“When murderous attack by agents of the State is a reasonable expectation, then it is totally reasonable to resist the repressive powers of that State by any means necessary.”
A week that began with the Black American psyche shocked and strained to its very limits by the outrageous police murders of Black men in Louisiana and Minnesota, ended with a white mayor claiming absolution for his city and, by extension, white U.S. society in general. “We did nothing wrong. Dallas is very, very good,” Mayor Mike Rawlings told an event honoring the five cops killed by 25 year-old Black Army veteran Micah Xavier Johnson. “I am in awe of our police officers.”
Micah Xavier Johnson
The New York Times was eager to issue an obituary for the movement that has been percolating since a Florida vigilante gunned down Trayvon Martin in 2012. “Black Lives Matter Was Gaining Ground,” read the headline on Sunday, July 10, but “…Then a Sniper Opened Fire.” According to the twisted logic of the ruling class “paper of record,” “Mr. Johnson’s actions could jeopardize the movement’s appeal to a broader group of Americans who have gradually become more sympathetic to its cause after years of highly publicized police shootings.” Translation: The purpose of Black people’s movements is to garner white support. Therefore, protesters must stand down in deference to white sensibilities, lest they be suspected of collectively empathizing with Mr. Johnson.
But Black people and their allies refused to stand down. In Atlanta, New York, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Detroit, New Orleans, Nashville, Phoenix, San Francisco – and, of course, in greater Minneapolis and Baton Rouge, the scenes of the crimes – thousands took to the streets to express their righteous, disciplined rage. Many of these protests have continued, day after day and night after night, inspired by the remarkable example of Lavish “Diamond” Reynolds, the girlfriend of Philando Castile.
Diamond “Lavish” Reynolds and daughter were in car when cop killed boyfriend Philando Castile. Facebook photo
The world witnessed the young mother’s miraculous presence of mind as she streamed online to call for help for her dying boyfriend, strapped in his seat at her side; alerted the community to the unprovoked nature of the attack by Officer Jeronimo Yanez, verbally confronting the killer cop and correcting his version of the shooting; and, managed to somehow preserve her own life and that of her four-year-old daughter, sitting in the back seat. The crazed and cursing cop kept his weapon trained on Castile, Reynolds and little Dae’Anna, the whole time.
The Minnesota cop’s lawyer maintains that “the shooting had nothing to do with race and everything to do with the presence of that gun” – the registered gun Mr. Castile told the officer he legally possessed, and which he never reached for or touched, as Ms. Reynolds explained in her emergency call to the world.
“Black Man + Gun = DEATH”
The cop is preparing a defense based on the police formula: Black Man + Gun = Death. It is the operative equation in every jurisdiction in America. A homeless man who had been begging Alton Sterling for money reportedly told police that Sterling had a gun on his person, thereby authorizing his execution under the formula – although Sterling never brandished a weapon at the two Baton Rouge police and was immobilized when repeatedly shot point blank, after which the weapon was removed from his pocket.
Cover of book about internationally acclaimed activist Robert Williams, shown with wife Mabel Williams, “Negroes with Guns.”
They are also cynical liars and hypocrites. North Carolina Congressman G.K. Butterfield, the current chairman of the Black Caucus, called a diversionary press conference the day after the armed assault on the Dallas police, attempting to link the gun control debate to both the police killings of Castile and Sterling and Micah Johnson’s retaliatory killing of cops: “Republicans, what on earth — why are you recoiling and not giving us a debate on gun violence?” The legislation the CBC and Obama support is irrelevant to the question of police violence against Blacks, or the Black response to that violence.“
“In Baton Rouge, where hundreds have been arrested in protests over Alton Sterling’s murder, it is as if Ferguson never happened.”
In Baton Rouge, where hundreds have been arrested in protests over Alton Sterling’s murder, it is as if Ferguson never happened. According to a report by Prof. Bob Quigley in this issue of BAR, riot clad police are pointing lethal weapons at protesters, bystanders and journalists, deploying military-type vehicles, and conducting blanket area sweeps with no visible regard for law or civil liberties. Corporate media excuse the Baton Rouge police behavior as an understandable reaction to the Dallas police deaths. The New York Times has not asked the cops to stand down.
Gil Scott-Heron, the late musician-poet, dedicated his spoken word poem “Siege of New Orleans” to Mark Essex’s day of retaliation. On his song “Inner City Blues,” Scott-Heron mixes the “Siege” with his version of Marvin Gaye’s “Make Me Wanna Holler.”
Here are the words included in “Siege of New Orleans”
Mark Essex shot and killed multiple New Orleans police officers in 1972.
Did you ever hear about Mark Essex and the things that made him choose to fight the inner city blues
Yeah, Essex took to the rooftops guerilla style and watched while all the crackers went wild
Brought in 600 troops, brand new I hear, to see them crushed with fear
Essex fought back with a thousand rounds and New Orleans was a changing town
Rat a tat tat tat was the only sound, yeah
Bring on the stone rifles to knock down walls
Bring on the elephant guns
Bring on the helicopters to block out the sun
Yeah, made the devil wanna holler cause 8 was dead and a dozen was down
Cries for freedom were a brand new sound
New York, Chicago, Frisco, LA
Justice was served and the unjust were afraid
Because in spite of all the years and all the fears
Brothers were alive to courage found and spreading them goddamn rules around
Yeah, make you wanna holler black people and hold up both your hands and say
If Gil Scott-Heron were alive, today, Obama might put him on his Tuesday night Kill List. Two generations removed from both mass movement politics and any real discussion of oppressed people’s moral and legal right to resist, most Black folks today don’t know quite what to say about Micah Johnson’s act of self-sacrifice and revenge. But many do feel a sense of grim exhilaration.
Nate Weekley, brother of Joseph, who killed Aiyana Jones, 7, in Detroit posts racist rant, gets demoted, not jailed
(National stories follow this VOD commentary)
July 11, 2016
DETROIT – Detroit cop Nate Weekley, the brother of cop Joseph Weekley, who shot and killed Aiyana Jones, 7, on May 16, 2010, this week posted racist comments on Facebook about the Black Lives Matter protesters who continue to pour into the nation’s streets this week.
Detroit Police Chief James Craig reported that he has been demoted, but he has not been taken into custody as have four Detroiters who allegedly posted threats against police officers, according to the Channel 2 video above.
This story goes to the heart of the controversy over the brutal police killings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, and Philando Castile in Minnesota this past week, the huge protests that have erupted across the U.S. in response, and adverse reactions to the killing of five police officers in Dallas, Texas, allegedly by Micah Xavier Johnson, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan who evidently came back home enlightened.
Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway (l) let killer cop Joseph Weekley (r) go free after he shot Aiyana Jones, 7, in the head with an MP-5, killing her as family members watched.
Nate Weekley, though demoted, remains armed every day and still on the streets. He can kill another Black child anytime he wants. After all, his brother Joseph Weekley, who likely shares his racist sentiments, got away with the murder of Aiyana.
Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway conspired with Assistant Prosecutor Robert Moran and defense attorney Steve Fishman to bring about two hung juries, and then finally dismissed “involuntary manslaughter” and firearms charges against Weekley. Even some in the prosecutor’s office were reportedly upset about this outrage.
The death of Aiyana is appropriately called a “murder” here. This reporter has been the ONLY one in Detroit who, after covering every single hearing in the trials of Weekley and also of Aiyana’s father Charles Jones and uncle Chauncey Owens, has concluded that beautiful innocent little Aiyana was MURDERED without a doubt.
Mertilla Jones confronts Weekley (far r) and his attorney Steve Fishman as she leaves court crying out, “WHY DID YOU DO THIS?”
Her grandmother Mertilla Jones was fiercely scolded by Hathaway and denounced by other reporters for saying Weekley and his fellow SWAT team members “came to kill.” She had watched as Weekley blew Aiyana’s head off when he entered their home in the dead of night May 16, 2010. Aiyana’s entire family was there, including her parents, two baby brothers, her great-aunt, and several cousins.
Worthy brought charges against Aiyana’s father Charles Jones and uncle Chauncey Owens in the killing of Je’rean Blake two days previously. The conviction of Charles Jones, who is serving a sentence of 40-60 years, was based largely on the testimony of two “jailhouse snitches.”
Jones’ assessment was validated by the following FACTS, gleaned from trial testimony:
The raid was a set-up to gain publicity for the Detroit Police on A & E’s “48 Hours.” Weekley and other members of the raid team were stars on that show.
Police surveilled the area all day prior to the raid and saw their target Chauncey Owens in the street at least twice, during which he could have easily been arrested. He was NOT hiding out—he lived upstairs at the home with Aiyana’s aunt Krystal.
Protesters marched with a banner remembering Aiyana on April 28, 2015, after police killed Terrance Kellom, 19, in his father’s home, which is behind them.
Photos of toys outside the home were shown at Weekley’s trial, taken by surveillance officers during the day. Aiyana’s cousin cried out to the raid team that there were children in the house.
Weekley entered the home first after a “flash-bang” grenade was thrown onto the couch where little Aiyana lay sleeping with her grandmother.
Weekley fired his MP-5 semi-automatic directly into Aiyana’s head seconds after he entered. A firearms expert testified at his trial that there was no way his gun could have been fired “accidentally,” as the mainstream media continues to claim. Other officers testified that they are trained until it becomes automatic reflex to keep their fingers on the slide of their guns, and off the trigger, until they decide to shoot.
Weekley informed an acquaintance of his that the safety was OFF his gun when he entered the home.
The mainstream media completely ignored the comments of the assistant Wayne County Medical Examiner at Weekley’s trial that the lack of gunshot residue on Aiyana’s head could have come from a “contact wound,” in which the residue enters the wound. The defense claimed the lack of GSR meant his gun was fired from a distance, supporting its claim that this was an “accidental” shooting.
Micah Xavier Johnson, who allegedly killed five Dallas cops after returning home from Afghanistan.
The fact that Nate Weekley felt free to post this racist comment, knowing the media would discover who his brother is, exposes the true nature of police forces in the U.S. They are here to “serve and protect” the interests of the wealthy elite in this country, not Black, Latin, Asian and poor people.
NOT ONE COP HAS GONE TO PRISON FOR THE KILLINGS OF THOUSANDS OF BLACK, LATIN AND POOR PEOPLE SINCE MICHAEL BROWN, 18, DIED IN FERGUSON MISSOURI IN 2014. NOT ONE COP HAS GONE TO PRISON FOR THE DEATH OF AIYANA JONES AND DOZENS OF OTHERS KILLED IN DETROIT OVER THE LAST 20 YEARS.
Liberal protest leaders continue to call out, NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE as they try to calm the rising tide of fury in the U.S., shown not only in the massive protests and arrests of demonstrators, but also in direct action taken in retaliation against police officers.
WHERE IS THE JUSTICE? WHY SHOULD THERE BE PEACE?
March against Dearborn police murder of Kevin Matthews: Dearborn cop tells march leader Rev. Chas. WIlliams of NAN what the route will be. There still has been no justice in his case.
The Dearborn cop who murdered Kevin Matthews last Dec. 23 has not been charged, although the Michigan State Police report on the case is on the desk of Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy.
The Dearborn cops who murdered Janet Wilson outside Fairlane Mall in January of this year have not been charged. Worthy earlier refused to charge Detroit and federal police who gunned down Terrance Kellom in his father’s home, despite her admission that the hammer cops claimed Kellom used to pound a hole in the floor and then brandish at them has none of his fingerprints on it.
Why should there be peace in a country that has five percent of the world’s population and 25 percent of its incarcerated population? Why should there be peace in a country founded on the genocide of its indigenous population of American Indians, the genocide and enslavement of kidnapped Africans, and genocidal wars across the world?
WHY SHOULD MICAH ZAVIER JOHNSON HAVE HELD HIS PEACE?
VIDEO BY IVAN KING OF DETROIT BLACK FRIDAY PROTEST AGAINST POLICE KILLINGS JULY 8, 2016
AT LEAST FOUR ARRESTED IN DETROIT FOR FACEBOOK POSTS PRAISING DALLAS SHOOTER
One praised Dallas gunman Micah Johnson as his ‘hero’
‘All lives can’t matter until black lives matter,’ wrote a third suspect
Two were released, while two have been detained on unrelated warrants.
Dorian Ruff claims he was arrested on Saturday for his post on Facebook. He had posted a picture of Johnson captioned: ‘Definitely a black hero.’ Police woud not confirm if Ruff, of Detroit, was one of the four suspects.
One of the suspects [allegedly] wrote: ‘All lives can’t matter until black lives matter. Kill all white cops.’
Another [allegedly] said: ‘It’s time to wage war and shoot the police first’, while a third [allegedly] said Johnson was his ‘hero’ and had ‘inspired me to do the exact same thing.’
One of the men arrested had posted pictures and videos of officers being shot on his Facebook wall and wrote: ‘This needs to happen more often,’ according to police.
Detroit Chief James Craig said in the wake of the Dallas mass shooting, he is taking the threats to his officers very seriously as he said his department is ‘in a higher state of alertness.’
Two of the four African-American men arrested have been released. The rest are in jail on unrelated, outstanding warrants, according to police.
VOD: PROTESTS CONTINUED TODAY, JULY 13, IN MINNEAPOLIS:
DOZENS ARRESTED AS PROTESTS AGAINST POLICE BRUTALITY CONTINUED LAST WEEK
Phil Helsel and Elisha Fieldstadt and Matthew Grimson and The Associated Press
July 10, 2016
Dozens of protesters were arrested and several police were injured Saturday night as tense protests over police force against African-Americans continued across the nation.
Police used smoke bombs to clear demonstrators blocking Interstate 94 in Saint Paul, Minnesota, late Saturday, while more than 30 people were arrested in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Both cities continue reel after the deaths of two black men at the hands of white officers last week.
Police said on Twitter that people on an overpass were “throwing objects at officers, dumping liquid on officers” and others were throwing rocks and a construction material called rebar. Police also said a molotov cocktail was thrown at officers.
Police were heard telling the crowd, “leave the interstate now or you’ll be subject to a use of force” shortly after 10:30 p.m. Police blamed “aggressors” for throwing rocks and other objects at officers, and said police were using “marking rounds.”
Police said at least five officers in all were injured by thrown objects, but none of the injuries were serious. Authorities used smoke bombs when 200 protesters refused to leave the roadway just after midnight. By 12:45 a.m. Sunday, police said they were clearing debris from the road in order to reopen the highway.
Authorities said arrests had been made, but it was not clear how many.
In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, hundreds of protesters gathered for another day of demonstrations over the fatal shooting of Alton Sterling. Some wore T-shirts that read, “I can’t keep calm I have a black son” or “Black Lives Matter.”
Arthur “Silky Slim” Reed, with the group Stop the Killing Inc., demands the resignation of Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden during a news conference.
Baton Rouge resident Marie Flowers came to the protest with her three children.
Pointing to the crowds along a fence surrounding the police department she said: “To me, this is just a snapshot of north Baton Rouge and how frustrated they are. They are so frustrated with this bull c**p.”
At one point, she gestured to her 12-year-old son and said they were there to protect men like him. “Black boys are being killed and this is just the culmination of what has been going on for decades,” Flowers said.
A reporter for public radio station WNWO was also arrested, the radio station said.
Hundreds of protesters blocked a major highway in Oakland, California on Thursday evening, protesting the fatal police shootings of two African-American men, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile and what they consider racist policing.
Several hundred protesters took to the streets of San Francisco, blocking several roads and ramps to get on and off the Bay Bridge.
The California Highway Patrol closed access to the bridge at least two times Saturday afternoon when protesters took over freeway ramps, causing traffic to back up.
The group began marching from the city’s Hall of Justice to the downtown shopping area, causing a temporary shutdown of a popular mall as the crowd gathered there to chant slogans and make speeches.
In central California, several hundred protesters blocked several intersections as they marched against police brutality in central Fresno. Officers in riot gear blocked an on-ramp to keep the protesters from entering State Route 41.
In Chicago, hundreds of protesters held demonstrations downtown Saturday, and a group attempted to disrupt the a city-sponsored food and music festival.
“No Justice, NO REVENUE,” said a Facebook invitation to the demonstration, set to be held at “Taste of Chicago.”
The festival was not closed, NBC Chicago reported. Protesters continued on a march and staged sit-ins and blocked intersections, the station reported.
Protest in Denver, Colorado
The deaths of Sterling and Castile renewed scrutiny of the use of deadly police force on African-Americans. As a protest was underway in Dallas Thursday, a gunman who said he was upset at white people opened fire on police officers, killing five officers and wounding seven others in what officials described as a targeted attack. The gunman was killed by police.
Hundreds of people also marched in West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale Saturday as part of the Black Lives Matter movement in demonstrations that ended peacefully.
Protesters in Fort Lauderdale chanted “No justice, no peace” and “Hands up, don’t shoot.” At one point the protest stopped outside a Broward County jail and prisoners banged on windows in support, but the protest was largely calm.
“It’s love out here. Everybody is happy and peaceful. It’s not something that we are coming to tear another race down,” a rally organizer told NBC Miami.
A protest march was also held in Philadelphia. “Clearly this is REVOLUTION time. We know this,” an organizer wrote on Facebook.
Elsewhere in Pennsylvania, several hundred people broke off from Pittsburgh’s 200th anniversary parade and marched to a courthouse to denounce the shootings of black men.
More than 150 people also gathered in downtown Newport, Rhode Island, in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Seneca Pender of Middletown organized the rally. He told the crowd that the senseless killings of black people “have to stop.”
Pender also thanked law enforcement officers who provided security at the rally in Newport and decried the deadly attack Thursday on police officers in Dallas.
FIRST BLACK MISS ALABAMA CALLS DALLAS POLICE SHOOTER A ‘MARTYR’
Baton Rouge police attack marchers protesting deaths of Alton Sterling and
“I can’t help but feeling like the shooter was a martyr,” she said. “And I know it’s not the right way to feel because nobody deserves to lose their lives, and I know those police officers had families.”
James, an Alabama native who lives in Miami, said she believes that many people feel the same way.
“I am so torn up in my heart about seeing these men, these black men being gunned down in our community,” she said. “I wasn’t surprised by what the shooter did to those cops, and I think a lot of us feel the same way.”
James told AL.com in a statement, that she does not condone violence or killing, but that she stands by the comments she made in the Sunday Facebook Live post.
‘The fact that my opinion was considered newsworthy makes me feel like speaking up was exactly what I should do, because I can voice what so many people are feeling and dealing with and they should know they are not alone,” James said in a statement to AL.com.
Follow @MaryBowerman on Twitter.
BLM SUPPORTER SHOT DEAD BY OFF-DUTY COP FOLLOWING FACEBOOK ARGUMENT; COP CLAIMS TYLER GEBHARD TRIED TO BREAK IN HOME
A Black Lives Matter supporter was shot dead by an off-duty police officer after allegedly breaking into the cop’s home following a row on Facebook.
Police said Tyler Gebhard, 20, smashed a window at the officer’s home before he was shot in the chest in St Louis, Missouri.
Gebhard, who suffered from bi-polar disorder, was said to have become embroiled in a row with the officer on Facebook over the Black Lives Matter campaign and allegedly made threats towards him and his family.
The incident comes in the wake of the shooting of five police officers at a Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas on Thursday. The demonstration had been organised following the deaths of two black men – Philando Castile and Alton Sterling – shot dead by police last week.
The unnamed officer has been placed on leave following the incident.
PROF. GRIFF OF PUBLIC ENEMY TARGETED BY DALLAS POLICE
Griff: ‘I do not advocate killing cops,” did not know Micah Johnson
LAS VEGAS, NV – JUNE 06: Rapper Professor Griff of Public Enemy performs at The Joint inside the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on June 6, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
The Dallas Police Department, in its ongoing investigation into the police ambush that left five officers dead on Thursday, has been sharing information on its findings via its blog, The DPD Beat.
In an update posted Friday afternoon, the blog announced information that it says investigators found about the lone shooter, Micah Xavier Johnson, a US Army reservist who died during a standoff with police.
Pointing to a Facebook account that apparently belonged to Johnson, DPD Beat noted that the Facebook page included information about “Richard GRIFFIN aka Professor Griff.” Griffin is a rapper best-known for his work with the Grammy-nominated music group, Public Enemy.
Prof. Griff said on his Twitter site that he did not know Micah Johnson. This photo clearly appears to have been altered. Johnson’s head is out of proportion to the body of the man in the photo, and appears pasted on.
“GRIFFIN embraces a radical form of Afrocentrism,” The DPD post read, “and GRIFFIN wrote a book A Warriors Tapestry.”
DPD’s characterization of Griffin appears to have been directly lifted from his Wikipedia page, though the entry does not make clear what is meant by the phrase “a radical form of Afrocentrism.” Griffin’s Wikipedia page was last edited on July 4.
Apparently taking issue with the department’s framing of him, Griffin tweeted, “I do not advocate killing cops.”
Griffin also tweeted a picture that originated from the Daily Mail, in which he is pictured locking hands with Johnson. The Daily Mail’s posting was later deleted. In response, Griffin tweeted, “The police and FBI have been watching me and tapping my phone they know who I talk to. I DO NOT KNOW THE SHOOTER.”
Snyder signs Acts 192-197 to abolish DPS, replace it with state-controlled “community district” that will eventually carry heavy debt load
Acts also attack DPS workers’ collective bargaining and seniority rights
Lawsuit filed to stop dissolution of DPS; says it violates state and federal constitutions by singling out Detroit alone
Steve Conn and Nicole Conaway, two leaders of massive teacher sick-outs of January, on trial at Cadillac Place July 8; protest called for 9 a.m.
By Diane Bukowski
July 7, 2016
DETROIT – First they came for the City of Detroit, the largest Black-majority city in the U.S., stealing its major assets including the $6 billion Detroit Water and Sewerage Department under a contrived bankruptcy deal. Now the same actors have come for what is left of the Detroit Public Schools (DPS) district and the future of the city’s children, 59 percent of whom live under the poverty level.
On June 21, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed Public Acts 192-197, which kill the publicly-run DPS district, founded in 1842, and replace it with a state and corporate-run “community district” including charter schools.
Snyder and DPS Emergency Manager Steven Rhodes, the judge who confirmed the City of Detroit bankruptcy plan, claim they will establish an a new allegedly “debt-free” community district, leaving DPS to pay-off nearly $3 billion in outstanding long-term debt, due through the year 2040.
They are being advised by many of those who engineered the phony Detroit bankruptcy, including Gustav Mulhatra of Ernst & Young and Alex Koch of AlixPartners.
Koch (no discernable relation to the Koch brothers) emailed Snyder on April 28, 2016 that the new debt-free district is a myth.
“We understand that DPS will not avoid any obligations that it currently has as part of the re-structuring,” he told Rhodes. “[However] At the end of 10 years ANY and ALL unamortized obligations left in OldCo [DPS] will be transferred to NewCo [community district] and be an obligation of NewCo.”
He proposed that the state should create a 10 year irrevocable trust to administer payment of the legacy debt.
“We proposed that the existing District be retained and that all obligations designated to be left in OldCO be transferred to an irrevocable 10-year trust to be overseen by an independent trustee. One of the Trust’s provisions would be an irrevocable direction to the Wayne County Treasurer that all real estate tax collections for the life of the trust be transmitted to the Trustee who will be responsible for paying OldCo obligations. At the termination of the trust any remaining obligations are to be returned to NewCo and will be an obligation of NewCo.’
Mass protest at beginning of Detroit bankruptcy eligibility trial Oct. 23, 2012.
His proposal is reminiscent of the Detroit bankruptcy disposition of the city’s multi-billion dollar art collection into a so-called “charitable trust,” taking possession of it away from the people of Detroit. The Detroit City Council voted to approve that action.
Rhodes has also ordered the DPS to borrow as much as $235 million initially in new “school financing stability bonds,” to restructure its outstanding debt, in addition to $150 million as “transition money” for the new district.
“Stability bonds” are not limited by state law to 15 percent of the assessed value of all taxable property in the district. They will eventually greatly increase the “community district” debt load after 10 years and lead to more taxes on Detroit residents, who will have no say in the administration of the new district. Detroiters are already losing their homes by the tens of thousands due to tax foreclosures.
Teachers Steve Conn and Nicole Conaway are calling for protest outside Cadillac place Friday, July 8, 9 a.m.
Similarly, the City of Detroit’s debt load skyrocketed 300 percent after the bankruptcy confirmation, in order to pay off corporate creditors in new bond issues. Part of its debt, the 2005-06 $1.5 billion Pension Obligation Certificates loan from UBS and partners, also recalls Snyder’s plans to borrow money not regulated by the state.
Other parts of the Acts allow the new “community district” to hire uncertified teachers, and eliminate seniority as a consideration in promotions and other matters. The bills define major penalties for school workers who strike and stage “sick-outs,” as they did en masse in January.
On Friday, July 8, a trial begins for two leaders of the days-long teacher “sick-outs” of last January, after all other defendants including the Detroit Federation of Teachers were dismissed from the case by Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stephens. Some leaders of the DFT joined in supporting a Senate version of the DPS Acts that did not include the anti-union clauses, but still dissolved the Detroit Public Schools.
Judge Michael Talbot, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, and former Detroit Mayor Dave Bing at opening of DetroitDetention Center in old Mound Road prison in 2012.
Former DPS President Steven Conn, a long-time math teacher and respected militant, and Nicole Conaway, who taught at the Catherine Ferguson Academy and fought along with its students to keep it open, remain as defendants.
They are asking supporters of Detroit teachers and residents’ rights to retain the Detroit Public Schools to rally outside the building at 9 a.m. as they face trial.
“Coming at such a critical moment in the struggle around education in Detroit, this trial gives Detroit teachers the chance to begin to turn the tables on Snyder and Rhodes, despite the governor’s recent legislative success,” Conn said.
Long-time schools advocate Helen Moore speaks at earlier press conference when board filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of DPS children. Atty. Thomas Bleakley is at left; then Board Pres. Herman Davis at right.
Also in the Court of Claims are DPS parents and Detroit Board of Education members, who filed suit July 5 for an injunction to stop the death of DPS. Their case, Moore v. Snyder, is being heard by Chief Judge Michael Talbot.
“The essence of the complaint is that Public Acts 192-197 are unconstitutional local acts, because they affect only Detroit and the DPS,” said Attorney Thomas Bleakley, who represents the plaintiffs. “As such, they required a two-thirds majority approval from each house of the legislature and the approval of Detroit electors.”
He said no such two-thirds majority was achieved, and added that the Acts violate both state and federal constitutions.
Detroit uses non-certified “Teach for America” educators in its charter schools, which perform worse than DPS schools. Most of the TFA teachers shown in this awards photo are white, out of proportion to DPS’ racial composition.
“The rights of equal protection and due process of all children of the DPS district, irrespective of race and ethnicity, have been violated by the new laws that allow uncertified teachers to be hired in the district while the other 548 public school districts must still use certified teachers,” Bleakley declared.
The lawsuit says, “The school children of the entire state of Michigan constitute a specific and well-defined class. Until such time as this draconian provision may be put into place, this entire class of students is required to be taught by properly-trained certified teachers. DPS children, a group of children isolated and singled out by the new laws, are part of that class. By way of example, a child living on the Detroit side of Eight Mile road is treated by the provisions of P.A. 192 of 2016 differently than a child living on the Ferndale, Eastpointe or Grosse Pointe sides of the road. The law under attack is not facially neutral. The law, P.A. 192 of 2016, seeks to treat DPS children differently than the rest of the class by allowing uncertified persons into their classrooms ostensibly to ‘teach’ them, while no other school district in the state, in adjacent urban districts or remote northern Michigan districts, can legally permit such use of uncertified persons, a “very important discrimination in favor of . ..” non-DPS state-wide students.”
The current Board of Education also disapproved Snyder’s proposed loans at its June 23 meeting, although their decision is likely to be overturned by the Financial Review Commission. At the urging of board member Ida Short, the Board went on record to oppose “the dissolution of the Detroit Public Schools and the creation of the Detroit Community Schools.”
DPS EM former Judge Steven Rhodes.
The board demanded in addition that Rhodes provide a forensic audit to back up his claims that the district was in deficit and therefore needed severe solutions. According to the most recent Comprehensive Annual Financial Statements for DPS, for 2014-15, the board ended that year with a $216 million deficit.
Wallace Turbeville of DEMOS earlier reported that the City of Detroit’s only problem was a $167 million deficit which could easily have been resolved by various measures including state restoration of revenue-sharing funds to its cities, which have lost over $700 million in the last 10 years.
President Lamar Lemmons moved to have the Board ask the federal government for an investigation regarding the misappropriation of federal funds under Emergency Managers.
The bills leading to Acts 192 to 197 were hotly debated in the state legislature, particularly by Detroit Senators and Representatives who said they were not involved in drafting legislation for their own district.
Aurora Harris, parent of DPS special needs student, is also a well-known poet.
Aurora Harris, a parent of a DPS special needs student, reported, “There has been much news concerning the fate of Detroit Public Schools. From the House and Senate Bills to Detroit law makers not being allowed to speak in Lansing during the hearings or decision making session is a “slap in the face” as one Democrat from Detroit previously stated. As an advocate for parents with students with special needs, I’m here to say NOTHING has been discussed about the education and fate of students with special needs in the “old” or “new” planned DPS District, by those who wish to “rule” over or emergency manage Detroit Public Schools.”
State Sen. Morris Hood was furious as he spoke during the Senate debate.
“You coward. You coward—to even take and put this legislation before us and before my community and not even have one Detroiter in the room to help negotiate this piece,” he said.
Michigan State Sen. Morris Hood III.
“We would have said, “Hell no.” Guess what? You go into your caucus, and they go into their caucus and do whatever they want to do to my community—the kids I have to look at everyday walking up and down the street. I have to look in their eyes; you don’t. But you want to make the decisions on their lives, and tell them what kind of life they’re going to have, what kind of education that they have because they don’t have the same education that you get in your district. Why? Because this bill does not do it. This is not the answer. This is the crap that you shoved down our throats, and you shoved down their throats. These kids don’t have a voice here. We are their voice. This is going to impact them for years.”
Cops shoots off Castile’s arm as he reaches for his wallet and ID
Girlfriend Diamond Reynolds videotaped killing, was forced to her knees by cops, arrested
“My daughter has been stronger than me”–Diamond Reynolds
July 7, 2016
Philando Castile with mother; he was 10-year schools worker.
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The girlfriend of Philando Castile, a Black man fatally shot by police during a traffic stop Wednesday night in Falcon Heights, spoke Thursday morning at a protest outside the Governor’s mansion in St. Paul.
“The police killed him in front of my daughter,” Diamond Reynolds said.
Castile, Reynolds and her 4-year-old daughter were in a vehicle in Falcon Heights that was pulled over by police for a broken tail light. Reynolds said Thursday the tail light was not broken.
An officer asked Castile for his ID, Reynolds says, and when he reached for his license and registration he told the officer he had a conceal-and-carry permit for a gun and he had the gun with him. Reynolds says that’s when an officer shot Castile four or five times.
UPDATE: The officer who killed Philando Castile has been identified as Jeronomino Yanez.
He was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
“We don’t have to go through this. The police did this to us. He was showing his identification, he was licensed to carry and he was reaching for his ID in his back pocket. He told the officer as he was reaching for his license that he was licensed to carry.
“Police took four or five shots for no reason. They took his life for no reason. They did this to my daughter and they did it to me, and I want justice and I want peace,” Reynolds said. “They took an innocent man away from us.”
Reynolds recorded a live video on Facebook immediately after the shooting that went viral. Her daughter is heard telling her towards the end, “It’s OK mommy, I’m here.”
“My daughter has been stronger than me. Without this little angel by my side, I would have never been able to make it through this. She told me she would never leave my side, and she’s been there through all of this,” Reynolds said.
incident sparked protests overnight that started at the shooting scene and eventually spilled over to the Governor’s mansion as they demanded justice from Mark Dayton.
Reynolds said she was taken into custody after the shooting and wasn’t released until 5 a.m. Thursday. She said they dropped her off at her doorstep.
“The police, the people that are supposed to serve and protect us, are not serving us and they are not protecting us. They are taking innocent people away from their families, innocent people off the streets and it’s not OK,” she said. “I will not be able to sleep until I get justice.”
Reynolds said Castile worked for St. Paul Public Schools for more than 10 years and never had a criminal record. He would’ve turned 35 in nine days.
“That man should not be home with his family, he should be somewhere in jail, handcuffed,” Reynolds said of the officer in the shooting. The officer has not been identified.
Video above: Castile’s mother, uncle, speak on CNN _____________________________________________________________
Protesters surround governor’s mansion after Philando Castile is killed by police
BY SUSAN DU
JULY 7, 2018
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton joined protesters later, said he has asked USDOJ to step in
By midnight, a crowd of about 50 people had formed across the street from the scene of the shooting. As investigators with the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension gathered evidence from Castile’s abandoned white car, spectators castigated the cluster of police standing guard in the middle of the street. “You guys should be standing up against murder!” and “What about you detective, you got nothing to say? No ‘sorry this happened’?”
In attendance were Nekima Levy-Pounds of Minneapolis Black Lives Matter, Rashad Turner of St. Paul Black Lives Matter, longtime social justice advocate Mel Reeves, and a number of other leading local activists.
Protesters at gates to Governors mansion
Corydon Nilsson, an organizer for Black Lives Matter St. Paul and the Twin Cities Coalition for Justice for Jamar, headed straight for Larpenteur and Fry as soon as he saw the video about an hour after the shooting. “My heart’s been broken all day for the one in Baton Rouge, and then to see it here two miles from where I live, it’s too much,” he says. “I talked to a coworker earlier, he was a great guy, a normal guy, he had no oddities at all.”
Castile was a kitchen supervisor at J.J. Hill Montessori Magnet School in St. Paul, and reportedly the father of the little girl who was in the back of the car at the time of the shooting.
“The video is pretty damning. The officer seems to know he screwed up toward the end,” Nilsson says. “I don’t know. I never believe a cop is going to get indicted, so I don’t wanna get my hopes up, but this one is pretty bad.”
All night protest at Minnesota governor’s mansion July 6-7, 2016.
Liliana Tenquist, a St. Paul teacher who also lives near the Falcon Heights neighborhood where Castile was shot, says her heart goes out to the students of J.J. Hill watching the news Wednesday night, and seeing their cook die on camera.
“[The officers] took an oath when they took that badge, and they need to take that oath very seriously,” Tenquist says. “It’s the same oath I take when I work with kids, to honor and serve and protect. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for my students, and I feel an officer should take that approach too. It’s just disappointing when they don’t. It’s really saddening for those that do their jobs and do serve.”
Youth calls out for justice at Governor’s mansion
St. Anthony Police released a statement in the early morning that was short on details but confirmed that Castile was indeed deceased after having been taken to the hospital, and that the officer who fired the shots had been placed on standard administrative leave pending investigation.
When the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension finished at the scene of the shooting, police hosed down the street, and protesters traveled down to the governor’s mansion in St. Paul. There, hundreds of people amassed with banners, candles, and megaphones, to block off the stretch of Summit Avenue before Mark Dayton’s house.
Protesters sang, danced, and blared car horns to chants of “Wake them up!” when Dayton failed to appear at the gates to address them. Masked men wove caution tape through the wrought iron gate surrounding the mansion. Volunteers barred the main driveway and the back alley exit behind the house to prevent the governor from slipping away.
Police were hands off. One officer approached protesters to assure them that the Facebook video was indeed “very disturbing,” and that officers would stand watch just to protect their freedom of expression.
The demonstration lasted throughout the rainy night. By dawn, most protesters had dispersed from the Governor’s Residence, though a number held their ground. Dayton did not appear. (He finally showed up at the end of protest.)
Alton Sterling, 37, shot to death by white Baton Rouge cops
BATON ROUGE, LA — Alton Sterling, a 37-year old man who sold CDs, was shot and killed by a Baton Rouge police officer Tuesday morning outside a convenience store on North Foster Drive after “some type of altercation” with two officers, officials said.
Baton Rouge police did not provide much information about what escalated the incident between the officers and Sterling or what prompted an officer to fire his weapon. A witness, however, described police as “aggressive” and said Sterling was armed but was not holding his gun or touching his pockets during the incident. Police later retrieved a gun from the man’s pocket, said the witness, shop owner Abdullah Muflahi.
Around 12:35 a.m., Baton Rouge police responded to the Triple S Food Mart at 2112 N. Foster Drive after an anonymous caller indicated that a man in a red shirt who was selling CDs outside the store pointed a gun at someone, telling them to leave the property, Baton Rouge Police Department spokesman Cpl. L’Jean McKneely said.
East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner William “Beau” Clark said the initial results of an autopsy performed Tuesday show Sterling died due to a homicide and suffered multiple — meaning more than two — gunshot wounds to the chest and back.
People pour into the streets to protest Sterling’s death July 5. Photo: The Advocate
A 48-second cellphone video captured by a bystander — which circulated at a protest about the shooting later in the day — shows an officer firing at least one round into a man’s chest outside what appears to be the Triple S store, followed by the sound of at least four more shots as the camera veers away.
“Get on the ground! Get on the ground!” an officer is heard yelling in the beginning of the clip.
Two officers are seen wrangling a heavy-set man in a red shirt against a silver sedan before pulling him to the ground on his back.
Alton Sterling’s son Cameron Sterling, 15, weeps as his mother Quinyetta McMillan speaks at press conference July 6, 2016. Photo: The Advocate
One officer is seen pulling the man’s left arm down while he pressed down on the man’s chest. The man’s right arm is not visible in the video.
“He’s got a gun! Gun,” an officer says, prompting the lawman closest to the camera to draw an object from his holster.
“You f*****g move, I swear to God,” says an officer, before the second officer, farther from the viewer, is seen pointing a weapon down at the man’s chest.
There’s a flash from that officer’s weapon, accompanied by the sound of shots.
“They shot him?” a man’s harried voice, close to the microphone, says in the video. “Yes!” a weeping woman replies.
McKneely said he could not confirm whether the cellphone video shows the shooting in question, saying he hadn’t seen it until recently.
He asked anyone with video evidence to turn the footage over to the police.
Store owner Abdullah Muflahi re-enacts incident for reporters from The Advocate.
Abdullah Muflahi, the owner and manager of the Triple S store, said he was there around midnight when he walked outside and saw two officers trying to pin Sterling to a car parked in a handicapped spot. The officers hit Sterling with a Taser, but he didn’t initially get to the ground, he said.
At some point Sterling was tackled to the ground on his back, with one officer pinning down his chest, and another pressing on his thigh, Muflahi said.
Muflahi, who said he was two feet away from the altercation, said an officer yelled “gun” during the scuffle. An officer then fired four to six shots into Sterling’s chest, he said.
“His hand was nowhere (near) his pocket,” Muflahi said, adding that Sterling wasn’t holding a weapon. After the shooting, an officer reached into Sterling’s pocket and retrieved a handgun, Muflahi said.
“They were really aggressive with him from the start,” Muflahi said about the officers.
Sterling appeared to die quickly, Muflahi said. Just after the killing, the officer who fired the bullets cursed, and both officers seemed like they were “freaking out,” Muflahi said.
Baton Rouge police spokesman Cpl. L’Jean McKneely. City’s population is 55 percent Black while police force is 30 percent Black.
The store owner said he heard one of the officers say, “Just leave him.”
East Baton Rouge EMS sent one ambulance to the scene at 12:46 a.m. and encountered a patient who was dead on arrival, agency spokesman Mike Chustz said.
McKneely said he couldn’t comment on the circumstances of the shooting, as the investigation is ongoing.
East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar C. Moore III said he was at the scene, but declined to say whether he thought the shooting was justified.
“It would be premature for me to make a comment one way or the other,” he said.
Sgt. Brian Taylor, the newly-installed leader of the Baton Rouge police union, did not immediately respond to requests for comment Tuesday.
Police believe only one officer fired shots, McKneely said. He did not know how many shots were fired.
McKneely said both officers who were at the scene are on paid administrative leave, according to department policy.
He said he could not identify the officers Tuesday but would do so “first thing in the morning” on Wednesday.
Baton Rouge cop Blane Salomani
Baton Rouge cop Howie Lake
[CBS News reported today that Officers Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake II have been placed on paid administrative leave as the shooting death of Alton Sterling is investigated by federal authorities. Salamoni has been with the Baton Rouge Police Department for four years, and Lake has been on the force for three years, according to police.]
Officers likely had not been interviewed by investigators, as the agency typically gives its lawmen 24 hours before questioning them after this type of incident, he said.
“We give officers normally a day or so to go home and think about it” before being interviewed, McKneely said. He said being part of a shooting is a stressful situation that can produce “tunnel vision” for the officers involved and might not lead to the best information.
Police interviewed a few witnesses who were at the store, he said. Muflahi said he was interviewed by police for most of the night, returning to his store around 8 a.m.
Both officers at the store were wearing body cameras and cars had dash cameras, McKneely said. Muflahi said police also took surveillance footage from his store and seized his entire video system.
McKneely said both body cameras came loose and dangled from the officers’ uniforms during the incident.
Friends and family protest outside store where cops killed Sterling. Photo: The Advocate
Friends and family of Sterling met outside the convenience store on Tuesday night to protest the shooting. At just about 6 p.m. around 40 to 50 people had gathered at the store, some carrying signs and chanting “Black lives matter” and “Hands up, don’t shoot.” The crowd swelled to more than 100 people by 7:30 p.m., with people, some waving homemade signs, gathered at each of the corners of the intersection of N. Foster Dr. and Fairfields Ave. Some mourners left notes and mementos on tables outside the convenience store.
Among the protesters were State Rep. C. Denise Marcelle, D-Baton Rouge, who sponsored the bill to equip Baton Rouge officers with body cameras when she was on the Metro Council, and local NAACP leader Michael McClanahan.
Protesters in Baton Rouge block street as night falls. Photo Hilary Schienuk The Advocate
Marcelle said she was concerned that the BRPD was conducting the internal investigation, saying that she had called Police Chief Carl Dabadie to express her desire that the agency allow the Louisiana State Police to conduct officer-involved shooting probes.
Several of Sterling’s relatives also attended the protest.
Sandra Sterling, an aunt who said she raised Alton after his mother died, was skeptical her nephew would be carrying a gun. She went to the store after receiving a call about the incident, saying police would not let her near the body. “I was devastated,” she said.
Sharida Sterling, a cousin who said she was raised with Alton and considered him a brother, said it was not in his character to fight the police. “He would have never fought the police, he wouldn’t have pulled a gun, he would have been too scared,” she said.
Sharida Sterling said she remains skeptical about the 911 caller who said her cousin had pointed a gun, as well as the report about the body cameras coming loose. She called on law enforcement to conduct a transparent investigation, saying police should release the store surveillance video.
David Solomon and Calvin Wilson, who lived with Sterling at shelter, said they did not believe he carried a gun. Photo: The Advocate
Muflahi said he knew Sterling and he had been selling CDs outside his store and in the surrounding area for a few years. Sterling had recently started carrying a gun after a friend was mugged, he said.
Sterling had been living for the past few months at the Living Waters Outreach Ministries, a transitional living center and shelter at 4156 W. Brookstown Dr., two of his fellow residents said.
“Whatever he cooked, he cooked enough for everybody,” said Calvin Wilson, 56, who described the compound as a place for people to “get back on their feet.”
About five people live there full-time, Wilson said.
Wilson and another resident, 60-year-old David Solomon, said Sterling would spread the CDs he sold on a table from time to time in the facility.
“I never saw him coming in here with a weapon, and I never saw him drunk,” Wilson said, adding that Sterling had another job as a cook.
Memorial for Alton Sterling at store.
“He wasn’t a bad person,” Solomon said.
Records from the 19th Judicial District Court show that in August 2015 the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office issued a warrant for the arrest of an Alton Sterling who had registered as a convicted sex offender to live at the center at the Brookstown address. Sterling was convicted of one count of carnal knowledge of a juvenile in Sept. 2000, according to the warrant.
While Sterling had registered at the address in July, a probation officer who checked on him in August was told by the center manager that Sterling hadn’t lived there for two weeks.
The DA’s office filed a failure to register as a sex offender charge against Sterling in April.
Sterling’s court record shows he was accused of several crimes dating back to 1996. He’d pleaded guilty to aggravated battery, simple criminal damage to property and unauthorized entry, as well as domestic abuse battery. His longest sentence appeared to come in 2009, when he was sentenced to five years on possessing marijuana with the intent to distribute and illegally carrying a weapon with a controlled dangerous substance.
But Darian Gardner, 38, who’d come by the store Tuesday afternoon to view a makeshift memorial for Sterling, which included a stuffed panda holding CDs, said his friend “didn’t cause any harm to the community.”
Gardner, who’d purchased CDs from Sterling, said the discs contained everything from music to movies.
“He was nice. He wasn’t a bad guy. He was respectable,” said Gardner, who called his friend’s death “tragic.”
Below is video of Alton Sterling’s family press conference July 6, 2016.
Video above: James Earl Jones read’s Frederick Douglas’ speech “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?”
Celebrate 260 Years Profitable Genocide – African Slaves, Native Americans, Mexicans, Filipinos etc.
By Jay Janson
July 3, 2016
Independence Holiday in the USA becomes a time when citizens reflect on the nation’s 240-year history. It is a history typical of six European empires in the areas of genocide and plunder.
Genocide: 1. the deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular ethnic group or nation. plural: genocides (Google Dictionary).
(VOD: see updated UN Definition of Genocide below:)
Under this resolution, UN rapporteurs condemned tens of thousands of water shut-offs in Detroit as genocide.
Americans hoping to make US mass murderous crimes against humanity that are prosecutable under Nuremberg Principles law appear to be less than genocide, attempt to employ the old and outdated dictionary meaning of genocide wherein its scope and intention is defined as the utter and complete extermination of a group, race or nation.
The USA, like its parent colonial power the British Empire, before it, has had its undeservedly wealthy elite, through their private speculative investment banks, continually investing in genocide in order to both maintain its power over society, accumulate capital and extend its power wherever and whenever regardless of laws, regardless whether religious, common or statutory.
Genocide means killing people of a group, race or nation until a desired profitable arrangement is accepted by them. US banks have invested in profitable genocide non-stop over the entire life of the nation up to today and have their CIA and Pentagon laying plans for more genocide as we read.
Auction of kidnapped Africans forced into slavery, held in the U.S.
USA’s AFRICAN GENOCIDE 1776-1864
New England banks financed deadly but lucrative slave trade, forced labor in the North, before massive forced labor in South; a million died during seizure and transport from Africa and another million died in forced labor.
For the first time in the recorded history of slavery, inhumanity toward slaves as practiced in the USA and Colonial Powers, eventually became based on inculcating society with fear-fostered ignorance and a preposterous insistence of racial superiority, standing on its head white feelings of inferiority in the face of the far more accomplished cultures pale-skinned Europeans had conquered.
NATIVE AMERICAN 1776-onward: Genocidal theft of habitats of a thousand Native American nations instigated by banks speculating in land; forced captive marches, broken treaties, wars, deaths from malnutrition certainly reached more than one million deaths already long ago.
MEXICO 1836 US rapes away half of Mexico through merciless war. Mexicans are made aware that Americans will keep killing Mexicans until USA demands are met. “2014 U.S. ‘intelligence’ assistance is larger than anywhere outside Afghanistan” [Washington Post]
PHILIPPINES 1898-1902: Invasion and massacres during Filipino war for independence – upwards of a million lives savagely taken. The overseas investment community propagated the racist concept of ‘Manifest Destiny’ make genocide tolerable.
CHINA 1900: murderous sacking of Beijing, orgy of killing and stripping away all the cultural treasures for sale that the American and British could load into a few boxcars of a train.
WORLD WAR I –in EUROPE and in European colonies world wide many millions die as US banks through the Federal Reserve financing and entry of US Armed Forces enable WW I to go on an extra year and a half; 1934-36 Senate Nye Committee investigates allegations that the U.S. entered WW I to make big profits. Senator Nye created headlines by drawing connections between the wartime profits of the banking and munitions industries to America’s involvement in World War I; investigation of these “merchants of death” documents the huge profits that arms factories made during the war; found bankers had pressured Wilson to intervene in the war in order to protect their loans abroad; arms industry had been price fixing; held excessive war investor influence on American foreign policy leading up to and during the war.
U.S. troops in Vladisvostok, 1918. They did not succeed in crushing the Bolshevik Revolution.
SOVIET UNION 1917-20: Two US Armies invade along with armies of thirteen other capitalist nations to foster, aid, support and participate in civil war; seven to nine million new Soviet citizens die, three million just from typhoid. (VOD: the U.S. has continued its genocidal war against the people of the USSR since then. It began the “Cold War” against Soviet socialism after 27 million Soviet patriots died fighting Hitler’s forces in World War II; it was the Soviet Union, not the U.S., which defeated Hitler. The Cold War forced the Soviet Union to expand its military budget under threat of nuclear war from the U.S., at the costs of the needs of its people. After the collapse of the USSR, Third World nations from Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East suffered genocide at the hands of the U.S. These nations, former colonies of the U.S. and Europe, had benefited from Soviet aid for decades and were now cast adrift.)
ITALY 1922 -1936: Fascist Mussolini frequently lionized in both the New York Times and Washington Post, Fortune Magazine; Morgan Bank’s Thomas Lamont, served as the international chief of Mussolini’s finances; Mussolini received great investment aid from US bankers; especially, Bank of America head A.P. Giannini and Otto Kahn, a leading banker with Kuhn, Loeb. Pres. Franklin Roosevelt expressed admiration for Mussolini. In 1935 Fascist Italy invaded Ethiopia bringing death to more than a million Ethiopians, tens of thousands from mustard gas dropped from planes on civilian population. [Angelo Del Boca, The Ethiopian War 1935–1941 (1965)]
GERMANY 1933-37: US investments and joint-ventures of 50 largest US corporations build the Nazi Wehrmacht up to world’s #1, facilitating WW II and Holocaust, the magna return on investment making USA the single superpower, the investments and joint-venturing done in full knowledge of Hitler’s continually announced plans for ridding Germany of Jews and communists and to fulfill Germany’s historic ‘Drang nach Osten’ [Push to the East] into the Soviet Union; of the 40 million dead in Europe 27 million are Soviet citizens. 1945–US makes sure Nuremberg Trials do not indict Nazi industrialists and bankers with whom American corporations, investors and banks had partnered.
CHINA 1944-49: US funding and military aid draws out civil war. CIA incursions; many millions starve.
Hiroshima after genocidal bombing by U.S.
JAPAN 1945: Two cities of civilians Atom-Bombed, sixty fire-bombed, nearly one million civilian lives taken. At Tokyo Trials of Japanese War Criminals, a US general of highest rank, commented off the record, “If the Japanese had won the war they would have tried us.”
VIETNAM 1945-1960: Truman criminally brings back French Army (which as Vichy French, had murderously run its Indochinese colonies for the Japanese Empire profit during WW II), in US ships to reconquer a Vietnam declared independent by US decorated ally Ho Chi Minh with US major in attendance. Tens of thousands of Vietnamese are killed by the French, 80% funded by USA.
KOREA 1950-2014: Two and half million Koreas perish as US bombs both south and north flat, after US Army invaded, criminally cutting the nation in two, overthrowing a democratic Korean government and installing a murderous dictator in the south, whose police and special forces would butcher nearly two hundred thousand before the army of the north swept south reuniting Korea. Perhaps another million deaths as a result of crippling sanctions on the northern part. [see Prosecutable US Crimes against Humanity in Korea “Dissident Voice.org click here]
Palestinian women protest U.S.-Israeli genocide including torture of women, children.
PALESTINE: 1947-2014: US forces through UN approval of a farcical and outrageously thieving plan to partition the Holy Land, a colonial crime against humanity against the residents of the Palestine, in full knowledge that permanent civil war would result and obviously intended to create deadly conflict, permanent hostilities, destabilization and facilitate Western imperialist penetration.
The financial establishment in the US has its colony in the heart of Middle East oil reserves at the cost of tens of thousands of lives, some of which from families of Jewish survivors of the Holocaust denied US refuge before, during and after the Holocaust which itself would have been impossible without the heavy US investment and joint venturing in Nazi Germany. [US Economic Facilitation of Holocaust and Middle East Destabilizing Partition click here ]
USA ITSELF 1947 onward: Operation MOCKINGBIRD — CIA recruits news organizations and journalists to become spies and disseminators of propaganda. Washington Post becomes a major CIA player. Eventually CIA’s media assets include ABC, NBC, CBS, Time, Newsweek, Associated Press, United Press International, Reuters, Hearst Newspapers, Scripps-Howard, Copley News Service and more so media can fear monger the public into accepting genocides.
IRAN 1953 & 1980-88 1953 Oil coup; CIA and British M16 false-flag overthrow of Iranian democracy, many deaths./1980 air attack/1980-88 US backs Saddam Hussein invasion-war – more than half million Iranians lives lost/CIA and British M16 false-flag overthrow of Iranian democracy, many deaths/1979- US sanctions and threats of nuclear attack from US presidents.
GUATEMALA 1954 President ‘Ike’ Eisenhower ordered CIA overthrow bombing of first elected democracy; decades of massacres, mass murders follow. [Author performing on tour, is told horrific details in conversations behind closed doors.]
U.S. soldier grins over bodies of Vietnamese patriots killed defending their country.
VIETNAM 1955-1975: Upwards of 4 million die. Twice the bomb tonnage dropped in all of WWII/1973 CIA Operation Phoenix murders 20,000 Vietcong/ [1993-99 Author periodic Assist. Conductor Ho Chi Minh founded National Symphony Orchestra in Hanoi and on tours; every member of orchestra lost family “killed by Americans” spoken with Buddhist equanimity.]
TURKEY 1955: Istanbul Pogrom a false-flag plot by Turkish branch of Operation Gladio, a clandestine anti-communist initiative created by the US; many Greeks, Armenians die; Turkish communists arrested/[Author visiting Istanbul forced to room in safe UK WMCA during provoked riots].
Laos 1957-63 The CIA carries out approximately one coup per year trying to nullify Laos’ democratic elections. The problem is the Pathet Lao, a leftist group with enough popular support to be a member of any coalition government. In the late 50s, the CIA even creates an “Armee Clandestine” of Asian mercenaries to attack the Pathet Lao. After the CIA’s army suffers numerous defeats, the U.S. starts high-altitude carpet bombing, dropping more bombs on Laos than all the U.S. bombs dropped in World War II; Tiny Laos will become the most bombed country in history; A quarter of all Laotians will eventually become refugees, many living in caves. [Steve Kangas, A Timeline of CIA Atrocities www.huppi.com/kangaroo/CIAtimeline.html]
ETHIOPIA 1960s: US huge military arms sales build up for Emperor Selassie /1977 US switches and backs and arms Somalia invasion of People’s Democratic Republic of Ethiopia/Late 1980s US Heritage Foundation involvement ending in bloodbath civil war; for using Ethiopia and Somalia as pawns in Cold War an estimated million people starve to death. [Author on film shoot for African Development Bank during Mingustu socialist government in 1983 before it was overthrown with great loss of life by CIA organized attacks.]
Patrice Lumumba, revolutionary leader of the Congo, assassinated by the U.S.
WORLDWIDE 1960s-2014: CIA involved in lives-destroying illegal drug cultivation and trafficking has cause impossible-to-estimate loss of life worldwide [and at home]- also CIA hypocritical anti-narcotics programs mean to spread further CIA penetration and covert violence for political-economic control in Latin America.
CONGO 1961-2014: Assassination of popular Pres. Lumumba, CIA US Air Force Interventions, overt and covert operations, have fostered civil wars; it is estimated between 15 and 20 million have died from warfare and famine, and if one goes back to the US destruction of the new nation, all this was to retain Congo governance profitable88 for US investors.
Shock and Awe: U.S. carries on war on Iraq. with massive bombing campaign
Before and after July 4, 2015, genocide for profit (in speculative investment driven Western Colonialism there never any other reason for it) is taking place thanks to participating and cooperating Americans in uniform and CIA in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia and Yemen, and surely further lives are being planned to be taken in the Ukraine and Venezuela and elsewhere as profits therefrom appear sure.
This article closes with a reminder that US genocides perpetrated after 1945 are prosecutable crimes against humanity under the Nuremberg Principles law and as US economic power wanes in the world economy, lawsuits for indemnity, reparations and compensation by survivors can be expected to be so enormous in number as to make American investment in genocide unprofitable and thus inoperable.
Americans show zero interest that GIs brought death to a million and half innocent Iraqi men, women and children with bombing, invasion and occupation war prosecutable under international law even within the US Constitution. Celebrating on the July 4th is pure criminal insanity in a mesmerized TV worshiping inhumane and de-civilized society.
The reader is invited to check out the website of a strong lawsuit against American citizens by an Iraqi mother that is being assisted by former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark at the lawsuits website below and spate of articles:
Jay Janson is an archival research peoples historian activist, musician and writer; has lived and worked on all continents; articles on media published in China, Italy, UK, India and the US; now resides in NYC; First effort was a series of articles (Jay Janson is an archival research peoples historian activist, musician and writer; has lived and worked on all continents; articles on media published in China, Italy, UK, India and the US; now resides in NYC; First effort was a series of articles on deadly cultural pollution endangering seven areas of life emanating from Western corporate owned commercial media published in Hong Kong’s Window Magazine 1993; Howard Zinn lent his name to various projects of his; Global Research; Information Clearing House; Counter Currents, Kerala, India; Minority Perspective, UK; Dissident Voice, Uruknet; Voice of Detroit; Ethiopian Review; Palestine Chronicle; India Times; Mathaba; Ta Kung Bao; China Daily; South China Morning Post; Come Home America; OpEdNews; HistoryNews Network; Vermont Citizen News have published his articles; Weekly column, South China Morning Post, 1986-87; reviews for Ta Kung Bao; article China Daily, 1989. Is coordinator of the King Condemned US Wars International Awareness Campaign: (King Condemned US Wars) and website historian of Prosecute US Crimes Against Humanity Now Campaign. featuring a country by country history of US crimes and laws pertaining. Studied history at CCNY, Columbia U., U. Puerto Rico, Dolmetscher Institut München, Germany. Musician grassroots activist dedicated firstly to ending colonial power “genocide in maintenance of unjust predatory investments,” by Majority Mankind prosecution of Colonial Powers Crimes Against Humanity and Peace and mega immense compensation for wrongful death, maiming and destruction and magna theft of natural resources and forced labor and enslavement. Will be made possible when Martin Luther King Jr. demand that America, Americans, he included himself, [not government which he dismissed a greatest purveyor of violence in the world, not cause] because of being capable making atrocity wars and covert genocide unacceptable and inoperable through non-participation, non-support, not-acquiescence and conscientious objection, and that Americans would suffer at home as a result of killing the poor in countries already violated by colonial occupation. Dissident Voice supports the call to Prosecute US Crimes against Humanity Now Campaign with link bottom of each issue of its newsletter. http://prosecuteuscrimesagainsthumanitynow.blogspot.com
DAREA members disembark from bus in Cincinnati June 15, 2016. In center is DAREA President Bill Davis, to his right is DAREA VP Cecily McClellan, to his left is retiree Ezza Brandon. They were allowed to wear their “Hands off my Pension” T-shirts in the 6th Circuit courtroom as arguments on bankruptcy appeals were heard. The bus was full, with over 40 retirees.
Detroit bankruptcy “Grand Theft” is not a done deal
6th Circuit Judges appeared generally favorable to retiree attorneys’ arguments
DAREA may return Aug. 4 for oral arguments on Phillips v. Snyder, which challenges Public Act 435, Michigan’s “Emergency Manager law”
By Diane Bukowski, VOD editor, City of Detroit retiree
June 27, 2016
DAREA members show their fighting spirit on the bus. The ride took a little over 4 hours, taking off from the parking lot of the Dearborn Public Library.
Cincinnati, Ohio – City of Detroit retirees are doggedly pursuing the battle to overturn the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history, carried out in the largest Black-majority city in the country in 2014. On June 15, a busload of Detroit Active and Retired Employee Association (DAREA) members traveled to Cincinnati to hear oral arguments at the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in five cases challenging the bankruptcy.
Impoverished by pension, annuity, and health care cuts that have led to a wave of similar cuts across the U.S., and angered that their city has been stripped of virtually all of its public assets, they said they wanted to be there to let the judges know, in the words of DAREA’s slogan, “We fight because we’re right!”
“We definitely made a major impact at the court,” DAREA president Bill Davis told VOD. “We packed the courtroom so thoroughly they had to bring out extra chairs for our people, and there were even a couple of us sitting on the floor. Many people wore our ‘Hands Off Our Pensions’ T-shirts in court.”
Demonstration during Detroit bankruptcy hearings.
Davis said DAREA will likely return to Cincinnati Aug. 5, when the Sixth Circuit will hear the appeal of a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Michigan’s Public Act 436, known as Phillips v. Snyder. Without that act, better known as the “emergency manager law,” the state takeover of most of Michigan’s Black-majority cities, the declaration of Detroit’s bankruptcy by its Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, and the lead poisoning of the city of Flint its Emergency Manager cut ties with the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department would not have happened.
That lawsuit was re-filed after U.S. District Judge George Caram Steeh denied all but one argument in the suit, the fact that PA 436 has led to racial discrimination. See
“We’re willing to go and fight anywhere for democracy in Michigan,” Davis said.
6th Circuit Judge Alice Batchelder
Judge Karen Nelson Moore
Judge David McKeague
Sixth Circuit Judges Alice Batchelder, Karen Nelson Moore, and David McKeague are considering both oral arguments and briefs in the retiree cases.
The appeals were filed by five entities, the Ochadleus Group of Retirees, 146 strong, represented by attorney/retiree Jamie Fields (#15-2194), retiree William Davis, representing hundreds of DAREA retirees pro se (#15-2379), attorney/retiree John Quinn (#15-2337), attorney/retirees Dennis Taubitz and Irma Industrious, (15-2353) and retiree Lucinda Darrah pro se (15-2371).
The groups involved have filled in a breach on the battle lines left by City of Detroit unions and retirement systems, which earlier withdrew their appeals of U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes’ ruling that Detroit was eligible for bankruptcy and could cut pensions in violation of state law, the first time any judge in the U.S. had so ruled. They eventually agreed to adopt the disastrous bankruptcy plan of confirmation, with 70 percent of its cuts to creditors borne by retirees.
Ezza Brandon (r) tells Michigan AFSCME Council 25 Pres. Al Garrett it should not have withdrawn appeal of bankrupty eligibility decision, during protest July 31, 2014.
The unions and retirement systems ignored a scathing report by former Goldman Sachs banker Wallace Turbeville of DEMOS, which said Detroit was not bankrupt, that it only had a cash shortfall of $147 million, easily remedied. That report also said the city’s retirement systems, as independent bodies, should never have been included in the bankruptcy case. (See link below story.)
In withdrawing their appeal of Rhodes’ decision on bankruptcy eligibility, the unions and pension systems also wrote off powerful amicus briefs filed by the CalPERS, the largest pension system in the country representing California’s public employees, the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), and others.
“I think their withdrawal had a major impact on city retirees,” Davis said. “Had they gone through with their appeals, we wouldn’t have to be going through this using resources raised by just a few thousand retirees. Orr said we could not appeal the bankruptcy plan, but we have proven that is crazy. Of course you can appeal. How can you go into bankruptcy and lose all the city’s assets without being able to go to a higher court? This is nothing but a grand theft, and I believe we will ultimately find that a criminal conspiracy in violation of RICO [the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act] was carried out by Orr, Snyder, and [former State Treasurer] Andy Dillon was carried out.”
Detroit retirees and supporters protest at Crain’s Detroit luncheon honoring Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes and Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, on Feb. 25, 2015.
U.S. District Court Judge Bernard Friedman earlier denied all five appeals, based largely on a judicial doctrine known as “equitable mootness.” In layman’s terms, that means, “We’ve done it, it can’t be changed because that would cause financial chaos, and it’s too late to for you to do anything about it.”
The retirees in the five appeals do not agree. They argue that the bankruptcy plan should be considered on constitutional grounds by a higher court, and that it can be altered to exclude cuts to retirees by remanding it back to the bankruptcy court to make it comply with state constitution language protecting public pensions. DAREA argued in its brief that even PA 436 compels emergency managers to honor that the pension protection clause.
DAREA said in its brief, “A total of $5.5 billion, or 78 percent of the total bankruptcy relief, comes off the backs of city retirees.” Later it added, “The City of Detroit may have to find some alternative funds to make up the difference in the funding necessary to restore pensioners to their full payments. But that funding will be relatively small and can be provided without disrupting the plan of adjustment. The city can seek alternative sources of funding for blight removal. As has been done in cities, states and the federal government, the City of Detroit could go after the major banks, whose predatory lending policies led to the destruction of neighborhoods throughout Detroit, to fund blight removal, rather than taking funds out of the general fund.”
The court heard oral arguments on only three cases, those brought by actual attorneys, Jamie Fields on behalf of the Ochadleus appellants, John Quinn, and Dennis Taubitz. But it is reviewing all five appellant briefs before it issues its ruling. (See links to briefs below.)
Jamie Fields speaks about 6th Circuit appeals of bankruptcy at DAREA meeting.
Fields, whose group largely represents police and fire retirees, said in part, “The District Court’s finding of equitable mootness . . . .allows the bankruptcy court to exercise final judicial power that it cannot constitutionally wield. . . . The bankruptcy court did not have the constitutional authority to issue a final, non-appealable ruling on what Art. 9 Sec. 24 of the Michigan Constitution meant.”
Sec. 24 says, “The accrued financial benefits of each pension plan and retirement system of the state and its political subdivisions shall be a contractual obligation thereof which shall not be diminished or impaired thereby.”
In supplemental briefs, both Fields and DAREA cited an Illinois Supreme Court ruling rejecting cuts to Illinois state employees based on almost identical language in that state’s constitution.
“The people of Illinois give voice to their sovereign authority through the Illinois Constitution,” Illinois Justice Lloyd Kormeier wrote for that court. . . . “the Illinois Constitution . . . expressly provides that the benefits of membership in a public retirement system ‘shall not be diminished or impaired.’”
Fields added, “Our argument is that Annuity Savings Fund (ASF) matter had no business in bankruptcy court period; it is not related to the bankruptcy at all.”
Public workers demonstrate as Illinois Supreme Court decides on pension cuts in 2015. It said they could not be cut, based on Illinois State Constitution protections.
Attorney John Quinn argued likewise regarding the ASF, which comprised the major part of his appeal. Both said the city had never even filed a “proof of claim” with regard to ASF cuts.
Detroit retirees who participated in the voluntary ASF plan put either 3, 5, 0r 7 percent of their paychecks into the ASF, in addition to their pension contributions, with no matching funds from the city. Those who retired in 2003 and afterwards were hit with huge cuts to their accumulated annuities under the bankruptcy, in addition to a 4.5 percent cut to their pensions and loss of health care benefits.
The city contended the ASF’s paid a set 7.9 percent rate of return even in years when the pension funds had lower returns. They cited as particular examples the years of 2008 and 2009, during which rates of return dropped drastically due to the global economic crash caused by Wall Street’s predatory lending practices.
DAREA protested with opponents of tax foreclosures in Detroit June 8, 2015.
Fields said that the bankruptcy court may have had authority to hear concerns about employees’ pensions, but its decision on those matters those would still be appealable under two landmark Supreme Court decisions, Stern v. Marshall, and Wellness International Network, Ltd., et al. v. Sharif. The second decision said bankruptcy courts could make final decisions on major matters, but only if both parties, creditor and debtor, agreed.
“If you take away [higher court] review on the merits . . .you are taking away the [limited] jurisdiction or authority the Congress gave the bankruptcy courts, . . .making equitable mootness a per se rule,” Fields said.
Attorney John Quinn argued likewise regarding the ASF, which comprised the major part of his appeal. Both he and Fields said the city had never even filed a “proof of claim” with regard to the ASF cuts.
Below is video explaining difference between Article I and Article III Courts. In USSC Stern v. Marshall, 564U.S. 462 (2011), the Court held that a bankruptcy court, as a non-Article III court (i.e. courts without full judicial independence) lacked constitutional authority under Article III of the United States Constitution to enter a final judgment on a state law counterclaim that is not resolved in the process of ruling on a creditor’s proof of claim.
Quinn pointed out, “The court is well aware that this is very important case. This is the largest municipal bankruptcy in history, and will have a major impact on the development of Chapter 9 law for some time to come. It is imperative that the issues involved be considered by an Article III court.”
Article III Courts are federal courts given full judicial authority under the U.S. Constitution, while bankruptcy courts are Article I courts, at the lowest level, and are given only limited authority.
One of many protests which took place during Detroit bankruptcy proceedings.
Quinn said, “Section1123A4 of the Bankruptcy Code requires that you get the same treatment in terms of percentages of all creditors in a particular class. The ASF recoupment applies only to some creditors in Class 11. The majority [of retirees] are getting only a 4.5 percent pension cut, but people subject to ASF recoupment are getting a 20 percent cut.”
He argued that nobody should have the 20 percent cut unless they agreed to it individually or the Detroit General Retirement System successfully litigated a claim against its members.
Marc Swanson of Miller, Canfield and Smith
Arguing for the City of Detroit was Attorney Marc N. Swanson of the firm Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone, which played a large role in getting Detroit under emergency management, although the Jones Day law firm was viewed as the major actor in the bankruptcy case.
“This is a textbook case for the application of the doctrine of equitable mootness,” Swanson said. “No stay was obtained no stay was diligently pursued. This plan has been substantially consummated. The relief requested will cost the city $816 million in outside funding [A/K/A “The Grand Bargain}, burden the city with more than $3 billion in additional debt and plunge the city back into financial chaos, devastating its residents and returning them to an “inhumane and intolerable” situation as Judge Rhodes found.”
Sixth Circuit Judge Karen Nelson Moore conducted extensive questioning of Swanson with regard to the issue of “equitable mootness” and whether the appellants would have had to ask either the District Court or the Sixth Circuit to stay implementation of the Eighth Amended Plan of Adjustment.
“This assumes the doctrine of equitable mootness applies to Chapter 9 bankruptcies,” Moore said. “The cases in which this court has adopted equitable mootness are all Chapter 11. Don’t we have to have some kind of statutory basis or are you saying this is completely a judicial doctrine with no mooring in the bankruptcy statutes?”
DAREA members sign first bankruptcy appeal in Jan. 2015.
Swanson claimed that there is no statutory basis for equitable mootness in either Chapter 7, Chapter 9, or Chapter 11 cases, and therefore it is a matter of judicial decision. However, Moore countered by citing two statutes in the bankruptcy code that apply to Chapters 7 and 11.
She also noted, “Given the Supreme Court’s recent decisions that are telling courts don’t refuse to exercise their jurisdictions, shouldn’t we examine carefully the doctrine of equitable mootness in Chapter 9 when we don’t have any Sixth Circuit chapter 9 cases?”
Judge McKeague asked Swanson, “Why would equitable mootness apply to Chapter 9 cases if the bankruptcy court is not authorized to order the sale of city assets?”
McKeague thereby touched on a prime difference between Chapter 9 and the other bankruptcy chapters.
The Great Lakes Water Authority, an unelected regional body, took over the revenue and most assets of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department under the Detroit bankruptcy decision, despite City Charter guarantees that a vote of the people was required.
According to a summary of Chapter 9 on the U.S. Supreme Court website, Section 904 of the Bankruptcy Code limits the power of the bankruptcy court to “interfere with – (1) any of the political or governmental powers of the debtor; (2) any of the property or revenues of the debtor; or (3) the debtor’s use or enjoyment of any income-producing property” unless the debtor consents or the plan so provides. . . In addition, the court . . . cannot convert the case to a liquidation proceeding.”
In the case of the Detroit bankruptcy, Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr authorized the sale, (misnamed a “lease”) of virtually all of Detroit’s assets, including the revenues of the $6 billion Detroit Water and Sewerage Department to the Great Lakes Water Authority, and the conversion of the multi-billion dollar Detroit Institute of Arts collection to a bank trust no longer under control of the Detroit City Council.
Moore and McKeague also questioned Swanson’s insistence that the appellants must have requested a “stay” of implementation of the bankruptcy plan in order to prevail.
Detroit bankruptcy protest
“Another problem is that doctrine of equitable mootness means that there is no Article III court that ever considers any of these issues, that it is entirely up to an Art I bankruptcy court to decide how a city’s bankruptcy should be resolved,” Moore said.
Swanson countered that “the appellants contributed to that. They chose not to pursue a stay in the District Court, or in this court, chose not to ask the court for an expedited hearing, or request an interlocutory review of the bankruptcy court’s denial.”
McKeague countered, “[Attorney] Fields says it doesn’t matter whether stay pursued—it’s whether it was done.”
Swanson again stressed the problems with rewinding the Plan of Confirmation, saying, “Granting the appellants’ demands would leave city without a viable plan and force the dismissal of the case. The city would have to clawback $50 million in cash, $910 million in bonds to creditors, refund $220 million to the to the state, and somehow reverse its irrevocable transfer of the art collection to a charitable trust. It would again face race to the court lawsuits and crushing debt.”
Many bankruptcy opponents demanded complete cancellation of Detroit’s debt to the banks, blaming them for the city’s crisis.
Moore countered, “The points you’ve raised are very serious. They would guide an Article III court in equity in deciding what the appropriate remedy for appellants’ asserted wrong would be. There are serious factors about the amount of things that have happened already.”
With regard to Detroit’s “crushing burden of debt,” VOD earlier published an analysis of the city’s debt pre and post-bankruptcy, which found that Detroit’s outstanding debt is now 300 percent greater than it was before the bankruptcy, largely due to the issuance of new bonds to pay off its corporate creditors.
VOD wrote on March 1, 2015, “The Detroit Financial Review Commission (DFRC) published figures Feb. 16 that show the city’s total general fund long-term debt (LTD) from 2015-44 is now $3,008,162,089. According to the city’s last available Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) of 2013, the general fund LTD then was $1,003,937,000.”
The Detroit Active and Retired Employees Association’s next general membership meeting is Wed. July 6, 2016, at 5:30 p.m., St. Matthews and St. Josephs Church, Woodward at Holbrook.
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.
“Hands off my Pension” T-shirts are available for $10 each. DAREA baseball caps are available for $25 each. The fundraising committee will continue to sponsor events to cover legal fees and other meetings. DAREA has pledged to go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.
WEEKLY MEETINGS: 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.
Full report by Michigan State Police shows Worthy cover-up likely started from date she brought false charges against 14-year-old Sanford in 2007
Is local media covering up for Worthy? Detroit News article blames her only for 8-month delay in disclosure of Tolbert testimony
Should Sanford case be Worthy’s Waterloo? Should she, others be charged with obstruction of justice and malfeasance in public office?
By Diane Bukowski
June 22, 2016
Updated June 25, 2015
Should Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, DPD be charged for false prosecution of Davontae Sanford, nearly nine horrific years in prison?
DETROIT – Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy knew virtually from day one that charges against 14-year-old Davontae Sanford for four murders on Runyon Street on Detroit’s east side in 2007 were bogus, according to the full 117-page Michigan State Police (MSP) report on the case.
(See link to Michigan Public Radio story which includes a link to the full MSP report, below this story.)
The report contradicts a June 20 Detroit News story by George Hunter which blamed the prosecutor’s office only for an eight-month delay in Worthy’s disclosure of a statement by former Detroit police deputy chief James Tolbert to the MSP. Tolbert told the MSP in 2014 that he lied when he said Sanford drew a sketch of the house where the killings occurred.
Michigan AG Bill Schuette.
The Detroit News editorial board, however, has since called for an investigation by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette of the conduct of both the prosecutor’s office and Detroit police in this case, and also for a federal civil rights investigation.
However, given that Schuette along with Worthy has been a fervent advocate of juvenile life without parole, despite two U.S. Supreme Court decisions declaring it unconstitutional, it is questionable how effective his investigation would be.
Hunter has now also revealed that the charges against Sanford have not yet been formally dismissed, as his trial judge Brian Sullivan reviews yet more evidence. That may explain why Worthy concentrated on the evidence against Sanford, and not on the confession and culpability of Vincent Smothers, during her June 9 press conference.
State trooper, APA Timothy Chambers, who handled court appeals in Sanford case, and Jason Williams, chief of Worthy’s appellate division, at Worthy’s side during June 9 press conference; they did not comment.
“The MSP unearthed new information not available to us at the time this case was charged, not available at the time of trial and subsequent guilty plea on the second day of trial, or at the time of prior post-conviction litigation that took place over a two-year period,” Worthy said at the conference. “This new information undermines Sanford’s confession and plea, so we agreed to vacate his confession and dismiss the case, 20 days ago, not 9 years ago.”
She also said, “There is a perception out there that we had the signed, cogent confession of Vincent Smothers. This case was never about Vincent Smothers. Interviews and affidavits including those of Smothers are not evidence. We do not agree to set aside guilty pleas based an anything other than evidence. . . . There was never any testimony from Vincent Smothers. He made several statements about the Runyon St. murders, the first in 2008, which was vague and devoid of any real facts.”
But the MSP report is largely based on the Detroit Police Department’s production and review of evidence immediately after the Runyon street murders in 2007. It says the description two eyewitnesses gave of the killers did not comport with Sanford’s height and age, and questions why Detroit police never further investigated Vincent Smothers’ confession to the murders two weeks after Sanford went to prison in 2008, among other factors.
Channel 7’s farewell card to Bill Proctor on his retirement after 33 years.
“We revealed the misconduct of the Detroit Police Department (DPD) way back when this happened,” former Channel 7 news reporter Bill Proctor told Channel 7 after Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Brian Sullivan reportedly vacated all charges against Sanford and ordered his immediate release from prison on June 8, 2016. That was nearly nine years from the date Worthy charged Sanford, on Sept. 23, 2007.
“And the fact of the matter is the Prosecutor’s Office, Kym Worthy, has known for years of the real statements coming from the confessed hitman, in fact she structured out a deal for him to essentially send him off to prison without including this case,” Proctor continued. “She has known for years.”
Proctor referred to hitman Vincent Smothers’ confession to Detroit police on May 6, 2008 that he and an accomplice carried out the murders. Proctor later told VOD that Worthy and the DPD had “orchestrated” the entire prosecution of Sanford.
The full MSP report points out numerous discrepancies in initial DPD reports on the case, which should have been noted not only by Detroit police but by Worthy. It also says that Smothers’ confession, which Worthy said was “not evidence” and undetailed during her press conference, was in fact credible.
SIGNIFICANT ISSUES IN MSP REPORT:
Vincent Smothers, held at Michigan Reformatory in Ionia.
WITNESS STATEMENTS DESCRIBE TALLER, OLDER MAN THAN SANFORD
Key witness Valerie Glover, who hid under a bed and survived the shootings, gave a written statement to police Sept. 18, 2007.“Glover described the subject as a black male, no more than thirty to thirty-thirty five years old with a soft voice. Glover further described the subject as approximately 6’ to 6’1” tall with a slim build,” says the report.Worthy said during her press conference that Glover identified Sanford’s voice in court although he did not fit the description she gave.
Neighbor Jesse King, who engaged in a shoot-out with the killers, “described the first subject as being 5’11”-6,’ brown-skinned, slim medium build, dark clothes . . . He advised the initial subject was carrying a long gun. King described the second subject as slightly shorter than the first with the same build and complexion. He advised that the subject was carrying a handgun.” His written statement is dated Sept. 18, 2007.
Later MSP Investigator’s Note: “Sgt. Russell documents Sanford’s height and weight on the statement form as 5’5” and 155 lbs. Further, Cary Daily AKA ‘Cary’ is listed on the report as 5’07” in height and 140 lbs. in weight. Both subjects are substantially shorter in comparison to the description of the suspects provided by Jesse King and Valerie Glover. Additionally, there is no indication in the report of any firearms being recovered in the ‘AT&T lot’ or anywhere near the scene.” (Sanford said in the first of two confessions that he and his accomplices had thrown their weapons into an AT&T parking lot.)
WORTHY DID NOT CHARGE SANFORD’S ALLEGED “ACCOMPLICES”
In two confessions, typewritten by police investigators, Sanford claimed he had several accomplices in the Runyon Street killings. Antonio Langston, who Sanford called “Tone Tone,” Angelo Gardner, called “Los,” Cary Dailey, called “Cary,” and Santo Green were interviewed by police. Sanford later gave nicknames for other individuals, but police were not able to identify them or confirm that they even existed. Worthy referred only to the second set of alleged accomplices during her press conference.
Worthy said at press conference these were the factors in her decision to charge Sanford. They are all disputed in the MSP report.
The MSP reports that Detroit Police took what they called an alibi statement for Langston and Gardner from Lacreasha Vinson, dated Sept. 19, 2007. She said she was with Gardner working on his hair from about 9 p.m. until 12:30 a.m. Langston told police he was with Gardner at the home of Kenita Noilbrok while Gardner was getting his “hair done” by “another female.”
Nevertheless, it says, “On September 20, 2007, the Detroit Police Department submitted a warrant request for Davontae Sanford, Antonio Langston, Deangelo Gardner, and Santo Green. Only Davontae Sanford was charged by the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, charges were denied for the other three suspects. Sanford was charged with four counts of first degree premeditated murder, one count of assault with intent to murder, one count of robbery armed and one count of felony firearm arising out of the robbery and murders that occurred at [Runyon] street. Angelo Gardner, Antonio Langston, Cary Dailey and Santo Green were not charged by the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office.”
WORTHY FIRST ASKED MSP INTO SANFORD CASE TO INVESTIGATE ALIBI WITNESS WILLIAM RICE FOR PERJURY
Former Detroit homicide chief WIlliam Rice after sentencing; Worthy charged him after he testified on behalf of Sanford.
Worthy boasted during her press conference that it was she who asked the MSP to conduct an investigation of the entire Sanford case on May 4, 2015 after a motion for relief from judgment was filed in front of Judge Sullivan.
She said, “On May 4 (2015), I requested MSP undertake an investigation into the Davontae Sanford case. We made that request. Nobody else. We did.”
She referred hurriedly to the MSP’s earlier perjury investigation of alibi witness William Rice, former Detroit homicide chief, but did not indicate that she had in fact requested that investigation.
State police Detective Sgt. Christopher Corriveau wrote in the MSP report that it first became involved in the case when Worthy asked the MSP to investigate former DPD Homicide Chief William Rice for perjury in post-conviction proceedings in the Sanford case. The MSP was already investigating him on charges related to mortgage fraud brought by the Prosecutor’s Mortgage Deed Fraud Task Force, and by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Rice had testified during a post-conviction hearing in front of Judge Brian Sullivan that Davontae Sanford was with him at his aunt Cheryl Sanford’s house during the time of the killings, until early the next morning. The report says Rice characterized Cheryl Sanford as his “significant other.”
Taminko Sanford-Tilmon, Davontae’s mother (l) and Mertilla Jones, grandmother of Aiyana Jones, killed by DPD at the age of 7, held joint rally demanding justice for Aiyana and freedom for Davontae and Aiyana’s father Charles Jones June 23, 2012. Jones was convicted of first-degree murder on charges brought by Worthy’s office based largely on jail-house “snitch” statements.
Worthy called this a “perjured alibi” during her press conference, based on cell phone tower evidence called questionable by defense attorney Kim McGinnis during the hearings. An appeals court later overturned Judge Sullivan’s decision in a scathing denunciation of how the case had been handled.
Worthy ignored DPD records of other statements corroborating Rice’s testimony directly after the killings. The MSP report says Sanford’s mother and uncle Taminko and Nathaniel Sanford told police Rice had driven them, Sanford, and Sanford’s two sisters to Cheryl Sanford’s house for dinner around 9:30 p.m. and did not return until early the next morning. Sanford also told officers who encountered him outside his house that night that his “uncle” Bill Rice had just dropped him off.
Worthy charged Rice with two counts of perjury in the Sanford case, and numerous counts regarding a mortgage fraud case, drug-dealing and other matters. Rice pled guilty in a plea bargain to the Sanford perjury counts and to one count of operating a criminal enterprise in the mortgage fraud case. He was sentenced by Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Gregory Bill to 2-20 years in the Michigan Department of Corrections on the various counts, apparently running concurrently.
Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Gregory Bill
Cheryl Sanford was charged in the mortgage fraud case as a co-defendant, and sentenced to five years probation, one to be served in jail, also in a plea bargain. Detroit’s Channel 4 News reported that Rice would likely be out of prison in two years.
The Sanford perjury case and the mortgage fraud cases are listed separately in court records, but Channel 4 reported that Judge Bill sentenced Rice in both cases at the same time, apparently as part of a package deal. Considering that these cases were completely separate matters, it appears odd that Rice and Cheryl Sanford would have been sentenced for both before Bill on the same day, Feb. 22, 2012.
MSP EXTENDED ITS INVESTIGATION AFTER SMOTHERS INTERVIEW
Corriveau says that the MSP extended their investigation after interviewing Vincent Smothers, who had confessed to the Runyon Street killings. The MSP report indicates that they had already been looking into a series of murders the admitted hit man had confessed to.
“During the investigation of William Rice for perjury, I interviewed several people, including Vincent Smothers, who were pertinent to the original investigation of the homicides that occurred on Runyon Street,” Corriveau wrote. “As a result of my review of the DPD investigation and the related events involving Vincent Smothers, I determined that a more in depth investigation would be appropriate. In late April of 2015, D/F/Lt. Furlong and I met with representatives of the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office and requested that the investigation into the homicides that occurred at 19741 Runyon Street . . .be re-opened.”
Worthy did subsequently author a letter dated May 5, 2015, asking the MSP to investigate, but she did not, as she said during her press conference, initiate the investigation.
AMMUNITION AT SCENE INCONSISTENT WITH SANFORD STATEMENT
Slide of some of shell casings; MSP report says they did not match ammo that would have come from gun Sanford described.
During his guilty plea statement at his two-day trial, and in his written confessions Sanford claimed he fired a “Mini 14 rifle” into the Runyon Street house.
An Investigator’s note in the MSP report says, “[T]he commercially available Mini 14 rifle is a semi-automatic carbine that fires a Remington .223. or alternatively a 5.56 mm cartridge. Neither of these types of rounds were recovered.from the scene).
The MSP report says Detroit police reported recovering 13 Wolf brand 7.62 x 39 mm cartridge cases and six Federal brand 7.62 x 39 mm cases at the scene. These were consistent with the use of either one or two AK-47’s. After Smothers’ confession to DPD on May 8, 2008, the DPD identified a gun taken from Michael Robinson, one of the Runyon Street murder victims, as the same gun with which Smothers later killed Rose Cobb, wife of Detroit Police officer David Cobb.
Worthy said during her press conference that Sanford later referred to an “AK,” but it is not clear at what point this allegedly happened. The report notes police found other discrepancies in Sanford’s description of the weapons he and his alleged accomplices carried.
REPORT OF K-9 TRACK
Worthy said during her press conference that the DPD K-9 unit dog stopped directly in front of the residence of Davontae Sanford at 19770 Beland because the dog lost an unspecified scent. She did not describe the entire incident. The track stopped when Detroit Sgt. Michael Russell, who was following the track, happened on Davontae, a 14-year-old child on the street near his house in his pajamas.
Google map showing Runyon and Beland street addresses.
According to the MSP report, DPD Officer Chris Salisbury said after the shootings in a written report that “he made contact with Sgt. Bill Hart who informed him the suspects involved in the shooting were observed by witnesses running northwest across a field towards E. State Fair. Officer Salisbury and he and his K-9 began a track northwest across a field towards E. State Fair. He continued tracking westbound on E. State Fair along the curb across Teppert Street to a vacant field just before Beland. Officer Salisbury then tracked across the vacant field towards Beland and then tracked southbound on Beland along the sidewalk. Officer Salisbury continued tracking southbound on Beland and stopped at the drive of 19770 Beland. At that point the track was terminated.”
A report by Investigator Dale Collins explains why the track was terminated.
Detroit police Sgt. Michael Russell is featured in this photo on the website for the infamous “First 48,” which stressed solving homicides in 48 hours. Aiyana Jones’ killer Joseph Weekley was also a “First 48” star. The MSP report notes that Russell, who testified in Davontae’s case, did not keep written reports of his actions.
It says Collins “followed the K-9 track with Sgt. Russell and while conducting a canvass of the area on Beland, he observed Sgt. Russell speaking with Davontae Sanford. Collins stated that he then made contact with Sanford who informed him that he had been dropped off earlier that day by his Uncle Bill. Collins advised that he asked ‘Bill who?’ and Sanford responded that it was Bill Rice. Collins informed Sanford that he knew Bill Rice and he (Sanford) needed to help the police.”
On July 13, 2010, Collins told the MSP, “I called Bill Rice and I asked him—or I told him that we were working on a triple homicide and that we were talking to a young fellow. And this guy said that he had been dropped off by Bill. And I asked Bill, I said well—Bill asked me well, what’s his name? And I told Bill his name is Davontae. He said, well, yes, that’s Cheryl’s nephew, that he had dropped him off over there. He also said that he was a young—he’s about 14 or 15 years old, and he’s a street guy. Anything out in the street he knew about. So if he tells you something, you can believe it.”
Diagram Tolbert testified Sanford had made of house, in Russell’s presence. Tolbert later said he had done the diagram while Davontae placed the bodies.
The report continues shortly, “Collins then stated that he, Sgt. Russell and Commander James Tolbert drove Sanford around in Tolbert’s vehicle. Collins stated that Sanford then pointed out several locations where people sell guns and gave them general information about the neighborhood.”
The report says they drove around for several hours, contradicting court testimony that Davontae was first interviewed at DPD headquarters.
The report adds that Russell and other officers were present during Sanford’s interrogation later, while he allegedly drew the Runyon house diagram. The MSP has asked for perjury charges against Tolbert, but none against Russell or others.
MSP ARREST OF SMOTHERS AND PAYNE IN MAY 2007
The report also says, “It should be noted that on May 21, 2007, prior to the homicides that occurred at 19741 Runyon, Leroy Payne was arrested with Vincent Smothers by Michigan State Police Troopers while traveling to Chicago. Two pistols were located in that vehicle.”
Leroy Payne, who Smothers said had hired him for many of his hits, under drug kingpin Delano Thomas, now deceased.
There is no record of this arrest or any subsequent proceedings on the MSP “ICHAT” record for Vincent Smothers. There is however a record for Leroy Payne for the arrest in Berrien County, with subsequent adjudication of a plea deal for “attempted firearms possession of loaded firearm in or upon a vehicle.” Payne was originally charged with possession of a firearm by a felon and carrying a concealed weapon. His only other charges listed were drug possession felonies from the 1990’s. He is currently being held in custody in Georgia, according to the MDOC website.
Worthy has not even attempted to investigate and prosecute Payne for hiring Smothers to commit the Runyon Street killings.
DPD, WORTHY’S FAILURE TO FOLLOW UP ON SMOTHERS’ CONFESSION
An MSP investigator says in the report, “I reviewed all of the above referenced reports relating to the investigation of Vincent Smothers and the investigation of the homicides that occurred at 19741 Runyon. During that review I could not locate any documented interviews or attempts of an interview of Ernest Davis AKA “Nemo”, Leroy Payne or the resident of [blocked out] Tamika Davis. Further, there does not appear to be any follow up or additional investigation conducted by the Detroit Police Department in relation to the statements made by Vincent Smothers concerning the homicides that occurred at 19741 Runyon.”
Bed under which witness Valerie Glover hid on Runyon St. during killings in Sept. 2007. Smothers told police there was a child on top on the bed, and that he told Glover to be quiet and she would be all right.
Smothers told police Ernest “Nemo” Davis was his accomplice in the Runyon Street killing, and that Leroy Payne, employed by drug kingpin Delano Thomas, hired him for the job.
The MSP report says it requested warrants for Tolbert, Smothers and Davis. But Worthy said at her press conference that she wanted further investigation by the MSP before issuing the warrants. The MSP has said its investigation is over.
Thus left open is the question of whether Worthy and others from the prosecutor’s office and police department who were involved in Sanford’s frame-up should be charged with obstruction of justice and malfeasance in office for knowingly and wrongfully incarcerating Sanford and failing to pursue a case against Smothers and others. Sanford suffered torture, harassment and humiliation by guards while incarcerated at the Ionia Maximum Correctional Facility, and his mother, stepfather, and the rest of his family suffered untold anguish for almost nine years trying to free Sanford.
Below is a different, clearer version of Kym Worthy’s press conference June 9, 2016 than that earlier published by VOD. This version includes footage by Channel 7 of Pros. Worthy’s statements, followed by Channel 2 footage of reporter’s questions and answers that is slightly more audible than first version.
The following story includes link to full MSP report on the Sanford case, which is too large to include as a PDF on this site. It is unclear why the Detroit News did not include the link. The other two stories from the Detroit News by George Hunter, and the News’ editorial calling for an investigation of the prosecutor’s office and Detroit police, are referenced in the article above.
Videos: Brave New Films (photos, videos not part of Reuters story)
Jun 13, 2016
The Philadelphia-Camden Boricua Committee demonstrated Dec. 2, 2015 in front of the UBS Financial Services office in Philadelphia, part of a national appeal by the New York Call to Action on Puerto Rico to demand the cancellation of Puerto Rico’s debt and expose the criminal role of the banks and financial institutions that impose brutal austerity measures on the residents of the island. See
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday refused to revive a Puerto Rico debt-restructuring law, putting the U.S. territory at risk of a messy default unless Congress this month passes legislation to help the Caribbean island survive its crippling fiscal crisis.
The justices ruled 5-2 that Puerto Rico’s 2014 statute, which would have let it cut billions of dollars in debt at public utilities over creditor objections, conflicted with federal bankruptcy law. The justices left in place a 2015 appeals court ruling invalidating the law, called the Recovery Act.
Passage of legislation now advancing in the U.S. Congress is likely the only remaining option to restructure Puerto Rico’s debt in a bid to avoid a default in the U.S. territory of about 3.5 million people that is burdened by a $70 billion debt load it has said it cannot pay.
The U.S. House of Representatives last Thursday overwhelmingly passed legislation creating a federal control board to help Puerto Rico cope with its debt, and sent the bill to the Senate for consideration. The White House has urged the Senate to act promptly so President Barack Obama can sign the bill into law ahead of a looming July 1 deadline for Puerto Rico to make a $1.9 billion debt payment.
But the Senate’s Republican leaders have not yet revealed their plans for dealing with the legislation.
The proposed oversight board would be tasked with working with investors on restructuring Puerto Rico’s debt and would have the authority to push the island into a bankruptcy-like court process in which it could restructure debt without the agreement of creditors.
Puerto Rico does not have Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection, unlike the 50 U.S. states. Puerto Rico’s governor, Alejandro Garcia Padilla, while supporting the bill generally, has expressed reservations about the broad powers it would give the oversight board.
Justice Clarence Thomas, writing for the Supreme Court, said Puerto Rico is not considered a U.S. state in one part of bankruptcy law, meaning it cannot authorize its municipal agencies to restructure debt. Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissented.
Puerto Rico, also hit by a 45 percent poverty rate and a shrinking population, faces economic calamity without measures that either change its laws or involve an agreement with creditors, which include U.S. hedge funds.
In 1984, Congress passed legislation that prohibited Puerto Rico, as a U.S. territory and not a state, from using laws that let states put struggling municipalities into bankruptcy.
Members of labor unions last year marched past the capitol in San Juan, Puerto Rico against an austerity plan to help the island’s debt crisis.
The reinstatement of the Puerto Rico law could have threatened a hard-fought, consensual restructuring at power authority PREPA under which creditors holding most of the utility’s $8.3 billion in debt agreed to take 15 percent reductions in payouts.
The Recovery Act might have allowed Puerto Rico to scrap that deal and instead put PREPA into bankruptcy, where it could impose deeper cuts and bind holdout creditors.
Two U.S. lower court decisions found the Recovery Act invalid after PREPA creditors sued. The Supreme Court heard arguments in Puerto Rico’s appeal on March 22.
“We are grateful for the Supreme Court’s careful consideration of the case, and are pleased that we now can put this litigation behind us,” said Matthew McGill, an attorney for one group of creditors.
The price on Puerto Rico’s benchmark 2035 General Obligation bond gyrated in the wake of the court’s decision. 74514LE86=MSRB
‘REAL WORLD CONSEQUENCES’
Puerto Rico’s governor signed an emergency bill on April 6 allowing the government to halt payments on its debt, throwing into doubt broader restructuring plans to stave off a financial collapse.
“Preemption cases may seem like abstract discussions of the appropriate balance between states and federal power,” Sotomayor wrote in dissent. “But they have real world consequences. Finding preemption here means that a government is left powerless with no legal process to help its 3.5 million citizens.”
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
Sotomayor, whose parents were born in Puerto Rico and moved to New York before she was born, said Puerto Ricans “should not have to wait for possible congressional action to avert the consequences of unreliable electricity, transportation and safe water.”
Height Securities analyst Daniel Hanson said the ruling should be read in concert with a separate Supreme Court decision last week holding that Puerto Rico is not a separate sovereign entity from the United States for the purposes of bringing criminal charges.
The two rulings show that “Puerto Rico’s ultimate source of authority is the U.S. Congress, and the power to overrule what Congress has ordained – including in the Puerto Rico constitution – is non-existent,” Hanson wrote.
Puerto Rico’s governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla addresses the legislature about a billion-dollar cut in public spending and his new economic initiatives, in San Juan in this April 29, 2014 file photo. REUTERS/Ana Martinez-Santiago/Files
That could make it harder for Puerto Rico’s governor to make good on his threat to default on debt backed by Puerto Rico’s constitution in the name of maintaining government services, Hanson added.
Only seven justices considered the case because Justice Samuel Alito recused himself and Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February, has not yet been replaced.
(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Additional reporting by Richard Cowan in Washington, Daniel Bases in New York and Nick Brown in San Juan; Editing by Will Dunham)
Video above: Over 60 leading Black and Palestinian artists and activists affirm Black-Palestinian solidarity, including Ms. Lauryn Hill, Danny Glover, DAM, Omar Barghouti, Alice Walker, Angela Davis, Yousef Erakat, Annemarie Jacir, Boots Riley, Dr. Cornel West, and many others.
After 6th Circuit Court vacates Odeh’s sentence, U.S. District Court Judge Gershwin Drain orders evidentiary hearing Nov. 29, likely re-trial in Jan.
Odeh tortured, raped by Israeli occupation forces in 1969, now charged with “false statements” in naturalization application
Defense expert to testify regarding PTSD effects on memory of torture survivors
Odeh’s arrest result of general FBI sweep of pro-Palestinian activists’ homes in Chicago and Minneapolis
Rasmea Odeh thanks her supporters, particularly Arab-American women from Chicago, outside Detroit’s federal courthouse after hearing June 13, 2016. At her left is Nadeen Darweech, President of Students for Justice in Palestine at Loyala University.
By Diane Bukowski
June 18, 2016
Some of dozens of Rasmea Odeh’s supporters outside Detroit’s federal courthouse June 13, 2016.
DETROIT – Carrying banners declaring “We demand #JUSTICE4RASMEA,” and “From Ferguson to Palestine, Occupation is a Crime,” over 100 protesters from across the U.S. rallied for two hours outside the Fort Street federal courthouse in Detroit June 13.
Inside, U.S. District Court Judge Gershwin Drain, after hearing arguments in chambers, ordered a Nov. 29, 2016 evidentiary hearing and a possible re-trial Jan. 10, 2017 for Palestinian-American activist Rasmea Odeh, 68, convicted earlier of making “false statements” on her naturalization application that she had never been convicted of a crime.
Palestinian children who died during 1969-70 Israeli invasion of Gaza. They were among hundreds.
Odeh was repeatedly tortured and raped by the Israeli military for three weeks during its 1969-70 invasion and subsequent occupation of Gaza, condemned world-wide. The Israelis imprisoned her for allegedly bombing an supermarket in Jerusalem. She has said that any confession she made was elicited by torture.
“As a Black woman who has lived in an oppressed community for over half a century, and as a rape survivor, I say the Black community and Detroiters need to stand up for Rasmea,” activist-poet Tawanna “Honeycomb” Petty said during the rally.
Rasmea’s Detroit supporters included Christian Bailey (l) and Tawanna “Honeycomb” Petty.
“Here in Detroit, Black women and families are evicted and kicked out of their homes like in Palestine. Our right to water is under attack in both places. Systems of incarceration are used to police and repress our communities. It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win.”
On Feb. 25 this year, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati vacated Odeh’s Nov. 14, 2015 jury conviction. It remanded her case to Drain, who had sentenced her to 18 months in prison and deportation.
Drain said at the time, “I don’t normally comment on verdicts, but in this case I will: I think it’s a fair and reasonable one based on the evidence that came in.”
But the Sixth Circuit disagreed, ordering Drain to allow testimony he had barred from Mary Fabri, an expert on post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) in torture survivors. Drain also barred Odeh herself from testifying about her treatment by the Israeli soldiers.
U.S. District Court Judge Gershwin Drain
The joint ruling from Sixth Circuit Judges John Rogers, Alice Batchelder and Karen Moore focused on allowing Fabri’s testimony, and specifically said the court was not ordering a new trial. But Batchelder said in partial dissent that she would have ordered a new trial.
Batchelder wrote, “ . . . proving that Odeh lied under oath, and even that that lie was ‘material,’ would not require evidence that she was charged with ‘plac[ing] explosives in the hall of the SuperSol in Jerusalem . . .with the intent of causing death or injury.’ The risk of unfair prejudice from this evidence was enormous, especially since Odeh was not permitted to testify at trial about her claims of torture. The word ‘terrorist’ may never have been uttered before the jury, but it was doubtless in the minds of everyone present.”
Judge John Rogers
Judge Alice Batchelder
Judge Karen Nelson Moore
The other woman judge on the appeals panel, Karen Moore, additionally wrote that Drain’s decision to admit aspects of the military tribunal indictment was, “although harmless error. . . an abuse of discretion.” She said those aspects included the names of the two people who died in the bombing, along with the prayer, “May Their Memories be a Blessing.”
“The names and prayer give color and texture to the bombing, so that it becomes more real and difficult to separate from the instant offense,” Moore wrote. “They provide exactly the kind of detail likely to provide a visceral reaction.”
Rasmea Odeh greets and thanks supporters as she leaves court June 13, 2016.
The crowd rallying outside greeted Odeh and her legal defense team, including attorney Michael Deutsch, with rousing cheers as they left the courthouse. Deutsch has in the past represented members of the Black Panther Party and the Puerto Rican independence movement. For the past 10 years, Odeh has helped Arab-American women in Chicago through her social work, and has supported the struggles of many other groups, including those protesting dozens of murders by police in Chicago.
Deutsch said the Nov. 29 hearing will determine whether Odeh herself can testify in addition to Fabri, and whether there will be a new trial. He said the prosecution insisted on the hearing, where it plans to challenge inclusion of the previously barred testimony as well as a new trial.
Attorney Michael Deutsch
“We haven’t reached the question of how broadly [Odeh] can testify at any new trial,” Deutsch said. “My reading of the judge is that he seems to be leaning to letting the expert testify.”
During the trial, Judge Drain originally granted the defense’s request to have Fabri testify, then reversed his decision.
Deutsch said Drain took under consideration the defense’s request to ease requirements that Odeh report every week to Pre-Trial Services in Chicago, and not travel. However the judge did not rule.
Those rallying on Odeh’s behalf came from Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Dearborn, Grand Rapids, and Ann Arbor, among other places. Two protesters even traveled from Texas. They represented Black and Filipino community organizations in various cities along with Black Lives Matter and other anti-police brutality organizations.
Professor Angela Davis, esteemed world-wide as a hero of the Black liberation movement in the U.S., wrote an op-ed supporting Rasmea, published in the Detroit News and other media across the country.
Prof. Angela Davis, Frank Chapman of Chicago Alliance vs. Racism and Political Repression, and Rasmea Odeh at 2015 rally.
“Only now, when the Chicago activist community has effectively raised awareness of Israel’s apartheid system and its violation of international laws, have immigration authorities decided to challenge [Odeh’s] status as a citizen,” Davis said. “In light of the success of the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment campaign, this case reeks of political payback.”
Hatem Abudayyeh of the U.S. Palestinian Community Network (USPCN), acting as national spokesperson for the Rasmea Defense Committee, earlier filled VOD in on the background of Rasmea’s arrest by immigration officials. He now lives in Detroit, having moved from Chicago. The USPCN along with the Committee to Stop FBI Repression (CSFR), anchor Odeh’s defense committee.
“We cannot win Rasmea’s case only in court, but by mobilizing political support,” Abudayyeh said. “For 40-50 years in the U.S., Palestinians have said our struggle is the Black community’s struggle, and done decades of organizing work. In Sept. 2010, the FBI conducted raids in five households in Chicago and Minneapolis, arresting people who became known as ‘the Midwest 23.’ They came after Rasmea in particular, as a representative of our liberation movement.”
Hatem Abudayyeh, national spokesman for Rasmea Defense Committee.
Abudayyeh continued, “There are 7,000 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails, and now they are trying to criminalize our movement here. We have to fight back by any means necessary. There is nothing criminal about our movement.
“U.S. Prosecutor Jonathan Turkel [now removed from Odeh’s case], took advantage of the publicity about ISIS. He is not going to say anything about the huge role the U.S. played to bring about the rise of that group. For him to compare Rasmea and Palestinians with ISIS and Al-Quaeda is nothing but fear-mongering and scapegoating. But we believe there has been a shift in this country in support of Palestinian rights.”
Abudayyeh compared the U.S. government’s attack on pro-Palestinian organizers with COINTELPRO, the FBI-led campaign to kill, imprison, and discredit leaders of the Black Panther Party and other Black liberation groups.
“Israel is the most important ally of the U.S.,” Abudayyeh said. “It is a stronghold for U.S. interests in Palestine and the Arab world. The U.S. wants it to be that white racist settlement.”
Chicago Black Christmas protesters against police killings.
Frank Chapman, an organizer with the Chicago Alliance Against Racism and Political Repression, also spoke during the rally.
“We are in the midst of a huge fight against police crimes in the Black community,” Chapman said. “But the people who rule our country are in a world of trouble. People are out in the streets on an almost daily basis fighting back.”
Narissa Allegretti, of the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns, said, “This is about all of us. It is not about immigration, it is about repression. We are all Rasmea.”
Other speakers included representatives of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, Black Youth 100, the Cincinnati Palestine Solidarity Movement, Jewish Voice for Peace, Students for Justice in Palestine from Loyola University, as well as other organizers of the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment campaign from various colleges.
Rasmea Odea’s supporters outside federal courthouse June 13, 2016.
The Rasmea Defense Committee can be contacted through Hatem Abudayyah, at 773-301-4108, and email@example.com.