Must-Reads and Updates on Yesterday’s Raids in Atlanta

From the mass proliferation of prison lockdowns to so-called “riot detection” technology, mounting fascist threats, and the U.S. media and government’s pro-Israel bias, here are some important stories you might have missed this week.

Must-Reads and Updates on Yesterday’s Raids in Atlanta
(Photo: Kelly Hayes)
Must Reads and Updates on Yesterdays Raids in Atlanta

Greetings friends,

A lot has happened this week. If you’re worried you might have missed something, I’ve got your back. Here’s your weekly list of must-reads, plus everything I know about yesterday’s raids targeting Stop Cop City activists in Atlanta.


From the mass proliferation of prison lockdowns to so-called “riot detection” technology, mounting fascist threats, and the U.S. media and government’s pro-Israel bias, here are some important stories you might have missed this week.

Prison Lockdowns Are Becoming More Frequent and More Brutal Across the US by Silja J.A. Talvi. “The move toward lockdowns is functioning as a strategic manner of eroding an already paltry level of civil/human rights protections for prisoners within the U.S. carceral system.”

Phone Spy Tool Pitched for ‘Riot Detection’ in NYC by Joseph Cox. “A second slide, which also includes an image of New York City, says Patternz can include geofencing, which is where a technology is pointed to a certain geographic area, usually displaying whatever devices, and by extension people, are in that location. The slide also says Patternz provides information on peoples’ specific application usage, where the people came from and where they are going, and is capable of making predictions and spot anomalies.”

Locals Say Eagle Pass Is Being Invaded by Christian Nationalists — Not Migrants by Candice Bernd. “Residents of the border town at the center of an ongoing feud between Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and the Biden administration made it clear over the weekend that the only people they see as ‘invaders’ in their community are 14 Republican governors and a convoy of Christian nationalists calling themselves ‘God’s Army.’”

Kinnan Abdalhamid, Palestinian Student Shot in Vermont, Calls for US, Schools to Demand Israel Ceasefire by Kinnan Abdalhamid. “The bullets that struck us in Vermont are intricately linked with the ongoing assault on our people in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and Gaza. As Palestinians, we trace the root cause of this violence to decades of brutal Israeli state-led oppression and dehumanization of Palestinians, made in Israel and exported to the United States.”

CNN staff say network’s pro-Israel slant amounts to ‘journalistic malpractice’ by Chris McGreal. “According to accounts from six CNN staffers in multiple newsrooms, and more than a dozen internal memos and emails obtained by the Guardian, daily news decisions are shaped by a flow of directives from the CNN headquarters in Atlanta that have set strict guidelines on coverage.”

Report Finds “No Evidence” in Key Dossier to Support Israel’s UNRWA Allegations by Sharon Zhang. “A key Israeli intelligence dossier used by countries to justify defunding the primary aid group for Palestinian refugees contains 'no evidence' to back up Israel’s allegations against the group, new reports have found.”

Conservatives Plan to Ban Abortion and Cut LGBT Rights Starting Next January by Melissa Gira Grant. “On January 20, 2025, conservatives plan to resurrect a 150-year-old defunct law to ban abortion across the nation. This is not a secret plan—far from it. It’s part of the 180-Day Playbook produced by Project 2025, detailing priorities for an incoming conservative president on day one.”

Utah school board member Natalie Cline questions high school athlete’s gender, causing social media uproar by Courtney Tanner. “A Utah high school student needs police protection after a state school board member publicly singled out and suggested the student was transgender — without evidence — inciting threats from her followers on social media.”

Who’s Behind Push for States to Codify Weaponized Definition of Antisemitism? By Arvind Dilawar. “On January 31, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed House Bill 30, codifying the definition of antisemitism, as formulated by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), into state law. According to the legislation, law enforcement agencies in the state must consider the definition in the course of their enforcement. As the definition explicitly references criticism of Israel, pro-Palestinian activists fear it may open them up to prosecution, and even hate crimes charges, simply for organizing against the ongoing Israeli genocide in Gaza or occupation of Palestine in general.”

Northwestern students face criminal charges for pro-Palestinian newspaper parody by Connor Echols. "The little-known statute appears to only exist in Illinois and California, where it was originally passed to prevent the Ku Klux Klan from distributing recruitment materials in newspapers. The statute makes it illegal to insert an 'unauthorized advertisement in a newspaper or periodical.' The students, both of whom are Black, now face up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine."

Another Round of Raids Targeting Stop Cop City Activists

Thursday morning, a joint task force, including the Atlanta Police Department, the Georgia State Patrol, the FBI, and the ATF, executed search warrants at three homes in Atlanta in the latest round of raids targeting the Stop Cop City Movement. An arrest warrant was also executed against a person local activists describe as an “outspoken opponent” of the Cop City project.

During the raid, activists reported that law enforcement seized various items, including laptops, iPhones, "Defend the Atlanta Forest" stickers, posters, flyers, a passport, video cameras, tapes, and other materials. The occupants of the homes say they were all forced outside, handcuffed, and photographed. One person described being dragged by their hair.

At a press conference, Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum said police were searching for evidence related to recent acts of arson and vandalism. The individual who was arrested has been charged with committing an act of arson that occurred in July when police motorcycles were set on fire at an Atlanta Police Department facility. Schierbaum indicated more arrests in that case were expected.

In response to the raids, local organizers released a “Joint Statement from Stop Cop City Activists Stop Cop City Activists,” which read: 

These raids are an escalation at the federal level and an attack on the movement to disappear dissenters against Cop City. We demand the immediate release of all detained and arrested activists. We will not be intimidated and the community will continue to apply a variety of strategies to oppose the construction of this dangerous facility.

Following news of the raids, I spoke with Stop Cop City organizer Micah Herskind, who said, "This is just the latest chapter in the coordinated effort at all levels of government to suppress resistance through violent arrests and raids." Herskind highlighted the ongoing targeting of the movement by law enforcement, stating, "They've raided the forest repeatedly, resulting in the death of Tortuguita and the arrest of many others. They raided the homes of solidarity fund organizers and hit them with RICO charges. Now they're targeting additional opponents of Cop City and charging them with arson." Herskind emphasized that police accusations against the Stop Cop City movement have routinely lacked substance. "The charges so far have been baseless and unsupported by evidence, reflecting a pattern of unfounded allegations aimed at dismantling our movement rather than addressing any actual wrongdoing."

In a recent interview, I spoke with Marlon Scott Kautz, one of three Atlanta Solidarity Fund organizers facing charges related to bail fund organizing, who expressed similar sentiments. “The real goal of the repression around Cop City is not just to put some protesters in jail for decades; it's to develop a playbook for the suppression of any social movement that threatens entrenched powerful interests,” he said. 

These raids come on the heels of the Georgia state legislature passing SB63, a bill that expands the cash bail system and criminalizes bail fund organizing.“Everything they’ve done — the domestic terrorism charges, the RICO indictment, the raids, the murder, the beatings, the legal battle against the referendum, the intimidation of anyone who dares to oppose cop city — are all acts of increasing desperation to stop a movement that is threatening Atlanta’s ruling class structure,” said Herskind. 

Stop Cop City activists gathered Thursday night for a rally and press conference outside the Atlanta Police Foundation. In spite of intense repression, activists say they are undeterred. "The resistance to Atlanta's militarized police state is strong and continues to grow," says Kamau Franklin, head of Community Movement Builders. "The police and jails must be stopped. They continue to murder people like Deacon Johnny Hollman and Lashawn Thompson without any accountability. The community stands in solidarity with all affected by the police repression against the movement to Stop Cop City."

Final Thoughts

I visited Atlanta last summer during a Stop Cop City week of action. When I spoke with local activists about what they had been through and their fears about further repression, it felt like a preview of the kind of fascistic assault we all might experience in the coming years. Georgia police have committed murder to stop this movement. The state has leveled trumped-up, fantastical charges against activists, including charges against bail fund organizers that a judge quickly deemed unimpressive.

Now, the Georgia legislature has passed a law that will provide a basis for future charges against activists doing bail fund work – a solid reminder that legality must never be our measure of morality.

We have watched as Atlanta officials have disregarded the will of local residents and subverted democracy itself to cancel out the efforts of local organizers. These attacks have been waged by state-level Republicans and city-level Democrats. We must take note because these tactics will be replicated in other cities and states. 

The Stop Cop City movement is one of the key struggles of our time. At the intersection of environmental justice and police abolition, these activists are laboring on a frontline that extends well beyond their city. From the corporate money fueling further police militarization to the environmental destruction being waged in the name of the police state, what's happening in Georgia cannot be separated from what's happening around the country or around the world. We must do everything in our power to support their work and learn from their struggle. Cop City is a front in all of our struggles. The violence and criminalization being leveled against organizers and activists and Atlanta will be leveled against us.

We must learn from patterns of repression and violence and bear witness to the power grabs and militarization of the ruling class in this era of catastrophe and collapse. Our oppressors are building Cop Cities around the country to control us and subvert our movements because they are afraid we will rise up as the world falls down. They want us to submit to their violence and deem it inevitable. They want us to disregard each other and to reject solidarity from a place of fear. They want us to give up on each other the way they hope we will give up on Palestinians in Gaza. 

We’re not going to do that. 

So, stay strong. Stay vigilant. Figure out what you can do to raise the alarm and spread the truth. Take action where you can, and above all, do not accept what’s happening as inevitable. We are worth fighting for, and so is the world.

Much love,