Saturday, October 29, 2011

Political Prisoner Birthday Poster For November and December

October 28, 2011 by prisonbookscollective

Hello Friends and Comrades,

Here is the political prisoner birthday poster for November and December. As always, please post this poster publicly and/or use it to start a card writing night of your own.

In other news politicized prisoner Sean Swain is up for parole and his support committee asked us to share this letter with y’all…

Dear friends and supporters of Anarchist prisoner Sean Swain,

As you may know, Sean Swain recently marked his 20th year of continuous confinement by the state of Ohio, making him now fully eligible for parole.

Due to the hard work of his friends, family and supporters, who wrote letters of support to the parole board and hired him a qualified lawyer, Sean has been approved for a full board hearing coming up in November. Both Sean and his lawyer believe that he has a good chance of being released. We ask anyone interested in supporting Sean to get in touch with his support crew for details about attending his upcoming full board hearing in Columbus, Ohio.

We now need help with fundraising. We have hired him a lawyer who specializes in parole board appearances for people in Ohio prisons. She has successfully defended inmates in a class-action lawsuit against the Ohio parole board and is very knowledgeable about the Ohio parole system.

Sean’s legal costs are now $2,500, which we have so far been making payments on out of pocket. In hopes that these bills not fall on one person, we are asking anyone who is able to contribute any amount (even $20 helps) to help us cover these expenses, or to host a fundraiser in their town for Sean. Checks and money orders can be sent directly to his lawyer, with a note they are for Sean Swain. Money orders should be written out to: Andrea Reino and mailed to: Andrea L. Reino 119 East Court Cincinnati, OH 45202.

If you send money this way, please let us know so we can keep track of our payments. Also feel free to contacts us with any questions about his case or his upcoming parole board hearing. Send us an email at

Thanks everyone,

The Sean Swain Support Crew

Lastly, there will be a demonstration against prisons and solitary confinement on November 4th, at 2pm at DOC offices in Raleigh. Family and friends of prisoners as well as anti prison activists will be participating. Meet at the Offices of the N.C. Department of Corrections, 831 W. Morgan St., 460 MSC Raleigh, NC, 27699

That’s it for this time around,

Until Every Cage Is Empty,

The Chapel Hill Prison Books Collective

Arab League calls for end to Syria bloodshed

Foreign ministers urge the government to protect civilians, after
activists say dozens are killed in fresh protests.

Oct. 29, 2011 Al Jazeera

Arab foreign ministers have urged the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to
stop the bloodshed in his country, after activists said dozens of people
were killed on Friday.

"The Arab ministerial committee expressed its rejection of the continued
killings of civilians in Syria and expressed its hope that the Syrian
government will take the necessary measures to protect them," the
ministers said.

Arab ministers are due to meet Syrian officials on Sunday in the Qatari
capital, Doha.

Anti-government rallies were held in many Syrian cities and towns on
Friday, with protesters calling for international protection and a no-fly
zone - like the UN-mandated no-fly zone over Libya that helped topple
Muammar Gaddafi.

"We call on the international community to impose a no-fly zone so that
the Syrian Free Army can function with greater freedom," the Syrian
Revolution 2011 said on its Facebook page.

A defecting army officer who has taken refuge in Turkey, Colonel Riad
al-Asaad, claims to have established an opposition armed force called the
"Syrian Free Army," but its strength and numbers are unknown.

Syria's opposition National Council has also called for international
protection, but has not explicitly requested military intervention.

Assad has not used warplanes against protesters and a no-fly zone would
have little impact on the crackdown unless-- as in the case of Libya -
pilots attacked his ground forces and military bases.

Protesters attacked

Activists said 44 civilians were killed on Friday, most of them in the
central cities of Homs and Hama.

Syrian security forces had encircled mosques to prevent protesters from
demonstrating after weekly Muslim prayers, firing live rounds to disperse
protesters, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The global campaign group Avaaz said 14 people had been killed in the Hama
neighbourhoods of al-Qosour, Hamidiya and al-Jarajmah after security
forces opened fire on protesters, and that dozens of residents were
arrested in door-to-door raids.

The state-run SANA news agency reported that a number of security
personnel were injured by armed men in al-Qosour neighbourhood.

Separately, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Saturday that
at least 17 soldiers had been killed in armed clashes in Homs.

The group said the troops were killed as gunmen, believed to be army
deserters, attacked two checkpoints late on Friday.

Activists said at least one person was killed when security forces
attacked the Bab Amr neighbourhood in Homs on Saturday.

Syria has barred most foreign media, making it difficult to verify reports
from activists and from authorities, who blame
foreign-backed armed groups for the violence.

The UN estimates that more than 3,000 people, mostly civilians, have been
killed since the uprising began in March.

The authorities say gunmen have killed 1,100 soldiers and police.

Assad held an inconclusive meeting on Wednesday with Arab ministers
seeking to end the violence by mediating a dialogue between him and his
opponents and pushing for political reforms.

The Arab League had urged both sides to agree to a dialogue within two
weeks - a deadline that looms on Monday.

The authorities said they had major reservations about the proposal, while
opposition figures said they could not sit down
for talks unless there was a halt to the killing of protesters,
disappearances and mass arrests.

"Three days left, and we have 220 martyrs and counting," read a placard
carried by protesters in the neighbourhood of
Rankous on the edge of Damascus. "Yes to dialogue - after the downfall of
the regime," said another in Homs.

Fresh raids in Syria after deadly day of protests

By ELIZABETH A. KENNEDY - | Oct. 29, 2011 Associated Press

BEIRUT — Syrian troops conducted fresh raids and hunted down protesters
Saturday after security forces killed about 40 people the previous day —
one of the deadliest in the country's seven-month uprising, activists

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said residents
reported heavy machine-gun fire in the central city of Homs and sweeping
raids and arrests around the eastern city of Deir el-Zour early Saturday.

The popular revolt against Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime has
proved remarkably resilient over the past months, with protests erupting
every week despite the near-certainty the government will respond with
bullets and tear gas. The U.N. estimates the regime crackdown on the
protests has killed 3,000 people since March.

Much of the bloodshed Friday happened after the protests had ended and
security forces armed with machine guns chased protesters and activists,
according to opposition groups monitoring the demonstrations. Authorities
disrupted telephone and Internet service, they said.

The Syrian opposition's two main activist groups, the Syrian Observatory
for Human Rights and the Local Coordinating Committees, said at least 40
people were killed on Friday.

Syria has largely sealed off the country from foreign journalists and
prevented independent reporting, making it difficult to confirm events on
the ground. Key sources of information are amateur videos posted online,
witness accounts and details gathered by activist groups.

The regime appears to lack sufficient numbers of loyal troops to garrison
all the centers of unrest at the same time, so government forces will
often sweep through an area in the wake of protests, breaking up new
gatherings and hunting activists, before being deployed elsewhere.

The result has been a monthslong stalemate. Still, the capture and
subsequent death of Libya's Moammar Gadhafi, under still-unclear
circumstances, has energized the opposition. Last week, thousands of
Syrians took to the streets shouting that Assad will be next.

On Friday, many protesters said they wanted a no-fly zone established over
Syria to protect civilians in case the Syrian regime considers attacking
protesters from the sky, the activist groups said. The protesters also
called for international monitors, although most opposition groups reject
the idea of foreign military intervention.

The Syrian government insists the unrest is being driven by terrorists and
foreign extremists looking to stir up sectarian strife.

Protesters arrested in Nashville for second day

Oct. 29, 2011 By ERIK SCHELZIG Associated Press

Arrests follow a week of police crackdowns around the country

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee state troopers for the second time arrested
more than two dozen Wall Street protesters for defying a new nighttime
curfew imposed by the state's Republican governor in an effort to disband
an encampment near the Capitol.

And for a second time, a Nashville night judge dismissed the protesters'
arrest warrants.

The Tennessean newspaper reported early Saturday morning that Magistrate
Tom Nelson told troopers delivering the protesters to jail that he could
"find no authority anywhere for anyone to authorize a curfew anywhere on
Legislative Plaza."
Story: Winter set to be Occupy movement's 'Valley Forge'

Occupy Nashville protesters — including many of the 29 arrested in a
pre-dawn raid on Friday — returned to the Legislative Plaza that evening
and remained through the 10 p.m. curfew.

Troopers arrested 26 people this time. All were charged with trespassing;
two were also charged with public intoxication; and one was also charged
with criminal impersonation, Department of Safety spokeswoman Jennifer
Donnals said. The judicial commissioner refused to issue warrants for any
of the charges.

Officials said 72 troopers were involved in the curfew enforcement.

"To see it from the other side is even more infuriating," said Chip Allen,
one of the protesters arrested in the first raid. "When you're in it, it's
almost surreal. This takes on a whole 'nother flavor."

The arrests came after a week of police crackdowns around the country on
Occupy Wall Street activists, who have been protesting economic inequality
and what they call corporate greed.
Michael Moore confesses: I am the 1 percent

In Oakland, Calif., an Iraq War veteran was seriously injured during a
protest clash with police Tuesday night. In Atlanta early Wednesday,
helicopters hovered overhead as officers in riot gear arrested more than
50 protesters at a downtown park. In San Diego, police arrested 51 people
who occupied the Civic Center Plaza and Children's Park for three weeks.

In Nashville, more than 200 people came to Friday evening's meeting to
discuss the first round of arrests and future plans, though those numbers
had dwindled as the night wore on and temperatures dropped.

There was no noticeable law enforcement presence for nearly two hours
after the curfew went into effect, while adjacent theaters let out and
patrons filtered back through the plaza to their cars without being
challenged for violating the restrictions.

"Nothing was done to them, they were not arrested," said protester Michael
Custer, 46. "But we are arrested while we are expressing our
constitutional right to free speech."
Story: Winter set to be Occupy movement's 'Valley Forge'

Once the theater traffic cleared, dozens of state troopers descended on
the plaza and began arresting protesters and a journalist for the
Nashville Scene, an alternative weekly newspaper.

Protesters remaining at the scene vowed to return Saturday, even if it
means more arrests.

The 29 demonstrators arrested early Friday were taken to the Nashville
jail, only to have Nelson, the night judge, rule the state had not given
them enough time to comply with the new curfew. They were instead issued
misdemeanor citations for trespassing, which carry a $50 fine if they are
found guilty.
Profiting from Occupy Wall Street

The administration of Gov. Bill Haslam has cited what officials described
as deteriorating security and sanitary conditions on the plaza, saying
that acts of lewd behavior had been observed by workers in state office

Safety Commissioner Bill Gibbons said it was unrealistic to meet requests
from protesters for a stronger law enforcement presence to help deter
thefts and altercations often involving homeless people who had attached
themselves to the encampment.

"We don't have the resources to go out and in effect babysit protesters
24-7 ... at the level that would have been necessary to address their
concerns," Gibbons said during a press conference Friday.

The Forgotten Palestinian Prisoners

Oct. 29, 2011 by Gary Spedding Palestine News Network

It is an easy thing for many people today to forget about the individual human being when looking at the situation in the State of Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, especially when talking about the topic of prisoners.

A mother of two imprisoned Palestinians wipes away a tear at a Bethlehem protest against worsening prison conditions (Brendan Work PNN).

In recent days within the State of Israel mass celebrations can be seen in the streets and public spaces marking the release of Israeli Defence Forces sergeant Gilad Shalit a man whose face is known all over the world thanks to the media publicity of the one captive that was held by the Palestinian militant group Hamas in the Gaza strip. The release of sgt. Shalit is a positive step forward in terms of his Human Rights indeed B’tselem and various other typically pro-Palestinian organizations in Israel and even Palestinian organizations themselves such as PCHR in Gaza called for an end to the inhumane and illegal treatment of Gilad Shalit.

The question to be asked is why so many people know about Gilad Shalit and his story whilst over 5554 Palestinian prisoners are being forgotten with their images not shown, their stories not told and their humanity not even recognized. We must always remember never to compare the number of prisoners or even try to trivialize the suffering of Gilad Shalit in some callous comparison that is cruel and undermining not just to Shalit but also to Palestinian prisoners who suffer horrofically in Israeli Prisons. What we indeed must look at is the treatment of Prisoners and whether they are being held illegally without charge or trial. It is important to mention however that while the world pretty much know and would probably recognize Gilad Shalit if they bumped into him now he is free it leaves us wondering whether anyone would recognize Moatasem Raed Younis Muzher or Hamdi Tamri just two of Israel’s 211 child prisoners whom are no older than Gilad Shalit when he was taken in 2006.

What is most shocking about the forgotten prisoners of Palestine is that unlike in the media which inaccurately claims the Palestinian prisoners are terrorists including in shocking reports staking claim to the idea that the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap was a wrong move because it would release 1000 “Terrorists” the reality is that most prisoners held by Israel are done so without any crime ever being committed with at least a thousand prisoners being held without judgement, trial or accusation. These detentions come as a result mainly from the discriminatory and frighteningly discretionary (left up to the commander in charge to decide upon) military laws Palestinians are subject to which results in them being put under administrative detention as was the case with Abdullah Abu-Rahmah from Bil’in.

Amnesty international reporting on the case of Abdullah states that “Many Palestinian participants in demonstrations are arrested and held briefly before being released, but a few are convicted or held in administrative detention and therefore without charge.” in their press release in January 2010.

With this information in mind we must realize that it is cause for serious concern when hearing reports from Israel and Palestine regarding the conditions of the prisons in which these Palestinians are subject to harsh internment. To name just one such facility built illegally in the West Bank, Ofer prison is one of the most notorious for human rights abuses with legalized torture, food deprivation and sleep deprivation being just some of the methods used against Prisoners.

Recently the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine called for a hunger strike in demand for better conditions in Israeli jails for Palestinian prisoners including Political prisoners. This provided a difficult challenge to the Israeli authorities who have thus far attempted to sway public opinion by using carefully placed propaganda claiming to give Palestinian prisoners better meals upping their chicken portions at meal times which is hardly a substantial improvement to general conditions inside the prisons.

To turn back to the topic of Palestinian Child prisoners usually arrested or kidnapped during or just after nonviolent demonstrations even occasionally during midnight IDF raids on Palestinian Villages we can see a pattern forming with a large amount of prisoners held in Israeli Jails – Many of them are participants, leaders, associates or relatives of people involved in nonviolent resistance in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

There have been several families in the An-Nabi Saleh village alone who participate in nonviolence that have had members of their family including children arrested and detained during night raids that have disappeared for days and even weeks. This displays a clearly defined policy by the IDF that is presently denied by the IDF spokes person of concentrated and planned collective punishment to deter people from participating in what is known as the most effective principled method of resisting the israeli occupation of the West Bank.

We see this intimidation occurring all over the occupied Palestinian territories and within the State of Israel itself with protestors and left-wing activists being targeted by laws, regulations and policies that the Knesset spits out in a desperate attempt to control Israeli citizens and continue the occupation at large subjecting Palestinians to Military rule rather than civil law.

We there for must not forget about those people, those human beings who deserve to be re-humanized currently rotting in Israeli Jails. While it is important to recognize that Israel does legitimately hold genuine terrorists (some of whom they have released recently in the Gilad Shalit Deal) we must never lose sight of the bigger political picture nor fall into the trap of forgetting about prisoners who as human beings have the same rights to life and liberty as all of us around the world.

US fugitive cites poor health in extradition fight

By BARRY HATTON - Associated Press | Oct. 28, 2011

ALMOCAGEME, Portugal — The wife of captured American fugitive George
Wright said Friday her husband has a litany of health problems requiring
treatment and should not be extradited to the United States to serve the
rest of his time on a murder conviction after 41 years on the lam.

Maria do Rosario Valente said in an interview with The Associated Press at
their home that Wright suffers from glaucoma, "very, very high" blood
pressure caused by recent stress, and has complained of chest pains. She
also said he regrets his criminal past.

"We're having a bunch of tests done to see what's his current health
condition," Valente said.

She added: "He regrets the choices he ... made. If he could, probably he'd
have made different choices."

Wright, tall and slim with his head shaved bald, did not participate in
the interview because of Portuguese court restrictions that prevent him
from talking about the case. After it was over, he kissed her and made
small talk about matters unrelated to his legal battle.

Wright's lawyer, Manuel Luis Ferreira, said he will include his client's
health problems in legal arguments aimed at preventing him from being sent
to the United States to serve the rest of a 15- to 30-year jail sentence
for the 1962 killing of a New Jersey gas station worker.

"I didn't initially realize how bad off he was," Ferreira told the AP
Friday. "Now that I've gotten to know him, I know his problems."

U.S. Justice Department spokeswoman Laura Sweeney declined comment via
email on what impact Wright's health could have on the extradition
process, which could last months.

Wright, 68, was convicted of the murder of Walter Patterson in Wall
Township, N.J... He escaped from the Bayside State Prison in Leesburg, New
Jersey, in 1970 after serving more than seven years. The FBI says says
Wright also was part of a Black Liberation Army group that hijacked a U.S.
plane from Detroit Metropolitan Airport to Algeria in 1972.

The rest of the group was arrested in France, but Wright made his way to
Portugal, and met Valente in the late 1970s in Portugal. The two later
moved to the tiny West African nation of Guinea-Bissau, a former
Portuguese colony, where the country's then-Marxist leaders granted him
asylum and a new identity.

Wright lived openly using his real name in Guinea-Bissau and even
socialized with American diplomats, but one former ambassador who served
in the country while Wright and other U.S. diplomats were based there has
told the AP they did not know about his past.

His wife worked for years as a freelance translator for the U.S. embassy
in the country's capital, Bissau, and Wright was a logistics coordinator
for a Belgian nonprofit development group until the couple moved back to
Portugal in 1993.

Valente said her husband has become a more peaceful man since his days as
a militant. She showed the AP photographs of paintings by Wright and art
work at local buildings — a skill which has allowed him to earn money in
Portugal among other odd jobs he's done over the years.

She spoke to the AP in English in the kitchen of the home she has shared
with Wright for almost since they left Guinea-Bissau, at the end of a
cobblestone street in a pretty hamlet on the Atlantic coast near a
stunning beach and about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the Portuguese
capital of Lisbon.

The FBI says it requested Wright's detention after providing fingerprints
to Portuguese authorities that matched his contained in a national
fingerprint database for all citizens and residents. He was initially
jailed, but a judge allowed him to return home wearing an electronic tag
that monitors his movements and would alert authorities if he ventures
outside his house.

Neighbors describe Wright as a friendly, churchgoing family man. He has a
grown daughter and son with Valente. Some assumed he was from Africa when
he moved here.

"If ... the purpose of sending someone to jail is to rehabilitate them,
then that job is done," Valente said.

The main argument from Wright's lawyer for him to stay in Portugal is his
Portuguese citizenship — and a law from the country that allows Portuguese
convicted of crimes to serve their time at home.

The citizenship is based on his new identity from Guinea-Bissau, and the
name he was given: "Jose Luis Jorge dos Santos."

Armed with that, he married Valente in 1990, and used his new identity and
the marriage to convince Portuguese authorities to give him citizenship.

Ann Patterson, daughter of the man killed in New Jersey, declined comment
Friday on Wright's health problems but said she still wants him returned
to serve his sentence.

"Our world has been turned upside down," said Patterson, 63. "We've now
had to grieve for our father for the second time when we never should have
had to the first time."


AP reporter Geoff Mulvihill in Haddonfield, N.J., contributed to this report.

Viktor Padellaro's charges

ELP Information Bulletin (28th October 2011)

Dear friends

ELP has just learnt that Swedish animal rights activist, Viktor Padellaro, has been charged with: Arson against a McDonalds Smashing windows at a resturant which he believed served shark fin soup Sending 17 threatening letters to people involved with the fur industry.

Send letters of support to:

Viktor Padellaro (11/11 7-4)
Ullevigaten 11. Box 216401
23 Gothenburg Sweden

++++++ Earth Liberation Prisoners Support Network
BM Box 2407
LondonWC1N 3XXEngland

Check out our Facebook page by searching for Earth Liberation Prisoners

Opening arguments in the case of Dr. Tarek Mehanna

(October 27. 2011)

My notes on the day of opening arguments in the case of Dr. Tarek Mehanna

Assalaamu Alaikum (Greetings of Peace):

I left home about 2:45 in the morning to begin
the roughly seven hour drive to Boston. Shortly
after entering the NJ Turnpike I had to pull into
one of the rest stops to give my body its rights
(I needed some rest:). I ended up arriving in
Boston around noon. When I walked into the
overflow courtroom the prosecutor was just
completing his opening argument to the jury. I
instinctively knew that I didn't miss anything consequential.

In all of these preemptive prosecution cases of
Muslims, names and faces change, but the
narrative is always the same i.e. guilt by
association (rreal or imagined), and guilt by
speech, with the occasional government paid
"informant" and/or agent-provocateur thrown in
for good measure! What interested me most, and
what I'm glad I was able to catch, was the
defense's opening argument. (How much fight would
the defense attorneys have in them?)

On this question I was pleased with what I saw.

Dr. Tarek Mehanna's attorney, J.W. Carney Jr.,
started out by thanking the jury for their
service. He then confessed that he and his team
knew that this would be a challenging case, and
that when he first saw the terrorism-related
charges he found them "scary." However, "after
getting to know Tarek and his family," and
understanding what the "law" is, he knew Tarek
was not guilty of the charges that were leveled against him.

Mr. Carney then proceeded to share some of the
Mehanna family's personal background. He noted
that Tarek's family immigrated to the U.S. to be
able to freely practice their religion and speak
their beliefs. He proceeded to share some of
Tarek's social past-times growing up, and the
decision he made after high school to go to
pharmacy college (an eight year commitment).

Carney spoke of how as a young man Tarek became
more curious about his religion, and what it
meant to be a Muslim in America. He became more
studious, and eventually began translating
Islamic texts. He became aware of the invasions
of Muslim countries and the oppression Muslims
suffered at different points in history. The
attorney referenced the late 20th century
conflicts in Bosnia and Chechnya, and the
internal struggles taking place in countries like Egypt.

He noted that when the attacks of September 11th
occurred, Tarek (like many other young Muslims)
was shocked and confused. He noted that Tarek
accepted the legitimacy of America's military
campaign in Afghanistan, but felt the attack on Iraq was unwarranted.

(On a personal note, an objective review of
history and the available facts would suggest
that America's actions in Afghanistan were not
justified, nor legitimate, either.)

Carney then stated to the jury that, "I'm not
here to argue the legitimacy of Tarek's view. I'm
here to argue that he had a right to that view,
and he had a right to openly express that view."
He then alluded to his own generations' similar response to Vietnam.

He noted again that beyond his political views,
Tarek was obsessed with learning classical Arabic
and Islamic law; of how he wanted to understand
his religion on a much deeper level; and, as a
result, of how he had evolved into a young scholar.

He spoke of how Tarek had endeavored to go to
Yemen to study the language; of how Yemen had a
worldwide reputation for the study of the Arabic
language and Islamic law. He also spoke of how to
of Tarek's acquaintances abu Sama annd Karim
wanted to go to Yemen for different reasons (i.e. for jihad).

He spoke of how abu Sama, Karim and Tarek set out
for a journey to Yemen. Karim had to abruptly
return home before his arrival, leaving Abu Sama
and Tarek to complete the journey by themselves.
Tarek made this trip to Yemen during his semester
break, and returned home to resume his studies
(abu-Sama reportedly traveled on to Iraq to fight).

The lawyer spoke of how Tarek became more
outspoken about America's involvement in Iraq
while emphasizing the point that in openly
voicing his criticism he was exercising his first
amendment right! "What he did was perfectly
legal," the lawyer argued. "Independent
advocacy" of what some might consider subversive beliefs is not illegal.

In noting Tarek's openly stated admiration for
Osama bin Laden, Carney noted how Tarek saw Osama
as a committed Muslim who was willing to spend
his wealth for the cause of Muslim uplift and
of how Osama was once viewed as a "freeedom
fighter" by our own government. (This was during
the time of the Reagan administration, and the
former Soviet Union's brutal occupation of Afghanistan.)

Carney emphsized that the documents and videos
that Tarek downloaded and collected from jihadi
websites were perfectly legal; and mentioned how
Tarek became upset by much of what he saw. A very
important point was made by the attorney when he
stated how at one point a request was made of
Tarek (by a representative of al-Qaeda) to
translate a jihadi video, but Tarek declined to
do so. He also noted how he was "kicked out" of
one of the online chat-rooms (I believe), because
he was viewed as too moderate.

He then encouraged the jury to not just look at
the first half of what the government says about
this prosecution, "but look at the whole picture in its entirety."

Tarek did nothing because al-Qaeda was directing
him, or paying him, or encouraging him to do so,
he argued. "If the evidence shows Tarek Mehanna
was independently advocating his own views, you
must find him innocent of the charges brought against him."

Carney told the jury that Tarek's (quasi
"Muslim") accusers have immunity from
prosecution for what they are willing to do in
this case (as government witnesses against Tarek).

Another interesting point made by the defense
attorney was when he noted, the only place that
al-Qaeda hates more than Israel and the United
States is Saudi Arabia; and this is where Tarek
was going to live and work before he was arrested.

He concluded his opening to the jury by
emphasizing the freedoms - of conscience and
speech -that make America what it is on the
positive side of contemporary history (contradictions aside).

El-Hajj Mauri Saalakhan

Some closing thoughts:

I strongly encourage Muslims in the New England
area (who are able to do so) to attend as much of
this trial as you possibly can; for not only
would you be fulfilling an obligation to a good,
committed Muslim brother (and family) in need,
you will also avail yourselves of a good
education. I would encourage Muslim educators in
the Boston area to plan a field trip to the
courtroom for some of your more mature students;
and upon their return, allow this case to be the
source of valuable classroom discussion.

In a case such as this, students can acquire
valuable insights on: (a) how the federal
judiciary works; (b) some of the challenges that
Muslims are being confronted with today; (c) and
the importance of good, clear, non-reactionary decision making.

It would also serve the interest of Muslim
"leaders," and other Muslims of influence, to
visit trials such as this (as a good example is
the best teacher). There is a huge difference
between belief that is articulated by the tongue,
and belief that is practiced by the truly committed believer.

And finally, in my brief comments to the
assembled media outside the courthouse (and there
were many), I encouraged them to be fair and
responsible in their coverage. There is a
tendency (sometimes deliberate, sometimes
unconscious) among many reporters to favor the government's narrative.

How do you assess the Boston Globe article below?

Prosecutors say Mehanna supported terrorists;

defense cites freedom of speech

10/27/2011 3:17 PM

Members of Occupy Boston walked from their
encampment at Dewey Square to the federal
courthouse, where they staged a protest on behalf of Mehanna

By Milton J. Valencia and Martin Finucane, Globe Staff

A young man from Sudbury answered Osama bin
Laden's call to arms, seeking terrorist training
in Yemen, then becoming a propagandist for Al
Qaeda in 2006 from his "cushy" suburban home, a federal prosecutor said today.

Tarek Mehanna of Sudbury "began translating jihad
material ... material that would encourage others
to participate in jihad, which was itself a
service to Al Qaeda," federal prosecutor Aloke
Chakravarty said in opening statements at
Mehanna's trial in US District Court in Boston.

But Mehanna's attorney, J.W. Carney Jr.,
displaying pictures to the jury of a young
Mehanna playing guitar and sitting on Santa's
lap, said his client was "a young man his mom could be very proud of."

He acknowledged that his client, who had grown
more interested in his Muslim background, was
angry about the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

But he told the jury Mehanna shouldn't be
punished for his views. "I'm not here to convince
you to believe that his view and the view of
millions of others was correct. ... I am asking
you to find that you can hold that view in the
United States of America even if the government
does not want you to hold that view."

"We can hold onto these views, and we can speak
them, even if it's what upsets the United States
government," he said. "It's what makes the
United States so great, so strong, and so free."

Mehanna, 29, a popular young leader in the area's
Muslim community who received a doctorate from
the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health
Sciences, faces life in prison if convicted on
charges of conspiring to support Al Qaeda and to
kill in a foreign territory and of lying to FBI investigators.

Prosecutors say he traveled to Yemen in 2004 in
search of terrorism training. He did not succeed
in finding it, but he allegedly returned
determined to help Al Qaeda by translating Arabic
texts promoting violent jihad and distributing them to others on the Internet.

One of the documents translated by Mehanna was
"39 Ways to Make Jihad," Chakravarty said in his
opening statement. "This is essentially training
material to get ready to serve and participate in
that fight," Chakravarty said.

As for the defense argument that Mehanna was
exercising his free speech rights, Chakravarty
said, "This case is not about what the defendant
believed, whether he was against the war, whether
he didn't like America. .... What you can't do is
something the law forbids ... and that's why he is in this courtroom today."

Chakravarty also showed a picture of Mehanna
taken during a visit to Ground Zero, in which
Mehanna is striking a happy pose. "He was going
to celebrate what happened on that day," Chakravarty said.

Carney, the defense lawyer, countered that
Mehanna had gone to Yemen not to join terrorists,
but to study. Mehanna was interested in
15th-century Arabic law and wanted to learn pure Arabic, Carney said.

As for Mehanna's translation of jihadist
documents, Carney said, "He wanted others to
understand the point of view, so he translated documents."


On a final note: I want to congratulate the Tarek
Mehanna Support Committee for the excellent work
these committed souls did in turning out very
visible support in and outside the courthouse!
When you have a large crowd of people (Muslims
and non-Muslims) standing outside in the rain
chanting support for a Muslim political prisoner,
it conveys a strong message of resistance to the powers-that-be.

May the struggle continue!

Isolation of Sa'adat continued - Call from Occupied Palestine to the Occupy Movement

Take Action - Isolation of Ahmad Sa'adat continued in violation of promise to prisoners

A Call from Occupied Palestine to the Occupy Movement

October 27, 2011

Only one week after promising Palestinian political prisoners that isolation would end and that all prisoners in isolation would be returned to the general population, in order to convince those prisoners to end their hunger strike, Israeli authorities have announced their intention to continue the isolation of Ahmad Sa'adat for at least one more year.

As reported by the Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, an Israeli court in Bir Saba issued a ruling on October 27, 2011 to extend the isolation of Ahmad Sa'adat for an additional year. Ahmad Sa'adat has already been held in isolation for over two and one-half years. His release from isolation was a key demand of Palestinian prisoners' recent hunger strike - and was promised to them one week ago.

The ruling, which was based on secret evidence like all such rulings, dates back to August 8 but was not released until today; Ahmad Sa'adat was not accompanied by lawyers in the hearing.

The prison administration had promised to end isolation following Palestinian prisoners' hunger strike. This decision is tantamount to torture - and a direct violation of the agreement with Palestinian prisoners to end their hunger strike, which had drawn the eyes of the world to their struggle.

20 Palestinian prisoners remain in isolation, despite the strike's suspension on October 17. Israel had promised that they would be released from isolation immediately following the release of 477 prisoners in a prisoner exchange agreement - however, Israel's prison administration has acted in complete violation of its word.

On October 18, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan Mendez called in the UN General Assembly for all use of isolation longer than 15 days to be banned, saying that isolation can cause "severe mental pain or suffering" and "can amount to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment when used as a punishment, during pre-trial detention, indefinitely or for a prolonged period...Segregation, isolation, separation, cellular, lockdown, supermax, the hole, secure housing unit... whatever the name, solitary confinement should be banned by states as a punishment or extortion technique."

The punishment, isolation and extortion of Ahmad Sa'adat for his ongoing courage and commitment as a leader of Palestinian prisoners and the Palestinian people must end. International action and solidarity is necessary!

The Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa'adat reprints the following call received from activists in Palestine:

A Call from Occupied Palestine to the Occupy Movement - From occupied Palestine, from our occupied lands, from our camps of refuge, from the prisons of torture and the prisoners of freedom, from our stolen lands, our chained borders, our demolished homes and our revolution, our commitment, our struggle for freedom:

For us, the word occupation has always stood for colonialism, land theft, genocide, dispossession, and death. It is a word and a concept we have fought to bring to an end for over sixty years. Yet the Occupy movement that has arisen in public squares, in cities and towns around the world, from the centre of imperialism in the US, Wall Street itself, is an occupation that can serve as a source of hope for liberation, for decolonization, for an end to the racist occupation of our homeland.

Seeing the youth of the West in the streets rejecting the brutal consequences of the system of imperialism and capitalism once more, we salute you, we stand with you, and we call: "Occupy Wall Street, Liberate Palestine!"

Our political prisoners stood steadfast through three weeks of hunger strike and have today been confronted by yet one more lie, another broken promise on the heap of lies and broken promises of the occupier - rather than our prisoners being freed from isolation, they are remaining in isolation. Ahmad Sa'adat, Palestinian national leader, having already spent two and a half years in solitary confinement, is slapped with yet one more year.

We call upon you to make it clear that despite solitary confinement, Ahmad Sa'adat and the Palestinian prisoners are not isolated, and are part of a global movement and global solidarity. We call upon you to raise the voices, the pictures, and the stories of Palestinian political prisoners at Occupy Wall Street and all Occupy movement events. We, the Palestinian people are also the 99%, those victimized by war profiteers, by racism, by imperialism, by displacement and genocide. Our thousands of prisoners remain in the prisons of the illegal, illegitimate occupier.

Raise their voices among yours, and stand together for the liberation of Wall Street, Palestine, and all of our oppressed and stolen land and people!

Take Action!

1. Picket, protest or call the Israeli embassy or consulate in your location and demand the immediate freedom of Ahmad Sa'adat and all Palestinian political prisoners. Make it clear that you expect the demands of Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike to be immediately implemented, including an immediate end to the isolation of Ahmad Sa'adat! Send us reports of your protests at Israeli embassies and consulates.

2. Bring the struggle of Palestinian prisoners to Occupy protests, as will happen in New York City on Friday, October 28 (Existence is Resistance Kuffeya Day) and has happened in New York, Chicago and San Francisco. Download and distribute the flyer, hold a rally or teach-in and express solidarity.

3. Distribute the free downloadable Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa'adat flyer in your community at local events.

4. Write to the International Committee of the Red Cross and other human rights organizations to exercise their responsibilities and act swiftly to demand that the prisoners' demands are implemented. Email the ICRC, whose humanitarian mission includes monitoring the conditions of prisoners, at, and inform them about the urgent situation of Ahmad Sa'adat. Make it clear that isolation is a human rights violation, a form of torture, and that Palestinian prisoners were coerced into stopping their hunger strike with false promises of the recognition of their rights, and that the ICRC must stand up and play its role to defend prisoners' rights.

5. Email the Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa'adat at with announcements, reports and information about your local events, activities and flyer distributions.

Oct 25 Political Prisoner Updates

From: "NYC ABC"
Date: Wed, October 26, 2011


Here's the latest compilation of every other week updates. We've mailed
hard copies to Sundiata Acoli, David Gilbert, Marie Mason, Eric McDavid,
Daniel McGowan, and Sekou Odinga. Please feel free to share this link:

Or PDF version at:

Free them all,

India’s Prisons are Schools of Resistance and Revolution

CPI (Maoist) leaders start movements in jails
Hindustan Times
Kolkata, October 13, 2011

CPI (Maoist) has opened a new front, from behind the bars, away from Junglemahal. With senior leaders lodged in jails, the party is not only spreading its views among the inmates, but also leading movements and agitations on various issues. Since the past couple of years, a number of agitations have taken place inside the jails, including the central jails, where a large number of inmates even sat on indefinite hunger strikes.According to jail sources, Maoists have formed various jail committees, which not only look after rights of prisoners, but also make them aware of the current political situation. Intelligence sources admit that Maoists have also initiated indoctrination classes for young under trials in some jails.”It is their strategy to catch the administration on the wrong foot. They have been organising inmates behind the bars and prompting agitations. They are the brain behind most agitations, however frivolous for a cause it may be,” said Ranvir Kumar, inspector general of jails.

“Last week, in Behrampur jail, a religious colour was given to agitations. Earlier in Krishnagar, the Maoist organised a hunger strike,” said Kumar.

Several senior Maoist leaders, including the Politburo members, former state secretaries and state committee members, are lodged in different Bengal jails, including central jails such as Presidency, Alipur and Dumdum.

The inmates have been agitating over lack of basic amenities, like proper food and water, apart from agitations and hunger strikes demanding withdrawal of joint forces and release of political prisoners.

According to jail sources, Maoist leaders, most of whom are highly educated, have now become role models in the jails. Since they are aware of the jail code and laws, they are also lending a helping hand to common inmates, both under trials and convicts.

Leaders such as Chandi Sarkar (former state committee member), who is in Krishnanagar jail, and V Venkateshwara Rao alias Telegu Dipak (former state committee and military commission member), presently is lodged in Alipur central jail, have been organising the inmates for various protests and agitations.

Former Politburo members, former state committee secretaries and members like Himadri Sen Roy alias Somen, Sudip Chongdar alias Kanchan and Patit Paban Halder are behind the bars.

“Previously inmates used to fight, shout abuses at the authorities over their demands. They were not organised. Now they jointly give us petitions, deputations and observe hunger strikes over various issues. They are more organised these days under Maoist leadership behind the bars,” said a senior jail officer in Presidency central jail.

Interestingly, even prisoners charged with anti-national activities are also showing solidarity to the Maoists on different issues, even relating to Junglemahal. A few months ago, a number of inmates accused for terrorist activities, in Presidency, Alipur and Dumdum central jails, officially supported the hunger strike held by the Maoists in demand for withdrawal of joint forces and release of political prisoners.

A spate of agitations broke out in Bengal jails recently, including in Krishnanagar where over 200 inmates sat on hunger strike on August 15 and four had to be shifted to a hospital as their condition grew critical. On October 10, over 1300 inmates of Berhampore jail initiated agitations over lack of basic amenities. In Midnapore jail, which houses people like Chattrdhar Mahato, inmates organise agitations frequently for various demands under the leadership of Maoist leaders.

Israel stopped mother visiting prisoner son for 11 years

25 October 2011

Eid Misleh, seen with his mother in Gaza after his release, spent 19 years in Israel prisons, and was denied family visits for the last eleven

“Eid was born on the night of Eid al-Fitr 47 years ago,” Eid Abdallah Misleh’s mother, Umm Eid, explained, referring to the feast marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, “So we named him Eid to be a good omen for our family. This day is also Eid for me, as my son has been released from the Israeli occupation’s jails.”

Indeed, it was a celebration for Misleh, back with his mother, his wife Umm Ubaida, his daughters, Shaima, 23, Israa, 21, and his son Ubaida, 19, and many extended family and friends in Maghazi refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. Six days after his release, friends and family continued to flow to Misleh’s home to welcome him back.

He had just served almost two decades in the Israeli desert prison in the Negev (Naqab) and was among the 477 Palestinian prisoners released as part of the recent prisoner exchange deal between Hamas and Israel that also saw a captured Israeli occupation soldier returned from Gaza to his home.

Returning home to Maghazi

While I was riding the bus on the way to Maghazi, I bet with my fellow passengers who were released prisoners like myself that I would recognize Maghazi. But as we got closer to the camp, I discovered that many things have changed since I left twenty years ago,” Misleh told the Electronic Intifada,” as he, seated next to his mother, received people coming to congratulate him and his extended family.

I hope that all other Palestinian prisoners will be released from the Israeli occupation jails,” said Misleh, whose family comes originally from the village of al-Batani, now in Israel, before they were expelled to Gaza in 1948.

Inside the prison, we followed all the developments in the occupied Palestinian territories, including the so-called peace process. In 1999, I recall that the Palestinian Authority announced that Israel would release hundreds of prisoners and I imagined myself to be one of those released, yet I was disappointed later to hear that only prisoners belonging to Fatah and some other factions would be released. I kept up my hope every time we heard about a prisoner release.”

Sentenced to 100 years, denied family visits for 11 years

Misleh, a member of the military wing of Hamas, was arrested from his family home by Israel’s Shin Bet secret police in 1992, two years before the creation of the Palestinian Authority under the Oslo accords. He was sentenced by Israel to 100 years in prison for involvement in armed resistance against the Israeli occupation in Gaza.

The hardest moment I recall was right after Eid’s arrest by the Israeli occupation on the first day of Ramadan,” recalled Umm Eid, “Shaima, who was only three years old at the time asked me, ‘Grandma, what is my father going to eat to break his fast today?’”

I cried a lot and felt a great deal of sadness for this little girl, adding to my own agony,” Umm Eid said, “Can you imagine? I was denied permission to visit him by the Israelis from 2000 to 2011, for unclear reasons.”

Israel has routinely denied visitation rights to prisoners, a violation of international law that has been regularly condemned by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Hard to believe Eid is home

Down the street from Umm Eid’s small house is another, nicely decorated with paintings, while on a table lay candies and sweets for those coming to offer congratulations. There, Eid’s wife Umm Ubaida, along with Israa, Shaima, and Ubaida looked cheerful, though with reddened eyes from tears that have accompanied the high emotions of their father’s return.

Drawing a long breath, Umm Ubaida exclaimed, “I cannot describe my feelings, I cannot believe my eyes that Eid, my dear husband is now among us, is now speaking to us, touching us and showering us with his emotions, which we have missed for about twenty years now. Thank God, first and foremost, and then thanks to the men of resistance who managed to bring him and many others back to their families. May God bless them for such a great victory.”

Missing family milestones

Eid’s absence from the family home “left a great vacuum in our lives,” Umm Ubaida reflected, “I have endured a lot, acting as a father and mother at the same time.”

Two close members of my family, including my eldest brother Salem and my nephew, died while I was in prison,” Eid Misleh recounted, “Actually, there were many moments of my family’s lives that I was told about by phone, I missed them all.”

When Ubaida became an adult, I felt I could not give him the attention and care that a father can give, and I felt very depressed,” Umm Ubaida said of her son, “and during the weddings of my two daughters I couldn’t stop myself bursting into tears. It had been as if their father was dead, because we never imagined he could be released one day.”

Now, Eid Misleh says of his son Ubaida, who has lived with a speaking disability since early childhood, “I hope that I will compensate him for the years of deprivation of having a father. I recall when I was told that Eid was first enrolled at school when he was a child, I got very sad, being deprived of the moment a father takes his son or daughter to school on the first day.”

While growing up, I used to dream of uttering the word ‘dad’,” said Misleh’s daughter, Israa, “a word that many children around me used to say, and I can only say these days that my father is among us.”

When I was a child, if I used to go to the grocer to buy something, I would get sad just seeing a man with his young child buying something,” she added, “But for me the saddest movement was the day I got married.” Instead of sharing that day of joy with her father, Israa recalls crying at his absence. All that seemed to be wiped away, however, as Israa affirmed that her father’s return is the most joyous occasion of her life.

A brother comes home

In the street next to Eid Misleh’s home, his brother Misleh gave a cheerful welcome to The Electronic Intifada. A year young than Eid, the two brothers had a special relationship.

I feel that my soul has been returned back to my body,” Misleh Misleh said. “I belonged to the Fatah party of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and he belonged to the Hamas party but we chose the same path, resisting the Israeli occupation.” Eid’s brother too says he spent several years in Israeli prisons.

Education despite imprisonment and deprivation

Despite the harsh conditions of imprisonment and deprivation of family visits, Eid Misleh was able to gain some education, enrolling in a correspondence course from an Israeli university. He had made his way half way toward a degree in international relations.

As you see these books on the shelf, they are all books that I studied inside the prison and I managed to have them sent to my family throughout the past years,” Misleh explained, “The Israeli prison authorities denied me the right to pursue my education for five years and afterwards I was able to resume my study through correspondence.”

Misleh says he has two semesters of courses to complete and intends to complete his education now that he is home in Maghazi refugee camp among his family.

A message to Israelis

Eid Misleh, student of international relations, freed resistance fighter and resident of Maghazi refugee camp had a message to send to Israel, which he preferred to state in Hebrew, not Arabic:

I want to send a message to the Israeli community that we are a people who love peace and seek a Palestinian state with sovereignty. But the battle we have with the occupation has been imposed on us by the occupation itself. As long as the Israeli occupation persists, we are determined to continue on our path until we restore our legitimate rights.”

Rami Almeghari is a journalist and university lecturer based in the Gaza Strip

Free Tarek Mehanna!

Published Oct 24, 2011

Dr. Tarek Mehanna

Dr. Tarek Mehanna is a 28-year-old Muslim, an Egyptian-American and a graduate of the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. He has been held in solitary confinement 23 hours a day since his arrest in 2009.

Mehanna’s trial begins with jury selection on Oct. 24 at the Moakley Federal Court House in Boston. The Free Tarek Mahanna Support Committee is calling on supporters to pack the court on Oct. 27 at 9:00 a.m. Supporters can get information on the defense campaign at

Mehanna’s supporters say he is a respected leader in his community who has done nothing other than be critical of the foreign policy of the United States, particularly as it impacts Muslim countries and the Muslim community. Because of his stature in the Muslim community, he was repeatedly pursued by the FBI to be an informant on others in the community.

When he steadfastly refused, he was arrested in 2008 and charged with making “false statements to the FBI.” Arrested again in 2009, the charge was “material support for terrorism,” with no new information about any actions on Mehanna’s part.

The sum total of actions Mehanna is charged with involve having conversations, translating books, traveling to the Middle East and posting to websites. Yet he faces life in prison if convicted. He has been denied bail twice, even though the FBI released him to the community after his first arrest and presented no information as to why or how he had since become so much more dangerous.

The entire case follows the alarming pattern of persecution of Muslims that has emerged since 9/11: the use of secret evidence; inflammatory accusations fed to the press by government prosecutors in advance of trial; manipulation of informants and cooperating witnesses through threats and rewards; and the use of “material support of terrorism” charges to criminalize dissent.

Mehanna’s case has garnered wide community support. Supporters have packed each and every hearing on the case over the last two years. On Sept. 24 at the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, the case was featured in a program presented by the National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms. Mehanna’s brother Tamer explained the case.

Supporters are urged to call 617-748-3159 or fax 617-748- 3694, the office of U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz, to express outrage at this fraudulent prosecution and to demand that all charges be dropped.

Similar cases involving the FBI’s pattern of preemptive prosecution and Cointelpro-style entrapment, lying and brutal mistreatment, including “special administrative measures” and Communication Management Units, were presented by Project SALAM and family members of the victims.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Leonard Peltier Update: USP Coleman

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


Dr. Thomas Kane, Acting Director
Federal Bureau of Prisons
320 1st Street, NW
Washington, DC 20534
Phone: (202) 307-3250 (Director); (202) 307-3198 (Switchboard)
Fax: (202) 514-6620

HUNGER STRIKE and after (anonymous)


This unit is icy cold, air conditioning on full
blast. This hunger strike a lot has changed for
me where I feel a loving calm envelope me, a
sense of a great amount of energy just appeared.
I feel more free this strike than the July one. A
powerful experience of conscious self-compassion,
and my understanding of its importance has
deepened. And the benefit of this is relief and a
sense of spaciousness and acceptance. Today I
feel more expansive, no longer burdened, no fear
whatsoever what others think of me. My healing
has enabled me to be myself and finally live my life
as I should in freedom.

I want to thank all of you for the support and
prayers during the strike. Please let Carol and
Marilyn know this especially and Julie too. I had
my mind set what I was going to do, the distance
I'd go striking 4-5 weeks at most if my body was
able to hack it, if I felt I couldn't continue
I'd stop. Coming over to this unit some of our
property was tossed bad and taken. Few days after
I got to this unit my cell was trashed again,
looked as a hurricane came through. The pod I was
in had the most cells striking. The day we were
threatened to be moved if we don't end striking
two cells stopped, didn't want to be moved, were
situated, knowing our property would be tossed
and some things taken. The six of us that came
from the same pod, housed in one unit to make it
easier for staff to monitor them and for medical
staff too, easier for them to locate the inmates
still striking. The CDC learned from the July
hunger strike, were better prepared this time,
had a game plan, my observation. No outside
medical staff brought in to help nor any
makeshift clinics made as they had done in July.

Since the strike ended, medical staff come by
just once, passed out packets of vitamins and
powdered lemonade/Gatorade. That was it. Some
inmates in this unit have been called to medical
but not all since strike ended. I'm waiting to go
see doc. I feel healthy, just trying to gain back
my strength and put weight back on. I haven't yet
gotten fully situated here, I can do this now
since my cell was tossed again recently, staff
are done harassing me for now. During the move
here my envelopes with legal paperwork were all
ripped open as they searched through my property.
Then they just dumped everything inside the cell
before I was placed in the cell later.

I've been having serious hunger pangs day and
night. One guy in the pod had some canteen that
staff had taken from him. When the strike ended
he was given his canteen, all beans and rice, so
he hooked up everyone in our pod with beans and
rice. I ate it all in two days, made sandwiches,
didn't waste time, I took it down. Two guys were
shocked seeing how much weight I had lost during
the strike. I haven't yet started exercising
again, maybe first week of November, should be
ready to go, normal routine. My health great,
it's just my weight dropped big time from the
strike in July to the recent strike. I never
really was able to put much weight back on after
July strike (lost about 40 pounds total from
normal). No complaints here! I'm honored to have
partaken in both strikes, doing my part.
There's always a struggle in finding meaning in
our suffering. I believe that this last strike,
lots of inmates achieved enlightenment without
realizing it. What I mean is, prisoners have
been awakened in here in solitary and united to
the point where they're saying now, how come we
never protested this way in unity years ago, to
let our voices be heard against the ongoing CDC
abuse? You hear this talk a lot now, which is a
good thing. In reality we add to our suffering in
solitary when inmates don't stand up for our
rights, banding together as one, protesting
peacefully. We hurt ourselves when inmates resort
to violence against one another; that doesn't solve

Human progress is measured in prison and outside
when every person is treated with dignity and
respect naturally, no less. I thought a lot about
this during the strike.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Police Brutalize, Dismantle Occupy Oakland Camp

October 25, 2011 Occupy Oakland

This morning at 5am over 500 police in riot gear from cities all over
central California brutally attacked the Occupy Oakland encampment at 14th
& Broadway. The police attacked the peaceful protest with flash grenades,
tear gas, and rubber bullets after moving in with armored vehicles.
Apparently the media was not allowed in to document this repression, and
the police established barricades as far apart as 11th and 17th. Over 70
people were arrested and the camp gear was destroyed and/or stolen by the
riot police.

Contact the mayor and tell her what you think of her actions.

Reconvene today at 4pm at the Oakland Library on 14th & Madison. Occupy
Oakland is not finished, it has only begun.

Inside the Shocking Police Crackdown on OccupyOakland: Tear Gas...An eyewitness account...

by Susie Cagle, of AlterNet
Tuesday Oct 25th, 2011

Over the last two weeks I've seen a community rise up seemingly out of
nowhere -- one based on consensus decision-making and strong
anti-oppression values for all people involved. One that included free
food and a clean kitchen, a community garden, free school and twice-daily

Last night I saw that community torn apart by a show of force so grossly
outrageous in terms of mass of force, brutality, and cost to an already
broke city that nearly shut down most of its libraries, and is on the
verge of closing schools.

All day rumors of an impending eviction had been swirling around the tent
city occupation in Frank Ogawa Plaza. After several nights of false
alarms, campers seemed split over what to believe on Monday. It was Occupy
Oakland's two-week anniversary, and a group of demonstrators partied at
the 14th and Broadway plaza entrance with cake, balloons and dancing. The
General Assembly was smaller; there were clearly more tents missing than
on the previous day. But people were engaged, and strides were made.
Someone announced that a nearby church had donated use of its kitchen for
the Occupation. There would no longer be a need for the propane the city
had found so problematic. There was more talk of growing the camp than
defending it. When I went home around 2:30am to feed my cat and charge my
phone, I felt confident the plaza was safe for the night.

Halfway through my tea I read on Twitter that campers had spotted police
mobilizing a few blocks from the camp. By the time I arrived back at the
plaza, campers had barricaded the perimeter of the camp as well as the
entrances to the plaza. I walked the perimeter and didn't see any police,
so I entered the camp, where feelings were tense. That's when I heard the
roar of police motorcycles on Broadway. By the time I pulled my video
camera out and crossed the street, about 500 Oakland police and supporting
troops from more than a dozen nearby departments were mobilizing in riot
gear, clubs and guns in hand. They announced that by remaining in the
camp, protestors might face "chemical agents" and "bodily injury."

I couldn't get the man making the announcements to meet my eye.

A few minutes later, police broke their lines and some of the news vans
along 14th were allowed to leave. It was then I noticed that I and a
couple dozen others who were primarily filming the police action were now
between a second and third line of officers. We were pinned. I heard a few
pops, a flash, a crack, and saw a puff of white smoke that kept growing.
Suddenly we were moving quickly down 14th street, followed by a cloud of
tear gas. At least 85 protesters were arrested, of the approximately 200
who remained in the plaza. Many remain in jail on $7,500-$10,000 bails
awaiting arraignment on Thursday.

More than an hour later, after shutting down much of downtown Oakland
within a large barricaded perimeter, and after the end of park curfew at
6am, police mobilized to clear out Snow Park, the expansion sister camp to
the main plaza. Several protesters were arrested there after refusing to
leave their camp, which had been facing eviction notices for nearly a
week. The demonstrators there had brought a manual lawnmower and were
maintaining the overgrown park; they had no portable toilets or sanitation
issues; and they were not cooking with an open flame. When asked why they
were arrested during open park hours, one officer responded that the park
was "a crime scene" so it could be closed at any time. At that point I
couldn't help but laugh. "I'm serious," he said.

These camps are now flattened, but occupiers remain defiant. As I write
this, people are organizing. That's what I feel the need to do here, but
while I want to provide more synthesis, I don't feel like I can do that
yet. I came to Occupy Oakland as an independent journalist and it was made
known to me that my right to free speech as a member of the media is about
as valuable to the city of Oakland as the rights of the occupation that
they're holding in cells. I think I'm still reeling.

But I guess what I'm saying is that the city council meeting might be kind
of crowded tonight.

Susie Cagle writes and draws true stories. She is also the founder of the
Graphic Journos collective.

Amnesty: Dominican police torture, kill people

By DANICA COTO - Associated Press | oct. 25, 2011

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Police in the Dominican Republic have been
responsible for an alarming number of killings and torture over a
five-year period, Amnesty International said in a report released Tuesday.

The report, titled "Shut up if you don't want to be killed," documents
alleged human rights violations and calls for the police department to
thoroughly investigate them.

"Authorities must ensure those responsible for the killings and torture
face justice," said Javier Zuniga, Amnesty International director for the
Dominican Republic.

Police spokesman Maximo Baez said the department does prosecute officers
accused of crimes including murder and that 156 officers have been charged
since August 2010.

He said police try to minimize side effects while fighting crime, but
added that they face "a very aggressive delinquency."

Last week, Police Chief Jose Armando Polanco said he would not meet with
Amnesty delegates unless they mentioned in the report that 55 police
officers and soldiers were killed while on duty and another 170 injured.
He said at the time that he would not comment further on the report.

At least 154 people were reported killed by police from January to July of
this year, compared with 125 people in the same period last year,
according to the Dominican Republic's Office of the Prosecutor General.

A total of 260 people were killed by police last year, compared with 346
killed in 2009. Local human rights groups say police also have injured
hundreds of others.

Prosecutor Alejandro Moscoso said that between 2008 and 2011, he filed 176
cases in which police officers and soldiers were accused of murder and
other crimes. He did not describe the outcome of those cases.

Human rights activists believe that one of the victims is Juan Almonte
Herreras, a 51-year-old father of three who served as secretary-general of
the Dominican Commission of Human Rights, said Esteban Reyes, the
commission's president in Puerto Rico.

"This is one of the most notorious cases," he said.

Based on its own investigation, the commission concluded that police in
September 2009 had kidnapped Almonte, tortured him and later set his body
on fire. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights accused the Dominican
government of conducting a lax investigation.

In August, the government issued a brief statement saying the
investigation was ongoing.

Almonte's wife, who fled to the U.S., said in a phone interview that she
will keep pursuing answers despite numerous threats against her family.

"We have been looking for answers for two years," Ana Montilla said. "We
know that we are fighting the state. ... I do not believe in Dominican

Police have said the majority of killings occurred during an exchange of
gunfire, but forensic tests show otherwise, said Pedro Santiago, Amnesty's
director in Puerto Rico.

In its report, Amnesty claims police beat and denied food and water to
prisoners, put plastic bags over their heads or hanged them by their
handcuffs from bars or nails in the wall. The report also claims police
routinely round up hundreds of young men on nights and weekends and shake
them down for bribes.

Santiago said the organization spent nearly two years investigating human
rights allegations and conducting hundreds of interviews, including with
the families of 20 men killed by police and four men who survived a police

The police department still has not provided information on how many of
its 30,000 officers are under investigation or have been charged with
human rights violations, Santiago said. He also claimed that the police
department has no guidelines for investigating allegations of human rights

The report notes that the department has fought internal corruption and
dismissed roughly 12,000 officers from 2007 to 2010. It also stated that
low salaries has led to widespread corruption, with 45 percent of the
department earning about $140 a month.


Associated Press writer Ezequiel Abiu Lopez contributed from Santo
Domingo, Dominican Republic.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Thomas Meyer-Falk's letter appeal

!Freedom Now!

If you fight against the state, if you fight for a better world, fight
for freedom, there is a chance that you will get thrown to the cage –
that is the place where I stay. For over 15 years now. In the
infernal regions, kept in isolation for security reasons, for more
than 10 years. I was arrested in 1996, and only released into the
general prison population in 2007.

In October 1996 I was arrested after a bank robbery to raise money for
left-wing projects – legal and illegal ones. I was convicted to 11
and a ½ years and P.D. (Preventive Detention, based on a Nazi-law
from 1933 which permits the state to keep me in custody for a
life-time, as long as they believe that I am a “threat to public
safety”). Because I fought back strong they kept me in isolation
for more than 10 years; I have spent the last 4 years in the general
prison population, but I refuse to cooperate with the state nor
accept forced labour. So a 2009 parole court found no reason to
release me. In 2013 my sentence will be completed and I will get
transferred to another maximum security prison for the P.D. In fact
the P.D. should have began in 1998, but I have had a few more trials
in the last decade for “insulting judges / politicians and prison
staff”; for that I got another 5 and a ½ years (not a joke!).

No person was killed by me, no one was injured (for the hostages in the
bank there was trauma, we should not close one's eyes to that, but
that was more than 15 years ago now); I don't know how long the state
will keep me in it's cages but there is no way for me to “co-operate”
with them. Nor with the prison staff, nor with the courts, nor with
psychologists or anyone else from the state.

I am sure there is little chance that the courts will set me free in the
next 5 or more years; but if people outside show the Governor that
there is a strong movement and support, he may throw me out of the

So I would really appreciate it if you could write letters and e-mails to:

(Title of the governor in Germany)
Wagner Str.15


request him to give me liberty!

the struggle!

JVA-Zelle 3113

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Progressive Plantation: Racism Inside White Radical Social Change Movements

by Lorenzo Kom'boa Ervin on Sunday, October 23, 2011

Besides just the current issues around Occupy Wall Street, the white radical Left
itself is riddled with racism, opportunism, class treachery, and internal
oppression which must be recognized and smashed, if it is to be any force for
radical change of society. I went back and reviewed the stuff from my earlier book,
part of which is a critique of internal racism and racist exclusion in Anarchism
specifically, but socialism generally, and it is pretty much the same criticism I
am making now against that current tendency. I had done this as part of the
research for "The Political Plantation". Since we know this is a deep seated
problem inside White radical social justice organizations, this leads us to the
unmistakable conclusion that white Left-led tendencies cannot lead us to
revolution, just political reform benefiting themselves as a class primarily. They
are the Left wing of the white middle class, no matter what rhetoric they use to
describe themselves and their goals. The OWS is a perfect example, but before that,
the anti-globalization movement, and even further back Socialist and Communist
parties have all succumbed to racism and white supremacy. More specifically, it all
raises this question: after a new society is created will it be another unjust
white-dominated one, with only political or economic differences from the previous
capitalist society, but still maintaining white supremacy? After we have shed
blood, sweat and tears in response to this white-led revolution, will Black/POCs
have to fight all over again for their liberation, because we will have once again
been betrayed? We are not fighting to replace one white master for another, nor to
be put back into the ghetto. There is only one possible conclusion to be reached:
we need a social revolution with Black/POC leadership to destroy this system
entirely and thoroughly, leaving no traces of racism or capitalism, rather than
have the very classes and peoples who have historically oppressed us in charge of
our fate. I do not believe or argue that white people are inherently evil, rather
that if we do not organize for our own freedom, nobody else will. The only question
is how many white people will unite with us in genuine unity, mutual aid, and with
the same fervor for total change?

So, that is why it is important that we raise class and political fights over these
issues now. We should not tolerate or give poitical cover for white supremacy inside
Left formations. It is the worst form of treachery and sellout in a nation based on
a history of racial slavery and the super-exploitation of peoples of color. It was
always assumed by many, even Blacks/POC activists, that the white Left tendencies
were one of the few groupings of white people in American society that would stand
with the Black Liberation movement and other tendencies of POC, but that is every
day being proven not to be true. In fact, what is being proven is that they will
sell out to retrograde forces in the Progressive wing, just to be part of a popular
movement of the moment, rather than wage an internal anti-racist fight to end
internal racism and other oppressions inside the movement. This is a decisive
moment, one that tests white people especially, to break away from conformity to
whiteness. White radical vanguardism is just another form of opportunism iin this
period. At a time when Black workers and poor peoples are literally being wiped out
by massive unemployment, poverty, homelessness, and oppression more than any other
group in society, the white Left has not built any fightback movement in support,
and has proven to be unwilling to force the Occupy Wall Street mass movement to
raise this as a major issues for them to struggle against in support of the Black
community. This treachery, as well as political and idological failings will be
noted by all activists of color, and propel them to launch autonomous movements in
their own defense and for their own liberation. History, and the current period
prove that white radicals simply do not make good political or anti-racist allies.

Yet, we can use the support of white activists who are willing to humble themseves
and recognize the fact that they are not the vanguard, and yet are willing to work
with to build a new type of revolutionary political entity. Further, we need to
politically educate and challenge others to join with us that we can reach. That is
why a conference is being planned to deal with the issues of internal racism and
colonialism in North America. That conference tentatively called "The Progressive
Plantation: Racism inside white radical movments, and the way forward!" is being
planned by myself and other activists now, and is expected to be held sometime in
mid-to-late 2012. More information will be provided when available. It will follow
the conference of Black/POC activists being prepared for the first quarter of 2012.
More details as available.

Undercover police: how 'romantic, attentive' impostor betrayed activist

I feel angry and violated, says woman apparently used as cover by officer who was trying to infiltrate Animal Liberation Front

  • Bob Lambert posed as a radical activist named Bob Robinson
    Bob Lambert posed as a radical activist named Bob Robinson.

    They met by chance one night at a party in Tottenham, north London. The man she would come to know as Bob Robinson was standing on his own. Jenny (not her real name), a 24-year-old who had come to the capital to find work, was intrigued by the slim man with the endearing smile, who was slightly older than her.

    They fell easily into conversation and before long, Jenny was smitten. The love she felt for him rolls easily off her tongue. He was, she says, "polite, considerate, very romantic, attentive, charismatic". He smiled a lot and was non-judgmental. And he was cute.

    "I thought I had found my Mr Right. He was very charming and I thought I could take him to meet my parents," she says.

    They had an 18-month relationship and one of his characteristics struck her in particular: "I thought he had a high moral code."

    But now she feels very different about him. It turns out that there was a lot more to Bob Robinson than his impassioned campaigning and shoulder-length hair, which gave every impression of a rebel with many causes.

    He was, in fact, the opposite. Bob Lambert today admits he was an undercover police officer who had created the fictional persona of Bob Robinson to spy on political activists.

    The special branch officer was one of a group of police spies in a covert unit who have been infiltrating and disrupting the activities of political campaign groups across Britain for decades.

    Jenny and others only discovered his true identity more than 20 years after they first met him. The discovery has left Jenny feeling that he deceived her about the bedrock of any relationship – his identity. She is very hurt that he duped her about who he was. "I was cruelly tricked and it has made me very angry. I feel violated," she said.

    As she was trying to persuade him to set up home and have a family together, he was resisting, claiming he had to flee abroad as he was being pursued by special branch because he was a dangerous radical activist.

    The sorry episode has left her wondering if he loved her at all. Today, Lambert admits that "as part of my alter ego's cover story, I had a relationship with 'Jenny', to whom I owe an unreserved apology".

    So far, seven undercover police officers who infiltrated political groups have been exposed – and most have admitted or have been accused of sleeping with activists they were spying on. They have faced claims that they did so to glean intelligence about the activists and the protests they were organising. A growing number of women say they have suffered terrible trauma and damage from the betrayal of having a relationship with a person they later found out was a fake.

    Police chiefs claim that undercover officers are forbidden from having sex with their targets "under any circumstances" as it is "unacceptable and unprofessional". But Pete Black, an undercover officer from the same unit who infiltrated anti-racist groups in the 1990s, said sex was widely used as a technique to blend in and gather intelligence. He said there was an informal code in the unit that the spies should not fall in love with the women – or allow the women to fall in love with them.

    An investigation by the Guardian has shown that Lambert was no ordinary police spy. His skills of deception would earn him legendary status in the elite ranks of the covert unit known as the special demonstration squad (SDS). "He did what is hands down regarded as the best tour of duty ever," said Black.

    Lambert admits that in the 1980s, he "first built a reputation as a committed member of London Greenpeace, a peaceful campaigning group [on environmental issues]". He did so "as part of my cover story" to "gain the necessary credibility to become involved in serious crime".

    His aim was to penetrate the Animal Liberation Front (ALF), which he says was "then engaged in incendiary device and explosive device campaigns against targets in the vivisection, meat and fur trades".

    In the 1990s, he drew on the techniques he had learned undercover to become the head of operations in the covert unit, running a network of spies.

    It was May 1987 when Jenny met Bob. Very quickly they were spending most of their free time together. Bob said he was a gardener, doing cash-in-hand jobs in well-heeled places such as Hampstead. He told her that he was also earning a living by driving a minicab, although he was touting illegally for customers.

    But politics was really his thing, he said. He told her how he was deeply involved in campaigning for animal rights and the environment.

    Bob confided that he was heavily active in the ALF. But she was not interested. "He was always asking me to go to meetings. He introduced me to lots of activists. I did not realise what the ALF was."

    But why did Lambert have a relationship with Jenny when she had never been an activist ? "I have no idea. It's a great mystery," she says.

    It seems from his admission today that he was using her as his girlfriend so that he could portray himself as a fully rounded person with a private life to the rest of his political and social circle. Activists, eternally on their guard against police spies, are suspicious of people who, for example, turn up at their meetings out of the blue without any discernible evidence of friends or a family. Taking her along to the pub or parties with other activists was a neat way of deflecting those suspicions.

    Jenny was working at the time as an administrative assistant at the state-owned Central Electricity Generating Board. But she kept quiet about her job as she feared the activists would take against her because the CEGB was running nuclear power stations.

    She was keen to develop her career and have a family. She lived in an east London house with eight other friends, but none of them were politically active, other than having a general antipathy to Margaret Thatcher's government.

    They spent most nights together at her house, although he lived in what she called a "grotty flat above a barber's" in Hackney. He had a "single man's room with a shared kitchen" but with very little in it. "He claimed to be not interested in possessions," she said.

    A few months into their relationship came the episode that was to seal Lambert's reputation as one of the best undercover operatives the SDS had ever had.

    In the summer of 1987, Lambert had been undercover for three years and had worked his way into the inner recesses of the animal rights movement. The Animal Liberation Front operated through a tightly organised underground network of small cells of activists, making it difficult for spies to get among them. Police chiefs were on the hunt for sorely needed intelligence after three incendiary bomb attacks on Debenhams shops in Harrow, Luton and Romford. Activists had planted the bombs because the shops were selling fur products. The attacks had reputedly caused millions of pounds' worth of damage.

    Lambert identified the perpetrators to his handlers. The intelligence was so precise that the police caught them red-handed. The Old Bailey heard how police raided a flat in Tottenham and found two activists sitting at a table covered with dismantled alarm clocks, bulbs and electrical equipment for making four more firebombs.

    The prosecution told the court that Andrew Clarke, then 25, and Geoff Shepherd, then 31, were wearing gloves to conceal their fingerprints. The bombs were made in large matchboxes, with a warning: "Do not touch. Ring police. Animal Liberation Front." Shepherd was jailed for four years and four months, and Clarke for more than three years.

    But his feat also went down in SDS legend because Lambert had skilfully disguised that he was the source of the tip-off, managing to throw the suspicions on to others within the small ring of activists who knew about the attacks. So well had he retained the trust of the activists that Jenny remembers that he went, with her, to visit one of the accused in jail while they were awaiting the trial.

    Jenny remembers that after the arrests, Bob would often say that special branch was hot on his and other activists' trails. There was, he says, a "big crisis" because the animal rights campaigners suspected that there was an informer in their midst.

    A bizarre incident happened at about that time. By 1988, Jenny had moved into a Hackney flat with two others, who were not politically active. One day, special branch detectives raided Jenny's home, letting slip that they were "looking for Bob". He was not there. She remembers that one of the detectives picked up a pair of shoes and asked who owned them. They belonged to Jenny. The raid, the Guardian understands, was orchestrated by police to bolster Lambert's cover story.

    After more than a year together, Jenny felt that Bob had given her the right signals that he was interested in having children with her. He had been to see her parents three times. But when she broached the question, he said no, upsetting her hugely. She wrote in her diary that it was a black day. "I remember crying a lot that day. I was just so shocked."

    Soon afterwards, she says, Bob began to tell her that he would have to go on the run abroad to escape the special branch. Over the last few months of 1988, they discussed what to do. She said she wanted to go with him, but he said she should not.

    According to Jenny, he argued that she should not waste her life on the run, constantly looking over her shoulder, and that she deserved better – a rewarding career and a family. "He said he was not good enough for me."

    He left his flat and stayed for a couple of weeks in what she called a "safe house" with one of her friends in London. She remembers meeting him once there: there was "still a lot of electricity between us".

    In December 1988, Bob and Jenny spent a week alone together in a friend's house in Dorset to say goodbye. "I was heartbroken. Even when he left, I could not imagine that it had finished because we loved each other so much. I wanted to go on the run with him. I was prepared to do that for him."

    But his sacrifice in not taking her with him made her admire him even more.

    He said he was going to Spain. In early 1989, she received a long letter from him in Valencia, saying he was not coming back but raising the possibility that she could join him there. "Even then I could not believe it," she says. It was the last she heard from him.

    The drawn-out goodbye was a ruse. His trip to Spain and the postmark on that letter was genuine, but the reasons were not. Bob's undercover tour was ending and he needed to leave the activists without arousing suspicions. Using standard tradecraft, he had created the perception of a convincing reason for his departure – that special branch were after him. The Spanish bolthole was far enough away to deter activists from going to see him, and avoid the risk of their bumping into him.