Bay Area United Against War Newsletter, June 30, 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) 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.



2) 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.”



3) Barred From Grocery Stores by Facial Recognition

British merchants are increasingly using the technology to combat shoplifting, raising questions about its spread as artificial intelligence rapidly improves it.

By Adam Satariano and Kashmir Hill, June 28, 2023

Adam Satariano reported from London, and Kashmir Hill from New York.


A sign taped to the Bristol supermarket window says, “Facial recognition and CCTV in operation on this site.”

Facewatch is used in about 400 British stores. Credit...Suzie Howell for The New York Times

Simon Mackenzie, a security officer at the discount retailer QD Stores outside London, was short of breath. He had just chased after three shoplifters who had taken off with several packages of laundry soap. Before the police arrived, he sat at a back-room desk to do something important: Capture the culprits’ faces.


On an aging desktop computer, he pulled up security camera footage, pausing to zoom in and save a photo of each thief. He then logged in to a facial recognition program, Facewatch, which his store uses to identify shoplifters. The next time those people enter any shop within a few miles that uses Facewatch, store staff will receive an alert.


“It’s like having somebody with you saying, ‘That person you bagged last week just came back in,’” Mr. Mackenzie said.


Use of facial recognition technology by the police has been heavily scrutinized in recent years, but its application by private businesses has received less attention. Now, as the technology improves and its cost falls, the systems are reaching further into people’s lives. No longer just the purview of government agencies, facial recognition is increasingly being deployed to identify shoplifters, problematic customers and legal adversaries.


Facewatch, a British company, is used by retailers across the country frustrated by petty crime. For as little as 250 pounds a month, or roughly $320, Facewatch offers access to a customized watchlist that stores near one another share. When Facewatch spots a flagged face, an alert is sent to a smartphone at the shop, where employees decide whether to keep a close eye on the person or ask the person to leave.


Mr. Mackenzie adds one or two new faces every week, he said, mainly people who steal diapers, groceries, pet supplies and other low-cost goods. He said their economic hardship made him sympathetic, but that the number of thefts had gotten so out of hand that facial recognition was needed. Usually at least once a day, Facewatch alerts him that somebody on the watchlist has entered the store.


Facial recognition technology is proliferating as Western countries grapple with advances brought on by artificial intelligence. The European Union is drafting rules that would ban many of facial recognition’s uses, while Eric Adams, the mayor of New York City, has encouraged retailers to try the technology to fight crime. MSG Entertainment, the owner of Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall, has used automated facial recognition to refuse entry to lawyers whose firms have sued the company.

Among democratic nations, Britain is at the forefront of using live facial recognition, with courts and regulators signing off on its use. The police in London and Cardiff are experimenting with the technology to identify wanted criminals as they walk down the street. In May, it was used to scan the crowds at the coronation of King Charles III.


But the use by retailers has drawn criticism as a disproportionate solution for minor crimes. Individuals have little way of knowing they are on the watchlist or how to appeal. In a legal complaint last year, Big Brother Watch, a civil society group, called it “Orwellian in the extreme.”


Fraser Sampson, Britain’s biometrics and surveillance camera commissioner, who advises the government on policy, said there was “a nervousness and a hesitancy” around facial recognition technology because of privacy concerns and poorly performing algorithms in the past.


“But I think in terms of speed, scale, accuracy and cost, facial recognition technology can in some areas, you know, literally be a game changer,” he said. “That means its arrival and deployment is probably inevitable. It’s just a case of when.”


Facewatch was founded in 2010 by Simon Gordon, the owner of a popular 19th-century wine bar in central London known for its cellarlike interior and popularity among pickpockets.


At the time, Mr. Gordon hired software developers to create an online tool to share security camera footage with the authorities, hoping it would save the police time filing incident reports and result in more arrests.


There was limited interest, but Mr. Gordon’s fascination with security technology was piqued. He followed facial recognition developments and had the idea for a watchlist that retailers could share and contribute to. It was like the photos of shoplifters that stores keep next to the register, but supercharged into a collective database to identify bad guys in real time.


By 2018, Mr. Gordon felt the technology was ready for commercial use.


“You’ve got to help yourself,” he said in an interview. “You can’t expect the police to come.”


Facewatch, which licenses facial recognition software made by Real Networks and Amazon, is now inside nearly 400 stores across Britain. Trained on millions of pictures and videos, the systems read the biometric information of a face as the person walks into a shop and check it against a database of flagged people.

Facewatch’s watchlist is constantly growing as stores upload photos of shoplifters and problematic customers. Once added, a person remains there for a year before being deleted.


‘Mistakes are rare but do happen’


Every time Facewatch’s system identifies a shoplifter, a notification goes to a person who passed a test to be a “super recognizer” — someone with a special talent for remembering faces. Within seconds, the super recognizer must confirm the match against the Facewatch database before an alert is sent.


But while the company has created policies to prevent misidentification and other errors, mistakes happen.


In October, a woman buying milk in a supermarket in Bristol, England, was confronted by an employee and ordered to leave. She was told that Facewatch had flagged her as a barred shoplifter.

The woman, who asked that her name be withheld because of privacy concerns and whose story was corroborated by materials provided by her lawyer and Facewatch, said there must have been a mistake. When she contacted Facewatch a few days later, the company apologized, saying it was a case of mistaken identity.


After the woman threatened legal action, Facewatch dug into its records. It found that the woman had been added to the watchlist because of an incident 10 months earlier involving £20 of merchandise, about $25. The system “worked perfectly,” Facewatch said.


But while the technology had correctly identified the woman, it did not leave much room for human discretion. Neither Facewatch nor the store where the incident occurred contacted her to let her know that she was on the watchlist and to ask what had happened.


The woman said she did not recall the incident and had never shoplifted. She said she may have walked out after not realizing that her debit card payment failed to go through at a self-checkout kiosk.


Madeleine Stone, the legal and policy officer for Big Brother Watch, said Facewatch was “normalizing airport-style security checks for everyday activities like buying a pint of milk.”

Mr. Gordon declined to comment on the incident in Bristol.


In general, he said, “mistakes are rare but do happen.” He added, “If this occurs, we acknowledge our mistake, apologize, delete any relevant data to prevent reoccurrence and offer proportionate compensation.”


Approved by the privacy office


Civil liberties groups have raised concerns about Facewatch and suggested that its deployment to prevent petty crime might be illegal under British privacy law, which requires that biometric technologies have a “substantial public interest.”


The U.K. Information Commissioner’s Office, the privacy regulator, conducted a yearlong investigation into Facewatch. The office concluded in March that Facewatch’s system was permissible under the law, but only after the company made changes to how it operated.


Stephen Bonner, the office’s deputy commissioner for regulatory supervision, said in an interview that an investigation had led Facewatch to change its policies: It would put more signage in stores, share among stores only information about serious and violent offenders and send out alerts only about repeat offenders. That means people will not be put on the watchlist after a single minor offense, as happened to the woman in Bristol.

“That reduces the amount of personal data that’s held, reduces the chances of individuals being unfairly added to this kind of list and makes it more likely to be accurate,” Mr. Bonner said. The technology, he said, is “not dissimilar to having just very good security guards.”


Liam Ardern, the operations manager for Lawrence Hunt, which owns 23 Spar convenience stores that use Facewatch, estimates the technology has saved the company more than £50,000 since 2020.


He called the privacy risks of facial recognition overblown. The only example of misidentification that he recalled was when a man was confused for his identical twin, who had shoplifted. Critics overlook that stores like his operate on thin profit margins, he said.


“It’s easy for them to say, ‘No, it’s against human rights,’” Mr. Ardern said. If shoplifting isn’t reduced, he said, his shops will have to raise prices or cut staff.




4) Something Was Messing With Earth’s Axis. The Answer Has to Do With Us.

Scientists knew the planet’s centerline could move. But it took a sharp turn sometime around the start of the 2000s.

By Raymond Zhong, June 28, 2023

A view of Earth’s Arctic regions from space.  The high northern latitudes appear mostly white from snow, ice and cloud. Closer to the Equator, brown and green tones emerge on land.
Though you can’t feel it, Earth’s rotation is nowhere near as smooth as that of the globe on your desk. Credit...Norman Kuring, NASA/GSFC/Suomi NPP

Around the turn of the millennium, Earth’s spin started going off-kilter, and nobody could quite say why.


For decades, scientists had been watching the average position of our planet’s rotational axis, the imaginary rod around which it turns, gently wander south, away from the geographic North Pole and toward Canada. Suddenly, though, it made a sharp turn and started heading east.


In time, researchers came to a startling realization about what had happened. Accelerated melting of the polar ice sheets and mountain glaciers had changed the way mass was distributed around the planet enough to influence its spin.


Now, some of the same scientists have identified another factor that’s had the same kind of effect: colossal quantities of water pumped out of the ground for crops and households.


“Wow,” Ki-Weon Seo, who led the research behind the latest discovery, recalled thinking when his calculations showed a strong link between groundwater extraction and the drifting of Earth’s axis. It was a “big surprise,” said Dr. Seo, a geophysicist at Seoul National University.


Water experts have long warned of the consequences of groundwater overuse, particularly as water from underground aquifers becomes an increasingly vital resource in drought-stressed areas like the American West. When water is pumped out of the ground but not replenished, the land can sink, damaging homes and infrastructure and also shrinking the amount of underground space that can hold water thereafter.


Between 1960 and 2000, worldwide groundwater depletion more than doubled, to about 75 trillion gallons a year, scientists estimate. Since then, satellites that measure variations in Earth’s gravity have revealed the staggering extent to which groundwater supplies have declined in particular regions, including India and the Central Valley of California.


“I’m not surprised that it would have an effect” on Earth’s spin, said Matthew Rodell, an earth scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. But “it’s impressive they were able to tease that out of the data,” Dr. Rodell said, referring to the authors of the new research, which was published this month in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. “And that the observations they have of the polar motion are precise enough to see that effect.”


Earth’s axis hasn’t been wandering enough to affect the seasons, which are determined by the planet’s tilt. But fine patterns and variations in the planet’s spin matter hugely to the satellite-based navigation systems that guide planes, missiles and map apps. This has helped motivate researchers to try to understand why the axis moves and where it might be headed next.


You can’t feel it, but our planet’s rotation is nowhere near as smooth as that of the globe on your desk.


As it moves through space, Earth wobbles like a poorly-thrown Frisbee. This is partly because it bulges at the Equator and partly because air masses are constantly whirling through the atmosphere and water is sloshing around in the oceans, pulling the planet ever-so-slightly this way and that.


And then, there’s that wandering axis.


One main cause is that Earth’s crust and mantle are springing back after being covered for millenniums by gigantic ice sheets, rebounding like a mattress unburdened of a sleeper. This has been steadily changing the balance of mass around the planet.


More recently, the balance has also been altered by factors more closely linked to human activity and the global climate. These include the melting of mountain glaciers and the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, changes in soil moisture, and our impounding of water behind dams.


Another big factor, according to the study by Dr. Seo and his colleagues, is groundwater depletion. In terms of the effect on Earth’s axis, pumping up water from underground was second in magnitude, between 1993 and 2010, only to the post-glacier adjustment of the planet’s crust, the study found.


Other forces might also be pulling Earth’s axis in its new direction but aren’t yet fully understood, said Clark R. Wilson, a geophysicist at the University of Texas at Austin and another author of the study. “It’s possible, for example, there’s something in Earth’s fluid core that’s going on, that’s contributing as well,” he said.


Even so, the latest discovery points to new possibilities for using information about Earth’s spin to study the climate, Dr. Wilson said.


Because scientists have collected highly precise data on the position of Earth’s axis during much of the 20th century, they might be able to use it to understand shifts in groundwater use that took place before the most modern and reliable data became available.


It is a possibility Dr. Seo says he has already begun to explore.



5) Anger Flares in France After Police Shoot and Kill Teenage Driver

Protesters burned cars and clashed with riot officers in the suburbs of Paris after an officer shot a 17-year-old during a traffic stop.

By Aurelien Breeden and Constant Méheut, June 28, 2023

Firefighters in orange uniforms tackling a blaze burning in the shell of a burned-out car.
A car that was set alight on the sidelines of a demonstration in Nanterre, west of Paris, on Tuesday. Credit...Zakaria Abdelkafi/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The authorities in France have opened a criminal investigation after a 17-year-old driver was shot and killed by a police officer during a traffic stop near Paris, an episode that touched off a night of violence and fueled a longstanding debate on the use of deadly force by the country’s security forces.


Initial news reports, based on what were described as anonymous police sources, had suggested that the driver plowed into two officers with his car on Tuesday during the stop in Nanterre, west of the capital. But an unconfirmed video of the shooting that appeared later led to accusations that the police had acted too aggressively, and prosecutors in Nanterre have opened a manslaughter investigation.


The video, believed to have been filmed by a witness, spread quickly on social networks and was picked up by the French news media. It shows two helmeted police officers on the left side of a yellow car that is stopped on the street. The video was also obtained by The New York Times from a person who said she was close to the witness and who spoke on the condition of anonymity out of fear of repercussions for sharing the footage.


The officers, both peering into the driver’s window, are heard shouting, although what they said to the victim, identified by lawyers for his family as Naël M., is unclear. One of the officers leans onto the windshield and points what appears to be a firearm at the driver, and as the car starts moving away, a loud bang is audible.


That officer is in police custody, though he has not been charged. The family of the driver said that it was going to file a complaint accusing the police officer of murder.


The French government, which has been reluctant to even use the term “police violence” in the past, spoke in unusually forceful terms on Wednesday about the nature of the teenager’s death and expressed rare criticism of the police, a sign of how seriously the authorities were treating the developments.


Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne told the lower house of Parliament that “the entire nation has been affected by this tragedy” after lawmakers held a minute of silence.


“I know the commitment of our police officers and gendarmes who are in the field every day,” Ms. Borne said. But she said that video footage of the incident showed a police operation “that clearly does not appear to comply with the rules of engagement of our police forces.”


Emmanuel Macron, the French president, expressed “the nation’s sympathy” for the teenager’s family. “Justice must be done,” Mr. Macron told reporters in Marseille, in southern France. “Nothing justifies the death of a young person,” he added.


The shooting inflamed long-simmering anger in suburbs where relations between the police and residents are often fraught with mistrust.


On Tuesday, rage over the teenager’s death had quickly spilled into violence, especially in the Hauts-de-Seine area, which includes Nanterre. More than 30 people were arrested overnight, according to the French authorities, after protesters threw rocks and fireworks at riot police, who responded with tear gas.


Protesters also burned some 40 cars and set fire to construction shacks and some buildings. A City Hall annex in Mantes-la-Jolie, a town further west of Paris, was destroyed.


Gérald Darmanin, the French interior minister, said that 2,000 police officers and gendarmes would be deployed across France on Wednesday evening to contain any unrest.


Sofia Berkoukeche, 29, an occupational psychologist who has lived in Nanterre for nearly a decade, said on Wednesday that there was “a general frustration with police violence,” and called the shooting “the last straw.”


“You can’t take such radical measures to impose order,” said Ms. Berkoukeche, who was working on the terrace of a local café. “It makes the police less credible.”


Mr. Darmanin said that the police officer would be punished if warranted. “An act like the one that we saw, if the investigation confirms the videos that we have seen, is never justified,” he said. The two officers are experienced members of the traffic police in their late 30s and early 40s, and had no record of misconduct, Mr. Darmanin added.


The prosecutor’s office in Nanterre said in a statement that the shooting occurred on Tuesday morning, between 8:15 and 8:20, near Place Nelson Mandela, a square in Nanterre not far from La Défense, a business district northwest of Paris.


Two people were in the vehicle, a Mercedes AMG, in addition to the driver, the prosecutor’s office said: One of them was released after questioning by the police; the other was still being sought by the authorities after fleeing the scene.


Laurent Nuñez, the Paris police prefect, told the French TV channel CNews on Wednesday that the two officers had tried to stop the car because the driver had committed several traffic violations and had refused to stop a first time, before getting stuck in traffic. That is when the two police officers were able to approach the vehicle, he said.


Mr. Nuñez said an investigation would determine the circumstances of the incident. “It isn’t normal to die during a traffic stop when you are 17,” Mr. Nuñez noted.


The driver died an hour after being shot, the prosecutor’s office said. An autopsy was expected on Wednesday, but initial tests did not indicate that the driver had been under the influence of any drug or alcohol, the prosecutor’s office said.


Yassine Bouzrou, a lawyer for the family of the driver, said that in addition to the complaint against the police officer who fired the shot, the family would also file a suit accusing the other officer of complicity and another legal action accusing the officers of lying about the incident in their initial statements.


Deadly firearm deaths are uncommon in France, and the shooting on Tuesday quickly captured the nation’s attention, including that of celebrities.


The actor Omar Sy and the soccer player Kylian Mbappé both expressed support for Naël’s family on social media.


“My France hurts,” Mr. Mbappé wrote on Twitter, calling the incident an “unacceptable situation.”


Nanterre, with a population of nearly 100,000, is home to one of the Paris region’s largest universities. It is more working-class than neighboring cities in the Hauts-de-Seine, though not nearly as impoverished as some of the other suburbs that ring Paris.


Patrick Jarry, the mayor of Nanterre, said at a news conference on Wednesday that the city had experienced “one of the worst days of its history.”


“Let us stop this destructive spiral,” Mr. Jarry said. “We want justice for Naël, we will obtain it through peaceful mobilization.”


The town was mostly calm on Wednesday, and residents were both shocked and unsurprised by the police shooting.

“We already have a bad perception of the police,” said Mathilde Emery, a 17-year-old high-school student, who was eating lunch on a park bench. “It’s just disappointing.”


Ms. Emery said she knew Naël from previous years of schooling, describing him as a funny and easygoing classmate who liked to joke around.


Juliette Guéron-Gabrielle contributed reporting from Nanterre, France.



6) ‘Man Down!’: Surviving the Texas Heat in Prisons Without Air-Conditioning

The record June heat has been particularly dangerous inside the state’s prisons, where indoor temperatures can top 110 degrees.

By J. David Goodman, June 29, 2023

Reporting from Houston


An inate lies shirtless on a bed, behind bars.

An inmate sleeps shirtless at the Reynaldo V. Lopez State Jail in Edinburg, Texas. Credit...Verónica G. Cárdenas for The New York Times

On the third day of 100-degree temperatures last week, locked without air-conditioning in a Texas prison north of Houston, Joseph Martire said he began to feel overwhelmed. His breathing grew heavy.


An inmate for nearly 16 years, Mr. Martire was expecting to be released in a few weeks. But it was so hot that day, he recalled, that he wondered if he would make it that long. He was covered in sweat and felt so lightheaded that he had to brace himself against a wall. At some point, he passed out.


“It’s kind of weird getting woken up with fingers in your eyes and not knowing how you got there,” Mr. Martire, 35, said of the efforts to revive him by pressing on pressure points around his eyes. He was eventually moved to an air-conditioned emergency medical area. “They kept me there for two hours, drinking ice water, salt water, taking my temperature, making sure I was still alive,” he said.


The weekslong June heat wave scorching Texas has been particularly brutal and dangerous inside the state’s sprawling prison system, where a majority of those incarcerated, and the guards who watch over them, have been struggling without air-conditioning.


In more than a dozen interviews this week, current and former inmates, as well as their relatives and friends, described an elemental effort at survival going on inside the prisons, with inmates relying on warm water, wet towels and fans that push hot air. Some flooded their cells with water from their combination sink-toilets, lying on the wet concrete for relief. Others, desperate for the guards’ attention, lit fires or took to screaming in unison for water or for help with an inmate who had passed out.


“If somebody goes down, we start beating on the lockers and doors yelling, ‘Man down!” said Luke King, 41, an inmate who, along with Mr. Martire, is in a prison in Huntsville, Texas. With the heat, he said, that has been happening “at least daily.”


The superheated conditions inside many prisons — where temperatures can reach 110 degrees or above — have been a well-known problem for years, and not just in Texas. Across the South, prisons in habitually hot states like Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi also do not provide centralized air-conditioning in most cases, according to a 2019 report. And the heat dome that has settled in recent weeks over Texas has been increasingly shifting to the east, bringing extreme temperatures into those Southern states.


In Texas, the Republican-controlled House this year proposed spending $545 million to install air-conditioning in the majority of state prisons that do not have it. The House also overwhelmingly approved a bill to require that the temperature in prisons be no higher than 85 degrees and no lower than 65. State law in Texas already requires county jails to keep the temperature within that range.


The bill to require cooling died in the State Senate. And despite a record surplus, the final state budget did not include money specifically for prison air-conditioning, though state prison officials have been slowly expanding cooling facilities within their existing budgets.


State Representative Terry Canales, a Democrat from South Texas, blamed the lack of action on Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, a conservative Republican who leads the Senate. Mr. Patrick’s office did not respond to a request for comment.


“The narrative comes from the 1980s that we need to be tough on crime, and installing A.C. in prisons seems soft on inmates,” said Mr. Canales, who sponsored the temperature legislation and has brought bills to address prison heat in each of the last two legislative sessions.


“The truth is the state is paying millions of dollars a year in heat-related lawsuits and we’re facing chronic corrections-officer shortages,” he added. “It’s not conservative. Being in prison in and of itself is a punishment. But nobody is signed up to be tortured.”


The Texas Department of Criminal Justice, which runs the prisons, has not attributed any of the 32 inmate deaths recorded this month to excessive heat, and has not reported a heat-related death since 2012. Inmate advocates have questioned those statistics. A 2022 study of Texas prisoner deaths found that on average, more than 10 a year could be attributed to the heat in prisons without air-conditioning.


“We take numerous precautions to lessen the effects of hot temperatures for those incarcerated within our facilities,” Amanda Hernandez, a department spokeswoman, said in a statement. “These efforts work.” So far in June, she said, there have been five inmates with heat-related injuries who required medical care “beyond first aid.” Last June, there were three such cases.


She added: “Much like those Texans who do not have access to air-conditioning in their homes,” inmates are able to keep themselves cool by other means: ice water, fans and “access to air-conditioned respite areas when needed.” She said that the department had taken steps to identify inmates who were potentially more vulnerable to the heat and given them priority placement in areas with air-conditioning.


The department operates 98 facilities, of which 31 are fully air-conditioned and 14 have no cooling at all. The rest have air-conditioning only in certain areas. The department has been adding air-conditioning each year and now has more than 43,000 “cool beds” — about a third of those in the system — according to Ms. Hernandez. The department has discussed plans to eventually air-condition all prisons at a projected cost of more than $1 billion, but still needs the funding.


In the meantime, several current inmates and their families said prisoners were suffering through the heat and had often been unable access the promised respite areas, either because of staffing shortages or because they were denied permission. Others said there were few fans available, or that the water in their prison showers — meant as a means of cooling — offered little relief.


“He says, ‘I feel terrible, I have to go take a shower,'” said Cynthia Anguiano, 41, describing a conversation with her fiancé, who has been serving a long sentence for a fatal shooting. “And then the water comes out like almost hot.”


She said two of her brothers, also in Texas prisons, had been sharing their struggles with her via text messages. “Hey sis, what’s up? It’s been hot as hell over here,” read one of their messages, shared with The New York Times. “I get shortness of breath because there’s no air circulation.”


Hope Thommen, 40, said her boyfriend was serving a sentence for armed robbery in a prison in Central Texas, which he described to her as feeling “like a chicken coop in the heat with no shade.” He told her that other inmates had set fire to sheets and mattresses, “trying to get the guards attention because they’re hot,” she said.


“From the minute he wakes up he says, ‘I feel like I’m dying,’” Ms. Thommen said.


One of the most vocal groups advocating for inmates in Texas grew out of concern over the heat in past years. “The way to solve this problem would be to simply put the air-conditioners in,” said Amite Dominick, one of the authors of the 2022 heat death study and the founder of the group, Texas Prisons Community Advocates. “People are desperate. They’re tired of it.”


Excessive temperatures inside prisons have also been a problem for employees and guards, said Jeff Ormsby, the executive director of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Texas Corrections, a union representing prison workers.


“It’s been really bad. We’ve had several people call and say they’re quitting because of the heat,” Mr. Ormsby said. “It’s a messed-up situation. The working conditions are horrific. The assaults go up in the summer because of the heat. It’s just a stress factor.”


An employee at one prison said the heat was so intense that his work clothes were often soaked through with sweat and that he occasionally felt overwhelmed enough to need to sit down. The employee, who requested anonymity because he feared reprisal for complaining about his work conditions, said he had seen a colleague taken away in an ambulance this month.


Inmates described similar experiences of watching those around them succumb to the extreme temperatures. “I’ve seen a lot of old people go down from this heat. There’s just no relief here, there ain’t none,” said Mr. King in Huntsville, who was imprisoned for crimes including theft and burglary. “I’d hate to lose my life behind this. I’d hate to die because I’m in a hot cell.”


He added: “I understand that we’re inmates and we make mistakes. Paying for your mistakes is one thing. But living like this is wrong.”


Mr. Martire, who has been serving a sentence for burglary, said that when he passed out from the heat this month there were two others in the emergency area, also recovering from being overheated.


“It’s like sitting inside of a convection oven,” he said in a telephone interview. “It heats up and it keeps on heating up when the sun goes down.” He has tried to stay focused on his impending release and said his plans for coping with the summer heat on the outside were relatively simple.


“Swimming as much as possible,” he said.



7) ‘My Body Is a Clock’: The Private Life of Chronic Care

Photographs and Text by Sara J. Winston, June 29, 2023

Ms. Winston is an artist and the photography program coordinator at Bard College.

The author standing near a sunlit window between two chairs. An intravenous tube connected to her hand leads to a monitor a few feet away.

Before I had a name for what ailed my body, I thought of myself as dehydrated and out of shape. I believed that the physical discomfort I’d experienced for years — numbness, pain, tingling and pins-and-needles sensations throughout my body — must be traceable to a cause of my own making. At that time, I looked at chronic illness as an outsider. It was a thing that happened to others, not to me.


That changed on Christmas Eve 2014, when a neurologist at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital read my M.R.I. and confirmed that I had relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. This form of the disease, as the name implies, is characterized by unexpected flare-ups and periods of remission.


I was 26. I realized right then that my dream of being an artist, and the unconventional lifestyle I expected along with it, was over before it began. Four months after my diagnosis, I received my first infusion of high-dose intravenous steroids. In the fall of 2015, under the care of a neurologist, I began a monthly intravenous treatment of medication that blocks immune cells from entering the brain and spinal cord. I travel 65 miles to a site in the Hudson Valley for the infusion therapy.


Treatment has been successful, and I have remained in a state of remission while taking it as recommended — every 28 days, indefinitely. But even today, nine years into managing the illness, I struggle with the chronic nature of my condition. I am always aware that if lose my access to regular treatment, I’ll be at risk of severe disability.


Though I don’t like to admit it, every choice I make is determined by my need to maintain uninterrupted access to medical care. This has made my illness the truest navigational force of my life. Rather than orient myself to the cycle of the moon, I orient myself to the cycle of infusion. And it has become a system in my creative work. My body is a clock.


Every 28 days, I point the camera toward myself to document my illness and care. I have used my time as a patient in the infusion suite, a place where I sometimes feel powerless, to reclaim my autonomy as an artist and photographer.


In the infusion suite, both my body and my mind become containers for information. My body holds the new intelligence of the medical drip. As the fluid flows through my body and into my bloodstream, my mind is usually inundated with information from the staff.

Since my diagnosis I’ve thought often of my aunt, who has lived with progressive multiple sclerosis for years. Without health insurance, she did not have access to advanced imaging, diagnostic testing, medication or lifestyle guidance until her disease was very advanced. Instead, she found ways to self-medicate. Now in her early 60s, she is immobile, hardly able to speak and unable to navigate the social programs for which she is eligible.


Whether or not we’re aware of it, we all live in fragile bodies that require tremendous care and attention to function. Each and every one of us exists on a spectrum of illness, often dipping in and out of it. And yet, we also exist in a culture where it is taboo to talk about being sick, and the taboo can allow shame to fester among those who are chronically ill.


Still, I choose not to dwell on the scarier moments of managing the disease — the psychological burden and angst caused by my symptoms as well as the precarity and inhumanity of health care access and costs in the United States. The sophisticated treatments that exist today make this the best time in history to live with multiple sclerosis — if you can get access to care. The politics of this cannot be avoided. To be sick is political.


Maintaining all the pieces to continue to receive care in the current system is exhausting and stressful to navigate. Patient education and advocacy have been critical to my health care experience.


I came of age and of illness after the Obama-era Affordable Care Act established protections for people with pre-existing and chronic conditions. Yet even with this framework and my participation in private insurance, now supplemented by my employer, the recurring thought of losing my coverage and being denied my medication causes me much distress.


We are not prepared for problems that cannot be solved, and living with that reality is part of being chronically ill. There is no practical end. How do we break the silence to begin to discuss pain, loss, a broken health insurance economy, overworked nurses and the precarity of care?


With the coming 2024 presidential election, there will surely be renewed calls to repeal and replace Obamacare. The threat and fear of losing access to care will loom for millions. Even with the recent and ongoing events of the Covid pandemic, an adequate and sustainable system remains out of reach. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have already lost and are still losing access to care as Medicaid pandemic protections expire.


Political responses to this crisis of care matter. But so do personal and artistic ones. What if chronic illness, long concealed and misrepresented by popular culture, was made more visible? What if it was more often a subject for art?



8) Repeal of Affirmative Action Is Only the Beginning

By Darren Walker, June 30, 2023

Mr. Walker is the president of the Ford Foundation. 

An American flag coiled around a flag pole, within view of the Supreme Court building.
Christopher Lee for The New York Times

Let’s be honest about the painful reality: America has functioned as a full democracy — guaranteeing the franchise to all — for less than one human lifetime. In practice, our democracy is younger than me.


I was born in 1959, into an America rived by apartheid. When I was a child, the adults in my life were technically eligible to vote. However, in the Louisiana and Texas towns where I grew up, they were prevented from doing so by the social and cultural norms of the American South.


During the first two decades of my life, the American people finally acknowledged this truth and, to borrow a phrase, acted affirmatively to address it. A new generation of American founders mobilized into a great, multiracial movement, challenged our nation to live up to its ideals and initiated a national construction project on the foundation of the Constitution’s 14th Amendment (which was violated with impunity for an entire century after the nation ratified it).


In the Court’s majority opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts held that “eliminating racial discrimination means eliminating all of it”—a new version of his old affront that “the way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.”


This glib framing, and the school of thinking it represents, established a pernicious, false moral equivalence. Those who preserved and protected Jim Crow — the institution that defended America’s old racial hierarchy — were and are something altogether different from those who fought and who continue fighting for a more just America.


For me, this is no abstraction. I attended small-town Texas schools roiled by desegregation.


In grade school, I saw the vestiges of Jim Crow firsthand: the dilapidated old Negro facilities, the hanging tree adjacent to the courthouse, the swimming pool closed and filled with concrete in response to court-ordered desegregation.


And then, throughout my childhood, government and other institutions acted affirmatively to change. They began to redress the hypocrisy and harm, reckoning with the countless ways that they had protected power and privilege for some at the expense of others. From the wreckage of a lost century, they began building with laws and policies a more American United States.


I was a beneficiary when President Lyndon Johnson and his administration created a program called Head Start; when he signed the Civil Rights Act into law on July 2, before my fifth birthday; when he signed the Voting Rights Act into law a year later, enabling my mother and millions of people like her to vote for the first time in their lives.


I was a beneficiary when the University of Texas, my alma mater, also acted affirmatively to recruit, admit and retain Black and Latino students, whereas it previously excluded us for the entirety of the institution’s existence.


I was a beneficiary because the firms and foundations that shaped my career embraced this obligation, to make right what their predecessors had done wrong, to open doors they had closed.


Those uprooting affirmative action seem content to leave intact systems that compound privilege, exacerbating inequality — like legacy admissions policies that disproportionately favor wealthy, white applicants — resulting in lower-income students and families of all races losing out.


The court’s decision also opens the door to numerous legal challenges of diversity programs across government, business and civil society — programs explicitly designed to mitigate what Justice Thurgood Marshall called a “legacy of discrimination” beyond the college campus.


I find it regrettable that, over 40 years ago, Justice Lewis Powell introduced the American public to the imperative of diversity in the shallow manner that he did.


I was a freshman in college when his seminal opinion in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke (1978) invited some to equate the benefits of diversity with unfairness. Since then I have heard the recriminations of Justice Powell’s argument in cloaked conversations — in the idea that necessary diversity initiatives are somehow reverse discrimination or that they correlate with lower standards or lesser outcomes.


The data suggests exactly the opposite. Study after study demonstrates that, across organizations, diversity enhances critical thinking, creativity and collaboration, as well as productivity, profitability and performance. It is a national tragedy that diversity is now a contested issue rather than a common interest.


And we should tell the truth about why diversity is now controversial: Opponents of diversity are opponents of any racial consciousness. They want to prevent us from understanding the ways that the past informs the present, from wrestling with the fullness and richness and complexity of our history.


Indeed, they wish to impose an ahistoric mythology on the American people that makes it harder, if not outright impossible, to address the many ways that Black and white still live in separate and unequal Americas.


We still live in an increasingly segregated society — and we see it in our classrooms and our neighborhoods and our workplaces and our criminal justice system. Statistic after statistic maintains the same burning truth.


The America that I know is better than this. We are bigger than this. We are stronger than this.


America is still courageous enough to acknowledge our failings and the reasons for our failings. And we still can be united enough to address them — to act affirmatively, once again, to extend the blessings of freedom and opportunity and justice to all.


For our part in philanthropy, we cannot be dissuaded or deterred. We must remain steadfast in our missions to narrow inequalities, to defend human dignity and human rights and to promote democratic values and institutions at home and abroad.


And for all of us, as Americans, we must fulfill our responsibilities as well. As we approach the 250th anniversary of our founding, we must redeclare that we all are created equal, endowed with equally inalienable rights, and recommit ourselves to realizing these values. We must rededicate ourselves to what President Abraham Lincoln called “the unfinished work” of building the pluralist democracy to which we all aspire.


I believe fiercely in the promise of America. My love for this nation is unyielding and unwavering.


As Americans, we have a charge to keep, a beacon to keep alight, especially now, as minoritarian tyranny has taken hold of our institutions. It is systematically dismantling the scaffolding from which we built our democracy, without any clear sense of what will replace it. For some, perhaps, the objective is not to replace it at all.


In this new era of deconstruction, we must summon renewed fortitude, resilience and vigilance, with reverence for those who came before us and resolve for those who follow. This will require patriotic defiance, with respect for the rule of law but with fidelity to the ideals that precede it.


With hope, let us rejoin and rebuild, until America is America and the unfinished is complete.



9) French Police Won Authority to Shoot at Drivers, but Got ‘No Training Whatsoever’

Data showed a spike in fatal shootings like the one that has incited angry protests. Experts say it’s an unintended consequence of a rushed response to terrorism.

By Constant Méheut, June 30, 2023

Constant Méheut reported from Paris and has been investigating fatal shootings during police traffic stops for more than a month.

A woman riding above and behind the cab of a small white platform truck through a crowd of demonstrators in Nanterre, France. Several yards behind her is a crowd of protesters carrying a large sign reading, “Justice for Nahel.”
Mounia M., the mother of Nahel M., the French teenager killed by the police during a traffic stop this week, attending a memorial march for her son in Nanterre, France, on Thursday. Credit...Abdulmonam Eassa/Getty Images

For years, French police unions argued that officers should get broader discretion over when to shoot at fleeing motorists. Time and again, lawmakers refused.


Finally in 2017, after a string of terrorist attacks, the government relented. Eager to be tough on crime and terrorism, lawmakers passed a bill allowing officers to fire on motorists who flee traffic stops, even when the officers are not in immediate danger.


“For politicians, because this was real politics, it was hard to say no,” recalled Frédéric Lagache, a leader of the police union Alliance Police who pushed forcefully for the law.


Since that law passed, the number of fatal police shootings of motorists has increased sixfold, according to data compiled recently by a team of French researchers and shared with The New York Times. Last year, 13 people were shot dead in their vehicles, a record in a country where police killings are rare.


The law has come under fresh scrutiny after a police officer killed a teenage driver during a traffic stop this week, shocking the country and igniting street protests and riots. Several lawmakers have called for a repeal or revision of the law.


Union leaders, including those who supported the law, say training on what it permitted was woefully inadequate.


“We received no training whatsoever,” Mr. Lagache said. He and other police officers interviewed in the weeks and months before this most recent fatal shooting said their classes had been mostly online — video tutorials showing the situations in which police officers may or may not shoot — and covered theoretical topics that failed to capture the realities of the field.


“We still have colleagues today who open fire because they’re convinced that they’re protected under the law, when they’re not,” said Yves Lefebvre, a union leader who helped negotiate the bill. “There’s inevitably some collateral damage.”

French police officials did not return messages seeking comment on how officers are trained. Union members have an incentive to blame the training, rather than their officers or a law they had supported.


A report last year by the Cour des Comptes, France’s highest public audit institution, showed that nearly 40 percent of officers failed to comply with a requirement to attend three shooting training sessions. That is separate from the 2017 law and carries no penalties if ignored.


Following the recent shooting, France’s interior minister, Gérald Darmanin, denied that fatal shootings at fleeing motorists increased following the law’s passage, a contention that was refuted by the data compiled by the French researchers.


Policing experts and lawyers say the law and the spate of police shootings that followed are the unintended consequences of the French government’s response to terrorism and to an increase in threats against the police.


“The law was passed to achieve expected effects,” said Marie-France Monéger, the former head of a powerful police body that investigates police forces, referring to battling terrorism. “Then you have the unexpected effects and then you have the perverse effects.”


Suicide bombings in Paris in 2015, a deadly truck attack in Nice in 2016 and a firebombing that seriously wounded two police officers that year in suburban Paris prompted calls for tougher security. The bill, which also allowed officers to shoot at fleeing suspects deemed a danger, passed with an overwhelming majority in February 2017.


But firing on moving or speeding cars is a tactic that many cities have banned as too dangerous. New York Police Department officers, for example, have been generally prohibited from firing at cars since 1972.


“What France is doing is in many ways an anomaly,” said Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, a group in Washington whose members are police executives from major city, county and state forces.


In the past, French police officers were allowed to fire on vehicles only when the officers were in immediate danger, the same right of self-defense as any citizen. Police unions, a powerful political force in France, argued, though, that they should have broader authority to fight crime and rules that matched those of the gendarmerie, a French police force with military status.


Now, police can fire when they believe that motorists are likely to endanger lives while fleeing. Officers, the law says, may use their weapons in cases of “absolute necessity and in a strictly proportionate manner.”


Catherine Tzutzuiano, a University of Toulon law professor, said the law’s wording “suggests that officers can use their weapons more easily.”


The bill drew heavy criticism from France’s defender of rights, an independent government ombudsman who monitors civil rights, and the National Advisory Committee on Human Rights, a United Nations-affiliated group that advises the French government. Both warned that the law’s vague wording might lead to more fatal shootings.


Those shootings increased almost immediately after it went into effect. In the first nine months, the police shot and killed five motorists, more than in the five years before the law.


“In 2017, the wrong message was sent. We said, ‘Now, you can shoot at cars,’” Laurent-Franck Liénard, a lawyer who is defending most of the 13 police officers involved in last year’s fatal traffic stops, said in an interview in February. “That was total nonsense.” He said most officers involved were young recruits in their mid-20s who received limited shooting training.

Since 2017, Mr. Liénard said in the same interview, the situation has improved. Officers are more careful to fire only in self-defense, he said.


Mr. Liénard said the officer involved in this week’s shooting, whom he also represents, “shot within the framework of the law.” That officer has not been identified publicly.


The rising trend in fatal traffic stops since 2017 “is really a big issue, which has probably made France the European champion for lethal shootings on vehicles,” said Sebastian Roché, a policing expert at the country’s National Center for Scientific Research, who compiled the data and shared it with The Times.


A research paper on the topic is under peer review by an American journal, he said, adding that the underlying figures on shootings and traffic stops come from the French police.


On average, France has recorded one fatal shooting every two and a half months since the law passed, compared with one every 16 months before the law — a sixfold increase.


French authorities and police unions have argued that this surge is driven mostly by a growing number of drivers who refuse to stop and endanger the lives of others. The number of such dangerous refusals to stop recorded by the police doubled from 2012 to 2021, according to official police data.


But that does not explain the sixfold increase in the rate of shootings.


The researchers also ruled out that the surge could be attributed to an overall rise in crime. They noted that, unlike with the French national police, the number of fatal traffic stops had barely increased in the gendarmerie, the French military police force, and in the police forces of Belgium and Germany, two countries with relatively similar homicide rates to France.


“There’s no doubt about it,” Mr. Roché said. “The 2017 law giving more powers to the police is the cause of the increase in fatal police shootings.”


It remains unclear what training the officer involved in Tuesday’s killing had received. In a video of the incident, the officer can be seen on the driver’s side of a car, pointing a gun into the vehicle. When the car started to pull away, he shot the driver, who was pronounced dead an hour later. The police have identified him only as Nahel M., a 17-year-old French citizen of Algerian and Moroccan descent.


A French prosecutor said on Thursday that, even under the 2017 law’s provisions, the officer had not met the legal standard to open fire. The officer was placed under formal investigation on charges of “voluntary homicide.”


Prominent politicians called for a review of the law. And an editorial in Le Monde, one of France’s leading newspapers, called for changes to the law.


“How can a problem that arose in 2017 and has since been confirmed by the facts every year be addressed politically only today,” said Marine Tondelier, the head of the French Greens, “just because a 17-year-old boy died and we have a video.”



10) Two California Companies Will Soon Sell Lab-Grown Meat

Upside Foods and Good Meat, both based in the Bay Area, are the first companies approved by the U.S. to sell meat grown from animal cells.

By Soumya Karlamangla, June 30, 2023

A chicken dish featuring lab-grown meat from Upside Foods.

A chicken dish featuring lab-grown meat from Upside Foods. Credit...Gabriela Hasbun for The New York Times

A state long known for pushing the envelope, California is once again at the center of a new technological trend: lab-grown meat.


The U.S. Agriculture Department last week approved the sale of meat grown from stem cells, a watershed moment for the alternative protein industry. To be clear, this isn’t another plant-based meat substitute like Impossible or Beyond burgers, but something that seems much closer to science fiction: actual meat cultivated from animal cells.


“This approval will fundamentally change how meat makes it to our table,” Dr. Uma Valeti, the chief executive and founder of Upside Foods, said in a statement. Upside Foods and another company, Good Meat, are the only two companies in the country that have been given the federal clearance. Both are based in the Bay Area.


“It’s a giant step forward towards a more sustainable future — one that preserves choice and life,” Valeti said.


Upside, which has facilities in Berkeley and Emeryville, has partnered with the chef Dominique Crenn, who will begin to serve the company’s lab-grown chicken at her San Francisco restaurant, Bar Crenn, in the coming weeks. Good Meat, based in Alameda, plans to begin selling its own cultivated chicken to the chef José Andrés to use at China Chilcano, his restaurant in Washington, D.C., company officials told me.


So what, exactly, is lab-grown meat? I’ll let my colleague Kim Severson, who last year wrote an excellent deep dive on the burgeoning industry, explain:


“It begins with stem cells from an animal biopsy, an egg or even a feather that multiply rapidly in a stainless steel tank called a bioreactor or cultivator. The cells feed on a complex broth that contains nutrients like carbohydrates and amino acids, and some type of growth factor, to become muscle, fat or connective tissue. Taste and nutrition are controlled by cell selection and the broth they grow in. …


And the taste? In the Upside Foods test kitchen, I sampled a slightly grainy chicken pâté and a perfectly round breakfast patty blended with plant-based proteins that fried up nicely. Generous seasoning masked the flavor of the meat.”

The United States is only the second country to approve the sale of meat grown from stem cells; Singapore was the first in 2020. That year, Good Meat debuted cultivated meat for sale at a private club in Singapore, where the company, as Kim wrote, “tucked the meat into a bao bun and turned it into a crisp patty on a maple waffle.”


The arrival of lab-grown meat isn’t without pushback. While supporters say growing meat in tanks will bring environmental benefits and relieve animal suffering, opponents worry it could be scientifically risky and create allergens and untested byproducts.


There’s even debate about what to call this new product. Supporters prefer “cultivated” or “clean” meat, while opponents like “synthetic” or “engineered” meat. The Agriculture Department is still drafting regulations on how the products should be labeled, but for now the agency is going with “cell cultivated chicken.”


Crenn, the San Francisco chef, told The New York Times last year that she was initially turned off by the idea of cooking with cultivated meat.


“I love farmers and ranchers. That is not what I am against,” she said. “I am against factory farming. That is not sustainable.”


The first cultivated breast meat Crenn tasted was a bit mushy, she said, but the flavor reminded her of poulet rouge, a heritage breed from France.


Soon, an “exquisite signature dish” featuring the cultivated chicken will grace her restaurant’s menu.