Yosef Alfredo Antonio ben-Jochannan, known to the African world as “Dr. Ben,” believed that education belonged to any member of his race who wanted it.
Perhaps that was because of the 20th century tradition of ad-hoc “street universities,” with step-ladder orators as varied as Malcolm X and “Porkchop” Davis, a tradition he understood. Perhaps it was because of the racism he experienced as a young Black man studying engineering.
Or perhaps it was because he believed that if his people knew their collective root, their ancient greatness, they would fight for their freedom and achieve it.
Dr. Ben, one of the founding scholars and lecturers in what is now known as Africana Studies, died last week after a long illness. He was 96.
Active for at least 50 years, his death represents another milestone in the slow passing of politically and culturally Black, pre-gentrified Harlem, a fabled place that not only existed in books on Marcus Garvey or the Harlem Renaissance but in reality: the capital of Black (Nationalist) America, where fiery, independent scholars taught classical African history in community meetings and on the local airwaves, shaping those lectures into swords against white supremacy.
Dr. Ben existed and thrived in what could be called The Harlem Century – the time between the too-brief era of the great scholar-activist Hubert Henry Harrison, the street-corner orator known as “The Black Socrates” who publicly introduced Marcus Garvey to its people, and now, the dawning of a new Harlem.
Dr. Ben, one of the founding scholars and lecturers in what is now known as Africana Studies, died last week after a long illness. He was 96.
The man known as Dr. Ben joined his ancestors on March 19, the morning of the first day of the annual meeting of the organization he helped found, the Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations.
“Our people are now safeguarded [in] the after-life by Dr. Ben, Dr. [John Henrik] Clarke, Dr. [Cheikh Anta] Diop, Minister Malcolm X, Elijah [Muhammad], The Honorable Marcus Garvey … and many more of our greats,” announced Leonard Jeffries in a quickly circulated announcement email.
“Though painful, this is a victory, that we had him for 97 plus [sic] years,” continued Jeffries, retired professor of Africana Studies at City College of New York and one of ben-Jochannan’s unofficial aides. “We will be raising monies to make his celebration eloquent and we will message this and the arrangements.”
Jeffries and Professor James Small, another pioneering Africana Studies historian, had been the spokespeople for the ben-Jochannan family and its YouTube public face as his condition worsened. They had updated admirers during the month while maintaining their vigil outside the specialized care unit in the Bay Park Nursing Home in the Bronx, where ben-Jochannan spent his final years.
New York City Council Member Jumaane D. Williams, D-Brooklyn, co-founding member of the council’s Progressive Caucus and a member of the body’s Black, Latino and Asian Caucus, said in a statement that Dr. Ben’s “extensive research on Egypt, Black culture and history gained him notoriety not just among educators but people of color across the world.
Dr. Ben believed that education belonged to any member of his race who wanted it.
“As Dr. Ben once said, ‘Trust is a continuous examination, and fact … always supersedes belief.’ It’s my hope that all New Yorkers remember his prolific, eye-opening legacy and reflect on his thorough work for Afrikan people. We can take solace knowing that he did so much while here and has now joined the ancestors.”
“So much” is an understatement. Dr. Ben educated more than two generations of activists while influencing classical African and Judeo-Christian historiographies and Pan-Africanist thought. He explained how the stories and teachings of Judaism and Christianity, for example, come from ancient Egyptian religious systems that existed thousands of years before the birth of Jesus Christ.
John Henrik Clarke, Dr. Ben, Chancellor Williams
Dr. Ben was Africana Studies way before it was in vogue. He taught at City College andMalcolm-King: Harlem College Extension from the 1950s through the 1970s. In 1976, during the end of the birth of Africana Studies as a formal academic discipline in American universities, he was given an adjunct appointment in the Africana Studies department of Cornell University, where he taught for several years.
He sponsored educational tours to the center of the ancient Black world – Egypt, the Sudan and Ethiopia – for at least three decades. And there and everywhere, the one fact he stressed – that the ancient Egyptians, proud members of the most advanced civilization in the ancient world, as well as the original Jews, were dark-skinned Africans – made him distinctive and beloved in Black radical circles and controversial in white communities.
Among those who followed the “street universities” in Black communities during the 20th century, ben-Jochannan was known as the hardcore, blunt face of African-centered thought to the sometimes more gentle public façade of his longtime friend and oftentimes lecturing partner, John Henrik Clarke.
Both taught members of the Harlem community through ben-Jochannan’s “First World Alliance” lecture series, which operated on weekends from 1977 through the 1990s. The series, which started in ben-Jochannan’s home, was moved to a local church when it grew in popularity.
Dr. Ben was Africana Studies way before it was in vogue.
On the street, in community meetings, in speeches and in articles in Black newspapers and magazines, Dr. Ben was often named in the same breath as Clarke, his fellow historian. But the staunch race-first Garveyite claimed he had strong ideological differences with his longtime broad-based African-centered leftist friend, who died in 1998.
Like Clarke, ben-Jochannan became well known in the New York metropolitan area in the late 20th century because of his many decades of frequent television and radio appearances on 1190 WLIB-AM, then a local Black news-talk radio station, and WABC-TV’s Black public-affairs mainstay, “Like It Is.” He became nationally known via “Nighttalk with Bob Law,” National Black Network’s weeknight public affairs radio program. Like Dr. Ben and Clarke, these forums are either gone or changed in 2015.
Runoko Rashidi and Dr. Ben
Everything about Dr. Ben was worldly, with a tinge of the ancient. The pioneering Egyptologist was born in 1918 in Ethiopia. Ben-Jochannan moved to the United States in 1940, after going to school in St. Croix, Virgin Islands, and universities in Puerto Rico and Havana. He received his Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Havana.
Dr. Ben’s 49 books, pamphlets and academic papers reflect his decades of teaching, research and activism around New York and the world. His most popular ones included “African Origins of Major Western Religions,” “The Black Man and The Nile and His Family” and “We, the Black Jews: Witness to the ‘White Jewish Race’ Myth, Volumes I and II.”
He self-published many of his works, but many eventually got picked up by Black Classic Press, a Baltimore-based independent book publisher of Black-oriented major nonfiction books. These works became underground classics in Black-consciousness settings from the waning days of the Black Power Movement in the late 1970s until today.
Dr. Ben remained a strong race man his entire life. Unlike many Black scholars who donate their papers to places like the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture or the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, in 2002 ben-Jochannan donated his personal library – an estimated 35,000 books, ancient scrolls and manuscripts – to the Nation of Islam.
His long love affair with Harlem was not without hardship. He was assaulted on a Harlem street in 2003, an incident that made national news in Black America. His son Nnandi was shot and killed in Harlem the following year.
He is survived by two daughters, Ruth and Naomi Johannes, and other family members.
Wake and funeral arrangements
Services for Dr. Yosef ben-Jochannan are as follows:
- The wake will be held Thursday, April 9, 4-9 p.m., at Abyssinian Baptist Church, 132 W. 138th St., between Adam Clayton Powell and Malcolm X Boulevards, New York, NY 10030, 212-862-7474.
- The funeral service is Friday, April 10, 9:30-12:30 p.m., at Abyssinian Baptist Church.
- Burial will be in Ferncliff Cemetery, 280 Secor Rd., Ardslay, NY 10530.
Cards and donations should be sent to Dr. Ben’s daughter, Ms. Ruth Johannes, 955 Walton Ave., Suite 2G, Bronx NY 10452.
Todd Steven Burroughs, an independent researcher and writer based in Hyattsville, Md., is the author of “Son-Shine on Cracked Sidewalks,” an audiobook on Amiri Baraka and Ras Baraka through the eyes of the 2014 Newark, N.J., mayoral campaign. He is the co-editor, along with Jared Ball, of “A Lie of Reinvention: Correcting Manning Marable’s Malcolm X” and the co-author, with Herb Boyd, of “Civil Rights: Yesterday and Today.” He can be reached at email@example.com.
San Francisco – A San Francisco sheriff’s deputy who was the subject of a past sexual assault lawsuit has been accused of an array of misconduct, including forcing inmates to fight in gladiator-style matches while he and his colleagues bet on the outcomes, San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi announced Thursday.
At his March 26 press conference, Public Defender Jeff Adachi plays the recording of his interview with Ricardo Palikiko Garcia, a 150-pound Hawaiian and Filipino man, the smallest and only Asian in his pod at San Francisco County Jail, who was forced into gladiator fights with Stanly Harris, a 350-pound African-American man, the largest man in the pod, though neither wanted to fight. Garcia believes the deputies’ intent in forcing the fights was not only to entertain themselves as they gambled but to stir up racial animosity among prisoners. – Photo: Santiago Mejia, SF Chronicle
Adachi launched the investigation, conducted by the independent private investigation firm Simon Associates, after an inmate’s father alerted his son’s public defender to the abuse March 12. Several other inmates subsequently came forward with reports of abuse. The Public Defender’s Office released the report after learning deputies were planning another inmate fight.
Deputy Scott Neu is accused of twice forcing two inmates to fight at the county jail on the seventh floor of 850 Bryant. Both alleged fights took place in March. Inmates Rico Palikiko Garcia and Stanly Harris were promised hamburgers if they won and threatened with mace, handcuffed beatings and transfers to dangerous housing quarters if they refused to fight, according to witnesses interviewed by private investigator Barry Simon.
Both men were injured in the fights but were threatened with beatings if they sought medical treatment.
“These revelations are sickening,” Adachi said. “Deputy Neu forced these young men to participate in gladiator-style fights for his own sadistic entertainment.”
Garcia told Adachi in a recorded interview he believes another motive was also at play. “I feel like they’re trying to stir like a racial, something racial going on because I’m the only one of Asian descent” in an otherwise all-Black pod.
Staged fights between prisoners of different races to aggravate interracial antagonism is reminiscent of thegladiator fights scandal in the California state prison system that made international headlines in the 1990s. Blacks and Latinos were pitted against each other for these frequent spectacles by guards who sometimes shot the “troublemakers.” Not until the Agreement to End Hostilities was issued in 2012 by the state prisoners who organized the 2011 and 2013 hunger strikes was the animosity resolved that had been stirred up by the staged fights.
Neu allegedly paired the smallest man in the living pod to fight the largest. Garcia is 150 pounds and Harris is approximately 350 pounds. Witnesses said he also appeared to delight in humiliating the out-of-shape Harris, forcing the overweight man to perform boot camp-style exercises. Neu allegedly called Harris “Fat Boy” and referred to him as his fighter he was training.
Harris told investigators that Neu has shown him “850 Mob” tattoos that he has on his right arm and lower leg.
Investigators also interviewed witnesses who said Neu regularly forced inmates to gamble for their own possessions and food.
Another inmate, Keith Richardson, reported Neu tried to goad him into fighting another inmate and regularly bullies both inmates and staff so they will not intervene.
The San Francisco County Jail occupies the upper floors of the Hall of Justice at 850 Bryant. San Francisco’s sheriff, district attorney and police chief, as well as its elected public defender, said they are shocked to learn of “gladiator fights” in the local jail. The fights are reminiscent a similar scandal in the state prison system in the 1990s. – Photo: Cindy Chew, SF Examiner
Inmate Jonathan Christopher told the investigator that Neu forced him to clean up human waste and vomit without protective gloves or clothing, while inmate Quincy Lewis told the investigator he witnessed Neu behaving in a way that suggested sexual misconduct with a female jail worker.
Simon, a seasoned investigator, said he was struck by both the consistency in the inmates’ accounts and by the fear they expressed.
It is not the first time Neu has faced public allegations. He was accused in 2006 of forcing both a male and female inmate to perform sexual acts on him. That case was settled out of court.
Chief Attorney Matt Gonzalez of the Public Defender’s Office said law enforcement officers must stop protecting abusive or dishonest colleagues.
“These acts cannot occur without the acceptance of law abiding deputies,” Gonzalez said. “They are complicit by remaining silent.”
Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi condemned the alleged abuse and has relocated the deputies involved in the alleged incidents. Adachi has called for an investigation by state or federal officials.
According to San Francisco Magazine: “Garcia and Harris have been moved to San Bruno, Mirkarimi says. This irked Adachi, who noted that banishment to this facility was one of the purported threats used to goad them into fighting in the first place. He said he may ask for their release as ‘I don’t see how the sheriff can guarantee their safety.’”
Audio: Jeff Adachi interviews Ricardo Garcia
Transcript: Statement of Ricardo Palikiko Garcia
Audio: Jeff Adachi interviews Stanley Harris
Transcript: Statement of Stanley Harris
Public Defender inquiry
Public Defender’s letter to Sheriff re deputies’ misconduct
Tamara Barak Aparton, communications and policy assistant in the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office, can be reached at Tamara.Aparton@sfgov.org. Bay View staff contributed to this story.
Sheriff Mirkarimi condemns misconduct, takes immediate action
by Marc Nicco
S.F. Prisoner Legal Services Directing Attorney Nicholas Gregoratos confers with Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi during a news conference Thursday, March 26, in the Public Defender’s Office about sheriff deputies staging gladiator fights between prisoners for deputies’ entertainment and gambling. – Photo: Santiago Mejia, SF Chronicle
On March 26, 2015, at approximately 9:35 a.m., Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi received a telephone call from Public Defender Jeff Adachi alerting the sheriff to serious allegations of misconduct involving four deputy sheriffs. Sheriff Mirkarimi immediately took swift and decisive action regarding this complaint of intolerable misconduct.
Sheriff Mirkarimi immediately placed the four deputy sheriffs named in this allegation on administrative leave. The San Francisco Sheriff’s Department’s Internal Affairs Unit and command staff responded to County Jail No. 4 to begin an investigation. To ensure greater transparency and accountability, the sheriff is requesting the Department of Justice to conduct an independent investigation into these allegations.
Sheriff Mirkarimi condemns the behavior in these allegations. The sheriff’s primary concern is for the safety and wellbeing of inmates and staff. To that end, he ordered two of the named inmates in the allegation moved to different housing locations.
Sheriff Mirkarimi stated that the Sheriff’s Department will not tolerate misconduct of any kind. All allegations of misconduct are investigated immediately and, if appropriate, prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Sheriff Mirkarimi stated, “I am outraged at the conduct described in these allegations, and my administration is committed to eradicating any behavior that belies the trust in our public servants.”
Mark Nicco, attorney for the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department, can be reached at Mark.Nicco@sfgov.org.
“The right to own property does not extend to the coasts, springs, rivers, water courses, mines and quarries. They are part of the State’s public domain.” – Haitian 1987 Constitution, Section H, Article 36-5.” — See, US to Rewrite Constitution to Better Serve the One Percent by Ezili Dantò of HLLN and The Free Haiti Movement
Hillary and Bill Clinton “opened Haiti” as their private asset to liquidate as they see fit. Photo Source: AP
The Economic Reasons For The US Occupation Of Haiti Behind The UN And NGO Charitable Fronts
(Check back often for updates.)
The Obama Administration got rid of its most powerful Democratic rival with Haiti. Hillary and Bill Clinton “opened Haiti” as their private asset to liquidate. They used the resources of the World Bank, the State Department, USAID, the UN, the Private Military Security Contractors (PMSC), the US military, and the Fed’s passport and visa issuance capabilities. They got kickbacks called “donations,” from anyone who wished to buy, from them, a piece of Haiti’s lands, oil, iridium, uranium or gold. They also took in bribes disguised as “donation” from big businesses, some from offshore Swiss Bank accounts, to assign UN guns subcontracted to PMSCs to secure corporate interests in Haiti. The Clintons have used governmental power to conduct their private business and called it “helping poor Haitians.” The evidence is in the results for Haiti’s poor.
The racket is finally being exposed by some US journalists. But not altogether and not simply because most care to step outside the lucrative dumbing down of America they participate in to expose the uncomfortable truth -the US destruction of the lives and health of the Black people of Haiti. No. We’ve explained the racism, neo-feudalism, cognitive dissonance, imperialism terrors and about the US low intensity warfare in Haiti for decades now. (See, The Pain Rush in Haiti; Haiti Riches, the economic reason for the US occupation of Haiti behind the UN and NGO charitable fronts ; Quiet Genocide in Haiti from FDR to Obama: UN a criminal organization from Lumumba to Aristide and Swapping Haiti lives: Interview on US Haiti Exploits.)
The new “revelations” – they’re “new” because some white guy or gal with privilege newspaper distribution and publishing access, says so. They’re new revelations because the Republicans are getting ready to play their musical chair dance at the false 2016 presidential elections for the false US democracy. They will fuel up on false consternation about how the Clintons enriched themselves on Haiti’s traumas to score political points to fuel their own power-grabs for the presidential seat of power in Washington. (See, Former US Ambassador to Haiti lied, Martelly held a U.S. passport; and the 2004 George W.Bush Bloodbath Brought to Haiti: Coup D’etat Massacres, Victims and Human Rights Abuses.)
Slave Patrol origins of US police & Military . US/UN-trained militarized police in Haiti replaced the old Haiti tonton macoutes and army * Haiti/MINUSTAH-UN troops are the AFRICOM of the Caribbean. US/police/PMSC train them to secure corporate not human rights. Like this.
One reporter duly notedthat it’s not news to the US public that charges of ethical violations are associated with the Clintons. The public is used to:
“the whiff of “Pay to Play” in Clinton World; they’re blind to appearances of impropriety; they feel the rules don’t apply to them; and they aren’t transparent.” (See also, Jan 2015 -Flight logs place Bill Clinton on sex offender’s jet multiple times and Bill Clinton identified in lawsuit against his former friend and pedophile Jeffrey Epstein who had ‘regular’ orgies at his Caribbean compound that the former president visited multiple times and By Ezili Dantò The Western sex push and ethnic cleansing in Haiti)
In 2009, we wrote about the Bill and Hillary many conflicts of interests. One, at the State Department divvying up false aid dollars to beltway NGOs. The other, as UN Special Envoy to Haiti supposedly garnered $3billion in funds for the four back-to-back 2008 hurricanes that killed 3000 Haitians and flooded out the town of Gonaives. Bill Clinton announced he would collect funds to built Gonaives back up and do infrastructure, with flood barriers, embankments and levees against such natural disasters in Haiti. Two years later, by the time of the 2010 earthquake, Gonaives was still in mud and the local residents were asking Ezili’s HLLN to investigate where did the $3billion Bill Clinton collected go to? This was our prelude to what would happen to the earthquake funds under Bill Clinton. No one would listen to ourstory. See, “The Two Most Common Neocolonial Storylines about Haiti, 2007.
In 2011, we again pointed to the stark and unethical Clintons’ conflicts of interests. Asked how would donors know where Bill Clinton would put Haiti funds he collected in the name of quake victims?
Bill Clinton had more Haiti titles and power in Haiti than Haiti’s president. He was the UN Special Envoy to Haiti, the head of the Clinton Foundation, the co-chair of the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission (IHRC). Obama also put him in charge, along with George W. Bush, of the Clinton-Bush Haiti fund. Clinton also directed the Clinton Guistra Sustainable Growth Initiative for Haiti (CGSGI).
Frank Giustra is a member of the Clinton Foundation board and a Vancouver mining magnate. CGSGI was created to conduct “social and economic development programs in parts of the world where poverty is widespread, including Colombia, Peru, Mexico, and Haiti.” All these countries have mining operations in the works. Clinton and Giustra brought in a third investor, the richest man the world, Carlos Slim, who matched their initial $100 million fund. After the 2010 earthquake Clinton, Giustra and Slim established another $20 million fund to finance “small businesses in earthquake-ravaged Haiti.”
Laws against insider dealings and for transparency are raised by these interlocking boards and funds. It is not clear, and one does not know when former president Bill Clinton asks for donation dollars for Haiti earthquake relief and reconstruction whether he was raising monies for the UN country-donor fund as the UN Special Envoy to Haiti and for the IHRC or, for the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, or for the Clinton Foundation, the Clinton Guistra Sustainable Growth Initiative, or the Clinton, Giustra and Slim $20 million fund for Haiti, to name a few blatant conflicts. What’s clear is that even the ethics agreement the Clinton Foundation signed with the Obama administration about not accepting foreign government funds while Mrs. Clinton was Secretary of State was violated. The $500,000 from Algeria for Haitian earthquake relief, violated the ethics agreement with the Obama State Department. But Haitians understand that this earthquake donation is not the only donation the Clintons mishandled. It’s just the only one, so far, that’s noted unethical by the powers-that-be. What about the World Bank, banking over $9 billion and disbursing these foreign government quake funds collected in the name of Haiti, practically at Bill Clinton’s sole discretion while his wife was directing State Department queries about Haiti to the Clinton Foundation?
Probably in violation of Article I, Section 9 of the US Constitution, multinational businesses and foreign countries bought influence in the US and in Haiti by making bribes, disguised as charitable gifts, to the Clinton Foundation.
Little footprint of that $9 billion collected for quake victims by Bill Clinton can be found in Haiti today, other than luxury hotels and a sweatshop for Korean owners, built with monies given for homeless people. The area where the quake happened was not “built back better.” There’s no well-built permanent housing for the victims, no roads, clean water, local food or a reliable supply of electricity. Less than one cent of every dollar went to the Haiti government. The bulk of responsibility lies with the Clintons and the US government that unleashed them onto defenseless Haiti. One at the UN/WB. The other, at the State Department.
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act prohibits ethics violations and bribery of foreign officials. But Bill Clinton made no attempt to conceal his Haiti aid corruption. Neither did US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. They pushed their own Haiti staff members into nominal positions of power to rubber stamp their Haiti edicts. Haiti Prime Minister Gary Conille, who succeeded Jean Max Bellerive as Prime Minister was the chief of staff for Bill Clinton and a U.N. employee at the time. Cheryl Mills, another Clinton staffer also served as the United States’ representative on the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission (IHRC) while Bill Clinton was co-chair of the IHRC with Haiti Prime Minister Jean Max Bellerive.
In 2010, under the tenure of Haiti Prime Minister Jean Max Bellerive when Bill Clinton was named co-chair of IHRC, the State Department, run by his wife, began directing parties interested in competing for Haiti contracts to the Clinton Foundation. The Wall Street Journal, wrote that:
“Being on the right side of Bill matters if you want to benefit from U.S. foreign aid destined for Haiti” wrote the Wall Street Journal.”
A slew of recent articles are detailing how Hillary Clinton used a private email serverfrom her home to conduct State Department business. There’s been consternation over the big backers of the Clinton Foundation with Swiss Bank accounts, and criticisms of the Clinton Foundation for accepting donations from countries that Hillary Clinton dealt with while Secretary of State, including Canada, Algeria, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Iran. The Keystone XL pipeline Canadians who have an important financial stake in Haiti oil, mining and the US occupation in Haiti, also donated to the Clinton Foundation.
Obama’s State Department acknowledged the ethical violation issue with the Clinton Foundation donations. But it’s doubtful that the lawless Obama Administration, authors of the shocking kill list or rule 1021 of the NDAA, will find lawlessness in the Clintons behavior on this matter or on Hillary Clinton’s failure to comply with the Federal Records Act.
What is clear is that the US occupation behind UN and NGO charitable fronts added to Haiti’s suffering immeasurably even before the earthquake. More than 20-thousand Haitians have been killed by the occupation forces since 2004. A UN-imported cholera epidemic has killed over 10,000 Haitians, infected over 850,000. A Ferguson-like Haiti militarized police and a brand new neoDuvalierist dictatorship, with Martelly ruling by decree, has annihilated any “change we can believe in” for a new US-Haiti policy under the Clinton-Obama team.
What’s clear is that, just as Gonaives was not built back for the benefit of the storm victims, neither were the earthquake zones. It’s been eight years since the 2008 storms. The people at Gonaives Haiti are still living in mud and at risked of another flood crisis each hurricane season. Same thing happened with the earthquake billions. The quake monies benefited Clintons’ cronies, the Clinton Foundation big business donors, the Clintons’ luxury spa resort and hotel partners, the military industrial/intelligence complex and the usual Washington beltway bandits, likeChemonics. The holocaust for Haiti continued. What’s worst was the Clintons’ use of shock and trauma – the cataclysmic 2010 earthquake and 2010 UN-imported cholera traumas – to push the 2010 doctored elections down the Haitian people’s throats.
That impossibly flawed election had, by Jan 12, 2015, turned from four years of Martelly circumventing Parliament, to outright dictatorship where he was formally ruling by decree with the approval and international force of the Clintons and theirHollywood image makers. In essence, the Clintons’ fraudulently manipulated horrifying pestilence brought upon the people of Haiti, including the starvation that Bill Clinton apologized for, to enrich themselves, strengthen the US occupation, peddled their US governmental access, their UN-World Bank access for the benefit of their cronies, the Clinton Foundation donors and to better steal Haiti oil, golds, underwater treasures, offshore islands and lands. We’ve written about this at: “Haiti Waking Up 5 Years Later“.
Behind the headlines, Haitians continue to strongly protest the Clintons’ brazen exploitation of US foreign aid and quake donation monies meant for homeless people to enrich themselves and secure a regulatory business environment favorable to foreigners that hurts local Haitians. In 2014, two prominent Haiti lawyers, Newton St. Juste and Andre Michel petitioned Haiti’s Superior Court of Auditors and Administrative Disputes, demanding an audit of Bill Clinton’s management of the IHRC.
Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State helped impose the Martelly dictatorship. US Ambassador to Haiti, Pamela White and US Ambassador to UN Samantha Powers, daily maintain the Haiti terror with UN guns and the NGO charitable fronts
But the forces against justice for Haiti are made to look so overwhelmingly innocent. Nowadays the “good ‘ol” boys are white “just-doing-their-jobs” career chicks with blond or red hair with smiley names like Hillary, Samantha or Pamela.
They can be Cheryl Mills, Susan Rice, Condi Rice or gay, LGBT or straight. Doesn’t matter. They work for the Bush dynasty or for the Clinton/Obama group to install dictatorship in Haiti. The terror they’ve brought to Haiti is as familiar as when FDR was running the first US occupation of Haiti for Woodrow Wilson, or when Harding took it over. The UN is a criminal tool of empire that enjoys the immunity of the corporatocracy to readily swap the lives of the global poor in exchange for funding to keep its career bureaucrats in easy jobs and power. (See also, On UN Jobs-Selling Scandal, UN Tells ICP of Suspensions and Butchers of Haiti masked as the saviors of Haiti.)
Hillary Clinton and the other “smiley faced” career chicks are as complicit in supporting brutal US dictatorship and imperialism worldwide as the Manifest Destiny good ‘ol boys who saw no problem with genocide of indigenous peoples and with making alliances with countries like Saudia Arabia known for violence against women and for denying them many basic freedoms. The new dictatorship and US occupation in Haiti, legitimized with the help of Hillary Clinton, Pamela White, Samantha Powers, Cheryl Mills and Susan Rice, brings proportionally greater violence, hunger, disease, rape and brutality into the lives of Haiti women and children.
For us Haitians, the situation won’t change as long as the American people and schooled peoples worldwide believe that elections, as implemented by the US, actually represents Main Street interests or people values over monopolistic Wall Street profits. The Ndòki forces of empire, responsible for engineering group passivity or to leveraging centuries of African enslavement to angelize whites and demonize Blacks must be structurally decoded and removed.
How the US controls and impoverishes Haiti
The 2004 Bush regime change in Haiti was further institutionalized by the Obama/Clinton maneuvers from 2008 to present. The World Bank, controlled by the US, amended Haiti mining laws. These laws benefit insiders such as, Hillary Clinton’s brother, Larry Rodham, whose VCS Mining-Majescor received one of tworare gold mining licenses. Bill Clinton’s co-chair at the IHRC, Jean Max Bellerive also sits on the board of VCS mining, which landed the rare gold permit in Haiti.
The World Bank did not only rewrite Haiti mining laws but at the same time, invested, through the IFC in Haiti mining. It’s really the US multinational mining companies – through the World Bank/IFC – that are writing Haiti mining laws to mine Haiti’s over $20billion in gold while the people are disenfranchised under the US occupation behind UN guns.
The people of Haiti objected to this, with constant calls for these UN rapes, World Bank rapes, US occupation and re-colonization to stop. But the World Bank ruled they have no say. It doesn’t matter to the imperialist World Bank that besides the economic pillage, gold mining causes severe environmental devastation, not needed in Haiti. The World Bank refused to consider the Haitian communities’ complaint about the new mining law. This mining ruling by foreigners will only bring more painto Haiti. In a recent Letter to World Bank about its accountability, more than 80 organizations from around the world joined with the Haiti Mining Justice Collective, the NYU Global Justice Clinic and Accountability Counsel to demand that the World Bank take responsibility for its actions in Haiti.
Will the World Stop the Clintons: End the US occupation of Haiti behind UN mercenary guns and the NGO charitable fronts?
Hillary Clinton, in the middle of managing the crisis in Egypt, finished interviews on the Sunday morning news shows and immediately flew to Haiti where she insisted Michell Martelly, who had not scored to be included in the run-offs, be included in the run-offs for the sham 2010 elections. Hillary Clinton and her Cheryl Mills’ acolytes brought intense U.S. pressure to bear on the Haitian government and Electoral Council to comply, including, revoking the visas of several Haitian officials she felt were not complying, prematurely announcing the election dispute was over, threatening to cut off aid if the doctored elections and OAS ruling to advance Martelly to the second rounds were not accepted by Haiti. According to special representative of the OAS, Ricardo Seitenfus, the internationals’ “Core Group” for Haiti, even threatened to forcibly remove Haiti president Preval if he didn’t comply and put Martelly in the elections. Seitenfus exposed the international meddling in Haiti in general, and by MINUSTAH and NGOs in particular. Then, the US-installed Michel Martelly ruled against Haiti Parliament prohibitions giving Hillary Clinton’s brother a rare license to exploit Haiti’s over $20 billion in gold.
Meanwhile, Bill Clinton, as UN envoy to Haiti, brought in the World Bank to replace the UN’s regular banker. Bill Clinton with Paul Farmer’s partner at the World Bank, worked to take in all quake monies to increase white foreign presence in Haiti and to create infrastructure for the mining and oil magnates magnates in the North where there was no earthquake, calling it “Caracol jobs” for the people of Haiti. The Clinton used their star power to bring Hollywood with them to celebrate their Haiti sweatshop. (See also, Haiti: Foreign Investment means Death and Repression: A Historical Perspective and Oil in Haiti and Oil Refinery – an old notion for Fort Liberte as a transshipment terminal for US supertankers)
The World Bank privately invested in Haiti’s gold through its for-profit affiliate and used US/UN/PMSCs military guns in Haiti and the NGO charitable fronts to forciblyamend Haiti constitution and Haiti’s laws with a new mining law favorable to the Clinton brother ilks, the mining and oil magnates. In exchange, the mining magnates and other corporations, buying influence in Haiti, gave 100s of millions in kickbacks as “donation” to the Clinton Global Foundation. Meanwhile, Haitians have no sovereignty. Bill Clinton apologizes for destroying Haiti local agriculture with US subsidies to big Arkansas agro-business while Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State brought in Monsanto as a “gift” to Haiti agriculture! Haitians die from UN-imported cholera, quake ravages, UN brutality and rapes. The Clintons provided the traumatized Haiti poor with cholera insurance for destitute Haiti market women to purchase and formaldehyde-laced trailers left over from Katrina.
The Aid Racket: Food Aid and promoting hunger as a Weapon
The World Bank Thievery in Haiti
The World Bank, for its part, brings death to Haitians in various ways besides its traditional endless debts that replaced Haiti’s Independence Debt to perpetually feed the corporatocracy.
It’s graduated to helping US/Clintons/Bushes collect earthquake funds to finance infrastructure for multinational mining magnates and oil barons instead of permanent housing for quake victims. Then uses US military occupation as opportunity toinvest in Haiti mining and changes the Haiti mining laws to benefit itself. While the UN brings death through importing UN-cholera and a closed society to Haiti. But does the world care? Oh no. The corporate media focuses everyone on ISIL, Ukraine, Ebola, new wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, et al. While, right here in the Western Hemisphere the greatest terror against an un-armed people, the least violent peoples in the Caribbean and an impoverished, traumatized people without an army, goes unabated.
The World Bank, controlled by the US, also insisted on collecting the Haiti quake donation dollars at the UN. This was supervised by Bill Clinton. This was unprecedented, in the entire history of the UN, as the UN has the UNDP as its own banker that traditionally holds such funds. This duplicity and theft which raised no ruckus allowed both the World Bank and the UN’s banker to pocket an “administrative fee” off the top, from every quake dollar meant for homeless and traumatized Haiti quake victims. We’re told, though we’d like more verification that the fee taken off the top, was 7% or so, by each of these entities (that’s 7% each received of $13 billion in quake dollars.)
There are no laws for the lawless US and their UN-NGO charitable fronts in Haiti. They’re above all laws, all civility – some are obviously brainwashed and engineered to be as depraved and inhumane as their handlers’ wish. No one in power lifts not even a token protest. The UN Security Council is in on the rape. Samantha Powers recently led the UN Security Council visit to Haiti to reinforce the Martelly dictatorship. US Ambassador Pamela White, if she could get away with it, would sign the name of every Haiti Parliamentary member to whatever document the US wants to have a Haiti signature for. She’s been spotted at midnight Parliamentary meetings she’s called to order, working her blackberry to get protesting Haiti parliamentarians to her confab. See, Haiti Message to US Ambassador Pamela White: Stop Blocking Removal of Corrupt Martelly-Lamothe Regime.
Dominican Republic is also not benefiting from foreign mining.
#We Are All Dominicans. Condemn the racist mob lynching of Haiti man in the Dominican Republic. Justice for Tulile
The foreign gold mining exploitation in the Dominican Republic is also not benefiting its people. When the Dominican poor and Haiti poor collide, the instability flames benefit the US-Euro corporatocracy taking advantage of both nations. To that end the US authorities have pushed Haiti quake construction work that’s not gone to the Washington beltway hoards, not to local Haiti construction firms, but to enrich corrupt Dominican Republic politicians like Senator Felix Bautista. The Obama Administration has also ignored the 2013 DR court ruling that denationalized over 2o0,ooo Dominicans of Haitian descent and, instead, placed new homeland security guards at the border to inflame both sides of the island as pawns in their colonial games.
Pushing racism helps inept DR state authorities scapegoat Haitians for the country’s economic problems instead of neoliberal economics, unfair trade, privatization of public assets, colonialism, Barrick Gold, their corrupt oligarchs or colonial politicians.
Although DR cultural hatred for their own African blood is real, both peoples are also pawns in the colonial game of conquest. Despite the dangers, Haiti migrants flood into the DR as well as the open seas to escape the US occupation and new dictatorship making it harder and harder to breathe in Haiti. This exacerbates an already historical issue of racism in the DR as well as legitimate concerns to control their borders. The ensuring violence kills more Haitians and gives the US-UN military another pretext for destroying both countries for the benefit of mining heavyweights like Barrick Gold, which is exploiting DR gold, leaving the environment ravaged, the DR people sickened from poisoned water and skin rashes. Haiti already has enough pain from UN cholera, skin rashes from tear gas and foul water thrown at human rights demonstrators by the US-trained militarized police. The Clintons’ mining contracts, World Bank mining laws imposed on Haiti with the continuing US occupation, promises more environmental costs – higher levels of lead, sulphur, cyanide and zinc poisoning, more pain rush and poverty for the poor.
The mining area in Haiti’s North lies on a quake fault line. There are already questions about whether mining and oil drilling behind UN/US guns triggered the Haiti earthquake in 2010? Not to mention if the building of the largest US-embassy compound in the Western Hemisphere and the US underground tunnel-diggings did not also trigger the Haiti earthquake?
It’s time for the terror and quiet genocide in Haiti to stop. For the assets of Haiti to be properly used to better the lives of local Haitians. It’s time to stop the use of the US military and charitable fronts to provide corporate welfare to the Bush and Clinton Wall Street corporatocracy. During the 2008 presidential elections, Republican presidential candidate John McCain got no pushback whatsoever for heading the International Republican Institute (IRI) which played a pivotal role in ousting Haiti’s democratically elected government in George Bushes’ 2004 Regime change. The Clintons hammering the McCain nail stuck in Haiti’s back with Martelly’s cholera democracy probably will not raise more than an eyebrow during this 2016 upcoming US presidential charade. It would be nice to be proven wrong.
TDK, which originally stood for Those Damn Kids, describing Mike “Dream” Francisco’s crew, later morphed into Tax Dollars Kill as Mike matured. His surviving murals are strictly off-limits to tagging by other graffiti writers.
by The People’s Minister of Information JR
In 1988, when I was 10 years old, I had my first run-in with the police. It was in an apartment complex I lived in in Alameda known as the Buena Vista apartments aka the BVs. I got caught with $200 in illegal fireworks: bottle rockets, firecrackers, flowers, roman candles and M-80s. I was hustling them to other pre-teens and teens in the area, right before the 4th of July.
My supplier was a Filipino guy about eight or nine years older than me named Mike Dream, who lived on the other side of the apartment complex. Since he was Asian, he could buy illegal fireworks in Oakland Chinatown legally and then resell them.
Years earlier my family had met Mike, after his brother Lil John and his crew used to breakdance in front of my patio with radios and linoleum. My mother and her new husband would spend anywhere from $500 to $1,000 with Mike a week.
After getting the fireworks in Alameda, they would resell them for a profit on the streets of East Oakland to my uncles who, at the time, were drug dealers. That is the story of how I came to know Mike Dream, the legendary TDK Bay Area graf artist, who was also affiliated with the legendary Hobo Junction Hip Hop crew.
Mike Dream’s brother Lil John with a TDK mural
In ‘99-2000, I saw Mike at an event at the Malonga Center in downtown Oakland. By this time he was already a legend on the Bay Area graf scene. David Johnson of the San Quentin 6 tried to introduce us, not knowing that at that point we had known each other for well over a decade and a half.
Mike Dream told me that he was happy to see me getting political. At the event, we vowed to hook up. I later heard that he was shot dead on a street in West Oakland.
Filmmaker Pendarvis Harshaw was a teenager when I met him on his way to Howard University. Years earlier I had mentored his running buddy Jesus El and talked extensively to both of them about the need for Black journalists. Pendarvis took the info and ran with it, eventually graduating with a master’s degree in journalism from UC Berkeley.
Check out Pendarvis Harshaw in his own words as he talks about Mike Dream, TDK and “The Dream Kontinues” documentary.
M.O.I. JR: What made you want to do a documentary about the legendary Bay Area graf artist Mike Dream?
Pendarvis: My movie opens with a shot of the old Menlo Hotel, a spot on 13th and Webster in downtown Oakland. That’s where I used to live.
On the side of the building, there was a small mural on some plywood. I simply wanted to know the story behind it. I wanted to know who did it, why they did it and what it meant – and how graffiti was viewed by people in Oakland. And I got mixed reviews: To some people, it’s an eyesore. To others, it’s a sight for sore eyes.
M.O.I. JR: Who is Mike Dream to the local region?
Pendarvis: Mike “Dream” Francisco is one of the first internationally known muralists from Oakland. He was one of the founding members of TDK; a group that started off as some high school trouble makers and grew into a posse that still paints to this day – now they paint legal, commissioned murals. They started off as Those Damn Kids; now they represent the dream kontinuing.
M.O.I. JR: What happened to him? When?
Pendarvis: What happened? I guess you’re talking about his death, right? Well, after Mike Dream made his name on the walls of a train yard over near 23rd Ave in East Oakland – after he had tasted stardom – he was featured in magazines and traveled on the strength of his art.
Mike Dream was killed in what has been reported as a robbery. It happened in West Oakland. He was 30.
His son had just been born months earlier, too. Today, his son is a high school football playing-skateboarding-cool kid who is also a member of TDK; you know he represents the dream kontinuing.
M.O.I. JR: What exactly does “TDK: The Dream Kontinues” analyze?
Pendarvis: Before we get to the story of Mike Dream and TDK, the film starts off by analyzing the cat and mouse relationship between graffiti artists, or “writers” as they call themselves, and City abatement workers. Without graffiti removal efforts of the City, the young taggers wouldn’t have a fresh canvas to test their skills in hopes of growing to the status of a top artist with a name that rings bells in certain circles, like King Fresh, Vogue or Dream – all of whom are referenced in the film.
M.O.I. JR: How has the community that knew Dream responded?
Pendarvis: It’s been cool to see. I’ve met Asian folks from Alameda who knew Dream back in the day, and they’ve thanked me for making the film about their old friend. I’ve also shown it to my older homie, Black dude from Richmond, and he was brought back to his days as a kid – when he got his shirts airbrushed by Dream at Hilltop.
I showed it to my teacher who didn’t know him at all, and she was fascinated – ended up writing an article about it in National Geographic. And most importantly, TDK has given me good feedback. There are a couple of notes I left out and things I glazed over, but you can only fit so much in a 20-minute film.
M.O.I. JR: How has his graf family TDK responded?
Pendarvis: Again, TDK has shown nothing but love. John, Dream’s brother, has been the coolest. Akil, Dream’s son – I’ve been to one of his football games. I stay in contact with a couple members of the crew now – shout out to Spie, Amend and the crew over at Five & Dime Tattoo parlor.
M.O.I. JR: How does it feel to be accepted into the Oakland International Film Fest?
Pendarvis: It feels good. It’s my first screening at a film festival. I’ve held a couple smaller community screenings, but this will be the biggest audience. I’m hoping that they’ll enjoy my thesis project as much as my professor did; at least this time I’m not nervous – I don’t have a degree on the line, just praise from the film fest folks. Being accepted is praise in itself.
“TDK: The Dream Kontinues” will screen in the Oakland International Film Fest on opening night, Thursday, April 2, ’15, at the Grand Lake Theater in Oakland between 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. It will also run earlier that day, at 12-2 p.m. at the Bal Theater in San Leandro. Check oiff.org for more information.
The People’s Minister of Information JR Valrey is associate editor of the Bay View, author of “Block Reportin’” and “Unfinished Business: Block Reportin’ 2” and filmmaker of “Operation Small Axe” and “Block Reportin’ 101,” available, along with many more interviews, at www.blockreportradio.com. He can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.