By Daniel Rubin, Philadelphia Inquirer
If online petitions ruled the day, no one would be living on Mumia Street
any time soon.
There's a movement afoot to rename a street in Harlem to honor Mumia
Abu-Jamal, the jailed former Philadelphia freelance radio reporter convicted
of the 1981 murder of Officer Daniel Faulkner.
A petition went online back in September, and has been slowly attracting
support - 421 signatures so far. The author is named Jeremy Syrop, and his
Web site is freemumia.com, where one can download posters that trumpet the
"Now is the time for Harlem to name a street after Mumia," they read. "His
life is in great danger and a 'Mumia Street' could help create a momentum to
prevent an execution and even win a new trial."
A second, identical petition at another online service has garnered 37
But a third petition is proving to be much more popular - that would be the
anti-Mumia drive. It went up last week, and within 48 hours had nearly 700
signatures. By last count, it had 5,155. Tony Allen wrote about it in his
"Having profaned a street in a suburb of France the pro-Jamal zealots have
now decided to repeat their 'success' here in the United States by having a
street in Harlem, New York City, named after the convicted cop-killer.
"Pursuant to this goal, the Mumia devotees have started a petition and have
even gone so far as to raise money for TV commercial spots as a means of
bringing attention to their cause.
"To name a street after a confirmed killer, cult apologist, and virulent
anti-American fanatic like Jamal would be a vile testament to the power of
propaganda and an ugly reminder that ignorance has again triumphed over
common sense and human decency."
There's precedent for naming a street after a "living revolutionary,
according to the posters created by the pro-Mumia group. A street outside
Paris, in Saint Denis, has been renamed in Abu Jamal's honor. And Nelson
Mandela and Joe Doherty of the Irish Republican Army have been so honored in
New York City.
The pro-Mumia petition lauds his "incredible accomplishments, including
during the almost 25 years he has spent on death row: five published books
and weekly brilliant commentaries exposing the lies that imperialist USA
fosters, that are read and listened to by millions around the world."
It seeks a street in his honor now "because Mumia's case is in its last
stages in the court system and, while there is an opportunity for a new and
fair trial, the State of Pennsylvania, the Fraternal Order of Police and
their allies are opposing that tooth and nail and are demanding, instead,
that Mumia be executed."
Abu-Jamal was arrested in Faulkner's murder early on Dec. 9, 1981. The
25-year-old officer stopped a Volkswagen on Locust Street driven by
Abu-Jamal's brother, William Cook. There was a scuffle. Moments later, the
policeman was shot in the back and then between the eyes. Abu-Jamal, 27 at
the time, was found sitting on the curb, four feet from the body. He'd been
shot in the chest. Ballistics testimony at the trial indicated that the
bullets fired into Officer Faulkner were "consistent" with having been fired
from the .38-caliber Charter Arms revolver found at the scene. It was
registered to Abu Jamal.
He was convicted and sentenced to death a year later by Common Pleas Court
Judge Albert F. Sabo, who had presided over more death-penalty convictions
than any other judge in America. During his long stay on death row,
Abu-Jamal became a cause celebre. He wrote a book, Live From Death Row.
National Public Radio aired his commentaries, before canceling the deal. He
attracted famous supporters worldwide. In 2001, his death sentence was
overturned in federal court. The case is still on appeal.
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
WILLIAM PHILLIPS AFRICA
AM4984 / Follies Road, Drawer K
Dallas, PA 18612 SCI Dallas
January 1, 1956
OSCAR LOPEZ RIVERA
P.O. Box 12015
Terre Haute, IN 47801
January 6, 1943
SUNDIATA ACOLI (C. SQUIRE)
39794-066 / Box 3000
White Deer, PA 17887
January 14 1937
Sullivan Correctional Facility
Box 116, Riverside Drive
Fallsburg, New York 12733-0116
January 14, 1948
JOSEPH "JOE-JOE" BOWEN
1 Kelley Drive
Coal Township, PA 17866-1021
January 15, 1946
SARA OLSON (KATHLEEN SOLIAH)
W94197 506-26-04 (low)
CCWF / PO Box 1508
Chowchilla. CA 93610-1508
January 16, 1947
29429-086 / Box 5000
Sheridan, OR 97378
News about recent Panther busts
First hearing for Panther 8 and other updates
January 26th, 2007
Organizing support for the Panther 8 is rapidly gelling. Claude Marks from the Freedom Archives (and creator of the film "A Legacy of Torture") has set up a website at http://www.cdhrsupport.org
You can sign up for the email alert list here, as well.
Late tonight the US Army announced it has dropped its subpoena of Sarah Olson in the Ehren Watada court martial.
Dear Fellow Activists
Don't know about you...
But I am really tired of feeling like a sitting duck passively watching the latest news... about the arrest of 8 Black Power Movement Brothers, 31 years
after a "crime"...Confessions obtained under torture...
Veteran, productive members of our Black Community and Community at large are canned to muffle the biggest ever profusion of Police murders of innocent Black men and women all over the nation, Atlanta, New Orleans, San Francisco, LA and then some...
Are you growing tired ? When is enough ENOUGH?
Or are we jaded by the horror of the police state, just shying away from too many funerals, no longer trusting to exercise the Power of our common voice?
This is an invite for your ideas and suggestions, and forum for action plan.
A petition and website in support of the Brothers in in urgent order. Will be happy to take care of this humble start. What else?
Who are your political contacts who might join our cause?
I ain't nobody but a grieving Mom among too many, but more than ready to do my share.
Anyone out there care to join
~Free the 8~ ?
EN LA LUCHA,
In Struggle &Solidarity,
Peace in DA Hood &Beyond
By love and resistance
Anarchists and anti-authoritarians have played a vital role in the struggle against the government of Ulisses Ruiz Ortiz in Oaxaca. Among the many prisoners being held in jails around Mexico are anarchist activists Oscar Santa Maria Caro and Sacramento Delfino Cano Hernandez who were arrested on November 30th in Oaxaca.
Freedom for Oscar and Sacramento!!!!
Anarchists and anti-authoritarians have played a vital role in the struggle against the government of Ulisses Ruiz Ortiz in Oaxaca. From Magonistas like the CODEP and CIPO-RFM to the Bloque Autonomo (Autonomous Bloc) and the Ocupacion Intercultural en Resistencia,
anarchists and anti authoritarians have had an important presence in maintaining barricades in the face of attacks from paramilitaries and police as well as helping repel the PFP (Federal Preventative Police)
during street battles in front of the University, in media and cultural projects and spaces, political prisoner support and within the APPO itself.
As the PFP finally penetrated the barricadesof Oaxaca in November the hunting of activists began. Among the many prisoners being held in jails around Mexico are anarchist activists Oscar Santa Maria Caro and
Sacramento Delfino Cano Hernandez who were arrested on November 30th in Oaxaca.
They are being charged with various crimes and have endured physical and mental torture in jail. Both face bails of more than $20,000 US dollars and need the support of anarchists all over the world.
(The following text is loosely translated from part of a statement released by the Todxs Somos Presxs [We Are All Prisoners] anarchist collective in Mexico, an awesome collective dedicated to supporting the political prisoners of Oaxaca, and all of Mexico)
Oscar Santa Maria Caro, 20 years old from Oaxaca, has participated in various anarchist and punk collectives. Is part of the RATA collective, which focuses on animal liberation, and more recently has participated in the Bloque Autonomo [AutonomousBloc], and the Ocupacion Intercultural en Resistencia [Intercultural Occupation in Resistance] Oscar has been part of the struggle in Oaxaca since it
started. He was detained by armed plain clothed members of the PFP in the streets of Oaxaca and has since been held as a prisoner. Oscar has been tortured physically and psychologically since his detention.
Sacramento Delfino Cano Hernandez, 29 years old from the State of Mexico, Sacramento is a student of philosophy and psychology at UNAM [the National Autonomous University of Mexico]. Sacramento moved to Oaxaca to participate in the struggle, he was detained along with Oscar Santa Maria. Sacramento has also been beaten and tortured in jail.
Oscar and Sacramento were arrested on November 30th by armed plain clothed police as they left the house where they were staying in Oaxaca. They were accosted by men with guns and thrown into separate automobiles which drove around the city while they were interrogated and beaten when they refused to answer questions and later taken to jail. In the prison the police threatened to kill them both and also
threatened to rape female political prisoners if Sacramento and Oscar didn’t give information about other activists.
The police say that they found molotov cocktails, bags of marbles, knifes and other tools to make weapons on Sacramento and Oscar. The police also claim that Sacramento was driving a stolen pickup truck, an absurd claim since he doesn’t know how to drive.
Both Oscar and Sacramento are being held in the regional prison CERESO in Miahuatlan de Porfirio Diaz, Oaxaca en Hall B, Cell 5.
1. That the authorities have offered our comrades freedom if they sign self incriminating confessions that are contrary to their ideas and dignity.
2. The Government of Oaxaca has invented crimes to unjustly keep our comrades imprisoned. All of these prisoners are innocent of the crimes that they are accused of.
3. In Mexico and Oaxaca people are tortured, persecuted, raped and assassinated for political reasons, for being social activists.
1. Punish the police that have made up lies about our comrades Santa Maria Caro and Sacramento Delfino Cano Hernandez: Official Pedro Canseco Galvan, Police Officer Adan Alvarez Arrona, and Police Officer Elias Garcia Miguel.
2. The immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners of Oaxaca, Atenco, Mexico,and the World.
3. Justice for activists murdered by the Mexican state.
4. Punish the murderers, rapists and torturers, of the PFP and State Police of Oaxaca, and the State of Mexico.
5. Cancel the Apprehension Orders [warrants] against social activists.
6. Justice for our International comrades who have been expelled from the country for seeing the reality of the Mexico from the view of those who face injustice daily.
No One is Free until we are all free!
Tear down the Prison Walls!
Dissolve All Forces of Repression!
Signed by: Colectivo Tod@s Somos Pres@s, integrantes de la Ocupación Intercultural en Resistencia, Colectivo Tlacoyos Sí Amburguesas No, Colectivo kinta Brigada Anarquista, Colectivo Amor y Resistencia,
Coordinadora Contra la Represiòn y por la Libertad a Tod@s l@s Pres@s Polìtic@s, adherentes individuales a La Otra Campaña , **If your collective wishes to sign on to this statement send an email to: email@example.com** We are currently working on creating a pay pal account so people outside of Mexico can send money to help get
these prisoners out of jail. Each prisoner faces a bail of about $20,000 US dollars.
If you have more questions about supporting these prisoners as well as how to support anarchist collectives working in Oaxaca e-mail (in Spanish) : noestamostodxs(at)gmail(dot)com ,
For info about sending money from the US or other questions in English e-mail: amoryresistencia(at)yahoo(dot)com.
Friday, January 26, 2007
Betty's Early Edition
Jan. 24, 2007
This morning, shortly after ten, Madam Justice Brown sentenced Squamish elder Harriet Nahanee to fourteen days in jail for asserting her rights under the Constitution as an Indian and refusing to apologize to anybody, including the court, for blockading at Eagleridge Bluffs. Betty Krawczyk, who had been acting in the courtroom as a McKenzie Friend of the court on Harriet’s behalf, knowing full well the horrors of Surry Pre-Trial where Harriet will most likely be kept, objected strenuously at the sentencing. Betty was forcibly ejected from the court room and refused re-entry.
It seems that these great grandmothers are the only two who have refused to apologize for trying to protect Eagleridge and are the two who will pay the price in jail time. Betty can’t speak for Harriet right now because Harriet is in jail, but Betty wants everybody to know she will apologize to Kiewit and Sons and Mr. Falcon, Minister of Transportation when they apologize to the people of this province for destroying a valuable eco system to serve their own dark, troubled corporate loving egos. Her trail begins on Monday, Jan. 29 at the Supreme Court in Vancouver. It will last a week. She will represent herself. Come support these two great grandmothers who are trying to help save life and breath for the next generations.
by Jack Sunday January 07, 2007
Activists from various affinity groups and organisations have been meeting to coordinate the campaign. Publicity in the US is organising to internationalise the campaign and gain the support of activists abroad has been organised by The Anarchist Black Cross. Other international exposure of the defence campaign through the alternative media and solidarity networks is also likely to occur.
The defendants – who are all political activists from Victoria – are expected to appear at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on a single date in late March for brief service. They have been charged with various offences such as riot or similar incidents allegedly committed during the stop g20 protests in November 2006. More arrests are expected.
Further information is available at http://arushandapush.blogsome.com/ . Donations can be made by following the instructions here.
More than 30 years ago, Ruben Scott testified against his alleged Black Liberation Army brethren in the slaying of two New York City police officers.
Now, defense attorneys suspect, Scott will be alone among the former militants to testify against his one-time confederates, who were charged Tuesday in the 1971 slaying of San Francisco police Sgt. John Young and a larger conspiracy to kill police.
While state prosecutors won't say whether Scott will take the witness stand, defense attorneys say he is the only insider whose testimony has ever been used to convict BLA members of a crime.
And he is the only former BLA member previously indicted in the slaying of Young whom prosecutors have chosen not to name again in the current case. The charges against him were dismissed in 1976.
"We assume he is a witness for the government -- he had a case dismissed in San Francisco on this very same incident," said Stuart Hanlon, a lawyer for Herman Bell, an alleged leader in the group who was convicted when Scott testified in the New York case and who now is accused of killing Young with a shotgun.
If Scott is slated to take the stand for the prosecution, a major issue will be whether his testimony should be allowed -- or believed -- because of statements he long ago gave implicating himself and two other reputed BLA members in Young's slaying while incarcerated in a New Orleans jail.
The confession led to the 1975 indictments of Scott, Harold Taylor and John Bowman in the ambush attack on San Francisco's Ingleside Police Station that resulted in Young's death and the wounding of a civilian clerk.
But the statements were ruled inadmissible because of court findings that they had been obtained after the men were tortured by New Orleans police and denied access to defense lawyers.
Scott, in a taped interview with a radio journalist in December 1975, said he was subjected to days of torture in New Orleans. The abuse relented, he said, only when he was speaking to federal agents and San Francisco police.
He recounted how he was stripped and punched in the stomach and chest. He said at one point his feet were put in a water tank and he was threatened with electrocution. New Orleans police also stuck him with cattle prods and needles, he said.
"They have a little thing: They don't hit you in the face, where it would show," he said. One investigator cocked a gun and threatened to shoot him through the ear "to see if the bullet would come out the other ear," he said.
Over a period of four to five days, he said, "New Orleans police department would whup on you, beat you, then bring you to the FBI to talk."
The alleged abuse occurred two years after Young was shot on Aug. 29, 1971, when at least three men stormed into Ingleside Police Station and, through an opening in the station's bulletproof glass, blasted the veteran police officer with a shotgun, killing him. A civilian clerk also was shot in the attack, but she survived.
The current charges name Bell as Young's killer. Also named in the charges is another man convicted of killing the New York officers, Anthony Bottom. They are also accused of orchestrating a larger conspiracy to kill officers between 1968 and 1973. Taylor and Bowman, who recently died, are also named in the charges, as are Richard Brown, Francisco "Cisco" Torres, Ray Boudreaux and Henry Watson Jones. Ronald Stanley Bridgeforth is charged but has not been arrested. Richard O'Neal, a custodian at San Francisco City Hall, is named in the broader conspiracy but not in the Young slaying. Brown and O'Neal appeared in San Francisco Superior Court on Tuesday but did not enter a plea.
Hanlon, Bell's defense lawyer in the new San Francisco case, said that given what Scott has been subjected to -- and other statements he has made at odds with his past confession -- his credibility as a witness is doubtful.
"He has given various statements saying he was tortured," said Hanlon. "He's just all over the place. He had been tortured. He is a tortured soul."
Scott also recounted the torture when he testified in 1975 to help convict BLA members Bell, now 59, Bottom, now 55, and the late Albert Nuh Washington of the slayings of the two New York police.
The prosecutor in the New York slayings, Robert Tanenbaum, now a private lawyer in Beverly Hills who co-wrote a book on the case, said Scott's testimony helped gain convictions of three men in the May 21, 1971, slaying of New York police Officers Waverly Jones and Joseph Piagentini.
The first trial of five men originally charged in the New York officers' death did not go well for prosecutors, Tanenbaum said. After the first trial ended in a hung jury, a New York police investigator went to New Orleans to talk to Scott again, Tanenbaum recalled.
The investigator said Scott had previously suggested he had an "ace in the hole," Tanenbaum said. At that point, Scott -- facing charges in San Francisco in the slaying of Young four years earlier -- suddenly agreed to testify against the five men who were accused, helping secure three convictions. The charges against two brothers, Francisco and Gabriel Torres, were dismissed during the second trial.
Scott, at the time of the second trial, was being held on suspicion of a bank robbery in New Orleans.
It was Scott, Tanenbaum said, who led authorities to a missing gun that belonged to one of the New York officers. Scott went to Mississippi with authorities, who unearthed the gun where Scott said he watched Bell bury it on a farm where Bell grew up.
"Everything he said to us was corroborated -- when you put a witness on, you vouch for his credibility as an officer of the court. I thought he was credible. Based on the corroboration, I thought he was highly credible," the former prosecutor said.
Scott also recounted how New Orleans police tortured him into confession, using cattle prods, Tanenbaum said. He also expressed fear to the judge that his life was at risk in custody.
Amid the allegations of abuse, the first San Francisco case collapsed in 1976. The grand jury indictment was dismissed after a court found that the men lacked counsel and had been tortured in New Orleans.
Michael Burt, who represents Boudreaux in the Young slaying, said Scott apparently testified before the grand jury that later indicted him. Burt said he has records showing that Scott was the only one of three accused who got such a subpoena. He apparently was a cooperating witness, Burt said.
Still, Burt said, defense lawyers have never seen any grand jury testimony by Scott or anyone else in the indictment.
"The file is missing -- we have made lots of efforts to get it," Burt said. "The original file and testimony and everything that happened are no longer part of the public record."
E-mail Jaxon Van Derbeken at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The ProLibertad Freedom Campaign
By Laura Ruth Johnson January 17, 2007
Having been involved with the issue of Puerto Rican political
prisoners for nearly 15 years, I have learned to expect, and be
prepared for, just about every type of injustice and maltreatment.
But what happened on Saturday December 29, when I attempted to take
Karina López to visit her grandfather, Oscar López Rivera, who is
incarcerated at USP Terre Haute, reached a new level of abuse. We
were denied visitation because I failed an ion scan, used to
determine any contact with trace narcotic elements. I tested positive
for THC, or marijuana. Although Karina was not tested (the tests are
performed randomly) she was essentially barred from visiting because
she is a minor and cannot visit unaccompanied. This was an annual
holiday visit and Karina had traveled from Puerto Rico to Chicago,
IL; we had driven almost 4 hours from Chicago to Terre Haute, leaving
at 4:30 am, only to immediately return home, our mission of spending
time with ‘buelo Oscar unfulfilled.
It should be noted that the ion scans have been cited for producing
false positives, and do not test your use of drugs but your contact
with narcotic elements. The guards themselves acknowledge that use of
cold medicine, cleaning solution, or cigarettes can result in a
positive reading. Karina remembered a time when, after I tested
positive 2 years ago, the guard mentioned that cat fur can trigger a
On the way back Karina and I discussed our experiences off visiting.
She has by far had to endure much more hardship associated with
visiting than I have, as her paternal grandmother was incarcerated
for 19 years and her maternal grandfather has now been imprisoned for
over 25 years, and in some of the most punitive prisons in the
country, such as Marion and Florence, where visits occur through
glass. Each prison has its own rules, and they seem to be constantly
changing, and sometimes arbitrarily enforced.
At Terre Haute, as in most prisons, there are rules for how you
should dress—no open toed shoes, tank tops, hooded sweaters, short
skirts, or khaki pants. You cannot bring in more than $20 and it
should be in a plastic bag. You cannot bring in any pictures or
personal items. You are assigned seating in uncomfortable plastic
chairs in a row, so that you have to crane your neck to have a
conversation. There can be no excessive touching, and prisoners have
been disciplined for kissing their wives.
The ion scan has been instituted more recently than some of the other
procedures, and has made the already difficult process of visiting
prisons even more arduous. The night before you must select and wash
your clothes—some even forgo using soap for fear of the chemicals. On
the drive down, you are anxious regarding whether you will be allowed
to visit. While in the waiting room, you watch others endure the
test—essentially a vacuum used on the pockets of your clothes, your
shoes, and your hands—and wonder if you will be selected randomly.
You witness others “fail” the test and become upset, holding back
tears, as I did a few days ago, and walk away. You leave feeling as
if you have done something wrong or illicit and ask your self
irrational questions: Did I not wash my shoes thoroughly? Did I wear
this outfit after washing it? Could someone I know have
“contaminated” my clothing or belongings? Nearly everyone I know has
failed the ion scan at least once, and some twice. After the first
positive in a one year period, you are unable to visit for 48 hours;
the second positive has a 30 day penalty. A fourth positive would ban
a person from visiting for 6 months.
Karina, whose experience and maturity far outnumbers her 15 years,
put it this way in describing the rationale of the scans: It’s their
way of telling us that “you are part of THIS now,” meaning that
because of your relationship with a prisoner, you too will be
criminalized. While it’s an effective means of reducing the numbers
of visitors, it also works to make visitors feels as if they have
committed a crime. Essentially it’s an additional form of oppression
against prisoners and those who visit them. Such a procedure is all
the more unjust when viewed in the context of the holidays, a time
when most people “on the outside” spend time with friends and family,
and visits are especially significant and meaningful.
Laura Ruth Johnson is an Assistant Professor in the College of
Education at Northern Illinois University. She has been a member of
the National Committee to Free Puerto Rican Political
Prisoners/National Boricua Human Rights Network since 1994.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
| Palestine News Network |
|Wednesday, 24 January 2007|
Many people demonstrate a serious deterioration in their health due to the Israeli policy of isolating prisoners in solitary confinement for lengthy periods of time under harsh conditions, reports the Palestinian Prisoner Society.
They are deprived the most basic of human rights, describes PPS. In Ramle Prison, for example, many people are “isolated in very narrow sections underground in darkness and humidity.” The same is true in Israeli Beer Aseeba Prison where "the means of punishment deny all rights of detainees, destroying their lives and the hope that they can have secure or happy lives."
The PPS reports that solitary confinement is "a slow, systematic execution that leaves prisoners suffering from mental illness and severe psychological problems.”
Sleep deprivation is common, as is the Israeli policy of openly using various forms of torture in 85 percent of cases. Israel uses methods of torture as part of its interrogation process, which PPS describes not only as being cruel, but as being prohibited internationally.
Due to injuries sustained during the interrogation process, or while being arrested, and due to pre-existing conditions or those resulting from difficult prison conditions, thousands of Palestinian political prisoners are ill. Many suffer asthma due to inhaling the gas bombs frequently thrown into cells.
After the recent deaths of of Jordanian prisoner Murad Abu Sakot from cancer and Palestinian Jamal Sarahin from medical neglect, the Palestinian Prisoner Society is demanding that 900 people be given needed surgeries. However, it is not only that the Israeli administration is unwilling to treat patients. There are many people who do not want to go to Israeli prison hospitals due to the well-documented cases of abuse and torture enroute from prison to hospital, and because once in the hospital treatment often does not come to the Palestinians who remain chained to hospital beds.
Palestinian Prisoner Society research is well-documented by teams of lawyers, sworn and signed affidavits, and reports that confirm the statements. Fifteen to 20 Palestinians arrive at Ramle Prison Hospital daily where they are placed in overcrowded areas, not allowed fresh air or sunshine, are fed inadequately, chained to the beds and not treated. Medical treatment often does not come at all, or surgeries are postponed for lengthy periods of time.
A Palestinian Prisoner Society report pointed out that there are more than 900 political prisoners in immediate need of surgery. There are prisoners suffering from illnesses such as cancer, heart and lung diseases, kidney diseases and problems with the spinal column. There are many cases of infections , neurological and psychiatric diseases, and a large number of people paralyzed, including those with amputated hands, feet and legs.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Richard O'Neal, Harold Taylor, Jalil Abdul Muntaqim, and Herman Bell
San Fransisco, California, U.S. - Eight veterans of the Black Panther Party (BPP,) seven of whom are accused of belonging to the Black Liberation Army (BLA,) were arrested today on charges stemming from the 1971 shooting death of San Fransisco Police Sgt. John V. Young.
The August 29, 1971 attack on the Ingleside Police Station came only eight days after San Quentin prison guards gunned down BPP Field Marshal "Soledad Brother" George Jackson. The murder of Jackson provoked threats of retaliation and even sparked the Attica Prison rebellion.
Seven of the men arrested, all suspected BLA members, were charged with murder and conspiracy. They are Ray Michael Boudreaux, 64, of Altadena; Richard Brown, 65, of San Francisco; Herman Bell, 59, and Jalil Abdul Muntaqim formerly known as Anthony Bottom, 55, both currently incarcerated in New York state; Henry Watson Jones, 71, of Altadena; Francisco Torres, 58, of Queens, New York; and Harold Taylor, 58, of Panama City, Florida.
Another suspect, Ronald Stanley Bridgeforth, 62, was still being sought on murder and conspiracy charges. Authorities believe he could be in France, Belize or Tanzania.
Taylor and two others faced murder charges in 1973, but the case was dismissed after a San Francisco judge that torture was used to extract confessions from the men. San Francisco Police Department Inspectors Frank McCoy and Ed Erdelatz were present for the interrogation and torture which consisted of stripping the men naked and beating them with a lead pipe, blind folding them and throwing wool blankets soaked with boiling water over their bodies, placing electric probes on their genitals and other body parts, inserting an electric cattle prod in their anus, punching and kicking, and slamming them into walls while blindfolded.
McCoy and Erdelatz came out of retirement to lead investigation when the case was reopened sometime in 2002. The decision to re-investigate the incident followed the Department of Justice's expanding prosecution of political crimes in the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks.
Bell's attorney Stuart Hanlon called the arrests a "prosecution based on vengeance and hate from the '60s." "There's a law enforcement attitude that they hate these people, the Panthers," Hanlon said. "Now they're going after old men."
By MARCUS WOHLSEN, Associated Press Writer Jan. 23, 2007
SAN FRANCISCO - Eight men were arrested Tuesday in the 1971 slaying of a police officer that authorities say was part of a black power group's five-year campaign to kill law enforcement officers in San Francisco and New York.
Police said seven of the eight are believed to be former members of the Black Liberation Army, an offshoot of the Black Panther Party.
The Aug. 29, 1971, shooting death of Sgt. John V. Young, 51, at a San Francisco police station was one in a series of attacks by BLA members on law enforcement officials on both coasts, police said.
The attacks, carried out between 1968 and 1973, also included the bombing of a police funeral in San Francisco and the slayings of two New York City police officers, as well as three armed bank robberies that helped fund their operations, police said.
The arrests were just the latest attempt in recent years to hold antiwar radicals and black-power militants responsible for crimes committed a generation ago.
The investigation of the Black Liberation Army killing spree was reopened in 1999 after "advances in forensic science led to the discovery of new evidence in one of the unsolved cases," the San Francisco Police Department said in a statement.
Morris Tabak, the department's deputy chief of investigations, would not elaborate on the evidence except to say: "It could be fibers. It could be DNA. It could be other biological evidence."
Murder and conspiracy charges were filed against Ray Michael Boudreaux, 64, of Altadena; Richard Brown, 65, of San Francisco; Herman Bell, 59, and Anthony Bottom, 55, both behind bars in New York state; Henry Watson Jones, 71, of Altadena; Francisco Torres, 58, of New York City; and Harold Taylor, 58, of Panama City, Fla.
Bell's lawyer, San Francisco attorney Stuart Hanlon, called the arrests a "prosecution based on vengeance and hate from the '60s."
"There's a law enforcement attitude that they hate these people, the Panthers," Hanlon said. "Now they're going after old men."
Richard O'Neal, 57, of San Francisco, was also arrested on conspiracy charges.
A ninth suspect, Ronald Stanley Bridgeforth, 62, was still being sought. Police said he could be in France, Belize or Tanzania.
It's unclear whether Bridgeforth and O'Neal were members of the Black Liberation Army.
None of the suspects will face the death penalty, said Maggy Krell, deputy state attorney general. The death penalty law in effect at the time of the attack was declared unconstitutional in 1972.
The slain officer was killed when Bell and Torres, armed with guns and dynamite, raided a neighborhood police station, firing a shotgun through a hole in the lobby's bulletproof window, as accomplices were posted outside as lookouts, according to police officials in New York. A civilian clerk was wounded. Torres is accused of trying to ignite the dynamite as the pair fled the station, but the explosives failed.
The station was nearly empty that night as most officers responded to a diversionary bombing of a bank by other conspirators, according to the NYPD.
After his arrest Tuesday in New York, Torres called the case "a frame-up."
Three men, including Taylor, were charged in the attack in 1975. But the charges were thrown out by a San Francisco judge because of a ruling that evidence was obtained by torture after the suspects were arrested in New Orleans.
Bell and Bottom are serving life sentences for the killings of two New York police officers.
Another suspect in Young's slaying, John Bowman of Oklahoma, died in December, according to his lawyer, Ann Moorman of Ukiah.
In some other cases dating to the Vietnam era, Sara Jane Olson, formerly known as Kathleen Soliah, was arrested in 1999. A former member of the Symbionese Liberation Army — the radical group that kidnapped newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst in 1974 — she pleaded guilty and was sent to prison for the 1975 attempted bombings of Los Angeles police cars and a Sacramento-area bank robbery that left a woman dead. Four other former SLA members were also sent to prison in the robbery.
Katherine Ann Power, an antiwar radical implicated in a fatal bank robbery in Boston in 1970, surrendered in 1993 and pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
Associated Press Writers Kim Curtis and Juliana Barbassa in San Francisco and Tom Hays in New York City contributed to this report.
1) (USA) Helen Woodson is ill and in hospital!
2) (Italy) Update on Lecce Defendants Trial
3) (USA) Mailout from Eric McDavid's support campaign
1) ELP has received the following e-mail from email@example.com
who are leading the support campaign for Helen Woodson.
Dear Friends of Helen,
Last weekend we learned via the grapevine that Helen had been
diagnosed with mycoplasmic interstitial pneumonia and moved to a
medical/surgical ward at FCI Carswell. From there she could not make
phone calls, and of course no information was given to her friends in
Admin. Max who asked guards and supervisors about her, so we were in
the dark for a few days.
Today we received letters from both Helen and a friend in Admin. Max,
Helen writing from her first day in the hospital, and both informing
us of the move. Then a few hours later, Helen phoned: she was back
in the Admin Max unit. She had oxygen for use as needed while she
got a few days of antibiotic treatment, and is continuing on oral
antibiotics now. She feels better, having had the treatments &
oxygen, and should regain some stamina that had noticeably declined
in the time since her return to Ft. Worth from the county jail. Her
theory is that she contracted these ailments in the close confines
and often-changing younger population of the jail, & that the
pneumonia was held at bay while she was taking antibiotics for
persistent bladder infections. When she stopped taking those (which
are not the same as the ones used for killing pneumonia), the
pneumonia had a chance to really get established. They presume the
infection is gone, but her lungs show scarring that don't interfere
with her breathing & should heal over time. Other good news is that
her heart tested OK, so there is NO indication of congestive heart
disease, which is often present when this type of pneumonia goes
You may still write to her at :
Helen Woodson 03231-045
FMC Carswell, Max Unit
Ft. Worth, TX 76127
2) ELP has just received the following mailout from Italy concerning
the Lecce Defendants...
On January 18 another hearing of the Nottetempo trial was held in
Lecce. Witnesses for the prosecution, including doctor Katia Cazzato
and doctor Ruberti, made their depositions. The doctors had compiled
false medical certificates following a violent beating inflicted on
immigrants who had tried to escape the Regina Pacis camp. Although
Cazzato and Ruberti were not present on that occasion, they drew up
certificates presenting bruises and wounds inflicted by carabinieri
and priest Lodeserto as the result of falls. Both doctors denied any
All requests put forward by the defence in favour of the three
comrades still under house arrest (permission to work and the
possibility to go to the court without a police escort) were rejected.
It appears clear that Salvatore, Saverio and Cristian will be held
under house arrest until the end of the trial. Furthermore the
refusal to grant even the smallest request presented by their lawyers
gives the impression that the strings of this trial are being pulled
far beyond the court. Until now it had been taken for granted that
charges of subversive association would be dropped and that some of
the defendants would be accused of specific crimes alone, but it now
seems that this trial is being used in order to effectively sentence
anarchists for subversive association for the first time.
The next hearings will be held on January 25, February 8 and February 22.
3) ELP has received the following e-mail from Sac Prisoner Support
who are running Eric McDavid's support campaign. As the below e-mail
shows, Eric is in need of funds so if anyone has a few spare cents or
fancies trying a fund raising event (music concerts are always a good
way to raise money!) then do please contact Sac Prisoner Support.
After more than a year of pretrial incarceration and the associated legal
costs, Eric McDavid is preparing to go to trial and needs to raise funds
to mount the best defense possible. Despite the fact that no crime has
been committed, Eric is facing 20 years in prison because of the efforts
of a highly paid government informant. Eric’s two co-defendants are
cooperating with the government so Eric and his attorney are left to fight
this outrageous charge alone. To prepare for trial Eric must hire
investigators and experts, as well as continue paying his attorney. This
will cost thousands of dollars. We are trying to raise as much money as
possible, as quickly as possible, so that this enormous financial burden
will no longer fall on his family. There is currently no date set for
trial, but it could begin as early as April. We will announce the date as
soon as it is set.
Please consider organizing a fundraiser for Eric or donate directly
through paypal to: sacprisonersupport[at]riseup[dot]net
If you would like to send a donation by mail, make a check/money order out
to: “Sacramento Defense Fund” and send to:
Sac Prisoner Support
PO Box 163126
Sacramento, CA 95816
(checks/money orders must be made out to “Sacramento Defense Fund” or we
will not be able to deposit them)
visit Eric’s website at www.supporteric.org for further information and
updates. A new support flyer will be up soon.
Earth Liberation Prisoners Support Network
BM Box 2407
North American ELP Support Network