‘JE NE SUIS PAS CHARLIE’ — FREE SPEECH HAS LIMITS: NO RACISM, SEXISM, IMPERIALIST WARS

Je Suis Charlie poster and statue

Je Suis Charlie poster in Paris; the so-called “free speech” movement has grown into a movement against Muslims and internet freedom as well.

As a Muslim I’m fed up with the hypocrisy of the free speech fundamentalists [1]

 New Statesman logoThe response to the inexcusable murder of Charlie Hebdo’s staff has proved that many liberals are guilty of double standards when it comes to giving offence. 

Mehdi Hasan

By Mehdi Hasan [2]

Published 13 January, 2015  

Dear liberal pundit,

You and I didn’t like George W Bush. Remember his puerile declaration after 9/11 that “either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists”? Yet now, in the wake of another horrific terrorist attack, you appear to have updated Dubbya’s slogan: either you are with free speech . . . or you are against it. Either vous êtes Charlie Hebdo . . . or you’re a freedom-hating fanatic.

I’m writing to you to make a simple request: please stop. You think you’re defying the terrorists when, in reality, you’re playing into their bloodstained hands by dividing and demonising. Us and them. The enlightened and liberal west v the backward, barbaric Muslims. The massacre in Paris on 7 January was, you keep telling us, an attack on free speech. The conservative former French president Nicolas Sarkozy agrees, calling it “a war declared on civilisation [3]”. So, too, does the liberal-left pin-up Jon Snow, who crassly tweeted [4] about a “clash of civilisations” and referred to “Europe’s belief in freedom of expression”.

Foreign heads of state, many of whom participated in the "shock and awe" destructions of Iraq and Libya, two of the most progressive regimes in the Middle East and Africa.

Foreign heads of state lead march in Paris. Many of their countries participated in the “shock and awe” destructions of Iraq and Libya, two of the most progressive regimes in the Middle East and Africa.

In the midst of all the post-Paris grief, hypocrisy and hyperbole abounds. Yes, the attack was an act of unquantifiable evil; an inexcusable and merciless murder of innocents. But was it really a “bid to assassinate [5]” free speech (ITV’s Mark Austin), to “desecrate” our ideas of “free thought” (Stephen Fry [6])? It was a crime – not an act of war – perpetrated by disaffected young men; radicalised not by drawings of the Prophet in Europe in 2006 or 2011, as it turns out, but by images of US torture in Iraq in 2004.

Please get a grip. None of us believes in an untrammelled right to free speech. We all agree there are always going to be lines that, for the purposes of law and order, cannot be crossed; or for the purposes of taste and decency, should not be crossed. We differ only on where those lines should be drawn.

Cherif and Said Kouachi. CNN reported that a former teacher said, "They were a bit weak really, and they ended up with these Muslim fundamentalists. They didn't have the intellect to resist." Most Muslims in Paris did not participate in the Charlie rallies.

Cherif and Said Kouachi, killed by police. CNN reported that a former teacher said, “They were a bit weak really, and they ended up with these Muslim fundamentalists. They didn’t have the intellect to resist.” Most Muslims in Paris did not participate in the Charlie rallies.

Has your publication, for example, run cartoons mocking the Holocaust? No? How about caricatures of the 9/11 victims falling from the twin towers? I didn’t think so (and I am glad it hasn’t). Consider also the “thought experiment” offered by the Oxford philosopher Brian Klug [7]. Imagine, he writes, if a man had joined the “unity rally” in Paris on 11 January “wearing a badge that said ‘Je suis Chérif’” – the first name of one of the Charlie Hebdo gunmen. Suppose, Klug adds, he carried a placard with a cartoon mocking the murdered journalists. “How would the crowd have reacted? . . . Would they have seen this lone individual as a hero, standing up for liberty and freedom of speech? Or would they have been profoundly offended?” Do you disagree with Klug’s conclusion that the man “would have been lucky to get away with his life”?

Let’s be clear: I agree there is no justification whatsoever for gunning down journalists or cartoonists. I disagree with your seeming view that the right to offend comes with no corresponding responsibility; and I do not believe that a right to offend automatically translates into a duty to offend.

Charlie Hebdo’s cartoon of Minister Taubira

French Justice Minister Christiane Taubira

French Justice Minister Christiane Taubira condemned racist killings by U.S. police

When you say “Je suis Charlie”, is that an endorsement of Charlie Hebdo’s depiction of the French justice minister, Christiane Taubira [8], who is black, drawn as a monkey? Of crude caricatures of bulbous-nosed Arabs that must make Edward Said turn in his grave?

Lampooning racism by reproducing brazenly racist imagery is a pretty dubious satirical tactic. Also, as the former Charlie Hebdo journalist Olivier Cyran argued in 2013 [9], an “Islamophobic neurosis gradually took over” the magazine after 9/11, which then effectively endorsed attacks on “members of a minority religion with no influence in the corridors of power”.

Muslim police officer Ahmed Merabet, one of Charlie raid victims.

Muslim police officer Ahmed Merabet, one of Charlie raid victims.

It’s for these reasons that I can’t “be”, don’t want to “be”, Charlie – if anything, we should want to be Ahmed, the Muslim policeman who was killed while protecting the magazine’s right to exist. As the novelist Teju Cole has observed, “It is possible to defend the right to obscene . . . speech without promoting or sponsoring the content of that speech.”

And why have you been so silent on the glaring double standards? Did you not know that Charlie Hebdo sacked the veteran French cartoonist Maurice Sinet [10] in 2008 for making an allegedly anti-Semitic remark? Were you not aware that Jyllands-Posten, the Danish newspaper that published caricatures of the Prophet in 2005, reportedly rejected cartoons mocking Christ because they would “provoke an outcry” and proudly declared it would “in no circumstances . . . publish Holocaust cartoons”?

Muslims, I guess, are expected to have thicker skins than their Christian and Jewish brethren. Context matters, too. You ask us to laugh at a cartoon of the Prophet while ignoring the vilification of Islam across the continent (have you visited Germany lately?) and the widespread discrimination against Muslims in education, employment and public life – especially in France. You ask Muslims to denounce a handful of extremists as an existential threat to free speech while turning a blind eye to the much bigger threat to it posed by our elected leaders.

U.S. Pres. Barack Obama with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu.

U.S. Pres. Barack Obama with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu.

Does it not bother you to see Barack Obama – who demanded that Yemen keep the anti-drone journalist Abdulelah Haider Shaye [11] behind bars, after he was convicted on “terrorism-related charges” in a kangaroo court – jump on the free speech ban wagon? Weren’t you sickened to see Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of a country that was responsible for the killing of seven journalists in Gaza in 2014, attend the “unity rally” in Paris? Bibi was joined by Angela Merkel, chancellor of a country where Holocaust denial is punishable by up to five years in prison, and David Cameron, who wants to ban non-violent “extremists” committed to the “overthrow of democracy” from appearing on television.

Then there are your readers. Will you have a word with them, please? According to a 2011 YouGov poll, 82 per cent of voters backed the prosecution of protesters who set fire to poppies.

Apparently, it isn’t just Muslims who get offended.

Yours faithfully,

Mehdi

Mehdi Hasan is a New Statesman contributing writer and the political director of the Huffington Post UK


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DETROIT RETIREES ANNOUNCE FEDERAL APPEAL OF BANKRUPTCY, CALL FOR MASSIVE SUPPORT

Retirees and others pack hall for press conference announcing DAREA appeal of Detroit bankruptcy, held Jan. 8, 2015.

Retirees and others pack hall for press conference announcing DAREA appeal of Detroit bankruptcy, held Jan. 8, 2015.

DAREA coordinates legal appeal to U.S. District Court, intense organizing, fund-raising campaigns 

Bankruptcy called a “terrorist attack,” “racketeering,” aided by the mainstream media

 DAREA members earlier confronted Detroit General Retirement System trustees for agreeing to plan, freezing annuity savings Oct. 29 

By Diane Bukowski 

January 10, 2015 

DAREA President Bill Davis speaks as (l to r) DAREA VP Cecily McClellan, Committee Chair Yvonne Williams-Jones, and Stop the Theft of Our Pensions Committee leader Dave Sole listen, on Jan. 8, 2015.

DAREA President Bill Davis speaks as (l to r) DAREA VP Cecily McClellan, Committee Chair Yvonne Williams-Jones, and Stop the Theft of Our Pensions Committee leader Dave Sole listen, on Jan. 8, 2015.

DETROIT – City retirees, workers and their supporters packed Nandi’s Knowledge Café Jan. 8 to announce their appeal of Detroit’s bankruptcy confirmation, scheduled to be heard by U.S. District Court Judge Bernard Friedman, and to speak with media representatives.

They called the bankruptcy a “terrorist attack on the poor,” termed it nothing but “racketeering,” and said its perpetrators should each get 288 years in prison. They noted that language in the plan says it cannot be appealed, but they have proven that wrong. They vowed to take the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.

The Detroit Active and Retired Employees Association (DAREA), which sponsored the event, has been steadily growing since retirees are now seeing in hard numbers just how much they will lose under the bankruptcy. DAREA leaders said they are determined to collect enough funding to retain attorneys and file a brief by the Jan. 28 deadline, using an online donation site at  http://www.gofundme.com/pensiondefensefund. #sthash.zhqNKVny.dpuf  and through other collections routed to DAREA P.O. Box 3724, Highland Park, MI 48203.

CEO's of global banks testified on their fraudulent practices before the U.S. Senate. They are once again getting away with grand theft in the Detroit bankruptcy,

CEO’s of global banks testified on their fraudulent practices before the U.S. Senate. They are once again getting away with grand theft in the Detroit bankruptcy, grabbing nearly 100 percent of their debt claims while retirees get 13.7 percent.

“If people from the media were to be open and objective,” DAREA president William Davis said, “you would report that Tricky Rick Snyder got a free ride. If Kwame Kilpatrick is serving 28 years in prison, then each of the people involved in this bankruptcy should get 288 years.”

He noted later that he shouldn’t have to choose between paying for his family health care and sending his sons to college.

Tricky Rick Snyder takes over Detroit under unconstitutional, fraudulent bankruptcy.

Tricky Rick Snyder steals Detroit under unconstitutional, fraudulent, racist bankruptcy.

All general system retirees who left in 2003 and afterwards are losing huge chunks of their Annuity Savings Funds, money they paid in themselves apart from pension subsidies. Davis is a Detroit Water and Sewerage Department retiree who spent over 31 years there. He stands to lose $142,000 from his annuities.

He explained, “Those employees who retired beginning in 2003 are mostly Black, hired in under Mayor Coleman Young 30 years ago.”

Yvonne Williams-Jones took apart the media’s continuing claim that retirement system members voted “overwhelmingly” for the plan.

DAREA leader Yvonne Williams-Jones.

DAREA leader Yvonne Williams-Jones.

“Only 6,000 voted to accept in Class II, while 2,700 voted NO,” Williams-Jones said. “Less than 49 percent of the membership voted at all. That small Yes vote was rammed down retirees’ throats through deceit and lies.”

Dave Sole of the Stop the Theft of Our Pensions Committee congratulated DAREA on filing its appeal.

“This is nothing but a vicious terrorist attack against tens of thousands of poor people,” he said. “Kevyn Orr boasted that they carried out this grand theft ‘without a civil uprising.’ Perhaps we could have stopped it the way young people around the country are rising up against killings by police—by shutting down freeways, streets, banks and courts. The banks took almost 100 percent of what they were owed in this deal and walked away. The ‘Grand Bargain’ is only $190 million over 20 years, about the same amount lawyers from Jones Day and other firms pushing the bankruptcy got over 18 months.”

Stop the Theft of Our Pensions leader Dave Sole.

The “Grand Bargain” (a/k/a “Grand Theft)” was negotiated by bankruptcy sponsors with the unions and retirement systems to provide a small amount of funding for pensions. In return, the city got out of paying its share into the system for at least the next 10 years, and thousands of city workers’ jobs are being privatized, further diminishing payments into the retirement systems.

“Other states and cities, and the federal government, are now contemplating bankruptcy,” Sole added. “But we plan to fight. We’re old but we ain’t dead.”

DAREA Vice-President Cecily McClellan blasted the state of Michigan for refusing to contribute what it owes to Detroit.

“The state withheld over $1 billion in revenue-sharing to Detroit,” she said. “It was aided by an unfair and tremendously negative media campaign. In return, it got nearly all the city’s assets, and stole our pensions and health care.”

DAREA VP Cecily McClellan

DAREA VP Cecily McClellan

Later, she said DAREA is actively recruiting attorneys, noting that Pontiac city employees were successful in restoring their health care benefits, even under an emergency manager, after their case was heard at the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. She also noted that both County and State retirees have been successful in having their “13th check,” a bonus drawn from their retirement system’s investments, restored. Detroit retirees lost theirs in 2003.

This reporter, who is also a city retiree and member of DAREA, noted that a Voice of Detroit analysis of the bankruptcy’s 16 claims classes showed that corporations and the banks got 95.9 percent of their original debts, once land and assets ceded to Syncora and FGIC, and the creation of the Great Lakes Water Authority including restoration of $2 billion in impaired DWSD claims were included in the mix. Meanwhile, retirees got 13.7 percent of their claims.

Joe O

WALL STREET JAMS DETROIT: Joe O’Keefe of Fitch Ratings and Stephen Murphy of Standard & Poor’s tell Detroit City Council to pass POC’s or face ratings downgrade, Jan. 31, 2005. They downgraded the city’s ratings anyway in Dec. 2005. Photo: Diane Bukowski

“Syncora and FGIC insured the 2005-06 Pension Obligation Certificates, which even Kevyn Orr said in a lawsuit filed in bankruptcy court, were ‘void ab initio, illegal and unenforceable,’” Bukowski said. “The lawsuit was withdrawn as part of the confirmation. Meanwhile, Mike Illitch’s hockey arena plan is funded 60 percent by public tax dollars, including school aid money, and Dan Gilbert is taking over downtown. This is genocide—all you have to do is look at Campus Martius to see that downtown Detroit is now overrun by whites in an 82 percent Black city.”

Walter Knall, who spent 31 ½ years at the now dismantled Detroit Health Department, said Detroit’s future is bleak despite media reports that the city has been “reborn.”

Detroit Health Dept. retiree Walter Knall

Detroit Health Dept. retiree Walter Knall

“On March 1, foreclosure notices will go out to put another 32,000 people out of their homes,” Knall said. “The banks are not only attacking pensioners, but citizens as well.”

Detroit’s public safety uniformed workers, while not taking pension cuts, have been deprived of their health care, as have all active and retired city workers under the age of 65, who must now apply for Obamacare. Active city employees are also re-applying for their own jobs, from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, handed over to the Great Lakes Water Authority, to finance, purchasing, payroll and other workers at the Coleman A. Young Center.

Tijuana Morris, a retired Detroit police officer, elicited loud applause when she cried out, “We are human beings! I’m going to fight until I can’t fight no more!”

Keith Hines, of Diamond II Productions, said, “Through this bankruptcy, the city qualifies under legal definitions as a syndicate, racketeers subject to the RICO (Racketeer-Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act).”

Detroit city worker, enraged at attack on Black city of Detroit.

Detroit city worker, enraged at attack on Black, poor city of Detroit.

An active worker with the City of Detroit sign shop, was also enraged.

“Show us in writing where a 7.9 percent return on our annuities is illegal,” he said. “That’s OUR money. I got up every day and worked for it. You owe US for everything you took. This is a war against a BLACK city. The whole world is based on the rich and the poor. Meanwhile, while the dope boy makes money, [Detroit’s young people have to get minimum wage jobs.]”

Wanda Hill of the DAREA fund-raising committee, said if 2,000 retirees contribute $200 each, that would total $400,000, enough funds to retain an attorney. She announced that in addition to its GoFundMe campaign, DAREA will sponsor a champagne reception/fundraiser Feb. 19 at the Detroit Repertory Theatre, which is showing the play, “Sweet Pea’s Mama,” a story about racial dignity and a developmentally challenged son. Information on the play is available at the DRT website, http://www.detroitreptheatre.com/.

Numerous new members of the audience signed up to work with DAREA’s fund-raising, legal, communications, and other committees.

DAREA leader Wanda Hill's grandkids talk to Earline Jones after meeting. Both Hill and Jones are former Health Dept. workers.

FIGHT FOR THE NEXT GENERATION: DAREA leader Wanda Hill’s grandkids talk to Earline Jones after meeting. Both Hill and Jones are former Health Dept. workers.

PETITION: Sign the petition to halt changes to pensions and other benefits, to  U.S. Justice Department, at http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/selective-enforcement?source=s.icn.em.mt&r_by=9645222.

FUNDRAISING: To donate to DAREA’s LEGAL DEFENSE FUND, click on  http://www.gofundme.com/pensiondefensefund. Or checks can be made payable to the Detroit Active and Retired Employees Association (DAREA), at P.O. Box 3724, Highland Park, Michigan 48203.

WEEKLY MEETINGS: Mondays, 11 AM, at Nandi’s Knowledge Café, 12511 Woodward, Highland Park, 48203. To receive notices of meetings, updates on the appeal and events information please provide your email address and phone numbers via email at Detroit2700plus@gmail.com or call DAREA at 313-649-7018.

Read DAREA’s position statement at DAREA Call/.

_______________________________________________________________

RETIREES CONFRONT DGRS TRUSTEES

Both Detroit retirement systems approved bankruptcy theft of pensions.

Both Detroit retirement systems approved bankruptcy theft of pensions.

DETROIT — Earlier, on Dec. 22, DAREA members confronted trustees of the Detroit General Retirement System, which along with the Detroit Police and Fire Retirement System, AFSCME Council 25, and other retiree associations sold out their memberships by agreeing to the bankruptcy plan of adjustment, even withdrawing their appeals to the Sixth Circuit Court.

The trustees appeared frightened now that retirees are beginning to see how much they have lost. They focused primarily on making retirees over 60 aware of their options under the plan’s “income stabilization” fund, which is supposed to make small additional payments to them if they fall slightly above or below the poverty line.

Detroit retiree protests at Coleman A. Young Municipal Center.

Detroit retiree protests at Coleman A. Young Municipal Center.

Trustee Felicia Johnson, however, blasted the bankruptcy plan.

“My aunt just called me and said she received a letter indicating she is losing $11,000 under this plan,” Johnson said. “I don’t know how we got to thinking this is the only way of solving Detroit’s problems. Where are the Federal and State governments? We just gave millions to Mike Illitch for his stadium, and we helped bail out the auto industry.  But retirees will end up living at the poverty level. Somebody’s going to jump out a window. Do we have an end in mind for this madness? My dad was one of the first Black bricklayers for the city. We need to go back and re-open this deal!”

Trustee Rev. Wendell Anthony said they could not sue while the bankruptcy was pending, because “it would have stopped the whole process.” The retirement systems and unions all agreed NOT TO APPEAL even after confirmation, or challenge the bankruptcy under the state and federal constitutions despite the fact that Art. 9, Sec. 24 of the State constitution protects public pension benefits. It is in fact enshrined in PA 436, the Emergency Manager Act, which requires EM’s to adhere to its provisions.

DGRS Trustee Rev. Wendell Anthony

DGRS Trustee Rev. Wendell Anthony

Anthony and other trustees discussed raising private funds from DTE, which ironically has just applied for a rate increase, and other entities. Later, a retiree told Anthony that the bankruptcy process SHOULD have been stopped.

DAREA President William Davis put the trustees on notice that DAREA IS appealing the bankruptcy, and along with Vice-President Cecily McClellan fronted them off on the various irregularities and illegalities in the plan.

“You are demeaning retirees, pushing us into welfare,” McClellan said. “Seventy-five percent of retirees who got hit with annuity cuts are African-American, making us a disparate class [subject to protection under the 14th Amendment and the Equal Employment Opportunity Act.]

Russ Bellant, at funeral for Leamon Wilson, militant president of Detroit Bus Mechanics Local 312.

Retiree Russ Bellant said the DGRS itself is attacking its members’ rights independently of the bankruptcy plan.

“I was dumbfounded when I applied to take $20,000 out of my ASF funds last year, to help develop my neighborhood. I waited two months, and then received a letter denying my request because this board passed a resolution Oct. 29 saying they would take the plan recoupment money out of our annuity savings funds.”

Thus. he said, the board itself froze the funds even before the bankruptcy confirmation plan was officially finalized Dec. 10.

Some retirees folded their annuities into their pension checks at retirement to boost their monthly checks, while others rolled them over into private plans. Bellant and others, however, kept their annuities intact in the Retirement System, similar to a bank savings account.

“Our neighborhood has massive vacancies,” Bellant said. “I already put $40,000 into rehabbing two houses, and planned to finish with this $20,000. Now I will not be able to complete the job. I basically trusted you to hold my funds, not to seize them. I know a lot of other retirees put in similar requests. Why can’t you rescind this resolution?”

Cornell Squires, city disability retiree, former EMS technician.

Cornell Squires, city disability retiree, former EMS technician.

The trustees did not make a motion to do so, claiming they did not have a choice under provisions of the Dec. 10 confirmation plan.

The board did agree to assist Cornell Squires, a former Detroit EMS Technician with the Fire Department, who said he has not received a non-duty disability pension since his application was approved in 2002. He actually retired in 1993, he said, after constant harassment because he was challenging the operability and condition of the EMS trucks.

He said he was certified as disabled shortly afterwards by the Social Security System, but he said the city doctor refused to certify him as such until much later. He said he actually should receive duty disability payments due to stress from the job and his battle for decent conditions, but would agree to non-duty disability payments.

“One-third of the people working for EMS have died and continue to die from stress, and they don’t even get to collect their pensions,” Squires said. “Why do we do people wrong like this? For this Christmas, I’m asking that you pay me my disability so I can move on with my life by getting what I’m entitled to.”

RELATED:

For video of  DAREA press conference, click on http://www.detiptv.com/.

http://www.wxyz.com/news/retirees-working-on-appeal-to-detroits-plan-of-adjustment

http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/detroit-bankruptcy/2015/01/08/detroit-bankruptcy-retirees-pension-cuts/21445939/

http://michiganradio.org/post/detroit-retiree-group-vows-exhaust-appeals-process-bankruptcy-fight

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2015/01/07/appeal-of-detroit-bankruptcy-accepted-in-u-s-district-court-press-conf-thurs-jan-8-10-am/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/12/14/leaving-bankruptcy-detroit-takes-on-1-28-billion-of-new-debt/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/11/20/judge-denies-all-but-pa-436-lawsuit-equal-protection-claim-after-detroit-bankruptcy-over/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/11/15/detroit-bankruptcy-plan-genocide-in-usas-largest-black-majority-city-rich-get-95-9-poor-get-13-5/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/10/28/bankruptcy-did-little-to-stabilize-detroit-municipal-market-advisors/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/10/21/why-the-poor-are-paying-for-detroits-bankruptcy/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/10/17/detroit-bankruptcy-creditor-fgic-to-get-joe-louis-arena-billions-based-on-fraudulent-poc-deal/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/10/16/detroit-retirees-officials-blast-bankruptcy-plan-em-at-last-minute-hearing/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/09/10/detroit-bankruptcy-great-lakes-water-authority-to-steal-largest-asset-of-largest-u-s-black-city-4/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/09/06/racist-bankruptcy-plan-hearing-sanctions-theft-of-detroit/


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THE EXPANDING SURVEILLANCE STATE

One Nation under Surveillance

 

Steven Malik Shelton

Steven Malik Shelton

By Steven Malik Shelton

January 8, 2014

Last February, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan announced an initiative to outfit Detroit Department of Transportation buses with video surveillance cameras. Ostensibly, the measure is being implemented as a method to make passengers and bus drivers safer from a slew of well publicized assaults on passengers and drivers in Detroit as well as in many cities throughout the nation.

There is concern, however, by many civil libertarian and privacy rights advocates who perceive the proliferation of surveillance cameras and other intrusive devises as a clear violation of our constitutional rights and a precursor to a police state far more advanced and sophisticated than the one depicted in the classic novel, 1984, by British author George Orwell.

Will these D-DOT riders, entering bus at Rosa Parks Terminal, be spied on with video and audiotapes? What would Rosa Parks say?

Will these D-DOT riders, entering bus at Rosa Parks Terminal, be spied on with video and audiotapes? What would Rosa Parks say?

The increased and accelerated installation of closed circuit television cameras (CCTC) in public and (even) private locations is troubling enough, but when considered within the framework of the deportment of a wide assortment of other types of surveillance systems, it becomes shocking and frightening in its dire implications.

The prevalence of highly advanced and effective privacy invading surveillance technology-which is either maintained and monitored by government agencies or although engineered and installed by private companies could potentially be accessed by government and law enforcement entities- is startling. This is a relatively new development which is staggering in its potential for manipulation and the most egregious abuse which cut away at the core of not only what it means to be a citizen of a so-called free republic, but what it means to be a human being.

Fourth AmendmentWithin the last 15 years, what has been described as a giant surveillance grid has been established in the form of new, incredibly advanced listening devices equipped with software that can store, identify, and analyze millions of voices. This voice recognition technology is also installed in conjunction with CCTV on city buses in San Francisco Ca; Baltimore MD; Hartford Conn;  Eugene Ore; Traverse City, Mi.; and there are plans to install them in many more cities throughout the nation.

Many experts believe that such surveillance devises are a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution which affirms the right of the people to be secured, not only in their houses, papers and effects, but in their persons against unreasonable searches and seizures.

“Privacy relates to the right or the ability of individuals to determine how much and what information about themselves is to be revealed to others,” writes Judge Andrew P. Napolitano.

“Additionally, privacy relates to the idea of autonomy, the freedom of individuals to perform or not perform certain acts or to subject themselves to certain experiences.

Surveillance drone

Surveillance drone

Nowhere in the Constitution is the government granted the power to monitor or regulate our daily conduct. Remember the Constitution grants power to the federal government and retains for the states and people that power which is not specifically granted. The Constitution keeps the government off our backs.

So far that hasn’t stopped infringements, including the government’s proposed use of drones –some the size of golf balls –to watch and listen to us. But the fact remains: by simply being human, you have a right to privacy existing far before the founding of the United States.”1

There are plans to use unmanned aerial drones (devices made infamous in foreign war zones) domestically in the United States. These drones are being introduced to the American people as benign devices that will be utilized for innocent activities like the delivery of postal packages and consumer goods, but there are only a few incremental steps from delivering products to outright surveillance to eventually fitting them with weapons and thus empowering the government with tyrannical policing and crowd control tools.

“Unmanned aerial drones have been used with great success by the US military overseas,” writes Michael Snyder. “And now the US government is promoting their use to local law enforcement authorities all over America. In the years ahead, our skies will likely be filled with these things. Many of them are incredibly quiet and can gather information about you from above. In fact, one could be directly over your home right now.”2

Facial recognition in a crowd.

Facial recognition in a crowd.

There has also been tremendous development in facial recognition technology, which makes the push for increased CCTV monitoring much more insidious and threatening.

This calls into question the argument that supporters of surveillance technology often put forward; that once a person leaves the privacy of their home and enters the public arena, that person should have no expectation of privacy. Yet to be viewed by the naked human eye, and to by actively monitored and recorded by advanced state-of-the-art surveillance cameras and listening devises are of two different worlds.

“Today’s surveillance camera is not merely the equivalent of a pair of eyes,” explains a study conducted by the New York Civil Liberties Union. “It has super-human vision. It has the capacity to zoom in and read the pages of the book you have opened while waiting for a train in the subway. What’s more, this camera can tilt, pan, and rotate-making it increasingly easy to track you as you move through your day. Facial recognition software, while still imperfect, will someday be able to capture your image from the faces in a crowd, and then compose the image of your face against the facial images stored in a law-enforcement database.”3

CISCO surveillance of hospital rooms.

CISCO surveillance of hospital rooms.

With the proliferation of surveillance cameras trained on the general public, there is also a trend whereby surveillance devices are becoming more common in places once considered sanctuaries from such intrusions. Some hospitals are now rigging closed circuit television cameras, not only in the lobbies, parking lots and hall ways, but in patient rooms and even in wash rooms reportedly to ensure that hospital staff are washing their hands. And there are incidents of the installation of hidden cameras in patient rooms and even within staff locker rooms in some US hospitals.4

Closed circuit television cameras, as well as high activity location observation cameras, are also becoming more common in our public schools, and there is a nation-wide move to place these devices directly into class rooms where American children can be monitored, tagged and stigmatized for “disruptive” behavior tendencies and non-conformist or anti-authority thinking patterns.

Surveillance camera in school hallway.

Surveillance camera in school hallway.

Today, in many if not most school districts across the nation, the wrong words uttered by a child in ear-shot of a teacher or staff member can result in the child being placed in a jail cell or a psychiatric ward.

Some social scientists as well as concerned parents and citizens perceive this as an initiative to intimidate children into submission to an authoritarian government, to erode critical thinking tendencies and to mold our children into adults that are not creative, courageous, and freedom loving individuals but frightened and cookie-cutter versions of a dumbed-down, medicated, obedient population reminiscent of the protagonists in author Alex Huxley’s classic work, ‘Brave New World.’

“The moment young people walk into school, they increasingly find themselves under constant surveillance,” writes attorney and civil liberties advocate, John W. Whitehead. “They are photographed, fingerprinted, scanned, x-rayed, sniffed, and snooped on. Between metal detectors at entrances, drug sniffing dogs in the hall ways, and surveillance cameras in the classrooms and elsewhere, many of America’s schools look more like prisons than learning facilities.”5

Are people to be watched like lab mice?

Are people to be watched like lab mice?

The question is often asked: does increased surveillance keep people safer? A more valid concern should be, even if it may, is it worth the trade off in terms of giving up privacy for a safety that infringed on the very essence of what it means to be autonomous and dignified human beings?  In other words, if safety means being almost constantly watched and probed as though we are lab mice or exotic fish in an aquarium; most Americans would reasonably opt-out.

In national studies on the effect of CCTV on public safety, it appears that its influence is marginal at best. For example, a Chicago city spokesperson is quoted as saying that surveillance cameras helped solve 4,500 crimes over four years, but this is a paltry number when one considers that over a million crimes were estimated to have occurred in Chicago during that time period which registers as only a 0.05% effect on crime.

Other studies indicate that there is very little (if any) significant impact or relationship between surveillance cameras and the reduction of crime, particularly violent crime. Moreover, in those studies where statistics show a reduction in violent incidents after the installation of CCTV, they do not take into account that the reduction in crime is a reflection of, not necessarily the CCTV, but the fact violent crimes across the nation have been in steady decline since 1990 when there was 729 reported incidents per 100,000 of population; to under 386 incidents per 100,000 incidents of violent crime in the year 2012. 6

These individuals, caught on a surveillance camera, were said to have been involved in a crime. However, no crime is seen.

These individuals, caught on a surveillance camera, were said to have been involved in a crime. However, no crime is seen.

Other concerns related to CCTV are reports of abuse in which police and/or security personnel are targeting specific genders and racial groups that has nothing to do with security or safety.

Moreover, surveillance images have been downloaded by unscrupulous operators acting under color of authority and used to scrutinize certain sensitive and private parts of a women’s anatomy. Surveillance tapes have also been appropriated by dishonest personnel of people of people going into places such as gay bars, porn shops and strip clubs and used to black mail unsuspecting patron s.

There is also numerous studies that show that Blacks and other so-called minorities are much more likely to be watched and followed by CCTV as well as the plethora of other viewing and spying equipment and systems increasingly utilized by government and corporate organizations and agencies.

X-ray image of truck carrying passengers.

X-ray image of truck carrying passengers.

Even if agents that are actively viewing surveillance equipment are honest people without particular racial/ethnic bias or sexual proclivities, CCTV data is almost universally being stored en masse on huge computer banks and stored in central locations that are either directly controlled or able to be accessed by the government without the requirement of search warrants or judicial review. Thus mass amounts of uncensored visual and audio information can be stored (often without any time limits) and watched or listened to by any person who has access, legal or otherwise.

In addition the government is funding, not only electronic license plate readers, but also roving vans equipped with mobile x-ray screening capability, which can be dispatched through America’s streets and thoroughfares to scan parked vehicles, pedestrians going about their business, and to see what’s inside vehicles and under clothes, as well as view what’s going on behind walls and closed doors.7

Steven Malik Shelton is a journalist and human rights advocate. He can be reached at malikshelton19@aol.com

 References:

1 Judge Andrew P. Napolitano, “The Freedom Answer Book,” Thomas Nelson Publishers, (2012) p. p. 124, 125 

2 “19 Signs That America is Being Transformed into A Giant Surveillance Grid,” by Michael Snyder 9Sept. 24th 2012, accessible online at http://endofthe Americandream.com

 3 “Who’s Watching? Video Surveillance in New York City and the Need for Public Oversight,” A Special Report by the New York Civil Liberties Union (Fall 2006)  

4 “Privacy vs safety: surveillance in hospitals,” by Xavier Symons (22 Feb. 2014) Accessible online at: http://www.bioedge.org/index.php/bioethics/bioethics_article/10857

5 John W. Whitehead, “A Government of Wolves: The Emerging Police State,” SelectBooks,Inc. (2013) p. 185 

6 “The Statistical Portal: Statistics and Studies from more than 18,000 Sources. Accessible online at: www.statista.com/statistics/191219/reported-violent-crime-rate-in-the-usa-since-1990/ 

7 John W. Whitehead, “A Government of Wolves: The Emerging Police State,” SelectBooks, Inc. (2013) p. p. 124, 125


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DETROIT AUTO SHOW RALLY SUN. JAN. 11 @2:30 PM; BIG 3 GOT $14.4B IN PROFITS; TAYPAYERS LOST $9.26B

2015 Auto show flier

______________________________________________________________

U.S. Pres. Barack Obama celebrates auto industry "rescue" at temporarily closed Ford plant in Wayne, MI. Jan 7, 2015.

U.S. Pres. Barack Obama celebrates auto industry “rescue” at temporarily closed Ford plant in Wayne, MI. Jan 7, 2015.

FEDERAL GOVT. LOST $9.26B ON AUTO RESCUE  

http://www.allwebsolutions.net/business/autos/federal-government-lost-9-26b-on-auto-rescue/

David Shepardson,

The Detroit News

December 30, 2014

Grand theft auto bailoutWashington — The U.S. government lost $9.26 billion on the auto industry rescue, according to the final accounting released late Monday.

In its report, the U.S. Treasury Department said it recovered $70.43 billion of the $79.69 billion it gave to General Motors Corp., Chrysler LLC and auto lending arms Ally Financial Inc. and Chrysler Financial. The government was repaid through a combination of stock sales, partial loan repayments, dividends and interest payments.

The books are closed on the program because the Treasury, on Dec. 19, sold its final 11.4 percent stake in Ally, the Detroit-based auto lender and bank-holding company formerly known as GMAC. The bailouts began in December 2008 under President George W. Bush with $25 billion in aid to GM, Chrysler and their lending arms. President Barack Obama added about $55 billion to the total.

Protesters at Cobo Hall Sept. 7, 2014

Protesters at Cobo Hall Sept. 7, 2014 at event where GM CEO Mary Barra spoke.

“We’ve now repaid taxpayers every dime and more of what my administration committed, and the American auto industry is on track for its strongest year since 2005,” Obama said at a press conference that day.

Under government accounting rules, the U.S. Treasury actually lost $16.56 billion on paper on the auto bailout. As tallied under those rules, taxpayers lost more because interest and dividends paid by borrowers — in this case, the automakers and finance companies — aren’t applied toward the principal owed.

A homeowner, for example, who borrows $100,000 doesn’t get credited with interest payments in paying off the mortgage. That largely explains the difference between the government’s larger accounting loss and the $9.26 billion net loss. In the case of GM and Ally, the government swapped most of what it was owed for stock in the companies. More than $7 billion recovered was in the form of dividends and interest payments.

The government recouped $19.6 billion on the $17.2 billion Ally bailout — $2.4 billion more than it invested. But it recovered just $39 billion of the $49.5 billion given to GM; and $10.67 billion of the $11.96 billion that went to Chrysler.

George W. Bush administration began the bailout.

George W. Bush administration began the bailout.

Still, the government’s losses were far less than the Obama administration originally feared. In early 2009, it projected a loss of $44 billion — an estimate it reduced to $30 billion in December 2009.

In 2010, the Treasury proposed creating a new tax on large banks to pay for losses from the $700 billion bailout program, but Congress hasn’t agreed to approve it. It would raise $90 billion over 10 years. Then-Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told Congress in May 2010 the Obama administration didn’t think “it was necessary or appropriate” to apply the tax to the automakers.

The Treasury Department declined to comment on the report Monday.

In December 2013, the Treasury sold its final shares in GM. The Treasury ended its ownership stake in Chrysler Group LLC in July 2011, incurring a $1.3 billion loss on a $12.5 billion bailout. Chrysler — part of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV — returned to trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Oct. 13.

Cartoon refers to numerous deaths caused by faulty switches in GM vehicle rear-end crashes.

Cartoon refers to numerous deaths caused by faulty switches in GM vehicle rear-end crashes.

The Ann Arbor-based Center for Automotive Research and others have argued that government losses paled in comparison to the impact that would have followed a collapse of GM and Chrysler. That could have sent much of the U.S. auto supplier sector reeling as well. A December 2013 study said failure of GM could have sacrificed 1.2 million U.S. jobs, cut personal income by $79.5 billion and eliminated $17 billion in income taxes and Social Security taxes in 2009. It could have also boosted government spending by $6.5 billion.

Others have estimated fewer job losses connected with a failure of GM and Chrysler. The biggest unknown remains if — and how long — it would have taken surviving automakers like Ford Motor Co. and other foreign firms to make up the lost production from GM and Chrysler. Ford did not take a government bailout.

GM debt to AmericaAlso unknown is if U.S. auto suppliers could have survived the massive disruption of a collapse of GM or Chrysler. Former auto czar Steve Rattner said that the disappearance of GM could have pushed the state of Michigan into bankruptcy. Another big cost would have been the likely assumption of GM and Chrysler’s underfunded pension plans by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., the government-owned pension insurer.

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew told reporters before Christmas that the overall $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program — which was used to rescue banks and a major insurance company, AIG, in addition to GM and Chrysler — will make money overall.

Lew said that in total, the government invested $426.4 billion in the bank, auto and insurance bailout package, and recovered $441.7 billion. But under government accounting rules, Treasury has had $35 billion in losses.

“At the peak, more than 700 institutions were in the TARP bank program. Today just 35 remain,” Lew said.

The industry rescue became a key part of Obama’s re-election and remains a staple of the president’s speeches.

“This program was a crucial part of the Obama administration’s effort to … protect the economy from slipping into a second Great Depression,” Lew told reporters. “This program worked.”

Driver disabled for life  in defective GM car crash speaks Sept. 7, 2014.

Driver disabled for life in defective GM car crash speaks Sept. 7, 2014.


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APPEAL OF DETROIT BANKRUPTCY ACCEPTED IN U.S. DISTRICT COURT; PRESS CONF. THURS. JAN. 8 @ 10 AM

Detroit retirees and supporters at bankruptcy protest Aug. 19, 2013.

Detroit retirees and supporters at bankruptcy protest Aug. 19, 2013.

Detroit Active and Retired Employees Association (DAREA) press conference Thurs.  Jan. 8. 2014 @ 10 A.M. Nandi’s Knowledge Café, 12511 Woodward, Highland Park; ALL ARE WELCOME!

Detroit—Detroit active and retired workers, residents, and many others, have appealed U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes’ confirmation of the bankruptcy plan of adjustment to the U.S. District Court. The appeal (Case No.  2:14−cv−14920−BAF−RSW) was accepted Dec. 30, 2014, with U.S. District Court Judge Bernard Friedman and Magistrate Judge R. Steven Whalen presiding. (Click on Doc 8981 DAREA Notice of Receipt of Bankruptcy Appeal (1) (1).)

DAREA members include (l to r) Belinda Myers Florence, Yvonne Williams Jones, Cecily McClellan, and Bill Davis. They are shown after Mike Duggan press conference on giveaway of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department.

DAREA members include (l to r) Belinda Myers Florence, Yvonne Williams Jones, Cecily McClellan, and Bill Davis. They are shown after Mike Duggan press conference on giveaway of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department.

“Judge Steven Rhodes’ decision to impair our pensions and health benefits, and disregard the State of Michigan Constitution has forced us to appeal the confirmation of the Plan of Adjustment,” said Bill Davis, President of the Detroit Active and Retired Employees Association (DAREA). “We realize that these are uncharted waters, but we believe this decision must be challenged to prevent further attacks on us and to protect the generations to come.”

He added that the bankruptcy is an attack on a predominantly African-American workforce, and the nation’s largest Black-majority city.

DAREA was formed by rank-and-file Detroit retirees, active employees, and concerned citizens. In addition to cutbacks of city jobs, pension benefits, wages, and health care, it strips Detroit of virtually every asset, including the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, the third largest in the country.

Bankruptcy protest Stop PA 436

Protesters demand that PA 436 and the bankruptcy be rescinded.

Even former Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr said at a press conference after the confirmation that the bankruptcy originated with Michigan Governor Snyder, not Detroiters, beginning in 2010.

It resulted from dictatorial, unlawful, premeditated actions by state government, under Public Act 436. The constitutionality of that act under the 14th Amendment, which guarantees “equal protection under the law,” is currently being challenged in the court of U.S. District Judge George Caram Steeh.

The figure of a 4.5 percent reduction to retirees’ pensions cited by the media is false. Retirees will be cut far more than that because their annuities are being slashed 15 percent plus 6.75 interest. DAREA estimates that pensions will be reduced from 17 percent (no annuity claw-back) to 32 percent (with claw-back), annually.   This increases to over an estimated 50 percent when you consider the elimination of  health care and prescription cost coverage..

Earlier protest at CAYMC: I EARNED MY PENSION!

Earlier protest at CAYMC: I EARNED MY PENSION!

The income stabilization plan for retirees over 60 whose income is less than 105 percent of the poverty level is welfare and does not address the thousands of workers and retirees under 60, who are suffering the severest cuts, having lost their health care benefits as well as jobs, wages, and huge portions of their pension checks.  Pension benefits were “earned” and should be restored as taken from all active and retired employees.

DAREA spokespersons and numerous retirees and city workers will be available to answer questions at the conference.

ALL SUPPORTERS ARE WELCOME TO ATTEND!!

DETROIT ACTIVE AND RETIRED EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION (DAREA)

P.O. Box 3724  Highland Park, MI  48203

313-649-7018

Detroit2700plus@gmail.com

Nandi'sSIGN PETITION, DONATE FOR LAWSUIT EXPENSE, COME TO WEEKLY MEETINGS MONDAYS 11 AM.

DAREA is very active and rapidly growing, with working committees on legal affairs, fund-raising, communications, and others. Members have begun a petition to the U.S. Justice Department which reads as follows:

PETITION:

The Detroit Active and Retired Employees Association implore the U.S. Justice Dept, as soon as possible, to halt any and all pending alterations to retirement plans and to halt further transfers of wealth from the City of Detroit until an Open Civil Investigation has been conducted. Our civil liberties were violated by the State because the Michigan Constitution is contractually obligated to protect pensions. We request an independent, neutral voice of authority to sustain civil liberties versus restraining domination, and to ensure that the actions of the bankruptcy were legal, boundaries were not overstepped, and that rules and laws were followed to the letter and not by whimsical interpretations.

Sign the petition to Joyce R. Branda, Civil Division, U.S. Justice Department, Assistant Attorney, by clicking on:
http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/selective-enforcement?source=s.icn.em.mt&r_by=9645222.

FUNDRAISING:

DAREA says in its Call to Action, “We need your financial support, because the appeal process is very costly. We must be able to go the distance and it will take hundreds of thousands of dollars. Not to fight this judgment will allow this ultra conservative movement to set both workers and civil rights back and we cannot sit back and let that be a part of our legacy! . . . If we can get a minimum of 2,000 retirees to donate $200 we would raise $400,000 to put this plan into action.”

To donate to DAREA’s LEGAL DEFENSE FUND, click on  http://www.gofundme.com/pensiondefensefund. Or checks can be made payable to the Detroit Active and Retired Employees Association (DAREA), at P.O. Box 3724, Highland Park, Michigan 48203.

WEEKLY MEETINGS

Mondays, 11 AM, at Nandi’s Knowledge Café, 12511 Woodward, Highland Park, 48203. To receive notices of meetings, updates on the appeal and events information please provide your email address and phone numbers via email at Detroit2700plus@gmail.com or call DAREA at 313-649-7018.

Read DAREA’s position statement at DAREA call.

Retirees discus appeal at Nandi's Knowledge Café.

Retirees discus appeal at Nandi’s Knowledge Café.


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STOP DUGGAN’S ATTACK ON CDBG LOW-INCOME HOME LOANS, DEMOLITION OF DETROIT’S HOUSING STOCK

 

Homes in Virginia Park Historic District neighborhood.
Homes in Virginia Park Historic District neighborhood. Photo: Wikipedia

 

 

By Joyce Moore

Dec. 18, 2014 (VOD editor–sorry, picked up story late from email.)

Joyce Moore

Joyce Moore

DETROIT – Somehow, we are putting people in office that make over $100,000.00 (One Hundred Thousand Dollars) a year to represent our best interest! We as a country give away millions to other countries. The City of Detroit: My City, Your City, Our City is clearly under attack. Demolition of beautiful structures with crown moldings, fire places that connect the living room with the dining room, beveled door casings, beveled window casings and beautiful dome ceilings is a short list of irreplaceable beauty and a list of the beauty that is lacking in new construction.

Interior of one Detroit historic home.

Interior of one Detroit historic home.

My neighborhood is composed of old historic two (2) family structures of which I have converted my two (2) family into a single home. In 2013-2014 I was a recipient of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Funds – Home Repair Program. I was able under the CDBG – Home Repair Program to get a new roof, windows and a porch of which this GRANT/LOAN will be forgivable within 3 to 5 years.

The purpose of the CDBG funds is to help LOW TO MODERATE income citizens through Federal Regulation (LAWS) and HUD Guidelines. These TAX DOLLARS are very much needed to be used to help build our blocks, build our neighborhoods, build our communities and build our city in terms of removing blight as houses are being demolished as we speak.

See video below with Joyce Moore and Cynthia Johnson discussing CDBG.

Mayor Mike Duggan of the City of Detroit wants to make the CDBG – Home Repair Program for LOW TO MODERATE income citizens a LOAN/MORTGAGE Program that is not forgivable. On December 17, 2014 at 04:06 P.M., I submitted a Complaint to the United States District Court – Eastern District of Michigan against Mayor, Mike Duggan of the City of Detroit and U.S. Housing Urban Development in regard to the CDBG – Home Repair Program funds being a LOAN/MORTGAGE Program. Because I don’t have the $400.00 to officially file the Complaint, I requested an individual fee waiver.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan congratulate each other on bankruptcy approval.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan congratulate each other on bankruptcy approval.

I wanted to add to this Complaint “THE PEOPLE IN THE CITY OF DETROIT and THE VIRGINIA PARK COMMUNITY COALITION – DISTRICT 5”, because this is about those who need the CDBG Funds – Home Repair Program to help with the repairs to their home as a GRANT not as a LOAN/MORTGAGE. Tomorrow, Thursday, December 18, 2014, I will call Judge Terrence Berg of the Eastern District at 1-810-341-9760 and ask him to please grant the fee waiver and expedite our Complaint. Our court case number is 4:14-CV-14775. Let’s hope that Judge Berg is a fair judge.

LET ME SAY THAT MAYOR MIKE DUGGAN HAS DISREGARDED CONGRESS AND ALL OF IT’S LAWS AS THEY PERTAIN TO “LOW TO MODERATE” INCOME CITIZENS………WHAT ELECTED OFFICIAL IS GOING TO STEP UP TO THE PLATE?

Contact Joyce Moore at 1948moorej@comcast.net.


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STATEMENT: LONG, JR. ACTED IN SELF-DEFENSE IN PIEDMONT KILLINGS;TOOK WOUNDED GIRL TO HOSPITAL

Marchers demand moratorium on foreclosures, evictions and other attacks on the people at march Aug. 28, 2012.
Marchers demand moratorium on foreclosures, evictions and other attacks on the people at march in downtown Detroit Aug. 28, 2012.

 “I thought they were going to shoot everyone”

 Franklins died; Long, Jr. facing life in prison

 Confrontations spreading since October, 2o14 Treasurer’s tax auction

 Organizers call for immediate moratorium on tax foreclosures

Conclusion of Alonzo Long, Jr. preliminary exam Tues. Jan. 6, 2015

By Diane Bukowski

 January 3, 2015 

Alonzo Long, Jr. told police in a statement that he did not fire first, and was defending family members as they moved from tax-foreclosed home.

Alonzo Long, Jr. told police in a statement that he did not fire first, and was defending family members as they moved from tax-foreclosed home.

DETROIT – Relatives, friends and community organizers supporting Alonzo Long, Jr., 22, including a half-dozen white high school students, along with relatives and friends of Howard Franklin, 72, and Catherine Franklin, 37, killed by Long Nov. 28, packed the court for the second part of his preliminary exam Jan. 2 in front of 36th District Judge Ruth Carter.

Long faces two counts of first-degree (premeditated) murder in the deaths, which he told police resulted from his defense of family members moving possessions from 15114 Piedmont in Rosedale Park. He said they were confronted by the Franklins, both armed. The elder Franklin bought the home at the Wayne County Treasurer’s October tax auction; it was deeded to him Nov 10.

“My nephew would never have had the intention to kill anybody, and my sympathy goes out to their family,” a woman who said she was Long’s aunt told VOD. No other family members from either side commented to the media.

Long’s attorney, Charles Longstreet II, told the Detroit Free Press that the case “is a question of self-defense.”

Charles Longstreet II of Longstreet Law Firm./ Facebook photo

Charles Longstreet II of Longstreet Law Firm, said case is one of self-defense./ Facebook photo

Similar incidents, none so far known to be fatal, have been reported across Detroit since the October tax auction. There appears to be confusion over new state laws which allow landlords to remove “squatters” themselves. The laws specify, however, that a court order must be obtained to evict foreclosed owners or their relatives and renters, who are NOT considered squatters, and provide stiff penalties for violations by new owners. They also are extremely harsh on actual “squatters,” putting penalties for “squatting” in the same category as those for “terrorism.”

The Piedmont home was owned by Willie and Margaret Fletcher, and occupied by their grandson, according to a county records and a board member of the Rosedale Park community association.

“The lady started shooting, and I thought they were going to shoot everyone,” Long said in a written statement read by Michigan State Detective Trooper Tracy Walton during the hearing. “My girl Tamika was shot.”

He said after the shootings, he took Tamika to the hospital and returned to his home, where he later voluntarily surrendered to police.

In the statement, Long denied shooting first, and denied stating, “Y’all got guns, I got one too.”

Home at 15114 Piedmont where shootings occurred Nov. 28, 2014.

He said he was sitting in a car outside, and entered the home after his uncle called for him from inside during an apparent argument. He said he did not see the younger Franklin with a gun at first on entering, but did see the elder Franklin with one, putting his hand across his chest to draw it. He said he drew his own gun from a holster and fired at him. All three individuals had concealed weapons permits.

Long’s lawyer Charles Longstreet II objected to admission of the statement because Walton was not present for the entire interrogation and because it was not inclusive of the entire two and one-half hour interview, which was videotaped.

“My client said he was not the first person to fire a shot, and he maintained that throughout the interview,” Longstreet said. “My client said Howard Franklin had a revolver, and [the police] did discover that.”

PA 233 box

This is part of one of three new so-called “sqatters” laws sponsored by conservative State Rep. Kurt Heise (R). Although they criminalize squatting, they also protect some rights of previous owners and their relatives, as well as renters, who are not considered squatters. 

He also said that sufficient time had not elapsed between the date of the new deed, Nov. 10, and the incident on Nov. 28, for a legal eviction to be carried out. Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Daniel Williams countered that the occupants were “voluntarily” evicting themselves.

Detroit police officer Scott Holbrook, who said he had been on the force for a year, testified that he and his partner were called to the home by an employee of Catherine Franklin. He said they found “a lady on the porch not breathing,” and a “man on a pile of clothes not breathing.”

He said Howard Franklin had a .38 Special Ruger revolver. He said it had not been fired, since he emptied the gun of five unspent rounds before putting it into evidence. He said the gun was in Franklin’s left side shirt pocket, with the handle protruding. On cross, he said the gun would have to have been taken out of the pocket with Franklin’s right hand, causing his arm to cross his chest.

He said he did not examine the woman on the porch. An employee of Catherine Franklin’s testified earlier that she had a gun in her hand when she fell out the front door, mortally wounded. No forensic evidence has been presented.

Judge Carter said she would review a two and one-half hour video of the Long interrogation in camera before resumption of the exam and disposition of the case Tues. Jan. 6 at 1 p.m.

After the exam, Mike Shane of the Moratorium NOW Coalition Against Foreclosures, Evictions, and Shut-offs said they and other groups are instituting a city-wide campaign for an immediate moratorium on all tax foreclosures, due in part to the increasingly volatile situation they represent. He said in particular occupied properties should not be sold, and called for the charges against Long to be dismissed.

Newly installed Wayne County Executive Warren Evans previously called such a moratorium on mortgage foreclosures during his tenure as Wayne County Sheriff.

Mike Shane at rally against Detroit banks in 2013.

“This [type of incident] can happen again,” Shane said. “Clearly county and city officials are running roughshod over the neighborhoods pushing these foreclosures through. There are at least 20 different kinds of irregularities that we’ve found in the foreclosures. Housing is a human right. We don’t need to be increasing Detroit’s homeless population. People are paying too much on property taxes anyway. The county and the city are not emphasizing proper eviction procedures to the people, and Police Chief James Craig is telling everyone to get armed to defend themselves. They’re sending mixed messages.”

He said the Coalition is approaching 20 community organizations this week to get support for a moratorium.

Along with the 15114 Piedmont home, community organizer Agnes Hitchcock said at least 16 others nearby on Piedmont have large past due tax bills, with one foreclosure, one owing for four years, three for three years, and two for two years. All are subject to foreclosure.

Confrontations between new owners and occupants are taking place with increasing regularity.

Ardmore home where winning bidder illegally removed everything in the house.

Ardmore home where winning bidder Tracey Moore illegally removed everything in the owner-occupied house without court order.

One woman told VOD that the home on Ardmore which her husband’s grandmother Faustine Hawkins has occupied since at least 1988 was evidently sold at the October auction. However, Ms. Hawkins had quit claimed the home, where her grandson Keith Dortch spent his entire life, to him in 2012, as shown in county records. Register of Deeds records for both Hawkins and Dortch show no foreclosure action taken against the property. Mrs. Dortch is temporarily in a nursing home recovering from a stroke, but the woman said she is expected to recover and return home.

However, Wayne County Probate Court Judge June E. Blackwell Hatcher granted an Adult Foster Care petition for conservatorship for Ms. Hawkins Nov. 10. AFC claimed in their petition that Ms. Hawkins has dementia, and “the adult has property that will be Wasted or dissipated unless proper management is provided.”

On Nov. 11, the treasurer deeded the house to Tracey Moore of Detroit from the October tax auction.

March 1 meeting on foreclosures, evictions and other community matters, attended by many Rosedale Park residents. At right are Abayomi Azikiwe and Dave Sole of the Moratorium Now! Coalition,

March 1 meeting on foreclosures, evictions and other community matters, attended by many Rosedale Park residents. At right are Abayomi Azikiwe and Dave Sole of the Moratorium Now! Coalition,

“She [Moore] got a dumpster and had everything thrown out of our home,” the woman said. “Granny is 88 had a lot of treasured properties in there. My husband got upset when he came by, and the police were called, but he wasn’t charged. We filed to take [Moore] to court, but she didn’t show up for the hearing. Now cars keep riding by our house but we’ve changed the locks and my husband has told them not to come back on the property anymore.”

The new so-called “squatter laws” actually provide for compensation to a legitimate occupant for damages three times the original value if they are illegally evicted.

Jamal Gilmer, Sereena Patterson/Photo Fox 2 News Detroit

Jamal Gilmer, Sereena Patterson/Photo Fox 2 News Detroit

In another case Dec. 9, covered by MyFoxDetroit’s Ronnie Dahl, Detroit police arrested Jamal Gilmer when he went to the house he had just purchased to get the previous owner, Sareena Patterson, to move out. Angry when police told him he could not order Patterson out without a court order, since she had a deed and was not a squatter, he told the police he didn’t need them and approached the house himself.

Patterson told Fox 2, “When you go from ‘We’re going to work out a deal, I don’t want the house’ to all of a sudden I need to get out, well then you’re going to have to go file the papers, so I can get out.”

West Outer Drive home bought by 25-year-old winning bidder.

West Outer Drive home bought by 25-year-old winning bidder.

Gilmer bemoaned his fate, saying “I had to spend a night in jail. It cost me another $100 to bail myself out and it’s like my hands are tied.”

Channel 7 covered  another case Dec. 17, in which the new owner, Brittney Harden, 25, who said she paid $50,000 for the West Outer Drive home, claimed the occupants were squatters.

Fox 2 headlined the story asserting that the occupants were indeed squatters. But the so-called “squatter,” a mother of small children, told Dahl that she had rented the house for seven years from the landlord, who lost it in the foreclosure sale. Dahl reported that Harden has now gone to 36th District Court to go through proper eviction procedures. According to Register of Deeds records, Harden herself lost her home to tax foreclosure earlier in the year.

For more information, contact the Moratorium NOW! Coalition at http://www.moratorium-mi.org/.

Related:

New state “squatters” laws at 2014-PA-0223 eviction rights landlord and tenant Heise and 2014-PA-0224 Anti-squatter and 2014-PA-0225 penalties for squatting.

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2015/01/01/stop-tax-evictions-drop-charges-vs-alonzo-long-jr-come-to-hearing-fri-jan-2-1-pm/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/12/19/two-dead-one-wounded-one-youth-facing-life-in-prison-for-defense-against-armed-eviction-attempt/

 


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COP WHO KILLED ANTONIO MARTIN, 18 IN ST. LOUIS SUBURB OF BERKELEY IS ANDREW WEUSTHOFF

Video above shows crowd attacking Berkeley, MO police at gas station where Antonio Martin, 18, had just been shot to death by white cop Andrew Weusthoff. Witnesses said he was alive for 30 minutes, but police did not call for medical assistance. 

Photography is Not a Crime PINACPosted by: Carlos Miller in Ferguson, PINAC News, PINAC News Top 3, Public Records, St. Louis Cop Killings, The Blue Line, Viral Videos

http://photographyisnotacrime.com/2015/01/berkeley-cop-shot-killed-antonio-martin-andrew-weusthoff/

January 2, 2015

Antionio Martin, 18, killed by Berkeley, MO cop Andrew Weusthoff Dec. 24, 2014.

Antionio Martin, 18, killed by Berkeley, MO cop Andrew Weusthoff Dec. 24, 2014.

VOD editor: Note the lack of broad news coverage of this killing, replaced by coverage of the two killings of New York City police. The mainstream media has insisted without proof that Antonio Martin had a gun, even including it in newspaper headlines. His grandmother demanded to see the gun, adding, “These police do some dirty things. They just wait until nightfall for some young Black men and then gun them down.”

Berkeley, MO — Although police in Missouri have yet to officially release the name of the police officer who shot and killed an 18-year-old man named Antonio Martin last month, we have determined his name is Andrew Weusthoff, a seemingly nice guy with a sense of humor judging by his Facebook page, which no longer exists.

The officer’s name was inadvertently released by the St. Louis County police department on Monday after we made a public records request for the full, unedited video as well as the incident report.

We still have not received the full video footage of the incident, but the report we received listed an assault on a law enforcement officer, listing Weusthoff as the victim, which makes sense because police have said from the beginning that he was defending himself after Martin pulled a gun on him.

Andrew Weusthoff, Berkeley, MO cop who killed Antonio Martin, 18 on Dec. 24. Photo of a mock mug shot is from his Facebook page.

Andrew Weusthoff, Berkeley, MO cop who killed Antonio Martin, 18 on Dec. 24. Photo of a mock mug shot is from his Facebook page, no longer in existence.

That report also states the case was “exceptionally cleared,” which is a phrase police use to close a case when circumstances prevent an officer from making an arrest as would happen when a suspect is dead.

However, three days later, we were contacted by the St. Louis County Police Department, who informed us that the  initial report was no longer valid, sending us an “updated” report.

The updated report, which they sent us today, now states that it is a “homicide” investigation, instead of an assault on a police officer.

And this time, the victim is listed as Martin.

Also, not only was “Weusthoff’s name nowhere on the second report, the case was once again listed as “active,” contradicting what Berkeley police and city officials told the media Tuesday during a press conference that they had conducted their own investigation and determined that the officer shot Martin in self-defense.

Martin's mother Toni Martin collapses in grief after being informed of her son's death.

Martin’s mother Toni Martin collapses in grief after being informed of her son’s death.

The press conference seemed more of a ceremonial gesture as they were not even the main agency investigating the incident, but nevertheless, the news was reported widely, even though the Berkeley Police Department did not provide any fresh details besides mentioning there were now “several witnesses” that confirmed the story, who remained nameless.

The official investigation is being conducted by the St. Louis County Police Department, who say the case is still open, even though their own records indicated the case was closed earlier this week.

Most people keeping up with the stories seem to take the word of police, judging by comments on social media, even though police have not released the full videos, mainly the portion that would show the actual gun.

VOD noted that video shows officer assaulting (pushing) Martin just before Martin retreats backwards, after some conversation. Martin evidently lifts his hand, but it is unclear what if anything is in it. He may very well have been pointing his finger at officer in anger at assault.

So far, police have released three clips, one showing Martin lifting his hand towards Weushoff as if he had a gun, but the video is dark and grainy and it is impossible to tell if Martin was holding a gun, a phone or anything at all.

The other two showing the cop and witnesses scurrying for cover after Weushoff fired three times as he falls on his back, evidently  believing Martin had a gun.

Martin, who was pronounced dead shortly after he was shot, is cropped from two of the videos as you can see in the video below and as we discussed here. The alleged gun is also cropped from those clips.

Toni Martin and Jerome Green, parents of Antonio Martin, at candelight vigil after killing.

Toni Martin and Jerome Green, parents of Antonio Martin, at candelight vigil after killing. His mother told the media he did not own a gun, and had just left his girl friend’s home to go to the store. His grandmother Margret Chandler, 65, demanded to see actual proof of possession of the gun, including fingerprints, etc. She told the LA Times, “If he was in the wrong, I want to know he was in the wrong I want to see the gun in his hand. I don’t want them to tell me he had it. I want to see it. These police do some dirty things. They just wait until nightfall to see some young Black men and gun them down.”

Police say they did that out of respect for his family, but his family has been asking to see the video.

Police also say they found a loaded 9-millimeter Martin’s body with the serial numbers scraped off, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he actually had a gun, considering police have long used “throwdown” guns to plant as “evidence” when they happen to kill an unarmed citizen.

We are not saying that is the case here, but unless they release the full video, we cannot rule it out either.

All we are asking for is transparency.

Berkley gun planted

Instagram collage of scene of Antonio Martin’s killing.

 

Questions Remain Unanswered in Berkeley Police Shooting of Antonio Martin Near Ferguson

Dec. 30, 2014

Photography is Not a Crime PINACPosted by: Carlos Miller in Body Cam News, Citizen Journalism, Citizens vs. Government, Ferguson, PINAC News, Surveillance Video, The Blue Line, Viral Videos

A Missouri cop shot and killed a man Tuesday night in St. Louis County, two miles from Ferguson, sparking more civil unrest as protesters clashed with police in the aftermath of the shooting.

Berkeley police say the 18-year-old man pulled a gun on the cop, causing him to fear for his life, which led to the officer pulling his own gun out and firing.

Police even provided a surveillance video that shows the suspect, Antonio Martin, raising his arm towards police as one would raise a gun.

But police cut the video immediately after that motion, preventing the public from seeing the cop pulling out his own gun and firing, insisting they are doing it out of respect for Martin’s family.

Berkeley Mayor Theodore Hoskins holds press conference after killing. Both he and the suburb's police chief are Black, and are saying the killing was necessary, as mainstream media has happily pointed out.

Berkeley Mayor Theodore Hoskins holds press conference after killing. Both he and the suburb’s police chief are Black, and are saying the killing was necessary, as mainstream media has happily pointed out.

They also said the officer was assigned a body cam, but was not wearing it. And they say the car was equipped with a dash cam but it only turns on when the cop turns on his emergency lights, which was not the case here.

And the only reason the cop was not wearing his body cam was because he had not been trained to clip it on his uniform and turn it on, which takes approximately six months to get it right, said Berkeley Mayor Theodore Hoskins.

According to ABC News:

“At this point it’s relatively new,” Hoskins said of the body cameras. “We only have three [body cams], so if it had been six months from today and we had gone through all the training I would have some concerns.”

But since authorities have the gas station surveillance video that shows the interaction, Hoskins said he wasn’t concerned about the lack of body cam footage.

“It would’ve been helpful, and in the future and when we get well trained, there will be a severe penalty for an officer who does not turn it on,” Hoskins added.

Protesters at gas station where Martin was killed are attached by police.

Protesters at gas station where Martin was killed are attached by police.

But the gas station video doesn’t contain audio nor a close-up of the interaction as the body and dash cams would have.

The incident took place Tuesday night at about 11:15 p.m. when the officer, a 34-year-old white man, drove up to the gas station in response to a report of a robbery.

The video shows Martin and a friend, both black men, standing in front of a convenience store at a gas station. They begin to walk away as the cop pulls up and steps out of the car.

Tweets allegedly from "Imperial Wizard" of KKK.

Tweets allegedly from “Imperial Wizard” of KKK.

Martin’s friend walks up to the cop while Martin walks away from the cop. The cop, who has a lit flashlight in his hand, then appears to order Martin to walk towards him, which he does.

The cop then appears to want to frisk Martin, placing his hands on him as if to have him step up against the car with his hands on the hood, but Martin takes a few steps back.

It was then when police say he pulled out a gun, but it is impossible to determine from the video if he really did have a gun. Police say they recovered a 9-millimeter gun with its serial number scraped off. They also said Martin’s friend ran off.

Hundreds of protesters descended upon the scene, resulting in clashes with police, adding more fuel to the already tense national environment between citizens and police.

Witnesses on Twitter say Martin remained alive for 30 minutes but police refused to provide him medical assistance. Here is a dispatch recording from the minutes after the shooting where the dispatcher is asking for help with crowd control but not for an ambulance.

Protesters shut down Interstate 170 the night after Martin was killed.

Protesters shut down Interstate 170 the night after Martin was killed.

While police insist the video should clear any doubts up, there are still many unanswered questions:

  • Why didn’t the officer have his emergency lights considering he was speaking to a pair of potential armed robbers, which would have ensured his dash camera would have been turned on and surely have captured the entire incident at close range?
  • Why would a patrol car’s dash cam even be set up to where it only turns on if the car’s emergency lights are turned on? How would that help in an ambush as we saw in New York City where two cops were killed just sitting in their car with their emergency lights turned off?
  • How did the cop manage to pull out his gun so fast if he was already holding a flashlight in his right hand and the suspect’s alleged gun was pointing at him from point-blank range?
  • Why do the cops insist on not showing us the entire footage, claiming it is out of respect for the family when respect for the truth should take a much higher priority, especially in an incident that could lead to more riots? After all, we recently learned how editing a video in mid-action can completely alter a story.
  • Is there more footage from other cameras they are not showing us, perhaps closer angles as the one they are showing us is quite far?
  • Will Martin’s fingerprints be found on the gun, which had its serial number scraped off?
  • Is it possible that Martin could simply have been pointing his finger at the cop, telling him to back off from trying to illegally search him?
  • Is it possible the gun could have been planted as police departments have done in the past to justify shooting unarmed citizens, including recently in New York City ?
  • Why did police initially describe it as a “routine business check” only to later say the cop was responding to a robbery call, which would normally prompt the use of emergency lights? But then why not just release the entire video instead of allowing tensions, speculations, accusations and anger to continue to grow in the wake of yet another police shooting death?
  • Here is the surveillance video as well as a video of the clashes after the shooting.
  • It’s also quite possible that everything went down exactly how police explained it, which would give the cop more than an enough justification to kill Martin.

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WHEN POLICE DIE

Police officers turn their backs as New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks at the funeral of New York city police officer Rafael Ramos in the Glendale section of Queens, Saturday, Dec. 27, 2014, in New York. Ramos and his partner, officer Wenjian Liu, were killed Dec. 20 as they sat in their patrol car on a Brooklyn street. The shooter, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, later killed himself. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Police officers turn their backs as New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks at the funeral of New York city police officer Rafael Ramos in the Glendale section of Queens, Saturday, Dec. 27, 2014, in New York. Ramos and his partner, officer Wenjian Liu, were killed Dec. 20 as they sat in their patrol car on a Brooklyn street. The [alleged] shooter, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, later [allegedly] killed himself. Cops blamed DeBlasio for speaking out against racist killings by police. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

By Jalil A. Muntaqim

December 30, 2014

We-Are-Our-Own-Liberators-by-Jalil-A_-Muntaqim-coverOnce again, the nation is compelled to mourn the death of police officers. Rightly so, if such mourning changes the dynamics of the relationship between a para-militarized police and the communities in which they patrol. By no sense of the imagination should anyone be cavalier about the killing of a police officer, no more than they shou1d be when a police officer wrongly kills a civilian, especially an unarmed civilian. But that is the point.

When the valorization of the life of a police officer is raised to the level of hero-worshipping, what does that do to the psyche of the general population in respect to their own lives? Thus, the PBA’s demagoguery (presumably to enhance future contract negotiations) and self-righteous condemnation must be viewed in light of how it ultimately serves to improve police-community relationships(?).

In my previous blog, “Hands Up–Don’t Shoot,” I ended by stating, “…it is time to ensure Black lives matter as much as white lives, and that all people’s lives are as sacred as police lives.” So, that leads to the question, how is that possible when police lives are considered far more valuable than anyone else’s; they are more valued than a sanitation worker’s, a postal worker’s, the bus and taxi driver’s, all of whom serve the community.(?)

Antonio Martin, 18, killed  by white  Berkeley, MO cop Dec. 23, 2014.

Kaijeme Powell, killed by white St. Louis cops Oct. 8, 2014.

Vonderrit Myers, 18, killed by white St. Louis cop Aug. 23, 2014.

Michael Brown, 18, killed by white Ferguson MO cop Darren Wilson Aug. 9, 2014.

[VOD: The four young Black men above were killed by white cops in and around St. Louis, MO, between August and December, 2014, with Martin targeted after the NYC cops were killed. The media downplayed the movement against such slaughter in the wake of NYC cop killings, extolling police instead and providing extensive coverage of their funerals. Is it certain their killings were not a set-up to derail the anti-police killings movement?

Jordan Baker, killed by white Houston cop Jan. 2014 for wearing hoodie.

Jordan Baker, killed by white Houston cop Jan. 2014, terming him a suspect for wearing a hoodie.

Dontre Hamilton, killed by white Milwaukee cop for sleeping in park April 30, 2014.

John Crawford, killed by Ohio city police at Walmart .

Some so-called “national” leaders of the movement such as Al Sharpton continued to harp on “peaceful” protests. Meanwhile, many other such killings by police across the U.S. continue. The day Antonio Martin died, another grand jury in Houston, Texas refused to indict a cop in the killing of Jordan Baker, 26, in Jan. 2014. On Dec. 22, a Milwaukee grand jury refused to indict a white cop for killing Dontre Hamilton, 31, for sleeping in a park. Earlier, an Ohio grand jury refused to indict white cops who killed John Crawford for holding a toy air gun off the shelves of a Walmart store.] 

 Granted, police officers, like firemen, at times put their lives on the line to safeguard the lives of others. It is terrible that in our highly developed technological society, our humanity has yet to reach a point in which the police have not become obsolete. However, I am of the opinion that all of our humanity is challenged by the historical dynamic of racism and. capitalism (exploitation and profiteering).

St. Louis County police advance on protesters of Michael Brown

St. Louis County police advance on protesters of Michael Brown’s death, after torching of businesses.

As was learned from OWS, 1% of the popu1ation controls and owns 99% of the country’s wealth. Unfortunately, more often than not, the police are used as tools of the capitalist class to protect financial interests over human interests. This is especially disconcerting as it pertains to the racialized disenfranchised and poor, such as racial profiling. In this regard, police violence represents the interests of the State. As I was once told, the police are the first line of defense for the maintenance of state power. If this is true, then it is extremely important the community-at-large recognizes how their lives are only as important as the state permits, for as long as they are exploitable/profitable.

Two dozen protesters from a gun club named after the founder of the Black Panther Party marched through the streets of South Dallas on Wednesday. The open-carry rally was organized by the Huey P. Newton Gun Club to promote self-defense and community policing in response to recent police shootings.

Two dozen protesters from a gun club named after the founder of the Black Panther Party marched through the streets of South Dallas on Wednesday. The open-carry rally was organized by the Huey P. Newton Gun Club to promote self-defense and community policing in response to recent police shootings.

Obviously, the dichotomy between the institution of police and society needs to be investigated and reevaluated, especially, when one is armed (militarized) and the other, for the most part, unarmed and vulnerable. The public perception and discourse imposed by corporate media shapes our collective thinking on the legitimacy of violence; state violence is legitimate, and any violence not sanctioned by the state is illegitimate. We then consciously accept the inevitability of the state, and thus the virtue of its violence.

Hence, community violence in inner cities is not sanctioned by the state, and therefore, it must be policed. Generally, we agree with this policing, when it saves lives and establishes social order. However, there is a causation for inner-city violence that is not readily considered for problem-solving, only managed by policing.

Black Panther Party breakfast program, which became model for free meals in schools.

Black Panther Party breakfast program, which became model for free meals in schools.

Forty years ago, the Black Panther Party sought to challenge the causation of inner-city violence. The BPP attempted to rid the community of drug dealing, gang violence, and police brutality and murder, creating free breakfast programs, free community health clinics, supporting tenants’ rights, etc. In response, the BPP was confronted with the full force of state violence, essentially destroying a movement with the potential of de-criminalizing the community, forging a revolutionary future. Lest we forget, permit me to remind us all, the death of a movement for liberation serves to keep in place the status quo of state violence in all of its forms.

Again, we must loathe all those who fail to recognize the sanctity of life. Therefore, it is extremely necessary to reject corporate media efforts to confuse the valorization of police above and beyond deaths of unarmed civilians killed by police. The noble protest against police violence must not be undermined or in any way disputed; the communities’ grievances are real and must be resolved with justice. We cannot afford to continue to preserve the dichotomy that lends to inferior to superior social paradigm in class andrace relationships, and we certainly should not seek to maintain socio-economic disparity that lends to inequitable distribution of wealth.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The De-Militarization and De-Centralization of police is the primary objective that will serve to ensure the safety of the community. The demand for community control of the police strengthens the capacity of the community to police themselves, ridding the community of outside armed and potentially racist forces occupying the community.

In this regard, Martin L. King, Jr. raised the following:

“The question is not whether we will be extremists but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice, or will we be extremists for the cause of justice?”

The First Line of Defense IS Power to the People!

Fist Up Fight Back!

Remember: We Are Our own Liberators!

Jalil A. Muntaqim

Attica 12/22/14

Anthony J. Bottom #77A4283 Attica C.F. P.O. Box 149 Attica, NY 14011-0149 


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STOP TAX EVICTIONS! DROP CHARGES VS. ALONZO LONG, JR.–COME TO HEARING FRI. JAN. 2 @ 1 PM

DETROIT FACES 32,000 TAX FORECLOSURES OF OCCUPIED HOMES IN 2015.

DETROIT FACES 37,000 TAX FORECLOSURES OF OCCUPIED HOMES IN 2015. FROM “WHY DON’T WE OWN THIS” WEBSITE.

Detroit faces 37,000 tax foreclosures of occupied homes in 2015

Coalition calls for Wayne County Moratorium on Tax Foreclosures

Drop the charges against Alonzo Long, Jr., facing life in prison for defending family members against armed intrusion of home by auction winners

Alonzo Long, Jr., 22

DETROIT –The case of Alonzo Long, Jr., 22, charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of armed “landlord” home intruders, has broad implications for homeowners and occupants of all ages everywhere. The second part of Long’s preliminary exam will be held Friday, Jan. 2 at 1 p.m. before 36th District Court Judge Ruth Carter.

As the New Year of 2015 rings in, the Detroit-Why Don’t We Own This website declares 62,000 Detroit properties are up for tax foreclosure, with 37,000 thought to be occupied. The Wayne County Treasurer’s Office earlier told an attorney with Moratorium on Foreclosures, Evictions, and Shut-offs NOW! that their office will not declare a moratorium on these foreclosures, many of which are legally suspect.

A recent study by the American Journal of Public Health found that the home foreclosure crisis is directly tied to an increase in the national suicide rate.

Suicides up nationally, linked to wave of home foreclosures.

Suicides up nationally, linked to wave of home foreclosures.

“Our results suggest that the foreclosure crisis significantly contributed to the increase in suicides in the Great Recession,” said their report, titled The Home Foreclosure Crisis and Rising Suicide Rates, 2005 to 2010, published in April, 2014.  “Importantly, the effects of foreclosures on suicides were strongest among middle-aged adults, especially those aged 46 to 64 years, helping to explain the recent rise in middle-aged suicide.”

In addition, the report says, neighbors who lived near foreclosed homes showed significant increases in their blood pressure rates.

According to testimony at the first part of Long’s preliminary exam Dec. 17, he acted in defense of his family members against Howard Franklin, 72, and Catherine Franklin, 37, in the incident Nov. 28. The elder Franklin had purchased the home at the October tax auction, with the deed going into his name Nov. 10.

The home was occupied by a grandson of Willie and Margaret Fletcher, an elderly couple who had title to the home before it was foreclosed. The grandson and others were moving his possessions out of the home when Howard and Catherine Franklin showed up, “brandishing guns,” according to conversation overheard by their employees in a subsequent confrontation.

36th District Court is where Detroit landlords must go to handle eviction proceedings. Located at 421 Madison Avenue in downtown Detroit, it is also the court where the second part of Alonzo Long Jr.s hearing will be held Fri. Jan. 2 @ 1pm.

36th District Court is where Detroit landlords must go to handle eviction proceedings. Located at 421 Madison Avenue in downtown Detroit, it is also the court where the second part of Alonzo Long Jr.s hearing will be held Fri. Jan. 2 @ 1pm.

Howard Franklin did not follow the law by first going to 36th District Court’s landlord-tenant division and filing for eviction, a mandatory process with notice to occupants that, if successful, is carried out only by Wayne County bailiffs. The Franklins had no right even to enter the premises without permission of the occupants, according to the treasurer’s bidding requirements.

During the confrontation, the employees, who had run outside, said they heard remarks from inside including, “The police gave us more time,” and “Now you’re brandishing guns.” That’s when the three women and one man moving the possessions called for help from Long, Jr., who was sitting outside the home in a car in the driveway. One of the women was wounded, likely by one of the Franklins.

The employees testified they knew both Franklins were armed. One said Catherine Franklin was holding a gun when she fell out of the front door, fatally wounded. They testified they saw Long, Jr. enter the home with a gun held “straight-arm” down at his side, pointing downwards, after the call for help from inside, and then saw and heard gunshot flashes and sounds.

Occupy Detroit and Moratorium NOW defend a home from eviction Dec. 6, 2011

Occupy Detroit and Moratorium NOW defend a home from eviction Dec. 6, 2011

Although the subsequent deaths of the Franklins are tragic, especially for their family members, they had broken the law by trying to carry out an eviction themselves, entering the premises with guns. The Wayne County Treasurer’s office does not give winning auction bidders instructions on how to deal with occupied properties at 36th District Court.

To avoid future catastrophic consequences of the foreclosure tide, including suicides and the devastation of neighborhoods throughout Detroit and Wayne County, Mike Shane of the Moratorium NOW! Coalition said they are calling on Wayne County Treasurer Raymond Wojtowicz to declare a moratorium on tax foreclosures in 2015.

The attempt to incarcerate Alonzo D. Long, Jr. for life is part of a national policy.

The attempt to incarcerate Alonzo D. Long, Jr. for life is part of a national policy.

Meanwhile, a Detroit youth who was defending his family from the illegal actions which resulted from one of these foreclosures, faces life in prison.

Shane said they are also calling for charges against him to be dismissed on the basis of self-defense and defense of others. They and other community activists plan to be in 36th District Court to support the young man Friday, Jan. 2, at 1 p.m.

DISMISS THE CHARGES VS. ALONZO LONG, JR.! CALL AN EMERGENCY MORATORIUM ON TAX FORECLOSURES IN WAYNE COUNTY!

 Related: 

https://detroit.whydontweownthis.com/

http://moratorium-mi.org/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/12/19/two-dead-one-wounded-one-youth-facing-life-in-prison-for-defense-against-armed-eviction-attempt/

Map 36th District Court

Location of 36th District Court on Madison Ave south of Ford Field.

 


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