Bay Area United Against War Newsletter, May 9, 2023


Recall Brooke Jenkins!

Friday, May 12, 2023

1:00 P.M.—2:00 P.M.

325 China Basin Street, San Francisco 

Public transit: MUNI #22 #15 and T Third light rail


For Jenkins to make the assumption that the Murder of Banko Brown was a matter of self-defense is ludicrous. How dare she appoint herself as judge, jury, and endorser of the execution of Banko Brown! 


Her campaign for DA, funded by right wing financiers was a true manifestation of corruption and power grabbing. 


Her alignment with the Police Officers Association is evidence of corruption as well. 


San Francisco needs 






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.




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) ‘A New Spike’ in Global Temperatures in the Forecast

The World Meteorological Organization reports increased odds that El Niño, the global weather pattern often tied to intense heat, will arrive by fall.

By Elena Shao, May 3, 2023


A distant view of the London skyline, somewhat hazy, with the sky illuminated in fiery yellow-orange by the rising sun. In the foreground, tall grass and trees frame the scene.

The London skyline at sunrise during a heat wave in August. Worldwide, the last eight years have been the hottest on record. Credit...Toby Melville/Reuters

Forecasters from the World Meteorological Organization are reporting increased chances that the global climate pattern known as El Niño will arrive by the end of summer. With it comes increased chances for hotter-than-normal temperatures in 2024.


While there is not yet a clear picture of how strong the El Niño event will be or how long it might last, even a relatively mild one could affect precipitation and temperature patterns around the world.


“The development of an El Niño will most likely lead to a new spike in global heating and increase the chance of breaking temperature records,” said Petteri Taalas, the secretary general of the meteorological organization, in a news release.


El Niño is associated with warmer-than-normal ocean surface temperatures in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. In the United States, it tends to lead to rainier, cooler conditions in much of the South, and warmer conditions in parts of the North.


Elsewhere, El Niño can bring increased rainfall to southern South America and the Horn of Africa, and severe drought to Australia, Indonesia and parts of southern Asia.


El Niño, together with its counterpart La Niña, is part of the intermittent cycle known as the El Niño-Southern Oscillation, or ENSO, that is highly influential in shaping year-to-year variations in weather conditions across the globe.


ENSO is a naturally-occuring phenomenon, and scientists are still researching exactly how human-caused climate change over the past 150 years may be impacting the behavior and dynamics of El Niño and La Niña events, with some studies suggesting that El Niño events may be more extreme in a warmer future.


Conditions in the tropical Pacific have been in a neutral state since the latest La Niña event ended this year. La Niña conditions had persisted through a rare three consecutive winters in the Northern Hemisphere, supercharging Atlantic hurricane seasons and prolonging severe drought across much of the Western United States.


Yet, despite the cooling effect La Niña typically has, the last eight years have been the hottest on record, a worrisome addition to the longer-term pattern of temperatures that have been steadily rising as the world continues to emit greenhouse gases from burning coal, oil and natural gas.


According to the World Meteorological Organization outlook, there is about a 60 percent chance that El Niño will form between May and July, and an 80 percent chance it will form between July and September. The forecasts are based on observations of wind patterns and ocean temperatures as well as climate modeling, said Wilfran Moufouma-Okia, head of the Climate Prediction Services Division at the organization, which is a United Nations agency.


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued a similar outlook last month. Both groups cautioned that while El Niño events are associated with certain typical conditions, they unfold differently each time. But in general, the warmest year of any decade will be an El Niño year, and the coldest a La Niña one, according to data from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information.


Research surrounding global warming’s effects on precipitation and temperature worldwide is much more conclusive: It has intensified wet and dry global extremes, prolonged heat waves and warmed winters.


“There’s little doubt that El Niño loads the dice in favor of higher global mean temperatures,” said Michelle L’Heureux, a climate scientist with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.


But, separately, climate change has led to global temperatures that are, on average, warmer over time, she said, and the combination of both could lead to more record-breaking temperatures.



2) Subway Rider Choked Homeless Man to Death, Medical Examiner Rules

Jordan Neely died after a man held him in a chokehold. On Wednesday, the medical examiner’s office said the cause of death was compression of the neck, and ruled it a homicide.

By Maria Cramer and Chelsia Rose Marcius

Published May 3, 2023, Updated May 4, 2023


Protesters demand justice for man killed on New York subway (Screenshot)

The death of a New York City subway rider who was placed in a chokehold by another passenger on Monday was ruled a homicide, the city’s medical examiner confirmed on Wednesday evening.


The man who died, Jordan Neely, was homeless and had been screaming at passengers when the other rider wrapped his arms around Mr. Neely’s neck and head and held him for several minutes until he went limp. Mr. Neely died from compression to his neck as a result of the chokehold, according to Julie Bolcer, a spokeswoman for the medical examiner.


The killing, on an F train in Manhattan, has led to investigations by both the police and prosecutors, a spokesman for Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg said. As of Wednesday afternoon, nobody had been arrested.


“As part of our rigorous ongoing investigation, we will review the Medical Examiner’s report, assess all available video and photo footage, identify and interview as many witnesses as possible, and obtain additional medical records,” the district attorney’s spokesman said in a statement.


“This investigation is being handled by senior, experienced prosecutors and we will provide an update when there is additional public information to share,” he added.


On Monday, a man who was riding in the same subway car went up to Mr. Neely, a 30-year-old Michael Jackson impersonator who was yelling that he was hungry and ready to die. The 24-year-old man who choked Mr. Neely has not been identified.


The episode, filmed on a nearly four-minute video that shows other riders helping to pin down Mr. Neely while others looked on, has led to a police investigation and spurred advocates for the homeless, city officials and others to call for an arrest. Gov. Kathy Hochul said she needed to review the incident more closely but called the man’s death troubling.


“It was deeply disturbing,” she told reporters.


The incident comes as the city grapples with how to reduce both crime and the number of people with mental illness living on the streets, while also respecting the rights of its most vulnerable residents. The two issues have become the twin focuses of Mayor Eric Adams, who has sent more police to patrol train stations and to sweep homeless encampments even as he has supported policies that offer a gentler approach to people who are homeless and mentally ill.


Any criminal case could come down to whether the man who placed the rider in a chokehold was justified in using force, according to legal specialists.


Under New York law, a person may use physical force on another person if they have a reasonable belief that it is necessary to defend themselves or others. But a person can only use deadly physical force if they have reason to believe that an attacker is doing or about to do the same.


The police and prosecutors must determine what the intentions of the rider were when he grabbed Mr. Neely, if the rider felt physically threatened and if other passengers believed they had a reason to fear for their safety, said Karen Friedman Agnifilo, a former prosecutor in the Manhattan district attorney’s office.


“The D.A.’s office is going to do a painstaking investigation where they are going to interview every witness and look at the video frame by frame,” she said.


The police, who questioned the 24-year-old man and let him go on Monday night, said that they were investigating the death. A spokesman for the Manhattan district attorney said that they were also investigating.  An official briefed on the investigation confirmed Mr. Neely’s identity, although the police have yet to do so.


Mayor Eric Adams called the death “tragic,” and said “there’s a lot we don’t know about what happened here.” He added, “However, we do know that there were serious mental health issues in play here, which is why our administration has made record investments in providing care to those who need it and getting people off the streets and the subways, and out of dangerous situations.”


There were signs that the debate about the outcome had already begun. On CNN, the mayor urged caution, rebutting a statement by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez that Mr. Neely had been “murdered.”


He added: “I don’t think that’s very responsible at the time where we’re still investigating the situation. Let’s let the D.A. conduct his investigation with the law enforcement officials.”


Homeless advocates stood behind the victim. “There was no empathy on that train car,” said Karim Walker, an organizing and outreach specialist at the Urban Justice Center, who works with people who are homeless. There should be accountability for the death of Mr. Neely, he said.


“He did not need to nor did he deserve to die in the manner that he did,” Mr. Walker said. “That’s what really scares me and that’s what really breaks my heart.”


Witnesses said that Mr. Neely was acting in a “hostile and erratic manner” toward other passengers on the train, according to the police.


Juan Alberto Vazquez, a freelance journalist who was riding on the train and who shot the video, said the victim was yelling about being hungry and thirsty. “‘I don’t mind going to jail and getting life in prison,’” Mr. Vazquez recalled him saying. “‘I’m ready to die.’”


That kind of language might have led other passengers to believe that Mr. Neely was going to do something violent, said Todd Spodek, a criminal defense lawyer.


“I imagine that the collective feeling on that train was that something was happening,” he said.


The case raises questions about how people respond to the actions of the “poor, the unhoused and most especially those perceived as suffering from mental illness,” said Christopher Fee, an English professor at Gettysburg College who teaches about homelessness.


“Those bystanders may have felt threatened by the victim, but they were not in fact attacked by him,” he said. “Still, they watched him die.”


Left-leaning politicians called the death of Mr. Neely, who was Black, a “lynching” by the other rider, who appeared to be white.


Adrienne Adams, the City Council speaker, said in a statement that the legal system’s initial response to Mr. Neely’s killing was disturbing, and put “on display for the world the double standards that Black people and other people of color continue to face,” adding: “The perceptions of Black people have long been interpreted through a distorted, racialized lens that aims to justify violence against us.”


Mr. Vazquez said it did not appear as if Mr. Neely was suffocating, but after learning he died, he became troubled by what he had seen on the train.


The reaction of bystanders reflects what can happen to many when they witness a crisis, said Lee Ann DeShong-Cook, assistant professor of social work at Juniata College.


They “were experiencing various levels of fight, flight or freeze,” she said, adding, “had someone simply offered the homeless man a bottle of water or a snack he might have been able to calm down, re-engage his rational brain and would still be alive today.”


Workers from the Bowery Residents’ Committee, which does homeless outreach in the subways, had known Mr. Neely since 2017, according to a person familiar with his history with social services.


A team had spotted him on the subway as recently as March 22. He appeared to be struggling with both mental illness and substance use disorder, according to his records. At one point, he lived at a safe-haven shelter, which has more privacy and fewer restrictions than other shelters.


Until recent years, the subway was where Mr. Neely had felt happy and free to perform as a dancer, said his friend, Moses Harper, an artist who met Mr. Neely in 2009, when he was 16 years old.


Mr. Neely would dress up as Michael Jackson during his “Thriller” stage and ride the trains, moon-walking in front of commuters.


Mr. Neely and Ms. Harper, who also impersonates Michael Jackson, bonded over being street artists. Ms. Harper said she lost touch with Mr. Neely until she saw him again on a cold day in 2016, walking through subway cars with his head down.


The two left the station and walked several blocks together, talking. She gave him her shirt, some food, and told him where she lived.


Ms. Harper said she urged him to come find her when he was ready to get help.


“He said, ‘I’m going to get it together,’” she said. “And that’s the last time I saw him.”


Emon Thompson, 30, who lives in Jamaica, Queens, said she first saw Mr. Neely about two weeks ago at around 1 a.m. after she boarded an F train in Lower Manhattan.


“He was very upset at the time, and most of us just looked at him,” Ms. Thompson recalled. “He said he needed help and kept repeating the words, ‘food, shelter, I need a job.’”


Ms. Thompson saw him again a week later, at about 8 p.m., when she and her 8-year-old son were on a Manhattan-bound F train. She said she gave him some money and he thanked her “for five minutes.”


Mr. Neely seemed tired, Ms. Thompson said, and told her he was embarrassed that he had not showered.


“I could tell he was at his wit’s end, you know?” she said. “He didn’t look as if he wanted to beg and he looked mad that he even had to do that.”


Jonah E. Bromwich, Jeffery C. Mays and Andy Newman contributed reporting.



3) Making People Uncomfortable Can Now Get You Killed

By Roxane Gay, May 4, 2023

Contributing Opinion Writer 


A black-and-white photo shows a mix of masked and unmasked people riding on a subway train in Manhattan.

Karsten Moran for The New York Times

Increasingly, it is not safe to be in public, to be human, to be fallible. I’m not quoting breathless journalism about rising crime or conservative talking points about America falling into ruin. The ruin I’m thinking of isn’t in San Francisco or Chicago or at the southern border. The ruin is woven into the fabric of America. It’s seeping into all of us. All across the country, supposedly good, upstanding citizens are often fatally enforcing ever-changing, arbitrary and personal norms for how we conduct ourselves.


In Kansas City, Mo., Ralph Yarl, a Black 16-year-old, rang the wrong doorbell. He was trying to pick up his younger brothers and was simply on the wrong street, Northeast 115th Street instead of Northeast 115th Terrace, a harmless mistake. Andrew Lester, 84 and white, shot him twice and said, according to Ralph, “Don’t come around here.” Bleeding and injured, Ralph went to three different houses, according to a family member, before those good neighbors in a good, middle-class neighborhood helped him.


In upstate New York, a 20-year-old woman, Kaylin Gillis, was looking for a friend’s house in a rural area. The driver of the car she was in turned into a driveway and the homeowner, Kevin Monahan, 65, is accused of firing twice at the car and killing Ms. Gillis.


In Illinois, William Martys was using a leaf blower in his yard. A neighbor, Ettore Lacchei, allegedly started an argument with Mr. Martys and, the police say, killed him.


Two cheerleaders were shot in a Texas parking lot after one, Heather Roth, got into the wrong car. One of her teammates, Payton Washington, was also shot. Both girls survived, with injuries.


In Cleveland, Texas, a father asked his neighbor Francisco Oropesa to stop shooting his gun on his porch because his baby was trying to sleep. Mr. Oropesa walked over to the father’s house and has been charged with killing five people, including an 8-year-old boy, with an AR-15-style rifle. Two of the slain adults were found covering children, who survived.


At a Walgreens in Nashville, Mitarius Boyd suspected that Travonsha Ferguson, who was seven months pregnant, was shoplifting. Instead of calling the police, he followed Ms. Ferguson and her friend into the parking lot and, after one of the women sprayed mace in his face, according to Mr. Boyd, began firing. Ms. Ferguson was rushed to the hospital, where she had an emergency C-section and her baby was born two months early.


And sometimes there is no gun. On Monday, Jordan Neely, a Michael Jackson impersonator experiencing homelessness, was yelling and, according to some subway riders, acting aggressively on an F train in New York City. “I don’t have food, I don’t have a drink, I’m fed up,” Mr. Neely cried out. “I don’t mind going to jail and getting life in prison. I’m ready to die.” Was he making people uncomfortable? I’m sure he was. But his were the words of a man in pain. He did not physically harm anyone. And the consequence for causing discomfort isn’t death unless, of course, it is. A former Marine held Mr. Neely in a chokehold for several minutes, killing the man. News reports keep saying Mr. Neely died, which is a passive thing. We die of old age. We die in a car accident. We die from disease. When someone holds us in a chokehold for several minutes, something far worse has occurred.


A man actively brought about Mr. Neely’s death. No one appears to have intervened during those minutes to help Mr. Neely, though two men apparently tried to help the former Marine. Did anyone ask the former Marine to release Mr. Neely from his chokehold? The people in that subway car prioritized their own discomfort and anxiety over Mr. Neely’s distress. All of the people in that subway car on Monday will have to live with their apparent inaction and indifference. Now that it’s too late, there are haunting, heartbreaking images of Mr. Neely, helpless and pinned, still being choked. How does something like this happen? How does this senseless, avoidable violence happen? Truly, how? We all need to ask ourselves that question until we come up with an acceptable answer.


In the immediate aftermath, the New York City mayor, Eric Adams, couldn’t set politics aside and acknowledge how horrific Mr. Neely’s death was. Mr. Adams said: “Any loss of life is tragic. There’s a lot we don’t know about what happened here.” His was a bland and impotent statement, even though the sequence of events seems pretty clear and was corroborated by video, photography and a witness. And while any loss is in fact tragic, this specific loss, the death of Jordan Neely, was barely addressed. Mr. Adams didn’t bother to say Mr. Neely’s name and went on to equivocate about his administration’s investments in mental health, a strange claim to make while allowing first responders in New York City to involuntarily commit people experiencing mental health crises.


Each of these innocent people who lost their lives was in the wrong place at the wrong time. In most cases, armed assailants deputized themselves to stand their ground or enforce justice for a petty crime. Some claimed self-defense, said they were afraid, though some of their victims were unarmed women and children. We have to ask the uncomfortable questions: Why are men so afraid? Why are they so fragile that they shoot or harm first and ask questions later? Why do they believe death or injury is an appropriate response to human fallibility? Public life shared with terrified and/or entitled and/or angry and/or disaffected men is untenable.


We are at something of an impasse. The list of things that can get you killed in public is expanding every single day. Whether it’s mass shootings or police brutality or random acts of violence, it only takes running into one scared man to have the worst and likely last day of your life. We can’t even agree on right and wrong anymore. Instead of addressing actual problems, like homelessness and displacement, lack of physical and mental health care, food scarcity, poverty, lax gun laws and more, we bury our heads in the sand. Only when this unchecked violence comes to our doorstep do we maybe care enough to try to effect change.


There is no patience for simple mistakes or room for addressing how bigotry colors even the most innocuous interactions. There is no regard for due process. People who deem themselves judge, jury and executioner walk among us, and we have no real way of knowing when they will turn on us.


I will be thinking about Jordan Neely in particular for a long time. I will be thinking about who gets to stand his ground, who doesn’t, and how, all too often, it’s people in the latter group who are buried beneath that ground by those who refuse to cede dominion over it. Every single day there are news stories that are individually devastating and collectively an unequivocal condemnation of what we are becoming: a people without empathy, without any respect for the sanctity of life unless it’s our own.


It’s easy, on social media, to say, “I would have done something to help Mr. Neely.” It’s easy to imagine we would have called for help, offered him some food or money, extended him the grace and empathy we all deserve.


It’s so very easy to think we are good, empathetic people. But time and time again, people like us, who think so highly of themselves, have the opportunity to stand up and do the right thing, and they don’t. What on earth makes us think that, when the time comes, we will be any different?



4) Common Consumer Products Contain Multiple Toxic Chemicals, New Study Shows

Hair and nail products, all-purpose cleaners and automotive products contain some of the highest numbers of chemicals.

By Dana G. Smith, May 3, 2023

A store shelf lined with cleaning sprays and wipes, liquid soaps, and tissues and toilet paper.
Robert Caplin for The New York Times

More than 100 types of common consumer products contain at least one, and often multiple, chemicals linked to cancer or reproductive and developmental problems, according to research published Tuesday in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.


Many of the chemicals were found in personal care products, including nail polish, shampoo, lotion and soap. Cleaning products, particularly all-purpose cleaners, laundry detergent and dish soap, also contained numerous chemicals. The largest group of products were those that might be used in workplace settings, such as factories or construction sites, and included adhesives, degreasers, lubricants and sealants.


To compile the list of potentially hazardous products, researchers from the Silent Spring Institute and the University of California, Berkeley, cross-referenced two databases maintained by the state of California. The first was the California Air Resources Board’s list of products sold in the state that release volatile organic compounds, or V.O.C.s, which are chemicals that easily transform into gas and are released into the air. The second was a list of chemicals flagged as being carcinogens or reproductive and developmental toxicants by Proposition 65, California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act.


Comparing the two databases, the researchers found 33 V.O.C.s that were identified by Prop 65 as being hazardous to health. The chemicals were listed as ingredients in 105 different consumer product categories.


“The thing that jumped out to us was just really the extent of the exposures,” said Kristin Knox, a staff scientist at the Silent Spring Institute who led the research. “People can be exposed to the same chemical in a whole bunch of different products.” Some products also contain many different chemicals.


Kurunthachalam Kannan, a research professor at NYU Langone Health who studies human exposure to toxic substances and was not involved in the study, said the results didn’t surprise him. “These volatile organic compounds are there in almost every product that we use: the consumer products, personal care products, cosmetics,” he said.


The researchers also identified 11 of the chemicals and 30 of the product categories “as immediate targets for regulatory restriction or manufacturer redesign.” About two-thirds of the products were personal care or cleaning products people used at home. Many of them were also used by professional cleaners, auto mechanics, construction workers or employees in hair and nail salons, who are potentially exposed to higher levels of the chemicals than the average consumer.


Workers often have very little power “to control the products that they use in the workplace and what they’re exposed to,” said Dr. Megan Schwarzman, a physician and environmental health scientist at the U.C. Berkeley School of Public Health, and a co-author of the paper. As a result, she said, regulatory action is needed to protect employees from these chemicals.


According to the researchers, one of the most concerning chemicals identified was diethanolamine, or DEA, which is classified as a possible carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and is banned from use in cosmetics in Canada and the European Union. DEA was listed as an ingredient in 40 items, including soaps, lotions, hair products and household cleaners.


The preservative formaldehyde was also at the top of the list. It is a known carcinogen, is also prohibited in cosmetics in the European Union and was found in 17 product categories. Formaldehyde has been the focus of several studies evaluating the air quality of nail salons. (While many consumer products are not required to list their ingredients, personal care products must, so diethanolamine and formaldehyde will both appear on those labels.)


The fact that these chemicals are released into the air makes them especially concerning, Dr. Knox said. “If you’re using a product that has a lot of V.O.C.s in it, it’s not just that you might be smearing that product on your body, but also it’s being released into the air.” As a result, she said, other people in your home, like young children, can be exposed even if they’re not using the product.


Children and pregnant women are especially vulnerable to these chemicals. “During the intrauterine time period, the developing organism is far more sensitive to the effect of chemical exposure than we are as adults,” Dr. Schwarzman said. “So the same level of, say, solvent exposure causes very different effects when that exposure occurs prenatally than when it does as an adult.”


One way to limit exposure to some of these chemicals, the researchers said, is to choose home and personal care products that are fragrance free. Fragrances are a common source of V.O.C.s because the scent has to be released into the air in order for us to smell it. The researchers also recommended using these products with as much ventilation as possible.


An unanswered question is at what level of exposure do health problems start to emerge. In small, infrequent doses, the risk from most of these chemicals is likely low. However, Dr. Kannan said, for chemicals found in commonly used products, even small amounts of exposure can build up over time.


“What are the effects that you see when the product is used on a daily basis, for example, 70 years continuously?” he said. During that time, “you are exposed to hundreds, if not thousands, of these kinds of chemicals.”



5) A Kingly Proposal

By Julian Assange, May 5 2023
Declassified UK
Julian Assange speaking in 2009. (Photo: New Media Days / Peter Erichsen / Creative Commons)

To His Majesty King Charles III,


On the coronation of my liege, I thought it only fitting to extend a heartfelt invitation to you to commemorate this momentous occasion by visiting your very own kingdom within a kingdom: His Majesty’s Prison Belmarsh.


You will no doubt recall the wise words of a renowned playwright: “The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath.”


Ah, but what would that bard know of mercy faced with the reckoning at the dawn of your historic reign? After all, one can truly know the measure of a society by how it treats its prisoners, and your kingdom has surely excelled in that regard.


Your Majesty’s Prison Belmarsh is located at the prestigious address of One Western Way, London, just a short foxhunt from the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich. How delightful it must be to have such an esteemed establishment bear your name.


It is here that 687 of your loyal subjects are held, supporting the United Kingdom’s record as the nation with the largest prison population in Western Europe. As your noble government has recently declared, your kingdom is currently undergoing “the biggest expansion of prison places in over a century,” with its ambitious projections showing an increase of the prison population from 82,000 to 106,000 within the next four years. Quite the legacy, indeed.


As a political prisoner, held at Your Majesty’s pleasure on behalf of an embarrassed foreign sovereign, I am honoured to reside within the walls of this world class institution. Truly, your kingdom knows no bounds.


During your visit, you will have the opportunity to feast upon the culinary delights prepared for your loyal subjects on a generous budget of two pounds per day. Savour the blended tuna heads and the ubiquitous reconstituted forms that are purportedly made from chicken. And worry not, for unlike lesser institutions such as Alcatraz or San Quentin, there is no communal dining in a mess hall. At Belmarsh, prisoners dine alone in their cells, ensuring the utmost intimacy with their meal.


Beyond the gustatory pleasures, I can assure you that Belmarsh provides ample educational opportunities for your subjects. As Proverbs 22:6 has it: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Observe the shuffling queues at the medicine hatch, where inmates gather their prescriptions, not for daily use, but for the horizon-expanding experience of a “big day out”—all at once.


You will also have the opportunity to pay your respects to my late friend Manoel Santos, a gay man facing deportation to Bolsonaro’s Brazil, who took his own life just eight yards from my cell using a crude rope fashioned from his bedsheets. His exquisite tenor voice now silenced forever.


Venture further into the depths of Belmarsh and you will find the most isolated place within its walls: Healthcare, or “Hellcare” as its inhabitants lovingly call it. Here, you will marvel at sensible rules designed for everyone’s safety, such as the prohibition of chess, whilst permitting the far less dangerous game of checkers.


Deep within Hellcare lies the most gloriously uplifting place in all of Belmarsh, nay, the whole of the United Kingdom: the sublimely named Belmarsh End of Life Suite. Listen closely, and you may hear the prisoners’ cries of “Brother, I’m going to die in here,” a testament to the quality of both life and death within your prison.


But fear not, for there is beauty to be found within these walls. Feast your eyes upon the picturesque crows nesting in the razor wire and the hundreds of hungry rats that call Belmarsh home. And if you come in the spring, you may even catch a glimpse of the ducklings laid by wayward mallards within the prison grounds. But don’t delay, for the ravenous rats ensure their lives are fleeting.


I implore you, King Charles, to visit His Majesty’s Prison Belmarsh, for it is an honour befitting a king. As you embark upon your reign, may you always remember the words of the King James Bible: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (Matthew 5:7). And may mercy be the guiding light of your kingdom, both within and without the walls of Belmarsh.


Your most devoted subject,


Julian Assange





6) Migrant Child Labor Debate in Congress Becomes Mired in Immigration Fight

Revelations that migrant children have been exploited for cheap labor brought calls for action, but a partisan battle over immigration policy has complicated lawmakers’ efforts.

By Karoun Demirjian and Hannah Dreier, May 7, 2023

Karoun Demirjian reports on Congress from Washington, and Hannah Dreier is an investigative reporter in New York.


Children walk in a parking lot surrounded by palm trees.

Democrats’ legislation to crack down on the use of child labor has scant Republican backing, and Republican efforts to tighten vetting of sponsors of unaccompanied children also stand little chance of gaining ground. Credit...Kirsten Luce for The New York Times

Weeks after revelations that migrant children are being regularly exploited for cheap labor in the United States prompted bipartisan outrage and calls to action on Capitol Hill, Congress has moved no closer to addressing the issue, which has become mired in a long-running partisan war over immigration policy.


Legislation to crack down on companies’ use of child labor has gone nowhere and currently has little Republican backing, while Democrats’ efforts to increase funding for federal agencies to provide more support services to migrant children who cross the border by themselves face long odds in the House, where the G.O.P. has pledged to slash agency budgets.


At the time, Republican proposals to institute tougher vetting of adults in households sponsoring migrant children and expedite the removal of unaccompanied minors stand little chance of gaining ground in the Democratic-led Senate.


Instead, as Congress prepares to wade into a bitter debate over immigration policy in the coming days, Republicans and Democrats have retreated to their opposite corners, abandoning whatever initial hope there may have been for tackling the issue of child labor in a bipartisan way.


Republicans have pointed to exploitative conditions at companies employing migrant children, documented in an investigation by The New York Times, to justify a hard-line immigration package. The Times reported in February that as the number of children crossing the southern border alone has soared to record levels, many have taken on dangerous jobs that violate longstanding labor laws, including in factories, slaughterhouses and at construction sites.


The G.O.P.’s legislation, headed for a House vote this week, would restore a series of stringent policies championed under the Trump administration, including measures to hold migrant children in detention centers and expedite their deportation.


Democrats, desperate to avoid any appearance of aiding Republicans in their fight against Mr. Biden’s immigration policies, have quieted their criticism of the government’s handling of the situation, instead directing their anger at the companies that employ migrant children.


The result is that the political space is vanishing for any consensus in Congress on a policy solution to help protect these children from exploitation.


“I know it’s complicated, but this really needs to be about protecting kids, and not about the bigger politics of the border," Janet Murguía, president of the Latino civil rights advocacy organization UnidosUS, said in an interview, accusing Republicans of “playing politics” and Democrats of being “skittish” in confronting the problem. “It’s a no-brainer. It should be easy to find bipartisan support on this.”


The Biden administration has taken steps to change some of its policies and practices since The Times revealed the explosion in child migrant labor. The Health and Human Services Department, which is responsible for placing unaccompanied migrant children in the care of trustworthy adults, has designated a team to support children after they leave government shelters, and is providing more children with case management and legal services. The department’s inspector general is also conducting an evaluation of the vetting system used to place migrant children in homes.


The Labor Department has begun several initiatives to enhance its enforcement of child labor laws, and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas said last month that his department was adding a new mission to address crimes of exploitation, including a focus on migrant child labor victims.


Still, there is little sign of meaningful momentum to enact legislation that could stop the exploitation of child migrants as workers. In the opening throes of lawmakers’ outrage, Republicans and Democrats alike spoke out angrily about the issue, taking the Biden administration to task. Leading members of both parties sent rounds of letters to Cabinet secretaries demanding to know how unaccompanied minors ended up filling dangerous jobs on grueling factory shifts. Rank-and-file lawmakers drafted bipartisan legislation to raise fines against companies violating child labor laws.


But by the time Congress held its first oversight hearings on the issue last month, the subject had been subsumed into a looming fight in the House over a border security bill, and a ramped-up Republican campaign to impeach Mr. Mayorkas over the state of the southern border.


Even in a series of hearings organized expressly to address the trend of migrant child labor, Republicans have used the topic to condemn the Biden administration’s overall immigration policies.


“This is a crisis made worse by President Biden’s open-border agenda,” Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a Washington Republican and the chairwoman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, said last month during an oversight hearing with the inspector general of the Health and Human Services Department.


At a Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearing, Senator Josh Hawley, Republican of Missouri, berated Mr. Mayorkas on the issue, suggesting it should cost him his job.


“You have at every stage facilitated this modern-day indentured servitude of children,” Mr. Hawley yelled. “Why should you not be impeached for this?”


At the same time, Democrats have tempered their criticism of the Biden administration for the crisis, even as some of them have continued to declare the government’s handling of the matter unacceptable. They have reserved their toughest words for Republicans, whose proposed policies they argue would worsen a humanitarian crisis.


“It is hard to take seriously the party that boasts of its concerns for exploited children while simultaneously stripping vital protections from unaccompanied children,” Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, said during the recent hearing.


He defended the administration’s handling of the matter, including its vetting of sponsors.


“Despite the fact that there have been some pretty heartbreaking stories of sponsors being traffickers or using the children to work, it’s my understanding that this past fiscal year over 85 percent of sponsors are close family members,” Mr. Nadler said during a recent Judiciary subcommittee hearing on migrant child labor.


These relatives are often uncles or cousins who the arriving children hardly know, and some of them push the minors to work hazardous jobs, The Times found in its reporting.


In the Senate, Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois and the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said last week that he was working to bring in senior officials to testify about migrant child exploitation. Mr. Durbin was one of the first Democrats to send letters to the Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services, demanding to know what steps were being taken to protect children from the conditions laid out in the Times’s reporting.


But some Democrats say that their party has been too timid in confronting the Biden administration on the crisis.


“What we see is Republicans not wanting to hold Republican administrations to account, and Democrats not wanting to hold Democratic administrations to account,” Representative Katie Porter, a California Democrat, said in an interview.


Several Democrats have sent letters to the companies named in the Times investigation, asking them what steps they have taken to ensure they do not employ minors going forward. A group of a dozen major institutional investors, including state officials from New York, Connecticut and Maine, sent their own letters, and New Mexico’s treasurer placed several of the companies on a list barring future investments. Ford said it would require staffing agencies to provide better age verification, and Ben & Jerry’s, which is facing a class-action lawsuit over the presence of young workers in its supply chain, pledged to suspend dairy farms that use child labor.


Other Democrats have held their public fire, as the companies pressure lawmakers to give them more time.


In March, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus drafted letters to send to the chief executives of companies implicated in the use of child labor, in which they said each corporation “must take necessary measures to remove child labor throughout its supply chain” and requested briefings, according to a draft shared with The New York Times. The group informed the White House that the letters were coming.


But the effort stalled as companies including PepsiCo and General Motors lobbied members of the caucus to hold off, according to two people familiar with the initiative.


The letters were never sent.


At the same time, the two parties have pursued divergent legislative paths. In late March, Representatives Hillary Scholten of Michigan, a Democrat, and Nancy Mace of South Carolina, a Republican, joined forces on a bill to increase civil penalties for individual child labor law infractions almost tenfold from their current caps of about $15,000 per routine violation. It mirrored a measure introduced several weeks earlier by Senator Brian Schatz, Democrat of Hawaii.


But since then, House Democrats have rallied around a more aggressive proposal from Representative Dan Kildee, a Michigan Democrat, that would set the maximum civil payouts even higher, and establish new criminal liabilities for companies that repeatedly flout child labor laws. No House Republicans other than Ms. Mace have signed on to the measures.


Republicans have only just begun to propose similar legislative changes. On Wednesday, Mr. Hawley introduced a measure that would impose fines of up to $100 million against violators of labor laws and $500 million against willful violators, but only for the largest corporations — those that do at least half a billion dollars in business annually.


Many other Republicans argue that going after companies is simply not a priority.


“I’m fine thinking about that, but at the end of the day, stop the magnet,” said Representative Chip Roy of Texas, a chief architect of his party’s strict border security bill, arguing that policies allowing migrant children to enter the United States were the main reason children were being put to work.


When it comes to companies exploiting children, he added, “I’m pretty sure that’s already against the law.”



7) At Least 9 Dead, Including Gunman, in Shooting at Texas Mall

A police officer on an unrelated assignment nearby rushed toward the sounds of gunfire and killed the gunman.

By Mary Beth Gahan, Remy Tumin, Claire Fahy and Lauren McCarthy. Mary Beth Gahan reported from Allen, Texas. Published May 6, 2023, Updated May 7, 2023

“According to the Gun Violence Archive, a database of shootings in the United States, there have been 199 ‘mass shootings,’ which it defines as the shooting of at least four people, in 2023.”

Shoppers evacuated an outlet mall in Allen, Texas, where a gunman killed eight people before being fatally shot by a police officer. Credit...LM Otero/Associated Press (Screenshot)

A gunman opened fire at a crowded mall outside Dallas on Saturday, killing at least eight people and injuring at least seven before a police officer killed him, the authorities said, turning a busy afternoon of shopping into a chaotic and tragic scene.


At a news conference Saturday night, Brian E. Harvey, the chief of police in Allen, Texas, did not identify a gunman but said the person acted alone. Chief Harvey said a police officer, who was on an unrelated assignment at the mall at the time of the shooting, heard gunfire, rushed toward it and killed the gunman.


A spokesman for Medical City Healthcare, which was treating several victims at three trauma facilities, said the ages of the injured ranged from 5 to 61.


The gunfire erupted around 3:30 p.m. at the Allen Premium Outlets as throngs of shoppers filled the outdoor mall, which is about 25 miles north of Dallas and has more than 120 stores. Videos circulating on social media show people dashing for shelter or running through a parking lot as loud popping noises can be heard in the background.


Seven people, including the gunman, were pronounced dead at the mall. Officials could account for at least nine people who were transported to hospitals, but more victims may have been taken in private vehicles, the Allen fire chief, Jonathan Boyd, said. Two of those died later. Three were in critical condition and four in stable condition.


A video circulating on social media appeared to show the gunman, lying on the ground, clad in black and equipped with what appeared to be a tactical vest, multiple rounds of ammunition and a long gun.


“We all want the victims and their families impacted by this tragedy to know that we will wrap our arms around you and we are here for you,” Ken Fulk, the mayor of Allen, said at a news conference. “We know you are grieving. We are grieving. Rest assured, the nation and the world are also grieving. Allen is a proud and safe city, which makes today’s senseless act of violence even more shocking.”


Mr. Fulk added that the police have been trained to not “hesitate to move toward the threat,” which most likely saved more lives.


Saturday’s attack is the second-deadliest shooting of the year, after the Monterey Park, Calif., massacre in which a gunman killed 11 people in a ballroom on Jan. 21.


According to the Gun Violence Archive, a database of shootings in the United States, there have been 199 “mass shootings,” which it defines as the shooting of at least four people, in 2023. There was a particularly deadly spate of large-scale shootings this past week.


Last weekend, a gunman killed five people in Cleveland, Texas, near Houston, after he was asked by neighbors to stop shooting in his yard. He was captured after a multiday manhunt.


On Monday, a registered sex offender fatally shot six people, including his wife and three of her children, near Tulsa, Okla., before turning the gun on himself.


On Wednesday, a gunman opened fire at a medical office building in Atlanta, killing one and injuring four others. That, too, led to a manhunt before the suspect was caught.


In Allen, Texas, witnesses described a familiar scene of pandemonium as gunfire erupted.


Geoffrey Keaton was having lunch with his 16-year-old daughter at Fatburger in the outlet mall when they heard gunshots.


“I immediately knew,” Mr. Keaton said. “I got my baby girl under the counter to shield her, and then they got louder, like he was right there.”


Mr. Keaton said the restaurant’s manager allowed customers to hide in the back, where they were able to exit through a rear door and run to their cars.


“You could see bodies of people he had shot on the sidewalk,” Mr. Keaton said.


A livestream from a local Fox television affiliate showed scores of shoppers being evacuated in an orderly fashion from shops like H&M, Michael Kors, American Eagle and Kay Jewelers.


Kaleo Palakiko, 36, was shopping with his parents for an upcoming vacation when they saw people running outside.


“It was just kind of chaotic for a second. Then when someone said, ‘shooter,’ we all ran to the back of the store,” Mr. Palakiko said. “As Americans, we’re used to this, because everyone knew exactly what to do.”


Mr. Palakiko and his parents hid in a storeroom for about 45 minutes before they were released by police and walked out with their hands in the air. Mr. Palakiko said they walked by stores with shattered window panes.


Brayson Jones, 17, had arrived early for his shift at the Champs Sports outlet store and was sitting in his car when he heard “probably 20-plus shots” and saw people running out of stores, he said.


Mr. Jones said a stranger ran toward his car and motioned to let him inside, and then the two drove away.


“As soon as I heard the shots and people yelling, I didn’t wait to see what was going on, I backed out and got out of there,” he said.


Four hours after the shooting, the police began to allow some people to retrieve their cars that were left behind at the outlet. Others, whose cars had been parked closer to the crime scene, would have to wait until tomorrow.


Representative Keith Self, a Republican who represents Allen, Texas, said on CNN that critics who are calling for more than “thoughts and prayers” after Saturday’s shooting “don’t believe in almighty God, who is absolutely in control of our lives.” Instead, he said, the country’s lack of “mental health institutions” is to blame.


“Really I would like to stay away from the politics today because I want to focus on the victims, today we should be focused on the families,” he said. “Prayers are important and they are important in the families that are devastated right now.”


In a statement, Kris Brown, the president of Brady, the gun violence prevention organization, noted the long list of shootings in a short week.


“A house, a doctors’ office, and now a mall,” he said. “These horrific tragedies are occurring with increasing regularity and it’s clear there’s no place in this country where Americans are safe from gun violence. But this will continue to be our reality unless and until the U.S. changes its relationship with guns and our lawmakers finally answer to the American people, not the gun lobby.”



8) Things in Russia Aren’t as Bad as the Bad Old Soviet Days. ‘They’re Worse.’

By Serge Schmemann, May 8, 2023

Mr. Schmemann is a member of the editorial board. 

A photo illustration of a portrait of Joseph Stalin riddled with holes. A portrait of Vladimir Putin is visible through the holes.
Illustration by Rebecca Chew/The New York Times

It has become commonplace to perceive Vladimir Putin as reverting to Soviet ways. So it seemed natural, shortly after the Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich was arrested in Russia, that when I ran into a woman I’d known in Moscow back in the Soviet days, I lamented that things were more and more as they had been in those bad old days.


“No,” she said, “they’re worse.”


She had been a rebel and had left Moscow as soon as she was able to, so I was struck by her response. But I’ve heard it from other Russians as well, both those who live inside and outside the country. And the more I look back on my days as a reporter in Soviet and post-Soviet Russia, and the longer the terrible savaging of Ukraine continues, the more I understand what they mean.


In light of what their country is inflicting on Ukraine, it is difficult to speak of Russians as victims. That, in fact, may be one major reason many decent Russians feel that Mr. Putin’s Russia — their Russia — is worse than the Soviet state whose demise he laments. They had thought their nation free of the horrible tyranny of its past, and Mr. Putin is not only reviving that but also bringing shame and alienation to their nation.


The Soviet Union that these Russians hark back to is the one in its final years, not Stalin’s hell. In their time, the 1970s and early 1980s, the Soviet Union was still a repressive police state that maintained a jealous and iron control on information, art, enterprise and just about every other human endeavor. It was a far more intrusive level of repression than Mr. Putin and his security apparatus could ever replicate, given the reach of the internet and the continuing ability of Russians to travel abroad. No old Soviet dissident would deny that the physical quality of life in Russia is far higher than it was in those Spartan times.


Yet the post-Stalin years, and especially the last decades of Soviet rule, however oppressive, at least seemed to be moving toward something better. The random terror of the Stalin era had given way to a more coordinated system of control: still brutally repressive, but more predictable and less arbitrary. The highly personalized dictatorship of Joseph Stalin was been replaced by a more collegial system of rule. Charles Kupchan, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, told me a Soviet leader probably would not have survived a disastrous decision like the invasion of Ukraine.


And as the Soviet old guard died off in the 1980s, there was a clear sense of change, which finally arrived with Mikhail Gorbachev. For those who were there, it is impossible to forget the thrill of watching people explore long-forbidden ideas, arts, freedoms and pleasures.


“We make a distinction between ‘open’ and ‘closed’ societies, but there is also a distinction between ‘openings’ and ‘closings,’” Ivan Krastev, a Bulgarian political scientist and one of the foremost chroniclers of the collapse of the Soviet empire, told me. “The generation of Soviet people in the 1970s and 1980s lived in a closed society that was opening, discovering that things that had been impossible were becoming possible. Putin’s is a period of radical closings. People are losing things they felt had finally been granted them. Openings led to hope; this system leads to hopelessness.”


Mr. Putin may not have quite the levers his Soviet predecessors had. The commercialized and globally connected society that has evolved in Russia over the three decades since the Soviet Union collapsed cannot be put back in the bottle. Nor does Mr. Putin have the Utopian ideology that enabled Soviet leaders to claim they were working for the betterment of humankind, though he has concocted a national narrative of sorts, based on Russian and Soviet history and mythology and his abhorrence of the West. What he has done instead is create a system in which everything — the government, the political police, the legislature, the military — depends personally on him.


If the most common charge used to imprison dissidents in the last decades of Soviet rule was “anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda,” an omnibus law that at least made clear that the crime was in opposing Soviet rule, Mr. Putin lashes back at his opponents with random weapons, whether it’s his government’s apparent poisoning of Alexei Navalny or the condemnation of Vladimir Kara-Murza to 25 years in prison for treason. Accusing Mr. Gershkovich of espionage may well have been motivated at least in part by fury that someone with a Russian background would dare report the truth about Russia.


The repression has redoubled since the invasion of Ukraine, making it difficult to gauge the level of resistance. Ten days into the invasion, police arrested more than 4,600 demonstrators in Russia, and hundreds of thousands of Russian men have fled the country to avoid being shanghaied into the army.


But those who resist and those who leave do not find themselves accorded the respect that Soviet dissidents were met with. Back then, non-Russian ethnic groups may have identified the Soviet yoke with Russia, but Communist ideology was universalist, and the Russians who opposed it saw themselves as allied with other oppressed nationalities, and with the West, in their struggle. Russians who arrived in New York or Tel Aviv or Berlin felt free of the taint of collusion; and since the ranks of dissidents included many writers, poets, musicians and artists, Russian culture shared in the glow of liberation.


Mr. Putin’s rule and his invasion of Ukraine have changed that. This is a war waged by Russia against Ukraine in the name of a Russian imperial claim, and it is hard for anyone or anything Russian — language, culture, background — to fully escape the stigma. It is especially galling for Russians of conscience to hear Mr. Putin using the antifascist language of World War II — the one feat of Soviet history that all its people are proud of — in the effort to destroy Ukraine.


The impact is broadly evident. Russian restaurants, including ones that reconceived their menus, struggle to stay open. Stolichnaya vodka has now been rebranded as Stoli. A limited-edition bottle wears a label with the blue-and-yellow colors of Ukraine, stamped #LIBERATEUKRAINE. The Metropolitan Opera in New York dropped its Russian diva, Anna Netrebko, for not renouncing Mr. Putin. I have heard academics express regret for focusing so much on Russia in post-Soviet studies. The list goes on, and it’s hard to argue against the cancellations. “Russians can say this is not my regime, but they cannot say this is not my nation,” Mr. Krastev said.


It is too early to predict how the Ukraine war will end. What is clear is that Mr. Putin, in the name of an ephemeral Russian greatness, has done great and lasting harm to his people and their culture.



9) At Least 8 Killed After Driver Plows Car Into Group of Migrants in Texas

The driver of a Range Rover barreled into a crowd in Brownsville, Texas, on Sunday, officials said. It was unclear if the crash had been accidental or deliberate.

"Michael Eduardo de Aponte Fonseca, who is from Caracas, Venezuela, said the driver had yelled anti-immigration insults to the group while he fled. One of the people hit by the car fell on Mr. Fonseca, he said."

By Edgar Sandoval and Verónica G. Cárdenas, Published May 7, 2023, Updated May 8, 2023

Michael Eduardo de Aponte Fonseca sits atop a picnic table with his fingers laced and arms resting on his legs. He is wearing blue pants and a gray top.
Michael Eduardo de Aponte Fonseca survived after the car plowed into a group of migrants in Brownsville, Texas. Credit...Verónica G. Cárdenas for The New York Times

BROWNSVILLE, Texas — At least eight people were killed after the driver of a vehicle plowed into a crowd of migrants on Sunday outside a center that serves homeless people in this city near the border with Mexico, the authorities said.


Seven of the people who were struck “were dead on the spot” when police arrived, Martin Sandoval, an investigator with the Brownsville Police Department, said. At least 10 people were injured, one of whom was airlifted to an area hospital. One person died later, the department confirmed on Sunday night.


Judge Eddie Treviño Jr. of Cameron County said the group was outside the Ozanam Center, near a bus stop, when a Range Rover barreled into them around 8:30 a.m. local time. The driver was injured and taken to a hospital, Judge Treviño said.


The driver, who was not publicly identified and was believed to be in his 30s or 40s, was charged with reckless driving and was detained, but more charges could be added, Mr. Sandoval said.


The man had been speaking to investigators in both English and Spanish, but he had also given the police different names and had not submitted to a breathalyzer test or provided his fingerprints, Mr. Sandoval said.


Police were still trying to determine how fast the vehicle was going and whether the crash was intentional. The police have ordered a warrant for the driver’s blood to determine if he was intoxicated, Mr. Sandoval said.


Police were also looking into reports that he had uttered anti-immigration remarks.


Brownsville, a border town in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, is no stranger to immigration. Situated in one of the poorest regions in the country with a majority Hispanic population, Brownsville has seen a bigger number of people crossing, with up to 1,500 migrants a day arriving in recent days by some estimates.


Judge Treviño said the crash scene was “very graphic” based on videos he had seen of the aftermath and a briefing he had received.


“They looked like very serious injuries,” he said. “It’s a tragedy either way, but if it was intentional, it’s worse.”


All of the victims were believed to be migrants from Venezuela, many of whom had been coming to the border in anticipation of the lifting of Title 42, a Trump-era pandemic rule that allowed for the easy expulsion of migrants.


Victor Maldonado, executive director of the Ozanam Center, said the driver ran a red light before crashing into the crowd of about 20 people. “All bodies just started going everywhere, all directions,” he said.


A group of people detained the driver, who tried to flee, said Eyder Hernandez, one of those who stopped him. On the journey from Venezuela to Texas, the group of migrants became like a family, he said.


Michael Eduardo de Aponte Fonseca, who is from Caracas, Venezuela, said the driver had yelled anti-immigration insults to the group while he fled. One of the people hit by the car fell on Mr. Fonseca, he said.


“I saw what happened around me, and I didn’t want to see more,” he said. “I grabbed my things, and scared and in shock I crossed the street.”


The Ozanam Center is a shelter frequented by migrants who stay for only a few days while they work to secure travel elsewhere, Mr. Maldonado said.


He said they stay in Brownsville to “do odd jobs and get a little money so they can move on.” But, he added, “Some of those folks tonight will not reach their destination.”


Lauren McCarthy, Joshua Needelman and April Rubin contributed reporting from New York.



10 ) A Gun-Filled America Is a World of Fear and Alienation

By Jamelle Bouie, May 9, 2023

Three young women praying arm in arm, with bouquets of memorial flowers in the background.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Another week, another shooting.


This one was in Allen, Texas — a city about 25 miles north of Dallas — where a gunman killed at least eight people and injured at least seven others before he was killed by a police officer. He used, as is standard these days, an AR-15-style rifle. Some of the victims were children.


The frequency of mass shootings in the United States means there is a ritual, of sorts, associated with each occurrence. Republican politicians offer “thoughts and prayers,” Democratic politicians condemn those offering only “thoughts and prayers,” and their respective allies in the media trade barbs over gun control.


On Twitter, Megyn Kelly, a former Fox News anchor, took part in the ritual with a series of tweets castigating gun control proponents for focusing on, well, gun control. “Serious q for gun control advocates: you’ve failed to effect change,” she said. “Pls face it. You can’t do it, thx to the 2A. We’re all well aware you don’t like that fact, but fact it is. What’s next? Must we just stay here sad, concerned, lamenting? Could we possibly talk OTHER SOLUTIONS?”


Kelly argues that instead of focusing our attention on the proliferation of high-powered rifles, we should try these “other solutions” that would keep guns away from the mentally ill and minimize destruction from mass shootings when they do occur: “Mental health interventions (smthg real, not the BS we now do), greater willingness to lock ppl up (w/protocols in place for civil libs) who are deemed to be threats, fortification of soft targets, coordination of media response to not lionize shooters, etc.”


Apparently, the debate over gun control is over — “it’s done,” Kelly says — and so the only thing left to do is shape our society in a way that leaves life compatible with the mass proliferation of firearms.


You might say that I’m picking on Kelly, whose most noteworthy contribution to American political discourse was her forceful argument that Santa Claus, the fictional avatar of Christmas, is white. But even if Kelly isn’t especially relevant, she is prominent, noteworthy and emblematic of conservative rhetoric in the wake of mass shootings.


Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas, to give another example, also jumped immediately to mental health and mental illness in the wake of the slaughter in Allen. “One thing we can observe very easily is that there has been a dramatic increase in the amount of anger and violence that’s taking place in America,” said Abbott, a Republican, in an interview with Fox News on Sunday. “And what Texas is doing, in a big-time way, we’re working to address that anger and violence by going to its root cause, which is addressing the mental health crisis behind it.”


After another recent shooting — the attack at a private Christian school in Nashville that killed three adults and three children — Gov. Bill Lee, a Republican, announced a plan to help place armed police officers at every school in Tennessee. “We have an obligation, I have an obligation, to do what I can and work together with leaders across this community to address people’s concerns and to protect our kids in whatever way we can,” he said.


Experts on mental health and mental illness have said, repeatedly, that it is inaccurate to assert or imply that these issues are primarily responsible for the rise of mass shootings in the United States. And in a 2018 report on mass shooters from 2000 to 2013, the F.B.I. pushed back on the idea that mental illness causes mass shootings: “Absent specific evidence, careful consideration should be given to social and contextual factors that might interact with any mental health issue before concluding that an active shooting was ‘caused’ by mental illness. In short, declarations that all active shooters must simply be mentally ill are misleading and unhelpful.”


There’s been less said about the similarly prevalent idea that we could prevent mass shootings by, in Kelly’s words, hardening the “soft targets” of American life. Not only is this as wrongheaded as the rhetoric concerning mental health and mass shootings, but it also works to normalize a disturbing vision for American society.


What is a “soft target”? It is a school or a mall or a church or a gym. It is a library, a movie theater, a grocery store or anywhere people gather to live their lives. What would it mean to “harden” those targets, most of which have already been targeted at one point or another? It would mean additional police officers and armed security; metal detectors and reinforced doors designed to bar entry; heightened scrutiny for visitors and even mandatory checks for identification.


To harden our soft targets is, in other words, to turn the entire country into an airport security line. And far from a free society, this hardened America would be a continental version of Baghdad’s Green Zone, each checkpoint or guard a visible reminder that we’ve organized our entire lives around the prospect of instant death by lethal violence. We’re already halfway there. It is normal, at many synagogues and Jewish community centers, to have armed security guards. It is normal, at many schools, to have metal detectors. It is normal to drill young children for when a shooter appears — to train first and second and third graders to run and hide or play dead.


And of course, there are those who already live in a garrison state of sorts. For some Americans, it is a garrison of their own making: gated communities manned by armed guards. For others, it is more akin to a surveillance state, one of constant police presence and contact.


Either way, it is a world of fear and alienation, where people live in a state of heightened awareness, even anxiety. It is not a world of trust or hope or solidarity or any of the values we need to make democracy work as a way of life, much less a system of government.


Which might be the point for conservatives who want that world — who want, in a sense, that “polite society.” Because one thing that will survive is hierarchy and force and the power to make others bend to your will. And if they refuse? If they insist on their right to live free of fear?


Well, that’s what the guns are for.



11) Israeli Airstrikes Kill at Least 13 in Gaza, Palestinians Say

At least three of the dead were leaders in Islamic Jihad, the group said. Officials reported that at least 10 civilians, including children, were killed in the strikes, which Israel said had hit the planners of attacks.

By Isabel Kershner and Raja Abdulrahim, Published May 8, 2023, Updated May 9, 2023

Reporting from Jerusalem

Bodies wrapped in material are carried through a crowd.
A funeral in Gaza City on Tuesday for some of those killed in the airstrikes. Credit...Mohammed Salem/Reuters

The Israeli military launched airstrikes against the Islamic Jihad armed group in Gaza on Tuesday, killing three of its leaders, ending an uneasy weeklong cease-fire between the two sides and leaving them braced for a sharp escalation in cross-border violence. Palestinian officials said that the airstrikes had killed at least 10 civilians, including children.


The predawn strikes hit residential buildings across the Palestinian coastal territory of Gaza, roughly a week after an exchange of fire between Islamic Jihad and Israel.


Islamic Jihad, which Israel, the United States and many other Western countries classify as a terrorist organization, confirmed that three of its senior leaders were among the dead. The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza said that at least 13 people had been killed and 20 others injured. Among the dead were Dr. Jamal Khiswan, a director of the Wafa Hospital in Gaza, and his wife and son, the ministry said.


Tensions in the region had been high after the death in Israeli custody last week of a Palestinian hunger striker who was a leader of Islamic Jihad. Violence has also been on the rise recently in Israel and the occupied West Bank. The death of the hunger striker, Khader Adnan, was followed by volleys of rockets fired at Israel from Gaza, and retaliatory strikes on the Gaza Strip by the Israeli Air Force.


In the fragile cease-fire that followed in the week after those attacks, members of the right-wing government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pressed for a stronger response to Palestinian armed groups, who had called for retaliation by all Palestinians after the death of Mr. Adnan.


In the strikes Tuesday, the Israeli military said that it had targeted and killed Khalil Bahitini, who it said had been responsible for launching rockets against Israel over the past month; Tareq Ezzedine, who was accused of directing attacks against Israelis in the occupied West Bank; and Jihad al-Ghanam, another high-ranking leader of the group. The Israeli military also said it had attacked Islamic Jihad military sites and infrastructure.


The military wing of Islamic Jihad said in a statement that the three leaders had been killed “as a result of a cowardly Zionist assassination at dawn today.”


The group said that some of the wives and children of the men had also been killed, adding that “the blood of the martyrs will increase our resolve, and we will not leave our positions and the resistance will go on, God willing.”


Schools and universities across Gaza canceled classes and exams as search and rescue crews were still digging through the rubble Tuesday morning, and the Gaza government ordered Palestinian fishing vessels not to go out to sea. The Gaza Strip operates under a severe land, air and sea blockade by Israel and Egypt.


Gaza is dominated by Hamas, a larger Islamist militant group that sometimes acts in coordination with Islamic Jihad and, at other times, acts to restrain it. The military wing of Hamas issued a statement mourning those killed in the Israeli campaign. The question of whether Hamas will join Islamic Jihad, which is backed by Iran, in any retaliatory action against Israel could determine the length and intensity of the round of fighting.


The so-called Joint Room of the Palestinian Resistance Factions, a coordinating committee of armed groups in Gaza, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, issued a statement saying it held the “criminal enemy,” meaning Israel, “fully responsible for the repercussions of this cowardly crime,” adding that “its leaders who initiated the aggression must prepare to pay the price.”


About five hours after Israel’s opening strikes, Lt. Col. Richard Hecht, a spokesman for the Israeli military, told reporters that the military had achieved its objectives and that it was largely “up to Hamas” to determine what would happen next.


Colonel Hecht said he was aware of the reports of civilian deaths, which he said would be “tragic,” but had no immediate further comment about them, except to say that Israel conducted a “pinpoint” operation involving 40 aircraft.


Amid the strikes, the Israeli military instructed residents of Israel living within a radius of 25 miles of the border of the Palestinian coastal territory to stay close to bomb shelters for the next two days, in apparent expectation of retaliatory rocket fire.


Israel’s minister of defense, Yoav Gallant, declared a state of high alert along the border. The military issued a map of road closings in the area and shut border crossings to people and goods. Train service to the area was canceled and classes were postponed. Colonel Hecht said that the ministry had instructed the army to be ready to call up reservists.


The airstrikes started at about 2 a.m. Tuesday and initially hit Gaza City and the southern city of Rafah, along the border with Egypt. Two hours later, the military said that it was striking additional targets of Islamic Jihad, including what it described as weapons manufacturing sites and military compounds.


The operation, which the military called “Shield and Arrow,” follows a short burst of violence after the death last week of Mr. Adnan, who had been on a hunger strike for 87 days to protest his detention.


Islamic Jihad fired more than 100 rockets and mortar shells toward southern Israel in the 24 hours after the death of Mr. Adnan. One barrage fired in the middle of the day severely wounded a Chinese construction worker in the Israeli border town of Sderot.


In response, the Israeli Air Force targeted military sites in Gaza, killing a 58-year-old man, according to the health ministry in Gaza.


This year has already proved to be the deadliest in more than two decades for Palestinians and Israelis. More than 110 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank, according to Palestinian officials, with most of the deaths coming in clashes during raids by Israeli forces. At least 19 Israelis have been killed in attacks by Palestinians.


Israeli forces raided the West Bank city of Nablus on Tuesday morning, shooting and injuring 12 people, including a 14-year-old boy, and leaving 130 injured from tear gas inhalation, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent and Palestinian news media. The Israeli military said it had been there to detain a wanted individual.


Another brief flare-up a month ago, during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, took place after an Israeli police raid in Jerusalem on the Aqsa mosque compound, a revered site known to Jews as Temple Mount. That prompted Palestinian armed groups in Gaza as well as militias in Lebanon — led by Hamas, according to the Israeli military — to fire barrages of rockets at Israel.


Israel struck back at the militias in southern Lebanon, as well as at Hamas military sites in the Gaza Strip.


But far-right members of the Israeli governing coalition complained that Israel’s response had been too weak, and the ultranationalist minister of national security, Itamar Ben-Gvir, demanded that Israel take more aggressive steps, including resuming its policy of targeted assassinations of militant leaders.


Mr. Netanyahu leads a right-wing governing coalition that includes two far-right parties. But the previous government, under former prime minister Yair Lapid, a centrist, also carried out missile strikes in Gaza, in August, that killed two senior Islamic Jihad commanders and more than 40 other Palestinians, including 15 children, during three days of fierce cross-border fighting.


The Israeli military said on Tuesday that Mr. Bahitini, one of the militants killed in the latest strikes, had taken over the position of one of the militants killed in August, replacing him as the Islamic Jihad commander of the northern region of the Gaza Strip.


Mr. Gallant, the Israeli defense minister, said in a Twitter post before dawn on Tuesday that the military and the Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic security agency, had “precisely carried out their mission against the leadership of the Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip. Any terrorist who harms the citizens of Israel will regret it. We will pursue and catch up with our enemies,” he added.


Reporting was contributed by Iyad Abuheweila from Gaza City; Hiba Yazbek and Myra Noveck from Jerusalem; and Gabby Sobelman from Rehovot, Israel.