Today in history: May 17, 2011 - Los Angeles County SWAT team and the FBI raid the home of long-time Chicano movement leader Carlos Montes as part of FBI-directed repression against anti-war and international solidarity activists. They crashed his door down at 5:00 a.m., with automatic assault rifles drawn, almost killing him. After arresting him, an FBI agent tried to question Montes about his political affiliations.
Facing 6 serious felonies with a possible prison time of up to 18 years, a national campaign was launched to drop the charges against Carlos Montes. The campaign resulted in victory — Carlos didn’t go to prison and has continued his work fighting for immigrant rights, education rights, Chicano liberation, and an end to political repression and U.S. wars and occupations. Stay up with the ongoing fight to stop FBI repression against 23 other anti-war activists by liking the Committee to Stop FBI Repression.
Via Freedom Road Socialist Organization (Fight Back!)
A demonstration was held to protest bringing drones to the Niagara Falls military base, as they are at the Syracuse, NY base. I’m holding the sign reading “Queer Feminists of Color Against Capitalism Imperialism” :)
Thanks for the submission, anon!
(Reuters) - Fifteen men of Palestinian origin have been arrested on charges of running a multi-million-dollar cigarette smuggling ring in New York, and New York authorities who announced the arrests on Thursday said several of the suspects have ties to Hamas and other Islamist militant groups.
The men are accused of smuggling more than a million cartons of untaxed cigarettes from Virginia to be sold in grocery stores across New York, with $55 million in sales uncovered so far, Eric Schneiderman, the New York attorney general, and Ray Kelly, the New York City police commissioner, said at a press conference.
Investigators are still tracking where much of the money ended up, but they noted similar rings in the past have funneled money to Hamas, the Islamist government in Gaza, and Hezbollah, the militant Shi’ite group based in Lebanon, both of which are considered to be terrorist organizations by the United States.
All 15 men remained in custody on Thursday and could not be reached for comment. It was not immediately clear if they had retained lawyers.
Harlem, New York: “Hands Off Assata Shakur” protest called by the Black Is Back Coalition, May 9, 2013.
Photos by Ken Bleezewalker
By Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report
These days, a radical label can get you killed. In National Security Speech, it is clear that to ‘radicalize’ means very much the same as to ‘weaponize’; the radicalized person has been transformed into a weapon. Under such assumptions, the secret police feel justified in using lethal force on purely political pretexts.
Assata Shakur was radicalized at least 45 years ago. An all-white jury convicted her of killing a New Jersey policeman. She escaped from prison, and has been under the protection of the Cuban government for the last 29 years, a political exile. The cop has been dead since 1973, Shakur’s political party has long been defunct, and she is a grandmother far from home. But the FBI felt compelled to double the one million dollar reward for Shakur, and to elevate her to number one domestic terrorist.
Why? Because Shakur continues to “maintain and promote her…ideology” and “provides anti-U.S. government speeches espousing the Black Liberation Army message.” That is, she remains radical, and therefore, a weapon, even at the age of 65, isolated from her 40 million fellow African Americans, few of whom know her name. But the FBI pretends to fear that her “ideology” might go viral at any time.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for the Associated Press in what the news cooperative’s top executive called a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into how news organizations gather the news.
The records obtained by the Justice Department listed incoming and outgoing calls, and the duration of each call, for the work and personal phone numbers of individual reporters, general AP office numbers in New York, Washington and Hartford, Connecticut, and the main number for AP reporters in the House of Representatives press gallery, according to attorneys for the AP.
In all, the government seized those records for more than 20 separate telephone lines assigned to AP and its journalists in April and May of 2012. The exact number of journalists who used the phone lines during that period is unknown but more than 100 journalists work in the offices whose phone records were targeted on a wide array of stories about government and other matters.
In a letter of protest sent to Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday, AP President and Chief Executive Officer Gary Pruitt said the government sought and obtained information far beyond anything that could be justified by any specific investigation. He demanded the return of the phone records and destruction of all copies.
New York City: Protesters rally in Times Square to demand compassionate release for political prisoner Lynne Stewart, who is battling cancer, May 8, 2013,
Photos: Mickey-Z. and Chiu Ng Photography
By Vince Warren
It has taken almost three months and more than 100 men embarking on a life-threatening hunger strike for President Obama to remind himself and the nation why the prison at Guantanamo Bay needs to be closed.
Self-starvation is excruciating, but as one of our clients expressed, this is the only way the men at Guantanamo have left to tell the world what it means to be unjustly detained without charge or trial for more than 11 years with no end in sight.
The starvation protest, which began in February, has created headlines around the world. Of the 100 men, 23 are being force fed to keep them alive. As you read this, it’s likely that some of the men are being dragged from their cells, strapped to restraint chairs, and a rubber tube inserted up their nose and into their stomachs to pump in liquid dietary supplement. One of the men described the traumatic experience to his attorney as having a razor blade go down through your nose and into your throat.
Last week, 40 additional military medical personnel were sent to Guantanamo to assist with the force-feedings, a practice that the American Medical Association condemned as a violation of “core ethical values of the medical profession” and the United Nations condemned as torture and a breach of international law.
By Margaret Kimberley, Black Agenda Report
It is the terrorist label which puts her and her supporters at greatest risk. The Patriot Act made giving “material support to terror” a federal offense which not only is punished very harshly, but is so amorphous as to mean anything the government chooses it to mean. In the Supreme Court decision which began the material support onslaught, a group attempting to teach peaceful activism was found nonetheless guilty because they had contact with the group designated as terrorist. The justices ruled that their intentions were of no consequence.
The only people safe in speaking of or contacting Assata Shakur are those who mean her harm, and a bounty of $2 million will increase the number of persons who fall into that category. Not only is it important to resist the government and defend Shakur but also to name the villain in this story and that person is none other than Barack Obama.
One cannot be separated from the other. It is sad to see the continued effort to excuse Obama’s crimes and let him off the hook on so many occasions, but in the case of Assata Shakur the disingenuousness is particularly dangerous. Barack Obama has made manifest his predecessor’s desire to create a truly fascist machinery in this country. He resurrected the all but dead espionage act to prosecute whistle blowers and at a rate unknown under previous administrations. George W. Bush claimed the right to imprison anyone he wanted but Obama claims the right to kill anyone he wants.
On a recent broadcast of Democracy Now Angela Davis and attorney Lennox Hinds spoke quite eloquently about Shakeur’s plight yet neither of them managed to mention the words Barack or Obama. The omission made the rest of their words meaningless. The justice department is Obama’s justice department. The FBI is his FBI and any and all of its decisions must get the green light straight from the president. If Assata Shakur or anyone else is labeled a terrorist by the United States government it is with Barack Obama’s express permission.
Assata Shakur could well end up dead at Obama’s hands like Anwar al-Awlakki and his sixteen year old son. Cuba may be attacked on the pretext of capturing Shakur. No president since John F. Kennedy has attempted an actual military assault on Cuban soil. Obama is known for his ability to go where other presidents have dared not. He killed Gaddafi and overthrew the Libyan government. Why wouldn’t he try the same with Cuba?
The significance of the renewed attack on Assata Shakur is not just of international significance. Obama is making a point about black America and those few who still dare to speak out against their nation’s domestic and international policy. Immediately after announcing the increased bounty and terrorist designation the FBI posted billboard sized wanted posters in Newark, New Jersey.
It seems a strange thing to do when Shakur is living thousands of miles away in Cuba. Of course the billboards are not meant to capture Shakur but to send a not so subtle message about the state of black liberation. Simply put, there won’t be any talk of black liberation. The Shakurs of the world who weren’t imprisoned, killed off by Cointelpro or bought off, have to be destroyed once and for all and any memory of them must be disappeared as well.