Feb 8 – Letter writing: Warm Valentines melt ICE



Feburary 8th from 7pm-9pm come join us at Hooked on Colfax (3213 E Colfax Ave, Denver, CO 80206). This month we will be writing valentines (designed cards and all materials will be provided for you) to folks unjustly interned by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at the Aurora (Colorado) Immigrant Detention Center.

Message from Chuck Africa


The Earth First! Prisoner Support Project received the following message from imprisoned member of the Move 9, Chuck Africa.  The Move organization’s early protests centered around the use of animals in zoos and circuses, which have become a stronger force in the last few decades.  Chuck’s message comes on the heels of the announcement on January 11th that all eleven elephants now touring with the three Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus units will be “retired” to the company’s 200-acre Center for Elephant Conservation by May 2016.  Apparently, the decision hinged on the fact that several cities and counties have passed ‘anti-circus’ and ‘anti-elephant’ ordinances, and President Kenneth Feld said it is expensive to fight legislation in each jurisdiction and difficult to plan tours amid constantly changing regulations.  While seemingly a call for celebration at first glance, the back story is that instead of performing, the elephants will merely become part of an ongoing cancer research project.  That’s not exactly ‘retirement.’  Altogether Ringling has 42 elephants, two of which are on loan to zoos, and the circuses will still torture tigers, lions, horses, dogs and camels.  Rodeos are yet another form of entertainment that abuses animals.  Chuck Africa can receive mail at the address listed below.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –


“End all cruelty against animals in rodeo shows and competitions where calves, bulls and horses are choked, tied and lassoed, and terrorized for entertainment purposes!

I write this to call on all elements of all movements fighting for the planet and animal rights as well as and against injustices (police brutality, economic disparities, racism, etc.) and political prisoners to help us explore new ways to mount campaigns against the callous practice of rodeo shows.

When I happened across the channel FS1 on the TV, I cannot believe my eyes at the insensitivity displayed and that may are not going ballistic over this madness.  Where is the outrage?  And I apologize to those that are and have been doing work in this area.  I’m sure that it isn’t new.  It just affects my sensibilities to see it and I only observe now to find out more information on the powers controlling it (the sponsors, etc.).  In the joint I’m in, it appears on channel FS1.

While I realize that many areas of protect are just as important, I just hope to generate more action toward this.  Please give me (and trade among comrades) some suggestions.  I am limited in here, but I still want to help and encourage those I network with to protest this brutality and torture of these innocent animals.

Frightened calves are let out of a gate and chased by a man on a horse who whips a rope around their neck, yanking the calf’s neck and then ties their legs as the animal is petrified during this traumatic and painful experience.  Bulls are ridden in an enclosed area by competitors who wish to last the longest before the bull bucks him off.  These animals are being tormented and enslaved in a small enclosure, and no doubt when a rider gets trampled or falls beneath the animal the animal is then further punished.

Let’s unify our efforts wherever we can to continue to fight and develop new tactics for stopping the enslavement of all life.

Free all political prisoners,
Support political prisoners wherever they are,
Support Janet, Janine, and Debbie Africa, Rebecca Rubin, Chelsea Manning and Robert Seth Hayes,
On a move,”

Chuck Africa #AM-4975
SCI Dallas
1000 Follies Road
Dallas, PA 18612

LEAK: Unredacted Denver Police Crowd Control Manual

From Unicorn Riot:

Last week, after filing a Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) request, Unicorn Riot received a heavily redacted copy of the Denver Police Crowd Control Manual. Most sections of the manual relevant to the policing of protests (our primary interest) were redacted. One redaction was 15 pages long!

Since then, an anonymous source provided Unicorn Riot with an unredacted copy of the manual. This version is dated May 2008, while the redacted version via CORA request is dated October 2011.

After examination of both documents, we are confident that most or all of the redacted portions from the current manual are present in the 2008 copy. We compared size, shape, and location of the redacted text body with the corresponding areas of the unredacted text.

Based on our experience and observations in Denver it is clear that the practices outlined in the 2008 manual are still in use by the department today (to the extent that the police follow the law and/or their own rules, which is loosely and sometimes not at all). Of course there may be discrepancies between the two documents that we would not be able to detect.

Two of the redacted sections that stood out as particularly arbitrary:

  • The term “Field Force” in the Table of Contents
  • The length in inches of the standard riot baton used in crowd control (42″)

Aside from the humorous nature of some items chosen to be redacted, there are sections of greater concern and interest.

The redacted manual we received from the city was issued in October 2011, most likely to reflect changes in crowd management based on the department’s first operations against Occupy Denver. 2008 is also the year Denver hosted the Democratic National Convention (DNC). Several mass protests took place during the convention, and a highly militarized police apparatus was deployed against demonstrators. The City of Denver paid $200,000  to settle a lawsuit brought by the ACLU over indiscriminate mass arrests of protesters conducted by Denver police during the 2008 DNC.

A shirt sold by a Denver police union after the 2008 Democratic National Convention

A shirt sold by a Denver police union after the 2008 Democratic National Convention


In the “Rules of Conduct” section, the manual briefly outlines the role of “Shadow Teams” as groups of undercover and/or plainclothes officers who infiltrate demonstrations to observe participants, gather intelligence, monitor “persons of interest”, and help target specific protesters for arrest.

For more in-depth info, follow this link: Denver Police use undercover “Shadow Teams” to infiltrate and monitor protests




DPD also deploys “Cut Teams” to dismantle lock-boxes or other devices that may be used by protesters during a civil disobedience or blockade action.




A lock-box device, used in civil disobedience to allow protesters to attach their bodies to an object or to each other


For more in-depth info, follow this link: Denver Police manual permits use of “pain compliance” on passive individuals

The Crowd Control Manual also allows the use of “Pain Compliance Techniques” on individuals engaged in “passive resistance.” Although such an individual, someone who goes limp when arrested for example, poses no threat to the officer, the officer is permitted to use force to cause pain. Pain compliance techniques used by the Denver Police Department are known to involve the use of pressure points. It is common for people arrested at protests in Denver to report that while being arrested, officers pulled and twisted their wrists and fingers in very painful ways both as they are being handcuffed, and after they have already been handcuffed.


Full Manual text below:

canvasClick here to download the full manual in pdf

You can also download the pdf file here.

Tor users can download a copy here.

Releasing the Denver Police Crowd Control Manual is part of our ongoing investigation into the policing of social movements. Using open records requests and other methods, we are currently compiling reports documenting the Denver Police Department.


For fun interactive unredacting of the document, check out the last part of the original post.


Greece: Korydallos prison protest

From Insurrection News:


Since the 24th of January prisoners in wards A and D in Korydallos Prison are not entering their cells during midday (12:00-14:00) and evening (20:00-22:00) to protest the frequent power cuts that can last up to two hours.

In a prison with very old infrastructures, where central heating is never on (in order to save money on petrol), with individual heaters not being allowed anymore, prisoners must deal with the cold temperature by themselves in their freezing cells.

Strength to all hostages of the State!

(via Mpalothia, translated by BlackCat)


Take Action: Mohammed al-Qeeq in critical condition; Palestinian prisoners launch solidarity strikes

From Samidoun:


The Israeli Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday, 27 January that Mohammed al-Qeeq, the imprisoned hunger striking Palestinian journalist, must remain detained despite his critical condition and over two months on hunger strike. Held without charge or trial under administrative detention, al-Qeeq has consumed only water since 25 November 2015. He is currently held in HaEmek hospital, where he has been denied access to independent medical care.

Support and solidarity with al-Qeeq is growing; on his 63rd day of hunger strike, protests across Palestine and internationally are organized to demand his immediate release. Inside Israeli jails, 45 prisoners affiliated with the Palestinian leftist party, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, launched a two-day hunger strike in solidarity with al-Qeeq, demanding his immediate release.

The PFLP prisoners in Megiddo and Gilboa prisons launched the hunger strike, saying that this is part of an escalating campaign of protest and struggle within the prisons. They demanded al-Qeeq’s freedom as well as an end to the isolation of Palestinian prisoner Bilal Kayed, who is being held in solitary confinement and denied winter clothing and blankets by the Israeli prison administration.

Samidoun will be organizing a protest in New York City on Friday, 29 January, and Inminds will hold a protest in London on the same day. Further protests elsewhere are expected to be announed in the coming days. Protests will also take place in various cities in occupied Palestine on Friday, following rallies in Nablus, Ramallah, Gaza City and outside the hospital where al-Qeeq is held.

Download this flyer for distribution about the case of Al-Qeeq:

alqeeq-flyer-768x994Former hunger striker Muhammad Allan raised his voice to demand al-Qeeq’s freedom, urging action on the Palestinian and international levels to free him before it is too late. On Wednesday, the Israeli supreme court deferred any action on al-Qeeq’s case, requiring daily reports on his health – Palestinian lawyers said that the decision amounts to a “rejection of his appeals and disregard for his life.” Al-Qeeq himself was not brought to court due to the severity of his health situation.

Reporters Without Borders, Amnesty International and the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate have expressed the urgency of Al-Qeeq’s situation: he could die at any minute. Meanwhile, the U.S. and other governments are silent on the imprisonment of Al-Qeeq and other Palestinian journalists, while supporting Israel militarily, financially and politically.

Take Action:

1. Contact government officials and demand that they break their silence on Al-Qeeq and support for Israeli violations of Palestinian rights. In the United States, call the Israel Foreign Service Desk
1-202-647-3672 and the White House – 202-456-1111. Demand action on al-Qeeq’s case and an end to aid to Israel. In the UK, call UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Philip Hammond, MP, +44 20 7008 1500. In Canada, call Foreign Minister Stephane Dion: 613-996-5789.

2. Protest at an Israeli consulate or embassy (or federal building or public square) and demand freedom for Mohammed al-Qeeq. Raise the issue of this case publicly and distribute information – this flyer is available for you to distribute at protests in your community. Find your closest Israeli consulate: http://embassy.goabroad.com/embassies-of/israel.  Please email us atsamidoun@samidoun.net to inform us of your action – we will publicize and share news with the prisoners.

3. Boycott, Divest and Sanction. Palestinians have urged an international boycott of Israeli goods and institutions – and corporations that profit from occupation , like G4S, the world’s largest private security company, that sells security equipment to Israeli prisons, checkpoints and police training centers – directly profiting from the occupation that destroys Palestinian lives. At the same time G4S profits from occupation, institutions like the United Nations continue to do business with it. Go to addameer.org/UNdropG4S to take action!

Public Call with Death Row Prisoner Keith LaMar


***Public gatherings where you can join others listening in on this call will be updated below***
**Please note times: 5:00 PST, 6:00 MST, 7:00 CST, 8:00 EST**

On Thursday February 4th, supporters across the country will host a conversation with Ohio death row inmate Keith LaMar. On the 4th, Keith is looking forward to discussing Tamir Rice and the absence of police accountability in America. This will be an opportunity to ask him questions, and discuss how to take action on his own situation. Join a public gathering, or call in on your own.

During the call, questions can be communicated to Keith by posting them below in the comment section, or sending them via email to: lucasville1993@gmail.com

Call-in number: 641-715-3580, access code: 583063

Public gatherings:
BLOOMINGTON, IN: Monroe County Public Library (503 East Kirkwood Ave) https://www.facebook.com/events/161069364267517/
Contact: ellicit@riseup.net

MILWAKEE, WI: People’s Books (804 E. Center St.)

MINNEAPOLIS, MN: Walker Church (3104 16th Ave. S.)

NYC: The Base (1302 Myrtle Ave, Brooklyn)
Contact: thebasebk@gmail.com

PORTLAND, ME: Southern Maine Workers Center (68 Washington Ave)
Contact: beth.atim@gmail.com

——————- – ——————– – ———————
About Keith LaMar:

Keith is a man fighting for his life, falsely accused of the murder of fellow inmates during the 1993 Lucasville (Ohio) prison uprising. He has spent the last 22 years locked in a cage, most of it in solitary confinement. Keith has never given up his struggle for truth and justice, and most recently, bravely fought and won a hunger strike to keep access to his books and music.

The Ohio prison system has systematically made Keith’s life unbearable. They have locked him away from contact with other prisoners, deprived him of the privileges afforded to other death row inmates, and kept him in constantly stressful living conditions. Keith lacks the proper representation and funds to combat this endless abuse and to prove his innocence.

The Campaign for Justice for Keith LaMar intends to fight side by side with Keith and asks others to join us. Keith will be calling in from the super­max penitentiary in Youngstown, Ohio. All are welcome to join the call, listen in, ask questions, and show their solidarity.

More info at:
Website: www.keithlamar.org
Facebook: Justice for Keith LaMar
Twitter: @FREEKeithLaMar
Documentary on Keith: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4uEvMJR4Rc&feature=iv&src_vid=cRvVIJC5E3o&annotation_id=annotation_1111416057

Last Incarcerated Member of ‘NATO 3’ May Die in Prison

From Shadowproof:


Jared Chase is the last member of the “NATO 3,” who remains in prison. Chase suffers from Huntington’s disease and faces additional charges for alleged aggravated battery against a prison guard. He is set to go on trial in April. If convicted, there is a significant chance Chase could die in prison because of how his imprisonment has compounded the effects of this neurodegenerative disease.

In May 2012, Chicago hosted a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) meeting to discuss policies in the Afghanistan War. A number of activists traveled to the city to protest NATO, including Chase, Brian Jacob Church and Brent Betterly. They became known as the “NATO 3” after they were targeted by undercover Chicago police and arrested on May 16. The state of Illinois accused the “NATO 3” of making explosives.

The Illinois State’s Attorney Office quickly labeled the young men “terrorists” in a criminal complaint and charged them with state terrorism offenses. On February 7, 2014, after a lengthy trial in which the key role of undercover cops became even more apparent, a jury acquitted the “NATO 3” of all terrorism charges. But they were found guilty of arson-related offenses and “mob action” charges.

In April 2014, a judge sentenced Church to five years in prison, Betterly to six years, and Chase to eight years for arson offenses. The judge allowed prosecutors to present evidence against Chase related to the alleged aggravated battery incident involving the spraying of urine and feces on a guard, even though the state intended to pursue a separate trial.

“He’s Dying Before My Eyes”

Betterly, who was released from prison in April 2015, was last with Chase while they were beat up by guards during their arrival at the Stateville prison’s receiving center. After sentencing, they were put on the same bus and moved to the prison. Guards from the Illinois Department of Corrections awaited their arrival, which resulted in a “pretty violent interaction,” according to Betterly.

During a recent pretrial hearing on December 7, 2015, Chase showed up to court with a black eye and a swollen face. Betterly said he’s lost a considerable amount of weight, perhaps fifty pounds. Supporters are terribly concerned about his health.

“He’s dying before my eyes. That’s not embellishment at all,” Betterly declared. “The charge he carries now—it carries a minimum of three years. He won’t survive it.”

Betterly noted the prisons are not capable of taking care of diseases “that are generally serious but treatable.” A disease like Huntington’s is “probably something they don’t encounter much. They completely have no idea how to care for somebody with Huntington’s. They’re not equipped to do it. He’ll die. If he’s found guilty and sentenced to even the minimum, he won’t make it. That’s my opinion.”

Chase is in solitary confinement at the Pontiac Correctional Center, a facility where a number of violent and/or mentally ill inmates are incarcerated.

State prosecutors allege that on October 4, 2013, Chase sprayed “human waste” on a Cook County prison guard, Officer Trevor Hapanionek. He was charged with four different charges for one alleged act.

Multiple Cook County guards testified during sentencing about the basic details of what they claim happened on October 4, but Dr. Kathleen Shannon, a neurologist who had assessed Chase, testified that his misconduct against guards was likely a result of Huntington’s disease.

Shannon informed the court the disease makes it difficult for a person to avoid outbursts. It makes one easily irritable and can lead to mania. On average, a person who develops the disease can die in 17 years. A person usually goes through multiple stages of disability until spending the final 8 years of their life in a nursing home or hospice care.

It is hereditary. Chase’s dad died from the disease, and according to Shannon’s best estimate, the onset of Huntington’s disease began in 2008.

281660_10150724069290078_2592519_n-201x300 A Letter Describing an Outburst and Brutal Abuse by Guards

The Nuclear Resister newsletter has been published since 1980. It supports people in jail for anti-nuclear activism. Around the Persian Gulf War in 1990, the newsletter expanded to support people in jail for anti-war activism. It reported on all those arrested in Chicago in relation to NATO meeting protests, including the “NATO 3.”

Jack Cohen-Joppa of the Nuke Resister has corresponded with Chase since 2012. He has contacted doctors and informed them that Chase is not getting the proper diet someone with Huntington’s should receive.

In a letter dated September 21, 2015, Chase describes in great detail an outburst against guards as well as the brutal manner in which prison guards responded to him:

On the last day that I wrote you 8/22/2015, after flipping out because I didn’t get my diet tray again, I flooded my cell that morning and threw shit and piss out in the gallery. After the workers finished cleaning, the C.O’s started running showers, while the C.O Gross was next door at my neighbor’s cell. I threw more feces and piss under my door, but it didn’t make it so to get it out of my cell I threw water behind it to push it out of my cell and it washed out on the gallery. C.O. Gross was so pissed the workers just left, he went to the Lt., Lt. Bennett, and lied and told him I had assaulted him with feces.

Lt. Bennett and a gang of C.O’s came to my cell, opened up my chuck, and told me to cuff up. I refused and told him to call Orange Crush [an elite guard unit in Illinois prisons]. He looked at the other C.O’s and asked them if they just wanted to run in my cell so to stop them I took the empty milk cartons I had used earlier to throw the piss and shit with, and I pretended like they were full of shit and I backed up and told them to come in and I’d throw it at them. Lt. Bennett told me once to put the cartons down and I refused.

Without any warning at all he pulled out his mace and sprayed me in the face through the open chuck. My first reaction was to drop the cartons, turn around, and try to protect my face. After about 30 seconds of coughing and pain, I decided they had won that battle and I backed up, told them I was cuffing up. I stuck my hands out the chuck and they cuffed me. They told me to kneel down and I did, and they rushed in and tackled me. They started beating me.

After they shackled my feet and picked me up, they pushed me down the gallery all the way to the stairs. They pushed me violently down the stairs causing me to fall down several times. When we got to the first floor around a corner where there was a blind spot in the cameras, they started punching me in the ribs and back, they shoved me into a cage and pushed me on my knees, they chained my feet to the floor and my hands to the bench. I was in so much pain from the shackles and mace. I started banging my head against the ground trying to knock myself out. Then they put a suicide smock in front of me so I couldn’t.

I had so much mucus coming out of my nose I kept spitting, and they put a spit mask over my head, making it hard to breathe and keeping all the mace on my face. 1 Sgt and 4 C.O’s sat there watching me thrashing and they laughed for 2 hours until a nurse came and put drops in my eyes. She examined my neck looking for marks because the C.O’s lied and told the psych and medical people I tried to hang myself. A psych doctor came in. I was placed back on suicide watch. I was strip searched and dressed in a suicide smock and brought to cell N-107. I spent 72 hours on suicide watch and the doctor took me off. My property was returned. Everything was destroyed. They threw it all on the floor in the water. All my books, clothes, legal, work, letters, and cards were all destroyed. Every thing had mold and mildew all over it. I was pissed! I was written up for attempt/assault. I was under the impression it was a minor thing so I refused to go to my hearing.

According to the letter, Chase was given one year in solitary confinement, lost his phone call privileges, lost one year of his good conduct credit, and received three months of yard restriction, nine months of audio/video restriction, and six months of contact visit restriction.

Chase is far from the only individual to face additional punishment for outbursts caused by their deteriorating health. For example, in 2011, the Belleville News-Democrat reported Anthony Gay had his prison term “increased because of mandatory consecutive sentences for throwing urine and feces at guards,” which added up to a sentence of 99 years. His “mental state” had deteriorated because of his seven-year stint in solitary at Tamms supermax prison, which is now shut down.

Assistant Appellate Defender Scott Main argued Gay’s mental state had diminished “to the point he shouldn’t be held criminally responsible for throwing body wastes, acts he claims were induced by mental illness.” The Uptown People’s Law Center in Chicago organized mental health and prisoner advocates to support Gay, because he was constantly smearing urine and feces and needed proper medical treatment instead of a lifetime in prison. And, in 2014, the State conceded his sentence was illegal and reduced it so he would be released in 2018.

“The State of Illinois is trying to turn this into a life sentence for him,” Rachel Allshiny, an activist and supporter of Chase’s told Shadowproof. “He’s obviously deteriorating both in terms of what he writes to us or what I’ve seen in court. He doesn’t have as much control over his speech and movements as he used to. So, the deterioration is obvious and he’s not in a place that’s conducive to getting any better.”

Allshiny has written letters to Chase in the past, but she says her letters have had difficulty getting through to Chase. She also is one of the few people to have visited Chase in prison, and she has been present at most of his court dates.

During her visit in July 2012, she recalled how Chase wanted updates on activism and demonstrations. He was “trying very much to stay connected, but I could also see it was really difficult in many ways to have a visit.”

“He stopped seeing people after that, and I think it was just he said he didn’t want people to pity him. I could tell he was having an emotional time. He wanted to stay connected to the outside but he was finding it tough to be in that position where he’s behind glass,” Allshiny added.

Unable to Shake Off Stigma of Terrorism Offenses

On top of the Huntington’s disease, Chase has had to deal with the stigma of being charged with terrorism offenses.

“When we were in the county, we were all treated pretty brutally by some of the guards just because of our case,” Betterly shared. “It got even worse around the time of the Boston Bombing because we were still incarcerated pre-trial. [We were] automatically associated with that sort of thing, and they brought it up over and over again at trial.”

“I actually had a C.O. show up and testify against me in my sentencing because of an interaction we’d had when I was in the county after the verdict but before the sentencing,” Betterly recounted. “He was somewhat new. He was a rookie. He had gone through the academy and just started working on my deck and came up to my cell and refused to let me out (because you get like one hour a day in max to go out and use the phone and take a shower, etc). He refused to let me out and put his face right up against the bars and told me the jury might have bought your shit but I didn’t. I hope you fucking rot. He wouldn’t let me out of my cell.”

“Most of them were really sure we were terrorists and done all the ridiculous things that they said they did. Even after the verdict proved that was all bullshit and not just the verdict but everything that came out during trial—some of them were even more bitter that we [weren’t found guilty].” It was like they were angry the system had failed them, according to Betterly.

Betterly never had to deal with problems getting medical treatment for any serious illnesses while he was at Stateville, but he said he had been in prison with someone who had cancer, and tried to get treatment for a small cyst in his mouth.

“It took years to finally get him to a doctor, and by that time, they had to remove his entire jaw and upper palate because of the amount of time that it took to get in there and take care of a tiny little cyst,” Betterly recalled. “You know, that’s pretty standard. That’s pretty standard, especially for [Illinois Department of Corrections]. It’s one of the worst.”

Guards are not trained to take care of a person with a serious disease like Huntington’s. The prison is both unprepared medically and disciplinarily. The only answer the prison has, as Betterly argued, is to lock Chase in a “solitary cage away from everybody. Let him die quietly.”

Staying Connected to the Outside World

IMG_0211-300x225 Yet, despite what prison is doing to him, Chase continues to try and hold on to his sanity. Allshiny said he is now trying to learn new languages. She remembered they spoke about books when she visited him in prison years ago. He mentioned someone had sent him a book by Philip K. Dick that he really liked. Allshiny sent him some classic science fiction books.

Allshiny believed Chase was a science fiction fan, but about a year after the visit, he told her in a letter that he had never read these books before. It had opened up a “whole new world.”

One of the reasons it has been difficult for Chase in prison is because he is not very compliant. He is always trying to stage “some kind of a hunger strike” to get his needs met, according to Allshiny. Cook County or Illinois State correctional staff do not appreciate that. “He’s very much rubbing them the wrong way.”

Even if it seems unlikely Chase will ever see the outside of a jail cell again, his supporters remain committed to freeing him. Allshiny feels particularly responsible. She organized with Occupy Chicago and helped Chase, Church, and Betterly find housing during the NATO meeting. She has spent the last years making sure everyone who traveled to Chicago is able to return home.

As Allshiny put it, “We have one left. We’re not quite there yet.”


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