America’s death squads and Obama’s new top cop

As president-elect Obama names Eric Holder the first African Attorney General some commentators are exposing the chilling fact that Holder represented Chiquita Banana in 2004 after it paid “protection money” to Colombian death squads. These terrorists killed at least 4,000 mostly impoverished African and Indigenous people in Colombia.

Holder brokered a deal with the Justice Department that required Chiquita to pay a fine of $25 million and for the firm’s top officials to plead guilty for this transgression of U.S. law. Of course not one Chiquita official went to prison for this crime against humanity. (Counterpunch, “Holder, Chiquita and Colombia by Mario A. Murillo, 11.19.08)

It is important that this is exposed. But what nobody talks about is the fact that Holder enthusiastically endorses the U.S. death squads that murder, terrorize and sweep up millions of African and Mexican people into the torture chambers called prisons right here in North America under the name of “law enforcement.”

Vice President to be Joseph Biden was the author of the Clinton Administration’s 1994 Crime Control Act while Holder was Clinton’s Deputy Attorney General. Holder played a key role in putting the Crime Bill’s 100,000 new police on the streets.

There was tacit acceptance on the part of the majority of the white population that those police were supposed to target African communities. The powers-that-be had long worked to make the word “criminal” synonymous with “black,” ever since the CIA had flooded impoverished African communities with deadly drugs as part of the government plan for crushing the black power movement of the 1960s.

One of the provisions of the 1994 Crime Bill required the Attorney General to collect data and publish an annual report on the number of people killed and wounded by police and the use of deadly force. That never happened. With a simple internet search you can find out precise stats on, say, infertility, diabetes, poverty or homeownership.

But how many people are victims of police murder and what are their demographics? No records.

An article by Fox Butterfield on the CommonDreams.org site from April 29, 2001 quotes Temple University criminal justice professor James Fyfe as saying that the brutality figures are not kept because they would be “very embarrassing to a lot of police departments.”

We all know, though, that mostly young, mostly impoverished African men are far and away the majority of those at the receiving end of police violence and life-wasting sentencing laws.

Simply reading the newspaper in Philadelphia shows us that at least one African man is murdered by the police in that city every month and often twice that or more.

We know that one in eight young black men are locked up in the mammoth U.S. prison system that acts as a handy economic stimulus tool for Wall Street and white communities both in good financial times and bad.

Discriminatory, two-tiered Jim Crow drug laws, mandatory minimums and three strikes legislation are the cornerstone of a publicly-accepted policy of police containment of the African community.

Obama’s mantra of a “post-racial America” is just not true and we all know it. The majority of black prisoners are locked up on drug charges, despite the fact that white people are two thirds of all drug users and sellers in this country.

Eric Holder endorses and built his career on these policies. Neither Holder nor Obama have expressed any commitment to stop them and bring justice to the besieged African working class communities throughout this country.

The nomination of Eric Holder to the position of AG is but one more of the rapid fire moves made by Barack Obama to prove himself worthy to his Wall Street backers and continue the same old oppressive, good-old-boy policies intensified by every previous administration, regardless of party.

The only way to achieve the aspirations of hope and change is to take responsibility for a country built on a pedestal of the enslavement of African people, the genocide of the Indigenous people and colonial policies of war and pillage around the world and inside this country. There’s a growing movement afoot struggling for the liberation of Africa for the benefit of African people everywhere. If we believe in change and transformation we should support that movement.

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