United National Anti-War Coalition

The Chosen People – for Incarceration

“They’ve created a permanent caste from which people cannot escape,” said Larry Hamm, chairman of the Newark-based People’s Organization for Progress (POP), referring to America’s system of mass Black incarceration. POP supports the New Jersey Decarceration Act, aimed at drastically reducing prison populations. Historically, police forces and prisons have expanded to contain Black people, socially and geographically. “What they’re worried about now is there’s a potential for us to build alliances with other groups that have been economically disenfranchised in the last few decades, and that there could be an even wider societal response to the suffering that’s going on in this country,” said Hamm.

Challenge to Arbitrary Solitary Confinement

Prison inmate Lester Alford has hauled New Jersey into court, charging prison officials with arbitrarily locking him in solitary under appalling conditions. “They only gave him one set of clothing for three years, and didn’t let him clean his cell for three years,” said Jean Ross, a lawyer who has advised many state prisoners. The state accused Alford, now middle-aged, of being a gang leader. “There is no excuse, no defense to the fact that they placed him under isolated confinement without any kind of due process of law, and under conditions that we would not keep animals in,” said Ross, who is also an organizer with the People’s Organization for Progress.

Former Panther Blasts Huey Newton

Wayne Pharr, a former captain in the Los Angeles chapter of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, has just published a book titled Nine Lives of a Black Panther: A Story of Survival. “I don’t bash anybody but Huey Newton,” the Panther co-founder who, Pharr writes, set himself up as Supreme Commander and sent hit squads against members considered disloyal. “That’s what turned me off from the whole thing, because that spoke of ego and no humility,” said Pharr, who now makes his living in real estate. The FBI’s infamous COINTELPRO played a role in the party’s demise. “We knew were under surveillance with COINTELPRO,” said Pharr, “and COINTELPRO is still working, right now.”

U.S. Complicit in Israeli Crimes

“Not a minute of this war would be possible without complete and total U.S. funding, political support, and diplomatic support every step of the way,” said Sara Flounders, of the International Action Center. But, “the world has not been silent” to the suffering of Palestinians in Gaza, nearly 2,000 of whom – overwhelmingly civilians – have died at Israeli hands. What the Israeli’s want, said Flounders, “is the silence of the grave; that’s their only plan.” A huge demonstration is set for this Saturday, August 9, at the United Nations building in New York, said Flounders, who is also an organizer with UNAC, the United National Anti-War Coalition.

Mumia: Zionists Lust for Land

America’s best known political prisoner says “Israel intentionally targets civilians, which is a war crime.” Mumia Abu Jamal, in a report for Prison Radio, called Israel “a settler colonialists state which has no use for the indigenous people of Palestine, yet lusts for its land.” President Obama claims Israel “has the right to defend itself. But, one wonders: doesn’t Palestine have that right, as well?”

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Zimmerman Defense Engages in “Racist Bullying”

“They’re trying to put together a scenario that paints Trayvon as the aggressor” the night that George Zimmerman shot the teenager dead, said Carl Dix, of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network. The defense in the televised murder trial, in Sanford, Florida, has engaged in “a certain white supremacist condescension and bullying” of witness Rachel Jeantel, the young woman who was on the phone with Trayvon Martin during his fatal encounter with Zimmerman. “They’re playing into a certain white dislike and fear of an angry Black person, where the sister had a right to be angry, because she was being mistreated on the stand,” said Dix.

Lynne Stewart: Keep Up the Pressure

People’s lawyer Lynne Stewart, battling Stage Four breast cancer in her fourth year of a ten-year prison sentence for zealously defending her client in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, vows to continue her fight for compassionate release. The head of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons rejected her plea, claiming Stewart’s health was “improving.” “They are lying,” said Ralph Poynter, Stewart’s husband and comrade in activism. “There as been no improvement in the cancer in her lungs. They didn’t talk about her diabetes, they didn’t talk about her inability to move around” and her low white blood cell count. Poynter will lead demonstrations in New York and resume a vigil, in Washington. “I’m going to start building a fire in front of this White House,” he vowed – in line with Stewart’s wishes.

Snowden’s Gift to the World

If Ecuador or another country grants NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden asylum, “the whole world will benefit, because some of the revelations are that the U.S. is spying on civilians all over the world,” said Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Washington-based Center for Economic and Policy Research. “Snowden is fleeing political persecution, and Ecuador takes that very seriously.” Might the U.S. try to seize Snowden from sanctuary? “No, I don’t think so,” said Weisbrot. “There’s a lot of public support for what he did here in the United States, and most of the world sees him as a hero.”

U.S. Revs Up for Another Mideast War

Citing an “Emergency situation,” the United National Anti-War Coalition, UNAC, has called for National Days of Action against U.S, NATO and Israeli attacks on Syria, from now through July 17. “We need to keep working to keep the United States from starting a whole new war,” said UNAC’s Marilyn Levin. Washington is attempting to stage a replay of the “humanitarian” attack on Libya and the WMD-justified war on Iraq. “This is just phony,” said Levin, referring to U.S. claims that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons. “They always have to have a pretext.”

The West’s Crusade Against Mugabe

The U.S. is unrelentingly hostile to President Robert Mugabe’s government in Zimbabwe because Washington “opposes the very idea of political and economic independence in Africa,” said political analyst Eric Draitser, founder of the web site StopImperialism.com. Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party “have really begun to exercise this independence” with a land redistribution program that has replaced 6,000 white landholders with 245,000 Black farmers, he said. Zimbabwe hold elections at the end of July. The West backs Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change, which Draiter called “the mouthpiece of the United States and the British,” the former colonial ruler.

Obama Finally Names Special Africa Envoy

Back in 2006, then-Senator Barack Obama won passage of his only significant piece of legislation, to prevent further destabilization of eastern Congo by its neighbors. The bill called for the appointment, within 60 days, of a U.S. Special Representative for the Great Lakes Region and the Democratic Republic of Congo. But President Obama only last month got around to naming former Democratic senator Russ Feingold to fill the job. “Although it is overdue, we are pleased that he has finally appointed this individual,” said Jacques Bahati, of the Africa Faith and Justice Network, in Washington, DC. “I suspect that the “Rwandan lobby” and “special interests” cause the delay, said Bahati.

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