Tags Ann Garrison
Tag: Ann Garrison
On Feb. 12, 2018, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees reported that there were 4.49 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the Democratic Republic of Congo and 630,500 refugees in neighboring countries. The IDP population had nearly doubled in the previous year alone, mainly as a result of clashes and armed attacks. This week I spoke to Swiss Congolese historian and activist Bénédicte Kumbi Ndjoko about recent developments in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Julian Assange could have turned his cyber-genius into a multi-billion dollar tech empire like Mark Zuckerburg’s, but instead he devoted himself to peace and justice by exposing the machinations of state, corporate and oligarchic power. For that he’s spent the last six years of his life as an asylee, in effect a political prisoner, inside Ecuador’s London Embassy. "The Julian Assange case is a key case for freedom of the press," and the Pacifica National Board voted to stand with Wikileaks and Assange.
Pacifica Radio stations are known as havens for leftwing thought and action, but the Berkeley station board and the national Pacifica Network board have yet to come to the defense of Wikileaks’ founder Julian Assange. The following resolution has been submitted for a vote to the national board of directors of Pacifica. The resolution has also been submitted to Pacifica station KPFA’s local station board in Berkeley.
On Sept. 15, Rwandan political prisoners Victoire Ingabire and Kizito Mihigo walked out of Nyarugenge Prison in Rwanda’s capital, along with nearly 2,000 more Rwandan prisoners whom President Paul Kagame had granted “executive clemency.” Victoire Ingabire is a politician and member of Rwanda’s Hutu ethnic majority. Kizito Mihigo is a gospel singer and a member of Rwanda’s Tutsi minority. Charging these two Rwandan leaders with terrorism was ludicrous to say the least.
On July 22 this year, nearly two years after Trump’s election and the rise of “The Resistance,” I tuned in to KPFA-Berkeley’s Sunday Show and heard host Philip Maldari speaking to The Nation’s national affairs correspondent John Nichols. Philip Maldari: John, just last Monday we had this fabulous press conference in Helsinki, Finland, where these two heads of state [Trump and Putin] had a chance to speak to the world. Do you want to decode what happened there? John Nichols: Do I want to what? PM: Decode – explain.
Bobi Wine, Ugandan pop singer, parliamentarian and opponent of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, was arrested on July 17. His lawyers report that he has been beaten so badly by Ugandan police that they weren’t sure he understood the charges read when he was brought into court. Bobi Wine’s driver was shot dead in the driver’s seat of his car before he and more than 30 of his allies, many of whom are also members of Parliament, were arrested.
He’s the president of Rwanda and the current president of the African Union, feted by the Brookings Institute, one of the most venerable ideological pillars of U.S. capital interests. So why is Paul Kagame manifesting more and more signs of paranoia? Let’s consider just a few possibilities: Assassination rumors, insurgency, political prisoner Victoire Ingabire, 7,000 Rwandan churches and mosques shut down.
Green Party candidates neither seek nor accept corporate money, so fundraising against lavishly bribed Democrats and Republicans is always a challenge. Corporations commonly pour “donations” into both Democratic and Republican coffers to make sure they own a piece of whoever’s elected. We all know it’s going to be tough for California’s three Green Congressional candidates: Laura Wells, Kenneth Mejia nd Rodolfo Cortes Barragan.
Rosatom – Russia’s state nuclear energy corporation – has recently signed Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with a number of African nations to build nuclear power plants within their borders. I spoke to David Himbara, a professor of international development and African energy activist, about the likelihood of Rosatom actually building these nuclear plants. Currently, Sub-Saharan Africa faces an extraordinary level of energy poverty.
What will Democrats do when they can’t campaign as the “least-worst” option, then shame and blame anyone who dares to vote Green? Greens are running against incumbent Democrats in three California congressional races with no Republican bogeymen in sight. The names of all three Greens will appear right alongside the Democrats’ names on the November ballot, so voters will readily see that they have a choice besides writing in their cat, their cousin, a Green, or some other marginalized candidate.
“Follow the Money, Flashpoints Radio Voices,” an anthology of interviews from 2009-2016 KPFA Flashpoints shows, is full of tragedy: oil wars, drone bombing, torture, mass incarceration, mass surveillance, police militarization, neoliberal trade agreements, poisoned water, botched executions, ecocide and the “too-big-to-fail” bank heist that kicked off the Obama years. “Follow the Money” can at the same time serve as an organizing and networking manual, because it’s filled with the voices of those fighting back.
In California’s top-two primary system, only the top two vote getters advance to the general election, meaning that only two names will be on the ballot for each race in November. Since California is a very blue state, that often means that two Democrats advance. However, three Green Party candidates for the U.S. Congress advanced in California races this year. Among them is Laura Wells, whose name will appear alongside that of incumbent Barbara Lee in the East Bay’s District 13 race.
Syria has long dominated international headlines while the big powers discuss the possibility of dividing it into smaller, more homogeneous states along ethnic or religious lines. The Democratic Republic of Congo is rarely if ever at the top of the Western headlines, but heads of state and so-called experts have long made similar proposals to carve out new, smaller, more homogeneous nations in Congo’s resource-rich eastern provinces. I spoke with Congolese scholar and activist Boniface Musavuli about the plans.
In 2017, Cheri Honkala, the founder of the Poor People’s Campaign for Economic Human Rights, ran for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in Philadelphia’s District 197. I spoke to her about what happened. It was a special election last year for a representative to the Pennsylvania State House. On the night of the election, there were literally hundreds of calls to our campaign headquarters and the district attorney’s office about election fraud.
On May 4, former Black Panther Romaine “Chip” Fitzgerald agreed to a five-year denial of parole instead of insisting on a parole hearing, even though he has served more time than any former Black Panther still behind bars: 49 years. Chip is now 67 years old and living with the consequences of a stroke; his friends and family fear he will die in prison. He has been moved from one state prison to another over the years and is currently in the California State Prison-Los Angeles. I spoke to his lawyer, Charles Carbone, whose office is in San Francisco.
On April 26, former Black Panther Herman Bell was released from prison in New York State after 45 years. That leaves at least 10 surviving members of the Black Panther Party behind bars, including Romaine “Chip” Fitzgerald, who is currently held at the California State Prison-Los Angeles. His next parole hearing is scheduled for May 4. I spoke to his friend Arthur League, a former Panther who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
April 6 was the 24th anniversary of the day that Gen. Paul Kagame shattered a ceasefire agreement and resumed the 1990-1994 war in Rwanda by assassinating Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana and Burundian President Cyprien Ntaryamira. His troops, acting on his orders, fired a rocket at Habyarimana’s plane when it appeared overhead in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali, returning from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
On March 27, the San Francisco Bay Area’s Stop Urban Shield Coalition claimed victory in its four-year battle to stop Urban Shield, a war games and weapons convention for cops held in Alameda County every year since 2007. I spoke to Tracy Rosenberg, executive director of Media Alliance and co-facilitator of Oakland Privacy, a citizen’s coalition that works regionally to defend the right to privacy and enhance public transparency and oversight regarding the use of surveillance techniques and equipment. She has worked with the Stop Urban Shield Coalition since 2014.
The 2018 Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza Democracy and Peace Prize was awarded on Saturday, March 10, 2018, in Brussels, Belgium. The prize honors Rwandan political prisoner Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza. Despite the African Court of Human and People’s Rights’ 2017 ruling that her imprisonment is unjust and that Rwanda should free her, she remains behind bars. This year’s Victoire Prize went to Cameroonian French journalist Charles Onana and Canadian radio broadcaster Phil Taylor.
Helen Epstein’s new book, “Another Fine Mess: America, Uganda, and the War on Terror,” is dense with detailed and fascinating accounts of events in Ugandan history and politics and those of neighboring nations. I’m familiar with much of it, but there’s also much I hadn’t known, some I disagree with, and elaborations or different interpretations of what I’ve previously read or been told.