Political Prisoner Birthday Poster For September 2015 Is Now Available

From Prison Books Collective:

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Hello Friends and Comrades,

1) Here is the political prisoner birthday poster for September. As always, please post this poster publicly and/or use it to start a card writing night of your own.

2) We’ve put the text online of our new zine How To Start A Prison Books Collective. We hope that this humble contribution will help other prison books groups get started and expand the important work of sending political, legal, and self-educational resources to prisoners. You can find the text here.

3) The Prison Ecology Project has extended its online fundraiser. They are creating tools to dismantle toxic prisons. So far, they are the only group focused on the intersection of environment and mass incarceration. Currently they are building a database of the five thousand prisons and jails around the country, finding the weak points in the environmental realm, and providing tools to organize locally. You can donate here.

4) Michael Kimble is up for parole in December and we are trying to get people to write letters to the parole board on his account.

Michael is a gay, black anarchist imprisoned in Alabama since 1986 for murdering a racist homophobe. He has been active for much of that time in prison organizing and rebellion. In recent years, he has been involved in hunger and work strikes in Alabama, working with the Free Alabama Movement. Michael has suffered severe consequences for his uncompromising attitude, including numerous stints in solitary (where he currently is held). Despite this, he remains committed to struggle against prison and the state.

Please, if you can, write the parole board and help get Michael free. Also, please spread this information using whatever media have available to you. Here’s a link to Michael‘s website, with a write-up on how to support his parole.

5) On Wednesday, August 12th, long term political prisoner, 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.

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. For more on Hugo Pinell’s life and death see this excellent article from the San Francisco Bay View.

6) Be sure to check out the latest Political Prisoner/Prisoner Of War every-other week update by the  NYC-Anarchist Black Cross. There are lots of important updates on many political prisoners. This one includes updates on Jeremy Hammond, Barrett Brown, Memorials for Hugo Pinell, poetry and more.

Until Every Cage Is Empty,

The Prison Books Collective

Jeremy still in the SHU, now under investigation

From Free Jeremy:

As many of you know, Jeremy was placed in SHU (segregated housing unit) a little over a month ago as a result of a disciplinary infraction. He was told he would be in SHU for approximately 45 days, with his release date being on or around 20 August 2015.

For almost a week now, we have waited anxiously to hear that he has been released from SHU. Today, we got our answer, though it was not what any of us had hoped. In a letter dated 18 August that we received yesterday, he explained that he is still in SHU, and currently has no idea when he is going to be released. He had completed the time given to him for the disciplinary infraction and was preparing for release when prison officials informed him that he would be staying in SHU “pending SIS investigation.” “SIS” stands for “special investigative services,” and they function like an internal prison police unit. He was not told what they are investigating, nor how much longer he can expect to be there.

Prisoners can be held in SHU for up to 90 days without charge. If Jeremy is eventually charged with something as a result of whatever he is being “investigated” for, the time he spent awaiting charge will not count towards whatever punishment is handed down.

We are speculating that this new, mysterious “investigation” is in relation to another issue that has been ongoing for quite some time now. Shortly before he was sent to SHU in July, Jeremy’s phone and email privileges were taken away without warning and for reasons that, while not entirely clear, were obvious attempts to silence him. (His stay in SHU was not related to these issues, and, as stated, was the result of a disciplinary infraction.) While in SHU, his email privileges were reinstated just as mysteriously as they had been removed, and he was allowed to make a phone call, but the issue was never fully resolved. While no one but prison officials know for certain at this point, the vagueness with which this new SHU designation is being communicated to Jeremy is eerily similar to the vagueness with which his privileges were revoked, and could very well be related.

There is also a chance that Jeremy is being denied visits, as his grandparents report they were denied the opportunity to visit him several weeks ago for, again, unknown reasons. They have previously been able to visit him freely and without incident.

This is absolutely ludicrous and very discouraging. Jeremy has previously written about how time in SHU is always hell, but it’s at least easier to bear when you know you’re in there for something you legitimately did wrong. Holding Jeremy without charge, and without any firm end date in sight amounts to nothing short of torture. Please consider writing him a short letter of encouragement.

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Jason’s 50th Day in Prison!

From: http://freejasonhammond.blogspot.com/

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.

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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,
Jason!

– – – – –

Jason Hammond, M50190
P.O. Box 500
Vandalia, IL 62471

Jeremy Hammond’s statement on the plea and sentencing of his brother, Jason Hammond

Jeremy Hammond Defense Committee:

On January 22, 2015, Jason Hammond, Jeremy Hammond’s twin brother, was sentenced to 41 months in prison after accepting a non-cooperating guilty plea for his role in a militant direct action directed at white supremacists in the suburb of Tinley Park.

We at the Jeremy Hammond Defense Committee completely and unequivocally support Jason Hammond and all who choose to participate in militant direct action for a free an equal society.

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

“I am heart-broken that my twin brother Jason Hammond will have to do years in prison for his participation in the 2012 attack on a white supremacist gathering in Tinley Park.

I love my brother. Anyone who has ever met him knows he is the most charming, caring and passionate guy around. You would often catch him at street protests playing the trombone in the marching band, cooking food for the homeless, or teaching guitar to children.

For some, it may come as a shock to think he could have been involved in an armed attack against neo-nazis. But it’s a troubled world we live in – sometimes you pick up the trombone and picket sign, other times you gotta pick up the baseball bat and Molotov cocktail.

The prosecutors, police, and mayor of Tinley Park were so vindictive and eager to defend the nazis that despite already having sentenced the Tinley Park 5 to prison, they arrested my brother for the same action a year later. Setting a no-10% bail higher than Trayvon Martin’s murderer George Zimmerman, they would not settle for anything less than years imprisonment.

At the same time, prosecutors intentionally threw the case during grand jury proceedings against the cops who killed Michael Brown and Eric Garner – police literally getting away with murder, again and again.

These are not isolated tragedies but more evidence of the inherently corrupt and racist nature of the prison industrial complex. The connections are obvious, from the police who armed the Klan for the Greensboro massacre, to the “New Jim Crow” of mandatory minimums, crack/cocaine sentencing disparities, and felony second-class citizen status. This system has no future for people of color and the impoverished: it’s a lifetime of starvation-wage servitude, imprisonment, or death.

The protests “must be peaceful” says Obama and other so-called “community leader” sellouts and establishment apologists. It’s a sick irony to hear the “hope and change” president call for non-violence while he escalates U.S. imperialist wars in the middle east and refuses to prosecute CIA torturers and Bush Administration officials who signed off on it. His phony promises to “end racial profiling” and “demilitarize the police” should be rejected as attempts to channel our anger into predictable, controllable, and ultimately ineffective reforms, when what we need is abolition and revolution.

The system’s got to go, and we have to be prepared to use any and all tactics to overthrow it. Burning, looting, flipping over cop cars. hacking websites, and beating up nazis.

I fully support my brother and those who engage in militant direct action to build a more free and equal society. I urge everybody to check out my brother’s statement explaining his motivations for participating in the Tinley Park action. Like Jason says, “these tactics could also apply to different avenues of struggle, directed towards exploitative bosses, racist cops, gentrifying landlords, sexist institutions, and fascist politicians”.

Even though I am saddened it has resulted in his imprisonment, I am proud that he was willing to fight for his beliefs. We went to school together, played in bands together, protested together, and now both of us are incarcerated. We may be in different prisons, facing different charges, but we will always be together in the spirit of defiance.”

FREE JASON HAMMOND!

Anti-fascist Jason Hammond sentenced 3.5 years for Tinley Park action

Jason Hammond Support Network

Sentencing Statement

JasonHammondI write this statement after pleading guilty to state charges against me for my participation in an organized direct action taken against a group of white supremacists in May of 2012. I would like to share my thoughts about this action. First, major thanks and love to my friends and family who have supported me, for my amazing partner who kept me sane, my band for letting loose and my lawyer Sara Garber who has been ridiculously helpful in fighting this case with me.

While Chicago was in rebellion against the western military super-alliance NATO summit in 2012, a small group of racists organized their own ‘white nationalist economic summit’ in the nearby suburb of Tinley Park. They booked a restaurant to hold a luncheon under the guise of the “Illinois European Heritage Association.” For over six months this event was promoted on Stormfront.org, a very popular online forum where racists and neo-nazis converse. Being in a prolonged state of resistance against racism, this summit became known to organized anti-fascists throughout the Midwest. Through research, they had ascertained the time, location, and even some identities of the attendees of this meeting, some of whom were already known as being members of white supremacist groups such as the KKK, National Socialist Movement and Council of Conservative Citizens. Upon becoming aware of this  information, myself and others decided to confront the fascists at their meeting. A righteous melee ensued, many of the ten white supremacists were injured, and we left the scene in less than two minutes.

In the aftermath, the police was called and two of the fascist attendees were arrested one for being a fugitive of pedophilia charges in another state and the other for illegal possession of firearms in their car onsite. Unfortunately after leaving the restaurant, five comrades from Hoosier Anti Racist Movement were also arrested for their involvement by an off duty cop. They are known as the Tinley Park 5, all of whom spent time in Illinois prisons after taking a non-cooperative plea, and have since been released on parole. Please read about their struggles at their wordpress.

A year after the action, in July 2013, I was arrested outside my home by the FBI and Tinley Park Police. I was charged with armed violence and mob action,  the same as the other 5 anti-fascists. My indictment states the Tinley Park Police were given a report from the FBI stating that they had identified me from DNA gathered at the scene and a surveillance video from the restaurant where the meeting was shut down. I was held in Cook County Jail for two months but was fortunate to have friends who raised enough money to release me on bond. I have since been fighting these charges. The wheels of the bureaucratic judicial system moves deliberately slow and another whole year and a half passes. Now, even with the privilege of being able to examine all the evidence and evaluate all of my options while out on bond, I must accept the judge’s offer of 3.5 years. My chances of winning the case were very low, and if I lost, it could potentially mean a significantly higher sentence.

It is difficult to decide whether to plea or not when faced with gambling years of your life in prison, but I also completely detest the narrative of the state and their courtrooms. Their story is that they rightfully apprehended the criminal, tried, and put them away in prison;where they will learn not to do it again while separated from society where they cannot spread their infectious ideas. That system does not work and it never will. I abhor this monopoly of justice and violence; the reality is that the state wants people in their prisons especially people whose political interest are in conflict  to the “business as usual” violence that their police and armies perpetrate. My crime is standing up against the flag of hate and the violence against people of color that it represents. The state, in a petty act, went out of their way years later to prosecute me.

Furthermore, the state has always supported a white supremacist power structure. Even after the endless series of racist wars and hundreds of years of oppression on this soil, they don’t see it as a problem when neo-nazis get together and in fact grant permits and have lines of police to protect their free speech. In Ferguson, New York, Chicago and beyond, we see police use military grade equipment in conjunction with the National Guard to combat people protesting the unjust murders of Mike Brown and Eric Garner at the hands of law enforcement. These are not isolated incidents, but rather symptomatic and indicative of a deliberate move to uphold the pillars of white supremacy in this country, which will not change unless we fight against it.

I went into this action following the principles of anarchy, equality and freedom which have guided my life. For many years I have been involved in different projects engaging social justice, from volunteering at social centers, community public libraries and food distribution programs.I have also supported and participated in anti-war, environmental and immigrant rights movements. Through these experiences I became more aware of how the system that governs this society depends on the mass exploitation of large parts of the population and in fact the Earth itself for the profit of the rich and powerful. I was inspired and motivated by the people I met in the movement to strive to make change at the root of the problem, even if it meant possibly sacrificing my own personal freedom. Throughout history, any movement that struggled to change this system was considered dangerous by the government and was met with immense repression and state violence. But there were successful moments within these movements not only because they were justified, but because people fought for them and despite how history is presented like a Disney movie, not all of their actions were non-violent.

Today there still is police brutality, a massive prison industrial complex, there are presidents waging endless wars for profit and power, and there is violence, alienation and marginalization at the crossroads of gender, sexuality, race and class.  It would be naive to think that all of these problems could only be solved through pacifism; working with or within the system, following dogmatic and assimilative reformist agendas that take over and sell out movements; the answer lies in creative resistance that utilizes a wide diversity of tactics. I think some people have always known this but more need to reject the privileged tendency to reject destruction of property, or of the bodies protecting the state as taboo violence instead of as a legitimate form of resistance. As our collective patience is constantly being worn away by failures of government to address people’s actual needs, it is up to our own communities and individuals to decide for themselves what is an appropriate form of self-defense.

But I would also like to note that the hyper-spectacularization and priority of violence amongst folks in the movement might also be folly, because I believe it in itself is not sufficient for a real radical transformation of society. People need to look within to make the change they want to see in the world as well as raise hell in the streets. People are improving their communities through their own support, healing circles, discussion groups, rallies, speak-outs, prisoner support, popular education, community health projects and asking hard questions and challenging oppressive thoughts however they manifest.

The ideas and actions that these white supremacists are pushing are dangerous and poisonous and is unfortunately still deeply rooted within the fabric of this society. Racism manifests itself in a number of ways and none can be ignored; from the blatant and overt bigots like those at the meeting in Tinley Park but also the subtle micro-aggressions that people experience on a daily basis. We are all obligated to confront the dead old ways of these oppressive ideologies using every means possible. My actions were in the spirit of continued resistance against racism and fascism and for the rights of people to live without fear of racist attacks. Those in struggle know the risk of jail, pain or death when trying to radically change the structure of society but it is a struggle we cannot ignore and we intend to win!

After the interruption of the meeting in Tinley Park, the organizing group for their economic summit disbanded and the individual who booked the event said that they were “stepping away from white nationalist organizing.” When a comrade is arrested the movement bears a high cost but actions like these can prove affective as they dissuade people from joining hate groups and preventing the work that they do. I feel these tactics could also apply to different avenues of struggle, directed towards exploitative bosses, racist cops, gentrifying landlords, sexists anywhere, and fascist politicians.

Some people have speculated my arrest was part of some revenge plot of the FBI because of the hacking and whistle-blowing my brother Jeremy Hammond has done against various sectors of the government and the private intelligent corporations they work with. While I love and support my brother and his actions 1000% and condemn the FBI and the US government for their own cyber wars they wage, I think it is unlikely that was the reason why I was held in custody. As stated earlier, the FBI did provide a report to the local police putting some of their pieces together which raises questions to why they would consider a bunch of neo-nazis getting beat up a matter of national security. Regardless, my brother and I were both apprehended because our actions were not carried out with absolute precision and every precaution made to disguise our identities and ensure we would not be busted.

However, it is absolutely true that we live in a vulnerable society with extreme governmental overreach, where anyone could be subject to surveillance, entrapment, targeted prosecutions and trumped up treason and terrorism charges purely for ideological reasons. It is a context deliberately cooked up by politicians and the national security complex to create fear and distrust amongst activist circles, as we can see looking at the huge number of dissidents who have been jailed or killed. Again, I’ll state my respect for political prisoners in any country who are staying strong and struggling to fight the power. I would encourage anyone who considers taking direct action to know why they are doing it and do so carefully as to not jeopardize themselves, their comrades, or the movement itself. A person in prison is another person we have to free.

To those whose worlds were shaken and who are angry or displeased at my actions, remind yourselves humbly of the atrocious history of violence that white supremacy has done and continues to do so to this  society and ask yourself, do I support it? Do I benefit from it? Will this be my legacy? Or do I want to change it?

I have set up a blog where I will post updates regularly that will also include my mailing address and visiting hours. Also I will have set up an Amazon Wish List where people can send me some love through books. This will be set up once I arrive at the state prison where I will likely carry out the majority of my sentence. While I am here I intend to make the most of my time staying positive and motivated through reading, working out, and meditating. I am interested in continuing communication and having discussions with people through letters, so please write me when you have the chance!

Yours for the struggle!

With love and rage,
Jason Hammond

freejasonhammond.blogspot.com

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Anonymous: Jeremy Hammond’s statement on accepting non-cooperating plea agreement

From Free Jeremy:

Today I pleaded guilty to one count of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. This was a very difficult decision. I hope this statement will explain my reasoning. I believe in the power of the truth. In keeping with that, I do not want to hide what I did or to shy away from my actions. This non-cooperating plea agreement frees me to tell the world what I did and why, without exposing any tactics or information to the government and without jeopardizing the lives and well-being of other activists on and offline.

During the past 15 months I have been relatively quiet about the specifics of my case as I worked with my lawyers to review the discovery and figure out the best legal strategy. There were numerous problems with the government’s case, including the credibility of FBI informant Hector Monsegur. However, because prosecutors stacked the charges with inflated damages figures, I was looking at a sentencing guideline range of over 30 years if I lost at trial. I have wonderful lawyers and an amazing community of people on the outside who support me. None of that changes the fact that I was likely to lose at trial. But, even if I was found not guilty at trial, the government claimed that there were eight other outstanding indictments against me from jurisdictions scattered throughout the country. If I had won this trial I would likely have been shipped across the country to face new but similar charges in a different district. The process might have repeated indefinitely. Ultimately I decided that the most practical route was to accept this plea with a maximum of a ten year sentence and immunity from prosecution in every federal court.

Now that I have pleaded guilty it is a relief to be able to say that I did work with Anonymous to hack Stratfor, among other websites. Those others included military and police equipment suppliers, private intelligence and information security firms, and law enforcement agencies. I did this because I believe people have a right to know what governments and corporations are doing behind closed doors. I did what I believe is right.

I have already spent 15 months in prison. For several weeks of that time I have been held in solitary confinement. I have been denied visits and phone calls with my family and friends. This plea agreement spares me, my family, and my community a repeat of this grinding process.

I would like to thank all of my friends and supporters for their amazing and ongoing gestures of solidarity. Today I am glad to shoulder the responsibility for my actions and to move one step closer to daylight.

Jeremy Hammond

NYC: Solidarity demo for Jeremy Hammond

From Anarchist News:

On the 23rd July 2012, the Jeremy Hammond Support Network will sponsor a rally in NYC to show support for the accused hacktivist. Friends, family, and supporters of Jeremy Hammond will gather at Foley Square for a brief march to the Metropolitan Correctional Center where we will pack the courtroom in solidarity with Jeremy

We wish to make it clear our intent to peacefully fill the courtroom. We are there to support Jeremy, and the more people that actually make it into the courtroom, the better. In this light, we have also been informed that sadly, individuals with any items identifying them as Anonymous have, in the past, been denied entry to the court. This is not something the Support Network agrees with, however, if you intend to actually sit in the court room, you will need to take this into consideration.

Full call out