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Under Lock & Key

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[Censorship] [National Oppression] [Legal] [Waupun Correctional Institution] [Wisconsin] [ULK Issue 30]
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Court Rules BPP Program is Gang Material

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." - Thomas Jefferson

"Give me liberty or give me death." - Thomas Pain

The above two quotes are admired citations that most Amerikans with any educational degree deem to be master slogans this country's freedoms are based on. But these same quotes or those similar, if stated by Black men or Black women, are deemed contraband and gang related.

On August 2, 2012 the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals handed down a decision aimed at silencing and caging the spirit of the Panther. The court ruled that the ten point platform that the Black Panther Party (BPP) cited in every newspaper and later put forward as the core demands of the New Africans in the Amerikan ghettos, is gang-related when found in the possession of Black men. This decision was rendered from a case in one of the most racist and oppressive prison systems in Amerika: Wisconsin DOC.

The 7th Circuit Court's ruling in Tani Toston vs. Muchael Thurmer et al, no# 10 cv 288 stated that Waupun prison officials in Wisconsin could punish a Black man who allegedly has a tribal background (they used the pejorative, "gang") and who checked out two BPP books from the prison's own library, and purchased a 3rd book (To Die for the People) and copied from all three the Panthers ten point platform.

The oppressors argued that these ten points were being used to construct a gang structure simply because of the DOC's slant that he had a tribal background of defunct Gangster Disciples. They offered no evidence but their ethnocentric opinions. They punished the prisoner and gave 90 days segregation for learning Panther knowledge.

The plaintiff, who I call the Panther seeker, argued to the 7th Circuit Court that the ten point platform could not be a gang related security concern because the two books in the library recited the same program, and prisoners are permitted to get the books and to buy them. They were not on the state's book ban list.

In opposing the Panther seeker and rationalizing their reactionary measure, the prison defenders in the 7th Circuit stated: "...prison librarians can not be required to read every word of every book to which inmates might have access to make sure they contain no incendiary material. There is no reason to think that a librarian or other employee of the prison read cover to cover any of the three books that contain the ten point program."

Yet, they expect prisoners to know they could not write down the same, though they did reverse and remand the due process claim that the prison never told him he could not do so.

They further stated: "And even if the prison read the books and made a determination the book was not gang lit. on whole, that does not preclude disciplinary proceedings if an inmate copies incendiary passings from it."

It seems the court took issue with point #8 of the program, which calls for "freedom for all Black men held (implicit also women) in federal, state, county and city prisons and jails." The court states the seeker is Black and that the BPP were implicated in many acts of violence including murder, and Huey himself may have killed a cop. Their source is Hugh Pearsons The Shadow of the Panther: Huey Newton and the Price of Black Power in America.(p. 145-46 1995). They also cited the case People vs. Newton, 87 Cal. Rptr, 394 (CA), app. ct. 1970) and the case in which Black Panther leader Richard Moore was convicted of assault in a shootout between Black Panthers and Oakland police (Clener vs. Superior Court, 594 p.2d 984, 985-86 (Cal. 1979), In Re Cleaver, 72 Cal. Rptr. 20, 23-24 (Cal. App. Ct. 1968)).

They even went so far as to cite a coloring book as their source research in coming to this ethnocentric ruling. "Black Panther coloring books" depicting children murdering police, which were developed and distributed under their own FBI's COINTELPRO.

Then they had the disrespect to cite our beloved brother Fred Hampton's estate lawsuit which was filed after the Chicago pigs' assassination of the beloved. Hampton vs. Hanrahan 600 F. 2d 600, 654 (7th Cir. 1979) (dissenting opinion).

They wish to project they are fair. But how fair are they when they cite all these biased cases and omit the fact that the police, FBI, and others were actively seeking to destroy the BPP and even pacifists like MLK, and these incidents were self-defense. The BPP was a self-defense response to a racist system. How can you fault a people who stand up for their human and constitutional rights and label them criminals for defending the same principles this country was established on? The answer is clear: what white leaders say, Black ones cannot say.

The court defended their ruling by saying: "The BPP is history. But the ten point program could be thought by prison officials as an incitement to violence by Black prisoners - especially since there is a new BPP active today, which claims descent from the original. And like its predecessor both advocates and practice violence."(Citing: Southern Poverty Law Center, New BPP).

They go on to cite disputing evidence to their conclusion by stating: "In context, in the book of Huey's writings, point #8 is much less inflammatory than when read in isolation on the paper the plaintiff wrote down and had in his foot locker." They claim, in all three books, there are explanatory commentary around each of the ten points and that explanation is "innocuous" on point #8. "We believe that all black people should be released from the many jails and prisons because they have not received a fair and impartial trial." (To Die for the People. Bk. At. p5)

They seek to soften the blow of their ethnocentric cudgel: "...although Newton's book advocates revolution, it could no more be regarded as a criminal incitement than the Communist Manifesto could be. But this underscores the difference between a book as a whole and an arguably inflammatory nugget plucked from it." So what say they if we cite Thomas Pains "give me liberty or give me death"? Same as Huey's statement in point #8.

The court went on to justify their favoritism to a ethnocentric/racist prison by stating: "Not being experts in prison administration, but aware of the security problems in American prisons, judges sensibly defer within broad limits to the judgements of the prison administration."

How can the court make a fair ruling if they don't acquire some expertise in prison administration? That is the court's job as arbitrators of the case. We as prisoners need to present evidence on the expert level of how prison administrators exaggerate the facts and cite spookisms in their affidavits and summary judgement motions. As prisoners we are and should be experts in prison administration operation and the lies they tell. So why are we not illustrating the same in our litigation.

On the question of the "security problems in american prisons," again, these perceptions are all based upon what the prison officials report and claim; hardly a fair assessment as to what is really going on. This is possible because we are not disputing and putting the truth out there. We are not uniting and pooling our resources to fight the lies the prison system puts out.

The Beard vs. Banks case illustrates this fact. The lawyers/prisoners did not submit anything disputing the alleged facts in the defendant/prison official's summary judgement motion. As such, the court accepted all their exaggerations as true. Though they probably would have accepted the prison exaggerations anyway, we cannot make it so easy or allow them to justify it without exposing their favoritism and bias. The fact is that this case had lawyers, so the court could have given the disputes more weight than pro se disputed facts. This is the litigation war we are engaged in. No capitulations allowed.

The Van den Bosch case shows how censorship is allowed when we write articles like this one here. There, an article on how Wisconsin is #1 in creating conditions in segregation for petty stuff and these conditions leading to what I call intentional conditions for "suggestive ideation" (suicide). The court accepted the Wisconsin prison administrator's exaggerated security claim that criticizing these conditions could be viewed as incitement because people were killing themselves and the article stated officials were to blame. We cannot even complain or express our opinions.

We see how the court forgets that the BPP was attacked by the pigs and FBI, and they also forget all the cases in which the prison administrations have been proven busted and exposed for presenting lies. However, I stress again, it is our job to present such overwhelming facts/evidence to not allow the courts to easily accept the judgements and defer to the prisons, because we know they are straight up liars. This is war in facts.

This fact is shown by what the court wrote: "The nexus between plaintiffs copying the ten point program from "To Die for the People" and gang activity may seem tenuous, but the defendants argue that the likeliest reason the plaintiff copied the ten point program was to show it to inmates whom he hoped to enlist in a prison gang, a local cell as it were of the Black Panthers, the ten point program would be the gang's charter". They go on to say "this is merely a supposition, but it is not so implausible that we can dismiss as groundless the prisons concern."

They support that racist logic on the affidavit submitted by the prison's so-called gang coordinator, a racist named Bruce Muranski, who has been discredited in at least one case as possibly manufacturing so-called informant statements. "In the U.S. the main organizations that monitor intolerance and hate groups are the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) have deemed the new BPP as a hate group... there would be no other purpose...in the ten point program other than recruiting group members and establishing, reinforcing and maintaining an organizational structure for furthering gangs..."

In another part of the affidavit Muranski claims: "isolating the ten point from these library books allows it to be taken out of context, easily circulated and simultaneously possessed by gang members and changed or adopted for the specific needs and activities of the group... (another prisoner, other than plaintiff) was alleged to have unsanctioned security threat group items in his cell...(including) a hand written paper titled 'notes on African American leaders'. This sheet of paper contained the ten point which was identical in content to the ten point found in plaintiff cell..."

There we have it. All Black leaders who were willing to say in their own words or actions "give me liberty or give me death" are deemed contraband. Yet, I can have all the quotes I wish of white revolutionaries and Amerikan founding fathers. White "inciteful" language against the British crown is protected expression while George Jackson, or a Hoover or Malik, or Huey Newton is contraband.

The fact is that damn near every BPP or associated case, in law books or on the computer, has the same ten point program in it. So all we would need to do is buy a Panther case and circulate it if we wanted to share the ten point program. We see this decision is about intimidation and instilling inferiority. For even the cases the court cited have the ten points in them. Surely they knew that.

Still more, the case in which they made this racist ruling itself can now be used to promote and propagate the ten point program. So it's clear: the prison has no lawful reason to exclude the ten points even if they subsequently ban the books, which I'm sure they might try. The ruling is a joke and more about suppression and control.


MIM(Prisons) adds: While it is a set back for revolutionaries when important historical literature is banned or access limited to sharing this literature, it is something of a public admission of the strength and value of the Black Panther Party political line that this court felt the need to decree it as gang material. Prisoners who are labeled as part of a "Security Threat Group" are often actually organizing for the betterment of oppressed people, and promoting the peace and security of prisoners. This exposes the lie of the prison's claim that they want security. The only security prisons promote is job security for the guards and other prison workers. Prisoners' lives are far from safe and secure, due to conditions created by the guards and the criminal injustice system in general.

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[Control Units] [Censorship] [Attica Correctional Facility] [New York]
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SHU Term for Possession of Under Lock & Key

These "people-incorporating-genocidal-slavery" have upped the ante once again. I was targeted by these nefarious boars simply for my political views. On Oct 14, 2012, two ogres searched and seized my property i.e. all my essays, my books, and all my Under Lock & Key dated as far back as 1995. At the biased in-house tribunal two articles from ULK were presented to me: 1) a 1991 Attikkka issue explaining the situation before and after the rebellion of 1971. 2) The July/Aug 2012 issue which calls for "all prisoners to show solidarity and demonstrate a work stoppage from Sept 9-12, 2012." Keep in mind I never passed this publication about nor did I participate in a work stoppage. I have no prison job. Also, the article mentioned above was for Sept 9-12, 2012. I was keep locked pending investigation on Oct 14, 2012. That's 35 days later.

Anyway, I was charged with a Tier III rule violation of 104.12 (demonstration) which reads: "an inmate shall not lead, organize, participate in or urge other inmates to participate in a work stoppage, sit-in, lock-in, or any other action which may be detrimental to the order of the facility."

At the farce hearing I presented the question: "where in the facility was there an actual work stoppage?" The response was: "There was no work stoppage." My second question was: "when did I urge other prisoners to demonstrate and when did the alleged work stoppage, sit-in, lock-in take place?" The response was: "you never participated in nor was there ever a work stoppage, sit-in, lock-in." With no further questions I objected to the entire circus of a hearing only to receive six months SHU time anyway. This whole ordeal is due to me possessing ULK publications, although they can't actually state it at the hearing. Furthermore, the hearing disposition reads: "although no actual act of demonstration occurred I believed you attempted it." Only after a cell search 35 days later, and after an incident that never took place, do I receive such a bogus charge. Go figure.

This isn't the first political witch hunt in which I was erroneously charged with demonstrations and it won't be the last! These ruthless gulags pride themselves on oppressing the free thinkers like me, especially Attikkka! Keep sending me the Under Lock and Key.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We have heard from a number of comrades that the article calling for a Day of Solidarity on September 9 led to heightened censorship and punishment of prisoners. We know that there are restrictions on the types of organizing permitted in many prisons and we are looking closely at the language used in these types of articles to make possible the widest distribution of ULK without sacrificing the content of the publication.

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[Abuse] [Censorship]
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Gang Officer Blackmails to Create Intelligence

I was taken out of my cell one day and brought to the Security Threat Group (STG) Officer (AKA the gang officer). He tried everything to get me to give him some gang information, and when I would not he got mad and told me he was going to validate me as a STG member for a gang tattoo I was written up for in 2008. Since I would not give this man some gang information and put my life on the line for him, he is going to STG me. I have not had a gang charge in over three years, and as I said the charge for the tattoo was four years ago. This is crazy and it needs to stop now!

Comrades, keep your heads up and don't stop fighting these pigs and this oppression. One day it will end! MIM(Prisons), thanks for all you do!


MIM(Prisons) responds: This is just one example of a common occurrence that exposes the emptiness of the term "Security Threat." The "STG" label is a tool of national oppression, nothing more.

This comrade also wrote us about the censorship of MIM Theory 13: Revolutionary Culture and Under Lock & Key 27, which he appealed to no avail. The administration justified it by saying the literature encouraged "disruption of operations." We wonder if that can be construed as a bad thing given how they operate.

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[Censorship] [Legal] [Civil Liberties] [Illinois] [ULK Issue 32]
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Fighting Censorship in Illinois

On 3 October 2011 I was notified by prison authorities that I had received the September/October 2011 No. 22 issue of Under Lock & Key (ULK) in the mail. I was further notified that I could not have ULK because it is banned throughout the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC). I grieved this unconstitutional banning of ULK since IDOC cannot validate its claim that ULK is a threat to security. On 27 July 2012 I filed a Section 1983 Civil Suit against the director of IDOC, S.A. Godinez.

This lawsuit is based on the grounds that IDOC cannot substantiate the banning of ULK and that the banning of ULK violates my Constitutional Rights to:
1) Receive and own reading material;
2) Have freedom of speech; and
3) Have freedom of political expression.

In my Statement of Claim I gave a brief definition of what MIM(Prisons) and ULK are. However, I was wondering if you would like to prepare a statement about what exactly MIM(Prisons) and ULK are and the purpose of their existence.

In further news, on 16 August 2012 another prisoner and I received a notice saying that we had received the July/August 2012 No. 27 issue of ULK in the mail and that we couldn't have it because ULK is banned. We are both currently in the second of three stages of the grievance procedure and will be filing a Class Action lawsuit within the next six months challenging the banning of ULK. This suit will merge with my already existing one.

Any information that you can send me on this topic would be greatly appreciated.


MIM(Prisons) responds: The comrade above has not received an issue of Under Lock & Key since November 2011. Appealing the censorship and going through the grievance procedure will often successfully get you the mail that the authorities are attempting to deny. If that doesn't work, we need to be prepared to take the censors to court when possible.

Unfortunately, due to our very limited resources, it is very difficult for us to offer legal assistance directly on your case. Instead we run the Prisoners' Legal Clinic in an attempt to empower and encourage our subscribers to do their best putting together and filing their case on their own. Recently another comrade offered h legal services to help fight censorship in Illinois, which is not just an ongoing problem for the author of this Civil Suit. We are attempting to facilitate this anti-censorship battle and push it to a head. Remember to send in your censorship documentation and status updates on your anti-censorship grievances and cases so we can publicize them on our website. If you are a lawyer on the outside and want to work on this issue, please get in touch.

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[Censorship]
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ULK Censored in Retaliation for Grievance Campaign

I have come to write this letter because the oppressor has struck again. Under Lock & Key [issue 27] is now on North Carolina Division of Prisons master list of disapproved publications. I received a notice stating "This publication appears on the statewide master list of disapproved publications because it was disapproved during the previous twelve months by the Division of Prisons Review Committee. There are no additional appeal rights to this decision." "This publication/material violates division of prisons policy at section D.0109 and is disapproved for the reason listed..." Facility reasons for disallowance: "Has information detailing illegal activities."

North Carolina comrades I don't know about you all, but I am sick of this oppression! We have allowed these pigs to take too much, it is time we come together and follow the lead of our fellow comrades in other states and fight these pigs! The oppressor has gone too far, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! How much must they take from us before we stand up? You know and I know the only reason Under Lock & Keyhas been disapproved is because MIM(Prisons) is helping us and other prisoners fight the oppressor. Think about it, Under Lock & Key was not denied until MIM(Prisons) started the grievance campaign and comrades in North Carolina started using it. It's retaliation!

To all my comrades, keep your heads up and never give up. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. We may lose a battle or two, but together we will win the war! MIM(Prisons) I want to thank you for all you are doing, not just for prisoners but the community as well, THANKS! Keep up the good work and together we will reach our goal. Unity is key!

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[Abuse] [National Oppression] [Censorship] [Calipatria State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 28]
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Lessons from Trayvon Martin Case Relevant to Fighting Oppression in Prison

I received issue 27 of ULK along with MIM Theory 13, thank you. I've already read the ULK and I appreciate all the articles. A few months back you sent out a letter to the warden here over an issue of ULK I did not receive. Although I never received the issue, I did talk to a lieutenant who claimed that MIM was banned. I didn't pursue it because I had passed the time limitation to raise the issue, but I've since received the most recent issues after that. I believe it was issue 25 I didn't get. Your letter got their attention.

Other than that it's business as usual with the oppressor. Just last week the pigs slammed a young Black male (22 years old) to the ground and charged him with assaulting a "peace" officer. The prisoner was attempting to enter the housing unit when one of the pigs asked to see the watch he was wearing.

The young man being a rebel without a cause chose to ignore the pig and proceeded to walk into that building. The pig and his cronies blocked the door and told him he wasn't going anywhere until he showed them the watch. The young man backed off and requested to speak to a sergeant. This simple request pissed the pigs off. They proceed to escalate the situation immediately.

As the sergeant was making his way across the yard one pig rushed the guy and slammed him to the ground. This caused some of the prisoners to act out verbally and tell the pigs that the force was unnecessary. The whole thing was a set up from the start. While one pig was confronting the guy another was on the walkie talkie reporting something (most likely a lie), and then two pigs came out of the building and the only Black pig out of the crowd of six or seven pigs chose to slam the young Black male. When I read the article "Trayvon Martin National Oppression Debate" it hit home when Soso stated: "Every persyn in this country sees the stereotypes of Black youths as hoodlums..." as a result any "unarmed Black youth can be killed by cops and vigilantes while the imperialist state does nothing."

Here lately the pigs have seemingly been trying to incite the masses. It's summertime and out here in Imperial County, California (which is less than five miles from Yuma, Arizona) it's extremely hot. Triple digits regularly, the pigs have been forcing us to wear state issue clothing to the chow hall and the shirts must be tucked in. When it was winter and cold we were not allowed to wear thermals to the chow hall. Now that it's hot they're forcing us to wear stuff that will make you hotter. Furthermore, they have launched a campaign of constant harassment. Searching cells everyday which is causing folks to complain. As of yet no one has written a 602 [grievance form] and me personally I don't have any grounds to write one as I have not been harassed. I try to lead by example and share the literature with the brothers of the struggle.

It seems as if we've lost a generation or two. There's a shortage of revolutionaries, at least here at this place. Only time will tell if the masses wake up. I often imagine myself coming up in the era of George Jackson and the likes. I attempt to put myself in those guys' shoes, and I try to emulate what I picture them being. I'll close on that note, power to the people.

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[Campaigns] [Censorship] [Organizing] [Marion Correctional Institution] [North Carolina] [ULK Issue 28]
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Diligent Grievance Petitions Expose Oppression in North Carolina that Led to Hunger Strike

I have been a reader of your publication going on a couple years now, and I find it the most uplifting and informative I've seen yet! Also, the comrades in this movement have been most helpful in demonstrating to us how to file a petition against the grievance process here in North Carolina prisons. I am currently housed at Marion Correctional Institution's segregation unit in Marion, North Carolina where they keep any prisoner who dares to challenge and question their conduct or actions. However, I have witnessed over the years how our grievance process has become so watered down to the point when you ask for the DC-410 form you're laughed at by correctional officers and told to spell their names right (ha ha ha). It has become no more than a venting process for us! There is no consideration that this is a constitutionally protected right.

However, I recently have sent copies of my petition to the Justice Department in Atlanta, Georgia and the Inspector General's office in Virginia, as well as two copies to North Carolina Department of Public Safety (NC DPS) Secretary Jennie Lancaster via certified mail. I haven't even gotten acknowledgements that they received any of them. So you see, we're being stifled, even at the highest levels. Therefore, we won't get anything done on this issue, short of court action. The people who are supposed to protect our rights won't even do so. So we regroup, and continue this fight for justice, so as to stop this "rubber stamping" game with our rights.


MIM(Prisons) responds: It seems other prisoners in North Carolina have already come to similar conclusions, as comrades recently passed the two week mark on a hunger strike demanding improvements in conditions, including an end to long-term isolation.

On Monday July 16th, prisoners began hunger strikes at Bertie CI in Windsor, Scotland CI in Laurinburg, and Central Prison in Raleigh. Targeting a wide range of conditions related but not exclusive to solitary confinement, the prisoners have vowed not to eat until their demands are met.(1)

Check this link below for the full list of demands, because apparently the list released by the NC DPS had sections redacted for "security issues."(2) Which might explain why the mainstream media is not reporting the more serious demands, such as "An immediate end to the physical and mental abuse inflicted by officers", "The end of cell restriction. Sometimes prisoners are locked in their cell for weeks or more than a month, unable to come out for showers and recreation" and "An immediate stop to officers' tampering or throwing away prisoners' mail."(1)

We've seen the increased activity in North Carolina over the last couple years, and so has the DPS, who have stepped up a campaign to keep Under Lock & Key and other mail from MIM(Prisons), out of the hands of their prisoners. Below is one image that triggered censorship in the last issue of ULK.

open season hunting on blacks
The NC Publication Review Committee ironically cited this image when they censored ULK26 for "Violence against any ethnic, racial or religious group"

Just as this comrade has been pushing every administrative avenue to get prisoners' rights respected, MIM(Prisons) has been doing the same to fight this rampant censorship and ignoring of grievances. As this comrade says, we continue to regroup and do everything we can to stop these injustices. We encourage the comrades in North Carolina to keep speaking up, as your rights are not guaranteed; you must stand up and demand them.

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[Censorship] [California State Prison, Corcoran] [California]
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Targeted for Censorship but Wins

I write in solidarity with those involved with the censorship campaign. Power to those who down to struggle, and up to win. Today while on the kennel cage rec yard I was approached by a California State Prison Corcoran (CSPC) employee representing a flawed mail room, carrying an envelope addressed to the young cadre sent from MIM Distributors containing MIM Theory 7 in one hand and a CDCR 602 appeal in the other.

After months of going back and forth between the Appeal Coordinator and the mail room, utilizing a combination of the institutional informal correspondence system and the appeals procedures, CSPC finally figured out that I was building a paper trail capable of exposing their mail censorship practices against those they deem paper-terrorists.

The staff gave me the MT 7 journal, after previously saying that the journal was a violation against California Correctional Regulations for supposedly inciting riots and so on. They instructed me to either withdraw the complaint or settle it if I wanted the MT 7. Of course I settled it to preserve the right of the appeal for the breach of settlement agreement. Because of their COINTEL B.$. they've delayed my study group participation, and I've got a lot to do to catch up. But with hard work comes hard results.

Comrades should note that this incident of CSPC issuing me MIM Theory 7: Revolutionary Nationalism is proof that not only are they profiling MIM Distributors with bogus censorships claiming safety and security, but also their claims hold no weight in the people's court.


Campaign info:
MIM Banned in CA!
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[Censorship] [ULK Issue 27]
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July 2012 Censorship Report

July 2012 Censor Chart

Overview

This past year MIM(Prisons) was fortunate enough to be working with a volunteer with legal expertise on our anti-censorship campaign. This volunteer's insight and knowledge helped us send in many more letters to administrators, and with more depth and research than ever before. But sending out more complaints to prison officials means we are getting back a comparable amount of bullshit responses from them. Through this process we've learned just how important it is to be selective with who we write letters on, because sending one form letter protesting a single censorship incident easily escalates into a major research project.

One of the most common bullshit responses we receive from prison administrators is that whatever article of mail we sent was "never received via USPS." Unfortunately in these cases, the only option we have is to resend the item via Certified Mail or with Delivery Confirmation. At least this way the mailroom staff can't just throw the mail in the trash. But we won't know if your mail actually made it into your hands unless you tell us you got it.

Each July we report how much mail is unreported as received or censored for the past year. Consistently for the past few years, about 75% of the mail is unconfirmed at the time of the report. Gradually, as more people tell us what they received, and respond to Unconfirmed Mail Forms (UMFs), the amount of unreported mail drops. Our current rate of unreported mail for the 2010-2011 reporting year is down to 60%, an all-time low! We attribute this to our widespread use of UMFs, and subscribers' diligence in responding to them. But don't wait until you get a UMF to report mail you received! Every UMF we send is money we could have spent sending you actual literature, so you should tell us what you've gotten since the last time you wrote.

Appeals are Viable Tactic

Appealing censorship and filing grievances can lead to small but significant victories. In Arizona, Pennsylvania, California and Colorado, some mail from MIM Distributors which was originally denied, was allowed to be received by prisoners after appeal. Of course not all appeals will be granted, and we don't expect to ever be completely free of censorship from the state. But we encourage everyone to at least attempt to appeal all censorship of mail from MIM(Prisons). Send us copies of your documents and we can upload them to our website www.prisoncensorship.info.

Future Struggles

Do we even need to say it? If you know the words, then sing along: California is still banning literature from MIM Distributors! Up to the present, administrators and staff in CDCR amazingly are still citing the 2006 ban of MIM literature, which was overturned in 2007! In another attempt to remedy this problem, we have compiled a supplement to our Censorship Guide which is specific to the California ban. If a 2006 memo is cited as a reason why you can't get mail from us, tell us and we'll send you the supplement.

Mailroom staff in Michigan are eager to protect the "freedom" of white supremacists, as this subscriber reports:

"Please know that I was able to obtain a hearing yesterday on the administration's rejection of MIM Theory 13, even though MDOC policy doesn't require one to be held due to it already being on the Restricted Publications List (RPL). The hearing officer gave two reasons for upholding the rejection: 1) It was on the RPL; 2) It was racist because there was an article against white supremacists. I found reason number 2 rather illuminating. . . I asked which article she was referring to and, quickly scanning the table of contents, asked her, "Is it the book review criticizing Adolph Hitler's Mein Kampf?" In any event, she could not point out a single reason for the rejection let alone relate it to a serious penological concern. I flipped through it and pointed out many reasons why it should be let in and, of course, one of them was that it is against white supremacy or racial supremacy of any type."

Last year we reported that we were contacted by the ACLU in Nebraska because they had been contacted by one of our subscribers regarding the ban of literature from us. They wrote at least one letter to the Warden at Tecumseh State Correctional Institution. This letter was important because it forced the Director Robert P. Houson of Nebraska Department of Correctional Services to admit that "there is no outright ban on MIM's publications at TSCI at this time and such a ban never existed in the past." Unfortunately it appears that the legal intern who favored us has left the organization, and their new legal intern isn't being as generous with their legal expertise and sway. We encourage prisoners to contact the ACLU and other support organizations to help them fill a role that MIM(Prisons) can't.

Last year we reported that Arizona was holding the position that publishers have no appeal rights if their materials are censored. In January 2012, thanks to the assistance of our legal volunteer, we were able to send Director Charles L. Ryan a letter detailing exactly the legality behind our claim to appeal rights. In June we received a letter from Assistant Attorney General Pamela J. Linnins, responding to a different letter from us in May. She has yet to respond directly to our letter from January.

"It appears that the Department and MIM Distributors must agree to disagree. The Department stands by its position and belief that you do not have a right to notice when inmates are denied access, regardless of its permanence, to your publications. However, as a courtesy to you and pursuant to your request, the Department will begin providing notice to you, MIM Distributors, when inmates are denied an issue of your publications."

At Red Onion State Prison in Virginia, multiple lawsuits reached settlement in the last few years challenging their illegal censorship of literature, namely from Prison Legal News and The Final Call. We were hoping that these settlements would have had an impact on our own literature, but we appear to still be banned at Red Onion. The amount of literature we know was censored is the same for the past 2 reporting years, but the amount of mail we know was received is about a third as much this reporting year compared to 2010-2011. This could be from delay inherent to mail correspondence, or it could be due to more censorship. It is unclear which is true at this time.

Other states with significantly large censorship proportions were: South Carolina and Florida. It is significant that wherever we have a growing population of active subscribers, repression of our literature increases. We hope comrades and subscribers everywhere will take up this important battle to protect freedom to share knowledge. If you're in a state listed above, you should especially get on board!

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[Abuse] [Censorship] [California State Prison, Corcoran] [California]
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The Corcoran Report: Rolling Back the Few Hunger Strike Victories

This report is on the conditions at California State Prison - Corcoran 4A SHU (CSP-COR). It is written with the purpose of sharing with comrades locally and nationally the demise of the movement here at CSP-COR, and what will be necessary for comrades of the United Struggle from Within (USW) to regain momentum uniting those capable of being united in the struggle to abolish the Security Housing Units (SHU).

The author has been housed at CSP-COR SHU on an undetermined SHU sentence that resulted from a battery on a peace officer with serious bodily injury. This was an event orchestrated by Kern Valley State Prison's corrupt guards. Any prisoner who has been somewhere within the California prison system knows the history of CSP-COR and the high degree of guard corruption; everything from murder and police brutality to conspiracy against prisoners for complaining against officials. Here at CSP-COR I've personally witnessed staff abuse the power bestowed upon them by California and its California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA) union for the purpose of keeping their foot on prisoners' throats and preventing our freedom of speech.

There is a code of silence practiced by the majority of staff at CSP-COR, dubbed the Green Wall, and it's alive and well here in 2012. Where once it was isolated to those in green (correctional officers) it has now spread to those within the medical department (nurses, doctors, and psych staff), the legal library, the mail department, the food services department, and the religious department. This is not to say that every person who works for the CDCR is a part of the Wall; there are individuals who can be used to expose the system for what it is. But the state's institutions seem to be uniting its forces more these days against prisoners for the sake of covering up the problems and sweeping important social issues under the rug.

On 4A, the law librarian prevents any access to his facility unless a prisoner has a deadline from the courts or a state. The prison law library is the most important resource for prisoners, providing literature that guides the ability of prisoners to more effectively prosecute cases in the judicial branch of this government. Prisoners need things like computers, copies, typewriters, reference material, etc. The CCPOA knows this and take away prisoners' access to one of the most important resources they have through understaffing and budgeting. Political power in the hands of prisoners presents a threat to the financial security of every vampire of the U.S. prison complex. And because it is not only a possibility but also a social reality, the state and the union seek to stall the success of the prison movement, particularly in the area of free speech, free assembly, and right to grievance which becomes free protest.

I've also witnessed officials censor prisoners' mail because the contents of the correspondence or periodical didn't sit well with the agenda or idea of the state-union establishment. Often a pig in the position of sorting incoming/outgoing mail is issuing, withholding, or completely disposing of a prisoner's mail for malicious reasons. Brothers at Corcoran SHU have a difficult time just corresponding with the outside world. Officials with their personal vendettas, and most times negligence, confiscate materials such as stationary packages sent to a prisoner from their family. They then turn around and try to trade the material with another prisoner who has filed a grievance against them in exchange for the prisoner's silence on the subject of the grievance.

They trash mail that may expose the reality of the state-union corruption. Most times they secure the support of the public by declaring the "security" threat as a threat to the public. But if the matter was placed under the microscope where the real public could hear and see the position of prisoners, they'd be forced to recognize that the blood of prisoners are on their, the public's, hands.

California uses a department regulation 3135(c)(1) in order to validate censorship practices in its prisons holding that the material is "...of a character tending to incite murder, arson, a riot, or any form of violence or physical harm to any person, or any ethnic, gender, racial, religious, or other group." Most times, though, this isn't even the case. It isn't the security of the public that is at stake, it is the financial security of the labor aristocracy that is at stake.

After the Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP) hunger strike prisoners received a number of small concessions from the state. Here they've already begun to renege on their deal. They allow brothers to wear their personal kicks and at times purchase new kicks. There are clear color pen fillers on the store, beanies are issued in the winter, and someone from the psych staff walks around once a week and passes out a sheet of paper with eight to ten puzzles and a calendar for the Jewish month. But CSP-COR officials don't even recognize the elements with the most material substance of the PBSP core demands. There is no group yard, the cages do not have pull up bars, and the ab-roller equipment that was issued has been banned. The canteen has not been expanded, there haven't been any added TV stations, and prisoners still can only receive one package per year.

The guards are banning Prison Legal News and MIM(Prisons) publications, but allowing religious periodicals like the Trumpet. Any attempts by prisoners to come together to figure out how to curb such BS is interfered with by means of vandalizing cell inspections, shortening food rations, confiscation of property/privileges, and bogus rule violation reports. Take, for example, an event that occurred where various Special Needs Yard and Disciplinary Detention prisoners of Black, white, and Latino nationality were on the cage yard exercising together, calling out their routine in cadence to coordinate the exercise routine. The yard pig approached the group and interrupted their exercise stating they'd have to cease the group work out as it was gang activity. The prisoners objected asking, "was the Marines a gang?" The pig wouldn't answer, so they continued exercising. The pig called the building where these prisoners were housed and instructed 4 coworkers that the prisoners involved in the exercise routine were to have their cells vandalized.

This is a brief description of the abuses taking place at CSP-Corcoran. There are a few class actions being initiated and a certain USW comrade is organizing prisoners (peacefully) around a campaign to oppose mail censorship. The USW comrade said it all started with CSP-Corcoran censoring MIM(Prison)'s correspondence.

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