[bauaw] Bay Area United Against War Newsletter, February 21, 2024

  • From: bonnieweinstein <giobon@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: BAUAW <bauaw@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 21 Feb 2024 11:16:54 -0800

 

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TODAY, 5:00 P.M.

Alta Plaza Park

Jackson and Steiner

San Francisco

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Saturday, February 24, 2024, 12:00 Noon

ILWU Local 10

400 North Point St., San Francisco

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Gaza Strip Access Restrictions.pdf since 2007

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Gaza_Strip_Access_Restrictions.pdf
Palestinians killed and wounded by Israel:As of February 21, 2024, the total number of Palestinians killed by Israel is now over 29,313,* 69,333+ wounded, and more than 380+ Palestinians have been killed 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.


*This figure was confirmed by Gaza’s Ministry of Health on Telegram channel. Some rights groups put the death toll number at more than 36,500 when accounting for those presumed dead.


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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Free Speech Teach-In: Drop the Charges Against the Uhuru 3! Free Leonard Peltier!

Fight for Free Speech: Anti-Colonial Teach-In

Saturday, February 17th, 2024, 2 to 4pm

Tamarack, 1501 Harrison Street, Oakland, 94612

Uhuru Solidarity Movement

(510) 603-6150, oakland@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

 

“Fight for Free Speech,” teach-in features Mwezi Odom, chair of the Hands-Off Uhuru Fight-Back Coalition, Penny Hess, Chairwoman of the African People’s Solidarity Committee and Dawn Lawson of the Leonard Peltier Ad Hoc Defense Committee.

·      Hess is one of the “Uhuru 3” facing 10 years in prison under a bogus DOJ indictment attacking her free speech rights to support black liberation.

·      Lawson will speak on the campaign to free Leonard Peltier, an Indigenous leader unjustly imprisoned for 46 years.

·      Odom leads the Hands Off Uhuru Fight-back Coalition to fight the US government’s attempt to silence the anti-colonial freedom struggles. 

 

“No More Genocide in Our Name” Uhuru Solidarity National Conference

March 9-10, 2024,  9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Akwaaba Hall, 4101 W. Florissant Ave., St. Louis, MO. 63115 and online

NoMoreGenocide.eventbee.com

 

White people: go beyond protest and build the movement of anti-colonial solidarity with the African Revolution, under the leadership of the African People’s Socialist Party.  

Oppose U.S.-backed genocidal wars in Occupied Palestine, Africa, Haiti, Latin America and within the colonial borders of the U.S. 

Take action to demand the U.S. government drop the bogus charges against the Uhuru 3 - Uhuru Movement founder/leader Chairman Omali Yeshitela and Uhuru Solidarity leaders Penny Hess and Jesse Nevel - who face 15 years in prison for fighting for reparations to African people. 

Defend anti-colonial free speech!  

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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

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


We are all Palestinian

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


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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 Oaklandhttps://youtu.be/L9k79honqIA


For More Information:bayarealabor4palestine@xxxxxxxxxProduction 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


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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 



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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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We are saddened to announce the passing of Leonard Peltier’s sister, Linda.

 

Leonard is humbly requesting help with funeral expenses.

 

Even a dollar or two would be greatly appreciated.

 

https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-leonard-peltier-family-bury-his-sister-linda?utm_campaign=p_cp+fundraiser-sidebar&utm_medium=copy_link_all&utm_source=customer

 

Respect,

Dawn Lawson

Personal Assistant Leonard Peltier

Executive Assistant Jenipher Jones, Esq.

Secretary Leonard Peltier Ad Hoc Committee

800-901-4413

dawn@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

www.freeleonardpeltiernow.org




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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


A Plea for the Compassionate Release of Leonard Peltier

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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@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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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Sign the petition:

https://dontextraditeassange.com/petition/


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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
Director
Whistleblower & Source Protection Program (WHISPeR)
ExposeFacts

Twitter: @JesselynRadack

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Resources for Resisting Federal Repressionhttps://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@xxxxxxxxx

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) ‘Beginning of the End’ as Assange Case Returns to Court

Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, has been in prison for nearly 5 years, fighting a U.S. extradition order. A hearing is his last chance to be granted an appeal in Britain.

By Megan Specia, Reporting from London, Feb. 20, 2024

https://www.nytimes.com/2024/02/20/world/europe/assange-us-extradition-uk-court-case.html

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Supporters of Julian Assange protested on Tuesday outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London. Credit...Justin Tallis/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images


Since 2019, Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, has been held in a high security prison in southeast London while his lawyers fight a U.S. extradition order. Now, that particular battle may be nearing its end.

 

On Tuesday, Mr. Assange’s case returned to a British court for a two-day hearing that will determine whether he has exhausted his right to appeal within the U.K. and whether he could be one step closer to being sent to the United States.

 

Mr. Assange did not appear before the court, declining to attend virtually because of ill health, according to his lawyers, but dozens of protesters gathered outside, demanding his release.

 

In the United States, Assange, 52, faces charges under the Espionage Act of 1917 that could amount to a sentence of up to 175 years in prison, his lawyers say, although lawyers for the United States government had previously said that he was more likely to be sentenced to between four and six years. Here’s what to know about the long-running legal battle over his extradition and what could happen next.

 

Assange has been in a British prison for nearly five years. Here’s why.

 

The U.S. charges against Mr. Assange date to events in 2010, when WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of secret military and diplomatic documents leaked by Chelsea Manning, an Army intelligence analyst.

 

The files exposed hidden diplomatic dealings and included revelations about civilian deaths in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

 

In May 2019, during the Trump presidency, the U.S. Justice Department accused Mr. Assange of violating the Espionage Act by soliciting and publishing secret government information, charges that raise profound First Amendment issues. (The Obama administration had considered charging Mr. Assange but decided against it because of the threat to press freedom.)

 

While Mr. Assange for years has been fighting efforts to extradite him from Britain to face the U.S. charges, his life in limbo in London goes back even further.

 

In June 2012, Mr. Assange entered the Ecuadorean Embassy in London to escape extradition to Sweden, where he faced an inquiry into unrelated allegations of sexual misconduct and rape that were later dropped. He stayed in the embassy for the next seven years.

 

In April 2019, he was thrown out of the embassy, where he had become an unwelcome guest, and was promptly arrested for skipping bail. Weeks later, the U.S. Justice Department unsealed an indictment which charged Mr. Assange with 18 counts of violating the Espionage Act, by participating in a criminal hacking conspiracy and by encouraging hackers to steal secret material. (Ms. Manning was later sentenced to 35 years in prison but was released after seven years when President Obama commuted her sentence.)

 

This hearing is the “beginning of the end” of extradition challenges in U.K. courts, Assange’s team says.

 

The extradition order for Mr. Assange was initially denied by a British judge who ruled in January 2021 that Assange was at risk of suicide if sent to a U.S. prison. Britain’s High Court later reversed that decision after assurances from American officials about his treatment. Priti Patel, Britain’s then home secretary, approved the extradition request in 2022.

 

But the legal challenges continued. Mr. Assange’s legal team had an earlier request for an appeal to Ms. Patel’s order rejected by a single judge. Now, two High Court judges will hear his final bid for an appeal in a British court.

 

Mr. Assange’s legal team was expected to outline its case on Tuesday, followed by the U.S. Justice Department’s legal team. The judges will then consider the case — which could take hours, days or weeks — before announcing their decision.

 

And there are a few potential outcomes. The judges could allow Mr. Assange to appeal his extradition order, in which case a full appeal hearing would be scheduled, opening the door to a new decision about his extradition.

 

Or, if Mr. Assange’s request to appeal is denied, he could be sent swiftly to a plane bound for the United States, his legal team has said. But his lawyers have vowed to challenge his extradition in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France.

 

Theoretically, that could block his extradition from Britain until the case was heard in Strasbourg because Britain is obliged to follow the court’s judgment as a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights.

 

The process has taken its toll on Mr. Assange’s health. And rights groups expressed fears about what comes next.

 

Stella Assange, Mr. Assange’s wife, said during a press briefing last week that her husband, who has been suffering from depression, has aged prematurely during his years in prison, and she fears for his mental and physical health.

 

“His life is at risk every single day he stays in prison, and if he’s extradited, he will die,” she said. The pair, who began a relationship while Mr. Assange lived in the Ecuadorean Embassy, have two children, and they regularly visit Mr. Assange in prison.

 

“Julian and I protect the children. They don’t know frankly,” Ms. Assange said about the indictment against him. “And I don’t think it’s fair on them to know what is going on.”

 

Alice Jill Edwards, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, has urged Britain to halt Mr. Assange’s extradition, citing fears that, if extradited, he would be at risk of treatment amounting to torture or other forms of punishment. In a statement earlier this month, she pointed to risks that he could face “prolonged solitary confinement, despite his precarious mental health status, and to receive a potentially disproportionate sentence.”

 

The Australian government has also called for Mr. Assange, an Australian citizen, to be sent to his home country, where its parliament passed a motion last week calling for his release. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said he had discussed the matter in a meeting last fall with President Biden, and on Thursday Mr. Albanese told the Australian parliament “it is appropriate for us to put our very strong view that those countries need to take into account the need for this to be concluded.”

 

Rights groups like Amnesty International and advocates for press freedom, including Reporters Without Borders, have long called for the U.S. charges against Mr. Assange to be dropped and the extradition order canceled.

 

Rebecca Vincent, the director of international campaigns for Reporters Without Borders, said in a statement ahead of the hearing that the U.S. could drop the extradition request or consider Mr. Assange’s time in Belmarsh prison as time served.

 

“None of this is inevitable,” Ms. Vincent said in a statement ahead of the hearing. “No one should face such treatment for publishing information in the public interest.”


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2) U.S. Defends Israel’s Policies Toward Palestinians

By Marlise Simons, Feb. 21.2024

https://www.nytimes.com/live/2024/02/21/world/israel-hamas-war-gaza-news

Richard C. Visek, the acting legal adviser at the U.S. State Department, at the International Court of Justice in The Hague on Wednesday. Credit...Piroschka Van De Wouw/Reuters


A day after vetoing calls for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza, the United States on Wednesday defended Israel’s decades-long occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, arguing at the United Nations’ highest court that Israel faced “very real security needs.”

 

The latest U.S. defense of Israel on the global stage came at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, where Richard C. Visek, the acting legal adviser at the U.S. State Department, urged a 15-judge panel not to call for Israel’s immediate withdrawal from occupied Palestinian territory.

 

He said that only the establishment of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel could bring about lasting peace, repeating a longstanding U.S. position but one whose prospects appear even more elusive amid the war in Gaza.

 

The court is hearing six days of arguments over the legality of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian-majority territories, including the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which has been the subject of years of debates and resolutions at the United Nations. The hearings — involving more than 50 countries — were called long before Israel went to war against Hamas in Gaza, but have become part of a concerted global effort to stop the conflict and examine the legality of Israel’s policies toward Palestinians.

 

Israel has said it would not participate in the hearings, and sent a letter to the court last year arguing that they were unwarranted and failed to “recognize Israel’s right and duty to protect its citizens” or its right to security.

 

The United States has strongly defended Israel during the war, including on Tuesday, when it cast the lone veto against a U.N. Security Council resolution that called for an immediate cease-fire, saying it would disrupt efforts to free hostages held in Gaza.

 

On Wednesday, Mr. Visek asked the court to uphold the “established framework” for peace that he said U.N. bodies had agreed to — one that is contingent on a “broader end to belligerence” against Israel — rather than to heed calls by other nations for Israel’s “unilateral and unconditional withdrawal” from occupied territories.

 

The Oct. 7 Hamas-led attacks on Israel were a reminder of the threats facing the country and of its security needs, Mr. Visek said, “and they persist.”

 

“Regrettably, those needs have been ignored by many of the participants in asserting how the court should consider the questions before it,” he said, referring to others countries’ testimony in the hearings.

 

Mr. Visek’s appearance directly preceded that of Vladimir Tarabrin, Russia’s ambassador to the Netherlands.

 

When he took the microphone, Mr. Tarabrin said Russia values its “stable relations” with Israel and expressed condolences over Oct. 7. But in what appeared to be a thinly veiled swipe at the United States, he said Russia “cannot accept the logic” of those who “try to defend the indiscriminate violence against civilians” in Gaza by citing Israel’s right to defend itself.

 

“Violence can only lead to more violence,” he said.

 

The court, which often hears staid disputes among nations, has lately become a venue for countries to oppose Israel. Last month, South Africa argued at the court that Israel was committing genocide against Palestinians in Gaza — a charge Israel strongly rejected. The judges have not ruled on that claim, but issued an interim order for Israel to take steps to prevent genocide in Gaza.

 

On Tuesday, South Africa forcefully condemned Israel’s policies against Palestinians, calling them “a more extreme form of apartheid,” the race-based system of laws that deprived Black South Africans for decades.

 

Israel has long rejected accusations that it operates an apartheid system, calling such allegations a slur and pointing to what it says is a history of being singled out for condemnation by U.N. bodies and tribunals.

 

The United States has remained Israel’s staunchest defender internationally. But the Biden administration, under increasing pressure from parts of the Democratic Party, has also shown signs of impatience with Israel’s conduct of the war, the rising toll in Gaza and the plight of Palestinians under Israeli occupation.

 

President Biden this month said that Israel’s military response in Gaza — which began after Hamas’s Oct. 7 attacks — had been “over the top” and that the immense civilian suffering had “got to stop.” The remarks came days after Mr. Biden imposed broad financial sanctions against four Israeli men over violent attacks against Palestinians in the West Bank.

 

After the hearings, which are scheduled to conclude on Monday, the court will give an advisory opinion, a decision that is expected to take several months. The opinion will be nonbinding.

 

Cassandra Vinograd contributed reporting.


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3) An Israeli raid in the West Bank city of Jenin kills 3, the military says.

By Hiba Yazbek reporting from Jerusalem, Feb. 21, 2024

https://www.nytimes.com/live/2024/02/21/world/israel-hamas-war-gaza-news

A room damaged during an overnight Israeli raid in the city of Jenin, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, on Wednesday. Credit...Zain Jaafar/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images


Israeli forces killed three people and detained at least 14 others in an overnight raid in the West Bank city of Jenin, the Israeli military said on Wednesday.

 

The military said that the raid had targeted “terrorism” and was part of a broader operation in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. The Palestinian Authority’s news agency, Wafa, said Israeli forces had stormed two houses in a densely packed area of Jenin, resulting in “violent confrontations.”

 

The agency reported that a 26-year-old man had been killed, three people had been injured and homes and vehicles were damaged. It said eight Palestinians had been detained during the raid, which began when undercover Israeli special forces entered the area.

 

Most of the violence was in a crowded neighborhood of the city that was founded more than 70 years ago as a refugee camp for Palestinians displaced in the wars surrounding the creation of the state of Israel. The neighborhood has long been a bastion of armed resistance against the Israeli occupation of the West Bank. Israeli military raids there, common for years, have become far more frequent since the Hamas-led terrorist attack launched against  Israel from Gaza on Oct. 7.

 

On Wednesday afternoon, just hours after Israeli forces withdrew from Jenin, residents were still “very anxious and scared” and anticipating another raid, leading some to leave for nearby towns, said Faraj Jundi, a resident of the camp and a volunteer paramedic.

 

When news of the raid reached him around 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Mr. Jundi said, he immediately gathered his wife and six children in the safest room of their home and tried his best to calm them down before he headed out to treat the wounded. He was still very worried about his family, he said, because “there is no safety in the camp.”

 

By the time Israeli forces left, Mr. Jundi said, “The smell of death, sewage, and blood and the smell of fear and terror” permeated the camp, where roads and other infrastructure — already severely damaged by previous raids — had been bulldozed by Israeli forces. “We fear that we could suffer the same fate as Gaza,” he said.

 

Since the Oct. 7 attacks set off Israel’s war with Hamas in Gaza, hundreds of Palestinians have been detained in raids in the West Bank, which Israeli officials describe as counterterrorism operations against Hamas and an extension of the war.

 

At least 400 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank in since Oct. 7, according to health officials, making it the deadliest period there in nearly two decades. Deadly violence against Palestinians by Israeli settlers in the West Bank has also reached record levels since Oct. 7, according to the United Nations.

 

This week, the International Court of Justice in The Hague started hearing six days of arguments over Israel’s “occupation, settlement and annexation” of Palestinian territories, including the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

 

It is the first time the world’s highest court has been asked to give an advisory opinion on the issue, which has been the subject of years of debates and resolutions at the United Nations. The U.N. General Assembly asked the court to review the legality of Israeli policies in the Palestinian territories more than a year ago, before Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza.

 

Adam Sella and Cassandra Vinograd contributed reporting from Tel Aviv.


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4) Amid food shortages, people in Gaza are ambushing aid convoys.

By Patrick Kingsley reporting from Jerusalem, Feb. 21, 2024

https://www.nytimes.com/live/2024/02/21/world/israel-hamas-war-gaza-news

Palestinians carrying bags of flour near an aid truck in Gaza City on Monday. Credit...Kosay Al Nemer/Reuters


Amid widespread food shortages and a breakdown in civil order, groups of desperate civilians in Gaza are regularly attempting to ambush aid convoys, according to two Western officials who were recently in the enclave and images of one such ambush reviewed by The New York Times.

 

In the images, several dozen young men, some of them carrying clubs, attempt to block the passage of a convoy of trucks as they drive along a major highway in southern Gaza after entering the territory from Egypt. The trucks are briefly forced off the road as the drivers swerve to avoid hitting the men. Some of the assailants throw stones at the trucks’ windshields, seemingly to try to stop them.

 

The images, with time stamps indicating they were taken in recent days, were reviewed by a reporter for The Times.

 

Such attacks have become common since Israel’s invasion last year as desperate civilians face starvation in pockets of the enclave, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid complicating their work in Gaza. In one recent attack, assailants threw an ax at a driver’s cabin, attempting to break into it, while in another the attackers hurled a cement block, according to one of the officials.

 

Israel blames much of the theft on Hamas, which it accuses of siphoning off supplies for its own forces.

 

But the Western officials said the attacks appeared to be mostly organized by groups of Gazans who were unaffiliated with Hamas, or were the spontaneous acts of desperate civilians. Hamas officials are barely present on the ground in any part of Gaza, the officials said, and international aid organizations are no longer coordinating their movements with the group that until October controlled the entirety of the territory.

 

The ambushes on aid convoys are partly a result of a breakdown in law enforcement, the officials said. Gazan policemen are now refusing to protect the convoys because they fear they will be targeted by Israel because of their affiliation with the Hamas-run government, the officials said. That leaves the convoys more vulnerable, they added.

 

Foreign diplomats privately say that enough food is reaching the Gazan border via Egypt to prevent famine, but the problem is its distribution to areas beyond Rafah, the southern city that lines the border with Egypt.

 

In northern Gaza, aid groups say another major obstacle is the difficulty in coordinating safe passage with the Israeli military.

 

Unlike southern Gaza, the north is mostly under full Israeli control, and aid groups say Israel regularly blocks access to Gaza City and its surrounding districts.

 

Israel has accused the aid groups of failing to coordinate their convoys closely enough with the Israeli government, and says that not all requests for access can be granted because of continued fighting.

 

In one case in early February, the United Nations accused the Israeli navy of shelling an aid convoy heading up Gaza’s coastal road toward Gaza City. The Israeli military said it was looking into the claim.


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5) Syria blames Israel for a deadly strike in Damascus.

By Adam Sella reporting from Tel Aviv, Feb. 21, 2024

https://www.nytimes.com/live/2024/02/21/world/israel-hamas-war-gaza-news

A residential building in the Kafr Sousa district of Damascus, Syria, that was reportedly hit by an Israeli airstrike on Wednesday. Credit...Louai Beshara/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images


Syrian state media reported on Wednesday that an airstrike on a residential building in Damascus had killed two people, and said that Israel was responsible for the attack.

 

The Israeli military declined to comment on the strike, which the Syrian government’s official SANA news agency said hit a building in the Kafr Sousa neighborhood just after 9:30 a.m. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the war in Syria, said that a third person had been killed by shrapnel from the attack, which also damaged surrounding buildings.

 

A strike last February in the same neighborhood killed at least five people. At the time, a senior Western diplomat said the strike was targeting Iranians near a site used by the Iranian military.

 

While Israel did not comment on the latest attack, it has acknowledged hundreds of past strikes on Iran-linked targets in Syria.

 

Israel, Iran and Iranian proxies such as Syria have been waging a shadow war by air, land, sea and cyberspace for years. Iran supports and arms a network of proxy militias that have been fighting with Israel, including Hamas and other Palestinian groups.

 

The strikes and counter-strikes across the region have escalated in the wake of the Oct. 7 Hamas-led attacks against Israel. Last month, Iran accused Israel of launching an airstrike on the Syrian capital, Damascus, that killed senior Iranian military figures.

 

Cassandra Vinograd and Hwaida Saad contributed reporting.


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6) Leaders of aid groups denounce the United States for vetoing a cease-fire resolution.

By Gaya Gupta, Feb. 21, 2024

https://www.nytimes.com/live/2024/02/21/world/israel-hamas-war-gaza-news

A Palestinian inspecting a damaged home after an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, Gaza, on Monday. Credit...Ahmad Hasaballah/Getty Images


Leaders of several humanitarian organizations on Tuesday sharply denounced the United States for vetoing a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza, criticizing the country for not doing more to use its international influence to prevent further death and destruction.

 

“Again, the U.S. has weaponized its veto power to obstruct, to undermine, the possibility of the U.N. Security Council taking action by calling for a cease-fire,” Amnesty’s director for global research and policy, Erika Guevara-Rosas, said at a media briefing held as the United States vetoed the resolution. Representatives from several international medical aid groups had convened to discuss the worsening humanitarian situation in Gaza.

 

The veto was expected; the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said on Sunday that the resolution, presented by Algeria, would jeopardize ongoing talks to free hostages in Gaza. The United States has vetoed resolutions calling for a cease-fire twice before, standing alone among the other Security Council members.

 

Avril Benoit, the executive director of Doctors Without Borders in the United States, called the repeated blocking of cease-fire resolutions by the United States “unconscionable,” denouncing the decision as “effectively sabotaging all efforts to bring assistance.”

 

The United States is negotiating an alternative resolution, which proposes a temporary cease-fire contingent on the return of all hostages and greater aid being allowed into Gaza, but some speakers on Tuesday’s panel dismissed it as too weak or impractical.

 

Jeremy Konyndyk, the president of Refugees International, said the calls by the United States for a plan to evacuate civilians from Rafah were “a mirage,” arguing that the rest of Gaza was “almost entirely uninhabitable” and there was no safe way for them to leave.

 

“It worries me, actually, to be hearing this from the U.S. government, this idea of a safe evacuation, because it suggests that such a thing is possible,” he said.

 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel has ordered the military to draw up plans to evacuate civilians in Rafah, a city in southern Gaza packed with about 1.4 million people, many of whom moved there months before seeking shelter. Israel’s defense minister, Yoav Gallant, also said that the government had no intention of evacuating Palestinian civilians into Egypt.

 

Tsafrir Cohen, the executive director of the aid group Medico International, called on Israel’s two closest allies — the United States and Germany — to stop giving the Israeli government “carte blanche” and to condition their military support on ending the fighting, preventing further displacement in Gaza or into Egypt, and increased humanitarian aid entering the enclave.


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7)) Amazon Tries to Disrupt the American Labor Movement

By David Firestone, Deputy Editor, the Editorial Board, Feb. 21, 2024

https://www.nytimes.com/live/2024/02/20/opinion/thepoint#amazon-labor-board-unconstitutional

Erik S Lesser/EPA, via Shutterstock


It’s been clear for a while that Amazon doesn’t want unions at its warehouses. The company has fought every attempt to organize its workers, targeting union supporters, holding anti-union meetings and challenging union elections. But last week Amazon went a big step further and tried to upend the whole American labor movement.

 

In a legal filing on Thursday, the company argued that the National Labor Relations Board, which supervises and enforces labor law, was unconstitutional. It came up with various spurious reasons for this argument — the board violates the Constitution’s separation of powers, its actions violate Amazon’s Fifth Amendment rights, it violates Article III by acting like a court, etc. — but the upshot was that it doesn’t think any federal agency has the right to oversee its relationship with its employees.

 

And if there’s no agency to enforce labor law, there won’t be much of a labor movement left. Companies would have a much easier time essentially doing whatever they wanted to their employees with little fear of oversight. (Which sometimes happens during Republican administrations, but at least the board is there to protect the most fundamental rights.)

 

Its filing puts Amazon in the company of Elon Musk, whose SpaceX outfit made a similar argument in a lawsuit last month. But the issue really goes back to the New Deal. Many tycoons were furious when the National Labor Relations Act was passed in 1935, but the Supreme Court clearly upheld the legality of the board in a 1937 case. That doesn’t seem to matter to a new breed of mogul like Musk and Jeff Bezos, who want to return to the Herbert Hoover era.

 

“Some of these tech-bro types are getting increasingly ready to flex their muscles and push back against the regulatory resurgence that’s underway,” Robert Hockett, a law professor at Cornell, told me. “And they’re emboldened by some of these Trump-era judicial appointments, which include some crazy right-wing pre-New-Dealer types.”

 

Essentially, the tech bros are hoping a different Supreme Court might give the business world a gift that the 1937 court took away. Amazon isn’t content to just disrupt American retailing; now it wants to disrupt the hard-won rights of millions of American workers.


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8) 1 in 4 New York City Children Now Lives in Poverty

By Stefanos Chen, Feb. 21, 2024

https://www.nytimes.com/2024/02/21/nyregion/nyc-poverty.html

An empty playground in New York City.


Nearly two million New York City residents, including one in four children, lived in poverty in 2022, an increase of 500,000 people that amounted to the biggest single-year jump in a decade.

 

Overall, 23 percent of the city’s residents lived in poverty, defined as not being able to afford basic needs like housing and food, according to a new report by a research group at Columbia University and Robin Hood, a large philanthropic organization. In 2021, that number was 18 percent.

 

Driving the Increase: The End of Pandemic-Era Relief

 

The biggest reason for the surge in poverty, both nationally and in New York, was the end of several pandemic-era government policies, like the expanded child tax credit, enhanced unemployment insurance and cash payments that helped low-income families keep up with rising costs, said Christopher Wimer, the director of the Center on Poverty and Social Policy at Columbia University and a co-author of the report.

 

“It’s dispiriting,” Dr. Wimer said. After several years of reducing poverty in the city, he added, “we’re going in the wrong direction.”

 

The researchers used a metric called the supplemental poverty measure, which considers both income and noncash support like food stamps, as well as the local cost of living. It differs from the U.S. census’s official poverty measure, which only counts cash resources, but the supplemental measure is also widely used by the government.

 

In 2022, under the supplemental measure, a family of New York City renters with two children was considered below the poverty line if it made less than about $44,000. The poverty threshold for a single adult renter was $20,340.

 

Why It Matters: The City’s Economic Recovery Is Uneven

 

The rise in poverty underscores wide disparities in New York.

 

Black, Latino and Asian New Yorkers were roughly twice as likely as white residents to live in poverty, and women were more likely than men to be unable to afford their basic needs, according to the report.

 

A major reason for the disparities is the lopsided jobs recovery, said James Parrott, the director of economic and fiscal policy at the Center for New York City Affairs at the New School.

 

While the city said in October that it had recovered all the jobs lost during the pandemic, the positions that have returned have mostly been in low-paying industries, like home health care, which pays workers an average $32,100 a year. The median household income in New York City is about $75,000.

 

At the same time, the retail sector, a higher-paying industry that disproportionately employs Black, Latino and Asian workers, shed more jobs than any other industry, Dr. Parrott said.

 

Charles Lutvak, a spokesman for the mayor’s office, said that “Covid-19 took a disproportionate toll on our most vulnerable neighbors,” but pointed to a number of initiatives, including a summer youth employment program and the expansion of the city’s earned-income tax credit, as signs of progress.

 

But the average unemployment rate in 2023 among Black New Yorkers was 9.3 percent, more than three times higher than among white residents, according to Dr. Parrott.

 

Background: Childcare Costs Are Pushing Poverty Up

 

A full 25 percent of children in New York City lived in poverty in 2022, the highest rate since 2015, according to the report.

 

It was a sharp reversal from 2021, when the expansion of the federal child tax credit program cut child poverty in New York City by 30 percent, said Chloe Sarnoff, the director of policy research at Robin Hood.

 

The program temporarily increased the annual tax credit to $3,600, up from $2,000, for qualifying children under 6 years old, and up to $3,000 for older children. But Congress failed to extend the benefits.

 

The need for public aid is clear at Grand Street Settlement, a nonprofit social services group in Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn that has seen its food pantry lines swell to 2,800 people a month, up from 500 before the pandemic.

 

A growing child care crisis is fueling the rising poverty rate. “If we’re going to reduce poverty in the City of New York, we have to invest in child care,” said Robert Cordero, the group’s chief executive, adding that dwindling support from the city for its free preschool program is making it harder for parents to make ends meet.

 

Shavon Johnson, 30, who is studying to become a medical assistant, enrolled her 4-year-old son in a free day care program offered by Grand Street, and said she could not imagine what she would do without the support.

 

“I would be homeless” if not for the program, she said.

 

What’s Next: A Push for More Aid

 

The report recommended permanently expanding public benefits such as the federal child tax credit and New York’s Empire State Child Credit, a tax credit for New York State residents first passed in 2006.

 

Robin Hood recommends expanding the Empire State Child Credit to a maximum benefit of $1,000 a year, per child, up from $330, and eliminating income criteria that disproportionately leave out Black and Hispanic families.

 

The changes could lift up to 76,000 children out of poverty, according to an analysis by Columbia University.

 

The report also supported zoning reforms that would increase the supply of affordable housing, and expanding rental assistance vouchers to help keep low-income residents in their homes.


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