Beloved political prisoner Hugo ‘Yogi Bear’ Pinell, feared and hated by guards, assassinated in Black August after 46 years in solitary

From SF Bay View:

by Dr. Willie and Mary Ratcliff

Black August adds another hero and martyr to the roll.

Hugo-Pinell-Shirley-his-late-wife1

From December 1970 to 2014, when he finally had a contact visit with his mother, Yogi was allowed to come out from behind the thick glass in the visiting room and touch a loved one only once: When he married Shirley, they were given 15 minutes together. She later died.

By some accounts, it was his first day on the yard after 46 years in solitary confinement when Hugo Pinell, affectionately known as Yogi Bear, was assassinated Aug. 12. The news sparked a victory celebration by  prison guards on social media: “May he rot in hell” and “Good riddens” (sic), they typed. Yogi was the only member of the San Quentin 6 still in prison, and his role in the events of Aug. 21, 1971, the day George Jackson was assassinated, has earned the guards’ incessant enmity ever since.

“This is revenge,” declared his close friend, fellow Black Panther veteran Kiilu Nyasha, on Hard Knock Radio Aug. 13. “They hated him as much as George Jackson. They beat him constantly, kept him totally isolated for 46 years – no window, no sunlight – but they could never break him, and that’s why they hated him.

“The only way he survived was that this man was full of love.”

Isolated in the Pelican Bay SHU from 1990 to 2014, Yogi supported his SHU comrades’ campaign to end solitary confinement. He participated in the hunger strikes and applauded the Agreement to End Hostilities, authored by 16 of his comrades, Black, Brown and White, and dated Aug. 12, 2012, three years to the day before he was killed. It has nearly erased racial violence from California prisons.

The comrades who conceived and wrote the agreement were following Yogi’s lead.

“There was a time in the prison sys­tems throughout the United States,” according to a story headlined “The Black Panther Party and Hugo Pinell” in The Black Panther newspaper of Nov. 29, 1971, “when the prisoners themselves were divided, not only white against Black, but Latinos against Blacks. This – the result of racism in every area of U.S. society – was particularly apparent in Cali­fornia prisons.

Hugo-Pinell-by-The-Black-Panther-112971-1-web

This is the story from the Nov. 29, 1971, edition of The Black Panther. – Courtesy Billy X Jennings, ItsAboutTimeBPP.com

“Blacks and Latinos fought, stabbed and killed each other in the yards, cell blocks and dining halls of every prison camp from Tehachapi to Tracy. This is always the case when the racist white prison guard, under administration orders, pits one man struggling to survive against another.

“It is the easiest way for the prison to assure almost absolute control over its inmate population. After all, only an idiot would believe he could control 100 men with one man, unless the 100 were divided. Quite often men were paid to start fights between two men. …

“(B)rothers and sisters across the country inside the maximum prisons began to awaken to the fact of their oppression. They began to realize, as Comrade George Jackson would say, that they were all a part of the prisoner class.

Hugo-Pinell-by-The-Black-Panther-112971-2-web

“They be­gan to realize that there was no way to survive that special brand of fas­cism particular to California prison camps except by beginning to work and struggle together. … The prisoner class, especially in California, began to understand the age-old fascist principle: If you can divide, you can conquer.

“There are two men who were chiefly responsible for bringing this idea to the forefront. They helped other com­rade inmates to transform the ideas of self-hatred and division into unity and love common to all people fighting to survive and retain dignity. These two brothers not only set this example in words, but in practice.

“Comrade George Jackson and Comrade Hugo Pinell, one Black and one Latino, were the living examples of the unity that can and must exist among the prisoner class. These two men were well known to other inmates as strong de­fenders of their people.

“Everyone knew of their love for the people, a love that astounded especially the prison officials of the state. It astounded them so thoroughly that these pigs had to try and portray them as animals, perverts, madmen and criminals in order to justify their plans to eventually get rid of such men.

“For when Com­rades George and Hugo walked and talked together, the prisoners began to get the message too well.

“In a well-planned move, the state of California and the U.S. government carried out the vicious assassination of Comrade George Jackson, field marshal of the Black Panther Party, on Aug. 21, 1971. Their plans to slaughter Hugo Pinell are now in full swing.”

What happened on New Folsom Prison’s B yard on Aug. 12, 2015?

California, the prisons are abundantly funded, but the billions of taxpayer dollars are spent in secret, as the media are prohibited from covering prisons. So the stories coming from the mainstream media about Yogi so far are based on press releases from CDCr, the Corrections Department, not from reporters who go inside to hear from prisoners.

Highly paid prison guards and their CCPOA (California Correctional Peace Officers Association) are called the most powerful lobby in the state. Guards at New Folsom, located in a suburb of Sacramento, the state capital, likely exert much of that influence. Is that why Yogi was sent there after more than 23 years at Pelican Bay?

“Once a man declares that he will retain his dignity, that he will not forfeit his manhood, then he has in essence declared war against the prison,” The Black Panther reported on Nov. 29, 1971. “He has declared war upon the guards, who operate on the smallest amount of intelligence and human un­derstanding, and upon the prison and state officials, whose every move is planned and calculated to help in this government’s last feeble attempts to quell the desire of the people to see power returned into the hands of the people. Hugo, from the very beginning of his imprisonment, made that declaration.”

Yogi’s enemies were not his comrades in the prisoner class – though he reportedly died at the hand of one or two prisoners, said to be white, though their race is unconfirmed. He was no threat to other prisoners. It was the guards who loathed him and loath the Agreement to End Hostilities, which he exemplified and set in motion over 40 years ago.

Khatari-Gaulden-Hugo-Pinell-San-Quentin-yard-1976-from-Kiilu

Sitting in the sunshine on the San Quentin yard in 1976 are Khatari Gaulden and Hugo Pinell. – Photo courtesy Kiilu Nyasha

Did they have him killed to demolish the agreement, to rekindle all-out race riots? Riots are job insurance for guards.

Several of the authors of the agreement have also been transferred to New Folsom, where they have been educating other prisoners to understand and wield its power. A prisoner on the C yard, Hakim Akbar-Jones, P-85158, wrote this to the Bay View in July:

“Let this be understood: At CSP Sacramento on the C yard, the End to Hostilities Agreement is in full effect. Even though the summertime is here, there is rhythm and harmony amongst respective class members. There are diligent efforts made on all fronts to work hand to hand in solidarity to build a better future amongst the prison class. With this said, we stand fast and salute all conscious guerrilla revolutionaries whose concepts have been brought forth and come to fruition, those in solidarity who support the movement, thus bringing on and creating positive change for the oppressed.”

Does this sound like a place where Hugo Pinell, the legend, the giant amongst conscious guerrilla revolutionaries, would not be protected? Did the other prisoners even know that Yogi would be joining them on the yard on Aug. 12?

What else are the guards afraid of?

Three initiatives are underway that could empty the SHUs and empower the remaining prisoners, and the guards, fearing for their jobs, are fighting them. A reasonable assumption is that the guards expect that the assassination of Hugo Pinell will see a return of the bad old days of racial violence to “justify” filling the SHUs and guaranteeing job security and top pay for guards:

Black Guerrilla Family – According to family members of prisoners who have been negotiating the hunger strikers’ demands with CDCr administrators since the hunger strikes began in 2011, CDCr has decided to remove the Black Guerrilla Family from the list of eight prison gangs because it’s a political not a criminal organization, but reportedly the guards and their CCPOA are furiously opposed. If BGF is not a prison gang, then all the Black prisoners “validated” as BGF “gangsters” would have to be released from SHU.

George Jackson University – Abdul Olugbala Shakur (s/n James Harvey) recently settled a suit to legitimize George Jackson University, which 25,000 prisoners signed up for when he and other prisoners and outside supporters founded it years ago. Guards are adamantly opposed to the distribution and study of books that prisoners might find mentally and spiritually liberating and have prevented the prisoner-led institution from taking root. Though the settlement terms have not yet been revealed, guards are undoubtedly fearful.

Hugo-Pinell-1982

Hugo Pinell in 1982

Class action lawsuit to end solitary confinement in California – Currently in settlement talks with CDCr are the attorneys for the plaintiff class of prisoners who have been held in the Pelican Bay SHU for 10 years or more. The attorneys are led by Jules Lobel, president of the very prestigious New York based Center for Constitutional Rights, the public interest law firm that also represents many of the hunger-striking prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. The New York Times is giving the case multi-media coverage, including a recent video showing some of the plaintiffs describing how they survive the torture of long term solitary confinement. If the case doesn’t settle, trial is set for December.

These initiatives, bolstered by the awakening in the court of public opinion to the evils of mass incarceration and solitary confinement, are driving efforts by California prison guards and their “union,” CCPOA, to demolish the carefully constructed Agreement to End Hostilities and revert to racial warfare that divides and conquers prisoners of all colors so that the guards can rule over them as cruelly as they want without getting their hands dirty.
We call for a full independent investigation immediately

The Bay View, joining a consensus of prisoner family members and advocates, calls for investigations into Yogi’s death at both the state and federal level. We challenge California Attorney General Kamala Harris, now a candidate for U.S. Senate, and U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch to demonstrate they believe this Black life – the life of Hugo Pinell – matters. Harris, whose office acts as the attorney representing CDCr, needs to counsel her client to reign in the guards, especially the gang investigators.

We also call for the full and fair investigation of all deaths in jails and prisons, where incarcerated people are routinely abused and tortured and even killed. Begin with Sandra Bland and Hugo Pinell.

Yogi’s attorney, Keith Wattley, says his family is planning a wrongful death lawsuit.
Honor our fallen comrade

Long live Hugo Pinell, who showed us the power of the human spirit, that love can survive and overpower hell on earth.

Hugo Pinell in 2001

Hugo Pinell in 2001

To anyone tempted to avenge Yogi’s death against another race, remember the wisdom of the Panthers: “If you can divide, you can conquer.” Ever wonder why the Bay View calls our prison section Behind Enemy Lines? The prison system, not another prisoner, is the enemy that hopes you won’t get out alive.

Embrace Yogi’s spirit and read the words that follow from current and former prisoners who loved him back.

Dr. Willie Ratcliff is publisher and Mary Ratcliff is editor of the San Francisco Bay View. They can be reached at editor@sfbayview.com or 415-671-0789.

Yogi’s time

by Mumia Abu-Jamal

Written July 30, 2006 – Few of us know the name Hugo Pinell.

That’s because the last time it was in the newspapers was probably in 1971, or 1976, when he was tried as a member of the famous San Quentin 6, six young Black prisoners facing assault charges stemming from battles with prison guards at the notoriously repressive California prison.

Yet that wasn’t the beginning nor the end of things.

Hugo Pinell (known as Yogi by his friends) came to the U.S. as a 12-year-old from a small town on Nicaragua’s East Coast. If he knew then the hell he would face in America, would he have left the land of his birth? We’ll never know.

He came. And he spent the last 42 years in prison – 34 of them in solitary! He hasn’t had a write-up in 24 years.

Now, his family and lawyer are seeking his parole after a lifetime in some of the most repressive joints in America.

Why so long? Why so many years? The answer, not surprisingly, is politics. Hugo was a student and comrade of the legendary Black Panther Field Marshal, the late George Jackson, with whom he worked to organize other Black prisoners against the racist violence and prison conditions of the ‘60s and ‘70s.

Consider this: When Hugo was sent to prison, Lyndon Baines Johnson was president, bombing in the Vietnam War was intensifying and Martin Luther King Jr. was still alive!

Of his introduction to the prison system, Yogi would later write:

Of these three political prisoners, Hugo Pinell, Mumia Abu Jamal and Nuh Washington, only Mumia is now alive, and his health has been precarious lately due to the prison system’s medical neglect and abuse. – Art: Kiilu Nyasha

Of these three political prisoners, Hugo Pinell, Mumia Abu Jamal and Nuh Washington, only Mumia is now alive, and his health has been precarious lately due to the prison system’s medical neglect and abuse. – Art: Kiilu Nyasha

“I was 19 years old when I turned myself in. I pled guilty to the charge of rape with the understanding that I would be eligible for parole after six months. When I arrived at the California Department of Corrections, I was informed that I had been sentenced to three years to life.”

California’s notoriously unjust indeterminate sentencing has led in part to the present prison overcrowding that now threatens to bankrupt the system. California’s prisons are roughly 172 percent over capacity, and parole is a broken, nonfunctional agency.

That’s not just my opinion, but California State Sen. Gloria Romero, D-Los Angeles, has called the present regime a “failure,” particularly the parole system.

Despite California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 2004 promises of major reforms of the parole system, which would lead to significant prisoner population reductions, the incarceration rate has soared. Today, there are a record 168,000 people in 33 state prisons, nearly double the rated capacity.

As Hugo Pinell seeks parole, California is spending $7.9 billion – yeah, with a “b”! – in the next fiscal year, an increase of $600 million a year for a prison system that has one of the worst recidivism rates in the nation, 60 percent!

Clearly, the so-called “Correctional and Rehabilitation” Department has failed in its mission to do both.

Support parole for Hugo Pinell; 42 years is more than enough.

© Copyright 2006 Mumia Abu-Jamal. Keep updated at www.freemumia.com. His new book is “Writing on the Wall,” edited by Joanna Hernandez. For Mumia’s commentaries, visit www.prisonradio.org. Encourage the media to publish and broadcast Mumia’s commentaries and interviews. Send our brotha some love and light: Mumia Abu-Jamal, AM 8335, SCI-Mahanoy, 301 Morea Road, Frackville, PA 17932.

Hugo Pinell – Rest in Power!

by Claude Marks

Graphic courtesy Freedom Archives

Graphic courtesy Freedom Archives

We are saddened by the news of Hugo Pinell’s death. Hugo Pinell always expressed a strong spirit of resistance. He worked tirelessly as an educator and activist to build racial solidarity inside of California’s prison system.

Incarcerated in 1965, like so many others, Hugo became politicized inside the California prison system.

In addition to exploring his Nicaraguan heritage, Hugo was influenced by civil rights activists and thinkers such as Malcolm X, Martin Luther King as well as his comrades inside including George Jackson. His leadership in combating the virulent racism of the prison guards and officials made him a prime target for retribution and Hugo soon found himself confined in the San Quentin Adjustment Center.

While at San Quentin, Hugo and five other politically conscious prisoners were charged with participating in an Aug. 21, 1971, rebellion and alleged escape attempt, which resulted in the assassination of George Jackson by prison guards. Hugo Pinell, Willie Tate, Johnny Larry Spain, David Johnson, Fleeta Drumgo and Luis Talamantez became known as the San Quentin 6.

Their subsequent 16-month trial was the longest in the state’s history at the time. The San Quentin 6 became a global symbol of unyielding resistance against the prison system and its violent, racist design.

As the California prisons began to lock people up in long-term isolation and control unit facilities, Hugo was placed inside of the SHU (Security Housing Unit) in prisons including Tehachapi, Corcoran and Pelican Bay. There, despite being locked in a cell for 23 hours a day, he continued to work for racial unity and an end to the torturous conditions and racially and politically motivated placement of people into the SHU. This work included his participation in the California Prison Hunger Strikes as well as supporting the Agreement to End Racial Hostilities in 2011.

At the time of his death, Hugo had been locked behind bars for 50 years, yet his spirit was unbroken.

Claude Marks, director of Freedom Archives, 522 Valencia St., San Francisco, CA 94110, (415) 863-9977, www.Freedomarchives.org, can be reached at claude@freedomarchives.org.

Hasta Siempre Hugo (Forever Hugo)

Solidarity forever

And we are saddened

Solidarity left

You when (it) should have

Counted for something and

What your long imprisoned

Life stood for

Now all your struggles

To be free have failed

And only death

Inglorious and violent

Death has

Claimed you

At the hands of the

Cruel prison system

La Luta Continua

– Bato and the San Quentin 3: Willie “Sundiata” Tate, David Johnson and Luis “Bato” Talamantez, who can be reached at batowato@gmail.com

Rest In Power Hugo “Yogi Bear” Pinell

hugoFrom NYC ABC:

On Wednesday, August 12th, our comrade in the struggle for revolution, Hugo “Yogi Bear” Pinell was murdered. The context for his murder remains unclear, save for the fact that it happened in the midst of a prison riot. We have no faith that the state will do anything to determine how or why Yogi Bear was murdered and presume cops and corrections officers are relishing his death. We do not doubt the possibility that he was specifically targeted and those in authority did nothing to protect him.

In the early 1970s, while imprisoned in San Quentin State Prison, Hugo Pinell made contact with revolutionary prisoners such as George Jackson, one of the Soledad Brothers, and W.L. Nolen. On August 21, 1971, there was a prisoner uprising in Pinell’s housing unit at San Quentin, led by George Jackson. On that date, Jackson used a pistol to take over his tier in the Adjustment Center. At the end of the roughly 30 minute rebellion, guards had killed George Jackson, and two other prisoners and three guards were dead. Of the remaining prisoners in the unit, six of them, including Pinell, were put on trial for murder and conspiracy. Together, they were known as The San Quentin Six. Three of them were acquitted of all charges, and three were found guilty of various charges. Pinell was convicted of assault on a guard.

Activists in prison to this day continue to mark the San Quentin prison rebellion as Black August, often with fasting.

Although Pinell was convicted of assault, and another of the San Quentin Six had a murder conviction, only Pinell remained imprisoned at the time of his death. During his astounding 50 years of imprisonment, Pinell was primarily held in solitary confinement. Though not as active in his political organizing as in his youth, Pinell was part of the historic hunger strikes that spread throughout the California prison system in 2013 to protest the treatment of prisoners held in solitary confinement.

According to his attorney, shortly before the August 12th, 2015 riot, Hugo Pinell was transferred to general population, though the threat of harm and history of threats against him were known to prison officials.

In this month of Black August, we raise a fist for Yogi Bear and all prison rebels—you will have neither lived nor died in vain.

Hey Denver, join us next week for a radical series of events!

We’re inviting everyone to join Denver ABC and friends for three very special events on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of next week. Please spread the word and bring your neighbors, friends, and families. We’ll see you there!

Monday April 27th,
Black Flags and Windmills

https://www.facebook.com/events/1576721502591867/
NOTE EXACT LOCATION: Science Building Room 1067 University of Colorado Auraria Campus 80204
blackflagsandwindmills

This visual and engaging presentation will show what ordinary people can do to change their own worlds and create power from below without coercion. How the ideas of anarchism have shaped and influenced modern political movements from the post-Seattle alternative globalization movements to the Common Ground Collective after Hurricane Katrina, the Occupy uprisings and beyond. It will also cover the rise of the surveillance state and the implications of activism being labeled ‘terrorism’ .The presentation which is equal parts personal story, radical history and organizing philosophies asks questions about how we engage in social change, the real and perceived challenges presented by the state and power and dares us to rethink how we engage in creating our futures.

Organized by CU Denver’s Social Justice Minor with co-sponsorship from Auraria Climate Justice Coalition

scott crow is an international speaker and author. He has spent his varied life as a coop business owner, political organizer and educator, strategist, and underground musician who is a proponent of the philosophy and practices of anarchism.
He is the author of the acclaimed book Black Flags and Windmills: Hope, Anarchy and the Common Ground Collective (PM Press). He’s a contributor to the books Grabbing Back: Essays Against the Global Land Grab (AK Press), The Black Bloc Papers (LBC), Witness to Betrayal (AK Press /Emergency Hearts) and What Lies Beneath: Katrina, Race and the State of the Nation(South End Press) as well as within radical and alternative publications He appears frequently in international media including the New York Times, Democracy Now, CNN, NPR, RT News, Mother Jones, Rolling Stone, Der Spiegel and Vice as well as in the political documentaries and Informant (Music Box), Better this World (PBS)and Welcome to New Orleans (Fridthjof Films). . He was under surveillance by the FBI as an alleged domestic terrorist threat for a decade without charges being brought. The New York Times characterized him as “anarchist, veteran organizer and an aficionado of civil disobedience”, the FBI noted in a memo “…crow is a puppet master involved in direct action. “ and NPR’s This American Life called him “a living legend among anarchists”. He can be found at www.scottcrow.org

Tuesday April 28th,
Political Prisoners and the Perpetual Amerikan Conquest

https://www.facebook.com/events/820648224692843/
political.prisoners.PRINT13x19

From three former revolutionaries, an illuminating analysis of the current Amerikan police state, and how to fight it. Three former political prisoners and longtime activists, Ashanti Alston, Sekou Kambui, and Ricardo Romero, will share their perspectives on the ongoing repression in the U.S. in relation to political prisoner support and mass incarceration, and will take a look towards the future, at what is needed in the fight for a free society.

What has been done to free Amerikan political prisoners in the past that can be repeated? How can those tactics be adapted and added to in the fight against mass incarceration? What are the psychological, emotional, and spiritual demands on a revolutionary? How can we, in short, work to free our political prisoners first and foremost, and realize the revolutionary potential in ourselves and our communities? Three experienced activists and former prisoners speak out.

Organized by Denver ABC and Auraria Climate Justice Coalition.
Endorsed by Denver Community Defense Committee.

Wednesday April 29th,
Anarchist Movie Night: Historic Denver Protest Footage

https://www.facebook.com/events/1577277932555801/
copcarflip

Wednesday 4/29, at 8pm we will be showing footage from Denver actions of the past:

-1992 MLK protests against against the Klan
-Riots following the murder of Marvin Booker
-2006 Columbus Day protests
-2011 O22 March Against Police Brutality
-Various footage from current day Denver actions

Hosted by Denver ABC at the Mutiny Information Cafe on Broadway and Ellsworth(2 S. Broadway).

Post-Release Fund for Eric McDavid!

bd6e8c38-7dba-410f-b721-6f12ae01ec96_profile

youcaring.com/EricMcDavid

Eric McDavid is an anarchist and environmental activist who was entrapped
by an FBI informant and charged with a single count of “conspiracy to use
fire or explosives to damage corporate and government property”. In May of
2008 Eric was sentenced to an outrageous 19 years and 7 months in prison.

On January 8th, 2015, after serving 9 years in prison his judgment and
sentencing were vacated when it became known that the FBI had failed to
disclose potentially exculpatory evidence to the defense. Eric plead
guilty to a lesser charge that carried a 5 year maximum sentence and was
released almost immediately.

This incredible victory occurred because we all refused to give up the
struggle to set him free. Thank you to all of you who have supported Eric
during these last 9 years. Despite the heavy-handed repression of the
state, Eric refused to compromise his politics or his integrity, just as
all of us who supported him refused to abandon the struggle to see him
free. But the struggle is not over. Though Eric is no longer held in a
prison cell he is faced with the difficult task of rebuilding his life
after a lengthy period of incarceration. We are hoping to aid him by
raising money so that he can go to school, get a job and begin the process
of physical and emotional healing from his time in prison. Below is a list
of Eric’s estimated expenses for the next 6 months. Your donations are
critical to helping Eric get back on his feet. Thank you for your
continued solidarity with Eric in his struggle to survive and thrive in
the face of injustice.

Yoga Teacher training – $2100
An hour of therapy or groceries for one week – $75
Books for class for one semester at the college he is already enrolled in
– $100
Car insurance for a month – $40
Computer – $250
Cell phone bill for one month – $40

For more information on Eric McDavid and the case itself, go to:
supporteric.org

If you are a pen pal of Eric’s or would like to send him a note of
encouragement you can now reach him at the PO Box below.

To: Eric McDavid
c/o Sacramento Prisoner Support
PO Box 163126
Sacramento, CA 95816

Yours in Solidarity,
Sacramento Prisoner Support

Introducing Maya Chase, formerly Jared Chase of the NATO 3

FREE THE NATO 3:

The prisoner we have been supporting as Jared Chase is ready to let her supporters and comrades know that she is a trans woman who prefers to be called Maya and uses she/her/hers pronouns. She also wants to go vegan, although she is currently not able to receive adequate nutrition in general, much less according to her ethical decisions.

She wrote us recently to say:

“I am writing to tell you all and the world that I am a TransGender woman. All of my life I have always identified as a woman. After 30 years I am finally done hiding, pretending to be something I’m not.”

Communicating with Maya has been difficult, in large part due to repression she is suffering on the inside. As such, we do not have an up-to-date report on her well-being at this time. We will keep you updated about how she is doing and about any opportunities to advocate for her as we learn more.

She will need even more support than before as she tries to get her needs met as a transgender, vegan political prisoner with serious medical needs. An easy way to support her is to write to her (note that her state name will need to be used on the outside of the envelope):

Jared Chase
M44710
2600 N. Brinton Ave
Dixon, IL 61021

Donations to support Maya and Brent Betterly, the other defendant still incarcerated, can be made at:

http://www.payitsquare.com/collect-page/29941

Brent Betterly could use some letters of support as well:

Brent Betterly
M44724
4017 E. 2603 Road
Sheridan, IL 60551

Jacob Church was released to a half-way house last November and continues to search for housing and employment while facing harassment from the probation system. Donations for his support can be made at https://www.youcaring.com/JacobChurch. If you have any insight into jobs or housing opportunities in the Chicago area, please contact us at free.the.nato3(A)gmail.com.

Norberto Gonzalez Claudio released from prison!

ProLibertad, Sacramento Prisoner Support

Norberto Gonzalez ClaudioOn January 15th, 2015 Norberto Gonzalez Claudio was released from prison, and began his journey back home to Puerto Rico, and when he arrived he was welcomed by a crowd of supporters!

Here is info. on his arrest and imprisonment:

Born in Vega Baja on May 27, 1945, the second youngest of 6 siblings: 2 women, Mercedes and María Magdalena, and 3 men, Avelino, Orlando and Wilfredo. He lived in the neighborhood of Almirante Sur with his mother Cristina Claudio Narváez and his father Antonio González Vega until he was 7 years old. The family then moved to the neighborhood of Rio Abajo to “the González farm” (his family), where he stayed until he married Elda Santiago Pérez in 1979. Together they had 3 children: Elda Cristina, Susana and Carlos, and they also raised Elda’s sons Pedro and Ramón as their own.

During his childhood, he played and ran around like every child does. His father called him Captain. He always had fond memories of his father, but his mother was someone very special for him. Her serenity, firmness, strength, wisdom, the strength of a working woman that his mother embodied have been his inheritance and his pride. With her he learned love, sensitivity, and simplicity, as well as to not give in to the powerful.

He joined the struggle for social justice and the independence of Puerto Rico in the decade of the 60’s while he was a university student. He was a member of the Federation of Pro Independence Students (FUPI), the Pro Independence Movement (MPI) and the Puerto Rican Socialist Party (PSP). He got his political training in the Arecibo region. He was known in his town for selling the newspaper Claridad.

He had a post on a corner of Betances Street in the center of his town, and put on activities of protest music in the plaza. He actively participated in the Vega Baja’s Garbage Collectors strike in 1970, in the student strikes of 1970 and 1971 at the University of Puerto Rico, and in the protests against the mines in Adjuntas, where he camped out for several months.

He was in clandestinity since 1985 for defending his people, his homeland, his nation, and fighting for socialism because he thinks it is the just economic model for all peoples.

He is in solidarity with Latin American countries in their restorative struggles and with all countries that struggle for their freedom and for socialism. He fervently believes and struggles for patriotic unity. “We must unite on everything we can agree on. Our differences should be left for internal discussions within each organization,” he insists.

He is a poet. He writes of his family, life, the homeland, youth, and his eternal love: his wife, to whom, as if a premonition of his future, he dedicated since the very moment they got married Don Pablo Neruda’s The Letter on the Road.

In late 2012, Norberto pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 5 years in prison.

 

Exclusive: “Eco-Terrorist” Freed 10 Years Early After Feds Withhold Evidence on Informant’s Role

Former political prisoner Eric McDavid, his partner Jenny Esquivel from Sacramento Prisoner Support, and lawyer Ben Rosenfeld, on  Democracy Now!

An Update and a Note From recently released Political Prisoner, Eric McDavid!

From Sacramento Prisoner Support:

Dear friends and comrades!

We just wanted to send you a quick update from/about Eric. Below you will
find info about how to write Eric, how to donate to post-release funds,
and a note from Eric!

The outpouring of support we have received from all across the world has
been incredible. Thank you all so much. We are in tears several times a
day from reading your kind notes, emails and texts full of love and
solidarity.

So many of you have asked what you can do now to support Eric
post-release. Thank you for knowing and understanding the importance of
continued support!

If you would like to write Eric or send him care packages, you can send
them to:

Eric McDavid
c/o SPS
PO Box 163126
Sacramento, CA 95816

We are still accepting donations through the PayPal account on Eric’s
website. You can find a link at:
http://supporteric.org/howtohelp.htm#Fundraising

Thank you all for your continued love and solidarity!

Yours,
Sacramento Prisoner Support

And now…

i cannot begin this without an overflowingly gushing heartfelt thanks for
the amazing support, aid, and solidarity provided by so many people from
so many places – seeing me through these past 9 years to bring me home…
tears of release and joy will continue to wet my cheeks – i don’t wipe
them away… the folks at Sacramento Prisoner Support have never wavered
in going above and beyond while enduring all the pressures that come from
moving contrary to what the FBI had considered a closed case – i love you
all so dearly. to my habeas attorneys, mark and ben, your work on this
process certainly hasn’t changed my view of the legal system – but it has
proven to me that humyns can actually survive the bar with their strong
and beautiful hearts intact, still connected, and persevering as a guiding
force in their lives = ‘thank you’ will never be enough, i love you
both… surviving these last 9 years has brought me to a new
understanding of patience and how it can be passionate, thereby sustaining
the need for a longer view; one that will continue to help me as i move
into aiding those still held behind razor wire fences, concrete, and
steel… so many others have cases as ridiculous as my own – some much
worse, and have been in for decades; a number i met personally and others
i dream of meeting upon their release. thank you all so much for all of
your love and support as i begin to move into this next phase of my life.
i’ll be in touch again soon. for now i hope to focus on spending time
with my loved ones and reconnecting with the community that i love and
have missed for so long.

too much love.

find UR joy

d

Eric McDavid ordered release!

eircmcdavid
Dear friends and comrades,

It is with bursting hearts that we write to tell you some amazing news.
Today, January 8, Eric was ordered released from prison. It has been
almost 9 years exactly since he was arrested in Auburn, CA, on January 13,
2006.

Eric’s release came about because of the habeas petition that he and his
legal team filed in May 2012. Because the government withheld important
documents from the defense at trial, Eric’s original judgment and
sentencing were vacated and he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge that
carried a five year maximum sentence. This means Eric has already spent
four years longer in prison than could have been required under the
statute for the charge he pleaded guilty to. He received credit for time
served and was ordered released.

Eric’s projected release date – until today – was February of 2023.

We are beyond thrilled that Eric will soon be back home with us, where he
belongs. But nothing can change the fact that Eric and his loved ones
have had 9 years stolen from them by the state. At times, this fight
seemed almost impossible. Eric endured hunger strikes, solitary, the
separation of hundreds of miles from everyone and everything he loved, and
the isolation and cold walls and wire of prison. These things were meant
to break him – but the state has utterly failed in this endeavor. Eric
remains steadfast and strong. Eric fought the charges against him 9 years
ago because he knew it was the right thing to do. He has maintained his
integrity all of these years by staying true to himself and to the things
he believes in. But he has not done this in a vacuum. Thank you to
everyone who has shown their love and support these last nine years. It
has made all the difference. To everyone who has ever written a letter,
sent drawings of dragons or pictures of fairies, or included pictures of
something as simple as a blade of grass… you have given Eric’s life
color, fire and connection these past 9 years. You have proven that our
solidarity is our strongest weapon.

We are anxious to celebrate! But we also must remember that Eric’s case
is just one among many – and it is by no means the most egregious. Since
9/11 the state has engaged in political prosecutions of hundreds of people
in this country – the majority of them from Muslim communities – for their
religious and political affiliations. And our comrades continue to be
targeted and arrested for daring to dream. We are overjoyed that Eric is
coming home. But we also know that we must never rest until all are free.

Eric will soon be released from Sacramento County jail in a matter of
hours, but his struggle is far from over. He received two years of
supervised release and will be under their watch during that time. Coming
out of prison is a complicated and difficult journey, but it is one that
we are excited and ready to begin.

Thanks again to all of you – and a big shout out to Eric’s lawyers – Mark
Vermeulen and Ben Rosenfeld – who have worked tirelessly and passionately
on his case for years, pro bono.

We will be in touch in the coming weeks. Until then – celebrate!
Struggle! And as Eric would say…Find UR Joy!

So much love to you all.

Until all are free!

SPS
sacprisonersupport.wordpress.com

Plea Agreement 1-8-15 (EMD)-1

McDavid_Release_Order

Joint Status Report 1-5-15 (EMD)

The Struggle for Independence – 7pm Denver, CO

s4i00