Bay Area United Against War Newsletter, August 29, 2023




Join the March to End Fossil Fuels!

September 17th, 1-4:00 P.M., NYC and Everywhere!

Register an Action Anywhere:


On September 17th, People Vs. Fossil Fuels—a broad coalition of over 1,200 climate and environmental justice groups, is planning a massive demonstration during the United Nations Climate Action Summit.


"The United Nations is calling on world leaders to take real steps to lead us off fossil fuels to protect people and the planet. On September 20th in New York, the UN Climate Ambition Summit will gather world leaders to commit to phasing out fossil fuels."Thousands of us will take to the streets before the summit to demand President Biden take bold action to end fossil fuels. Other direct actions are being planned all week in the lead up to the march and across the country!


Sign Up:




No one is coming to save us, but us.


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


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


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


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


Learn more and register for Socialism 2023

September 1-4, 2023, Chicago



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


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

Copyright © 2023 Jacobin, All rights reserved.

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


Our mailing address is:


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Brooklyn, NY 11217-3399


Add us to your address book:








Drop the Charges on the Tampa 5!

Sign the Petition:


The Tampa 5—Gia Davila, Lauren Pineiro, Laura Rodriguez, Jeanie K, and Chrisley Carpio—are the five Students for a Democratic Society protesters at the University of South Florida who were attacked by campus police and are now facing five to ten years in prison for protesting Governor Ron DeSantis' attacks on diversity programs and all of higher education.


On July 12, 2023, the Tampa 5 had their second court appearance. 


The Tampa 5 are still in the middle of the process of discovery, which means that they are obtaining evidence from the prosecution that is meant to convict them. They have said publicly that all the security camera footage they have seen so far absolves them, and they are eager to not only receive more of this evidence but also to share it with the world. The Tampa 5 and their supporters demand full transparency and USF's full cooperation with discovery, to which all of the defendants are entitled.


In spite of this, the charges have not yet been dropped. The case of the five SDS protesters is hurtling towards a trial. So, they need all of their supporters and all parties interested in the right to protest DeSantis to stay out in the streets!


We need to demand that the DeSantis-appointed, unelected State Attorney Susan Lopez and Assistant Prosecutor Justin Diaz drop the charges.


We need to win this case once and for all and protect the right of the student movement—and all social movements in the United States—to exercise their First Amendment right to free speech and to protest.


Defend the Tampa 5!


State Attorney Susy Lopez, Prosecutor Justin Diaz, Drop the Charges!


Save Diversity in Higher Education!


Protesting DeSantis is Not a Crime!

How you you can help:


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 



Mumia Abu-Jamal is Innocent!


Write to Mumia at:

Smart Communications/PADOC

Mumia Abu-Jamal #AM-8335

SCI Mahanoy

P.O. Box 33028

St. Petersburg, FL 33733



  Ruchell “Cinque” Magee Walks Free!

On July 28, he was released from prison after 67 years of being caged!

“Slavery 400 years ago, slavery today. It’s the same but with a new name.”


“My fight is to expose the entire system, judicial and prison system, a system of slavery…This will cause benefit not just to myself but to all those who at this time are being criminally oppressed or enslaved by this system.”


“You have to deal on your own tactics. You have a right to take up arms to oppose any usurped government, particularly the type of corruption that we have today.” – Ruchell Magee


We’re raising money to ease his transition to the outside and I’m writing to ask for your help by making a donation. We have launched a Fundrazr on-line to collect funds. Here is the link:  



Will you help? And share, too?


Thanks to Michael Schiffmann and Linn Washington Jr. Addressing the Issue of Political Prisoners in the United States: Mumia Abu-Jamal and Ruchell Magee


A more in-depth and recent article on Ruchell, “Slave Rebel or Citizen?” is very worthwhile by Joy James and Kalonji Jama Changa. Read it here: 



And more background – the “50th Anniversary of the Marin Courthouse Rebellion:”



Also the 50th Anniversary of the Assassination of George Jackson—99 Books



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.



Update on Ed Poindexter and Urgent Health Call-In Campaign


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


You can also watch Ed speaking about himself some years ago thanks to Sister Tekla, who was able to interview Ed and Mondo some years ago: https://youtu.be/sps0s4zeJxg.

More of these videos will be forthcoming.


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.)


Friends and Comrades,


Thank you so very much for your phone calls and communications in support of Ed Poindexter’s health care!


We have learned from Ed’s family that a date has been set for Ed to go to an outside doctor to be evaluated for a hearing device. (Thank you, callers!) We have also learned that Ed will not be fitted for a prosthesis within the foreseeable future. The reason for this is that Ed is unable to sit up for more than a few seconds on his own. He is unable to get himself out of bed by himself. Ed cannot go to the restroom without substantial help. There is a fear of him falling.


The prison’s response has been to suggest that Ed try harder at physical therapy—so that he might be able to tie his own shoes again and perform basic self-care—but he cannot. Our position is that he is too weak because of the near daily kidney dialysis and multiple other health problems. As you know, he has lost sight in one eye, and is unable to hear. While he may have been weakened by being wheelchair bound for years, the fact that the institution amputated his left leg below the knee (without notice to the family) has made recovery of strength in his legs difficult. Add to this that Ed is extremely ill from kidney disease, and the near daily kidney dialysis artificially making his kidney’s function causes him to vomit his food and makes him ill overall. All of these combined illnesses have resulted in Ed not being able to even hold his frame upright for more than a few seconds.


Therefore, in protection of Ed’s basic rights as a human being to health care and human dignity, we demand that Ed be seen by an outside high ranking National Medical Association Certified geriatric physician or team of physicians who specialize in heart, kidney, and geriatric health. We demand the evaluation be by a physician connected to a reputable hospital so that Ed’s entire condition: eyes, heart (recall that Ed underwent triple bypass heart surgery in 2016) kidneys, neuropathy, amputated leg, serious inability to balance his frame, and hearing can all be evaluated as a whole.


It is the family’s belief that Ed is experiencing a diminishing quality of life that it is irreversible, and we demand an outside doctor also evaluate him for this obvious fact. If it is determined by a reputable doctor that Ed is experiencing a diminishing quality of life; we want his status changed at the prison to reflect this reality.


Please call the numbers below and write to demand that Ed be seen by an outside doctor at a state-of-the-art hospital facility—for the purpose of evaluation specifically as to whether his condition is diminishing and irreversible—taken as a whole.


Ed Support Committee and Family and Concerned Members of the Community




Acting Medical Director Jeff Kasselman, M.D.: 402-479-5931 jeffrey.kasselman@nebraska.gov


Warden Boyd of the Reception and Treatment Center: 402-471-2861


Warden: Taggart Boyd

Reception and Treatment Center

P.O. Box 22800

Lincoln, NE 68542-2800

Phone: 402-471-2861

Fax: 402-479-6100


Jeff Kasselman, M.D.

Acting Medical Director,

Nebraska Department of Corrections

Phone: 402-479-5931

Email: jeffrey.kasselman@nebraska.gov


Sample Message:


“I’m calling to urge that Ed Poindexter, #27767, be given appropriate medical care. I demand that be seen by an outside high ranking National Medical Association certified geriatric physician or team of physicians who specialize in heart, kidney, and geriatric health. I demand the evaluation include Ed’s entire condition: eyes, kidneys, diabetes, neuropathy, amputated leg, serious inability to balance his frame, and hearing. ”


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)






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

Self Portrait by Leonard Peltier

Video at:


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!




By Kevin ''Rashid'' Johnson

Everything in Amerika is inverted
Every ideal it professes perverted
Take for example the name department of defense
Which makes absolutely no sense
Its only role invasions
and infiltrations of weaker nations
And the department of justice
Targets just us
The poor, powerless and people of color
But protects those wealthy others
Who commit the real crimes
And undermine
World peace and stability
Because they have the ability
And exercise it
Killing and robbing multitudes but few realize it
Because the system shields
The power they wield
Through corporate monopolies
But call it a free market society
Promoting deporting huge portions
Of marginalized groups while opposing abortions
And birth control
Assuming the role
Of policing women's bodies
While claiming it's a free society
And the lie of an economy that trickles down
But grinds the poor and workers into the ground
While the rich few are exempt from taxation
And drive up the cost of living with inflation
With cops who swear to serve and protect us
But only kill maim and disrespect us
Everything about Amerika is inverted
Every value it claims to uphold perverted
With euphemisms its rulers disguise
A society sustained by lies
Like the claimed land of the free and home of the brave
But steeped in racism and built by slaves

Write to Kevin “Rashid” Johnson:

Kevin Johnson #1007485

Sussex 1 State Prison                                  

24414 Musselwhite Drive

Waverly, VA 23891

Visit Rashid’s website at:




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) A Legacy of Colonialism Set the Stage for the Maui Wildfires

By Yarimar Bonilla, Aug. 27, 2023

Dr. Bonilla is a contributing Opinion writer who covers race, history, pop culture and the American empire. 


A row of crosses in a brown field in front of mountains and dark clouds.

Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

Puerto Rico and Hawaii have always felt to me like reverse sides of the imperial coin. My fellow Boricuas who support statehood often point to the Aloha State as a symbol of our future: an example of successful annexation, full citizenship, political representation and the American promise of prosperity. Others consider it a cautionary tale of how assimilation can lead to displacement, cultural erasure and an economy centered on escapist fantasy.


As I’ve watched events unfold after the recent fires in Maui, these lines have blurred, revealing shared histories and mutual vulnerabilities and bringing a profound sense of déjà vu. I’m haunted by the news of essential infrastructure crumbling when most needed and of residents left to fend for themselves in the absence of government aid. Most of all, I shudder with recognition at the palpable fear that recovery will lead only to displacement and dispossession.


If you type “what caused the fires in Maui” into your search bar (as I did), you will be left with no clear answer. Articles cast blame on outdated power lines, nonnative grasses, a faltering water system and compounding weather and climate-driven factors.


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has acknowledged that the climate crisis is rooted in the exploitation and degradation of the environment, people and cultures, which were foundational principles of colonialism. Settlers prioritized immediate resource gains over long-term ecological health, shunning Indigenous land management practices as outdated barriers to progress.


To understand these fires, you have to rewind to the 19th century, when Christian missionaries transformed an area that was mostly wetlands into large-scale sugar plantations that required the digging of tunnels and the building of reservoirs to divert water to mills and away from sustainable agriculture. Dominated by American investors, the sugar and pineapple industries led to deforestation and left native Hawaiians with insufficient water for their crops.


A changing climate, a changing world


Climate change around the world: In “Postcards From a World on Fire,” 193 stories from individual countries show how climate change is reshaping reality everywhere, from dying coral reefs in Fiji to disappearing oases in Morocco and far, far beyond.


The worst climate risks, mapped: In this feature, select a country, and we'll break down the climate hazards it faces. In the case of America, our maps, developed with experts, show where extreme heat is causing the most deaths.


Once the sugar boom ended, the land was further exploited for transplants and tourists. While Upcountry residents in Maui face water shortages, rationing and fines if they fail to conserve water, luxury resorts across the island are allowed to keep their taps running. The surge of tourism has caused housing costs to skyrocket and has given rise to a local economy focused on the needs of those just passing through. These imperial legacies combined to create a tinderbox, waiting to ignite.


Just as a house that hasn’t been cared for properly is more vulnerable to bad weather, lands exploited and mismanaged by colonialism are now at greater risk of disaster. Residents in Puerto Rico and Maui are more vulnerable not just to natural disasters but also to predatory land grabs in the wake of catastrophes.


President Biden has pledged that the rebuilding process in West Maui will be guided by cultural sensitivity, stating, “We’re going to get it done for you but get it done the way you want it done.” But how can rebuilding honor a historical and cultural legacy that has been systematically threatened by U.S. annexation?


As I watched Mr. Biden’s statements from my mother’s home in Puerto Rico, I was grateful that he did not throw paper towels at locals or ask whether he could simply sell off colonial properties — as Donald Trump did in Puerto Rico in 2018. However, real change demands more than just the right optics and platitudes. It also requires a vision of reconstruction that addresses historical repair.


Hawaii residents, like Puerto Ricans, who faced disasters before them, are not asking to be saved. They ask only to be allowed to help themselves in the face of failing emergency services and federal aid. But the entrenched vulnerabilities produced by colonialism are not so easily overcome. For example, some residents have been begging tourists to stay away as the community recovers. But others have said that as much as they would like the time to mourn, they simply can’t afford it — especially when all they have received from the government is $700. This is what happens when your economy hinges on the pleasure of others.


Maui residents who were already being pushed out by unaffordable housing prices and a lack of career opportunities beyond hospitality will now probably feel the same push to migrate that Puerto Ricans did after Hurricane Maria. It will only worsen if weeks of absent federal aid turn into months of bureaucratic labyrinths and endless red tape, as has happened so often. Here again I think about how after Hurricane Maria only 40 percent of FEMA applicants received any aid at all and a little over 1 percent received the maximum payout.


The challenge of repairing damaged homes without adequate support — as well as persistent power outages, deteriorating bridges and a failing health system — has made it increasingly difficult for Puerto Ricans to stay put. This has combined with the influx of digital nomads and federal tax-evading millionaires, along with a growing Airbnb market that has priced many people out of their own communities.


The State of Hawaii has said it will protect locals from land speculators. But if the bureaucracy of emergency management stalls out or fails, people who have temporary hotel vouchers or are overstaying their welcome on their cousins’ couches will be left with few options other than to sell.


Opportunistic profiteering often follows an emergency, but it’s crucial to understand that those quick grabs of resources and power often depend on and exacerbate existing fault lines of imperial extraction.


The U.S. government has already acknowledged and formally apologized for its illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian government, but it has failed to repair the harms caused or the imperial legacies that endure. As for Puerto Rico, the U.S. government has never recognized wrongdoing, even as it continues to deny residents full citizenship or sovereignty.


Forging a sustainable postdisaster future for both Puerto Rico and Hawaii requires more than temporary shelters and quick fixes. It demands a reckoning with the entrenched systems of inequality that set the stage for these tragedies to begin with. A just recovery can’t be about bouncing back to a previous state of vulnerability, nor can it be about building back better without asking: Better for whom?



2) I’ve Studied N.Y.C. Rodents for 12 Years. The Enemy Is Us.

By Jason Munshi-South, Aug. 27, 2023

Dr. Munshi-South is a professor of biology at Fordham University.

A comic illustration of rats rifling through the trash, eating a pizza slice, and walking on New York City streets.
Naomi Otsu

Mayor Eric Adams of New York, who often uses public appearances to reiterate that he “hates” rats, hired a rat czar this year dedicated to exterminating them. As rat hater in chief, Mr. Adams has continued the long “war on rats” that New York City mayors have waged for decades, with limited success.


I’m an urban ecologist who’s studied New York City rats for 12 years, and I can say that the way the city and its residents have tried to exterminate rats, through traps and poisons, has been both ineffective and unnecessarily brutal. The black poison-bait boxes that have become a part of the urban scenery are a constant reminder that our forever war has long favored technological approaches to killing rats over population management solutions that might actually work.


The real enemy is not the rats, but our own behavior.


The first rats that climbed down from ships as Europeans arrived in New York Harbor thrived because there was plenty to eat on the filthy streets of the new colony. Today’s New York still has filthy streets, plus population density and aging infrastructure, making it a perfect home for its rats. The core strategy for managing these animals must be disrupting that perfect home by limiting their access to human food and buildings. Mr. Adams and Kathleen Corradi, his new rat czar, deserve credit for beginning to pursue this strategy, but it will take every New Yorker’s help to succeed.


City agencies have heavily relied on using rat poison; in 2021 alone, they applied over 60,000 pounds of rodenticide poisons. From 2015 to 2021, they doubled their use of anticoagulants that kill rats by slowly causing internal bleeding. The mass deployment of poison across our streets can hurt predators up the food chain as well. It takes only one unsecured bait box to poison a curious family dog.


New York City’s government has accompanied its arsenal of poisons with other macabre methods of rat extermination. Glue traps slowly suffocate their victims and classic snap traps crush their necks, sometimes without killing them immediately. While Mr. Adams was Brooklyn borough president, he showcased a bucket trap that drowns captured rats in a proprietary solution meant to preserve several rotting carcasses at once, producing a “mouse-gray stew.”


Trapping and poisoning are simply no match for the biology and math of rat reproduction. It takes only a small number of survivors or migrants to replenish a population. Female rats become sexually mature in around six weeks, and in good conditions on the street, each female can give birth to two or three dozen pups a year. Each rat then lives for about a year. Scientists have developed and tried birth control baits, but they have been both too expensive and ineffective in real-world conditions.


We also don’t have the data to prove that poisons and traps meaningfully reduce rat populations. The city government systematically monitors population sizes and disease threats from mosquitoes, but it does not have a similar rat program. Such data are crucial to understanding whether management efforts are succeeding beyond annual or seasonal fluctuations in rat populations, but few cities systematically collect such data. Complaints to the city’s 3-1-1 service phone line are often used as a proxy for changes in rat numbers, but these figures are highly imprecise because they depend on neighborhood norms and self-reported data. If you’re seeing rats every day, are you going to keep calling 3-1-1?


Given these failures, should we even bother trying to contain New York’s rat population? Beyond carrying disease and chewing through buildings and vehicles, the spread of rats around a city reflects racial and socioeconomic inequality, with rats thriving in poorer neighborhoods with older buildings. Their presence degrades the local quality of life as rat infestations exacerbate mental health problems among residents.


In my lab’s research, we found that rats have their own genetic “neighborhoods” that loosely map onto human ones. Rats usually stay close to their birth place, often traveling a few city blocks at most. In Midtown Manhattan, better trash pickup through business improvement districts has created rat food deserts, so fewer rats live there. We should prioritize strategies that target the way rats live in the city over responding in a scattershot manner to complaints.


Ms. Corradi, who was hired in part for her “general aura of badassery,” has already pushed the city’s rat management policy in the right direction. She has experience implementing policies that reduce food waste in New York City schools. The Sanitation Department commissioner, Jessica Tisch — who famously declared that “the rats don’t run this city. We do.” — shares Ms. Corradi’s zeal. Together, they are working to mandate more secure garbage containers, enhance trash pickups in targeted neighborhoods and remove food from the normal waste system through compulsory municipal composting.


However, government programs and other top-down initiatives can do only so much. Piling plastic bags on the street will always work against our efforts to manage rats.


For rats to go away, everyone in the city — plus our restaurants, schools, grocers — must be willing to address the fundamental issue of food waste. New Yorkers waste roughly 6.5 million pounds every day, which amounts to as much as a pound per person. To really have fewer rats, New York norms of takeout and eating outside would have to change. An adult rat can be healthy and reproducing with just an ounce of food gleaned daily from greasy wrappers, napkins or food containers. But better trash collection can go a long way, because underfed female rats will simply have fewer offspring.


New York will continue to have an uphill battle in managing its rat populations. Climate change has turned the city into a humid subtropical zone, allowing rats to breed for longer periods every year and to grow as a threat to our health and quality of life. New York’s infrastructure will continue to deteriorate, creating the tiny spaces rats use as nesting sites and travel corridors. Ending the forever war on rats will be long and challenging, but we must start by focusing on our behavior, not theirs.



3) 3 Dead in Racially Motivated Shooting at Florida Store, Officials Say

The shooting occurred at a Dollar General store near Edward Waters University in Jacksonville. The gunman also died, officials said.

By Orlando Mayorquin and Nichole Manna, Published Aug. 26, 2023, Updated Aug. 27, 2023


Law enforcement officials stand in front of a traffic light near the scene of a mass shooting in Jacksonville, Fla.

Law enforcement officials investigated the scene of a mass shooting at a Dollar General store in Jacksonville, Fla., on Saturday. Credit...John Raoux/Associated Press

A white gunman wearing a tactical vest barged into a Dollar General store in Jacksonville, Fla., on Saturday and fatally shot three Black people in an attack that the authorities said they were investigating as a hate crime.


The gunman, who has not been publicly identified and was described as being in his early 20s, died after shooting himself, Sheriff T.K. Waters of Jacksonville said at a news conference on Saturday evening.


“This shooting was racially motivated, and he hated Black people,” Sheriff Waters said.


The rampage on Saturday was the latest high-profile racially motivated attack carried out by a white gunman in the United States.


A shooting last year that targeted Black people left 10 dead at a supermarket in Buffalo. And in 2019, an attack at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, killed 22. The gunman in that shooting told the police he wanted to kill Mexicans.


In Jacksonville, the victims were two males and a female, officials said. No one else was shot or injured.


The authorities said the gunman left his parents’ house in neighboring Clay County at around 11:39 a.m. on Saturday and headed toward Jacksonville. At 1:18 p.m., he texted his father to ask him to check his computer.


Sheriff Waters said the gunman had written “several manifestoes,” including one to his parents, in which he detailed his “disgusting ideology of hate.”


The Clay County Sheriff’s Office received a call from the gunman’s parents at 1:53 p.m. By that time, Sheriff Waters said, the shooting had already begun in Jacksonville.


The authorities said the gunman was armed with an AR-15-style rifle that bore swastika markings, as well as a handgun.


He had been spotted on the campus of Edward Waters University, a historically Black college about half a mile from the Dollar General.


In a statement released by the university, the school said that an unidentified male was on campus on Saturday, and that the person had refused to identify himself to an on-campus security officer and was asked to leave.


“The individual returned to their car and left campus without incident,” the statement said, adding that the encounter was reported to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.


The school said that it was “later determined that the individual would be involved in a shooting near EWU Campus.”


The school had ordered its students to shelter in place amid reports of the shooting. It was not clear what, if any, intentions the gunman might have had related to the school.


“I can’t tell you what his mind-set was while he was there,” Sheriff Waters said. “But he did go there and he did put his vest on and a mask on and then went directly to Dollar General.”


The sheriff added: “This is a dark day in Jacksonville’s history. Any loss of life is tragic, but the hate that motivated the shooter’s killing spree adds an additional layer of heartbreak.”


In Jacksonville, a city of 971,000 where 30 percent of residents are Black, people formed prayer circles outside the scene, which was cordoned off by the police.


Donna Deegan, the mayor of Jacksonville, pointed out that the shooting came on the five-year anniversary of a shooting at a gaming tournament in the city that left three dead, including the gunman.


She said the gunman on Saturday alluded to that 2018 shooting in his written statements.


“I can’t even begin to tell you how frustrating this is for all of us,” Ms. Deegan said. “We’ve seen it too much.”


Local residents weighed in as details emerged.


“Hate motivated him to do this,” said Warren Jones, a school board member and former councilman. “There’s a lot of hate speech going on.”


Laylana Bell, 43, called the surrounding neighborhood a “close-knit community” filled with longtime “mom and pop” businesses and older homes and apartments occupied by low-income residents.


“A lot of us went to school together,” Ms. Bell said. “A lot of people went to EWC,” alluding to the university.


The Dollar General, she added, was a relatively new addition.


The store chain said in a statement that it was “heartbroken by the senseless act of violence” and that it was working closely with law enforcement.


The police said the gunman had been involved in a “domestic call” in 2016 and that he underwent a mental illness examination by the authorities in 2017.


On Saturday evening, Gov. Ron DeSantis released a video statement calling the shooting “horrific” and saying the gunman had targeted victims based on their race.


“That is totally unacceptable,” Mr. DeSantis said.


He added: “This guy killed himself rather than face the music and accept responsibility for his actions. And so he took the coward’s way out.”


Mr. DeSantis’s office said he would cut short a campaign trip to Iowa and return to Florida.


In a statement, the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, said the agency was “closely monitoring” the situation surrounding the shooting.


“Too many Americans — in Jacksonville and across our country — have lost a loved one because of racially-motivated violence,” Mr. Mayorkas said.


Chris Cameron, Nicholas Nehamas and Anna Betts contributed reporting.



4) U.S. Knew Saudis Were Killing African Migrants

The United States was told last year that Saudi security forces were shooting, shelling and abusing groups of migrants, but it chose not to raise the issue publicly.

By Ben Hubbard and Edward Wong, Aug. 26, 2023

People wading through knee-high seawater, carrying bags and other possessions.
Ethiopian migrants disembarking from a boat onto the shores of Ras al-Ara, Lahj, Yemen, in 2019. Credit...Nariman El-Mofty/Associated Press

Ethiopian migrants on the outskirts of the Yemeni capital of Sana heading for the Saudi Arabian border, where some have faced violence at the hands of Saudi border guards. Credit...Mohammed Hamoud/Getty Images

Last fall, American diplomats received grim news that border guards in Saudi Arabia, a close U.S. partner in the Middle East, were using lethal force against African migrants who were trying to enter the kingdom from Yemen.


The diplomats got more detail in December, when United Nations officials presented them with information about Saudi security forces shooting, shelling and abusing migrants, leaving many dead and wounded, according to U.S. officials and a person who attended the meetings, all of whom spoke on condition of anonymity since they were not authorized to speak to journalists.


In the months since, American officials have not publicly criticized the Saudis’ conduct, although State Department officials said this past week, following a published report of the killings, that U.S. diplomats have raised the issue with their Saudi counterparts and asked them to investigate. It remains unclear whether those discussions have affected Saudi actions.


The Saudi security forces’ violence along the border came to the fore in a report by Human Rights Watch on Monday that accused them of shooting and firing explosive projectiles at Ethiopian migrants, killing hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of them during the 15-month period that ended in June.


The report was based on interviews with migrants and their associates, photos and videos and satellite photos of the border area. It cited migrants who said Saudi guards had asked them which limb they preferred before shooting them in the arm or leg and a 17-year-old boy who said guards had forced him and another migrant to rape two girls as the guards looked on.


The report said that if killing migrants were official Saudi policy, it could be a crime against humanity.


In January, Richard Mills, the deputy U.S. representative to the United Nations, made an oblique reference to the issue, saying at a Security Council briefing on Yemen that “we remain concerned by alleged abuses against migrants on the border with Saudi Arabia.”


“We urge all parties to allow U.N. investigators to access both sides of the border to thoroughly investigate these allegations,” Mr. Mills added, without mentioning that U.S., European and U.N. officials had recently learned that many Africans had been killed by Saudi Arabia’s border forces.


In a statement sent to The New York Times on Saturday night, after this article was initially published, the State Department said the United States learned about specific accusations after the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights publicly released letters it had sent on the issue to Saudi Arabia and to Houthi officials in Yemen in late 2022. (A response rebutting the accusations sent by Saudi diplomats in March indicates at least one U.N. letter was sent on October 3. The public release was 60 days later, the State Department said.)


“The United States quickly engaged senior Saudi officials to express our concern,” the department said, adding that U.S. officials “have continued to regularly raise our concerns with Saudi contacts,” including at the Security Council briefing in January.


The new details about the Saudi border killings come as President Biden seeks to overcome past tensions and cinch a diplomatic breakthrough between Saudi Arabia and Israel.


Late last year, around the time when U.S. diplomats were learning about the border violence, Mr. Biden accused Saudi Arabia of acting against U.S. interests over other issues. Saudi leaders had cut oil production, potentially leading to a rise in global oil prices before the midterm elections. Biden administration officials thought they had reached a secret agreement for the Saudis to increase production. Mr. Biden vowed to impose “consequences” on Saudi Arabia.


Further straining relations, Saudi Arabia had declined to join Western sanctions on Russia after its invasion of Ukraine. And Riyadh’s decision to decrease oil production seemed to support Russia’s economy, which relies on oil and gas exports.


But in recent months, Mr. Biden and his aides have been talking to Saudi officials about their country establishing diplomatic relations with Israel, which would be a major geopolitical coup. In those discussions, the Saudis have asked the United States for security guarantees, more lethal weapons and help with a nuclear energy program. Mr. Biden might speak with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto leader of Saudi Arabia, on the sidelines of a leadership summit of the Group of 20 nations next month in New Delhi, India.


Some members of Congress, mostly Democrats, have strongly criticized Saudi Arabia for its human rights record, including its yearslong war in Yemen. Those lawmakers will almost certainly raise further doubts about selling more arms to Saudi Arabia or working with it on a civilian nuclear program, which some U.S. officials fear could be cover for a nuclear weapons program.


Among those briefed on the killing last December by United Nations officials was Steven H. Fagin, the U.S. ambassador to Yemen, according to a person who was present. Around that time, the United Nations also shared information with others at the State Department and with diplomats from France, Germany, Holland, Sweden and the European Union, this person said.


Inside Yemen, the border killings are anything but secret. Some attacks are reported on Yemeni television, and many of those wounded end up in Yemeni hospitals.


What you should know. The Times makes a careful decision any time it uses an anonymous source. The information the source supplies must be newsworthy and give readers genuine insight.


“We face these cases daily coming from the border areas: dead and seriously wounded, women, old people and children,” Mujahid al-Anisi, the head of the emergency unit at al-Jumhori Hospital, a Yemeni facility near the main crossing zone, told the The New York Times by phone on Wednesday.


The hospital receives an average of four or five cases a day, he said. Many are found by the road unconscious and driven 12 hours to the hospital with wounds in their heads, chests and abdomens that require urgent surgeries. Some need amputations. About one in 10 are women.


“These people arrive so worried and badly wounded,” he said.


Aid workers and United Nations officials have been tracking the violence since early last year, but international efforts to investigate the matter have been few, and public efforts to make it stop even fewer.


That’s because of many factors, aid workers said. Delivering aid in war zones like Yemen requires not angering one’s hosts, including the rebels who control northern Yemen and facilitate human trafficking, or one’s funders, which in some cases includes Saudi Arabia.


Rights violations, no matter how grave, rarely take priority when diplomats do business with their counterparts from rich partners like Saudi Arabia. And most efforts at accountability first call for Saudi Arabia to investigate itself, which it has shown little willingness to do.


Further limiting attention to the killings is their location, in an inaccessible border zone, where journalists, activists and other independent observers can’t witness events.


Fatigue among donors and the public with Yemen’s complicated, eight-year war also plays a role, as does the fact that the mostly Ethiopian migrants crossing Yemen are unlikely to show up in Europe.


“There is no risk for anyone, so they don’t pay attention to the problem,” said Ali Mayas, who has researched migration issues at Mwatana, a Yemeni human rights group.


Human rights groups have long documented threats to migrants from East Africa who cross the Gulf of Aden to Yemen and head north toward Saudi Arabia, where they hope to find work or escape political persecution. They started getting reports of increased violence on the border about two years ago.


Last September, Mwatana reported that the bodies of about 30 Yemeni and Ethiopian migrants had been found on May 12, 2022, on the Saudi side of the border, some bearing gunshot wounds or signs of torture. A State Department human rights report on Saudi Arabia’s acts in 2022 mentioned Mwatana’s research in a paragraph.

The Missing Migrants Project of the International Organization for Migration found that at least 788 migrants had died near the Saudi border in 2022, mostly from artillery or gunfire. The actual number of those killed was likely much higher, the organization said.


Last October, a group of United Nations experts confronted Saudi Arabia with reports similar to what Human Rights Watch would later find. They cited allegations that border guards had shot at migrants, killing as many as 430 in the first four months of 2022, and raped women and girls, sending some back to Yemen naked.


The experts said that, if confirmed, the incidents would indicate “a deliberate policy of large-scale, indiscriminate and excessive use of lethal force” to deter migrants and urged Saudi Arabia to rein in its forces.


The kingdom denied the allegations and said it needed more detail in order to investigate.


Nadia Hardman, the lead researcher on the Human Rights Watch report, said Western governments struggled with how to press Saudi Arabia on human rights.


“What is conceivable in the face of a country that just doesn’t care about its human rights record?” she said.


In a phone interview, Morris Tidball-Binz — the United Nations’ special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions — who is a signatory to the experts’ letter to the Saudi government, said he was not surprised that the issue had received little attention. The events happened in a remote place, he said, “where the authorities are not known for being highly committed to respecting and protecting human rights.”


But he said he hoped increased public scrutiny would make a difference.


“The immediate reaction of denial is a typical one,” he said of the Saudi response. “But I am still hoping that we’ll see some improvements in terms of respect for, if not protection of, these migrants.”


Shuaib Almosawa contributed reporting from New Delhi, and Mark Mazzetti contributed from Washington.



5) After 20 years, Dr Aafia Siddiqui 'was a living corpse, she looked drained and scalded, and in so much pain' 

Pakistani neuroscientist and mother of three, Aafia Siddiqui, was abducted from Pakistan in 2003; activists believe she was held by the US in the notorious Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan and tortured because of her alleged links to Al-Qaeda, links her family says she does not have and claims which she says she can prove are false.

By Anjuman Rahman, August 27, 2023


Dr Aafia Siddiqui’s journey into darkness began over a decade ago when she was mysteriously abducted from her homeland in Pakistan. Her family’s search for answers led them down a rabbit hole of government secrecy, covert operations and the chilling practice of extreme rendition.


What followed was a story that reads like a dystopian nightmare – a narrative of torture, isolation and a relentless battle against the erasure of her very existence. 


“The slumbering humanity today needs to wake up and realise that Aafia’s case puts the world’s conscience on trial,” said her sister, Dr Fowzia Siddiqui.


“My sister went missing in 2003, with her children, and we knew nothing about their whereabouts for four years. Baby Sulayman was only 6 months old, Maryam was only 3 and Ahmad was just 5 years old. But we were told nothing about any of them. It didn’t make sense. We were helpless.”


The disappearance of her sister left her family grappling with unanswered questions for five agonising years. Equipped with emails and letters, she embarked on a mission to unravel the mystery surrounding Aafia’s disappearance, reaching out to human rights organisations and pleading for assistance in a pre-social media era.


With skills dedicated to healing neurological disorders, Dr Fowzia found herself thrust into an unexpected role, one that demanded her to take action in solidarity with those unjustly detained, starting with her sister, Aafia.


“My parents gave me an education that would enable me to help the suffering, but life put me on another test and gave me a different hat to wear to help relieve the suffering of another kind,” said Fowzia, her voice carrying the weight of experience. 


It was not until 2005 that Fowzia and her family started to connect the dots, prompted by the words of ex-Guantanamo detainee, Moazzem Begg. 


In his memoir, Enemy Combatant, recounting his time at Afghanistan’s Bagram prison, he referred to the sole female detainee as the “grey lady” or “Prisoner 650”, whose agonising screams echoed across the prison walls day and night, accompanied by relentless weeping.


He had written: “I began to hear the chilling screams of a woman next door.”


“For two days and nights, I heard the sound of the screaming. I felt my mind collapsing. They told me there was no woman. But I was unconvinced. Those screams echoed through my worst nightmares for a long time. And I later learned in Guantanamo, from other prisoners, that they had heard the screams, too.”


Moreover, Yvonne Ridley, a British journalist who broke the story in mid-2008 about a woman held and tortured at the airbase, said, “I am convinced she is the Grey Lady of Bagram. I’ve shown her photographs to various ex-Bagram detainees and half a dozen have confirmed she is the woman they saw locked up there.”


She added, “I have spoken to Binyam Mohammed, a former Bagram, Guantanamo and ghost detainee who told me he saw several US soldiers gang rape Aafia Siddiqui while she was in Bagram.” 


Following the revelation and with the support of journalist, Ridley, and former Prime Minister, Imran Khan, Fowzia held press conferences and engaged in international advocacy efforts to bring Aafia’s case to public attention.


“By 2008, enough international pressure had built up and Yvonne Ridley raised the question on Aafia when she interviewed some people in Guantanamo Bay and, with the help of Moazzam Begg and Binyam Mohammed, she had enough evidence to identify Aafia and her whereabouts.”


“In two years time, we managed to get two of her children back but, till this day, we aren’t able to locate where our baby Sulayman is. My Mum also started getting threats about me for reaching out to human rights organisations and Yvonne Ridley. They threatened saying ‘you already lost one daughter and if you don’t stop your other daughter from talking, you will lose her, too’.”


The press conferences, the threats and the sleepless nights have all become part of Fowzia’s life, but she remains resolute as she tirelessly fights every day for her sister’s release. 


Aafia was convicted by a US court in 2010 on charges of shooting at US army and FBI officers while in custody in Afghanistan. According to prosecutors, she managed to grab an M-4 assault rifle and opened fire. She missed, but was cut down by two bullets from a 9mm pistol fired by one of the soldiers she allegedly targeted. 


However, after  Ridley conducted an inquiry into exclusive footage revealing the cell’s interior, she noted that the bullets she allegedly discharged could not be found, nor could the original firearm which did not carry any of her palm or fingerprints.


Furthermore, Fowzia questions the rationale behind Aafia’s unjust treatment, emphasising that Aafia, a Pakistani citizen, should be tried in the appropriate jurisdiction, rather than being subjected to unlawful detention and torture.


“The US has signed the Geneva Conventions but is always breaching it. Aafia has not killed anyone or hurt anyone. How can she have shot anyone while shackled in chains? Where is the justification for holding someone without trial for five years? Where is the justification for raping her day in and day out, stripping her naked and destroying her holy book? What is the justification for any of that?”


As the years passed, Fowzia’s relentless efforts bore some fruit. After two long decades, the US administration finally granted permission for the arrangement of a meeting in May between her and Aafia, who is currently detained at the infamous FMC Carswell prison, but under strict surveillance and limitations.


 However, her haunting descriptions of meeting Aafia paint a chilling picture: a sister peering through the partition glass, seeing a living corpse drained of vitality, a victim of prolonged and unspeakable suffering. 


Fowzia’s eyes welled with tears as the memories of the brief reunion flooded back. “It’s been two months but, till this day, I have nightmares of the prison, the room, the rattling of the keys and the door slams. It was like a scene from Dracula’s movie, where you’re sitting in an iron chair and  Dracula comes out and sucks on your blood, bit by bit, every day. That’s how I felt sitting and waiting in that room for Aafia. It’s horrible and even more horrifying knowing her jail condition is even worse.”


“The whole process felt like they were mocking us, it was a mockery of humanity and justice. They’re making it seem like they’re very kind and humane for letting me visit her, yet it’s been 20 years and the circumstances, included thick glass and talking through a phone. All I saw was a living corpse, she looked drained and scalded, and in so much pain.”


Fowzia was forbidden to share with Aafia the photograph of her son and daughter, both now in their 20s.


She was accompanied by Pakistan’s Senator Mushtaq Ahmad Khan, who noted that Aafia’s front row of teeth had been knocked out due to an attack in prison and she suffered from lack of hearing following a severe head injury.


Her voice, a mixture of grief and anguish, Fowzia added, “I’m not the same. I wake up screaming at night just thinking of that scene and my sister. I didn’t want to see her like that and I didn’t want to leave her.”


Her heartache was palpable as she continued, “I told the court if I see her once, I can’t just leave her and come back and get along with my life. It’s torture. It’s not humanly possible. I need her back.”


The frustration grew as she questioned the actions of the US administration who denied her a chance to see her sister again. “And then, not letting me see her again? I mean, what kind of human rights champions do this?” she asked, her words echoing the sentiments of countless others who had followed Aafia’s case.


She added, “This isn’t just Aafia. Aafia is the poster child; there are thousands who are suffering the same and even worse because no one knows about them. And all of the problem lies within Pakistan – because this is where it started from, so bringing her home must be initiated from here. She’s a Pakistani citizen; she doesn’t have a green card or any legal status in the US.”


As the conversation concluded, it was clear that Fowzia’s determination was unwavering. Aafia’s case had become a symbol of a much larger battle – a fight for justice, for the rights of the wrongfully imprisoned, for the very essence of humanity.



6) An American Tragedy at the Dollar General

By Esau McCaulley, Aug. 29, 2023

Three wooden crosses are pictured, with names on them, decorated with flowers, candles and a teddy bear.
A memorial for the victims of the shooting at the Dollar General in Jacksonville, Fla. Credit...Cristobal Herrera-Ulashkevich/EPA, via Shutterstock

When I was a child, I loved going to the Dollar General. It was the one place I could pick out any toy I wanted, confident that my mother wouldn’t turn me down because it was too expensive.


I would wander the aisles looking for the perfect item, often settling on a clear plastic water gun or the brown paddle with a red ball attached to a string. I was not particularly good at the game; the slippery little ball would careen this way and that, never quite hitting the sweet spot in the middle. It didn’t matter because the toys from Dollar General didn’t usually last very long.


I do not know what took three African American people to the Dollar General in Jacksonville, Fla., on Saturday. It could have been toys, food, medicine, cleaning supplies or some other low-cost item. I do know they were brutally killed there, and I know that the suspect in their killing was a white man who reportedly had swastika markings on his AR-15-style rifle.


These three people didn’t die because someone hated Dollar General any more than the Black people in Buffalo perished because some madman had a beef with the produce department, or any more than Ahmaud Arbery lost his life because of fury at runners. The three African American people at the Dollar General were killed for the same reason the Black churchgoers of Mother Emanuel were slain. They died because they were Black in a country that still produces white supremacists intent on hatred and death.


It is not a total mystery where this hate comes from. Anti-Black racism and white supremacy are frequent topics of research in history, law, anthropology, economics, sociology and religion. Yet when the question is raised in classrooms across America, educators get labeled woke or critical race theorists. If we let some politicians and pundits tell the tale, the study of racism is more dangerous to the Republic than the racism that keeps claiming Black lives.


I do not believe that we can educate ourselves out of racism, and I doubt that the person who attacked the Dollar General could have been diverted by any college course or book. Racism resides in the mind, the heart, twisted imaginations and long-festering resentments that surge in times of perceived loss of power. Racism persists because it is politically, socially and economically useful. It is a way of avoiding looking at one’s own faults and struggles and instead finding meaning in having someone below you, trapped underfoot. The loss of that perceived hierarchy is a fear that can be tapped into to gain political office, boost television ratings and make money. In a country with a ready supply of assault riffles and anti-Black animus, the results are too often deadly.


What cannot be faced cannot be healed. Addressing anti-Black violence would require that we take seriously the disease of racism that has infected our Republic since its founding. A problem of this scale deserves our best minds and our attention.


African Americans have never relied on government approval to make sense of our plight on this soil. No school board approved W.E.B. Du Bois to write “The Souls of Black Folk” or James Baldwin to compose “The Fire Next Time.” Those projects arose out of deep longing to understand and to be understood, to wrestle some meaning out of irrational hatred.


You can close all the doors and shut the windows, but the truth will seep in through vents and chimneys. Americans must let the truth into the house, or it will suffocate itself on the toxic fumes of malice and false memories. We were never as innocent as we like to believe.


This week we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington and Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Too often it is forgotten that the purpose of the march was to argue for jobs and an economic redress that would end Black people’s long sojourn in poverty. Dr. King wanted us to have more options than the toys at Dollar General.


Still, the speech is rightly remembered for the hopefulness of his vision. Despite all that Dr. King had seen, he longed for an outbreak of love on the other side of hatred. He said, “I have a dream that one day down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, one day right down in Alabama little Black boys and Black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.”


As if in reply, less than three weeks after that speech, on Sept. 15, 1963, white supremacists bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., killing four young girls. Those two events say something about the options that remain ever before this country: fight for the outbreak of true community or for violence and death.


Shortly thereafter, Dr. King found himself at a pulpit, delivering a eulogy for children. Reflecting on the meaning of the deaths of these girls, he said, “They say to each of us, Black and white alike, that we must substitute courage for caution. They say to us that we must be concerned not merely about who murdered them but about the system, the way of life, the philosophy which produced the murderers. Their death says to us that we must work passionately and unrelentingly for the realization of the American dream.” We do not give up in the face of hatred because that would give the enemies of love and justice the victory they so desperately desire.


It is a hard thing to dream while you are mourning, but Dr. King urged us to it.


That work continues. Too many people are comfortable with this nightmare, but some of us still dare to dream.



7) Arrest Isn’t a Good Path to Addiction Treatment

By Maia Szalavitz, Aug. 29, 2023

"Brandon Del Pozo, a former New York Police Department officer and police chief for Burlington, Vt., is now an assistant professor of medicine at Brown University. When asked what percentage of people arrested on low-level drug charges get rapid access to treatment, he said, 'Almost none, ever.'”https://www.nytimes.com/2023/08/29/opinion/arrest-drug-treatment-addiction.html?action=click&module=Well&pgtype=Homepage&section=Guest%20Essays

An illustration of a person in an orange jumpsuit overlaid by bars of color ranging from dark to light.
Derek Abella

After Cody Bohanan, 24, was locked up on a charge related to possession of drug paraphernalia in 2021, he told the staff at Butler County Jail in Ohio that he was withdrawing from opioids. His cellmates saw him vomiting blood. They implored guards to intervene.


But outside of having his vital signs purportedly checked a few times by paramedics, Mr. Bohanan received no medication or treatment for his withdrawal. He died five days into his jail sentence. Two months later, Diann Pink, a 58-year-old grandmother arrested on a charge of drug possession and driving under the influence, died in the same jail, from the same cause — complications of opioid withdrawal.


Recently, journalists have questioned whether policies that avoid jailing people like Ms. Pink and Mr. Bohanan for low-level drug crimes while continuing to penalize dealers — known as decriminalization — are working or are counterproductive. They point to recent rises in overdoses and disorder like public drug use in Oregon, which decriminalized small amounts of drug possession in 2021, and in Portugal, which decriminalized drug possession in 2001 and was the model for Oregon’s law.


People tend to assume that arrests for possession result in offers of treatment, and that treatment is available for anyone in jail who wants help. Some claim that arrests help people with addictions “hit bottom” and choose to stop using, even without treatment. But as the Butler County cases illustrate, arrest and incarceration often block access to treatment rather than bolster it. A 2021 study by Columbia University researchers found that between 1987 and 2017, deaths from overdose, suicide and infectious disease climbed in concert with county-level incarceration rates.


Precise data on how often possession arrests result in treatment offers is difficult to find, since this varies by jurisdiction. But experts say people like Mr. Bohanan and Ms. Pink are rarely offered timely, evidence-based treatment.


Brandon Del Pozo, a former New York Police Department officer and police chief for Burlington, Vt., is now an assistant professor of medicine at Brown University. When asked what percentage of people arrested on low-level drug charges get rapid access to treatment, he said, “Almost none, ever.”


The media and the public often seem unaware of this. Parents may assume that incarceration means treatment, or that it at least reduces their children’s risk of dying. “What I’ve heard from parents is, ‘Well, when my child was in jail, I could at least sleep at night knowing they were safe,’” said Dr. Tamara Olt, the executive director of Broken No More, which supports families of overdose victims. She lost her own 16-year-old son to overdose. She added: “It’s simply not true. They don’t get help.”


Indeed, most jails provide little or no aid for withdrawal symptoms — let alone full-fledged rehab. Outside of correctional facilities, death from opioid withdrawal is rare because it typically results from dehydration, which is easily treated with intravenous fluids.


But only 54 percent of jails surveyed by the Department of Justice in 2019 said they provided any withdrawal treatment. As of 2021, only around 13 percent of correctional facilities publicly reported having some form of ongoing medication-based treatment program for people with opioid use disorder, according to the Jail and Prison Opioid Project.


Dr. Olt, who is based in Illinois and now treats addiction, said that she constantly fights to get patients’ prescriptions refilled if they are incarcerated and that starting new patients on medication is nearly impossible in Illinois jails.


Misconceptions about drug courts — which offer treatment instead of punishment to people who are accused of drug-related crimes — also confound the debate over drug decriminalization. There’s a common assumption that drug courts focus on possession cases and therefore would be endangered by decriminalization. But these courts overwhelmingly deal with more serious addiction-driven offenses, like drug dealing and property crime — and research finds that they are more likely to be effective for these higher-risk cases.


There is no association between the number of drug arrests a state makes and the amount of drug use it has. And people with the most serious addictions rarely get treatment as a result of arrest or prosecution: National data shows that only around 13 to 16 percent of people treated for opioid addiction were referred for treatment by the justice system. When courts do refer people with opioid addiction to treatment, patients rarely get recommended medications.


The deadliest addiction — to opioids — is exacerbated by the cycles of incarceration and release that often result from possession arrests. In the first two weeks after release, overdose death risk is three to eight times higher than at other times. Yet only 25 percent of jails provide overdose reversal medication upon release to mitigate this risk.


Racial disparities also illustrate the lack of effectiveness of criminalization as a path to care. Black people are at least twice as likely to be charged with drug crimes as white people are, despite similar rates of use and sales. If criminalization boosted treatment, Black people should have greater access to care. But a 2023 national survey found that they are less likely to get treatment: 51 percent of white people with addiction in their family reported that addicted relatives got treatment, compared with 35 percent for Black families.


Critics of decriminalization have claimed that Portugal’s policy only worked at first because possession arrests were replaced by police citations that could result in forced treatment. They say that Oregon’s policy is failing because it lacks these teeth. But coerced treatment was never a fundamental aspect of Portugal’s policy. Dr. João Castel-Branco Goulão, the architect of Portugal’s drug policy, has said that treatment is “not mandatory,” even with repeated citations. “It’s a moment to reflect.”


Instead, Portugal’s success in sharply reducing overdose deaths and new cases of H.I.V. among drug injectors between 2001 and 2011 was achieved largely by a huge expansion of voluntary care.


As in much of the rest of the world, Portugal had an increase in overdose deaths in the past decade. But its rate in 2021 — roughly seven per million residents, a total of 74 deaths — is less than the European Union rate for that year of about 18 deaths per million. The American rate that year was larger by more than an order of magnitude — 321 per million. And Portugal’s recent increases in rates of adult drug use (again, still below the E.U. and American averages) and overdose occurred only after the budget for outreach and treatment was cut by 79 percent starting in 2012.


Portugal’s approach worked when it expanded treatment and outreach. And that’s what Oregon is doing with some $265 million in annual marijuana sales tax revenue now directed to increase access to voluntary care. Over the second half of 2022, there was a 44 percent increase in the number of people in the state receiving addiction treatment.


Since the state started with the worst level of treatment access in the country, it is not surprising that overdose rates haven’t yet been reduced. Homelessness and other signs of disorder, like public drug use and disturbing behavior, are rising in cities across the United States with high housing costs regardless of their drug policies. Oregon had no greater increase in 911 calls related to disorder than states that did not decriminalize.


Shifting priorities and funding to provide high-quality treatment and other supports for recovery like housing takes time. Our failure is a century of criminalization — not much-needed attempts to end it.



8) Macron Tries Outreach to Head Off Further Protests

After a tumultuous year, the French president is meeting with his opponents in hopes of building bridges. But few seem interested in working with him.

By Roger Cohen and Aurelien Breeden, Aug. 30, 2023

A huge crowd marching in a street.
Raising the retirement age prompted large-scale protests. Credit...James Hill for The New York Times

For over six years, President Emmanuel Macron has struggled to convince the French that he is a man of dialogue. He went on a countrywide listening tour to calm the storms of the Yellow Vest uprising, convened a citizen convention on climate policy, and created a council of politicians and members of civil society to discuss France’s most pressing issues.


But he has generally remained a top-down leader, one who listens before deciding but rarely talks of compromise. An image of aloofness has clung to him, despite attempts to bury it.


Now, more isolated, he is trying political outreach.


In the midst of the torrid doldrums of mid-August, when the ritual of protest is momentarily replaced by the ritual of the beach, France awoke to the news that Mr. Macron would convene the main parliamentary groups on Wednesday for an afternoon of discussion followed by a dinner.


It looked like a pre-emptive strike aimed at heading off a potentially turbulent “rentrée” — the post-vacation convergence on Paris often marked by resentments reignited after a spell of downtime.


The official aim is to explore a feasible legislative agenda in a Parliament where Mr. Macron’s centrist party, Renaissance, and its allies do not hold an absolute majority. But the president’s position is delicate. With four years left in his second and final term, the last thing he wants is to be seen as a lame duck. Yet inevitably the jostling to succeed him will begin soon; in some respects, it already has.


If the protests over raising the retirement age to 64 early this year have abated, the bitterness around them has not. The way the government, using a constitutional provision, rammed this major reform through the lower house of Parliament without a vote sharpened anger over the extent of presidential power. As a result, Mr. Macron’s attempts to say “I hear you” to a legislature he does not control tend to fall flat.


“Macron won, he imposed his reform, but at the cost of a tension in the country that is quite extraordinary and an extremely strong polarization around his person,” said Vincent Martigny, a professor of political science at the University of Nice. He added that opposition parties were generally uninterested in compromise and had little incentive to help the president succeed.


In a scathing response to Mr. Macron’s outreach, the left-wing alliance in Parliament, which combines the leftist France Unbowed Party with the Socialists, Communists and Greens, rejected the dinner invitation.


“We have no illusions about your objectives,” they declared in a statement. “We are now accustomed to your public relations stunts that have no follow-up and no effect.”


The parties said they would show up for the afternoon session in the hope that what they described as pressing concerns — including a 10 percent hike in electricity prices this month and rising gasoline and food prices — could be addressed.


The conservative Republicans, who are closer to Mr. Macron’s center-right policies, if not fully aligned with them, seemed more interested in forcing Mr. Macron’s hand — especially on immigration policy — than in compromising with him.


“I’m going there to tell Mr. Macron that the chitchat has gone on too long, to say that we won’t play first fiddle to the symphony of immobility,” Eric Ciotti, the head of the Republican Party, told a party gathering in southern France last week.


Stéphane Séjourné, the leader of Mr. Macron’s Renaissance party, said that the fact all parties agreed to attend was a victory in itself. “Three months ago, that would not have happened,” he said. “Ours is a culture of opposition, not of coalition.”


In a wide-ranging interview with the magazine Le Point last week, Mr. Macron seemed more defiant than conciliatory. He criticized his opposition for being hopelessly divided and noted that his government had passed a number of laws over the past year, bill by bill, in improvised coalitions.


These included raising military spending, a law to accelerate the construction of new nuclear plants, and another to cut red tape and speed the development of green energy across France.


“Let those who claim we did nothing explain to me when they did more,” Mr. Macron told Le Point.


Such is the resentment stirred by Mr. Macron’s personality — he became president at the age of 39 in his first campaign for political office — that his real achievements in lowering unemployment, spurring foreign investment, developing a French tech sector, confronting the wounds of the French colonial past and raising the ambitions of the European Union tend to go unnoticed.


Somehow, if he is to give direction to his second term, it appears that he has to overcome this perception of his presidency that is skewed by personal animus toward him.


“He has failed to impress upon public opinion that he was a man of dialogue, especially after the disastrous pension reform sequence,” Mr. Martigny said.


Mr. Macron’s immigration reform plans could raise tensions further. They aim to strike a balance between cracking down on illegal immigration and extending work opportunities for migrants with needed skills.


The government wants to speed up the deportation process and create stricter language requirements for migrants applying for residency, who would also have to pledge to respect the “principles of the Republic.” But it also wants to create temporary job opportunities for skilled workers in fields experiencing labor shortages.


“I’d say we must now be mean with those who are mean and nice with those who are nice,” is how Gérald Darmanin, Mr. Macron’s interior minister, described it to Le Monde last year. Among ministers, Mr. Darmanin has appeared the most impatient in hinting at his presidential ambitions for 2027.


But the government’s efforts have done little to attract support from the left, which has called it too harsh, or from the right, which has said it does too little to stop the flow of migrants. That opposition, on top of the social unrest caused by Mr. Macron’s pension reform, led the government to delay the proposals repeatedly. A bill is now expected to be examined sometime in the fall.


Mr. Macron could ram it through the lower house of Parliament with the same provision — known as the 49.3 after the relevant article of the Constitution — he used for the pension reform. But it can only be used once per parliamentary session, except for budget bills. It would come at considerable political cost.


“Constitutionally, it’s not an issue, but politically it is,” said Bruno Cautrès, a political scientist at Sciences Po in Paris. “The democratically elected Parliament of one of Europe’s biggest countries can’t, over the course of several years, pass the most crucial bills through a procedure that squeezes parliamentary debate.”


Mr. Macron has also floated the idea of using popular referendums to bypass political gridlock. But he can only organize referendums on a limited set of issues, and they could turn against him.


“We are living a difficult and unusual moment,” Clément Beaune, the transportation minister, said in an interview. “We are emerging from a long and powerful social protest movement and facing a Parliament with no clear majority for the whole of the mandate.”