4/13/2024

Bay Area United Against War Newsletter, April 13, 2024

 



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No Taxes for War and Genocide!

We oppose our taxes being used to kill innocent Gazans!! 

No business as usual on April 15. 

Immediate ceasefire; humanitarian aid to Gaza NOW!

Monday, April 15, Noon

Rally at UN Plaza, Market St. and Hyde St., San Francisco

The UN Plaza, so named for the founding of the UN in 1945, is where the Universal Declaration of Human Rights originated. Article 1 of the Declaration: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” 

Parade 12:30 P.M.

Parade to IRS Office at 450 Golden Gate Ave. 

Family-friendly parade; banners, posters, streamers, drums, kazoos. Activist dogs invited! 

Musicians, dancers, actors, artists, poets, clowns: join the parade and the action at the IRS!

At IRS: tax refusal teach-in, street theater, bannering, children’s activities, sidewalk chalking, ceasefire postcards, music, snacks, sit-in.

·      Divest from the War Economy! 

·      Defund the Pentagon! 

·      Stop paying for wars, occupations and sanctions on Gaza, Cuba, Haiti, Ukraine, Sudan, Yemen! 

Over 50 percent of our taxes go to fund the Pentagon’s forever wars. Profits are up 60 percent for the “Merchants of Death:” Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon (RTX), Grumman, etc.  We pay for 800 U.S. Military Bases Worldwide.

·      Invest in a Peace Economy! 

We want our taxes to fund healthcare, housing, education, clean energy, child and elder care, transportation, clean air and water, student debt relief, safe bridges and roadways, libraries-- not war, fear, and misery.

We’ll stop the U.S. war machine when we stop funding it! Tens of thousands of innocent Gazans have been killed by the Israeli military with U.S. weapons we paid for. We have spent billions of dollars on weapons for the Israeli military. We supply 60 percent of the weapons Israel is using to kill innocent civilians in Gaza. We demand that Congress and President Biden stop funding weapons to Israel, call for an immediate and permanent ceasefire, no additional funding, and halting weapons “already in the pipeline.” 

Hosted by CODEPINK Bay Area. Endorsers (list in formation):  SF Gray Panthers, Extinction Rebellion Peace, ANSWER Coalition, Veterans for Peace, (more will be added as they come in!)

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Family housing in Rafa.

See Gaza Strip Access Restrictions.pdf since 2007 at:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Gaza_Strip_Access_Restrictions.pdf

Palestinians killed and wounded by Israel:
As of April 13, 2024the total number of Palestinians killed by Israel is now over 33,634,* 76,214 wounded, and more than 462 Palestinians have been killed and 4,600 wounded by Israel in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.***  The Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) and the Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs Commission released a new tally of Palestinians detained by "Israel", revealing that the number of Palestinian prisoners in the West Bank has risen to more than 6,115.

Israel lowers its estimated October 7 death toll from 1,400 to 1,139—604 Israeli soldiers killed since ground invasion, 6,800 wounded**


Gaza’s Ministry of Health confirmed this figure on its Telegram channel on April 9, 2024. Some rights groups estimate the death toll to be much higher when accounting for those presumed dead.

** This figure is released by the Israeli military, showing the soldiers whose names “were allowed to be published.”


*** The death toll in West Bank and Jerusalem is not updated regularly. According to PA’s Ministry of Health on April 5, this is the latest figure.


Source: mondoweiss.net

 
FROM THE RIVER TO THE SEA PALESTINE WILL BE FREE!
END ALL U.S. AID TO ISRAEL!
FOR A DEMOCRATIC, SECULAR PALESTINE!

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Boris Kagarlitsky is in Prison!

On February 13, the court overturned the previous decision on release and sent Boris Kagarlitsky to prison for five years.

Petition in Support of Boris Kagarlitsky

We, the undersigned, were deeply shocked to learn that on February 13 the leading Russian socialist intellectual and antiwar activist Dr. Boris Kagarlitsky (65) was sentenced to five years in prison.

Dr. Kagarlitsky was arrested on the absurd charge of 'justifying terrorism' in July last year. After a global campaign reflecting his worldwide reputation as a writer and critic of capitalism and imperialism, his trial ended on December 12 with a guilty verdict and a fine of 609,000 roubles.

The prosecution then appealed against the fine as 'unjust due to its excessive leniency' and claimed falsely that Dr. Kagarlitsky was unable to pay the fine and had failed to cooperate with the court. In fact, he had paid the fine in full and provided the court with everything it requested.

On February 13 a military court of appeal sent him to prison for five years and banned him from running a website for two years after his release.

The reversal of the original court decision is a deliberate insult to the many thousands of activists, academics, and artists around the world who respect Dr. Kagarlitsky and took part in the global campaign for his release. The section of Russian law used against Dr. Kagarlitsky effectively prohibits free expression. The decision to replace the fine with imprisonment was made under a completely trumped-up pretext. Undoubtedly, the court's action represents an attempt to silence criticism in the Russian Federation of the government's war in Ukraine, which is turning the country into a prison.

The sham trial of Dr. Kagarlitsky is the latest in a wave of brutal repression against the left-wing movements in Russia. Organizations that have consistently criticized imperialism, Western and otherwise, are now under direct attack, many of them banned. Dozens of activists are already serving long terms simply because they disagree with the policies of the Russian government and have the courage to speak up. Many of them are tortured and subjected to life-threatening conditions in Russian penal colonies, deprived of basic medical care. Left-wing politicians are forced to flee Russia, facing criminal charges. International trade unions such as IndustriALL and the International Transport Federation are banned and any contact with them will result in long prison sentences.

There is a clear reason for this crackdown on the Russian left. The heavy toll of the war gives rise to growing discontent among the mass of working people. The poor pay for this massacre with their lives and wellbeing, and opposition to war is consistently highest among the poorest. The left has the message and resolve to expose the connection between imperialist war and human suffering.

Dr. Kagarlitsky has responded to the court's outrageous decision with calm and dignity: “We just need to live a little longer and survive this dark period for our country,” he said. Russia is nearing a period of radical change and upheaval, and freedom for Dr. Kagarlitsky and other activists is a condition for these changes to take a progressive course.

We demand that Boris Kagarlitsky and all other antiwar prisoners be released immediately and unconditionally.

We also call on the authorities of the Russian Federation to reverse their growing repression of dissent and respect their citizens' freedom of speech and right to protest.

Sign to Demand the Release of Boris Kagarlitsky

https://freeboris.info

The petition is also available on Change.org

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*Major Announcement*

Claudia De la Cruz wins

Peace and Freedom Party primary in California!




We have an exciting announcement. The votes are still being counted in California, but the Claudia-Karina “Vote Socialist” campaign has achieved a clear and irreversible lead in the Peace and Freedom Party primary. Based on the current count, Claudia has 46% of the vote compared to 40% for Cornel West. A significant majority of PFP’s newly elected Central Committee, which will formally choose the nominee at its August convention, have also pledged their support to the Claudia-Karina campaign.

 

We are excited to campaign in California now and expect Claudia De la Cruz to be the candidate on the ballot of the Peace and Freedom Party in November.

 

We achieved another big accomplishment this week - we’re officially on the ballot in Hawai’i! This comes after also petitioning to successfully gain ballot access in Utah. We are already petitioning in many other states. Each of these achievements is powered by the tremendous effort of our volunteers and grassroots organizers across the country. When we’re organized, people power can move mountains!

 

We need your help to keep the momentum going. Building a campaign like this takes time, energy, and money. We know that our class enemies — the billionaires, bankers, and CEO’s — put huge sums toward loyal politicians and other henchmen who defend their interests. They will use all the money and power at their disposal to stop movements like ours. As an independent, socialist party, our campaign is relying on contributions from the working class and people like you.

 

We call on each and every one of our supporters to set up a monthly or one-time donation to support this campaign to help it keep growing and reaching more people. A new socialist movement, independent of the Democrats and Republicans, is being built but it will only happen when we all pitch in.

 

The Claudia-Karina campaign calls to end all U.S. aid to Israel. End this government’s endless wars. We want jobs for all, with union representation and wages that let us live with dignity. Housing, healthcare, and education for all - without the lifelong debt. End the ruthless attacks on women, Black people, immigrants, and LGBTQ people. These are just some of the demands that are resonating across the country. Help us take the next step: 

 

Volunteer: https://votesocialist2024.com/volunteer

 

Donate: https://votesocialist2024.com/donate

 

See you in the streets,

 

Claudia & Karina

 

Don't Forget! Join our telegram channel for regular updates: https://t.me/+KtYBAKgX51JhNjMx

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We are all Palestinian

Listen and view this beautiful, powerful, song by Mistahi Corkill on YouTube at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQwuhbLczgI

Greetings,

Here is my new song and music video, We are all Palestinian, linked below. If you find it inspiring, please feel free to share with others. All the best!

Mistahi

Thousands at stadium sing, "You'll Never Walk Alone," and wave Palestinian flags in Scotland.


We are all Palestinian


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Labor for Palestine

Thousands of labor representatives marched Saturday, December 16, in Oakland, California. —Photo by Leon Kunstenaar

Video of December 16th Labor rally for Palestine.

 

Bay Area Unions and Workers Rally and March For Palestine In Oakland

https://youtu.be/L9k79honqIA


For More Information:

bayarealabor4palestine@gmail.com

Production of Labor Video Project

www.labormedia.net

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W0ad3mEylwY

Just Like The Nazis Did

By David Rovics

 

After so many decades of patronage

By the world’s greatest empire

So many potential agreements

Were rejected by opening fire

After crushing so many uprisings

Now they’re making their ultimate bid

Pursuing their Final Solution

Just like the Nazis did

 

They forced refugees into ghettos

Then set the ghettos aflame

Murdering writers and poets

And so no one remember their names

Killing their entire families

The grandparents, women and kids

The uncles and cousins and babies

Just like the Nazis did

 

They’re bombing all means of sustaining

Human life at all

See the few shelters remaining

Watch as the tower blocks fall

They’re bombing museums and libraries

In order to get rid

Of any memory of the people who lived here

Just like the Nazis did

 

They’re saying these people are animals

And they should all end up dead

They’re sending soldiers into schools

And shooting children in the head

The rhetoric is identical

And with Gaza off the grid

They’ve already said what happens next

Just like the Nazis did

 

Words of war for domestic consumption

And lies for all the rest

To try to distract our attention

Among their enablers in the West

Because Israel needs their imports

To keep those pallets on the skids

They need fuel and they need missiles

Just like the Nazis did

 

They’re using food as a weapon

They’re using water that way, too

They’re trying to kill everyone in Gaza

Or make them flee, it’s true

As the pundits talk of “after the war”

Like with the Fall of Madrid

The victors are preparing for more

Just like the Nazis did

 

But it’s after the conquest’s complete

If history is any guide

When the occupying army

Is positioned to decide

When disease and famine kills

Whoever may have hid

Behind the ghetto walls

Just like the Nazis did

 

All around the world

People are trying to tell

There's a genocide unfolding

Ringing alarm bells

But with such a powerful axis

And so many lucrative bids

They know who wants their money

Just like the Nazis did

 

There's so many decades of patronage

For the world's greatest empire

So many potential agreements

Were rejected by opening fire

They're crushing so many uprisings

Now they're making their ultimate bid

Pursuing their final solution

Just like the Nazis did

  Just like the Nazis did

    Just like the Nazis did


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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:

https://www.congress.gov/members/find-your-member

 

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: 

             202-456-1111

             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 


Sign the petition:

https://dontextraditeassange.com/petition/


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Mumia Abu-Jamal is Innocent!

FREE HIM NOW!

Write to Mumia at:

Smart Communications/PADOC

Mumia Abu-Jamal #AM-8335

SCI Mahanoy

P.O. Box 33028

St. Petersburg, FL 33733


Join the Fight for Mumia's Life


Since September, Mumia Abu-Jamal's health has been declining at a concerning rate. He has lost weight, is anemic, has high blood pressure and an extreme flair up of his psoriasis, and his hair has fallen out. In April 2021 Mumia underwent open heart surgery. Since then, he has been denied cardiac rehabilitation care including a healthy diet and exercise.

Donate to Mumia Abu-Jamal's Emergency Legal and Medical Defense Fund, Official 2024

Mumia has instructed PrisonRadio to set up this fund. Gifts donated here are designated for the Mumia Abu-Jamal Medical and Legal Defense Fund. If you are writing a check or making a donation in another way, note this in the memo line.

Send to:

 Mumia Medical and Legal Fund c/o Prison Radio

P.O. Box 411074, San Francisco, CA 94103

Prison Radio is a project of the Redwood Justice Fund (RJF), which is a California 501c3 (Tax ID no. 680334309) not-for-profit foundation dedicated to the defense of the environment and of civil and human rights secured by law.  Prison Radio/Redwood Justice Fund PO Box 411074, San Francisco, CA 94141


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Leonard Peltier “Why?” (Henry CrowDog)


Leonard Peltier Update—Experiencing the Onset of Blindness

 

Greetings Relatives,

Leonard is in trouble, physically. He is experiencing the onset of blindness. He is losing strength in his limbs. His blood sugar is testing erratically. This, on top of already severe conditions that have become dire. Leonard has not seen a dentist in ten years. His few remaining teeth are infected. He is locked down, in pain.

As always, Leonard’s fortitude remains astonishing. He is not scared of dying. He does not want to die in lockdown.

Our legal team has an emergency transfer underway. They are going to extraordinary lengths. We must get a top ophthalmologist to him. Thanks to your calls, the BOP did see him. They told him a specialist would be 8 - 10 weeks out.

Leonard does not have eight to ten weeks. He needs emergency care immediately.

If you can, please donate to this GoFundMe. Every penny matters. If you cannot, please share. If you are so inclined, go to www.freeleonardpeltiernow.org and contact the officials listed.

https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-leonard-peltier-get-medical-care-freedom?utm_campaign=p_cp+fundraiser-sidebar&utm_medium=copy_link_all&utm_source=customer

As always, thank you for your support.

 

Dawn Lawson

Personal Assistant Leonard Peltier

Executive Assistant Jenipher Jones, Esq.

Secretary Leonard Peltier Ad Hoc Committee

1-800-901-4413

dawn@allfiredup.blue

www.freeleonardpeltiernow.org




Leonard Peltier Update - Not One More Year

 

Coleman 1 has gone on permanent lockdown.

The inmates are supposed to be allowed out two hours a day. I have not heard from Leonard since the 18th. 

The last time I talked to Leonard, he asked where his supporters were. He asked me if anyone cared about these lockdowns.

Leonard lives in a filthy, cold cell 22 to 24 hours a day. He has not seen a dentist in ten years. I asked him, “On a scale of 1 to 10, is your pain level at 13?” He said, “Something like that.” Leonard is a relentless truth-teller. He does not like it when I say things that do not make sense mathematically. 

That is why Leonard remains imprisoned. He will not lie. He will not beg, grovel, or denounce his beliefs. 

Please raise your voice. Ask your representatives why they have abdicated their responsibility to oversee the Bureau of Prisons and ensure they adhere to Constitutional law.

Uhuru, The African People’s Socialist Party, has stepped up for Leonard. NOT ONE MORE YEAR.

 

Fight for Free Speech – YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FM8GDeGv90E

 

Leonard should not have spent a day in prison. Click “LEARN” on our website to find out what really happened on that reservation: 

www.freeleonardpeltiernow.org


Self Portrait by Leonard Peltier


Write to:

Leonard Peltier 89637-132

USP Coleman 1

P.O. Box 1033

Coleman, FL 33521

Note: Letters, address and return address must be in writing—no stickers—and on plain white paper.

Video at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWdJdODKO6M&feature=youtu.be


Sign our petition urging President Biden to grant clemency to Leonard Peltier:

 

https://www.freeleonardpeltier.com/petition

 

Email: contact@whoisleonardpeltier.info

Address: 116 W. Osborne Ave. Tampa, Florida 33603


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Updates From Kevin Cooper 

A Never-ending Constitutional Violation

A summary of the current status of Kevin Cooper’s case by the Kevin Cooper Defense Committee

 

      On October 26, 2023, the law firm of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, LLP wrote a rebuttal in response to the Special Counsel's January 13, 2023 report upholding the conviction of their client Kevin Cooper. A focus of the rebuttal was that all law enforcement files were not turned over to the Special Counsel during their investigation, despite a request for them to the San Bernardino County District Attorney's office.

      On October 29, 2023, Law Professors Lara Bazelon and Charlie Nelson Keever, who run the six member panel that reviews wrongful convictions for the San Francisco County District Attorney's office, published an OpEd in the San Francisco Chronicle calling the "Innocence Investigation” done by the Special Counsel in the Cooper case a “Sham Investigation” largely because Cooper has unsuccessfully fought for years to obtain the police and prosecutor files in his case. This is a Brady claim, named for the U.S. Supreme court’s 1963 case establishing the Constitutional rule that defendants are entitled to any information in police and prosecutor's possession that could weaken the state's case or point to innocence. Brady violations are a leading cause of wrongful convictions. The Special Counsel's report faults Cooper for not offering up evidence of his own despite the fact that the best evidence to prove or disprove Brady violations or other misconduct claims are in those files that the San Bernardino County District Attorney's office will not turn over to the Special Counsel or to Cooper's attorneys.

      On December 14, 2023, the president of the American Bar Association (ABA), Mary Smith, sent Governor Gavin Newsom a three page letter on behalf of the ABA stating in part that Mr.Cooper's counsel objected to the state's failure to provide Special Counsel all documents in their possession relating to Mr.Cooper's conviction, and that concerns about missing information are not new. For nearly 40 years Mr.Cooper's attorneys have sought this same information from the state.

      On December 19, 2023, Bob Egelko, a journalist for the San Francisco Chronicle wrote an article about the ABA letter to the Governor that the prosecutors apparently withheld evidence from the Governor's legal team in the Cooper case.

      These are just a few recent examples concerning the ongoing failure of the San Bernardino County District Attorney to turn over to Cooper's attorney's the files that have been requested, even though under the law and especially the U.S. Constitution, the District Attorney of San Bernardino county is required to turn over to the defendant any and all material and or exculpatory evidence that they have in their files. Apparently, they must have something in their files because they refuse to turn them over to anyone.

      The last time Cooper's attorney's received files from the state, in 2004, it wasn't from the D.A. but a Deputy Attorney General named Holly Wilkens in Judge Huff's courtroom. Cooper's attorneys discovered a never before revealed police report showing that a shirt was discovered that had blood on it and was connected to the murders for which Cooper was convicted, and that the shirt had disappeared. It had never been tested for blood. It was never turned over to Cooper's trial attorney, and no one knows where it is or what happened to it. Cooper's attorneys located the woman who found that shirt on the side of the road and reported it to the Sheriff's Department. She was called to Judge Huff's court to testify about finding and reporting that shirt to law enforcement. That shirt was the second shirt found that had blood on it that was not the victims’ blood. This was in 2004, 19 years after Cooper's conviction.

      It appears that this ongoing constitutional violation that everyone—from the Special Counsel to the Governor's legal team to the Governor himself—seems to know about, but won't do anything about, is acceptable in order to uphold Cooper's conviction.

But this type of thing is supposed to be unacceptable in the United States of America where the Constitution is supposed to stand for something other than a piece of paper with writing on it. How can a Governor, his legal team, people who support and believe in him ignore a United States citizen’s Constitutional Rights being violated for 40 years in order to uphold a conviction?

      This silence is betrayal of the Constitution. This permission and complicity by the Governor and his team is against everything that he and they claim to stand for as progressive politicians. They have accepted the Special Counsel's report even though the Special Counsel did not receive the files from the district attorney that may not only prove that Cooper is innocent, but that he was indeed framed by the Sheriff’s Department; and that evidence was purposely destroyed and tampered with, that certain witnesses were tampered with, or ignored if they had information that would have helped Cooper at trial, that evidence that the missing shirt was withheld from Cooper's trial attorney, and so much more.

      Is the Governor going to get away with turning a blind eye to this injustice under his watch?

      Are progressive people going to stay silent and turn their eyes blind in order to hopefully get him to end the death penalty for some while using Cooper as a sacrificial lamb?


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

 

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)


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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:

https://www.amazon.com/Reports-Within-Belly-Beast-Department-ebook/dp/B084656JDZ/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8

Petition: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/protect-whistleblowers-in-carceral-settings


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Daniel Hale UPDATE:  

 

In February Drone Whistleblower Daniel Hale was transferred from the oppressive maximum-security prison in Marion, Illinois to house confinement.  We celebrate his release from Marion.  He is laying low right now, recovering from nearly 3 years in prison.  Thank goodness he is now being held under much more humane conditions and expected to complete his sentence in July of this year.     www.StandWithDaniel Hale.org

 

More Info about Daniel:

 

“Drone Whistleblower Subjected To Harsh Confinement Finally Released From Prison” 

https://thedissenter.org/drone-whistleblower-cmu-finally-released-from-prison/

 

“I was punished under the Espionage Act. Why wasn’t Joe Biden?”  by Daniel Hale

https://www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2024/3/5/joe-biden-the-espionage-act-and-me?ref=thedissenter.org

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Resources for Resisting Federal Repression

https://www.nlg.org/federalrepressionresources/

 

Since June of 2020, activists have been subjected to an increasingly aggressive crackdown on protests by federal law enforcement. The federal response to the movement for Black Lives has included federal criminal charges for activists, door knocks by federal law enforcement agents, and increased use of federal troops to violently police protests. 

 

The NLG National Office is releasing this resource page for activists who are resisting federal repression. It includes a link to our emergency hotline numbers, as well as our library of Know-Your-Rights materials, our recent federal repression webinar, and a list of some of our recommended resources for activists. We will continue to update this page. 

 

Please visit the NLG Mass Defense Program page for general protest-related legal support hotlines run by NLG chapters.

 

Emergency Hotlines

If you are contacted by federal law enforcement, you should exercise all of your rights. It is always advisable to speak to an attorney before responding to federal authorities. 

 

State and Local Hotlines

If you have been contacted by the FBI or other federal law enforcement, in one of the following areas, you may be able to get help or information from one of these local NLG hotlines for: 

 

Portland, Oregon: (833) 680-1312

San Francisco, California: (415) 285-1041 or fbi_hotline@nlgsf.org

Seattle, Washington: (206) 658-7963

National Hotline

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

 

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


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Articles

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1) Democratic Coalition Sends Biden a Demand on Military Aid to Israel

In a letter, a dozen groups and labor unions called on the president to enforce a law that bars military support from going to any nation that restricts the delivery of humanitarian aid.

By Reid J. Epstein, April 12, 2024

https://www.nytimes.com/2024/04/12/us/politics/letter-biden-israel-gaza.html

An Israeli soldier standing on an armored vehicle. An Israeli flag is displayed on a different armored vehicle in the background.

The letter calls on the president to enforce the Foreign Assistance Act, which bars military support from going to any nation that restricts the delivery of humanitarian aid. Credit...Menahem Kahana/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images


A coalition of a dozen liberal organizations and labor unions sent a letter to the White House on Thursday night demanding that President Biden end military aid to Israel until its government lifts restrictions on humanitarian aid to Gaza, the latest indicator of shifting mainstream Democratic opinion on the war.

 

The group includes not only progressive groups like MoveOn and the Working Families Party, but also the mainstream Democratic Center for American Progress and NextGen America, the organization founded and funded by Tom Steyer, a billionaire who ran for president in the 2020 Democratic primary. Other signatories to the letter include the Service Employees International Union and the National Education Association, labor unions that make up key elements of the Democratic Party.

 

The letter calls on Mr. Biden to enforce the Foreign Assistance Act, which bars military support from going to any nation that restricts the delivery of humanitarian aid.

 

“This will send a clear message that the Netanyahu government is not above the law and that the U.S. will not stand by while the war kills innocent Palestinians and continues to drive escalation throughout the region,” the letter states, referring to Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. “U.S. law is unequivocal: Countries that obstruct U.S. humanitarian aid cannot receive U.S. military aid under the Foreign Assistance Act or the Arms Export Control Act.”

 

Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez, the president of NextGen America, which focuses on driving voter turnout among young people, said there was growing risk that Mr. Biden will lose support from a key part of the Democratic coalition if there is not a significant change in the American position toward the war in Gaza.

 

“We are concerned with the humanitarian and moral implications and the political survival of the administration,” Ms. Tzintzún Ramirez said. “We’ve seen a surge of young people say they care about foreign policy and this issue in a way we have not seen historically.”

 

Last week, Mr. Biden told Mr. Netanyahu that the United States could withhold support for Israel if it does not do more to protect civilians and ensure adequate supplies for Gaza. And since then the president has repeated that getting more aid into Gaza is a priority.

 

“They need to do more,” Mr. Biden said of Israel’s government and Mr. Netanyahu during a news conference Wednesday. “There’s one more opening that has to take place in the north. So we’ll see what he does in terms of meeting the commitments he made to me.”

 

The White House and the Biden campaign declined to comment on the letter.

 

The letter adds to the growing pressure Mr. Biden has faced from across the Democratic Party as Israel’s war in Gaza enters its seventh month. More than 33,000 people have been killed in Gaza, according to the local health authorities. About 1,200 people were killed in Israel when Hamas militants launched an attack that instigated the conflict on Oct. 7.

 

Israeli officials believe there are about 130 hostages remaining in Gaza, and Israeli intelligence officers have concluded that at least 30 of those have died in captivity.

 

Last month, Senator Bernie Sanders, independent of Vermont, and seven Democratic senators sent Mr. Biden a similar request. In the meantime, Mr. Biden has made increasingly angry statements about Israel’s conduct in the Gaza war, particularly following the Israeli airstrike last week that killed seven members of an aid convoy from World Central Kitchen, the charity run by the Spanish chef José Andrés.


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2) The death of a 14-year-old could further inflame tensions in the West Bank.

By Aaron Boxerman reporting from Jerusalem, April 13, 2024

https://www.nytimes.com/live/2024/04/13/world/israel-gaza-war-news-hamas

A man stands amid burned metal supports and charred ground.

A Palestinian man inspecting damage on Saturday after Israeli settlers attacked the village of Al Mughayir, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Credit...Mohamad Torokman/Reuters


An Israeli teenager whose disappearance had led to riots by Israeli settlers in the West Bank was found dead on Saturday, the Israeli authorities said, threatening to further inflame tensions in the Israeli-occupied territory.

 

Binyamin Achimair, 14, had left a farming settlement in the West Bank to herd sheep on Friday morning, but never returned, according to the Israeli police. The Israeli forces later found his corpse, and the military said, without providing evidence, that he had been “murdered in a terrorist attack.”

 

After Binyamin’s disappearance on Friday, armed Israeli settlers stormed a Palestinian village near Ramallah, torching several buildings and cars, according to Palestinian officials and Yesh Din, an Israeli rights group. One Palestinian man — Jihad Abu Aliya — was killed during the clashes and at least 25 others wounded, according to the village mayor, Amin Abu Aliya.

 

Binyamin’s death and the possibility of further Israeli reprisals could ratchet up violence in the West Bank, where roughly 500,000 Israeli settlers live alongside about 2.7 million Palestinians. Over 400 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces across the West Bank and East Jerusalem since the Hamas-led attack on Oct. 7 sparked Israel’s campaign in Gaza, according to the United Nations.

 

There was another violent Israeli riot on Saturday in Al Mughayir, the village attacked on Friday, as well as one in a different Palestinian village, Duma, said an Israeli security official. Israeli settlers, some of them armed, entered the villages, the official added, and there were reports that they had opened fire.

 

The clashes on Saturday in Al Mughayir left at least three Palestinians wounded, one critically, the Palestinian health ministry said. Israeli troops and the police had largely dispersed the disturbances, the Israeli official said.

 

“There’s no order, there’s no safety,” said Na’asan Na’asan, 28, a resident of Al Mughayir. “They’re shooting at us — why isn’t there anyone to protect us?”

 

The Biden administration has said Israel must do more to clamp down on violence by extremist Israeli settlers, and it has imposed sanctions on several whom it said were involved in attacks on Palestinians. Israeli leaders denounced that move as interference in the country’s internal affairs.

 

As Israeli troops and police officers searched for Binyamin on Friday afternoon, armed Israeli settlers burst into Al Mughayir, setting buildings and cars on fire, said Mr. Abu Aliya. In video circulated by Yesh Din, smoke can be seen billowing from some burning cars and buildings.

 

In a statement, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel decried Binyamin’s “heinous murder” and vowed that Israel would “close accounts” with whomever killed him. He did not explicitly mention the riot, instead telling the Israeli public to “allow the security forces to conduct their work unmolested” as they investigate the killing.

 

Yair Lapid, the leader of Israel’s parliamentary opposition, similarly condemned the teenager’s murder. But he also denounced the settler attacks, saying “the violent riots by settlers are a dangerous violation of the law, and they are hampering the forces operating on the ground.”

 

The Israeli military confirmed that multiple “violent riots” had taken place in the area during the search efforts on Friday. At one point, “rocks were hurled” at Israeli soldiers, leading them to open fire in response, the Israeli military said. The Israeli police and soldiers had also removed Israeli settlers who had entered Al Mughayir, the military said.

 

Israeli soldiers were in the area “even before the settlers arrived,” both Mr. Abu Aliya and Mr. Na’asan said, but did not block them from entering the village and torching buildings and cars. It was not immediately clear how Jihad Abu Aliya, the village resident, was killed.

 

Human rights groups have long charged that the Israeli authorities do not do enough to prevent violent attacks by Israeli settlers against Palestinians, and that the perpetrators are rarely arrested. An Israeli police spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment as to whether any Israelis had been arrested during the incident.

 

Last February, an attack by Israeli settlers devastated the Palestinian town of Huwara in the northern West Bank. At least one Palestinian was killed and 390 were wounded in the riot, according to Palestinian officials, in which Israelis burned a number of buildings and cars while terrified Palestinians fled burning homes.


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3) President Biden vows to stand by Israel despite recent disagreements.

By Michael D. Shear, April 13, 2024

https://www.nytimes.com/live/2024/04/13/world/israel-gaza-war-news-hamas

President Biden standing a lectern and wearing a blue suit. A logo of the White House is displayed in the background.

President Biden and his top aides have made it clear that their disagreement with Israel over the war in the Gaza Strip would not prevent the United States from defending Israel. Credit...Al Drago for The New York Times


President Biden told reporters on Friday that he expected Iran to launch an attack on Israel “sooner than later” as a response to Israel’s killing of several top Iranian generals in a bombing in Syria two weeks ago.

 

Mr. Biden said he needed to be careful not to reveal classified information being collected by intelligence and military officials as they braced for an attack they believed was imminent. And he had a blunt, succinct answer when he was asked what his message to Iran was.

 

“Don’t,” he said.

 

Officials in the United States and other nations are engaged in a furious diplomatic effort to try to prevent a response from Iran that could spiral into a wider war. But Mr. Biden and his top aides have made it clear that their disagreement with Israel over the war in the Gaza Strip would not prevent the United States from defending Israel against attacks from other adversaries.

 

“We are devoted to the defense of Israel,” Mr. Biden told reporters at the White House after a speech to the National Action Network. “We will support Israel and help defend Israel, and Iran will not succeed.”

 

He did not specify what actions the United States might take.

 

John F. Kirby, a spokesman for the National Security Council, said earlier on Friday that the administration was taking the threat of an attack seriously.

 

“We are certainly mindful of a very public — and what we consider to be a very credible — threat made by Iran in terms of potential attacks on Israel,” he said. “We are in constant communication with our Israeli counterparts about making sure that they can defend themselves against those kinds of attacks.”

 

Mr. Kirby said the U.S. military was making adjustments to its force deployments in the Middle East to be ready in case an attack occurred, but he declined to be specific about those changes.

 

“We’re also clearly — it would be imprudent if we didn’t — taking a look at our own posture in the region, to make sure that we’re more properly prepared as well,” he said.


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4) For Many Western Allies, Sending Weapons to Israel Gets Dicey

As civilian casualties in Gaza spiral, some nations are suspending sales amid accusations of abetting genocide and war crimes.

By Lara Jakes, April 13, 2024

Lara Jakes writes about weapons and military aid to conflict zones.

https://www.nytimes.com/2024/04/13/world/europe/israel-weapons-sales-genocide.html

Shroud-wrapped bodies of people killed in a bombardment lie on paving stones, while several people look on and a few of them carry another body.

Palestinians, on April 10, 2024, carrying the bodies of several people, all members of one family, who were killed in an overnight bombardment in the Nuseirat neighborhood in central Gaza. Credit...Agence France-Presse — Getty Images


For months, Western governments have provided military support for Israel while fending off accusations that their weapons were being used to commit war crimes in Gaza. But as a global outcry over the growing death toll in Gaza mounts, maintaining that balance is becoming increasingly difficult, as was clear on a single day this past week.

 

On Tuesday, in a United Nations court, Germany found itself having to defend against accusations that it was complicit in genocide against Palestinians in Gaza by exporting weapons to Israel.

 

A few hours later, in Washington, a top Democrat and Biden administration ally, Representative Gregory W. Meeks of New York, said he might block an $18 billion deal to sell F-15 fighter jets to Israel unless he was assured that Palestinian civilians would not be indiscriminately bombed.

 

And two miles away, at a media briefing at the State Department, Britain’s foreign minister, David Cameron, was pressed on what his government had concluded after weeks of internal review about whether Israel has breached international humanitarian law during its offensive in Gaza.

 

The governments of Germany and the United States remain the backbone of international military support for Israel, accounting for 98 percent of major weapons systems sent to Israel, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, which tracks the global weapons trade. So far, the pressure has not swayed them or Britain, though President Biden this month went further than he ever had, threatening to condition future support for Israel on how it addresses his concerns about civilian casualties and the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

 

Mr. Cameron also equivocated, if only a bit. After defending Israel at the briefing and suggesting that the recent advice he had received did not conclude that arms exports should be halted, he said that the British government’s position reflected only “the latest assessment” of the issue, implying some flexibility.

 

Global outrage over a war that the Gazan health authorities say has killed more than 33,000 Palestinians, including 13,000 children, has already upended geopolitics and could help determine the outcome of the American presidential election in November. Increasingly, it also raises the threat of war crimes charges against governments that export weapons in conflicts where opponents argue international humanitarian law has been violated.

 

Such concerns were raised recently by more than 600 lawyers and retired judges who urged the British government to freeze weapons shipments to Israel, citing a “plausible risk” of genocide in Gaza.

 

Israel vigorously denies accusations of genocide, arguing that it needs to defend itself against Hamas, which led the Oct. 7 attack that Israeli officials say killed about 1,200 people.

 

A threatened Iranian strike on Israel in retaliation for the Damascus bombing that killed a number of high-ranking Iranian officers seems certain to shake up an already volatile situation.

 

Nevertheless, as the death toll has risen in Gaza, Belgium, Canada, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain have all halted arms deals with Israel. The European Union’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell Fontelles, has appeared to discourage sending more weapons, wryly noting in February that “if the international community believes that this is a slaughter, that too many people are being killed, maybe they have to think about the provision of arms.”

 

The hearings this past week against Germany, at the U.N.’s International Court of Justice, was the most recent chilling factor for Israel’s arms suppliers. And matters could grow even worse if Israel follows through on its plans to invade Rafah, the city in southern Gaza where hundreds of thousands of displaced Gazans are sheltering.

 

The case, brought by Nicaragua, highlighted concerns that foreign weapons sales to Israel have done as much to kill Palestinians as they have to help protect the Jewish state. Israel has strongly denied that it is committing genocide, but it was ordered by the court in February, in a separate case brought by South Africa, to take steps to prevent atrocities.

 

Germany is estimated to have approved about $353 million in arms exports to Israel last year, although officials have said most military aid provided since the war began was nonlethal. Accusations that its weapons might have contributed to genocide has stung Germany, given its World War II-era crimes, although public opposition to the war and concerns about being liable for atrocities have grown.

 

“This was such an emotional wave that went through parts of German society — so many people were taking sides,” said Christian Mölling, the research director for the German Council on Foreign Relations. But, he said, it is unclear if public antipathy toward Israel will ultimately cut off weapons sales, in part because “the overall amount of delivery is astonishingly low.”

 

Approving weapons exports to Israel is also landing its allies in local or national courts. That has ramped up anxiety for governments that assumed their arms shipments were too small to attract international rage.

 

In the Netherlands, a state court in February ordered the government to stop sending parts for F-35 fighter jets to Israel, calling it “undeniable that there is a clear risk” of the equipment being used “in serious violations of international humanitarian law.”

 

The Dutch government is appealing the decision, arguing that the jets are crucial for Israel’s security against regional enemies like Iran and Hezbollah. Total exports of military goods to Israel from the Netherlands in 2022, the most recent figures available, amounted to about $11 million, officials said.

 

In Italy, the government halted its arms trade with Israel only weeks after the war in Gaza began, in “a suspension that continues to this day,” Guido Crosetto, the Italian defense minister, told Parliament last month. Officials said that decision was made to ensure Italy was compliant with international humanitarian laws and a national policy against supplying arms to countries at war.

 

Although Italy delivered some weapons late last year to fulfill pre-existing contracts, Mr. Crosetto said they “do not concern materials that could be used with repercussions on the civilian population of Gaza.” Only about 2 percent of Israel’s imported weapons come from Italy, amounting to about $9.6 million in 2022. Yet Italy ranked as the third-largest foreign supplier of major weapons systems to Israel in the years leading up to the war, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, which tracks arms transfers.

 

By far the largest exporter of weapons to Israel is the United States, which committed in 2016 to a 10-year, $38 billion military aid package, including $5 billion for missile defense, with grants that underwrite Israeli purchases from American defense companies.

 

The Biden administration is assessing whether Israel has violated international law in Gaza and, as of last week, “we’ve not seen any indication they have,” said John F. Kirby, a White House spokesman. The government is required by law to cut off American military support to countries that restrict humanitarian aid deliveries, as Israel is widely accused of doing in Gaza.

 

More than one million Palestinians are facing famine and more than 200 aid workers have been killed, including seven killed this month in airstrikes on a World Central Kitchen convoy.

 

Over the past six months, President Biden has repeatedly proclaimed his “unwavering" support for Israel and its right to defend itself — not only from Hamas but also from Iran and allied militants in Lebanon and Yemen. “We’re going to do all we can to protect Israel’s security,” he said at the White House on Wednesday.

 

Yet Mr. Biden has gradually taken a tougher tone against Israel as the war wears on, and the bombing and invasion have sent civilian casualties spiraling. “They need to do more,” Mr. Biden said of Israel’s government during the same White House news conference.

 

But that has not been enough to satisfy Americans who want Mr. Biden to use the threat of an arms cutoff to pressure the Israelis to accept a cease-fire. That sentiment is being echoed by some Democrats who worry about his re-election prospects and the dismal down-ballot effect it could have on the rest of the party.

 

In a recent flurry of letters, at least seven Democratic senators and more than 50 House Democrats, including Representative Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California and a former House speaker, have urged Mr. Biden to halt all weapons transfers to Israel.

 

Adding to the pressure, a coalition of a dozen liberal organizations and labor unions that will be a key part of Mr. Biden’s re-election campaign demanded in a letter on Thursday that he end military aid to Israel until its government lifts restrictions on humanitarian aid to Gaza.

 

If not, he could risk losing support from reliable Democratic voters — particularly younger people, said Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez, the president of NextGen America, which focuses on driving voter turnout and was part of the coalition.

 

“We are concerned with the humanitarian and moral implications,” said Ms. Tzintzún Ramirez, “and the political survival of the administration.”

 

Jason Horowitz and Reid J. Epstein contributed reporting.


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