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Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Prosecutor's Class with Inmates Teaches Him about Incarcerated Youth

Former prosecutor Preston Shipp develops a new outlook on sentencing thanks to his class at a local prison.

'I'm pregnant and I'm a heroin addict'

A 28-year-old Cincinnati mother describes her struggle to overcome addiction after using heroin during two pregnancies

Police argue for warrantless cell phone searches before SCOTUS

Whether police have the right to search the contents of a cell phone when arresting its owner was put before the Supreme Court Tuesday. Digital rights and civil liberties advocates contend that such a search is in violation of the Fourth Amendment's protection from unreasonable search and seizure. Several lower courts, however, ruled in favor of police, sparking a debate and thrusting the issue before the high court. Discussing the arguments used and the possible implications with RT's Ameera David is John Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute.

Meet Jeff Havard - An Innocent Man Sitting On Death Row

Jeffrey Havard currently sits wrongfully convicted on death row in Mississippi for the sexual assault and murder of his girlfriend's six-month-old daughter, Chloe Britt. The truth is the infant slipped from Jeffrey's arms while lifting her from the tub, causing her head to hit the toilet. New expert evidence supports Jeffrey's claims. Chloe's death was a tragic accident, not a murder. Jeffrey Havard is innocent.

Communication Management Units: BOP’s Lack of Process Allows for Targeting of Muslims, Political Speech

The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), which has brought a lawsuit on behalf of prisoners placed in restrictive prison units known as Communications Management Units (CMUs), has revealed documentation that shows for the first time how people are designated for placement in CMUs, what they are told by the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) when placed in a CMU, and how they’re ongoing imprisonment in the CMU is reviewed by BOP.
CMUs can be found in prisons in Terre Haute, Indiana, and Marion, Illinois. They opened in 2006 and 2008, respectively. The stated reason for opening them was to control and isolate prisoners from being able to communicate to the outside world.
The lawsuit does not challenge that practice if it is truly necessary, but what it does challenge is the lack of process for prisoners to contest their placement in CMUs and how broad discretion has made it possible for BOP to disproportionately target Muslims as well as others for their political speech.
The worst part of being under CMU restrictions is that prisoners cannot have contact with loved ones. They cannot hold hands with their wives. They cannot hug. “The lack of physical contact with his children for the 47 months” that Aref has been in CMUs has been, to him, “a kind of torture.”
For the first three years that CMUs were in existence, there was no process setup for reviewing CMU prisoners so they could be transferred out. Senior CCR attorney, Alexis Agathocleous, said there is “considerable confusion about how those reviews work and when they should occur.”
Prison officials are supposed to be reviewing whether the “original reasons for CMU designation still exist,” but, as Agathocleous explained, “If prison officials don’t actually know fully the reasons why a prisoner was sent to a CMU to begin with, they can’t possibly determine whether those original reasons still exist.”
According to the CCR’s latest court submission, a Counter-Terrorism Unit (CTU) within the BOP makes the initial recommendation—the “Notice for Transfer—to the CMU. The notice does not “actually reflect the reason(s) the prisoner was in fact approved for CMU designation.” A North Central Regional Director “makes the ultimate decision” and that may or may not be similar to CTU’s recommendation. This director can base the decision to transfer a prisoner to a CMU on any information, regardless of whether the information is in the “designation packet.” This decision-maker is not required to document what goes into this “ultimate decision,” even if it is different from CTU’s recommendation.
Agathocleous told Firedoglake that “prisoners sent to the CMU were told that the only way they could appeal their placement was through the Administrative Prisoner Remedy Program.” Several CMU prisoners did and what they received in response was “a repetition of the same inaccurate or incomplete paragraph” that they had initially been provided to explain why they were in the CMU.
For example, Daniel McGowan, a plaintiff in the lawsuit and an environmental activist who was charged with committing a series of arsons and other property crimes against numerous targets that they deemed to be agents of environmental destruction and animal exploitation, was informed that he was put in a CMU for “destruction of an energy facility.” He was told the BOP thought he was a “member and leader in both the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) and Animal Liberation Front (ALF)” and that he “taught others how to commit arson.” McGowan maintained that those allegations were not “supported by facts.”
The response he received restated allegations and did not explain why they were true. He also was not able to go through a better process to argue the allegations weren’t true. And, furthermore, he was not informed by the BOP that the Counter-Terrorism Unit had relied on his communications from the Federal Correctional Institution in Sandstone, Minnesota, on environmental issues to justify putting him in a CMU.
According to Agathocleous, no CMU prisoner “has ever successfully challenged his CMU designation” through the administrative remedy process. Prisoners have been told that they can get out in 18 months if they cause no conflicts. However, the CCR learned through documents and depositions of officials that there was no policy. No time limit on how long a person could be in a CMU existed in policy.
Another plaintiff in the lawsuit, Yassin Aref, spent 18 months in his first CMU. He did not do anything wrong, but after 18 months, he was transferred to another CMU. The 18-month clock restarted. He has spent four years in a CMU without committing any misconduct.
Criteria for placement is unclear. CCR has discovered that different offices responsible for CMU designation use “different criteria to make their decisions about who should be sent to CMUs.” They do not even know which criteria should apply, which gives officials very broad discretion.
“The system is broken at every level,” Agathocleous declared. And it impacts Muslim prisoners the worst.
One hundred and one of 178 total CMU designations have been Muslim prisoners, according to data CCR was allowed to disclose for the first time. Six percent of the prison population is Muslim. As the filing states, “This marks a vast overrepresentation which cannot be explained away by virtue of the CMU’s focus on terrorism.”
“Of the first 55 prisoners designated to the CMU, 45 were sent there because of their connection to terrorism, but the other ten were designated due to involvement in prohibited activities related to communication; of that ten, eight self-reported as Muslim,” it explains.
Prisoners with strong religious or political views are targeted as well, but prisoners are often not informed that consideration of religious or political beliefs factored into their CMU designation.
Marion CMU Unit Manager Paul Kelly apparently testified that a “prisoner could mitigate the reasons for his initial placement by no longer believing in the ideology that motivated the activities that led to his CMU placement.” Also, Henry Rivas, the Intelligence Research Specialist at the Marion CMU, “thought that an individual sent to the CMU for environmental extremism who continued to read extremist environmental publications qualified for continued CMU placement.”
The CCR’s recent filing further indicates, “North Central Regional Staff opined that prisoner L required CMU designation due to his  offense conduct and ‘continued militant beliefs.’ The staff member indicated that prisoner L would have to ‘change the militant portion of those beliefs’ to be eligible for release from the CMU.”
It is near impossible to get out of the CMU. Kifah Jayyousi, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, was in a CMU for 58 months or 232 weeks. McGowan was in a CMU for 22 months or 98 weeks. Avon Twitty, another plaintiff, was in the CMU for 39 months or 156 weeks. Ninety-five prisoners have spent over 18 months in CMUs. Twenty-five prisoners have spent over 36 months or 144 weeks.
Agathocleous argued, “CMU prisoners are entitled to but have been deprived of meaningful notice of the reason of the CMU designation, reasonable and comprehensible designation standards, meaningful opportunity to contest their placement in the CMU and a meaningful periodic review process so they can figure out how to earn their way out.”
“Extremely draconian restrictions” have a “very serious material impact on people’s lives” are not accompanied with a meaningful process that gives prisoners the right to challenge these severe conditions. It deprives them of their right to due process and their First Amendment right to have contact with family (only two 15-minute phone calls are allowed per week).
The broad ability to make these decisions absent any accountability is what CCR hopes to bring to an end.

Freedom Archives 

Mic Righteous - Fire In The Streets

Margate rapper Mic Righteous gives Charlie that fire in the streets!

Monday, 28 April 2014

NATO 3 get prison terms ranging from 5 to 8 years

April 25, 2014
Three out-of-state men were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 5 to 8 years in prison today for making crude Molotov cocktails in the days before the NATO summit in Chicago in May 2012.
Prosecutors had sought 14-year terms for each of the men, raising the specter of the Boston Marathon bombings during their arguments at the sentencing hearing.
The so-called NATO 3 — Brian Church, Jared Chase and Brent Betterly — were convicted in February of possessing incendiary devices but were acquitted of more serious terrorism charges, a fact stressed by their attorneys. Church was sentenced to 5 years, Chase to 8 years and Betterly to 6.
Chase’s attorney, Thomas Anthony Durkin, contended that prosecutors didn’t seem to understand they lost the terrorism case and were trying to “salvage a lousy, rotten case” with stiff prison sentences.
“They still don’t get that the whole world is laughing at them,” Durkin told Judge Thaddeus Wilson.
A 48-page sentencing memo by Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Jack Blakey, who heads the office’s special prosecutions bureau, said the trio have displayed a “defiant refusal to take responsibility for their conduct.”
Addressing the judge before he imposed sentence, Church took offense to the prosecution comparisons to the Boston Marathon bombings.
“I do love my country,” he said. “To be compared to an atrocity hurts, your honor. It rips my heart apart.”
Betterly apologized and said that anarchism isn’t synonymous with terrorism.
“We weren’t serious about much of what was said” in conversations secretly recorded by two undercover Chicago police officers who had infiltrated their group, said Betterly, who nonetheless insisted he was not ducking responsibility.
The idea that he came to Chicago with “hatred and violent intentions couldn’t be further from the truth,” Betterly said.
The three had faced between 4 and 30 years in prison. Their trial earlier this year was the first time Cook County  prosecutors had brought charges under the state’s terrorism statute, enacted after the Sept. 11 attacks.
Prosecutors alleged the three plotted attacks on police stations, President Barack Obama’s campaign headquarters and Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s home.
But their attorneys argued that the three were “goofs” who talked big and were goaded on by two undercover officers.
“My mind, through a pot and beer induced haze, was never anywhere near even wanting to commit property damage, let alone blowing things up or burning things down,” Church wrote in a letter to the court that was excerpted in the prosecution filing.
“Those who know who I am, who understand the depth of my desire for truly progressive change and peace, know that I am not capable of harboring such mindlessly violent intentions,” Betterly wrote.
Prosecutors wrote that Betterly has continued to “defy and threaten” law enforcement while in jail, making  “an inappropriate racial comment to an African American correctional officer” telling another to “watch out pig” and also punching the window of a guard station and yelling “f— the police.”
While Blakey acknowledged that other defendants who had possessed Molotov cocktails in federal cases in Oregon and Minnesota were sentenced to no more than 4 years, he wrote the NATO 3 did not plead guilty and “have taken great pains to abdicate all responsibility for their conduct.”
The three are just as deserving of lengthy prison sentences as those convicted of trying to arrange a murder, Blakely argued.

Freedom Archives 

BBC London DEMO 1st May Is A Go - Is ON

BBC London DEMO 1st May Is A Go - Is ON

This is a message to confirm that the demo outside BBC Broadcasting House, Portland Place (just north of Oxford Circus and Regent Street), new H.Q.of BBC TV News, is going ahead this May 1st Thursday, this week.

We meet up at 12.30pm at All Souls Church (south side steps), opposite the BBC Broadcasting House and the demo begins at 1pm-ish.

At 12.30pm -ish to 1pm -ish we will pose for group photos by Paul, my son, as he can't take part in the demo, so can only take photos of us before the demo begins.
The demo will take place on the north side of All Souls Church directly opposite the main entrance to the BBC Broadcasting House (where BBC radio is based in) and in front of which BBC TV staff have to pass in front of to get to their (new) buildings entrances. Paul will leave us when the demo begins or he could be locked up for taking part!!!!!

Over past 4 months have spent £500 about on preparing for this.

It's now 20 years since Paul first devastating onslaughts of acute 'near death' illness and the 24 hour care for the first 9-10 years of that, with almost solid without sleep - thereafter hardly any sleep, my still having 'impossible' physical suffering, walking/lugging everywhere etc. I've been needing physical care yet still have had to care for Paul due to all the Doctors negligence. I've even needed help dressing etc. Couldn't hardly wash for first 9 years nor wash hair etc - still can't - haven't been able to wash hair for approx 8 months, have been bed bound most of the time instead of only half. Paul puts on my shoes and socks most of time and half the time I am having to lean on Paul to walk. : I've lost all hope of my improving now but still hope Paul will be able to WHEN he's allowed just a bit of medical help - ie - ear noises torture of a night keeping him awake, because of blockages caused by polyps the Doctors REFUSE to remove (been to 3 hospitals and took 13 years just for Doctors to find them) because, to quote the last Dr, Paul has already "sen too many Doctors"!!!!

I'll be traveling up across 2 counties by train Thursday morning (arrival at Victoria about 11.50am) with 4 demo boards.

What's different to other demos is that our demo boards and literature, just like at Tunbridge Wells, will be TUNED to specifically exert pressure on the BBC staff inside to co-operate.

Our leaflets have been replaced by our own newspaper covering the subjects the BBC have covered-up or twisted: purposeful/pre-meditated/discriminatory medical negligence and Forced Child Adoption. the headlines, phrases and text are selected for MAXIMUM impact, (cause BBC panic).

I am appealing to EVEY demonstrator and campaigner receiving this message to come to this demo with your OWN boards/leaflets, having ADDED that your campaign/plight has been covered up by the BBC, adding details of how this cover up happened. That includes parents who have been robbed of their children by Social services (S.S.), Fathers 4Justice and those campaigning for victims illegally/wrongly imprisoned/killed etc which the BBC refuse to report, ie REAL 'nightmares'/suffering...

So please come as I don't want to be demonstrating alone. 12.30pm at the church opposite BBC Broadcasting House, London, this Thursday

Christine Weedon

Keith Ordinary Guy Voice For Voiceless

This Friday, 2nd May, Sonia and cameraman Lee and I are going to Bath Police Station to report Iain Duncan Smith and David Freud under the Human Rights Act for putting slavery back on the statute books. I have tried twice to report IDS and have been fobbed off each time, so this time I am doing it with the support of Sonia and Lee because this issue is too big to allow it to be kicked under the table. We haven't set a time yet (no prizes for guessing why), but I just want to invite anyone along who could make it to show the thugs in parliament we mean business. You are therefore cordially invited...

Keith Ordinary Guy

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Introducing the national slavery roll out.

A letter a day to number 10. No 726.

Monday 28 April 2014. Introducing the national slavery roll out.

Shares are encouraged and welcomed. If this letter speaks for you and you wish to send your own copy please feel free to copy and paste, and alter for your own needs, the text for your own letter. 

Website updated, letters and replies plus bonus material featuring Mr Suggs, Eeyore and Ribbit.

Also on the website, download the support compilation three album set from Atona. Not to be missed.


Dear Mr Cameron,

The Claimant Commitment - Policy Aims:

The conditionality regime will recast the relationship between the citizen and the State from one centred on 'entitlement' to one centred on a contractual concept that provides a range of support in return for claimant’s meeting an explicit set of responsibilities, with a sanctions regime to encourage compliance.

Such a clever way to bring back slavery! Was it David Freud who wrote that, it's got his style written all over it?

I need to pause a moment and just say that I know when I am in the presence of a game changer. I have been waiting for this moment; I suspected it would arrive, but I couldn't 'know' until the moment it actually did, because, of course, you have never been open about your long term plans. How would you dare? In your dark symphony of Britain, this is merely a crescendo, the precursor to the next passage of your miscellany of villainy.

The signs were there with Theresa May planning to axe the bill of rights. What would follow would be a Citizens Charter, laying out our duties and responsibilities to the state. The prelude to this is naturally to pick on the most vulnerable and in a place where your average Joe won't be paying attention, couldn't care less or who would think, 'Bang on, these scroungers need to be dealt with!' Of course the penalties for non-compliance are also easy to set for those on benefits, clearly just section them so that they are unable to claim Universal Credit (once benefits are all rolled into one).

Rolling out a Citizens Charter is trickier, what penalties would you impose on the general populace? You can't just out and say that people would have no access to, say, health and medical care. You have to be sneaky with this stuff. I am sure you already know how you are going to spin it and do it. Ultimately, of course, the best move is to remove their citizenship, denying them the ability to do anything, rendering them unable to participate in society at all. Theresa May may have temporarily lost that one after she added it as a last minute measure in the Immigration Bill, but I am sure she sees that as just a temporary setback.





 — in Peasedown Saint John.

Anonymous - MayDay 2014: WORLDWIDE RESISTANCE

JOIN US: https://www.facebook.com/ArmyAnonymous
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Slavery returns to Britain.

2nd letter a day to number 10. No 725.

Sunday 27 April 2014. Slavery returns to Britain. 

Shares are encouraged and welcomed. If this letter speaks for you and you wish to send your own copy please feel free to copy and paste, and alter for your own needs, the text for your own letter. 

Website updated, letters and replies plus bonus material featuring Mr Suggs, Eeyore and Ribbit.

Also on the website, download the support compilation three album set from Atona. Not to be missed.


Iain Duncan Smith and Lord Freud have put slavery back on the statute books of Britain!

The new claimant slavery certificate means that claimants sign away their sovereign rights to life and liberty to a DWP slave master or overseer.

Claimants who refuse to sign the slavery certificate will be denied the means of survival. It is either complete, abject, obedience to the state or starve.

Policy Aims:

The conditionality regime will recast the relationship between the citizen and the State from one centred on 'entitlement' to one centred on a contractual concept that provides a range of support in return for claimant’s meeting an explicit set of responsibilities, with a sanctions regime to encourage compliance.

The terms which individual slaves must adhere to are defined by their slave master or overseer under threat of sanctions for non-compliance.

The Human Rights Act 1998 stipulates:

Article 4 Prohibition of slavery and forced labour

1 No one shall be held in slavery or servitude.

2 No one shall be required to perform forced or compulsory labour.





Saturday, 26 April 2014

Clemency changes could free drug offenders

The Department of Justice lays out major changes to clemency rules for drug offenders.

The Brave Central Park 5

Yusef Salaam, Kevin Richardson, & Raymond Santana 3 of the 5 exonerated youths from The Central Park Five. Yusef sharing his thoughts of finding photographs of the night he 1st saw the documentary.

World unite: stand up 4 innocent #SCHAPELLE

Speak up! Demand answers!

#Jools Magools ‏@joolsmagools 

Forced Adoption: Yvonne Stewart-Taylor

Journalist Sonia Poulton hears about 'children stolen by the State' from stalwart campaigner, Yvonne Stewart-Taylor

Jalil Muntaqim Part 2/1

Wrongfully prosecuted, convicted, and imprisoned Jalil Muntaqim continues his story from Part 1. His parole hearing is scheduled for June 17, 2014, with supporters' petitions due by June 7. Visit FreeJalil.com Jalil Muntaqim Part1 Wrongfully convicted Jalil Muntaqim has been in prison 42 years on a 25 to life sentence. His parole hearing is coming up June 17, 2014, with petitions due June 7, as spelled out at the end, ~57:30. He explains the details of his wrongful prosecution involving police torturing one witness and harassing another. When the tortured witness goes to the judge before the trial and informs the judge that he has been tortured and will be perjuring himself the judge, Edward J. Greenfield, informs the prosecution but not the defense, so the witness is tortured further! For such a brilliant mind who could contribute so much to society to suffer the enslavement of prison for a crime he did not commit is a painful example of our defective judicial and so-called correctional systems

Friday, 25 April 2014

Freedom March for Wrongful Convictions

The Freedom March is a nationwide march that takes place in the capitol city of each state in support of those who claim wrongful convictions. Please visit www.freedommarchusa.org for more information or to sign up to volunteer in your state.

Pelican Bay - We are relying on the legislature to rein in CDCR's gross abuse of power

April 22, 2014
by Todd Ashker
As a principal representative of the PBSP SHU (Pelican Bay State Prison Security Housing Unit) Short Corridor Collective Human Rights Movement, I begin this personal perspective update with a shout out of solidarity and respect to all those inside and outside these prison walls who have put aside divisive race and culture differences in order to unite as a prisoner class and demand long overdue, meaningful reforms to the fascist prison industrial complex – beginning with the end of long term solitary confinement and inclusive of humane treatment, dignity, respect and rehabilitative programs and privileges of real substance – beneficial to all prisoners, our outside loved ones and public safety in general.
Additionally, I sincerely thank the California Assembly and Senate Public Safety Committee members for holding the joint public hearings Oct. 9, 2013, and Feb. 11, 2014, in order to further examine the CDCR’s use and abuse of long term punitive solitary confinement as a general purpose “status”-based gang management policy resulting in the torture of thousands of people over the course of more than three decades.
These hearings were in response to our third peaceful hunger strike protest in two years, wherein more than 40 prisoners fasted for 60 days, and, at its peak, more than 30,000 prisoners joined in solidarity to protest decades of personal subjection to policies amounting to state sanctioned torture! Prisoner Billy Sell’s death was directly related to our collective protest issues, and others have yet to fully recover.
There can be no doubt that the legislators’ courageous act of publically acknowledging our protest issues in late August 2013 saved many lives, and it gave many people real hope that substantive changes will be forthcoming. And now that there has been additional public exposure – via the two public hearings – demonstrating CDCR’s refusal to institute real, meaningful changes, on its own, people are relying on the legislature to do all in their power to pass legislation reining in CDCR’s gross abuse of power, this year.
This is of critical importance in light of CDCR’s push to have their “Security Threat Group-Step Down Program” formally adopted into the rules and regulations – in spite of repeated, point specific objections to such by those affected by it, the prisoner class, including outside loved ones and people of conscience. There are many red flags within the STG-SDP policy, as well as related actions demonstrative of our point that this policy is simply a repackaged new twist on the policies in place for the past 30 years, as briefly illustrated below:
The new disciplinary matrix changes nothing; it merely codifies all the innocent, associational type acts used to keep us in SHU indefinitely for the past 30 years into the regulations, as formal rule violations requiring a rules violation report. Being found guilty of such is a slam dunk resulting in placement or retention in SHU for an indefinite term of four years to life.
Additionally, it instructs staff to issue rule violations based on confidential prisoner informant debriefing reports meeting reliability criteria per CCR Title 15, Section 3321. Those inside know how IGI (Institutional Gang Investigations) et al manipulate this. Thus people can expect lots of write-ups based solely on confidential prisoner informant claims, which will result in being found guilty. And once the determinate SHU term assessed for such is completed, it’s all about beginning the four years to life SDP!

There can be no doubt that the legislators’ courageous act of publically acknowledging our protest issues in late August 2013 saved many lives, and it gave many people real hope that substantive changes will be forthcoming.

Since we suspended our hunger strike on Sept. 5, 2013, the CDCR has conducted 12 case by case reviews of PBSP Short Corridor prisoners classified as members – that’s 12 over the past six months. Additionally, the statistics show that while CDCR claims to have released more than 400 prisoners from solitary confinement to general prison population per STG-SDP case by case reviews, the number of prisoners in solitary confinement cells has increased! This is what we stated would happen way back in March 2012 in our public opposition to the STG-SDP proposal.
The CDCR has kept their word about providing us with a bit more SHU privileges responsive to our fifth core demand and related supplemental demands. These are all things former CDCR Undersecretary Kernan admitted we should have had 20 years ago when we met with him in 2011. And most were only recently authorized a few weeks before the Feb. 11, 2014, legislative hearing.
Of course, they are a plus, but they don’t go far enough – e.g., we should be able to have contact visits and weekly phone calls etc. – and a real concern is that providing additional privileges is the prisoncrats’ way of improving SHU and Ad Seg conditions with the intent such will make it acceptable to keep us here forever.
Our remaining demands 1-4 remain unresolved.

The statistics show that while CDCR claims to have released more than 400 prisoners from solitary confinement to general prison population per STG-SDP case by case reviews, the number of prisoners in solitary confinement cells has increased!

Many people recognize that there is an element within CDCR’s rank and file – administrators, Office of Correctional Safety (OCS), California Peace Officers Association (CCPOA, the guards’ union) etc. – whose underlying agenda is to maintain and promote the expansion of the prison industrial complex, related to the growing fascist police state agenda in this nation.
One of the prisoncrats’ tactics under CDCR Secretary Beard’s leadership is the increase in propagandist demonization of SHU prisoners as the “worst of the worst” in order to try and justify and expand on the policies and practices condemned by the world as violating longstanding human rights treaty law banning torture. A recent example isSecretary Beard’s LA Times op ed of Aug. 6, 2013, wherein he claimed the hunger strike, a massive, peaceful protestation, was a gang power play, intended to regain control of the prison system.
Secretary Beard’s support for this obvious lie? Reliance on 25- to 40-year-old events taken out of context and stories by two prisoners who broke down after years of enduring torturous SHU conditions, “debriefed” and were quickly recruited as state propagandist collaborators. In order to “successfully debrief,” one must support the CDCR-OCS agenda.
Notably, prior to these torture victims’ agreement to become state agent collaborators, they were in the PBSP SHU Short Corridor, labeled the worst of the worst. Each of them is serving a life term for murder convictions outside prison and had been issued many serious rule violation charges while in prison – landing them in SHU. One was accused of strangling his SHU cell mate.
Yet, as soon as they agreed to become state collaborators against our cause, their past misdeeds are forgotten, and their words become “good as gold” while CDCR parades them before the public. This is a strategy used by CDCR to try and distract the world’s focus away from our exposure of state sanctioned torture. This is how fascists operate.
For their part, these two collaborators now enjoy special general prison population perks, at the “sensitive needs” prison of their choice.
Also notable is the fact that the prisoncrats refused to allow Sen. Hancock to personally meet with us in late September 2013. As well, they refused to allow a couple of us to personally participate in the Feb. 11 hearing. CDCR’s intent is to try and prevent us from being seen and heard as human beings while simultaneously propagating the alleged greatness of their Security Threat Group-Step Down Program.
From my perspective, the above points are ongoing examples demonstrating CDCR’s lack of respect for our human rights and dignity – as well as their intent to continue to abuse their power with impunity, if allowed to do so. It’s especially concerning the way they tried to marginalize us out of the legislative hearing process, and I believe it could be a major mistake for us to allow them to do so without even a token response – a reminder of our resistance and refusal to accept having our voices silenced, so they can maintain the status quo of indefinite solitary confinement, thereby condemning us to the long, slow death such entails, while they profit. Thousands passing on a day or two of food is a strong reminder and showing of solidarity.
I mistakenly thought there was a consensus and put out a statement in early January. The prisoncrats have hindered the dialogue, creating confusion. Thus, as soon as I found out the consensus wasn’t there, I immediately moved to change the statement to reflect my personal views – this too was stymied.

Notable is the fact that the prisoncrats refused to allow Sen. Hancock to personally meet with us in late September 2013. As well, they refused to allow a couple of us to personally participate in the Feb. 11 hearing. CDCR’s intent is to try and prevent us from being seen and heard as human beings while simultaneously propagating the alleged greatness of their Security Threat Group-Step Down Program.

The important thing is that CDCR’s moves to marginalize us from Feb. 11 have failed. Our people outside did a great job of educating the legislators about the sham aspects of CDCR’s STG-SDP, including Dolores Canales’ requests for prisoners here to send letters to Sen. Hancock. And, based on my commitment, a few of us went on a three-day hunger strike from Feb. 3 to 5. It all helped ensure that our humanity was not forgotten on Feb. 11.
I still believe a crucial part of our struggle for real reform requires us to do our part in here. Failing that, we can’t ask for, nor expect, people outside to support us.

The important thing is that CDCR’s moves to marginalize us from Feb. 11 have failed. Our people outside did a great job of educating the legislators about the sham aspects of CDCR’s STG-SDP, including Dolores Canales’ requests for prisoners here to send letters to Sen. Hancock.

While I’m at it, I’ll also address and clarify a few recurrent points raised, related to our collective cause. This comes from my perspective, as an individual and principal representative, as follows:
The subject of criticism and obstructionism
Historically, no social movement has proceeded without criticism. Constructive criticism is a good thing and everyone’s entitled to their opinion. Naturally, there’s obvious reasons why we’re not able or willing to discuss the basis for our collective decisions. Suffice it to say most people understood from the gate that this effort would be a protracted struggle, and we agreed to do all we could to be smarter than our adversary, recognizing this is a constantly evolving process, similar to a chess game of moves and counter moves, responsive to circumstances. And we’ve done an excellent job of this.
Most participants have done so on the basis of faith and solidarity, recognizing something has to be done to put CDCR’s abuse of power in check. Not everyone gets the point of a concept at the same time – some take a while to get it, and some never do. That’s human nature.
Generally, our goal is the same. And for those who do get it – onward in struggle and solidarity.
As for obstructionism – differences of opinion are always going to happen, and such are not obstructionist in my view. I see an obstructionism as active attempts to hinder an action of resistance. I’m sure everyone recognizes it when they see it.

I still believe a crucial part of our struggle for real reform requires us to do our part in here. Failing that, we can’t ask for, nor expect, people outside to support us.

The bottom line is our combined, unified efforts, inside and out, have been very effective to date. We’ve gained a lot of ground in a relatively short time against a powerful entity.
We need to remain on top of things and continue to do our part, and we will prevail. We can’t become complacent based on CDCR’s psychological tactics – like false hope.
On agreement to end racial group hostilities
People need to be mindful that this 2012 agreement was made and based on the consensus we came to here in the Short Corridor, and we encouraged prisoners statewide to follow suit – for their own benefits – as summarized in the agreement! This is an adult system, and we need to be mindful of what we all have in common behind these walls and who our common adversary is. And we need to be smart about achieving positive gains beneficial to all prisoners.
As expected, CDCR has refused to allow us to promote our agreement, and there are always going to be those who seek to derail it. All actions are accountable at some point, and people need to do their best to be wise and reasonably diplomatic. Airing perceived breaches in public is not appropriate and looks real bad on those who do so; it perpetuates divisiveness.
On proposed legislation
There’s a small opening for getting legislation passed this year; therefore, it has to be a collective effort, focused on the one or two key points which have the best chance of success – beneficial to the largest number of prisoners. It’s a mistake to put forward a bunch of proposals which have no chance of passing this year, because such takes away the focus from the one or two with the best chance of passing. An illustrative example is a criminal appeal. When you throw 30 issues at the court, it can hurt your chance of prevailing on the one or two strongest issues – and result in losing the entire appeal.
I’ve thought a lot about this and have come up with the two issues I believe have the best chance of passing. The main issue of contention between us and CDCR is the definition of “behavior” resulting in SHU placement and retention.
The CDCR’s Security Threat Group-Step Down Program merely seeks to require “formal rule violations” to place or retain us in SHU – based on the same things they’ve used for 30 years – without writing us up. Via the creation of the STG-SDP “Disciplinary Matrix,” CDCR codifies minor association-type activity into the regulations as formal, serious and/or administrative rule violations, as well as instruction on formal charges based solely on confidential prisoner informant allegations, when the reliability criteria per Title 15, Section 2231, is met.
Thus, we need to obtain legislation that limits such abuse of power.
In August 2011, Gov. Brown signed into law California Penal Code Section 1111.5, providing guidelines for “the use of in-custody informants in criminal cases.” Thus, legislators are aware of problems with abuse involving informants, and I believe a unified push can successfully expand the scope of this penal code section to include the use of confidential informant debriefing reports in the CDCR rule violation process – a big plus for prisoners.
Push to end the use of minor prison rule violations that are not even misdemeanors per the Penal Code – see those listed in the STG-SDP Disciplinary Matrix for categories 6 and 8 – for SHU placement and retention. The way to push it is to focus on the fact that such aren’t even misdemeanors, yet CDCR uses them to place and retain people in SHU cells for a minimum of four years to life – at a cost of at least $20,000 more per year than a general population cell.
And this will potentially result in approximately 85,000 prisoners who currently meet STG criteria being subject to these costly SHU cells – for four years to life (of torture).
On Step Down Program participation
Our position has not changed: We are 100 percent opposed to this! However, if people refuse to participate, then how do we obtain the proof necessary to support our position that it’s a sham program? The journals are a problem – we’ve been told they don’t leave our possession, that the facilitators just thumb through it in front of you to be sure you’ve written something. Naturally, participation is an individual decision, and any abuse need to be documented.
On class action certification
We’re still waiting on the judge’s written ruling formally certifying the case as a class action! However, at the oral arguments, all present agreed, the judge indicated such certification would be allowed. The issue is just more complicated since the CDCR came out with their alleged “new” gang management policy per STG-SDP; and this is why we believe it’s taking a while to issue the order on paper.
Based on our own experiences here, we know CDCR, OCS and IGI are already abusing the STG Disciplinary Matrix and issuing a lot of “serious” rule violations for minor things, using CCR, Title 15, Section 3023 “Promotion of Gang Activity” without any evidence of “promotion” etc. Any documentation relating to this or any other abuse regarding STG-SDP issues needs to be sent to the class action attorneys asap.
With solidarity and respect,
Todd Ashker
This letter was written Feb. 24, 2014, but did not reach the Bay View until late April. Send our brother some love and light: Todd Ashker, C-58191, D4-121, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532.

Freedom Archives 

Mass Hunger-Strike Launched by Palestinian ‘Administrative Detainees’

Occupied Ramallah, 24 April 2014 
Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association can confirm the launch of a mass open-ended hunger strike involving over 100 Palestinian political detainees. All those involved are being held under administrative detention, which is a procedure whereby detainees are held without charge or trial.
Today’s hunger strike can be traced back to May 2012 when an agreement was reached between the Israeli Prison Service and representatives of the prisoners, which brought an end to a mass hunger strike involving approximately 2,000 political prisoners. As part of this agreement Israel agreed to limit its use of administrative detention to only exceptional circumstances. However, since then Israel has reneged on the agreement and has continued to use administrative detention on a systematic basis leaving the detainees with little choice but to launch a fresh strike.
The strike is currently taking place in Ofer, Megiddo and the Naqab Prisons and there are plans to escalate the strike should the striking detainee’s demands not be met. The general demand of the hunger strikers is an end to the use of administrative detention. The hunger strikers are also specifically demanding that extensions to administrative detention orders are limited to one extension only.
As of 1 March 2014 there were 183 Palestinians being held without charge or trial under administrative detention, including 9 Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) members. This number has been steadily increasing over the last year. In 2014 alone, Israel has used administrative detention against 142 detainees, including renewing existing orders and issuing new orders.
Addameer lawyer Samer Sama’an today visited a number of administrative detainees, including PLC member Yasser Mansour, at the Naqab Prison. It was confirmed that 55 administrative detainees being held in the Naqab Prison have launched a hunger-strike. All striking detainees were immediately isolated by the Israeli Prison Service from the rest of the prison population and are currently being held in tents.
As mentioned administrative detainees are held without charge are trial. They are detained on completely 'secret evidence’ and neither they nor their lawyers have access to such evidence. Some detainees have spent over eight years in prison, never knowing what was contained in the 'secret evidence’. While administrative detention is legal under international law, it must be used in very specific circumstance and on a case-by-case basis. This is clearly not the case given Israel has used administrative detention against tens of thousands of Palestinians.
In another development Mr. Sama’man reported that prisoners and detainees being held at the Naqab Prison wishing to meet their lawyers are forced to
wait for long periods of time in tiny cells which lack any sort of ventilation. As a result many are choosing not to meet with their lawyers due to the humiliating procedures that the Israeli Prison Service has imposed on them.
Addameer holds the Israeli authorities solely responsible for the health of all hunger strikers. Addameer also demands that all contracting parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention pressure Israel to immediately release all administrative detainees and cease the use of administrative detention. Furthermore, Addameer calls on global civil society to mobilize without delay in support of the striking detainees and 5,000 Palestinian political prisoners currently being held in Israeli prisons.
For more information please see Addameer’s recent administrative detention factsheet and visit www.stopadcampaign.com

Freedom Archives

Call-In Day Monday April 28th In Support of Menard Hunger Strikers

On this upcoming Monday, April 28th we are asking and encouraging people to participate in a Call-In Day in support of the prisoners in the High Security Unit at Menard Correctional Center in Illinois who are facing retaliation for engaging in a hunger strike in January. Prisoners there have been beaten by guards and metal boxes have been placed over their windows—preventing future engagement with noise demonstrations outside the prison, but also preventing sunlight from coming into their cells and increasing the sensory deprivation they experience in solitary confinement.
We hope that any pressure on the administration can draw attention to the inhumane treatment prisoners are forced to endure and help prisoners get their demands met.

We are trying to focus our calls between 10am and noon on Monday, April 28th: But calling at other times is also useful.
Warden Kim Butler  (New as of April 2014 and the first woman warden at Menard–a 20-year veteran of the Illinois Dept of Corrections).
618-826-5071 ext. 2225
Illinois Department of Corrections
Director Lisa Weitekamp
217-558-2200 x. 4166
In January 15th, 2014, prisoners at Menard went on a hunger strike due to their placement and retention in severe isolation, under inhumane living conditions, without notice, reasons or hearing. The strike ended about a month later.
On Saturday, April 12th, maintenance workers drilled big metal boxes on the outside of the windows in the High Security Unit (HSU). Prisoners in the HSU can no longer see out the windows and barely any sunlight comes in. Prisoners were told by the guards, “How do you like your view now?” Prisoners think it is in retaliation for their hollering out to the protestors that marched outside the facility during the hunger strike.
On the same day, the Special Response Team was called into the HSU to do a cell shakedown and in the process beat and mistreated several prisoners, including Joseph Tillman #R40962, whose head was repeatedly slammed against a block wall.
  1. Appalled at the recent installation of metal boxes covering prisoners windows in the High Security Unit. Remove the metal boxes on the windows immediately!
  2. The conditions at Menard are deplorable and inhumane.
  3. Let prisoners know why and for how long they are being held in isolation.
  4. An immediate end to retaliation against hunger striking prisoners.
  5. Ask for an update about the condition of Joseph Tillman #R40962 who was beaten during the cell shakedown on April 12th.
Here is the original list of demands. According to prisoners, conditions in the High Security Unit include:
  • severe isolation without any mental health evaluation or treatment;
  • uncleanliness, rodent infestation and lack of any cleaning supplies to clean cells – no disinfectants, no toilet brushes;
  • no written policies requiring the daily sweeping and mopping of the wings;
  • lack of heat in the cells and only one small, thin blanket;
  • showers are moldy and often cold;
  • no hot water in the cells to wash up or clean eating utensils;
  • unauthorized deviation from the statewide menu, low calorie intake has prisoners losing weight;
  • not issued individual coats, have to share smelly coats with numerous men;
  • access to their legal materials limited to approximately once a month, delays in receiving legal mail;
  • no educational opportunities even though non-disciplinary prisoners should have the same access to education as the general population.
Please call!
Please tell your friends!

Freedom Archives