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Thursday, 27 March 2014

Earthquake locks cells; SHUs; Tacoma Hunger Strike; Guantánamo Force-Feeding

Pelican Bay earthquake prompts double locking of cells, reveals need for united front

by Joe A’Jene Valentine
Know your enemy from your friend.
On March 10, not too far from Pelican Bay State Prison, a 6.9 earthquake struck in Eureka and the powerful vibration was felt miles around. At that moment my thoughts began racing and the thought which prevailed was this: “If these haphazardly-designed concrete slabs began collapsing, we’d all be in the same damn boat – crushed dead.”
Although this isn’t a new revelation, yet the profoundly indifferent psychology of our captors was blatantly shown by the fact that all of the cage doors were immediately double locked! The message was most clear: “Your safety is not hardly our priority.” I thought aloud: “Our lives don’t mean sh–!”
At that moment, all of us were obviously ONE CLASS: the have-nots. At that moment, we were united and the divisions in our heads didn’t amount to any type of lifeline. And I wondered, what if I died at that moment? What would I have achieved of real meaning on the scale of historical purpose?

All of the cage doors were immediately double locked! The message was most clear: “Your safety is not hardly our priority.” At that moment, all of us were obviously ONE CLASS.

How can a man or woman achieve anything of meaning if they don’t stand for something meaningful? And doesn’t this – standing for something meaningful – rest first and foremost in the values and world view a person governs his life by? Can we realistically operate on the basis of an artificial dichotomy as regards a person’s philosophical outlook and conduct? I mean, is there not a logical nexus between one’s thinking and resulting behavior?
Aren’t the agendas and programs one is motivated by inextricably related to and rooted in the MIND DOMAIN of those who embody such? If yes, aren’t we as a matter of principle and politico-strategic competency obliged to critically examine the ideological apparatuses in which we are absorbed in order to weigh their value towards constructing a foundation on which to build lives that extend meaningful aid and achieve real meaning?
Being an ex-Blood – I’m a former Bounty Hunter from Watts – I long ago realized that in the final analysis ideology and worldview of reactionary and destructive gangsterism was and is rooted in and motivated by nothing of real value. In terms of historical purpose, the gang mentality and bloodism doesn’t stand for anything of importance. Yet, although I’ve drawn that sane and intelligent conclusion – the material dynamics proves the case – illusions die hard for the vast majority as related to those who practice the gangster mentality.
Thus, regardless of the abundance of what I perceive as idealism in the context of intra-group collaborative approaches in terms of the solidarity demonstrated towards confronting the fascist-authoritarian prison system, what must be grasped and admitted is that we can’t and won’t win so long as we persist in functioning on the basis of ideological values and philosophical outlooks that act as acute polarizing forces, one or the other. Real talk.

We can’t and won’t win so long as we persist in functioning on the basis of ideological values and philosophical outlooks that act as acute polarizing forces, one or the other.

To be clear, what I’m suggesting is that those who are genuinely concerned about the level of repression to which we’re being subjected and which shall inevitably encompass and affect the lives of our folks, the have-nots, on the assembly line from school prisons to prison schools are obliged to engage in ideological struggle. This is a requirement, since otherwise our own aims will be negatively impacted and our potential – our potency – will be drastically undercut due to our own failure to pursue politico-social matters on the basis of strategic clarity, an organized program derivative of correct assessments and guided by theory reflective of the real dynamics at play.
Naturally, the contradictory dynamics at play in relation to the entire array of institutional-based repressive phenomena such as soldier-cops, prosecutors, courts and penological systems are undergirded by an ideological construct and this in turn is rooted in a distinct world view. Indeed, this is the case in regards to all complexes in this oligarchical fascist society. The myriad of diverse socio-political institutional frameworks, such as the prison industrial complex, intelligence complex and law enforcement complex, operate to form a coherent program geared towards strategic dominance.
Could their real motivations ultimately center upon a strategic risk assessment of our have-nots? Are we merely obsolete as unskilled labor, or are we potentially an emerging political threat under conditions of a permanent severe economic recession? Is massive resistance of earthquake proportions being generated?
I mean, is the targeting of our folks, as described in the “New Jim Crow” and exemplified by gang injunctions, actually motivated by a pretext designed to control and hence stifle our revolutionary potential? Could that signal their fear of our realization of the necessity or imperative to become politicized?
Also, what if in the course of our engaging in prudent analysis of our repressive opponents’ politico-strategic dominance of us it is discovered and made plain that we ourselves are deeply affected by and hence function on the basis of the very ideas and underlying world view of our political opponents, are we not obliged to endeavor to make ideological adjustments or do we simply go on being dogs unable to learn new tricks?

Are we merely obsolete as unskilled labor, or are we potentially an emerging political threat under conditions of a permanent severe economic recession? Is massive resistance of earthquake proportions being generated?

Can we honestly achieve the reorientation of our priorities on the basis of conforming to and upholding racist, fascist, sexist, individualist and reactionary ideas rooted in and motivated by alienation and domination? Is it really conceivable for us to create the conditions for enduring and genuine solidarity in the face of maintaining a tight grip on value systems and world views which by their very nature function to rationalize and justify a deleterious fracturing of ourselves? Do our own ideologies and philosophies condition us to exist in division – conquered?

Do our own ideologies and philosophies condition us to exist in division – conquered?

If yes, are we not the damn agents of our own oppression while at the same time serving to perpetuate and reinforce the politically divisive agenda and program for our common class foes? Indeed, in such a case, the saying “we are our own worst enemy” aptly applies, even as it operates to describe a profound contradiction. It is ignorance to remain slavishly polarized due to an immature and selfish ego.
Are we to be truly united, or is all that is being projected a front? Nah, it isn’t my intent to disparage the character of anyone who sacrifices to improve our deprived plight, yet constructive criticism aimed towards deeper political assessments is obliged of us all if we truly dare to meet in a competent manner the serious and organized challenges that face us and our communities.

Constructive criticism aimed towards deeper political assessments is obliged of us all if we truly dare to meet in a competent manner the serious and organized challenges that face us and our communities.

My basic point is that we must endeavor daily to repudiate and relinquish our common enemy’s ideologies and world views since unless or until this arduous internal feat is approached as the initial priority, there will be no substantive politico-strategic victories from the tombs of our communities.
In memory of Komrades Herman Wallace and Chokwe Lumumba, New Afrikan freedom fighters.
Send our brother some love and light: Joe A’Jene Valentine, C-47779, PBSP, B6-108, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City, CA 95532.
Freedom Archives

Power Concedes Nothing:
A Discussion on CDCr's Insidious  Regulatory Semantics and  Judicial Collusion in Maintenance of SHU Torture Units
From the N.C.T.T.-COR-SHU
“Revolutionary activity in every area of human existence will come about by itself when the contradictions in every new process are comprehended; it will consist of an identification with those forces that are moving in the direction of genuine progress. To be radical.. .means "getting to the root of things." If one gets to the root  of things, if one grasps their contradictory operations, then the overcoming of political reaction is assured... hence, a critique can only be significant and have a practical value if it can show the contradictions of social reality were overlooked.”
-          Wilhelm Reich,Ideology as a Material Force

Greetings Brothers and Sisters. The 3rd Law of Dialectical Change, “The Negation of Negation,” dictates once social conditions undergo a qualitative transformation there is also a corresponding evolution in the contradiction between opposing social forces. Over the course of the past 3 years progressive social forces in America (i.e. Decolonize & Occupy Movements, PHSS and SHU Abolition Activists, Strike Debt, BRLP, and other Revolutionary Scientific Socialist Formations, etc.) have waged a struggle to wrest cultural hegemony from the U.S. ruling class on multiple fronts and at multiple levels of society-including at its most desperate and wretched level: PRISONS. As a result, there has been a qualitative transformation in the consciousness of significant segments of society.

With this in mind, the most dynamic aspect of the peoples struggle against the maintenance and expansion of the Prison Industrial Complex is our current movement to abolish SHU torture units in America (and around the world), initiated by the Pelican Bay D-Short Corridor Collective. With the resolution of the historic "Agreement to End Hostilities," the cooperative efforts of People from diverse cultural groups, socio-economic backgrounds, and schools of thought and the sacrifices of thousands here in California (and around the globe) in three Historic Hunger Strikes (the third being the single largest in human history) the People have seized the moral high ground on this issue, drastically narrowing CDCr’s base of support and room to maneuver.. .but not eliminate it.

Instead of a definitive transformation in the culture of prison torture resulting in an abolition of indefinite SHU, the contradiction has now evolved, with CDCr releasing its new regulatory policy language governing “Security Threat Group Management,” and the 9th Circuit Courts releasing two pro-torture rulings, which viewed in their interconnections, represent the state’s response to our challenge to their cultural dominance. The message is clear: “You are slaves; we will continue to treat you as slaves; and we refuse to have our socio-political dominance challenged by slaves.”

The reactionary view of reality shuts its eyes to its own authoritarian contradictions and the conditions of the people. Political reaction reflexively makes use of those social forces that oppose progress; it automatically consolidates to defend its dominance over the People’s lives. Instead of capitulating to progressive social forces and ending torture in SHU units, the state has closed ranks and seeks to redefine the nature of the conflict itself by redefining the language  (i.e. semantics) in its policy governing STG validation and torture unit confinement. In true reactionary fashion they've adopted language that reduces (and in some cases eliminates) its burden to establish a factual basis of genuine criminal behavior on the part of those subject to these policies, while simultaneously increasing the burden on prisoners,and  the People, to avoid falling prey to these new regulations which in essence criminalize anything those “validated” as STG’s do, say, or think.... all with the explicit support of the courts. To truly understand the degree of political reaction at play here, we must first acknowledge the role of authoritarian institutions in U.S. society. Authoritarian society reproduces itself in the individual structures of the masses (through its economic system, ideology, and culture) with the help of authoritarian institutions (i.e. school, courts, church, prison, etc.). It thus logically proceeds that political reaction has to regard and defend these authoritarian institutions as the foundation of the state, culture, and capitalist civilization itself.

When these authoritarian institutions are challenged in the arena of public opinion-and are found lacking as they have been in this stuggle -the very foundation of the authoritarian social order is undermined, and a corresponding shift in the consciousness and character structure of the People follows. This, in turn, threatens the authoritarian mass psychology in America. The state can not allow this, and so their reactionary defense response is to delegitimize, to criminalize, to vilify those actors and activities who, in their view, are making a significant contribution to this process; in this case, activists, politically conscious prisoners, and their contemporaries. This policy is the state’s effort to forestall our continued contributions to changing the dynamics of cultural hegemony in the U.S., and the language of the regulations makes that clear.

The offensive content in the newly released regulatory language is far too voluminous for us to address each and every point. Instead, we wish to share with you some of the grosser contradictions in hopes you will not only see the contrapositive aim of the state (to maintain SHU torture units as coercive leverage to psychologically bend or break prisoners), but also gain a deeper understanding of the social forces acting upon us all. The language of CDCr’s STG/SDP Management policy (released as a Directors Rules Change), like the irrational character structure of reactionary man upon which the state is based, is a study in contradictions. CDCr’s “Background” and “Purpose”-language for the new policy on the one hand contends,
“California (STG’s) are routinely and consistently connected to major criminal activities in communities, including such crimes as homicides, drug trafficking, prostitution, human trafficking, and extortion...(STG’s) are largely responsible for criminal activities within institutions, to include the trafficking of narcotics, committing and/or directing violence.. and directing criminal activity...”

… while on the other hand the “STG Disciplinary Matrix” (p. 43-) they’ve developed is dedicated largely to elevating petty, innocuous, non-criminal activities and matter to the level of “criminal STG behavior.”

Why would their public propaganda hype these serious and violent crimes as the focus of state interest, while the policy itself focuses primarily on criminalizing things which are in fact not crimes? The answer is as obvious as it is condemning: MOST PRISONERS VALIDATED AS “STG AFFILIATES” AND CONFINED TO SHU TORTURE UNITS HAVE NOT COMMITED ANY SUCH CRIMES WHILE IN PRISON, AND MANY HAVE IN FACT DONE NOTHING AT ALL.

Never the less, the state must re-create a basis upon which the primary end of the SHU torture unit will not only be maintained, but reborn : The aim of breaking men's minds. However, the reactionary politician can not divulge his actual intentions in his propaganda. We doubt if anyone (even other reactionaries) would have responded positively to a CDCr statement of intent to break some men’s minds, brainwash others, and indefinitely torture the rest. In political propaganda- which much of this new STG policy is -it is a question of producing a psychological effect in masses of people. In you. One that seeks to legitimize what is clearly the maintenance of torture by another name, and your support for that legitimacy. Let's take a look.

The “STG Disciplinary Matrix” (§3378.4) (pp. 43-46) criminalizes “conversations,” “greeting cards,”  “clothing,” “communications with offenders/others,” “group exercise,” “handshakes,” “artwork,” and believe it or not, a “color.” That all of these “behaviors” are left to the imagination and interpretation of prison staff only increases the arbitrary standard attached to criminalizing activities and matter which are not of themselves “criminal.” It makes sense, after decades of presiding over the brutalization and degradation of validated SHU prisoners, that these staff members maintain a vested interest in ensuring imprisoned human rights activists remain isolated or broken.

To be sure, new §3378.2(7) allows to “staff visual and audible observations” (p. 22) to be actionable as “STG Offences” which can and will land you in (and/or keep you in) a SHU torture unit.

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states, “Congress shall make no law..  abridging the freedom of speech,” yet apparently CDCr can, and is doing just that. They have included new language, specifically intended to criminalize peaceful protest action against SHU torture units, SHU abolition activists, and rights groups as “STG Behaviors or Activities.”

New language in §3315(a)(3)(AA) prohibits protestation, while§3315(a)(3)(Z) gives CDCr a basis to charge representatives as protest “leaders.”

New §3323(h)(12) (8) prohibits “communication between offenders/others in support or furtherance of STG activities or behaviors,” which includes letters or discussions surrounding peaceful protest actions against SHU torture units. To be sure, they have even introduced language which criminalizes visits between prisoners and Human Rights groups who do, or have in the past, supported peaceful protest actions against SHU torture units.

On p. 9 of the policy (§3378.7(9)) outlines violations for “visits from persons or entities that are documented as willfully promoting, furthering or assisting STG affiliates in activities associated with the STG.” In every hunger strike-related 115 issued, and in countless pro-P.I.C. articles, CDCr and some mass media elements, have consistently reduced it to “gang activity.” This means the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, P.H.S.S., C.F.A.S.C., Our Lives Matter, Prison Watch Network, C.P.F., L.S.P.C. and countless other progressive human rights entities, journalists and individual activists who oppose the preservation of torture in their society are subject to “validation” as an “STG,” and those prisoners conferring with them are in turn subject to sanctions.

The First Amendment prohibits any regulation “Abridging the...right to peaceably assemble, and to petition government for a redress of grievances,” yet again CDCr seems to have not gotten the memo. In the circuitous logic of irrational authoritarian man they seek to create new laws to protect their capacity to violate established law. Organizing to resist state-sponsored torture is not a crime. So again we ask you, why does CDCr’s “Initial Statement of Reasons” cite this litany of serious and violent crimes, yet its regulations focus on activities and matter which are not themselves criminal?

Under the language in this policy CDCr can (and surely will) criminalizeanything prisoners- and some of you in ‘society’ reading this now- say, think, or do. The only “safe” activity we may possibly engage in is exiting our cells and taking a breath... however, if one were to take 2deep breaths, one may be cited for “STG Harrasment-Directly or Indirectly,” because some CDCr staff person may be intimidated by how your breathing. To be sure, they’ve actually introduced an unspecific category of STG misconduct in §3378.4(a)(3)(M) termed “Unique Behaviors” that is actually whatever the state wants it to be.

CDCr, making their authoritarian political position clear, posits in its “Statementof Reasons”  surrounding §3378.4(c)(7) that behavior neednot be actionable as a rules violation to be used to validate prisoners or retain them in SHU torture units (see p.31 of the policy). CDCr has included this language despite having touted to every media outlet and public official who would listen that they are “moving to a behavior based model.” It is a contradiction, wrapped in a lie, cloaked in semantics.

Yet as fundamentally contradictory and irrational as it is to criminalize activity and matter which is not criminal, to increase the magnitude of petty offences and observations which can land prisoners in a SHU torture unit; what's equally offensive is they've actually lowered the bar for themselves in proving if such matter is actually “STG”- related. If you go to p.23, at §3375.3-CODE G, CDCr can establish STG associationwithout having to show direct contact with a validated STG affiliate. Exactly how anyone can rationally demonstrate how someone is associating with someone else without having to show they've associated at all is mind boggling. Yet, if we move to the new language on “Direct Links” (for validation purposes) on p.35 we find that unilateral action by either party is sufficient to demonstrate a “direct link” to an STG, and CDCr staff need not establish that the subject knew the other was ‘validated’ as an STG, or knew each other at all. Under this rubric,any of you reading this right now could write an N.C.T.T. coordinator here in Corcoran or at Pelican Bay SHU, having never met or known us outside of reading this article, and find yourself "validated" with a “direct link” to an STG. Does this strike you as a means to combat “homicides, narcotics trafficking, and extortion,” or a means to combat political progress, to criminalize and sanction segments of the population who’ve exposed and damaged their inhumane agenda politically and socially?

Throughout the regulatory language there has been a great emphasis on “criminal STG behavior,” even making things which are not behaviors “behavior” (clothing, artwork, handshakes, etc.) -yet contradicting this all, on p.35 they create a loophole for themselves (just in case the STG Disciplinary Matrix isn’t enough) stating placement in SHU/SDP, or validation as an STG affiliate, does not need to occur with behavior, “source criteria” alone is enough. To be sure, though they contend they’ve put a 4 year cap on the “age” of “source criteria” (information) used for STG purposes, they have included another loophole for themselves on the same page which actually expands the time frame for using “source criteria” to “anytime in the individuals personal STG history.” How they are able to assert such contradictions under color of law is a riddle which should concern every citizen and inhabitant of the U.S... Unfortunately the answer to this riddle is even more disturbing.

Judicial Collusion

It is the fact of judicial collusion which allows for such abuses. For example, CDCr has made a great deal about the new provisions which are supposed to ensure confidential informants/information used to validate or place prisoners in SHU under STG regulations must beindependently  corroborated before it can be used. However, new §3321(b) (1) includes language which completely undermines this by stating, "other circumstantial evidence" may be used to “corroborate” confidential informants/information (1030’s). We have recently discovered “investigation” is sufficient “corroboration” under this “other circumstantial evidence” standard. In other words, they can have an informant say you had plans to blow-up a gun tower, and that informant becomes “corroborated” when they “investigate” this baseless lie. Under this logic, “corroboration” is just empty semantics.

However ridiculous this sounds, they have no fear of the courts striking such an absurdity down because in a recent ruling on Brother Zaharibu’s 9th Circuit appeal, the courts took the position THE ACTUAL  EVIDENCE DOES'NT  EVEN HAVE TO EXIST - AS LONG AS THE RIGHT BOXES ARE CHECKED ON THE 1030 form, THAT’S “SOME EVIDENCE.” The evidence the 1030 is supposed to be based on does not have to exist at all. The ‘word’ of CDCr staff, according to the courts, is good enough for them. Mind you, this ruling comes on the heels of the third Hunger Strike, only days before recent legislative hearings on SHU torture units, and almost simultaneously as these regulations were being released. As it stands, IGI/Prison Staff can say anything on a 1030, check some boxes, and you’ll receive a 115 and a 4-year to indefinite SHU term in CDCr’s SDP-and the courts will support this.

Judicial collusion in the maintenance of SHU torture units is long standing and pervasive in the U.S., and in California in particular, (see,Ruiz v. EstelleColeman v. WilsonMadrid v. GomezIn Re Castillo,Koch v. Lewis [AZ], etc.). Despite the massive public outcry against the perpetuation of SHU torture units in America, the 9th Circuit court (in apparent reactionary support of CDCr's maintance of the practice) is actually reversing progressive District court rulings when they favor  prisoners subjected to long-term SHU torture.

In In Re Griffin the District Court ordered CDCr, on three separate occasions, to release Griffin to the general population (G.P.), or a less restrictive environment than SHU. After several moves to mock the court’s ruling, such as moving Griffin from Pelican Bay SHU to Corcoran SHU, which failed miserably after the District Judge toured Corcoran SHU and told CDCr they were not in compliance with the order, CDCr basically took the position they'd go to jail before they released him to the G.P.. The 9th Circuit finally weighed in. The Attorney General, representing CDCr passed on to the court some speculative information provided by OCS, and the 9th Circuit in essence took the position the District Court made an error by abiding by the Constitution in Griffin's case. The 9th Circuit Court rebuked the District Courts' findings that over 2 decades in the SHU, simply because one would not debrief, does in fact violate the Eighth Amendment. The 9th Circuit Courts position is that torture Is not cruel and unusual as long as it's a validated prisoner on the receiving end, and further held (based on whatever information OCS trumped up) that Griffin could “earn his way back into Pelican Bay.” They made no move to enforce the District Courts order to release Griffin to the general population or to sanction CDCR for repeatedly disregarding the order.

That CDCr has been maintaining the largest collection of torture units in the U.S. is the best proof the courts will defend the integrity of authoritarian institutions before it upholds its own ‘law.’ Which is why it should come as no surprise that CDCr can assert in its “Evaluation of Consistency/ Compatability WithExisting Laws/Regulations” (p. 2) that: “The Department has researched existing statutes and regulations and has determined that these proposed regulations and has determined that these proposed regulations are not inconsistent...with existing laws”… then turn around and violate the very statutes it cites as its controlling language with impunity. To state that many of the provisions of this policy violate the 1st, 8th, and 14th Amendments is too obvious, and frankly too easy. Let’s go for the less obvious.

If we look on p.3 of the “Initial Statement of Reasons,” CDCr citesCastillo v. Alameida  [Castillo v. Alameida, Case No. C-94-2847-MJJ (N.D.Cal.) ] as controlling case law, yet throughout the policy “laundry lists” of every sort (i.e., membership lists, enemy lists, roll-call lists, etc, see-p.14, §3323(h)(12)(E); p.22,§3375.3(a)(4)(B)(3); p.36, 0378.2(5); p.45, STG MATRIX, Sec.6(g), etc., etc.) are cited as legitimate “source criteria.”

The ‘Castillo’ settlement agreement expressly prohibits the use of such laundry lists for validation/SHU placement purposes. The ‘Castillo’settlement agreement (CIVIL NO.C-94-2847) on p.7, at point 21 states, “Defendants (CDCr) agree that “laundry lists” shall not be relied on as a source item,” yet in spite of this they’ve added new provisions for additional “laundry list” classifications, such as ‘roll-call lists.’ CDCr’s regulatory semantics and the courts collusion in their maintenance and perpetuation must be seen for what they are: This is THE STATE’S-- response to the Protest Movement responsible for exposing its contradictions and inspiring resistance from multiple segments of society. As one apparatus of the authoritarian state becomes intransigent in the face of change, others leap to support it (in this case the courts, the Govenor’s Office, conservative mass media, and The Dept. of Justice) on a broader and broader basis giving theappearance of a shift back in the struggle for cultural hegemony in their favor.

This, of course, results is a further deepening of the contradiction in the peoples character structure between reactionary and freedom loving tendencies; not simply among the broader masses but those actively engaged in, or supportive of, the struggle as well. However, such vacillation is insufficient to reassert continuity in the authoritarian order... or to halt determined spirits from actively seeking to transform the nature and structure of capitalist society and structure of capitalist society and it's institutions in America. Therefore, the state must resort to other measures: Enter the Step-Down Program.

CDCr's Step Down Program, as we've already explained in a series of dissertations, is simply a sham system by which CDCr seeks to leverage indefinite torture in SHU to coerce those subject to it to submit to psychological reprograming consistent with the social values of the authoritarian state. According to these new regulations, should you resist this ideological (re)assimilation you will remain in the torture unit indefinitely-and you (not the state) are then “responsible” for your own torture. On p.41 of the policy (3378.3(a)(2)) they state,
“Each step provides progams and privileges and,  it is the responsibility of the affiliate to demonstrate they can be released to a less restrictive environment while abstaining from STG behaviors If the offender chooses not to progress through any step of the program the offender may be returned, by ICC, to one of the previous steps until they demonstrate appropriate behavior for movement into the next step. Any time the inmate wishes to begin participating in the SDP, they may notify their assigned counselor...”

As we’ve already demonstrated, “abstaining from STG behaviors” is next to impossible under these new “regulations” which criminalize everything from a hand shake to a conversation, but when they speak of “appropriate behavior,” exactly what are they talking about? For the answer we must go to the “SDPNotice of Expectations” [p. 41]. There is a “Notice” for each step (1-5), with each containing 5 to 7 'expectation' points, depending on which step you've been assigned to. The most obvious and glaring contradictions of the SDP, and what actually reveals the states true motivation here, is the fact that only 1 of the expectation points has any association to legitimate penological interests as it relates to “behavior” in prison: “Remain disciplinary free adhering to all Departmental rules and regulations.”

Now if CDCr were sincere in their assertion that “The SDP will be a individually behavior based program” one would need only “remain disciplinary free” for 4 years and be released to the general population in step-5. This however is not the actual intent of the SDP... subordinating the population to the authoritarian dictates of the state is.

Under this new policy you can be disciplinary free for decades (as most current indeterminate SHU prisoners are today) and never be released  from SHU. This is not simply a “behavior based” program (despite the term “behavior” being such an ambiguous term to CDCr) as you are also expected to “participate in and successfully complete all mandated educational and cognitive (restructuring) instruction (including self-directed journals), as well as risk-educational assessment, as determined by ICC.”

They also expect you to “follow all staff recommendations and directions,” as a part of “positive” SDP participation. Since we've already made a definitive analysis of the cognitive restructuring and forensic profiling components of §700.2 of the SDP and COMPAS assessment in 3 previous NCTT-Cor-SHU analyses, there is no need to do so again here. What is necessary for us to discuss here is why this duplicitous contradiction is so necessary to the state’s efforts to reassert political reaction in populations currently committed to progressive struggle.

Our struggle to abolish SHU torture units is inextricably linked to the broader struggle to seize cultural hegemony in the U.S. from the ruling class and it's tool, the state. This struggle has contributed to progressively changing attitudes in society and prisons. Our collective efforts have repeatedly exposed the state’s contradictions and sparked the Peoples appetite for freedom and new social relationships. These activities undermine the reactionary character structure upon which authoritarian society is based. These actions are thus revolutionary. “Revolution” is, at heart, “a war for the minds of the masses,” it moves us positively from one way of life and set of social values, to one more conducive to principles of collective life. The state makes no secret in this new policy that reintroducing its  “social values” is central to their SDP' strategy. On p.2 of its “Initial Statement of Reasons,” it states its "strategy is designed to [last point] “provide programs designed to promote social values and behaviors in preparation for the offender’s return to the community.” (p. 2)

It is only as a result of seeing the masses organize and resist its callous inhumanity that the state now seeks to force the restructuring of the “social values” of prisoners at the source of this resistance to more closely reflect the dominant mass psychology (i.e. ideological conformity). It is only when the suppressed segments of society begin to organize themselves, begin to fight for socio-economic and political improvements and raise the cultural level of the broader masses, that moralistic inhibitions set in; only then do ruling elements, and their tools, begin to show concern for the “values” and “morality” of the oppressed.

As organized resistance rises, so does a contrary process activate in direct proportion from the state: The ideological assimilation to the ruling class. However, such a process among the prison class and lumpen strata (where oppression is a constant of existence) is simply not as easily achieved as it is in the middle class. Consciousness, relatively speaking, is directly proportional to oppression. Couple this fact with the lumpen strata's desperate historic relationship to the productive system and the daily assaults on our humanity that all prisoners endure, and the prospect of conforming to authoritarian dictates, or being ideologically assimilated by mundane means to just accepting the role of oppressed man is simply unrealistic to say the least. Thus the need, the requirement, the mandate of the state that all prisoners subject to the SDP must submit to cognitive restructuring or face the prospect of continued indefinite torture.

If we view the state’s response in these regulatory and judicial positions within their correct social, political, and historic context it becomes clear this is an automatic, reactionary gambit to reawaken contrary structural tendencies which lie active, dormant, or repressed (depending on your relative degree of political maturity) in all of us who've developed in the patriarchal-authoritarian miasma of capitalist America. Concessions in this struggle, on the part of the state, have thus far been superficial and cosmetic. The view of authoritarian institutions is power does not concede-it compels.

We have demonstrated here how these policies and judgments are a collection of contradictions justified by lies. As resistance to the dictates of authoritarian ideology continues to spread and flare across the surface of the American social structure, truth begins to intrude rudely upon the hypocrisies and irrationalities at the foundation of authoritarian society. The lines between the socially hostile microcosm of prison and the politically reactionary macrocosm of society are being blurred as progressive activists across the spectrum begin to join hands across the walls with progressive and Revolutionary prisoners, producing new social relationships, new political perspectives, and moving toward truly Revolutinary (i.e., rational) character structures and ideology. As we speak, ideas, rational ideas based in truth, like theSustainable Agricultural Commune, the Pelican Bay Human Rights Movements' First Amendment Campaign, and the Agreement to End Hostilities are finding resonance among the People, and taking root in communities in society at large. These ideas are influencing -to a greater or lesser degree- the mass psychology in America, and the state must move to stop it, to prevent these ideas being fully manifested into a social force of even greater transformative quality. Power thus reveals its nature in its contradictions.
Wilhelm Reich, in his treatise, The Human Struggle for Freedomobserved:

“The dilemma is this: Without the power to put them into practice, truths are of no use. They remain academic. Power, no matter what kind of power it is, without a foundation in truth, is a dictatorship, more or less and in one way or another, for it is always based on man's fear of the social responsibility and personal burden that “freedom” entails. Dictatorial power and truth do not go together. They are mutually exclusive... “power” always means the subjugation of others.”

It is here finally, we strike at the “root” of the matter: The state’s preservation of dictatorial power is the origin of the lies and contradictions within the new STG regulations and the judicial collusion which allows them to move forward as a material force.

With all this in mind, state Assemblyman Tom Ammiano has sponsored a bill to cap “administrative” SHU confinement to a 3 year determinate term. We’ve no doubt Mr. Ammiano is sincere in his genuine desire for progressive change. However, CDCr, and the state they both represent, is not. As we’ve demonstrated here, semantics is as viable as reality to the state. If there is no explicit language stating the bill applies retroactively, those who’ve been here for 10-40 years will have to spend another  3 years here. CDCr can take the position, the SDP is “segregated housing” and not SHU (though it is none the less in the SHU and your torturous living conditions are no different) and continue to hold you in the SHU for another 5 years to forever. Because the bill speaks exclusively to validated SHU prisoners, with this new regulatory language in mind, which manufactures an entirely new reality for “behavior” (transforming non-criminal activity and matter into “crimes”), it’s a simple matter of having validated prisoners housed in SHU issued repeated petty 115's-which could hold prisoners in SHU indefinitely. SHU torture units are real, the human misery they are responsible for is real, and the intent of the state to maintain this practice is equally real.

There are some of us, despite this bill, that the state is simply not going to release to a mainline. To be sure, these new regulations contain provisions whereby, “...STG affiliates who are… in segregated housing for non-disciplinary reasons with privileges associated... with step-4 if they have completed the SDP but were retained for non-disciplinary reasons.” In other words, you can jump through every hoop in the SDP, and if they feel you have too much influence, or for other Non-disciplinary reasons, they can keep you in step-4 (in the SHU) indefinitely (see “InitialStatement of Reasons,” p.12, §3044(j) through§3044(j) (2)(H)). With this in mind, if the legislature will not consider restoring the “Prisoners Bill of Rights,” perhaps at least they will consider including contact visits for those housed in SHU for non-disciplinary reasons?

In the final analysis it is our collective determination to not simply abolish SHU torture units, but to transform the sick culture and warped ideology of this society which has allowed them to endure for so long which, in turn, will realize a victorious Revolutionary change. The Prison Industrial Complex is but one cog in the machinery of the authoritarian order. Truly dismantling it requires striking at the very foundation upon which this world is currently organized: THE AUTHORITARIAN MASS PSYCHOLOGY OF REACTIONARY MAN/WOMAN. By changing our minds and actions, we will change the world. This kind of change, a Revolutionary change, only progresses in the crucible of struggle. Come struggle with us.

We wish to leave you all with the wise words of Arundhati Roy: “Another world is not only possible, she is on her way; on a quiet day I can hear her breathing.”

Until we win or don’t lose.


For more information on the N.C.T.T.-COR-SHU, contact:

Michael (Zaharibu) Dorrough D-83611, 4B1L-#43
J. Heshima Denham J-38283, 4B1L-#43
Kambui Robinson C-82830, 4B1L-#49
Jabari Scott H-30536 4B1L-#63

P.O. BOX 3481
Corcoran, CA. 93212

Facebook: Facebook.com/nctt.corshu.3

Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 863.9977www.freedomarchives.org


Tacoma, WA - As the hunger strike at the Northwest Detention Center enters its 20th day, the detained immigrants’ demands have begun gaining legislative traction. With over 70 hunger strikers refusing meals in the Tacoma facility, U.S. Rep. Adam Smith, whose 9th Congressional District includes the facility, announced his plans to introduce legislation addressing detention conditions. This announcement follows his March 20th visit to the detention center, during which he met with three hunger strike leaders. An attorney who acted as an interpreter during this meeting confirmed that during the meeting the hunger strikers detailed their reasons for their peaceful protest, and shared their stories of the personal devastation caused by their detention. At least one of the men with whom Rep. Smith visited, Jesus Gaspar Navarro, remains in medical isolation as he continues to refuse meals.

In an interview with the Seattle weekly The Stranger, Representative Smith described conditions in the detention center as “shocking” and “very very tough.” He echoed the hunger strikers’ demands regarding the exorbitant telephone and commissary costs and the subpar food provided by GEO Group, stating, “So I can imagine that the less they pay for the food, the more money they make.” Citing the personal circumstances of the hunger strikers with whom he met, he stated, “These people are being ripped apart from their families. Is that making our community a better place? I don’t think so.”

Jose Moreno, recently release hunger strike leader, responded to the news of Smith’s intervention, stating, “When I started the hunger strike, I had no idea what impact we would have. I just knew that we needed to act to end the abuses in the detention center and end deportations.” Maru Mora Villalpando, immigrant rights activist and hunger strike supporter added, “We welcome Rep. Smith’s statements and actions. We call on ICE and on the President to meet Rep. Smith’s actions, and the actions of the hunger strikers both here and in Texas, with action of their own.
The hunger strikers’ demands must be met. The deportations must stop.”

Hunger strike supporters continue their plans for the #2Million2Many National Day of Action on April 5th, which will be marked locally by marches, rallies, and teach-ins at the Northwest Detention Center from noon to 5 p.m. Actions are planned across the country to protest the 2 million deportations the Obama Administration will reach in the month of April and to call for the President to take decisive action to reverse the deportation dragnet.


Maru Mora Villalpando
Latino Advocacy

Freedom Archives 

We need your help. The California prison system's  Security Threat Group/Step Down Program (STG/SDP) is getting close to being implemented. These regulations govern placement into and release from the SHU (Secure Housing Units), California’s long-term solitary confinement cells. The STG/SDP policies will perpetuate California’s over use of torturous isolation.
We are soliciting your help to weigh in and speak out against these regulations. Please submit a comment and ask your friends, family, neighbors, pastor, school class, place of worship, and organizations to write also. 
The public comment period is open now; it closes April 3, 2014 at 5 PM
In many respects the STG/SDP is worse than the current practice. The STG/ SDP program is based on the U.S. Bureau of Prisons model, subject of great criticism in 2012 by the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights & Human Rights. California uses solitary confinement far and away more than any other government entity on the planet - the most absolute numbers and the highest percentage of prisoners in solitary. On any given day California, conservatively, has 11,000 adult prisoners in some form of isolation. 
Thank you for everything you do.
Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition, a member of Californians United for a Responsible Budget
Freedom Archives 

Guantánamo prisoner Ahmed Rabbani joins legal challenge to force-feeding abuse

A father of three from Pakistan will today join historic litigation demanding that a US court of law intervene to halt prisoner abuse at Guantánamo Bay.

Ahmed Rabbani, who has been held without charge or trial since 2005, is being abusively force-fed and harshly disciplined as part of the military’s efforts to break his year-long hunger strike. He suffers from serious medical problems as a result.

Unlike prisoners held on US soil, Ahmed has previously been barred from challenging the legality of the methods by which he is force-fed at Guantánamo Bay. Last month, he was granted the right to do so by DC’s federal court of appeals, and on March 11 fellow prisoner Imad Abdullah Hasan filed the historic first challenge to the procedure. Today, Ahmed will file his own claim in federal court, and the military will be required to answer to a judge on his daily ordeal.

The mounting litigation against the regime at Guantánamo exposes the daily brutality of the force-feeding process, which the military has rendered progressively more painful in order to break hunger strikes at the camp.

Ahmed’s legal team will add their argument to growing evidence that Guantánamo’s force-feeding of peaceful protesters  amounts to torture.  Ahmed’s motion to enjoin his abusive force-feeding will be filed in the DC District Court today (Thursday March 27) by Eric Lewis of Lewis Baach, Jon B. Eisenberg and Alka Pradhan of Reprieve US.

Alka Pradhan, Reprieve US counsel for Ahmed Rabbani, said: “Under the guise of keeping them alive, Mr Rabbani and his fellow hunger-strikers are being abused and degraded simply for exercising their right to peaceful protest. They have suffered enough. At the very least, the court must order the inhumane Guantanamo force-feeding practices to follow those used on US soil.”

Jon Eisenberg, pro bono counsel for Mr Rabbani, said: “It is sadly ironic that, while Washington debates torture by the CIA a decade ago, it is happening right now at Guantanamo Bay on President Obama’s watch.”


1. Once filed in court, the full pleadings in Mohammad Ahmad Gulam Rabbani v Barack Obama may be downloaded at reprieve.org. For more information and to arrange interviews with the legal team or medical experts please contact Katherine O’Shea (US) katherine.oshea@reprieve.org or +1 917 855 8064.

2. Reprieve US opened in New York City in February 2014. A partner organization to Reprieve UK, Reprieve US provides advocacy and litigation aimed at stopping abuses in the death penalty and in counter-terrorism. For information about the work of Reprieve US please visit reprieve.org or contact Katherine O’Shea on katherine.oshea@reprieve.org or +1 917 855 8064.

Freedom Archives 
March 25, 2014

Second Wave of Hunger Strikes Begin at Northwest Detention Center

Tacoma WA - Immigrants held at the Northwest Detention Center are once again adding their voices to the mounting outcry for President Obama to stop deportations. Seeing little change in their conditions following the hunger strike that began on March 7th, about 70 people rejoined the hunger strike on Monday, March 24th. Hearing of others rejoining the strike, hunger strike leader Ramon Mendoza Pascual began eating after more than two weeks of fasting. Jesus Gaspar Navarro remains in isolation after 20 days on hunger strike.

When visiting with hunger strikers on Monday, attorney Angelica Chazaro learned of a suicide attempt in the facility that occurred around 9 a.m. that morning. A witness to the attempt who spoke to Chazaro described seeing a man hanging over a second floor railing with a sheet tied around his neck. The man was pulled back over the railing, and taken out of the facility on a stretcher. Detainees heard a helicopter leaving the facility shortly thereafter. The witness reported to Chazaro that guards informed him and other detainees that the man was still breathing, and that he was taken to the hospital. “This case underscores our deep concern at the treatment of those held in the detention center, as well as the importance of the hunger strike in bringing this treatment to light. The fact that this person was detained when he attempted suicide means that ICE and GEO Group officials hold some responsibility for his attempt,” Chazaro said.  

On Sunday, Jeff Johnson, president of the Washington State Labor Council, and Tefere Gebre, executive vice president of the AFL-CIO, joined the daily presence outside the detention center to express their support for those held inside and add their voices to the growing outcry for the President to stop deportations. They vowed to help spread the word of this protest.

That same day GEO Group vans unloaded dozens of detained women into the detention center, while hunger strike supporters looked on through the chain link fence, chanting, “You are not alone!”  Up to 200 people, mostly women, many of whom are seeking asylum, are transferred from the U.S.-Mexico border to the Northwest Detention Center each month.


Jolinda Stephens

Freedom Archives

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