Saturday, November 26, 2005

Stop the Extradition!

Joseph Pannell's wife vows to fight extradition
He's accused of shooting Chicago police officer

Have we learned no lessons from the illegal kidnapping and extradition of Leonard Peltier from Canada.

Now again on flimsy or non-existant evidence the US government is attempting to extradite another political refugee from Canada to stand trial in the U.S.

For what, defending himself against a racist cop and a campaign to destroy the Black Panthers which was organized at the highest levels of the state.

This is madness. He cannot be assured of a fair trial anymore than Leonard was, who rots in jail still, suffering retribution at the hands of the FBI.

The Minister of Justice must overturn this court decision. It is a travesty of Justice.

Alleged Black Panther to be extradited

TORONTO -- A man accused of being a militant Black Panther who shot and paralyzed a Chicago police officer more than 35 years ago was ordered extradited on Friday but won't be facing American justice anytime soon.

An Ontario judge ruled that Joseph Pannell, a married father of four who has lived in the Toronto area for more than two decades, must return to the United States to face charges of attempted murder for the 1969 shooting of police officer Terrence Knox.

"The ruling speaks to the inherent frailties in the system we have for extradition," Falconer said.

"The question is why a Canadian court is left in the position where our own system gives us almost no right or opportunity to assess the reliability of the information by which we're extraditing him."

Pannell, who was 19 at the time of the shooting, has never denied shooting Knox, who was then 21, but said it happened in self-defence after the police officer attacked him.

"African-American males in the city of Chicago were under siege by police," Falconer said of the political conditions at the time.

Pannell's lawyers argue there are major inconsistencies in Knox's version of what happened March 7, 1969. They also say much of the evidence has long been destroyed, and Pannell could not get a fair trial in the U.S.

The Murder of Fred Hampton

The activities of the Black Panthers in Chicago came to the attention of J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI. Hoover described the Panthers as "the greatest threat to the internal security of the country" and urged the Chicago police to launch an all-out assault on the organization. In 1969 the Panther party headquarters on West Monroe Street was raided three times and over 100 members were arrested.

In the early hours of the 4th December, 1969, the Panther headquarters was raided by the police for the fourth time. The police later claimed that the Panthers opened fire and a shoot-out took place. During the next ten minutes Fred Hampton and Mark Clark were killed. Witnesses claimed that Hampton was wounded in the shoulder and then executed by a shot to the head.

The panthers left alive, including Deborah Johnson, Hampton's girlfriend, who was eight months pregnant at the time, were arrested and charged with attempting to murder the police. Afterwards, ballistic evidence revealed that only one bullet had been fired by the Panthers whereas nearly a hundred came from police guns.

After the resignation of President Richard Nixon, the Senate Intelligence Committee conducted a wide-ranging investigation of America's intelligence services. Frank Church of Idaho, the chairman of the committee, revealed in April, 1976 that William O'Neal, Hampton's bodyguard, was a FBI agent-provocateur who, days before the raid, had delivered an apartment floor-plan to the Bureau with an "X" marking Hampton's bed. Ballistic evidence showed that most bullets during the raid were aimed at Hampton's bedroom.

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