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Thursday, 28 February 2013

What will stop the violence in Oakland?

Oakland residents Alessandro Tinonga and Todd Chretien challenge the city establishment's response to crime--and put forward some proposals of their own.
Oakland cops ready for action (Keoki Seu)
"SHOOTING HAPPENS out here all the time," said Armando Ramirez, a 37-year-old Oakland resident as he walked with two small children past the scene of a recent shooting. "It's a part of life here."
The streets of Oakland are reeling from a seemingly unstoppable spike in street crime and murders. In the last year, 131 people were killed in homicides in a city of fewer than 400,000 people, making the murder rate four to five times higher than across the Bay in San Francisco. The overwhelming percentage of crime victims are Black, Latino and Asian working-class people.
Nor does it seem likely that there will be a pause in the violence this year--nine murders have already been committed so far in 2013. In one weekend in mid-January, four people were fatally shot within a six-hour period.
The scale of the killing is appalling. The casualty rate for young Black men in Oakland is higher than for Black men in the U.S. military fighting in Afghanistan. Over the course of the 11-year occupation of Afghanistan, 1,200 U.S. soldiers have died, a quarter of them African American. In Oakland, roughly the same number of people have been murdered, and over 80 percent of them have been young Black men.
As residents demand action, City Hall and the pundits come out with more of the same answers: more cops and more legal leeway to pursue suspects.
Oakland Tribune columnist Tammerlin Drummond suggested taking a page from the authorities in Brazil and sending the army into Oakland to wage a war on gangs.
Even liberal members of the city council, like Rebecca Kaplan, a former Green Party member-turned-Democrat, joined the chorus when she proposed:
Contract with the Alameda County Sheriff's Office to provide additional patrol units for crime suppression; authorize a police academy in June 2013; hire 21 new civilian employees in the police department, including support staff for our crime lab. This proposal is the kind of immediate action that we need to reduce violent crime. And I support it wholeheartedly because we need to act right away.
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WHILE ACTION is absolutely necessary, the conventional wisdom that hiring more cops will curb the violence in Oakland is probably the worst way to deal with the crisis. More cops can only result in increased racial profiling and brutality. The Oakland Police Department is still plagued with a record of violence and racism. Its record is so bad that it is under threat of being taken into federal receivership--something that has never happened to a police department in the history of the U.S.
For the last decade, the department has failed to conduct court-ordered internal reforms following the "Oakland Riders" scandal, where four Oakland police officers were exposed for engaging in assault, kidnapping, planting drugs and cover-ups.
Recently, Robert Warshaw, a court-appointed monitor who is supposed to oversee the reforms, reported that the department was backsliding. He wrote that within the OPD, there continue to be major failures in the responsibility of officers "to report misconduct by other officers" and the ability of supervisors "to critically evaluate the use of force by the officers they supervise."
The lack of oversight regarding misconduct effectively means the racism and corruption that runs rampant in the OPD has not been stopped, nor will it be brought under check under the current system. In fact, Warshaw's most recent report, covering July through September 2012, described five reported incidents of Oakland police pointing their guns at citizens when no crime had been committed. In one incident, two cops pointed their weapons at a sleeping 1-year-old while investigating a misdemeanor crime.
Several investigations have shown that pulling guns on unarmed people is commonplace in Oakland. In more than three-quarters of the cases, the suspects were Black.
Too often, the OPD's racial profiling has turned deadly, leading to the murder of unarmed people of color: like Andrew Moppin, José Luis Buenrostro-Gonzalez, Mack "Jody" Woodfox, Derrick Jones and Alan Blueford. The last thing Oakland needs is more casualties of the New Jim Crow.
Nor will more police will be effective in stopping crime.
According to sociologist Richard Moran, police detect only 2.5 percent of crimes in progress. If a patrol car followed the same route every day, it would encounter a crime in progress once every 14 years.
While the police are able to solve a minority of the murders that take place in Oakland--around one-quarter--they almost never prevent crime or stop someone in the act of committing one. At best, they show up after the violence is over, harass the community and then stand around for hours collecting overtime pay. They do not counsel grieving families, nor provide support for them.
In 2008, when there were 200 more cops on the payroll then there are today, Oakland suffered almost exactly the same number of murders. Even with a heavy police presence, there is no guarantee that violence will prevented. Tragically, this was demonstrated recently during February's First Friday downtown art festival, when a gunman opened fire in a crowd, killing 18-year-old Kiante Campbell and wounding three others, despite 30 cops on duty on the same street.
Adding more heavily armed and nervous rookie cops to the streets of Oakland as part of a police force that is infamous for its corruption will do nothing to curb violence on the streets.
In desperate times, radical solutions are necessary to get to the root of problems. The root of violence in Oakland is related to a number of deep-seated factors: Unemployment, racism, mass incarceration, underfunded schools, and a violent and racist police force. These are the typical features of what Michelle Alexander calls the New Jim Crow--and as bad as the system is everywhere, it's generally worse in Oakland.
It can't be seen as a surprise when a small percentage of people among the many who are boxed in by this system take their frustrations out on those around them and try to survive as best they can. This is what is called "crime."
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ONE MEASURE that would do much more good than more cops is a major jobs and education program to undercut the despair that runs through the streets of Oakland. But how would an undertaking like this be funded in a city that struggles with budget problems every year?
The Oakland Police Department receives approximately $200 million each year, which amounts to 40 percent of the city's general operating budget. The starting salary for a rookie cop in Oakland ranges between $69,000 and $98,000, and that doesn't include overtime and extra pay for working nights. So rookies earn roughly $80,000 per year, with full benefits. Most cops make well over $120,000 in salary, and Chief Howard Jordan makes $221,000--plus an $800 a month "uniform allowance." That's about $50,000 more per year than a U.S. senator.
In addition, Oakland has paid out almost $60 million in recent years to settle civil lawsuits stemming from Oakland cops killing or brutalizing residents.
So what if the Oakland City Council and Mayor Jean Quan fired all the cops? What if Oakland liquidated the OPD and exchanged badges for jobs? Redirect the $200 million the cops absorb to hire 2,500 to 3,000 community workers at a living wage of, for instance, $50,000 plus full benefits. These workers should be free to join the union of their choice.
What would this army of community workers do? First, it could be composed of thousands of young people from the neighborhoods suffering the worst effects of poverty, racism and crime. This would inject millions of dollars into the pockets of the people who need it most, as well as their families--and immediately lift approximately 10,000 people out of poverty.
Second, these young workers could work with schools, churches, unions and community organizations to develop recreation and art programs in our poorest neighborhoods.
Third, repression and prosecution of young violent offenders only reinforces a permanent underclass that has to resort to the crime economy to survive. Politicians talk endlessly about "breaking the cycle of violence." This peace army, trained to counsel and support and care for young people, would do a world more good than hiring another 30 cops from Walnut Creek to come into the community with dogs, searchlights and shotguns. A peace army could have a chance at organizing a gang truce, following the precedents laid out by Stan "Tookie" Williams before he was murdered by the state of California in 2005.
All this would be just a first step. Even this peace army of 2,500 would only be a small portion of the jobs and social spending we need to heal Oakland. It could not solve the problems of racism and poverty that create violence in our community. But it would be a start.
In the last election, California passed Proposition 30, a ballot initiative that increased income taxes on top earners in the state, so Oakland should get $70 million of its fair share of the Proposition 30 money. Add that to the budget for the OPD, and that gets us to almost $300 million.
President Obama is asking Congress for $60 billion to help rebuild in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, which he calls a natural disaster. That is surely money well-spent (except for the inevitable robbery by insurance companies, etc.). But doesn't 131 murders a year constitute a social disaster? Where could we find more money to confront this ongoing disaster?
Here's an idea. Oakland represents roughly 0.1 percent of the U.S. population. Perhaps we could dedicate 0.1 percent of the Pentagon budget to helping solve Oakland's social disaster. How much is 0.1 percent of the Pentagon budget? It's $700 million. Add that tiny little nick in the military budget to Oakland's share of Prop 30, plus the proceeds from liquidating the Oakland Police Department--and that's $1 billion.
And there's peace in the streets of Oakland--or at least is a big step toward that peace.


Anonymous - Military-Industrial Complex

Greetings citizens of the world,

We were warned in the past about the military-industrial complex, the issues we face are not new ones. It's important to learn from the past, otherwise the past is doomed to repeat itself in the future. We are on the verge of going down a dark and scary road...

Over the past several years, military "urban warfare drills" have been increasing in frequency and intensity. The department of homeland security has purchased over two billion round of ammunition, military vehicles are being outfitted with woodland (or forest) camouflage, the NDAA is in affect so any American could be arrested by the military legally on U.S. soil. They are preparing for a civil war...

It's vitally important we don't fall into their trap, if they want war, we must ensure they never get one. Peace is the only solution, otherwise millions will die, and the United States will be destroyed. To all those in the military, law enforcement, and other branches of government... Remember your oath, the oath you took requires you to disobey unconstitutional orders. You are not a traitor for doing so, those who gave and follow the unconstitutional orders are the traitors and should be arrest on the spot if such orders are ever given. You are the people, as are we. The powers that be are nothing without us.

We are Anonymous,
We are Legion,
We do not Forgive injustice,
We do not Forget,
Expect us.

Aaron Swartz's partner speaks out on activist's persecution

A Justice Department representative revealed in a recent closed door hearing on the computer fraud prosecution of Aaron Swartz that the Internet activist was indeed targeted because of his politics. In 2008, Swartz and others laid out their views in a piece called the "Guerilla Open Access Manifesto," which according to the prosecutors, demonstrated his intent in downloading content on a larged scale. Swartz was indicted with felony charges for illegally accessing academic articles but died of an apparent suicide last month awaiting trial. Swartz's partner, Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman of Sumofus.org, talks about the latest developments.

After 40 Years in Solitary, Angola 3 Prisoner Albert Woodfox Ordered Fre...

A federal judge has once again ordered the state of Louisiana to release Albert Woodfox, a former Black Panther who has spent more than 40 years in solitary confinement. Woodfox and Herman Wallace, another prisoner of the "Angola 3," were convicted of murdering a guard at Angola Prison. The Angola 3 and their supporters say they were framed for their political activism. On Tuesday, the same federal judge that ordered Woodfox's release in 2008 again ruled Woodfox should be set free on the basis of racial discrimination in his retrial. It was the third time Woodfox's conviction has been overturned, but prosecutors successfully reversed the two previous victories. The state is expected to appeal once again to keep Woodfox behind bars. We're joined by two guests: Robert King, the third member of the Angola 3, who was freed in 2001 after three decades behind bars; and Mwalimu Johnson, a longtime member of the Angola 3 support team.

New court Date March 14th

New court Date March 14th Johnnie Lee Savory Go’s back to Peoria, IL court 10th Judicial District

justice will prevail please Sign !


Fighting for social justice. Seeking justice for those who were falsely imprisoned for crimes they did not commit. Born on the same day of Emmett Till.


Announcing the details of 30 #BedroomTax Protests. Please Share.

At 1 pm on 16 March, people opposed to the #BedroomTax will be gathering in city centres in more than 30 locations throughout the UK to protest against the policy. You can join us by following the links to any one of the #BedroomTax protests below. Note that 3 of the protests below (in blue) will be taking place on the 30 March.  Foster parents, disabled persons, single parents and families with a recently bereaved member are the groups of people whom this policy hurts the most. The #BedroomTax should not apply to these groups of people and we are calling on the government to delay the policy by at least 1 year while they rethink a way to make the policy much fairer. We think the policy should be wholly scrapped as social renters make five times better use of their space than owner occupiers, and it is unfair to tax bedrooms when 700,000+ houses lie empty. 

Below is a list of 25 of the demonstrations taking place throughout the UK. There will be at least 10 more additional protests taking place including Blackpool, Cambridge, Lincoln, Southampton, and elsewhere. I will add the other locations to this list after the details are finalised. If you wish to attend a protest, you can add your name to the attendance list by clicking on any of the locations below. If you have any queries you can email BedroomTax@Hotmail.com

Warrington (https://www.facebook.com/events/489244444444222/) (Wayne Blackburn)

Plymouth (https://www.facebook.com/events/456044871133544/(Suzy Franklin & Charlene Sibley)

Weymouth (https://www.facebook.com/groups/394211240674665/) (Theresa Green)

Liverpool (https://www.facebook.com/events/530193890345347/) (Debra Power & Claire Chapple)

Leeds (https://www.facebook.com/events/465476180185983) (Neil Walshaw & Alex Sobel)

Carlisle (https://www.facebook.com/events/163903523761180/) (Jaci Champney & Lisa Sherriff)

Bath (https://www.facebook.com/events/165438936942419) (Vicky Drew & Sam Baldwin) 

Oxford (https://www.facebook.com/events/415841695176263) (Beverley Clack & Michelle Paule)

Brighton (https://www.facebook.com/events/578882008789864(Adrian Morris & Michelle Maher)

Birmingham (https://www.facebook.com/events/212109875580341/) (Rhiannon Lockley)

Belfast (https://www.facebook.com/events/331242963654679/) (Betty Culpeck & C Dunlop)


Orange Juice Is Not What You Thought

Is NONE of my Food Sacred?!

Ahhhh, Orange Juice.  So Pure  So Natural. & So refreshing.  Or so I thought until I found out the industry's dirty little secret.
I drink orange juice everyday.  Let me rephrase.  I DRANK orange juice every day.  In fact, I was beginning to think something was wrong with me.  I drank it A LOT.  Almost addictively.  It was becoming an expensive habit.  But I never gave myself a hard time over it because it was orange juice...what could be so wrong with drinking a lot of orange juice, right? (Besides the fact that it is pasteurized, but I digress.....)  Afterall, I wasn't buying it from concentrate, which is way worse for you.
Well, now I know why I was drinking it so incessantly.
  • There's a reason why your orange juice always tastes consistent i.e. the taste never changes.
  • There's a reason why Tropicana doesn't taste like Simply Orange.
  • Besides pasteurization, there's another reason why the shelf life is really long.
Hey kids, an you say 'Aseptic Storage' and 'Deaeration'?  These words of the day are brought to you by the orange juice industry itself and should replace 'Fresh Picked' and 'Natural'.

Most, If Not All, Store Bought Orange Juice is Made the Following Way

What I thought was a product that was merely grown, picked, squeezed, pasteurized and then put in a carton is not that simple of a process.  The step between pasteurizing and packaging is an open secret in the Orange Juice industry and is standard industry practice.
After juicing the oranges, the juice goes to giant holding tanks and the oxygen is removed from them. This means that it can safely sit in there for up to a year.  This also means that the liquid is now tasteless.  What gives orange juice its flavor has 100% to do with the oxygen in it!

Flava Flave....Packets

So how come your orange juice tastes like - well - orange juice, then?  Ah....the company add in flavor packets.
When the juice is stripped of oxygen it is also stripped of flavor providing chemicals. Juice companies therefore hire flavor and fragrance companies, the same ones that formulate perfumes for Dior and Calvin Klein, to engineer flavor packs to add back to the juice to make it taste fresh. Flavor packs aren't listed as an ingredient on the label because technically they are derived from orange essence and oil. Yet those in the industry will tell you that the flavor packs, whether made for reconstituted or pasteurized orange juice, resemble nothing found in nature. The packs added to juice earmarked for the North American market tend to contain high amounts of ethyl butyrate, a chemical in the fragrance of fresh squeezed orange juice that, juice companies have discovered, Americans favor. Mexicans and Brazilians have a different palate. Flavor packs fabricated for juice geared to these markets therefore highlight different chemicals, the decanals say, or terpene compounds such as valencine.
 Excellent References: 
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Pedophilia & Corruption: Will next Pope stop Catholic hell?

Pope Benedict XVI is set to retire later on Thursday, becoming the first pope to abdicate in six centuries. Saying he wants to exit public life and remain 'hidden to the world' - he leaves his successor, to be named next month, to redeem the Church's reputation, following a string of child abuse and corruption allegations. There is little hope that even with Pope Benedict XVI stepping down, the Catholic Church will see an end to high-profile pedophile scandals. All Catholic clergy are culpable, David Lorenz of a priest abuse survivor network told RT.

RT LIVE http://rt.com/on-air

Is There Still Racial Injustice in This Country?

"The wealth gap between blacks and whites has ballooned since the middle of the Reagan administration, nearly tripling between 1984 and 2009, according to a new Brandeis University study.

The study, released Wednesday, found that the median white household held a net worth of $265,000 by 2009, eight times more than the median black household's net worth of just $28,500. That division will continue to haunt black Americans for years to come, according to Tatjana Meschede, a co-author of the study."*

What is the racial wealth gap in the United States, and has it gotten better over the years? How long has the legacy of racism persisted, and is there a just way to correct it? Cenk Uygur breaks it down.

*Read more from Huffington Post:

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Judge James Brady overturns Albert's conviction

International Coalition to Free the Angola 3

Yesterday, February 26, District Court Judge Brady released a 34-page ruling that granted habeas to Albert on the issue of racial discrimination in the selection of the grand jury foreperson for his 1998 retrial. This decision now overturns Albert's conviction for a third time.

In the 34-page ruling, Judge Brady reviews the arguments of both sides and concludes that Albert's team used the correct baseline for comparison, and that using that baseline, the discrimination is statistically significant no matter which tests are used. It was the State's burden in these proceedings to prove that there was a race neutral procedure in place for selecting forepersons. Judge Brady agreed with Albert that the State failed to do this.

Just as when Judge Brady overturned Albert's conviction in 2008, the State is now expected to appeal today's ruling to the 5th Circuit. Therefore, nothing is certain except that the legal team and A3 supporters will not stop fighting until this ruling is affirmed by the 5th Circuit and Albert is finally a free man.

This is an important victory, thanks in no small part to the efforts of our supporters!

--View/Download a PDF of Judge Brady's ruling here.
--As we learn more, we will post updates here, so please check www.angola3.org for more information about Albert's case. For more background, this is our report from the evidentiary hearing that preceded today's ruling. Also, to help us with outreach at this critical time, you can download an updated A3 flyer here.
Keep in Touch with Herman and Albert

Albert Woodfox #72148            Herman Wallace #76759
David Wade Correctional Center        Elayn Hunt Correctional Center
N1 A3                                                        CCR D #2
670 Bell Hill Road                                    PO Box 174
Homer, LA  71040                                  St. Gabriel, LA  70776

The innocence bus tour was a vision of Johnnie Lee Savory as part of his, and many others, commitment and efforts to end the plague of wrongful convictions

The innocence bus tour was a vision of Johnnie Lee Savory as part of his, and many others, commitment and efforts to end the plague of wrongful convictions. Wrongful convictions have been experienced by many of our nation’s people without regard to race, age, or gender and is a result of a number of factors including false accusations, false confessions, eyewitness misidentification, ineffective assistance of counsel, and the most common cause, revealed in a recent study by the Better Government Association and the Center on Wrongful Convictions, alleged government error and misconduct by police, prosecutors, and forensic officials.

Innocent people the world over are being falsely accused, unjustly convicted, and sentenced to nightmarish imprisonment for crimes they did not commit. The cries of the innocent echo in the wind; no longer can we as a people turn a deaf ear we must not deny love, truth, or justice to one another. As the innocence bus tour journeys across America and to Canada let these two blessed and great nations serve as righteous examples to humanity

The innocent bus tour will highlight and profile cases of wrongful convictions while advocating for the innocent in the following ways: Recognizing the vital relationship between social support and reintegration, we will serve as a vehicle to connect the innocent with community resources; insisting that DNA testing is made available to persons who claim innocence, particularly, those facing lengthy sentences; demanding the innocent be set free, fully restored to his or her rightful citizenship, and given Immediate compensation for the wrongs that were committed against him or her. Additionally, we seek to end prosecutorial misconduct immunity and hold accountable our elected appointed officials who have sworn before God and man to protect the administration of justice by adhering to the spiritual word in which he or she places his or her hand, obeying the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Truth must go forward unhindered, human rights must be protected, and the captive must be set free.

The vision of the innocence bus tour is reunited communities and a healed nation where justice truly prevails and innocence is coveted.

justice will prevail please Sign ! http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/dnaforsavory/ 

Why is Bradley Manning still in prison?

As whistleblower Bradley Manning passes 1,000 days behind bars, Belfast Telegraph columnist Eamonn McCann describes how he exposed torture and war crimes.
Bradley Manning 
Bradley Manning
BRADLEY MANNING spent his 1,000th day in prison on February 23.
Manning is the U.S. soldier who blew the whistle on torture and murder in Iraq and Afghanistan and who, as a result, has been hailed by U.S. politicians and media, not as a hero who took a stand against atrocity, but as a traitor who aided the enemy.
Held since May 29, 2010, Manning spent 10 months in solitary confinement in conditions described by the UN Rapporteur on Torture as "cruel, inhuman and degrading." This included being made to stand at attention naked for roll call.
Manning had made many thousands of classified documents detailing criminal behavior available to the world via Julian Assange's WikiLeaks website.
Included was a video, shot from an Apache helicopter over Baghdad in 2007, that shows U.S. personnel seemingly gleefully gunning down a dozen people below, including two employees of Reuter's news agency--photojournalist Namir Noor -Eldeen and his driver Saeed Chmagh. (Google "Collateral murder Iraq video" for the 17-minute sequence--and then ponder the fact that it's not the perpetrators, but the man who exposed them who finds himself behind bars, facing life.)
The leaked documents covered thousands of reports of the torture of prisoners; people hung from ceilings on hooks, scourged with metal cables, urinated on, sexually assaulted and maimed with electric drills.
Among other nuggets of horror revealed by Manning have been Department of Defense documents outlining the standing operating procedure for facilities such as Guantánamo Bay; cables from Tel Aviv detailing an Israeli policy designed to keep the economy of Gaza barely afloat ("functioning at the lowest level possible"); diplomatic communications from Port au Prince telling of a strategy of the Clinton presidency to block an increase in the Haitian minimum wage applying to textile workers mainly employed by U.S. companies.
The Iraq revelations helped speed U.S. withdrawal from the country. A cable provided by Manning described the summary execution by U.S. troops of 10 civilians--a man, four women and five children, a number of them handcuffed behind their backs--and a subsequent air strike to reduce the killing-ground to rubble and obliterate all trace of what had happened.
Exposure of the incident sparked outrage to the extent that the Iraqi government reinforced its refusal to grant U.S. troops blanket immunity beyond 2011 for actions in Iraq. Negotiations on the terms on which U.S. forces would stay on in an active role ended on this note.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
MANNING'S EXPOSURE, via WikiLeaks, of an incident in Afghanistan in 2009 similarly accelerated the schedule for Western withdrawal.
On May 4, at midnight, a B-52 bomber released its payload on the village of Granai in Farah province. The Red Cross estimated that 97 civilians had died, "more than half" of them children, as well as a much smaller number of Taliban fighters. The U.S. military insisted that the ratio was the other way round: 60 to 65 Taliban fighters and a total of between 20 and 30 civilians.
However, a State Department cable written shortly after the event and made public by Manning related a discussion between the head of the Afghan Red Cross, Reto Stocker, and U.S. Ambassador Carl Eikenberry, in which it was implied that the Red Cross was right: Stocker is referred to in the context of the figures as "one of the most credible sources for unbiased and objective information in Afghanistan."
The revelation that the Afghan authorities had been kept out of the loop, as much as the incident itself, frayed what trust remained between Kabul and Washington.
Much more along the same lines and different lines was revealed to the public by Manning; from Western connivance with Arab dictators in rendition and torture, to somewhat lighter scandals, such as the antics of Irish Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore in relation to European Union reform in 2009--thumping the table in public against a "nefarious" (his word) Fianna Fail plan to re-run the Lisbon referendum, which had been rejected by the people the previous year, while privately assuring the U.S. ambassador that Labour would not only endorse a re-run, but advocate a "yes" vote when it happened.
Bradley Manning can fairly claim to have exposed war crimes and helped end wars, to have shone a light on the duplicity and double-talk of politicians and given the public sight of some of shameful things being done in its name. There are few of us who can say we have done the world such service.
Can we claim to believe in open government and the public's right to know if we do not raise our voices to demand his release?
First published in the Belfast Telegraph.


Tuesday, 26 February 2013

US Supreme Court refuses to let Americans challenge FISA eavesdropping law

The US Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that Americans cannot challenge a provision of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 in federal court. Under amendments made to the bill in 2008, the government is allowed to warrantlessly eavesdrop on Americans' foreign communications, and although the Supreme Court ruled FISA couldn't be challenged, they didn't address the constitutionality of the legislation. Ginger McCall, director of Open Government Program for EPIC, joins us to talk about some of the unanswered questions of the law.
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"Makers: Women Who Make America": New Film Chronicles Past 50 Years of F...

 -http://www.democracynow.org We look at a major new documentary that tells the story of how women have shaped the United States over the last 50 years through political and personal empowerment. It's called, "Makers: Women Who Make America" and it premieres tonight in a three-hour special on PBS. Narrated by Meryl Streep, the film explores the women's movement from the publication of Betty Friedan's "The Feminine Mystique" published 50 years ago this month in 1963 to the Anita Hill v. Clarence Thomas hearings in 1991. "Makers" shares the story of legendary figures such as Gloria Steinem and Oprah Winfrey, to lesser known pioneers such as Kathrine Switzer. In 1967, Switzer became the first woman to officially enter and run the Boston Marathon. Her run made headlines when a top race official tried to forcibly remove her from the race. She finished the race.

We are all still Trayvon Martin

On February 26, 2012, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was walking back from the store through a mostly white gated community in the central Florida town of Sanford when he was stalked and stopped by a self-appointed neighborhood watchman, George Zimmerman. Minutes later, Trayvon was dead of a gunshot wound.
It took some weeks for the story of Trayvon's murder to capture national attention, but when it did, it was a galvanizing event, drawing attention to the fact that racism was alive and well in 21st century America. Anti-racist protests took place around the country, calling for justice for Trayvon, but also casting a spotlight on other instances of racist violence, particularly those carried out by police.
On the one-year anniversary of Trayvon Martin's death, Khury Petersen-Smith reflects on the crime and the national and international outrage against racism that it spurred.
Thousands came to Sanford for a demonstration to demand justice for Trayvon Martin (Gary W. Green | MCT/Newscom) 
Thousands came to Sanford for a demonstration to demand justice for Trayvon Martin (Gary W. Green | MCT/Newscom)
ONE YEAR after the murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin by vigilante George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida, it is worth taking stock of what this racist crime and the events that followed taught us about race in the U.S. today.
Perhaps more than anything else, the idea that the U.S. had somehow become, since the election of the country's first Black president, a post-racial society was shattered in ways that no one but the most bigoted, delusional people could deny.
The facts of the murder of Trayvon in 2012 read like those of a crime committed in 1962: A young Black man in a Southern town is perceived as a threat by a self-appointed neighborhood watchman in a largely white neighborhood; the vigilante stalks and murders the young man; despite the fact that the murder is witnessed by neighbors, the local police determine that the vigilante did nothing wrong, deciding to not even arrest him; the town establishment rallies around the cops to defend their decision and, above all, deny that the town has any problems with racism; even when the reality that a racist murder had taken place enters into the national conversation, media personalities argue that it was Trayvon's own poor decisions, particularly his choice to wear a hoodie and "dress like a thug," that led to his being killed.
It was partially the starkness of the crime--and the decisions of cops and town officials afterward--that inspired so much anger and unabashed support for Trayvon and his family.
But instead of focusing on the racism of cops and officials in a small and backward Southern town, we should remember the reaction outside of Sanford as well. Instead of springing into action to cover an obvious hate crime, in which the murderer was allowed to walk free, the national news media ignored the case of Trayvon Martin--until the protests of students at Florida public universities.
The weeks that followed witnessed racist hate inspired by support for George Zimmerman in plainly Northern cities like Columbus, Ohio, where the exterior of the Hale Black Cultural Center at Ohio State University was vandalized with pro-Zimmerman graffiti.
However, the most powerful feature of the aftermath of Trayvon's murder was the outpouring of protest in cities across the country. Tens of thousands of people--mostly African American--mobilized in outrage at the murder of Trayvon, the fact that his killer was protected by cops and politicians, and the bitter knowledge that any Black youth could easily suffer Trayvon's fate.
Trayvon's murder opened up a national conversation about the racist murder of Black people, by vigilantes and law enforcement. Police murders of African Americans in cities and towns across the country, previously treated as "local news," came to be understood as the local symptoms of a rampant, national problem. The names of other unarmed Black victims of police and vigilantes--such as DJ Henry in Westchester County, N.Y., Dane Scott Jr. in Del City, Okla., Rekia Boyd in Chicago, Ramarley Graham in New York City, and Bo Morrison in Slinger, Wis.--came to be known by people around the country.
In April, the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement released a report revealing that one Black person was murdered by law enforcement in the U.S. every 40 hours. The group later revised to statistic to every 36 hours.
Far from Sanford, Florida's problem alone, or even just a Southern problem, deadly racism against Black people came to be understood as an American problem. This is why Trayvon's murder struck such a chord with so many African Americans in particular. The popular slogan "We are Trayvon Martin" was not just a statement of solidarity, but a recognition that what happened to a 17-year-old in Florida could happen to any of us.
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ONE ASPECT of the murder and the events that followed that it is worth focusing on is the discussion of Trayvon's innocence.
The fact that Trayvon was an unarmed high school student, murdered on his way home from a trip to the store to buy candy, helped stir the tremendous sympathy for him. Subsequent efforts by racist defenders of Zimmerman to make Trayvon out to be a drug user and a delinquent failed in the face of evidence that Trayvon was a good student with no criminal history and a loving son.
But what if he hadn't been? Among the Black people who are murdered by vigilantes or cops, as among the population at large, are those with criminal records, and with problems at school, work and home.
Such records and problems don't justify neighborhood watch racists or law enforcement acting as judge, jury and executioner in the streets. It is the role of anti-racists to build a movement to demand justice for victims of racist violence, regardless of the circumstances of their lives.
The reaction of President Obama to the murder of Trayvon Martin offered another set of lessons about race in the U.S. today.
Despite the fact that the loyalty of Black voters played a decisive role in his election in 2008, Obama had said almost nothing about racism since taking office. When he held a press conference about the U.S. Justice Department's investigation of the shooting in Sanford and said, "If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon," it was understood by everyone that Obama was acknowledging the color of Trayvon's skin.
This was only the second time during his first four years--and the last time, as it turned out--that Obama would comment on race in light of current events. The first moment was when Black Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates was arrested in his own home in Cambridge, Mass., for disorderly conduct when a cop confronted him after witnessing him enter his own house.
At that point, Obama acknowledged the racist context in which Gates was arrested, rightly saying, "There's a long history in this country of African Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately." But Republicans and the media whipped up a circus about how Obama was disrespecting police--and the president caved to the pressure.
Eventually, Obama hosted Gates and Sgt. James Crowley, the white Cambridge police officer who had arrested Gates, at the White House for beers. The meeting of the three men, in which Crowley refused to apologize for arresting Gates, suggested that the problem was simply a misunderstanding to be talked out, instead of an example of racist policing so rampant that even one of the most prominent Black intellectuals in the country can't escape it.
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DESPITE OBAMA'S general silence on the issue, the last four years have seen a new conversation take place in the U.S. about racism, and how it is manifested in the criminal justice system against Black people.
The discussion has been aided tremendously, and a generation of anti-racists both politically armed and given a voice, by Michelle Alexander's book The New Jim Crow, which details the ways that the criminal justice system buttresses a system of de facto racial apartheid in modern-day America, through the mass incarceration of Black people.
In light of this discussion, the silence of Obama and his Justice Department on mass incarceration and police violence has been deafening. Whereas most people, Black and otherwise, expected Obama to improve conditions for African Americans during his presidency, all indicators--from Black unemployment, to foreclosure rates, to public school closings, to the still-growing prison population--suggest that this has not happened.
That it took mass rallies and marches across the country for weeks to push Obama to acknowledge Trayvon's murder should be a lesson: Instead of waiting for Obama to lead a fight against racism, we need to do so ourselves. Protest won't guarantee a response from Obama or any politician, but it's clear that they won't acknowledge racism at all if we don't protest.
Our movement, however, shouldn't be guided by how to gain the attention of those in positions of political power. Rather, we need to consider the question of how to build the greatest possible mobilization against racism.
Throughout the past, the only force that has achieved major victories against institutionalized racism--winning the right to vote, creating social programs like affirmative action to ameliorate the effects of racism and poverty, desegregating the schools, colleges and universities--has been mass struggle.
The fact that it took weeks of protest just to win the simple victory of getting Trayvon's murderer arrested shows for certain that the struggle against racism isn't outdated simply because a Black president sits in the White House. One year after Trayvon's murder, our fight against racism is still just beginning.


Caught on Video - Police Shoot Man 46 Times

The video shows a standoff between a mentally distressed man and six police officers. After the man failed to comply with police instructions he was shot 46 times.

Trailer: In Our Name

Questions torture techniques applied in Abu Ghraib, condemning US officials in charge who were never accused of human rights violations.

Sri Lanka: Rape of Tamil Detainees

(London, February 26, 2013) -- Sri Lankan security forces have been using rape and other forms of sexual violence to torture suspected members or supporters of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. While widespread rape in custody occurred during the armed conflict that ended in May 2009, Human Rights Watch found that politically motivated sexual violence by the military and police continues to the present.

The 140-page report, "'We Will Teach You a Lesson': Sexual Violence against Tamils by Sri Lankan Security Forces," provides detailed accounts of 75 cases of alleged rape and sexual abuse that occurred from 2006-2012 in both official and secret detention centers throughout Sri Lanka. In the cases documented by Human Rights Watch, men and women reported being raped on multiple days, often by several people, with the army, police, and pro-government paramilitary groups frequently participating.

Trayvon Martin Never Forgotten !

Witnesses On the Bridge" OUR COMMON GROUND March, 2013

More PowerPoint presentations from Janice Peak Graham 

Witnesses On the Bridge - Lessons Learned" March, 2013 Series with
Florence L. Tate, " FBI’s Most Wanted Press Secretary"

Monday, 25 February 2013

The Redemption of George Stinney, Jr. Part 2/3

The Redemption of George Stinney, Jr.
View part 1:

View Part 2:

The Redemption of George Stinney, Jr. Part 1/3

W.E. A.L.L. B.E. News spoke with Rev. Charles Stinney, the younger brother of George Stinney, Jr. who @ 14 was the youngest person legally put to death in the U.S. in the 20th Century under questionable circumstances.

W.E. A.L.L. B.E. TV: Soldier Boy Grip: George Stinney Jr., An Amerikkkan Travesty


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Missing Persons Video 2013 - NEVER LOSE HOPE

My eyes have been opened...in lands so rich and full as the ones we live in, how can we remain blind to the heartache and suffering? So many people go missing everyday. There is ALWAYS hope.
Bring these people and others like them...HOME

"Always Fight With Love": In Rare Footage, A Young MLK Jr. Launches the ...

To see much more from the film, "King: A Filmed Record," on Democracy Now!, visit http://owl.li/i1B3S. In a Black History Month special, Democracy Now! airs excerpts of the 1970 documentary, "King: A Filmed Record... Montgomery to Memphis," a rarely seen Oscar-nominated feature about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the rise of the civil rights movement. In this clip from December 1955, Dr. King addresses a full church in Montgomery, Alabama, just days after Rosa Parks was arrested. The African-American community in Montgomery had gathered to decide whether to begin what became the famous Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Pregnant Teen Sues to Keep Baby

"Mostly when we discuss the "right to choose," we focus on the right to safe and legal access to abortion. We mostly focus abortion as the "choice" because a woman's right to make her own family planning decisions is constantly under attack from conservative politicians and the anti-abortion movement, both of which are pickled with the Religious Right."*

An unnamed teenager in Texas sued her parents to keep her health insurance and car after they pressured her to get an abortion. Should the court have gotten involved? And why isn't this being treated as a pro-choice story? Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian break it down.

*Read more from Jessica Wakeman/ The Frisky: http://www.thefrisky.com/2013-02-21/t...

OWS targets private prison industry

It was a National Day of Action for the members of the Occupy Wall Street Movement. On Monday the movement spoke out against the private prison industry. The prison industry is said to have a lot of influence and power and gains major profits from keeping people behind bars. In all, thirteen cities took part in the day of action and Rania Khalek, independent journalist, helps take a deeper look at America's incarceration problem

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Why Hacktivists Are Top Targets for Politicians

"The White House warned today of the threat posed by WikiLeaks, LulzSec, and other "hacktivist" groups that have the ability to target U.S. companies and expropriate confidential data."*

Why aren't hackers in China being as actively pursued as hacktivists and people connected to Wikileaks? Well, who is exposing the unethical interests and corruption of politicians? Cenk Uygur explains who politicians are choosing to protect.

*Read more from Declan McCullagh/ CNET:

"Bro. Dick Gregory Unchained: On Lil Wayne & Emmett Till" 2/22/2013

"Bro. Dick Gregory Unchained: On Lil Wayne & Emmett Till" 2/22/2013

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Jalil Muntaqim Blog #19: Targeted Killings

Blog #19: Targeted Killing
The U.S. Senate and various arms of the media are questioning the Obama administration’s use of drones for targeted killings of U.S. citizens who are members of Jihadist Islamic groups. Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat and member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, is quoted as stating his intent to: “pull out all the stops to get to the actual legal analysis, because without it, in effect, the administration is practicing secret law.” (NY Times, 2/7/13)
On August 25, 1967, J. Edgar Hoover, Director of the FBU, initiated a counterintelligence program (COINTELPRO). On page 3, the memo reads: “You are also cautioned that the nature of this new endeavor is such that under no circumstances should the existence of this program be made known outside the Bureau, and appropriate in-office security should be afforded to sensitive operations and techniques considered under the program.”
The COINTELPRO operation has been legalized under the auspices of the Patriot Act, so that the purposed of COINTELPRO as originally initiated is no longer unconstitutional. As a result of COINTELPRO, many Black Panthers during that time were targeted for killing, the most noted probably being Fred Hampton and Mark Clark in Chicago. The point is that the U.S. government has been involved in secret targeted killings of U.S. citizens for decades; many remember the bombing of the MOVE family in Philadelphia, from which collateral damage resulted in an entire community being destroyed.
So, as the Senate Intelligence Committee proclaims astonishment that the Obama would engage in a secret program to use drones to target and kill U.S. citizens deemed “terrorists,” historically the U.S. government has been engaged in this practice for decades. “The purpose of this new counterintelligence endeavor is to expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize the activities of Black nationalist, hate-type organizations and groupings, their leadership, spokesmen, membership and supporters, and to counter their propensity for violence and civil disobedience.” Given the reality that drones are now being operated inside the U.S., coupled with the legalization of “neutralizing” U.S. citizens deemed “terrorists” by virtue of the Patriot Act and the broader 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, the progressive anti-imperialist and anti-racist activists should become wary. This is especially true when considering the FBI’s March 9, 1968 COINTELPRO memorandum that specifically stated: “Negro youths and moderates must be made to understand that, if they succumb to revolutionary teachings, they will be dead revolutionaries.”
The propensity of the U.S. government to kill (neutralize) its citizens to maintain the status quo corporate profit motive, i.e. capitalist-imperialist government, should not be mistaken in any activist’s mind. The U.S. government, in its desperation to seek profits over the needs of people, will become ever more repressive. The overt development of the police state, with media acquiescence, presenting a moral imperative that members of law enforcement, by virtue of having passed a civil service exam, are heroes, creates a profound social contradiction. Whereas law enforcement personnel are to serve and protect citizens, the greater potential exists that they will operate as corporate automatons to preserve the capitalist ideal of profits over people.
Hence, there is a need for initiating a broad-based national dialogue of the relationship between poor and oppressed peoples and law enforcement. This is essential to obviate the U.S. government’s long history of targeted killing of citizens, dissenters or otherwise! (See Blog #2: Government Sanctioned Killings)
In fierce struggle,
Jalil A. Muntaqim
Attica: 2-19-13


Free All Political Prisoners!