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Sweet blog special: In runup to Dem debate tonight Obama demands answers on Blackwater immunity deal.

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WASHINGTON--Just about 12 hours before the Democratic debate begins--where White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) willfully or not has set very high expectations for himself--Obama's Senate office sent out a letter to Sec. of State Condoleezza Rice demanding answers about the immunity deal for Blackwater.

from Obama.....
OBAMA DEMANDS ANSWERS ON BLACKWATER IMMUNITY DEAL

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, United States Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) sent the following letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice demanding answers on reports that State Department officials offered Blackwater guards immunity from prosecution, which may hinder a criminal investigation into the September shooting that killed at least 17 Iraqis.

Obama has introduced legislation in the Senate to make private security contractors in Iraq subject to federal criminal law; this bill has already passed the House. Obama has also called for the head of Blackwater to testify before the Senate. In February, Obama introduced comprehensive legislation to increase oversight on private security contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan; part of his legislation requiring reporting to Congress on the role of contractors passed the Senate last month.

Below is a copy of the letter:


Dear Secretary Rice:

I am deeply troubled by news reports that the State Department promised guards employed by Blackwater USA immunity from prosecution as part of the Department's initial investigation into the September 16 shooting of 17 Iraqi civilians.

The seriousness of this incident – and its effect on the American military's reputation in Iraq – necessitates the prosecution of the appropriate Blackwater personnel if they are found to have committed crimes. However, a full investigation and prosecution will be difficult when all of the Blackwater guards – both in the vehicle convoy involved in the shooting and the helicopters above – were apparently given immunity by investigators from the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, an arm of the State Department. According to a law enforcement official familiar with the investigation said, "Once you give immunity, you can't take it away."

Although this matter has now been turned over from the State Department to the FBI, prosecutors will have to prove that any evidence they use in bringing charges against Blackwater guards was uncovered independently without using the guards' statements to Bureau of Diplomatic Security investigators. As any prosecutor knows, this is not impossible, but it is extremely difficult.

Because the decision to give immunity to Blackwater guards was a serious one and may potentially jeopardize any prosecution of those involved, I ask that you respond to the following questions:

1) Were you aware of the decision to provide immunity to Blackwater guards? If not, who made this decision?

2) Was the FBI or the Justice Department consulted before immunity was provided to Blackwater guards?

3) Do you agree with the decision to provide immunity to Blackwater guards?

I ask you to provide responses to these questions by November 6, 2007. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Barack Obama
United States Senator

###


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Barack’s Betrayal
Tuesday, February 13th, 2007


Barack Obama, displaying his peerless skills as a courtier in Rich Daley’s racist court, endorsed the Mayor in his bid against a qualified, competent, and honest opponent: Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown. “I had made a determination well before the exploration of my presidential candidacy that this was the right thing to do. I am a Chicagoan. I care about the city. This is where I live. This is where my wife works. This is where my kids go to school, and I want to continue to see the city make the progress it has made.” By turning his back, he shows his true colors to anybody intelligent enough to see the import of this endorsement for what it is: a betrayal of justice and a betrayal of the black community.

The politically astute could see this coming because the Mayor’s brotha Bill Daley, a former Clinton Commerce Secretary, was added to the Obama campaign payroll in an “advisory” capacity. Obama really believes what the pundits breathlessly write about him and was duty bound to return the corrupt favor to the Daley regime.

Some of you might say, “It’s just politics,” or “He has to cut deals to get to the next level.” To that, I would ask, who does he step on to elevate himself to the Presidency? And by what right does he spend political capital to endorse Rich Daley and spit in the face of the black community? These questions are best answered by examining the political culture of Chicago and by revealing in explicit detail the victims of Daley’s regime and Obama’s ambition.

CHICAGO’S POLITICAL CULTURE OF WHITE SUPREMACY & CORRUPTION

During Harold Washington’s historic campaign for Mayor of Chicago in 1983, he was introduced at an event by a preacher as, “an amalgamation of all the good qualities of past mayors. There were no good qualities to be had, Washington said upon taking the podium, Daley included: “He was a racist to the core, head to toe, hip to hip, there’s no ding or doubt about it. He eschewed and fought and oppressed black people to the point that some thought that was the way they were supposed to live, just like some slaves on the plantation thought that that was the way they were supposed to live. I give no hosannas to a racist, nor did I appreciate or respect his son. If his name were anything other than Daley, his campaign would be a joke.”

The general election campaign against Harold Washington in 1983 was hands down the most racist in Chicago history. Cook County Democratic Party Chairman Ed Vrdolyak succinctly put the naked hostility and public revulsion expressed by the white community at the prospect of having a black mayor by saying, “It’s a racial thing. Don’t kid yourself. I’m calling on you to save your city, to save your precinct. We’re fighting to keep the city the way it is.” (Controlled by white ethnics)

Washington defeated Incumbent Mayor Jane Byrne andCook County State’s Attorney Richard M. Daley, son of the legendary mayor in the Democratic primary.After the primary, neither lifted a finger for Harold Washington. Their white supporters and the Democratic machine outside of black precincts defected en masse to the Republican challenger, Bernard Epton.

From Gary Rivlin’s book “Fire on the Prairie,” “Whites attending Epton rallies startled reporters with their frank comments about not wanting a nigger mayor. They held up signs calling Washington a “crook” and took to wearing a variety of political buttons decidedly racial in appeal: one showed a watermelon with a black slash through it, another was simply all white. VOTE WHITE, VOTE RIGHT one popular T-shirt boldly proclaimed.”…They passed out literature saying, “You will be robbed or killed. White women will be raped. With a black police chief there will be absolute chaos in the city.”

Washington’s first three years as Mayor were marked by a bitter and protracted battle with a white cabal of Alderman for political primacy.Stung by their loss of access to the power of the Mayor’s office and the political patronage that serves as the lifeblood of a ward heeler, they reacted like spoiled children and became obstructionists hell bent on crippling Washington’s authority. They hurled racist insults and taunts dripping with homophobic invective toward the Mayor. Moreover, they conspired with a compliant media in a racially motivated PR campaign to stoke white fears in an effort to stymie Administration initiatives.

The swirling cauldron of white racial animosity towards the black community shaped the politics of Chicago then and still shapes it today. Two years ago, the Daley machine that seized power after the death of Harold Washington wouldn’t give Barack Obama the time of day during his run for the Senate.

In keeping with the tenants of racial preferences and political nepotism for their own, they endorsed Dan Hynes, the son of Tom Hynes, an acolyte of the Daleys and pinstripe bigot who challenged Mayor Washington’s re-election by running against him as an independent. Now, when Obama’s star shines brightly enough to put the lights out on Daley’s re-election as Mayor, they endorse him for President. How convenient.

CHICAGO POLICE DEPARTMENT: KLANSMEN IN UNIFORM

July of last year saw the release of a whitewash report by Special Prosecutor Edward Egan, which was the culmination of four years of investigation and $7 million in taxpayer funds. The report acknowledges, according to a new standard news report, “clear proof that torture took place at Area Two, a 60 square mile police district on the city’s south side,” during the 70’s and 80’s.

Kari Lydersen, a staff writer for New Standard News wrote, “Significantly the report lacked any mention of the racial component which some critics saw as the most important facet of the case. Almost all of the 60-plus men who claimed to have been tortured by [Jon]Burge and other officers are black; the officers were all white. Alleged widespread racism on the part of officers was just part of an overall racist justice system; in the 1970s Chicago prosecutors were known to compete in a game called “niggers by the pound” to see who could convict the most black defendants.

From the website of the University of Chicago’s Police Torture Archive: Between the years of 1972 and 1991, approximately [192] African American Men and women were arrested and tortured at the hands of former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge and officers under his command at Area 2 police headquarters. Some of these victims were as young as thirteen years old. Various court cases have established that the methods of torture used in the interrogation of suspects included electric shock to the ears and genitalia, mock executions, suffocation, and burning. While Jon Burge was ultimately fired by the Chicago Police Department, not a single perpetrator of the tortures has ever been criminally prosecuted. Ten of those tortured were sent to death row.

According to the Chicago Reader, “More than 50 men alleged that they were tortured by Burge and his detectives during Daley’s term asCook County state’s attorney, from 1981 to 1989. He was put on notice several times, most dramatically in the case of Andrew Wilson. Photographs of Wilson’s stitches, burns, and alligator- clip wounds made compelling evidence in court, underlined by [DA]Hyman’s failure to ask if Wilson had given his statement voluntarily. Received copy of letter from Dr. John Raba, who as medical director of Cermak Hospital examined Wilson’s injuries, urging police superintendent Richard Brzeczek to investigate. Brzeczek told Daley he had promised to investigate all cases of police brutality but did not want to jeopardize Wilson’s prosecution and asked for guidance. Daley sent no reply.”

Daley’s tenure as prosecutor is stained by his craven capitulation to an electorate and a power structure in thrall to an ideology of white supremacist hate. Prosecuting police officers for their sadistic torturing of black criminal suspects, and their prosecutor enablers on his staff would have permanently put an end to his political support in the white ethnic wards of Chicago that still had fond memories of the brutal repression of anti-Vietnam political dissent at the 1968 Democratic National Convention ordered by Daddy Daley. Ultimately, Daley’s power rests on a foundation of deliberate indifference.

I don’t care how many handkerchief head Nigras Daley surrounds himself with. I don’t care how many Negroes people his Administration. I don’t care how many Negroes show up to his re-election press conference to create an illusion of inclusion. I don’t care that Michelle Obama worked for Daley and treated her well. What he has done cannot and will never atone for this. Dorothy Brown finally realized that and has asked U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald to investigateand prosecute the Klansmen in uniform responsible for these crimes.

On the Senate floor, Barack Obama opposed the Military Commissions Act because it gave short shrift to the rights of foreign terror suspects. He said, “…the fundamental human rights of the accused, should be bigger than politics. This is serious and this is somber…” If he really meant that, he would be defending those same rights here at home, not endorsing a man who repeatedly turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to the screams of scores of black men tortured by those sworn to protect and serve white supremacy in a south side Abu Ghraib.

From important quarters in the black community, we’ve heard a cacophony of uncritical praise. Jesse Jackson and the black press are simply delusional, and the black Chicago political establishment has clearly been corrupted. Nothing else explains their cavalier attitude regarding Obama turning his back on Dorothy Brown, black victims of torture, the black community, and quite frankly, himself.

Debra Dickerson claims that Barack Obama’s heritage is not African American. Born the child of a Kenyan and a white woman, he lacks the cultural legacy of a descendant of slaves. Moreover, she believes that because his upbringing was managed by white relatives that we have nothing in common. It is my contention that the sistah is mistaken. Barack Obama is an indentured servant to the Daley machine and a slave to his own ambition. In the new millennium, becoming a willing tool and psychological servant to a corrupt white power structure is very African American.

I expect better from a former community organizer, constitutional law professor, and civil rights attorney than the politics of expediency.

skeptic,
i'm not sure about ms. brown, but on all other fronts you got my amen.
you should take a look at his early years in hawaii, indonesia (his step dad), his columbia days...how he got there as a transfere student. harvard law came very late. crimson? palesse!

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on October 30, 2007 8:18 AM.

Sweet's Oct. 30 Obamaville. Dem debate starts at 8 p.m. Chicago time on MSNBC. was the previous entry in this blog.

Sweet Oct. 30 Dem debate extra 1: Clinton's Penn memo on politics of hope. is the next entry in this blog.

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