Friday, November 04, 2011

A3 Newsletter: Inching Towards Justice: Dedicated to the 99%

Angola 3 Newsletter, Oct. 30, 2011

Inching Towards Justice: Dedicated to the 99%

International Coalition to Free the Angola 3

As we witness the torturously slow path to justice in the cases of Albert and Herman, we applaud and stand in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement. At long last, the people awaken! Wherever A3 supporters are we urge them to join and support their local efforts while encouraging the inclusion of a complete overhaul of the criminal injustice system as part of the list of demands. Occupy Everywhere!!!

Please take the time to read Louisiana's Attorney General, Buddy Caldwell's recent statements on the Angola 3 case. We wonder after 40 years and in a state filled with crisis, why so much attention remains focused on keeping Albert and Herman behind bars?


This month Attorney General Buddy Caldwell has been busy digging into his second term in office after winning reelection by default when his only competitor withdrew from the race. In his first term he issued over 900 opinions and hundreds more cases undoubtedly await, but fighting to keep Herman and Albert in prison is still right up at the top of his priority list.

Caldwell, who in a 2008 Pulitzer Prize winning NPR series on the case, characterized Albert as "the most dangerous person on the planet," says he continues to give personal attention to the case "because federal judges just keep turning this guy loose and giving us work to do."

News From Federal Court

Motion to Disqualify Dismissed!

On Monday, Judge Brady heard oral arguments and summarily dismissed the State's latest attempt to impede justice--a motion to disqualify the attorneys from Albert's criminal case and the civil case. We are waiting to see how Judge Jackson handles a similar motion filed with regards to Herman's case. A big thanks to the legal team for all their hard work and to the many supporters who again filled the courtroom on A3's behalf.

Discovery Victory!

Last month, Judge Brady ordered that emails requested by the defense over a year before must be turned over within 5 days. The State took the drastic move of appealing the matter to the 5th Circuit as a mandamus and through the Louisiana Department of Justice. On Monday Judge Brady ordered again that the State must turn over the emails in question or possibly be found in contempt of court and face sanctions. Only minutes before his order would have taken effect, the State turned over the documents.

Albert's Hearing Rescheduled

Originally set for this past September, Albert's hearing on discrimination in the selection of his grand jury foreperson it is now tentatively rescheduled for May 2012. We will update everyone once the schedule is confirmed, but remain hopeful that justice delayed will not be justice denied.
Robert King's UK Tour

This month, Robert King has been touring the United Kingdom, accompanied by filmmaker Vadim Jean, with screenings of his film about the Angola 3, entitled "In The Land of the Free..."

Read Simon Jablonski's recent interview with King, and media coverage from the UK Tour: The Frontline (Podcast and Written Article), Liverpool John Moores University (1 and 2), and the London School of Economics.

GBonding With Herman Wallace Inside a Louisiana Dungeon

A3 supporter Ashley Wennerstrom has been visiting Herman for a while, recently writing a warm piece about her visits and continuing relationship with him. The essay begins:

I first wrote to Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox after seeing In the Land of the Free last spring and learning of the horrendous injustices the Angola 3 have suffered. I felt compelled to offer my support and admiration for their commitment to social justice. Within just a few days, I received a response from Herman (Albert wrote me a beautiful letter the following week) and we began to exchange letters on a weekly basis. After several months of sparring about political philosophy, discussing literature, and discovering unexpected similarities, I was delighted when Herman asked me to join him for a special visit.

Read the complete essay here.
GNew A3 Crossword Puzzle

A new crossword puzzle made by Albert Woodfox and longtime A3 supporter Jackie Sumell is now featured at!

With questions like which US Supreme Court Justice said, "the US constitution does not protect prisoners from cruel and unusual punishment," and which city has more people per capita incarcerated than any other in the world, this puzzle is a creative way to spread the word about the A3 and the broader injustices that are central to the A3 story, like mass incarceration, racism, torture, and more.

View/download/print the new crossword puzzle here.

PHOTO: Cops use tear gas and other "less-lethal" weapons against Occupy Oakland.
Photo by dave id, (view more)
Occupy Oakland Calls For General Strike on Nov. 2

The Occupy Wall Street movement continues to grow. This week, a key figure in the recent Egyptian revolution came an spoke to the NYC protesters. In Oakland, CA, following a brutal police attack on the Occupy encampment in downtown Oakland, it appears that the cops' heavy-handed tactics may have backfired by creating more public support for the protesters, who are now calling for a General Strike and Day of Mass Action in Oakland and beyond for Wednesday, November 2.

Learn more about Occupy Oakland and the Nov.2 Strike here.

The censored pelican representing the torturous constraints placed on prisoners in the Pelican Bay SHU was drawn by Pete Collins, imprisoned at Bath Prison, Ontario, Canada. (From: SFBV)
California Prison Hunger Strike Ends, Conditions of "Immense Torture" Continue

As reported by Truthout writer Victoria Law, the prisoner hunger strike at Pelican Bay State Prison was called off after nearly three weeks, on October 13. A few days later, Calipatria Prison followed suit and called of their strike as well, at least for now. There may be other California prisoners still striking, but this is unclear. The latest news from the striking prisoners and their outside supporters is available at the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity website.

The SF Bay View Newspaper has featured several recent articles written by the striking prisoners themselves, including How the Hunger Strike Started For Me, Retaliation at Pelican Bay: Letters From the SHU, and I Sit In Starved Rebellion.

Leonard Peltier Subjected to Worse Prison Conditions at USP Coleman in Florida

In September, Leonard was transferred to USP Coleman in central Florida. His conditions initially appeared to be an improvement over the penitentiary in Lewisburg. but it seems his living conditions may indeed be much worse. For example, Leonard still isn't being allowed visitors. Family members have to reapply to be put on Leonard's visitors list. Even the attorneys (for the first time) have to be put on his visitors list. The attorneys have another level of approval to navigate, as well, but are finding it difficult to contact prison officials to make all the necessary arrangements. It took one attorney over one month to gain access to his client.
Leonard is being isolated as never before. In addition, Leonard has been assigned to a top bunk. Due to a torn ligament which has never been repaired, Leonard's ability to climb safely is diminished. Mr. Peltier also should be placed in a unit with other older prisoners, but Coleman has Leonard listed as being 57 years of age when , in fact, he is 67 years old. All of Leonard's prison records over these many years clearly indicate his correct date of birth. Curious, right?
Dr. Thomas Kane, Acting Director
Federal Bureau of Prisons
320 1st Street, NW
Washington, DC 20534
Phone: (202) 307-3250 (Director)
(202) 307-3198 (Switchboard)

GWill Mumia Abu-Jamal Have a New Sentencing Trial?

This month, the US Supreme Court affirmed lower court rulings stating that death row journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal must be granted a new sentencing phase jury trial in order for the death sentence to be reinstated. The Philadelphia DA now has 180 days to decide whether to accept the sentence of life in prison without parole or to instead call for a new sentencing trial.

In articles following the ruling, Dave Lindorff, Linn Washington Jr and German author Michael Schiffmann have explained that if the DA calls for a new sentencing trial, evidence can be presented that directly challenges the prosecution scenario used to convict Mumia. One example is a recent ballistics test performed by Lindorff and Washington (watch video) further challenging the prosecution claim that Mumia stood over a police officer and shot down at him execution-style.

On December 9, the 30th anniversary of Mumia's arrest, a major event is being held at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia featuring Michelle Alexander, Marc Lamont Hill, Cornel West, Ramona Africa, and others. Learn more at the newly designed website
GAnti-Transgender Violence: How Hate-Crime Laws Have Failed

In a recent Truthout article, activist author Victoria Law argues that:

Hate-crime legislation has not stopped the endemic violence against transgender people. Just weeks after Obama signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act, the country's first gender identity and sexual orientation inclusive hate-crimes bill, two young queer people of color were murdered, one in Maryland, the other in Puerto Rico. In the wake of both the Act and the killings, two LGBT anti-violence organizations, the Audre Lorde Project in New York and Communities United Against Violence in San Francisco, issued a statement pointing out that the bill provides no funding or resources to actually prevent violence.

Instead, it reaffirms the idea that safety is realized by more police and more imprisonment, allocating five million dollars to expand the powers of local police and the FBI to investigate and prosecute hate violence, while ignoring the violence perpetrated by law enforcement. Despite hate-crime laws, the combination of transphobia and racism makes transgender people of color more likely to encounter police indifference when reporting violence, and three times more likely to experience hate violence from police than white transgender or non-transgender people of color. The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs found that 8 percent of hate violence against transgender people of color in 2010 was committed by police officers.

--In an earlier interview by Angola 3 News, Victoria Law made similar arguments criticizing the criminalization approach for dealing with gender violence.
GInterviews By Angola 3 News

"We Called Ourselves the Children of Malcolm" --An interview w/ Billy X Jennings of It's About Time BPP

This October we celebrated Black Panther History Month marking the 45th year since the BPP was started in Oakland, CA.

To mark the anniversary, we released a video-interview with Billy X Jennings, of It's About Time BPP, who organized events in the SF Bay Area throughout the month. The video features archival photos and more graphics from, including the photo exhibit "Women of the Black Panther Party and Beyond."


G15 Years of Giving Voice to Women and Transgender Prisoners --An interview with the California Coalition for Women Prisoners

CCWP members Diana Block, Pamela Fadem, and Deirdre Wilson explain in the interview that "CCWP was started by prisoners, former prisoners and advocates on the outside in 1995 when a lawsuit, Shumate v. Wilson, was brought by a team of legal organizations to

Documentary film by Freedom Archives & CCWP, viewable here.
challenge the cruel, inhumane, and unconstitutional medical care that women prisoners were enduring. The prisoner plaintiffs in the lawsuit recognized that they couldn't expect that legal challenges alone would improve their conditions of confinement. They wanted to ignite a grassroots movement to challenge not only health care conditions but the entire prison system. CCWP was born from this vision and from the beginning it included members on both sides of the walls."

Read the full interview here.

GFilming the Inspiring Life of Eddy Zheng, a Bay Area Community Leader Facing Deportation --An interview with Ben Wang

Ben Wang is the Director/Producer of the upcoming documentary film Breathin': The Eddy Zheng Story. The film's website explains that "after serving over 20 years behind bars for a robbery he committed at age 16, Chinese American community leader Eddy Zheng now faces deportation to China, a huge loss to the Bay Area community.

GBen Wang previously co-directed the documentary film entitled, AOKI, about Richard Aoki (1938-2009), a third-generation Japanese American who became one of the founding members of the Black Panther Party. Also, Wang co-edited with Eddy Zheng, the 2007 book Other: an API Prisoners Anthology.

In our video-interview that accompanies the email interview, Wang discusses working on the book with Zheng, the book's central themes, including the urgent need to give voice to API prisoners and the legacy of the WW2-era imprisonment of Japanese Americans in US concentration camps.

Watch/Read the full interview here.


GTroy Davis,

Rest In Peace

Nightmare at Midnight, Sept 21st, 2011

By Herman Wallace

Comrades, teachers and truth seekers, I'm going to assume most of you, if not all of you, have taken the time to watch the screening of "In the Land of the Free," and that its conclusion has only left you with more questions of facts. This film has been screened all over London and left audiences in a state of shock. This shock is tantamount to the fact that there is something VERY wrong in America. It was the Black vote that placed a Black man in the highest office of this country and the powers of the Republican party are united in principle, even at the suffering of the American people, to assure his failure.

On the G21st of September, 2011, my heart was troubled as millions of people worldwide waited in pain for the execution of Troy Davis. Troy Davis IS an innocent man, mountains of evidence could not connect him to the crime, and 7 witnesses recanted their testimony. In America the Justices argue that it is not illegal to execute an innocent man as long as he was given a fair trial - this protects the government from being sued for having already executed an innocent man. This is a poor justification at best. For any government to execute an innocent human being - the very act itself should call for revolution. Why should we be law abiding citizens when American laws are failing its citizens? Law abiding can be counter productive to change. Martin Luther King was not law-abiding. Law abiding does not necessarily mean 'good'.

As a former member of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense I have been persecuted and kept in prison for as long as Rudolphe Hess. I've been kept in solitary confinement since 1972, only 9 years after Nelson Mandela was first arrested. I believed then, and to this day I still believe that I make a difference - and so do you!

GI am told time and time again that, as a people, we must be conscious of the choices that we make, but I believe that it is the choices that we fail to make that empowers those who trespass against us.

I am Herman Wallace.

Albert & Herman


Herman Wallace
CCR - D - #11
EHCC Po Box 174
St Gabriel LA 70776

Albert Woodfox


David Wade Correctional Center
N1 A3

670 Bell Hill Rd.
Homer, LA 71040

Community Futures Collective/ Angola 3 | 221 Idora Ave. | Vallejo | CA | 94591

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