WelcomeTo My World

Friday, 31 May 2013

The War on American Families

"Silence will be interpreted as disapproval," according to the DOJ Pride office. "LGBT Inclusion at Work: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Managers," was manifested by the DOJ Pride, Association of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Employees of the U.S. Department of Justice and Their Allies.

According to the "Inclusion" document, the government can limit your freedom of speech, expression and your thoughts.

Pussy Riot Too Fierce For Mother Russia

Nadya of Pussy riot has cut an incredible figure in the Russian justice system and in the eye of the global media. Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer filmmakers Mike Lerner and Maxim Pozdorovkin join BYOD to show footage from their HBO Pussy Riot Documentary and explain the extent of their performance and dynamic.

Watch the full episode here:






The Resident: Hero rejects commercialization of tragedy

Charles Ramsey is the Cleveland man who helped find three women and a child who had been kidnapped, raped, brutalized, and held captive for a decade. He became a national hero after a video of him recounting how he put down his Big Mac to help the women went viral. Then, entrepreneurs swooped in to capitalize on his sudden new-found, fame, but Ramsey had other plans.

Tuesday, June 4th: Fundraiser for POW Sekou Odinga at Random Row Books in Charlottesville, VA

Tuesday, June 4th @ 7 p.m.

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Fundraiser for POW Sekou Odinga
at Random Row Books in Charlottesville, VA

June 4th is Sekou's wife dequi kioni sadiki's birthday,
so she considers this a birthday gift!

Random Row Books
315 W Main St., Charlottesville, VA 22902 (434) 295-2493

7:00 p.m. SHARP!


Go to the link for maps and directions.
Way too important to get lost or be late!

Pay what you can
Self Defense
(with a brief teach-in on the BPP / BLA)

Who is Sekou Odinga?

Sekou Mgobozi Abdullah Odinga is a prisoner of a war that started more than 400 years ago and that rages even today.

“When we say prisoner of war,” explains Sekou from behind the walls of Shawangunk Correctional Facility in New York State, “the obvious question that should come to mind is, “What war? Is there a civil war going on in this country?” No, not a civil war. New Afrikan (Black) people are not part of this country. So, it can’t be civil war. Our people were illegally kidnapped and brought to this country more than  400 years ago. That was an act of war.”

“We have to distinguish first who we are and how we can be at war with the U.S. government,” says Sekou. “We are a colonized people, but many of us don’t understand what that means. A colonized people are a group or nation whose every aspect of life is controlled by another nation.

Among the colonized, there are those who don’t accept the colonized force. International law gives them the right to be free and independent by any means necessary, including armed struggle. We want to establish a New Afrikan State. While participating in that war I was captured, which makes me a prisoner of war.”

He didn’t declare the war, nor did he start it. But Sekou Odinga, 66, father of 8 and grandfather of 18, has committed his life to fighting back. First as a community activist, then as a Black Panther Party leader, and later as a soldier in the Black Liberation Army.

Odinga earned international recognition from his efforts to educate, organize, and liberate Afrikan people worldwide. Even from behind bars, Sekou Odinga remains a cornerstone of the New Afrikan Independence Movement. Comprised of a broad coalition of New Afrikan-nationalist organizations, the NAIM seeks to establish a Republic of New Afrika in land currently designated as Mississippi, Georgia, Louisiana, Alabama, and South Carolina. (They promised 40 acres and a mule, so that is what would be the equivalent of the this area. Another broken treaty because the white man speaks with forked tongue.)

As part of its efforts to crush this movement, the United States has mislabeled Sekou as an outlaw, saddling him with a lifetime sentence for crimes that he did not commit.

In 1969, Odinga was forced into hiding when he and 20 other Black Panther Party members were falsely charged with criminal conspiracy in the New York Panther 21 case.

Months later, while still underground, he traveled to Algeria to establish an international chapter of the Black Panther Party. On October 23, 1981, Odinga and comrade Mtyari Shabaka Sundiata were ambushed in Queens by a joint task force of New York police officers and FBI agents. The cops murdered Sundiata in the street like a dog while he had his hands in the air surrendering and Sekou wept when he talked about telling Sundiata's child who her father was and how he died.

They captured Sekou, then tortured him mercilessly, eventually charging him with the liberation of Assata Shakur and the expropriation of money from an armored car.

“When I was captured, I was burned with cigars, beaten, had my head flushed in toilets,” recalls Sekou. “I was taken to a window, and the officers threatened to throw me out. This went on for about six hours, when they were trying to get me to give up information on other comrades. I was captured in October 1981, and didn’t get out of the hospital until February ’82.”

When he was released from the hospital, Sekou was thrown into a trial that was anything but fair. For instance, during his trial, in which he faced 11 federal counts and an assortment of state charges, the judge refused to allow Sekou to submit his medical records as evidence, suggesting that the freedom fighter may have fabricated his wounds.

Even before his trial, the charges against Sekou were manipulated to ensure cruel and unusual punishment. “They called the liberation of Assata Shakur kidnapping because jail-breaking was not a federal charge,” he points out.

“It was a state charge. So that the feds could get the case, they claimed that while liberating the sister, the comrades tied up and held two of the guards.

Even though they didn’t take the guards off the grounds, the court said taking them from one rooftop to another was kidnapping.”

In 1983, Sekou was convicted of two federal charges under the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) Act, and was sentenced to 40 years imprisonment and a $50,000 fine. He was also convicted of six counts of attempted murder of police stemming from his defense of Sundiata and himself during the police attack two years earlier. For this, he was sentenced to 25 years to life, to be served consecutively.

Initially Sekou was sent to maximum security in Marion II, “which is a joint they claim is for those who can’t deal in regular prisons, who kill and run drugs and try to escape. They never gave me a chance. They sent me there right away. So when you talk about my conditions in the joint, and how the prison system has dealt with me, you see that they have never dealt with me as a regular prisoner.”

“They treat me differently. They just don’t acknowledge that I’m a Prisoner of War.”

However, international law certainly does, Sekou observes: “There is a clause in the Geneva Convention of 1948 and 49, and follow up protocols of 1977 and ’78, which was actually signed in 1980. It states that a colonized people have a right to self-determination. And to gain it, they have a right to struggle by any means necessary, including armed struggle. As such, if captured, they must not be considered a criminal and tried as a criminal. They can be turned over to their own country. Under that law, it was illegal for them to try me as a criminal.”

Sekou Odinga is currently trying to raise funds for an appeal of his state charges based on jurisdictional issues. He says this is his last and best chance to get out of prison.

This is why the Sekou Odinga Defense Committee was recently formed. We need to raise at least $20,000 and probably more for legal expenses.

We encourage all organizations, especially those involved in political prisoner work, to hold fundraising events for Sekou, as the need is urgent. If your organization is planning an event, please send us the information so that we can post to the website: www.sekouodinga.com.

Make checks out to:
Malcolm X Commemoration Committee and be sure to write Sekou Odinga in the memo line. Send to:

Sekou Odinga Defense Committee
P.O. Box 380-122
Brooklyn, New York 11238
(718) 512-5008

Write to Sekou:
Sekou Odinga #09-A-3775
Clinton Correctional Facility
P.O. Box 2001
Dannemora, New York 12929



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Mailing Address:
NYS Department of Corrections and Community Supervision
Building 2
1220 Washington Ave
Albany, New York 12226-2050

Phone:(518) 457-8126


sekou odinga recently had pneumonia and the so-called doctor at Clinton (who never heard of Hippocrates, by the way) told him he just had a bad cough. when he went the second time for a chest x-ray, the tech told him he had the same spot on his lung that showed up the first time. He didn't want dequi to be to concerned because he loves her so much, so he didn't tell her how sick he really was. AND I SAID, DON'T BE SO HUMBLE.  SHE IS YOUR WOMAN AND YOU LOVE HER BUT SHE IS A WARRIOR WHO CAN MAKE NOISE ON THE OUTSIDE HERE IN MINIMUM SECURITY. Thank God for the humble x-ray technicians who tell the truth! The tech said that Sekou had the same spot on his lung that he had the first time he had the x-ray!

The Hippocratic Oath says "First, do no harm!" If you want it in the original Greek, you can read the whole thing. Hippocrates was accused of "corrupting the youth" and he said, "yeah, I'm guilty. okay, I will drink the hemlock." Corruptor de jovenes!

Hippocrates is a friend of mine. Healthcare workers, we need you now! Make those phone calls! And let us know what response you get!



Love and Struggle,
NYC Jericho Movement

Original message:

  Peace, all...

  Just wanted to let you know that I rescheduled the Sekou Event to June 4th, so if you know anyone in Central VA (Richmond, Cville, Harrisonburg, etc.), please spread the word to them. It's at 7pm, June 4th, Random Row Books (315 West Main street) - - pay what you can self defense seminar (with a brief teach-in on the BPP / BLA). I'll let y'all know how it went, and I hope to talk to y'all soon...

  Free the Land,



Free All Political Prisoners!

Beyond Scared Straight: Girls Just Want To Be Bad

Female correctional officers and inmates at Oneida County Correctional Facilty in New York tell of the unique dangers faced by teenage girls. Watch More: http://www.aetv.com/beyond-scared-str...
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/BeyondScaredS...

Possible Crack Mayor's Hilarious Press Conference

"Breaking a week of silence about allegations that he was filmed smoking crack in the presence of Somali drug dealers, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford called a Friday afternoon press conference to adamantly deny the reports. "There has been a serious accusation from the Toronto Star that I use crack cocaine," he said. "I do not use crack cocaine, nor am I crack cocaine addict."*

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is under fire for possibly smoking crack, and a cleared-out staff list is not helping the situation. He held a press conference and got hammered by the press- does he know where the video is? Cenk Uygur breaks it down.

*Read more from Slate:

CIA Tips On How Not to Get Killed in Jail

"John Kiriakou, the former CIA agent who revealed details of the US government's use of waterboarding against senior al-Qaida suspects, has written an open letter describing his time in federal prison surrounded by drug dealers, fraudsters and child molesters."*

Ex-CIA officer John Kiriakou who exposed the CIA's torture program is now being punished for whistle-blowing in prison. He's written a letter about how he's surviving lock-up...is it working? Cenk Uygur breaks it down.

*Read more from The Guardian:

#Iran Emanullah Mostaqim transferred to Raja’i Shahr prison

( Includes Link For New Petition )

Sen´s Daily May 31 , 2013

On the evening of May 30, Emanullah Mostaqim ( امان‌الله مستقیم ), one of the staff of the Bahai Open University (BIHE) in Iran, was transferred to Raja’i Shahr prison in Kharaj, near Tehran. He reported to Evin prison in Tehran on May 20, to begin serving his 5-year sentence for “membership of the Bahai community” and supporting the University. He has recently had open heart surgery, and suffers from diabetes.

Source : Sen´s Daily

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

* * * * * NEW PETITION * * * * *


Free Emanullah Mostaqim:

Thank you in advance

Anette Meyer
Human Chain Project

Bill Maloney fights Max Clifford outside Court. National media cover up ...


Google: Ben Fellows

Westminster Magistrates' Court 28 May 2013.

NEWS FLASH! Tomorrow morning, Friday May 31, 2013, just 32 years after the incarceration of Puerto Rican political prisoner OSCAR LOPEZ RIVERA

NEWS FLASH! Tomorrow morning, Friday May 31, 2013, just 32 years after the incarceration of Puerto Rican political prisoner OSCAR LOPEZ RIVERA, Democracy Now! will be doing a special feature on Oscar on their War and Peace report.

The show, hosted by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez and featuring Dr. Luis Nieves Falcon and Matt Meyer airs at 8am eastern standard time. Check the Democracy Now! Website for stations and times near you! http://www.democracynow.org/stations

Also, Matt - active in the War Resisters League, Resistance in Brooklyn, and national co-chair of the Campaign to Free RUSSELL MAROON SHOATZ - mentions the ongoing campaign to free the former Black Panther political prisoner from his torturous 22 consecutive years in solitary confinement. The two new books by those two inspiring comrades – Lopez Rivera's Between Torture and Resistance, and Shoatz' Maroon the Implacable – were both recently released by PM Press, www.pmpress.org and are spotlighted on the show. Meyer, a Board member of the Peace and Justice Studies Association and an NGO representative of the International Peace Research Association, is author of the introduction of Lopez Rivera's book and co-author of the afterward of Maroon Shoatz' book.


 "Freedom is like the morning. Some slept waiting for it arrive, but there are others who will walk the night to reach it." Subcomandante Marcos


Free All Political Prisoners


No One can make you feel Guilty

No One can make you feel Guilty . . . Guilt is a creation of One’s own Hallucinations and Delusions that is spawned from unchecked thoughts of esteem and convictions concocted in an unbalanced, inharmonious discordant stew that we ingest . . . we choose to be poisoned and sickened by guilt.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Arrested at 14 for throwing a pencil

 Arrested at 14 for throwing a pencil - 21 days in jail. Justice or just us? My latest AriseTV story
Leila Mcdowell

Making The IRP6 Documentary Thoughts From The Producer

Thoughts From The Producer Of The IRP6 Documentary

IRP-6 Needs Justice!

check this song out for "IRP Solutions"
READ THIS!...http://www.a-justcause.com/ http://freetheirp6.wix.com/freetheirp6


Artist: H.A Jabar/Robert Gates
Video Produced by: TMM Productions

Move To Abolish 21st Century Slavery - Wells Fargo

Could you do something as easy as printing out the BoyCott Wells Fargo image and pass it out as a flyer as you go about your daily activities? Could you post one to local community bulletin boards? Could you give one to your Church or Mosque leaders and ask them if they are doing business with Wells Fargo? Are you doing business with Wells Fargo and helping to support 21st Century slavery? Could you close your account and tell them you don't support prison slavery and human trafficking?

You are either for slavery or you are against it. Which are you? For or Against? Slavery was not abolished by the 13th Amendment and we need help in raising public awareness and doing all that we can to abolish this evil institution.

Join us on Facebook at Move To Abolish 21st Century Slavery - https://www.facebook.com/groups/25201982827442/3

Rio Struggles With Sex Crimes

Sexual assaults in Rio de Janeiro have cast a light on class differences in the city and have raised fears for women's safety ahead of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics.


Read the story here: http://nyti.ms/10CiEQ0
Please visit http://nyti.ms/177AVsc in order to embed this video

Let them eat...nothing at all

Marlene Martin looks at a new addition to what's been called the New Jim Crow.

GIVE US your tired, your poor, your hungry, huddled masses...and we'll make sure they stay that way.
That's the message that members of Congress--Republicans and Democrats alike--are sending with their proposals to cut funding and add new restrictions for the Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP--better known as the food stamp program.
The program, whose benefits make the difference between eating and not eating for many of the poor and working poor, has suffered many spending cuts in the era of austerity. This year's proposals for cuts--totaling more than $20 billion over 10 years in the House version, with 2 million people dropped from the program--are no different in that respect.
But Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana added insult to injury by introducing an amendment that would bar anyone convicted of a violent or sexual crime from receiving food stamps--for life. Vitter's amendment faced not one objection from any Republican nor any Democrat. The Obama White House also indicated it would support the restriction.
The federal government already bans for life anyone convicted of a drug felony under a law passed in 1996. But the law was so damaging that 16 states and the District of Columbia exercised their right to opt out of the ban, and 24 have a modified restriction--only 10 states fully comply with the original version.
Vitter stooped to an ugly low in claiming that his legislation was meant to exclude "murderers, rapists and pedophiles." But the ban would apply even to youth offenders and to those who have already served long sentences, regardless of any evidence of rehabilitation. Blacks and Latinos are already far more likely to be sent to prison, so they will be far more likely to suffer under such a law.
This is mean-spirited policy meant to further marginalize people coming out of prison. Mark Clements, who was tortured by Chicago police into a confession that was used to convict him of murder, and who spent 28 years wrongly incarcerated, said the amendment:
is just going to hurt people who are already hurting, and their families, too. People need help when they get out of prison. A few dollars in your pocket to get some food in the cabinets--that's important. People just don't know how hard it is for ex-offenders to get jobs in this economy. And now this little bit of help will be taken away? This is just wrong-headed.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
PEOPLE RELEASED from incarceration already face enormous obstacles trying to reenter society. As author Michelle Alexander wrote in her book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, the stigma of the "prison label" carries a lifelong burden with it:
In many respects, release from prison does not represent the beginning of freedom, but instead a cruel new phase of stigmatization and control. Myriad laws, rules and regulations discriminate against ex-offenders and effectively prevent their meaningful re-integration into the mainstream economy and society.
Millions of people are already enduring unemployment in this country, but if you're an ex-offender, it's that much more difficult to find work in an already difficult economy. As Robert Greenstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities wrote:
It's also possible that the amendment could contribute to recidivism. Ex-offenders often have difficulty finding jobs that pay decent wages. The amendment could pose dilemmas for ex-offenders who are trying to go straight, but can neither find jobs nor, as a result of the amendment, obtain enough food to feed their children and families.
In 2012, the average monthly benefit for people in the SNAP program is $133.41--a critical amount for people living in poverty or close to it. Not only would certain ex-offenders be denied this lifeline, but their children and family members would face reductions, too--and this at a time with food insecurity on the rise.
Christine Thomas, a California prison activist who has worked in a public defender's office in California for over 25 years, sees broader social inequalities behind this measure:
When the Wall Street banksters take this country for the crime of our lifetime, they have the victims paying the restitution, while we give them bonuses and watch them laugh all the way to their offshore investments, vacation homes and never-ending luxuries. When poor people are accused of a crime, they're going to be denied food for the rest of their life. And no one will stand up for them--Republicans and Democrats alike--and say that this is immoral.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
BANS APPLIED to former felons bar them from public housing and other government programs--and the consequences are very damaging.
For example, a study by Yale University researchers who looked at the ban on former drug offenders receiving food stamps found that those affected "are at greater risk of engaging in dangerous sexual risk behaviors in order to obtain food" according to a report in the Yale News. The study found that "released drug offenders, particularly women and mothers, are turning to prostitution and other behaviors that put them at risk for HIV and other negative outcomes in order to obtain food."
The subjects for the Yale study included former prisoners in Texas, which has a lifetime ban on food assistance for drug offenders, as well as in California and Connecticut, which have partial bans. According to the Yale News, the study found that:
-- 91 percent reported themselves as "food insecure."
-- 37 percent did not eat for an entire day in the past month, which is food insecurity in its most severe form; they were more likely to use heroin, cocaine, or alcohol before sex, and were more likely to exchange sex for money than those who had at least one meal each day.
-- 61 percent did not receive food assistance benefits, and those who did reported receiving insufficient benefits.
-- 38 percent of women living with children did not eat for a day in the past month.
-- 25 percent of women living with children reported their children not eating for a day in the past month.
A few months ago, the New York Times called for lifting the bans on denying to people convicted of felony drug offenses. "It is already clear that the bans are counterproductive and that it is time for states that have not completely lifted them to do so," the Times wrote.
Instead of listening to this plea for decency, David Vitter proposed to expand the ban--and Democrats and Republicans alike went along in another example of cruel and unusual punishment coming from Washington.

As Lawmakers Target Food Stamp Funding, New Report Finds 1 in 6 in U.S. ...

http://www.democracynow.org - As Republicans move to cut billions of dollars in funding for food stamps, a new report finds one in six Americans live in a household that cannot afford adequate food. In "Nourishing Change: Fulfilling the Right to Food in the United States," the International Human Rights Clinic at New York University's School of Law reports that of these 50 million people going hungry, nearly 17 million are children. Food insecurity has skyrocketed since the economic downturn, with an additional 14 million people classified as food insecure in 2011 than in 2007. The report comes as Congress is renegotiating the Farm Bill and proposing serious cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program. Millions of Americans currently rely on the program to feed themselves and their families. The report's co-author, Smita Narula of the International Human Rights Clinic at NYU's School of Law, joins us to discuss her findings and why she is calling on the U.S. government to ensure that all Americans have access to sufficient, nutritious food.

Fascists in Britain

Brief discussion of the growth in far right activity in Britain following the murder of British soldier Lee Rigby.

UK Muslims face far-right revenge attacks:

Daily Mail and Fascists:

Italy to open doors to royals exiled for backing Mussolini:

US and Fascism in Greece, Italy and Spain:

Understanding North Korea:

New Cross Fire: Black Community Responds:

'Fighting Talk' Anti Fascist Action

Puerto Rican Independentista Oscar López Rivera’s 32 Years of Resistance to Torture

Below is a link to the article at Upside Down World and there is also a link to where I posted it on my blog. On my site I used several graphics, mostly of Oscar's paintings. Hopefully the images can be viewed in this email, but otherwise you can go to the Insubordination blog link.



Oscar López Rivera’s 32 Years of Resistance to Torture
--Will President Obama pardon the longest held Independentista?
By Hans Bennett
(First published by Upside Down World on May 29, 2013. Permission is granted to reprint in full as long as Upside Down World is cited, with a link to the original article.)
“It is much easier not to struggle, to give up and take the path of the living dead. But if we want to live, we must struggle.” –Oscar López Rivera, 1991
Today, May 29, marks 32 years since Puerto Rican activist Oscar López Rivera was arrested and later convicted of “seditious conspiracy,” a questionable charge that Archbishop Desmond Tutu has interpreted to mean “conspiring to free his people from the shackles of imperial injustice.”
Today, 70-year-old Oscar López Rivera, never accused of hurting anyone, remains in a cell at FCI Terre Haute, in Indiana. Supporters around the world continue to seek his release, most recently by asking US President Barack Obama for a commutation of his sentence. Similar pardons granted by President Truman in 1952, President Carter in 1979, and President Clinton in 1999, were the legal bases for the release of many other Puerto Rican political prisoners.
Since all of Oscar López Rivera’s original co-defendants have already won their release, he is famous in Puerto Rico as the longest held Independentista political prisoner. Supporters are planning a range of events across the island for the upcoming week, as they mark this dubious ‘anniversary.’ Among those calling for his release is Javier Jiménez Pérez, the mayor of his hometown of San Sebastián, Puerto Rico, and a supporter of statehood.
Upside Down World interviewed Dylcia Pagán, one of López Rivera’s co-defendants pardoned in 1999, by telephone from her home in Loíza, Puerto Rico, where she continues to work in support of other political prisoners. Asked why the US government should release López Rivera now, after 32 years, Pagán told Upside Down World:
“Oscar should be free because he is an incredible human being, an artist, and a man that has a lot to give society in both the US and Puerto Rico. He has never even been accused of committing an act of violence. This conviction for ‘seditious conspiracy’ is what they’ve used against all of the Independentistas. The US claims to believe in democracy and human rights, but Oscar’s continued imprisonment is a clear violation of both.”
Pagán adds: “Oscar has served his time with dignity and has contributed to the lives of other prisoners. He deserves to be home in Puerto Rico, just like all of us.”
Between Torture and Resistance
“i was born Boricua, i will keep being Boricua, and will die a Boricua. i refuse to accept injustice, and will never ignore it when i become aware of it.” –Oscar López Rivera, 2011
With public support continuing to build for Oscar López Rivera’s release, PM Press has just published an important book, entitled Between Torture and Resistance, timed well to amplify López Rivera’s voice at this critical time. The book bases its text upon letters López Rivera has written over the years to lawyer and activist Luis Nieves Falcón, as well as letters to and from many family members during his imprisonment. This new book examines the broader political significance of López Rivera’s case, while providing an unflinching look at how imprisonment and draconian policies like solitary confinement and no-contact visits affect prisoners and their loved ones.
Perhaps nothing illustrates López Rivera’s character better than how he refers to himself with the lowercase use of the letter ‘i,’ in order to deemphasize the individual with respect to the collective. His letters offer a view into the mind of an extraordinary person. Reading first-hand in Between Torture and Resistance about the range of abuses that López Rivera has survived while in US custody may cause readers nightmares, but his accounts are a badly-needed reality check for anyone unfamiliar with the typically brutal treatment of US political prisoners. As Reverend Ángel L. Rivera-Agosto, executive secretary of the Puerto Rico Council of Churches comments, the book “is a powerful testimony, born from the cold bars of imprisonment, as a sign of today’s injustice and lack of freedom and respect for human rights.”
The chapter entitled “Life Experiences: 1943-1976,” offers a glimpse into the early years of Oscar López Rivera, born on January 6, 1943, in Barrio Aibonito of San Sebastián, Puerto Rico. At the age of fourteen, he moved with his family to the US and eventually graduated from high school in Chicago in 1960. In a 1981 interview, López Rivera’s mother, Mita described this initial move, reflecting: “My husband came looking for a better environment and it was not to be found here. We have to work harder, it’s colder, [there is] more humiliation, more racism for us…We live humiliated by the Americans…We suffer in this country.”
(López Rivera's painting of his mother, Mita)
After working several different jobs to help support his family, in 1965 the government drafted López Rivera into the Vietnam War, which ultimately “awakened previously unexperienced feelings about Puerto Rico. First, the Puerto Rican flag became a symbol of important unity among the Puerto Rican soldiers…Second, Oscar began to question his role in such a terrible war. Why did they have to kill people who had done nothing to them? Why kill people who appeared to have things in common with Puerto Ricans themselves? He began to question the actions of North American imperialism in that Southeast Asian country, and the role of Puerto Ricans in the imperialist wars of the United States. These two seeds—cultural nationalism and anti-colonial struggle—begin to germinate in Oscar’s mind in Vietnam, and ripened later in his life,” writes Luis Nieves Falcón.
López Rivera’s politicization continued after serving in Vietnam, when he returned to Chicago. After working with the Saul Alinsky-influenced Northwest Community Organization, in 1972, he co-founded the Pedro Albizu Campos High School, an alternative school controlled directly by Puerto Ricans. Nieves Falcón writes that here “Oscar articulated a powerful vision of how alternative schools can challenge the essentially racist system of mainstream US education.”
In 1973, he co-founded Juan Antonio Corretjer Puerto Rican Cultural Center and in 1975 helped establish Illinois’ first Latino Cultural Center. López Rivera participated in some of the Young Lords’ activities, but he was not a member of the group. In addition, he worked on other issues, including racial discrimination in hiring and working conditions, confronting landlords about housing conditions, and improving hospital conditions and medical services for the most vulnerable. Luis Nieves Falcón comments that Lopez Rivera’s “civil activism between 1969 and 1976 clearly evidenced his genuine and significant effort to use every possible route of change within Chicago’s existing official structures.”
In 1973, after joining the National Hispanic Commission of the Episcopal Church, López Rivera publicly supported Independentistas imprisoned in the US for attacks on the Blair House (the Presidential guesthouse) in 1950 and on the US Congress in 1954. In the early 1970s, several armed clandestine groups formed in Puerto Rico and carried out actions to protest the US occupation of Puerto Rico. At this time, the Armed Forces of National Liberation (FALN) formed inside the US and from 1974-1980 claimed responsibility for multiple bombings, mostly in New York and Chicago, of military, government and economic targets. The FALN said they meant for their actions to publicize US colonization of Puerto Rico and to demand the release of the same imprisoned Independentistas that Oscar López Rivera and other community activists had been publicly supporting.
In response, the US government held Grand Jury investigations, ‘fishing’ for intelligence on the FALN, in 1974 and from 1976-1977. The government jailed several members of the National Hispanic Commission of the Episcopal Church for refusing to cooperate with the Grand Jury, including López Rivera’s brother, Jose. With Oscar López Rivera expecting to be the Grand Jury’s next target, he and three other close associates went underground, where López Rivera remained from 1976 until his subsequent arrest in 1981.
Convicted of ‘Seditious Conspiracy’
“This is not a trial. It is not even a kangaroo court.” –Oscar López Rivera, speaking at the 1981 court proceedings.
Oscar López Rivera’s legal team at the People’s Law Office, explains on their website:
“In 1980, eleven men and women were arrested and later charged with the overtly political charge of seditious conspiracy — conspiring to oppose U.S. authority over Puerto Rico by force, by membership in the FALN, and of related charges of weapons possession and transporting stolen cars across state lines. Oscar was not arrested at the time, but he was named as a codefendant in the indictment…In 1981, Oscar was arrested after a traffic stop, tried for the identical seditious conspiracy charge, convicted, and sentenced by the same judge to a prison term of 55 years. In 1987 he received a consecutive 15 year term for conspiracy to escape–a plot conceived and carried out by government agents and informants/provocateurs, resulting in a total sentence of 70 years.”
At Oscar López Rivera’s 1981 trial, he took a position similar to that of his co-defendants at their earlier trial: he declared the trial illegitimate and refused to present a defense or pursue an appeal. However, López Rivera did make an eloquent statement, reprinted in Between Torture and Resistance:
“Given my revolutionary principles, the legacy of our heroic freedom fighters, and my respect for international law—the only law which has a right to judge my actions—it is my obligation and my duty to declare myself a prisoner of war. I therefore do not recognize the jurisdiction of the United States government over Puerto Rico or of this court to try me or judge me.”
Later, at his 1987 trial where the court convicted him of “conspiracy to escape,” López Rivera took a similar stance, and in his statement, also reprinted in the new book, he elaborated further on the precedent set by anti-colonialist international law:
“Colonialism, dear members of the jury, is a monumental injustice according to the norms of civilized humanity and a crime under international law. According to United Nations Resolution 2621, the continuation of colonialism in all its forms and manifestations is a crime that constitutes a violation of the charter of the United Nations, Resolution 1514 (XV), the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples….No nation, ladies and gentleman, has the right to take over another nation. The military invasion and occupation of Puerto Rico clearly depicts the rapacious and voracious nature of the United States government, with the armed forces, rifles, and cannons it used to subjugate a people into submission and reduce a nation of one million inhabitants to a commodity for the bartering of human beings. For 89 years, this nation, conquered by force—the Puerto Rican people—have been denied their basic rights to self-determination and independence.”
(Painting of US-Mexico wall by López Rivera.)
‘Spiritcide’ and the Torture of Imprisonment
“The memory of our pain deserves to be appreciated, remembered, and never denied.” --Oscar López Rivera, 1997
Following his 1981 conviction, the government first held López Rivera at FCI Leavenworth in Kansas, until 1986. Upon arrival, Luis Nieves Falcón writes that “the majority of the prison guards were waiting for him. They surrounded him and verbally assaulted him. They repeatedly stressed that they didn’t want him there; that he was a dangerous terrorist and the place for him was Marion: an even higher-security prison, regarded among prison guards as the right place to eliminate terrorists.” Despite a clean record at Leavenworth and a 1985 report by his jailers that “he demonstrated favorable adjustment and maintained positive relations with the staff,” López Rivera became the target of an FBI entrapment scheme, involving a fabricated escape plan. On June 24, 1986, just days after the government formally accused him of planning to escape, he received a disciplinary transfer to the notorious federal prison in Marion, Illinois.
During the court proceedings for the ‘escape’ charges, held from September 1986 to February 1988, prison authorities held López Rivera in solitary confinement at MCC Chicago. Following his conviction and sentence of 15 years, authorities transferred him back to Marion, where he stayed until 1994. The new book features his reflections upon his living conditions during this period. López Rivera writes:
“i use the word ‘spiritcide’ to describe the dehumanizing and pernicious existence that i have suffered…i face, on the one hand, an environment that is a sensory deprivation laboratory, and on the other hand, a regimen replete with obstacles to deny, destroy or paralyze my creativity…i am locked up in a cell that is 6’ wide and 9’long, for an average of 22 ½ hours a day…Living in these conditions day after day and year after year has to have an adverse effect on my senses. i don’t have access to fresh air or to natural light because when i turn off the light in the cell to sleep, the guards keep the outside lights on and light enters the cell…Day and night i hear the roaring of the electric fans, whose noise is so strident that when I don’t hear them, i feel disoriented.”
Later in the same letter, López Rivera explains how he has survived:
“i know that the human spirit has the capacity to resurrect after suffering spiritcide. And like the rose or the wilted leaf falls and dies and in its place a newer and stronger one is reborn or resurrects, my spirit will also resurrect if the jailers achieve their goals…My certainty lies in my confidence that i have chosen to serve a just and noble cause. A free, just, and democratic homeland represents a sublime ideal worth fighting for…i am in this dungeon and the possibility that i will be freed is remote, not to say impossible, under conditions equal to or worse than caged animals, under spiritual and physical attack, but with full dignity and with a clean and clear conscience.”
(Painting by Oscar López Rivera)
In 1994, authorities transferred López Rivera to a new federal prison in Florence, Colorado that soon became as notorious as Marion was, for its own human rights abuses. After over a year of good behavior at Florence, authorities transferred him back to Marion after denying his request to be transferred elsewhere. Even though Marion had officially become lower security than before, following his transfer back, López Rivera reported that conditions had become worse.
Perhaps most chilling is his account of getting an operation for a hemorrhoid condition three days after his mother had passed away. Authorities had denied his request to attend the funeral. Within hours of the procedure, the area operated upon became infected, with his fever finally reaching 102.7 degrees. At this point, instead of giving him antibiotics as he immediately requested from the medical staff, authorities accused him of stealing the needle used for a blood test. The authorities cruelly withheld the antibiotics. Two days later, as the still untreated infection got even worse,
“They released me from the hospital and returned me to the hole. The jailers that took me were racing wheel chairs. Every turn made me feel as if someone was cutting me with a razor. i got to the cell and was preparing to clean up the blood. A lieutenant came in and said they were going to cuff me…According to him i had stolen the needle and immediately passed it to an accomplice who took it away…They searched me from head to toe. Blood was running down my legs, and here he was passing a metal detector on my rear. To punish me, they did not allow me to use the sitz bath or give me medications.”
It was not until 10:00 pm, the following day, López Rivera writes “that they gave me the sitz bath and the antibiotics…An hour later, my body responded and I was able to use the toilet—an incredibly painful ordeal”
In 1998, after 12 years in total isolation, authorities transferred López Rivera to FCI Terre Haute, in Indiana, where he remains today. Once there, he was finally able to have contact visits and other new ‘privileges,’ which increased his quality of life. Despite these improvements, the People’s Law Office reports that prison authorities imposed a special condition requiring him to report his whereabouts every two hours to prison guards. Even though this condition was initially scheduled to end after 18 months, it still continues today, over 14 years later.
Since 1999, authorities have barred the media from interviewing López Rivera, “in spite of policy allowing for media interviews of prisoners, in spite of allowing media interviews of other prisoners, and in spite of having allowed Oscar to be interviewed many times previously, without incident. Each rejection has used the identical, unsubstantiated excuse that ‘the interview could jeopardize security and disturb the orderly running of the institution,’” writes the People’s Law Office, noting further that “since 2011, the government has extended this ban beyond media, rejecting requests by New York elected officials to meet with Oscar.”
(Painting of socialist Salvador Allende by López Rivera)
The Struggle Continues
“They will never be able to break my spirit or my will. Every day i wake up alive is a blessing.” –Oscar López Rivera, 2006
In 2011, the denial of parole to Oscar López Rivera outraged the leaders of Puerto Rico’s political and civil society, who publicly denounced the ruling. One critic, Puerto Rico’s non-voting U.S. congressional representative,  Pedro Pierluisi, said, “I don’t see how they can justify another 12 years of prison after he has spent practically 30 years in prison, and the others who were charged with the same conduct are already in the free community. It seems to me to be excessive punishment.”
In response to the parole denial, 1984 Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu joined Nobel Laureates Máiread Corrigan Maguire of Northern Ireland and Adolfo Pérez Esquivel of Argentina, to send a letter to US President Barack Obama expressing their concern about his parole hearing. The letter cited how “testimony was permitted at that hearing regarding crimes López Rivera was never accused of committing in the first place, and a decision was handed down which—in denying parole—pronounced a veritable death sentence by suggesting that no appeal for release be heard again until 2023.”
Following the parole denial, López Rivera declared in a public statement to supporters:
“We have not achieved the desired goal. But we achieved something more beautiful, more precious and more important. And that is the fact that the campaign included people who represent a rainbow of political ideologies, religious beliefs, and social classes that exist in Puerto Rico. This to me represents the magnanimity of the Boricua heart—one filled with love, compassion, courage and hope.”
Today, López Rivera and his support campaign are focusing their efforts on a a letter-writing campaign asking US President Barack Obama to pardon him (view/download a suggested letter). There is a strong precedent for this strategy. In 1952, President Harry Truman commuted the death sentence of Oscar Collazo. In 1977 and 1979, President Jimmy Carter pardoned Andrés Figueroa Cordero, Rafael Cancel Miranda, Lolita Lebrón, Irving Flores and Oscar Collazo.
In 1999, President Bill Clinton pardoned Oscar López Rivera’s co-defendants Edwin Cortés, Elizam Escobar, Ricardo Jiménez, Adolfo Matos, Dylcia Pagán, Luis Rosa, Alberto Rodríguez, Alicia Rodríguez, Ida Luz Rodríguez, Alejandrina Torres, Carmen Valentín, and Juan Segarra Palmer. President Clinton offered to release López Rivera on the condition that he serve ten more years in prison. However, because Clinton did not extend that offer to two other Independentista prisoners, López Rivera did not accept the offer. In 2009 and 2010, those two other prisoners won their release on parole, making López Rivera the last co-defendant still imprisoned today, even though Clinton’s offer would have ostensibly released him in 2009.
Dylcia Pagán, pardoned in 1999, says that after 32 years of imprisonment, the time is now for President Barack Obama to pardon Oscar López Rivera. Asked to compare today’s political climate to that in 1999, Pagán is optimistic and says the movement is “alive and well,” with popular pressure continuing to build in support of López Rivera. “Hopefully, Oscar will be home by Christmas.
The new book, Between Torture and Resistance, concludes with a final thought from Luis Nieves Falcón:
"The best tribute we can extend to Oscar is to continue to fight every day, with yet greater determination, for his release. Every day that Oscar remains in prison is another reminder of the hypocrisy and absurdity of the US government's talk of human rights in light of its colonial rule. In the strongest possible terms, let us raise our voices to denounce this abuse and demand freedom for Oscar López Rivera."
(Painting of Hurricane Katrina survivors outside of the Super Dome in Louisiana, by López Rivera)


Free All Political Prison


Britain's last Guantanamo detainee Shaker Aamer 'falling apart'


29 May 2013 Last updated at 09:53 ET
Shaker Aamer, the last remaining British resident at Guantanamo Bay, fears that when he is finally released he will not respond when his children shout 'Daddy'.
The man called detainee 239 for the last 11 years said not being known as just a number would take some getting used to.
Mr Aamer remains in Guantanamo despite never being charged of any crime and having been cleared for release twice since 2007.
But in answers given exclusively to BBC Radio 5 Live's Victoria Derbyshire show, he believes he will be released "very soon".
News of a mass hunger strike among the 166 detainees at Guantanamo led US President Barack Obama to recently repeat his 2008 election pledge to close the facility.
But there is still no date as to when it will close and when Mr Aamer will be allowed back home to his family in London.
'Cannot stand up'
Having joined the hunger strike in February, Mr Aamer says he is "falling apart like an old car".
"The hunger strike is a simple matter: it is about justice," he says.
"There are 86 detainees here, including me, who have been cleared by the Americans - cleared to leave this place, but they are still here.
"There are 80 who are not cleared but they have not been tried. It is ironic. President Obama seems to agree with us that the place should be closed, so presumably he agrees with our hunger strike."
Drinking just one cup of coffee and one cup of tea a day, Mr Aamer acknowledges the hunger strike is starting to affect his health.
"I have not been able to read for a month now. My eyes are going. I cannot remember anything. I forget things.
"I cannot stand up. I fall down. But I don't want to fall down too much. They will do a code yellow on me, when they burst into my cell and step on my hands.
"It is cold in here. You might not think so as it's 70.5 degrees. But when you've not eaten for 100 days that's cold.
"I try to do exercise in my cell. A brother told me to do some gentle things to keep my body warm. But it is hard on my heart and I need to conserve myself. "
Originally from Saudi Arabia, the 46-year-old has permission to live in the UK indefinitely because his wife is a British national. When Mr Aamer was detained in 2001, he had three children and his wife was pregnant.
"I have never even met my youngest child, who was born on the very day I arrived in Guantánamo Bay, February 14 2002," he says.
"I have missed my other three lovely children for 11 years. I have missed my wife for 11 years. I have missed my life for 11 years."
'Demand only justice'
He was arrested in Afghanistan in 2001 by US authorities, who said he led a unit of fighters against Nato troops and had met Osama Bin Laden.
But Mr Aamer has always said he was in the country with his family to undertake charity work.
His cause has support among the British public, with more than 100,000 people signing a petition calling for his release.
The Foreign Office told the BBC it had continued to "make clear to the US that we want him released and returned to the UK as a matter of urgency".
Mr Aamer says it is difficult for him to say if the British government has been doing enough on his behalf to facilitate his release.
"For the last months I have not been allowed to see the news. I have never received a letter from the British government. I have even been prevented from writing to William Hague, the foreign secretary," he says.
"I can only rely on my lawyer, Clive (Stafford Smith), for information on this, and it is his opinion that Mr Hague is sincere in his efforts to secure my release.
"For that, I thank him. I am not begging for help. I will never beg for help. I demand only justice."
He says he hopes the "whole world" now recognises and supports the Guantanamo detainees' plight.
Some of the guards are "beautiful people", he says, but he has no kind words for the prison's administration.
When asked if he fears being punished for speaking out, Mr Aamer replies: "What more can they do to me that they have not already done?"

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