As of September 18, 2022, at 10:00 AM
(According to Alabama Political Reporter)
Alabama had 1,512,134 confirmed cases of coronavirus,
(7,954) more than last week with 20,322 deaths (83) more
than last week.
Greene County had 2,109 confirmed cases, no more cases than last week), with 51 deaths
Sumter Co. had 2,922 cases with 52 deaths
Hale Co. had 5,336 cases with 109 deaths
Note: Greene County Physicians Clinic has testing and vaccination for COVID-19;
Call for appointments at 205/372-3388, Ext. 142; ages 5 and up.
Sep. 5, 2022 (GIN) – The Wagner Group, a Kremlin-affiliated private military contractor, is playing a central role in the rising levels of violence against civilians across Africa -but especially in the Central African Republic and Mali, according to records newly seen by The New York Times.
The Wagner Group, which has been accused of committing human rights atrocities, is said to also have operations in Libya, Mozambique, Syria, Sudan and Venezuela, according to the Jerusalem Post.
An employer of mercenaries, the Wagner Group is “shrouded in secrecy,” says Timothy Lay, an analyst at the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED).
“Put it simply, Wagner has been bad news for civilians,” said Héni Nsaibia, a researcher with ACLED focusing on Mali, and one of the authors of the new report on the group’s activities in the two countries. “They have played a central role in this escalation and increase of fatalities.”
The new data complements a growing body of evidence gathered by the United Nations, research institutes and news organizations documenting widespread looting, torture and indiscriminate killings in Africa by the group.
According to ACLED, Wagner mercenaries have been involved in the deaths of more than 500 civilians in Mali this year, driving casualties that in the first six months of 2022 have already outnumbered last year’s civilian deaths. Earlier this year, Malian soldiers and Russian operatives looted houses and executed hundreds of men in the village of Moura, before forcing locals to burn bodies in mass graves, according to a New York Times investigation.
“Private military companies can operate as legal enablers of legitimate activity or in the shadows, blurring the lines between legal and illegal activities,” said Tom Tugendhat, chair of the UK Foreign Affairs Committee. “Despite the threat their use can pose to peace and democracy worldwide, international law in this area is ambiguous and policing powers are limited.”
Multiple UN bodies have opened investigations into alleged abuses perpetrated by Wagner mercenaries. In June 2021, the UN Panel of Experts on the Central African Republic (CAR) introduced reports of “indiscriminate killings” and violence against civilians at the hands of “Russian instructors”.
The UN peacekeeping mission in CAR (MINUSCA) and Rwandan special forces have also expressed concerns about joint operations with Wagner over alleged human rights violations. The European Union imposed sanctions on the Wagner Group and Wagner Group-linked individuals in December 2021.
Meanwhile, Malian authorities have repeatedly dismissed allegations of human rights abuses as part of a disinformation campaign and have denied the presence of Wagner in the country, even as Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov confirmed it earlier this year..
By Stacy M. Brown
NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
The Divine 9, the historically Black fraternities and sororities of the National Pan-Hellenic Council led by Phi Beta Sigma, are joining forces to save the lives of Black women. In a news release, the influential organization said it would launch “Tell Somebody,” a public service campaign emphasizing the profoundly disproportionate impact of the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 24 decision to overturn nearly half a century of established law under Roe v. Wade, on Black women. The campaign is a collective effort by the Divine 9 to empower the community to counteract the potentially disastrous effect of the repeal by urging Americans to contact the politicians who can make the most difference. “Overturning Roe v. Wade will not end abortion, it will only end safe abortions and access to healthcare for millions of women – particularly poor women of color – and fuel a full-fledged public health crisis in this country,” Chris V. Rey, J.D., President of Phi Beta Sigma, a member of the National Pan-Hellenic Council, said in the news release. “We’re calling on the 2.5 million members of the Divine 9 to contact lawmakers to mitigate the impact of this egregious blow to the well-being of 10 million Black women of child-bearing age.” “Tell Somebody,” narrated by iconic actor Jenifer Lewis (Black-ish, Strong Medicine, Five, The Preacher’s Wife, Cars, What’s Love Got to Do with It) starkly illustrates the circumstances that drive nearly four times more Black women to seek abortions versus their white peers, particularly sexual violence. According to the release, nearly half of Black women experience sexual coercion, and one in four will experience sexual abuse, by the age of 18. Thirty-five percent will experience some form of sexual violence within their lifetime. Black women are also three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than their white peers. This mortality rate among Black mothers is expected to increase by 33 percent in the wake of the repeal, officials stated in the release. Lewis, known as the “Mother of Black Hollywood,” urges viewers to contact key lawmakers to tell them to relax filibuster rules so Congress can protect women’s healthcare rights. Alexis McGill Johnson, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, an advocate for reproductive rights, supports the Divine 9 campaign, proclaimed that “What we are living through is an unprecedented public health crisis.” “The severity of losing the right to govern our own bodies cannot be overstated, especially for Black communities who have long felt the impact of politicians asserting power and control over our bodies at the expense of our health, lives, and futures,” McGill Johnson stated. She continued: “Creating medically unnecessary barriers to abortion only makes it harder for people to get the health care they need, and deeply affects communities that already face challenges within the health care system — communities like ours. “Despite the darkness we are living through, we must remember that we have the power to make a difference. As a member of a Divine 9 sorority, I know there is power in our stories and strength in our voices as we continue to push for freedom.” “Tell Somebody” is produced by veteran broadcaster Sybil Wilkes “The Voice of Reason” on the Tom Joyner Morning Show and Executive Producer Yolanda Starks-White, co-founders of YoSy Media, a multi-media news, information and Black culture platform. “This is a call to action. Lives are on the line – the lives of those with the least access to medical, financial and social resources,” Wilkes stated. “The measure of a nation is how it treats its most vulnerable. It’s time to stand up together for those who cannot stand up for themselves.” Contact information for members of the U.S. Senate can be found at: https://www.senate.gov/senators/senators-contact.htm For more information about the Tell Somebody campaign vi
Oliver Milman/Guardian UK/ Reader Supported News
About 50 migrants, including a one-month-old baby, have been sent in a bus from Texas to the Washington DC residence of Vice-President Kamala Harris, in the latest move by Republican-led states to transfer migrants unannounced across the country.
The bus let off the migrants, who are believed to be mostly Venezuelan, outside the Naval Observatory, the traditional home of US vice-presidents, on Saturday morning.
They had been sent by the governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, while another group were flown to Martha’s Vineyard, in Massachusetts, on a flight organized by Florida governor Ron DeSantis earlier this week.
Democratic politicians, immigration advocates and lawyers have decried the transfers and called for them to be investigated for potential trafficking offences. In an interview filmed on Friday, Harris told Vice News: “They are playing games. These are political stunts with real human beings.”
She added: “I think it is the height of irresponsibility much less, just frankly a dereliction of duty when you are an elected leader, to play those kinds of games with human life, and human beings.”
Abbott also sent three buses of migrants that arrived in New York City on Saturday. Abbott had already sent two buses of migrants to Harris’s residence on Thursday, containing about 100 people from Colombia, Cuba, Guyana, Nicaragua, Panama and Venezuela.
The latest transfers are an escalation of a series of actions by Texas and Florida, both led by Republicans, to move migrants without warning to Democratic-leaning areas. On Wednesday, DeSantis of Florida chartered two planes to take about 50 migrant adults and children to the wealthy liberal island of Martha’s Vineyard, in Massachusetts, forcing local residents to scramble to help provide food and shelter for the unexpected newcomers.
Several of the migrants told journalists there was nobody at the airport to greet them, and they walked almost four miles to find help in the town, where they were put up in a church overnight.
DeSantis has said that every community in America, not just those on the border with Mexico, should be “sharing the load” in dealing with what he has framed as a failed border policy by Joe Biden. Abbott said that he will continue to send migrants to “sanctuary cities” until Biden and Harris “step up and do their jobs to secure the border”.
Biden, however, has condemned Republicans for using people as political props. “What they’re doing is simply wrong,” the US president said on Friday. “It’s un-American, it’s reckless and we have a process in place to manage migrants at the border. We’re working to make sure it’s safe and orderly and humane.”
Some charities that work with new migrants have argued that the transferees were misled as to where they were going, meaning they were essentially trafficked by the Republican governors. The migrants affected are largely those who are legally in the US, at least temporarily, while their claims to stay, including for asylum to escape violent regimes, are processed.
The US attorney for Massachusetts, Rachael Rollins, said she planned to speak with the justice department, and Nikki Fried, a member of the Florida cabinet and the only statewide-elected Democrat, wrote to the US attorney general, Merrick Garland, to demand a federal investigation into potential human trafficking.
One of the people sent to Martha’s Vineyard, Pedro Luis Torrealba, said he was promised work, food and housing. He thought he was going to New York.
“I am not a victim,” he said on Friday, expressing gratitude to residents of the island for their hospitality. “I simply feel misled because they told a lie and it has come to nothing.”
Texas has bussed about 8,000 migrants to Washington since April, including the people sent to Harris’s home. It also has bussed about 2,200 to New York and 300 to Chicago.
Arizona has bussed more than 1,800 migrants to Washington since May,but has kept officials on the receiving end informed of the plans. The city of El Paso, Texas, has sent at least 1,135 migrants on 28 buses to New York since 23 August and, like Arizona, shares passenger rosters and other information.
Last week, a two-year-old who arrived in New York from Texas was hospitalized for dehydration and a pregnant woman on the same bus was in severe pain, according to advocates and city officials. Volunteer groups often wait hours for buses arriving from Texas in a designated space of Manhattan’s Port of Authority bus terminal. They rely on tipsters for help.
“It’s a problem because we don’t know when the buses are coming, how many buses are coming, if anyone on these buses has medical conditions that they will need help with, if they need a wheelchair,” said Manuel Castro, commissioner of the New York City mayor’s office of immigrant affairs. “We at least want to know that so that we can best help people as they arrive.”
By Stacy M. Brown
NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
When Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr. arrived in Warren County 40 years ago, the Oxford native had no intention of going to jail again. Chavis, a member of the political prisoner group, The Wilmington 10, had served nearly a decade after false allegations against him and fellow activists.Now, the Martin Luther King Jr. disciple knew the people of Warren County needed a voice. The government had determined the predominately Black area as the best place for Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs), a toxin that increases the rates of various cancers. Police quickly detained those protesting the state’s decision to allow the toxins in the area. Over six weeks, more than 500 people suffered arrests for protesting the PCBs. Police grabbed Chavis on the way to the protest. “I think I’m the only person to go to jail for driving too slow,” Chavis told a large and lively gathering at Duke University during the observance of the 40th anniversary of the protests that sparked the birth of the environmental justice movement. “But there I was, back in a jail cell for protesting with the others,” he stated. Chavis, the former NAACP President and current President and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, then coined the term “environmental racism,” which resonates 40 years later. “The thought that the state would pick this county of all the 100 counties in North Carolina as a dumping site was unthinkable,” stated Chavis, whose start in civil rights began under the tutelage of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “What started in my favorite county 40 years ago, with the beginning of the environmental justice movement, has grown to a global movement,” Chavis said. “The demands of millions of people are not only being heard but there are changes.” For nine months, organizers had remained busy planning commemorative events, which included the NAACP Warren County Branch, Coley Springs Missionary Baptist Church, Warren County Environmental Action Team, Warren County Community Center, and the United Church of Christ, who 40 years ago asked Chavis to go to Warren County. The slate included the virtual program, “Casting Your Ballot for Environmental Justice,” a webinar discussion with Chavis, former protestor Dollie Burwell, and the Rev. Bill Kearney. Known as the “Mother of the Environmental Justice Movement,” Burwell said her faith spurred her integral involvement in the protests. “My faith played a great role in my decision to organize my community, protest, and engage in civil disobedience,” Burwell said. “Growing up, my parents often recited Micah 6:8. I believe God had given me the tools I needed to organize my community,” she said. “I learned to speak and organize and developed leadership skills. Prayer sustained me not only through the six weeks of protest but also to lead the Working Group through the detoxification of the landfill.” Chavis and Burwell also joined a large group at Duke University’s Penn Pavilion Garden Room for a discussion titled “Recalling Warren County Protest.” “I’m optimistic about the future. We now have a vibrant movement all over the world. The strongest movement for change is a movement that is diverse, inclusive, and respectful of our diversity,” Chavis proclaimed. “People see the connection between health, the environment, and health and public policy.” For Chavis, the protests were only one part of the movement. He took the position of executive director of the United Church of Christ’s Commission on Racial Justice (CRJ). With Chavis at the helm, the CRJ released its landmark 1987 study, “Toxic Wastes and Race in the United States.”Chavis convened the First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit in 1991. He said those early years of effort endure today as “an effective national and global movement for justice, for environmental justice.” During the observance of the protest anniversary, Chavis and a contingent of protestors from 1982 and the present day held a commemoration ceremony and march to the landfill site. “We are victors, not victims,” Warren County Environmental Action Team coordinator Bill Kearney said. “I believe that what man meant for harm, God can turn to good,” Kearney added while noting that those protests are credited with the birth of the environmental justice movement.
By: John Zippert,
The Save Ourselves Movement for Justice and Democracy (SOS) together with other organizations held a statewide rally to increase voter turnout in the upcoming November 8th General Election and raise the importance of the issue of Medicaid Expansion and others as reasons to vote in this election.
SOS was joined by the Alabama Women’s Roundtable headed by Jefferson County Commissioner, Sheila Tyson; Faith and Works, an organization of church leaders promoting voting, Alabama New South Coalition, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Democracy Project, and other groups supported this statewide convening.
Yolanda Flowers, Democratic candidate for Governor, stopped by the meeting and made some short remarks on the importance of voting. She also referenced her platform of educational reform, criminal justice reforms and approving Medicaid Expansion as part of her agenda to improve health care for Alabamians.
Attorney Faya Rose Toure, SOS Steering Committee member, opened the meeting with a plea for unity and solidarity among organizations in Alabama working on counteracting voter suppression and preserving democracy. She also communicated a warning that the powers against democracy have used violence in the January 6th attack on Congress and threaten to use violence again to defeat democracy.
Faya Rose also warned that the opponents of democracy have prepared a legal case, Moore vs. Harper, which will be heard by the conservative leaning Supreme Court in the Fall term. “This case asserts the independent state legislative theory, which would give the state legislatures the final authority in deciding voting matters, including certification of electors for the Electoral College, which determines who will be elected President. This would give Republican Legislatures the power to override the choice of voters in statewide elections, based on any rationale they choose,” said Toure.
“Democracy is in danger in this country and the Supreme Court’s decision in Moore vs Harper will be a key to the future of democracy in our nation. So, we need to pay close attention to this case when it comes before the Supreme Court,” said Toure
Ushe Bean with Faith and Works spoke about her efforts to re-engage Black churches in social justice work and encouraging voting, based on teachings in the Bible. She asked interested clergy and churches to contact her organization through their website at faith and church.com.
John Zippert and Mayor Johnny Ford, Co-chairs of the SOS Health Committee, stressed the importance of elevating the issue of Medicaid Expansion, as an issue in the upcoming November election. “Medicaid Expansion, which would provide health insurance to over 250,000 working poor Alabamians, would improve the health care of all Alabamians. This decision has been on Governor Ivey’s desk for seven years and she has not acted,” said Ford.
John Zippert reminded the group that Ivey’s reservations that the funds are not available for Medicaid Expansion was not true. “The funds are available to the State of Alabama in the American Rescue Plan to Expand Medicaid. Alabama can get an increased reimbursement for its current Medicaid recipients which would pay for Medicaid Expansion for three years. After three years, the 30,000 new jobs and revenues created in the health system by Medicaid Expansion would support the state’s matching contribution going forward. There is no reason not to pursue this policy which would help people and save lives,” said Zippert.
Several representatives of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity were present who spoke to their Voting and Democracy Project, which seeks to involve the 324,000 Black voters, who did not vote in the 2018 Gubernatorial Election, and register the 300,000 Black eligible voters in Alabama who are not registered. October 24, 2022 is the last day to register before the November 8th election, which is now about 50 days away.
The people present agreed to work on a “20 for 20 program” to register 20,000 people each on September 20 and October 20 before the November 8 election.
At the end of the meeting, SOS held a press conference to highlight the issue of Medicaid Expansion in the upcoming election. You can contact SOS on our website, Facebook page or by calling 334/262-0932.
In its regular monthly meeting on Monday, September 12, 2022, the Greene County Commission handled routine mostly financial matters. All commissioners except for Corey Cockrell (District 3) were present.
The Commission received a financial report from Macaroy Underwood CFO, as of August 31, 2022, the eleventh month of the fiscal year showing $7,917,333 in Citizens Trust Bank, which included $2,761,333 in the General Fund; and $5,356,078 in Merchants and Farmers Bank, with $3,126,268 in the General Fund. There is also $1,106,649 in certificates of deposit securing bonds for the county.
Underwood reported that the Commission spent $1,481,223 during the month of August for payrolls, accounts payable and other services, including $595,985 for trucks and equipment for the Highway Department funds came from the dissolution of a Bond Warrant Account, for bonds that were refinanced earlier this year.
The Commission approved a resolution to close the Bank of New York Bond Warranty Account and put the $677.68 remaining in the account in the County’s General Fund.
The County Commission approved a resolution for one bed allocation from the State Youth Service Long Term Detention Subsidy Program. They also approved: $40,589.64 for a contract with Software Maintenance for the Appraisal Section of the Revenue Department; renewal of the CIMS Contract; approval of a request from the Circuit Clerk for repairs to the Courtroom and computers; and travel for Commissioners to a meeting in Montgomery in December.
The Commission acted on some vacancies on county related boards. They approved William Morgan for the three person Greene County Water Authority Board to fill the vacancy left by the death of Levi Morrow Jr. Commission Turner appointed Kurt Turner, who is his brother, to a seat on the Greene County Industrial Development Authority, replacing the late Rev. James Carter. Decisions on other Board positions that were vacant, including Hospital Board – District 2, Library Board – District 3, and E-911 Board – District 3, were tabled until a future meeting.
The County Commissioners held an Executive Session to hear a report from the Greene County Industrial Development Authority on their efforts to attract industries and jobs to the county. The Executive Session was to allow the GCIDA to maintain confidentiality about potential projects.
By Nina Corcoran and Jazz Monroe, Pitchfork
The FBI has declassified its file on the late Aretha Franklin. The document, which spans 270 pages and includes reports from more than a dozen states, shows that the FBI extensively tracked Franklin’s civil rights activism, particularly her friendships with Martin Luther King, Jr., and Angela Davis. Elsewhere, the file outlines reputable death threats against the singer and a massive copyright infringement case spawned from a Yahoo! Groups message board in 2005.
The notes on Franklin’s friendship with Dr. King include close documentation of her performances at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), of which King was president. The FBI characterizes the shows—which took place in Atlanta, Georgia, and Memphis, Tennessee, in 1967 and 1968—as “communist infiltration” events. A subsequent note in the file is titled “Assassination of Martin Luther King. Racial matters.” It alleges that Franklin was said to be involved in a free, “huge memorial concert” at Atlanta Stadium, donated by the Atlanta Braves. The show “would provide emotional spark which could ignite racial disturbance this area,” according to an FBI source. In the end, the SCLC scrapped that memorial service and held a three-mile procession to Morehouse College instead.
The tracking of Franklin’s ties to Angela Davis includes notes on her performance at a 1972 fundraiser in Los Angeles for the Angela Davis defense fund. The file notes that Davis was “facing murder-kidnapping charges in California” and that the concert was sponsored by the National United Committee to Free Angela Davis—“an organization founded by the Communist Party, United States of America.” Franklin had previously offered to post bail for Davis, though this was not documented.
The FBI identified Franklin as a prospective performer at supposedly threatening events far more often than she actually appeared at them. In 1971, for instance, an FBI source infiltrated the Boston branch of the Young Workers Liberation League, which was apparently planning an Angela Davis benefit that “might be held at the Boston Garden with Aretha Franklin.” Her planned performance at a Black Panther Party event in Los Angeles, which she cancelled due to timing issues (for which she later apologized), is documented in a file covered in “Top Secret” and “Classified” stamps. “Bobby Seale, Chairman of the Black Panther Party, has directed the Los Angeles Black Panther Party to initiate plans for a major rally culminating in free food distribution to the poor black people in Los Angeles,” it reads. “Source also advised that Gwen Goodloe wanted to contact Negro singing stars Aretha Franklin and Roberta Flack to possibly assist in the event.”
The bureau also pursued links between Franklin and the Black Liberation Army (BLA) after claiming to find her address among BLA documents. The FBI characterized the BLA as a “quasi-military group composed of small guerrilla units employing the tactics of urban guerrilla warfare against the established order with a view toward achieving revolutionary change in America.” The bureau eventually conceded that it could not determine Franklin’s association with the BLA.
Perhaps most bizarre is a 1976 document linking Franklin with the Coordinating Council for the Liberation of Dominica (CCLD), which an FBI source called “a black extremist group bent on disturbing the tranquility of the Island of Dominica.” The source added that the CCLD “may have established a base of operation in the New York City area” and identified Franklin as an associate of Roosevelt Bernard Douglas, a “black extremist of international note.” Douglas went on to become the Dominican prime minister. The bureau appears not to have found any further links between Franklin and the CCLD.
Three death threats against Franklin are documented, including a Cook County jail inmate’s attempt to extort her for $1 million while posing as an FBI agent, suggesting she would suffer repercussions for failing to pay. In 1974, a stranger told Franklin she was on a “hit list.” And five years later, one person extensively harassed her at home, by letter and telephone, with threats to her life.
More than 170 pages of the file pertain to a copyright infringement case, which began in 2005 after Franklin’s lawyers asked the FBI to locate a Yahoo! Groups message board moderator. It took several months and multiple grand jury subpoenas to find the culprit, who is a self-proclaimed “anti-fanatic” who “keeps it real with respect to his perception of the flaws in Aretha Franklin’s performances,” as well as allegedly selling pirated DVDs and CDs of her performances.