Thursday, July 30, 2009

Patrick Swiney has passed on at 64

And so it came to pass: last night the State of Alabama finally succeeded in its quest to kill former Police Officer Ronald Patrick Swiney.

The place of death: Donaldson Correctional Facility in Bessemer, where Mr. Swiney was serving a sentence of life imprisonment, without parole, upon his 1989 wrongful conviction for murdering his former wife, Betty Snow Swiney, and her ex husband, Ronnie Lynn Pate.

And indeed that conviction was wrong; it rested solely on evidence fabricated by the State, tailor-made to coincide with the scene of the crime. This fact cannot be denied; in recent years the nation’s leading experts in gun shot residue, ballistics and forensic pathology scientifically proved Patrick could not possibly have done what the State accused him of.

But the State courts would not hear of it; the newly-discovered evidence of Patrick’s innocence they would not consider. The judges and prosecutors remained hell-bent on covering up the truth: that the murders were committed by others, while Patrick was convicted of them, in retaliation for what Patrick did as a career police officer several years earlier … while working as an investigator for the Gulf Shores Police, Swiney uncovered evidence that a large scale drug ring was being spearheaded by then Baldwin County District Attorney Jimmy Hendrix and then Baldwin County Sheriff’s Department Chief Investigator Bobbie Stewart. A cop’s cop having sworn to uphold the law, Patrick turned the evidence over to federal authorities. Resulting was that some 47,000 lbs. of illegal drugs were seized, and DA Hendrix and Investigator Stewart were both sentenced to federal prison.

Soon after, several attempts on Officer Swiney’s life were made. One was nearly successful: at the hands of assailants he suffered knife wounds requiring several hundred stitches to keep him alive. One of the three assailants was identified. Though originally charged with First Degree Assault and Attempted Murder, a Baldwin County judge reduced the charges to a single count of Simple Assault for which he was allowed to go free after paying a small fine.

Throughout the many years of serving his unjust sentence to life imprisonment, former Officer Swiney was routinely denied the same quality medical care as afforded other inmates. Years ago he began suffering from serious heart problems. His medical records show as much. They also show he was denied corrective surgery. After developing pneumonia last week, he finally died on Tuesday, July 28, age 64. Plain and simple: it was a killing by the State of Alabama; not by lethal injection or the electric chair, but by confining an innocent man to an isolated dank prison cell and consciously ignoring his medical needs.

A reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest, prosecution and conviction of the person(s) actually responsible for planning and/or carrying out the December 10, 1987 murders of Betty Snow Swiney and Ronnie Lynn Pate.

(article taken from post by BookemDanno) To learn more about Patrick and the Website he inspired go here

Friday, July 24, 2009

On Transformation

Jiddu Krishnamurti on Transformation

Questioner: What do you mean by transformation?

Jiddu Krishnamurti : Obviously, there must be a radical revolution. The world crisis demands it. Our lives demand it. Our everyday incidents, pursuits, anxieties, demand it. Our problems demand it. There must be a fundamental, radical revolution because everything about us has collapsed. Though seemingly there is order, in fact there is slow decay, destruction - the wave of destruction is constantly overtaking the wave of life.

So there must be a revolution - but not a revolution based on an idea. Such a revolution is merely the continuation of the idea, not a radical transformation. And a revolution based on an idea brings bloodshed, disruption, chaos. Out of chaos you cannot create order; you cannot deliberately bring about chaos and hope to create order out of that chaos. You are not the God-chosen who are to create order out of confusion.

That is such a false way of thinking on the part of those people who wish to create more and more confusion in order to bring about order. Because the moment they have power, they assume they know all the ways of producing order. But seeing the whole of this catastrophe - the constant repetition of wars, the ceaseless conflict between classes, between peoples, the awful economic and social inequality, the inequality of capacity and gifts, the gulf between those who are extraordinarily happy, unruffled, and those who are caught in hate, conflict, and misery - seeing all this, there must be a revolution, there must be complete transformation, must there not?

Now, is this transformation, is this radical revolution an ultimate thing, or is it from moment to moment? I know we would like it to be the ultimate thing because it is so much easier to think in terms of far away. Ultimately we shall be transformed, ultimately we shall be happy, ultimately we shall find truth, but in the meantime, let us carry on. Surely, such a thing that must come from moment to moment, must be discovered anew, and surely, there can be no discovery through accumulation. How can you discover the new if you have the burden of the old? It is only with the cessation of that burden that you discover the new (this does not mean that we don't study history, so please don't jump to that conclusion).

So, to discover the new, the eternal, in the present, from moment to moment, one needs an extraordinarily alert mind, a mind that is not becoming. A mind that is becoming can never know the full bliss of contentment - not the contentment of smug satisfaction, not the contentment of an achieved result, but the contentment that comes when the mind sees the truth in what is and the false in what is. The perception of that truth is from moment to moment, and that perception is delayed through verbalization of the moment.

So, transformation is not an end result. Transformation is not a result. Result implies residue, a cause and an effect. Where there is causation, there is bound to be effect. The effect is merely the result of your desire to be transformed. When you desire to be transformed, you are still thinking in terms of becoming, and that which is becoming can never know that which is being.

Truth is being from moment to moment, and happiness that continues is not happiness. Happiness is that state of being which is timeless. That timeless state can come only when there is a tremendous discontent - not the discontent that has found a channel through which it escapes, but the discontent that has no outlet, that has no escape, that is no longer seeking fulfillment.

Only then, in that state of supreme discontent, can reality come into being. That reality is not to be bought, to be sold, to be repeated; it cannot be caught in books. It has to be found from moment to moment, in the smile, in the tear, under the dead leaf, in the vagrant thoughts, in the fullness of love - for love is not different from truth. Love is that state in which thought process as time has completely ceased. And where love is, there is transformation. Without love, revolution has no meaning, for then revolution is merely destruction, decay, a greater and greater, ever-mounting misery. Where there is love, there is revolution, because love is transformation from moment to moment.

Source - Jiddu Krishnamurti talk, February 20, 1949

Also in his book The First and Last Freedom (free online copy)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Cherokee Indian Princess

Nanye-hi (ᎾᏅᏰᎯ: "One who goes about"), known in english as Nancy
Ward (c. 1738–1822) was a ghigau, or beloved woman of the Cherokee
nation, which meant that she was allowed to sit in councils and to make
decisions, along with the other Beloved Women, on pardons.
She attempted to live in peaceful coexistence with white people.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Cherokee Removal Memorial Park

"In 1838-1839 U.S. troops, prompted by the state of Georgia, expelled the Cherokee Indians from their ancestral homeland in the Southeast and removed them to the Indian Territory in what is now Oklahoma. The removal of the Cherokees was a product of the demand for arable land during the rampant growth of cotton agriculture in the Southeast, the discovery of gold on Cherokee land, the racial prejudice that many white southerners harbored toward American Indians, and the illegal actions of the Georgia legislature to pass unethical and unjust laws against these people."

"The stated goal of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions regarding the Cherokee was 'to make the whole tribe English in their language, civilized in their habits and Christian in their religion'.”

Cherokee removal memorial Park

One of the worst acts of “man’s inhumanity to man” took place when an entire race of peoples were driven from their lands in 1838. It was here at the Blythe Ferry that approximately 9,000 Cherokees and Creeks camped while waiting to cross the Tennessee River on their forced removal. They had been held captive in stockades a few miles back. Many books have been written on the heart wrenching description of what is now called “The Trail of Tears.” Butrick’s Journal describes their condition in the camps as, “very much like brute animals-being down on the naked ground exposed to wind and rain-like droves of hogs.” Butrick also states, “But not only the Cherokees-the dear Creeks and Seminoles have fallen by the same means, fictitious treaties.” He speaks of “Nanny as a slave” so this shows the diversity among the attachments.

A mental picture of what happened here at Blythe Ferry can be drawn from these excerpts:

Oct. 16th, 1838-“10 o’clock AM,” “We have only succeeded in getting some twenty wagons across the river--proprietors of the Ferry are determined to retard all exertions.” J. Powell

The last detachment crossed November 12, 1838. “I reached Blythe’s Ferry on Saturday, November 10-found the great body of Mr. (Peter) Hildebrand’s detachment of emigrating Cherokees quietly encamped--about twelve wagons had crossed--at dawn four boats were put in requisition and continued until dusk--close of the day about sixty wagons across--this morning before 12 o’clock eighteen wagons and all the people were over to Winsfield Scott.”

This park is dedicated in memory to these peoples. May it serve as a touchstone for this generation and future generations.