Prisoners Report on Conditions in

Virginia Prisons

Got $20? Slip it in an envelope and send to POB 40799 SF, CA 94140. Help cover printing costs. help out

www.prisoncensorship.info is a media institution run by the Maoist Internationalist Ministry of Prisons. Here we collect and publicize reports of conditions behind the bars in U.$. prisons. Information about these incidents rarely makes it out of the prison, and when it does it is extremely rare that the reports are taken seriously and published. This historical record is important for documenting patterns of abuse, and also for informing people on the streets about what goes on behind the bars.

We hope this information will inspire people to take action and join the fight against the criminal injustice system. While we may not be able to immediately impact this particular instance of abuse, we can work to fundamentally change the system that permits and perpetuates it. The criminal injustice system is intimately tied up with imperialism, and serves as a tool of social control on the homeland, particularly targeting oppressed nations.

[Censorship] [Political Repression] [Virginia] [ULK Issue 4]
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SHU time for MIM lit

I'm writing regarding the 7/24/2008 rejection notice concerning my MIM publications. The claim for such action: "Inappropriate material for the correctional environment." There was no explanation in how my publication's were classified as inappropriate. I didn't receive the notice until four day's later, 7/28/08, so that I wouldn't have an opportunity to protest and appeal the rejection of my publications.

As of this moment, I've filed my informal complaint concerning the matter. Once I've received a response, the next step is laying the foundation for 42 U.S.C § 1983. The actions of this Hitler-style concentration camp is unacceptable!

Comrade, I've been locked down in the SHU since February 24, 2008, following the first rejection of my MIM publications on false allegations of organizing a riot! The length the Amerikans will go to silence the voice of an eminent revolution is unbelievable. The time is coming, they can't stop the unstoppable comrade!

[MIM(Prisons) also filed an administrative appeal to this censorship, and posted it, along with the censorship notification on our website. We encourage others to write in to support this comrade and protest the baseless censorship, using our letters as a model.]

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[National Oppression] [Political Repression] [Virginia]
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Letter of Exposure to COINTELPRO

The following letter is part of the exposure process of current COINTELPRO operations on behalf of the federal government against New Afrikan organizations and prisoners in particular. MIM(Prisons) can attest to these operations against a number of organizations and individuals. MIM(Prisons) has been similarly labeled a "Security Threat Group" in Virginia and our literature has not been allowed into Red Onion State Prison as a result. The author is one of countless prisoners who have been targeted for long-term isolation due to their political beliefs and affiliations in the united $tates.

MIM(Prisons) disagrees with the New Afrikan Black Panther Party's (NABPP) analysis of amerika and the principal contradiction, which is reflected in this letter. The author quotes Eldridge Cleaver to say that there is no difference between the white and Black movement in amerika. There is a serious difference in that the Black nation faces substantial oppression under imperialism, while whites fill the role of the oppressor. As true internationalists, the Black Panthers never took up racism. Their line on the amerikan class structure evolved over time, while they always upheld the need for self-determination of oppressed nations. At their best, Huey Newton and Eldridge Cleaver had come to understand the amerikan people as bought off allies of imperialism. This view later devolved into what the Panthers became, a reformist organization stuck in electoral politics.

As an organization that claims to apply the scientific analysis of dialectical materialism, MIM(Prisons) sees the NABPP line on the amerikan class structure as idealist and therefore revisionist. The only evidence they can offer to substantiate their position is dogma and chauvinism.

We print this letter in support of the righteous struggle to expose and beat back the use of prisons and the criminal injustice system as tools of political repression.

Racial and Political persecution of Grassroots Black Political leaders and Activists

As many of you are likely aware, Amerika’s ‘intelligence’ and executive policing agencies, (federal, state and local), have a sordid legacy of persecuting and targeting grassroots Black political leaders and activists for destruction. The spectrum of methods applied here ranged from slander (false character and image depictions and attacks) spread through and by government agents and friendly media ‘assets’ to false and malicious criminal arrests and prosecutions, to violence and outright murder.

Such designs come as no surprise in a country that was built upon history’s first race-based and most brutal system of enslavement, and Native genocide and land theft. The very place where the false concept of race and attendant racism (white racial supremacy) were created.(1)

Since chattel slavery, and Amerikan society was artificially divided along politically created racial lines, it has been a central policy to prevent Blacks from organizing independent political institutions and parties. Until just a few decades ago, this policy included our systematic exclusion from participating as genuine citizens in electoral politics. Indeed, Amerika’s ‘dual party’ system evolved from the struggle to keep Blacks enslaved and out of the political sphere – contrary to deceptive official claims that this system arose as an expression of respect for diverse political views and representatives.(2)

It is also telling that many of the historical figures projected today as Amerikan heroes and ‘founding fathers’ embraced bigoted views and practiced genocidal and criminal policies that would have made even the most vicious German Nazi blush(27). Let’s not forget that the Central Intelligence Agency, in its formative years, absorbed and employed many of the Nazi’s worst war criminals as agents, assets and advisers.(3) Indeed, president George W. Bush’s grandfather was Hitler’s chief Amerikan financier during World War II, and ended in having his Union Banking Corporation confiscated under the Trading with the Enemies Act in October 1942 by the Roosevelt administration.(4)

Since U.S. executive policies of targeting ‘non-imbedded’ Black politicos for destruction were exposed in the 1970s, culminating in several congressional investigations and reports(5), efforts have been made to gloss over this history and to rehabilitate the images of these agencies, particularly through glamorized images and cultural fantasies projected of Amerikan police and intelligence agencies, via the vast entertainment/information media. However, behind this iron curtain of deception, official designs have not changed. A fact that I bear witness to, because I have been and am a target of them. Which is the basis of this letter.

I have been incarcerated since 1990, and have experienced first hand the brutal reality of Amerikan prisons. A system that, as the American Civil Liberties Union has acknowledged, is more and more “dedicated to the African American Community,”(6) and the underlying anti-Black orientation of this system, which cannot be honestly denied.(7)

For many years I have been reporting and pursuing public exposure and redress of the brutality, torture and abuses occurring inside these institutions, and have supported and co-founded several groups and organizations that also pursue these ends.

In 2005, I co-founded the New Afrikan Black Panther Party/White Panther Organization, a non-violent, legal and above-ground party whose focus is on promoting the interests and human rights, in strictly legal forms, of sectors of the U.S. population whose needs and interests are ignored, and who are not represented, by the ‘established’ political – economic system – especially poor, working class and imprisoned Blacks.

The NABPP/WPO specifically opposes criminal activities, ‘street gang’ mentalities and behaviors, violence (except in the extremes of self-defense), all forms of discrimination (racial, ethnic, gender, sexual orientation, national, etc.) and all forms of oppression. We also promote the right to free, open and honest speech. Our orientation, ideologies, and views have been and are elaborated in our various periodicals and publications; many of them I authored.(8)

Because U.S. social policies are not oriented towards serving or promoting the needs, interests, rights and benefits of poor, working class and ethnic people, while our Party’s orientation specifically is, we are likely viewed as promoting views unpopular with and to the status quo. As a result of this in general, and my role in these efforts in particular, I have been and am targeted with those repressive methods reserved in Amerika for independent Black leaders and activists.

One typical form that this targeting has taken is my being falsely profiled by this prison as the leader of a criminal street gang or Security Threat Group (STG), namely the NABPP/WPO. This tactic of stigmatizing and consequently repressing Black political groups is certainly not new or unique, and harks back to policies applied by U.S. officials during periods when official racism was less veiled.(9) As Associate U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Hugo Black pointed out:

“History should teach us… that… minority parties and groups which advocate extremely unpopular social or governmental innovations will always be typed as criminal gangs and attempts will always be made to drive them out.”
Barenblatt v. U.S., 360 U.S. 109, ISO(1959) (dissenting opinion)


So much for the facial validity of STG profiling.

I have persisted in seeking an explanation from this prisons’ and prison system’s administration as to what the NABPP/WPO has done or promotes that qualifies us for STG classification, besides the obvious reasons of their own racial and political intolerance. To date my inquiries have been evaded and I am told that I cannot formally grieve the matter through the established grievance procedures.

It is of course a crime to be a member of, to recruit for, or to act in furtherance of the goals of a criminal street gang. The criteria of what constitutes a criminal street gang is defined by law.(10) Incidentally, I might add, “street gang” implies groupings of people of color, since it is generally recognized that, since the 1970s, ‘urban’ is basically synonymous in Amerika with the Black population, over 90% of which lives in urban communities. Yet another ‘legal’ embodiment of the race factor, targeted at people of color selectively.

Moreover, to falsely impute criminal activities to one not duly convicted is per se defamation and slander (11) – and one is presumed innocent of crimes that they have not been thus convicted of.

This entire gang profiling of me and the NABPP/WPO here has been at the instigation of this prison’s near-exclusively white staff and investigator, (and admittedly conveyed to federal intelligence agencies), who come from local, rural, race-segregated communities of mountainous south-western Virginia and eastern Kentucky and Tennessee, who harbor socially conditioned and culturally ingrained insensitivities towards, and genuine ignorance of the views, values, history and culture, of urban people of color.

Typical of the tendency of racists to stereotype groups of people, these officials make no distinctions between Black political organizations and indeed declare that “all Black groups that promote dissent” fit their criteria of a gang or STG, as does any group or organization that criticizes government and prison practices and policies.

Further, they lump together every group that has ever used the “Black Panther” name (characterizing them all as generically, the “Black Panther group,” or “Black Panther gang.”) Although, there have been a great number of different organizations that have used the “Black Panther” name or logo; none of which is the NABPP/WPO affiliated with. In fact, initially they claimed the NABPP/WPO and the New Black Panther Party, which is led today by D.C.–based attorney Malik Zulu Shabazz, were one and the same organization, whereas these two organizations have no connection. Interestingly, however, they have stated in writing that M. Shabazz – a federal lawyer – is the leader of a criminal gang also, namely the NBPP.

Many of the organizations that have used the Black Panther name in fact no longer exist, and had very different ideologies, agendas and views.(12) In deed, the NBPP is a quasi-religious group connected to the Nation of Islam, whose racial, political and economic views the NABPP/WPO do not share. Fundamentally, this prison designated the NABPP/WPO a gang and STG before even knowing what our views and interests are, and subsequently have ignored them in order to preserve this false criminal profile.

And using the generic, all-inclusive “Black panther” designation, they systematically bar any and all information on any BP organization, past, present, from possession by any prisoner, although most Black history reference books and general encyclopedias have entries on the original Black Panther Party and its leaders. So in essence, the policy here is to censor Black history while promoting the history and memories of white Amerikan figures and political leaders who exterminated Indians, and enslaved, brutalized and raped Blacks as an accepted political norm.(27) Racial discrimination.

But of course this repression is not without precedent.

The original BPP, which was founded in Oakland, California in 1966 by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale, and destroyed by the U.S. government, met with similar persecution. Indeed, its treatment by the U.S. government, the Federal Bureau of Investigation in particular, set the standard on official hatred and smear-mongering against groups bearing the BP name.

The original BPP was founded as a legal above-ground Black political party that promoted the rights of urban Blacks to defend their communities against crime and violence(13), and promoted community service programs to meet the economic needs of desperately poor urban Blacks that the government ignored; such as free breakfast programs for children (this was before food stamps and free school meals were widely available – in fact the government expanded food stamps and school meals as a counter to the Panther’s programs), petition drives against police brutality, free schools, free health clinics, free clothing and shoe programs, free busing to prisons, free senior citizen service programs, free sickle cell anemia research and testing, free pest control, plumbing and maintenance, ambulance, day care, and news service programs.(14)

Various surveys found the vast majority of the urban Black population supported the BPP. The BPP was so popular that similar BP formations sprang up in England, Israel, Bermuda, Australia and India. It also aided in forming similar groups among whites (the White Panther Party), the Mexicans (Brown Berets), Puerto Ricans (Young Lords Party), and white college student groups, which it worked closely with as allies. As Todd Gitlin of the Students for a Democratic Society noted, “at a time when most other black [groups] donned dashikis and glowered at whites, they [Panthers] welcomed white allies.” Eldridge Cleaver, the BP’s Minister of Information pointed out:

“in reality there is no such thing as a black movement and a white movement in the United States. These are merely categories of thoughts that only have reality in terms of the lines that the ruling class itself has drawn and is implementing amongst the people. The United States is controlled by one ruling class…”

Solely because of its orientation toward uplifting and serving the Black communities, and its influence on other poor and oppressed communities, the BPP was viciously slandered and attacked by the government, violence prone street gangs were incited by the FBI and police to attack and kill BPP leaders and members(15); racial and anti-white stereotypes were played up via the media; bogus letters were written by FBI agents and sent to BPP members, the public, landlords, employers, spouses, supporters, religious leaders, etc, to play the Black community, Panthers and other religious leaders, etc. to play the Black community, Panthers and other Black groups against each other: assassination raids were conducted by FBI and police to murder Panthers; false arrests and prosecutions of Panthers were conducted to stigmatize them as criminally inclined and to harass them and deplete Party funds and resources on defending members against false criminal charges and much more. All orchestrated by the FBI’s covert action program, COINTELPRO (Counter Intelligence Program). (16)

The derogatory and violence-prone image of the BPP was solely the creation of a then openly racist and sexist FBI(16), led by J. Edgar Hoover(17), and other agencies, at a period when Blacks and women were refused employment with the FBI, and it was openly operating as an agency opposed to Blacks and Black communities(18). The concededly illegal and criminal methods used by the FBI against the BPP were exposed and denounced by the U.S. Congress in 1976(5), and several in-depth studies have been written on the FBI's anti-BPP and anti-Black crusade.(19)

While the FBI claimed, in the face of its exposure in the 1970s, that it would end or limit future COINTELPROs (although it has not), the false images it portrayed of the BPP continues and lives on in the white Amerikan public mind.(20) Hence, the very mention of the name BP today evokes images of a gun-toting Black version of the Ku Klx Klan.

But let there be no mistake about it, the BPP was not an exception to the rule in the application of these methods against Black political activists and leaders. As the Church Committee Congressional investigations of U.S. intelligence agencies exposed, all Black leaders and groups were targeted, even such groups and leaders as the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Martin Luther King, Jr., all under FBI labeled of their being “violence prone” “Black Nationalist Hate Groups.”(9) Just like the criminal gang label is thrown around today.

As a recent in-depth expose by attorney William F. Pepper, and a wrongful death lawsuit he successfully prosecuted on behalf of the King family in 1999 revealed, the FBI, in collaboration with other U.S. civil and military intelligence agencies, were King’s actual killers.(21)

King’s widow, the late Coretta Scott King, had this to say about Pepper’s book:

“For a quarter of a century, Bill Pepper conducted an independent investigation of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. He opened his files to our family, encouraged us to speak with the witnesses, and represented our family in the civil trial against he conspirators. The jury affirmed his findings, providing our family with a long-sought sense of closure and peace, which had been denied by official disinformation and cover-ups. Now the findings of his exhaustive investigation and additional revelations from the trial are presented in the pages of this important book. We recommend it highly to everyone who seeks the truth about Dr. King’s assassination.”

Yet today, the U.S. government pretends to respect the memory and work of this man that it murdered, with a national holiday.(22)

The object, then as today, is to destroy independent and influential Black political leaders and replace them with ones “approved” by U.S. officials to mislead us.(23) To continue the oppressive and steadily deteriorating conditions within, and to divide, the U.S. Black communities.

As the Church Committee report revealed, assistant FBI director William C. Sullivan, promoted a COINTELPRO in which the FBI would hand-pick a “new national leader,” once King was eliminated.(24) Sullivan’s overall strategy, which he wrote in 1964, was to simultaneously destroy Dr. King, Malcolm X and Elijah Muhammad. He wrote:

“…when this is done, and it can and will be done, obviously much confusion will reign, particularly among the Negro people… The Negroes will be left without a national leader of sufficiently compelling personality to steer them in the proper direction…”(25)

Sullivan recommended Black corporate lawyer Samuel R. Pierce, Jr as King’s replacement.

Yesterday it was a corporate lawyer, today it is an ex-law professor – Barack Obama.

We of course know that COINTELPRO is alive and well. The repressions I face are classic COINTELPRO methods. Also, three years ago FBI director Robert Mueller announced before a Senate subcommittee the implementation of a new “Threat Assessment Program” (TAPS). A modern COINTELPRO targeted specifically at U.S. prisoners who are politically active, under the cover, as always, of professing to prevent potential violence. The same self-serving rationale used to justify the ongoing persecution and ultimate murder of Dr. King, and targeting all other Black political groups, leaders and activists.(26) TAPS involves the FBI, along with Homeland Security and other agencies, working in collaboration with various prisons and prison systems nationwide to identify, profile, disrupt, repress and neutralize prisoner activists (groups and individuals), being mindful that several influential Black political leaders like Malcolm X and George Jackson developed inside of prison. I have been informed that I have been and am a target of TAPs.

Methods that I have been targeted with include the following:
Frequent interception and destruction of my mail;
Systematic obstruction of all articles I write or artwork I create from coming into the prison;
Obstructions of my ability to collaborate with outside editors and contacts to have my articles and a book I wrote published;
Blocking nearly all of my periodicals from reaching me;
Repeated targeting with trumped-up disciplinary reports;
Repeated indictments on trumped up violent crimes that have been each dismissed in turn – the last one with prejudice where I conducted my defense pro se (abuse of process);
Habitually disappearing my incoming mail or rejecting it as in violation of prison policy without explanation;
Barring my contacts with various attorneys who’ve attempted to assist me;
Rejecting, opening and delaying my legal mail – even from the ACLU – outside my presence;
Hampering my contacts with the courts in anticipated and pending litigations;
Frequent destructions and thefts of my legal property which I’ve had to obtain court orders to have returned;
Barring my visitors and telephone use and blocking the telephone numbers of loved ones and others;
Targeting me with threats, attempts and actual acts of violence by guards and their white supremacist inmate lackeys, etc.

I should add that further conditions exist at this prison, and within this prison system, which are openly race-motivated or otherwise unlawful, e.g. the censorship of Black - and Brown – oriented cultural, political and historical publications as STG materials; while no such measures are applied to mainstream and white publications and media; censorship of all media and publications that in any way critique U.S. government, prison and economic policies and practices; censorship of publications and media by or about grassroots Black historical figures and leaders such as Huey P. Newton and Harry Haywood, while publications about racist, murderous and criminally oppressive white historical figures like Adolph Hitler, Geroge Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Christopher Columbus, etc., etc. are stocked in the prison library and accessible to all prisoners; promoting, protecting and hiring of staff at the prison who are members and affiliates of white supremacist groups and gangs; repression of prisoners who are “documented members” of actual Black and Brown street gangs while officials protect and give free reign to members of white supremacist gangs and use them as hit men against disliked prisoners of color (29), removing all television stations from the prison's closed circuit television system that aired Black programs and refusing channels that air Spanish-language Brown programs; harassing local radio stations and programs that play Black music and allow call-ins to prisoners from friends, family and supporters; subjecting Black and Brown prisoners to the harshest and highest security levels and conditions while maintaining white prisoners in minimum security with extensive privileges and benefits, making security level classifications along blatantly racial lines, frequent targeting of Black and Brown prisoners with abuse, violence, denied meals, etc.; deliberately engineering and facilitating violent conflicts between and against prisoners of color, particularly between prisoners documented as members of rival Black and Brown street gangs (28), populating these remote prisons that are staffed nearly-exclusively by rural whites with predominantly non-white prisoners, etc., etc.

That the FBI and other intelligence and executive agencies are more racially diverse today than during the 1960s and 70s in no way invalidates their anti-Black policies. Indeed it was a Black Chicago policeman – Gloves Davis – that shot two sleeping BPP leaders, Fred Hampton and Mark Clark, in the heads at point blank range in December 1969, in an FBI orchestrated assassination raid. It was today’s FBI that assassinated Puerto Rican grassroots leader Filberto Ojeda Rios in September 2005, sparking protests across Puerto Rico, which spanned everyday civilians to government leaders.(30) Also the most brutal violence against South Afrikan Blacks during openly racist apartheid was often carried out by Black soldiers and police(31). We see Black and Brown police involved as viciously as white ones in unprovoked and unjustified violence and murders of urban youth of color today, in Amerika.

Furthermore, the National Security council (NSC), which is chaired by the U.S. President, and whose enforcement arm is the CIA, implemented NSC memorandum #46 in 1978. The stated goals of which were/are to ensure the permanent demise and destruction of the U.S. Black liberation and civil rights movements(32). In its own words, NSC-46 devised to ensure that there would never evolve another independent Black leader or organization that could unite the U.S. Black populations; to play white working class people against Blacks; to divide the Black community and political groups; to bring more Blacks into established political institutions so they could be controlled and used to mislead the Black population; and to destroy all aspirations then prevailing among Blacks to develop an independent Black political party.

So we see an overall historical continuum till today of targeting Black leaders and activists for destruction who are not “approved” by the Establishment, and deliberately maintaining the urban Black communities in crisis. And the same old tactics are being used.

Officials at this prison have conceded working with the FBI and DHS in “intelligence sharing” – government speak for inter-agency repressive covert actions against targeted individuals and groups.

Of course, none of what I’ve touched on herein related to the history and designs of this country’s intelligence and policing agencies is unknown to the various recipients of this letter, it’s your M.O. and S.O.P. It’s the general public that’s kept oblivious of it. Moreover, I’ve only skimmed that surface, just enough to place my issues in their proper context, and to satisfy my burden of placing each of you on notice of my issues before pursuing redress in other forums, and to afford you the opportunity to address/redress these matters.

I am therefore presenting this letter of complaint to all named agencies and officials, requesting that such racially and politically motivated persecution and abuses cease, that the false gang/STG profiling of me and the NABPP/WPO at this prison and anywhere else be rescinded with an apology for this defamation, and that all the illegal, discriminatory and retaliatory treatments and conditions mentioned herein be abolished. If I hear nothing from you all within 20 days, I will proceed to seek both public and judicial exposure and redress of these and other practices against those official hereby notified, via copy of this.

Notes and supplementary commentary:

1. See, e.g. Theodore Allen, The Invention of the White Race (New York: Verse, 1997); Steve Martinof, The Rule of Racialization (Philadelphia: Temple University press, 2003).

In 1676 Afrikan and English slaves and indentured servants, (who enjoyed equal statuses and conditions of brutality and abuse), came together under a rebellious young planter, Nathaniel Bacon, in an united revolt that overthrew the colonial government in Virginia, and burned down the capitol of Jamestown (Bacon’s Rebellion). Six months into the revolt Bacon died of influenza, and without its leader the revolt was defeated by colonial forces. Subsequently, the colonial government instituted a policy designed to prevent any similar revolt from occurring again, by dividing the society of poor workers against each other along racial lines. In 1682 laws were passed creating the “Negro” and “white” races and making slavery an hereditary and permanent status for Afrikans. (see, William W. Hening, Statues at Lorge: The Laws of Virginia (Richmond, 1809), pp. 492 ff). In 1705 the “race line was further clarified by laws that defined as “Negro” anyone having “one drop” of Afrikan blood. Slavery and servitude of whites was phased out, and they were brought together under the concept of being a “superior” race, religiously ordained to enslave Blacks under the Biblical “curse of canaan.” The entire white society was mobilized as a united force (slave patrols) to police and brutally repress Blacks, whom they were indoctrinated to hate and fear. This politically manufactured system gave birth to white racism, that persists till today, and was exported from the Virginia colonies to all areas where Europeans came into contact with and sought to conquer the lands and seize the wealth and labor power of people of color. And is preserved in multitudes of ways by today’s capitalist political-economic systems, which deliberately pits whites, Blacks and other races against each other.

2. “The purity of democratic institutions was, in the historical debates around Manifest Destiny, an extension of the purity concept of whiteness. And in the evolution of the two-party system, a further extension of the structure of racialization expressing itself. The force driving U.S. political process toward a two-party system historically was none other than the question of slavery and the disenfranchisement of the black voter….
“The disenfranchisement of the black voter has been a major issue throughout U.S. history. It was hotly debated right after the Revolution, imposed in most states before the civil war, imposed by means of paramilitary operations during and after reconstructions, and flaunted in the face of constitutional guarantees of the right to vote until the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The drive to disenfranchise black people continues today through massive felony incarceration for misdemeanors and victimless crimes, for which they lose suffrage. According to Paul Haygood, more than 13% of potential black voters are currently disenfranchised (Ryan Paul Haygood, Black Commentator June 10, 2004. According to Haygood, of the 4.7 million people disenfranchised by felony conviction in the U.S., 1.4 million are black males, or 13% of the adult black population this does not count black females).”
-Steve Martinot, Socialism and Democracy, “Mexico, Iraq, and the Two-party system: Studies in White Supremacy,” Vol. 19, No 1, March 2005, pp 129-30.

3. Exposes on the protection and employment of Nazi war criminals by the U.S. and British governments are legion. See for example, Christopher Simpson, Blowback: America’s Recruitment of Nazis and its Effects on the Cold War (New York: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1988) (on Rauff, the inventor and administrator of the gas truck execution program which murdered approximately 250,000 people, see pp. 92-94, on Gehlen, Hitler’s most senior intelligence office on the brutal Eastern Front, see pp. 70-72, 248-263, 279-283, on Barbie, the Gestapo’s “Butcher of Lyons,” see pp. 185-195); see also, Mary Ellen Reese, General Reinhard Gehlen’s the CIA Connection (Fairfax, VA: George Mason University Press, 1990); Erhard Dubringhaus
Klaus Barbie: The Shocking Story of How the US Used this Nazi War Criminal as an Intelligence Agent – a First Hand Account (Washington: Acropolis, 1984); John Loftus, The Belarus Secret (New York: Knopf, 1982) ch. 5; Tom Bower, Klaus Barbie: The “Butcher of Lyons” (New York: Pantheon, 1984); Kai Hermann, “A Killer’s Career,” Stern (Germany), May 10 and following, 1984 (six part series based upon declassified U.S. government documents and interviews conducted in Bolivia); Linda Hunt, Secret Agenda: The United States Government, Nazi Scientists, and Project Paperclip, 1945-1990 (New York, St. Martin’s, 1991); Alexander Cockburn, et al. Whitehout: The CIA, Drugs and the Press (London, Vergo, 1990) chs 6 and 7; Eugene J. Kolb, [former U.S. counterintelligence corps officer and chief of operations in the Augsburg region of Germany) “Army Counterintelligence's Dealings with Klaus Barbie,” Letter, New York Times, July 26, 1983, p. A20 (defending the employment of Barbie); Michael McClintock, Instruments of statecraft: U.S. Guerilla Warfare Counter-Insurgency and Counter-terrorism, 1940-1990 (New York: Pantheon, 1992), especially ch 3 (important study of U.S. intelligence’s absorption of Nazi methods and practitioners into U.S. special warfare doctrine after World War II.

4. Charles Higham, Trading with the Enem: An Expose of the Nazi-American Money Plot (NewYork: Delacorte, 1983). George Bush is certainly not an exception among prominent U.S. government officials with direct lines of descent from major Nazis. Karl Roves grandfather helped run the Nazi party and build the Birkenau Death camp, and California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's Austrian father was a Nazi SA volunteer and became a ranking officer. See, The Free Press , October 6, 2003.

5. See Church Committee, U.S. Congressional Report: Intelligence Activities and the Rights of Americans, 94th Congress, 2nd Section, Report No 94-755 (1976) (Washington, U.S. Government Printing Office), Books II and III.

6. ACLU, Cracks in the System: Twenty Years of the Unjust Federal Crack Cocaine Law (October 2006)

7. Harvard Law Review, “Developments in the Law-Race and the criminal Process.” Vol 101, Nov 7, May 1988, pp. 1973-1641 (comprehensive dissection of racial discrimination in the ‘criminal justice’ system, determining that discrimination exists at every stage of the ‘criminal justice’ process); Steven R. Donziger, ed, The Real War on Crime: The Report of the National Criminal Justice Commission (New York: Harper Collins, 1996), especially ch4, Michael Tonry, Malign Neglect – Race, Crime, and Punishment in America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995)

8. Kevin “Rashid” Johnson, The Don’t Shank the Guards Handbook: Legal Resource to Guards Brutality, Harassment and Rape (2003); On the Question of Race and Racism (2006), “Wimyn hold up half the sky” (2008), etc.

9. Op Cit. note 5, book III, p. 4 9The FBI's “covert action” programs were generally targeted at any Black political and other groups. “The Black Nationalist Program, according to its supervisor, included ‘a great number of organizations that you might not today characterize as black nationalist but which were in fact primarily black. Indeed, the nonviolent Southern Christian Leadership Conference was labeled as a Black Nationalist ‘Hate Group’.”)

10. In Virginia where I am incarcerated for example, the criminal laws defining and governing “Criminal street gangs,” are set out under VA Code sections 18.2 – 466.1 through 18.2-46.3:3, which parallel similar federal criminal laws under Title 18 of the U.S. Code.

11. For defamation law in Virginia governing false imputations of crime, see for example, Zayre of VA, lac. V. Gowdy, 207 Va. 47, 147 S. E. 2d 710 (1966); [Shupe v. Rose’s stores, Inc. 213 Va. 374, 192 S.E. 2d 766 (1972). But see especially, Schnupp v. Smith, 249 Va. 353, 457 S. E. 2d 42 (1995) (words that impute the commission of a crime that is punishable by imprisonment in a state or federal institution are actionable defamation and slander per se). Accord, VA Code Section 8 01-45.

12. The various Black organizations that have used the Black Panther name, past and present, include, the original Black Panther party (U.S. 1966-1982), the Black Panther movement (England), the Black Panther Party of Israel, Black Panther Party (Australia), Dalit Panthers (India), New Black Panther Party (U.S., 1990-present), New Black Panther Vanguard Movement (U.S., 1994-present), Black Panther Collective (U.S. 1994-present), the National Alliance of Black Panthers (U.S.), Anarchist Black Panthers (U.S.), the NABPP/WPO (U.S.,. 2005 – present), etc.

13.As Huey Newton pointed out in a February 11, 1973 interview with William Buckley, on Public Television: Firing Line, “we were very careful to follow city ordinances, gun regulations, state law, and our constitutional rights.”

14. Charles E. Jones, et al, “Don’t believe the Hype: Debunking the Panther Mythology,” The Black Panther Party Reconsidered Baltimore, MD, Black Classic, 1998) pp29-31.

15. op. cit. note 5, book III p42, one of many examples was where the FBI sent “[a]n anonymous letter…to the leader of the Blackstone Rangers, a Chicago gang” to whom violent type activity, shooting, and the like, are second nature” advising him that “the brothers that run the Panthers blame you for blocking their thing and there’s supposed to be a hit out for you.” The letter was intended to ‘intensify the degree of animosity between the two groups’ and cause ‘retaliatory action which could disrupt the BPP or lead to reprisals against its leadership’.”

16. op.cit, note 6, book III pp. 185-224, section titled “the FBIs Covert Action program to Destroy the Black Panther Party” “[R]ecently a reporter’s Freedom of Information Act investigation into COINTELPRO files found that the American government had done everything possible to infiltrate the Black Panthers and other lesser-known activist groups, then had its ‘agents lead the groups into violent gestures that would divide them, undermine their credibility and bring down the full weight of the state’ on the leaders’ heads.” William Hinton, Through A Glass Darkly (New York, Monthly Review, 206).

“[R]epression in the United States is worse than ever before and much, much harsher than the world – or most Americans, for that matter – is aware or told. In New Mexico, for example, the Alianza led by Reies Tijerina, has been hounded relentlessly since 1966, its offices have been dynamited (by police at that), its leaders shot, its members jailed on such flagrantly outrageous charges that few Americans would believe – even today – the strictly factual story. At the time of writing, Tijerian himself was locked up for years and his Alianza was flagging. As for the Blacks, their repression is not less brutal, just more widespread. The whole primary and secondary leadership of the Black Panther Party has been jailed on obvious frame-ups. They have been beaten, tortured, and murdered. Twice in Oakland, I saw with my own eyes, police in official cars come by a group of Panthers talking peacefully on a street and open fire at them. Three times I witnessed police arrest Panthers, handcuff them, and then pistol-whip them. In over a dozen cases, after seeing Panthers arrested, I have gone to see them in jail and found them bloodied from having “fallen down the stairs” or from having “assaulted a policeman.” And the whole world knows – for this time it was reported in the press – that on-duty Chicago policemen murdered Panthers Fred Hampton and Mark Clark in their sleep. By the end of 1969, not a single policemen had been brought to justice for these acts of violence. On the other hand, all of white America’s law enforcement agents, including federal marshals and America’s law enforcement agents, including federal marshals and the FBI, have gone out of their way – and, often, out of their jurisdiction – to arrest Panthers, without having warrants. Federal marshals have even refused to honor a court order not to remove Chairman Bobby Seale from California (which, legally, made the marshals kidnappers.) By 1970, twenty-eight Black Panthers has been murdered by the police, some beaten to death after arrest (Charles Cox in Chicago), some in unprovoked assaults (seventeen year-old Bobby Hutton in Oakland, Hampton and Clark in Chicago), most in front of scores of witnesses, who could never testify, as the police were never charged.”
John Gerassi, The Coming of the New International (World Publishing Co. 1971) pp. 552-553.

17. See, Curt Gentry, J. Edgar Hoover: The Man and his Secrets (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1991)

18. Kenneth O’Reilly, “Racial Matters”: The FBI’s Secret File on Black America, 1960-1972 (Now York: Free Press, 1989).

19. Id.; Ward Churchill et al. , Agents of Repression: The FBI’s Secret Wars on the Black Panther Party and the American Indian Movement (Boston: South End, 1988); etc.

20. “The FBI has attempted covertly to influence the public’s perception of persons and organizations by disseminating derogatory in formation to the press, either anonymously or through “friendly” contacts.” Joy James, Shadow Boxing (New York: St. Martin’s, 1999) p. 112, see also op. cit. note 5.

21. William F. Pepper, An Act of State: The Execution of Martin Luther King (London: Verson, 2003).

22. “Even after King’s death, [FBI] agents in the field were proposing methods for harassing his widow, and Bureau officials were tring to prevent his birthday from becoming a national holiday.” Op. cit. note 5, book I, p. 223.

23. Ward Churchill, et al, The COINTELPRO Papers: Documents from the FBI’s Secret Wars Against Dissent in America (Boston: South End, 1990), p. 97.

24. op. cit. note 5, book III, p.136

25. Ibid.

26. The Church Committee summed up the limits on law enforcement agencies methods of “preventing violence”:
“The prevention of violence is clearly not, in itself, an improper purpose; preventing violence is the ultimate goal of most law enforcement. Prosecution and sentencing are intended to defer future criminal behavior, not only of the subjct but also of others who might break the law. In that sense, law enforcement legitimately attempts the indirect prevention of possible violence and, if the methods used are proper raises no constitutional issues. When the government goes beyond traditional law enforcement methods, however, and attacks group membership and advocacy , it treads on ground forbidden to it by the constitution. In Brandenburg v. Ohio, 395 v.s. 444 (1969), the Supreme Court held that the government is not permitted to ‘forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force or law violation except where such advocacy is directed toward inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.’ In the absence of such clear and present danger, the government cannot act against speech nor presumably against association.”
Op. cit., note 5, book III, p6.

27. David E. Stannard, American Holocaust: Columbus and the Conquest of the New World (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992). An excerpt, p. 120:
“[T]he surviving Indians later referred to [President George] Washington by the name “Town Destroyer,” for it was under his direct orders that at least 28 of the 30 Seneca towns from Lake Erie to the Mohawk River had been totally obliterated in a period of less than five years, as had all the towns and villages of the Mohawk, the Onondaga, and the Cayuga. As one Iroquoi’s told Washington to his face in 1792: ‘t o this day, when that name is heard, our women folk look behind them and turn pale, and our children cling close to the necks of their mothers.”
“[President Thomas] Jefferson … in 1807 instructed his Secretary of war that any Indians who resisted American expansion into their lands must be met with “the hatchet.” “And…if ever we are constrained to lift the hatchet against any tribe,” he wrote, “we will never lay it down till that tribe is exterminated, or is driven beyond the Mississippi.’ Continuing: ‘in war, they will kill some of us, we shall destroy all of them’ Indeed, Jefferson’s writings on Indians are filled with the straightforward assertion that the natives are to be given a simple choice – to be ‘extirpate[d] from the earth’ or to remove themselves out of the Amerikans’ way. Had these same words been enunciated by a German leader in 1939, and directed as European Jews, they would be engraved in modern memory.”

In fact Hitler based his genocidal methods on study of the U.S. treatment of Native Americans. See, John Toland Adolf Hitler (New York, Doubleday, 1976). P. 702 (“Hitler’s concept of concentration camps as well as the practicability of genocide owed much, so he claimed, to his studies of English and United States history. He admired the Camas for Boer prisoners in South Africa and for the Indians in the wild west, and often praised to his inner circle the efficiency of America’s extermination – by starvation and uneven combat – of the red savages who could not be tamed by captivity.”); Joachim C. Fest, Hitler (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1973), p.214 (Hitler’s “continental war of conquest” was modeled “with explicit reference to the United States.”); Richard Rubenstein, “Afterword: Genocide and Civilization,” Isidor Walliman, eds, et al, Genocide and the Modern Age: Etiology and Case Studies of Mass Death (westport, CT, Greenwood, 1987), p 288 9”Hitler saw the settlement of the New World and the concomitant elimination of North American’s Indian population by white European settlers as a model to be followed by Germany on the European continent.”)

On Columbus, see Samuel Elliot Morison, Christopher Columbus, Mariner (Boston: Little, Brown 1955), p. 129.

“By 1508 a census showed 60,000 of the estimated 1492 population of 250,000 [on Hispaniola] still alive, although the Bahamas and Cuba had been raided to obtain more slaves. Fifty years later, not 500 remained. The cruel policy initiated by Columbus and pursued by his successor resulted in complete genocide."

Furthermore, Washington and Jefferson were two of the largest slave-owners of their day. Jefferson, in fact, raped and sired a child by a 14-year-old slave girl, Sally.

28/29. Prison officials' inciting and facilitating violent conflicts and "gladiator fights" between rival racial groups of prisoners is a common trend in U.S. prisons, as the 1997 documentary expose film Maximum Security University revealed.

30. The Nation, "The killing of Filiberto Ojeda Rios," October 7, 2005. http://www.thenation.com/doc/20051024/jiminez

31. Kurt Campbell, "Marching for Pretoria," Boston Globe Magazine. Marh 1, 1987, pp 161.

32. The National Security Act of July 26, 1947, which created the NSC and CIA, limits the powers of these agencies to political and military matters outside of the U.S.

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[Censorship] [Virginia] [ULK Issue 4]
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XXL, Vibe and others should join lawsuit vs. VA DOC

I am writing in regards to the constant discrimination we face here at Red Onion State Prison. We are allowed to order magazines, but when they get here we usually receive a notice stating that the publication has been disapproved. This is very discouraging and has caused me to stop subscribing to XXL and I soon will cancel my subscription to Vibe. These two publications seem to be the most targeted. Out of 12 XXL magazines I only received 7 issues. Out of 14 Vibes I have only received 7 issues. I recently had a King disapproved, but that was the first time since I have been subscribed.

It seems that the same two magazines are targeted at an alarming pace and without any help from the outside they are getting away with it. All of them are disapproved for the same reason and that's for promoting gang activities. These people have no understanding of us or our culture and every Black person is automatically linked and labeled as a gang member of some sort.

I have written both magazines for assistance to no avail, I have received absolutely no response. These companies will accept our money, but won't offer any help. This is a slap in the face to incarcerated individuals. I have every copy of my disapproval notices and I am open to sending them to someone out there so you can see the pattern.

p.s. Once I started pressing the issue of them abusing their power by using the gang activity as a reason for disapproving magazines, they started adding other rules along with the gang rule on why they disapproved the magazines.

MIM(Prisons) responds: Yes, please do send us documentation of this censorship as we are working to get a lawsuit filed against the censorship at Red Onion, and all evidence you can provide will help us in this struggle. For that matter, any prisoners who have copies of rejection notices can send them to us and we will post them on our website at https://www.prisoncensorship.info as part of our Censorship in Amerikkka Documentation Project.

We have already contacted XXL regarding the censorship of their magazine at Red Onion to see if they are interested in working with us in a lawsuit. We encourage everyone to continue to write to XXL to encourage them to defend their right to communicate with prisoners in Virginia. As media that is deemed "Black," XXL, Vibe, Under Lock & Key and many others are being censored as "gang material." But while XXL and Vibe gets in 50% of the time, we are not aware of an issue of Under Lock & Key successfully reaching a prisoner in Red Onion since it became its own publication last year, even though prisoners have documents stating that their subscriptions to ULK are approved. We welcome all who are facing the racist blockade at Red Onion to contact us to join us in this struggle.

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[Theory] [Virginia]
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Madness of the Mind

People assume it's their circumstances that causes them to act out towards themselves and those around them, but in all actuality it's their thoughts that controls the actions to their bodies and their tongues. When people start to experience this wicked sickening, they begin to play all types of mind games with themselves and everything starts to become illusions to them, which is dangerous to their souls, because they're not thinking about the consequences and punishments that follows the madness that circulates in the mind.

They could attempt to fight the evil off, but they still find themselves fighting the same exact battles, because they lack self-control of their mind functioning. People say, that they have to act a certain way to survive this cold world and that's the only way they can demand respect from those around them; but really stop! Ask yourself, who's lives are being destroyed by the madness of the mind.

MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade brings up some good points. As revolutionary scientists we study society and attempt to explain why different groups behave in certain ways so that we can better understand and transform the world around us. But the basis of the transformation that we want to make is in humyn society, and at the lowest level it is in the humyn mind. So we should not confuse our scientific explanations of behavior with excuses for how we act as individuals.

The comrade is correct to point out that we all have an opportunity to fight off the evil that is being imposed on our minds by a corrupt system. That is why it is so important to have literature and educational programs coming into prisons, especially programs that are teaching people how to play an effective role in making the world a better place. Those who study are the ones who remain strong under the torturous conditions of u$ prison control units. Many fall into the madness that is pushed onto them by the system.

As materialists, we do not believe in a soul, and we believe that ideas stem from a concrete material reality. But at the same time, the writer is correct to say that it is ideas in our heads that determine our actions as individual humyn beings. It is here, where the old adage, "mind over matter" is applicable. Don't be a slave to a system, be an active party in determining your own life.

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[Control Units] [Virginia]
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Red Onion Supermax report

I am an inmate at Red Onion State Prison. This camp is the state of Virginia's only super maximum security prison. Myself and others go thru all the difficulties every day here that are listed on your "Unlock the Box research." Red Onion Prison is located in the southwest region of Virginia. Honestly, this region itself is redneck region. Some of the locals haven't seen nor had to actually deal with any persons of color til this concentration camp opened.

I've been placed at this camp since Nov. 7th, 2006. There are roughly 1500 persons here, some pods hold 22 or 44 persons to a single cell. There are 2 pods that hold 22 cells that are two man cells, these cells (pods) are called progressive housing. These are supposed to be special privilege pods. Everyone has to go into these pods (phases) before transferring. You also have to be 2-3 years charge-free before you can even enter one of these "special privilege pods," and the inmates in these "special pods" still remain on 23-1 lockdown with no programs available or trades. These "special privilege pods" are the same as the super segregation pods, except that someone is in the cell with you.

This camp has been open since 1998 and has more than 100 lawsuits against it. Some are still pending. The national make up is 90% Black, 4-5% whites, and the rest others. When this camp first opened its gates it was all general population, then in 2001 or 2002 it was turned into supermax segregation supposedly for the "worst of the worst." Some guys are here because of stacked minor charges, others have been here since it was turned over to supermax and the powers that be refuse to release them, and then those as myself have more serious charges. The majority are held here for stacked minor offenses.

There isn't a college we can correspond with for further education. There is a half-ass GED/school program that's shown on our TV. The issue with the school is that some people don't have tv's.

The camp hasn't expanded since it opened, only turned into segregation units.

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[Censorship] [Virginia] [ULK Issue 3]
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White Lit Passes VA Censors

Assalamu Alaykum,

As you will see form the attached Personal Property Request Form, I have now been granted permission by the prison admin to receive your newsletters for one year. Therefore, they shouldn't send it back to you, as they did on 12/19/07 due to "no approval."

I also received a copy of the notice your legal council sent to W.D. Jennings on 12/10/07. You and your council should know that Major K. Chris and the admin at ROSP have not limited those nefarious and racist acts to just your newsletter (per DOP 803.2 #13 [MIM(Prisons): This policy reads, " Material that depicts, describes, or promotes gang signs, language, clothing, jewelry, codes or paraphernalia, gang participation, or other gang-related activity or association"]), but also to magazines such as Vibe, XXL, King, Smooth and others. They have also gone so far as to use this all encompassing rule in disapproving personal pictures sent to inmates by family and friends.

What's odd is the fact that none of the prison staff has had any formal training in "gang-related activities" by or with any law-enforcement agencies, and they all reside in southwest Virginia where gang activity is non-existant?!

Most of their true reasons for the disapprovals is actually based on racial bias and ignorance. The racial bias comes as no surprise, as it is a daily practice to see/hear various C/O's spew racial epithets at inmates, with impunity. The ignorance comes from the fact that if they can't understand it, then it must be gang-related.

That is why W.D. Jennings will never give a detailed explanation for these blatant violations of our First Amendment rights, because he would have to expose himself and his agents lack of intellect and the laws of this land! The only language they would overstand is a civil action brought against them by an organization like yours or possibly just a threat of such an action.

Your newsletter provides inmates with the type of information the VA DOC would rather we didn't know. For us to be aware of our rights means they wouldn't be able to continue to violate those rights. They probably aren't even (or weren't) disapproving your newsletters at all VA DOC prisons until it became an issue addressed by your organization, as is the case with our magazines.

I'm now preparing to file a civil suit regarding our magazines, because even though they've disapproved a number of my Vibe and Smooth mags based on "gang-related tattoos and jewelry"(?), I just received a GQ (Jan. '08) with an article specifically on the "CRIPS" in LA. (with full page pics of gang members dressed in blue attire flashing gang signs), which should never have made it to my cell. But, because GQ is viewed as a "mainstream white publication" with a white man on the cover, I'm positive not one person opened it up to "review" its contents!

So, I hope and pray your org will do what it takes to end these racist and draconian practices of the VA DOC, as it is negatively affecting all of us incarcerated in these gulags. At any rate, I hope to be reading your newsletter soon, and I pray you can help bring some resolution to our plight.

MIM(Prisons): This report supports others coming from Virginia that any literature deemed to be “Black” is being censored at Red Onion State Prison. Comrades in Virginia state prisons should take note of the apparent need to get pre-approval for subscriptions. Comrades should go through the required steps to submit a Personal Property Request Form, so that the pigs cannot justify censorship for bureaucratic reasons.

However, it is clear that every piece of literature we send to Virginia is now being censored, including many of our letters, which are being treated as “publications” contrary to the departments own 803.2 procedure. The only mail that is being confirmed received is legal mail related to this censorship battle, which is being received up to 2 months late (a violation Sizemore v. Williford, 829 F.2d 608, 610 (7th Cir. 1999)).

We must agree with this comrade's assessment of the administration in Virginia. Our legal council has put in a commendable effort to get to the bottom of the problems we are facing in Virginia, but W.D. Jennings has yet to give us one meaningful response to our council’s requests that they follow the law.

We are currently actively searching lawyers who can help us bring a civil action against Jennings and the Virginia DOC. We are also requesting that others who are being censored get in touch with us and send us documentation of your own censorship, which we will document on our website and use as evidence in building our case.

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[Censorship] [Civil Liberties] [Virginia]
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Censorship in Virginia=Political Repression

At this point the game here has been to label any group or media critical of government policies/practices as a 'security threat' or Security Threat Group(ie. gang) affiliated. Also this is the trend of 'interpreting' all media and groups of oppressed nationalities. Essentially it boils down to political, cultural and racial censorship, dressed up as 'security' concerns. This is a remote prison staffed by 98% rural socially (race) segregated Appalachian white people, who project and harbor deep-set racist stereotypes and repressive instincts. They've even taken prisoners' Black history reference books labeling them STG material. Hell, I just had Harry Haywood's book "Black Bolshevik" rejected and referred to the Publication Review Committee as STG related. They label any material on the Black Panther Party (BPP) as STG material and the BPP as an STG, although the BPP has not existed since 1982.

You should be aware that during February 2006, FBI director Robert Mueller went before a Senate subcommittee called a "threat assessment program." The professed object of which was to identify, disrupt and develop profiles on prisoners and prisoner groups who aspire to "radicalize" other prisoners and thus result in violence upon the return of such radicalized prisoners to society. The same 'violent' pretext and stereotype always used by the government to repress political activism and consciousness raising. This program was said to be coordinated between the FBI and various prisons and DOCs, both federal and state.


MIM adds: Not only is the Black Panther Party labeled a Security Threat Group, but recent study questions on idealism vs. materialism, discussing Mao's On Contradiction were also considered to promote STGs, terrorism and a list of other charges.

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[Political Repression] [Racism] [Control Units] [Legal] [Abuse] [Red Onion State Prison] [Virginia] [ULK Issue 1]
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Red Onion State Prison: Obstruction of Justice

"Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people, by its example. Crime is contagious. If the Government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for the law: it invites every man to become a law unto himself."Olmstead v. U. S., 277 U. S. 439, 485 (1927)

In April 2007, Richard Rowlette became the new Assistant Warden at Red Onion State Prison (ROSP). Rowlette had previously worked at ROSP in the position of Security Chief from the time that the prison opened in 1998 until December 1999. During that time he was a principal administrative player and ringleader in the racist abuses that won ROSP its reputation for prisoner mistreatment. He was instrumental in helping ROSP gain national notoriety as one of the country's most abusive prisons.

Since his promotion to Assistant Warden, I have filed an official complaint with Rowlette concerning ROSP officials refusing me telephone contact with two attorneys who had offered me their professional assistance. I presented a request to Rowlette to allow me to call these two lawyers.

Months before, both of these lawyers had verified their credentials and their intent and efforts to advise and assist me in litigation against various ROSP staff, including my assigned counselor John Sykes and the chief warden Tracy Ray. One of these lawyers is Mr. Malik Shabazz. Upon being informed of my ongoing experiences of abuse at ROSP (abuse which is a response to my political activism and continuing exposure of abuses at the prison), Mr. Shabazz decided to support me. Mr. Shabazz happens to be the Chairman of the New Black Panther Party (NBPP), an organization with which I have no affiliation.

Rowlette's response was that if he had anything to do with it I'd never talk to a lawyer. When I pointed out that this was a basic constitutional right, he responded, "Your people have no rights." I am New Afrikan (Black) so his meaning was obvious. I filed a complaint. I also filed a complaint about being denied contact with my lawyers for months, despite their repeated attempts to arrange legal calls with me. Rowlette responded to my complaint with a memo stating that my request to have confidential legal calls to these lawyers was "DENIED." In this memo he rationalizes denying me legal calls by claiming that no attorney-client relationship exists between me and these lawyers.

The memo states that unless I prove that they are actively representing me in litigation pending in a court of record in Virginia, I will be denied legal calls. It specifically states that a letter from a lawyer stating the she is representing me "will not suffice." The memo also states, "Your request is further DENIED in regards to Mr. Malik Shabazz due to his involvement with the New Black Panther Party. To allow unrecorded phone calls between you and the President/Founder of the New Black Panther Party would present an unacceptable risk to the Security of this Facility."

For the benefit of any doubters, I've attached a copy of Rowlette's initialed memo.

Rowlette's memo breaks a barrel full of criminal laws. In Virginia it is a crime for any person to interfere with the relationship of confidence and trust that must exist between a lawyer and her/his client. It is also a crime for any one not licensed to practice law to present himself as qualified to give legal opinions. Both of these acts constitute the crime of "unauthorized practice of law."'

Rowlette has no legal training or authority to define the attorney-client relationship. He certainly cannot use any such unauthorized definition to block confidential communications between a lawyer and client. Indeed, the Virginia Supreme Court itself has defined what constitutes an attorney/client relationship. The court's definition is quite different from Rowlette's. In the U.S., it is the function of the courts to define and interpret the laws and the functions of executives (including prison officials), to enforce and apply those laws.

In its definitive document "Practice of Law in the commonwealth of Virginia" (PLCV), the Virginia Supreme Court defines the attorney-client relationship as follows:

"Generally, the relation of attorney and client exists and one is deemed to be practicing law whenever he furnishes to another advice or services under circumstances which imply his possession and use of legal knowledge or skill.

"Specifically, the relation of attorney and client exists, and one is deemed to be practicing law whenever (I.) One undertakes... to advise another... in any matter involving the application of legal principles to facts or purposes or desires. (2) One ... undertakes, with or without compensation, to prepare for another legal
instruments of any character...(3) One undertakes, with or without compensation, to represent the interest of another before any tribunal judicial, administrative, or
executive..."

Rowlette's memo presumes to overrule the high court's definition of the attorney-client relationship. Using his unlawful definition, he has barred me from confidential contact with these lawyers. The bigger absurdity is the obvious Catch-22 in Rowlette's position. A lawyer must be able to consult with a client in order to gather the information necessary to file a lawsuit for him/her. If I am blocked from confidential communications with lawyers, then they will never be able to bring litigation on my behalf. This is the real intent behind Rowlette's game.

As for Mr. Shabazz's NBPP membership, Rowlette presents no evidence that this affiliation threatens prison security. As a federal lawyer, Mr. Shabazz is foremost an officer of the courts. If his private organizational affiliations conflicted with his professional status, Mr. Shabazz would not be permitted to maintain his legal license.

Furthermore Rowlette has directed ROSP mailroom clerks to intercept, open, read, and refuse to send out mail that is clearly identified as "legal mail" intended for lawyers. These mailroom officials, based upon Rowlettes' position, refuse to treat or process mail to and from lawyers as confidential legal mail in blatant violation of VDOC mail policy. This is a federal crime, obstructing U.S. mails,2 and violates my constitutional rights to free speech and to privacy in my legal mail.


History of Abuse at Red Onion State Prison

When ROSP first began operating in 1998, it developed almost instantly a nationwide reputation for racism and abuses of its predominantly nonwhite prisoner population by its near exclusively white staff.

In response to receiving a flood of letters from ROSP prisoners complaining of unjustified transfers to ROSP and of frequent and widespread racism, brutality and general abuse, Human Rights Watch (HRW) attorney Jamie Fellner conducted an independent investigation into conditions at the remote Virginia prison. Virginia Department of Corrections (VDOC) officials refused to cooperate with the investigation.

Ms. Fellner's findings were set out in an April 1999 HRW report entitled Red Onion State Prison:Super-Maximum Security Confinement in Virginia.3

This report touched on the various abusive conditions and treatments suffered by ROSP prisoners and found that many of those assigned to the prison did not meet the criteria for "supermax" confinement. Actually almost none did. Seven pages of the report focused on incidents and practices in the "Use of Force" at the prison. One incident described in that section stands out and is particularly relevant here:

"One inmate told HRW that immediately upon arrival at Red Onion in September 1998, he and other inmates were told to strip and permit a visual body search, including by spreading their buttocks. Female staff were present—indeed one was taking a video of the proceedings—and the inmate was reluctant to do as ordered in front of them. A captain shot him with the taser in the presence of the warden, associate warden and a major. After the inmate had been tasered, the major screamed in his ear, “Boy, you’re at Red Onion now” and then told the other officers to “get that nigger out of here.” The inmate filed a grievance because he felt—correctly—that he should not have had to submit to a visual body search strip in front of female staff.

"The inmate's grievance was denied. The warden acknowledged that a taser had been used because the inmate hesitated to strip and thus 'was failing to obey instructions.' The denial was upheld by the regional director without comment 'based on the information provided.' There was no effort to suggest that application of physical force was warranted by any possibility of danger or that nonphysical effort to persuade the inmate had been attempted and failed. The use of the taser appears more likely to have been a deliberate and malicious excessive use of force calculated to intimidate new arrivals to the facility.

"In denying the inmate's grievance, Warden George Deeds stated that post orders at Red Onion permit females to work at any post in this case, assignment to the video camera. It is widely recognized, however that cross-gender strip searches violate inmates' 'Individual dignity and right to privacy'. The warden's policy at Red Onion ignores basic correctional principles and international standards prohibiting cross-gender strip searches unless in an emergency." (pp. 21-22)

The prisoner who was the victim of this abusive strip search and unwarranted attack was XXXX XXXX. Indeed, most every prisoner assigned to ROSP during that time, including myself, were subjected to this cross-gender strip search process, during which it was often demanded that we repeatedly manipulate our genitals and spread our buttocks.

These searches were conducted under threat of being immediately tasered. A taser was trained on us throughout the strip search process. We were bodily subdued and searched by force by a mob of guards who were always present and dressed out in full riot armor. We were then escorted to our new cell assignment. Most were literally dragged stark naked through the prison while being observed nude by multitudes of guards, both male and female, as well as by other prisoners.

The entire process was calculated to humiliate and terrorize new arrivals and convey the message that at ROSP we would comply without hesitation with any staff demands, no matter how abusive or arbitrary. If we failed to promptly comply or questioned the demands, we would be met with immediate overwhelming force and further humiliation.

To convey this message these officials deliberately created a situation (for example the cross gender strip searches) calculated to provoke our resistance or hesitation and thereby justify the
premeditated intent to use overwhelming force.4

Before Abu Ghraib there was Red Onion.5


Richard Rowlette: Crime Time at ROSP

The Major who was personally present and supervised most of these intake strip searches, the very same major that screamed in XXXX's ear and told guards to "'get that nigger out of here," was Richard Rowlette.

XXXX subsequently filed and won a lawsuit concerning the incident. The court found that the officials had violated his constitutional rights, which is a federal crime.6 XXXX was then transferred away from ROSP and hasn't since returned. However, the multitudes of other prisoners who were subjected to the same treatments and worse, including myself, were granted no relief

In the wake of extensive bad media, the HRW report, and a U. S. Department of Justice investigation, Rowlette was assigned to another VDOC prison in Powhatan County, but not before he acted to settle a long standing vendetta he had against me.

On December 6, 1999, the day before he left ROSP, and in a departing last show of power, Rowlette attempted to force me to talk to him at my cell door. I ignored him. I generally refuse to engage him in conversation. This enrages him, as he believes he can intimidate prisoners to do whatever he demands under threat of having them attacked by guards.

Because I wouldn't talk to him, Rowlette had two extraction teams of some 10 guards assembled at my cell in full riot armor, with two 50,000 volt electric shields and a 36 ounce canister of gas. Under his direct supervision and direction I was gassed for an entire hour while the entire canister was emptied into the cell. This level of gas was far in excess of the 6 grams that federal courts have found to be an "estimated lethal dose" when sprayed into a small closed-in cell.7 He then had me sprayed with more gas from a smaller canister that guards generally carry on their sides. This was a clear attempt to torture and murder me by asphyxiation.

I was then met with violent attack by the two teams of armored guards. After being restrained and strapped down to the bunk in 5-point restraints8 for 48 hours (in the still contaminated cell), I was electrocuted repeatedly. For the entire two days in restraints I was denied water, meals, medication, and restroom breaks. This is all documented and on record in the U.S. District Court in Roanoke.9

Rowlette had remarked that he had hoped I'd refuse to talk to him and that the attack he'd orchestrated was his "going away present" to me. His spell away from ROSP was merely a "cooling off period" and a token move by VDOC officials to create a public appearance of responding to abusive conditions at ROSP. Indeed, there was little effect on abuse levels after he left.


Promoting Official Criminals as the Norm

Rewarding criminally inclined prison officials in Virginia is the norm. For example, one guard, David Allen Taylor (a prior captain at ROSP), has been found guilty in several prisoner lawsuits of involvement in beatings and abuses of Black prisoners. in one such case, a prisoner YYYY YYYY, won a monetary judgment against Taylor. The state not only paid the judgment for Taylor (your tax dollars at work), but he was promoted in the meantime from lieutenant to captain. Just this year, he was promoted again, to major, at one of the VDOC's new prisons.

Another guard, William Wright, is widely known for assaulting Black prisoners at ROSP while they are fully restrained. His attacks have resulted in broken bones, dislocations, lacerations, and other serious injuries. Wright was recently promoted from corporal to sergeant.

Indeed an unmistakable pattern and long-standing trend in the VDOC is to promote guards who are being sued by prisoners for abuses while they have litigation pending against them. This is a ploy to bolster the professional image of abusive guards in order to create bias in their favor. Furthermore, the state defends abusive guards against prisoner litigation no matter how obvious their guilt and no matter what their offense. And as occurred with David Taylor, the state pays any monetary judgments awarded, no wonder there is no fear of consequences for abuses.

Most of the abuses at ROSP are captured on videotape, but those records are routinely erased, which is a crime in Virginia. 10 So where do the illegalities end and "justice" come into play? Rowlette won't be prosecuted for his crimes. This contributes to the cavalier attitude of officials towards the very laws they are sworn to uphold. Indeed what is a man like Rowlette doing running a prison? Ain't prisons in Amerika supposed to exist to punish and deter criminals? Where are all the tough on crime politicians when you need them?


Power to the People!


Notes;
1 In Part 6 Section II of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia, "Introduction," the Supreme Court states: "any person practicing law without being duly authorized or licensed is guilty of a misdemeanor." The statue under which this crime is enforced is Code of Virginia section 54.1-3904. The Supreme Court has promulgated a set of Unauthorized Practice Rules (UPR) which outline some specific acts which constitute a criminal unauthorized practice of law. Rowlette's actions violate the following UPR's:

"UPR 3-101. Attorney Client Relationship": (A) An agency shall not disrupt the relationship of confidence and trust which must exist between a lawyer and his client.
"UPR 9-101. Holding Out as an Expert": (A) A non-lawyer shall not hold himself out as authorized to furnish another advice or service under circumstances which imply his possession of legal knowledge."

Prisoners also have a constitutional and civil privacy right to confidential telephone calls to their attorneys. See Tucker v. Randall. 948 F 2d. 388, 391 (7th Cir. 1991).
2 It is a federal crime to obstruct or delay delivery or processing of U.S. Mails. See Title 18 United States Code sections 1702-1708. Prisoners have a constitutional right to privacy in mail to and from "any identifiable attorney either representing or being asked to represent a prisoner in relation to any criminal or civil problem." See Taylor v. Sterrett, 532 F 2d 462, 474 (5th Cir. 1976).
3 The entire report can be read and downloaded at the Human Rights Watch website at: http://www.hrw.org/reports/1999/redonion/
4 The U.S. Constitution's 8th Amendment protects prisoners from "cruel and unusual punishment." The federal courts have ruled that officials violate the 8th Amendment when they deliberately "provoke an incident so as to allow" them to attack a prisoner "under guise of maintaining order or defending" themselves. Miller v. Leathers, 913 F. 2d 1085, 1088 (4th Cir. 1990).
5 As XXXX's incident exemplifies, the abuses at ROSP cannot be dismissed as the actions of a few unsupervised low-level staff, but rather was approved by the VDOC's highest administrators. The torture, sexual degradation and abuses at Abu Ghraib were dismissed as the acts of a handful of "renegade" soldiers acting without authority. These soldiers, when targeted for prosecutions, contended that they were doing as instructed by high level military officials, which likely they were, just like at ROSP.
6 Under 18 United States Code, sections 241 and 242, it is a crime for prison officials to violate prisoners' civil and constitutional rights.
7 Based upon tests of pharmacological experts, the federal courts have found that caustic gas is lethal in doses of just 6 grams "in the confines of a small cell." See Williams v. Benjamin 77 F 3d 756, 764 (4th Cir. 1996).
8 5-point restraints is a process where a prisoner is handcuffed and leg shackled to the frame of a steel bunk inside a cell spread eagle on his/her back. A thick strap is then secured across his/her chest to prevent the body from being able to raise up or move.
9 See case file of Kevin Johnson v. Page True, et al.
10 Under Code of Virginia section 18.2-472 it is a crime for any "public officer" to make any false entry into or destroy any government record. Under this statute any such offense committed by an officer "shall" result in the permanent forfeiture of his office and he shall forever be barred from holding any public office in Virginia ever again.

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[Control Units] [Virginia]
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Control unit treats men like meat

In mid-July a prisoner had an epilepsy seizure on the second tier. It took 20 minutes for the nurse to get to the control unit. The nurse could do nothing but stand at the door and attempt to calm the prisoner.

According to the standard policy of the Fourth Reich the security methods are that the keepers have to be dressed out in full riot gear, shields, helmets, bullet proof jackets, riots sticks, mace, etc. It took 15-20 more minutes for the keepers to suit up.

A stretcher was brought into the pod, the prisoner's cage was opened and he was told to remain STILL. A man having a seizure is old to remain still — that's deep. The prisoner was handcuffed and shackled in leg irons, placed on the stretcher, hauled out of the pod as though he was a piece of meat.

This was a demonstration of what the hooligans think of the dispossessed classes. Prisoners screamed and cursed, they were visibly upset.

We see the wake up calls, however, we need to desperately wake up. The prison movement has to regain the organizational functioning of unity among ourselves.

On September 3, 100 and something New Mexican prisoners were transported to Wallens Ridge State Prison. You know, the slaves cannot be separated from one to the other, however, the state will utilize every tactic possible to have the edge. If we're transferred 2,000-3,000 miles from our roots what of it? The slave-owners are doing no more than what they did during chattel slavery.

How you grasp the realities of the world makes the difference. When you don't see the realities, the ruling circle will have us at each other's throats, still killing one another for reasons which have no merits, other than our being manipulated to destroy the outcasts, whether it's for drugs, turf disputes, because of the color of one's skin, gang-banging etc. The deck of playing cards have been stacked against the poor, word.

Solidarity forever!

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[Control Units] [Red Onion State Prison] [Virginia]
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Torture in Red Onion Control Unit

.... I am locked down in the control unit of Red Onion State Prison 23-24 hours per day. Prisoners have been maced, assaulted, and placed in five-point restraint. I refer to Red Onion as a concentration death camp. For the outcast, being in five point restraint in only your underwear and a cold cell - this is torture, everything is taken from you besides your underwear when you are placed in five point restraint. Five point restraint is tied to the steel bunk spread eagle. This is a 48 hour punishment.

There is intimidation and the threat of bodily harm. The majority of the keepers at the stalag are caucasion. I have heard the cops ... use the words nigger, tar baby, sambo, spook, buckwheat, coon and monkey man. Racism is thick here. The medical collaborator, maintenance, and other staff members are just as racist. The area Pound, VA could have been named Racism Town, USA. I have seen prisoners denied their small ration of food because they were insolent, according to the guards, some prisoners challenged the racist cops although there is a possibility of being attacked by the lynch mob.

When prisoners complained to a sergeant or lieutenant, it's always, well, the officer said you refused the food. Cops have said they will poison the food, urinate in your food. The psychological warfare is in depth here. The prison camp opened in August 1998 or thereabouts. ... We are served very small rations of food. Semi-starvation — the control units nationally have the same brutal force. The tactics to instill fear....

In the trenches,

To build is to win.

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