Saturday, February 27, 2010

THE 1958 WICHITA SIT-IN

Just read an article in the Black Commentator about the 1958 sit-in at a lunch counter in Wichita.  Seldom mentioned it turns out it was the first of its kind.  So being from just up the road, I thought I'd reprint an article about it.

The following is from NPR...a while back, but hey


Kansas Sit-In Gets Its Due at Last
Ron Walters and Carol Parks Haun
Enlarge Courtesy: Rosie HughesCarol Parks and Ron Walters, pictured in 1958. That year, the two cousins, who were leaders in the local NAACP youth council, participated in a sit-in at Dockum, a popular eatery in Wichita, KS.
Ron Walters and Carol Parks Haun
Courtesy: Rosie Hughes
Carol Parks and Ron Walters, pictured in 1958. That year, the two cousins, who were leaders in the local NAACP youth council, participated in a sit-in at Dockum, a popular eatery in Wichita, KS.
Dockum Drugstore
Courtesy: The Wichita EagleIn 1958, the whites-only lunch counter at the Dockum Drugstore, on the corner of Broadway and Douglas in dowtown Wichita, KS., was the site of the first student-led sit-in in the nation.

October 21, 2006
 
A sit-in at a Woolworth lunch counter in Greensboro, N.C., in 1960 is often cited as the first civil rights protest of its kind. But almost two years earlier, a student led sit-in occurred in the heart of the Midwest. On Saturday, those who took part in that successful sit-in will be honored in Wichita, Kan., for their role in civil rights history.

In July of 1958, Carol Parks-Haun, 19, and her cousin Ron Walters, 20, decided to protest restaurants which denied services to blacks in Wichita. At the time both were leaders in the local NAACP Youth Council. Walters and Parks-Haun organized a sit-in at Dockum Drugstore -- a popular eatery with a soda fountain.
Parks-Haun remembers the humiliation of standing at the lunch counter to request a meal. "You'd come in and go to the end of this counter and when you were served anything, it was in disposable containers," she says. "We never knew what it was to just sit there and have a glass and dishes."

Ron Walters says 1958 Wichita was very segregated. "It was Mississippi up north. So we tried to break it down and we deliberately chose Dockum because Dockum was part of a chain -- the Rexall Drugstore chain -- and we felt if we could do something there in the heart of town, it might have a consequence," Walters says.

Remembering the Sit-In

Nearly 50 years later in Wichita, Parks-Haun remembers entering Dockum. She sat down on the center stool and ordered a coke, but didn't think the waitress would actually serve her.

"She gave it to me and I said, 'oh my,' and the others came in and they sat and she looked at them -- and she looked at me -- and she leaned forward and she said, 'You are not colored are you dear?' And I said, 'Oh yes, I am' and then she pulled away.' She pulled back because the store policy was not to serve colored people," Parks-Haun says.

For the next three weeks the polite, well-dressed students would remain quietly seated as they were refused service at the lunch counter. They sometimes sat for hours and their presence was unnerving to patrons. Some patrons taunted and threatened the students.

"Sometimes we were not able to fill all those stools up and someone came in, maybe the person was white … and started toward an empty stool. Then they realized what was going on and they backed away," Walters says. Some came in looked at what was happening -- cursed us out because they understood then that we were depriving them of this service."

Nearly a month after their sit-in began, the owner relented. "He came to the door and he looked directly to his manager and he said, 'Serve them -- I'm losing too much money,' and then he left. It was that simple!" Parks-Haun says.

Wichita historian and author Gretchen Eick says the sit-in really struck a chord.

"That set a precedent that really began what would be a very significant strategy -- a strategy that would change the way business was done in the United States," Eick says.

The Dockum Drugstore sit-in failed to achieve national visibility in large part because the local newspaper didn’t want to scare away advertisers. In addition, the NAACP did not sanction sit-ins at the time. A year and a half later, sit-ins would erupt across the South and attract substantial media attention.

LATEST UPDATE ON CARRIE AND SCOTT FROM "SUPPORT CARRIE AND SCOTT"

Subject: Partial victory re: Carrie’s court docket, Denial on petition for re-hearing and Scott’s motions







In this update:

1. Court orders Carrie’s court docket unsealed with redactions, denies petition for re-hearing

2. Scott’s motions denied (mostly)

3. Update on Carrie’s custody status

4. Donations, please!

5. Feb. 28-March 2: Events with Dhoruba Bin-Wahad

6. March 19: Come dine with us!

7. Call-out for Local Minneapolis Artists! Seeking donations for Scott, Carrie and Eric McDavid benefit

—————————————————————



1. Court orders Carrie’s court docket unsealed with redactions, denies petition for re-hearing



In a partial victory for reporter Sheila Regan, Carrie and the SCSC, the court has ordered Carrie’s court docket unsealed but has given the government 21 days to propose redactions to the unsealed documents. See Regan’s article, here, for more information on the ruling.



Along with this bit of good news, however, comes a big disappointment: Carrie’s petition for a re-hearing has been denied. She and her attorneys are currently discussing next legal steps.



2. Scott’s motions denied (mostly)



Judges Shields and Jarvey have issued orders on recent motions argued in Scott’s case. Shields set a deadline of March 15 for the government to designate expert witnesses and disclose their written reports; the defense has until April 5th to do the same. The court also ordered the government to “to give notice of its intent to introduce any evidence of other crimes, wrongs or bad acts” at least 21 days in advance of trial. All other discovery requests by the defense were denied, some without prejudice. Jarvey denied the motions to dismiss the original indictment “as moot without prejudice to refile,” and issued an official trial order setting the trial start date for May 3 and outlining trial procedures. All three orders are viewable here: http://www.facebook.com/l/319de;davenportgrandjury.wordpress.com/resources/legal-documents/scotts-case/



3. Update on Carrie’s custody status



As mentioned previously, Carrie is being held in the disciplinary block at Dubuque County Jail in Iowa. We’ve confirmed that she’s being held there because of the incident at Washington County, where two visitors ran up to her cell window from the parking lot, and for which she was in no way responsible. Because of Dubuque’s visiting policies, Carrie will now only be able to get visits from immediate family members. In light of her increased isolation and the recent denial of her petition for a re-hearing, we want to encourage everyone to take a few minutes to write her and make sure she feels as much support from the outside as possible. You can write to her at:



Carolyn Feldman

770 Iowa St.

Dubuque, IA 52001



4. Donations, please!



As always, we want to remind supporters that the financial burden of defending Carrie and Scott is quite high. In addition to the cost of a good legal defense, the SCSC is also trying to cover the cost of travel whenever necessary to ensure that Scott and Carrie get as much support in Iowa as possible. Please consider donating! Info about how to do so is available here: http://www.facebook.com/l/319de;davenportgrandjury.wordpress.com/what-you-can-do/



5. Feb. 28-March 2: Events with Dhoruba Bin-Wahad



In November 2009 Dhoruba Bin-Wahad, a former U.S. political prisoner, leader the Black Panther Party, and member of the Black Liberation Army, was detained and deported from the West Bank of occupied Palestine by Israeli authorities. He had been invited to attend a conference on political detention by the Palestinian Authority. Dhoruba spent 19 years of a life sentence in jail for a crime he did not commit. He was a target of the FBI’s COINTELPRO, was arrested in 1971 and had his conviction overturned in 1990. He will discuss historic and current struggles against social injustice and state violence in the U.S. and in Palestine, with a specific focus on political prisoners and institutions that repress social movement mobilization within communities fighting oppression. Join the SCSC and a wide array of other Twin Cities organizations to hear this powerful speaker, who challenges conventional wisdom and inspires people to embrace social change. For a schedule of events, visit: http://www.facebook.com/l/319de;www.midwestgreenscare.org



6. March 19: Come dine with us!



March 19th from 6:30-8pm the Scott and Carrie Support Committee is offering a FREE COMMUNITY MEAL at the Powderhorn Park Neighborhood Association building: 821 East 35th street in Minneapolis. Get some chow in your belly, some info in your head, and some solidarity in your heart.



7. Call-out for Local Minneapolis Artists! Seeking donations for Scott, Carrie and Eric McDavid benefit



Explosive Expressions Minneapolis: Supporting Earth Warriors Through Art



Purity Bakery Building Art Gallery

Saturday April 24th, 2010

6PM to 10PM

*Auction starts at 6 PM and ends at 9 PM



Calling all painters, shanty-makers, photographers, sculptors, people who make art out of condom wrappers/newspapers/lipstick/bicycle tubes oh my!, knitters, sewers, welders, metal-workers, and artists of all other flavors! The Scott and Carrie Support Committee is asking all local Minneapolis artists who support the fight for justice to DONATE works of art to a night of Explosive Expressions Minneapolis: Supporting Earth Warriors Through Art.



On Saturday April 24th, at the Purity Bakery Building Art Gallery, we will be having an Art Exhibition and Auction to help support our comrades Carrie Feldman and Scott DeMuth, two Minneapolis activists who were unjustly taken hostage by the state in November 2009, and Eric McDavid, who has been imprisoned since 2006 and is currently facing almost 20 years in prison for a crime that never happened.



Help be part of the creative resistance against state repression and send questions and/or the following details to

explosiveexpressionsmpls@riseup.net by April 1st, 2010:

-Name

-Contact information

-Starting bid on the auction item

-A description of the piece you are donating

-When the item can be picked up or dropped off



*Any items being dropped off or mailed can be sent to this address:

Explosive Expressions Mpls. c/o Leigh

1909 Elliot Avenue

Minneapolis, MN 55405



For more information on Scott’s and Carrie’s cases and to find out other ways of supporting them, please visit:



http://www.facebook.com/l/319de;davenportgrandjury.wordpress.com.



For more information on Eric’s case and ways to support him, please visit: http://www.facebook.com/l/319de;www.supporteric.org.



———————————–

Thanks for your continuing support,

the SCSC

Friday, February 26, 2010

Tom Clark, 1947-2010

I'm growing tired of writing about old friends who have died, but such is the nature of things, I guess. Tom departed this dimension earlier this month.

You can find Tom Clark's memorial page at
You can leave a note if you knew him and so desire. 

On his memorial page he is described thus:

Author, musician, revolutionary, philosopher, loving husband, father and dear friend -- Tom Clark died on Saturday, February 13th, 2010. His wife, two daughters, and many friends mourn his absence.

Tom's 20 year career as a network engineer and author took him around the globe where he developed a large community of friends and professional colleagues.

Because there will not be a traditional funeral service, this blog will serve as an online memorial space, where those who knew and loved Tom can come together in comraderie.

We will be posting more of Tom's photos and stories of his life in the coming days, and invite you to share comments and anecdotes.

I knew a slightly different Tom back when. Below is my note.

"I knew Tom back in the 60s and 70s. It was a different Tom and a different time than many of the memories recorded here. Maybe not really such a different Tom, just a different direction at the time. I knew Tom, the revolutionary. Tom was my great teacher of Marxism-Leninsim. He brought me along out of my yippie-weather like revolutionary period (which landed me in prison by the way) to my more "mature" serious Marxist period. He knew his stuff and I learned an amazing amount from. Perhaps, the more important thing I learned was literally how to think, how to think dialectically. Perhaps, the least amazing was the goodness of coffee with ice cream in it.

We had our disagreements and eventually a falling out in the late 70s. After that I only saw him one more time.

Still, I remember the study groups, the newspaper, the famous chart, the bookstore full of Chinese and Albanian literature and periodicals as well as books from International Publishers. I remember when we handled the the Great Chinese Archaeological Exhibit when it visited the Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City (that was a little strange adventure). I remember the CWG and WLS. I remember the time he cut my hair way shorter than I wanted. I think he believed an M-L shouldn't look like a hippie. I remember when he drove me home from my prison stay in the federal pen in El Reno, Oklahoma...a happy day.

But you know, from the reading above I find that the Tom then in some ways never really changed. In a time of rock and roll Tom knew classical music and classical literature, too. Tom was even in those times, I think, a gentle man, with a kind disposition, a strange little chuckle, and a certain fierceness. When Tom studied Marx and Lenin, he really studied. I think Tom so wanted to find the right way forward, but alas it wasn't to be.

Although we did not depart as friends I hope he had a wonderful rest of his life and I am deeply saddened to hear of his death. He was a fascinating man, a friend referred to him, in a kind way, as an anomaly. I think that's probably right."

Thursday, February 25, 2010

PRISONER DIES DURING HUNGER STRIKE IN CUBA

The death of Cuban dissident Orlando Zapata Tamayo should not have happened.  Whatever your opinion of Cuba is today, a dissident prisoner should not be driven to dying in a hunger strike.  

Raul Castro says, "We took Orlando Zapata Tamayo to Cuba's best hospitals and he died. We very much regret it." 

And so he should.

Tamayo, who was a member of groups suspected of links to the CIA, was jailed in 2003 after being convicted of receiving funds from Washington, public disorder and "disobedience."

He was subsequently convicted of "disorder in a penal establishment" and his sentence was increased.


All that is fine and dandy, and I'm sure Tamayo and I were no doubt on different pages politically, but still...

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/multimedia/archive/00688/CUBA_PIXEL_SIZE_185_688960a.JPG 
Orlando Zapata Tamayo

The following is from Amnesty International.

Death of Cuban prisoner of conscience on hunger strike must herald change

24 February 2010

Amnesty International has urged Cuban President Raúl Castro to immediately and unconditionally release all prisoners of conscience after a political activist died following a hunger strike.

Orlando Zapata Tamayo was reported to have been on hunger strike in protest at prison conditions for several weeks before his death in Havana on Monday.

"The tragic death of Orlando Zapata Tamayo is a terrible illustration of the despair facing prisoners of conscience who see no hope of being freed from their unfair and prolonged incarceration," said Gerardo Ducos, Amnesty International's Caribbean researcher. "A full investigation must be carried out to establish whether ill-treatment may have played a part in his death."

Orlando Zapata Tamayo was arrested in March 2003 and in May 2004 he was sentenced to three years in prison for "disrespect", "public disorder" and "resistance".

He was subsequently tried several times on further charges of "disobedience" and "disorder in a penal establishment", the last time in May 2009, and was serving a total sentence of 36 years at the time of his death.

"Faced with a prolonged prison sentence, the fact that Orlando Zapata Tamayo felt he had no other avenue available to him but to starve himself in protest is a terrible indictment of the continuing repression of political dissidents in Cuba," said Gerardo Ducos

"The death of Orlando Zapata also underlines the urgent need for Cuba to invite international human rights experts to visit the country to verify respect for human rights, in particular obligations in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights."

Orlando Zapata Tamayo was one of 55 prisoners of conscience who have been adopted by Amnesty International in Cuba.

The majority were among the 75 people arrested as part of the massive March 2003 crackdown by authorities against political activists. With no independent judiciary in Cuba, trials are often summary and fall grossly short of international fair trial standards. Once sentenced the chances of appeal are virtually nil.

CHINA DAM PROJECT RAISES UNEASY QUESTIONS

China needs electricity. But what does this mean for the Nu River,one of only two major rivers in China yet to be dammed? / Credit:Gordon Ross/IPSThis is an interesting article as it actually attempts to try and understand the choices facing the Chinese government and local Chinese citizens affected by a dam project. Opposed by many environmentalists, the Nu River dam project also has positive environmental aspects. Opposed by some because it removes locals, some locals like the relocation fine. You judge it on your own.

Credit:Gordon Ross/IPS The following is from IPS.


ENVIRONMENT-CHINA: Dam Plans Open Gates to Tough Choices Ahead
By Gordon Ross
NU RIVER VALLEY, China, Feb 25, 2010 (IPS) - The Nu River flows from the Tibetan highlands through China’s western Yunnan province, cutting between two mountain ranges before rushing through Burma into the Andaman Sea. It is home to a third of the country’s ethnic groups and a diverse ecosystem of 7,000 species of plants and 80 rare or endangered animals and fish.


It was here that Christian missionaries from Burma first entered China, and today communities of ethnic Nu and Tibetans remain passionately Catholic, attending mass in small churches and chanting under pictures of Jesus and the Virgin Mary.

It is one of the country’s most remote and fascinating places, and one of only two major rivers in China yet to be dammed.

But that may not last.

In 2003, a consortium of power companies proposed building 13 dams along the Nu (the name means "angry", referring to the river’s spring surge), a project that would produce more electricity than the Three Gorges Dam, which spans the Yangtze in Hubei province. The move brought together China’s fledgling environmental movement, which launched a vocal campaign to keep the Nu free-flowing.

National and international press picked up the story, and in 2004 Premier Wen Jiabao ordered a halt to the project and a full environmental assessment – a crucial victory for China’s environmentalists.

The victory was shortlived. The environmental assessment was never released to the public. The government claimed that because the Nu is an international river – known outside of China as the Salween – development plans fell under state secrecy law.

The project was scaled down from 13 dams to four, and preliminary work went ahead despite Wen’s edict. In March 2008, the State Development and Reform Commission published its five-year plan for energy development, which listed dams on the Nu as key projects.

Today, the construction of a small dam on a tributary to the Nu, just south of the Three Parallel Rivers World Heritage Site of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), is nearly complete.

In 2007, residents of Xiaoshaba, a village of some 120 families upstream from the city of Liuku, were relocated into newly-built apartment blocks to make way for a power station. Meanwhile, in Burma to the south a planned dam project will produce electricity that will be sold back to China.

Last May, Premier Wen once again stopped the projects until a full environmental assessment is completed. But observers say that when the 67-year-old premier steps down in 2012, the projects will resume.

While environmentalists remain staunchly opposed to damming the Nu, the controversy is not black and white. China is hungry for energy and 80 percent of the country’s electrical supply is currently provided by dirty coal-fired plants. Hydropower, which accounts for just 15 percent of China’s electricity, is seen as a cleaner – albeit controversial – alternative.

The dams could also bring much needed jobs to the impoverished Nu region. The local government has estimated that just 20 percent of residents in the region have electricity, something the dams could remedy.

Along the Nu, opinion varies. Kristen McDonald, an American who interviewed 200 villagers along the river for her graduate thesis, found that roughly one third support the project, one third opposes and one third are undecided.

In Xiaoshaba, the relocated village made up primarily of Lisu people, residents said they are generally happy with their new homes – rows of spacious two-storey apartments a few kilometres from the old village.

"The old village and the new one are pretty much the same," says Li Yu Xin, a 40-year-old mini-bus driver who receives a monthly relocation subsidy of 800 renminbi (117 U.S. dollars) along with his apartment. "The only problem is we can’t keep animals – there’s no room for them. But I like the new one fine. I support the central government’s decision."

Further upstream, near the town of Bingzhongluo, one villager, a Tibetan trekking guide, is less certain about the benefits of damming the Nu. The villager, who requested anonymity out of fear of reprisals, is in the fifth year of what he hopes will be a 20-year video documentary project chronicling the impact of the dams.

"People are more and more aware of the changes that would come from the dam, and they know they’re not good," he says. "I worry about how we’re going to keep these villages alive."

Indeed, local culture will be jeopardised should the project go ahead, says Wang Yongchen, a journalist and co-founder of the Beijing-based NGO Green Earth Volunteers, a group that was actively involved in the initial fight to save the Nu. Many villagers will have to be relocated from their traditional homes to cities up- and downstream. In one area near Liuku, a traditional Lisu bathing site will be washed away.

"If you dam the river, their culture, their tradition, disappears," Wang says.

Dam opponents are hoping that an ongoing public awareness campaign will rally increasingly environmentally-conscious Chinese to call upon their government to protect the Nu and other areas like it.

Travis Winn, a 26-year-old American who, with McDonald, co-founded China Rivers Project, a non-profit that aims to protect China’s river heritage, hosts rafting trips to the Nu and other rivers with influential and wealthy Chinese who are in a position to take action.

"The science is there – the dams don’t make a lot of sense. But unless there’s a more personal aspect to this, the science isn’t very useful. That’s what we’re trying to do, make a personal connection," Winn says. "The universal response is, ‘I’ve never had this experience before. I never thought China had such beautiful places.’ It’s the time of their lives." (END)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

LEADING SCORER IN THE REVOLUTIONARY ATHLETIC CONFERENCE (RAC)

He scores! Three points for the Reds right there and a big three it is. Wow, that shot came from downtown Moscow. This Lenin, is a diaper dandy, baby, watch out for him.

TWO LOYALISTS SENTENCED TO LIFE FOR KILLING OF FIFTEEN YEAR OLD CATHOLIC BOY----FINALLY

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_EQUCWbgJRqU/Sk9Ysnx-7RI/AAAAAAAAADA/J9D2Rxjg0Vg/s320/thomas+D+memorial+(Medium).JPGWant to talk about a hate crime. How about a fifteen year old boy who is walking along, minding his own business with two of his buds after buying some candy dies after being attacked by thugs.

It happened during the summer 0f 2005 in Belfast. The young boys ...were Catholic. The attackers were not.

It took seemingly forever but a couple of years later nine people, one of whom was former Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) killer were detained.

Finally, two of the attackers have been sentenced to life terms for the murder.

In Northern Ireland, it ain't over until its over.

The following is from Slugger O'Toole.

Thomas Devlin's murderers convicted
The murderers of Thomas Devlin were found guilty today. Thomas was a 15 year old schoolboy from Somerton Road in North Belfast. He and two friends were coming back from buying sweets and fizzy drinks during a session of computer gaming. Just before they reached home they were attacked by Nigel Brown, 26, of Whitewell Road and Gary Taylor, 23, from Mountcollyer Avenue. Thomas was stabbed 9 times and died at the scene near his own home whilst one of his friends was also injured.

Thomas’ mother Penny Holloway described him as a “kind and generous, much loved son and brother with a great sense of humour. Thomas could make fun out of doing nothing. On the night that he was killed he was with his friends walking home believing that he was safe - he had no reason to believe otherwise.”

She continued: “Gary Taylor killed Thomas but we still have no idea why and we probably will never know. 

“However, what we do know is that Thomas was brutally murdered and he has been deprived of living his life to his full potential. 


“Thomas is in our thoughts every day. We all miss him very much and whilst this trial brings his killers to their rightful place in prison, we would much prefer to have Thomas alive.” 



Although Mrs. Holloway may have no idea why her son was murdered it remains likely that it was an attack motivated by sectarianism as Thomas was a Catholic, though he was a member of a local Boys Brigade, attended Belfast Royal Academy and had friends from all sections of the community. Thomas had wanted to either study law or computing when he left school.

Prosecuting lawyer, Mr. Toby Hedworth QC told the court that Taylor and Brown’s intentions that night were “crystal clear”, to find “soft targets” after going out together “tooled-up.”
Mr Justice McLaughlin told Belfast Crown Court that Thomas and his friends “were attacked without any reason or provocation whatever.”

Turning to address Taylor directly, the judge said: “It is plain that you Gary Taylor were the principal, you are the killer.”

He told Taylor he could “shake your head all you like, but this county with its democratic system and system for fair trials, has heard all of the evidence, considered all of the facts and has determined your guilt”.

At this stage Taylor shouted: “Suspicion does not prove guilt”.

However, ignoring the outburst, Mr Justice McLaughlin told him: “You thought you had got away with it, but you have been convicted and you will pay a heavy price for what you did on the Somerton Road.
“You will go to prison for life. And you will have a tariff fixed. It will be a very lengthy tariff you can be sure,”
warned the judge.

Turning to Brown, the judge told him he had played a “secondary” role.
Jailing him for life, he added that his “conviction demonstrates that those who engage in violence willingly must take full responsibility, not just for what they do themselves, but for the actions of others that they go about with and with whom they act in concert.”

Mrs Holloway mounted a tireless campaign to bring her son’s murderers to justice.

A year into the murder investigation, police revealed they had taken more than 900 statements and searched more than 60 properties, but still did not have enough evidence to charge anyone with the murder.
In total, detectives arrested nine people, one of whom was former UVF killer and high profile PUP politician Billy Hutchinson, who was detained on suspicion of withholding information about the murder in 2007.
His arrest sparked a loyalist protest outside Antrim police station, where demonstrators accused the PSNI of “political policing”.

He was released without charge.

Two months earlier, Mr Hutchinson had accused Ms Holloway of “demonising” the Mount Vernon community, referring to the loyalist estate near the scene of the murder, where one of the suspects lived.
His comments came after Thomas’ parents wrote to the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern to protest against a 4,000 euros grant which the Irish government had awarded to the Mount Vernon Community Development Forum, of which Mr Hutchinson was a member.

Although critical of the PPS, Mrs. Holloway said the police had worked hard on the murder investigation, and claimed that detectives were also unhappy with the PPS’ direction in the case.

Though quite late this conviction demonstrates that murderers can be convicted in spite of significant difficulties. However, although one high profile murder has been successfully prosecuted there remain more from relatively recently such as Lisa Dorrian and Robert McCartney (and Paul Quinn just across the border) as well as many others from the more distant past. Their relatives are still denied justice and their murderers still await their just punishment. We can simply hope (though with little confidence) that this is the first in a series of convictions in murder cases here in Northern Ireland.

SAY WHAT?

"...with liberty and justice for all." Well, maybe except if you don't pledge. What next, jailed for not taking the girl scout oath, tasered for not singing the national anthem at the old ball game...Where am I? What year is this?

 

The following is from the Washington Post.

Pledge of Allegiance dispute results in Md. teacher having to apologize
By Jenna Johnson


The mother of a 13-year-old Montgomery County middle school student is demanding an apology from a teacher who had school police escort the youngster from a classroom for refusing to say the Pledge of Allegiance.

The unidentified student was mocked by other children in her class and has been too traumatized to return to Roberto Clemente Middle School in Germantown, according to Ajmel Quereshi, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland who is representing the family.

A school spokesman said Tuesday that the teacher's actions were a clear violation of the school's regulations, which are based on state law. The teacher, who also has not been identified by either side, will have to apologize to the student, spokesman Dana Tofig said.

"The policy is very, very clearly stated," Tofig said. "Our teachers are expected to know the students' rights and responsibilities. . . . A mistake has been made, and it will be rectified."

Quereshi said that as of Tuesday afternoon, no one from the school had contacted the girl or her family to resolve the issue. The teen's mother tried to schedule a meeting with school officials but was told they would not meet with her if she wanted to bring a lawyer, Quereshi said.

The ACLU asked in a Feb. 5 letter that the teacher personally apologize to the student, promise to respect her rights in the future and discuss the incident with the class so it can become an educational opportunity.

The Supreme Court ruled in 1943 that students cannot be forced to salute the flag. Maryland law explicitly allows any student or teacher to be excused from participating in the pledge, according to the ACLU.

The Montgomery school system's student handbook contains a section about "Patriotic Exercises" that reads: "You cannot be required to say a pledge, sing an anthem, or take part in patriotic exercises. No one will be permitted to intentionally embarrass you if you choose not to participate."

The incident began on a Wednesday in late January, when the girl did not stand for the pledge. Her teacher yelled at her, demanded that she stand and then sent her to the office for her defiance, Quereshi said. The school system confirmed the sequence of events.

The next morning, the girl again refused to stand for the pledge. This time, the teacher called two school police officers to the classroom to escort the girl to the office.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

FOR VAHID, FOR FARID, FOR THE PEOPLE OF IRAN

Long ago, back in Lawrence, Kansas, I had two Iranians friends, brothers - Farid and Vahid. They worked long and hard to overthrow the Shah and the hated Savak. After Khomeini came to power they both went back to Iran to join the struggle for a true revolutionary Iran, not some religious theocracy, but a Socialist  Republic of Iran. One, I know was executed. The other was just never heard from again. I haven't forgotten them and I haven't forgotten the dream for which they fought.

Woman guerrilla

The following is from the blog of Maryam Namazie.


Campaign to Free Political Prisoners in Iran
22/02/2010

Following the on-going demonstrations that have started in summer of 2009 in Iran, hundreds of people have been arrested, imprisoned and several have been executed. In concurrence with the mass arrests families of these political prisoners have been gathering in front of the notorious Evin prison and Revolutionary Court in Tehran demanding their immediate and unconditional release. These support for these demonstration are growing: on 30th January 2010 the number of the protesters reached an all time high of 2000 families and their supporters, and on 11th February 2010, the 31st anniversary of the 1979 revolution, around 1000 of people gathered to demand the release of all political prisoners. Despite the brutal assault by the guards and thugs deployed by the regime, the families are determined to continue their protest in order to keep the pressure on the regime to free their loved ones.

In several occasions the regime was under such a pressure that they were forced to release around a hundred of prisoners. On 16th February 2010 more than 300 families gathered in front of the Evin prison, shouting "free all political prisoners" and ultimately forced the authorities to release 18 of these prisoners. The most recent gatherings were on 22nd February 2010 when more than 600 families gathered in front of the Revolutionary Court and 21st February when 700 gathered in front of Evin Prison which forced the prison's authority to release 29 prisoners. In last few weeks more people including families of ex-political prisoners and families whom their children have been executed previously have joined the protest.

As a result of these continuous demonstrations, the Islamic regime has been forced to release several political prisoners, but these families need help and support to free their children and all other political prisoners, they need an international support, they need your support to echo their voice globally.

Background information

The current protests in front of the notorious Evin prison are the extension of the protests in the streets of many cities in Iran which began in June 2009 and resulted in many men, women, and even children as young as 12 years old being arrested, imprisoned, tortured and raped.

Many of those arrestees are still in prison; some of them have been executed or disappeared and no one knows their whereabouts, even their families. This is not the first time the Islamic regime has fiercely cracked down any sign of opposition to its existence and brutally suppressed the struggle of the people for freedom. The resistance of the Iranian people against the Islamic regime has been ongoing for the past three decades, but this time is different; these demonstrators are defying all levels of authorities within the regime, and even shouting "death to the dictator" meaning the supreme leader which according to the Islamic rules it carry a punishment of death by execution.

Take an action

Send a protest letter to the Islamic Regime of Iran.

You can also send your letter to Iranian embassy in your country.

Please send your letter to: info@leader.ir and dr-ahmadinejad@president.ir

please send a copy for our record to: freepoliticalprisoners@gmail.com

A sample protest letter is provided below:

I/we condemn the Islamic regime's attack on demonstrators in Iran. I/we demand the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners in Iran and an end to the executions in Iran.

Name/ organization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
City/country . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

"YEAH, WELL, SO'S YOUR OLD MAN"

At the gathering of Latin American Presidents going on right now, not everyone is playing nice. Some Presidents just don't get along as President Chavez told president Uribe to "F..k off." Fortunately, for all concerned President Raul Castro came along and...

The following is from Momento 24.


Fighting between presidents at Latin American Unity summit

http://sportzfun.com/photos/albums/boxing/boxing_squirrel.jpg
Felipe Calderón, Mexico's president, said: "There is consensus to strengthen hemispheric unity with the creation of a new institution without the United States and Canada."

The news was announced at the Unit for Latin America and Caribbean Summit held in Cancun and where 25 presidents were present. Furthermore, the Rio Group meeting was also held in the same place.

"Most of the continent nations are integrated to realize the new mechanism parallel to the Organization of American States (OAS)." Claderon said.

He added: "With nuances, there is a willingness to arrive at a unity agreement between Latin America and the Caribbean, and we propose the transition to this mechanism".

At the moment the organism name is not defined and it would begin operating in July 2011 with the new meeting of the Unity Summit in Caracas, Venezuela.

But this good news was overshadowed by an exchange of words between the presidents of Colombia and Venezuela, where bilateral ties are affected.

It was during the lunch hosted by the Mexican government, and where it was not allowed the media presence.

Colombian president Uribe said to Chavez: "Be a man and stay to discuss face to face, you just insulted in the distance," a news agency reported.

Chavez' answer was: "F… off", assistances said.

Cuban president Raúl Castro intervened to end the discussion that had risen in pitch.

Chavez threatened to leave the summit after discussion with Uribe.

Calderon said a while after that "both countries agreed to conduct the differences with friendly dialogue. And It was decided that a group of friends help to Venezuela and Colombia to resolve their differences.

The countries that comprise it as the Mexican president are: Argentina, Brazil, Dominican Republic and Mexico.

 
Other issues discussed at the summit were, "The emergency in Haiti and the political situation in Honduras'.

"THE UGLINESS IS JUST OUT THERE"

So there is this African-American teenager who is stopping by to visit his grandmother. The police see him and think he looks suspicious and figure he must have a gun. So the pride of Pittsburg decide its time to protect and serve. They arrest the kid and beat him up...and lots of people on line think it's cool.

The following is from WTAE (Pittsburgh).

The attorney for a Pittsburgh CAPA student who claims three city police officers beat him during his arrest said the teen has passed an FBI lie detector test."Jordan knew he had the truth on his side, he knew he was telling the truth and he wanted everyone else to know that he was telling the truth," said mother Terez Miles.
Jordan Miles
Kerrington Lewis, the attorney for 18-year-old Jordan Miles, said Miles was given the two-hour test on Monday.

Slideshow: Pittsburgh Student Claims Police Brutality; Shows Hospital Photos To Channel 4"

I asked him, I said, 'Could you please explain it to me again?' Every time he explained it, the story never changed, so I had no doubt that he would pass that polygraph," said Terez Miles.The FBI is investigating Miles' civil rights allegations. Miles claims the officers beat him on Jan. 12 when he was walking to his grandmother's house.Police said they thought Miles had a weapon and was acting suspiciously. The black teenager contends the white officers attacked him because they assumed he was a troublemaker because of his race.

Terez Miles with Channel 4 Action News anchor Andrew Stockey
Terez Miles said the story has earned just as many detractors as supporters."I checked online once, but I can't look online anymore. The ugliness is just out there -- racists, people that side with police officers no matter what," said Terez Miles.Miles' family is planning to file a lawsuit against the three officers, hoping his success with the polygraph test will aid in that endeavor."I know they are not perfect -- they are not 100 percent perfect -- but I think it goes a long way towards helping people understand what really happened that night," said Terez Miles.Miles is charged with assault, but Lewis said Miles is the victim. The officers have been suspended.

CARRIE NOW IN DUBUQUE COUNTY JAIL...DROP HER A LINE

Another day, another jail for Carrie. Below is the information and a new address to write. Shiiiite...

http://katebornstein.typepad.com/photos/uncategorized/2008/08/31/moving_on_5.jpg
The following is from Support Carrie and Scott.


Carrie moved AGAIN!

Carrie was just transferred to Dubuque County Jail; seems like Muscatine was just a temporary stop. (Any mail that has been sent there may or may not get to her; we would like to encourage folks to re-send mail to this address).

We think Dubuque is where she'll be for a while. Here is her mailing address there–mail should be getting through now:

Carolyn Feldman
770 Iowa St.
Dubuque, IA 52001

Mailing regulations for this jail: letters and cards are okay, "nothing inappropriate," no glitter. Photos are okay, including Polaroids. You cannot send stamps or envelopes; she has to buy them with commissary money. Commissary money can be sent to the jail in the form of money orders; make sure to note that the money is for her.

Books can come from publishers or bookstores. Hardbacks are okay. Magazines can come from publishers. Copied zines are not allowed (we know).

Carrie is in segregation at this jail for an unknown amount of time, on 23-hour lockdown, and she is no longer allowed visits from anyone other than immediate family. It is going to be especially important for people to write her now, as this may be her only contact with the majority of the outside world for a long time. Please write to Carrie and encourage others to do the same!

And as always, you can send e-letters to davenportgrandjury@riseup.net; we'll print them out and send them along.

Thank you all for your continued support.

Monday, February 22, 2010

ARE YOU A DOMESTIC TERRORIST???????

Well, now. The corporate media up in the Twin Cities has taken note of the fact that Carrie Feldman has been sitting in jail for three months now for refusing to testify before a grand jury about things she knows nothing about.

The article also contains this interesting quote from the prosecutor about Scott DeMuth wh...o has been indicted by the same grand jury. "Defendant's writings, literature, and conduct suggest that he is an anarchist and associated with the ALF movement," Clifford Cronk, U.S. Attorney wrote. "Therefore, he is a domestic terrorist."

Heads up kids! You, too, may be a domestic terrorist.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/50/ALFbeagles.jpg
Pictured above are seven terrorist members of the infamous Beagle Liberation Organization

The following is from Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Stuck 3 months in Iowa jail for refusal to testify
Feds say the Minneapolis woman may have information on terrorist acts.
By ABBY SIMONS, Star Tribune

Having sat three months now in an Iowa jail, Carrie Feldman of Minneapolis is a hero to scores of animal-rights defenders around the world.

But to the U.S. government, the 20-year-old left-wing political activist is a potential witness who may know something about a daring break-in more than five years ago at a University of Iowa laboratory.

When she refused to testify before a grand jury, a judge ordered her jailed Nov. 17 for contempt of court. She's been in a cell ever since and could legally be held 11 months if she continues her silence.

Her attorney and supporters say Feldman's plight illustrates how the U.S. government runs roughshod over citizens who resist policies they believe unjust. But officials of that government have said she may have ties to domestic terrorist groups and has a duty to tell what she knows.

In a recent interview, Feldman said she was 15 at the time of the break-in, didn't participate in it and doesn't know who did.

The Nov. 14, 2004, attack on Spence Laboratories drew widespread attention when members of the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) released video of themselves breaking into the lab, rescuing hundreds of rats and mice, smashing computers and dumping chemicals. Damages totaled $450,000.

For five years, police made no arrests. Then, in November 2009, they arrested Feldman and her former boyfriend, Scott DeMuth, 22, for refusing to testify to the grand jury despite offers of immunity. Shortly thereafter, the grand jury indicted DeMuth in the break-in. He says he's innocent.

Ironically, DeMuth, still uncooperative but now a defendant, was allowed to post bail, return to the Twin Cities and await trial. Feldman, though not charged in the break-in, sits in jail.

"They're really using her as a pawn in this whole thing," said her attorney, Jordan Kushner of Minneapolis.

Feldman said she refused to testify because she opposes the grand jury system and how, in her belief, it undercuts citizens' rights.

"It's a principle thing for me," she said by telephone from jail, adding that her case shows "how easy it is for [the federal government] to abuse the statutes and the secrecy that surrounds it all. I haven't seen any evidence of why they want my testimony or [have] any reason to hold me."

Evidence not shown

Clifford Cronk, U.S. Attorney for that region, declined to discuss the case.

His office presented evidence to judges that attorneys for the pair have not seen. Those documents purportedly argue that a conspiracy surrounding the break-in continued after the crime, justifying the charge against DeMuth even though the five-year statute of limitations for the crime had expired.

Prosecutors have said that evidence, if revealed, could affect testimony or compromise the case against unindicted suspects.

DeMuth, a University of Minnesota graduate student, is charged with animal enterprise terrorism. He was 17 at the time of the break-in.

Prosecutors say they can link DeMuth to the 2008 Republican National Convention Welcoming Committee, which planned to disrupt the RNC in St. Paul. DeMuth was never arrested or charged with RNC-related activities. They also say he's been part of anti-government protests.

"Defendant's writings, literature, and conduct suggest that he is an anarchist and associated with the ALF movement," Cronk wrote. "Therefore, he is a domestic terrorist."

DeMuth's attorney, Michael Deutsch of Chicago, has filed motions for dismissal on several grounds; a trial is scheduled to get underway in March.

Though Feldman and DeMuth's case files are sealed by court order, both have provided documents to supporters who post them online.

Defining anarchism

Feldman, who studied two years at St.


Catherine University before taking time off,

is, like DeMuth, active in several Minnesota o

rganizations, including Coldsnap Legal

Collective and Earth Warriors are OK!

(EWOK!), which supports people arrested

during environmental or animal rights

protests.



She was volunteering with Coldsnap when

she was arrested during the RNC and said

Ramsey County Sheriff Robert Fletcher told

her she was suspected of conspiracy to

commit a riot. Officials released her without

charges. She, like Deutsch, believes the RNC

connections could be linked to the current

arrest.



"Feldman likely has knowledge about

persons associated with ALF; she does not

deny it," Cronk argued in writing. "The nature

of her arguments which deflect attention

from her and attacks the government suggest

that she does."



Jim Feldman, called to the stand during his

daughter's November contempt hearing, says

he answered "yes" when asked if she was an

anarchist.



"In retrospect, I should have asked Cronk to

define his term," he said in an e-

mail. "Subsequent statements from him

indicate that he thinks anarchism equates to

being a terrorist intent on using violent

means to take down the government."



The government notes that in 2006 Carrie

Feldman owned white rats similar to those

sprung from the laboratory. Her mother, Julia

Philips, said the pets came from a friend and

the humane society. She said the

government's insinuation is "kind of wacky."



Kushner, whose appeals for Feldman's

release have twice been denied, continues to

try, with a latest court ruling expected

Monday.



Feldman said she's prepared to do the whole

11 months, if necessary. She adds:



I don't think they should have the right to

force me to testify or bully me by holding me

in jail because I'm involved in political

activism."



Abby Simons • 612-673-4921



 

ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT NOT

Okay, I admit it. I don't know John Mayer from Adam, but anybody who uses the N word in an interview is not all right with me. Bigoted, ignorant remarks just don't pop out of nowhere. I love when people make some racist remark and then say, " I misspoke," or some such nonsense. If it comes out of the mouth, it is in the brain somewhere.

http://www.race-talk.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/foot_in_mouth_xray.jpg


X-ray of John Mayer with foot in mouth

The following is from Neon Limelight.

Protesters Greet John Mayer At Washington DC Concert

John Mayer got a healthy dose of the real world when he rolled into Washington, DC for a concert on his Battle Studies tour Saturday (February 20). It’s the real world that says despite an almost-immediate apology on Twitter and a tearful on-stage plea for forgiveness for dropping a racial slur and being a down-right jerk regarding his ex-girlfriend, Jessica Simpson, not everyone will forgive and forget. In fact, some will even protest about it.

Before entering the Verizon Center for the show, fans were immediately greeted by the bullhorn sound of protesters condemning Mayer for his off-color remarks in Playboy magazine, NeonLimelight.com witnessed firsthand.

“John Mayer should not get a free pass to come to the District of Columbia for his racist and bigoted and sexist comments,” an African-American protester said. “He needs to be in jail.”

The scathing speech didn’t just assault Mayer’s character, but came with a suggestion to anyone attending the show. “Don’t you go in there and applaud this man…Real music fans should not support John Mayer.”

Many stopped to listen to the protest, but it did very little to turn any fans away from the concert. Inside, though, it did spark a few racially-charged conversations, like one we overheard at a concession stand that compared Mayer’s comments to the loose-lipped hiccups of Kanye West. “You can’t excuse Kanye and stay mad at John Mayer,” an African-American woman behind the counter said in defense of Mayer. “Well, I hate Kanye for what he did,” a man replied.

Mayer made no mention of the protest during his two-hour long set, which included performances of his biggest hits “Your Body Is A Wonderland,” “Waiting On The World To Change,” and “Bigger Than My Body.”

Sunday, February 21, 2010

FREE MONDO WE LANGA AND EDWARD POINDEXTER

I went to prison just about the same time as Mondo we Langa (formerly David Rice) and Edward Poindexter. My trial was in Kansas City and theirs was in Omaha. I was an anti-racist activist and so were they. Our charges were very similar. I served a relatively short sentence in federal prison. They are still in prison. I am white. They are African-Americans. Get it. Fight white skin privilege, fight white supremacy, fight racism. FREE MONDO WE LANGA AND EDWARD POINDEXTER!

The following is from Mathaba.

The `Omaha Two:` Victimized by COINTELPRO Injustice


COINTELPRO is the acronym for the FBI`s secretive/mostly illegal counter-intelligence program to neutralize political dissidents

by Stephen Lendman

After a two week April 1971 trial and four days of deliberation, an 11 white/one black member jury convicted Mondo we Langa (formerly David Rice) and Edward Poindexter for the bombing murder of police officer Larry Minard on August 17, 1970. Both men denied involvement, and ever since consistently maintained their innocence, insisting they were framed. Supporters agree, including Amnesty International that declared them political prisoners, and no wonder.

They were Omaha chapter National Committee to Combat Fascism (NCCF) leaders, an off-shoot of the Black Panther Party, targeted (as later revealed) by secret FBI/police Domino task force/COINTELPRO tactics, following J. Edgar Hoover's orders to infiltrate, disrupt, sabotage, and destroy their activism for ethnic justice, racial emancipation, and real economic, social, and political equality across gender and color lines.

COINTELPRO is the acronym for the FBI's secretive/mostly illegal counterintelligence program to neutralize political dissidents, including communists; anti-war, human and civil rights activists; the American Indian Movement; and Black Panther Party among others.

In their book "Agents of Repression," Ward Churchill and Jim Vander Wall wrote:

"the term came to signify the whole context of clandestine (typically illegal) political repression activities (including) a massive surveillance (program via) wiretaps, surreptitious entries and burglaries, electronic devices, live 'tails' and....bogus mail" to induce paranoia and "foster 'splits' within or between organizations."

Other tactics included:

-- "black propaganda" through leaflets or other publications "designed to discredit organizations and foster internal tensions;"

-- "disinformation or 'gray propaganda' " for the same purpose;

-- "bad-jacketing" to "creat(e) suspicion - through the spread of rumors, manufacture of evidence, etc. - that bona fide organizational members, (usually leaders were) FBI/police informants," to turn some against others violently;

-- "assassinations (of) selected political leaders," including Fred Hampton and Mark Clark on December 4, 1969 by Chicago police while they slept; and

-- "harassment arrests (on bogus) charges."

Individuals and organizations were targeted for their activism, not crimes that were blamed on innocent victims like the "Omaha Two."

In November 1968, a J. Edgar Hoover memorandum ordered his agents "to exploit all avenues of creating....dissension within the ranks of the BPP (using) imaginative hard-hitting counterintelligence measures aimed at crippling the BPP." From 1968 - 1971, they were vicious, including against Mondo we Langa and Edward Poindexter, targeted by the Bureau to be neutralized.

Months before they were arrested, FBI agents and Omaha police harassed them with tactics like frequent traffic stops, verbal abuse, and more. We Langa was called before a grand jury, and the Greater Omaha Community Action Agency fired him. Poindexter was victimized by bogus newspaper letters and an anonymous phone campaign. For the two men, it was just the beginning of a long nightmare, ongoing after 40 years.

Background on the "Omaha Two"

We Langa joined the BPP in 1969, then later the NCCF. He wrote for the local underground paper, Buffalo Chip, and in prison created art, wrote plays, short stories, articles, and five poetry books. He also contributed poems and stories to literary journals and magazines, including The Black Scholar, ARGO, Black American Literary Forum, Pacifica Review, Black Books Bulletin, and many others.

He's one of several co-authors of "The Race: Matters Concerning Pan Afrikan History, Culture, and Genocide" published in 1992, and a contributor to Nebraska Voices, commissioned by the Nebraska Humanities Council in commemoration of the sesquicentennial of Nebraska's statehood.

Like Poindexter, he's been incarcerated for nearly 40 years, during which time he's been non-violent and mentored young inmates as a model prisoner. Yet he's bogusly called a "cop killer," repeatedly (with Poindexter) denied parole, and in June 1968, the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled them ineligible unless the Board of Pardons commutes their sentences - unlikely as it's composed of the governor, attorney general and secretary of state who haven't commuted a first-degree murder conviction in two decades, and overruled numerous Nebraska Parole Board's post-1993 unanimous decisions to commute their sentences to time served.

Edward Poindexter is a Vietnam veteran, a graduate of Metro State University, St. Paul, MN with a straight A average, and earned an MA from Goddard Graduate Program in Montpelier, VT. He was imprisoned in Minnesota to separate him from we Langa.

He's held leadership positions in the Art Club, Jaycees as president, and Harambee African Cultural Organization. He also:

-- received the Insight Program's Antoniak Award for outstanding achievement;

-- created the musical drama, Shakedown Blues;

-- published two Youth Survival Guides booklets for troubled youths;

-- recorded Jammer from the Slammer promoting constructive problem-solving and self-motivation;

-- participated in Minnesota's Turn Off the Violence Campaign;

-- was involved in the Juvenile Detention Bed Hotline Information Message Program producing works to support non-violence;

-- teaches and is currently writing a workbook for a Minnesota Correctional System class on building self-esteem;

-- teaches a health class including AIDS education;

-- is involved in teaching other classes on the history of intolerance in America, the civil rights movement, black history, and music;

-- developed a program for prisoners to encourage attitudinal and behavioral changes for men who batter women;

-- produced motivational tapes; and

-- proposed an audio recording studio, currently operating.

He's also been a model prisoner, yet he's denied parole.

Background on the Case

At trial, jurors were told that, using dynamite, blasting caps, and a battery, Poindexter made a suitcase bomb in we Langa's kitchen. A week later, he allegedly instructed 15-year old Duane Peak to put it in a vacant house, call the police, and say a woman was dragged into it screaming. Peak was charged with the crime, confessed, and claimed we Langa and Poindexter put him up to it, but changed his story numerous times, only once incriminated the "Omaha Two," was sentenced as a juvenile, and served about five years.

Initially, he didn't implicate them. In fact, he was in custody three days before mentioning their names, clearly under pressure, threats, and believed beatings in return for leniency.

The defense never heard his taped 911 call. It wasn't introduced at trial, and the original tape was destroyed. Years later, a copy surfaced with an accompanying FBI memo suggesting it was withheld because the voice wasn't Peak's, so perhaps authorities were shielding whoever made it, someone complicit in the crime to incriminate we Langa and Poindexter.

A week after the bombing, police targeted the black community, conducted warrantless searches, arrested NCCF members, had no evidence to hold them, so invented it by apparently planting dynamite, other explosives, blasting caps, and weapons in we Langa's basement, then discovered them when he was in Kansas City for a speech, prepared a shoddy report, gave perjured trial testimony contradicting it, yet got the two men convicted for a crime they didn't commit.

Years later, one juror admitted believing they were innocent because only circumstantial evidence was introduced, and Duane Peak's testimony wasn't credible. Another juror said the only black one thought they were innocent, yet relented after the others agreed to no death penalty.

Judicial Hypocrisy

The entire process was controversial and tainted, including circumstantial evidence that never should have been allowed pertaining to the defendants' political beliefs, ones held by millions in the country, then and now.

In addition, their fingerprints weren't on the alleged dynamite, skin tests performed to detect traces were negative, and according to former Omaha police officer, Marvin McClarty, an improper search procedure found it. Then shortly after the mens' conviction, we Langa's house mysteriously burned down, eliminating any chance for a post hoc accuracy check of police testimony.

In addition, in 1974, a federal court ruled the search illegal, cited inconsistencies in a police lieutenant's testimony authorizing it, admitted the dynamite might have been planted, and ordered a new trial, upheld by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in 1975.

However, in 1976, the Supreme Court applied a post hoc jurisdictional technicality to deny it by ruling that when states provide full and fair Fourth Amendment litigation opportunities (a dubious conclusion in this case), the Constitution warrants no habeas relief. Later rulings blocked the appellate process, and the statutory time limit for filing in Nebraska courts expired while the men awaited the federal outcome.

A major obstacle is that the Court of Appeals won't address whether the men were fairly tried, whether tainted evidence was introduced, whether key witnesses committed perjury, only if under legal system standards the process was fair, true or not.

Most important, the likelihood that political targets can get due process and judicial fairness is nil when authorities want to convict and have complicit judges allowing it. The courts today are corrupted with them, hanging ones of the worst kind, so what chance have two black men under a system structured against them and always has been.

On June 19, 2009, the Nebraska Supreme Court showed it by denying Poindexter a new trial despite overwhelming evidence of his innocence as well as we Langa's - with added closing statement emphasis saying:

"We affirm the judgment of the district court denying Poindexter's motion for postconviction relief," meaning that to be Black in America grants you none.

In the 1980s, Nebraska Chief Supreme Court Justice Norman Krivosha commissioned a study of the state's judicial fairness that concluded it was equitable with one exception - race. People of color were more likely to be arrested, indicted, convicted, and given longer sentences than whites, including the death penalty for capital offenses. It's no surprise that Nebraska's 3% black population comprises over 40% of its inmates, and the same disparity holds nationally.

Blacks make up around 12.4% of the population, but almost half of those incarcerated. Around 50% of them are for non-violent offenses, and about half of those are drug related. In 2000, Human Rights Watch reported that in one-third of the states, 75% of all drug related offenders were black. In Illinois, it was 89%. Shockingly, with less than 5% of the world's population, America has almost one-fouth of its prisoners, by far the largest total at around 2.4 million, growing at about 1,000 per week, mostly affecting blacks and hispanics.

It's no wonder that we Langa and Poindexter couldn't reopen their case despite later FBI documents (released in 1978) showing police and the Bureau collaborated to suppress exculpatory evidence to convict two innocent men. Jack Swanson, the chief detective in charge of the investigation, told the BBC why:

"I think we did the right thing at the time because the Black Panther Party....completely disappeared from Omaha after we got the two main players." In other words, neutralize the leadership and the organization dies.

Yet former Nebraska Governor Frank Morrison (1961 - 1967, who with Thomas Kenney represented Poindexter as a public defender) believed the men:

-- "were convicted for their rhetoric, not for any crime they committed....The only thing these fellas did was try to combat all the racial discrimination of the time the wrong way....They weren't convicted of murder."

It was for their activism and prominence to stifle dissent, keep them imprisoned to assure it, and continue a long tradition of defiling due process and judicial fairness for people of color, the poor, and disadvantaged in a democracy for the privileged alone, as virulent under Obama as earlier.

Stephen Lendman is a Mathaba Analyst. Read more from him at:

lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net
http://www.mathaba.net/authors/lendman