Civil Liberties

Note from AlterNet: I Tell Stories for People Who Can't Tell Their Own -- We Need Your Support

At AlterNet, I'm fighting for a society that doesn't victimize the innocent and vulnerable. To do it right, I need your support.

When I heard the story of Kenneth Foster, Jr., who was to be executed in Texas despite the undisputed fact he had killed no one, I had to help get the word out about the injustice that was about to happen.

The story of Kenneth Foster -- and a cruel law called the Law of Parties -- was the first article I published on AlterNet. Fortunately, thanks to the work of activists who mobilized and spread the word through independent media like AlterNet, Foster's life was saved.

I came to work at AlterNet to give voice to these stories, the stories ignored by the corporate press. I have now written over 60 articles, countless blog posts, and assigned and published hundreds of stories, read by hundreds of thousands -- all with the same goal: to fight for a society that treats people fairly, and does not victimize or vilify the innocent and vulnerable. It's a tough job. And to do it right, I need your support. But more about that in a minute.

As you know, we live in a system that can be cruel and unjust. Innocent people become collateral damage where corruption, prejudice and greed converge, and where the colossal prison industrial complex feeds its massive hunger for more and more prisoners -- 7.3 million people are now caught up in the American "corrections" system.

That's one in every 31 adults behind bars, on probation or on parole. --- Shocking News --- For me, one of the biggest ongoing injustices is how prisoners have been treated at Guantanamo over the past 7 years. So I was shocked when I read, splashed on the front page of USA Today, the surprising results of a poll finding that a wide majority of Americans -- more than 2-1 -- now oppose the closing of the prison camp at Guantnamo Bay. How could it be, after all the news of lawlessness, torture, rigged trials, and prisoner deaths, that a majority of Americans want to keep it open?

You probably know the answer: As I wrote last week, in my article, "5 New Reasons to Close Guantanamo," the poll results are testament to the ageless power of political fearmongering. Since Obama vowed to close Guantnamo, a move met with relief and praise by millions in America and worldwide, the debate over how and when to close Gitmo has been hijacked. Despite prisoner suicides, ongoing torture, and the fact that only a small fraction of the prisoners may actually be a danger to the U.S., Republicans and Democrats alike have embraced the argument that Guantnamo might just be the only place for these "terrorists," promising that under no circumstances will they allow them to be brought onto U.S. soil.

It's clear that we have our work cut out for us to battle fear and the corporate media who spread it like a virus -- It's our job to provide the truth, to write the narrative that undermines the fear agenda, that points out, for example, that U.S. maximum security prisons already hold convicted terrorists, people who have been convicted in the U.S. justice system, not the discredited kangaroo courts known as Military Commissions. --- The Nitty Gritty --- I'm not going to beat around the bush.

We at AlterNet, and I, need your support to continue our "Rights and Liberties" work. Fighting for people's rights isn't cheap nor is it particularly popular. It's important for you to know that no one is specifically funding AlterNet's coverage of injustice, and we need to raise $25k to continue it for the rest of the year. That's why I'm appealing to you. (And this is my first time ever writing to ask for financial support.)  The future for me and the Rights and Liberties section is in your hands. AlterNet's priority of giving voice to the voiceless reduces the chances that innocent people are victimized, and it gives me the chance to tell their stories when the system breaks down. Call it an insurance policy against injustice. I know you know that times are tough, both for you and for progressive media like AlterNet.

But imagine how tough it is for those individuals and their families who fight every day to survive under a yolk of injustice -- people like Georgia prisoner Troy Anthony Davis, who has now faced execution three times despite overwhelming proof of his innocence. They need a media that will broadcast their stories to the world so that they have a better shot at justice -- and so that they don't have to fight alone. Please give what you can.

Thanks for all you do,
Liliana Segura Staff Writer/Associate Editor, AlterNet