Monday, March 27, 2006

Fred Hampton controversy - and spin

ABC News covered the controversy of the sign being put up honoring Fred Hampton. One of their stories had a little spin in it as well as erroneous information, the NBC story was just odd. I will not print either in their entirety, just the relevant parts.

Union head blasts plan to name street after Black Panther
ABC Team Coverage

February 28, 2006 (CHICAGO)
The plan would designate a four-block stretch of West Monroe Street, where Hampton was killed by police officers in 1969,

"It's only one block -- and it's not even a long block." Haithcock said.

For the record, Hampton and another Panther, Mark Clark, were killed in an early morning police raid in December of 1969. Rush and others called it murder, but no one was ever convicted, including the man who ordered the raid, former state's attorney Edward Hanrahan.

however, after a federal investigation, according to The COINTELPRO Papers: Documents from the FBI's Secret Wars Against Dissent in the United States

Ch. 5, “Black Liberation Movement,” pp. 139-141):
[I]n mid-November 1969, COINTELPRO specialist Roy Mitchell met with William O’Neal, a possibly psychopathic infiltrator/provocateur who had managed to become Hampton’s bodyguard and chief of local [Black Panther Party] security, at the Golden Torch Restaurant in downtown Chicago. The agent secured from O’Neal the accompanying detailed floorplan of Hampton’s apartment [reproduced on p. 139 of the book], including the disposition of furniture, and denotation of exactly where the BPP leader might be expected to be sleeping on any given night. Mitchell then took the floorplan to Richard Jalovec, overseer of a special policy unit assigned to state’s attorney Edward V. Hanrahan; together, Mitchell and Jalovec met with police sergeant Daniel Groth, operational commander of the unit, and planned an “arms raid” on the Hampton residence. On the evening of December 3, 1969, shortly before the planned raid, infiltrator O’Neal seems to have slipped Hampton a substantial dose of secobarbital in a glass of kool-aid. The BBP leader was thus comatose in his bed when the fourteen-man police team—armed with a submachine gun and other special hardware—slammed into his home at about 4 a.m. on the morning of December 4. He was nonetheless shot three times, once more or less slightly in the chest, and then twice more in the head at point-blank range. Also killed was Mark Clark, head of the Peoria, Illinois, BPP chapter. Wounded were Panthers Ronald “Doc” Satchell, Blair Anderson and Verlina Brewer. Panthers Deborah Johnson (Hampton’s fiancée, eight months pregnant with their child), Brenda Harris, Louis Truelock and Harold Bell were uninjured during the shooting. Despite the fact that no Panther had fired a shot (with the possible exception of Clark, who may have squeezed off a single round during his death convulsions) while the police had pumped at least 98 rounds into the apartment, the BBP survivors were all beaten while handcuffed, charged with “aggressive assault” and “attempted murder” of the raiders, and held on $100,000 bond apiece. A week later, on December 11, Chicago COINTELPRO section head Robert Piper took a major share of the “credit” for his “success” in the accompanying memo [reproduced on p. 141], informing headquarters that the raid could not have occurred without intelligence information, “not available from any other source,” provided by O’Neal via Mitchell and himself. He specifically noted that “the chairman of the Illinois BP, Fred Hampton,” was killed in the raid and that this was due, in large par, to the “tremendous value of O’Neal’s work inside the party. He then requested payment of a $300 cash “bonus” to the infiltrator for services rendered, a matter quickly approved at FBI headquarters. The Hampton-Clark assassinations were unique in that the cover stories of involved police and local officials quickly unraveled. Notwithstanding the FBI’s best efforts to help “keep the lid on,” there was a point when the sheer blatancy of the lies used to “explain” what had happened, the obvious falsification of ballistics and other evidence, and so on, led to the indictment of State’s Attorney Hanrahan, Jalovec, and a dozen Chicago police personnel for conspiring to obstruct justice. This was dropped by Chicago Judge Phillip Romitti on November 1, 1972 as part of a quid pro quo arrangement in which remaining charges were dropped against the Panther survivors. The latter then joined the deceased in a $47 million civil rights suit against not only the former state defendants, but a number of Chicago police investigators who had “cleared” the raiders of wrongdoing, and the FBI as well. The Bureau had long since brought in ace COINTELPRO manager Richard G. Held, who replaced Marlin Johnson as Chicago [Subversives Activity Control], in order to handle the administrative aspects of what was to be a monumental attempted cover-up. But even his undeniable skills in this regard were insufficient to gloss over the more than 100,000 pages of relevant Bureau documents concerning Hampton and the Chicago BBP he claimed under oath did not exist. Finally, after years of resolute perjury and stonewalling by the FBI and Chicago police, as well as directed acquittals of the government defendants by U.S. District Judge J. Sam Perry (which had to be appealed and reversed by the Eighth Circuit Court), People’s Law Office attorneys Flint Taylor, Jeff Haas and Dennis Cunningham finally scored. In November 1982, District Judge John F. Grady determined that there was sufficient evidence of a conspiracy to deprive the Panthers of their civil rights to award the plaintiffs $1.85 million in damages.
“The Hampton-Clark assassinations were hardly an isolated phenomenon,” Churchill and Vander Wall add at the outset of their very next paragraph.

Though it is true no one was convicted, it would have been worth noting that a dozen people were indicted including the State's Attorney. Having enough evidence for a Grand Jury indictment is no small potatoes.

NBC Police Furious Over Black Panther Street Name
Alderman: Police Union Leader Should 'Get Over It'

POSTED: 3:44 pm CST February 28, 2006
UPDATED: 7:06 pm CST February 28, 2006
... The Black Panthers that Hampton chaired were a revolutionary group in the late 60s. They used incendiary threats against police and preached violence against the establishment, Kay reported.

Now is it just me, or does this next statement seemto contradict what Dic Kay just said, rather than reinforce it....
"I want to leave a message with you anarchists -- you idiot fools that like to go out and get people's heads beat off," Hampton said at a rally in 1969. "The Black Panther Party doesn't endorse any criminal action."

Though contrary to the ABC spin, they did get this right, fair and balanced.

On Dec. 4, 1969, state's attorney's police staged an early-morning raid on Hampton's house on West Monroe, claiming they were looking a stash of guns. They fired almost 100 shots into the house, killing Hampton. Police claimed it was a shootout, but a grand jury found that only one shot came from the Panthers.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

No SSA dollars used for Loyola's Campus Police Office

In the March 8, 2006 edition of the News-Star newspaper, a story was written about the Campus Police office that was opened by Loyola under the Granville 'El' stop. I have been unable to obtain an electronic copy as it is not in the Pioneer Press online archives, however the story did say that the funding for the office came from the SSA.

This is not true. In a conversation with Frank Kruesi, Executive Director of the CTA, I asked him about the funding source and Loyola's role.

In blue is what Kruesi told me.

Senator Durbin was able to secure $2 million in federal funds which provided a vast amount of the money. The funds rehabbed the Granville “El” Station and the properties the CTA owned underneath it which, according to Kruesi, “had no roofs, they couldn’t be rented.”

A waterproof membrane was put up above the storefronts and Loyola then spent between $10,000 and $40,000 building the station (the final figures were not yet in).

Kruesi said “the CTA retains that money, in exchange Loyola gets free rent for the first fourteen months, then if they want to stay, the rent is $500 per month.”

SSA money is not federal money.

These days, when so much of the city is filled with these special tax districts and their tax payer dollars are being used for questionable reasons, it's very important for the press to accurately report when and if, these funds are used.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Kristof's comment is a bit disingenuous

Though unquestionably, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof has done more than anyone to raise awareness of the genocide in Darfur, today I encountered this installment and I was dumbfounded by one single line which I have highlighted in red and I will show why in blue.

No this is not about our neighborhood, but it is about the erosion of our free press. We the people, must demand consistency and accuracy or we may as well stop reading the paper and watching the news.

COLUMN: The Silence of Bystanders

Sunday, 19 March, 2006
New York Times


I saw a lot of heartbreak on my latest visit to the fringes of Darfur: two orphan boys living under a tree after their family was murdered, a 13-year-old girl shot in the chest and a 6-year-old boy trying desperately not to cry as doctors treated shrapnel wounds to his leg.

But the face of genocide I found most searing belonged to Idris Ismael, a 32-year-old Chadian. Mr. Idris said that a Sudan-sponsored janjaweed militia had attacked his village, Damri, that very morning. He had managed to run away. But his wife, Halima, eight months pregnant, could only hobble. And so she was still in the village, along with their four children, ages 3 to 12.

"The village is surrounded by janjaweed, with civilians inside," Mr. Idris said. "There's no way for people to escape. The janjaweed will kill all the men, women and children, take all our blankets and other property, and then burn our homes. They will kill every last person."

"The janjaweed will rape and kill my family," Mr. Idris added. "And there's nothing I can do."

Elie Wiesel once said, referring to victims of genocide: "Let us remember: what hurts the victim most is not the cruelty of the oppressor but the silence of the bystander." And it's our own silence that I find inexplicable.

In Darfur, we have even less excuse than in past genocides. We have known about this for more than two years, we have photos and eyewitnesses, our president has even described it as genocide, and yet we're still paralyzed. Part of the problem is that President Bush hasn't made it a top priority, but at least he is now showing signs of stirring � and in fact he's done more than most other world leaders, and more than many Democrats. Our failure in Darfur is utterly bipartisan.

Day 113 of the President's Silence
May 3, 2005
, Tuesday
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF (NYT); Editorial Desk
Late Edition - Final, Section A, Page 25, Column 1, 785 words
DISPLAYING FIRST 50 OF 785 WORDS -Finally, finally, finally, President Bush is showing a little muscle on the issue of genocide in Darfur. Is the muscle being used to stop the genocide of hundreds of thousands of villagers? No, tragically, it's to stop Congress from taking action.

H. CON. RES. 467
Declaring genocide in Darfur, Sudan.
June 24, 2004
Mr. PAYNE (for himself, Mr. CUMMINGS, Mr. JEFFERSON, Mr. WYNN, Ms. LEE, Ms. MAJETTE, Mrs. CHRISTENSEN, Mr. DAVIS of Illinois, Ms. WATERS, Mr. JACKSON of Illinois, Ms. NORTON, Mr. SCOTT of Georgia, Ms. MILLENDER-MCDONALD, Mr. DAVIS of Alabama, Mr. RUSH, Mr. TOWNS, Ms. SCHAKOWSKY, Mr. FATTAH, Mr. OWENS, Mr. RANGEL, Mr. THOMPSON of Mississippi, Ms. EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON of Texas, Mr. WATT, Mr. MEEKS of New York, Ms. CORRINE BROWN of Florida, Ms. WATSON, Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas, Mr. LEWIS of Georgia, Mr. CLYBURN, Mr. CONYERS, Mr. SCOTT of Virginia, Mr. FORD, Ms. KILPATRICK, Mr. TANCREDO, and Mr. BISHOP of Georgia) submitted the following concurrent resolution; which was referred to the Committee on International Relations
Declaring genocide in Darfur, Sudan.
3) urges the Bush Administration to call the atrocities being committed in Darfur, Sudan by its rightful name: `genocide';
(4) calls on the Bush Administration to lead an international effort to prevent genocide in Darfur, Sudan;
(5) urges the Bush Administration to seriously consider multilateral or even unilateral intervention to prevent genocide should the United Nations Security Council fail to act;
(6) demands that the Bush Administration impose targeted sanctions, including visa bans and the freezing of assets of the National Congress and affiliated business and individuals directly responsible for the atrocities in Darfur, Sudan

Mr. Bush met recently at the White House with Mudawi Ibrahim Adam, an authentic Sudanese hero, to get advice on Darfur, and he seems engaged � though still not ready to leap into the issue publicly by making a major speech on Darfur, or by welcoming refugees for a photo op at the White House. Alas, Mr. Bush is far more timid than the American people.

A new poll by Zogby International that surveyed 1,000 Americans a few days ago asked about Darfur. Sixty-two percent said that "the United States has a responsibility to help stop the killings in the Darfur region of Sudan"; only 24 percent disagreed.

In response to another question, only 24 percent said that "the U.S. has done enough diplomatically to help end the crisis." In contrast, 59 percent said that more could be done. .....

As you can see, in 2004 a group of U.S. Senators and Congressmen urged the White House to take action in Darfur. But one year later in 2005 Bush still, according to Kristof, never uttered the word Darfur.

Kristof nearly accused the President of stopping Congress from taking action. This daily chiding of Kristof's continued for at least 141 days until Bush publicly mentioned Darfur.

Now, for some inexplicable reason, he has reversed course, praised Bush and chided Democrats. Why?

Sunday, March 19, 2006

CBS coverage of Wayne Jones homicide

This is a story that was aired on CBS News in Chicago last month. There are several major inaccuracies in this story. I will highlight the inaccuracies in red and show the correction in blue.

(CBS) CHICAGO A prayer vigil is getting underway at this hour in the wake of three violent attacks.

Within the past week, police have reported two sexual assaults and one suspicious death in Rogers Park.

CBS 2's Rafael Romo reports that neighbors are on edge.

There's a lot of tension in Rogers Park, not only because of the sexual attacks, but also because the death of an innocent bystander - a disabled man - remains a mystery.

CBS 2 spoke with his widow who, along with the community, is saying enough is enough.

"He had severe bleeding on the brain," said widow Marla Jones.

Jones said she never got a chance to say goodbye to her husband, Wayne, who was already unconscious when he was taken to the hospital.

"And I kept calling the next day and he was in recovery, but he never woke up," she said.

Wayne Jones, who was 50, died on Morse Street in the Rogers Park neighborhood.
According to a Chicago Fire Department spokesman, at 10:47 pm the first 911 call was received of a battery in progress, several black or white men were beating someone, but the caller could not provide the age of the offenders.

Another call came in that someone was being beaten. Neither caller could say if there were weapons involved.

A third 911 caller said a man was down on the sidewalk. That man was Wayne Jones.

The ambulance arrived 4.5 minutes after the first call and found Mr. Jones conscious, breathing and bleeding from the head. They did an initial assessment at the scene, ensured he was stable and at 11:22 pm transported Mr. Jones to St. Francis Hospital in Evanston having determined that he only needed basic life support services.
Basic life support is provided for victims with less severe injuries such as cuts, bumps, bruises and broken limbs.

A Chicago Police spokesman said the hospitalization report filed by the police response car indicated a similar condition, but also noted that Mr. Jones had a history of seizures and could have fallen there.

Police say it's a death investigation, but neighbors insist Jones was beaten to death.

"This teenager from Cease Fire threw something at this victim, a vulnerable senior,who had just been out of the hospital and suffered a stroke," said Judy Brown,a Rogers Park resident.

Cease Fire operates a program for youth.
HACC is a neighborhood non-profit that runs several programs for the youth, adults and families in the area.
Ceasefire Chicago is part of the Chicago Project for Violence Prevention begun by the University of Illinois, School of Public Health. Launched in 1995, it currently serves 15 police districts in Chicago and 5 additional communities with the single goal of stopping shootings.

Neighbors say the night Jones died, a fight at the Howard Area Community Center spilled out to the street and Jones got caught in the middle.
To insure adequate supervision, the staff of the Rogers Park Ceasefire office, which is across the street, were asked to chaperone the party to augment the five or six Howard Area Community staff members present.
Vernandez Jones, of Ceasefire Chicago told me that he was working the door with Carolyn Reed. As this was a closed party, open only to HACC program participants, Carolyn was at the door with him to identify their kids. Non program participants were turned away when they attempted to gain entry.
For added security the 24th District provided a beat car, which was parked outside for the duration of the party.

By 10:35 pm all but a few kids who stayed to clean up with staff remained; Vernandez returned to his office across the street after having ensured that the streets were cleared of kids one block in either direction at the request of the police on the scene.

The assigned police car left after the streets were clear, and congratulated them on hosting a good event that completed without incident.

"The only problem that he did was he was in the wrong place at the wrong time," said Craig Gernhardt, of Paws for Peace.

It is a charge that the program's leaders vehemently deny.

"As far as we know, no kid that is a member of our program was involved in this incident, and we certainly hope that the investigation proves that to be true," said John Fitzgerald, of the Howard Area Community Center.

"The kids over here at the Howard Area Community Center are a great group of kids who basically have taken a stand that they don't want to be out here on the streets,"said Vernandez Jones of Cease Fire.

Chicago police detectives have questioned several teenagers from the Howard Area Community Center, but the incident is still considered a death investigation.

No one has been charged.

As you can see, there is a gross misrepresentation of the facts in this story. I have posted this to set the record straight.