Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Angola 3 Newsletter, 2011 Wrap-up Looking Towards the New Year

International Coalition to Free the Angola 3

Message From Robert King

Dear friends,

This year has seen the movement strengthen and together our voices cannot be ignored. Next year marks another critical step in Herman and Albert's fight for freedom and another year where grassroots support will be vital. Your continuing actions, moral outrage, refusal to simply let things run their course and the support of organizations like Amnesty International are the fuel to our fight.

This year we have lost some dear comrades who have returned to the ancestors; Geronimo ji Jaga, all those in between and ending with the State of Georgia murdering Troy Davis. We are mindful of the fact that while Mumia has been granted a reprieve from imminent death, we have to remind ourselves that in America life in prison is death, incremental death. Therefore the struggle on his behalf and all political prisoners must continue. This is their legacy and this is ours.

Power to the People. King.....

--Watch the new video of Robert King on tour in the UK this past October, speaking at Liverpool John Moores University.
Of Traitors and Fools
--Robert King on Brandon Darby

Unfortunately this year has seen the rise of the far right and it saddens me that people have the propensity to be gullible, tricked and trapped by the lies spun by the likes of Brandon Darby who by his own actions has undermined his credibility.
In a recent presentation to a far right group, Darby recalls his endeavors within the progressive movement and his abrupt epiphany which led him to become an informant. However he fails while telling his tales to disclose he only had a short life as a credible informant. He now continues to spin his lies to far right groups who have no regard for the truth.
One word describes Darby: deranged. He continues to mislead people and he continues to attempt to rewrite the truth. In the final analysis, he goes the way of the fool, he impales himself on his own sword.

Philadelphia DA Decides Against A New Sentencing Trial For Mumia Abu-Jamal, Who Now Faces Life in Prison Without Parole

Over a thousand people attended an historic event was held in Philadelphia at the National Constitution Center on Dec. 9 marking the 30th anniversary of Mumia Abu-Jamal's 1981 arrest. Just days before, the overturning of Mumia's death sentence was made official when the DA chose not to hold a new sentencing hearing. At the Dec. 9, a range of supporters emphasized that the re-sentencing is only a partial victory because Mumia now faces life in prison without any chance of parole--they vowed to continue fighting.

Mumia has also just released two new books: The Classroom and the Cell: Conversations on Black Life in America (co-written with Marc Lamont Hill) and Message To The Movement (Occupied Media Pamphlet Series), which are available for purchase at the newly designed website for Prison Radio, who first began recording Mumia's radio essays in the early 1990s and continues their excellent work today.

Emory No TextJournalist Linn Washington Jr. has called for the Philadelphia DA to offer Mumia an "Alford Plea," as a practical way for Mumia to be released while still allowing the DA to save face, writing that "this procedure requires the inmate to concede that prosecutors have enough evidence to convict while requiring prosecutors to permit the inmate to maintain their innocence."

Mumia is now being held in Administrative Custody at SCI Mahanoy in Frackville, PA until he is cleared to enter general population and has not yet been allowed to have contact visits. An action alert posted at says:

Emory No TextWe need phone calls to the institution to let them know that the WORLD is watching Mumia's movements and ask general questions so that they know that nothing they are doing is happening under cover of darkness. Please also send cards and letters to Mumia at the new address so that he begins receiving mail immediately and it is known to all of the people there that we are with him!

Prison Phone Number: 570-773-2158

Mumia Abu-Jamal, #AM8335
SCI Mahanoy
301 Morea Road
Frackville, PA 17932

The Silent Treatment

In his new article published by Mother Jones, James Ridgeway writes about a deaf prisoner in Florida named Felix Garcia, who "is serving a life sentence for a robbery-murder for which his own brother now admits to framing him...Felix has been deaf, for all practical purposes, since childhood. For most of his three decades behind bars, which began when he was 19, he's been housed in the general population with few special services for his disability. His experiences are the stuff of TV prison dramas: He's ignored or taunted by guards, raped and brutalized by other prisoners. Last year, he tried to hang himself."

--Read the full article here.
Emory No TextNational Religious Campaign Against Torture Launches Petition Against Solitary Confinement

This important new petition begins: "Recognizing that prolonged solitary confinement can cause serious harm to prisoners, it has long been considered a form of torture. As a person of faith, I oppose the use of prolonged solitary confinement."

The conclusion reads: "We must end the use of prolonged solitary confinement in all 50 states and the federal prison system. It is costly, inhumane and ineffective; it harms prisoners and our communities. I call upon state legislators and departments of corrections to begin now to take steps to end prolonged solitary confinement."

--Read the full petition and please sign it here.
GNew Interviews by Angola 3 News

Medical Self Defense and the Black Panther Party --An interview with Alondra Nelson

Alondra Nelson, a professor of sociology and gender studies at Columbia University, is the author of a new book released last month, entitled Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight Against Medical Discrimination. By documenting the multifaceted health activism of the Black Panther Party (BPP) and critically assessing the BPP's strategy and tactics in a respectful and appreciative manner, Body and Soul presents an analysis that is rare and badly needed in US colleges and universities today. In this interview, Nelson discusses how the Panthers' legacy can both inspire and provide important strategic lessons for today's new generation of political activists.

Asked by Angola 3 News how the BPP's health activism related to their better-known stances against white supremacy, capitalism, and police violence, Nelson answered: "The BPP exposed the misuse of power whether it was at the hands of police officers or physicians. So, it's also useful to think of the Panthers as being engaged in medical self-defense."

--Read the full interview here.

Emory No Text
Resisting Gender Violence Without Cops or Prison
--An interview w/ Vikki Law

Activist and journalist Victoria Law, author of Resistance Behind Bars: The Struggles of Incarcerated Women (PM Press, 2009), previously been interviewed by Angola 3 News on two separate occasions (1,2).

In our new video-interview, Law builds upon her earlier prison abolitionist critique by discussing practical alternatives for effectively confronting gender violence without using the prison system. She cites many success stories where women, not wanting to work with the police, instead collectively organized in an autonomous fashion. Law stresses that at the foundation of these anti-violence projects is the idea that gender violence needs to be a seen as a community issue, as opposed to simply being a problem for the individual to deal with.

Our interview was released in conjunction with the Unite to End Violence Against Women campaign first initiated in 1991 by the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. This campaign began sixteen days of action on November 25, the International Day Against Violence Against Women, and will conclude on December 10, International Human Rights Day.

--Watch the video-interview here.
Emory No TextPoem About The Angola Three by Jacqui Fray

In the land of the free
Where blind men testify what they see
Where social injustice rages against humanity

In the land of the free
Caged worse than animals, the Angola 3
Cost of stolen life = more than one century

In the land of the free
Penitentiaries build atop the ground of slavery
Ancestral echoes from the ghosts of the hanging tree

In the land of the free
Domination of white supremecy
So damn clear when time taken to really see

In the land of the free
Where racism dons cloaks of the judiciary
Klansmens sons dictate beaurocracy

In the land of the free
How can they preach of democracy
Whilst legal system is laced with hypocrisy

In the land of the free
Where a Brother can't speak out politically
Without risking loss of freedom and dignity

In the land of the free
Where you don't need to be physically
At scenes of crime to be found guilty
In the land of the not so free

--Dedicated to the Angola 3, and the many brothers and sisters who face lives of solitary confinement.

Warden Burl Cain

Burl Cain On Why He Wants Albert Woodfox in Solitary Confinement: "He is still trying to practice Black Pantherism"

To conclude this issue of our newsletter, we'd like to share this recently transcribed testimony from the October 2008 deposition of Burl Cain, Warden of Angola Prison, questioned by Nick Trenticosta, an attorney representing Albert Woodfox. Here, Cain arrogantly reveals why Albert Woodfox continues to be targeted for political repression:

NICK TRENTICOSTA: I would like to show you State's Exhibit 30. Are you familiar with this document? It purports to be a letter, and who is it from?

BURL CAIN: Albert Woodfox.

NICK TRENTICOSTA: Is this letter significant to you?

CAIN: Yes, it is. You can read here, "I view amerikkka"-and he spelled it real crazy, more like the Black Panther would, I suppose-"and her lies, capitalism, imperialism, racism, exploitation, oppression, and murder of the poor and oppressed people as being highly extreme. It is my opinion that anyone who views these situations as anything other than extreme is petty bourgeois or a capitalist fool!!! History has taught us that revolution is a violent thing but a highly necessary occurrence in life. Revolution is bloodshed, deaths, sacrifices, hardships. It is the job of the revolutionary forces in this country to manufacture revolution instead of trying to avoid it. To do otherwise is the act of an opportunist." This is very scary because it means that it needs revolution. Violent revolution is scary for America, for us.

NICK TRENTICOSTA: What is the date of that letter?

CAIN: September 9, 1973.

NICK TRENTICOSTA: And do you know whether his political views have changed since that time?

CAIN: That is what is scary to me. I think not because even in 1997 we had the protest in front where-"Release the Panther" and "Angola is a shame, Burl Cain to blame" -there was a Black Panther demonstration there. Albert Woodfox and Herman Wallace is locked in time with that Black Panther revolutionary actions. Even when Robert King Wilkerson came with Congressman Conyers to Angola, they gave me a little pack of pralines, Congressman Conyers did, and on that pack of pralines was a Black Panther.

NICK TRENTICOSTA: Let's look at State's Exhibit 3. You stated, if I can paraphrase, Woodfox was throwing human waste?

CAIN: Apparently they were throwing human waste at each other. It's on their cell bars, both of them. So either he was throwing it out or throwing it in.

NICK TRENTICOSTA: Could it possibly be someone throwing human waste at Mr. Woodfox?

CAIN: It could be, and I would ask why. How did Mr. Woodfox provoke him to throw human waste at him?

NICK TRENTICOSTA: You have some mentally ill people that live on CCR, don't you?

CAIN: I have 1,900 inmates taking psychotropic medicines. I don't know where they live, but I would hope the medicine would tame them down.

NICK TRENTICOSTA: An inmate only gets human waste thrown on them when they provoke it to happen? Is that your testimony?

CAIN: Not only, but if you're throwing human feces at somebody, you have to have normally a reason. You just wouldn't throw it at the wall.

NICK TRENTICOSTA: Are you aware that a federal judge has ruled that Mr. Woodfox's conviction is now reversed?

CAIN: Until we get release papers, he's in our prison guilty of the murder of Brent Miller.

NICK TRENTICOSTA: So it's your understanding everybody in jail is guilty? Come on.

CAIN: In Angola. Because he's in Angola.

NICK TRENTICOSTA: In the last five years he has done pretty good, hasn't he?

CAIN: He's like a man on death row could do good, but he is still on death row. He's just good because he is locked in CCR, not because he's good at heart.

NICK TRENTICOSTA: He didn't cause very much trouble, correct?

CAIN: Because the lion in a cage can't cause much trouble, you see.

NICK TRENTICOSTA: Let's just assume, if you can, that he is not guilty of the murder of Brent Miller.

CAIN: I would still keep him in CCR. I still know that he is still trying to practice Black Pantherism, and I still would not want him walking around my prison, because he would organize the young new inmates. I would have me all kinds of problems, more than I could stand, and I would have the whites chasing after them. I would have chaos and conflict.

NICK TRENTICOSTA: Warden Cain, what is Black Pantherism?

CAIN: I have no idea. I know they hold their fists up. I know that they advocated for violence.

NICK TRENTICOSTA: Assume that he did not kill Brent Miller and he is not a member of the Black Panther party, because you don't know what the Black Panther party is, then why are you considering him so dangerous?

CAIN: You would like me to say yes to everything you say so you can go say I did, but you can't go there, and you're trying everything in the world to get me there. I'm happy. I'm laughing at you. I'm not mad. You just ain't going to get me there. That's just Angola. What can I say? He's bad. He's dangerous. I believe it. He will hurt you. They better not let him out of prison.

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

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