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Under Lock & Key

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[Censorship] [California]
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Censorship at Pelican Bay State Prison

For the past eighteen years a clear pattern of racial discrimination and political persecution has reared its ugly head, its presence is vivid clear and profound, a procedural manifestation within the protocols of official -sanctioned practice here at Pelican Bay. Which simply means the inherent propensity to discriminate against New Afrikan (Black) prisoners, an antiquated evil which is still prevalent in today's society and is magnified ten-fold within the concrete confines of the U.S. penal system and its deplorable code of conduct.

Though we can concede to the observations that socio-demographics contributed and facilitates the proliferation and perpetuation of racial discrimination, being that the majority of U.S. prisons are located in white rural areas where New Afrikan people are only an image on the 5 o'clock news. It is only inevitable that racism flourishes in these areas. Many of the local rural citizens are hired to work in these new prisons, and they don't leave their racist beliefs/attitudes at home. In fact these folks bring/import their racist attitudes with them, and these attitudes manifest themselves within the core penological psyche of the Prison Industrial Slave-Complex thus influencing every aspect of the Prison Industrial Slave-Complex and this is applicable to the entire U.S. penal system.

In Pelican Bay State Prison the inherent racism has manifested in a very blatant but unique way. The Institutional Gang Investigation Unit (IGI), Investigative Service Unit (ISU) and the Office of Correctional Safety (OCS) out of Sacramento have reduced New Afrikan (Black) history and culture to prison gang politics. By doing so they have limited New Afrikan politically conscious prisoners ability to learn and teach our history and created a method to circumvent our first amendment rights, for example: New Afrikan revolutionary prisoners presently being housed in the security housing unit (SHU - Solitary Confinement). We are forbidden to possess any book, literature/material or pictures/drawings by or about George Jackson, we can't even write about George Jackson. This is considered contraband and gang activity. They have reduced George Jackson to a prison gang symbol. This is a method they have employed to conceal their racial and political persecution. But it don't stop there, we are also forbidden to possess any literature or publication about/or that mentions Black August. Though New Afrikan people in every major state including the New Afrikan Independence Movement/New Afrikan Liberation Movement commemorate Black August. It is considered gang activity for us to write about it or commemorate it.

They have also criminalized the New Afrikan Independence Movement by reducing its primary ideology (i.e. New Afrikan Revolutionary nationalism) to prison gang politics. They have confiscated any/and all relevant literature. They have reduced our political activities to gang activities. For example, about 8 years ago I wrote a pamphlet titled "The Bell Curve Conspiracy - A Recipe for Black Genocide." Two of the New Afrikan prisoners who contributed to this booklet were also alleged members of the Black Guerrilla Family (like myself). For this reason alone this pamphlet was confiscated, claiming we were involved in gang activity. Anytime we come together to participate in a clear political act it is reduced to gang activity and every literature that is associated with that project is confiscated.

Another example: I had Professor Dorothy B. Fardan (Sojourner Truth Forum School, Center for Human Growth) send me a printed copy of a proposal I had written back in 1996 and revised in 2002. this proposal is designed to eradicate hunger/starvation among all children, Black children in particular, because they content I had intended to distribute copies to other alleged Black Guerrilla Family (BGF) members it was confiscated and I was accused of participating in gang activity.

People, what I have described to you above is only a brief glimpse of what we as New Afrikan prisoners are going through. We are also being penalized for our political activities, when they reduce our political activities to gang activities. They are then able to write negative reports which can and have affected our release to the general population, many of us have been in solitary/isolation over 20 years, for me it has been 25 years in the hole. At least 12 of us have lawsuits pending in the Federal Court, and many more are in the process. Before I end this, I would like to provide you with one more example. On January 30, 200, special gang units from Sacramento along with IGI that ISU raided our cells, the following is a listing of what all they had confiscated stating it was gang related, list one consists of my personal writings and list two consists of Black historical, cultural and political literature and artwork and religious material:

List one: 1. New Afrikan Criminology 101 textbook. 2. Other literature pertaining to New Afrikan Criminology 101. 3. Bell Curve conspiracy (pamphlet). 4. The U.S. fradulent annual crime report (pamphlet) 5. All material pertaining to the George Jackson University and Marcus Garvey Study Group. 6. Pan-Afrikan Community Dept. of Agriculture proposal. 7. Support the Pelican Bay State Prison peace summit (proposal). Note: unbeknownst to many, California prison system averages 300-500 race-based riots/melees a year and this does not include the individual race-motivated stabbings. This has been going on for the past 20 years and now it has spilled over into the streets of Los Angeles. 8. Save the Black Farm (proposal) 9. How to stop the spread of the Control Unit Prison (proposed strategy) 10. All my writings concerning George Jackson and Black August. 11. All my notes and rough drafts to at least 15 proposals. 12. Over 40 poems.

List two: 1. Blood in my Eye, by George Jackson. 2. Malcolm X Last Speech. 3. Revolutionary Handbook, by Kwame Nkrumah. 4. A pamphlet on the Black Liberation Army. 5. A pamphlet commemorating those members of the Black Panther Party and Black Liberation Army that was murdered during the 1960s, 70s and early 80s. 6. All literature pertaining to George Jackson. 7. A picture and art work of George Jackson. 8. A painting of dead Black Panther members. 9. Revolutionary artwork. 10. All literature pertaining to Black August. 11. A CD cover: one song titled Long Liver the Guerrilla, one song dedicated to George Jackson. 12. Approximately seven newsletters from the New Afrikan Black Panther Party. 13. Pictures. 14. A number of handwritten material. 15. Chairman Mao interpretation of Dialectical Materialism and Historical Materialism. 16. Swahili dictionary. 17. Seven Christian pamphlets by the army of god. 18. Black history book catalog. 19. A class action petition (note: they claim this legal petition is a cover designed to disguise a roster of alleged BGF members).

All the property listed in both list one and two were all confiscated under the fabricated contention it was all prison-gang related. In addition to the censorship, political persecution, we are being intentionally further isolated, New Afrikan prisoners are often assigned to one cell in a pod, while our racist oppositions can occupy up to five/six cells in a eight cell pod, leaving us with no one to communicate with or share our political views. This is a deliberate act by IGI, OCS and the administration.

People, we are presently developing a campaign, if you are interested in helping us put an end to official censorship and political persecution contact MIM(Prisons).

Petition Against Censorship and Political Persecution

1) We demand the immediate end to the IGI/ISU censorship program targeting New Afrikan politically conscious prisoners being held in the security housing unit 1, 2, 3 and 4.
2) We demand the immediate end to the ban on all material concerning George Jackson
3) We demand the immediate end to the ban on all material concerning Black August
4) We demand the immediate end to the political persecution of those New Afrikan revolutionary prisoners who are presently being held in Pelican Bay security housing unit 1, 2, 3 and 4.
5) We demand the immediate end to the racial isolation of those New Afrikan revolutionary prisoners being held in the Security Housing Unit 1, 2, 3 and 4.


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MIM Banned in CA!
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[Censorship] [Organizing] [Texas]
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Repression in Texas

I would like our community of revolutionaries to know what is going on in the confines of Preston Smith Unit. The gang intelligence officer took all of my property, saying that I was trying to recruit a feline pen pal into the ALKQN. When my property was returned to me I was missing people's birthday dates, the names of people getting married, and all my addresses and phone numbers.

The reason that was given was "dangerous contraband." I don't know when such things became "dangerous," none of the people have tried to break me out of prison or smuggle in contraband. I have been incarcerated for a little over eleven years, I have had the gang intelligence take my property several times. At no time have they tried to take my addresses, they have taken pictures, names and numbers of inmates and even raps. At no time have they gone this far.

I have no way to contact anyone that I know and it is infuriating. The gang intelligence has cut me off form society and I still have a little over seven years before I see parole.

The grievance system is a joke, here are people who are chummy with those who we "write up." Do we actually think that we will get results? Of course not. That is a fallacy that only novice prisoners might believe in. The truth of the matter is, the injustice system gets away with so much due to those who are outside of it, not doing anything to assist those who are inside.

This [Under Lock and Key] is a forum, sort of a think thank. We know far more collectively than we do individually. All that needs to be done is to set the stage for a movement. That's why they really took all my addresses, they fear my mind and power to build.

It is time to unify into one, we must set objectives that we reach on a deadline. How beautiful it would be to have 7,000 people call and write letters about one issue at a time.

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[Censorship] [California]
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Disregarding mail regulations in California

I'm still hoping that Imperialism and Class Structure in 1997 shows up. These people here have gotten so audacious that they don't even bother to follow their own regulations. One, there's absolutely nothing whatsoever that "threatens the safety or security of the institution" regarding this piece of economics. Two, they're illegally blanketing censorship of all materials from you without even looking at them. And three, they have a procedure that they're supposed to follow, i.e. send the prisoner a rejection of mail form, stating why it's being rejected, and give the prisoner an opportunity to send it back, destroy it, or challenge it via a 602 form.


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MIM Banned in CA!
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[International Connections] [Censorship] [ULK Issue 4]
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Some Ammo for China v. Bush

"We speak out for a free press, freedom of assembly and labor rights, not to antagonize China's leaders, but because trusting its people with greater freedom is the only way for China to develop its full potential." - U.$. President George W. Bush (1)

Last week MIM(Prisons) released our biannual censorship report, which cites documented incidents of censorship of our literature in more than half of the states in the united $tates of amerikkka. That's just the documented incidents of one organization with a tiny distribution.

Comrades in our movement have been yelled at, kicked out, ticketed, physically attacked, arrested and many are currently sitting in isolation cells for the crime of trying to speak about or distribute literature expressing our ideas. For prisoners in isolation, it's usually just a matter of possessing said literature.

If China changes its policy of not publicly criticizing the internal affairs of other countries, documentation of the extensive censorship we face is provided right here on our website for their use.

Let there be no mistake, freedom of speech in a class system is a bourgeois myth.

notes: (1) Washington Post. August 7, 2008.

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[Censorship] [Texas]
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Censorship at Texas Estelle Unit

This brief letter is not a complaint but only to raise my voice against the injustice I'm experiencing here at the Estelle High Security Unit.

I understand the implications pursuant to Correspondence Rules BP-03.91, of which each out-going and in-coming letter to and from offenders are indeed subject to inspection and if such letter is denied then the offender and the sender will be provided a Correspondence Denial Form within seventy-two hours of rejection. This is designed to go into detail informing the offender of the appropriate cause and the evidence relied upon for this denial, and whether he intends to appeal. If he does not wish to appeal, then he has the choice either to have the letter destroyed or sent back to the sender at the offender's expense. This rule, policy or procedure is not being followed.

As stated, there is no question a uniform procedure for denying out-going and in-coming mail is needed. I don't have a problem with the policy. I have a problem with the process. The BP-03.91 policy is a complete method of procedures, which establish a way of doing things and each procedure shall be related in accordance to policy.

What the mailroom staff (Office of Intelligence) are doing is shifting/switching procedure from one day to the next to cover whatever actions they've taken. In a very plain term, its unfair and totally inappropriate to shift or switch procedures in midstream without giving prior warning to offenders. How can any offender follow rules which constantly change without any notice? Rules, policies and procedures that change without notice confuse me as well as other offenders.

This policy is vague and ambiguous, leaving major openings for misinterpretation and giving unreasonable discretionary power to unit Gang Intelligence Officers that TDCJ-ID has left largely unchecked and unquestioned and untrained in key areas of the policy which, in return, causes animosity towards myself and other offenders. They use these misinterpretations to vastly exaggerate accounts of supposed gang-related information, and to justify denial of out-going mail. When mail is denied it often takes weeks before an offender is notified or if the correspondence is not denied it is sent out weeks later. All this is under the guise of security.

If the G.I. (reader) decides my letter contains dangerous content the letter will automatically be denied. How these readers define such content, and who plays a role in making that determination are questions without clear answers. And while such denials require written notification, in practice that rarely happens.

A review of the process exposes a policy in which sections of the policy either contradict each other or are shifted from one day to the next so that no one is responsible. The mailroom, the G.I. and/or Wing officer or even other offenders have access to our mail. The policy isn't even uniformly applied. These type of standard procedures will continue to exist because the mailroom staff insists on denying out-going mail without providing a written notice and without returning back offender's stamped envelopes.

For over two years on this unit, when out-going mail was denied the offender was informed and his stamped envelopes were confiscated. Only after the mailroom staff became so sloppy that they no longer even passed out any denial forms were there enough questions raised that it was discovered that the offender was supposed to receive his stamped envelope back, how nice! However, if questioned about where the thousands of stolen or wrongly confiscated stamps when to the past two years, there is no answer. In fact, any offender ho dares to ask will be retaliated against. Even when caught, the mailroom staff will deny that their conduct was unlawful in any respect.

Enclosed in this letter are grievance step one and two proof of my effort to remedied the problem but as you can see their response is always the same "...The Estelle Unit mailroom is processing all incoming and outgoing correspondence in accordance to BP-03.91. No further action is warranted..." I have other grievances that consist of the same issues but were handled with the same answer.

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[Censorship] [Virginia] [ULK Issue 5]
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Hypocrisy continues at Red Onion

Peep this out! You all remember sending me a document of someone saying that ROSP [Red Onion State Prison] allowed his January 2008 issue of GQ to come through when it had an article concerning the Crip gang lifestyle? Well, I went and ordered GQ in hopes that they slip up, to help in our defense in this battle. Well, in the August 2008 GQ, under the topic crime, there is an article titled "Mexico's Red Day" on pages 96,97,98,100,102 and 103. In it they talk about gang/drug cartels, rapes, small gang war, killing left & right behind the gang & drug war, cops getting killed & using their rank to get over on people.

I mean, how could these three levels of review miss this, especially when it's dealing with Mexico and they are aware of the conditions of poverty there? It's disappointing to see such blatant racism go unchecked, just because GQ is deemed a white publication while XXL and others are "Black." But it's alright because these fools insist on placing themselves in a position that they can't justify. They want a strictly enforced policy that they don't even honor.

MIM(Prisons) adds: There is an ongoing battle against censorship in Virginia, where the prisons are rejecting all MIM(Prisons) literature as well as any other publications considered "Black" like XXL. We are appealing this through the legal system and also need letters of protest sent to: W.D. Jennings, Ph. D., Management Lead Analyst, Virginia Department of Corrections, PO Box 26963, Richmond, VA 23261-6963

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[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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[Organizing] [Censorship] [California] [ULK Issue 4]
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Who's talking in code, pig?

i received your letter today. My Brotha, i did receive your letter in Feb, and i had responded to it, but it was confiscated by the Institutional Gang Investigation Unit (IGI). They claim it was gang related, they claimed New Afrikan Collective is a code word for BGF, now you know how silly my keepers are.

For the past 18 years IGI/ISU [Institutional Gang Investigations/Investigative Services Unit], have used their gang policies as a tool/tactic to circumvent our free speech right, they are using every means at their disposal to censor my voice.

In April and May they all of a sudden decided that my Muslim name was a fictitious name, so, between April 1st and May 29th they confiscated about sixteen outgoing letters under the fictitious name policy. Enclosed is just an example. i have been using my Muslim name since 1982. This had nothing to do with my Muslim name. IGI/ISU were attempting to censor my voice.

i filed a 1983 civil suit (Free Speech & Religious violations). i also sent to the court as an exhibit photo copies of the front of at least 20 letters i had received between Jan and May 29 2008 that clearly shows my Muslim name on each envelope and they passed through IGI/ISU. So this is clear proof that their actions had nothing to do with my name.

...
Your Beloved Brotha,
a California Prisoner

MIM(Prisons) adds: This comrade has been a leader in an effort to build peace among the warring groups within the California prison system. The letter that was held by IGI from reaching MIM(Prisons) was regarding these efforts. The Catch-22 that this comrade, and many of us, find ourselves in is that if he writes honestly about the work he is trying to do then he is labelled a gang member and censored. The pigs do everything they can to prevent a peace process from moving forward in a system that has hundreds of race riots every year that have spilled onto the streets, particularly in Los Angeles County. You would think that it was the pigs jobs to encourage violence so that they can further repress certain groups rather than to put an end to this senseless killing.

One of the charges brought against MIM(Prisons) and many prisoner activists to justify censorship of our communications is that we are writing in code. Yet, our track record speaks for itself. The Maoist movement has continuously and tirelessly worked to put an end to oppression and exploitation. Within the prison movement we have put massive resources into providing hundreds of thousands of pieces of literature to help educate prisoners across the country to provide guidance and hope for a better future.

Meanwhile, it is the pigs who use code words such as "gangs" and "security threat groups" to target the oppressed and any efforts to bring peace and progress, without sounding like the racist arms of imperialist oppression that they are. If talking in code is a crime, censor the pigs, and let those of us who have solutions to the social problems of drugs abuse, violence, and national oppression get to working on putting these solutions into practice.

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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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[Censorship] [Legal] [Nevada]
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Correction to ULK1 Legal advice on CA ban

I just got done reading your November 2007 newsletter Under Lock and Key. Impressive reading!

On page 3 “CA prisons ban MIM” you made a serious error. You cited bad case law concerning prisoners receiving mail under the Procunier v. Martinez standard. In 1989 the U.S. Supreme Court in Thornburgh v. Abbot, 490 U.S. 401, 413-14 partially overturned Martinez. In Abbot the court held that the Martinez standard should apply only to a prisoners outgoing correspondence. For incoming correspondence, a different standard applies. This new standard comes from a case called Turner v. Safley, 482 U.S. 78, in which the Supreme Court stated that restrictions on incoming mail are valid if they are reasonably related to a legitimate penological interest. Also see Abbot at 413.

If inmates go to court to fight the ban on MIM and its incoming publications and correspondence, they could wind up loosing hard if they use the wrong case law such as the Martinez standard. On your next publication of your newsletter, I would recommend posting a correction advising inmates to use the Turner standard.


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