War on Syria

Why Syria Still Matters in the Age of Trump

by Danny Haiphong

Much of the U.S. “left” is confused or on the wrong side of Washington’s war against national sovereignty and self-determination in Syria. Publications like The Intercept attempt to conflate Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad and Donald Trump, “thus delegitimizing Assad in the eyes of the majority of the U.S. population.” The tactic is closely related to anti-Russian McCarthyism -- designed to distract from the bankruptcy of Democratic policies.

Black Agenda Radio for Week of December 19, 2016

Cop Unions Try to Gut Newark Review Board

If police a union suit succeeds in denying subpoena power to Newark, New Jersey’s Civilian Complaint Review Board, the People’s Organization for Progress may have to relinquish its seat on the body, said POP chairman Larry Hamm. Although Mayor Ras Baraka, who Hamm calls “a friend,” wants to preserve even a weakened board, Hamm said a board without subpoena power “cannot be effective.” POP will stick with the board while the legal battle unfolds, said Hamm, but the best defense against police abuse is the ability to organize in the streets. “We do this because the police demonstrate again and again that they are an instrument of repression in our community.”

Haitians Protest Theft of Election -- Again

For more than a month Haitians have filled the streets to reject an election count that gave U.S.-backed presidential candidate Jovenal Moise 55 percent of the vote in a four-way race. The tally is “totally unacceptable,” said Pierre Labossiere, of the Haiti Action Committee, which backed Maryse Narcisse, the candidate of former president Jean Bertrand Aristide’s party, Fanmi Lavalas --- which was credited with only 8 percent of the vote. The two other major parties also rejected the tally. Who fixed the vote? “The corrupt provisional council, with the help of the UN and the active support of the U.S., France and Canada -- the usual,” said Labossiere. Hillary Clinton’s intervention was key to installing the previous president, Michel “Sweet Mickey” Martelly.

East Aleppo Liberated from U.S.-Backed Jihadists

Fares Shehabi, an independent member of Syria’s parliament from Aleppo, who is also head of the country’s Chambers of Industry, said the liberation of East Aleppo ended “the largest hostage crisis in history,” dating to the capture of the city by jihadists backed by the West, four and a half years ago. “What we are seeing now is the largest commando hostage release in history,” said Shehabi. He said 1.5 million people from East Aleppo had escaped to safety since 2012, leaving only 100,000 living among the jihadist fighters when the current government offensive began.

Honoring Activists While They Still Live

Inside the Activists Studio, a project of the Campaign to Bring Mumia Home, strives to “build on the revolutionary journalistic tradition that Mumia represents,” said Robyn Spencer, speaking with BAR producer Kyle Fraser. “The goal is to gather information about one particular historic figure, and then interview that person, after doing intensive research, in a public forum, in a way that highlights their contribution to resistance traditions.”

The Studio did just that, recently, at Harlem’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, where Mumia Abu Jamal introduced the audience to Ramona Africa, Minister of Communications for the MOVE organization, whose comrades and family have been incarcerated and killed by Philadelphia police. “The case of Leonard Peltier really makes my blood boil, that the people running this country have the audacity to call Leonard a murderer, when they have slaughtered Leonard’s people into virtual extinction,” Ms. Africa told the crowd. “The audacity of these people, to get in our face and call us criminal. We would be criminal if we didn’t resist these sick-ass misfits.”

Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network is hosted by Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey. A new edition of the program airs every Monday at 11:00am ET on PRN. Length: one hour.
 
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Black Agenda Radio for Week of December 5, 2016

Donald Trump’s Corporate Bait-and-Switch

A new report by Public Citizen shows 70 percent of Donald Trump’s presidential transition “landing team” members are affiliated with corporations. Trump’s rank-and-file supporters should be “furious that here we have corporate insider after corporate insider taking over the administration,” said Public Citizen research director Rick Claypool. Steven Mnuchin, the former Goldman Sachs banker slated to become Secretary of the Treasury, “is the appointment we would expect a president to have picked, if he intends to forge a plutocratic alliance” with Wall Street, said Claypool, who warned: “We can expect a return to the kind of Wild West of anything goes risk-taking that led to the 2008 crisis.”

A Movement Sorely in Need of Science

“The importance of the discussion of analysis has grown since the election,” said Nandita Chaturvedi, one of the organizers of a conference on Revolutionary Science for Radical Times, December 9 and 10, at Philadelphia’s Church of the Advocate.  “You see that there is so much confusion on the left, and you see activists that are aligning with the liberal media and aligning with the Clinton machinery.” Without a disciplined political analysis, social movements lose their moorings. “In order to see clearly what we are trying to oppose, and what is the system that we are dismantling, I think analysis is really needed,” said Chaturvedi.

RICO Prosecutions as a Tool of Gentrification

“They came to my house in the pre-dawn hours with all the elements of war,” said Paula, mother of one of 120 young men swept up in a police raid centered on two housing projects in The Bronx, last April, and charged with a wide range of crimes under RICO conspiracy laws. It was the biggest such sweep in New York City history -- larger than a raid that netted 103 youths from two Harlem housing projects, in 2014. Paula has withheld her last name in fear of retaliation against her son, whose mental health has deteriorated under solitary confinement. “They are not mafia, as they are charged under RICO,” she said. “None of these youth had arsenals of firearms.” Most had no money for defense lawyers. Paula sees the raids as part of gentrification pressures to empty public housing. Many of the mothers, she said, “have their sons in jail and, at the same time, they’re going through an eviction process.

U.S. is Lying Aggressor in Syria...

The United States has no right to interfere in the affairs of other countries, period, said BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley, speaking to a gathering of the Hands Off Syria Coalition, last week. The U.S. carries out regime change under the guise of “humanitarian” intervention to “protect” people from their own government, but “the claim is always a lie, a ruse to make real the Project for a New American Century,” said Kimberley, who is also active with UNAC, the United National Anti-War Coalition. “The United States never has a humanitarian purpose in mind, in Syria or anyplace else -- any more so than it does here at home.”

...Just Like in Libya and Iraq

Michael Sampson, a co-founder of the Florida-based Dream Defenders who is now a labor organizer in the Washington, DC area, was among those that testified at a People’s Tribunal on the Iraq War, December 1 and 2, at the University of DC Law School. “The same tanks, the same police equipment, the same tear gas canisters that the war profiteers are spending billions of dollars on, are being thrown on the streets of Ferguson and Baltimore and Milwaukee and Charlotte,” said Sampson. “The wars that occur everywhere are all connected to war at home -- the war on working class people and Black and brown people. All these movements must connect. The people who colonized Iraq are the same people who colonized African Americans, here.” The Real News Network covered both days of testimony, live.

Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network is hosted by Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey. A new edition of the program airs every Monday at 11:00am ET on PRN. Length: one hour.
 
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Break the Silence or Support Self-Determination? In Syria, the Answer Should be Obvious

by Danny Haiphong

Syria is “the target of one of the greatest misinformation campaigns in recent history.” The author regrets that left analyst Eric Draitser has contributed to the confusion. Draitser criticizes leftists who firmly support the Syrian government. Danny Haiphong counters that “the left must act with uncompromising dedication to the principle of self-determination in every case where US and Western imperialism wages wars of neo-colonial plunder.”

Black Agenda Radio Week of June 27, 2016

BREXIT Panics Ruling Classes

“This cannot be a happy time for those people who run stock markets, big banks, hedge funds and the political system” in the global capitalist economy, said Dr. Anthony Monteiro, the noted Duboisian scholar and member of the Black Radical Organizing Committee (BROC). The rulers are “panicked” because Britain’s vote to exit the European Union marks “a rebellion among the British working classes against the ruling elite and against the austerity and globalization” that pits native born workers against immigrant workers.

U.S. Jets Defend al Qaida Jihadists in Syria

The U.S. scrambled  F-i8 fighters to confront Russian war planes that were bombing al Nusra, the al Qaida affiliate in Syria, earlier this month. The Americans “want to protect these forces that they have armed and trained,” the same forces that are “recognized as terrorists trying to destroy Syria,” said Sara Flounders, of UNAC, the United Anti-War Coalition. “There are now 13 countries involved in bombing Syria that have not been invited in by Syria” – all allies of the U.S. “It’s a completely aggressive action, and they’re using it to destroy the infrastructure of Syria,” said Flounders.

Dred Scott and Freddie Gray

“What the system is telling us is that Black people have no rights that their police are bound to respect,” said Carl Dix, co-founder of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, speaking outside the Baltimore courthouse where a judge acquitted a cop charged with the “depraved heart” murder of Freddie Gray. “This was a modern day lynching, and they just gave us a modern day Dred Scott Decision.” The prosecution has so far failed to win convictions against any of the police officers involved. “These prosecutors must be very good at putting Black people in prison,” said Dix, since 72 percent of Maryland prison inmates are Black. “But, when a cop murders a Black man, all of a sudden they forget how to prosecute.”

Mumia: Look “Beyond Bernie”

The nation’s best known political prisoner said Democrats opposed to Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid should “look beyond Bernie” Sanders for inspiration. “For millions of people, the Bernie Sanders campaign has led to a political depression” because the two major parties are led by “the least popular candidates in memory,” said Mumia Abu Jamal, serving a life term in a Pennsylvania prison. However, youthful idealism doesn’t have to die. “Why not form a new political party, a new political movement,” Mumia asked? “Don’t mourn Bernie’s failure to win. Organize!”

Temporary Work Agencies Do Employers’ Racist Bidding

Chicago’s Workers Law Office has sued six temporary employment agencies and their clients for favoring Latino workers over Blacks. “There’s a financial benefit from having a population that does not know as much about their rights in the workplace and is not as willing to fight to enforce those rights,” said Atty. Alva Ayala. One agency provided 5,000 workers to a baking company, 98 percent of whom had Latino surnames.

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Black Agenda Radio for Week of February 1, 2016

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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Palestinians Resist Zionist Terror, Plus U.S., European, Arab Royal, Turkish and Nigerian Terror

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

The West has forced millions to become wandering, destitute refugees, as it destroys nations and peoples that get in the way of Empire. Palestinians have lived this reality for 67 years. Beirut sits at the lip of the volcano.

Black Agenda Radio for Week of September 28, 2015

Black Families and Women Bear Burden of Mass Incarceration

A survey of 1,000 former prison inmates and their families by the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, in Oakland, California, “showed that it’s mainly African American women who bear the brunt of a loved one’s incarceration,” said Darris Young, a local organizer for the center who is himself a former inmate. “When an individual is incarcerated, then the impacts on the family, which translate back into the community, are enormous,” said Young. For example, “nearly one out of five families involved in our survey faced eviction – they were denied housing or did not even qualify for public housing once their formerly incarcerated family member returned.”

October Rising: Mass Protest in NYC

“We are coming out of a year of police literally getting away with murder,” said Carl Dix, co-founder of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network and an organizer of Rise Up October, a series of demonstrations set for October 22 through 24in New York City. “We’ve reached a crucial turning point, because the authorities have not only doubled down on releasing their police to brutalize and murder people, but they are trying to demonize the protest movement, talking about it being responsible for a non-existent war on cops.” In reality, cop killings are at an historic low. “We have to meet that with redoubled resistance,” said Dix.

U.S. Foments Chaos and Death in Syria

“From the beginning, the war in Syria has been about tearing down the government of Syria and creating a completely chaotic, destabilized state, which leaves Israel and the U.S. as the strong forces in the region,” said Sara Flounders, of the United National Anti-War Coalition, UNAC. Washington pursues its goals by “sending in mercenaries” to fight alongside the Islamic State, “which was funded by Saudi Arabia and Turkey – both U.S. proxies in this war,” said Flounders.

Washington Caused Flood of “Regime Change Refugees.”

James Paul, former executive director of the Global Policy Forum and author of Syria Unmasked, said the U.S. has a long history of promoting jihadist warfare: “If we go back to Afghanistan, the U.S. pattern of supporting Islamic fundamentalist groups and movements is very consistent – it’s almost the standard playbook,” said Paul. “The biggest gift that the Europeans could give to the refugees in their countries is to look into ending these military interventions.” Paul describes most of the current Middle Eastern and North African migrants as “regime change refugees.”

 
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Freedom Rider: Refugees Flee American Aggression

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

Americans are made uncomfortable by pictures of drowned refugee children, but most cannot accept that their own government’s “unrelenting effort at regime change in Syria is the cause of this crisis.” U.S. corporate media parrot Washington’s lies, keeping tally of the displaced and doomed, but blaming Syria’s government for defending itself against western-backed jihadists. Rather than demand the West leash its dogs, “they call for more war.”

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