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Written by Apollonia Jordan    Thursday, 28 July 2016 17:28    PDF Print E-mail
The psyche of a sexually abused child: Why children may protect the cops who abuse them

Family therapist Phyllis Haugabook talks about the effects of sexual abuse on children


A disgusting underage sex scandal involving Bay Area police officers has caused embarrassment to the entire Bay Area police force! Local media has twisted the story of a young woman whose street name is Celeste Guap as a means to criminalize her and uplift the animals who sexually and maliciously abused her. Children who have been taken advantage of sexually at the hands of an adult are all victims and need to be treated as such!

This ongoing scandal has caused the community to lose respect and trust for the work and prestige of these officers. The same officers assigned to protect and serve participated in sexually abusive behavior. This monstrous behavior not only denounces the positive work of these officers but also degrades the entire Bay Area police force.

Phyllis Haugabook MFT

Phyllis Haugabook MFT

The officers involved in this sort of behavior lack dignity and have disgraced our community by failing to protect our children! By taking advantage of Celeste, these officers have stripped her youthful body of its innocence. Police officers who commit these sort of crimes, utilizing violence and intimidation to control the lives of their victims, have no place on the police force and should be stripped of their badges!

In hopes of getting people to understand the mind and psyche of a sexually abused minor, I took a moment to speak with child psychologist Phyllis Haugabook. Phyllis is a therapist who has worked with sexually, mentally and physically abused children for over 17 years.

Many of the children she has worked with have been victims of sex trafficking, prostitution, abuse and molestation. Listen to what she has to say about the effect sexual abuse has on the psyche of the child and why so many sexually abused children often protect their abusers.

Children who have been taken advantage of sexually at the hands of an adult are all victims and need to be treated as such!

Apollonia: Tell me about your experience working with children who have been molested and victims of sexual abuse at the hands of adults.

Phyllis: I’ve been a licensed family therapist for 17 years. I started working with children in group homes prior to and after receiving my BS in psychology. I then received my MA in marriage family therapy and counseling.

I started working in group homes for about seven years prior to that. I worked with children who have been abused sexually, mentally and physically. During this time, I built relationships with these children; many of them didn’t have families.

These kids who I counsel many times come from group homes and are already very emotionally disturbed. Being a Black therapist, I often dealt with the Black and minority children due to the lack of minority therapists in this field.

Apollonia: What is your perspective on children and families of abused children?

Phyllis: From a clinical perspective, it is important to note that many of the parents of these children who are molested don’t know themselves that the child is being sexually abused. As a therapist, I can’t break confidentiality.

If a child opens up to me about being sexually molested in one of our sessions, I am court appointed to report any abuse; however, I am unable to share this information with the child’s parent. I have to work with the family and figure out a way for the child or teen to bring this horrific information out into the open. A lot of times it is not a stranger; a lot of times it is a family member.

Each time, it is a person who has mastered manipulating the child and stealing their innocence. A lot of times, it is the parent themselves – or a grandparent, an uncle or a neighbor. So it’s very difficult for the abused child to talk about this because their abuser is well known to them. Often times the family knows this person or they are a member of their inner circle.

I have to work with the family and figure out a way for the child or teen to bring this horrific information out into the open. A lot of times it is not a stranger; a lot of times it is a family member.

Apollonia: Can you discuss why children who have been sexually molested often go back on their story in order to protect their abuser?

Phyllis: Often times it depends on the reaction of the family. If the family is supportive and is willing to protect the child, then there are steps to be taken in order to get the abuser prosecuted. However, it is not always a slam dunk because what I have witnessed many times in my profession is that many sexually abused children will recant their stories, even lie to protect their abuser.

They’ll say the abuse never happened. Many of the children have been manipulated to believe that it’s their fault or that the abuser is helping them in some way. The perpetrator has convinced the child that they are at fault, or they frighten the child with threats of killing them and their family; so the child changes their story.

This happens a lot of times, so it makes it difficult for the abused child to become healed. Once the child recants the story, the family and the community are looking at the child like they are lying.

What I have witnessed many times in my profession is that many sexually abused children will recant their stories, even lie to protect their abuser.

When kids get molested, they have to go through a sexually abused trauma interview and the family doesn’t have any control over the interview. So when the child recants their story, the family often stops being supportive.

And I want people to know that this is a time when the child needs the most support from their family. Tell the child that they are not at fault and will be safe from any harm again, then take the necessary steps to ensure the child stays safe and the perpetrator is prosecuted.

The perpetrator has convinced the child that they are at fault, or they frighten the child with threats of killing them and their family; so the child changes their story.

Apollonia: The young woman at the center of this Bay Area police sex scandal has been recanting her story and protecting these officers who committed these crimes against her as a youth. Can you describe the psyche of an abused child and the importance of them having a support system once they come out about the abuse?

Phyllis: I believe it depends on how people and the community actually respond to the victim. Many victims feel re-victimized because people don’t believe them, and they become treated as if they are liars. Then the victim begins to keep their secret for years and won’t reveal it to anybody.

'God's Favor 4 Teen Girls' by Phyllis Haugabook coverI know a lot of young victims who have kept secrets of sexual abuse hidden for years because the person who abused them is a well-known figure in the community. The victims often feel terrorized and feel if they come out with this information that they won’t have the support and protection from being abused again.

Families often don’t understand the psyche of an abused child; many suffer from depression and anxiety. A lot of times people don’t believe the victim; they say that she wanted this to happen or that it is her fault in some way.

I know a lot of young victims who have kept secrets of sexual abuse hidden for years because the person who abused them is a well-known figure in the community.

If the victim is an older teen or a prostitute is irrelevant! What is relevant is how people respond to the person who is coming forth and the support they receive from their family and the community. Helping the victim obtain counseling is so important, so they can understand that there is a support system in place for them.

These abused women often don’t receive counseling and they are forced to live with these deep dark secrets for years. They feel broken and it’s hard for them to trust the police, social services or the judicial system – especially if the people abusing them are people of power.

Apollonia: Phyllis Haugabook MFT is also the author of the book titled “God’s Favor 4 Teen Girls,” which is a spiritual and therapeutic guide to help young teen girls overcome life’s obstacles and can be purchased online.

Bay Area journalist and longtime Bay View writer Apollonia Jordan can be reached atapollonia@sfbayview.com.



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Written by Gerald A. Perreira    Thursday, 28 July 2016 17:25    PDF Print E-mail
Indeed, Western Civilization is in a war


Republican Newt Gingrich, long known for his fascistic views, recently declared that “Western Civilization is in a war.” Truth be told, he is on solid ground. Indeed, Western Civilization is in a war, a war that has been raging since its inception.

The horrors of war and guilt of killing sear the soul of even the toughest soldier. This is Fallujah, Iraq, in 2007.

The horrors of war and guilt of killing sear the soul of even the toughest soldier. This is Fallujah, Iraq, in 2007.

It has been at war with itself and with the entire non-European world for centuries. Long before anyone heard of Jihadists, Al-Qaeda and ISIL, Western Civilization was at war. Long before Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan, Saddam Hussein in Iraq, Muammar Qaddafi in Libya or Bashar al Assad in Syria, Western Civilization was at war with the entire rest of the world.

Western Civilization has mastered the art and technology of warfare. They are the quintessential warlords, despite the fact that they love to attribute this term to non-European leaders, especially Africans. There is no civilization on the face of this earth that has waged war more relentlessly and permanently than Western Civilization – this is not opinion; it is an indisputable historical fact.

European tribal wars

Newt Gingrich and his kind need to be reminded of the Hundred Years War (1337-1453). This was a European tribal war primarily between the French and the English, with various other European tribes supporting either side. The Hundred Years War claimed the lives of an estimated 3.5 million people.

This U.S. Army National Guard soldier patrolling a village in the Bagram Security Zone of Afghanistan in 2011 doesn’t appear to want to win “enemy” hearts and minds. – Photo: U.S. Army

This U.S. Army National Guard soldier patrolling a village in the Bagram Security Zone of Afghanistan in 2011 doesn’t appear to want to win “enemy” hearts and minds. – Photo: U.S. Army

Then there was the Thirty Years War (1618-1648) involving the majority of European nations. Military historians estimate the death toll to be at least 8 million. Then we had the two great European tribal wars, erroneously referred to as World War 1 and World War 2, in which the colonized were roped in to fighting alongside the various North Atlantic tribes.

Sadly, today many of us are still fighting on the side of the various North Atlantic tribes to further the aims of Empire and in the process subjugate and destroy our own peoples. So-called World War 1 claimed the lives of 38 million people, while the other so-called World War – one of Europe’s most genocidal tribal wars – left more than 60 million dead.

The West turns on the rest

After bleeding themselves for centuries and committing genocide on their own people, they turned on the Indigenous peoples throughout the world, committing an unprecedented act of genocide, and then instigated the horrific Trans-Atlantic trade in captured Africans, resulting in the death of untold millions of Africans. This was a war like no other – a war that is still raging on the streets of every town and city in modern day USA, where the descendants of those captured Africans are routinely gunned down by the police in the streets.

This year alone, U.S. police have killed at least 136 Africans, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile being the latest victims. In 2012, the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement released a report titled “Operation Ghetto Storm,” in which they documented the fact that every 28 hours in 2012 someone employed or protected by the government killed a Black man, woman or child.

Police who hassled Alton Sterling for selling CDs outside a store are caught executing him in a video by the store owner, who had given him permission to sell his CDs. – Screenshot: Abdullah Muflahi

Police who hassled Alton Sterling for selling CDs outside a store are caught executing him in a video by the store owner, who had given him permission to sell his CDs. – Screenshot: Abdullah Muflahi

As Philando Castile lies dying, his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, appeals for help on Facebook livestream. – Screenshot: Diamond Reynolds

As Philando Castile lies dying, his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, appeals for help on Facebook livestream. – Screenshot: Diamond Reynolds

This is none other than a war being waged by white corporate America and its racist institutions on the poor and disenfranchised. Following the fatal shooting of five police officers in Dallas, Texas, on July 7, President Obama had this to say: “There’s been a vicious, calculated and despicable attack on law enforcement … I believe that I speak for every single American when I say that we are horrified over these events and that we stand united with people and the police department in Dallas.”

Despite the fact that many of the Africans shot by police in the U.S. have been executed at point blank range, and that a recent victim, Tamir Rice, was only 12 years old when he was shot to death in a playground, no U.S. president, including Obama, has ever spoken about the killing of Africans in America in this tone, using appropriately harsh words.

And when three more police officers were shot and killed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on July 17, President Obama had this to say: “I condemn, in the strongest sense of the word, the attack on law enforcement in Baton Rouge. For the second time in two weeks, police officers who put their lives on the line for ours every day were doing their job when they were killed in a cowardly and reprehensible assault. These are attacks on public servants, on the rule of law and on civilized society, and they have to stop … And make no mistake – justice will be done.

“We may not yet know the motives for this attack, but I want to be clear: There is no justification for violence against law enforcement. None … These attacks are the work of cowards who speak for no one. They right no wrongs. They advance no causes. The officers in Baton Rouge, the officers in Dallas – they were our fellow Americans, part of our community, part of our country, with people who loved and needed them and who need us now – all of us – to be at our best.”

Anyone reading these statements can see that Barack Obama is clear about whose side he is on in this war. In the face of the horrific statistics regarding the number of Africans shot this year alone by police, let alone decades of police brutality and murder directed against African communities throughout the U.S., Obama deliberately fails to connect the dots. He dare not. As the Black face of white supremacy and Western Civilization’s ongoing war, this White House Negro better keep his story straight and keep to his script.

Barack Obama chalks up major victory

Muammar Qaddafi meets with over 200 African traditional rulers to urge unity, on Aug. 29, 2008. Fear of African unity must have been a major motivator for the invasion of Libya and the murder of Qaddafi, who used Libya’s oil wealth to make unity feasible. – Photo: BBC

Muammar Qaddafi meets with over 200 African traditional rulers to urge unity, on Aug. 29, 2008. Fear of African unity was a major motivator for the invasion of Libya and the murder of Qaddafi, who used Libya’s oil wealth to make unity feasible. – Photo: BBC

After all, during his presidency he chalked up a victory for Western Civilization’s war that compares with few others. He authorized and colluded in the brutal murder of Muammar Qaddafi, one of Africa’s finest leaders. He joined with his Western European allies to destroy Africa’s most prosperous country, in a bid to prevent Libya from leading the entire continent to its long awaited destination of a United States of Africa.

This was a huge moment for Western Civilization’s war effort, since a United States of Africa, with its own currency, backed by its own gold, would have definitely humbled Western Civilization. It would have brought about a cataclysmic shift in global power relations – which is why Muammar Qaddafi was targeted for annihilation.

‘The Returnees’

The two men accused of the police shootings following the killing of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile were both “returnees.” Micah Johnson was a 25-year-old former U.S. Army reservist who had served in Afghanistan, and Gavin Long was a 29-year-old Marine Corps veteran who had served in Iraq. Long received several awards, including the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal and Navy Unit Commendation Medal.

Micah X. Johnson, Gavin Long

Micah X. Johnson, Gavin Long

These two young men were trained to be killers in the ongoing, never ending war waged by Western Civilization. Obama needs to tell us: When U.S. forces bomb wedding parties in Afghanistan and entire apartment blocks in Iraq, killing and maiming men, women, children and the elderly – are these attacks not the work of cowards who speak for no one?

Have these wars waged by Western Civilization righted any wrongs? What causes have been advanced by the unleashing of unimaginable terror and genocide on the populations of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria to name just a few of the most recent targets of Western Civilization’s ongoing war.

We need to remind Newt Gingrich that those he charges with the crime of waging war on Western Civilization – “the terrorists” and so-called “jihadists” – were and continue to be organized, trained, armed and financed by Western Civilization’s intelligence agencies and the intelligence agencies of their allies – Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Pakistan. Let us not forget that Ronald Reagan referred to the “jihadists” who were fighting the Soviet troops in Afghanistan at that time as freedom fighters.

President Ronald Regan meets in the White House with “freedom fighter” Osama bin Laden.

President Ronald Regan meets in the White House with “freedom fighter” Osama bin Laden.

In fact, it was Ronald Reagan who popularized the concept of jihad in Western political circles. These same jihadists were the forerunners of Al Qaeda and ISIL and have been used and manipulated by Western Civilization’s intelligence agencies to fight a number of their dirty wars, leaving behind nothing but mayhem and destruction.

After the defeat of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, the Arabs who fought with the Afghan mujahideen, all of whom were supported and armed by Western Civilization’s various agencies, returned to their respective countries. Armed with their reactionary Wahhabi ideology they launched “jihad” against what they referred to as “secular” regimes.

The same regimes that the “jihadists” saw as “secular” were nationalist regimes that each in its own way opposed Western Civilization’s domination of their country and the region. Western Civilization’s warlords and generals were quick to realize that they could continue their infiltration and manipulation of these groups of “jihadists” to further the aims and objectives of Western Civilization’s Empire.

After all, Al Qaeda means “the base” and refers to the original database created by the CIA when they were backing these so-called jihadists in Afghanistan. It was their base and they had full access to it.

No meaningful analysis can be made of events taking place in 2016 if we do not have knowledge of the past. We must research and study “his-story” and “our-story” in order to be able to devise an effective strategy of resistance.

As military strategist and philosopher Sun Tzu counsels: “If you know the enemy and you know yourself, your victory will not stand in doubt; if you know Heaven and you know Earth, you may make your victory complete.”

Who is to blame?

Newt Gingrich was certainly right – Western Civilization is in a war. What he failed to point out is that every aspect of this war, this global terror and nihilistic violence we are confronted with in 2016 was spawned by Western Civilization’s agenda for global domination. We must remain focused on the real enemy despite the daily bombardment we receive from Western Civilization’s corporate media about the new bogeyman.

'Suicide of a Superpower' by Pat Buchanan coverThe creation of bogeymen is a strategy they have used since the beginning of their onslaught to distract us from the real enemy – themselves. It would be comical if it wasn’t so tragic to watch as they attempt to portray Russia and Vladimir Putin as the new evil. I suspect that in the age of the internet, even those who in the past absorbed Western Civilization’s propaganda as if it was gospel truth are growing weary.

Following is an excerpt from “Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?” The book was written by populist conservative Pat Buchanan.

Unlike politically correct liberals like Barak Obama and Hillary Clinton, who never tell it like it is but rather weave a deceptive narrative to further Western Civilization’s prolonged war, and the likes of Newt Gingrich and his gang, who like to throw around words and concepts without having any knowledge whatsoever of the history of Western Civilization, Pat Buchanan, although a staunch defender of Western Civilization, is courageous enough to lay the blame where it rightfully belongs.

Perhaps his honesty is motivated by his understanding that the very survival of Western Civilization is in jeopardy if it continues on its present trajectory. In his words: “We fail to understand what motivated our attackers. They did not come to kill us because they abhor our Constitution or wish to impose Sharia on Oklahoma.

“They were over here because we are over there. They came to kill us in our country because we will not get out of their countries.

“Terrorism is the weapon of the weak who wish to be rid of foreign domination. From Plains Indians to Afghan mujahideen, from Menachem Begin’s Irgun to the Algerian FLN, from the IRA of Martin McGuinness to the ANC of Nelson Mandela, it has ever been thus. Terrorism is the price of Empire.”

While this self-evident truth is abundantly clear to the rest of us, it is important to note when this truth is finally articulated and documented by one of their own. If this war is ever to end, then Newt Gingrich and the rest of Western Civilization must face their own demons.

Gerald A. Perreira is a writer, educator, theologian and political activist. He is chairperson of the Guyanese organizations Black Consciousness Movement Guyana (BCMG) and Organization for the Victory of the People (OVP). He is an executive member of the Caribbean Chapter of the Network for Defense of Humanity. He lived in Libya for many years, served in the Green March, an international battalion for the defense of the Al Fateh revolution, and was a founding member of the World Mathaba, based in Tripoli, Libya. He can be reached atmojadi94@gmail.com.



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Written by Dave Zirin    Thursday, 28 July 2016 17:23    PDF Print E-mail
WNBA Teams Show What Black Lives Matter Solidarity Looks Like

 

In 2010, the entire Phoenix Suns team wore shirts that read Los Suns as a statement of solidarity with the Latino people in Arizona threatened by the brutal anti-immigrant bill, SB 1070. That was the first time, according to my own research, that a professional US sports team undertook a united political stand that was sanctioned—or at least not shut down—by both coaching staff and upper management. Then in 2012, the Miami Heat posed in hoodies to protest the killing of Trayvon Martin at the hands of George Zimmerman. In 2014, several NBA teams wore shirts emblazoned with the slogan “I Can’t Breathe,”the last words of Eric Garner as he was being choked to death. Management may not have sanctioned these acts, but it sure as hell was not going to stop them.

Now two more teams have come together to make a political statement. The Minnesota Lynx and the New York Liberty of the WNBA have chosen to advocate an idea that really should not be radical but somehow is, in the United States of 2016: the idea that black lives matter. The Lynx wore jet-black warm-up shirts that read on the front, “Change starts with us—Justice & Accountability.” On the back of the shirt were the names Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, both shot and killed by police officers last week. Castile’s died just a short drive from where the Lynx play, in the suburbs of St. Paul. The back of their shirts had a small Dallas police star for the police officers killed last Thursday, right over the phrase, “Black Lives Matter.”

Before the game, team captains Maya Moore, Rebekkah Brunson, Lindsay Whalen and Seimone Augustus spoke to the media. Moore said, “If we take this time to see that this is a human issue and speak out together, we can greatly decrease fear and create change. Tonight we will be wearing shirts to honor and mourn the losses of precious American citizens and to plead for change in all of us.”

On Twitter, the team’s (white) coach Cheryl Reeve wrote, “To rebut BLM with ‘All Lives Matter’ implies that all lives are equally at risk, and they’re not.#BlackLivesMatter doesn’t mean your life isn’t important if you aren’t black—it means that Black lives, which are seen without value within White supremacy, are important.”

Then there is the New York Liberty. Before their game on Sunday against the San Antonio Stars, the entire team wore T-shirts with the words #Blacklivesmatter and #Dallas5 on the front and a blank hashtag on the back. That blank hashtag was, according to the indispensible WNBA blog Swish Appeal to show the importance of “creating a new hashtag everyday [that] will help continue to spread the word.” But it could also have been a statement that too many black men and women have become, in death, hashtags, and we do not know the name of the next one, only that it is coming and will continue unless something changes.

After the game, five players walked into the media room and explained why they took this step. Liberty star Swin Cash said to the press, “My husband is 6-6, 220. If my husband gets pulled over when you look at him, does he make you scared? Is something going to happen to him? Those are things that go on in my head.”

These kinds of stances actually make a difference. They legitimize people’s anger and right to resist at precisely the moment when people in the mainstream media and politics are trying to disrupt and distort a growing movement. They also matter because these are public and visible displays of real solidarity: white players joining with their black teammates,wearing the same shirts and standing alongside them in a show of multiracial unity against anti-black bigotry.

The white men in sports could learn something from these women. Stand with your teammates. Take on some of the weight. Give them political cover as the haters and bigots descend upon them. It’s not complicated. If your team really is a family, then you should care about the lives of your sisters and brothers. The Lynx and the Liberty are showing what solidarity looks like. The men need to take a lesson.



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Written by Julian Cola    Thursday, 28 July 2016 17:13    PDF Print E-mail
Political Prisoners 101: The "Mu" Brothers

How is it that Jose Mujica, an ex-guerrilla, can become president of a country while Mutulu Shakur continues to rot behind U.S. penitentiary walls?

In 1982 Dr. Mutulu Shakur went underground. His primary concern — COINTELPRO. Having participated in — per the words of author Ishmael Reed — the slave revolts of the 1960s and 70s, Dr. Shakur, having renounced his U.S. citizenship in the late 60s to become a citizen of the Republic of New Afrika, was aware that he was a target of the U.S. government. Prior to his capture by authorities in Los Angeles in February 1986, he’d been listed on the FBI’s Most Wanted list.

When the gavel slammed against the judge’s courtroom table, Dr. Shakur, a founder of the Black Acupuncture Advisory Association of North America renowned for his groundbreaking acupuncture techniques in treating drug addiction, had been sentenced to 60 years in prison without recommendation for parole. No fingerprints or eyewitnesses linked him to the 1981 Brinks armored truck robbery for which he was convicted. He was also sentenced for operating a criminal enterprise and aiding in the liberation of his sister, Assata Shakur, from prison. Only a single piece of evidence, the testimony of an informant, was used to convict him.

Indelible marks surround Dr. Shakur’s case compared to other political prisoners and freedom fighters. Slain rap-activist, Tupac Shakur, was/is his stepson. Assata Shakur continues to live in political exile in Cuba, earning a master’s degree from the University of Havana and becoming a Cuban citizen. To this day, her liberation from the Clinton Correctional Facility for Women evokes outrage from U.S. politricksters who want her extradited and returned to prison. But, like all political prisoners in the United States ignored by the mainstream corporate media, from Mumia Abu Jamal to Oscar Lopez, Marilyn Buck to Kuwasi Balagoon, the MOVE 9 to Leonard Peltier – and the list goes on – Mutulu Shakur has never received a just trial for the crimes of which he was convicted. So how does the situation of political prisoners in the US compare to other political prisoners who were once deemed terrorists by U.S. authorities?

A militant Black Nationalist and anti-imperialist-capitalist offshoot of the Black Panther Party, the Black Liberation Army (BLA), emerged in 1971. The year marked the height of the Tupamaros, another anti-imperialist-capitalist urban guerrilla group that engaged in armed struggle in Uruguay. José Mujica, the austere lifestyle president who governed Uruguay from 2010 to 2015, is the most recognized ex-member of the Tupamaros. President Mujica, affectionately known as Pepe, racked up enough revolutionary street cred to have been recruited by the Black Liberation Army. In March 1970, he was involved in a police shootout that left him shot six times and two policemen injured. The Tupamaros would eventually gain extensive press coverage in the United States after kidnapping and executing Dan Mitrione, a CIA agent who trained Uruguayan police forces in torture techniques. Unlike those who resisted U.S. tyranny and, for doing so, remain incarcerated or exiled, every single Tupamaro member was granted political amnesty and released from prison when the Uruguayan military dictatorship ended in 1985.


 

How is it that José Mujica, an ex-Tupamaro, can become president of a country and advocate a third-way, socialist program, while so many political prisoners continue to rot behind U.S. penitentiary walls for decades? An answer to this question lies in a recent study conducted by Princeton researcher Martin Giles and Northwestern researcher Benjamin I. Page. After analyzing data from roughly 1,800 policy initiatives from 1981 to 2002, they concluded that America’s rhetorical mainstay, democracy, couldn’t be farther from reality. Gilsen and Page wrote, “the preferences of the average American appear to have only a miniscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.” And as Tom McKay stated at Policy Mic:

Big corporations, the ultra-wealthy and special interests with a lot of money and power essentially make all of the decisions. Citizens wield little to no political power. America, the findings indicate, tends towards either of these much more than anything close to what we call “democracy” — systems such as majoritarian electoral democracy or majoritarian pluralism, under which the policy choices pursued by the government would reflect the opinions of the governed.


If the average American lives in a country uprooted by oligarchs, it would be almost impossible to fathom the plight of African-descendants who struggle for freedom and justice. They must’ve been tossed into the very pit of pits of inequity and injustice?

Not even a truth and reconciliation moratorium, at this late stage, extracting best practices from the Nuremburg Trials and South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission can help to purge America’s tumultuous past, and present, from its pervasive forms of institutionalized racism, neoliberal capitalism, and other forms of legalized oppression. That said, where is the revolutionary fervor of the 21st century, so desperately needed to provide girth and substance to the words of Sekou Odinga, ex-Black Panther and Black Liberation Army member, released from prison in November 2014, “free them all.”



How is it that Jose Mujica, an ex-guerrilla, can become president of a country while Mutulu Shakur continues to rot behind U.S. penitentiary walls?

In 1982 Dr. Mutulu Shakur went underground. His primary concern — COINTELPRO. Having participated in — per the words of author Ishmael Reed — the slave revolts of the 1960s and 70s, Dr. Shakur, having renounced his U.S. citizenship in the late 60s to become a citizen of the Republic of New Afrika, was aware that he was a target of the U.S. government. Prior to his capture by authorities in Los Angeles in February 1986, he’d been listed on the FBI’s Most Wanted list.

When the gavel slammed against the judge’s courtroom table, Dr. Shakur, a founder of the Black Acupuncture Advisory Association of North America renowned for his groundbreaking acupuncture techniques in treating drug addiction, had been sentenced to 60 years in prison without recommendation for parole. No fingerprints or eyewitnesses linked him to the 1981 Brinks armored truck robbery for which he was convicted. He was also sentenced for operating a criminal enterprise and aiding in the liberation of his sister, Assata Shakur, from prison. Only a single piece of evidence, the testimony of an informant, was used to convict him.

Indelible marks surround Dr. Shakur’s case compared to other political prisoners and freedom fighters. Slain rap-activist, Tupac Shakur, was/is his stepson. Assata Shakur continues to live in political exile in Cuba, earning a master’s degree from the University of Havana and becoming a Cuban citizen. To this day, her liberation from the Clinton Correctional Facility for Women evokes outrage from U.S. politricksters who want her extradited and returned to prison. But, like all political prisoners in the United States ignored by the mainstream corporate media, from Mumia Abu Jamal to Oscar Lopez, Marilyn Buck to Kuwasi Balagoon, the MOVE 9 to Leonard Peltier – and the list goes on – Mutulu Shakur has never received a just trial for the crimes of which he was convicted. So how does the situation of political prisoners in the US compare to other political prisoners who were once deemed terrorists by U.S. authorities?

A militant Black Nationalist and anti-imperialist-capitalist offshoot of the Black Panther Party, the Black Liberation Army (BLA), emerged in 1971. The year marked the height of the Tupamaros, another anti-imperialist-capitalist urban guerrilla group that engaged in armed struggle in Uruguay. José Mujica, the austere lifestyle president who governed Uruguay from 2010 to 2015, is the most recognized ex-member of the Tupamaros. President Mujica, affectionately known as Pepe, racked up enough revolutionary street cred to have been recruited by the Black Liberation Army. In March 1970, he was involved in a police shootout that left him shot six times and two policemen injured. The Tupamaros would eventually gain extensive press coverage in the United States after kidnapping and executing Dan Mitrione, a CIA agent who trained Uruguayan police forces in torture techniques. Unlike those who resisted U.S. tyranny and, for doing so, remain incarcerated or exiled, every single Tupamaro member was granted political amnesty and released from prison when the Uruguayan military dictatorship ended in 1985.






 

 


How is it that José Mujica, an ex-Tupamaro, can become president of a country and advocate a third-way, socialist program, while so many political prisoners continue to rot behind U.S. penitentiary walls for decades? An answer to this question lies in a recent study conducted by Princeton researcher Martin Giles and Northwestern researcher Benjamin I. Page. After analyzing data from roughly 1,800 policy initiatives from 1981 to 2002, they concluded that America’s rhetorical mainstay, democracy, couldn’t be farther from reality. Gilsen and Page wrote, “the preferences of the average American appear to have only a miniscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.” And as Tom McKay stated at Policy Mic:

Big corporations, the ultra-wealthy and special interests with a lot of money and power essentially make all of the decisions. Citizens wield little to no political power. America, the findings indicate, tends towards either of these much more than anything close to what we call “democracy” — systems such as majoritarian electoral democracy or majoritarian pluralism, under which the policy choices pursued by the government would reflect the opinions of the governed.


If the average American lives in a country uprooted by oligarchs, it would be almost impossible to fathom the plight of African-descendants who struggle for freedom and justice. They must’ve been tossed into the very pit of pits of inequity and injustice?

Not even a truth and reconciliation moratorium, at this late stage, extracting best practices from the Nuremburg Trials and South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission can help to purge America’s tumultuous past, and present, from its pervasive forms of institutionalized racism, neoliberal capitalism, and other forms of legalized oppression. That said, where is the revolutionary fervor of the 21st century, so desperately needed to provide girth and substance to the words of Sekou Odinga, ex-Black Panther and Black Liberation Army member, released from prison in November 2014, “free them all.”





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Written by The People’s Minister of Information JR    Thursday, 28 July 2016 16:57    PDF Print E-mail
Black teenage Brooklyn-based metal band documented in ‘Breaking a Monster’

Heavy metal, since the death – or assassination – of the prolific and talented guitarist and frontman Jimi Hendrix, is for the most part seen as white boy territory in the U.S. paradigm of music, but Unlocking the Truth is a Black middle-school-aged trio from Brooklyn who are reclaiming what it means to be into metal – and millennium babies.

Unlocking the Truth lead singer and guitarist Malcolm Brickhouse in “Breaking a Monster”

Unlocking the Truth lead singer and guitarist Malcolm Brickhouse in “Breaking a Monster”

The Luke Meyer documentary about Unlocking the Truth called “Breaking a Monster” came out last Friday, and I think the documentary title is a good fit for a young band of this caliber.

“Breaking a Monster” interlaces Unlocking the Truth performing at the nation’s premiere music festivals like Coachella in Indio, California, South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, and the Heavy Montreal Music Festival with a series of interviews with the parents of lead singer Malcolm, who act as the group’s guardians; Unlocking the Truth’s manager, Alan Saks, known for his work with the Jonas Brothers and Disney; and the three band members, lead singer and guitarist Malcolm Brickhouse, drummer Jared Dawkins and bass player Alec Atkins.

The film is about a group of young Black musicians growing up while also pursuing a career in the music business. Through “Breaking a Monster” you get a glimpse into how theses youngsters’ brains have mapped the world differently than past generations. For example, before they get to LA to sign their recording contract, they are familiar with the streets through playing the video game Grand Theft Auto regularly. And Jared and Malcolm were influenced to play the music that they love by the heavy metal and rock that they heard in wrestling and Anime.

At one point in the movie they sign with Sony for almost $2 million but it’s for five albums. If you do the math, that is not much money when you think about all of the things that have to be paid when the pie is divided up, including the trio’s living expenses, costs associated with recording their albums, vocal training and coaching, management, wardrobe and the like.

“Breaking a Monster” documents the tension that all groups go through with their record company and management when the money is not coming in fast enough and things aren’t moving on schedule. I also witnessed the mind games that the manager tried to play with the group who mentally stayed on their toes throughout the film even though, during the period the documentary was recorded, Unlocking the Truth were barely teenagers.

I liked this informative documentary a lot, because of the insight on how the music business works behind the scenes and because Unlocking the Truth is a talented and innovative group that can really play.

Some of the stand-out moments for me were when the three group members at different times challenged authority and what they were being told and what was trying to be sold to them, as in the case of a video idea that the manager had written and was trying to impose on the group; they refused it. Another time was when Jared looked over the group’s recording contract at a meeting with management and Sony, and people started getting mildly irritated, including one of the members of the group who expected him to sign the recording contract because management said it was ok.

In my opinion, Unlocking the Truth may have a lot to learn about the music business, but I believe that them fighting for what they want and being cautious and thorough will pay off in the long run for them, and it is a good message for young people to pick up in a documentary about some teenage musicians.

Catch “Breaking a Monster” while you can at Landmark Opera Theater or Shattuck Cinemas in the Bay Area now. It opened on Friday, July 22.

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 atblockreportradio@gmail.com.



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