Archive for February 2015

U.S. and Europeans Seek Control of Nigeria

Boko Haram’s jihadist rebellion in northern Nigeria has caused “the fracturing of the Nigerian body politic,” making the country more vulnerable to manipulation by the United States and European powers, said Eric Draitser, a political analyst and publisher of the web site “Nigeria is by far the most dynamic economy in Africa.” Therefore, “it is a major prize for the United States and the European powers,” said Draitser.

Rwandan Dictator Fears Loss of Immunity

Paul Kagame’s government allows “no freedom of movement, no freedom of association,” and “has massacred Rwandan Hutu refugees” in Congo, said Paul Rusesabagina, the real-life hero played by actor Don Cheadle in the movie Hotel Rwanda. The movie portrayed Kagame’s forces as the good guys, but Rusesabagina, now in exile, tells a different story. Kagame is trying to remain in power past constitutional limits because he fears indictment by foreign courts as soon as he loses presidential immunity, said Rusesabagina, in an interview on the Taylor Report, CIUT Radio, Toronto, Canada.

U.S. Helped Create ISIS “Monster”

What we see in the Middle East, today, “is the product of two and a half centuries of European and American intrusion” into the Arab and Muslim world, said Jennifer Lowenstein, who teaches Middle East Studies at the University of Wisconsin, at Madison. ISIS is “a Frankenstein’s monster that the U.S. helped create.” Lowenstein, who has lived and worked for many years in the region, said the U.S. is “becoming a pariah nation, despised by almost every other country in the world.”

Proposed Limits on Solitary Confinement in New Jersey

Atty. Jean Ross, a member of the Newark-based People’s Organization for Progress, testified recently in favor of legislation that would bar solitary confinement for prisoners under 21, people with mental illness, and pregnant women. The bill would “require that anyone in solitary confinement be reviewed every day by a clinician,” to monitor their mental and physical condition.

The Worst “Crap Hole” Among Pennsylvania’s Prisons

Prisoners rate Frackville State Prison as “a crap hole” and “perhaps the worst” facility in the state’s prison system, said inmate Bryant Arroyo, in a report to Prison Radio. Arroyo calls Frackville an “anonymous fiefdom” where “the guards seem to find great pride, even honor, in perpetrating their anti-prisoner culture” of “unrestrained authority, separate from the state correctional system.” Frackville is also home to Mumia Abu Jamal, the nation’s best known political prisoner.

NYPD Creates Machine Gun-Toting Anti-Protest/Terror Unit

New York City police commissioner William Bratton announced formation of a 350-officer, machine gun-equipped Strategic Response Group unit to deal with Black Lives Matter protests as well as terror attacks. “That’s outrageous.” said Carl Messineo, legal director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, a DC-based outfit that has won millions of dollars in damages against police departments that abuse protesters’ civil rights. “The police always conflate terrorism and protest.” The mayor needs to “disband this unit before it is put into place,” said Messineo. “This is a mission that is doomed to disaster.”

Ferguson Protest Leader Speaks on Holder’s Tricks and Oprah’s Insults

Taurean Russell, one of the leaders of Hands Up United, has been a key protest organizer since the day Officer Darren Wilson killed Michael Brown on a street in Ferguson, Missouri. Asked how Blacks in Ferguson reacted to word that Attorney General Eric Holder will not indict Wilson on civil rights charges, Russell said: “We really don’t care if the system brings charges or indicts him. The community has indicted him.” The protests “woke up a lot of people to the hypocrisy that is the system.” On media Tycoon Oprah Winfrey’s criticism, that young leaders of the new movement don’t know what they want, Russell said protesters’ demands have been widely circulated since August. “I assume that she has a billion distractions – literally,” he said.

Black Judas at the Justice Department

For months, the U.S. Justice Department has been telling selected media that there will be no federal civil rights indictment of former cop Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown. The latest leak prompted whistleblower and BAR editor and columnist Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo to author an article titled, “Eric Holder’s Final Betraying Kiss to the People of Ferguson.” “The symbolism is obviously the kiss between Judas and Christ,” said Coleman-Adebayo. In a sense, the leak liberates the Brown family from an eternity of waiting. “Trayvon Martin’s family has been waiting for three years,” she said. All the martyrs’ families “should know they’ll get the same response” from Holder’s Justice Department as Michael Brown’s family.

Marissa Alexander Out of Prison on House Arrest

After spending three years and 65 days in a Florida prison, Marissa Alexander has been placed under house arrest. The Black mother had faced as much as 60 years in prison for firing a shot to ward off her abusive husband. Her supporters convened a People’s Movement Assembly to welcome Alexander back to Jacksonville. “When we got rid of capitalism and the prison system, we also have to dismantle patriarchy,” said Aleta Alston-Toure, co-leader of the Free Marissa Now Mobilization Campaign. “The National Rifle Association supports people having guns in their homes to protect themselves. But, why wasn’t Marissa in that equation? Because she’s a Black woman,” said Alston-Toure.

February 20 Event for Lynne Stewart and All Political Prisoners

On New Year’s Eve, 2013, people’s lawyer Lynne Stewart was released from federal prison on compassionate grounds, suffering from Stage Four cancer. “We are celebrating the year that Lynne has had out. The life expectancy was six months,” said her husband and lifelong comrade in struggle, Ralph Poynter. The celebration, at 6:pm on Friday, February 20, at St. Peter’s Church, 54th Street and Lexington Avenue, in Manhattan, will call for freedom for all political prisoners. “These are the people who gave their all, and we have to recognize them,” said Poynter. A new movement is afoot. But, how can young people be expected to put their liberty at risk, when the prisoners of two generations ago are still behind bars? “We cannot expect them to join in under those circumstances,” said Poynter. “So, let us do something about it, if we truly are a movement people.”

Three Arrested as Obama Tries to Ram Secret Trade Treaty Through Congress

Capitol Hill police charged three protesters with disrupting the Senate Finance Committee’s hearings on the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), a huge trade treaty that is being negotiated in secret. President Obama wants Congress to give him authority to sign the pact, sight unseen. “It’s going to strip jobs out of the country; it will lower wages and increase the wealth divide; it’s going to deregulate banking; it’s terrible for food and health and water – it’s just a monster,” said Kevin Zeese, of Popular Resistance. He urged opponents to go to to pressure their congresspersons.

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