Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Call for local protests March 2: "No FBI frame-up of Carlos Montes!"

Friday, March 2, 2012:
Montes Court Hearing to Uncover FBI Lies

Call to Organize Local Protests
at Federal Buildings or FBI Offices

Protest the FBI Frame-up of Carlos Montes!
Drop the Charges Now!

Organize a solidarity
protest on March 2!

Demand, “Drop the Charges!
No FBI Frame-up of Carlos Montes!”

Send your event announcement to for posting.

The FBI is relentlessly persecuting Carlos Montes. At his next court hearing on March 2 in Los Angeles, Carlos Montes’ lawyer will make discovery motions on how FBI special agent Matt Weber worked with L.A. Sheriff Detective Don Lord and the Joint Terrorism Task Force in this frame-up attempt. Last May, the Los Angeles Sheriffs smashed down Carlos’ door at 5 a.m., waving automatic weapons, ransacking his home, and carting away his life’s work of notes and papers. A FBI agent attempted to question Carlos about the Freedom Road Socialist Organization while he was handcuffed in the back of a police cruiser.

Chicano leader and long-time activist Carlos Montes is one of 24 anti-war and international solidarity activists hit by FBI and grand jury repression since Sept. 24, 2010. Like others caught up in this witch hunt, Montes of Los Angeles was one of the organizers of the massive protests at the 2008 Republican National Convention (RNC) in St. Paul, Minnesota. When the FBI raided the Minnesota Anti-War Committee (AWC) office, Carlos Montes’ name appeared on the warrant for investigation. An undercover law enforcement officer “Karen Sullivan” lied about her identity and spied on the AWC, including Carlos Montes, for two years.

Repression of the ‘60s Is Back
Carlos Montes is well known as a co-founder of the Brown Berets and for leading the immigrant rights mega-marches in L.A. The FBI is trying to railroad Carlos for his political organizing.

Montes' defense is challenging the state’s claim that he has a felony record from his 1969 arrest for leading a student strike that demanded Chicano, Black and Women’s Studies at an East Los Angeles college. Also, the legal record does not support the claim of a past felony, thereby ruling out the District Attorney going ahead with this case. Nevertheless, the government is alleging it was a crime for Montes to buy several guns at a local sporting goods store over a ten-year period, because of the (nonexistent) felony record. The FBI are relentless in their frame-up.

The prosecution is basing their evidence on this 42-year-old incident, where, during the 1969 student strike and rally, the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department invaded the East Los Angeles college campus, beating and arresting student protesters. In the aftermath of the turmoil, Montes was arrested while driving home with a fellow activist and family. He was charged with assaulting a Sheriff’s Deputy. Just like today, the Sheriffs targeted Montes because of his politics - he was a leader of the La Vida Nueva on campus and the Brown Berets in the community.

Support Grows! Solidarity Will Bring Victory!
Support for Montes and the other activists under attack by the FBI and U.S. Federal grand jury is growing. Recently, Montes received a letter of support from the 350,000-member California Teachers Association and the 40,000 members at LAUSD United Teachers of Los Angeles and the UAW local at UCLA.

Facing up to 18 years of prison time, Carlos Montes is preparing to go on trial. Here is what you can do:

1. Organize a solidarity protest and demand, “Drop the Charges! No FBI Frame-Up of Carlos Montes!” on March 2, 2012. Send your announcement to for posting.
2. Pass a resolution in solidarity with Carlos Montes or write a letter.
3. Sign the petition at
4. Sign the Pledge at
5. Donate to the Legal Defense

PP/POW Updates and Announcements - 28 Feb 2012

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



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Post Office Box 110034
Brooklyn, New York 11211


Free all Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War!
For the Abolition of State Repression and Domination!

Court official: Portugal won't extradite US fugitive George Wright for 4-decade-old crimes

February 29, 2012 by Barry Hatton Associated Press

CORRECTS DATE - FILE - This arrest photo taken Feb. 15, 1963 and provided by the New Jersey Department of Corrections shows George Wright while in custody for the 1962 murder of a gas station owner in Wall, N.J. Portugal won't extradite American fugitive George Wright to the United States for crimes he committed there four decades ago, after the U.S. ran out of possibilities to appeal the decision to let him stay, a Portuguese court official said Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012. Portuguese police captured the 68-year-old Wright near the capital, Lisbon, in September, ending his more than 40 years on the lam after escaping from a New Jersey prison. (AP Photo/New Jersey Department of Corrections, File)

LISBON, Portugal - Portugal won't extradite American fugitive George Wright to the United States for crimes he committed there four decades ago, after the U.S. ran out of possibilities to appeal the decision to let him stay, a Portuguese court official said Wednesday.

Portuguese police captured the 68-year-old Wright near the capital, Lisbon, in September, ending his more than 40 years on the lam after escaping from a New Jersey prison.

A Lisbon court in November refused a U.S. request to send Wright back to serve the rest of his 15- to 30-year sentence for the 1962 killing of a gas station attendant during a robbery in New Jersey. A judge ruled that the statute of limitations had expired.

Portugal's Supreme Court twice rejected U.S. appeals of that decision. The United States did not use its last chance of appeal to Portugal's constitutional Court by last week's deadline, senior Judge Luis Maria Vaz das Neves said.

"This case is now closed," Vaz das Neves told The Associated Press by telephone.

"There was only one chance of appeal left — to the constitutional Court — and the (U.S.) lawyers didn't take it," said Vaz das Neves, who has overseen the case.

The case "will be put on a shelf here somewhere," he said from his office.

The U.S. Department of Justice, contacted by email, made no immediate comment.

Vaz das Neves said the U.S. would need to find other grounds for an extradition request, such as a crime committed more recently, to reopen the case.

The U.S. also accuses Wright of being among a group of Black Liberation Army militants that hijacked a plane in 1972 from the U.S. to Algeria.

Vaz das Neves said the Portuguese statute of limitations on that alleged crime had also expired.

Wright's Portuguese lawyer, Manuel Luis Ferreira, said: "I'm happy. Justice has been done."

He told the AP his client would be making no immediate comment. He said Wright is considering offers for a book and film about his life. The lawyer declined to elaborate.

The rulings by the Portuguese courts also accepted that Wright is now a Portuguese citizen. He has lived in Portugal, in a seaside village near Lisbon, since 1993 with his Portuguese wife and two children, and he uses the name Jose Luis Jorge dos Santos. Wright got Portuguese citizenship through his 1991 marriage to a Portuguese woman.

He was captured in Portugal after his U.S. fingerprint matched one in Portugal's database of prints for all citizens.

Wright went to Guinea-Bissau, a former Portuguese colony, after the 1972 hijacking. The West African country, then run by a Marxist government, granted him political asylum in the 1980s, made him a citizen and gave him his new name.

Wright spent seven years in a U.S. prison for murder before escaping in 1970.

His life on the run began when he broke out of Bayside State Prison in Leesburg, N.J., on Aug. 19, 1970, and made his way to Detroit, where he joined the Black Liberation Army. Dressed as a priest, he hijacked a Delta flight to Miami with four others, using handguns they smuggled onto the plane.

After releasing the plane's 86 passengers for $1 million, the hijackers forced it to fly to Boston, then to Algeria, where they sought asylum.

Algeria gave the money and plane back to the U.S., and Wright and his comrades went underground, settling in France. The others were captured and convicted of hijacking in Paris, but radical French sympathizers helped Wright escape.

Wright met his future wife, Maria do Rosario Valente, in Lisbon in 1978.

Read it on Global News: Global Saskatoon | Court official: Portugal won't extradite US fugitive George Wright for 4-decade-old crimes

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Rock song about Oso Blanco!


Rock song about PP Oso Blanco by Martyr Index!

And support Oso Blanco by calling USP Lewisburg- updated info here-

Adnan’s Health Condition is stable after Surgery at Ziv Hospital

Tuesday, 28 February 2012 Palestinian News Network

On Tuesday, lawyer Ra'ed Mahammed from the Palestinian Prisoner's Society, stated during his visit to Khader Adnan in Ziv hospital in Safad that the prisoners health condition is now stable following surgery.

According to Mahamed, Khader Adnan suffered from severe abdominal pain for two days before he was escorted to hospital for an examination. The doctors found that Adnan had an obstruction in his intestine, a consequence of 66 days of hunger strike and needed immediate medical intervention.

Islamic Jihad leader suspended his hunger strike last week, following the agreement between the societies lawyer Jawad Bolus and the public prosecution in Israel that they will not renew his administrative detention after he has finished the four month period, taking into account the interrogation period from 17th September 2011, and are now treating him until he has totally recovered.

Adnan's family said that they received a phone call at dawn from the representative of the "doctors' organization for Human rights" in which he said the emergency surgery that was performed on Adnan, due to obstruction in the arteries of the stomach, was successful. Adnan has left the operation room in the hospital where he was detained for a month.

The Palestinian Prisoners' Society called for the immediate release of Adnan and condemned the Israeli authority for the administrative detention and holds them fully responsible for Adnan's health and full recovery.

Denver: 5 Arrested In 90-Minute Protest; Marchers Blocked Traffic, Tagged Cars, Lit Fireworks

Marshall Zelinger, 7NEWS Content Producer/Presenter

POSTED: 8:05 pm MST February 26, 2012
UPDATED: 1:00 pm MST February 27, 2012

DENVER -- As dozens of protesters covered their faces and marched against
traffic in downtown Denver on Saturday night, only 7NEWS was with Denver
Police as they monitored the anti-police protest.

"We want them to self express. We want to protect their First Amendment
right to do so. We just don't want them to get themselves hurt or hurt
innocent people in the area," Commander Tony Lopez told 7NEWS an hour
before the 7 p.m. protest was supposed to start.

The group known as "Anonymous," promoted their "F*** The Police" protest
with social media and handouts along the 16th Street Mall.

Denver Police were aware of the planned protest and had more than 100
officers ready to deploy.

"We're just concerned that we may have people in the group that have
nefarious intentions in mind and may commit criminal acts," said Lopez.
"You'll only see us start to ramp things up if we start to see acts of
violence or behavior we believe is going to endanger the public."

Protesters Marched Against Traffic, Lit Fireworks, Tagged Cars

At about 7:30 p.m. Saturday night, the protesters who gathered near the
D&F Tower at 16th and Arapahoe Streets began marching in the oncoming lane
of the free mall ride.

Many of the protesters had bandanas over their faces, while some wore the
distinctive white mask that doubles as the logo of "Anonymous."

Police in unmarked vehicles and on bicycle immediately followed the
protesters. Other police stayed ahead, blocking off lanes to keep the
protesters safe from traffic.

7NEWS reporter Marshall Zelinger was embedded with police monitoring the
protest. He saw protesters lighting fireworks and tagging cars with the
anarchist logo, a circle "A."

"They had tagged a bus, they tagged a couple of cars and a police car,"
police chief Robert White told 7NEWS on the 16th Street Mall. "They
actually spray-painted one of the windshields of one of our cruisers."

7NEWS wanted to know why the protesters doing the tagging and lighting
fireworks were not immediately arrested.

"Strategically, we were able to identify the individuals who actually did
the tagging. We let them move on and when it was a good time to take that
person out without it being a confrontation, they moved in and made the
arrest," said White. "You sort of have to measure the violations versus
making the arrest versus the consequences of doing that."

White told 7NEWS that five people caught tagging were arrested on mischief

"The group did not try to close in on the police officers, as a matter of
fact, as we made the arrests, for the most part they scattered and let us
make the arrest," said White.

7NEWS Granted Exclusive Access To Incident Command

As the protesters marched throughout downtown streets, 7NEWS asked for
exclusive access to the incident command area where police monitored city
surveillance, known as HALO cameras.

While in the HALO observation room, 7NEWS saw officers making the first
arrests at Colfax Avenue and Grant Street. A HALO operator kept the camera
on the arrest to document the activity.

On other HALO cameras, protesters could be seen marching against traffic.
The information was relayed to officers on the ground to help block
traffic as protesters marched through the streets.

"We try to get in front of where we think they're going to go and close
off traffic, so we can protect their safety as well as protect ongoing
traffic," said White.

Marchers Protested Against Police Violence

One of the protesters could be heard on his bullhorn referring to two
officers who had been disciplined over improper force.

"Kevin Devine and Ricky Nixon need to resign or be fired; possibly
incarcerated themselves," said the protester.

Nixon and Devine were fired in April 2011 by then-Manager of Safety
Charles Garcia, who decided the officers had used inappropriate force and
then lied in their reports about what happened on the night of July 12,
2009, outside the Denver Diner.

The chaotic scene was caught by one of the city's HALO cameras.

Nixon was working off-duty in his police uniform as security for the diner
that night, according to a police report. Devine was on duty and arrived
to assist Nixon with the disturbance involving several women who were
dressed in skirts and high heels.

The video, obtained by 7NEWS, showed an officer pulling a woman by her arm
from the diner entrance onto the sidewalk.

As another woman in a long, flowing dress tried to intervene, the video
showed the officer using his police baton to shove her to the ground with
such force her feet flew up in the air.

That woman, Kelly Boren, 27, of Lone Tree, told 7NEWS she and some friends
had just arrived at the diner in a pedicab and were not involved in
whatever disturbance that drew police.

On Jan. 13, the Civil Service Commission overturned the firing of Devine,
saying the evidence failed to sustain allegations that the officer used
inappropriate force or that he committed a "deceptive act" by lying about
his actions. The hearing officers sustained a finding that Devine failed
in his "responsibility to serve the public," but reduced his fine of three
days pay to one day.

Otherwise, Devine was reinstated to his job with all back pay, seniority
and other benefits from the date of termination, the panel's order said.

As for Nixon, the panel overturned the safety manager's decision that he
had committed deceptive acts. But the hearing officers sustained a finding
that Nixon had used inappropriate force and discourtesy and upheld his
35-day suspension without pay for those violations.

Otherwise, Nixon was reinstated to his job with all back pay, seniority
and other benefits from the date of termination.

"The terminations were overturned, not by me and certainly not by the
(safety) manager, and now we're in the process of appealing those
decisions to overturn that," said White. "Currently, we don't have any
control over that other than appealing the decision to bring the officers
back, which is being done."

The protest ended after 90 minutes at about 9 p.m. with five total arrests.

Palestinian prisoner in isolation on hunger strike: lawyer

Hamas security men keep watch as a bus carrying Palestinian prisoners arrives in the Rafah crossing with Egypt in 2011

A Palestinian woman freed in a prisoner swap with Israel but later re-arrested has gone on hunger strike, a Palestinian lawyer said on Sunday.

Hanaa al-Shalabi has been on hunger strike since the day of her arrest on February 16, when she was ordered detained without trial for six months, said lawyer Fawaz al-Shuli who visited her in prison.

"She is determined to carry on her hunger strike even though the Israeli prison authorities decided to isolate her," he told AFP.

Shalabi "is demanding the end of administrative detention (imprisonment without charge) and that the soldiers who beat her up and undressed her to carry out a body search be put on trial," he said.

Shalabi was among more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners released in October in a trade for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, held by Gaza-based militants for more than five years.

Her refusal to be fed comes as Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan on Tuesday ended a 66-day hunger strike in protest at his imprisonment without charge, under a deal that will see him released in April.

Shalabi, from the West Bank village of Burqin village near Jenin, spent 30 months in detention before her release last year.

The Israeli army said she was "a global jihad-affiliated operative" and was re-arrested on suspicion that she "posed a threat to the area."

The Palestinian Prisoners Club says she is one of five inmates freed in the October swap who have since been re-arrested.

Adnan's protest, the longest hunger strike carried out by any Palestinian prisoner, attracted international attention and threw a spotlight on Israel's use of administrative detention, a military procedure which allows suspects to be held without charge indefinitely.

Israel issues 3rd consecutive detention order against Ahmad Qatamesh

Feb. 27, 2012 Electronic Intifada

The administrative detention order for prisoner of conscience Ahmad Qatamish was renewed for another 6 months #StopAD
Feb 26 via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Ahmad Qatamish is a prominent writer and political scientist who previously spent 5 and a half years in administrative detention #StopAD
Feb 26 via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Since his re-arrest in April 2011, Ahmad Qatamish has received 3 administrative detention orders #StopAD
Feb 26 via web Favorite Retweet Reply

The Palestinian prisoners advocacy group Addameer announced on Twitter yesterday that Israel had renewed administrative detention orders against Palestinian writer Ahmad Qatamesh for an additional six months. This is the third consecutive administrative detention order issued against Qatamesh.

The Palestinian writer and academic has been held without charge since 21 April 2011, when Israeli soldiers raided his family’s home, holding his family members hostage at gunpoint until Qatamesh, who was not home at the time, surrendered himself.

Ahmad’s daughter, Hanin Ahmad Qatamesh, described in harrowing detail how Israeli soldiers raided her family’s home in the middle of the night, searching for her father, in an article for The Electronic Intifada.

Ahmad Qatamesh’s wife Suha Barghouti, a human rights activist, told The Electronic Intifada: “It’s so clear that he is there [in Israeli prison] because of his ideas and political activism. He is a prisoner of conscience and he is there because of political reasons.”

In September of last year, Amnesty International said Ahmad Qatamesh may be a prisoner of conscience, and the organization expressed concerns that “he may be detained solely for the peaceful expression of his political views.”

News of Israel’s renewal of the detention orders against Qatamesh comes on the heels of a historic hunger strike made by Palestinian administrative detainee Khader Adnan. Adnan waged a 66-day-long strike to protest his being detained without charge. He ended his strike after Israel agreed to not renew his detention orders and release Adnan on 17 April.

Another Palestinian administrative detainee, Hana al-Shalabi, is entering her twelfth day of hunger strike. Like Adnan, this is not the first time Israel has arrested her and held her without charge or trial; she was arrested in September 2009 and subjected to solitary confinement, abuse and sexual harassment, according to an Addameer profile of al-Shalabi. A military court hearing confirming the administrative detention order against al-Shalabi is due to be held later today, according to Addameer.

There are more than 300 Palestinians currently being held without charge or trial under administrative detention orders, including at least twenty out of 132 members of the elected Palestinian Legislative Council.

Take action

Addameer has a toolkit for activists to put pressure on Israel to release Qatamesh, and encourages supporters to write to Qatamesh in prison (Ahmad Qatamesh, Ofer Prison, Givat Zeev, PO Box 3007, via Israel).

Addameer also has a profile of Qatamesh which includes information on how Israel had previously been held in administrative detention for five and a half years, and the impact that his imprisonment has had on his family:

Ahmad was first arrested in 1992 in front of his three-year-old daughter. Following his arrest, he was detained for more than a year - during which time he was tortured - before being placed in administrative detention in October 1993, despite the Military Judge ordering his release. Ahmad’s detention orders were repeatedly renewed for the next five and a half years, despite a lack of evidence purported against him. Due to pressure from international campaigns, Ahmad was finally released in 1998, becoming one of the longest-serving administrative detainees held without charge in Israeli prison. His memoir, I shall not wear your tarboosh [fez], accounts his experiences of being tortured while in detention.


Ahmad’s extensive detention and arrests have been extremely difficult for his wife, Suha, a board member of Addameer and the Palestine Red Crescent Society, and his daughter, Haneen, a university student at the American University in Cairo. Suha recalls of his most recent arrest, “A few days ago, when they arrested my husband, I found out that there are very deep marks on my daughter’s spirit. She was three years old at that moment [when they arrested her father in 1992], and the marks are still there. When the soldiers told her that [they] arrested her father again, she almost collapsed.” Suha and Haneen hoped that Ahmad would be released before Haneen’s graduation in January. The event was very important to Ahmad, particularly because he feels as though he was not able to watch his daughter grow up for much of her childhood.

More than ten years after he was released from his previous detention, it had not occurred to Ahmad’s wife Suha that they might have to suffer through the same ordeal once again. The torment of his arrest is made even worse by the uncertainty of administrative detention and not being able to prepare for his release, as the family is already all-too-familiar with the prison authorities’ practice of renewing administrative detention orders every six months. She condemns his imprisonment as a prisoner of conscience, arrested for his ideas and political activism, and calls on the international community to continue to assert pressure on his behalf.

Administrative detention is a procedure that allows the Israeli military to hold detainees indefinitely on secret evidence without charging them or allowing them to stand trial. In the occupied Palestinian West Bank, the Israeli army is authorized to issue administrative detention orders against Palestinian civilians on the basis of Military Order 1651. This order empowers military commanders to detain an individual for up to six month renewable periods if they have “reasonable grounds to presume that the security of the area or public security require the detention.” On or just before the expiry date, the detention order is frequently renewed. This process can be continued indefinitely.

Incident on the dancefloor – pre-history of the arrest of Alexey Olesinov

Feb. 27, 2012 Avtonom

13th of February, a known Moscow anti-fascist Alexey Olesinov was arrested in St. Petersburg with charges of “hooliganism”, related to incident in Moscow club “Vozdukh” 17th of December.

The following statement on the event was published by anonymous participant of the anti-fascist initiative “Direct help” already 19th of December, but considering arrest of Olesinov, we consider necessary to pick up the topic again.Alexey had not anything to do with this fight, but it is now used as a pretext to imprison him. It is obvious, that “Anti-extremist center” and FSB are now revenging the fact, that they could not jail him for a longer time back in 2009, when he was framed up last time. It is obvious, that real reason why officials are after him, are the anti-fascist activities of Olesinov during last decade.

Old version of our website is currently unavailable, but some background information on the court case of 2009 is available here: Fresh news on topic will be available with tag.

Story of the events in club “Vozdukh” is useful not only in order to once again see, how much official version may differ from real events, but also to demonstrate to all owners of Moscow clubs, how short-sighted it is to employ people with far-right views to security, as they have a tendency to provoke visitors, which will eventually lead to property destruction and other trouble.

Currently, Aleksei is remanded, and next time court will decide on continuation of imprisonment in prior to court 18th of March. You may donate to legal costs of Olesinov through Anarchist Black Cross of Moscow, more details on how to do this are available here:

Rage of subculture (first-hand account of a participator of “Direct Help” on events in club “Vozdukh”).

On Saturday 17th of December, I became an unwilling witness of incident, to which disappointed audience of the festival “East Beat Fest” took part in club “Vozdukh”, which is located at “Nizhni Susalny” side-street of Moscow. I came there to relax in a friendly atmosphere, and to listen my favorite bands.

In middle of the concert, two new persons came to work for the security – during first part of the concert, security was done by two older guys with t-shirt “security” in a shift. Visitors of the club and participators of the concert immediately paid attention to new security, as they were provoking visitors. They were demonstratively wearing “travmat”-pistols (a popular Russian self-defence weapon, which shots rubber-coated metal bullets), another hand had a tattoo with tsarist black-golden-white flag, and letters CSKA. Guys immediately admitted, that they are “listeners of patriotic rap”, and in their youth they did “trashed some blacks”. Their work consisted of gathering bottles of mineral water from and random harrassment of guests of the concert, the same time they attempted to annoy organisers by bragging that they were ultra-right football hooligans, and members of such notable hooligan firms as “Yaroslavka” and “Gallant Steeds”.

After a number of verbal conflicts with spectators, new security started to complain, that people are going in and out with weapons – this although nobody refused from being searched, and security could not find any weapons during searches. Meanwhile, concert went on, and when headliners, Engage At Will from St. Petersburg and unsubs from Kirov were supposed to perform, a fight between two spectators took place in second floor of the premises. Four persons from the security immediately ran to second floor, where they found two participators and their friends, who were currently negotiating in order to resolve the conflict peacefully. Security grabbed first person they saw, and attempted to push him down the stairs. His friends stepped up to defend him, and did not let him be pushed down the stairs.

After a long and heated debate, security withdraw, promising to solve issues with spectators in the street. They went to complain to art-director of the club, claiming that in second floor “everything was smashed”. Art-director decided to halt concert prematurely. Band members attempted to negotiate, as it was mere half hours of remaining showtime, but director threatened them with police. Organisers promised, that they would be ready to negotiate with police as well, but managers of the club asked everyone to disperse, and organisers to gather their sound system. Organisers agreed, and started to disassemble sound system. I did not witnessed what happened next, but I heard this from my punk acquintances, who helped with disassembling the sound system.

They told that security did not let some of the people to the street, promising that soon their “directors”, “mafia” and “Yaroslavka” will come, and that they will settle their disagreements with organisers of the concert. At that point, organisers had already left the premises with part of the sound system. People, whom security attempted to hold as hostages, refused to stay and wait for whatever there was to come, and headed towards exit. At this point, security grabbed his “travmat” and started to shoot at the crowd. This resulted a stampede at the exit, as people panicked after the shot, some windows got broken either due to stampede or due to shooting. How one of the armed securty personell got beaten up (and according to mainstream media, also shot with “travmat” gun and stabbed” - editorial collective of, is unclear.

But it is obvious, that conflict was provoked by security, or as they now claim in the media, “administrators” of the club. And they were the ones who escalated the conflict, by grabbing their guns and shooting at the people. Now wounded security promises to “give any kind of testimony”, in order to save their arses. And they accuse anti-fascists for escalation of the violence. Obviously, that such people feel that any subcultures pose a threat to them, as nobody will never accept the ridiculous ideas, with which security of the concert associates itself. As for the administrators of the clubs, we recommend them to pick up their cadres more carefully, and also to take account wishes of the organisers of the concerts, and also to follow conditions of the contract until end of the concert, otherwise their profits will disappear as smoke to the air due after a reaction of discontent public.

A member of “Direct help”.

Арест активиста антифа Алексея Олесинова from Anton Stekov on Vimeo.

FREE LYNNE STEWART !!!! Come and Support Lynne’s appeal February 29!

February 16th, 2012 Lynn

FREE LYNNE STEWART !!!! Come and Support Lynne’s appeal!

VIGIL – February 28, 2012 sundown until @ Tom Paine Park, NYC

OCCUPY THE COURTS February 29, 2012 – Lynne’s Appeal @ 500 Pearl Street, NYC 9am

Lynne says:

“A Large Outpouring of Support in Foley Square and Tom Paine Park and in the Courtroom will signal to these arbiters of “Justice” that attention must be paid, the 99% are watching them with suspicion and tallying up the roads not taken.”


An Oscar-nominated documentary tied to Eugene explores ‘eco-terrorism’ without easy heroes or villains

Before “The Artist” or “Hugo” or “The Descendents” or whatever wins best picture at the 84th Academy Awards tonight in Hollywood, before Brad Pitt or George Clooney or the “French George Clooney” (Jean Dujardin) takes home the best-actor prize, and Meryl Streep finally — maybe? — gets her second best-actress nod, watch for Eugene’s Oscar clip.

It may or may not come; instead of tree-climbing activists being pepper-sprayed downtown, or images of burned-out SUVs at a former Franklin Boulevard Chevrolet dealership, the blip of footage shown might be from New York City or Vail, Colo., or maybe even Glendale, Ore.

But rest assured, our town will have some rare representation during the film industry’s biggest night of the year.

That’s because one of the five nominees for best documentary feature is “If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front,” an 85-minute film with an epicenter that is largely Eugene.

The extraordinary work of co-directors Marshall Curry and Sam Cullman began one day in 2005 when Elizabeth Martin, Curry’s wife, came home from work with a tale that neither she nor her husband could believe: Four federal agents had entered her Brooklyn office that afternoon and arrested Daniel McGowan, one of her employees, on eco-terrorism charges.

Curry, who at the time was working on his second documentary film — his first, 2005’s “Street Fight,” was also nominated for an Oscar — was astonished. He had met the mild-mannered McGowan, a business major in college who grew up in Queens the son of a New York City police officer, and “terrorist” was not the first thing that came to mind.

Curry had to know more. But he would have to wait more than a month to meet with McGowan in person, because McGowan was immediately flown across the country and placed in the Lane County Jail to await an appearance in front of U.S. Magistrate Thomas Coffin on federal charges of conspiracy arson, using a firebomb and 13 arsons in connection with the 2001 fires set at Superior Lumber Co. in Glendale and Jefferson Poplar Farm in Clatskanie.

“If a Tree Falls,” which won the documentary editing award at last year’s Sundance Film Festival, is the story of a Eugene-based cell of the Earth Liberation Front — a radical eco-defense coalition born in the early 1990s in the United Kingdom and hell-bent on taking the profit motive out of environmental destruction by causing economic damage to business through the use of property damage — as told through McGowan’s personal story.

Defining terrorism

McGowan moved to Eugene in 2000, where he briefly worked at the Earth First! Journal, shortly after taking part in the 1999 World Trade Organization protests in Seattle. He had gotten a job at a Manhattan public relations firm after college but, as he says in the film, his life began to change after he joined an environmental center and saw films of oil spills and mountain tops left bald by old-growth logging.

It was in Eugene that McGowan forged relationships with the co-conspirators who would parade through the Wayne L. Morse United States Courthouse in the spring and summer of 2007, on their way to federal prison terms.

Their arrests came four years after the local cell had disbanded in 2001 and were part of a nationwide sweep, called “Operation Backfire,” of suspects in what local federal prosecutor Kirk Engdahl, now retired, describes in the film as “the largest domestic terrorism case in the history of the United States.”

The arrests of 14 members of the cell were made possible after one member, Jake Ferguson of Eugene, agreed to wear a hidden tape recorder and capture incriminating words made by the others, including McGowan.

Before McGowan’s arrival here, the group had already burned down the Oakridge Ranger Station in 1996 and set fire to a Vail, Colo., ski resort in 1998 that caused $24 million in damage, among other arsons across five states. And the year after he moved to town, ELF members set fire to 35 vehicles at the former Joe Romania Chevrolet Truck Center on Franklin Boulevard, causing $1 million in damage.

But much of the film looks at what constitutes terrorism in a post-Sept. 11 world; whether arson and other property crimes in which no one is killed deserve the terrorist label.

“There was a personal element that was very interesting to me,” the 42-year-old Curry said during a phone interview last week from his Brooklyn home, referring to his fascination with McGowan’s plight. “But I also thought the larger issue of how we define terrorism was interesting and would elevate the film beyond just a human interest story.”

Some — film reviewers, bloggers and others — have questioned whether the documentary maybe leans on the side of being too sympathetic toward McGowan. New York Times film critic Stephen Holden, in reviewing the film upon its release last June, said it was “cautiously sympathetic” toward him.

Writing in The Daily Telegragh of London earlier this month, environmental reporter Louise Gray asks: “Is it right to brand this man a terrorist? This documentary did not answer the question, what it did do is raise a whole lot more and in the best way, to make you have a long, hard think.”

Writing on his New York Times blog, “Dot Earth,” before the film had made the final cut and been nominated for an Oscar, former Times’ environmental reporter Andrew Revkin said a nomination would be “a vote for fearless exploration of complexity in a world drawn to oversimplified depictions of events and problems, heroes and villains. It would be much simpler to make a film that was either deeply sympathetic or scathing considering the subject.”

A messy world

For anyone who thinks it’s too sympathetic toward McGowan or other so-called eco-terrorists, Curry says the film spends a lot of time “exploring the mistakes these people made,” and he hopes the message that comes across is that of a “cautionary tale” for both activists and government.

The film’s aim, Curry says on its website,, was not to answer questions, but “to start conversations and debates ... There are some audiences (that) have been uncomfortable with the ambiguity. They want movies to have good guys and bad guys, but I think the world is messier.”

In a follow-up e-mail, after his phone interview with The Register-Guard, Curry wrote: “Almost everyone who has seen it — wherever they stand politically — has said they see it as accurate, fair and complex. The movie tries to understand the human element behind the ELF arsons — to examine ELF members, the victims of the arsons, and the members of law enforcement as three dimensional people rather than cartoonish caricatures. There may be some people who don’t want to understand their opponents — who would like to keep things tidy, with Hollywood villains and Hollywood heroes — and this probably isn’t the movie for them. I think this is a film for people who like to chew their own food. It tries to explain and understand people without excusing their actions or hiding their flaws.”

People on both sides of the story have praised the film.

“The film remained fair and faithful to all the subjects of the film and clearly demonstrated the complexity of the issues,” Engdall, the assistant U.S. attorney who prosecuted McGowan, says on the film’s website. “I believe viewing the film would prompt law enforcement personnel and those who exercise civil disobedience to think beyond moments of confrontation and that the film will engender a greater awareness and a better understanding between police and protesters.”

At his June 4, 2007, sentencing in Eugene in front of U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken, McGowan said that as a New Yorker, he was “deeply offended” by having the terrorism label applied to him.

Labels aside, Aiken had no sympathy for McGowan that day: “You are not a poster child for environmental or other causes,” the judge told him, according to The Register-Guard’s coverage. “You are an arsonist. You are not a political prisoner, getting prosecuted for true activism. You committed arson. You created danger for other people and intended to intimidate and frighten others.”

McGowan was sentenced to seven years in federal prison and was initially housed at a special unit for terrorists in Marion, Ill. He has since been moved to another prison in Terre Haute, Ind., and is eligible for release next year.

‘Once-in-a-lifetime gig’

There are plenty of local faces in the film, including activist video­grapher Tim Lewis, who gets plenty of screen time in interviews and who says he provided six minutes of footage used in the film, from the logging protests at Warner Creek east of Oakridge in 1996, to the disturbing June 1, 1997, footage of Eugene police pepper spraying tree-sitters in downtown Eugene; Eugene police detective Greg Harvey and former Eugene police Capt. Chuck Tilby, who worked the case; and Eugene civil rights attorney Lauren Regan who helped represent McGowan in court.

Lewis — who is in Los Angeles today hoping to meet up with Curry and Cullman after the ceremony — argues in the film that the tactics of law enforcement had a lot to do with radicalizing ELF members.

“I figure this is a once-in-a-lifetime gig,” Lewis said of staying in the same hotel as Curry and Cullman, who will attend tonight’s ceremony with their wives and some other editors and producers of the film. Lewis does not have a seat at the awards, but he does have his telescope with him, he said, in the hopes of looking out the seventh floor window of the Hotel Sofitel on Beverly Boulevard, to catch a glimpse of stars walking the red carpet. Lewis also believes the film was genuinely balanced. “I think that Marshall really sort of hit it fairly.”

Harvey and Tilby also give the film high praise.

“I thought they did a marvelous job. I thought they came away with a terrific product,” said Tilby, who recently left the Eugene Police Department to help the University of Oregon’s Department of Public Safety convert to a police force. “I think what showed is a human element we often don’t see,” Tilby said of the film. “I really thought they were objective and showed the realities of both camps.”

Getting both sides to open up was perhaps the biggest challenge in making the film, Curry said. The filmmakers were able to win McGowan’s trust early on, filming him during his house arrest at his sister’s apartment in New York, but they had to wait until McGowan and the others were sentenced in 2007 before anyone on the law enforcement side would speak with them.

Harvey said he initially feared the story would be one-sided, but once he saw the film, “I thought it was a really well-done job. I was really glad that somebody was out there trying to get the story done. It’s a big story in America.”

‘I’ll think of something’

Curry knows the odds of winning tonight are certainly better than six years ago when “Street Fight,” the story of Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker’s 2002 campaign against Sharpe James, was up against one of the best-known and highest-grossing documentaries in recent years, “March of the Penguins.” But the competition this year, as always, is stiff.

“It’s a tough one to pick this year,” he said. “It’s a great year for documentaries, so anytime you’re in that five, it’s a surprise.”

This is certainly not the first film largely shot or set in Oregon to be nominated for an Oscar. After all, 1975 best-picture winner “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” filmed at the Oregon State Hospital in Salem, is one of the few films to ever sweep the four major Oscars — picture, director, actor, actress, as well as winning best adapted screenplay.

And the famous “chicken salad sandwich” scene with Jack Nicholson in 1970 best-picture nominee “Five Easy Pieces” was filmed at the Interstate 5 Denny’s on Glenwood Drive in Eugene.

Although he’s an East Coaster, Curry said he plans to represent Eugene and Oregon proudly tonight — win or lose.

As of last week, however, he had not prepared a speech. “I’ll think of something (to say), yes,” he said. “But I don’t want to jinx it.”

“This is a film for people who like to chew their own food.”


Palestinian woman on 11th day of hunger strike, as parents join her to protest no-charge detention by Israel

As Palestinian “administrative detainee” Hana Al-Shalabi, 29, entered her eleventh day on hunger strike, her parents continued their own hunger strike in solidarity, against their daughter’s imprisonment without charge or trial by Israel.

Hana was arrested from her home in Burqin village near Jenin on 16 February in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. She had previously spent two and a half years in administrative detention – with no charge or trial – from 14 September 2009, until she was released last October as part of a prisoner exchange deal between Israel and Hamas, according to updates posted by Addameer via its Twitter and Facebook pages.

The military court hearing regarding confirming the administrative detention order for #HanaShalabi is tomorrow
Feb 26 via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Parents on hunger strike

Meanwhile, al-Shalabi’s parents have been on hunger strike for three days, in a solidarity tent near next to their home in Burqin, and have called for international intervention to free their daughter and end the policy of administrative detention.

Call for Action

Samidoun, the Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, has issued an action alert calling for people to take action to bring attention to Hana Al-Shalabi’s case.

Renewed attention to Israel’s widespread use of detention without charge came as a result of the 66-day hunger strike of Khader Adnan. Amnesty International called the deal which ended Adnan’s hunger strike “insufficient” and reiterated its demand that Israel end the use of detention without charge or trial.

Currently more than 300 Palestinians are in Israeli administrative detention, including 21 elected members of the Palestinian Legislative Council.

Previous detention

According to an Addameer profile which refers to her earlier period of detention:

Shalabi was arrested from her family home on 14 September 2009. At approximately 1:30 a.m. that morning, Israeli soldiers in 12 military jeeps surrounded her house in Burqin village, near the West Bank town of Jenin. The soldiers ordered Hana’s entire family outside of the house and demanded Hana give them her identity card. They then proceeded to conduct a thorough search of the family’s home. During the search, one of the soldiers forcibly removed framed pictures of Hana’s brother Samer, who was killed by the Israeli army in 2005, tore them apart and walked over the pieces in front of the entire family.

Shalabi was subjected to solitary confinement, abuse and sexual harrassment during her interrogation and then ordered to be detained without charge or trial for six months.

That order was later renewed, however she was subsequently released as part of the prisoner deal in which Israel agreed to release 1,027 Palestinians in exchange for the return of an Israeli soldier who had been held in Gaza since 2006.

Meredith Lowell UPDATE

ELP Information Bulletin (26th of February 2012)

Dear friends ELP has received further information about Meredith Lowell. According to the mainstream media Meredith tried to hire a hitman (an undercover FBI agent) to shoot or stab a person wearing a fur coat. According to the media, Meredith allegedly said she wanted her victim to be 14 or older but would be happy for the victim to be as young as 12. ELP recognises that mainstream media reports are not always the most reliable of sources on animal rights trials. However ELP does not condone child murder and if these reports are correct then it will influence whether we can list Meredith as a prisoner or not.

+++++ Earth Liberation Prisoners Support Network
BM Box 2407 London WC1N 3XX England

Anonymous Vandalizes US Prison Contractors' Site

The website of an international prison contractor was defaced by hackers who on Friday replaced the company's home page with a hip-hop homage devoted to former death row inmate Mumia Abu Jamal.

Hackers allied to the loose-knit Anonymous movement claimed responsibility for vandalizing the site of Boca Raton, Florida-based GEO Group Inc., which manages some 60 custodial facilities in Europe, North America, Australia and South Africa.

Anonymous said in a statement posted to the stricken website that its hack was "part of our ongoing efforts to dismantle the prison industrial complex."

Geo Group Inc. spokesman Pablo Paez said in an email to The Associated Press that no information on its staff or operations was accessed.

He said: "Our public website is hosted by an external offsite third-party vendor — therefore no such information was compromised."

Earlier Friday, Anonymous claimed credit for defacing the website of a Dayton, Ohio-based chapter of Infragard, a public-private partnership for critical infrastructure protection sponsored by the FBI. The group's site was replaced by a video of Coolio's 1995 rap hit, "Gangsta's Paradise."

The FBI declined to comment on that attack.

Anonymous, an amorphous collection of activists and Internet mischief-makers, has increasingly focused its energy on military, police and security companies in recent months. Among its most spectacular coups: The interception of a conference call between FBI and London police cyber-investigators working to track them down.

At least one element within the group has promised weekly attacks on government-linked targets.

Family of California Prisoner Who Died on Hunger Strike Speaks Out

February 23, 2012 Solitary Watch
Scan 58

The family of Christian Gomez, the 27-year-old prisoner who died while on hunger strike at California’s Corcoran State Prison, is speaking out about the loss of their family member in the hope that similar incidents in the future are avoided.

In a phone call with Solitary Watch, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokesperson Terry Thornton confirmed that Gomez had been placed in solitary confinement in the Administrative Segregation Unit (ASU) pending investigation of assault on another inmate with a weapon on January 14, 2012. Thornton would not confirm the status of this investigation. Gomez was serving a life sentence for first degree murder and attempted murder.

Christian Gomez had not told his family members of his intentions to participate in the January 27-February 13 hunger strike held by ASU inmates in protest of their conditions. According to an interview with Gomez’s sister, Y.L., she “found out when the coroner Tom [Edmonds] implied that there was a possibility of a chemical imbalance due to a hunger strike he was participating in. That’s the first I heard of this. Back in [September or October] when he first was transferred there he did tell me that they were having a hunger strike to fight for their rights but he was in general population.”

Contrary to earlier reports that he had only been on a hunger strike for four days when he died, Terry Thornton confirmed to Solitary Watch that Gomez joined the strike on January 27 with 31 other inmates. This means that he had been on hunger strike for a week at the time of his death.

The family says that Gomez had high blood pressure, thyroid and kidney problems. According to Y.L., before being sent to Corcoran he had been incarcerated at High Desert State Prison for four years. “He told me things were a lot different at this prison and that he didn’t receive the same medical attention he received over at high desert,” said Y.L.

Gomez was found unresponsive in his cell at an unconfirmed time on February 2. Reports from other inmates indicate that they had pounded on their cell doors and screamed to get the attention of the correctional officers. He was declared dead at Corcoran District Hospital at 12:22 PM.

According to Y.L., “My mother received the call of my brother’s death on Thursday February 2, 2012 at approximately 1pm. She then called me hysterically and that’s when I went over to her house. When I got there I asked her who called and she said someone from the prison. [I] asked her if they gave her a number were we could call to obtain more info and she said no. They told her that she would receive a letter in the mail explaining everything and where we could claim the body… I was so upset that things were being handled this way, for God sake we were talking about a human being not an animal.”

Asked how she would like people to remember her brother, Y.L. responded,”he was a genuine person that had not lost hope in the system. He knew that he would eventually get out. Although he had made bad choices in who he hung around with he didn’t murder anyone. The witnesses in his case never identified him on the contrary, but yet he was still convicted. Unfortunately we couldn’t afford a good attorney and he got screwed. He was very caring with his family and friends and therefore he will be greatly missed by those who knew him. He had matured a lot in prison and can be remembered by those who knew him as a prankster. There was never a dull moment with him. He always had a big smile when we visited him and never discussed how bad things were in there to not worry us. He always said he was fine. Even in the last letter he wrote on Jan 30th which my mom received on Feb 3rd he wrote that he was fine.”

Update, February 24: Yajaira Lopez (Y.L.), sister of Christian Gomez, appeared on Democracy Now! this morning to talk about her brother’s life and death. Democracy Now! also interviewed Carol Strickland of the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition and Prisoners With Children, as well as Terry Thornton of the CDCR.

Bradley Manning, Solitary Confinement and the Occupy 4 Prisoners

In the Hole


Today US Army Private Bradley Manning is to be formally charged with numerous crimes at Fort Meade, Maryland. Manning, who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by members of the Icelandic Parliament, is charged with releasing hundreds of thousands of documents exposing secrets of the US government to the whistleblower website Wikileaks. These documents exposed lies, corruption and crimes by the US and other countries. The Bradley Manning defense team points out accurately that much of what was published by Wikileaks was either not actually secret or should not have been secret.

The Manning prosecution is a tragic miscarriage of justice. US officials are highly embarrassed by what Manning exposed and are shooting the messenger. As Glen Greenwald, the terrific Salon writer, has observed, President Obama has prosecuted more whistleblowers for espionage than all other presidents combined.

One of the most outrageous parts of the treatment of Bradley Manning is that the US kept him in illegal and torturous solitary confinement conditions for months at the Quantico Marine base in Virginia. Keeping Manning in solitary confinement sparked challenges from many groups including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the Center for Constitutional Rights, the ACLU and the New York Times.

Human rights’ advocates rightly point out that solitary confinement is designed to break down people mentally. Because of that, prolonged solitary confinement is internationally recognized as a form of torture. The conditions and practices of isolation are in violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UN Convention against Torture, and the UN Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination.

Medical experts say that after 60 days in solitary peoples’ mental state begins to break down. That means a person will start to experience panic, anxiety, confusion, headaches, heart palpitations, sleep problems, withdrawal, anger, depression, despair, and over-sensitivity. Over time this can lead to severe psychiatric trauma and harms like psychosis, distortion of reality, hallucinations, mass anxiety and acute confusion. Essentially, the mind disintegrates.

That is why the United Nations special rapporteur on torture sought to investigate Manning’s solitary confinement and reprimanded the US when the Army would not let him have an unmonitored visit.

History will likely judge Manning as heroic as it has Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers.

It is important to realize that tens of thousands of other people besides Manning are held in solitary confinement in the US today and every day. Experts estimate a minimum of 20,000 people are held in solitary in supermax prisons alone, not counting thousands of others in state and local prisons who are also held in solitary confinement. And solitary confinement is often forced on Muslim prisoners, even pre-trial people who are assumed innocent, under federal Special Administrative Measures.

In 1995, the U.N. Human Rights Committee stated that isolation conditions in certain U.S. maximum security prisons were incompatible with international standards. In 1996, the U.N. special rapporteur on torture reported on cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment in U.S. supermax prisons. In 2000, the U.N. Committee on Torture roundly condemned the United States for its treatment of prisoners, citing supermax prisons. In May 2006, the same committee concluded that the United States should “review the regimen imposed on detainees in supermax prisons, in particular, the practice of prolonged isolation.”

John McCain said his two years in solitary confinement were torture. “It crushes your spirit and weakens your resistance effectively than any other form of mistreatment.” The reaction of McCain and many other victims of isolation torture were described in an excellent 2009 New Yorker article on isolation by Atul Gawande. Gawande concluded that prolonged isolation is objectively horrifying, intrinsically cruel, and more widespread in the U.S. than any country in the world.

This week hundreds of members of the Occupy movement merged forces with people advocating for human rights for prisoners in demonstrations in California, New York, Ohio, and Washington DC. They call themselves Occupy 4 Prisoners. Activists are working to create a social movement for serious and fundamental changes in the US criminal system.

One of the major complaints of prisoner human rights activists is the abuse of solitary confinement in prisons across the US. Prison activist Mumia Abu-Jamal said justice demands the end of solitary, “It means the abolition of solitary confinement, for it is no more than modern-day torture chambers for the poor.” Pelican Bay State Prison in California, the site of a hunger strike by hundreds of prisoners last year, holds over 1000 inmates in solitary confinement, some as long as 20 years.

At the Occupy Prisoners rally outside San Quentin prison, the three American hikers who were held for a year in Iran told of the psychological impact of 14 months of solitary confinement. Sarah Shourd said the time without human contact drove her to beat the walls of her cell until her knuckles bled.

When Manning was held in solitary he was kept in his cell 23 hours a day for months at a time. The US government tortured him to send a message to others who might consider blowing the whistle on US secrets. At the same time, tens of thousands of others in the US are being held in their cells 23 hours a day for months, even years at a time. That torture is also sending a message.

Thousands stood up with Bradley Manning and got him released from solitary. People must likewise stand up with the thousands of others in solitary as well.

So, stand in solidarity with Bradley Manning and fight against his prosecution. And stand also against solitary confinement of the tens of thousands in US jails and prisons. Check out the Bradley Manning Support Network, Solitary Watch, and Occupy 4 Prisoners for ways to participate.

Bill Quigley is a human rights lawyer who teaches at Loyola University New Orleans and works with the Center for Constitutional Rights. A version of this article with full sources is available. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, forthcoming from AK Press. You can reach Bill at

Petition to End the Solitary Confinement Torture of Russell Maroon Shoats

Sign the Petition Free Russell Maroon Shoats

Petition to End the Solitary Confinement Torture of Russell Maroon Shoats

Russell Maroon Shoats (#AF-3855), a 68-year-old prisoner held at the State Correctional Institution (SCI) Greene in southwestern Pennsylvania, has been kept in solitary confinement for more than 21 years. He has been unable to hold his children or grandchildren or interact with others in a humane setting during this time, despite not having violated prison rules in two decades. He has suffered severe psychological anguish and his physical health has been worsened by the stress of prolonged isolation.

Maroon has spent nearly 40 years within the Pennsylvania prison system, 30 of those in solitary confinement. During this time he has earned a reputation amongst prison staff and prisoners as a leader because of his consistent support for human rights inside and outside the walls. Prison officials claim that Mr. Shoats is a security threat due to past escapes and attempts, though new evidence has surfaced that his continued solitary confinement is based on secret and fraudulent evidence of a non-existent plan to takeover a prison in the 1980s. Prison officials also identified Maroon’s political associations as a basis for continuing to torture him via solitary confinement.

We are distressed and outraged that an elderly man who is nearing his 70th birthday continues to be treated in such a cruel manner based on his constitutionally-protected support for human rights and in retaliation for his expressing political opinions disfavored by the prison administration. Not having committed an infraction in more than two decades reveals that Russell Shoats is more than ready to re-enter the general prison population.

We, the undersigned, are calling on prison officials to end the solitary confinement torture of Russell Maroon Shoats by releasing him into the general population of the prison immediately.

Sign the Petition

Interview of Campaign to Defend Khimki Hostages for TerraSelvaggia

Feb. 23, 2012 Avtonom

TerraSelvaggia is an Italian eco-anarchist paper, which made this interview with Russian Campaign to Defend Khimki Hostages last September. Paper issue came up some time ago after the usual delays, so now it is time for online publication. Keep in mind, that this interview reflects the situation in Russian society last September – before the recent massive protest against election fraud. Now much has changed since then, but much is still the same. Enjoy!


For the beginning, about us, so that you know from which perspective we are talking.

S2W is an anarchist, participator of the Autonomous Action and “Campaign to Defend Khimki Hostages”. Yaroslav Nikitenko is an eco-activist, who campaigns for the Khimki forest amongst other issues. We both write in personal capacity only. “Campaign to Defend Khimki Hostages” is (was) an initiative separate from the general Khimki forest campaign, although Campaign to Defend Khimki Hostages cooperates closely with the forest campaign.

Which is the current situation of the struggle in Khimki and the situation of those who have been hit by repression?

S2W: With the forest, situation is unfortunate, but with those who have been hit by repression, it is not so bad.

While writing this, forest has been cut from whole length of the Khimki forest, and engineering works of the road construction are underway, while logging is proceeding to North-West direction.

Of course there is still a lot of forest that could be saved, as when road has been built, developers will target the area surrounding the road during years to come.

As for the repression, Alexey Gaskarov got charges dropped against him, and he is currently pursuing for compensations for time spent in jail. Maxim Solopov got a probational sentence, which could be claimed as a victory as well, although Maxim will appeal against his sentence. Brother of Maxim, Denis, has was granted asylum status in Netherlands, and is currently living there. So we have passed the most urgent problems with the people who have been persecuted for the radical demonstration at the Khimki city administration last year. So Campaign to Defend Khimki Hostages is now dormant, but we will of course wake it up if new arrests or repressions emerge.

Yaroslav Nikitenko: Now the construction is in progress. People organised in a camp in the Khimki forest and every day they come to stop works. Activists often got beaten by private security protecting the loggin, police is inactive. While they are not able to stop the construction, they are slowing that significantly. However, the clearing for the route will be only percents of the whole forest area. The most danger comes from the existing route with its noise, chemical pollution, killing of animals, logging is not the main problem. The road will not be constructed in less than 3 years, that's why it is very likely to stop the project during that time due to the possible rapid changes in Russian economical and political situation. A possible crisis may halt all construction, as due to the tremendous corruption Russian budget is getting poorer and poorer.

We know that repression is right now particularly hard, we could hear that Ilya Borodaenko was killed during the eco- camp in July 2007, could you give us a general overview to better understand the level of tension in the struggle?

S2W: I do not think there is any general level of repression or tension in Russia, it is all particularities, depending on the conflict in question and local authorities.

Angarsk camp in 2007 and repression in Khimki are for sure amongst the worst cases of repression against ecological activist during the last few years. In Khimki, goons have targeted a number of critics of local administration – journalist Mikhail Beketov is still seriously disabled after being assaulted in November of 2008 and left to die, in November 2010 oppositional politician Konstantin Fetisov was seriously injured after an assault. Another journalist, Anatoli Yurov, was assaulted several times until he deceased for natural reasons last december – for example in 2008 he was stabbed 8 times in one assault. Anti-corruption activist Albert Pchelintsev was shot to mouth with a rubber bullet in 2009, other assaulted activist include Alexander Parfenov and and Vitali Kapytsev.

Recently there has been a number of arrests in Khimki connected to assault against Fetisov, arrested people used to work for the city administration – hopefully these developments help to finish with the reign of terror in this Moscow suburb. If it happens, it is for sure not only result of efforts of government authorities, but also of activists in Russia and abroad.

Which are the natural features of the Khimki forest's ecosystem? What would mean, in terms of damages to biodiversity, the highway construction project?

S2W: Khimki forest is home for a number of endangered species, listed in so called “red book”, which is a list of endangered species maintained by Russian authorities. According to Russian society for protection of birds, these include at least two bird species and 12 different plants.

However, for many it is first and foremost it is a social-ecological struggle, a struggle for remaining green areas in immediate vicinity of a huge megalopolis, against relentless urban development and automobilisation.

Yaroslav Nikitenko:
In the Khimki forest there are three planned specially protected natural areas: an oak grouve, where oaks exist hundreds years, a unique mesotrophic swamp (we khow about the Ramsar convention denoting swamps as very precious ecosystems) and the bed of the river Klyazma, which serves as a natural corridor for big animal migration. On the swamp very precious animals and plants were found, including those from the Red Book of extremely rare species. The whole Moscow to St. Petersburg toll motorway is placed in a very anti-ecological way, destroying the forests practically on all its continuation: after Khimki it is destroying Solnechnogorsk forests

(, and then it is supposed to come through a national park "Zavidovo". Ecologists say that the route will destroy very precious lands, and also it goes right on the water-parting of the North of Moscow region, thus worsening the water for millions of people.Another point apart from ecology is that the route also comes over the mass-graves of the 20th century - in the Khimki forest many prisoners of Stalin's GULAG are buried, and in Myasnoy Bor close to St. Petersburg there is is mass grave of soldiers of the Second World War.

How you would describe the relevance of the actions of solidarity in Russia and abroad for the struggle itself?

For sure they are a big moral boost for local activists. In Russia, it is in general difficult to mobilise a large amount of people for anything, and in Khimki in particular, although local people have much sympathy for the struggle, vast majority are way too afraid to join even simple pickets (which are often banned and harrassed in the city). Khimki has become an issue much due to wideness of the support in terms of geography.

We read on Russian independent counter-information websites that “the Khimki case is much more than a simple case of protection of the forests”, but it is an important record, considering that it is one of the few realities of conflict inside a system of dominion in which, in an explicit way, economical and political oligarchies, judiciary forces, police and neo-fascists are co-operating into the conservation of an extremely precarious social balance and we heard of severe aggressions against activists from nazi-fascist elements. Could you help us to better elaborate this aspect inside the social context in which the Khimki struggles developed themselves?

S2W: The fact that so many aspects are interlinked in Khimki, is definitely the reason for many people to pick up the issue. Huge amount of people from human rights, anti-fascist, leftist, anarchist and general oppositional spectrum have joined, who in other cases give to environmental issues a low priority or no priority at all. Action in 28th of July last year would never have taken place, if developers did not provoked the whole anti-fascist community by hiring fascist football hooligans as enforcers.

However, it would be kind of exaggeration to call that “a cooperation for the sake of conservation of social balance”, as fascists are having a purely material interest here. They do not care about social order or the road, they just came for the money and did their job, much more cleanly than they did it in Angarsk – there are some hints, that they were hired back then in Angarsk as well, but unlike in Khimki, no conclusive proof.

More “idealistic” end of the ultra-right spectrum is actually into defending the forest. This has also resulted big conflicts among the defenders of the forest, as some naively think that you may cooperate with anyone for a “common cause”.

Also, I would not agree, that “social balance” in Russia is “extremely precarious”. In contrary, current regime has become increasingly stable, having survived the current economic crisis way better than West, and becoming increasingly legitimate in eyes of the society. Of course, current social order is completely unsustainable, and will come to end in few decades, in a way or another. However, I do not think Russian system will be amongst the first ones to collapse.

Which is the general situation of the ecologist movement in Russia? Could you summarize the history of the movement and describe the different parts that compose it? Which is the level of debate and the present approach regarding contents-subjects?

This is a question worth of writing a book, but not a book I would ever write. And I do not know who would, as Russian ecological movement is a very under-researched topic, only one author – sociologist Oleg Yanitsky comes to my mind, and his overtones are rather pessimistic and cynical.

Very roughly, I would divide recent (last 25 years) history to 4 periods:

1.Perestroika 1986-1991. This is characterised by emergence of the ecological movement as an independent social force, with a scale of mass protests seen never before or after. In general context of the Soviet Union, in many now independent republics, the whole independence movement often grew out from ecological movement – in Lithuania in protests against Ignalina nuclear plant, in Estonia protests against exploitation of Oil Shale, in Chechnya it was problems related to oil refinery industry, and so on. Back then, biggest demonstrations against nuclear power gathered more than hundred thousand people in Moscow.

2.Crisis of the movement period from 1991 to circa 2005. This is characterised by collapse of mass ecological movements (and pretty much any social movements whatsoever), replaced by professionalist NGO's, but to a lesser extent also by radical ecological Rainbow Keepers movement. However towards turn of the new millenium, both NGO's and Rainbow Keepers started to wane NGO's because of increasing state pressure, and also because their Western sponsors became less and less enthousiastic to send money as they figured out no drastic and quick changes are to be gained in Russia. And increasing average wages made it more and more difficult to maintain paid staff solely wih foreign grants.

3. Third period is localization from circa 2005 to circa 2010. Eventually, formerly most important ecological umbrella organisation in the former Soviet Union, Socio-Ecological Union, had to close their Moscow central office alltogether and only maintain a network of local organisations with a low level of cooperation. Greenpeace survived better due to their more centralistic, hierarchical and financially independent model, however Russian office is often keen to pick up less controversial topics, as more confrontational attitude may lead to its closure. However when they prefer not to be in the forefront of some issue (such as with the Khimki forest), they often provide important support behind the curtains. Rainbow Keepers pretty much ceased to exist for other reasons, a combination of personal issues aggravated by their organisational structure. For a good documentary of Rainbow Keeper model of action, check out documentary “No Pasaran”, available in a torrent here.

In Moscow, not only most important ecological issue, but most important social conflict whatsoever was conflict against “urban densification”, attempts of developers to take over minor urban parks and yards. Before the current economic crisis, there were over 600 initiative groups in Moscow, tackling with their local problems, most of these just a handful of people, but protests were often attended by hundreds of people and at times they grew to riots. Originally Khimki campaign began as a group very similar to all of the others. And similar kind of struggles popped up in pretty much every Russian city with more than few hundred thousand inhabitants.

During this period, there were also more general topics, such as protection of lake Baikal - against a projected pipeline route and a pulp mill - first campaign was succesful whereas the second one not(this far). Another topic is the Black Sea rim, for example Utrich region, the whole region is under a constant pressure due to transport of raw materials and touristic developments. But although there were protests around these topics all around the country, big picture is the same – local problems with significiant social framework are what gets people mobilised. Global issues, such as climate, are pretty much non-existing in Russian ecological spectrum.

4. Khimki and post-Khimki era, since 2010 onwards. It is yet early to say where are we going now, but at least there is a new drive for networking and for recreating kind of structures, which got collapsed in prior of 2005. Of course, any structures have also a potential for abuse, so we will see wether this will be a good or bad.

Which you think are the main features and the important sources of inspiration, coming from the struggle in defense of the Khimki forest, that could enrich and improve the heritage of the whole radical-ecologist movement?

S2W: Of course, as the situation with the forest is what it is, one may not celebrate a victory. But still, for us it was a completely new level of struggle, and also a very important experience on how to defend our comrades.

And Khimki conflict is not anything much particular, there are hundreds of similar issues all around the Russia. Khimki became a symbol of many things for a number of reasons, but pretty much just due to stubborness and commitment of the people, who kept pushing for the issue. Maybe the most important lesson is, that there are no “big issues” and “small issues”, any issue may become big if you make it so.