Bay Area United Against War Newsletter, April 30, 2023





CODEPINK Returns to the Golden Gate Bridge!


Mother’s Day Bridge Walk for Peace

Sunday, May 14, Noon


Let’s again pay tribute to the original meaning of “Mother’s Day,” a global call to ABOLISH WAR:


We’ll read:  Julia Ward Howe’s (1870) Mother’s Day Proclamation:


Arise, all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be that of water or of tears! Say firmly: “We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies, our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause.


“Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”


From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own. It says, “Disarm, disarm! The sword is not the balance of justice.” Blood does not wipe out dishonor nor violence indicate possession.


As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead. Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each learning after his own time, the sacred impress, not of Caesar, but of God.


In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.


Let’s also pay tribute to our SF troubadour, Francis Collins (center back row of photo), who died last year: 

We’ll sing John Lennon’s Imagine, one of Francis’ favorite songs! Francis Collins Presente!


Bring your mamas and grandmamas, sons and daughters, and grandchildren….bring the entire family, and friends too!  War is not healthy for children and other living things!




War poisons earth, air, water, and people.  

Peace in Ukraine, Peace Everywhere!



Renay, Martha, Nancy, Catherine, Fred, Susan, Eric, Eleanor, Dana, Denise, and Toby



See http://tripplanner.transit.511.org

For public transit options:

Golden Gate Transit Buses 10, 70, 80

and SF Muni Bus 28 stop at the bridge (SF side).


FMI and carpooling: 




Join Committee to Stop FBI Repression in the fight for...

Justice for the Tampa 5!

Drop the charges now! Defend student activists!


1.     Sign on to this statement as an individual/group and share widely:


2.  Call the university president and demand they drop the charges on the Tampa 5: (813)-417-5292

3.     Donate to support the Tampa 5: https://gofund.me/5765e559

4.     Follow Tampa Bay SDS on Twitter and Facebook for updates

About the Tampa 5

On March 6, 2023, members of Tampa Bay Students for a Democratic Society held a rally on the University of South Florida campus to defend diversity in higher education. At the rally, four women activists were suddenly and violently assaulted by USF police before being arrested. Later, on April 4, another student received a communication of the university’s intent to charge her with additional misdemeanors and a felony – just like the other 4 activists.


The Tampa 5 – Chrisley Carpio, Gia Davila, Lauren Pineiro, Laura Rodriguez, and Jeanie K. deserve our support. They disrupted no campus activities, damaged no property, and did nothing wrong. Several video recordings of the event show the aggressive and unprovoked way that USF police grabbed these young women, slammed them into walls, groped them inappropriately, and placed them in chokeholds. Video captured at the event has already amassed over 6 million views on TikTok, and can be viewed here.


In addition to alleged code of conduct violations and misdemeanor charges, the Tampa 5 are facing felony charges. Once again, the police are lying about what happened, despite video evidence clearly showing the police going on an unprovoked rampage. Several of the activists lost their jobs after these unjust arrests. Chrisley Carpio is a union member (AFSCME Local 3342) and is still fighting to save her job at the University despite having a spotless record.


The administration at the University of South Florida want to intimidate students and youth who exercise their freedom of speech. The activists held the original rally on March 6 to protect higher education from Governor Ron DeSantis’s attacks on diversity, equality, inclusion (DEI) and multicultural programs. There is absolutely no evidence that the Tampa 5 or any of the activists did anything to provoke the outrageous response from campus police. The hearings concerning the expulsion of student activists who were violently attacked must be stopped and the code of conduct charges against them dropped.


We support these brave women and demand that the charges against the Tampa 5 be dropped immediately. We stand in solidarity with the Tampa 5 and show our unwavering commitment to defending all who stand for peace, higher learning, and diversity.


Drop the charges now! Bring Chrisley back to work! 

Defend diversity in higher education! Activism is not a crime!



Public complaint about the health condition of Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab, illegally imprisoned in the United States

On Friday, March 16, 2023, Camilla Saab made an urgent call to the world to denounce the dire health condition of Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab, which endangers his life.

In July 2021, the Working Group against Torture and several UN rapporteurs expressed their concern about the irreparable deterioration of Alex Saab's health condition.  

Let us recall that in Cape Verde, on July 7, 2021, after many refusals, Alex Saab was visited by his family doctor, who, in his report, detected a worrying health condition of the Venezuelan official, especially because Saab is a stomach cancer survivor. The doctor diagnosed: anemia, anorexia, diabetes mellitus type 2, hypothyroidism, hypertension, and high risk of thromboembolic disease, including pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis. In addition, he highlighted that a high infection by the bacterium Helicobacter pylori was found in his blood, and an endoscopy identified bleeding from the digestive tract that could mean a recurrence of cancer. Saab's lower left molar was found broken due to the beatings received during the torture, and access to proper medical care was recommended. However, he was never allowed to receive treatment.  

Subsequently, the treating physician issued, on September 9, 2021, a new report highlighting the need for patient Alex Saab to receive specialized medical care and asked the authorities of Cape Verde to consider the need to preserve the health and life of Alex Saab. Cape Verde did nothing in this regard.  

Alex Saab arrived in the United States, kidnapped for the second time on October 16, 2021, and from that moment until today, he has not received any medical attention according to the primary diseases that had been reported, ignoring the call of the UN rapporteurs. Alex Saab is in the Federal Detention Center in Miami, and his prison situation is even worse than in Cape Verde: he has not been allowed family visits. He has not seen his wife and children, who have also been victims of persecution by the U.S. authorities and their allies, for more than two years and eight months. 

Alex Saab has also not been allowed consular visits, a human right of every prisoner deprived of liberty. The U.S. State Department has yet to respond to the Venezuelan State's request to grant him a consular visit, as established in Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.  

In the medical reports made in July, Alex Saab's doctor had already informed that they had identified bleeding from the digestive tract, which could mean a cancer recurrence. Now, it is highly alarming to learn that Alex has been vomiting blood for weeks, and despite having reported it to the U.S. authorities, there is still a lack of medical attention at the prison. Why has the U.S. not bothered to treat him?  

Everything indicates that the lack of medical attention is part of a State policy, as was his illegal arrest. Do U.S. authorities want Alex Saab dead? Why, then, the insistence on not providing him with medical attention and not allowing his doctor to visit him? 

Everyone knows that the truth is on the side of the Venezuelan diplomat, and sooner or later, the United States must release him, but they are taking more time than usual. Could it be that they are waiting for his illnesses to develop further? 

We, the #FreeAlexSaab Movement, hold the U.S. Government responsible for diplomat Alex Saab's life and what may happen to him during his illegal detention.

·      We ask that the International Committee of the Red Cross to be present at the Federal Detention Center in Miami-USA. 

·      We urge the High Commissioner of the UN Human Rights to take action and denounce this violation of the human rights of the Venezuelan diplomat illegally detained in U.S. territory. 

·      We request the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, as the highest defender of International Law, to make an announcement on this case, which constitutes a flagrant violation of international law and human rights. 

·      We demand immediate freedom for Alex Saab Moran, the Venezuelan diplomat kidnapped in the United States. We urgently require a humanitarian, political, and diplomatic solution to this unjust situation. 

It is time to move forward. We urge the U.S. Government to sit down and reach an agreement. Venezuela has shown to be open to finding a solution.



Previously Recorded

View on YouTube:




Featured Speakers:


Yuliya Yurchenko, Senior Lecturer at the University of Greenwich and author of Ukraine and the Empire of Capital: From Marketization to Armed Conflict.


Vladyslav Starodubstev, historian of Central and Eastern European region, and member of the Ukrainian democratic socialist organization Sotsialnyi Rukh.


Kirill Medvedev, poet, political writer, and member of the Russian Socialist Movement.


Kavita Krishnan, Indian feminist, author of Fearless Freedom, former leader of the Communist Party of India (ML).


Bill Fletcher, former President of TransAfrica Forum, former senior staff person at the AFL-CIO, and Senior Scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies.


Including solidarity statements from among others Barbara Smith, Eric Draitser, Haley Pessin, Ramah Kudaimi, Dave Zirin, Frieda Afary, Jose La Luz, Rob Barrill, and Cindy Domingo.



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





Update and Urgent Health Call-In Campaign for Political 

Prisoner Ed Poindexter

April 15, 2023

Dear Comrades and Friends:


We just received news that Ed Poindexter's left leg was amputated below the knee earlier this month due to lack of proper medical care. Ed has diabetes and receives dialysis three days a week. He underwent triple bypass heart surgery in 2016.


Please support Ed by sending him a letter of encouragement to:


Ed Poindexter #27767

Reception and Treatment Center

P.O. Box 22800

Lincoln, NE 68542-2800


Ed has a cataract in one eye that makes it difficult for him to read, so please type your letter in 18 point or larger font. The Nebraska Department of Corrections does not plan to allow Ed to have surgery for the cataract because "he has one good eye."




Warden Boyd of the

Reception and Treatment Center



Warden Wilhelm of the

Nebraska State Penitentiary



Governor Pillen, the

State of Nebraska Office of the Governor



Director Rob Jeffreys,

Nebraska Department of Corrections



The Nebraska Board of Pardons

(Email: ne.pardonsboard@nebraska.gov). 


Please sustain calls daily from April 15th to May 30th, 2023 for this intensive campaign, and thereafter as you can. 


[Any relief for Ed will be announced via email and social media].


Sample Message:


“Ed Poindexter’s family noticed blood on his feet several weeks ago. Then in April 2023, his niece and brother found out that Ed’s leg had been amputated earlier in the month. All of this happened without notifying Ed’s family, within the ‘skilled nursing facility’ at the Reception and Treatment Center, which specializes in behavioral issues and suicide watch, and is not primarily a rehab medical unit. Ed is on dialysis several days per week and is wheelchair bound, and is not able to shower or change without much more direct support than he is currently getting. The Nebraska Department of Corrections admits that their facilities are severely overcrowded and understaffed.  I, ___________,  join Ed’s family in demanding that Ed be given a compassionate release, and that he be immediately transferred to a local hospital or rehabilitation facility, not under direction of the Department of Corrections—where the standard of care is decent and humane.”


  Warden: Taggart Boyd

Reception and Treatment Center

P.O. Box 22800

Lincoln, NE 68542-2800

Phone: 402-471-2861

Fax: 402-479-6100


  Warden Michelle Wilhelm 

Nebraska State Penitentiary

Phone: 402-471-3161

4201 S 14th Street

Lincoln, NE 68502


  Governor Jim Pillen

Phone: 402-471-2244

PO Box 94848

Lincoln, NE 68509-4848



  Rob Jeffreys

Director, Nebraska Department of Corrections

Phone: 402-471-2654

PO Box 94661

Lincoln, Nebraska 68509


  Nebraska Board of Pardons

PO Box 95007

Lincoln, Nebraska 68509

Email: ne.pardonsboard@nebraska.gov


You can read more about Ed Poindexter at:



Questions and comments may be sent to info@freedomarchives.org




National Mobilization for Reproductive Justice

ReproJusticeNow.org info@reprojusticenow.org 

Facebook @ ReproJusticeNow

Statement to the Media


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.



Bigotry Comes in Many Forms: We Oppose the Targeting of Huwaida Arraf and Silencing of the Palestinian Narrative with Bogus Charges of Antisemitism


Sign petition at:



We, the undersigned, are extremely concerned about the recent attacks on Huwaida Arraf, a highly respected Palestinian-American civil rights attorney and longtime human rights activist. It is clear that these attacks are politically motivated attempts to discredit Huwaida’s message and silence all advocates of Palestinian rights. It is dangerous and we must not tolerate it. Smears and lies have been widely hurled at Huwaida, and death threats to Arab and Muslim students.

To sign this petition, please scroll down below the partial list of names and your name will be added.

These attacks have come in the aftermath of Huwaida’s participation in a Bloomfield Hills High School diversity assembly on March 14, 2023. Huwaida was invited by the student organizers of the assembly to speak alongside four other speakers about her experiences dealing with racism. The goal of the assembly was to promote diversity and acceptance, and raise awareness of the dangers of racism and discrimination.  

Huwaida spoke about her work campaigning for Palestinian freedom and human rights, which includes co-founding an organization that brings people of all religions, ethnicities, and nationalities together to bear witness on the ground and support the Palestinian struggle for freedom. Huwaida spoke about the importance of dismantling systems of oppression, which are built on racist ideologies, and she urged students to remember that all human beings are deserving of the same rights that we want for ourselves. 

Following the assembly, Zionist organizations launched a campaign to pressure the school to apologize for allowing Huwaida to speak, calling her and her comments “hateful” and “antisemitic.” This was followed by a special board meeting where multiple individuals were permitted to malign Huwaida’s character using racist tropes and falsehoods. Meanwhile, the students who spoke up eloquently to debunk the lies were marginalized, as the school board promised to take steps to ensure that “mistakes like this” do not happen again. The principal of the school, an African American, has been put on administrative leave, and the pressure continues to fire him and other school administrators. 

It is not a mistake or antisemitic to invite a Palestinian speaker to participate in a diversity assembly. Nor is it a mistake or antisemitic to invite a speaker to talk about Palestinian rights. The mistake is equating speech about Palestinian rights and the erasure of the Palestinian lived experience with antisemitism. It is a deliberate tactic that has been used for years to intimidate people into silence about the atrocities being committed by the state of Israel against the Palestinian people. This tactic not only harms Palestinians and supporters of Palestinian rights, but it does a great disservice to the fight against real antisemitism by conflating the Palestinian struggle for liberation and criticism of the Israeli government’s policies with those who brandish swastikas and attack synagogues. 

We stand with Huwaida and the student organizers of the diversity assembly against these baseless attacks and nefarious defamation. We call on Jewish community leaders and organizations, and other social justice, human rights, and religious leaders and organizations to recognize the harm caused by denying the Palestinian experience and making false accusations of antisemitism. 

We call on the Bloomfield Hills school administration to reject all efforts to conflate speech about Palestinian rights with antisemitism. And, we call on everyone everywhere to remember the words of the late civil rights leader Fannie Lou Hamer —“nobody’s free until everybody’s free” — and to stand with the Palestinian people in their struggle to be free. 





Updates From Kevin Cooper 

March 23, 2023 

Dear Friends and Comrades, 

This is Kevin Cooper writing and sending this update to you in 'Peace & Solidarity'. First and foremost I am well and healthy, and over the ill effect(s) that I went through after that biased report from MoFo, and their pro prosecution and law enforcement experts. I am back working with my legal team from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP.

'We' have made great progress in refuting all that those experts from MoFo came up with by twisting the truth to fit their narrative, or omitting things, ignoring, things, and using all the other tactics that they did to reach their conclusions. Orrick has hired four(4) real experts who have no questionable backgrounds. One is a DNA attorney, like Barry Scheck of the innocence project in New York is for example. A DNA expert, a expect to refute what they say Jousha Ryen said when he was a child, and his memory. A expect on the credibility of MoFo's experts, and the attorney's at Orrick are dealing with the legal issues.

This all is taking a little longer than we first expected it to take, and that in part is because 'we' have to make sure everything is correct in what we have in our reply. We cannot put ourselves in a situation where we can be refuted... Second, some of our experts had other things planned, like court cases and such before they got the phone call from Rene, the now lead attorney of the Orrick team. With that being said, I can say that our experts, and legal team have shown, and will show to the power(s) that be that MoFo's DNA expert could not have come to the conclusion(s) that he came to, without having used 'junk science'! They, and by they I mean my entire legal team, including our experts, have done what we have done ever since Orrick took my case on in 2004, shown that all that is being said by MoFo's experts is not true, and we are once again having to show what the truth really is.

Will this work with the Governor? Who knows... 'but' we are going to try! One of our comrades, Rebecca D.   said to me, 'You and Mumia'...meaning that my case and the case of Mumia Abu Jamal are cases in which no matter what evidence comes out supporting our innocence, or prosecution misconduct, we cannot get a break. That the forces in the so called justice system won't let us go. 'Yes' she is correct about that sad to say...

Our reply will be out hopefully in the not too distant future, and that's because the people in Sacramento have been put on notice that it is coming, and why. Every one of you will receive our draft copy of the reply according to Rene because he wants feedback on it. Carole and others will send it out once they receive it. 'We' were on the verge of getting me out, and those people knew it, so they sabotaged what the Governor ordered them to do, look at all the evidence as well as the DNA evidence. They did not do that, they made this a DNA case, by doing what they did, and twisted the facts on the other issues that they dealt with.   'more later'...

In Struggle & Solidarity,

March 28, 2023

"Today is March 28, 2023

I spoke to Rene, the lead attorney. He hopes to have our reply [to the Morrison Forster report] done by April 14 and sent out with a massive Public Relations blast.

He said that the draft copy, which everyone will see, should be available April 10th. 

I will have a visit with two of the attorneys to go over the draft copy and express any concerns I have with it.

MoFo ex-law enforcement “experts” are not qualified to write what they wrote or do what they did.

Another of our expert reports has come in and there are still two more that we’re waiting for—the DNA report and Professor Bazelon’s report on what an innocence investigation is and what it is not. We are also expecting a report from the Innocence Network. All the regional Innocence Projects (like the Northern California Innocence Project) in the country belong to the Innocence Network.

If MoFo had done the right thing, I would be getting out of here, but because they knew that, somewhere along the line they got hijacked, so we have to continue this fight but we think we can win."

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


Background on Kevin's Case


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) They Wrecked Britain, and They’re Not Going Anywhere

By Samuel Earle, April 27, 2023

Mr. Earle is the author of “Tory Nation: How One Party Conquered Britain,” from which this essay is adapted. 

“Labour often opts for the path of least resistance. That it took so long for the party to even reform the House of Lords, and that this reform neither democratized the chamber nor removed all hereditary peers, testifies to the party’s quasi-truce with Toryism. Often Labour politicians seem keener on receiving the blessings of the current system — a peerage, a knighthood, a royal invitation — than on changing it. The current Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, decidedly follows this path. Idealism and hope are scorned in favor of pragmatism and common sense, two terms that, in Britain, almost always seem to mean cleaving to the right.”

A photorealistic illustration of a dirty and tarnished blue rosette ribbon with the Conservative Party logo on it, nailed to the top of Big Ben.
Illustration by Sam Whitney/The New York Times

LONDON — As Britain prepares for the coronation of its new king, an end-of-days feeling is sweeping the nation. In an atmosphere of social unrest, economic dysfunction and government corruption, deep political disillusionment has set in. The Conservative Party is polling 15 points behind the opposition, and the popularity of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, the Conservatives’ fifth leader in seven years, remains obstinately low. After years of Tory misrule, the opinion of the British public seems clear: We’ve had enough.


And with good reason. For over a decade, the Conservatives have ransacked the country they claim to love, unmooring it from its foundations and enriching their chums. While the wealth of the very richest rocketed, the party’s program of austerity, begun by David Cameron in 2010 and continued by each Conservative prime minister since, starved public services, created one of the most miserly welfare states in the developed world and contributed to the longest period of wage stagnation — for many, wage regression — since the Napoleonic Wars. Life expectancy is down, child poverty is up, and there are few signs of a reprieve on the horizon. Life under the Tories has become poorer, nastier, more brutish and shorter.


The travesty of the Tories’ legacy has led some to wonder whether the next election, to be held by January 2025, will prove terminal. But these obituaries are premature. The party’s ancient history — which stretches back beyond their baptism as the Conservatives in the 1830s and into the 17th century — tells us that, whether in government or in opposition, the Conservatives will continue to find ways to adapt and preserve power. No matter what happens in the next election, the historic vessel of Britain’s ruling class is not going anywhere.


By many accounts, the Conservative Party is not just the oldest but also the most successful political party in the world. Since 1884, when workers made up a majority of the electorate for the first time, the Conservatives have defied their own doubts about democracy to remain in government for two-thirds of the time. They have won eight of the past 11 elections. Their main opposition, the Labour Party, by contrast, spends most of the time as just that: the opposition. Next year, Tony Blair will be the only Labour leader to have won an election in half a century.


During this historic dominance, the Conservatives have created a nation in their image, ensuring a degree of Tory rule even when out of government. Antique poles of ruling-class power — the monarchy, the unelected House of Lords, public schools and Oxbridge — continue to dominate the political landscape. In the absence of a codified constitution or an elected second chamber, checks on the ruling party’s power are minimal. The first-past-the-post voting system remains distinctly undemocratic: Governments need claim only the support of about a quarter of the electorate to attain total executive control. The Tories are usually at the helm.


The Conservatives cast these undemocratic anachronisms as quintessentially British, glamorous symbols of a timeless stability and splendor. But they are also convenient pillars of the Conservative cause. The House of Lords, where the Tories have long been dominant, is illustrative. The Lords ceased to be predominantly hereditary only in 1999, after a reform by the Labour government. Still unelected, the chamber now enables a kind of legitimatized corruption: A prime minister can give any ally — a fellow politician, a family member, a journalist, a press baron, a party donor — a job for life as a legislator, regardless of suitability, with full state approval. According to a recent analysis, one in 10 Tory peers has given more than 100,000 pounds, around $125,000, to the party. In any other context, we would know what to call such a practice.


And then there are the public schools, whose name belies their exclusive, private nature. About half of Conservative leaders went to elite boarding schools like Eton and Harrow, which were founded in 1440 and 1572. Only the University of Oxford, with roots back to 1096, can boast more illustrious alumni. Out of the university’s 30 prime ministers since 1721 (more than half the total), three-quarters went to public school. In Britain, the path to power often begins on the playground.


Throughout their history, the Conservatives have worked hard to give their antiegalitarian ethos a popular facade, wrapping up elite privilege in an aura of deference, tradition and patriotism. Britons are encouraged to take pride in the agedness of their institutions, to see themselves in the pomp and ceremony of the monarchy and the Lords, to relish their status as royal subjects rather than citizens.


In film and literature, most of the country’s favorite characters and story lines contain at least a seed of the Tory nation — the Old Etonian James Bond, who breaks the rules with a gentleman’s charm; the humble wizardry of Harry Potter, who risks it all to save his enchantingly regimented boarding school from evil outside forces; and the magic of Mary Poppins, the English nanny who wants only to keep the house in order. Television offers the same escape. In 2019 alone, there were more than 30 new series of period dramas, which tend to be conservative-friendly depictions of the past, either produced or set in Britain.


The right-wing press is another indispensable accomplice in maintaining the Conservative vision of Britain. With most media moguls natural allies of the Tories, the newspapers’ daily drip feed of jingoism allows the Conservative Party to convincingly claim to reflect — rather than shape — the national mood. In the 1924 election, almost three-quarters of the press supported the Tories. In 2019, during the last election, the proportion was essentially the same. Only under Mr. Blair has a majority of Britain’s press not favored the Tories.


Perhaps it is unsurprising that, faced with these hostile conditions, Labour often opts for the path of least resistance. That it took so long for the party to even reform the House of Lords, and that this reform neither democratized the chamber nor removed all hereditary peers, testifies to the party’s quasi-truce with Toryism. Often Labour politicians seem keener on receiving the blessings of the current system — a peerage, a knighthood, a royal invitation — than on changing it. The current Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, decidedly follows this path. Idealism and hope are scorned in favor of pragmatism and common sense, two terms that, in Britain, almost always seem to mean cleaving to the right.


If there is hope, it’s that buried within Britain, suppressed by a political system constructed in the Conservatives’ favor, other visions of society exist. This is precisely what the Conservatives are committed to stifling. For all the Tories’ odes to the British people, their recent forays into authoritarian territory — proroguing Parliament, trying to outlaw disruptive protests and strikes and pushing through voter-ID requirements — tell you everything you need to know about the party’s attitudes toward democracy. The Tory philosopher Roger Scruton, described by Boris Johnson as “the greatest modern conservative thinker,” was surely correct when he wrote that “no conservative is likely to think democracy an essential axiom of his politics.”


Neither Britain nor the more Tory-voting England is fundamentally Conservative. In the absence of a genuinely representative democracy, such conclusions simply cannot be drawn: The Conservative Party’s remarkable ability to win elections has no corollary in nationwide popularity. This is both grounds for optimism — the Tories no more speak for Britain than does the one-party press — and a warning against complacency. No matter how much damage they cause, no matter how unpopular they seem, the Conservatives can never be ruled out.



2) Abortion Bans Fail in South Carolina and Nebraska

By Adeel Hassan and Eliza Fawcett, Published April 27, 2023, Updated April 28, 2023

A woman in a green dress stands in the center of a crowd of women smiling and clapping.
From left, State Senators Megan Hunt, Jen Day and Machaela Cavanaugh celebrated in the rotunda of the Nebraska State Capitol after an abortion bill failed to advance on Thursday. Credit...Larry Robinson/Lincoln Journal Star, via Associated Press

The News


South Carolina and Nebraska, two conservative states that have been pushing to ban abortion, on Thursday both failed to pass new bills prohibiting the procedure, preserving wide access to abortion in those states and handing surprise victories to abortion rights advocates.


In Nebraska, a bill to ban most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy — a strict prohibition that would outlaw the procedure before most women know they are pregnant — failed to advance in the state legislature, making it unlikely to move forward for the remainder of this year’s legislative session.


The bill fell one vote short of the 33 needed in order to advance, after two senators did not vote. Gov. Jim Pillen, a Republican who had supported the bill, said after the vote that it was “unacceptable for senators to be present not voting on such a momentous vote.” Mr. Pillen, who described himself as “a staunch defender of life,” said he was “profoundly disappointed” by the outcome.


In South Carolina, the senate rejected a bill that would ban most abortions in the state. The bill had already been passed by the House, but the Senate’s five women — three of whom are Republicans — opposed the bill and spoke forcefully against it.


Why It Matters


The bills, if they had passed, were likely to be signed into law by Republican governors, and would have been a significant change for state residents. Currently, both South Carolina and Nebraska allow abortion up to around 22 weeks.


“Nebraska politicians today voted to keep private health care decisions where they belong — in the exam room between a doctor and their patient,” said Andi Curry Grubb, executive director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Nebraska.


Both states would have joined a growing list of Republican-dominated states with severe restrictions on abortion. So far, 14 states have active bans on nearly all abortions, though some allow exceptions for rape and danger to the life of the mother. Georgia and Florida also ban abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, but Florida’s ban is on hold pending a court challenge.


South Carolina has become a destination for women seeking abortions as its Southern neighbors have shut down access to abortion. The proposed ban would have prohibited abortion at all stages of pregnancy, with narrow exceptions for rape and incest before 12 weeks.


During discussion of the bill, State Senator Mia McLeod, an independent, appealed to her colleagues to protect the rights of women and girls.


“If this bill passes, a baby will be forced to carry and deliver another baby, even if it costs her her life,” she said.




Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ended the constitutional right to abortion in its Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision, effectively sending the issue of regulation back to individual states. This year alone, more than 600 abortion-related bills have been proposed in the states. Slightly more than half of them aim to restrict access to the procedure.


Republicans, however, have struggled to reach consensus on just how far abortion restrictions ought to go, and some in the G.O.P. see the issue as a political liability after midterm losses.


What’s Next


With a few weeks left in its session, South Carolina could still pass an abortion ban.


The Senate has already passed a six-week ban, which the House could take up. Both chambers have been unable to reach agreement on a ban. And the state’s Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that its Constitution includes the right to abortion, but said the state still had an interest in regulating the procedure.



3) Higher Food Prices Bring Bigger Profits, but Consumers Start to Resist

Some of the biggest packaged food companies raised their prices last quarter and their profits rose, but some customers were starting to cut back or trade down.

By Lora Kelley, April 28, 2023


A woman looking at a package of fruits at a grocery store.
When prices at her grocery store started to rise, Brenetta Smith began avoiding packaged foods to save money. Credit...Whitten Sabbatini for The New York Times

Brenetta Smith used to buy brand-name foods like Oreos and Doritos without thinking twice. But when she noticed that food prices at her local supermarket, Aldi, were soaring, she realized she had to do something different: “I have to change the way I shop,” she said.


So Ms. Smith, 40, a stay-at-home parent in Memphis, started stocking up on dry goods like rice and flour, freezing meat that she bought on sale and avoiding packaged foods, which meant no more Oreos and Doritos. “We’ve cut out all of the snacks,” she said.


Now that she has developed new habits and found that her approach helps stretch her husband’s salary as a cable technician, she doesn’t plan to go back to her old ways.


“Even when the world returns to normal, you can still maximize your paycheck and your income,” Ms. Smith said. She started posting budget tips on TikTok in December, and she quickly amassed a following.


Americans have faced substantial inflation at grocery stores and restaurants. Over the past year, overall food prices were up 8.5 percent as consumers paid more for staples like eggs, fruit and meat.


And corporations that wrested back pricing power during the pandemic may be reluctant to give it up. In earnings reports over the past week, some of the biggest packaged food companies said they raised their prices last quarter and saw their profits go up.


But there have been signs that consumers are starting to resist price increases by cutting back or trading down to lower-priced options. Some of the same multinational companies that raised prices on food said the volume they sold went down.


Brands risk alienating consumers with these high prices, said Sucharita Kodali, a retail analyst at Forrester. “Customers may or may not come back,” she said. “At some point, they will say enough is enough.”


For now, many major companies are raising prices enough that gains are offsetting drops in sales volume. PepsiCo, which makes products like Quaker Oats and Cheetos, said on Tuesday that it increased prices 16 percent in the latest quarter, helping its profit grow 18 percent (excluding its sale of a juice company last year), even as volume fell 2 percent.


Nestlé, whose portfolio includes Hot Pockets and Perrier water, said on Tuesday that it increased its prices 9.8 percent in the last quarter but that volume fell half a percent — an improvement from the prior quarter, when volume dropped 2.6 percent.


And on Thursday, Unilever, the consumer goods giant that makes about a third of its revenue from food brands, announced that it had raised prices 13.4 percent on items like Hellmann’s mayonnaise, and that volume fell 1.3 percent.


So far, “what we are seeing is the willingness to pay up for things you need,” said Simeon Siegel, a retail analyst at BMO Capital Markets, adding that items like milk and perishable groceries must be replenished often.


But consumers may start reallocating their spending. “For companies that are able to maintain price elevation, they’re going to see their profits go higher,” he added.


Coca-Cola, for example, raised prices last quarter, and its profit jumped 12 percent, to $3.1 billion.


In general, consumers are continuing to spend. The U.S. economy grew at a 1.1 percent annual rate in the first quarter, the Commerce Department reported on Thursday, the third consecutive quarter of growth after output went down in the first half of last year.


And food inflation has been abating. In March, food prices were flat compared with the month before, according to the Consumer Price Index, and prices for food at home fell 0.3 percent. But prices at restaurants continued to go up, rising 0.6 percent from February.


Still, some customers are changing their buying habits. Kylie Park, 31, used to buy three or four boxes of Pop-Tarts Bites for her son on trips to her local Safeway in Oahu, Hawaii. But the treats have become more expensive, so she often buys just one package at a time. She also stopped buying as much juice, she said, and has been skipping her trips to Costco for bulk goods.


“Before, I would overbuy; I realized I don’t need all of that,” said Ms. Park, who works as a part-time aesthetician and content creator. “I don’t think I would go back.”


She added that she had mostly just paid the higher prices on staples, allocating more of her budget to groceries. “Everything I buy is normally everything we eat,” she said.


Other consumers are opting to buy cheaper generic products. When companies raise prices too much, consumers seek alternatives, Ms. Kodali said. “You basically introduced a bunch of people who were your audience to your competitors,” she said. “What you end up seeing is a trade-off.”


Dianna Anderson’s attitude toward cereal brands used to be: “If I can’t get the name brand, I won’t get it.” But when inflation started eroding their breakfast budget, Mx. Anderson, 37, who uses they/them pronouns, started buying generic cereal at Target.


“I would probably stick with the Target brand,” said Mx. Anderson, a writer who works at a nonprofit organization in Minneapolis. “It’s a decent product, and it’s cheaper.”


Fast food restaurants have likewise seen profits rise as they raise prices.


McDonald’s announced this week that it had “strategic menu price increases” in the recent quarter. Same-store sales were up 12.6 percent, and its profit rose 63 percent from a year earlier, to $1.8 billion. But the company acknowledged that some customers were cutting back.


“I’m really proud of how our system has executed pricing in light of the double-digit inflation that we have been experiencing,” Christopher J. Kempczinski, chief executive of McDonald’s, said on a call with analysts.


He added that the number of items per order was decreasing slightly — some customers were opting not to add fries. “We are seeing, in some places, resistance to pricing, more resistance than we saw at the outset,” he said.


Ms. Park is among those resisting. She used to go to McDonald’s, her favorite fast food spot, during her lunch break every week, she said. But when she noticed last summer that prices were climbing and portions appeared small, she cut back to once a month.


“Filet-O-Fish is my favorite ever,” Ms. Park said. “It feels like we’re losing out.”


At Chipotle, which has been raising prices for more than a year, average menu prices were up 10 percent last quarter from the previous year, and profit was 84 percent higher. The company also expanded its profit margin, and sales were up.


“I think we’ve now demonstrated we do have pricing power,” Brian Niccol, the chief executive of Chipotle, said on a call with analysts this week. “We have a really strong brand, and we don’t want to be in front of the inflationary environment, but we also don’t want to fall behind.”


Not everyone is happy with the higher costs at Chipotle.


Amy Scalf, 37, was shocked to find that her burrito bowl with guacamole cost more than $11 at a Chipotle near her home in Lexington, Ky. Ms. Scalf, who offers saving tips on social media, said she might start going to Taco Bell instead.


“It’s definitely a deterrent,” she said of the higher prices. “It’s an incentive to go and get an option that’s cheaper.”



4) Montana Governor Signs Law Banning Transgender Care for Minors

Gov. Greg Gianforte had been urged by his son, who is nonbinary, to reject the bill. A transgender lawmaker was barred from the House floor after the debate.

By Jim Robbins and Jacey Fortin, Published April 28, 2023, Updated April 29, 2023

Governor Greg Gianforte, wearing a dark suit and striped yellow tie, speaks behind a wooden lectern. A painting of a wolf in the grass is visible over his head.
Gov. Greg Gianforte delivered his State of the State address to a joint session of the Montana Senate and House of Representatives at the State Capitol in Helena in January. Credit...Thom Bridge/Independent Record, via Associated Press

HELENA, Mont. — The Republican governor of Montana, Greg Gianforte, signed a bill into law on Friday to restrict transition care for transgender minors, joining about a dozen states that have adopted similar laws since the beginning of the year.


The bill, which prohibits transitional hormone treatments and surgeries for transgender people under 18, led to a standoff this month between House leadership and Representative Zooey Zephyr, one of the Legislature’s only transgender lawmakers.


In a speech on the House floor last week, Ms. Zephyr told her conservative colleagues that the ban would put “blood on your hands,” and that denying transition care would be “tantamount to torture.” For days after, House leadership refused to call on Ms. Zephyr during discussion of any bill up for consideration before the House.


And on Wednesday, the Republican-controlled House took the extraordinary step of blocking her from the House floor for the remainder of the legislative session, which ends on May 5.


Ms. Zephyr called the decision to pass the law “unconscionable” and said it would harm transgender people across the state.


“It’s clear that anti-trans policies do not align with Montana’s values,” she said in a telephone interview. “We are a state that cares for its community. There are trans people through every community in this state.”


She said she believed the measure would be struck down in court, and the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups said they would be filing a lawsuit “to protect transgender youth in Montana from being stripped of access to health care that keeps them healthy and alive.”


The bill was also opposed by Mr. Gianforte’s son, David Gianforte, who identifies as nonbinary and had asked his father to reject what he called “immoral, unjust” bills backed by Republicans.


The governor did not speak publicly on the bill on Friday, but his office issued a brief statement.


“He is committed to protecting Montana’s children from invasive medical treatments that can permanently alter their healthy, developing bodies,” the governor’s spokeswoman, Kaitlin Price, said in an email.


Representative Kim Abbott, the House Democratic leader, confirmed the adoption of the bill Friday afternoon over her party’s opposition.


“I’m very disappointed it’s becoming law,” she said in an interview. “It is very damaging policy. It impacts families and communities who are trying to obtain medically necessary care.”


The bill was first sent to the governor’s desk last week. But Mr. Gianforte sent it back to lawmakers with amendments, along with a letter noting that gender-affirming care was a misleading term and comparing it to “Orwellian Newspeak.”


Republican legislators have characterized transition care as harmful and experimental, arguing that young people should not be allowed to begin medically transitioning before they become adults. But major medical organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, support this care and say that bans pose serious mental health risks to young people.


The bill signed on Friday, Senate Bill 99, was just one of a slate of measures focused on gender identity that the Montana legislature has been advancing this month, including one that would define sex in binary terms and one that would bar public school students from changing their pronouns without parental permission.


Another bill that was signed by the governor this week makes it harder for public school students to be disciplined for misgendering their nonbinary or transgender peers.


Montana politics, which once had a competitive mix of Democrats and Republicans, have become much more conservative in recent years. Mr. Gianforte, a Republican, is a wealthy former software executive.


Over the past few years, Republican state lawmakers across the country have introduced a wave of bills to regulate the lives of transgender youths by restricting the bathrooms they can use, the sports teams they can join and the medical care they can receive. These efforts have been particularly aggressive since the start of the 2023 legislative season.


Mike Baker contributed reporting.



5) They Refused to Fight for Russia. The Law Did Not Treat Them Kindly.

Since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, hundreds of Russian men have faced criminal charges for becoming war refuseniks. That has not stopped others from going to unusual lengths to avoid battle.

By Neil MacFarquhar, April 30, 2023

A Russian military mural on a building on a snowy street.
A mural of a Russian general and a cadet in Moscow. Despite widespread efforts to depict military service as protecting the homeland, there has been a reported increase in AWOL cases. Credit...Nanna Heitmann

An officer in the Federal Guard Service, which is responsible for protecting President Vladimir V. Putin, decided last fall to avoid fighting in Ukraine by sneaking across the southern border into Kazakhstan.


The officer, Maj. Mikhail Zhilin, disguised himself as a mushroom picker, wearing camouflage and carrying a couple of small bottles of cognac so that he could douse himself and then act drunk and disoriented if he encountered the Russian border patrol.


In the dark, the lean, fit major navigated across the forested frontier without incident, but he was arrested on the other side.


“Freedom is not given to people that easily,” he told his wife, Ekaterina Zhilina, months later, after Kazakhstan rejected his bid for political asylum and handed him back to Russia to face trial for desertion.


“He had these romantic notions when he first began his military-academic studies,” Ms. Zhilina said in a recent interview, describing perceptions drawn from Russian literature about the honor and pride inherent in defending your homeland. “But everything soured when the war started.”


Major Zhilin is among the hundreds of Russian men who faced criminal charges for becoming war refuseniks since Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year. Some dodge the draft, while those already serving desert or refuse orders to redeploy on the bloody, chaotic battlefields of Ukraine.


In 2022, 1,121 people were convicted of evading mandatory military conscription, according to statistics from Russia’s Supreme Court, compared with an average of around 600 in more recent years. Before the war, a vast majority were fined, not imprisoned. Russia recently passed a measure making it much harder to avoid a draft summons.


In addition, criminal cases have been initiated against more than 1,000 soldiers, mostly for abandoning their units, according to a broad court survey by Mediazona, an independent Russian news outlet. Anticipating the problem in September, when several hundred thousand civilians were mobilized, Russia toughened the penalties for being AWOL.


The maximum sentence was doubled to 10 years for what is euphemistically called “Leaving for Sochi.” (SOCH is the Russian acronym for AWOL, but the expression is a play on the name of Sochi, a Black Sea getaway for the country’s elite and site of the 2014 Winter Olympics.) Refusing an order to participate in combat carries a sentence of three to 10 years.


That has not stopped Russian men from going to unusual lengths to avoid fighting. One officer said he took a bullet in the leg as part of a pact among several soldiers to shoot one another and then claim that they were wounded in a firefight. Hailed as a hero for various battlefield events, it took him six months to recover, at which point he decided to flee.


The Kremlin has shrouded in secrecy an increasing amount of information about the military, including new statistics about crimes involving military service, so the numbers are undoubtedly higher than what is available. But the number of AWOL cases accelerated after the general mobilization, according to Mediazona. Many criminal cases involve soldiers who refused orders to enter battle, leading to confrontations with their commanders, according to several lawyers who defend soldiers.


One lawyer, Dmitri Kovalenko, was retained by the families of more than 10 soldiers who said they were thrown into pits, called “zindans,” near the front line after refusing to fight. “People realize that they are not ready — that their commanders are not ready, that they have to go in blind, not knowing where or why,” he said.

Intimidation is the first response of commanders, he said, so treatment can be harsh. Two soldiers whom he defended were locked into a container last summer without food or water, he said. At one point, about 300 conscripts who refused to fight last year were held in a basement in eastern Ukraine, where they were threatened, called “pigs,” not fed and not allowed to go to the toilet or to bathe, according to Astra, an independent news outlet, and other Russian news media organizations, quoting relatives. The Wagner mercenary group has threatened to execute its refuseniks, and there have been scattered reports of them being shot.


In theory, Russian law allows for conscientious objectors performing alternative service, but it is rarely granted. Sometimes those charged with refusing to fight are given suspended sentences, which means they can be redeployed.


The officer who was shot in the leg by his colleague had pursued a military career since he was 9 and a cadet, he said, but he wanted it to be over the minute he was ordered into Ukraine. He ended up staying about three months, appalled by the very idea of the war as well as by the terrible state of the Russian military.


Soldiers were not provided basic items like underwear, he said, and few knew how to navigate and got themselves killed.


“There are no saints on either side,” said the officer, who spoke on the condition that he not be named, nor his location published, out of concern that Russia might seek his extradition. “The locals were actively partisan. I shot back. I didn’t want to die.”


After he recovered, and the military ordered him back to Ukraine, he decided to run.


“I’m ready to die for Russia, but I don’t want to fight, to risk my life for the criminals who sit in the government,” said the officer, who is now on a wanted list in Russia.


Another Russian, a member of the Sakha ethnic group concentrated in the Siberian region of Yakutia, also deserted. Five days among the drunken, newly mobilized soldiers at an army camp convinced him to leave.


The man, who also insisted on anonymity, was fired from his construction job so that he could go fight. Packed onto an airplane, the draftees discovered their destination for training by looking at their phones when they landed. Most soldiers drank constantly, he said in an interview. One night in another barracks, he said, a soldier stabbed another to death.


The conscript said that the racist attitude of his Russian officers when he did his military service a decade earlier had soured him on the military — they called him “reindeer herder” because of his ethnic Siberian background. He said he was subjected to similar comments as soon as he mobilized. Things deteriorated further after he tried to bribe his lieutenant to leave. The officer mocked him openly as a coward.


His mother flew in to extract him, directing a taxi to a hole in the base’s fence. After he fled the country and was charged with desertion, he faced fierce criticism from home, he said, with the authorities saying that he had disgraced the Sakha people. Even a close friend threatened to beat him up.


Some Russian courts still publicize military cases to create a chilling deterrent to potential deserters. In the spring, for example, a court announced that a sailor who had gone AWOL twice had been sentenced to nine years in a prison colony.


The Krasnoyarsk Garrison Military Court released a photograph and a statement in December showing dozens of soldiers crowding a courtroom to watch an AWOL case. The sentence was pronounced before that audience “for preventive purposes,” the statement said.


In the Belgorod region near the Ukrainian border, two soldiers were detained on a parade ground in November and charged with refusing to obey a deployment order. They were called out of the ranks, handcuffed and thrown into a paddy wagon in front of their unit, all shown on a video posted on the Telegram messaging app. Earlier this month, both were sentenced to three years in prison, according to Russian news media reports.


Well before the war, Major Zhilin, 36, the soldier who left for Kazakhstan, had become disenchanted with the very administration he was assigned to protect. An engineer, he worked in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk for the presidential security service, supervising the Kremlin’s communications lines with the eastern parts of Russia.


The assassination of the Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov in 2015 and the poisoning of Aleksei A. Navalny in 2020 had drawn his attention, his wife said. He started following political news more closely.


He weighed quitting, but decided he could endure the two years until he received a pension. Then came the war. “‘It is one thing to suppress human rights,’” his wife quoted him as saying, “‘it is quite another to kill people.’”


In the fall, before the mobilization, he had visited the cemetery where his mother is buried. He found 30 new graves of riot police officers who had fought in the war. The ribbon on one small wreath said just “Daddy.”


Two colleagues had already died in Ukraine, and he wondered if his son, 11, and daughter, 8, might one day make a similar wreath. When the mobilization was announced, he quickly decided to leave the country.


Since his security clearance gave him access to state secrets, leaving was prohibited. He decided to cross on foot while his family drove into Kazakhstan legally.


But the plan went awry. Lacking a cell signal, he could not find their car. He was arrested after stumbling upon a Kazakh border officer. He requested political asylum, but in December, he was deported.


In March, he was sentenced to six and a half years in a penal colony and stripped of his rank.


Right after he was deported, his wife, fearing that she and the children would also be sent back, sought and received political asylum in France.


So far, her husband has not been mistreated, she said. The couple, although bitter toward the Kazakh authorities, consider the sentence a far better alternative than dying in Ukraine.


“Mikhail wrote me that he feels morally freer than he was,” she said, adding that he told her, “‘I guess you have to pay a certain price for the freedom to think and to say what you want.’”


Milana Mazaeva contributed reporting.



6) If You Don’t Use Your Land, These Marxists May Take It

The Landless Workers Movement organizes Brazil’s poor to take land from the rich. It is perhaps the largest — and most polarizing — social movement in Latin America.

By Jack NicasPhotographs by Maria Magdalena Arréllaga. April 30, 2023

Jack Nicas, who covers Brazil for The Times, traveled to the Brazilian state of Bahia to meet with the activists squatting on land and the landowners angry about it.


Residents of the occupied farm in Itabela held a community meeting in February.

Residents of the occupied farm in Itabela held a community meeting in February.

They arrived just before midnight, carrying machetes and hoes, hammers and sickles, with plans to seize the land.


When the 200 activists and farm workers got there, the ranch was vacant, overgrown with weeds, and the farm headquarters empty, except for a stray cow.


Now, three months later, it is a bustling village. On a recent Sunday, children rode bicycles on new dirt paths, women tilled soil for gardens and men pulled tarps onto shelters. About 530 families live at the encampment in Itabela, a town in northeast Brazil, and they have already joined together to plow and plant the field with beans, corn and cassava.


The siblings who inherited the 370-acre ranch want the squatters gone. The new tenants say they aren’t going anywhere.


“Occupation is a process of struggle and confrontation,” said Alcione Manthay, 38, the effective leader of the encampment, who grew up on several like it. “And there is no settlement if there is no occupation.”


Ms. Manthay and the other uninvited settlers are part of the Landless Workers Movement, perhaps the world’s largest Marxist-inspired movement operating within a democracy and, after 40 years of sometimes bloody land occupations, a major political, social and cultural force in Brazil.


The movement, led by activists who call themselves militants, organizes hundreds of thousands of Brazil’s poor to take unused land from the rich, settle it and farm it, often as large collectives. They are reversing, they say, the deep inequality fed by Brazil’s historically uneven distribution of land.


While leftists embrace the cause — the movement’s red hats depicting a couple holding a machete aloft have become commonplace at hipster bars — many Brazilians view it as communist and criminal. That has created a dilemma for the new leftist president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, a longtime movement supporter who is now trying to build bridges in Congress and the powerful agriculture industry.


Across Latin America, other movements inspired by the tenets of Marxism — workers rising up in a class struggle against capitalism — have sought to tackle systemic inequities, but none have ever approached the size, ambition or sophistication of Brazil’s landless movement.


Group organizers and outside researchers estimate that 460,000 families now live in encampments and settlements started by the movement, suggesting an informal membership approaching nearly two million people, or almost 1 percent of Brazil’s population. It is, by some measures, Latin America’s largest social movement.


Under Brazil’s former right-wing president, Jair Bolsonaro, the movement lost steam. Occupations largely stopped during the pandemic and then returned slowly in the face of opposition from Mr. Bolsonaro and farmers who became more heavily armed under his more permissive gun policies.


But now, emboldened by the election of Mr. Lula, a longtime political ally, the movement’s followers are ratcheting up their land seizures.


“We elected Lula, but that’s not enough,” João Pedro Stédile, a movement co-founder, said in a message broadcast to members on Easter Sunday, announcing a “Red April” push to invade new land.


There have been 33 occupations in less than four months of Mr. Lula’s presidency, including eight in one weekend this month. Under Mr. Bolsonaro, there were about 15 occupations a year, according to government statistics. (About two decades ago, when land was even less equally distributed, there were hundreds of invasions a year.)


Mr. Lula has said little about the new invasions, though two of his cabinet ministers have criticized them.


The new occupations have given rise to a countermovement: “Invasion Zero.” Thousands of farmers who say they do not trust the government to protect their land are organizing to confront squatters and remove them, though so far, there has been little violence.


“No one wants to go into battle, but no one wants to lose their property either,” said Everaldo Santos, 72, a cattle rancher who leads a local farmers’ union and owns a 1,000-acre ranch near the Itabela encampment. “You bought it, paid for it, have the documents, pay the taxes. So you don’t let people invade and leave it at that,” he said. “You defend what’s yours.”


Despite the landless movement’s aggressive tactics, the Brazilian courts and government have recognized thousands of settlements as legal under laws that say farmland must be productive.


The proliferation of legal settlements has turned the movement into a major food producer, selling hundreds of thousands of tons of milk, beans, coffee and other commodities each year, much of it organic after the movement pushed members to ditch pesticides and fertilizers years ago. The movement is now Latin America’s largest supplier of organic rice, according to a large rice producers’ union.


Still, opinion surveys have shown that many Brazilians oppose the movement’s land occupations. Some of the movement’s more militant members have invaded active farms run by large agribusinesses, destroyed crops and even briefly occupied the family farm of a former Brazilian president.


On the ground, the conflict pits hundreds of thousands of impoverished farm laborers and a network of leftist activists against wealthy families, large corporations and many small family farms.


Conservative lawmakers accused Mr. Stédile, the movement co-organizer, of inciting crimes with his call for new occupations, and have opened a congressional investigation.


The day after Mr. Stédile called for invasions, he joined Mr. Lula on a state visit to China. (The government brought representatives of several large food producers.)


Mr. Lula has long had close ties to the movement. Brazil’s first working-class president, he supported it in his first administration two decades ago. Later, while he was imprisoned on corruption charges that were later thrown out, movement activists camped outside the jailhouse for his entire 580-day incarceration.


The inequity over land ownership in Brazil is rooted in colonial-era land-distribution policies that consolidated land in the hands of powerful white men.


The government has sought to tilt the balance by essentially confiscating arable, unused land and giving it to people who need it. The landless movement has sought to force such reallocations by occupying unproductive land.


Bernardo Mançano Fernandes, a São Paulo State University professor who has studied the movement for decades, said the government has legalized about 60 percent of the movement’s occupations, a rate he attributed to organizers’ success at identifying unused land.


But critics say the government is encouraging invasions by rewarding squatters with land, instead of forcing them to get in line, like others who must go through bureaucratic channels to apply for property. Movement leaders say they seize land because the government does not act unless pressured.


That is what the people camped in Itabela are hoping for.


The encampment’s residents had varied paths but all shared the same goal: their own slice of land. A homeless man arrived with his belongings in a wheelbarrow. A middle-aged couple abandoned a shack on the farm where they worked, for a chance at their own. And newlyweds making minimum wage decided to squat because they thought they would never be able to afford to buy land.


“The city is not good for us,” said Marclésio Teles, 35, a coffee picker standing outside the shack he built for his family of five, his disabled daughter in a wheelchair beside him. “A place like this is a place of peace.”


That peace nearly ended a few weeks ago.


The siblings who inherited the land from their father in 2020 successfully petitioned a local judge to order the encampment dismantled. They argued that the land was productive and therefore should not be turned over to the occupiers. Movement activists admitted there were still some cattle on the land, which they were trying to keep away from their new crops.


The police went to evict the settlers, joined by dozens of angry farmers, and were met by about 60 encampment residents, some carrying farm tools.


Instead of a fight, however, the residents resisted by singing landless movement hymns, Ms. Manthay said. The police, worried about a clash, paused the eviction.


The movement’s lawyers have since appealed and asked for a permanent settlement on more than 2,000 acres the siblings own. A state agency has said the government should analyze the movement’s claims. The case is still pending.


“If they remove us, we’ll occupy again,” Mr. Teles said. “The struggle is constant.”


About 90 minutes down the road, there is a window into what the future could be: a 5,000-acre settlement that was ruled legal in 2016 after six years of occupation. The 227 families there each have 20 to 25 acres, spread across rolling hills of farmland and grazing cattle. They share tractors and plows, but otherwise farm their own parcel. Together they produce roughly two tons of food a month.


Daniel Alves, 54, used to work in someone else’s fields before he began squatting on this land in 2010. Now he grows 27 different crops on 20 acres, showing off bananas, peppercorns, bright pink dragon fruit and the Amazonian fruit cupuaçu — all organic. He sells the produce at local fairs.


He said he remained poor — his shack was lined with tarps — but was happy.


“This movement takes people out of misery,” he said.


His granddaughter, Esterfany Alves, 11, followed him around the farm, petting their donkey and picking ripe fruit. She attends a public school on the settlement partly run by the movement, one of roughly 2,000 movement schools across Brazil.


The schools make protests part of the curriculum and teach students about farming, land rights and inequality.


In other words, Esterfany said, the school had taught her “about the struggle.”


Flávia Milhorance and Lis Moriconi contributed reporting from Rio de Janeiro.



7) Anger Over Pensions Law Fuels May Day Protests in France

Protesters are still hoping to force the government to reverse its decision to raise the legal retirement age to 64 from 62.

By Constant Méheut, May 1, 2023

Reporting from Paris

A large crowd of people filled a plaza for a demonstration.
Crowds thronged Marseille, in southern France, for the 13th day of nationwide protests since January. Credit...Clement Mahoudeau/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

French workers marched across the country on Monday, as the annual May Day demonstrations in France coincided with smoldering anger over an unpopular pension overhaul that President Emmanuel Macron pushed through last month.


From Le Havre in the north to Marseille in the south, some 800,000 people took to the streets, according to French authorities, with violent clashes in some places. Unions gave a much higher figure, 2.3 million.


The protest culminated in the afternoon with an enormous march in Paris against the government’s decision to raise the legal age of retirement to 64 from 62, an effort that led to the biggest political threat in Mr. Macron’s second term.


Laurent Berger, the leader of the French Democratic Confederation of Labor, the largest union in the country, told reporters at the march in Paris that the protests were a way to continue the fight against the pension overhaul and “to say no again to retirement at 64.”


Mr. Berger’s defiance reflected a broader truth confronting Mr. Macron: Although he was able to push through the pension overhaul, he did so only by turning to a constitutional measure that allowed him to sidestep a full vote in Parliament, and the protests served as a stark reminder of the residual fury.


“All those who were against the overhaul continue to vent their anger — it’s good, necessary and legitimate,” said Angelina Meslem, 45, who marched in Paris with a sign criticizing Mr. Macron’s use of Article 49.3 of the French Constitution to ram through the bill.


Still, the pension overhaul was approved by the country’s Constitutional Council and officially signed into law, so while Mr. Macron will not find the issue easy to leave behind, there is little chance the protesters will be able to persuade him to reverse his decision.


“Macron is trying to move forward no matter what, but people are standing still,” said Antoine Bristielle, the head of the polling department at the Fondation Jean-Jaurès research institute. “About 60 percent of the population say they don’t want to move on from the pension reform.”


Mr. Macron’s decision to raise the legal age of retirement was based on his conviction that the pension system was unsustainable and that changing the program, with its generous benefits, was essential to France’s economic health.


In doing so, he struck a nerve in a society that considers retirement an important stage of one’s life, while failing to convince large numbers of French people of the potential benefits of the change for the country’s economic development.


France has been convulsed for months by regular strikes and protests that have drawn millions into the streets. Monday marked the 13th day of nationwide protests since January, and the first time in more than a decade that the country’s labor unions, usually divided, formed a united front for the traditional May Day demonstrations.


“The mobilization will not stop until this reform is withdrawn,” Sophie Binet, the head of the General Confederation of Labor, France’s second-largest labor union, told reporters on Monday. “We see that the anger has never been so strong in the country.”


But Mr. Macron has insisted that he would not yield on the pension changes, which will gradually come into force starting in September, leaving his opponents with few options.


An opposition group has submitted a bill in the lower house of Parliament that would return the legal age of retirement to 62, but it remains unclear whether it will garner a majority of the vote from the fractured opposition.


Mr. Macron’s opponents are also clinging to a request they have filed with the Constitutional Council that would allow a referendum on the issue. The council is expected to rule on the request’s validity on Wednesday, but it already rejected a similar request last month.


Even if it were to rule in favor this time, the procedure would be long and complex — involving the collection of the signatures of at least 10 percent of voters, or roughly 4.8 million people, over nine months — and would not automatically lead to a referendum.


The marches on the French equivalent of Labor Day will provide an indication of what lies ahead for the protest movement. They might give it a new impetus or symbolically mark its last stand.


“It’s not a last stand,” Mr. Berger told reporters, adding that his union would respond favorably if the government invited it to talk, as was suggested by the labor minister on Monday morning.


The march in Paris had all of the hallmarks of a typical May Day demonstration in France. Participants swayed to hit music blasted from loudspeakers; left-wing activists handed out leaflets calling for an end to capitalism.


The march started from the central Place de la République, where a giant bronze statue of Marianne, the woman who embodies the French Republic, had been adorned with a large yellow vest that read “Macron, resign.”


It ended on the eastern Place de la Nation, where another Marianne statue was enveloped in clouds of tear gas fired by the police while loud bangs from firecrackers rang out in the background.


Violent clashes between black-clad protesters and armor-clad police officers erupted on the plaza, and part of a building caught fire, sending large billows of dark smoke into the sky. Gérald Darmanin, the interior minister, said that more than 100 police officers had been injured, including one seriously by a Molotov cocktail, and that nearly 300 protesters had been arrested.


Monday’s protests maintained some degree of pressure on the French government, which is trying to figure out a path forward after the heated debate on a divisive issue.


In a televised address to the nation last month, Mr. Macron gave himself 100 days to deliver a handful of crucial overhauls to improve the working conditions and salaries of the French, as well as to tackle illegal immigration.


But last week, Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne announced at a news conference that the immigration bill Mr. Macron was counting on would be pushed back to the fall because “there is no majority to vote such a text.”


And two days later, the rating agency Fitch downgraded France’s credit rating, citing concerns that the political upheaval over the pension law could limit its ability to make changes and bolster its public finances in the future.


That came as a blow to Mr. Macron, who had suggested that the pension overhaul was intended, at least in part, to reassure financial markets about France’s economic health.


Mr. Bristielle, from the Fondation Jean-Jaurès, said the French government hoped the protest movement would die down in the coming weeks. But he added that the monthslong battle had produced “a kind of widespread resentment against Emmanuel Macron and the political institutions” that would be fertile ground for any future protest movement.


Gilles Boisaubert, 67, who was marching in Paris, said Mr. Macron’s ramming through of the pension overhaul had “set a very unfortunate precedent” that would have lasting consequences. “It’s more serious than just a pension issue.”