Former Black Panther chair Elaine Brown Speaks on Cointel-pro, The Panther’s influence on Gangs & Freeing Chip Fitzgerald


We caught up with former Black Panther party chair-Elaine Brown who spoke to us outside of 330 Ritch in San Francisco… She talked to us about political prisoner Chip Fitzgerald a Black Panther who has served 40 years in jail including the last year in solitary confinement. Fitzgerald’s incarceration stems  from an incident in which he defended himself from LA police.

Elaine explains the widespread influence of the Black Panthers and how they impacted the early gangs in both New York and LA which sprung up in the wake of the FBI trying to destroy the Panthers using Cointel-Pro tactics. Brown talks to us about how the counter intelligence program set up by the FBI and J Edger Hoover and how it was used to destroy liberation groups.Its been documented and we’ve heard over the years from the gang members how much they influenced by the revolutionary spirit of the Black Panthers were around during the early days of Hip Hop. She explained that those early gangs had a revolutionary outlet that made them targets bby the police who sought to ‘neutralize’ them.

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Building an iPod? There’s an app for that-It’s called Apple uses child labor

At least eleven 15-year-old children were discovered to be working last year in three factories which supply Apple.

The company did not name the offending factories, or say where they were based, but the majority of its goods are assembled in China.

Apple also has factories working for it in Taiwan, Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, the Czech Republic and the United States.

Apple said the child workers are now no longer being used, or are no longer underage. “In each of the three facilities, we required a review of all employment records for the year as well as a complete analysis of the hiring process to clarify how underage people had been able to gain employment,” Apple said, in an annual report on its suppliers.

Apple has been repeatedly criticised for using factories that abuse workers and where conditions are poor. Last week, it emerged that 62 workers at a factory that manufactures products for Apple and Nokia had been poisoned by n-hexane, a toxic chemical that can cause muscular degeneration and blur eyesight. Apple has not commented on the problems at the plant, which is run by Wintek, in the Chinese city of Suzhou.

A spokesman for Wintek said that “almost all” of the affected workers were back at work, but that some remained in hospital. Wintek said n-hexane was commonly used in the technology industry, and that problems had arisen because some areas of the factory were not ventilated properly.

Last year, an employee at Foxconn, the Taiwanese company that is one of Apple’s biggest suppliers, committed suicide after being accused of stealing a prototype for the iPhone.

Sun Danyong, 25, was a university graduate working in the logistics department when the prototype went missing. An investigation revealed that the factory’s security staff had beaten him, and he subsequently jumped to his death from the 12th floor of his apartment building.

Foxconn runs a number of super-factories in the south of China, some of which employ as many as 300,000 workers and form self-contained cities, complete with banks, post offices and basketball courts.

It has been accused, however, of treating its employees extremely harshly. China Labor Watch, a New York-based NGO, accused Foxconn of having an “inhumane and militant” management, which neglects basic human rights. Foxconn’s management were not available for comment.

In its report, Apple revealed the sweatshop conditions inside the factories it uses. Apple admitted that at least 55 of the 102 factories that produce its goods were ignoring Apple’s rule that staff cannot work more than 60 hours a week.

The technology company’s own guidelines are already in breach of China’s widely-ignored labour law, which sets out a maximum 49-hour week for workers.

Apple also said that one of its factories had repeatedly falsified its records in order to conceal the fact that it was using child labour and working its staff endlessly.

“When we investigated, we uncovered records and conducted worker interviews that revealed excessive working hours and seven days of continuous work,” Apple said, adding that it had terminated all contracts with the factory.

Only 65 per cent of the factories were paying their staff the correct wages and benefits, and Apple found 24 factories where workers had not even been paid China’s minimum wage of around 800 yuan (Pounds76) a month.

Meanwhile, only 61 per cent of Apple’s suppliers were following regulations to prevent injuries in the workplace and a mere 57 per cent had the correct environmental permits to operate.

The high environmental cost of Apple’s products was revealed when three factories were discovered to be shipping hazardous waste to unqualified disposal companies.

Apple said it had required the factories to “perform immediate inspections of their wastewater discharge systems” and hire an independent environmental consultant to prevent future violations.

However, Apple has not stopped using the factories.

In 2008, Apple found that a total of 25 child workers had been employed to build iPods, iPhones and its range of computers.

original source:

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Update: Surgery Successful for Legendary Rapper Guru Full Recovery is Expected


Update: according to all Hip Hop as of this morning March 2 2010.. Guru Surgery Successful; Full Recovery Expected- click here for more info..and remeber prayer works 

It’s hard to take in the news about Guru (Keith Elam) suffering from a heart attack and slipping into a coma while still in his 40s and not have in the backdrop all these other people both public and private who have dropped dead to sudden heart attacks, having seizures, strokes etc at a young age.. Before I get to all that, lemme let folks know whats been passed along from Guru’s former partner DJ Premier…  

He noted that yesterday Guru suffered a heart attack and later slipped into a coma and is scheduled to have surgery today. Craig G noted that Guru also had a stroke. In anycase none of this is good.. We wish Guru the best of luck in pulling through. We are keeping him in our prayers. But like I said its hard to simply isolate Guru’s health condition.  

This year I lost two radio colleagues both in their early 50s to sudden heart attacks. Both Andrea Lewis and Gina Hotto were pillars in the activist community here in the Bay Area as well as radio hosts at KPFA.  We lost another comrade Javad Jahi  who did lots of work around the SF8 case who passed after getting the H1N1 flu which compounded the walking pneumonia he had.. Their deaths came within a couple of months of each others and left us shocked. It also made many of us take long hard looks at our lifestyles and lessen the stresses we constantly endure as people seeking social change in our communities.   

This weekend we learned that actor Gary Coleman who is also in his 40s.. suffered a seizure.. Details are still sketchy. But its indicative of what is happening to way too many people. Two years two friends suffered minor strokes and one who completely shut down and was hospitalized over stress.. These were folks who had just hit their 40s.. My point here is that even though folks aren’t eating meat and not obese which I believe was the case with Guru doesn’t mean they are free of these types of health challenges..I have a friend who ran into Guru just two weeks ago and he was commenting on how he was feeling great and was in great health..I guess we can’t take any of this for granted..  

Guru and Super producer Solar


Many of the folks I know don’t have health insurance and so they never get a check up and usually wind up going to the hospital when things are dire if they even do that.. And even if they do have health insurance, many of those policies don’t cover things like stress due to financial upheavals.. or stress from being pushed to the limit at your job.. or even just having tremendous insecurities about keeping their jobs.. All this adds up..  

Not sure what else one can say except that we all had best start looking at health as a right and not a privilege.. Lets pray for Guru and lets pray for ourselves so that we can stay healthy..  

Here’s an update from Guru’s partner Solar  

“Guru is struggling with a serious health issue. And We appreciate all your love and well wishes. we continue to hold out hope that Guru will make a full recovery from this. And ask that his privacy on this matter be respected. Again Thank you for all your support through this trying time. (via @solar_7grand)” -Solar is Guru’s production partner  

Here’s an interview I did with Guru a couple of years ago  pt1  pt2 pt3  

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