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In The Vitriolic Potical Corner on October 19, 2010 at 5:13 pm

Klemens von Metternich

In 1822, the Congress of Verona met to decide the issue if France could intervene on the side of the Spanish royalists in the Trienio Liberal. After receiving permission, Louis XVIII dispatched five army corps to restore Ferdinand VII of Spain.

In 1830, the Belgian Revolution against the Kingdom of the Netherlands began. French ambassador Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord presented a partition plan for the Southern Provinces to the Concert, which was not adopted. Nevertheless, the Great Powers unanimously recognized Belgian independence from the Kingdom of the Netherlands at the Treaty of London (1839). The treaty also established Belgian neutrality, which would last until the German invasion of Belgium in 1914.


After an early period of success, the Concert began to weaken as the common goals of the Great Powers were gradually replaced by growing political and economic rivalries. Further eroded by the European revolutionary upheavals of 1848 with their demands for revision of the Congress of Vienna’s frontiers along national lines, the Concert unraveled in the latter half of the 19th century amid successive wars between its participants – the Crimean War (1854–56), the Italian War of Independence (1859), the Austro-Prussian War (1866) and the Franco-Prussian War (1870–71). While the Congress System had a further significant achievement in the form of the Congress of Berlin (1878) which redrew the political map of the Balkans, the old balance of power had been irrevocably altered, and was replaced by a series of fluctuating alliances. By the early 20th century, the Great Powers were organized into two opposing coalitions, and the First World War broke out.

  1. ^ Loemker, Leroy, 1969 (1956). Leibniz: Philosophical Papers and Letters. Reidel, 58, fn 9.
  2. ^ John M. Sherwig. “Lord Grenville’s Plan for a Concert of Europe, 1797-99.” The Journal of Modern History, Vol. 34, No. 3 (Sep., 1962), pp. 284-293.
  3. ^ Georges-Henri Soutou. “Was There a European Order in the Twentieth Century? From the Concert of Europe to the End of the Cold War.” Contemporary European History, Vol. 9, No. 3, Theme Issue: Reflections on the Twentieth Century (Nov., 2000), pp. 330.
  4. ^ Georges-Henri Soutou. “Was There a European Order in the Twentieth Century? From the Concert of Europe to the End of the Cold War.” Contemporary European History, Vol. 9, No. 3, Theme Issue: Reflections on the Twentieth Century (Nov., 2000), pg. 329.
  5. ^ Georges-Henri Soutou. “Was There a European Order in the Twentieth Century? From the Concert of Europe to the End of the Cold War.” Contemporary European History, Vol. 9, No. 3, Theme Issue: Reflections on the Twentieth Century (Nov., 2000), pp. 330.
  6. ^ Spahn, M. (1910). Holy Alliance. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved May 15, 2010 from New Advent.

ANGOLA PROTEST: Late-breaking news — The Angola Protesters ended their fast when one fasting man was taken to the hospital. The protest, however,will seemingly not end there. The protestors say that tough policies toward prisoners inspired by politicians’ efforts to win votes by taking away hard-won privileges is creating a climate of anger that may soon erupt in riots. This would not be because the Angola Protest groups want riots. Indeed, their peaceful protest was to avert the chance of riots by asking officials to listen to inmate’s concerns. We can only wonder at the lack of wisdom shown by those who administrate the Angola prison directly or indirectly. How great a victory is it to refuse to listen to the prisoners and risk riots? There is no threat of riots or organized effort to create any. The fasting inmates, as said, made an effort to lead their fellow inmates in exactly the opposite direction — talking and negotiating — because of widespread discontent. One hopes that a more intelligent approach will be taken toward prisoners in general, and toward the Angola inmates in particular. When will prison officials realize that prison IS the punishment, and that brutalizing inmates by not giving an inch of respect will result in terrible consequences to everyone?

Herman Wallace, Political Prisoner? Revisiting His Claim of Innocence

By Clara A. T. Boggs

Herman told his story for Justice Denied, but in this brief summary, we will only cover the highlights.

Herman was convicted of the 1972 murder of security guard Brent Miller on January 10, 1974. Miller was white, Herman is Black. At the time there was a “Prison Movement” around the country, chronicled in “Death On the Yard,” about Folsom Prison, The San Quentin Six, about the murder of the revolutionary George Jackson and there was the infamous “Attica.” In the swamp of Louisiana, white security guard Miller was killed at Angola Penitentiary. Angola warehoused mostly black prisoners guarded by all-white security guards and personnel, providing fertile soil for injustice against Blacks, and especially for that segment calling itself “Black Panthers.” It is not difficult to imagine that the cards were stacked against Herman Wallace and his codefendant, Albert Woodfox.

After Guard Brent Miller’s death, the security guards who were guilty of having beaten, mangled, and even killed inmates who could not be controlled, began to fear for themselves. They were so fearful that they refused to work unless they could carry weapons. The National Guard was called in to take the places of those who refused to work, but there was still no peace.

On May 5, 1972, Herman Wallace and three other black men were charged with Miller’s death. Prison records show that Herman was in the license plate factory about the time of Miller’s death, with no way possible for him to leave the scene of the crime and be at his job without being seen by security guards at various check-point gates. Inmate witnesses testifying against Herman said blood was all over him, yet as he passed each check-point gate and was given a thorough shake-down, no security guard ever testified to seeing blood on him at any time. He simply was not in the area, and prison records prove it.

Both Woodfox and Wallace believe they were singled out because they had been highly vocal about pushing for change. Their Leftist affiliations made them targets. The press played it up with headlines reading, “A racial uprising where a white prison officer was killed in a Black prison dormitory.”

The controversy caught the attention of the FBI. FBI agents Gill Schafer and Husband decided to infiltrate the Defense Committee formed for Herman, using illegal tactics. Had it not been for the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Herman might never have learned of their plans to forcibly take him from the court room, using arms.

Herman maintains that the State and FBI teams’ investigation was a sham resulting in fabricated evidence and planted witnesses so they could get convictions on him and Woodfox. There was a bloody fingerprint, possibly the actual killer’s: after it was tested against the four men charged, and matched none of them, this test was dropped as if it never existed.

Prison inmates testified, dutifully swearing that no promises were made to them, and that their testimony came of their own free will. Years later, Herman discovered that Warden C. Murry Henderson, a judge, and the Secretary of Corrections, approved and carried out agreements made with those very inmates in exchange for their testimony at the trial where Herman was convicted. He has the documents showing that the prison administration paid the witnesses in cartons of cigarettes a week, in letters seeking clemency and in time cut for others who testified for the State. All of Herman’s information was given to the court in his motions for post-conviction relief.Post-conviction relief motions have so far resulted in little for Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox. Although Woodfox’s conviction was overturned, and he was retried, he lost. Those attending his trial say his voir dire lasted less than a day, and that jury deliberations were a matter of hours.

The State’s actions in this case are troubling. It introduced clothing its own star witness had said belonged to him when he testified at Herman’s trial, but claimed later that the clothing belonged to Woodfox.

The State allowed Harold Vincent, a white inmate not at the prison when Miller was killed, to testify that Woodfox told him he actually did the killing.

Herman’s case has still not been heard, although he has kept pressing forward for a reversal. After conviction, Herman was placed in an isolated cell for punishment and has been there ever since. (Since the non-violent protest, Herman has been taken to Camp J, known as the most punitive unit at Angola.)

In Herman’s own words: “If I was actually guilty of this crime, why would the authorities plant evidence, create false witnesses, discard valuable evidence and then place me in an isolated cell for twenty-six years, denying me of the most basic human needs in this 20th Century? The State and the FBI committed every dirty trick possible to frame me for this murder. They believed I would never find out the truth about their demonic behavior because the FBI and the D.A.’s files were then considered confidential. That is, they were –until R.S. 44.1, “Public Records” was established. I am innocent of the death of Guard Miller, and I vow to fight this farce to the last pulse in my veins.”

To the Man-Child, Tall, evil, graceful, brighteyed, black man-child — Jonathan Peter Jackson — who died on August 7, 1970, courage in one hand, assault rifle in the other; my brother, comrade, friend — the true revolutionary, the black communist guerrilla in the highest state of development, he died on the trigger, scourge of the unrighteous, soldier of the people; to this terrible man-child and his wonderful mother Georgia Bea, to Angela Y. Davis, my tender experience, I dedicate this collection of letters; to the destruction of their enemies I dedicate my life.

George L. Jackson: September 23, 1941 — August 21, 1971


In 1960, at the age of eighteen, George Jackson was accused of stealing $70 from a gas station in Los Angeles. Though there was evidence of his innocence, his court-appointed lawyer maintained that because Jackson had a record (two previous instances of petty crime), he should plead guilty in exchange for a light sentence in the county jail. He did, and received an indeterminate sentence of one year to life. Jackson spent the next ten years in Soledad Prison, seven and a half of them in solitary confinement. Instead of succumbing to the dehumanization of prison existence, he transformed himself into the leading theoretician of the prison movement and a brilliant writer. Soledad Brother, which contains the letters that he wrote from 1964 to 1970, is his testament.

In his twenty-eighth year, Jackson and two other black inmates — Fleeta Drumgo and John Cluchette — were falsely accused of murdering a white prison guard. The guard was beaten to death on January 16, 1969, a few days after another white guard shot and killed three black inmates by firing from a tower into the courtyard. The accused men were brought in chains and shackles to two secret hearings in Salinas County. A third hearing was about to take place when John Cluchette managed to smuggle a note to his mother: “Help, I’m in trouble.” With the aid of a state senator, his mother contacted a lawyer, and so commenced one of the most extensive legal defenses in U.S. history. According to their attorneys, Jackson, Drumgo, and Clutchette were charged with murder not because there was any substantial evidence of their guilt, but because they had been previously identified as black militants by the prison authorities. If convicted, they would face a mandatory death penalty under the California penal code. Within weeks, the case of the Soledad Brothers emerged as a political cause célèbre for all sorts of people demanding change at a time when every American institution was shaken by Black rebellions in more than one hundred cities and the mass movement against the Vietnam War.

August 7, 1970, just a few days after George Jackson was transferred to San Quentin, the case was catapulted to the forefront of national news when his brother, Jonathan, a seventeen-year-old high school student in Pasadena, staged a raid on the Marin County courthouse with a satchelful of handguns, an assault rifle, and a shotgun hidden under his coat. Educated into a political revolutionary by George, Jonathan invaded the court during a hearing for three black San Quentin inmates, not including his brother, and handed them weapons. As he left with the inmates and five hostages, including the judge, Jonathan demanded that the Soledad Brothers be released within thirty minutes. In the shootout that ensued, Jonathan was gunned down. Of Jonathan, George wrote, “He was free for a while. I guess that’s more than most of us can expect.”

Soledad Brother, which is dedicated to Jonathan Jackson, was released to critical acclaim in France and the United States, with an introduction by the renowned French dramatist Jean Genet, in the fall of 1970. Less than a year later and just two days before the opening of his trial, George Jackson was shot to death by a tower guard inside San Quentin Prison in a purported escape attempt. “No Black person,” wrote James Baldwin, “will ever believe that George Jackson died the way they tell us he did.”

Soledad Brother went on to become a classic of Black literature and political philosophy, selling more than 400,000 copies before it went out of print twenty years ago. Lawrence Hill Books is pleased to reissue this book and to add to it a Foreword by the author’s nephew, Jonathan Jackson, Jr., who is a writer living in California.



Money Convertor


In Media Dailies on October 19, 2010 at 5:04 pm

Two of the BBC’s most high-profile presenters, Evan Davis and Sarah Montague, enraged colleagues yesterday by defying the strike that has brought chaos to its news schedules.

They ignored a 48-hour journalists’ walkout to present Radio 4’s flagship Today programme.

It is understood that they managed to avoid crossing a picket line by arriving at 3.30am – before striking colleagues had arrived.

Their decision was a boon to BBC management trying to ensure major news programmes remained on air, but has been described as a kick in the teeth to colleagues striking over changes to their pension scheme.

Evan Davis
Sarah Montague

‘Kick in the teeth’: Evan Davis and Sarah Montague’s decision to break the picket line has ‘mortified’ striking BBC journalists

Davis, who also presents Dragons’ Den on BBC2, and Montague, a former stockbroker, even referred to the impact of the National Union of Journalists’ strike while they were on air.

The BBC was severely embarrassed on Friday when it had to pull the show and replace it with repeated programmes. According to the Radio Times, Montague had been scheduled to present that edition with John Humphrys.

Senior broadcast sources have told The Mail on Sunday that Montague told bosses on Friday that she would turn up for work on Saturday on condition that she did not have to present the programme on her own.

Davis subsequently agreed to join her in the studio at Television Centre in West London, where the programme is normally made.

It is not known if either of the presenters is a member of the NUJ or whether other newsroom staff agreed to join them.

‘They’re laughing as BBC colleagues face pension cuts’

Davis last night refused to talk to The Mail on Sunday about his decision to defy the strike. The presenter – who also turned up for work during a strike at the BBC in 2005 –said it was ‘above his pay grade’ to talk about such things.

By the time the presenters left the studio shortly after 9am a full picket line had been assembled.

Striking journalists are mortified by the duo’s decision to go ahead, fearing their actions will undermine support for further stoppages planned for later this month.

One journalist, who asked not to be named said they were shocked and saddened by the decision to go ahead with the programme.

‘I think most people had assumed that the programme would not go ahead. People are absolutely gutted and very disappointed. The success of the Today programme rests on its presenters and the fact that the BBC was able to get such big names in today is bad news for the strike.

‘If the BBC can get a perfectly acceptable edition of Today on air, then it’s not a high-profile strike.

‘People will be wondering whether they should take part in further strikes and lose out on pay in the run-up to Christmas.’

BBC picket line‘Shocked and saddened’: Striking journalists fear the presenters’ actions will undermine support for further stoppages later this month

Ian Pollock, the chairman of the London branch of the NUJ, said: ‘I think them turning up like this is a very poor show. What did they think they were doing?

‘When their colleagues are out here in the cold and are going to have a huge cut in their pensions, there they are laughing and joking away on the radio this morning.

‘We face huge cuts of millions of pounds and they seem to be carrying on as if nothing is happening.’

The  show got off to a shaky start when Montague told listeners it was 6am – when in fact it was 7am. Davis had to correct her.

The programme also featured contributions from John Humphrys who has spent the last two weeks reporting from China. However, he did not have to defy the strike as the segment broadcast yesterday was a pre-recorded item.

He declined to comment last night. ‘I only got back from China last night and I haven’t even heard the item,’ he told The Mail on Sunday.

One member of the BBC newsroom, who asked not to be named, wondered if Davis, 48, and Montague, 44, would be able to look fellow journalists in the eye once the strike was over. ‘It’s very disappointing that people who are colleagues are refusing to show solidarity. This will have a real impact for all those involved.

‘While both Evan and Sarah are probably on freelance contracts and much better paid than most union members, they still have to work with union members. It is all about the team and they are certainly not acting as one.’

BBC picket lineDisappointed: By the time the presenters left the studio shortly after 9am a full picket line had been assembled

Justin Webb, another of the presenters on the Today programme, said he was not a member of the union and would turn up for work if he was scheduled to appear.

He confirmed, however, that he would not agree to replace colleagues who were on strike.

He said: ‘I am not in the union. I am not on strike. I have enormous  sympathy for my colleagues who feel upset about the pension issue. I am a member of the pension scheme myself so I will take a hit along with everyone else. But if I am on the rota, I will work.’ Fellow presenter James Naughtie is believed to be more sympathetic to the strikers.

He has spent the last few days reporting for the programme in the United States and was unavailable for comment yesterday.

The 48-hour strike caused widespread disruptions to programmes on Friday, but yesterday it was a more mixed picture.

BBC1’s Breakfast programme was presented as planned by Charlie Stayt.

But co-host Louise Minchin failed to appear and was replaced by a stand in, Anne Davies from East Midlands Today.

Some Radio 5 Live programmes were cancelled and the ten-minute news bulletin on Radio 4 at 1pm was cut to just three minutes.

The popular From Our Own Correspondent, which has been running on Radio 4 for 55 years and is presented by veteran correspondent Kate Adie, was replaced by an edition of foreign affairs programme Crossing Continents.

The strike also forced the Corporation to drop its regional and local news bulletins on BBC1.

A BBC spokesman said yesterday: ‘We are doing everything we can to deliver programmes and services to our audiences.

‘However, we anticipate some disruption to the schedule and we apologise for this.’



The Angola Three
38 years ago, deep in rural Louisiana, three young black men were silenced for trying to expose continued segregation, systematic corruption, and horrific abuse in the biggest prison in the US, an 18,000 acre former slave plantation called Angola.Peaceful, non-violent protest in the form of hunger and work strikes organized by inmates caught the attention of Louisiana’s elected leaders and local media in the early 1970s. They soon called for investigations into a host of unconstitutional and extraordinarily inhumane practices commonplace in what was then the “bloodiest prison in the South.” Eager to put an end to outside scrutiny, prison officials began punishing inmates they saw as troublemakers. 

At the height of this unprecedented institutional chaos, Herman Wallace, Albert Woodfox, and Robert King were charged with murders they did not commit and thrown into 6×9 foot solitary cells.

Robert was released in 2001, but Herman and Albert remain in solitary, continuing to fight for their freedom.

Despite a number of reforms achieved in the mid-70s, many officials repeatedly ignore both evidence of misconduct, and of innocence.

The State’s case is riddled with inconsistencies, obfuscations, and missteps. A bloody print at the murder scene does not match Herman, Albert or anyone charged with the crime and was never compared with the limited number of other prisoners who had access to the dormitory on the day of the murder.

Potentially exculpatory DNA evidence has been “lost” by prison officials—including fingernail scrapings from the victim and barely visible “specks” of blood on clothing alleged to have been worn by Albert.

Both Herman and Albert had multiple alibi witnesses with nothing to gain who testified they were far away from the scene when the murder occurred.

In contrast, several State witnesses lied under oath about rewards for their testimony. The prosecution’s star witness Hezekiah Brown told the jury: “Nobody promised me nothing.” But new evidence shows Hezekiah, a convicted serial rapist serving life, agreed to testify only in exchange for a pardon, a weekly carton of cigarettes, TV, birthday cakes, and other luxuries.

Hezekiah was one you could put words in his mouth,” the Warden reminisced chillingly in an interview about the case years later.

Even the widow of the victim after reviewing the evidence believes Herman and Albert’s trials were unfair, has grave doubts about their guilt, and is calling upon officials to find the real killer.

In fact, Albert’s conviction has now been overturned twice by judges citing racial discrimination, prosecutorial misconduct, inadequate defense, and suppression of exculpatory evidence.

Sadly however, AEDPA-gutted habeas protections that limit federal power recently allowed the U.S. Court of Appeals to defer judgment to Louisiana, where seemingly vengeful prosecutors insist Albert is “the most dangerous person on the planet.”

In spite of this setback, the validity of Albert’s conviction is again under review due to apparent discrimination in the selection of a grand jury foreperson, an injustice that may finally set Albert free.

Although a State Judicial Commissioner similarly recommended reversing Herman’s conviction based on new, compelling evidence exposing prosecutorial misconduct and constitutional violations, the Louisiana Supreme Court denied his appeal without comment.

Undeterred, Herman has now turned to the Federal Courts to prove his innocence and win his freedom.

Meanwhile, Louisiana prison officials stubbornly refuse to release them from solitary because “there’s been no rehabilitation” from “practicing Black Pantherism.”

Nearly a decade ago Herman, Albert and Robert filed a civil lawsuit challenging the inhumane and increasingly pervasive practice of long-term solitary confinement. Magistrate Judge Dalby describes their almost four decades of solitary as “durations so far beyond the pale” she could not find “anything even remotely comparable in the annals of American jurisprudence.” The case, expected to go to trial in 2011, will detail unconstitutionally cruel and unusual treatment and systematic due process violations at the hands of Louisiana officials.

We believe that only by openly examining the failures and inequities of the criminal justice system in America can we restore integrity to that system.

We must not wait.
We can make a difference.

As the A3 did years before, now is the time to challenge injustice and demand that the innocent and wrongfully incarcerated be freed.


The Angola Three


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Britons suspected of plotting European terror attack

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Fatal hit-and-run victim was dragged for a mile

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Police recruiting plans ‘favour middle classes’

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Paris Hilton and boyfriend in ‘hit and run’ with photographer

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