McVeigh's Last Message
by BRUCE SHAPIRO

<http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20010604&s=shapiro>

There is probably no punishment more painful to Timothy
McVeigh than the great joke just played by the cosmos. In
his fantasy life McVeigh has fancied himself a sort of
stoic samurai, avenging himself on the FBI for Waco and
then committing hara-kiri by halting appeals. In one
letter McVeigh referred to his impending execution as a
version of "suicide by cop"; he has planned as his last
words William Henley's war horse "Invictus": "I am the
master of my fate/I am the captain of my soul." It's
taken another spectacular FBI blunder to puncture
McVeigh's grand delusion. Now Attorney General Ashcroft
promises that McVeigh will be executed in Terre Haute on
June 11 come hell or high water, but don't bet on it.
McVeigh's game is to control his story by any means
possible, and he may still play the only Invictus card
left in his deck by initiating the appeals he previously
rejected.

In the weeks leading up to the May 16 execution date,
pundits predicted that McVeigh's execution would restore
popular confidence in capital punishment. Instead, we
have gotten a national teach-in on one of the defining
evils of capital trials: the fallibility and corruption
of law enforcement. If the FBI can "misplace" a cache of
documents in the most notorious death-penalty case since
the Rosenbergs, is it any wonder that nearly 100
factually innocent people have ended up on death row in
recent years?

While McVeigh's case has in many ways been historically
unique, in this respect it is typical. Back-drawer
evidence is part of the everyday landscape of capital
punishment in America. According to Columbia University
professor James Liebman's remarkable study "A Broken
System" (available online at
justice.policy.net/jpreport), vital suppressed evidence
has led to dismissal of one in five capital cases since
1973. (More than half of capital cases, Liebman found,
are dismissed or retried for "grave constitutional
error.") When it comes to capital punishment, the last-
minute "oops" is the norm, not the exception. That so
many executions go ahead anyway is only because of the
current Supreme Court's cavalier attitude toward evidence
discovered after a death sentence is pronounced. Justice
Rehnquist complains of the "enormous burden that having
to retry cases based on stale evidence" would demand.

Why did President Bush and Attorney General Ashcroft
delay McVeigh's execution? To "protect the integrity of
our system of justice," in Ashcroft's words, which he
defined as "a more important duty than any single case."
In other words, official malfeasance, undisclosed
evidence and public uncertainty all demanded a timeout.
Fair enough.

In reality, though, in capital cases "the integrity of
the system of justice" is already nonexistent. Just since
January, judges in Louisiana, Texas, New York and
Massachusetts have ordered the freeing of two innocent
death-row inmates and four innocent lifers--their stories
full of coerced confessions, doctored documents and
suppressed evidence. Consider Ronnie Burrell, released
from Louisiana's Angola State Penitentiary in January,
who came within two weeks of execution in 1996 for a
murder he didn't commit. He had been arrested by a small-
town sheriff trying to distract attention from his own
corruption and was convicted on the purchased testimony
of a career con man. All this came out only because his
appeal was taken up by a Minnesota corporate lawyer in
search of pro bono work who had a family connection to
Louisiana.

Unlike Burrell, McVeigh's factual guilt is not in doubt
(although the bomber's degree of culpability and mental
state could yet form the basis for appeals of his death
sentence). If the FBI's suppression of documents in his
case, intentional or not, justifies a timeout, what about
the rampant errors in dozens of frame-ups like Burrell's?
Doesn't the systemic accumulated record of lost evidence,
law-enforcement misconduct and outright factual innocence
demand a timeout on all executions? In the final irony of
the McVeigh case, which so often has managed to pull the
system inside out, George W. Bush and John Ashcroft have
now offered one of the best arguments yet for a national
death-penalty moratorium.

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"Democracy Is Not A Spectator Sport"

Thoughtful voices of dissent are increasing in number and volume,
despite the clamor from naysayers that "the election is over" and it's
now "time to move on." Tens of thousands of people will be seen and
heard in Washington, D.C. and San Francisco on May 19th, when concerned
citizen/patriots of many persuasions will take part in the "Voter Rights
March to Restore Democracy" to express our concerns publicly and
peacefully.

It is easy to see why citizens continue to question Election 2000: The
foundation of a democratic republic is the process by which its people
select their representatives. The right to vote is one of the most
cherished rights of all citizenry. That right was effectively taken away
by the unprecedented interference of the Supreme Court in the election
process in Florida, a role constitutionally reserved to the states. In
fact, the position is so contrary to precedent that over 600 law
professors and legal scholars signed full-page ads in the national press
to protest it.

Also demanding examination is the apparent voter disenfranchisement that
occurred in Florida. This theft of the American vote ranges from the
highly erroneous "Felon's List" orchestrated by Secretary of State
Harris' office, to the known-to-be-faulty voting machines placed into
selected, usually Black and Democratic, precincts. While alarming enough
in Florida, Secretaries of State across the country tell us that this
crisis is national in scope.

Even with so much evidence that so much went wrong, the silence on
Capitol Hill - with very few exceptions - has been deafening. Because
Republican legislators would not agree to share an equal number of seats
with Democrats, the Commission on Election Reform is comprised entirely
of Democrats - not the kind of bipartisan effort needed to prevent
future problems. But, the problem doesn't end on Capitol Hill: Over on
Pennsylvania Avenue, Mr. Bush has slashed funding for the Federal
Elections Commission at the precise time more revenue needs to go to
this agency. In fact, his new budget has no funds for election reform at
all.

The importance of our fundamental right to vote cannot be overstated. We
must hold fast to the overarching principle of government of the people,
by the people and for the people. In fact, the goal of the "Voter Rights
March to Restore Democracy" is to emphasize that very principle. Its
platform, created in partnership with other organizations also concerned
with voting reform, calls for critically needed voting and electoral
reforms so our government is the embodiment of that principle.

If we are silent, the travesty of last November and December can be
repeated. We cannot allow our elected officials to continue to
prevaricate. They must hold hearings to determine what went wrong, and
then pass real voting reform measures to make sure our form of
government reflects the will of the people. Remember, this isn't a
partisan issue; it's an American issue!

I urge you to visit the websites at www.votermarch.org or
www.voterwest.org for more information on our peaceful bi-coastal
marches on May 19th in San Francisco and Washington, DC. You can also
write to Voter March West, 1563 Solano Ave., Box 507, Berkeley, CA,
94707 or call 209-541-1776
Donations are gratefully accepted:
Payment can be on the web through PayPal, or send a check made out to
"Voter March"

Voter March West, San Francisco:
March from Justin Herman Plaza at 10 AM.
Rally at Civic Center Plaza from 11:30 AM to 4 PM.
Take BART to the Embarcadero Station for the march, to the Civic Center
Station for the rally only. US Representative Nancy Pelosi will be in
the march, California Assembly Majority Leader Kein Shelley will be a
speaker along with over 20 other speakers from throughout the United
States. There will be various kinds of music including songs sung by
P.F. Sloan, composer of "On the Eve of Destruction", "Secret Agent Man",
and many other top ten recorded songs. Veil, a Celtic group, Jimmy
Mamou, and Jana Herson's jazz group.
Please pass this notice on to as many people as possible!!!!!!!!

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MALAYSIA: Center calls for clamp down in baby food promotion
17 May 2001
Source: just-food.com editorial team


Promotions of baby food by manufacturing companies are violating the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes, according to the Malaysian Breastfeeding Information Center (PPPIM). 

The PPPIM has urged the Malaysian government to curb such promotions, responding to a report recently published by the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) and released at the World Health Assembly in Geneva. Through a survey of 14 countries, the report identified 17 companies that are violating the Code by using aggressive marketing approaches for their products. 

"One tactic that has seen an alarming resurgence is the donations of free samples or supplies of baby products to healthcare facilities," said Siti Norjinah Moin, director of PPPIM. He also pointed out that such promotion is a lucrative business, as 93% of mothers continued to use the baby food brand they became familiar with in health care centers while pregnant. 

The Code was adopted in 1981, the result of consultation between the member countries of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

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Press Statement: NAACP Supports Boycott of Hospital

 May 15, 2001

Walter C. Butler, Jr., Georgia State Conference NAACP

It is the position of the Georgia State Conference of NAACP Branches, that this attack upon John Marshall, M.D. is utterly and wholly without basis.  We feel that Dr. Marshall is suffering this persecution because of his involvement and affiliation with the NAACP and because he has not been afraid to speak out against racial discrimination and inequities in Americus.  Let everyone know and understand that the NAACP unequivocally stands by and supports its members who are victims of retaliation due to their work on behalf of the NAACP.  The National, State and Local NAACP stand behind Dr. Marshall's attack on job and other complaints at the Sumter County Regional Hospital, which is evidenced by at least 30 complaints lodged against the hospital with the EEOC.  The intimidation of Dr. Marshall will not be tolerated and will be met with the full force and resources of the NAACP.

Let it be known that when a member or leader of the NAACP is wrongfully attacked because of their membership and activities on behalf of human and civil rights they don't stand alone and will not be asked to fight alone.

We fully support the boycott as a first step in supporting Dr. Marshall and the Local Branch.  We hope that this matter can be resolved quickly and equitably, however, we are in this fight for the "long haul" and we will not be turned around nor will our resolve waiver.  We will use whatever means and resources at our disposal in seeing a "just result" in this matter, and that "just result" is to have Dr. Marshall fully reinstated to the hospital with an explicit promise of no retaliation and harassment or other punitive action because of his labors on behalf of civil rights.

Just as the NAACP has always fought against injustices we will not sit idly by and have Dr. Marshall or any member professionally lynched by certain forces of this community.

Thank you,

(Pictures)

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

Date: Mon, 14 May 2001 13:57:20 EDT
>
> A socio-medical message that may interest you.
>
> From: Katrina Scott, Asst. Director of Sports
>Marketing, University of Maryland
>
>Please forward it to everyone you care about and even
>those you don't. Ladies - some awareness! Gentleman -
>pass on to the ladies in your life! Please read this.
>It is very important: 
>
>Some time ago, I attended a Breast Cancer Awareness
>seminar put on by Terry Birk with support from Dan
>Sullivan. During the Q&A period, I asked why the most
>common area for Breast Cancer was near the armpit. My
>question could not be answered at that time. This
>email was just sent to me, and I find it interesting
>that my question has been answered. I challenge you
>all to re-think your every day use of a product that
>could ultimately lead to a terminal illness. As of
>today, I will change my use. A friend forwarded this
>to me. I showed it to a friend going through
>chemotherapy and she said she learned this fact in a
>support group recently. I wish I had known it 14 years
>ago.I just got information from a health seminar that
>I would like to share. The leading cause of breast
>cancer is the use of anti-perspirants. What? A
>concentration of toxins and leads to cell mutations:
>a.k.a. CANCER.
>
>Yes, ANTI-PERSPIRANT. Most of the products out there
>are
>anti-perspirant/deodorant combination so go home and
>check. Deodorant is fine, anti-perspirant is not.
>Here's why:
>
>The human body has a few areas that it uses to purge
>toxins; behind the knees, behind the ears, groin area,
>and armpits. The toxins are purged in the form of
>perspiration. Anti-perspirant, as the name clearly
>indicates, prevents you from perspiring, thereby
>inhibiting the body from purging toxins from below the
>armpits. These toxins do not just magically
>disappear. Instead, the body deposits them in thelymph
>nodes below the arms since it cannot sweat them out.
>Nearly all breast cancer tumors occur in the upper
>outside quadrant of the breast area. This is
>precisely where the lymph nodes are located.
>Additionally, men are less likely (but not completely
>exempt) to develop breast cancer prompted by
>anti-perspirant usage because most of the
>anti-perspirant product is caught in their hair and is
>not directly applied to the skin. Women who apply
>anti-perspirant right after shaving increase the risk
>further because shaving causes almost imperceptible
>nicks in the skin, which give the chemicals entrance
>into the body from the armpit area.
>
>PLEASE pass this along to anyone you care about.
>Breast cancer is becoming frighteningly common. This
>awareness may save lives. If you are skeptical about
>these findings, I urge you to do some research for
>yourself. You will arrive at the same conclusions, I
>assure you. Thank you,
>Katrina Scott Asst. Director of Sports Marketing
>University of Maryland 
>P.O. Box 295
>Cole Field House/Campus Drive
>College Park, MD 20741-0295

Peace and One Love,
Amon Muhammad
amon714@yahoo.com
amonmuhammad@blackplanet.com

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And the Saga Continues

by Gary Grant

May 14, 2001

Hello All,

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I was notified this morning by 
Sherman Witchard of Virginia that his 59 year old mother died of a massive 
heart attract on Saturday. Hopefully, most of you will remember Sherman and 
his brother in their struggle for survivors as Black farmers and veterans of 
the Vietnam war. Sherman is convinced that his mother's death is due to the 
stress she has endured as she as attempted to assist her sons in getting 
decent settlement with the USDA. 

The Witchard brothers were in Tack B of the Pigford v Glickman Consent 
Decree. You will remember that he government has dragged this case so long 
that Sherman's brother ended up in jail for refusing to tell where his 
equipment was stored. Sherman and his wife have lost their home since the 
negotiations on their case began which has taken over a year. This is just 
one good example of what is happening with the Consent Decree that is not 
being covered by the press. 

Although a settlement has been reached, according to Sherman a "forced 
settlement" that is far less than what is rightly due, the USDA has set on 
the paper work from Nov. 6, 2000 until March 256, 2001, and this continues to 
cause undue stress. He is also worried as to how they will cover burial 
expenses since the USDA has just now sent their claim to the Monitor.

Funeral services for Sherman's mother will take place on Wednesday, May 16, 
2001.. You can contact 
Sherman Witchard
284 Claybrook Road
Rocky Mount, VA 24151
540-483-7923

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Black Radical Congress (BRC)

For Immediate Release

May 7, 2001

Contact:
Humberto Brown, hbrown@downstate.edu
Horace G. Campbell, hgcc@twcny.rr.com
Jean Carey Bond, jeancb@worldnet.att.net

STATEMENT ON THE WORLD CONFERENCE AGAINST RACISM (WCAR)

Contents:

1. Taking it to the UN
2. Why the World Conference Against Racism Matters
3. Preparing for the WCAR: What Happened in Santiago?
4. Overture to Durban: The Struggle in Geneva
5. The NGO Forum
6. Support the WCAR
7. Beyond the WCAR: Imperatives for Justice
8. Resources and Additional Information

--

Taking it to the UN

>From the very inception of the United Nations, Black people
have regarded that international body as an important forum
in which to amplify our voices and focus public attention on
the conditions of our existence. In 1951, political activist
William L. Patterson and artist/activist Paul Robeson
delivered a Civil Rights Congress petition to the then
three-year-old UN, entitled We Charge Genocide. This
historic document accused the United States government of
pursuing policies aimed at the destruction of the African
American people. In October 2000, a delegation of civil
rights leaders, led by Gay J. McDougall, director of the
International Human Rights Law Group, presented a "call to
action" to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary
Robinson, exhorting her agency to address the racial
discrimination that pervades the U.S. criminal justice
system -- from racial profiling to the application of the
death penalty. Stated the delegation: "Our political leaders
speak loudly about human rights abuses in the rest of the
world. They should start by ... eliminating racial
discrimination at home -- and the world should hold them
accountable." This special appeal was occasioned by the
approach of the United Nations World Conference Against
Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related
Intolerance (WCAR), which will take place August 31 to
September 7 in Durban, South Africa.

The WCAR is the third UN conference on racism, coming toward
the end of the last of three decades designated by the UN
"to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination" -- 1993 to
2003. During this period, we have seen the fall of apartheid
in South Africa, U.S. ratification of the International
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial
Discrimination, creation of a "Special Rapporteur" at the UN
to address racism and various forms of intolerance. We have
seen international legal protections of human rights expand.

What we have not seen is any significant decline in the
scourge of racism and its corrosive effects on the lives of
millions of people of color around the world, nor any
pronounced slippage in xenophobia, nor any reduction in
heterosexual hatred of other sexual orientations, nor any
abatement of religious intolerance. So what is new about
another world conference on racism? What is the point?


Why the World Conference Against Racism Matters

The Black Radical Congress strongly supports the WCAR, and
we are appalled by the general lack of support it has
received. If this is the first time you are hearing about
the conference, one reason is that in contrast to the much
publicized UN women's conference held in Beijing, China some
years ago, U.S. media have hardly taken note of the WCAR.
The U.S. government, which gave $6 million to support the
Women's conference, has committed little to the support of
this conference. And thus far, support from the foundation
community, except from the Ford Foundation, is sharply below
the levels of support commanded by the women's conference.

The Black Radical Congress believes that notwithstanding the
limitations of what can be accomplished within a UN context,
the WCAR offers a valuable opportunity for peoples of
African descent and other aggrieved peoples to spotlight
their age-old grievances on a world stage, before a world
audience.

We are well aware that the fundamental changes we seek in
economic, political and social structures cannot be forged
in the hallowed halls of the United Nations. UN mandates
cannot break the punishing grip of globalized capitalism on
the lives of working people; or reorder the budgetary
priorities of the U.S. government to fund more schools and
fewer jails; or rescue the 3,700-plus people on death row in
the U.S., more than half of whom are African American,
Latino, Native American and Asian; or return to the Black
people of Colombia the lands taken from them in the name of
a bogus war on drugs; or arrest the multiple plagues --
medical, social, economic -- that afflict humanity.

We believe, however, that it is wise for Black people in the
U.S. and throughout our diaspora to work this moment for all
it is worth.

It is important to reiterate the international standards and
principles that have been established for the just treatment
of human beings, even as those standards and principles
continue to be ignored and flouted.

It is important to expose the ongoing failure of the U.S. to
comply with the International Convention on the Elimination
of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, which it ratified in
1994. The world must know that the United States remains one
of the planet's leading sites of human rights abuse. A Human
Rights Watch investigation has documented that the U.S. is a
country whose government maintains, throughout a vast
network of prisons filled disproportionately with people of
color, an environment that not only sanctions but encourages
rape and various sadistic abuses of male and female
prisoners' rights. It is a country where the inherent
barbarism of the death penalty is compounded by that penalty
being applied in a proven racially discriminatory manner.
These conditions exist in a country that claims to be the
world headquarters of "civilization."

It is important for people of African descent to interact
and network with each other and with other peoples of color
in the same place at the same time -- even a short time --
and work collectively on the same project.

It is important to wring from the governments that comprise
the United Nations consortium -- even if only symbolically
-- a commitment to engage the worldwide fight against racism
and all varieties of discrimination. That is an important
goal, even as we must press our primary struggle, the
struggle on the ground, for justice and democracy in our
home societies.


Preparing for the WCAR: What Happened in Santiago?

Leading up to the Durban event, several pre-conference
planning meetings have taken place around the world. The
mandate for these meetings was to produce regional draft
documents describing the historical and contemporary forms
of racism, discrimination and/or intolerance experienced by
peoples of the various regions. Those drafts were then given
to a special committee charged with merging them into a
single draft "declaration and programme of action of the
World Conference."

The one and only pre-conference gathering devoted to peoples
of the Americas occurred in Santiago, Chile, in December
2000. Present at the Santiago meeting were representatives
of "non-governmental organizations (NGOs)" accredited to
participate in the proceedings in Durban, along with
government delegations, including that of the United States.
The Black Radical Congress was represented by Humberto R.
Brown, the BRC's International Secretary and a member of the
United New York BRC local.

Linda Burnham, from California's Bay Area BRC local also
attended. In the course of deliberations at the meeting, a
separate "Declaration of African Descendants" was produced
(<http://groups.yahoo.com/group/brc-discuss/message/1907> or
<http://mail-archive.com/brc-discuss@lists.tao.ca/msg00946.html>),
as well as a declaration of "Principles/Commitments on Race
and Poverty" by an NGO Roundtable on Race and Poverty
(<http://www.hri.ca/racism/Submitted/Author/racepovworking.htm> or
<http://www.udayton.edu/~race/06internat/hrights/PrepCom09.htm>),
sponsored by the International Human Rights Law Group. The Black 
Radical Congress endorses both documents in their entirety.

African-descended peoples and indigenous Native peoples
fought hard to ensure that the draft document from the
Americas would include sections devoted specifically to
their experiences. And African-descended peoples, in
particular, fought for the draft to clearly endorse the
concept of reparations as an appropriate remedy for the
ravages of slavery and colonial domination we have endured.
It is noteworthy that the U.S. government delegation was the
principal opponent of both objectives: including a separate
section on people of African descent, and endorsement of
reparations -- which the delegation claimed had been paid in
the U.S., in effect, by the implementation of affirmative
action policies! But despite its obstructive role, the U.S.
delegation was overruled. In the end, satisfactory,
inclusive language was agreed upon -- satisfactory, within
the constraints imposed by UN procedures -- for releasing a
"Regional Conference of the Americas Draft Declaration and
Plan of Action." The special committee then went to work on
the merger of all regional drafts into one draft document,
which was unveiled in Geneva in March.

The result of the special committee's work, completed two
weeks after the Santiago meeting, was greeted with outrage
in Geneva. Virtually all of the language hard fought-for in
Santiago was nowhere to be found in the merged document, and
although a separate section on indigenous Native peoples was
included, there was no African descent section and no
reference to reparations. Indeed, in the 31-page draft, the
words "people of African descent" appeared only twice. NGO
representatives from other regions, especially Asia, were
similarly dissatisfied, so much so that the decision was
made to reject the draft declaration and require the writing
committee to produce a re-draft -- a new merged draft
declaration. In order for the special writing committee to
present the new draft for discussion, an extra
pre-conference meeting took place in Geneva on May 7 to 11.
A final and extremely important pre-conference event will
take place in Geneva at the end of May.


Overture to Durban: The Struggle in Geneva

In many ways, the final pre-conference meeting has an
importance almost equal to that of the conference itself.
This is the gathering at which will be determined the main
structure and language of the declaration that the WCAR will
release at the end of its proceedings in Durban.

Consistent with the collective will of the African diaspora,
the Black Radical Congress will work in Geneva to ensure
that the essence of the document crafted at the meeting of
the Americas in Santiago, over the U.S. delegation's
objections, is reflected in the final draft declaration of
the WCAR.

We will insist on the international community's formal
recognition of the fact that for centuries, up to and
including the present, peoples of African descent have
experienced structural and institutional forms of racism and
racial discrimination that have impacted severely on the
material conditions of our lives, and on all aspects of our
humanity. Stemming from the brutal exploitation of our
bodies under slavery and colonialism, Black people
throughout the American hemisphere and in Africa continue to
experience disproportionate rates of poverty, unemployment
and underemployment; excessive incarceration and state
terrorism; inadequate education and health services;
expropriation of our lands, and numerous other
life-threatening economic, political and social
disadvantages.

We will insist that the international community recognize
the different, disproportionate and multiple ways in which
women of African descent are burdened by the legacies of
past abuse -- including combined sexist and racist economic
and social policies, discriminatory cultural and sexual
mores and other forms of discrimination specific to their
female identity.

We will not only defend and promote reparations as a concept
for compensating the unpaid Black labor that literally built
the infrastructures and wealth of most of the developed
modern world. We will also insist on concrete thinking about
the creation of mechanisms designed to support Black
people's contemporary uphill struggle to recover from the
past's devastation.

We will press for acknowledgment of globalized capitalism's
bitter fruit: its de facto new enslavement and
re-enslavement of millions around the world -- including
millions of children -- who must toil long hours for
unlivable wages, with little or no access to adequate health
care, education or hope for a better life; its facilitation
of new forms of racism and discrimination; its threat to the
natural environment, and to the material, social and
spiritual environments of many peoples and their cultures.

We will work with other groups to produce a separate NGO
"Declaration and Program of Action of the World Conference,"
based on a bottom-up people's agenda for waging the fight
against racism, racial discrimination and economic
oppression.

We will press for the United Nations to establish, within
the offices of its High Commission on Human Rights, a
mechanism for conducting research, specifically, on the
racism and discrimination experienced by the
African-descended peoples of the Americas. The research
would be aimed at developing and proposing specific
remedies.

Unfortunately thus far, the U.S. government has refused to
acknowledge that slavery, colonialism and their legacy have
constricted African-descended peoples' development, at the
same time as the economies of certain nation states are
still being oiled by huge profits from the enslavement and
colonial subjugation of millions. This denial of history,
past and present, places the government totally at odds with
the realities of Black people and threatens to
de-legitimatize any claim it might make to represent the
will of African American citizens and other Blacks in the
U.S. Should it prove necessary to expose in a world forum
the failure of the U.S. government to embrace and represent
the interests of ALL of its people, the Black Radical
Congress is prepared to do so.


The NGO Forum

The WCAR is in two parts. An NGO Forum begins just before,
and slightly overlaps with, the second part of the
conference, which is the official governmental part. The
dates of the NGO Forum are August 28 to September 1.

The forum is important for two reasons: First, it is the
main showcase for NGOs' priorities and work, at which
organizations may present papers and conduct workshops, as
well as offer artistic, musical or theatrical presentations.
Exhibition space for graphic displays is also available. All
presentations and exhibitions must be in line with the
themes and objectives of the WCAR. The slogan adopted for
the WCAR is "United to Combat Racism: Equality, Justice,
Dignity." Also adopted were five broad themes, which can be
read at the Forum's web site <http://www.racism.org.za>.
Submissions and proposals should be forwarded to
<moshe@wcar.sangoco.org.za>. The program of the NGO Forum
will appear on its web site as it takes shape.

Second, the forum provides a valuable opportunity for NGO
representatives from all over the world to network, exchange
information, and establish contacts and mechanisms for
coordinating various aspects of their future work. Indeed,
lifelong friendships and working relationships can spring
from the Forum's intense social interactions, causing many
past participants to observe that the Forum is "where the
action is." It is also true that what happens at the Forum
-- the discussions and debates, the alliances formed, the
resolutions passed -- can significantly influence the
behavior of government delegations in the official section
of the conference.


Support the WCAR

The Black Radical Congress urges all U.S. organizations
devoted to the interests and needs of people of color and
immigrants to actively support the WCAR. That means:
Mobilize.

* If your organization is able to send representatives to
the conference, apply immediately for accreditation (see the
resource list at the end of this statement).

* Use the resources listed at the end of this statement to
gain updated information about the WCAR, and use that
information to reach out to your immediate constituents and
beyond -- grass roots organizations, the faith community, etc.

* Use your organization's web site as a means of passing
along information.

* Use your contacts, both within and outside government, 
to put pressure on the U.S. government: Demand that its
emissaries to the WCAR respect Black people and our concerns.

Finally, since not all organizations who wish to be
represented at the WCAR will be able to send people to
Durban, a significant way to support the conference is to
coalesce with other NGOs on planning related events in the
U.S. (the networks and contacts you build in that process
will have long-term usefulness). An excellent focus option
for support work on the local level is the International Day
of Action Against Racism, which has been proposed for August
31, 2001. Stay tuned to BRC online sources, and other online
resources, for details on this proposed worldwide action.


Beyond the WCAR: Imperatives for Justice

The World Conference Against Racism is occurring as dawn
still breaks on the 21st Century, in a world rife with new
forms of exploitation, wealth concentration and deadly
intra-group strife. Since birth, the United Nations has been
severely limited by many factors in its ability to prevent
or successfully mediate conflicts among nations and peoples,
and in its ability to protect groups from inhumane,
discriminatory and intolerant treatment. Not least of those
limitations has been its subservience to the domestic and
geopolitical concerns of its principal benefactors, the
governments of the developed capitalist nations.

Notwithstanding its limitations, the UN has real value, uses
and potential. The world is a better place for the advances
in international human rights law that the UN's existence
has facilitated, including the Race Convention and the
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural
Rights. And we have previously cited the value of the forum
it provides.

But if the big question is who will the UN serve in this new
century, the earliest sign of an answer is not encouraging:
Secretary-General Kofi Annan has initiated a "Global
Compact," whereby UN agencies are urged to "partner" with
the corporation of their choice from a list of 50 entities
that includes Shell, Nike and Novartis. Shell is well known
for environmental destruction and complicity in human rights
abuses, such as Nigeria's execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa. Nike
is known for sweatshops, and Novartis is working overtime to
force-feed consumers genetically-engineered foods. We salute
those human rights, labor rights and environmental justice
activists who are focusing their work on the goal of a
corporate-free UN and democratic control over corporations.

Confronted with the UN's choice, at this stage, not to have
its initiatives reflect the spirit of the Covenant on
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, but instead to have
them interface with the Covenant's antithesis -- the agenda
of globalized corporate capitalism -- alerts us, again, to
the work remaining to be done in the street. Accordingly,
the Black Radical Congress will continue, as part of a
broad-based collective, to pursue a number of important
goals that are essential to justice, worldwide.

First, the Black Radical Congress seeks the cancellation of
African debt, and of all debt incurred by underdeveloped
nations due to the oppressive policies of European and North
American-controlled lending agencies. In the case of Africa,
debt cancellation is a critical first step toward
compensating African peoples for the ruinous exploitation
and pillage of their continent that, over centuries, are
wholly implicated in reducing them to the status of debtors.

As a related action, we advocate the establishment of an
international reparations agency, with branches in selected
nations. This agency would administer the dispensation of
funds -- provided by the European and North American powers
-- for the development of African-descended peoples in
Africa and throughout the American hemisphere. These funds
would be earmarked to bolster development in the areas of
child and adult education, women's development, health care,
mental health, AIDS prevention, literacy, housing, legal
services, art and cultural institutions, land reclamation
and environmental clean-up and maintenance, among other
possible areas.

We will continue our active role in putting international
pressure on governments, in Southern Africa and elsewhere,
to cease state persecution of gay and lesbian people and
replace that persecution with policies and laws protective
of same gender loving people's human and civil rights.

In the United States, we will continue our role in demanding
that government repair the gaping holes torn in the welfare
safety net by "reform" policies that, disproportionately,
worsen the impoverishment of Black women -- who are
extraordinarily over-represented in urban homeless
populations.

We seek immediate abolition of the death penalty, which is
yet another aspect of the living legacy of slavery.

We will press forward and intensify our national campaign
to: criminalize police brutality under federal law; limit
incarceration to violent criminals and establish
rehabilitative alternatives for non-violent criminals; shift
public funds from expansion of the prison-industrial complex
to complete refurbishment of the nation's public school
system, and to resist efforts to privatize our public
schools.

As we write, an uneasy and deceptive calm is settling upon
the city of Cincinnati, Ohio, where in the past few weeks
our brothers and sisters rose up in righteous anger over 
the police murder of Timothy Thomas. Nineteen-years-old and
unarmed, Thomas became the 16th Black male gunned down by
the Cincinnati police since 1995. Long-standing grievances
between the Black population and the governing structures of
that city mirror the state of relations that prevail in most
U.S. cities between people of color and the authorities.
Only the names, and the faces and the incidental details
differ. We know that in all the "theaters" of U.S. urban
struggle, uprisings eventually subside and calm returns.
What the various powers-that-be seem not to understand is:
Until there is true justice, there will be no real peace.

In times like these, it may appear that the United Nations
and its conferences are entirely irrelevant to the long-term
process of uprising, struggle, sacrifice, advocacy,
political negotiation and will that is necessary to remedy
such grave human rights violations as exist in Cincinnati.
But in fact, bearing witness before a small and getting
smaller world is part of the process. Let all of us who can,
go to Durban. We must tell the world what we have seen, what
we know, and how we are determined to win the fight for
change.

--

RESOURCES

Accreditation

Your organization may apply for accreditation to participate
in all proceedings of the World Conference Against Racism by
obtaining an application from:

Sandra Aragon-Parriaux
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations, Room PW-RS 181
CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
saragon.hchr@unog.ch


Web Sites

United Nations (UN)
http://www.un.org/WCAR/

United Nations High Commission for Human Rights (UNHCHR)
http://www.unhchr.ch/html/racism/

World Conference Against Racism NGO Forum (WCAR NGO)
http://www.racism.org.za

Human Rights Internet (HRI)
http://www.hri.ca/racism/

Internet Centre Anti-Racism Europe (ICARE)
http://www.icare.to/worldcon.html

AntiRacismNet (Project Change and IGC)
http://www.ngoworldconference.org

Applied Research Center (ARC)
http://www.arc.org/trji/

South African NGO Coalition (SANGOCO)
http://www.sangoco.org.za/wcar/

International Possibilities Unlimited (IPU)
http://www.ipunlimited.org/WCAR/wcar.html

International Human Rights Law Group (IHRLG)
http://www.hrlawgroup.org/notflashed.html

Global Afro-Latino and Caribbean Initiative (GALCI)
http://www.caribectr.org/GALCI.html

Black Radical Congress (BRC)
http://www.blackradicalcongress.org


CERD Information

United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial
Discrimination (CERD)
http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu2/6/cerd.htm

United States report to the United Nations Committee on 
the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD)
http://www.state.gov/www/global/human_rights/cerd_report/cerd_index.html

A response to the United States CERD report
http://www.arc.org/downloads/trji010417.pdf


Other Information:

Declaration of African Descendants
Preparatory Meeting for the Americas
December 5-7, 2000
Santiago, Chile
http://www.udayton.edu/~race/06internat/afrodesc00.htm
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/brc-discuss/message/1907
http://mail-archive.com/brc-discuss@lists.tao.ca/msg00946.html

Principles/Commitments on Race and Poverty
NGO Roundtable on Race and Poverty
Preparatory Meeting for the Americas
December 3-7, 2000
Santiago, Chile
http://www.ngoworldconference.org/ngocc_attach1.htm#6
http://www.hri.ca/racism/Submitted/Author/racepovworking.htm
http://www.udayton.edu/~race/06internat/hrights/PrepCom09.htm


Upcoming Events

May 21-June 1, 2001
Second PrepCom for WCAR
Geneva, Switzerland

August 28-September 1, 2001
NGO Forum
Durban, South Africa

August 31, 2001
International Day of Action Against Racism 
Durban, South Africa

August 31-September 7, 2001
World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination,
Xenophobia and Related Intolerance
Durban, South Africa


Conference Slogan

"United to Combat Racism: Equality, Justice, Dignity"


Conference Themes

1. Sources, causes, forms and contemporary manifestations of
racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related
intolerance.

2. Victims of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and
related intolerance.

3. Measures of prevention, education and protection aimed at
the eradication of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia
and related intolerance at national, regional and
international levels.

4. Provision of effective remedies, recourse, redress and
other [compensatory] measures, at national, regional and
international levels.

5. Strategies to achieve full and effective equality,
including international co-operation and enhancement of the
UN and other international mechanisms in combating racism,
racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance,
including follow-up procedures.

*The word "compensatory" in theme #4 is in square brackets
because there was no general agreement for including the
term.


Stated Conference Objectives

* To review progress made in the fight against racism,
racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.

* To consider ways and means to ensure the application of
existing standards and the implementation of existing
instruments to combat racism, racial discrimination,
xenophobia and related intolerance.

* To increase the level of awareness about the scourge of
racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related
intolerance.

* To formulate recommendations on ways to increase the
effectiveness of activities and mechanisms of the United
Nations through programmes aimed at combating racism, racial
discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.

* To review the political, historical, economic, social,
cultural and other related factors leading to racism, racial
discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.

* To draw up concrete recommendations for ensuring that the
United Nations has the financial and other necessary
resources for its actions to combat racism, racial
discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.



-30-

NOTE: When responding or sending us feedback about
this statement, please indicate whether we have your
permission to share your message publicly, as part
of a broader discussion and debate. Thank you.

Black Radical Congress
National Office
Columbia University Station
P.O. Box 250791
New York, NY 10025-1509
Phone: (212) 969-0348
Email: blackradicals@yahoo.com
Web: http://www.blackradicalcongress.org

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USA: Occurrence of diabetes linked to consumption of
western diet in Native American Indians
14 May 2001
Source: just-food.com editorial team



Pima Indians who have adopted an "Anglo" diet are three times more likely to develop diabetes over six years than their counterparts who eat a more traditional diet, according to the results of a striking new study reported in the May issue of Diabetes Care (24: pp. 811-816).

The community now has the highest rate of type 2 diabetes in the world and researchers Dr. Desmond E. Williams and colleagues from the National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases explained: "This study suggests that the adoption of an Anglo diet may increase the risk of developing diabetes in Pima Indians."

The study focused on the lifestyle habits of 575 Pima Indians of Arizona, aged between 18- and 74-years, who would traditionally eat a diet rich in melons, legumes, squash and grains. Overall, 22% of the population was shown to develop the disease and researchers discovered the increased incidence of type 2 diabetes to tally with the adoption of a typical US diet, which is high in simple carbohydrates and low in vegetable protein and fibre. Sixty-three people per 1,000 on this diet developed the disease, compared to just 23 people per 1,000 who consumed the traditional fare. 

Those who consumed a mixture of both diets were also at increased risk of developing diabetes, as the study revealed a rate of 35 cases per 1,000 people.

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Date: Thu, 10 May 2001 14:37:16 -0400
From: Wewinnin@juno.com
Subject: SILIS MUHAMMAD ORAL ARGUMENT FOR REPARATIONS AT U.N. APRIL 2001



ALL FOR REPARATIONS AND EMANCIPATION
NGO in consultative (roster) status with ECOSOC
Speaker: Mr. Silis Muhammad

Oral Statement to the 57th Session of the Commission on Human Rights
14. Specific Groups and Individuals: (b) Minorities

Greetings, Mr. Chairman. To this date and time we, the African American
people, are denied, and deprived, permanently, the human right of speaking
our 'mother tongue' in violation of Article 27 of the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which the United States Government hasratified.

The UN does not recognize us, or know where we fit, I have seen. We ask
that the Commission on Human Rights hear our prayer for we do recognize
ourselves as the African American people, internally. May the Commission
on Human Rights find a category in which we fit, or make a category in which we will fit?

The U.S. Government commits, daily, the international wrongful act of
denying the existence of the African American people, while claiming
respect for human rights. The U.S. commits these acts against the very spirit of the UN: HUMAN RIGHTS for everyone, everywhere.

For the injuries done during our 400 years of plantation slavery and its
ongoing subsequent lingering effects, such as forced mixed breeding,
wherein identity is demolished, we recommend the UN, and its Member
States, place a reparations sanction on the U.S. Government. May this noble, supreme body: the United Nations, we pray, find the U.S. Government liable for this ongoing loss of our 'mother tongue', and our internationally recognized
identity, which today we are without!

All For Reparations and Emancipation
230 Peachtree Street, Suite 900
Atlanta, Georgia 30303 USA
www.afre-ngo.org

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Date: Wed, 9 May 2001 10:46:55 -0700 (PDT)
From: TheBlackList News <kwasi@theblacklist.net>
Subject: JAMAICA: Reparations and republican status


Letter of the Day - Reparations and republican status
http://www.jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20010508/letters/letters1.html



THE EDITOR, Sir:

THE RECENT disclosure by Prime Minister P.J. Patterson that Jamaica
intends to declare itself a republic is timely and long overdue. The colonial
ritual of an independent sovereign nation paying homage to its former slave
masters and mistresses only helps to rekindle the pain and hurt of how we became a colony in the first place.

One issue not addressed, however, is the inevitable legal action by the
republic of Jamaica on behalf of its citizens of African descent for
reparations from the British Monarchy and government. A similar movement is presently gaining momentum in the United States, and promises to be the most important legal battle of any millennium.

The meticulous habit of the former institutional slaveholders in keeping
detailed records of its involuntary human property has rendered the
existing mountain of evidence incontrovertible. The blood, sweat, and tears of the slaves will be easily discernible from the many pages of the surviving
painful evidence.

All other ethnic cultures that were institutionally persecuted and
victimised have been acknowledged and compensated with reparations except the descendants of African victims of involuntary servitude.

The Native American Indians, the Japanese, and most recently, the Jews have all had their day in court. Successfully. Certainly, under today's standard of War Crimes, as enunciated by the Hague Tribunal, the suffering and deaths of the Middle Passage, and the subsequent tribulations of Africans and their descendants in the Americas must qualify as a crime against humanity and an atrocity.

Will the republic of Jamaica be courageous enough to embark on such a course of action? Only time will tell.

I am etc.,
BERTRAM A. SCOTT,
Director
Jamaican Ambassadors
Chess Academy
http://www.jambassadors.virtualave.net/newfile.html


Via Go-Jamaica

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Volume 4, Number 13                 May 12, 2001

The Farmer

----------------------------------------------------------------

$25 million worth of "eggs"

by Dr. Ridgely A. Mu’min Muhammad

 

In February of 2001, the Sumter Regional Hospital suspended Dr. John Marshall’s hospital privileges. In response, Concerned Citizens for Sumter (CCSC) called for a boycott of the hospital by the African-American community starting in March.

On March 20th a picket line was started on the streets in front of the hospital. At first there were many picketers and the number of filled hospital beds fell by 50%. Then the "word" was put out by the white power structure that "if y’all keep fooling with that doctor, you are going to wind up with egg on your face". Although the hospital beds still stayed vacant, fewer and fewer picketers were seen on the corner.

I have been personally involved with a number of struggles including the Black farmers lawsuit against the USDA. I have witnessed first hand how the American government lies, intimidates and controls the media to break the spirit of the victims to fight. The same process took place in this local arena of Americus, Ga.

I and a few other "soldiers" stood with Dr. Marshall and kept picketing on the corner, because we understood that it was not just Dr. Marshall being attacked it was all of our young people. For if a man who has done everything right in the "system", sacrificed years in study, training, money and hard work to raise himself to the elite status of being a medical doctor could be shot down, just because he dared to use that status to uplift others, then how could I look Black youth in the face and tell them to follow his example. If you are going to be treated like a criminal anyway then why not just be a criminal and "get paid"?

The American pattern persists. The Black farmers did nothing but work hard and sweat. The American government returned the favor by conspiring to take their land, lie about it, then set up a fake "reparations" scheme and deny 40% of the class compensation. A Black doctor uses his money and influence to set up a black newspaper and expose the wrongs being done to those who had no voice and he is maligned, kicked out and talked about.

On April 26, 2001 Dr. John Marshall filed in federal court a lawsuit against Sumter Regional Hospital, Inc., Americus-Sumter County Hospital Authority, Southwest Georgia Healthcare Association, Inc., Southwest Georgia Healthcare Resources, Inc. and ten other individuals to the tune of $25 million. So it seems that the price of "eggs" have gone up.

It seems that the Hospital made a grave mistake by suspending Dr. Marshall without cause then trying to dig up dirt after the fact. This is just how "justice is served" in America, but thanks to Dr. Marshall’s courage and skill, maybe Sumter County, Americus, Ga. and the Hospital authorities will get a taste for what it is like being "fried" and our youth can see what it takes to be a real Black man in America.

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NEW ZEALAND: High Court rules on GM cows trial, no
victory for anti-GM protestors
11 May 2001
Source: just-food.com editorial team



The Environmental Risk Management Authority (Erma) made some errors of law in allowing a field trial of genetically modified dairy cattle, according to a ruling by the High Court. This is the first time the High Court has made a decision on GMOs with reference to the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 (HSNO), but experts are warning GMO opponents not to get too excited, as the ruling is not a victory for the anti-GMO position. 

The High Court found that Erma had complied with the law in dealing with a range of concerns raised by local Maori and anti-GM protestors, however it had illegally failed to be explicit about its compliance with the detailed procedural methodology required by the HSNO Act. The court noted however that the methodology regulation is “not easy for the uninitiated to understand and apply. It demands a level of specificity in evaluations which can be difficult in areas of value judgment.” As such, the situation can be rectified however as soon as Erma re-issues its decision correctly. 

The ruling has been described as conformation of the complexities of the HSNO Act, particularly in relation to Maori interests, but has revealed that the Act cannot be used to judge on the moral issues surrounding GE agriculture.

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