Hale should be pardoned and released, and the government should pay him restitution.

Jeremy Scahill

Jeremy Scahill
July 30 2021, 10:35 a.m. (TheIntercept.com)

SINCE THE ARREST and indictment of Daniel Hale on charges that he leaked the documents that formed the basis for The Intercept’s series “The Drone Papers,” as well as documents about the government’s secret watchlisting system, I have wanted to speak publicly about this unjust prosecution. However, due to security concerns, legal advice, and a desire not to hinder, in any way, Hale’s defense or to aid the government in its disgraceful prosecution, I have been unable to do so. Now that the circumstances have changed, I am able to share some aspects of my thoughts. In doing so, I am speaking only for myself and not for The Intercept or anyone else.

Daniel Hale is a man of tremendous conscience, courage, and moral clarity. It is an abomination that this brave whistleblower has been sentenced to nearly four years in prison after being convicted of exposing the horrors of the U.S. drone assassination programs, the killing of civilians, and the Kafkaesque “terror” watchlisting system run by the government.

President Barack Obama’s Justice Department did not prosecute Hale, but the Trump administration dug up the case and threw the book at Hale in an obvious ploy to stanch leaks about President Donald Trump and his corrupt administration. The indictment Trump’s prosecutors crafted was a dishonest piece of political propaganda intended to criminalize Hale and attack the freedom of the press.

The initial threat of decades in prison against Hale was a cudgel deployed by prosecutors in an effort to break Hale’s spirit and to frighten other prospective whistleblowers. That President Joe Biden’s Justice Department continued this prosecution instead of dropping the Trump administration’s case serves as an ominous reminder that the war on whistleblowers is a permanent fixture of the U.S. system. The use of the Espionage Act by successive administrations to prosecute whistleblowers is an affront to basic liberties and the constitutional rights of the accused, as it prevents people of conscience from presenting a real defense before a judge or jury. Its use to target dissent, independent journalism, and whistleblowing is an authoritarian weapon masquerading as a law, and it should be abolished.


Daniel Hale photographed in 2020.

Photo: Bob Hayes

In 2013, Daniel Hale and I were separately invited to speak at a public forum alongside a Yemeni American activist in Washington, D.C., about drone strikes and the murderous U.S. war in Yemen. As I listened to Hale speak that day, he struck me as a deeply moral person who was profoundly grappling with the role he had played in a lethal global system of assassination. I found him to be a thoughtful, sincere, caring person with an inherent degree of selflessness and honesty rare in our society. Hale appeared to be viscerally struggling with the nature of the work that he had done on behalf of the U.S. government and the horrors he had witnessed.

The Trump Justice Department indictment against Hale was anemic in its “evidence” and replete with innuendo and circumstantial events dishonestly crafted and presented as a substitute for facts. The government spied on Hale and manipulated his communications to paint a grossly distorted picture of his character and motivations that served the prosecutors’ campaign to railroad him.

It has been particularly disheartening to see people purporting to support Hale repeating Trump Justice Department assertions as established fact. There have been a lot of lies told about what happened in this case — in the Trump Justice Department indictment, by the prosecutors, on social media, and, unfortunately, in some news reports. Contrary to what the judge and prosecutors in this case stated and implied, it is evident that Hale was not motivated by trying to impress a journalist or anyone else. Hale was motivated by love of his fellow humans and by a deep and abiding sense of duty — duty to protect the innocent and the defenseless, as well as dedication to a sense of morality none of his detractors come close to matching. He is a noble teller of truths in a time of systemic deceit and lethal secrecy.

Among the “crimes” that Hale was convicted of are the following: revealing that, at times, nearly nine out of 10 people killed in so-called targeted strikes by the U.S. are not the intended targets; exposing the complicity of top U.S. government officials in a secret kill chain that decides who should be assassinated by drone strike; exposing that the U.S. government officially labels unknown people it kills as “enemies killed in action” unless they are posthumously proven to have been civilians; and exposing the secret watchlisting rulebook used to label people, including U.S. citizens, as “known or suspected terrorists” without evidence that they did anything wrong.

Daniel Hale should be pardoned and released, and the government should pay him restitution for the trauma it has inflicted on him for daring to speak out, at great personal risk, for the victims of wars and extrajudicial assassinations funded by U.S. taxpayers. He deserves the gratitude of good people everywhere for his courage, bravery, and sacrifice. It is a grave injustice that a man who blew the whistle on the killing of civilians is in jail and that those who murder them receive medals or appear as pundits on cable news.


Jeremy Scahill

Jeremy Scahilljeremy.scahill@​theintercept.com@jeremyscahill

Medicare for All Activists Press Democrats

Joe Maniscalco

By JOE MANISCALCO July 30, 2021 (dcreport.org)

Actress Susan Sarandon and activist Erobos Abzu Lamashtu were among the marchers who gathered at the locked Bronx office of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. (Joe Maniscalco)

Advocates Urge Ocasio-Cortez and Other Progressives to Support Single-Payer Healthcare

With Covid spiking again and  deaths topping 610,000, pro-Medicare for All marchers hoping to light a fire under passive House progressives could have used a lot of labor muscle when they took to the streets in 50 American cities this past weekend.

The marchers demanded legislative action. They didn’t get it.

The reason, according to People’s Party head Nick Brana, is organized labor’s continuing blind fealty to the Democratic Party and duopoly politics.

“Organized labor is the biggest institutional force that serves working people — they should be on the front lines,” Brana said outside the Bronx office of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) on July 26.

The idea was to cap off Saturday afternoon’s M4M4All (March for Medicare for All) nationwide actions by hand-delivering a petition and a shortlist of Medicare for All demands to anyone who might answer AOC’s door. But a vacant office and locked roll down gates put the kibosh on that plan. 

Fear Corporate Dominance

Marchers are pressuring Ocasio-Cortez and other progressives in Congress to step up the fight for single-payer because they fear the Democratic Party establishment is succeeding in subverting them to its corporate-dominated will. 

Or, as Brana says, “What good does it do to have representatives in office who don’t take corporate money if they’re listening to the politicians that do?”

Ocasio-Cortez chose to stump for congressional hopeful Nina Turner in Ohio on July 24. M4M4All organizers don’t necessarily mind, but they say she could have tweeted support for their efforts.  

The way Brana sees it, trade unionists across the country should not only be joining efforts to help force a vote on Medicare for All, they really should be leading the way.

“[Labor] should be organizing actions like these because their own members are the ones that suffer,” Brana said. “Their own workers are the ones that suffer when they have to contend with employer-based [healthcare] plans. That means that the power of labor, the power of workers is diminished — and that diminishes the power of unions themselves.”

The AFL-CIO — a federation of 56 national and international labor unions representing some 12.5 million active and retired workers — in 2017 officially called for moving expeditiously toward a single-payer Medicare for All system as a “core goal.”

New York Legislature Balks

But when the Democrat-controlled New York State Legislature advanced a single-payer measure earlier this year, with more than 30 co-sponsors in the Senate, the United Federation of Teachers [UFT] led by Michael Mulgrew and other New York City public sector unions stepped in to help make sure it didn’t get to a vote.

“Why hasn’t the New York State Legislature passed the New York Health Act yet,” asked New York State Green Party ‘s Gloria Mattera outside City Hall Park on July 24. “People want that, some of our elected officials have lobbied for it, in fact. But the two leaders — [Assembly Speaker Carl] Heastie and [Senate Majority Leader and President Pro Tempore] Andrea Stewart-Cousins wouldn’t even let it come to a vote.

“Will [Governor] Andrew Cuomo champion a single-payer system in the State of New York? No — he champions himself just like he did during the pandemic.”

Edwin DeJesus, an M4M4All organizer and independent candidate for city council running on the Green Party line in NYC’s 22nd District, attributes a lot of this past weekend’s poor union showing to the enduring allegiances certain labor leaders have to Democratic Party power players. 

“A lot of it, I think, has to do with the fact that union leaders who have ties to certain political leaders [who are owned by corporate interests] are all in that cycle of ‘Let’s maintain the status quo because that’s what’s keeping us in power’,” DeJesus says.

“That’s just something we’re going to have to combat with relentless education and letting union members know…stand up for what you believe in…don’t necessarily feel you have to be silent because leadership has a certain opinion on something.”

Brana, Bernie Sanders’ national political outreach coordinator during the Vermont senator’s 2016 presidential bid, says that sinking unionization rates that have dipped from 35-percent to about 10-percent over the years, demands that organized labor “objectively reevaluate its relationship” with the Democratic Party. 

“If you told any corporation that their success, [their] revenue, would be cut to a third — and then you told them that deal’s working out for you — they would tell you get the hell out of here. And that’s exactly what labor needs to tell the Democratic Party,” he said. 

DeJesus concedes that an avalanche of online political rancor and hate directed at M4M4All organizers disrupted outreach efforts to labor unions — at least in New York City. 

Democratic Resistance

Democratic Party acolytes have been on the attack since last December, when the People’s Party, Greens and other allies rallied behind a grassroots effort to convince House progressives to leverage their vote for Speaker Nancy Pelosi and force a vote on Medicare for All. 

“Stop being ablest and privileged in telling me what I’m allowed to be pissed at,” M4M4All National Organizer Savage Joy told a group of about 30 supporters in the Bronx. “I am holding people accountable, I am not calling names, I am not insulting. I am saying you made a promise. You are not even doing the bear minimum of Tweeting Medicare for All —that is unacceptable.”

Activist Susan Sarandon urged Ocasio-Cortez to get “creative” and to reject the duopoly’s tired old game of incrementalism. 

“Do not play the game they’ve asked you to play because the only way things are gonna change is from the bottom up,” the Academy Award winner said. “We’ve seen that the top does not care. They have their lobbyists from insurance and pharmaceutical [companies] and that’s the bottom line. You have to show up and get other people to show up. It’s great to have a rock star from New York that’s there who has five million [Twitter] followers — but let’s use those people to our advantage.”

Ocasio-Cortez’s office has not responded to requests for comment. 

Paula Jean Swearengin, the coal miner’s daughter from West Virginia who challenged Democratic Party elites Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito for their Senate seats, recently left the Democratic Party to join the People’s Party.

“A lot of unions across the country have supported Medicare for All, even the UMWA outside of West Virginia,” Swearengin said on Monday. “I’m here to continue that fight…and carry on legacy of those who fought for union rights.”

March for Medicare for All activists know all too well that it’s been 80 years since FDR rolled out the “Economic Bill of Rights” and nearly 60 years since JFK started talking about Medicare

“I believe that labor needs to return to its militant roots of striking,” Brana continued under a blistering Bronx sun. “Wildcat striking, the teachers’ strikes in West Virginia where Paula Jean is from — that’s the model. The victories that were won in the 1930s — they were won because workers were radical, they were militant and they fought back. They didn’t wait, necessarily, for even the union to tell them to do it. They self-organized and fought back — and that’s what we need more of.”


  • Joe Maniscalco Joe Maniscalco is a journalist and freelance writer based in New York City. His work has appeared in a variety of news outlets ranging from the NewYorkPost.com to Alternet.org. He’s spent the last decade covering workplace justice issues, the American Labor Movement and steadfastly avoiding well-paid corporate media gigs.

Bernie Campaigns for Nina Turner: She’s Needed in Congress

Status Coup News #NinaTurner#BernieSanders Jenn Dize covered a get out the vote rally in Cleveland for Nina Turner with guests Bernie Sanders, Dr. Cornel West, and Minnesota AG Keith Ellison on July 31st. SUPPORT Status Coup’s IN-THE-FIELD reporting on the stories the corporate media is COVERING UP: https://statuscoup.com/join/ Join this channel to get access to perks: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0pC… SUPPORT Status Coup as we head out on an evictions/working-class reporting road trip via http://StatusCoup.live | http://GoFundMe.com/StatusCoup | http://PayPal.me/StatusCoup | $StatusCoup on CashApp | http://StatusCoup.com/join – we are small and independent and being SUPPRESSED and CENSORED like never before! We can’t do this without you, the viewer. We are small, independent, and answerable only to you, the viewer! SUPPORT Status Coup’s in-field and investigative reporting for as low as $5 a month to sustain us and get great perks: https://statuscoup.com/join/ SUPPORT our investigative reporting GoFundMe if you can: https://www.GoFundMe.com/StatusCoup SIGN UP for our email list for breaking news alerts and alerts when we’re LIVE: https://statuscoup.pub/email

Bernie Sanders Joins Nina Turner for Rally Days Before Election

Status Coup News #NinaTurner#BernieSanders July 31, 2021 Jenn Dize reports LIVE from Cleveland Ohio as Bernie Sanders joins Nina Turner for a get out the vote rally days before the Ohio 11th district Congressional election. *NOTE* Audio improves during speeches – thanks for your support! | The Democratic establishment is spending a lot of money to smear and lie about Nina Turner in her election for Ohio’s 11th district on August 3rd. We’re on-the-ground reporting where it matters. Help defray the cost of this reporting trip at any amount (and see behind-the-scenes pics of Bernie and Nina!) via http://StatusCoup.com/ninaturner Join this channel to get access to perks: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0pC… SUPPORT Status Coup as we head out on an evictions/working-class reporting road trip via http://StatusCoup.live | http://GoFundMe.com/StatusCoup | http://PayPal.me/StatusCoup | $StatusCoup on CashApp | http://StatusCoup.com/join – we are small and independent and being SUPPRESSED and CENSORED like never before! We can’t do this without you, the viewer. We are small, independent, and answerable only to you, the viewer! SUPPORT Status Coup’s in-field and investigative reporting for as low as $5 a month to sustain us and get great perks: https://statuscoup.com/join/ SUPPORT our investigative reporting GoFundMe if you can: https://www.GoFundMe.com/StatusCoup SIGN UP for our email list for breaking news alerts and alerts when we’re LIVE: https://statuscoup.pub/email


張家朗奪金 頒獎禮過百人嗌「WE ARE HONG KONG」冚國歌

July 30, 2021 (bbc.com)

Closeup of the Chinese flag
image captionFile image of the Chinese flag

Hong Kong police are investigating an incident where a crowd watching the Olympics booed China’s anthem.

Hundreds gathered at a shopping mall on Monday to watch a broadcast and cheer on Hong Kong fencer Edgar Cheung, who won gold in the men’s individual foil.

When the Chinese national anthem was played, some in the crowd began jeering while others shouted “We are Hong Kong”, video filmed at the scene shows.

It is illegal to insult the anthem under a recently passed law.

Anyone found guilty of flouting the national anthem law could be jailed up to three years and fined HK$50,000 (£4,600, $6,400).

Reports also said that the British colonial flag was flown and some had chanted protest slogans, which could possibly violate the national security law which forbids anything that incites “secession” and could result in life in jail.

Police sources told local media that they are collecting and examining footage from the mall’s security cameras.

The incident took place in the same week as the conviction of the first person charged under the national security law.

Both laws were passed last year and have been met with huge controversy, with critics saying they clamp down on free speech.

But Hong Kong authorities and the Chinese government deny this and say the laws are necessary to preserve peace and patriotism.

Hong Kong saw widespread protests in 2019 when tens of thousands took to the streets demanding democratic reforms. Some of those demonstrations turned violent as protesters and police clashed.

Since then China has cracked down hard, introducing several strict laws aimed at curbing violence and what it deems as “separatism”.

Hong Kong, a former British colony, was handed back to China in 1997.

Since then it has been ruled under the “one country, two systems” principle that preserves freedoms in the city that the mainland does not have.

Critics say those freedoms are now under threat with China’s recent moves and the UK has accused China of flouting the terms of its handover agreement, but China denies this.

S.F. DA Boudin recall: As a key deadline approaches, here’s how much money both sides have raised

Megan CassidySusie Neilson July 28, 2021 (SFChronicle.com)

San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin heads to his office after participating in a Zoom meeting in the Ginsburg Conference Room at the San Francisco District Attorney's Office.
San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin heads to his office after participating in a Zoom meeting in the Ginsburg Conference Room at the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office.Yalonda M. James/The Chronicle

One of the two recall efforts seeking to oust San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin reported nearly $650,000 in donations in recent months, thanks largely to a single, deep-pocketed political action committee, according to recent campaign finance filings.

The money likely will provide a boost to the San Franciscans for Public Safety Supporting the Recall of Chesa Boudin campaign ahead of its Oct. 25 deadline to submit signatures to city elections officials.

The group’s fundraising efforts have dwarfed those of a rival recall campaign, the Committee Supporting the Recall of District Attorney Chesa Boudin, which reported a total of $273,000 brought since it began collecting signatures in March.

That group’s deadline is much sooner, with the group required to collect 51,325 signatures by Aug. 11 to qualify for a special election.

The two recall groups have collected a combined total of $921,000, while two anti-recall campaigns supporting Boudin have picked up $485,000.

The most recent donations, which were reported last week, reflect the city’s sharply polarized views of crime and criminal justice in San Francisco.

Chesa Boudin Recall:

Recall supporters say Boudin rarely holds lawbreakers accountable for their actions, and that his policies have driven crimes like burglaries and car break-ins to epidemic levels. Boudin’s backers point to police statistics that show violent crime rates remain at generational lows and that fluctuations with crime rates last year were more likely due to an economically shattering pandemic.

Bankrolling $400,000 — nearly two-thirds — of the second recall campaign’s war chest is a PAC called Neighbors for a Better San Francisco, according to the most recent campaign finance filings. The two biggest contributors to that PAC were investment banker Steven Merrill of Marco Ventures and William Oberndorf, a hedge fund investor.

The Neighbors group also donated funding to two other committees called the Common Sense Voter Guide and Stop All Asian Hate. Those two groups acted as intermediaries, sending a combined $170,000 “earmarked” funds from the Neighbors committee to the recall campaign, according to campaign finance reports.

Andrea Shorter, spokesperson for the Public Safety recall, said the donations are a testament to voters’ trust in their results. She said the Common Sense Voter Guide and Stop All Asian Hate committees made the decision to contribute to the recall fund on their own accord.

Records show that until recently, the Common Sense Voter guide was controlled by Mary Jung, principal officer of the recall committee. Jung is a former chair of the San Francisco Democratic Party and a realtor lobbyist. Stop all Asian Hate’s treasurer is Vanita Louie, who is listed on the recall website as a supporter.

Julie Edwards, a spokesperson for one of Boudin’s anti-recall committees, said it should be “alarming” to San Francisco voters that what she deemed a dark money PAC has marshaled nearly a half-million dollars into an effort to remove an elected district attorney.

“We know District Attorney Boudin has taken on powerful special interests and now it seems those same special interests are working in the dark to undo the 2019 election,” she said.

The recall campaign with the more pressing deadline, Committee Supporting the Recall of District Attorney Chesa Boudin, was mostly funded by individual donors, with a handful kicking in substantial contributions. They include David Sacks, an entrepreneur and tech mogul who donated $75,000, and Daniel O’Keefe, a Chicago-based investor and former San Francisco resident who pitched in $50,000.

The anti-recall effort includes two committees. The first, Friends of Chesa Boudin Opposing the Recall, is sponsored by Boudin himself. The second is San Franciscans Against the Recall of Chesa Boudin, a local branch of the Real Justice PAC, a political action committee that supports reform-minded prosecutors.

The PAC’s highest-profile co-founder, Shaun King, is an activist who has received attention for his work exposing police brutality. He has also garnered controversy over claims he has mismanaged funds and donations related to other projects.

Chris Larsen, executive chairman of Ripple Labs, was the top donor for the Friends of Chesa campaign, contributing $100,000.

The Real Justice PAC pitched in $100,000 to its own, local anti-recall committee. Major committee funding came from Grassroots Law PAC, which donated $200,000 and Patty Quillin, a philanthropist and wife of Netflix co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings. Quillin donated $20,000 to the Real Justice PAC.

Each of the four groups has drawn donations from at least 100 individuals as well, according to a Chronicle review of financial filings. The first recall committee has more than 230 individual donors listed while the second has about 120. The Friends of Chesa committee has more than 140 and the Real Justice PAC drew contributions from about 172 individuals.

This second recall campaign, which publicly launched in April, has billed itself as a moderate Democrat’s alternative to its forerunner, which is viewed as a Republican-led effort.

Richie Greenberg, a former San Francisco Republican mayoral candidate who serves as the public face of the first recall campaign, has sought to push back on the perception that his group is GOP-fueled. In an interview with The Chronicle, Greenberg said he is no longer registered as a Republican and that recall backers are primarily Democrats.

Greenberg said the second, competing recall campaign has damaged his own by confusing voters. But he said a recent donation from Sacks has convinced him the first recall efforts will be successful.

“We’ve got two weeks more or less to go, but we are very confident,” he said.

Megan Cassidy and Susie Neilson are San Francisco Chronicle staff writers. Email: megan.cassidy@sfchronicle.comsusan.neilson@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @meganrcassidy@susieneilsonFifth & Mission

Megan Cassidy is a crime reporter with The Chronicle, also covering cops, criminal justice issues and mayhem. Previously, Cassidy worked for the Arizona Republic covering Phoenix police, Sheriff Joe Arpaio and desert-area crime and mayhem. She is a two-time graduate of the University of Missouri, and has additionally worked at the Casper Star-Tribune, National Geographic and an online publication in Buenos Aires. Cassidy can be reached on twitter at @meganrcassidy, and will talk about true crime as long as you’ll let her.Written BySusie NeilsonReach Susie on

Susie Neilson is a data reporter for The San Francisco Chronicle. Previously, she was a science fellow at Business Insider, covered COVID-19 and criminal justice for KQED and worked as a private investigator at the Mintz Group. Her work has also appeared in NPR, Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting and The New Yorker, among other publications. She is a 2019 graduate of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, where she studied investigative and multimedia reporting.

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Film still of Daniel Hale from the feature documentary “National Bird.”

DONATE30Film still of Daniel Hale from the feature documentary “National Bird.” Still: Torsten Lapp/Ten Forward Films

“I am here because I stole something that was never mine to take — precious human life,” Hale said at his sentencing.

Ryan Devereaux
Murtaza Hussain

Ryan DevereauxMurtaza Hussain
July 27 2021, 1:43 p.m. (theintercept.com)

DANIEL HALE, a former U.S. Air Force intelligence analyst, was sentenced to 45 months in prison Tuesday after pleading guilty to leaking a trove of government documents exposing the inner workings and severe civilian costs of the U.S. military’s drone program. Appearing in an Alexandria, Virginia, courtroom, the 33-year-old Hale told U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady that he believed it “was necessary to dispel the lie that drone warfare keeps us safe, that our lives are worth more than theirs.”

“I am here because I stole something that was never mine to take — precious human life,” Hale said. “I couldn’t keep living in a world in which people pretend that things weren’t happening that were. Please, your honor, forgive me for taking papers instead of human lives.”

In delivering his judgement, O’Grady said that Hale was “not being prosecuted for speaking out about the drone program killing innocent people” and that he “could have been a whistleblower … without taking any of these documents.”

Though the nearly four-year sentence fell short of the maximum sentence of 11 years behind bars sought by federal prosecutors, the conviction marked another victory for the U.S. government in an ongoing crackdown on national security leaks that has spanned multiple presidential administrations.

Hale was indicted by a grand jury and arrested in 2019 on a series of counts related to the unauthorized disclosure of national defense and intelligence information and the theft of government property. In addition to documents related to how the government chooses its drone strike targets — and information detailing how often people who are not the intended targets of those strikes are nonetheless killed — Hale was also linked to the release of a secret, though unclassified, rulebook detailing how the U.S. government places individuals in its sprawling system of watchlists. Long shrouded in secrecy, the release of the rulebook has been celebrated by advocacy groups as a triumph of the post-9/11 era.

Since his indictment more than two years ago, government filings have strongly implied that The Intercept was the recipient of Hale’s disclosures. In a statement on Tuesday, Intercept Editor-in-Chief Betsy Reed said, “Daniel Hale will spend years in prison for leaking documents that the government implied were published by The Intercept. These documents revealed the truth about the U.S. government’s secretive, murderous drone war, including that the killing of civilians was far more widespread than previously acknowledged. The Intercept will not comment on our sources. But whoever brought the documents in question to light undoubtedly served a noble public purpose.”

She added: “Hale was also charged with disclosing a secret rule book detailing the parallel judicial system for watchlisting people and categorizing them as known or suspected terrorists without needing to prove they did anything wrong. Under these rules, people, including U.S. citizens, can be barred from flying or detained in airports and at borders while being denied the ability to challenge government declarations about them. The disclosure of the watchlisting rule book led to dozens of legal actions and important court victories for the protection of civil liberties.”

As has become standard practice in the U.S., Hale was charged under the Espionage Act, and he pleaded guilty to one count in March. (O’Grady dismissed the four remaining charges against Hale with prejudice on Tuesday, meaning those charges can’t be filed again.) Under the highly controversial 1917 law, defendants cannot point to their efforts to inform the public about government actions and operations as a defense for leaking classified information. President Barack Obama weaponized the anti-spying law as a tool to hammer government employees who were sources for national security stories, particularly those that were unflattering for the government. The Trump administration continued the practice and now, so too, has the Biden administration.

“In today’s sentencing, the court did reject the prosecution’s extreme demands, but Hale’s prison sentence is nonetheless another tragic example of how the government misuses the Espionage Act to punish alleged journalistic sources as spies, a practice that damages human rights, press freedom, and democracy,” Reed added in her statement.

Hale’s support team, in a statement following the sentencing, said: “everyone agrees #DanielHale is not a spy. He is a deeply honorable man who is being punished simply for acting on his conscience and telling the truth.”

AHEAD OF HIS sentencing this week, Hale filed an 11-page handwritten letter to the court detailing the motivations behind his actions. In vivid detail, Hale recalled his own experience locating targets for American drone strikes. By some estimates, U.S. drone operations abroad, conducted by both the military and the CIA, have killed between 9,000 and 17,000 people since 2004, including as many as 2,200 children and multiple U.S. citizens. Those estimates, however, undercount the true cost of remote American warfare — as Hale noted in his letter to the court last week, the U.S. military has a practice of labeling all individuals killed in such operations as “enemies killed in action” unless proven otherwise.

“With drone warfare, sometimes nine out of 10 people killed are innocent,” Hale said on Tuesday. “You have to kill part of your conscience to do your job.”RelatedFacing Years in Prison for Drone Leak, Daniel Hale Makes His Case Against U.S. Assassination Program

In their sentencing filing, Hale’s defense lawyers said that he had “felt extraordinary guilt for having been complicit in what he viewed as unjustifiable killings” through his involvement in the drone program and argued that his disclosures were compelled by a sense of moral duty. In motions filed in the past week, government prosecutors sought to rebut this picture, painting Hale as a self-interested egomaniac who risked his freedom to ingratiate himself with the journalists he admired and compared his justifications to those of a heroin dealer.

In arguing that Hale should receive a maximum sentence of more than a decade in prison, the government repeatedly referred to secret evidence — unavailable for public review — purporting to show that the Islamic State had circulated Hale’s disclosures online, thus putting American lives at risk. Harry P. Cooper, a former senior official in the CIA and noted agency expert on classified materials who reviewed the documents and provided a declaration in Hale’s case, offered a starkly different interpretation.

“The disclosure of these documents, at the time they were disclosed and made public, did not present any substantial risk of harm to the United States or to national security,” Cooper said in a sworn declaration. “In short, an adversary who has gained a tactical advantage by receiving secret information would never publicize their possession of it.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Gordon Kromberg dismissed that reasoning, arguing that Hale’s case in fact deserved a harsher sentence than other prior whistleblower cases on the convoluted basis that, unlike in those cases, it was difficult to substantiate what harm his disclosures had actually done. “We do not know whether this information already has been or will be used in the future by terrorists or other foreign adversaries,” Kromberg wrote. “What we can be sure of is that Hale’s actions risked damage to the safety and security of Americans in the past, and will continue to do so in the future.”“I believe that it is wrong to kill, but it is especially wrong to kill the defenseless.”

The Justice Department also rejected Hale’s argument that he was providing a public service by revealing information about covert military operations that had killed civilians. “According to Hale, what he did was legally wrong but morally right,” prosecutors wrote. “In analogous circumstances, no one would award such a reduction to a heroin dealer who admitted that he violated the law by distributing heroin, but simultaneously asserted that by distributing the heroin he was helping society rather than harming it.”

Hale is a descendant of Nathan Hale, the American patriot who was hanged by the British for stealing documents in 1776. Addressing the court Tuesday, Hale quoted the words often attributed to his famed ancestor: “My only regret is that I have but one life to give to my country, whether here or in prison.” As he did in the letter he submitted to the court last week, Hale, in his appearance before the judge, focused his attention on the victims of U.S. foreign policy.

“I believe that it is wrong to kill,” Hale said, “but it is especially wrong to kill the defenseless.”

Update: July 28, 2021
This article has been updated to note that Judge Liam O’Grady dismissed the four remaining charges against Hale on Tuesday. 


Ryan Devereauxryan.devereaux@​theintercept.com@rdevro

Murtaza Hussainmurtaza.hussain@​theintercept.com@mazmhussain


Shontel Brown, candidate for the OH-11 Congressional District, talks with Nancy Holland, Akron city council ward 1, at Angel Falls Coffee shop during a campaign stop in Akron on Wednesday July 14, 2021.Shontel Brown 3

Shontel Brown, candidate for Ohio’s 11th Congressional District in Akron, Ohio, on July 14, 2021. Photo: Mike Cardew via Image

With one week left in the Ohio primary, Republican donors have picked their Democrat — and the pro-Israel PAC supporting her.

Matthew Cunningham-Cook

Matthew Cunningham-Cook
July 27 2021, 2:03 p.m. (theintercept.com)

AS THE DEMOCRATIC primary for Ohio’s 11th Congressional District draws to a close, establishment pick Shontel Brown, a current Cuyahoga County Council Member and county Democratic Party chair, is facing a potential ethics probe for her past work supporting millions of dollars in contracts awarded to companies run by her partner and campaign donors. According to a story published Tuesday by Newsweek and the Daily Poster, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office took interest in an earlier Intercept story and in June referred it to the state auditor’s office, where officials agreed the matter should go before the state ethics commission. Meanwhile, and unrelated to the potential probe, newly released campaign finance disclosures show that Brown and a major Democratic PAC supporting her campaign have been heavily funded by donors who usually support Republicans.

The revelations come with just one week left in the contest between Brown and Nina Turner, a progressive former state senator who stumped for Sen. Bernie Sanders during his 2016 and 2020 presidential runs and who, to many observers, remains representative of his campaign against Hillary Clinton.

Clinton, a high-profile backer of Brown, notoriously lambasted Sanders as “not a Democrat,” and said that she was proud that her greatest enemies were “Republicans.” But in this case, finance reports show GOP donors flocking to Clinton’s chosen candidate in the heated congressional race.

With Clinton and Sanders again pitted against each other, this time via state-level surrogates, the special election race for Ohio’s 11th Congressional District has been described as a reflection of “party tensions.” In addition to Clinton, Democratic establishment figures like Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., and well-funded super PACs have rallied behind Brown, while progressives like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Justice Democrats have coalesced to support Turner.

Undergirding these tensions are donors with long histories of support for Republican candidates who are now funding Brown’s campaign, either directly or via the political action committee Democratic Majority for Israel, a major backer of her campaign. Most notable among them is New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, a close ally of Donald Trump who donated $1 million to Trump’s inauguration and has supported a slew of Republican candidates. A staunch supporter of Israel, Kraft in 2019 also launched and donated $20 million to a foundation to combat anti-Semitism and the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, earning him a gala reception in Jerusalem to receive the Israeli Genesis Prize. Kraft has individually donated the election maximum $5,800 to Brown’s campaign, and with his family contributed more than $20,000.

The former chair of the Cuyahoga County Republican Party, Roger Synenberg, donated $1,000 to Brown’s campaign. Synenberg attracted controversy in 2018 for mailing an anonymous letter to a former county auditor, calling him a “snitch” for his role in an unfolding corruption investigation in the county.

Democratic Majority for Israel, a hybrid PAC/super PAC that has spent $1.2 million on ads supporting Brown and opposing Turner in the election, also has a slew of donors who have made ample donations to Republican candidates and causes. Leonard Feinstein, who donated $25,000 to DMFI on June 14, has made large contributions to the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the Republican Party of Cuyahoga County, and to committees supporting Republican Rick Berg’s 2012 campaign for Senate in North Dakota.

Steven Fishman, who donated $20,000 to DMFI on June 14, made over $10,000 in campaign contributions to Republicans running in 2020, including Lindsey Graham, Jim Risch, Mike Rounds, and Michael McCaul. He also donated $1,800 to Brown.

David Heller, a Cleveland-area real estate executive, donated $10,000 to DMFI on February 23 and also donated $2,800 to Brown. Heller, who has been an avid supporter of Republicans in Ohio and in Texas, donated over $13,000 to Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine in 2020, as well as $5,000 to Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan, who is leading the push to restrict voting rights in that state.

Neil Kadisha, who donated $2,000 to Brown on June 1 and $18,000 to DMFI on June 14, donated to Trump’s reelection campaign in 2019, as well as to then-Vice President Mike Pence’s PAC. In 2012, Kadisha made large donations to both the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Some Republican donors have not supported Brown directly but have poured funding into DMFI. David Horowitz, an executive at the New York school cafeteria food company Tasty Brands, donated $10,000 to DMFI on June 7. In 2020, he donated $25,000 to Sen. Mitch McConnell’s super PAC, the Senate Leadership Fund, as well as making maxed-out contributions to losing Georgia Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue.

Philip De Toledo, the president of the Capital Group, donated $50,000 to DMFI on June 8, 2020. De Toledo donated over $25,000 in campaign contributions to Republicans running in the 2020 elections, including right-wing Reps. Patrick McHenry and Jim Risch.

Victor Kohn, another Capital Group executive who donated $100,000 to DMFI from his family trust on June 10, spent over $10,000 in the 2020 cycle supporting Republicans Mike Rounds, Bill Cassidy, Cynthia Lummis, Ben Sasse, and Kay Granger.“How can we have someone who is the party chair and says that she’s a Democrat’s Democrat but is accepting Republican money?”

Reached for comment, a spokesperson for Democratic Majority for Israel accused The Intercept of wanting to “cherry pick contributors” and said that DMFI has only supported “outstanding” Democratic candidates. Shontel Brown’s campaign did not return a request for comment.

State Rep. Juanita Brent, a Turner backer who represents Cuyahoga County in the Ohio House, and was referred to The Intercept by the Turner campaign, panned the role of the GOP in the Democratic primary campaign. “As a Democrat who has helped Democrats all over the state, we cannot condone Democrats that are accepting money associated with Trump,” Brent told The Intercept. “How can we have someone who is the party chair and says that she’s a Democrat’s Democrat but is accepting Republican money?”


Matthew Cunningham-Cookm.cunninghamcook@​gmail.com@matthewccook5

The New Yorker Makes the Case That Chesa Boudin Needs Savvy, Not Stats, to Win Over Critics


San Francisco’s progressive prosecutor Chesa Boudin is again garnering a national spotlight in a piece in The New Yorker that tries to parse our current moment with criminal justice reform, and the polarizing position he has landed in.

The general gist of the piece by Benjamin Wallace-Wells is this: If San Francisco can’t get behind a progressive district attorney, how does the criminal justice reform movement expect to succeed anywhere else in the country?

For those who didn’t get his backstory when he was running for election, Boudin’s biography is summed up again in the piece — he was born to radical parents who were part of the Weather Underground and were both jailed for a triple murder of two police officers and a security guard during the armed robbery of a Brink’s truck in 1981. He ended up being adopted by Bill Ayers and his wife, the same Bill Ayers who co-founded the Weather Underground, was a fugitive from the FBI due to his participation in several bombings, and was spuriously linked to Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign.

Ayers tells the New Yorker what’s meant to be telling story from Boudin’s childhood about his stubborn determination. Boudin had, along with other kids, gotten pledges from adults for a fundraiser in which he was to raise a certain amount of money per lap he swam in the school swimming pool.

“He was a graceless swimmer,” Ayers said. “But he got everyone he knew to pledge a dime or a quarter for each lap and we all thought we’d be shelling out five or ten bucks. He never got out of the pool. Everybody else had left. The staff was trying to go home. Zayd and Malik”—Ayers and Dohrn’s other children—“were waiting for dinner. And the motherfucker was still in the pool.”

Boudin’s determination took him to Yale, and to Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship, and to Yale Law. And friends tell the New Yorker that he was always destined for public office.

But the past year has proven especially challenging to Boudin in convincing a pandemic-weary, and crime-weary public in San Francisco that he’s the best person for the top prosecutor’s job. A series of highly publicized and tragic cases — in particular two vehicular homicides in the first few months of 2021 in which the alleged perpetrator was a repeat offender recently let out of jail — along with a growing perception of lawlessness and rampant property crime in the city, have had Boudin on the defense,

Local politicos tell the New Yorker that they don’t expect the Recall Chesa campaigns to succeed, and indeed neither has gotten the necessary signatures to trigger an election yet. But whether Boudin can turn his critics’ impression of him around before it’s time for him to be reelected is another question.

“No one wants to be told that their feelings aren’t real or that they need to look at our studies,” says Lara Bazelon, professor of law at the University of San Francisco, who says she’s known Boudin for a decade. “But if that’s not effective — what is? And for me that’s the big question Chesa needs to answer if he wants to survive this recall and get reelected.”

Certainly Boudin has been hit with a number of high-profile incidents beyond his control, but the media and the recall proponents have latched on to enough key talking points to damn him in the minds of many — including the revelation that, as a public defender, he stepped in as attorney for a court date in 2018 for Troy McAlister, the repeat offender believed responsible in the New Year’s Eve crash in SoMa that killed two women, while he was allegedly intoxicated and driving a stolen car. (But Boudin’s office has previously clarified that he never served as McAlister’s defense attorney, and was filling in for another public defender that day.)*

That talking point highlights the awkwardness of moving from the public defender’s office into the the DA’s office, especially at a moment when a larger narrative has formed about the city failing to be tough enough on criminals.

Wallace-Wells concludes by surmising that SF voters who voted in Boudin — albeit by a fairly slim margin of 3,000 votes — wanted to see what would happen if the top prosecutor focused on the bigger players criminal organizations and didn’t waste time prosecuting, say, low-level drug offenders. “But they wanted other things, too,” he writes. And those other things include the confidence that the city isn’t descending into some new stage of chaos, and all the stats in the world on crime going down aren’t likely to overcome that perception problem.

Related: DA Chesa Boudin Takes Questions at Manny’s, Compares Recall to ‘Big Lie’

*This post has been corrected to show that Boudin never defended McAlister in any case.