Lawyers vs. Reparations

SMRT Commentary by H. Khalif Khalifah
Southampton County, VA - May 3, 2002
Recent Reparations news is heartening. The release of the
information in California, where corporations who insured
chattel slaves were forced to search their archives and
bring forth the damaging information; to New Jersey where a
former NAACP and federal worker under Bill Clinton filed an
"unjust enrichment" suit against U. S. President, George
Bushs' Grandfather's former company for continuing to engage
in the evil institution after it was banned by the U.S.
Constitution. Then of course, there is the tight, well known
case by former N'COBRA Intern, Deadria Farmer.
But the case that may well be the "straw that
breaks the camels back,"- releasing true reparations to
Black people is the one by N'COBRA founder, Dr. Imari
Obadele. this is an "Equal Protection" case that has been
working its way up through the federal courts for some five
years now. Dr. Obadele, as is General Rashid, are members of
the Board of Directors of N'COBRA (The National Coalition of
Blacks for Reparations in America).
All of the cases named above, and others not named
are characterized by at least two aspects #1. They are filed
as Reparations cases for the abuse, misuse and enslavement
of Black people #2. They are all filed by individuals or
organizations that are REPRESENTED by lawyers. However,
there are at least two cases under preparation that are
expected to blow the question "out of the water." The one
being prepared by Johnny Cochran, Randall Robinson, Charles
Olgletree, Alexander Pires & etc. And the case, 13 years in
the making, by N'COBRA's "Legal Strategies Commission."
N'COBRA's so-called strategy is a strange one. The
Coalition (The National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations
in America) have raised tens of thousands of dollars, that
has been passed on to it's Legal Strategies Commission, in
preparation of it's reparations lawsuit. Only to be told
each year that several hundred of thousands of dollars more
would be needed before a suit would/should be filed.
Moreover, N'COBRA was legally advised that we should not
enjoin the Deadria Farmer suit, nor should be enjoin Dr.
Obadele's and General Rashids' Equal Protection case. Sadly,
N'COBRA's Board of Directors accepted the advise in both
Maybe the strangest Reparations lawsuit, if they
move forward as publicized, will be the one by Randall
Robinson, Johnny Cochran & Co. As for as the public has been
informed, their's will be a Reparations lawsuit filed by the
lawyers, not on behalf of a client, but by the lawyers,
themselves. To many, this is highly unusual. But to date, it
appears that the usual work of a lawyer for a clients is
absent contemplation of their suit. The "strangeness" of
their suit is compounded by the fact that one of the lawyers
is the now famous, some would term, infamous, attorney,
Alexander Pires is one of the principal lawyers in the case.
Mr. Pires happens to be under a cloud of discontent by many
Black Farmers because of the Consent Decree he agreed to
with the government to settle the suit by Black Farmers (see
archived articles at ). His Consent Decree
effectively did for the government, what the government
could not achieve in court. That is, it disqualified many
farmers who had lost land. Many who did qualify, did not
receive enough to even begin to reclaim lost farms.
We strongly advise all who are serious about the
Great Issue to do at least two things: (1) Look into the
suit by Dr. Imari Obadele and General Rashid. Their suit is
filed under the exact same statutes of the laws that were
passed by the House of Representatives to pay the Japanese
their reparations. In short, the suit is saying that if you
deny Black people redress under the same law, you are not
providing "equal protection" to all people governed by the
U. S. Constitution. The fact that at least two or three
judges have had the chance to dismiss the case, but haven't,
tells us all that there is substance here. We suggest that
individuals and organizations nationwide, look into
enjoining the Dr. Obadele and Rashid suit. Or look into
filing under the same statute. The question is, why is the
law on the book if it cannot be applied to all folk in the
U. S.?
The second thing we suggest all who are
concerned about reparations, should do, is join N'COBRA and
plan to attend our 13th annual Reparations Convention:
Detroit, June 21, 22 &23 (go to ) for the
details. Here is a national organization that spearhead the
modern evolvement of the issue, an all volunteer Coalition,
that allows all who will, an opportunity to get in on the
Great Issue, not as an informed, articulate bystander, but
as a participate.
The Convention this year will be a thorough mix
of all Black people in America. For the first time, there
may be a caucus in Detroit that isn't sanctioned by the
leadership of N'COBRA. But it is a caucus that is very much
a part of N'COBRA and will not tolerate being characterized
as anything other; It will be led by H. Khalif Khalifah. And
we will meet under the banner of a formation that spun off
from N'COBRA's Media Workshop at our 12th convention last
June in Baton Rouge, LA. More information can be obtained
about SMRT ( The Strategic Media Response Team ) at . Anyone who REGISTERS to attend N'COBRA's
Reparations Convention will be welcome to attend our
meeting. Call (434) 658-4934 if you intend to be in Detroit
in June. If you don't register for any reason, please send
your $10 membership fee to the National Headquarters in D.
C. With proof of your membership, SMRT will keep you in our
Two grave mistakes Black people are subject to
make, even with all the great news about possible redress
for our experience, individually and as a people, are: 1.
Think that because of the notoriety the case is now
receiving, the obtainment of our reparations is a fait
accompli (smile). This is erroneous thinking, mainly
because, most all of the cases, Dr. Obadele's is a marked
exception, are filed or being contemplated by folk who have
no serious understanding, or belief in the requirement that
"Self-Determination" is a vital part of the demand for
The second "grave mistake" we could make, is to
wait TOO LONG before putting forth contrasting information
about the Great Issue. For example, when someone flatly
declares that "cash money will not be a part of the
package." Or that reparations will only be paid to "the
poorest of the poor." Or that no cash should be paid to
individuals, but should be placed in a fund to underwrite
the cost for some of the obvious maladies that haunt us,
individually and as a people, those who KNOW what
Reparations is truly about, are compelled to put forth the
correct information. Or, more gently, "contrasting
After all, reparations will never do what it is
intended to do, UNLESS it is reparations, indeed. This means
the broadest possible consensus should be arrived at, by the
total Black community, before flat declarations can be taken
seriously. And the last time we looked, almost to the Black
man and woman "on the ground," to use a common phase
currently being used to describe such, the Black man and
woman want to be paid - CASH IN ADDITION TO OTHER REMEDIES.
We will close here with a definition of
reparations: "Reparations is a payment for a debt owed. The
act of repairing a wrong or injury; to atone for a
wrongdoing; to make amends; to make one whole again; the
payment of damages; to repair a nation; compensation in
money, land, materials and services for damages.
.................H. Khalif Khalifah, Board Member of N'COBRA
and Publishing Consultant in Southampton County, Virginia
Producers & Disseminators of the Literature that is Finally
Afrikan People: "Those at Home and those abroad!"

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Remember the MAI? The leaking of the draft MAI text led to the
successful international campaign which put an end to the negotiations.
Like Dracula, when the MAI saw the light of day, it could not

Now we have another big leak. The European Union's requests of 29
other countries to open up their services to foreign competition are
now on the web at < The
EU and the USTR planned to keep these documents secret. They would cut
deals with each other and citizens would never be the wiser.

Now we have to demand that all the requests be made public. This is
about Democracy!

Here is a very brief background: Under the WTO agreement on
services--GATS--member countries negotiate through a request/offer
process about what services they will subject to GATS disciplines. The
Doha Ministerial last November set June 30, 2002, as the deadline for
initial requests. The USTR has said that these requests would be
treated as negotiating documents and not made public. Here are some
highlights of what services the EU wants the US to open to foreign
competition --

* Water collection and distribution (under Environmental Services)

* Postal and Courier Services

* Subsidies for small business (small business loans should not be
restricted to U.S. citizens!)

* R&D for science, social science and humanities (no restrictions for
foreign companies)

* Radio licenses

* Energy--wholesale sales and decommissioning (presumably of nuclear

There are also requests that specific state regulations be removed, for
example request that restrictions on purchase of public lands by non-US
citizens in Hawaii, Idaho, Mississippi, Montana and Oregon. These
would have been negotiated between the EU Trade Ministry and the USTR
without the citizens of these states knowing anything about it if the
documents had not been leaked.

NGO's around the world are working to get the story told in the press.
The Guardian in England just ran a story. We are trying to get stories
in the U.S. press. If you have good national press contacts, please
let me know. I suggest getting in touch with your local press, both
print and radio. You can list me as a contact if you wish.

Here is my statement on water. -- In Alliance, Ruth



FACT: In its GATS requests, the EU wants the U.S. to remove limitations
on "Water collection, purification and distribution services through
mains, except steam and hot water." This is based on the EC proposal
for the classification of environmental services. There is no
reference to specific GATS rules on Market Access or National Treatment
nor to any specific regulations or jurisdictions, thus the request is
the most comprehensive possible. The EU specifically refers to Mode 3
which means the EU wants no barriers to foreign investment.

INTERPRETATION: The EU is using its GATS requests to make it easier
for Europe's giant water companies such as Vivendi and Suez to compete
with local municipal water systems across the U.S. and possibly even to
enter the market for sales of bulk water.

The EU has refused to define what it means by water collection and the
language in the classification is ambiguous, leaving open the
possibility that collection of water from rivers and aquifers for sale
by foreign corporations is on the table.

The EU wants the GATS rules on Market Access and National Treatment to
apply to water for human use and wastewater management. These rules
would prevent municipalities from limiting the number of water service
companies or even using an economic needs test. They could not require
a specific type of legal entity. They could not limit the amount of
foreign investment. And they would have to treat these foreign
corporations "no less favorably" than their local companies.

In the U.S. the provision of drinking water is still primarily a
municipal service, but there is increasing pressure to privatize.
Vivendi and Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux have already begun to get contracts
for water services in the U.S.

These global rules would not force water privatization, but they
certainly favor foreign corporations and investors.

The Office of the USTR set itself up for this outcome by refusing to
challenge the EU's expansion of environmental services to include water
collection and distribution. Now the EU is using this very language to
call on the U.S. to open up this sector in every state and municipality
across the country.

To further ensure its ability to compete, the EU wants a "horizontal"
commitment from the U.S. to allow any of its employees to enter the
U.S. on a contract basis to service "water for human use" and
"wastewater management."

Will the USTR refuse these requests? In a recent meeting, the USTR
declined to make any commitment in advance to reject EU requests on

"Water is fundamental to life and should not be treated as
a commodity for sale to those who can pay the price. The European
Union's request amounts to a water grab so European transnational
corporations can increase their profits. Water is a right which should
continue to be provided as a public service," noted Ruth Caplan of the
Alliance for Democracy. "We call on the United States to reject
immediately this outrageous request from the EU."



Ruth Caplan

Alliance for Democracy

Washington DC Office

3407 34th Place NW

Washington DC 20016

202-244-0561 phone

202-537-6045 fax

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