Saturday, October 31, 2009

The FBI Raid and Shooting Death of Imam Luqman

by the Muslim Alliance in North America oct. 29, 2009 MR Zine

It is with deep sadness and concern that we announce the shooting death of Imam Luqman A. Abdullah, of Masjid Al-Haqq (Detroit, MI). Imam Luqman was a representative of the Detroit Muslim community to the "National Ummah" and the general assembly (Shura) of the Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA).

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced that their agents shot and killed the Imam during a raid related to a criminal complaint alleging that members of the mosque were engaged in criminal, but "not terrorist activity." This tragic shooting raises deep concerns regarding the use of lethal force by law enforcement agents.

Since the investigation was "solely criminal" based upon "smuggling and fraud," we urge law enforcement and the media not to take advantage of this tragedy in order to demonize American Muslims generally, and those who are African American Muslims in particular.

The National Community or "Ummah" was established by Imam Jamil Al-Amin (formerly known as H. Rap Brown). It is an association of mosques in several cities in the U.S. that coordinates religious and social services primarily in the Black American community. Reference to the "Ummah" as a "nation-wide radical fundamentalist Sunni group consisting primarily of African-Americans" is an offensive mis-characterization.

To those who have worked with Imam Luqman A. Abdullah, allegations of illegal activity, resisting arrest, and "offensive jihad against the American government" are shocking and inconsistent. In his ministry he consistently advocated for the downtrodden and always spoke about the importance of connecting with the needs of the poor.

It is our hope and prayer that a thorough investigation will be carried out with the greatest integrity. We urge the Muslim community and all Americans committed to justice to actively monitor both the investigation and trial of the accused. Also, we urge law enforcement authorities to release Imam Luqman's remains expeditiously so that they may be buried according to Islamic practice.

Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA) is an organization committed to Muslim issues and concerns that especially impact indigenous Muslims -- issues and concerns that we feel have been largely neglected. MANA is committed to the establishment of viable, healthy, and dynamic Muslim communities, neighborhoods, and institutions that meet the religious, social, economic, and political needs of the Muslims in this land. For more information about MANA's programs including SHARE centers, Healthy Marriage Initiative, Community Re-entry Program, as well as the National Campaign for Healing and Reconciliation, visit our website at

Statement On The Fatal Shooting of Imam Luquman Ameen

The International National Council for Urban (Formations) Peace,
Justice and Empowerment

We, as members of the International Council for Urban (Formations)
Peace, Justice and Empowerment are appalled by the raids on Masjid
Al-Haqq and a halal meat packing plant that left Imam Luquman Ameen
Abdullah dead. We are demanding an independent investigation into
this action that is clearly the result of a climate of Islamaphobia
fed by law enforcement and a media bent on sensationalism. This
complaint and the resulting raid are nothing more than government
sponsored terrorism against a group that was working to help the
community. This action is inconsistent with statements by President
Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder which call for mutual
respect for Muslims in the United States.

The inconsistencies in this investigation are glaring. The case is
based on the sworn statements of informants. These informants were
convicted criminals who were paid by the federal government for their
"work". These criminals were used to engage and entrap law abiding citizens.

We have seen the media statements that Imam Abdullah was the head of
a separatist group called Ummah, which means Brotherhood. Ummah
means community-not brotherhood. Al-Ummah is not now, or has ever
been, a Black Separatist and radical group, as any discrimination on
the basis of skin color is forbidden in the Koran. We as an
organization have never heard Imam Abdullah make any statements
consistent with the statements in the complaint. We have never seen
any actions that would be consistent with the allegations in the complaint.

The media has stated that there is a sign at the mosque that states
that "There is no God but Allah". There is only one god, who is
known by many names in many cultures. Why was this statement even mentioned?

The FBI has stated that this was not a terrorism case. However, the
investigation was conducted by a counter terrorism unit. They
mention threats against the government and the Federal Bureau of
Investigation. Is this a terrorism case or not?

Much is also being made of the fact that many of the members of the
Masjid Al-Haqq converted to Islam while in prison. The inference is
that, while they served their time in prison, sought to change their
lives by developing a practicing faith-they have not really
changed. Much is also being made about Imam Jamil Al-Amin being the
leader of Al-Ummah. Various articles state that he is serving time
in a federal prison facility for federal charges after murdering two
police officers. The fact is that those were state charges and he is
being housed in a federal penitentiary on state charges.

All of the facts-not just the words of paid informants- need to be
brought out in a clear and unbiased manner. The fact is that Masjid
Al-Haqq, under the direction of Imam Abdullah, fed the hungry, housed
the homeless, worked with gangs and the formerly incarcerated to turn
a crime ridden and drug infested neighborhood around to becoming a
productive community. The fact is that a complaint is not an
indictment. The fact is that the media is engaging in an
Islamaphobic feeding frenzy. The most disturbing fact is that a
religious leader who reached out to his people and his community is
dead, the victim of a society that sees anyone who is different as

Amir El Hajj Khalid A. Samad and T. Rashad Byrdsong

On behalf of the International Council for Urban (Formations) Peace,
Justice and Empowerment


Contact information;

Amir El Hajj Khalid A. Samad (216) 322-6059 or (216) 538-4043
T. Rashad Byrdsong (412) 371-5197

Friday, October 30, 2009

Sugar Union Leaders Sentenced to Prison in Iran - Act Now!

Posted to the IUF website 26-Oct-2009

Share this article.

In a drive to destroy the independent union established last year by workers at the giant Haft Tapeh plantation/refining sugar complex in southern Iran, a court on October 12 sentenced 6 union leaders to immediate prison terms on charges stemming from October 2007. Three leaders convicted for their union activity last year for "endangering national security" in connection with worker action in 2008 had their sentences overturned on appeal in September. Two union officers, president Ali Nejati and communications officer Reza Rakhshan, both of whom face lengthy prison sentences, were still awaiting the outcome of their appeal when the court in the city of Dezful sentenced the six leaders on the similar 2007 charges.

Ghorban Alipour, Feridoun Nikoufard, Jalil Ahmadi, Nejat Dehli and Ali Nejati were all sentenced to 6 months' immediate imprisonment and 6 months suspended sentences over 5 years; during which time they are barred from union activity. Mohammad Heydari Mehr received a 4 month term, 8 months suspended. Ali Nejati must serve his suspended sentence as prison time, meaning he faces an immediate one-year prison term. Should he lose his appeal on the 2008 conviction, his sentence could stretch to over 2 years.

Haft Tapeh workers in recent years have repeatedly had to resort to strikes and other actions to claim huge wage arrears and protest deteriorating working conditions. The union was officially founded in June 2008 following a 42-day strike to demand long-standing arrears. The Haft Tapeh union is an IUF affiliate.

Haft Tapeh president Nejati has been refused work at Haft Tapeh and blacklisted from all work in the region since being released in April from a month in solitary confinement in an intelligence detention center. The other Haft Tapeh leaders sentence on October 12 have now also been turned away from their work and instructed to report to prison.

The regime is clearly determined to crush the union by putting its entire leadership behind bars.

The fate of imprisoned transport and teachers' union activists shows that the Haft Tapeh prisoners risk prolonged physical and psychological abuse. The IUF urges all defenders of democratic and trade union rights to mobilize in their defense.

Act Now! - CLICK HERE to send a message to the Iranian state and judicial authorities, calling on them to immediately and unconditionally annul the sentences against the Haft Tapeh unionists! Please note that some messages may bounce back - do not be discouraged! Server overload is a common condition in Iran - some messages will get through, making the point that the persecuted trade unionists enjoy international support. The Haft Tapeh union leaders are also supported by Amnesty International.

You can also send a message to the Iranian embassy or diplomatic representation in your country - or pay them a visit! A complete list of embassies/consulates is available here, and you can generally find e-mail addresses by searching the internet for the individual representation in your country.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

DC: 11/05 Demonstrate for Leonard Peltier’s Freedom!

Thursday, November 5, 2009 • 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Lafayette Park, Washington, DC

President Obama will host his first annual White House Tribal Summit on 05 November
2009. The Nations will be given the opportunity to interact directly with the
president and other top administration officials. All of the 564 federally
recognized tribes are invited to send a representative. This is a prime opportunity
to be seen and heard on the issue of Leonard Peltier’s wrongful conviction and
imprisonment. Please plan to attend.

Supporters will gather in Lafayette Park on Pennsylvania Avenue (across from the
White House) at 6:00 a.m. Bring signs and banners, wear Peltier T-Shirts, etc. From
Lafayette Park , supporters will walk to the Department of the Interior, 1849 C
Street, NW, where tribal leaders will assemble for their meeting with President

In support of this action, tribal members are asked to (1) urge your Tribal
Chairpersons to speak to Obama on Mr. Peltier’s behalf — Free Peltier NOW; and (2)
lobby your Tribal Councils to pass resolutions calling for freedom for Peltier, the
release of all case-related documents still withheld by the Federal Bureau of
Investigation (FBI), and a congressional hearing on the government’s role in the
turmoil on Pine Ridge Reservation during the 1970s.

Clemency is one path to freedom for Leonard Peltier. However, there are other issues
that deserve as much attention — an Executive Review by Attorney General Eric
Holder, for example. We’ve pushed for a review recently, as you know. But there are
other important initiatives that we all need to work on:

Congressional Hearing: In the early 70s, the Select Committee to Study Governmental
Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, or the Church Committee,
investigated the counterintelligence activities of the FBI. The FBI conducted more
than 2,000 COINTELPRO operations before the programs were officially discontinued in
April of 1971. (While the programs themselves were discontinued, the FBI’s practices
that the Church Committee found so objectionable were not.) The Church Committee had
intended to investigate the American Indian Movement as another dissident group
targeted by the Bureau. Witnesses had been investigated by congressional staff and
called to provide testimony. However, one day after the firefight at Oglala, the
Church Committee cancelled the hearings. We need to work hard to see that official
misconduct in Indian Country — past and present — is finally addressed.

FOIA Documents: The FBI continues to withhold tens of thousands of documents related
to the RESMURS investigation. These documents are over 25 years old and, at minimum,
should be turned over to the National Archives. Why are the documents important? You
have all heard about information uncovered after Mr. Peltier’s trial. Given the
nature of that evidence — the withheld ballistics report, for example — there is
every reason to expect that other evidence is contained in the documents that may
allow Mr. Peltier to appeal his conviction.

On his first full day in office, President Obama signed an Executive Order with
regard to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). He encouraged accountability
through transparency, and said FOIA should be administered with a presumption of
openness. Due to subsequent guidelines established by AG Holder, the Peltier Legal
Team may succeed at getting Peltier documents released. But the attorneys need your
help to make that happen.

We need people to continue calling the White House Comment Line and the Attorney
General every Friday to keep the pressure on: You can find the details here. •
“I would like to ask you why when we speak you do not listen, and when you listen,
you do not hear, and when you hear us, you do not choose to understand what we say.
This is one time that I ask you to listen carefully and understand what we have to
say.” — Frank Fools Crow

NYC: 11/14 Freedom Dance for Sundiata Acoli!

7 P.M. TO 11 P.M.
310 W. 43rd STREET, btw. 8th & 9th AVENUES
NEW YORK, NY 10036
$20 Admission, Food & Beverages for purchase
Fundraiser for the Sundiata Acoli Freedom Campaign (SAFC)
On Saturday, November 14th, we will dance and celebrate at Freedom Dance. This
celebration is an opportunity for us as a community to acknowledge our victories and
renew our efforts to continue this essential work. We celebrate the liberation and
freedom of our sister Assata Shakur, who along with many other Political Prisoners
(who still remain behind the walls) set the example of unselfish sacrifice for our
beloved people. We also celebrate the sacrifice of those freedom fighters whose
spirits were released due to their physical demise. This is a celebration for them
all. We will especially honor Sundiata Acoli. Through music and the warm meaningful
collective interaction of dance and laughter, we will reaffirm our commitment to
their freedom.

“I want so much for Sundiata to know how much he is loved and respected. I want him
to know how much he is appreciated by revolutionaries all over the world. I want
Sundiata to know how much he is cherished by African people, not only in the
Americas, but all over the Diaspora. I want him to know how much we admire his
strength, his courage, his kindness and compassion. Sundiata loves freedom and we
must struggle for the life and freedom of Sundiata.” - Assata Shakur

VIDEO: On Trial for Speaking Out: Wyking Garrett

author: Umojafest Peace Center posted to Seattle Indymedia
Oct 28, 2009 19:47

The Coleman School in Seattle, WA was occupied in 1985 by a group of black men who demanded it be preserved and transformed into a community center for the community. As consistently happens, the government along with the Urban League of Seattle turned the building into a condominium with an excuse for a 'museum' on the first floor.

If you truly support self-determination, reparations, grassroots community development, pay very close attention to this case and the larger politics surrounding it.

The trial for my unlawful arrest at opening of Urban League Village/Northwest African American Museum begins tomorrow. They have dropped 3 of the 4 charges (Criminal Trespass 1 & 2 and Disorderly Conduct) and are trying to stick me with a phony charge of Resisting Arrest.

For insight check out and the video put together by the End White Supremacy Project.

NAAM Scam video:

Click here if you are unable to play the video above.

Democratic Senator Maria Cantwell who speaks of a 'new museum in Seattle,' is pro-WAR and pro-Patriot act - notice her minions (all African descent) who take Wyking Allah off of the podium. This is a consistent dynamic of pool in the system of racism - there is one white ball on the table who uses other non-white balls to control and ultimately knock the desired ball off the table.

In an government system that has used any means to maintain oppression (COINTEL-PRO can be learned about here on youTube, just one of many examples that is still operational), questions must be asked as to why the Coleman School has been taken, why was the community lied to?

Its the story of real criminals - who roll with acronyms like FBI, DEA, CIA, SPD - strong arming what the African community needs and fought for - an institution to combat the systematic violence promoted in Seattle,WA that causes our youth to die, fall victim to the prison industrial complex and maintain the powers that be.

If you want to come out and show support (and get edutained on how the system works against us), I’ll be in the Seattle Municipal Court at 600 5th (5th & James), Courtroom 1102 starting at 9am.

Opening arguments will be Tomorrow afternoon (10/27/09) or Wednesday morning (10/28/09).

Mayor Greg Nickels is testifying Thursday at 10am.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

boston: pack the courtroom for tariq: fri.10/30 11:00 am

Court Date for Tariq Mehanna
Victim of Injustice and Deception

When: Friday October 30th
Where: Moakley Federal Courthouse
1 Courthouse Way, Boston MA
Time: 11:00 am

This is the first hearing, where the judge reviews the evidence and
determines if it warrants proceeding, so it's important that we fill
the courthouse. Let's turn out big for our brother Tariq and show
that the community strongly opposes this injustice!

The hearing begins at 11:00 a.m. and probably won't go beyond 1:00 p.m.

Free Tariq!

For more information see: <>

innocent but facing execution sun nov 8 sf Kevin Cooper, Troy Davis & Mumia Abu-Jamal


Kevin Cooper Troy Davis Mumia Abu-Jamal

Laura Moye, Director, Amnesty International's Death Penalty Abolition
Campaign; actively
working for several years with Troy Davis and his family in Georgia

Hans Bennett, Founder, Journalists for Mumia Abu-Jamal; Editor, Free
Mumia News; Author,
The Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal: Innocent Man on Death Row

Rebecca Doran, leading activist in Kevin Cooper's defense

Sunday, November 8, 2009 2:00 pm

Centro Del Pueblo, 474 Valencia Street (between 15th and 16th
Streets) San Francisco
Admission: $5.00 - $20 sliding scale. No one turned away for lack of funds.

Sponsor: Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal, 510-268-9429
[Also in Palo Alto, Fri., Nov. 6, 7:30 pm, Fellowship Hall, First
Baptist Church, 305 N. California
Ave, 650-326-8837,] labor donated

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

From Death Row, Mumia Abu Jamal

Video from the Partisan Defence Committee. Free Mumia NOW!! Mumia is an innocent man! Abolish the Racist Death Penalty!!

UK Police Spying Began With Animal Rights Activists Then Expanded to Other Groups


There has been a slew of incredible, and disturbing, reporting by the UK Guardian recently on how police have rebranded activism as “domestic extremism” and “domestic terrorism.” Environmental activists, antiwar activists, animal rights activists and many more groups have been targeted. Specifically, police have gathered personal information on thousands of activists who simply attend protests or political meetings, and created massive national databases.

For instance, this “spotter card” was distributed to police officers in preparation for protests at Britain’s largest arms fair. According to the Guardian:

These so-called “spotter cards” are issued by police to identify individuals they consider to be potential troublemakers because they have appeared at a number of demonstrations.

One of the individuals featured at ‘H’ is Mark Thomas, a comedian and political activist. He has no criminal record. In a column, he noted how this scaremongering reflects truly misplaced priorities:

While being wanted outside the arms fair, I was legitimately inside researching a book on the subject, and uncovered four companies illegally promoting “banned” torture equipment.

Perhaps the most important bit of information, I think, is buried a bit in the story. According to this investigative piece by the Guardian:

Acpo’s national infrastructure for dealing with domestic extremism was set up with the backing of the Home Office in an attempt to combat animal rights activists who were committing serious crimes. Senior officers concede the criminal activity associated with these groups has receded, but the units dealing with domestic extremism have expanded their remit to incorporate campaign groups across the political spectrum, including anti-war and environmental groups that have only ever engaged in peaceful direct action.

If you’re familiar with this site and the Green Scare, you know that one of the key points I try to hit home, repeatedly, is that environmental and animal rights activists may be among the first targets in these political crackdowns, but they will not be the last. By the admission of some government officials in the UK, this has clearly been the case.

Whether or not that has been the official policy in the United States, the same dynamic is at play. If we do not stop the terrorism rhetoric, legislation, court cases and scare-mongering in its tracks, no activist and no social movement will remain untouched.

Of course, you could always just continue listening to the soundbites of police and government officials, like this one from Anton Setchell, who is in charges of the “domestic extremism” unit in the UK. People who find themselves on the databases, he says, “should not worry at all.”


The National Lawyers Guild has created a great new resource, “Operation Backfire: a Survival Guide for Environmental and Animal Rights Activists.” It’s a booklet on how environmental and animal rights activists have been targeted by the government and branded as the top domestic terrorism threat. It also has a great “know your rights” section that offers information on:

  • handling encounters with the police and FBI in various situations
  • suggestions for how to respond when questioned or presented with a warrant
  • information about your rights when asked for identification or a DNA sample
  • a discussion of grand juries, subpoenas, and FBI attempts to turn activists into informants.

To request free copies, call the National Lawyers Guild office at (212) 679-5100. You can also download the booklet at (I also uploaded “Operation Backfire” here on GreenIsTheNewRed, as a backup).

And don’t forget the guild has a Green Scare Hotline at 888-NLG-ECOL (888-654-3265).

Monday, October 26, 2009

Attorney Reports Human Rights Abuses of GI Resisters

Sgt. Travis Bishop, who served a tour in Iraq, is now considered to be a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International. (Photo: courtesy of Travis Bishop)

Sgt. Travis Bishop, who served a tour in Iraq, is now considered to be a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International. (Photo: courtesy of Travis Bishop)

Attorneys and veteran’s groups are alarmed by recent reports that two US Army soldiers imprisoned at the Fort Lewis Regional Correctional Facility (RCF) have been subjected to human rights abuses and violations of their constitutional rights.

Travis Bishop, who has served a tour of duty in Iraq and is now recognized by Amnesty International as a “Prisoner of Conscience,” resisted deployment to Afghanistan. The other soldier, Leo Church, recently went absent without leave (AWOL) from his unit in order to prevent his family from going homeless.

The civilian defense attorney for both soldiers, James M. Branum, told Truthout that both soldiers have been strip-searched while possibly being filmed. Bishop and Church have also been watched by female guards during strip-searches, while using the restroom as well as while in the showers. Both soldiers have been denied one in-person visit by their attorneys and all phone calls with their attorneys have been illegally monitored by guards.

Branum reported, “The Fort Lewis Brig is violating the constitutional rights of my clients, namely their protections under the Eighth Amendment (the prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment) and the Sixth Amendment (the right to counsel). This mistreatment must end.”

Seth Manzel, a Fort Lewis Stryker Brigade veteran and executive director of the veteran support group G.I. Voice, said of the matter, “These techniques of sexual humiliation are far too similar to those practiced on foreign prisoners at Abu Ghraib in Iraq and Bagram in Afghanistan. Is the Army at Fort Lewis using enhanced interrogation techniques to break down American soldiers here at home?”

Manzel, speaking with Truthout via telephone, said his group wants people to know that these abuses are occurring against soldiers “who signed up to defend the country” and “the idea that we do this to our own soldiers demonstrates how amazingly barbaric this system is.”

Other attorneys and military veteran bloggers have long commented on reports of human rights abuses in the RCF, including the use of female guards to sexually humiliate prisoners. The reports include the 2005 case of Michael Levitt, who plugged up his cell toilet in response to reported sexual humiliation by guards, and was then chained to a “stress-chair” (with metal frames, but no seat) for 109 hours. Other war resisters, such as Sgt. Kevin Benderman and Spc. Suzanne Swift have been held at the Fort Lewis RCF.

Manzel, who also helps run the GI resistance coffee house near Fort Lewis, Coffee Strong, added, “We’re trying to raise awareness and give direct support to these two men. Ideally, we hope to pressure the leadership at Fort Lewis to respect their basic human rights, so that the leadership, courts, and other soldiers on base know that there is support out there for other soldiers who resist.”

On September 28, Truthout reported that both soldiers had been held incommunicado, which violated their Sixth Amendment rights.

The Sixth Amendment is the part of the Bill of Rights that sets forth rights related to criminal prosecutions in federal courts, and reads, “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district where in the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.”

According to Branum, guards are monitoring his conversations with the soldiers, in addition to the fact that the room at Fort Lewis where they meet is not soundproof.

“The guards say we don’t have the room set up yet, but the problem is they had the new brig as a grand opening in August,” he explained. “But the attorney room is not set up. So they need to be transferred to another building where we can have private conversations.”

“The last time I talked to Travis on the phone, he was telling me there was more issues of abuse, but he couldn’t go into detail with me since our conversation was not private,” Branum added.

Attorney LeGrande Jones, who practices in Olympia and was designated by Branum as the local counsel for Bishop, was also denied access to Bishop.

Branum said that the soldiers’ Eighth Amendment rights had been violated as well.

“The Eighth Amendment prohibits cruel and unusual punishment,” Branum explained to Truthout, “You can’t use sexual humiliation as punishment. In the civilian world, it would not fly to have female guards watching over men using the shower. There’s just no reason to use guards of a different gender to do this, particularly when the military is so male dominated. It’s really weird that they are doing this at Fort Lewis.”

Branum said that Leo Church had been strip-searched in a room while told that cameras were running.

Bishop is in the brig for having gone AWOL from Fort Hood, Texas, on the day of his deployment to Afghanistan to give himself “time to prepare for my application process.” He was away from his unit for about a week, during which he drafted his CO application and sought legal advice. He returned voluntarily and on his return to the unit he submitted his application, but was court-martialed even as the Army was still reviewing it.

Church was imprisoned for having gone AWOL, which he did in order to prevent his wife and children from becoming homeless. He tried to get help from his unit, but was denied, and received eight months prison time. Church was eventually forced by this ordeal to give his newborn son up for adoption. According to Church, “With everything that was going on, from me leaving, even though it was to care for my family, because I could find no support from the Army, Amanda and I had to place our son, Austin in a loving home through adoption. We did not want him enduring the strife that we had endured and for him to end up being fatherless, because I would be living in prison.”

Andrew VanDenBergh, a Marine veteran of the Iraq war and a G.I. Voice staff member, said of Leo Church in a press release, “He joined the Army, found out his family was homeless, wasn’t allowed to keep his children from living on the streets, went to take care of his family, had to give a child up for adoption and is now locked in prison and being abused. Being abused for what? For taking care of his children?”

Fort Lewis continues to be a center of controversy with the recent revelation that a civilian security employee has been spying on groups opposing the shipment of Stryker combat vehicles through local ports.

BOP increases the heat on Puerto Rican political prisoner Carlos Alberto Torres

The Federal Bureau of Prisons has
upped the ante in its efforts to derail the
Parole Commission from adopting the hearing
examiner?s recommendation that Puerto Rican
political prisoner Carlos Alberto Torres be released in April of 2010.

This month, BOP officials notified
Carlos Alberto that he has been assigned a
?Security Threat Group? [STG] status of ?Domestic
Terrorist Associate?? not insignificant timing,
given his 29 years of conduct as a model
prisoner. But the timing is not at all odd, for
the BOP?s purposes of derailing his parole.

For the BOP?s efforts, timing has
been everything. First, on the eve of his January
parole hearing, the BOP leveled false
disciplinary charges. The hearing was postponed;
the charges were expunged. At the rescheduled May
parole hearing came the recommendation of release
in April of 2010. Within days, the BOP renewed
the same false disciplinary charges. The Parole
Commission then issued an order postponing for 90
days its decision whether to adopt the
recommendation for release in April of 2010.
Before the 90 day period expired, and while
awaiting the adjudication of the false
disciplinary charges, the BOP surfaced the STG status.

In addition to trying to impact the
parole decision, the BOP?s efforts are also
calculated to destabilize Carlos Alberto. As a
result of the false disciplinary charges, the BOP
held him completely incommunicado for 60 days,
cutting off all telephone calls and visits.
Though he was supposed to be able to communicate
by way of mail, officials significantly delayed
his outgoing and incoming Spanish language mail,
due to a new translation policy, applicable
solely to him. Their vigorous application of the
new policy penetrated even his confidential legal
mail, as officials confiscated privileged legal
materials in the Spanish language. Thus, added to
the uncertainty as to his future is the
insecurity as to his ability to communicate, even with his attorney.

Protest letters to the warden and
the director of the BOP are available at:

Jan Susler
October 23, 2009
Chronology of Federal Bureau of Prisons Intervention in
Puerto Rican Political Prisoner
Carlos Alberto Torres? Bid for Parole

Carlos Alberto Torres has served 29 years in
prison for his commitment to the independence of
his country, Puerto Rico, serving a 70 year
sentence. His release date is currently set for
December of 2024. His conduct in prison has been
above reproach. In 1994, he appeared before the
U.S. Parole Commission, seeking release on
parole. The commission denied parole and set him
for another hearing in 15 years. That hearing was
scheduled for January 22, 2009. The following
events demonstrate the Federal Bureau of Prisons?
attempts to intervene in and derail his efforts to win parole:

November 2008
There is a disturbance in the prison population
at FCI Pekin. Prison officials mismanage the
incident. Officials then lock down the entire population for a month.

December 2, 2008
As a result of the disturbance, FCI Pekin
officials transfer all the prisoners from the
housing unit where Carlos had been assigned to a
two man cell, and place him in Illinois 1 unit,
cell A09, a ten man cell where the other
occupants had been living for many months.

December 2008
Carlos makes more than one request for a cell
change to a two man cell, but his requests are rebuffed.

January 14, 2009
Prison staff serve Carlos with an Incident
Report: ?On January 14, 2009 at 3:00 p.m., while
conducting a shake down of A09 in Illinois 1
unit, I found three shanks concealed in a light
fixture in the bathroom area of the cell. This
area is considered common area, and inmate Carlos
Torres #88976-024 is assigned to this cell.?

January 16, 2009
At his Unit Disciplinary Committee [UDC] hearing,
Counselor Gebur tells Carlos that another inmate
had assumed responsibility for the weapons.

Maurice Wilkins, one of the occupants of the
cell, told the UDC that the weapons were his, and
that neither Carlos nor the other cell occupants
had any responsibility for them.

Lieutenant Haynes, who investigated the Incident
Report, tells Carlos that he had no information
pointing to his guilt, and no information
indicating that Carlos had any knowledge of or
involvement with the weapons; and further, that
he had information implicating Maurice Wilkins as the guilty party.
January 22, 2009
The disciplinary hearing officer finds Carlos
guilty, stating, ?Although inmate Torres
indicated he had no knowledge of the weapons,
they were found in a common area of the cell. His
contention the owner of the weapons was to come
forward and claim them, does not diminish his
responsibility for them, as no one inmate in the
cell was given sole responsibility for possession
of the weapons. Therefore, since the weapons were
found in a common area of the cell, they are
considered to be in his possession.?

Stating that, ?Although not directly related to
the infraction, privileges were taken to deter
the inmate from this behavior in the future,?
disciplinary hearing officer imposes punishment:
60 days forfeited commissary; 60 days forfeited
visiting; 60 days forfeited use of telephone; 30
days disciplinary segregation, suspended if there
is clear conduct for 180 days; and 41 days forfeited statutory good time.

The finding of guilt is a departure from the
norm. Routinely, when one cell occupant accepts
responsibility, the other cell occupants are found not guilty.

January 31, 2009
Maurice Wilkins, one of the occupants of the
cell, makes a sworn statement accepting sole
responsibility for the concealed weapons, stating, inter alia:
* ?no one living in cell A09 other than me had
any knowledge of the shanks found. The shanks
were mine, and mine alone. I am the one who made
the shanks and hid them in the light fixture
undeknown [sic] to any other person who lived in the cell.?
* ?the shanks were mine and mine alone, and no
one other than me had knowledge of them.?

February 2009
The National Boricua Human Rights Network, the
Comit? Pro Derechos Humanos de Puerto Rico, and
other groups and individuals commence an ongoing
letter writing campaign to support Carlos? bid
for parole and denounce the Bureau of Prisons?
efforts, sending hundreds of letters to the warden and the director of the BOP.

April 30, 2009
BOP regional director, in response to Carlos?
administrative appeal of the guilty finding,
admits a ?procedural error,? and returns the
incident report to the prison ?for reconsideration.?

May, 2009
FCI Pekin staff inform Carlos the Incident Report has been expunged.

May 26, 2009
Parole hearing at FCI Pekin via videoconference
with hearing examiner for U.S. Parole Commission;
hearing examiner recommends release on April 3, 2010.

June 10, 2009
FCI Pekin Warden Smith approved the unit team?s
request to process the re-written Incident Report.

June 2009
At the second UDC hearing, Carlos restates his
innocence and provides the committee with Maurice
Wilkins? sworn statement accepting sole responsibility and absolving Carlos.

July 2009
At the second DHO hearing, Carlos restates his
innocence and provides the committee with Maurice
Wilkins? sworn statement accepting sole
responsibility and absolving Carlos.
Additionally, Maurice Wilkins testifies in person
and tells the DHO that he was solely responsible
and that Carlos had nothing to do with, and did
not know about, the weapons. Regardless, the DHO
finds Carlos guilty once again.

During the hearing, Carlos asks the DHO what
information he needs to affirm Wilkins? statement
and prove his innocence. The DHO tells him ?a UDC investigation.?

Carlos? efforts to obtain such an investigation
have been for naught, with officials telling him there is no such thing.

July 27, 2009
U.S. Parole Commission issues Notice of Action,
stating: ?Defer decision for up to 90 days to
determine the outcome of the pending disciplinary
report for Possession of a Weapon. Upon
disposition by the DHO, a copy of the misconduct
report and DHO findings should be submitted to the Commission for review.?

September 2, 2009
The bilingual prison intelligence officer--- who
has been translating Carlos? Spanish language
mail for more than a year, and who continues to
translate other prisoners? Spanish language mail?
informs Carlos that he will be subject to a new
procedure for screening his Spanish language
mail? that henceforth his mail must be sent to a
translator outside the prison, which will delay
for a month the delivery of his incoming and
outgoing mail. The officer also tells Carlos that
the order comes from higher up, and that ?they?
are watching Carlos? every move. The officer
provides Carlos with nothing in writing.

The initial response to Carlos? grievance
indicates only that ?the change in mail handling
procedures is to ensure the safety and security of the institution.?

October 9, 2009
The warden?s response to Carlos? further
grievance about his mail informs Carlos, for the
first time, that ?you are on enhanced mail
monitoring status due to your STG assignment of
Domestic Terrorist Associate. This STG assignment
requires translations to be completed by a
certified linguist. Currently, there are no staff
members at FCI Pekin that are a certified linguist for Spanish.?1

No one provided Carlos with any documentation of
such status, or with the criteria for placement on or removal from such status.

October 10, 2009
Prison staff violate Carlos? confidential
attorney-client mail, confiscating legal
materials written in the Spanish language,
telling him they must copy and translate the privileged materials.

October 25, 2009
The Parole Commission?s 90 day deferral expires.

October 23, 2009
Jan Susler
Attorney for Carlos Alberto Torres
People?s Law Office
1180 N. Milwaukee
Chicago, IL 60642
773/235-0070 x 118

1It is believed that STG stands for Security
Threat Group, but the BOP has not provided Carlos with any definition.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Gathering Against the Prison Society 31st Oct/1st Nov 2009 Brighton, UK

Timetable : A Gathering Against the Prison Society

31st Oct/1st Nov 2009 - Cowley Club, 12 London Road,
Brighton, UK

2 Days of discussions & presentations about the struggle
for liberation, inside and outside of the prison walls.
Organised by random anarchists and the Anarchist Black

As the economic crisis hits deeper and people get
organised and angry, the state needs media diversions like
the War on Terror, escalating political repression,
paramilitary policing, new prisons & immigration detention
centres, biometrics, surveillance, relentless imperialist
incursions - All to maintain the class divisions that
ensure continued economic exploitation. The UK State,
leading others, is about to proceed on a major prison building project, whilst more and more our societies already
resemble open prisons. It all has to go.

This is a call for debate and exchange, to reflect and agitate...

Provisional Timetable

Sat 31/Oct

9.30 Breakfast

10.30 Introduction of the event and of people.

11.20 Campaign Against Prison Slavery
Forced labour, long a feature of prisons around the globe, has many
functions: as punishment, to extract reparations for the cost of
imprisonment and even simply as a means of keeping prisoners physically
exhausted so they are less likely to rebel. However, it is increasingly
being used both as an integral component of prison control and discipline
regimes and as a method of generating capital from a section of society
that up till now has been held to have no intrinsic labour value.

- - --.--

Talk with the anarchist comrades from Portugal
"It doesn't seem realistic to us to talk about an anti-prison struggle in
Portugal. There is an ongoing tension and struggle against this
prison-society. We commit to fighting not just one repressive aspect of
it. The problems are everywhere and our enemy is this whole system. With
this we don't mean that we haven't targeted prisons or fought in
solidarity with rebellious prisoners. It is quite clear for us that
prisons are a fundamental pillar of the state's repressive system. They
are a direct threat for all of us.
And so, we've had experiences of aiming our attack against the
penitentiary system.. It is about these experiences and their context in a
larger/global struggle that we would like to talk. We're interested in
sharing the practice we had and the reflections that came from that
practice so far. We want to debate the theory and the methods we choose,
so that we determine the way we want this struggle to be. We're also
interested in mentioning some specific cases because of their unexpected
outcome- both positive and negative."

13.00 Lunch + Break

14.00 Feedback from Greece
Revolutionary solidarity in theory and in practice. An anarchist comrade
from Athens speaking about the increasingly repressive aftermath of the
December uprising and also about the outcome of the November 2008
prisoners hungerstrike. There will be an overview of the cases of
bankrobbing anarchist prisoners Giannis Dimitrakis and Gorgos
Voutsis-Vogiatzis, and details of the mass repressive measures taken
against immigrants.

15.00 Presentation from anarchist comrades from Berlin, Germany
Some comrades from Berlin are going to give a brief overview about the
situation there for what concerns the increasing of acts of attack against
state and capital and the reaction to it by the agents of repression: one
of the examples are the ongoing trials against several comrades and the
widening of social control. Partly-privatization within german prisons and
other developments within the prison world are going to be touched, as
well as moments of resistance against it, both from the outside as on the

16.00 Discussion

- - --.-- Close

20.30 Benefit Gig "All Cops Are Brothers" w/ Spanner, Crowzone & Jesus
Bruiser. Donations entry.

- - --->

Sun 1/Nov

10.30 Breakfast

11.20 Open Session (...)

- - --.-- Lunch + Break

--.-- Open Session (...)

- - --.-- The Shape of Things to Come
Presentation by Tony Bunyan of, about new European security
architecture, biometrics & surveillance technologies and the open prison

- - --.-- Combating the open prison : Closing Discussion
Our modern consumer capitalist societies are becoming increasingly like
open prisons, watched and spied on, monitored and databased, the average
UK citizen is in a prison of monstrous proportions. We need a social and
libertarian revolution for a world where we control the direction of our
own lives.
Posted by Anti-State 2009 at 05:52 0 comments
Friday, 7 August 2009
Gathering Leaflet

Attack on Berlin police station claimed in solidarity with German and Greek Prisoners (Germany)

October 22nd, 2009

13 October 2009 : From the German press: Unknown persons attacked a police
station in Lichtenberg and created high damages. Nobody got injured.
Clearly the perpretrators acted in solidarity with people who are in
prison accused of arsons on cars. State security investigates.

Around 12.30 the group showed up in front of the police station and
smashed several windows with stones, afterwards they lighted smokebombs,
their smoke reached the inner part of the building through the damaged
windows. Also they left some calthrops on the streets which damaged the
police cars who wanted to search for the authors, who instead could flee
away. The police first arrested three persons in the area but had to
release them quite fast. Civil cops found a bag in the near of the action
containing flyers who had a connection to the ongoing arsons on cars.

The following claim was published recently on the internet:

„At first we want to condemn of again innocent passer-byers who just
finish in the search-framework – an arrest we read in the press about. Now
follow informations about the attack on the police station in the
Rathaustr. in Berlin Lichtenerg in the night from the 13 to the 14 of
October: solidarity knows no borders…

You keep our comrades Masouras, Hadjimichelakis and Yospus prisoners in
Athens. You took Christoph T. And Alexandra R. in general preventive
kidnapping, you want to make an example with the prisoners of the first of
May, you organised a farce process against alleged members of the MG,
therefore we visited you. In solidarity with all the ones who are on our
side of the barricade and take action against your social terror-control
ansd your anti-insurrection combating. A special greeting goes to Alfredo
Bonanno and Christos Stratigopoulos, kept in pre-trial detention in

We do not know borders and we will hit your agencies everywhere”

Chief of police resigns over book presentation raid in Athens Oct 22 2009

The Chief of Police of Greece, Mr Tsiatouras, has resigned after the
demand of the Minister of Public Order over the book presentation police
raid in Athens, while thousands march against the police-state imposed in
the last 15 days in Exarcheia.

On Thursday 22/10 morning the Minister of Public Order Mr Chrisochoidis
has demanded and got the resignation of the Chief of Police of Greece, Mr
Tsiatouras, over the police raid of a book presentation the previous night
that led to scores of detentions of unsuspecting citizens, amongst which
Mitsos Papachristou, a leading figure of the resistance against the
Colonels' Junta and the 1973 Uprising. Mr Chrisochoidis has apologised
once more about the incident but his attitude has been received with mixed
feelings as many see it as just a chance for him to get rid of a high
ranking officer of the last government, and not a sincere move against
police arbitrariness which if anything has skyrocketed since the new,
Socialist, government was placed in charge of the country 15 days ago.

Mr Chrisochoidis is widely considered to be in a personal battle with the
revolutionary and social antagonistic movement that has swept the country
since the December Uprising in 2008. Having gone public in the last week
claiming, on the one hand, that he is friends with anarchists and shares
many of their ideas, and on the other hand that anarchists are simply
"economic criminals hiding behind a quasi-ideological veil", his
reliability is in serious doubt. His latest delusional statement is that
"the police will remain in Exarcheia till the last hooligan is routed",
the word hooligan referring to anarchists, leftists and other radical
groups which have made the particular city quarter a most vibrant center
of cultural, political and social creativity and critique in the last half

At the same time that the government is parading in TV channels trying to
keep its propaganda machine oiled, thousands of protesters have taken to
the streets of Athens against the police-state. The dynamic march which
started from Exarcheia square made the circle of the historical centre of
the capital past the Parliament and ended at Propylaea in front of the
occupied University's Rector Headquarters. During the march police
presence was particularly discreet.

Lawyers of the Legal Support Association have strongly condemned the
government of installing a police-state in Exarcheia, bringing back not
just memories but concrete practices of collective punishment of the 1960s
dictatorship. The Association has publicly called for the resignation of
the Minister who, it claimed, was out-of-the-law. Mr Mavridis, lawyer and
anti-dictatorship veteran, has gone public saying that "if this situation
continues, the government will be facing not just the youth but an older
generation, ready for war and with a good knowledge of it".

Friday, October 23, 2009

Urgent! Need a very simple favor to help stop CCA

From: RUPRI Blue Mountain [mailto:YIMBY-L@PO.MISSOURI.EDU] On Behalf Of
Frank Smith
Sent: Friday, October 23, 2009 2:37 PM

CCA is proposing to build a huge pen just outside Millen, Georgia, south of
Augusta. They bought land to do this ten years ago.

The local paper has a reader poll to assess community support. It shows
very heavy support, but it's a "push poll" in the sense that is presents it
as an opportunity to develop jobs, but no negatives are mentioned, of

If YIMBYs could log on to the paper and vote "No" for the prison,
astroturfing could be very helpful in terms of fighting this one off. It's
critical that this be done ASAP as there's a vote coming up on November 1st
to decide the issue and we need to get the paper interested enough to run an
op ed. We had an anti-prison ad in the paper yesterday.

I got an e-mail from a local this morning who's written to the paper to
protest the siting. I'm hoping we can generate some serious opposition in
the eight days we have remaining before the vote.

Please take just a moment to bring up the paper's main page and vote on the
left side of the page. This will be a huge help at no cost to you.

Here's the URL to vote:

If you want to take a look at our ad first, here's the URL for that. It has
a link to the main page where the voting is taking place.

Again, this should only take you a minute to do this. You can only vote
once from any IPN. I suspect CCA has already astroturfed it.

Thanks so much,


If you like, you could drop me a note for details:

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Northern students protest police school program

Updated: Thu Oct. 22 2009

Students in midtown Toronto held a large demonstration Thursday afternoon to protest a police initiative that places officers inside schools.

More than 100 students gathered outside Northern Secondary School, located on Mt. Pleasant Avenue near Eglinton Avenue, for a peaceful protest at around 11:30 p.m.

Students held picket signs saying their school is not a jail and not run by a police state.

The School Resource Officer program was introduced to the Toronto District School Board by the police about two years ago. Under the initiative, police officers are assigned to a school in their division to help patrol the hallways and ensure a safe environment.

The goal of the program is not only to enhance security at schools across the city but also to build positive rapport with youth in the community.

But organizers of Thursday's protest say students feel the program is creating more of a rift than a rapport with teens.

The protest was organized after the school's resource officer placed a student under arrest after getting into an altercation with the teen on school property.

The teen could not produce identification proving he was a student at Northern and resisted the officer when he suggested they go to the office to clear up the situation.

The arrest was filmed by several students on their cell phones and later placed on YouTube, an online file-sharing site.

"If you look at the incident that was put on YouTube -- if a teacher was dealing with that then that could have been resolved by detention or a trip to the principle's office," a student organizer told reporters at the scene Thursday. "Instead we now have a situation where Northern is badly represented in the media and to other people. It's just creating problems."

Northern is one of 50 schools across Toronto that have a police officer on duty during operating hours.

Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair said the program was extremely well-received last year which is why they've expanded it.

"Our intent is to give officers a chance to get to know those kids," he said. "We want to build a relationship based on trust and respect. It's not an easy relationship to build which is why we invested so much in this program," said Blair during a phone-in with CTV News during Talk Back Toronto.

He said the program has been met with "some level of resistance.

"There are some people who still have questions about what we're doing there," he said.

Blair said teens are less likely to bring weapons to school and bully their peers if they know there is an offer on school property.

The program will continue to grow and evolve as we learn lessons and get greater acceptance from students involved," he said.

Cop cars burned to protest 'police brutality,' flier claims


The arsonist who torched several Seattle police vehicles early today left behind fliers saying the fires were set to protest "police brutality," according to a law enforcement bulletin issued Thursday morning.

The fliers specifically mentioned a recent case involving a King County sheriff's deputy who is accused of beating a 15-year-old girl inside a SeaTac holding cell last year, according to the bulletin.

Seattle police have no involvement in that case. A law enforcement source read the bulletin to

The fires were reported just before 5 a.m. at the city's Charles Street maintenance center. Three Seattle police cars and a mobile command center were set ablaze.

Seattle police, who are investigating the fires, declined to comment on reports of the fliers. No arrests have yet been made.

Seattle police Sgt. Sean Whitcomb said police planned a internal meeting during which the case would be discussed.

"We may have more information later today," he said.

The fliers reportedly reference sheriff's Deputy Paul Schene, who is charged with misdemeanor assault for beating a teenage suspect inside a holding cell after she kicked her shoe at him. Schene has been fired from the Sheriff's Office.


Surveillance video recorded what happened in the holding cell.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Support Steve Murphy!

Steve Murphy was recently arrested in Texas and charged with an alleged
ELF action that occurred in California in September of 2006 (to read the
complaint against Steve, visit He was
recently extradited to California and is currently in San Bernardino
County Jail. This puts Steve very far from many of his loved ones. It is
hard enough to face this physical separation during such tumultuous times,
but now Steve also has to attend court hearings in a place that many of
his loved ones will be unable to reach. It is incredibly important that
Steve see friendly faces in the courtroom. If you are in the LA area,
please attend Steve's bail hearing on Wednesday, October 21st. Here are
the details:

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 at 3 p.m.
Edward R. Roybal Federal Building & U.S. Courthouse
255 E Temple St, Los Angeles 90012

Court Room # 690

Please make sure you dress appropriately for court. Steve's freedom is at
stake, and unfortunately, what we do could impact that.

ALSO – Steve has asked that people STOP calling the jail to request vegan
food for him. It seems that the issue is being worked out with jail staff,
and we don't want to jeopardize a precarious situation. Thank you to
everyone who called! Your efforts helped secure Steve a bit more access to
food he can eat.


Steve's Support Crew

Torturing Women Prisoners -- an interview with Victoria Law

Torturing Women Prisoners -- an interview with Victoria Law

By Angola 3 News

Victoria Law is a longtime prison activist and the author of the new book, Resistance Behind Bars: The Struggles of Incarcerated Women (PM Press), which was recently reviewed at Alternet. "This book is the result of seven and a half years of reading, writing, listening, and supporting women in prison," Law says about Resistance Behind Bars, noting that each chapter in her book "focuses on an issue that women themselves have identified as important." The chapters include topics as diverse as health care, the relationship between mothers and daughters, sexual abuse, education, and resistance among women in immigration detention. Resistance Behind Bars paints a picture of women prisoners resisting a deeply flawed prison system, which Law hopes will help to empower both the women held in cages and those on the outside working to support them.

In this interview, Law talks specifically about how women are affected by solitary confinement and other forms of torture in US prisons, and what women are doing to fight back. Exposing solitary confinement as torture has been the focus of recent campaigns in Maine, Pennsylvania, and around the US. This is also a central issue in the campaign to free the Angola 3, who are a trio of Black Panther political prisoners: Robert King, Albert Woodfox, and Herman Wallace. King was released in 2001 after 29 years in continuous solitary confinement. Woodfox and Wallace remain imprisoned and have spent over 36 years in solitary confinement, where they remain today.

Angola 3 News: What do you think of the case of the Angola 3?

Victoria Law: The case of the Angola 3 is one of the most visible (and damning) indictments of the U.S. prison system.

As broadcasted by NBC Nightly News, the widow of slain prison guard Brent Miller has even stated that she wants justice and that, if Woodfox and Wallace did not kill her husband (and there is so much evidence that they did not), they should be freed. It’s interesting to note how the voices of victims and their family are used to whip up pro-imprisonment hysteria, but when they speak out against railroading people, they are ignored. For example, the widow of Daniel Faulkner publicly condemns Mumia and urges people not to let out her husband’s alleged killer. The media loves this and uses her to play on public opinion against freeing Mumia. However, when Brent Miller’s widow Leontine Verrett says, “If these two men did not do this, I think they need to be out,” her words are ignored.

Albert Woodfox and Herman Wallace should be released. The fact that they have not been released clearly demonstrates the racism that is rife in the prison system and how “justice” isn’t really a factor in who goes to prison and why.

A3N: Do you consider the use of solitary confinement in US prisons to be torture?

VL: I most definitely consider solitary confinement a form of torture. Solitary confinement is used not only to break the woman (or person) who is resisting, but also to scare others around them into not only complying but ostracizing the person who is challenging prison rules or conditions. And, unfortunately, it often does.

A3N: What other practices in US prisons would you consider to be torture?

VL: I consider the whole prison system to be torture. But to narrow it down to actual practices: I would consider the use of strip status, in which all of a person’s clothes and belongings are removed from the cell, as a form of torture. You have to remember that over half of incarcerated women have suffered past abuse and trauma. To strip them of all of their clothing and place them in a bare cell with guards watching them retraumatizes them. I recently reread an account from Lisa Savage, a woman who was placed on strip status for talking to the other women on her unit about the psychological reprogramming of the Close Management unit (a unit where women are held in their separate cells 23 ½ hours a day). Being on strip status meant that everything was taken from her—clothes, toothbrush, bedding, and sanitary napkins. She wrote, “As bad luck would have it, I just started my monthly. Now, I must beg for a pad for hours before receiving it.”

Other practices that I would consider to be torture are:

  • The use of male guards in female prisons
  • The shackling of pregnant women while they are in labor
  • Loss of access and custody to their children simply because they are incarcerated
  • The denial of health care and the life-threatening slow health care in prisons

A3N: How is solitary confinement used against women prisoners? How does it effect women in ways that are different from male prisoners?

VL: Solitary confinement makes women more vulnerable to staff sexual assault since no one can see what is happening. In my book, I write about the experience of Christina Madrazo, a transsexual immigrant who was placed in INS detention. Originally, the INS (now called ICE) did not know what to do with her since her assigned gender at birth was male, but she identified (and was seeking asylum status) as a transgendered female. Madrazo was placed in solitary confinement where she was raped twice by a prison guard.

Even when they are not being physically assaulted, the women have no privacy—toilets are in full view of the cell door windows, guards can look through those windows at any time and, in many prisons, male guards can watch the women in the showers, on the toilet or when they are trying to dress or undress.

In addition, solitary confinement is used to punish women who have either reported being sexually assaulted by staff, or who have been discovered to have “consensual relationships” with staff members. I put “consensual” in quotation marks because, given the power dynamics in prison, especially the ability of guards and staff members to withhold services and/or provide small amenities, the relationship can never truly be consensual. I recently received a letter from a woman incarcerated in Colorado whose cellmate was accused of having a “consensual” relationship with a staff member. While the accusation was being investigated, the staff member was allowed to continue working in the prison. The woman was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the investigation and only released once the charge was found to be unwarranted.

Also, with women, there’s the prevailing notion that women need to be “good girls” and “to behave.” Thus, women are punished for behaviors that violate gender norms, behaviors such as spitting or cursing or not following orders, behaviors that men are not punished for. This is also why women are sent to segregation when they report sexual misconduct or engage in sexual activity; they’re violating what we, as a society, see as “good girl behavior.”

A3N: Do you believe activist prisoners are disproportionately targeted with solitary confinement?

VL: Yes! This is obvious in the case of the Angola 3. This has also been true among women who have been challenging prison conditions. Most female facilities have some form of solitary confinement. At California’s Valley State Prison for Women, the Special Housing Unit consists of eight-foot by six-foot cells with blacked-out windows where women are confined for 23 hours a day. Even in their cells, the women have no privacy — toilets are in full view of the cell door windows, guards can look through those windows at any time and male guards often watch the women in the showers. If the women complain, the guards turn off the water.

In 1986, the Bureau of Prisons opened a control unit specifically for women political prisoners in the federal prison at Lexington, Kentucky. It was built underground and entirely white. Women were prohibited from hanging anything on the white walls, cauisng them to begin hallucinating black spots and strings on the walls and floors. Their sole contact with prison staff came in the form of voices addressing them over loudspeakers. The unit was shut down in 1988 following an outside campaign and a court decision that determined their placement unconstitutional, but the solitary confinement is still used to punish and silence jailhouse lawyers and other incarcerated activists (of all genders, I should add).

A3N: How have women prisoners resisted the use of solitary confinement?

VL: In 1974, a woman incarcerated in Bedford Hills (the maximum-security prison for women in New York) filed a lawsuit challenging the practice of placing women in solitary confinement without 24 hours notice and a hearing (basically any sort of due process). She won a court injunction prohibiting this practice. In response, she was beaten by male guards and placed in solitary confinement (again with no due process). Other women in the prison protested by rioting.

More recent ways in which women have resisted solitary confinement aren’t as visible. While she was in the Close Management unit in Florida, Lisa Savage joined the StopMax campaign and became part of the Steering Committee. Her participation added gender to the way that people were viewing (and organizing around) the use of solitary confinement. She also wrote a long (16 pages!) piece about the Close Management unit for Tenacious, the zine that I publish of women prisoners’ art and writings. Writing about that reality is, in and of itself, a form of resistance, but she also included ways in which she, as an individual woman being held in the Close Management unit, was resisting:

I’ve finally gained a firm sense of self by holding fast to my beliefs in equality, liberty and life without threats or coercion. Each accomplishment, may it be emotional, psychological, or mental “growth,” is a form of resistance.

Every time I teach someone geometry or basic reading or tell them of their own intrinsic ability to be autonomous and secure with themselves, I resist the mentacide, and hopefully arm the women with ways to combat their own mental slow death sentence here in CM SHU…

Every time I get mail from you or Anthony of the South Chicago ABC Zine Distro or Abigail of Burning River or the meeting notes from StopMax (I am on the Steering Committee for the National Campaign to End Solitary Confinement and Torture in U.S. prisons), it confirms that I am part of this resistance movement.

As I conclude this piece, I have been informed of an increase in my custody to CM Level I. I know this is only a label, not who I truly am. DOC may have condemned me for my actions, but I know in my heart that for the past 7 months, I have taken the measures necessary to ensure my beliefs and integrity remain intact within a corrupt system. I have done my best to stand up for my CM sisters and myself. Yes, I have been DR’ed [issued disciplinary reports”] and “gave up” my privileges to take up for women who would spit on me if given a chance. I’ve asked nothing from them, I’ve only tried to show them that they must fight for their beliefs and happiness. I’ve wanted to show them that they do not have to be the label placed upon them—dumb ho, loser, etc—that they can achieve positive healthy goals even while locked in a cell 24/7. I wanted them to have a piece of my courage until they could find their own. Yes, I shouted about the unjustifiable psychological abuse they suffer—I shouted so that they could at least whisper of their own hurts in their own hearts…For this I have no regrets, and I will not apologize.

These aren’t ways that are clearly visible to those on the outside looking for instances of prisoner resistance. Still, her actions are forms of resistance to solitary confinement.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

UPDATE - Eco-prisoner not receiving correct diet

Urgent ELP! Bulletin (20th October 2009)

Dear friends

A well respected and well known former ALF prisoner has just sent ELP the following update concerning Steve M....

The calls are actually causing Steve more harm than good right now and he put out the call a few days ago for people to stop calling the jail. I think it would be best to issue a quick retraction to avoid causing him any more trouble. From his support site:

"Steve has asked that people STOP calling the jail to request vegan food for him. It seems that the issue is being worked out with jail staff 2C and we don't want to jeopardize a precarious situation. Thank you to everyone who called! Your efforts helped secure Steve a bit more access to food he can eat."

ELP Information Bulletin (20th October 2009)

Dear friends

ELP has received the following e-mail concerning Steve Murphy, who is accused of
involvement in an ELF action.....

CALLS NEEDED! Steve Murphy <> is not getting
appropriate meals in the jail he is being held at.

Steve was arrested in Texas, transferred through Oklahoma, and is now in
California. As a prisoner in transit, he's been shackled and held in
solitary since his arrest on October 4th. Now in San Bernadino, he is not
getting food that he can eat. Please understand, this is not a trendy
lifestyle choice or simply a diet-- not eating animal products is at the
core of Steve's ethics and approach to the world.

Please call and politely request that he be given adequate vegan meals
starting immediately. The number to call The San Bernardino County Central
Dentention Center is 909.384.9059. After the automation you press 1 for
english then listen again and press 5. That gets you through to a live
person. Please call, continue to repost, and keep it civil. Steve's full
name is *Steve James Murphy* and his booking number is *0910300841*.

This approach will work, jails are terrified of outside pressure and the
threat of lawsuits.

It's almost certain that Steve could really use some mail now as well. Write
to him at:
*Steve James Murphy #0910300841
Central Detention Center
630 East Rialto Avenue
San Bernadino, California 92415*

For update and more information, visit


Earth Liberation Prisoners Support Network
BM Box 2407

Austin police chief stands by actions of his officers at downtown protest

Protesters in Austin on Saturday oppose a neo-Nazi rally against illegal immigration.

By Mike Rose | Albert Lea Tribune

Published Tuesday, October 20, 2009

AUSTIN — The Austin police chief said Monday that his officers acted
appropriately Saturday when using a chemical spray and making three
arrests at a downtown protest.

Austin resident and member of the National Socialist Movement Samuel
Johnson organized the illegal immigration protest at the veterans memorial
in front of the courthouse, but things escalated when a large group of
counter protesters from an anti-racism coalition arrived.

Members of the Anti-Racist Action Network, a Minneapolis-based coalition
of anti-fascists, threw tomatoes, cups of Jell-O and other objects at
Johnson and three supporters, according to a police report.

The group of 25 to 30 also pushed its way toward Johnson, at one point
stepping on and breaking a speaker.

As the event became more heated, an Austin police officer used the
chemical spray to disperse the crowd and help another officer with

Three people — a 21-year-old male from Memphis, a 20-year-old male from
Austin and a 21-year-old female from Minneapolis — were arrested and
cited. They were standing on the ARA Network side of the crowd.

Police chief Paul Philipp said his officers did the right thing.

“Our mission is to use the least amount of force necessary without people
getting hurt significantly,” he said.

Philipp said he was not aware of any injuries stemming from the rally.
Samuel Johnson speaks during a National Socialist Movement rally against
communism and illegal immigration Saturday in front of the veterans
memorial at the Mower County Courthouse..

Samuel Johnson speaks during a National Socialist Movement rally against
communism and illegal immigration Saturday in front of the veterans
memorial at the Mower County Courthouse..

According to the report, one man told officers he was suffering a reaction
to the chemical spray but he declined medical attention.

Philipp also said there was no damage done to any public property.

Permit necessary?

Currently, the city does not require people to receive permits for public
gatherings, but Philipp said that issue is likely to soon be addressed.

The chief said with a permit requirement in place, his department would be
able to better prepare for an event like Saturday’s.

“Certainly, it took a fair amount of manpower,” he added.

Philipp said the city would likely look at other communities that have
such permit requirements in place before potentially adopting an ordinance

The city does require people to apply for permits before marches, parades
and other uses of public streets.

Johnson says crowd control an issue

The event organizer said he didn’t mind the opposition to his rally, and
he thinks arrests were handled well, but he does wish crowd control was
handled better.

“I wish police would’ve kept them back more,” Johnson said of the counter
protesters that pushed in on him.

Johnson said the Anti-Racist Action Network is known for violence,
something he and his supporters don’t condone, he added.

“They say they’re for First Amendment rights, but they’re not,” Johnson
said. “They talk about using violence.”

The National Socialist Movement is a neo-Nazi party.

A representative of the ARA Network could not be reached for comment, but
their Web site states that the group does not advocate violence as a
solution to hate.

Despite the controversy and opposition Johnson has been generating locally
— similar rallies he has held in recent months have also spurred counter
protests, though without arrests — the NSM member said he will continue
holding public events.

“Absolutely we will,” Johnson said. “Illegal immigration is a huge problem
in Austin.”

T.O. students to protest police presence in schools

Updated: Tue Oct. 20 2009

Students at Northern Secondary School have decided to go ahead with a
planned rally later this week to protest a Toronto police program that
places officers in the classroom.

Organizers of the protest say they decided to hold the protest against the
wishes of school officials to allow the public to speak out on the issue.

Students were in talks Monday with local school trustee Josh Matlow to
hold a formal debate on the issue instead of taking their fight to the
street. Talks broke down Monday afternoon after Matlow suggested a closed
meeting between classroom representatives and school officials.

"We really need to have a public, open and publicized consultation for all
members of the community to attend," said grade 12 student Harrison

Matlow, whose ward includes Northern, said he wasn't opposed to having an
open meeting on the topic but that planning it would take time.

Jordan and two Northern students helped organize the demonstration after
an officer arrested a teen on school property earlier this month after he
failed to show proper identification proving his enrollment at the school.

The teen, who was indeed a student at Northern, resisted arrest and got
into an altercation with the police officer. The arrest was videotaped and
put on YouTube.

Protest organizer Willie Wilson told the protest is not
about the specific incident but rather the School Resource Officer program
in its entirety.

The arrest shouldn't have happened in the first place and wouldn't have
happened if the officer was not in the school to begin with, he said.

Though he's not a student at Northern, the incident caught the attention
of Jordan who attends nearby Forest Hill Collegiate. He contacted Wilson
and together with a third student began planning the demonstration for
this Thursday at 11:30 p.m.

"I'm involved because of the systemic issues with the SRO program," Jordan
told in a telephone interview. "It's really cause for
concern because there is no proper justification for the program."

He said the program has expanded over the last two years and could come to
his school next.

SRO initiative

The SRO program was introduced to the Toronto District School Board by the
police about two years ago. Under the initiative, officers are assigned to
a school in their division to help patrol the hallways and ensure a safe

The goal of the program is not only to enhance security at schools across
the city but also to build positive rapport with youth in the community.

Jordan said there is a time and a place to build on community relations
and inside a school might not be the best option.

"We are in agreement that schools need to remain safe and we do accept the
fact that there needs to be positive relations between students and the
police force but school hallways are not efficient venues to do this," he
said. "If police officers want to take part in after-school programs or
community programs to strengthen ties, that is alright."

The SRO program was put in place shortly after human rights lawyer Julian
Falconer released a report on school safety in the city. In the report,
Falconer made dozens of recommendations, none of which had anything to do
with turning police officers into hallways monitors, Jordan said.

Jordan said students also have a problem with the fact that the TDSB does
not have an official policy on the SRO program and that trustees did not
vote in the initiative.

But Trustee Matlow says the school board did in fact debate the issue when
it was introduced.

Matlow said he tried to tell the students they could make a change by
having an organized discussion with stakeholders of the program.

"We need informed, thoughtful and respectful dialogue," he said. "Their
views will be heard much better than if it was through a megaphone but
thus far, they are rejecting our offer."

He said if there objective is to have their voices heard, there are many
people who are willing to listen.

"Whether you support the SRO program like I do or disagree with it, it is
a valid public discussion," Matlow said.

The trustee said he tried to dissuade the students from holding the
protest because of safety concerns. Organizers have said it will be held
on public property adjacent to Northern.

The school is located on Mt. Pleasant Avenue and public property mainly
includes a small sidewalk. Matlow said he doesn't want to see the students
spilling out onto the street.