Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from a black left perspective.
Black Agenda Report for Week of Oct 24, 2016

20 Years of Genocide in Congo

Friends of Congo marked the 20th anniversary of the invasion and genocide that has killed at least six million Congolese with an all-day event at Thoughtworks, in New York City. “We’re not just fighting against our own government,” said Nita Evele, of the Congo Global Action Coalition. “We’re fighting against our neighboring countries” in the Great Lakes region of the continent “who figured out that they can make tons of money by helping the big multinationals and the big powers, the United States, France and Canada,” who are allied with the invaders, Rwanda and Uganda.

The Black Panther Party at 50, Bobby Seale at 80

On the same weekend that the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense celebrated the 50th anniversary of its founding, in Oakland, California, hundreds gathered to roast and toast former Party chairman Bobby Seale on his 80th birthday. Seale put forward a far less revolutionary version of the Party’s origins and history. “When we went out there to patrol the police, it was a tactic to capture the imagination of the people,” he told the crowd. However, it was Seale’s intent all along to “organize a political-electoral unit and to take over some of these damn cities. My objective was to get more Black politicians, and that’s what happened.” Seale also supports Hillary Clinton for president.

Better a Dog Than Clinton for President, Says Haiti Activist

“The only reason that Hillary Clinton is not in jail; the only reason that the Clinton Foundation is not shut down, is precisely because they are protected by the highest levels of government,” said Daoud Andre, a Haitian community activist and radio host in New York City. Andre said the Clintons have stolen billions from the Haitian people. “It’s like Barack Obama gave Haiti to the Clintons as a gift,” he said. “With regard to this election, whatever is able to stop Hillary Clinton, we have to support that; if it’s a dog running against Hillary Clinton, you have to vote for that dog because of the harm that this family has caused to our people.”

Theater in the Service of the Struggle

The National Black Theater, in New York’s Harlem, hosted a radical political theatrical production titled “Survival Crimes,” produced by the Campaign to Bring Mumia Home and the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC). The plot focuses on two current cases: Mumia Abu Jamal’s legal battle to force the state of Pennsylvania to provide medical treatment for the thousands of prison inmates suffering from Hepatitis C, including himself; and the arrest in The Bronx of 120 people on gang-related conspiracy charges -- the biggest such roundup in New York City history. Activist Kyle Fraser said the play points out the “theatrics of the state, swooping in with helicopters to this neighborhood, using Shock and Awe tactics,” and perverting the rule of law in the Pennsylvania prison system.

Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network is hosted by Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey. A new edition of the program airs every Monday at 11:00am ET on PRN. Length: one hour.

Direct download: BlackAgendaRadio_20161024.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:19pm EDT

Trump’s Disintegration Means It’s Not Just Safe to Vote Green, It’s Mandatory

Trump’s Disintegration Means It’s Not Just Safe to Vote Green, It’s Mandatory

A BAR radio commentary by Bruce A. Dixon

The election is more than two weeks away but the outcome isn’t the least bit in doubt. Hillary Clinton will be the next president of the United States. It’s high time for leftists, so-called progressives and generally sensible people to reconcile themselves to this fact.

The Trump candidacy has shot itself in both feet again and again. Scores of high profile Republican officeholders have deserted their party’s nominee. Donald Trump has failed to rally the section of America’s ruling elite that traditionally backs Republicans seeking high office. Millions in donations one that percenters usually invest in a Republican presidential candidate are finding their way to Hillary, who has opened up a double digit lead in the polls. So many Republican voters are staying home or casting their ballots for Hillary that Democrats may carry some states like Georgia which are normally well out of their reach, and Democrats expect to gain control of the US Senate.

The Donald is certainly a racist demagogue, a thief, liar, a hyper-entitled sexual predator and a loathsome buffoon. But he’ll never be president. Since Trump will in fact never be president, speculations on what kind of neanderthals the imaginary President Trump might appoint to the EPA or the Supreme Court, nightmares about how many millions he’d deport, how high a wall the pretend president might build, or who the imaginary President Trump would jail, drone or nuke after a 3AM Twitter fit are not frightening possibilities we need to take urgent action to avoid. They are bogeyman stories, make-believe, bad science fiction without the science.

If there was ever a need to unite to prevent a President Trump that need is over because the make-believe President Trump has prevented himself. Trump’s definitive meltdown and the temporary or permanent near destruction of the Republican party locks down a runaway victory for Hillary Clinton. It’s a new day, an historic opportunity which opens the way for even the most cautious among us to vote our hopes, not our fears.

Now the Henry Giroux’s of the world who claim voting for the Green Party’s Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka, the only peace, jobs and justice candidates will lead straight to President Trump and “concentration camps” can stop hyperventilating. The Angela Davis types can reconsider whether those who don’t share their fears of the imaginary President Trump are “narcissists,” and the Hillary shills who claim voting for third parties is “white privilege” can just go away.

Since Hillary Clinton has a double digit lead in the polls, she doesn’t need the votes of so-called left and progressive activists. But those activists have their own needs. They need to build their own political home, their own political party. Right now Stein and Baraka are running at four and five percent in nationwide polls, even though restrictive ballot access laws banned Green candidates from the ballot in four states, and forced them to run as “independents” with no party affiliation in seven or eight more.

If Stein and Baraka get five percent of the vote in November, ballot access for Greens will be a done deal in most states, and the possibility of additional federal campaign funds in presidential years opens as well. So the only ways for left and progressive activists to waste their votes is to stay home, or to give them to Hillary. The only place where your vote matters this year is with the Green Party.

For Black Agenda Report, I’m Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report and a co-chair of the GA Green Party. He lives and works near Marietta GA and can be reached via email at bruce.dixon(at)

Direct download: 20161020-bd-new-day.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:24am EDT

Unspeakable America

“Having no real defense against the obvious, the Clinton campaign and most of the corporate media painted Wikileaks as an arm of Russian intelligence.”

Let’s get to the point of this commentary right up front: political discourse in the United States is devoid of substance because the people who own the country and its media can no longer justify their continued rule. Capitalism -- in deep and irreversible decline, dominated by a financial class that makes nothing but exotic forms of money -- has nothing to offer the vast bulk of the people, and no solutions for any of the multiplying crises it has created. Having no real program to offer the public, the rulers and their media have no choice but to shut down any semblance of substantive political debate.

In this presidential season most of the ruling class is gathered under Hillary Clinton’s Big Tent. Republican Donald Trump is on the outs, despite his billionaire status, because he has violated several sacred taboos of the One Percent. I’m not talking about his racism -- race is central to politics in the U.S. Trump’s heresy is that he has challenged rich people’s right to take their money and the nation’s jobs, overseas. And Trump has questioned U.S. policies of endless war, regime change, and demonization of Russia.

The truth is, most Americans oppose the deindustrialization of their country, and they know who is responsible: Wall Street. And most Americans do not want to live in a world that is constantly on the brink of war. Even Donald Trump’s white nationalists yearn for some global peace and quiet and an economy with good jobs for average (white) people.

“Trump has violated sacred taboos of the One Percent.”

Hillary Clinton is deservedly known as both a warmonger and a shameless supplicant of Wall Street, whereas Trump exhibits no loyalties to anyone but himself. Wikileaks has done periodic dumps of documents proving, in Clinton and her handlers’ own words, that she is a servant of the ruling class. Having no real defense against the obvious, the Clinton campaign and most of the corporate media painted Wikileaks as an arm of Russian intelligence. The purpose of this New McCarthyism was to inoculate the public against believing Clinton’s own words, as they were spoken to bankers, and at the same time discredit Trump’s position that the U.S. should seek better relations with Russia and stop helping jihadists in Syria. Having no intention to offer peace to the American people or stop supporting the jihadists, the ruling class shut down the conversation.

The New York Times stooped to new lows of Zionistic McCarthyism, last week, when it used the broad brush of anti-Semitism to slime Donald Trump’s critique of what he called a “global elite” that had “stripped” the U.S. of its wealth in order to line the pockets of corporate and political interests. He said Hillary Clinton “meets in secret with international banks to plot the destruction of U.S. sovereignty in order to enrich these global financial powers, her special interest friends and her donors.” Actually, this is provably true about Hillary Clinton and her past support for so-called free trade – and it’s how today’s capitalist system works, in general. Socialists, and even left liberals, make the same case all the time. But such talk is now verboten, prohibited because the New York Times tells us that anti-Semites like to say such things about “the Jews.”

So, even for mega-capitalists like Trump, critiques of capitalism are beyond the pale – unspeakable.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at

Direct download: 20161019_gf_Unspeakable.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:21pm EDT

Black Agenda Report for Week of Oct 17, 2016

Glen Ford: If Trump is a Fascist, What is Clinton?

Speaking to a gathering of the Georgia Peace and Justice Coalition, in Atlanta, Black Agenda Report executive editor Glen Ford challenged those who maintain that progressives are obligated to support Hillary Clinton for president to counter a “fascist” threat from Donald Trump. “I’d like to know how Donald Trump is supposed to build fascism when the ruling class is mostly with the Democrats this election season,” said Ford. “If you are worried about 21st century fascism, you need to check out the tent where the ruling class congregates -- and that’s Hillary’s tent. Most of all, if you’re looking for fascists, go to the sound of the war drums” -- which are also pounding in Hillary’s tent. For voters that are looking for a real anti-fascist and pro-peace presidential ticket, the only choice on the ballot in most states is Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka, of the Green Party, said Ford.

In Some States, 20 to 25 Percent of Blacks Disenfranchised by Felonies

A new report by The Sentencing Project shows that six million Americans have been disenfranchised because of felony convictions, with huge consequences for Black America. In four states -- Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky and Virginia -- one out of every four or five African Americans has lost the right to vote. “These are states with high rates of incarceration and, as is true in every state, the rate of incarceration of African Americans dwarfs that of whites, usually by about a five to one ratio,” said Project executive director Marc Mauer. “The combined effect of high rates of incarceration and the fact that many, if not most, of the people who have completed their sentences are still disenfranchised means that it is a lifetime ban.” Mauer said the U.S. stands alone among industrialized countries in its zeal to disenfranchise ex-felons. “Nothing we know of comes close to this.”

Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network is hosted by Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey. A new edition of the program airs every Monday at 11:00am ET on PRN. Length: one hour.

Direct download: blackagendaradio_20161017.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:27pm EDT

Soft Porn Tape Trumps Wikileaks Truths: Hillary’s “Private” Lies Prevail

Even Santa Claus would get outsourced in Hillary’s vision of ‘free trade.’”

There was never any real doubt that Hillary Clinton would defeat Donald Trump. Indeed, from the Democrats’ standpoint, Trump was the ideal candidate. Wikileaks documents show that the Democratic National Committee wanted the Republicans to put forward as right-wing a candidate as possible, so that Clinton, who represents the right wing of the Democratic Party, would look good by comparison.

Clinton has long been the favorite of the corporate media, and her best TV friends are at NBC. The network had known for months about the 11-year-old tape in which its current employee, Billy Bush, a cousin and nephew of two presidents, joined with Trump in piggish banter degrading women. NBC chose to release the tape at precisely the right moment to suck the air out of a new batch of Wikileaks documents that could have been catastrophic for the Clinton campaign. As a result, everybody and their mother knows that Trump brags about grabbing women’s private parts, but far fewer folks learned what Clinton said to those bankers and other One Percenters that have paid her $26 million for private speeches. If the contents of her bankster speeches had been divulged at the height of her primary race against Bernie Sanders, Clinton would never have won the nomination, because they reveal her as a methodical, cynical liar who wants to cut Social Security and send millions more jobs overseas.

Clinton told the bankers at Morgan Stanley that she agreed with the co-chairs of President Obama’s Deficit Reduction Commission, who proposed cutting Social Security and making Americans wait longer to collect their benefits. She called that “the right framework” to “restrain spending” and “incentivize growth”

To earn her $200,000-plus check, Clinton confided to Brazilian bankers that her “dream” is "a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders” -- that is, a kind of super-NAFTA agreement that stretches from the North Pole to the South Pole. Even Santa Claus would get outsourced in Hillary’s vision of “free trade.”

Inoculated Against Truth

Clinton told a bunch of real estate developers that rich folks like themselves shouldn’t take her public speeches to the Democratic masses too literally. Her years in politics have taught her, she said, that “you need both a public and a private position.” She is telling the rich and powerful not to worry, because she will protect their interests while lying to the people.

Had NBC not pushed the Wikileaks story to the side with their soft-porn Trump tape, Clinton’s candidacy would have been gravely wounded. But, the Democrats and their corporate media allies have convinced many Americans that everything from Wikileaks is a Russian trick, including documents that come straight from the desk of Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, John Podesta, and which Podesta does not deny are his. Much of the public has been inoculated against any bombshells of truth from Wikileaks. And if any truth threatens to break through, then the media will find some other way to change the subject, because Big Media are a part of the filthy rich that hope to benefit from Hillary’s “private” positions and public lies.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at

Direct download: 20161012_ClintonWikied.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:12am EDT

Black Agenda Report for Week of Oct 3, 2016

Reparations a Necessity to Correct America’s Crimes

The United Nations panel of experts that blasted the U.S. for its “legacy of colonial history, enslavement, racial subordination and segregation, racial terrorism and racial inequality” had no choice but to call for reparations for people of African descent, said Kamm Howard, of NCOBRA, the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America. “The international community recognizes that reparations is pretty much mandatory when a state has committed those types of crimes,” said Howard. “You have to repair the injury, you have to make the people whole, because these types of injuries are long term and, generally, self-perpetuating.”

Ajamu Baraka: Bush and Obama Backed Jihadist Forces

“This country and the world is more dangerous as a consequence of the rampage the U.S. has been involved in in the so-called Middle East,” said Green Party vice presidential candidate Ajamu Baraka. Speaking on Democracy Now!’s “Expanded Debates,” Baraka said both Republicans and Democrats are responsible for the rise of Islamic jihadism. “Under the Bush administration, there was a conscious decision to utilize jihadist forces to advance U.S. policies,” he said. “That policy was continued under the Obama administration. We see the blowback happening across the world.”

Crying Wolf on Fascism

“This notion that we’re going to have a white nationalist fascist takeover in this election, and that we all need to go running to this rightwing fanatic, this arch-corporatist, this lying neoliberal warmonger” -- Hillary Clinton – “is not sticking with a lot of people on the Left,” said historian and political analyst Paul Street. Part of the reason is that “Clinton has such a long and unambiguous track record of really vanguard neoliberalism,” said Street. The Clintons “led the way for the rightward drift of the Democratic Party.”

Nat Turner as Revolutionary Organizer

The slave revolt that swept through Southampton County, Virginia, in 1831, in which about 60 whites were killed and hundreds of Blacks were hanged or murdered in retaliation, was “far more than an impulsive lashing out against mistreatment,” said Dr. Melvin Peters, associate professor of African American Studies at the University of Eastern Michigan. Turner was a man of “unparalleled leadership,” said Peters. “When Turner called out to the recruits, his six men grew to at least 60, maybe 80 freedom fighters, including free Blacks.” Slave insurrections also broke out “all around the Dismal Swamp, even down to Wilmington, North Carolina, in the same time period --- so much so, that they appeared to be coordinated.”

Black Colombians Favored Peace Deal

“The majority of the ‘Yes’ vote came from Afro-descended territories and from those territories where war has hit most strongly at communities,” said Afro-Colombian human rights activist Charo Mina-Rojas. The agreement that would have ended the half-century-long war between FARC guerillas and the Colombian government was narrowly defeated in a referendum, last month. The conflict has killed hundreds of thousands and left more than five million homeless, the majority of them Black. Mina-Rojas called the vote a victory for “the elite.” “We were not shocked,” she said.

Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network is hosted by Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey. A new edition of the program airs every Monday at 11:00am ET on PRN. Length: one hour.


Direct download: 20161010_BlackAgendaRadio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:23pm EDT

Black Agenda Report for Week of Oct 3, 2016

Clinton is Far More Anti-Crime Than Pro-Justice

When Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton clashed over stop-and-frisk at their first televised debate, Clinton only weakly addressed “the idea of racial justice,” but instead “went immediately to the idea of effectiveness” of stop-and-frisk as a crime-fighting tool. “If a program infringes on civil liberties and violates the Constitution, it doesn’t matter at all if it’s effective or ineffective,” said Chip Gibbons, policy and legislative counsel for the Bill of Rights Defense Committee. If, however, the purpose of a policy is “to terrorize people of color, then I supposed you can make an argument that stop-and-frisk is effective in doing that,” said Gibbons.

Trump Not the Only Neo-Fascist Running for President

Hillary Clinton’s “worldview and her policies are just as dangerous as Donald Trump’s,” said Ajamu Baraka, the Green Party’s vice presidential candidate. Lots of folks “talk about the coming of neo-fascism under Donald Trump, but don’t understand that the foundation for neo-fascism has already been created under the Obama administration -- and for some of us, in our communities, we have already been subjected to neo-fascist repression.” In Syria, both Clinton and Trump “are committed to the use of military force to advance the interests of the U.S,” said Baraka.

Candidates “Tone-Deaf” to Inner City Demands

“Our big concern was that the presidential candidates were tone-deaf to the avalanche of organizing and fightback against corporate education interventions that are targeting Black and brown neighborhoods all over the United States,” said Jitu Brown, of the Journey for Justice Alliance, representing 40,000 activists in community organizations in 24 cities. The Alliance demands “real, comprehensive equality in education” and a national moratorium on school charters. “We will not give folks the pass that President Obama got,” said Brown.

Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network is hosted by Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey. A new edition of the program airs every Monday at 11:00am ET on PRN. Length: one hour.

Direct download: 20161003_Black_Agenda_Radio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:38pm EDT

Black Agenda Radio for Week of September 26, 2016

Prison Strike Against Slave Labor Continues

Despite a near-total lack of corporate media coverage, the national prison strike that began September 9 continues at facilities in 11 states, said Pastor Kenneth Glascow, chief outside spokesperson for the Free Alabama Movement, centered at the state prison in Holman. “Some are on hunger strike, some are doing the work stoppage” to protest involuntary servitude at slave wages, said Glascow. “In the near future, we will start boycotting some of those companies that use prison labor.” U.S. unemployment is “not just about ‘outsourcing’” jobs to foreign countries, he said. “It’s also ‘in-sourcing,’ using prison labor.”

Clinton Election Heightens Danger of World War

If Hillary Clinton wins the White House, she will likely name Samantha Power, the current U.S. ambassador to the UN and an architect of the so-called “humanitarian” military intervention doctrine, as her secretary of state or national security advisor, said Duboisian scholar and veteran social activist Dr. Anthony Monteiro. “It is clear that the Clinton foreign policy would be guided by the Pentagon and her own predisposition to settle accounts in the Middle East and with the Assad government and with Russia, militarily,” said Monteiro. “We on the Left -- and, especially, the Black Left – have to begin to raise the question of war and peace as the central question in this election.”

Uhuru Conference: “Africans Need Our Own Theory”

The International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (INPDUM) held its national conference in Ferguson, Missouri, this month. “We’ve been borrowing theory from everybody else,” said Movement president Kalambayi Andenet. “What is our interest? We need our own theory, and that’s African internationalism.” INPDUM is part of the African People’s Social Party, chaired by Omali Yeshitela. “We are a revolutionary organization,” he said. “If anybody is going to govern, to rule Black people, it’s got to be Black people, themselves.”

Ethnic Cleansing in Ethiopia

Hundreds of protestors have been killed in recent months in the Amhara and Oromo regions of Ethiopia, victims of the central government’s policy of “ethnic cleansing” of the nation’s two largest population groups, said Tsigereda Mulutega, vice president of the Ethiopian People’s Congress for Struggle (SHENGO). The Ethiopia regime is dominated by people from the Tigrayan ethnic group, which comprises only 6 percent of the population. Ethiopia is the biggest U.S. foreign aid recipient, next to Israel, said Mulutega. Therefore, “it is in the interest of U.S. taxpayers to say ‘no’ to crimes against humanity in Ethiopia.”

Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network is hosted by Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey. A new edition of the program airs every Monday at 11:00am ET on PRN. Length: one hour

Direct download: 20160926_BlackAgendaRadio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:52am EDT

The Obama Legacy: It’s No Crime For Corporations To Steal From the Public, or the Poor

The Obama Legacy: It’s No Crime For Corporations To Steal From the Public, or the Poor

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Today we’re going to look for the Obama legacy in how the federal government treats those who steal from the public or from the poor.

The current bankster scam in the news right now is Wells Fargo, whose bosses deliberately incentivized thousands of $12 an hour employees to buckle down and sell connected financial services to customers who did not need or want them in order to keep their jobs or be eligible for promotion. For the record, Wells Fargo is not the only bank to do this, it’s been a standard kind of corrupt bankster move all over the world for decades. Wells Fargo made billions doing it this time alone.

So how do scamming banksters get handled in the age of Obama, and is it any different from what came before?

The answer is that a thousand or two bank workers will be disciplined or fired. For a small fine, a mere fraction of what its executives stole, Wells Fargo got the Obama Justice Department to co-sign on their professed innocence of any crime and to guarantee their immunity to lawsuits filed by the people they robbed.

Obama’s first attorney general famously declared the banksters too big to prosecute or even investigate, and his second attorney general wrote the fine print on the similar “get out of jail free” and the “can’t be sued by the people I robbed” cards Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, and of course Wells Fargo received in 2008-09. It wasn’t always this way. When savings and loan officials scammed the public out of billions during the first Bush administration, federal prosecutors put a couple thousand of them in prison. Obama could have done, and was expected by millions of his voters to do the same. He simply chose not to, which helped Democrats lose the Congress in 2010. In 8 years Democrat Barack Obama has gone further to protect criminal banksters and their investors than any Republican dared go before him.

Take a quick look at the Obama administration’s handling another kind of theft from the poor, wage theft.

Economist Richard Wolff estimates the yearly value of wages which employers refuse to pay, illegally withhold or otherwise steal from their workers in this country at several times the value of all the reported burglaries and armed robberies. Employers traditionally are not prosecuted, and in Los Angeles it’s reported that 83% of workers who WIN a case filed for stolen wages against an employer never recover a cent. Wage theft seems to be an area where little has changed. Previous administrations never bothered themselves about it, and neither did the Obama administration.

Finally not even the briefest of Barack Obama legacy on elite financial crime is incomplete without noting the president’s role in the massive expansion of the charter school racket. The Obama administration spent $4 billion in federal stimulus money outside any congressional or other oversight to incentivize the closing of thousands of so-called “underperforming public schools” mostly in black and poor communities. The near-complete absence of public accountability on the part of charter schools predictably ushered in a nationwide white collar crime wave, as charter school operators, their officers, contractors and their sugar daddy investors scrambled for shares of the cash that used to go to public education.

Thus the past 8 years reveal the definitive Obama legacy on elite financial crime. It’s not just too big to jail. It’s simply not punishable, or even investigatable as long as you steal from the poor or from the public.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and the co-chair of the GA Green Party. He lives and works near Marietta Ga, and can be reached at

Direct download: 20160921-bd-obama-legacy-elite-financial-crime.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:41pm EDT

Murder by Occupation: Tulsa 2016, Baghdad 2007

“That looks like a bad dude.”

The narrators of the murder were high in the sky, circling the scene of the unfolding, racist crime in their police helicopter. Down below, a large Black man named Terence Crutcher was standing with his hands up next to his disabled car. Four Tulsa, Oklahoma cops had arrayed themselves like a firing squad; one of them, Officer Betty Shelby, was the wife of Dave Shelby, one of the cops in the helicopter. From his elevated vantage point, Officer Dave Shelby provided the voice-over to Terence Crutcher’s last moments of life. “He’s got his hands up there for her now,” said Shelby. “This guy is still walking and following commands.”

You’d think that was a good thing. But, the other cop chimes in immediately: “Time for a Taser, I think.” Officer Shelby says, “I got a feeling that’s about to happen.” His partner clearly wants some damage done to the Black man, below. “That looks like a bad dude, too,” he said. “Could be on something,” he adds -- already providing some kind of drug-crazed justification for the murder that his fellow cops are about to commit. Then, with heaven and her husband Dave watching, Officer Betty Shelby blows Terence Crutcher away. The two cops in the helicopter express no surprise, no shock, no emotion whatsoever. As Terence Crutcher lays dying, the first thing out of Officer Dave Shelby’s mouth was about re-routing traffic around the killing zone.

The helicopter police voice-over of Terence Crutcher’s execution was a ghastly reminder of the video released by Wikileaks of a 2007 mass murder of Iraqi civilians by U.S. helicopter gun crews over Baghdad. The Americans were engaged in what I’m sure some of them called “hajji-hunting,” which is the same as what the good ole boys back home call “coon-hunting” -- searching for colored folks to kill. Circling unseen way above the city, the Americans opened fire at an innocent group of unarmed men on a street corner.

Mission Unjustifiable

“Keep shootin. Keep shootin’. Keep shootin’. Keep shootin’,” hollered one of the killers. “Oh, yeah, look at those dead bastards,” said his partner. “Nice. Good shootin’,” the other soldier complimented his accomplice in murder. But they weren’t through, yet. The gunship then attacked a van driven by a father with two of his children inside. The voice of American Soldier #1 is heard saying, “Well, it’s their fault for bringing their kids into a battle.”

These voices over Baghdad and Tulsa speak the same language: the language of Occupation. When spoken by Americans, this language is always racist, but it also has its own, particular quality of horror. Occupations are always justified as “peace-keeping” missions. Domestic occupiers are called “peace” officers. But their mission is war against a civilian population -- to inflict preemptive terror on an entire mass of people. Since the actual mission cannot be justified, the Occupiers lie to themselves and everybody else about the real nature of their mission. In the end, the Occupied peoples have no choice but to expel their tormentors, or become as insane and morally degraded as they are. This applies just as much in Tulsa as it does in Baghdad. We need Black community control of the police, and an end to the Occupation.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at

Direct download: 20160921_gf_TulsaToBaghdad.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:59pm EDT