Assata Shakur: “I Am a 20th Century Escaped Slave”

Although the U.S. government has done everything in its power to criminalize me, I am not a criminal

https://i2.wp.com/clearingthefogradio.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Black-liberation-targeted.jpg

My name is Assata Shakur, and I am a 20th century escaped slave. Because of government persecution, I was left with no other choice than to flee from the political repression, racism and violence that dominate the US government’s policy towards people of color. I am an ex-political prisoner, and I have been living in exile in Cuba since 1984.

I have been a political activist most of my life, and although the U.S. government has done everything in its power to criminalize me, I am not a criminal, nor have I ever been one. In the 1960s, I participated in various struggles: the black liberation movement, the student rights movement, and the movement to end the war in Vietnam. I joined the Black Panther Party. By 1969 the Black Panther Party had become the number one organization targeted by the FBI’s COINTELPRO program. Because the Black Panther Party demanded the total liberation of black people, J. Edgar Hoover called it “greatest threat to the internal security of the country” and vowed to destroy it and its leaders and activists.  Continue reading

How the System Worked – The US v. Trayvon Martin

July 15, 2013, http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/07/15/the-us-v-trayvon-martin/

by ROBIN D.G. KELLEY

In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, Senator Rand Paul, Florida State Representative Dennis Baxley (also sponsor of his state’s Stand Your Ground law), along with a host of other Republicans, argued that had the teachers and administrators been armed, those twenty little kids whose lives Adam Lanza stole would be alive today.   Of course, they were parroting the National Rifle Association’s talking points.  The NRA and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the conservative lobbying group responsible for drafting and pushing “Stand Your Ground” laws across the country, insist that an armed citizenry is the only effective defense against imminent threats, assailants, and predators.

But when George Zimmerman fatally shot Trayvon Martin, an unarmed, teenage pedestrian returning home one rainy February evening from a neighborhood convenience store, the NRA went mute.  Neither NRA officials nor the pro-gun wing of the Republican Party argued that had Trayvon Martin been armed, he would be alive today.  The basic facts are indisputable: Martin was on his way home when Zimmerman began to follow him—first in his SUV, and then on foot.  Zimmerman told the police he had been following this “suspicious-looking” young man.  Martin knew he was being followed and told his friend, Rachel Jeantel, that the man might be some kind of sexual predator.  At some point, Martin and Zimmerman confronted each other, a fight ensued, and in the struggle Zimmerman shot and killed Martin.

Zimmerman pursued Martin.  This is a fact.  Martin could have run, I suppose, but every black man knows that unless you’re on a field, a track, or a basketball court, running is suspicious and could get you a bullet in the back.  The other option was to ask this stranger what he was doing, but confrontations can also be dangerous—especially without witnesses and without a weapon besides a cel phone and his fists.  Florida law did not require Martin to retreat, though it is not clear if he had tried to retreat.  He did know he was in imminent danger.

Where was the NRA on Trayvon Martin’s right to stand his ground?  What happened to their principled position?  Let’s be clear: the Trayvon Martin’s of the world never had that right because the “ground” was never considered theirs to stand on.  Unless black people could magically produce some official documentation proving that they are not burglars, rapists, drug dealers, pimps or prostitutes, intruders, they are assumed to be “up to no good.”  (In the antebellum period, such documentation was called “freedom papers.”)  As Wayne LaPierre, NRA’s executive vice president, succinctly explained their position, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”   Trayvon Martin was a bad guy or at least looked and acted like one.  In our allegedly postracial moment, where simply talking about racism openly is considered an impolitic, if not racist, thing to do, we constantly learn and re-learn racial codes.  The world knows black men are criminal, that they populate our jails and prisons, that they kill each other over trinkets, that even the celebrities among us are up to no good.  Zimmerman’s racial profiling was therefore justified, and the defense consistently employed racial stereotypes and played on racial knowledge to turn the victim into the predator and the predator into the victim.  In short, it was Trayvon Martin, not George Zimmerman, who was put on trial.  He was tried for the crimes he may have committed and the ones he would have committed had he lived past 17.  He was tried for using lethal force against Zimmerman in the form of a sidewalk and his natural athleticism. Continue reading

Data Surveillance with Global Implications

By Marcel Rosenbach, Holger Stark and Jonathan Stock, Der Spiegel, June 10 2013

The American intelligence director and the White House have finally confirmed what insiders have long known: The Obama administration is spying on the entire world. Politicians in Germany are demanding answers.

South of Utah’s Great Salt Lake, the National Security Agency (NSA), a United States foreign intelligence service, keeps watch over one of its most expensive secrets. Here, on 100,000 square meters (1,100,000 square feet) near the US military’s Camp Williams, the NSA is constructing enormous buildings to house superfast computers. All together, the project will cost around $2 billion (€1.5 billion) and the computers will be capable of storing a gigantic volume of data, at least 5 billion gigabytes. The energy needed to power the cooling system for the servers alone will cost $40 million a year.

Former NSA employees Thomas Drake and Bill Binney told SPIEGEL in March that the facility would soon store personal data on people from all over the world and keep it for decades. This includes emails, Skype conversations, Google searches, YouTube videos, Facebook posts, bank transfers — electronic data of every kind.

“They have everything about you in Utah,” Drake says. “Who decides whether they look at that data? Who decides what they do with it?” Binney, a mathematician who was previously an influential analyst at the NSA, calculates that the servers are large enough to store the entirety of humanity’s electronic communications for the next 100 years — and that, of course, gives his former colleagues plenty of opportunity to read along and listen in.

James Clapper, the country’s director of national intelligence, has confirmed the existence of a large-scale surveillance program. President Barack Obama further explained that Congress authorized the program — but that American citizens are exempt from it.

A top-secret document published last week by the Washington Post and Britain’s Guardian shows where the NSA may be getting the majority of its data. According to the document, which was allegedly leaked by former CIA employee Edward Snowden, the intelligence agency began seeking out direct access to servers belonging to American Internet companies on a wide scale in 2007. The first of these companies to come onboard was Microsoft. Yahoo followed half a year later, then Google, Facebook, PalTalk, YouTube, Skype and AOL. The most recent company to declare its willingness to cooperate was Apple, in October 2012, according to the secret government document, which proudly states that this access to data is achieved “directly from the servers” of the companies. Continue reading

US’ “Junior-Partners-in-Empire” also spied by NSA (but worried that data is not shared with them)

Europe outraged but conflicted over NSA surveillance

Indignation was sharp and predictable across Europe – a continent where privacy is revered. Yet anger over revelations of U.S. electronic surveillance was tempered by an indisputable fact: Europe wants the information that American intelligence provides.

That dilemma was clear Tuesday, only days after leaks about two National Security Agency programs that purportedly target foreign messages – including private e-mails, voice and other data transmissions – sent through U.S. Internet providers.

The European Union’s top justice official, Viviane Reding, said she would demand that the United States afford EU citizens the same rights as Americans when it comes to data protection. Hannes Swoboda, a Socialist leader in the European Parliament, said the purported surveillance showed that the U.S. “is just doing what it wants.”At the same time, German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich confirmed that his government regularly receives tips from the United States on Islamic extremists – and he doesn’t expect the Americans to tell him where they got the information. Continue reading

The Whistleblower: “I Can’t Allow the US Government to Destroy Privacy and Basic Liberties”


Jun 9, 2013

The 29-year-old source behind the biggest intelligence leak in the NSA’s history explains his motives, his uncertain future and why he never intended on hiding in the shadow

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, and in Hong Kong The Guardian, Sunday 9 June 2013

The individual responsible for one of the most significant leaks in US political history is Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old former technical assistant for the CIA and current employee of the defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. Snowden has been working at the National Security Agency for the last four years as an employee of various outside contractors, including Booz Allen and Dell.

The Guardian, after several days of interviews, is revealing his identity at his request. From the moment he decided to disclose numerous top-secret documents to the public, he was determined not to opt for the protection of anonymity. “I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong,” he said.

Snowden will go down in history as one of America’s most consequential whistleblowers, alongside Daniel Ellsberg and Bradley Manning. He is responsible for handing over material from one of the world’s most secretive organisations – the NSA.

In a note accompanying the first set of documents he provided, he wrote: “I understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions,” but “I will be satisfied if the federation of secret law, unequal pardon and irresistible executive powers that rule the world that I love are revealed even for an instant.”

Despite his determination to be publicly unveiled, he repeatedly insisted that he wants to avoid the media spotlight. “I don’t want public attention because I don’t want the story to be about me. I want it to be about what the US government is doing.”

He does not fear the consequences of going public, he said, only that doing so will distract attention from the issues raised by his disclosures. “I know the media likes to personalise political debates, and I know the government will demonise me.” Continue reading

Political Prisoner Alert — Bradley Manning Trial: An American Hero Gets Court-Martialed On June 3

by Erin Lahman in Politics, PolicyMic

bradley, manning, trial:, an, american, hero, gets, court martialed, on, june, 3,

Bradley Manning Trial An American Hero Gets Court Martialed On June 3

On June 3, the highly anticipated court-martial of Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, who was arrested in July 2010, will take place. A previous PolicyMic article delivered specific details on the over 700,000 government documents and pieces of classified military information Manning allegedly leaked. According to the article, “Manning is charged with leaking hundreds-of-thousands of classified documents to the website WikiLeaks.”

Manning is an American hero who made the decision to leak these classified documents as a service to the general public. He testified, “I believe that if the general public had access to the information, this could spark a domestic debate as to the role of the military and foreign policy in general.” He added, “I felt I accomplished something that would allow me to have a clear conscience.”

In a January 2013 ruling, Military Judge Colonel Denise Lind awarded Manning a 112-day reduction in any eventual sentence due to being subjected to excessively harsh treatment while in military detention. A month later, Judge Lind accepted Bradley Manning’s guilty pleas of 10 lesser charges that he misused classified information, though he denied “aiding the enemy.” A guilty sentence to “aiding the enemy” could languish him military prison for the remainder of his life.

Bradley Manning released the video, “Collateral Murder,” to WikiLeaks and he explained, “The most alarming aspect of the video to me was the seemingly delightful bloodlust they appeared to have.” He went on, “They dehumanized the individuals they were engaging and seemed to not value human life by referring to them as quote ‘dead bastards’ unquote and congratulating each other on the ability to kill in large numbers.” Continue reading

Assata Shakur Becomes the First Woman Added to FBI’s Most Wanted List

Assata Shakur

Madeleine Davies
As of yesterday, former Black Panther and member of the Black Liberation Army Assata Shakur became the first-ever woman to be added to the FBI’s most wanted terrorist list. She is currently 66 years old and living in Cuba where she has been granted political asylum.

In May of 1973, Shakur was in a car that was pulled over by police on the New Jersey highway. A shootout occurred, resulting in the deaths of her companion and fellow activist Zayd Malik Shakur and State Trooper Werner Foerster. Assata Shakur was wounded in the gunfight, having been shot twice. Accounts of what happened that night differ greatly — surviving Trooper James Harper (also wounded) claimed that Zayd Malik Shakur began firing when they asked him to step out of the vehicle whereas Assata Shakur attests that the police fired first, even after she had her hands in the air.

Shakur was convicted of Foerster’s murder and sentenced to a life in prison. In 1979, with the help of allies, she was able to escape from confinement and flee to Cuba where she still lives and calls herself a “20th century escaped slave.” Continue reading

December 4, 1969 — “Nothing but a Northern Lynching”: The Assassination of Fred Hampton

[It is 43 years since the US government murdered the young, brilliant revolutionary leader of Black Panthers in Chicago, Fred Hampton.  The magnitude of this crime must never be forgotten or forgiven.  As he had said, “You can kill a revolutionary but you cannot kill the revolution.” The following article of observation and remembrance is by one of the attorneys who represented the families of survivors of the murderous December 4, 1969 raid by the FBI and Chicago police on the home of Fred Hampton, Deputy Chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party. We thank the valuable website, Black Agenda Report, for making it public. — Frontlines ed.]
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Fred Hampton

Fred Hampton

by G. Flint Taylor, People’s Law Office, December 4, 2012

At 4:30 in the morning of December 4, 1969, 14 heavily armed Chicago police officers, acting at the direction of Cook County State’s Attorney Edward V. Hanrahan, raided a tiny apartment on the west side of Chicago where local Black Panther Party Chairman Fred Hampton and eight Party members were sleeping. Minutes later, Hampton and Peoria, Illinois BPP leader Mark Clark lay dead, several of the other Panthers were seriously wounded, and the survivors were hauled off to jail on attempted murder charges [3].

I was a second year Northwestern law student working at the fledgling People’s Law Office when I received a call that “the Chairman had been murdered” and was directed to come to the apartment. The crime scene was shocking – – – the plasterboard walls looked like swiss cheese, ripped by scores of bullets from police weapons that included a machine gun, a semi automatic rifle, and several shotguns. A large pool of blood stained the floor at the doorway where Hampton’s body had been dragged after he was shot in the head, and there were fresh blood stains on all the beds in the apartment.

I had met Chairman Fred only months before when I escorted him to the Law School to speak to the student body in venerable Lincoln Hall. He was only 21 years old, but he captivated the audience, as he always did, with his dynamic and analytical speaking skill [4], a mixture of Malcolm X, Dr. King, and Lupe Fiasco. It was his unique leadership, together with the revolutionary politics [5] he so convincingly espoused, that made him a primary target of law enforcement. Continue reading

Where’s the evidence Aoki was FBI informant?

Richard Aoki Photo: Harvey C. Dong, Richard Aoki Archives / SF[Last week’s “exposure” of the highly respected revolutionary Richard Aoki, veteran of the Black Panther Party, who died in 2009, as “an FBI informant” some five decades ago, has spurred great debate and demands for investigation of these charges, the details on which these accusations are based, and of those who have made these charges–their interests, their motives, and their methods.  Here, the author of the Richard Aoki biography takes a critical look at the charges that have been made.  Frontlines will present substantial materials on the investigation of these charges as they become available. — Frontlines ed.]
Diane C. Fujino, San Francisco Chronicle
Published Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Seth Rosenfeld‘s dramatic announcement that Richard Aoki was an FBI informant provoked an enormous response from Chronicle readers. Could it be true? Or was this a “snitch-jacketing,” a classic FBI tactic used to cast suspicion on a legitimate activist by spreading rumors and manufacturing evidence?

As a scholar, I insist on seeing evidence before concluding any “truth.” But as I read Rosenfeld’s work and cross-checked sources from my biography on Aoki, I realized Rosenfeld had not met the burden of proof. He made definitive conclusions based on inconclusive evidence.

If Aoki was an informant, when was he informing? How did he help the FBI disrupt political movements? What were his motivations?

I also questioned Rosenfeld’s motives. Rosenfeld’s piece, published the day before the release of his own book, gained him widespread media and public attention that surely will augment sales.

Rosenfeld offers four pieces of evidence against Aoki.

First, Rosenfeld cites only one FBI document, a Nov. 16, 1967, report. It states: “A supplementary T symbol (SF T-2) was designated for” – but the name was deleted. Following the now-blank space was the name Richard Matsui Aoki in parenthesis, and then the phrase “for the limited purpose of describing his connections with the organization and characterizing [Aoki].”

In the FBI pages released to me, only brief background material on Aoki is linked to T-2. Moreover, T symbols are used to refer to informants or technical sources of information (microphones, wiretaps). So was Aoki the informer or the one being observed?

Second, FBI agent Burney Threadgill Jr. said he recruited Aoki in the late 1950s, but we have no substantial evidence other than Rosenfeld’s reports, and Threadgill has since died.

Third, FBI agent M. Wesley Swearingen‘s statement, as quoted by Rosenfeld, is hardly compelling: “Someone like Aoki is perfect to be in a Black Panther Party, because I understand he is Japanese. Hey, nobody is going to guess – he’s in the Black Panther Party; nobody is going to guess that he might be an informant.” But more logically, Aoki’s racial difference made him stand out and aroused suspicion. Are we asked to simply trust authority figures?

Fourth, Aoki’s remarks, as seen in the video, are open to multiple interpretations, and Aoki denies the allegation. Anyone familiar with Aoki knows that he spoke with wit, humor, allusion and caution. Where’s the conclusive evidence? Continue reading

Anti-COINTELPRO demonstration at Nebraska State Capitol for the Omaha Two

Banner in support of the Omaha 2 in front of Nebraska capitol

By Michael Richardson, COINTELPRO Examiner
http://www.examiner.com/cointelpro-in-national/anti-cointelpro-demonstration-at-nebraska-state-capitol-for-the-omaha-two


March 15, 2012 | Omaha — Several dozen demonstrators spread a 30 foot banner across the entrance to the Nebraska State Capitol on Tuesday in behalf of the Omaha Two.  Ed Poindexter and Mondo we Langa (formerly David Rice) are serving life sentences at the Nebraska State Penitentiary in Lincoln for the 1970 murder of an Omaha policeman.

FBI Director J Edgar Hoover organized the special COINTELPRO program to eliminate the movements against racism and imperialism. The targets were Black activists and other radical and revolutionary people's movements. The methods were frame-ups and imprisonment, cold-blooded murder, and campaigns of media malignment. Hoover was FBI director from 1924 to 1972.

The Omaha Two were convicted after a COINTELPRO-tainted trial where Federal Bureau of Investigation Director J. Edgar Hoover had ordered evidence withheld from the jury.  Poindexter and Mondo were leaders of Omaha’s Black Panther affiliate chapter and targets of Hoover’s clandestine war of counterintelligence against domestic political activists.

Serving 41 years in prison, the Omaha Two are among America’s longest-held political prisoners.

The capitol steps demonstration was organized by Ben Jones of the Anti-Oppression Art project.  Jones used Facebook to help recruit people to help hold the giant banner.

Ed Poindexter and Mondo we Langa continue to maintain their innocence for the murder of Larry MInard, Sr. on August 17, 1970.  Minard and seven other Omaha police officers were lured to a vacant house by an anonymous 911 call about a woman screaming.  Instead of a woman, police found a booby-trapped suitcase filled with dynamite which exploded in Minard’s face as examined it.-

J. Edgar Hoover ordered the FBI crime laboratory to withhold a report on its analysis of a recording of the 911 call.  Omaha police had sent the tape to Washington to determine the identity of the anonymous caller.  The unknown caller presented a problem in making a case against the two Black Panther leaders. Continue reading

Commemorating the US Government Murder of Black Revolutionary Fred Hampton, 42 years ago (12/4/69)

Fred Hampton: “Live for the People, Die for the People”

Forty-two years ago, on December 4th, 1969, Chicago police raided Black Panther Fred Hampton’s apartment and shot and killed him in his bed.

He was just twenty-one years old.

Fred Hampton was born on August 30, 1948, in Chicago, Illinois and grew up in Maywood, a suburb to the west of the city. Following his graduation, Hampton became active in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), assuming leadership of the Youth Council of the organization’s West Suburban Branch. In his capacity as an NAACP youth organizer, Hampton began to show signs of his natural leadership abilities; from a community of 27,000, he was able to muster a youth group 500-members strong.

Hampton was quickly attracted to the Black Panthers’ ten-point program of a mix of black self-determination and certain elements of Maoism. Continue reading

NAPO/MXGM statement on the passing of our Comrade Geronimo ji Jaga

Jun 11, 2011

The New Afrikan Peoples Organization and the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement salute the life of our brother and comrade Geronimo ji Jaga. The life of Geronimo, or “G” as he was affectionately known, represents a freedom fighter that sacrificed and loved Afrikan people and humanity.

Geronimo was given the name Elmer Gerard Pratt at birth on September 13, 1947, in Morgan City, Louisiana. He was born into a loving family that would nurture him and provide support throughout his life. He grew up in a community where he and other youth had to fight white supremacists from the “other side of the tracks.”

Geronimo said he was encouraged to go into the US military by his community Elders, who had roots in Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association and the Deacons for Defense. His objective was to learn military skills to be utilized for the defense of our community and our people. “G” was a decorated soldier in the wrong army, earning two Bronze Stars, a Silver Star and two Purple Hearts. He distinguished himself as a Sergeant and Ranger in the 82nd Airborne of the US Army.

His Elders would redeploy him, after returning from two Vietnam combat tours, to the greater Los Angeles area. There he would work with Alprentice “Bunchy” Carter, the principal organizer of the Southern California Chapter of the Black Panther Party (BPP). Carter and Geronimo both became students at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). They participated in the Black student movement and the formation of the Black Studies department at UCLA. Geronimo rose to leadership of the Southern California Chapter and National BPP after Carter and John Huggins were murdered in a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) COINTELPRO inspired internecine conflict between the US Organization and Panthers on the UCLA campus, in September 1969. He quickly became a primary target to be eliminated by the FBI and Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) due to his organizing ability, military skills, and the popularity of his comrades. Continue reading

Elmer G. “Geronimo” Pratt dies at 63; former Black Panther whose murder conviction was overturned

Geronimo ji jaga (Pratt), a former Black Panther whose 1972 murder conviction was overturned after he spent 27 years behind bars for a crime he did not commit, has died at 63

By Robert J. Lopez, Los Angeles Times

Elmer "Geronimo" Pratt, left, with attorney Johnnie Cochran in 1998. Pratt, a former leader of the Black Panther Party, spent 27 years behind bars for a crime he did not commit.

June 3, 2011
Elmer G. “Geronimo” Pratt, a former Los Angeles Black Panther Party leader whose 1972 murder conviction was overturned after he spent 27 years in prison for a crime he said he did not commit, has died. He was 63.Pratt, whose case became for many a symbol of racial injustices during the turbulent 1960s, died Thursday at his home in a small village in Tanzania, said his sister Virginia. The cause was not given.

May, 1980: Edwin Drummond and Stephen Rutherford climb a third of the way up the back of the Statue of Liberty with a protest banner reading, "Liberty Was Framed - Free Geronimo Pratt." Pratt, a former Black Panther, served 27 years in jail before his conviction in a 1968 California murder case was vacated. He was released in 1997.

Pratt’s case became a cause celebre for a range of supporters, including elected officials, activists, Amnesty International, clergy and celebrities who believed he was framed by Los Angeles police and the FBI because he was African American and a member of the radical Black Panthers. Pratt maintained that the FBI knew he was innocent because the agency had him under surveillance in Oakland when the slaying was committed in Santa Monica.”Geronimo was a powerful leader,” Stuart Hanlon, Pratt’s longtime San Francisco attorney, told The Times. “For that reason he was targeted.”Pratt was arrested in 1970 and two years later convicted and sentenced to life in prison for the 1968 fatal shooting of Caroline Olsen and the serious wounding of her husband, Kenneth, in a robbery that netted $18. The case was overturned in 1997 by an Orange County Superior Courtjudge who ruled that prosecutors at Pratt’s murder trial had concealed evidence that could have led to his acquittal.A federal judge later approved a $4.5 million settlement in Pratt’s false-imprisonment and civil rights lawsuit.

Pratt, who also went by Geronimo Ji Jaga Pratt, was born on Sept. 13, 1947, in Morgan City, La., a small town about two hours from New Orleans. The youngest of seven children, Pratt was raised as a Roman Catholic by his mother and his father, who operated a small scrap-metal business.

Growing up in the segregated South amid a tight-knit black community had a profound effect on Pratt, he later told interviewers. Continue reading

Oakland, California: A People’s Hearing on Racism and Police Violence


Saturday, February 19th & Sunday February 20th

Edna Brewer Middle School
3748 13th Ave, Oakland 94610  (Gym Entrance)
9:00am-5:00pm
Free food both days

The People’s Hearing is an expression of the outrage over the string of Police murders in Oakland and the Bay Area preceding and following Oscar Grants’ murder.  The aim of the People’s Hearing is to eliminate the isolation of the victims of police brutality, unite the peoples and communities targeted by the governments’ repressive policies and practices, and to link local struggles for social justice and human rights with national and international struggles.

Confirmed jurists include John Burris, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, David Gespass, Ajamu Baraka, Bill Ong Hing, Alberto Saldamando and others.

Saturday, February 19th: Keynote by Rachel Jackson

-Session 1 (9:00am):  Racial Profiling

Testimony from Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, Huaxtec, Youth Together, All of Us or None, Community Youth Center and Arab Resource & Organizing Committee

-Session 2 (1:30pm): Police Killings

Testimony from family members of Oscar Grant, Gary King, Andrew Moppin, Derrick Jones and Raheim Brown.

Sunday, February 20th: Keynote by Sanyika Bryant

-Session 3 (9:00am): COINTELPRO to Patriot Act

Testimony from San Francisco 8, Freedom Archives, American Indian Movement, Stop FBI Repression, New Year’s Movement, Haiti Action Committee, Laney Black Student Union and Onyx

-Session 4 (1:30pm):  Organized Resistance

Testimony from New Year’s Movement, Mujeres Unidas, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, Coalition to Stop the Gang Injunctions, SF Legal Immigrant Legal Education Network/AROC

For more information on the People’s Hearing on Racism and Police Brutality visit www.peopleshearing.wordpress.com

The People’s Hearing is co-sponsored by Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, EastSide Arts Alliance, New Year’s Movement, National Lawyers Guild, Arab Resource and Organizing Center, Coalition for Justice for Oscar Grant, Collision Course Video Productions, Hard Knock Radio, Onyx, African People’s Socialist Party, International Indian Treaty Council, National Conference of Black Lawyers, the National Alliance for Racial Justice and Human Rights, and the US Human Rights Network.

 

South Dakota: The Trial of Land Defender, John Graham

hn Graham; Leonard Peltier expressed doubt he could receive fair trial

portrait of John Graham; Leonard Peltier expressed doubt he could receive fair trial

Tuesday, January 04 2011

On December 10 a South Dakota jury found John Graham guilty of felony murder in the death of American Indian Movement (AIM) member Anna Mae Aquash. John Graham, a Tuchone native originally from the Yukon, continues to maintain his innocence. Aquash was murdered in the 1970s in an execution-style killing in South Dakota. Graham has said that she was his friend and comrade.

In 2004, Arlo Looking Cloud was convicted of murder for aiding in the murder of Aquash. He received a life sentence with a chance of parole in 2013. Earlier this year, Richard Marshall was acquitted on the charge of supplying the gun that killed Aquash. Looking Cloud testified against both Marshall and Graham at trial. Thelma Rios plead guilty in November of this year [2010] to charges of aiding and abetting, for which she received five years of probation and no jail time.

At trial, the state alleged that John Graham took Aquash from Denver against her will and ultimately killed her in the hills of South Dakota. The government claimed the motive for the murder was that AIM believed Aquash to be an informant who had knowledge of sensitive information.

The jury acquitted Graham of premeditated murder: the first-degree charge. Nevertheless, the lesser charge of second degree felony murder* carries a sentence of life in prison.

Aquash was a Mi’kmaq from Nova Scotia and was well-known as a skilled organizer and warrior with AIM. In 1975, she said she had been targeted and threatened with death by the FBI. Her body was found on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in February 1976. The original autopsy report, made by an FBI-contracted coroner, stated her cause of death as “exposure” and made no record of the bloody bullet-wound in the back of her head. The FBI removed her hands for purposes of identification in Washington as they claimed the body was unidentifiable. The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) buried Aquash as a Jane Doe. Continue reading