Thursday, February 26, 2009

Rally for the NJ4 on Monday at noon in NYC

From:    "Political Prisoner News" <>
Date: Wed, February 25, 2009

Free the NJ4 -- March 2 Protest at noon -- 1 Hogan Place Manhattan
(corner Leonard and Centre Streets)

Demand that the Manhattan district attorney stop persecuting the New
Jersey 4.

On August 16, 2006, seven young African American lesbians were in New
York's West Village and were accosted by Dwayne Buckle, who eventually
grabbed one of them, and a fight ensued. The seven women were arrested
and charged with crimes such as "gang assault." Three of them took plea

The other four lesbians Terrain Dandridge, Renata Hill, Patreese
Johnson, and Venice Brown were put on trial in 2007. In the trial and
the surrounding media they were dehumanized, vilified, and called a
"lesbian wolf-pack." The prosecution and trial were so biased that the
appeals court completely overturned all of Terrain's convictions, and
dismissed the indictment with prejudice, although by that time she had
served almost two years in jail/prison. The appeals court also
overturned the more serious charges against Renata and Venice, and they
both got out on bail after serving more than two years. Patreese's
sentence was reduced, but not overturned. The district attorney is
demanding that Renata be returned to prison, or face another trial.

It is time to demand that the NY county district attorney, Robert
Morgenthau, stop persecuting Renata, Patreese and Venice. They fought
back to defend each other. Had they not fought back successfully, one or
more of them might have been killed or raped. Are rape, death, or prison
the only three options open to lesbians who are attacked on the street?

Protest Monday March 2
noon - 1 p.m.
1 Hogan Place
Manhattan, NY

For more info e-mail:

Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

415 863-9977 Questions and comments may be sent to

Angola 3 - Albert Woodfox Petition - Court hearing 3/3

From:    "Political Prisoner News" <>
Date: Wed, February 25, 2009


Sign the petition

Lets make the Angola 3 household names!

Albert Woodfox, political prisoner of the Angola 3, needs your
support. In July 2008 a Federal Judge (Brady) overturned Albert
Woodfox's conviction after a State Judicial Magistrate found his
trial was unfair due to inadequate representation, prosecutorial
misconduct, suppression of exculpatory evidence, and racial
discrimination in the grand jury selection process. The State
appealed this decision to the 5th Circuit Court of appeals and March
3rd are the oral arguments for that appeal.

36 years ago, deep in rural Louisiana, three young black men were
silenced for trying to expose continued segregation, systematic
corruption, and horrific abuse in the biggest prison in the US, an
18,000-acre former slave plantation called Angola.

Peaceful, non-violent protest in the form of hunger and work strikes
organized by inmates, caught the attention of Louisiana's first black
elected legislators and local media in the early 1970s. State
legislative leaders, along with the administration of a
newly-elected, reform-minded governor, called for investigations into
a host of unconstitutional practices and the extraordinarily cruel
and unusual treatment commonplace in the prison. In 1972 and 1973
prison officials, determined to put an end to outside scrutiny,
charged Herman Wallace, Albert Woodfox, and Robert King with murders
they did not commit and threw them into 6x9 foot cells in solitary
confinement, for nearly 36 years. Robert was freed in 2001, but
Herman and Albert remain behind bars.

The oral arguments on March 3 are a very short and formal process.
Albert's attorneys will explain to the court why Judge Brady did the
right thing, and the State will try to argue he made a mistake in
overturning the conviction. Each side will argue for 20 min and then
the court will take anywhere from 1-6 months to issue their decision.
If the 5th Circuit agrees with Albert's attorneys and upholds Judge
Brady's ruling, then the State has 120 days to either retry or
release Albert. They have already vowed to retry him. If the 5th
Circuit agrees with the State, then the conviction is reinstated and
Albert would have to start the appeals process all over again with a
different claim if he wants to try to gain his freedom.

For more info

Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

415 863-9977 Questions and comments may be sent to

Prison on Lockdown and Eric McDavid in the Hole After Alleged IED Discovered

Date: Wed, February 25, 2009

Hello everyone,

On Friday, February 13, Victorville's Medium II facility went on lockdown.
Media reports indicated that an improvised explosive device (IED)
detonated upon detection, but that no injuries were reported. The reports
originally claimed that the device was found at the penitentiary at
Victorville, but later reports indicated that the incident actually
occurred at the Medium II facility. We have just received a letter from
Eric detailing his experiences following these incidents. What follows is
based on that letter.

At around 1pm on Saturday, the 14th, the prison began blocking out the
windows on the cells so that inmates couldn't see into the dayroom.
Shortly after the water to the toilet in Eric's cell was turned off. At
around 2 pm they pulled the cardboard from Eric's window, revealing squads
of cops in full riot gear waiting outside of the cell. Eric and his
cellmate were made to strip down to boxers and shower shoes. His cell
mate was thrown in the hole, and Eric was escorted to a van. He and two
others were taken to the hole at the Medium I. Eventually he was escorted
into a room where two FBI agents were waiting to question him. They
claimed that an IED had minorly harmed a staff member at the Medium II
(contrary to media reports which claimed no one was injured) and that they
would need to take DNA samples as part of their investigation. Eric
denied their request and they threatened to get a court order. At that
point he gave them his lawyer's information and they stopped questioning
him and escorted him back to the cell. There is a sign taped to the door
of the cell saying that he has a "3 man hold" - which apparently means he
must be escorted by three guards anytime he leaves the cell.

At this point in time we have no way of knowing how long this
"investigation" will take. We are also uncertain if Eric can receive
visitors during this time. Since he currently has no phone or email
access, we must wait for letters to get any updates about his situation.
Unfortunately, he also has no access to commissary - so he may not be able
to send letters because he is out of stamps. This is a difficult time for
Eric and his loved ones. Please keep Eric in your thoughts and take a
minute to write him a letter of support. Information on how to write Eric
and his current address can be found on his website:
Remember that he more than likely cannot write you back right now.

Thank you all for your support. We'll keep you updated as more news
becomes available.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

*UPDATE* on Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act Four

Joseph and Maryam's next court date is this Thursday at 9:30am in San
Jose. If you are in the area please show your support.

280 South 1st Street
San Jose, CA 95113

Joseph (Jake) Buddenberg is not receiving vegan food. Please call his
jail and request that he be given vegan food immediately.

111 Taylor Street
San Francisco, California 94102

We are also trying to raise money for bail and lawyer fees for all four
defendants. If you want to donate some money or help out with fundraising
or play a benefit show contact Anne on MySpace:

Also please support their co-defendants:


These are all functional jail phone numbers.

try them all if you have to:

Inmate numbers:
Nathan Pope - 372227
Adriana Stumpo - 372229

(704) 432-1850
(704) 353-0822
(704) 432-1850
(704) 353-0871
(704) 353-0872
(704) 336-2542


Send to:

Adriana Stumpo
PID# 372229
c/o Mecklenburg County Jail
P.O.Box 34429
Charlotte, NC 28234-4429

Nathan Pope
PID# 372227
c/o Mecklenburg County Jail
P.O.Box 34429
Charlotte, NC 28234-4429


Monday, February 23, 2009

Jaan Laaman is transferred

From:    "Jaan Laaman Legal Freedom Fund" <>
Date: Sat, February 21, 2009

Greetings all,

As of February 20th, we got word that Jaan has been transferred into the
Federal system, and is in general population in USP-Tucson, in Arizona.
Please drop him a line, letting him know we're keeping an eye on him,
and that support will continue in his new location. It is always
possible that he will be transferred again soon, as prisoners coming
into the Fed's are generally not placed immediately in their long-term
assignment. If you live in the Tucson area, or know organizations or
comrades there, please get in touch. You can write to Jaan at the
following address:

Jaan K. Laaman (10372-016)
USP Tucson
U.S. Penitentiary
P.O. Box 24550
Tucson, AZ 85734

Please check for updates.

Remember, 'Freedom is a Constant Struggle!'

Jaan Laaman Legal Freedom Fund
P.O. Box 681
East Boston, MA 02128 -

Free all Political Prisoners!

The Jaan Laaman Legal Freedom Fund sends out periodic email updates and
action alerts related to political prisoner, Jaan Laaman, as well as other

Leonard Peltier Remembers Bob Robideau

Sun, February 22, 2009

Greetings my relatives!

It is with a real deep sense of loss that I write this. The loss of my
brother in the struggle for Indigenous rights who was also my blood cousin
and also a defendant in the Oglala shoot-out trials. I am speaking of
Robert Robideau, who we called Bob most of the time. Bob was a tireless
campaigner for my freedom and Indigenous rights all over the world. I
cant express enough how greatly his leaving this level of existence
will be missed.

Bob and I grew up together. We were involved in the 70s American
Indian Movement together. We were shot at together. We were on the run
together and over the 33 years of my imprisonment, Bob was a person I
could count on for a lot of reasons. We laughed together, quarreled with
one another, praised one another and had strong disagreements at times.
Bob was the one person I could truly count on to tell me the straight of
it, whether I liked it or not. I didnt talk to Bob in person that
often, as of late, but just the thought of knowing it will be a while
before I talk with him again, causes a sense of missing him like never
before. He was sometimes my worst critic and sometimes my best support,
but he was always my brother and I loved him dearly. I wouldnt doubt
that wherever he is at, hes organizing a support group of some sort.
If I thought there was anything that I
could say that would bring him back to us, this statement would go on for
as long as it took. However, reality being what it is, I know Bob will
appreciate our concerns for the loved ones he left behind and want us to
go on and do the very best we can to make this a better and more free,
more just world we live in and he would surely remind us that we are the
guardians of the future and the keepers of today.

It is always difficult to address the loss of people you knew and cared
about, but every once in awhile, there is a loss that is deeper than all
the rest. In this loss, there is often a loss of words. It is a time
when the shock of the situation is so close that you just dont know
what to say. One thing I can say for sure is that the loss of Bob
Robideau is a loss to all. And to Bob, I dont know how long Ill be
here myself, but that doesnt matter. I look forward to seeing you
again my brother, some other time, some other place. May the Creator be
with you wherever you are and wherever you go.

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse, Bob Robideau, Steve Robideau, Joe Stuntz,
Bobby Garcia, Roque Duenas, Nilak Butler, Anna Mae Aquash, , and all the
others who gave of themselves for our People.

Mitakuye oyasin

Leonard Peltier

Saturday, February 21, 2009


Sat, 21 Feb 2009

Once again we have to face another obstacle in stopping the corporation from destroying our environment, cultural and economy. Together with the plan to built the cement factory in Pati, Central Java that caused lots of conflicts and problems among local people because the factory will be built on the North Kendeng mountain where are most rivers and lakes are located, the authorities has arrested nine farmers and activists that join the protest.

This rejection towards the cement factory it's not only come from Sukolilo's farmers but also Sedulur Sikep community or used to be called Wong Samin, the local community being known in Javanese society as very wise and humble environment fighters.

But this effort now facing an obstacle related with the arrests of nine farmers and environment activists during their protest to close this cement factory.

The chronology of the event start Thursday morning, 22 January 2009 when the people would like to have a dialog with their village authority on the news of the selling of their land to the Semen Gresik, one day after they made posters with the statement that Our Land Belongs To Us because of zero response from their village authority regarding this news. Because the authority seemed to refuse to meet them, they decide to block and closed the road from the four survey cars from Semen Gresik that arrived that day. But then when the night comes and there is still no news from the authority for having that dialog with them, those people just sit and wait patiently without making any violence acts at all.

The situation got intense when there were 250 Brimob and Samapta suddenly move towards the people that sit around the Semen Gresik's cars. They scream and swearing towards the people while trying to make them move away from those cars violently. They kick, hit, step on and throw woman and men that insist to stay. Women's and children screaming in panicked. Then people started to fight back. Children, women, men and even elders throwing rocks towards those officers while the sound of gunshots on the air. Thirteen police officers wounded and three Semen Gresik's cars destroyed. Many people, man and women, being victims of those police's brutality. Video camera and digital camera belongs to our friends are also heavily damaged.
Without having a strong evidences the police then arrest those nine people. They are under arrest with accusation of violence, persuasion and doing unpleasant activities. Among those nine people that being arrested there were Kamsi (65 yo), Sunarto (52 yo), Sudarto (48 yo), Sukarman (26 yo), Sutikno (26 yo), Gunarto (25 yo), Purwanto (22 yo), Mualim (21 yo) and Zainul (20 yo).

These police brutality actions are still continuing after the arrest by physical and mental repressions by hitting those nine farmers on their heads, eyes and other parts of their bodies.

At present, those nine farmers are still under arrest at the Semarang Police Station, in central Java, waiting for their further trial. Therefore, in the name of our land and people's fight against those tyrants, we are calling out all of our friends out there to be actively involved on this solidarity effort.

Release our nine brothers from prison as soon as possible!
Stop the Semen Gresik project at Central Java right away!

Two new Swedish prisoners

Urgent ELP! Bulletin (21st February 2009)

Dear Friends

ELP has just heard that two Swedish boys/young men have been remanded into custody today accused of an arson against a fur/leathershop in Orebro.

Both of them are young and this is their first time in custody so it might be a bit rough for them. Please take a few minutes to write them an e-mail of support. They have full restrictions which means no phone calls are allowed. They can receieve letters and cards but the prosecutor must first read them and this means it might take up to two weeks for them to receive their messages of support.
For legal reasons ELP can not name the two prisoners, but messages of support can be e-mailed to them at The e-mails will be printed and sent off on a daily basis.
Receiving letters of support when you are inside is always really important, so please do send them an e-mail today.
Earth Liberation Prisoners Support Network
BM Box 2407

Four animal rights activists charged with terrorizing University of California researchers

Mercury News
Posted: 02/20/2009 02:24:04 PM PST

Four animal rights activists — including one from Berkeley and another
from Pinole — have been arrested for allegedly terrorizing University of
California researchers, the FBI announced this afternoon.

A complaint filed Thursday in federal court in San Francisco alleges the
four used force, violence or threats to interfere with the University of
California in violation of the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act.

The four are identified as: Joseph Buddenberg, 25, of Berkeley; Maryam
Khajavi, 20, of Pinole; Adriana Stumpo, 23, of Long Beach; and Nathan
Pope, 26, of Oceanside.

They each face up to five years in prison, if convicted.

The FBI says the arrests are connected with incidents dating back to
October 2007.

The FBI alleges Pope, Stumpo and Khajavi were among five or six people
who attempted to forcibly enter the home of a UC Santa Cruz researcher
on Feb. 24, 2008. The researcher's husband struggled with them and as
they left one of the them allegedly yelled "we're gonna get you."

On July 29, Buddenberg, Pope and Stumpo were allegedly were involved in
the production and distribution of flyers titled "Murderers and
torturers are alive & well in Santa Cruz." There were subsequently two
firebomb attacks outside the homes of UC Santa Cruz researchers, the FBI

Buddenberg, Pope and Sumpo were also allegedly among about 20 people who
demonstrated outside a UC Berkeley professor's El Cerrito home on Oct.
21, 2007. The FBI said they trespassed on private property and accused
the professor of being a murderer.

All four also allegedly demonstrated at the homes of other UC Berkeley
professors on Jan. 27, 2008.

Pope and Stumpo were arrested Thursday in Charlotte, N.C. as they
returned from Costa Rica. They are scheduled to be extradited to California.

Buddenberg was arrested at the Alameda County Courthouse this morning.
Khajavi was arrested in Oakland this morning.


From: Free Imam Jamil Al-Amin <>
Friday, February 20, 2009

Jamil Al-Amin has been moved to what is known in prison as
"the hole". He was strip searched and placed in a
cell with no bed, no control over the lights and no shower.
They have taken his Qur'an and all of his other
personal property.

Please take some time contact the warden, and to get the
word out to all of your contacts. We all need to
write, call, fax or email Ron Wiley Warden ADX to inquire
as to why Jamil Al-Amin has been placed in the hole. No
information has been given as to why this transfer was made,
but nothing could justify this inhumane treatment.

In the past when action has been taken by the public on
Jamil Al-Amin's behalf, changes have been made that
benefited him. Please remember to keep your correspondence
brief and to the point, and avoid threats, rambling etc. We
want positive changes to be made.

Please reply to this email if you have any questions.

The address is:
Warden Ron Wiley
USP Florence ADMAX
U.S. Penitentiary
PO Box 8500
Florence, CO 81226

Phone: 719-784-9100
Fax: 719-784-9504

Friday, February 20, 2009

fbi announces environmental arrests

Four Extremists Arrested for Threats and Violence Against UC Researchers

On February 19 and 20, the Joint Terrorism Task Force arrested four animal rights extremists suspected of terrorizing University of California researchers. A complaint filed in federal court in San Francisco on Thursday alleged Adriana Stumpo, 23, of Long Beach, California; Nathan Pope, 26, of Oceanside, California; Joseph Buddenberg, 25, of Berkeley, California; and Maryam Khajavi, 20, of Pinole, California used force, violence, or threats to interfere with the operation of the University of California in violation of the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act.

Mr. Pope and Ms. Stumpo were arrested Thursday in Charlotte, North Carolina by the FBI and members of the Charlotte Joint Terrorism Task Force as they returned to the United States from Costa Rica. The two appeared in federal court in Charlotte this morning, and will be extradited to California to face charges.

San Francisco Joint Terrorism Task Force members, University of California Berkeley Police officers, and FBI agents arrested Mr. Buddenberg at the Alameda County Courthouse this morning. Ms. Khajavi was also arrested this morning in Oakland. Both appeared before United States Magistrate Judge Nandor J. Vadas in federal court in San Francisco today.

The arrests stem from a series of threatening incidents beginning in October 2007:

On Sunday, October 21, 2007 a group of approximately twenty people, including Mr. Buddenberg, Mr. Pope, and Ms. Stumpo, demonstrated outside a University of California Berkeley professor’s personal residence in El Cerrito, California. The group, some wearing bandanas to hide their faces, trespassed on his front yard, chanted slogans, and accused him of being a murderer because of his use of animals in research. The professor told police he was afraid, and felt harassed and intimidated by the extremists.

On Sunday, January 27, 2008, a group of approximately eleven individuals, including Mr. Buddenberg, Mr. Pope, Ms. Stumpo, and Ms. Khajavi, demonstrated outside the private residences of several University of California Berkeley researchers over the course of the day. At each residence, extremists dressed generally in all black clothing and wearing bandanas to hide their faces marched, chanted, and chalked defamatory comments on the public sidewalks in front of the residences. One of the researchers informed authorities he had been previously harassed and the incident had caused him to fear for his health and safety.

On February 24, 2008, five to six individuals including Mr. Pope, Ms. Stumpo, and Ms. Khajavi, attempted to forcibly enter the private home of a University of California researcher in Santa Cruz. When her husband opened the door, a struggle ensued and he was hit by an object. As the individuals fled, one yelled, “We’re gonna get you.” The professor and her husband both told the FBI they were terrified by the incident.

On July 29, 2008, a stack of flyers titled "Murderers and torturers alive & well in Santa Cruz July 2008 edition" was found at the Café Pergolesi in Santa Cruz. The fliers listed the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of several University of California researchers and stated “animal abusers everywhere beware we know where you live we know where you work we will never back down until you end your abuse.” The investigation connected Mr. Buddenberg, Mr. Pope, and Ms. Stumpo to the production and distribution of the fliers. Distribution of the fliers preceded two firebomb attacks outside researchers’ Santa Cruz homes, both of which are still under investigation by the FBI.

The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (Title 18 U.S.C. § 43) states that whoever uses or causes to be used any facility of interstate commerce for the purpose of damaging or interfering with the operations of an animal enterprise, and in connection with such purpose, intentionally places a person in reasonable fear of death or serious bodily injury to that person or an immediate family member, or conspires or attempts to do so, by a course of conduct involving threats, acts of vandalism, property damage, criminal trespass, harassment, or intimidation, shall be imprisoned for not more than five years.

“With so many legal options to make their voices heard and to effect policy change, it is inexcusable and cowardly for these people to resort to terrorizing the families of those with whom they do not agree,” said Charlene B. Thornton, special agent in charge of the FBI’s San Francisco office. “The FBI intends to pursue those involved in this sort of extremist activity to the full extent of the law.”

“This sends a strong message that our community won’t tolerate this type of senseless violence. You have absolutely no right to attack a family in the sanctity of their home. We are proud of the collaboration with our law enforcement partners on this case and look forward to those involved being held fully accountable for their actions,” said Santa Cruz Police Department Chief of Police Howard Skerry.

"We are very grateful for the efforts of federal law enforcement officials whose persistence has led to these arrests," said Mickey Aluffi, police chief at UC Santa Cruz. "The Santa Cruz Police Department has also worked tirelessly on the cases involving our researchers, and we are very appreciative of that office's commitment and support."

The Santa Cruz Police Department, University of California Santa Cruz Police Department, University of California Berkeley Police Department, Costa Rican Organismo de Investigacion Judicial, Costa Rican Attorney General’s office, United State Department of State Diplomatic Security Service, and the Interpol National Central Bureau in Costa Rica provided invaluable assistance throughout this investigation and contributed to the successful apprehension of these individuals.

Like all defendants, these individuals are presumed to be innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. A complaint contains only allegations and is not proof of guilt. However, each defendant could face up to five years in prison if convicted.

Media inquiries may be directed to Special Agent Joseph M. Schadler or Public Affairs Specialist Patti Hansen at 415-553-7450.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

3/27: Celebrating the Puerto Rican/Latina Revolutionary Woman

The ProLibertad Freedom Campaign



This Womyn’s History Month, join The ProLibertad Freedom Campaign as we honor the contributions of Boricua/Latina Women to the Puerto Rican INDEPENDENCE Movement ¡QUE VIVA LA MUJER!

Recipients of the Doña Adelfa Vera Award for 2009:

Yasmin Hernandez, Artist/Activist/Educator

Teresita “Lah Tere” Ayala, Poet/Activist/Rebel Diaz

Claudia de la Cruz, Pastor of La Iglesia San Romero de Las Americas/UCC

Mistress of Ceremony:

Haydee Morales, Casa Atabex Ache Co-Founder

Keynote Speaker:

Prisionera, Poet/Activist/Partido Nacionalista de Puerto Rico

Sample Work Presentation:

Our Women, Our Struggle (working title) is a 70-minute long documentary that chronicles the life of Puerto Rican revolutionary – Isabel Rosado, -- who dedicated her life to the Puerto Rican Independence movement and has become a symbol of the island’s patriotism. Other women such as Lolita Lebron and Dylcia Pagan will also be highlighted. All three women were subjected to FBI surveillance and each spent many years in prison as a consequence of their radical political actions or as some might refer “terrorist activities”.

Melissa Montero is a Latina filmmaker living in Queens, New York of Puerto Rican and Ecuadorian heritage. She has co-produced and directed a non-broadcast ten-minute promotional video/documentary on Casa Atabex Ache, a non-profit organization that does healing and transformation work for women of color.

Poetry by:

Mariposa and Prisionera

Hand crafts and Natural Products:


Botanicafe (Lourdes Garcia)


St. Mary’s Episcopal Church 521 W126th St.

Between Amsterdam Avenue and Broadway Take the 1 train W125th St.

Suggested donation: $5 (no one will be turned away)


For more information contact ProLibertad: 718-601-4751 *

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

FBI informant faces break-in charges

By RANDY FURST, Star Tribune February 17, 2009

An undercover FBI informant in a high-profile criminal case in Ramsey County against eight members of an anarchist group faces charges himself for assault and burglary.

Andrew C. Darst, 30, who spied on anarchists planning disruptions at the Republican National Convention in September, attended a Hennepin County District Court hearing on Tuesday for a Jan. 11 incident in Minnetrista in which he allegedly broke into a house and struck two men. He is charged with two felony counts of first- and second-degree burglary as well as fifth-degree assault, a misdemeanor.

The hearing was postponed until March 16 because he had obtained a new lawyer.

Darst was a member of the RNC Welcoming Committee, an anarchist group that organized disruptive protests outside the convention. Eight of its members face charges in Ramsey County District Court for criminal conspiracy to commit riot.

Bruce Nestor, one of the attorneys representing the eight activists, said that based on FBI documents the prosecution gave to the defense, he "would confirm that Andrew Darst was a confidential informant" working for the FBI inside the Welcoming Committee.

The Ramsey County attorney's office, which is prosecuting the case against the anarchists, declined to talk about Darst. Nestor said, "It is my impression that the government believes he is an important witness."

Darst was involved in the Welcoming Committee's "action faction," which discussed plans for street disruptions, other group members have said. He had more access to internal plans than three undercover operatives for the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office.

Darst declined to comment. FBI Agent E.K. Wilson said it is FBI policy "not to comment on informant matters." In court papers, Darst's attorney, Patrick Flanagan, stated that Darst will plead not guilty in the Minnetrista case, claiming self-defense. Flanagan declined to discuss the case or Darst's involvement with the FBI.

Tom Foley, a former Ramsey County attorney, said in an interview that "potentially" such an incident could "undermine his [Darst's] credibility as a witness" at the trial of the anarchist group. "I am certain the defense will want to bring it in and the prosecution will want to keep it out," he said. If Darst testifies that he was law-abiding and did not encourage violence, the defense might use the Minnetrista incident to show "his propensity for violence," said Foley.

The RNC Eight case is assigned to Ramsey District Judge Teresa Warner. Paul Gustafson, a Ramsey County attorney spokesman, said it appears the earliest any of the eight will go to trial is September.

According to court documents, Minnetrista police were dispatched to a home on the 800 block of County Road 19 at 2:18 a.m. on Jan. 11. They found the door of the home had been ripped off its hinges.

A woman told police she was Darst's wife and that she had had an argument with him earlier that night. She went to a party at the home where she got "really drunk," she said. She told police that Darst came to the house, broke down the door, yelled at everyone and knocked one man to the floor.

Police said the man had a cut over his left eye that Darst inflicted. Another man said Darst hit him on the head. Darst "appeared to be full of rage and anger," the police report stated. Another female said Darst pushed her down several times. Darst had a blood-alcohol level of 0.035, well below the DWI impairment limit of 0.08.

The police report said Darst admitted going to the house because "he wasn't comfortable with the people his wife was with there." There is a mug shot of Darst on file at the Hennepin County jail, and though such photos are generally available to the public, a clerk said they were not releasing Darst's photo on instructions from the FBI.

Darst was listed as a potential prosecution witness but never testified in the federal court trial of David G. McKay of Austin, Texas, charged with making Molotov cocktails during the RNC, said Jeff DeGree, McKay's attorney. Earlier this month a mistrial was declared after a Minneapolis jury could not agree on a verdict in McKay's trial.

Reports of undercover operatives for the Ramsey County sheriff indicate that Darst attended various Welcoming Committee meetings. One report, from March 16, 2008, says he urged the committee to block four activists from attending meetings "because he knew one of them had a history of working with cops."

Darst's nickname in the Welcoming Committee was Andy Panda, or Panda. Celia Kutz, 27, a committee member said, "He seemed to be a nice guy and really sensitive."

"He was a person who tried to be involved in as many things as possible," said Andy Fahlstrom, 27, another committee member. He said Darst created "sector maps" for the Welcoming Committee. The maps broke St. Paul into sectors where various groups were to carry out disruptions and confrontations during the RNC.

Randy Furst • 612-673-7382

First International Prison Privatization Experience Conference

First International Prison Privatization Experience Conference...Texas Southern University

Dear Friends, Comrades, & Associates

I trust this brief note finds everyone doing well and actively in pursuit of righting some wrong or contributing in some significant way to make this planet we live on a better place for all human beings. The following link will give information about a very important international conference on prison privatization.

The International Prison Privatization Experience: A Transatlantic and Transpacific Dialogue, Houston, TX.
August 6-8 2009
Your assistance with promoting this event is needed and appreciated. Please post it on your websites, blogs, bulletin boards, and office walls. Thanking you in advance, for your time, attention, and support.

Best regards,

Community Outreach Facilitator
National Public Service Council To Abolish Private Prisons

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Monday, February 16, 2009

Save The Date! Seventh Annual International Al-Awda Convention

Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition
Seventh Annual International Al-Awda Convention

May 22nd-24th, 2009
Anaheim, California
Along with our families in the homeland, we are winning the struggle to reclaim our narrative for the right to return to our homeland in a Free Palestine

Along with our expanding network of grassroots, student and solidarity activists, help to strategize and energize for the coming year's work.

Join us May 22-24, 2009 in Anaheim California to work together to bring the days of Return closer.

Featured Speakers and Journalists
Strategy & Tactics Discussions
First Annual International Al-Awda Dabke Contest
And much more!

Please email to enter your dabke group in the Dabke contest
Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition
PO Box 131352
Carlsbad, CA 92013, USA
Tel: 760-918-9441
Fax: 760-918-9442

Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition (PRRC), is the largest network of grassroots activists and students dedicated to advocacy for the right of Palestinians to return to their homes and lands of origin. PRRC is a not for profit tax-exempt educational and charitable 501(c)(3) organization as defined by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of the United States of America. Under IRS guidelines, your donations to PRRC are tax-deductible. To donate, please go to and follow the instructions.

PA Judges Accused of Jailing Juveniles for Cash

Judges allegedly took $2.
6 million in payoffs to put juveniles in lockups

The Associated Press

updated 8:56 p.m. ET, Wed., Feb.
11, 2009

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. - For years, the juvenile court system in Wilkes-Barre operated like a conveyor belt: Youngsters were brought before judges without a lawyer, given hearings that lasted only a minute or two, and then sent off to juvenile prison for months for minor offenses.

The explanation, prosecutors say, was corruption on the bench.

In one of the most shocking cases of courtroom graft on record, two Pennsylvania judges have been charged with taking millions of dollars in kickbacks to send teenagers to two privately run youth detention centers.

“I’ve never encountered, and I don’t think that we will in our lifetimes, a case where literally thousands of kids’ lives were just tossed aside in order for a couple of judges to make some money,” said Marsha Levick, an attorney with the Philadelphia-based Juvenile Law Center, which is representing hundreds of youths sentenced in Wilkes-Barre.

Prosecutors say Luzerne County Judges Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan took $2.6 million in payoffs to put juvenile offenders in lockups run by PA Child Care LLC and a sister company, Western PA Child Care LLC. The judges were charged on Jan. 26 and removed from the bench by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court shortly afterward.

No company officials have been charged, but the investigation is still going on.

The high court, meanwhile, is looking into whether hundreds or even thousands of sentences should be overturned and the juveniles’ records expunged.

Among the offenders were teenagers who were locked up for months for stealing loose change from cars, writing a prank note and possessing drug paraphernalia. Many had never been in trouble before. Some were imprisoned even after probation officers recommended against it.

Many appeared without lawyers, despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark 1967 ruling that children have a constitutional right to counsel.

'I have disgraced my judgeship'
The judges are scheduled to plead guilty to fraud Thursday in federal court. Their plea agreements call for sentences of more than seven years behind bars.

Ciavarella, 58, who presided over Luzerne County’s juvenile court for 12 years, acknowledged last week in a letter to his former colleagues, “I have disgraced my judgeship. My actions have destroyed everything I worked to accomplish and I have only myself to blame.” Ciavarella, though, has denied he got kickbacks for sending youths to prison.

Conahan, 56, has remained silent about the case.

Many Pennsylvania counties contract with privately run juvenile detention centers, paying them either a fixed overall fee or a certain amount per youth, per day.

In Luzerne County, prosecutors say, Conahan shut down the county-run juvenile prison in 2002 and helped the two companies secure rich contracts worth tens of millions of dollars, at least some of that dependent on how many juveniles were locked up.

One of the contracts — a 20-year agreement with PA Child Care worth an estimated $58 million — was later canceled by the county as exorbitant.

The judges are accused of taking payoffs between 2003 and 2006.

Allegations of extortion
Robert J. Powell co-owned PA Child Care and Western PA Child Care until June. His attorney, Mark Sheppard, said his client was the victim of an extortion scheme.

“Bob Powell never solicited a nickel from these judges and really was a victim of their demands,” he said. “These judges made it very plain to Mr. Powell that he was going to be required to pay certain monies.

For years, youth advocacy groups complained that Ciavarella was ridiculously harsh and ran roughshod over youngsters’ constitutional rights. Ciavarella sent a quarter of his juvenile defendants to detention centers from 2002 to 2006, compared with a statewide rate of one in 10.

The criminal charges confirmed the advocacy groups’ worst suspicions and have called into question all the sentences he pronounced.

Hillary Transue did not have an attorney, nor was she told of her right to one, when she appeared in Ciavarella’s courtroom in 2007 for building a MySpace page that lampooned her assistant principal.

Her mother, Laurene Transue, worked for 16 years in the child services department of another county and said she was certain Hillary would get a slap on the wrist. Instead, Ciavarella sentenced her to three months; she got out after a month, with help from a lawyer.

“I felt so disgraced for a while, like, what do people think of me now?” said Hillary, now 17 and a high school senior who plans to become an English teacher.

'I was completely destroyed'
Laurene Transue said Ciavarella “was playing God. And not only was he doing that, he was getting money for it. He was betraying the trust put in him to do what is best for children.

Kurt Kruger, now 22, had never been in trouble with the law until the day police accused him of acting as a lookout while his friend shoplifted less than $200 worth of DVDs from Wal-Mart. He said he didn’t know his friend was going to steal anything.

Kruger pleaded guilty before Ciavarella and spent three days in a company-run juvenile detention center, plus four months at a youth wilderness camp run by a different operator.

“Never in a million years did I think that I would actually get sent away. I was completely destroyed,” said Kruger, who later dropped out of school. He said he wants to get his record expunged, earn his high school equivalency diploma and go to college.

“I got a raw deal, and yeah, it’s not fair,” he said, “but now it’s 100 times bigger than me.

Eric McDavid Update - Lockdowns, Moves, and New Address

Urgent ELP Bulletin (16th of February 2009)

Dear friends

ELP has just received the following e-mail from Eric McDavid's support campaign.

Dear friends,

Last month marked the 3rd year that Eric has spent behind bars. His
arrest and imprisonment were a direct result of government infiltration
and entrapment - Eric has spent the last three years of his life in a cage
for what amounts to thought crime. Those years have been full of
challenges and struggle, but Eric has met all of them with the utmost
courage and integrity.

Most recently, Eric has been enduring lockdowns at the prison, the loss of
phone and internet access, and a move. On December 23, a "riot" broke out
at Victorville, sending 6 inmates to the hospital and forcing 17 to be
treated at the prison for injuries ranging from stab wounds to blunt
trauma. We waited for two weeks to hear from Eric - not knowing whether
or not he was ok. On January 5 he was finally able to call and let us
know he was ok. Victorville remains on lockdown, but they were easing up
on restrictions and he was able to receive visitors two weeks ago
(although that has changed yet again...).

During the lockdown it became difficult for Eric to get vegan food.
Normally this is not a problem for him - chowhall has plenty of vegan
options, and he can supplement this with items from the commissary to
round out his diet. But during the lockdown, prisoners only had access to
the food brought to them in their cells. This greatly limited Eric's
diet. Fortunately, after trying various avenues for redress, the food
situation improved and Eric is now (last we heard) receiving enough food.

However, as part of the attempt to get vegan food, an "illegal" (according
to the prison) phone call was made. As punishment for trying to get
himself food, Eric's phone and email access was turned off for 60 days.
Other than letters and face to face visits, which are difficult and costly
for friends and family (and as a result, they don't happen very often),
phones and email are Eric's main lifeline outside the prison.

Unfortunately, this is not the only thing... Over the weekend, an
incident at one of the facilities at Victorville (it is unclear which
facility) caused both the Medium I and the Medium II facilities to go on
lockdown, which means visitation has been canceled until further notice.
After discovering this, we checked to make sure that Eric was still at the
Medium II facility and found that he has, in fact, been moved to the
Medium I at Victorville. This is difficult news for a variety of reasons.

We are left wondering why Eric was moved in the first place, but also it
means that Eric's life has been uprooted and scrambled once again. It is
doubtful that he got to take much - if anything - from his previous cell
with him. It's possible he lost letters, addresses, pictures, etc. Eric
now has to start all over in a new environment, which can be extremely
complicated and stressful when that environment is a federal prison.

We will keep you updated on this situation as we find out more.

The appeals process has been delayed multiple times. Eric's opening brief
is now due March 5. He has multiple strong arguments on appeal, and we
look forward to getting the process moving. If all goes well, everything
could be filed for review by the appeals court sometime this summer.

Thank you all for your continued support. Eric has been receiving your
letters and they have definitely helped him through these winter months -
especially during these lockdowns when he has not been able to have
contact with his loved ones.

Please remember that Eric has been moved - which means he has a new address:

Eric McDavid 16209-097
FCI Victorville Medium I
Federal Correctional Institution
PO Box 5300
Adelanto, CA 92301

We'll keep you updated as things moved forward with the appeals.



Earth Liberation Prisoners Support Network
BM Box 2407

Friday, February 13, 2009

Hip Hop Green Scare Benefit

Earth and animal liberationists caught in the web of state repression are facing longer and longer prison sentences. We decided to step our support game up and put out a hip hop compilation to benefit our friends behind bars. Conscious hip hop on an elevated level, the artists on the comp adhere to a drug-free vegan lifestyle and use this foundation to establish themselves as true threats against all devils active in this time of strife.

Vegan Edge Hip Hop Vol. 2 features critically acclaimed vegan hip hop artists from around the world – Promoe, Edge With the Dreads, Jared Paul, xChrisx, Wolf Cell Solid, Ernest XVX, Solillaquists of Sound, xDedx, MC Albino, Kurohata, Goodfellas, and more.

Single and bulk copies are available now from Proceeds from this compilation will go to benefit those facing charges for actions to defend animals and the earth.

For distribution and ordering information information, contact veganedgehiphop(at) or write to Liberation Projects / 838 E High St #115 / Lexington, KY 40502 / USA

Mel Broughton found Guilty

Urgent ELP! Bulletin (13th of February 2009)

Dear friends

ELP has just learnt that the SPEAK spokesperon, Mel Broughton, who has
campaigned tirelessly against vivisection taking place at Oxford University,
was today convicted of "conspiracy to commit arson" and sentenced to ten
years imprisonment.

ELP regards the trial of Mel as an overt polictical act, which came around
to try and silence this dedicated campaigner from taking part in a highly
successful lawful campaign against Oxford University and its animal torture

The New Labour Government has consistantly shown its contempt for animal
rights campaigns and Mel is the latest victim in a long line of campaigners
who have been jailed for apposing the vivisection industry, which the New
Labour Government has committed itself to defending at all costs.

ELP fully supports Mel and we encourage everyone to send urgent letters of
support to:

Mel Broughton TN9138
HMP Woodhill
Tattenhoe Street
Milton Keynes


Earth Liberation Prisoners Support Network
BM Box 2407

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Support Puerto Rican Political Prisoner Avelino González Claudio's Health

From:    "Political Prisoner News" <>
Date: Thu, February 12, 2009

Le acompañamos la petición al Alcaide para la
atención medica necesaria del Preso Politico
Puertorriqueño Avelino González Claudio.

Please sign and send a letter to the Warden
concerning Puerto Rican Political Prisoner Avelino González Claudio's Health.

Favor de divulgar.

Abrazos Solidarios,

Juan González Pedrosa
Comite Familiares y Amigos Avelino González Claudio

En caso de que no abra el adjunto:

Jeffrey E. McGill
Northern Correctional Institution
PO Box 665
Somers, CT 06071
Fax: 860-763-8651

RE: Avelino González Claudio N.C.I. # 357422

To Warden Jeffrey E. McGill:

I am writing to express my concern about the
serious violations of the rights of Mr. Avelino
González Claudio, an inmate at your facility, to
adequate medical evaluation & treatment.

Avelino González Claudio was placed on Northern
Correctional Institution on February 2008. Since
then, he has developed a neurological condition.
Beginning on November 2008, Mr. González-Claudio
has requested, several times, medical attention
receiving only a “I do not know”, “I will read
some books” answer from the Doctor assigned to your facility.

This treatment is a flagrant denial of Mr.
González Claudio’s basic human rights. This
treatment is also seriously detrimental to his deteriorated health condition.

In order to ensure Mr. González Claudio’s health,
I insist that he immediately be afforded adequate
evaluation & treatment for the medical condition
that he has developed under your custody.

Sincerely yours,

______________________________ _____________________
Name Date


Cc: Theresa C. Lantz Mary M. Marcial
Commissioner Director
Connecticut Dept. of Correction Programs and Treatment Division
24 Wolcott Hill Road Connecticut Dept. of Correction
Wethersfield, CT 06109 24 Wolcott Hill Road
Fax 860-692-7783 Wethersfield, CT 06109
Fax 860-692-7495

James Bergenn
Shipman and Goodwin, LLP
One Constituion Plaza
Hartford, CY 06103-1919
Fax 860-251-5219

Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

415 863-9977 Questions and comments may be sent to

Leonard Peltier Feb 6, 2009 Statement

Date: Thu, February 12, 2009

Greetings my relatives,
First of all, before anything else I want to thank all for the work that
youve been doing because what you do for me, you do it for my people
and all those that come after us.
The enemy that we face has many faces; the FBI is only one of them. The
greatest enemy that we face is the lack of knowledge that people have
about us as Indian people and themselves and the true history of this
nation. Some people say we have too many rights, but they dont
understand the difference between obtained and retained rights. In
educating our opposition we must also educate ourselves as to the laws and
policies that are considered to be the laws of the land at this time. We
must be able to remind them of the law or policies that they themselves
have been guilty of violating and if need be we need to challenge the
validity of those laws and policies where they are detrimental to the
natural environment and overall well being of the people.
We have the right to defend ourselves, defend our people and defend our
nation, our way of life and the way we worship. These are not rights
that were given to us by anyone other than the creator himself.
We will not give those rights up by anyone We retain those rights
from the beginning of time and we will cherish and protect them until the
end of time. We are a fair, loving, kind and respectful people. We have
a right to be on this portion of mother earth. We were told by our
elders that it is our duty to defend ourselves, our families from wild
beasts, by whatever measures necessary, even if that wild beast be in the
form of a man or men. We have done this in the past and it is our
responsibility to do it in the future. Sometimes the tools of defense
are harsh and sometimes it is merely the educating of an enemy.
In the circles of spirituality being a warrior means defending things
that are right, by taking a proactive approach to opposition.
As I have said sometimes in the past, we arent bothered very often
when we do everything that is right, but when we start righting what is
wrong, and then we become targets of those who would wrong others.
Chief Leonard Crow Dog, who has served as a spiritual advisor for the
American Indian Movement and myself, has consented to serve as spiritual
advisor for this effort to bring about my freedom.
The FBI has recently put out another letter trying to stop your efforts
and undermine the accomplishments that have taken place in the last few
months. We must be ever vigilant and responsive, to whatever action they
take. And we must never forget that what we do is not for ourselves but
for our people and those that come after us.
Again, I want to thank you from the very bottom of my heart for
remembering me in your prayers and on this observance of my thirty-third
year of imprisonment.

In the spirit of Crazy Horse and all those who gave their lives trying to
right what was wrong.

Leonard Peltier

Your Valentine, Made in Prison

By Beth Schwartzapfel February 12, 2009 The Nation

Beth Schwartzapfel: This Valentine's Day you might want to steer clear of Victoria's Secret, unless of course you like your lingerie made by prisoners.

With Valentine's Day approaching, perhaps you're planning a trip to Victoria's Secret. If you're a conscientious shopper, chances are you want to know about the origins of the clothes you buy: whether they're sweatshop free or fairly traded or made in the USA. One label you won't find attached to your lingerie, however, is "Made in the USA: By Prisoners."

In addition to the South Carolina inmates who were hired by a subcontractor in the 1990s to stitch Victoria's Secret lingerie, prisoners in the past two decades have packaged or assembled everything from Starbucks coffee beans to Shelby Cobra sports cars, Nintendo Game Boys, Microsoft mouses and Eddie Bauer clothing. Inmates manning phone banks have taken airline reservations and even made calls on behalf of political candidates.

Still, it's notoriously difficult to find out what, exactly, prisoners are making and for whom. Most of the time, inmates are hired by subcontractors who have been hired by larger corporations, which are skittish about being associated with prison labor. Paul Wright, an expert on prison labor with sources inside many prisons, has broken many labor stories in his newspaper, Prison Legal News. It hasn't been easy. "As a general rule, you'll have an easier time finding out who Kim Jong Il's latest mistress is than finding out who these guys are working for," he says. (Starbucks, Nintendo, Eddie Bauer and Victoria's Secret did not return requests for comment; Microsoft declined to comment.)

Advocates of prison labor programs describe the arrangement as win-win: inmates keep busy and stay out of trouble, and employers get low-cost labor with little or no overhead. But critics, from labor unions to prisoner rights advocates, raise a host of concerns about exploitation and unfair business competition.

In 1979 Congress created the Prison Industry Enhancement Certification Program (PIECP), which provides private-sector companies with incentives to set up shops in prisons using inmates as employees. States offer free or reduced rent and utilities in exchange for the decreased productivity that comes with bringing materials and supplies in and out of a secured facility and hiring employees who must stop working throughout the day to be counted and who are sometimes unavailable because of facility-wide lockdowns.

Prisoners are often grateful for the work; when the system is working, they can learn marketable job skills and save money. "It provided a sense of independence," says Kelly DePetris, who worked for eight years in California state prisons at Joint Venture Electronics, doing everything from assembly to administrative jobs to materials control.

"You don't have to ask people for things," she says. "I have a son, so it was nice to send home money to help with little things--school clothes, things like that." As a Joint Venture employee, DePetris made about $1.74 per hour after deductions, compared with the thirty cents she estimates she might have made working in the prison laundry. When she was released last May after serving fourteen years, she had saved $16,000, with which she bought a used car, clothes and health insurance. "It's really come in handy," she says.

Relatively speaking, PIECP accounts for a tiny fraction of the number of inmates in US prisons and jails. Some 5,300 of the 2.3 million inmates nationwide work for private-sector companies. "It's a small piece, but it's a significant piece" of the overall prison labor system, says Alex Friedmann, who served ten years in a Tennessee prison in the 1990s and worked making Taco Bell T-shirts in a PIECP silk-screening shop.

PIECP rules stipulate that work must be voluntary, that workers be paid a wage comparable to what free-world employees doing similar work are paid and that the program not compete unfairly with companies on the outside. But labor unions and companies on the outside have argued that this is impossible: there is no way for a company that pays no rent to compete fairly.

Talon Industries was a Washington State-based water-jet company whose competitor, MicroJet, had a PIECP shop inside a state prison. Rick Trelstad, a partner at Talon, contended that his company shut down in 1999 at least in part because MicroJet consistently underbid him for work. (He and an association of his colleagues successfully sued the Washington State Department of Corrections to shut down PIECP, but voters reinstituted it last year.) Lufkin Industries, a Texas-based maker of tractor-trailer beds, claims it was run out of business because its competitor, Direct Trailer & Equipment Company, paid only one dollar per year for factory space in the local prison and so was able to offer much lower prices for the same product.

David Lewis, vice president and general manager of Joint Venture Electronics and Kelly DePetris's former boss, acknowledges that the setup has been great for his business. "They get no holiday pay. They get no vacation pay. There's no medical, dental: all that's paid for by the state," he says. What's more, if the company has to downsize, as it did recently, laid-off prison workers have few other places to look for work. When business picks up again, employees who on the outside would have found other jobs are still in prison, just waiting to be rehired. The waiting list for work at Joint Venture is up to 200 people long.

Advocates for prisoners' rights take issue with what they see as an inherently exploitative situation. Courts have consistently found that prisoners are not protected by the Fair Labor Standards Act. So they may not unionize. They can't agitate for better wages or working conditions, because any threats to walk off the job would ring hollow--where would they go?

What's more, by law, as much as 80 percent of PIECP employees' paychecks is deducted for room and board, taxes, family support, victims' compensation or charity. The National Correctional Industries Association, the nonprofit organization that certifies PIECP programs, found that participants kept only about 20 percent of their wages in the past two quarters. Friedmann, for instance, worked for two years in the late 1990s in the silk-screening shop. He estimates that after deductions for fines, fees and other charges, he left prison with $30. "So while businesses get rent-free space, prisoners are paying for their 'room and board,'" says Prison Legal News's Paul Wright, who himself served seventeen years in a Washington prison. "Prisoners pay their boss's rent."

So this Valentine's Day, if your shopper's conscience leads you to check labels, don't bother looking for "Made in Prison." Of all the hundreds of goods and services produced by prisoners with taxpayer subsidies, only one is labeled as such: a line of jeans and denim work shirts made at the Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution. It's called Prison Blues.