Hosts Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey, veterans of the Freedom Movement’s many permutations and skilled communicators, host a weekly magazine designed to both inform and critique the global movement for social change.
Black Agenda Radio is heard weekly at 11am (ET) / 8am (PT) on Mondays.
President Obama’s choices of Samantha Power as United Nations ambassador and Susan Rice for National Security Council chief should trouble “those of us who are concerned about Africa” because they were “the two most aggressive individuals in the intervention in Libya,” said Maurice Carney, executive director of Friends of Congo. “Congo serves as a massive inconvenience for the likes of Power and Rice,” because U.S. allies Rwanda and Uganda are implicated in the genocide of millions in that country, site of “what the United Nations, itself, says is the deadliest conflict in the world since the Holocaust,” said Carney.
Rice, Power Implicated in Libya Genocide, Assault on Syria
Renowned professor of international law Francis Boyle says Susan Rice and Samantha Power were among those most responsible “for slaughtering 50,000 Libyans under the pretext of Responsibility to Protect [R2P]. We saw outright genocide inflicted on the black citizens of Libya and black foreign guest workers…these people were outright exterminated,” said Boyle. “These are the same people who will be pushing [R2P] against Syria.”
Tell Harvard: Stop Polling Black People
Eighty-six percent of Black respondents told a Harvard/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation poll they were “satisfied” with their lives – but the numbers do not mean Blacks are doing well, said South Carolina author and activistKevin Alexander Gray. In southern poor communities “people used to sweep the dirt in their front yards,” said Gray. “They didn’t have lawns, but they swept the dirt because they wanted to keep up appearances. Some of these polls are like sweeping dirt in the front yard.” Harvard should refrain from polling African Americans, since it doesn’t “know how to measure well-being in the Black community,” said Gray.
Detroit City Council Useless
The Detroit City Council has remained largely passive while an appointed Emergency Financial Manager considers auctioning the city’s assets to pay corporate creditors. Local people’s lawyer Tom Stephens says the council is “willing to compromise with power” as long as “they keep a seat at the council table, and are still getting their salaries. I think, at this point, short of, perhaps, human sacrifice, they’re willing to go along with pretty much anything.”
A rash of police shootings of Blacks has prompted Philadelphia police commissioner Charles Ramsey to call for a federal investigation of his own department. “This is not a few rogue cops,” said Dr. Tony Monteiro, professor of African American studies at Temple University. “I think Ramsey recognizes that this is institutional and structural.” Mayor Michael Nutter’s political rhetoric “gives sanction to this type of behavior,” said Monteiro, “and there is also the sense that the DA is not going to rigorously pursue killer cops.” All three officials are Black.
Obama = Bush on Secret War Guidelines
Just like his predecessor, President Obama wages illegal wars behind a screen of secret “guidances” and classified interpretations of the law, said Coleen Rowley, a former FBI agent and noted whistleblower. If Obama is serious about eventually ending America’s perpetual wars, he must begin by making his war-making guidelines public. Otherwise, said Rowley, “he doesn’t have a leg to stand on, after giving that speech, for why he’s so secretive,” said Crowley.
Obama Big Liar
Barack Obama’s portrayal of himself as a morally conflicted commander is pure play-acting, said Chris Hedges, the former war correspondent and complainant in a suit against Obama’s preventive detention legislation. “It’s called the Big Lie,” said Hedges. “It worked pretty well in Nazi Germany and it’s working pretty well, here.” U.S. culture “is utterly awash in lies and very sophisticated forms of propaganda,” said Hedges. “The snuffing out of the First Amendment is pretty far advanced, if we are not already there.”
Obama’s Killing Touch
Black America’s long legacy of opposition to U.S. military adventures abroad “has been destroyed under Obama,” said Black Agenda Report senior columnist Margaret Kimberley. African Americans “see everything through a prism of protecting him. There are now 30 million Secret Service agents in the Black community who think they have to throw themselves in front of Obama and defend him from his critics,” Kimberley told Solomon Comissiong, producer of the documentary film The More Effective Evil: The Impact of Barack Obama on the Black Community and Humanity. “It’s killed Black politics.”
McKinney Book Details Black Caucus Subservience to Pelosi
In her new book, Ain’t Nothing Like Freedom, former Georgia congresswoman Cynthia McKinney says she was “shocked” to discover that “my friend, my buddy, my brother” Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. was “an FBI informant.” The veteran lawmaker, who ran for president in 2008 on the Green Party ticket, recalled the Congressional Black Caucus’s subservience to House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi. When orders came down to avoid ANSWER Coalition anti-war demonstrations, McKinney was “the only one who showed up.” Democrats were forbidden to take part in Republican hearings on Katrina – and all but McKinney complied.
Cuban Five Trial “Rigged,” Says Gonzalez
Rene Gonzalez, the Cuban Five member who served his prison sentence and was allowed to return to Cuba for his father’s funeral, said he and his comrades were convicted in “a rigged trial, which took place in an atmosphere of fear.” The five Cuban intelligence agents infiltrated Cuban exile groups that were launching terror attacks from southern Florida. Instead of arresting the exiles, the U.S. charged the Cuban Five with spying. Four remain behind bars. “The American people, who are supposed to have been the victims of our ‘crimes,’ are not aware of the details of the trial,” said Gonzalez.
U.S. Prison Torture Protests
With California prison protests set to renew in July, the Stop Mass Incarceration Network will mark three Days of Solidarity with the 80,000 inmates in solitary confinement, nationwide, June 21 – 23. Solitary confinement, as practiced in the United States, “fits the international definition of torture,” said network spokesman Carl Dix. “In fact, they are held consciously in conditions that are driving them insane.” The network also plans a “Hoodie Day” for June 10, the start of George Zimmerman’s trial in the death of Trayvon Martin.
Obama’s Empty Rhetoric on Global War
President Obama’s speech on the future of U.S. targeted assassinations around the world contained “nothing concrete, anywhere,” said anti-war activist David Swanson, publisher of the influential website WarIsACrime.org. “By the president’s own concession, what he’s been doing for years is an unacceptable outrage,” said Swanson. “The president claims that he will respect the sovereignty of other nations, but there is no evidence that this is the case, and there is no mechanism for any of these criteria to be enforced by anyone other than himself.”
U.S. Would Make Syria a Wasteland, Like Libya
Washington and its allies and proxies are engaged “in an all-out effort at regime change in Syria,” much like the 2011 NATO war against Libya, said Sara Flounders, of UNAC, the United National Anti-War Coalition. “Libya today has no functioning government, which is really fine for the major oil corporations,” said Flounders. “They don’t have to worry about paying anybody anything, and the oil continues to pump.” Ultimately, what U.S. corporations want “is what they have in Bangladesh – a race to the bottom.”
End UN Occupation of Haiti
Delegates from across the western hemisphere will gather in Port-au-Prince, May 31 and June 1, for a Continental Conference against the 9-year United Nations occupation of Haiti. UN troops “are there to impose repression on a people that have refused to accept the violation of their sovereignty and their right to determine their own destiny,” said Alan Benjamin, a conference organizer and executive committee member of the San Francisco Bay Area Labor Council.
Attempted Land Grab in Cameroon
International protest appears to have halted a 73,000 hectare palm oil and lumber venture by the multinational Herakles Farms corporation in Cameroon. The deal had awarded Herakles a 99-year lease at only $1 per hectare a year. Studies confirm the company’s “intention to make huge profits in transfers and assets on the cheap,” said Anuradha Mittal, executive director of the Oakland Institute. Such transactions “should serve as a reminder that the land rush that has brought investors into the African nations is not driven by philanthropy, despite claims to the contrary.” Brendan Schwartz, of Greenpeace International, said the scheme “is not a development project,” but would, in fact, create “unemployment and underdevelopment.”
Black Power vs. Capitalism
Majority Black jurisdictions across the nation have seen their local school and governing bodies “set aside, so that the governor can appoint stooges to impose massively unpopular programs of austerity; wage, pension, benefits and service cuts; and privatization,” said Black Agenda Report managing editor Bruce Dixon, in a commentary on Black Agenda Television. “Quite simply, what austerity regimes do is turn local government from an entity that collects local taxes and fees, in order to pay its employees living wages and provide needed services, into a machine which collects local taxes and user fees from the poor and sends them straight to Wall Street as interest payments on an eternal, unpayable debt.”
Black Studies Under Assault
“We have been under siege for ten years, maybe longer,” said Dr. Anthony Monteiro, professor of African American studies at Temple University, in Philadelphia. “It’s been under attack because what African American studies represents is a fundamental paradigm challenge to the white academy.” Monteiro was part of a conference on Black studies held over the weekend at Temple, the first institution to offer a PhD in the discipline, in 1988. “We are not beholden to these other departments and disciplines,” he said. “In fact, our world view emerges from a deep critique of what they do – and that’s where the blowback comes from.”
FBI “Fishing Expedition” Against the Press
Attorney General Eric Holder’s claim that he should absent himself from the investigation of the FBI’s seizure of Associated Press phone records is “all about trying to maintain plausible deniability” of involvement, said Kevin Gosztola, a journalist with FireDogLake.com who has written extensively on government spying. It is “cowardice, frankly, said Gosztola, “to not want to face the media, who would be outraged when they found out that an establishment news media organization was the victim of an FBI fishing expedition.”
No FEAR Act anniversary
The federal No FEAR Act, signed into law 11 years ago, “came out of an incredibly hostile work environment throughout the federal government,” said Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, a whistleblower and former Environmental Protection Agency senior analyst. “Our goal was to change the culture of how government works. We didn’t quite achieve that,” she said, but “there was one moment in history when federal employees said: To hell with the jobs, to hell with the benefits, I’m going to fight for justice.”
President Obama the Best Choice Imperialism Ever Made
“One of the greatest accomplishments for imperialism, is that he has moved more of our people into the imperial camp,” said Kali Akuno, of the Malcolm X Grass Roots Movement. Akuno spoke on the Your World News documentary film, The More Effective Evil: The Impact of President Obama on the Black Community and Humanity, produced by Solomon Comissiong. “Whoever the folks are who trained him and have been his handlers, from the imperialist perspective, should be given their props, because they picked a good one.”
South Africa “Most Unequal” Society in the World
Many of South Africa’s Black political elite “have used the opportunities to accumulate at the expense of the vast majority,” said Molefi Ndlovu, a community activist and researcher at the Center for Civil Society at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, in Durban. “That’s why we can speak of South Africa as being the most unequal society in the world, more than Brazil and other places,” said Ndlovu, speaking on the latest edition of Black Agenda Television. “It makes a lot of us a bit nervous about exactly where is the soul of the” [ruling African National Congress] party going.”
Selective Federal Gun Prosecutions in Black Indianapolis
In conjunction with a local police offensive, the U.S. Attorney in Indianapolis has vowed to fully prosecute gun crimes in five so-called “hot zones” – all of them centered in Black neighborhoods – but not in the rest of the city. Rev. Byron Vaughn, of Prisoners Reformed United, says the policy represents selective, racial law enforcement. “They made it a racial issue,” said Rev. Vaughn, a former prison inmate. People are being singled out because of “where they live.”
Assata, JZ and Beyonce: The Connection
“Domestic law enforcement is at odds” with President Obama because of his “new approach to Latin America and the war on drugs,” said Dhoruba bin Wahad, former Black Panther and co-founder of the Black Liberation Army. According to bin Wahad, who spent 19 years in prison on political charges, Obama is seeking to “calm the shift in power to the Left in Latin America” in his second term. “JZ going to Cuba, getting a visa, was not coincidental,” he said. The recent JZ-Beyonce “trip was about opening up Cuba” to U.S. tourism, “to disrupt and undo the Cuban revolution.” Exiled former Black Panther Assata Shakur’s elevation to number one domestic terrorist on the FBI list “represents the disgruntlement of U.S. law enforcement” with this process.
The Betrayal of the Black Misleadership Class
The Black political class that emerged from the tumult of the Sixties became eager partners with corporate neoliberalism, said Jay Arena, author of Driven from New Orleans: How Non-Profits Betray Public Housing and Promote Privatization. The first generation of the post-Sixties Black political class “emerges just at the time when the national state begins their neoliberal austerity and privatization agenda – and they embraced that,” said Arena, a veteran activist and professor of sociology at the College of Staten Island, New York. Many Black politicians and non-profit organizations collaborated in the dismantling of public housing in New Orleans and cities across the nation.
Superpower Woes in Syria
“The United States, and any other imperialist nation on earth, has no right” to interfere with the internal affairs of Syria, said Jeff Mackler, national secretary of Socialist Action. Washington’s ambitions in Syria have been frustrated because “they don’t have any forces on the ground that they can trust to defend their interests.” The U.S. faced a similar situation in Iraq, and has no reliable allies on the ground in Afghanistan, either, said Mackler.
Longstanding principles of international law “have given way to the idea that there are two sets of rules in the world: one for the United States, and one for everyone else,” said David Swanson, anti-war activist and publisher of the influential website, WarIsACrime.org. “Even so-called ‘human rights’ organizations like Amnesty International are sending out emails lamenting the war-making arsenal of Assad and never mentioning similar actions by the other side, in order to provoke a wider war,” and in which even Congressional Progressive Caucus leader Keith Ellison holds up the U.S. assault on Libya “as a model.”
Release Lynne Stewart, Now
Human rights lawyer Lynne Stewart’s prospects for compassionate release from a 10-year prison sentence have increased because of the many “voices from around the world, the petitions that people have signed,” said Ralph Poynter, Stewart’s husband and partner in activism. “There is no one who can argue whether Lynne has been the sister of us all, or not.” Stewart is suffering stage four breast cancer.
Corporations Too Big for the Law
“The Justice Department is handing out these non-prosecutions and prosecution deferred agreements like candy,” said Russell Mokhiber, editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter. The publication sponsored conference, in Washington, under the heading, “Neither Admit Nor Deny: Corporate Crime in the Age of Deferred Prosecutions, Consent Decrees, Whistleblowers and Monitors.” Corporations are “too big to fail, too big to indict, and too big to challenge, apparently,” said Mokhiber.
Mumia Lauds Student Fight Against Mass Imprisonment
“You and those you inspire can be the spark that spells the end of mass incarceration – because movements change everything,” said political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal, in a telephonic address to the first national conference of Students Against Mass Incarceration, at Howard University, in Washington.
“The system of mass incarceration is about controlling the people at the bottom of society so that they will not rise up against the 1%,” said Baruch College professorJohanna Fernandez.
Pam Africa, head of International Concerned Friends and Family of Mumia Abu Jamal, told the conference that Abu Jamal’s death sentence was set aside “because the movement was large, and it needs to get a whole lot larger.”
The Looming Police State
“There’s a push to scare Americans into a police state,” said Dr. Johnny Williams, professor of sociology at Trinity College, in Hartford, Connecticut, referring to the overwhelming force brought to bear following the Boston Marathon bombing. State repression is designed to contain “a division within society that is expanding.” The only way to resist the police state, said Williams, “is to take it to the streets, to create chaos for them, because they understand nothing else.”
“If we did a little racial profiling, in terms of the FBI’s list of groups and individuals that are engaged in domestic terrorism, they’re all white,” said Beau Grosscup, an author of several works on terror. “But, of course, that doesn’t fit the portrait that we have been encouraged to adopt in terms of who is responsible for U.S. terror.”
Operation Ghetto Storm
“Roughly 90 percent” of the extrajudicial killings of Blacks documented in “Operation Ghetto Storm,” an updated report by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, “are just straight-up coverups” of routine police practices, said Kali Akuno, one of the authors. The report concludes that a Black person is murdered by police, security guards or vigilantes every 28 hours in the United States. Police are “under no real pressure or threat” to change their practices, “except for what we organize as a community,” said Akuno, speaking on Your World News.
Stop the Torture of Solitary Confinement
Anti-mass incarceration forces must start now to build support for prisoners held in long term solitary confinement in California, who went on hunger strike in 2011, said Carl Dix, of Stop Mass Incarceration. “The authorities promised to change conditions” two years ago, “but they lied,” said Dix. This time, “we want to spread the word” before the inmates’ next tentative strike date, July 8.
Obama’s Behavior Predictable
President Obama is a deeply conservative politician who “has been making noise about rolling back” entitlement programs “pretty much from the beginning of his career,” said Paul Street, author of The Empire’s New Clothes: Barack Obama and the Real World of Power. “Obama has damn near explicitly stated that, for all intents and purposes, he’s a Republican.”
Chicago Teachers Prepare Electoral Challenge to Mayor Emanuel
Massive school closings have made Chicago “ground zero” in the battle to preserve public education, said Michael Brunson, of the Chicago Teachers Union. Fifty-four schools have been targeted for closure, this year, most of them in Black and brown neighborhoods. “People don’t want to move into a community if they don’t have a school they can send their children to,” said Brunson. “It’s part of a downward spiral that disinvests from our communities and causes them to crumble.” The teachers union plans to register 100,000 new voters to challenge mayoral control of the schools.
NYC Parents Boycott High Stakes Testing
With their parents’ permission, students at 33 New York City schools will opt out of scheduled standardized tests. “We feel that there is too much riding on these exams that have so much to do with the dismantling of the public school system,” said Cynthia Copeland, a parent and member of Time Out From Testing. “It’s this constant teaching to the test; there’s no real learning going on.”
Newark Protests Against Social Security Cuts
The People’s Organization for Progress held demonstrations, in Newark, New Jersey, to protest President Obama’s proposed cuts to Social Security and other entitlement programs. ChairmanLarry Hamm noted that POP endorsed Obama “in both elections after much discussion and debate.” But, “now we turn around and have to fight the very guy we voted for.” Obama, said Hamm, is “the first Democratic president to actually propose cuts to Social Security.”
Obama is “Face of Capitalist Empire”
“From the start, Obama has been leading the charge to betray Social Security and the foundation of the Democratic Party’s policy platform, which is the New Deal,” said Kevin Alexander Gray, the Columbia, South Carolina writer and activist. “Obama is the face of the capitalist empire; that’s what he believes in,” said Gray. “What troubles me about Black Obama supporters is, they just seem to ignore it. It’s all about misguided racial pride.”
EEOC Dismisses Black Complaints, Blames Sequestration
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claims that sequestration-mandated spending cuts will add to the agency’s backlog of employment discrimination cases. But Ricardo Jones, the former chief investigator for the EEOC’s southern New York region, says the Commission is already dismissing the vast majority of Black complaints, and “hasn’t paid overtime to any investigator or mediator at the EEOC for the past 15 years. According to Jones, the Commission “only finds reasonable cause 3.1% of the time. That’s worse than the Bush administration.”
More Whites Swept Into U.S. Gulag
The racial incarceration gap has narrowed, slightly, with more whites and going to prison in recent years. “It’s almost like law enforcement is looking for more feeders for their beds,” said Soffiyah Elijah, executive director of The Correctional Association of New York. “As the economy continues to decline, poverty is closely associated with who law enforcement goes after,” she said. “So, you find more whites being swept up in the system.”
New Book Exposes Manning Marable’s Lies About Malcolm X
“The central lie” of Manning Marable’s book Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention, “is the idea that Malcolm X was not an African Internationalist, not committed to revolution, but that when push came to shove, he was really part of the American dream and the American structure,” said Dr. Todd Burroughs, a professor of communications at Morgan State University. Burroughs and Dr. Jared Ball are co-editors of A Lie of Reinvention: Correcting Manning Marable’s Malcolm X, a collection of essays by prominent Black intellectuals and activists. “It was a shame that we had to do the book,” said Burroughs. “For him to mess it up this badly is a travesty.”
U.S. Will Bring About World War Three
The U.S. and its allies are running amuk, much like the Axis powers in the 1930s, said Dr. Francis Boyle, professor of international law at the University of Illinois, at Champaign. “After 9/11, we’ve had the United States, Britain, France and NATO literally rampaging around the world, destroying and invading states,” said Dr. Boyle. “They are going to lead us into a Third World War over something.” Boyle’s newest book is titled Destroying Libya and World Order: The Three-Decade U.S. Campaign to Terminate the Qaddafi Revolution.
High Stakes Testing Makes Cheating Inevitable
Over the last four years, standardized test cheating cases have been confirmed “in 37 states and the District of Columbia, and patterns of systemic cheating in about a dozen jurisdictions,” said Bob Schaeffer, of Fair Test. “The only solution is a comprehensive overhaul of No Child Left Behind and the over-testing system that has been mandated.” Schaeffer said evaluation of student progress should be “based on the work students do in the classroom over time.”
Mumia on the Real Dr. King
Political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal, serving a life sentence in a Pennsylvania prison, sent a message to a gathering at New York’s historic Riverside Church on the anniversary of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination. “ MLK, who broke with President Lyndon Johnson in a speech at Riverside on April 4, 1967, “was an adversary of the military industrial complex and the mammoth business interests that support it. This is why state power marked him, quashed his voice, and gave him up to a violent death,” said Abu Jamal.
Free the Cuban Five
“The U.S. government categorically denies it has political prisoners in its gulags,” said Luis Rosa, a Puerto Rican activist from Chicago who spent 19 years in prison on political charges. Rosa spoke at a Columbia University event demanding freedom for the Cuban Five and all U.S. political prisoners. The U.S. “uses denial to violate our most basic human rights,” said Rosa, “to perpetuate the lie that it is the ultimate defender of freedom, justice, democracy and human rights in the world.” Imani Brown, of Columbia’s Caribbean Students Association, said “American neocolonial systems of power…is the driving force of the prison industrial complex.”
Petition to Take Back Obama’s Peace Prize
Norman Solomon, the former anti-war congressional candidate and co-founder of RootsAction.org, says the state of peace in the world “has gone from bad to worse” in the 40 months since President Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize. RootsAction.org is circulating a petition, asking the Nobel committee to take back the prize, which was awarded early in Obama’s first term. As one petitioner wrote: “A pre-emptive peace prize works about as well as pre-emptive war.”
“See No Evil, Hear No Evil” at EPA
“When you consider the level of assaults that the planet is under, if ever in our history we needed a strong voice at the agency for communities and people, it’s now,” said Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, noted whistleblower and a leader in the No Fear Coalition. She said Gina McCarthy, President Obama’s new choice to head the Environmental Protection Agency, is just another representative of the “envirotocracy – green paint on top of a corporate structure” – very much like former EPA chief Lisa Jackson and other predecessors who “hear no evil, see no evil.”
Where Did Haiti Aid Money Go?
A new report by the Center for Economic and Policy Research, in Washington, calls for more transparency and accountability in U.S. AID’s dispensing of monies to Haiti. “The Haitian people know how much money was pledged, and they know how little they’ve seen,” said the CEPR’s Jake Johnston. “There’s becoming a whole lot of resentment.”