Bay Area United Against War Newsletter, August 9, 2023



August 9: National Day of Protest to 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. At this pretrial hearing, they learned that a trial date will be set by the judge on August 9, at their next 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!


On August 9, the Emergency Committee to Defend the Tampa 5 is calling on all member groups to declare a National Day of Protest! On July 12, we saw at least 15 cities pour out into the streets to say, "Drop the charges!"


We need to be out again on August 9 in even greater numbers. 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.


All Out for July August 9 to 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!



No one is coming to save us, but us.


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


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


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


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


Learn more and register for Socialism 2023

September 1-4, 2023, Chicago



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


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

Copyright © 2023 Jacobin, All rights reserved.

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


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Brooklyn, NY 11217-3399


Add us to your address book:






Dear friends and comrades,


McCarthyism Is Back: Together We Can Stop It


We stand together against the rise of a new McCarthyism that is targeting peace activists, critics of US foreign policy, and Chinese Americans. Despite increased intimidation, we remain steadfast in our mission to foster peace and international solidarity, countering the narrative of militarism, hostility, and fear.


Sign on to the statement:



As the US government grapples with a major crisis of legitimacy, it has grown fearful of young people becoming conscious and organized to change the world. Influential media outlets like The New York Times have joined right-wing extremists in using intimidation tactics to silence these advocates for change, affecting not only the left but everyone who supports free speech and democratic rights.


The political and media establishments, both liberal and conservative, have initiated McCarthy-like attacks against individuals and organizations criticizing US foreign policy, labeling peace advocates as "Chinese or foreign agents." This campaign uses innuendo and witch hunts, posing a threat to free speech and the right to dissent. We must oppose this trend.


Scientists, researchers, and service members of Chinese descent have been falsely accused of espionage and unregistered foreign agency, often with cases later collapsing due to insufficient evidence. Similar to the old “Red Scare” and McCarthy periods, when scores of organizations and leaders like W.E.B Du Bois, Eugene Debs, Emma Goldman, Paul Robeson and Martin Luther King Jr and others were attacked with fact-less accusations, today, prominent organizations and individuals, including CODEPINK, The People's Forum, and Tricontinental Institute have been targeted, with smears and accusations propagated by outlets like The New York Times.


Their strategy paints a sinister image of a secret network funding the peace movement. However, there's nothing illegal or fringe about opposing a New Cold War or a "major power conflict" with China, views shared by hundreds of millions globally. Receiving donations from US citizens who share these views is not illicit.


Media outlets have tried to scandalize funding sources of several organizations that are on the frontlines working with anti-racist, feminist, anti-war, abolitionist, climate justice, and other movements throughout the United States and globally. Meanwhile, when white neoliberal philanthropists flood the non-profit complex with significant funds to support their political agendas this is rarely scrutinized or made accountable to the communities they impact.


From The New York Times to Fox News, there's a resurgence of the Red Scare that once shattered many lives and threatened movements for change and social justice. This attack isn't only on the left but against everyone who exercises their free speech and democratic rights. We must firmly resist this racist, anti-communist witch hunt and remain committed to building an international peace movement. In the face of adversity, we say NO to xenophobic witch hunts and YES to peace.


Initial signers:

CODEPINK • The People's Forum • Tricontinental Institute for Social Research • ANSWER Coalition • Anticapitalism for Artists • Defend Democracy in Brazil • Families for Freedom • IFCO/Pastors for Peace • Mulheres de Resistencia do Exterior • Nodutdol • NYC Jericho Movement • NYC Young Communist League • Pivot to Peace • Radical Elders • Abby Martin • Andy Hsaio • Ben Becker • Ben Norton • Bhaskar Sunkara • Brian Becker • Carl Messineo • Chris Hedges • Claudia de la Cruz • Corinna Mullen • David Harvey • Derek R. Ford • Doug Henwood • Eugene Puryear • Farida Alam • Fergie Chambers • Gail Walker • Geo Maher • Gerald Horne • Gloria La Riva • Hakim Adi • Heidi Boghosian • Immanuel Ness • James Early • Jeremy Kuzmarov • Jill Stein • Jim Garrison • Jodi Dean • Jodie Evans • Johanna Fernandez • Karen Ranucci • Kenneth Hammond • Koohan Paik-Mander • Lee Camp • Lisa Armstrong • Manolo de los Santos • Manu Karuka • Mara Verheyden-Hilliard • Matt Hoh  • Matt Meyer • Matteo Capasso • Max Lesnik • Medea Benjamin • Michael Steven Smith • Nazia H. Kazi • Radhika Desai • Rania Khalek • Richard M Walden • Robin D.G. Kelley • Roger Waters • Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz • Ruth Wilson Gilmore • Salvatore Engel di-Mauro • Sheila Xiao • Stella Schnabel • Vijay Prashad • Vivian Weisman



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!



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:


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1) Driver Plows Car Into Migrant Workers in ‘Intentional Assault,’ Police Say

The vehicle cut over a median and toward where the six workers were standing outside a Walmart in Lincolnton, N.C., the police said. The authorities were looking for the driver.

By Livia Albeck-Ripka, July 31, 2023


A dark S.U.V. is driving away through a parking lot area in a frame grab from video at the scene of the crash in Lincolnton, North Carolina.

All six of the workers struck in Lincolnton, N.C., were transported to Atrium Health Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, according to the police. Credit...Lincolnton Police Department

A man driving an S.U.V. plowed into a group of six migrant workers outside a Walmart in Lincolnton, N.C., on Sunday in an “intentional assault,” the police said.


The attack took place just after 1:15 p.m., when the man, who was behind the wheel of a midsize black S.U.V. with a luggage rack, steered toward the group, according to a statement released on Sunday evening by the Lincolnton Police Department. The episode was caught on video, and the department was asking the public for help in identifying the vehicle or the driver.


All six of the workers were transported to Atrium Health Lincoln with “various injuries” that were not life-threatening, the police said.


“None is in critical condition,” Maj. Brian R. Greene of the Lincolnton Police Department said by telephone. The police have reviewed the footage, he added, which appears to show the driver cutting over a median and into a grassy area between parking spaces, where the migrants were standing.


They were outside the Walmart in northeast Lincolnton, a city of less than 12,000 people about 30 miles northwest of Charlotte.


The police interviewed all of the migrants, Major Greene said, and they had no apparent connection with the driver of the vehicle. “We’re trying to locate the individual that did this,” he added. “Right now, we don’t have a lot.”


The attack follows a deadly crash in May in which the driver of a Range Rover barreled into a crowd of migrants in Brownsville, Texas, killing eight of them. That driver was arrested and charged with manslaughter and other charges.



2) Putin’s Crackdown Leaves Transgender Russians Bracing for Worse

A new law underscores how Vladimir V. Putin is increasingly using the war in Ukraine as justification for greater restrictions on L.G.B.T.Q. life, portraying it as a consequence of deviant Western values.

By Neil MacFarquhar and Georgy Birger, Aug. 1, 2023

Jan Dvorkin posing for a portrait in an undated photo.
Jan Dvorkin posing for a portrait in an undated photo. Credit...via Jan Dvorkin

Jan Dvorkin had raised and nurtured his adopted son in Moscow for seven years until, one day in May, the Russian authorities notified him they were revoking custody. A woman Mr. Dvorkin knew had filed an official complaint, saying that because he was transgender and gay, he was an unfit parent.


When Mr. Dvorkin asked the woman why she had reported him, she told him he had brought it on himself, and “that I could have easily avoided it by staying in the closet.”


He managed to find another family to take the boy, who is deaf, so that the child would not be sent to an orphanage.


Mr. Dvorkin’s experience underscores the increasingly repressive treatment gay and transgender people are subjected to across Russia — a hardship that seems certain to grow as the government leverages the war in Ukraine as justification for greater restrictions on L.G.B.T.Q. life.


The latest crackdown came last week when President Vladimir V. Putin signed a law that criminalized all surgery and hormone treatments used for gender transitions.


That law comes on top of a measure enacted last December prohibiting the representation of L.G.B.T.Q. relationships in any media — streaming services, social platforms, books, music, posters, billboards and film.


Critics, including legal and medical professionals and gay rights activists, view the campaign as an effort to distract from Russia’s military failings in Ukraine — by creating a boogeyman it can portray as a threat from a deviant and corrupt West.


“It is a common practice to look for internal enemies when their external enemy turns out to be tougher than expected,” Mr. Dvorkin, 32, said in an interview from Moscow. “With no success on the front line, Putin found an easy enemy, a vulnerable group whom he can defeat in Russia.”


As with many repressive measures, Mr. Putin himself seemed to have inspired the law.


Long before his invasion of Ukraine, Mr. Putin had scorned the idea of gay rights. But as his military stumbled, he began to rewrite the war as a Western attempt to undermine Russian security and “traditional values.”


He took aim at questions of gender identity as well as sexual orientation, regularly denigrated transgender people in his speeches, mocking the idea of “Parent No. 1 and Parent No. 2” instead of “mom and dad,” and suggested that the West sought to make the world adopt “dozens of genders.”


The new law bans all gender transitions as well as changing genders on official documents like passports. It became harsher as it proceeded in Russia’s Parliament; typically a rubber stamp for Mr. Putin’s favored legislation, it overwhelmingly passed the law. The final version annuls marriages when one spouse changes gender and bans adoptions by such couples.


The law essentially removes the ability of transgender people to control their own bodies, rights activists said, and even if people had the means to travel abroad seeking surgery, which many do not, they would not be allowed to update official documents. Having the wrong gender on identification papers would create hurdles in countless aspects of life such as employment and travel.


The new law also bans treatment with either estrogen or testosterone, which are typically taken before undergoing transition surgery. There are limited exceptions for people who had started the process and already changed documents.


Critics said the ban could lead to what is essentially a black market for the drugs. One transgender person in St. Petersburg said that a clandestine lab there was already attempting to make estrogen from over-the-counter drugs. Illicit testosterone was a bigger challenge, said the person, who insisted on anonymity to avoid retribution.


Surveys by the independent pollster Levada show that, over the last decade, the Kremlin’s propaganda campaign against the L.G.B.T.Q. community may have affected Russian attitudes: The percentage of respondents who said they viewed gay people with disgust or fear increased from 26 percent in 2013 to 38 percent in 2021.


In 2013, the first Russian law against disseminating “gay propaganda” was framed as protecting children. This time, with the war as a backdrop, the law banning gender transition was presented as a matter of national security.


“The war is not only on the front line, the war is going on in the minds and souls, and we want to protect our country from being destroyed from within,” Pyotr Tolstoy, a hard-line deputy speaker of Parliament, wrote on Telegram.


The concept of national security has become an increasingly fluid one, said Max Olenichev, a lawyer who defends  L.G.B.T. people. “It has become an ephemeral thing that can mean absolutely anything,” he said. “Whenever you do not want to give a reason, just say ‘national security.’”


The law also corresponds with Mr. Putin’s attempt to portray Russia as a bastion of what he calls “traditional family values,” a longstanding effort to appeal to conservative voters at home and abroad.


The hope is that support for his social agenda will extend to endorsing the war, said Alexander Kondakov, a sociologist at University College Dublin. “By targeting a group that is already marginalized, they amass support for the war and any other cause that the government wants,” he said.


For the L.G.B.T. Q. community, the law was yet another blow.


Mr. Dvorkin described the mood among transgender people as “dark and depressing,” with members bracing for more hate crimes. “There was already an increase in vocal hate groups, and since the law passed they have gone off the rails,” he said.


Violence against gay people surged after the 2013 law, said Mr. Kondakov, who studies the intersection of law and security for the L.G.B.T. community. Prosecutions  also jumped after the stricter version passed last December, according to a report by Novaya Gazeta Europe, an independent newspaper.


Mr. Dvorkin, who began transitioning at 28, is the founder of Center T,  which offers medical and other advice to thousands of transgender people. The government recently designated the organization a “foreign agent,” a label whose onerous requirements carry an automatic stigma, and he fears it will soon have to shutter or go underground.


Mr. Dvorkin began looking for a new home for his son not long after the stricter law passed last December. Repeated warnings from the children’s services office, which supervised the adoption, against discussing his gender identity and sexual orientation online, as well as a court-imposed fine, signaled that his custody was in jeopardy.


His son, now 10, also had a kidney disease. In June, Mr. Dvorkin struggled to locate a family willing to take him. He finally persuaded one to do so, then managed to convince officials not to return him to an orphanage.


Use of hormones and surgery for transgender people was first accepted in the Soviet Union in the 1970s, and by 2017 Russia had developed what many considered a rational approach, leaving the decision up to a panel of doctors and psychiatrists.


Gender transition had not been much of a political issue in Russia until now. Initially, the Ministry of Health questioned the need for any change, but it soon surrendered to browbeating by Vyacheslav Volodin, the chairman of Parliament, who accused  officials of pursing an American agenda by seeking to emulate “Sodom.”


Although overall numbers are not readily available, Mr. Volodin said that  2,700 people had currently been approved for gender transitions by the ministry; the source of the number was unclear. Russia’s population is more than 143 million.


In St. Petersburg, the person who described the clandestine lab, who uses the pronoun they, rushed to finish the process of being legally recognized as a woman before the law took effect. Describing it as “anarchistic escapism,” they said they invented a new, unusual first name whose spelling looks like someone smashed a keyboard with a fist. They said they assured the bureaucrat reading the application it was a traditional Siberian name.


“The best thing we can do is to resist this state by simply existing,” they said.


Milana Mazaeva contributed reporting.



3) Listening to This Might Change You

By Maurice Chammah, Aug. 3, 2023

Mr. Chammah, a staff writer at the Marshall Project, is the author of “Let the Lord Sort Them: The Rise and Fall of the Death Penalty.”

Daniel Barreto

One morning in 2019, Kenyatta Emmanuel Hughes was released from Fishkill Correctional Facility, in Beacon, N.Y., and traveled roughly 70 miles south to Carnegie Hall. That night he stood before a crowd — flanked by a horn section, a string quartet and backup singers — and sang words he’d written during his nearly quarter-century behind bars.


He’d been convicted of killing a cabdriver during a robbery in 1996, when he was 21 years old. “I had no value for life back then,” he once told a reporter — and that included his own life, which he tried to end while in prison. Now 45, he sang over a steady pulse of piano chords: “Can’t we agree there’s something wrong, if I feel the need to scream, ‘My life matters’? And why in the world, to you, does that feel like an accusation?”


Mr. Hughes had studied with conservatory-trained musicians at Musicambia and Carnegie Hall’s Musical Connections, two programs that teach composition and various instruments in prisons. As a criminal justice journalist and musician myself, I’ve long admired such arts programs for cultivating hope and dignity amid all the abuse and neglect, while reducing the chances that people will return to prison.


But focusing on rehabilitation misses the full picture. America has a long history of prison music, and its power goes beyond helping those inside: This music can transform us, changing how we think about the people who make it. When the right song hits you at the right moment, you can recognize something shared with the artist. “There are things you can identify in yourself that you can also identify in them, no matter what they did,” the formerly incarcerated rapper BL Shirelle told me. “You see them for the humans they are.”


Why should you care? Because Americans have reached an impasse when it comes to the criminal justice system. There remains some bipartisan agreement that the system is bloated, expensive, discriminatory and abusive, and that our prisons too often fail at their key goal of rehabilitation (when they’re not outright deadly). But at least 600,000 people leave prisons each year, and despite talk of “second chances,” the rest of us don’t do a great job of helping them restart their lives. People often refuse to rent to them and give them jobs, which then increases the likelihood they’ll end up in prison again.


It’s easy to blame individuals for their criminal actions, but we also know that when society’s treatment of people who commit crimes is too punitive and merciless, the result is often — ironically and tragically — more crime.


Artists who served time have told me they’ve seen how their work can break this cycle, cutting past prejudices and helping other people see them as capable of redemption. “If we experience the art being created in those spaces,” Mr. Hughes said, “we will know, ‘These are human beings, and we need to rethink whether we should be throwing them away.’”


There are, of course, some in prison who don’t appear to be contrite after harming others, but in my decade of visiting prisons, I’ve found they are the exception; American prisons are full of earnest attempts at redemption. Listening to and sharing music may sound like a soft, superficial way of changing a broken system, but you can’t get policy change if you haven’t paved the way with culture.


It also helps to look backward. The rich history of American prison music — especially before the rise of mass incarceration began 50 years ago — offers some vivid reminders of how we used to be more connected to people in prison.


In the 1930s, a Texas prison broadcast a weekly radio show in which men and women played country songs, blues, hymns and other genres to a live audience of visitors. “Thirty Minutes Behind the Walls” reached as many as five million listeners and received 100,000 fan letters each year, according to Caroline Gnagy’s book, “Texas Jailhouse Music: A Prison Band History.”


Public officials made guest speeches on the show that were striking in their empathy. “Before the advent of radio, prisoners were exiled; citizens outside paid little attention to them,” the governor of Texas, Wilbert Lee O’Daniel, said on the show in 1939. “But now you hear them talk; you hear them sing; you find out they are sons and daughters of good mothers. You find out they made mistakes, thus proving that they are human.”


Prisons were still brutal places — you can hear it in recordings of blues and work songs that Black prisoners sang as they hoed and picked cotton, just like their enslaved ancestors. And yet many wardens also saw how music could keep those inside more hopeful and tethered to the outside world ahead of release. In the 1950s, a doo-wop group called the Prisonaires were allowed to leave their Tennessee facility under armed guard and record at Sun Studio in Memphis. Elvis Presley was reportedly a big fan.


Into the 1970s, producers negotiated access to record funk gems like Ike White’s “Changin’ Times,” Edge of Daybreak’s “Eyes of Love” and The Escorts’ “All We Need Is Another Chance.” At the Texas Prison Museum, in Huntsville, I recently found and digitized vinyl records that musicians were allowed to produce themselves and sell to visitors at an annual prison rodeo well into the 1980s.


But violent crime had been on the rise, reaching a peak in 1991, and political rhetoric turned away from rehabilitation to punishment. For wardens running bigger and fuller prisons, letting in people and technology was one more avoidable security risk. The racial prejudice that underpinned the War on Drugs infected how a lot of prison music was perceived. Merle Haggard, a former prisoner, had climbed to country music stardom in the 1960s with applause lines like “I turned 21 in prison doing life without parole,” while some rappers found their lyrics used against them in court. Throughout the 1990s, a rising victims’ rights movement framed any creativity behind bars as a moral affront to crime survivors.


Much of society lost interest in hearing the voices of people inside prisons, but they didn’t stop creating and often they used music as a form of resistance. As incarceration and harsh policing became more common experiences for Black Americans throughout the 1990s, these themes became mainstays of hip-hop. Darrell Wayne Caldwell, who performed as Drakeo the Ruler, made a critically acclaimed album in 2020 while inside the Los Angeles County Men’s Central Jail, recording all his verses over the phone. He was hardly the first to do such a thing.


There are hopeful signs that our prison system could return to seeing music as a way to maintain hope inside — and prepare society to accept the people they’re going to release. In 2020, men at San Quentin State Prison were given clearance to release a stellar mixtape, while others were featured on “Ear Hustle,” the popular podcast made in the facility. One of the podcast’s hosts, Earlonne Woods, told me that a good prison artist, like the formerly incarcerated rapper Antwan “Banks” Williams, gives voice to the emotions that lots of people are experiencing inside.


Meanwhile, producers with Die Jim Crow Records are collecting instruments to send into prisons and building soundproof studios in prison gyms and janitorial closets out of PVC pipe and blankets. “Technology is so advanced now, you don’t actually need much to make it sound really good,” said BL Shirelle, the rapper who works as the label’s co-executive director.


These promising experiments suggest that there are far more opportunities waiting for music producers — along with book publishers, art galleries, DJs and other cultural gatekeepers — to discover, cultivate and promote the ocean of talent and creativity behind prison walls.


You could argue that they need us. But the truth is we need them.



4) What Happens When New York’s Shelters Run Out of Room?

As migrants sleep on sidewalks outside a Midtown hotel, the city is struggling to avoid a homelessness crisis that resembles those in Los Angeles or San Francisco.

By Nicole Hong, Aug. 3, 2023


People sit on the sidewalk and mill around outside the Roosevelt Hotel.

New York is legally obligated to provide shelter to all who want it, but an influx of nearly 100,000 migrants has strained that commitment. Credit...Jeenah Moon for The New York Times

The crowds outside the Roosevelt Hotel in Midtown Manhattan this week would have been familiar in any number of American cities struggling to contain a crisis of homelessness: dozens of people languishing on sidewalks, camping out on flattened cardboard boxes day and night.


But for New York City, the scene — made up of migrants waiting for beds in the city’s overburdened shelter system — was unusual. And it raised a difficult question: Will this become a new normal?


New York has avoided the kinds of widespread encampments that are more common in cities on the West Coast, largely because of a unique legal agreement that requires the city to provide a bed for anyone who requests one. No other major city in America has a similar mandate, known as a “right to shelter.”


But what happens when a city that is obligated to provide shelter for everyone runs out of shelter?


This week, Mayor Eric Adams declared, in dire terms, that there was no more room left for migrants. His administration was coming up with a plan, Mr. Adams said, so that “we don’t have what’s in other municipalities where you have tent cities all over the city,” evoking images of homeless camps in places like San Francisco and Seattle on the streets of New York.


“We need help,” Mr. Adams said. “And it’s not going to get any better.”


Already, New York is home to thousands of people who are considered “unsheltered,” meaning they sleep on the streets or in the subways instead of opting for a shelter bed. But the vast majority of New York’s homeless population sleeps in shelters — in stark contrast to cities like Los Angeles. New York’s harsher winters also make large-scale outdoor encampments less feasible than on the West Coast.


“Tent cities are on the rise around the country because of an extreme and growing lack of affordable housing,” said Maria Foscarinis, founder of the National Homelessness Law Center, a nonprofit. “The reason they are not as prevalent in New York is the city’s legal right to shelter.”


That legal requirement should theoretically continue to keep New York’s homeless people sheltered, and city officials say there are other sites available to use, including ones that require federal approval. But the city is now struggling under the weight of nearly 100,000 migrants who have arrived since last year. More than 56,000 migrants still remain in the New York City’s shelters. And the pace has not slowed. Last week alone, 2,300 new migrants arrived.


New York City has opened 194 sites to house the newcomers in any usable facilities it could find — including hotel ballrooms, parking lots, former jails and an airport warehouse. The city’s homeless shelter population now exceeds 100,000 people, a record high.


That legal requirement should theoretically continue to keep New York’s homeless people sheltered, and city officials say there are other sites available to use, including ones that require federal approval. But the city is now struggling under the weight of nearly 100,000 migrants who have arrived since last year. More than 56,000 migrants still remain in the New York City’s shelters. And the pace has not slowed. Last week alone, 2,300 new migrants arrived.


New York City has opened 194 sites to house the newcomers in any usable facilities it could find — including hotel ballrooms, parking lots, former jails and an airport warehouse. The city’s homeless shelter population now exceeds 100,000 people, a record high.


During a news conference on Wednesday, Deputy Mayor Anne Williams-Isom said the city has been a “guardian of the right to shelter,” but the system was buckling under pressure.


In response to questions about potential sites for sheltering migrants, including Randall’s Island and Central Park, she said all options were on the table. “People on the one hand cannot accuse us of not having enough space,” she said, “and then on the other hand tell us, ‘well, you can’t go here and you can’t go there.’” Some shelter sites have been delayed because of fierce opposition in neighborhoods where they would be located.


The city’s legal obligation stems from a class-action lawsuit that was filed in the late 1970s, which argued that a right to shelter existed under the New York State Constitution.


To settle the lawsuit, the city reached an agreement in 1981 to provide shelter for every homeless man who applies for it, which has since been expanded to women and families with children. The agreement also laid out the standards for care, including bed size and staff-to-resident ratios.


Despite repeated challenges by mayoral administrations to weaken the mandate, it has endured for four decades because “New Yorkers don’t want to see mass homelessness,” said Joshua Goldfein, a staff attorney at the Legal Aid Society, which worked on the lawsuit that led to the 1981 agreement with the lawyer Robert Hayes, who founded the Coalition for the Homeless.


“They don’t want to see people living in the streets with their children,” he said.


In West Coast cities that have struggled with homeless encampments, the shelter infrastructure is much more limited than in New York, according to Dennis Culhane, a professor of social policy at the University of Pennsylvania.


In May, the Adams administration asked a New York court to relieve it from some obligations under the right-to-shelter agreement. The court proceeding is still ongoing.


This week, Legal Aid and the Coalition for the Homeless, which monitors conditions in shelters, said that if asylum seekers continue to be stuck without beds, “we will have no choice but to file litigation to enforce the law.”


For now, New York is taking steps to try and deter migrants from coming, including by distributing fliers at the southern border telling them that they will not be guaranteed services if they come to the city.


Advocates for migrants and homeless populations have argued that the Adams administration could be doing more to free up shelter space by expanding eligibility for housing vouchers and increasing staff to manage the logistics of helping migrants move on. Some migrants who want to move out of New York are unable to because of delays in securing their driver’s license, lawyers say.


The city has repeatedly urged the Biden administration to provide more aid and to expedite the federal process for migrants to legally work. On Wednesday, the city also announced a partnership with several universities to recruit student volunteers to help migrants fill out asylum applications.


Despite shelter capacity reaching its limits, Donovan Richards, the Queens borough president, said the prospect of tent cities popping up throughout New York is unlikely. There are still more emergency shelters that can be opened, he said, including a new site that can fit 1,000 people and is set to open soon in the parking lot of a psychiatric center in Queens.


“I get a ping on my phone at least twice or three times a week about a new hotel opening up or a new site being proposed,” Mr. Richards said. “That’s going to be the norm for a while, but that’s going to prevent people from sleeping on the sidewalk.”


Jeffery C. Mays contributed reporting.



5) A Revolution Is Coming to Medicine. Who Will It Leave Out?

By James Tabery, Aug. 5, 2023

Dr. Tabery is a professor of philosophy at the University of Utah and the author of the forthcoming book “Tyranny of the Gene: Personalized Medicine and Its Threat to Public Health,” from which this essay is adapted.

Nicole Rifkin

On Aug. 16, 2011, my father woke up and couldn’t get out of bed. Until then, he was an avid outdoorsman, who cast for trout on the Delaware River and trained German wirehaired pointers to track and point pheasant. So after an ambulance ride to the emergency room and then hours of tests, the diagnosis shook our family: Stage 4 non-small cell lung cancer.


Scans revealed tumors all over his body — brain, ribs, pelvis, spine. The tumors on his vertebrae quietly grew until they had cut off nerve signals to his legs.


More people die of lung cancer in the United States every year than from prostate, colon and breast cancers combined. Our family received hope, however, when a biopsy revealed that my dad’s cancerous cells had a molecular marker on their surface making them an ideal candidate for erlotinib, a drug that could disrupt their growth. Just weeks after he received his first dose, my mother phoned with tears of joy in her voice to tell me that the tumors were shrinking.


Erlotinib is a textbook example of what physicians call “personalized medicine,” or sometimes “precision medicine.” In contrast to traditional, one-size-fits-all health care, personalized medicine uses molecular-genetic information about patients to deliver the right treatment, to the right patient, at the right time. Prominent medical geneticists, influential federal scientists, hospital system executives and even elected officials foresee cancer treatments as the leading edge of a genomic revolution, ushering in a new era of miracle cures and biomedical magic bullets, and fundamentally transforming the care of desperate patients.


As health care costs skyrocket, some proponents of personalized medicine envision a more affordable alternative to traditional treatments, one that tailors interventions from the beginning of treatment rather than sending patients off on a trial-and-error odyssey. This approach, they say, could decrease waste while increasing the quality of care. Moreover, the claim is that personalized medicine research that prioritizes the participation of marginalized communities will ensure these breakthroughs extend to everyone, combating racial and sociodemographic health disparities.


It’s hard not to get excited about a future guided by this medical revolution. But a closer look at lung cancer, and at my father’s experience specifically, paints a far gloomier picture than what the personalized medicine champions would have you believe.


There are some diseases for which genetics is truly saving lives; in particular, patients with rare diseases like spinal muscular atrophy and certain cancers such as chronic myelogenous leukemia may now be prescribed personalized medicine treatments that simply didn’t exist a couple of decades ago. For most patients with most diseases, though, the lofty promises have failed to materialize. Even more dangerously, the hype has distracted from alternative approaches to health care that are better suited to improving health for all of us.


One problem with personalized medicine is the cost. As the bills for his biopsies, surgeries and radiation piled up, we started to call my father the “million-dollar man.” The real eyepopper was the erlotinib, priced at over $5,000 for a one-month supply of the tiny pills. A number of other drugs for lung cancer have emerged in the years since — osimertinib, crizotinib and sotorasib, to name a few — in the $10,000-to-$20,000-per-month range. These, in fact, are on the affordable end of the spectrum; $50,000-per-month list prices aren’t uncommon for personalized medicines.


There’s a straightforward biological explanation for this. Personalized medicine works by carving patient populations into subgroups based on their molecular-genetic profiles. For lung cancer, there are a number of biological distinctions made, and those distinctions result in smaller pools of potential users for any given drug, which incline the pharmaceutical companies to drastically increase prices.


There is thus an inherent tension at the heart of personalized medicine. It purports to both tailor health care and drive down costs, but the more it succeeds at individualization, the higher go the prices. Patients, as a result, can now face an agonizing decision: forgo treatment or suffer financial ruin.


Our family was fortunate. My parents were financially stable, and they had good health insurance that covered the expensive drug. They lived only an hour’s drive to a major hospital network. My father had another thing going for him: the color of his skin. White patients with lung cancer are far more likely than Black patients to receive a diagnostic test indicating whether or not a drug like erlotinib is a good match, and patients from richer neighborhoods are more likely to get access compared with those from poorer neighborhoods.


My dad was ultimately able to leave the hospital and go home, where he continued receiving care, undergoing physical therapy and tying flies in the hopes that he’d one day again wade into the chilly spring waters of the Delaware. The following summer, however, a round of tests revealed that his tumors were growing again. He never regained the ability to stand, let alone cast a fly. On Sept. 23, 2012, a little over a year after he woke up paralyzed, my father died.


Media reports surrounding personalized medicine often forecast a future of health care revolutionized by the arrival of medical magic bullets and biomedical breakthroughs. Erlotinib, though, generally doesn’t cure cancer; it puts it on pause, and when it comes back, it often comes back with a vengeance. Oncologists today can respond by prescribing one of the newer, more expensive drugs. Still, for patients with advanced lung cancer like my dad, the chances of being alive five years after initial diagnosis are terrifyingly small.


Genetic information about patients can result in clinical treatments for certain diseases that are known to be caused by a fairly straightforward genetic mechanism; that’s what made conditions like spinal muscular atrophy and chronic myelogenous leukemia such good candidates for intervention. But those cases are the exception in medicine, not the norm. When we move to common and complex diseases like hypertension, Parkinson’s, diabetes or asthma, where, for a vast majority of patients, there’s no single gene causing the disease, the opportunity for a personalized medicine revolution that can benefit most patients is severely limited.


Taking steps to prevent the development of illness is both more effective and more cost-efficient than trying to eliminate disease after it arrives. Lung cancer is a prime example. Even though there is still no cure for metastatic lung cancer, age-adjusted death rates from lung cancer in the United States have been dropping steadily because of public health research and programs aimed at making our environments more lung-friendly, with asbestos abatement programs, antismoking campaigns and other efforts to control harmful chemicals.


People of color and those living in poverty are particularly susceptible to the harms of unhealthy environments. They tend to be the ones who are living closest to factories and highways and farthest from green spaces and fresh produce. It is abundantly clear that health disparities along racial and economic lines are largely caused by differences in our environments, not differences in our genes. That’s why the health and economic impact of addressing unsafe drinking water, food insecurity, exposure to heavy metals and countless other things is so important: Everyone benefits, not just the people with the right genes, the right skin color or the right bank account balance.


It’s impossible to specify how much time erlotinib added to the end of my father’s life, but there’s every reason to believe that he lived longer because of the drug. I’ll always cherish that period, just as I’m certain that the family members of lung cancer patients battling the disease today soak up every moment with their loved ones. Erlotinib, however, didn’t save him. For a very high price, the drug slowed his terminal disease down for a short time, and even that limited benefit is not available to everyone.


Improving health for us all, driving down the costs of health care and making the world a more equitable place are all noble goals. The most direct route, though, isn’t by way of orienting health care around the genetic differences between us. It’s by focusing it on the environments we share.



6) Eight Months Pregnant and Arrested After False Facial Recognition Match

Porcha Woodruff thought the police who showed up at her door to arrest her for carjacking were joking. She is the first woman known to be wrongfully accused as a result of facial recognition technology.

By Kashmir Hill, Aug. 6, 2023

Two photographs of Porcha Woodruff.
The photo at left, from 2015, was used by facial recognition software to identify Porcha Woodruff, rather than her license photo, from 2021, right, which was also available, according to her lawsuit. Credit...The New York Times

Porcha Woodruff was getting her two daughters ready for school when six police officers showed up at her door in Detroit. They asked her to step outside because she was under arrest for robbery and carjacking.


“Are you kidding?” she recalled saying to the officers. Ms. Woodruff, 32, said she gestured at her stomach to indicate how ill-equipped she was to commit such a crime: She was eight months pregnant.


Handcuffed in front of her home on a Thursday morning last February, leaving her crying children with her fiancé, Ms. Woodruff was taken to the Detroit Detention Center. She said she was held for 11 hours, questioned about a crime she said she had no knowledge of, and had her iPhone seized to be searched for evidence.


“I was having contractions in the holding cell. My back was sending me sharp pains. I was having spasms. I think I was probably having a panic attack,” said Ms. Woodruff, a licensed aesthetician and nursing school student. “I was hurting, sitting on those concrete benches.”


After being charged in court with robbery and carjacking, Ms. Woodruff was released that evening on a $100,000 personal bond. In an interview, she said she went straight to the hospital where she was diagnosed with dehydration and given two bags of intravenous fluids. A month later, two weeks before giving birth to her son, the Wayne County prosecutor dismissed the case against her.


The ordeal started with an automated facial recognition search, according to an investigator’s report from the Detroit Police Department. Ms. Woodruff is the sixth person to report being falsely accused of a crime as a result of facial recognition technology used by police to match an unknown offender’s face to a photo in a database. All six people have been Black; Ms. Woodruff is the first woman to report it happening to her.


It is the third case involving the Detroit Police Department, which runs, on average, 125 facial recognition searches a year, almost entirely on Black men, according to weekly reports about the technology’s use provided by the police to Detroit’s Board of Police Commissioners, a civilian oversight group. Critics of the technology say the cases expose its weaknesses and the dangers posed to innocent people.


The Detroit Police Department “is an agency that has every reason to know of the risks that using face recognition carries,” said Clare Garvie, an expert on the technology at the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. “And it’s happening anyway.”


On Thursday, Ms. Woodruff filed a lawsuit for wrongful arrest against the city of Detroit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.


“I have reviewed the allegations contained in the lawsuit. They are very concerning,” Detroit’s police chief, James E. White, said in a statement in response to questions from The New York Times. “We are taking this matter very seriously, but we cannot comment further at this time due to the need for additional investigation.”


The Wayne County prosecutor, Kym Worthy, considers the arrest warrant in Ms. Woodruff’s case to be “appropriate based upon the facts,” according to a statement issued by her office.


The Investigation


On a Sunday night two and a half weeks before police showed up at Ms. Woodruff’s door, a 25-year-old man called the Detroit police from a liquor store to report that he had been robbed at gunpoint, according to a police report included in Ms. Woodruff’s lawsuit.


The robbery victim told the police that he had picked up a woman on the street earlier in the day. He said that they had been drinking together in his car, first in a liquor store parking lot, where they engaged in sexual intercourse, and then at a BP gas station. When he dropped her off at a spot 10 minutes away, a man there to meet her produced a handgun, took the victim’s wallet and phone, and fled in the victim’s Chevy Malibu, according to the police report.


Days later, the police arrested a man driving the stolen vehicle. A woman who matched the description given by the victim dropped off his phone at the same BP gas station, the police report said.


A detective with the police department’s commercial auto theft unit got the surveillance video from the BP gas station, the police report said, and asked a crime analyst at the department to run a facial recognition search on the woman.


According to city documents, the department uses a facial recognition vendor called DataWorks Plus to run unknown faces against a database of criminal mug shots; the system returns matches ranked by their likelihood of being the same person. A human analyst is ultimately responsible for deciding if any of the matches are a potential suspect. The police report said the crime analyst gave the investigator Ms. Woodruff’s name based on a match to a 2015 mug shot. Ms. Woodruff said in an interview that she had been arrested in 2015 after being pulled over while driving with an expired license.

Five days after the carjacking, the police report said, the detective assigned to the case asked the victim to look at the mug shots of six Black women, commonly called a “six-pack photo lineup.” Ms. Woodruff’s photo was among them. He identified Ms. Woodruff as the woman he had been with. That was the basis for her arrest, according to the police report. (The police did not say whether another woman has since been charged in the case.)


Gary Wells, a psychology professor who has studied the reliability of eyewitness identifications, said pairing facial recognition technology with an eyewitness identification should not be the basis for charging someone with a crime. Even if that similar-looking person is innocent, an eyewitness who is asked to make the same comparison is likely to repeat the mistake made by the computer.


“It is circular and dangerous,” Dr. Wells said. “You’ve got a very powerful tool that, if it searches enough faces, will always yield people who look like the person on the surveillance image.”


Dr. Wells said the technology compounds an existing problem with eyewitnesses. “They assume when you show them a six-pack, the real person is there,” he said.


Serious Consequences


The city of Detroit faces three lawsuits for wrongful arrests based on the use of the technology.


“Shoddy technology makes shoddy investigations, and police assurances that they will conduct serious investigations do not ring true,” said Phil Mayor, a senior staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan.

Mr. Mayor represents Robert Williams, a Detroit man who was arrested in January 2020 for shoplifting based on a faulty facial recognition match, for which the prosecutor’s office later apologized.


In his lawsuit, Mr. Williams is trying to get the city to agree to collect more evidence in cases involving automated face searches and to end what Mr. Mayor called the “facial recognition to line-up pipeline.”


“This is an extremely dangerous practice that has led to multiple false arrests that we know of,” Mr. Mayor said.


The Toll


Ms. Woodruff said she was stressed for the rest of her pregnancy. She had to go to the police station the next day to retrieve her phone, and appeared for court hearings twice by Zoom before the case was dismissed because of insufficient evidence.


“It’s scary. I’m worried. Someone always looks like someone else,” said her attorney, Ivan L. Land. “Facial recognition is just an investigative tool. If you get a hit, do your job and go further. Knock on her door.”


Ms. Woodruff said that she was embarrassed to be arrested in front of her neighbors and that her daughters were traumatized. They now tease her infant son that he was “in jail before he was even born.”


The experience was all the more difficult because she was so far along in her pregnancy, but Ms. Woodruff said she feels lucky that she was. She thinks it convinced authorities that she did not commit the crime. The woman involved in the carjacking had not been visibly pregnant.



7) 130 Degrees and Rising: How Kitchen Workers Are Dealing With Record Heat

With punishing temperatures across many states, restaurants are adapting to a new climate reality.

By Christina Morales, Aug. 4, 2023


A person wearing a black T-shirt, apron and chef’s cap looks down at his work space as he preps food in the kitchen of El Chullo Peruvian Restaurant and Bar in Phoenix.

Restaurant workers are dealing with extreme heat in the kitchen, an already stuffy place to work. At El Chullo Peruvian Restaurant and Bar in Phoenix, chefs are prepping food at 6 a.m. rather than 9 a.m. for some relief from the heat. Credit...Ash Ponders for The New York Times

Around midday on Wednesday, as the heat index reached more than 102 degrees in Baton Rouge, La., Tremaine Devine was searing burgers on the grill inside his food truck when he began to turn pale and felt lightheaded and short of breath.


“I can’t do this, we have to stop,” Mr. Devine told his fiancée, Kristen Smith, as they were in the midst of serving dozens of people at a corporate event. Ms. Smith cried as customers called for an ambulance. And at the hospital, a doctor told him that he was dehydrated — even after drinking at least eight bottles of water — and had symptoms of heat exhaustion.


“I usually deal with the heat, but today was overwhelming,” he said.


It was the 10th straight day that the temperature had been above 97 degrees, and Louisiana was just one of many states enduring sometimes weeks in or near triple-digit heat.


The effects of climate change have become even more apparent this summer, with temperatures rising to the highest levels in recorded history. Restaurant kitchens, already a sweltering place to work as cooks crank out meals using ovens and stoves, are getting even hotter as temperatures outside climb.


Workers are struggling to cope, and owners are facing new costs as they add air-conditioning units and ventilators in their kitchens. Some say their electricity bills have doubled as the units run all day and night to keep their establishments cool. Restaurant staff are also keeping a careful eye out for symptoms of heat-related illnesses and incorporating more breaks to drink water and cool off.


In Baton Rouge, Mr. Devine and Ms. Smith run Tre’s Street Kitchen, but with the persistent high temperatures the past few weeks, they’ve noticed that customers don’t want to venture outside to eat at their food truck. After Mr. Devine’s health scare on Wednesday, the couple decided that they needed to adapt.


“It’s time for us to get a brick-and-mortar faster than we thought,” Ms. Smith said, adding that they lost more than $2,000 in revenue because they had to end the catered event early. “To survive, we have to shift our business model.”


At Smokey Joe’s BBQ in Dallas, Kris Manning, the owner, said that even with window air-conditioning units running, temperatures inside the pit room have reached 130 degrees as the heat index averaged 106 degrees there this week.


Two of his smokers open toward each other, creating what he calls a “heat alley,” in the middle of the room. To mitigate the impact on his staff, he has them rotating in shifts of 10 to 15 minutes in the pit room. Before they enter, he said, he strongly encourages them to hydrate. He’s also freezing hand towels and hats for people to wear as they check on the brisket and racks of ribs.


“I grew up around heat my whole life,” he said, explaining that he got lightheaded at an outdoor event recently. “But I realized this is not something to play with.”


In Phoenix, the kitchen staff at El Chullo Peruvian Restaurant and Bar have moved up their prep shifts to 6 a.m. instead of their normal 9 a.m. start times so that they can work in a cooler kitchen environment, Esperanza Luzcando, an owner, said in Spanish. The afternoon cooks are taking 10- to 15-minute breaks from the stove every two hours.


About two weeks ago, they had to close the restaurant for two days as temperatures in the kitchen reached 124 degrees. On top of the central air-conditioning system they already had, they have installed two portable units. Now, they’re paying about $1,200 a month for electricity, about 50 percent more than before the heat wave.


“At first, I thought the air-conditioner wasn’t working, but it was the heat outside and the kitchen that caused this,” Ms. Luzcando said in Spanish. “I’ve lived here 12 years, and this is the first time I’ve felt temperatures this hot.”


In the long term, restaurants can redesign their dining rooms and kitchens into cooler working spaces by adding more shade, ventilation and air-conditioning systems, said David Pogue, the author of “How to Prepare for Climate Change: A Practical Guide to Surviving the Chaos” and a former New York Times tech columnist.


In the short term, restaurants can use more fans to make people feel cooler, he said, but that doesn’t necessarily prevent heat illness since actual temperatures are not decreasing around you. And in urban centers like New York City, earlier start times and later night shifts may not improve kitchen temperatures much because pavement absorbs and traps heat during the day and will keep the area hot at night, unlike in the suburbs, where there is more greenery.


“We really need to start treating heat waves like other climate disasters,” said Mr. Pogue, who is also a correspondent for “CBS News Sunday Morning.”


There are no federal or state standards that protect workers from heat stress. But last week, President Biden announced that the Labor Department would issue a heat-hazard alert, which reminded employers to give workers access to water, rest and shade.


The Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, a group that represents workers, has been pushing for such regulations with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration since the organization’s inception in 2002. Those efforts have ramped up in the past three years as temperatures have risen.


“This trend will only continue,” Anthony Advincula, a spokesman for the organization, said of the rising temperatures. “So many restaurant employers are inadequately prepared to mitigate the impact and have shown a disregard for keeping their workers safe and healthy. This is the right time to push O.S.H.A. to enact this heat standard.”


On Tuesday, Cullen Page, a line cook at a pizzeria in Austin, Texas, began treating his back for a heat rash. This summer, he said the temperatures in the kitchen have reached between 90 and 110 degrees. His back faces the restaurant’s four large pizza ovens, which he said are set to 500 degrees.


“Kitchen work is as hard as it is,” he said, “and on top of that, working in this extreme heat just makes it so much worse.”



8) A Global Web of Chinese Propaganda Leads to a U.S. Tech Mogul

The Times unraveled a financial network that stretches from Chicago to Shanghai and uses American nonprofits to push Chinese talking points worldwide.

By Mara Hvistendahl, David A. Fahrenthold, Lynsey Chutel and Ishaan Jhaveri, Aug. 5, 2023

Mara Hvistendahl is an investigative reporter focused on China. David A. Fahrenthold investigates nonprofits from Washington. Lynsey Chutel reported from South Africa and Ishaan Jhaveri from New York.


Protesters with signs reading “No to Racism” and “End China Bashing.”

Protesters in Chinatown, London, in 2021. One of the groups that organized the protest, No Cold War, has links to Mr. Singham. Credit...Picture Capital/Alamy

The protest in London’s bustling Chinatown brought together a variety of activist groups to oppose a rise in anti-Asian hate crimes. So it was peculiar when a street brawl broke out among mostly ethnic Chinese demonstrators.


Witnesses said the fight, in November 2021, started when men aligned with the event’s organizers, including a group called No Cold War, attacked activists supporting the democracy movement in Hong Kong.


On the surface, No Cold War is a loose collective run mostly by American and British activists who say the West’s rhetoric against China has distracted from issues like climate change and racial injustice.


In fact, a New York Times investigation found, it is part of a lavishly funded influence campaign that defends China and pushes its propaganda. At the center is a charismatic American millionaire, Neville Roy Singham, who is known as a socialist benefactor of far-left causes.


What is less known, and is hidden amid a tangle of nonprofit groups and shell companies, is that Mr. Singham works closely with the Chinese government media machine and is financing its propaganda worldwide.


From a think tank in Massachusetts to an event space in Manhattan, from a political party in South Africa to news organizations in India and Brazil, The Times tracked hundreds of millions of dollars to groups linked to Mr. Singham that mix progressive advocacy with Chinese government talking points.


Some, like No Cold War, popped up in recent years. Others, like the American antiwar group Code Pink, have morphed over time. Code Pink once criticized China’s rights record but now defends its internment of the predominantly Muslim Uyghurs, which human rights experts have labeled a crime against humanity.


These groups are funded through American nonprofits flush with at least $275 million in donations.


But Mr. Singham, 69, himself sits in Shanghai, where one outlet in his network is co-producing a YouTube show financed in part by the city’s propaganda department. Two others are working with a Chinese university to “spread China’s voice to the world.” And last month, Mr. Singham joined a Communist Party workshop about promoting the party internationally.


Mr. Singham says he does not work at the direction of the Chinese government. But the line between him and the propaganda apparatus is so blurry that he shares office space — and his groups share staff members — with a company whose goal is to educate foreigners about “the miracles that China has created on the world stage.”


Years of research have shown how disinformation, both homegrown and foreign-backed, influences mainstream conservative discourse. Mr. Singham’s network shows what that process looks like on the left.


He and his allies are on the front line of what Communist Party officials call a “smokeless war.” Under the rule of Xi Jinping, China has expanded state media operations, teamed up with overseas outlets and cultivated foreign influencers. The goal is to disguise propaganda as independent content.


Mr. Singham’s groups have produced YouTube videos that, together, racked up millions of views. They also seek to influence real-world politics by meeting with congressional aides, training politicians in Africa, running candidates in South African elections and organizing protests like the one in London that erupted into violence.


The result is a seemingly organic bloom of far-left groups that echo Chinese government talking points, echo one another, and are echoed in turn by the Chinese state media.


Because the network is built on the back of American nonprofit groups, tax experts said, Mr. Singham may have been eligible for tax deductions for his donations.


The Times untangled the web of charities and shell companies using nonprofit and corporate filings, internal documents and interviews with over two dozen former employees of groups linked to Mr. Singham. Some groups, including No Cold War, do not seem to exist as legal entities but are tied to the network through domain registration records and shared organizers.


None of Mr. Singham’s nonprofits have registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, as is required of groups that seek to influence public opinion on behalf of foreign powers. That usually applies to groups taking money or orders from foreign governments. Legal experts said Mr. Singham’s network was an unusual case.


Most of the groups in Mr. Singham’s network declined to answer questions from The Times. Three said they had never received money or instructions from a foreign government or political party.


Speculation about Mr. Singham first emerged on Twitter among self-described anti-fascists. Reports followed in the publication New Lines and the South African investigative outlet amaBhungane. The authorities in India raided a news organization tied to Mr. Singham during a crackdown on the press, accusing it of having ties to the Chinese government but offering no proof.


The Times investigation is the first to unravel the funding and document Mr. Singham’s ties to Chinese propaganda interests.


Mr. Singham did not offer substantive answers to questions about those ties. He said he abided by the tax laws in countries where he was active.


“I categorically deny and repudiate any suggestion that I am a member of, work for, take orders from, or follow instructions of any political party or government or their representatives,” he wrote in an email. “I am solely guided by my beliefs, which are my long-held personal views.”


Indeed, his associates say Mr. Singham has long admired Maoism, the Communist ideology that gave rise to modern China. He praised Venezuela under the leftist president Hugo Chávez as a “phenomenally democratic place.” And a decade before moving to China, he said the world could learn from its governing approach.


The son of a leftist academic, Archibald Singham, Mr. Singham is a longtime activist who founded the Chicago-based software consultancy Thoughtworks.


There, Mr. Singham came across as a charming showman who prided himself on creating an egalitarian corporate culture. He was unabashed about his politics. A former company technical director, Majdi Haroun, recalled Mr. Singham lecturing him on the Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara. Mr. Haroun said employees sometimes jokingly called each other “comrade.”


In 2017, Mr. Singham married Jodie Evans, a former Democratic political adviser and the co-founder of Code Pink. The wedding, in Jamaica, was a “Who’s Who” of progressivism. Photos from the event show Amy Goodman, host of “Democracy Now!”; Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream; and V, the playwright formerly known as Eve Ensler, who wrote “The Vagina Monologues.”


It was also a working event. The invitation described a panel discussion called “The Future of the Left.”


Mr. Singham had a plan for that future. He had quietly funded left-wing causes while at Thoughtworks. But his activism was about to intensify. Six months after his wedding, he sold Thoughtworks to a private equity firm. A copy of the sale agreement put the price at $785 million.


“I decided that at my age and extreme privilege, the best thing I could do was to give away most of my money in my lifetime,” he said in his statement.


The Network Takes Shape


While other moguls slapped their names on foundations, Mr. Singham sent his money through a system that concealed his giving.


At its center were four new nonprofits with dust-dry names like “United Community Fund” and “Justice and Education Fund.” They have almost no real-world footprints, listing their addresses only as UPS store mailboxes in Illinois, Wisconsin and New York.


Because American nonprofit groups do not need to disclose individual donors, these four nonprofits worked like a financial geyser, throwing out a shower of money from an invisible source.


In their public filings, none list Mr. Singham as a board member or donor. “I do not control them,” he said in his statement, “although I have been known to share my opinions.”


In reality, Mr. Singham has close ties to all four.


The largest is run by Ms. Evans. The group’s founding bylaws say that Mr. Singham can fire her and the rest of the board. They also require that the group dissolve after Mr. Singham’s death.


The other three groups were founded by former Thoughtworks employees, according to interviews with other former Thoughtworks staff members and résumés posted online.


In his statement, Mr. Singham acknowledged giving his money to unnamed intermediaries that fit the description of these four UPS store nonprofits. And several groups that received donations from them have identified Mr. Singham as the source.


One of them is the Massachusetts-based think tank Tricontinental. Its executive director, Vijay Prashad, recounted Mr. Singham’s financing in 2021. “A Marxist with a massive software company!” he wrote on Twitter.


Tricontinental produces videos and articles on socialist issues. Mr. Prashad did not answer questions about Mr. Singham, but said the organization followed the law. “We do not and have never received funds or instructions from any government or political party,” he said in a statement.


From the UPS store nonprofits, millions of dollars flowed around the world. The Times tracked money to a South African political party, YouTube channels in the United States and nonprofits in Ghana and Zambia. In Brazil, records show, money flowed to a group that produces a publication, Brasil de Fato, that intersperses articles about land rights with praise for Xi Jinping.


In New Delhi, corporate filings show, Mr. Singham’s network financed a news site, NewsClick, that sprinkled its coverage with Chinese government talking points. “China’s history continues to inspire the working classes,” one video said.


These groups operate in coordination. They have cross-posted articles and shared one another’s content on social media hundreds of times. Many share staff members and office space. They organize events together and interview one another’s representatives without disclosing their ties.


‘Hijacked’ in South Africa


Several times a year, activists and politicians from across Africa fly to South Africa for boot camps at the Nkrumah School, set in a popular safari area.


They come to learn to organize workers and left-wing movements. Once on campus, though, some attendees are surprised to find Chinese topics seeping into the curriculum.


At a recent session, reading packets said that the United States was waging a “hybrid war” against China by distorting information about Hong Kong, Taiwan and the Xinjiang region where Uyghurs were held in camps.


The packets praised Chinese loans, calling them “an opportunity for African states to construct genuine, and sovereign, development projects.” No mention was made of China’s role in a recent debt crisis in Zambia.


“They’re being rounded up to be fed Chinese propaganda,” said Cebelihle Mbuyisa, a former employee who helped prepare materials for the workshop. “Whole social movements on the African continent are being hijacked by what looks like a foreign policy instrument of the Chinese Communist Party.”


Those who objected were shouted down or not invited back, four past attendees said.


U.S. tax records show that one of the UPS store nonprofits, the People’s Support Foundation, donated at least $450,000 for training at the school. On Instagram, Ms. Evans described a photo of the grounds as “Roy’s new place.”


The $450,000 was just part of Mr. Singham’s efforts in South Africa. In all, the foundation has sent $5.6 million to groups that run the school; a news organization; and the Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party, a fringe party launched ahead of the 2019 election.


Former party members said they were perplexed that, despite severe local unemployment and poverty, the party seemed interested in China. Mr. Singham, for example, urged them to attend an online lecture by a Chinese academic, Li Bo of Fudan University, an email shows.


After a party member called China’s presence in Africa “a second colonization,” leaders responded defensively in a WhatsApp group. “When it came to us questioning certain behaviors from the Chinese state, that was a no-no,” said Lindiwe Mkhumbane, a former member.


In a statement, the party said its members have attended workshops on progressive issues but that it had never forced anyone to attend.


Mr. Singham also funded an online news start-up, New Frame, according to a recording obtained by The Times. One employee, Aragorn Eloff, said Mr. Singham interviewed him for a job.


The outlet hired talented reporters and paid them well. Readership was small, but the stated goal was “quality, not clicks.”


Its former top editor has denied that New Frame had a pro-China slant. But a former reporter, Anna Majavu, said that an editor removed criticism of Chinese labor practices from a story on mining. “The resistance from the editor was purely political,” she said.


And in June 2022, an editor, Darryl Accone, wrote a resignation letter criticizing New Frame’s soft coverage of China and Russia. The “unavoidable conclusion,” he wrote, “is that this is an ideological directive emanating from above and outside New Frame.”


‘Always Follow the Party’


Mr. Singham’s office, adorned in red and yellow, sits on the 18th floor of Shanghai’s swanky Times Square.


A visit shows that he is not alone.


He shares the office with a Chinese media company called Maku Group, which says its goal is to “tell China’s story well,” a term commonly used for foreign propaganda. In a Chinese-language job advertisement, Maku says it produces text, audio and videos for “global networks of popular media and progressive think tanks.”


It can be hard to tell where Maku begins and Mr. Singham’s groups end.


Nonprofit filings show that nearly $1.8 million flowed from one of the UPS store nonprofits to Maku Group. And in 2021, according to a Chinese-language news release, Maku and Tricontinental agreed to work with a Shanghai university to “tell China’s story” in Chinese and English.


Maku’s website shows young people gathering in Mr. Singham’s office, facing a red banner that reads, in Chinese, “Always Follow the Party.” Resting on a shelf is a plate depicting Xi Jinping.


Maku Group did not respond to a request to comment. After The Times began asking questions, its website went down for maintenance.


In 2020, Mr. Singham emailed his friends to introduce a newsletter, now called Dongsheng News, that covers China in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese. Drawing stories from the state media, it blends lighthearted news with bureaucratic official prose.


Dongsheng’s editors, in China, come from Tricontinental, but its address leads to the People’s Forum, a Manhattan event space also funded by Mr. Singham. Dongsheng “provides unique progressive coverage of China that has been sadly missing,” Mr. Singham told friends.


His ties to the propaganda machine date back at least to 2019, when, corporate documents show, he started a consulting business with Chinese partners. Those partners are active in the propaganda apparatus, co-owning with the municipal government of Tongren a media company that promotes anti-poverty policies.


The small, southwest city of Tongren might seem a niche topic. But organizations in Mr. Singham’s network have published at least a dozen items about peasants there.


Code Pink


Ms. Evans, 68, was once a Democratic insider who managed the 1992 presidential campaign of the California governor Jerry Brown.


After the 2001 terrorist attacks, she reinvented herself as an activist. She became known for pink peace-sign earrings and sit-ins that ended with her arrest.


She helped form Code Pink to protest the looming war in Iraq. The group became notorious for disrupting Capitol Hill hearings.


Ms. Evans has organized around progressive causes like climate change, gender and racism. Until a few years ago, she readily criticized China’s authoritarian government.


“We demand China stop brutal repression of their women’s human rights defenders,” she wrote on Twitter in 2015. She later posted on Instagram a photo with the Chinese dissident Ai Weiwei.


Since 2017, about a quarter of Code Pink’s donations — more than $1.4 million — have come from two groups linked to Mr. Singham, nonprofit records show. The first was one of the UPS store nonprofits. The second was a charity that Goldman Sachs offers as a conduit for clients’ giving, and that Mr. Singham has used in the past.


Ms. Evans now stridently supports China. She casts it as a defender of the oppressed and a model for economic growth without slavery or war. “If the U.S. crushes China,” she said in 2021, it “would cut off hope for the human race and life on Earth.”


She describes the Uyghurs as terrorists and defends their mass detention. “We have to do something,” she said in 2021. In a recent YouTube video chat, she was asked if she had anything negative to say about China.


“I can’t, for the life of me, think of anything,” Ms. Evans responded. She ultimately had one complaint: She had trouble using China’s phone-based payment apps.


Ms. Evans declined to answer questions about funding from her husband but said Code Pink had never taken money from any government. “I deny your suggestion that I follow the direction of any political party, my husband or any other government or their representatives,” she said in a written statement. “I have always followed my values.”


Few on the American political left would discuss the couple publicly, fearing lawsuits or harassment. Others said that criticism would undermine progressive causes. But Howie Hawkins, the 2020 Green Party presidential nominee, said he had soured on Code Pink and others in the Singham network that presented themselves as pro-labor but supported governments that suppressed workers. “To defend that, or excuse that, really pushes them outside what the left ought to be,” he said.


Code Pink is not alone among left-wing groups in raising concerns about anti-Asian discrimination and tensions between Beijing and Washington.


But Code Pink goes further, defending the Chinese government’s policies. In a 2021 video, a staff member compared Hong Kong’s pro-democracy demonstrators to the rioters who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 that year.


In June, Code Pink activists visited staff members on the House Select Committee on China unannounced. In the office of Representative Seth Moulton, Democrat of Massachusetts, activists denied evidence of forced labor in Xinjiang and said the congressman should visit and see how happy people were there, according to an aide.


“They are capitalizing on very legitimate concerns in order to push this pro-authoritarian narrative,” said Brian Hioe, an editor with New Bloom, a progressive Taiwanese news site. “And their ideas end up circulating in a way that affects mainstream discourse.”


Chinese state media accounts have retweeted people and organizations in Mr. Singham’s network at least 122 times since February 2020, a Times analysis found, mostly accounts connected with No Cold War and Code Pink.


This May, Mr. Singham attended the opening of a media institute in Shanghai. Organizers distributed tote bags reading “Communications as solidarity.”


A photo shows Mr. Singham sitting up front, next to Yu Yunquan, an official from a publishing group under the Communist Party’s powerful Central Committee.


Just last month, Mr. Singham attended a Chinese Communist Party propaganda forum. In a photo, taken during a breakout session on how to promote the party abroad, Mr. Singham is seen jotting in a notebook adorned with a red hammer and sickle.


Joy Dong, Michael Forsythe, Flávia Milhorance, Liu Yi and Suhasini Raj contributed reporting. Susan C. Beachy and Michelle Lum contributed research.



9) One of the Most Brazen Republican Schemes Around Abortion Is Happening in Ohio

By Melissa Murray and Kate Shaw, Aug. 7, 2023

Ms. Murray is a law professor at New York University. Ms. Shaw is a contributing Opinion writer.

A person seen from behind, wearing a T-shirt that reads, “Our Ohio, our future, our reproductive rights.”
Maddie McGarvey for The New York Times

An unusual special election that lawmakers have scheduled in Ohio for Tuesday may tell us a great deal about this moment in American politics after Roe v. Wade.


In Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the Supreme Court justified its decision overruling Roe with an appeal to democracy. In the Dobbs majority opinion, Justice Samuel Alito wrote that the conclusion in Roe that the Constitution protected the right to abortion had stripped the American people of “the power to address a question of profound moral and social importance.” On this logic, the Dobbs decision merely corrected an egregious error, returning the power to regulate abortion “to the people and their elected representatives.”


Despite this paean to democracy, in the past year, elected officials in a number of states have demonstrated a disturbing hostility toward democracy when it is used to protect abortion rights and reproductive freedom. In that time, more than a dozen states have banned abortion, through the enforcement of pre-Roe abortion bans or the enactment of new ones. In other states, abortion access has been severely limited.


But one important countervailing trend in the post-Dobbs era has been the use of direct democracy to protect abortion rights. The mechanisms of direct democracy — referendums, initiatives, ballot questions and the like — allow voters to register their preferences directly, bypassing elected officials and other intermediaries.


These vehicles have proved remarkably effective. Since the fall of Roe, every time Americans have gone to the polls to vote directly on matters of abortion, they have voted to protect reproductive rights, expanding protections for abortion access and rejecting efforts to roll back access to abortion.


Perhaps that is why many Republican officials — many who once celebrated Dobbs and the prospect of democratic deliberation — are now laboring mightily to restrict access to direct democracy.


Supporters of reproductive freedom across the country must continue to flock to the polls to defeat efforts to throttle democratic processes where they are being used to limit democratic deliberation on abortion.


Nowhere is this imperative more pressing than in Ohio, where one of the most brazen attempts of this kind is underway. There, elected officials are seeking to erect obstacles to amending the state Constitution, almost certainly to prevent Ohio voters from enshrining reproductive freedom in that state’s charter.


This effort, if successful, would mark a sea change in Ohio. Since 1912, the state’s Constitution has allowed citizens to place a constitutional amendment directly on the ballot by gathering signatures totaling at least 10 percent of votes cast in the most recent election for governor (along with county requirements and other provisions). After a proposed amendment is on the ballot, a simple majority is all that is required to amend the state Constitution. Ohio lawmakers want to raise that threshold to 60 percent.


The circumstances that led to this August election are highly unusual — and make plain Ohio lawmakers’ fears that under the current system, voters are likely to amend the state Constitution to protect abortion rights. Last December, the Ohio Legislature voted to abolish most August special elections on the grounds that their notoriously low turnouts are, as the secretary of state put it, “bad news for the civic health of our state.”


Despite these concerns, in May 2023, the G.O.P. majority in Ohio’s gerrymandered legislature passed a resolution providing for an August election in order to have voters decide whether it should be more difficult to amend the state’s constitution, including by raising the threshold to 60 percent.


The abrupt about-face on August elections and rush to put this issue to Ohio voters was almost certainly a reaction to a separate effort, led by voters, to put on the ballot in November a proposed amendment that would enshrine in the Ohio Constitution protections for abortion rights and reproductive freedom. The proposed amendment has secured the necessary signatures to be voted on in November, and polling suggests that well over 50 percent of Ohioans support the measure.


The legislative push to raise the threshold — which came about after a lobbying campaign funded in part by the billionaire donor Richard Uihlein, who has supported similar efforts in other states — seems plainly designed to thwart the effort to guarantee abortion rights in Ohio’s Constitution.


Ohio is not the only state to concoct such schemes. In Arkansas this March, the legislature substantially increased the number of counties from which signatures must be collected to qualify an initiative for the ballot — a move that was widely regarded as a hedge against efforts aimed at expanding reproductive rights in the state.


Similarly, Republican lawmakers in Missouri, North Dakota and Mississippi have gone to great lengths to try to twist and reshape the rules around state voter initiatives, in each instance apparently to limit voters’ ability to directly register their preferences on abortion and reproductive rights.


Viewed together, these efforts paint a disturbing portrait of Republican officials who are afraid of their constituents when it comes to abortion and who are taking increasingly aggressive steps to prevent voters from making their voices heard.


Recent polling suggests that Ohio voters are on track to reject the ballot measure. But the episode should serve as a reminder that despite the Supreme Court’s claim that Dobbs merely returned the question of abortion to the states, for opponents of abortion, allowing the residents of each state to decide this issue for themselves was never the goal, at least not in the long term.


Instead, the long-term goal is to prohibit abortion as widely and as completely as possible. That’s the reason some states have refused to include exceptions for rape or incest in their post-Dobbs abortion laws, despite broad popular support for such exceptions. It’s why some states are seeking to penalize aiding travel to other states to obtain abortions and to end access to medication abortion throughout the country.


Direct democracy is by no means a panacea. But it is an important mechanism for preserving a role for the people. That’s especially true at this moment, with grossly gerrymandered legislatures passing draconian bans that endanger women’s health and freedom — and with threats to democracy extending well beyond the topic of abortion.



10) Ohio Vote Shows Abortion’s Potency to Reshape Elections

The Dobbs ruling has turned a coalition of liberal, swing and moderate Republican voters into a political force. Even in August in Ohio.

By Lisa Lerer, Aug. 9, 2023

A woman in an aquamarine dress with a white purse fills out a ballot in an otherwise empty row of voting stations.
A voter at a polling location in the suburbs of Cincinnati, Ohio, on Tuesday. Voters in the state rejected a bid on Tuesday to make it harder to amend the State Constitution. Credit...Madeleine Hordinski for The New York Times

Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio, a Republican, argued that Tuesday’s vote over how to amend the State Constitution was about protecting the state from a flood of special interest money. Secretary of State Frank LaRose, another Republican, urged voters to protect the “very foundational rules” of their constitution.


But Ohio voters clearly didn’t buy it. About three million of them showed up for a vote dominated by the debate over abortion rights — an issue that was not technically on the ballot, but was the undeniable force that transformed what would have normally been a little-noticed election over an arcane legislative proposal into a national event.


For decades, a majority of Americans supported some form of legalized abortion. But the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade has shifted the political intensity on the issue, reshaping a once mostly-silent coalition of liberal, swing and moderate Republican voters into a political force. It’s a force Democrats are working hard to harness in elections across the country next year, often with ballot measures, and it’s a power Republicans have yet to figure out how to match, or at least manage.


“We’ve taken it on the chin since Dobbs,” said Michael Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life in Columbus, Ohio, who helped organize efforts supporting the proposal on Tuesday. “One of the things we learned was to get out in front and get out ahead and don’t wait because you’ll be run over by the train.”


Officially, Ohio voters were being asked whether to make it harder to amend the State Constitution by raising the threshold to enact a new constitutional amendment from a simple majority to 60 percent and increase the requirements to get such initiatives on the ballot.


In remarks before party activists and in strategy memos, Republican officials acknowledged that the measure was an attempt to make it harder for abortion rights supporters to pass a ballot measure scheduled for November that would add an amendment protecting abortion rights to the State Constitution. Those private comments fueled a firestorm of national media coverage, nearly $20 million in political spending and surprisingly high turnout for an election in the dead of summer.


Nearly twice as many people voted on the Ohio measure than cast ballots in primaries for governor, Senate, House and other marquee statewide races last year.


The power of abortion to mobilize a majority coalition has armed Democrats with a potent new political tool, particularly in crucial battlegrounds like Michigan, Ohio and Arizona where Republican legislatures moved quickly to restrict abortion rights. Already, Democrats are looking ahead to 2024, with activists in around 10 states considering efforts to put abortion protections in state constitutions.


If they succeed, those efforts could help boost Democratic turnout in key states — including Arizona, both a presidential battleground and home to a key Senate race next year, and Florida, a traditional swing state that has slipped away from the party in recent elections.


The Ohio defeat was powered by a strong showing from Democratic and swing voters. Opponents over performed in some critical suburban battleground counties. In Athens, for example, a Democratic bastion and the home of Ohio University, voters opposed the measure by 71 percent. Last fall, former Representative Tim Ryan, the Democratic candidate who lost a Senate race to J.D. Vance, a Republican, won the county by 61 percent.


But there were also signs that moderate, and even some conservative voters, were against the idea. In November, 66 percent of voters in Defiance County, a conservative area in the northwest corner of the state, backed Mr. Vance. Only 61 percent supported the proposal to amend the state constitution.


“We’ve never seen this amount of spending or attention on an issue related to ballot measure processes and I can tell you it’s not because everyone inherently cares about what the rules are on ballot issues,” said Kelly Hall, executive director of the Fairness Project, which has helped run nearly three dozen ballot measures. “The attention from both sides can only be attributed to the implications for the abortion issue.”


After spending nearly a half century pushing against Roe, Republicans have struggled to adapt, trapped between a party base that still largely opposes abortion rights and a country that broadly supports them.


Abortion played a significant role in motivating key parts of the Democratic base to the polls during the midterm elections. Abortion-related initiatives won in all six states where they appeared on the ballot in 2022 and likely helped to boost turnout for the Democratic ticket in those places. In red and purple states — Michigan, Kentucky and Kansas — the vote for abortion rights was between 52 percent and 59 percent — just below the 60 percent threshold Ohio Republicans were trying to set.


This year, Democrats prevailed in a contest for the Wisconsin Supreme Court where their candidate focused on her support for abortion rights in a state with a law banning the procedure.


Abortion is legal in Ohio until 22 weeks of pregnancy. After the Supreme Court decision, a law banning abortion at six weeks took effect but was blocked by a state judge while litigation proceeded — which it still is.


With Tuesday’s referendum, Republican lawmakers attempted a version of the kind of two-track strategy their party had done successfully for years. To conservative voters, they emphasized the measure’s role in raising the bar for the abortion amendment while, to other audiences, they talked about other potential impacts.


For Republicans, the challenge is that most of their voters are out-of-step with the broader electorate. Polling conducted last month by The New York Times/Siena College found that 61 percent of voters believe abortion should be all or mostly legal, a view shared by majorities in every region of the country, across all income levels, ages, racial groups and of both men and women. But 57 percent of Republicans believe the procedure should be all or mostly illegal.


On the presidential primary campaign trail, Republican candidates have largely tried to avoid spending too much time on the specifics of the issue. Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida signed legislation prohibiting most abortions after six weeks in his home state, but has stopped short of embracing a federal ban.


Others, including Senator Tim Scott, back a 15-week federal ban. And former President Donald J. Trump, who takes credit for appointing three of the Supreme Court Justices who voted to overturn Roe, has not endorsed any kind of restrictions. He’s expressed concerns that moving too far to the right on abortion could cost Republicans votes, saying it could make it “very, very hard to win an election.”


But Republicans are unlikely to evade the topic in the general election.


In a post-Roe world, where protecting abortion rights has become a priority for a larger swath of voters, the old strategies don’t work quite as well. Katie Paris, the founder of Red, Wine and Blue, a group that organizes suburban women voters for Ohio Democrats, said she saw voters who wouldn’t normally have tuned into a summer election on an obscure political process get engaged. Abortion, she said, snaps them to attention.


“There’s constant evidence of how personal this is,” she said. “It’s the perfect case study.”