Bay Area United Against War Newsletter, June 27, 2023


Binational Action in Solidarity with Migrants

June 30, 12:00 Noon 

Mexican Consulate

532 Folsom Street, San Francisco

Thirty-one years of solidarity with the anti-colonial grassroots struggle for dignity, democracy, and self-determination of the Haitian people!


Haiti Action Committee

P.O. Box 2040

Berkeley, CA 94702











Free Mumia Now!

Book launch and panel as part of Laborfest 2023


Saturday, July 8, 2023, 1:00 P.M. 


Eric Quezada Center for Culture and Politics

518 Valencia Street

San Francisco, CA 94110


(In person event. Attendees are politely requested to mask.)




Eliot Lee Grossman, attorney for Mumia Abu-Jamal, 2001-2003


Rachel Wolkenstein, attorney for Mumia Abu-Jamal, 1995-1999


Gerald Smith, Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal


   The Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal (LAC) cordially invites you to a panel discussion to launch a new book on the Mumia Abu-Jamal case written by his former attorney, Eliot Lee Grossman. Mr. Grossman represented Mumia, with his colleagues Marlene Kamish, British barrister Nick Brown, and J. Michael Farrell, from  2001-2003, and saved his life by convincing a federal judge to overturn his death sentence, a decision later upheld on appeal.


  The panel includes attorney Rachel Wolkenstein who, as head of the Partisan Defense Committee, brought Mumia’s case to national and international prominence, represented Mumia from 1995-1999 with co-counsel Jonathan Piper, and investigated, discovered and developed new evidence of Mumia’s innocence. Ex-Black Panther Gerald Smith will also speak on behalf of the LAC.


    Mumia narrowly escaped execution for a crime he did not commit, but has been imprisoned for over 40 years despite his innocence. Mr. Grossman’s new book traces the history of Mumia’s case from December 9, 1981, when a white Philadelphia police officer was murdered and Mumia was shot, beaten by the Philadelphia police and framed for the killing, through trial, appeal, six state post-conviction petitions, and numerous appeals to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and U.S. Supreme Court, to the present and continuing struggle to Free Mumia!


      Copies of the book will be available for sale and signing by the author. Join our panelists to discuss how the labor movement and its allies can revitalize the international campaign to Free Mumia Now!


For Labor Action to Free Mumia! 


Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal



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.

Copyright © 2023 Jacobin, All rights reserved.

You are receiving these messages because you opted in through our signup form, or at time of subscription/purchase.


Our mailing address is:


388 Atlantic Ave

Brooklyn, NY 11217-3399


Add us to your address book:




¡Rest in Power Hugo Blanco!

November 15, 1934 – June 25, 2023


“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.







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) The Outsize Genius of ‘I’m a Virgo’

The giant teenager in Boots Riley’s new Amazon Prime series is among television’s boldest moves in a while.

By Phillip Maciak, June 19, 2023


A collage illustration with images from “I’m a Virgo” and a silhouette drawing of a giant next to two regular size people.

Photo illustration by Mark Harris

Brobdingnag is somewhere in the Pacific Northwest. On the map included in Volume II of his 1726 satire “Gulliver’s Travels,” Jonathan Swift depicts it as an enormous peninsula somewhere north of California. Brobdingnag is the land of the giants: When Gulliver is shipwrecked there, he finds a race of people nearly 60 feet tall, wise and moral, repulsed by his descriptions of a venal and warlike British society. The West Coast no longer teems with such gentle giants, but according to the writer, director and musician Boots Riley, there remains one well south of Brobdingnag, near the spot Swift designates P. Monterey — there’s a giant living in Oakland, Calif.


Riley’s new Amazon Prime series, “I’m a Virgo,” is a Swiftian fable by way of Charles Dickens, Ralph Ellison, Alan Moore and Spike Lee. It is, centrally, the tale of Cootie, a once-in-a-generation giant who becomes both a folk hero and a public enemy. As someone tells him in an early episode, “People are always afraid, and you’re a 13-foot-tall Black man.” Cootie’s adoptive parents keep him as sheltered as they can; he grows up watching the action on his block via a periscope. He’s a learned giant — his father requires him to read 10 hours a day — but he’s also electrified by screens, parroting lines from his favorite reality-TV shows. (His mantra — “from that day forward, I knew nothing would stop me from achieving greatness” — is a quote from a “Bachelorette”-style program.) His parents, trying to persuade him to stay in the safety of the two-story apartment they’ve built, show him a scrapbook of giants throughout history, many Black, enslaved or lynched for their gigantism; he will, they clearly fear, be a too-visible man, a projection screen for the fears and desires of others. (This is not a fate reserved for giants alone.) But when Cootie finally leaves the house as a teenager, he falls in love with this world, in all its sublimity and stupidity. Hearing bass for the first time, thumping from a new friend’s trunk, he becomes an angry poet: “It moves through your body like waves,” he tells his parents. “And it sings to your bones.”


Riley’s Oakland, like Swift’s own West Coast, is rendered surreal by allegory. It has a housing crisis, police violence and rolling blackouts, but it also has a community of people who shrink to Lilliputian pocket size (they wear receipts for clothes) and a fast-food worker named Flora who can work at a Flash-like hyperspeed. There’s also a rogue white comics artist called the Hero who exacts vigilante justice on his largely Black neighbors — but even the idea of the fascistic law-and-order superhero seems pedestrian here. This show is not subtle about its vision or its allegories. “As a young Black man,” Cootie says, repeating his parents’ warnings, “if you walk down the street, and the police see that you don’t have a job, they send you directly to jail.” His new friends all laugh at his credulousness until one replies, “Metaphorically, that’s how it goes.”


One of Cootie’s first rebellions is his insistence on trying a Bing Bang Burger, whose comically unappealing commercials he sees constantly on TV. We’re shown slack-jawed observers making videos before we see Cootie himself, standing in line, hunched over, his back pressed against the fluorescent lights of the burger joint. The actor Jharrel Jerome shows us Cootie’s trepidation by always playing him small, tilting his head against his shoulder, collapsing his frame inward, his lips in an expectant pucker. But when he sees Flora, assembling burgers with blurry speed, there’s a moment of connection. Cootie expands as she hands him his order and calls him “big man.” He bumps into the exit sign on the way out.


“I’m a Virgo” comes on the heels of a few ingenious experiments in TV surrealism, from “Atlanta” to “Undone” to the recent farce “Mrs. Davis.” Perhaps Amazon and Riley were emboldened by these examples or energized by the idea of transcending them, because this series has the courage of its confabulations. Its fantastical concept works in metaphor just the same way it works in fact, as it reminds us with proud bluntness. Drunk in the club, Cootie waxes poetic to his friend Felix: “Friends,” he says, “can help you feel the inside of yourself and the rest of the world at the same time.” Felix takes a minute to soak that in before he nods his head and responds, more or less, “Hey, bruh, that’s real.”


Premium cable networks and streamers have long built their brands around boundary-pushing and risk, even as their prestige series often settle into safe, predictable formulas. Then there are properties like the ever-expanding Marvel Universe, which might once have used superheroes to dramatize truths about our own world but has now disappeared into its own multiverses, swallowed up by digital battles and green-screen vistas. “I’m a Virgo” is a visual and ideological counterpoint to all this. It uses the conceit of a 13-foot-tall Black man to reach for insights about race, class and injustice, and it is fastidiously, hilariously committed to the bit, constantly doubling down on the logistics of Cootie’s bigness. Plenty of series mess around with television’s narrative structures or genre conventions, but this show is willing to break the most basic visual conventions of how you put humans together onscreen.


And so Cootie has to be as real as television can make him. Most of his scenes are filmed using elaborate forced-perspective shots and scale models, not green screens or CGI. You can feel the difference. Cootie tends to look as if the walls are closing in, because they are. The show’s ramshackle, claustrophobic genius can be thrilling. I remember being stunned watching Christopher Nolan depict the depths of a wormhole using only practical effects; my awe was not dissimilar watching Boots Riley figure out how to shoot a slapstick, ultimately pretty sexy love scene between a normal-size woman and a 13-foot-tall man without leaning on digital effects for every frame. We see Flora and Cootie largely in close-ups, Flora centered neatly in her frame while Cootie fills his to the edges. There are occasional two-shots that use dolls as stand-ins, but mostly the scene uses sound to keep the actors in contact. The scene occupies nearly half its episode, as they work to figure out how their act of love can even be consummated, and Riley figures how to show it to us, and we learn how to see it — but it’s sweet, not leering. Usually, in Riley’s frame, the giant man is the real thing, and the world around him is either distorted or built anew. With Flora, whose own strangeness the show also honors and protects, the world reimagines itself in relation to the giant.


The visual gags exist alongside other spectacular fantasies. One of Cootie’s friends organizes a general strike to protest the inequities of the health care system. There’s a guerrilla attack on a power plant. A vigilante cop is converted to communism. (What’s a wilder pitch: that the power of argument persuades a law-and-order ideologue to abandon carceral capitalism or that one kid in Oakland turns out to be really, really tall?) Riley, himself an avowed communist, has always been an unabashedly political artist, but what’s radical here isn’t the politics alone; it’s what the politics free the show to do. “I’m a Virgo” makes the idea of tearing up systems of power feel less destructive than boundless, and it does this by tethering its political vision to a revolution in the way we see human bodies onscreen. Its narrative feels almost spontaneous, teeming with strange and unexpected life. Riley has made his radicalism feel verdant, generative, self-sustaining. In the land of the only living giant, that’s real.



2) At Least 5 Palestinians Killed in Clashes After Israeli Raid in West Bank

A 15-year-old boy was among the dead and dozens more were wounded, Palestinian officials said. Seven Israeli security officers were hurt and a helicopter was later deployed, the military reported.

By Isabel Kershner, June 19, 2023

Reporting from Jerusalem


Smoke rises from a white building.

An explosion during an Israeli Army raid in the West Bank city of Jenin on Monday. Credit...Alaa Badarneh/EPA, via Shutterstock

Armed clashes on Monday between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants in and around the city of Jenin in the occupied West Bank left at least five Palestinians dead, including a 15-year-old boy, and dozens more wounded, according to Palestinian health officials.


Seven Israeli security force members were also wounded, the military said.


The battle in and around Jenin, long a center of Palestinian militancy and the target of frequent Israeli raids, was unusually intense, according to Lt. Col. Richard Hecht, a spokesman for the Israeli military. That prompted the Israeli forces to deploy a helicopter gunship in support of ground troops battling the militants, he added.


At least one powerful explosive device laid by Palestinian militants and other fire disabled several Israeli armored vehicles in a village near Jenin at around 7 a.m. on Monday, complicating what had started out as an arrest raid, the military said.


The Israeli forces then called in at least one Apache helicopter that fired toward Palestinian gunmen to try to clear the zone as additional forces worked under fire to extricate the damaged vehicles, the military said. Experts said that was probably the first such use of a helicopter gunship in the occupied West Bank since the second Palestinian uprising about 20 years ago.


Colonel Hecht said that the helicopter had fired at open areas to keep the Palestinian gunmen at a distance and that the army’s evacuation efforts were continuing amid exchanges of fire more than five hours after the vehicles were hit.


The pre-dawn raid began as a routine operation to arrest two Palestinian suspects, immediately setting off heavy clashes between the Israeli forces and gunmen in the area, the military said. Explosive devices were hurled at the forces who responded with live fire, resulting in casualties, it added.


Two of the Palestinians were claimed by the militant group Islamic Jihad.


As the Israeli forces left Jenin, a powerful roadside bomb exploded, targeting the vulnerable underside of a Panther armored vehicle, Colonel Hecht said, in a scene that some Israeli analysts described as reminiscent of the monthlong war that Israel fought in southern Lebanon in 2006 against the Iranian-backed militant organization Hezbollah.


A statement from a local branch of the military wing of the Islamist militant group Hamas, based in the Jenin refugee camp, praised the Palestinian fighters for being able “to ambush a Zionist force” in the camp. The Israeli forces were “showered with a barrage of explosive devices, followed by heavy showers of blessed bullets,” the statement added.


Referring to the clashes, a senior Palestinian Authority official, Hussein al-Sheikh, tried to forge some semblance of unity between the West Bank-based authority and Hamas, its rival that controls the Palestinian coastal enclave of Gaza.


“A fierce and open war is being waged against the Palestinian people politically, security-wise and economically by the occupation forces,” Mr. al-Sheikh wrote on Twitter while the fighting was still underway on Monday, adding, “We are in the midst of a comprehensive battle on all fronts that requires the unity of our people in the face of this aggression.”


Tzachi Hanegbi, director of Israel’s National Security Council, said that the roadside devices used in the Jenin area were a familiar hazard for soldiers carrying out raids. “Until now, there have been devices that were detonated and happily, until now, did not cause casualties,” he told the Israeli public broadcaster Kan.


The raid on Monday came midway through a particularly deadly year for Palestinians and Israelis. About 130 Palestinians have been killed this year, many of them during gun battles between the Israeli Army and armed Palestinian groups, but also civilians caught in the crossfire. About 25 Israelis have been killed in attacks carried out by Arab assailants.


A Palestinian cameraman was among those injured on Monday, according to Palestinian news reports, which said that a group of journalists had come under fire while covering the army raid from a rooftop.


A Palestinian American journalist, Shireen Abu Akleh, was fatally shot during an Israeli military raid in Jenin 13 months ago. Several investigations concluded that she was probably killed by an Israeli soldier.


Hiba Yazbek and Myra Noveck contributed reporting from Jerusalem, and Gabby Sobelman from Rehovot, Israel.



3) Whitewashing Historical Truths: The Story of Sullivan’s Island

By Kevin Cooper, June 18, 2023

Sullivan’s Island. Photo from BlackThen.com

Throughout the history of this country, the narrative has remained for the most part a white—and a whitewashed— ‘his-story.’  This is despite the fact that people of many different cultures have helped to build this country after it was forcibly taken from its Indigenous caretakers. Even those enslaved were made to contribute to the building of what is now the United/Divided States of America.


People of every culture in America have rich histories unique to them, yet their stories most often were told by those from the dominant white culture, often watered down or made into a European-type adventure in which their protagonists were either subjugated or murdered in the name of manifest destiny.


Others were victims of lies or ignored and made invisible, so they went about the task of recording their own history, but in order to pass down their spoken word and other aspects of their history, as many are doing in 2023, they had to find different ways to preserve it. The best way was in books, but they had little to no access to those who owned the publishing companies that printed the books. They knew then as now that books are a rich and important source of knowledge, and with knowledge comes power. Especially the power of self, because if for only the first time in a person’s life they learn that every negative thing said about them and their people was distorted by lies posing as facts, they begin to look at themselves and other people differently. 


When one learns how their people contributed to the building of this country, and that their culture and history and heritage are beautiful with all the positivity that comes with it, that person and people gain a real sense of self respect, dignity, pride and purpose. This was a significant reason why oppressors forbid and punish certain groups of people from reading books, and learning, except books like the Bible and white supremacy books that portrayed Black, Indigenous, Latinx and Asian peoples inferior. This also includes to a degree contributions by white women, who were either written out of ‘his-story,’ or became footnotes in it.


These and other truths I learned by reading all types of books here on death row at San Quentin prison. Books are at times the only real connection that I have with the outside world, and of course with history. The more I read and learn,  I want to read and learn even more, realizing I may never know about the full truth of this country’s diverse peoples and all of their histories, including my own as an African American.


Unfortunately, there are certain people and oppressors who want to keep truth and knowledge of the past unknown to the masses. More than 1,000 books have been taken off school bookshelves in 26 states. For example, a school district in Florida took out of classrooms and school libraries the biographies of baseball greats Roberto Clemente, Jackie Robinson and Hank Aaron and a book titled “Dim Sum for Everyone,” with a little Asian girl on the cover, while the school board studies whether they and about 170 more are are harmful for children to read.  


Yet these censors would all say that this country is a “free country.” These same tactics are done to keep knowledge and truth of diverse groups of people from the minds and hearts of the children. They are once again “whitewashing” the history of this country. These censors fear their children and grandchildren will learn about what was done to damn near every population of different non-white peoples whose feet walked upon this land.


I say all of that to say these truths: I was reading the book “Dirty Little Secrets” by Claud Anderson Ed.D. about Black history, its heroes, and other “troublemakers.” Within this book is a section about a certain island that I never heard of before. I learned so many things about Black, white and other people in this book that I couldn’t stop reading it.


This island that I learned about is called Sullivan’s Island, and it was where most Black Africans were delivered to the U.S. to be sold into slavery, while white immigrants were put ashore on Ellis Island, New York, before being allowed into this country.


This island is still around today, located right across the channel from the city of Charleston, South Carolina. It’s believed that up to two-fifths of all Black Africans who arrived in this country in the early 1880s passed through Sullivan’s Island, the clearing house for enslaved  Africans who were bound for the plantations throughout the south.


At Sullivan’s Island these enslaved human beings were cleaned up, sorted out based upon sex, tribe, size, skin complexion, breeding, and age depending on where they were going and what they would be doing. This sorting out included their attitude because not every enslaved African was willing to submit to being enslaved against their will. So it was in Sulivan’s Island that they were “broken and seasoned” in order to have them ready to be auctioned off at the many different slave markets where they were sold for the highest price that any white person was willing to pay for that particular enslaved human being.When I had use of the prison phone, I called my editor and asked her if she ever heard of Sullivan’s Island, and she said no. But she went online to research its history and found the current Sullivan’s Island website, and told me what I had described to her about the history of the island and the enslaved people who were sent there was not mentioned on that site. So, I ask her what was mentioned? She read to me from the brochure, “Welcome to Sullivan’s Island,” as seen below:



This is another case of “whitewashing history” and denying the truth about the history of that island. My editor went to Wikipedia and found the pages on the Sullivan’s Island entry were even more detailed in the historical truth than it was in “Dirty Little Secrets.”


In fact, Wikipedia states Sullivan’s Island was the point of entry for approximately 40 to 50 percent of the 400,000 enslaved Africans brought to colonial America, meaning that 99% of all Black Americans have ancestors that came through that island. That likely includes me as well, even though I will never know this is true.


It cannot be a mistake that this historical information was omitted from the official Sullivan’s Island website. Sullivan’s Island and its pristine beaches, award winning restaurants and close knit community must be a white people’s domain in which they for their own selfish reason(s) wrote enslaved Black Africans out of the history of the island.


This is another form of banning the truth, banning knowledge, whitewashing history, ignoring the truth. How many other American citizens out there do not know the real and truthful history of Sullivan’s Island? How many other histories in this country are suffering the same fate as the history of Sullivan’s Island in this free country called America?


If it’s left up to certain truth deniers and book banners, you and I and others will never know the real American history in truth and fact. Certain people want to keep it from us, they don’t want us to know about it, yet they and theirs have and still are profiting from the suffering and inhumane treatment, oppression and manmade terror that made many contribute to the making and building of this country.


We all have a right to know the truth about our people’s past, this country’s history, the struggle, lives and experiences of all people that are in this country. The history of Ellis island is kept intact, the history of Sullivan’s Island is not. Two different “islands,” two different peoples went to each, one history is told over and over and over again, and the other…it’s not acknowledged by the very people who inhabit that island today.


We cannot allow knowledge of any kind to be denied because knowledge is power. We cannot allow books to be banned, or voices to be silenced. We can­not allow ‘real history’ to be whitewashed, and the truth to be ignored.


Because if we stand by and let this happen, we all will pay the price because it’s us whose history is being denied, not them. It’s us who stories are not being told, not theirs. It’s us who are once again being victimized by them, and we know who they are…don’t we?


In 1989 the author and Nobel laureate Toni Morrison, whose books are now being banned in certain states, stated the following about Sullivan’s Island, comparing it to Ellis Island: “There is no suitable memorial, or plaque, or wreath or wall, or park or skyscraper lobby. There’s no 300-foot tower, there’s no small bench by the road.”  On July 26, 2008, she was joined by 300 supporters of the Toni Morrison Society on Sullivan’s Island and dedicated a black steel bench in memory of the Africans forced into slavery.


The National Park Service in 2009 installed a commemorative marker describing the Sullivan’s Island Quarantine Station. The text on the plaque is he true history of Sullivan’s Island, absent from the brochure :


This is Sullivan’s Island


A place where…Africans were brought to this country under extreme conditions of human bondage and degradation. Tens of thousands of captives arrived on Sullivan’s Island from the West African shores between 1700 and 1775. Those who remained in the Charleston community and those who passed through this site account for a significant number of the African-Americans now residing in these United States. Only through God’s blessings, a burning desire for justice, and persistent will to succeed against monumental odds, have African-Americans created a place for themselves in the American mosaic.


A place where…We commemorate this site as the entry of Africans who came and who contributed to the greatness of our country. The Africans who entered through this port have moved on to meet the challenges created by injustices, racial and economic discrimination, and withheld opportunities. Africans and African-Americans, through the sweat of their brow, have distinguished themselves in the Arts, Education, Medicine, Politics, Religion, Law, Athletics, Research, Artisans and Trades, Business, Industry, Economics, Science, Technology and Community and Social Services.


A place where…This memorial rekindles the memory of a dismal time in American history, but it also serves as a reminder for a people who – past and present, have retained the unique values, strength and potential that flow from our West African culture which came to this nation through the middle passage.


This is real history.



4) Hunter Biden to Plead Guilty on Misdemeanor Tax Charges

Under a deal with the Justice Department, the president’s son agreed to probation for filing his taxes late, and he can avoid a charge that he lied about his drug use when he purchased a handgun.

By Michael S. Schmidt and Adam Entous, June 20, 2023

President Biden and his son Hunter Biden, center, at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base in Syracuse, N.Y., in February.
President Biden and his son Hunter Biden, center, at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base in Syracuse, N.Y., in February. Credit...Al Drago for The New York Times

Hunter Biden for him to plead guilty to two misdemeanor tax charges and avoid prosecution on a separate gun charge, according to a court filing on Tuesday, moving to close a long-running and politically explosive investigation into the finances, drug use and international business dealings of President Biden’s troubled son.


Under a deal hashed out over several months by Hunter Biden’s legal team and federal prosecutors, he will plead guilty to misdemeanor counts of failing to pay his 2017 and 2018 taxes on time and agree to probation, the court filing said.


The Justice Department would charge Mr. Biden but agree not to prosecute him in connection with his purchase of a handgun in 2018 during a period when he was using drugs. The deal would be contingent on Mr. Biden remaining drug free for 24 months and agreeing never to own a firearm again.


The agreement must still be approved by a federal judge. Mr. Biden is expected to appear in federal court in Delaware in the coming days to be arraigned on the misdemeanor tax charges and plead guilty.


“With the announcement of two agreements between my client, Hunter Biden, and the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Delaware, it is my understanding that the five-year investigation into Hunter is resolved,” Mr. Biden’s lawyer, Christopher Clark, said in a statement.


A White House spokesman, Ian Sams, said in a statement, “The president and first lady love their son and support him as he continues to rebuild his life. We will have no further comment.”


Assuming there are no last-minute changes or complications, the deal would most likely resolve the investigation without Mr. Biden facing a federal prison sentence.


But it would by no means end the superheated politics of the case. Republicans have sought for years to make the case that Hunter Biden committed an array of crimes that should put him behind bars and call into question the honesty of his father.


Coming less than two weeks after the Justice Department indicted former President Donald J. Trump on charges that he risked exposing national security secrets and obstructed efforts by the government to reclaim classified documents from him, an agreement that allows Hunter Biden to walk free is also sure to bring a torrent of criticism from the right and intensified efforts by House Republicans to portray the Justice Department and the F.B.I. as biased.


As president, Mr. Trump had long sought to tie Hunter Biden’s business deals and personal troubles to his father. Mr. Trump’s first impeachment had its roots in his efforts to persuade the Ukrainian government to help him show wrongdoing in Hunter Biden’s work for Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company, and while in the White House he pressured the Justice Department to investigate.


The Justice Department investigation continued after President Biden took office, under the oversight of the U.S. attorney for Delaware, David C. Weiss, a Trump appointee who was kept on to allow him to finish the inquiry. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland has testified to Congress that Mr. Weiss had full authority and independence to decide whether to bring a case against Mr. Biden.


Along with resolving the main legal issues confronting Hunter Biden, the agreement is a victory for his lead lawyer, Mr. Clark, a hard-charging former federal prosecutor. In meetings with Justice Department officials over the past year and a half, he has presented them with evidence intended to convince them that any prosecution of his client would be weak.


“Hunter will take responsibility for two instances of misdemeanor failure to file tax payments when due pursuant to a plea agreement,” Mr. Clark said in his statement. “A firearm charge, which will be subject to a pretrial diversion agreement and will not be the subject of the plea agreement, will also be filed by the government. I know Hunter believes it is important to take responsibility for these mistakes he made during a period of turmoil and addiction in his life. He looks forward to continuing his recovery and moving forward.”


The investigation focused on a particularly chaotic and unseemly period in Hunter Biden’s life when he was addicted to crack cocaine. But the Justice Department went through nearly every major aspect of his life over the past 15 years — a period in which he also struggled to control his alcoholism and engaged in international business deals, which he got into at least in part because of his father’s prominence in politics.


And despite federal investigators casting their nets wide — including examining Mr. Biden’s work for Burisma and his business dealings with an energy tycoon in China — the investigation ultimately narrowed to two separate issues.


One was his taxes. Prosecutors had been weighing whether to indict him in connection with his failure to meet filing deadlines for his 2017 and 2018 taxes, and whether he had improperly claimed $30,000 in deductions for business expenses.


The second was whether he lied on a United States government form that he filled out when he purchased the handgun in 2018. In response to a question on the form about whether he was using drugs, Mr. Biden had said he was not — an assertion that prosecutors suspected might be false based on his erratic behavior at the time and accounts from people who interacted with him.


Those charges were far less explosive than ones pushed by Mr. Trump and congressional Republicans, who have been angry with the Justice Department for failing to find wider criminal wrongdoing by the president’s son and family.


Since taking control of the House in January, top Republicans have used their new investigative power to push the narrative that the president has been complicit in an effort engineered by his son to enrich his family by profiting from their positions of power.


No one questions that Mr. Biden, a 53-year-old Yale-educated lawyer, has had significant personal troubles and pursued a professional path that has intersected with his father’s in ways that raised ethical issues.


After his father became vice president, he built relationships with wealthy foreigners that brought in millions of dollars, surfacing concerns inside the Obama administration and among government watchdog groups that he was cashing in on his family name.


He went into a downward spiral after his brother, Beau, died in 2015, becoming addicted to crack and engaging in tawdry, self-destructive behavior.


But the questions about what occurred during that period never led to conduct that prosecutors believed could win them a conviction in court.


In Ukraine, Hunter Biden sat on the board of Burisma, which was led by an oligarch who at the time was under investigation for corruption. He was paid tens of thousands of dollars a months for the position, which he held while his father was vice president and overseeing the Obama administration’s Ukraine policy.


Republicans have also pointed to an equity stake that Hunter Biden took in a Chinese business venture, and to his failed joint venture with a Chinese tycoon who had courted well-connected Americans in both major parties — at one point he gave the younger Mr. Biden a large diamond as a gift — but who was later detained by Chinese authorities.


Allegations promoted by Republicans that the elder Mr. Biden’s Justice Department went easy on his son are unlikely to fade away.


In April, an I.R.S. supervisor who had been overseeing the investigation into Hunter Biden hired a lawyer and went to Congress, alleging political favoritism in how the investigation had been handled. Congressional Republicans have pledged to investigate the claims, which have also been referred to inspectors general at the Justice Department and I.R.S.


Seamus Hughes contributed reporting.



5) Is the Inflation Battle Won? Not Yet.

Inflation has come down from its 2022 heights, but economists are worried about its stubbornness.

By Jeanna Smialek, June 21, 2023

Two shoppers in a grocery store stop in front of shelves filled with cartons of eggs.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that grocery inflation has slowed in recent months, with the price of eggs dropping by about half since January. Credit...Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Inflation is beginning to abate meaningfully for American consumers. Gas is cheaper, eggs cost roughly half as much as they did in January and prices are no longer climbing as rapidly across a wide array of products.


But at least one person has yet to express relief: Jerome H. Powell, the chair of the Federal Reserve.


The Fed has spent the past 15 months locked in an aggressive war against inflation, raising interest rates above 5 percent in an attempt to get price increases back down to a more normal pace. Last week its officials announced that they were skipping a rate increase in June, giving themselves more time to see how the already enacted changes are playing out across the economy.


But Mr. Powell emphasized that it was too early to declare victory in the battle against rapid price increases.


The reason: While less expensive gas and slower grocery price adjustments have helped overall inflation to fall from its four-decade peak last summer, food and fuel costs tend to jump around a lot. That obscures underlying trends. And a measure of “core” inflation that strips out food and fuel is showing surprising staying power, as a range of purchases from dental care and hairstyling to education and car insurance continue to climb quickly in price.


Last week, Fed officials sharply marked up their forecast of how high core inflation would be at the end of 2023. They now see it at 3.9 percent, higher than the 3.6 percent they predicted in March and nearly twice their 2 percent inflation target.


The economic picture, in short, is playing out on something of a split screen. While the steepest price increases appear to be over for consumers — a relief for many, and a development that President Biden and his advisers have celebrated — Fed policymakers and many outside economists see continued reasons for concern. Between the subtle signs that inflation could stick around and the surprising resilience of the American economy, they believe that central bankers might need to do more to cool growth and rein in demand to prevent unusually elevated price increases from becoming permanent.


“Big picture: We are making progress, but the progress is slower than expected,” said Kristin J. Forbes, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist and a former Bank of England policymaker. “Inflation is somewhat more stubborn than we had hoped.”


A fresh Consumer Price Index inflation report last week showed that inflation continued to moderate sharply on an overall basis in May. That measure helps to feed into the Fed’s preferred measure, the Personal Consumption Expenditures index, which it uses to define its 2 percent target. The fresh P.C.E. figures will be released on June 30.


White House officials, who have spent months on the defensive about the role that pandemic spending under Mr. Biden played in stoking demand and price increases, have greeted the recent cooling in inflation enthusiastically.


“We have seen a very large reduction in inflation, by more than 50 percent,” Lael Brainard, the director of the White House National Economic Council, said in an interview. She added that the current trajectory on inflation offered reasons for optimism that it could return back to normal fairly quickly as the economy slowed, and expressed hope that crushing it would not necessarily require a big jump in unemployment — something that has historically accompanied the Fed’s campaigns to wrangle inflation.


“The employment picture is very sustainable,” she said.


But many economists are less sanguine. That’s partly because most of the factors that have helped inflation to fall so far have been widely anticipated, sort of the low-hanging fruit of disinflation.


Supply chains were roiled by the pandemic and have since healed, allowing goods price increases to slow. A pop in oil prices tied to the war in Ukraine has faded.


And there may be more to come: Rents jumped starting in 2021 as people moved out on their own or relocated amid the pandemic. They have since cooled as landlords found that renter demand was not strong enough to bear ever-higher prices, and the moderation is slowly feeding into official inflation data.


What linger are relatively rapid price increases in services outside of housing. That’s a broad category, and it includes purchases that tend to be labor-intensive, like hospital care, school tuition and sports tickets. Those prices tend to rise when wages climb, both because employers try to cover their higher costs and because consumers who are earning more have the ability to pay more without pulling back.


“The big action is behind us,” said Olivier Blanchard, a former International Monetary Fund chief economist who is now at the Peterson Institute. “What remains is the pressure on wages.”


“We’re very far from our inflation target of 2 percent, and we’re very focused on getting back to 2 percent,” Mr. Powell said during a congressional testimony on Wednesday. He later added that “today’s situation is unusual in that we are overachieving, in effect, the maximum employment goal, but we are far from achieving the inflation goal.”


There are early signs that a labor market slowdown is underway. The Employment Cost Index measure of wages, which the Fed watches closely, is climbing much more rapidly than before the pandemic but has slowed from its mid-2022 peak. A measure of average hourly earnings has come down even more notably. And jobless claims have climbed in recent weeks.


But hiring has remained robust, and the unemployment rate low — which is why economists are trying to figure out if the economy is cooling enough to guarantee that inflation will return fully to normal.


Cylus Scarbrough, 42, has witnessed both features of today’s economy: fast wage growth and rapid inflation. Mr. Scarbrough works as an analyst for a homebuilder in Sacramento, and he said his skills were in such high demand that he could rapidly get a new job if he wanted. He got a 33 percent raise when he joined the company two years ago, and his pay has climbed more since.


Even so, he’s racking up credit card debt because of higher inflation and because he and his family spend more than they used to before the pandemic. They have gone to Disneyland twice in the past six months and eat out more regularly.


“It’s something about: You only live once,” he explained.


He said he felt OK about spending beyond his budget, because he bought a house just at the start of the pandemic and now has about $100,000 in equity. In fact, he is not even worrying about inflation as much these days — it was much more salient to him when gas prices were rising quickly.


“That was the time when I really felt like inflation was eating into our budget,” Mr. Scarbrough said. “I feel more comfortable with it now. I don’t think about it every day.”


Fed officials are not yet comfortable, and they may do more to tame price increases. Officials predicted last week that they would raise interest rates to 5.6 percent this year, making two more quarter-point rate moves that would push rates to their highest level since 2000.


Investors doubt that will happen. Given the recent cooling in inflation and signs that the job market is beginning to crack, they expect one more rate increase in July — and then outright rate cuts by early next year. But if that bet is wrong, the next phase of the fight against inflation could be the more painful one.


As higher borrowing costs prod consumers and firms to pull back, they are expected to translate into less hiring and fewer job opportunities for people like Mr. Scarbrough. The slowdown might leave some people out of work altogether.


Fed policymakers estimated that joblessness will jump to 4.5 percent by the end of next year — up somewhat from 3.7 percent now, but historically pretty low. But Mr. Blanchard thinks that the jobless rate might need to rise by one percentage point “and probably more.”


Jason Furman, a Harvard economist, said he thought the unemployment rate could go even higher. While it is not his forecast, he said that in a bad scenario it was “possible” that it would take something like 10 percent unemployment for inflation to return totally to normal. That’s how high joblessness jumped at the worst point in the 2009 recession, and inflation came down by about two percentage points, he noted.


In any case, Mr. Furman cautioned against jumping to early conclusions about the path ahead for inflation based on progress so far.


“People have been so crazily premature to keep declaring victory on inflation,” he said.


My NYT Comment: 

By Bonnie Weinstein

“I don’t understand the great mystery about why inflation is still with us. There have been numerous articles in the news about how corporations are raising the prices of their products for one reason and one reason only, to make higher profits. They don’t give a tinker’s damn about hungry people, unhoused people, folks without access to medical care. All they care about is profits so they can have an even bigger yacht, house, car, diamond necklace, ball gown, etc. After all, that’s democracy, right? Capitalist democracy for the rich and wage slavery and poverty for the rest of us.”



6) Spiraling Violence in the Occupied West Bank Signals a Loss of Control

The Palestinian Authority is absent from the hotbeds of militancy while Israeli forces have failed to prevent violent reprisal attacks by Jewish extremists.

By Isabel Kershner, June 22, 2023

Reporting from Jerusalem

Crying schoolgirls carry the body of a classmate killed during the fighting in Jenin.
Classmates carrying the body of a 15-year-old Palestinian girl who was killed in Jenin on Monday. Credit...Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The northern West Bank was once viewed by Israeli, Palestinian and international authorities as a kind of pilot program for Israeli disengagement from the occupied territory, and by some even as a potential prototype for a future Palestinian state.


But a sharp escalation of violence in the region in recent days involving Palestinian militants, Israeli security forces and extremist Jewish settlers underlines the failure of that vision.


The northern West Bank is witnessing an explosive mix of the rise of local, armed Palestinian militias carrying out shooting attacks against Israelis; almost daily raids by the Israeli military to arrest militants, which often turn deadly; and reprisals by extremist Jewish settlers, who have rampaged through Palestinian villages setting fire to property.


Heightening tensions, the coalition government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — which includes far-right, ultranationalist parties that reject any talks with the Palestinian leadership — has been pressing a more aggressive military response to attacks. The government is also pushing for the expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, which most countries see as an obstacle to resolving the conflict and a violation of international law.


The volatile mix has resulted in one of the deadliest years for Palestinians in the West Bank in more than a decade. Of the 140 Palestinian deaths in the territory so far this year, about 86 were in the northern West Bank, mostly in the areas of Jenin and Nablus. Most were killed in armed clashes during military raids, though some were innocent bystanders.


“Over the past few months, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has assumed a new guise,” Yohanan Tzofeff, a senior researcher at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University, wrote on Thursday. “The attacks in the West Bank and the attempts to escalate the situation have increased.”


The violence this week began with a deadly Israeli raid on Monday into the northern West Bank city of Jenin: It prompted an hourslong gun battle in which seven Palestinians, including a 15-year-old girl, were killed, according to Palestinian health officials. Israeli helicopter gunships were sent into the area for the first time since the early 2000s to secure forces trying to extricate wounded soldiers and armored vehicles disabled by a powerful roadside bomb.


A day later, Palestinian gunmen killed four Israeli civilians, including a 17-year-old boy, near the Jewish settlement of Eli. The Palestinian gunmen were members of the armed wing of Hamas, the Islamic militant group that seized control in the coastal territory of Gaza in 2007 after winning elections a year earlier.


And then late Wednesday, an Israeli airstrike by a pilotless drone killed three Palestinian militants in a car who the military said had just shot at an Israeli position in the northern West Bank and had carried out attacks against Jewish settlements in the area.


The killing of the four Israelis at Eli set off waves of reprisals on Tuesday and Wednesday by Israeli extremists who rampaged through Palestinian towns and villages, including Turmus Aya, north of Ramallah, the headquarters of the Palestinian Authority, which administers most Palestinian cities and towns in the West Bank. Turmus Aya is a relatively well-heeled community, and many of its residents are also U.S. citizens.


The Israeli arsonists burned 15 homes and 60 vehicles as well as crops, Lafi Deeb, the head of the Turmus Aya council, told Palestinian radio on Thursday. One Palestinian man from the town was fatally shot by an Israeli officer during the melee, according to officials.


Mr. Deeb said his town, lacking its own fire trucks, had to wait for one to arrive from Bir Zeit, about a half-hour drive away.


When the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, Mohammad Shtayyeh, later visited the town, he was confronted by a resident who shouted at him and demanded that the authority “do more to protect its people,” The Associated Press reported.


Mr. Netanyahu called the settler attacks unacceptable, saying: “The State of Israel is a state of law. The citizens of Israel are all obligated to respect the law.”


The Israeli military condemned the settler violence, and said security forces entered the town to extinguish the fires, prevent clashes and to collect evidence, and that the Israeli police were investigating the event.


But the Israeli forces, despite their overall control of the territory and a spate of similarly destructive settler reprisals in February, appear helpless in preventing it.


While the violence in the northern West Bank has been escalating in recent months, the situation has been deteriorating for years, with waves of violence rising and ebbing since the collapse of peace talks nearly a decade ago.


Hoping to reduce friction in the area and signal progress toward a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Israel in 2005 dismantled four Jewish settlements around Jenin, and also withdrew from the Palestinian coastal enclave of the Gaza Strip.


Israel captured the West Bank from Jordan in the 1967 Middle East war and has said its future will be determined in negotiations, but the last formal round of American-brokered Israeli-Palestinian peace talks ended in 2014.


The Palestinian Authority, the interim body formed in the mid-1990s as part of the Oslo peace process, is supposed to exercise limited self-rule in parts of the occupied West Bank, with security forces numbering about 60,000 members. But it is absent from the hotbeds of Palestinian militancy in the northern part of the territory such as Jenin and Nablus and appears, experts say, to have all but abdicated responsibility.


“It’s a reversal and a collapse,” said Zakaria al-Qaq, a Palestinian expert in national security. Instead of less engagement, he said, “there is total involvement between Israel and the small Palestinian factions, and the Palestinian Authority is outside of the game, on the margins, or not really there at all.”


“We are back to square one,” he added. “There is no Oslo. There is nothing.”


Israeli hard-liners, including Itamar Ben-Gvir, the far-right minister of national security, have called for a broad Israeli military operation in the West Bank along the lines of the invasion of the Palestinian cities that Israel carried out in 2002, at the height of the second Palestinian intifada, or uprising, when suicide bombers attacked Israeli cities.


But many Israeli security experts say the conditions do not justify a major operation.


“In 2002 we had 130 dead per month,” said Yaakov Amidror, a former national security adviser to Mr. Netanyahu and now a senior fellow at the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security, a conservative-leaning research group, of the Israeli victims of the intifada. So far this year, 29 Israelis have been killed by Arab assailants.


“There are a lot of weapons in the territory, the Palestinian Authority is not functioning and we have to deal with it alone,” Mr. Amidror said. “But it’s not the same situation,” he added, noting that today’s armed Palestinian militias in the West Bank were mostly local gangs acting without organizational infrastructure.


Instead, as well as acting more aggressively against the militias, the Israeli government is focusing on expanding the settlements.


Immediately after the attack in Eli, Mr. Netanyahu announced plans to build 1,000 settler homes there. In addition, the Israeli authorities are expected to advance plans for another 4,000 settlement homes in a planning meeting next week.


On Sunday, the government eased the process for approving new Jewish settlement construction in the occupied West Bank and transferred oversight from the defense minister, currently Yoav Gallant, to the finance minister, Bezalel Smotrich, a far-right former settlement activist who advocates Israeli annexation of the West Bank.


And in March, Israel’s Parliament repealed legislation that barred settlers from the four Jewish communities in the occupied West Bank that were evacuated in 2005, allowing visits there, though the government would still need to approve any reconstruction in the areas.


Myra Noveck and Hiba Yazbek contributed reporting.



7) Report Cites More Than 350 Anti-L.G.B.T.Q. Incidents Over 11 Months

The incidents included online harassment, gatherings of armed protesters outside drag shows, and bomb threats against hospitals that provide gender transition care.

By Maggie Astor, June 22, 2023

The incidents, which were reported in 46 states and the District of Columbia, also included the mass shooting in November at an L.G.B.T.Q. nightclub in Colorado.
The incidents, which were reported in 46 states and the District of Columbia, also included the mass shooting in November at an L.G.B.T.Q. nightclub in Colorado. Credit...Daniel Brenner for The New York Times

There were more than 350 incidents of anti-L.G.B.T.Q. harassment, vandalism or assault in the United States from June 2022 through April 2023, according to a new report, reflecting a climate in which bias against gay and especially transgender people has become widespread.


The incidents, which were reported in 46 states and the District of Columbia, included online harassment, gatherings of armed protesters outside drag shows, and bomb threats against hospitals that provide gender transition care. They also included the mass shooting in November at an L.G.B.T.Q. nightclub in Colorado.


The report was produced by the Anti-Defamation League and the L.G.B.T.Q. advocacy group GLAAD, which collected data from news coverage as well as direct reports from victims. As with other attempts to quantify attacks on marginalized groups, the numbers in the report are certain to be undercounts, because many people don’t report their experiences.


By far the most frequent targets noted in the report were drag shows and drag performers, who were the victims in 138 incidents. Other common targets were schools and educators, health care facilities and providers, and government buildings and officials. California, Florida, New York and Texas had the most incidents, but they are also the most populous states.


The report uses similar methodology to what A.D.L. has long used to produce reports about incidents of antisemitism. It is the first time A.D.L. and GLAAD have compiled a report on homophobic and transphobic incidents. Sarah Moore, an analyst of anti-L.G.B.T.Q. extremism for both organizations, said they plan to release new editions annually from now on.


“Hard data like this backs up what so many of us in the L.G.B.T.Q. community are unfortunately experiencing right now,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, the president of GLAAD. “That revolting anti-gay comment you saw on a neighbor’s social media page, that shocking disinformation about trans youth you heard at a school board meeting, and that attack by extremists at your local Drag Story Hour — these are not isolated events.”


Because this is the first such report, it does not show how the prevalence of anti-L.G.B.T.Q. harassment and violence has changed over time. But there are indications that they are increasing: As of Tuesday, A.D.L. and GLAAD had documented 101 such incidents in the first three weeks of June, which is Pride Month. That is more than twice the number the organizations counted from last June.


An upcoming report from the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino shows a 52 percent increase in anti-L.G.B.T.Q. hate crimes around the country in 2022 and a 28 percent increase in the narrower anti-transgender category, according to the center’s director, Prof. Brian Levin.


It also shows a 47 percent increase in hate crimes against gender-nonconforming people, which the report defines as including drag performers.


That report looks only at incidents in major cities and focuses specifically on hate crimes. By contrast, not all of the incidents in the A.D.L. and GLAAD report would be classified as crimes.


Nearly half of the incidents in the report from A.D.L. and GLAAD involved perpetrators associated with extremist groups, such as the Proud Boys or neo-Nazi organizations. And the report found significant overlap with other forms of bias: Of the 356 anti-L.G.B.T.Q. incidents it counted, antisemitism was also a factor in 128, and racism in 30.


But Ms. Moore said it was also striking that half of the incidents were unconnected to extremist groups. That finding, she said, reflects the degree to which anti-L.G.B.T.Q. sentiment is “being mainstreamed in society and being picked up on by local church groups, local parents’ rights groups, whatever might be the local grass-roots movement for the Republican Party.”


Historical data indicates that increases in hate crimes are closely related to increases in hateful rhetoric from politicians and other influential figures, Professor Levin said, adding that he was very concerned about the current trend.


This year, Republican lawmakers have passed dozens of bills to ban transition care for minors and in some cases restrict it for adults; limit transgender people’s participation in competitive sports and which bathrooms they can use; restrict drag shows; prevent schools from acknowledging transgender students’ identities; and more.


Politicians and activists also now regularly and baselessly accuse transgender people of pedophilia and “grooming,” resurrecting a campaign that was used against gay people for decades. That was the most commonly cited trope in the documented incidents of harassment and assault.


“It’s going to continue,” Professor Levin said, “as long as this kind of bigotry is normalized and mainstreamed.”



8) Daniel Ellsberg’s Last Message

By Norman Solomon

—CounterPunch, June 19, 2023


Photograph Source: Cmichel67 – CC BY-SA 4.0

When Daniel Ellsberg died on Friday, the world lost a transcendent whistleblower with a powerful ethos of compassion and resolve.

Ellsberg’s renown for openly challenging the mentalities of militarism began on June 23, 1971, when he appeared on CBS Evening News ten days after news broke about the Pentagon Papers that he’d provided to journalists. Ellsberg pointedly said that in the 7,000 pages of top-secret documents, “I don’t think there is a line in them that contains an estimate of the likely impact of our policy on the overall casualties among Vietnamese or the refugees to be caused, the effects of defoliation in an ecological sense. There’s neither an estimate nor a calculation of past effects, ever.”

And he added: “The documents simply reflect the internal concerns of our officials. That says nothing more nor less that that our officials never did concern themselves with the effect of our policies on the Vietnamese.”

Ellsberg told anchor Walter Cronkite: “I think we cannot let the officials of the Executive Branch determine for us what it is that the public needs to know about how well and how they are discharging their functions.”

The functions of overseeing the war on Vietnam had become repugnant to Ellsberg as an insider. Many other government officials and top-level consultants with security clearances also had access to documents that showed how mendacious four administrations had been as the U.S. role in Vietnam expanded and then escalated into wholesale slaughter.

Unlike the others, he finally broke free and provided the Pentagon Papers to news media. As he said in the CBS interview, “The fact is that secrets can be held by men in the government whose careers have been spent learning how to keep their mouths shut. I was one of those.”

Ellsberg’s mouth, and heart, never stayed shut again. For the 52 full years that followed his release of the Pentagon Papers, he devoted himself to speaking, writing and protesting. When the war on Vietnam finally ended, Ellsberg mainly returned to his earlier preoccupation — how to help prevent nuclear war.

This spring, during the three months after diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, Ellsberg made the most of every day, spending time with loved ones and speaking out about the all-too-real dangers of nuclear annihilation. He left behind two brilliant, monumental books published in this century — “Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers” (2002) and “The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner” (2017). They illuminate in sharp ghastly light the patterns of official lies and secrecy about military matters, and the ultimate foreseeable result — nuclear holocaust.

Ellsberg was deeply determined to do all he could to help prevent omnicide. As he said in an interview when “The Doomsday Machine” came out, scientific research has concluded that nuclear war “would loft into the stratosphere many millions of tons of soot and black smoke from the burning cities. It wouldn’t be rained out in the stratosphere. It would go around the globe very quickly and reduce sunlight by as much as 70 percent, causing temperatures like that of the Little Ice Age, killing harvests worldwide and starving to death nearly everyone on earth. It probably wouldn’t cause extinction. We’re so adaptable. Maybe 1 percent of our current population of 7.4 billion could survive, but 98 or 99 percent would not.”

During the profuse interviews that he engaged in during the last few months, what clearly preoccupied Ellsberg was not his own fate but the fate of the Earth’s inhabitants.

He was acutely aware that while admiration for brave whistleblowers might sometimes be widespread, actual emulation is scarce. Ellsberg often heard that he was inspiring, but he was always far more interested in what people would be inspired to actually do — in a world of war and on the precipice of inconceivable nuclear catastrophe.

During the last decades of his life, standard assumptions and efforts by mainstream media and the political establishment aimed to consign Ellsberg to the era of the Vietnam War. But in real time, Dan Ellsberg continually inspired so many of us to be more than merely inspired. We loved him not only for what he had done but also for what he kept doing, for who he was, luminously, ongoing. The power of his vibrant example spurred us to become better than we were.

In a recent series of short illustrated podcasts created by filmmaker Judith Ehrlich — who co-directed the documentary “The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers” — Ellsberg speaks about the growing dangers of global apocalypse, saying that nuclear war planners “have written plans to kill billions of people,” preparations that amount to “a conspiracy to commit omnicide, near omnicide, the death of everyone.” And he adds: “Can humanity survive the nuclear era? We don’t know. I choose to act as if we have a chance.”


Norman Solomon is the national director of RootsAction.org and executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. His latest book, War Made Invisible: How America Hides the Human Toll of Its Military Machine, is published by The New Press.



9) We Muslims Used to Be the Culture War Scapegoats. Why Are Some of Us Joining the L.G.B.T.Q. Pile-On?

By Wajahat Ali, June 23, 2023

Mr. Ali is the author of “Go Back to Where You Came From: And Other Helpful Recommendations on How to Become American” and is a co-host of the “Democracy-ish” podcast.

In large block print, the words “Travel ban,” with “Travel” crossed out in red and replaced with “Pride” to read, “Pride ban.”
Illustration by Shoshana Schultz/The New York Times

The political right’s exhausting and cruel war on “wokeness” is now aligning with the efforts of some Muslim Americans to attack the L.G.B.T.Q. community under the guise of protecting religious freedoms and parental rights.


After enduring a gantlet of scapegoating after 9/11, you’d think we Muslims would have learned.


As a practicing Muslim American raising three children, I don’t find it in conflict with my faith to recognize that in a pluralistic, democratic society, all our communities must be able to live with security, dignity and freedom, even when there are profound differences on certain issues.


Last month a group of Muslim scholars and preachers published a joint statement titled “Navigating Differences: Clarifying Sexual and Gender Ethics in Islam.” In the name of helping families, the statement reiterates what is considered by many scholars to be traditional Islamic views on homosexuality but trades compassion, political foresight and pastoral care in favor of fear, panic and legalistic double talk.


It says that “there is an increasing push to promote L.G.B.T.Q.-centric values among children through legislation and regulations, disregarding parental consent and denying both parents and children the opportunity to express conscientious objection.” It appears to uncritically accept the zero-sum notion, pushed by right-wing politicians, that acceptance of the L.G.B.T.Q. community comes at the expense of giving up religious freedoms. It seems oblivious to the reality that if you replaced “L.G.B.T.Q.-centric” with “Shariah,” it would mimic the sentiments that have often been directed at devout Muslims in our country.


It’s also remarkable that so many religious leaders came together to speak with one voice on this particular issue, which one could falsely assume from the current political hysteria is the leading threat facing children. But as anyone who’s been part of recent debates within broader Muslim American communities knows, you’d probably never get this kind of concerted public statement from Muslim leaders on the issue of gun violence — the leading cause of death for American children — or climate change, which ultimately threatens all life. Somehow, though, this issue has managed to rally an array of Muslim scholars.


In Montgomery County, Md., outside Washington, D.C., the group Moms for Liberty, which has been designated an extremist organization by the Southern Poverty Law Center, has united with some Muslim parents who are protesting that the public school system no longer allows their children to opt out of reading books with L.G.B.T.Q. stories. “It’s not bigoted to want a safe space for all children, nor is it bigoted to provide reasonable accommodations to those with sincerely held religious beliefs,” says Raef Haggag, a Montgomery County public school parent and former high school teacher. When we exchanged emails, he told me that Muslim parents in Montgomery County had never called for a book ban, but that he believed an opt-out option would reflect parental rights and also be a reflection of “genuine tolerance, inclusivity and religious freedom.”


But is it truly inclusive and tolerant to signal to L.G.B.T.Q. kids or L.G.B.T.Q. parents that simply reading a book or learning about their existence might be so threatening and offensive that it requires an opt-out option in schools? How would Muslim parents feel if this was applied to children’s books about Ramadan or hajj?


Kareem Monib, a Muslim parent and a founder of the opt-out group Coalition of Virtue, recently appeared on Fox News and bonded with the host Laura Ingraham over what they saw as their fight for religious freedoms, apparently forgiving Ingraham for her past anti-Muslim bigotry: “Five years ago, Laura was saying we shouldn’t have Muslims in this country,” Mr. Monib told Semafor, “Now she’s saying: Thank God, the Muslims are here!” He seems to be referring to comments Ms. Ingraham made eight years ago, but either way, the irony is lost on him.


Muslims have also joined this campaign in Hamtramck, Mich., which has an all-Muslim City Council. Last week the council voted unanimously to bar Pride flags from being displayed on city properties — apparently forgetting that their Muslim immigrant forebears faced discrimination when they arrived in the city.


The increasing political demonization of L.G.B.T.Q. Americans is following the same script that has been used to marginalize Muslims and drum up fears about the supposed dangers of Shariah finding its way into the American legal system, all to pander to a constituency that is terrified of pluralism.


Let’s take a DeLorean back to the post-9/11 years, during which Islam, especially the specter of Shariah, was frequently made the villain.


Much like the recent deliberate efforts to mischaracterize critical race theory, Shariah was deliberately misdefined as a legal-political-military doctrine and the pre-eminent totalitarian threat of our time. Thanks to a well-funded right-wing machine, Shariah became a litmus test for Muslim American citizens to prove their moderation and loyalty.


In 2011 the presidential aspirant Herman Cain said he wouldn’t appoint a Muslim to his potential administration or the federal courts because he feared they would “force their Shariah law onto the rest of us.” In 2015, Ben Carson echoed those talking points, saying he wouldn’t support a Muslim American for president unless he or she renounced Shariah. Ultimately, Donald Trump ran on a Muslim ban and put in place a modified travel ban with the help of the Supreme Court. By 2017, according to one report, over 200 anti-Shariah bills had popped up in 43 states over nearly a decade, based on trumped-up claims that Islamic law was infiltrating the U.S. judicial system.


Compare all that with now: Before the 2024 elections, the L.G.B.T.Q. community has emerged as the boogeyman du jour. Right-wing media and G.O.P. elected officials are routinely accusing liberals of being groomers. Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene recently said that transgender people are “sexual predators,” and the Texas G.O.P.’s new platform explicitly rejects trans identity and refers to homosexuality as an “abnormal lifestyle choice.” In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis defended his “Don’t Say Gay” law by saying his critics support “sexualizing kids in kindergarten.”


Meanwhile, Mr. Trump, who remains the Republican front-runner for 2024, said that providing gender-affirming care to minors was equal to “child abuse.” As a result of this ginned-up hate, there are over 520 anti-L.G.B.T.Q. bills that have been introduced in state legislatures, according to the Human Rights Campaign.


Now that queer Americans are being singled out, why are some Muslims so willing to go along?


We often forget that there are people whose lives are directly affected by these hateful words, statements and policies. I reached out to several L.G.B.T.Q. Muslims to ask them if they had any words for fellow Muslims who are supporting the right wing’s political attacks on L.G.B.T.Q. literature, rights and identities. “Don’t let Islamophobes and evangelical Christians vying for political power dictate the contours of your Islam,” Ramish Nadeem and Hanan Jabril, young Muslim activists, wrote in an emailed statement. “Is learning about L.G.B.T.Q.+ people, who do exist in the world we live in and even in our Muslim traditions, really gonna harm your kids’ faith? Is your Islam really that fragile that it must lead with exclusion, isolation and hate instead of mercy, openness and community?”


As Muslims in America, we have the capacity to be true to our faith and to embrace our neighbors — including members of the L.G.B.T.Q. community who may not share all our beliefs. And as citizens aware of how we’ve been treated, we should have better recognition of how the scapegoating of people for their sexual orientation or gender identity is a play from an old divide-and-conquer playbook. As the Times columnist Michelle Goldberg recently wrote, “Nothing drives conservatives to reach out to groups they once feared as much as another group that they fear even more.”


As a Muslim parent, I understand how difficult it is to raise our children in a political environment that still views them as perpetual suspects because of their religion and, in many cases, their skin color. However, we still have religious freedoms in this country that allow us to live our lives according to our values, even if they aren’t shared by the majority.


Ultimately, living in a pluralistic society requires reciprocity and respect, even if we occasionally make one another uncomfortable. It’s hypocritical, shortsighted and cruel for Muslims to align with hateful forces targeting vulnerable communities that, like us, are still fighting against bigotry and for acceptance. The way forward is to opt into a country where all our kids have a chance to be the heroes of their own stories.



10) 5 Deaths at Sea Gripped the World. Hundreds of Others Got a Shrug.

Many see harsh realities about class and ethnicity in the attention paid to the Titan submersible and the halfhearted attempts to aid a ship before it sank, killing hundreds of migrants. But there are other factors.

By Richard Pérez-Peña, June 23, 2023

An undated photograph released by OceanGate Expeditions of the Titan submersible.
An undated photograph released by OceanGate Expeditions of the Titan submersible. Credit...OceanGate Expeditions, via Associated Press

A photograph released by The Hellenic Coastguard showing the migrant ship off the coast of Greece on June 13.
A photograph released by The Hellenic Coastguard showing the migrant ship off the coast of Greece on June 13. Credit...The Hellenic Coastguard, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

On one vessel, five people died on a very expensive excursion that was supposed to return them to the lives they knew. On the other, perhaps 500 people died just days earlier on a squalid and perilous voyage, fleeing poverty and violence in search of new lives.


After contact was lost with the five inside a submersible descending to the Titanic, multiple countries and private entities sent ships, planes and underwater drones to pursue a faint hope of rescue. That was far more effort than was made on behalf of the hundreds aboard a dangerously overcrowded, disabled fishing trawler off the Greek coast while there were still ample chances for rescue.


And it was the lost submersible, the Titan, that drew enormous attention from news organizations worldwide and their audiences, far more than the boat that sank in the Mediterranean and the Greek Coast Guard’s failure to help before it capsized.


The submersible accident, at the site of a shipwreck that has fascinated the public for more than a century, would have captivated people no matter what. But it occurred right after the tragedy in the Mediterranean, and the contrast between the two disasters, and how they were handled, has fueled a discussion around the world in which some see harsh realities about class and ethnicity.


Aboard the Titan were three wealthy businessmen — a white American, a white Briton and a Pakistani-British magnate — along with the billionaire’s 19-year-old son and a white French deep-sea explorer. Those on the fishing boat — as many as 750, officials have estimated, with barely 100 survivors — were migrants primarily from South Asia and the Middle East, trying to reach Europe.


“We saw how some lives are valued and some are not,” Judith Sunderland, acting deputy director for Europe at the group Human Rights Watch, said in an interview. And in looking at the treatment of migrants, she added, “We cannot avoid talking about racism and xenophobia.”


At a forum in Athens on Thursday, former President Barack Obama weighed in, saying of the submersible, “the fact that that’s gotten so much more attention than 700 people who sank, that’s an untenable situation.”


Status and race no doubt play a role in how the world responds to disasters, but there are other factors as well.


Other stories have been followed in minute detail by millions of people, even when those involved were neither wealthy nor white, like the boys trapped deep in a flooded cave in Thailand in 2018. Their plight, like that of the submersible passengers, was one-of-a-kind and brought days of suspense, while few people knew of the migrants until they had died.


And in study after study, people show more compassion for the individual victim who can be seen in vivid detail than for a seemingly faceless mass of people.


But the disparity in apparent concern shown for the migrants versus the submersible passengers prompted an unusually caustic backlash in online essays, social media posts and article comments.


Laleh Khalili, a professor who has taught about international politics and the Middle East at multiple British universities, wrote on Twitter that she felt sorry for the 19-year-old, but that “a libertarian billionaire ethos of ‘we are above all laws, including physics’ took the Titan down. And the unequal treatment of this and the migrant boat catastrophe is unspeakable.”


Many commenters said they could not muster concern — some even expressed a grim satisfaction — about the fates of people on the submersible who could afford to pay $250,000 apiece for a thrill. Before the U.S. Coast Guard said on Thursday that the vessel had imploded and the five were dead, jokes and the phrase “eat the rich” proliferated online.


That schadenfreude partly reflects the rising anger in recent years at economic inequality, at the wealthy themselves and at the growing sense that the economy works only for those at the top, said Jessica Gall Myrick, a communications professor at Pennsylvania State University, whose specialty is the psychology of how people use media.


“One of the functions of humor is it helps us bond with people socially, so people who laugh at your joke are on your team and those who don’t aren’t on your team,” she said in an interview. Expressions of anger, she said, can serve the same purpose.


For human rights advocates, their anger is directed not at the rich but at European governments whose attitudes toward migrants have hardened, not only doing little to help those in trouble at sea but actively turning them away, and even treating as criminals private citizens who try to rescue migrants.


“I understand why the submersible captured attention: It’s exciting, unprecedented, obviously connected to the most famous shipwreck in history,” said Ms. Sunderland, of Human Rights Watch. “I don’t think it was wrong to make every effort to save them. What I would like is to see no effort spared to save the Black and brown people drowning in the Mediterranean. Instead, European states are doing everything they can to avoid rescue.”


The chasm between the two tragedies was particularly noted in Pakistan, home to many of those who died on the fishing trawler, and to Shahzada Dawood, the tycoon aboard the Titan. It highlighted Pakistan’s extreme divide between the millions who live in poverty and the ultrarich, and the failure of multiple governments over many years to address unemployment, inflation and other economic woes.


“How can we complain about the Greek government? Our own government in Pakistan did not stop the agents from playing with the lives of our youth by luring them to travel on such dangerous routes,” said Muhammad Ayub, a farmer in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, whose younger brother was on the fishing vessel that capsized and is believed to have died.


One factor that made the two maritime disasters very different is the degree of familiarity — though that in no way explains the lack of effort to aid the migrants before their boat sank. It is not just that some people are indifferent to the suffering of migrants — it is also that migrant drownings in the Mediterranean have become tragically frequent.


The rescues of a few people in Turkey who had survived more than a week under the rubble of a powerful earthquake in February — unusual victories amid an unusual disaster — drew the kind of global attention rarely given to the millions of refugees from Syria’s civil war who, for a decade, have lived not far away.


In 2013, the deaths of more than 300 migrants in another boat disaster off the Italian island of Lampedusa produced an outpouring of concern and increased rescue patrols. When Syrian asylum seekers began trying to reach Europe in enormous numbers in 2015, some governments and people portrayed them as alien, undesirable, even dangerous, but there was also considerable interest and empathy. The wrenching image of a drowned 3-year-old washed up on a beach had an especially profound effect.


Years and countless migrant boat calamities later, the deaths are no less appalling but attract far less attention. Aid workers call it “compassion fatigue.” The political will to help, always spotty and precarious, has waned with it.


“No one cared about the several hundred people” who drowned in the Mediterranean, said Arshad Khan, a student of political science at the University of Karachi. “But,” he added, “the United States, the United Kingdom and all the global powers are busy finding the billionaire businessman who spent billions of rupees to view the wreckage of the Titanic in the sea.”


Reporting was contributed by Christina Goldbaum from London and Zia ur-Rehman from Karachi, Pakistan.



11) Despite Global Pledges, Tree Loss Is Up Sharply in Tropical Forests

The pace of deforestation increased 10 percent in 2022, but there are signs the trajectory may change for the better in the near future.

By Manuela Andreoni, June 27, 2023

"Brazil also seems to be changing course. President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva took office in January vowing to protect the Amazon rainforest, and preliminary numbers for the first five months of the year suggest deforestation rates there have declined by 31 percent since January. Deforestation and environmental crime had increased sharply under his predecessor, Jair Bolsonaro."


An aerial view of the Amazon. Most of the land visible has been cleared. In the foreground, there are several piles of logs.  In the background, white smoke billows from the tree line.
An illegal logging operation in Humaitá, in southern Amazonas State, Brazil, in 2022. Credit...Michael Dantas/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

More than a year after countries pledged to end deforestation by 2030, the world is continuing to lose its tropical forests at a fast pace, according to a report issued on Tuesday.


The annual survey by the World Resources Institute, a research organization, found that the world lost 10.2 million acres of primary rainforest in 2022, a 10 percent increase from the year before. It is the first assessment to cover a full year since November 2021, when 145 countries pledged at a global climate summit in Glasgow to halt forest loss by the end of this decade.


“We had hoped by now to see a signal in the data that we were turning the corner on forest loss,” Frances Seymour, a senior fellow at the institute’s forest program, said. “We don’t see that signal yet, and in fact we’re headed in the wrong direction.”


The report, done in collaboration with the University of Maryland, documented tree loss in the tropics from deforestation, fires and other causes. Last year’s destruction resulted in 2.7 gigatons of carbon dioxide emissions, a significant amount that is roughly equivalent to the annual fossil fuel emissions of India, a country of 1.4 billion.


Tropical deforestation also degrades some of the planet’s richest ecosystems, the habitats for plants and animals and the regulators of rain patterns for several countries.


The Amazon rainforest, the largest in the world, hasn’t faced such enormous destruction in almost two decades, according to an analysis of the World Resources Institute data by Amazon Conservation, a research organization.


Brazil, the country with the largest portion of tropical rainforest, had the highest rates of deforestation globally. It accounted for more than 40 percent of tree loss globally, followed by the Democratic Republic of Congo and Bolivia.


Bolivia delivered some of the report’s most striking numbers. Forest loss there went up 32 percent last year, the highest rate on record for that country. It was one of the few tropical forest countries that did not sign the Glasgow commitment on deforestation.


Marlene Quintanilla, a research director at the Fundación Amigos de la Naturaleza, a nonprofit group in Bolivia, said a powerful driver of destruction in that country has been a government policy that encourages farmers to clear vast tracts to secure land titles.


“The standing forest isn’t seen as fulfilling any social or economic function,” she said.


The expansion of agriculture appeared to be hurting forests in Africa. In Ghana, the country that lost the biggest proportion of its primary forest last year, small-scale clearing for cocoa production was a major source of deforestation.


Forest clearing is strongly linked to a lack of economic opportunities and basic infrastructure in the Congo River Basin region. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, for example, most people don’t have access to electricity, so the forest is an important source of firewood and charcoal for cooking.


Teodyl Nkuintchua, who works on strategy and outreach for the World Resources Institute in the Congo Basin area, said policies to curb environmental harm would not work by themselves.


“Unless we integrate development priorities in those actions in those countries, we will not be able to address deforestation,” he said.


One of the few bright spots in the report came from Southeast Asia, where efforts to curb deforestation in Malaysia and Indonesia continued to yield results. A logging moratorium, efforts to restore peatlands, and corporate commitments to exclude palm oil suppliers linked to deforestation appear to be effective.


And there are signs the trajectory of global deforestation may change for the better in the near future.


The European Union this year delivered a push in that direction, adopting a law that bans the import of a series of products that contribute to deforestation in tropical countries. China, the world’s largest importer of many agricultural commodities, has recently committed to cracking down on illegal deforestation linked to its trade with Brazil.


Brazil also seems to be changing course. President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva took office in January vowing to protect the Amazon rainforest, and preliminary numbers for the first five months of the year suggest deforestation rates there have declined by 31 percent since January. Deforestation and environmental crime had increased sharply under his predecessor, Jair Bolsonaro.


The report’s analysis focuses on the tropics because forest loss there is usually more permanent and tends to be caused by human activity. Tropical forests also have a greater role in storing carbon and supporting biodiversity. But global tree cover loss beyond the tropics was down 10 percent last year.


According to the report, the decline was a direct result of fewer wildfires in the boreal forests of Russia. But this could change. Canada is on track to have its worst fire season on record.


El Niño, a climate pattern that is usually associated with more wildfires in the tropics, has also just arrived. There is concern that, even if countries are able to curb deforestation during this period, wildfires could erase some of their efforts.


“An El Niño year will be a test,” Rod Taylor, the global director for forests at the World Resources Institute, said, adding that he hoped fires would not wreak havoc. “But we’ll have to see.”