Bay Area United Against War Newsletter, July 7, 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



All Out for July 12 

National Day of Protest to Drop the Charges on the Tampa 5!


Organize a Protest for the Tampa 5's Second Court Appearance!


The Tampa 5 have their second court appearance on Wednesday, July 12. The newly formed Emergency Committee to Defend the Tampa 5 is calling for protests around the country to drop the charges. This call is in conjunction with the National Day of Protest already called for by the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression and by the New Students for a Democratic Society.


We are calling specifically on District Attorney Susan Lopez and Prosecutor Justin Diaz to drop the charges on Gia Davila, Jeanie Kida, Chrisley Carpio, Lauren Pineiro, and Laura Rodriguez. They are campus protesters who were attacked by the University of South Florida Police Department, and not the other way around.


Actions to Take on July 12:

1. Organize a protest - at a county courthouse, a local police department, on campus, wherever you think people can go and see you. Or find one near you!


2. Call in to the 13th Judicial Court of Florida State Attorney's Office to demand that the charges be dropped. We will send out call-in details - time, phone numbers, and script - closer to the date.


Actions to Take Anytime:


1. Host any or all of the Tampa 5 in your city or on your local campus as we conduct a speaking tour around the country


2. Sign your organization onto this petition and help us spread the word about the Tampa 5:



The Tampa 5 are students and workers who attended a Tampa Bay Students for a Democratic Society protest on March 6th to save diversity programs at the University of South Florida and to oppose Ron DeSantis' anti-education bill, HB999. They were attacked, arrested, and now charged with felonies by the University of South Florida Police Department. Their felonies and potential prison time were doubled by the unelected, DeSantis-appointed state attorney, Susan Lopez, and her underling, Justin Diaz. They now face five to ten years in prison for exercising their right to protest and freedom of speech. The students were suspended and one of the five, the campus worker, Chrisley Carpio, was fired from her job at the university.


On June 24th, over 130 attendees of an emergency defense conference founded a new organization: the Emergency Committee to Defend the Tampa 5, which is national in scope. We are embarking on a long-term defense campaign to get the charges dropped and to defend the right to free speech in the state of Florida, and we need your help!


Thanks so much for your solidarity and support so far, and we'll see you in the streets!



Free Julian Assange

Immediate Repeated Action Needed to Free Assange


Please call your Congressional Representatives, the White House, and the DOJ. Calls are tallied—they do count.  We are to believe we are represented in this country.  This is a political case, so our efforts can change things politically as well.  Please take this action as often as you can:


Find your representatives:



Leave each of your representatives a message individually to: 

·      Drop the charges against Julian Assange

·      Speak out publicly against the indictment and

·      Sign on to Rashida Tlaib's letter to the DOJ to drop the charges: 

           202-224-3121—Capitol Main Switchboard 


Leave a message on the White House comment line to 

Demand Julian Assange be pardoned: 


             Tuesday–Thursday, 11:00 A.M.–3:00 P.M. EST


Call the DOJ and demand they drop the charges against Julian Assange:

             202-353-1555—DOJ Comment Line

             202-514-2000 Main Switchboard 



No one is coming to save us, but us.


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


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


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


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


Learn more and register for Socialism 2023

September 1-4, 2023, Chicago



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


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

Copyright © 2023 Jacobin, All rights reserved.

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


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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

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


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






1) 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.



2) 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.



3) 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.”



4) “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.




5) 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



6) Israel Unleashes Fiercest Air Attack on West Bank in Nearly Two Decades

At least five Palestinians were killed in a new assault on militant targets in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin, which involved a series of drone airstrikes and hundreds of ground forces.

By Isabel Kershner, Published July 2, 2023, Updated July 3, 2023

Reporting from Jerusalem

A man with blood on his shirt and ripped pants lies on a blanket as another man presses on his chest.
A wounded Palestinian at a hospital during the Israeli military raid. The military said missiles fired from Israeli drones had struck an operations center used by militants in the Jenin refugee camp. Credit...Nasser Nasser/Associated Press

Israel launched the most intense airstrikes on the occupied West Bank in nearly two decades on Monday, saying it was trying to root out armed Palestinian militants in the city of Jenin after a year of escalating violence there. At least five Palestinians were killed.


The Israeli military said the operation began shortly after 1 a.m. with drone attacks from the air on what it called “terrorist infrastructure” in the Jenin area, followed by hundreds of ground forces moving in. Military officials said the operation focused on militant targets in the densely populated Jenin refugee camp, an area less than a quarter of a square mile abutting the city, with about 17,000 residents.


Israel estimates that there are hundreds of armed Palestinians in the Jenin area, which has recently been the focus of attacks against Israelis and deadly Israeli Army arrest raids.


Long a symbol of Palestinian militancy and a haven for armed groups opposing Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, Jenin is a stronghold of the Iran-backed Islamic Jihad group and Hamas, the Islamic militant group that controls the Palestinian territory of Gaza. Israeli military officials say more than 50 shooting attacks have been carried out from the Jenin area against Israeli targets in the past six months.


Army arrest raids have led to increasingly fierce exchanges of fire between the troops and the armed Palestinians, making it harder for Israeli forces to go in and out of Jenin and adding to the impetus for Monday’s incursion.


“The camp is a war zone in the full meaning of the word,” Muhammad Sbaghi, a member of the local committee that helps administer the Jenin camp, said after the operation began on Monday. He added that residents had feared a large-scale incursion by the Israeli military but had not expected something so violent and destructive.


“The occupation army is vindictively targeting us,” he said. “People are terrified,” he added, saying that residents were holed up in their homes throughout the Jenin refugee camp.


A spokesman for the Israeli military, Lt. Col. Richard Hecht, said the goal of the Israeli operation was “to break the safe-haven mind-set” of the refugee camp. At least 19 people suspected of attacks on Israelis had found shelter there in recent months, according to the military.


Colonel Hecht said the airstrikes were intended to “minimize friction” on the ground and the risk to Israeli troops, adding that the assault would go on for “as long as needed.” Ground forces inside the camp were seizing weapons, he said.


The last time Israel carried out such extensive airstrikes in the West Bank was during the second Palestinian intifada, or uprising, of the early 2000s.


Israeli media reports estimated that about 1,000 ground troops were also in Jenin as part of the operation.


Israel said it had killed at least five people it identified as armed suspects. The Palestinian health ministry said that at least eight Palestinians had been killed in Jenin and about 50 were wounded, 10 of them gravely.


The military described the city of Jenin and the camp on Monday as “an active combat area” and said exchanges of fire were continuing there. Giora Eiland, a retired Israeli general and former national security adviser, said he expected Israel to wrap up the operation quickly, within a few days at most, to try to avoid hostilities spreading to other areas, such as Gaza.


The military said missiles fired from Israeli drones had struck a joint operations center used by militants of a group known as the Jenin Brigade in the refugee camp. Israeli forces also targeted a facility for weapons production and explosive device storage, and located and confiscated an improvised rocket launcher, the military said.


A map issued by the military indicated that the operations center in the camp was near several compounds run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which provides services for Palestinian refugees.


Television images on Monday showed Israeli armored bulldozers tearing up roads in Jenin to search for roadside bombs.


Residents of the northern West Bank have recently been witnessing an explosive mix of violence. There are attacks on Israelis by armed local Palestinian militias; almost daily arrest raids by the Israeli military; and reprisals by extremist Jewish settlers, who have rampaged through Palestinian villages setting fire to property.


The killing last month of four Israeli civilians outside a West Bank Jewish settlement by two Hamas gunmen increased pressure on the Israeli government to take tougher military action against armed Palestinians in the northern West Bank, though that attack was not linked to suspected militants from Jenin.


This year has been one of the deadliest so far for Palestinians in the West Bank in more than a decade, with more than 140 deaths over the past six months. Most were killed in armed clashes during military raids, though some were bystanders. It has also been one of the deadliest years for Israelis in some time, with nearly 30 killed in Arab attacks.


Increasingly, as in other areas of the northern West Bank, armed militias like the Jenin Brigade have sprung up in Jenin. Made up of members of established groups as well as unaffiliated gunmen, they act independently of the main organizational structures.


Israeli officials said early Monday that they had been in contact with representatives of the Palestinian Authority, the provisional body created under the Oslo peace process in the mid-1990s to exercise limited self-rule in parts of the West Bank. They were also in contact with authorities in neighboring Jordan.


Western-backed security forces belonging to the Palestinian Authority have largely stayed out of the hotbeds of militancy in the northern West Bank of late. Their absence, analysts say, suggests that they may have lost control and left a power vacuum.


The spokesman for the Palestinian presidency, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, denounced the Israeli assault on Jenin as “ a new war crime against our defenseless people,” according to Wafa, the official Palestinian news agency.


“Our Palestinian people will not kneel, will not surrender, will not raise the white flag, and will remain steadfast on their land in the face of this brutal aggression,” he said.


Members of the coalition government in Israel led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — the most right-wing in the country’s history — have been pressing for a more aggressive military response to attacks on Israelis. But the operation on Monday appeared to have broad political support, as the leader of the opposition, the centrist Yair Lapid, voiced his backing for it.


“This is a justified step against a terror infrastructure based on accurate and high-quality intelligence,” he wrote on Twitter.


Tensions in the Jenin area leading up to Monday’s operation heightened a week ago when a rocket was launched toward an Israeli community from the Jenin area. It exploded soon after it took off, according to the military and video footage.


While militant groups in the Palestinian coastal territory of Gaza have been launching rockets into Israel for more than 20 years, groups in the West Bank have not yet developed the same capabilities.


Another event that increased frictions in the area was an Israeli military operation in Jenin on June 19 that turned deadly, with at least five Palestinians killed in a gun battle and dozens more wounded, according to Palestinian health officials. One of those killed was a 15-year-old girl.


Eight members of the Israeli security forces were also wounded in the fighting that day, which broke out after a raid to arrest two Palestinians suspected of terrorist activity turned into lengthy exchanges of fire, according to the Israeli military.


Israeli helicopter gunships were sent into the area for the first time in decades to aid forces trying to extricate armored vehicles that had been disabled by a roadside bomb. Israeli analysts said that the bomb was reminiscent of the kind that Israeli forces encountered in past decades in southern Lebanon.


Raja Abdulrahim, Gabby Sobelman and Myra Noveck contributed reporting.



7) Frederick Douglass Knew What False Patriotism Was

By Esau McCaulley, July 3, 2023

An illustration of an American flag that’s missing its red stripes.
Illustration by Akshita Chandra/The New York Times

In 1852 Frederick Douglass delivered what may be his most famous address, “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?” This time of year, quotations from the speech dart around Black social media as a subtle pushback on uncomplicated celebrations of American independence.


Douglass wondered what the enslaved might say if they were called from the plantations to reflect on themes of liberty, justice and equality. How might their words differ from the prose of the free orators normally asked to comment on American ideals? There is a revolution in the reorientation of perspective, when the powerless are given space to speak. That hasn’t changed.


On Independence Day, what would those who lost loved ones in the Buffalo mass shooting have to say about justice in America? If we summoned Black women, who disproportionally experience death and trauma during childbirth, to reflect on the inalienable right to life, what hard truths might we hear about their fears for themselves and their unborn children? What musings about liberty could we expect from those who endure unjust sentencing or are pulled over for driving while Black?


Our nation’s problems and the litany of lingering injustices are not unknown to us, but there is a certain pressure to put our complaints aside around this holiday in particular. On the Fourth of July we are encouraged to unfurl our flags, belt out a rendition of “God Bless America” and grill burgers in humble gratitude.


Reflecting on the demand for patriotism, Douglass said, “As a people, Americans are remarkably familiar with all facts which make in their own favor. It is a fact, that whatever makes for the wealth or for the reputation of Americans will be found by Americans.”


Our country wants a certain version of the American story told and will laud anyone willing to tell it. But uncritical celebration is a limited and false definition of patriotism. Instead, recounting the full story of America and asking it to be better than it is can be an expression of love.


Douglass challenged the idea that certain truths should be overlooked. He composed this speech in the aftermath of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, which required all escaped slaves to be returned to their enslavers. He said this act of Congress turned the nation into a “hunting ground for men” and marred the whole republic because “your lawmakers have commanded all good citizens to engage in this hellish sport.”


Douglass put his protest into conversation with the ideals celebrated on the Fourth. He recognized that the founding fathers were “great men” who “staked their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor on the cause of their country.”


The problem wasn’t the vision of the country we remember on this day. The fault lay in the fact that some got left out.


Douglass had the audacity to believe that America's story was not finished until the country kept all her promises. There is a hidden affection in the stinging words of rebuke.


Over 100 years later, in his “I Have a Dream” speech, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., would echo Douglass: “When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men — yes, Black men as well as white men — would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned.”


Today if Americans protest systemic injustice or resist the efforts to remove the history of racial oppression from school curriculum, it is the demonstrators, not those invested in intentional forgetting, who some people deem anti-American.


Douglass’s patriotism was more than resistance. In the early years of the Civil War, he saw signs of unity and hope. In 1862 he delivered another July Fourth speech. As David Blight notes in his biography of Douglass, the orator’s language underwent a change from 1852 to 1862.


A decade prior, Douglass, speaking to white Americans, referred to the founders as “your fathers.” Douglass and other Blacks were outsiders. In 1862, he took ownership of them, including African Americans in the grand narrative of American history. The “you” of the American Revolution and its principles became a “we” during the battle against the Confederacy. Speaking of the Union effort in the Civil War, he said, “We are only continuing the tremendous struggle, which your fathers, and my fathers began eighty-six years ago.” Because white Americans had been willing to suffer for Black freedom during the Civil War, we were starting to live up to the idea that all men were created equal.


He understood that no great thing could be had without genuine effort and pain, and that holds true today. One cannot simply read more Black literature after violent and public deaths of African Americans. We have to do the hard work of reforming policing, undoing gerrymandered voting districts and eliminating myths about differences between Blacks and whites.


On Independence Day in 1875, Douglass took to the podium a third time. Echoing his first speech, he asked what Black people had to do with the Fourth of July. Now, years after the Civil War, Black people’s place in the American narrative is an established fact: “Colored people have had something to do with almost everything of vital im­portance in the life and progress of this great country.”


I don’t think we have to be proud of everything this country has done to be proud of our progress despite unrelenting opposition. The saga of Black people in America is not just a tragedy; it is also a triumph.


Douglass recognized that his version of the American story was not often recounted. So he called for a Black press to rise up and make it known. America had to face the truth and only those who had endured its hypocrisies but still maintained some hope had the perspective to tell it.


Douglass expanded the meaning of American patriotism. Rather than focusing on the gratitude the country demanded of us, he reminded the nation what it still owed its populace. The nation could not request songs of praise without including Black accomplishments in its lyrics. It could not laud the founders of this nation without following their example by continuing to fight for justice for all.

Our national tendency to see only the best of America was standing in the way of truly becoming great. He thought enough of this country to tell it the truth. We would be better off if more of us did the same.



8) Why Abortion Stories Matter

By Christine Henneberg, July 4, 2023

Dr. Henneberg is a writer and a doctor specializing in women’s health and family planning. Her memoir is “Boundless: An Abortion Doctor Becomes a Mother.”

An upside down color photo of an abortion-rights rally overlaid across an archival black-and-white image of a patient receiving abortion care.
Illustration by Shoshana Schultz/The New York Times; photographs by Barbara Alper and Bettmann/Getty

Start with a story.


It’s the standard advice for any doctor who sets out to write, speak or advocate on behalf of her patients. Stories change minds. They change how people think about issues that can otherwise feel impersonal. Stories matter.


This is why, in the year since the overturning of Roe v. Wade, researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, have been collecting stories from doctors detailing substandard medical care and harm to patients. It is why the obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. Caitlin Bernard told the story of a patient of hers, a 10-year-old rape victim from Ohio, who, unable to obtain a legal abortion in her home state, was forced to travel to Indiana to seek care. It is why, as an abortion provider in California, a state where abortion remains legal (for now), I collect and publish stories about my work — stories that, for whatever reason, stick with me.


Such as on a recent afternoon, when the last patient of the day chose to forgo IV anesthesia for her abortion because she was leaving straight from her appointment to pick up her kids from school. “I’m OK,” she said, her hands clutching the sides of the exam table. Half an hour later, I saw her in the subway on my way home, chin in her hand, staring out the window. I imagined her children waiting in the schoolyard, their eager hands thrusting into hers, their innocent questions and needs and demands.


Or the young woman who told me about her drag racer boyfriend and how, since becoming pregnant, she’d been too nauseated to ride in the car with him, instead watching from the sidelines, trying to imagine what her life would look like if they were to have the baby.


Like any doctor, I am careful to change names and identifying details to protect my patients’ privacy. This is, for the most part, easy to do, because so many of the stories I share are so common, so everyday. American women have nearly one million abortions each year. A vast majority of these are what the legal scholar and bioethicist Katie Watson calls ordinary abortions: A pregnant woman decides, for whatever reason, that she can’t or doesn’t want to give birth to a child right now. A doctor or nurse helps her safely end the pregnancy. These stories, no matter how fraught they might be with personal and moral tensions, don’t make exciting news. As Ms. Watson has written, “The imperatives of reporting preclude this headline: ‘Peaceful Day at Abortion Clinic: Ordinary People Got Quality Health Care.’”


Yet ordinary abortion stories play an important role in the fight for abortion rights and reproductive justice. They remind us that abortion is normal. They humanize the one in four women in America who will have an abortion in her lifetime.


Unlike ordinary abortion stories, the details of extraordinary abortions cannot be easily disguised. The details are what make them extraordinary: The very young patient. The rape. The state where she could not obtain the abortion and the state where she ultimately did.


In medicine, doctors share extraordinary cases to educate ourselves and one another about the range of diagnoses we must consider, exam findings we may encounter or procedures we might be called on to perform. Extraordinary stories also serve a role in a democracy, to paint a vivid picture for constituents of the full range and implications of the legislation passed by elected officials, under which we and our children must live.


Extraordinary abortion stories remind us that pregnancy can be a matter of life and death. Pregnancy can — and does — result from rape, incest and intimate partner violence. Pregnancy can — and does — happen to children as young as 10. Governors and legislators and Supreme Court justices can — and do — make decisions that result in children being forced to give birth.


When Dr. Bernard was reprimanded by Indiana’s medical board for violating her young patient’s privacy (she discussed the case with a reporter without revealing a single traceable element of the patient’s identity), we saw proof of a new, disturbing reality of the post-Roe era: Abortion opponents don’t merely want to ban abortion. They want to silence the doctors who bear witness to the disastrous consequences of such cruel and unjust legislation.


Now more than ever, abortion providers must share the ordinary and extraordinary stories we witness — to humanize our work, to advocate for our patients, to move people. This is the impetus behind my writing and the work of other doctors. It is the impetus for the U.C.S.F. study documenting the substandard reproductive care post-Roe, whose preliminary findings, released in May, are chilling to read. This is why humans tell stories: so that our words are not only heard and read but also remembered.


In a post-Roe world, abortion providers see our patients’ rights to privacy and bodily autonomy violated every day. It is our ethical duty to expose that violation to the world.



9) Attack in Tel Aviv Wounds 8 as Israel’s Deadly Raid in West Bank Continues

On the second day of the major military incursion into the Palestinian city of Jenin, Israeli officials said a car had rammed civilians in Tel Aviv, an assault praised by the militant group Hamas.

By Isabel Kershner and Aaron Boxerman, July 4, 2023

Isabel Kershner reported from Jerusalem, and Aaron Boxerman from London.

A group carrying a wounded man through a street.
A wounded Palestinian was carried away on Tuesday after a confrontation with Israeli forces in the West Bank city of Jenin. Credit...Majdi Mohammed/Associated Press

Eight people were wounded in a car-ramming and stabbing attack in Tel Aviv on Tuesday that the Israeli authorities said was terrorism, raising fears of tit-for-tat violence as Israel’s military carried out a second day of operations aimed at rooting out Palestinian armed groups in the West Bank city of Jenin.


The Palestinian death toll in the Jenin operation, the largest that Israel has mounted in the area in many years, rose to 10, according to Palestinian health officials. Four were under 18 years old, at least two of whom were claimed by Palestinian militant groups as fighters. At least 120 people were injured, including 20 in serious condition, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.


The military operation in Jenin and the attack in Tel Aviv add to the sense of uncertainty and tension in the region, after the most right-wing government in Israeli history took power six months ago promising both expanded Jewish settlements in occupied territory and a tougher response to violence, while the Palestinian Authority has increasingly lost control of hotbeds of militancy in the occupied West Bank.


The sun rose on Tuesday on deserted alleyways in Jenin’s refugee camp, a usually crowded quarter abutting the city that is the focus of the military incursion. Up to 3,000 of the camp’s roughly 17,000 residents have sought shelter in schools and other public buildings, or with families elsewhere, while others have holed up in their homes.


“We were huddling together in the middle of our house, terrified that a rocket might strike us at any moment,” said Omar Obeid, 60, a resident of the camp who fled the fighting with his children late Monday night.


About 1,000 troops continued searching the camp on Tuesday after having earlier found and confiscated caches of weapons, explosive devices and other military equipment, according to the Israeli military, which added that its forces had also destroyed laboratories for manufacturing explosives.


Although gunfire and explosions could still occasionally be heard, the situation in the refugee camp was “calmer today than yesterday,” the deputy governor of Jenin, Kamal Abu al-Rub said on Tuesday. Neither electricity nor running water was available in the camp because of the destruction caused by the operation, he added.


Jenin, long a militant stronghold, has been at the center of escalating tensions and violence in the year leading up to the incursion early on Monday morning, and, as the military continued its operation there, the Israeli authorities said that a West Bank Palestinian had tried to attack Israeli civilians in Tel Aviv.


In security camera footage broadcast on Israeli television, a car can be seen slamming into the curb in a residential area in the northern part of the city. The driver then left his car and chased passers-by, brandishing a heavy object. He was then shot and killed by a civilian, Israeli security officials said. Three people are in serious condition, the police said.


The Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic intelligence service, identified the attacker as Abd al-Wahab Khalaila, a 20-year-old Palestinian from Samua, a small town in the southern West Bank. Mr. Khalaila had no prior security record, the agency said.


“We’ve assessed that because of our activity in Judea and Samaria, the motivation and potential for attacks would rise,” the Israeli police chief, Yaakov Shabtai, told reporters, using the biblical name for the West Bank.


No Palestinian faction immediately took responsibility for the attack, though it was quickly praised by Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza. A spokesman for Hamas, Abdel Latif al-Qanou, said on Twitter that the attack was “the beginning of the response to the Zionist occupation’s aggression against Jenin.”


Jenin is a bastion for the militant groups Islamic Jihad and Hamas, as well as being home to newer armed militias that have sprung up and do not answer to the established organizations, and the area has been the source of dozens of shooting attacks on Israelis, according to Israeli military data.


Israeli officials said that the latest military incursion was not intended to conquer or hold territory in Jenin, adding that it would continue for as long as it took for the mission to be completed. Analysts said that probably meant hours or a few days at most.


Israel’s chief military spokesman, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, said on Tuesday that 120 wanted men had been arrested and were being interrogated by the security services.


“There is no point in the camp that we have not reached, including its core,” Admiral Hagari wrote on Twitter on Tuesday morning. He said that each of the military units operating in the camp had been given a number of defined targets to search during the day, adding, “If we encounter friction with terrorists — we will fight them as well.”


Hussein al-Sheikh, a senior official in the Palestinian Authority, called on the international community, including the United States “to intervene immediately” to “stop the Israeli aggression and force Israel to withdraw immediately from Jenin and its camp,” warning of the displacement of large numbers of residents.

The Palestinian Authority announced that it was ceasing all contact with Israel over the Jenin raid.


The operation opened shortly after 1 a.m. on Monday with airstrikes from drones, a new tactic being employed by Israel in the West Bank. The strikes were the most intense use of air power in the occupied territory in about two decades.


Israel said that all those who had been killed so far were combatants; militant groups have so far claimed five of them as members. The Palestinian authorities have not specified whether those who died were all combatants or included civilians.


Some Palestinian officials said that Israel had threatened and forced camp residents to evacuate their homes.

“Houses have been demolished, broken into, and the people were forced out of their own homes,” the mayor of Jenin, Nidal Obeidi, told the radio station Voice of Palestine on Tuesday. According to reports from the scene aired on the station, the sound of explosions and exchanges of fire had rung around the camp since dawn.


Israeli officials denied that they had carried out any forced evacuations but confirmed that some residents had received text messages from Israeli numbers advising them to leave their homes temporarily. Admiral Hagari said that the Israeli forces had allowed and even encouraged women and children to leave.


Analysts and former generals with the Israeli military said that it would be in Israel’s interest to wrap up the operation as soon as possible to avoid mistakes and to prevent any spillover of tensions into other areas, such as the Hamas-run territory of Gaza, which could result in a broader conflict.


Gabby Sobelman contributed reporting from Rehovot, Israel; Myra Noveck from Jerusalem; and Iyad Abuheweila from Gaza City.



10) Paralyzed by a Police Bullet, He Describes a Life Forever Changed

“Why did you run from me?” an officer asked Khalif Cooper, then 28, immediately after the shooting in Paterson, N.J. “I was scared,” he answered.

By Tracey Tully, July 5, 2023

Khalif Cooper, in a green polo shirt and dark pants, sits in a wheelchair.
“My whole life just changed,” said Khalif Cooper, 29. Credit...Bryan Anselm for The New York Times

The bullet, fired by a police officer who was sprinting into the 3 a.m. darkness, struck Khalif Cooper with improbable precision.


The projectile penetrated the young man’s lower back before ripping through organs and coming to rest near a vertebrae that controls lower-body movement. By morning, Mr. Cooper had lost a kidney, half his colon and his ability to ever walk again.


“My whole life just changed,” Mr. Cooper, who is 29 and Black, said in his first interview since the shooting.


It happened on a warm Saturday last June in Paterson, N.J., and Mr. Cooper, the father of two young daughters, said he was running away from the sound of gunfire.


A police officer, Jerry Moravek, came racing down the sidewalk toward the same noise. Their paths crossed, footage from a police body camera shows, and Officer Moravek pivoted to begin chasing Mr. Cooper, convinced that he was holding a gun.


Months later, Officer Moravek would be charged with aggravated assault for his decision to fire his weapon, without warning, toward a man who was running away. In March, the shooting would become one of the many data points used to justify the state attorney general’s decision to take the rare step of seizing control of the troubled Paterson Police Department.


But that is largely beside the point to Mr. Cooper. He worries most these days about his inability to help when his daughters cry and the mild humiliations that define his day-to-day existence. He cannot hoist himself out of his wheelchair into bed without help, and his girlfriend, who gave birth to their daughter a week after the shooting, now must change his diaper, too.


“There have been times when I just couldn’t take it, and I was, like, ‘I just want to die,’” he said.


Mr. Cooper had had past run-ins with the police, and he had been released from prison less than two years earlier after serving time for weapons and drug convictions. But he has not been accused of doing anything wrong the night he was shot. And a gun found about a block from where he fell held none of his DNA or fingerprints, court records show.


“Why did you run from me?” the officer asked Mr. Cooper after pulling his wrists into handcuffs, according to video released by prosecutors. “I was scared,” he answered.


Narcia Cooper, Khalif’s mother, spent nearly every day at her son's bedside during the three months he was hospitalized. She still cannot make sense of why he was shot. “If someone is running away from you, why shoot them?” she asked.


Many police shooting victims’ names become rallying cries for reform upon death. As someone who survived, Mr. Cooper understands the power he now holds as a bleak, living reminder of America’s policing crisis.


“What I experienced — I don’t want nobody to ever go through this,” he said.


This week, Mr. Cooper filed a $50 million federal lawsuit against Officer Moravek, the City of Paterson and its former police chief and police director. He has dual goals: locking in enough money to pay for a lifetime of medical care and driving home a point.


“We pray that the good cops keep being good cops,” said Kenyatta Stewart, who grew up with Mr. Cooper in Paterson and is one of three lawyers representing him, “and the bad cops understand what can happen when you make these decisions.”


Officer Moravek remains on paid leave. Paterson’s mayor, André Sayegh, said the city does not comment on pending litigation. Officer Moravek’s lawyer, Patrick Caserta, could not be reached for comment, but he has said that his client made a split-second decision based on a belief that his life and the lives of people nearby were at imminent risk.


Isa M. Abbassi, a former New York Police Department chief who was instrumental in crafting the city’s strategy after the 2014 police killing of Eric Garner on Staten Island, has been in charge of the Paterson department since early May.


“We have already begun the process of providing supplemental training for our members in the areas of constitutional policing and use of force,” Mr. Abbassi said on his first day on the job.


“The next generation of public safety starts today,” he added, “and it starts in Paterson, New Jersey.”


With 157,000 residents, Paterson, which is about 20 miles northwest of New York City, is the state’s third-largest city.


It has its landmarks. Hinchliffe Stadium, one of the last Negro Leagues ballparks still standing, reopened in May behind the Great Falls, a hydropower behemoth that fueled the country’s Industrial Revolution. Over the past two decades, refugees from Afghanistan and Syria and elsewhere, eager to build new lives, have flooded the welcoming city.


But unlike Newark and Jersey City, the state’s two larger cities, which are closer to the shimmer of New York City and benefit more from its reflected glow, Paterson has struggled for economic traction.


Its schools, under state control for 30 years until 2021, were shut during the pandemic for longer than all but one other district in New Jersey. Last spring, 46 percent of the city’s third-graders scored at the lowest level on standardized reading tests, more than twice the statewide failure rate.

And of the 46 fatal encounters with New Jersey law enforcement officials since 2019, eight were in Paterson — more than any other community in the state, according to an analysis by NJ Spotlight News.


Every year in the United States, more than 80,000 people suffer nonfatal injuries during contact with law enforcement officials, according to a University of Illinois Chicago study of data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2018, the most recent year with all relevant figures available, 54 percent of those injured were Black, even though African Americans make up only about 14 percent of the country’s population.


Before the shooting, Mr. Cooper said he never felt particularly distrustful of the police. “I look at cops like they’re people, they do what they got to do,” said Mr. Cooper, whose uncle and cousin are both police officers in Paterson. “That’s their job.”


Dennis Hickerson-Breedon, one of Mr. Cooper’s lawyers, said it would be impossible to know what Officer Moravek was thinking when he pulled the trigger. Still, he said he believed that Mr. Cooper’s well-being “was much more expendable than a person who may live in a more suburban neighborhood.”


The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in New Jersey, argues that Officer Moravek fired his weapon on June 11, 2022, “without need, justification or cause,” in violation of Mr. Cooper’s civil rights.

In spring of 2022, Mr. Cooper had moved with his girlfriend, Kaelah Pace, to Sugar Notch, Pa., about two hours west of Paterson by car, and had been preparing to start work at a pet food supply company, the couple said. His lawyers said he was in Paterson the weekend of the shooting to see his older daughter, who is 6.


Police body camera video from that night shows about a dozen people milling around outdoors. Officer Moravek pulls up in a police car at about 3:15 a.m. and explains to them that several neighbors had called to complain. Then, over the radio, another officer reports having a suspect with a gun in custody. Seconds later, three shots ring out, and Officer Moravek begins running toward the noise, encountering Mr. Cooper along the way.


“Drop the gun,” he shouts several times, but never orders Mr. Cooper to stop or warns that he is about to shoot — omissions the attorney general said were violations of the state’s use-of-force policy when he charged Officer Moravek with assault and official misconduct.


The bullet has never been removed from Mr. Cooper’s back. For now, he said, it is safer to leave it untouched.


Ms. Pace, a certified nursing assistant who also has a 5- and a 7-year-old, is his main caregiver, but physical therapists and nurses visit regularly. Wound care, managing a diet that is easy on his remaining kidney and the strain involved in lifting Mr. Cooper in and out of the wheelchair are constant struggles.

“It’s just a lot,” Ms. Pace, 23, said before starting to cry, awakening their 1-year-old daughter, who began to fuss.


Mr. Cooper reached out and placed her on his lap in the wheelchair, and the baby smiled.


“She thinks it’s a ride,” he said.


Mr. Cooper said he missed the small things most: walking to the park; being able to swim with his daughters; the dream of eventually having another child.


“I wish I could go back. I wish I could go back in time,” he said.


“But I’ve got to keep going for my kids — you know? — for my daughters.


“They give me life.”



11) After Protests, France Holds Hasty Trials for Hundreds

The streets are calmer, after days of unrest over the police shooting of a teenager, but the courts are going into overdrive. Lawyers for those arrested often have just 30 minutes to prepare.

By Catherine Porter and Juliette Guéron-Gabrielle, July 4, 2023

Catherine Porter and Juliette Guéron-Gabrielle reported from Nanterre, France, where the police killing of a teenage boy set off mass protests.


A handcuffed man is held by a group of police officers in riot gear.

The police arresting a man in Lille, France, last week. Some 3,400 people across the country were detained during the protests. Credit...Kenzo Tribouillard/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The clerks were on strike in the Nanterre courthouse, so the accused burglars, homeless thieves and domestic abusers had to wait. It was 5 p.m. by the time Yanis Linize was ushered into the courtroom, a few blocks from the traffic circle where young Nahel Merzouk was shot by a policeman just a week ago, setting off protests across the country.


A bike courier from a southern suburb of Paris, Mr. Linize was swept up in the anger and emotion that erupted over the death, and the widespread perception that racial discrimination had played a role in it.


He faced charges of issuing death threats to police and of promoting damage to public property.


“I was angry because of everything that is happening,” Mr. Linize, 20, told the panel of three black-robed judges before him. “Someone died. That’s serious.”


After five nights of fury over Mr. Merzouk’s killing, the country has calmed down and begun to assess the damage: more than 5,000 vehicles burned, 1,000 buildings damaged or looted, 250 police stations or gendarmeries attacked, more than 700 officers injured.


Some 3,400 people were arrested as a massive police presence set out to restore order.


The justice system is running almost around the clock to process them. Many are being funneled through hasty trials, known as comparutions immédiates, where prosecutors and court-appointed lawyers traditionally churn through simple crimes like traffic violations, theft or assault, often when the accused is caught in the act.


After flooding the streets with 45,000 officers night after night, the French state is looking to send a second harsh message. Justice Minister Éric Dupond-Moretti advised prosecutors to systematically seek prison sentences for people charged with physical assault or serious vandalism.


“Very clearly, I want a firm hand,” Mr. Dupond-Moretti told France Inter radio on Monday.


The court in Nanterre, the Paris suburb where Mr. Merzouk lived and died, held special sessions over the weekend. All sorts of people have appeared: paramedics, restaurant employees, factory workers, students and unemployed people.


The majority of those arrested, according to French authorities, had no prior criminal record. And most are minors: the average age is 17, with some as young as 12. They go to a specialized court where the process is slower and prison is seen as a last resort.


With comparutions immediates, justice is routinely as harsh as it is quick: Lawyers often have just 30 minutes to prepare, and cases often end in prison time. In theory, the accused have an option to delay the hearing to better prepare with court-appointed lawyers, but few take it, mostly because they would be waiting in jail.


Squeezed in among robberies and domestic violence, the trials go fast. Mr. Linize’s lasted less than two hours.


He appeared in a glass defendant box, wearing a blue vest zipped up to his chin, his long brown hair falling neatly around his face, and his hands folded politely behind his back.


Police arrested him for chanting “Justice for Nahel, we will kill you all.” He told the court he was shouting “Justice for Nahel, no more deaths.” Nearly three years ago he was convicted of assaulting a police officer, and had been working to pay off a 10,000 euro ($11,000) fine since then — a heavy lift, given that he earns just €1,500 a month. He lives with his parents.


After his arrest, police accessed his phone and found videos he had made. The judge read out messages from the private Snapchat stories that Mr. Linize shared with 20 friends.


In one, he offers cash to people who can provide him with mortar tubes to launch fireworks — which were the main weapons used by protesters to fight police. In a video he posted at 3:25 a.m., he is holding a gas canister and saying, “I am going to burn everything in the housing project.”


But all of it is posture, he maintained, saying he didn’t burn, smash or steal anything. “All that, it’s just words,” he told the judges. “I’m just saying what passes through my mind.”


President Emmanuel Macron has blamed social media — Snapchat and TikTok in particular — for accelerating the violent response to the teenager’s shooting, by enabling rioters to quickly coordinate and by fueling copycat behavior. Experts say its effect is one notable difference from 2005, when France was rocked by three weeks of riots after the deaths of two teenagers who were fleeing a police check. Back then, smartphones and social media barely existed.


The lead judge read out several of the messages Mr. Linize shared, declaring he planned to “fight the police this evening” and damage everything.

“You wanted to scare the state,” the judge said. “You said nothing resulted from the messages you sent, but you’re not in control of that.”


Mr. Linize’s court-appointed criminal lawyer, Camilla Quendolo, worked on cases through the weekend. One common denominator she saw was the shock at the teenager’s death among many protesters, some of whom even knew the victim.


“The message from the prosecutor’s office has been very clear, very precise and systematic. But on the bench, it has really depended on the judge,” said Ms. Quendolo, who spends 30 percent of her time working as a public defender.


“It’s a good and bad thing,” she added. “They aren’t robots, which is good, but at the same time, it creates a disparity between people.”


In court, she reminded the judges that her client had no dangerous items on him at the time of arrest — “no weapon, no fireworks, nothing.” His words were simply political, she said.

Many in the small courtroom, filled with friends and families of those arrested, applauded.


“These penalties are too heavy for young people,” said Issa Sonke, 23, a security worker who was at the trial to support a friend. “They didn’t hurt anyone,” he said, standing by the coffee machine down the courthouse hall.


Mr. Sonke, who is from a neighboring immigrant-packed suburb, said that “every one of us grew up witnessing police violence,” adding: “We’ve all seen the police smack our friends.”


Mr. Merzouk’s killing has tapped into the long-festering resentment of racism among many French minorities, and rekindled a long, painful debate about racial profiling by police — a pernicious phenomenon that has been demonstrated in many studies, but that is fiercely dismissed by police unions.


In 2016, France’s Supreme Court of Appeals ruled that some identity checks carried out by the police had indeed been discriminatory, motivated only by the “real or supposed origin” of the young men who were stopped. It found that this was “serious misconduct” on the part of the state. While the government has made some changes, including introducing body cameras for some officers, it has not called into question the general practice of identity checks.

A group of organizations including Amnesty International filed a class-action suit against the government in 2021, calling for a clearer legal basis for I.D. stops, among other changes. The case is expected to start shortly.


On Monday, the president’s office reiterated its view that discrimination or racism did not play a part in the traffic stop that ended in Mr. Merzouk’s death. Linda Kebbab, a spokeswoman for the nation’s largest police union, which represents the two officers involved, backed up that view.


“If we are saying anything and everything is a racist crime, we won’t be able to fight against real cognitive bias that pollutes public service,” Ms. Kebbab said.


A few blocks from the courthouse, a group of teenagers who knew Mr. Merzouk from the neighborhood sat on couches in the storefront of a small community organization, the burned carcasses of three cars in view. They pointed out the injustice of being charged for threatening police, when they regularly felt threatened by police I.D. checks.


“There are prisons and justice — prisons are for you, but justice isn’t,” said Yasmina Kammour, 25, a youth worker in the neighborhood.

Two warring online fund-raising campaigns underscore the point, she said. The one established for the family of the police officer who shot Nahel has surpassed €1.4 million in just five days. The one for Mr. Merzouk’s mother has reached €378,000.


“It proves so many things,” said Ms. Kammour. “They have the money, they have the power.”


In the end, Mr. Linize was found guilty and given an eight-month suspended sentence. He was ordered to wear an electronic bracelet for four months, take a citizenship class for €300 and remain employed.


The next person arrested during the protests arrived in the glass defendant’s box just after 10 p.m.


Aurelien Breeden contributed reporting from Paris.



12) The Little-Known Provision That Could Revolutionize Highway Travel

By Clifford Winston, July 6, 2023

Brendan Conroy

It’s no small irony that so much federal money is being dedicated in various ways to climate-change projects that will do nothing to curtail Americans’ love of driving or to reduce the costs associated with it.


The country’s road system receives much of its funding through a tax on gasoline, and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Inflation Reduction Act have allocated billions of dollars of additional federal spending to improve our highways and to subsidize the purchase of electric vehicles. In theory, both new laws should help address climate change. Newer roads should reduce stop-and-go traffic, which increases emissions, and electric vehicles will eventually slash motor vehicle gasoline emissions.


But in reality, building smoother and wider roads often incentivizes more, not less, driving. And of course, more driving means more pollution, more accidents, more congestion and more pavement damage. At the same time, the gas tax revenues providing highway funding will dwindle because of electric vehicle adoption.


The good news: Buried in the 2,700 pages of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is the money to test a simple, relatively inexpensive and far better way to fix many of the woes of our congested, crumbling and climate-unfriendly highway system.


Known as a vehicle miles traveled (V.M.T.) fee, it would charge drivers for each mile of their use of the road. In doing so, it can incentivize us to drive less often, to avoid peak travel periods and to drive less-damaging and less-polluting vehicles.


To understand the importance of the solution, let’s return to the problem. In 1956, America began constructing its more than 40,000-mile federal interstate highway system, ensuring that the nation’s roads would be the lifeblood of travel. However, as more motorists and truckers used the roads, the annual costs of accidents, congestion, vehicle pollutants and pavement damage have exceeded a trillion dollars.


By focusing on miles driven, the V.M.T. fee can be fine-tuned to address all the social costs associated with driving. It can be increased during peak travel periods and in more populous areas, reducing congestion and improving safety. It can be varied depending on how green (or not) the vehicle is and can charge drivers according to the pollution their vehicles emit.


And it can be designed to reduce the considerable damage caused by heavy trucks. The gas tax encourages truckers to improve fuel efficiency by relying on vehicles with fewer axles — which increases road damage. A V.M.T. fee can be varied depending on how much weight is being borne by each axle, which reflects the road damage trucks inflict on the pavement.


Advances in technology make a V.M.T. fee for cars and trucks feasible; a mobile device can be installed on all vehicles that can track time, location and mileage, and the information can be sent to administrators who send confidential charges to road users. As for privacy concerns, many of us are already using a similar technology to pay highway tolls.


Establishing a V.M.T. fee would achieve the government’s goals for much less than those large spending programs. The congestion charge would spread traffic throughout the day, reducing public pressure to build expensive lanes or roads to expand peak-period capacity. The axle-weight charge would reduce pavement damage, decreasing maintenance expenditures. And the emissions charge would encourage travelers to use electric vehicles, accelerating the transition to a clean energy economy without large subsidies.


A V.M.T. fee can also help prepare the road system for the future. Travelers and shippers will almost certainly eventually use autonomous electric vehicles that operate efficiently and safely without a driver to reach their destinations. Those vehicles could communicate electronically with other vehicles to avoid collisions and even with the highway infrastructure to maintain smooth traffic flow. To a visionary policymaker, V.M.T. fees would generate funding to upgrade the highway infrastructure, thus reducing congestion and pavement damage that impede autonomous vehicle operations, and accelerate demand for autonomous electric vehicles.


The timeliest argument for a V.M.T. fee is that the gas tax will have to be replaced eventually because the adoption of electric vehicles is growing and revenue generated by the gas tax is shrinking. Fairness calls for electric vehicles to be charged for the emissions they generate from consuming electricity as well as for their congestion and accident costs.


Despite all the potential benefits of a V.M.T. fee, a huge hurdle remains to its being used more widely: the nature of American politics. Policymakers have historically favored inefficient, large spending programs because it is more politically attractive to spend money to build roads and to attend ribbon-cutting ceremonies than to charge road users for the social cost of their transportation.


Accordingly, I was not surprised to recently learn that the Department of Transportation reportedly has not made much, if any, progress on a V.M.T. pilot program. I understand that executive agencies routinely miss congressional deadlines because they feel overwhelmed and prioritize their responsibilities based on political considerations. But where does that leave us with a V.M.T. fee?


The most likely outcome is that policymakers will let the clock run out by allowing the 2024 elections to take precedence over everything else. Support for testing and establishing a V.M.T. fee might be resurrected after the elections, or it might be done in future decades to help upgrade the infrastructure to facilitate autonomous vehicles operation. It would be socially desirable to put a V.M.T. fee in place as soon as possible, but like many important policies, some legislative actions do not even get out of the starting gate even though the future pleads for them to be carried out now.



13) Man Gets Life Sentence in Rape of Child Who Traveled for Abortion

Gerson Fuentes agreed to a plea deal after he was charged with raping a 9-year-old Ohio girl who later traveled to Indiana for an abortion.

By Christine Hauser, July 5, 2023

A man with a thin beard, wearing a beige jail jumpsuit, sits at the defense table in a courtroom, flanked by lawyers in suits.
Gerson Fuentes pleaded guilty to two counts of rape after reaching a plea agreement with prosecutors. He will be eligible for parole in 25 years. Credit...Paul Vernon/Associated Press

Last year, the story of a 10-year-old girl in Ohio who had traveled to Indiana for an abortion became a flashpoint in the nationwide abortion debate. On Wednesday, the Ohio man who had been charged with raping the girl pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.


The man, Gerson Fuentes, 28, appeared in Franklin County Court of Common Pleas in Columbus, Ohio, where he entered the plea agreement to two counts of rape, which gives him the possibility of parole after 25 years, according to livestream broadcasts from local media inside the courtroom.


Mr. Fuentes, who was arrested in July of last year, had earlier pleaded not guilty to two charges of felony rape of the girl, who was 9 at the time, court and police records show. The trial had been scheduled to start on Jan. 9, but it was delayed because of plea negotiations, investigations and scheduling, a prosecutor, Dan Meyer, said that month.


Zachary Olah, Mr. Fuentes’s lawyer, was not immediately available for comment.


A Columbus Police Department incident report said that Mr. Fuentes was arrested after the girl went to a doctor, who determined she was pregnant. Mr. Fuentes was charged with the rape of a child under 13 years old, a felony that can carry a life sentence. He was held on $2 million bond.


G. Gary Tyack, the prosecuting attorney for Franklin County, announced in July 2022 that a grand jury had returned an indictment charging Mr. Fuentes with two counts of rape. The indictment said that the assaults took place between Jan. 1 and on or about May 12 of last year.


The girl’s story was first reported by The Indianapolis Star. A video of the court hearing posted by the conservative news site Townhall last year showed the testimony of Detective Jeffrey Huhn of the Columbus police, who said the girl’s mother took her to Indiana for the abortion at the end of June last year when she was just past six weeks pregnant.


He said Mr. Fuentes had confessed to raping the girl twice.


The Columbus Dispatch earlier reported on the arrest and the connection to the girl, who was 10 when she traveled across state lines to receive the abortion, in a case that captured national attention.


In June 2022, the Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to abortion enshrined in Roe v. Wade. The decision was followed by a wave of abortion restrictions, including a law in Ohio that bans abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy, with no exception for rape or incest. That law prevented the girl from receiving an abortion in her home state, where sex with a person under the age of 13 is a first-degree felony.


The Ohio case fueled heated public and political disputes over whether the story was true, President Biden and supporters of abortion rights pointed to the girl’s experience as the tragic consequence of abortion bans. Conservatives questioned whether the child even existed, and the Ohio attorney general, David Yost, initially said he found no evidence of such a victim.


After the arrest, Mr. Yost issued a statement saying his “heart aches for the pain suffered by this young child.”



14) U.S. Is Destroying the Last of Its Once-Vast Chemical Weapons Arsenal

Decades behind its initial schedule, the dangerous job of eliminating the world’s only remaining declared stockpile of lethal chemical munitions will be completed as soon as Friday.

By Dave Philipps and John Ismay, July 6, 2023

A man wearing a red jumpsuit and yellow vest walks in a large warehouse filled with rows of giant metal cylinders that are taller than the man. One cylinder is loaded onto an orange forklift.
Large cylindrical containers that prevent any leakage from escaping into the atmosphere are used to move chemical weapons from storage bunkers to processing facilities. Credit...Kenny Holston/The New York Times

In a sealed room behind a gantlet of armed guards and three rows of high barbed wire at the Army’s Pueblo Chemical Depot in Colorado, a team of robotic arms  was busily  disassembling some of the last of the United States’ vast and ghastly stockpile of chemical weapons.


In went artillery shells filled with deadly mustard agent that the Army had been storing for more than 70 years. The bright yellow robots pierced, drained and washed each shell, then baked it at 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit. Out came inert and harmless scrap metal, falling off a conveyor belt into an ordinary brown dumpster with a resounding clank.


“That’s the sound of a chemical weapon dying,” said Kingston Reif, who spent years pushing for disarmament outside government and is now the deputy assistant secretary of defense for threat reduction and arms control. He smiled as another shell clanked into the dumpster.


The destruction of the stockpile has taken decades, and the Army says the work is just about finished. The depot near Pueblo destroyed its last weapon in June; the remaining handful at another depot in Kentucky will be destroyed in the next few days. And when they are gone, all of the world’s publicly declared chemical weapons will have been eliminated.


The American stockpile, built up over generations, was shocking in its scale: Cluster bombs and land mines filled with nerve agent. Artillery shells that could blanket whole forests with a blistering mustard fog. Tanks full of poison that could be loaded on jets and sprayed on targets below.


They were a class of weapons deemed so inhumane that their use was condemned after World War I, but even so, the United States and other powers continued to develop and amass them. Some held deadlier versions of the chlorine and mustard agents made infamous in the trenches of the Western Front. Others held nerve agents developed later, like VX and Sarin, that are lethal even in tiny quantities.


American armed forces are not known to have used lethal chemical weapons in battle since 1918, though during the Vietnam War they used herbicides like Agent Orange that were harmful to humans.


The United States once also had a sprawling germ warfare and biological weapons program; those weapons were destroyed in the 1970s.

The United States and the Soviet Union agreed in principle in 1989 to destroy their chemical weapons stockpiles, and when the Senate ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention in 1997, the United States and other signatories committed to getting rid of chemical weapons once and for all.


But destroying them has not been easy: They were built to be fired, not disassembled. The combination of explosives and poison makes them exceptionally dangerous to handle.


Defense Department officials once projected that the job could be done in a few years at a cost of about $1.4 billion. It is now wrapping up decades behind schedule, at a cost close to $42 billion — 2,900 percent over budget.


But it’s done.


“It’s been an ordeal, that’s for sure — I wondered if I would ever see the day,” said Craig Williams, who started pushing for the safe destruction of the stockpile in 1984 when he learned that the Army was storing tons of chemical weapons five miles from his house, at the Blue Grass Army Depot near Richmond, Ky.


“We had to fight, and it took a long time, but I think we should be very proud,” he said. “This is the first time, globally, that an entire class of weapons of mass destruction will be destroyed.”


Other powers have also destroyed their declared stockpiles: Britain in 2007, India in 2009, Russia in 2017. But Pentagon officials caution that chemical weapons have not been eradicated entirely. A few nations never signed the treaty, and some that did, notably Russia, appear to have retained undeclared stocks.


Nor did the treaty end the use of chemical weapons by rogue states and terrorist groups. Forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad of Syria used chemical weapons in the country numerous times between 2013 and 2019. According to the IHS Conflict Monitor, a London-based intelligence collection and analysis service, fighters from the Islamic State used chemical weapons at least 52 times in Iraq and Syria from 2014 to 2016.


The immense American stockpile and the decades-long effort to dispose of it are both a monument to human folly and a testament to human potential, people involved say. The job took so long in part  because citizens and lawmakers insisted that the work be done without endangering surrounding communities.


Late in June at the 15,000-acre Blue Grass depot, workers carefully pulled fiberglass shipping tubes holding Sarin-filled rockets out of earth-covered concrete storage bunkers and drove them to a series of buildings for processing.


Workers inside, wearing protective suits and gloves, X-rayed the tubes to see if the warheads inside were leaking, then sent them down a conveyor to meet their doom.


It was the last time humans would ever handle the weapons. From there, robots did the rest.


Chemical munitions all share essentially the same design: a thin-walled warhead filled with liquid agent and a small explosive charge to burst it open on the battlefield, leaving a spray of small droplets, mist and vapor — the “poison gas” that soldiers have feared from the Somme to the Tigris.


For generations, the American military vowed to use chemical weapons only in response to an enemy chemical attack — and then set out to amass so many that no enemy would dare.  By the 1960s the United States had a highly secret network of manufacturing plants and storage complexes around the globe.


The public knew little about how vast and deadly the stockpile had grown until a snowy spring morning in 1968, when 5,600 sheep mysteriously died on land adjacent to an Army test site in Utah.


Under pressure from Congress, military leaders acknowledged that the Army had been testing VX nearby, that it was storing chemical weapons at facilities in eight states and that it was testing them in the open air at a number of locations, including one site 25 miles from Baltimore.


Once the public learned the scope of the program, the long path to destruction began.


At first, the Army wanted to do openly what it had done secretly for years with outdated chemical munitions: load them onto obsolete ships and then scuttle the ships at sea. But the public responded with fury.


Plan B was to burn the stockpiles in huge incinerators — but that plan, too, hit a wall of opposition.

Mr. Williams was a 36-year-old Vietnam War veteran and cabinetmaker in 1984 when Army officials announced that nerve agent would be burned at the Blue Grass depot.


“There were a lot of people asking questions about what would come out of the stack, and we weren’t getting any answers,” he said.


Outraged, he and others organized opposition to the incinerators, lobbied lawmakers and brought in experts who argued that the incinerators would spew toxins.


Incinerators in Alabama, Arkansas,  Oregon and Utah, and one on Johnston Atoll in the Pacific, were used to destroy a large part of the stockpile, but activists blocked them in four other states.


Following orders from Congress to find another way, the Defense Department developed new techniques to destroy chemical weapons without burning.


“We had to figure it out as we went,” said Walton Levi, a chemical engineer at the Pueblo depot, who started working in the field after college in 1987 and now plans to retire once the last round is destroyed.


At Pueblo, each shell is pierced by a robot arm, and the mustard agent inside is sucked out. The shell is washed and baked to destroy any remaining traces. The mustard agent is diluted in hot water, then broken down by bacteria in a process not unlike the one used in sewage treatment plants.


It yields a residue that is mostly ordinary table salt, Mr. Levi said, but is laced with heavy metals that require handling as hazardous waste.


“Bacteria are amazing,” Mr. Levi said as he watched shells being destroyed during the last day of operations at Pueblo. “Find the right ones, and they’ll eat just about anything.”


The process is similar at the Blue Grass depot. Liquid nerve agents drained from those warheads are mixed with water and caustic soda and then heated and stirred. The resultant liquid, called hydrolysate, is trucked to a facility outside Port Arthur, Tex., where it is incinerated.


“It’s a good piece of history to have behind us,” said Candace M. Coyle, the Army’s project manager for the Blue Grass depot. “That’s the best part about it, is that it’s not going to harm anyone.”


Irene Kornelly, the chair of the citizens’ advisory commission that has overseen the process at Pueblo for 30 years, has kept track as nearly one million mustard shells were destroyed. Now 77, she stood leaning on a cane and craned her neck to see the last one be scrapped.

“Honestly, I never thought this day would come,” she said. “The military didn’t know if they could trust the people, and the people didn’t know if they could trust the military.”


She looked around at the plant’s beige buildings and the empty concrete storage bunkers on the Colorado prairie beyond. Nearby, a crowd of workers in coveralls with emergency gas masks slung on their hips gathered to celebrate. The plant manager blasted “The Final Countdown” on the P.A. and handed out red, white and blue Bomb Pops.


Ms. Kornelly smiled as she took it all in. The process had been smooth, safe, and so plodding, she said, that many residents of the region had forgotten it was going on.


“Most people today don’t have a clue that this all happened — they never had to worry about it,” she said. She paused, then added, “And I think that’s just as well.”