Big Oil on Trial For 1995 Nigerian Executions


children and flares in nigeria's river statesA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
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The multinational oil corporation Royal Dutch Shell faces civil charges of complicity in Nigerian government crimes against its citizens, most notably the execution of writer/activist Ken Saro-Wiwa and others in 1995. Shell will no doubt present itself as a victim. "It is a false dichotomy to separate the corruption of Nigeria's governments - military or civilian - from the predatory presence of Big Oil. The two are locked in the deepest embrace." Both the paymasters and the thugs are equally guilty of the crime.


Obama Out-Bushes Bush on Preventive Detention


gitmoA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
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Constitutionality aside, Barack Obama's preventive detention proposal is "damn near criminally irresponsible" and "like lighting a match in a room full of gasoline." The United States was founded on the principle that "lesser" or "dangerous" peoples should be "detained" for the good of the nation - on reservations or in slavery. Were it not for "rampant race hatred directed against Arabs and spilling over to all Muslims...there would be no serious discussion of preventive detention in the United States, today." The nation's first Black president is provoking a racial whirlwind.


Racist Symbolism Or Memorial Day Tradition? Obama Honors Confederate Dead


confederate memorialA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
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The so-called "tradition" of U.S. presidents honoring the Confederate war dead began with the Dixiecrat Woodrow Wilson, in 1914. Wilson, born in Virginia, brought segregation to Washington's federal bureaucracy, and praised the Ku Klux Klan-celebrating movie, Birth of a Nation. The Confederate Memorial at Arlington was designed to honor those who fought to "save Anglo-Saxon civilization" - meaning, white rule. President Obama carries on the tradition.


Who Killed Black Radio? -- Journalist's Roundtable at Jared Ball's Jazz & Justice, WPFW-FM in DC

jared showEvery Monday afternoon at 1PM on WPFW, Baltimore-DC listeners can hear a fine example of The Other Black Radio -- Jared Ball's Jazz and Justice.  This week the first hour featured HipHop historian, producer and entrepreneur Davey D, Black Agenda Report's Bruce Dixon and longtime radio analyst Paul Porter, now of Industry Ears discussing the state of commercial black radio, and whether it's worth saving.

Tap the flash player below to listen to or the mic to download the show.  About 60 minutes, and worth it.

Find more of Dr. Jared Ball's work at  The latest headlines from are always available right here in the right hand margin of BAR's front page.

Shell. Guilty.

Almost a fifth of the oil imported by the U.S. comes from Africa, and in the decade to come this percentage will rise.  The eastern part of Nigeria, from which Big Oil has pumped more than a trillion dollars worth of black gold since the 1960s, remains the poorest part of the country, and one of the most ravaged and polluted on earth.  Thousands of gas flares have burned for decades, generating acid rains that have poisoned fisheries and crops.  The land is crisscrossed by thousands of miles of leaking pipes and dotted with oil slicks.  The air is unbreathable, cancers are endemic, there are no schools or hospitals and life expectancies are among the lowest on the African continent.  Shell Oil is on trial in a New York courtroom, accused of hiring the Nigerian government to murder its own citizens for protesting the pollution of their environment and demanding a share of oil revenues be spent where the oil is extracted.

Need to know more?  Check out

New Orleans New Black Media Makers


by Jordan Flaherty

The Black New Orleans-based communications collective "2-Cent" counts as its icons Huey Newton and Gil Scott Heron. "Other generations marched, and we march too. But in this age we have a whole new range of weapons.... I think Martin Luther King, Jr. would want to be on YouTube, to have his speeches distributed that way."  2-Cent spokesperson Brandon "B-Mike"  Odums rejects the idea that promoting ignorance is cool. "We say it's hot to stand up for yourself and speak for yourself."

Somali Teenager Pleads “Not Guilty” to Piracy Charges

Somali teenagerIn order to secure its oil and resources for the West, the US has inflicted two decades of wars and invasions upon Somalia. With no effective central government, Somalia also has no diplomats or coast guard, leaving European fishing fleets and waste dumpers to deplete and poison its fisheries. When Somalis who have fished thousands of years for a living challenge foreign vessels in their territorial waters it is they, not the interlopers who are labeled “pirates.” And although Somalia's so-called pirates have never harmed or killed a single foreigner, they find themselves the target of Western military operations.


Is Bill Clinton Haiti's Great White Hope?

John Maxwell

Ban Ki Moon is playing another macabre joke on Haiti. In naming Bill Clinton as his "special envoy" to Haiti, the United Nations Secretary General has chosen a man that has already betrayed Haiti's people several times over. "President Clinton made several pledges to Aristide and to Haiti, but history does not seem to record that any were kept." Partly because of Clinton's depraved policies, "Haitians are still scooping water to drink from potholes in the street and stave off hunger with 'fritters' made from earth and cooking fat."

Professional Athletics, Corporate Media, and Racism


1968by Solomon Comissiong
 What's the point of debating the salaries of professional athletes? To a far greater extent than we can afford, African Americans allow themselves to be distracted by games. "We cannot allow ourselves to become more preoccupied with the final score of the Sunday afternoon NFL game than we are with the current 15 percent unemployment rate within the black community." And if we must be preoccupied with sports, "Why not spend some of our precious time raising the social consciousness of these black professional athletes?


Black Radio and the "Performance Rights" Toll Booth

radioby BAR Managing Editor Bruce Dixon


The cynically misnamed "Performance Rights" legislation will not benefit performers.  It will extract a premium from radio broadcasters, killing some, and transforming others for the worse.  It will create another piece of "intellectual property" which the recording industry is poised to benefit from at the expense of artists, radio broadcasters and the public, and legaiize payola.  And once the performance rights toll booth is established in broadcast radio, it can and will be deployed elsewhere.  HR 848 is bad news for broadcasters, bad news for artists, and bad news for almost everybody.


White House Health Care Ploy Backfires

single payer nowby BAR executive editor Glen Ford
President Obama's mission to keep the U.S. health care system safe for the profiteering classes got waylaid last week by - the profiteers, themselves. The health care industry "refused to corroborate Obama's claim that they had agreed to reduce health care spending by $2 trillion dollars over ten years." Worse, some of them pointed out that, in point of fact, Obama doesn't have a fully developed health plan. The president's business allies' failure to back up his fiction means Obama will have to pick another occasion to proclaim that the private sector has made sacrifices, and it's time to take the axe to "entitlements."

Freedom Rider: Economic Disaster for Black America


foreclosedby BAR executive editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
 The horrific numbers don't lie. "Entire neighborhoods" of African Americans "have been destroyed by high numbers of foreclosures, which effect not only homeowners, but also renters who are made homeless." Yet President Obama offers nothing - nothing! - in terms of programs specifically designed to ameliorate Black America's disproportionate pain. "This is the day of reckoning for the black citizens of this nation, who must soon decide if they will voice their grievances or silence and diminish themselves for the sake of a man who cares so little about them


New York Cops Stop Record Numbers of Blacks and Latinos – for Nothing


A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
If you're Black and walking the streets of New York City, be careful not to make any "furtive" moves, and make sure not to wear clothing that is "inappropriate for the season" or clothes "commonly used in a crime." The cops consider such behavior "reasonable suspicion" to stop and frisk pedestrians, 90 percent of whom happen to be non-white. This year, the police are on their way to stopping 628,000 persons - joining the two million that have been stopped and frisked since 2004.

Hypocritical Obama "Two-Step" on Human Rights and Racism

Obama 2 stepA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
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One step backward: last month, the Obama administration sabotaged the Durban II anti-racism conference, by first watering down the event's language and then refusing to participate. The first Black president of the United States created a coalition of European and white settler regimes - the same powers that inflicted centuries of racist terror on the planet - in defense of the racist Israeli regime. One step forward: Obama expects to steal a public relations coup by joining the UN's Human Rights Council - where he will doubtless pursue the same status quo policies..


Torture Lawyers Ought To Be Disbarred

disbar the torturers A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
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President Obama considers U.S. use of torture as an instrument of national policy is best relegated to the past, unpunished - even though a web of international treaties and laws, and U.S. statutes, obligate the executive branch to prosecute the guilty. It has been left to a coalition of activist groups to pursue some small measure of punishment for the 12 Bush lawyers that conspired to make torture, legal. The coalition has filed complaints with state bar associations to pull the torture lawyers' licenses.


The Grant Park Dream Has Died


by Paul A. Moore
What a difference four months make. On November 4, 2008, tears "tears flowed like a mighty river" from half a million pairs of eyes in Chicago's Grant Park, where Barack Obama made his victory speech. Today, "Obama has no intention of withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq and ending that war," "there will be no genuine single payer national health care system under this president," and Obama invites "voucher and charter school boosters to the White House." The dream has turned into a hoax.


Obama's War: Drunk, Bored Trigger Happy Mercenaries Kill Afghan Civilians

justiceby Jeremy Scahill

Blessed with immunity from the laws of any nation and a new company name mercenaries for the company formerly known as Blackwater are still hard at work, doing what mercenaries do.. getting paid, while corporate media protect us from the news.  Independent journalist Jeremy Scahill uncovers another instance of oru tax dollars at work in Afghanistan

A Sincere and Painful Apology to the U.S. Congressional Black Caucus

Alberto Jonesby Alberto N. Jones
Mainly white Cuban exiles in Miami, Florida, and Union City, New Jersey, who have never been friends of Blacks in either Cuba or the United States, now claim to be champions of racial equality on the island. The author, an Afro-Cuban whose roots go back to Jamaica, apologizes to Black U.S. lawmakers for the antics of the hypocritical Cuban rightwingers. Afro-Cubans, who have the most loyal to all of Cuba's revolutions, need no assistance from "mercenaries" from Miami.

No News Is Bad News: The Death Dance of Journalism and the Twilight of Democracy

by Robert McChesney

In this 90 minute address, Dr. Robert McChesney argues that the disappearance of journalism from newspapers and broadcast media marks the twilight of democracy.  Back in the days when Frederick Douglass and other abolitionists started their newspapers, the US Postal Service was mailing them for free.  At the time, newspapers were 90% of post office volume, and accounted for 2% of its income, a massive government subsidy.  Only a massive subsidy --- a stimulus program for journalism, and stripping corporate owners of dozens and hundreds of stations that some of them own, can begin to make real democracy possible.

What You Need To Know About Darfur and Sudan

The conflict in Sudan's Darfur region is presented to us in the U.S. as an unambiguous case of genocidal racism, worthy of a virtuous response from Americans.  The Save Darfur Coalition, the foremost perveyors of this story, are backed by the bipartisan U.S. foreign policy establishment, from rabid end-of-the-world fundamentalists to supposed liberals and everyone else in between.


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