The Center for Constitutional Rights and the National Lawyers Guild have launched a new project to “protect and advance the constitutional rights of Palestinian rights activists across the U.S.” The purpose of the project is to “track incidents of repression, and to provide legal advice, representation, resources and advocacy support to activists.” The website features a slideshow of four images, one of which is from our campaign, pictured above, to counter Islamophobic hate speech on San Francisco buses.
In the wee hours of January 24, Oakland’s city council voted to approve a $250,000 contract with consultant William Bratton, the man who brought “stop & frisk” to New York and Los Angeles. The hearing was packed, with community members filling two overflow rooms as well as the city council chamber, and the vast majority of speakers opposed the contract.
Oakland’s police department is already under federal oversight resulting from a multiplaintiff civil rights lawsuit filed in the late 1990s. The federal monitor has threatened to place the department in receivership because of noncompliance with the requirements of reporting and investigating misconduct.
Author Kitty Kelly Epstein wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle, that “Community organizations have approached the city administrator and offered to convene meetings in the most marginalized and crime-affected communities to seek their ideas in a nonpoliticized and nonpunitive environment. And they have offered to do this for free.”
Critical Resistance, an Oakland-based grassroots organization promoting community solutions to mass incarceration, has put out an excellent fact sheet on Bratton’s “toxic policies.”
As Pres. Obama takes office for the second time, we are struck by the disconnect between what people clearly voted for — raising taxes on those who can afford it to stop the bleeding of social programs — and what politicians insist on doing – cutting health care, education and social security to pay off the banks and the wealthiest in our country.
What’s it going to take to make the politicians listen to what the people really want?
BAAQUP marked the 11th sad anniversary of the opening of Guantanamo Bay concentration camp by posting this image in several East Bay bus shelters.
Eleven years after the first prisoners of war were dragged, hooded and in chains, to Guantanamo, 169 men remain imprisoned there. They have faced no charges and been convicted of nothing, but they are held under some of the harshest conditions perpetrated by our government, which imprisons more people than any other country, most of them in terrible conditions. (One in 99 Americans is in prison, but for African American men, that number is 1 in 15, and for African American men aged 20-34, it’s 1 in 9. One in 36 Latino men is in prison.)
86 of the men held in indefinite, near secret detention at Guantanamo have been cleared for release to their own countries or third countries. That means the government itself acknowledges they are guilty of nothing. But they remain in prison. One of those, a Yemeni man named Adnan Latif, recently became the seventh prisoner to commit suicide at Guantanamo.
On his second day in office in 2009, President Obama pledged to close Guantanamo within a year. But four years later, he has not done so. While Congress has stymied some of his efforts, the administration has not been aggressive in seeking ways to deliver on this promise. Instead, they have taken legal steps to curb prisoners’ access to lawyers and media. While complaining about Congressional restrictions on transferring prisoners out of the Guantanamo gulag, the president signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which enshrines extra-legal imprisonment and government spying for another year.
At the same time, Obama has radically stepped up the use of drones to kill civilians, including U.S. citizens, in Pakistan, Yemen and anywhere else in the world.
In 2013, we are offering our community 52 weeks of inspiration and empowerment. Our goal is to post images which disrupt and challenge dominant media messages and encourage resistance.
We began with this one, which made its appearance in downtown Oakland around January 6: