Skip to Content

Federal Judge finds 8th Amendment Violation in Pennsylvania’s Refusal to Treat Mumia’s Hep-C

A win and a loss, at least for the time being

 

Depending on how you look at it, lawyers for Mumia Abu-Jamal, the Philadelphia journalist and political prisoner serving a life sentence in a Pennsylvania prison after a controverial 1982 conviction for killing a white Philadelphia police officer, won a huge victory, lost big or maybe won and will win again soon.

His victory, a finding issued on Sept. 1 in Scranton, PA by Federal District Judge Robert Mariani that the state’s Department of Corrections “protocol” for treatment -- actually for non-treatment -- of inmates with deadly Hepatitis C cases, violates the US Constitution’s Eighth Amendment against cruel and unusual punishment, if upheld on appeal at the Appellate Court level, could open the door for thousands of the state’s inmates with Hep-C to receive the latest highly effective but extremely costly medicines that could eradicate the virus from their bodies. It could also serve as a powerful precedent to win such treatment for the tens of thousands of infected inmates in the sprawling web of other local, state and federal prisons across the entire US who are currently being denied care for what has been called a prison epidemic of Hepatitis C.

Abu-Jamal’s loss, on a minor and correctable technicality, means that his own raging Hep-C infection, first discovered over a year ago, will continue to go untreated with those medications, meaning his liver will continue to suffer further irreversible damage from the disease -- damage that could, if allowed to continue untreated, amount to an extrajudicial execution despite his having already had his original death sentence overturned as unconstitutional.

Bret Grote, legal director of the Abolitionist Law Center, an anti-death penalty organization, filed the lawsuit on Abu-Jamal’s behalf in August 2015 seeking a preliminary injunction to force the DOC to provide life-saving new anti-viral drugs to him to treat and cure the Hep-C wracking his body. He says that the reason the judge gave for denying that request was that the suit had not properly named the individuals in the Department of Corrections responsible for determining whether a prisoner would or would not receive treatment.

Mumia in 2013 and in 2015, showing the ravages of the Hep-C infection he contracted in the interimMumia in 2013 and in 2015, showing the ravages of the Hep-C infection he contracted in the interim
 

Critics' Ignoring of Documented Record of Police Abuse in Frisco Proves Kaepernick Right

No context is pretext

 
A month before the police union in San Francisco sent a blistering letter to NFL officials recently demanding that the professional football league apologize for the “ill-advised” criticisms of police by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick that union was the target of scathing criticism for supporting police misconduct.

That criticism of the San Francisco Police Officers’ Association came in a report from a panel that conducted a yearlong investigation into policemen in that city caught sending racist, sexist and homophobic text messages. One member of that blue ribbon panel, a retired judge, blasted the police union for having established an “ugly” tone that infected the entire police department.

The same San Francisco police union that has lambasted civilians for not cooperating with police to solve crimes had directed its members to stiff-arm that panel through refusal to cooperate in the text message investigation. That racist texting scandal has produced the dismissal of over a dozen criminal cases and a reinvestigation of thousands of other cases for possible bias by those texting cops.
San Francisco police officials found no fault in 33 fatal police shootings over 14-years. LBW PhotoSan Francisco police officials found no fault in 33 fatal police shootings over 14-years. LBW Photo
 
Salient facts about the sordid history of abusive policing in San Francisco are generally missing from most of the fevered reactions in the news media over Kaepernick’s actions around America's national anthem.

A 1998 report on police brutality in America conducted by Human Rights Watch stated police officials in San Francisco had failed to hold abusive officers “accountable.” Abusive policing in San Francisco, historically, has ravaged blacks and Latinos disproportionately according to repeated reports.

An Appeal to Our Readers

We know that every day, consistently, we have no fewer than 1000 to 1500 readers visiting this site, even on days when we have not posted new original articles. We estimate that between half and three quarters of these visitors to the site are regulars, who either stop by to check in for new material, or return to re-read an important piece. The others, we assume, are frequent visitors or new readers.

If there are that many people who really recognize the importance of the journalistic work we are doing, and who have come to rely on us, we would hope that there would also be an understanding of the importance of supporting that work financially.

As you surely know, the ThisCantBeHappening! Collective is not a paid or funded organization. We all do this work out of a commitment to write and get out into the larger media news stories and commentary that are simply not being written by not just the corporate media, but even the alternative media. You will not, for example, see our stories being picked up and run by such mushy liberal sites as Truthout or Huffington Post. Even Common Dreams has not run one of our pieces in almost six months. We do get picked up regularly by Counterpunch, Nation of Change, Smirking Chimp and other edgier sites, so we know we're getting pretty wide impact with the journalism we do.

Some of you donate, often generously, and we thank you. But the truth is we don't get much at all in the way of financial support from most of our readers -- even you regulars.

Attacking Wikileaks’ Assange for Doing What Journalists are Supposed to Do

New York Times soils itself

 

While I periodically have written commentaries dissecting and pillorying news articles in the New York Times to expose their bias, hypocrisy half-truths and lies, I generally ignore their editorials since these are overtly opinions of the management, and one expects them to display the elitist and neo-liberal perspective of the paper’s publisher and senior editors.

That said, the August 17 editorial about Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who has spent four harrowing years trapped in the apartment-sized Ecuadoran embassy thanks to a trumped-up and thoroughly discredited political rape “investigation” by a politically driven Swedish prosecutor and a complicit right-wing British government, moves far beyond even the routine rampant bias and distortion of a Times editorial into misrepresentation and character assassination. As such it cries out for criticism.

Headlined “A Break in the Assange Saga,” the editorial starts off with the flat-out lie that “Ecuador and Sweden finally agreed last week that Swedish prosecutors could question Julian Assange at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London where he has been holed up since 2012.”

The casual reader fed only corporate media stories about this case might logically assume from that lead that such an interview has been held up by a disagreement of some kind between Ecuador and Sweden. In fact, Ecuador and Assange and his attorneys have stated their willingness to allow Swedish prosecutors to come to London and interview Assange in the safety of their embassy for several years now. The prosecutor in Sweden, Marianne Nye, who has been pursuing Assange all that time like Ahab after his whale, has not only never taken up that offer, but by her refusal to go to London in all this time, demanding instead Assange’s enforced presence in Stockholm, has allowed any possible rape charges, if any were even appropriate, to pass the statute of limitations. The paper doesn’t mention this. Nor does the editorial mention that the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Working Group on Arbitrary Detention last February found that Assange is effectively being held in arbitrary detention by the UK and Swedish governments, and called for his release, and for the lifting of British government threats to arrest him and extradite him if he leaves the safety of the embassy.

Julian Assange remains holed up in the Ecuador embassy in London fearing extradition to the US on an espionage chargeJulian Assange remains holed up in the Ecuador embassy in London fearing extradition to the US on an espionage charge
 

Hypocrisy, The New York Times Version

Trashing Nicaragua's success

 

The New York Times is the best old-style, broad-sheet newspaper in America; it still covers the world with resourceful and enterprising reporters and commentators. But, then, there’s the other New York Times, the imperial rag that prints editorials like the one on August 5 titled “ ‘Dynasty,’ the Nicaraguan Version.” It’s not that Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega is a saint or even a model democrat; it’s that the editorial department and the writer who penned this sloppy embarrassment are still playing a version of the Reagan Cold War game of the 1980s. Those days are over; one hopes for something a bit more worldly.

President Daniel Ortega and his wife Rosario Murillo announcing her vice presidential candidacyPresident Daniel Ortega and his wife Rosario Murillo announcing her vice presidential candidacy

After listing a number of negatives -- the popular President Ortega has appointed judges favorable to his rule and has been able to assure a legislature filled with his allies -- the editorial tells us how well the Nicaraguan economy is doing, how well the Ortega administration works with investors and international business and how safe the place is compared to its three closest neighbors. This safety is, we’re told, due to a sinister “vast police force.” Reading this, one might forget here in the US we have our own “vast” police and criminal justice problems.

Let’s consider for a moment the interesting fact that Nicaragua is notably “safer” than Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. First off, during the 1980s under President Ronald Reagan the United States of America directly supported, and in some cases actually directed, cruel and bloody wars against armed guerrillas (and the poor in whose name they fought) in these three small, poor nations. It was the Cold War, so these wars were couched in East-West (communist-capitalist) terms, when they arguably were more accurately described as North-South struggles: ie. they were about powerlessness versus power, poverty versus wealth.

In the case of Nicaragua, the US Contra War was a proxy war against a sovereign nation. In 1979, the Sandinista rebels had overthrown a dictatorship run by Anastasio Somoza, junior, whose father Anastasio, senior, had been a US ally. Franklin Roosevelt famously said of Somoza, senior, “Somoza’s a son-of-a-bitch, but he’s our son-of-a-bitch.” In 1956, the father was shot dead eating dinner in a Leon restaurant by a patriotic poet working as a busboy. (Many Nicaraguans aspire to be poets.) Anastasio, junior, took over the family business and ruled as a US ally until 1979, when he fled to Paraguay, where in 1980 his Mercedes was blown apart by an RPG as the climax of a seven-member Sandinista plot called “Operation Reptile.” His unidentifiable remains were buried in Miami following a big funeral of fellow tyrants and right-wing fat cats.

Seattle's 'Liberals' Get Chance to Finally Start Addressing Police Brutality

Initiative-873 gives small flicker of hope

 

Seattle, WA -- Ever since moving to Seattle it’s become clear to me that though most of its inhabitants identify as liberals, the dominant white culture enables a culture of armchair liberals. When it comes to LGBT rights, Seattle will stand up, but when it comes to addressing issues that actually threaten the comfortable, largely white and privileged population of the Seattle, it’s another story.

In 2015, the Washington State Supreme Court started fining the state government $100,000 a day for continuing to underfund K-12 public education. In 2011, after a 9-month investigation, the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice sued the Seattle Police Department for a "pattern of excessive force” that violates the US Constitution and federal law.

This year, Washington has a second chance to address police brutality and in compliance with international human rights laws.


  

As it currently stands, Washington has some of the most feudal police use-of force-laws in the country. It is essentially impossible to prosecute a police officer for murder. As it is currently written, Washington law states that if a police officer kills someone, as long as the cop acted “without malice and with a good faith belief that such act is justifiable,” he or she is immune from prosecution. King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg stated, “This almost perfect defense to a mistaken use of force has kept police officers out of court as defendants."

In fact, according to an analysis done by the SeattleTimes, from 2005 to 2014, 213 people were killed by police officers in Washington only one of whom has been prosecuted.

Earlier this year, House Bill 2907 was considered which would have struck the “malice” clause from the state law, but it wasn’t even voted on. Frustrated with the lack of action from politicians, an activist group called Washington for Good Policing have proposed Initiative-873, which if passed, will strike the “without malice and with a good faith belief” clause from state law. The initiative will need over 250,000 signatures to get placed on the ballot for general voting.

An Emancipation Proclamation for the Digital Age

The problematic relationship of Black people and the Internet persists

 

We just celebrated "Juneteenth" (the start of the end of slavery in the U.S.) amid tumultuous and sometimes confusing politics and what appears to be an increase in racist mobilization. For internet activists the situation begs the question: what, at this moment in our history, is the relationship between technology and black people?

It's a critical issue for us all.

Regular readers of this site have read it many times: with expanding globalization and the information economy, the internet has become a major, if not the major, communications technology in today's world. In the United States, it's the most popular tool for direct and group communications, study, research, diversion, journalism, intellectual collaboration and news consumption.

Most people reading this would agree that black people must be a part of that. But that truth is not a function only of a commitment to equality or justice. It's a necessity if we are to preserve the Internet's freedom and functionality and build a truly just and democratic society.

The use of the Internet by Black people has grown...and so have the problems.The use of the Internet by Black people has grown...and so have the problems.
 

That kind of society requires that Black people "sit at the table" of equality in this country and, to do that, they must enjoy a full, robust relationship with the internet that is equal to all other groups of people.

That, today, is simply not the case.

U.S. HIgh Court Ruling Opens Door to New Appeal by Mumia Abu-Jamal of His 1982 Conviction

Supreme Hypocrisy in Pennsylvania

 

One unintended consequence of the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling in a death penalty case that rebuked actions of a Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice and prosecutors in Philadelphia for conflict of interest was to possibly open a new avenue for activist-journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal to appeal his own 1982 murder conviction because his appellate proceedings were tainted by alarmingly similar conflict of interest, involving the same appellate jurist who was a former DA.

That ruling by America’s highest court sharply criticized former Chief Justice of Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court Ronald Castille for his participation in a 2014 death penalty deliberation because that justice had approved seeking that ultimate penalty when he served as the District Attorney of Philadelphia before becoming a state supreme court member.

That U.S. Supreme Court rebuke cited judicial conduct rules in Pennsylvania applicable to judges who had previously worked for a governmental agency like a District Attorney. Those conduct rules urged judges to remove themselves from “a proceeding if [their] impartiality might reasonably be questioned” because of their former position with such a governmental agency.

The U.S. Supreme Court, in the recent 5-3 ruling that rebuked Castille, stated that an “unconstitutional potential for bias exists when the same person serves as both accuser and adjudicator in a case.”

Paris Protest For Abu-Jamal. Jacques Lederer (left) and Abu-Jamal Collectif head Jacky Hortaut (right) - LBW PhotoParis Protest For Abu-Jamal. Jacques Lederer (left) and Abu-Jamal Collectif head Jacky Hortaut (right) - LBW Photo
 

Paris protestors for 21 years have held demonstrations monthly to criticize the lack of impartiality by judges in Pennsylvania, particularly judges once employed as prosecutors and/or in law enforcement. Those protestors have also condemned misconduct by prosecutors in Philadelphia like prosecutors unlawfully withholding evidence favorable to defendants.

State Dept. IG Report on Private Server has Clinton Resembling Gen. MacArthur on Luzon

A campaign death march?:

 

Few people thought, back in 1941, that the Japanese military could defeat or pose a serious threat to the US military. Yet, by April 8, 1942, only five months into the war, United States’ forces stationed on Luzon, our Philippine colony, had surrendered to a upstart Asian colonial power, the empire of Japan. Gen. Douglas MacArthur, the US commander in the Far East, had fled in ignominous defeat from the colony to Australia a month before. The remaining Filipino and American prisoners of war were left behind and forced in a death march of 65 miles to move to POW camps, where they remained under brutal conditions for the rest of the war. The name “Bataan” has since come to symbolize the depths of depravity following defeat.

Bataan was invoked again by journalists to describe the conditions at the Brooklyn campaign headquarters of then-Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton in the wake of an improbable and unexpectedly harsh finding by the inspector general (IG) of the State Department. The State Department’s own watchdog found its former boss, Secretary Clinton, to have clearly violated the rules and procedures of her own agency and the legal requirements of the National Freedom of Information Act. Clinton, the IG’s report said, posed “significant security risks” through her decision to use a private email server for professional business while she was secretary of state.

The IG’s report promises to be the centerpiece of the Republican attack on the Democrats in the fall election if Secretary Clinton grabs the party’s presidential nomination.

Like Gen. MacArthur fleeing capture by advancing  Japanese forces in the Philippines, Hillary's campaign, after the IG's report, is waiting for the FBI probe shoe to dropLike Gen. MacArthur fleeing capture by advancing Japanese forces in the Philippines, Hillary's campaign, after the IG's report, is waiting for the FBI probe shoe to drop
 

While her damage-control operation -- a fixture in the Clinton political machine through decades of scandals -- has gone into full gear, and a largely supportive corporate media has predictably tried to play down the import of the IG’s report, there is still a major FBI investigation underway of the same misconduct by former Secretary Clinton, which has included granting immunity from at least one key member of her staff who handled her home communications system -- a staffer who already took the Fifth over the issue at a House hearing. If the FBI were to indict Clinton, her situation would start to resemble General MacArthur’s in the spring of 1942 -- surrounded with no way out but to flee the scene.

Some of Clinton’s mass media friends have attempted, predictably, to link these developments to the continuing assault by what she once called, “ … a vast right wing conspiracy.” The problem with this defense lies in the very nature of the IG process.

Most agencies of the Unites States government have inspector general offices. The IGs operate independently within each agency to investigate waste, fraud, mismanagement and abuse of federal resources. IGs have wide investigative latitude. The State Department IG is a direct appointment of the president of the United States, Barack Obama, hardly part of a vast right wing conspiracy. (FBI Director James Comey, while a former Republican-appointed federal prosecutor, was also appointed to his current post in 2013 by Obama.)

Orlando Shooter Omar Mateen's Mental Health Likely to Overshadow Gun Control

Democrats use mental health to avoid taking stand on gun control

 

I could talk about the sanctity of queer nightclubs. Queer nightclubs are to queer civil rights as black southern churches are to black civil rights.

I could point out that Donald Trump’s asinine statements about Muslims and a radicalizing second generation are exactly the kind of ignorant bigotry that spurs these sorts of hate crimes to begin with.

I won’t though, because we all know that this has already been done and will continue to be done until this devastating event’s emotional significance is reduced to meaningless babble on repeat.

However, what has yet to come is the inevitable discussion about the mental state of Omar Mateen and the role that might have played in the shooting. Already, there is foreshadowing of this discussion as journalists report those around him describing him as “bipolar” or “erratic.”

I’m nipping it in the bud. We cannot go down that path. It’s distracting and unproductive because mass shootings are not just about mental health. Of course, mental health plays a role, but guess what plays an even larger role? GUNS.

Liberal and conservative politicians alike focus on mental health as a strategy to avoid discussing the true heart of the gun control debate. 

Syndicate content
Loading

Find more artists like Dave Lindorff at Myspace Music

This is the video tape of Davis in Lahore police custody


___________________________

___________________________


Watch live streaming video from globalrevolution at livestream.com

Live Stream of the Occupation of Wall Street! The Revolution will be filmed after all! (Courtesy of Globalrevolution)
________________________

Fightin' Cock FlyerFightin' Cock Flyer

Listen as Chuck, John, Dave and Linn Join Prairie Radical Mike Caddell of the Fightin' Cock Flyer on Radio Free Kansas

Here's the link to prairie radio radical Mike Caddell's Radio Free Kansas program, where you can hear the podcast of the whole group interview that was conducted on Saturday, May 8.

Also, listen to Dave Lindorff on Chris Cook's Gorilla Radio on CFEV Radio in Victoria, Canada.

Donate $50 to ThisCantBeHappening.net and get a free signed copy, postage paid, of Dave's classic tome The Case for Impeachment (St. Martin's Press, 2006). Just click on the cover image to go to the Paypal payment page, make your payment, and send a note to Dave calling his attention to the payment, and giving your mail address and the name you want the inscription addressed to.

---------------

Have a comment to make?

You can write us at ThisCantBeHappeningMail@yahoo.com
We may not answer you, but we'll probably read it.



by Dr. Radut