From Russell Maroon Shoatz:
A group of inmates at Nevada’s maximum-security prison in Ely refused food for two days to call attention to claims they’re not getting enough to eat, according to Nevada corrections officials and a group that advocates for prisoner rehabilitation.
Twenty-six inmates in one Ely State Prison unit refused meals Friday morning “as a result of their interpretation of reduced food portions,” the state Department of Corrections said in an unsigned statement responding to questions from the Associated Press.
Seventeen inmates continued the meal boycott Saturday morning, the statement said. Prison administrators met with each inmate “to listen to their issues,” and all inmates were taking meals by Saturday evening, officials said.
No one was injured, sickened, taken to a medical facility or force-fed, according to the statement.
The prison protest was publicized by a Las Vegas-based nonprofit group called Nevada Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants.
Nevada CURE official John Witherow, a former longtime Nevada prison inmate, said one man in an Ely segregation unit complained in a letter dated March 5 that he’d lost weight, wasn’t allowed to purchase items and was denied personal hygiene items like soap and toothpaste.
Ely State Prison is about 250 miles north of Las Vegas. It houses some 1,100 inmates, including more than 80 on death row.
Greetings from Vandalia “Correctional” Center!
After the 24 hour lock down purgatory known as Stateville NRC, I’ve arrived at the joint where I will mostly likely do the rest of my time.
Basically, prison is a big waste of everyone’s time and resources! It angers me that the system would rather keep locking people up and give them practically nothing to do instead of putting energy and resources into social programs and schools that would enable people to do well in life. The evidence points to mass incarceration being the desired state, the wealth of empire and dependent on a class in perpetual poverty.
I am happy to say that my spirits are high and the fire in my heart is burning. I am very thankful and humbled by all the support that folks have given me through letters, books, donations and sharing my case with in their circles. I’ve already gotten into the flow of hitting the weights and books. Currently reading “Living My Life” by Emma Golden, “Feminism is for Everybody” by bell hooks and “Foundation” by Isaac Asimov.
Big shout out to all my homies in Chicago, ABC in NY and beyond, D.O.P.E. Collective, CrimethInc for reading my statement on their podcast, all of the Antifa crews and everyone else that has written me. (I am slow at responding because they only sell 10 stamps a month here) It is through efforts like organizing letter writing parties, benefit shows and spreading the struggle of incarcerated folks that give us hope and inspiration.
I don’t see a way we can salvage any part of the PIC: is it for burning. We must start thinking in moving towards alternative models of community accountability, perhaps through restorative and transformative practices, instead of relying on the brutal and intrusive model of the pigs and prisons. I wish you all the best, be courageous and fierce!
“A movement that does not support their prisoners, is a sham of a movement!”
Love and Rage,
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Jason Hammond, M50190
P.O. Box 500
Vandalia, IL 62471
Filed under: Announcement, Antifa, Political Prisoners, Prisoner Writings, Uncategorized | Tagged: Jason Hammond, Jason Hammond Support Network, Jeremy Hammond, Tinley Park, Tinley Park 5 | Leave a comment »
On Wednesday, March 11th, the District Attorney’s office pushed in court for Dante Cano to be hit with a felony charge for vandalism. The one police officer in court claimed that after hearing a window being hit, he saw a person in black running in a sea of other people in black. Several moments later, Dante was in police custody, despite no evidence actually linking him to the crime. We are asking people to please help bail Dante out of jail, which will increase his changes of defending himself in court. We also call on everyone to continue to support the Ferguson 3, youths arrested during the first night of the rebellion in the Bay Area.
Please donate to bail out Dante at: http://www.gofundme.com/ok4ksg
“He is a danger to the community,” declared the lawyer. The lawyer representing the DA stated that the boarded up windows of which Dante is accused of attacking during a protest in February, represent all that is wrong in Oakland. People like Dante we were told, “Cause violence in peaceful protests.” People like Dante Cano, a poor working-class youth from the Bay Area, we are lead to believe, are the most dangerous element in Oakland.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
The window that is alleged that was broken, is currently owned by one of the largest developers in Oakland. One of the same developers which is helping to raise rents, push out long-term residents, and displace communities of color. During the time of the demonstration, police had just murdered Vuyvette Henderson in Emeryville, while police shootings occurred in San Jose, Richmond, East Oakland, and police were let off in the murder of Alex Nieto in San Francisco. Dante Cano isn’t a threat to the people – he’s someone that stands up against the violence of the police and is criminalized for it.
Across the Bay Area, thousands face evictions as developers and landlords raise rents, push out the homeless and poor, and displace communities of color. Meanwhile, the police come down hard in these communities and attack demonstrations against evictions and police terror. This is why tens of thousands of people took to the streets in solidarity with the Ferguson uprising and against white supremacy and the police in the Bay Area in late 2014 and 2015.
Dante Cano is not a danger to the community – the State is.
We ask that you please donate to help bail him out. By getting Dante out of jail, you will help his chances to reduce his felony charges and allow him to fight the charges while on the outside.
Dante Cano has already been in jail for a month. We must stand behind Dante, the Ferguson 3, and all those that the State is trying to single out for collective punishment for the generalized rebellion.
Donate to get Dante out now!
Free Dante Crew
Support the Ferguson 3! Write and support Davontae!
Santa Rita Jail
Davontae Smith BGK969
5325 Broder Blvd.
Dublin, CA 94568
Over the objections of a prosecution team that called for 5-7 years in federal prison, a harsh sentence with terrorism enhancements, Judge Gershwin Drain sentenced Rasmea Odeh, Chicago’s 67-year-old Palestinian community leader, to 18 months for Unlawful Procurement of Naturalization, of which she was convicted last November.
Almost 200 of Rasmea’s supporters filled two courtrooms in the Detroit federal courthouse, and left disappointed but not defeated. “This is a blow, of course, but we have to remember that the government wanted the judge to lock Rasmea up for half a decade or more,” said Muhammad Sankari of the national Rasmea Defense Committee. “Judge Drain had to weigh the outpouring of support that Rasmea has inspired from across the country. We made it impossible for the judge to justify an extended prison term, and now, we will stand with her in the fight to appeal the conviction itself, to make sure she doesn’t serve one day of that prison sentence.”
The decision came after her attorneys argued that she not be imprisoned at all. Seventy important leaders of unions and community-based, faith-based, civil rights, and student organizations, as well as prominent academics and activists, wrote letters to the judge in the past few weeks, urging him to issue a sentence with no prison time beyond the month Rasmea served in a county jail following the November verdict. They cited her invaluable service as a community leader in Chicago, as well as concerns for her age, poor health, and chronic Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
One of the many letters of support came from Bishop Thomas J. Gumbleton of Detroit. He wrote, “I am asking for compassion in her sentencing. Rasmea has much to offer her community…keeping her out of prison would allow her to continue as a contributing and productive person, doing the work that is so critical to hundreds of refugee women.”
For their part, prosecutors called for Judge Drain to issue a sentence far beyond standard sentencing guidelines. While prosecutors had been barred from branding her a terrorist in front of the jury last year, today they were bound by no such court orders, asking that a terrorism enhancement be added to prolong her sentence.
Frank Chapman of the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression said, “The government showed their true colors today, making it clear this case was never about immigration, but rather, the political persecution of a Palestinian hero. What they didn’t bargain for is that Rasmea would defend herself, and that thousands would rally around her.”
During the trial last year, Rasmea was prevented from presenting evidence about the events that led to her conviction by an Israeli military tribunal 45 years ago. Judge Drain had ruled that the circumstances of conviction by Israel didn’t matter. “Not the illegal 1967 massacres and occupation – let alone the military ethnic cleansing of 750,000 Palestinians from the land and their homes when Palestine was partitioned in 1948 – not the midnight sweeps and kidnapping by the invading Army after the 1967 war, not the torture, not the kangaroo court and false confessions, not the prison time,” said her attorneys in filings to the court.
“Be strong whatever happens,” Rasmea said before speaking to the judge, “I am strong.”
After the sentencing, Rasmea was released on bond, as she sets out to appeal her conviction. Surprising many, the prosecution did not object, despite having pressed for her bond to be revoked after the guilty verdict. She credits the work of her supporters across the country for forcing the government’s hand.
Zena Ozeir of the Z Collective in Detroit said, “I have no doubt Rasmea’s freedom today is owed to the public outcry against her persecution. The government is still out to lock her up for years, but that is something they couldn’t win today. We have been with her at every hearing and trial date, we’ve held protests across the country, and flooded their phone lines and mail boxes, with people of conscience demanding an end to this prosecution, and an end to her unjust treatment in jail this fall. We will not stop until we win justice for Rasmea!”
After today’s hearing, Rasmea returns to Chicago, where she will continue her important community activism and work with her attorneys on an appeal of the verdict. If Odeh loses her case on appeal, she will have to serve the full sentence, and then lose her citizenship and be subject to immediate removal from the United States.
Rasmea Defense Committee
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Charlotte Kates, coordinator of Samidoun, shared the following thoughts after the sentencing of Palestinian community leader Rasmea Odeh in Detroit in U.S. courts. Odeh, associate director of the Arab American Action Network, founder of the Arab Women’s Committee, and former political prisoner in Israeli jails, was sentenced by Judge Gershwin Drain to 18 months imprisonment, $1100 in fines, the stripping of her U.S. citizenship and deportation to Jordan, on one count of unlawful procurement of naturalization. She was found guilty in a trial in which she was forbidden to disclose that she had been tortured and raped by Israeli interrogators to extract a confession.
In the hearing (livetweeted at http://twitter.com/nfwazwaz) both prosecutor Jonathan Tukel and – perhaps more troublingly – Judge Drain, introduced and focused on themes of “terrorism” in an attempt to criminalize Rasmea. Kates’ comments, and links to the two Palestinian and Arab films introduced in the hearing by Tukel, follow:
“Rasmea’s sentencing hearing was incredibly troubling today for several reasons – beyond even the sentencing of a torture survivor, a leader and an icon to the Palestinian community. It is a victory in some ways that Rasmea is coming home to her community, despite the attempts at demonization pushed by prosecutor Tukel, including references to ISIS, and deeming her an “icon in the terrorist world”. (She is in fact an icon of the Palestinian community and all communities and movements struggling for justice and liberation.) She has a wonderful legal team who will fight vigorously for her case. And the prosecution’s attempt to push for a sentence 3-4x the standard sentencing guidelines was rejected.
But in this sentencing hearing, while Rasmea was barred from discussing her torture and rape during trial – and was today censured for breaking that gag during trial by Judge Drain – the prosecution not only used her confession extracted through torture and the prison sentence extracted through torture, but Rasmea’s own public documentation and discussion of her torture at the hands of the Israeli military against her.
Drain uncritically accepted the framework of “terrorist” to describe Palestinian armed resistance – an absolute right of a people under occupation. He uncritically ascribed the word “terrorist” to “being a member of the PFLP” (in 1969, decades before the US had a “foreign terrorist organizations” list). He then contrasted this “terrorist” past, which he alleged Rasmea has, to her “reformed” present, her admirable work organizing with the Palestinian and Arab community, especially women. He said Rasmea “changed.” That community organizing is the opposite of armed resistance – when, regardless of the facts of this case, it is absolutely not. Both armed resistance and community organizing are driven by love and service to the people. They are part of one struggle and one resistance to occupation. In some ways, the torture dens of the occupier are more honest – there are, of course, thousands of Palestinian community organizers in prison and who have been imprisoned as “members of hostile organizations” because they convened women, students and workers. Because this too is the work of every Palestinian political party labelled as “terrorist.”
Furthermore, the prosecution, in a form of “guilt by association,” in a racist display, in a criminalization of Palestinian memory and existence, displayed clips from two films. This is so disturbing because they are wonderful films. Excellent films, created by Palestinian and Arab women filmmakers, telling the stories of Palestinian and Arab women in resistance – of all kinds. These films, “WOMEN IN STRUGGLE” and “TELL YOUR TALE, LITTLE BIRD” are documents of the Palestinian narrative. They are presenting a history and a legacy for generations to come. They are films that deserve to be seen everywhere. And it is difficult to see the attempt of the prosecution to use these beautiful testimonies as “evidence” against Rasmea as something other than an attempt to suppress, silence and censor just such Palestinian documentation, memory-making, recording, oral and written history by using them for the opposite purpose for which they were intended – as some sort of “testimony” (inadmissible at trial) against the very Palestinian women whose stories they bring forward. Is such use of these films an attempt to strike fear in the heart of researchers, historians and documentarians? To wage war on the Palestinian narrative – and a woman who has always ceaselessly, courageously and clearly represented that narrative – and its memories and legacies? Rasmea’s story, her voice, will NOT be silenced, by this unjust verdict. And despite the games of the prosecutors, neither will the histories and memories – and the future – of the Palestinian struggle for liberation.
The films are available on youtube. Everyone should watch them. Screen them. Show your friends, show your families, your comrades. Hear their voices and amplify them. Jonathan Tukel does not own these voices – the Palestinian liberation movement includes, cherishes and highlights them.”
WOMEN IN STRUGGLE (2004, Buthaina Canaan Khoury):
TELL YOUR TALE LITTLE BIRD (2007, Arab Loutfi):
The following call to action is being circulated by the campaign to support the Hares Boys – see the list of events around the world below:
This year, Sunday 15th March will mark 2 years since 5 teenage boys from the village of Hares, Palestine, were kidnapped from their homes, abused and violently interrogated, and locked in an Israeli prison. All for something they didn’t do.
It began on 14th March 2013, after a car accident resulting in some serious injuries for its passengers was allegedly caused by Palestinian youths throwing stones at the vehicle; except that there is no evidence to suggest that stone-throwing took place at all.
That same night, Israeli army stormed the villages of Hares and Kifl Hares and detained 19 Palestinian youths. Obtaining their “confessions” through interrogation and ill-treatment, some of these youths were eventually released. Five of them, however, are still incarcerated to this day. These are the Hares Boys.
Should the Israeli military courts get their way, the Hares Boys will face long years in prison for a “crime” that carries no evidence of their supposed guilt and which all the boys deny.
To mark the 2 years since the boys’ incarceration, we are calling on campaigners around the world to devise local actions aimed at raising the profile of the case of the Hares Boys and by doing so, put pressure on the Israeli occupation to respect the principles of justice and release these kids from prison.
We invite you to organise leafleting, vigils and protests, boycott actions, petitioning and letter-writing, talks and film screenings.
The on-going fight against Israeli military aggression and occupation is getting stronger with every new atrocity the apartheid state commits; it matters to vocalise opposition to the continuing injustices the Hares Boys – and, by extension, all Palestinian children in Israeli military prisons – face daily, in order to prevent these dangerous precedents from taking place at all.
Events to Free the Hares Boys:
In seven years, by 2023, the U.S. will be 40 percent minority, and 50 percent of the entire population will be under 40 years old. These are the demographics that cannot be ignored as progressives move forward building opposition to institutional racism and plutocratic governing.
In my thinking, it is incumbent on today’s activists to take into account what America will look like in ten years, so we will be better positioned to ensure the future will not be governed by deniers of change. In this regard, I am raising dialogue toward building a National Coalition for a Changed America (NCCA) comprised of social, economic and political activists who are prepared to build a future-focused America based on equitable distribution of wealth. It is important that progressives seek the means to organize greater unity and uniformity in ideological and political objectives toward the construction of a mass and popular movement. It is well established that the most pressing issues confronting the poor and oppressed peoples are wage inequities, housing displacement, dysfunctional public schools and student debt, climate change, the criminalization of the poor, mass incarceration, and the militarization of the police. In each are negative racial and economic implications creating social conflicts and confrontations.
However, the most pervasive and devastating cause for all of these issues is the unequal distribution of wealth. It is well researched and recorded that the wealth disparity, income gap between whites and blacks is 40% greater today than in 1967, with the average black household’s net worth at $6,314 and the average white household’s at $110,500 (New York Times, “When Whites Just Don’t Get It,” by Nicholas Kistof). When we account for how such economic disparity impacts educational opportunities or criminal behaviour in the black community, we are better able to identify the overall pernicious problem. The Brookings Institute reported last July that: “As poverty increased and spread during the 2000s, the number of distressed neighborhoods in the United States—defined as census tracts with poverty rates of 40% or more—climbed by nearly three-quarters.” The report continued: “The population living in such neighborhoods grew by similar margins (76%, or 5 million people) to reach 11.6 million by 2008-2012.” (New York Times, “Crime and Punishment,” by Charles M. Blow).
Obviously, America is in increasing economic crisis, especially when considering … “According to a recent paper by the economists Emmanuel Saez of the University of California, Berkeley, and Gabriel Zucman of the London School of Economics, almost all of the increase in American inequality over the last 30 years is attributable to the “rise of the share of wealth owned by the 0.1% richest families.” And much of that rise is driven by the top 0.01%. “The wealth of the top 1% grew an average of 3.9% a year from 1986 to 2012, though the top one-hundredth of that 1% saw its wealth grow about twice as fast. The 16,000 families in the tiptop category—those with fortunes of at least $111 million—have seen their share of national wealth nearly double since 2002, to 11.2%.” (New York Times, “Another Widening Gap: The Haves vs. the Have-Mores,” by Robert Frank).
Can there by any serious disputing the reality that this so-called democracy is actually a plutocracy, and the governing plutocrats have us all hustling and scraping for the crumbs, demanding a minimum wage increase, when we should be demanding control of production? Hence, it is necessary for progressives to realize the future of our struggle must be based on participatory democracy, direct-action engagement. It is important for the more educated and experienced activists to teach the younger activists, and young people in general need to know the future belongs to them, and we are concerned about what that future will look like and how to make it productive. It is essential we figure ways to bridge differences between the evolving demographics and growing minority population.
For instance, I am heartened to see young people taking to the streets challenging the common impunity of police repression and violence. Indeed, Black Lives Matter! However, I am not confident these protests will result in anything substantial in terms of institutional changes or build a sustainable movement. We remember Occupy Wall Street (OWS) had created similar national attention, but void a national organization, leadership or agenda (demands), it was a matter of time before OWS would dissipate and disappear after police removed the public nuisances.
In this regard, I am asking activists to post on their Facebook pages and other online sites these musings, for open discussion and dialogue. Specifically, I suggest that young people across the country enter open debate about the future of specific issues that have captured national attention. Obviously, it is necessary to build a mass and popular movement to effectuate real institutional change in this country. This was a vital lesson from the civil rights movement challenging the institution of Jim Crow. Therefore, I am urging young activists to consider organizing toward a “Million Youth Independence Day March” (MY-ID March) for July 4, 2016, in Washington, D.C., making the following demands:
1. De-Militarization and De-Centralization of the Police, Demand Community Control of Police
2. Debt Relief for College Students, Lower Tuition Cost for College Education;
3. Support the Manifestation of the Dreamers Act—Stop Deportations and the Splitting of Families.
These three issues, as they become part of the national dialogue and challenge to the plutocratic government, are able to unite a universal national determination. A one-issue protest/campaign is not sustainable when confronting an oppressive/repressive government policy supported by right-wing corporate interests. However, these interwoven issues reach three demographics of young people, each directly challenging institutions of government. Again, it is important to use the current unrest to forge a unified and uniform national youth movement.
Secondly, politically, we need to consider how best to ensure these issues become a major factor in the national debate, possibly imposing them into the national election of 2016. In this way, inspiring and encouraging a mass and popular youth movement organized during the election year of 2016, we empower the youth to be future focused. It is well established that it was the youth who were instrumental in getting Obama elected as President. Despite our collective disappointment with his presidency, the lesson learned is the power of the youth when united and determined to accomplish a task. Again, recognizing that in 7 years the electoral demographics will be drastically changed, it is time to prepare for that eventuality, even if some do not believe in the electoral process. Therefore, during the election year of 2016, not a single candidate will be permitted to conduct a public forum without being challenged by these issues. These would be acts of participatory democracy and direct-action engagement. Obviously, to hold a national rally and march in Washington, D.C. during the July 4, 2016 weekend tells the entire country that young people will divorce themselves from the status quo, becoming independent of the Republican/Democratic party politics.
In closing, it is anticipated this proposal will raise questions concerning the potential for the development of a National Coalition for a Changed America (NCCA). Permit me to say that this proposed organization is only a suggestion. I firmly believe that building a national coalition is necessary to establish a mass and popular movement capable of forcing institutional changes, including the ultimate goal of redistribution of America’s wealth. I request this paper be widely distributed and discussed. I am prepared to enter discussion with anyone interested in the potential development of a National Coalition for a Changed America. Lastly, I humbly request activists to review what I wrote in“Toward a New American Revolution.”
“Our First Line of Defense IS Power to the People!”
Remember: We Are Our Own Liberators!
In fierce struggle,
Jalil A. Muntaqim
Attica, February 2015
Write to Jalil:
Anthony J. Bottom #77A4283
Attica Correctional Facility
P.O. Box 149
Attica, NY 14011-0149
Filed under: Analysis, Opinion, Political Prisoners, Prisoner Writings, Prisoners of War, Uncategorized | Tagged: BLA, Black Liberation, Black Lives Matter, jalil muntaqim, Mass Incarceration | Leave a comment »