Sunday, October 31, 2010

Updated list of anti-authoritarian and anarchist prisoners in Greece

From A Las Barricadas via Anarchist News

The mailing addresses of the prisons where our comrades are being held are
written in Greek, but with Latin letters in order to make it easier for
those showing solidarity from other countries to send letters and
postcards. The way they’re written should make them understandable to
Greek postal employees and civil servants.

Information about particular cases, as well as letters from many of the
prisoners, have been translated into Spanish and English and can be found
at various websites. Accordingly, this list lays the groundwork for the
more frequent publication of news, letters, and updates regarding our
comrades. The prisoners themselves are being transferred frequently.
Therefore, this list will continue to be updated as needed.

It should be pointed out that right now three of the comrades charged in
the Revolutionary Struggle case (Constantinos “Costas” Gournas,
Christoforos Kortesis, and Evangelos “Vangelis” Stathopoulos) are in
Korydallos Prison, but it’s not known whether they will be transferred
together to the same prisons in the future. Additionally, Evangelos
“Vangelis” Pallis—after he was found seriously wounded (with a glass shard
stuck in his carotid artery) in his cell at Trikala Prison over a month
ago—is currently in an Athens hospital, and his condition is improving. He
is able to speak with the aid of an appliance that had to be implanted.
Also missing from the list are the addresses for comrades Alexandros
Kosivas and Michalis Traikapis, who are charged with a bank robbery in
Psachna, and another two people (one of whom is Thodoris Delis) arrested
in Rhodes this past summer.

Konstantina Karakatsani
Katastima Kratisis Ginaikon Eleona Thivon
T.K. 32200
Elaionas Thebes

Karakatsani is charged with participating in the Fire Cells Conspiracy. A
warrant was issued for her arrest on September 25, 2009, and she was
finally caught on April 22, 2010.

Panayiota “Pola” Roupa
Kleisti Kentriki Filaki Ginaikon
T.K. 18110 Athens

Roupa was arrested with five other comrades on April 10, 2010 and charged
with participating in Revolutionary Struggle. On April 29, she admitted to
taking part in said group via an open letter co-written with Constantinos
“Costas” Gournas and Nikolaos “Nikos” Maziotis. On July 24 she gave birth
to her and Maziotis’ son Lambros-Victor.

Panayiotis “Takis” Masouras
Eidiko Katastima Kratisis Neon Avlona
T.K. 19011
Avlona, Attica

Masouras was arrested on September 23, 2009 and charged with participating
in the Fire Cells Conspiracy. He has been in a juvenile facility since the
beginning of his imprisonment.

Harilaos “Haris” Hatzimichelakis
Dikastiki Filaki Koridallou-A pteryga
T.K. 18110 Korydallos

Hatzimichelakis was arrested on September 23, 2009 and charged with
participating in the Fire Cells Conspiracy.

Alfredo Bonanno
Dikastiki Filaki Koridallou-A pteryga
T.K. 18110 Korydallos

At 73 years of age, Alfredo might be the oldest prisoner in the entire
country. He was arrested with Christos Stratigopoulos in Trikala on
October 1, 2009 and charged with being an “accessory to a felony” for his
alleged role in a bank robbery. His trial is scheduled for November 22.

Christos Stratigopoulos
Dikastiki Filaki Koridallou-A pteryga
T.K. 18110 Korydallos

Arrested together with Alfredo Bonanno, Stratigopoulos has taken full
responsibility for the October 1, 2009 armed robbery in Trikala. His trial
is scheduled for November 22.

Yiannis Dimitrakis
Filakes Domokou
T.K. 35010 Domokos

Dimitrakis was arrested on January 16, 2006 after being seriously wounded
by police bullets during a bank robbery in downtown Athens. Meanwhile, an
arrest warrant was issued for three comrades alleged to be his
accomplices. Two of them, Marios Seisidis and Grigoris Tsironis, remain at
large. The third, Symeon “Simos” Seisidis, was arrested on May 3, 2010. In
June 2007, Dimitrakis was sentenced to 35-and-a-half years in prison. His
final appeal opportunity was recently postponed for the second time, from
April 28, 2010 to December 6, 2010.

Ilias Nikolau
Agrotiki Filaki Kassandras
T.K. 63077
Kassandreia Chalkidiki

Nikolau was arrested on January 13, 2009 and charged with planting an
incendiary device at the Evosmos police station in Thessaloniki. On
December 4, 2009, he was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison.

Polykarpos Georgiadis
Kleisti Filaki Kerkiras
T.K. 49100 Kerkyra

Georgiadis was arrested in Thessaloniki at the end of August 2008 and
charged with the kidnapping of industrialist Giorgos Mylonas, which took
place earlier that summer. In February 2010, he and comrade Vangelis
Chrysochoidis were each sentenced to 22 years and three months in prison.

Vangelis Chrysochoidis
Dikastiki Filaki Komotinis
T.K. 69100

Chrysochoidis was arrested on the same day as Polykarpos Georgiadis and
received an identical sentence.

Evangelos “Vangelis” Stathopoulos
Kleisti Filaki Trikalon
T.K. 42100 Trikala

Stathopoulos was arrested on April 10, 2010 and charged with participating
in Revolutionary Struggle. He denies all the charges.

Constantinos “Costas” Gournas
Kleisti Filaki Trikalon
T.K. 42100 Trikala

Gournas was arrested on April 10, 2010 and charged with participating in
Revolutionary Struggle. On April 29, together with Nikolaos “Nikos”
Maziotis and Panayiota “Pola” Roupa, he admitted to taking part in said
group via an open letter.

Christoforos Kortesis
Dikastiki Filaki Korinthou
T.K. 20100 Corinth

Kortesis was arrested on April 10, 2010 and charged with participating in
Revolutionary Struggle. He denies all the charges.

Sarantos Nikitopoulos
Dikastiki Filaki Koridallou-ST pteryga
T.K. 18110 Korydallos

Nikitopoulos was arrested on April 10, 2010 and charged with participating
in Revolutionary Struggle. He denies all the charges. He and Maziotis are
being held in a special wing of Korydallos along with certain prisoners
from the November 17 leftist urban guerrilla group.

Nikolaos “Nikos” Maziotis
Dikastiki Filaki Koridallou-ST pteryga
T.K. 18110 Korydallos

Maziotis was arrested on April 10, 2010 and charged with participating in
Revolutionary Struggle. On April 29, together with Constantinos “Costas”
Gournas and Panayiota “Pola” Roupa, he admitted to taking part in said
group via an open letter.

Evangelos “Vangelis” Pallis
Kleisti Filaki Trikalon
T.K. 42100 Trikala

Pallis is an “ordinary” prisoner who was “politicized” in prison. He has
been part of the struggle inside prisons for many years. His letters and
other writings often appear in anarchist publications.

Aris Seirinidis
Dikastiki Filaki Koridallou-A pteryga
T.K. 18110 Korydallos

Seirinidis was arrested in Athens on May 3, 2010 (the same day as Symeon
“Simos” Seisidis) during a random police identity check and initially
charged with “weapons possession” (he was carrying a handgun) and
“resisting arrest.” Using his DNA sample as the sole piece of evidence, he
was later charged with a police shooting that happened last year.

Symeon “Simos” Seisidis
Nosokomeio Kratoumenon Koridallou
T.K.18110 Korydallos

A warrant was issued for comrade Seisidis’ arrest on January 16, 2006. He
is being charged with the same robbery as Yiannis Dimitrakis. Seisidis was
shot by police during his arrest on May 3 and suffered a serious injury to
his leg, which later had to be amputated. He is currently in the prison
hospital at Korydallos. In accordance with exemplary Greek judicial
tradition, which burdens those at large with every possible unresolved
“juicy case,” Seisidis is now being charged with a series of crimes
including the two-year-old murder of a guard. However, in Seisidis’ case,
the legal surrealism goes even further. Since the law doesn’t allow anyone
to be tried for a felony in absentia, Seisidis (when he was still at
large) was tried only for his alleged misdemeanor participation in the
January 16, 2006 bank robbery. And for that misdemeanor he was given
seven-and-a-half years in prison. The (rhetorical) question is: How could
he be sentenced for a misdemeanor without the court recognizing his
“guilt” for felony participation in said robbery?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Prison interview with Ed Poindexter on COINTELPRO and the Omaha Police

Oct. 28, 2010 by Michael Richardson

Ed Poindexter is serving a life sentence at the Nebraska State Penitentiary for the 1970 murder of an Omaha policeman. Poindexter’s co-defendant, Mondo we Langa (formerly David Rice) has also been imprisoned 40 years. Both men were leaders of the Black Panthers in Omaha and targets of the clandestine Operation COINTELPRO and deny any involvement in the killing.

Federal Bureau of Investigation director J. Edgar Hoover conducted a massive, illegal and secret war on domestic political activists codenamed COINTELPRO that targeted thousands of groups and individuals around the nation for years. Hoover went after the Black Panthers with lethal ferocity.

Hoover had been pressuring the Omaha FBI office to get the Panther leadership off the streets for nearly a year before the August 1970 bombing death of Larry Minard. Poindexter had been targeted for harassment and had been the victim of a slanderous anonymous phone call campaign by FBI agents, the target of anonymous letters, and constant surveillance before the death of Minard gave Hoover his chance to pin the crime on the two Panthers.

Hoover ordered the withholding of evidence, a FBI crime lab report on the identity of the 911 caller that lured Minard to his death, and the jury that convicted Ed Poindexter and Mondo we Langa never got to hear the voice of the killer nor did they know anything about the COINTELRO crimes committed by the FBI agents.

Ed Poindexter tells what it was like as a COINTELPRO target.

“Part of the COINTELPRO project was to harass party members around the clock, seven days a week. Never let up, try to break us or cause us to snap or drop out under the pressure, or start shooting at them to give them a reason to shoot at us. But they didn’t need a reason because there were forty-some members killed nationwide.”

“At no time not a single day went by that the police didn’t threaten to kill us. I can remember always keeping in the back of my mind be careful about what you eat, what you drink, who prepares it. Fred Hampton was drugged. Where I spent the nights to lay my head and sleep, I would be careful not to be at the same place every night, to be so predictable that they could pull that same stunt on me.”

“What I did was establish myself about a half-dozen crash pads and every night I would sleep at a different place and every week I would alter them around so they couldn’t establish a pattern.”

“One of the hottest and muggy Augusts I can recall was in 1969. I’d left headquarters on 24th Street but decided to vary my usual route to my mother’s house. Since it was unusually quiet that evening in terms of police harassment, I decided to walk north on 24th Street instead of cutting through alley ways as usual. As I got two blocks away from headquarters a cop car cruised by and looked at me with surprise. I instantly knew there was going to be some stuff, pity the soul caught alone on a side street with no witnesses. What was going to happen was they would shoot me or beat me senseless.”

“About half way up the street I looked back to see the patrol car screech around the corner in pursuit of me. I ducked between two houses and cut through an alley. This left me about a half-block from home. Out of immediate sight, I heard the patrol car halt, the door open and slam shut, and the familiar but frightening sound of a riot pump shotgun lock and load.”

“I waited for the cops to pass. Moments later the patrol car cruised slowly past the house with its search light passing over the hedges and house. That was the longest ten seconds of my entire life.”

Permission granted to reprint

Write: Ed Poindexter, #27-767, P.O. Box 2500, Lincoln, NE 68542

Petition for Mumia in turkish

from: Oct. 29, 2010

Dear friends,
thanks a lot for the detailed information on the 9th November hearing.
We met Mumia's lawyer last weekend during a conference in Europe and promised him to
translate the petition
for Mumia into Turkish.
Maybe this petition is useful for all of you too, though I've already sent it to
Robert Bryan..


Mumia Abu Jamal ve dünyada İdam cezasının kaldırılması

Sayın Barack Obama
ABD başkanı
Beyaz Saray
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Sayın başkan;
İmza atan bizler, sizi Mumia Abu-Jamal ve dünyada idamla karşı karşıya kalan bütün
erkek, kadın ve çocukların idam cezasına karşı tavır almaya çağrıyoruz.
Bu cezalandırma biçimi uygar toplumlarda kabul edilemez ve insanlık onuruna
aykırıdır. (B.M. Genel Kurulu, İdam Cezasının uygulanmasına dair moratoryum, karar
62/149, 18 Aralık, 2007; yeniden doğrulandı, karar 63/168, 18 Aralık, 2008.)
Meşhur siyahi gazeteci ve yazar Abu-Jamal, 30 yıla yakın bir süredir Pennsylvania
eyaletinin ölüm listesinde bulunmaktadır. Mumia'nın kaderi, devletin ölüm sırasında
bulunan bir tutsak olarak doğrudan elinizde değilse de, sizden dünya düzeyinde bir
manevi lider olarak, onun ve tüm diğer idam cezaları üzerinde küresel bir moratoryum
için çağrıda bulunmanızı istiyoruz. Abu-Jamal ölüm cezasına ve insan hakları
ihllalerine karşı mücadelede dünya çapında bir sembol, "Sesi olmayanların Sesi"
haline gelmiştir. ABD'nın ölüm sırasında 3000'den fazla insanın bulunmasıyla
birlikte, dünyada 20.000'den fazla insan idamlarını bekliyor.
Abu-Jamal'ın 1982'deki ırkçılıkla lekelenmiş davası, tarihi polis rüşvetçiliği ve
ayrımcılıkla dolu Philadelphia bölgesinde görüldü. Nobel barış ödüllü Uluslararası
Af Örgütü, 'bu davanın birçok yönünün, adil yargılamayı teminat altına alan
uluslararası standartlara uygun olmadığını' tayin etti. "Mumia Abu-Jamal'ı yeniden
yargılanmasının sağlanması tamamen adaletin yararına olacaktır. Bu dava tamamen
uluslararası adalet standartlarına uygun olup, idam cezasına yeniden izin
vermemeli." (Terazide Bulunan bir Hayat - Mumia Abu-Jamal'ın Davası, Uluslararası Af
Örgütü, 2000;

(not: bu imza metni Mumia Abu-Jamal ve savunma avukatı Robert R. Bryan - San
Francisco - tarafından onaylandı.)

Metni imzalamak için:

(not: bu imza metni Mumia Abu-Jamal ve savunma avukatı Robert R. Bryan - San
Francisco - tarafından onaylandı.)

Metni imzalamak için:

Friday, October 29, 2010

November 12–15, 2010: New International Days of Action We Demand that the Russian Authorities Close the Khimki Case and Drop All Charges

Global action day 2.0

November 12–15, 2010: New International Days of Action
We Demand that the Russian Authorities Close the Khimki Case and Drop All
Charges against Alexei Gaskarov and Maxim Solopov

In late October 2010, Russian social activists Alexei Gaskarov and Maxim
Solopov were released from police custody on their own recognizance by the
Khimki Municipal Court. They had been arrested a day after a protest in
defense of the Khimki Forest on July 28, 2010. Now they are free pending
trial, but the criminal case against them has not been closed. They have been
formally charged with disorderly conduct, and if convicted, they could be
sentenced to up to seven years in prison. The dates of their trials have not
been set, but meanwhile prosecutors are demanding that Alexei and Maxim be
returned to police custody. Aside from Alexei and Maxim, there are two other
people who have been charged in the case, and prosecutors might bring charges
against even more people in the very new future. Since Alexei and Maxim were
arrested in late July, police investigators have been stubbornly fabricating
arrest protocols, evidence, and eyewitness testimony and using force to
extract statements from the hundreds of people they have hunted down and
detained. What will happen to all these thick case files filled with
fabrications? They will form the basis of the prosecution’s case in court.
And so the fact that Alexei and Maxim have now been released from jail is not
the end of the battle but a signal that we must continue to act decisively on
their behalf. We will not allow the authorities to cover up the illegal
destruction of the forest and the persecution of its defenders with the
soiled robes of counterfeit justice. We will force the authorities to close
the Khimki Case and drop charges against all activists!

Why do the Russian authorities insist on turning activists into criminals and
demanding prison sentences for them? For the same reason that they have
either not launched or halted investigations into the near-fatal beating of
journalist Mikhail Beketov, the murder of newspaper worker Sergei Protazanov,
and the numerous attacks on Khimki residents. The policemen who beat up
environmentalists defending the forest and arrested people participating in
legal pickets have not been punished. The police investigators who tortured
witnesses in the Khimki Case have not been punished. Can we expect fair
trials for Alexei and Maxim when we have witnessed lawlessness and injustice
so many times? Khimki judges have on numerous occasions shown all of us that
we cannot count on their respect for the law and common sense. We demand that
the case be closed!

The protest action that took place in Khimki on July 28, 2010, was a response
to the lawlessness and violence perpetrated against local residents,
journalists, and activists. It was a highly emotional response to the fact
that all previous protests had not just been ignored by the authorities but
had been cruelly suppressed. As a result of this protest, the Russian
authorities began heeding the voice of the forest’s defenders. The campaign
to defend the forest caught this gust of hot July wind and continued to act
using other means. The authorities must end their persecution of the people
who took part in this protest and the forest defenders. All charges against
Alexei Gaskarov, Maxim Solopov, and other activists must be dropped.

What You Can Do

1. During the international days of action on November 12–15, 2010, hold
eye-catching protest actions in your cities at official political and
cultural events organized by the Russian authorities as well as outside
Russian Federation embassies and consulates. Demand to meet with official
Russian representatives and give them your petitions. Any Russian company,
product or event can be a successful occasion for your protests.

2. Send faxes to the Khimki Municipal Court (+7-495-572-8314), the Moscow
Region Prosecutor’s Office (+7-495-621-5006) and the President of the Russian
Federation (+7-495-606-2464), demanding that the case be closed and all
charges against Alexei Gaskarov, Maxim Solopov, and other activists dropped.

3. Continue to send letters to such international organizations as the Council
of Europe, the European Parliament, and the UN, asking them to investigate
the abuses by Russian authorities and intervene in the case. You can find
contact information for these organizations here.

4. Work to get articles published in your local and national media that will
inform the broader public about the case of the Khimki hostages and the new
threats to civil liberties and the rule of law in Russia. Invite neighbors,
friends, and colleagues to your solidarity actions in support of Alexei and
Maxim, and ask them to join you in demanding that this fabricated criminal
case be closed.

Send information about your solidarity actions as well as copies of letters,
faxes, and media publications to our e-mail address:

Another visit with Gerardo Hernandez

By Danny Glover and Saul Landau

We sat in the waiting room with eight other people, all black or Latino, while prison authorities “counted” -- presumably -- the prisoners. An hour and a half later we went through the “screening” machine while our shoes got x rayed -- the airport has moved to the prison; or was it vice versa?

A guard put an invisible stamp on our wrist; a heavy metal door opened electronically and we entered another room where a guard with a hand-held machine read the invisible stamp with some sci-fi machine. Another massive portal opened as if by dint of fairy magic and a guard barked orders to wait in the open-air passageway between the entrance building and the prison visiting room.

Inside, the well lit -- no passing secrets or contraband -- visiting room we went and a guard pointed to one of many small, cheap plastic tables with three plastic chairs -- amidst the other plastic accommodations in the room. Inmates and families conversed. We waited. After 10 minutes, Gerardo Hernandez appeared, hugged Danny and thanked him for making the You Tube video (look it up) explaining the case of the Cuban five.

Then he hugged Saul who said he’d just returned from Cuba and brought greetings from people who knew him

“How are people responding to the new reforms?” he wanted to know, referring to the economic changes – re-opening some of the private sector shut down by the 1968 “revolutionary offensive” and partially reopened in the mid-1990s, and to the massive layoff (500,000) of “superfluous” state workers as Raul Castro called them.

Saul reported people seemed anxious, but also dealing with the new reality. Gerardo nodded. “It was necessary,” he opined.

He had read newspapers and watched TV news related to next week’s election. “Will the Democrats lose one House or both?” he asked.

We didn’t know. Danny and Saul had watched CNN in the airport waiting room before we boarded the plane to go to Southern California and heard Wolf Blitzer and the other CNN “anchors” vie for fast-talk-say-nothing medals. We remarked on how cable news needs to create conflict (news?) 24/7 as its life’s blood. If no issue exists, create one. But crises arise. Sometimes even Lindsay Lohan and Wynona Rider don’t get caught taking drugs or shop lifting and CNN has to create conflict between gay former army officers and members of Obama’s staff over “Don’t ask, don’t tell.” This was part of CNN’s “election coverage.”

The prison authorities deny Gerardo access to email or computers, although convicted murderers and rapists don’t have those restrictions. He is able to talk to his wife on the phone. “Imagine, I can’t even send her an email,” he laughed sardonically.

Gerardo also can’t email his lawyers who recently filed a new appeal focusing on government documents showing payments made to Miami-area journalists who wrote articles designed to make the already “pervasive community prejudice” worse so that a Miami trial would become an impossible venue for Gerardo and his four mates to get a fair trial.

One Miami-based journalist, Pablo Alfonso, received $58,600 during the Five’s detention and trial period, but he only wrote 16 damaging articles [while he worked for El Nuevo Herald, Miami’s most important newspaper in Spanish]. Other government-paid journalists did negative TV and radio shows about the five men who had admitted their mission involved spying – but not on the U.S. government. Gerardo explained that Cuban Intelligence sent the men to Miami to penetrate violent exile groups who had planted more than a dozen bombs in one year (1997) in Cuban tourist sites.

The FBI did not arrest the bomb plotters, but rather grabbed the very people who had furnished the Bureau with evidence of terrorist activities based in South Florida.

A May 2005 United Nation’s Human Rights Commission concluded the original trial “did not take place in the climate of objectivity and impartiality” required for fair trials. The Commission’s report called for a new trial.

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a previous appeal from the Five. But now, in addition to the bribing of journalists, appeal lawyer Leonard Weinglass has found the prosecutors had “withheld evidence that would have demonstrated [Gerardo’s] innocence.” Indeed, the government, Weinglass says, withheld “satellite imagery which would have shown that the shoot down on Feb. 24, 1996, occurred in Cuban airspace and not in international airspace. The key agency of the United States government which maintains satellite data has, up to now, refused to admit or deny that they are holding such data.”

On that day, three Brothers to the Rescue airplanes flew into Cuban air space after receiving multiple warnings not to do so. Cuban MIGs shot down 2 of the planes, killing pilots and co-pilots. This fact, reasoned Weinglass, would have given the Five and the MIG pilots a clear-cut defense to the charge of conspiracy to commit murder. (Radio interview with Bernie Dwyer

Ironically, the government never established Gerardo’s connection to the shoot down. They showed a communication commending him for his role in “the operation.” But Gerardo explained, “the operation” related to his helping another agent leave the country, not the shoot down. “They had other documents they didn’t show to the defense that would have shown I knew nothing about the events that day.” Weinglass included this in his new appeal.

Gerardo asked Danny about meeting his wife, Adriana, in Paris. Danny told him about the emotional encounter and Gerardo’s face lit up.

An inmate took photos of us. We said good-bye. Gerardo gave us the “keep the faith” fist in the air. We waved, left and began our drive south toward the Ontario airport passing the rows of unsold and empty houses in Victorville and the seemingly endless signs advertising chain stores and restaurants.

“Wow,” Danny said as he drove. “What an inspiring guy!”

Saul agreed. It was so worth the round trip, airport hassle, rent-a-car drive and wait in the prison – all the ugliness – to see how many inner resources one man could employ to keep his spirit high, and use them to inspire others.

Danny Glover is an activist and actor. Saul Lan

Covert FBI war against Americans leaves dark memories

29 October, 2010

It has been 54 years since the FBI launched a covert war against political dissents known as the Counter Intelligence Program or more infamously by its acronym COINTEL-PRO.

It is a program buried in the shadows of America’s history books; an era known to its victims as America’s dirty war against its own citizens.

The targets of such a program included the following: The Black Panther Party, The Communist Party of America, the Ku Klux Klan, the Socialist Workers Party, the New Left, the Students for a Democratic Society, the American Indian Movement, the Chicano Movement, the Puerto Rican Liberation Movement, Communist groups, anti-war organizations, Hollywood stars sympathetic to these groups, and civil rights leaders.

Fueled by the frenzied paranoia of McCarthyism and the growth of radicalism, the objective of COINTEL-PRO was simple; undermine and destroy popular movements by any means.

Imam Abdul Alim Musa was a member of the Black Panther’s Oakland chapter. He recalled “infiltration, destabilization.”

The FBI also went after the Chicano Movement, which became known as the Brown Berets and the Puerto Rican Liberation Movement.

Carlos Montes was one of the original Brown Berets. Montes told RT “The FBI worked with the LAPD and the sheriffs to keep the Brown Berets and local Chicano movements under surveillance. We were victims of agent provocateurs, police infiltration. They tried to incite our members to commit violence, so they would get arrested, and they did and we found out after we got arrested.”

Read more

Naji Mujihad, the director of Black August, an organization which works closely with Political Prisoners said, “Within their [FBI]’s internal memos, there were several black leaders whom they identified as particular such as Rev. Martin Luther King.”

The FBI’s COINTEL-PRO also engaged in writing false letters, articles and newsletters to create hostilities towards radical groups that had joined forces.

The FBI fabricated a letter to civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. that suggested he commit suicide and threatened to expose information gathered by the FBI from wiretaps on King.

Hollywood actress Jean Seberg was also a subject of COINTEL-PRO. After Seberg supported a number of Black Nationalists groups and Native American groups, the FBI fabricated fake stories in the tabloids that Seberg was impregnated by a Black Panther member. The allegations were false, but led to a tense relationship with Seberg and her husband. Her child died days after it was born. She later committed suicide.

However, King and Seberg were not the main targets.

They labeled the black panther party as public enemy number one,” said Mujahid.

Fred Hampton was one of COINTEL-PRO’s targets; he was one of the founders of the Black Panther’s Chicago chapter. Hampton was shot to death in his apartment, next to his pregnant girlfriend after an FBI informant drugged him as he slept. He was 21 years old.

If you take Fred Hampton, it was outright murder, it was murder,” said Imam Musa. "If they can't misdirect them, they just kill them. That's the rule, that's the history of the United States government."

At the site of the 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre the American Indian Movement held the US government at gunpoint. The FBI moved in immediately to take out AIM’s leadership. Dennis Banks was one of the leaders of the American Indian Movement.

The suspicion started to rise after we saw what they were doing to the Black Panther party. We had a series of meetings with the AIM leadership to bring that to our attention, that they might be targeting us for infiltration,” Banks said.

After Wounded Knee ended in a stalemate, a reign of terror soon gripped the pine ridge reservation in South Dakota. Over 60 AIM members were murdered and others were drug through the courts.

One of them was Leonard Peltier. He was convicted of two life terms in prison for the murders of two FBI agents. However, many argue the evidence and the witnesses were flawed and corrupted.

Today, in the US and throughout the world, Peltier is considered America’s foremost political prisoner.

Naji Mujahid insists COINTEL-PRO created political Prisoners. “What we recognize now as political prisoners are people who came out of this era, out of these tactics that are still in prison.”

However, Mujahid said “the United States Government doesn’t recognize having any political prisoners.”

In 1978, the US ambassador to the United Nations Andrew Young told a news reporter "there are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people whom I would call political prisoners."

Immense political pressure from Congress resulted in Young’s resignation the following year.

Before there were the WikiLeak papers or the Pentagon papers, there were the COINTEL-PRO papers. In the early 1970’s, activists broke into the FBI’s field office in Pennsylvania and stole thousands of documents pertaining to the FBI’s program. Almost immediately, a scandal exploded. Top officials from the FBI’s national bureau in Washington DC were summoned to Capitol Hill for a congressional investigation that exposed the FBI’s covert war against political dissidents in the United States.

That investigation was known as the Church Committee, it found that “Many of the techniques used would be intolerable in a democratic society even if all of the targets had been involved in violent activity, but COINTEL-PRO went far beyond that…the Bureau conducted a sophisticated vigilante operation aimed squarely at preventing the exercise of First Amendment rights of speech and association."

Imam Musa, a victim of COINTEL-PRO, believes the FBI's program proved devastating for the country’s radical movements. "The modern COINTEL-PRO has quieted the people down."

I think COINTEL-PRO was very dangerous for American society and even the American judicial system to support that kind of raw terrorism,” said Dennis Banks of AIM.

It was a time known for a culture of surveillance, paranoia and suspicion. A moment of the past that some argue today has left Americans and radical movements in the country in disarray.

The FBI program targeted groups like the Black Panthers on the guise that they were trying to over throw the US government. They specifically targeted individual like Dr. Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and other civil rights activists in an effort to crush the rise of black people, said Dr. Malik Zulu Shabazz, the chairman of the New Black Panther Party.

COINTEL-PRO is an official action of the US government through the FBI and is designed to crush the rise of black people and stop the rise of a black messiah,” Shabazz said.

The program official operated with the mission of preventing a coalition of militant black national groups, and preventing groups from gaining influence and credibility.

They said that Martin Luther King would embrace nationalism or embrace national goals of black people of achieving a nation and territory of our own, or in other terms, self determination," explained Shabazz. “Then the goal of the US government, which was wicked, which was to kill and to assassinate, use sabotage, dirty tricks, false evidence and other methods of infiltration to stop our movement and to stop our rise towards our human rights and divine destiny.”

He added, “The US government owes our people, it owes the Indians, it owes the brown people that it has insulted with this counterintelligence program; it owes us all reparations.”

Today Dr. Martin Luther King is a symbol of peace and civil rights. He is highly respected and an American holiday honors his life.

We have reduced Dr. King to a dream. But the Dr. Martin Luther King that spoke out against US foreign policy in Vietnam, US imperialism around the world, that’s the Martin Luther King that was wire tapped by Robert Kennedy,” he explained.

Shabazz argued that the counterintelligence program continues today, but now it is known as the USA PATRIOT Act.

Watch the full interview with Dr. Malik Zulu Shabazz

Filmmaker Claude Marks, the director of “Freedom Archives” and “COINTEL-PRO 101” said he hopes to open the doors to history on the topic of government repression that is being seen again today through the USA PATRIOT Act and post 9/11 politics.

When the COINTEL-PRO program became public, there was a great deal of outrage. There were a number of congressional hearings on the matter. The Congresses accused the FBI of conducting illegal surveillance of US citizens and began the process of legal change regarding what the government can and cannot do.

Many argue today than the government should utilize spying on citizens to prevent terrorist attacks. Marks explained that we must be mindful of the protection of political dissent separate from terror, and remember that the government rarely conducts just spying activities.

The agencies of the government, first of all historically, did a lot more than simply spy. They actually conducted a level of disruption of organizations,” said Marks. “The scope of this was extremely broad and was very chilling on any kind of legal dissent.”

COINTEL-PRO was official disbanded in the 1970s, however no one was every official charged. No one was ever held accountable, said Marks. Since then the militarization of opposition to political dissident by the government has escalated.

This isn’t about terrorism, this is about discouraging political opposition or what is deemed by the government to be unpopular political views,” he added. People have a right to dissent.

Watch the full interview with Claude Marks

G20 Prisoner Ryan Rainville needs support!

G20 defendant and Indigenous political prisoner Ryan Rainville still
behind bars

Tuesday October 26, Mississauga New Credit – Today on Tuesday October 26,
Ryan Rainville appeared in an Ontario Superior Court to argue for his
release on bail. The Judge adjourned the application for Ryan to be
released to a First Nations Bail Program citing ‘inadequate supervision’.
In considering Ryan’s bail application, the judge also did not take into
account Gladue factors, which forces the judicial system to consider the
systemic marginalization and over-incarceration of Indigenous people as
result of colonialism and poverty.

Ryan is a young Indigenous man from the Sakimay Nation and is charged with
several unfounded charges stemming from June demonstrations against the
G20 in Toronto. Ryan has been imprisoned since August 5 when he was
arrested at his home in Waterloo, and has since been denied bail once
before in September.

While targeting strong voices of dissent is part of the state’s desired
culture of fear, the repression and attempted silencing of Indigenous
resistance is part of the ongoing legacy of criminalization and
colonization for 500 years across Turtle Island.

According to Indigenous supporters of Ryan:

“Ryan has been strong in his denouncements of injustice and has spoken out
without fear. He is honest, humble and respectful toward his family and
people around him. He has also honoured his role as a man in the community
by standing beside Indigenous women when we needed support.

As native people, our bodies and our minds are constantly under attack
from the state. Their power rests on our degradation, and their violent
exploitation of the land and water feeds and profits the colonization of
every poor and oppressed person. There is nothing new or unusual about
Indigenous people - whether Haudenoshonee or Mapuche, Anishinaabe or
Palestinian - being targeted, violated and locked up under racist,
classist and sexist guises of "law and order" or "justice".

We denounce the ongoing state repression of all people resisting the
austerity measures which are designed to force our relations, friends and
allies into enslavement to a faltering system, to assimilate those of us
coerced into submission, and exterminate those of us who refuse to bend to
colonial terms. Freedom for all prisoners and detainees, including the
Tamil women and children still held behind the walls of a detention
centre, and who are now subjected to the same four walls which face Ryan.”

Ryan appears in court again on Thursday November 4th at 9:30 am at 361
University Avenue. Ryan’s supporters are requesting people to attend court
on Thursday morning to show their support for Ryan and for all who are
being targeted by the state.

For more information please contact:


There is an urgent need for defence-related funds for Ryan by next week.

You can mail cheques to:
No One Is Illegal-Toronto,
90C Beverley Street,
M5T 1Y1.

Please be sure to indicate “Ryan Rainville” in the memo.

You can also make a secure donation online through Paypal by going to the
no one is illegal web page at
and clicking the pay pal donation button.
Please be sure to send an email to and let us
know you have donated and what amount.

1-Year anniversary - Detroit murder of Imam Luquman Abdullah

International council for urban Peace, justice and empowerment
Over 35 affiliated organizations throughout the world.

Press Release

ACTIVIST (Nov 2, 2009)


The International Council for Urban Peace, Justice and Empowerment is
a coalition of chapters and affiliates in over 35 cities. We
represent the largest grassroots, national, international coalition
and network: of faith and community based organizations activists and
organizers dedicated to peace, justice and empowerment, ending gang
warfare, violence and crime. On behalf of the grassroots people of
Detroit and America we are issuing a statement on the "extra judicial
execution" or targeted assassination of Imam Luquman Abdullah (of
Detroit 10-28-2010)

All of the affiliates of the International Council for Urban Peace,
Justice and Empowerment have stated for the record that Imam Luquman
was the victim of a conspiracy that was intended to characterize him,
his mosque, their members and his national affiliated relationships
as criminals by the government putting together paid criminal
informants to infiltrate a mosque and engage in provacatouring in a
community that is economically depressed and socially challenged (to
commit crimes). Our independent investigation has uncovered a
consistent line of lies by the government, and we have been given
what is so called "classified information" by law enforcement in
Georgia and Michigan that the Imam was targeted because of his
relationship to Imam Jamil Al-Amin (formerly known as H. Rap Brown
the 60's civil rights activist). In addition, the National Ummah was
actively involved in organizing the most successful Urban, (Gang)
Peace and Justice effort in history, which resulted in a ten (10)
year drop in gang related shootings, homicides, other violence and
negative activity.

According to some documents that have been uncovered, Imam Luquman,
who was actively involved in visiting Imam Jamil in prison in Georgia
was accused of being inciteful by Federal Bureau of Prison
Investigators (their ideas of inciteful were asking questions and
raising issues like health and his human rights which triggered a
death sentence. Although the Georgia State Bureau of Prisons did not
accuse him of that. His visits were peaceful and the climate was
non- threatening. However, it was alleged according to the federal
government that Imam Jamil was too powerful in the Georgia State
Prison and that he was a threat to the status quo because of his
ability to perhaps call for work stoppages, and hunger
strikes. There is no evidence of Imam Jamil being involved in those
types of activities. But as a result of that, he was transferred to
the Supermax Prison in Florence Colorado. In addition, it was stated
that Imam Luquman would be targeted by the Federal Government because
of his consistent visits, his advocacy on behalf of Imam Jamil's
human rights in addition to giving him candy bars or insisting that
he be given some snacks. As a result of that, Imam Luquman was
targeted and assassinated in this extra judicial killing.

We are stating for the record that we have no confidence in the
Justice Department's ability to investigate this because of the
fact that the division involved with this trick or treat provocative
action is a division that was put in place before the former
President Bush and the former head of the justice dept left
office. So even though statements and policies by President Barack
Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder were issued which called for
mutual respect for Muslims in the United States and the world, the
assassination of Imam Luquman is clearly a violation of that
statement and of that policy. (Muslim American Nigga's are not included).

The hypocrisy in this investigation is laughable. The case is based
upon the sworn statements of provocateurs- paid government
informants- who are convicted criminals and were being paid by the
federal government to infiltrate a mosque and create a criminal
enterprise by giving money and resources for entrapment.

The so called "criminal activity" was hatched in Washington,
D.C. The monies came out of Washington, D.C. All of the so called
contraband was purchased out of Washington, D.C. The very aspects of
the so called warehouse where the assassination took place was
controlled by the federal government and so therefore everything that
went on inside that warehouse, everything that took place in terms of
the purchases, everything that went on in terms of the alleged
statements made by Imam Luquman were all statements and things that
were done by paid government lying provocateurs.

For the record, it was stated that Imam Luquman was the head of an
organization called "Al Ummah", which means "Brotherhood". That is a
bold faced lie. Any fool that knows any Arabic knows that Ummah
means "community". Imam Luquman Abdullah was part of a network of
Masjids and organizations around the country that came together to
"agree to disagree" without being "disagreeable" and to work together
for community upliftment, feeding the poor, economic development,
re-entry, community empowerment, social justice, stopping gang
violence and youth violence as well as working against crime, gangs,
drugs, and other illegal activities around the communities. The
Masjids engaged in: economic development initiatives, athletic
programs and social initiatives for the youth and also providing for
family development, counseling and interreligious relations. In
addition, they entered into public and private partnerships for
community empowerment.

It was also stated that Al-Ummah is a black separatist and radical
group that is dedicated to using violence (hilarious) to establish an
Islamic community in America and imposition of Shariah Law on the
population. That is a bold faced lie. The definition of Al Ummah
(community) and the organization that they are referring to as being
a race based organization made up of only formerly incarcerated men
and women is also a lie.

So therefore, from the beginning of the "conspiracy", the intent was
not to allow Imam Luquman to live, but to assassinate him - to send a
message to the Muslims of African descent in America and that message
- has been received.

The FBI stated that this was not a terrorism case however; the
investigation was conducted by a counter terrorism
unit. Hypocrisy. They talked about threats against the government
stated by Imam Luquman. However, we have no evidence that those
statements were ever made. It is also stated that Al
Ummah(Brotherhood) is made up of the majority of formerly
incarcerated men and women. Again, that is a bold faced lie. We
clearly understand that in this situation, racism and politics were
the motivation for this attack. White supremacy and white
nationalism and racism is the guiding force amongst most law
enforcement in America. Couple that with what is called the global
war on terrorism and that has contributed to further repression of
Muslims in America.

Since Columbus got lost and white people came to the United States
America, millions of Muslims were enslaved. Over 100 million people
of African descent have perished from the beginning of the slave
trade - up until the end of slavery. There were over 50 million
Native Americans in North America before the slave trade began and
now there are less than a million. How do you define pathological?

Historians have stated for the record that 30% of those enslaved
Africans were Muslims. There was a period of time in the United
States before the government of the United States was in place after
the Revolutionary War where Muslims from Europe and Africa were
engaged in mutual trade and exchange of social and cultural
relationships between Native American tribes. Genocide has taken
place because there is hardly any evidence of the existence of these groups.

We also have concluded that the United States government has been
engaged in repression (political, social, and cultural),
discrimination, racism, genocide and marginalization and human rights
violations against all Muslims people and people of Muslim heritage
in every phase and every era of government of this country called the
United States.

We are aware of the presence of thriving indigenous Muslim
communities in America before the Revolutionary War and the Civil
War. Whether it is the groups that emerged out of Chicago, that were
affiliated with Noble Drew Ali or the groups that were affiliated
with Marcus Garvey or the groups that were affiliated with Elijah
Muhammad, Dar-ul-Islam or other indigenous grass roots Muslim
movements, El Hajj Malik Shabazz, Imam Jamil Al-Amin or Imam Warith
Deen Muhammad were all targeted by F.B.I./C.I.A. Counter Intelligence
Movements. Everyone of the organizations in all of the communities
that have been associated with these groups, even though they have
been discriminated against, even though they have been oppressed and
treated unjustly by the United States government have been the most
effective groups in addressing violence, crime, drugs, gangs and
other self destructive behaviors in the African American
Community. In fact, for the record, there is no other faith based or
religious or ethnic group in America that has been more effective in
turning around drug addicts, prostitutes, robbers, criminals, gang
bangers and other self destructive behaviors in the country.

In addition, without any government support, the Muslims in America
have pioneered faith based schools and were the first organization to
have a weekly newspaper and had the most extensive business and
entrepreneurship activities of any other African American group in
the country. Muslims have been involved in stabilizing the prison
population to the degree that mostly all wardens agreed during the
60's and 70's that the Muslims were and had continued to be the most
stabilizing influence within the prison population.

And it is very clear that we have received an answer and we have
received a statement from the government as it relates as it relates
to the work that Muslims have done and continue to do.

And so, based upon this, based upon this process that the government
is engaged in, elements within the government and particularly
amongst laws enforcement where there are several steps: first they
trivialize activities, then they marginalize activities, then they
demonize activities, then they criminalize activities, then they
dehumanize the activity and then they terrorize the people that are
engaged in uplifting and other kinds of self upliftment activities
and ultimately imprison or assassinate the leaders of these groups.

Therefore, we are calling on the Organization of Islamic Conference,
the United Nations and those international bodies of lawyers, human
rights activists and many of the national and international groups
to call for an international inquiry/investigation not only into the
assassination of Imam Luquman, but also on this ongoing and
systematic oppression and genocide conducted against Muslims.

In addition, we are saying that the government itself, the United
States Federal Government should be investigated because imposition
of ideological conformity is a crime against humanity.

Imam Luquman was denied due process and equal protection under the
law and his extra judicial execution was cruel and unusual
punishment. In this situation, the so called law enforcement
officers went from being law enforcement officers who are sworn to
protect and uphold the community to becoming investigators, accusers,
prosecution, judge, juries, jailers and executioners.

This is a violation of international human rights and it is immoral.

We are calling on all of the world body of countries of the united
nations, the general assembly and the national security council to
conduct an investigation into the human rights violations that are
taking place in the United States throughout the prisons in the
United States, within the law enforcement bodies and departments of
not only the federal government, but the state and local governments as well.

We are also calling for a National and International Summit where all
of these things must be dealt with in a forum that is conducted by an
international body of respected international jurists and investigators.

Once again, it is important to understand that the law enforcement
community who invented these lies and tricks to try to entrap Imam
Luquman are themselves guilty. They must understand that you cannot
murder the mind, the spirit and the soul of Imam Luquman-you can only
martyr his body.

Resistance and struggle for empowerment in this country by Muslims
cannot be stopped and your ideological white supremacists racist and
white nationalist's activities that are the same as that of your
ancestors have shown that you cannot find the key to the spirit of
Imam Luquman. That is owned by Almighty God Allah. Your war is
with Almightily God Allah and you will lose in this life as well as the next.

May God give the family of Imam Luquman peace and tranquility and may
he send His peace and tranquility to all the members of Masjid
Al-Haqq and all of those affiliated with the Muslim leadership within
the Detroit and Dearborn areas.

May He inspire us to continue to organize and to speak truth to
injustice and oppression and may He continue to harmonize our minds
and our thoughts and our energies so that we can continue to be
successful in our quest for empowerment in America.

And remember our brothers and sisters, as America becomes less
ethnically White and Eurocentric, it is essential to understand that
the pathology of White supremacy will continue to put forth the myth
that White makes right and the Eurocentric pathology of might makes
right if it comes from White people. They will continue to operate
off of this pathology because they have not realized that it is a
pathology, so it is important that we see the disease for what it is
and that we continue to work with all people based upon the
principles of truth, justice and righteousness and that we do not
become dispirited. That we do not become apathetic. That we do not
become passive and that we do not become disheartened because of the
actions of these people.

As a matter of fact, we should become more inspired, more active,
more assertive and more competent in the victory of our cause. We
should never judge the struggle by the casualties.

Understand that our victory has been promised by Almighty
God. Victory or martyrdom is a win/win situation.

Amir El Hajj Khalid A. Samad
International Council for Urban Peace, Justice and Empowerment

T. Rashad Byrdsong Jitu Sadiki Minister Kuratibish Rashid
Spokesman Spokesman Spokesman

For more information, please contact the offices of Peace in the Hood
at (216) 283-5434 or our email at

No justice for victims raped in custody

October 25, 2010 SF BayView

by Ophelia Williams

“I knew I was just raped. I knew it wasn’t supposed to happen,” Ashley, now 20, says of the attack by juvenile counselor Tony Simmons.

Where in the justice system is there a place to rectify the disparity of this situation: Countless young girls, as young as 13, are sodomized and raped by an officer of the law. They report him. The juvenile counselor is arrested. The girls are prepared by counsel to testify against the officer. Before the case can reach trial, the officer pleads guilty and walks away with probation. He serves no jail time.

This situation is a reality in New York, where a girl received a 12-month sentence for “filing a false police report,” upon telling police she did not know who had jumped and cut her on the way to school. The juvenile counselor who raped her in an elevator – while escorting her from a holding area to the courtroom – received probation.

Investigators believe these types of assaults by this juvenile counselor likely go back a decade to the rape of a 13-year-old in the holding area.

Which “department” should these victims and their families turn to in order to process their horror and grief? These girls were terrorized and their sense of safety within the justice system was compromised. For an indeterminate amount of time, they must harbor feelings of fear, humiliation and isolation inflicted upon them by this man’s act, as a consequence of them coming into contact with the juvenile justice system.

Clearly, the officer’s sentence doesn’t fit the severity of his crimes. What is also clear is that the abuse of a vulnerable child is no longer considered an atrocity by administers of the law in New York. Morality was compromised and this was legally accepted.

The officer’s quality of life has been protected at his victims’ expense. Because they were “inmates,” the victims and their families did not experience a justice system that values the quality of their lives. But inmates and detainees should never lose the value of their humanity as part of their case processing – and when and if this does happen, balance should be restored through the judicial process.

The officer involved in this case is a criminal and he should receive the treatment of a sexual predator. He is a threat to public safety and should be registered as a sex offender. To dismiss this case as an afterthought means that the girls who agreed to testify against the officer remain at jeopardy of retaliation with no one to protect them.

Still, with this reality looming overhead, these girls made the admirable choice to face their attacker and publicize the ongoing sexual assaults. The victims sought justice and did not receive it. Though the judicial system failed them, their courage will prevent this same abuser from terrorizing other young girls in the same way they were terrorized.

Ophelia Williams
That was a victory. May there be more in the name of justice.

San Francisco native Ophelia Williams, who holds a master’s degree in fine arts from the California Institute of Integral Studies and has dedicated her life to fighting for justice, works with the Burns Institute and the Community Justice Network for Youth. She can be reached at

Why the November 9 Hearing on Mumia is so critical

From: "Political Prisoner News"
Date: Thu, October 28, 2010

Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition (212)330-8029

The only legal options to be considered at the Third Circuit's
November 9 hearing are whether Mumia Abu-Jamal is to be executed or
get life in prison without parole. Clearly neither of those two
options is acceptable.

To fully grasp the significance of the hearing, one needs to revisit
Federal District Court Judge William Yohn, Jr.'s decision of December
18, 2001. In that ruling the judge upheld Mumia's conviction but at
the same time threw out his death sentence on the grounds that the
verdict form used by the jury for sentencing at his trial violated
the U.S. Supreme Court's Mills precedent and therefore entitled Mumia
to have his death sentence overturned. Yohn then gave the state 180
days to convene a new jury trial only on the issue of Mumia's
penalty, in which the choices would be either death or life in prison
without parole. On the other hand, if the state did nothing, Yohn
ruled that Mumia would automatically be sentenced to life in prison
without parole.

At the time Judge Yohn stayed his ruling on the death sentence while
the state appealed his decision to the next higher level of federal
court, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. (At the same time Mumia
cross-appealed Judge Yohn's decision upholding Mumia's conviction.)
Mumia was therefore never removed from Death row and remains there to
this day.

On March 27, 2008, the Third Circuit upheld Yohn's decision on the
death penalty on a 3-0 vote. Again the decision was stayed while the
state appealed to the highest federal level, the Supreme Court. (In
the same decision, the Third Circuit rejected Mumia's appeal on the
conviction by 2-1 and, as before, Mumia cross-appealed that ruling.)

On January 10, 2010, the Supreme Court ordered the Third Circuit to
reconsider its decision on the death sentence in light of its
simultaneously-issued ruling unanimously rejecting an appeal from a
white-supremacist named Spisak. That man admitted to killing at least
two people in Ohio and openly wished to have murdered more. He had
appealed his death sentence also as a violation of Mills, but
involving a different aspect of it than Mumia's case. The Sixth
Circuit, as did the Third Circuit in Mumia's case, ruled that the
death sentence should be vacated, but the Supreme Court ruled that
the Mills precedent did not apply in Spisak's case, and that
therefore execution rather than life in prison was the appropriate
penalty. Based on that decision, the Supreme Court immediately
applied the same argument to Mumia's case and asked for the Third
Circuit to reconsider the issue of execution for Mumia as well.

Thus, the hearing on November 9th is on Mumia's penalty only. The
choices before the court are either to sustain Yohn's and its own
earlier decisions or to reinstate the death penalty, clearing the way
for Mumia's possible quick execution.

If the Third Circuit reaffirms its earlier decision to sentence Mumia
to life in prison without parole, the state will most likely appeal
to the Supreme Court. (This is exactly what happened with Spisak,
after the Sixth Circuit upheld its own earlier ruling which had
overturned the man's death sentence.) But in the unlikely event that
the state doesn't appeal, it will then have 180 days to implement
Judge Yohn's decision.

Of course if the Third Circuit rules against Mumia, he will appeal to
the Supreme Court. However, the odds for relief are small, given the
increasingly reactionary nature of that court.

Thus, Mumia's legal situation is extremely dangerous. His life truly
is on the line, for no matter how the court rules, the only two
choices under this legal system are either execution or life in
prison without parole and, for the moment, the prosecution, with all
its allies and backers, is fighting very hard for execution.



To make reservations for bus tickets to Philadelphia on November 9th,
call 212 330-8029.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Ordeal of Murat Kurnaz

October 28, 2010

Gitmo's Indelible Stain


Although U.S. officials have attributed the torture of Muslim prisoners in their custody to a handful of maverick guards, in fact such criminal acts were widely perpetrated and systemic, likely involving large numbers of military personnel, a book by a survivor suggests. Additionally, guards were responsible for countless acts of murder, including death by crucifixion, lynching, poisoning, snakebite, withholding of medicines, starvation, and bludgeoning of innocent victims. And the murders committed by U.S. troops numbered at least in the hundreds, according to reliable sources.

As well, Pentagon architects designed prisons that were sadistic torture chambers in themselves, barely six feet high and seven feet wide, in which human beings were kept for months or years at a time---spaces which, one prisoner noted, are smaller than the legal requirements in Germany for doghouses. Architects who knowingly designed these hellholes may have also committed crimes against humanity.

After the photographs of sadism at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib in May, 2004, shocked the world, President Bush called the revelations “a stain on our country’s honor and our country’s reputation.” He told visiting King Abdullah of Jordan in the Oval Office that “I was sorry for the humiliation suffered by the Iraqi prisoners, and the humiliation suffered by their families.” Bush told The Washington Post, “I told him (Abdullah) I was equally sorry that people who have been seeing those pictures didn’t understand the true nature and heart of America.” A year later, Lynddie England and 10 others from the 372nd Military Police Company were convicted of torture at Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad, Iraq, yet the events of that prison were likely duplicated everywhere across the spectrum of Pentagon and CIA detention camps acting on orders from the Bush White House.

Although President Bush made the Abu Ghraib revelations sound like nothing worse than “humiliation” in fact, the Abu Ghraib photos gave the world a glimpse into far greater crimes of every sordid type---and reports compiled from other sources indicated that to be captured by the Americans was a veritable descent into hell.

While the President’s words sounded as if they came from an innocent bystander, this was the same man who claimed two years earlier the Geneva Conventions did not apply in the countries the U.S. had invaded; they were uttered by the man who, with his Vice PresIdent Dick Cheney, is primarily responsible for the entire venomous persecution of thousands of innocent men, women, and even children. While a handful of guards such as Ms. England---notorious for her “thumbs up” photo observing a human pyramid of naked prisoners, were convicted and jailed---the many other hundreds or thousands of military guards, interrogators, and doctors and dentists also involved in the widespread tortures have never been prosecuted for their crimes.

It should be kept in mind that no impartial legal system was in place to defend the rights of the accused, so that their torturers could break laws without fear of reprisal. As Jane Mayer wrote in “The Dark Side”(Anchor), “Seven years after the attacks of September 11, not a single terror suspect held outside of the U.S. criminal court system has been tried. Of the 759 detainees acknowledged to have been held in Guantanamo, approximately 340 remained there, only a handful of whom had been charged. Among these, not a single ‘enemy combatant’ had yet had the opportunity to cross-examine the government or see the evidence on which he was being held. Thus, since none had been brought to trial, all the tortures inflicted were on captives who must be presumed innocent. One book, by a man who survived the nightmare of captivity where so many others perished, gives the lie to the notion that abuses were carried out by a few vicious guards. Everywhere he went he was beaten and he saw other prisoners also beaten by many different teams of sadistic guards. The conviction of Ms. England and her companions, therefore, does not begin to serve the cause of justice.

According to Murat Kurnaz, a 19-year-old Turkish citizen raised in Germany and falsely defamed as “the German Taliban,” torture at the several prisons in which he was held was frequent, commonplace, and committed by many guards. In his book, “Five Years of My Life: An Innocent Man in Guantanamo”(Palgrave Macmillan), beatings began in 2001 on the flight from Pakistan (where he was pulled off a public bus and sold by Pakistani police for $3,000) to his first imprisonment in Afghanistan.

“I couldn’t see how many soldiers there were, but to judge from the confusion of voices it must have been a lot. They went from one prisoner to the next, hitting us with their fists, their billy clubs, and the butts of their rifles.” This was done to men that were manacled to the floor of the plane. “It was as cold as a refrigerator; I was sitting on bare metal and icy air was coming from a vent or a fan. I tried to go to sleep, but they kept hitting me and waking me…they never tired of beating us, laughing all the while.”

On another occasion, Kurnaz counted seven guards who were beating a prisoner with the butts of their rifles and kicking him with their boots until he died. At one point, Kurnaz was hung by chains with his arms behind his back for five days. “Today I know that a lot of inmates died from treatment like this.” When he was finally taken down and needed water “they’d just pour the water over my head and laugh.” The guards even tortured a blind man who was older than 90 “the same way the rest of us were,” Kurnaz wrote.

At Camp X-Ray, Guantanamo, Cuba, Kurnaz said, “During the day, we had to remain seated and at night we had to lie down. If you lay down during the day you were punished…We weren’t allowed to talk. We weren’t to speak to or look at the guards. We weren’t allowed to draw in the sand or whistle or sing or smile. Every time I unknowingly broke a rule, or because they had just invented a new one…an IRF (Immediate Reaction Force) team would come and beat me.” Once when he was weak from a hunger strike, Kurnaz wrote, “I was beaten on a stretcher.” During his earlier imprisonment at Kandahar, Pakistan, Kurnaz writes, “There were weaker, older men in the pen. Men with broken feet, men whose legs and arms were fractured or had turned blue, red, or yellow from pus. There were prisoners with broken jaws, fingers and noses, and with terribly swollen faces like mine.” Not only were the wounds of such men ignored by guards but complicit doctors would examine him and other prisoners during tortures and advise guards as to how much more they could stand before they died. On one occasion, he saw guards beating a prisoner with no legs.

Still worse, Kurnaz said doctors participated in the tortures. A dentist asked to pull out a prisoner’s rotten tooth pulled out all his healthy ones as well. Another prisoner who went to the doctor to treat one finger with severe frostbite had all his other fingers amputated. “I saw open wounds that weren’t treated. A lot of people had been beaten so often they had broken legs, arms and feet. The fractures, too, remained untreated,” Kurnaz wrote. “I never saw anyone in a cast.” Prisoners were deliberately weakened by starvation diets. Meals at Guantanamo consisted of “three spoonfuls of rice, a slice of dry bread, and a plastic spoon. That was it.” Sometimes a loaf of bread was tossed over a fence into their compound.

Prisoners who should have been in hospital beds instead were confined to cells purposefully designed to torture them. Kurnaz described his experience this way: “Those cells were like ovens. The sun beat down on the metal roof at noon and directly on the sides of the cage in the mornings and afternoons. All told, I think I spent roughly a year alone in absolute darkness, either in a cooler or an oven, with little food, and once I spent three months straight in solitary confinement.” Prisoners could be put in solitary confinement for the tiniest infractions of the most ridiculous rules, such as not folding a blanket properly. “I was always being punished and humiliated, regardless of what I did,” Kurnaz said. Once, he was put in solitary for ten days for feeding breadcrumbs to an iguana that had crawled into his cage.

Besides regular beatings from IRF, who commonly entered cells with clubs swinging, Kurnaz received excruciating electroshocks to his feet and was waterboarded in a 20-inch diameter plastic bucket filled with water. He describes the experience as follows: “Someone grabbed me by the hair. The soldiers seized my arms and pushed my head underwater. …Drowning is a horrible way to die. They pulled my head back up. “Do you like it? You want more?” When my head was back underwater, I felt a blow to my stomach…. “Where is Osama? “Who are you?” I tried to speak but I couldn’t. I swallowed some water….It became harder and harder to breath, the more they hit me in the stomach and pushed my head underwater. I felt my heart racing. They didn’t let up…I imagined myself screaming underwater…I would have told them everything. But what was I supposed to tell them?”It should be noted that U.S. and German authorities had decided as early as 2002 that Kurnaz was innocent---that he really was a student of the Koran in Pakistan when he had been seized by bounty hunters and sold to the Americans as a “terrorist." Yet they continued the tortures for years knowing all along of his innocence.

On yet other occasions, Kurnaz, like so many other prisoners, was hung from chains backwards so that “it felt as though my shoulders were going to break. “I was hoisted up until my feet no longer touched the ground….After a while, the cuffs seemed like they were cutting my wrists down to the bone. My shoulders felt like someone was trying to pull my arms out of their sockets…When they hung me up backwards, it felt as though my shoulders were going to break…I was strung up for five days…Three times a day soldiers came in and let me down (and)a doctor examined me and took my pulse. ‘Okay,’ he said. The soldiers hoisted me back up. I lost all feeling in my arms and hands. I still felt pain in other parts of my body, like in my chest around my heart…” A short distance away Kurnaz could see another man hanging from chains--dead.

To compound the inmates’ misery, Guantanamo guards would trample an imate’s Koran, the sacred book of the Muslims. While U.S. authorities denied that Korans had been thrown in toilets, those denials are worth little considering that when the evening call to prayer was sounded, Kurnez said, the caller’s voice “was drowned out by loud music. It was the American national anthem.” One boorish guard specialized in kicking at prisoners' cell doors when they attempted to pray.

When Kurnaz was transferred within the Guantanamo prison system to “Camp 1” he was put in a maximum security cage inside a giant container with metal walls. “Although the cage was no smaller than the one in CampX-Ray, the bunk reduced the amount of free space to around three-and-a-half feet by three-and-a-half feet. At the far end of the cage, an aluminum toilet and a sink took up even more room. How was I going to stand this? …I hardly saw the sun at all. They had perfected their prison..It felt like being sealed alive in a ship container.”

Although U.S. politicians and ultra-right radio talk show hosts ridiculed the use of sleep deprivation against prisoners, this was, in fact, an insidious practice used earlier in Bolshevik Russia to torture known as “the conveyor belt.” In 2002, Kurnaz writes, when General Geoffrey Miller took over command of Guantanamo, “The interrogations got more brutal, more frequent, and longer.” Miller commenced “Operation Sandman,” in which prisoners were moved to new cells every hour or two “to completely deprive us of sleep, and he achieved it.” Kurnaz says, “I had to stand and kneel twenty-four hours a day,” often in chains, and “I had barely arrived in a new cell and lay down on the bunk, before they came again to move me. …As soon as the guards saw me close my eyes…they’d kick at the door or punch me in the face.” In between transfers, “I was interrogated…I estimated the sessions lasted up to fifteen hours” during which the interrogator might disappear for hours at a time. “I sat chained to my chair or kneeling on the floor, and as soon as my eyelids drooped, soldiers would wake me with a couple of blows…Days and nights without sleep. Blows and new cages. Again, the stabbing sensation of thousands of needles throughout my entire body. I would have loved to step outside my body, but I couldn’t…I went three weeks without sleep….the soldiers came at night and made us stand for hours on end at gunpoint. At this point, I weighed less than 130 pounds.” Kurnaz was released to Germany in August, 2006, and testified by videolink in 2008 to the U.S. Congress. During his five years of confinement, he was never charged with a crime.

And so it happened that, during the presidency of George W. Bush, tens of thousands of innocent human beings, Kurnaz among them, were swept up in dragnet arrests by the invading American forces or their allies and imprisoned without legal recourse---the very opposite of what America's Founders gifted to humanity in their Constitution. None of the prisoners ever saw a real judge or jury. Torture among them was widespread. As for President Barack Obama, sworn to uphold a Constitution that does not permit torture, his failure to act forthrightly and, in particular, to ignore crimes by the CIA, an agency for which he once worked, would appear to make him guilty of subversion of that founding charter which he is legally obliged to honor. As for not taking action against the countless Pentagon operatives who tortured---including doctors and dentists and surgeons, etc.---Obama’s inaction will permit these sadists to be returned one day to practice among the general civilian population. Think about that. Think, too, about the stain on the American flag that may never be washed clean.

Sherwood Ross is a Florida-based media consultant and director of the Anti-War News Service. To comment or contribute to his work contact him at

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Adnan Mirza framed by FBI

By: Shireen M Mazari The Nation October 25, 2010
Adnan Mirza framed by FBI
After the farcical trial of Dr Aafia Siddique in a US court, another Pakistani has fallen victim to the US through yet another travesty of justice. This time it is a student, Adnan Mirza, who has been jailed for 15 years ostensibly for “conspiring to provide material support to the Taliban and illegal gun possession.” However, the reality is totally different and shows how the FBI deliberately traps young Muslims through fabrication of evidence. Some local FBI agents secured their careers in the war on terror, but this young man has lost five precious years as a student and the only breadwinner for his mother and three younger brothers. In jail for nearly five years on flimsy evidence - audio tapes recorded by undercover FBI agents during a hiking trip talking to a young Muslim student about his views on America’s Iraq and Afghan wars - this Pakistani young man’s case, someone who is well-known in Houston’s poor districts for helping the needy on the streets on Christmas and Sundays, is a clear illustration of how unscrupulous local US law enforcement agents used the war on terror to promote their careers and create unnecessary panic among Americans by arresting and humiliating Pakistanis on trumped up charges.

Despite a weak case and clear signs of a setup by local FBI officers, Adnan was kept in a federal prison for five years. Tremendous pressure was put on him to accept the charges and spend a few years in jail. He knew he’d be deported if he accepted charges and his record would be tarnished for life for something he did not do. Unfortunately, Pakistani diplomats in the US also played along with FBI and pressured Adnan to accept charges, which he refused. Finally, the FBI managed to secure a favourable court verdict, and on 22 Oct. 2010, a judge in Houston sentenced Adnan to 15 years in prison.

The young man who used to spend his spare time feeding the needy at Houston intersections, and who was celebrated by local newspapers and television networks for upholding the Christmas spirit has thus been abandoned by his own country. But fair-minded and good Americans continue to support him. Renowned TV personality and political commentator Amy Goodman and have defended Adnan and highlighted his case. Adnan’s story and how he was clearly framed should serve as a warning to other Pakistani students who are either already in the US or planning to go there.

Al-Awda Launches New Palestinian Childrens's Rights Campaign

Oct. 27, 2010 Palestine News Network

Ramallah – PNN – Al-Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition, just launched a new program that will focus on Palestinian children’s rights that have been detained by Israel, as well as advocate for the immediate release of the children. ImageAl-Awda is an American non-profit organization that has mainly worked for the Palestinian right to return. According to their website they are “a broad-based, non-partisan, democratic and charitable organization of grassroots activist and students committed to comprehensive public education of the rights of all Palestinian refugees to return to their property in accordance with International Law.”

On October 27, Al-Awda launched a new Palestinian children’s rights campaign, with the intention of supporting the full restoration of Palestinian children’s rights in accordance with international law. This would include the children’s right to return to their homes of origin, to education and to medical and psychological care.

The Israeli army has killed 1,859 Palestinian children since September 28, 2000, according to the International Solidarity Foundation for Human Rights (ISFHR). This number accounts for the about one-third of the 7,407 Palestinians who have been killed by Israel in the same time period.

Defense for Children International (DCI) reports that there are about 700 Palestinian children, from the West Bank alone, that are imprisoned by Israel every year. Based on a survey taken by DCI of 100 imprisoned children in 2009, they found that 69% had been beaten and kicked and 32% were forced to sign confessions written in Hebrew, instead of their native language Arabic.

The severity of the situation for Palestinian children has lead Al-Awda to launch their campaign. The organization plans to produce factsheets that will be available to the International community, hold rallies and protest, organize lecture tours and other educational events.

Al-Awda is very active in the American and international community, their committee will meet with politicians, newspapers and editorial boards to publish calls and petition for actions to end the injustices. Through Al-Awda’s Annual International Convention, they plan to high light the problem to churches, clubs, student organizations, and mosques. Through fundraising, Al-Awada, hopes to provide financial support for the mental and physical health of Palestinian children.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Political Prisoner Eddie Conway Speaks to Ujaama

October 25, 2010 Cornell Daily Sun
By Lawrence Lan

Political prisoner and former Black Panther Marshall “Eddie” Conway spoke via telephone to an attentive crowd of students, staff, and faculty to spark Sunday evening’s Ujamaa Unity Hour discussion on prisons and their impact on the African-American community.

Conway, who is currently serving the 40th year of his life sentence at Jessup Correctional Insitution in Maryland, touched on the prison-industrial complex as it manifests in Maryland, where the majority of prisons are located in rural areas characterized by predominantly white populations. He also discussed his work in creating a mentoring program that emphasizes the need for positive role models in the Maryland prison system’s youth population.

Prof. Margaret Washington, history, contributed scholarly analysis to Conway’s lived experience, citing large increases in the incarceration rates of African American males in the United States since 1980. She also stressed the fact that the notion of economic labor cannot be divorced from that of incarceration.

“With the current [economic] situation being what it is, African Americans are no longer needed as laborers. When a huge population that has always served as labor no longer serves that function, what do you do with the surplus labor?” Washington said. “From an economic perspective, prison is a form of slavery, or you can say it’s a form of concentration camp.”

The historical context provided the framework for Prof. Mary Katzenstein, government, to contest the notion that prisons offer local benefits to their surrounding communities in the form of employment opportunities. She cited the example of Five Points Correctional Facility, saying that high-paying prison jobs discourage the predominantly white local population from pursuing higher education.

Speaking to the perception that prison successfully rehabilitates inmates, Katzenstein pointed out that people who spend long periods of time in prison exhibit the lowest rates of recidivism, while those who spend brief periods of time in prison most commonly become repeat offenders.

Jim Schechter, executive director of the Cornell Prison Education Program, added to the discussion, noting the strides that the program has made at Auburn Correctional Facility and Cayuga Correction Facility since its inception, especiallly for the prisoners. The program provides a pathway to an Associate of Arts degree for men incarcerated at the Auburn and Cayuga Correctional Facilities.

“[The Cornell Prison Education Program] contributes to people’s self-esteem in what we all recognize is an otherwise dehumanizing environment,” he said, adding that the classroom functions as a “sanctuary” from the rest of the prison experience.Cornell faculty who participate in the program report a higher level of engagement from the inmates than from Cornell students, according to Schechter.

“There’s no sense of entitlement, no Blackberries, no laptops,” Schechter said. “The students at Auburn come to class having done the readings two, maybe three, times.”

Janet Nwaukoni ’12, president of Project Lansing, and Adam Baratz ’11, president of Art Beyond Cornell, explained the work their organizations do on campus to immediately address the needs of prisons near Ithaca.

Members of Project Lansing interact weekly with young females at Lansing Residential Center to build mentorships and friendships that foster intellectual and personal growth. Members of Art Beyond Cornell bring weekly art lessons to Lansing Residential Center and MacCormick Secure Center to offer a means of expression and growth for the institutionalized youth.

“We want these young women [at Lansing Residential Center] to know that there are African American females who come from similar backgrounds and that it’s possible to succeed,” Nwaukoni said.

“These facilities are extraordinarily understaffed, and Cornell has such a vast array of resources to help fill that void,” Baratz said. “The work we do is really important because the youth there really look forward to it each week.”

Ken Glover, residence hall director of Schuyler House and former residence hall director of Ujamaa, identified flaws with the prison system.

“If you wanted to change the rates of recidivism, you’d require [inmates] to get a GED,” Glover said, referring to a statistic mentioned by Schechter that approximately 250 out of 1,800 inmates at Auburn Correctional Facility have GEDs or high school diplomas. “How can you support your kids [when you get out of prison] if you can’t get a GED and you can’t get a job?”

He also brought the discussion back to Conway and the issue of political prisoners.

“The question of political prisoners goes beyond the context of the United States,” Glover said, citing notable political prisoners including Nelson Mandela, Mumia Abu-Jamal, and Patrice Lumumba. “Whenever there’s been a movement for social change, people who speak out [for change] are imprisoned.”

“The discussion revealed how prevalent the incarceration system is just in upstate New York,” Khamila Alebiosu ’13 said. “While we like to stay within the Cornell bubble, there’s so much we can do to reach out and change this system that has dehumanized and degraded people that have come largely from the African American community.”

Theoria Cason, the residence hall director of Ujamaa, found the discussion informative and saw hope in the various Cornell programs that try to address needs of institutionalized people in local facilities.

“This discussion helped me recognize the dissonance that exists between Ithaca and the facilities that lie just 20 minutes down the road,” she said. “I really appreciate the work that is being done in the immediate areas around Ithaca.”

The discussion, entitled “Prisons and Race: The Impact On Our Community,” was organized by Black Students United.