Cleveland kidnap victims Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michele Knight were allegedly subjected to years of physical and sexual abuse at the hands of suspect Ariel Castro. Questions are now being raised why the police did not investigate Castro more closely earlier, especially since Castro was accused in 1993 and 2005 of attacking his ex-wife Grimilda Figueroa. According to court documents, Castro apparently broke her nose and ribs, dislocated her shoulders, knocked out one of her teeth and battered her so badly that a blood clot formed in her brain. Jaclyn Friedman, executive director of Women, Action, and the Media and editor of the anthology, "Yes Means Yes!: Visions of Female Sexual Power & A World Without Rape," says the Cleveland case is "an extreme example of a pervasive dynamic in our culture which is one of toxic masculinity." Friedman explains: "It really expresses something that we see all over the culture, which is men trained to think that the way to be a man is to have power over and to dehumanize women." We also speak to Cleveland reporter Eric Sandy.
Ariel Castro was arraigned in a Cleveland court today on charges of kidnapping three young women and holding them captive in his house for 10 years. All three women — Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michele Knight — had vanished in seemingly separate cases when they were between the ages of 14 and 21. Berry’s six-year-old daughter, who was born in captivity, was also rescued. Officials said the three women were at times bound in chains or rope, and endured starvation, beatings and sexual assaults. Eric Sandy, a reporter at the weekly newspaper Cleveland Scene, joins us to discuss Castro’s background, including the brutal abuse of his ex-wife for which he was never jailed.
More than 250 enthusiastic folks attended the Portland Troublemakers School—a smashing success. Next up is New York City May 18.
by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon
Assata Shakur could not have been named “most wanted terrorist” without the explicit approval of the first black president and his attorney general. In doing so, they have declared open war on the black liberation movement, something that J. Edgar Hoover and COINTELPRO were only able to do in secret.
by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
By his silence, President Obama is giving the wink and nod to guest worker programs under immigration reform, further institutionalizing the displacement of African Americans from farm work. “The farm owners, like their historical brethren, seek the closest approximation to slave labor that society will allow,” but “African Americans refuse to be treated as slaves or fugitives in a foreign land.”
by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
Thanks to The First Black President and The First Black Attorney General, “the only people safe in speaking of or contacting Shakur are those who mean her harm.” To speak of Black liberation, its heroes and history, is a crime of terror. “Barack Obama has made manifest his predecessor’s desire to create a truly fascist machinery in this country.”
One of Latin America’s most acclaimed writers, Eduardo Galeano is out with the new book, "Children of the Days: A Calendar of Human History." Galeano’s classic "Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent" made headlines when Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez gave President Obama a copy at the Summit of the Americas in 2009. Since its publication in 1971, "Open Veins" has sold over a million copies worldwide despite being banned by the military governments in Chile, Argentina and his native country of Uruguay. While in exile after the Uruguayan military junta seized power in a 1973 coup, Galeano began work on his classic trilogy, "Memory of Fire," which rewrites five centuries of North and South American history. Watch part 2 of this interview.
A shocking new report by the Pentagon has found that 70 sexual assaults may be taking place within the U.S. military every day. The report estimates there were 26,000 sex crimes committed in 2012, a jump of 37 percent since 2010. Most of the incidents were never reported. The findings were released two days after the head of the Air Force’s sexual assault prevention unit, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski, was arrested for sexual assault. We air highlights from Tuesday’s Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on military sexual assault and speak with Anu Bhagwati, executive director and co-founder of Service Women’s Action Network. "The numbers are outrageous, and I think we’ve reached a tipping point," Bhagwati says. "The American public is furious."
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford
Assatu Shakur has been made the face of terror on the FBI’s Most Wanted list, but there is a larger target. “They are publicly defining the Black liberation movement as a priority domestic target for repression.” On Thursday, the Black Is Back Coalition holds a demonstration for Assata’s safety and freedom for all political prisoners.http://traffic.libsyn.com/blackagendareport/20130508_gf_Assata.mp3
A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon
Back in the day, the “race men” and women, graduates of America's historically black colleges and universities imagined it was their duty to stand and lift up the interests of African Americans and their communities as a whole. If the choice of commencement speakers means anything, that's not what HBCU leaders expect of their graduates nowadays. It's not about fighting the power, it's about serving that power.http://traffic.libsyn.com/blackagendareport/20130508_bd_racemen_debasedmen.mp3
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford
The total U.S. prison inmate population held in solitary confinement on any given day exceeds 100,000 – “the equivalent of locking up every man, woman and child in Charleston, South Carolina, in their own little 8 by 12 foot box – for an eternity.” Prisoners in solitary at California’s Pelican Bay may once again go on hunger strike, July 8. They need support from the outside.http://traffic.libsyn.com/blackagendareport/20130508_gf_Solitary.mp3
A 40-day strike of more than 500 dockworkers at the Port of Hong Kong ended with a settlement including a 9.8 percent wage increase—a much-needed sign that resistance to global capital is still relevant and possible.
A joint investigation by the Washington Monthly and the Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute has found over the past five years U.S. border agents have shot across the border at least 10 times, killing a total of six Mexicans on Mexican soil. The killings have gone unpunished after a court ruled the Mexican victims have no standing to sue in U.S. courts since they died on their own soil. Investigative reporter John Carlos Frey writes: "The picture that emerges from this investigation is of an agency operating with thousands of poorly trained rookies and failing to provide the kind of transparency, accountability, and clear rules of engagement that Americans routinely expect of law enforcement agencies." Frey joins us to discuss the shootings and why he fears that the current immigration consensus in Washington on "border security" could increase Mexico’s civilian toll.
UPDATE 3:25 p.m. EDT: The Mississippi Supreme Court has granted a stay of execution in the Willie Manning case.
The state of Mississippi is preparing to execute an African-American prisoner tonight, despite an unusual admission from the FBI that its original analysis of the evidence contained errors. Willie Jerome Manning was convicted of murdering Jon Steckler and Tiffany Miller, two white college students, in 1992. The execution is going ahead after prosecutors and state courts refused to allow new DNA testing that could prove Manning’s innocence. The Justice Department sent a letter saying one analyst’s testimony at trial "exceeded the limits of the science and was, therefore, invalid." Manning’s attorneys argue that no physical evidence ties him to the murders and that testing hair samples and other evidence could identify a different killer. But in a 5-to-4 decision last month, Mississippi’s state Supreme Court refused to grant a new DNA test, citing what it called "conclusive, overwhelming evidence of guilt." On top of the denied DNA test, Manning’s attorneys say prosecutors relied on two key witnesses whose credibility has since come under question. Concerns have also been raised about alleged racial bias in the selection of the jury that found Manning guilty. "We need someone to step in," says Vanessa Potkin, a senior staff attorney at the Innocence Project. "It is unconscionable that an execution would go forward where there is biological evidence that can cut to the truth and show whether or not he did the crime. What is anybody afraid of?"
As the United States moves toward increased intervention in Syria, we’re joined by Robert Fisk, the longtime Middle East correspondent of the British newspaper The Independent. Just back from two weeks in Syria reporting around the capital Damascus, Fisk discusses what he calls the "theater of chemical weapons," the latest in Syria’s civil war — a battle he says the Syrian government is winning — as well as his reaction to what he calls President Obama’s "pitiful" backing of the recent Israeli missile strikes. "Don’t ask me if they have used chemical weapons," Fisk says. "It’s conceivable. There really isn’t any proof. What you have got to realize is that this is a propaganda war just as much as it is a savage war, killing many thousands of human beings."
by Tom Stephens
A system in terminal decay has no mercy. The Emergency Financial Manager regime imposed on Detroit is “an entirely new and unprecedented form of antidemocratic local government directly controlled by the corporate agents of ‘the 1%” that is designed to steal everything: land, water, air, lives, and every right not associated with capital. The people are getting EMF'ed.
by Sikivu Hutchinson
Studies show that Black children do not commit more offenses in the classroom than whites and Latinos. Nevertheless, “in many American classrooms black children are treated like ticking time bomb savages.” Black girls are suspended from school more than any other ethnicity – except Black males.