Atty.Malik Zulu Shabazz visits w/ Mumia Abu-Jamal for 3-hours

I just got off the phone w/ Atty. Malik Zulu Shabazz as he travels back from a 3-hour meeting w/ Death Row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Atty. Malik was talking on the cell phone as he traveled through the mountains, so it was kind of poor quality dropping every few minutes. We discussed several points of interest and importance that I will deliver to you soon.

In the meantime, you can write to Mumia Abu-Jamal at:

AM 8335
SCI Greene
175 Progress Dr.
Waynesburg, PA 15370

You can hear Mumia's audio commentaries on current events at: www.prisonradio.org


Sights and Sounds from Sunday's Opening Ceremony

I can't remember any performances from any other pre-inauguration of any other president ever. Maybe if they did have someone perform, it was probably Linda Ronstadt or the Charlie Daniels Band. I know they never had any inauguration celebration with the Queens of R& B. That is definitely change! 

Mary J. Blige


Denzel Washington

Mr. and Mrs. Obama

Photos: Presidential Inaugural Committee

President Obama's Secret Service & Ground Transportation

Cadillac One

Cadillac One "The Beast"

Ground transportation by limousine is a presidential tradition. A new model is built and customized for each president prior to his taking office. President Obama will be transported in a Cadillac limousine, an ultramodern yet brawny vehicle that has been nicknamed "The Beast."

Many of the vehicle’s security specifications are kept confidential however it is reported to have five-inch thick bulletproof windows, run-flat tires and a sealed interior for protection in the event of a chemical attack. The heavily armored body—made of reinforced steel, aluminum and titanium—is said to be capable of withstanding a rocket propelled grenade attack.

Secret Service Protection

The United States Secret Service is charged with protecting the sitting president and his immediate family 24 hours day. Code names are given to the First Family. At one time, the names were used for security prior to the invention of encryption. Now, the code names serve more as a tradition. President Barack Obama’s codename is "Renegade," First Lady Michelle Obama is "Renaissance," 10-year old Malia is "Radiance" and 7-year-old Sasha is "Rosebud."

The personal 24 hour security detail extends for 10 years after the completion of the presidential term, however, with increasing terrorism, and increasing threats, Congress is reconsidering lifetime protection.


On January 20, 2009 Barack Hussein Obama’s improbable path to the presidency of the United States of America will be completed.The son of a Black man from Kenya and a White woman from Kansas whose childhood found him places like Hawaii and Indonesia, whose educational career carried him to Occidental College, Harvard University and Columbia.

His professional career found him as a professor at the University of Chicago Law School, and his career as an activist brought him to the tough gritty streets of the south side of Chicago. Now, this seemingly unlikely path has taken him to The White House in Washington D.C.

Over the next few days during my stay in Washington, D.C. while covering the inauguration for The Final Call, I will be updating my blog, doing my best to bring you some of the sights and happenings of this historic event. I will also answer any questions you may have.

The president is the Chief Executive Officer of the United States of America and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. On Jan. 20 after taking the Oath of Office Barack H. Obama will become this nation's 44th president.


Barack H. Obama's Presidential Inauguration Coverage

Marine One
President Obama will have access to a fleet of helicopters which take off and land right on the south lawn of the White House. Marine One is the name given to the helicopter carrying The President. There are reportedly three identical helicopters which all fly at the same time, landing at different times as security decoys. Marine One is used for short trips.

On January 20, 2009 Barack Hussein Obama’s improbable path to the presidency of the United States of America will be completed.

The son of a Black man from Kenya and a White woman from Kansas whose childhood found him places like Hawaii and Indonesia, whose educational career carried him to Occidental College, Harvard University and Columbia. His professional career found him as a professor at the University of Chicago Law School, and his career as an activist brought him to the tough gritty streets of the south side of Chicago. Now, this seemingly unlikely path has taken him to The White House in Washington D.C.

Over the next few days during my stay in Washington, D.C. while covering the inauguration for The Final Call, I will be updating my blog, doing my best to bring you some of the sights and happenings of this historic event. I will also answer any questions you may have.

The president is the Chief Executive Officer of the United States of America and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. On Jan. 20 after taking the Oath of Office Barack H. Obama will become this nation's 44th president.


Abunimah, Mearsheimer and Finkelstein discuss Gaza at University of Chicago

On Jan. 8th 2009, I attended a panel discusion on Gaza featuring Prof. John Mearsheimer, co-author of "The Israeli Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy," former DePaul political science professor Norman Finkelstein, and co-founder of The Electronic Intifada, Ali Abunimah at the University of Chicago.

Below is the article I wrote appearing in the current issue of The Final Call.

For your listening pleasure and for informational purposes, below is a link to a 14 minute MP3 containing comments by the members of the panel. (Abunimah speaks first, Finkelstein second and then Mearsheimer.)


Feel free to download to your iPod or share the file and/or link with others.


Panelists discuss Gaza and Israeli obstacles to peace
by Ashahed M. Muhammad
Assistant Editor

CHICAGO—A panel discussion titled "Crisis in Gaza: The U.S., Israel, and Palestine" brought together three well-known scholars to deal with solutions to the conflict that has gripped the disputed territory for over 60 years.

Sponsored by the University of Chicago's Muslim Student Association and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, the Jan. 8 panel drew over 1,000 people who braved freezing cold temperatures to hear perspectives from University of Chicago professor John Mearsheimer, co-author of the book "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy," former DePaul University professor Norman Finkelstein, and author Ali Abunimah, co-founder of The Electronic Intifada.

Though the three have often been critical of the policies of the Israeli government and critical of America's relationship with Israel, this panel discussion was dedicated to the identification of strategies to remove the obstacles to justice and the establishment of peace, especially during this time, when war is raging and the number of casualties increase.

Prof. Mearsheimer said pressure from the U.S. is the only thing that will move the discussion collectively towards a resolution and he is "baffled" that most American Jews do not see that the present policy towards the Palestinians is "self-defeating" and "potentially disastrous."

"The only hope is that the U.S. begins to lean on Israel very hard, but that's not going to happen mainly because pro-Israel forces in this country will not allow it to happen," said Prof. Mearsheimer who went on to say that he and his co-author, Harvard Prof. Stephen Walt were accused of being "enemies of Israel" and trying to "de-legitimize Israel" after publishing their working paper in 2006, which then became a book in 2007.

"Our argument is that these so-called friends of Israel are pushing Israel and supporting Israel as it pursues a policy that is disastrous. Israel, if it continues on the present trajectory is going to end up as an apartheid state. This is not good. Why aren't supporters of Israel in this country standing on the rooftops and saying to Israeli leaders that (they) are pursuing a completely misguided set of policies."

Mr. Abunimah told The Final Call that many prominent Israeli political leaders such as Avigdor Lieberman and current Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni while claiming to want peace have talked of getting rid of the Palestinian citizens all together from Gaza and other disputed territories in the region.

"This is now frighteningly becoming quite mainstream," said Mr. Abunimah. "They don't dare to say that is what their goal is, but I do believe—and various Israeli officials have said— that their goal is to make the conditions for Palestinians so unbearable that they will leave."

Mr. Abunimah added that Israel's notion of a just resolution to the refugee problem is that the Palestinians who were expelled should not be given the right of return. In his opinion, this amounts to "ethnic cleansing."

"The most important challenge for all of us is that we have to get the facts out. There has to be an accurate accounting of what is the obstacle to achieving a just and lasting piece," said Mr. Finkelstein, who despite the fact that he is the son of holocaust survivors has been criticized as being anti-Semitic and anti-Israel. "There is so much misrepresentation, so much outright falsification of the record, on the other hand, there are excellent grounds for optimism."

Referring to the Israel's 2006 War in Lebanon which he called a "blitzkrieg against Lebanon" the American people were split on the responsibility for the war. Likewise, in this current Israeli aggression against Gaza, public opinion is split indicating that the propaganda is not having the same effect which in the past has resulted in nearly unanimous support for the actions of Israel.

Citing revolutionary Amilcar Cabral who said "tell no lies, claim no easy victories" Mr. Finkelstein said sticking to the facts and telling the truth while adhering to "uncontroversial principles of justice" public opinion will continue to move in the direction of justice for the Palestinians. "More and more people know more and more of the truth about what is happening, which is due in part to the alternative media," said Mr. Finkelstein.

Adil Kalam, a spokesman for the MSA chapter at the university said the fact that so many people turned out, filling up the lower-level and the balcony at Mandel Hall demonstrated that people are seeking answers beyond what is reliably repeated in the American media, which appears to be taken directly from the talking points of the members of the Israeli government and their military officials.

"I think having a panel with speakers who are respected in their fields attracted a lot of people and the fact that it was the first event held on campus that addressed the current crisis," said Mr. Kalam. "The speakers did an excellent job, we are very thankful that they could come out on such short notice, the questions were good and the discussion was interesting, I think people learned a lot."



A snippet from Minister Farrakhan's interview on WVON 1690 AM with Cliff Kelley

Minister Farrakhan's 2 hour interview on the Cliff Kelley Show WVON AM 1690 Jan. 8. 
(Photo: Justin Jackson)

"When Iraq, with a great Shiite population, was leaning toward a type of government that resembled the Shiite government in Iran—I think it was [Vice President] Dick Cheney who said, “We cannot tolerate an Islamic regime like that." So democracy is only democracy when it serves the interests of this so-called democracy.  But now, all of that is being undone; and the greatest so-called democracy in the world, now, is being undone.  And hopefully Barack Obama, and his team and with the American people behind him, he may—may—be able to check the fall of the greatest nation in the history of the world."

--From Minister Farrakhan's Jan. 8 interview with Cliff Kelley on WVON AM 1690


Mass Murder in Gaza

Soldiers to Statesmen? Another Look at Israel's Assault on Gaza

By Ashahed M. Muhammad

Gaza is under attack from the land and sea and Israeli troops and tanks have begun their ground incursion. At the time of this writing, the eighteenth day of Israeli assault codenamed "Operation Cast Lead" has begun.

Worldwide in places like Iran, Australia, Lebanon thousands are protesting and in London thousands marched on the Israeli embassy there and many protests have taken place here in the United States.

Much has happened very quickly and for some, a little background may be needed.

In Gaza, there was already a shortage of medical supplies due to 18-month old Israeli and U.S. backed embargo (sanctions) which immediately followed the Democratic elections on January 25, 2006, in which the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas won 76 seats of the 132-seat Palestinian Legislative Council.

Israel and the Bush Administration did not like the results of the election—which by all accounts was considered by international observers to be free and fair—and therefore, decided to initiate a blockade in hopes of weakening the resolve of the Palestinian people, and punishing those who voted for Hamas.

Hamas was not even given the chance to establish rule in the territory that they were elected to govern. From day one, they were challenged internally and externally.

Even though there was a lack of food, medicine, electricity, clean water and other basic elements of daily living, the Palestinian people continued to resist, thwarting efforts to destabilize the elected Hamas-led government and failing to cause its overthrow. Keep in mind, there were already severe restrictions on travel for the Palestinians.

Khawla Abdel Razeq, a social worker and director of the Illinois based non-profit organization, The Palestinian Children Care told me that many Palestinian women lose their babies or die themselves waiting to cross into areas where they can obtain medical treatment. Others, in need of medical assistance often die waiting in the long lines at the checkpoints established by the Israeli military.

The Annapolis conference in November of 2007 consisting of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, GWB (Guns, War and Bloodshed a.k.a George W. Bush) and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was largely seen as a failure, and as stated earlier, the travel restrictions and sanctions failed to achieve the desired effect. It appears as if the green light has been given to use lethal force in an all out tactical assault aimed at completely eliminating the Palestinian people.

At the time of this writing, over 950 Palestinians have been killed and over 4,500 have been wounded. Now, with hundreds already killed, thousands injured, days filled with F-16 air strikes and nights with machine gunfire from Apache military helicopters, the world blames the victims of violence for the violence.

There are many differing viewpoints and a volatile mixture of ideas and attitudes in this region characterized by unpredictability and conflict since Israel's creation in 1948.

There is a very small parcel of land, barely twice the size of Washington D.C., with 1.5 million people living on top of each other in small homes. It is nearly impossible to avoid civilian deaths if firing missiles from the air.

While former Mossad agent, current Israeli Foreign Minister, and prospective Israeli Prime Minister Tzipi Livni insists that only "military" locations are being targeted as she makes the media rounds as leader of Israel's public relations offensive, the death toll continues to rise.

According to eyewitness Sharon Lock of the International Solidarity Movement, children were on the way home from school when bombing began and they were terrified. Many children watched their friends being wounded by the "targeted strikes" of the Israeli Defense Force. Ms. Lock said even the "best equipped" hospitals in Gaza were already suffering as a result of the Israeli blockade and therefore, unable to even take care of the day to day sick.

Now, as hundreds are being killed and injured, an already terrible humanitarian crisis has instantly become worse, while the world watches. But do they really know what they are watching? Do you? If you are relying on the corporate controlled media machine to deliver the truth then it is safe to say that you are still searching for it.

There are several free options if you would like to get more balanced coverage in your elusive search for the truth. One option is to go to www.livestation.com and download the application. After downloading, you will be able to watch English language Al-Jazeera, or listen to BBC and other stations to get a more balanced view of the realties in Gaza and the Israeli massacre.

Additionally, you can check PressTV, which is based in Tehran at www.PressTV.com and watch it live. You also can go to LinkTV.com which provides feeds from many news channels across the Middle East. The left-leaning DemocracyNow! is always a good option at www.democracynow.org.

Remarkably, even Israeli based news found at the Jerusalem Post or Ha'aretz Daily websites are unable to bury the truth of the devastation and chaos caused by the air strikes.

While listening to Al-Jazeera, I heard Franklin Lamb of the group Americans for a Just Peace in the Middle East and he said that Israeli Defense Forces vs. whatever resistance that could be mounted by the Palestinians were like a "pea-shooter versus a howitzer" in this "conflict." He and others have accused Israel of being in violation of International Law, and until they are brought to the bar of justice, they say, no peace can be expected. Collective punishment of any nation can be considered a War Crime. Failing to provide health care, food and water, not just during wartime, but in general can be considered a War Crime.

A very important historical reference for readers who are interested is the The Sharpeville Massacre in March of 1960. When we look back on this Israeli aggression, you will see that many of the elements are the same, it remains to be seen if the resulting action will be the same.

In my forthcoming book "The Black Principle: Prepare to Rule" I have written a chapter titled "From Soldiers to Statesmen." I mention this for the following reason. Over the next few days, you will hear an oft-repeated mantra that the members of Hamas are "thugs", "killers" and "terrorists."

I don't personally know any members of Hamas, but here are some important facts to consider: the African National Congress (ANC) was once considered a terrorist group. It's most famous and recognized leader, Nelson Mandela is considered a humanitarian and one of the most admired and revered men on the planet. He was jailed for 27 years by the wicked Apartheid government in South Africa as a result of his leadership in what they considered a "terrorist" organization.

The Palestinian Liberation Organization was considered a terrorist organization, then one day in September of 1993, we witnessed the late PLO leader Yasser Arafat standing on the front lawn of the White House shaking hands with then Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin under the watchful eye of then U.S. President Bill Clinton. Shortly thereafter, in 1994, Arafat received the Nobel Peace Prize along with Rabin and Shimon Peres who was at that time Israel's Foreign Minister. On Nov. 4 1995, Mr. Rabin was assassinated by Yigal Amir, a right-wing Jewish settler. Mr. Peres is currently Israel's President. In fact, many of Israel's key figures such as Menachem Begin, Ariel Sharon and current Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak all killed many in service to their nation.

Ironically, Haganah, a Jewish paramilitary organization operating in what was at the time, the British Mandate of Palestine from 1920 to 1948, became the core of the Israel Defense Forces. It is considered by many to be a terrorist group. Lehi, also known as the Stern Gang, was an armed underground Zionist group with the goal of forcibly evicting the British authorities from Palestine with the future goal of allowing unrestricted immigration of Jews and the formation of a Jewish state. This group carried out many assassinations and covert operations.

David Ben-Gurion, the architect of the Jewish State of Israel was called "The Armed Prophet."

Many key government officials—statesmen if you will—started out as soldiers and were designated by those who wanted to remain in power as "terrorists."

In your leisure, look into the various aspects of the history of The Irish Republican Army and Sinn Fein.

In this situation, is a "soldiers to statesmen" transformation possible?

As I bring this particular writing to a close, and as the Israeli ground campaign continues, ask yourself the following questions: Was Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas aware of these plans, or just powerless to stop Israel from using their weapons of war to kill Palestinian people? Does the aggression have anything to do with the political aspirations of Tzipi Livni? How about the political aspirations of Ehud Barak? And where is Benjamin Netanyahu in this situation?

Remember, in the cause is the solution, and when analyzing the reasons why decisions are made, who stands to benefit the most by the outcome?

Elections are scheduled for February 10, 2009 in Israel.

(Ashahed M. Muhammad is the Executive Director of the Truth Establishment Institute and the Assistant Editor of the Final Call Newspaper.)

Muslim Alliance in North America on Israel's Assault on Gaza

Hundreds protest the Israeli assault on the people of Gaza at a rally in Chicago on Jan. 2.
(Photo: Kenneth Muhammad)

My Note: It has been reported that there is a three hour temporary cease fire active in Gaza. According to Israeli officials, there will be a three-hour temporary cease fire every other day to allow the delivery of humanitarian goods. I am reminded of a statement in the Holy Qur'an Surah 4:120 where it reads "And the devil promises them only to decieve."

Please read below the official statement from the Muslim Alliance in North America on the Israeli assault on Gaza and its people. Statements from other organization are forthcoming and I will keep you updated. -A


MANA Calls for an End to the Israeli Attacks in Gaza

The Muslim Alliance in North America joins the rest of the international community in calling for an immediate end to the unjustified Israeli attacks, devastation and blockade of the Palestinian people in Gaza, which has made Gaza a giant prison.We strongly condemn the killing of innocent and defenseless Palestinian men, women and children and the continued denial of basic food, water, medical supplies and other necessities to by Israel.

The destruction of electrical power plants, boats used for fishing, schools and infrastructure, as well as the use of sophisticated American-made weapons in the attacks in Gaza is unconscionable. Undoubtedly, if this collective punishment continues it will mean the genocide of the Palestinians. We urgently call upon the U.S. government to use its power and influence to bring about an immediate ceasefire and a just solution to this ongoing conflict.

We also call upon the Egyptian government to fulfill its Islamic and humane duty by opening its borders to allow critically-needed supplies into Gaza and to give Gazans a route to flee the devastation and terror that is upon them.We appeal to all right-minded people throughout the world to join in solidarity to support the Palestinians against the brutality that has been waged upon them. Let us all make make du'a for our Palestinian brothers and sisters. As Muslims, we are one in faith. Their pain and grief is our very own.

Allah has said:"The Believers, men and women, are protectors one of another: they enjoin what is just, and forbid what is evil: they observe regular prayers, practise regular charity, and obey Allah and His Messenger. On them will Allah pour His mercy: for Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise". (9:71)

Our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has taught us, that whoever relieves the distress of a believer, Allah will relieve their distress. May Allah relieve the suffering of the Palestinian people, grant them authentic peace and true justice, guide and protect the Ummah, relieve all oppressed people from undue aggression, and bring peace and victory to the believers. Amin.
>>end of statement<<