Empty the Cages: Former Political Prisoners Speak Out

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https://www.facebook.com/events/754237618050159/

Join ABC and political prisoner support chapters across the continent in our annual panel discussion featuring former U.S. political prisoners:

Thursday October 13th
Doors open at 6:30pm
Speakers 7-9pm
Location: Whittier Community Center, 2900 Downing St.

Spanning generations of political struggle for liberation in the U.S., we are proud to help host this panel that will prove to be informative, inspirational and will help us build a stronger movement of support around resistance to repression by the State.

Speakers:
Sekou Kambui
Daniel McGowan
John Tucker
More TBA
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Sekou Kambui:
Sekou is a New Afrikan/Cherokee former political prisoner who survived 47 years of incarceration. Throughout the 1960’s, Sekou participated in the Civil Rights movement, organizing youth for participating in demonstrations and marches across Alabama, and providing security for meetings of the Southern Christian Leadership Council (SCLC), Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), and the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Sekou became affiliated with the Black Panther Party in 1967 in Chicago and New York. While in Detroit, he became a member of the Republic of New Afrika, before returning to Birmingham. Back in Alabama, Sekou coordinated community organization activity with the Alabama Black Liberation Front, the Inmates for Action (IFA) Defense Committee and the Afro-American People’s Party in the mid 1970’s. Sekou was also a soldier in the Black Liberation Army (BLA) during these years before his capture.

In 1975, Sekou was falsely arrested and charged with the murder of two white men: a KKK official from Tuscaloosa and a multimillionaire oil man from Birmingham. There was absolutely no evidence against him, only coerced testimony from individuals who subsequently recanted their statements. The judge refused to allow the recanted statements to be stricken from Sekou’s record. He continued the fight throughout his time in Prison. On June 30th, 2014, Sekou was released on parole.
———-
Daniel McGowan:
Daniel is an environmental and social justice activist from New York City. He was charged in Federal court on counts of arson, property destruction and conspiracy, all relating to two actions in Oregon in 2001, claimed by the Earth Liberation Front (ELF). McGowan was facing a minimum of life in prison if convicted when he accepted a non-cooperation plea agreement. His arrest is part of what the US government dubbed Operation Backfire; a coordinated, multi-state sweep of over 15 activists by the federal government who have charged the individuals with practically every earth and animal liberation action in the Pacific Northwest left unsolved. Many have considered this round up indicative of the government’s ‘Green Scare’ focus which has activists being arrested and threatened with life in prison. Many of the charges, including Daniel’s, were for crimes whose statute of limitations were about to expire. Daniel was released from prison on December 11, 2012.
———-
John Tucker:
John was one of five antifascists arrested in May 2012, after an altercation between white supremacists and antifascists in the Chicago suburb of Tinley Park that left ten injured fascists, three of which needed hospitalization. The case of the Tinley Park 5 received an overwhelming amount of public support. Despite the fact that the meeting was organized by violent white supremacist organizations including the National Socialist Movement, Council of Conservative Citizens, and Ku Klux Klan, the state showed their cozy relationship with white supremacy by refusing the accused antifascist activist bail or a plea deal comparable to any other criminal defendant in Cook County. In January 2013 the Tinley Park Five accepted a non-cooperating plea deal. John Tucker was released in February 2014. As of September 2014, all of the TP5 are released.
———-
Donations are encouraged, and will go towards the 6th Annual North American Anarchist Black Cross Conference.

If you can’t make it and would like to help cover travel costs for the panel and the conference, please donate here!
https://fundly.com/na-abc-conference?showsteps=1

We’ll see you there!

Political prisoner Wopashitwe Mondo Eyen we Langa has joined the ancestors

DABC Note: Rest In Power Mondo. We never forget.

From Examiner:

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Wopashitwe Mondo Eyen we Langa died on March 11, 2016 of respiratory failure at the maximum-security Nebraska State Penitentiary. Mondo was serving a life without parole sentence for the 1970 murder of an Omaha policeman, a crime Mondo vigorously denied all the way to his prison deathbed.

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Mondo was born in Omaha, Nebraska, as David Lewis Andrew Rice on May 21, 1947. Educated in parochial schools, Mondo was a young Catholic activist in high school, testifying to the Nebraska legislature about the pernacious influence of pornography on youth. Mondo was a member of several church youth groups and became active against housing and employment discrimination. Mondo led a pray-in at the Douglas County Courthouse to oppose discrimination.

A performance artist, Mondo became active in guitar masses at Holy Family Church and was quick to volunteer for community activities. Mondo began writing for “underground” newspapers and monitored complaints against Omaha police. Mondo’s work with welfare rights groups led to his employment at Greater Omaha Community Action as a neighborhood outreach worker.

As a young man, Mondo seemed to be everywhere, doing everything. Then racial riots in Omaha and the 1969 police shooting of fourteen year-old Vivian Strong sharpened Mondo’s focus and Mondo joined the Black Panther Party. Serving as an officer in the United Front Against Fascism and later the National Committee to Combat Fascism, Mondo attracted the unwanted attention of Federal Bureau of Investigation Director J. Edgar Hoover who ordered Mondo and his collegue Edward Poindexter removed from the streets.

The August 17, 1970 bombing murder of Patrolman Larry Minard, Sr. was the perfect opportunity for FBI agents working under directives of the infamous clandestine COINTELPRO counterintelligence operation. Mondo and Poindexter were blamed for directing fifteen year-old Duane Peak, the confessed bomber. The FBI Laboratory withheld a report on the identity of the anonymous 911 caller that lured Minard to his death. The Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Division, in a fierce rivalry with the FBI, processed the evidence and claimed Mondo had dynamite powder in his pants pocket. Unknown to jurors, who never heard the 911 recording, the ATF evidence had been tampered with after Mondo surrendered. An Omaha World-Herald photo of Mondo with his hands, which tested clean, jammed into his pockets at the time of his surrender proves the dynamite particles were added after Mondo was in custody.

Mondo and Poindexter were convicted after an unfair trial in 1971. Mondo appealed to federal court and U.S. District Judge Warran Urbom ruled Mondo’s rights had been violated and ordered a new trial or Mondo’s release. A three-judge federal appellate panel upheld the order for a new trial. However, the United States Supreme Court used Mondo’s case to restrict prisoner appeal rights and retroactively applied the restriction on Mondo. Justice William Brennan called the decision “profoundly disturbing.”

Mondo’s case returned the Nebraska Supreme Court which ruled Mondo ran out of time to appeal while he was in federal court. Mondo never received the new trial four federal judges had ordered. Mondo’s last appeal to the Nebraska Supreme Court was denied without even a written decision.

Mondo was repeatedly recommended for parole back in the mid-1990’s but was denied eligibilty by the Pardon Board. A sticking point in Mondo’s efforts for freedom was his refusal to admit to any role in the Minard murder.

While in prison, Mondo gained the respect of inmates and guards alike. Mondo abandoned Christianity and became a Muslim. Finally, Mondo evolved to his own religious views best described as an agnostic pagan and adopted a vegetarian diet. Mondo painted and wrote poetry, essays and plays and while in prison wrote several books.

Mondo was a mentor to many prisoners over the years as he tried to move them from a life of crime to one of commitment to community. Mondo edited the Harambee Flame, a prison journal of his pan-African beliefs and philosophy.

“After several years in the penitentiary I decided it didn’t make any sense for me as an African to have a European name. I had to improvise,” explained Mondo. “My name basically means wild, natural man-child of the sun in four African languages.”

Wopshitwe Mondo Eyen we Langa and Ed Poindexter, now called the Omaha Two, have been in prison forty-five long years. Failed by the justice system, Mondo was not bitter. Mondo’s body was caged but his mind was free:

“Today, too many of our young people—in particular, males—are slaves to guns, slaves to violence, slaves to the idea that their African lives aren’t worth anything, slaves to the idea that their lives aren’t worth living. Today, we should be reflecting on what to do to counter the messages being delivered to our children and youth by school curricula, television, movies, video games, the music industry, and other institutions that are making slaves of our youth to violence, materialism, etc. Today, we should be reflecting on what to do to free ourselves from the invisible chains that bind our heads and spirit.”

Jay Chase Denied Care for Huntington’s Disease: Send Letters of Support

From POW Medical Justice:

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Political prisoner Jay Chase is currently experiencing rapid progression of symptoms from Huntington’s Disease as he is being denied a diet and supplements that are recommended for his condition.  Navigating any type of chronic health issue within prison is difficult, and HD is no exception.  The symptoms of HD can be described as having ALS, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s – simultaneously, including:

  • Personality changes, mood swings & depression
  • Forgetfulness & impaired judgment
  • Unsteady gait & involuntary movements (chorea)
  • Slurred speech, difficulty in swallowing & significant weight loss

At this time, mail and letters to Jay are being requested so he knows he has the support of people who care about him.  Jay will probably not be able to respond to every letter, but it is anticipated that he will appreciate all mail and writing periodic letters, even if he does not respond initially, is welcome.

Reportback on Jared Chase’s courtdate: December 7, 2015

jaychaseJay’s trial was postponed yesterday to April 11. He’ll also have a status update before that on February 3. Thank you so much to the awesome group of people who were there in solidarity. If you couldn’t make it, I understand, believe me. Asking people to deal with the arduous process of getting to and into the courthouse here is no light request.

Going into that courthouse and being screamed at and even frisked by those pigs is triggering in so many ways. It always leaves it’s mark, always opens up partially healed scars. Being back in that courtroom, watching that judge and those prosecutors carry out the States “justice” in that eerily mechanical way, so nonchalantly shitting on your life, brings back all the feelings of rage and despair better left buried alive.

Seeing Jay come out that door and looking out at us, managing a big grin through a fresh black eye and swollen face was the most bittersweet feeling. Bitter because I remember as though it was yesterday, what it’s like behind that door. The memory of those cages and what goes on will be burned into my conscience for the rest of my life and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Too many people either forget or just don’t know. Jay is still deeply entrenched in that struggle, one of millions.

I also remember very clearly what it was like to walk through that door and see a crowd of supportive and loving people, there in solidarity and friendship. It’s a rare occurrence and one of the closest things to a moment of happiness you’ll ever feel for months and years at a time. Most go without that for longer.

It’s a testament to his strength and to the strength of most people trapped inside that in spite of the obvious desperation and brutality of what they’re going through, you can still manage a smile every now and then. Sometimes it’s all you can do to cope. It’s also one of the strongest forms of resistance available inside. A smile.

I’m glad I could be there for that like so many were for me. Thanks so much everybody for their continued support of Jay and I hope we can continue to fill up those seats and to keep the letters flowing, to keep Jay in touch with all that is happening outside. It’s too easy to forget that life still happens outside the cage and a reminder is a small flicker of light and happiness in a dark place. Til all are free

Brent Betterly

JARED CHASE (NATO 3) UPDATE

Jared Chase of the NATO 3 is serving an 8-year sentence for helping undercover cops with their own idea to make molotov cocktails, that were never used, to protest the 2012 NATO summit in Chicago. Originally charged with multiple counts of terrorism under IL state law (not federal charges), he and his co-defendants were acquitted of ALL terrorism-related charges, but convicted on lesser charges including misdemeanor mob action and possession of an incendiary device with intent to commit arson.

Chase is currently scheduled to be released on parole in May 2016. However, he still has an unresolved battery charge pending, resulting from an incident with Cook County Jail guards during his pre-trial confinement. His doctor’s testimony at sentencing for the charge of possessing an incendiary device revealed that Chase’s hereditary Huntington’s disease is a likely factor contributing to his behavior in custody and the pending charges. Chase has not been receiving the recommended medical care and nutritional supplements required to treat his condition while in custody, further adding to his erratic behavior.

Chase has dismissed both his NLG attorneys and his public defender, and his trial for allegedly assaulting guards has been postponed yet again until December 7. He continues to face harsh treatment in custody, including losing “good time,” losing visitation rights, having personal property destroyed, spending time in solitary confinement and even being housed on suicide watch (despite not being suicidal). He has gone on many hunger strikes as his only recourse to demand that they meet his medical and nutritional needs, without much success.In October of 2014, Chase wrote to several supporters, “I am a transgender woman,” asking to be referred to as Maya Chase. In accordance with these stated wishes, supporters spread the word in blogs and via social media that Chase’s preferred name was Maya and pronouns were feminine. In a more recent letter, however, dated September 21, 2015, Chase explicitly requested that his legal name and male pronouns be used once again to identify him: “Also let me apologize for rushing so much in my last letter [that] I didn’t get to explain the sudden change of names. After a lot of thinking I’ve decided even though I am Bi/TS/GQ, I don’t think I want to spend the rest of my life as a Woman 24/7. So you can refer to me in mascul[ine] terms.” Letters from that date forward have been signed using “Jared” or “Jay.”

Jared needs all the love and support of our community as he navigates a hostile and inhumane institution from the inside.

Letters may be sent to:
Jared Chase M44710
P.O. Box 99
Pontiac, IL 61764

December 7th: Ten years later

From Daniel McGowan 12/7/15:

Ten years ago today, I was finishing up stuffing holiday cards for my employer when 2 beefy men asked me if i was indeed, Daniel McGowan. Once I was handcuffed and being frog-marched through the office, I knew what it was about.

At the same time, 6 of my codefendants were getting arrested at the same time. Others were receiving grand jury subpoenas as well. Sadly, all the people arrested that day became cooperating witnesses save for William Rodgers, who I knew as’Avalon’, who took his life in a county jail on the Winter Solstice, two weeks after we were arrested.

Of course, other arrests followed in the months after that, with a handful of codefendants refusing to play the game. We came together in solidarity to fight the charges and reduce the potential sentence as much as possible. For that, I will always have gratitude to Jonathan Paul, Nathan Block and Joyanna Zacher (though it would be disingenuous for me to not point out the latter two peoples’ identification with esoteric fascist movements currently).

I was bonded out of jail, fought my case on house arrest for a year and months after that, worked out a plea that did not involve naming names or becoming a witness against anyone. It had repercussions for me including more time and no protection from grand juries (and surely, two years later, i was called before one as a witness and put on civil contempt of court). That said, I cannot have seen it going any other way. My regrets with the case is that more of my co-defendants did not stick with us and move forward together-something that had been the idea when worst case scenarios had been discussed years prior.

10 years later, its obvious to me every time i go to any activist event that many younger activists do not know this history. I suppose it is the struggle we all face-how to remember and memorialize, but not live in the past and nostalgia. I can tell people to watch If a Tree Falls or read Green is the New Red (thanks, Marshall Curry, Sam Cullman & Will Potter) but that is an incomplete picture. How then, do we, move forward in our fight for justice and pass on to others what we learned? Its a longer question.

I use the word “I” often in this post and perhaps others as I am talking about the past but at no point have I ever felt alone and not connected to others. Without these stalwart, loyal and amazing people in my life, I know with certainty that things would have gone a totally different way:

Jenny Malone- my former partner and best friend. The rock. The Wizard of Oz behind every aspect of the support campaign and the ‘trying to keep me sane’ campaign. G.O.A.T.  EXES 4EVAH!

My family especially my sister Lisa who funded my legal defense, let me live with her while on house arrest and did not waver or flinch one time. These people taught me loyalty.

Family and Friends of Daniel McGowan better known as FAF.
This small group worked their asses off, put on so many shows, sold a zillon t-shirts, made my court dates, wrote articles, supported me mentally, emotionally and financially, put their lives on hold for some time to make sure I would have a life to come home too. So much gratitude to all of them. I am not even in touch with all of them, which to be honest, saddens me but I have nothing but lifelong gratitude for all of them. Shoutouts to Andrew, Ainsley, Eliza, Kitty, Corey, Sideshow, Cindy, Marianne and Ryan.

This article may be the best article I have seen on the topic though its quite dated. Check it out.

Write my codees:

Rebecca Rubin #98290-011
FCI Dublin
5701 8th Street – Camp Parks
Dublin, California 94568
Birthday: April 18

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Rebecca Rubin is serving a 5 year sentence for her role in a series of Earth Liberation Front (ELF) actions including the arson of the Vail Ski Resort Expansion and US Forest Industries. She also participated in the liberation of horses and the arson of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Wild Horse Facilities in Litchfield, California and Burns, Oregon. Rebecca is expected to be released in September, 2017.

 

You can buy Rebecca a book (or 5!) at http://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/2EEY8SICPOC9D

Justin Solondz #98291-011
FCI Oakdale I
Post Office Box 5000
Oakdale, Louisiana 71463
Birthday: October 3

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Justin Solondz pleaded guilty to conspiracy and arson for his involvement in the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) arson of the University of Washington’s Center for Urban Horticulture in 2001 and the Romania Chevrolet dealership in Eugene, Oregon. Justin was imprisoned in China for three years prior to extradition. His anticipated release date is 9/23/2017.

November 25th: Day of Action to Free Oso Blanco

https://www.facebook.com/events/1522353564749916/

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One small way to stand against the ongoing genocide of indigenous people celebrated in u.s.-occupied Native land on November 26th* is to stand with natives who are held captive by the u.s. without the consent of the sovereign nations to which they belong.

One opportunity is the case of Oso Blanco aka Byron Chubbuck, a Cherokee sovereign citizen of Cherokee, Choctaw, and Celtic ancestry held by the u.s., without Cherokee consent, on charges trumped up by the armed career criminal act (ACCA), a part of which was struck down by the us. supreme court as “unconstitutionally vague.”
 

Things to Do . .

1) Make a small donation to Mr. Chubbuck’s legal fund at freeosoblanco.blogspot.com so that he can challenge his draconian and unjust sentence.

2) Organize a small fundraising event soon if you can–even if it is you and two friends!

3) Spread the word about this call and your event on social media hashtag #FreeOsoBlanco!

4) Find other opportunities to support indigenous self determination where you live and elsewhere!

http://freeosoblanco.blogspot.com/
#FreeOsoBlanco

https://unsettlingamerica.wordpress.com/2011/11/10/a-day-to-give-thanks/

http://freeosoblanco.blogspot.com/p/oso-blanco-fundraiser.html

https://www.themarshallproject.org/2015/10/19/13-words-that-could-mean-freedom-for-many#.XiQVZFSDv

Marius Mason: New Poetry

Support Marius Mason:

Give Me One Of Them

A dentist and his luggage arrive in Zimbabwe
Cash and carry-on, pushing the buttons of privilege and pardon
That his class feels heir to, a legacy
Of helmeted conquistadors in search of gold or something shiny
Those Roman envoys come for tribute from the territories
Legions come to kill, conquer or consume..like tourists
Greasing the palms of hired-hands – the Future’s traitors
Handing off their nation’s treasures to the clamoring idiots
“Give me one of them”, he roars, gesticulating wildly
The ugly American who can buy anything
It’s practically online shopping and no safari
When the trophy’s guaranteed (or your money back)
Swindled and stolen by subterfuge
An empty stomach so often a trap full of entanglements
And so another African will make a Middle Passage
As a corpse
The deed is done, and life converts to property
The ebony-tipped lion dubbed ‘Cecil’
Like an immigrant at Ellis Island changing names and nations all at once,
By bureaucrats who needed a familiar name in their own tongue
Unbecomes, falls into history
Ends his story and his line in blood
The collaborator, Honore`, will pay the price before the law,
But surely honor suffers even more
As the greedy foreign butcher slinks
Behind a sturdy Minnesota door
And we, the wild tribal Diaspora dispersed by birth
From Mother Africa, generations gone and
Scattered loose across the globe, like seeds
Will know ourselves one less


Marius just completed Honeybee Democracy by Thomas D. Seeley.  Check back regularly for what Marius is reading and writing about!

“What’s more political than the question of expendability?” Barry Schwabsky
With clouds on the horizon spotted,
Have we decided yet?
Who will ride the ark with us,
Protected from our floods and pestilences
In valuable concubinage-
And who will sail instead into Eternity? These honeybees, so small
Among the lilies of the field,
That we might miss them altogether,k9267
Especially the rushing bipeds travelling through
A plastic, frantic world
Lives lived indoors, cramped and strangers to the sun.
But the bees make music working
through their quiet summer days, even if there is no one to hear
In fields and orchards, lawns and meadows
Tending their life’s work
And our own as well.
The tiny fuzzy fairies falling
Prey to a darker pall
That spreads a shadow everywhere
The approaching silent spring soon
Minus singing bees
Who, as it turns out,
Are much less expendable than we