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War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing. Edwin Star sang those lyrics in 1970 on his album War & Peace. The song “War” was No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for 15 weeks. In 1970, the U.S. was deeply involved in the Vietnam war. I was 19, prime age for feeding the war machine. The lyrics have influenced my life ever since. Massive spending on our military hasn’t resulted in peace. Instead, we have more war and terrorism. Funding peace-building and peace-keeping should be a top priority of every member of Congress.
Know who Aaron Pointer is? How about Cuno Barragan? Or Dave Roberts, Wayne Cage and Bill Murphy? They are all retired persons of color who currently don’t receive pensions from having played Major League Baseball (MLB). Mr. Pointer doesn’t receive a traditional pension from MLB because the rules for receiving MLB pensions changed in 1980. Pointer and the other men do not get pensions because they didn’t accrue four years of service credit.
When political resistance erupted throughout the country after Trump’s election, professional athletes were hardly expected to be catalysts for social change, or even on the front lines of protest. Back in the 1960s individual athletes expressed dissent – U.S. sprinters John Carlos and Tommie Smith gave the All Power to the People salute from the 1968 Olympic podium in Mexico City. Heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali rejected the draft because of his opposition to the Vietnam War. They paid a heavy price.
Today Swift Justice received information that Kinetik Justice (Robert Earl Council), co-founder of the Free Alabama Movement, was assaulted by two correctional officers at Limestone Correctional Facility last week. Swift Justice asked us to pass these words along: “TODAY I ask EVERYONE, no matter what state or country, to unite and protect Kinetik Justice in a time he needs us most!”
It is clear that Ricky Davis never had a chance of receiving fairness in a toxic judicial environment. The Ricky Davis affair is just one of the little known travesties that has arisen as a result of Hurricane Katrina. In Louisiana, a life sentence means you die in prison. Mr. Davis’ act of heroism has turned him into a victim of an arbitrary racially motivated legal lynching. If Black Lives Matter, it’s hard to tell down here in Louisiana.
Burundian Foreign Minister Willy Nyamitwe has accused neighboring Rwanda of training rebels to destabilize Burundi with cross border attacks. Rwandan President Paul Kagame responded that the Burundian president was simply trying to distract people from his own problems, but Carina Tertsakian, a Human Rights Watch researcher in Burundi, confirmed the foreign minister’s accusation. KPFA’s Ann Garrison spoke to Father Thomas Nahimana.
When Bill and Hillary Clinton married in 1975, a friend gave them a trip to Haiti for their honeymoon. The Washington Post reported: “Since that honeymoon vacation, the Caribbean island nation has held a life-long allure for the couple, a place they found at once desperate and enchanting, pulling at their emotions throughout his presidency and in her maiden year as secretary of state.”
Early reports revealed that Dylann Roof, a high school dropout, had a seldom used Facebook page and many Black friends. Then the Facebook photo of Roof sitting on his car with a Confederate flag license plate was revealed and another of Roof wearing a jacket with the flags of Apartheid South Africa and White-run Rhodesia, indicating that Roof was capable of tragically putting into practice what had been preached to him.
In the South Carolina prison system, accessing Facebook is an offense on par with murder, rape, rioting, escape and hostage-taking. Back in 2012, the South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC) made “Creating and/or Assisting With a Social Networking Site” a Level 1 offense, a category reserved for the most violent violations of prison conduct policies. It’s one of the most common Level 1 offense charges brought against inmates.
From a bombed NAACP office in Colorado to the decimated town of Baga, Nigeria, acts of terrorism against Black people and institutions have failed to generate much attention in the United States this past week. Most of the Western world and its political leaders have, instead, turned their eyes to Paris, France – the location of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. While the world holds its arms out in sympathy for Charlie Hebdo, we who believe in freedom must seek justice for Black people around the world – including for the victims of Boko Haram. We must continue to say that all Black lives matter, even when the world refuses to see it.
Alfred Wright was a 28-year-old physical therapist, a “man of great faith,” and father of three sons. He went missing for 18 days. He was found by volunteers and his father, stripped down to his shorts and one sock, with his throat cleanly slit and one ear missing. The police recorded the cause of death as “accidental drug overdose.” Alfred Wright was also a Black man married to a pretty white woman … in small-town Texas.
Earlier this year, President Obama asked how one might weigh the “tens of thousands who’ve been killed in Syria versus the tens of thousands who are currently being killed in the Congo.” But as tragic and devastating as the Congo conflict is, Congolese are not asking for the United States – or the international community – to militarily intervene.
Supporters of prisoners who are on the 43rd day of a hunger strike are expressing outrage at an order signed today by a federal judge allowing strikers to be force fed, disregarding international human rights principles. Thousands of prisoners have united to challenge the torture of prolonged isolation, demanding an accountable process to challenge the gang validations that have kept them in security housing for decades. Gov. Jerry Brown stands silent but is presumably in agreement with the force-feeding strategy, which will prevent the strikers from becoming martyrs.
On Wednesday, July 17, Nick Long reported for the Voice of America that the Congolese army’s recent successes at driving the M23 militia from their positions in eastern Congo have caused euphoria amongst Congolese, particularly in Goma, the capital city of North Kivu Province on Congo’s border with Rwanda. Here’s that Voice of America radio report:
Yasiin Bey appears in a video launched today demonstrating the standard operating procedure for force-feeding prisoners on hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay. Made by human rights charity Reprieve and Bafta-award winning director Asif Kapadia, the film shows U.S. actor and rapper formerly known as Mos Def experiencing the procedure.
After more than two years of a full-fledged Pentagon and NATO-led war against the North African state of Libya, the installed General National Congress regime is now requesting assistance from their neo-colonial masters. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen indicated that the Western-backed government in Tripoli had requested assistance on security matters.
The Re-Examining the Lucasville Uprising Conference, held April 19-21 in Columbus, Ohio, to mark the 20th anniversary of the Lucasville Uprising, was a resounding success by all reports. “A strong and vibrant coalition has come together to advocate for innocence of those convicted in the aftermath of the uprising,” reports Noelle Hanrahan of Prison Radio, one of the organizers.
Twenty years ago, there was a prison uprising in Lucasville. A correctional officer and several prisoners who collaborated with the prison administration were murdered. Imam Saddique Hasan and other prisoners who acted as spokespeople for the prisoners were eventually charged with the murders and have been held on Ohio’s death row ever since.
The much-publicized brutality and inhumane conditions suffered by prisoners in solitary confinement worldwide has once again sparked global debates on the unprecedented urgency of prison abolition and, by default, on the implementation of community-led restorative justice programs. Over the past two to three decades, the global penal system has turned increasingly roughshod and its practices have grown greatly abusive.
A federal appeals court in New Orleans has overturned the conviction of former New Orleans police officer David Warren, one of the former cops tried and convicted of an assortment of charges related to the murder of Henry Glover, who was shot by police and later burned in an abandoned car by cops just days after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans more than seven years ago.
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