The President Needs all that Data to Fight Terrorist-But Which Terrorist is He Fighting?

Brack Obama in San Jose President Obama is in San Jose this morning.. right smack dab in the heart of Silicon Valley which is home to many of the high-tech companies that have been collecting all this data and intel from millions of innocent people… Now I know he’s scheduled to speak on Healthcare today, and Lord knows, we need some decent healthcare with all the stress caused by us learning that a guy who campaigned on being opposite the man who preceded him (George Bush) has doubled down and went far and beyond where Bush has ever gone when it comes to surveillance and violation of our privacy.

We all need some nurturing and good healthcare to recover from this spying crap…but who knows, maybe while he’s here, our beloved President will  head on over to Google or Facebook and personally gather up the data they been collecting so he can continue his valiant, unwavering  fight on the war on terror.

In fighting the War on terror ya gotta wonder if President Obama is gonna look at all that data to fight corporate terrorism.  I know people get uncomfortable when you say things like corporate terrorism but wage theft, wage depressions, increased privatization of public goods, decreased benefits, unsafe and toxic work environments resulting in debt and deaths is something we can’t ignore..

In fighting this war on terror will president Obama look at the phone records of the CEOs of Wal-Mart, JC Penny, Target, Disney and other retailers who are responsible for turning a blind eye to unsafe conditions in factories in places like Bangladesh where they pay $38 dollars month to beleaguered workers while buildings catch fire or outright collapse resulting in hundreds getting killed?

Maybe while examining those phone records our President can find out if there has been any sort of illegal collusion amongst those companies to not pay a living wage and to bust up any attempts by workers to organize. Certainly President Obama, a former community organizer will be putting his best foot forward to fight economic terrorism being waged on people here at home..One out of seven Americans are in poverty.. One out of 4 kids are in poverty. Its a hard pill to swallow, but its true..

Koch Brothers

Maybe Obama will fight these economic terrorist the Koch Brothers

Will President Obama armed with this data crack down on unlawful, unethical and questionable business practices by the likes of  ‘evil’ corporate entities like the Koch Brothers, Monsanto, Wal-Mart, Wall Street banks and the Correction Corporation of America (CCA) who as Kanye West recently pointed out has teamed up with the DEA to make us their ‘new slaves’?

Maybe our President in fighting terrorism will look at the phone records and emails of shady lawmakers who teamed up insidious types to get harmful Stand Your Ground laws passed via ALEC…Or perhaps our President will be looking at those phone records to see what sort of off the book sinister dealings have been going on with the NRA members,  its leadership and gun runners who have flooded our community with cheap easy to get firearms,  while steadfastly refusing to pass gun control legislation, not even background checks..

Yes I’m certain Mr Obama is here in Silicon Valley collecting data to see who exactly is responsible for the sale of illegal guns which if resulting in a reign of terror that has far surpassed the loss of life than 9-11…Or wait.. perhaps our President is here in Silicon Valley to fight the war on terror in the form of Monsanto who has crippled so many with GMOs and has economically tanked lots of farmers in countries all over the world by patenting seeds and contaminating fields with their own trademark crops.. Will he be checking their phone records and see what mischief they and other agribusinesses have caused. Maybe its me but the use being flooded with GMOs is chemical warfare.. and last I checked chemical warfare is terrorism.. So maybe our President is hot on the trail to shut that down..

Or maybe, just maybe our President is here to fight environmental terrorism, like the one waged by Big Oil which have polluted our air resulting in unprecedented cases of asthma amongst our kids.. Now that’s terror for real.

Maybe Mr Obama will be checking to see just how much was known before hand, what warning signs were ignored and what sort of deliberate systemic neglect was going on prior and what our environment ravaged by corporate based disasters like the Gulf Coast oil spill caused by BP.

Maybe the data collected will reveal if there are any underhanded shenanigans going on around the Keystone XL Pipeline.. Y’all know that pipeline, that’s the same pipeline former Ambassador Susan Rice who he just put back in his cabinet has substantial investments in..On a side note,  I wonder if it rude of all those little  kids who came out to protest the president yesterday in Palo Alto.. They were mad at the Pipeline situation.. Those damn rude school kids.. but lets no digress.

Police spyRecently the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement updated their Report on police killings in the Black community.. Its now showing that every 26 Hours law enforcement officers kill a Black person in America. With police brutality at all time highs and the policeman’s bill of rights firmly inplace making it difficult for citizens to know the records of officers patrolling their streets, I wonder if Obama and those looking at the intel will reveal what sort of ugly things are really going on in those departments.

It wasn’t too long ago that pompous, holier than thou pundits were beating their chest yelling USA! USA! USA!, bragging about American Exceptionalism and crowing to the world that we would never ever be like China..But alas here we are, spying on folks, collecting data from millions, keeping people imprisoned indefinitely and turning a blind eye to our President declared the world a perpetual battlefield via NDAA , resulting in him justifying the making of his weekly Kill List..

Well anyway… Go Mr President.. Get that Data Mr President! Black Power Mr President..

-Davey D-

Lee Jasper: Black Youth, terrorism and the moral blindness

Hard Knock Radio logoIt’s always a pleasure to speak with long time activist and good friend of HKR (Hard Knock Radio) Lee Jasper, former advisor to the Mayor of London. His keen insight and political acumen is a breath of fresh air as he helps folks on our side of the pond (the States connect with the realities ad challenges facing our folks over in the UK and throughout Europe. In our latest exchange, Lee pulls no punches as he lays out the brutal reality of life for many Black folks in London and the complexities surrounding this latest incident.. Peep our interview below while you read his column..Black Youth, terrorism and the moral blindness

-Davey D-

Lee Jasper profileThe brutal killing of the young British solider Lee Rigby on a British High Street in Woolwich South London by religious fanatics was deeply shocking. The fact that such a savage and grisly attack can take place on a busy British street in broad daylight has left the nation numb with shock and bewilderment.

This was a 21st century murder, broadcast almost live in real time and instantly transmitted across the world. The images we’ve seen on the front page of our newspapers, and on our television screens were horrific and bloody.

The question haunting everyone now is how can seemingly ordinary couple of black British guys from South East London end up committing such an act?

The personal tragedy for the murdered young man and his family seems almost to have been overshadowed by the complete dominance in the print media of the murderers whose pictures were plastered on every front page. I refuse to name them here in a small act of personal solidarity with the family.

One can only imagine the pain and grief his immediately family must be going through. They are now condemned to be forever reminded of the graphic nature of his death suffering a living hell with a memory that will be forever etched into their minds.

Watching the news over the last couple of days, I was struck by a number of issues that I think are important. The overwhelming majority of the news has focused on analysing the story from the perspective of terrorism and utilising the usual array of largely white and Asian Muslim experts and representatives.

One of the suspects in the Woolwich murder

One of the suspects in the Woolwich murder

Given the men themselves are black and of Nigerian origin this struck me as slightly odd. The dominant news narrative seems to almost wish they had been Asian and in that desire has simply labeled them ‘Muslim’ fitting them in to a convenient and stereotypical category that reflects and allows for simplistic and naive commentary.

Of course what is missing from the debate and in some sense, is the huge elephant in the room, is the fact that these young men are African, they are black British men and largely unknown to many they are part of the largest single ethnic minority group in London according to the 2011 census. That is an important aspect of this story, and I will tell why I think so.

The fact is that the real lived experience of British black communities suffering the damaging effects of societal racism is a narrative that is largely missing from the mainstream British news agenda and completely absent from the Government’s agenda. I am not for one moment seeking to suggest, in any way, shape or form, that these grotesque murderous act are justified. I am, however, suggesting that a minority of young black British people, be they of African or Caribbean descent, many of whom suffer deep economic exclusion, deep political marginalisation and acute social demonization from wider society, can be particularly susceptible to both violent criminality and sometimes, radical conversion by religious fanatics.

Take a step back and think about it, why would British born black men brought up in a Christian family here in England be seduced into such fanatical extremism? The conversion rate of young people of African and Caribbean descendent to Islam has been spectacular over the last 10 years.

woolwich-murdererIn 2004, I was interviewed by the London Evening Standard on this issue, I highlighted the fact that religious fanatics, claiming to be Muslims were targeting disaffected black youth in Lambeth to their cause. Their experience of racism and injustice perceived by black boys, their sense of powerlessness makes some of them, particularly vulnerable to such perversion.

But here it’s important to note, and I will return to this point later, that a minority of British black boys are first seduced into the violently criminality of gangs as a consequence of family dysfunctionally, made acute by profound economic exclusion and their constant criminalization as a result of a resurgent institutional racism, infecting the operational focus day to day policing as a result of the continued existence of a culture of racial profiling.

The local gang in Lambeth were engaged in robbing local drug dealers in the name of Allah, (Peace Be Upon Him), and giving the proceeds to Mosques and their mentors. They would force local drug dealers to convert to Islam and renounce Christianity or face a merciless beating or death. Their modus operandi was total and extreme violence and that culminated with the murder of Adrian Marriot in 2004 who was shot five times in the head for failing to convert and he was but one example.

This gang was terrifying and brutal and the fear that they spread In Brixton was palpable. Streets would empty of young people at the merest suggestion that the gang were in the neighbourhood. These guys were frugal and Spartan, there was no ostentatious ‘ghetto bling’ lifestyle. They were disciplined, they slept on a single mattress, in empty unfurnished rooms with high calibre weapons and a Koran. They were forensically aware and under arrest, they never gave any information.

I had, at the time raised my concerns with local MPs but as usual when confronted with something that is outside their understanding, they chose to ignore me. It’s a condition many black people face is raising issue of concern only to be ignored and proved right later on In Britain, all black claims of racism, much like essential truth’s all start their lives as blasphemies. I was aware that young black boys in Lambeth were being taught a perverted version of Islam that claimed that any crime against a non-Muslim was permissible, and that they should engage in a war against criminal drug dealers using the profits to support the struggles against British and American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I was dismissed as a fantasist, but I knew these young men were being trained by someone who had much more knowledge than the average teenage wannabe gangster. Far too late the Police woke up to the reality of this insidious threat and arrest were made and the gang eventually was broke up and jailed.

However, the problem of radical conversion did not disappear. The general rate of conversion of black young people in jail continues to be a cause for concern.

There is nothing to fear from genuine Muslim converts who are outstanding in the extent to which they serve as role models for others. However, there are others who are sometimes come from dysfunctional families, who suffer deep alienation and psychological issues that are susceptible and vulnerable to seduction of extremism.

We are all now sadly aware, of the so called ‘Shoe Bomber’ Richard Reid, the involvement of Germaine Lyndsey in the terrible atrocities of London’s 7/7 bombing of London and the composition of the 21/7 failed bomb attacks again including black African youth.

Black Youth in LondonYoung black men excluded by racism within education and from the labour market, unable to get jobs, who can’t afford to go to college or university, are harassed by the police force that brutalises and criminalises black men, and who face the grave injustice of a criminal-justice system that dishes out disproportionately heavy sentences to black men.

All this creates a pool of angry young men that religious extremists are able easily target. The injustices they face are explained and made rationale through the lens of religious bigotry.

Disaffected, alienated, unemployed, rejected and demonised by society results in some of our black boys, who are particularly vulnerable being seduced into the cause of extremism. Well documented acts of atrocities in Afghanistan and Iraq at the hands of the Americans and British only add to their feeling of injustice.

And even closer to home the reality 8 of 56% black youth unemployment rate as of January 2010, (comparable with youth unemployment in Greece, I dread to think what the figure is today), deep racism in the recruitment practices of the private sector, the profound institutional racism of the criminal-justice system, all provide the perfect petri dish for the fermentation of rage and anger.

The Reach independent report to Government on raising the aspirations and attainment of Black boys and young Black men and published in 2007 estimated that tackling under-achievement among black boys and young men could benefit the economy by £24 billion over the next 50 years. The report accepted that the cost to the country of continuing to allow black boy remain effectively marginalised on the fringes of society would be enormous. Since that report was published that alienation has increased whilst the important recommendations have been left to wither on the vine.

Racism and the race of these two young black men, who committed this terrible murder in Woolwich, is the elephant in the room that most people don’t want to talk about because it fails to fit the convenient well-worn anti-Muslim, terrorist narrative. It’s right we talk about the preachers of hate, but we rarely discuss in any meaningful way the socio-economic and race inequality environment in which these preachers find fertile ground.

When you leave people to rot on the margins of society, they become easy prey for those seeking to exploit their anger and vulnerability by terrorists or criminals. I have in the past, been unfortunate in correctly predicting the August riots of 2011 on the back of increasing numbers of Black male deaths in police custody.

I could sense the tension in my community, but my concerns were dismissed and largely ignored. Well here is a big red flag warning, unless we begin to tackle the alienation that many black youth face we could more conversions to extremism, and sadly with similar outcomes to what occurred in Woolwich.

Alienation and racism are big enough problems in themselves but overlay this with the double standards of section of the British press and politicians that largely ignore the on-going scandal of black youth violence and murder.

Our communities endure a youth murder rate that is unacceptable. Intuitively, instinctively British black communities know and understand that if the victims of killings were white middle class youth, there would be a national outcry.

Society remains largely silent in the face of such carnage but erupts in outrage when a white solider gets killed. Horrific, and symbolic as the killing of this young soldier was, there were similarities in its barbarity of the recent murder of Daniel Graham, who was chased by a gang and stabbed multiple times on a London bus or that of Andrew Jaipual of Islington stabbed between 20-40 times? Both in broad daylight.

The reality is that the number of black young people in the UK who have been brutally murdered over the period of the last 13 years exceeds the number of British soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan during the same period. What many in Black communities feel is that we are often facing an internal war generated by long-term poverty, alienation and unemployment.

As the nation begins to reflect on the causes of the terrible events this week, the racism and rabid Islamaphobia of the English Defence League will feature large. And whilst the EDL and the BNP openly espouse their bigoted views without true leadership from mainstream political parties and beyond, many Britons will be silently sign up to at least a watered-down version. Such effects could take us back to the 1970s.

If as a society we are to tackle some of the root causes of violent extremism, and criminality, we will need to tackle both our moral duplicity home and abroad, but also begin offer real opportunity and hope to many more of our young men and women, Black and white.

written by Lee Jasper follow him on twitter @leejasper

TSA Full Body Searches: The People Crying are Hypocritical

I find it funny that all these people are upset about full body searches and pat downs at the airport when just two months ago many of these same folks didn’t seem to mind when Muslim-Americans were complaining about being profiled and singled out for searches. It was just two months ago when the rhetoric was thick, the words hateful and very few of us ‘good ole Americans’ was the least bit concerned about ionized radiation from body scanning machines or some college drop out turned TSA agent feeling up yours or your spouse’s private parts. After all many of us rationalized that ‘sacrifice was required’ when fighting the war on terror. Many of us emphatically insisted that in order to  really fight terror successfully some of our freedoms would fall to the wayside.

Certainly I’m not the only one who recalls pompous sounding pundits on TV saying such things like; ‘We’ll if they have nothing to hide, they won’t mind being searched’ ,’We now live in extraordinary times which requires extraordinary measures to keep America safe‘ or ‘I think most people would rather be searched and profiled than be blown up’.

We really heard this type of talk a year or so ago when the Christmas Day bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab had a failed attempt and GOP leaders went in on President Obama claiming he was soft on the war on terror. Many of them called for increased profiling and searches in order for us to be safe. They scoffed at the idea of people’s civil liberties being violated and said it was sign of weakness to give into the concerns voiced by organizations like the ACLU or CAIR.

Now that  everyone is getting searched  have things suddenly changed? Are we no longer willing to sacrifice our freedoms or do we just want ‘THEM’ (Muslims and ‘other suspicious folks’ ) to be searched and forced to do full body scans? How hypocritical is that?

Newt Gingrich

Wasn’t it just two months ago this country was up in arms about the proposed building of an Islamic Community Center (Mosque) near Ground Zero? Here we saw everyone from high-ranking political leaders like former House speak Newt Gingrich compare Muslims to Nazis to Texas lawmakers Debbie Riddle and Louie Gohmert warn us about ‘terror babies‘. We saw former NPR host Juan Williams admit that he ‘got nervous’ when he saw a Muslim passengers getting ready to board a plane.

These types of publicly expressed sentiments led to many of us further demonizing and marginalizing entire segments of our population which in turn left us being unsympathetic to what we now see and hear are similar concerns they expressed about ‘invasive’ searches.

Many of us turned a blind eye reports surfaced about all the Muslim Americans in addition to being profiled and searched were also increasingly being put on NO-Fly lists resulting in more than a few being stranded after being rejected from boarding. Many found themselves in legal limbo when trying to remove themselves or even find out why they were put on a No Fly list in the first place. Sadly some mean-spirited pundits celebrated these No fly list violations because the resulted in the unintended consequences of Forced Exile

With all this in mind, one has to ask the hard questions; are folks crying about  TSA full body searches because they feel their constitutional rights are being trampled or are they concerned that they personally are being violated? We really need to be honest when answering this question. Whats really going on here?

Ron Paul just introduced the American Traveler Dignity Act

It’s interesting to note that two days ago (Nov 17th) Texas Congressman Ron Paul just introduced legislation called the American Traveler Dignity Act. He’s concerned that travelers are being subjected to humiliating conditions. He’s outraged. Here’s what he wrote

“Imagine if the political elites in our country were forced to endure the same conditions at the airport as business travelers, families, senior citizens, and the rest of us. Perhaps this problem could be quickly resolved if every cabinet secretary, every member of Congress, and every department head in the Obama administration were forced to submit to the same degrading screening process as the people who pay their salaries.” Perhaps the political elites would re-evaluate their position on the peeping and probing Toms at the TSA; perhaps they would be willing to support the Congressman’s legislation.

Paul wants the TSA and other law enforcement to be held accountable if they cross the line and that’s not only understandable, but appreciated. However, one has to wonder where was Ron Paul pushing a bill or  all these outraged people when several years ago, Black women were aggressively being stripped searched at airports by custom agents. Back in 1999 when this was at its height, we were fighting the  ‘War on Drugs’ . The overwhelming majority of Black women searched were innocent, yet they were subjected to these invasive body searches. Their cavities were probed and their bowel movements were monitored. Pundits who supported this policy were insistent it was necessary to stop the flow of drugs. ‘We had to protect America’.. Does that sound familiar?

People weren’t outraged back then if anything, many were dismissive of the concerns expressed by African-American women who were made to feel totally violated and unfairly profiled. Sadly we heard the same retorts back then as we do now toward Muslims; ‘If-they-have-nothing-to-hide-why-complain’.

Senator Richard Durbin introduced the Reasonable Search Standard Act in 2001

There were lawsuits and alot of pressure put on airports screeners and custom agents. Eventually in 2001 Senator Richard Durbin introduced the Reasonable Search Standards Act.

Reasonable Search Standards Act – Prohibits U.S. Customs Service personnel from subjecting travelers to detention or searches based upon race, religion, gender, national origin, or sexual orientation, except when acting upon specific information that a particular traveler suspected of engaging in illegal activity is described by one or more of such characteristics.

Requires Customs Service personnel, before a pat down or intrusive non-routine search, to document reasons to support a belief that an individual may be carrying contraband in violation of Federal law. Waives such requirement with respect to anyone suspected of carrying a weapon.

The bill was read twice and referred to the finance committee, well see where Paul’s American Traveler Dignity Act bill goes.

Rodstarz of Rebel Diaz was recently searched & detained for 10 hrs at an airport

It’s a shame that many of us have short memories and selective ways in which we like to see laws enforce or who we show concern for when rights are violated. Sistas being jammed up at airports where we had dead silence and people siding with custom agents is one example. Now that we have this new war on drugs south of the border quite a few Brown folks are going through  the humiliation. The popular Bronx-Chicago based rap group Rebel Diaz on a recent Hard Knock Radio show detailed what happened when they returned to the US from Chile. They were detained searched, questioned and made to feel violated when they returned from their native Chile. What folks are complaining about now is routine procedure in some communities

For folks who live in the hood, strip searches in public are not usual. belligerent cops ‘looking for drugs and weapons’  are always jacking people up, making them drop their pants in full view of others. In cities like LA, young teens have been made to strip in front of parents. Husbands and boyfriends have been subjected to watching their spouses and girlfriends be felt up and probed by police who turned a routine traffic stop into a nightmarish search.Parents have been made to undress or be felt up by cops looking for drugs and weapons in front of their kids.

The movie CRASH depicted a scene where the character played by actor Terrence Howard had to watch his wife get felt up by police. Many thought it was just a dramatic scene for the movie, but for those who live in the hood especially in places like South Central LA, what was shown on the big screen was as real as day. It’s all too commonplace. It’s a reality and indignation that many have endured for years. Speaking out about this and detailing this is often met with disbelief or outlandish justification where folks rationalize that folks in the hood are all criminal and deserve to be searched.

LA rap star and longtime activist Mykill Miers who actually works with at risk youth inside the system noted the other night over the years he himself has been subjected to such humiliating treatment on 4 different occasions.

In New York City pat downs and invasive searches was the hall-mark of the police serving under former mayor Rudolph Giuliani. In one year alone more than 500 thousand people were stopped and searched on the streets of NY, over 70% of those stopped were Black and Brown men. We certainly could’ve used a Dignity Act type bill then..

How are police searches in the hood connected to searches and pat downs at airports? Well to start have large numbers of citizens who are being subjected to searches that they find invasive and in violation of their constitutional rights.  The overwhelming majority of those searched are obviously innocent. No weapons are found, no bombs are found, no drugs are found. Law makers insists such measures are needed to keep us safe and act as a deterrent. For the most part far too many of are willing to go along with this until they’re the ones made to drop their drawers.

Who should we be screening the thuggish looking Black guys who are Ice Cube & his crew or the Columbine shooters Eric Harris & Dylan Klebold?

As long as we have scapegoating caricatures that fits into our collective stereotypes like the Black thug, Mexican drug dealer, or a Arab terrorist, then we don’t mind the searches. In fact, as I mentioned before, we actually insist that they take place. But as soon as it things land in our direction we wanna have mass protests.

The bottom line is this, the constitution should apply to us all. If anyone has a hard time accepting that then they deserve this mistreatment they want imposed on others. It doesn’t matter how big your boobs are, how sagging your butt is or how small your ding-a-ling is. It doesn’t matter if you’re grandmother 80 years old or outstanding pillar in your community, if its ok to search Mr Muhammad, Ray Ray and Jose ‘to keep us safe’ then it’s perfectly ok to profile and search Mr and Ms Cleaver as well. After all, some of the worst terrorist this country has seen are those who are homegrown and blend in with the mainstream population. From Oklahoma City bomber Ti mothy McVeigh to American Taliban John Walker Lindh to Columbine shooters Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold to members of the Ku Klux Klan.

If this really is about protecting our 4th amendment rights, then let’s be principled. Stop all invasive searches of innocent people everywhere, both at the airport and in the hood. If this country truly stands for freedom then let’s make sure it applies to all sectors of our society. Until then as long as innocent young Black and Brown men are being humiliated and strip searched in their own neighborhoods, and we’re advocating for Muslims to be singled out and searched then one should not show an ounce of sympathy or be concerned when someone cries out about being ‘their junk being touched’ by a TSA agent at the airport.

As the loud mouth pundits like to say.. ‘If you have nothing to hide, why complain…’

Something to ponder

-Davey D-