Local Stories, Events
Ref. : Civic Events
Ref. : Arts & Education Events
Ref. : Public Service Notices
Books, Films, Arts & Education
Ref. : Letters to the editor
Health Care & Environment
11.18 Air pollution levels ‘forcing families to move out of cities’ [like from desertification, lack of drinkable water and rising oceans, there will also be pollution-caused immigration until humans fix things]
11.17 Policies of China, Russia and Canada threaten 5C climate change, study finds [Climate catastrophe is increasingly likely without worldwide organization, funding and commitment to winning THE WAR AGAINST GLOBAL WARMING.]
11.16 How pesticide bans can prevent tens of thousands of suicides a year [how many thousands more die early from eating pesticide-laced food?]
11.15 The Earth is in a death spiral. It will take radical action to save us [fossil fuel burning, un-recyclable plastic production/use and methane gas release must cease ASAP.]
11.15 The long read: The plastic backlash: what's behind our sudden rage – and will it make a difference? [the world wants to throw-up...]
11.15 Claws out: crab fishermen sue 30 oil firms over climate change [workers are waking-up...]
11.12 This Land is Your Land: The Zinke effect: how the US interior department became a tool of industry [behaving ignorantly again...]
News Media Matters
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
11.19 Last Week Tonight with John Oliver 11/18/2018 (HBO) [29:26 video]
11.19 Trump Says He Was 'Fully Briefed' and Also 'Not Briefed Yet' But Either Way Saudi Crown Prince 'Absolutely' Not Involved Because Trump Knows 'Everything That Went On' Without Listening to Tape of Khashoggi Murder
11.19 'We Need New Leaders, Period': Progressive Newcomers Urge Democrats to Embrace Bold Agenda or Face Primary Challenges [Current Democrat leaders are highly compromised by corporate donations]
11.18 Trump says Pelosi deserves speakership, offers Republican votes [An affirmation of Pelosi's unsuitability]
11.18 Khanna to Pelosi: Don't Just Create Green New Deal Select Committee, Make Ocasio-Cortez Its Chair [Will Pelosi earnestly change, or end her career in disgrace?]
11.18 Chuck Schumer, Feckless Hack [Neoliberal Democrats must go!]
11.18 What the State of the VA Tells Us About Trump’s War on Welfare [Privatizing often results in outright fraud and higher costs by private prisons, privatized health insurance and health care, privatized public schools and online "colleges" like Trump University]
11.17 As Energy for Medicare for All Explodes, Steny Hoyer's Plan Includes Waiting for Trump to Help Make Obamacare Better [Another who is unfit to be Democrat leader]
11.17 'A Staggeringly Bad Idea': Outrage as Pelosi Pushes Tax Rule That Would 'Kneecap the Progressive Agenda' [Unfit to be Democrat leader]
11.14 The Guardian view on Yemen’s misery: the west is complicit [WAR CRIMES]
Economics, Crony Capitalism
11.19 Bankrupt Sears wants to give executives $19 million in bonuses [blatantly immoral and sick to richly reward those who led the company into the bankruptcy]
11.18 Big Pharma Bankrolled Pro-Trump Group As Trump Pushed Pharma Tax Cut [Corruption Central!]
11.16 Amazon’s HQ2 Will Get a Tax Break Designed to Help the Poor [a Republican program that directly helps participating wealthy companies—but only helps workers if and when 'trickle-down' occurs.]
11.16 Trump doesn’t want to punish Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi. His new sanctions prove it. [George W. Bush made a similar immoral decision for the same oily reasons after 9-11, protecting Saudi defense contracts while facilitating the slaughter of poorer Arab "terrorists" in the region.]
International & Futurism
11.18 France demands UK climate pledge in return for Brexit trade deal [Excellent!]
11.17 Thousands gather to block London bridges in climate rebellion [We're losing WWIII because the enemy is invisible while we're like frogs slowly cooking. We aren't informed enough to be alarmed, but must get organized and motivated to fight back. We need a War Plan to ruthlessly pursue the fight of our lives!]
EXERCISING WHITE POWER: HOW AMERICA TREATS ITS POLITICAL PRISONERS:
Veronza Bowers, Jr. - Another Victim of America's Criminal Justice System
Monday, 13 July 2009
Throughout Veronza Bowers' incarceration, the Parole Commission consistently violated its own rules and regulations in denying Bowers due process - even after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (in 1993) determined that it acted improperly.
On September 15, 1973, Veronza Bowers, Jr. was arrested in Mill Valley, California and charged with robbery and possession of stolen property. After state charges were dropped for lack of probable cause to obtain a search warrant, the FBI arrested Bowers and charged him with the first-degree murder of National Park Service ranger Kenneth Patrick on August 5, 1973 at Point Reyes National Seashore near San Francisco.
At trial, testimonies from two government informants, Alan Veale and Jonathan Shoher, proved crucial. Both were also charged with the killing. Yet there were no independent eye-witnesses, and no evidence incriminated Bowers besides the word of these two men who had every incentive to cooperate with the Department of Justice.
Veale and Shoher were convicted bank robbers. In return for their testimony, their murder charges were dropped, and one of them served no prison time, was paid $10,000, and placed in the government's witness protection program.
Allegations were that the three men were at Point Reyes National Seashore to poach deer, ranger Patrick confronted them, and Bowers shot him three times. At trial, he testified for himself and steadfastly denied the charge. His wife's alibi testimony was dismissed as well as assertions by two relatives of the informants who insisted they were lying.
In April 1974, Bowers was convicted in San Francisco District Court and sentenced to life in prison. He's currently held at the United States Penitentiary (USP), Atlanta, Georgia.
In August 1979, after a failed prison escape from the Lompoc Federal Correctional Institution, Bowers became a model prisoner by focusing on his spiritual self. He became an author, musician, and student of Asian healing arts. He developed a strong interest in Buddhist meditation and hands-on healing techniques. He's an honorary Lompoc Tribe of Five Feathers member, a Native American spiritual and cultural group, and a mentor and founder of the All-Faith Meditation Group, a non-denominational spiritual organization devoted to healing meditation using the traditional Japanese shakuhachi flute.
At the expense of having his parole appeals denied, Bowers consistently maintains his innocence. Friends and supporters stand with him and offer testimony in his behalf.
Neoma Kenwood is a California Appellate Project attorney who represented Bowers pro bono for many years. On August 14, 1991, he wrote to the Parole Commission, mainly as a friend, and said this was his first ever letter like this. He did it because "Mr. Bowers is in a special category....(he's) very different; I have found him to possess much more integrity and decency than many of my fellow professionals."
Prison Administrator J. Harrison praised Bowers in a 1991 letter for his "contributions to the operations and programs of the (US Penitentiary Terre Haute, IN) Recreation Department," calling them "numerous and significant." He added that he "can be depended upon to willingly and cheerfully perform any extra task which the staff of this department might ask of him, (and) strongly endorsed" his parole.
Numerous other support letters were similar, including one by Maynard Garfield. He's treasurer of the Veronza Bowers, Jr. legal defense fund. He describes him as mature, intelligent, thoughtful and compassionate, and considers it "a privilege and a pleasure to call him my friend." Yet he's been denied parole at his hearings. Garfield said:
According to Garfield, rot he may without considerable help, and that's why this article is written - to urge readers to go www.veronza.org for information about him and learn how to help. Numerous times before, he was approved for parole and given release dates, only to have them rescinded at the last moment.
On October 5, 2005, he was due for Mandatory Parole but again was denied. On July 18, 2005 Bryan Gaynor, Alan Chaset and Monty Levenson representing him explained as follows:
The lawyers also provided background information and explained that Bowers was legally entitled to "mandatory parole" since April 7, 2004 because:
Nonetheless, his parole was denied. Then on October 26, 2004, Federal Judge William Terrell Hodges of the Middle District of Florida ruled on a habeas writ and ordered the Commission to hold a hearing within 30 days and release Bowers on "mandatory parole" if he complied with the above three qualifications.
A December 21, 2004 hearing was held at which nationally-recognized criminologist and Clinical Director of the National Center of Institutions and Alternatives Hans H. Selvog testified. He administered a battery of psychological tests and determined that Bowers is normal, socially well-adjusted with no criminal disposition, and an excellent candidate for parole.
Examiner Rob Haworth also testified that Bowers was eligible for "mandatory parole." He said he believed he was one of the most worthy candidates he'd encountered and recommended that he be released on February 18, 2005. Commissioner Cranston Mitchell ordered it based on Haworth's assessment.
Yet on that date, at the last moment, the Commission notified the Coleman Correction Facility warden that the parole was rescinded, and the five-member Commission would reconsider his case. Besides political pressure from Washington, the ruling was based on unsupported allegations of ranger Patrick's widow and members of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP). The woman supported her dead husband with no knowledge of the facts. FOP members cited spurious allegations of prison rule violations, including arranging for two contract killings.
Earlier on August 26, 2005, Association of National Park Rangers president Lee Werst wrote Thomas Hutchinson, chief of staff, US Parole Commission as follows:
On March 21, 2005, a rehearing was held and affirmed the previous December's recommendations: namely, that no credible evidence supported denying Bowers release. Between March 21 and May 16, the Commission exercised its "original jurisdiction" and voted two in favor, two opposed, and one abstention on parole. Anything less than a majority meant Bowers should be freed. June 21, 2005 was his scheduled release date, but on June 14, at the request of AG Alberto Gonzales, the Commission rescinded it without notifying his lawyers so they and Bowers could respond.
Attorneys Gaynor, Chaset and Levenson considered this action "to be without a proper basis in law. There is no statutory authority whatsoever (for it). It is our position that the original jurisdiction decision by the Commission constituted final agency action and any further action taken in this matter violates due process."
What's most objectionable is how the politicization of Bowers' case made an impartial administrative process impossible. Gonzales' intervention was "illegal, unprecedented and pander(ed) to the political agenda of his administration's constituents." It defiled the case's merits and kept him incarcerated to this day, over four years later.
On June 6, 2009, Atlanta Journal-Constitution writer Rhonda Cook said "US Magistrate Susan Cole....wrote in a final report and recommendation order that US Attorney (General) Alberto Gonzales improperly meddled in (his) case (and that Bowers should) be paroled immediately."
Cole said Gonzales "had no statutory or regulatory authority" to get involved and by doing so affected the Commission's impartiality. In a recommendation to US District Judge Charles Moye, assigned to handle Bowers' 2008 lawsuit, she added that the decision to keep Bowers imprisoned "cannot stand." A Commission spokesperson declined to comment. Current Bowers attorney Charles D. Weisselberg was confident that an honest review of the case would yield a favorable decision for his client.
On August 13, 2005, former political prisoner Ashanti Alston read Bowers' prepared statement at a Washington, DC Justice Rally. He said:
The Original Black Panther Party
As Bowers said above, he was "a former member of the original Black Panther Party." This writer's October 2008 article on the San Francisco Eight former members contained the section below - slightly edited here to explain what party members stood for, an agenda far different from mainstream propaganda about them.
In October 1966, Huey Newton and Bobby Seale founded the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. It was progressive, activist, militantly for ethnic justice, racial emancipation, and real economic, social, and political equality across gender and color lines - radical ideas then and now. The party's ten-point program expressed them:
It added words from the Declaration of Independence at the end:
They believed in the rule of law, published a newspaper with 250,000 readers that articulated fundamental wants and needs, and practiced what they preached with:
They were young, idealistic, and willing to put their lives on the line for their beliefs and activism. Their goal was to make the world a better place - for black people and everyone. They were revolutionaries, hostile to repression. In Huey Newton's words they were: "never a group of angry young militants full of fury toward the 'white establishment.' The Party operated on love for black people, not hatred of white people." Their 2000 members demanded change and struggled for it from over 30 branches nationwide.
They wanted redress of longstanding grievances - slavery, Jim Crow laws and practices, segregation, neglect and abuse, and claimed their right of self-defense against them. It was a revolutionary agenda that included ideas Jefferson preached, but for practicing them the US government targeted them for destruction and largely succeeded. The 1960s civil rights gains as well so that today blacks are repressed, impoverished, and segregated. They're stripped of their voting rights, and consigned to second class status by a society disdaining them, other people of color, and all non-Christians or Jews.
The October 2008 article focused on the San Francisco Eight (SF 8) - innocent men targeted by the FBI's infamous COINTELPRO - a gangster operation that never ended. Because of their Black Panther activism, they were framed for crimes they didn't commit from 1968 - 1973.
Updated Status of the SF 8
On July 6, California state prosecutors dropped charges against four members for lack of sufficient evidence - Ray Boudreaux, Richard Brown, Hank Jones and Harold Taylor. Jalil Muntaqim pled no contest to conspiracy to commit voluntary manslaughter, received credit for time served and three years probation. He'll now return to New York to seek parole. Attorney Soffiyah Elijah said: "This is finally the disposition of a case that should never have been brought in the first place."
Francisco Torres still faces an August 10 court hearing. He steadfastly maintains his innocence, according to his attorney Charles Bourdon who'll file a motion to dismiss charges to have his client released.
Herman Bell pled guilty to the reduced charge of involuntary manslaughter and received a sentence of five years probation with no additional incarceration.
Albert Nuh Washington died in prison.
Veronza Bowers, Jr. was targeted for the same reason as the SF 8 - for being black and committed to social justice for all people equally. Today, others as dedicated risk the same fate at a time we're all watched and as vulnerable as Veronza.
A Brief Legal History of Bowers' Case
Throughout his incarceration, the Parole Commission consistently violated its own rules and regulations in denying Bowers due process - even after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (in 1993) determined that it acted improperly. It granted him relief, and instructed the District Court to have the Commission recompute his parole eligibility.
Nonetheless, the Commission ignored the order and ruled (without explanation) that Bowers must stay in prison until his mandatory April 26, 2004 release date. A final appeal to the National Parole Commission failed to reverse the decision.
Bowers became eligible for parole on December 6, 1983 after serving 10 years in prison. In November, he had his first hearing before the US Parole Commission, was denied, and was ordered to serve another 10 years before reconsideration. All subsequent legal appeals failed until the 1993 Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling. It was also ignored, and Bowers remains incarcerated despite considerable efforts on his behalf and the below listed factors about him:
Bowers' lawyers and supporters continue their struggle to free him, the National Jericho Movement among them that seeks "Recognition and Amnesty" for political prisoners in America. It calls holding them "an act of terror" and says this as an advocate for Bowers:
"TOGETHER, we can help force the US Parole Commission and the federal prison system honor its obligation to let Veronza Bowers go free" - after unjustly being imprisoned for 35 years, yet courageously enduring it with dignity and steadfast adherence to his principles.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to The Global Research News Hour on RepublicBroadcasting.org Mondays from 11AM to 1PM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on world and national topics. All programs are archived for easy listening.
Mr. Lendman's stories are republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.
Copyright © 2009 The Baltimore News Network. All rights reserved.
Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.
Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.This story was published on July 13, 2009.
Public Service Ads: