Bay Area United Against War Newsletter, July 2, 2023



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.

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¡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

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1) 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.”



2) 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.



    3) The ‘Unseen’ Students in the Affirmative Action Debate

Race-conscious admissions helped only a tiny fraction of Black and Hispanic students. It could not address the many obstacles to a college degree.

By Sarah Mervosh and Troy Closson, July 1, 2023

A man in a blue shirt and blue pants in front of a brick college building.
Tysheem Sanders was the first person in his family to attend college. Credit...Mary Inhea Kang for The New York Times

For as long as she remembers, Dolly Ramos hoped to have “the college experience,” she said, and one day become a nurse. But her biggest obstacle wasn’t competing for a spot at the school of her choice — it was attending and affording college at all.


The Supreme Court’s decision striking down affirmative action will very likely have powerful consequences for elite college admissions, potentially limiting the pool of Black and Hispanic students at the most selective universities and affecting the diversity of future leaders in business, government and beyond.


But the effect of race-conscious admissions was always limited to a relatively small number of students. For the vast majority, these schools are not an option — academically or financially.


Many head straight into the work force after high school or attend less selective universities that do not weigh race and ethnicity in admissions. At least a third of all undergraduate students — including half of Hispanic undergraduates — attend community colleges, which typically allow open enrollment.


“Somewhere it switched from ‘I want to be in school’ to ‘I just want to survive,’” said Ms. Ramos, 25, who recently finished her nursing degree. To get there, she cobbled together credits from multiple colleges in New York State, and at times lived in a youth shelter and slept on the floor of a professor’s office.


At Memorial Pathway Academy, a high school for at-risk students and new immigrants in Garland, Texas, more than 80 percent of students get a job after graduation. Nationally, nearly 40 percent of high school graduates do not immediately enroll in college.


“This is the unseen group,” said Josh Tovar, the principal. “Everyone sees the kid that is No. 1 ranked with 110 G.P.A. going to M.I.T. No one sees my boy that doesn’t have parents — that lives with Grandma, that came to me at 17, with five credits, and graduates.”


Fewer than 200 selective universities are thought to practice race-conscious admissions, conferring degrees on about 10,000 to 15,000 students each year who might not otherwise have been accepted, according to a rough estimate by Sean Reardon, a sociologist at Stanford University. That represents about 2 percent of all Black, Hispanic or Native American students in four-year colleges.


The affirmative action decision could still have broader ripple effects. Some experts worry it will send a message to Black and Hispanic students that they are not wanted on college campuses, or push them to more troubled schools, like for-profit institutions. It could also lead to a rollback of groups and programs that center on race.


Yet, for many students, the biggest barriers are practical: applying to, paying for and completing college.


“I was extremely lost and extremely scared,” said Tysheem Sanders, 24, who is the first in his family to go to college. He recalled the overwhelming moment an adviser instructed him to choose between “a subsidized loan, unsubsidized loan or a little bit of both.”


“I was like, ‘I’m not prepared for this,’” said Mr. Sanders, who is studying at the Borough of Manhattan Community College and hopes to become a high school guidance counselor.


College enrollment has been on the decline for more than a decade, in part because of rising costs.


Many states cut funding to public colleges in response to the Great Recession, and colleges in turn raised tuition. The price has often risen faster for lower-income students than those from higher-income backgrounds.


At the same time, financial aid has not kept up. The federal Pell Grant for low-income students, for example, once covered the vast majority of college costs; today, it meets only about a quarter.


Another Supreme Court ruling, rejecting a plan by the Biden administration to forgive some student debt for millions of Americans, could further discourage college attendance.


For many students, family obligations are also a complicating factor.


Dominic Cherry, 22, said he turned down a spot at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas because he could not afford tuition. Other options were too far from his grandparents who helped raise him.


So after high school, he made a strategic decision: He got an office job at a construction company. He lives near his grandparents, who are in their 70s, and helps them with odd jobs, like fixing the garbage disposal. He has signed up for community college — covered by federal aid — with plans for a degree in construction management.


“If I could do it over again,” he said, “I would probably do it the way I did.”


Jessica Garcia, 19, of Garland, Texas, yearns to go to college and aspires to become a detective. But it took nearly everything she had to finish high school. Many mornings, she struggled to get to school, she said, because her family did not have a car. Standing onstage at graduation in May was a triumph: She is the first in her family, she said, to earn a high school diploma.


For now, she has a job making sandwiches at Subway, and is saving up for her own apartment.


“College is something that I really would like to experience,” she said. “It’s my goal.”


Amy Harmon contributed reporting.



4) Everyone Knew the Migrant Ship Was Doomed. No One Helped.

Satellite imagery, sealed court documents and interviews with survivors suggest that hundreds of deaths were preventable.

By Matina Stevis-Gridneff and Karam Shoumali, July 1, 2023

"Dozens of officials and coast guard crews monitored the ship, yet the Greek government treated the situation like a law enforcement operation, not a rescue. Rather than send a navy hospital ship or rescue specialists, the authorities sent a team that included four masked, armed men from a coast guard special operations unit. ...Collectively paying as much as $3.5 million to be smuggled to Italy, migrants crammed into the Adriana in what survivors recalled was a hellish class system: Pakistanis at the bottom; women and children in the middle; and Syrians, Palestinians and Egyptians at the top. ...The women and young children went down with the ship."

Matina Stevis-Gridneff reported from Athens and Brussels. Karam Shoumali reported from Berlin.

An overcrowded ship full of passengers in the middle of the ocean.

A undated handout photo provided by the Greek Coast Guard showing migrants onboard the Adriana before it capsized off the coast of Greece. Hellenic Coast Guard/Reuters

From air and by sea, using radar, telephone and radio, officials watched and listened for 13 hours as the migrant ship Adriana lost power, then drifted aimlessly off the coast of Greece in a slowly unfolding humanitarian disaster.


As terrified passengers telephoned for help, humanitarian workers assured them that a rescue team was coming. European border officials, watching aerial footage, prepared to witness what was certain to be a heroic operation.


Yet the Adriana capsized and sank in the presence of a single Greek Coast Guard ship last month, killing more than 600 migrants in a maritime tragedy that was shocking even for the world’s deadliest migrant route.


Satellite imagery, sealed court documents, more than 20 interviews with survivors and officials, and a flurry of radio signals transmitted in the final hours suggest that the scale of death was preventable.


Dozens of officials and coast guard crews monitored the ship, yet the Greek government treated the situation like a law enforcement operation, not a rescue. Rather than send a navy hospital ship or rescue specialists, the authorities sent a team that included four masked, armed men from a coast guard special operations unit.


The Greek authorities have repeatedly said that the Adriana was sailing to Italy, and that the migrants did not want to be rescued. But satellite imagery and tracking data obtained by The New York Times show definitively that the Adriana was drifting in a loop for its last six and a half hours. And in sworn testimony, survivors described passengers on the ship’s upper decks calling for help and even trying to jump aboard a commercial tanker that had stopped to provide drinking water.


On board the Adriana, the roughly 750 passengers descended into violence and desperation. Every movement threatened to capsize the ship. Survivors described beatings and panic as they waited for a rescue that would never come.


The sinking of the Adriana is an extreme example of a longtime standoff in the Mediterranean. Ruthless smugglers in North Africa cram people onto shoddy vessels, and passengers hope that, if things go wrong, they will be taken to safety. But European coast guards often postpone rescues out of fear that helping will embolden smugglers to send more people on ever-flimsier ships. And as European politics have swung to the right, each new arriving ship is a potential political flashpoint.

So even as passengers on the Adriana called for help, the authorities chose to listen to the boat’s captain, a 22-year-old Egyptian man who said he wanted to continue to Italy. Smuggling captains are typically paid only when they reach their destinations.


The Greek Ministry of Maritime Affairs said it would not respond to detailed questions because the shipwreck was under criminal investigation.


Despite many hours of on-and-off surveillance, the only eyewitnesses to the Adriana’s final moments were the survivors and 13 crew members aboard the coast guard ship, known as the 920. A Maritime Ministry spokesman has said that the ship’s night-vision camera was switched off at the time. Court documents show that the coast guard captain gave the authorities a CD-ROM containing video recordings, but the source of the recordings is unclear, and they have not been made public.


Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis of Greece defended the coast guard during comments in Brussels this past week, calling its critics “profoundly unfair.” The sinking has brought rare public criticism from officials in the European Union, which has remained silent as the Greek government has hardened its stance toward migrants.


In Greece, nine Egyptian survivors from the Adriana were arrested and charged with smuggling and causing the shipwreck. In sworn testimonies and interviews, survivors said that many of the nine brutalized and extorted passengers. But interviews with relatives of those accused paint a more complicated picture. At least one of the men charged with being a smuggler had himself paid a full fee of more than $4,000 to be on the ship.


Collectively paying as much as $3.5 million to be smuggled to Italy, migrants crammed into the Adriana in what survivors recalled was a hellish class system: Pakistanis at the bottom; women and children in the middle; and Syrians, Palestinians and Egyptians at the top.


An extra $50 or so could earn someone a spot on the deck. For some, that turned out to be the difference between life and death.


Many of the passengers, at least 350, came from Pakistan, the Pakistani government said. Most were in the lower decks and the ship’s hold. Of them, 12 survived.


The women and young children went down with the ship.


Setting Sail


Kamiran Ahmad, a Syrian teenager, a month shy of his 18th birthday, had arrived in Tobruk, Libya, with hopes for a new life. He had worked with his father, a tailor, after school. His parents sold land to pay smugglers to take him to Italy, praying that he would make it to Germany to study, work and maybe send some money home.


“We had no choice but to send him by sea,” his father said in an interview.


But as the Adriana set sail at dawn on June 9, Kamiran was worried. His cousin, Roghaayan Adil Ehmed, 24, who went with him, could not swim. And the boat was overcrowded, with nearly twice as many passengers as he had been told.


No life vests were available, so Roghaayan paid $600 to get himself, Kamiran and a friend to an upper deck.


They were part of a group of 11 young men and boys from Kobani, a mainly Kurdish city in Syria devastated by more than decade of war. The group stayed in dingy, rented rooms in Beirut, Lebanon, then flew to Egypt and on to Libya.


The youngest, Waleed Mohammad Qasem, 14, wanted to be a doctor. When he heard that his uncle Mohammad Fawzi Sheikhi was going to Europe, he begged to go. On the flight to Egypt, the two smiled for a selfie.


Haseeb ur-Rehman, 20, a motorcycle mechanic from the Pakistan-administrated Kashmir, felt he had to leave home to help his family survive. Together with three friends, he paid $8,000 and left for Libya.

He was one of the few Pakistanis who managed to snatch a spot on deck.


The journey, if all went well, would take three days.


As early as the second day, survivors recalled, the engine started breaking down.




By Day 3, food and clean drinking water had run out. Some migrants put dried prunes in seawater, hoping the sweetness would mellow the saltiness. Others paid young men $20 for dirty water.


Unrest spread as it became clear that the captain, who was spending most of his time on a satellite phone, had lost his way.


When Pakistanis pushed toward the upper deck, Egyptian men working with the captain beat them, often with a belt, according to testimony. Those men, some of whom are among the nine arrested in Greece, emerged as enforcers of discipline.


Ahmed Ezzat, 26, from the Nile Delta, was among them. He is accused of smuggling people and causing the shipwreck. In an interview, his brother, Islam Ezzat, said that Ahmed disappeared from their village in mid-May and re-emerged in Libya weeks later. He said a smuggler had sent someone to the family home to collect 140,000 Egyptian pounds, or $4,500, the standard fee for a spot on the Adriana.


Islam said he did not believe Ahmed had been involved in the smuggling because he had paid the fee. He said the family was cooperating with the Egyptian authorities. Ahmed, like the others who have been charged, has pleaded not guilty.


‘They Will Rescue You’


By Day 4, according to testimonies and interviews, six people in the hold of the ship, including at least one child, had died.


The next day, June 13, as the Adriana lurched toward Italy between engine breakdowns, migrants on deck persuaded the captain to send a distress call to the Italian authorities.

The Adriana was in international waters then, and the captain was focused on getting to Italy. Experts who study this migratory route say that captains are typically paid on arrival. That is supported by some survivors who said their fees were held by middlemen, to be paid once they had arrived safely in Italy.


The captain, some survivors recalled, said the Italian authorities would rescue the ship and take people to shore.


Just before 1 p.m., a glimmer of hope appeared in the sky. A plane.


Frontex, the European Union border agency, had been alerted by the Italian authorities that the Adriana was in trouble and rushed to its coordinates. There was no doubt the ship was perilously overloaded, E.U. officials said, and unlikely to make it to any port without help.


Images of the rusty blue fishing boat appeared in the Frontex command center in Warsaw, where two German journalists happened to be touring, a Frontex spokesman said. The Adriana was a chance to showcase the agency’s ability to detect ships in distress and save lives.


Now that Frontex had seen the ship, which was in Greece’s search-and-rescue area of international waters, the Greek authorities would surely rush to help.

Two hours later, a Greek Coast Guard helicopter flew past. Its aerial photographs show the ship’s upper decks crammed with people waving their hands.


Nawal Soufi, an Italian activist, fielded calls from frantic migrants.


“I’m sure that they will rescue you,” she told them. “But be patient. It won’t be immediate.”




Around 7 p.m. on June 13, almost seven hours after Frontex spotted the Adriana, the Greek authorities asked two nearby commercial tankers to bring the migrants water, food and diesel to continue their journey, according to video recordings and court documents.


A crucial part of the Greek authorities’ explanation for not rescuing the Adriana is their claim that it was actively sailing toward Italy. When the BBC, using data from neighboring vessels, reported that the Adriana had been practically idle for several hours before it sank, the Greek government noted that the ship had covered 30 nautical miles toward Italy since its detection by Frontex.


But satellite imagery and data from the ship-tracking platform MarineTraffic show that the Adriana was adrift for its final seven hours or so. Radar satellite imagery from the European Space Agency shows that by the time the Greeks summoned the commercial ships, the Adriana had already reached its closest point to Italy.

From then on, it was drifting backward.


The first tanker, the Lucky Sailor, arrived within minutes. The second, the Faithful Warrior, arrived in about two and a half hours. The captain of the Faithful Warrior reported that some passengers had thrown back supplies and screamed that they wanted to continue to Italy. How many people actually rejected help is unclear, but they included the Adriana’s captain and the handful of men who terrorized the passengers, according to survivors’ testimonies and interviews.


Others were placing distress calls. Alarm Phone, a nonprofit group that fields migrant mayday calls, immediately and repeatedly told the Greek authorities, Frontex and the United Nations refugee agency that people on the Adriana were desperate to be rescued. Several passengers testified that they had tried to jump aboard the Faithful Warrior. But the migrants said that the frenzy only destabilized the Adriana, so the Faithful Warrior withdrew.


As night fell, the Faithful Warrior’s captain told the Greek control center that the Adriana was “rocking dangerously.”


Radio transmission records show that, over five hours, the Greek control center transmitted five messages across the Mediterranean using a channel reserved for safety and distress calls.

Henrik Flornaes, a Danish father of two on a yacht far from the area, said he heard two mayday relay signals that night. They provided coordinates near the location of the Adriana, he said.


A mayday relay directs nearby ships to begin a search and rescue.


But the Greek Coast Guard itself mounted no such mission at this point.


An End Foretold


As midnight of June 14 approached, the Greek Coast Guard vessel 920, the only government ship dispatched to the scene, arrived alongside the Adriana.


The presence of the 920 did not reassure the migrants. Several said in interviews that they were unsettled by the masked men. In the past, the Greek government has used the coast guard to deter migration. In May, The Times published video footage showing officers rounding up migrants and ditching them on a raft in the Aegean Sea.


The mission of the 920 is unclear, as is what happened after it arrived and floated nearby for three hours. Some survivors say it tried to tow the Adriana, capsizing it. The coast guard denied that at first, then acknowledged throwing a rope to the trawler, but said that was hours before it sank.


To be sure, attempts to remove passengers might have backfired. Sudden changes in weight distribution on an overcrowded, swaying ship could have capsized it. And while the 920 was larger was than the Adriana, it was not clear if had space to accommodate the migrant passengers.


But Greece, one of the world’s foremost maritime nations, was equipped to carry out a rescue. Navy ships, including those with medical resources, could have arrived in the 13 hours after the Frontex alert.


Exactly what capsized the ship is unclear. The coast guard blames a commotion on the ship. But everyone agrees that it swayed once to the left, then to the right, and then flipped.


Those on deck were tossed into the sea. Panicking people stepped on each other in the dark, desperately using each other to come up for air, to stay alive.

At the water’s surface, some clung to pieces of wood, surrounded by drowned friends, relatives and strangers. Others climbed onto the ship’s sinking hull. Coast guard crew members pulled dozens of people from the sea. One person testified that he had initially swum away from the 920, fearing that the crew would drown him.


Waleed Mohammad Qasem, the 14-year-old who wanted to be a doctor, drowned. So did his uncle, who had posed with him for a selfie. The ship’s captain also died.


Hundreds of people, including the women and young children, inside the Adriana stood no chance. They would have been flipped upside down, hurled together against the ship as the sea poured in. The ship took them down within a minute.


Haseeb ur-Rehman, the Pakistani motorcycle mechanic on the top deck, survived. “It was in my destiny,” he said from a migrant camp near Athens. “Otherwise, my body would have been lost, like the other people in the boat.”


Near the end, Kamiran Ahmad, the teenager who had hoped to study in Germany, turned to his cousin Roghaayan. From the migrant center in Greece, the older cousin remembered his words: “Didn’t I tell you we were going to die? Didn’t I tell you we were already dead?”


Both went into the water. Kamiran’s body has not been recovered.


Reporting was contributed by Hwaida Saad from Beirut, Lebanon; Zia ur-Rehman from Karachi, Pakistan; and Christoph Koettl, Robin Stein and Alexander Cardia from New York.



5) France Is on Fire

By Harrison Stetler, July 1, 2023

Mr. Stetler is a journalist who writes about French politics and culture.

A firefighter spraying water on an upturned burning car.\
Alain Jocard/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

PARIS — “I’m a fully-grown adult, but my mother still seems nervous whenever I leave the house,” Djigui, one of the thousands of protesters who took to the streets on Thursday afternoon in Nanterre, a working-class suburb of Paris, told me. “I can hear the crack in her voice when she checks to make sure I have my ID card or just says, ‘Watch out.’”


In Nanterre, on Tuesday, this concern turned out to be a matter of life and death. Nahel M., a 17-year-old male of Moroccan and Algerian descent, was fatally shot by a police officer at a traffic stop, setting off a countrywide revolt over police violence and racism. Over the past several nights, protests have erupted in spectacular fashion. From Toulouse and Lille to Marseille and Paris, groups of protesters have sacked police stations and looted or vandalized scores of businesses, hurling Molotov cocktails and setting off barrages of fireworks at public buildings and the riot police. Nearly 1,000 people have been arrested.


The anger shows no sign of abating. The killing of Nahel M. — which to many appeared more like a summary execution — exposed the most extreme form of the police violence that has long targeted communities of color in France. It’s also acted as a catalyst for the discontent simmering throughout the country. For President Emmanuel Macron, it was another blow to his authority, as he was forced once again to confront a France on fire.


Still, the killing of Nahel M. might have ended up as little more than a secondary news item. Early press accounts portrayed the police officers as acting in self-defense, shooting an erratic driver willing to plow through officers to escape custody. This version of events would have placed the officers under the protection of a 2017 law, passed by Mr. Macron’s predecessor, François Hollande, that loosened police restrictions on the use of firearms in cases where a driver refuses to stop at an officer’s order. (This law has been cited as one cause of an uptick of fatal police shootings in recent years, which have risen to a peak of 52 deaths in 2021 from 27 in 2017.)


But cellphone footage taken by a bystander quickly shifted the narrative. The video, which surfaced soon after the killing, shows two officers standing beside the vehicle, one aiming his pistol toward the driver’s window at point-blank range. Though it’s unclear who uttered them, the words “I’m going to put a bullet in your head” can be made out before the car began to accelerate and the fatal shot was fired. Nahel M. died an hour later.


The government’s first reflex was to portray a cautious sensitivity, in the hope of avoiding the type of street flare-ups that are often called a “contagion” of the banlieues — the economically depressed, multiracial urban areas that experience the brunt of French policing. “Nothing justifies the death of a young person,” Mr. Macron said on Wednesday, calling the actions of the police “inexcusable” and “inexplicable.” For Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne, the officers’ conduct was “clearly not in conformity with the rules of engagement.”


That’s probably as far as the president will go. After all, the government rarely takes opportunities to engage seriously with the problem of police violence. Mr. Macron has tended to attribute deaths at the hands of the police to the regrettable errors of individual public servants. In December 2020, when Mr. Macron made the relatively blunt concession that “someone with a skin color that isn’t white is much more likely to be subjected to searches,” he was rebuked by France’s powerful police unions, whose members refused to carry out traffic stops and ID checks.


Part of the problem is Mr. Macron’s relationship to the police. Since coming to office in 2017, the president has relied on the police forces, cementing their central role in French political life. The spate of protests rejecting Mr. Macron’s various social reforms — most recently of the pension system — has been countered by a heavy use of the police. During the worst of the pandemic, police officers were the frontline executors of Mr. Macron’s stringent lockdowns and curfews. Now that the police forces are at the center of a national controversy, it is no surprise that Mr. Macron’s hands are tied.


Then there’s the political pressure from the right. Trumpeting a presumption of “legitimate self-defense,” many figures on the right are calling for the government to unapologetically clamp down on protesters. The “poll of the day” for Thursday on the website of the conservative daily Le Figaro asked, “Is it time to decree a state of emergency?” Behind that question lurks the memory of 2005, when weeks of riots after the deaths of two young men of color during a police chase led to the use of France’s emergency powers law.

They may well get their wish. With Mr. Macron’s efforts to achieve social “appeasement” clearly in ruins, the hard-liners in his coalition, such as the tough-on-crime interior minister, Gérald Darmanin, are likely to be strengthened. At a cabinet crisis meeting on Thursday, Mr. Macron suggested as much when he castigated rioters for their “unjustifiable violence against the institutions of the republic.”


He’s half right. These protests are against the institutions of the republic, and one in particular. For many French people, especially marginalized young men of color, Nahel M.’s killing is the latest demonstration of the intrinsic violence of the police — and beyond it, evidence of a society that wants little of them and would rather they disappear. But they, and their anger, are not going anywhere. “We’re exhausted and just strung out by stories like this,” Djigui, the protester, told me. “For years, France has been like a pressure cooker.”


This week, it exploded.



6) Mayors Are Targeted in Fifth Night of Protests Across France

Despite a generally calmer evening of demonstrations over the police killing of a 17-year-old, two attacks aimed at civic leaders highlighted the tinderbox situation.

By Emma Bubola and Vivek Shankar, July 2, 2023


A crowd of people, with a woman wearing a head scarf in the center holding up a white sign that says, “Justice pour Nahel.”

The killing of Nahel M. last week ignited protests and riots over accusations of police brutality and racial profiling. Abdulmonam Eassa/Getty Images

The mayor of a suburb of Paris said on Sunday that protesters had rammed a car into his home and then set the vehicle on fire, injuring his wife and one of his children, as violent demonstrations across France over the police killing of a 17-year-old stretched into a fifth night.


“Last night, a milestone was reached in terms of horror and ignominy,” the mayor, Vincent Jeanbrun, of L’Haÿ-les-Roses, a town to the south of the capital, said in a statement on Twitter.


In a separate attack, the police said on Twitter that rioters had tried to set fire to a car belonging to another mayor, in the town of La Riche, near the city of Tours, southwest of Paris.


Across the rest of France, Saturday evening had generally been calmer than recent nights, during which hundreds of protests have taken place nationwide. But still, local news media reported rioting, looting and clashes in Marseille, France’s second-largest city, and hundreds more people were arrested.


Tensions remained high on Sunday after the funeral the day before for the 17-year-old, named publicly only as Nahel M., of Algerian and Moroccan descent, who was fatally shot on Tuesday during a traffic stop in Nanterre, a Paris suburb. Many protesters said that they saw themselves in the victim, connecting his fate with their own experiences of neglect and racial discrimination in France’s poorer urban suburbs.


Nahel’s grandmother, who was also identified by only her first name, Nadia, spoke to the French news channel BFMTV on Sunday and asked the rioters to stand down.


“People who are breaking things, I tell them, ‘Stop,’” she said, adding that they should refrain from smashing shop windows or targeting schools and buses.


“It’s moms who take buses,” she said.


In L’Haÿ-les-Roses, Mr. Jeanbrun said that he had been spending the night in the town hall, as he had been for the previous three nights, when a car was driven at his house at 1:30 a.m. while his wife and children were sleeping inside. His wife and one of his children were injured as they tried to run away, he said.


Stéphane Hardouin, the public prosecutor in Créteil, a town nearby, said that initial indications were that the car had crashed into the house with the intention of setting the building on fire, and he noted that some accelerant had been found in a bottle.


Mr. Hardouin said that a small wall had stopped the car before it reached the house’s veranda, and that only the front gate and the family’s car had been affected. Hearing the noise and seeing flames, the mayor’s wife and his children, ages 5 and 7, tried to flee through the back garden, but his wife injured herself, apparently breaking her shin, Mr. Hardouin added.


The French interior minister, Gérald Darmanin, called the attack “cowardly and terrible,” and said in a post on Twitter that an attempted-murder investigation had been opened. “The perpetrators of these facts will answer for their heinous acts,” he wrote.


The French prime minister, Élisabeth Borne, traveled to L’Haÿ-les-Roses to express her support for the mayor, calling the attack unacceptable. She said that the government would move to impose harsher punishments on those who attack local representatives.


Ms. Borne said that attacks such as those against the town’s mayor were “particularly shocking.”


The office of President Emmanuel Macron of France said in a statement on Sunday that he would hold a meeting at the Élysée Palace on Sunday evening with the prime minister, the interior minister and the justice minister to assess the situation across the country. On Saturday, Mr. Macron postponed a state visit to Germany as his government focused on the riots at home.


While the number of police officers deployed across the country was not increased, more were sent overnight to quell protests in Grenoble, Lyon and Marseille, according to Mr. Darmanin.


In a statement on Twitter early Sunday, the Interior Ministry said that 719 people were arrested overnight and that 45 police officers had been injured. On Friday night, more than 1,300 were arrested.


In a Twitter post, Mr. Darmanin added that 45,000 police officers had been deployed across the country on Saturday evening, a number similar to the night before.


“A calmer night,” he wrote on Twitter, “thanks to the resolute action of the police.”


Maud Bodoukian contributed reporting.



7) Lithium Scarcity Pushes Carmakers Into the Mining Business

Ford, General Motors and others are striking deals with mining companies to avoid raw material shortages that could thwart their electric vehicle ambitions.

By Clifford Krauss and Jack Ewing, July 2, 2023

Orange-colored electronic parts at the Mercedes battery factory.

Lithium could make or break companies as they move from gasoline to battery power. Credit...David Walter Banks for The New York Times

Eager to avoid falling further behind Tesla and Chinese car companies, many Western auto executives are bypassing traditional suppliers and committing billions of dollars on deals with lithium mining companies.


They are showing up in hard hats and steel-toed boots to scope out mines in places like Chile, Argentina, Quebec and Nevada to secure supplies of a metal that could make or break their companies as they move from gasoline to battery power.


Without lithium, U.S. and European carmakers won’t be able to build batteries for the electric pickup trucks, sport utility vehicles and sedans they need to remain competitive. And assembly lines they are ramping up in places like Michigan, Tennessee and Saxony, Germany, will grind to a halt.


Established mining companies don’t have enough lithium to supply the industry as electric vehicle sales soar. General Motors plans for all its car sales to be electric by 2035. In the first quarter of 2023, sales of battery-powered cars, pickups and sport utility vehicles in the United States rose 45 percent from a year earlier, according to Kelley Blue Book.


So car companies are scrambling to lock up exclusive access to smaller mines before others swoop in. But the strategy exposes them to the risky, boom-and-bust business of mining, sometimes in politically unstable countries with weak environmental protections. If they bet incorrectly, automakers could end up paying far more for lithium than it might sell for in a few years.


Auto executives said they had no choice because there weren’t sufficient reliable supplies of lithium and other battery materials, like nickel and cobalt, for the millions of electric vehicles the world needs.


In the past, automakers let battery suppliers buy lithium and other raw material on their own. But lithium shortages have forced carmakers, which have deeper pockets, to directly acquire the essential metal and have it sent to battery factories, some owned by suppliers and others owned partly or fully by the automakers. Batteries rely on lightweight lithium ions to conduct energy.


“We quickly realized there wasn’t an established value chain that would support our ambitions for the next 10 years,” said Sham Kunjur, who oversees General Motors’ program to secure battery materials.


The automaker last year struck a supply deal with Livent, a lithium company in Philadelphia, for material from South American mines. And in January, G.M. agreed to invest $650 million in Lithium Americas, a company based in Vancouver, British Columbia, to develop the Thacker Pass mine in Nevada. The company beat out 50 bidders, including battery and component makers, for that stake, said Mr. Kunjur and Lithium Americas executives.


Ford Motor has made lithium deals with SQM, a Chilean supplier; Albemarle, based in Charlotte, N.C.; and Nemaska Lithium of Quebec.


“These are some of the largest lithium producers in the world with the best quality,” Lisa Drake, vice president for electric vehicle industrialization at Ford, told investors in May.


The deals that automakers are striking with mining companies and raw material processors hark back to the beginnings of the industry, when Ford set up rubber plantations in Brazil to secure material for tires.


“It almost seems like 100 years later, with this new revolution, we are back to that stage,” Mr. Kunjur said.


Establishing a supply chain for lithium will be expensive: $51 billion, according to Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, a consulting firm. To benefit from U.S. subsidies, battery raw materials must be mined and processed in North America or by trade allies.


But intense competition for the metal has helped inflate lithium prices to unsustainable levels, some executives said.


“Since the start of ’22 the price of lithium has gone up so quickly and there was so much hype in the system, there were a lot of really bad deals that one could do,” said R.J. Scaringe, chief executive of Rivian, an electric vehicle company in Irvine, Calif.


Dozens of companies are developing mines, and there may eventually be more than enough lithium to meet everybody’s needs. Global production could surge sooner than expected, leading to a collapse in the price of lithium, something that has happened in the recent past. That would leave automakers paying a lot more for the metal than it was worth.


Auto executives are taking no chances, fearing that if they go even a few years without sufficient lithium their companies will never catch up.


Their fears have merit. In places where electric vehicle sales have grown the fastest, established automakers have lost a lot of ground. In China, where almost one-third of new cars are electric, Volkswagen, G.M. and Ford have lost market share to domestic producers like BYD, which manufacturers its own batteries. And Tesla, which has built a supply chain for lithium and other raw materials over years, has steadily gained market share in China, Europe and the United States. It is now the second-largest seller of all new cars in California after Toyota.


Chinese companies often have an edge over U.S. and European car companies because they are state owned or state supported, and, as a result, can take more risks in mining, which often encounters local opposition, nationalization by populist governments or technical difficulties.


In June, the Chinese battery maker CATL completed an agreement with Bolivia to invest $1.4 billion in two lithium projects. Few Western companies have shown sustained interest in the country, known for its political instability.


With a few exceptions, Western carmakers have avoided buying stakes in lithium mines. Instead, they are negotiating agreements in which they promise to buy a certain amount of lithium within a price range.


Often the deals give carmakers preferential access, crowding out rivals. Tesla has a deal with Piedmont Lithium, which is near Charlotte, that ensures the carmaker a large portion of the output from a mine in Quebec.


Lithium is abundant but not always easy to extract.


Many countries with big reserves, like Bolivia, Chile and Argentina, have nationalized natural resources or have stringent currency exchange controls that can limit the ability of foreign investors to withdraw money from the country. Even in Canada and the United States, it can take years to establish mines.


“Lithium is going to be tough to get and to fully electrify here in the U.S.,” said Eric Norris, president of the Lithium global business unit at Albemarle, the leading American lithium miner.


As a result, auto executives and consultants are fanning out to mines around the world, most of which have not begun producing.


“There’s a bit of desperation,,” said Amanda Hall, chief executive of Summit Nanotech, a Canadian start-up working on technology to hasten extraction of lithium from saline groundwater. Auto executives, she said, are “trying to get ahead of the problem.”


Yet, in their hurry, car companies are making deals with small mines that may not live up to expectations. “There are a lot of examples of problems that come up,” said Shay Natarajan, a partner at Mobility Impact Partners, a private equity fund focused on investing in sustainable transportation. Lithium prices could eventually collapse from overproduction, she said.


The miners appear to be the big winners. Their deals with the car companies typically assure them fat profits and make it easier for them to borrow money or sell shares.


Rio Tinto, one of the world’s largest mining companies, recently reached a preliminary agreement to supply lithium to Ford from a mine it was developing in Argentina.


Ford was one of several car companies that expressed interest, said Marnie Finlayson, managing director of Rio Tinto’s battery minerals business. Rio Tinto takes car company representatives through a checklist, she said, that covers mining methods, relations with local communities and environmental impact “to get everyone comfortable.”


“Because if we can’t do that, then the supply is not going to be unlocked, and we’re not going to solve this global challenge together,” Ms. Finlayson said, referring to climate change.


Until a few years ago, the price of lithium was so low mining it was hardly profitable. But now with the growing popularity of electric vehicles, there are dozens of proposed mines. Most are in early development stages and will take years to begin production.


Until 2021, “there was either no capital or very short-term capital,” said Ana Cabral-Gardner, co-chief executive of Sigma Lithium, a Vancouver-based company that is producing lithium in Brazil. “No one was looking at a five-year horizon and a 10-year horizon.”


Auto companies are playing an important role in helping mines get up and running, said Dirk Harbecke, chief executive of Rock Tech Lithium, which is developing a mine in Ontario and a processing plant in eastern Germany that will supply Mercedes-Benz.


“I do not think that this is a risky strategy,” Mr. Harbecke said. “I think it’s a necessary strategy.”



8) “Consumerism” and the Self-Destruct System of Capitalist Production

By Bonnie Weinstein



The destruction of our planet’s environment through pollution and endless wars are built into the very system of capitalism—a system where the accumulation of private profit comes before everything—including life on earth. 

A mass movement for the preservation of our planet must be anti-capitalist. A true “green revolution” must be an anti-capitalist revolution.

Before transitioning to capitalism’s “green revolution” we must understand that it is not green, at all. A prime example is “planned obsolescence,” i.e., wasting huge amounts of labor and resources to produce products that self-destruct.

Millions of research dollars are spent designing products to break down so we must replace them repeatedly. It results in stupendous amounts of waste and costs huge amounts of fossil fuels to manufacture. This practice is driven by capitalism’s irrational profit-driven mode of production and should be criminalized, and the personal profits paid to the CEOs confiscated, and used to clean up the environment they have destroyed and profited from. 

Ending planned obsolescence and ending capitalism must be the rallying cries of the entire environmental and social justice movements. This would reduce the extraordinary waste and harmful-to-life-pollution it generates—which would drastically reduce the need for fossil fuels in the first place—giving us time to develop real environmentally safe energy resources.

In an April 20, 2023, article in the New York Times by Mark O’Connell titled, “Our Way of Life Is Poisoning Us,” the author reports that microplastic particles are found everywhere including inside our bodies: 

“There is plastic in our bodies; it’s in our lungs and in our bowels and in the blood that pulses through us. … bits of water bottles, tires, polystyrene packaging, microbeads from cosmetics—is washing through us… Maybe this has been our fate all along, to achieve final communion with our own garbage. … The whole subject of microplastics is possessed of a nightmarish lucidity, because we understand it to be a symptom of a deeper disease. The unthinkable harm we have done to the planet—that is done to the planet on our behalf, as consumers—is being visited, in this surreal and lurid manner, on our own bodies.”

The author calls our society—the capitalist system of private profit and ownership of the means of production—a “consumerist society.”

By “consumerists” he means us—the working class who must pay just to survive. But he is placing blame on the wrong guilty parties. He’s blaming we, who must buy new things all the time because they self-destruct—instead of blaming the people who force us to—those who own and sell “disposable” products and spend huge sums to convince us that we need them. This is not limited to the United States, it’s endemic to capitalism all over the world.

The implanted fetish of choice and fashion

The working class can only afford the least expensive items available in the marketplace—the ones that self-destruct the fastest—then we are blamed for not taking care of them properly when they do break down. Meanwhile, trillions upon trillions of tons junk are piling up, polluting our environment, and wasting our natural resources—for one reason only—to increase the rate of profits for the wealthy.

Daily we are bombarded with vast dollars in advertising to convince us that we need things that are new, up to date and stylish. We believe it because our experience tells us that nothing is built to last, anyway. And further, that what we own defines our worth as human beings. 

This is beat into our psyche from birth to the grave—from the first toy advertisements interrupting Saturday morning cartoons, to when we become adults and must compete in the job market. And when we’re too old to work left to the human junk-heap of poverty.

It is instilled in us that in order to get a decent-paying job, you must present yourself to your prospective employer wearing the best clothes, having the best education, the best resume, best credit score, living in the best neighborhood, driving newest model car, having the right color skin, being the right gender and, being the right age—as if we don’t need a job at all. 

All these judgements employers use are against the law and discriminatory—but are employed by them all the time.

So, the incentive for workers to buy more, better, newer is based in the concrete for the working class—it’s what you must do to survive under capitalism—we have no choice in the matter.

The “green revolution” under capitalism

The biggest polluter and destroyer of the environment and waste of raw materials is the military. It is the most profitable industry in the world—the U.S. leads the world in military production, sales, and profits. However, the so-called “green revolution” under the control of capitalism is anything but green. It is, rather, a new reason to exploit exotic resources and to create new products that use these resources in a different way, like electric vehicles, thereby increasing profits in the sale of new, supposedly “greener” products. 

In a March 15, 2023, article in the New York Times by Diva Amon, titled, “A Rush to Mine the Deep Sea Is Underway. It Must Be Stopped,” the author stated:

“Nauru, one of the world’s smallest nations, with a population of around 11,000, is the sponsor of Nauru Ocean Resources Inc., a subsidiary of a Canadian firm, the Metals Company. That company wants to mine parts of a region known as the Clarion-Clipperton Zone, between Hawaii and Mexico, for polymetallic nodules. These nodules contain many of the base metals now required to make batteries, and the Metals Company says they offer ‘the cleanest path toward electric vehicles.’ … Huge machines would be sent down to the ocean floor that scrape up minerals—and everything else in their way—creating plumes of sediment that would spread for many miles into the surrounding waters and emitting noise and light that disturb dark, quiet ecosystems in the deep seas that took eons to develop. (Companies must be sponsored by a country under the treaty to engage in mining.)”

Does this sound, in any possible way, like a better way to develop clean energy? For one thing, they don’t even know how to recycle dead batteries, let alone the daunting task of providing the charging stations to service all these new electric vehicles. 

And how can giant machines scraping the ocean floor be safe for the environment—our oceans and all the life they hold? The “green revolution” under capitalism is just another giant profit venture that will have to be protected by even more military buildup and power-grabs to ensure that the U.S. commanders of capital get control over these necessary resources for this new, profit-driven industrial venture.

Criminalize planned obsolescence! 

Workers’ control of industry!

The environmental justice movement must become a mass movement of workers from all industries demanding control over the safety of all aspects of production by placing it under the democratic control of workers themselves. 

We are the ones who do the work. We are the ones exposed to toxins on the job and in our homes. We are the ones who are forced to pay for things over and over—and for the things that poison us like pesticide-contaminated food and food full of chemicals and preservatives. We are the ones who are the cannon fodder for their wars and victims of their cheap and unhealthy products.

Under capitalism, workers have no control over the pollution that is engendered by the military, or by greedy corporations that spew their poisons into our land, air, and water to make a buck. 

They are now destroying the environment under the guise of inventing new, “green” industries instead of building things to last in the safest way possible using the smallest number of resources and, of course, ending the most destructive industry—war. 

This can only be done if our economy is based upon the production for need and want—a socialist society—and not for the private profit of the tiny few. 

From each according to their abilities to each according to their needs.

The wanton destruction that the capitalist profit motive engenders can only be stopped by ending capitalism and building a socialist world economy based upon production for the needs and wants of all—not profits for the few. 

This is the only way we can build a world of both social and economic equality. We will never have peace, justice, or freedom until we rid the world of capitalism.

Workers’ power 

We have been brainwashed into thinking we are powerless and worthless. We have been convinced that the only way to get ahead is to get rich ourselves—which means that we must be believe that it’s good to profit off the oppression and suffering of others. We have been convinced by capitalist propaganda that our differences are insurmountable, and that war and violence are natural to human nature. 

War and violence are only natural to capitalism’s class-oppression-driven society. It is the modus operandi of capitalism.

Socialism, workers’ democracy, equality, freedom, and justice for all! 

Workers have the power to change the world and bring capitalism to its knees! Without workers, capitalist production cannot operate and, therefore, can’t make a profit. 

The capitalist class has no power without our cooperation—this includes the workers involved in the production of weapons of mass destruction and the entire military/prison industrial complex. 

Workers have power—even over the military and the police—the power to shut them down forever! 

We also have the numbers. United we are the overwhelming majority dwarfing the capitalist class and rendering them powerless if we so choose. 

We have common interests across all our superficial differences, which are in direct opposition to, and in contradiction of, the whole capitalist system.

We can only stop the destruction of the planet by ending capitalism and building a democratically structured socialist society based on production methods that preserve the health of the entire planet. 

A socialist world is one where each person contributes to the good of all according to their abilities and talents, and production is designed to satisfy the needs and wants of all—a world where everyone can develop their potential to the fullest.




9) Climate Change is Real and Getting Worse Fast

By Chris Kinder



 With the already-happening warming of the planet, many disastrous outcomes threaten humanity. Thi necessary for its own survival came to be recognized as far back as the 1970s. An Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) technical report on coal came to the conclusion that “continued use of fossil fuels might, within two or three decades, bring about ‘significant and damaging’ changes in the global atmosphere,” according to a report in a special issue of the New York Times Magazine, in 2018. Thearticle proclaimed, “Thirty years ago we could have saved the planet.”[1]

Slowly, some began to see that this was an existential threat to humanity. Carbon in the atmosphere would raise the heat on the planet. The rising heat would cause the polar and glacial ice to melt, which would raise sea levels. Increasing temperatures could double the temperatures that existed before the industrial age, and this might occur by the 2030s. And the world’s most advanced militaries (i.e., the U.S. military) could vastly increase the world’s carbon emissions. A report issued by the Department of Energy said that the rise in temperature rates could triple, and dust bowls would threaten North America, Africa and Asia, access to drinking water and agricultural production would fall, and ice melts would raise sea levels drastically. All of this would cause mass migrations on an unprecedented scale.

Many just do not get it.

The problem is growing rapidly, but much of humanity still doesn’t fully understand the threat to all life. Surprisingly, this applies to many scientists who have studied climate change in the past few decades, according to a recent article in Scientific American. Climate scientists have “downplayed” the projections of global warming through the use of averages and, to some extent, as the result of pressuring by prominent political figures who accuse scientists of “exaggerating” climate risks. But some recent observations, such as that by the Max Planck Institute Grand Ensemble, inform us that “the observed warming for 1979-2021 is entirely beyond” the average results of the scientific community. Another study showed that the Arctic has warmed nearly four times faster than the earth as a whole. “Few climate models have predicted an effect this large.”[2]

Most of the capitalist class just doesn’t want to hear it, let alone do something about it. Yes, national, and local governments are talking about it and taking some short-term measures to protect the environment. For instance, New York City just announced a measure to ban the use of gas heating in new buildings, to promote electric power. That leaves existing buildings unaffected, but making such a change everywhere would require a huge industrial re-configuring. That, needless to say, would be fatal for big capital’s profits, which always dominates over everything else. 

Fossil fuel companies are on a roll.

President Biden’s restructuring bill, which claimed “the biggest climate measures of any administration so far” was so whittled down by Congress that it now is virtually useless. The bill, now called the Inflation Reduction Act, requires federal lands and offshore waters utilized for renewable energy development to also be opened up for oil and gas drilling, thus negating environmental measures from the get-go. Also note that while the fossil fuels companies made some effort to look good for environmentalists in the late 1960s-early ’70s, they quickly brought an end to their nice talk, and are now plowing ahead with new drilling projects. They are not just driving us all to hell, they are in an escalating race to get there as fast as possible. 

Take the Willow Project, for instance. Willow is a gigantic and very destructive plan by ConocoPhillips to drill for an expected half-a-billion barrels of oil on Alaska’s North Slope. This is one of the world’s most beautiful and most forested regions. A rich selection of migratory birds and other beings such as grizzlies, polar bears, wolves, foxes, shaggy musk oxen, and more than half-a-million caribou make their homes here. Now, after Biden’s signing off on this project in April of this year, they—and the human population of the world—are threatened with an expected 260 million metric tons of added carbon pollution in the air. ConocoPhillips has already started carving out dirt roads in the region, and other oil companies are crowding in to get a piece of the action.[3]

The Willow Project, large and devastating as it is, makes up just a third of the expected drilling projects in the U.S.—and the U.S. is just seventh on the world list of oil drilling projects in 30 countries that are expected to be, or have been approved in 2022 and 2023. Qatar tops the list with nearly seven million barrels expected—although the U.S. would top the list if fracking was included, according to a graphic depiction in the New York Times.[4] And gas and oil companies in the U.S. have a lot more threats waiting to go through their pipelines.

A puppet pulled some strings.

One big one is the Mountain Valley Pipeline for gas in Virginia and West Virginia. This project is pushed by that fossil fuel puppet of West Virginia, Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat, who often blocs Democratic bills with his critical vote in the Senate. Equitrans Midstream, the Pennsylvania-based company that is the project’s biggest shareholder, says construction is nearly complete. This pipeline will carry fracked gas over 303.5 miles, bulldozing and blasting its way through the Jefferson National Forest, and crossing several streams along the way, risking them with pollution. Should the pipeline deteriorate or get broken in an earthquake it could release thousands of tons of methane into the air, and even cause explosions. The pipeline also threatens many low-income, mixed-race communities that live in the region. The project has been mired in legal delays for years, but now the Biden administration has accepted the project as part of the negotiated deal on raising the debt limit, so its future is pretty much assured. 

We Homo Sapiens have been living in relative comfort in a cool period known as the Holocene for 11,000 years. But this relatively stable epoch is a rarity in the planet’s history. Unlike previous epochs, the Holocene has supported a rapid proliferation and growth of humans. It allowed for the successful development of agriculture which in turn led to the acquisition of wealth by some who then turned into a ruling class. These developments led to cities, nations, empires—and to humans killing each other en masse in organized wars—in just a few thousand years. This is the blink of an eye in Earth time, and in our species as well.

From a free species to slaves of capitalism

The genus Homo, within which our Homo Sapien species emerged as its latest (and now only) iteration, have been living on earth without coming anywhere near developments such as this for two million years or more, and Homo Sapiens ourselves go back at least 20,000 years, or more. Our closest neighbor species, the Neanderthals, survived in the ice-age that preceded the Holocene for almost 100,000 years before their extinction around 35,000 years ago. Now, suddenly, we are facing a very sudden and dangerous new epoch called the Anthropocene, and we are not ready for it.

Despite the underplaying, what scientists are saying now is devastating. But who’s listening? Certainly not the short-term-profiting ruling class, and not most of the oppressed and exploited either. They are too busy dealing with surviving. Where is the next meal coming from, and can I afford it? Many people are either on the street or sleeping in doorways. Many are better off than this, of course. Workers are fighting back with their unions and spreading strikes at an increasing rate. Some are more secure in their housing than others. But the class struggle necessarily is dealing with what’s happening now, and this includes the critical fact that inflation is taking prices up much faster than wages. This has robbed working people of a solid one third of their purchasing power, thus upsetting family budgets big time. All this makes the climate change problem seem like a distant concern. But it is not, if you are at all worried about what the grandkids will be living with five or six decades from now.

In the snap of a finger

Climate change is coming fast. In geological time, it is the snap of a finger. Perhaps the most obvious sign of this is the rising level of global average temperature. Earth’s average land and ocean surface temperature in 2022 was 1.55 degrees F (0.86 of a degree C) above the 20th-century average of 57.0 degrees F (13.9 degrees C)—the sixth highest among all years in the 1880-2022 record. It also marked the 46th consecutive year with global temperatures rising above the 20th-century average. The ten warmest years on record have all occurred since 2010, with the last nine years (2014-2022) among the ten-warmest.[5]

The same Scientific American article mentioned above ends with another observation that, in my opinion, seals the fate of the human race. We are all very aware that CO2 infecting the atmosphere is the result of the development of industry under capitalism, and that this is the on-going cause of the doubling the rate of warming of the global average temperature so far. And we know that this has to stop in order to preserve life on this planet. The fossil fuel industries must be replaced by green energy sources such as wind and solar. The hope was that ending the use of fossil fuels should be able to keep the temperature to a livable limit, such as a 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial level by 2030. This was the conclusion of 196 UN member states at the Paris Climate Conference agreement of 2018.

Three problems mean runaway warming.

The problem with the assumption that fossil fuel usage could be slowed down to keep warming to this goal is three-fold. First, the fossil fuel industry remains strong and so far, very successful in ignoring, and fighting this conclusion, which means that the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere will keep rising, taking the temperature beyond 1.5 degrees. Scientists believe this is the threshold beyond which wildfires, floods, biodiversity, rising seas and human dislocation become significant and lead to an unlivable world. This industry must be stopped completely, and this will only happen through a workers’ revolution that overthrows capitalism. If that doesn’t happen, this industry and capitalism generally will take the world down with it, in a complete collapse of civil society due to the heat and everything else getting worse. 

Secondly, there is enough CO2 in the atmosphere now to keep warming the Earth for a thousand years or more. It is possible that with the expropriation of fossil fuel companies and an end to fossil fuel usage that rising temperatures might level off at a livable point. We need that revolution now!

The third point is what kicks any doubt that temperatures will keep rising out the window. The emissions of carbon from industry are the source of all that is happening now concerning the climate, but it is not the only source of the pollutants that threaten life on this planet. There is a major secondary source, and that is carbon and methane trapped for now in major glaciers and polar ice sheets. These gases have been there for millions of years due to climate conditions in earlier epochs before the last ice age, or maybe from even earlier glacial ages (there were many.) Now, these ice sheets and polar ice are melting away, which over time will release these gasses into the atmosphere.

Organic carbon trapped in permafrost.

A major example of this is the ice sheet in the Arctic. Scientists have underestimated the amounts of carbon contained in permafrost there. This could be “truly dire because the permafrost holds about 1.5 billion metric tons of organic carbon, twice as much as there is now in the atmosphere,” says Naomi Oreskes, in the Scientific American article mentioned above. This could cause a runaway greenhouse effect due to the release of vast amounts of methane as well as CO2. This carbon trapped in polar ice comes from previous epochs of Earth history in which the polar ice sheets were verdant. Greenland for instance was populated with plants and animals, some of which don’t exist anywhere today. 

The fact that methane is a big component of these gases under melting ice is particularly threatening, because methane is twenty times more powerful than CO2 for warming. Methane lasts only about 20 years or so in the atmosphere, but this will not end its climate-warming because its release is an ongoing process. Its presence in the atmosphere will keep being renewed for an unpredictable length of time, even though fossil fuels use is stopped. The warming effect will be rolling on for as long as the gases are released from melting ice, and the more warming there is, the more ice melt will occur.

Antarctica also shows evidence of the presence of plants and animals in earlier epochs, which means these gases will be under that ice as well, and it is just starting to melt. Capitalism is releasing a curse on life on this planet from prehistoric times, much of it before genus homo even existed! 

Ice will flow and seas will rise.

It is well known that the ice melt created by the warming of the planet will raise the sea level, but like other aspects of climate change, this too has been underestimated. The San Francisco Chronicle reports on a yet to be published study by Sean Vitousek, a research oceanographer at U.S. Geological Survey, that by 2100 we are to expect sea-level rise of 1.6 to ten feet “...depending on how much humans reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”[6] Even the loss a relatively small piece of the Antarctic polar ice cap that is “ready to flow” within a decade or so, could contribute to a sea-level rise of two to ten feet well before 2100.

It is granted that the Antarctic ice has been flowing into the ocean more slowly than other examples, but it holds a huge mass of ice. Scientists have recently been learning a great deal, confirming one report back in 1978, that the West Antarctic ice sheet represented a threat of disaster. “Antarctica’s ice sheet has consistently surprised those who study it,” says Douglas Fox in Scientific American. The Thwaites Glacier is being studied now. This glacier, about the size of Nebraska, flows into the Pine Island Bay, part of the Amundsen Sea. It is a small part of Antarctica, but important since it serves to hold back the entire West Antarctic glacier, which is already melting faster than anyone thought.[7]

The Thwaites Glacier has a “shelf” which floats on the Ocean and acts as a dam holding back the rest of the glacier, which in turn dams the huge West Antarctic Sheet. All of this ice rests on a downward slope of land underneath, and the shelf is wobbling, and ready to crumble. When it does, the whole Thwaites Glacier will go “a lot faster than we expected,” according to Erin Pettit, a scientist who studies glaciers. This in turn, will release the whole West Antarctic ice sheet, which alone will contribute a ten-foot rise in the ocean. Combined with the melt of the North Pole ice, Greenland and other sources, there is sure to be a much greater sea level rise than ten feet by 2100. Although it is not likely this century, in times long past, sea water levels have as been much as 200 feet higher than today. But just ten feet is enough to flood the coast and force residents to evacuate.

“Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink?”

There is one approaching consequence of climate change that isn’t getting enough ink in my opinion, and that is the fate of fresh drinking water. Of all the water on Earth, fresh water is a small percentage, but of this, 68.7 percent is contained in ice caps, glaciers, and permanent snow, according to a study published by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) titled “Where is the Earth’s Water?” Much of the runoff from this ice goes straight into the oceans, but it also supplies rivers, which hold a small percent of freshwater. Lakes also contain a portion of fresh water.[8] With the warming of the Earth in climate change, we are faced with the fact that ice caps, glaciers and even “permanent” snow are already melting at a higher than expected rate. It will still take a long time, but what will happen when these water sources are completely gone? 

Climate change is not just about what will happen in 2030 or 2050. It is about the threat to the human race (and other animals) in this century and the next. When we add up the extreme heat and the lack of drinking water, we are looking at massive migration, a huge death rate and possible extinction. That will be the last act in this script, but we are already into the first act, because the planet is heating up, global fresh-water supply is already shrinking. This is seen first of all in the droughts and storm patterns in global weather that is upon us now.

In California, we went through conditions earlier this year that may seem to contradict this trend. January-February was marked by an invasion of “atmospheric rivers” coming in from the South Pacific. We were pelted with rainstorms which were big enough to cause above average snow in the mountains, full reservoirs, and overflowing rivers. It did temporarily ease the drought problem, but it didn’t much affect the drastically low level of ground water. Most of the rainwater in occasional storm fronts such as these runs into the ocean or into wastewater. Drought conditions are still in the pattern for California, and much of the south and southwest. The New York Times reports that 2022 was a disaster for upland cotton growers who lost 74 percent of their crop over six million acres because of heat and parched soil in a drought blamed largely on climate change.[9] Water scarcities like these are happening over most of the world.

Fresh water is also frequently poisoned.

In the U.S. particularly, there is another problem affecting the water supply—51 percent of rivers, and 55 percent of lakes in the U.S. are poisoned by chemical pollution, rendering them undrinkable, according to the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP). The New York-based WaterKeeper Alliance conducted a survey in which 83 percent of the tested waters across the country are contaminated with highly toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances known as “forever chemicals” because some of them can take thousands of years to break down. The presence of these dangerous chemicals was confirmed in 2,858 sites in 50 states and two American territories.[10]

The New York Times seems to be looking for reasons not to blame climate change in an article titled “Drought in Argentina Not Linked to Warming.”[11] The article blames lack of rainfall for the drought problem in both Argentina and Uruguay, although the article does admit that climate change is the reason for extreme heat in the region. Yet, lack of sufficient rainfall is very much a product of the climate change process. This reminds one of the downplaying of the problem, as well as the reluctance on the part of many to look much past 2050 for the long-term effects of warming, given the unrelenting fossil fuel use, poisoning of the atmosphere, and shrinking fresh water supply. The forecast looks terrifying, but it is always better to stay informed than to bury one’s head in the sand. We need a workers’ revolution, but the revolution needs the facts.

[1] “Thirty years ago, we could have saved the planet,” New York Times Magazine, August 5, 2018.

[2] “Downplaying the Pace of Arctic Warming,” by Naomi Oreskes, Scientific American, November 2022.

[3] “NRDC Litigation Alert: Willow Project,” Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC),  NRDC.org, undated, April 2023.

[4] “Even as Nations Push Renewables, Oil and Gas Projects Come Roaring Back.” by Max Bearak, New York Times, April 7, 2023.

[5] NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, January 12, 2023, at climate.gov.

[6] “California coasts face perilous fate,” San Francisco Chronicle, May 28, 2023.

[7] “Thwaites Glacier, Ready to Flow,” by Douglas Fox, Scientific American, November 2022.

[8] No number is given for fresh water in lakes.


[9] New York Times, February 19, 2023.

[10] See waterkeeper.org.

[11] New York Times, February 17, 2023