A Nation Behind Bars: the buried talents of a population

Inmates at Chino State Prison sit inside a metal cage in the hallway on December 10, 2010, in Chino, California. © 2010 Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Inmates at Chino State Prison sit inside a metal cage in the hallway on December 10, 2010, in Chino, California. © 2010 Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

Editor’s Notes: This page contains information and resources that focuses on the U.S. Criminal Justice System. As with the situation and policies of the U.S. Defense Department, it needs to be transformed. Justice and Peace are interconnected. Yet the mainstream public is brainwashed into believing that the current policies are necessary evils. They are not necessary, but, evil. – It is interesting that the word “evil” comes from the Latin word, Eros, meaning error. How did we get to this point of creating institutional crimes against humanity, inducing incentives for profits to enslave as many as possible in racist-proportioned populations? Our society has created dungeons of depression in a modern day era of slavery and oppression.

A Nation Behind Bars: the buried talents of a population includes updates, links and resources on many justice issues, and includes resources Desmond Carter, Zolo Azania Agona, Mumia Abu Jamal, and is dedicated to the victims inside the corrupt walls of power, influence, and injustice. Their bodies are confined, yet their minds can be free. Join with the inevitable outcome for truth and justice. In that spirit we will prevail.

Some following is on the difficult journey of a dear friend, Malik Abdullah Akili. He was a former member of the Black Panther Party, and had spent too much time in prison, due to his principles and the corruption of the system. This item also includes updates on another friend, who I met from Malik, Jehan Abdur-Raheem, plus information and links on the Human Rights struggles of Leonard Peltier, Richard Sitcha. Chief Iron Thunderhorse, and Zolo Agona Azania. We also have information on Kenneth Foster, another human on death row where Texas takes pride in its murdering institution. According to a U.S. News 11/9/98 report, for every 7 executions (486 since 1976) 1 other prisoner on death row has been found innocent. Isn’t this enough reason for a Moratorium on the Death Penalty? Besides a Moratorium, Flyby News supports the decriminalization of most all nonviolent and victim-less crimes as another beginning step to help transform a corrupt and racist criminal justice system.


A Nation Behind Bars:
the buried talents of a population

Updated Information and Resources

October 2-4, 2013 – Censored News – Brenda Norrell
Leonard Peltier Tribunal
Indigenous Human Rights

07 February, 2016 – Jonathan Mark
Pardon Leonard Peltier
Opportunity for Obama, our nation
Published in Recorder, 06 February, 2016

Call the White House Comment Line
202-456-1111 or 202-456-1112
Monday thru Friday – 9am to 5pm

For more information, Regarding Clemency:
International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee

Leonard Peliter

Photo credit bsnorell

Free Leonard Peltier

22 February, 2016 – Democracy Now!
Exclusive Interview: Albert Woodfox of Angola 3,
Freed After 43 Years in Solitary Confinement

Angola3 free at last.jpg

02 October 2013 – Democracy Now – War and Peace
After 4 Decades in Solitary, Dying Angola 3 Prisoner
Herman Wallace Freed, Conviction Overturned

02 October 2013
Canadian Filmmaker and Doctor Imprisoned in Egypt
Without Charges, Abused After Witnessing Massacre

30 September 2013 – Democracy Now! – War and Peace
Freed by DNA, Angola Prisoner Henry James
on His 30 Years Behind Bars for Crime
He Didn’t Commit

30 September 2013
Cancer-Stricken Angola 3 Prisoner Herman Wallace
Given Just Days to Live After 42 Years in Solitary

10 May 2012 – Democracy Now – War and Peace
Mexican Poet Javier Sicilia
Leads U.S. Peace Caravan to
Expose Drug War’s Human Toll

Transforming Health-care and Criminal Justice
Not-for-Profit Healthcare and Prisons good for USA!

Updated – Flyby News – Jonathan Mark
Killed At Home * Kenneth Chamberlain

04 May 2012 – Youtube – TheBacmaster
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – “Ohio” (1970)

30 April 2012 – CNN – Michael Martinez and Brad Johnson
RFK assassination witness tells CNN:
There was a second shooter


For resources for balance in a mad mad world
Flyby News Health and Spiritual Blog


Free Leonard Peltier
Sign Online Petition
Executive Clemency for Leonard Peltier

31 January 2012 – Democracy Now! – Eugene Jarecki
“The House I Live In”: New Documentary Exposes
Economic, Moral Failure of U.S. War on Drugs

January, 2012 – Culture Project – Link TV
Blueprint for Accountability
Working the Dark Side

30 May 2011 – AVAAZ – Online Petition
End the War on Drugs!

December, 2011 – Link TV – Glenn Greenwald
With Liberty and Justice for Some

22 September 2011 – Color of Change – Rashad Robinson
Troy Davis is dead; the movement continues

19 July 2011 – LPDOC – Sal Rodriguez
Native American Activist Leonard Peltier
“in the Hellhole” of Solitary Confinement

06 June 2011 – Democracy Now! – War and Peace
Former Black Panther Leader, Geronimo Ji-Jaga Pratt,
Wrongfully Imprisoned for 27 Years, Dies in Tanzania

+
Dr. Gabor Maté: Obama Admin Should Heed Global
Panel’s Call to End “Failed” U.S.-Led Drug War

Transforming Health-care and Criminal Justice
Not-for-Profit Healthcare and Prisons good for USA!

26 July 2011 – Examiner – Deborah Dupre
America’s 100,000 tortured inmates:
Most pressing, ignored human rights issue

22 July 2011 – Examiner – Deborah Dupre
Torture in America: California prison
hunger strikes
, national protests continue

29 March 2011 – Democracy Now – Martina Correia
“Shocked and Appalled”
Sister of Death Row Prisoner
Troy Davis

Responds to Supreme Court Ruling

The U.S. Supreme Court has dismissed the appeal
of Georgia death row prisoner Troy Davis, whose case
has been taken up by death penalty opponents across
the globe. Davis was convicted for the 1989 killing of an
off-duty white police officer. Since then, seven of the nine
non-police witnesses have recanted their testimony, and
there is no physical evidence tying him to the crime scene.
With his legal appeals exhausted, Davis’ fate rests largely
in the hands of Georgia’s Board of Pardons and Parole.
Take Action!
Petition the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Parole
Save Troy Davis’ life

27 April 2011 – Democracy Now – Judith Ritter, Linn Washington
Court Rules Mumia Abu-Jamal‘s Death Sentence is
Unconstitutional, Grants New Sentencing Hearing

14 December 2010 – Democracy Now – War and Peace
Prisoner Advocate Elaine Brown on Georgia
Prison Strike: “Repression Breeds Resistance”

17 December 2010 – In These Times – Common Dreams
Georgia Prison Strike: A Hidden Labor Force Resists


One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.

– William Shakespeare


My Friend in Jail – Malik Abdullah Akili

O soul brother, chained by oppression,
Trapped by indecent, uncanny lies,
Denying your heritage they do not realize,
You are free – you are free – you are free – you are free.

What is justice in the hands of the law
When compassion, mercy, and truth are ignored?
Who are the guilty when the Bible spoke thus,
“Judge not, lest ye be judged”?

Who cries alone in isolated cells, and
Who cares about these grieving tones?
“I do,” the bride says to the groom,
Yet barred from the expression of love
Our brothers and sisters are doomed.

Scourged with the deepest of depressions,
Forced in inhuman conditions, and
I weep, as I am as powerless as you,
Waiting, only waiting until that hour comes
when we can walk away..

Don’t wait, another part of me believes.
Free, free, free my brother, free.
Can we not soar to the highest of highs,
To the place where Einstein knew the speed
at which time flies?
Oh, go beyond, beyond, and let us see
where the holy men go
When they leave the cage of earthly things.

No longer will I weep or pout at the injustices wrought
Though I hate it with all my fury,
Yet all just being a fantasy in a life we sought..
We must go beyond the time spent in lonely hope
To the only moment in our lives, the moment,
The moment of ecstasy, plain living, or even suffering.

In any moment a lasting seed can begin to grow.
It’s the instant we can really know.
Feel each moment as the river flows.
Peace, my friend, peace, peace.

O soul brother, chained by oppression,
Trapped by indecent uncanny lies,
Denying your heritage they do not realize
You are free – you are free,
You are free, my brother, free.

Jonathan Mark 10/10/79

This above poem was inspired from a friendship with Malik Abdullah Akili, who has spent too much time behind the bars of injustice and inequality. Malik and I have maintained our friendship through decades of time and struggles. We originally met when this former Black Panther was helping gang members of New York City to organize to redirect their energies and directions in life to be of service to their communities. The circumstances that first brought to work together was when a family we both knew was torn apart by the rash actions of a so-called children’s protective agency. They claimed emotional abuse and neglect. This family, like many others, was not perfect, and they were traveling and home-schooling their children, but the real abuse was from the social system, because of one complaint of emotional abuse; they came in the night with State Troopers to haul the kids away from their home to temporary institutional housing. Within a week our activist work together helped to bring an end to this traumatic tragedy of State abuse and misjudgment.

CALVIN1312

Photo taken in mid 1970’s outside Court House in Greenfield, MA

The above poem came a year or two later when Malik was arrested on vague circumstances. He was a marked man due to his political history, and the court system is seriously flawed. I visited him in prison and have corresponded with him for more than two decades. I had learned from Malik what injustice and what a racist criminal justice system is all about, and about the nonviolent character and true integrity of my friend in jail. Malik expects to be receiving a new date for a Hearing on his case soon. This last conviction was based on a single smudged finger print at a location of a robbery. There are evidences of planted finger prints by corrupt law enforcers. According to the primary point of the Court Brief, submitted by Malik’s attorney, “..that evidence was insufficient, as a matter of law, to establish appellant’s identity as one of the robbers because of substantial defects in the chain of custody involving that recovered print, the absence of the appropriate qualifications of the latent print examiners as well as their mistakes in the evaluative process..”

The following are links to FN archives with updates and letters from Malik and his friend, Jehan Abdur-Raheem. After that are links and information posted at FlybyNews.com on Leonard Peltier, Lori Berenson, Richard Sitcha, Iron Thunderhorse, and Zola Agona Azania. Here you will read in their own words the background of arrest, conviction, what it is like to be in prison, and current campaigns for justice, compassion, human rights and freedom.

September 18, 2009 – Item 3
Leonard Peltier: Obama’s Political Prisoner Now
– – Leonards Statement on his Parole Denial
– – Jehan Abdur-Raheem on Leonard’s parole denial

January 27, 2008 – Item 4
Sitcha Now In Cameroon
– – Draft Letter On Behalf of Jehan Abdur-Raheem

January 17, 2008 – Item 5
Richard Sitcha, detained without charges
– – Draft Letter On Behalf of Jehan Abdur-Raheem

December 18, 2007 – Item 3
Torture Coming To Its Dying End
– – ABC News Interview With an Executioner
– – New Jersey Abolishes Death Penalty
– – Jehan Abdur-Raheem – A Muslim in Isolation Row
– – Free Leonard Peltier, Lori Berenson, Richard Sitcha

June 16, 2006 – Item 3
Message of Liberation by Malik Abdullah Akili

March 22, 2006 – Item 3
Richard Sitcha and Jehan Abdur-Raheem Update

March 10, 2006 – Item 4
“The Book That Changed My Life” – Malik Abdullah Akili

May 10, 2005 – Item 3
Malik Akili ~ Appeal for Parole ~ “Predetermined”

March 25, 2005 – Item 3
A Call for Unity ~ from Inside ~ Jehan Abdur-Raheem

April 4, 2003 – Item 3
Malik Abdullah Akili and Case Breaking for Freedom?

February 3, 2002 – Item 1
Inside the Belly of the Beast

April 11, 2002, see Item 1
Malik Abdullah Akili — Parole Campaign for Freedom and Family
Item 2 in this above issue also has a book review of Hard Time Blues: How Politics Built a Prison Nation.

May 15, 2002, see Item 3
Overview on the Arrest/Conviction of Malik Abdullah Akili

June 1, 2002 – Item 1
Just Parole for Malik Abdullah Akili
This above link contains a sample letter to the New York State Parole Board
Re: Parole Application For: Malik Abdullah Akili, #94-A-5238 – hearing is scheduled for October 2002

June 26, 2002 – Item 2
Malik Abdullah Akili – Parole Letter Correction

August 17, 2002 – Item 1
Malik Abdullah Akili – Justice and Parole Needed

September 7, 2002 – Parole for Malik – Item 1
Help Parole [FREE] Malik Abdullah Akili

The following is from Editor’s Notes from a Flyby News issue posted on October 12, 2002
http://www.flybynews.com/cgi-local/newspro/viewnews.cgi?newsid1034439107,13627,

“This has been a crushing couple of days. First learning about the Congress vote for George W. Bush to go ahead and make war preemptively, based on his judgement.. This too much.. But then, too, learning that my friend Malik Abdullah Akili was denied parole.. They told him not to come back for another 24 months – in the belly of the beast. Malik and his family, friends, are all struggling now, facing a faceless tomorrow. . . except in knowing each other’s love, a moment is brightened to a greater resolve and choice to survive, to choose to struggle, and remain whole as living, caring people, though others are going down the tubes in distorting what is true about being human.

October 23, 2002 – Item 4
Letter from Malik (10/17/02) with his response on being denied parole

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Free Leonard Peltier — “Amnesty International considers Leonard Peltier to be a political prisoner whose avenues of redress have long been exhausted….Amnesty International recognizes that a retrial is no longer a feasible option and believes that Leonard Peltier should be immediately and unconditionally released.” Documents show that although the prosecution and government pointed the finger at Peltier for shooting FBI agents at close range during the trial in 1976, for three years the prosecution withheld critical ballistic test results proving that the fatal bullets could not have come from the gun tied to Leonard Peltier. This trial also denied evidence of self defense. The U.S. Prosecutor, during subsequent oral arguments, stated: “we can’t prove who shot those agents”. The Eighth Circuit found that “There is a possibility that the jury would have acquitted Leonard Peltier had the records and data improperly withheld from the defense been available to him in order to better exploit and reinforce the inconsistencies casting strong doubts upon the government’s case.” Yet, a new trial was denied. Judge Heaney, who authored the denial now supports Mr. Peltier’s release, stating that the FBI used improper tactics to gain Mr. Peltier’s conviction. A good way to learn about Leonard Peltier is to read his book: Prison Writings: My Life Is My Sun Dance. For excerpts, see the following link, under article by Louise Erdich: Time for Human Rights on Native Ground. For more resources: Free Leonard Peltier!

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Free Richard Sitcha — In April 2001, Richard Sitcha fled Cameroon after being imprisoned and tortured by the government’s security forces due to his involvement with the political protests against the Bepanda Nine killings. Fearing for his life, Richard applied for political asylum as soon as he arrived in the United States. The United States government granted Richard asylum in January 2003. Life was looking up for Richard—he could now realize his dreams of going back to school and bringing his wife and two children to the US. On September 18, 2003, however, the US government revoked Richard’s asylum and arrested him in the courtroom. He has been in jail, without charge, ever since that date! For more information, visit – FreeRichard.com. Also, in FN archives, see: Dennis J. Kucinich and the Sitcha Connection; also an article by Richard Sitcha, My Way of the Cross; and updates of March , May, August, 2006, and April, 2007 from the Sitcha Defense Committee. Plus, in item 3, a May 2007 letter from Sitcha to Mark, posted in January, 2008 in item 5, see: Richard Sitcha, detained without charges, plus this update in item 4 on January 27, 2008: Sitcha Now In Cameroon

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Free Chief Iron Thunderhorse — Chief Iron Thunderhorse of the Quinnipiac Nation is doing time in US prison. Please consider reading and signing this petition to pardon an abused Vietnam Veteran & Veteran advocate. For more information, visit – SaveIronThunderhorse.com. And from FN archives check out in item 3 – Chief Iron Thunderhorse of the Quinnipiac Nation in US Prison

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Justice for Zolo Agona Azania — Zolo Agona Azania “..is a Black revolutionary who has spent twenty six years – most of his adult life – in prison, and much of it on death row. His death sentence has been overturned not once, but twice, and yet a recent legal decision gives the State a green light to seek it a third time, and this despite the fact that many key witnesses have died and evidence that could help the defense has been “lost” over the past decades. In 1981, at the age of 21, Zolo Agona Azania was convicted of murdering a police officer during a bank robbery gone bad. Unlike his two co-defendants, Zolo was arrested unarmed, walking down the street miles from the scene of the robbery, and has always maintained his total innocence of any involvement in the crime..”

For the complete article and letter from Zolo of July 4, 2007, see: (in item 2) – The State Is Trying Again To Kill Zolo Agona Azania

zolo

UPDATE – Monday, July 27, 2015 – from Zolo

“We are what we repeatably do.

Excellence,then, is not an act, but a habit.”

– Aristotle

Greetings Jonathan,

Enclosed please find my recent update and press release about my situation. I am down to 18 months now; it will not be as much longer as it has been. I am in the process of promoting myself to bring public attention to my previous literary and visual artistic works, as well as my new book. Not once in all these years did I allow my focus of achieving actual freedom (free mind) and physical liberation slip away from my superlative vision. I would like for you to continue advocating for me.

Take good care of yourself. The struggle continues even after We have won!

Zolo Agona Azania #4969

w/enclosure:

“We must he aware, vocal, and involved in how the law

is enforced in Our communities, wherever We live.”

– Earl G. Graves Sr.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Dear Family, Friends & Supporters,

This coming August will mark the 34th year of my incarceration away from home as a physically free man. Since this travail began in 1981, i have been faced with brutal challenges and decisions, which included new, albeit most of it was unwanted experiences—sights, sounds, smells, touch, tastes; people, architecture; landscape, environment, climate; customs, political views, and different kinds of art. In retrospect, i have found concrete meaning in my depth of personal suffering and height of dignity and knowledge.

On June 23r 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit denied my notice of appeal, certificate of appeal-ability, and motion to proceed in forma pauperis. What i gathered from the federal court’s ruling, among other things, is that they are tired of hearing about my case and no longer want to deal with it. They want it to be gone. Actually, they want me to be gone.

The court system is the third branch of political government. After a guilty verdict or judgment is reached in a case, the accused defendant is no longer considered innocent. In fact, the state does not care whether a defendant is actually innocent or not. The U.S. Supreme Court reasoned that after final judgment, presumption of innocence no longer applies. The public needs to be properly advised about the real failure of courts and prisons; they are an extension of the mercantile chattel s1avery system. The ownership of human chattel property was transferred from individual slave traders and plantation owners to the multinational corporate state, and for-profit prisons made lega1 by the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

My perspective on life is lucid and balanced. i have the ability and capacity to act and to confidently strive to overcome obstacles and accomplish clear goals. We need to be more diligent and proactive to educate and lift one’s hopes and aspirations, to increase the standard of living and the quality of life of the poor and oppressed for empowering economic success, in harmony with the earth, is the political strategy continuum.

The vigilante murder of Trayvon Martin and the police murder of Michael Brown, and other targets in like predicaments, showed nothing less than a reckless and callous disregard for human life by somebody who was paid with taxpayers’ money and is sworn to serve and protect the whole community. i foretold of those tragic events in my informative and provocative nonfiction book entitled Riptide, Civil Rights March into the White House. The book meets an important public need. i want the public to be ready to receive it before its publishing release date.

It is my uncompromising attitude, however, to never be complacent with any of our past accomplishments. We have a proven track record—protests, rallies, leafleting, art shows, open-mic sessions, court battles, fund raisers, letter writing campaigns, and my release from death row. For i am not taking anything for granted. Few things inspire or motivate people into action like success of victory. Short is the enjoyment of this world. In other words, life is short. There is much more work to do and i have no time to waste! Take good care.

/s/ Zolo Agona Azania #4969

Indiana State Prison – Minimum Unit

201 Woodlawn Avenue, Michigan City, Indiana 46361

Press release also posted at: http://www.thejerichomovement.com/blog/greetings-zolo-agona-azania

 

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This update to FN’s blog on human rights and a nation behind bars.. includes the following letter from Zolo Agona Azania (November 06, 2015)

“They cannot take away our self respect if we do not give it to them.“ – Gandhi

Dear Jonathan

Greetings! I hope these few words will find you in the best of health and growing prosperity. Enclosed please find my new press release. I need all the help I can get to disseminate this information. Good people like you have been resolutely in my corner for many years. The litmus test for whoever supports me is action, which speaks louder than words! Any measure of success that I have achieved was accomplished with help from people like you. Nevertheless, I must still fight harder and expend huge amounts of energy trying not to become a bitter man after all these multiple decades of suffering. Thanks a million for everything. The struggle continues even after we have won!
Zolo Agona Azania # 4969

Press Release from Zolo Agona Azania:

“It is the weak who are cruel. Gentleness can only be expected from the strong.”
— Leo Roskin

Friday, November 6, 2015

To: All Concerned for Human Rights in all Human Sights!

This is an open letter requesting your help to garner support for my plight. i am currently serving a fourteen (14) year sentence for class B-robbery. i have less than 15 months left on the sentencing judgment. i have completed previously a sixty (60) year sentence. My first twenty-seven years and three months was spent on death row in Indiana. i want to be moved into some type of viable program or positive position for these last few months so that i can effectively earn credit time and additional life skills in preparation for my eventual reentry into the community. i have been held in continuous confinement since August 11, 1981, and i will need more quality time in the reentry program than someone who has served only two (2) or three (3) years, for example.

In 1967, the Indiana General Assembly enacted a statute (law), which allowed the development and implementation of a Work Release Program in this state. The purpose of the Work Release Statute is to permit qualified applicants committed to the DOC to participate in a program in which the participant resides in or near his or her home community and is allowed to secure gainful employment or to further educational goals prior to actual release from prison. This type of habilitative or rehabilitative program was expanded in recent years to include a Pre-Work Release Re-entry program as well. The staff people are charged with the duty of assisting people like me in making the transition or re-entry to the community with some type of financial self-reliance.

I meet all qualifications for these programs. The crux of my genuine complaint is this: Each prisoner’s success is dependent upon his or her own initiative and ability to practice a high level of personal responsibility. I have properly done just that, and I continue to do the same. I have continued to do everything i am supposed to do under the sun necessary to work my way out of prison, but these prisoncrats always overlook my achievements. I am being held in a dormitory setting outside the Indiana State Prison walls. This is not a true minimum security facility. It is also illegally overcrowded; both the ceiling and floor are not strong enough to carry the extra weight of steel bunks, cabinets, and humans stacked on top of one another. Recently, in 2013, an electrified, barbed wire chainlink fence, topped with coils of razor wire was erected around the building here. I.S.O. not only has a fence around it, but the back of the outer perimeter is marked by a thirty-foot wall and guntowers! This brick building is a two story dormitory with a prisoner population of more than 380.

A minimum security assignment constitutes an assignment of a convicted person to a work release center or program, to intermittent service of a sentence, or to a program requiring weekly reporting to a designated official. Moreover, an assignment to minimum security need not involve a penal facility. It is just unconscionable to think these DOC officials can go and do anything they want to confine people in a condemned, overcrowded building because they want more taxpayer money for each bed filled with a warm human body. i would like for you to contact Indiana DOC officials and voice your concerns. i want to be transferred from this place to a real minimum security facility.

Please call to Indianapolis at (317) 233-3531, www.in.gov/idoc

Thank you for your attention and assistance in this matter.

Zolo Agona Azania (#4969)
Indiana State Prison Minimum Security Unit
201 Woodlawn Avenue
Michigan City, Indiana 46361
www.zoloazania.org

Updated – Justice for Zolo Agona Azania


Desmond Carter was executed

in North Carolina on 10 December

International Human Rights Day

Desmond Keith Carter was executed in North Carolina on December 10th, 2002. A Durham judge on December 4th halted the execution and agreed to hold a hearing in January on his legal claims, including an allegation of broad racial bias in sentencing. Desmond Keith Carter, 35, was executed hours after the U.S. Supreme Court twice declined to stop his execution. Gov. Mike Easley also declined to change the death sentence to life in prison without parole. Desmond’s brother, Tyrone Wallace, was there with family and protesters while it happened.

For an updated issue, see, this Flyby News issue of 13 December 2002, editor’s notes and item 3– Desmond Carter Executed
A Durham judge Wednesday halted the execution of confessed murderer Desmond Carter, scheduled for early Tuesday, and agreed to hold a hearing in January on his legal claims, including an allegation of broad racial bias in sentencing. For an update on this case, see Item 3 in this December 7 Flyby News: Judge Stays Desmond Carter’s Execution

The following was provided in part by Amnesty International:

Desmond Carter was sentenced to death in July 1993 for the murder of Helen Purdy in March 1992. Helen Purdy, a 71-year-old woman, was Desmond Carter’s next-door neighbour in Eden, Rockingham County, northern North Carolina. She was found stabbed to death in her house by family members. At the time of the crime, Desmond Carter was reportedly intoxicated on alcohol, cocaine, and tranquilizers. He had taken $15 from Helen Purdy, which he used to buy cocaine.

Desmond Keith Carter was born to a 17-year-old mother in 1967. When he was three, his mother moved away, leaving him with his grandmother and alcoholic grandfather. The grandmother eventually left the grandfather and she and the child moved to North Carolina. During this time, Desmond Carter’s father was imprisoned for murder. According to his current lawyers, Desmond Carter began using drugs when he was a teenager, and his substance abuse deteriorated over time. Not long before the murder of Helen Purdy, his grandmother tried to obtain substance abuse and mental health treatment for her grandson, however the hospital refused him treatment due to his lack of medical insurance cover.

In common with most capital defendants in the USA, Carter was too poor to hire his own lawyer to represent him at the murder trial. A study by the Common Sense Foundation, a research organization based in Raleigh, North Carolina, has concluded that more than 1 in 6 of the state’s current death row inmates were represented at trial by lawyers who have been disciplined by the State Bar. One of Desmond Carter’s court-appointed trial lawyers was recently reprimanded by the State Bar for making demeaning statements about a client in the media and for charging excessive fees.

Desmond Carter is black and Helen Purdy was white. A preliminary study issued in 2001 by researchers at the University of North Carolina indicates that people in the state who kill white people are 3.5 times more likely to receive a death sentence than for murders involving victims who are not white. This likelihood increases if the defendant is not white. About 40 % of murder victims in North Carolina are white, yet 86 % of the 21 people executed there since resumption of executions were put to death for crimes involving white victims. This pattern is reflected in Rockingham County. More than half of murder victims there are African American; in cases which have resulted in death sentences, seven of the eight murder victims were white (87.5 %).

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For more information on Desmond Carter, visit:
People of Faith Against the Death Penalty

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The following is a letter sent from the Governor’s web site on November 13, 2002 by Jonathan Mark

Governor Michael F. Easley
Office of the Governor
20301 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-0301
Fax: 1 919 715-3175 or 1 919 733-2120
Email, via website:
Web Site: Office of the Governor – North Carolina (Click on ‘contact us’) .

Re: Request to grant clemency on behalf of Desmond Carter (inmate # 0068237).

Dear Governor Michael F. Easley:

As you are probably well aware, your state, North Carolina, is scheduled to execute Desmond Carter on December 10, 2002, which is a day commemorating International Human Rights Day. Desmond’s brother, Tyrone Wallace, lives in my community in Massachusetts, and has given me information on this case, and his life shows how two brothers, due to circumstances that separated them early in life, have taken totally different pathways. Since he was six months old, Tyrone hadn’t seen his brother, Desmond, till last June. Desmond killed someone strung-out on drugs and alcohol, over $15. The State of North Carolina wasn’t responsible when a relative sought help for Desmond’s treatment of substance-abuse, and was turned away due to lack of insurance coverage. How can the State justify taking Demond’s life now, while he is finally sober, confined, and no longer a threat? This killing of Desmond, scheduled on December 10, misses the point on what justice is all about, compassion, family, and protecting our communities. Desmond admits to a dreadful mistake, and spending his life in prison is a very harsh consequence. Taking his life sends the wrong message and does not deter such acts of violence from occurring. Instead, clemency for Desmond Carter would send a message of the responsibility for the State of North Carolina, as well as the responsibility for those who take life from someone else, that these actions are not acceptable, or supported by our civilization. Since we don’t know our fate after death, isn’t it more reasonable to serve justice with a sentence of what we know what the outcome will be, confinement, as well as to make more of a commitment to support those needing treatment before such a horrible event occurs?

Please help humankind and the US celebrate this coming Human Rights Day, rather than mourning the fate of another individual with his life destroyed by a racist justice system that condones the exception of one of the ten commandments that we need to honor and show by example that all life is sacred.

I am editor and publisher of an alternative news service on the Internet, and hope we can post your response to this letter. Please see our website, and from the main page, you can link to Prison Issues and the case of Desmond Carter — http://www.flybynews.com

Thank you for your consideration.

Jonathan Mark
Editor Publisher
Flyby News
http:///www.flybynews.com

# # #

For additional resources, visit:

People of Faith Against the Death Penalty
110 W. Main St., Suite 2-G . Carrboro, NC 27510
Tel 919.933.7567 . Fax 919.933.5611
Email: info@pfadp.org
Web: http://www.pfadp.org


Mumia Abu Jamal

Mumia Abu Jamal, a black man, is on death row after a trial that represented the extreme of procedural unfairness.

Mumia is a convicted cop killer, and for many, it is impossible to say for sure that Mr. Abu-Jamal is guilty, because our vaunted “due process” was suspended in his case. And it was clearly suspended because, unlike so many prominent black figures, he simply would not compromise with American racism. He would not moderate his appearance, his dress or his beliefs in exchange for a ticket to the mainstream. As a member of the Black Panthers, and later as a radio journalist covering the Move bombing in Philadelphia, he uncompromisingly identified racism wherever he saw it and would not shut up.

Writing of the beatings, torture and occasional murder of prisoners by guards in Pennsylvania’s maximum security prisons, Mr. Abu-Jamal says in his book Live From Death Row, (Addison-Wesley 1995), p. 105:

“..But all [prisoners] found out how fragile the very system that stole their very freedom was when the state committed crimes against them. All found out that words like ‘justice,’ ‘law,’ ‘civil rights,’ and, yes, ‘crime’ have different and elastic meanings depending on whose rights were violated, who committed what crimes against whom, and whether one works for the system or against it.

For those people, millions at last count, who wear the label ‘prisoner’ around their necks, there is no law, there is no justice, there are no rights.

We must keep our vigil of faith and courage..”

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Please join the struggle.
A single candle seems very alone,
but together we can roll back the night.

Check the links on Mumia at this excellent website:
http://members.tripod.com/RobtShepherd/mumia.html

Visit the International Concerned Family & Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal
or
www.Millions4Mumia.org

Also, for more resources on Mumia Abu-Jamal, see:
http://www.iacenter.org/polprisoners/imumia.htm


3) Kenneth Foster – Tribulation’s Eyes

Updated! – Flyby News Alert – September 2, 2007
Associated Press
HUNTSVILLE – Gov. Rick Perry accepted a recommendation from the state parole board and said today
he would spare condemned prisoner Kenneth Foster from execution and commute his sentence to life.

For more on this article, see FN Alert: Governor Perry Grants Clemency to Kenneth Foster

Tribulation’s Eyes
by Kenneth E. Foster Jr.

Ghost hanging from my trees

The leaves have withered up
and the oak becomes petrified
eyes now become stone
and my body a bit terrified
I see weary faces
that appear to me spontaneously
everyday I know I’ll be visited
by your valuable memories
In the corner of my eyes
I can see you in the shadows
and as the wind hits my ears
I can hear your whispers so shallow
You watch my every step
your cold glares turn me into a victim
invading my mind with our own Texas holocaust
I wish I couldn’t–but I’ll always remember
I’ve got ghost hanging from my trees
that give me serious looks
they penetrate my soul
and make me remember what they took
the families that now suffer
the friends that stood by my side
precious lives that deserved to be spared
consumed by the killing machine line
the spirits that were lost
haunt my mind everyday
invading my dreams and thoughts for a resting place
I never miss what they have to say
As I look out my window to see a sign of hope
I see no blooming leaves
the only thing I see
is ghost hanging from my trees


“The truth will set you free,
but first it will make you miserable.”

– James A. Garfield


Facebook.com/FlybyNews

Also, check out:
Flyby News @ WordPress
&
FN’s Youtube Channel


“As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression.
In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains
seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all
must be most aware of change in the air – however slight –
lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness.”

– William O Douglas


The views expressed herein are writers’ own and not necessarily of Flyby News.
Fair Use Policy that describes use of copyrighted material is at FlybyNews.com.
Feedback for story suggestions and networking Flyby News is appreciated.
You can write to the editor by email: – flybynews.com(atgmail{dotcom


Flyby News is educational and nonviolent in focus,
and has supported critical campaigns for a healthy
environment, human rights, justice, and nonviolence,
since the launch of NASA’s Cassini space probe in 1997.

News Fit to Transmit in the Post Cassini Flyby Era

= = = www.FlybyNews.com = = =

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About flybynews

Flyby News (FN) came out of the campaign to stop or expose the high risk NASA Cassini (plutonium) Earth flyby. FN's first campaign at the turn of the millennium was to prevent the expansion of the arms race and US domination of the planet with space-based weapons. Yet the theft of democracy in the US 2000 election, the Supreme Court appointment of George W. Bush as US President, and the events of September 11, 2001, led to the termination of the 1972 Ballistic Missile Treaty, along with many other actions of crimes against humanity and civil freedom. The exploitation and cover-up of September 11, 2001 led to illegal, deceptive wars, which has accelerated climate change, and the downfall of financial and social justice. Flyby News is educational and nonviolent in focus, and has supported critical campaigns for a healthy environment, human rights, justice, peace, and nonviolence, since the launching of NASA's Cassini space probe in 1997. More info @ FlybyNews.com
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3 Responses to A Nation Behind Bars: the buried talents of a population

  1. Pingback: Justice for Zolo Agona Azania | flybynews

  2. Pingback: Litmus Tests for Truth and Transformation | flybynews

  3. Pingback: Resource For Truth & Transformation | flybynews

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