The Newburgh 4: A Case of FBI Entrapment…..?

Today’s show will focus on the Newburgh 4 case.

On October 18, four men were convicted of planning to blow up Jewish synagogues and shoot down cargo planes from Stewart Air National Guard Base in New York. The four men are David Williams, Onta Williams, Laguerre Payen, and James Cromitie.

They are African American, Muslim, and many believe were victims of an unethical entrapment scheme devised by the FBI.

According to reports, FBI informant, Shaheed Hussain, infiltrated the mosque of one of the defendants, James Cromitie, and convinced him to participate in a plot to blow up synagogues and U.S. military planes. The plot was concocted by the FBI and the bombs were fake, but because of the willingness to take part in the terrorist plot, Cromitie and the other 3 defendants–who were recruited later into the scheme by Cromitie– were convicted on October 18th of conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction in the United States and face the possibility of spending the rest of their lives in prison.

We will speak with Bennett Weiss of the Orange County Peace and Justice Committee and Alicia McWilliams, the aunt of one of the Newburgh 4 defendants.

Bennett Weiss has been organizing actions to bring attention to the entrapment practices of the FBI as played out in the Newburgh 4 case. In this segment, he provides some background details on the Newburgh 4 story.

Alicia McWilliams is the aunt of David Williams–one of the Newburgh 4 defendants just recently convicted of conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction in the United States. The charge can carry a possible sentence of life in prison. David Williams is 29 years old. McWilliams spoke with “On the Block” in Harlem last week.

Special Thanks.

The PA Prison Reports are compiled by Andy and Bret of the Human Rights Coalition based on the accounts of prisoner correspondents and the investigations of HRC members.  From the compiled data, the reports are re-written by Andy into the narratives you hear on “On The Block Radio.”  Many thanks.  To access written transcripts of the PA Prison Reports, please go to: www.hrcoalition.org.

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Catching Up with Philly’s Askia Coalition Against Police Brutality

Welcome to another edition of On the Block Radio, a show that takes a critical at the United States criminal justice system.

On today’s show, we speak with Adan X, a member of the Askia Coalition Against Police Brutality. Over the last month, many Philadelphia residents have come together in order to help fight police brutality in the city in general and to bring about justice for Askia Sabur, a young African American male who is one of Philadelphia’s recent victims of police brutality. Askia was attacked by police outside of a Chinese restaurant in West Philadelphia, where he had ordered food. After viewing YouTube videos of the attack posted by eyewitnesses, many believe the police beating was unwarranted and excessive.

Adan X provides additional background on the case and updates us on past and future actions.

Special Thanks.

The PA Prison Reports are compiled by Andy and Bret of the Human Rights Coalition based on the accounts of prisoner correspondents and the investigations of HRC members. From the compiled data, the reports are re-written by Andy into the narratives you hear on “On The Block Radio.” Many thanks. To access written transcripts of the PA Prison Reports, please go to: www.hrcoalition.org.

Special Re-Post: Family Members of Mumia Abu Jamal and Troy Davis Speak on Their Struggle.

Thanks for joining us for another edition of “On the Block,” a radio program that takes a critical look at the United States criminal justice system.

On today’s show, we will hear from the relatives of two prisoners on death row. One is that of Wayne Alexander, the nephew of Mumia Abu Jamal. In the 1980s, Mumia was convicted of the murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. He currently sits on death row. Mumia and his supporters have for years proclaimed his innocence; demands for his release have been the focus of a large international movement for the last two decades. Wayne provides us with a perspective on how Mumia’s family has been grappling with his imprisonment over the last 20 plus years.

The other voice is that of the older sister of Troy Davis, Martina Correia. Davis is currently sitting on death row for a crime that many believe he did not commit. Martina Correia has been fighting for the release of her brother, Troy Davis, for more than two decades. While battling cancer, she has taken up the fight for her brother who she and many others believe was wrongly convicted for the killing of a Georgia police officer. We talk with her about the status of the case.

Mumia Abu Jamal: Recent Developments and the Continuing Significance of the Case to the African American Community.

Welcome to another edition of “On the Block,” a radio show that looks critically at the United States criminal justice system.

On today’s show, in light of recent serious developments in the case of Mumia Abu Jamal, an African American journalist who has been sitting in prison for almost three decades for a crime many believe he did not commit, we will listen to an interview with Pam Africa, of the International Concerned Friends and Family of Mumia Abu Jamal.

On Tuesday, September 21st, the The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit announced its decision to grant oral arguments on the issue of whether Mumia Abu Jamal will continue to sit on death row, or be granted a new jury trial on the question of his death sentence. The arguments will be made before a three-judge panel to be held on November 9, 2010, 2:00 pm in the Ceremonial Courtroom, U.S. Courthouse, 6th & Market Streets, in Philadelphia.

This is significant to the ongoing struggle to save Mumia Abu Jamal’s life and win the case for Mumia’s exoneration. Previously, Mumia had won a new sentencing hearing, but earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court changed its decision and ordered that the case be again reviewed by the federal court. After some months, the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has announced its decision to grant a new sentencing hearing for Mumia Abu Jamal.

Pam Africa.
Another critical development for the movement to free Mumia Abu Jamal–a negative one–was the recent signing of a memorandum by factions of the United States anti-death penalty movement to distance the movement from Mumia’s case.
In an interview conducted by JR Valrey, Pam Africa, chairperson of the International Concerned Friends and Family of Mumia Abu Jamal, discusses that recent move and its significance.

M1 of the Dead Prez.
We will also listen to an an excerpt of an interview with M1 of the hip hop group The Dead Prez about the continuing significance of Mumia Abu Jamal’s case to the African American community. The interview was conducted by JR Valrey of POCC Block Report Radio.

The HRC and Secret Surveillance by the Pennsylvania Office of Homeland Security via the Institute for Terrorism Research and Response (ITRR).
The Human Rights Coalition, in its Pennsylvania Prison Report–a regular feature of “On The Block Radio”–discusses the recent discovery that the organization was the focus of scrutiny by the Institute for Terrorism Research and Response (ITRR), an organization contracted by the Pennsylvania Office of Homeland Security to identify and document threats to national security in the United States.

All that coming up on On the Block Radio.

Special thanks to Andy of the Human Rights Coalition and JR Valrey of POCC Block Report Radio. For more information about the Human Rights Coalition, check out their website at www.hrcoalition.org. Block Report Radio podcasts can be found at www.blockreportradio.com.

Prison Letters and Documenting Inmate Abuse in Pennsylvania Prisons.

Thanks for joining us for another edition of “On the Block Radio,” a show that takes a critical look at the United States criminal justice system.

On tonight’s show, Andy of the Human Rights Coalition talks with us about Write Up, an ongoing event at the Lava Space during which individuals can read and respond to letters from inmates in Pennsylvania prisons. He shares with us the history of Write Up and the Human Rights Coalition (HRC). As well, he describes some of the inhumane conditions that prisoners have written about in their letters to the HRC and how the Write-Up event helps with the effort to document inmate abuse and fight it.

Special Thanks.

The PA Prison Reports are compiled by Andy and Bret of the Human Rights Coalition based on the accounts of prisoner correspondents and the investigations of HRC members.  From the compiled data, the reports are re-written by Andy into the narratives you hear on “On The Block Radio.”  Many thanks.  To access written transcripts of the PA Prison Reports, please go to:www.hrcoalition.org.