting in a nightclub or a gas station,” he said. “And that’s where this facility comes in.”


Other cities operate large police training complexes, including New York, where Rodman’s Neck — part of a peninsula sticking out from the Bronx into Long Island Sound — is used for firearms training, much to the annoyance of nearby residents on City Island, who say the regular barrages of gunfire are a source of stress.


The Atlanta plan has drawn a broad “Stop Cop City” coalition, including criminal justice reformers, environmental advocates, antifa activists and others. Their objectives are both to oppose what they call the further militarization of policing and to preserve the nearly 400 forested acres near a predominately Black neighborhood in DeKalb County called Gresham Park.


“Environmental racism and police violence go hand in hand,” said Kate Morales, who has helped organize the upcoming “week of action,” including a comedy show and music festival in the woods, and guided forest tours. Organizers were encouraging demonstrators to camp and “get to know the forest.”


As months of protests grew increasingly tense in January — activists have thrown Molotov cocktails and destroyed construction equipment, the police say — an attempt by officials to clear out the forest ended in what the authorities described as an exchange of gunfire. A protester, Manuel Esteban Paez Terán, 26, was killed, and a state trooper seriously wounded.


Before January, some protesters, calling themselves “forest defenders,” had taken to sleeping in crude tree houses in land marked for clearing. Prosecutors charged some protesters with domestic terrorism, a move that some legal experts described as heavy handed, given that those charges, under state guidelines, can carry a prison sentence of up to 35 years.


Anthony Michael Kreis, a law professor at Georgia State University, noted that plenty of laws would allow the government “to prosecute wrongdoing like property destruction without citing terrorism and imposing outsized punishments.” He said such charges “chill group protest if peaceful protesters fear that they could be deemed guilty for associating with an event where a few bad apples are suddenly branded as domestic terrorists.”


Opposition to the Atlanta project grew out of reserves of anger over the 2020 murder of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis and the fatal police shooting weeks later of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta, as well as concerns that the city’s famed tree canopy was dwindling.


For years, a plan had been slowly advancing to connect patches of remaining woodland into a giant 1,200-acre park, larger than Central Park in New York. The decision in 2021 to put a large police training facility in the midst of it struck many as gutting the park plan and providing a giveaway to the police.


“These are the last large swaths of undeveloped forest” in the region, said Ted Terry, a DeKalb County commissioner who used to lead the Georgia chapter of the Sierra Club, an environmental organization. “If we lose these acres, it cannot be reversed.”


Critics in Atlanta also say officials have insulated the project from public outcry by outsourcing it to the Atlanta Police Foundation, a nonprofit organization that has wealthy business executives on its board, and that is raising most of the anticipated $90 million for the training site.


Rob Baskin, a spokesman for the foundation, said it had become involved because for years, successive mayors and police chiefs had said the city urgently needed a new training center and had asked the foundation to take the lead in drawing up plans. “The whole purpose we have in building this facility is to make sure our officers are well trained,” Mr. Baskin said.


Mr. Thomas, the spokesman for the city’s mayor, said the Atlanta police were committed to “community-based policing and de-escalation techniques.” But plans for the mock city have exacerbated fears that much of the training will focus on tactics for armed confrontations, rather than how to reduce reliance on deadly force.


The scenes of armored trucks and officers with long guns moving into the construction site have only reinforced those concerns.


“The militarization of the last 20 years or so has done more to worsen the relationship with the community,” said Richard Rose, president of the Atlanta chapter of the N.A.A.C.P. “The armored trucks, the different uniforms, the humongous guns — all of those strike fear into the heart of the community, even if you are a law-abiding citizen.”


The 26-year-old protester who was killed in January was known by fellow “forest defenders” as Tortuguita, or “Little Turtle,” and dreamed of becoming a doctor, but felt compelled to join the effort to save the woodlands for both political and spiritual reasons, the protester’s mother, Belkis Terán, recalled recently in an interview.


The Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which is looking into the shooting, has said that on Jan. 18, as the police sought to clear the forest of protesters, Tortuguita fired first “without warning,” striking a trooper. Officers returned fire, according to the authorities.


Tortuguita’s mother described her child as a “pacifist” and said an independent autopsy showed 13 gunshot wounds. Activists question the authorities’ account of what happened and have demanded an independent investigation.


Tortuguita’s mother said her child “wanted to be in the forest” and was “feeling God there.” She hoped, she said, that her child’s death was not in vain.



6) This Abortion Pill Could Soon Be Hard to Get

By Dana M. Johnson, March 5, 2023

Ms. Johnson is a sexual and reproductive health researcher and Ph.D. candidate at the University of Texas. 


A photo shows a group of people marching through a downtown area, many of them carrying signs in support of abortion rights. One person holds a red flag that says “Pro-Women Pro-Choice.”
Protesters marched in downtown Amarillo, Texas, in support of access to mifepristone in February. Credit...Meridith Kohut for The New York Times

A ruling expected soon from a Trump-appointed federal judge in Texas could halt the provision of a drug called mifepristone for use in abortions. This would potentially make the drug very difficult to come by in all states — including those where abortion is legal.


The decision in Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration could revoke the F.D.A.’s 23-year-old approval of mifepristone, which is one of two drugs typically used during a medication abortion in the nation. That would be a highly unusual move — one that would show blatant disregard for the decades of scientific and clinical evidence showing that the drug is safe and effective. It also no doubt would be fought further in court, possibly even making it to the Supreme Court. Reproductive rights legal experts have called on the F.D.A. to ignore the decision from Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk if it does order the agency to rescind its approval for mifepristone.


But it’s important to know that if mifepristone became wholly unavailable in the United States tomorrow, such a decision would not be the end of abortion access in America, nor the end of access to safe medication abortion. That’s because there’s another drug that is a safe and effective abortion care option, and Americans may soon need to rely on it more than ever.


It has been eight months since Roe v. Wade was overturned, and abortion has since been banned in 13 states and counting. People in states where abortion is banned or severely restricted have been forced to travel hundreds of miles to clinics out of state. For those for whom travel is too expensive or time consuming, abortion pills provided by mail have been a vital option. Medication abortion already was the most common form of abortion, and since Roe was overturned, demand has surged for abortion pills.


Mifepristone, which when taken with a drug called misoprostol, accounts for more than half of abortions in the United States. Misoprostol can be and is frequently used on its own. The two drugs have been used together in the United States since the F.D.A. approved mifepristone in 2000, but around the world misoprostol — which causes the uterus to contract and expel the pregnancy — has for years been used by itself for abortion care.


In fact, misoprostol is regarded as the original medication abortion pill. We know from decades of clinical evidence that misoprostol used alone for medication abortion is safe and effective. Misoprostol alone is not widely used in America, but the medication is widely available and a sample protocol for abortion providers has been released in preparation for a potential shift in clinical practice.


The World Health Organization provides guidelines for using misoprostol alone for an abortion. For pregnancies of less than 12 weeks’ gestation, the W.H.O. recommends 800 micrograms of misoprostol placed under the tongue, in the cheeks or vaginally, with repeat doses as needed. For pregnancies at or beyond 12 weeks, the W.H.O. recommends 400 micrograms of misoprostol under the tongue, in the cheeks or vaginally repeated every three hours as needed. Some people use up to five doses. Misoprostol causes bleeding and cramping, and some people may also experience diarrhea, chills, fever, nausea or vomiting.


There is a growing body of evidence that misoprostol is effective for self-managed abortion (performing one’s own abortion without clinical supervision) and that it is safe. In Argentina and Nigeria, among people who used misoprostol alone to self-manage their abortion with support from a safe abortion hotline, 99 percent had a complete abortion. Other studies from Nigeria, Pakistan and Thailand show similarly high levels of effectiveness.


Recently, my co-authors and I published a U.S.-based study on the safety of misoprostol alone used for self-managed abortion, finding that overall 88 percent of users had a complete abortion, and very few people experienced adverse events or symptoms of a potential complication. People in the United States are knowledgeable about misoprostol, and people all over the world find it to be a highly acceptable medication abortion regimen.


Misoprostol was originally created to treat stomach ulcers, but in the early 1980s Brazilian feministsdiscovered that the medication could also induce abortion. Since this discovery, it has been used throughout Latin America, Asia and Africa. For decades feminist groups have supported people through safe self-managed abortion using misoprostol alone. We can look to this history for strategic guidance as we navigate the current abortion access crisis in the United States.


Because of misoprostol’s wide range of applications — including induction of labor, miscarriage management and prevention of postpartum hemorrhage — it is commonly stocked in U.S. pharmacies, and it is relatively inexpensive. Unlike mifepristone, it is not governed by the F.D.A’s Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies, or REMS, classification, which has historically made mifepristone difficult to access. Across our Southern border, misoprostol is available over-the-counter in some Mexican pharmacies, and Mexican activists have mobilized to assist Americans seeking access to misoprostol.


For Americans in favor of abortion rights, there is hope in the implementation and expansion of models using just misoprostol for abortions in the United States. But it is also clear that even with Roe v. Wade overturned, conservative lawmakers and judges remain relentless in their attacks on abortion. Disproportionately, the people who would suffer from this decision would be those with fewer resources to combat unjust laws.


Anti-abortion laws and court decisions often aim to stoke unwarranted fear about the safety of abortion. So it’s important to remember that while this looming decision could be a major blow to abortion access in America, misoprostol alone remains a safe medication abortion option. It is critical that everyone who cares about American abortion access learns about misoprostol and its uses to prepare for what may soon be to come.



7) To Prepare for a Pacific Island Fight, Marines Hide and Attack in California

A 10-day exercise gave a new Marine regiment the chance to test war-fighting concepts the Pentagon may one day need in a battle with China.

By John Ismay, March 5, 2023


An aerial view of marines walking across a desert landscape.
Marines taking part in a military exercise in Twentynine Palms, Calif., in 2019. The new exercise spanned the base and others across Southern California to mimic a life-or-death version of hide and seek. Credit...Etienne Laurent/EPA, via Shutterstock

TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. — Sitting around a plastic folding table in a dusty tent, a half-dozen officers of the Hawaii-based Third Marine Littoral Regiment took a very short break from days of fighting on little to no sleep.


The war, they said, was going well.


The unit, newly created and innovative in nature, was facing its toughest test yet — a 10-day mock battle across Southern California, where a series of military bases played the role of an island chain. Though outnumbered by the regiment it was fighting, the team from Hawaii had an edge.


The team was built to fight on islands and along coastal shorelines, the “littoral region” in military parlance. It had also been given special equipment and the freedom to innovate, developing new tactics to figure out one of the service’s highest priorities: how to fight a war against Chinese forces in their own backyard, and win.


Although far from the ocean, the base at Twentynine Palms offers about 1,200 square miles to train, more than all of the Marine Corps’ other training bases combined. Days ago, the two sides were dropped off here about 12 miles from each other. Then it was time to fight.


No live ammunition was used, but that was essentially the only rule. Evaluators alongside them graded everything they did, assessing hits and misses and pulling troops out of the action when they had been “killed.”


Over the next two years, the new unit will have a relentless schedule, with about four or five times as many exercises as most infantry regiments. Its next big test will be in the Philippines in April.


The Marines anticipate a very different kind of battlefield in the future than those of the post-9/11 wars. Today, enemy and civilian spy satellites alike fly overhead and anyone turning on a small radio or cellphone can be targeted with long-range rockets and missiles.


“We have to unlearn the way that we were trained,” said Gen. David H. Berger, the service’s top general, noting that 20 years ago, infantry Marines in the field typically called their commanders via radio on the hour every hour. “You have to have an incredible amount of trust when you haven’t heard from your Marines for several days.”


The exercise is essentially a life-or-death version of hide and seek, with far-flung military bases in California — at Barstow, Camp Pendleton, Twentynine Palms and an outpost on San Clemente Island about 70 miles offshore from San Diego — all standing in for an unnamed Pacific island chain.


With America’s relations with China deteriorating over Beijing’s actions — most recently because of its aggressive moves on Taiwan, its attempts to intimidate Japan, its violation of U.S. airspace with a spy balloon and its support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — the mission of preparing for a potential future conflict in Pacific island chains was important enough that about a half-dozen generals, including the Marine commandant, came to see the results of the exercise for themselves.


“Each year they are expanding their deployments,” General Berger said of the Chinese naval forces in an interview. “Not only in terms of the complexity of them, but also the distances they cover.”


China’s navy, General Berger said, was now taking a page from the U.S. Navy, operating in strike groups, with destroyers and other warships escorting an aircraft carrier.


The littoral Marines may serve as spotters who pass along the position of enemy forces to American warplanes, ships or submarines to attack. Or, the Marines could take those shots themselves.


They are learning how to place networked sensors that monitor tiny fluctuations in the electromagnetic spectrum — from walkie-talkies, radars and other transmitters — to find enemy troops, using classified surveillance technologies previously available only to three-star generals.


To fight in that part of the world, General Berger created the Third Marine Littoral Regiment as a fighting unit unlike any other. Instead of having three infantry battalions of roughly 800 Marines each, it has one — the other two are ideas borrowed from much larger task forces: an antiaircraft battalion that is testing new weapons and tactics, and a logistics battalion.


The unit includes a communications section more than 50 percent larger than that of a typical regiment, including several chief warrant officers with combat experience from Marine Forces Special Operations Command.


Those specialists introduced the other Marines to new ways of thinking as well as technologies developed for covert operations — bouncing signals off layers of the atmosphere or using directional beams of infrared light that are difficult to detect, in short bursts carrying large amounts of digital text.


Military planners assume that any potential future battle with China may take place in what the Pentagon often refers to as the “first island chain,” which includes Okinawa and Taiwan down to Malaysia as well as the South China Sea and disputed islands in the Spratlys and the Paracels.


The “second island chain” includes the Philippines, going from Tokyo to Guam to south of Palau.


The Marines’ new reality boils down to this: If you are emitting radio energy, you can be detected by the enemy. If detected, you can be located and seen. If seen, you can be targeted and killed.


Resupply across islands hundreds or even thousands of miles apart, General Berger said, may not be something the Marines can count on. They may have to purchase food and fuel from the people who live there, desalinize ocean water to drink and use only enough munitions to do the job.

To that end, Marine officers going through basic training in Quantico, Va., are now learning how to capture and kill animals like rabbits to eat — a skill usually taught only to service members at high risk of capture, like aircrews and special operations troops.


“The idea is you’re deploying with your Marines as self-sufficient as possible,” General Berger said.


By the time General Berger arrived at Twentynine Palms, the colonel commanding the Third Marine Littoral Regiment had pulled his troops back from the other bases across Southern California for a final battle, using CH-53 helicopters and Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, just like he would if they were on actual islands. In a real conflict, he would move Marines around the Pacific via small ships as well.


The visiting delegation of Marine leaders had to stay in Camp Wilson, just outside the training area, and the only participants they could speak with were the majors and lieutenant colonels running backup command posts in off-limits areas guarded by concertina wire and armed Marines.


As the battle went on, tired and sunburned senior officers from the Seventh Marine Regiment, who have been playing the role of the enemy, offered up an assessment of their foe from their reserve command post. Every time the other side sent up a small quadcopter — and it did so often — at least some of their Marines had to stop what they were doing to visually keep tabs on them or to shoot them down. Even unarmed drones made the leaders’ jobs more difficult.


The Seventh Marines usually quickly overwhelm opponents here. Twentynine Palms is their home turf, but the unit from Hawaii was keeping them at bay.


They especially did not like their opponents’ “loitering munitions” — small attack drones that can fly over an enemy’s position, beaming back video surveillance, then head directly at a target so that a small warhead explodes on impact. They were proving effective in destroying high-value targets like armored vehicles and anything that looked like a command post.


The Marines from the Seventh wished they had them, too.


These Marines have been closely watching how combatants in Ukraine use such tiny drones and loitering munitions. When General Berger visited an air station in nearby Yuma, Ariz., the next day, a Marine fighter pilot said his unit was evaluating counter-drone technologies so that his fellow Marines would not one day “end up as TikTok videos” — a nod to the stream of videos on social media sites showing Russian troops being attacked by Ukrainian quadcopters dropping small grenades.


If called upon to fight in the Western Pacific, the Marines are also likely to make use of their most capable drones: the MQ-9 Reaper, which can drop bombs and fire missiles but is most valued for its ability to beam back information.


In Yuma, Marines are flying the corps’ first two Reapers, which can take off from runways just 3,000 feet long — which means smaller islands can host them, greatly expanding their reach and making it more difficult for a potential adversary to find their airfields.


The Marines’ version of the F-35 fighter, which buzzed overhead in Yuma, will be part of any future Pacific campaign as well. It can take off and land vertically, making it capable of launching airstrikes from even smaller islands.


At Twentynine Palms, the colonels commanding both regiments scanned for any signal — anything — that could tip them off to their adversary’s location. So the Marines in the field hid themselves physically and electronically the best they could.


The littoral regiment occasionally broke cover to use one of its signature weapons for an island fight, a missile that can hit ships more than 100 miles away and is launched from the back of a small truck — easy to move, hard to detect.


General Berger said that many of those strategic points in the ocean, and many of the islands that can cover them, have already been identified and written into contingency plans by the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command in Hawaii.


In the end, the Third Marine Littoral Regiment remained in control of its terrain and had fended off its opponents — which it considered a victory.


All of the work done so far in Hawaii and California will soon benefit a new unit, the 12th Marine Littoral Regiment, which military leaders have said will be established in Okinawa in 2025.


That unit, based in Japan, will be the closest to the island chains stretching many thousands of miles across the Pacific, which could become battlefields once again.



8) Walgreens Says It Won’t Offer the Abortion Pill Mifepristone in 21 States

The decision applies to conservative states whose attorneys general threatened Walgreens and other pharmacies with legal action if they dispensed the pill there.

By Pam Belluck, March 3, 2023

An exterior view of a Walgreens store on a bright morning. A few cars are parked in spots just outside the store.
A Walgreens pharmacy in Cleveland. Ohio is one of several states where abortion is still legal. Credit...Maddie McGarvey for The New York Times

A few weeks after Republican attorneys general in 21 states sent letters threatening legal action against retail pharmacy chains if they dispensed the abortion pill mifepristone, Walgreens said it would not distribute the pill in those states.


In January, after the Food and Drug Administration said it would allow retail pharmacies to become certified to dispense mifepristone — the tightly regulated medication that is the first pill in the two-drug medication abortion regimen — Walgreens, CVS and other pharmacies said they planned to do so in states where abortion was legal. The American Pharmacists Association said that pharmacies would be very cautious about dispensing in any state where they might risk losing their license or face other penalties.


The decision this week by Walgreens reflects that caution. In four of the states — Alaska, Iowa, Kansas and Montana — abortion is technically still legal, but there are efforts to restrict it that would apply to abortion pills.


“This is a very complex and in flux area of the law, and we are taking that into account as we seek certification,” said a spokesman for Walgreens, Fraser Engerman.


He said that Walgreens told 20 attorneys general, who had jointly signed one letter, and the attorney general of Kansas, who sent a separate letter, that it would not be distributing mifepristone in their states.


The decision does not affect the second pill in the medication abortion regimen, misoprostol, which is used for several medical conditions and has long been available by prescription at retail pharmacies nationwide.


A spokesman for CVS did not immediately respond to a question about whether the company had also decided not to dispense mifepristone in those 21 states, but in January, a spokeswoman said, “We plan to seek certification to dispense mifepristone where legally permissible.”


Politico reported the Walgreens decision on Thursday night. The chain’s decision not to dispense pills in Kansas was announced last month.



9) In West Bank, New Armed Groups Emerge, and Dormant Ones Stir

The small but influential Lions’ Den network has attracted young Palestinians disappointed by their leaders and angry at Israeli violence. Veteran fighters are restless, too.

By Patrick Kingsley and Hiba Yazbek, March 4, 2023

Patrick Kingsley and Hiba Yazbek spent four days in Nablus, in the West Bank, speaking with young Palestinian gunmen, veteran former fighters and Palestinian officials.

Masked fighters from a Palestinian armed group raise their guns at a funeral in Nablus.
Members of the Lions’ Den militia at a funeral for a fighter from the group who was killed last year in Nablus, in the West Bank. Credit...Raneen Sawafta/Reuters

An aerial view of a large crowd gathering for the funeral of members of a Palestinian armed group.
Mourners at a funeral for Lions’ Den members killed last year in Nablus during an Israeli raid. Credit...Jaafar Ashtiyeh/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

A wall displaying images of fighters carrying guns.
A memorial wall with portraits of killed Lions’ Den gunmen in Nablus. Credit...Zain Jaafar/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

After a violent uprising by Palestinians against Israel subsided nearly two decades ago, Abu Abdallah, then a leader of a Palestinian militia, stashed away his assault rifle and later became a civil servant in the West Bank city of Nablus.


When Israeli troops raided Nablus late last month, Abu Abdallah, now 42, lent that rifle to a group of Palestinian gunmen 20 years younger who were locked in a four-hour gun battle with the soldiers in the Palestinian city. That made him a party to the conflict for the first time in years — one of several former fighters who returned to the fray that day, he said.


“We have this feeling that we need to do our duty,” said Abu Abdallah, who asked to be identified by his nom de guerre in order to avoid legal repercussions.


For years, the Palestinian Authority, the semiautonomous body that administers cities in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, like Nablus, worked with Israel to keep Palestinian militias in relative check. The authority had hoped that building enough trust with Israeli leaders would persuade them to allow the formation of a Palestinian state.


But in cities like Nablus, the authority’s control is ebbing and its popularity is plummeting as hopes of statehood all but evaporate. A younger generation of gunmen has become increasingly active over the past year, mounting more shooting attacks on Israeli soldiers and civilians, and opening fire far more often during Israeli raids on their towns.


Foremost among them is a new group called the Lions’ Den, the target of the Israeli raid in Nablus last month, whose support is growing even as its ranks dwindle through killings and arrests. Long-dormant fighters like Abu Abdallah are also stirring, spurred into action in part by the younger gunmen.


Those developments reflect growing support among some Palestinians for violent resistance to the 56-year Israeli occupation, as frustration grows with the entrenchment of Israeli settlements in the territory, attacks by Israeli settlers and what is seen as a corrupt and ineffective Palestinian Authority.


In the Old City of Nablus, a warren of alleys, Ottoman-era mosques and covered markets that has long been a stronghold for Palestinian gunmen, three young fighters said this past week in interviews with the The New York Times that they believed they had begun a new widespread insurgency, 18 years after the last one ended.


That sentiment explains in part why deadly violence in the West Bank has risen so sharply in 2023 and why polling shows that both Palestinians and Israeli Jews feel the region is on the cusp of an intifada, or a Palestinian national uprising, for the first time since the last one subsided in 2005.


Palestinian violence began rising last spring, under the previous Israeli government. Israel’s new far-right government took office late last year and began stepping up its response to recent attacks by Palestinian fighters. This past week, one cabinet minister issued a call to “wipe out” a Palestinian town at the center of recent turmoil.


The Lions’ Den group in Nablus has been responsible for much of the rise in Palestinian violence. In 2022, there were 61 shooting attacks, one of them deadly, on Israeli soldiers and civilians in and around the city, up from only three attacks in 2020, according to Israeli military records.


These attacks have prompted an increasingly forceful and even erratic Israeli military campaign. More than 60 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank so far this year, the deadliest start to any year this century in the territory, according to Palestinian officials. Most died during gun battles between Israeli security forces and Palestinian gunmen started by Israeli operations to arrest people suspected of involvement in carrying out or plotting attacks against Israeli soldiers and civilians.


For many, the question now is whether Palestinians are about to start another violent intifada — a societywide effort to fight the occupation. The first intifada, in the 1980s, was defined mainly by protests and violent riots. The second, in the 2000s, also began with protests and riots, but soon devolved into terrorist attacks and Israeli military raids, leaving 1,000 Israelis and 3,000 Palestinians dead — and much of central Nablus in ruins.


Two decades on, signs of social support for violent resistance — and, in particular, the Lions’ Den — are found across Nablus. Many residents have placed photographs of slain Lions’ Den members on amulets hanging in the city’s main square. Songs about the group play in cafes. And their faces are seen on shop fronts, car windows and cellphone screens.


That support reflects how, to many residents, the gunmen are doing what the Palestinian Authority will not: fighting Israel.


The new generation of Palestinian fighters grew up “with no clear political horizon,” said Amid al-Masry, a community leader in Nablus from Fatah, the secular party that controls the Palestinian Authority.


“Israeli crimes, settlement expansion, high unemployment — all of that made them feel like they needed to do something different and take matters into their own hands,” Mr. al-Masry added.


Among Palestinians across the West Bank and Gaza Strip, more than half would support another uprising and more than 7 in 10 support the Lions’ Den, according to a poll in December. And gunmen from the Lions’ Den believe an uprising is underway.


“We are already in an intifada,” said one 24-year-old fighter interviewed by The Times this past week in Nablus.


“An intifada without the Palestinian Authority,” interjected a second fighter, 25, who also requested anonymity to avoid incriminating himself.


That second view highlighted why, for some, the current escalation in violence falls somewhat short of a full-scale uprising, and may yet subside.


The second intifada was coordinated by Palestinian movements that had an organizational presence across the West Bank and Gaza — including Fatah, the faction to which Abu Abdallah belongs and that controls the Palestinian Authority. Fatah’s leadership has not called for another uprising, and senior officials dismissed a recent call by one senior Fatah member for Palestinian police officers to confront Israeli soldiers.


“For there to be a third intifada, there has to be a political decision that has not yet been taken,” said Mr. al-Masry, the Fatah community leader in Nablus. “The Fatah central committee has to take that decision,” he added.


Palestinian leaders in the West Bank say they are reluctant to change policy because a violent eruption would harm Palestinians more than it would benefit them. But that reluctance is partly what has prompted a younger generation of Palestinians to form new networks like the Lions’ Den.


The group was founded in February 2022, according to the three fighters interviewed this past week, though Israeli intelligence officers detected it only last July, an Israeli military spokesman said.


It is staffed mainly by young Fatah members frustrated by their leadership’s inaction, according to the fighters and Israeli and Palestinian officials.


But the Lions’ Den also includes fighters from Hamas and Islamic Jihad, two Islamist Palestinian groups that Fatah has traditionally opposed. Israeli and Palestinian officials say that Hamas and Islamic Jihad also secretly fund the Lions’ Den, seeking to fight Israel, destabilize the Palestinian Authority and exacerbate splits within Fatah, but not in plain sight.


Israeli officials said that the group had attacked soldiers as well as civilians and that a Lions’ Den member nearly carried out an attack in September in Tel Aviv before being foiled. The group itself claimed the killing of an Israeli soldier near Nablus in October, among other attacks.


The fighters describe their group as more of a loose affiliation of different subgroups than a cohesive entity. Several dozen gunmen fight under the group’s banner, they said, but not under a single leader. Most of them also belong to other groups, and only a minority are tied to the Lions’ Den alone.


Much of the group’s influence is rooted in its branding and reach on social media. Through frequent use of apps including TikTok, and by releasing dramatic statements and videos of its attacks, it has garnered hundreds of thousands of followers, inspired similar groups in other Palestinian cities and successfully called for strikes and marches across the West Bank.


“The soldiers of the Den are igniting the earth under the occupation’s soldiers like a volcano,” read a recent example of the group’s rhetoric.


The Lions’ Den also often publishes group photographs and videos of its affiliated fighters, masked and carrying assault rifles, projecting a sense of unity and purpose.


In reality, many of those guns do not work. Fighters often wait to inherit working rifles from those killed by Israeli soldiers, they said, or they borrow guns from people like Abu Abdallah. Others make their own weapons, sometimes by repurposing air guns, an Israeli military spokesman said.


The group’s numbers are down — from 60 at its peak in September to between 10 and 30 now, according to different estimates. Some members have been killed in Israeli operations, while around 30 have turned themselves over to the Palestinian Authority, Palestinian officials said, after being promised protection from Israeli reprisals in exchange for handing in their weapons and accepting a few months’ detention.


The group’s existence has put the authority in a bind. It is reluctant to crack down too hard on the Lions’ Den because the group has widespread popular support and its members have relatives and supporters in Fatah and the Palestinian Authority itself. But that decision not to rein in the Lions’ Den entirely has prompted Israel to act.


The Israeli security forces have entered Nablus in an increasingly brazen way, most recently in a raid in February that left 11 Palestinians dead. Those raids have bolstered the Lions’ Den’s support and reputation even as its operational abilities decrease, and they further diminished support for the Palestinian Authority, whose forces stood by as the raids played out.


Israeli officials believe that their raids — to arrest Lions’ Den operatives suspected of attacking Israelis — are limiting the group’s ability to carry out offensive operations outside the city. But Israeli military data also shows far greater resistance in Nablus and other nearby areas to the operations, leading to deadlier and more protracted gun battles.


In 2021, only one Israeli raid in the Nablus region led to a shootout with Palestinian gunmen, according to that data. Last year that number rose to 33.


And with each gun battle, the Palestinian Authority’s social standing falls as the den’s reputation rises.


“We like them, yes. We support them, yes,” Ibrahim Ramadan, the Palestinian Authority governor of Nablus, said of the Lions’ Den. But, he added, “we have to say to them, ‘That’s enough.’”



10) Protesters Damage Property at Site of Planned Police Center in Atlanta

The disturbance grew out of a demonstration among hundreds of activists in a forest being developed into a training center.  

By Sean Keenan and Eliza Fawcett, Published March 5, 2023, Updated March 6, 2023


Distant smoke fills a blue sky.
Protesters set vehicles ablaze after breaching the area they deride as Cop City. Credit...Sean Keenan for The New York Times

ATLANTA — Hundreds of activists breached the site of a proposed police and fire training center in Atlanta’s wooded outskirts on Sunday, burning police and construction vehicles and a trailer, and setting off fireworks toward officers stationed nearby.


The Atlanta Police Department said 35 people had been detained, adding that agitators also threw large rocks, bricks and Molotov cocktails. According to jail records, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has charged at least 19 demonstrators with domestic terrorism.


The destruction occurred on the second day of what is supposed to be a weeklong series of demonstrations to protest the building of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center, a planned 85-acre campus owned by the city.


The planned complex would include classrooms, an amphitheater and spaces where law enforcement officers can simulate shootouts and high-speed chases, and firefighters can learn to drive fire trucks and battle blazes. Opponents derisively call it Cop City.


The agitators used the cover of a peaceful protest “to conduct a coordinated attack on construction equipment and police officers,” the Atlanta Police said in a statement, adding that multiple pieces of construction equipment were destroyed. It was not immediately clear whether anyone was injured.


Tensions have escalated between police officers and protesters over the forested area in recent months. Environmental advocates want the woods — which span more than 1,000 acres — preserved as one of the region’s most significant green spaces. Other activists are concerned that the development of the training site will enable the increased militarization of police forces. Those opposed to the center began organizing against the complex shortly after the Atlanta City Council authorized it in 2021.


In January, a confrontation as the police were clearing demonstrators out of the woods left a 26-year-old protester, Manuel Esteban Paez Terán, dead and a state trooper seriously injured. A total of 19 protesters were charged with domestic terrorism in December and January.


On Sunday, many demonstrators — a subset of the several hundred protesters who attended and stayed behind in an area where music was playing — wore black and camouflage, their faces masked, as they trudged through tall grass and mud to the construction site, uprooting small fences along the way. As vehicles were set ablaze, law enforcement officers looked on and initially did not intervene.


An Atlanta Police helicopter circled overhead. After a few minutes, the protesters returned to an area away from the construction site where they had been gathering since Saturday, where live music played on speakers. Multiple law enforcement agencies including the Georgia State Patrol responded, and the authorities later converged on that area and detained people.  


The cost of the planned center, which is in DeKalb County, is estimated at $90 million, and a nonprofit organization, the Atlanta Police Foundation, is raising most of it.  


Activists opposed to the development began their planned week of protests on Saturday with a rally, a march through the South River Forest, and a music and arts festival.


Neelam Bohra contributed reporting.



11) U.S. to Challenge Mexican Ban on Genetically Modified Corn

The Biden administration said it would request talks with Mexico over a brewing trade fight.

By Ana Swanson and Linda Qiu, March 6, 2023


Mexico bought more than 20 million metric tons of corn from the United States in 2021-22, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Farmers in Mexico grew 27.3 million metric tons last year.
Mexico bought more than 20 million metric tons of corn from the United States in 2021-22, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Farmers in Mexico grew 27.3 million metric tons last year. Credit...Dane Rhys/Reuters

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration said on Monday that it would take initial steps toward challenging a ban that Mexico has placed on shipments of genetically modified corn from the United States, restrictions that have rankled farmers and threatened a profitable export.


Mexico has planned to phase out the use of genetically modified corn, as well as an herbicide called glyphosate, by 2024. About 90 percent of corn grown in the United States is genetically modified.


Senior administration officials have expressed concerns to the Mexican government about the measures for more than a year in virtual and in-person meetings, saying they could disrupt millions of dollars of agricultural trade and cause serious harm to U.S. producers. Mexico is the second largest market for U.S. corn, after China.


On Monday, U.S. officials said that they were requesting consultations over the issue with their Mexican counterparts under the terms of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which governs the terms of trade in North America. Biden officials said that parties to that agreement, which was signed in 2020, had committed to base their regulation on science, and that Mexico’s ban on genetically modified corn did not conform to those promises.


The consultations are the first step in a process that could lead to the United States bringing a formal dispute against Mexico. The parties must meet to discuss the issue within 30 days and, if the talks are not successful, the United States could turn to a separate dispute settlement procedure under the trade agreement. That process that could potentially result in the United States placing tariffs on Mexican products, if no other resolution can be reached.


Senior officials with the Office of the United States Trade Representative said they were focused on finding a resolution through the talks at hand. But in a statement, the office said that it would “consider all options, including taking formal steps to enforce U.S. rights under the USMCA” if the issue was not resolved.


Mexico bought more than 20 million metric tons of corn from the United States in the 2021-22 marketing year, which runs from September to August, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.


The National Corn Growers Association has said that the impending ban would be “catastrophic” for American corn producers and Mexican consumers alike and undermine the principles of the trade agreement. The industry has maintained that bioengineered corn is safe for human consumption, contrary to health concerns cited by Mexican officials.


It is illegal to grow genetically modified corn in Mexico, where maize was first domesticated 8,700 years ago and where white corn is a staple crop. Environmental groups and some farmers in Mexico worry that any imports of bioengineered corn would threaten native species, as the varieties can cross-pollinate.


The Mexican government in February moved to soften its restrictions, by saying it would allow genetically modified corn to be brought into the country for animal feed and industrial use, though not for human consumption. Tom Vilsack, the U.S. agriculture secretary, said he was “disappointed” in the decision.


It also remains to be seen whether domestic corn production in Mexican is sufficient to replace imports, the eventual goal of the Mexican government. Last year, farmers in Mexico grew 27.3 million metric tons, about 38 percent below domestic demand. One analysis projected that corn costs could rise by 20 percent in Mexico and increase rates of food insecurity should the ban remain in place.



12) ‘This is how I’m going to die’: police swarm activists protesting ‘Cop City’ in ‘week of action’

Hours of chaos as officers descended upon forest, seeking activists protesting $90m police and fire department training center

By Timothy Pratt, March 7, 2023

activists march against Cop City

The ‘Cop City’ project had been opposed even before police killed activist Manuel Paez Terán in January. Photograph: Steve Eberhardt/Zuma Press  Wire/Rex/Shutterstock

“Check their shoes and look for mud!” shouted one Atlanta police department officer to another.


The sun was setting against a tree line growing greener daily due to recent balmy, spring-like weather in Atlanta, but the bucolic setting of a Sunday in the sun at a free music festival abruptly became panic and chaos.


Dozens of law enforcement officers, many with automatic weapons, swarmed into a forest of hundreds of acres, seeking to find any of the 200 or so activists who had set fire to a bulldozer, trailer and other infrastructure used for construction on “Cop City”, a $90m, 85-acre police and fire department training center, about an hour earlier.


The clash was just the latest dramatic chapter to hit the Cop City project, which has already seen one environmental activist shot dead by police – the first incident of its kind in the US – and drawn national and international attention to the fight to save the Georgia forest where the giant project is planned.


The one officer’s frenzied order about dirty footwear seemed as absurd as any part of the Sunday night operation, since Georgia rains had left muddy patches all over the forest, and at least 600 people were lying on the grass, or camped among the trees, or entering the forest to catch an evening’s music under the stars or leaving – thus many had mud on their shoes.


But such was the situation on Sunday night, on the second night of the fifth “week of action” by activists over the last year dedicated to protecting the land called South River forest on municipal maps and Weelaunee forest by activists – using the Muscogee (Creek) word for “brown water”.


The scene included police running through trees, arresting a legal observer from the National Lawyers Guild, sending a negotiator to agree on terms with five randomly chosen individuals for letting about a hundred music festival audience members safely leave the forest, and detaining journalists for questioning on “what they were there to cover”.


The first two days had included free music, herbal workshops and a peaceful march through neighborhoods surrounding the forest south-east of Atlanta. Then, around 5.30 on Sunday evening, about 200 activists, most in balaclavas and camouflage clothing, began lining up to the right of the stage. They marched around three sides of the audience, chanting “Viva Tortuguita” – a reference to Manuel Paez Terán, a 26-year-old activist who was camping several hundred feet away from that spot on 18 January when police shot and killed him in another raid. It was the first time police killed an environmental activist while protesting in US history. Authorities said that Paez Terán fired first.



After several hours of chaos on Sunday night, 23 people – including a legal observer with the National Lawyers Guild – had been arrested and charged with “domestic terrorism” under state law, adding to the 18 defendants facing the same unprecedented charges who have been arrested in recent months.


Police officers had also threatened to arrest the hundred or so people who were lolling about in the field and listening to music only hours earlier if some agreement couldn’t be reached for their evacuation, said Jeff Simms, a retired federal endangered species biologist who was there.


Simms – who had come to the forest from Tucson, Arizona, to spend the week camping in the forest with his 21-year-old daughter, Alyssa – found the two of them thrust into unexpected positions as members of a five-person negotiating team on Sunday night.


Simms had watched dozens of police officers entering the forest from various sides and thought: “We’re all going to jail.”


He had spent one night camped in what is technically called Intrenchment Creek park. At least 85 acres of the forest is under threat from the construction of Cop City and another 40 acres is under threat from Ryan Millsap, former owner of Blackhall Studios, who made a deal with DeKalb county in 2020 to swap the land, in use as a public park, for another piece of land nearby. That deal is on hold due to a local environmental group’s lawsuit, and residents of surrounding neighborhoods continue to use the park for recreation.


The two parts of the forest are divided by a stream, Intrenchment Creek. The pair of threats to the forest led dozens of “forest defenders” to camp in the woods on both sides of the creek starting in late 2021. After Tortuguita’s death, hundreds recently began camping on the park side again – where all the arrests on Sunday were made.



On Sunday night, even as music continued on stage – mostly soft folk tunes, Simms said – police formed a line on the field. One had an AR-15 assault-type rifle, he said. Another announced on a bullhorn that they had a negotiator, and asked for five people to step forward.


“My daughter and I went, along with three others, and we all took turns speaking,” the 61-year-old said. The officer assured the team that they weren’t setting a trap, and said the crowd, which included at least one elementary school-aged child, would have 10 minutes to clear the field – or “we will arrest you for domestic terrorism”, Simms said the police told him.


“We told them the musicians had equipment, people had gear and bags, and we’d need at least 15 minutes,” Simms said. Then “I went back and told them, ‘We’re not gonna make it in 15.’”


The group of five spoke to the crowd and helped arrange transportation out of the forest for those who hadn’t arrived in their own cars. Organizers on stage urged them to “stay together. They can’t arrest us all,” Alyssa said.


Eventually, the crowd was able to leave – even as officers in other parts of the forest were attempting to find, and arrest, anyone who had participated in vandalizing the construction equipment.


Simms and his daughter returned to the forest on Monday, to camp for the rest of the week. “I want to take notes about the biology of this forest,” he said. “I came here to do that.” The Center for Biological Diversity, a national organization, recently issued a statement calling for protecting the forest due to its biological and ecological importance.


Mariah Parker, a union organizer, rapper and former Athens-Clarke county commissioner, went to the forest for the first time on Sunday. She had already been public in her opposition to the Cop City project for months, based on concerns about the increasing militarization of police and mass incarceration, particularly in Black communities.


After spending an afternoon in the forest and at the music festival, she said: “It was so beautiful – seeing people building community. I was feeling excited for what this space could be, what kind of a world we could really have.” Parker, who is Black, had met a Black mother and her two children who lives near the forest, other rap artists, and local community gardeners and teachers.


She left at about 5.30pm – right before activists entered the training center construction site. Several hours later, friends in the forest texted her, frightened. “People were hiding in the woods, and not sure how to get out – and they weren’t even involved [in the vandalism],” she said.


Several of Parker’s friends were Black. For them, she said, “it must have been one of the worst moments of their lives, not being able to leave, or know what would happen. Particularly for Black folks, it must have felt like, ‘This is how I’m going to die.’”