Tuesday, April 10, 2012


This is mostly directed at the Indian and Indian-American community, that circulated a petition to "Free Dharun Ravi".

The history behind my appeal here.

Let's show that we can act from a higher principle, that of human rights for all, in the tradition established by Ashoka, promulgated by Akbar and eloquently described by Amartya.
Here are just three of the most effective organizations working on miscarriage of justice, racially skewed sentencing, prison conditions, death penalty, prosecutorial abuse etc. For all three, I give some combination of examples of what is the problem, what is being done to fix it and what you can do to help.

If you want to join me in any local action, or even just to observe and counteract the MSM brain-washing we've already undergone, I've included links to various OccupyOakland sites.

Finally, links to The Nation (which H.C.Baxi got me hooked onto). Other reading is obvious: Harper's, Mother Jones, TomDispatch …

A few of Amnesty International's actions in the US:

Arizona prison conditions : Arizona's maximum security prisons fall below international standards for humane treatment, windowless cells for 22 to 24 hours a day in conditions of reduced sensory stimulation, with little access to natural light and no work, educational or rehabilitation programs, prisoners spend years in such conditions, AI calls for :
  • reducing the number of prisoners in isolation;
  • improving conditions in the SMU and similar units;
  • removing prisoners with serious mental illness from SMU or similar units;
  • taking measures to reduce the number of suicides in Arizona’s prisons, and
  • barring children under 18 from being held in solitary confinement.  
Death Penalty: United States stayed in its dubiously bad place … behind China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Iraq

Simple things you can do: Educate yourself on the issues, 10 ways to get involved : sign a petition, donate,

attend an event and put your body on the line.

What AI has to say about Mumbai slums
B. Southern Poverty Law Center: The Southern Poverty Law Center is a nonprofit civil rights organization dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry, and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of society.

Get informed: e.g. walking while black, “Sub-human. Disposable. Even in the larger world.
Trayvon was returning from buying candy and iced tea at a nearby convenience store, walking through a gated community in Sanford where his father was staying. He was presumed to be up to no good. His assailant, George Zimmerman, has been presumed by local police to have acted in self-defense.”

C. The Innocence Project : The Innocence Project works to exonerate the wrongfully convicted through postconviction DNA testing; and develop and implement reforms to prevent wrongful convictions.
Common forms of misconduct by law enforcement officials include:

•    Employing suggestion when conducting  identification procedures
•    Coercing false confessions
•    Lying or intentionally misleading jurors about their observations
•    Failing to turn over exculpatory evidence to prosecutors
•    Providing incentives to secure unreliable evidence from informants

Common forms of misconduct by prosecutors include:

•    Withholding exculpatory evidence from defense
•    Deliberately mishandling, mistreating or destroying evidence
•    Allowing witnesses they know or should know are not truthful to testify
•    Pressuring defense witnesses not to testify
•    Relying on fraudulent forensic experts
•    Making misleading arguments that overstate the probative value of testimony 

Fix, simplest way to get-involved and make a difference is to join

and to donate

Act Locally: If there is one local group you will join
OccupyOakland : This is the other side of the coin: without grassroots protest and action, organizations like the above will continue to exist and have to fight individual cases. And to change the system, the grassroots (we, us, you and I) need you to participate.
Justice related issues: sexual harassment lawsuit against Alameda County Chief Probation Officer, Human Trafficking measure for CA ballot, “Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin, and the protection of ‘police murder’ in America (Opinion)”

Related Activism: courts, prisoners : April 24th, 4 PM, Oscar Grant Plaza, Oakland.

“Mumia Abu Jamal, Leonard Peltier, Angela Davis” if these names make your blood boil, you have a minimum GAWAS-ness of 8.

Articles from The Nation: I consider this a central clearing house for information and activism on human rights, social justice and progressive issues. Typically at least 3 months ahead of the NYT.
(HCBaxi was the one who led me to subscribe to and read The Nation, basically by ripping out articles for me to read, from his copies. After the WTC attacks, The Nation (amongst a few others) was the only US print media I could bear to read: they condemned the violence (not the “loss of innocent lives”), analyzed and acknowledged the causes and discussed possible responses. I pledged to subscribe to it lifelong.)

On “License to Kill

On YOUR tax dollars at work for Arizona's private prisons

On abolishing the US Death Penalty

Patricia Williams Reason for doubt. Can't read it? Subscribe, $18 a year for online

How to end the Drug Wars

Reliable news on Occupy : if you only listen to NPR, you are NOT hearing it all.

This is meant for those of you who want to do something, but don't know what nor how. For the rest, please explore on your own, I do not want to influence or mediate your reading any further. Find your own articles with contrary viewpoints, for example those defending inhumane conditions, the death penalty, violent vigilantism, law enforcement and prosecutorial fraud, and those promulgating hate and bigotry. 

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