Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Politics of Death: Throwing Mumia Abu-Jamal Under the Bus

"I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong."
--Frederick Douglass

On the evening of March 4, participants at the Fourth UN World Congress Against the Death Penalty in Geneva, Switzerland had assembled from all over the globe for a dramatic Voices of Victims evening. It got more dramatic than they had anticipated though, when suddenly a cell phone rang and Robert R. Bryan, lead defense attorney for Mumia Abu-Jamal, jumped up on the stage to announce that his client had called him from death row in Pennsylvania.

The audience in rapt silence as the emcee held the phone up to the microphone. Abu-Jamal, on death row for 28 years after a widely disputed conviction for the murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner, greeted the delegates and than, as he has done on many occasions before, described to them the horrors of life in prison for the 20,000 people around the world who are awaiting execution.

A small group of American death penalty abolitionist leaders, led by Renny Cushing, executive director of Murder Victims' Families for Human Rights, stalked out of the hall. Two members of MVFHR, however, remained in the hall: Bill Babbitt, whose brother Manny, a Vietnam vet suffering acute post-traumatic stress disorder, was executed in California; and Bill Pelke, whose grandmother was murdered by a girl whom he later befriended and helped to spare from execution. Babbitt even joined Bryan onstage during Abu-Jamal's brief address.

What neither Babbitt nor Pelke, nor Abu-Jamal and his attorney, Bryan, knew at the time was that way back in December, leaders and individual board members of several of the organizations in the US abolitionist movement had signed--without their full boards’ or their memberships’ knowledge--a “confidential” memorandum, which they then sent to the French organizers of the World Congress, stating bluntly that, “As international representatives of the US abolition movement, we cannot agree to the involvement of Abu-Jamal or his lawyers in the World Congress beyond attendance.”

Purporting to be from “the US members of the Steering Committee” of the World Congress (though hardly an inclusive list of that committee’s membership) and titled, “Involvement of Mumia Abu-Jamal endangers the US coalition for abolition of the death penalty,” the memo claimed that the French organizers of the World Congress, Together Against the Death Penalty (ECPM), had arranged to have Abu-Jamal speak “over objection.” The memo further further asserted that the abolitionist movement in the US is trying to “cultivate” the support of the ultra-conservative and staunchly pro-death penalty Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), an organization representing some 35,000 police officers in the US that advocates the execution of Abu-Jamal and all other prisoners convicted of killing of police officers. The FOP, said the memo, has “announced a boycott of organizations and individuals who support Abu-Jamal,” and therefore anything done by the Congress to aid his cause would be “dangerously counter-productive to the abolition movement in the US.”

ThisCantBeHappening! this past week obtained a copy of that secret memorandum.

When we showed it to some other members of the boards of the organizations whose officers or individual board members had signed their names to it, responses ranged from consternation to outrage. Babbitt’s brother Manny was killed as a direct result of a corrupt law enforcement system in California that pressed for execution, even though it was clear from medical testimony that the elderly grandmother he allegedly killed actually died of shock when she discovered him breaking and entering her apartment. Left in the dark about the memo despite his being on the MVFHR board, Babbitt said, “My brother Manny’s last words to me were to always take the high road, and to me that means telling the truth and being open and transparent.” He added, regarding the content of the memo, “I think throwing Mumia under the bus is not the way to go in the abolitionist movement. You don’t make bargains with a wolf whose motive is to devour.”

Robert Meeropol, a son of Ethyl and Julius Rosenberg, who were executed as spies in 1953, is also a member of the MVFHR board. Currently traveling on behalf of the organization in Asia, he said through a staffer in the US that he did not know about the memo, and added that he still stands “fully in support of a new trial for Mumia Abu-Jamal.”

Several calls seeking a comment from Cushing or Lowenstein remain unanswered, though a staffer at the MVFHR Boston office, Susanna Sheffer, said, “This is a complicated thing. You need to understand the depth and texture of this.”

Also surprised at the memo was actor Michael Farrell, president of the California abolitionist group Death Penalty Focus. Farrell, a long-time supporter of the call for a new trial for Abu-Jamal, said he had never seen the memo, though it was signed by a member of the DPF board, attorney Elizabeth Zitrin.

Other signers of the memo were Thomas H. “Speedy” Rice of the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys, Kritsin Houlé of the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty and Juan Matos de Juan of the Puerto Rican Bar Assn.

Bryan, a veteran death penalty defense lawyer who served 10 years on the board of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty--three of them as the organization’s chair--says, “In all my years as an activist opposing the death penalty, I have never heard of any individual or group in that fight singling out anyone as an exception to our campaign to abolish capital punishment. Everyone is treated equally. To single someone out and say they don’t count is chilling. Where do you draw the line? At people accused of killing cops? At people accused of killing old ladies? People accused of killing children? Where does it stop? It’s appalling!”

Heidi Beghosian, executive director of the National Lawyers Guild, an organization that has long been in the forefront of the campaign to end the death penalty in the US, and which was not advised of the plan to circulate the memo on behalf of the US Steering Committee to the World Congress, despite the NLG'S being a charter member of the World Congress, roundly condemned the secret effort to silence Abu-Jamal at the March event.

“Mumia Abu-Jamal’s case is emblematic of the inherent flaws in the capital punishment system,” she said. “That he is castigated by leaders in the abolitionist movement shows precisely what is wrong with the system—it is a system enslaved to the whims and personal biases of police, prosecutor, judge, and jury. While cultivating certain voices of law enforcement may assist in efforts to achieve abolition, it should not be at the expense of exposing a case that embodies some of the most reprehensible actions on the part of the police, the district attorney and the judiciary. The powerful FOP, and their heavy-handed efforts to vilify Abu-Jamal and his supporters, should not be the barometer by which abolitionist leaders gauge their strategic priorities. Members of the abolitionist movement should be working together and not further censoring and ostracizing a death row inmate.”

What makes the American abolitionists’ petulant and manipulative behavior as expressed in the secret memo and their cynical threat to withdraw from the Congress particularly outrageous is that Abu-Jamal’s arrest, trial and appeals process has been, as Beghosian notes, a textbook case of police and prosecutor corruption, malfeasance and abuse. From the beginning, even before his arrest, Abu-Jamal’s case was poisoned by a police lust for vengeance. Although he had been shot through the lung and liver by a bullet fired from Officer Faulkner’s service revolver, and was in danger of dying of internal bleeding that was filling his lungs with blood, Abu-Jamal was left lying in a police wagon for almost half an hour before he was finally delivered to a hospital emergency room, where hospital staff and at least one police officer on the scene observed him being kicked and punched by the officers delivering him.

During the jury selection process at the beginning of his trial, the presiding judge, Albert Sabo, who as a county sheriff’s deputy was an FOP member before was made a judge, was overheard by a second judge and his court stenographer saying to his own court clerk, as he exited the courtroom through the jurdge’s robing room, “Yeah and I’m gonna help them fry that nigger!”

During the tortuous appeals process, both the state and federal courts have shamelessly bent their rules and violated precedents to deny Abu-Jamal the benefits of precedents that have been routinely accorded other appellants. Third Circuit Appeals Court Judge Thomas Ambro filed a stinging dissent to a decision by his two colleagues, who effectively created new law from the bench in rejecting Abu-Jamal’s well-founded Batson claim of racial bias by the prosecution during jury selection at his trail. Scarcely concealing his outrage, Judge Ambro wrote: "Our Court has previously reached the merits of Batson claims on habeas review in cases where the petitioner did not make a timely objection during jury selection--signaling that our Circuit does not have a federal contemporaneous objection rule--and I see no reason why we should not afford Abu-Jamal the courtesy of our precedents." He added, "Why we pick this case to depart from that reasoning I do not know."

Abu-Jamal himself, interviewed by phone last Friday from his cell at the super-max death row facility SCI-Greene in western Pennsylvania, blasted the attempt to silence him at the Congress, and to ostracize him from the American abolitionist movement. “They are really making deals with the devil,” he said, of claims that the US abolitionist movement was trying to gain the support of the FOP. “My instinct, being from Philadelphia, is that money was passed, though I have no evidence to prove it.” He added, “This secret action is a threat to the entire abolitionist movement. They are saying that because the opposition (to abolition) is so strong, we should not fight. If you have that attitude, why have an abolitionist movement at all?”

Abu-Jamal, whose death penalty was lifted by a federal judge in 2001, only to have the US Supreme Court remand that decision back to the Third Circuit, where it could be reimposed, and who continues, in no small part thanks to pressure from the Pennsylvania FOP, to be held in solitary confinement on death row, where he maintains his innocence, calls the signers of the memo “co-conspirators,” and says they are “naive” to believe they can win over the FOP by abandoning him to his fate.

“If the slavery abolitionists had taken this approach back in 1860,” he says, “and said okay let’s free the slaves, except those uppity ones with prices on their heads like Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass, we’d still have slavery today.” Abu-Jamal said it appeared that the abolitionist movement appeared to have lost its way, and said that it needed to be broadened to more closely reflect the population of the nation’s death rows. where nearly everyone is poor, and where 53% of the doomed inmates are non-white.


from the US members of the Steering Committee of the WCADP
Involvement of Mumia Abu-Jamal endangers the US coalition
for abolition of the death penalty

ECPM has unilaterally, and over objection,
determined to give the Mumia Abu-Jamal case a
prominent role in the upcoming 4th World Congress
Against the Death Penalty, including the
participation of Mr. Abu-Jamal's lawyers and his
direct participation by telephone. The US members
of the Steering Committee of the World Coalition
Against the Death Penalty do not agree to this,
because it will be counter-productiveto our
effort to achieve abolition in our country.

The Abu-Jamal case, regardless of its merits,
acts as a lightning rod that galvanizes opponents
of abolition and neutralizes key constituencies
in the cause of abolition. Continuing to give
Abu-Jamal focused attention unnecessarily
attracts our strongest opponents and alienates
coalition partners at a time when we need to
build alliances, not foster hatred and enmity.

While Abu-Jamal still attracts some positive
attention outside of the United States, it is at
a real cost to the US abolition effort. In 1999,
the world's largest association of professional
law enforcement officers, the Fraternal Order of
Police, announced a boycott of organizations and
individuals who support Abu-Jamal. Bills have
been introduced in both houses of the US federal
legislature condemning the naming of streets for
Abu-Jamal. The result is that Abu-Jamal, rather
than abolition of the death penalty, becomes the
issue and the focus of attention. That is
dangerously counter-productive to the abolition movement in the US.
The voices of the Innocent, the voices of Victims
and the voices of Law Enforcement are the most
persuasive factors in changing public opinion and
the views of decision-makers (politicians) and
opinion leaders (media). Continuing to shine a
spotlight on Abu-Jamal, who has had so much
public exposure for so many years, threatens to
alienate these three most important partnership groups.

The support of law enforcement officials is
essential to achieving abolition in the United
States. It is essential to the national abolition
strategy of US abolition activists and attorneys,
that we cultivate the voices of police,
prosecutors and law enforcement experts, to
support our call for an end to the death penalty.
It was key in New Jersey and in New Mexico, it is
fundamental to abolition throughout the US, and
it will be a primary focus for 2010 and beyond.
We have begun to make real progress with police
officers and prosecutors speaking out against the
death penalty as a failed policy.

«In a national poll released in 2009, the
nation's police chiefs ranked the death penalty
last in their priorities for effective crime
reduction. The officers did not believe the death
penalty acted as a deterrent to murder, and they
rated it as one of most inefficient uses of
taxpayer dollars in fighting crime .... "

Death Penalty Information Center, The Death
Penalty in 2009: Year End Report, December
18,2009. If the 4th World Congress gives
Abu-Jamal and his lawyers the focus and attention
proposed by ECPM, the US movement for abolition
will be exposed to a serious backlash that will
directly damage the delicate alliances we are
building with essential groups. As international
representatives of the US abolition movement, we
cannot agree to the involvement of Abu-Jamal or
his lawyers in the World Congress beyond attendance.

For these reasons, providing Abu-Jamal the World
Congress stage will require us to consider how to
distance our programs in order to protect our
vital alliances with our key partners and
constituencies. To be effective ad- vocates
within the US we must and will continue our
strategic approach to abolition with our core
allies and our evolving partners. Featuring Mr.
Abu-Jamal's case as ECPM has proposed presents an
unacceptably high risk of fracturing a developing
but still fragile alliance with vitally important
constituencies - constituencies that can either
help our movement reach the goal of abolition or
severely hinder our progress.

Elizabeth Zitrin (DPF), Renny Cushing and Kate
Lowenstein (MVFHR), Speedy Rice (NACDL), Kristin
Houle (TCADP), Juan Matos de Juan (PRBA)

21 December 2009

Conditions at G20 Dentention Centre are illegal, immoral and dangerous

June 28, 2010 toronto.mediacoop.ca

Detainees forced in cages with little food and water for up to 35 hours

by Justin Giovannetti and Lex Gill →Toronto News, →Dominion
Stories, →The Co-op



We (i.e., Justin Giovannetti and Lex Gill) are both able and willing to
testify in front of a court of law, tribunal or hearing to attest to the
validity of these statements. Much of this is now recorded on video and we
have some contact information for the victims. We will NOT consent to
contact with any police representatives (municipal, provincial, or
federal) nor will we consent to speaking to other security agencies (CSIS,
Canadian Forces, etc.). We can be contacted at lex.gill [at] gmail [dot]
com, or jackgiovannetti [at] gmail [dot] com.

We just got back to our computers and are frantically writing this
message. It is 4:45 a.m. on Monday morning. We are the only people who
seem to know the extent of this story. Coffee and adrenaline keeping us
going. When we got to Queen and Spadina after leaving the Convergence
Centre raid today, we had already been blocked off by police lines. It was
pouring rain, and we could hear a confrontation taking place further down
the street. The cops didn't care whether or not we were media -- in fact,
we heard that media was forced to leave before we arrived. Police acted
violently and with sheer disregard for the law, attacking peaceful
protesters and civilians unrelated to the protest. Tired, frantic, and
feeling defeated, we came home and posted the message before this one.

We then did the only thing left to do, and headed to 629 Eastern Avenue
(the G20 Detention Centre, a converted film studio), where detainees from
the demonstrations were being taken. We knew people were being released
sporadically so we grabbed as many juice boxes and granola bars as we
could afford and set off with medical supplies. Journalists were basically
absent, showed up only to take a few seconds of video, or simply arrived
far too late to be effective.

It is next to impossible to set the scene of what happened at the
Detention Centre. Between the two of us we estimate that we spoke to over
120 people, most of whom were released between 9:30 p.m. and 4:30 a.m.
Despite not knowing each other, the story they tell is the same. It goes
like this. Most were arrested at three locations: the Novotel on Saturday
evening where the police arrested hundreds of peaceful protesters (look
@spaikan on Twitter); Spadina/Queen's Park all day Saturday and early
Sunday, as people were arrested all over the downtown for many different
(and often bogus) reasons; and the University of Toronto, where hundreds
of Quebecers and others were woken up and arrested at gun point early
Saturday morning.

What follows is a list, as detailed as we can make it in a blog post, of
what we saw and heard.

People were held for up to 35 hours with a single meal. None seemed to
have received food more than twice daily, the meal they did receive was a
hamburger bun with processed cheese and margarine described as a
centimeter thick. Detainees had to create loud noises for hours to receive
any food at all. All reported feeling more ill and dehydrated after eating
than before. Some vomited and received no medical attention when they did.
Water was not provided with the meal.

Inadequate water, as little as an ounce every 12 hours. Although some
people reported receiving approximately an ounce (a small Dixie cup) of
water every three hours, most seemed to have received far less than that.
They had to create loud noises and continuously demand water, only to
receive it up to an hour and a half later. Sometimes rooms with over a
dozen people were only given a handful (four or five) cups of water and
forced to share. Some reported the water as yellow-coloured and smelling
of urine, which they didn't drink.

Facilities over-capacity.There were many reports of "cages" filled with 40
people, though a police officer told one detainee that they were intended
for groups of no more than 15 to 20. Each cage had a single bench, with
only enough seating for five people. There was only one toilet in each
cage and it was without a door. Women were creating barriers with their
bodies for others to create some semblance of privacy.

Major delays in processing.Many detainees were told that the only reason
they remained at the Centre was due to unexplained delays in processing.
Most detainees seemed to go through a three step system whereby they were
put in an initial holding cell, only to be moved to a second cell after
meeting a Staff Sergeant in a board room. This is where they were told
what they were arrested for. Eventually they were moved to a third cell
before release. This process seemed to take no less than 10 hours. Others
were never told why they were arrested and never signed any documents. A
few were released immediately upon arriving at the Centre and were never
processed. Some were never brought to a cell, only made to wait in a line
to be let out.

Inconsistent charges. Groups arrested at the same time and for the same
behaviour were given different charges, with some let out and others given
court dates. Many felt the police simply assigned a charge or did not know
why they were being arrested. Some charges were changed or dropped before
the detainees were released.

People put in solitary confinement. Most of the openly queer detainees
reported to have been transferred to a "Segregated Zone." In cages built
for one, couples of men and women were held. A lesbian is reported to have
spent nearly 10 hours alone. Another woman said she was kept alone in a
large cell for hours, asking to be moved the whole time.

No pillows or mattresses to sleep. No bedding was ever provided for
detainees, who were told to sleep on bare concrete floors. Detainees were
stripped of all but a single shirt and legwear. Many said they could not
sleep during their day long detentions.

Unsanitary and unsafe living conditions. Many of the floors of the cages
were covered with dirt and the residue from green paintballs used to
identify suspects in crowds. Vomit was also on the floor and no cleaning
of the cages took place.

Police intimidation of released detainees. With many of the detainees
released and standing across the street from the detention centre, getting
food and water from community volunteers while waiting for friends, police
stood menacingly across the road. Almost all the detainees were frightened
by the police presence and feared an attack. The police used the
headlights of rental Dodge Caravans to light up the crowd, citing a need
to "keep them visible."

Non-stop light exposure/loss of natural light rhythm/sensory deprivation.
Detainees emerged with a broken day/night cycle, being deprived of all
connection to the outside world or any other time-based events (ie. set
eating times). While in their cages, detainees were subject to constant
Exposure to extreme cold.Detainees complained of the air conditioning in
the building being very high. Many of them said that they were frozen and
asked for blankets, a request which was always refused. Due to having only
a single layer of shirt and sleeping on concrete floors, the cages were
extremely cold.

Sexual harassment of women and Queer people. We heard many first-hand
accounts of cat-calls and crude sexual comments directed at women from
police officers at the Centre. Some women faced inappropriate sexual
contact (including one girl who was forced to endure a police officer
covering her body with detainee number stickers in order to touch her),
and rough handling from police officers. Openly Queer boys were told to
"straighten up," and there was at least one completely nude strip search
preformed on a young woman with no reasonable explanation. It is unclear
whether the strip searches that took place were consistently conducted by
members of the same gender. It is also unclear as to whether any
Transpeople, if detained, were put in cells of a gender of their own
determination or in cells of a police gender assignment.

Youth as young as 15 in adult cells. Youth (under 18) detainees were held
in the same cells as adults, some of whom had not been charged at all (and
thus it could not be justified that they were being held on adult
charges). A 16-year-old was held in an adult cell for at least 12 hours,
the police were fully aware of his age, and his parents were at no point

Denial of legal counsel. When detainees asked to see lawyers they were
told that they would receive legal counsel at a later time or at the time
of processing. Often, these times went by and no legal counsel was
provided. Those released without charge were told to avoid contacting
lawyers. Most detainees said they were never informed of their rights.

No phone call. About only one in ten of the detainees we spoke to had been
given access to a phone. Others were promised access at a later time and
never received it. There was a father waiting outside for his 20-year old
son who had been arrested Saturday afternoon or evening, and had yet to
receive a call. Many of the detainees were told that only 20 phones were
available in the building, holding over 500 detainees at the time. The
offices of legal counsel also had no landlines.

Belonging stolen/damaged.Most detainees reported that at least some of
their confiscated belongings were not returned to them, including
passports, wallets, credit and debit cards, money, cellphones and
clothing. When detainees were escorted outside the Centre, many were made
to walk on the street without access to their shoes (sealed in thick
plastic bags only returned at the limit of the Centre's property). Some
shoes were missing entirely. At least one extremely visually impaired
detainee's glasses were put with his belongings and were severely damaged
when he recovered them (ie. broken in half).

Threats of assault/harassment.Many detainees, but especially French
Canadian detainees (who were not served in French), were taunted and
threatened with assault. Homophobic slurs were used by guards and one was
told that if he was ever seen again in Toronto the cop would attack him.
Other degrading comments were made, including telling detainees that they
"looked like dogs."

Obviously illegal civilian arrests. Some civilians who were completely
uninvolved in the demonstrations were arrested while exiting subway
stations in the downtown core. Some were arrested after illegal searches
of cars turned up "dangerous goods" (like books about activism and lemon
juice). One fully-uniformed TTC streetcar driver was arrested for hours.
He had been ordered out of his streetcar by riot police and was
immediately arrested. We wish we were kidding.

No access to medication or medical treatment. While doing medical support,
Lex met at least two people who had been denied medication. The first was
a woman who said that she was pre-diabetic and needed medication for
nausea and dizziness. She was denied access to medical treatment, despite
the fact that by the time Lex found her she was extremely faint, barely
conscious, and had difficulty sitting up. The second was a young man who
was prescribed anti-psychotics and had missed several doses (he did not,
however, have an episode at the time Lex met him). We heard stories of at
least one person with Type 2 diabetes inside the Centre who had been
deprived of insulin and fell unconscious. Many stories of a man handcuffed
to a wheelchair, missing a leg (and his prosthetic) came from the released
detainees. One recently-released detainee had four extremely poorly done
stitches on his chin and was uncertain as to what shots (whether tetanus
or anesthetic, or both) he was given. He was given the stitches at the
time of his arrest and the wound was still bleeding badly (we had to
sterilize it and applied gauze).

AbandonmentDespite all of the above mentioned crimes against detainees,
most notably including medical issues, the Toronto Police had no plan for
the detainees after they were released. They were simply escorted off the
property and told to leave. Many had no idea where they were, had no
access to a phone, had not eaten in a day, had no identification or money
on their person, and were nowhere near mass transit. Had community
volunteers and fellow released detainees not been present to assist them,
we fear that some could have faced life-threatening medical emergencies or

We will be continually updating this blog over the next few weeks. Please
share this with everyone you possibly can. People must know what has
happened in Toronto. For those of you attending the Jail Solidarity rally
tomorrow, please distribute this link widely.

Thank you.

For Justice,

Justin Giovannetti and Lex Gill

Monday, June 28, 2010

Petition for Oscar Lopez Rivera

All we have are 190!

The ProLibertad Freedom Campaigns is calling on all supporters of justice and
freedom to sign the "Furlough for Oscar Lopez Rivera" petition.

Oscar Lopez Rivera's sister is very ill. Sign the following petition asking for
furlough so that Oscar can travel to P.R. to see his sister. If there are more
family members in your home please have them sign also.

Our brother Oscar has the right to see his sister before she passes away. Sign our
petition and add your name to the movement to gain furlough; we are trying to mobize
at least a thousand petitioners.

Sign and forward out far and wide

NYC Running Down the Walls 2010

New York City: Running Down the Walls 2010

On Saturday, August 7th, 2010 at 3pm, the NYC Anarchist Black Cross will host a 5k run/walk/jog to raise much-needed funds for the ABCF's Warchest program. Light refreshments will be served and a social gathering will follow.

When: Saturday, August 7th, 2010, 3pm.

Where: Runners, walkers, and joggers will meet at 3pm on the steps of the Brooklyn Public Library, 10 Grand Army Plaza at Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn (take the 2/3 train to Grand Army Plaza). Everyone is welcome to the picnic afterparty at 5 pm in the Long Meadow.

ABCF Warchest:
The ABCF Warchest program is now almost 16 years old; funds for the Warchest are divided and distributed through monthly stipends to political prisoners who receive little or no financial aid. Prisoners use this money to cover the basic necessities of everyday living. Funds have been used by prisoners to pay for stamps, shoes, clothes, as well as assisting their families with what little they can.

Official Runs:
The ABCF is a Federation of ABC chapters that span the country and is holding two official Running Down the Walls runs, in New York City and Los Angeles, on August 7th. In sync with each other and other solidarity runs, we will collectively pound the pavement with our feet and bike tires as we exhibit our strength and stamina as examples of our tireless effort to free our imprisoned comrades.

Solidarity Runs:
Every year, prisoners and supporters of political prisoners organize solidarity runs with Running Down the Walls. Last year, we had runs in Albuquerque (NM), Arcata (CA), Ashland, (OR), Bellefonte (PA), Boston (MA), Denver, (CO), Elmore (AL), Inez (KY), Los Angeles (CA), Marion (IL), New York NY), USP. Navosta (TX), Pelican Bay (CA), Phoenix (AZ), Tucson (AZ), and Toronto, Ontario. We raised just over $1,000 with funds being distributed between the ABCF Warchest, Romaine Chip Fitzgerald Homecoming Fund, and Ojore Lutalo’s Homecoming Fund. This year we hope to expand the amount of runs in prisons and other cities, as well as, increase the amount of funds raised for community projects. This year we hope to have even more runs in cities, towns, and prisons all across North America.

Support the Struggle:
We must remember that many of those arrested in the past or present are not far from us. Many of them were and are community and labor activists, queer, and environmental activists; people who decided to speak out against various forms of oppression and paid the price of their freedom for their actions. We must remember that anyone of these people could have at one time stood beside us in a demonstration, at a speak-out, or even at an organizing meeting. At any given moment it could be us who finds ourselves in this situation, so it is imperative that we ensure a strong enough community of support exists for these people as well as ourselves. The strength of our movement is determined by how much we support our fallen comrades. As anarchist and former POW Ojore Lutalo says, "Any movement that does not support its political internees, is a sham movement." So please help us, help them, help you!

Why August 7th:
We chose the date of August 7th as the day to run down the walls to commemorate the life of revolutionary Jonathan Jackson who on August 7th was killed in an attempt to free the Soledad Brothers. On August 7, 1970, Jackson brought guns into the Marin County Court house during the trial of James McClain, William Christmas, and Ruchell Magee. Jonathan Jackson demanded the release of the Soledad Brothers as he and the three prisoners took the Judge and four others hostage. As Jackson and the others entered his van in an attempt to leave, the authorities open fired on the van, killing Joanathan Jackson, James Mclain, William Christmas and Judge Harold Haley. Ruchell Magee was injured but survived the onslaught and remains in prison to this day.

We encourage people to participate in helping us raise funds for the Warchest, which can be done in the following ways:

Be a runner:
We are asking people or groups who are running to collect as many sponsor for the run as possible. Remember the money received is going to help imprisoned comrades who need your help. The person who collects the most amount of funds will be given a prize for their involvement and dedication to helping our fallen comrades.

Sponsor a runner:
This can be done through a flat donation to the runner of your
choice. We ask from those who wish not to run to actively support those who are running in hopes of collecting as much for our comrades as possible. Contact us for a list of runners.

Sponsor Running Down the Walls:
Any amount helps. Contact the NYC Anarchist Black Cross if you wish to simply donate money to the cause.

Donate to:
-The Warchest:
Send funds directly to NYC ABCF (PO Box 110034, BK NY 11211) or to the
Philadelphia ABCF (PO Box 42129, Philadelphia, PA 19101) Make checks or
money orders out only to Tim Fasnacht.

-Jaan Laaman, UFF Political Prisoner Statement of Solidarity
October 19th 2002

"My Brothers, Thank you for running at this special event that means so much to many of us all over the world, both free and imprisoned. In a relative way, we are all political prisoners because it is the politics of this system of things that is exploiting, crushing, imprisoning, and destroying the masses all over the world and the earth itself. Then there are those who know this and take actions against those who seek to deny us our rightful place on earth as common human brethren. Those are the ones we run for and seek to help... whom sacrificed their family, freedom and lives, so that our lives may be better! The fact that you ran with us is a sign that when the red-hour comes, you will not be caught asleep. You are conscious and you too are willing to represent. The potential in you is great. Thank you for running for the cause!"

"As we ran we were thinking and talking about all the runners in Los Angeles and how we'd love to be out there running with them. We also spoke about the other political prisoners who were running with us in at least some other prisons."

Police arrest more than 560 after vandalism at Toronto economic summit


Police said they have arrested more than 560 demonstrators, many of whom were hauled
away in plastic handcuffs and taken to a temporary holding center constructed for
the summit.

Despite the violence, no serious injuries were reported among police, protesters and
bystanders, Toronto Police Constable Tony Vella said Sunday.

Thousands of police in riot gear formed cordons to prevent radical
anti-globalization demonstrations from breaching the steel and concrete security
fence surrounding the Group of 20 summit site.

Security was being provided by an estimated 19,000 law enforcement officers drawn
from across Canada, and security costs were estimated at more than US$900 million.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper deplored the actions of a "few thugs" and suggested
the violence justifies the cost. Harper has been criticized for the security price

"I think it goes a long way to explaining why we have the kind of security costs
around these summits that we do," Harper said.

Toronto Police Sgt. Tim Burrows said police made at least 70 arrests in a Sunday
morning raid on a building on the campus of the University of Toronto, where they
seized a cache of "street-type weaponry" such as bricks, sticks and rocks.

"We think we put a dent in their numbers with this and with the arrests that
happened overnight," Burrows said.

The disorder and vandalism occurred just blocks from where U.S. President Barack
Obama and other world leaders were meeting and staying.

"What we saw yesterday is a bunch of thugs that pretend to have a difference of
opinion with policies and instead choose violence to express those so-called
differences of opinion," Harper's chief spokesman Dimitri Soudas said Sunday.

The streets of downtown Toronto were quiet at daylight, but protesters gathered
Sunday morning at a park near the detention center _ about 2 1/2 miles (four
kilometers) east of where the leaders are meeting.

Police adopted a more aggressive strategy Sunday by going into the crowd to make
arrests, compared to the previous day when they stood back as protesters torched
four police cars and broke store windows.

Plainclothes police at the protest near the detention center jumped out of an
unmarked van, grabbed a protester off the street, and whisked him away in the
vehicle. The protest was then quickly broken up by riot police, who set off a
warning device that created a cloud of smoke that chased protesters down the street.
Vella said it was not tear gas.

About 100 demonstrators chanted, "The whole world is watching! The whole world is

Edward Canavan said he was walking along as protesters were rioting and burning cars
on Saturday. He said he happened to see a box of oranges, which he didn't realize
belonged to officers, and grabbed one. He was arrested and detained at the temporary
jail from 2 a.m. until about noon.

"I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time," said Canavan, as he left the
detention center, protesters cheering in the background.

Canavan said he was treated well and offered a sandwich by officers, but he added
there wasn't much room to walk around.

"There was a place to stand in a cage, about six or eight people in a cage," said
Canavan as he described the conditions.

Bridie Wyrock, 20, from Cleveland, Ohio, said she was arrested for public mischief
for sitting on a street in the financial district. Wyrock, held for 19 hours before
being released, said there wasn't enough toilets and said people were resisting
detention, but said police treated most people with respect.

"They put us in cages, blocked off on all three sides," Wyrock said. "It was cold
and dirty."

Burrows said many of those involved in the violent protests were Canadian. He added
that authorities had known of their plans for some time.

Thousands of police headed to Toronto to reinforce security there after the smaller
Group of Eight summit ended Saturday in Huntsville, Ontario, about 140 miles (225
kilometers) away.

Saturday's protests began with a peaceful march, sponsored by labor unions, that was
the largest demonstration planned during the summit weekend. Its organizers had
hoped to draw a crowd of 10,000, but only about half that number turned out on a
rainy day.

The black-clad demonstrators broke off from the larger crowd of peaceful protesters
and began torching police cars and smashing shop windows.

Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair said the goal of the militant protesters was to draw
police away from the security perimeter of the summit so that fellow protesters
could attempt to disrupt the meeting.

Some police officers were struck by rocks and bottles and assaulted, but none was
injured badly enough to stop working, Blair said.

Previous global summit protests have turned violent. In 1999, 50,000 protesters shut
down World Trade Organization sessions in Seattle as police fired tear gas and
rubber bullets. There were some 600 arrests and $3 million in property damage. One
man died after clashes with police at a G-20 meeting held in London in April 2009.

At the September G-20 summit in Pittsburgh, police fired canisters of pepper spray
and smoke and rubber bullets at marchers.

June 26th Message from Leonard Peltier

Forwarded on behalf of the Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee

June 26, 2010


I want to first say thank you--thank you for taking the time and
making the commitment to come to this place--but thank you mostly
for remembering. Sometimes I sit in this cage and I find myself
wondering if anyone really remembers. Many days, remembering is
all my mind allows me to do. So, again, thank you. Thank you for
bearing witness and being a part of a living memory.

But maybe the most important thing I'd like to say is don't
forget. Not ever.

You must be the historians who keep this lesson alive because
this story isn't about one day, one event, one person, or even one
lifetime. This is a story that goes all the way back to the day a
misguided fool, whose name I won't even mention, led his troops in
an attack on innocent people at the Greasy Grass, and in the process
got himself and over two hundred of his troopers killed. And while
the victors on that day had no choice but to defend themselves,
we have been the victims of a genocidal revenge that continues
until this very moment. So don't forget. Not ever.

It is vengeance that preoccupies the mind of the colonizer. It
is this fervor to show us who is boss that led to the massacre
at Wounded Knee, the theft of the Black Hills, the establishment
of boarding schools, and the criminalization of our languages
and traditional ways. It is vengeance that armed the GOON squads,
killed our leaders, and surrounded our people at Wounded Knee again
in 1973. Revenge is why they today prosecute Indian people for the
crimes they know the government committed during their murderous
campaigns of the last generation. Vengeance is what killed Joe
Stuntz, Anna Mae Aquash, Buddy Lamont and so many others. Getting
even is what keeps me in prison. So don't forget. Not ever.

All of these events are bound together, interrelated and
interdependent. And quite clearly the lesson they intend for us
to learn is don't defend yourselves. Don't stand up for what is
right. Don't think for yourselves. Don't choose to be who you
are. Don't remember your ancestors. Don't live in defense of the
Earth. Don't you do it! Don't even think about it. If you do,
this government--this mindset of control--will unleash an attack
so vast it will even seek to destroy our genetic memories. So don't
forget. Not ever.

In days past, some among our people were induced to become
"scouts". For whatever reasons, these individuals made possible
the treacherous campaigns that resulted in the deaths of countless
innocent people. These days--sadly--there are still these types
amongst us. The government preys on the weaknesses of these people,
inducing them to turn against the rest of us. The government
uses this treachery to cover up state sanctioned murder and
terrorism. They do this and then tell us that what we remember
didn't really happen at all, as though memory or truth is something
to be shaped and molded to fit a preconceived outcome. So don't
forget. Not ever.

We gather today after decades and generations of blood and trauma. We
gather in defiance.

And we remember.

We remember not just one day or one event, because remembering what
occurred on June 25 or June 26--or any particular date--is important,
but not as important as an understanding of the ongoing campaign
of colonization. This is a continuing human drama of slaughter
and uncontrollable bloodlust and we're still here, engaged in
our running defense; praying for balance, peace and justice; and
trying to make some sense of it all. Perhaps, in the face of such
a menace, the most important thing we can do is remember. So teach
your children. Pass this knowledge. Don't forget. Not ever.

Remembering is resisting and, if we remember, then we'll be free
one day. Free of their mindset. Free of their theft. Free of their
guns and their bombs. Free of their cages. Free to be who we are.

And free of their fear. That's the truest freedom of all and true
freedom is what this is really all about, not the illusion of
freedom they offer us.

So don't forget. Not ever.

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,

Leonard Peltier

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Update Letter from Eddie Conway


Greetings to everyone,

I wish you all well and hope that this letter finds you in good
spirits. The past few months have been full of good and exciting news
as well as some that was saddening. I honestly don't know where to begin.

Jack Johnson, the other BPP member who was held on the same charges
as me, was released from prison in May of this year. This was news
that I found both good and bad. I was pleased to see the brother gain
his freedom after forty years of fighting this corrupt and racist
criminal justice system. However, I am still being held illegally
after four decades and nothing can make right the destructive actions
of the COINTELPRO operations. This does however push me to work even
harder for my release.

The saddest and hardest time of this whole prison ordeal just
recently hit me. My mother, Eleanor Conway passed away in early June.
Though she died peacefully in her sleep, her transition has left the
family sad and in pain. This was due in part to my inability to start
the grieving process by viewing mother as she made her final rest, or
attending her funeral. While I recognize that my mother has made her
transition to join the ancestors, the loss is still too profound for
words because my mother was so dear to me. During this time, I fasted
and reflected upon her life, and eventually found some degree of
spiritual comfort. I thank all of you who faxed letters, sent email
messages and made calls to the secretary of public safety on my behalf.

In the midst of this period of grief, another issue came up that
caused confusion and concern among family, friends and supporters.
This is the issue of my relationship to Sister Nzinga. For clarity,
we have been divorced for over seven years. I am married only to
gaining my freedom and living with a little sunshine in my life.

The fundraising effort has received much support; we are now less
than $10,000 short of our target. This money goes to pay the legal
team that is being headed up by Phil Dantes. For some, it may seem
discomforting to speak of freedom and money together. I find it
surreal, something reminiscent of a time when the terms were clear
and people of African descent had to buy their freedom or steal it,
but this is the reality of the present day criminal justice system.
Freedom ain't free. That said, thank you to all of you who have
purchased the book, The Greatest Threat and helped to organize
events. The next letter will provide a legal update, and information
about what people can do to help with the legal effort.

My supporters are planning several events for the summer and fall.
The main happening is an August 20th program featuring the artist
Emory Douglas who has donated a print that we will be using to raise
funds. He will be on hand to sign prints; there is a flyer for this
event enclosed in this letter or attached to this email. September
23rd, AFSC, AK Press and the Creative Alliance in Baltimore will host
a pre-release event for my memoir Marshall Law: The Life and Times of
a Baltimore Black Panther. Local activists and artists will be
reading selections from the book. We are also interested in planning
programs in other cities.

On the prison front, the Friend of a Friend (FOF) mentoring program
here in this institution continues to grow. The program successfully
graduated our first class of men who received mentoring. Of this
group, we have several who will become mentors; we have other
activities scheduled for the summer ranging from mediation training
to theater activities. FOF keeps many men in the prison connected to
the outside community, and helps them to thrive despite
incarceration. Through this program, we have created a community
service/outreach project. Collectively, mentors and mentees have
adopted the United African Alliance Community Center run by Bro. Pete
and Sister Charlotte O'Neal in Tanzania. The members of FOF had the
opportunity to meet Sister Charlotte when she came to the prison back
in April. The men felt so moved by the O'Neal's work that we pulled
together a fundraising effort for UAACC, and we plan to continue our
support of the work of our brother and sister.

At present, I am in good health, but I still have high blood
pressure, and often I am in a battle with the medical department each
month to get the necessary medication. At the time, I am
contemplating legal action if the issue continues. Finally, as the
economic situation continues to worsen for oppressed communities, we
must focus some of our efforts on building solid networks. It is
critical that we learn to set aside differences that are petty and
squash some of our real disputes so that we can work together across
communities. Basic survival should be a part of the dialogue anytime
groups come together because many of our people are scrounging for
bread and land. There is a need now for the same social programs that
the Black Panther Party implemented 44 years ago. The need never went away.

In Struggle,


Friday, June 25, 2010

The Holy Land Foundation Case

Defending My Father ... and the Constitution

By NOOR ELASHI Counterpunch.org

The case perhaps most notably authorized by the Material Support Law, which was upheld by the Supreme Court on Monday, was that of the Holy Land Foundation, once the largest Muslim charity in the United States. My father, Ghassan Elashi, co-founded this charity, and after two lengthy, expensive trials, he’s now serving a 65-year prison sentence.

The panel was split 6-3, the valiant minority being Chief Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Ruth B. Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor. Writing the majority opinion, Chief Justice John G. Roberts concluded that the Material Support Law is not too vague and does not violate the First Amendment, opposing the extensive arguments of constitutional law expert David Cole who, along with the Center for Constitutional Rights, challenged the law in the Supreme Court. Chief Justice Breyer wrote the dissenting opinion, stating that the law could criminalize speech and association “only when the defendant knows or intends that those activities will assist the organization's unlawful terrorist actions.”

The Patriot Act, which expanded a provision in the Material Support Law to include those who provide “assistance,” essentially made it illegal to send charity to the U.S. Treasury Department lists of desig nated terrorists. The Holy Land Foundation, or HLF, was never found guilty of giving charity to a desig nated terrorist organization. Rather, they were convicted of conspiring to give material support in the form of humanitarian aid to Palestinian charities called “zakat committees” that prosecutors alleged were fronts for Hamas, which was designated in 1995.

A Texas jury deadlocked in the first trial in 2007, defending the defense’s main argument: that USAID, Red Cross, the UN, CARE and many international NGOs sent money to the same zakat committees listed on the HLF indictment. But in the 2008 retrial, after essentially the same arguments, the jury returned all guilty verdicts. My father is currently being held in a Communications Management Unit in Marion, Illinois, a prison that's been called "Little Guantanamo" since two-thirds of the inmate population is of Middle Eastern descent.

The Supreme Court decision is not the most optimistic news regarding the HLF case, which is now under appeal. Nevertheless, defense attorneys assert they still have strong grounds for appeal, including the prosecution’s evidentiary errors and anonymous expert from Israel who claimed he could smell Hamas and testified under a fictitious name, thereby preventing defense attorneys from effectively cross-examining him.

According to the ACLU, the Material Support Law is “in desperate need of re-evaluation and reform.” The Supreme Court didn’t see that need, but hopefully, Congress will see that the law is shredding our Constitution in the name of national security and undermining bona fide humanitarian efforts, thus, causing an economic chokehold on Occupied Palestine.

Noor Elashi is a writer based in New York City.

FBI/DHS Attempt to Seize Colorado Indymedia Server and Silence Our Users

June 24, 2010 Anarchist News

On Jun 17, Colorado Indymedia was contacted by Special Agent Adam Kowalski
of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)/Department of Homeland
Security (DHS). As part of an "ongoing investigation" by Federal
Protective Services, they attempted to seize the Colorado Indymedia
server, believing that we kept logs (such as IP address access logs) that
could identity users on our site. Our servers are graciously hosted at
Denver Open Media who was approached by Kowalski. Kowalski claimed he had
a court order but refused to leave a copy at Denver Open Media. He was
told to contact the system administrators in order to obtain the logs as
Denver Open Media does not have the ability to consent to a seizure or
search of our property.

As of this date, we do not have a copy of the court order if it even
exists. It's likely that this was just a bluff as it's well-established
that cops, the FBI, and other law enforcement can lie in order to illicit
consent and lying about court orders is no exception.
[Information wants to be free... for the state to consume]

We told the FBI that "Colorado Indymedia does not retain this
[identifying] information because we strongly believe in the First
Amendment right to free, anonymous speech. Frequently communities outside
of our society's mainstream feel more comfortable expressing their views
in an anonymous setting. Like all Independent Media Centers, Colorado
Indymedia exists to serve these communities, and thus strives to maintain
the anonymity of its users."

In particular, the FBI was looking for information that would identify a
user(s) who had used the "spamsucks" account. This account's username and
password are posted on the main page of our site for users who would like
to post and remain anonymous. Given the time period of the logs they were
seeking, we believe they are looking to identify the individual(s) who
posted the two communiques that claimed responsibility for the recent
attacks on Immigrations and Custom Enforcement (ICE) offices. (See "ICE
Facility Attacked in Loveland" http://colorado.indymedia.org/node/7733 and
"ICE Office Attacked" http://colorado.indymedia.org/node/7721).

This request is part of an investigation by Federal Protective Services,
the agency which is tasked with protecting the security of Federal
property (such as buildings). Communiques posted by the same account
claiming direct action attacks against other places such as a Wells Fargo
branch (http://colorado.indymedia.org/node/7664) have not attracted
similar reactions from the agency. It appears as if the ICE attacks
prompted additional attention and heat due to their status as Federal
buildings even though the attack on the Wells Fargo branch seems related
to their funding of private ICE prisons through the GEO Group.

While this may look to many as a run-of-the-mill investigation, there are
several things that bring this into question. Firstly, it is a well known
and widely publicized policy of Colorado Indymedia that we do not retain
logs that can identify individual users. For instance, our privacy policy
(http://colorado.indymedia.org/node/550), which is linked to twice from
our main page, notes that we do not log such information. The FBI is well
aware of this policy but still decided to ask us for logs they know we do
not keep. This could be a simple "fill in the box" task that has to be
completed, but then why not approach DOM's Internet service provider,
which almost certainly does retain logs of this nature (as all major
Internet Service Providers and the NSA do)? Additionally, the FBI seemed
intent on seizing our server when they came to Denver Open Media,
indicating their goal may have been the disruption of our service instead
of simply identifying users.

Given this, it seems likely that the government is upset that we provide a
venue for anonymous speech and is retaliating for this. We allow people
who ordinarily cannot speak to tell their story to the world including
those who took credit for smashing up the ICE offices. In any democratic
society, it's important that all members of society can have as much
available information in order to make informed decisions, including
decisions about whether to support the actions that these communiques
discuss. If places like COIMC did not exist, it could be that nobody would
have heard why this office was attacked and people would be forced to make
evaluations based on coverage from mainstream media outlets who act as a
police mouthpiece. In retaliation for providing this service and working
to give everybody a voice, we have been targeted.

This targeting is no surprise and something we expect from law
enforcement. Police are a tool of those who are in power who use them to
maintain that power through force. Behind every law is a charge, behind
every badge is a gun, and behind every subpoena is the possibility of
being kidnapped and held hostage for contempt. This type of targeting is
done every day against those who assert their right to privacy, who do not
have societal privilege, who lack the money to defend themselves in court
or conform to society's norms, and who choose to defy and change those
norms themselves or challenge the power structures that control society.
We are not treated differently than anybody else and the targeting of
Colorado Indymedia is business as usual. If the Department of Justice had
their way (based on their actions and lobbying efforts), the right to
anonymous speech would completely disappear. The services that we provide
are a critical part of fostering social change and democratic discourse in
this region. For this reason and many others we will not be intimidated
into maintaining investigative records on our own users or shutting down
our service. As far as we know, we are the only media outlet that has
provided coverage on the attacks against ICE offices.

It's important when things like this happen we not internalize this
repression and that we let people know we are being bullied. The majority
of a bully's power is derived from their ability to keep their victim's
silent. This is true whether those bullies are police, rapists, the bully
who steals your lunch money, or an abusive parent. This enforced silence
keeps the victim feeling powerless and alone. When we are silent, we
cannot find others who have faced the same treatment and speak out about
it or fight back. Police are a tool of those in power which they use to
enforce their rules, laws, social codes, and ultimately maintain their
place at the top of the hierarchy. They do not want to hear about people
challenging their authority. Most of all, they want to make sure that
nobody sees or hears about those actions and chooses to support those
individuals or becomes inspired to challenge authority on their own.

You may view our privacy policy at http://colorado.indymedia.org/node/550
which contractually binds us to protect your information. We would like to
thank Denver Open Media (http://denveropenmedia.org) for continuing to
host our server and recognizing the importance of the service we provide.
We continue to look for people who are willing to help with website/server
administration, moderation, legal problems, and other things. Please see
http://colorado.indymedia.org/node/13 for more information. The original
letter from the FBI can be found below including our response (with minor
formatting changes for your viewing pleasure).


From: Kowalski, Adam J
Date: Thu, Jun 17, 2010 at 4:16 PM
Subject: Request for information on Open Media Foundation server /
Colorado Indymedia
To: jeff@openmediafoundation.org
Cc: Tony@openmediafoundation.org, "Kowalski, Adam"

To: Open Media Foundation Executive Director Tony Sawcross [sic] and
Business and
Finance Director Jeff Villano


Pursuant to our discussion today, the Colorado Indymedia organization, as
found at http://colorado.indymedia.org/, and/or IP address,
is utilizing an Open Media Foundation computer server maintained on the
premises of 700 Kalamath Street in Denver, Colorado to host its webpage.

Through my discussions with you today, it is your belief that Open Media
Foundation representatives are unable to obtain any of the information
described below on the applicable Open Media Foundation server and that
only representatives of Colorado Indymedia are able to access the
requested information.

In order to minimize any adverse impact this request for information may
have on either organization, I request that the organization able to
access the requested information be identified as soon as practicable to
receive the appropriate legal process for release of the requested

If the requested information is no longer available, I request that the
responsible party issue a return correspondence noting the negative
results of the search and identify the standard retention period that
information of this type is typically retained.

Information sought:

Pursuant to an ongoing federal investigation, Department of Homeland
Security, Federal Protective Service is seeking the following information,
if available, as data files on CD-ROM or other electronic media or

1. The following customer or subscriber account information for each
account registered to or associated with the “spamsucks” screen name on
Colorado Indymedia’s website for the time period May 17, 2010 through May
26, 2010:
1. subscriber names, user names, screen names, or other identities;
2. mailing addresses, residential addresses, business addresses, e-mail
addresses and other contact information.
3. local and long distance telephone records, or records of session times
and durations;
4. length of service (including start date) and types of service utilized;
5. telephone or instrument number or subscriber number or identity,
including any temporally assigned network address; and
6. means and source of payment for such service (including any credit card
or bank account number) and billing records.
2. All records and other information relating to the accounts(s) and time
period in Part A, including:
1. records of user activity for any connections made by the screen name,
including the date, time, length, and method of connections, data transfer
volume, user name, and source and destination Internet Protocol
2. telephone records, including local and long distance telephone
connection records, caller identification records, cellular site and
information, GPS data, and cellular network identifying information (such
3. non-content information associated with the contents of any
communication or file stored by or for the account(s), such as the source
and destination email addresses and IP addresses.
4. correspondence and notes of records related to the account(s).

Again, thank you for your cooperation and timely response in this request.

Special Agent Adam Kowalski
(303) 210-7629


Mr. Kowalski,

This email is a response to the email sent by you to Tony Shawcross on
Thursday June 17, 2010 as a representative of the Federal Protective
Service of the Department of Homeland Security. That email requested that
Colorado Indymedia disclose information related to the identity of persons
who posted using the "spamsucks" user name during the period of May 17,
2010 through May 26, 2010. A copy of the original message is included
below this reply.

Colorado Indymedia does not retain any personally identifying information,
such as IP addresses or telephone numbers, of any of our site's users. IP
associated with user names are never logged, and web server logs are
discarded after 48 hours. Because of this, we do not possess the
information sought by the DHS, et al.

Colorado Indymedia does not retain this information because we strongly
believe in the First Amendment right to free, anonymous speech. Frequently
communities outside of our society's mainstream feel more comfortable
expressing their views in an anonymous setting. Like all Independent Media
Centers, Colorado Indymedia exists to serve these communities, and thus
strives to maintain the anonymity of its users.

The "spamsucks" account was created to preserve this anonymity after we
experienced a surge in anonymous spam articles and comments which forced
us to temporarily disable the ability of user to post in a truly anonymous
fashion. It is used by multiple individuals - both the "spamsucks"
username and its password are publicly available at


You can also read our privacy policy in full at


Colorado Indymedia is a collective, and as such decisions about its
policies are made by consensus amongst all of its members. However, if you
have any future questions about our website, you may contact me directly
by emails at
nathan@coimc.org or by phone at 303.807.0086.

Yours in solidarity,
Nathan Acks
COIMC Webmaster
On behalf of the Colorado Independent Media Center collective

Taken from from http://colorado.indymedia.org/node/7781

Several thousand Egyptians protest police abuse

By SARAH EL DEEB, Associated Press Writer June 25, 2010

ALEXANDRIA, Egypt – Several thousand Egyptians, joined by top opposition
leader Mohamed ElBaradei, protested on Friday what they call authorities'
systematic use of torture in the largest demonstration yet sparked by the
alleged beating death of a young man by police this month.

The death of Khaled Said has become a rallying point for pro-reform
activists and rights workers who say police abuse is rampant and made
possible by a three-decade-old emergency law.

"It's a clear-cut message to the regime that the Egyptian people are sick
and tired of practices that are inhumane," said ElBaradei to reporters
after the protest.

"If they don't get the message then there is a problem with the regime,
the writing is on the wall," he added, describing Said's death as a
"heinous crime."

Witnesses say police officers dragged 28-year-old Said, a businessman, out
of an Alexandria internet cafe and beat him in the entrance of a nearby
building while the neighborhood looked on.

The government maintains that Said died from suffocation after swallowing
a packet of drugs — a claim met with derision by many after photos of
Said's corpse were widely circulated, showing his body covered with
bruises, his teeth broken and jaw smashed.

ElBaradei, a Nobel peace laureate and former chief of the U.N.'s atomic
watchdog agency has become a leading voice for reform in his homeland and
he joined the approximately 3,000 protesters in the Mediterranean port
city of Alexandria following noon prayers.

He also paid his respects to Said's family at their modest family home.

It was a rare case of ElBaradei joining one of Egypt's street protests
from which he has largely remained aloof since returning to his country of
birth, concentrating instead on gathering signatures for his campaign to
change the constitution, and meeting with other groups around the country.

Demonstrators chanted once-taboo slogans against Egyptian President Hosni
Mubarak and Interior Minister Habib el-Adly, who heads the police.

"Down, down, Hosni Mubarak," they chanted, calling el-Adly the "minister
of torture."

Protesters pushed and shoved with black-garbed riot police who formed a
tight cordon around the mosque, but the demonstration ended after several
hours without significant violence in contrast to previous gatherings that
were violently dispersed.

Other pro-reform politicians showed up at the protest, including former
presidential candidate Ayman Nour, in a show of solidarity over Said's

At sunset, a second, silent, protest was held on the port city's sea front
promenade, though its impact was blunted by a raucous and colorful parade
organized by the local government-funded youth center celebrating
Alexandria's nomination as this year's capital of Arab tourism.

Rights groups have long said that police regularly abuse and torture
people in detention and are rarely held accountable, a claim denied by the
government. Security forces have wide powers of arbitrary arrest under the
emergency law in place since Mubarak came to power, which the government
says is necessary to fight terrorism. Activists maintain it is a
foundation for his autocratic regime.

The government has been faced with scattered protests in the past calling
for economic or political reform, but the Said case could give a push to
the faltering democracy movement.

A number of those at the main protest had never joined previous
demonstrations or been politically active.

One woman who answered an internet call to help organize the protest, Iman
Hassan, vowed, "We will not be silent until we get our rights."

"When injustice prevails, no one matters anymore, we no longer have
anything to fear. (Said) was like any of us, it could be me or my brother
or anyone next," said Hassan, a hairdresser from Alexandria in her early

Despite rallies and a recent U.S. call for an independent investigation,
the government has stuck by its claims on Said's death. This week, a
second autopsy was released repeating the earlier findings that the
28-year-old died from suffocation. The New York-based Human Rights Watch
cast doubt on the new autopsy, urging the Egyptian government to
investigate claims he was beaten to death.

Said's lawyer, Islam al-Obeissi, said the family will continue to pursue a
criminal case, even internationally, to prove that their son was beaten to

Ahmed Mohammed, a 26-year-old friend and neighbor of Said who attended the
protests, said the government claims are fueling the protests.

"We don't believe what's being said about him, that's why we're doing
this. We will continue to do this until God shows the truth. This isn't
about politics, he was a human being," he said.

Egypt: Prosecute Police in Beating Death

Human Rights Watch June 24, 2010


Multiple Witnesses and Graphic Photos Belie Police Narrative

Witness accounts and the photographs of Khaled Said's mangled face
constitute strong evidence that plainclothes security officers beat
him in a vicious and public manner. All those involved should be
speedily interrogated, and the prosecutor should fully investigate
what caused the fractures and trauma clearly evident on his body.
Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human
Rights Watch

(New York) - Egyptian authorities should speedily investigate and bring
charges against two plainclothes police officers who numerous witnesses
say beat to death 28-year-old Khaled Said in Alexandria on June 6, 2010,
Human Rights Watch said today.

Authorities should also investigate their superiors, as well as the local
prosecutor whose first investigation failed to properly gather evidence or
interview witnesses.

"Witness accounts and the photographs of Khaled Said's mangled face
constitute strong evidence that plainclothes security officers beat him in
a vicious and public manner," said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North
Africa director at Human Rights Watch. "All those involved should be
speedily interrogated, and the prosecutor should fully investigate what
caused the fractures and trauma clearly evident on his body."

Photos of Said's battered and deformed face published on the internet show
a fractured skull, dislocated jaw, broken nose, and numerous other signs
of trauma. Khaled's brother, Ahmed Said, confirmed the authenticity of the
pictures to Human Rights Watch. Nine witnesses came forward to describe
the beating.

An initial investigation by the local prosecutor concluded that Said had
died of asphyxiation after swallowing a packet of drugs. The prosecutor
ordered his body buried. The public prosecutor, a more senior official,
ordered a second, higher-level investigation following public protests.
But the second forensic medical investigation also said that the cause of
death was asphyxiation. Two plainclothes security officials from Sidi
Gaber police station who witnesses say beat Khaled to death have not been
relieved of their duties and have yet to be questioned by the prosecutor.

Witnesses described to Human Rights Watch how two men who they said were
plainclothes officers apprehended Said in the Space Net internet café in
Boubaset street. Haitham Misbah, the son of the internet café owner, said
he saw the officers beating Said:

Khaled was standing with me just outside the internet café and went in to
say hello to a friend. At that point, two policemen in plainclothes, who
we later found out had been waiting at the café opposite, went straight up
to him and asked for his ID. I saw them grab his arms and hold them behind
his back, so I went over to him, but then saw that they had guns and
realized they were police. I asked them what they were doing and they
said, "Stay out of this or we'll close down your business."

Khaled was struggling. They grabbed his head and banged it against the
marble shelf. At this point we tried to get them outside, thinking that
they wanted to arrest him, but they dragged him into the entrance of the
building next door. Khaled's hair was a bit long, and I saw them grab him
by the hair and bang his head against the iron door of the building and
hit him in the face and the stomach. They kicked him so hard that he fell
on the stairs. They held him by the throat and by the hair and banged his
head against the stairs.

The last thing Khaled said was, "I am dying," but they didn't stop. I
then heard the wife of the doorman screaming. Khaled has stopped moving,
but they continued to kick him, saying, "You're pretending to be dead?"

Mohamed, the doorman of the building next to the internet café, told Human
Rights Watch:

I was standing at the top of the stairs in the entrance when they dragged
him into the building, holding his hands behind his back. They grabbed him
by the hair and banged his head against the iron door of the building and
then repeatedly against the marble steps in the entrance. At one point
Khaled was gasping "I'm going to die, I'm going to die." They responded
saying, "You're dead anyway." They kept beating him although he had
stopped moving.

At this point the two policemen phoned an officer saying, "Basha we have a
case here." There was a doctor nearby who came in and tried to resuscitate
him but couldn't. And then a pharmacist came in and checked and said he
was already dead, so we put a sheet over him. The officer arrived with the
police van after a bit, and they picked up Khaled's body and put him into
the police van. They drove off but came back around ten minutes later and
threw his body back into the entrance of the building. Then the ambulance
came. The ambulance man didn't want to take the body because he could see
he was dead, but the officer ordered him to. There was blood everywhere. I
had to clean up the blood.

In the initial investigation, the local Sidi Gaber prosecutor in
Alexandria did not visit the scene of the crime and interrogated only two
witnesses provided by the police. The witnesses claimed that Said had
swallowed a packet of drugs when he saw the policemen. The Said family's
lawyer, Mohamed Abd al-Aziz, told Human Rights Watch that the prosecutor
ordered a medical examination, which concluded that Said had died of
asphyxiation after he swallowed a packet of drugs, and ordered the body to
be buried.

When Human Rights Watch raised the case in a meeting with Interior
Ministry officials on June 12, they replied that they were still
investigating the case and could not comment. However, a ministry news
release that day stated, "The truth of the matter is that two members of
the Sidi Gaber police station investigations unit... saw Said accompanied
by one of his friends, and when the two police officers approached them,
Said swallowed a small packet. It subsequently became clear that this
packet contained drugs. Said was asphyxiated when he swallowed it, leading
to his death."

The statement also claimed that Khaled Said was a "wanted criminal," with
two convictions in absentia for theft and illegal possession of weapons,
and that he had evaded his military service. Said's uncle, Dr. Ali Kassem,
told Human Rights Watch that these allegations were false. Khaled had made
several trips out of Egypt, he said, something that would have been
impossible if he had not fulfilled his required military service or if
there were pending court sentences against him.

"Even if Khaled Said had been wanted in connection with some earlier
offense, that does not give license to police to attack and murder him in
cold blood," Stork said. "The Interior Ministry statement is grossly
irresponsible, implicitly condoning police brutality."

The brutal killing of Said led to demonstrations in Cairo and Alexandria,
which security services forcibly dispersed, making numerous arrests.

On June 15, Public Prosecutor Abdelmeguid Mahmoud ordered the
investigation reopened and transferred the case to the Alexandria appeals
prosecution unit. He ordered officials to exhume the body and appointed
three doctors to conduct a new forensic investigation. The prosecutor made
public this second forensic medical report, confirming the cause of death
as asphyxiation, on June 23. However, the second medical report also said
there were a number of injuries on the body and concluded that there was
"nothing to prevent the injuries from having occurred as a result of
beating during the arrest of the victim."

On the basis of this finding alone, the prosecutor should expedite the
interrogation of the two policemen involved and the officer who supervised
the operation and should issue warrants for their arrest to carry out the
investigation, Human Rights Watch said.

The prosecutor can still refer the case to court under article 129 of the
penal code, which states that "public employees or officials, and
individuals assigned to a public service who use their position to treat
an individual cruelly by comprising honor, causing pain or hurting them,
shall be punished by imprisonment for a period of up to a year or by a
fine that shall not exceed LE 200."

"The reported forensic findings do not answer one basic question: how
Khaled Said's body acquired the shocking signs of a horrific beating,
consistent with the accounts of numerous witnesses who said they saw these
officers slam Khaled's face repeatedly against a marble steps and an iron
door," Stork said. "The public prosecutor needs to carry out a full
independent criminal investigation into the behavior of the officers."

After the appeals prosecutor visited the scene of the crime and spoke to
people in the area, additional witnesses came forward and testified before
the prosecutor that they witnessed the beating. Misbah told Human Rights
Watch that initially only he, his father, the doorman of the building next
door, and a friend of Khaled's who was standing outside were willing to

He said:

I spent days trying to convince people to go and testify, but everyone was
too scared. Especially because after the incident, officers from Sidi
Gaber police station came to our area and indirectly threatened to people
not to cause trouble. Everyone was scared that the same thing could happen
to them if they reported what had happened. People were only reassured
after the Alexandria appeals prosecutor came to the area and encouraged
people to testify and assured them that he would guarantee their

However, the public prosecutor has yet to summon for interrogation Major
Ahmad Osman of the investigations unit at Sidi Gaber police station, who
was in charge of the operation, or Lieutenant Colonel Emad Abdelzaher, in
addition to the two plainclothes policemen who the witnesses saw beating
Said. The Said family lawyer, Mohamed Abdelaziz, confirmed to Human Rights
Watch that none of these officers have been suspended and that they are
still working at the police station.

The European Court of Human Rights recently reiterated the international
legal position that in cases of ill-treatment and torture, officers under
investigation should normally be suspended during the disciplinary inquiry
and dismissed if found responsible for such acts.

The United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by
Law Enforcement Officials state that law enforcement officials may only
use violent means if unavoidable and must "exercise restraint in such use
and act in proportion to the seriousness of the offence," as well as
"minimize damage and injury, and respect and preserve human life."

Leonard Peltier Statement for 2010 USSF

June 22, 2010

Welcome to the traditional lands of my people,
the Anishinabe. Greetings, my brothers and
sisters. Greetings also to my relations from the
many different Indigenous Nations who now call
this place “Home.” Thank you for your warm welcome.

Hello to all the people of conscience in
attendance at the US Social Forum. Thank you for
taking the time and expense to attend an event
that people will talk about for years to come. I
know if you focus and believe, this event can be
a major step in the development of a new
society—one that turns away from fossil fuels,
war and the rampant destruction of our universal
home and, instead, focuses on the betterment of
all... as opposed to the enrichment of a select few.

I ask that you work this week, in particular,
toward full recognition of the Rights of
Indigenous Peoples as an essential component of a
just and honorable U.S. human rights policy. As
many of you may know, the UN Declaration on the
Rights of Indigenous Peoples was developed over
many years with the participation of thousands of
Indigenous Peoples. It is consistent with human
rights principles as contained in international
law, as well as the U.S. Constitution. And, yet,
two nations with the largest Indigenous
populations—Canada and the United States—have
failed to endorse the Declaration. We call upon
the United States government to finally endorse
the Declaration in its entirety—without
qualifications or exceptions—and to work in full
partnership with Indigenous Peoples, Tribal
governments and Nations to ensure its implementation.

I am Leonard Peltier, an American Indian
political prisoner who fought against some of the
same ideas and mechanisms many of you are
fighting against today. Perhaps it was in a
different way and a different time, but many
years ago we were warning against the very
realities many of you face today. The energy
companies were raping Indian Country years
ago—long before the oil spills, the mining
disasters, and the poisoned waters America has
come to know so well. So perhaps you can spare a
few minutes to listen to the admonitions of an
old man, an old warrior whose wisdom has come at a very high price.

I encourage you to find unity in your various
causes, because all of your struggles are linked.
Actually, you don’t just find unity, you create
it—each of you individually. Create unity within
your specific organizations. And between them.
Link your efforts and find ways to network and maximize those efforts.

Making change has never been more important. Make
the most of every second, for time is growing
short, as so many prophecies have foretold.
Educate others about the realities you are
struggling for and against. Especially focus on
educating the young people who will further your
efforts tomorrow. Know that your sensibilities
are a gift from Creator intended to wake up and
shake up the world so that we may improve how we
treat the Earth and each other.

We Indian people like to say “we are all
related”. I pass that truth on to you now. Each
and every one of you and the work you are doing
are related. Let that be your greeting between
groups and persons, as well as an ethic—the very
spirit of what gatherings like this are intended
to be. Practice thinking and saying it until it
is automatic. We are all related, so put aside
whatever differences you may have and make
solidarity a new and constant reality. Remember,
this is not your struggle. It is for everyone.

I thank you for taking the time to remember an
old activist and perhaps learn from the
experiences of another people from another time.

Now go out and change the world! Make it a place
you’ll be proud to hand to the next seven generations!


In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,

Leonard Peltier

Rovereto, Italy - demonstration of anarchists in solidarity with prisoners

June 25, 2010 infoshop news

Tense moments in the prison of Rovereto, Trentino, a demonstration of
anarchists against overcrowding in the prison - currently there are 100
prisoners for a capacity of 51 places - which was echoed by prisoners
inside the prison, who started banging plates and pots against the bars of
the cells. The anarchists then sprayed on the wall of the prison and threw
firecrackers into the sportsground and courtyard. A delicate situation
that caused the reaction of the independent prison union, who made a
statement denouncing the incident. "The demonstration of anarchist groups
outside the prison in Rovereto is symptomatic of the growing tension in
the country's prison system. Although there have been no recorded
incidents we believe it is appropriate to maintain pressure, stepping up
security measures to ensure the safety of those working inside the prison,
and also the public. " Secretary general of the Independent Police Review
Prison (Sappi) made a statement on the event which involved "a hundred
people, mostly belonging to anarchist groups. "The event began with loud
music and shouting slogans against the government and the prison
administration, prison overcrowding and health care - said Capece - This
resulted in a heavy reaction of the prison population, which started
beating plates, pans and anything against the bars and reinforced doors of
the cells for about twenty minutes. Outside, some protesters daubed the
wall with spray paint and then threw firecrackers inside the playground
and the courtyard. On seeing the Penitentiary Police personnel in service,
only a few, the people who threw firecrackers fled at about 20.30 and calm
was finally restored. "

He stressed "manifestations of intolerance towards the penal institutions
are unfortunately becoming more frequent and increasing overcrowding does
not help to calm tempers. 31 May in Rovereto we had a hundred prisoners
(about 60% of them foreign) against the 51 regulation beds.
Finally he proposes "to use the military for external security services of
prison." (23 June 2010)


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Mondo we Langa appeals 1971 COINTELPRO case to Eighth Circuit over new evidence

June 24, 2010 COINTELPRO Examiner Michael Richardson

Mondo we Langa (formerly David Rice) has filed an application with the
United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit seeking permission
for a hearing in U.S. District Court on new evidence. Mondo, a former
leader of the Omaha, Nebraska chapter of the Black Panthers called the
National Committee to Combat Fascism, is serving a life sentence for the
August 17, 1970 bombing murder of an Omaha policeman.

Mondo we Langa’s case is at the confluence of judicial activism by Chief
Justice Warren Burger and COINTELPRO abuses by J. Edgar Hoover, director
of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Burger decided to use Mondo’s case
to roll back the “Warren Court” era and deprive prisoners of habeas corpus
protection in federal courts when state courts are available. Hoover had
targeted Mondo for counterintelligence actions and personally approved the
withholding of a FBI crime lab report on the 911 call that lured policeman
Larry Minard to his death to make a case against Mondo.

Mondo was implicated in the murder by the confessed 15 year-old killer,
Duane Peak who also claims to have made the 911 call, and by dynamite
supposedly found in Mondo’s basement. Steadfastly denying any involvement
in the crime, Mondo remains imprisoned four decades later.

The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ordered a new trial for Mondo
back in the 1970’s over the search of his house but the Supreme Court
denied the order in a consolidated case, Stone v. Powell. Mondo’s case was
the immediate proof that Stone v. Powell was going to have lasting
negative implications for prisoners when his case was not heard on the

New scientific testing of the 911 tape revealed that it was not Duane Peak
who made the call as he testified, leaving an unknown killer at large. The
Nebraska Supreme Court ruled last year in the case of co-defendant Ed
Poindexter, also serving a life term, that the tape wasn’t critical
information for the jury. However, the voice of the killer is something
that just will not go away and is the subject, in part, of Mondo’s
petition for habeas corpus filed last week in U.S. District Court.

Mondo’s attorney, Timothy Ashford of Omaha, reveals some other new
information the 1971 jury also never knew.

“Several unusual events have occurred throughout the course of Mondo’s
proceedings that cast aspersion upon his jury verdict. First,
approximately one month before the explosion, one of the primary
investigative officers from the Omaha Police Department, Sgt. Jack
Swanson, stopped three black men in north Omaha and seized from the trunk
of their vehicle a case of DuPont Red Cross dynamite. All three men were
charged with felony possession of explosives, but each had their case
dismissed approximately one week after the jury found Mondo guilty in the
spring of 1971.”

“Coincidently, on August 22, 1970, Sgt. Jack Swanson claimed to have also
found a case of the exact same type of dynamite in the basement of Mondo’s

“Sgt. Jack Swanson testified at Mondo and co-defendant Poindexter’s trial
that he was the person who found the dynamite in the basement of Mondo’s
house. Sgt. Bill Pfeffer testified at Mondo’s trial that he never went
into Mondo’s basement where the dynamite was found.”

“Interestingly, Sgt. Bill Pfeffer was deposed in 2006 and stated under
oath that he was the person who found the dynamite in Mondo’s basement. He
later testified at co-defendant Poindexter’s post-conviction hearing in
2007 to the same thing. When confronted with the inconsistency in his
sworn testimony, Pfeffer became incredulous and extremely defensive.””

“Mondo cannot prove that Omaha Police Department officers planted the
dynamite found in Mondo’s basement, but the circumstantial coincidence of
these events lends credence to Mondo’s actual innocence on the first
degree murder charge.”

“Mondo’s case also occurred during the racial turmoil of the late 1960s
and the early 1970s. Specifically, the FBI had instituted its COINTELPRO
program designed to create internal fractures in the political groups it
had targeted. History teaches that the Black Panther movement was targeted
by the FBI in this program, including fringe groups associated with the
Black Panthers.”

“Furthermore, Mondo was the victim of racial hatred by OPD which included
him being called numerous racial epithets by law enforcement and being
repeatedly harassed by members of OPD.”

Mondo we Langa and Ed Poindexter have come to be known as the Omaha Two
and are both imprisoned in the maximum-security Nebraska State