Bay Area United Against War Newsletter, June 12, 2023

No one is coming to save us, but us.


We need visionary politics, collective strategy, and compassionate communities now more than ever. In a moment of political uncertainty, the Socialism Conference—September 1-4, in Chicago—will be a vital gathering space for today’s left. Join thousands of organizers, activists, and socialists to learn from each other and from history, assess ongoing struggles, build community, and experience the energy of in-person gatherings.


Featured speakers at Socialism 2023 will include: Naomi Klein, Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Robin D.G. Kelley, aja monet, Bettina Love, Olúfẹmi O. Táíwò, Sophie Lewis, Harsha Walia, Dina Gilio-Whitaker, Astra Taylor, Malcolm Harris, Kelly Hayes, Daniel Denvir, Emily Drabinski, Ilya Budraitskis, Dave Zirin, and many more.


The Socialism Conference is brought to you by Haymarket Books and dozens of endorsing left-wing organizations and publications, including Jacobin, DSA, EWOC, In These Times, Debt Collective, Dream Defenders, the Autonomous Tenant Union Network, N+1, Jewish Currents, Lux, Verso Books, Pluto Press, and many more. 


Register for Socialism 2023 by July 7 for the early bird discounted rate! Registering TODAY is the single best way you can help support, sustain, and expand the Socialism Conference. The sooner that conference organizers can gauge conference attendance, the bigger and better the conference will be!


Learn more and register for Socialism 2023

September 1-4, 2023, Chicago



Attendees are expected to wear a mask (N95, K95, or surgical mask) over their mouth and nose while indoors at the conference. Masks will be provided for those who do not have one.


A number of sessions from the conference will also be live-streamed virtually so that those unable to attend in person can still join us.

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Hugo Blanco's Urgent Medical Costs


“Of course I am an ecosocialist, as are the indigenous peoples — even if they do not use that term.”

Hugo Blanco is one of the figures in the struggle for emancipation in Peru. In the 1960s, he played an important role in the revolutionary mobilization of indigenous peasants against the four-century-old dominant agrarian regime — latifundism. During a self-defence action, a policeman was killed; Blanco was sentenced to death. Defended by Amnesty International, Sartre and de Beauvoir, he lived in exile in the 1970s: in Mexico, Argentina, Chile and then, in the aftermath of the coup against Allende, in Sweden. Returning home, he joined the Peasant Confederation and became a member of parliament, then a senator under the colours of Izquierda Unida — a coalition of left-wing organizations.


Hugo Blanco is currently in hospital in Sweden receiving urgent medical care. He is not entitled to free medical care and the bill is growing daily. He is being cared for by his children but we need help from the international community to cover these costs. Hugo Blanco was born in Peru and has spent his life fighting for social, economic and environmental justice. He has been an integral part of the Peruvian and wider Latin American Left since the 1950s, spending forty years in and out of prison and exile. He was a leader of the indigenous peasant struggle that culminated in the 1968 land reform, was first elected to parliament in 1978 and ran for President in 1980. He has long been one of the foremost champions of indigenous rights and ecosocialism. Read more about Hugo's life here:





An update on the situation of our father, Hugo Blanco: He remains hospitalised in Sweden. They are doing a series of investigations and treatments to establish the diagnosis and each of these procedures are very expensive. They include digestive endoscopies and intravenous feeding. At the moment we can report some optimism because there is improvement. He had an intestinal obstruction near the stomach and it seems to be resolving, but the cause is not completely clear and a waiting period must be given with intensive treatments to see if it resolves, which hopefully will be the case. Consequently, hopefully it continues to improve but will require intensive and expensive treatments and evaluations, for which the solidarity and contributions are still needed and deeply appreciated. We will keep you informed of his progress. Thank you all! £20 = $25 = €23


Donate: https://www.gofundme.com/f/hugo-blancos-urgent-medical-costs



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.



Urgent Health Call-In Campaign for Political Prisoner Ed Poindexter


Watch the moving video of Ed's Niece and Sister at the April 26, 2023, UN EMLER Hearing in Atlanta: https://youtu.be/aKwV7LQ5iww


Ed needs to be released to live the rest of his life outside of prison, with his family! (His niece Ericka is now 52 years old and was an infant when Ed was targeted, stolen from his home, jailed, framed, and railroaded.)


Ed Poindexter's left leg was amputated below the knee in early April due to lack of proper medical care. Ed has diabetes and receives dialysis several 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 (402-471-2861);


·      Warden Wilhelm of the Nebraska State Penitentiary (402-471-3161);


·      Governor Pillen, the State of Nebraska Office of the Governor (402-471-2244);


·      Director Rob Jeffreys, Nebraska Department of Corrections 402-471-2654;


The Nebraska Board of Pardons

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


Please sustain calls daily through 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:


“I'm calling to urge that Ed Poindexter, #27767, be given immediate compassionate release.


“In April 2023, Ed's niece and brother found out that Ed’s leg had been amputated earlier in the month. And it happened without notice to Ed’s family! This was all 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 a lot 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 Compassionate Release, and that he be immediately released to hospice at home.”


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:




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 Tampa 5 are facing 10-plus years in jail! Drop the charges now!


Statement by Freedom Road Socialist Organization

Update, May 20, 2023



Tampa, FL – Florida state prosecutor Justin Diaz it trying to put the Tampa 5 in prison. The Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) members, arrested at a campus protest against the racist agenda of Governor Ron DeSantis, each face a trumped-up felony charge, alleging “battery on a police officer,” carrying five years of jail time. When the activists rejected a plea deal requiring them to apologize for doing the right thing, the prosecutor added on more felony charges. This means that three of the activists are facing more than ten years behind bars. In addition, the activists face ten misdemeanor charges.


The five facing charges are Chrisley Carpio, Laura Rodriguez, Gia Davila, Lauren Pineiro and Jeanie Kida. They have done nothing wrong. They are heroes who are standing up to injustice. 


The large number of charges and the reactionary political climate in Florida means that this repression needs to be taken seriously. The enemy is increasing the level of the attacks on our movement.


Progressive and fair-minded people need to push back. The state wants to intimidate other people away from protesting injustice and make an example of the Tampa 5.  Freedom Road Socialist Organization urges everyone around the country to follow new developments in the Tampa 5’s case closely and take action when calls are put forward. The situation has sharpened.


On March 6, 2023, a student demonstration was brutalized by campus police at the University of South Florida (USF). The activists were defending diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs on campus from recent attacks by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.  Four of the student activists were arrested and booked.  Later the police arrested a fifth woman and charged her in the same manner as the other four.  


Some of those arrested lost their jobs, including campus worker and AFSCME union member Chrisley Carpio, who was fired by USF despite maintaining a spotless record during her seven-year career. Others experienced threats of expulsion and talk of not being allowed to graduate, despite video evidence that clearly shows the police as the aggressors.  


The Tampa 5 deserve our support because, while they were defending diversity on campus, the police launched an unprovoked attack on them with no warning and which was clearly captured on video.  Later, the university released a report comparing the original student protest to an active shooter situation on campus, falsely claiming that procedures for an active shooter situation had to be used in response to the student demonstration.


The state initially charged members of the Tampa 5 with four felony charges and a number of misdemeanor charges.  After legal maneuvers, press conferences, community rallies and call-in days involving activists around the country, the enemy put forward an offer to drop the charges – if the Tampa 5 wrote apology letters to the police officers who attacked and groped them.  This was considered unacceptable and rejected by the heroic young women who suffered the unprovoked attack for simply exercising their freedom of speech.


This is the point at which the state’s attitude towards the Tampa 5 became crystal clear – the state doesn’t just want to intimidate activists; they are looking to put them in prison.


After the activists’ rejection of the ridiculous plea offer to write apology letters, the state charged members of the Tampa 5 with additional felonies.  Rather than doing the right thing and dropping the charges, which is not uncommon in other cases of protesters unjustly arrested by the police, the state has doubled down.  


A conference on the Tampa 5 situation is being planned for this summer. The main focus of the Florida conference will be mobilizing progressive forces statewide to engage in the defense campaign.


Our right to protest and speak out needs to be defended - in Florida and everywhere that our democratic rights are under attack.


Freedom Road Socialist Organization urges everyone to watch for further developments and to join in calls to action around the Tampa 5.  It is going to take each and every one of us participating in the defense campaign to ensure that the Tampa 5 beat these bogus charges.


Drop the Charges Now!


     Justice for the Tampa 5!



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



Sign the petition:




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.







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: 


Portland, Oregon: (833) 680-1312

San Francisco, California: (415) 285-1041 or fbi_hotline@nlgsf.org

Seattle, Washington: (206) 658-7963

National Hotline

If you are located in an area with no hotline, you can call the following number:


National NLG Federal Defense Hotline: (212) 679-2811






1) Arctic Summer Could Be Practically Sea-Ice-Free by the 2030s

In a new study, scientists found that the climate milestone could come about a decade sooner than anticipated, even if planet-warming emissions are gradually reduced.

By Raymond Zhong, June 6, 2023

A wide view of the ocean near the North Pole. There are patches of ice floating on the surface. The sun is visible through clouds.
Lighter-than-usual sea ice conditions at the North Pole in August 2020. Credit...Markus Rex, Alfred Wegener Institute, via Associated Press

The first summer on record that melts practically all of the Arctic’s floating sea ice could occur as early as the 2030s, according to a new scientific study — about a decade sooner than researchers previously predicted.


The peer-reviewed findings, published Tuesday, also show that this milestone of climate change could materialize even if nations manage to curb greenhouse gas emissions more decisively than they are currently doing. Earlier projections had found that stronger action to slow global warming might be enough to preserve the summer ice. The latest research suggests that, where Arctic sea ice is concerned, only steep, sharp emissions cuts might be able to reverse the effects of the warming already underway.


“We are very quickly about to lose the Arctic summer sea-ice cover, basically independent of what we are doing,” said Dirk Notz, a climate scientist at the University of Hamburg in Germany and one of the new study’s five authors. “We’ve been waiting too long now to do something about climate change to still protect the remaining ice.”


As sea ice has dwindled in recent decades, communities, ecosystems and economies across the roof of the world have been grappling with the consequences. But the effects extend far beyond the region.


Sea ice reflects solar radiation back into space, so the less ice there is, the faster the Arctic warms. This causes the Greenland ice sheet to melt more quickly, adding to sea-level rise globally.


The temperature difference between the North Pole and the Equator also influences storm tracks and wind speed in the mid-latitudes, which means Arctic warming could be affecting weather events like extreme rainfall and heat waves in temperate parts of North America, Europe and Asia.


Over the past four decades, the far north has already been warming four times as quickly as the global average, a phenomenon that scientists call Arctic amplification.


“Our result suggests that the Arctic amplification will be coming faster and stronger,” said Seung-Ki Min, a climate scientist at Pohang University of Science and Technology in South Korea and another author of the new paper. “That means the related impacts will be also coming faster.”


Over the course of every year, the surface water of the Arctic Ocean freezes and melts with the seasons. The amount of ice grows in winter, peaks around March, then declines toward an annual minimum, typically in September.


The September lows have been edging downward ever since continuous satellite measurements began in 1979, leading researchers to try to predict when the ocean might experience its first summer that melts effectively all of the floating ice.


This doesn’t mean there would be zero ice on the water — icy patches are expected to remain in certain corners of the Arctic for some time to come. Instead, the threshold scientists use is 1 million square kilometers of ice, or about 386,000 square miles. This is less than 15 percent of the Arctic’s seasonal minimum ice cover in the late 1970s.


Looking at both satellite measurements of ice cover and computer models of the global climate, researchers have projected that the September ice will likely dip below this level for the first time before 2050. But the exact timing has been hard to predict, partly because the computer models generally underestimate the sea-ice declines that satellites have been detecting.


The authors of the latest study, which was published in the journal Nature Communications, accounted for this issue by first adjusting the climate models to align more closely with the satellite observations. They then used the adjusted models to project future sea-ice changes under four possible scenarios for greenhouse gas emissions in the coming decades.


Under three of these scenarios, representing moderate to high increases in emissions, the September ice falls below the critical threshold for the first time as early as the 2030s, about a decade earlier than previously estimated.


But the study also found roughly similar timing under the fourth scenario, in which humanity stops pumping additional heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere around 2070, something nations’ policies are not on course to achieve. Earlier research had suggested that September might stay abundantly icy in this scenario.


The Arctic Ocean’s first unfrozen September, if and when it arrives, will be an important scientific benchmark, but it won’t be some kind of turning point, said Mark C. Serreze, the director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado Boulder. The Arctic started transforming into a bluer ocean decades ago, setting off vast changes to polar bear populations, shipping routes, access to natural resources and geopolitics.


“It’s already happening,” said Dr. Serreze, who was not involved in the new research. “And as the Arctic continues to lose its ice, those impacts will grow and grow and grow.”



2) French March in New Pension Protests, but Are They a Final Stand?

After months of widespread protests failed to budge the government, opponents acknowledge that the chances of turning the tide now are slim.

By Constant Méheut, June 6, 2023

Reporting from Paris

Protesters in the streets of Nantes, France.
A masked protester holding a flare Tuesday during clashes over pension changes in Nantes, France. Credit...Stephane Mahe/Reuters

Street demonstrations and transport strikes disrupted France again on Tuesday as another day of protests against a widely unpopular pension overhaul took place, in what appeared to be a last-ditch effort to pressure the authorities into scrapping the changes.


Tuesday’s protest, the 14th day of nationwide demonstrations since January, reflected the lingering anger at the government’s decision to raise the legal retirement age to 64 from 62 — a move that put France on edge and led to the biggest political threat in President Emmanuel Macron’s second term.


But after months of exceptionally large protests that have failed to budge Mr. Macron, and with key parts of the overhaul already enshrined in law, opponents of the reform acknowledge that the chances of turning the tide now are slim and that Tuesday’s actions may be a last stand.


“The game is about to end whether we like it or not,” Laurent Berger, the leader of the French Democratic Confederation of Labor, the largest union in France, said on Tuesday as he was getting ready for the march in Paris.


Still, Mr. Berger added that the persistence of the protests, even after the overhaul became law, was a sign of lingering “anger and resentment” that may have lasting consequences for Mr. Macron’s political fortunes.


What happened on Tuesday?


From Calais in the north to Nice in the south, tens of thousands of demonstrators marched on Tuesday to protest against the pension changes, while strikes forced Paris Orly Airport to cancel a third of its flights and slightly disrupted the Paris subway network.


In Paris and other cities, protesters briefly clashed with riot police who fired tear gas, but the number of incidents was far below previous days.


The number of demonstrators was nowhere near the million who took to the streets in March, a sign that the protest movement, exhausted by weeks of unsuccessful marches, is now running out of steam. In Paris, a fairly sparse and calm crowd snaked along the Left Bank, in stark contrast to the raucous parade that shook the capital just a month ago.


“Clearly, there’s some exhaustion,” said Éric Agrikoliansky, a 56-year-old teacher who was browsing at a bookstall while waiting to join the march as small groups of protesters walked past him, chatting but hardly chanting any slogans. “Everybody seems to think that it’s the end.”


Marches blocking entire avenues of Paris, to the bemusement of tourists sipping cocktails in nearby cafes, have been a fixture of the capital since the beginning of the year.


But on Tuesday, crowds made it through the Boulevard du Montparnasse quickly. “Finished already?” said a cafe waiter, as the music of the procession faded into the distance.


What is the dispute over pensions?


Mr. Macron has argued that France’s pension system, which is based on payroll taxes, is financially unsustainable because retirees supported by active workers are living longer. To balance the system, his government decided to make people work longer by raising the legal age when they can start collecting a pension.


“We have a deficit problem, and we have to plug it,” Mr. Macron said in a televised interview last month. “I stand by this reform.”


But opponents say that Mr. Macron has exaggerated the threat of projected deficits and has refused to consider other ways to balance the system, such as increasing worker payroll taxes.


Faced with widespread opposition in the streets and in Parliament, the government pushed through the overhaul using a constitutional provision that avoided a full parliamentary vote.


The move angered opponents who felt that they were not being listened to. What began with peaceful marches that drew millions into the streets spawned some “wild protests” marked by heavy vandalism and pan-beating demonstrations meant to express people’s discontent and frustration.


Is Macron in political trouble?


The upheaval over the changes to pensions has presented Mr. Macron with a harsh political reality.


Having lost his absolute majority in the National Assembly, the lower and more powerful house of Parliament, he cannot push through contested reforms as easily as before. In the Senate, he has no majority at all, making him dependent on the good will of the dominant center-right Republicans party with which he has sought, so far unsuccessfully, to forge an alliance.


In March, Mr. Macron’s government narrowly survived a no-confidence vote over the pension overhaul after several Republican lawmakers unexpectedly decided to turn against it.


Seeking to move past the troubles, Mr. Macron has embarked on countless visits to French cities and towns to announce measures ranging from raising teachers’ salaries to fighting forest fires.


He also gave himself until mid-July to deliver a handful of crucial measures to improve the working conditions of the French and to tackle illegal immigration. A long-awaited immigration bill has been repeatedly postponed, as it remains unclear whether the government can secure a majority to pass it.


Still, Mr. Macron’s efforts seem to be paying off.


His popularity, which had plummeted as a result of the pension changes, has risen by 4 percentage points over the past month, according to a recent survey conducted by the Elabe polling firm. The figure has now stabilized at around 30 percent, slightly below his popularity level in January, before the pension protests started.


What happens now?


Having exhausted most of their options to block the pension changes, including an attempt to allow a referendum on the issue, left-wing forces and labor unions are now pinning their hopes on a provision put forward by a small parliamentary faction to repeal the pension law.


The provision was removed at commission level, but left-wing parties are hoping to put it back on the agenda via an amendment that they would discuss in the National Assembly on Thursday. But the move is expected to be rejected by the house’s speaker, a member of Mr. Macron’s party.


Mr. Agrikoliansky, the Paris demonstrator, said he no longer believed the pension changes could be reversed. But he added that the way the overhaul had been pushed through had “crystallized a lot of anger, a strong resentment.”


“It’s a victory for the government, but one with mixed results,” he said. “They won but they also lost a lot in terms of political credit.”



3) America’s Steadfast Resistance to Black Advancement

By Randall Kennedy, June 7, 2023

Professor Kennedy teaches at Harvard Law School and is the author of “For Discrimination: Race, Affirmative Action and the Law.”

A black-and-white photograph of a group of women and a few young boys protesting, some bearing placards, others shouting.
A protest against school desegregation in 1960. Credit...Bettmann Archive/Getty Images

As we await a Supreme Court ruling that is likely to restrict, if not prohibit, crediting racial identity as a plus in competitions for selection to institutions of higher education, it is worth recalling a sobering feature of the racial history of the United States: Every major step undertaken to advance African Americans and to redress the consequences of racial subordination has been met with charges of “reverse discrimination” and unfair “preference.”


Allegations of immoral and unlawful discrimination propel the lawsuits pending against Harvard University and the University of North Carolina before the Supreme Court. Opponents of affirmative action assert that in attempting to aid African Americans and Latinos, elite institutions of higher education are mistreating white people and people of Asian ancestry. A baleful echo haunts this ongoing debate.


When abolitionists petitioned Congress to emancipate slaves, Senator John C. Calhoun objected, warning that “the next step would be to raise the negroes to a social and political equality with whites; and that being effected, we would soon find the present condition of the two races reversed.” Black Americans would be masters and white people slaves.


President Andrew Johnson vetoed the nation’s inaugural civil rights legislation because, in his view, it discriminated against white people and privileged Black people. The Civil Rights Act of 1866 (which Congress enacted over the veto) bestowed citizenship upon all persons — except for certain American Indians — born in the United States and endowed all persons with the same rights as white people in terms of issuing contracts, owning property, suing or being sued or serving as witnesses. This law was proposed because the Supreme Court had ruled in Dred Scott v. Sanford that African Americans, free or enslaved, were ineligible as a matter of race for federal citizenship, and because many states had barred African Americans from enjoying even the most rudimentary civil rights.


Johnson vetoed the act in part because the citizenship provision would immediately make citizens of native-born Black people while European-born immigrants had to wait several years to qualify for citizenship via naturalization (which was then open only to white people). According to Johnson, this amounted to “a discrimination against large numbers of intelligent, worthy and patriotic foreigners, and in favor of the Negro, to whom, after long years of bondage, the avenues to freedom and intelligence have just now been suddenly opened.” Johnson similarly opposed the provision in the act affording federal protection to civil rights, charging that it made possible “discriminating protection to colored persons.”


A key defect of the Civil Rights Act, according to Johnson, was that it established “for the security of the colored race safeguards which go infinitely beyond any that the general government has ever provided for the white race. In fact, the distinction of race and color is by the bill made to operate in favor of the colored and against the white race.” Johnson opposed as well the 14th Amendment, which decreed that states offer to all persons equal protection of the laws, a provision which he also saw as a wrongful venture in racial favoritism aimed at assisting the undeserving Negro.


In 1875, Congress enacted legislation that prohibited racial discrimination in the provision of public accommodations. Eight years later, in a judgment invalidating that provision, the Supreme Court disapprovingly lectured the Black plaintiffs, declaring that “when a man has emerged from slavery, and by the aid of beneficent legislation has shaken off the inseparable concomitants of that state, there must be some stage in the progress of his elevation when he takes the rank of a mere citizen and ceases to be the special favorite of the laws.”


In 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt promulgated Executive Order 8802, which prohibited racial discrimination in the employment of workers in defense industries and established the Fair Employment Practices Commission to implement the order. Assailing the order, Representative Jamie Whitten, a Mississippi segregationist, complained that it would not so much prevent unfairness as “discriminate in favor of the negro” — this at a time when anti-Black discrimination across the social landscape was blatant, rife and, to a large extent, fully lawful.


Segregationist Southerners were not the only ones who railed against anti-discrimination laws on the grounds that they constituted illegitimate preferences for African Americans. In 1945, the New York City administrator Robert Moses inveighed against pioneering municipal anti-discrimination legislation in employment and college admissions. Displaying more anger at the distant prospect of racial quotas than the immediate reality of racial exclusions, Moses maintained that anti-discrimination measures would “mean the end of honest competition, and the death knell of selection and advancement on the basis of talent.”


Liberals, too, have attacked measures they deemed to constitute illicit racial preferencing on behalf of Black people. When the Congress of Racial Equality, or CORE, proposed “compensatory” hiring in the early 1960s — selection schemes that would give an edge to Black people on account of past victimization and the lingering disabilities caused by historical mistreatment — many liberals resisted. Asked about CORE’s demands, President John F. Kennedy remarked that he did not think that society “can undo the past” and that it was a mistake “to begin to assign quotas on the basis of religion, or race, or color, or nationality.”


Kennedy’s comment that it would be a mistake “to begin” to assign quotas reflects a recurring misimpression that racial politics “begins” when those who have been marginalized make demands for equitable treatment. When Kennedy spoke, unwritten but effective quotas had long existed that enabled white men to monopolize huge swaths of the most influential and coveted positions in society. Yet it was only when facing protests against monopolization that he was moved to deplore status-based quotas.


This same dynamic has been recurrent in subsequent decades: Every major policy seeking to advance the position of Black people has been opposed on the grounds that it was race conscious, racially discriminatory, racially preferential and thus socially toxic. That racial affirmative action in university admissions and elsewhere has survived for so long is remarkable given the powerful forces arrayed against it.


Some will say that their abhorrence of racial discrimination impels them to oppose any race-based policy, including that which purportedly helps African Americans. That response would deserve more deference if those who typically voiced it had a more impressive record with respect to fighting old-style anti-Black racism. Historically, though, those who have been at the forefront of attacking affirmative action have hardly been militants in challenging white supremacist policies, habits and customs. Often, the only discrimination that snags their empathy is that which they see as adversely affecting white people.


Some will say that I am exaggerating because opposition is focused only upon policies that explicitly mention race in competitions for scarce opportunities. They declare confidently that race-neutral strategies for facilitating racial diversity will be in the clear. They insist that wealth-based, or income-based, or ZIP-code-based affirmative action will be immune to judicial attack because such markers are not expressly racial, though if tweaked carefully they can dependably yield substantial numbers of Black beneficiaries. That view is naïve.


Zealous opponents of affirmative action have extended their attacks not only to programs that explicitly list racial criteria in efforts to admit greater numbers of Black and brown students; they are also challenging so-called race-neutral programs because of their race-conscious aims. Our future may disclose a horrifying prescience on the part of President Andrew Johnson. It may reveal a serious effort to delegitimize all efforts toward racial integration, diversity, reparations and anti-discrimination because any such effort is inescapably race conscious.


Not every opponent of affirmative action is racist or indifferent to racism. Nor does this history offer a rebuttal to critiques of affirmative action that are weighty and ought to prompt a desire to reform existing programs. The alacrity, consistency and intensity with which programs aimed at helping Black people have been assailed, however, should give pause to all participants in the debate, including the justices of the Supreme Court.


Why is it that people who typically defend localism, habitually champion institutional experimentation, usually defend the prerogatives of private entities, routinely insist upon judicial restraint and generally resist the exercise of centralizing federal power insist upon a single, absolutist, judicially imposed command when it comes to affirmative action? There are undoubtedly several reasons. But one that has long been on conspicuous display is malign resentment at the sight of Black people getting ahead.



4) Former Florida Deputy on Trial for Not Confronting Parkland Gunman

The officer who was the first on the scene is accused of child neglect for failing to move to stop the gunman as he carried out a massacre.

By Jane Musgrave, June 7, 2023

Surveillance video showed the only armed sheriff’s deputy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., remaining outside during the massacre on Feb. 14, 2018. (Screenshot)

Seven months after the gunman in the Parkland, Fla., school shooting was sentenced to life in prison for murdering 14 students and three staff members, prosecutors on Wednesday will begin trying to convince a jury that a former sheriff’s deputy should also be held criminally responsible for his actions on the day of the massacre.


Opening statements are expected to begin Wednesday in the trial of the school resource officer on duty at the time of the attack, Scot Peterson, who faces 10 charges, including seven counts of child neglect, for not confronting the gunman.


A conviction of a member of law enforcement for inaction during a mass shooting could have sweeping repercussions for policing in Florida and beyond, legal experts say. Mr. Peterson faces a decades-long prison sentence on the accusation that he failed in his role as a caregiver for the students.


Mr. Peterson was the first officer on the scene, and by his own account he did not rush into Building 1200 at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School, where the gunman killed 17 people and wounded 17 others. He instead took cover in the stairway of an adjacent building, and has said he was unsure where the shots were coming from and feared that a sniper was firing from outside.


Mr. Peterson, then a 27-year veteran, also directed other officers away from where the gunman was firing an AR-15-style weapon on the campus in Parkland, an affluent community about 20 miles northwest of Fort Lauderdale.


The trial, which is expected to last two months, is likely to expose issues that police departments across the United States have been grappling with since the Columbine school shooting in 1999, said Robert Jarvis, a law professor at Nova Southeastern University in South Florida.


Before Columbine, officers were told to wait for SWAT teams to confront mass shooters, but “since then, we’ve been expecting cops to run in,” Mr. Jarvis said. “It’s a really interesting question as to what we expect cops to do.”


That expectation was underscored in May 2022 when the police in Uvalde, Texas, waited more than an hour before entering a classroom at Robb Elementary School, where an 18-year-old man had fatally shot 19 students and two teachers. The gunman was ultimately killed by members of a U.S. Border Patrol tactical team, and subsequent investigations faulted Texas police for failing to act quickly.


In the Parkland case, the charges against Mr. Peterson relate to the deaths and injuries on the third floor of the building, which prosecutors say he had a chance to stop. According to an investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the gunman was making his way to the third floor 73 seconds after Mr. Peterson arrived in a golf cart at Building 1200. Mr. Peterson was armed with a service revolver and was not wearing body armor.


Mr. Peterson is charged with seven felony counts of child neglect in the deaths of four students and the wounding of three others, aged 14 to 17. He also faces three misdemeanor counts of culpable negligence for the deaths of an 18-year-old student and a 35-year-old cross country coach and the wounding of a teacher.


In the lead-up to the trial, a defense lawyer, Mark Eiglarsh, tried to persuade Judge Martin Fein of Broward County Circuit Court to dismiss the child neglect charges, arguing that they were not justified under Florida law.


To be convicted of child neglect, state law says, the person must be a caregiver to the child. Mr. Eiglarsh argued that the law does not include the police in the definition of a caregiver.


Noting that the Florida Supreme Court and other state appellate courts had found that a teacher, a babysitter and even a kidnapper were caregivers under the law, Judge Fein rejected the defense request, saying, “This determination will be made by the jury based on the evidence presented at trial.”


Mr. Jarvis, the law professor, said finding a school resource officer to be a caregiver to thousands of students “would impose liability when no one thought it would apply.”


He added that prosecutors also face a daunting task in trying to convince the six jurors and four alternates that Mr. Peterson is guilty of culpable negligence. To do so, they must show Mr. Peterson knew or should have known that his actions — or inaction — put students and staff in danger.


Mr. Peterson is also charged with a misdemeanor count of perjury, with prosecutors accusing him of lying to investigators in telling them that he heard only two or three shots coming from the building and that he did not see any students running from it when he was in the stairwell with his gun drawn.


While other witnesses described the confusion that surrounded the shooting, many told investigators that it sounded to them as if the gunfire was coming from Building 1200.


Mr. Peterson said he was unsure.


“I didn’t even think it was even inside the building ’cause it was so clear and loud,” he said, according to a Florida Department of Law Enforcement report. “At that point I knew it was close to this building, but I wasn’t even sure if it was in the building.”


The defense has said it will call 22 witnesses who also thought the shots came from outside, The Associated Press reported.


Mr. Peterson, who would lose his $104,000 annual pension if convicted, retired after the shooting and was fired retroactively. He was released on bond and moved to North Carolina.


He has expressed deep remorse for the deaths.


“It’s haunting,” he told The Washington Post in June 2018. “I’ve cut that day up a thousand ways with a million different what-if scenarios, but the bottom line is I was there to protect, and I lost 17.”


But Mr. Peterson also insisted that he followed police procedures.


“I have my gun out and I’m scanning, and I’m looking. And that’s what we’re trained to do,” he told NBC. “When you — when you get a position and cover it, we are trained to scan and look.”


But state investigators said Mr. Peterson, who was an active shooter incident instructor for the school system, ignored crucial parts of the training.


“If you are on scene or in the area and hear gunshots, you should immediately access what you have and prepare to respond,” investigators wrote, quoting from the active shooter training course. “Remember, every time you hear a gunshot in an active shooter incident, you have to believe that is another victim being killed.”



5) Snowden Warns Today's Surveillance Technology Makes 2013 Look Like 'Child's Play'

"We trusted the government not to screw us," said Edward Snowden. "But they did. We trusted the tech companies not to take advantage of us. But they did. That is going to happen again, because that is the nature of power."

By Julia Conley, June 8, 2023

Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden said in an interview on June 8, 2023, that advances in surveillance technology have made it far easier for government agencies to spy on citizens than it was in 2013, when he first disclosed the broad use of spying by the NSA and other agencies. (Image: Screenshot/Citizenfour)

With this week marking 10 years since whistleblower Edward Snowden disclosed information to journalists about widespread government spying by United States and British agencies, the former National Security Agency contractor on Thursday joined other advocates in warning that the fight for privacy rights, while making several inroads in the past decade, has grown harder due to major changes in technology.


"If we think about what we saw in 2013 and the capabilities of governments today," Snowden told The Guardian, "2013 seems like child's play."


Snowden said that the advent of commercially available surveillance products such as Ring cameras, Pegasus spyware, and facial recognition technology has posed new dangers.


As Common Dreams has reported, the home security company Ring has faced legal challenges due to security concerns and its products' vulnerability to hacking, and has faced criticism from rights groups for partnering with more than 1,000 police departments—including some with histories of police violence—and leaving community members vulnerable to harassment or wrongful arrests.


Law enforcement agencies have also begun using facial recognition technology to identify crime suspects despite the fact that the software is known to frequently misidentify people of color—leading to the wrongful arrest and detention earlier this year of Randal Reid in Georgia, among other cases.


"Despite calls over the last few years for federal legislation to rein in Big Tech companies, we've seen nothing significant in limiting tech companies' ability to collect data."

Last month, journalists and civil society groups called for a global moratorium on the sale and transfer of spyware like Pegasus, which has been used to target dozens of journalists in at least 10 countries.


Protecting the public from surveillance "is an ongoing process," Snowden told The Guardian on Thursday. "And we will have to be working at it for the rest of our lives and our children's lives and beyond."


In 2013, Snowden revealed that the U.S. government was broadly monitoring the communications of citizens, sparking a debate over surveillance as well as sustained privacy rights campaigns from groups like Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Fight for the Future.


"Technology has grown to be enormously influential," Snowden told The Guardian on Thursday. "We trusted the government not to screw us. But they did. We trusted the tech companies not to take advantage of us. But they did. That is going to happen again, because that is the nature of power."


Last month ahead of the anniversary of Snowden's revelations, EFF noted that some improvements to privacy rights have been made in the past decade, including:


The sunsetting of Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act, which until 2020 allowed the U.S. government to conduct a dragnet surveillance program that collected billions of phone records;

The emergence of end-to-end encryption of internet communications, which Snowden noted was "a pipe dream in 2013";

The end of the NSA's bulk collection of internet metadata, including email addresses of senders and recipients; and

Rulings in countries including South Africa and Germany against bulk data collection.

The group noted that privacy advocates are still pushing Congress to end Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which permits the warrantless surveillance of Americans' communications, and "to take privacy seriously," particularly as tech companies expand spying capabilities.

"Despite calls over the last few years for federal legislation to rein in Big Tech companies, we've seen nothing significant in limiting tech companies' ability to collect data... or regulate biometric surveillance, or close the backdoor that allows the government to buy personal information rather than get a warrant, much less create a new Church Committee to investigate the intelligence community's overreaches," wrote EFF senior policy analyst Matthew Guariglia, executive director Cindy Cohn, and assistant director Andrew Crocker. "It's why so many cities and states have had to take it upon themselves to ban face recognition or predictive policing, or pass laws to protect consumer privacy and stop biometric data collection without consent."


"It's been 10 years since the Snowden revelations," they added, "and Congress needs to wake up and finally pass some legislation that actually protects our privacy, from companies as well as from the NSA directly."



6) If the Supreme Court Abolishes Affirmative Action, Here’s What Women Need to Do

By Shira A. Scheindlin, June 11, 2023

Judge Scheindlin served on the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York from 1994 to 2016. 


A protester, seen from behind, holds a cardboard sign reading “Protect Affirmative Action.”

Christopher Lee for The New York Times

Any day now the Supreme Court will decide two cases that will determine the future of affirmative action — one involving race-conscious admissions at the University of North Carolina and a companion case involving Harvard.


Although debates around affirmative action have typically focused on people of color, the policy has also applied to gender, and women have been among affirmative action’s greatest beneficiaries. Now, after decades of allowing these programs in college admissions, the Supreme Court appears poised to weaken or dismantle efforts to make higher education more available to members of historically underrepresented minority groups.


As a successful white woman who served for many years as a judge for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, I feel it is incumbent upon me and other white women in my generation to reaffirm the policies that helped us secure our positions in political institutions, academia, business, medicine and law. If the Supreme Court overturns or neuters this well-settled law, every one of us who proudly bore the title “the first woman” must work to ensure underrepresented communities maintain access to elite educational institutions.


Opponents of affirmative action suggest that it is no longer needed because the United States has reached the stage where everyone is treated equally. This is simply, and unfortunately, not the case. People of color are woefully underrepresented in many classrooms and careers. As only one example, Black lawyers make up only 2.2 percent of law firm partners, according to a 2021 National Association of Law Placement report, with Black and Latino women at less than 1 percent.


Opponents also falsely claim that students of color are being admitted to fill racial quotas, depriving white students of the chance to obtain a coveted spot. But affirmative action, as practiced today, does not discriminate against one group in favor of another.


Rather it considers race as one factor among many to put the applicant’s experiences in context. Courts have repeatedly held that a holistic admissions process — which includes letters of recommendation, guidance counselor reviews, extracurricular activities, alumni interviewer impressions, essays and academic performance — ensures that all of an applicant’s experiences and characteristics are considered.


Affirmative action policies, whether legally mandated or voluntary, have proven overwhelmingly effective in helping historically marginalized groups gain a higher education, and thus achieve the success that flowed from that education. For example, because colleges and universities (including those that were formerly all-male) made a concerted effort to recruit women, today women are now much more likely than men to graduate from college. By 2019, women outnumbered men in the college-educated labor force. People of color are entitled to these same opportunities, based at least in part on their historical exclusion.


Last August, more than 60 major American companies, including Apple, Google, Starbucks and United Airlines, filed a legal brief with the Supreme Court urging it to protect affirmative action. Those companies said the policy was a critical tool for creating a pipeline to diverse workforces and boardrooms. Similarly, an alliance of over 300 law firms filed a brief underscoring the importance of developing diverse leaders equipped with the skills to thrive in the global marketplace. Thirty-five retired military leaders, including four former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, submitted a brief stating that eliminating affirmative action programs would “impede our military’s ability to acquire essential entry-level leadership attributes and training essential to cohesion.”


When filling judicial law clerkships, a highly sought-after post, I made a concerted effort to find diverse applicants, but an overwhelming number of clerks chosen by federal judges are white. For the Supreme Court term that began last October, of the 38 clerks, 25 were men and 13 were women, the least balanced in terms of gender in the last five years, according to the newsletter Original Jurisdiction. The court doesn’t release data on race, but the newsletter’s author, David Lat, said that, based on his research, two were Black, two were Hispanic and two were Asian.


It takes substantial, deliberate efforts to ensure that well-qualified people of color have the same opportunities in education and the work force that once were the exclusive preserve of white men. This is imperative for our democracy to thrive. As Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s majority opinion upholding affirmative action in Grutter v. Bollinger recognized in 2003, paths to leadership must be “visibly open to talented and qualified individuals” of all backgrounds so that these leaders will have “legitimacy in the eyes of the citizenry.”


Moreover, exposing future leaders to diverse perspectives and experiences produces benefits that are fundamental to a functioning democracy, ranging from better problem-solving to reduced prejudice and increased empathy.


We rightly celebrate the achievements of women and people of color on the bench. The federal judiciary, for example, now has the first Black female Supreme Court justice, the first Black female judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, and the first Latino judge on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. And the nomination of the first Latina judge to sit on the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit is pending in the Senate.


But there is still more progress to be made, in the courts and beyond, especially for women of color who face unique barriers because of sexism and racism. White women must leverage the privilege and positions they have achieved and stand alongside communities of color.


We have an obligation to recommend, hire, promote, nominate and honor not only those who look like us but those who do not. If we all do that only twice in our careers we will have gone beyond merely talking about diversity to achieving the goal of creating a country in which opportunity and advancement are open to all.


The social fabric of universities, and consequently our greater society and our democracy, depends on it.



7) Their Reports About a Woman’s Death Set Off a Revolt. Iran Put Them on Trial.

Two female journalists, Niloufar Hamedi and Elaheh Mohammadi, covered some of the first reports of the death of Mahsa Amini in police custody, which ignited nationwide protests against Iran’s clerical rulers.

By Vivian Yee and Leily Nikounazar, June 11, 2023

Two women are shown on a computer screen.
A photograph posted on social media of the imprisoned Iranian reporters Niloufar Hamedi and Elaheh Mohammadi, who are now on trial. Credit...Christina Assi/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The Iranian journalist Niloufar Hamedi specialized in covering women’s issues. So when her editor noticed an Instagram post about a young woman in a hospital in bad shape after being arrested for violating the country’s strict Islamic dress code, Ms. Hamedi headed straight there.


She found relatives of the woman, Mahsa Amini, 22, holding each other tightly in a fluorescent-lit ward inside Tehran’s Kasra Hospital. She snapped a picture and posted it on Twitter — and then it went viral. That was Sept. 16, the day Ms. Amini died.


Antigovernment protests soon spread around Iran, igniting chants of “women, life, freedom,” and they shook the country for many months. But Ms. Hamedi, 30, was not there to witness it: She had been arrested days after Ms. Amini’s death.


A week later, Elaheh Mohammadi, 36 — a journalist who had traveled to Ms. Amini’s hometown, Saghez, to report on her funeral — was also imprisoned. After spending more than eight months in custody, both journalists went on trial last week, charged with conspiring with foreign intelligence agencies to undermine national security.


“They are both full of life and passion, and they were fighting with their journalism to improve women’s lives and status in Iran,” said Amir Hossein, a Tehran-based journalist. “Instead of investigating the causes and the people behind Mahsa Amini’s death,” he added, “the regime began blaming the journalists who brought it to light in the first place.”


“What can I say?” Mr. Hossein said. “That’s the reality of journalism in Iran.”


The protests, which lasted for months, have long since fizzled, dispelled by a violent government crackdown that killed at least 573 people, according to human rights groups. But for many of those involved, an official reckoning goes on: The authorities have executed seven protesters, and at least eight more are on death row. At least 95 journalists have been arrested, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.


Ms. Hamedi and Ms. Mohammadi have won widespread sympathy and acclaim in the West, even landing a spot in Time magazine’s 100 most influential people this year.


“We rarely hear the details” of the abuses of Iranian citizens by the authorities, the citation read. Because of their reporting, it added, “This time was different.”

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Back home, however, Iranian officials made the prosecution of the two women a high priority.


A joint statement by Iran’s powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and the Ministry of Intelligence after their arrests accused them of inciting people to protest, claiming that they were agents of enemy countries trained to publish inflammatory reports on Ms. Amini’s death to provoke chaos.


Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, called the statement “significant.”


Closed-door trials began for both women last month in revolutionary courts, which the government uses to prosecute sensitive security-related cases. Little information has emerged from the proceedings, but Ms. Hamedi’s husband, Mohamad Hossein Ajorlou, and a lawyer for Ms. Mohammadi have said that the journalists’ lawyers were barred from speaking in their defense.


Mr. Ajorlou, who is also a journalist, said no family members were allowed to attend.


Ms. Hamedi denied the accusations against her in the first trial session, saying she had simply done her job as a journalist, her husband said on Twitter.


More than 500 Iranian journalists have signed a petition calling on the court to respect the women’s legal rights. But many were afraid to speak to The New York Times about their case, and the few who did asked to be identified by only their first names out of concern about government repercussions.


“These two journalists have become icons of professional journalism in Iran in the face of all the restrictions and the censorship,” said Asal, 31, a former reporter for the daily newspaper Shargh, which Ms. Hamedi worked for. “Their imprisonment is not just the imprisonment of two journalists, but the imprisonment of professional journalism in Iran.”


Both reporters had spent years preparing for a moment like Ms. Amini’s death.


Ms. Hamedi, who was born in the northern Iranian city of Babolsar and had a master’s degree in physical education, first worked as a sports reporter. That led her to articles about Iran’s ban on women in sports stadiums, which, in keeping with the government’s rigid insistence on preserving women’s modesty, prevented female fans from watching soccer and other sports in person.


She developed an appetite, and a talent, for articles on women’s rights.


One examined the discrimination, restrictions and domestic violence that had played a part in driving some Iranian women to set themselves on fire. Another delved into Iran’s underground market for illegal abortions and the risks women faced to get them.


Ms. Mohammadi, a native of the city of Shahin Shahr in central Iran, majored in Persian literature as an undergraduate and earned a master’s degree in gender studies. As a journalist for newspapers and news websites, she traveled to some of the remotest parts of the country, interviewing women about their experiences.


Her best-known work described sexual harassment and violence against women.


These days, held in Gharchak-Varamin prison, the women have little to do but knot bracelets of colorful thread for friends and family.


Ms. Mohammadi has lost more than 20 pounds while in detention, according to Instagram posts by her sister Elnaz Mohammadi, but has kept her spirits up.


According to a fellow inmate, Ms. Hamedi keeps busy with yoga, meditation and running, an activity she used to do with her husband.


In January, Mr. Ajorlou tweeted a photograph of his wife smiling over a pan of homemade pizza, along with a recording of a call she had made from prison. She was reading him a diary entry, as she often did, this one about baking a cheesecake for her fellow inmates.


“Here,” she said, “in the prison of Gharchak-Varamin, life still finds its way to us.”


In March, her husband wrote that he had run a marathon in her honor.


“Niloufar believes that enduring prison is like training for a marathon,” he said. “Daily suffering. But imagining the joy of the finish line cancels out all the pain.”


Five months into his wife’s imprisonment, Mr. Ajorlou posted a letter of dismissal he said he had received from IRNA, an Iranian state-owned news agency, after 13 years of working there. The letter, according to a screenshot, said that the agency no longer needed his services.

























































8) Puerto Rico’s Future Should Protect Puerto Rico’s Women

By Anjanette Delgado, June 12, 2023

Ms. Delgado is a Puerto Rican journalist based in Miami. She writes about heartbreak, displacement and social justice.

A photograph of a woman sitting on a cobblestone street. The words “against violence” are painted onto her leg.
The Spanish phrase “Against violence” is painted on the leg of a woman at a protest against gender violence in San Juan, P.R. Credit...Carlos Giusti/Associated Press

Not everyone in Puerto Rico agrees we are the oldest colony in the world. But as a territory that is neither independent nor a state — we have no voice in Congress — the tension feeds lack of clarity and an illusion of self-governance that obscures our political reality. It robs us of a defined national identity, an economic road map and political dignity.


Dignity may sound like an abstract concept in the face of the material challenges the island continues to face, but in its absence these challenges color daily life in myriad ways. Our infrastructure is in shambles. Our politicians are selling off the land piecemeal in a doomed effort to buttress an economy broken by decades of neglect and misguided federal and local policies. Perhaps most urgently, we have a history of gender-based violence that ranks among the highest in the world. Puerto Rico’s enduring colonialist legacy is often at the root of this violence.


In April, American lawmakers reignited an effort to give Puerto Ricans a vote on the island’s status. This time, unlike the last six plebiscites, the results would be binding. If we are once again given the opportunity to decide our future — be it statehood, independence or a version of the commonwealth — whatever we choose must lay the groundwork for a national narrative that rescues our history and makes a relationship of political dignity possible, first with ourselves and then, if we choose, with the United States.


Our patriarchal culture too often tells Puerto Rican men that they must be the bosses of their families and deciders of their destinies. That macho mentality also shames men for not going to war against American imperialism. Though the United States may not fancy itself a colonizer, it has crafted a narrative that willfully ignores our history of resistance and strategic negotiation, and which doesn’t acknowledge how these men (not to mention women) have earned the relationship with their very real contributions of blood and riches.


Colonization puts in place the systems and structures often at the root of heightened violence against women. Frances Negrón Muntaner, a professor at Columbia University, who has studied the harms of colonial subjection in the Caribbean and in Puerto Rico specifically, explained that there is a pattern of violence against those who identify as, or are perceived to be, feminine. “There seems to be a need for men to assert control and exact pain from these subjects,” she told me. That link is amply documented well beyond the case of Puerto Rico by scholars like Emilia Quiñones-Otal. In her investigation, which examined regions where the United States intervened after the Monroe Doctrine and the Cold War, she wrote, “we can observe the dynamics of gender violence that are linked to imperialist invasions.”


One such example is Guyana, where, according to a 2019 report by United Nations Women, more than half of all women have experienced intimate partner violence. Gender-based violence contributes greatly to suicide rates, which is the second highest in the world in Guyana. Scholars have drawn a connection between the country’s rate of violence, its colonial roots and the patriarchal power structures that were established during slavery and are alive to this day.


I grew up in Carolina, a town 15 minutes from San Juan. For years I thought the women in my family had the worst taste in men. I never understood why they stayed with men who beat them for not asking permission to leave the house or otherwise “disobeying,” or for any attitude that appeared to challenge their all-encompassing supremacy. I thought that to survive, we women had to make ourselves small, meek. But even that wasn’t enough. My grandmother, aunt and mother would eventually leave the men who beat and bloodied them, and ours became a family of women without men.


I didn’t fare much better. By 1990, I was a single mother of two, working as a producer of the evening news for a local station. I lived in fear of the men in my life and men in general. I took to leaving a broomstick by the front door; when I’d come home after work, I’d unlock and slowly open the door, using it as a makeshift weapon, scouring every room for an intruder. The following year, tired of living in fear, I applied for a job at CNN. I packed up my life and moved to Atlanta with my daughters, who at the time were 1 and 4 years old.


Not every Puerto Rican man is abusive or violent, but I had good reason to be afraid. The year I left, nearly 12,600 women reported being victims of domestic violence, and the vast majority were attacked in their homes. (There were some 3.6 million people living on the island at the time.) Between 1995 and 1996, 13 percent of women in Puerto Rico reported that they had been physically assaulted by an intimate partner or family member. Things have only grown more dire since.


In the wake of Hurricanes Maria and Irma, which devastated the island and sent it into a state of emergency with no power or telecommunications, domestic violence survivors found themselves more vulnerable than ever. In 2018, 51 women were murdered in Puerto Rico. According to the government’s Office of the Women’s Procurator, 23 of them were murdered by their partners, though it’s likely that figure is much higher, given the breakdown of the island’s infrastructure and the unreliability of statistics from official sources.


The pandemic further compounded the crisis. By 2021, the frequency and the ferocity of violence against women forced the island’s government to declare a state of emergency that called for a committee to provide education, support and rescue around gender violence, along with a mobile app with which victims could request emergency help. Even if these efforts worked perfectly, they probably would not be able to fully extinguish this fire, given how long it has been raging.


For Puerto Rico, the solution rests with our status. Whatever we choose the next time we vote must be permanent and negotiated: permanent so we forever answer the question of what we are (a state, a permanent partner or an independent country), and thoughtfully negotiated with the United States to provide the laws and financial resources we’ll need to redevelop what was lost through the plunder of Spain and the misguided decisions of the United States.


There is a pervasive but wrong belief held by outsiders that Puerto Ricans have never resisted, or fought for their country — that they rack up debt and do not earn their keep — and this is how some Puerto Rican men see themselves, too. Deciding on and negotiating a permanent status will help to lessen the self-hate that leads to gender violence. It will be a starting point for ensuring the safety of all citizens, regardless of gender.


Whatever our political future holds, let it make us whole. Let it empower a system of government that is sustainable for everyone, and that constructs a healthier notion of maleness. We must move away from the rotted masculinity born of imperialism, which kills and beats when it is reminded of what it doesn’t want to be: a victim, weak, helpless, feminized.



9) His Home Sits Alongside America’s First Superfund Site. No One Told Him.

Love Canal was one of the nation’s worst toxic waste catastrophes and now — 45 years later — the site for a new, and sometimes unknowing, generation of homesteaders.

By Jesse McKinleyPhotographs by Lauren Petracca, June 12, 2023

Reporting from the Love Canal neighborhood of Niagara Falls, N.Y.


In the foreground, a row of modest homes along a suburban street.

The former Occidental Chemical Corp. plant, originally Hooker Chemical Company, looming behind homes in Niagara Falls. Hooker was the source of one of the biggest environmental disasters in U.S. history, Love Canal.

Associated Press

Mitchell Montgomery said he knew there was something curious about his new home when he moved in last year, surrounded as it was by empty streets and overgrown lots — and priced below the going rate for many rental houses in Niagara Falls.


When he brushed his teeth, for instance, he sometimes noticed a peculiar smell coming through the drain. It seemed like his 8-year-old son’s asthma was getting worse, and his pregnant girlfriend was having occasional nosebleeds and headaches.


And a couple of months ago, when he replaced a sump pump in the basement, it was covered in a thick tar-like substance.


“It was just black,” he recalled.


But none of these things struck him as too suspicious until he realized what was underneath the large, empty swath of grass, sealed off by a tall chain-link fence, just two blocks from his front door.


It was Love Canal, the scene of one of the nation’s worst toxic-waste catastrophes and now — 45 years later — the site for a new, and sometimes unknowing, generation of homesteaders.


While much of the neighborhood has been declared safe for people to live and life has slowly returned to normal along nearby blocks, certain blocks to the east of the old canal are still considered restricted, according to state guidance dating back to the area’s cleanup.


And over the past several years, at least four homes in that eastern portion have been sold and settled, according to property records.


Those sales transpired despite the longstanding opinion of federal authorities that the blocks to the east of the old canal “remain limited to commercial and/or industrial use only,” something the state also makes clear.


The Niagara Falls mayor, Robert Restaino, said in late May that he had been unaware of the new arrivals in that part of Love Canal and had asked his planning department for a report.


Informed of the sales, state officials said they, too, would continue “oversight of the area.” They also said they would work to determine if the state needed to make any updates to requirements for such property transfers, while saying that the sale of Mr. Montgomery’s home was allowed, as were several others of properties and parcels in the eastern area.


Still, Mr. Montgomery said he had no idea of the neighborhood’s history until a recent conversation with a New York Times photographer. “I just really want to know, because if it’s hazardous, then they’re putting my family in danger,” he said.


Mr. Mitchell’s landlord, Heather Moudy, said she bought the property last year from a woman that had been living there and may have been “a Love Canal baby.” And while Ms. Moudy said she had known about the history of Love Canal, having lived in Niagara Falls, she didn’t recall if the proximity to the site had been specifically noted at the time of the sale.


“I don’t know if anybody raised a red flag to me,” she said.


“They say everything has been remedied,” Ms. Moudy said, adding, “But right now, it’s a little bit of a worry in my head. At the same time, people have lived over there.”


State and federal officials insist Love Canal is safe: Since the site was identified as a public threat in 1978, prompting the creation of the Superfund law to clean up hazardous waste sites, a series of containment and monitoring measures have been implemented. A clay cap was placed over some 40 acres, which is dotted with testing wells. Contaminated soil was removed and local creeks and sewers have been cleaned, even as tons of toxic chemicals still sit buried beneath the fenced-off site.


All told, nearly 1,000 families were evacuated and hundreds of homes were demolished in the 10-block area adjacent the Love Canal landfill, according to the E.P.A. Some families, however, refused to move from the so-called Emergency Declaration Area.


Cleanup work was completed in the late 1990s, and the agency now says “the site no longer presents a threat to people’s health and the environment.” In 2004, it was removed from the Superfund list.


But the state’s rules for the neighborhood’s “habitability” are still governed by a 1988 decision by the New York Department of Health, which says the eastern portion of the neighborhood is “not now suitable for residential use.” Areas to the north and west of the site are deemed safe for residents, though streets to the immediate west are largely vacant.


But Niagara County property records show four sales of homes in the nonresidential area to the east of the canal from late 2020 through 2022, for between $45,000 and $65,000, significantly below the going rate for nearby neighborhoods.


The State Department of Environmental Conservation says that “there are no deed restrictions that would have precluded transfer or sale of the properties or triggered state review of the transactions.”


“DEC is working with our state and federal partners to ensure all appropriate notifications and institutional controls are up-to-date for area properties,” the department said in a statement.


Regardless of official assurances, the sales have alarmed some of the activists who helped bring the original crisis to light, including Luella Kenny, who lived near the canal at the time of the evacuations and whose child — wracked by seizures, hallucinations and other ailments — died in 1978.


In a recent letter to the mayor, Ms. Kenny expressed shock that “houses in the uninhabitable section of Love Canal are being resold and rented,” adding that “the trust we placed in Niagara Falls” is gone.


Walking around the areas that have been repopulated, Ms. Kenny, who is 86 and a former research scientist, seems astonished that some have forgotten the legacy of Love Canal.


“They’re trying to pretend it’s a normal place,” she said, standing next to a handsome playground, perhaps 100 yards from the site’s perimeter fence. “And it’s not a normal place. I’m sorry.”


The history of Love Canal dates to a smooth-talking developer, William T. Love, who had promised in the late 1800s to build an urban utopia called Model City near the banks of the Niagara River, just south of the world-famous falls. The key to the plan was hydroelectric power, which Mr. Love wanted to produce with a canal diverting the waters of the Niagara.


But Mr. Love’s promises proved empty and he fled town, leaving behind an unfinished and frequently waterlogged ditch, often co-opted by local children looking for a swimming hole or a skating rink. In 1942, the Hooker chemical company began using the canal to dispose of a witches’ brew of some “22,000 tons of drummed and liquid chemical wastes,” according to the E.P.A.’s most recent study of the site.


The manner of disposal, which continued until 1953, was sometimes haphazard, with some barrels punctured and seeping poison into the soil and groundwater. Still, the true extent of the pollution might never have come to light had the Niagara Falls Board of Education not purchased the property for $1 and decided to build a new elementary school there, on 99th Street, which drew newcomers to the area.


Complaints about strange odors and chemical residues began as early as the 1960s, and percolated in late 1976 and early 1977 after wet weather caused chemicals to seep into basements. Reports of rocks bursting into flame were already spreading among local children as troubling accounts of mystery illnesses, miscarriages and birth defects grew.


Those dangers were readily apparent to people like Kathy Murphy, 57, who still remembers the day her friend fell into a vat of chemicals near the 99th Street School while they were out walking.


“She walked first and she went right down in a barrel,” Ms. Murphy recalled. “I had to pull her out of this barrel. It was that close to the top because all the erosion.”


Ms. Murphy, who lived in a development to the west of the canal, said her father moved her family out of the neighborhood in 1977 out of concern for their safety.


She recalled her father pleading with local authorities: “He would go in the basement and there was this sludge that would come up in the drain, and he’d put it in a jar and he’d take it over and he’d show them, and say, ‘This is not sewage.’ It was nasty.”


Keith O’Brien, a journalist and the author of “Paradise Falls,” a 2022 history of Love Canal, noted that many of those who first moved into the Love Canal neighborhood were middle-class families, drawn to the affordable homes and good schools, who were mostly unaware of the place’s history.


“What’s sad to me,” he said, “is that it sounds like the same thing might be happening still today.”


There are few official markers of the area’s history, though its fence has a warning to trespassers. Near another demolished school, a stone monument bears a list of major dates in the crisis, ending in 2002, a smudged slab hidden behind a narrow palisade of firs, near a collection of Little League fields.


Randy Garrow, 55, still lives adjacent to the fence, though on the western side. His family refused to move back at the time of evacuations, even as their neighbors left. He said he was surprised to learn there were still chemicals buried just beyond the chain link — “I assume once they dug it out of here and capped it over that they obviously took everything” — but remained confident he and his family were safe.


Likewise, for those living in the “nonresidential” area, there seems to be little concern about contamination. One new resident, a young woman who declined to give her name, said she and her husband had bought a home about two blocks from the canal site in 2020 and had no worries about safety, arguing that the previous tenant had lived to almost 100 years old.


She added that she and her husband had been informed of the Love Canal history in a disclosure form when they purchased. Another resident, Patti Fuller, said she’d also signed a disclosure as part of her rental.


A lifelong resident of the greater Niagara Falls area, Ms. Fuller said she’s had no health problems in the year that she’s lived adjacent to the site, and feels safe, even though she vividly remembers the evacuations and demolitions.


Ms. Fuller said she often saw wildlife wandering the cracked streets and that “if there were anything that toxic, you’d see dead animals everywhere.” The only thing she wouldn’t do is plant a garden.


Since being informed of the neighborhood’s history, Mr. Montgomery, 34, who sells cars for a living, said he had spent hours watching YouTube videos about Love Canal and searching online for more information.


Despite his initial concerns, Mr. Montgomery plans to stay a little longer, saying he likes “the peace and quiet.” He said his son’s doctor had suggested the new bouts of asthma might be caused by all the grass around his house; his girlfriend hasn’t seen a doctor about her headaches and nosebleeds, but is due in August.


Mr. Montgomery is still planning on moving out of the Niagara Falls area soon, but said he felt the presence of other neighbors, scattered about these mostly ghostly streets, gave him some comfort.


“I kind of had to weigh out all the factors,” he said. “But, you know, everybody out here, they seem to be doing fine.”