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Black America News

Wednesday  6/29/2005

Down to the Wire  6/29/2005 Foreign Affairs: "In the first three years of the Bush administration, the United States dropped from 4th to 13th place in global rankings of broadband Internet usage. Today, most U.S. homes can access only "basic" broadband, among the slowest, most expensive, and least reliable in the developed world, and the United States has fallen even further behind in mobile-phone-based Internet access. The lag is arguably the result of the Bush administration's failure to make a priority of developing these networks. In fact, the United States is the only industrialized state without an explicit national policy for promoting broadband."

Tuesday  6/28/2005

The Not-So-Long Gray Line  6/28/2005 NYT: "And now, from what I've heard from friends still in the military and during the two years I spent reporting from Iraq and Afghanistan, it seems we may be on the verge of a similar exodus of officers. The annual resignation rate of Army lieutenants and captains rose to 9 percent last year, the highest since before the Sept. 11 attacks. And in May, The Los Angeles Times reported on "an undercurrent of discontent within the Army's young officer corps that the Pentagon's statistics do not yet capture." ...A couple of weeks ago, I got an e-mail message from another West Point lieutenant; he was writing from a laptop in a bunker somewhere in Iraq. "I'm getting out as soon as I can," he wrote. "Everyone I know plans on getting out, with a few exceptions. What have you got to look forward to? If you come back from a tour of getting the job done in war, it's to a battalion commander who cares more about the shine on your boots and how your trucks are parked in the motor pool than about the fitness of your unit for war." ...Now, however, the Pentagon has run out of fixes; the only choices appear to be going back to the draft or scaling back our military ambitions. The problem the Army created in Vietnam has never really been solved. If you keep faith with soldiers and tell them the truth even when it threatens their beliefs, you run the risk of losing them. But if you peddle cleverly manipulated talking points to people who trust you not to lie, you won't merely lose them, you'll break their hearts."

TransAfrica: African Children Sold Into Slavery Used to Produce Cocoa  6/28/2005 Black America Web 

Chief of chiefs dies at meeting - He was trying to get Indians, cops together  6/28/2005 Time Picayune, LA: "Allison "Tootie" Montana, one of the most revered Big Chiefs to emerge from the century-old street culture of Mardi Gras Indians, suffered a fatal heart attack while speaking at a special New Orleans City Council meeting to discuss the St. Joseph's night confrontation between Indians and police. ...Montana was stricken as he recounted run-ins with police stretching back several decades. He was not scheduled to appear at the long-awaited hearing, but he insisted on speaking out of his devotion to Indian life and a desire to smooth over the recently frayed relations with law enforcement. Montana was among the first speakers after brief opening comments by Police Superintendent Eddie Compass. Montana's last words were, "I want this to stop," apparently referring to the cultural miscommunication that disrupted the Indian gathering March 19 at LaSalle Street and Washington Avenue. Participants complained that the traditional gathering was dispersed by police, some of whom were verbally and physically abusive."

Thursday  6/23/2005

Dans le berceau du vaudou  6/23/2005 Le Monde: "En face de ces multiplicités de monothéismes agressifs, les religions yoroubas ont un esprit serein, rassurant, et ne sont pas assombries par la crainte de l'enfer."

Wednesday  6/22/2005

Guilty in Miss. - 41 years later  6/22/2005 Newsday 

Conyers blasts Washington Post coverage of Downing Street hearing  6/22/2005 SF Bay View: by Congressman John Conyers Jr

Tuesday  6/21/2005

Can the Anti-War Movement Impeach Bush?  6/21/2005 Counterpunch 

The Downing Street Memo  6/21/2005 cleanance house on this topic

After Downing Street  6/21/2005 

Sunday  6/19/2005

Aruba's Missing Teen Case Highlights Race  6/19/2005 Black America Web 

Saturday  6/18/2005

New US move to spoil climate accord  6/18/2005 Observer, UK: "Extraordinary efforts by the White House to scupper Britain's attempts to tackle global warming have been revealed in leaked US government documents obtained by The Observer. These papers - part of the Bush administration's submission to the G8 action plan for Gleneagles next month - show how the United States, over the past two months, has been secretly undermining Tony Blair's proposals to tackle climate change. The documents obtained by The Observer represent an attempt by the Bush administration to undermine completely the science of climate change and show that the US position has hardened during the G8 negotiations. They also reveal that the White House has withdrawn from a crucial United Nations commitment to stabilise greenhouse gas emissions."

Enlisting In The American (Confederate) Army  6/18/2005 The Touchstone 

Wednesday  6/15/2005

After fracas, Conyers heads back to Capitol with Downing Street  6/15/2005 Raw Story: "On Thursday June 16, 2005, Rep. John Conyers, Jr., Ranking Member of House Judiciary Committee, and other Democratic Members will hold a Democratic hearing to hear testimony concerning the Downing Street Minutes and the efforts to cook the books on pre-war intelligence."

Monday  6/13/2005

Mwaaaaaaa... Mommy, the civil rights group called me a bad name!  6/13/2005 America Blog: "Anyway, it's true - one of the lead voices of the civil rights movement, the Southern Poverty Law Center, has for the first time branded some religious right groups "hate groups." This is a monumental occasion, I'm really serious. And it's obviously freaking the religious right out that more and more mainstream civil rights advocates are correctly putting them in the same category as the Klan and Aryan Nations."

Sunday  6/12/2005

Black Councilman Catapulted to Helm of Nation’s Top Labor Alliance  6/12/2005 Black America Web 

Friday  6/10/2005

Reports Purged From the Website of the Civil Rights Commission  6/10/2005 Memory Hole 

Tuesday  5/31/2005

Farrakhan Wants Congressional Inquiry on Qur’an Abuse Charges  5/31/2005 Black America Today 

GREG MATHIS: We must protect judicial discretion  5/31/2005 Black America Today: "For over a decade, mandatory sentencing, three strike and similar laws have slowly chipped away at the judiciary's power. Now, certain members of Congress have introduced legislation that, if passed, will essentially create a mandatory minimum sentence for every drug-related offense and practically do away with the judge's ability to hand down sentences below the minimum recommended by federal sentencing guidelines."

Critics fear base closures will split U.S. - Pentagon plan to expand in South raises concerns  5/31/2005 Lansing State Journal 

Monday  5/30/2005

American justice and democracy: man released from prison after 35 years for TV theft  5/30/2005 Black News Weekly: "Junior Allen! Where's the first place you're going when you get out of prison? "I am getting the Hell outta of North Carolina!""

Sunday  5/29/2005

‘New Castro’ threatens to take his feud with America nuclear  5/29/2005 Times, London: "In his latest challenge Chavez declared that Venezuela needed nuclear energy to prepare for when its oil ran out. He said that other Latin American countries should collaborate. “We want to initiate nuclear research and ask for help from countries like Iran,” he said. While US officials have dismissed some of Chavez’s threats as bluster, intelligence sources are concerned about claims that he has given alleged terrorists Venezuelan passports. Venezuelan officials dismiss Washington’s complaints as offensive and undemocratic. “The US is a very ideologically oriented administration and has a lot of animosity towards us,” said Andres Izarra, minister of information. “But we can ally ourselves with whomever we want.” Washington has attempted to isolate Chavez by wooing his Latin American neighbours but when Donald Rumsfeld, the US defence secretary, raised concerns about Chavez during a tour of the region, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil remarked a few days later: “We don’t accept defamation and insinuations against a compañero (friend).”"

Where have all the men gone? Black gender gap is widening  5/29/2005 Newhouse: "There are nearly 2 million more black adult women than men in America, stark testimony to how often black men die before their time. Worse yet, with nearly another million black men in prison or the military, the reality in most black communities across the country is of an even greater imbalance — a gap of 2.8 million, or 26 percent, according to Census Bureau figures for 2002. The comparable disparity for whites was 8 percent."

Saturday  5/28/2005

Black Liberation leader Robert Williams remembered - New audio documentary  5/28/2005 Worker's World: "The government’s phony charges for an alleged kidnapping, but really for their militancy, forced the couple into exile in Cuba. There they became de-facto representatives of the oppressed and working class people in the United States. She said that everywhere they went—Cuba, China, Vietnam and African countries—Williams told her that he did not want to represent the “ugly America” but be a good ambassador “for our people and for the whole human race.” The Williams’ son, John C. Williams, told the audience what it was like to be raised by his activist parents. Forced into exile in Cuba, the Williams family saw firsthand what a socialist government can do for its citizens and guests."

Friday  5/27/2005

National Conference of Black Lawyers  5/27/2005 Black Commentator: "The announcement that a $1 million bounty has been placed on the head of exiled freedom fighter Assata Shakur sends a clear, unmistakable message that the U.S. government will stop at nothing to perpetuate the systemic denial of the most basic human rights of African people born and/or residing in the Americas. The National Conference of Black Lawyers (NCBL) demands that the U.S. government immediately withdraw the bounty offer, and permanently cease its pursuit of Assata Shakur as such is both illegal and unjustifiable under international human rights laws."

Wednesday  5/25/2005

STATEMENT OF SEN. BARACK OBAMA ON AFRO-LATINOS  5/25/2005 TransAfrica: "Mr. President, I rise today to bring attention to the situation of Afro-Latinos throughout Latin America, in the hopes that we can encourage more action on this issue. From Colombia to Brazil to the Dominican Republic to Ecuador, persons of African descent continue to experience racial discrimination and remain among the poorest and most marginalized groups in the entire region."

Growing up Revolutionary: An interview with John Williams, son of Mabel and Robert F. Williams  5/25/2005 SF Bay View: ""The last demonstration before we had to go into exile was over a swimming pool, over Black folks having the right - a taxpayer's right - to a public swimming pool. To see all these (Cuban) kids having such great fun, yelling and playing, just enjoying themselves, was a great contrast. In a lot of ways that was a simple, though it was my first encounter in Cuba, it was symbolic of what was to come in terms of race relations and being able to go to school in Cuba, not having to have those same kinds of fears and worries we had in (Monroe), people coming by our home with weapons threatening to kill my father. It was a welcome change, to say the least. "To be able to leave the country and live in a place that was no longer a hostile environment probably helped me tremendously," John concluded. Soon after a protest against Monroe, North Carolina, city officials, the Williams family had to flee the country. The four headed for Cuba, where the boys attended boarding school. Three years later they were sent to China, where they spent five years. John and Robert Jr. finished high school there before returning to the United States with their family."

Tuesday  5/24/2005

The Media as an Instrument of War  5/24/2005 US Army: "When it is determined that civilian media broadcasts are directly interfering with the accomplishment of a military force’s mission, there is no law of war objection to using the minimum necessary force to shut them down. The extent to which force can be used for purely psychological operations purposes, such as shutting down a civilian radio station for the sole purpose of undermining the morale of the civilian population, is an issue that has yet to be addressed authoritatively by the international community."

J. Keith Motley denied as Chancellor of UMass Boston - Mass Community Rally For Dr. Keith Motley  5/24/2005 Black Voter Net 

UMass Hire Ignites Claims of Racial Bias  5/24/2005 AP: "State Rep. Gloria Fox, a Democrat from Boston's predominantly black Roxbury neighborhood, said the decision reinforces a perception that the city is plagued by an "atmosphere of racism and bias.""

U.S. covering up mad cow cases, scientist says  5/24/2005 CTV, Canada: "Lester Friedlander, now a consumer advocate, was fired from his job as head of inspections at a large meat-packing plant in Philadelphia in 1995 after criticizing what he called unsafe practices. Friedlander said he knows U.S. Agriculture Department veterinarians who sent suspect cow brains to private laboratories that confirmed mad cow infection, but samples from the same animals were cleared by government labs. "It's several veterinarians that have given me similar stories about sending cow brains in,'' he said in an interview Tuesday. "It might be shocking for Canadians but it wouldn't be shocking for veterinarians that have worked for the USDA."

Sunday  5/22/2005

Affirmative inaction  5/22/2005 Boston Globe: "It is no small irony that a black man and a legal champion of affirmative action in public higher education lost their bids to run the University of Massachusetts at Boston to a beneficiary of this city's own peculiar brand of preferential treatment.Surprise: After a nationwide search and the usual lip service to diversity, the job went to a local, well-connected, white Irish guy. Marvin Krislov, vice president and general counsel at the University of Michigan, and J. Keith Motley, the career administrator serving as interim chancellor at UMass-Boston, were passed over for Michael F. Collins, an out-of-work (but hardly down-at-the-heels) healthcare executive in search of a soft landing after being ousted from Caritas Christi, the local Catholic hospital network that paid him more than $1 million a year. ...All three candidates were arguably well qualified for the job, but only Collins benefited from the social and political connections that have so much to do with hiring decisions in this parochial town. Consider the ascension of the man who for years single-handedly blocked legislative approval of stem cell research to the presidency of an organization committed to advancing that cause. The Massachusetts Biotechnology Council is not paying former House speaker Thomas M. Finneran hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for his thoughts. It is buying his clout, which remains formidable among his coat holders on Beacon Hill, even on the eve of his anticipated indictment on a federal perjury charge. No one questions Collins's administrative skills. In a decade at the helm of Caritas Christi, he helped the struggling six-hospital network begin to turn a profit. His departure may have been precipitated by his fiscally prudent, if politically foolish, effort to shield the network's endowment from the financial fallout of the clergy sex-abuse scandal."

Officers Plot Exit Strategy  5/22/2005 LA Times: "Many young lieutenants and captains, key leaders in combat, are deciding against Army careers in light of the open-ended war on terrorism."

Friday  5/20/2005

Ethiopia call for unity goverment  5/20/2005 BBC: "The United Ethiopian Democratic Forces (UEDF) bloc made the call as initial results showed that it, and the main opposition Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD), had made big gains. The opposition and the ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) have both claimed victory. The final results of Sunday's vote are due to be announced on 8 June."

Thursday  5/19/2005

A Black Defendant, a Racist Juror  5/19/2005 LA Times: "Displaying no concern over his language, the juror subsequently swore out a formal legal affidavit for Sterling's lawyers in which he described how the "niggers" in his neighborhood, when not "in jail" or "dealing crack," were usually to be found "hollering and cursing" at one another. He noted that "a couple of 'em shot each other last Juneteenth over a card game." In open court, the juror affirmed that his affidavit reflected how he thought of blacks during Sterling's trial and admitted that he knew blacks "highly resented" the phrase he had used for them. Needless to say, he also affirmed that he was not a racist and had plenty of black friends."

Assata Shakur: The Government's Terrorist Is Our Community's Heroine  5/19/2005 All Hip Hop: by Mos Def

Wednesday  5/18/2005

On nuclear issues, Bolton's a failure  5/18/2005 NY Observer: "So instead of progress toward increased safety, his four years in that most sensitive post have led to stagnation and stalemate. According to the authoritative Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, international cooperation to reduce the nuclear threat is now approaching a crisis of "unsolved problems and lingering policy disputes." Mr. Bolton's sole mission since 2001 has been to resolve those problems and disputes. He works for a President who says "the biggest threat facing this country is weapons of mass destruction in the hands of a terrorist network," and whose stated policy is to reduce that threat with urgency and diligence. But among the most knowledgeable members of Congress in both parties, Mr. Bolton has developed a poor reputation as both administrator and negotiator. He hasn't gotten the job done."

Desecration of Koran Had Been Reported Before  5/18/2005 Washington Post: "But American and international media have widely reported similar allegations from detainees and others of desecration of the Muslim holy book for more than two years. James Yee, a former Muslim chaplain at the prison who was investigated and cleared of charges of mishandling classified material, has asserted that guards' mishandling and mistreatment of detainees' Korans led the prisoners to launch a hunger strike in March 2002. Detainee lawyers, attributing their information to an interrogator, have said the strike ended only when military leaders issued an apology to the detainees over the camp loudspeaker. But they said mishandling of the Koran persisted. Erik Saar, a former Army translator at Guantanamo Bay who has written a book about mistreatment of detainees at the military prison, said in interviews and in his book that he never saw a Koran flushed in a toilet but that guards routinely ignored prisoners' sensitivities by tossing it on the ground while searching their cells. And numerous detainees, whose stories are uncorroborated, have said to various media outlets that at detention facilities in Guantanamo Bay and Afghanistan, the Koran was stepped on, tossed on the floor and placed in latrines. "They tore the Koran to pieces in front of us, threw it into the toilet," former detainee Aryat Vahitov told Russian television in June 2004."

Monday  5/16/2005

Assata: The stakes are raised  5/16/2005 Final Call: "Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, according to Newsday, personally approved the money from the Justice Department. It will be paid for information leading to her safe capture, but not if she is killed in the process."

Sunday  5/15/2005

What Went Wrong in Ohio  5/15/2005 Black Voter Net: "On May 6th, Academy Chicago Publishers released its newest political title, WHAT WENT WRONG IN OHIO: The Conyers Report on the 2004 Presidential Election, Introduction by Gore Vidal. This is the first release in book form of Congressman John Conyers' investigation into Ohio election manipulation. While shreds of the electoral chaos in Ohio were reported in the press, the issue soon faded from public view. WHAT WENT WRONG IN OHIO provides insights into the abuse and manipulation of electronic voting machines and the arbitrary and illegal behavior of officials, which effectively disenfranchised tens of thousands of voters."

Official Response to Announcement of $1 million Bounty and the Listing of ASSATA SHAKUR on Domestic Terrorist Watch List  5/15/2005 HOA: "Former New Jersey Governor, Christie Todd Whitman, curried political favor with the state’s police when she announced a bounty of $25,000 for Assata and later doubled it to $50,000. She was duly rewarded by President Bush who appointed her in 2001 to be the head of the Environmental Protection Agency. The bounty was quietly increased by the FBI to a million dollars as it crept around the country looking for relatives, friends and associates to enlist in its scheme to kidnap Assata and return her to the United States. Time and time again, the FBI offered them a million dollars for their services. To some, they stated that there was no limit to how much they would pay for Assata’s return."

Friday  5/13/2005

COSBY TEAM DENIES DRUG, SEX ALLEGATIONS: Actor/comedian 'drugged' accuser with Benadryl, according to new court filings.  5/13/2005 Black America Web 

Demystifying Africa's Absence in Venezuelan History and Culture  5/13/2005 Venezuela Analysis: by Chucho Garcia

Thursday  5/12/2005

Black Caucus Conservatives Attempt to Clone Themselves  5/12/2005 Black Commentator: "Corporate funding and influence have succeeded in placing the most rightwing members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) in key positions that empower them to recruit and fund other business- and Republican-friendly Black candidates. Unless independent mechanisms are created to finance progressive CBC incumbents – and nurture challengers to the corporate contributions-rich members – the rightwing faction will replicate itself, and the Caucus will lose all but ceremonial value to Black America."

BRC Today: The Quarterly Newsletter of The Black Radical Congress Spring 2005  5/12/2005 BRC: PDF file

Troopers slam Castro for comment  5/12/2005 Trentonian, NJ: "Indignant New Jersey troopers blasted Cuban leader Fidel Castro yesterday for calling convicted cop killer Joanne Chesimard a "political prisoner’’ and victim of American racism."

Black Radical Congress to meet in Atlanta  5/12/2005 Black Commentator: "These are only a few of the issues we will address. How to fight militarism, neo-liberalism, AIDS, Black conservatism and homophobia, as well as building coalitions in pursuit of reparations, peace and sexual equality, will also be tackled. Atlanta on Juneteenth weekend is the place to be. We look forward to seeing you. Check details and updates for the Congress 2005 program at"

Washington loses control of the OAS  5/12/2005 ISN: "Washington’s hold on the OAS began to falter after its support of the anti-Chavez coup. In 2003, the alliance’s General Assembly refused to seat Washington's candidate Rafael Martinez on the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights, leaving the Commission without a member from the US for the first time in its history. Even more severe resistance to Washington’s desires came in 2004 when an OAS observer mission refused to condemn the vote in a referendum to recall Chavez, which he won by a comfortable margin. Washington’s losses in the Inter-American Human Rights Commission and in its efforts to eliminate the Chavez regime were preludes to its loss of control of the OAS in the election for secretary general. Opposition to Washington in the alliance was triggered by the Chavez affair, but it reflects far deeper shifts in the balance of power in the hemisphere that spell declining influence for the US over the long term, signaled at present by the rise of Brazil as a regional power center in South America and the bid by Venezuela to become a “small major power” committed to building a mixed cooperativist-capitalist economy and diminishing Washington’s power in Latin America and the Caribbean."

Wednesday  5/11/2005

Castro Speaks on Rap Icon's Godmother  5/11/2005 AP: "On Tuesday, he referred to Bush as "the little Hitler" and suggested he wanted to dominate the world. Castro dedicated more than an hour to reading for Cubans a New York Times story about the Posada case and again listed numerous terrorist actions that that Cuban officials attribute to Posada or his associates. He even suggested that Posada and his friend Orlando Bosch might have ties to the 1963 assassination of former U.S. President John F. Kennedy. "There are strange things, very strange, mixed up here," Castro said."

LUIS POSADA CARRILES - THE DECLASSIFIED RECORD CIA and FBI Documents Detail Career in International Terrorism; Connection to U.S.  5/11/2005 National Security Archives, George Washington University: "The documents include a November 1976 FBI report on the bombing cited in yesterday's New York Times article "Case of Cuban Exile Could Test the U.S. Definition of Terrorist," CIA trace reports covering the Agency's recruitment of Posada in the 1960s, as well as the FBI intelligence reporting on the downing of the plane. The Archive also posted a second FBI report, dated one day after the bombing, in which a confidential source "all but admitted that Posada and [Orlando] Bosch had engineered the bombing of the airline." In addition, the posting includes several documents relating to Bosch and his suspected role in the downing of the jetliner on October 6, 1976."

Tuesday  5/10/2005

LUIS POSADA CARRILES - THE DECLASSIFIED RECORD  5/10/2005 National Security Archives: "The National Security Archive today posted additional documents that show that the CIA had concrete advance intelligence, as early as June 1976, on plans by Cuban exile terrorist groups to bomb a Cubana airliner. The Archive also posted another document that shows that the FBI's attache in Caracas had multiple contacts with one of the Venezuelans who placed the bomb on the plane, and provided him with a visa to the U.S. five days before the bombing, despite suspicions that he was engaged in terrorist activities at the direction of Luis Posada Carriles. Both documents were featured last night on ABC Nightline's program on Luis Posada Carriles, who was detained in Miami yesterday by Homeland Security. In addition, the Archive posted the first report to Secretary of State Kissinger from the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research on the bombing of Cubana flight 455. The report noted that a CIA source had overheard Posada prior to the bombing in late September 1976 stating that, "We are going to hit a Cuban airliner." "

Monday  5/9/2005

U.S. promotes double standard in how it deals with 'terrorist' cases  5/9/2005 USA Today: "What bothers me is that while these men, whose suspected crimes fit the State Department's definition of terrorism, haven't set off Justice Department alarm bells, Shakur is being treated like a disciple of Osama bin Laden. If she killed Foerster (her attorney argues the evidence suggests otherwise), Shakur should be returned to New Jersey to spend her life in prison. By not proclaiming that it will arrest Posada on sight and deport him, the Bush administration caters to those in the Cuban exile community who view him as a freedom fighter — and undermines its leadership of the fight against terrorism."

LA Cops Go Berserk  5/9/2005 Aztlan 

Sunday  5/8/2005

British memo indicates Bush made intelligence fit Iraq policy  5/8/2005 Reuters: "The newly disclosed memo, which was first reported by the Sunday Times of London, hasn't been disavowed by the British government. A spokesman for the British Embassy in Washington referred queries to another official, who didn't return calls for comment on Thursday. A former senior U.S. official called it "an absolutely accurate description of what transpired" during the senior British intelligence officer's visit to Washington. He spoke on condition of anonymity."

A Question of Colour: Is Racial Prejudice on the Rise in Egypt, or are Egyptians Merely Obsessed with Skin Colour? By Gamal Nkrumah  5/8/2005 Indigenous People of Africa and Americas 

Friday  5/6/2005

New Campaign For Rap Icon's Godmother  5/6/2005 Thug Life Army: "The following information is provided by The Talking Drum Collective of Stone Mountain, Ga. The Hands Off Assata Campaign is a coming together of organizations and individuals who are outraged by the heightened attempts by the federal government, congress of the united states and the State of New Jersey to illegally force thru kidnapping a return of Assata Shakur from Cuba to the plantation United States…"

Thursday  5/5/2005

The Pope put Bush in power and covered up sex scandals  5/5/2005 Progreso Weekly: "As the world became aware of pedophilia in the priesthood, Ratzinger took command of the Vatican’s counter offensive, a course that interfered with justice for the victims of priests’ abuse and also with U.S. politics. How to direct the public away from the fact that hundreds of priests have taken advantage of kids in their parishes? In the 2004 elections, the Church weighed in on the side of George W. Bush and other candidates who opposed abortion and gay marriage, issues most likely to divert attention away from the scandal. On August 11, 2004, less than three months before the elections, Ratzinger sent a directive to U.S. Bishops. “The Church teaches that abortion or euthanasia is a grave sin,” citing previous Church doctrine, he warned Catholics. “In the case of an intrinsically unjust law, such as a law permitting abortion or euthanasia, it is therefore never licit to obey it, or to take part in a propaganda campaign in favor of such a law or vote for it.” Christians have a “grave obligation of conscience not to cooperate formally in practices which, even if permitted by civil legislation, are contrary to God’s law. Indeed, from the moral standpoint, it is never licit to cooperate formally in evil...This cooperation can never be justified…"

Bad, Bad Janice Brown is Back  5/5/2005 Black Commentator: "“Mad” is exactly the right word to describe Janice Rogers Brown – in every sense of the term. She is a rightwing nut case, the end product of the litmus test that Republicans give to potential Black high bench nominees: they must be even crazier than their white GOP counterparts."

Wednesday  5/4/2005

Selling out Assata by Mumia Abu-Jamal  5/4/2005 SF Bay View: scroll down for this article originally published 9/98.

Impeachment Time: "Facts Were Fixed." by Greg Palast  5/4/2005 Buzzflash: "Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam through military action justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."

$1,000,000 bounty for Assata Shakur  5/4/2005 SF Bay View: “I’m going to jump on it,” said professional bounty hunter Louis Faccone, who attended the press conference Monday announcing the reward. “My guys can get (into Cuba) in the middle of the night by boat from the Florida Keys.”

From Assata to Emmett, Timing of Old Cases’ New Emphasis Questioned  5/4/2005 Black America Web: "But Rev. Jesse Jackson and other civil rights activists question the timing and the motives of the Bush administration's efforts, maintaining that when it comes to the nation's priorities. there are more pressing issues to be considered. “It is interesting how they are exhuming these old cases,” Jackson told Wednesday afternoon. “While they are planning to exhume Emmett Till's body to find the killers 50 years later, they are refusing to deal with current issues -- like a five-year-old being handcuffed in St. Petersburg or a man shot four times by the police in Chicago.”"

Christian Science Monitor failed to note Minuteman Project volunteer's white supremacist ties  5/4/2005 Media Matters 

Tuesday  5/3/2005

LOCAL WOMAN SEEKS PARDON  5/3/2005 Drug Policy Alliance: A Lousiana District Attorney forced this black woman to sleep with him or he would put her in jail, just as he had sent her husband to jail. When she rebelled against this slavery, he was able to keep her in jail for 20 years even though many people knew about it. From Montel Williams, where she appeared: "eryle Beridon admits she was addicted to drugs, sold sex to pay for her drug habit, and to an alleged relationship with a married district attorney for the state of Louisiana. However, in 1977 when she was arrested and convicted by a grand jury for dealing heroin, Cheryle was clearly not guilty. I the south, it was shock to others that a black woman had the audacity to not only have an affair with a white man, but with a married district attorney. When the relationship went sour and Cheryle tried to break it off, she says the DA threatened to send her to prison. Shortly afterwards, Cheryle was put on trial with the DA acting as a witness to a fabricated drug deal. Today Cheryle will reveal how everyone in town knew about her private relationship with the DA, yet no one came to her aid when he accused her of dealing drugs. She spent the next 20 years in prison before a parole board recognized she’d been wronged and finally set her free. To this day, the DA denies any relationship or wrongdoing. We'll meet the men who helped Cheryle regain her freedom, and we'll speak with her son."

Commentary: NJ Troopers Have Selective Amnesia About How They Victimized People Like Assata Shakur  5/3/2005 Black America Web: "I’m dubious because the New Jersey State Police had then –– and still have –– a reputation for being notoriously racist. In many cases, stopping someone for a busted tail light tends to be more of an excuse to target someone, namely black people, for harassment rather than to advise them to get the light fixed. And while neither I nor any of the white people who convicted Shakur were there when Foerster was shot, it’s rather interesting that up until that time, she only had a record of organizing free breakfast programs and other community empowerment programs, and not a record of provoking violence. I’m dubious because, as much as people like Fuentes are calling for justice for Foerster, some of their own are still doing the same injustices to black people as they did in Shakur’s day. In 1998, troopers on that same New Jersey turnpike upon which Shakur was stopped shot and wounded three unarmed black and Latino men whom they suspected were carrying drugs. They weren’t. The next year, the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office issued a report that found that racial profiling by the troopers was rampant. And as recent as 2003, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that internal affairs officers for the New Jersey State Police looking into racial and sexual harassment allegations found a T-shirt with the letters LOD. The initials, which stand for “Lords of Discipline,” represent a secret society that many black and women officers say is sexist and white supremacist. I’m also dubious because Shakur was convicted by an all-white jury –– a jury that was, at that time, probably was more consumed with administering punishment to black people than in administering justice to them. Some bounty hunter in Florida said he plans to try and capture Shakur. I hope he fails. I hope he fails not only because I believe that Shakur was wrongly convicted, but because I believe it is the height of hypocrisy for the Bush administration to put her on the same terrorist watch list as Osama bin Laden. It is also hypocritical because right here in the United States, we are harboring a number of fugitives and murderers from other countries. And it’s sheer political lunacy to compare Shakur to bin Laden; she hasn’t killed 3,000 people, nor does she have the capability of carrying out terrorist attacks against the United States."

Monday  5/2/2005

U.S. Government Declares $1 Million Bounty For Assata Shakur, Tupac's Godmother  5/2/2005 All Hip Hop News: "Rappers like Paris and Common have written sympathetic, reflective songs about Assata [“Assata’s Song” and “A Song For Assata” respectively]. Common explained his support of Shakur. “The reason I was even connected to this woman is because of her humanity and her passion for people,” the Chicago native told “And when I met her on a Black August trip four years ago and I learned she was innocent and that all the pain and hate that had been placed upon her, she'd overcome. There's no way than anyone in this world should want to harm her. She’s such a beautiful human being.”"

Friday  4/29/2005

Are newspapers covering Akbar case under a military gag order and not reporting it?  4/29/2005 Media Matters: "The restrictions on the press reportedly include a ban on speaking without permission to any civilians or soldiers at the Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Army base where the trial was held. The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, and the Associated Press have all covered the trial, but none has reported allegations that the Department of Defense (DOD) imposed restrictions on coverage, nor did they report -- as would be the case if DOD did, in fact, enforce such a policy -- that their own reporters agreed to and complied with those restrictions. While it is not known whether those papers actually acceded to the restrictions as a condition of getting access to the trial, none of the four media organizations -- all of which evidently attended the proceedings -- in fact included any quotes from civilians or soldiers on the base who were not involved in the trial."

Bringing Justice to Hearne - Residents and the ACLU team up to abolish drug task forces  4/29/2005 Texas Observer 

Army aiming to enlist minorities  4/29/2005 Rockland Journal News 

Thursday  4/28/2005

They shoot journalists, don't they? By Pepe Escobar  4/28/2005 Asia Times: "There was no checkpoint, Sgrena told Klein. "It was simply a tank parked on the side of the road that opened fire on us. It was not a checkpoint. They didn't try to stop us, they just shot us. They have a way to signal us to stop, but they didn't give us any signals to stop and they were at least 10 meters off the street to the side." The crucial part is that Sgrena says the Toyota was shot from behind - which contradicts the Pentagon version of soldiers shooting in self-defense. According to Klein, "Sgrena really stressed that the bullet that injured her so badly came from behind, entered through the back of the car. And the only person who was not severely injured in the car was the driver, and she said that this is because the shots weren't coming from the front ... They were driving away." This might explain why the Pentagon apparently blocked the Italian government from inspecting the Toyota, even though the Italian government had bought the car from the rental agency after the shooting. Sgrena is 100% sure: "It was not self-defense. The soldiers were to the right of us on the side of the road, they started to shoot from the right and kept shooting from behind. Most of the shots came from behind. Calipari was shot from the right and I was shot in the shoulder from behind. When we stopped, they were behind us. We could see that all the back windows of the car were broken from behind ... They didn't try to stop the car and they shot at least 10 bullets at the level of people sitting inside the car."

Remembering Pioneering Newsman Norman Lockman, a ‘Busybody’ Who Excelled  4/28/2005 Black America Web: "Two revealing Lockman anecdotes come from Cuba, where Trotters have made a handful of trips to report on the Afro-Cuban experience. Lockman was a gentleman, DeWayne Wickham told Prince’s “Journal-isms” column, and he stepped forward so Betty Winston Baye, a columnist from Kentucky, would not venture unescorted in the Havana night. “Norm and I ventured deeper into the darkness,” Baye recalled in her book Blackbird, “following the sounds of music. We stopped at a rundown, grafitti-covered building. Just as we arrived, the door opened to let someone out, and a smiling Cuban invited us in. “We couldn’t believe what was going on behind the door. It was a nightclub. The band was jamming, and people were dancing up a storm … In minutes, Norm and I were on the floor dancing.” Favorite anecdote No. 2 speaks again to Lockman’s “busybody,” or independent streak. Wickham recalled: “The next day, when a Cuban government official took our small delegation of black journalists on a tour of a new tourist resort, Norm tired quickly of this outing. During a bathroom stop on the way to the resort, Norm got off the bus at an aging hotel and told the surprised government handler he wasn’t going any further. ‘Pick me up on the way back,’ he snapped as he disappeared into the hotel bar. “It wasn’t until much later that I learned Norm had spotted the president [chief justice] of Cuba’s Supreme Court lounging poolside at that old hotel. While we spent the afternoon touring that resort, Norm got a one-on-one interview with one of Cuba's highest ranking black officials.”"

Wednesday  4/27/2005

Friends say Oakland police denied aid to shooting victim  4/27/2005 SF Bay View 

Tuesday  4/26/2005

Justice Sunday Preachers  4/26/2005 The Nation: "Senate majority leader Bill Frist appeared through a telecast as a speaker at "Justice Sunday," at the invitation of the event's main sponsor, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins. "Justice Sunday" was promoted as a rally to portray Democrats as being "against people of faith." Many of the speakers compared the plight of conservative Christians to the civil rights movement. But in sharing the stage with Perkins, who introduced him to the rally, Frist was associating himself with someone who has longstanding ties to racist organizations. Four years ago, Perkins addressed the Louisiana chapter of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), America's premier white supremacist organization, the successor to the White Citizens Councils, which battled integration in the South. In 1996 Perkins paid former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke $82,000 for his mailing list. At the time, Perkins was the campaign manager for a right-wing Republican candidate for the US Senate in Louisiana. The Federal Election Commission fined the campaign Perkins ran $3,000 for attempting to hide the money paid to Duke."

Brazil’s Black Civil Rights Activists Achieving Overdue Policy Reform  4/26/2005 Americas Program 

Old Cuban Musicians: THE LAST WILL BE THE FIRST  4/26/2005 Cuba Now 

The Good Terrorist  4/26/2005 Washington Post 

When authorities screen your children for mental illness ...  4/26/2005 Mother Jones: "Aliah Gleason is a big, lively girl with a round face, a quick wit, and a sharp tongue. She's 13 and in eighth grade at Dessau Middle School in Pflugerville, Texas, an Austin suburb, but could pass for several years older. She is the second of four daughters of Calvin and Anaka Gleason, an African American couple who run a struggling business taking people on casino bus trips… Six weeks later, in January 2004, a child-protection worker went to Aliah's school, interviewed her, then summoned Calvin Gleason to the school and told him to take Aliah to Austin State Hospital, a state mental facility. He refused, and after a heated conversation, she placed Aliah in emergency custody and had a police officer drive her to the hospital. The Gleasons would not be allowed to see or even speak to their daughter for the next five months, and Aliah would spend a total of nine months in a state psychiatric hospital and residential treatment facilities. While in the hospital, she was placed in restraints more than 26 times and medicated -- against her will and without her parents' consent -- with at least 12 different psychiatric drugs, many of them simultaneously."

Monday  4/25/2005

Paris finds niche tourist market in African Americans  4/25/2005 Taipei Times: "The rich history of black American cultural luminaries living in the city of light for the past two centuries is coming into focus, as interest on both sides of the Atlantic grows."

Evidence that the U.S. May Be Losing the Global War on Terror  4/25/2005 Independent Institute: "According to Larry Johnson, a former CIA analyst and State Department terrorism expert who still has many sources within the intelligence community, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s office is suppressing data showing that the number of major terrorist attacks worldwide exploded from 175 in 2003 to 625 in 2004, the highest number since the Cold War began to wane in 1985. U.S. officials said that when analysts at the National Counterterrorism Center declined the office of the secretary’s invitation to use a methodology that would reduce the number of terrorist attacks, her office terminated publication of the State Department’s annual “Patterns of Global Terrorism” report."

U.S. Prison Population Soars in 2003, '04  4/25/2005 AP: "He said many of those incarcerated are not serious or violent offenders, but are low-level drug offenders. Young said the prison population could be lowered by introducing drug treatment programs that offer effective ways of changing behavior and by providing appropriate assistance for the mentally ill. According to the Justice Policy Institute, which advocates a more lenient system of punishment, the United States has a higher rate of incarceration than any other country, followed by Britain, China, France, Japan and Nigeria. There were 726 inmates for every 100,000 U.S. residents by June 30, 2004, compared with 716 a year earlier, according to the report by the Justice Department agency. In 2004, one in every 138 U.S. residents was in prison or jail; the previous year it was one in every 140. In 2004, 61 percent of prison and jail inmates were of racial or ethnic minorities, the government said. An estimated 12.6 percent of all black men in their late 20s were in jails or prisons, as were 3.6 percent of Hispanic men and 1.7 percent of white men in that age group, the report said."

Sunday  4/24/2005

Frist Initiative Creates Rift in GOP Base  4/24/2005 LA Times: "The country's leading business lobbying associations, close GOP allies in recent legislative efforts and political campaigns, have told senior Republicans that they would not back the Frist initiative to force votes on President Bush's judicial nominees. Business leaders say they fear the move would lead to a shutdown of Senate action on long-awaited priorities — as Democrats have threatened if Frist moves ahead with a rule change that they say would drastically alter the traditions of a body designed to respect the rights of the minority party. "If we do that, then all else is going to stop," Thomas J. Donohue, head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said during a meeting with reporters Friday. He then reeled off a list of business priorities that could be delayed for months in the resulting partisan uproar. He expressed the same concerns directly to Frist's office in recent days. The lack of support from business presents a dilemma for Frist, who wants to build ties with the Republican base ahead of his likely 2008 presidential bid but now must balance competing demands from two pillars of Republican politics: evangelicals, who can marshal millions of voters, and businesses, which donate millions of dollars. Both groups played pivotal roles in securing Bush's reelection last year and expanding the GOP majority in Congress — and both have made clear that they expect to be rewarded."

Friday  4/22/2005

THE KISS OF DEATH - NUCLEAR WEAPONS STEALTH TAKEOVER  4/22/2005 Deep Black Lies: "The cost to the predominantly black community at Hunter's Point Naval Shipyard in San Francisco is much greater. Navy ships brought back to Hunter's Point shipyard for decontamination by the Navy, after the first atmospheric tests in the Pacific, led to the establishment of the secret Naval Radiological Defense Lab (NRDL) which operated at the shipyard into the 1970's. Secret experiments exposing animals, plants, soldiers, prisoners, and local residents to radiation were conducted at the NRDL, where 550 civilian scientists worked with 65 Naval officers to study the biological effects of ionizing radiation. The radioactive waste and dead animals from the lab were dumped at the shipyard, filled a back bay, and sunk off the Golden Gate bridge in a battleship and 55 gallon drums, contaminating one of the richest fisheries in the world. The community today has the highest rates of breast cancer in women under 40 in the US, as well as high rates of other radiation related diseases. A former City of San Francisco coroner found that every Hunters Point resident he had done an autopsy on, had cancer no matter what the cause of death. Even worse, the Radiation and Public Health Project (RPHP), while conducting studies on infant mortality and cancer around nuclear power plants, discovered that milk contaminated with radiation has been shipped into black inner city communities - a genocidal plan which explains why blacks have the highest cancer rates, infant mortality, and asmtha (Gotham Gaz.May 2003) in the US, which has been blamed on poverty. The studies using US govt. data on radiation in milk revealed that at the time of Chernobyl the Pennsylvania Milk Board had been selectively shipping radioactive contaminated milk from dairies around the Three Mile Island and Peachbottom reactors into eastern black inner city communities (see Jay Gould, Deadly Deceit: Low Level Radiation, High Level Coverup). In an RPHP study on health improvements by race in San Francisco County, after the shutdown of the Rancho Seco nuclear power plant in 1989, health improved for all ages, diseases and races except for blacks. Black infant mortality also increased after startups and accidents, but unlike improvements for whites and Asians which decreased after the 1989 shutdown, black infant mortality reflected startups and shutdowns at other nuclear power plants in California."

Thursday  4/21/2005

Venezuela: ‘In Defense of Humanity’ by Amiri Baraka  4/21/2005 SF Bay View: "Then sure enough, in the middle of Chavez’ anti-imperialist, anti-superpower, anti-norteamericano assault, like the loud wings of that necessary angel, he introduced the man, who now sat directly in front of us, “Compañeros, I want you to greet the great Algerian Revolutionary, BEN BELLA.” I had shaken his hand when he came in, but now I touched his shoulder as the crowd dipped past peak and re-introduced myself and Amina and shook his hand, this time with the passion of my memory of that Revolution. Certainly then images of “The Battle of Algiers” flashed through all those who knew that connection; it did ours. (In perfect confirmation of their infamy, Encyclopedia Britannica, in their entry on Algeria, mentions the overthrow of the French Colonial regime in 1965, by FLN, of which Ben Bella was the best known of the leadership and first premier of Liberated Algeria, and that later this was “overthrown by a military coup.” THERE IS NO MENTION Of BEN BELLA!)"

The end of oil is closer than you think  4/21/2005 Guardian 

Tuesday  4/19/2005

An Exclusive CounterPunch Interview with Ricardo Alarcon About One of the World's Most Wanted Terrorists - "Is Posada Still Working for the White House?"  4/19/2005 Counterpunch: "The explosion took place probably more rapidly than they had expected because they eared and saw the explosion when they were in the taxi going from the airport to town. That perhaps has provoked their extremely instable attitude. They were very, very nervous. That is what the driver reported. And at some moment they asked the driver not to go to the hotel but to go to the American Embassy and, at a particular moment, something struck the mind of the driver. He listened when one of the individuals signalled a building, when approaching downtown Bridgetown, and referred to the American Embassy. In Bridgetown, at this moment, there were very few embassies. The US and very few countries had a representation there. We didn't at the time. This was noted by the driver because it is rather strange that somebody who is entering the country should know this, unless he had been there before. Then they went to the Embassy, according to this driver."

Friday  4/15/2005

SOME NOTES ON REGGAETON  4/15/2005 Cuba Now: "We must not ignore the fact that many cycle-taxi drivers in Havana -those who carry a radio on their vehicle to make the client's trip more pleasant or to satisfy their own preference and that of many other taxi drivers- are broadcasters of the reggaeton that can be heard along the streets. We must inquire, explain to ourselves why it's important for them and for many of their clients, and more than that: why vigorous expressions of Cuban music such as rumba –just to mention one- have not been broadcast widely enough so that they become the heritage of these popular promoters?"

Monday  4/11/2005

NAACP Kicks Off National Tour to Assail Bush’s Social Security Plan  4/11/2005 Black America Web 

Sunday  4/10/2005

In Many Turks' Eyes, U.S. Remains the Enemy Hostility Bodes Ill For Efforts to Boost Americans' Image  4/10/2005 Washington Post: "As the Bush administration ramps up efforts to improve the American image in the Muslim world, the magnitude of the challenge is starkly visible in this country of 70 million, long seen as a bridge between East and West. Polls suggest that few countries have turned more dramatically against the United States than Turkey. The latest survey, gathered in February by the private Metropoll organization, found that four in 10 Turks regard the United States as their country's "biggest enemy." That is more than double the number who named Greece, the ancient rival Turkey has come to the brink of war with three times in the last half-century."

Saturday  4/9/2005

KKK auction canceled over recruitment fliers  4/9/2005 CNN 

Friday  4/8/2005

Schiavo memo trips up rookie senator  4/8/2005 Miami Herald: "Republicans worry that Mel Martinez's involvement in a politically charged memo about the Terri Schiavo case could tarnish the freshman U.S. senator from Florida."

Groups warned to obey travel limits  4/8/2005 Miami Herald: "The U.S. government warned religious organizations not to abuse their travel privileges to Cuba -- a move meant to enforce tightened restrictions on the island… Regulators acted after reports that some groups that practice Santeria and other religious organizations were allowing people who didn't officially belong to those groups or were not practitioners to visit Cuba under their U.S.-issued religious licenses. The Herald detailed cases in which some Santeria organizations in Miami with religious licenses were taking thousands of people to Cuba as a way to get around Bush administration travel restrictions."

Thursday  4/7/2005

New Revelations about Racism in the Military  4/7/2005 Black Commentator 

Friday  4/1/2005

At OAS, Venezuela's draft of rights charter irks U.S.  4/1/2005 Miami Herald: "But the draft Social Charter submitted by Venezuela -- the only one submitted so far -- reads like a manifesto for Chávez's revolution. In 17 pages it enumerates ''fundamental'' rights: from free schools and healthcare to state pensions for housewives; from the right of workers to be ''protected from unforeseen circumstances'' to the indigenous peoples' ``right to collective ownership of their lands.'' The draft also holds that all ''cultural, scientific, and technical media, including the new technologies, ought to be publicly available, at no cost'' and recognizes some workers' rights to ``control of the means of production.'' Few would argue that democracy is on a sound footing in Latin America, a region that has the world's worst income distribution and where over 40 percent of its inhabitants survive on less than $2 a day. These disparities prompted foreign ministers at the OAS General Assembly in Ecuador last year to agree to write a Social Charter. But the Bush administration has flatly rejected the Venezuelan draft and refused to let one of Venezuela's diplomats lead the working group that would write a final draft, although the country that promotes an initiative usually gets that honor. 'The process of creating a Social Charter must not result in rhetorical statements of unattainable statist-oriented `social goals,' '' said John Maisto, U.S. ambassador to the OAS."

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