Justice for Donovan Jackson

A jury in Los Angeles this week failed to deliver a guilty verdict against the white police officers who brutalized Donovan Jackson, a 16-year-old Black youth, despite a videotape proving the officers’ guilt in the assault last summer. The jury, with only one African American, was deadlocked in a 7-5 vote to convict Inglewood police officer Jeremy Morse of assault. The judge has declared a mistrial. Morse’s partner was acquitted of related charges.

The video, aired nationwide, showed Morse picking up the 136-pound teenager by his belt and repeatedly slamming him face down on the trunk of the police car. Then the beefy cop struck the handcuffed youth with his fist.

This is a sickening replay of the beating of Rodney King and the subsequent acquittal of four LAPD officers in 1991. But police brutality is not limited to Los Angeles. A jury in Albany, N.Y., acquitted the white NYPD officers who murdered Amadou Diallo in a hail of 41 bullets when he reached for his wallet in the hallway of his apartment building.

Morse was put on trial only because of the incriminating videotape, suggesting that racist brutality is commonplace but “invisible” to those in power.

It’s as if we are trapped in the 19th century when, to paraphrase the notorious Dred Scott decision, “Black people have no rights that a white cop is bound to respect.”

LA District Attorney Steve Cooley should be bombarded with demands for a new trial. Why did he refuse to summon the man who shot the videotape? Instead, the LAPD arrested him.

When will George W. Bush stop prattling about “freedom in Iraq” and address brazen infringements on liberties here at home? When will Attorney General John Ashcroft uphold his sworn duty and file charges against these officers for violating Jackson’s civil rights?

We, the people, white, African American, Latino, Asian Pacific, and Native American, must demand justice for Donovan Jackson.

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How low can you go?

Just when you thought capitalism can’t get any lower, you read about its main trumpeters setting up a stock-market style system (read casino) in which investors get to bet on and profit from terrorist attacks, assassinations and other disasters in the Middle East. Democratic Senators Ron Wyden of Oregon and Byron L. Dorgan of North Dakota discovered the scheme and denounced it at a press conference July 28 as “ridiculous and grotesque.”

This was supposedly the brainchild of Bush appointee and convicted criminal John Poindexter, who also thought up the Total Information Awareness (TIA) program which made “big brother” look like a baby. TIA was also denounced and forced to change.

But, we say, two strikes and you’re out, Poindexter. We join the rising chorus demanding he be fired and his perverted programs cancelled.

But there are more layers to this degenerate plan. It has been in development with the Pentagon and two private partners: an arm of the publishers of The Economist magazine and a high-tech “deal-making” company called Net Exchange. On their website they introduce The Policy Analysis Market (PAM) with sanitized, corporate-Stepford Wives language: “Initially, PAM will focus on the economic, civil, and military futures of Egypt, Jordan, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Turkey and the impact of U.S. involvement with each.”

“The issues represented by PAM contracts may be interrelated; for example, the economic health of a country may affect civil stability in the country and the disposition of one country’s military may affect the disposition of another country’s military.”

These are issues of life and death, of countries and peoples, not some game for 1,000 investors to make millions. Is this why U.S. soldiers were sent to Iraq? To make it safe for terrorism investors?

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