political prisoners: serving communities
2004 ~ 2005 ~ 2006 ~ 2007 ~ 2008
Strange are the ways of western law;
Strange are the ways of fate.
For the government crawled to the mine owners call,
And the judge was appointed by The State,
and the judge was appointed by The State.
... from "joe hill," phil ochs version (songs of the workers, chicago: iww, 1984/1990)
free all political prisoners
attempts to silence community lawyers
update december 10, 2007, new orleans: at citizen protests asking municipal government to stop demolition of public housing slated for december 15th (the complexes house four to five thousand residents), nlg attorney bill quigley, standing peaceably by the door was violently arrested by a plainsclothes officer; the roughness of arrest without apparent provocation suggests shock tactics; demolitions inevitably replace one economic group with another and contribute to the disenfranchisement of the american poor ("new orleans fracas over plans to raze housing," associated press, dec. 7, 2007 & "bill quigley arrested in new orleans la !!!" dec. 7, 2007, the christian radical); video of the arrest is available at wdsu-tv [access: < http://www.wdsu.com/video/14794232/index.html >]); quigley is a courageous lawyer and professor, respected for representing community interest, conscience, and human rights.
update july 3, 2007, brooklyn: on june 21, 2007, 77th precinct new york city police arrested and [allegedly] assaulted respected lawyers michael tarif warren and his wife evelyn warren, after the couple witnessed the beating of a handcuffed teenager by six officers and told them to stop; michael warren is known for representing tupac shakur (see dr. mutulu shakur) and protecting the community in police misconduct cases; the arrests serve to undercut the black community's legal standing in the city; nypd uses false arrest regularly as a situation control tactic, lacks training in international law against arbitrary arrest, avoids reparations by overcharging the victims, defaming them and by police team perjury so that a target is fortunate to prove his/her innocence; the couple appears in court july 27th ("protests in city after civil rights attorney and his wife accuse police of using excessive force," marlene naanes, june 25, 2007, newsday.com; "new york police arrest and beat prominent civil rights attorney," amy goodman, june 25, 2007, democracy now!; "police beat, arrest civil rights attorneys," larry hales, june 28, 2007, workers world); update of august 12, 2007: i've added the word "allegedly"above, and may have mistaken the court date; workers world and "civil rights lawyers beaten by police," lisa vives, june 25, 2007, "the african news journal," state it scheduled july 25th;- ed.; there's a lack of available new information online concerning this case; nyc anarchist black cross in the "nyc july-august political prisoner newsletter," of july 24, 2007 [access:http://nyc.indymedia.org/en/2007/07/88654.html] believes the case postponed.
update july 12, 2007, oaxaca mexico: according to amnesty international lawyers representing detainees from the teachers strike and peoples' actions of may through november 2006 (ongoing), are being threatened and subjected to anonymous surveillance; jesus manuel grijalva, and mayen arellanes of the comite de liberacion 25 de noviembre, have received death threats and numerous verbal and in-person threats from unknown sources ("mexico: human rights defenders in oaxaca face reprisals," june 20, 2007, amnesty [access: http://www.amnesty.ca/take_action/actions/mexico_hrds_face_reprisals.php] - from "bulletins").
see also "lawyers threatened for defending their clients" at political prisoners: detention of muslims and their defenders
see also historical note: peru
retribution for defending human rights (u.s.)
update feb. 8, 2007, california: on august 1, 2006 a federal grand jury found josh wolf in contempt for not providing authorities with testimony and his video of a political protest; standing on principles necessary for freedom of expression he was place in federal prison dublin california ("josh wolf to become longest jailed journalist in united states history," press release,. feb. 2, 2007, free josh wolf coalition press conference); see "free josh wolf" at http://freejosh.pbwiki.com/; see http://www.joshwolf.net/ ; update april 5, 2007: april 3rd, joshua wolf was freed after 226 days in prison for refusing to turn over to authorities videotape footage of a protest; he had posted the videotape online and his lawyer sent a copy to the d.a. who no longer requires the journalist to identify protestors or testify to the grand jury ("u.s. reporter ends record jail term," april 3, 2007, bbc news; "imprisoned journalist josh wolf released after record 225 days in jail," democracy now!, april 4, 2007, san francisco indymedia); this taking away people's rights until they are forced to comply or work for you is usually accomplished by impoverishment, denial of employment; its use by law enforcement is an index of fascism; its use at guantanamo bay suggests it's a weapon of warfare.
alvaro luna hernandez, sentenced in 1997 (odessa texas) to fifty years for disarming a sheriff
- see: national freedom coalition at http://www.freealvaro.org/.
puerto rican liberty
oscar lopez rivera, serving 55 years for "seditious conspiracy;" victim of solitary confinement, sensory deprivation; note: a drafted vietnam veteran awarded a bronze star, he was suspected of partisan activities ( ricanstruction, ibid.); additional april 21, 2006: he refused the clinton administration's offer of leniency; due for release in 2027, the punitive sentence reflects the government's vulnerability to the puerto rican independence movement (info source: "the prolibertad freedom campaign," accessed april 20, 2006, http://www.prolibertadweb.com/page4.html).
haydee beltran, sentenced to life for "seditious conspiracy"; she has claimed p.o.w. status and physical abuse in prison (ibid.).
carlos alberto torres, sentenced to 78 years for "seditious conspiracy"; additional april 21, 2006: he was not even offered lenience by the clinton administration; due for release in 2024; the punitive sentence may reflect the government's vulnerability in its claim to puerto rico (info source: "prolibertad freedom campaign," accessed april 20, 2006, http://www.prolibertadweb.com/page4.html)
juan segarra palmer, sentenced to 55 years for seditious conspiracy and implication in a robbery; commutation accepted for release in 2004; update: one of the thirteen given clemency in 1999 by u.s. president clinton; released and home in puerto rico ("hundreds greet nationalist freed after 19 years in prison," laura rivera melendez, ap, jan. 25, 2004, puerto rico herald).
the cuban five (anti terrorism)
update: for more information
for monitoring counter revolutionary groups in the u.s. when these threatened cuba
gerardo hernández nordelo, serving two life sentences and 15 years;
ramón labañino salazar, sentenced to life and eighteen years;
fernando gonzález llort, sentenced to nineteen years;
rené gonzález, fifteen years;
antonio guerrero, life and ten years;
update: "the u.n. working group on arbitrary detention," has ruled that the cuban five were not given a fair trial and the u.s. is in violation of international law; the u.n. is waiting for a u.s. response ("u.n. criticizes u.s. trial of cubans for spying," july 14, 2005, usa today); update: according to the ap, the convictions of the cuban five were thrown out by the 11th circuit court of appeals in atlanta, august 9, 2005, ruling that the five hadn't received a fair trial due to press and local prejudices in miami ("cuba five win a new trial," august, 9, 2005, granma international online ); update : the u.s. government appealed and the 11th federal circuit court will have to review its decision ("court of appeals to review ruling on the five," dec. 6, 2005, havana, miami5 website, granma publishing; access: http://www.granma.cu/miami5/ingles/430.html); more information.
the ohio seven and united freedom front (u.s.)
for more informationupdate: august 6, 2004, the portland press herald reports raymond luc levasseur's release from prison on parole; supervision continues during the remainder of his forty-five year sentence.
update: august 26, 2005, richard williams is in a federal medical center with severe health problems; update: richard williams died on december 7, 2005 ("richard williams, presente!" national jericho movement [access: dec. 31,2005, http://www.thejerichomovement.com/richardwilliams.html]); from urgent, dec. 11, 2005, u.s.: democracy now reports richard williams has died of cancer in prison ("richard williams dead at 58," goodman, dec. 9, 2005, democracy now); imprisoned since 1984, and sentenced to a total of 75 years to life, he was damaged by a long stint in solitary after 9/11, and a coronary on release into the general prison population; see the ohio 7 / united freedom front; see the tribute to him at "la-abcf: the death of richard williams," colin sick, dec. 10, 2005, access: http://www.infoshop.org/inews/article.php?story=20051210213739863; see also "richard williams in his own words," prison activist resource center, current dec. 10, 2005; his death in prison is an urgent concern because his principles were needed in community: he provided security at the amandla concert for the african national congress in the days of mandela, anti-kkk in greensboro n.c. after the murders of socialist workers party organizers; he was against the vietnam war, anti-capitalist, pro-prisoners rights, pro-community; faithful to the people his political choices were moral choices, protective, revolutionary without apology; he was convicted of united freedom front bombings and actions, north american in their respect for human life, and after two trials he was convicted in the atypical death of a new jersey trooper; it is too late to give richard williams any freedom due for trying to protect the people from a future served by fascism and greed and vulnerable to the violence of non-native actions; it isn't too late for other political prisoners, who need to be returned to the people and communities they have cared for with their truths and their freedom; - ed.
free all political prisoners
update: may 1, 2006, jaan karl laaman, is founding editor of 4strugglemag, a voice for american political prisoners, and described as "unapologetically anti-imperialist."
from urgent nov. 11, 2004, veterans'/remembrance day: after vietnam veteran and political prisoner tom manning was taken into custody, he was intentionally injured, which has caused pain through years of extreme and long sentences; he was denied medical treatment and transfer to a prison hospital; a summary of his medical history and treatment ("http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/Parliament/3400/urgent.htm") suggests use of an inmate's medical condition as ongoing torture without alleviation; similarly, leonard peltier was damaged with a broken jaw and denied adequate medical treatment for a long time ("leonard peltier suffering from excruciating pain," http://www.iacenter.org/peltier.htm); these cases suggest a criminal ongoing policy in the treatment of high profile political prisoners.
update december 30, 2006: maine: tom manning's (see ohio 7) artwork was to be shown at the university of maine in southern portland in september; currently serving a longer than life sentence for convictions related to his efforts to save america from fascism, his group is alleged to have committed numerous actions avoiding casualties to civilians and law enforcement but eventually a new jersey police person died in what manning claimed was an effort to defend himself, firing second; there was no indication of an intention to kill on the part of a prisoner sentenced to eighty years plus 53 years; manning's art show, "can't jail the spirit," which hosted others as well under the same theme, was closed by the university of southern maine's president pattenaude in what appears to be an objection to freedom of expression; pattenaude may have been scared by some grim police and citizen comments, understandable if you remember mid -1970's portland newspaper reports that its police department [to the best of my own memory -ed] expunged from its ranks a death squad of four with a hit list of radicals and ex-prisoners; at about that time some of manning's group were in portland making efforts for released prisoners, and selling books; after the bookstore closed the middle class took over maine's book trade which eventually led to many wonderful books about lobstering and lighthouses and poetry by mba's and phd's which you may enjoy today if you can find a bookstore north of portsmouth; manning's return to maine with his art, in an attempt to share a portion of what life has taught him about survival, was an act of generosity, solidarity and hope; the university administration let down downeasters as if maine prefers war criminals, torture camps, and casualties in iraq, to americans who have spent their lives in resistance; a local art gallery (ubu gallery) in portland picked up the work for exhibition in october before the show went on tour - ie. the episcopal divinity school in cambridge, etc. (references: "usm president richard l. pattenaude's statement on usm art exhibit," anonymous, sept. 8, 2006, maine indymedia; "can't jail the spirit in boston" [access dec. 28, 2006: http://cantjailthespirit.org/]; "re: portland art show by tom manning, u.s. political prisoner," by tom manning, sept. 12, 2006, loc cit.; "statement of lynne a. williams, esq., chair, maine chapter, national lawyers guild," lynne williams, sept. 20, 2006, loc.cit).
the move nine (u.s.)
for more information
update of august 13, 2007: in a posting on nyc independent media, "ona move organization" says the move 9 is up for parole in a year (aug. 2008), and reports provocations / hassles to janet africa ("no excuses ! now is the time to free the move 9 ! no excuses !" the move organization, july 24, 2007, nyc anarchist black cross); update of march 10, 2008: debbie sims africa, janet holloway africa, michael davis africa, janine phillips africa, william phillips africa, edward goodman africa, delbert orr africa, and charles sims africa, are finally due for parole - the petition for their support is currently available through the main page of the national jericho movement access: http://www.thejerichomovement.com/index.html; update of april 24, 2008: three women of the move 9 were denied parole today after serving thirty years of their thirty to 100 year sentences; move 9 members were convicted of third degree murder charges for the death of a policeman in a police action against move quarters; early accounts of the incident question whether any of the move participants were armed and raised a possibility that the officer received friendly fire in the melee; sentences imposed on nine move members were inappropriate, cruel, symptoms of judicial imbalance and a glimpse into a tradition of unrelenting injustice; debbie sims africa, jeanene phillips africa, janet hollaway africa were told their paroles were refused because they lacked remorse (the women have claimed their innocence for thirty years, so they are punished for continuing to assert their innocence); parole for the men has not been decided ("the injustice continues: move 9 women denied parole," hans bennett, april 22, 2008, opednews.com; "move 9 women denied parole!" april 22, 2008, [access:< http://move9parole.blogspot.com/2008/04/move-9-women-denied-parole.html >]; "no paroles for 3 move members, " emilie lounsberry, aprill 22, 2008, the philadelphia inquirer). inquirer; "three members of move denied parole," amy goodman, april 23, 2008, democracy now!).
[programs against civilians]
historical note: subsequent revelations about "cointelpro" an f.b.i. directed counter intelligence program against the american left, affirm that people in many of these groups were illegally targeted because of their active resistance to a criminal war and their resistance to racist controls; dr. king and southern christian leadership (sclc) support groups are left out in the excellent quote below possibly because the f.b.i. dealt outside any law with those; living victims were sentenced to terms intended to neutralize them for life and terrorize legal resistance.
In fact, before COINTELPRO was laid to rest, it was responsible for maiming, murdering, false prosecutions and frame-ups, destruction, and mahem throughout the country. It had infiltrated every organization and association that aspired to bring about social change in America whether through peaceful or violent means. Hundreds of members of the Puerto Rican independence movement, the Black Panther Party (BPP), the Young Lords, the Weather Underground, Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), the Republic of New Africa (RNA), the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), members of the American Indian Movement (AIM), the Chicano Movement, the Black Liberation Army (BLA), environmentalists, the Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM), peace activists and everyone in between were targeted by COINTELPRO for "neutralization." ....Prosecutor's offices and the courts were complicit in the destruction meted out by the FBI.. Soffiyah Elijah, "Defending Political Prisoners after September 11,"Harvard Blackletter Law Journal vol 18, 2002, p. 131.
historical note concerning a peruvian political prisoner from the early nineties, showing tactics of u.s. supported low intensity warfare; are low intensity warfare tactics being applied to north american civilians (update of october 19, 2006); from urgent october 19, 2006, north america: abimael guzman of peru was recently re-tried in peru and re-sentenced to life in prison for "aggravated terrorism" despite increasing evidence that the principle enemy of the communist party of peru's guerilla war in the 90's was the cia; cia funding upheld a government which imprisoned defense lawyers, and killed them; without judging guzman's case, it gives evidence that low intensity warfare campaigns, as funded by the u.s., involve destruction of a country's legal process, stripping the accused of rights; currently, among others u.s. defense lawyer lynne stewart is sentenced to 28 months in prison for technical variances from government preference in her relations with a client; the u.s. military has threatened its military defense lawyers for guantanamo detainees; covert agencies threatened a canadian defense lawyer to not represent a client; these may be early warnings of low intensity conflict procedures; see guzman.
from urgent august 18, 2006, u.s.: influential federal level medical advisors are suggesting resumption of drug testing on prisoners; the widespread prison practice was basically abolished due to abuse ("gov't considers oking drug tests on prisoners," goodman, aug. 14, 2006, democracy now!) and the understanding that prisoners are not always free to withhold consent - third reich medical testing of prisoners during world war ii was subsequently considered a war crime.
from urgent august 18, 2006, u.s.: u.s. attorney general gonzalez has recently added "radicalization" as one of the threats of terrorism to be contained; asking for cooperation in a kind of partnership with the people, he says "putting a would-be terrorist behind bars is a tangible example of protecting the american people" [this suggests that no crime need to have occurred]; he stresses the primacy of preventing loss of life over securing a conviction; although the bush administration has been found by supreme court rulings to have violated geneva conventions (torture) and the constitution (nsa spying), attorney general gonzalez states "we are fighting terrorists according to our constitution;" of prisoners and political prisoners: "radicalization is also occurring in prisons; the fbi's national joint terrorism task force and the bureau of prisons are working to stem the growth of these intentions behind bars" (source: "prepared text of attorney general gonzales at the world affairs council of pittsburgh, aug. 16, 2006, u.s.newswire - medialink worldwide); this item is also posted at is-it-fascism.
more people (u.s.)
some of the above and accounts of the following appear at montreal black cross anarchist federation (link missing) - update more information for these and others is available at kersplebedeb political prisoner/prisoner of war page:
marilyn buck, sixties activist, forced to prison, serving sixty [other sources say eighty] years;
david gilbert, sixties activist, civil rights & s.d.s., revolutionary armed task force, nyack action, seventy five to life;
sekou cinque t.m. kambui , nonviolent civil rights movement of the sixties; victim of "alabama justice";
robert seth hayes, black liberation army, 25 to life, serious medical difficulties, up for parole in 2004; also on urgent page ; from urgent feb. 28, 2004: medical emergency: u.s. prisoner/vietnam veteran refused necessary treatment; robert seth hayes of harlem, n.y.c.; vietnam veteran (war wounded, purple heart), black panther, sentenced in 1973 to 25 years to life for black liberation army related activities; by open letter of february 10 he states that clinton correctional facilities in new york is refusing diabetics necessary fingerprick tests for blood sugar monitoring; diagnosed as diabetic (type 2) dependent on insulin, and with hepatitis c, he is revived from recurring black outs treated as insulin attacks, but is given no medical direction and fears for his life; for information, text of his letter, sources, how to help: black cross montreal;(link missing) and kersplebedeb, ie."more about seth hayes"; from urgent, june 12, 2005, with increasing backing among the prison population of clinton, seth hayes was moved to wende correctional facility near bufallo and is doing okay, according to an email source at jericho boston (http://www.jerichoboston.org/updates.html).
ojore lutalo, black liberation prisoner of war, anarchist.
updated february 8, 2007, new york: new york three are herman bell, jalil muntaqim, albert nuh washington, formerly of the black panther party and black liberation army (sixties); charged in the death of 2 police officers, there was a hung jury with the majority voting for acquittal; tried again they were convicted and sentence to 25 to life; there is evidence of police, d.a. and judicial misconduct in the second trial; there is evidence that one of the witnesses for the prosecution was tortured (severe) into testimony; there is evidence of police perjury; victims of the fbi campaigns against panthers, these men remain political prisoners; muntaqin was denied parole the third time aug. 1, 2006; see http://www.freejalil.com/index.html; see http://prisonactivist.org/pps+pows/bell.html ("committee for the defense of human rights," feb. 2, 2007, [access: http://www.cdhrsupport.org/]).
updated february 8, 2007, u.s.: currently held: herman bell, (a member of the new york three) ray boudreaux, richard brown, henry w. jones, jalil muntaqim (member of the new york three), richard o'neal, harold taylor, francisco torres, and ronald stanley bridgeforth (still at liberty); after the death of a police officer police used extreme forms of torture to obtain confessions from a group of alleged black panthers in 1973; in 1974 a court ruled the confessions were due to torture; in 1975 the case against three men was dismissed; in 2005 a san francisco grand jury reopened the case ("former black panthers arrested and indicted in 1971 homicide: charges based on evidence obtained through torture, police state, jan. 25, 2007 updated feb 2nd [access: http://www.indybay.org/police/]; "murder charges against former black panthers based on confessions extracted by torture," amy goodman, jan. 26, 2007, democracy now!); the case seems to have been a catch-all for black panthers and supporters since the police had no evidence in the officer's death (committee for the defense of human rights, feb. 2, 2007, [access: http://www.cdhrsupport.org/]); corrected with update feb. 23, 2007: panthers took care of community when no one else would; they were targeted by media and hoover's f.b.i.; cointelpro became the fbi's war on the poor, wrenching power into the hands of the political establishment; it's still going on; see the video, "legacy of torture," at the committee for the defense of human rights, http://www.cdhrsupport.org/ ; these people are held for an alleged crime thirty-five years ago, or to frighten people who serve their community; they're called the san francisco 8.; update feb. 5, 2008: according to 4strugglemagazine posts (issue 10 , access: < http://www.4strugglemag.org/ >) francisco torres, hank jones, harold taylor, ray boudreaux, richard o'neal, richard brown were bailed in 2007 and at court sept 11th the conspiracy charges against ray boudreaux, richard brown, hank jones, harold taylor and richard o'neal (the only charge against him) were dropped; herman bell and jalil mutaqim are still in prison in new york though both are eligible for state parole (ibid.).
updated feb.24, 2006: judy clark, political activist, member of sds, weather underground, and with kathy boudin (time served and out) and david gilbert part of an underground group in association with black liberation army members; history proves her political thinking accurate; the group was uncompromising, anti-racist; although its tactics were not "nonviolent," contemporary accounts offer no evidence that gilbert or clark had weapons training or weapons; both are currently serving three consecutive terms of 25 years to life for their presence at/involvement with the 1981 brinks robbery (death of a guard) near nyack new york; there were law enforcement casualties at a subsequent shoot out; both clark and gilbert denied the validity of the courts, and based their defenses on anti-imperialism ("judith alice clark," wikipedia [feb. 22, 2006 access: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judith_Alice_Clark]), a position which may have furthered unjust sentencing; pen american center 1995 prison writing contest, first prize for poetry: updated september 28, 2006: judith clark has gained a new trial ("headlines," sept. 27, 2006, goodman, democracy now!; "new trial ordered for former radical,"associated press, sept. 26, 2006, cbs news); present at a nineteen eighty-one radical action where three died from gunfire, she refused a lawyer and did not attend her trial; she received 3 consecutive 25 year sentences, without defense and without justice, and has served time since 1981.
march 10, 2008: sundiata acoli (clark edward squire) was found guilty of participating in the murder of a new jersey policeman and a fellow panther, receiving a sentence of life plus thirty years; a policeman was found dead after an apparent shootout on the new jersey turnpike; his co-accused was joanne chesimard (assata shakur) also convicted despite clear evidence that she was shot several times when her hands were raised; the third person in the car, zayd malik shakur (black panther minister of information who met genet during the frenchman's underground entry and tour of the u.s.) didn't survive the confrontation; most accounts say the shoot-out was the result of a routine traffic stop on the new jersey turnpike; his status as one of the foremost political prisoners in the u.s. was clarified in 1992 when he was refused parole, and not allowed consideration for parole for another 12 years; he was again denied parole in 2004 and not eligible again until 2014; the cruelty in disposing of a man's years of living, reserved for political prisoners, is a cruelty of the powerful against the almost defenseless; he was recognized as a political prisoner by international jurist after a 1979 interview; his importance was recognized by the u.s. government when after 9/11 he was among the primary political prisoners in the united states 'locked down' or placed in solitary without provocation; sundiata acoli is a historian of the movement from the sixties, of the black liberation army, the early black panther party in new york/new jersey ("sundiata acoli: new afrikan prisoner of war," nov. 11, 2001, prison activist resource center; "sundiata acoli," access of march 10, 2008, wikipedia).
march 10, 2008: assata shakur: currently at liberty but denied a normal life in her own country she was convicted in the death of a new jersey policeman on the n.j. turnpike in 1973; as the f.b.i. extends law enforcement into the war on citizens required by the bush "war on terror," assata shakur said to be living in exile in cuba, is placed on the f.b.i.'s domestic terrorism list with a million dollar bounty; background: she escaped imprisonment from the old controls which murdered black panthers, assassinated malcolm x, framed spokespeople like rap brown particularly when they converted to islam, neutralized moderates by falsely charging them, and "bought out" others as models for the new world order; assata shakur (joanne chesimard) was accused with sundiata acoli ; there is substantial evidence that she was shot with her hands up in a wounding that nearly caused her death; no gunpowder residue was found on her hands at the hospital; accounts show her accused as well in the death of their comrade zayd malik shakur; she claimed her innocence in court; her placement on the fbi's wanted for terrorism list seems a result of politics and the advancement of right wing cuban americans gaining rank in the new jersey and federal police forces ("the fugitive: why has the fbi placed a million-dollar bounty on assata shakur ?" kathleen cleaver, access march 9, 2008 < www.assata-skakur.org >; "assata shakur's appeal attorney shares facts in case (2005)," evelyn williams, une 25, 2005, access: assatashakur.org; "wanted by the f.b.i.: joanne deborah chesimard," access march 9, 2008 : < http://www.fbi.gov/wanted/fugitives/dt/chesimard_jd.htm >; "the jericho amnesty movement demands: hands off assata shakur, hands on bush and gonzalez!," access march 10, 2008: < http://www.thejerichomovement.com >); recommended: "eyes of the rainbow: assata shakur documentary," gloria rolando, see resources access: < http://handsoffassata.net/ >); hands off assata .
updated feb.24, 2006: dr. mutulu shakur, sentenced to sixty years on rico conspiracy charges and in the escape of assata shakur, as was co-defendant marilyn buck; mutulu shakur (aka jeral wayne williams) started out fighting community drug addiction with politics, then acupuncture which he trained in; committed to programs for the health of the poor, he was a proponent of acupuncture in detoxification programs which he set up and strengthened; he shares with others alleged responsibility for successful resistance actions in the seventies and early eighties; there is nothing in accounts of the man that suggests criminality, while accounts reveal a deep and committed service to his people and their health; he is a political prisoner subjected to vindictive sentencing; convicted by the testimony of a prisoner who was paid a hundred thousand dollars with substantially reduced sentence; proved to be an f.b.i. cointelpro target, dr. shakur claims their hand in the death of his son tupac ("biography of dr. mutulu shakur," family and friends of mutulu shakur [feb. 24, 2006 access: http://www.mutulushakur.com/who.html]; "legal case: basic facts," feb. 24, 2006 access: http://www.mutulushakur.com/legal.html: "mutulu shakur," wikipedia, access feb. 24, 2006, access: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mutulu_Shakur).
mumia abu-jamal, a journalist, a former member of the black panther party and without a criminal record, called "the voice of the poor," he tried to report accurately crimes against move in 1978; under a death sentence since 1982 (ref. gerald "letter to american writers" 1994) his sentence was set aside in december 2001, yet he remains on death row under threat of further death penalty proceedings and psychological warfare by government; update, dec. 9, 2005: philadelphia's 3rd circuit appeals court will review several violations of the prisoner's constitutional rights and systemic racism; proceedings hoping to overturn the conviction will begin january 17th, 2006; see the mobilization to free mumia abu-jamal, http://www.freemumia.org/news.html: "order"and "news" of dec. 6, 2005; for background - http://www.freemumia.org/mumiabooklet05.pdf; "mumia abu jamal wins right to appeal,"goodman & staff, dec. 8, 2005, democracy now; "a stunning win for mumia abu-jamal," lindorff, dec.7, 2005, counterpunch): update of june 30, 2006, while his lawyers are attempting to gain him a new trial (brief to be filed july 13, 2006, third circuit court in philadelphia), the state of pennsylvania is appealing the repeal of his death sentence (filed march 16, 2006); if the state prosecutor wins, the governor of pennsylvania has assured a death warrant; the french have irked pennsylvania by naming a street after mumia abu jamal in st.-denis, france, leading to a stadium named after nelson mandela ("legal update, re. mumia abu-jamal v. martin horn, pennsylvania director of corrections," robert bryan, june 27, 2006 [access: http://www.freemumia.org/news.html]; "mumia abu jamal," 30 june 2006, from wikipedia the free encyclopedia; "mumia abu-jamal one legal decision away from execution! one legal decision from new trial and freedom!," jeff mackler, june 5, 2006, the mobilization to free mumia abu-jamal.htm); see urgent ; from urgent: there is clear evidence of an unjust trial which placed this man under threat of death by the state for nearly quarter of a century; update july 18, 2006: on the eve of presentation of briefs for this appeal, 130 british lawyers have petitioned the court, calling attention to evidence of judicial and police racism in this case ("top u.k. lawyers petition u.s. over racist trial of death-row journalist," legal action for women, july 17, 2006, black information link; "leading u.k. lawyers petition u.s. appeal court re racism in case of death row journalist," press conference of july 19, 2006, july 16, 2006, international action center); update, may 18, 2007: the public's recognition that mumia abu-jamal did not receive a fair trial found expression in court may 17th, with the start of a hearing that may offer the writer a new trial, but also risks him again to death row ("judge bias fuels appeal for mumia abu-jamal," linn washington jr, may 17, 2007, philadelphia tribune; "philadelphia court hearing could decide fate of imprisoned journalist mumia abu-jamal," amy goodman, may 15, 2007, democracy now!; "appeals panel weighing three issues in abu-jamal's 1982 trial," ap, may 17, 2007, lehigh valley news); this case makes clear that there are political prisoners in the u.s., and that all states must be stopped from making men and women pay with their lives for having political convictions; update of may 18, 2007, historical note: according to the new york local's newsletter, may 12th at the n.y.c. 'community church' gathering of writers and other good people, mumia abu-jamal was made a national writers union honorary member ("writers, activists show support for mumia," monica moorehead, may 17, 2007, between the lines: bulletin #19 B ~ newsletter of the new york chapter nwu ~ uaw local 1981; update november 11, 2007: a decision on mumia abu-jamal's appeal may 17, 2007, is expected; soon; for a site devoted to news on his case, see journalists for mumia abu-jamal at http://abu-jamal-news.com/ ; also: international concerned family & friends of maj at http://freemumia.com , among others; update of march 29, 2008: in a shocking decision a three judge panel of the federal third circuit court of appeals refused to grant mumia abu-jamal a new trial; his attorney robert bryan finds some victory in the court's decision to affirm the previous reversal of the death penalty; if the d.a. does not press the case further, this could mean imprisonment for life without parole; if the prosecutor requests a jury trial for resentencing only, the jury would decide between life in prison without parole and once again, the death penalty; mumia abu-jamal's legal team might also appeal to the full third circuit court (rather than a panel) and to the supreme court ~ if these will hear it ("third circuit court rejects abu-jamal appeal: the mumia exception," dave lindorff, march 27, 2008, access: < http://www.opednews.com >; "following mixed court ruling, mumia abu-jamal's lead attorney maintains hope for overturning conviction," amy goodman, juan gonzalez, robert bryan, march 28, 2008, democracy now!); accounts of the proceedings add to evidence of racism in the judicial system which the legal system seems incapable of addressing; and it's puzzling that the prosecution keeps threatening with death a man whose writings have persuaded so many to care for justice.
free all political prisoners
imam jamil abdullah al-amin (rap brown), under a clear history of police persecution dating back to the sixties, as h. rap brown he was a member of the student nonviolent coordinating committee and a minister of defense for the black panther party before converting to islam; as a muslim accused in the death of a policeman and wounding of another, he was found guilty in georgia despite strong evidence of his innocence, and sentenced on march 14, 2002 to life without parole (msalink vol 17, spring 2002); to be appealed; update: a recent report by the international committee to support imam jamil al-amin, (ref. www.geocities.com/icsijaa, "june/july 2004 community report update,") points out: judicial bias at al-amin's trial, noted in an unsuccessful jan. 21, 2004 appeal by his attorneys; claims al-amin's international status as a political prisoner; suggests the illegality under international law of holding al-amin in 23 hour a day lock-down as well as the violation of human rights in denial of friday religious services and strip search in front of female guards (this mirrors u.s. military practice in psychological operations against muslim prisoners of war); update: according to a recent community report (icsijaa community report and update march 16,2005, www.geocities.com/icsijaa) another person has confessed to the crime al-amin was convicted of; legal remedies are being worked through at the state level first; under international law the jurisdiction of u.s. courts is in doubt; al-amin's grievances against the georgia state prison system remain ignored; among these there appear to be crimes against the prisoner (ibid); update of dec. 10, 2007: al-amin was transferred august 2007 from georgia to federal authority in oklahoma, then transferred oct. 21, 2007, to adx florence supermax , colorado; the federal authority over a state prisoner, and imprisonment over 500 miles is unusual ("imam jamil al-amin at florence colo., supermax," ministry of information jr, sept. 19, 2007, san francisco bayview; "h. rap brown," accessed dec. 9, 2007, wikipedia); supermax is a highly controlled physical / psychological environment for most-dangerous offenders, and placement here may suggest the federal government's longstanding fear of al-amin's freedom-of-expression and political power.
the 2004 "community report" for the imam also notes "political prisoner" kamau sadiki (freddie hilton)- (former panther, muslim and apparent target of cointelpro) recently transferred to augusta state medical prison; update jan 28, 2006: from urgent jan. 28, 2006, augusta state medical prison, georgia: through family in a letter posted on sumoud kamau sadiki says that the medical facility/prison won't let prisoners have an eight hour sleep on weekends & holidays so it's hurting the health of sick people; he wants the prison to know: augusta state medical prison, administration, 3001 gordon highway, grovetown, g.a. 30813.
leonard peltier, traditionalist, protector, warrior of the american indian movement, sentenced in 1977 without clear evidence to two consecutive life sentences for the ambush of two f.b.i. personnel; leonard peltier defense committee at http://www.leonardpeltier.org/; update of july 10, 2005: on june 30, 2005 moved for no apparent reason from leavenworth to "indefinite solitary confinement" at federal prison, terre haute indiana ("leonard peltier denied basic rights - u.n., human rights groups intervention sought," july 7,2005, leonard peltier defense committee, ibid.); see urgent july 10, 2005: on june 30 2005, high profile first peoples political prisoner leonard peltier, was moved from leavenworth (kansas) to terre haute (indiana); according to materials from the leonard peltier defense committee he is being held in solitary confinement, under medical duress, running out of medication, without phone or visitation privileges, despite his status as an elder and a model prisoner at leavenworth ("leonard peltier denied basic rights - u.n., human rights groups intervention sought," july 7,2005, leonard peltier defense committee, http://www.leonardpeltier.org/); high profile political prisoners in the u.s. were put in solitary confinement in 2001 after the destruction of the world trade center; the increased isolation without apparent cause of one of the u.s. leading political prisoners may signal an escalation of the u.s. abuse and scapegoating of its political prisoners.
update of february 8, 2007, california: arrested jan. 13, 2006, eric mcdavid is currently in the sacramento county main jail, denied bail, charged with conspiracy (explosives) with two who are cooperating with the government's case; no act of violence was committed; he pleads innocent; he risks 20 years; see www.supporteric.org portland independent media center green scare http://portland.indymedia.org/en/topic/greenscare/ ; see note on "new prisoners of the campaign"; update jan. 18, 2008: a retrial motion is scheduled for january 24, 2008; he's re-scheduled for sentencing, february 21, 2008; the conviction of an american who apparently cares for the forests resulted from the testimony of one government informant paid 75 thousand dollars; the informant seems to have made up the supposed crime, paid the rent, supplied the funds, apparently entrapped the participants, provoked a 'scenario' in which three could be charged with conspiracy for arson, letting two plea-bargain in return for testifying against the third, eric mcdavid; these are tactics which are not concerned with innocence or guilt; it is a political conviction with no act of violence committed; eric mcdavid is targeted for twenty years under terrorist sentencing if applied; he suffers from pericarditis, has been held in solitary for two years and struggles for his right to a vegan diet; for more information see support eric mcdavid access: < http://www.supporteric.org/ >("eric mcdavid - 2 years and counting," sacramento prison support, jan.13, 2008, portland independent media center; "conspiracy of dunces," cosmo garvin, july 27, 2006, newsreview.com); update of march 10, 2008: update: eric mcdavid is to be sentenced april 3; the prosecutor is asking for 20 years an inapproprate long sentence - (jeff luers' inappropriate long sentence had to be taken to court and was reduced) - this seems a federal tactic - to intentionally misuse justice against idealists, particularly those concerned with the environment and habitat; the injustice further separates people from government and frightens others from necessary political involvement ("eric mcdavid update- 3.7.08," sacramento prisoner support, march 7, 2008, portland independent media center); update may 15, 2008: on may 8th eric mcdavid was sentenced by judge morris england to twenty years (nineteen years 7 months) in jail for allegedly conspiring to damage a government facility; the case is to be appealed ("eric mcdavid sentenced to 235 months for conspiracy base on snitch anna," an observer, may 8, 2008, central valley indymedia ;"sacramento - area man sentenced to 19 years in terrorism plot," denny walsh, may 9, 2008, the sacramento bee; "environmental activist sentenced to 20 years in prison," amy goodman, may 12, 2008, democracy now!); the case remains complicated by the success of a well paid fbi informant placed in the enrivonmental movement to bring in such convictions, and who may have been an essential part of any conspiracy as an agent provocateur (for other instances note the campaign ; heavy sentencing suggests that the u.s. judiciary is being used as a law enforcement / military agent in a war against civilians; no act of violence occurred; in an area where propaganda campaigns overlap common sense, mcdavid is supposed to serve twenty years for a thought crime; he is a political prisoner, being punished for political effect...... free all political prisoners.
jeffrey "free" luers, anti-global warming activist and anti-fascist, serving a "22 year 8 month" sentence for burning of three sport utility vehicles at their dealership; no one was hurt (ref. 22 sept. 2004, http://www.freefreenow.org/); see friends of jeff luers at www.freefreenow.org ; update: on july 10, 2006 he was placed in disciplinary segregation; letters help; [txfrd from activists page: update oct. 13, 2006: released from solitary august 20th, denied contact visits]; update of february 15, 2007: recognizing the injustice of this sentence, the court of appeals has sent this case back to circuit court for re-sentencing ("jeff's appeal decision today!" feb. 14, 2007, email from email@example.com); see free jeffrey "free" luers; update jan. 18, 2008: his jan. 15th hearing for resentencing was again postponed, with no date rescheduled ("status hearing canceled today," jan. 15, 2008, firstname.lastname@example.org); update of march 7, 2008: since his initial 22 year sentence was declared illegal, at resentencing feb. 28th 2008 (after several postponements), jeff's sentence was reduced ten years and he should be out by december 2009; for more information see www.freejeffluers.org ("jeff has been resentenced!" email@example.com, feb. 28, 2008, freejeffluers listserv).
josh demmitt at 19, is serving two and a half years for an action freeing twelve animals and causing eighty thousand dollars damage ("us eco prisoner news," march 20, 2005, brighton abc: supporting class struggle prisoners, u.k.); from urgent : josh demmitt, is reported with too much weight loss due to the prison's refusing his (vegan) diet; the prison can be reached at : 503-843-7663, federal prison camp sheridan, oregon ("us eco prisoner news," march 20, 2005 , brighton abc: supporting class struggle prisoners u.k.; see their prison list); update april 21, 2006: recently (about mid-march 2006) transferred to arizona, this prisoner freed small living creatures; a support group at http://www.supportjosh.org/.
tre arrow (michael james scarpitti), anti-logging activist, environmentalist in oregon, former congressional candidate for the pacific green party; arrested in victoria b.c., march 10, 2004; wanted by the fbi, a suspect in actions against construction and logging vehicles in oregon; seeks refuge in canada; u.s. authorities have used extreme sentencing as a weapon against u.s. environmental activists (ie. see "jeff luers"); extradition hearings scheduled for mid-april 2005 in vancouver delayed until June 27th (sources: www. trearrow.org; "direct action: tre arrow arrested: fbi labels prominent anti-logging activist as 'eco-terrorist," jay, april 6, 2004, the dominion, http://dominionpaper.ca/; "forest activist tre arrow captured," redden, march 16, 2004, portland tribune; "tre arrow's extradition hearing in british columbia postponed from april to july," april 2, 2005, portland indymedia.org); tre arrow with angela cesario, jeremy rosenbloom, jacob sherman are implicated in an action against logging trucks at eagle creek; the others are serving plea bargain sentences of 41 months (passim, and brighton abc: supporting class struggle prisoners, u.k.); update of march 10, 2008: in canada the appeal for tre arrow's refugee status was refused october 19th, 2007; this leaves him vulnberable to extradition to the u.s. on charges of arson against two logging companies ("tre arrow's extraditon appeal denied," access march 10, 2008: < greenscare.org >); update march 11, 2008: on march 1rst he was turned over to u.s. law enforcement for his return to the states; on march 4 he pleaded not guilty to 14 counts of destroying concrete mixers and logging trucks in 2001 ("tre arrow surrenders to u.s. marshals," louise dickson, march 1, 2008, times colonist; "ex-fugitive tre arrow pleads not builty to oregon firebombings," ap, march 4, 2008, winnipeg free press).
some of the arrests for alleged actions to protect the environment are noted on the environment page; update october 13, 2006, u.s.: some u.s. political prisoners innocent, convicted, or both, accused of defending the environment or rights of animals.
update march 21, 2006, arlo looking cloud; in a case where the crime victim was under threat from an f.b.i. agent, within a movement infiltrated and reported on at the time, in a trial marked by what may be false confession of the accused lakota suspect who left pine ridge to live on the street for 28 years, where the prosecution presented volatile/questionable prejudicial testimony against high profile federal prisoner leonard peltier who was not involved in this case, where prosecution witnesses contradicted eachother, concerning an event untried for nearly thirty years, and a death which resulted from a classic method of military execution not associated with first people's actions, he was found guilty feb. 4, 2004, and sentenced to life; his co-defendant, john graham, remains in canada fighting extradition ("four-day trial leaves more questions than answers," feb. 9, 2004, [march 21, 2006 access: http://www.members.shaw.ca/johngraham/trial.html]; "an urgent appeal for immediate release," dec. 16, 2003 [march 21, 2006, access: http://www.grahamdefense.org/lookingcloud.htm]); john graham defense committee: http://www.grahamdefense.org/ .
update october 13, 2006, pennsylvania: on january 8, 2006: russell maroon shoats was transferred to a death row cell for protection against hassles by particular guards at sci greene ("good” news: russell shoats transferred to death row ," tim, philly abcf, new york city jericho movement; sci green has been accused of supplying corrections personnel for abu ghraib in iraq; its restricted housing unit is accused of practising torture: sleep deprivation, withholding of food, and no-touch torture techniques such as: 23 hr lockdown; this man has spent 25 of 34 years in lockdown and 11 of those at sci green ("political prisoners: letter from russell maroon shoats and children and #039's salute," jan. 30, 2006, odeo [access http://odeo.com/audio/661294/view]); recently returning from an "outside" hospital his bandages were torn from open wounds for inspection ("political prisoner russell maroon shoats still needs our help!" communique from maroon, aug. 30, 2005, national jericho movement); aside from his pre-conviction political position (his group had merged with the philadelphia black panther party) and nature of his conviction and length of sentence, the injustices of his treatment by the prison system over a long period of time signals clear status as a u.s political prisoner denied international protections of human rights law.
update march 8, 2007, angola louisiana: gary tyler was arrested in 1974, convicted of a murder charge, and sentenced to life without parole in a case which for more than thirty has been used to keep the people in line through fear of its injustice; this case doesn't stand up to out-of- state media attention; amnesty international usa among others has asked louisiana governor kathleen babineaux blanco for his pardon; see free gary tyler at http://freegarytyler.com/ ("renewed calls for the freedom of gary tyler," lawrence porter, march 7, 2007, world socialist web site; "serious miscarriage of justice in louisiana must be rectified," online action center, current march 2007, amnesty international usa; "the case of gary tyler: despite witness recantations and no physical evidence, louisiana prisoner remains jailed after 32 years," amy goodman, march 1, 2007, democracy now!).
from urgent oct. 7, 2005, louisiana: the holding camp for relocated prisoners at jena, louisiana, previously closed in 2000 for its abuses, is yielding reports of guards beating prisoners, and other abuse and degradations; within a u.s. judicial and prison system so rampant with abuses that american culture tries to repress the fact of its prisoner multitude, the guard abuses and alleged sadism at jena have drawn the attention of human rights organizations, lawyers, media; 10 nyc guards are there helping louisiana guards, while louisiana department of public safety and corrections claims no prisoner deaths from katrina ... ("prisoners evacuated after hurricanes allege abuse," rohde and drew, oct. 2, 2005, the new york times;"louisiana: detainee abuse requires federal probe: prisoners evacuated after hurricane describe beatings by officers," oct.5, 2005, human rights watch); treatment of movable prisoners at jena may signal a federal policy of controls by terror, ie. abuse, in dealing with emergencies; to what extent does the prison population precede the people ?
sept. 28, 2005, louisiana: according to human rights watch, in the aftermath of hurricane katrina 517 prisoners at the templeman 3 unit of the orleans parish prison compound are not accounted for ("new orleans: prisoners abandoned to floodwaters, officers deserted a jail building, leaving inmates locked in cells," sept. 22, 2005, nyc, human rights watch).
from urgent oct. 29, 2005, tiptonville tennessee: noted as an anarchist political prisoner, ant-fascist, anti-racist, and an advocate for prisoners' legal rights, harold thompson was recently beat up by a group of nazi youth in the prison law library; an urgent notice on indymedia ireland shares his request for help; a longtime and older prisoner he considers the incident abnormal, instigated by the administration; thompson often acts as a jailhouse lawyer for other prisoners; the prison number is (731) 253-5000; he's in for life plus; he is a known proponent of civil liberties and is attempting in district courts to broaden tennessee corrections policy to allow prisoners reading material from nonprofit publishers, as well as anarchist reading materials; he is a vietnam veteran wounded in service, and subsequently sustained a stroke and brain surgery resulting in diagnosis as an epileptic - according to his web page "history" (see: http://freespace.virgin.net/simon.russell/history.htm , current october 2005); ("political prisoner harold thompson attacked by nazis in prison," oct. 22, 2005, indymedia.ei; "harold thompson anarchist prisoner," current october 2005, http://freespace.virgin.net/simon.russell/indexEnglish.htm)
more people (canada)
update march 21, 2006: john graham remains under threat of extradition to the u.s, though he is under house arrest ; arrested december 2003, accused of the murder of an a.i.m. (american indian movement) co-worker, anna mae pictou-aquash, a canadian micmac under direct threat from the f.b.i. for refusing to contribute to framing leonard peltier, all about thirty years ago in the states amid incidents surrounding leonard peltier's persecution by the f.b.i. and canada's subsequent surrendering him on false evidence, to trial in the states; after years of threatening graham with charges if he didn't accuse someone else, the f.b.i. charged him with murder, march 30, 2003, and requested extradition; the extradition appeal may be heard about june 23, 2006 or before ("us renews war on the american indian movement: the anna mae pictou-aquash story," billie pierre, feb.26, 2006, friends of grassy narrows; "position statement," john graham defense committee [march 20, 2006, access: http://www.grahamdefense.org/position1.htm]; also, "update: saturday, november 12, 2005"); update july 23, 2006: procedural hearing of june 23rd will be followed by another on october 30, 2006; letters of support are helpful and encouraged - see: www.grahamdefense.org ("update," matthew lien, june 25, 2006, john graham defense committee [access: http://www.grahamdefense.org]); "the current state of domestic security operations and climate within the united states i believe has been thirty years at the least in the making, and a lot of what was done to the american indian movement in an effort to destroy it as a movement, to eliminate dissent by indigenous peoples was in many ways practice -" according to an interview with bruce ellison (former lawyer for leonard peltier) filmed by david gautier and available at http://www.danieltv.com/#, which clarifies ongoing f.b.i. policies and suggests strongly the mistake of acceding to extradition; from urgent march 21, 2006, vancouver: john graham is fighting extradition; after 1999 canada needs stronger defenses against extradition to the states; graham is accused of the execution style slaying of a friend and co-worker nearly thirty years ago; the case is so political and the persecution of the american indian movement by the f.b.i. so constant and clear, that it is unlikely graham can receive a fair chance to prove his innocence; his american co-accused, arlo looking cloud, was convicted in 2004 in a political trial attempting to further damage leonard peltier, a.i.m., and the traditionalists; for information, see the john graham defense committee at www.grahamdefense.org; update of may 18, 2007: on may 17th, 2007 two lawyers argued for john graham in a vancouver court, to keep him in canada despite a u.s. extradition order approved by a b.c. supreme court judge; due to a canadian supreme court decision the rules of evidence for extradition may have changed in graham's favor; he was freed on bail until the court reaches decision possibly september 7th; recent case background presented in the tyee reveals professional anti-graham politicing in b.c. ("aboriginal activist released on bail," suzanne fournier; may 18, 2007, canwest news service / leader-post; "delivering 'framed' john graham," rex weeler, may 17, 2007, the tyee with appreciation, znet); u..s. justice is currently unreliable viz. geneva conventions, torture, indefinite incarceration, lack of habeas corpus, etc. which are the sunny side of the street when it comes to long standing policies toward first peoples (see below); it's currently unrealistic to think that john graham would find justice in the u.s.. - ed.; update july 12, 2007: john graham's appeal to dismiss his extradition to the u.s. was refused by the british columbia supreme court on june 26th and he is now held in jail; the john graham defense committee at www.grahamdefense.org asks people to write the canadian supreme court before the july 26th appeal deadline, asking it to act on his appeal; urgent; update of december 10, 2007: canada's supreme court refused to hear the appeal and john graham was extradited to the united states on december 6, 2007 ("press conference by family of john graham, yukon tutchone native extradited to the united states," dec. 8, 2007 [access: < http://www.grahamdefense.org/2007update.htm >]); we believe him to be innocent.-ed.update march 21, 2006, historical note (passim): f.b.i. evidence is open to question in issues like the persecution of dr. king and civil rights movement workers; and in law enforcement treatment of black panthers; or in f.b.i. treatment of american indian movement activists from the seventies, a time when first peoples traditionalists on the lakota reservation lost between seventy and eighty people to death squads/goons with federal support; the american indian movement offered traditionally minded first peoples some protection; aside from direct military and justice department invasions of the reservation the f.b.i. had the option of using the courts and when dealing with a.i.m. is considered to have fabricated evidence, denied suspects equal treatment under law, intentionally offended human rights of first peoples, and bought off and intimidated witnesses; this continuation of a war on a.i.m. activists may be an f.b.i. attempt to justify policies which become increasingly vulnerable to international law. - ed.;
mohawk nation - update of jan. 25, 2006: on jan. 20, 2006, the following mohawk men were sentenced to prison by federal court in st. jerome quebec, for standing up for their own people in their own community: "rioting and forcible confinement" - 15 months for gordon lazore, gary gabriel; 12 months for robert gabriel, bradley gabriel; 6 months for hubert nelson; 4 months for allistair nicholas; 3 months for terry yaxley; others received fines and/or community service for "unlawful assembly" ("foreign legion rules! renegade judge sentences kanehsatake mohawks" kahentinetha horn, jan. 20, 2006, mnn mohawk nation news [access: http://mostlywater.org/node, see "mohawk warriors jailed for defending their community"]); difficulties with the trial include lack of mohawk judicial autonomy, lack of a native jury, lack of a new trial when significant new evidence was made available, arbitrary application of charges (gender inequality), and an apparent lack of justice so that the convicted found the proceedings and sentences without justice (references: ibid.; "report on recent events in kanehsatake, mohawk territory," jake brant, jan.18, 2004, ocap; "kanehsatakemohawk warriors face canadian-style colonialism," justin podur, nov. 2004, whrnet; "outburst forces judge to halt mohawk hearing," news staff, jan. 20, 2006, ctv.ca).
update of july 19, 2007: mohawk activist shawn brant was refused bail july 5th and returned to jail; his preliminary hearing is august 27th; the charges against him are mischief, and breaching a previous order to stay uninvolved; brant is said to have acted as spokesperson for a june 29th protest at country road 2; previous protests include the deseronto quarry action blocking rail lines, and a 2006 november disagreement with the military (with appreciation to: "intelligencer: brant denied bail," samantha craggs, july 5, 2007, the intelligencer / ocap); update of august 12, 2007: according to the toronto star online, on august 10th, court again denied his bail ("aboriginal protester brant denied bail,"canadian press, aug. 10, 2007, the toronto star); update of sept. 25, 2007: shawn brant was released on substantial bail and restrictive conditions august 30, 2007; the hearing remains under publication ban; he is being made to answer for several rail blockades ("shawn brant released on custody," ocap [access: "http://ocap.ca/taxonomy/term/5"]); update of april 9, 2008: according to mohawk nation news shawn brant is offered a plea bargain - to serve 12 years or they will try him for sixty ("mnn algonquin 'nohawks' can't speak to mohawks," kahentinetha horn, mnn mohawk nation news, march 30, 2008, orakwa); update of may 9, 2008: shaw brant was aquitted of threatening canadian forces personnel; his recent arrest (see news april 25th) places him in prison; a statement setting forth in simpicity the events which were shaped to arrest her husband was released to the public by shawn brant's wife on may 5th, fearing a move to again ban from publication all court proceedings; the mechanism hides the accused's defence from public understanding; she states a condition of his release from charges of forming a previous blockade, was that he not join other blockades and so he was not at the blockades but back in the woods; first people allege that two towns people harrassed and threatened first nations women; shawn brant went to their aid; the towns people had a baseball bat so he took with him a fishing spear; they left at his approach and were reported to the police, who four days later arrested shawn brant and charged him with assault and possession of a weapon; no charges were brought against the town people identified in police statement by native people for having initiated physical and threatening actions against them; there is also record of evidence that ontario provincial police have threatened shawn brant's reputation and life (summary of "shawn brant's arrest - statement by sue collis, tyendinaga mohawk territory," may 5, 2008, ocap listserv); there is some indication of repeated arbitrary charges used here by authorities as a apolitical control.
historical note: the north american indian holocaust
canada - update of october 20, 2006: howard sapers, canada's ombudsman for prisoners, notes the overly large proportion of native peoples in canada's prisons; the rate for first peoples is nine times non-indians; first peoples are placed in higher security, receive less benefit of parole, less training; ctv.ca cites his report for the statistics that natives provide 18.5 % of canada's inmates while 2.7% of the population ("report: prison system discriminatory to aboriginals," ctv.ca, oct. 17, 2006, msn news; "'the only good indian is a jailed indian': privatization of indians and prisons," kahentinetha horn, oct. 19, 2006, mnn ~ orakwa).
ontario, february 21, 2008: bob lovelace was sentenced to six months for contempt of court; ex-chief of the ardoch algonquins, a 59 year old band spokesperson, university instructor, was asked to pay 25 thousand, with his community another ten thousand dollars in fines; other representatives of the people have agreed not to block test mining attempts by frontenac ventures ltd. ("bob lovelace to serve six months in jail," press release, feb. 15, 2008, christian peacemaker teams canada, apprec. mchugh).
april 9, 2008, canada: the ki six ~ chief donny morris , cecilia begg - head councillor, deputy chief jack mckay, and 3 band council members of the ki (kitchenuhmaykoosib inninuwug) first nation in north ontario were each sentenced march 17th to six months in prison on contempt charges - they would not relinquish a portion of their lands to platinex corporation for mining; platinex has been suing the tribe for billions, and the judge added exhorbitant fees to this jail time ("interview with ki political prisoner cecilia begg," jon thompson, april 9, 2008, the bullet; "canada's latest political prisoners," justin podur, march 31, 2008, the bullet, no. 95; "native leaders sentenced to jail in mining protest," bill corry, march 18, 2008, globe and mail); update of april 24, 2008: with ki native leaders jailed, the liberal government of ontario has awarded platinex corporation mining claims to 72 thousand acres in northern ontario; the ndp protests ("hampton condemns new mining claims for platinex," press release, april 22, 2008, ontario's ndp); the good names of the other three councillors are councillor darryl sainnawap, bruce sakakeep, councillor samuel mckay ("ocap statement in support of ki and aafn first nations / letters to prison," ontario coalition against poverty & susan, march 30, 2008, ocap listserv).
december 14, 2006, canada: trevor miller, a six nations political prisoner held in preventive custody since august, was taken from a grassy narrows blockade for alleged land reclamation incidents: he's alleged to be one of those objecting to the aggressive incursion by the u.s. border patrol/alcohol tobacco firearms onto canadian/six nations territory; according to his mother police have not been able to present any evidence of wrong doing; his existence ('the forgotten warrior") is generally suppressed by canadian media; on dec. 11, 2006, he rejected authority of colonial courts and was denied bail or release; the judge has been repeatedly noted for "owning" a piece of land in the haldimand tract which is the current subject of a land rights dispute with extensive application; there is a support rally at the attorney general's in toronto dec. 18th, monday; trevor miller's next bail hearing is jan. 8th ("interview," jaggi & trudy miller, dec. 12, 2006 (?), and with angel smith, no one is illegal-montreal radio!, december 2006, ckut "off the hour"; "free trevor miller..." dec. 12, 2006, no one is illegal montreal e-mail); update feb. 19, 2007: after 7 months, trevor miller was freed on bail february 9th; a court date is set for march 7th ("trevor miller set free after declaring mohawk sovereignty to the colonial settler-state of canada," sarita ahooja, feb. 16, 2007, no one is illegal).
windsor ontario ~ december 20, 2006: immigration released jean candio december 28th, after particular concern by the ndp's [new democratic party] joe comartin and toronto lawyer paul copeland ("windsor star: haitian parliamentarian released," kole, dec. 29, 2006, sumoud); candio was detained since dec. 13th, when he applied for asylum in canada; overwhelmingly elected to the haitian parliament in 2000 he escaped haiti with wife and child after the 2004 illegal coup d'etat by the u.s. with france and canada's support, against democratically elected president aristide; held in march-april by the u.s. until he assured voluntary departure, candio attempted refugee status in canada on dec. 13; according to sumoud canada finds his participation in aristide's government and lavalas, criminal to the point of "genocide"; amnesty international has provided the government with refutable material against candio in what may be a concerted campaign against lavalas as defenders of haiti's poor ("jean candio - political prisoner of the canadian government," kole, dec. 27, 2006, sumoud [access: http://sumoud.tao.ca/?q=node/view/833]; "canada's haitian political prisoner: not content with supporting a coup, canada is criminalizing and imprisoning lavalas members," joe emersberger, dec. 27, 2006, znet [access: http:// www.zmag.org]).
the lucasville 5, condemned to death, prison may have made these five men political prisoners; update of february 5, 2008)
update: the angola 3 are herman wallace, released in february 2004 from punishment camp to solitary confinement, a. shaka cinque (albert woodfox), and robert king wilkerson who was released in 2002 after 29 years in solitary confinement when a u.s. court of appeals found he hadn't received a fair trial; two remain inside; ref. the national coalition to free the angola 3 at http://www.prisonactivist.org/angola/index.shtml, which reports all three men survived hurricane katrina (ed. posted, sept. 28, 2005).
historical note: these men were early founders of the black panther party in louisiana jails 1970, 71; after effectively organizing both black and white inmates against prison injustices they were accused of crimes while in prison and placed primarily in solitary (see a history of the angola 3, http://www.prisonactivist.org/angola/history.shtml).update: federal magistrate docia dalby has found that a lawsuit filed by the angola 3 should continue, recognizing the possibility that 30 years of continuous lockdown might be considered "cruel and unsual punishment"; her report is presented to chief district judge ralph tyson to rule whether their case may proceed ("magistrate finds lockdown for angola 3 cruel," penny brown, aug. 28, 2007, theadvocate.com louisiana).
update 4 feb, 2006: iron thunderhorse (anthony copolla), caretaker of tribal heritage (quinnipiac, connecticut), vietnam veteran, victim of cointelpro, imprisoned in texas since 1978 for charges that might be added without sentencing (?); known human rights advocate for prison issues, advocate for others, author, severely beaten/medically endangered in june of 2005 by guards for refusing to cut his hair; he is legally blind and partially crippled ("an appeal for human rights legal advocacy on behalf of iron thunderhorse," ruth duncan thunderhorse, orb standard [4 feb, 2006 access:http://orbstandard.com/index.html]; "legal actions," save iron thunderhorse [4 feb 2006 access: http://saveironthunderhorse.com/]; "the torture of chief iron thunderhorse," tom big warrior, orb standard, ibid); see petition: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/286295701.
ruchell cinque magee, imprisoned since 1963, noted by mumia abu-jamal as the longest held political prisoner in the u.s., survivor of the "august 7th rebellion" of 1970, where courthouse police killed three prisoners trying to escape as well as the judge, magee based a legal defense on his right to escape from slavery, as in cinque's slave revolt aboard the amistad (borrowed by herman melville's "benito cereno") - in 1841 cinque was acquitted by a connecticut court which ceded him a right to obtain his freedom by violence (see curtis mullins - "introduction to ruchell cinque magee's case," january 2000; see "ruchell cinque magee: sole survivor still," by mumia abu-jamal, 5/27/97; see kiilu nyasha, "black august (part 1): ruchell cinque magee and the august 7th courthouse slave rebellion," 2 august 2001); the circumstances of magee's initial arrest and subsequent scapegoating may justify the slavery defense and prove prophetic as the u.s. prison system becomes increasingly devoted to total psychological controls; magee's actions did not result in loss of life and there is no justification for the length of imprisonment except breaking a prisoner's spirit to a condition of slavery.
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