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2014 January

Monthly Archives: January 2014

We stand with our sister: Stop the attacks on Myrlande Liberis-Pavert and the Lavalas...

On Friday, Jan. 17, it was reported by news agencies that a Haitian judge investigating the assassination of Jean Dominique, a crusading Haitian journalist who was killed in 2000, recommended the indictment of former Sen. Myrlande Liberis-Pavert, a founder and former director of the Aristide Foundation for Democracy, along with eight others. No legal documents to sustain these charges have been made public.

Mission Statement of the Pelican Bay Human Rights Movement First Amendment Campaign

The First Amendment Campaign will serve as an “oversight committee” responding to any and all potential First Amendment constitutional violations, as predicated upon the concrete material facts presented to our subsidiary teams focusing on investigation, research, propaganda and community relations and community defense. Through these teams the oversight committee will serve as the “brain trust” by coordinating the logistics for appropriate action regarding actual First Amendment constitutional violations.

Appeals court rules 7,000 New Orleans teachers unfairly laid off post-Katrina

New Orleans teachers who lost their jobs in the wake of Hurricane Katrina were wrongfully terminated and deserve two to three years of back pay, an appeals court ruled Jan. 16. The ruling affects more than 7,000 teachers who were fired and comes after years of legal wrangling, The Times-Picayune reported. Katrina catalyzed the ground-up remaking of the New Orleans public school system, of which the mass layoffs of thousands of teachers was just one part. The layoffs also destabilized neighborhoods.

Our people – our evolution: ‘Emmett Till: An American Hero’

“Emmitt Till” does more than call attention to how Till’s death ignited the U.S. Civil Rights Movement in the ‘50s and ‘60s. It points to the quiet heroism of Mamie Till Mobley in the face of unspeakable horror and unrelieved terrorism. Come see this dynamic and inspirational play by Tavia Percia and the Tavia Percia Theatre Company: Saturday, Feb. 1, 7 and 9 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 2, 3 and 5 p.m., at the Eastside Arts Alliance, 2277 International Blvd, Oakland.

Andy Lopez coalition blasts DA Ravitch and SRPD for refusal to release report or...

In what increasingly appears to be a concerted whitewash of the Oct. 22 shooting of 13-year old Andy Lopez by Deputy Sheriff Erick Gelhaus, DA Jill Ravitch and the Santa Rosa Police Department (SRPD) continued to maintain an impenetrable cloak of silence blanketing the “investigative report” into Deputy Gelhaus’ murder of toy gun touting Andy Lopez.

Declining a deal with the devil: Coercive journaling required to ‘step down’ from solitary...

Since implicit in making it a requirement that people participate in those programs available in each step and that any failure to do so will result in a person being moved back to Step 1 until that person agrees to subordinate him/herself to the dictates of Section 700.2 (self-directed journals), the cognitive restructuring/brainwashing program is, clearly, mandatory.

The rich ride for free, the po’ get po’liced: Mayor Lee orders Muni sweeps

“People are evading their fares. We are only here because the mayor wants to cut down on all the crime,” Officer Carrasco barked at me, while issuing a citation for alleged fare evasion to a young African-descendent student on his way to school. This young brother was one of over 25 people caught in a “sweep” – read invasion – of a Muni bus, who were pulled off the bus so citations could be issued.

Richmond’s people to people delegation: How beautiful is Cuba!

“Cuba is neither the hell that our enemies like to pretend it is nor the paradise that our friends wish it to be, but a country which struggles just like many others.” This is the assessment of our Cuban tour guide during the last day of our 10-day, 10-person people to people visit to Cuba in December 2013, led by the mayor of Richmond, California, Gayle McLaughlin.

Party with Bluesman Augusta Collins at the African American Museum and Library in Oakland...

Augusta Collins is one of the Bluesmen who still roam around Oakland playing the music of his generation, one of the classical music forms indigenous to Black people of the U.S. Many of today’s young people do not know that in the ‘40s and early ‘50s, West Oakland’s Seventh Street was one of the Blues hubs west of the Mississippi. Augusta Collins’ music is reminiscent of that sound, and his party will hit upon that vibe.

How the discovery of COINTELPRO saved me from prison

By now millions of Americans have heard about COINTELPRO. COINTELPRO was the FBI’s evil and illegal system of spying, lying, telephone wire taps, frame-ups and assassination that violated the constitutional and human rights that they claim to uphold. I was recently asked, while doing a Black Panther Party historical tour in Oakland, how COINTELPRO affected me personally. Here is one of my stories.

IRS attacks Cuba-supporting IFCO for fiscally sponsoring Viva Palestina

In addition to condemning IFCO for its support of Viva Palestina, the IRS has also attacked our years of solidarity work with Cuba. In both instances our legal advisor eloquently described work we have historically done to advance the struggles of oppressed people for justice and self-determination. The projects we support and operate have faithfully furthered our mission and our organization’s tax-exempt purpose, as it was originally described.

Cuba and Miami announce record low infant mortality rates – Cuba 30% lower than...

“Florida’s infant mortality rate is at an all-time low,” reports the Tampa Tribune. So is Cuba’s, according to Prensa Latina. In Miami, the infant mortality rate dropped from 6.4 out of every 1,000 live births in 2011 to 6 in 2013. “State health officials credit improved prenatal and infant health care for the good news,” says the Tribune. By that measure, Cuba’s prenatal and infant health care must be much better than Miami’s, where 34 percent of the population is Cuban.

Prisoner Political Action Committee update: In solidarity, we can win

The positive response to this idea has been quite remarkable. The agreement to end all group hostilities that our reps reached and made public must be upheld. Reach out to your family and friends and urge them to educate themselves about, and become involved in, the democratic process, to vote according to their interests and, when the time comes, forward a contribution to our PAC in whatever amount you can.

Menard hunger strikers endure beating, threats by nurses but vow, ‘We will not let...

“Today we declared a peaceful hunger strike due to the conditions of confinement we are being subjected to.” “There are only about 25 to 28 inmates on the high security unit and most of us are on hunger strike. The rest are too fearful to do it because we’ve been told they’ll never let us out of Administrative Detention if we complain too much.” “We are all staying on hunger strike until something is done about our conditions.” Please call or email: Warden Rick Harrington, Illinois Department of Corrections Director Salvador Godinez, Gov. Pat Quinn

Five years after the Oscar Grant murder: Author of ‘No Doubt: The Murder(s) of...

It has been five years since Oakland was set on fire during the Oakland Rebellions that were a result of the BART police murder of Oscar Grant. Los Angeles based journalist Thandisizwe Chimurenga is set to release her book, “No Doubt: The Murder(s) of Oscar Grant,” in the coming weeks. This book gives a much needed political analysis of what was at work behind the curtains of this monumental police murder case.

Human Rights Coalition sues prison officials for censoring political dissent and human rights advocacy

The Human Rights Coalition (HRC), politicized prisoner Robert Saleem Holbrook and College of Charleston Professor Kristi Brian brought a lawsuit on Jan. 8 against several employees of the State Correctional Institution (SCI) at Coal Township and the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections for confiscation of mail sent to Holbrook, a co-founder of HRC currently held at SCI Coal Township.

Three months since the police killing of 13-year-old Andy Lopez

When we got to the memorial site at the park, just to the right, Andy’s mother, Sujey, started crying, then wailing loudly. Her husband held her as she buried herself in his chest and arms. A small group of women surrounded them, as tortured sounds of grief poured out of her, heart-rending sounds that I cannot really describe. Some of us formed a loose circle around them. Everyone was quiet.

Judges give up on years of failed prison talks, will craft own solution to...

A panel of three federal judges, frustrated with California’s failed five-year effort to sufficiently reduce prison overcrowding, said they will draw up their own solution within a month. U.S. District Judges Lawrence K. Karlton and Thelton E. Henderson and U.S. 9th Circuit Court Judge Stephen Reinhardt concluded Monday that months of talks between the state and lawyers representing prisoners were going nowhere.

Colorado prisoner: ‘I am held in slavery’

The 1876 Colorado Bill of Rights makes it very clear that all Colorado citizens can only be charged and prosecuted for infamous crimes – felonies that warrant prison time – by grand jury indictment. This venerable process protects the accused from prosecutorial misconduct and it requires a minimum evidentiary basis for a felony charge to be initiated at all.

Peacekeepers depend on the Pentagon, in South Sudan, CAR, DRC, Uganda, Rwanda

The Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan all share borders. Each of these three countries is now engulfed in tribal or religious sectarian violence, and Uganda, a longtime U.S. military partner, has troops in both the Central African Republic and South Sudan. U.S. Special Forces have been on the ground with Ugandan troops in both countries since 2011.