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2015 April

Monthly Archives: April 2015

‘Zara’s Faith’: Grandmother rallies community to fight police brutality

The Lower Bottom Playaz, Oakland’s premiere North American African theater company, under the direction of Ayodele Nzinga, in collaboration with OYNX, will present staged readings of “Zara’s Faith,” a play by physician-activist Marc Sapir, on June 6 and 7. “Zara’s Faith,” set in a city that could be Oakland or any inner city in America, unfolds around the police shooting of two unarmed brothers on their way to meet friends.

Solitary confinement tricknology at Menard Concentration Slave Camp

On the battlefield of psychological warfare, the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) made moves that “appeared” to redress the unconstitutionally inhumane conditions in Menard isolation unit that gave rise to last year’s hunger strike. But the move is no more than tricknology aimed at curbing grassroots activism and damage control due to the negative publicity that the hunger strike generated.

Joe Debro on racism in construction, Part 11

Mexican immigration 1900-1960: The patterns established during the last century continued into the 20th as well. Successive waves of immigrants came to this country from Mexico as a response to American labor demands in the industrial and agricultural sectors. Before 1910, Mexican laborers were employed generally without union status as agricultural workers, as miners, as maintenance and construction workers.

KPFA radioman Wesley Burton killed in car accident

In the early morning hours of April 18, veteran KPFA radio broadcaster Wesley Burton was killed in a car accident when a hit and run driver struck his car, reportedly killing him before the ambulance could arrive on a North Oakland street, while he was in route home from KPFA radio station approximately two miles away. He left behind a wife and three children.

Baridi Williamson at Pelican Bay: ‘I met with UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan...

On Dec. 9, 2014, I visited with Mr. Juan Méndez, the U.N. special rapporteur on torture, who is now an expert on our class action lawsuit to end solitary confinement torture here in California. Hopefully, it will have a ripple effect across the U.S. I gave him a living experience witnessed from its opening in late December 1989 to the present under its “snitch, parole or die” mass validation and indeterminate SHU torture classification and enhanced coerced debriefing.

Four years after Fukushima, Japan is solar-powered

In the week before the March 11, 2011, earthquake at Fukushima, one person, Prime Minister Naoto Kan, did an extraordinary act that set Japan’s energy course in history for the next 100 years. He was able to convince the Japanese Parliament to pass a solar payment policy. This one policy shift is now making Japan one of the leading solar powered nations on earth – far ahead of California or the U.S. Number one in solar generation in 2014 was Germany.

Stand with the defiant ones in Baltimore

The uprising in Baltimore has delivered an unmistakable and powerful message that the time is over when people will tolerate the unending and outrageous murder and brutality carried out by police. The torture and murder of Freddie Gray for nothing – and the ongoing, infuriating lies and coverup – is only the latest in a long line of such horrors in not only Baltimore but all over the U.S., from North Charleston, S.C., to Ferguson, Missouri, from Pasco, Washington, to New York City and beyond – THIS MUST STOP!

‘M Cream’ film review

“M Cream” is a phenomenally shot film based in India that was screened at this year’s Oakland International Film Festival. The plot centers around some college students taking a road trip on a quest to find M Cream, a mythical form of hash. I would recommend “M Cream” to people who are into foreign films and comedy-dramas about young life.

The public execution of Mumia Abu-Jamal?

Although states across this country have banned executions where the public can freely attend, some contend that the American public is again witnessing the spectacle of a public execution. This current spectacle of governmental killing involves a high-profile inmate in Pennsylvania that evidence indicates is quite possibly experiencing a “slow execution” through calculated medical mistreatment.

Increasing instability and political repression in African Great Lakes Region

Instability and political repression are increasing in the Great Lakes Region of Africa, as the presidents of Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Rwanda seek to remain in power beyond constitutional term limits. Rwandan and Ugandan troops crossed into the Democratic Republic of the Congo this week, sparking fears of another catastrophic regional war. Burundi is another pressure point further destabilizing the region.

Two years, still not enough answers: Remembering Malcolm

Malcolm Shabazz was killed two years ago in Mexico City in a case where all the facts still have not become clear. Within the last few months, Mexican authorities convicted a man, who they claim was responsible for Malcolm’s murder, but a lot of questions remain about what happened to Malcolm after he crossed the California border into Mexico. Here is Mark Williams of Lemark Films talking about life wit’ his homeboy and comrade Malcolm Latif Shabazz.

Kibeho and Srebrenica: Ed Herman on the politics of genocide

This week marked the 20th anniversary of the 1995 Kibeho Massacre in Southwestern Rwanda, where an estimated 8,000 Rwandan Hutu people were killed by Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s Rwandan Patriotic Army. The same number of people were killed in Bosnia, also in 1995. Professor Ed Herman explains the politics of genocide manifest in media coverage of the 1995 massacres in Kibeho and Srebrenica.

Baltimore ‘shuts it down’ for Freddie Gray

Hundreds of people took to the streets here on Saturday to demonstrate against police brutality and call for accountability for the police officers involved in the arrest of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old who died April 19 as the result of a severe spinal injury that occurred when he was taken into custody a week earlier. Demonstrators chanted “shut it down.”

Love story at Arlington National Cemetery

For most, the pain of the loss of loved ones is so great that they look away and never look back. For our family, 50 years after the death of our father, Sp5 Wyley Wright Jr., in Viet Nam on March 9, 1964, as he accepted an extra mission to join the Honor Guard for Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara two weeks from coming home with his new orders for Fort Hamilton, New York, we, who rarely talked about the loss over the years, had to look back.

‘I contribute to peace,’ a pledge to end hostilities inside and out

We, under the union of the United KAGE Brothers, joined with the Prisoners Political Action Committee (PAC), welcome you to our communion. We aim to unite and unionize internationally the peace movement – under the Agreement to End Hostilities – as an ad campaign from prison to the street. As people of all colors, races, creeds, genders and sexualities, we stand in solidarity with the following pledge.

At Ohio’s supermax prison, a hunger strike ends but extreme isolation remains

Last week, men incarcerated at Ohio’s supermax prison brought a month-long hunger strike to a close. Between 30 and 40 men had refused all meals since March 16 to protest new restrictions placed on already severely limited recreation and programming for those in solitary confinement. On April 15, all but one of the men agreed to suspend the hunger strike after a meeting with the warden at which the prison agreed to lifting some, but not all, of the new restrictions.

Berrien County court continues racist campaign against Rev. Edward Pinkney

Another post-conviction motions hearing took place on April 14 in St. Joseph, Michigan, involving the conviction by an all-white jury late last year of a leading civil rights activist, Rev. Edward Pinkney. People traveled from throughout the state of Michigan and across the United States to support the Berrien County leader who many feel has been denied justice by a corporate-controlled racist system in the southwest region of the state.

Now that the Justice Department has struck out, it’s time to put Barry Bonds...

$55 million is what the U.S. Justice Department has wasted on what we can now officially call the failed prosecution of Barry Lamar Bonds. The Major League Baseball home run king, assumed steroid user and Hall of Fame pariah on Wednesday had the government’s last thread holding him down – an obstruction of justice conviction – finally snipped on appeal.

Rwanda: No justice for Kibeho Massacre victims 20 years later

On April 22, 1995, 4,000 to 8,000 Rwandan Hutu people, maybe more, were massacred at the Kibeho Camp for Internally Displaced Persons in Southwestern Rwanda. The Kibeho massacre is one of many committed by the Rwandan Patriotic Army in Rwanda and DR Congo, but it is one of the most shocking because it was witnessed by U.N. Peacekeepers and well documented by at least two photographers, but no one was ever prosecuted for the crime.