Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from a black left perspective.

U.S. Steps Up Militarization of Africa Through “Drug Wars”

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Washington has its eyes on Liberia and Ghana.”

When a high U.S. government official says Africa is “the new frontier,” it’s time for everyone that cares about the continent to watch out, because something really dangerous is afoot. A top guy in the D.E.A. recently described Africa as the “new frontier” where Washington hopes to embed commando-style teams of specially vetted police for an American-run war on drugs, similar to U.S. operations in El Salvador, Guatemala, Panama, and the Dominican Republic. And we all know how those U.S. so-called anti-drug operations turned out. We should add to the list Colombia and Afghanistan, the world capitals of cocaine and heroin, respectively.

According to mythology, everything King Midas touched turned to gold. It appears the United States has the Narcotics Touch; everything the Americans touch turns to dope. American allies in the developing world quickly become narco-states.

The pattern has not changed in 60 years, since the Italian and French mafias were rewarded with international drug franchises in return for their assistance against socialists and communists. Southeast Asia’s Golden Triangle became the center of the global heroin trade during the Vietnam War – a project of the CIA. When the U.S. shifted its focus to suppressing leftist movements in Latin America, cocaine became the region’s biggest export. The United States has never waged war against drugs – quite the opposite. Washington rewards its political friends with drug franchises and monopolies, in return for service to American corporate interests. That’s why most of America’s friends in the developing world are criminal regimes.

Washington hopes to embed commando-style teams of specially vetted police for an American-run war on drugs.”

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is most proud of its work in Honduras, where a U.S.-backed coup overthrew a mildly leftist government during President Obama’s first year in office. The Americans now roam the country like they own it, in joint operations with the same soldiers and national police that continue to kill and brutalize peasant, student and worker organizations. The joint drug operations, which have succeeded in killing at least four innocent Mosquito Indians, includingtwo pregnant women, will undoubtedly result in a march larger drug trade under the tight control of the military, police and wealthy landowners allied with the Americans. That’s how the American Narco Touch works. The endless phony War on Drugs is a tool of U.S. policy, designed to subvert foreign governments and societies. The drug trade never gets smaller.

Now it’s Africa’s turn. Washington has its eyes on Liberia and Ghana, where it plans to train elite police units after first “vetting” their personnel – a euphemism for making sure that the commandos are willing to act as de facto U.S. operatives. You can be sure that Liberia and Ghana will soon emerge as hubs of the African drug trade – just as happened in Colombia and elsewhere in Latin America. With Washington’s “vetted” operatives in charge of the African drug networks, the U.S. will vastly increase its ability to buy influence among the greedy classes all across the continent, both in and out of uniform. Just as in Colombia and Honduras and Panama and Guatemala, the Drug Wars become indistinguishable from the War on Terror, which used to be called the War on Communism. It's really a war against the poor.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

Direct download: 20120725_gf_AfricaDrugs.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:12am EDT

Far from a Humanitarian Savior, the U.S. Causes Vast Misery In Africa

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The United States is the main vector of mass carnage and misery, from Somalia to Libya to Congo and so many points in between.”

The United States has finally made a token effort towards reining in its central African client state, Rwanda, whose destabilization of neighboring Congo has contributed to the deaths of six million people over the past 16 years. A United Nations panel charged that Rwanda has been supporting a Tutsi tribal rebel group in Congo. Rwanda and another U.S. puppet regime, Uganda, have profited enormously from stealing the mineral resources of eastern Congo, in collaboration with U.S. and European mining companies. At the end of last year, 1.7 million Congolese remained homeless, largely because of Rwanda’s continued interference in Congolese affairs.

Bowing ever so slightly to world opinion, Washington announced that it would cut military assistance to Rwanda. As it turns out, the only money the U.S. is withholding is for an academy for Rwandan non-commissioned officers – a measly $200,000 out of a total Rwandan aid package of $528 million. The gesture is an insult to the millions of Congolese who have been killed or displaced by the U.S. and its Rwandan and Ugandan mercenaries.

The United Nations Refugee Agency reports that the number of Somalis forced to leave their country has reached the one million mark. At root, this is also an American crime against humanity. Somalia ranks behind only AfghanistanIraq andColombia in its number of displaced persons. And, like the other three countries, Somalia’s humanitarian crisis is the result of Washington’s imperial military strategies.

The number of Somalis forced to leave their country has reached the one million mark.”

The U.S. dragged Somalia into hell in December of 2006, when it funded and armed an Ethiopia invasion of the country. Tens of thousands were killed outright, and Somalia was robbed of a chance to build peace under a moderately Islamist government. In the capital city, Mogadishu, alone, nearly two million people were forced from their homes, and soon the United Nations declared Somalia “the worst humanitarian crisis in Africa.”

In the ensuing five years, the United States methodically attempted to starve out the Somali Shabaab resistance forces, so that when the worst drought in 60 years struck the region, last year, mass deaths were inevitable. By now, the U.S. had ensnared most of Somalia’s neighbors in its war – Kenya, Ethiopia, and Djibouti, a whole region in flames – in order to facilitate an expansion of U.S. military influence in the region.

Far from playing a humanitarian role in Africa, the United States is the main vector of mass carnage and misery, from Somalia to Libya to Congo and so many points in between. American policy in Africa is to create chaos, and then to present itself as the cure. Economically, the U.S. offers nothing to Africa, except rigged deals and endless debt. Years ago, China eclipsed the U.S. as a trading partner, and now offers Africa more and better quality foreign aid than the Americans. Unable to compete on a level laying field, Washington exports death to Africa, in the form of weapons systems and Green Berets. There is nothing good that the United States can do for Africa, but leave.

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

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

Direct download: 20120725_gf_CongoSomalia.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:54am EDT

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The Justice Department has launched a flurry of phony investigations in the LIBOR scandal, with the ultimate aim of protecting the banks from the consequences of their crimes. That's the same role the Obama administration played in the “robo-signing” scandal: immunizing the criminals. In the LIBOR scheme, Attorney General Holder and his crew will try to shield the banksters “from legal action by a host of other government agencies and, ultimately, from the global universe of parties that have been harmed by the bankster’s schemes.

 

Obama's Justice Department Rushes to the Rescue of LIBOR Criminals

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The reason Eric Holder is staging criminal investigations is because that’s the only way he can protect the bankers, through immunities and by gradually narrowing the scope of the case.”

The Obama Justice Department is in theater mode, again, pretending to threaten the bankster class with criminal penalties – prison time! – for their manipulation of the global economy’s benchmark interest rates. The Justice Department claims to be building criminal and civil cases in the LIBOR scandal, which in sheer scope is the biggest fraud by international capital in history. But that’s all a front, a farce. Barack Obama has spent his entire presidency protecting Wall Street, starting with his rescue of George Bush’s bank bailout bill after it’s initial defeat in Congress, in the last days of Obama’s candidacy. He packed his administration with banksters, passed his own bailout and, in collaboration with the Federal Reserve, channeled at least $16 trillion dollars into the accounts of U.S. and even European banks – by far the greatest transfer of capital in the history of the world. Obama has reminded the banksters that it was he who saved them from the “pitchforks” of an outraged public. He pushed through Congress so-called financial reform legislation that left derivatives – the deadly instruments of mass financial destruction that were at the heart of the meltdown – untouched.

Wall Street may or may not remain loyal to Obama, but Obama has been loyal to Wall Street, the guys who gave him the campaign cash to become a viable candidate. His Attorney General, Eric Holder, a corporate lawyer to the core, is busily staging a pre-emptive LIBOR prosecution of bankers in order to shield them from legal action by a host of other government agencies and, ultimately, from the global universe of parties that have been harmed by the bankster’s schemes – a list that stretches to infinity. Holder’s job is to monopolize the LIBOR case, to the extent legally and humanly possible, grabbing jurisdiction and consolidating the cases against the banks with the aim of reaching a settlement that does not further destabilize the financial system.

The Justice Department has already given immunity to Barclay’s Bank, of Britain, and to the Swiss banking giant UBS.”

Holder and his boss already pulled that trick earlier this year with settlement of the bank “robo-signing” scandal – a scheme that would have ranked as the “crime of the century” until LIBOR came along. A small group of state attorney generals were holding up an administration-brokered settlement that effectively gave the banksters immunity from prosecution, in return for a measly $25 billion payout. Obama used every power of his office to pressure the state law officers into line. The last one capitulated with a promise from Obama that a “special unit of prosecutors” would expand the investigation into abusive mortgages practices. You haven’t heard a peep about it, since.

Now Obama and Holder are playing the same diversionary game, making tough noises about criminal investigations of the LIBOR conspirators. But the Justice Department has already given immunity to Barclay’s Bank, of Britain, and to the Swiss banking giant UBS. More immunities will follow. The reason Eric Holder is staging criminal investigations is because that’s the only way he can protect the bankers, through immunities and by gradually narrowing the scope of the case. In the end, there will be settlements all around, and the banksters will move on to even more fantastic heights of criminality – thanks to the loyal, protective hands of President Obama.

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

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

Direct download: 20120718_gf_HolderProtectsBanks.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:56am EDT

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

President Obama will be remembered as one of the chief architects of the American police state. His preventive detention law nullifies due process, leaving citizens naked to the whims of the executive. Now Obama has empowered himself to seize control of all the nation’s communications systems, under the guise of emergency preparedness. “The ‘emergency’ he has in mind is a State of Emergency – martial law.

 

Obama’s Media Takeover Powers: The Infrastructure of a Police State

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

He has authorized the imposition of total silence except for the sound of his own voice.”

Earlier this month, on a Friday evening after most of the White House press corps had gone home, President Obama gave himself thpower to take over, or shut down, all of the nation’s communications systems – including the Internet. The executive order is supposedly designed to preserve “survivable, resilient, enduring” and effective communications so that the government can speak to the people in the event of some emergency. But what he has authorized is the imposition of total silence except for the sound of his own voice.

Clearly, in a legitimate emergency, the government needs ways to communicate – but that does not require a monopoly. So, why is Obama giving himself – and any president that follows him into the Oval Office – a total communications on-and-off switch?

The administration claims it is authorized to bring all communications under its control by the 1934 Communications Act, which allows the takeover of broadcast stations and other wireless media if there exists a state of war, or the threat of war. Back then, of course, the public was fairly sure that they knew what “war” was: Congresses declared it. The “threat” of war was pretty self-evident, too: it was when other nations were threatening to attack the United States, or vice-versa.

However, we are now in what both Presidents Bush and Obama have made clear is a perpetual war, a war that is not defined by any legal norms or foundational statutes, a war against whoever the president decides is the enemy – which can include American citizens. Both of these War Presidents have told us in multitudinous ways that we are on a war footing – and have not been off it since 9/11, and will not be on any other kind of footing until some future president gives the “all clear” sign.

He is methodically preparing the infrastructure for a police state.”

Obama’s executive order has nothing to do with getting out an effective distress call to the nation during a crisis. The “emergency” he has in mind is a State of Emergency – martial law. He is methodically preparing the infrastructure for a police state. Obama already has in place his preventive detention legislation, which he signed into law in the news-less hours of last New Year’s Eve. It empowers the president to lock up whomever he chooses, without charges or trial, and to keep them for as long as the executive sees fit. Based on the near-limitless powers Obama already claims to possess, he can also kill such enemies of the state if that is in the interests of national security in this time of war. There is nothing that he recognizes as law that says he can’t take such drastic executive action against thousands, or tens of thousands of Americans in one sweep.

And now, with his new executive order, if the president finds it convenient, he can take over the national communications network – down to the last, feeble Internet voice – to explain why it was necessary for all those people to disappear.

Or maybe he’ll say nothing at all. And nobody else will dare to say anything, either.

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

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

Direct download: 20120718_gf_ObamaCommunications.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:40am EDT

by BAR editor and columnist Jared A. Ball

A recent Washington Post article by author and MSNBC personality Toure equates hip hop’s “failure” to combat the drug scourge with the damage inflicted by successive government “drug wars” in/against Black America. Toure creates a dangerous and distorted kind of moral equivalence, since his “premise is that hip-hop is equal somehow in power to monopoly capital and state power.” In reality, hip hop is a victim of the same forces that oppress Black people as a whole.

 

Hip-Hop Toure’, Hoe, Hay, Hoe...”

by BAR editor and columnist Jared A. Ball

Toure’ carefully emphasizes only corporate-sponsored rappers who are placed among us like agent provocateurs.”

No, Toure’ is not THE problem. One less Toure’ won’t mean liberation. And as long as intelligent people continue to see mainstream “news” outlets like the Washington Post as threats against our political consciousness the damage caused by those compelled to sell themselves to these outlets might be limited. But it sure is tiresome to read hip-hop’s “punditry” continue to discuss hip-hop as some distinct, autonomous and organized powerful force when it is, remains and apparently will continue to be, the brilliant colonized expression of a wonderful but still colonized Black nation.

So Toure writes this week for the venerable establishment press how the national war on drugs was bad, but only equal in blame to hip-hop for having “failed black America.” And then to again prop up these wholly false euphemisms – like this thing called a “war on drugs,” which is a war against Black people, poor people, oppressed nations; or this thing called “hip-hop” which is only the cultural force of unfree people – Toure’ carefully emphasizes only corporate-sponsored rappers who are placed among us like agent provocateurs to take up all the air in the room and with it all the thoughtfulness, analysis and action.

Toure’s premise is that hip-hop, equal somehow in power to monopoly capital and state power, chose willfully to adapt itself to a growing White audience that wanted the stereotypical gangster stories as opposed to any form of radical thought, specifically Black Nationalism. He writes, “When its audience was black, hip-hop embraced black nationalism, Afrocentrism and social consciousness; it was rebellious and almost always antidrug. After the audience whitened, many MCs embraced criminality and sold the image of the criminalblackman. Black nationalism was out, embodying drug dealers was in.”

Propaganda functions best when it looks real. So of course, when Black cultural expression is unchecked by imperial corporate dominance it is more likely to reflect the still un-met desire for liberation. It will naturally call out its nationalism. But Toure’ leaves out the important and real fact that audiences of that radical Black music were increasingly African diasporic, Asian and White. No shift in content was required to expand audiences. In fact, Black Nationalism in the decades preceding rap music’s rise had already proven itself as an inspiration to international mass movement-building.

Subsidiaries to some of the largest corporations in the world got involved in music to subdue its radical tendencies.”

No, it wasn’t that rappers wanted to bling it up for White audiences. It was that White supremacist corporate colonial masters wanted to assure an end to the intriguing nationalism that ran amuck prior to their involvement. Subsidiaries to some of the largest corporations in the world got involved in music to subdue its radical tendencies and to disrupt any potential radical cross-racial, cross-national unity to develop. As interest in hip-hop grew beyond African America these corporate interlopers, these “legal fictions,” intervened so this increased engagement with the world would be based only on the form of that expression which had been sufficiently doped up and infantilized.

But Toure’ and his sponsor can neatly skip all of that silliness. As he writes, the United States, “surely failed its black male citizens by targeting and imprisoning them when joblessness and the crack epidemic left them with few real options. They were conveniently villainized, arrested and warehoused to help politicians, judges, prosecutors and police win the public trust." But just in case his readers might actually believe that or follow up on all this nicely-worded euphemism Toure' brings them back from the brink of reason. He continues, "But hip-hop also failed black America, and failed itself. It’s unavoidable that hip-hop and the war on drugs would become intertwined. But the music could have been a tool of resistance, informing on the drug war’s hypocrisies instead of acquiescing to them. Hip-hop didn’t have to become complicit in spreading the message of the criminalblackman, but the money it made from doing so was the drug it just couldn’t stop getting high on.”

Hip-hop never became “complicit” in speaking against its people. It has suffered the attack all autonomous nations suffer when facing empire. And yet if those outside corporate sponsorship are consulted thesetalented hip-hoppers show and prove that radicalism is live and well, just not in the pages of the establishment press.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Jared Ball. For more check us out online at: BlackAgendaReport.com.

Dr. Jared A. Ball is an associate professor of communication studies at Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD. He is author of I Mix What I Like! A Mixtape Manifesto and co-editor of the forthcoming A Lie of Reinvention: Correcting Manning Marable’s Malcolm X (Black Classic Press, 2012). He can be found online atIMIXWHATILIKE.ORG.

Direct download: 20120718_jb_HipHopRadicals.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:32am EDT

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

As the hunger strike by 9 Georgia prisoners demanding medical care, due process and human rights enters its 5thweek, prison officials are surprised at the level of outside support the inmates enjoy despite a virtual news whiteout. Concerned family members and others plan to visit the Department of Corrections headquarters on Monday, July 16.

Hunger Strike in GA Prison Enters 5th Week

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

The hunger strike begun on June 11 by nine prisoners at Georgia's massive Diagnostic and Classification prison, the same place where Troy Davis was murdered last year, continues into its fifth week. Though reports published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution declare the strike over, the families and one of the attorneys of inmates insist that the nine prisoners remain resolved, and continue to insist on administrative review of their status, adequate medical care, and access to mail and visitation privileges with their families and attorneys which have been arbitrarily denied them.

Our sources claim that these nine were among the 37 singled out by corrections officials in late 2010 and early 2011 after the peaceful strike by Georgia prisoners of December 2010. They were rounded up, many severely beaten, and transferred to close confinement and constant lockdown at Jackson, where they have remained ever since.

On Monday July 9, about 30 people showed up at Georgia's state capitol to visit the governor's office, where they left letters of support for the hunger strikers. Through direct and indirect contacts with their families and attorneys and other inmates, the prisoners know that they DO have significant support on the outside. The warden, for example, remarked to Miguel Jackson his surprise that the Georgia Green Party was supporting the strikers. Your phone calls to the prison warden, to the Department of Corrections, and the governor of Georgia have already made a difference.

Whether or not the hunger strike lasts much longer, the nine prisoners involved have already demonstrated their unshakable resolve , and deserve your continued concern and support, and your calls, which are still needed.

When you call, ask about them by name and ID number. Here are the names and ID numbers of the nine prisoners now in the fifth week of their hunger strike. They are

 

Justin Boston, ID 1305227

Quentin D. Cooks, ID 1142336

Contravius Grier, ID 591396

Miguel Jackson, ID 890692

Bobby Anthony Minor, ID 1191993

Dexter Shaw, ID 429768

Robert Watkins, ID 1245402


As the hunger strike by 9 Georgia prisoners demanding medical care, due process and human rights enters its 5th week, prison officials are surprised at the level of outside support the inmates enjoy despite a virtual news whiteout. Concerned family members and others plan to visit the Department of Corrections headquarters on Monday, July 16.

Hunger Strike in GA Prison Enters 5th Week

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

The hunger strike begun on June 11 by nine prisoners at Georgia's massive Diagnostic and Classification prison, the same place where Troy Davis was murdered last year, continues into its fifth week. Though reports published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution declare the strike over, the families and one of the attorneys of inmates insist that the nine prisoners remain resolved, and continue to insist on administrative review of their status, adequate medical care, and access to mail and visitation privileges with their families and attorneys which have been arbitrarily denied them.

Our sources claim that these nine were among the 37 singled out by corrections officials in late 2010 and early 2011 after the peaceful strike by Georgia prisoners of December 2010. They were rounded up, many severely beaten, and transferred to close confinement and constant lockdown at Jackson, where they have remained ever since.

On Monday July 9, about 30 people showed up at Georgia's state capitol to visit the governor's office, where they left letters of support for the hunger strikers. Through direct and indirect contacts with their families and attorneys and other inmates, the prisoners know that they DO have significant support on the outside. The warden, for example, remarked to Miguel Jackson his surprise that the Georgia Green Party was supporting the strikers. Your phone calls to the prison warden, to the Department of Corrections, and the governor of Georgia have already made a difference.

Whether or not the hunger strike lasts much longer, the nine prisoners involved have already demonstrated their unshakable resolve , and deserve your continued concern and support, and your calls, which are still needed.

When you call, ask about them by name and ID number. Here are the names and ID numbers of the nine prisoners now in the fifth week of their hunger strike. They are

 

Justin Boston, ID 1305227

Quentin D. Cooks, ID 1142336

Contravius Grier, ID 591396

Miguel Jackson, ID 890692

Bobby Anthony Minor, ID 1191993

Dexter Shaw, ID 429768

Robert Watkins, ID 1245402

Demetrius White, ID 581709

 




And here are the people to call

Voice phone

Fax phone

Warden, GA Diagnostic & Classification Prison, Butts County GA

770-504-2000

770-504-2006

Brian Owens, Commissioner, GA Department of Corrections, ask for his administrative assistant Peggy Chapman

478-992-5258

 

Georgia governor Nathan Deal

404-656-1776

Fax the governor at 404-657-7332. You can also send the Governor a letter online by clicking here.

GA Department of Corrections Ombudsman

478-992-5367 or 478-992-5358

No fax, but you can email them at Ombudsman@dcor.state.ga.us. Please add a cc to the email, info@georgiagreenparty.org.

Sign the petition in support of the Jackson Prison hunger strikers ---- Click here

 

If you're in the Atlanta area on Monday, July 16, join us as we travel by van and carpool to the headquarters of the Georgia Department of Corrections in Forsyth GA where, along with the families of some of the strikers, we will demand a meeting with Brian Owens, the head of the department. Meet us at the West End MARTA station, 9 AM sharp. Some cars will be returning around lunch time, some others will probably stay in Forsyth the whole day.

The prisoners behind those walls have done all they can do. What you can do is sign the petition supporting the demands of the hunger strikers. You can pick up the phone to call and express your concern and support. You can forward this to your email and social networks, family, friends and acquaintances.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and a member of the state committee of the Georgia Green Party. He can be reached via this site's contact page, or at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.emetrius White, ID 581709

 




And here are the people to call

Voice phone

Fax phone

Warden, GA Diagnostic & Classification Prison, Butts County GA

770-504-2000

770-504-2006

Brian Owens, Commissioner, GA Department of Corrections, ask for his administrative assistant Peggy Chapman

478-992-5258

 

Georgia governor Nathan Deal

404-656-1776

Fax the governor at 404-657-7332. You can also send the Governor a letter online by clicking here.

GA Department of Corrections Ombudsman

478-992-5367 or 478-992-5358

No fax, but you can email them atOmbudsman@dcor.state.ga.us. Please add a cc to the email, info@georgiagreenparty.org.

Sign the petition in support of the Jackson Prison hunger strikers ---- Click here

 

If you're in the Atlanta area on Monday, July 16, join us as we travel by van and carpool to the headquarters of the Georgia Department of Corrections in Forsyth GA where, along with the families of some of the strikers, we will demand a meeting with Brian Owens, the head of the department. Meet us at the West End MARTA station, 9 AM sharp. Some cars will be returning around lunch time, some others will probably stay in Forsyth the whole day.

The prisoners behind those walls have done all they can do. What you can do is sign the petition supporting the demands of the hunger strikers. You can pick up the phone to call and express your concern and support. You can forward this to your email and social networks, family, friends and acquaintances.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and a member of the state committee of the Georgia Green Party. He can be reached via this site's contact page, or at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.

Direct download: 20120710_bd_ga_prison_hunger_strikers.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:53pm EDT

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The LIBOR scandal is only a big deal, in that it shows once again that global capital is a thoroughly criminal enterprise. Tinkering will not do – the class that created the system must be disempowered. The $1,000 trillion derivatives casino “is a bomb – a world-threatening monstrosity – that must be dismantled.” LIBOR is merely “agauge on the console of the bankers’ crime machine.”

 

LIBOR Ain’t Nothing But an Acronym: We Must Abolish the Finance Capitalist Class

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The system itself is a criminal enterprise that preys on the entire planet.”

The latest finance scandal concerns the LIBOR, the acronym for the interest rates banks offer each other for loans. Because the LIBOR rate is used as the basis for so many other financial calculations, some people say the scandal is potentially the biggest in the world. And then, there are those of us who wonder if the LIBOR case, in and of itself, really matters at all.

It is almost as if a bank has just been robbed, and the customers are all worried about the way that the robbers are calculating the value of the loot. The fact of the matter is, the robbery was an inside job. In this case, it appears that virtually all the big bankers and the people who were supposed to be regulating them were in on the crime – although, so far, only Barclays Bank in Britain has been fined. The banking system was not victimized by some shadowy group of predators who could be quarantined – after which all would be well. No, the system itself is a criminal enterprise that preys on the entire planet. What we have observed, most dramatically since the meltdown of 2008, is that the banksters who run the global financial criminal enterprise also control the political mechanisms of the western world. The state and, ultimately, the people pay the cost of the bankers’ crimes. Not only are the criminals not punished, they are rewarded with trillions of dollars in virtually free money from world’s central banks, including the U.S. Federal Reserve. This allows them to grow even bigger, and to commit ever larger criminal transactions, which the banks ultimately record as profits or pass on as losses to the public at-large.

It appears that virtually all the big bankers and the people who were supposed to be regulating them were in on the crime.”

Mathematically speaking, the biggest impact of LIBOR rate-fixing occurs in the world of derivatives, a universe inhabited solely by finance capitalists. The realm of derivatives dwarfs the one in which the rest of humanity lives. There are, perhaps, $1,000 trillion in derivatives hovering over a real world economy that is valued at only $70 to $80 trillion a year. That means the derivatives economy that is the playground of Wall Street is 12 and-a-half to 14 times bigger, on paper, than the real economy. Put another way, the bankers routinely place bets that are bigger than the real world’s actual worth – much, much bigger than the value of all the goods and services produced by every man, woman and child on the planet. Clearly, the derivatives trade is a bomb – a world-threatening monstrosity – that must be dismantled.

The public’s interest is not in how phony LIBOR rates affect the prices of a thousand trillion dollars in derivatives. Rather, humanity desperately needs to abolish the derivative trade, altogether, before it crushes the real economy.

To abolish derivatives, we will have to put the banking class out of business.

Noted economist Nouriel Roubini says some of the bankers ought to be hanged in the streets, to teach them a lesson. What’s certain is, if you don’t hang them, they will use their control of the government to hang thousands of you. Forget LIBOR. It’s just a gauge on the console of the bankers’ crime machine. The criminal class, itself, must be eliminated from public life.

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

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

Direct download: 20120711_gf_LIBOR.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:02pm EDT

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Rwanda’s crimes against Congo are the subject of another United Nations report. The U.S., Rwanda’s ally and protector, “is also liable for the genocide in Congo.” Washington has placed its guns and money in the hands of an aggressive, minority regime – which is not surprising. “U.S. policy in Africa has almost always been to choose chaos in those places where it cannot rule directly.”

 

The Genocidal Fruits of U.S. Africa Policy

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Why does the United States place its strategic interests in the hands of the elite of a warlike minority in the heart of Central Africa?”

The United Nations has finally released a report detailing Rwanda’s latest destabilization of the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo. As usual, the delay was caused by the United States, which routinely blocks criticism of its military and political client-state, Rwanda, which has since 1996 been deeply complicit in the death of 6 million Congolese. The United States is, therefore, also liable for the genocide in Congo – the largest mass killings since World War Two.

Apologists for U.S. policy in Central Africa are fond of using the word “strategic.” The United States, they say, arms and protects Rwanda because America has “strategic” business and defense interests in the Congo’s vast mineral deposits. The infinitely corrupt Congolese strongman Mobutu Sese Seko used to be Washington’s attack dog in Africa. But, in the mid-90s, the Americans opted to back an invasion of eastern Congo by the Tutsi-minority regimes in Rwanda and Burundi, and the other U.S. client-state in the region, Uganda. Washington chose to put its strategic interests in the hands of a small but highly militarized people, the Tutsi, rather than help the Congolese government maintain control over its own territory.

A formula for endless war.”

Why would the United States choose such allies to protect its so-called “strategic interests.” On the face of it, this would seem like a formula for endless war in the region. Even before the mass killings of Tutsis in 1994, they never comprised more than 15 percent of the population in Rwanda or in Burundi, where Hutu people make up the vast majority. Having lorded it over the Hutus during and prior to the arrival of European colonialism, and havingmassacred many Hutu in both nations after independence, the Tutsi are not loved by their fellow countrymen. They have since become a primary source of destabilization and genocide in Congo. So the question is: Why does the United States place its strategic interests in the hands of the elite of a warlike minority in the heart of Central Africa? Why would Washington invest millions in minority-ruled governments of tiny countries like Rwanda and Burundi, which can only be sources of permanent instability in the region? Don’t the Americans understand that support for tiny, aggressive elites guarantees continued chaos?

The answer is: Yes, they do understand. Since independence, U.S. policy in Africa has almost always been to choose chaos in those places where it cannot rule directly. And chaos brings genocide. The U.S. reasons that, at any given moment, chaos contains many options, an infinity of possibilities for superpower action – whereas stable regimes with broad popular support provide less room for the foreigner to maneuver, less possibilities for a quick change of policy or regime.

Which is one reason that China looks good to Africa and to much of the rest of the formerly colonized world. The Chinese do not foment coups, or encourage whole regions to become saturated in arms. They just want to do business in a stable environment. That’s why China has surpassed the U.S. as Africa’s trading partner, and why U.S. imperialism will ultimately be defeated. Because nobody wants someone around who spreads chaos and mass death everywhere he goes.

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

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

Direct download: 20120711_gf_ChaosAfrica.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:51pm EDT

The ongoing hunger strikers in Georgia's Jackson State prison have reportedly been joined by others in Augusta and Macon. But the 37 rounded up as alleged leaders of the December 2010 strike are still officially not named by the state are believed to have been on 24 hour lockdown the last 18 months, with many suffering brutal beatings and denied medical attention. Why has the state not revealed their identities? Why are there still thousands of children and illiterates in Georgia's prisons? Why do prisoners still work without wages, and why does Bank of America still extract monthly tolls from their accounts? Why has so little changed?

Hunger Strikers Reportedly Continue in Multiple Georgia Prisons, Prisoners Await A Movement Outside Prison Walls

A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

As we've told the story over the months in Black Agenda Report, in the wake of the peaceful December 2010 strike by black, brown and white inmates in several Georgia prisons, corrections officials first cut off heat and hot water to prisoners in the dead of winter. After meeting with citizens on the outside who publicly backed prisoner demands for decent food, medical care, educational opportunities, humane visiting policies, transparency in proceedings against inmates and wages for work, the state briefly allowed citizen access to Macon and Smith Prisons, before adopting a systematic and apparently statewide policy of rounding up and brutally assaulting those prisoners it imagined might have been leaders of the strike.

A small number of low-ranking corrections personnel have been fired, indicted or pled guilty to various offenses in the wave of beatings, but in an apparent endorsement of the beatings as state policy, Department of Corrections, local judges, prosecutors and state officials have refused to investigate most of them.

State authorities claim to have rounded up 37 from around the state and placed them in close confinement at its massive Jackson State Prison, where it murdered Troy Davis last year. Those 37, as far as anyone outside the prison administration knows, have been in solitary confinement ever since, sometimes for weeks without showers and months without being allowed visits. They have received little or no medical care for the vicious beatings they sustained eighteen months ago.

The current wave of hunger strikes in Georgia's prisons must be un”derstood in the light of the failure so far of communities outside the walls to effectively organize in solidarity with those inside. “

When the prisoners went on strike in December 2010 they told us out here they'd done all that they could do. It was now in the hands, they declared, of those outside prison walls to build an effective movement and bring pressure to bear on the minions of Georgia's and the nation's prison state. Eighteen months later, any honest assessment of progress toward that goal must conclude that that is yet to happen.

The current wave of hunger strikes in Georgia's prisons must be understood in the light of the failure so far of communities outside the walls to effectively organize in solidarity with those inside. When you do all you can do, and you are singled out and brutalized, deprived of access to family, communications, medical care and even showers for months on end, you have nothing left to put on the table to trade for your dignity but life itself. For the hunger striking prisoners in Georgia, as for those in California's Pelican Bay a few months ago, who insist on their human rights and human dignity, these are matters of life itself. That's what they mean when they say they are “starving for change.”

They aren't starving till the warden or the governor or the president or Congress or state legislatures do this or that. They are starving till all of us, their extended families, their neighbors, along with the neighbors and families of past and following waves of prisoners, till all those suffering the collateral damage of the prison state find the will and the way to organize, to make their presence known, and to stand with them against the prison state. We can't continue to let them down. It's a matter of human dignity, and life itself. To find out what you can do, visit us on the web at www.endmassincarceration.org. Sign the petition and sign up. Someone will be in touch with you.

For Black Agenda Radio I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report and a co-chair of the Georgia Green Party. He can be reached at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com or through this web site's contact page.

Direct download: 20120704_bd_ga_prison_hunger_strikers.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:50pm EDT

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The “progressive” Chinese-American mayor of “liberal” San Francisco is considering instituting stop-and-frisk – which no doubt is already informally practiced by his city’s police. Mayor Ed Lee’s intention to endorse legal apartheid puts him in the historical American mainstream, since “stop-and-frisk never stopped in the United States.” The practice stretches, unbroken, from slavery times. “If the laws are applied unequally, then there is no law, and the police are nothing but an occupying army enforcing martial law” – selectively, against Black and brown people.

 

Stop-and-Frisk Goes to Frisco

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

If skin color is treated as reasonable suspicion, then that is an apartheid state.”

The Mayor of San Francisco, the first Chinese-American to hold that office, is considering instituting stop-and-frisk– but mostly in minority neighborhoods, of course. Mayor Ed Lee is all excited about joining the Church of the New Jim Crow, whose leading deacons are New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Philadelphia’s Michael Nutter. Like them, Lee claims he just wants to get rid of guns, although after ten years and the humiliation of literally millions of Black and brown men on the streets of New York, Mayor Bloomberg can come up with no compelling statistics on stop-and-frisk and gun crimes. Neither can Mayor Nutter, a stop-and-frisk fiend, whose city is under a courtconsent decree to curb the practice.

San Francisco’s mayor describes himself as a “progressive,” but we all know that word doesn’t mean much of anything anymore, certainly not in the Age Of Obama. The cops in his city are already practicing stop-and-frisk on the same people and neighborhoods the mayor wants to target, and have doubtless stepped up their racial profiling since hearing about the mayor’s remarks. The fact is, stop-and-frisk never stopped in the United States. Stop-and-frisk was invented in the slaveholding states as a matter of daily practice, when Black people carried around permission from their masters to move outside his property, and free Blacks had to show papers proving their status. Stop-and-frisk was part of the Black Codes following Emancipation. The Old Jim Crow was designed to control Black people’s physical and social movements, and African Americans who could not prove that they were employed, through documentation or some white person’s word, were sent to prison work camps – the genesis of the penal system in the South. There’s nothing new about stop-and-frisk, although it is central to the New Jim Crow, a racial caste system whose primary institution is mass Black incarceration. Stop-and-frisk was the hallmark of apartheid in racist South Africa. A variant is enforced in Israeli-occupied Palestine.

If there is equal protection under the law, then stop-and-frisk is illegal.”

Stop-and-frisk is necessary wherever racial supremacists want to separate those whose human rights are to be respected from those who are outside of legal protection.

If there is equal protection under the law, then stop-and-frisk is illegal. Period. The law applies in those sections of New York and Philadelphia and San Francisco that have high crime rates, just as it does in Bloomberg's and Nutter's and Lee’s neighborhoods. At least, that’s what the U.S. Constitution says. If the laws are applied unequally, then there is no law, and the police are nothing but an occupying army enforcing martial law. As one of the signs in New York’s recent “Silent March” against stop-and-frisk read: “Skin Color Is Not Reasonable Suspicion.” If skin color is treated as reasonable suspicion, then that is an apartheid state.

Mayor Lee will surely caution his police to be courteous as they enforce apartheid on Black and brown San Franciscans, just as Mayor Bloomberg is now urging his cops to do. But there is no fundamental distinction between polite applications of apartheid and the rougher kind. How do you politely tell someone that they are lesser human beings, existing outside of constitutional protections, exceptions to the rule of equal treatment under the law?

Either stop-and-frisk is a crime against humanity, or Black people have no rights that police are bound to respect. There is no gray area, just as there is no white law.

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

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

Direct download: 20120704_gf_StopFriskFrisco.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:37am EDT