House Committee on the Judiciary
2138 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Attn: U.S. Representative John Conyers
Dear Mr. Chairman:
In light of what may seem like good news today coming out of Jena, Louisiana, Governor Kathleen Blanco may be too late to mend race relations in that small town. The cat is already out of the bag.
Even though LaSalle Parish District Attorney Reed Walters announced that he will not pursue the case against 17-year old Mychal Bell in adult criminal court, the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis have crept into the festering situation feeding on racial tension.
The Chicago Tribune reports that “a neo-Nazi Web site posted the names, addresses and phone numbers of some of the six black teenagers and their families at the center of the Jena 6 case and urged followers to find them and ‘drag them out of the house’”.
It seems almost banal and anticlimactic for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation to hold a forum or Judiciary Committee to hold hearings on the Jena Six situation in light of these recent public threats made against these black children and their families.
In a town that can manufacture criminal charges out of thin air against local black kids, how can the criminal justice system ignore these terrorist threats? Is there a double standard when such threats are made by people of olive skin color compared to white terrorism? In the case of Middle Eastern terrorists, they can be immediately snatched off the streets, confined without counsel, with no recourse to due process, sent to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba into isolated exile, held incommunicado, and forbidden any human contact, not to mention tortured- not for actually being a terrorist, but simply for being suspected.
Now we have an irreverent verbose barrage of KKK threats and late-night terrorizing phone calls, and somehow nobody in the Justice Department can seem to find an appropriate law to bring charges against these instigators and conspirators. The criminal justice system would rather react after a 9/11 terror incident before they can assert the validity of the threat. But they will not hesitate to throw the book at a suspicious olive skin Arab or a black person who makes an off-the-cuff comment about the president.
The KKK has always been classified by the FBI as a terrorist organization. Therefore, what is the difference between the KKK and Al Qaeda? And, why should we fight terrorism aboard when we are plagued with it at home? It was the same after World War I, in 1918-1919, where black men fought overseas, only to return home and fight against lynch mobs. Likewise in 1945-1946, black men came from war only to have to fight for desegregation and equal rights in the US.
Now, tell me, what does a black soldier coming home from Iraq to Jena have to look forward to?
Terrorism is terrorism. And, these racial terrorist threats against black people of Jena is a national security issue that rises to the level of Homeland Security, which has all the capabilities of tracking down these culprits. Until then, none of us can feel safe until the danger is suppressed and the conspirators apprehended and prosecuted. If we are to put an end to terrorism, we must begin by ending white terrorism here at home.
Eddie Griffin (BASG)
The purpose of the Black Accused Support Groups (BASG) is to publicize cases of unjust treatment of Blacks at the hands of legal systems while building on this advocacy to promote fundamental and systemic change, so that Blacks will, for the first time, be treated equally before the law. Reference Jena 6