Reportback on Albert Woodfox’s Sept. 2 Oral Arguments at US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals

From Angola 3 News:


(PHOTO: A3 supporters outside of the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans this morning at Albert Woodfox’s oral arguments. Big Thanks to everyone that made it out!!)

This morning, Amnesty International USA released the following statement, reprinted in full.

Please check back here for more updates later in the day. See also our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Amnesty International USA Statement on Ongoing Incarceration of Albert Woodfox

Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans heard oral argument in Albert Woodfox vs. Burl Cain. A three-judge panel will decide whether Louisiana prisoner Albert Woodfox should be granted unconditional release or face a third trial after spending more than four decades in solitary confinement.

U.S. District Judge James Brady ordered Woodfox’s unconditional release in June, overturning his conviction and barring the state from retrying him. The state of Louisiana appealed the ruling and moved to keep Woodfox behind. Jasmine Heiss, Senior Campaigner for Amnesty International USA’s Individuals at Risk program, attended the oral argument and issued the following statement:

“Today, Albert Woodfox remains doubly trapped — both in solitary confinement and in a deeply flawed legal process that has spanned four decades. Judge Brady’s writ of unconditional release should have been the final chapter in Albert’s 43-year nightmare. Now we can only hope that the courts will finally provide Albert some measure of justice.

“The question remains – why has Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell relentlessly pursued Albert Woodfox? It is time for the Attorney General to act in the name of justice rather than vengeance and stop standing in the way of Albert’s release.”

Katrina Charity Common Ground Wants Information on FBI Snitch

By SABRINA CANFIELD, Courthouse News Service

NEW ORLEANS (CN) – The founder of a post-Hurricane Katrina relief organization claims the FBI infiltrated his group after he criticized the Bush administration for its inept response to the disaster. Malik Rahim, founder of Common Ground Relief, says the FBI blew off his FOIA requests by claiming that responding would violate the privacy of its informant, who has spoken publicly about his work as a snitch.
Rahim, a New Orleans community organizer and former Black Panther, says the FBI rejected his FOIA request, and appeal, seeking information about FBI informant Brandon Darby. Rahim says Darby worked with him at Common Ground, bringing supplies and other assistance to residents of the city battered by Hurricane Katrina.
Darby was involved with Common Ground from September 2005 until 2008. Whether Darby was an FBI agent before becoming a prominent member of Common Ground remains unknown, and is part of what Rahim seeks to find out.
Using an anarchist-inspired motto, “Solidarity not Charity,” Common Ground Relief says its mission is to provide short-term relief for victims of hurricane disasters on the Gulf Coast, and long-term support in
rebuilding communities in the New Orleans area. Continue reading

New Orleans: Police shut down Iron Rail Infoshop

From New Orleans Indymedia

This is a preliminary statement from the Iron Rail Book Collective. A more in depth statement on recent events will be forthcoming. At about 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday March 9th, 2011 The Iron Rail Infoshop and the building that houses it, “The Ark,” were shut down by the New Orleans Police Department. Alleged code and permit violations were the reasons offered by NOPD for the shut down. The Iron Rail has existed in this space for the past 8 years.

The Iron Rail Book Collective has been told at this point that the Ark will not re-open and all projects and art studios located in the building can no longer exist there. This includes the Plan-B New Orleans Community Bike Project and Hasbin Wilby’s Recycled Art Supplies.

We stand in solidarity with these projects as important elements in the greater New Orleans radical community.

Please visit The Iron Rail’s website and our facebook or e-mail us at .

We will soon be taking donations through PayPal to help us plan our future.

A more complete statement with additional information is forthcoming.

With love and solidarity,

The Iron Rail Book Collective

UNO Occupiers to Fight Charges, Support Needed

We still need as many people as possible to call the Chancellor’s office at 504-280-5536 and demand that they drop the charges against the 2 students who were arrested at the protest last week. It is only through letting the administration know that people care that they will stop their baseless accusations that have already been proven to be lies by video and photo evidence.

The corrupt and incompetent UNO administration is trying to cover their own butts by blaming students to keep the spotlight off of them and to protect their friends in the UNO PD who beat students viciously with batons last week. Please spread this request for support calls far and wide.

Media Round-Up:

While the media generally reported the statements of the police as fact and the statements of students, when reported at all, were treated as an afterthought or hearsay, we figured people may want to see how far their actions reverberated across our state on Wednesday. Be proud, those in power definitely heard us, all the way from our campus tucked away at the lakefront. Organize with your friends and make more actions like this happen, and those in power will know that we are serious, we are angry, and we demand a response.

We have also posted more posts on our website Occupy LA, as well as added links to our resources page and a section to our site called “Why Occupy?” Check it out:

New Orleans: Two Arrests At Budget Cuts Occupation at UNO


Several students were reportedly apprehended by the University of New Orleans campus police after storming the office of the chancellor and getting into an altercation with authorities. The school has seen its budget slashed, faculty laid off and services cut as state legislators look to close a massive hole. Approximately 150 to 200 students protested the massive budget cuts to the university, chanting and demanding changes at the school.

Call University of New Orleans PD at 504-280-6666 and demand they release the 2 arrested students from today immediately. They were maced and beaten, and then arrested, for peacefully protesting! There were a million witnesses to this event that said they did nothing wrong. One has asthma and was severely hurt by the mace. CALL NOW!! CALL OVER AND OVER!! Demand they drop the charges!
Several protesting UNO students arrested after storming chancellor’s office
Continue reading

Battle of Algiers: White vigilantees and the police in the Katrina aftermath

Common GroundDABC Note: This article has to do with anarchists participating in the armed defense of a neighborhood in New Orleans after Katrina devastated the city. This story has rarely been told, and has not had that much exposure, even within our movement(s). This is a concrete example of armed solidarity, one that shows that it can be important for anarchists and other committed revolutionaries to be knowledgeable of firearms and their use.

Scott’s Note: On the fifth anniversary of Katrina I want to share this narrative, an excerpt of stories about anarchist organizing in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. This excerpted piece is made of stories about the early violence we came across in dealing with the white vigilantes and police in Algiers. It takes place upon my return to the area after a failed mission to find my friend Robert King of the Angola 3 (see ‘It takes a spark’ from INFOSHOP archives) right after the levees failed. It also contains characters who had done something good only to reveal themselves as less than honorable, and somewhat harmful later. These stories take place just prior to organizing the Common Ground Collective. This is a rough draft excerpt from my forthcoming book: “Black Flags and Windmills: Hope, Anarchy and the Common Ground Collective”

Five years later we have only scratched the surface of the atrocities of the vigilantes and the police. Many of us are still healing from those encounters. This story is just one of them

“…within the war we are all waging with the forces of death, subtle and otherwise, conscious or not – I am not only a casualty, I am also a warrior.” –Audre Lorde
Continue reading

Six New Orleans Police Charged in Post-Katrina Killings, Activists Say Deeper Change is Needed

Jordan Flaherty came out with this excellent article on six police officers who are being accused of the murder of civilians during the days following Hurricane Katrina.  The story is a gripping one in which the officers go to painstaking lengths to cover up the killings.  Denver ABC is also excited to announce that Jordan will also be coming to Denver in November as part of the Community and Resistance Tour.  We’ll be letting you know all the details as the tour develops.  In the meantime, read his piece documenting the case as well as how what happened post-Katrina is just exposing what New Orleans residents have known for a long time- that the NOPD has been corrupt for years and it is just now that it’s being exposed.

Six New Orleans Police Charged in Post-Katrina Killings, But Activists Say Deeper Change is Needed

by Jordan Flaherty

This week, federal officials charged six current and former New Orleans police officers in connection with the killing of civilians in the days after Hurricane Katrina. The six are not only accused of murder but also of conspiring to hide their crime through secret meetings, planting evidence, inventing witnesses, false arrests, and perjury. Four of the officers may face the death penalty.

While the details of their charges are shocking, much of the media has missed the real story: corruption and violence are endemic to the NOPD, and wider systemic change is needed not just in police personnel, but in the city’s overall criminal justice system. Continue reading

Ex-Cop Pleads Guilty In Hurricane Katrina Killing Probe: 2 Shot, Killed On Danziger Bridge

Huffington Post

Ronald Madison was shot to death on the Danziger Bridge.

NEW ORLEANS — In Hurricane Katrina’s chaotic aftermath, police shot six people – killing two – as they crossed a bridge in search of food. For years the case was a shocking symbol of the confusion and violence that swept through the flooded city. On Wednesday it became a mark of shame for the police department.

As victims’ relatives watched from the courtroom gallery, a retired lieutenant who supervised the department’s probe of the shootings pleaded guilty to orchestrating a cover-up to conceal that police gunned down unarmed civilians.

Michael Lohman, a 21-year veteran of the force, pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to obstruct justice. Prosecutors said Lohman and other unidentified officers conspired to fabricate witness statements, falsify reports of the incident and plant a gun in an attempt to make it appear the killings were justified.

U.S. Attorney Jim Letten said the investigation is continuing and would not say whether higher-ranking officials of the police department might be involved.

Lohman’s plea brought at least some closure to families of victims in the best-known of several violent incidents that raised questions about police conduct immediately after Katrina. The shootings happened on Sept. 4, 2005, six days after the storm smashed levees and flooded 80 percent of the city.

Survivors have said the officers fired at unarmed people who were crossing to get food at a grocery store. The officers claimed they opened fire only after being shot at. Ronald Madison, 40 and mentally disabled, and James Brissette, 19, were killed and four others were wounded.

“We are very, very happy about the progress that the FBI and the U.S. Justice Department have made,” said Romell Madison, Ronald’s brother. “The people of New Orleans should be relieved that there is still justice for everybody here.”

Lohman’s plea marked the first conviction in the case. Seven officers were charged with murder or attempted murder but a state judge threw out all the charges. Federal authorities then stepped in to investigate.

The federal prosecutor said Lohman is cooperating with investigators who want to know more about the police department’s actions.

Continue reading

New Orleans: 6 arrested during N30 Reclaim the Streets

Six people were arrested Monday night at the Reclaim The Streets event organized to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the WTO protests that rocked Seattle in 1999.

The event was advertised as a way to call attention to the fact that the same police and prison system that brutalized people at the WTO is also sending New Orleans rappers to prison, and is failing to make our communities safer, while they defend with violence the policies of the WTO around the world. The event was to create a space where these failed institutions that destroy our lives are not allowed to operate. In short, to create a space of freedom and liberation.

The event kicked off when about 40 people began hanging banners, throwing confetti, and launching party streamers over light poles on Canal St., near Royal St. The banners read “Abolish Prisons” and “Free Lil Wayne! Free Lil Boosie! Free All Prisoners!” and they were strung between light poles and the palm trees that line Canal St. A sound system blasted bounce rap from a bike cart, people got in the streets, and the party started!

Full Story