Monday, January 19, 2015

Civil Rights Activism in America: The story of Clyde Kennard

Clyde Kennard. Photograph from a January 1963 Mississippi Free Press.
Courtesy the Clarion-Ledger.

On June 12, 1927, Clyde Kennard was born to a farming family in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.  At age 12, he left Hattiesburg to move to Chicago, with his older sister, in order to attend school.

Now this act might be lost on most people today, but in 1940, the chances for a black farm kid, living and working in rural Mississippi, to receive much of a formal education was nearly impossible.  Segregation (aka, "the Plessy Doctrine" or Plessy v Ferguson decision) was in full oppressive force and, with it, the absolute refusal to provide anything close to an "equal" educational opportunity for anyone not quite white enough to pass the restrictively rigid and institutionalized racism that ruled America.

In Mississippi, this was status quo.

From "Mississippi's School Equalization Program, 1945-1954: 'A Last Gasp to Try to Maintain a Segregated Educational System'" (Bolton, C. C. (2000). Mississippi's School Equalization Program, 1945-1954: "A Last Gasp to Try to Maintain a Segregated Educational System" The Journal of Southern History, 66(4): 781-814):

.... Although many black Mississippians actually endorsed a justly administered equalization policy, white leaders proved hesitant to spend millions to upgrade black schools without an explicit pledge of support from black leaders to maintain Jim Crow education...

...During the late 1930s and 1940s, for the first time since Reconstruction, serious public
discussions also occurred among white Mississippians about how to improve black education...

Those white Mississippians who began to call for greater equalization between white and black public schools generally made sure to emphasize that their ultimate motive remained preserving white privileges and saving school segregation. When Percy H. Easom, the supervisor of black schools for the state's Department of Education and a white man truly interested in advancing the cause of black schooling in the state, asked the state legislature for improvements in the training of black teachers in 1938, he carefully couched his request for change in the language of white supremacy: "[I]t is not so much a question of what the colored people deserve as it is a question of what the white people of Mississippi deserve. The white people deserve to have something
done to improve the status of their colored people. Do not the white people depend upon the colored people for their labor supply, for their tenant farmers, for their looks, for their nurses, for their brickmasons, for their plasterers, for their chauffeurs, etc.?"  [note from author: my bold] As the threats to segregated education began to appear more visibly on the horizon, Easom began to emphasize not only the benefits of equalization but also the danger to continued segregation if some type of equalization program was not pursued. At a speech before the Indianola Rotary Club in 1946 Easom reiterated his theme of how black educational advances benefited whites, and he also suggested that segregation could only be preserved if whites made a sustained attempt to address long ignored black educational needs. Given such self-serving attitudes about why black education should be improved, it is not surprising that white Mississippians typically endorsed equalization plans that provided only the most minimal of changes in the operation of the state's dual educational system. Real educational equalization would have required a vigorous and sustained program to close the yawning gap that existed between white and black education at the end of World War II.

In order to understand just how feeble the state's post—World War II equalization efforts were, it is important first to recognize how the operation of state-enforced school segregation over the preceding four decades had altered Mississippi education. In the late nineteenth century, white and black education, while unequally funded, remained almost everywhere equally inadequate, except in the state's largest towns. Most rural schools in the state had short terms, few supplies, and poorly paid teachers in one-, two-, or three-teacher operations. But during the first two decades of the twentieth century, Mississippi, like other southern states, dramatically upgraded white schools, while black education—receiving only limited state aid—languished, despite valiant efforts from black citizens and assistance from northern philanthropists.

Perhaps the most important of the Progressive-era reforms to improve white rural schools in Mississippi and other southern states was school consolidation, which allowed small schools to combine to form larger, graded schools, with at least one teacher for each grade. At the same time, control of these consolidated schools passed from local school trustees to centralized, usually countywide, school authorities who gained the power to raise taxes on a district or countywide basis. The modernized school districts used their newly available local funds to improve white schools by extending the school term, raising teacher salaries, and instituting a system of public transportation of students to the larger and more amply furnished consolidated schools. Although southern whites frequently objected to consolidation because of the additional taxes or the loss of local control, the reform increasingly gained popularity as a mechanism for increasing the educational benefits available to the white youth of the South's rural districts.

The Mississippi legislature's initial school consolidation measure, passed in 1910, provided for the creation of rural school districts that could levy taxes and issue bonds. Over the next thirty five years, whites took advantage of the new law to initiate a massive consolidation of their schools. In the 1909-10 school year, Mississippi had 4,256 rural white schools; by 1946, the state had 861 consolidated white schools and only 164 that had not yet been consolidated. State leaders hailed the changing structure of white education as a dramatic improvement...

...As a general rule, whites, who controlled all county governments in the state because of the disfranchisement of black citizens, did not extend this basic technique of school modernization to black education. During the 1909-10 school year, the state had 3,006 black schools, a number that had increased to 3,737 by 1946, only 100 of which had been consolidated. Between 1910, when the state enacted consolidation legislation, and 1930, only fifteen black schools were consolidated in the entire state, and almost half of these were in Forrest County, located in south Mississippi. This county clearly had the early progressive edge among the state's counties, at least in terms of assisting the development of black education. Before consolidation, the county had twenty-six black schools, only two of which were located in structures clearly identifiable as schoolhouses; the remainder held classes in one- room shacks or even sawmill sheds. The average length of the school term in these institutions was just forty days; the average white school term at the time was not much better, only fifty-nine days...."

At the age of 18, Clyde Kennard joined the U.S. Army for 7 years, serving in both Germany and Korea, before receiving an honorable discharge. Upon his return to civilian life, he put a down-payment on 20 acres for his mother and step-father outside of Eatonville, Forrest County, Mississippi, but remained in Chicago to study at the University of Chicago.

Upon the death of his step-father in 1955, Clyde was forced to return to Mississippi in order to assist his widowed mother (now in her 60's) with the farm.

Clyde had already completed 3 years of study towards a Political Science degree while in Chicago so wanted to complete his final year while assisting his mother with the farm.

William D. McCain, president of Southern Mississippi College. Courtesy Mississippi Department of Archives and History

In 1955, one year after the Brown v Topeka Board of Education decision, Clyde was determined to complete his education. Since there were no black colleges in the area, Clyde applied at the all white Mississippi Southern - a fifteen minute drive from his family farm. That was the beginning of his trouble.

Mississippi still would not desegregate. Clyde was denied admission because the school stated he needed and could not supply written recommendations from at least five alumni from his home county. When Clyde asked for a list of Alumni so he could request recommendation letters, the college president, William D. McCain, told Clyde that “such a list was not available.”  Apparently Clyde had above average scores and met all other requirements with the exception of those letters.

Not to be deterred, Clyde applied once again, but this time, he wrote a letter to the editor of Hattiesburg American, the local newspaper, announcing his intent to apply for the January, 1959, quarter at Mississippi Southern.

From Zinn Education Project ("Letter to the editor the Hattiesburg American about race and integration." by Clyde Kennard, 1959):

Route 1, Box 70
Hattiesburg, Mississippi
September 25, 1959

THE RACE QUESTION

Editor,

The charge that any person who believes in any form of integration of the races is a Communist or an out-side agitator has been made so constantly and with such force that it would not surprise me if there are some people who are innocent enough to believe, if not all, at least some portion of that charge. It is for the benefit of these unfortunate people that I review, briefly, the fundamental principle upon which the conviction of the integrationists is based.

Most basic to our beliefs about the race question in America today is that there can be no racial segregation without some racial discrimination, and that there cannot be a complete racial equalization without some racial integration.

Now this principle is an easy one for us to follow, for it holds as true in human history, especially American History, as it does in logic. Reason tells us that two things, different in location, different in constitution, different in origin, and different in purpose cannot possibly be equal. History has verified this conclusion. For nearly a century now the State of Mississippi has been under a supposedly separate but equal system. Let us ask ourselves, does the history of the system support the theory of the segregationists or the theory of the integrationists? What segregationist in his right mind would honestly claim that the facilities for the two races are equal? Still segregationists say, give us a little more time, we are really making progress. Perhaps they are making progress of some kind, but human life is not long enough to extend their time. They have had nearly a hundred years to prove their theory, and so far they are no closer to proof than when they began.

The differences which we now have over this matter of segregation versus integration have, unfortunately, been characterized by some as a mortal contest between out-side agitators and-or Communists, and peaceful, law-abiding citizens. This is furthest from the truth. The question is whether or not citizens of the same country, the same state, the same city, shall have equal opportunities to earn their living, to select the people who shall govern them, and raise and educate their children in a free democratic manner: or whether or not because of the accident of color, one half of the citizens shall be excluded from society as though they had leprosy?

If there is one quality of Americans which would set them apart from almost any other peoples, it is the history of their struggle for liberty and justice under the law. Lincoln has rightly said that this nation was conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Truly, the history of America is inseparable from the ideals of John Locke, John Stuart Mill and Jean Rousseau. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, says our Declaration of Independence, that all men are created equal.” How different that statement is in spirit from the one which says: Before I see my child go to school with a Negro, I will destroy the whole school system. How different in virtue is the statement of Patrick Henry which says, “I know not what course others may take, but as for me give me liberty or give me death,” and the one which says, before I see a Negro with liberty I had rather see him dead.

I find it indeed interesting that the people who come closest to the thinking of Fascists and Communists in their activities should accuse the integrationists of that very thing. Is it the segregationists or the integrationists who are employing secret investigators to search the records and to apply pressure on any one suspected of opposing the present dictatorship of the minority by the majority? Is it the segregationists or the integrationists who are preaching the doctrine of the superiority of one race over another? Is it the segregationists or the integrationists who are dogmatically suppressing the aspirations of nearly half the people of this great state for their inalienable right to participate in their government?

The segregationists give as their reason for not allowing Negroes to participate more fully in the general community activities that ninety-five percent of the Negroes are not interested, which would leave only five percent of the Negroes are interested. Now, assuming that their statement is correct, and knowing that no person nor group of people in the United States has the right to forbid even one single person his constitutional rights, what accounts for their actions? Some declare that the northern states can permit integration because they have only a few Negroes, but the South can’t do that because the South has so many Negroes. Well, according to their own estimates, only five percent of the Negroes in the South are interested in the general community activities, and five percent of the Negroes in any community would certainly not weigh very heavily in any critical issue even if we were to assume that they would all vote the same way. On the other hand, if a majority of the Negro people in this State desires to participate to the fullest extent in the general community activities and are being forbidden to do so either through fear or ignorance, then the segregationists of this State are guilty of one of the strangest and probably the most tragic dictatorships yet recorded by history.

It is an easy matter, I suppose, for White people to misunderstand the aspirations of Negroes; this is understandable. But we have no desire for revenge in our hearts. What we want is to be respected as men and women, given an opportunity to compete with you in the great and interesting race of life. We want your friends to be our friends; we want your enemies to be our enemies; we want your hopes and ambitions to be our hopes and ambitions, and your joys and sorrows to be our joys and sorrows.

The big question seems to be, can we achieve this togetherness in our time? If the segregationists have their way we shall not. For instead of preaching brotherly love and cooperation they are declaring the superiority of one race and the inferiority of the other. Instead of trying to show people how much they are alike, they are busy showing them how much they differ. Instead of appointing a commission to study the problem to determine whether integration or segregation is the best policy for Mississippi at this time, they appointed a commission to try to maintain segregation at all cost whether it is the best policy or not the best policy.

In this matter I like to quote from the great Indian leader, Mahatma Gandhi, in his discourse on the existence of God. He says: “In the midst of death, life persists; in the midst of untruth, truth persists; in the midst of darkness light persists.”

So, let it be, in our case.

Respectfully submitted,

Clyde Kennard

The powerful Mississippi Sovereignty Commission (headed by a former FBI agent, Zack J. VanLandingham) , a state agency created after Brown v. Topeka Board of Ed., whose purpose was to preserve segregation as they tracked any "threats" or potential threats against the white hierarchy firmly entrenched in the state) was not happy. They began to investigate Kennard, calling him a "race agitator," for anything they could find that would sabotage his latest application to the college - anything from his past employment, military, personal or financial life history that could be used against him.  Much to their chagrin, the Commission could find nothing in Clyde's history that could be used to keep him out of the college or used to deny his application.

The Governor was dismayed but VanLandingham was not through yet. Vanlandingham tried to manipulate Clyde by having "conservative black educators" dissuade Clyde from pursuing his application at Mississippi Southern - Clyde would not budge.  The governor tried by offering him free tuition at any out-of-state college of his choosing, but Clyde insisted he wanted to be with his family, and, again, refused to withdraw. The Governor and the president of the college, McCain, continued their pressure on Kennard and after another private meeting, Clyde agreed to withdraw his latest application but he did not give up his dream.

In the Fall of 1959, Clyde Kennard informed both the president of Mississippi Southern, McCain, and the admissions director Aubrey K. Lucas, that he was re-applying for admissions. When Clyde returned to the admissions office in September, he was told he was missing one transcript from the University of Chicago. Clyde knew this was not true but had to come back later with another copy of the document.

Upon returning to his car to leave, he was met by two Forrest County constables and arrested on the spot for “driving at an excessive speed” and “illegal possession of whiskey.” (the latter was a completely false allegation contrived by the Sovereignty Commission. According to friends, Clyde, as a devout Baptist, never drank). Two weeks later, he was quickly, convicted of both charges, which Clyde appealed going all the way to the US Supreme Court - He was denied even a hearing.

The Sovereignty Commission tracked Kennard's actions and his appeals. In September, 1960, Kennard was arrested once again.


Clyde Kennard was arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit burglary, tried in an all white court and convicted (in a 10 minute deliberation) by an all white jury and sentenced to 7 years in prison. With a felony record, he was no longer eligible to apply or attend any university.

The actual perpetrator of the crime, Johnny Lee Roberts, was let off in a deal made with the prosecutor, in return for his contradictory and false testimony against Kennard. (he later recanted) The actual thief returned to his job at the Cooperative while Kennard was sent to Parchman Penitentiary, a high security prison, and forced to work on the prison’s "sun up to sun down gang" cotton plantation - the worst of the worst in Mississippi.

Even with Medgar Evers, the NAACP, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Dick Gregory and others working tirelessly to get Kennard released; a diagnosis of terminal colon cancer; and the prison doctor's request to the governor for leniency and commutation of Kennard's sentence in order to send Kennard home, (all ignored by Governor Ross Barnett) Kennard was forced back into the fields, even if he had to be carried, in order to "make an example" of him.

The story began to leak out; the press published articles and editorials about Clyde Kennard's plight; protests and actions took place demanding Kennard's release, and in February, 1963, Clyde was finally released to go home.

Too weak to work on the farm; too sick (from neglect, cancer and TB) to even think about college, but  Clyde Kennard refused to openly attack his enslavers.

On July 4, 1963, Clyde Kennard died...a class act until the end; a martyr for the cause; and a hero to the people.

A few days before his death, he wrote, “Ode to the Death Angel” :

Oh here you come again
Old chilly death of Ol'
To plot out life
And test immortal soul

I saw you fall against the raging sea
I cheated you then and now you'll not catch me…

I know your face
It's known in every race
Your speed is fast
And along the way
Your shadow you cast

High in the sky
You thought you had me then
I landed safely
But here you are again

I see you paused upon that forward pew
When you think I'm asleep
I'm watching you
Why must you hound me so everywhere I go?

It's true my eyes are dim
My hands are growing cold
Well take me on then, that
I might at last become my soul

On December 31, 2005, Investigative reporter Jerry Mitchell published an interview with the "witness" to Kennard's crime, now recanting his testimony and clearing Kennard's name.

On May 16, 2006, Clyde Kennard was exonerated in the Circuit Court of Forrest County, Mississippi.

Monday, January 12, 2015

The US House of Representatives passed the Keystone XL Pipeline & so did the Senate - Updated



On January 9, 2015, the US House of Representatives voted, overwhelmingly, to push through the Keystone XL Pipeline.  Every Republican in that House voted for the measure.  28 Democrats joined them in the push.

Below are the names of the Democrats for Ecological Destruction:



On January 13, 2015, the Senate passed the KeystoneXL Pipeline.  Every Republican voted for it, as expected, but the following Independent and Democrats voted for it as well:

Angus King (I- ME),
Michael Bennet (D-CO)
Tom Carper (D-DE)
Bob Casey (D-PA)
Joe Donnelly (D-IN)
Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)
Joe Manchin (D-WV)
Claire McCaskill (D-MO)
Jon Tester (D-MT)
Tom Udall (D-NM)
Mark Warner (D-VA).

Sunday, January 11, 2015

January 11, 2015, 13 years of Guantanamo proving America is NOT exceptional



Today is the 13th anniversary of Guantanamo Bay Detention Center ...




Sadly, most of America will ignore it.

Many in the U.S. still believe Guantanamo houses "the worst of the worst" terrorists thereby justifying the prison's existence..

  • Number of men/boys imprisoned at Guantanamo by the Department of Defense since the prison opened on January 11, 2002: 779
  • 86% were sold to the United States during a time when the U.S. military was offering large bounties for capture; commonly, $5,000 offered per man. (e.g., Offers made by the US to Pakistani and Afghan villagers to turn someone in: "Millions of dollars… Enough money to take care of your family, your village, your tribe for the rest of your life.")
  • Percentage of prisoners captured by American troops: 5%
  • Age of the youngest prisoner ever held at Guantanamo: 13
  • Age of the oldest prisoner ever held at Guantanamo: 89
  • Number of children the U.S. imprisoned at Guantanamo: 21
  • Number of men still imprisoned at Guantanamo as of January 11, 2015: 127
  • The names of those still held and their current "status": 
  • 026 Ghazi, Fahed (Yemen) Cleared for release but held in "conditional detention"
  • 027 Uthman, Uthman Abdul Rahim Mohammed (Yemen) Recommended for continued detention and possible transfer to detention in the U.S. (but determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013); also see: "The Seven Guantánamo Prisoners Whose Appeals Were Turned Down by the Supreme Court"
  • 028 Al Alawi, Muaz (Yemen) Recommended for continued detention (determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013); also see: "The Seven Guantánamo Prisoners Whose Appeals Were Turned Down by the Supreme Court" and "Voices from the Hunger Strike in Guantánamo"
  • 029 Al Ansi, Mohammed (Yemen) Recommended for continued detention and possible transfer to detention in the U.S. (but determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013)
  • 030 Al Hakimi, Ahmed (Yemen) Cleared for release but held in "conditional detention"
  • 031 Al Mujahid, Mahmoud (Yemen) Recommended for continued detention by the task force, but cleared for release by a Periodic Review Board in January 2014
  • 033 Al Adahi, Mohammed (Yemen) Cleared for release but held in "conditional detention"
  • 034 Al Yafi, Abdullah (Yemen) Cleared for release
  • 035 Qader Idris, Idris (Yemen) Cleared for release
  • 037 Al Rahabi, Abdul Malik (Yemen) Recommended for continued detention by the task force, and also recommended for continued detention by a Periodic Review Board in March 2014, he was cleared for release by a second Periodic Review Board in December 2014
  • 038 Al Yazidi, Ridah (Tunisia) Cleared for release
  • 039 Al Bahlul, Ali Hamza (Yemen) Convicted pre-Obama, and given a life sentence, although that conviction was overturned on appeal
  • 040 Al Mudafari, Abdel Qadir (Yemen) Cleared for release but held in "conditional detention"
  • 041 Ahmad, Majid (Yemen) Recommended for continued detention (determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013)
  • 042 Shalabi, Abdul Rahman (Saudi Arabia) Recommended for continued detention (determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013)
  • 043 Moqbel, Samir (Yemen) Cleared for release but held in "conditional detention"
  • 044 Ghanim, Mohammed (Yemen) Recommended for continued detention (determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013)
  • 045 Al Rezehi, Ali Ahmad (aka Ali Ahmad Al Razihi) (Yemen) Recommended for continued detention and possible transfer to detention in the U.S. by the task force, but cleared for release by a Periodic Review Board in April 2014
  • 063 Al Qahtani, Mohammed (Saudi Arabia) Recommended for prosecution by the task force in January 2010, but determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013
  • 088 Awad, Adham Ali (Yemen) Cleared for release but held in "conditional detention"
  • 091 Al Saleh, Abdul (Yemen) Cleared for release but held in "conditional detention"
  • 115 Naser, Abdul Rahman (Yemen) Cleared for release but held in "conditional detention"
  • 117 Al Warafi, Muktar (Yemen) Cleared for release but held in "conditional detention"
  • 128 Al Bihani, Ghaleb (Yemen) Recommended for continued detention by the task force, but cleared for release by a Periodic Review Board in May 2014
  • 131 Ben Kend, Salem (aka Salem bin Kanad) (Yemen) Recommended for continued detention by the task force, and also recommended for continued detention by a Periodic Review Board in May 2014
  • 153 Suleiman, Fayiz (Yemen) Cleared for release
  • 163 Al Qadasi, Khalid (Yemen) Cleared for release
  • 165 Al Busayss, Said (Yemen) Cleared for release but held in "conditional detention"
  • 167 Al Raimi, Ali Yahya (Yemen) Cleared for release but held in "conditional detention"
  • 170 Masud, Sharaf (Yemen) Cleared for release
  • 171 Alahdal, Abu Bakr (Yemen) Cleared for release but held in "conditional detention"
  • 178 Baada, Tareq (Yemen) Cleared for release but held in "conditional detention"
  • 189 Gherebi, Salem (Libya) Cleared for release
  • 195 Al Shumrani, Mohammed (Saudi Arabia) Recommended for continued detention; determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013, his review took place in May 2014, and in October 2014 he was recommended for continued detention
  • 197 Chekhouri, Younis (Morocco) Cleared for release
  • 202 Bin Atef, Mahmoud (Yemen) Cleared for release but held in "conditional detention"
  • 223 Sulayman, Abdul Rahman (Yemen) Cleared for release but held in "conditional detention"
  • 224 Muhammad, Abdul Rahman (Yemen) Cleared for release
  • 233 Salih, Abdul (Yemen) Cleared for release but held in "conditional detention"
  • 235 Jarabh, Saeed (Yemen) Recommended for continued detention and possible transfer to detention in the U.S. (but determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013)
  • 239 Aamer, Shaker (UK-Saudi Arabia) Cleared for release; also see: "10 Years in Guantánamo: British Resident Shaker Aamer, Cleared for Release But Still Held," "EXCLUSIVE: 'I Affirm Our Right to Life': Shaker Aamer, the Last British Resident in Guantánamo, Explains His Peaceful Protest and Hunger Strike" and "EXCLUSIVE: A Demand for 'Freedom and Justice' from Shaker Aamer in Guantánamo"
  • 240 Al Shabli, Abdullah (Saudi Arabia) Cleared for release but held in "conditional detention"
  • 242 Qasim, Khaled (Yemen) Recommended for continued detention (determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013)
  • 244 Nassir, Abdul Latif (Morocco) Recommended for continued detention (determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013)
  • 249 Al Hamiri, Mohammed (Yemen) Cleared for release; also see: "From Guantánamo, An Innocent Man Pleads for Release"
  • 251 Bin Salem, Mohammed (Yemen) Cleared for release but held in "conditional detention"
  • 255 Hatim, Said (Yemen) Cleared for release
  • 257 Abdulayev, Umar (Tajikistan) Cleared for release
  • 259 Hintif, Fadil (Yemen) Cleared for release
  • 309 Abdal Sattar, Muieen (UAE) Cleared for release
  • 321 Kuman, Ahmed Yaslam Said (Yemen) Cleared for release but held in "conditional detention"
  • 324 Al Sabri, Mashur (Yemen) Recommended for continued detention (determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013)
  • 434 Al Shamyri, Mustafa (Yemen) Recommended for continued detention (determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013)
  • 440 Bawazir, Mohammed (Yemen) Cleared for release but held in "conditional detention"
  • 441 Al Zahri, Abdul Rahman (Yemen) Recommended for continued detention (determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013)
  • 461 Al Qyati, Abdul Rahman (Yemen) Cleared for release but held in "conditional detention"
  • 498 Haidel, Mohammed (Yemen) Cleared for release but held in "conditional detention"
  • 506 Al Dhuby, Khalid (Yemen) Cleared for release but held in "conditional detention"
  • 508 Al Rabie, Salman (Yemen) Recommended for continued detention (determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013)
  • 509 Khusruf, Mohammed (Yemen) Cleared for release but held in "conditional detention"
  • 511 Al Nahdi, Sulaiman (Yemen) Cleared for release
  • 522 Ismail, Yasin (Yemen) Recommended for continued detention and possible transfer to detention in the U.S. (but determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013)
  • 535 El Sawah, Tariq (Egypt) Recommended for prosecution by the task force in January 2010, but determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013
  • 549 Al Dayi, Omar (Yemen) Cleared for release but held in "conditional detention"
  • 550 Zaid, Walid (Yemen) Cleared for release but held in "conditional detention"
  • 552 Al Kandari, Fayiz (Kuwait) Recommended for continued detention by the task force, and also recommended for continued detention by a Periodic Review Board in July 2014; also see: "Justice Denied: The Stories of Fawzi Al-Odah and Fayiz Al-Kandari, the Last Two Kuwaitis in Guantánamo," "The Seven Guantánamo Prisoners Whose Appeals Were Turned Down by the Supreme Court" and "Voices from the Hunger Strike in Guantánamo"
  • 554 Al Assani, Fehmi (Yemen) Cleared for release
  • 560 Mohammed, Haji Wali (Afghanistan) Recommended for continued detention and possible transfer to detention in the U.S. (but determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013)
  • 564 Bin Amer, Jalal (Yemen) Cleared for release
  • 566 Qattaa, Mansoor (Saudi Arabia) Cleared for release
  • 569 Al Shorabi, Zohair (Yemen) Recommended for prosecution by the task force in January 2010, but determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013
  • 575 Al Azani, Saad (Yemen) Cleared for release
  • 576 Bin Hamdoun, Zahir (Yemen) Recommended for continued detention and possible transfer to detention in the U.S. (but determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013)
  • 578 Al Suadi, Abdul Aziz (Yemen) Cleared for release but held in "conditional detention"
  • 680 Hassan, Emad (Yemen) Cleared for release
  • 682 Al Sharbi, Ghassan (Saudi Arabia) Recommended for prosecution by the task force in January 2010, but determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013
  • 685 Ali, Abdelrazak (Algeria) Recommended for prosecution by the task force in January 2010, but determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013
  • 688 Ahmed, Fahmi (Yemen) Cleared for release but held in "conditional detention"
  • 689 Salam, Mohamed (Yemen) Cleared for release
  • 690 Qader, Ahmed Abdul (Yemen) Cleared for release
  • 691 Al Zarnuki, Mohammed (Yemen) Cleared for release
  • 694 Barhoumi, Sufyian (Algeria) Recommended for prosecution by the task force in January 2010, but determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013
  • 695 Abu Bakr, Omar (Omar Mohammed Khalifh) (Libya) Recommended for continued detention (determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013)
  • 696 Al Qahtani, Jabran (Saudi Arabia) Recommended for prosecution by the task force in January 2010, but determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013
  • 702 Mingazov, Ravil (Russia) Recommended for prosecution by the task force in January 2010, but determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013
  • 708 Al Bakush, Ismael (Libya) Recommended for continued detention (determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013)
  • 728 Nassir, Jamil (Yemen) Cleared for release but held in "conditional detention"
  • 753 Zahir, Abdul (Afghanistan) Recommended for prosecution by the task force in January 2010, but determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013
  • 757 Abdul Aziz, Ahmed Ould (Mauritania) Cleared for release
  • 760 Slahi, Mohamedou Ould (Salahi) (Mauritania) Recommended for prosecution by the task force in January 2010, but determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013
  • 762 Obaidullah (Afghanistan) Recommended for prosecution by the task force in January 2010, but determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013; also see: "U.S. Investigation in Afghanistan Clears Obaidullah, an Afghan Still Held in Guantánamo" and "Voices from the Hunger Strike in Guantánamo"
  • 768 Al Darbi, Ahmed Mohammed (Saudi Arabia) Recommended for prosecution by the task force, he was charged and accepted a plea deal in February 2014, even though he had been determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013
  • 836 Saleh, Ayoub Murshid Ali (Yemen) Recommended for continued detention (determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013)
  • 837 Al Marwalah, Bashir (Yemen) Recommended for continued detention (determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013)
  • 838 Balzuhair, Shawki Awad (Yemen) Recommended for continued detention (determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013)
  • 839 Al Madhwani, Musa’ab (Yemen) Recommended for continued detention (determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013); also see: "The Seven Guantánamo Prisoners Whose Appeals Were Turned Down by the Supreme Court"
  • 840 Al Maythali, Hail Aziz Ahmed (Yemen) Recommended for continued detention (determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013)
  • 841 Nashir, Said Salih Said (Yemen) Recommended for continued detention (determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013)
  • 893 Al Bihani, Tawfiq (Saudi Arabia) Cleared for release but held in "conditional detention"; also see: "The Seven Guantánamo Prisoners Whose Appeals Were Turned Down by the Supreme Court"
  • 975 Karim, Bostan (Afghanistan) Recommended for continued detention and possible transfer to detention in the U.S. (but determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013)
  • 1017 Al Rammah, Omar (Zakaria al-Baidany) (Yemen) Recommended for continued detention and possible transfer to detention in the U.S. (but determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013)
  • 1045 Kamin, Mohammed (Afghanistan) Recommended for continued detention (determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013)
  • 1094 Paracha, Saifullah (Pakistan) Recommended for prosecution by the task force in January 2010, but determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013
  • 1119 Hamidullah, Haji (aka Ahmid Al Razak) (Afghanistan) Recommended for continued detention and possible transfer to detention in the U.S. (but determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013)
  • 1453 Al Kazimi, Sanad (Yemen) Recommended for prosecution by the task force in January 2010, but determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013
  • 1456 Bin Attash, Hassan (Saudi Arabia) Recommended for prosecution by the task force in January 2010, but determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013
  • 1457 Sharqawi, Abdu Ali (Yemen) Recommended for prosecution by the task force in January 2010, but determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013
  • 1460 Rabbani, Abdul Rahim Ghulam (Pakistan) Recommended for prosecution by the task force in January 2010, but determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013
  • 1461 Rabbani, Mohammed Ghulam (Pakistan) Recommended for prosecution by the task force in January 2010, but determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013
  • 1463 Al Hela, Abdulsalam (Yemen) Recommended for continued detention and possible transfer to detention in the U.S. (but determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013)
  • 10011 Al Hawsawi, Mustafa (Saudi Arabia) Recommended for prosecution, he was charged and pre-trial hearings are underway
  • 10013 Bin Al Shibh, Ramzi (Yemen) Recommended for prosecution, he was charged and pre-trial hearings are underway
  • 10014 Bin Attash, Waleed (Saudi Arabia) Recommended for prosecution, he was charged and pre-trial hearings are underway
  • 10015 Al Nashiri, Abd Al Rahim (Saudi Arabia) Recommended for prosecution, he was charged and pre-trial hearings are underway
  • 10016 Zubaydah, Abu (Palestine-Saudi Arabia) Recommended for prosecution by the task force in January 2010, but determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013
  • 10017 Al Libi, Abu Faraj (Libya) Recommended for prosecution by the task force in January 2010, but determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013
  • 10018 Al Baluchi, Ammar (Ali Abd Al Aziz Ali) (Pakistan-Kuwait) Recommended for prosecution, he was charged and pre-trial hearings are underway
  • 10019 Isamuddin, Riduan (Hamlili) (Indonesia) Recommended for prosecution by the task force in January 2010, but determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013
  • 10020 Khan, Majid (Pakistan) Recommended for prosecution, he accepted a plea deal in February 2012
  • 10021 Bin Amin, Modh Farik (Zubair) (Malaysia) Recommended for prosecution by the task force in January 2010, but determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013
  • 10022 Bin Lep, Mohammed (Lillie) (Malaysia) Recommended for prosecution by the task force in January 2010, but determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013
  • 10023 Dourad, Gouled Hassan (Somalia) Recommended for continued detention and possible transfer to detention in the U.S. (but determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013)
  • 10024 Mohammed, Khalid Sheikh (Pakistan-Kuwait) Recommended for prosecution, he was charged and pre-trial hearings are underway
  • 10025 Malik, Mohammed Abdul (Kenya) Recommended for continued detention (determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013)
  • 10026 Al Iraqi, Abd Al Hadi (Iraq) Recommended for prosecution and charged, even though he had been determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013
  • 3148 Al Afghani, Haroon (Afghanistan) Recommended for prosecution by the task force in January 2010, but determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013
  • 10029 Rahim, Muhammad (Afghanistan) Recommended for continued detention and possible transfer to detention in the U.S. (but determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013)
  • Number of prisoners serving sentence after military commission proceedings: 3
  • Number of prisoners the U.S. has said it lacks evidence to prosecute but claims are too dangerous to release: 46

  • More men (9) have died at Guantánamo than have been convicted (8) by the military commissions.
  • Number of Guantanamo prisoners convicted by illegitimate military commissions: 8
6 of these convictions were obtained through plea deals
1 of those convictions was in a contested trial
1 defendant chose not to participate in his trial
4 of those convicted have already been transferred home and 4 remain in detention
Number of Guantanamo prisoners transferred for prosecution in federal court: 1
  • Prisoners who have died in custody: 9
7 by "apparent suicide," though this is highly questioned (See Joseph Hickman's account)
1 as a result of an apparent heart attack
1 of cancer
The youngest death by apparent suicide at Guantanamo was Yassser Talal Al Zahrani who was captured at age 16 and died at age 21.
  • Number of FBI agents who reported abusive treatment of Guantanamo prisoners: More than 200
  • Number of military prosecutors who resigned or requested reassignment as of September 2008 because of concerns that the Guantanamo military commissions were unjust: 7
  • Number of prisoners tortured in CIA secret prisons overseas before transfer to Guantananmo: At least 26
  • Longest Hunger Strike by prisoner: 8 years and still going
  • Number of terrorism suspects prosecuted in federal court since 9/11: More than 500
  • Amount spent to run the Guantanamo military commissions in 2013: $116.3 million.
  • Number of  senior government officials have been held accountable for the wrongful detention and torture at Guantánamo: 0
  • It now costs $454 million per year to keep Guantánamo open. The Pentagon will have spent $5.242 billion on the prison by the end of 2014.

    Today's cost to abuse, imprison, and deny basic human rights (and all civil rights), of those left to languish in Guantanamo, goes way beyond the taxpayer's cost of upkeep, guards and housing of America's hostages.  It will cost billions of dollars in continued terrorist acts by those incited by the simple fact of Guantanamo; it will continue to cost the lives of innocents caught in the crossfire between the imperialism of America and the extremists created by that imperialism; it will continue to destroy any attempt at "good will", peaceful co-existence, and global harmony we, as a nation, claim to desire.

    As long as it remains open, Guantanamo Bay Detention Center will continue to shout to the universe that America is not exceptional and those of us in America are anything but exceptional - we continue to ignore it, justify its existence, and allow it to remain open.  


    This is not the first time I have written about Guantanamo's prison camp.  Sadly, I don't believe it will be the last time.  I will keep writing until America grows a soul and a conscience; Until we finally demand the prisoners at Guantanamo be released or tried fairly; And until that prison at Guantanamo is finally and forever closed.


    Friday, January 2, 2015

    Bill Moyers: Pity the Planet: Environmental Agencies Are Failing Us

    From Bill Moyers:

    Pity the Planet: Environmental Agencies Are Failing Us

    January 2, 2015 by Karin Kamp

    This post first appeared on BillMoyers.com.

    Agencies in charge of implementing environmental laws, like the Environmental Protection Agency, the Forest Service and the Fish and Wildlife Services are meant to represent the public interest -- not corporations and moneyed interests.

    But environmental law expert Mary Christina Wood, author of Nature's Trust, says that's not at all what is happening. As industries work to manipulate the regulatory process to serve their own objectives, "environmental law has become dangerous in the hands of politicized agencies," she says.

    Wood adds: "In the big picture, if we think about it, we wouldn't have polluted rivers, persistent toxins in our blood streams, species going extinct, and we certainly wouldn't be facing climate disruption and a climate emergency if environmental laws had worked."

    Watch a clip:

    Be sure and watch Bill's full interview with Wood on this week's episode of Moyers & Company.


    TRANSCRIPT

    BILL MOYERS: In your book, you perform a fascinating regulatory autopsy. So describe briefly what you found when you opened up those veins.

    MARY CHRISTINA WOOD: Yes, well environmental laws are different. They all say different things. But they all have the same structure, basically. Agencies implement environmental laws, they're given a lot of discretion to make decisions that are technical. They are supposed to represent the public interest and not corporations or moneyed interests in making those decisions. And we the public assume that the agencies are doing the right thing when they're implementing environmental laws.

    BILL MOYERS: And you make the point in here that one agency after another now serves private interests, corporate interests and profit interests more than it does the public interest. Is that right?

    MARY CHRISTINA WOOD: That's right. And it's really not surprising, because industry has every incentive to manipulate the regulatory process to serve its ends. Because regulation costs industry. So industry is constantly knocking at the door, and more often inside the door of the agencies, trying to pressure the agencies in a variety of ways, to issue permits.

    And then what happens is, permits get issued and there's simply no control over most permits at that stage. They are not challenged in court for the most part, judicial challenges are very exceptional. And when judges do look at permits being issued under statutory law, they often give deference to the agencies. And the reason they do this is because courts assume that the agencies are carrying out the public interest, and that they're objective players.

    And that is the mismatch now that we find between the promise of environmental law and the reality of environmental law. Environmental law has become dangerous in the hands of politicized agencies.

    BILL MOYERS: How so?

    MARY CHRISTINA WOOD: Because these agencies have pushed natural systems to their limits. We're seeing massive extinctions, dried up rivers, and climate careening out of control. So we are at a very dangerous situation in this country where the very life systems that support us are now imperiled and in jeopardy.

    BILL MOYERS: What makes you think that the cumbersome court system that we have can save us?

    MARY CHRISTINA WOOD: Well, I've never thought the courts would actually save the day as Superman would. However, we have the government we have. One branch, Congress, has become so purchased by the fossil fuel industry, that it is, it has become dangerous to the citizens.

    Another branch, the executive branch, which oversees all the agencies, they're the ones giving out all the permits. Well, we've only got one other branch of government. And that is the courts. And the courts were set up by the founders of this nation to provide a key check in the system of checks and balances. The idea was that not one branch should turn into a tyranny.

    Which is essentially what we are facing in environmental law. The administrative branch is controlling our resources to the extent, and allowing so much damage, with so little check by the other branches, that it has become close to tyrannical.

    BILL MOYERS: But there's so much noise, not only from the corporate world about the heavy hand of EPA and bureaucracy and there's so much, from the states, there's so much protests about the federal government is running our public lands and keeping us from using them. I mean, it's a surprise to hear you, to read, you describe, and then here you explain, what is a massive dysfunction of environmental regulatory agencies.

    MARY CHRISTINA WOOD: There have been times when environmental groups have engaged environmental law and have stopped damaging projects. And so to that extent, we do hear a lot of noise from industry. But in the big picture, if we think about it, we wouldn't have polluted rivers, persistent toxins in our blood streams, species going extinct, and we certainly wouldn't be facing climate disruption and a climate emergency if environmental laws had worked.

    Producer: Robert Booth. Editor: Rob Kuhns.

    Tuesday, December 30, 2014

    Nature is speaking: "I am nature - I am prepared to evolve....Are you?"




    "Capitalism and the Destruction of Life on Earth: Six Theses on Saving the Humans"
    Sunday, 10 November 2013 00:00
    By Richard Smith, Truthout

    "...on May 10, 2013, scientists at Mauna Loa Observatory on the big island of Hawaii announced that global CO2 emissions had crossed a threshold at 400 parts per million for the first time in millions of years, a sense of dread spread around the world - not only among climate scientists....

    CO2 emissions have been relentlessly climbing since Charles David Keeling first set up his tracking station near the summit of Mauna Loa Observatory in 1958 to monitor average daily global CO2 levels. At that time, CO2 concentrations registered 315ppm. CO2 emissions and atmospheric concentrations have been climbing ever since and, as the records show, temperatures rises will follow. For all the climate summits, the promises of "voluntary restraint," the carbon trading and carbon taxes, the growth of CO2 emissions and atmospheric concentrations has not just been relentless, it has been accelerating in what scientists have dubbed the 'Keeling Curve.'"

    video
    CIRES & NOAA: Time history of atmospheric carbon dioxide

    "Tracing anthropogenic carbon dioxide and methane emissions to fossil fuel and cement producers, 1854–2010"
    22 Nov 2013
    By Richard Heede, Climatic Change
    January 2014, Volume 122, Issue 1-2, pp 229-241:

    Top twenty investor & state-owned entities and attributed CO2 & CH4 emissions:

    2010 emissions
    Cumulative 1854–2010
    Percent of global
    Entity
    MtCO2e
    MtCO2e
    1751–2010
    1. Chevron, USA
    423
    51,096
    3.52 %
    2. ExxonMobil, USA
    655
    46,672
    3.22 %
    3. Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia
    1,550
    46,033
    3.17 %
    4. BP, UK
    554
    35,837
    2.47 %
    5. Gazprom, Russian Federation
    1,371
    32,136
    2.22 %
    6. Royal Dutch/Shell, Netherlands
    478
    30,751
    2.12 %
    7. National Iranian Oil Company
    867
    29,084
    2.01 %
    8. Pemex, Mexico
    602
    20,025
    1.38 %
    9. ConocoPhillips, USA
    359
    16,866
    1.16 %
    10. Petroleos de Venezuela
    485
    16,157
    1.11 %
    11. Coal India
    830
    15,493
    1.07 %
    12. Peabody Energy, USA
    519
    12,432
    0.86 %
    13. Total, France
    398
    11,911
    0.82 %
    14. PetroChina, China
    614
    10,564
    0.73 %
    15. Kuwait Petroleum Corp.
    323
    10,503
    0.73 %
    16. Abu Dhabi NOC, UAE
    387
    9,672
    0.67 %
    17. Sonatrach, Algeria
    386
    9,263
    0.64 %
    18. Consol Energy, Inc., USA
    160
    9,096
    0.63 %
    19. BHP-Billiton, Australia
    320
    7,606
    0.52 %
    20. Anglo American, United Kingdom
    242
    7,242
    0.50 %
    Top 20 IOCs & SOEs
    11,523
    428,439
    29.54 %
    Top 40 IOCs & SOEs
    546,767
    37.70 %
    All 81 IOCs & SOEs
    18,524
    602,491
    41.54 %
    Total 90 carbon majors
    27,946
    914,251
    63.04 %
    Total global emissions
    36,026
    1,450,332
    100.00 %
    Right column compares each entity’s cumulative emissions to CDIAC’s global emissions 1751–2010. Excludes British Coal, whose production and assets have not been attributed to extant companies, and five of nine nation-states (FSU, China, Poland, Russian Federation, and Czechoslovakia, in that order)



    It's not nice to fuck with Mother Nature



    From Conservation International natureisspeaking.org
    Julia Roberts as Nature

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