FBI Widens Sting Operations Against Dissidents
The FBI appears to have widened its web of sting operations to entrap American dissidents in so-called “terrorist plots,” said Sue Udry, executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee. Udry cited a study that analyzed about 400 alleged terror plots prosecuted by the FBI between 2003 and 2010, only four of which “did not have a component of FBI entrapment of the people who were eventually convicted.” Most were against poor, unsophisticated Muslim Americans. In more recent years, said Udry, the FBI and the Homeland Security Department have used “these entrapment stings against environmental and peace activists” and have been “monitoring and infiltrating Black Lives Matter, the Occupy Movement” and “groups that are fighting fracking.” The Committee is demanding Congress launch an investigation to find out “what other groups the FBI has been focused on.”
Black Is Back Coalition to Help Develop an Agenda for Self-Determination
Black America in recent decades has put forward “no basic political demand” of its own, but instead hopes and prays “that the Democratic Party will treat us well and the Republican Party will not treat us badly,” said Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations. On August 13 and 14 the Coalition will hold a conference on a national Black political agenda for self-determination, in Philadelphia. In the Sixties, said Yeshitela, “the drive was for self-determination, and that’s been a missing element in the political discussion up until now.”
Broad Clemency Needed to Reverse Mass Incarceration
The Sentencing Project, a Washington-based prison reform organization, is calling for a broader, categorical approach to presidential clemency, like President Gerald Ford’s 1974 amnesty for war resisters. However, even comprehensive clemencies would not alter U.S. status as the world’s premier incarceration state, said executive director Marc Mauer. “We need to have more rational sentencing policies, we need more diversion from prison, and we need more public health approaches” to social problems,” said Mauer. “If we really want to address mass incarceration, it’s going to take much more on the front end than just rectifying some of these problems five or ten years after the initial sentence has taken place.”
Death Squads and Corporate Greed Prey on Black Colombians
Afro-Colombians and indigenous groups have been blocking roads in protest of violations of their land rights by multinational corporations and intimidation by paramilitary death squads. “You have a particular kind of predatory capitalism” in Colombia and other parts of Latin America, “where you have a relationship between corporations and the government, and paramilitary forces that do the bidding of these corporations in terms of cleaning people from land and terrorizing and murdering local organizers,” said Ajamu Baraka, a member of the Afro-Colombian Solidarity Network. “In Colombia, paramilitarism has been taken to an art form.” Baraka is a BAR editor and columnist and a founder of the U.S. Human Rights Network.
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