What constitutes injustice? Is it the maltreatment of people because of their race or gender, their class or their political views, religious beliefs or sexual preferences? Or maybe their convictions for transgressing the law or resisting injustice?
The world was shocked and outraged, and rightfully so, when pictures of the cowardly and sadistic torture of Iraqi detainees were released via social media, T.V., newspapers and magazines. Prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison in U.S.-occupied Iraq were beaten, tortured, sexually violated, and murdered by U.S. military personnel who documented it themselves for giggles and grins to share with their friends and countrymen, like postcards of a lynching. Some of these soldiers were reservists and corrections officers back in the States, and many of our corrections officers are military veterans, or reservists, or are in the national guard.
The Amerikkkan government immediately went into “damage control mode” when these pictures and videos were leaked, and the most damaging, (we are told), were quickly confiscated and suppressed. Had it not been for social media, the whole thing might have been swept under the carpet, as such things have been in the past – usually. But to millions of Americans who have been or are in prisons or jails, or to those who have served in the military, or whose countries have been occupied by the U.S. military or its puppet troops or proxy forces, such images trigger memories of horror and pain. What Amerika turns a blind eye to is painfully familiar to those Amerika oppresses, and it oppresses the majority of the world.
The link is more than circumstantial, as Comrade Kevin “Rashid” Johnson explained, in an article he had published on the occasion of Red Onion Prison in Virginia being the first to incorporate an Abu Ghraib modeled unit within its segregated housing unit:
“In a 2007 article, I showed a general parallel between the torturous conditions of modern U.S. Prisons and the advanced torture techniques (psychological warfare) developed and applied against foreign “enemies” by the CIA and U.S. Military. Red Onion’s torture unit now shows a clear and deliberate link between the two, and that what began as techniques developed for Amerikan ‘enemies’ are now being directed at Amerikan citizens. This will inevitably spread.
“The CIA/military’s advanced torture methods were exposed in Professor Alfred McCoy’s detailed and thoroughly documented 2006 exposé. His book traced the CIA’s efforts to develop and perfect new and less physically evident torture methods over 50 years, which included a research project (from 1950 to 1962) that cost over $1 billion a year that sought to ‘crack the code of human consciousness.’ The Agency tried everything from drugs (including truth serum, mescaline, and LSD), to shock treatment. None of these efforts produced results.
Comrade Rashid went on to explain:
“Alongside these more invasive methods, the CIA also funded behavioral studies at top universities like Yale, Princeton, Harvard and McGill. These efforts bore fruit, beginning with McGill.
“McGill’s Dr. Donald O. Hebb discovered that he could consistently produce hallucinations and psychotic breakdowns in a person within 48 hours, by cutting them off from environmental stimulation. He did this by having student volunteers lie blindfolded, with soundproof earmuffs and thick mitts on inside a small cubicle for several days. Most of the students quit the experiment. He also acknowledged that confinement in solitary prison cells produce similar results, only more gradually.” (Kevin Johnson, “Abu Ghraib Comes to Amerika: Torture Unit under Construction at Virginia’s Red Onion State Prison,” October 30, 2010)
“The CIA’s second advance came from studies of ‘foreign’ torture techniques at Cornell University Medical Center. One of the most effective methods discovered was “self-inflicted pain.” This involved making the victim stand for one or two days, which causes the body fluids to drain into the legs which then swell, causing boils that swell and burst, and hallucinations and kidney failure. The victim is told repeatedly during this process, ‘You’re doing this to yourself. Cooperate with us and you can sit down.’
“The CIA found that combining these two techniques produced revolutionary results while leaving little evidence of abuse. The Agency found its torture model, and in 1963 encoded and distributed it worldwide in its torture handbook, Kubark Counterintelligence Manual.
“Under General Geoffrey Miller in 2002, Guantánamo Bay was converted into a torture research lab where the CIA model was advanced even further, adding two key techniques.
“The two techniques developed at Guantánamo consisted of attacks on cultural sensitivities, such as Arab males’ sensitivity to gender issues and sexual identity, and targeting one’s personal fears and vulnerabilities.
“By 2003 the CIA torture model was perfected at Guantánamo, combining this multi-level attack on the human psyche, namely 1) sensory deprivation, 2) self-inflicted pain, and targeting 3) cultural sensitivities, and 4) personal fears and vulnerabilities.
“Later in 2003 when resistance to the U.S. invasion of Iraq caught U.S. forces off guard, Miller was sent to Abu Ghraib from Guantánamo to implement his techniques against captured Iraqis. A CD and handbook of his methods were distributed to U.S. military police, intelligence agents, and to General Ricardo Sanchez. Sanchez, Commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, ordered that Miller’s methods be incorporated into interrogations of Iraqis. It was these practices that came out in the 2004 torture scandals at Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo.
“Investigations exposed an entire unit at Guantánamo, housing Arab men who had been reduced under these techniques to the mental level of toddlers. They were found sitting on the floor, playing with toys, crying, soiling themselves, etc.” (Ibid.)
Of course not all the graduates of Guantánamo were reduced to mental jelly, many, in fact, returned to rise high in the ranks of ISIS, including its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, after their release:
“On 29 June 2014, ISIL [aka ISIS] announced the establishment of a worldwide caliphate. Al-Baghdadi was named its caliph, to be known as ‘Caliph Ibrahim,’ and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant was renamed the Islamic State (IS). There has been much debate, especially across the Muslim world, about the legitimacy of these moves.
“The declaration of a caliphate has been heavily criticized by Middle Eastern governments, other jihadist groups, and Sunni Muslim theologians and historians. Qatar-based TV broadcaster and theologian Yusuf al-Qaradawi stated: ‘[The] declaration issued by the Islamic State is void under sharia and has dangerous consequences for the Sunnis in Iraq and for the revolt in Syria,’ adding that the title of caliph can ‘only be given by the entire Muslim nation,’ not by a single group.
“As a caliph, al-Baghdadi is required to hold to each dictate of the sunnah, whose precedence is set and recorded in the sahih hadiths. According to tradition, if a caliph fails to meet any of these obligations at any period, he is legally required to abdicate his position and the community has to appoint a new caliph, theoretically selected from throughout the caliphdom as being the most religiously and spiritually pious individual among them. Due to the widespread rejection of his caliphhood, al-Baghdadi’s status as caliph has been compared to that of other caliphs whose caliphship has been questioned.
“In an audio-taped message, al-Baghdadi announced that ISIL would march on ‘Rome’—generally interpreted to mean the West—in its quest to establish an Islamic State from the Middle East across Europe. He said that he would conquer both Rome and Spain in this endeavor and urged Muslims across the world to immigrate to the new Islamic State.” (Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia, “The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant”)
Now, one might wonder what kind of brain-washed lunatic would make such a proclamation, or one might wonder what this puppet’s handlers are seeking to provoke. There is little doubt that the U.S., NATO, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and other partners of U.S. Imperialism are all pulling IS’s strings as well as supplying it with funds and weapons. What lessons are being taught in the “Torture School” that turns out the fanatic leaders of al Qaeda and ISIS? And what is the product of the domestic “Schools of Oppression?” What is the relationship between fratricidal gang violence and the curriculum taught in the “university of the oppressed?”
Studies have shown that prisoners who were held in solitary confinement have a higher recidivism rate than those released from general population. Likewise, psychologists studying the effects of long-term housing in SHU found it “carries major psychiatric risks.” It only stands to reason, if someone took your loveable house pet and put it in a cage, beat it and tormented it day after day, you would not get your loveable pet back. The Amerikan prison system is an extension of the Amerikan slave system. Whippings and torture were used to punish slaves and intimidate other slaves. This was the way of feudalism and the Romans. While other countries like Sweden and the Netherlands practicing a rehabilitative model are closing prisons because their recidivism rate has dropped so low, the U.S. has been building more prisons than colleges for decades.
I can personally attest that prisoners in the U.S. are being subjected to torture, and treated sadistically. I was among the first prisoners subjected to the Abu Ghraib-modeled unit at Red Onion State Prison. Unfortunately, because there were no photos or videos made to document it, Amerika will continue to “turn a blind eye,” to what goes on, and has been going on inside Amerika’s “Slave Pens of Oppression.” When prisoners or ex-prisoners verbalize about these goings on, to the public or in a judiciary proceeding, the first thing the ‘prisoncrats’ say is, “the prisoner was being disruptive and the officers used proper and necessary force to restore order and maintain security in the institution.” Even when a prisoner dies while strapped to a cot or restraint chair from internal bleeding, shock, or being choked to death while in restraints, the slick-talking administrators make it sound like the officers were blameless and “only doing their job.” The victim is always blamed!
They make it sound as if we were all wild animals and not men and women being sadistically abused, having our food, showers and recreation yard time denied for days on end, having our personal property willfully destroyed, being beaten, having vicious dogs turned on us, being tortured with electric shock belts, and stun guns. Being murdered in a cell… unjustly… with impunity. Because of the public’s ignoring of the reality of what goes on in their name, funded by their tax dollars, the torture continues, year after year, and Amerika has become the leading practitioner of torture in the world, running schools to teach the techniques to rest of the world:
“The Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC), formerly known as the U.S. Army School of the Americas, is a United States Department of Defense Institute located at Fort Benning near Columbus, Georgia, that provides military training to government personnel in US-allied Latin American nations.
“The school was founded in 1946 and from 1961 was assigned the specific goal of teaching ‘anti-communist counterinsurgency training,’ a role which it would fulfill for the rest of the Cold War. In this period, it educated several Latin American dictators, generations of their military and, during the 1980s, included the uses of torture in its curriculum. In 2000/2001, the institute was renamed to WHINSEC.
“The US Army School of the Americas was founded in 1946 and originally located at Fort Gulick in the Panama Canal Zone. On September 21, 1984, the school was expelled from Panama under the terms of the Panama Canal Treaty.
“In December 1984, the school reopened at Fort Benning, Georgia, as part of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command. All elements of the School of the Americas are located at Fort Benning with the exception of the Helicopter School Battalion which is located at Fort Rucker, Alabama.
“From 1961 (during the Kennedy administration), the School was assigned the specific Cold War goal of teaching ‘anti-communist’ counterinsurgency training to military personnel of Latin American countries. At the time and in those places, ‘communists’ was, in the words of anthropologist Lesley Gill, ‘… an enormously elastic category that could accommodate almost any critic of the status quo.’
“During this period, Colombia supplied the largest number of students from any client country. As the Cold War drew to a close around 1990, United States foreign policy shifted focus from ‘anti-communism’ to the War on Drugs, with narcoguerillas replacing ‘communists.’ This term was later replaced by ‘the more ominous sounding “terrorist.”’
“In 1999, the School of the Americas website said in its FAQ section, ‘Many of the [School′s] critics supported Marxism — Liberation Theology — in Latin America — which was defeated with the assistance of the U.S. Army.’
“By 2000 the School of the Americas was under increasing criticism in the United States for training students who later participated in undemocratic governments and committed human rights abuses. In 2000 Congress, through the FY01 National Defense Act, withdrew the Secretary of the Army’s authority to operate USARSA.
“The next year, WHINSEC was founded as a successor institute. U.S. Army Maj. Joseph Blair, a former director of instruction at the school, said in 2002 that ‘there are no substantive changes besides the name. […] They teach the identical courses that I taught and changed the course names and use the same manuals.’” (From: Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia, “The Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation”)
The U.S. wrote the book on applying psychological torture, to break people’s resistance:
“The U.S. Army and CIA interrogation manuals are seven controversial military training manuals which were declassified by the Pentagon in 1996. In 1997, two additional CIA manuals were declassified in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by The Baltimore Sun. The manuals in question have been referred to by various media sources as the ‘torture manuals.’ These manuals were prepared by the U.S. military and used between 1987 and 1991 for intelligence training courses at the U.S. Army School of the Americas (SOA). Some of the material was similar to the older CIA manuals described below. The manuals were also distributed by Special Forces Mobile Training Teams to military personnel and intelligence schools in Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Peru and Venezuela.” (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, “U.S. Army and CIA interrogation manuals.”)
These manuals, and graduates of these training schools, have dramatically “militarized” the nation’s federal, state and local correctional institutions and law enforcement agencies:
“In more modern policing, police brutality has involved torture. Police officials have generally described these cases as aberrations or the actions of criminals in police uniform, as New York City Police Commissioner Howard Safir described the attack on Abner Louima. Police brutality critics, such as law professor Susan Bandes, have argued that such a view is erroneous and that it ‘allows police brutality to flourish in a number of ways, including making it easier to discount individual stories of police brutality, and weakening the case for any kind of systemic reform.’
“In the 1970s and 80s the Chicago Police Department’s Area 2 unit under Commander Jon Burge repeatedly used electroshock, near-suffocation by plastic bags and excessive beating on suspects. The City of Chicago’s Office of Professional Standards (OPS) concluded that the physical abuse was systematic and, ‘The type of abuse described was not limited to the usual beating, but went into such esoteric areas as psychological techniques and planned torture.’
“In 1997, Abner Louima was sodomized with a plunger by New York City police. The officer was convicted and sentenced to 30 years in prison.
“In May 2006 in Geneva, Switzerland the United Nations Committee against Torture released a report, which took note of the ‘limited investigation and lack of prosecution’ in connection to accusations of torture in Areas 2 and 3 of the Chicago Police Department and called on American authorities to ‘promptly, thoroughly and impartially’ investigate the accusations, and provide the committee with more information.
“In 1983 Texas sheriff James Parker and three of his deputies were convicted for conspiring to use waterboarding to force confessions. The complaint said they ‘subject prisoners to a suffocating water torture ordeal in order to coerce confessions. This generally included the placement of a towel over the nose and mouth of the prisoner and the pouring of water in the towel until the prisoner began to move, jerk, or otherwise indicate that he was suffocating and/or drowning.’ The sheriff was sentenced to ten years in prison, and the deputies to four years.
“In September 1997, two former officers from the Adelanto Police Department, San Bernardino County, California, were jailed for two years on federal charges, after pleading guilty to beating a suspect during questioning and forcing another man to lick blood off the floor in 1994.
“According to the Innocence Project, about 25 percent of wrongfully convicted innocent people were coerced into making false confessions or false incriminating statements. Most of the victims were threatened by the terror of harsher sentences if they remained non-compliant.
“In 2005, a Channel 4 documentary ‘Torture: America’s Brutal Prisons’ showed video of naked prisoners being beaten, bitten by dogs, and stunned with Taser guns and electric cattle prods. In one case a prisoner is strapped to a restraint chair and left for sixteen hours; two hours after being unshackled he dies from a blood clot. In another, mentally ill prisoner Charles Agster is suffocated to death. Another prisoner is found with a broken neck, broken toes and internal injuries following an argument with guards; after one month in a coma he dies from septicaemia. Fire extinguisher sized canisters of pepper spray are used to cover prisoners with chemicals, and they are then left, resulting in second degree burns. Photos are shown of Frank Valdes, a convicted killer on Death Row, who was beaten to death after writing to local Florida newspapers with allegations of prison officer corruption and brutality. Many of the segments in the documentary were several years old, e.g. from 1996, and were originally released to lawyers seeking justice for the victims of the offenses shown. Several Lawsuits was filed against the Prison which resulted in the Inmates. Other prison officers involved in the incidents were suspended from duty or discharge of their employment.
“A 2010 memoir by Wilbert Rideau, an inmate at Angola Prison from 1961 through 2001, states that “slavery was commonplace in Angola with perhaps a quarter of the population in bondage” throughout the 1960s and early 1970s. The New York Times states that weak inmates served as slaves who were raped, gang-raped, and traded and sold like cattle. Rideau stated that ‘The slave’s only way out was to commit suicide, escape or kill his master.’ Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox, members of the Angola 3, arrived at Angola in the late 1960s and became active members of the prison’s chapter of the Black Panther Party, where they organized petitions and hunger strikes to protest conditions at the prison and helped new inmates protect themselves from rape and enslavement. C. Murray Henderson, one of the wardens brought in to clean up the prison, states in one of his memoirs that the systemic sexual slavery was sanctioned and facilitated by the prison guards.
“From the year 2000 onwards, the Supermax facility at the Maine State Prison was the scene of video-taped forcible extractions that Lance Tapley in the Portland Phoenix wrote ‘look[ed] like torture.’ Additionally, audio recordings were made of the torture of Lester Siler in Campbell County, Tennessee. Officers involved in the incident were convicted in court and sentenced to 2–5 years in prison
“The U.S. Border Patrol interdicts people crossing the border and maintains checkpoints and carries out raids in border regions. Human Rights Watch has documented severe human rights abuses by the Border Patrol, ‘including unjustified killing, torture, and rape, and routine beatings, rough physical treatment, and racially motivated verbal abuse.’
“Detained immigrants, including refugees seeking asylum, at the Esmor Inc. facility in Elizabeth, New Jersey, rebelled after practices of verbal and physical abuse, humiliation and corporal punishment. After the uprising, two dozen of them were beaten, stripped, forced to crawl through a gauntlet of officers, and made to chant, ‘America is number one.’
“A report by the Justice Department Office of the Inspector General on the experience of 762 post-9/11 detainees found confirmed the physical and verbal abuse of detainees. On arrival at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, New York, the detainees were slammed face first into a wall against a shirt with an American flag; the bloodstain left behind was described by one officer as the print of bloody noses and a mouth. Once inside they were threatened with detention for the rest of their lives, verbally abused, exposed to cold, deprived of sleep, and had their hands, cuffed arms, and fingers severely twisted.” (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, “Torture and the United States”)
These cases cited in Wickipedia are but a few examples of what is epidemic and yet pretended to not exist or to occur only as an aberration and not officially sanctioned. Back in 2001, when I was imprisoned at Wallen’s Ridge State Prison, in Stone Gap, VA, an out-of-state transfer prisoner from Connecticut was murdered by corrections officers repeatedly shocking him with electronic stun guns. The CT prisoner had been a chronic diabetic, so the prison officials claimed he had refused to take his insulin and as a result died of diabetic shock. However, the autopsy evidence contradicted this claim. The VA Department of Corrections then retracted its story and settled out-of-court with the deceased’s family for in excess of a $ million, and ordered stun guns withdrawn from all VA prisons. The Virginia media supported the DoC by playing up that the victim had been convicted of rape and downplaying the actual circumstances of his death.
Of course they “turned a blind eye” to the reality that Virginia and Amerika’s founding fathers, like Washington, Jefferson, Madison and so on raped, tortured and murdered their slaves, but this fact is swept under the carpet of historical consciousness. Regardless of what the CT prisoner did, or if he was actually guilty as charged, he had a right to not be subjected to torture and murder by the prison guards. They had no right to get away with tormenting and cruelly murdering him. Meanwhile, at Red Onion and Wallen’s Ridge, they replaced the stun guns with stun belts, and wrote imaginative fiction to explain using them like, “prisoner was kicking the door of the transportation van.” This was the excuse they gave on July 18, 2012, when they electrocuted prisoner C. Smith, with a stun belt, burning through his flesh to the white meat.
Whether they use a stun gun, a stun belt or jumper cables, electrocution is torture. Supposedly, we are to be protected from “cruel and unusual punishment” by the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution, but the courts have been notoriously lax in laying down the law as to what constitutes “cruel and unusual punishment.” In theory:
“In Furman v. Georgia, 408 U.S. 238 (1972), Justice Brennan wrote, ‘There are, then, four principles by which we may determine whether a particular punishment is “cruel and unusual”.’
- The ‘essential predicate’ is ‘that a punishment must not by its severity be degrading to human dignity,’ especially torture.
- ‘A severe punishment that is obviously inflicted in wholly arbitrary fashion.’
- ‘A severe punishment that is clearly and totally rejected throughout society.’
- ‘A severe punishment that is patently unnecessary.’
“Justice Brennan also wrote that he expected no state would pass a law obviously violating any one of these principles, so court decisions regarding the Eighth Amendment would involve a ‘cumulative’ analysis of the implication of each of the four principles. In this way, the United States Supreme Court ‘set the standard that a punishment would be cruel and unusual [,if] it was too severe for the crime, [if] it was arbitrary, if it offended society’s sense of justice, or if it was not more effective than a less severe penalty.’” (Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia, “Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution)
Yet, such practices as strapping a prisoner to a cot for hours or days and leaving him to marinate in his own urine and feces, continue, even though in Sadler vs. S.K. Young, 325 f. supp. 2d 689; 2004, former Chief Judge James P. Jones of the United States District Court of the Western District of Virginia stated:
“The ordinary incident of prison life does not include strapping an inmate’s wrists, ankles, and chest to a bed for nearly two days…”
Is this not torture? Imagine being strapped naked to a metal cot with a thin mattress for days for minor infractions like flooding a toilet, kicking a cell door or resisting a cell extraction. Being denied food and water, unable to protect yourself from assault, and not knowing if you were going to die like that. But to put a spin of the revelations of torture, CNN TV journalist, Wolf Blitzer, did an interview with some corrections officers who worked at Guantanamo Bay, in June of 2013, about how the detainees threw urine and feces at them and how “dangerous” and stressful their jobs are. Naturally, the Amerikan public is going to sympathize with them after hearing such one-sided propaganda and “turn a blind eye” to revelations of systematic use of torture and violations of human rights. Wolf Blitzer never interviewed any of the detainees to get their version. Nor did he investigate what might have prompted any incidents of feces or urine being thrown by inmates or attempt to get the whole story. The message is clear that “the prisoners,” be they Black, Mexican, Arab, Puerto Rican, Afghan or Iranian, are “filthy, savage beasts,” and the civilized guards are justified if they use draconian methods to subdue or “put them down” in the interests of everyone’s security.
I have never been a slave at Guantanamo Bay, so I can’t say what provoked the prisoners there to throw human waste at their guards, but judging by my experience in these Virginia “slave pens,” what I have seen that precipitated such incidents was; 1.) guards slamming prisoners’ arms, hands or fingers with metal tray slots, 2.) guards denying prisoner’s food, showers or recreation yard privileges for days on end, 3.) guards breaking prisoner’s fingers or arms during cell extractions, 4.) guards beating prisoners sadistically while they are strapped down in five point restraints, 6.) guards body-slamming cuffed and shackled prisoners to the floor, breaking bones and teeth, and falsely claiming the prisoner spit on them or tried to head butt them, 7.) guards sadistically ripping up prisoner’s family photos or intentionally destroying personal property, 8.) guards unjustifiably releasing vicious dogs on prisoners, 9.) guards burning prisoners with stun belts while they are in restraints, and 10.) guards spraying prisoners down with pepper spray in their cells and turning off their water. In short, in my experience, people have to be pretty righteously enraged to throw their bodily waste at someone, either that, or they have been driven to madness.
Throwing one’s human waste is by anyone’s reasoning a desperate and futile act of resistance, a sign of breakdown, that certainly must be preceded by a pattern of oppression intended to strip the individual of his senses and his pride. One might well ask; what sort of “correctional system” would reduce people to this level? How can this be rehabilitative? Oppression is oppression, and it is natural to rebel against being oppressed. As Mao expressed, it is “Right to Rebel” against oppression, it is a human response to inhuman conditions.
The FBI recently, (2013), made a point of putting Assata Shakur on their “10 Most Wanted ‘Terrorist’ List,” for escaping her New Jersey plantation in 1979, after being wrongfully convicted of killing a NJ State Trooper on May 3, 1973. Comrade Assata was herself shot twice while her hands were in the air, by this police officer, none-the-less, she was railroaded through the courts and sentenced to “life-plus-30-years.” Comrade Assata (aka Joanne Chesimard) was targeted as being a BPP/BLA leader and high on the FBI’s COINTELPRO “hit list” for organizing in the oppressed Black communities and proving free services like “Free Breakfast for Children,” “Free Ambulance Services,” “Free Medical Services,” community security patrols and free education. The BPP/BLA, opposed racism, sexism, capitalism and imperialism and stood for socialism and building community-based people’s power. For this reason, the FBI waged a covert war against the BPP/BLA, assassinating and framing Panthers for long stretches in maximum security prisons. The inmate who was held in solitary confinement for the longest time in the United States is Albert Woodfox, the last of the BPP Angola Three who just recently won his release, after being kept in solitary confinement in Louisiana State Penitentiary since 1972.
For the most part, the public “turned a blind eye” to the government’s “secret war” on the Panthers, figuring there must be some legitimate reason for the shoot-outs at Panther offices and the claim that they constituted Amerika’s “No. #1 security threat.” Of course the real threat was the ideas the Panthers represented. That is why after all these years they are making a fuss about Assata Shakur, who has been living quietly in Cuba since they gave her political asylum in 1984. In 2013, the FBI not only put her on the most wanted terrorist list, but NJ decided to match the $1 million reward the feds are offering. Of course they know she is no terrorist, (not that they ever catch real terrorists), but because of the ideas the original BPP/BLA stood for and the fear a new generation will continue this legacy. They had hoped to bully Cuba into giving her up as a condition of ending the U.S. embargo. But the Cubans refused to be intimidated.
There are still many victims of COINTELPRO and other police frame ups still doing hard time in Amerika, like Chip Fitzgerald, Leonard Peltier, Mumia Abu Jamal, Oscar Lòpez Rivera, Jalil Muntaqim, Sundiata Acoli, Alvaro Luna Hernandez, Ruchell Magee and Russell “Maroon” Shoats, to name a few. Masses of prisoners have been swept up by government strategies of mass incarceration, from the phony “War on Drugs” to the deliberate instigation of fratricidal gang wars. According to a recent report by Amnesty International:
“The United States accounts for only 5% of the world’s population, but is responsible for nearly 22% of the world’s prison population. More than 2 million people are incarcerated in U.S. prisons as well as local and county jails. 1 in 3 black men in the United States will go to prison or jail if current trends continue. An average of 5 million people are under state or federal supervision in the form of probation or parole.
“The U.N. Human Rights Committee, which monitors states’ compliance with their obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, has expressed ongoing concern about racial disparities at different stages in the U.S. criminal justice system, including sentencing disparities and the overrepresentation of individuals belonging to racial and ethnic minorities in prisons and jails. These issues point to the failure of the United States’ to respect, protect and fulfill its obligations in regard to the rights to be free from discrimination, to liberty and security of the person, to be equal before the law and to equal protection of the law. To that end, the Committee has called for reform of mandatory minimum statutes and for retroactive application of the Fair Sentencing Act.
“The School-to-Prison Pipeline:
“Under international law, children’s human rights are underpinned by the fundamental principle that all decisions relating to children should be guided by the best interests. Yet current school educational and disciplinary policies in the U.S. are dovetailing to create an environment that funnels youth into the criminal justice system at an unprecedented rate. Zero-tolerance discipline policies have resulted in skyrocketing rates of suspensions, expulsions and school-based arrests. These policies disproportionally affect children of color and those living in poverty or with a disability, gravely undermining all children’s rights to education, to be free from discrimination, and to the highest standard of health and well-being.
“Discrimination in school discipline contributes to disparities in incarceration rates, with African Americans comprising only 12% of the US population but 44% of its incarcerated. The U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has expressed concern about the ‘school-to-prison pipeline’ and called on the United States to intensify its efforts to address racial disparities in the application of disciplinary measures.
“Amnesty International calls on the U.S. Government to investigate and work to end racial, ethnic, and disability disparities in school discipline and to promote and invest in positives model of improving school safety, attendance, and environment.” (Amnesty International, “Mass Incarceration in the U.S.A,”)
Only by opening people’s eyes and exposing the injustices and oppression this society is based upon can we hope to change existing conditions. From the murderous cops on the street, to the torture committed inside prison walls. We must expose it all: Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win!