A Reprieve for “Child Lifers” in Prison
Thousands of inmates serving life sentences for crimes committed when they were juveniles may be eligible for release from prison in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that such sentences amount to cruel and unusual punishment. “I get a chance to return to society and show people that I’m not the animal that they were portraying me to be,” said Kerry Shakaboona Marshall, a contributor to Prison Radio, who was 17 when he was charged with murder, 25 years ago. However, Marshall said the State of Pennsylvania “really doesn’t want to carry out the spirit of the Miller decision. They want child lifers to die in prison.”
UN Tallies U.S. Crimes Against African Americans
A United Nations panel of experts has released its report on human rights violations against Blacks in the U.S., after soliciting testimony in five cities, last month. The report on the various “forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, Afrophobia and related intolerance” in U.S. society, will be a “ready reference” for both activists and UN member states, said Efia Nwangaza, director of the Malcolm X Center for Self Determination, in Greenville, South Carolina. “I think that China, which does its own annual human rights report, will find it very useful,” as will African countries that are abused by U.S.-based corporations.
Tribunal: Michigan Officials Guilty of Crimes Against Humanity
The denial of water to poor people in Detroit and the poisoning of Flint, Michigan’s water system were not just Republican crimes, said Monica Lewis-Patrick, co-founder of We the People of Detroit. “You had local leadership, you had Black clergy, you had city council people, you had mayors all across this great state that participated in this structural violence, and who are prepared to commit genocide on the people in this state,” said Lewis-Patrick, at a People’s Tribunal on Water Crimes. A people’s jury convicted Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, and two appointed emergency financial managers.
Adolph Reed’s Case Against Reparations
The demand for reparations for Black Americans “doesn’t add anything to a call for redistribution” of wealth and resources, said Dr. Adolph Reed, the noted Black public intellectual and professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania. Reed, who supports Bernie Sanders for president, said it’s folly to demand “a designer program that will redistribute only to one’s own group.” Education, jobs and criminal justice, he said, are “Black issues.”
Western “Panic” Drives Syria Talks
The talks getting underway in Geneva, Switzerland, on the war in Syria are “a combination of public relations and panic on the part of the western powers,” said BAR editor and columnist Ajamu Baraka, a co-founder of the U.S. Human Rights Network. “This is a replay of Geneva I and Geneva II,” said Baraka. “The only thing that has really changed is that the western powers and the Gulf Cooperation Council are more concerned about the possibility that the whole strategy of regime change is coming apart.”
Haiti Factions Jockey for Spots in Interim Government
Massive protests against rigged elections forced cancellation of a presidential run-off vote in Haiti, last month, paving the way for appointment of an interim government. The U.S.-installed president, Michel “Sweet Mickey” Martelly, is constitutionally required to leave office on February 7. “There is a lot of posturing, a lot of theater going on,” said Pierre Labossiere, of the Haiti Action Committee. “What upset the cart has been the entry of the grassroots” into the equation, including the Fanmi Lavalas party of former president Jean Bertrand-Aristide, who was overthrown in a 2004 U.S.-backed coup. The massive popular opposition to the Martelly regime shows that “the Haitian people have to have their say” in the next government, said Labossiere.
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