Tuesday, September 6, 2005


Mumia, if the last nameless prostitute becomes an unraveling turban of steam, if the judges' robes become clouds of ink swirling like octopus deception, if the shroud becomes your Amish quilt, if your dreadlocks are snipped during autopsy, then drift above the ruined RCA factory that once birthed radios to the tomb of Walt Whitman, where the granite door is open and fugitive slaves may rest.

Chapter 6 of Amy and David Goodman's book The Exception to the Rulers.

Imagine living, eating, sleeping, relieving oneself, day-dreaming, weeping - but mostly waiting, in a room about the size of your bathroom. Now imagine doing all those things - but mostly waiting, for the rest of your life. Imagine waiting - waiting - to die.

- Mumia Abu-Jamal[1]

US: In 1997, Democracy Now! made a decision that resulted in the program getting thrown off of twelve radio stations in one fell swoop. It knocked us completely off the air in the entire state of Pennsylvania.

- Our crime was airing the commentaries of a death row prisoner named Mumia Abu-Jamal.

A former journalist and activist in Philadelphia, Abu-Jamal has been on death row in Pennsylvania since being convicted of the 1981 murder of a police officer. Abu-Jamal maintains he is innocent of the charges, and an international solidarity movement has grown up around his case. Among those sup porting his cause are Nelson Mandela and the European Parliament. Amnesty International says Abu-Jamal never received a fair trial.

Mumia Abu-Jamal has been an outspoken voice for the thousands of people on death rows around this country. He has written articles for the Yale Law Review. His popular book, Live from Death Row, is a collection of his commentaries.

Abu-Jamal's essays touch on a broad range of issues. None of them were about his own case. He speaks of capital punishment being punishment for those without capital. And he talks about father hunger - the idea that so many young black men in prisons do not have fathers. Abu-Jamal reflected on the irony of being a father figure to those prisoners, despite the fact that he can't be a father to his own children or grandchildren. He writes in Death Blossoms:

Here, in this restrictive place of fathers without their children and men who were fatherless, one senses and sees the social costs of that loss. Those unloved find it virtually impossible to love, and those who were fatherless find themselves alienated and at war with their own communities and families.

In October 1996, the San Francisco-based Prison Radio Project taped thirteen essays with Abu-Jamal, and Democracy Now! began airing the pieces in early February 1997. (The Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police declined our invitation to comment on air.) But minutes before the first broadcast, the twelve stations in Pennsylvania owned by Temple University that aired Democracy Now! pulled our show entirely and ended their contract with the Pacifica Network. They said it was "inappropriate" to air the commentaries of Mumia Abu-Jamal; his voice should not be heard on the public airwaves.

Temple is a public university, so for us it was not only an issue of freedom of the press but also an issue of academic freedom and free speech at a publicly funded institution. The Temple stations replaced Democracy Now! with jazz.

A tremendous outcry followed. The president of Temple received more than a thousand calls, e-mails, letters, and faxes from academic associations and activists all over the country. The Washington Post and The New York Times both framed the incident as a free speech issue. Hundreds of students turned out for a forum against censorship at Temple University Law School.

One reason Abu-Jamal's commentaries were groundbreaking is because it is rare to hear voices from jail - journalists are increasingly being barred from prisons. Virginia, California, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Illinois are among the states that heavily restrict journalists' access to jails. California bans all face-to-face interviews. The state senate in Virginia killed a bill that would have ensured that reporters could interview prisoners. And just days after Abu-Jamal recorded his prison commentaries, the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections barred one-on-one media interviews with inmates.[2]

Abu-Jamal has faced multiple obstacles as he has tried to have his voice heard. On August 12, 1999, Mumia Abu-Jamal called in to Democracy Now! to comment on the release of sixteen Puerto Rican political prisoners. As Abu-Jamal began to speak, a prison guard yanked the phone out of the wall. Abu-Jamal called back a month later and recounted that "another guard appeared at the cell door hollering at the top of his lungs, 'This call is terminated.' I immediately called to the sergeant standing by and looking on and said 'Sergeant, where did this order come from?' He shrugged his shoulders and answered, 'I don't know. We just got a phone call to cut you off.'"[3]

These rules are not typically made by legislatures; they are edicts handed down by various prison authorities. As journalists, we must ensure that prisons are accountable to the public. These are public institutions, not the fiefdom of some prison boss. And as prisons become increasingly privatized, we have to ensure that the civil liberties of prisoners are respected.

The Society of Professional Journalists understood how threatening Temple's action was. "ððI am outraged that administrators at Temple University decided to silence an alternative voice," said then SPJ president Steve Geimann to The Washington Post. "SPJ, like Pacifica Radio, isn't taking a stand on Abu-Jamal's guilt or innocence. This issue today is all about allowing him - and other prisoners - the right to be heard."[4]

The Prison-Industrial Complex

We need to know what is happening inside prisons because the prison population is exploding at an unprecedented rate. In 2002, the number of prisoners in the United States exceeded 2 million for the first time in history - up from 200,000 in 1970.[5]The rate of incarceration in the United States - 701 inmates per 100,000 population (in 2002) - is the highest reported rate in the world.[6]

Racial disparities in prison are startling. Forty-five percent of prisoners in 2002 were black; 18 percent were Hispanic. According to the Department of Justice, black males have about a one in three chance of landing in prison at some point in their lives. Draconian drug laws have taken a particularly high toll: 57 percent of federal prisoners are incarcerated for drug-related offenses; a fifth of state prisoners are there for drug-related charges.

All this has helped the booming prison industry. Corrections is now a $50-billion-a-year business. Due partially to immigrant lockups and harsh drug laws, prisons, like weapons manufacturing, are a growth industry. From 1994 to 2002, the number of people in state prisons increased by 30 percent. During the same period, the number held in federal BCIS (Bureau of Customs and Immigration Services) and ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) custody increased by 275 percent. The explosion in immigrant prisoners follows the special registrations for immigrants from twenty-five countries that started in November 2002 and ran to January 2004. The federal government's 2003 budget for locking up immigrants was $ 672 million.

Nobody is cashing in on the immigrant lockdown like the private for-profit corporations that run prisons. The $3-billion-a-year private prison industry profits handsomely when immigrants end up in their cells. The federal government pays county jails $ 35 a day for murderers, rapists, and white-collar thieves, but the jails get from $ 75 to $ 100 a day for immigrant detainees.[7]And it's certainly not because the immigrant prisoners are getting more services.

"It is clear that since September 11, there's a heightened focus on detention, [and] more people are gonna get caught," Steve Logan, the chairman of Cornell Corrections, a private corrections company, cheerfully informed his shareholders. "So I would say that's positive. The federal business is the best business for us, and September 11 is increasing that business."[8]

America's death rows have also been busy places. The United States has executed over 885 people since 1976. Over 3,500 men and women are currently on death row.[9]

Death row is a monument to racial injustice. As a U.S. General Accounting Office study confirms, "The single most reliable predictor of whether someone will be sentenced to death is the race of the victim."[10]Over 80 percent of people executed were convicted of killing whites, even though half the homicide victims in this country are people of color. And a Justice Department study revealed that "80 percent of the cases submitted by federal prosecutors for death penalty review in the past five years have involved racial minorities as defendants. In more than half of those cases, the defendant was African-American."[11]

In Oklahoma and North Carolina, killers of white victims are four times more likely to get the death penalty than are killers of black victims. In Mississippi, they are five times more likely; in Maryland, seven times. Forty percent of the people on death row are black - yet African-Americans make up just 12 percent of the population. In Pennsylvania alone, more than two-thirds of the people on death row are African-American.

The most disturbing fact may be this: Since 1977, 140 death row prisoners (as of January 2004) have been exonerated.[12]Were it not for the relentless work of families, activists, attorneys, and reporters who cared, these innocent people would have been executed.

Condemned to Silence

Temple University insisted that the idea to banish Mumia Abu-Jamal from the airwaves didn't originate with them: They were merely following the lead of National Public Radio. "We share the view of NPR on Abu-Jamal's commentaries," said Temple spokesman George Ingram.[13]

Temple was referring to the fact that in 1994, NPR commissioned Mumia Abu-Jamal to do a series of commentaries unrelated to his case. When the NPR editor left the prison, she claimed that these were some of the finest commentaries she had ever heard.[14] They were scheduled to air, and NPR heavily promoted the series.

"We read his material and evaluated its content," said Ellen Weiss, executive producer of NPR's All Things Considered. "He is a good writer and brings a unique perspective to the air."[15]She added that the commentaries were a way for public radio to broaden its coverage of crime and punishment.

NPR knew these segments might be controversial, and they were. The day before the commentaries were to begin on NPR, leaders of the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police were attending a national event in Washington, D.C. The police put tremendous pressure on NPR not to air the commentaries. Senator Bob Dole denounced the radio network on the floor of the Senate.

NPR could not take the heat. Within a couple of days, it pulled the commentaries, abruptly changing its tune about them. "There is a different standard for a convicted murderer," said Bruce Drake, NPR's managing editor. "In the end, I didn't feel that what he had to say was compelling enough to overcome our misgivings."[16]

NPR then put the tapes in a vault and refused to return them to Mumia Abu-Jamal - even now, a decade later. But the commentaries finally did appear - in Abu-Jamal's book Live from Death Row.

NPR's cowardice had a ripple effect. They set a precedent by caving to pressure from the police, and then they dressed it up as principle. Then smaller networks such as Temple University Public Radio cited NPR as the example of why they wouldn't air a controversial voice.

In April 1997, NPR called poet Martin Espada and asked him to write a poem to commemorate National Poetry Month. The poem would air on All Things Considered. Espada, an acclaimed poet and a professor of English at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, was pleased to take the assignment. While traveling in Philadelphia, he read an article about a development in Abu-Jamal's case: an "unnamed prostitute" had come forward with important new information. Espada was intrigued. So he wrote "Another Nameless Prostitute Says the Man Is Innocent," a poem about Abu-Jamal's case, then faxed it in to NPR.

Suddenly Espada was poet non grata. NPR would not return his calls.

Espada could not understand what happened. He had read poems on All Things Considered before. NPR had pursued him to get this poem and he felt he had sent them a very good one. It was done the way NPR wanted it: as poetry, but also addressing news of the day. Finally he reached an NPR editor and asked what was going on.

We won't be airing it, came the reply.

"But you asked me for a poem," Espada protested.

Yes, but we can't do this poem, the editor replied, because it deals with Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Espada quickly figured out what was happening. "NPR is refusing to air this poem because of its political content?"

Yes, was the reply from All Things Considered producer Diantha Parker. According to Dennis Bernstein of Pacifica's KPFA, Parker said Espada should have known better.

Kathy Scott, NPR's communications director, told The Boston Globe, "NPR has already been criticized for not running the commentaries. Obviously, Mr. Espada thinks Mumia is innocent. In our way of thinking, this was a way to throw that back in our face."[17]

NPR was now attempting to muzzle both Mumia Abu-Jamal and Martin Espada. Both refused to be silenced. Espada came on Democracy Now! to talk about his case. The Progressive magazine published his poem, and it circulated widely on the Internet.

"If I didn't speak out, then I would be governed by the same fear that governs NPR, and that would be wrong," said Espada. "All a writer wants is to be judged on the merit of his work. They censored my piece for political reasons."[18]

Journalists are not entertainers. We are reporters. We go to places that are unpopular. We broadcast voices that are controversial. We are not here to win popularity contests. We are here to cover the issues critical to a democratic society. We have to pressure the media, to shame the media into going into these forgotten places where so many are sent to waste away in silence.

Here is the poem that NPR didn't want you to hear:

Another Nameless Prostitute Says the Man Is Innocent[19]

- for Mumia Abu-Jamal, Philadelphia, Pa./Camden, N.J., April 1997 -

By Martin Espada

The board-blinded windows knew what happened; the pavement sleepers of Philadelphia, groaning in their ghost-infested sleep, knew what happened; every black man blessed with the gashed eyebrow of nightsticks knew what happened;even Walt Whitman knew what happened,poet a century dead, keeping vigil from the tomb on the other side of the bridge.

More than fifteen years ago, The cataract stare of the cruiser's headlights, the impossible angle of the bullet, the tributaries and lakes of blood, Officer Faulkner dead, suspect Mumia shot in the chest, the witnesses who saw a gunman running away, his heart and feet thudding.

The nameless prostitutes know, hunched at the curb, their bare legs chilled, Their faces squinted to see that night, rouged with fading bruises. Now the faces fade. Perhaps an eyewitness putrefies eyes open in a bed of soil, or floats in the warm gulf stream of her addiction, or hides from the fanged whispers of the police in the tomb of Walt Whitman, where the granite door is open and fugitive slaves may rest.

Mumia: the Panther beret, the thinking dreadlocks, dissident words that swarmed the microphone like a hive, sharing meals with people named Africa, calling out their names even after the police bombardment that charred their black bodies. So the governor has signed the death warrant. The executioner's needle would flush the poison down into Mumia's writing hand so the fingers curl like a burned spider; his calm questioning mouth would grow numb, and everywhere radios sputter to silence, in his memory.

The veiled prostitutes are gone, gone to the segregated balcony of whores. But the newspaper reports that another nameless prostitute says the man is innocent, that she will testify at the next hearing. Beyond the courthouse, a multitude of witnesses chants, prays, shouts for his prison to collapse, a shack in a hurricane.

Mumia, if the last nameless prostitute becomes an unraveling turban of steam, if the judges' robes become clouds of ink swirling like octopus deception, if the shroud becomes your Amish quilt, if your dreadlocks are snipped during autopsy, then drift above the ruined RCA factory that once birthed radios to the tomb of Walt Whitman, where the granite door is open and fugitive slaves may rest.

[1] Mumia Abu-Jamal, edited by Noelle Hanrahan, All Things Censored, New York, Seven Stories Press 2000, p. 55.

[2] "Another One Bites the Dust...," Society of Professional Journalists, FOI Alert, January 10, 1997.

[3] Democracy Now!, September 21, 1999.

[4] Marc Fisher, "Pacifica Stations Bolt Over Convicted Killer's Commentary," Washington Post, February 25, 1997.

[5] Facts About Prisons and Prisoners, The Sentencing Project, October 2003.

[6] Ibid.

[7] "How Do Prisons Profit from Immigrant Detainees?" Democracy Now!, September 12, 2003.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Death Penalty Information Center, www.deathpenaltyinfo.org.

[10] Cited in "Death Penalty Facts: Racial Disparity," Amnesty International, 2003, http://www.amnestyusa.org/abolish/racialprejudices.html.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Innocence Project, 2003, http://innocenceproject.org/.

[13] David Hinkley, "Pa. Stations Scrap 'Democracy' and Mumia," New York Daily News, February 25, 1997.

[14] Interview with Noelle Hanrahan, director of the Prison Radio Project.

[15] Associated Press, "Public Radio Hires Officer's Killer as a Death Row Commentator," New York Times, May 15, 1994.

[16] Lois Romano, "Cancel That Call," Washington Post, May 17, 1994.

[17] Jenifer B. McKim, "A Case of Poetic Injustice?" Boston Globe, July 30, 1997.

[18] Ibid.

[19] Martin Espada, Zapata's Disciple, Boston, South End Press 1998, p. 133-35. Reprinted with permission of the author.

By Amy Goodman and David Goodman posted 6 September 05


Ohio's Abu Ghraib
US: Before becoming an Ohio State Penitentiary physician, Dr. Ayham Haddad experienced a different side of incarceration as a political prisoner in Syria. After being arrested, tortured, and released, Haddad immigrated to the United States to begin a new life.

Justice Stevens Criticizes Death Penalty
US: CHICAGO - Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens issued an unusually stinging criticism of capital punishment Saturday evening, telling lawyers that he was disturbed by "serious flaws."

Two Million Imprisoned = Too Many
On August 13, thousands of people from around the nation are expected to march in a "Journey for Justice" to our nation's capitol. Times have certainly changed since the 1963 civil rights march on Washington, but this year's march still has everything to do with what many view as institutionalized racism.

The Northern Territory Country Liberal Party Opposition leader, Denis Burke, has suffered a political tsunami in the state elections, with a big swing against him in his seat of Brennan.

Mr Howard has warned Japan that it faces global condemnation if it kills whales. Mr Howard is often quoted as saying he cannot and he would not interfere in the business and laws of sovereign states. Whaling is a part of the Japanese culture. The death penalty is also a part of many countries culture.

During 2004, at least 3,797 people were executed in 25 countries. At least 7,395 people were sentenced to death in 64 countries. These figures are only reported cases - the true figures were certainly much higher - many countries continue to execute people in secret.

WHY IS THE HOWARD GOVERNMENT PLAYING 'DEATH' WITH AUSTRALIANS: There has been much controversy recently on whether the Australian Federal Police should have tipped-off the Indonesians over the arrest of the Bali Nine. Due to the fact that Indonesia executes convicted drug-traffickers, ACADP believes that any evidence collected by AFP should have been withheld from Indonesian authorities until they have a written guarantee not to pursue the death penalty for the Bali Nine.

Death penalty-free zone in Europe and Central Asia
A coalition of non-governmental organizations is calling for a death penalty-free zone in Europe and Central Asia.

For death row inmates in Indonesia, execution usually comes on a deserted beach or remote jungle at the hands of a paramilitary firing squad. And, it rarely comes fast.

The Australian Coalition Against Death Penalty (ACADP) is (again) calling on U.S. President George W. Bush, to join the civilised world and destroy all chemicals of mass destruction, for the dignity and respect of every human life.

The difference between life and death can rest on the whim of a president or the ability of a lawyer. Whether or not the death penalty can be justified is very much up for grabs.

US: The American media reports that thousands of Iranians cheered, whistled and clapped as a serial killer was publicly executed in Iran last week.

The United States of America has withdrawn from an international agreement that gives detained foreign nationals the right to seek assistance and talk to their consular officers.

Corby lawyer pleads for Australian help
Schapelle Corby, 27, is accused of carrying over four kilograms of marijuana into Bali and could be sentenced to death if she is found guilty.

OHIO: Appeals court tosses death sentence for U.S.-British citizen
In Cincinnati, a federal appeals court on Tuesday threw out the conviction and death sentence of a man with dual U.S.-British citizenship who was convicted of killing a 2-year-old girl by starting a fire in his ex-girlfriend's apartment.

If you haven't heard about it yet, you will. There's a celebration in the air: Kenny is an innocent man living on death row in an Ohio prison and the authorities may finally acknowledge what we've known all along.

To prepare for Connecticut's first state-sanctioned killing in 45 years, the state Department of Corrections has spent more than US$33,000 on such items as training personnel, drugs (poison), intravenous catheters and tubing, portable restrooms, mobile offices, lighting and curtains for the witness observation room.

Child Offenders on Death Row
Recent Australian studies of alcohol and cannabis use show that girls are increasingly inclined to behave boldly. But boys out number the girls, two to one; and three to one in the juvenile justice system, mortality figures, speeding infringements and car crash statistics.

US death row numbers don't change policy?
The number of prisoners on death row in the United States appears to be falling, mostly credited to a single Governor who commuted the sentences of all the death row prisoners in his state.

Despite Drop in Crime, an Increase in Inmates
US: The number of inmates in state and federal prisons rose 2.1 percent last year, even as violent crime and property crime fell, according to a study by the Justice Department released yesterday.

How Denying the Vote to Ex-Offenders Undermines Democracy
For starters, hundreds of thousands of people who are still eligible to vote will not do so this year because they will be locked up in local jails, awaiting processing or trials for minor offenses.

DNA Evidence of Bipartisanship
Last week the U.S. Congress passed the Justice for All Act, which includes provisions of the Innocence Protection Act. As of this posting, the legislation has not yet been signed by President Bush. Attached is an analysis of the legislation prepared by the Justice Project.

Our Two Priority Bills sent to White House
US: The 8th National CURE Convention last June lobbied on Capitol Hill the Innocence Protection Act in the Senate and the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act of 2004 in the House. On Sunday, October 10th, Congress passed both bills and sent them to the President to be signed.

US: A Californian man who beheaded a german shepherd dog he had named after his girlfriend, has been sentenced to 25 years to life under California's three-strikes law.

SAVE THE LIFE OF NGUYEN TUONG VAN:A PLEA TO SINGAPORE PRESIDENT On behalf of the Australian Coalition Against Death Penalty (ACADP) and in the spirit of respect for human life, I make a heartfelt plea for clemency, compassion and mercy, to spare and save the young life of Nguyen Tuong Van, currently under sentence of death at Changi Prison in Singapore. Nguyen Tuong Van, is a 23-year-old Australian man of Vietnamese origin. Nguyen was arrested at Changi Airport in December 2002, whilst in transit from Cambodia to Australia. He was later charged and convicted of drug-trafficking. In March 2004 he was sentenced to death for his crime.

A long-standing convention not to extradite people out of Australia if they face the death penalty has been abandoned.

Kids from 3 to 83 years old beat candy labeled "Justice" out of a big Texas-shaped piqata on Aug. 1 as dozens gathered in the Houston City Hall Park to celebrate the 30th birthday of Nanon Williams, an innocent person on Texas death row.

THE LAND OF BIBLES, GUNS, PATRIOTS AND THE 'WORLD ROLE MODEL' FOR HUMAN RIGHTS: The state of Alabama, USA, executed James Barney Hubbard. So what? ... you might say ... America executes prisoners almost every week!

Appealing a Death Sentence Based on Future Danger USA-HOUSTON, June 9 - Texas juries in capital cases must make a prediction. They may impose a death sentence only if they find that the defendant will probably commit more violent acts.

Forensics? In proposing a new death penalty for Massachusetts last month, Governor Mitt Romney offered firm assurance that no innocent people would be executed: Convictions, he said, will be based on science.

Silencing the Cells: Mass Incarceration and Legal Repression in U.S. Prisons People without a voice are not people in any meaningful sense of the word. Silenced people cannot express their ideas; they can neither consent nor protest. They are reduced to being pawns in the schemes of the powerful, mendicants who must accept whatever is imposed upon them. In order to keep people in a state of subjugation, silencing their voices is essential. Nowhere is this clearer than in U.S. prisons.

U.N. Group Seeks End To Executions The United States, Japan, China, India and Muslim nations including Saudi Arabia opposed the resolution. Burkina Faso, Cuba, Guatemala, South Korea and Sri Lanka abstained.

US: Execution Dear Friends, this is so sad especially for our dear friend, San Nguyen. San who lives in Oklahoma worked very hard with the rest of the Vietnamese community to stop Mr. Le's execution. You may remember San from being at CURE's First International Conference in New York City in 2001. San also plans to be at the 8th National Convention this June in Washington. Charlie

Please contact the Governor The Vietnamese-American Community, the ACLU, and many others want the March 30 execution of Huang Thanh Le commuted.

Cherie Blair attacks US over death penalty in Catholic paper Cherie Blair has renewed her attack on America's use of the death penalty. In a book review in the Catholic journal The Tablet, under her maiden name Cherie Booth, she says: "Capital cases are uniquely prone to error and thus call into question whether we can ever be really sure of obtaining the just result.

Death penalty: a lawyer sees the light The observation "Americans are from Mars and Europeans are from Venus" is illustrated by the two nations' differing reactions to the use of the death penalty as a legitimate punishment for murder.

OHIO: Judges join dissent on execution delay In Columbus, 5 federal appeals court judges say a convicted killer's request to delay his execution was illegally denied because 2 senior judges participated in the vote.

Stephen Romei: Death knell sounds for US capital law GEORGE Ryan gets my vote as Australian of the Year, even though he's the outgoing governor of the US state of Illinois. There's just no one I admire more right now, not even Greg's Kables Community News Newtwork..

Mexico Awaits Hague Ruling on Citizens on U.S. Death Row Sbaldo Torres, a convicted murderer on death row in Oklahoma, should have been dead by now, his appeals exhausted, his time up.

Jury Passes On Business Of Killing US: This drives the death penalty crowd in the legislature nuts. Yet another jury - another 12 men and women, tried and true, who had all attested to their belief in the death penalty - has refused to join in the killing business.

Ultimate Punishment Scott Turow has long juggled two careers‹that of a novelist and that of a lawyer. He wrote much of his first and best known legal thriller, Presumed Innocent, on the commuter train to and from work during the eight years he spent as an Assistant United States Attorney in Chicago, and he has churned out another blockbuster every third year since joining the firm of Sonnenschein Nath and Rosenthal in 1986.

A Question of Innocence Rubin Carter: Day after day, week after week, I would sit in that filthy cell, seething. I was furious at everyone. At the two state witnesses who lied, at the police who put them up to it, at the prosecutor who sanctioned it, at the judge who allowed it, at the jury who accepted it, and at my own lawyer, for not being able to defeat it.

Amnesty steps up campaign to abolish death penalty Human rights watchdog Amnesty International is urging people around the world to pressure countries to abolish the death penalty.

'LAND OF THE FREE' SET TO EXECUTE TWO PRISONERS BY FIRING SQUAD: Wanted: Willing executioners for two convicted murderers. Must be psychologically sound and familiar with .30-calibre rifles. No victims' relatives need apply.

TEXAS EXECUTES 300th PRISONER Keith Clay was executed tonight, becoming the 300th prisoner in Texas to die by lethal injection since the rogue state resumed the death penalty 20 years ago.

AUSTRALIAN COALITION AGAINST DEATH PENALTY " ... Our nation was built on a promise of life and liberty for all citizens. Guided by a deep respect for human dignity, our Founding Fathers worked to secure these rights for future generations, and today we continue to seek to fulfil their promise in our laws and our society.

Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty Please note the following article carefully.....it shows clearly the hateful, uncaring and anti-human rights attitude as reflected by the Governor of Texas (and most other elected Texas officials).

Bush rules out death sentence review US President George W Bush says has dismissed any chance of a review of America's system of capital punishment.

Amnesty urges Bush to shut death row Human rights watchdog Amnesty International has urged US President George W. Bush to take a "moral stand" and abolish the death penalty after the Illinois Governor dramatically emptied that state's death row.

USA - A NATION IN TURMOIL: As the year 2002 draws to a close, little if anything, has changed in the United States in regards to state-sanctioned killing. Various campaigns, calls for clemency, petitions, and international condemnation, have failed to humanize U.S. politicians.

Here come de Judge - Time to Leave [266]
There have always been examples of rulings and interpretations that have supported the saying "The law is an ass". This is increasingly the case, because even the best intentioned judges are now facing an avalanche of new technologies and social change. But, it is no good making excuses for the judiciary and continuing to accept their strange interpretations. We must recognise that not only judges but the whole legal system will struggle more and more. In the end the whole system will become a farce. This is the way empires end.