Mass Demonstration against Voter Suppression in Benton Harbor

Voter suppression led by Whirlpool Corporation and Berrien County Sheriff Department. Protest all injustices being forced on our town, your town and all around the country! It is not one thing it is everything. The murder of Benton Harbor residents, gentrification by Whirlpool, Governor Snyder’s Emergency Manager dictatorship. Find it on the ActivateHub community calendar!

May 24, 2014 11:00am - City Hall, 200 Wall St., Benton Harbor, MI, 49022 (11:30am - press conference)


Saturday, October 31, 2009

FBI shoots Detroit Imam 18 times, handcuffs him, then airlifts a police dog to hospital.

1,000 mourn the Imam at his funeral


http://www.freep.com/article/20091031/NEWS02/910310367/1318/Islamic-leaders-family-urges-investigation-into-his-death

Government should heed calls to investigatge Abdullah's death


http://www.freep.com/article/20091031/BLOG2505/91031023/1068/OPINION/Government-should-heed-calls-to-investigatge-Abdullahs-death

Prayers and Criticism in Wake of Detroit Imam’s Killing by F.B.I.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/31/us/31dearborn.html
FBI agents assassinate Michigan Islamic leader

By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire
Detroit
Published Oct 29, 2009 9:31 PM

A well-known African-American Islamic leader in Detroit was shot to death by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents on Oct. 28 at a warehouse in Dearborn. Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah, 53, who headed the Masjid Al-Haqq mosque on the city’s west side, was killed during a series of raids by both federal agents and local police departments that resulted in the arrest of 11 people.

Corporate media reports on the killing of Imam Abdullah and the arrest of the others frame this as a “counter-terrorism’ operation, even though the criminal complaints said to be the basis for the raids made no specific allegations of violations of federal law or acts of terrorism.

A joint statement issued by the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s office states that “The 11 defendants are members of a group that is alleged to have engaged in violent activity over a period of many years and known to be armed.”

However, many people who knew Imam Abdullah and the members of Masjid Al-Haqq say that the group worked to rid the severely oppressed community where the mosque existed of the social ills resulting from years of exploitation and neglect.

Even the mosque itself fell victim to the economic crisis that is worsening in Detroit. On Jan. 20, Masjid Al-Haqq was evicted from the building where it had been housed for years as a result of tax foreclosure. The mosque relocated at a home on Clairmount, which was also raided on Oct. 28.

Dawud Walid, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Michigan chapter, said of Imam Abdullah that “I know him as a respected imam in the Muslim community.”

Walid continued, “We have no information about illegal activity going on at that mosque.” Walid said Imam Abdullah “would give the shirt off his back to people. The congregation he led was poor. He fed very hungry people in the neighborhood who were Christian. He helped and assisted a lot of troubled youth. People would come up to him who were hungry and he would let them sleep in the mosque. He would let them in from the elements.” (Detroit News, Oct. 29)

The CAIR leader said, “They have no linkage to terrorism nationally or internationally. What in the world does Islam have to do with these charges? Why is religion being brought into play?”

Resurrecting Cointelpro

Not only are the FBI and the corporate media utilizing the false construct of “Islamic extremism,” they are also attempting to draw a direct link between the revolutionary movements that emerged during the 1960s and the arrest of the Masjid Al-Haqq members and the death of Imam Abdullah.

Because of a close relationship between Imam Jamil Abdullah al-Amin, formerly known as H. Rap Brown, and Imam Abdullah during previous years, the role of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Black Panther Party (BPP) have been evoked in news coverage of the FBI and police raids. Imam Al-Amin first served as a field organizer for SNCC and later national chair of the civil rights and black power group in 1967-68.

Al-Amin, who is currently serving a life sentence in Georgia after being convicted in the death of a deputy sheriff and the wounding of another in Atlanta in 2000, also briefly held the position of Minister of Justice in the Black Panther Party during 1968. Imam Al-Amin served as SNCC chair during a period of extreme repression against the organization in 1967-68.

Al-Amin has always maintained his innocence in the deaths of the law-enforcement officers in Atlanta and for many years has sought to win an appeal of his case. Reports from the Georgia prison system where he is being held indicate that he has been harassed and placed in isolation on numerous occasions.

SNCC was partly blamed by the FBI and the corporate media during 1967-68 for the urban rebellions that erupted in more than 200 cities. The Black Panther Party was to suffer the brunt of the Counter Intelligence Program (Cointelpro) operations that were directed against the African-American community.

More than two dozen members of the BPP were killed between 1968 and 1971 when former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover had labeled the organization as the most dangerous threat to the national security of the United States. Hundreds of Panthers and other revolutionaries of the time were arrested and railroaded through the courts. Many others were driven into exile abroad and forced underground inside the United States.

According to the FBI complaint, which consists of 45 pages of highly spurious allegations, Abdullah “calls his followers to an offensive jihad” and says they should “have a weapon and should not be scared to use their weapon when needed.”

Nonetheless, David Nu’man, who lives in Detroit and considered Imam Abdullah a friend, stresses that he is very skeptical about the claims made against the Islamic leader and his followers. “It doesn’t seem to be of his character.” (Detroit News, Oct. 29)

Ron Scott, one of the founding members of the Detroit chapter of the Black Panther Party in 1968, spoke to the Pan-African News Wire about the death of Imam Abdullah and the arrests of the Masjid Al-Haqq members.

Scott, now the spokesperson for the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality and a media host on the locally broadcast “For My People” television show, as well as the “Fighting for Justice” radio program aired every week, expressed disbelief at the allegations made against Abdullah and those arrested.

“This reflects a standard of repression that we have not seen in a long time,” Scott told the Pan-African News Wire on Oct. 29. “There should be an independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of Imam Abdullah.”

The Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice (MECAWI) discussed the killing of Imam Abdullah at their weekly meeting on Oct. 28 in Detroit. The next day, in a telephone call to the offices of the Council of American-Islamic Relations, a MECAWI representative expressed the organization’s condolences and solidarity with the Islamic community.

MECAWI offered its support to any protest efforts geared towards seeking justice in the death of Imam Abdullah and the arrests of the other Muslim members of Masjid Al-Haqq. Walid, the executive director who took MECAWI’s call, expressed his appreciation for the sympathy and concern conveyed by the anti-war organization.

Backdrop to the death of Imam Abdullah

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, repression against the Islamic, Middle-Eastern and South Asian communities in the U.S. has escalated at an alarming rate. A number of people have been attacked and even killed in racist violence.

Many more people from these communities have been imprisoned unjustly and deported. A number of charitable organizations have been taken into court for allegedly funding “terrorist” groups and some have been forced to shut down by the U.S. government.

Even the CAIR has been targeted by these governmental efforts. In Texas during 2007, members of an Islamic charity were put on trial for supposedly funding Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Conversion to the Islamic faith within the African-American community has been taking place at a phenomenal rate over the last few decades. The federal government has used both the scourge of anti-Islamic hysteria and racism to enhance the repressive apparatus in the United States. This pattern of surveillance, harassment and entrapment is utilized in a desperate attempt by Homeland Security and the Pentagon to build support for the ongoing wars against Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

In addition to these Middle-Eastern and Asian nations, the countries of Sudan and Somalia on the African continent, which are predominantly Muslim, have also been focal points for U.S. imperialist intervention over the last several years. Many of the developing nations that have been identified by the U.S. imperialists for destabilization and occupation have majority Muslim populations of people of color.

Consequently, anti-war, civil rights and human rights organizations should view the current wave of repression against the Islamic community as having both a domestic and foreign policy objective. Demonizing the Islamic community, whether the Muslims are of African, Middle-Eastern or Asian descent, provides a mechanism for the repressive apparatus of the state to justify the continuation and escalation of military involvement abroad.

At the same time, the increasing repression against the African-American, Islamic, Latino/a and other working class communities inside the United States is designed to hamper the ability of people to organize against the growing economic crisis that is disproportionately affecting the oppressed peoples inside the domestic confines of the country.

Nonetheless, the fight against this wave of repression can potentially bring together workers and the oppressed from broad sections of the United States into an alliance with the developing countries that are under increasing threat by U.S. imperialism.

Articles copyright 1995-2009 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Rev. Pinkney still on limited probation for four years

Berrien County Chief Judge Alfred Butzbaugh lifted Pinkney's tether probation


One has to wonder about Butzbaugh. What motivated him to ease up on Pinkney? Of course, not totally: Pinkney and the rest of us need to understand that there will be limitations on our liberty if we speak the truth too loudly.

Butzbaugh is still not in compliance with the Mich. Court of Appeals decision handed down in the summer. If he was, Pinkney would be free, as he should have been all along.

Butzbaugh does NOT want Pinkney observing what goes on in his courthouse. This activity, so needed in Berrien county, was a part of Pinkney's daily routine for years. Note the third probation condition below from Butzbaugh's Oct. 13 order (all are in effect until July 2013):

1.) Pinkney must be inside his home between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. 2.) He can't engage in "assaultive, abusive, harassing, violent, threatening, or intimidating behavior, or any defamatory or demeaning communications as to Glen Yarbrough or the Benton Harbor city commissioners," according to Butzbaugh's Oct. 13 modified order. 3.) Pinkney must stay at least 1,000 feet away from Butzbaugh; except Pinkney may be in the Berrien County courthouse to report to his probation officer "and to participate in a court hearing to which you are a party."

If he is convicted of violating any of his probation conditions, he could be sent back to prison. Butzbaugh ordered Pinkney to pay $105/week to wear a tether. In Berrien, they ruin lives every hour of every day, through heavy court costs (ie, tether fees), false convictions, you name it. By any means necessary they make Benton Harbor "resort-ready."

The Mich. Court of Appeals threw out Pinkney's probation violation, saying it violated his right to free speech. (Pinkney wrote an article criticizing Butzbaugh.) Butzbaugh has been in denial of the higher court decision. His inaction serves to remind all familiar with Berrien County Court behavior that they continue to be the rogue court of Michigan. They are able to do as they wish without regulation, supervision, or oversight.

Those who pay attention know that Whirlpool Corp. and Rep. Fred Upton are the actual "regulators" of the courthouse and everything county-wide, Gov. Granholm backs the Whirlpool-Upton cartel, and the corruption goes on and on and on. Granholm and the state of Michigan could care less that human rights abuses are beyond out-of-control in this southwest region.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Save Jean Klock Park
Our legal challenge is continuing - our fight is not over!


Friends of Jean Klock Park would like to see the entire park preserved and used as an outdoor classroom for area school children and the community. Such a use would draw tourists to a growing list of eco-tourism locations throughout the state.

We feel the City of Benton Harbor and surrounding communities can have the diversity of both a championship golf course AND an incredible natural asset for the growing eco-tourism industry by preserving Jean Klock Park. Tourism depends on many factors and that type of diversity is a WIN-WIN combination!

The Friends of Jean Klock Park include all and everyone who is opposed to further encroachment of Jean Klock Park. We believe that through the collaborative effort of public participation we can preserve Jean Klock Park and restore its use as a local, regional and world class tourist destination.

A separate and equally important Federal Court lawsuit regarding violations of environmental law is ongoing as well. For more information about the contaminated land that's being used to replace pristine sand dunes please visit www.protectjkp.com.
http://www.savejeanklockpark.org

Monday, October 19, 2009

From last December, but relevant today -

Forget Holiday Sales -- Struggling Retailers May Turn to Defense Contracts to Keep From Going Under By Nick Turse, Tomdispatch.com, December 16, 2008

...Once upon a time, the military-industrial complex was loaded with household-name companies like General Motors, Ford, and Dow Chemical, that produced weapons systems and what arms expert Eric Prokosch has called, "the technology of killing." Over the years, for economic as well as public relations reasons, many of these firms got out of the business of creating lethal technologies, even while remaining Department of Defense (DoD) contractors...

Whirlpool: Then and Now


Take the Whirlpool Corporation, which bills itself as "the world's leading manufacturer and marketer of major home appliances" and boasts annual sales of more than $19 billion to consumers in more than 170 countries. Whirlpool was recently recognized as "one of the World's Most Ethical Companies by the Ethisphere Institute." The company also professes a "strong" belief in "ethical values" that dates back almost 100 years to founders who believed "there is no right way to do a wrong thing."

In the middle of the last century, however -- as Prokosch has documented -- Whirlpool was engaged in what many might deem a wrong thing. In 1957, Whirlpool took over work on flechettes -- razor-sharp darts with fins at the blunt end -- for the U.S. military. While International Harvester, the prior Pentagon contractor producing them, had managed to pack only 6,265 of these deadly darts into a 90mm canister round, Whirlpool set to work figuring out a way to cram almost 10,000 flechettes into the same delivery vehicle. Its goal: to "improve the lethality of the canisters." (In addition, Whirlpool also reportedly worked on "Sting Ray" -- an Army project involving a projectile filled with flechettes coated in a still-undisclosed chemical agent.)

In 1967, an Associated Press report noted that U.S. troops were using new flechette artillery rounds to "spray thousands of dart-shaped steel shafts over broad areas of the jungle or open territory" in Vietnam. "I've seen reports of enemy soldiers actually being nailed to trees by these things," commented one Army officer...
http://www.alternet.org/story/113111/forget_holiday_sales_--_struggling_retailers_may_turn_to_defense_contracts_to_keep_from_going_under/?page=1
ANTI-POVERTY MOVEMENT

“More than a movement was in trouble because of the Berrien County Court’s decision to sanction a Baptist preacher for quoting the Bible! The American dream was slapped. Under NO circumstances can decent people accept silencing preachers who suggest that the Great Spirit is angry by what they see as oppressive treatment of poor and minority people. What the ACLU, local and national organizations, and other progressive attorneys exposed is what we are seeing in town hall meetings across the country. Free-speech is being shouted down through suspiciously organized efforts by those who want things done their way. We are entering into a dangerous period in history marked by an economy on fire as it burns through the dreams of ordinary working people. Each of us will arrive at this juncture in time holding something in our hands...a cup of water, a gallon of gasoline, or a torch. We can throw water on it to no avail, or we can add gasoline to the flames, to no avail, or we can analyze what is happening and help lead the way out with the torch of truth! I chose to take up the torch.”
— Maureen D. Taylor, State Chairperson/MI Welfare Rights Org.
http://www.peoplestribune.org/PT.2009.09/PT.2009.09.12.html

Friday, October 16, 2009

Poisoning The Residents Of Benton Harbor: Whirlpool Heir Upton Fights for Corporate Interests in Congress By Dorothy Pinkney

Fred Upton, the heir to Whirlpool, U.S. Representative from St. Joseph, Michigan, third highest ranking Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and among the richest in Congress, continues to push to steal all lake front property from the citizens of Benton Harbor. The property the City received for giving up 22 acres of pristine beach front is toxic. Whirlpool, Harbor Shores, Cornerstone Alliance, Fred Upton and the Herald Palladium newspaper all knew that the property the residents of Benton Harbor received in exchange for the lake front property was filled with toxic lead and arsenic — two major poisons.

“Whirlpool backed Harbor Shores Development obtained a 106-year lease of 22 acres of prime land of Jean Klock Park to develop a Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course for the rich with a view of Lake Michigan. Jean Klock Park is the city’s only major park used by Black residents for family reunions, baptisms, picnics, swimming, concerts, and play location for our children on Lake Michigan,” reports the blackpressusa.com.

Fred Upton is also rallying for health care reform that will benefit the corporations. Fred Upton championed an approach to Medicare prescription drug benefits that imposed high costs on seniors. He protected drug companies by preventing the U.S. from negotiating bulk fightingdiscounts on prescriptions for seniors instead of supporting legislation to stop the suffering of the American people. Fred Upton is attempting to protect the estimated $200 Billion annual profit of the private health insurance industry.
Do not be afraid. Do not be marginalized. Speak truth to power.

http://www.peoplestribune.org/PT.2009.10/PT.2009.10.12.html

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Berrien County, Michigan:

1. is headed up by one of the wealthiest right-wing men
in the state and one of the wealthiest, and most
corrupt corporations

(items below are all related to/controlled by 1.),

2. has a court with the most convictions in the state
(highest rate of convictions of innocents and juveniles),

3. has an African-American city being gentrified
brutally and illegally,

4. is destroying endangered plant and animal species
and a Lake Michigan pristine park (stolen land) for
possibly the most massive development on the lake,

5. installs judges having conflicts of interest (investments
in the development) who coldly lock up human beings
after admitting that they're innocent,

6. has a newspaper hiding truth on a daily basis,

7. has a state governor/government which remains mute
on all of the above,

is it surprizing that a black whistleblower has been
imprisoned for writing an article?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Twilight Zone for Rev. Pinkney, the first person
ever to be imprisoned for paraphrasing the Bible

A new "Opinion & Order" written by Berrien County
Judge Butzbaugh, makes little sense. There will be an appeal

Brief summary:

1. Butzbaugh, after delaying for at least 2 months,
rendered this opinion, contrary to the original
probation order (it had no tether provision in it).

2. Butzbaugh, contrary to what we understand the law to be,
imposed a tether condition which in essence continues the
24 hour house arrest which was put on by Judge Wiley, and
should have been removed after Rev. Pinkney won on
probation violation at the State Appeals Court last June.

3. Butzbaugh appeared to try to criticize the State Court of
Appeals, and continues to maintain the idea that Rev. Pinkney
had threatened him.

4. Butzbaugh, who admittedly is biased because he
disqualified himself, made the decision against Rev. Pinkney
before he disqualified himself. (He should have gotten off the
case in July or August.)

5. Butzbaugh appeared to try to criticize the Berrien County
prosecutors in this opinion.

Again, the Opinion & Order makes no sense and there will be an appeal.

Please contact -
Judge Alfred M Butzbaugh
Berrien County Circuit Court
811 Port Street
St. Joseph, Michigan 49085-1187

269-983-7111 ext.8306
269-982-8634 fax

trialcourt@berriencounty.org

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Top 25 Censored Stories for 2010

14. Congress Invested in Defense Contracts
(find Rep. Fred Upton listed in paragraph 4)

Opensecrets, April 3, 2008 (Upton's share has likely gone Up)
“Strategic Assets”
by Lindsay Renick Mayer

The nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics has calculated that more than 151 members of Congress have up to $195 million invested in major defense contractors that are earning profits from the US military occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

When General David Petraeus, the top US military officer in Iraq, went to Capitol Hill to brief Congress in April of 2008, he was addressing lawmakers who had a lot more than just a political stake in the Iraq occupation. Along with their colleagues in the House and Senate, the politicians who got a status report from the general and the US ambassador to Iraq had millions of dollars of their own money invested in companies doing business with the Department of Defense (DoD).

In 2006, the investment portfolios of 151 current members—more than a quarter of Congress—had between $78.7 million and $195.5 million invested in companies that received major defense contracts (over $5 million). The portfolios include holdings in companies paid billions of dollars each month to support America’s military. These companies provided almost everything the military uses, from aircraft and weapons to medical supplies and soft drinks.

Lawmakers with the most money invested in companies with DoD contracts include Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass), with up to $38,209,020; Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), with $49,140,000; Rep. Robin Hayes (R-NC), with $37,105,000; Rep. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis), with $7,612,653; Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif), with $6,260,000; Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich), with $8,360,000; Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WVa), with $2,000,002; Rep. Tom Petri (R-Wis), with $5,800,000; Rep. Kenny Ewell Marchant (R-Texas), with $1,163,231; and Rep. John Carter (R-Texas), with up to $5,000,000.

Full article: http://www.projectcensored.org/top-stories/articles/14-congress-invested-in-defense-contracts/

Student Researchers: Leora Johnson and Michael Seramin
Faculty Evaluator: Peter Phillips PhD
Sonoma State University