Move Political Prisoner Debbie Africa’s Upcoming Parole Hearing

We just wanted to inform people that sometime in May Debbie (Sims) Africa will be going before The Pa Parole Board for what will be her now 7th parole hearing since 2008 .
We are putting together a parole sample sheet and are asking that people sign it or write their own letter of parole in support of Debbie for her upcoming hearing people can mail
Their letters of support for Debbie’s Parole to The Move Organization p.o.box 19709 Philadelphia pa 19143. Time is short so we need as many letters as possible

Ona Move

Please take a moment to write a letter in support of parole for Debbie prior to her next hearing scheduled for in or after May 2014. Letters can be sent to The Move Organization at P.O. Box 19709, Philadelphia, PA 19143. Please make sure your letter arrives by May 1st.

Sample letter:

Board of Probation and Parole

Attn: Inmate Inquiry

1001 South Front Street, Suite 5300

Harrisburg, PA 17104

Regarding Parole Hearing for: Debbie Sims OO-6307

Debbie Sims has her next parole hearing scheduled for May of 2014. As a concerned citizen interested in helping Debbie successfully transition into life outside prison, I am writing to ask that you please parole her at this hearing. She has served over 35 years of a 30-100 year sentence for third-degree murder, even though the average sentence for that charge is 10-15 years. She is still in prison years after her minimum sentence, despite having no major disciplinary problems in the last three decades.

The document provided to Ms. Sims for her last parole denial in June 2013 lists the reasons for the denial as:

“Your minimization/denial of the nature and circumstances of the offense(s) committed,” and
“The negative recommendation made by the prosecuting attorney.”

I am concerned that Ms. Sims maintaining her innocence is seen as an attempt to minimize or deny the nature and circumstances of the offense(s), even while there is evidence that corroborates that the shot was fired from a location where it is well known she was nowhere near. This phenomenon is referred to as “the innocent prisoner’s dilemma” by law professor Daniel Medwed who asserts that it is unfair and unethical to require a prisoner who may have been wrongly convicted to provide false admission of guilt or remorse.

In regards to the negative recommendation made by the prosecuting attorney, I believe this is outweighed by the fact that the officials at SCI Cambridge Springs, where Ms. Sims is held, have recommended her for parole. These are the prison guards and personnel that she has contact with on a day-to-day basis as opposed to the prosecuting attorney who has had no contact with her at all in decades.

Debbie Sims has now spent most of her life in prison, and the recidivism rate for people released at her age is very low. Please grant parole and allow her to be a part of, and contribute to, society as free citizen, a loving mother and grandmother.

URGENT MEDICAL CAMPAIGN FOR PP ABDULLAH MAJID

From Jericho:

PP/POW Abdullah Majid is in need of our help. Months ago we reported that he was experiencing excruciating pain from an attack of sciatica. He was scheduled to have back surgery in October of 2013, and was instructed to stop taking the ibuprofen medication he was using to alleviate some of the pain. During this time, the only remedy provided has been a too short cane given to him by the prison doctor, making it difficult for him to walk or lean on.

When the surgery was first postponed, Majid was told it was because he needed to have some pre-op medical tests. Those tests were performed, and he has seen a cardiologist and the doctor who is to perform the surgery.

As the days and months go by, his 90 year old Mother, Mrs. LaBorde, becomes more and more anxious and frustrated by the DOCCS lack of response to her concerns.

We ask you to contact DOCCS and Governor Andrew Cuomo to express your concerns about the continued negligence and disregard for Abdul Majid’s health and medical well-being and to demand that the surgery take place. Please be sure to give his name and DIN #: Abdullah Majid, DIN # 83-A-0483 when you call or write.

Dr. Carl J. Koenigsmann, Deputy Commissioner/Chief Medical Officer
DOCCS Division of Health Services
Harriman State Campus–Building #2
1220 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12226-2050
518-457-7073

The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224

518-474-8390

Let us know what kind of response you receive.


SIGN THE JERICHO COINTELPRO PETITION!

Free All Political Prisoners!
nycjericho@gmail.comhttp://www.jerichony.org

Breaking: EDDIE CONWAY FREE‏

eddie-conway

Received via email from the National Jericho Network:

“Greetings
I just received the great news at 3:15 pm that Marshall Eddie Conway a Jericho Political Prisoner held for over 40 years has been released. More info to follow.”

According to an article in the Baltimore Sun:

Former Black Panther leader and convicted cop killer Marshall “Eddie” Conway was released after four decades behind bars on Tuesday, after striking an agreement with prosecutors over a challenge to his conviction based on of the way judges explained the law to juries in old cases.

Conway, now 67, spent more than 40 years behind bars after being convicted in the 1970 killing of Baltimore Police Officer Donald Sager, 35, who was killed in an ambush. Conway has maintained his innocence, saying that he was set up, and denied any role in the attack. For years there has been a campaign by supporters to get him pardoned.

His release Tuesday after a hearing in Baltimore Circuit Court was a result of the “Unger” decision, under which the state’s highest court ruled that jurors had been given improper instructions in cases tried before 1980. More than a dozen people were released last summer as a result of the decision, and officials have said as many as 200 others could be released.

Under the agreement, Conway’s conviction stands but he was re-sentenced to time served. He will be on supervised probation for the next five years, the agreement says.

Robert J. Boyle, one of Conway’s attorneys, said that while Conway has always maintained his innocence in the shooting, “he accepts this disposition and he willingly went along with it.”

But Boyle added that had Conway decided to press his claim under the Unger decision, he could have mounted a strong defense in any retrial.

“It was an extremely weak case against him,” said Boyle, who has worked on a number of cases involving wrongfully convicted Black Panthers.

The Baltimore branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People hailed Conway’s release as a triumph.

“Today is a monumental day for the thousands of Marylanders and the millions around the world that have championed the release of Marshall “Eddie” Conway for a very long time,” said President Tessa Hill-Aston. “The release of Conway after four decades of imprisonment is an important page turner in this tragic story. … Our prayers remain with him as he makes the transition to freedom.”

But police union officials said they were troubled by the release. In addition to Sager’s death, another officer, Stanley Sierakowsky, was wounded.

“It’s a very difficult thing to learn, after all these years, that he’s not going to fulfill the sentence he was given, which was life,” said Gene Ryan, vice president of the city’s Fraternal Order of Police lodge.

Fernando González of Cuban 5 released!

From ABC News:

A second member of the “Cuban Five” — the spy ring whose arrests and convictions have caused repeated tensions between Washington and Havana — was released Thursday from a U.S. prison after spending more than 15 years behind bars.

Fifty-year-old Fernando Gonzalez, known to U.S. authorities by the alias Ruben Campa, completed his sentence at 4 a.m. local time a prison in Safford, Ariz., Bureau of Prisons spokesman Chris Burke said.

Now the Five, as they are sometimes called, are down to three.

Gonzalez was turned over immediately to the custody of immigration officials, said Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Barbara Gonzalez. For security reasons, she said she could not disclose exactly where he was being held or when he would be returned to Cuba, but a deportation order has already been issued.

The five men, who are hailed as heroes in Cuba, were convicted in 2001 in Miami on charges including conspiracy and failure to register as foreign agents in the U.S. They were known as part of the “Wasp Network” sent by Cuba’s then-President Fidel Castro to spy in South Florida.

Trial testimony showed they sought to infiltrate military bases, including the headquarters of the U.S. Southern Command and installations in the Florida Keys. They also kept tabs on Cuban exiles opposed to the communist government in Havana and sought to place operatives inside campaigns of U.S. politicians opposed to that government, prosecutors said.

Havana maintains that the agents posed no threat to U.S. sovereignty and were only monitoring militant exiles to prevent terrorist attacks in Cuba, the best known of which was a series of bombings of Havana hotels that killed an Italian tourist in 1997. Cuban leaders regularly call for the men to be released.

Cuba announced a concert Saturday night at the University of Havana in honor of the five men, though it was not immediately clear whether Gonzalez would be in Cuba by then.

The Communist Party newspaper Granma published interviews Thursday with two of Gonzalez’s friends back home. Rafael Hojas said the two knew each other as young students and crossed paths on international missions in Africa.

“I hope he spends as little time as possible in an immigration jail and can enjoy as soon as possible his mother, his wife, his family, and we’ll see when we might be able to meet,” Hojas was quoted as saying.

Gonzalez’s mother, Magali Llort, told The Associated Press that she sometimes thinks her son’s release is a dream “but luckily it’s a great reality. But we can’t feel satisfied with Fernando arriving and Rene having come. We have to keep up the fight so that the rest, their brothers, are here,” she said.

The Cuban Five have sometimes been linked to the case of American Alan Gross, who has spent four years in a Cuban prison after he was arrested while working covertly to set up Internet access for the island’s Jewish community. He was working as a subcontractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development, which Cuba considers bent on undermining its government.

Cuba has suggested it might swap Gross for the Cuban Five, but Washington has rejected any such deal.

Three Plowshares Activists 3-5 yrs in US Prison for Nuclear Break-in

Link to original articleSister-Megan-Rice-with-Michael-Walli-68-a-veteran-and-Greg-Boertje-Obed-57-a-carpenter.

by Karen McVeigh (The Guardian)

An 84-year-old nun was handed a 35-month jail term on Tuesday for
breaking into a US nuclear weapons plant and daubing it
with biblical references and human blood. Sister Megan Rice was
sentenced alongside two co-defendants, Greg Boertje-Obed, 58, and
Michael Walli, 64, who both received 62-month terms.

At an earlier hearing in January, a judge ordered the three Catholic
anti-nuclear protesters to pay $53,000 for what the government estimated
was damage done to the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant at Oak Ridge,
Tennessee, regarded as one of the most secure in the world.

All three defendants were convicted of sabotage after the 2012 break-in,
on charges that carried a maximum sentence of up to 30 years. The
government had asked for the trio to be given prison sentences of
between five and nine years.

In a recent interview with the Guardian from prison, Rice said she hoped
US district judge Amul Thapar would seize the opportunity to “take his
place in history” and sentence them in a way that would reflect their
symbolic, non-violent actions — actions she said were intended to
highlight the US stockpile of nuclear weapons they believe is immoral
and illegal.

Rice and her co-defendants have been in prison, mostly in Ocilla,
Georgia, for nine months, a period of time her lawyers had argued was
sufficient punishment for the break-in.

On 28 July 2012, the three activists cut through three fences before
reaching a $548m storage bunker. They hung banners, strung up
crime-scene tape and hammered off a small chunk of the fortress-like
storage facility for uranium material, inside the most secure part of
complex. They painted messages such as “The fruit of justice is peace”
and splashed small bottles of human blood on the bunker wall.

Although the protesters set off alarms, they were able to spend more
than two hours inside the restricted area before they were caught. When
security finally arrived, guards found the three activists singing and
offering to break bread with them. The protesters reportedly also
offered to share a Bible, candles and white roses with the guards.

The Department of Energy’s inspector general wrote a scathing report on
the security failures that allowed the activists to reach the bunker,
and the security contractor was later fired. Some government officials
praised the activists for exposing the facility’s weaknesses. But
prosecutors declined to show leniency, instead pursuing serious felony
charges.

The activists’ legal team had received hundreds of letters and a
14,000-signature petition pleading for leniency in the case, including
from Rice’s religious order, the Society for the Holy Jesus, which asked
for a reduced or suspended sentence given “her age, her health and her
ministry”. Lawyers for Rice, Boertje-Obed, a Vietnam veteran from
Washington DC, and Walli, a painter from Duluth, Minnesota, had also
pleaded for leniency.

But the US government argued at the January hearing that they did not
accept that they had committed crimes, took no responsibility for them,
showed no contrition and then, during the trial, proceeded to argue
against the laws they had broken. It has described the three, who have
previous convictions related to their protest activities, as
“recidivists and habitual offenders”.

Jeffery Theodore, the assistant US attorney general for the eastern
district of Tennessee, told the court that the three “pretty much
celebrated their acts”. At the earlier hearing, he described their
argument that they were trying to uphold international law as “specious
and disingenuous” and said there had been no single case where
international law has been seen as justification for breaking US laws.

At the January hearing, four character witnesses for the defendants gave
powerful testimony about their strong Christian and pacifist principles,
their commitment to helping others, and their dedication to their cause.
They, and the scores of supporters crowded into the courtroom, also
provided an insight into the close-knit nature of the anti-nuclear faith
community.

Mary Evelyn Tucker, director of the Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale,
who has known Rice all her life, compared the nun’s use of non-violent protest
to the “lineage of transformation” employed by Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson
Mandela and Martin Luther King. She said: “To allow Megan to continue
the work of her life, the work to alleviate suffering, outside the walls
of a prison would be an invaluable gift to the world. To keep her
inside, the world would be diminished for lack of her work.”

Kathy Boylan, of the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker Community in Washington
DC, where Walli is a member, described him as a “quintessential
Christian”. Under questioning from Theodore, Boylan, a plowshare
activist, admitted that, if Walli were to be re-integrated into her
community, she would not discourage him from pursuing similar protest
action in the future.

Joel Bitar sentenced to 19 months for 2010 Toronto G20 actions

From Guelph ABC:

On February 13th 2014, Joel Bitar was sentenced to 19 months minus 17 days for his participation in the 2010 G20 protests in Toronto. As soon as we have his address we will publicize it, and Joel welcomes letters and visits. GABC is also collecting funds for his canteen and to help folks to visit him. Joel – our hearts are with you!

Here is his statement:

Hello,

I have not been able to speak much since my arrest last February so I appreciate the opportunity to make a statement today. I only plan on taking a small amount of your time. At the end of my statement I am going to to issue an apology to some of the individuals who were affected by my actions. It is my hope that this statement better contextualizes the choices I’ve made that have led me to this courtroom.

I came to Toronto four years ago for many of the same reasons as the tens of thousands of other people who marched on the streets that day. These are many of the same reasons why hundreds of thousands of people have demonstrated in Seattle against the World Trade Organization, in Genoa against the G8, in Quebec City against the Free Trade Area of the Americas, in Gothenburg against the EU summit, in Rostock against the G8 and in Pittsburgh against the G20. They are many of the same reasons why people are now protesting in the streets of New York, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Turkey, Greece, Italy and Spain. It is only really possible to understand the events that took place in Toronto in the context of the global movement against neoliberalism and the corporatization of the planet. It is my belief that this movement is best explained as an individual and collective response to various forms of domination and exploitation. My politics are inseparable from my own life experiences, which I would like to briefly speak about now.

I grew up in an environment where I had access to many of the things required for conventional success. I had – and have – an extremely loving family, I played tennis competitively and had a working-class, but generally supportive upbringing. I graduated from high school with honors and then got my bachelors degree in Economics from the City University of New York. My plan in college was to work on Wall Street with the goal of making a lot of money. That goal was widely reinforced and encouraged by society at large. Trying to get rich and focusing on my own personal comforts seemed right when everyone else was chasing the same thing. However, two events occurred during this time that fundamentally changed the way I now see the world.

The first event was the global financial crisis of 2008. During this time, banks that engaged in predatory lending practices were given billions of dollars to keep their businesses afloat while millions of people lost their homes. It was shocking how closely government officials who once worked on Wall St. collaborated with the financial sector to organize the bailout. It seemed profoundly unjust to me that those who precipitated the crisis were rewarded, while masses of people were literally tossed to the street. I came to the conclusion that Wall Street’s obsession with profit comes at the expense and detriment of the majority.

The second event took place in December, 2008, when Israel launched an invasion into the Gaza Strip that resulted in the deaths of 800 civilians (many of whom were women and children). This destruction was carried out with weapons manufactured by U.S. Corporations and was paid for with U.S. taxpayer money. During this invasion, banned weapons like White Phosphorous (made in the U.S.) were fired at Palestinian schools and hospitals in contravention of international humanitarian law. I saw images of innocent children killed by missiles, tank shells and bullets. At the same time many of these people suffered, weapons manufacturers and government officials profited from their obliteration.

From these two events I developed an opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Hundreds of thousands of civilians have died in these wars while corporations like Halliburton and Lockheed Martin have secured billions of dollars in government contracts. George Bush erected a worldwide torture regime, that Obama has only expanded, and has since been immune to any prosecution for his crimes. It is evident that those who commit crimes at the top levels are government are immunized while someone like Chelsea Manning, who revealed the extent of government criminality, is banished to a cage for decades. It is apparent to people, all throughout the world, that the real motivations for these wars is rooted in the economic interest of a few and that masses of innocent people have needlessly suffered as a result.

This led me to see more and more about the world that I could not unsee, including how the continued exploitation of the environment is connected to the same economic interests mentioned above. One notoriously brutal example of environmental exploitation is happening here in Canada at this moment. In Alberta, pristine boreal forestland the size of Florida has been turned into a toxic wasteland for the extraction of oil. James Hansen, a professor of climatology at Columbia University believes that the tar sand project is “game over for the climate.” He says: “If we were to fully exploit this new oil source, and continue to burn our conventional oil, gas and coal supplies, concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere eventually would reach levels higher than in the Pliocene era, more than 2.5 million years ago, when sea level was at least 50 feet higher than it is now. That level of heat-trapping gases would assure that the disintegration of the ice sheets would accelerate out of control. Sea levels would rise and destroy coastal cities.” It should not be acceptable to us that private corporations and western governments regularly exploit natural resources for profit while simultaneously destroying the environment and injecting pollutants into our air and water.

Financial crises, war and environmental degradation share a common thread. They are born of the prevailing economic system, which is only interested in maximizing profit and increasing growth. This system is predicated on maintaining vast levels of inequality, where a small number of people have incredible amounts of wealth while the masses are locked in poverty. A recent report published by Oxfam International states that the 85 richest people possess the same wealth as the poorest 3.5 billion people combined. Rather than providing wealth and opportunity, or having a trickle-down effect, the current system enriches the few at the expense of the many. This is not a particularly radical analysis, this is the only rational interpretation of how society is structured. Even such a mainstream figure as the Pope recently said: “As long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world’s problems or, for that matter, to any problems.” Rather than addressing these structural causes, Western governments do everything they can to foster the status quo that leads to the problems.

The current situation in the world is urgent and much needs to be done. I truly believe we can build a new system that puts human need and the needs of the environment ahead of the interests of business. At some point, we need to decide if profit, innovation and economic growth are more important than the long-term sustainability and well-being of our species and planet. I understand that this proposition might not sound so good to someone who is financially benefiting from the current system but we are running out of time. We have enough resources to make sure every person on this planet has health care, food, an education and a place to live. There is no reason why people should be homeless and begging on the streets while food is thrown away en masse and foreclosed houses remain empty. There is no reason why such massive levels of inequality should persist in the modern age. These systems are antiquated and must be fundamentally transformed.

It was not, and has never been, my intention to scare or hurt anyone. I want to build a world based on the values of love, compassion and understanding; not fear and intimidation. I take responsibility for my actions and apologize to anyone who felt fear as a result of them. Before closing, I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to my family, friends and supporters. This process has taken an incredible toll on myself and especially my loved ones. It means the world that they have stood by me through it all.

Thank You

Joel Bitar

MOVE film screening 2/22/2014!

Greetings friends,

Move 9 Parole and Denver Anarchist Black Cross will be hosting a film screening this weekend! We will be showing the film 1978 MOVE Confrontation of Philadelphia. This will be followed by a facilitated discussion on the ongoing Move 9 parole campaign, and what we can do to support them. Event is Saturday February 22nd,  2:30pm @ Blair Caldwell Public Library. (2401 Welton St, Denver, CO 80205) Please bring friends, family, and anyone else. All are invited!   -Denver ABC
move confrontation poster

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