¡ ¡ ¡ F R E E ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS N O W ! ! !
Barack Obama has commuted the sentence of Oscar López Rivera, a victory for the Puerto Rican independence activist who is considered to be one of the world’s longest-serving political prisoners. And, Chelsea Manning, the US army soldier who became one of the most prominent whistleblowers in modern times when she exposed the nature of warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan, and who then went on to pay the price with a 35-year military prison sentence, is to be freed in May as a gift of outgoing president Barack Obama.
WHILE we gladly accept these two acts of humanity by President Obama, we still await the proper action for many, many more political prisoners not the least of which is Leonard Peltier and Mumia Abu Jamal, Guantanamo hunger strikers, Ricardo Palmera (Simon Trinidad), Jalil Muntaqim (Anthony Bottom), Mutulu Shakur, “Sonia” Omaira Rojas Cabrera, David Gilbert, Russell ‘Maroon’ Shoatz, Sundiata Acoli, Assata Shakur and no doubt many, many others who are nothing more than political prisoners, a class that should not exist in a free and open society. None of this is to mention the desperately needed exoneration of John Kiriakou, Thomas Drake, Sibel Edmonds, William Binney, Coleen Rowley, Jesselyn Radack, Thomas Tamm, Cathy Harris, Julian Assange and Edward Snowden who are acting in the interests of all humanity for without their courage and the courage of others like them we, the people, would never have a clue what is being done in our names. These two men and many like them deserve our greatest approbation, not our condemnation.
The current system tempts legislators who are well aware of the demographical relationships between certain crimes and the political affiliations of economic classes and ethnic groups. According to the The Sentencing Project:
•5,300,000 Americans have currently lost their voting rights as a result of a conviction.
•Of these, about 4,600,000 are men and 700,000 are women.
•1,400,000 African American men are disenfranchised, representing 13% of black men, a rate seven times the national average.
•In states like Florida which permanently disenfranchise ex-offenders, it is projected that 40% of black men may permanently lose their right to vote.
The goal of our justice system should be to “establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, and promote the general Welfare”. It should not be perverted into The goal of our justice system should be to “establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, and promote the general Welfare”. It should not be perverted into a tool to suppress the vote of those we disagree with.
Each and everyone of these individuals are valuable in the very essence of their humanness and that humanness should be honored in every person; thus, no one should ever have their voting rights denied them and the actions of politicians that refuse to address the needs of the political prisoners listed (and unlisted) above and the need for all citizens to have not only the right to participate in the selection of those who represent them in the halls of power (the right to vote or enfranchisement). Also, they and all their fellow humans deserve all the amenities capable of being afforded the richest and most powerful of society and until that is “a given” then we will be unworthy of being thought of as a FREE AND OPEN SOCIETY.
¡¡¡ F R E E ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS N O W !!!