BlackBox Radio

October 17, 2005

National and International Headlines 10-18

Filed under: Weekly Show — blackboxradio @ 10:08 pm

On October 11th, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the appeal of Stanley “Tookie” Williams,’ co-founder of the Crips gang who is on death row in California, to investigate the discrimination at the heart of his case, as well as his innocence. One issue highlighted was the fact that the prosecutor in his original case removed all Black jurors from the jury, leaving an all-white jury to deliberate the case. During Tookie’s trial, this prosecutor also made racially-coded remarks during his closing argument, comparing Tookie in South Central Los Angeles to a Bengal tiger in its natural habitat. The California State Supreme Court had twice censured this prosecutor for equally discriminatory behavior.

The Supreme Court’s refusal to investigate racism in this case establishes as precedent for the nation the right for prosecutors to exclude jurors on the basis of race and to denigrate minority defendants in front of all-white juries. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals posited in 2002 that Tookie’s prison writings, in which he renounces his former life as a gangster, could be grounds for the California governor to grant him clemency. If he is not granted clemency, he will be executed on December 13th of this year.

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A grand jury hearing took place Monday and Tuesday of this week in Oregon, regarding the police killing of an Oregon man. Last month, one officer each from the Sandy and Clackamas Police Departments murdered a 27-year-old man named Fouad Kaady in the area surrounding Portland.

According to sources close to the case, Kaady was transporting fuel to a friend whose car had died. The gas ignited through unknown means, catching Kaady’s clothes on fire. He lost control of the car and hit another vehicle (whose occupant was minorly injured) before pulling over and jumping out. After ripping his burning clothes from his melting flesh, he ran around in shock.

When the police arrived, and not an ambulance or fire truck, they tasered him as many as ten times. In an official statement, police representatives referred to Kaady as “the naked and combative male subject.” After determining that he was “totally unresponsive to the audible law enforcement commands to comply, [and] the Tasering deployed by both officers on the scene,” the police shot him five times, including once in the head.

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From the Tennessee IMC:
For three decades, public access TV has provided thousands of communities around the nation with a place where ordinary people can make and air media that matters to them. It’s estimated that over 1.2 million people volunteer on a regular basis at public access TV stations, producing one of the richest ‘marketplaces of ideas’ in the nation – but all of this is under immediate threat from three Bills now pending in Washington. If passed, the bills could end or severely limit the operation of public, educational and governmental access TV (PEG TV) nationwide.

Anthony Riddle, the Executive Director of The Alliance for Community Media – a Washington based national organization representing access TV, says this is the most serious crisis facing access TV in its thirty-year history. Riddle describes these Bills as a “national video disenfranchisement act” that will “undo years of progress in connecting the people of our communities to important local institutions and services.”

The central issue is that the phone companies want to get into the business of providing ‘video service,’ but they don’t want to negotiate local ‘franchises’ with the communities they serve. ‘Franchises’ are agreements between local governments and cable TV companies. At the heart of a franchise is ‘rent’ for use of the ‘public rights of way’. This means that in exchange for using the publicly owned infrastructure – such as running cables under public streets – a cable TV company must pay rent to the community, such as providing channel space on the cable system for access TV, as wellasfunding for facilities, equipment and staff so access TV stations can operate.

According to community media consultant Lyell Davies, critics of these measures have noted that the bill co-sponsored by Senator John McCain is so drastic, it could dismantle existing franchises and literally end PEG TV on the day it’s enacted. Others speculate that it may be a ‘stalking horse’ or ‘marker’ Bill which is unlikely to pass, but meanwhile pushes the debate far to the right so that the other only slightly less damaging Bills can pass in its wake.

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Also this past Saturday, many thousands of people attended the Millions More March in Washington D.C., organized ten years after the famous Million Man March. Unlike the 1995 event, the Millions More March welcomed women to the African-American event.

Minister Louis Farrakhan, head of the Nation of Islam, called for people to build alternative infrastructure, including a health ministry that could have accepted Fidel Castro’s offer for 1500 trained medical personnel to help victims of Hurricane Katrina. He spoke out against the Iraq war, saying, “What are our young men fighting for?… They should be cleaning up our communities and preventing white police from shooting us.” Criticizing government spending priorities, he said, “The neocons are raping the treasury of 340 billion on a war with no end in sight, but there was no 14 million to rebuild the levees. I firmly believe if the people on those rooftops had blond hair and blue eyes and pale skin, something would have been done in a more timely manner,” he said. “We charge America with criminal neglect.”

The march was, however, somewhat tarred by a rescinded invitation to the Board President of the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) to address the march. NBJC is an LGBT/Ally organization that dedicates itself to combatting racism and homophobia, the latter being a charge often levied at Farrakahn and his organization.

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From the BBC:
The leader of Pakistani-administered Kashmir has called for the opening of the border with Indian Kashmir to help earthquake relief operations, telling the BBC the Pakistani government should overcome any reservations about such a move. The leader of the ruling party in Indian-administered Kashmir said she would try and persuade India to do the same. This remarkable development has taken place after 58 years of disagreement over the right to rule Kashmir, with each country claiming the mostly-Muslim area as its own, and many Kashmiris demanding self-determination.

Pakistan says more than 38,000 people were killed by the earthquake a week ago, most of them in Kashmir. The number of injured is said to have risen to more than 60,000, with hundreds of villages still cut off, and bad weather that has hampered relief efforts. At least 1,400 died in Indian-administered Kashmir.

The Pakistani Interior Minister told reporters that the number of homeless had now risen to around 3.3 million. He said the quake had cost Pakistan five billion dollars in infrastructure losses.

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Makhbuba Zakirova told a courtroom in Uzbekistan that she saw government troops open fire on unarmed civilians during protests in the capital of Andijan in May. She told the court that she saw soldiers shooting at people waving a white flag. “Even Hitler did not do such things,” she said.

Mrs Zakirova was interrupted by the prosecutor, who asked: “Do you realise what you are saying? Are you sure?” She replied: “Are you going to arrest me now? I was telling only the truth, and you yourself asked me to give a truthful testimony… I am only saying what I saw.”

Her testimony came at the show trial of 15 men who allegedly conspired to overthrow the government. All of them have given long, detailed confessions in a country well-known for its frequent use of torture. (Uzbekistan is a country used by the United States in its practice of “rendition,” where a suspect is flown abroad to be tortured.)

The Uzbek government says nearly 200 people, mostly “terrorist organisers”, died when security forces put down an armed Islamic uprising. Human rights groups say 500 or more civilians may have been killed.

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Human rights investigator Jean Ziegler, a senior United Nations official, has accused US-led coalition troops of depriving Iraqi civilians of food and water in breach of humanitarian law. A US military spokesman in Baghdad denied the allegations.

“A drama is taking place in total silence in Iraq, where the coalition’s occupying forces are using hunger and deprivation of water as a weapon of war against the civilian population,” Mr Ziegler told a press conference last week in Geneva.

He said coalition forces were using “starvation of civilians as a method of warfare.”

“This is a flagrant violation of international law,” he added.

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1 Comment »

  1. This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

    Comment by ProV1 — October 17, 2005 @ 10:15 pm


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