Facebook Badge

25 January 2007

9 Ex-Black Panthers Indicted Decades After Confessions Under Torture

Update from Democracy Now!

What a wonderful coincidence. After posting about COINTELPRO, I turn to the news (Democracy Now!; linked above) and find this:

Back in the United States, nine former Black Panthers have been arrested and charged for a thirty-five year old murder case that was originally dismissed because police had obtained confessions through torture. The case centers around the killing of a San Francisco police officer in 1971. Three of the former Panthers were cleared of wrongdoing in 1975 after it was revealed police used torture to extract their confessions. The men were beaten, stripped naked, blindfolded, and had electric probes applied to their genitals. The new arrests are drawing intense criticism. Attorney Kamau Franklin of the Center for Constitutional Rights said: “These indictments are an attempt to rewrite history— the history of the Black Panthers, the history of COINTELPRO, and the history of the Civil Rights Movement.”
Here's the scoop from the CCR. A couple of articles from the New York Times, this one being an AP wire report. Here's another AP wire report, from WaPo. No time to dig further, but aside from DN!, not a word mentioned about real FBI frame-ups under COINTELPRO, including the political assassination of Fred Hampton.

My point is the effacing of history; maybe these people are guilty, and some new evidence has come to light 35 years later (DNA?). But the mention of "frame-up" without the required background that makes it a realistic possibility -- not a certainty -- is appalling.

A further point is that, apparently, the case can be reopened because confessions ("confessions") elicited under torture, which killed this case in the '70s, are now admissible.

One can only assume that's the case (pun intended), no? That bodes ill, regardless of this specific case. "Guantanamo" coming home...or rearing its head once again at home, more like it.

No comments:

Post a Comment