7/5/7 KATRINA: Past & Present Background of Black National Oppression Mumia Abu-Jamal Update

"To make a contented slave it is necessary to make a thoughtless one. It is necessary to darken the moral and mental vision and, as far as possible, to annihilate the power of reason."
 "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will."
Fredrick Douglas

"I'm not an American. I'm one of the twenty-two million Black people who are the victims of Americanism. One of the 22 million Black people who are the victims of democracy--nothing but disguised hypocrisy. So I'm not standing here speaking to you as an American, or a patriot, or a flag-saluter, or a flag-waver--no, not I. I'm speaking as a victim of this American system. And I see America through the eyes of the victim. I don't see any American dream; I see an American nightmare."
“Why here in America the seeds of racism are so deeply rooted in the white people collectively, their belief that they are ‘superior’ in some way is so deeply rooted, that these things are in the national white sub consciousness. Many whites are even actually unaware of their own racism until they face some test then their racism emerges in one form or another.

  Malcolm X
from Gamila Zahran's Arabian Sights
To subscribe/unsubscribe send a blank message with the appropiate title in the subject window. Feel free to forward for information and educational purposes with Signature intact, please!

Losing What We Never Had: White Privilege & the Deferred Dreams of Black America, Part 2 [excerpt]
Wednesday, 04 July 2007
by BAR contributing editor Dr. Edward Rhymes
Modern political mythology, also believed by Blacks, maintains that Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and the post-World War Two college and housing benefits for veterans were unmitigated boons for African Americans. However, in many ways, the opposite is true. The New Deal, largely shaped to appease racist southern lawmakers, actually codified Black inferior status, while elevating poor whites. And returning Black veterans got only a tiny fraction of the benefits of the GI Bill. President Johnson's Sixties War on Poverty effectively lasted only three years –  at the end of which, the hopes of the Black poor were smashed.
"Blacks were directly injured by New Deal policies; then ignored when it came time to dispense New Deal dollars."
The NAACP's publication The Crisis, for example, decried the monopoly powers granted to racist unions by the NRA, noting in 1934 that "union labor strategy seems to be to obtain the right to bargain with the employees as the sole representative of labor, and then close the union to black workers." Members of the Black press took up the charge, attacking the NRA, rechristening it the "Negro Removal Act," "Negroes Robbed Again," "Negro Run Around," and "No Roosevelt Again."
There was also a counter-narrative during this time. European immigrants were learning that whiteness was more than skin color. It was the privilege of opportunity and above all, exclusive. There was this very standard narrative of the European mobility model. We came here with nothing. We worked hard. We, we pulled ourselves up by our bootstraps. And it's offered up as proof of the openness of the American economic order. Left out of the bootstrap myth of European ethnics was access to opportunities closed to non-whites. Roosevelt's New Deal reforms offered many Americans a path out of poverty.

The New Deal's Social Security measure gave at least some protection to 30 million citizens, but it excluded farm workers and domestics, most of whom were non-white. Many unions locked Blacks and Mexicans into low paying jobs, or kept them out all together. Perhaps the best example of how European ethnics would finally gain the full benefits of whiteness, to the exclusion of others, would come with an innovation in housing at the end of World War II.

It was a time when hundreds of thousands of GIs came home ready to start families, but had no place to live. FHA came to the rescue by insuring long term, low monthly payment mortgage loans. Home ownership was made possible for additional millions of families and stimulated a tremendous volume of construction. Veterans needed homes for families. They turned to the revolutionary New Deal housing program. It would, however, racialize housing, wealth, and opportunity for decades, in ways few could have imagined.

"The FHA underwriters warned that the presence of even one or two non-white families could undermine real estate values in the new suburbs."

In the 1930's the federal government created the Federal Housing Administration, whose job it was to provide loans or the backing for loans to average Americans so they could purchase a home. In order to purchase a house in America prior to 1930s, you had to pay 50 percent of the sales price up front. The new terms of purchasing a home was that you put 10 percent or 20 percent down, and the bank financed 80% of it - not over five years but over 30 years at relatively low rates. This opened up the opportunities for Americans to own homes like ever before. The average person could own that home.

Almost a million Black GIs came home after WWII. They had fought for the country in segregated ranks. They returned hoping for equality and at least a small slice of the American pie. For many, that slice was (potentially) a new home for little money down and some of the easiest credit terms in history. The FHA underwriters warned that the presence of even one or two non-white families could undermine real estate values in the new suburbs. These government guidelines were widely adopted by private industry. Race had long played a role in local real estate practices. Starting in the 1930's, government officials institutionalized a national appraisal system, where race was as much a factor in real estate assessment as the condition of the property. Using this scheme, federal investigators evaluated 239 cities across the country for financial risk.

So those communities that were all white, suburban and far away from inner-city areas, they received the highest rating. And that was the color green. Those communities that were all Black or in the process of changing, they got the lowest rating and the color red. They were "redlined." As a consequence, most of the mortgages went to suburbanizing America, and it suburbanized it racially (this practice is still with us).

"Between 1934 and 1962, the federal government underwrote 120 billion dollars in new housing. Less than 2% went to non-whites."

This racial logic adopted the principle that an integrated neighborhood was a bad risk - a financial risk; that an integrated neighborhood was likely to be an unstable neighborhood socially. Unstable socially translated into unstable economically. For example, in the 1940's, when the white residents of Eight Mile Road in Detroit were told they were too close to a Black neighborhood to qualify for a positive FHA rating, they built a six foot wall between themselves and their Black neighbors. Once the wall went up, mortgages on the white properties were approved. Between 1934 and 1962, the federal government underwrote 120 billion dollars in new housing. Less than 2% went to non-whites.

Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal increased poverty and joblessness among Blacks; empowered discriminatory labor unions; and when the Supreme Court overturned Lochner v. New York (the right of the individual to contract their services), removed an effective legal tool to challenge segregation laws and other racist state actions.

The Short Life of the Great Society and the Forgotten Kerner Report

An enormous deal has been said about the Great Society programs of President Lyndon Johnson - especially as it pertains to Black America. And I would agree with those who say that opportunities that were not thought possible before 1964 (when Johnson rolled out the first of his Great Society programs), were beginning to be realized. There were three major pillars of Johnson's agenda: a war on poverty, addressing racial injustice and urban renewal & conservation. Nevertheless, these strides were short-lived. Yes, programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, PBS and federal education funding (albeit with minimized funding) continue with us to this day, the initiatives that were specific to the Black community were (and have been) effectively neutralized, diminished or were constantly in peril. This onslaught is not of recent origin, but began at the genesis of his Great Society.

"Initiatives that were specific to the Black community were (and have been) effectively neutralized." [...]

Note: the welfare and affirmative action section will be continued in the next installment in the series. Dr. Rhymes can be contacted at edwardrhymes@yahoo.comThis email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it

How to Destroy an African-American City in Thirty-Three Steps – Lessons from Katrina
Wednesday, 04 July 2007
by Bill Quigley

How can we destroy a Black city? -  let us count the ways. Federal, state and local officials appear to have compiled a comprehensive list of destructive acts of commission and omission -  and pursued every possible tactic to permanently de-Blacken New Orleans.  The author is just as thorough in compiling a 33-count indictment of the city-killers, with the Bush Gang as chief conspirators.  The crimes against Black New Orleans are so malevolent, so unremitting, and on such a grand scale, they cannot have been the result of mere incompetence. The crime is premeditated attempted murder, motivated by pure racism and greed. [...]

AMERICAN CAPITALISM IS RACIST TERROR & GENOCIDE: Martial law, forced labour and some other niceties of American political life.
"Rex 84 provided for the detention of at least 21 million American Negroes in assembly centers or relocation camps."
posted by lenin http://leninology.blogspot.com/
A few years back, when some newspapers suggested that Bush had laid in place the foundations for martial law, and Tommy Franks... told some cigar magazine that another 9/11 would certainly eventuate in that, one couldn't help thinking of Oliver North. Details of North's plan for introducing martial law in the event of widespread civil disobedience came out during the Contra hearings, and the Miami Herald exposed a programme called Rex 84 in which such measures were envisaged. The plan, "was said to be similar to one Mr. Guiffrida had developed earlier to combat a national uprising by black militants. It provided for the detention of at least 21 million American Negroes in assembly centers or relocation camps."

It's now 2006, post-Katrina, and the Bush government has handed Kellogg, Brown & Root another fat little contract to build and maintain "temporary detention facilities" in the event of an emergency influx of immigrants, or in case of another natural disaster in which thousands of people are displaced - because detaining people in a hellhole of a flooded city, depriving them of food, water & medical aid, and then subjecting them to martial law, doesn't look good on teevee (supposing one could get more than a glimpse of this picture from teevee)... After Guantanamo, and the mass post-9/11 detentions in the US, it's hard to even raise an eyebrow. Mass detention camps for Arab-Americans? Blurring the distinction between terrorism and dissent? Criminalising protest? We've seen that old schtick before, over and over again.
Because these things are not a fixture of daily life for most Americans, one assumes that outright government repression is an anomaly. From John Africa to Waco, from suppression of labour to Cointelpro, the record suggests otherwise. http://leninology.blogspot.com/2006/02/martial-law-forced-labour-and-som...

Capitalism is Racism: An Update on the New Orleans Tragedy
by Thomas Harrelson
It was reported in a headline of the Jan. 27, 2006 New York Times that a “ Study Says 80% of New Orleans Blacks May Not Return .” Why might they not return?
(full article )

Six Months After Katrina: Who Was Left Behind Then and
Who is Being Left Behind Now? By Bill Quigley
Bill Quigley is a civil and human rights lawyer and
Professor of Law at Loyola University New Orleans
School of Law. You can reach Bill at Quigley@loyno.edu
Introduction. Nearly six months ago, my wife Debbie and I boated
out of New Orleans. We left five days after Katrina
...The Katrina evacuation was totally self-help. If you
had the resources, a car, money and a place to go, you
left. Over one million people evacuated ...Twenty-seven
percent of the people of New Orleans did not have access
to a car. Government authorities knew in advance that “
…100,000 citizens of New Orleans did not have means of
personaltransportation.” Greyhound and Amtrak stopped service
on the Saturday before the hurricane. These are
people who did not have cars because they were poor -
over 125,000 people, 27% of the people of New Orleans,
lived below the very low federal poverty level before
The sick were left behind. Some government reports
estimated 12,000 patients were evacuated. I estimate
at least an additional 24,000 people - staff and
families of patients - were left behind in the
twenty-two hospitals which were open at the time.
The elderly were left behind. The 280 plus local
nursing homes remained mostly full. Only 21%
evacuated and as a consequence 215 people died in
nursing homes, at least six people died at a single
nursing home while they waited four days for busses.
The aged who lived at home also certainly found it
more difficult than most to evacuate as they were more
likely to live alone, less likely to own a car and
nearly half were disabled.
Untold numbers of other disabled people and their
caretakers were also left behind. There were tens of
thousands of people with special needs in New Orleans.
A physician reported hundreds of people in
wheelchairs were in front of the Convention Center. A
comprehensive study of evacuees in Houston shelters
found one in seven physically disabled, 22% physically
unable to evacuate, 23% stayed behind to care for
someone physically disabled, and 25% had a chronic
disease such as heart disease, diabetes or high blood
pressure. There were no provisions made for their
Children were left behind. While there are no
official estimates breaking out children left behind,
I know from what we saw during our evacuation that
many, many children were among those left behind.
About one-fourth of the people living in the areas
damaged were children, about 183,000 kids, including
47,000 children under the age of 5. Over half of the
children displaced were African-American and 30% of
children in the damaged areas were poor, nearly double
the 2000 national census rate for child poverty of
16.6%. These children were almost twice as likely to
live in a female-headed home than children nationally.
Prisoners were left behind. Local prisons held 8300
inmates, most on local minor charges awaiting trial
and too poor to post bond. Thousands were left
behind with no food, water, or medical attention.
Jails depend on electricity as much as hospitals do –
doors of cells and halls and pods and entrances and
exits are electronically opened and closed. More than
600 hundred prisoners, one entire building, were left
behind once the prisons were evacuated – left in chest
deep water, locked into cells.
Ultimately as many as 40,000 people took refuge in
the Superdome which lost power, lost part of its roof,
the water system failed and the toilets backed up.
Another 20-30,000 people were dropped off at the
Convention Center. Conditions at the Convention
Center were far worse than at the Superdome because
the Convention Center was never intended to be used
for evacuees it did not have any drinking water, food,
or medical care at all. Ten people died in or around
the Superdome, four at the convention center.
Unfounded rumors flew about rapes and murders inside
these centers – and the myth that rescue helicopters
were fired upon – have all been found to be untrue..
But those rumors so upset military and medical
responders that many slowed down demanding protection
from the evacuees – only to be greeted by “a whole lot
of people clapping and cheering” when they arrived.
Debbie and I left the hospital after five days.
Helicopters finally came and airlifted out many
patients, their families and staff. Others, like us,
left in small fishing boats piloted by volunteers.
The Coast Guard reported it rescued 33,000 people and
the National Guard reported rescues of another 25,000
people. Louisiana Department of Homeland Security
said 62,000 people were rescued from rooftops or out
of water – not including those already in shelters.
Many, many others, like us, were rescued by volunteers
in boats and trucks.
Some people never made it out of metropolitan New
Orleans. February 2006 reports from the Louisiana
Department of Health and Hospitals show 1,103 bodies
were recovered from the storm and flood, with over
2,000 people still reported missing. About 215
people died in local hospitals and nursing homes.
Where did the survivors end up? According to FEMA,
evacuees ended up all over – applications came in from
18,700 zip codes in all 50 states – half of the
nation’s residential postal zones. Most evacuee
families stayed within 250 miles of New Orleans, but
240,000 households went to Houston and other cities
over 250 miles away and another 60,000 households went
over 750 miles away.
Who ended up in shelters? Over 270,000 evacuees
started out in shelters. The Washington Post, the
Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and the Harvard
School of Public Health surveyed 680 randomly selected
adult evacuees in Houston shelters on September 10-12,
2005. The results of that survey illustrate who ended
up in shelters:
64% were renters
55% did not have a car or a way to evacuate
22% had to care for someone who was physically unable
to leave
72% had no insurance
68% had neither money in the bank nor a useable
credit card
57% had total household incomes of less than $20,000
in prior year
76% had children under 18 with them in the shelter
77% had a high school education or less
93% were black
67% were employed full or part-time before the
52% had no health insurance
54% received their healthcare at the big public
Charity Hospital
The people who were left behind in Katrina were the
poor, the sick, the elderly, the disabled, children,
and prisoners – mostly African-American.

Who is Being Left Behind Now?
“Hurricane Katrina likely made one of the poorest
areas of the country even poorer….Both those who were
poor before the storm and those who have become poor
following the storm, are likely to face a particularly
difficult time in reestablishing their lives, have few
if any financial resources upon which to draw.”
Congressional Research Service 2005

... the same people who were left behind in the evacuation for
Katrina are being left behind again in the reconstruction of New
Hundreds of thousands of people have not made it back.
There were 469,000 fewer people in the metropolitan
New Orleans area in January 2006 than in August 2005.
Why? Many reasons.... But, as the Brown
University study concluded “… storm damage data shows
that the storm’s impact was disproportionately borne
by the region’s African-American community, by people
who rented their homes and by the poor and
Poor people were hardest hit and are having the
hardest time returning. “The population of the
damaged areas was nearly half black (45.8% compared to
26.4% black in the rest of the region), living in
rental housing (45.7% compared to 30.9%), and
disproportionately below the poverty line (20.9%
compared to 15.3%.”
Renters are not coming back because there is little
affordable housing. With tens of thousands of homes
damaged, the cost of renting has skyrocketed. An
apartment down the block from my house rented for $600
last summer – it now rents for $1400. Trailers have
not arrived because of federal, state and local
political misjudgments. Over 10,000 trailers were
still sitting unused on runways in Hope, Arkansas in
February 2006. In my interviews with evacuees who
were renters, few were protected by any insurance -
most lost everything.
The little reconstruction that has started is aimed at
home-owners. Louisiana is slated to receive $6.2
billion in Community Development Block Grant money and
the Governor says $1 billion “could be used to
encourage the rebuilding of affordable housing.” So
with 45% of the homes damaged occupied by renters,
affordable housing “could” end up with 16% of the
Public housing is politically out of the question in
early 2006. There is no national or local commitment
to re-opening public housing in the city. U.S.
Congressman Richard Baker, a longtime critic of public
housing in New Orleans, was quoted in the Wall Street
Journal after the storm saying "We finally cleaned up
in New Orleans. We couldn't do it, but God did."...
“New Orleans is at risk of losing 80% of its black population.”

The people left behind in the rebuilding of New
Orleans are the poor, the sick, the elderly, the
disabled, children, and prisoners, mostly
African-American. Again left behind.
The television showed who was left behind in the
evacuation of New Orleans after Katrina. There is no
similar easy visual for those who are left behind now,
but they are the same people....

Warning flags are flying over America’s public schools [excerpt]
...The ensuing New Orleans-style exodus has since transformed the public schools into America’s Superdome. Huddled inside of those school buildings now are the mostly Black and Latino children of poor and working-class parents. Their broken bodies and spirits will be found amid the wreckage after the very idea of universal public education has been demolished.
Their game plan counts heavily on racism. While they fully intend to leave behind African-American, Latino, Native American and immigrant children, they will wring their hands in public over the “achievement gap” because it helps obscure other gaps in the nation’s social fabric. America’s household assets gap, the average white family owns 14 times the average Black family, is never factored into test score analysis. Nor the infant mortality gap, more than twice the rate for Black mothers, the life expectancy gap, the health care gap, nutrition gap, the employment gap or any of the chasms created by racial discrimination.

The nature of their crusade forces them to buy influence in the Black community. It is enemy territory and snake oil salesmen like Armstrong Williams and charlatans like Rod Paige must carry their message. The US Department of Education had to pass thirty pieces of silver to Williams for his No Child Left Behind promotion. Paige put a Black face on the phrase “the soft bigotry of low expectations” and was able to call the biggest education fraud in history “the Houston Miracle” with a straight face. He was rewarded with a spot in George Bush’s cabinet.

Their game day slogan is “No Excuses” because it helps excuse away certain damning realities. Historically low levels of federal education spending and lower state funding of public schools, “No Excuses”. The perfect correlation of poverty and low standardized test scores, “No Excuses”. The re-segregation of America’s schools, “No Excuses”. Excuses are reserved for corporate downsizing, the outsourcing of jobs, escaping from pension and health care plans through bankruptcy filings, corrupt accounting practices and insider trading, offshore tax avoidance schemes, and obscene profit making.

Then there is the most potent rhetorical weapon in the CEO’s arsenal. They shout it in the faces of 9-year-old children. They bludgeon parents, teachers, administrators, elected school boards and whole school districts with it. Failed! Failure! Failing! F! When the time is right they will condemn the very idea of educating all of America’s children—a noble but failed experiment. On the ashes they will create their brave new education system.

Racist Genocide in New Orleans Continues: "Like 911 But Add Water"
by liz burbank
originally published 9/3/05 as "A Catastrophic Success": A Holocaust Shaped by Race

A renaissance of Black resistance and leadership, historically the leading edge of revolution is what the postmodern slavemasters fear most in the racist "homeland".
Katrina was no accident, no surprise, no act of 'mother nature', the 'gods' , or bureaucratic incompetence. The human and environmental and impact on New Orleans of a hurricane of this magnitude had been scientifically calculated. Rescue and recovery were deliberately withheld, working class Black people militarily imprisoned, forcibly dispersed and murdered by the armed state.

This intensification of america's historical genocide, a crime of U.S. imperialist state terrorism, is a premeditated physical and psychological attack on the Black Nation to destroy its strength, pride, cultural cohesion and resistance to capitalist white supremacy's fascist global juggernaut.

Central to the U.S. strategy for global domination, Katrina and the brutal aftermath was engineered to serve this fascist agenda in two interrelated ways: uprooting, dispersing and weakening the Black Nation, while simultaneously inflaming racist support for the consolidation of a fascist mode of state capitalism with martial law under the guise of "rescue, relief and recovery” from a "major casualty-producing event" the state declared a “natural disaster” (see military and 'think-tank briefings following) [...]

full article at http://lizburbankdigest.blogspot.com/2006/03/racist-genocide-in-new-orle...
also at http://www.burbankdigest.com/]



9/11, Katrina, and the Future of Interagency Disaster Response
Admiral Thad W. Allen, Commandant, United States Coast Guard
Foreign Policy Studies, The Brookings Institution
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
A recent article on our guest speaker in U.S. News and World Report was entitled "Always Ready for the Storm," and that about says it all about Admiral Thad Allen. He is the 23rd Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, and he's going to lead us today in a discussion of disaster response interagency operations.... a discussion of what the role is for the Coast Guard in the 21st century because it's really those issues that he's touching on right now....they might involve issues of homeland defense, in other cases, disaster management, in other instances, immigration control or, in other cases, counter-narcotics operations. The reality is that all of these are a part of his life and a part of the functions and the roles of the U.S. Coast Guard today.

It, in effect, demands the integration of defense and civilian agencies and functions. It demands an integration of international and domestic capabilities perhaps in a way that is unique internally within our government.
Read the full transcript (PDF—85kb)
On May 29, the Brookings Institution's 21st Century Defense Initiative will host Admiral Thad W. Allen for a discussion of how the U.S. Coast Guard can contribute to enhanced unity of interagency responses to disasters. Admiral Allen has first-hand experience with the challenges of interagency collaboration. In 2001, he led the Coast Guard Atlantic Area operations in response to the 9/11 attacks, and in 2005, he was the principal federal official for Hurricane Katrina response in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. In his long and distinguished career, he has served in both coastal and offshore positions, internationally and at home. Admiral Allen graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in 1971. He holds master's degrees from George Washington University and the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Hurricane Katrina: Where Do We Go from Here?
We're going to begin by looking at this through the lens of what has happened in the government thinking about response to crises and events of great national significance in the post-9/11 environment with Richard Falkenrath, who was the—really the point man in many respects in the early years, the first term of the Bush Administration, in thinking about how both to reorganize the Federal Government and how to think about incidents of national catastrophe, looking through the lens not only of the post-9/11 environment, but the whole effort to think about the role of the Federal Government in addressing these questions.
Then we're going to turn to Michael O'Hanlon, who's going to focus on one particular dimension of the response, which is the question of what is and should be the role of the military, not only the National Guard and Reserve, but also the active duty military, which, as you've seen, has become more actively involved in the response in recent days....
Read the full transcript (PDF—196kb)
On Thursday, September 8, the Brookings Institution sponsors a panel discussion aimed at analyzing the federal, state and local response to Hurricane Katrina ...Experts on homeland security, the armed services, federalism and cities will unravel the questions that will be most important to policymakers moving forward at all level of government: How should disaster relief be organized? How can we better prepare for a natural disaster or a terrorist attack—including coordinating the national guard and active duty military?...


  On Feb. 21, 1965 Malcolm X was murdered by agents of the state identified as Black Muslims as he was about to address a rally in New York City
Read The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X --again...

Malcolm X (1925 - 1965), Autobiography of Malcolm X chap 4
Power in defense of freedom is greater than power on behalf of tyranny and oppression.

Our nation was born in genocide when it embraced the doctrine that the original American, the Indian, was an inferior race. Even before there were large numbers of Negroes on our shore, the scar of our racial hatred had already disfigured colonial society. From the sixteenth century forward, blood flowed in battles over racial supremacy. We are perhaps the only nation which tried as a matter of national policy to wipe out its indigenous population. Moreover, we elevated that tragic experience into a noble crusade. Indeed, even today we have not permitted ourselves to reject or feel remorse for this shameful episode. Our literature, our films, our drama, our folklore all exalt it. Our children are still taught to respect the violence which reduced a red-skinned people of an earlier culture into a few fragmented groups herded into impoverished reservations.

My thinking had been opened up wide in Mecca. I wrote long letters to my friends, in which I tried to convey to them my new insights into the American black man’s struggle and his problems as well as the depths of my search for truth and justice. “I’ve had enough of someone else’s propaganda,” I had written to these friends. “I am for truth, no matter who tells it. I am for justice, no matter who it is for or against. I am a human being first and foremost, and as such I’m for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole.” The American white man’s press called me the angriest Negro in America. I wouldn’t deny that charge; I spoke exactly as I felt. I believe in anger. I believe it is a crime for anyone who is being brutalized to continue to accept that brutality without doing something to defend himself. I am for violence if non-violence means that we continue postponing or even delaying a solution to the American black man’s problem. White man hates to hear anybody, especially a black man, talk about the crime that the white man perpetrated on the black man. But let me remind you that when the white man came into this country, he certainly wasn’t demonstrating non-violence.

Sitting at the table doesn't make you a diner, unless you eat some of what's on that plate. Being here in America doesn't make you an American. Being born here in America doesn't make you an American.

Time is on the side of the oppressed today, it's against the oppressor. Truth is on the side of the oppressed today, it's against the oppressor. You don't need anything else.

The future belongs to those who prepare for it today

Power in defense of freedom is greater than power in behalf of tyranny and oppression


Mumia Abu-Jamal - Legal Update (federal and state procedings)

Dear Friends:
On May 17, 2007, we presented oral argument in the U.S. Court of
Appeal of the Third Circuit, Philadelphia, on behalf of Mumia Abu-
Jamal. Abu-Jamal v. Horn, U.S. Court of Appeals Nos. 01-9014,
02-9001 (death penalty). It was an extraordinary day in my
experience of three decades of death penalty litigation. This was
certainly the most promising legal proceeding since the arrest of my
client over 25 years ago. At last there is light at the end of the
tunnel. Even though there is no way to know when or how the federal
court will rule, the three-judge panel’s numerous questions certainly
reflected their concern about what the prosecution had done wrong. A
decision could be forthcoming anytime from mid-July to the fall.

It was encouraging to see the courtroom packed with supporters for my
client. A large crowd also waited outside during the hearing. There
were international observers from various countries including France,
and a prominent human rights lawyer from Berlin who is also a member
of the German parliament.

The focus of the federal court was on issues concerning the death
penalty, misrepresentations by the prosecutor in his argument to the
jury, and his racism in jury selection. The atmosphere was far
different than previously experienced in this case, as reflected by
the judges' overriding concern regarding misconduct by the
prosecution. Early on one judge asked opposing counsel in reference
to the prosecutor’s misrepresentations to the jury during the 1982
trial: “Isn't that a denial of one of the rights secured by the Bill
of Rights?” I therefore concluded the hearing by pointing out that
even though it is judicially recognized that the Philadelphia
District Attorney employed racism in cases both before and after that
of Mr. Abu-Jamal, can anyone seriously believe that racism was not at
work in this case involving an outspoken journalist who was a former
member of the Black Panther Party and a supporter of MOVE's right to

Even though Mr. Abu-Jamal began writing me in 1986, it was not until
2003 that I was finally able to agree to take over as lead counsel.
Since then my focus has been on raising his level of credibility,
convincing courts to give serious consideration to the many
constitutional violations what have occurred in this complex case,
and overcoming the errors of the past case lawyers. To date we have
been largely successful. Interestingly, every motion I have filed
since briefing was ordered federally has been granted.

Oral argument aimed to calmly and candidly dealing with the questions
and concerns of the judges. It was not a time for political speeches
or emotional-type arguments which I have successfully made before
juries in countless murder cases. All possible arguments with
supporting legal authority were previously made in our extensive
written briefs. Supporting us with excellent briefs and argument was
the NAACP's Legal Defense Fund, and the National Lawyers Guild, both
of whom I brought into the case some years ago.

People frequently ask what can happen now. The federal court's
choices involve various scenarios. These include remanding the case
back to the U.S. District Court for further hearings, or granting an
entirely new trial, or ordering a new jury trial limited to the
penalty issue of life or death, or denying all relief with the case
headed towards an execution. Our objective is a reversal of the
conviction and death sentence, and the granting of a new trial.

The primary problem we have experienced in Mr. Abu-Jamal’s case, in
additional to prosecution misconduct and racism, has been mistakes
made by prior counsel ranging from not pursing an adequate
investigation to failing to raise certain fundamental issues, e.g.,
judicial bias at trial. This has been evident in the federal appeal,
accentuated by some of the judges’ questions on May 17. We have
taken all possible steps to overcome these shortcomings.

The issues in the case of Mr. Abu-Jamal concern the right to a fair
trial, the struggle against the death penalty, and the political
repression of an outspoken journalist. Racism and politics are
threads that have run through this case since his 1981 arrest. The
issues under consideration, all of great constitutional significance,
Whether Mr. Abu-Jamal was denied the right to due process of law and
a fair trial under the Fifth, Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments to the
U.S. Constitution because of the prosecutor’s “appeal-after-appeal”
argument which encouraged the jury to disregard the presumption of
innocence and reasonable doubt, and err on the side of guilt.
Whether the prosecution’s use of peremptory challenges to exclude
African Americans from sitting on the jury violated Mr. Abu-Jamal’s
rights to due process and equal protection of the law under the Sixth
and Fourteenth Amendments, and contravened Batson v. Kentucky, 476
U.S. 79 (1986).
Whether the jury instructions and verdict form that resulted in the
death penalty deprived Mr. Abu-Jamal of rights guaranteed by the
Eight and Fourteenth Amendments to due process of law, equal
protection of the law, and not to be subjected to cruel and unusual
punishment, and violated Mills v. Maryland, 486 U.S. 367 (1988),
since the judge precluded the jurors from considering any mitigating
evidence unless they all agreed on the existence of a particular
Whether Mr. Abu-Jamal was denied due process and equal protection of
the law under the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments during post-
conviction hearings as the result of the bias and racism of Judge
Albert F. Sabo which included the comment that he was “going to
help'em fry the nigger.”
It is a pleasure to announce that we are once more engaged in
briefing before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. On June 1, 2007, we
filed on behalf of Mr. Abu-Jamal the opening Brief for Appellant.
Commonwealth v. Abu-Jamal, Pa. Sup. Ct. No. 485, Capital Appeals Div.
(death penalty). The issues presented include the prosecution
falsely manipulating eyewitness testimony, and its use of fabricated
evidence. There are procedural problems which occurred before I
entered the case, these are issues of such constitutional importance
that they must be aggressively pursued. A copy of our brief is

I am in this case to win a new and fair trial for Mr. Abu-Jamal.
That is his and my wish. The goal is for his freedom following a
retrial. Nevertheless, Mr. Abu-Jamal remains in great danger. If
all is lost, he will be executed.

Your interest in this struggle for human rights and against the death
penalty is appreciated.

Yours very truly,

Robert R. Bryan
[Law Offices of Robert R. Bryan
2088 Union Street, Suite 4
San Francisco, California 94123-4117]
Lead counsel for Mumia Abu-Jama