In the last full week of Barack Obama’s eight year tenure as President of the United States of America, dozens of political prisoners still sit in cages across the nation’s prisons, rotting away as Obama consciously chooses not to exercise the power to simply free them with the stroke of a pen. Many activists for Puerto Rican independence, Native American and African American rights, and other causes were targeted by the political police’s illegal COINTELPRO program and convicted in sham trials. Now elderly, some in poor health, they may effectively be facing death sentences unless Obama decides within the next two weeks to grant their appeals for clemency.
Among the most well known political prisoners are Oscar López Rivera, Leonard Peltier and Mumia Abu-Jamal, who have all been locked up for at least three and a half decades. Many others including The Move 9 and The Holy Land Five have spent years or decades in jail for their political action and views. Many, like Chelsea Manning and Jeffrey Sterling, have been denied their freedom for exposing government crimes and misdeeds.
But you won’t ever hear this in the mainstream media. The corporate media hypocrisy is best demonstrated by the debate regarding political prisoners during Obama’s trip to Cuba in March 2016.
The U.S. government pretends that it always promotes human rights around the world and opposes human rights violations by other countries it considers adversaries. Hence, part of the…