Archive | June 21st, 2013

The truth about Ahmadinejad

Tehran – Outgoing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been treated like a pariah by the West, but is he a genuinely bad guy, or simply misunderstood?

In March 2007, 15 Royal Navy personnel strayed into Iranian waters where their boat, HMS Cardiff, was seized by the Iranian Navy. On April 4, they were released by order of then President Ahmadinejad, as “a gift” to the British people.This was clearly an olive branch; at that time, relations between Iran and the West generally were cool, to put it mildly.

Contrast this noble behaviour by our “enemy” with the calculated act of mass murder perpetrated by the Israeli Government – a “friendly” nation – in the Flotilla Massacre three and a half years later.

A close examination of Iranian foreign policy during the tenure of President Ahmadinejad shows no belligerence towards the West, although it does show a consistent pattern of fabrication by his and Iran’s enemies, the crowning lie of which was his claim that Iran would “wipe Israel off the map”.

A number of sovereign nations have developed nuclear weapons, including rising super-power China, belligerents India and Pakistan, Israel, and most of all the United States, the only country that has ever used them in anger. If America can have “the bomb”, surely any nation can. Not Iran, apparently. In fact, Iran is not to be permitted to develop anything in the nuclear field.

Facing this mindset, and at times veiled and not so veiled threats to strike at his country, Ahmadinejad kept his cool. On accepting an invitation to speak at Columbia University, he was treated like a pariah instead of being afforded the courtesy an ordinary foreigner should have received. At times the denunciation of the then President and his country has been hysterical.

Many Westerners, especially our self-styled elites, don’t like the way Iran conducts its business at home much less abroad, but what business is Iran’s domestic policy of the USA, Britain or anyone else?

Iran is an Islamic Republic, so alcohol is banned. Is that any business of ours? Moslems have a different mentality; there are no drunk drivers on their roads. Earlier this month, the BBC broadcast a documentary which related, inter alia, how a young woman in Manchester had got so drunk that she was raped by not one but two strangers in an alleyway. She had no recollection of one of these assaults, she was so far gone. In Iran this wouldn’t have happened because a) women don’t get drunk, at least not in public, and b) because aggravated rape, when proven, attracts an exemplary sentence which can include whipping or even execution.

The Iranian penal system has been much criticised, but it is not Iran that has locked up men unconvicted indeed uncharged for a decade and more. It is not Iran that uses extraordinary rendition. It is not Iran that is currently at the centre of a storm over warrantless searches and spying on a colossal scale, it is us. What right has the West to attempt to impose its brand of democracy, its brand of freedom on a nation of over 70 million people?

The real crime of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is that rather than being a Western lapdog he stood up for his country and acted in what he believed was the best interests of Iranians. Whatever he does now he has left office, and whatever scorn and vitriol is poured on him today, he will be judged more kindly by history than many of his contemporaries, including without doubt Tony Blair, George W. Bush and the still in office Binyamin Netanyahu.

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Syria Is Becoming Obama’s Iraq


By Shamus Cooke

In perfect Bush-like fashion, President Obama has invented a bogus pretense for military intervention in yet another Middle East country. The president’s claim that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons — and thus crossed Obama’s imaginary “red line” — will likely fool very few Americans, who already distrust their president after the massive NSA spying scandal.

Obama has officially started down a path that inevitably leads to full-scale war. At this point the Obama administration thinks it has already invested too much military, financial, and diplomatic capital into the Syrian conflict to turn back, and each step forward brings the U.S. closer to a direct military intervention.

Much like Obama’s spying program, few Americans knew that the United States was already involved, neck deep, with the mass killings occurring in Syria. For example, Obama has been directly arming the Syrian rebels for well over a year. The New York Times broke the story that the Obama administration has — through the CIA — been illegally trafficking thousands of tons of guns to the rebels from the dictatorships of Saudi Arabia and Qatar. If not for these Obama-trafficked guns, thousands of deaths would have been prevented and the Syrian conflict over.

But even after the gun trafficking story broke, the mainstream media largely ignored it, and continued “reporting” that the U.S. has only been supplying the Syrian rebels with “non-lethal aid,” a meaningless term in a war setting, since all military aid directly assists in the business of killing.

The U.S. media also buried the truth behind the ridiculous chemical weapons claims by the Obama administration, which, like Bush’s WMDs, are based on absolutely no evidence. Having learned nothing from Iraq, the U.S. media again shamelessly regurgitates the “facts” as spoon-fed to them by the government, no questions asked. In reality, however, a number of independent chemical weapons experts have publicly spoken out against Obama’s accusations.

The U.S. media also refuses to ask: on what authority does the United States have to determine the usage of chemical weapons in other countries? This is the job of the UN. What has the UN said on the matter?

Top UN rights investigator Carla del Ponte said:

“According to the testimonies we have gathered, the [Syrian] rebels have used chemical weapons, making use of sarin gas.”

Again, the “rebels” have used chemical weapons, not the Syrian government, according to the UN representative. Many analysts have pointed out the obvious fact that the Syrian government would have zero military or political motive to use chemical weapons, especially when they have access to much more effective conventional weapons. Obama’s Bush-like lies are too familiar to the American public, who overwhelmingly do not support military intervention in Syria, or giving direct military aide to the Syrian rebels.

What has the UN said on giving military aid to the rebels?

UN chief Ban Ki-moon has called the Obama’s decision “a bad idea” and “not helpful.” This is because pouring arms into any country where there is a conflict only increases the bloodshed and risks turning the conflict into a broader catastrophe.

But like Bush, Obama is ignoring the UN, and there’s a logic to his madness. Obama has invested too much of his foreign policy credibility in Syria. His administration has been the backbone of the Syrian rebels from the beginning, having handpicked a group of rich Syrian exiles and molded them into Obama’s “officially recognized” government of Syria, while pressuring other nations to also recognize these nobodies as the “legitimate Syrian government.” Assad’s iron grip on power is a humiliation to these diplomatic efforts of Obama, and has thus weakened the prestige and power of U.S. foreign policy abroad.

More importantly, Obama’s anti-Syria diplomacy required that diplomatic relations between Syria and its neighbors — like Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey — be destroyed. These nations have peacefully co-existed for decades with Syria, but have now agreed — under immense U.S. pressure — to sever diplomatic relations while helping destroy the Syrian government by funneling guns and foreign fighters into the country, further destabilizing a region not yet recovered from the Iraq war. Obama’s Syria policy has turned an already-fragile region into a smoldering tinderbox.

If Obama were to suddenly tell his anti-Syria coalition that he’s realized his efforts at regime change have failed and that he would instead pursue a peaceful solution, his allies and Middle East lackeys would be less willing in the future to prostitute themselves for the foreign policy of the United States; and the U.S. would thus find it more difficult in the future to pursue “regime change” politics abroad. If Obama doesn’t back up his “Assad must go” demand, the U.S. will be unable to make such threats in the future; and U.S. foreign policy is heavily dependent on this type of political bullying.

Furthermore, Obama’s anti-Syria puppet coalition is taking tremendous political risks when it shamelessly follows in Obama’s footsteps, since the U.S. is terribly unpopular throughout the Arab world. This unpopularity is further proof that the “official” Syrian opposition that is asking for U.S. intervention has zero credibility in Syria, since very few Syrians would like to invite the U.S. military to “liberate” their country, especially after the “successful” liberations of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya.

Obama, too, is worried about domestic politics in his own country over Syria. He knows that Americans are sick of Middle East wars, while the American public is also worried that arming the Syrian rebels would mean giving guns to the very same people that America is supposedly fighting a “war on terror” against.

In response to this concern Obama has said that the U.S. will only give arms to “moderate” rebels. A European Union diplomat mockingly responded:

“It would be the first conflict where we pretend we could create peace by delivering arms… If you pretend to know where the weapons will end up, then it would be the first war in history where this is possible. We have seen it in Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq. Weapons don’t disappear; they pop up where they are needed.”

In Syria U.S. weapons will thus end up in the hands of the extremists doing the majority of the fighting. These are the people who will be in power if Syria’s government falls, unless a full U.S. invasion and Iraq-style occupation occurs. It’s difficult to decide which outcome would be worse for the Syrian people.

It’s now obvious that President Obama is escalating the Syrian conflict because his prized rebels have been beaten on the battlefield. Obama has thus chosen the military tactic of brinksmanship, a risky strategy that involves intentionally escalating a conflict in the hopes that either your opponent gives in to your demands (regime change), or your opponent gives you an excuse to invade.

Here’s how former U.S. General Wesley Clark explains Obama’s brinkmanship tactic in a New York Times op-ed, which is worth quoting at length:

“President Obama’s decision to supply small arms and ammunition to the rebels is a step, possibly just the first,toward direct American intervention. It raises risks for all parties, and especially for Mr. Assad, who knows that he cannot prevail, even with Russian and Iranian military aid, if the United States becomes fully engaged. We used a similar strategy against the Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic in Kosovo in 1999, where I commanded American forces, and showed that NATO had the resolve to escalate.

“The risk of going beyond lethal aid to establishing a no-fly zone to keep Mr. Assad’s planes grounded or safe zones to protect refugees — options under consideration in Washington — is that we would find it hard to pull back if our side began losing. Given the rebels’ major recent setbacks, can we rule out using air power or sending in ground troops?

“Yet the sum total of risks — higher oil prices, a widening war — also provide Syria (and its patrons, Iran and Russia) a motive to negotiate.” [emphasis added]

Clark’s innocent sounding “no-fly zone” is in fact a clever euphemism for all-out war, since no-fly zones require you destroy the enemy’s air force, surface to air missiles, and other infrastructure.

In Libya Obama swiftly turned a no-fly zone into a full-scale invasion and regime change, in violation of international law. A no-fly zone in Syria would also immediately turn into an invasion and “regime change,” with the possibility that the U.S. or Israel would exploit the “fog of war” to attack Iran.

All of this madness could be stopped immediately if Obama publicly announced that the Syrian rebels have lost the war — since they have — and will be cut off politically, financially, and militarily by the U.S. if they do not immediately proceed to negotiations with the Syrian government. But this peaceful approach will instead be ignored in favor of untold thousands more dead, millions more made refugees, and a broader regional fracturing of Middle East civilization.

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Putin Foils IsraHell/American Zionist Jews In Syria

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Wake Up America June 21, 2013

by crescentandcross


Download Here


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Obama’s Jewish War On Syria

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By Sajjad Shaukat

June 15 was the blackest day in the history of Pakistan as militants carried out the most dastardly terror-attack on Quaid-e-Azam residency in Ziarat, Balochistan. They damaged the entire structure of the residence, and replaced Pakistan’s flag with that of Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA). Quaid’s residency was a symbol of the state; therefore the attack which suddenly shocked the entire nation has been taken as an attack on Pakistan. Next day, in Quetta, these ruthless terrorists targeted a bus of the Sardar Bahadar Women’s University and Bolan Medical Complex, killing over two dozen students, nurses and deputy commissioner including security personnel who controlled the situation after gun battle with the insurgents.

Separatist outfit, BLA and the extremist sectarian group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) felt pride in claiming responsibility for these brutal acts.

The fact of the matter is that like the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the foreign-backed separatist groups such as BLA, Baloch Liberation Front (BLF) and Baloch Republican Party (BRA) had accelerated their terror-activities by targeting the leaders, offices of Balochistan National Party (BNP) and the National Party (NP) including independent candidates to sabotage the elections 2013. But, despite their boycott-call, BNP and NP including several independent candidates and Baloch nationalists participated in the polls in wake of threats and violent assaults on the polling stations.

The aim of latest bombings especially by the BLA were to give a message to the new Balochistan government led by the nationalist and moderate Baloch Chief Minister Abdul Malik that their insurgents would fail his elected regime in the province, while the latter wants to address the Baloch discontent within the federation of Pakistan.

In fact, based in Afghanistan, secret agencies like American CIA, Indian RAW and Israeli Mossad which have already been arranging terror-assaults on various places of Pakistan, security forces, sectarian violence etc. through TTP, BLA and other similar militant groups, intend to create instability in Pakistan so as to complete the secret strategic designs of their countries. Particularly, RAW has hired the services of Indian Muslims who have well-penetrated in BLA, TTP, Jundollah, (God’s soldiers) and LeJ  which have been conducting subversive acts in various regions of the country.

Pakistan’s civil and military leadership has repeatedly disclosed that militants along with huge cache of arms are being sent to Pakistan, especially in Balochistan from Afghanistan.

In this regard, the main purpose of India, US and Israel is to internationalise the Balochistan issue in accordance with their covert agenda. In this respect, in connivance with the Baloch separatist leaders who have taken refuge in Swizerland, Sweden, US, London and some other western countries, these external elements use media, various NGOs and human rights organisations for false propaganda against Pak Army and country’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) including Frontier Corps (FC) in relation to extrajudicial killings, mutilated bodies and the missing persons.

The reality behind human rights violations, the missing persons and aggravated law and order situation of Balochistan is that militant groups like BLA, BLF, BRA and Jundollah which have been fighting for secession of Balochistan gets arms and ammunition from CIA and RAW. Their militants kidnapped and massacred many innocent people who include teachers, professors, lawyers, Shias and the security personnel in the province. Many persons in Balochistan have also been killed in suicide attacks and bomb blasts, planted by these foreign-backed outfits. On a number of occasions, these insurgents groups claimed responsibility for their criminal activities. In the past few years, they kidnapped and killed many Chinese and Iranian nationals in Pakistan. Besides targeting Punjabis and other ethnic minorities in the province, they also arranged subversive acts in the Iranian Sistan-Baluchistan. In this context, Tehran had directly named CIA for funding of terrorist attacks.

A majority of the disappeared individuals are also in the detention centres (Farrari Camps) which are being run by Baloch feudal lords (Sardars). With the assistance of US-led India and Israel, these Sardars are fighting for their so-called prestige, status and influence, and want to continue old system of feudalism in the province.

Especially, on July 23, 2008, Brahmdagh Bugti had told the BBC that they had the right to accept foreign aid and arms from anywhere including India.

In case of Balochistan, Pakistan’s law-enforcing and intelligence agencies have thwarted many terror attempts of the militants, while several personnel of the security forces have sacrificed their lives for improving situation in the province. But, while speaking in the tone of foreign enemies, some anti-Pakistan prominent personalities and media anchors have been maligning FC, Military Intelligence (MI) and ISI for aggravated circumstances of Balochistan, and the missing persons.

While ignoring the ground realities, in a programme, “Apas Ki Baat” (Mutual talks), a famous media anchor of a renowned TV channel left no stone unturned in maligning ISI and security forces for the high-profile terrorist acts of June 15 and 16 which took place in Balochistan. By concealing reality, he said that the events were a reaction to the missing persons and mutilated bodies in the province. Thus, he is protecting the interests of RAW and CIA.

Notably, a ceremony was held in Dhaka on March 24, 2013 to honour ‘Foreign Friends of Bangladesh Award’ in relation to the crisis which led to the separation of East Pakistan. The recipients of awards from Pakistan were mainly those personalities whose deceased fathers had opposed army action in the East Pakistan and had totally ignored the Indian supported secessionist movement led by Mukti Bahini. Besides other personalities, director of human rights commission of Pakistan, a prominent human rights activist (Pro-American lady) and the same media anchor of a top media group also received the award because of their anti-Pakistan propaganda.

While expressing their misperceptions about Pak Army, they indicated, “The Pakistan government should formally apologise to the people of Bangladesh for the atrocities committed by Pakistan occupation army during the War of Independence in 1971.”

In this context, a book titled, “Sheikh Mujibur Rahman: The Unfinished Memoirs” as autobiography of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman has been released in the recent past. While speaking in line of the book, that particular media anchor reproduced its contents in his article, “Mujib’s Memoirs,” published in daily, ‘The News’ on November 24, 2012. He wrote, “One-sided history books tell us that Mujib was a traitor who broke up Pakistan…in fact, the political intrigues and blunders of military dictators broke up Pakistan…Bengalis were massacred and their women were raped.” He added, “It is time now to apologise officially to the people of Bangladesh.”

As regards the debacle of Dhaka, a well-known Bengali journalist Sarmila Bose authored a book, “Dead Reckoning: Memories of the 1971 Bangladesh War” after thorough investigation. Her book was published in 2011. While countering exaggeration of the Indian and Bengali Journalists, Bose argues that the number of Bengalis killed in 1971 was not three million, but around 50,000 while Bengalis were equally involved in the bloodshed of non-Bengalis.

Nevertheless, these prominent figures of Pakistan who deliberately ignore the facts must know that before the 1971 war, Mujibur Rahman had announced a separate national flag for East Pakistan in his six points which also included that currency of East Pakistan should be different along with a separate military. The famous slogan, during his addresses and rallies was, “Punjabi dogs go back.” It was due to Mujib’s instigation that besides Punjabis, Bengalis had also tortured and killed Biharis, Pashtoons and Balochis, while their women were raped. And Majib was already in connivance with India for separation of East Pakistan. Therefore, when East Pakistan was occupied by Indian Army in 1971, he stated with pleasure that his 24 years old dream of an independent Bangladesh had been fulfilled.

Now, our country is facing multi-faceted crises which demand selfless unity among security agencies, politicians and media. But, these famous personalities, so-called human rights organisations including that particular renowned media anchor keep on targeting country’s key security institutions by manipulating every terror-incident or negative development. No doubt, these entities are on the payroll of external enemies. Nonetheless, like “Nange Watan,” these personalities are Mir Jafar and Mir Sadiq of the 21st century. So, every patriot Pakistani must know that traitors are present within Pakistan.

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations

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Root Causes of the Detroit Municipal Crisis, Austerity and Finance Fraud. Moratorium NOW!: The Struggle Continues

Global Research


Orr plan fails to address roots of municipal crisis, finance capital

Note: The following remarks were delivered at a public meeting in Detroit on June 15, 2013. The event was sponsored by Workers World Party Detroit branch.

Over the last week the struggle has escalated for the Moratorium NOW! Coalition. Moreover, since the May 4 public meeting at Central United Methodist Church downtown more people have been involved in the movement to stave off the greater imposition of austerity in Detroit.

On May 4 the Moratorium NOW! Coalition program was laid out calling for a halt to debt service payments to the banks and its relationship to the housing crisis. Both the demand for a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions is directly linked to the problems of municipal finance. With the flight of jobs and home seizures the city has been devastated through the lack of tax revenue.

One of the most significant developments took place yesterday (June 14) after an eight-day intense escalation of activity surrounding the holding of a purported “public” meeting by the emergency manager at the “no show” fiasco at Greater Grace Temple and Martin Luther King High School to the actual appearance of Orr on Monday, June 10 at the Wayne State University Law School. Yesterday (June 14) Orr floated his plan for the restructuring of city finances.

What jumped right out was the declaration of a moratorium on $2.5 billion in both debt-service and principal amounts of the municipal debt. The first sign of this was the withholding of $39.7 million in debt payments due on June 14. This moratorium has been called for by the Moratorium NOW! Coalition for at least two years.

The demand has been picked-up by various leaders and organizations throughout the city. Yet the political officials and union leadership have refrained from giving more than lip service for the demand.

Yet it is this demand and programmatic approach for its propagation that has sustained us over the last several months. Although we uphold the demand for democratic rights of the workers and oppressed and the inherent right to self-determination for the nationally oppressed, we have often stated that prior to the passage of the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and a series of Civil Rights Bills extending from 1866 to 1968, slavery, which was legal inside the U.S., is above-all an economic system.

Capitalism today is an economic system that has run its course in its capacity to adapt to the current realities and necessities for domestic and global conditions. Capitalism in the 21st century cannot provide full-employment, a guaranteed annual income, quality education for all, public services, adequate healthcare, public transportation, food and security to all working people within society.

The history of the Moratorium struggle has taught us many lessons in regard to the degree of heightened consciousness and willingness to take bold actions in addressing the imperatives of the challenges today.

Task of the Mass Work Going Forward

Even though Orr declared a moratorium on some of the city’s illegitimate debt to the financial institutions, he also announced a series of measures that will worsen the conditions for working people. There will be a privatization of trash collection that will impact jobs.

Other aspects of Orr’s plan, a 127-page document issued on June 14, include the privatization as well of the city operations of the water and sewage system, cuts in healthcare benefits for municipal employees and retirees, in addition to the possible lowering of pension payments. Leading up to the June 14 meeting with creditors at the Westin Hotel in the Wayne County Airport’s main terminal, both Standard & Poor and Moody’s performed a super-downgrade of Detroit’s bond rating.

In a follow-up meeting this coming week labor unions will be told of their possible fate in regard to further pay and benefit cuts as well as lay-offs. The plan has been met with criticism by AFSCME leaders but what is required now is a militant program of action and the political will to challenge the banks and their representatives through the personage of Rick Snyder and Kevyn Orr.

The Moratorium NOW! Coalition has been willing and prepared to raise the question of the role of the banks and to take the struggle to the enemy, i.e., international finance capital. Our focus must remain on the banks and the further draconian concessions being forced on the workers and the residents who live in the city.

We are more than willing to back up the municipal workers in any effort to wage a campaign against the proposed restructuring in city operations at the expense of the people. The bankruptcy proceedings in Jefferson County, Alabama, Stockton and San Bernardino, California are being observed intensely by activists in Detroit in order to anticipate possible legal and political initiatives by the banks and their surrogates in government.

We began the moratorium struggle in the ongoing work related to housing. Despite the fact that foreclosures have declined some there has been a sharp rise in home seizures over the last month. Bloomberg Municipal Market reported on June 14 that “Home repossessions in the U.S. jumped 11 percent in May after declining for the previous five months as rising prices and limited inventory for sale across the country spurred banks to complete foreclosures.”

Municipal Market reports also that “Thirty-three states had increases in the number of homes repossessed, RealtyTrac says. A total of 148,054 foreclosure filings, including default, auction and repression notices were sent to U.S. properties last month, an increase of 2 percent from April and down 28 percent from a year earlier…. One in 885 U.S. households got a filing.”

This same article reports “Florida had the highest rate of filing per household in May at one in 302, followed by Nevada, at one in 305 and Ohio at one in 584. Maryland ranked fourth at one in 587; South Carolina was fifth at one in 600.”

Consequently, the transitional demands related to the moratorium are still valid related to the banks, jobs, plant closings and housing. We must of course deepen our mass work to address these realities.

Last weekend at the Left Forum, this writer spoke to the relationship between “Ideology, Organization and the Mass Struggle.” Our struggle is against capital and the capitalist state and our tactics must reflect this. We must be able to swim in a large pond. We can work in a united front and still maintain our political and ideological independence.

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Dublin North Rep. Clare Daly: Obama is a ‘War Criminal’


The intentions of US president Barrack Obama and the First Lady were recently questioned by a concerned representative of Ireland.

MONEYGALL, IRELAND - Barrack & Michelle Obama. (Photo by Irish Government - Pool/Getty Images)

MONEYGALL, IRELAND – Barrack & Michelle Obama. (Photo by Irish Government – Pool/Getty Images).

Clare Daly TD Ind., Dublin North, thought it was important to take her speaking opportunity to point out how Ireland’s government officials have been slobbering over Michelle and Barrack Obama’s recent visit to Ireland.

“Is this person going for the hypocrite of the century award? We have to call things by their right names…. this man is a war criminal”, Daly states aloud, referring to US president Obama. Daly goes on to talk about how many people have been killed by Obama’s drone programs.

Daly was countered by Enda Kenny, TD FG, An Taoiseach, saying, “I think your comments are disgraceful” calling the recent visit a fragile peace process.

“Let me remind you that the communities in Ireland…. have put together a very fragile peace”, Kenny said.


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Support Mumia Abu-Jamal at his resentencing appeal


Free Mumia!

Superior Court of Pennsylvania
530 Walnut Street, Philadelphia PA

The ANSWER Coalition encourages our supporters to attend this important demonstration to support Mumia Abu-Jamal as he faces yet another battle in court. Mumia is a journalist and dedicated fighter for social change who was framed for murder in 1981 and railroaded to death row by the racist court system. He is one of the most prominent political prisoners in the world. Below is a press release issued by leaders of the fight to free Mumia outlining this action and recent developments in his case.


On Tuesday, June 25, 2013 at 11:30AM supporters of Mumia Abu-Jamal will gather outside the Superior Court of Pennsylvania, 530 Walnut Street (17th Floor), Philadelphia, to call for the release of the world renowned imprisoned journalist.

At 1:15PM that day, the Court will hear oral arguments on an appeal filed by Abu-Jamal challenging his resentencing from death to life in prison without parole. At issue is a motion filed by the President of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, Judge Pamela Dembe, that failed to notify the defendant or his attorneys of his resentencing. In so doing, Judge Dembe violated Abu-Jamal’s rights to notice of sentencing, to be present and make a statement, and to be apprised of his right to appeal the sentence. These rights are guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and by the laws of the state of Pennsylvania. Had Abu-Jamal not discovered and filed a timely appeal to Judge Dembe’s motion, his right to file future appeals would have been irreparably compromised.

The unconstitutionality of Judge Dembe’s undisclosed filing echoes the history of due process violations in the Abu-Jamal case, which spans more than three decades. In the original trial the judge, prosecutor, and police conspired to suppress evidence of innocence and to obtain a conviction. The prosecution’s case was built on the specious premise that only three people were present at the time of the shooting, but a fourth person – the probable perpetrator – was seen fleeing the scene after Officer Daniel Faulkner was fatally shot. The police, prosecutor Joe McGill, and presiding judge Albert Sabo suppressed this from both the defense and jury. In addition, the bullet that killed Officer Faulkner was never matched to Abu-Jamal’s gun, and police failed to perform routine tests on Abu-Jamal’s hands, which would have determined that he had not shot a gun that night.

Judicial bias, impropriety and contempt for the defendant also figure prominently in this history. At the original trial, Judge Sabo twice refused to recuse himself: when his impartiality as a former Under Sheriff of Philadelphia County was questioned; and again,  when he came out of retirement to hear Mumia’s 1995 Post Conviction Relief Act Hearing—the most important appeals hearing in the case–on the judicial and prosecutorial violations of the very case over which he presided 15 years earlier.

Similarly, in 1998, Judge Ron Castille of the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court was asked to recuse himself from the case; in his previous role as Philadelphia DA he presided over numerous challenges to Abu-Jamal’s appeals, including the claim of racial discrimination in jury selection. Castille’s unethical conduct was later exposed because his name and the seal of his office were stamped on the so-called McMahon tapes, discovered in 1997. The tapes were instructional lectures to new prosecutors on how to eliminate jurors unlikely to convict. In violation of Batson v. Kentucky, some instructions suggested elimination on the basis of race, one of Abu-Jamal’s strongest claims for a new trial. Abu-Jamal’s attorneys called for Judge Castille’s recusal in hearing Abu-Jamal’s appeal and petition for a new trial because the judge had received financial contributions and support from the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP). In a written defense refusing to do so, he explained that four other judges out of the seven-judge panel received FOP funding.

In 2008, acknowledging the unequal application of the law in the case of Abu-Jamal, Judge Thomas Ambro of the Third Circuit Court wrote that the decision to deny Abu-Jamal the so-called Batson claim of discrimination in jury selection “goes against the grain of our prior actions.” In previous cases with exactly the same claims, the court had granted new trial relief to the defendants, but this time it ruled against Mumia in a two to one decision that overturned the court’s own precedents.

In 2011, Abu-Jamal’s death sentence was confirmed unconstitutional when a Supreme Court motion allowed to stand the past rulings of four federal judges who had as early as 2001 set aside the death penalty in this case. In late 2011, Archbishop Desmond Tutu called for Abu-Jamal’s release — “Now that it is clear that Mumia should never have been on death row in the first place, justice will not be served by relegating him to prison for the rest of his life….Based on even a minimal following of international human rights standards, Mumia must now be released….District Attorney Seth Williams [should] rise to the challenge of reconciliation, human rights, and justice: drop this case now, and allow Mumia Abu-Jamal to be immediately released.”

Because for more than 28 years Abu-Jamal was wrongly subjected to inhumane conditions on death row, because he is innocent, because he has been consistently denied his Fifth Amendment right to a fair trial, and because of the uninterrupted history of judicial and prosecutorial corruption and police conspiracy in this case, his supporters call for Mumia Abu-Jamal’s immediate release.

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