NEWS ARCHIVES [July 2013]
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July 31, 2013
Edward Snowden Stuck between Russia a Hard Place
NSA Document Leaker
Photo - ABC News_wn_Thomas
Based on recent reports from various news organizations in the U.S. and overseas, including updates from the UK newspaper The Guardian,The Washington Post, and the Associated Press, Snowden’s fate is far from certain. Until the much anticipated asylum confirmation certificate is issued, which will allow Snowden to leave the Moscow airport, he will at least for the time being remain in the airport transit zone, which is not technically considered a part of Russian soil. The process of issuing Snowden the temporary asylum he is seeking has been drawn out, Snowden said. In an effort to dissuade Russia from granting asylum to the National Security Agency secret documents leaker and former national security analyst contractor, the US has promised the Russian government that it will not seek the death penalty if Snowden is extradited back into the United States. Snowden had requested temporary asylum in Russia "on grounds that if he were returned to the United States, he would be tortured and would face the death penalty.”
In a letter to Alexander Vladimirovich, Russia's minister of justice, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder promised the Russian that the charges issued by the Justice Department against Snowden do not carry the death penalty. Holder added that the US "would not seek the death penalty even if Mr. Snowden were charged with additional, death penalty-eligible crimes; "These claims are entirely without merit," Holder has been quoted as saying. In addition, Holder wrote that "Torture is unlawful in the United States."
In a subsequent letter released by the US Department of Justice on Friday, Holder added: "We believe that these assurances eliminate these asserted grounds for Mr Snowden's claim that he should be treated as a refugee or granted asylum, temporary or otherwise." There were reliable reports on Wednesday that officials in Moscow had granted Snowden permission to stay in Russia temporarily, but when Snowden's lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, arrived to meet his client at Sheremetyevo airport, he said the papers were not yet ready. Kucherena, who has close links to the Kremlin, also indicated that Snowden would remain in the airport's transit zone for the time being, where he has been in limbo since arriving from Hong Kong on June 23, 2013.
When asked by a reporter on Friday, a spokesman for President Vladimir Putin, Dimitry Peskow, insisted that Russia has not budged from its refusal to extradite Snowden. Speaking to the Russian News Agencies, he added that "Russia has never extradited anyone and never will." Putin has previously insisted Russia will not extradite Snowden to the US.” There is no US-Russia extradition treaty. Peskov confirmed that Putin is not involved in reviewing Snowden's application or involved in discussions about the whistleblower's future with the US, though he said the Russian security service, the FSB, had been in touch with the FBI.
On Wednesday, Snowden's lawyer acknowledged Snowden’s expectations and plans to settle in Russia, if granted asylum in the country. Support for Snowden is growing in Russia where the speaker of the Russian parliament, Sergei Naryshkin, has said that Snowden should be granted asylum to protect him from the death penalty. The letter from Holder was designed to remove those fears and signal that Snowden would be brought before a civilian court, and granted all the protections that United States law provides. He also added that despite Snowden's passport being revoked he "remains a US citizen,” which would make him eligible to directly return to the U.S.
Germany President, Joachim Gauck, weighted into the issue saying that whistleblowers such as Snowden deserved respect for defending freedom.
"The fear that our telephones or mails are recorded and stored by foreign
intelligence services is a constraint on the feeling of freedom and then the
danger grows that freedom itself is damaged," Gauck, said.
Edward Snowden's Father Says He May Come Back To the United States
June 28, 2013 BBC News http://MOXNews.com
Lon Snowden, Edward Snowden’s father, says his son has been so vilified by the Obama administration and members of Congress that he is now better off staying in Russia. The elder Snowden, a former forty year security analyst, had been working behind the scenes with lawyers to try to find a way his son could get a fair trial in the US. Edward Snowden has been charged in federal court with violating the Espionage Act by leaking details of NSA surveillance. But in a telephone interview with the Associated Press, the elder Snowden said he had lost faith in recent weeks that his son would be treated fairly by the Justice Department. He now thinks his 30-year-old son is better off avoiding the US if possible until an administration that “respects the constitution” comes into office.
A measure introduced by Republican Representative Justin Amash of Michigan failed to pass in the House on Wednesday. The close vote to defeat the bill was the closest civil libertarian and privacy advocates have come to narrowing and bringing transparency to the National Security Agency’s clandestine data collection operation on millions of American citizens since 9/11. Meanwhile, and ironically, Snowden’s action has ignited a major debate over the balance between liberty and security. The controversies will continue while this debate heats up between various ideological groups and in the halls of Congress. Aides to Congressman James Sensenbrenner, the Wisconsin Republican who wrote the Patriot Act, told the Guardian on Thursday that he plans to introduce legislation through the House judiciary committee that would restrict the NSA's bulk surveillance of Americans' phone records.
While defending the need to maintain national security and provide for the security of American by keeping some government programs secret, President Obama has expressed his concern over unnecessary invasion of privacy, and spoke of his interest to review procedures and establish a more effective system of transparency. The President has addressed these issues in several press conferences and speeches both before and after the Snowden leak. Americans are divided on the question as to whether Snowden is hero and a defender of freedom and privacy, or whether or not he is just a traitor.
Pope Francis celebrates Brazil Mass on Copacabana Beach
Reported by Julia Carneiro of the BBC - [Edit] Millions of faithful spent the night in vigil with Pope Francis, and waited overnight to celebrate an open mass led by the Pope on Copacabana beach. Sunday July 28, the Pope Francis closed one of the biggest Roman world Catholic youth festivals with a Mass on famous Brazilian beach. The Vatican said that more than three million people were gathered for the service in Rio de Janeiro. Pope Francis - YouTube (Photo Share)
That was far higher than the 1 million at the last World Youth
Day vigil in Madrid in 2011 or the 650,000 at Toronto's 2002 vigil. The ceremony marked the end of the Popes five-day-visit to Brazil, his first foreign trip
since being named the Head of the Catholic Church in March. Following the Mass,
the Pope flew back to Rome late in the day. The BBC's Wyre Davies in Rio says; “Almost every inch of the two-and-a-half mile long beach was occupied ahead of the Mass, as most of the young people stayed after the vigil, pitching tents or sleeping in the open.”
“Go and don’t be afraid of serving,” the Pope told the young Catholics gathered to worship with him. He encouraged them to “get out of their parochial boundaries in order to help others; “ "Jesus did not gather the Apostles so they lived in isolation. He called them so they formed a group, a community," said Pope Francis. The Pope announced that the next Catholic youth festival would be held in the Polish city of Krakow in 2016.
Female activists held a demonstration nearby in support of abortion and women's rights. But Reporters and correspondents unanimously believe that the Pope and the Church hierarchy will be delighted at the huge turnout and the way Francis has been received by pilgrims from across the globe.
Massive Flash Mob performed for Pope Francis
http://en.romereports.com Millions of pilgrims took part in the world's largest flash mob, by performing a simple dance for the Pope. In fact, the title of the song they danced to is called 'Francis.'...
In his vigil address on Saturday, the Pope urged the pilgrims not to be "part-time Christians", but to lead full, meaningful lives. Speaking on a huge stage at the beach where a mock church structure was built, Pope Francis referred to the street protests which have been taking place in Brazil for more than a month. "The young people in the street are the ones who want to be actors of change. Please don't let others be actors of change," he told the crowd at the vigil. "Keep overcoming apathy and offering a Christian response to the social and political concerns taking place in different parts of the world." "Jesus offers us something bigger than the World Cup!" Francis said, drawing cheers from the crowd in this soccer-mad nation."
Also on Saturday, the Pope repeated his challenge to fellow Roman Catholic clerics to take to the streets. In a speech to 1,000 bishops and clerics in Rio's cathedral, he said they should go to the favelas - Brazil's shanty towns. “We cannot keep ourselves shut up in parishes, in our communities, when so many people are waiting for the Gospel," he told the audience. Crowds chanted "Long lives the Pope" and threw gifts, including football jerseys, when he arrived for Sunday's Mass. Nearly the entire 2.5 mile crescent of the broad beach overflowed with people, some of them taking an early morning dip in the Atlantic and others tossing t-shirts, flags and soccer jerseys into the pontiff's open-sided car as he drove by. Francis worked the crowd, kissing babies, taking a sip of mate tea handed up to him and catching gifts on the fly. Even the normally stern-faced Vatican bodyguards let smiles slip as they jogged alongside his car, caught up in the enthusiasm of the crowd. "We were dying of cold but it was worth it," said Lucrecia Grillera, an 18-year-old from Cordoba, Argentina, where Francis lived for a time before becoming pope. "It was a tiring day, but it was a great experience."
"It was such an excellent week, everybody was in such good spirit, you could just feel a sense of peace," said Denise da Silva, a Rio de Janeiro Catholic who was sitting alone on the beach Sunday morning, a Brazilian flag painted on her face. "I have never seen something here in Rio so marvelous as what we have just lived."
In the longest and most important speech of his four-month pontificate, Francis took a direct swipe at the "intellectual" message of the church that so characterized the pontificate of his predecessor, Benedict XVI. Speaking to Brazil's bishops, he said ordinary Catholics simply don't understand such lofty ideas and need to hear the simpler message of love, forgiveness and mercy that is at the core of the Catholic faith.
"At times we lose people because they don't understand what we are saying, because we have forgotten the language of simplicity and import an intellectualism foreign to our people," he said. "Without the grammar of simplicity, the church loses the very conditions which make it possible to fish for God in the deep waters of his mystery."
In a speech outlining the kind of church he wants, Francis asked bishops to reflect on why hundreds of thousands of Catholics have left the church for Protestant and Pentecostal congregations that have grown exponentially in recent decades in Brazil, particularly in its slums or favelas, where their charismatic message and nuts-and-bolts advice is welcome by the poor. Pope Francis offered a breathtakingly blunt list of explanations for the "exodus" of Catholic faithful from the church. "Perhaps the church appeared too weak, perhaps too distant from their needs, perhaps too poor to respond to their concerns, perhaps too cold, perhaps too caught up with itself, perhaps a prisoner of its own rigid formulas," he said. "Perhaps the world seems to have made the church a relic of the past, unfit for new questions. Perhaps the church could speak to people in their infancy but not to those come of age." Francis asked if the church today can still "warm the hearts" of its faithful with priests who take time to listen to their problems and remain close to them. “We need a church capable of rediscovering the maternal womb of mercy," he said. "Without mercy, we have little chance nowadays of becoming part of a world of 'wounded' persons in need of understanding, forgiveness and love." After Sunday's Mass, Francis was meeting with the bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as holding a thank-you audience with some of the 60,000 volunteers who organized the youth festival. He was leaving for Rome Sunday night.
Egypt: Arab-Spring or Civil War and What Does the Future Hold?
Reuters -[Edit] Since the military action that deposed President Morsi of Egypt nearly two weeks ago, the country seems to be descending into chaos. Demonstrators on both sides continue to take to the streets by the numbers, and the demonstrations have become more and more violent and deadly. President Morsi has been reported to be under house arrest, and military chiefs seem poised to bring charges against him on alleged wrongdoing. President Mohamed Morsi was elected in Egypt after the revolution that ousted 40-year dictator Hosni Mubarak who was tried for corruption and crimes against the Egyptian people and died in prison a few months later at the age of 80. President Morsi, a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, spent just one year in office before the second revolution, which was preceded by his declaration of martial law and orders revoking Egypt’s constitution.
Gen. Abdel Fattah El Sifi - BBC (Share)
Defense Minister, Abdel Fattah El Sisi, called for street demonstrations to support his fight against "violence and terror.” Faced with mounting outcry from Muslim Brotherhood's supporters of ousted President Morsi,
the general appears to be escalating his ultimatums and the use of force
to quell descent over the second Egyptian revolution that brought down the elected president. Sisi, who's a deputy prime minister, has made brazen declarations as if there were no prime minister or a president in Egypt.
A public safety officer, responsible for maintaining stability among the population, especially in times of great distress, unrest, and division in Egypt, the Defense Minister instead is seemingly exacerbating tension, confrontation, and violence, in what appears to be an effort to consolidate his power.
Soon after the coup and arrest of a number of their leaders, the Muslim Brotherhood concluded that the only way to protect themselves was to retrench in the nation's streets and public squares. The Brotherhood leadership demanded a probe of Egypt 'massacre,' calling on their supporters to set up camp during the hottest month of the year, which also happens to coincide with Ramadan, a major Muslim holiday and a time for pilgrimage and fasting. This left the demonstrators without food or drinking water throughout the day. But they remain steadfast in the hope of forcing the military to back down on its decision.
Both camps appear determined and prepared to outdo each other in the size of their demonstrations, passion, and staying power. Supporters on both sides heed the calls of their leaderships in stride and by the millions. The country appears to be on the verge of destabilization and civil war. The major opposite forces have escalated what started as peaceful protests and democratic elections into mayhem, death, and destruction on the streets of Egypt. As of now, there does not seem to be any effective plans for the parties to reach an agreement or a solution to their conflict in the near future.
Presidential palace during the last few weeks of Mubarak’s reign in January 2011. It is a message that Egyptians are entitled to have addressed for the sake of their country and for future generations. Therefore, in the tradition of an active citizenry, and despite the presence of any coordinated and organized leadership, Egyptians have been showing an undaunted determination to take their country's
Egyptian Protesters undaunted determination to take their country’s destiny into [Google Images - Share] their own hands: “They [the Egyptians] The people."
The Brotherhood has failed to prove to the people that they were prepared to lead the country under good governance, and President Morsi showed little leadership on economic and social issues, in addition to his outrageous power grab months following his election. As it stands, the record for General Sisi is quite questionable when it comes to the same previously failed and corrupt leadership styles and economic policies. Nonetheless, the people of Egypt have now shown that the power ultimately rests with the people and they are willing to exercise their rights, particularly this new generation of young Egyptians and upcoming leaders, to uplift their country and restore some sense of economic, social, religious, and political stability, even if that means putting their lives on the line. No justice – No peace!
But as one writer put it, “after people revealed their disapproval and outright hostility toward Mubarak's one man, one party rule, and later to Morsi's attempt at the same system of rule, Sisi's attempts at one man, one military rule is far-fetched.”
Egypt's total debt is already 87 percent of GDP and 74 percent of that is domestic at a rate of 27 percent interest. As Telegram.co.un (Google Images instability and insecurity deepen, millions of families, the urban poor, are unable to feed themselves.
Since three quarters of the debt is owed to local banks, quarters of the debt is owed to local banks, Egyptian Protester - any default on payment is bound to affect the entire economy. Egyptian government's subsidies for fuel and food have already reached a high of 167 billion EGP ($24bn), or more than a of the total government budget. Therefore, interest payments, wages, and subsidies represent 75 percent of the budget's total expenditures, leaving any future government with less than a quarter of its budget to be put toward all other important business of the state. Added to low wages, lower taxes, and low productivity brought on by the recent instability, the next government is likely to be bankrupt and, and Egypt will continue to see its infrastructures and social services deteriorate and its already high unemployment rate rising even higher.
At Last – After 5 Years of Escalation & Stalemate
Gaza Protest - Photo _global Post
Israeli and Palestinian Leaders Meet in Washington
Under the Leadership of President Obama & the Diplomacy
of New U.S Secretary of State John Kerry
Israeli Prime Minister
Benjamin Nathanyahu at the UN
presenting a theory of a nuclear weapon red line that Iran alledgedly crossed
[Google Images - Share]
Mahmudd Abbas - Google Images
Photo - the telegrap.co.uk
After 40 years of constant wars and conflict with no end in sight between the Israelis and the Palestinians, all talks came to a halt five years ago. By all accounts, the Israeli leadership adopted an even harder line after the Palestinian elections that brought Hamas into power in the Gaza Strip and lent President Mahmudd Abbas to the west Bank. The Despite many efforts, United States and Europe have been unable to broker any kind of lasting peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinians and split, even with the model of peace treaty at rt. com [Google Images] was negotiated by Presidents Anwar Saddat of Egypt and Menachem Begin of Israel. This treated continues to work well between the two countries. During the Clinton administration, officials and negotiators run into a stalemate leading to a failure to reach any kind of peace agreement during a summit, after which violence erupted in the Palestinians territories in 2000.
After his first four years in office focusing on the improving the U.S. economy, enacting domestic policy laws, and winding down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, this week, President Barack Obama welcomed the imminent start of talks between Israel and the Palestinians in Washington, D.C. The President urged both sides to approach the meeting with honesty. These negotiations will not be easy. "The most difficult work of these negotiations is ahead, and I am hopeful that both the Israelis and Palestinians will approach these talks in good faith," the President said on Monday.
thesantosrepublic.com The Middle East ]Google Images]
While Obama’s former Secretary of State and former first lady, senator, and presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton traveled to over 100 countries during her tenure at the State Department, her most significant impact in the Middle East was when she brokered a cease fire in a flash armed conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Obama thanked his own top diplomat, Secretary of State John Kerry, for organizing the talks, which began late Monday in Washington with an initial meeting between top negotiators.
"I am pleased that Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas have accepted Secretary Kerry's invitation to formally resume direct final status negotiations and have sent senior negotiating teams to Washington for the first round of meetings; This is a promising step forward, though hard work and hard choices remain ahead," Obama said.
In a press conference, US Secretary of State John Kerr named Martin Indyk, the former US ambassador to Israeli, as the new Middle East peace envoy. Indyk is a veteran of US involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. These talks are preliminary.
Secretary of State John Kerry warns that this is and will continue to be a difficult process, and said that many difficult choices lie ahead during the talks with the main objective is to seek to establish "reasonable compromises" between the two sides. "It is no secret this is a difficult process. If it were easy, it would have happened a long time ago," Kerry said. "It is no secret, therefore, that many difficult choices lay ahead for the negotiators and for the leaders as we seek reasonable compromises on tough, complicated, emotional and symbolic issues," Kerry told reporters.
Political correspondent for the Jerusalem Post, Gill Hoffman, told Al Jazeera, "We've seen over the last few months Netanyahu is sounding more like Livni, taking a more dovish approach; Israel has already gone far [to get to the table], it already withdrew from every inch of the Gaza Strip."
Reporting from Washington, Al Jazeera's reporter, Rosiland Jordan, said Indyk has been involved in previous talks, and
someone "both the Israelis and Palestinians trust; Both
Gaza Strip in the wake of sire are willing to give Indyk a chance to push them for the
Israeli Bombing long term prospect of peace for their people." Many of the
Share_globalresearch.ca term prospect of peace for their people.” “Many of the players taking part are well known to each other," Rosiland added. The Israelis will be represented by Livni and Yitzhak Molcho, and the The Palestinians will be represented by chief negotiator Saeb Erekat and Mohammad Shtayyeh. Kerry has long seen the talks as a top priority as he believes without a solution, peace in the wider region cannot be restored. Israel's chief negotiator Tzipi Livni said early on Monday as she left for Washington that talks would be complex and that she was leaving "cautiously but also with hope".
Palestinian negotiators also departed after the Israeli cabinet acceded to Palestinian demands and agreed to release 104 Palestinian prisoners, some of whom have been jailed for decades. The Israeli president, Shimon Peres, praised the resumption of talks, describing it as a "special day". "The Middle East is in a stormy situation. We hope the Middle East will overcome its storm and land in a port of peace," he said while on a visit to Latvia.
On Monday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas sought to lay out his vision for the talks, asserting that no Israeli settlers or border forces should be allowed to remain in a future Palestinian state, and reiterated the Palestinian position that the 1967 borders were non-negotiable. Abbas's firm statements on Monday appeared to challenge mediator John Kerry's hopes that the terms of the talks be kept secret. “In U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry a final solution, we would not see the presence of a single
(CC_File Photo) Israeli - civilian or soldier on our lands," Abbas told Egyptian journalist in Cairo where he met Egypt's Interim president Adli Mansour.
“An international, multinational presence like in Sinai, Lebanon and Syria - we are with that,” he said, referring to United Nations peacekeeping operations in those places. Israel has previously said it wants to maintain a military presence in the occupied West Bank at the border with Jordan to prevent any influx of weapons that could be used against it. On the future of Jewish settlements on the West Bank and the status of Jerusalem - among the most contentious issues facing the two sides - Abbas appeared firm in his stance. We've already made all the necessary concessions," he said. “East Jerusalem is the capital of the state of Palestine ...if there were and must be some kind of small exchange [of land] equal in size and value, we are ready to discuss this - no more, no less,” he said.
July 25, 2013
President Obama Speaks at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois
In his speech today at Knox College where he made his 2005 speech that launched him to national prominence and eventually won him the presidency twice in two massive electoral college wins, President Obama took the fight to the Republicans. The president appears to have arrived at a significant crossword in his second term in the White House, drawing the obstructionist Congress out for their opposition to all of the President's agenda, including turning against policies that had themselves put forward or fought for, but vehemently oppose once the President agrees with them. It is hard to tell what it was in the Republicans' irrational behavior that broke the camel's back as far as this president is concerned. He had thus far, going into his fifth year in office, remained Mr. nice guy and has endured all that the Republicans have thrown at him, from vicious name calling to insidious accusations that he is a marxist, socialist, leninist, fascist, and on and on. It remains to be seen how the Republicans respond to this speech. This is a president who is nothing but a con artist, an illegal immigrant who has stolen his way to the president, and has done not one thing right. Here is the president post-speech hello to supporters. Watch the entire speech on video below.
Hello everybody --
The basic bargain of this country says that if you work hard, you can get ahead -- you can build a secure life for your family, and know that your kids will do even better someday. But for more than a decade, that bargain has frayed, and a devastating recession made it worse. Over the past four and a half years, America has fought its way back, laying a new foundation for more durable economic growth. But many of the challenges that faced the middle class before the recession remain. And Washington has taken its eye off the ball.
Too many people in this town are focused on scoring political points or fanning phony scandals instead of finding ways to help grow our economy, create jobs, or roll back a 30-year trend of rising inequality. It’s time for that to stop. It’s time for all of us to focus on our top priority as a country, and that’s reigniting the engine of our prosperity: a rising, thriving middle class. That’s what I just said while speaking at Knox College, back home in Illinois, where I kicked off a series of speeches on what truly matters to the middle class.
This has been my North Star for as long as I've been in office, and it's what will shape the time that I have left in the White House.
In the weeks ahead, in towns across the country, I’ll be talking about my ideas for building on the cornerstones of middle-class security: Good jobs with good wages. An education that prepares our children and our workers for a new economy. A home to call your own. Affordable health care when you get sick. A secure retirement even if you’re not rich. A better bargain for the middle class, and for all who are striving to join it.
This is the debate we need to have. And you can join me right now.
Let the country know that you believe that America works best not when it grows from the top down, but when it grows from the middle out:
President Barack Obama
July 23, 2014 [Update]
The Justice for Trayvon Martin Movement
The shooting of unarmed 17 year old Trayvon Martin on a rainy evening on February 26, 2012 in a gated community in Sanford Florida, and last week’s not guilty verdict of the shooter George Zimmerman has become a flashpoint in the nation. Zimmerman killed the teenager with one bullet in the heart, while Martin was walking home from a Seven Eleven store carrying Skittles and ice tea. The verdict sparked outraged and national debates over self-defense, guns, and race relations. Zimmerman invoked self-defense and his lawyer successfully painted Trayvon Martin as a thug who could have easily been a part of thugs that has previously burglarized homes in the area. Throughout the trial, Zimmerman’s defense lawyers, Don West and Mark O’Mara successfully suggested the stereotypes associated with Black teens to the five White and one non-White and non-Black Jurors throughout the trial.
The Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network organized the "Justice for Trayvon" rallies and vigils outside federal buildings in at least 101 cities one week after a jury delivered the verdict for George Zimmerman in Judge Debra Nelson’s courtroom in Sanford Florida. In addition to pushing the Justice Department to investigate civil rights charges against Zimmerman, Sharpton told supporters In New York that he wants to see a rollback of stand-your-ground self-defense laws.
President Obama Speaks on Trayvon Martin
President Obama makes a statement about Trayvon Martin and the verdict of the court trial that followed the Florida teenager's death.
"We are trying to change laws so that this never, ever happens again," Sharpton said. His daughters, Ashley and Dominique Sharpton, were scheduled to lead a follow-up march Sunday in Harlem. Stand-your-ground laws are on the books in more than 20 states, and they go beyond many older, traditional self-defense statutes. In general, stand-your-ground laws eliminate a person's duty to retreat, if possible, in the face of a serious physical threat.
In Washington, D.C. - Crowds chanted "Justice! Justice!" as they rallied in dozens of U.S. cities Saturday, urging authorities to change self-defense laws and press federal civil rights charges against a former neighborhood watch leader found not guilty in the shooting death of unarmed teen Trayvon Martin.
In Los Angeles - Protesters chanted, "No justice! No peace!" Demonstrators sang hymns, prayed, and held hands. Some carried signs. One sign read, "This is Amerikkka: From Dred Scott to Emmett Till to Trayvon Martin, black people have no rights that white people are bound to respect."
In Atlanta - The irony of the location of the rally was not lost on speakers who invoked the Federal buildings named after the opposite visions of America for racial justice, equality, and civil rights held by the leaders Shared Photo - YouTube
whose names are engraved on the buildings: Russell who was a Georgia governor and U.S. senator elected in the Jim Crow South and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., the very face of African-American civil rights movements____
In New York - Hundreds of people, including Trayvon Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, and music superstars Jay-Z and Beyonce, gathered in the heat in front of the headquarters of the Reverend Al Sharpton’s National Action Network. There, Fulton told the crowd, “I am determined to fight for changes needed to ensure that black youths are no longer viewed with suspicion because of their skin color; I promise you I'm going to work for your children as well.” She reminded the protesters that the tragedy was not the Martin’s family alone. "Today it was my son. Tomorrow it might be yours," she said.
In Cincinnati – “It’s personal,” said resident Chris Donegan, whose 11-year-old son wore a hoodie to the rally, as Martin did the night he died. "Anybody who is black with kids, Trayvon Martin became our son." Crowds chanted "Justice! Justice!" as they rallied in dozens of U.S. cities Saturday, urging authorities to change self-defense laws and press federal civil rights charges against a former neighborhood watch leader found not guilty in the shooting death of unarmed teen Trayvon Martin. In Indianapolis, the Rev. Jeffrey Johnson told roughly 200 attendees that the rallies were about making life safer for young black men who are still endangered by racial profiling.
In Minneapolis - The Rev. Jeffrey Johnson told roughly 200 attendees that the rallies were about making life safer for young black men who are still endangered by racial profiling. Johnson compared Zimmerman's acquittal to that of four white officers in the beating of black motorist Rodney King in 1992. "The verdict freed George Zimmerman, but it condemned America more," said Johnson, pastor of the Eastern Star Church in Indianapolis and a member of the board of directors of the National Action Network. Johnson compared Zimmerman's acquittal to that of four white officers in the beating of black motorist Rodney King in 1992. "The verdict freed George Zimmerman, but it condemned America more," said Johnson, pastor of the Eastern Star Church in Indianapolis and a member of the board of directors of the National Action Network. Share Photo - YouTube
In Miami - Tracy Martin, Trayvon Martin’s father, spoke about his son. "This could be any one of our children," he said. "Our mission now is to make sure that this doesn't happen to your child." He recalled a promise he made to his son
as he lay in his casket. "I will continue to fight for Trayvon until the day I die," he said. "What's so frightening about a black man in a hood?" asked the Rev. Raphael Warnock, who now occupies the pulpit at King's Ebenezer Baptist Church. In Indianapolis, the Rev. Jeffrey Johnson told roughly 200 attendees that the rallies were about making life safer for young black men who are still endangered by racial profiling.
Attorney General Eric Holder announced this week that his department would investigate whether Zimmerman could be charged under federal civil rights laws. Such a case would require evidence that Zimmerman harbored racial animosity against Martin.
Legal experts and commentators express doubt that future charges would be filed against Zimmerman, due the inherent difficulties built in the high threshold that the Justice Department must meet in filling Federal hate, bias or racial profiling charges resulting in the death of a citizen under Federal law. Zimmerman's lawyers have said their client wasn't driven by race, but by a desire to protect his neighborhood.
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