Category Archives: Criminal Justice

F.B.I. Searches Antiwar Activists’ Homes | Walter Lippmann

 
[CubaNews] October 05, 2010

Dear Friends –
 
Please read this note carefully, and, if you agree with the thrust of what it’s saying, copy and post it to any other lists where you can.
 
Thanks in advance.
 
The Grand Jury is being convened in Chicago tomorrow. All the help we can generate to protest this can only be helpful.
 
Last week, activists in many US cities joined in public protests against FBI raids targetting anti-war activists in several mid-western cities. I joined something like 100 people here at the Federal Building in downtown L.A. on Tuesday evening, along with a broad representation of left activists. Here’s a report from that demonstration:
 
http://www.walterlippmann.com/docs3105.html  This extremely important story has been largely, but not entirely blanked out of the national media. Amy Goodman covered it in an extensive way on DEMOCRACY NOW, and the left and alternative press has given good coverage, but the dominant corporate media has given it minimal play.
 
Though people who are active specifically around Cuba weren’t targeted THIS time, we must always keep in mind that Washington, which has sponsored or turned a blind eye to terrorist attacks against Cuba, has characterized Cuba as a “state sponsor of terrorism”. This has a wide array of consequences, not least of which is that anyone who wishes to bring about normalization of US relations with Cuba, and end to the US blockade, or takes a stand politically in favor of the Cuban Revolution could be targeted just as were the folks in the Mid-West. They have had their homes invaded, their property seized, and been called before the grand jury tomorrow in Chicago.
 
Fidel Castro has been writing about Colombia and about the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in recent years, and most recently just a few days ago.
 
Recall the recent Colombian government attack on a key FARC base, which resulted in the death of its military commander. President Obama publicly congratulated the Colombian President, Juan Manuel Santos, for a job well done.
Thus the timing of these raids, at a time when protest against US foreign policy is urgently needed, underscores the importance of the right to protest here in the United States. Similarly, the removal of Piedad Cordoba from her Colombian Senate seat, BANNED FROM OFFICE FOR EIGHTEEN YEARS, though no criminal charges have been filed against her, should help everyone to understand the importance of democratic rights broadly. Her constituents have thus been denied political representation, just by decision of some official of the Colombian government.
 
 Fidel Castro: Piedad Cordoba and Her Fight for Peace
http://www.cuba.cu/gobierno/reflexiones/2010/ing/c300910i.html
 
 
PRI’S “THE WORLD: Colombian senator “collaborated” with FARC
By The World ⋅ October 4, 2010

http://www.theworld.org/2010/10/04/colombian-senator-collaborated-with-farc/
 
The Committee to Stop FBI Repression, uniting diverse voices opposed to the raids and the threats to the civil liberties of all, has been formed and has called a range of actions demanding and end to the attacks. Several items will follow this one. All make essentially the same point: An injury to one is an injury to all. Stop the raids, end the repression, and file no charges. It’s not illegal to protests US foreign policy.  While the US government says it’s trying to bring democracy to the world, it’s actively working to thwart the expression of democratic rights here
in these United States of America.
 
When I called the White House, I spoke, after a very short wait, with a volunteer who said she would take my comment, but not my name, and see to it that the President receives notice of the expression of opinion. Let’s hope many call.
 
The Grand Jury convenes in Chicago tomorrow, so the more who call, the more can public opposition be made manifest. This could help press the government to draw back.

WALTER LIPPMANN
    Los Angeles, California
    Editor-in-Chief, CubaNews
   
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CubaNews/

    “Cuba – Un Paraíso bajo el bloqueo”
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Huey P. Newton

February 17, 1942 – August 22, 1989    Huey Newton

Huey Percy Newton  founded the Afro-American Society and was a co-founder of the Black Panther Party, serving as its minister of defense during much of the 1960s. Later he turned to community service for the poor.

Newton was born February 17, 1942, in Monroe, Louisiana. The youngest of seven children, Huey was named for former Louisiana governor Huey Pierce Long.

The Newton family moved to Oakland, California, in 1945 to take advantage of the job opportunities created by World War II wartime industries. In Oakland the family moved often, and in one house Huey was compelled to sleep in the kitchen. Even though the Newton’s were poor and victims of discrimination and segregation, Huey contends that he never felt deprived as a child and that he never went hungry.

Newton, founded the Black Panther Party for Self Defense in 1966 with Bobby Seale. The organization advocated that Black Americans “bear arms in self-defense” against community repression by police. Among the tactics he employed was the institution of ”justice patrols” by armed Black men whose purpose was to monitor police actions and inform community residents of their rights when confronted by law enforcement.

In 1967 Newton was arrested and charged in the shooting of one policeman and the killing of another. His trial and subsequent conviction focused attention on the issue of police brutality.

Newton was considered a political prisoner. A national movement using the catch phrase ”Free Huey!” rallied people across the nation to the cause of civil rights.

After he served 22 months, his conviction was overturned due to a prosecution error in the trial.

In 1970, he was called to appear before the California State Senate Un-American Activities committee to answer charges that the Black Panther Party was a communist-run organization.

In 1974, Newton spent time as a fugitive in Cuba after being accused in the murder of a 14-year-old prostitute and of pistol-whipping his tailor. He returned to Oakland and faced two trials on the charges, both of which ended in hung juries.

ARREST IN MURDER OF NEWTON

INTERVIEW (1968) –

Huey P. Newton

“Revolutionary Nationalism- A good example of revolutionary nationalism was the revolution in Algeria when Ben Bella took over. The French were kicked out but it was a people’s revolution because the people ended up power. The leaders that took over were not interested in the profit motive where they could exploit the people and keep them in a state of slavery. They nationalized the industry and plowed the would be profits into the community. That’s what socialism is all about in a nut The people’s representatives are in office strictly on the leave of the people. The wealth of the country is controlled by people and they are considered when ever modifications in the industries are made.

The Black Panther Party is a revolutionary Nationalist group and we see a major contradiction between capitalism in this country and our interests. We realize that this country became very rich upon slavery and that slavery is capitalism in the extreme. We have two evils to fight, capitalism and racism. We must destroy both racism and capitalism.”

(Bio continues at ~ http://www.africawithin.com/bios/huey_newton.htm )

Alameda Courthouse

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Attica! Attica! Attica! | By Kevin Alexander Gray

Attica! Attica!

On September 10, 1971, more than 1,000 inmates took over the Attica Correctional Facility, a maximum security prison located in western New York.

Attica The prisoners broke windows and burned beds and furniture after overtaking 32 guards and civilian employees.

Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller giving inmates finger

Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller giving inmates finger

It took over 1,500 state troopers and sheriff deputies to regain control.

By September 13th 1971, 42 people had been killed and the uprising was over.

BlackPast.org –   There were many causes of the riot. Tensions were already high “as the prison was extremely overcrowded and inmates were being denied basic sanitation needs. They were usually limited to one shower a week and one roll of toilet paper per month. Additionally there were allegations of racism by the prison’s all white guards against the 54% black population and a significant Puerto Rican minority.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/rockefellers/peopleevents/e_attica.html

William Kunstler @ Attica

William Kunstler @ Attica

Using pipes, chains, and baseball bats, the inmates quickly overcame the guards in the area.  Suddenly they were in command of the prison and had taken 40 staff members hostage. Their demands were: federal takeover of the prison, better conditions, amnesty for the crimes committed during the revolt, and the removal of the prison’s superintendent.

Attica aftermathThe authorities and prisoners remained at a stalemate for four days until New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller approved an operation to reclaim the prison. Tear gas was dropped by helicopter into the prison yard and law enforcement officers opened fire into the smoke. In six minutes more than two thousand rounds had been discharged. The prison was retaken but at the cost of thirty nine inmates and ten guards lives.

AtticaThe nine member commission put together by Governor Rockefeller to sort out this tragedy had a number of criticisms about the handling of this situation. The media was allowed access and this attention gave the prisoners a national spotlight that they were unwilling to give up. Governor Rockefeller, despite numerous requests from the Corrections Commissioner Russell Oswald to come to the prison, had refused and then ordered the state’s armed forces into action without ever appraising the situation himself.  Also the negotiations were hampered by the fact that they took place with 1,200 rioters looking on.

The assault itself was poorly planned and inmates and hostages alike were wounded and killed as a result. The use of shotguns after the tear gas was dropped in particular was criticized as the potential for unintentional injuries was enormous.  Additionally no adequate medical care was arranged for those injured in the assault and rushing to find help for the wounded put lives needlessly in danger.”

AtticaIn the end there were conflicting calls for tougher prisons on one side, and for prison reform to correct the abuses that had contributed to the riot on the other. In the immediate aftermath of the riot, the prisoners’ rights movement flourished for a brief bit and a number of reforms were instituted.  But in the years since, politicians have opted to be “tougher on crime by incarcerating many more people, thus Attica 1971overcrowding many facilities; reducing any service that might be seen as “coddling” prisoners; reducing or eliminating prison education programs” and generally creating a permanent criminal underclass.

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Angela Davis | Women, Privilege and Prisons

Angela DavisRenowned civil rights and womens rights leader Angela Davis spoke at Ebenezer Baptist Church in downtown Atlanta on March 24, 2009 for the keynote address of Emory Universitys Womens History Month. Davis’ long-standing commitment to prisoners’ rights dates to her involvement in the campaign to free the Soledad Brothers, which led to her own arrest and imprisonment in 1970.


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Obama, Gates & Crowley | By Kevin Alexander Gray

The ProgressiveCitizens have the right to talk back to the police


President Barack Obama reached the wrong conclusion on the controversy between the police officer and the professor.

He said both people overreacted, and by bringing them to the White House for beers, he sought to make the controversy go away.

Instead, as someone who has sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution, he should have taken an unequivocal stand for free speech.

Citizens in this United States have the right to talk back to the police. The cops are not the Gestapo. We should not conclude from this incident that we need to be more servile. Instead, we should conclude that police abuse their authority when they slap a “disturbing the peace” or “disorderly conduct” charge on someone who is standing up for his rights.

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The Colfax Louisiana shooting | “Teachable Moment?”

Obama needs to convene beer summits all over the USA.

The Colfax (Louisiana) police shooting (July 24, 2009).

The subject of the 4:54 minute video is the July 24, 2009 fatal shooting of 54-year old Natchitoches, Louisiana resident Harold Phillips by Colfax, Louisiana Police Officer Stephen Merchant.

Phillips, who’d just been released from the Natchitoches Correctional Facility, died after Merchant reportedly shot the fleeing Phillips.

Eyewitnesses claim the officer misinterpreted “horseplay” between the dead man and his sister, believing he was witnessing a domestic assault.

Merchant is white. Phillips is black.

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Stand in Solidarity with Prof. Gates! Say NO to Racism!

Bail Out The People Movement

Stop Racial Profiling and Police Brutality!

Prof. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Was Right!

The Cambridge Cops Must Apologize!

Youth Need Jobs & Schools – Not Jails!
 
Demand a Justice Department Investigation of Racial Profiling Across the US!

———————-
Sign the Online Petition.
http://www.bailoutpeople.org/gatespetition.shtml  (text of online petition)

Let President Obama, Attorney General Holder, Massachusetts Governor Patrick, Cambridge Mayor Simmons, the Cambridge City Council, Cambridge Police Commissioner Haas, Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano, the Senate and House Judiciary Committees, Congressional Leaders and members of the media know you stand against racism with Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and you want the Obama administration to launch a national investigation into racial profiling and police brutality NOW!

The arrest of Prof. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. by a Cambridge police officer after showing two forms of identification after he, along with a Black limo driver, had unjammed the lock to the front door of Gates’ own house in a predominantly white, upscale neighborhood known as “Harvard Square” has brought the struggle against racism to the front pages of newspapers throughout the US and around the world.

The Cambridge Police Department and their racist allies have worked overtime to slander and vilify Prof. Gates. But his only crime was in fact to resist the racist arrogance of the Cambridge Police and not acquiesce to their racist and unjust treatment of him. The torrent of racist vitriol targeting Prof. Gates as well as the absolute racist arrogance displayed by the Cambridge Police Department in demanding that Pres. Obama and Gov. Patrick apologize for expressing support for Prof. Gates, cannot go unanswered!  It is time for all poor and working people, and particularly whites, to come out against these racist attacks and stand foursquare in 100% solidarity with Professor Gates and against racial profiling and police brutality.

Cambridge, Harvard University and Boston are seen around the world as bastions of liberalism, hotbeds of progressive ideas and prestigious places from which cutting-edge research emanates. But the racial profiling and arrest of Prof. Gates have re-raised the question of how much has changed since the 1970s when, in the wake of court-ordered busing for desegregation, white racist mobs were stoning buses carrying Black school children and attacking Black people on the streets and in their homes.

Gates was Right! The Cambridge Police Department was Wrong!

Racial profiling is another expression of institutionalized racism. In the U.S., racial profiling and police brutality have become an unfortunate reality of life for people of color, especially youth. It doesn’t matter whether it occurs in the inner city, a small town, or an upper-middle class suburb.

In a 2004 report entitled “Threat and Humiliation: Racial Profiling, Domestic Security and Human Rights in the United States,” Amnesty International documented that in a year-long investigation, an estimated 32 million people had been racially profiled–the vast majority of them from nationally oppressed groups. One can only imagine how much these numbers have increased over the last five years, not only for those born in the U.S. but also for immigrants.  Since 9/11 there has been a corresponding increase in racial profiling targeting the Arab and Muslim communities.

The police have been, by far, the most feared perpetrators of racial profiling, and understandably so. Police harassment and brutality is an epidemic.  According to a 2008 report by the Washington, D.C. based Campaign for Youth Justice entitled ”Critical Condition: African American Youth in the Justice System” African American youth make up 30 percent of youth arrested while they represent only 17 percent of the overall youth population. Additionally, African American youth are 62 percent of the total number of youth prosecuted in the adult criminal system and are nine times more likely than white youth to receive an adult prison sentence.

One only needs to remember how the Somerville 5 (5 Black youth from Somerville who were arrested on racist frame up charges by the Medford Police)  or the Jena 6 were treated.  Not to mention the racism that followed the devastation of the 9th Ward in New Orleans as a result of hurricane Katrina.

As the economic crisis deepens the ruling class will use all means at its disposal to foster artificial divisions between white workers and Black, Latina/o, and immigrant workers.  It is our responsibility to build a movement based on anti-racist, class-wide solidarity–as workers of all nationalities are losing their jobs, homes, health care and pensions in rapid numbers; and as the economic crisis becomes even more severe. Continue reading

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