Maroon Shoatz Needs Your Help
by Clarissa Rogers on Thursday, December 30, 2010
A message from Theresa Shoatz:
Maroon needs your help now to get into general population!
At last the Pennsylvania Dept Of Corrections has recommended that
Russell Maroon Shoatz be released into population. Russell is
thrilled after 23hr a day lockdown for the last 21 years. Russell
Shoatz hasn't had any infractions in the last 21 years, and everyone
is on board with his release into population, except for the
Superintendent Of SCI Greene, Mr. Folino.
Russell Shoatz is to appear before the Program Review Board, who also
recommends Russell's release into population, on Jan 5, 2011 . We
must stop Supt. Folino's quest to keep Russell in solitary
confinement (locked down 23 hours per day).
Please contact Supt, Folino
Phone # 724-852-2903 Or Tracey Shawley if Folino isn't available
Write, Supt, Folino, 169 Progress Drive, Waynesburg, Pa 15370
Sec Of PA Prisons, Sec, Shirley Moore Sneal Phone, 717-975-4918
Friday, December 31, 2010
Maroon Shoatz Needs Your Help
Join the National Day of Action on Tuesday, January 25, 2011
In December 2010, under the direction of U.S.
Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, the FBI delivered 9
new subpoenas in Chicago to anti-war and
Palestine solidarity activists - bringing the
total number of subpoenaed activists to 23.
Patrick Fitzgerald’s office is ordering the 9 to
appear at a Grand Jury in Chicago on January 25.
In response, we are calling for protests across
the country and around the world to show our
solidarity. Hundreds of organizations and
thousands of people will be protesting at Federal
Buildings, FBI offices, and other appropriate
places, showing solidarity with the 9 newly
subpoenaed activists and with all the activists
whose homes were raided by the FBI.
Fitzgerald’s expanding web of repression already
includes the 14 subpoenaed when the FBI stormed
into homes on September 24th, carting away
phones, computers, notebooks, diaries and
children’s artwork. In October, all fourteen
activists from Chicago, Minneapolis, and Michigan
decided to not participate in the secret
proceedings of Fitzgerald’s Grand Jury. Each
signed a letter invoking their Fifth Amendment
rights. However, three women from Minneapolis -
Tracy Molm, Anh Pham and Sarah Martin - are
facing re-activated subpoenas. They are standing
strong and we are asking you to stand with them –
and with the newly subpoenaed nine activists – by
protesting Patrick Fitzgerald and his use of the
Grand Jury and FBI to repress anti-war and international
Defend free speech! Defend the right to
organize! Opposing war and occupation is not a crime!
**Tell Patrick Fitzgerald to call off the Grand Jury!
**Stop FBI raids and repression!
Please organize a local protest or picket in your
city or on your campus and e-mail us at
firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know what you have planned.
The Committee to Stop FBI Repression
http://www.StopFBI.net www.StopFBI.net -
mailto:email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org - 612-379-3585
Comunicato dei tre membri prigionieri di Lotta Rivoluzionaria riguardo agli attacchi alle ambasciate a Roma
In merito ai pacchi-bomba che sono stati inviati alle ambasciate di Cile e Svizzera a Roma il 23/12/2010, che hanno provocato il ferimento di due funzionari e la rivendicazione da parte della FAI informale – Cellula rivoluzionaria Lambros Fountas, dichiariamo quanto segue:
Come Lotta Rivoluzionaria abbiamo sempre scelto di compiere le nostre azioni con dei fini politici. Abbiamo sempre puntato contro status-quo, le istituzioni e chi le rappresenta e protegge. Abbiamo sempre organizzato le nostre azioni in questo modo, per evitare infortuni di persone che non sono i nostri bersagli politici, inoltre non abbiamo mai fatto azioni con il risultato di infortuni, ad esempio quello casuale di un ufficiale d’ambasciata, come è accaduto nel caso dei pacchi bomba.
Questo modo di agire è sempre stato fondamentale per le nostre azioni e quindi anche per il nostro compagno deceduto, e membro dell’organizzazione, Lambros Foundas. Per questo motivo chiediamo che non vengano fatte azioni di questo tipo nel nome del compagno.
Pola Rupa, Nikos Maziotis, Kostas Gournas
As this is written on Christmas Eve, a small group of death-sentenced prisoners at the Ohio State Penitentiary (OSP) have declared their intention to begin a "rolling hunger strike" on Monday, January 3.
Who are they? What are their objectives? What is this all about?
The four hunger strikers are Siddique Abdullah Hasan, formerly known as Carlos Sanders; Keith LaMar; Jason Robb; and Namir Abdul Mateen, also known as James Were. (A fifth member of the group, George Skatzes, was transferred out of OSP in 2000.)
All these men were sentenced to death in trials conducted in 1995-1996 for their alleged roles in the 11-day rebellion at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility (SOCF) in Lucasville, Ohio in April 1993. See my book Lucasville: The Untold Story of a Prison Uprising (Temple University Press: 2004), to be re-issued in 2011 by PM Press, Oakland, CA, with a Foreword by Mumia Abu Jamal.
Hasan and Robb were two of the three men who negotiated a peaceful surrender. Tragically there were ten deaths during the disturbance (nine prisoners and one hostage officer). But thanks to the way the "Lucasville riot" ended, there were far fewer fatalities than at Attica, New York in 1971, where more than forty persons died.
At the request of Ohio authorities, Attorney Niki Schwartz of Cleveland helped to negotiate the surrender. During a forum on the Lucasville events held at Cleveland State University in November 2010, Attorney Schwartz asked, in effect: If we seek the death penalty against men who helped to bring a bloody riot to a peaceful end, what will happen the next time?
Persistent Discrimination Against Death-Sentenced Lucasville Defendants
Judge James Gwin of federal district court noted with amazement during the trial of the prisoners’ class action, Austin v. Wilkinson, that death-sentenced prisoners at the highest security level in the Ohio State Penitentiary wanted to be returned to Death Row!
The fundamental reason offered by the Lucasville defendants for a hunger strike is that throughout their more than seventeen years of solitary confinement, they have been subjected to harsher conditions of confinement than the more than 150 other men sentenced to death in Ohio. The conditions under which the death-sentenced Lucasville prisoners are confined prevent them from ever being in the same space as another prisoner.
At the time of the 1993 uprising Ohio's Death Row, as well as its execution chamber, was located at Lucasville. In the mid-1990s, the execution chamber remained at SOCF but death-sentenced prisoners were transferred to the Mansfield Correctional Institution (ManCI) north of Columbus. One reason for the transfer, it seems, is that correctional officers at SOCF came to recognize death-sentenced prisoners as human beings and found it distressing to be part of execution teams.
The Lucasville capital defendants consider that from the beginning their conditions of confinement have been harsher than the circumstances of confinement for other death-sentenced prisoners. They have launched several previous hunger strikes. Skatzes wrote to the authorities about one such strike at ManCI: "All we want is . . . being placed on our proper 'security' level." LaMar drafted the group's demands during another hunger strike. One of their group needed immediate medical attention, LaMar wrote, and: "Surely he is entitled to the same attention that is accorded to everyone else."
The frustration expressed in the Mansfield hunger strikes came to a climax on September 5, 1997. Prisoners in DR-4, the living area at ManCI in which the Five along with a much larger number of other death-sentenced prisoners were being held, occupied the "pod" for approximately six hours. The correctional officers on duty were overpowered and then released unharmed. There was some prisoner-on-prisoner violence against Wilford Berry, who had given up his appeals and volunteered for execution. When a SWAT team of officers assembled from all over Ohio stormed DR-4 late in the evening, the prisoners had returned to their cells. An investigating committee consisting wholly of prison administrators found that the SWAT team had used excessive violence. Jason Robb, apparently singled out because of his alleged role in the riot four years earlier, was beaten especially badly, had his skull fractured, and almost lost an eye.
Unequal treatment continued when the death-sentenced Lucasville defendants were transferred to OSP in Youngstown. Judge Gwin found that OSP was constructed "in reaction to the April 1993 riot at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility at Lucasville." Consistently with this conclusion, the five alleged leaders of the 1993 occupation were transferred to OSP within two weeks of its opening in May 1998. At OSP they are housed, not in the less restrictive conditions experienced by other death-sentenced prisoners, but in the high maximum conditions specific to the highest level of security in Ohio, so-called Level 5.
Professor Denis O'Hearn, director of graduate studies in sociology at the State University of New York (Binghamton), regularly visits LaMar and Robb. As described by Professor O'Hearn:
-- They are "in 23-hour lockup in a hermetically sealed environment where they have almost no contact with other living beings -- human, animal, or plant." When released from their cells for short periods of "recreation" they continue to be isolated from other prisoners.
During occasional visits, "a wall of bullet-proof glass separates the prisoner from the visitor. A few booths away, a condemned man from death row sits in a cubicle where a small hole is cut from the security glass between him and his visitors. He can hold his mother's hand. With a little effort, despite the shackles he must wear on a visit, he can kiss a niece or a grandchild. He does not have to shout to hold a conversation."
Hasan, LaMar, Robb, and Were experience "security reviews" annually but the outcome of these reviews is predetermined. The Lucasville defendants have been told by the authorities, in writing:
"You were admitted to OSP in May of 1998. We are of the opinion that your placement offense is so severe that you should remain at the OSP permanently or for many years regardless of your behavior while confined at the OSP" (emphasis added).
The emphasized words violate the explicit instruction of the Supreme Court of the United States. In its opinion specifically concerning conditions of confinement at OSP, the high court held that due process required that a prisoner might be placed at OSP only on the basis of "a short statement of reasons," and that in subsequent classification review that statement "serves as a guide for future behavior."
But Hasan, LaMar, Robb, and Were have been told that they will remain in the conditions of confinement decreed by State administrators regardless of their "future behavior," that is, their behavior while at OSP.
Other prisoners sentenced to death for alleged crimes comparable to those for which Hasan, LaMar, Robb, and Were were found guilty have been moved off Level 5: to Death Row at OSP, to Level 4 at OSP, and out of OSP entirely to ManCI. One of the four Lucasville defendants asks, Must I have a mental breakdown in order to get off Level 5?
For Whom The Van Leaves
Another apparent reason that these men are desperately opting for the life-threatening practice of a hunger strike is the State of Ohio's present practice of seeking to execute one man every month.
The 17th century British poet John Donne commented on the practice of ringing church bells when a person died. No one should ask for whom the bell tolls, the poet observed, because "it tolls for thee."
In the Youngstown diocese, Catholic churches continue the practice of ringing their bells when an execution occurs. At OSP, prisoners know when the van is about to leave OSP to take a man to Lucasville to be killed. A person whom they have known as a friend, alive and well, is suddenly gone and dead. This works a psychological hardship on survivors. The remaining death-sentenced prisoners, some with a specific "date," know that sooner or later the van will come for themselves.
Incredibly, Ohio was the only one of the fifty states to execute more prisoners in 2010 than in 2009. In 2010 Ohio executed more prisoners than any other state except Texas. Of the 46 executions in the entire country, Texas executed seventeen and Ohio eight, or 17 percent of the total number of executions nationwide.
And Besides, We're Not Guilty
There is strong evidence that the Lucasville capital defendants have been singled out because of their supposed leadership roles in the 1993 rebellion, not because they killed anyone.
Two prisoners very badly injured by other prisoners during the riot were visited in the SOCF infirmary by officers of the Ohio State Highway Patrol. Johnny Fryman had almost been killed by other prisoners at the beginning of the rebellion. He states under oath that in May 1993 he was taken to the SOCF infirmary and interviewed by two members of the Ohio State Highway Patrol:
"They made it clear that they wanted the leaders. They wanted to prosecute Hasan, George Skatzes, Lavelle, Jason Robb, and another Muslim whose name I don't remember. They had not yet begun their investigation but they knew they wanted those leaders. I joked with them and said, 'You basically don't care what I say as long as it's against these guys.' They said, 'Yeah, that's it.'"
The State of Ohio still does not know who actually killed hostage officer Robert Vallandingham. In various court pleadings, the Special Prosecutor has offered different lists of the hands-on killers. None of the men sentenced to death appear on any of these lists.
Professor O'Hearn ends his comment by saying: "If deprivation of human contact is what led these men into lives where they committed horrific deeds, why do we punish them by continuing and even intensifying that deprivation? Why not give them the one thing that could have brought them from the brink in the first place: a little bit of loving, human contact? A clasp of a loving hand from time to time. The chance to show that they can be better men than they were. None of us can be hurt by this small mercy."
Hunger strike of the Lucasville Uprising prisoners – starting Monday, Jan. 3
December 25, 2010 Denver abc
Dear family members, friends and supporters of
the Lucasville uprising prisoners,
Siddique Abdullah Hasan, Bomani Shakur (Keith
LaMar), Jason Robb and Namir Mateen (James Were)
will start a hunger strike on Monday Jan. 3 to
protest their 23-hour a day lock down for nearly
18 years. These four death-sentenced prisoners
have been single-celled (in solitary) in
conditions of confinement significantly more
severe than the conditions experienced by the
approximately 125 other death-sentenced prisoners
at the supermax prison, Ohio State Penitentiary
in Youngstown. They are completely isolated from
any direct human contact, even during
“recreation”. They are restricted from certain
kinds of good ordering including gold weather
items for the almost unbearably cold conditions
in the cells. They are denied access to computer
databases they need in order to prepare their
appeals. It has been made clear to them that the
outcome of their annual “security level reviews”
is predetermined, as one reads, “…regardless of
your behavior while confined at OSP.”
Prisoners whose death sentences were for heinous
crimes are able to win privileges based on good
behavior, but not the death-sentenced Lucasville
Meanwhile out in the world, the U.S. Supreme
Court has granted additional due process rights
to some of the Gauantanamo prisoners, some
death-sentenced prisoners have been exonerated or
had their sentences commuted, an evidentiary
hearing was ordered for Troy Anthony Davis, and
prisoners in Georgia are engaging in a
non-violent strike for improvements in a wide
range of conditions. So the four death-sentenced
Lucasville uprising prisoners have decided that
being punished by the worst conditions allowable
under the law has gone far enough, especially
since their convictions were based on perjured
testimony. They are innocent! They were
wrongfully convicted! They are political
prisoners. This farce has gone on far too long
and their executions loom in the not too distant
future. These brave men are ready to take another
stand. We ask that you get ready to support them.
The hunger strike will proceed in an organized
manner, with one prisoner, probably Bomani Shakur
starting on Jan.3. The hunger strike becomes
official after he has refused 9 meals. Therefore
the plan is that 3 days later, Siddiquie Abdullah
Hasan will start his hunger strike and 3 days
later, Jason Robb will follow. Namir Mateen has a
great willingness to participate and plans to
take part to the extent that his diabetes will allow.
On the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,
Saturday, Jan. 15, we will be holding a press
conference about the hunger strike and other
issues pertaining to Ohio State Penitentiary.
Details of time and location are being worked
out. There will very likely be a brief rally near
the gates of OSP, as we have in previous years to
honor Dr. King, to protest the death penalty and
to protest the farce of the Lucasville uprising
convictions. There will probably be one or more
vans and/or a car caravan to OSP for the event.
Stay tuned for more information.
Please forward this email to other people you
think would be interested, here in Ohio, around
the country and around the world.
the Lucasville Uprising Freedom Network
Dec. 30, 2010 Davenport Grand Jury
Scott DeMuth’s pre-sentencing hearing, which had been scheduled for
December 29 after getting postponed once already, got canceled today
because of bureaucratic issues in the court system. His actual sentencing
is now scheduled for January 14th in Iowa.
Because of the lack of a pre-sentencing hearing (in which pre-sentencing
motions and sentencing details were to be discussed), we have no new
information about issues regarding restitution, probation, or when and
where Scott will be doing time. Scott’s lawyers are now trying to schedule
another phone hearing; if this does not happen, we will not know about
these things until the sentencing itself.
We do know, however, that we are still in need of commissary money, so
please donate to support Scott for his time in prison if you can! You can
find a Paypal button and other donation information at
We will post updates as we get them, so please watch for them in the future.
Thank you all for your support so far!
the Scott and Carrie Support Committee (SCSC)
Published on 30 December 2010. Reporters Without Borders
Figures in 2010
57 journalists killed (25% fewer than in 2009)
51 journalists kidnapped
535 journalists arrested
1374 physically attacked or threatened
504 media censored
127 journalists fled their country
152 bloggers and netizens arrested
52 physically attacked
62 countries affected by Internet censorship
Fewer killed in war zones
Fifty-seven journalists were killed in connection with their work in 2010,
25% fewer than in 2009, when the total was 76. The number of journalists
killed in war zo- nes has fallen in recent years. Significantly, it is
becoming more and more difficult to identify those responsible in cases in
which journalists were killed by criminal gangs, armed groups, religious
organizations or state agents. “Fewer journalists were killed in war zones
than in preceding years,” Reporters Without Borders secretary- general
Jean-François Julliard said. “Media workers are above all being
murdered by criminals and traffickers of various kinds. Organized crime
groups and militias are their leading killers worldwide. The challenge now
is to rein in this phenomenon. The authorities of the countries concerned
have a direct duty to combat the impunity surrounding these murders. If
governments do not make every effort to punish the murderers of
journalists, they become their accomplices.”
Journalists as bargaining chips
Another distinguishing feature of 2010 was the major increase in
kidnappings of journalists. There were 29 cases in 2008, 33 in 2009 and 51
in 2010. Journalists are seen less and less as outside observers. Their
neutrality and the nature of their work are no longer respected.
“Abductions of journalists are becoming more and more frequent and are
taking place in more countries.” Reporters Without Borders said. “For the
first time, no continent escaped this evil in 2010. Journalists are
turning into bargaining chips. Kidnappers take hostages in order to
finance their criminal activities, make governments comply with their
demands, and send a message to the public. Abduction provides them with a
form of publicity. Here again, governments must do more to identify them
and bring them to justice. Otherwise reporters – national or foreign –
will no longer venture into certain regions and will abandon the local
population to their sad fate.” Journalists were particularly exposed to
this kind of risk in Afghanistan and Nigeria in 2010. The case of French
TV journalists Hervé Ghesquière and Stéphane Taponier
and their three Afghan assistants, held hostage in Afghanistan since 29
December 2009, is the longest abduction in the history of the French media
since the end of the 1980s.
No region of the world spared
Journalists were killed in 25 countries in 2010. This is the first time
since Reporters Without Borders began keeping these tallies that
journalists have been murdered in so many countries. Almost 30% of the
countries (7 in total) were African countries: Angola, Cameroon,
Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Rwanda, Somalia and Uganda. But the
deadliest continent by far was Asia with 20 cases, and this was due above
all to the heavy toll in Pakistan, where 11 journalists were killed in
2010. Of the 67 countries where there have been murders of journalists in
the past 10 years, there are eight where they keep recurring: Afghanistan,
Colombia, Iraq, Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, and Somalia. These
countries have not evolved; a culture of violence against the press has
become deeply rooted there. Pakistan, Iraq and Mexico have been the three
most violent countries for journalists during the past decade. The passing
years have brought no changes to Pakistan, with journalists continuing to
be targeted by Islamists groups or to be the collateral victims of suicide
bombings. This total of 11 killed was the highest of the year. Iraq saw a
return to earlier levels of violence with a total of seven journalists
killed in 2010 as against four in 2009. Most of them were killed after the
United States announced that all of its combat troops had been withdrawn
in August. Journalists are caught in a trap between the different sectors
– including local authorities, those involved in corruption and religious
groups that refuse to accept media independence. In Mexico, the extreme
violence of the drug traffickers affects the entire population including
journalists, who are particularly exposed. This has a major impact on
reporting, with journalists reducing their coverage of crime stories to
the minimum in order to take as few risks as possible. In Central America,
three were killed in Honduras in 2010 in connection with their work.
Politically-motivated violence since the June 2008 coup d’état has
com pounded the “traditional violence” of organized crime, a major
phenomenon in this part of the world. In Thailand, where newspapers are
able to enjoy relative independence despite recurring press freedom
violations, 2010 was a very tough year. Two foreign journalists, Fabio
Polenghi of Italy and Hiroyuki Muramoto of Japan, were killed in clashes
between government forces and Red Shirts (supporters of former Prime
Minister Thaksin Shinawatra) in Bangkok in April and May. The shots that
killed them were very probably fired by the members of the army.
Two journalists killed in Europe
Two journalists were murdered in European Union countries – Greece and
Latvia. Neither murder has so far been solved. Social and political
instability is having an impact on the work of the media in Greece, where
Socratis Guiolias, the manager of Radio Thema 98.9, was gunned down with
an automatic weapon outside his home in southeast Athens on 19 July. The
police suspect a far- left group calling itself Sehta Epanastaton
(Revolutionary Sect) that emerged in 2009. In Latvia, a country with a
calmer environment for the press, Grigorijs Nemcovs, the publisher and
editor of the regional newspaper Million and owner of a local TV station
of the same name, was shot twice in the head in the southeastern city of
Daugavpils while on his way to a meeting on 16 April.
Even the internet no longer a refuge
Reporters Without Borders is continuing to investigate the June 2010 death
of the young netizen Khaled Mohammed Said, who was arrested by two
plain-clothes police officers in an Internet café, taken outside and
beaten to death in the street. There were reports that his death was
prompted by a video posted online that incriminated the police in a drug
deal. Autopsy reports attributed his death to a drug overdose, but this
was belied by photos of his body. The number of arrests and physical
attacks on netizens in 2010 was similar to previous years. Harassment of
bloggers and censorship of the Internet have become commonplace. There are
no longer any taboos about online filtering. Censorship is taking new
forms: more aggres- sive online propaganda and increasingly frequent use
of cyber-attacks as way to silence bothersome Internet users.
Significantly, online censorship is no longer necessarily the work of
repressive regimes. Democracies are now examining and adopting new laws
that pose a threat to free speech on the Internet.
Exile – the last resort
Many journalists flee abroad to escape violence and oppression. A total of
127 journalists from 23 countries did this in 2010. The exodus from Iran
continues. For the second year running, it was the biggest source of
fugitive journalists – 30 cases registered by Reporters Without Borders in
2010. The Horn of Africa continues to shed journalists. Around 15 fled
Eritrea and Somalia in 2010. The year also saw the forced exile of 18
Cuban journa- lists, who had been jailed since March 2003 and who were
released on condition that they immediately leave for Spain.
Fewer journalists killed in 2010
By GABRIELE STEINHAUSER and ANGELA DOLAND, Associated Press Dec 30, 2010
BRUSSELS – Fewer reporters were killed worldwide in 2010 than in the
previous year, but media advocacy groups warned Thursday that while the
number slain in war zones has fallen, criminals and traffickers have
become a greater threat to journalists.
Fifty-seven reporters were killed around the world this year, the
Paris-based media advocacy group Reporters Without Borders said in its
annual report, down 25 percent from 2009, when 76 journalists were killed
in connection with their jobs.
Last year's record number of deaths was high because of a massacre in the
Philippines that saw more than two dozen journalists and their staff
A separate report Thursday from the Brussels-based International
Federation for Journalists said 94 journalist and other media personnel
were killed in 2010, down from 139 in 2009. The federation count includes
other employees of media organizations such as drivers, cameramen or
The insurgency in Pakistan claimed the most victims in 2010, according to
both groups. Other dangerous beats included the drug war in Mexico and
political unrest in Honduras. Iraq, the Philippines, and Somalia also
Media advocates stressed that while massacres like the one in the
Philippines or the war in Iraq have pushed up the death toll in recent
years, the number of journalists killed in domestic political conflicts
has reached an alarmingly high level.
"This year, most of the journalists were killed in countries that cannot
be called countries at war, I mean not in the traditional sense of a war,"
Jean-Francois Julliard, the secretary general of Reporters Without
Borders, told APTN. "We have the feeling that murderers of journalists are
among organized crime gangs, mafia, militias rather than in conflict
Jim Boumelha, the president of the International Federation for
Journalists, said one of the main reasons for the high numbers of deaths
in places such as Pakistan and Honduras was that "governments aren't doing
Journalists covering war zones were getting better protection, but when
there is impunity for crimes against journalists within a country, it is
difficult to protect them from the outside "no matter what we do, no
matter how we campaign," Boumelha said in a phone interview.
People working in the media also faced other threats this year.
A total of 51 reporters were kidnapped in 2010, up from 33 in 2009,
Reporters Without Borders said. Two French TV journalists, Herve
Ghesquiere and Stephane Taponier, as well as their three Afghan
assistants, have been held hostage in Afghanistan for more than a year.
Many others were beaten, jailed without a trial, threatened, or prevented
from publishing, said Boumelha, pointing to recent disputed elections in
Belarus and Ivory Coast.
The foiled bomb plot earlier this week against Danish newspaper Jyllens
Posten, which in 2005 sparked outrage by publishing cartoons depicting the
Prophet Muhammad, was another example of the risks involved in working in
the news media.
"Journalists are seen less and less as outside observers," Reporters
Without Borders said in its report. "Their neutrality and the nature of
their work are no longer respected."
Doland reported from Paris.
Alarcon: Unrelentingly demanding that President Obama free the 5 will be our promise of the New Year
Alarcon: Unrelentingly demanding that President Obama free the 5 will be our promise of the New Year
Excerpt from a speech by the President of the National Assembly of the Republic of Cuba, Ricardo Alarcon de Quesada, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP)
…with the power that the imperialists have they have been able to practice against the Cuban population the most prolonged genocide in history. In the meantime, they provide shelter for their worst assassins such as the one who lives in Miami and recently published an infamous book where he boasts of his crimes. At the same time they unjustly imprison 5 Cubans who sacrificed their lives to save their fellowmen from the evil deeds of terrorists that Washington has tacitly tolerated and granted impunity.
Now, the day is coming when the US has to respond to the petition of Habeas Corpus on behalf of Gerardo Hernández Nordelo, which is his last legal recourse. At the same time the media in Miami is miserably and cowardly slandering him and trying to deceive and diverting attention to confuse the solidarity movement. Other from the right of Cuba to defend its sovereignty, there was not any evidence produced to directly link Gerardo Hernandez to the alleged crime. At this juncture they are trying to trick us and make us forget that in May 2001, in a dramatic and urgent demand before the Court of Appeal, the prosecutors recognized that they were lacking proof of direct knowledge and requested to modify the original accusation presented against our compañero. Despite that, he was sentenced to an extraordinary amount of time for a crime that he did not commit or could have physically carried out. It is hardly possible to find a similarly planned injustice.
We have made a call to the solidarity movement and to all honest people to raise their voices in defense of Gerardo. The United States government knows he is innocent and that they never had any proof to accuse him. We have to demand that they free him now. To free him and also Ramon, Antonio, Fernando and René, five Heroes of the Republic of Cuba. President Obama can and should free them right now, without conditions, immediately. All of them and each and every one of the Five without exception.
Unrelentingly demanding that President Obama free them will be our promise for the New Year. Let the whole world continue to ask President Obama to free them. He knows that he can and that he should do it.
The Scott sisters are freed. In a release today, Haley
Barbour,Governor of Mississippi,made the following announcement:
Dec. 29, 2010
GOV. BARBOUR'S STATEMENT REGARDING RELEASE OF SCOTT SISTERS
"Today, I have issued two orders indefinitely suspending the
sentences of Jamie and Gladys Scott. In 1994, a Scott County jury
convicted the sisters of armed robbery and imposed two life sentences
for the crime. Their convictions and their sentences were affirmed
by the Mississippi Court of Appeals in 1996.
"To date, the sisters have served 16 years of their sentences and are
eligible for parole in 2014. Jamie Scott requires regular dialysis,
and her sister has offered to donate one of her kidneys to her. The
Mississippi Department of Corrections believes the sisters no longer
pose a threat to society. Their incarceration is no longer necessary
for public safety or rehabilitation, and Jamie Scott's medical
condition creates a substantial cost to the State of Mississippi.
"The Mississippi Parole Board reviewed the sisters' request for a
pardon and recommended that I neither pardon them, nor commute their
sentence. At my request, the Parole Board subsequently reviewed
whether the sisters should be granted an indefinite suspension of
sentence, which is tantamount to parole, and have concurred with my
decision to suspend their sentences indefinitely.
"Gladys Scott's release is conditioned on her donating one of her
kidneys to her sister, a procedure which should be scheduled with
urgency. The release date for Jamie and Gladys Scott is a matter for
the Department of Corrections.
"I would like to thank Representative George Flaggs, Senator John
Horne, Senator Willie Simmons, and Representative Credell Calhoun for
their leadership on this issue. These legislators, along with former
Mayor Charles Evers, have been in regular contact with me and my
staff while the sisters' petition has been under review."
Sister's Kidney Donation Condition Of Miss. Parole
Dec. 30, 2010
Unique Parole Condition: Miss. Inmate Must Give Kidney To Sister To
Have Life Sentence Lifted
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour has
suspended the life sentences of two sisters convicted in 1994 for
their roles in an armed robbery, but one sister's release is
contingent on her giving a kidney to the other.
Gladys and Jamie Scott were convicted of leading two men into an
ambush in central Mississippi in 1993. The men were robbed of $11 by
three teenagers who hit both men in the head with a shotgun and took
their wallets, court records said.
The Scott sisters are eligible for parole in 2014, but 38-year-old
Jamie Scott "requires regular dialysis, and her sister has offered to
donate one of her kidneys to her," Barbour said.
Barbour said in a news release that 36-year-old Gladys Scott's
release is conditioned on her donating one of her kidneys to her sister.
Dan Turner, Barbour's spokesman, told The Associated Press that Jamie
Scott was released because she needs the transplant. He said Gladys
Scott will be released if she agrees to donate her kidney because of
the significant risk and recovery time.
"She wanted to do it," Turner said. "That wasn't something we introduced."
Barbour is a Republican in his second term who has been mentioned as
a possible presidential contender in 2012. He said the Mississippi
Parole Board reviewed the case at his request and agreed with the
indefinite suspension of their sentences, which is different from a
pardon or commutation because it comes with conditions.
An "indefinite suspension of sentence" can be reversed if the
conditions are not followed, but those requirements are usually
things like meeting with a parole officer.
The Scott sisters have received significant public support from
advocacy groups, including the NAACP, which called for their release.
Hundreds of people marched through downtown Jackson from the state
capital to the governor's mansion in September, chanting in unison
that the women should be freed.
Still, their release won't be immediate.
Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps said
late Wednesday that he had not received the order. He also said the
women want to live with relatives in Florida, which requires approval
from officials in that state.
In general, that process takes 45 days
Dear Friends and Comrades,
This poster marks a year of making these posters! Our collective is super excited to be able to have kept up for an entire year while expanding what we are pretty sure is the most extensive database of US political Prisoners’ birthdays. We plan on continuing to compile these birthdays and addresses for years to come. What started as a really shitty looking punk poster sent to 20 personal contacts in the south east is now emailed out to over 200 infoshops and individuals, mailed to just about every books 2 prisoners in the country and 500 are included in every package of three major radical distributors. Its also changed the way the Earth First! Journal does their prisoner support page. It is our hope that all this has increased political prisoner mail and support exponentially by using a decentralized yet coordinated model. This project serves to connect the current movements and struggles with our warriors and elders who have been captured and in many cases tortured and left to be forgotten by the US empire. Most signs point to this project as a raging success in terms of its original scope and goals. It would have never been possible with out the Anarchist Black Cross Federation for their original birthday list and Denver Anarchist Black Cross for keeping up with the ever changing addresses of US political Prisoners. We now have pdfs of almost all of the posters so far (except february 2010) on our recently overhauled website prisonbooks.info. So feel free to point people towards that piece of
Which brings us to money, The past year of this project was financed entirely out of pocket and cost us hundreds of dollars over the course of a year stupidly enough. The prison books aspect of our project doesn’t have the money to spend on this and send thousands of books each year to prisoners in the south, so basically we’ve been spending our own very tight personal finances. So we’re asking y’all to throw a bit of money our way. You can donate through our website (prisonbooks.info)or send checks to Internationalist books to prisoners at our bookstore’s address.(405 w franklin st, chapel hill nc 27516) If you have a local books to prisoners project or Anarchist Black Cross then ignore our plea for money and read it as a plea for support for them. Make copies, volunteer, give money, whatever you’re able to do. Prisons are a strategic point of struggle and the books 2 prisoners network is a potentially powerful force for positive and radical social change. As always…please post this poster publicly and or use it to have a card writing night.
Until Every Cage Is Empty,
for the chapel hill prison books collective,
Anarchist prisoner and founder of the Missouri Prison Labor Union, Jerome White-Bey, has been put in solitary confinement for reasons still unclear. He is also suffering from Hep-C liver damage and is not responding well to his Thyroid medication. Prison officials have yet to grant him a doctor’s visit and his placement into solitary confinement can only make his situation worse.
People are encouraged to write a short letter to the following address.
MDOC Regional Medical Director Dr. Conley,
2729 Plaza Drive,
P.O. Box 236,
Jefferson City, MO. 65102
Jerome’s birthday is also on December 28th. Letters and cards would be especially
encouraging for him at this time.
Jerome White-Bey #37479
2727 Highway K
Bonne Terre, MO 63628
Recently Denver ABC has been working with Alvaro Luna Hernandez, a Chicano political prisoner serving a 50 year sentence for disarming the Sheriff of Alpine in self-defense. We’re excited to release this exclusive interview which details both the events that lead to his unjust imprisonment as well as key events in his life, his current challenges in prison and thoughts on revolutionary struggle.
We encourage people to share Alvaro’s case and this interview with friends and family. If you are interested in getting involved with Alvaro’s campaign contact us at email@example.com and visit his support site www.freealvaro.net
Interview with Chicano Political Prisoner Alvaro Luna Hernandez
by Denver ABC
(from a “Control Unit” in Texas Prison)
ABC Denver: Alvaro. First, thank you so much for conducting this interview with us. I think it makes sense to start by recounting the events that transpired that lead to your current imprisonment. Take us back to the day that the Alpine Sheriff came to your place on false charges. What happened?
Alvaro: I believe a brief account of some historical facts are first necessary in order to put all these matters in their proper context. Of course, we all know the legacy of confrontations between police and the Chicano community. My case is an example of the continuation of this “gunpowder justice” mentality going back to the occupation of Mexicano lands and the colonial vigilantism of Texas Rangers “shoot first and ask questions later,” such as in the celebrated case of Gregorio Cortez as recounted by Americo Paderes in his book “With His Pistol in His Hand,” that produced “corridos,” and other ballads of resistance in the Southwest. The occupation settlers have always enforced their colonial rule with an iron fist.
The Alpine Police is no different. Since my arrival in Alpine, they immediately set out to expel me from the county at all costs. For example, as a rebellious youth, I had had many violent confrontations with police, including destruction of police cars in response to a racist incident at a local restaurant; the overpowering of jailers in the Pecos County Jail, taking the Sheriff’s arsenal, freeing all prisoners in the jail, locking the jailer in a cell, taking his car and escaping to Mexico through the Big Bend National Park near Santa Elena Canyon; I had shootouts with police, and was known as a “troublemaker” in the eyes of police because of my history of filing civil rights lawsuits against police for brutality, and winning large sums of monetary compensation for damages, including having a Chief Deputy and a Deputy Sheriff convicted in federal court in Pecos for brutalizing me and other prisoners, after my re-capture from my jail escape to Mexico. The police were not happy to see me return to Alpine. I began to set the ground work for barrio organizing the Alpine police feared and were determined to stop.
When I arrived in Alpine on August 1995 from Houston, I had made it known that the police murderer Bud Powers, who shot and killed 16 year old Evray Ramos on June 12, 1968, should be prosecuted for federal criminal civil rights violations, after the Alpine state court had granted him probation and he didn’t even serve one single day in jail for this cold-blooded murder. Their was an atmosphere of citizen outrage against the police and I began talking to people about the need for organization to fight back. The police knew of my field investigative capacity as a delegate of a non-governmental group to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in March 1993 at Geneva, Switzerland; they knew of my role as coordinator of the Ricardo Aldape Guerra Defense Committee that lead the fight to free Mexican national Guerra from Texas’ death row after being framed for the killing of a Houston cop. I was constantly harassed by police such as illegal vehicle stops, humiliating car searches of my person, my passengers and vehicle with their K9 drug dog, constant surveillance of my legitimate activities, and their use of informants to monitor my activities.
At the time I was doing some free lance paralegal writing for a lawyer, and the police wanted to know what type of “papers” I had been “typing,” according to later revelations from their main informant. All these lead to the filing of bogus felony charges against me for “aggravated robbery,” filed against me by the father-in-law of a police sergeant, all designed to have me removed off the streets, under the false pretexts using the criminal justice system for arbitrary detention. These charges were later dismissed, after I had proved my innocence, but the violent confrontation with the Sheriff had happened in the interim period. In other words, the Sheriff had no legal authority to trespass into my property and attempt to arrest me on July 18, 1996.
When I saw him pulling into my driveway and step out of his car, I saw him unsnap his leather strap over his gun. When I came to the door and questioned the legality of his illegal actions, he became violently angry and was in the act of going or his gun to shoot me, and I disarmed him in self defense, believing my life was in danger of imminent harm, knowing the history of their brutality and murders of other Chicano youth down through the years, such as the Evray Ramos case and other incidents of police brutality.
In a nutshell, I was convicted of aggravated assault against the Sheriff and found not guilty on count two, of allegedly shooting Alpine Police Sergeant Curtis Hines in the hand, days later after police started shooting, indiscriminately, at my mother’s house, when they learned I was inside. The jury was charged on the law of self defense but rejected my defense, found me guilty on count one and sentenced me to 50 years imprisonment. Under Texas’ harsh sentencing “aggravated” laws, I have to serve one half, or 25 calendar years before being “parole eligible,” which will not be until the year 2021.
ABC Denver: What was the atmosphere at trial and what was your approach to all of it?
Alvaro: The case was moved to Odessa from Alpine due to extensive pretrial publicity. The week I was arrested, unknown persons began spray painting walls, signs and other objects, including the walls of the building at the elite First National Bank in Alpine, with graffiti that said, “Convict the Pigs! Free Alvaro!” and such supportive slogans. Many groups staged protests outside the Odessa courthouse, coming from as far as California, Houston, Alpine and Mexico to support me. Prosecutors complained to the judge about these public protests.
At trial, a police web of lies were spewed, and the jury, although knowing it was obvious police were all lying, refused to totally clear me and I was convicted on count one. Crucial defense evidence was not presented to the jury, by my sell-out lawyer, who he himself, was under federal criminal drug investigation, and was convicted and sentenced to 30 months in federal prison and disbarred from the practice of law a few months after I was convicted. For example, a KOSA TV Channel 7 live broadcast conducted by this Odessa t.v. station on the day of the incident from Alpine with the Sheriff, I am told, involves the Sheriff telling the news reporters that I had only disarmed him, but later changed his story to say that I had “pointed the weapon at his chest,”— the difference between a minor misdemeanor charge of disarming a police officer and a first degree offense of “aggravated assault” carrying a range of punishment from 5 to 99 to life imprisonment.
But, of course, I was not naive and I know well the documented history of police atrocities and crimes protected by the courts, no matter the nature of police crimes committed against innocent, defenseless citizens. More so, against those of us the system hates because of our revolutionary beliefs and our resistance to their oppression. The U.S. judicial system has always been used to give legitimacy to these state crimes, for example, their colonial war crimes, theft of Mexicano lands, the disenfranchisement of us and denial of our social rights, the government’s war on militancy and their labeling of us as “common criminals” and ”bandits,” while there are currently hundreds of US political prisoners, prisoners of war, caged in these control units for our opposition to this government. The case of the imprisonment of our brother Ricardo Flores Magon is another case in point, and the many police murders of militant activists during the peak of the Chicano movement. Texas Rangers massacred and lunched many Raza and the political. The police have murdered many activists in cold blood, but they have escaped justice.
To add insult to injury, although these crimes were influenced by their white racist ideology of “Manifest Destiny,” the system glorifies this genocidal history, have created a mythology of white supremacy and self-righteousness and have built their monuments, such as the Texas Ranger Museum in Waco, Texas, their “tourist attraction” such as the Law West of the Pecos saloon-court of the fascist judge Roy Bean, and similar monuments glorifying this racist, colonial, genocidal history, erected throughout the occupied Southwest U.S. territories of Aztlan, from Texas to California. Not to forget the constant murders of our brothers and sisters killed at the imposed military border on the Rio Grande River.
ABC Denver: When the verdict was read, what were you feeling? What went through your mind?
Alvaro: Knowing this history of the role of police and the court system, I was not surprised to have been found guilty of a “crime” where the real criminals are the police. They assaulted me and were in the act of possibly killing me, I defend myself but I am the one convicted. These are the double standards of this false system of justice in this country. Especially if you are considered a “troublemaker” simply because of one’s activism. We are “criminalized” by the system, framed by police and prosecutors and send to prison to rot in a prison cell. We see daily the many prisoners who are exonerated after languishing many years in prison, for crimes they did not commit. Their only real “crime” has been the color of their skin and their poverty. After the verdict was read, you heard me outburst in the court and was restrained by the police and removed from the courtroom.
I will never accept the legitimacy of a police, a court system, a prison, a government that has been built on stolen lands, and has blood dripping from its murderous hands, blood of Chicanos, Mexicanos, African Americans and other indigenous nation-tribes criminally enslaved as internal colonies of Yankee imperialism today. A “criminal justice system” that reaps super-profits with its genocidal, corporate incarceration of people and its industrialization of its prison system, that benefits economically from this mass imprisonment, mostly for the enslavement of the Bronze and Black colonies, or people of color.
The verdict in my case is itself a crime. Although I am now a “slave of the state,” this is one “slave” that will never recognize the legitimacy of these state crimes committed against me, who will always have freedom, liberation, justice and self-determination on his mind. I am now living another nightmare, knowing that the real criminals, the police run the streets committing more crimes against the innocent, unarmed citizens, and hiding behind their badges, protected by a criminal system, such as the recent verdict in the police murder of Oscar Grant by that Oakland pig, and many other similar cold-blooded murders committed by fascist pigs.
ABC Denver: You have been in several prison strikes and other forms of rebellions. What has been the most significant event that has transpired in prison? What conditions brought the event about, and what lessons can be learned from it?
Alvaro: It would be to see an oppressed, downtrodden class of repressed and despised people by a large part of reactionary society, caged from within the dark dungeons of the Amerikkkan gulag, break the yoke of mental oppression, discover their humanity, their real class interests, settle their quarrels, transform a criminal mentality into a revolutionary mentality, and fight back, and discover their love for revolution. I am a disciple of comrade George Jackson, murdered by pigs at San Quentin prison in California on August 21, 1971. To come to “meet” him spiritually and know the relevance of his words written in his book Blood In My Eye, that ring true today are invaluable lessons one takes to the grave as a liberation army soldier and advocate for revolution.
I mean, Texas prisons are very racist, brutal and murderous. I was in the forefront of these prison movement struggles to unite prisoners, to re-educate them with revolutionary history and theory, and to transform them into political cadres and activist soldiers conscious of their class and racial oppression, and instill in them the spiritual desire and determination to free their minds and to stand up and struggle for their fundamental and other human rights not to be treated as animals nor as mere slaves of the state, but as human beings with inalienable rights, even under enormous odds, and from under the nose and boot heel of murderous prison guards and a prison administration with a history of murdering prisoner activists, or other “jailhouse lawyers” who dared to stand up for their rights.
I, along with other prisoners formed revolutionary study cells, and other legal defense and solidarity support groups from within, and used all means to fight back, armed with a revolutionary sense of our purpose in life and with a clear understanding of our mission with an equal awareness of the nature and the role of prisons in U.S. society. We prevailed and were victorious in a legal sense, as we won major concessions from the prison system, and the courts, bringing these oppressors to a realization that changes were needed in the Texas prison system or we would burn it to the ground and create another Attica Prison Rebellion Texas politicians did not want on their hands. The prison conditions case styled Ruiz V. Estelle is the I am referring to. We used all means, including hunger strikes, work stoppages, taking over parts of the prison, and the like.
I soon found myself in solitary confinement and under permanent lock down and isolation from the rest of the federal prison population classified as a “leader” and “agitator” and a threat to the security of the institution. I mean, these were great feelings of accomplishment and personal sense of fulfillment to see a prison slave breaking his mental chains and standing up for his humanity as a class and a group of the most oppressed and repressed sectors of U.S. society.
Even today I draw spiritual strength and determination from those past experiences of many years gone by, in order to sustain me now in this control unit they now have me isolated in. These same lessons can be learned in the context of community organizing, the need for organization, for true working class leadership and for movement building on a national and international scale, more so in light of the rise of right wing vigilantism, police murders of innocent people, and other injustices we see today, from New York to California. Unity and Solidarity is key to our success in fighting back and being victorious against all forms of oppression.
ABC Denver: Tell us about your current work as a jailhouse lawyer. What cases have you worked on in the past and what are you currently working on?
Alvaro: I mentioned the Ruiz prison case. I was a prisoner-plaintiff witness on behalf of all prisoners in that case and testified before the federal judge that presided in that trial starting in October 1978 and lasting a year, the longest prison conditions trial in the history of court cases. As a high school drop out, or “push out,” I learned “law” in prison and became a versed jailhouse lawyer, that would help other prisoners with their legal cases, or the filing of civil rights lawsuits against the prison for violation of legal rights. I mean, I worked in many, many cases including cases such as prison guard brutality, affirmative action cases in prison racial discrimination as far as classification, job assignments, educational and other vocational opportunities that were non-existent, including challenging an “all white” employee and promotion system that excluded ethnic minorities from consideration at all levels.
I continue to work on legal defense cases, mostly cases trying to obtain new trials for other prisoners based, say, on violation of their rights at trial, or under the common ground of being represented by incompetent, court appointed attorneys because of their poverty in not being financially able to pay a lawyer for legal representation.
I am now working on two significant cases now pending before the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. In one of those cases the prisoner was diagnosed as having an IQ of 64, and within the range of mental retardation under psychiatric rules and standards but his lawyer sold him out and did not do his required job in properly defending him at his jury trial. The prisoner got a life sentence. The other case involves a case where the lawyer submitted an “affidavit,” or sworn statement in response to his write allegations, and flat outright lied, and I am seeking not only a new trial on those grounds, but criminal prosecution of the lawyer for aggravated perjury.
There is an abundance of legal defense work in here and in response to these prison conditions, that, despite the legal victories in the Ruiz case, prison officials have resorted back to their old ways and have disregarded the orders of the federal court. I mean, there were about four prisoners back here in this control unit that took their own lives; guards are very abusive and overall prison conditions are brutal and torturous and, so, I keep fighting back as I am able to, including reaching out to groups such as ABC, ABCF, and others to help us build outside support to protests these atrocities and injustices occurring behind the razor wire of the AmeriKKKAn gulag and the “Prisonhouse of Nations,” as comrade Mumia Abu-Jamal appropriately named in his recent excellent book, Jailhouse Lawyers: Defending Prisoners Vs. The USA, which is recommended reading by anyone interested in these realities.
Let me add by saying that, while one might say there is a contradiction between condemning the U.S. court system, and then “petitioning” those same courts for redress of injustices, I don’t see it like that. It is all part of the varied forms of struggle we must sue on all united fronts, such as legal defense, barrio organizing, civil disobedience, street marches and protests, and other more sophisticated forms of resistance. We educate, and re-educate others so that they will come to understand the true nature of this false, class “democracy” and expose all those flowery words such as “equal justice for all,” which have no real meaning, unless people stand up and demand them.
ABC Denver: You are now in a control unit in a Texas prison in Gatesville, Texas. What is it like?
Alvaro: I am confined in isolation to a small cell for 23 hours a day. I am allowed one hour of recreation a day. My meals, clothing necessities, and mail are brought to me in my cell. Every time I exit my cage I have to be strip-searched, and handcuffed with my hands behind my back, to recreation and shower, or to the medical clinic, or outside visits from family and friends. My cell is constantly searched and left in total disarray. More so against those like me who are extremely disliked by the prison guards and the administration because of our resistance to their injustices, and their retaliatory acts to punish us for demanding our human rights. I have access to a typewriter, a small radio, fan but no television. I am allowed to purchase items from the commissary, or canteen, such as accessories for my machine, personal hygiene items, postage and other food supplements such as coffee and soda drinks as well. My outgoing and incoming mail is subject to special screening by the unit mail room, which I call “witch hunts.” You can imagine how much one in my situation is hated by the system, especially from these retired military people who run this place, when one criticizes their fascist police practices and the imperialist militarism.
During the year of 2007, there were about four prisoner suicides back here in this 500 man “control unit” facility. The people back here are mainly from “prison gangs” and other prisoners the administration labels threats to the security of the prison. I have been in this lock down status for 9 years now, with no hopes of getting released into general population, unless I renounce my political beliefs and my activities of resisting their prison fascism, which I will never do.
My revolutionary awareness and belief system is what sustains me behind the razor-wire walls of the Amerikkkan gulag. The majority of prisoners back here are Chicano or African American, and this is institutional genocide. They may be able to jail me, but they will never jail my spirit, nor my determination to resist their state crimes against me, and I will always fight back no matter the odds stacked up against me. Despite being condemned by a federal judge in the Ruiz case, nothing has changed. Only the names of the victims, victimized by this cruel and nightmarish forms of isolation and torture that violate all standards of international human rights laws. These “control units” were designed to isolate and destroy political prisoners and prisoners of war held captive in U.S. prisons.
ABC Denver: Where is your case currently? How best can people support you and bring about your freedom?
Alvaro: I have litigated my case in state and federal court all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which denied me. I am now in the process of gathering outside support to be able to obtain access to police and prosecutor files suppressed, or hidden from my defense, such as the KOSA TV news broadcast, and other evidence I know does exist in the case. If I can discover these withheld materials, I can re-enter the court system again, but this time with a stronger outside support base to push for my release from this wrongful captivity.
The power of the people will have to be amassed in my support, much like the world supported brother Nelson Mandela and changed people’s opinions and views about him not being a “common criminal” or “terrorist,” but a real freedom fighter, which finally won his release from the claws of South Africa’s apartheid system. There are many of us recognized as political prisoners and POWs now held in U.S. prisons. We must build a new political prisoners support movement and use all methods of struggle to win our freedom. The U.S. government’s hypocrisy and double standards must be exposed when it comes to human rights and political prisoners. We must push to re-open COINTELPRO (counter intelligence program) hearings before the Senate Select Committee of the U.S. Congress and use international laws and petition human rights tribunals to consider our cases of political imprisonment, as we have now began to organize national movement behind our cases.
People interested in getting involved in this effort should stay tuned for further developments and activities planned around the country with this freedom movement in mind.
Again, thank the ABC Denver, the ABCF, the ABC formations and other groups and persons who have supported me, and my fellow imprisoned brothers and sisters down through the years. For more information about me and my case, you can visit www.freealvaro.net. Thank you. All Power to the People!
November 10, 2010
Hughes Unit Prison
Persons wanting to write a letter of support to Alvaro can do so at:
Alvaro Luna Hernandez
Rt. 2, Box 4400
December 20, 2010 by Davey D Hip Hop and Politics
Last week an officer who blatantly lied under oath was given her job back.. We’re talking about Marysol Domenici who was one of the first officers to on the scene at the Fruitvale BART station in Oakland, January 1 2009 when an unarmed Oscar Grant was shot in the back by convicted former BART cop Johannes Mehserle.
Domenici was fired after an independent investigating law firm Meyers Nave concluded she had lied about what took place the night of Grant’s murder. Domenici who had been on 15 months paid leave at the time of her firing, appealed via arbitration with the ruling she be immediately reinstated with back pay. The arbitrator, William Riker insisted that the prior investigation was flawed and that he saw no evidence that Domenici was untruthful.
Rulings like these have given people more and more reason to have little confidence in the justice system. What has taken place over the past two years around the killing of a Oscar Grant is something all of us involved with social justice issues will have to study for years to come. How can one be so meticulous in following every ‘proper’ step to seek justice only to see it thwarted at every turn?
To hear an arbitrator say that Domenici didn’t lie is beyond outrageous. Here’s a few things that are glaring.
During the preliminary hearings Domenici under oath emphatically stated that Oscar Grant had grabbed her arm. However when a video was shown it showed Grant holding on to the arm of his friend Jack Bryson. When confronted with the video, Domenici recanted her statement.
Under oath Domenici claimed that there were 40-50 people on the BART platform, the scene was chaotic and she feared for her life.. Those were exact words-She feared for her life. However, when a video is shown.. there is NO ONE on the platform.. Where were the 50 people? Not only that Domenici trained Black belt fighter which suggests a discipline and methodic approach toward dangerous situations, claimed she feared for her life, yet never called for back up..She also said that she would’ve used lethal force and killed somebody.
During the actual trial when Domenici took the stand she was confronted with her lies about 40-50 people being on the platform.. She tried to switch it up and say the train that was packed with passengers returning home from New year’s celebrations was ‘an extension’ of the platform. Yes, the train was packed, but no one was rowdy or jumping our confronting officers.
Domenici also claimed that Oscar friends caused his death by not co-operating. She made the claim they had struggled against her, but when questioned she noted that Grant’s friends didn’t struggle. What was crazy was Domenici had pulled out a taser and had pointed it at the heads of some of Grants friends threatening to shoot them which was not only against department protocol but also deemed unconstitutional by the 9th circuit court.
For folks in the Bay Area who have followed this case, from day one there was a call to have all the officers on that BART platform charged with crimes after Oscar Grant was murdered. While it was Johannes Mehserle who did the shooting, Domenici and her partner Tony Pirone who was also fired and now appealing, set the hostile climate that led to Grant’s death.
By deliberately exaggerating and making it sound like things were out of control, anyone the officers grabbed that night were likely to be subjected to harsh treatment. This is what happened to Grant and his friends. Even after he was shot, he was handcuffed because the officers claimed the environment was hostile.
BART says the ruling to reinstate Domenici is out of their control. The ruling has left many in the Bay Area asking some hard questions: 1-How could Marysol Domenici be reinstated in the face of all her wrong doings? 2-Why has she not been charged with perjury? By all accounts she lied on the stands. Her sworn accounts do not coincide with what was shown on videos? They also change from the preliminary trial to the trial? Why hasn’t Alameda DA Nancy O’Malley hit Domenici with perjury charges? The statute of limitations have not run out? If not O’Malley should this question be brought to the feet of California’s new Attorney General Kamala Harris?
Many are vowing to keep pushing in the upcoming New Year. Thus far two years have hard work have been stomped on by a far right conservative judges, Robert Perry and now this arbitrator who says he found nothing untruthful. All one has to do is read her statements, look at the video and can see it clearly. It’s clear for some the admission that cops could do something so egregious is unfathomable and thus even in the face of something this glaring, they give the police benefit of the doubt. That has got to change in the New Year.
Some nuts and bolts and trivia
1. New Address
Lynne Stewart #53504 - 054
Federal Medical Center, Carswell
PO Box 27137
Fort Worth TEXAS 76127
2. Visiting is very liberal but first I have to get people on my visiting list Wait til I or the lawyers let you know. The visits are FRI, SAT,
SUN AND MON for 4 hours and on weekends 8 to 3. Bring clear plastic change purse with lots of change to buy from the machines. Brief Kiss
upon arrival and departure, no touching or holding during visit (!!) On visiting forms it may be required that you knew me before I came to
prison. Not a problem for most of you.
3. One hour time difference
4. Commissary Money is always welcome It is how I pay for the phone and for email. Also need it for a lot that prison doesn't supply in terms
of food and "sundries" (pens!) A very big list that includes Raisins, Salad Dressing , ankle sox, mozzarella (definitely not from
Antonys--more like a white cheddar, Sanitas Corn Chips but no Salsa etc. To add money, you do this by using Western Union and a credit card
by phone or you can send a USPO money order or Business or Govt Check. The negotiable instruments (PAPER!) need to be sent to Federal Bureau
of Prisons , 53504-054, Lynne Stewart, PO Box 474701, Des Moines Iowa 50947-001 (Payable to Lynne Stewart, 53504-054) They hold the mo or
checks for 15 days. Western Union costs $10 but is within 2 hours. If you mail, your return address must be on the envelope. Unnecessarily
complicated ? Of course, it's the BOP !)
5. Food is vastly improved. Just had Sunday Brunch real scrambled eggs, PORK sausage,
Baked or home fried potatoes, Butter(sweet whipped M'God !!) Grapefruit juice Toast , orange. I will probably regain the weight I lost at MCC!
Weighing against that is the fact that to eat we need to walk to another building (about at far as from my house to the F Train) Also
included is 3 flights of stairs up and down. May try to get an elevator pass and try NOT to use it.
6. In a room with 4 bunks(small) about two tiers of rooms with same with "atrium" in middle with tv sets
and tables and chairs. Estimate about 500 on Unit 2N and there are 4 units. Population Black, Mexicano and other spanish speaking (all of
whom iron their underwear, Marta), White, Native Americans (few), no orientals or foreign speaking caucasians--lots are doing long bits,
victims of drugs (meth etc) and boyfriends. We wear army style (khaki)pants with pockets tee shirts and dress shirts long sleeved and short
sleeved. When one of the women heard that I hadn't ironed in 40 years, they offered to do the shirts for me. (This is typical of the help I
get--escorted to meals and every other protection, explanations, supplies, etc. Mostly from white women.) One drawback is not having a
bathroom in the room---have to go about 75 yards at all hours of the day and night --clean though.
7 Final Note--the sunsets and sunrises are gorgeous, the place is very open and outdoors there are
pecan trees and birds galore (I need books for trees and birds (west)The full moon last night gladdened my heart as I realized it was
shining on all of you I hold dear.