BRUNSWICK, Ga. -- A federal indictment unsealed on Wednesday charged 21 defendants from southeast Georgia and northeast Florida with conspiracy to distribute large amounts of cocaine and marijuana.
Several of the defendants have also been hit with weapons charges, according to the U.S. attorney's office in the Southern District of Georgia.
21 Charged With Conspiracy
Defendants indicted on federal charges include:
•Brian Keith Glover, 36, Brunswick, Ga.
•Andrey Lamar James, 28, Jacksonville, Fla.
•Bassil James Rhoden, 29, Jamaica,
•Alberto R. Andujar, 34, Jacksonville, Fla.
•Dan Wendell Mangram, 37, Brunswick, Ga.
•Oscar Ramon Woods, 34, Brunswick, Ga.
•Joel Christopher Jordan, 41, Jacksonville, Fla.
•Ian Kyle Baker, Brunswick, 38, Ga.
•Benjamin Dunham, Jr., 43, Darien, Ga.
•Damian Julian, 39, Jacksonville, Fla.
•George Edward Brennon, 46, Brunswick, Ga.
•William Cortez Smith, 29, Kingsland, Ga.
•Dwight Allen Wilson, 54, Tallahassee, Fla.
•Reginald Leon Stevens, 34, Brunswick, Ga.
•Jermaine Donte Hardee, 27, Brunswick, Ga.
•Roderick D. Thomas, 22, Brunswick, Ga.
•Xontavious Deotne Hawkins, 24, Brunswick, Ga.
•Nikita Jamala Jones, 25, Brunswick, Ga.
•Shanice Lashay Jackson, 22, Jacksonville, Fla.
•Rashuana Denay Battle, 23, Jacksonville, Fla.
•Jamie Latoya Scott, 23, Jacksonville, Fla.
The charge results from a joint investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Glynn Brunswick Narcotics Enforcement Team, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Glynn County Sheriff’s Office and the United States Marshals Service.
“Successful investigations such as these are the result of great cooperation between federal and local law enforcement agencies," said U.S. Attorney Edward Tarver. "We are committed to sending to those who profit from the scourge of illegal narcotics trafficking to prison, and to seizing and forfeiting their ill gotten gains.”
“All participating agencies played a crucial role in the eradication of this alleged criminal network. These drug trafficking activities posed a significant threat to the quality of life in the Brunswick community and elsewhere," said Rodney G. Benson, special agent in charge of the DEA office in Atlanta. "I want to thank our federal, state and local law enforcement counterparts who had a direct impact in making this investigation a success.”
Each defendant convicted of the drug trafficking conspiracy charge faces between 10 years and life in prison and a potential fine of $4 million. Tarver noted that the United States is also seeking to forfeit various items of personal property involved in the offenses, including $1.5 million as the alleged proceeds of the defendants’ drug trafficking.
Memo To:Howard P. Berkowitz, national chair, Anti-Defamation League
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: Your irresponsible national director
Howard, in all honesty, I think you have to offer Abe Foxman an early retirement or flat out fire him as national director of the ADL of B’nai B’rith. He has now spent a bundle of your funds buying full page ads in the New York Times and Washington Post warning Tim Russert, “Meet the Press,” and NBC television that if they even think of having Louis Farrakhan on the show again, they can expect to lose lots of advertising from friends of the ADL. You know as well as I do that the ads are meant to do exactly that, with a block-letter headline: “Hate Has Another Outlet. NBC’s Meet the Press.”
I mean, Howard, this is disgusting. Abe has become drunk with power, swinging his weight around knowing he can label anyone who challenges him an anti-Semitic bigot. And what sets it off this time: For the third time in three years, "Meet the Press" invited Minister Farrakhan on the program on the anniversary of the 1995 Million Man March. Foxman’s letter to Bob Wright, president of NBC, has the nerve to argue that: “While an interview with Minister Farrakhan at the time of the Million Man March could be deemed a legitimate and timely news item, featuring him as a moral authority on national issues on such a prestigious program is as ironic as it is outrageous.”
You know through mutual friends in the Jewish community, Howard, that I have spent the last two years trying to figure out the source of the tension between Farrakhan and Foxman. I’ve spent several dozen hours with Farrakhan, corresponded with Foxman and former NYC Mayor Ed Koch, and devoted another hundred hours reviewing the history of the feud. I’ve met dozens of men and women who belong to the Nation of Islam, attended a number of their conferences, and prayed with them in their Chicago mosque to the God of Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Mohammad. I've conclued beyond any reasonable doubt that there is not an ounce of anti-Semitism or bigotry in Farrakhan, that he is unusual only in that he publicly criticizes some Jewish political agendas and tactics when he believes they come at the expense of his people. My conclusion is that Foxman is in the wrong, not Farrakhan, that the ADL has spent the last 15 years using its political and financial clout to demonize Farrakhan and financially destroy the Nation of Islam. It has, for example, now succeeded in getting federal and state governments to terminate all contracts with the NOI to provide tenant security in public housing projects.
Tim Russert did not make Farrakhan a moral authority. The million black men who showed up at their own expense on the Washington Mall on October 16, 1995, proclaimed him a moral authority by their presence. They did so because of the Farrakhan message of individual responsibility to family, to community, and to God. Foxman knows Farrakhan has consistently renounced anti-semitism, bigotry and hatred in all its forms -- although reserving the right to condemn the actions of the ADL which has spent a fortune trying to destroy him and the financial underpinnings of his religious institution. I can post a defense of Farrakhan on the Internet, as I do with this missive to you, but there is no major news outlet that would entertain such a defense, wary of being condemned by Foxman as an agent of hate -- as he has done to NBC.
In the 40 years of his ministry, nobody has ever accused the Nation of Islam of a hate crime against Jews or Christians. No member of the Nation of Islam has ever been accused of the physical abuse of a Jew or a Jewish place of worship. Members of the NOI are forbidden to carry guns. Farrakhan has given dozens of speeches every year for the last 15 celebrating the contributions of the Jewish people, the law of Abraham and Moses, the wisdom of the Torah, and the insistence that his flock turn the other cheek when insulted by Foxman or his lieutenants.
The only reason I got involved in this controversy, Howard, is through my belief that the racial divide between blacks and whites can not be resolved until the division between blacks and Jews is first resolved. Abe Foxman’s way of viewing the black community as beholden to his organization and the consensus of Jewish leaders that he oversees is obsolete, which is why I think it is futile to try to work things out with him. At the time of the MMMarch, Farrakhan was asked several times if he would be willing to sit down and work out differences with Foxman. Each time, he said that if Yasir Arafat and Yitzhak Shamir could meet across rivers of blood, he and Foxman should be able to meet when there has been no blood at all pass between them. I got involved at this point by recommending to my friend Jack Kemp that he call Foxman and try to set up a meeting leading to reconciliation. Foxman said flat out that he was not interested.
On the first anniversary of the Million Man March in 1996, the site for the theme of reconciliation was the UN Plaza in New York City. Prior to the event, Minister Farrakhan called Foxman and the American Jewish Committee, offering to meet with them in advance to begin a process of reconciliation. Were you part of the decision back then to reject Minister Farrakhan’s invitation, with the tabloids actually running stories congratulating Foxman for not meeting with the NOI? I hope not. Foxman has persuaded himself that he is the high and mighty, justified in throwing megabuck thunderbolts at the likes of Russert and NBC’s Wright in order to get them to knuckle under. You should not kid yourself that he has right on his side.
Howard, I confess I was the guy who persuaded Minister Farrakhan to do "Meet the Press" last week, on the grounds that Russert and the staff of the program had come to appreciate his straightforwardness in answering their questions. Russert is a national asset in that he has the courage to deal with these topics on national television. Farrakhan has no special interest in getting on the show. He has no press secretary and no public-relations person. I urge him to go on network television so we will see what is on his mind, as he does represent black Americans more truthfully than any other black leader, political or spiritual. Read the script and you will find no softball questions from Russert.
The answers are what Foxman complains about. He does not want to hear that black Americans believe their institutions are heavily influenced by Jewish money, Jewish political power and Jewish intellectual agendas. Howard, ask for a private meeting, behind closed doors, with the members of the Congressional Black Caucus: Ask these questions, and you will get the same answers Tim Russert got from Farrakhan. The only difference is that Farrakhan is willing to say publicly what other black leaders only say privately. Which is why Farrakhan got so angry at Milton Coleman, a black reporter for The Washington Post, who reported Jesse Jackson's "Hymietown" remark at the end of a long day, over a dinner table in a small town hotel, where Coleman sat as Jesse Jackson's guest during the 1984 presidential campaign. It was the equivalent of snitching on a fellow inmate in the slavemaster's penitentiary.
Ask Rep. Charlie Rangel to level with you, Howard, and tell you what he thinks of Abe Foxman. Not that Foxman is a bad man, but that he is driven by his own demons into demonizing Farrakhan. Ask Bill Buckley at National Review what he thinks of Abe Foxman and he will tell you as he did recently in the magazine, that he would prefer to hear from Abe only once every two or three years. I've never met the man, but that is not for lack of trying. I've written him several times, respectfully I might add, offering to meet to discuss these matters. He is simply not interested. He is Ariel Sharon squared. He won't shake Farrakhan's hand nor will he shake the hand of a lifelong supporter of Jewish interests and causes and admirer of the Jewish people and their culture and contributions as am I.
You co-signed the full page ads, Howard, but knowing you, I suspect you know much less about all this than you think you do. The tag line on the ad, for example, read: "Worse yet, Tim Russert did not challenge Farrakhan and no one countered his views. For the life of us, we can't figure it out. Is there no moral responsibility at NBC News anymore?"
Now think about it, Howard. If Tim were to call you tomorrow and say he is going to devote an entire hour of "Meet the Press" to a face-off between Farrakhan and the ADL, would you like to represent the ADL, or would you send Abe? You know that Abe would decline to go on the show at all, but would be happy to go on by himself to tear into Minister Farrakhan. Look over the script. Farrakhan did not go on the show to talk about his relationship with the Jewish political community. It was Russert who prodded him into it, and I'm glad he did. The original purpose of the interview came both because of the Farrakhan speech at Howard University the previous Friday — on the third anniversary of the Million Man March — and because Farrakhan had written a letter to the President offering him spiritual comfort and advice on the Lewinsky matter. This was in much the same way that the Rev. Jesse Jackson and the Rev. Billy Graham have counseled the President.
The bottom line, Howard, is that Abe Foxman has pushed this button to the limit, now dragging you into a confrontation with the major news media on who is allowed to come on their television shows and who cannot. Foxman has gone past the point of diminishing returns with these kinds of threats and appeals. Other black leaders now are being condemned if they speak their minds as honestly as Farrakhan has his. Martin Luther King III has come out of the closet for Farrakhan. There's little chance you will be able to get Foxman to budge on this, but maybe that means you should do it yourself. Minister Farrakhan would be happy to sit down, man to man, with the national chairman of the ADL, Howard Berkowitz, if not its national director. If Netanyahu and Arafat can sit down together across rivers of blood that have flowed between them, why not Farrakhan, a guy from Chicago, and Berkowitz, a guy from New York? Answer me that, Howard. Why not?
Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan continued his defense of embattled Libyan strongman Moammar Gaddafi during a press conference in Chicago Thursday, and slammed the United States' decision to get involved in the conflict.
The 78-year-old leader of the Chicago-based organization spoke at Mosque Maryam, the Nation of Islam headquarters, according to the Chicago Tribune.
"It is a terrible thing for me to hear my brother called all these ugly and filthy names when I can't recognize him as that," Farrakhan said of Gaddafi, according to the Tribune. "Even though the current tide is moving against him ... how can I refuse to raise my voice in his defense? Why would I back down from those who have given so much."
Farrakhan has publicly defended Gaddafi a number of times since the Libyan uprising began. He reportedly visited the Libyan leader in the 1980s, and told attendees of a Nation of Islam convention in February that the United States should stay out of Libya's affairs.
He also said that if Gaddafi is persecuted for crimes against humanity, the same should apply to former President George W. Bush for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"Name one ruler that has the 100 love of his people," Farrakhan said in February. "You can't find one."
In Mississippi on Friday, Farrakhan said the U.S. lacks the moral authority to intervene in the Libyan conflict, citing the deaths of black people at the hands of law enforcement during the Rodney King protests in 1991 and the unhealthy food that the federal government allows into the marketplace.
Story continues below
Advertisement"The American people are dying, and the Food and Drug Administration is complicit," he said. "Greed is more important than the lives of the American people."
Gaddafi reportedly addressed Nation of Islam members via satellite in 1997. The Tribune reports:
During that speech, Gadhafi panned America for taxing poor people, who do not benefit from exploratory trips to Mars and support of "a Hebrew state."
"Consequently," he said, "the voice of Louis Farrakhan will be heard among the simple people louder than the president of the United States," at the time President Bill Clinton.
On Friday, Farrakhan told supporters that President Obama had backed down from pushing a Palestinian-Israeli peace accord and banning settlement-building in the West Bank, calling him "the first Jewish president." Obama is a Christian.
"He was selected before he was elected," Farrakhan said. "And the people that selected him were rich, powerful members of the Jewish community."
Jewish leaders in Mississippi last week criticized Farrakhan for distorting historical fact in order to perpetuate harmful stereotypes. The Anti-Defamation League said recently that Farrakhan's anti-Semitism is "obsessive, diabolical and unrestrained."
Farrakhan has over the years denied claims of anti-Semitism, arguing his remarks are often taken out of context and that criticism of Jews in any light automatically earns the "anti-Semite" label. The Nation of Islam has espoused black nationalism and self-reliance since it was founded in the 1930s, though in recent years it has included other groups, including Latinos and immigrants.
On Thursday, the Nation of Islam leader, Farrakhan, summoned the press to Mosque Maryam, the international headquarters of the Nation of Islam on Chicago's South Side, to "deliver a word of guidance and warning during this time of upheaval and trouble." The press conference is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.
Farrakhan and Gadhafi have been friends for many years. During an interview earlier this month with radio host Cliff Kelley, Farrakhan chided President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for intruding on another nation's civil conflict. But he also offered a few words of advice to America's decision makers.
"Don't let these wicked demons move you in a direction that will absolutely ruin your future with your people in Africa and throughout the world," he said. "They don't like the way you handled (former Egyptian President Hosni) Mubarak! They don't like the way you're handling the situation in the Arab world! So I would advise you to be careful-and move with wisdom and skill."
"Why don't you organize a group of respected Americans, and ask for a meeting with Gadhafi?" Farrakhan suggested. "You can't order him to step down, and get out. Who the hell do you think you are, that you can talk to a man that built a country over 42 years, and ask him step down and get out? Can anybody ask you? ... There's a lot, now, going to ask you to step out of the White House, because they don't want a black face in the White House."
Farrakhan got into hot water in 1996 when he launched a "friendship tour" of Muslim nations in the Middle East and Africa. He was criticized for meeting with Gadhafi in Tripoli, where Farrakhan alleged U.S. injustices against Muslim nations.
The following year, Gadhafi, addressed Nation of Islam membesr via satellite, lauding Farrakhan for being a "courageous freedom fighter" who not only galvanized blacks at the Million Man March in Washington, D.C., in 1995, but also sparked unity rallies in Islamic communities around the world.
During that speech, Gadhafi panned America for taxing poor people, who do not benefit from exploratory trips to Mars and support of "a Hebrew state."
"Consequently," he said, "the voice of Louis Farrakhan will be heard among the simple people louder than the president of the United States," at the time President Bill Clinton.
In the meantime, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr. has posted several articles critical of the attacks in Libya on his Facebook fan page.
The former pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ told a New York Times reporter in 2007 that he wasn't surprised Obama had begun to distance himself since questions were bound to come up on the campaign trail about his 1984 trip to Libya with Farrakhan.
"When his enemies find out that in 1984 I went to Tripoli with Farrakhan, a lot of his Jewish support will dry up quicker than a snowball in hell,” Wright said then, adding that the trip did not mean he agreed with Farrakhan or Gadhafi's views.
WASHINGTON — Low levels of radiation have turned up in milk samples from two West Coast states. Officials say there is no public health threat.
Traces of radioactive Iodine-131 were found in milk in California and Washington state, according to federal and state authorities who are monitoring for contamination as the nuclear crisis unfolds in Japan.
The officials say the levels are still 5,000 times below levels of concern.
The Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday that radiation was found in a March 25 milk sample from Spokane, Wash. The California Department of Public Health said on its website that a similar result was found March 28 at a dairy in San Luis Obispo County.
Japan's Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power complex began leaking radiation after it was damaged by a devastating earthquake and tsunami earlier this month.
The EPA always monitors radiation levels in the air at several sites throughout the country, but the agency said this week that it is increasing the level of nationwide monitoring of milk, precipitation and drinking water in response to the situation in Japan. Those substances are normally monitored for radiation only a few times a year.
EPA spokesman Brendan Gilfillan said the radiation detected in Spokane is different than what is normally found there.
"While there can be naturally occurring levels of radiation in milk – as there are in the air, at levels far below levels of concern – we don't generally see this particular isotope as part of those background levels," Gilfillan said.
The EPA has found very low levels of radiation in the air connected to the Japanese incident in Alaska, Alabama, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Saipan, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands and Washington state. Gilfillan said the low level of radiation most likely ended up in the milk after a cow ate grass or drank rainwater that contained it.
Story continues below
AdvertisementThe California Department of Public Health has an ongoing program that checks milk for radiation levels and occasionally tests vegetables grown near power plants, said Gary Butner, chief of the department's Radiologic Health Branch.
Officials at the state's two nuclear power plants regularly sample milk at nearby dairies and split the samples they get with state public health authorities to be analyzed at the agency's lab in Richmond, in the San Francisco Bay area, Butner said.
Spokesman Al Lundeen said Thursday the agency normally tests milk every three months at most of its sites, but recently started testing every week in San Luis Obispo County, where the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant is located.
"We have looked at milk pretty extensively in California and have been sampling near nuclear plants for a long time," Butner said. "We still don't think there will be any reason to believe we will see any serious exposure."
The FDA, which oversees the safety of the nation's food supply, said such findings were to be expected in the coming days because of problems with the nuclear plant in Japan, and that the levels were expected to drop relatively quickly.
"Radiation is all around us in our daily lives and these findings are a minuscule amount compared to what people experience every day," said Patricia Hansen, senior scientist at the FDA. "A person would be exposed to low levels of radiation on a round-trip cross-country flight, watching television and even from construction materials."
The United States had already halted imports of dairy products and produce from the affected area of Japan. Other foods imported from Japan, including seafood, are still being sold to the public but are screened first for radiation.
Japanese foods make up less than 4 percent of all U.S. imports. The FDA has said it expected no risk to the U.S. food supply from radiation.
NEW ORLEANS — A federal judge on Thursday sentenced two former New Orleans police officers for their roles in the shooting death of a man and the burning of his body after Hurricane Katrina.
David Warren was sentenced to 25 years in prison. He was convicted last December of shooting 31-year-old Henry Glover without justification outside a strip mall less than a week after the storm, which struck Aug. 29, 2005.
U.S. District Judge Lance Africk then sentenced former officer Gregory McRae to 17 years in prison. McRae burned Glover’s body in a car near a police station.
In a court filing earlier, Warren’s lawyers had argued their client deserved leniency and a sentence substantially below the guidelines.
“Mr. Warren had an unblemished record as a citizen and as a police officer,” they wrote. “There is simply nothing in his background to indicate that he would intentionally kill anyone and everything to indicate just the opposite.”
They also urged the judge to weigh the “horrific conditions” that officers endured after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city.
“No, society cannot let Katrina and its aftermath serve as an ‘excuse’ to break the law — be it by looters or police officers,” the lawyers wrote. “However, it would defy logic and human experience not to recognize that that calamity was certainly an extenuating circumstance that warrants serious favorable consideration when determining an appropriate punishment.”
Henry Glover’s car that was burned by Police in an attempt to cover up his murder
Wonder how these scumbag lawyers sleep at night knowing that they’re representing pieces of sh*t like these cops. “Favorable consideration”??? Get the f*ck outta here!!
CIA officers are coordinating with antigovernment fighters and sharing intelligence, but the Obama administration is undecided whether to supply weapons. Leading lawmakers from both parties are against the idea.
The issue of whether to provide the ragtag rebel forces with arms has been controversial in Washington. On Wednesday, two key lawmakers — a Republican and a Democrat — came out against the idea.
"We don't have to look very far back in history to find examples of the unintended consequences of passing out advanced weapons to a group of fighters we didn't know as well as we should have," said Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), in an apparent reference to U.S. aid to Afghan guerrillas fighting the Soviet Union during the Carter and Reagan administrations.
"We need to be very careful before rushing into a decision that could come back to haunt us," said Rogers, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee and who has supported the U.S. intervention in Libya so far.
Rep. C.A. "Dutch" Ruppersberger of Maryland, the ranking Democrat on the committee, echoed that in an interview. "I think at this point we need more information," he said. "We don't know enough about who they are."
Rogers issued his statement shortly before a meeting of the committee in which administration officials briefed congressional leaders about the status of CIA activities in Libya. Later Wednesday, the White House issued a statement repeating that "no decision has been made about providing arms to the opposition or to any group in Libya."
The White House had no comment on a report by Reuters that said President Obama had signed a presidential finding authorizing secret aid to the rebels within the last three weeks.
U.S. officials familiar with covert actions noted that a presidential finding can authorize a variety of steps that may or may not ultimately be taken. Members of Congress who would have been briefed on the finding would neither confirm nor deny its existence on Wednesday.
The CIA has been in rebel-held areas of Libya since shortly after the U.S. Embassy in the capital, Tripoli, was evacuated in February, U.S. officials say. Agency officials have been meeting with rebels to learn more about them, and in some cases they are providing them with information about Kadafi's forces.
The CIA officers in Libya are part of a contingent of operatives from Western nations. The public got a hint of the activity March 6, when several British special forces officers and a member of the intelligence service were detained by rebels and released.
In the early days of the U.S.-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, teams of CIA officers and U.S. special operations troops entered secretly, coordinated with opposition groups and used handheld equipment to call in and aim airstrikes against the government armies. In Afghanistan, that was enough to topple the Taliban.
In Libya, the U.S. has been leading an international effort to protect civilians by enforcing a no-fly zone and bombing Libya's military forces, but the coalition says it has not been coordinating with the rebels seeking to oust Kadafi's government. Rebel leaders, however, have said they are in contact with allied military representatives in Europe to help commanders identify targets for the air assault.
The CIA sees no significant role being played by Islamic extremists among the rebels, U.S. officials say, but a NATO admiral told Congress this week that there were "flickers" of Al Qaeda sympathizers among the movement.
Obama has made clear that the U.S. has not ruled out providing military assistance to the opposition. The rebels have been routed in recent days by Kadafi's better-armed forces, even as allied warplanes are bombing Kadafi's tanks and ammunition storage depots.
House members said the issue of arming the rebels did not come up at their meeting. The White House is required to notify Congress when the president authorizes covert action, but it only has to tell a small group known as the "Gang of Eight," made up of members of the party leadership and leaders of the intelligence oversight committees. On Wednesday, officials briefed a larger group of lawmakers.
Who do the government think their fooling? We intelligent people know that the CIA was already there on the ground arming rebels before the war started officially. The government can't fool intelligent, knowledgable people but they continue to spread lies and propoganda through out their various media outlets in reference to whats actually taking place in the Middle East. We all know our beloved country's history with intefering in other countries affairs and conducting rogue wars on other nations that realyy pose us no threats. But you dont see them going all in on China or Russia or North Korea. Mostly always oil-rich Nations is what they create a reason to bomb and invade and overthrow the present government in place. Wake up people and stop believing all the media's hype, they got Obama on T.V. sounding like George W. Bush. He's like the Manchurian Candidate. What happened to all of that talk and campaigning about change? Dont seem like a damn thing has changed in the government just a different color face on the madness. (THA CHILL ONE)
Authorities have captured a 19-year-old California man they say is responsible, along with six others, for the gang rape of an 11-year-old girl inside a park bathroom.
Michael Sykes, a suspected gang member, was arrested Monday morning at a Moreno Valley home, police sources confirm to FoxNews.com.
Police allege that Sykes, along with six juvenile gang members, raped the child in the bathroom at Moreno Valley's Victoriano Park between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. March 10, according to the Riverside Press-Enterprise.
The attack, which was on the south side of the city near Moreno Valley College, wasn't made public until Sunday, and police have not released further details about the incident.
"As a father — even as a police officer — there are crimes that shock us. This is one of them," Capt. John Anderson, chief of the Moreno Valley station, said.
Detectives told the newspaper that the girl was at a shopping center near the park when she was approached by an older girl, who lured her to the bathroom where the six boys and the 19-year-old were waiting.
The attack was in an area where gangs and crime aren't a problem, Anderson said.
The six juveniles were arrested shortly after the rape and booked at Riverside County juvenile hall for investigation of sexual assault on a child. Sykes eluded authorities until his arrest Monday.
Authorities have so far not released the named of the teens because they are minors. Police sources, however, say the boys are all over 14 and could charged as adults.
Anyone with information in the gang rape case is urged to contact Detective Duke Viveros at 951-247-8700.
It's reminiscent of when Michael Jordan left basketball, only to return and win 3 straight championships. Yes, Simon Cowell's return to television is that big. The former "American Idol" judge will return this fall with a new show called "X Factor." Already a huge hit overseas, "X Factor" is sure to generate more stars for the American music industry. At the same time, it just might destroy "American Idol."
Simon spoke with GlobalGrind to discuss the differences between "X Factor" and "Idol," the $5 million dollar cash prize, Willow Smith and lots more. Check it out below.
GG: You’re getting ready to make your return back to Fox with "X Factor." How exciting is that?
SC: You know the last week it suddenly felt real, to be honest with you. I think once we’d announced our first judge, L.A. (Reid) and I was able to confirm it after all the rumors. And just doing interviews and talking to people. I think they are getting excited about the show coming. It’s been really, really good fun and I have really enjoyed it.
GG: Now, there is a five million dollar recording contract and that’s a big prize. What are you guys looking for at the auditions?
SC: With five million dollars at stake, we have to find somebody who, outside of winning the show, can now compete with the artists who are selling records all over the world. That was really the whole premise to do this show is that I had to believe that we can find that. I put the money up to really put my money where my mouth is. To say to people who ordinarily who may not want to enter one of these shows, without much money at stake, you should consider it. And I think it has had an effect.
I mean, you get the word out when you put that kind of cash up. These kinds of deals nowadays are just not offered to new artists anymore. It’s a big incentive and I think it’s going to make the competition more exciting.
GG: In comparison to "Idol," you lowered the age range to twelve. How can a twelve year old compete with someone a little older?
SC: Well, if you look at Willow Smith as an example and I’ve spoken to some people who saw her on tour recently. This girl is phenomenal. I mean, she’s got her head together, she’s very tall. When people like that are selling records and having such an impact I was confident that we should take the age range down to twelve because she has set a fantastic example.
But, years ago I wouldn’t have done it because everyone that would’ve turned out would be singing either something out of "Annie" or "West Side Story" or something. But, I think now, kids are so stimulated by what they have seen on the internet, they’ve worked out for themselves what kind of artist they want to be. So I think that age range may surprise us this year.
Well what do you know, Ole Paris Hilson admits to being disgusted by the mere fact of touching black guys! Her racism is well documented (like that infamous video of her in a club where she looked into a camera and said, “We’re like two niggers.”). In his forthcoming book Everyone Loves You When You’re Dead, professional poon-chaser Neil Strauss adds another instance of Hilton horror: When she was 18, Paris apparently told Strauss she had a “one percent” rule against dating black men.
In LA Weekly excerpts, a young Paris talks about making out with Vin Diesel before realizing he’s partly black:
“HILTON: I went out with that guy last night.
HILTON (points to an actor in Saving Private Ryan): We were making out, but then we went somewhere where it was bright and I saw that he was black and made an excuse and left. I can’t stand black guys. I would never touch one. It’s gross. (pauses). Does that guy look black to you?
How black does a guy have to be?
HILTON: One percent is enough for me.”
So I guess all the partying with Hollywoods Black Elite was just for show and tell, Paris please don’t bother to sell us the dream. If you have a problem with 1% of blackness, then we don’t have time for you. Get it together sweetie, you will not survive in Hollywood throwing out the race card!
New York (CNN) -- Eric Persaud admitted it. He got so mad at his girlfriend that he seared her face with a hot iron. Prosecutors say she stuffed a towel in her mouth to keep from screaming.
"He told her if she screams or yells, he'll burn the kids, too," says Scott Kessler, chief of the domestic violence bureau for the Queens, New York, district attorney.
It gets even more disturbing. Kessler says Persaud's young son saw the whole thing. "Persaud thought the boy was asleep. He wasn't," Kessler adds.
Despite her injuries, Persaud's girlfriend didn't want to testify before a grand jury. That could have meant the end of the case. No testimony from a burn victim can mean no conviction.
Prosecutor Kessler suspected Persaud had been talking to his girlfriend from jail and intimidating her despite a protective order forbidding any contact.
Kessler has seen it before.
On recordings obtained by CNN, Persaud tells his girlfriend, "I need you to prepare the kids to start lying."He says alleged abusers have been known to call their victims and persuade them to back off, but his office couldn't do anything about it. The Queens County district attorney's Domestic Violence Bureau was forced to dismiss about 70% of its cases due, in part, to intimidation. Kessler says the victims' fear is understandable.
"They're scared. The defendant has a lot of power, a lot of control," says Kessler. Often abusers are breadwinners and the victim has no way of supporting herself. "Her world comes crashing down and she doesn't know what to do," he adds.
In Persaud's case and others, Kessler went to Plan B. He decided to use Persaud's own words against him. Not a confession. But to Kessler, just as good, if not better.
He lobbied the Department of Corrections to record jailhouse phone calls. That enabled him to mine them to prove to the court that Persaud and others were intimidating their battered victims.
"I only got you, Ma, I only got you," Persaud pleads on the recorded call. "I did not kill nobody. ... What they're doing is illegal, you don't want to cooperate," he tells his burned girlfriend.
Sometimes, accused batterers get their children on the phone and work on them, too. "When Daddy come out, I'm going to buy you a PS3," Persaud tells one of his sons, referring to a video game console. "I love you more than the whole solar system," his son replies.
On the recordings obtained by CNN, Persaud tells his girlfriend, "I need you to prepare the kids to start lying so I could talk to them."
To use the tapes, Kessler is using a legal theory called forfeiture by wrongdoing.
"It's a theory that says ... you have the right to confront a witness that's against you, unless you're the reason they don't come forward," says Kessler. It's been used, he says, in mob murder cases when the accused has intimidated potential witnesses.
"It's a great way to use it on domestic violence, because a lot of these defendants are using the exact same theory. They're using coercion, they're using threats, they're using manipulation."
When they come into court, they're surprised to learn the recordings can be used against them -- and they are.
Amazingly, detainees keep calling from jail despite posted signs warning that their calls are being recorded. A taped messageat the start of each call also reminds them of monitoring. Some detainees use the phone as many as five times a day. Authorities estimate some inmates make hundreds of calls while waiting for their cases to come up.
I guess they feel that in tens of thousands (of calls), theirs might be the one that doesn't get listened to.
-- Andrea Hall, NYC Department of Corrections
"I guess they feel that in tens of thousands (of calls), theirs might be the one that doesn't get listened to, but all inmate calls are recorded," says Andrea Hall, who directs the intelligence unit for New York City's Department of Corrections.
Some detainees aren't exactly Einsteins.
Kessler says one man who apparently knew he was being monitored warned someone on the other end to speak in Spanish, thinking they wouldn't be understood. "We had one (mother) who said to her son, 'They may be listening.' And his response was 'Mom, they don't have time for this.' "
Yes, actually, they do. At the district attorney's office, prosecutors wearing headphones listen to hour after hour of admissible recordings. Calls to attorneys and clergy are exempt.
Some defense attorneys are unhappy about it.
However, CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin says in jail, rights are limited. "It's not unfair. It's prison. And when you're in prison, you lose certain rights, like the ability to have phone calls in privacy."
The innovative legal tool is gaining so much traction that Kessler is in demand across the country. He's being asked to teach other prosecutors how to tap into jailhouse calls in domestic violence cases.
On jailhouse recordings, Ishaaq Rahaman tells his girlfriend he wants to marry her.In Queens, it appears to be working. Until last year, the district attorney's office was dismissing about 70% of its cases. Now, in large part because of the recordings, the dismissal rate is down to 15%.
A 24-year-old victim interviewed by CNN says her boyfriend, Ishaaq Rahaman, repeatedly attacked her.
"He punched me in the face. My lip was bleeding," she says. Yet, on jailhouse recordings, he says he wants to marry her. Before his arrest, she says, they had good times, but then he would turn on her. "Sometimes, I'm scared to sleep with him. Like, lay down with him, 'cause you never know what he could do to me."
Rahaman's girlfriend didn't want to testify against him and didn't have to. In part because of the recordings, Rahaman pleaded guilty.
He was recently sentenced to two to six years in prison for contacting her from jail.
On behalf of his client, Rahaman's lawyer declined comment on the recorded phone calls.
Jailhouse calls also recently helped convict Eric Persaud. He's sentenced to 13 years in prison for burning his girlfriend with the iron and attempting to bribe her into silence.
His lawyer Judah Maltz says Persaud's girlfriend was going to testify on his behalf. Prosecutor Kessler won't comment.
Regardless, Persaud pleaded guilty.
Persaud's lawyer objects to recording his client's calls. Generally, Maltz described many detainees as "fragile" and frightened, unable to stop themselves from reaching out to anyone they can by phone. Maltz maintains investigators have enough evidence without using the calls.
Kessler says his Domestic Violence Bureau won't stop mining jailhouse calls to bolster his cases. "I see the photos of these women with black eyes, and scars on their faces, in hospital beds as they're basically shot, burned, sometimes run over -- and that's what drives us."
Philadelphia (CNN) — It’s noon on a Friday, and the parking lot at Al-Aqsa Islamic Society in North Philadelphia is quickly filling up.
One of Philadelphia's best-known rap artists, Freeway, jumps out of a black sport utility vehicle and dashes through the pouring rain to the prayer hall inside.
Islam has been a part of his life since he was a teenager. Yet it wasn’t until adulthood that his faith changed who he was an artist.
“My faith means everything to me; it’s the thing that keeps me going every day,” the father of two said. “It’s my core, it’s my soul.”
When he was 14, Freeway – aka Leslie Pridgen – took Shahada, the Muslim confession to faith.
Since then, he's had to balance his Muslim faith and his credibility as a hip-hop artist.
Freeway jump-started his career a decade ago at Roc-A-Fella Records under the tutelage of hip-hop mogul Jay-Z. Today, the independent artist has collaborated with the likes of Mariah Carey, producer extraordinaire Jake One and Wu-Tang Clan’s Raekwon.
When Freeway first hit the music scene, his pithy lyrics were laced with rhymes about hustling drugs and other aspects of ghetto life. But his approach to music has changed as he evolved as an emcee and matured as a man.
“The fans can get more out of my music now because I have more of a message,” he said. “I’m more conscious about what I say now because in Islam we believe that you’re going to be held accountable for everything that comes out your mouth.”
Misogyny and the perils of street life have been a part of hip-hop since its inception, and Freeway is no stranger to the urban grind.
He lost a cousin and close friend to gun violence and had his own run-ins with the law, having served jail time for drug possession.
The life experiences the self-described “reality-rapper” so adamantly declares over heavy beats are what have shaped Freeway into the man, the father, the artist and the Muslim he is today, he said.
“I’m definitely not in the same situation I was in when I first started, when I was still in the streets running around doing a bunch of crazy stuff,” he said. “Every day is a temptation, every day is work.”
He's not the only rapper balancing a devotion to Islam and trying to maintain a hard edge on his music, said Amir Abbassy, Freeway’s manager.
“Lupe Fiasco, Q-Tip, Mos Def – they’re all openly Muslim,” he said. “In the music culture, anybody who has a little bit of fame fits that rock 'n' roll persona.”
Freeway was speaking at a Philadelphia school’s bullying workshop on the same day the controversial congressional hearings on the radicalization of Muslim Americans led by U.S. Rep. Peter King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, were taking place in Washington.
Freeway said he felt the hearings unfairly targeted Muslims.
“It’s foolishness, it’s nonsense,” he said of the recent hearings conducted by the New York Republican. “You can’t judge a whole group of people for a few people making mistakes.”
Freeway got up that day at dawn for his first prayer of the day. In total, he will take time to pray five times throughout the day, a practice called salat, performed daily by many of the estimated 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide.
Why Muslims pray five times a day
When Freeway is done rapping, his faith will be there, his manager said.
“His faith – that is his life,” Abbassy said. “ He doesn’t wake up with a microphone in his hand. He wakes up and prays."
Some say that the Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant has lost something with age. But even if he has slipped back to the rest of the pack, he still is the leader of that pack. That’s because, like Michael Jordan before him, Kobe is a stone-cold assassin who has evolved his game even as the miles have racked up.
And as another playoff run approaches for the two-time defending champion Lakers, Kobe remains the league’s most dangerous player.
Belittle him during the regular season, question his lift, harp on his injuries and endlessly debate his skills. The simple fact remains that Kobe is a player on a team no one really wants to play come May and June.
No matter the struggles of the Lakers throughout this season, which has been an up-and-down ride nearly unlike any other season, this is still a team that appears to be able to flip a switch, turn it on and win key games. And they don’t get any bigger than in the playoffs.
The Lakers aren’t just Kobe Bryant. That much is clear, not only this season, but really since the arrival of Pau Gasol.
But the reason for LA’s title success these past three years that resulted in NBA Finals trips is that Kobe Bryant sets LA apart from all others.
Exactly like MJ before him, no matter sick, ailing or aging, Kobe is cut from that same block. We thought the mold was broken with MJ. Think again.
But why? What are the main reasons that makes Kobe so dangerous, especially in the playoffs?
No. 8: Driven Fueled to simply be the best, Kobe might be the most driven player in NBA history, outside of Michael Jordan.
Kobe has an internal fire and drive that propels him further, pushing himself and his Lakers to greatness. That makes Kobe extremely dangerous come the playoffs, as other teams must match that energy and drive or get run over.
No. 7: Closer Like MJ before him, Kobe is a killer at the close of a game.
Everyone, from opposing coaches and players to viewers at home, knows where the ball is going at the end of the game for LA. But you can’t stop it.
Kobe’s legendary game-closing ability makes him deadly in any tight game or series.
No. 6: Work Ethic Kobe’s work ethic is legendary and he is another factor as to why he is so dangerous, especially in the playoffs. Kobe will be prepared, both physically and mentally.
Last year, especially in the Boston series in the NBA Finals, Kobe hired his own personal scout to provide him with game tape on the Celtics and what they were trying to do to him, as well as how they were defending him.
All of that is on top of the physical effort that he puts in and the lengths Kobe will go to for his body to be ready for the playoff run.
Don’t discount this dangerous point. There are plenty of talented players in the NBA, but Kobe clearly understands that work ethic also separates the great from the good.
No. 5: Respect Don’t kid yourself. One of the things that makes Kobe so dangerous in the playoffs is the same thing Jordan possessed—respect.
Opponents know what Kobe is capable of. That alone allows doubt to creep into their minds. Kobe already has an edge, but now the opponents mindset opens that gap.
Kobe will stand up to anyone and for any teammate.
And don’t think that if a game is close, the other team doesn’t respect and know where the Lakers will be getting the ball for a go-ahead bucket.
No. 4: Fear Is a Great Motivator Kobe has described himself as a “talented overachiever” and it is that fear of failure that fuels his internal fires.
The fear propels him and, unlike many players, especially in the playoffs, Kobe embraces that fear and uses it to achieve excellence.
It is a dangerous and highly-combustible energy source and it is the sole reason he was able to play injured during last year’s playoffs.
Look for that same fear—maybe even more so as he ages—to fuel him again.
No. 3: Mindset Schooled by Phil Jackson, Kobe excels at being in the present moment. The game slows down for Kobe, like it did for all the greats.
And Kobe seizes those moments and attacks those opportunities. He not only works hard to be the best physically, but also mentally.
He always has that scorer’s mentality, knowing the next shot will go in. And that mental approach makes him always prepared, exactly like his Zen Master coach has the Lakers during championship runs.
No. 2: Talent Simply put, Kobe’s game has changed as he has aged. He’s developed an even more lethal mid-range game and a wicked post-up one.
Like MJ, Kobe has a patented turnaround move that is nearly impossible to guard, especially if Kobe has any lift remaining in his aching knees.
And Kobe is still the league’s most skilled offensive player, possessing the ability to score from anywhere on the court. He has nearly zero weaknesses.
This makes him a tough matchup and the focus of any opponents' game plan.
No. 1: Experience Five NBA titles in seven appearances. Kobe has played in more NBA Finals than his hero and the player he is chasing, Michael Jordan.
And, like MJ before him, that experience, hardened by playoff battles, is priceless.
Coached by the Zen Master himself, the Lakers play as instructed by their head coach. They never panic, and neither does Kobe.
Kobe and his Lakers are the quintessential "been there, done that" team. Experience is always an ally.
People with no real history or knowledge of the game like to make the arguement that Lebron is the best in the world but simply put Lebron hasn't really won anything, anything yet. Lebron hasn't performed at the level of Kobe especially on the NBA's biggest stage "The Finals". A few personal individual accolades aside, what has King James conquered yet? Lebron is an excellent player and all around talent and the heir apparent to Kobe not Michael but Kobe but what has he done to began to solidfy his legacy to the highest level?
Kobe Bryant is still the most dangerous player in the NBA right now. We're talking right now and he's in a great position to achieve more history in a very storied career.
It is one of the most horrific symbols of hate in American culture and it was openly used to strike fear in to the hearts of Southern blacks by the Klu Klux Klan for decades.
For a black family in the wealthy, mostly white central Californian town of Arroyo Grande, though, that reality came to life last week, when an 11-foot cross stolen from a nearby church was set ablaze near their home.
A 19-year-old woman in the house looked out of her window and saw the flames, and a town that has not had a reported hate crime in almost a decade was in shock.
"I was horrified," the Rev. Stephanie Raphael, president of the San Luis Obispo Ministerial Association told the Associated Press. "We live in a paradise, and I think the first thought was, this can't really be real."
Unfortunately, hate does still exist in this world. Even though the town in rural San Luis Obispo County is "a region of vast farms, picturesque towns and a state university campus," ugly sentiments can easily lie beneath the surface. Those sentiments can be brought to the surface when a black family does something as simple as move in to a neighborhood of their choosing.
As the settlement patterns of African Americans change and we head out in to suburbs that were once all-white, I won't be surprised if we see more incidents like this.
Some people just can't accept change.
These old symbols of hate seem to endure, passed down from one generation to another. Take the Massachusetts man who pled guilty to burning down a black church, after President Barack Obama was elected.
enforcement needs to make it abundantly clear to the perpetrators of these crimes that their will be swift and harsh consequences for these sort of actions. The man who burned down the church in Springfield, Mass., was sentenced to 9 years in prison. In 2007, a man who burned a cross outside a northern California church to intimidate a clergy member visiting from Rwanda, was sentenced to two years in prison.
Luckily, the response to this hate crime seems to be swift and overwhelming.
The FBI is investigating and a $3,500 reward has been offered. Thirty members of the local clergy community signed a letter to the paper. More than 100 members of the church where the cross was stolen from have signed a card to the family.
"Any kind of hate crime is not a joke, it's not a prank," Raphael said. "It's designed to intimidate and frighten. We live in a beautiful area, but it's only beautiful if every single person feels safe conducting their lives and living here."
Pastor Randy Ouimette of Saint John's Lutheran Church, the church where the cross was stolen from, also said the church feels violated:
"It's such a violation," he said. "You know, the cross originally was an instrument of violence. ... but Christ redeemed it. Through the cross has come forgiveness and peace."
I hope that the family victimized by this terrible act is able to regain a sense of peace in their home.
Tripoli, Libya (CNN) -- A CNN correspondent on Monday angrily rejected a report by the Fox network that he and other journalists were used as human shields by Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to prevent a missile attack on his compound.
The Fox story, labeled "exclusive" and posted on the Fox website Monday, said the presence of news crews from CNN, Reuters and other organizations forced a British aircraft to call off firing seven Storm Shadow missiles at the area that already had been hit.
"Officials from Libya's Ministry of Information brought those journalists to the area to show them damage from the initial attack and to effectively use them as human shields," said the Fox report.
According to the Fox story, the curtailed strike "led to a great deal of consternation by coalition commanders."
Nic Robertson, a veteran CNN correspondent who was part of the CNN crew cited in the Fox story, called the rival network's report "outrageous and hypocritical."
CNN refutes 'human shield' claims
Gadhafi's compound attacked RELATED TOPICS
FOX News Network LLC
Cable News Network
Robertson said a Fox staffer was among the journalists on the trip -- a fact left out of the Fox report -- and that the journalists in the group were hurried through their trip by their minders.
"To say it was a human shield is nuts," Robertson said, later adding: "I expect lies from the government here. I don't expect it from other journalists. It's frankly incredibly disappointing."
There was no immediate response from Fox to a CNN request for comment.
The incident involved a trip Sunday night arranged by Libyan authorities to the Gadhafi compound that had been bombed earlier by coalition forces.
Robertson said the 40 or so journalists on the bus weren't told ahead of time where they were going, and that there was no attempt by the Libyan minders to restrict anyone from getting on or off the bus before they left.
Upon arrival, the journalists spent about 20 minutes at the damaged building and then were hurried to a tent where they waited with Gadhafi supporters for him to appear, Robertson said. Gadhafi never showed up, and the journalists went back to their bus and departed, according to Robertson.
A government official even pushed him onto the bus as he tried to broadcast a live shot at the end, Robertson said.
"If they wanted to use us as human shields ... they would have kept us there longer," Robertson said. "That's not what happened."
Robertson noted that the sole participant on the trip from Fox wasn't normally a reporter or videographer, but was given a camera and told to go along. In general, Robertson said, the Fox team in Tripoli rarely goes on the reporting trips arranged by the government.
The CNN team goes in order to get whatever information it can to assess what happened and compare it to government versions of events, he said. Otherwise, he noted, the journalists are dependent on government-edited videotape that likely omits key details.
For example, U.S. officials called the Gadhafi compound a legitimate target because it included command and control capability, Robertson noted.
"We want to go and see: Is it a command and control system? What are the telltale signs there that the government wouldn't want us to see?" Robertson said.
Washington (CNN) - The military operation in Libya is resulting in something unusual in Congress these days: a bipartisan response of sharp criticism coming from both parties.
On the left, President Barack Obama's fellow Democrats, including Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-District of Columbia, say the president is "stirring up a lot of controversy."
"We're not coordinating with the rebels. Are we going to leave them surrounded, and with the mercy of Gadhafi? I've never seen anything so confused in my life," Norton told CNN.
On the right, lawmakers are demanding the president better explain the U.S. mission in Libya to Congress and the American people.
"The president should come home and call the Congress back into session and to make his case. He needs to define what the United States' vital mission is here, what is our vital interest, how does he see the potential cost unfolding here," said Rep. Candice Miller, R-Michigan, in an interview from her home district.
Over the weekend, leading Republicans - from House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, to House Foreign Affairs Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, and House Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon of California - said President Obama must more clearly define the mission.
In a telephone interview with CNN Monday, Ros-Lehtinen said she, too, believes the president should come to Capitol Hill.
"I would hope that our leadership on both sides of the aisle would ask President Obama to convene a joint session of Congress as soon as possible so that he could better define the mission and clearly articulate U.S. security interests in our operations in Libya," said Ros-Lehtinen.
One major complaint from top Republicans is what they call mixed signals coming from the administration, such as whether the goal is to get rid of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.
On Sunday, Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen told NBC, "The goals of this campaign right now again are limited ... it isn't about seeing him go."
Monday, President Obama said, "It is U.S. policy that Gadhafi needs to go."
The president insists there's no contradiction - one is military action to back a U.N. resolution, the other is U.S policy.
Veteran Republican Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana opposed a no-fly zone in Libya from the start. He told CNN's "John King USA" he's more concerned now.
"I do not understand the mission because as far as I can tell in the United States there is no mission, and there are no guidelines for success," said Lugar.
The toughest criticism is coming from the president's own party. Democratic lawmakers issued terse statement after statement arguing that so far he has not fulfilled his constitutional obligation to consult Congress.
"In launching over 100 missiles on Libya this weekend, not only did the Defense Department undermine a carefully constructed consensus, which included the Arab League, but it leveled a devastating blow to our legislative-executive checks and balances," said Rep. Mike Honda, D-California.
"I demand a serious conversation in Congress before new countries are incautiously invaded and before America's legislative branch is eviscerated further," he said in a statement.
"I respect the President's expressed commitment to multilateralism and his attention to the United Nations. Britain and France, and other nations within the European Union as well as the Arab League have called for a no-fly zone in Libya," said Rep. Michael Capuano, D-Massachusetts.
"But consulting with allies does not exempt the Executive Branch from consulting with Congress," he said.
Capuano and Honda represent the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, but some moderates like Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, agree.
"Congress needs to understand the risk involved to the lives of our service members, how long the Administration anticipates U.S. involvement, the impact of our involvement on our other national security priorities like Afghanistan, and what the ultimate objective is," said Begich in a statement.
"The Administration needs to be straight with Congress and the American people about what the cost of this activity will be to American taxpayers," he said.
Rep. Norton participated in a House Democratic conference call Saturday during which lawmakers voiced intense criticism.
"The president is going to have a hard time getting Democrats to support this unless he comes forward with a great deal more," she told CNN.
To be sure, for all the criticism, the president also has congressional support in both parties for actions in Libya.
House Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Michigan, told CNN the president has a "very clear defined role of what the United States is doing in support of France and Great Britain and our Arab League partners and other nations who are going to be leading the charge on the no-fly zone."
Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois, the Senate's second ranking Democrat, issued a short statement Monday backing action so far in Libya.
"With the full and unprecedented backing of the Arab League and the United Nations, U.S. forces, along with our allies, are enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya. I support this limited, international action," said Durbin.
In terms of consultation, the president did send a letter to Congress Monday which he says explains the U.S. mission in Libya but many Democrats say it's not enough - he also needs congressional approval for US military action.
Obama did meet with leaders last Friday in the White House situation room, but many lawmakers had already left Washington and participated by conference call, including House Speaker Boehner.
CNN is told that Boehner – whose support is critical -didn't ask any questions at that meeting.
A senior GOP source insisted the reason was it was difficult for Boehner to hear, and "nobody muted their phones on the 20-person call."
Boehner did not follow up afterward either.
One of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's sons died in a Tripoli hospital of suffering severe burn wounds, a German website reported on Monday.
Khamis, aged 32 and Gaddafi's sixth son, was allegedly injured on Saturday when a Libyan Air Force pilot deliberately ploughed his jet into a compound in Tripoli where Gaddafi and some of his family were staying, the Deutsch-Tuerkische Nachrichten said.
The news comes as Western forces launched a second wave of air strikes on Gaddafi's positions under a UN resolution authorizing military action to protect Libyan civilians.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Monday called the resolution "defective and flawed," but it remains unclear why Russia, which opposed Western intervention in Libya from the start, did not use its power to veto the move.
PanARMENIAN.Net - A son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has died at a hospital in Tripoli, opposition websites and Arab media reported Monday, March 21.
The Arab League has strongly criticized the West's military air strikes on Libya, since they resulted in civilian casualties almost immediately after invasion.
Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa says the military intervention in Libya differs from a UN resolution that authorizes imposing a no-fly zone over the country.
"What is happening in Libya differs from the aim of imposing a no-fly zone, and what we want is the protection of civilians and not the bombardment of more civilians," he said on Sunday.
Moussa said last week's UN resolution was meant to protect civilians against troops loyal to Muammar Gaddafi.
The attacks on Libya started after US, European and Arab leaders backed military action against Libya following an emergency meeting in Paris on Saturday.
Moussa has called for an emergency AL meeting to discuss the situation in the Arab world.
The remarks come as the US and European forces have unleashed massive airstrikes and cruise missile attacks on oil-rich Libyan cities.
France initiated the war hours before US and UK warships and submarines joined in.
Libyan state television announced that 48 people were killed and 150 were wounded in the strikes, including civilians.
It is the biggest Western military intervention in the Arab world since the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Experts say the main motive behind the Western allies' attack is the vast oil reserves in the North African country.
US military chief Admiral Mike Mullen has acknowledged that the US-led military invasion of Libya could lead to a deadlock in the North African country.
The top military commander said told CBS news on Sunday that the end-game of military action in Libya was "very uncertain."
Pentagon Overpaid Billionaire Oilman By Up to $200 Million, Audit Finds
The Defense Department overpaid a billionaire oilman by as much as $200 million on several military contracts valued at nearly $2.7 billion, an internal audit has found.
The Washington Post reported that the Defense Department's inspector general estimated that the department paid Harry Sargeant III, a Florida businessman and once-prominent Republican donor, "$160 [millions] to $204 million more for fuel than could be supported by price or cost analysis."
The three contracts were awarded under conditions that effectively eliminated other bidders, the study reported.
Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif. led a probe against Sargeant in October 2008, accusing him of using his close relationship with Jordan's royal family to secure exclusive rights over supply routes to U.S. bases in western Iraq, according to the Washington Post.
Waxman also accused Sargeant and his company of price gouging and "engaging in the worst form of war profiteering," the newspaper reported.
In a statement to the newspaper Thursday, Waxman called on Sargeant to repay the Pentagon and said the report "confirmed what we found in 2008: the International Oil Trading Company overcharged by hundreds of millions of dollar while the Bush administration looked the other way."
The audit, which remains classified (only the summary of its findings have been released), does not accuse Sargeant of wrongdoing, but it confirms some of Waxman's findings, the newspaper reported.
The Pentagon would have saved at least $180 million by choosing the lowest bidders on fuel contracts awarded to Sargeant, Waxman had calculated. The audit found that the prices paid to Sargeant were not reasonable because "no one else could transport the fuel through Jordan."
..Libya: The Cost of a No-Fly Zone
| March 18, 2011
According to new report by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, three options for a No-Fly Zone over Libya would have three very different costs:
"Full No-Fly Zone" covering all of Libya
- $100 million to $300 million per week
- Initial strike to secure airspace: $500 million and $1 billion
- Six month total: $3.1 billion - $8.8 billion
- Similar to no-fly zone imposed over Iraq (Operation Northern and Southern Watch)
Limited No-Fly Zone focusing on the northern third of Libya
- $30 million to $100 million per week
- Initial strike to secure airspace: $400 million to $800 million
- Six month total $1.18 billion - $3.4 billion
Stand-off No-Fly Zone focusing on costal Libya with only air and naval assets beyond Libyan territory
- $15 million to $25 million per week
- Because this is strictly a stand-off operation with no assets in Libya, CSBA suggests no "initial cost."
- Six month total $0.39 billion - $0.65 billion
- This No-Fly zone would be enforced by three aegis-equipped destroyers.
- These ships, supported by radar monitoring planes (AWACS), and land-based fighter aircraft would intercept violating aircraft from a distance with "over-the-horizon" missiles.
- There is no historical precedent for this sort of no-fly zone.
The group also estimates a 6 month No-Fly Zone could cost as much as $9 Billion. Here's a look at the costs of previous No-Fly Zones:
3 months of air superiority over Serbia cost $2.4 billion
No Fly Zone over Iraq cost $1.3 billion per year
Libya is 6.5 times larger than the No Fly Zone over Iraq.
CSBA (Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments) estimates a 6 month No Fly Zone could cost as much as $9 billion.
Farrakhan warns, advises Obama on Libya policy, proper guidance for America
CHICAGO (FinalCall.com) - In his first interview since the successful Nation of Islam Saviours' Day 2011 convention, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan sat down in the studio with popular radio host and long-time friend Cliff Kelley on WVON-AM 1690 for a two and a half hour conversation.
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan
A critically important portion of the discussion centered on the unrest in the North African country of Libya which the Minister spoke about for the very first time during his recent keynote address. He provided even more layered contextual understanding when questioned by Mr. Kelley March 10. Then the subject of Libya was raised. When the western media began reporting on Libya, Febbruary 15, it seemed as if it was a foregone conclusion that Col. Muammar Gadhafi would be ousted in the country he has led for over 42 years. Now, nearly a month later, he remains in power.
On March 12, the Arab League agreed on asking the United Nations to impose a no-fly zone over Libya, days earlier, the African Union voted against it.
Al-Arabiya reported March 14 U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Paris to sit down with Foreign Ministers from Russian, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan. A no-fly zone plan is reportedly being presented to NATO on March 15, according to Secretary Clinton.
It is no secret that the Nation of Islam and Minister Farrakhan have enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship with the Libyan leader for decades. The United States has long opposed Col. Gadhafi and attempted to force him out of office even bombing his country during the Reagan administration, Minister Farrakhan noted.
The Minister blasted President Obama and Secretary Clinton for their arrogance in meddling in another sovereign nation's affairs and publicly recommending regime change.
Minister Farrakhan instructed Americans to look beneath the surface to see who stands to benefit from the unrest, and warned President Obama to be careful of the words coming from advisors lobbying him to move in with military forces to depose Col. Gadhafi.
'Is it that you're (U.S. officials) so concerned over the blood that is being shed in Libya, when you looked the other way when the Israeli Defense Force was bombing the innocent people of Gaza, unarmed men, women and children?'
"Well, today our dear brother (Obama) has to be very, very careful in this decision that he and his Secretary of State, and [French President Nicolas] Sarkozy and [British] Prime Minister [David] Cameron and others are planning. They would love to go into Libya and kill Brother Gadhafi, and kill his children as they did with Saddam Hussein and his sons, Qusay and Uday. You must remember, dear people of America, that whenever government wants you to think and act in a certain way that would bring justification to an action that they are already planning to make, they must make the person that they hate a 'boogey man,' " he said. Col. Gadhafi, who led a bloodless coup against a U.S. ally over 40 years ago, has seen constant negative publicity and was once called the "Mad Dog of the Middle East" by American leaders and analysts.
People unhappy with government are not solely in Libya, he pointed out. Many are unhappy with Mr. Obama, he said.
The U.S. government has a long history of deposing leaders of other nations in order to get natural resources, more specifically-oil, he continued, saying the imperialistic forces are not interested in saving those being killed, it is just a "noble motive to hide your (the U.S. government's) wicked agenda!"
"When George W. Bush was president, he said they wanted regime change in Iran, in (North) Korea regime change-how do you get regime change America? How do you do that? Congress, the Congress of the United States, voted to spend $150 million to replace the government in Iran that America doesn't like, so they send their agents in to work among the dissatisfied. So when they had this election, and the people in Iran rose up, they have legitimate grievances, all right-but stimulated from the outside," Minister Farrakhan continued. "Well, what about Libya? How much money is being spent to arm the so-called rebels? They're dissatisfied! Well, what is their dissatisfaction about? Do they (Libyans) have jobs? Yes. Do they have food? Yes. Has Gadhafi used the oil money to build Libya? Yes. Did Gadhafi use oil money and discover water under the Sahara Desert, and brought that water to the surface; and brought water from Benghazi all the way to the border almost of Tunisia? Did he impose farming in the desert so that they could feed their own people? Yes. Are there billions of dollars that he's spending building homes, building apartments for his people? Yes. So something is under this!" said Minister Farrakhan.
"Is it that you're (U.S. officials) so concerned over the blood that is being shed in Libya, when you looked the other way when the Israeli Defense Force was bombing the innocent people of Gaza, unarmed men, women and children? ... You looked the other way when the Israeli Defense Force went into Lebanon thinking that they were going to have an easy victory, then you had to come out with your tail between your legs?"
Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi
Minister Farrakhan said Col. Gadhafi has been investing money in Africa, enjoys international friendship, and should not be killed simply because he is not America's friend.
"Now, I want to warn you, in the Name of Allah, that this is more complex than what you think! Go into Libya if you want to. The Libyans do not want foreign occupation on their land. And when you make that kind of move, if you're not careful, you'll unite the Libyan people against you!"
Inside America members of the Branch Davidian religious sect were killed in 1993 in Waco, Texas, by federal law enforcement, while men, women and children of the MOVE organization were killed when police bombed their home during a 1985 standoff in Philadelphia, he said. Current American outrage is nothing but hypocrisy, the Minister said.
To President Obama, Minister Farrakhan delivered a pointed warning: "Don't let these wicked demons move you in a direction that will absolutely ruin your future with your people in Africa and throughout the world. They don't like the way you handled (former Egyptian President Hosni) Mubarak! They don't like the way you're handling the situation in the Arab world! So I would advise you to be careful-and move with wisdom and skill.
And then, Minister Farrakhan offered President Obama some divine advice.
"Why don't you organize a group of respected Americans, and ask for a meeting with Gadhafi? You can't order him to step down, and get out-who the hell do you think you are, that you can talk to a man that built a country over 42 years, and ask him step down and get out? Can anybody ask you? Well, well there's a lot, now, [that are] going to ask you to step out of the White House, because they don't want a Black face in the White House," said Minister Farrakhan.
"Be careful, brother, how you handle this situation because it is coming to America! It has already started. Look in Wisconsin! Look in Ohio! Look at what's going on in your country! And remember your words because the American people are rising against their own government: It's not Muslims; it's not Black people! It's White militias that are angry with their government, and they are well armed. Are you going to tell them-'Put your arms down, and let's talk it over peacefully?' I hope so. But if not, America will be bathed in blood, not because Farrakhan said so, but because the dissatisfaction in America has reached the boiling point. Be careful how you manipulate the dissatisfaction in Libya and other parts of the Muslim world," he warned.
Bev Smith drives back Jewish pressure, Farrakhan takes the city of Pittsburgh
By Ashahed M. Muhammad -Asst. Editor- | Last updated: Mar 15, 2011 - 7:30:38 PM
What's your opinion on this article?
Printer Friendly Page
PITTSBURGH (FinalCall.com) - The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan's clarion call for Black empowerment and self-determination rang out across America during a nationally broadcast town hall meeting at the August Wilson Center for African American Culture here March 11.
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan. Photos: Hassan Muhammad
Despite the attempts of critics seeking to influence and divide Pittsburgh's Black community, Minister Farrakhan joined popular and principled syndicated talk show host Bev Smith for an important 3-hour conversation with concerned residents to discuss “The Disappearing Black Community and How We Can Get It Back.”
“Up you mighty people! Up you mighty people! Up you mighty people!” said Ms. Smith, reminding those listening that Blacks are the descendents of those who survived slavery and built this country. “They cannot keep us down! The only thing keeping us down is us—and I've paid too much of a price for you to be here tonight,” she told the standing room only crowd prior to going live on air. The American Urban Radio Network hostess' meeting was broadcast over WGBN-AM radio and carried live over the Internet at http://www.wgbn.net/.
During the days prior to the event, Ms. Smith received calls from Jewish and Christian leaders expressing their displeasure at her decision to invite Min. Farrakhan to participate in the event. Several writings appeared in the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle repeating the thoroughly discredited, yet oft-repeated claims of Minister Farrakhan's “anti-Semitism.”
(l-r) Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), Dorothy Tillman, Bev Smith
Though saddened by the unnecessary controversy fomented by those determined to make mischief, Minister Farrakhan was unapologetic in his delivery of a clear message as a warner from God.
“I love the truth and I love you and I refuse to compromise my principles to get along,” said Min. Farrakhan. “My love of God makes me put my trust completely in Him.”
The outside pressure proved to be too much for Melanie Campbell, president and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation. She backed out just days before the town hall meeting fearing the loss of future funding, according to Ms. Smith.
Undeterred, Minister Farrakhan was joined by Rep. James Clyburn, (D-S.C.) and longtime civil rights activist and radio host Dorothy Tillman, who gladly paid her own way and stepped in to fill the slot vacated by Ms. Campbell.
During his message of guidance, which set the tone for the event, Minister Farrakhan touched on issues plaguing Black communities: joblessness, poor education, terrible health, disunity, and moral depravity. All of these maladies contribute to a community that in medical terms would be described as having “flat-lined.”
“Our problem is our fear—not White people—but our fear of them which makes us act in a manner that is less dignified and less character building and instead of passing on a future to our children oft-times we pass on the legacy of our cowardice and we refuse to confront evil wherever evil is,” said Min. Farrakhan.
Regarding the scorn and abuse he has received as an outspoken and public Black leader over the years, Min. Farrakhan said it is the price that must be paid for representing truth.
Crowd responds to Min. Farrakhan’s words.
“No man wants to be rejected. No man wants to be despised. No man or woman wants to be evil spoken of. No man or woman wants to be viciously reviled. But Jesus said, ‘blessed are ye, when men shall revile you.' I am a reviled person. I am persecuted—not because I killed somebody, not because I robbed somebody, not because I raped somebody, because I dare to stand like a man and tell the truth!” he said.
The Minister also spoke at length regarding a critical event in the history of Black people in America, “The Compromise of 1877.” Despite its major impact on conditions Blacks faced then and still face today, many know nothing about it. Much of this information is contained in “The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews” Volume Two,” the Minister said.
In the days leading up to the event, Ms. Smith received death threats at her home, and there was even a bomb threat at the August Wilson Center just hours before the event.
Yet she never considered calling it off or changing her plans for the event.
Furthermore, Blacks never insert themselves into the affairs of other ethnic groups to tell others what to discuss and with whom their issues should be discussed, she noted.
“We have endured White-only signs from the time we came here and when we finally sit down and say it's time for us to talk about us, there is a problem! We are not going to talk about their problem tonight, that is their problem not ours,” said Ms. Smith. “I do not have to prove that am not anti-Semitic, but what I do have to prove is that I am for my people all of the time no matter what time, no matter what circumstances and I will give my life so that my people will be free! I want freedom!”
In a typical present day example of the historically arrogant and paternalistic manner with which members of the Jewish community have treated Black leaders and organizations, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean for the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, wrote an opinion piece appearing in the March 11 edition of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette saying Min. Farrakhan's inclusion in the forum “bestows on him unwarranted credibility.” Additionally, Rabbi Cooper—in what some Pittsburgh residents considered a veiled threat—said Rep. Clyburn, a publicly elected official and highly ranked member of the Democratic Party, should follow Ms. Campbell's lead and withdraw from the event.
Min. Farrakhan holding a copy of the book, Advice Among Masters, which was referred to during the town hall meeting.
Pittsburgh residents clearly ignored the critics, and Rep. Clyburn told The Final Call, he was “not bothered in the least bit” by those criticizing him for appearing at the event. The venue was completely full with an overflow room set up to allow others to hear the discussion.
Nation of Islam representatives from the East Coast traveled to Pittsburgh to witness the event, and dozens of members of the Fruit of Islam, Muslim men, and Muslim women were on hand to bolster the center's security for the event. Though there were rumors of possible protests, none materialized.
“I want to thank Min. Farrakhan for offering up a number of precepts that we ought to adhere to,” said Rep. Clyburn, after the Minister Farrakhan made remarks about the critical need for Blacks to unite, pool their resources and build for a future.
The best lessons are taught by example, and what needs to happen is that once individuals are inspired, they should move forward in making a vision a reality, said Rep. Clyburn.
Rep. Clyburn also talked about the respect for women, saying no one should call a woman a name they wouldn't want their mother or daughter called.
Coming from a strong line of Black women who faced down racists of the Ku Klux Klan in the south, Ms. Tillman paid her own way and gladly stepped in after the other panelist backed out.
Holding up a book titled “Advice Among Masters: The Ideal in Slave Management in the Old South” by James O. Breeden, Ms. Tillman said today, leaders are needed who are not afraid to publicly say they are interested in building the Black community.
Giving historical examples of Black Wall Street in Tulsa, Okla., and Rosewood, Fla., where Whites destroyed vibrant Black communities, she said Whites become scared when it appears that Blacks are building economic power.
“There's always been a move to hold us down,” said Ms. Tillman who was amongst the Black women who Min. Farrakhan said “lambasted” the Rev. Jesse Jackson into supporting the 1995 Million Man March. Min. Farrakhan also paid tribute to the strength of the late Dr. Dorothy Height, of the National Council of Negro Women, who despite critics strongly supported the Million Man March.
All of these things are part of the experiences that make up the cultural fabric of the Black community, said Min. Farrakhan.
Jewish critics and opposition
Since nothing happens except by the active or permissive will of God, Min. Farrakhan pointed out that suffering is a part of life. Since God is the ultimate cause of all effect, as the Jewish people look to the holocaust to guide and motivate them, they should not focus on Hitler so much, but instead, ask God why he permitted the tragedy. Likewise, Black people should look at the trans-Atlantic slave trade, study it carefully, and ask God in the proper spirit why he permitted it, said Min. Farrakhan.
His words were a lead into his discussion of a controversy with a small yet influential group within the American Jewish community.
Regarding Jewish critics who have denounced him over the years, as well as the book “The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews,” the Minister said, “Don't judge me by what they write.”
“They have not produced one that has defeated me and the more I defeated them and stood up and would not bow down, Black people saw me as a champion and a fighter,” Min. Farrakhan noted. “Now, this book has them so upset that they would call this a pack of lies and hateful anti-Semitic stuff because now, truth is getting out and I might be a soloist today, but an ensemble is brewing and before you know it, there will be an international choir singing against you.”
Pressure put on August Wilson Center
In 2010, the August Wilson Center for African American Culture formed a partnership with American Urban Radio Networks and their nationally syndicated program, The Bev Smith Show, to host four town hall meetings.
The theme of the meetings is “The Disappearing Black Community and How We Can Get it Back.”
The first was held in November 2010, and March 11 was the second gathering.
Ms. Smith told The Final Call the next scheduled town hall meeting will deal with the Black church and she plans to invite Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
André Kimo Stone Guess, the center's president and CEO, stood firmly on the decision to honor the agreement with American Urban Radio Networks and The Bev Smith Show amid pressure from local and national Jewish leaders.
“An open and honest dialogue on this subject is well within the Center's mission and strategic thrust to work concentrically (from local to regional to national and international) and collaboratively to preserve, present, interpret celebrate and shape the art, culture and history of African Americans,” said Mr. Guess in a statement. “American Urban Radio Networks and The Bev Smith Show have complete editorial control over the program and its content. As such, they choose and invite the guests and panelists.”
Despite wishing there was more time, Ms. Smith told The Final Call she had no complaints. She expressed thanks to God that people were able to hear from a man of strength in Minister Farrakhan. She said the criticism made her angry, but she never considered backing down.
“It only made me angry, because I am really tired of the slave mentality. I'm tired of the slave master still thinking he has a right to tell the slaves who, what, when, where, and why, and I will never give up!”
Ms. Smith said she invited Minister Farrakhan and Rep. Clyburn because “the traditional voices are co-opted” and that the threats did not rattle her. Faith in God and a desire to represent the truth keeps her protected, said Ms. Smith.
“Honey, I've been shot at before. I've marched against the Ku Klux Klan before, and my daughter's school was threatened and I had to have the FBI for six weeks put the key in my door here in Pittsburgh because I went into the prisons and talked about how White prison guards were treating Black inmates. I had my car stolen, I was shot at, and the hole is still in the window at the old radio studio—but do you see me?”
During his closing comments, Minister Farrakhan made sure that it was clear that the Nation of Islam had Ms. Smith's back and that he will continue to speak with the strength of one with divine backing of God. He also demanded that the Black residents of Pittsburgh and across the country ensure that strength she has displayed during this ordeal is reciprocated.
“Bev Smith is such a strong sister, and she needs your support right here in Pittsburgh, so we have to make sure that no harm or hurt comes to her or to the radio station for her strength. And we have to pledge when you see strength like this, always support her and let the opposition know that no harm is coming to our sister in this city or any other city,” said Min. Farrakhan. “And don't fear for me because I speak like this. Don't be afraid. I am telling you from my mouth—they killed their last prophet when they killed Jesus. I'm telling you my life is not going to be taken and if you doubt then all of you that have power, come and take it from me and I guarantee you, you will be the one losing yours!”
Reactions to town hall meeting
Pittsburgh resident Monica Harvey, who also lived for a time in Washington, D.C., came to the town hall because she admires the work of Bev Smith and is concerned about issues facing the Black community. Minister Farrakhan's words about the breakdown of the Black family touched her deeply.
“I know so many African-American women who are gainfully employed and they are taking care of the household, and for reasons that may or may not be his fault, the man is not,” said Ms. Harvey. “I wanted to hear a good discussion about the Black community, and I am not disappointed.”
“Minister Farrakhan has launched a new era in our struggle for freedom, justice and equality. The clarity with which our history has finally been presented is palpable. It has created energy in the people that I have never witnessed before,” said Atty. Ava Muhammad, author and top aide to Minister Farrakhan, referring to “The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews,” Volume Two, which was referred to by Min. Farrakhan several times during the event.
“There are two major things about the Jesus of the Bible that tell us that in Minister Farrakhan we have the Jesus of today: Number one, the controversy with the Jews and number two, the women. Here again it was a woman, just like during the Million Man March, it was Dorothy Height with the Million Man March and tonight, it was Bev Smith. The argument that Bev Smith presented to Jewish leadership that opposed Minister Farrakhan's coming really should be studied by Black leaders, because the issue is not what the Minister has said, the issue is that we have a right to conduct our own affairs without interference,” Atty. Ava Muhammad added.
Student Minister Rodney Muhammad, the Delaware Valley regional representative of the Nation of Islam based in Philadelphia, was also on hand for the event. It is clear that Minister Farrakhan is placing a special emphasis on the relationship between the Black and Jewish community, which is discussed in the book, he said.
“I just go back to something he said, ‘unless you can expose a plant by its root, you can't destroy it.' We have no other choice but to expose this horrible secret. Without its exposure Black people will never be free in this country,” said student Minister Rodney Muhammad.
“It has been an amazing day and this is exactly what our community needs, right guidance coming from the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and the strong words of Ms. Tillman,” said Student Minister Jasiri X, who leads Pittsburgh's Muhammad Mosque No. 22. “I am totally blown away and thankful that Bev Smith stood strong, and invited God's man in our midst to give us what will heal our ills—the truth.”