EMAIL PAGE FIFTEEN
COLUMN EIGHTY-EIGHT, APRIL 1, 2003
(Copyright © 2003 The Blacklisted Journalist)
Portside (the left side in nautical parlance) is a
news, discussion and debate service of the Committees
of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism. It
says it aims to provide varied material of interest to people
on the Left.
Heretofore, we were under the impression that Portside is the Internet's voice of the Left. But it turns out to be the Internet's voice of the fundamentalist Far-Left, which, like all fundamentalist organizations, adheres to an orthodoxy and consequently refuses to post dissident or differing opinions from within the Left---such as HATE YOUR GOVERNMENT BUT LOVE YOUR COUNTRY, available to be read in SECTION ONE of COLUMN SEVENTY. Fundamentalists, like fascists, will not tolerate any disagreements or variations from the fundamentalist orthodoxy.
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FIVE CUBANS IN SOLITARY CONFINEMENT
March 7th, 2003
URGENT ALERT: The Cuban 5 have been placed in solitary confinement and they need your help!
The five Cuban political prisoners in the U.S. were suddenly and without justification thrown into solitary
confinement on March 3, 2003 in their separate prisons. It is not clear how long the punishment will last.
Prison authorities have not given the official reason for their illegal confinement in "the hole", but apparently it is a decision from the Federal Bureau of Prisons in Washington, and has the markings of directed political repression against the Five.
As Leonard Weinglass, appeals attorney for Antonio Guerrero, one of the Cuban Five in Florence Colorado
prison, said, "None of them belongs in solitary confinement. It is completely unjustified and
unnecessary as all of them are model prisoners." ##
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POLICE BRUTALIZE HIP-HOP JOURNALISTS
Two Items from FNV NEWSLETTER #120
March 6 2003
HIP HOP JOURNALIST BRUTALIZED BY POLICE
By Davey D
There's some major drama jumping off on both sides of the Bay [San Francisco and Oakland] as Hip Hop activists find themselves at odds with the police... Yesterday in Oakland 300-500 high school students and Hip Hoppers from groups like Youth Force, SOUL, Street Academy and numerous other organizations took to the street as they walked out of classes and work to partake in a Anti-War demonstration.... The Walk outs were part of the planned national Anti-war demonstrations that took place all over the country.
The Walk outs in Oakland were of particular importance because it marked one of the first time that you saw
large numbers of Black and Latino youth from the hood come out and voice their opinion about the War. In the past few weeks there had been some concern that the large anti-war demonstrations did not have folks from the hood participating... Part of the reason is that many of the marches were taking place across the Bay in SF. Yesterday's event was different as folks from around the way came out in full force. Maybe that's what led to the drama that took place...
According to a number of participants a number of police officers on motorcycles followed the group as they started walking from down town Oakland to the historic Jack London Square. Apparently the march was taking place without a permit and the police felt they needed to monitor things..Long time Hip Hop journalist
and community activist JR who was taking pictures and covering the march for the SF Bayview newspaper noted the irony of getting a permit to walk down the street and let your voices be heard. Its not like these groups were rioting, looting causing trouble or even holding up traffic. They simply assembled which is their right and let their voices be heard... As the demonstration started to grow in size the motorcycle police moved in and attempted to use crowd control tactics and split up the group. According to several witness, young high school kids suddenly found themselves being shoved and hit by officers on the motorcycles in the process. This activity set things off as folks began to yell at the officers. One young lady was pushed down on the ground by one officer which prompted demonstrators to yell even more.
A young Hip Hop writer named Rashida ran to the aid of that fallen woman only to be confronted by another
officer who tackled her to the ground and chipped her tooth. JR who was traveling with Rashida stepped forth
to see what was going on. He wanted to make sure that what he was seeing would be documented on film. He was carrying a camera. He suddenly found his camera being snatched from him and he himself being slammed to the ground with an officer putting his knee on his neck.. These harrowing images were caught on film by others and JR was shown on the evening news being dragged to the ground and arrested. Both he and Rashida were arrested and accused of kicking a police officer. For those who don't know JR is around 5"4" and skinny and would hardly be one to simply run up and start attacking an officer.
He phoned into our Hard Knock Radio show from city jail and emphatically explained that many people were in fear of their lives when the officers started becoming aggressive. He pointed out that kids were being run over and shoved by the motorcycles and the police seemed bent on intimidating people. He also noted that most of the participants were not out in the streets attempted to get arrested and do some sort of civil disobedience. In fact it had been advised to a lot of the mostly Black and Latino crowd to not go out and try
and get some sort of police record. That can only have negative effects in the age of Homeland Security and
the Patriot Act. He also felt that their were enough Black folks caught up in the system and we don't need
JR who has been covering a lot of stories around the activities of Fred Hampton Jr including the recent
assassination attempts as well as a number of police brutality stories was well aware of how things can be
for young cats from the hood to be caught up in the system. However, he noted that it was extremely
important that folks come out and be a part of the national Anti-war Demonstrations. As he pointed out,
should war break out its going to be a whole lot of folks from the hood who will be on the front line due
to our large numbers in the armed forces. Hence we have a vested interest to weigh in.
JR also felt that the police were definitely trying to send a strong message to Oakland youth with their aggressive tactics. It appears that they were attempting to discourage them not to participate and let their voices be heard. In fact as he was being driven to the police station, JR noted that one of the officers callously remarked that he should've 'used their gun'... I guess you can't get any clearer with that message.
If you contrast what went down in Oakland at 1 o'clock in the afternoon with the anti-war demonstrations that
took place in SF during rush hour you will see the picture..In the SF demonstration a contingent of mostly white youth took their antiwar protest to the streets and blocked a main intersection causing traffic to back up. Police on motorcycles did not roll through and brutalize the demonstrators. Perhaps that has to do with the fact that SFPD has been under fire over the past week.. But so has Oakland with the infamous Rider case on trial. We will keep you posted on the outcome.
As of last night lawyers from the Lawyers Guild who are now looking into the case reported that JR and Rashida were not allowed out on their own recognizance and will most likely have to post bail. On the radio show JR asked that fellow journalist and news outlets monitor this story closely and spread the word. Because JR has boldly and extensively covered a lot of police brutality cases there was concern that he may have been
targeted. He also asked that everyone else raise questions to Mayor Jerry Brown and other city officials to see why this went down...How does a peaceful anti-war demonstration involving young people who are often
accused of being apathetic and apolitical result in three arrests, a young woman getting her tooth chipped and someone's camera being trashed? Call the SF Bayview at 415-671-0449 for more info or drop them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org The Oakland Mayor's office is 510-238-3141...
To see some of the recent stories that Rashida and JR have recently covered peep out these
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CHICKENHAWKS FIRE IRAQI PAL
Why Defense hawks cut Chalabi
By Martin Sieff
Washington -- Ahmed Chalabi, head of the Iraqi National Congress is no longer welcome among his former friends in the Pentagon.
True believers in the controversial Iraqi opposition leader have been filling the Internet and sympathetic media pulpits with their outrage about how he and, supposedly Iraqi democracy have been stabbed in the back by the very Pentagon civilian planners in the Office of the Secretary of Defense who for years have been his staunchest supporters.
For in recent weeks, the Department of Defense civilian super-hawks who have eagerly advocated and new plan to prosecute the looming war with Iraq have unveiled an entirely new and far more limited and repressive
conception of Iraq's immediate political future once President Saddam Hussein---as they still assume---has
been toppled, exiled or killed.
Iraq is to be effectively directly ruled for at least a year or two by a U.S. general overseeing reconstruction after the devastation caused by the war, according to widespread, well-sourced reports. These accounts have
outraged longtime Chalabi supporters both idealistic and naive who believe their hero has been the victim of
a cynical sell-out. ##
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Prosecutors See Limits to Doubt in Capital Cases
By Adam Liptak - New York Times - Feb. 24, 2003
Judge Laura Denvir Stith seemed not to believe what she was hearing.
A prosecutor was trying to block a death row inmate from having his conviction reopened on the basis of new evidence, and Judge Stith of the Missouri Supreme Court, was getting exasperated.
"Are you suggesting," she asked the prosecutor, that "even if we
find Mr.Amrine is actually innocent, he should be executed?"
Frank A. Jung, an assistant state attorney general, replied, "That's correct, your honor."
That exchange was, legal experts say, unusual only for its frankness.
After a trial and appeal, many prosecutors say, new evidence of claimed innocence should generally not be considered by the courts.
While death row inmates have always peppered the courts with legal filings, the recent wave of death row exonerations, based on DNA and other evidence, has inspired more defense lawyers and academics to seek to reopen death penalty cases in a sustained and vigorous way.
Courts are beginning to express concern that they may be parties to the occasional miscarriage of justice. Gov. George Ryan's commutations of the death sentences of all 164 prisoners on death row in Illinois focused public attention on the issues of wrongful convictions and flaws in the capital justice system.
Jeremiah W. Nixon, Missouri's attorney general, said Mr. Jung's response to Judge Stith was a legally correct answer to an inflammatory hypothetical question. The point Mr. Jung was trying to make, he said, is that there must come a time when cases can be closed.
"Is the state required to prove every day that someone committed an offense beyond a reasonable doubt?" Mr. Nixon asked. ##
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