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Under Lock & Key

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[Political Repression] [Censorship] [New York] [ULK Issue 3]
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Threatened for Filing Grievances

I didn't appeal the [censorship] due to the fact that I am short and this jail is known for playing set up games. I do ask if this can wait until I get out? I only have 6 or 7 months to go. They are on some other shit up here. I wrote a grievance at Upstate for opened legal mail while not in my presence. I went all the way to Albany with it. They told Albany that the legal mail didn't have a written return address on it, so they opened it to see if it was in fact legal mail.

And it's not only that but one day the doctors had to come in my cell to get me out because of my back. I went to the hospital that day. When I came back to the jail they put me in the infirmary. While I was in the infirmary 4 COs came in to my cell and asked me if I wrote a grievance dealing with legal mail. I said yes. They then asked me do I want to go home. I didn't say anything. He then pulled out a jailhouse knife and a search report and said, "I found this in your pocket, do you know that you can get up to 3 years added to your sentence for some thing like this." I told him that he knows that shit was not in my pocket. He then said, "I know, but that's what my report is going to say, if you keep playing jailhouse lawyer."

Monday I went back to my cell and when I got there the grievance was not in my cell, other things were gone to. I don't have the grievances, but I do have the number. They called it "Receive legal mail late" to cover for the fact that my legal mail was opened outside my presence. Since then I have been locked up I have been jumped by the pigs two times. The 1st time I filed a grievance and IG came to see me and nothing was done. The CO then tried to get me fucked up by putting other people's shit in my cell. I wrote a grievance and I got moved. The 2nd time I was put on the wall and my legs were kicked out from underneath me and I fell and they jumped on me. I fought back and got 1 year in the box, now I am here.

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[Political Repression] [Texas]
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America: Behind Bars

The latest article from mainstream media reports that at the start of 2008 america had a prison population of 2.3 million. 1 out of every 99.1 adults are locked behind bars, more than any other country in the world. In 2007 alone America spent more than 49 billion on its vast prison system, at a time when the justice department reported that crime as a whole was down, as was violent crime. So why is everybody getting put on lock down? Well, in a nation that stays at war with foreign countries to advance imperialism, it spends its money for war and profit. Compound that with its war at home under the disguise of Homeland Security, Amerika locks up dissenters against the war along with social criminals. Social Control.

So instead of America using funds for programs for rehabilitation and other social services to stop the rate of growth of incarceration, they simply lock the people up and throw away the key. But what the justice system didn't account for was the lack of prison guards. So which will give? An increase in pay and better benefits to recruit more guards, a reduction in prisons being built across america, better social programs to stop recidivism or every prisoner being locked in cells 23 hours a day because of a shortage of staff.

Source: USA Today, February 29, 2008

MIM(Prisons) responds: In the past the government has made a clear choice to continue funding prisons and guards in order to keep expanding the prison population. This comrade is right that Amerika has no interest in rehabilitation and isn't using prisons to stop crime. Prisons in Amerika are a tool of social control. And they also provide a nice economic boost to rural white communities where guards can make good salaries while helping to perpetuate this system of national oppression and social control. We see no reason to expect this to change in 2008.

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[Political Repression] [Control Units] [California] [ULK Issue 3]
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On lockup for filing lawsuit

Once again I'm back in ad-seg, this time my lock up order reads: "for allegations of staff misconduct." The smoke screen justification for locking me up they say is "to protect the integrity of the investigation." But it's clear that my current isolation is just retaliation for my jailhouse lawyer activities. Just recently in December the U.$. marshals were up here issuing service of a summons order for several high ranking Salinas Valley State Prison officials and some of the low level guns, to appear and answer the civil rights complaint I filed against them. They violated their own United Snakes constitution, in 14 different ways, against several of us beginning in 2005 all the way until 2007.

The complaint just passed district screening in November, therefore that initial battle was won. The officials violated the 1st Amendment, in regards to our freedom of speech, by requiring prisoners up here to participate in the threat assessment interviews, after any rumor of a threat on staff, or any other incident that was transpiring on the yard or at this prison. When some of us refused to answer any of their questions or sign any documents (they had put together a promise to behave chrono) we were removed from general population and isolated in the institution's Behavior Modification Unit (BMU) and stripped of all our so-called privileges such as canteen, packages, phone calls, contact visits and yard - indefinitely. Of course there was no rule or regulation in the Title 15 to support the administration's arbitrary actions. So they made one up and deemed it confidential, D.O.M. #55015, unlock protocol. Cold thing is the office of administrative law never heard of this regulation, but that wasn't a surprise to us because the officials kept switching up their methods of repression.

After they saw nothing was working to break our resolve (about 10 of us on the yard who took part in the resistance), the administration began libeling us. They issued out 128s indicating, by our refusal to assist staff in their investigation, that we were actively promoting "organized criminal/gang/disruptive group activity." These assertions were ludicrous as all of the individuals involved were from different geographical locations and there were both Blacks and Latinos who choose, as a matter of principal, that they weren't going to assist the pigs. This is a political belief - that's one of the 1st Amendment claims I presented, but on that one there's still research that needs to be done to see the extent to which our political rights apply in the prison settings.

I believe when it's all said and done they will definitely have to be held accountable for the 8th Amendment violation in denying us yard - fresh air and exercise opportunities for long periods of time. One brotha - struggling with us was denied for 2 years from 2005 to 2007. My celly was denied for 18 months. Me myself I was denied for the shortest period of time which was just a little over 6 months. Still and yet the Supreme Court deemed denial for even 6 weeks cruel and unusual punishment years ago.

As a prisoner in the 21st century there's a clear and present danger of losing everything that was previous gained through struggle in the prison movements of the past. If we would have the support of the majority or even 2/3rds, I don't believe the administration would have even attempted to push a line on us like that.

It's unfortunate, but many prisoners here are unaware of the oppressor's true reason for forcing the interviews and forcing us to sign the document. The interview in and of itself is a guise, to create suspicion and engender more disunity than there already is amongst the general population. The officials created a rule requiring everybody to come out of their cells one by one and enter the guards office - a dark room - and answer questions concerning any rumors or racial and gang conflicts, so on and so forth. This disguises and provides comfort for their informants.

By 95% of the population participating in this, it's clear that we're in a state of emergency as a people and that's just from a conscience perspective. From a legal perspective, when individuals sign that chrono, it's a waiver of rights and it absolves the administration of liability. It serves another purpose, for it's also a contract promising to behave. With your signatures it justifies them hitting us with indeterminate SHU based on a violation of that contract. The people who have us enslaved like this are wickedly wise and constantly look for new and improved ways to play us against ourselves. The people tend to lose sight of that and it pains me deeply to see the extent to which we are allowing ourselves to be manipulated. This is my reason for fighting through. I don't so much mind the repression, now based on what I know and now understand that the cause is in righteousness. With that said I feel extremely blessed to have the opportunity to be a part of it.

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[Political Repression] [National Oppression] [California]
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Repressing Natives for organizing in California

These capitalist lapdogs in California had my native ass locked away in the gulag within the gulag for inciting and when that didn't work they got "kites" detailing my supposed involvement in a plot to assault the spiritual adviser. How utterly ridiculous! #1. We (my spiritual advisor and I) had no such animosity between us. #2. Said actions on my part, should they reflect anything based in reality, would get me banned in Indian country (the native community). #3 Said materials only came on the heals of their failed attempt to ship me out of the joint in response to paperwork filed against them for failure to adhere to federal mandates in regard to native american spiritual services. The contemptible bastards!

Anyway, as you may notice, they finally succeeded in transferring me to San Diego. Ha! They have inadvertently done a great service, for in so doing, they have placed me in an environment ripe for political agitation. A healthy population of natives and the imperialist lackeys here are in compliance with J. vs. Martinez and other such censorship cases.

I have, however, during my fight, lost my revolutionary literature. All the books I had received or acquired through other comrades, all MIM Notes, the manifesto of the Communist Part, MIM Theory #9, and my What is MIM pamphlet. Anything you comrades can aid me with would be very appreciated. I'll be in a position to blast some stamps your way for some books rather soon. I'm really missing the dialectical materialism book as I'd just got a hold of it and hadn't really been able to get into it.

Struggling to educate the masses.

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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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[Education] [Political Repression] [New Jersey] [ULK Issue 50]
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Struggle to Reunite with Panther Legacy

I am one of Jersey's political prisoners and because of my gang involvement and political views the state views me as a threat. To control and monitor my behavior and movements I was placed in this closed custody Max-Max Unit.

Many of us long termer gang members have transcended the normal gangbang functions of red and blue. Some of our actual history leads back to the militant movements of the Black Panthers of the 1960s. Many of us know about the Panthers and the movement, but 90% of us have missed the opportunity to learn the actual literature and history that motivated this movement.

I'm in a position to educate these fellas to the real militant movements against this fascist state. I had the benefit of learning about Marxism-Leninism-Maoism from a real revolutionary. I would like to return the favor by teaching others the same.

I would greatly appreciate if you will help me by sending me newspapers. I will send a contribution but not with this letter. This letter contains information that this facility sees as dangerous that would be another reason for them to segregate me further.

All of us here are physical revolutionaries. I believe so simply because the state only responds to violence. This furthers their justification for excessive force, beatings and at times torture. It's time we exercise our minds in making a change. All is appreciated.

Please do not return this letter. All incoming mail is reviewed. We have the freedom to receive any literature. We are ONLY NOT ALLOWED TO TEACH OTHERS.

The system can never kill me.

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[Political Repression] [Control Units] [Pelican Bay State Prison] [California]
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Resisting the subversive extremes of political persecution

We, the new Afrikan Black prisoners who are being held captive in the Security Housing Unit (SHU) at Pelican Bay State Prison in the state of Kalifornia, are currently being placed under siege and arbitrarily persecuted for our political beliefs. The means of political persecution that we are being subjected to is being perpetuated on multiple fronts by our kaptors, such as 1) The continued infringement upon our 1st amendment right to the freedom of political expression and political activity, 2) The continued criminalization of our political beliefs/viewpoints as allegedly being the expressed activity of promoting gang and criminal activity in the interest of a particular prison gang. These fascist pigs have been relentless in this area, in spite of the fact that time after time it has been proven that the content of the ideological political beliefs expressed are not advocating any form of violence or criminal activity, 3) subjecting us to round 'da clock cell searches, to where any and all New Afrikan revolutionary reading material (books/writings) is arbitrarily confiscated. In particular, as it related to materials that identify with the ideological principals of New Afrikan revolutionary nationalism or the honorable and beloved comrade George Jackson, 4) The confiscation of our outgoing/incoming mail that also advocated the ideological principles of our fallen comrade George Jackson, and 5) The accumulative effect from these subversive practices is that, the material is then used against us, in order to substantiate their arbitrary decision to keep us New Afrikan Black prisoners held indefinitely in the SHU.

Note, these factors are also utilized against us at our parole board hearings, in determining whether we are suitable for parole or not. And based on the arbitrary threshold of interpretation in identifying us as prison gang members on account of our political beliefs, being found suitable for parole is out of the question.

These fascist practices are continuing, with no means to an end in sight. And this is in spite of the fact that there have been several court rulings rendered forth in our favor, to where the courts have consistently stated: "George Jackson, and the ideological political beliefs of George Jackson do not constitute a material basis for a prisoner being involved in the promotion of criminal and gang activities…"

The most recent court ruling was rendered forth on June 15, 2005 by the Del Norte County Superior Court, Case No: HCPB-04-5054. The basis of litigation centered around the fact that Pelican Bay State prison officials had arbitrarily confiscated an incoming mail package that was being sent in from Santa Rosa Junior College (prisonerwriting.com). The incoming mail package contained a political science study manual that was put together by the personnel of George Jackson University. The following reasons were given as to why the incoming mail package was being disallowed: 1) The political science study manual contained the names of several validated prison gang members, 2) prison officials had deemed the address that the incoming mail package was being sent from to be a prison gang mail drop box, and 3) they had identified comrade George Jackson as being a prison gang member, in light of a photograph of George Jackson that was featured on the political science study manual. Prison officials went on to cite the following citations and provisions of the California Code of Regulations, as a basis to justify their confiscation of incoming mail: CCR, Title 15, Sections 3006(c)(16), 3023(a), 3136(a).

On June 15, 2005, the Del Norte County Superior Court, by way of an evidentiary hearing that was held, firmly disputed and disagreed with the reasons that Pelican Bay State Prison officials gave in confiscating and disallowing the incoming mail. In fact, the court went as far as to say that "the reasons that were given by Pelican Bay State Prison officials were exaggerated." And concluded that 1) the photograph of comrade George Jackson did not constitute the promotion of gang, criminal, or violent activities, as in the words of Pelican Bay's own gang specialist Devan Hawkes: George Jackson is a member of the Black liberation movement and not a validated prison gang member, and 2) the address on the incoming mail package was not a prison gang mail drop as alleged, but was in fact an address to an academic institution for higher learning (Santa Rosa Junior College). It should also be noted that three individual pages were withheld because the issue of prisoners having a fundamental constitutional 1st amendment right to the freedom of association was not raised. These three individual pages had the names of fellow New Afrikan Black political prisoners of war, to whom Pelican Bay prison officials have arbitrarily targeted/labeled as being members of a prison gang. I have since obtained a copy of the transcripts (partial) from this evidentiary hearing, which outlines the material facts of this court ruling.

Using our historical ideological line of struggle as our guide to understanding the true nature of these fascist pigs (prison officials), we should realize that these fascist pigs have never been bound to the obligation of upholding and abiding by any laws that are created by the U$ government that don't serve their own perverse interests, as defined by the corrupt and decadent nature of the social system of U$ imperialism.

With the prison industrial slave complex being an extended mechanism of oppression for the U$ government, the only applicable means of justice that can be realized is through the power of the people. So lets mobilize around this issue and do what is necessary in exposing the unjust and fascist nature of political persecution that we New Afrikan Black political prisoner of are being subjected to.

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[Control Units] [Racism] [Political Repression] [California]
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California Trumped Up Gang Validation

I got your information off the internet via my familia on the streets. And I felt compelled to reach out to you, as well as to share with you a little bit about myself and the struggles my loved ones and I have been blessed with. The state will tell you I'm here for a second degree murder. Of course I will tell you that it is much more complicated than that. My co-defendants, (three out of four of them were relatives) faced frivolous allegations of "gang association." Imagine that, you grow up in the barrio and know some, even grew up with some, "gang members" and they labeled us all a gang and called the alleged drunken brawl a gang fight, which legally, totally changed and prejudiced "the states of mind and intentions" of alleged to have been involved. Due to enormous pressure, I buckled and took this sentence, not because I'm guilty as charged, but in order to save my familia from receiving life sentences as well.

Regardless, I'm in this system. "I have lived within the Monster, and I know it from within." (Jose Marti) All of my life I've soaked up bits and pieces of revolutionary consciousness, always drawn like the proverbial moths to a flame to the defiant, the warriors and martyrs. Those brave and solid enough to see the bigger picture, and to lead and sacrifice for the people. But somehow my adolescent desires and undefined morals and standards led me to mis-invest this warriors spirit into gang banging. I can see from my present point of view, that I was not extraordinary in my misdirected efforts.

However, I have always strived for something bigger and better. Something beneficial to the people, La Raza, instead of solely destructive and degenerate. But I lacked the education, I lacked the consistent guidance and discipline, and I, like most of the huddled masses from the Barrio and otherwise, had to focus on survival. But now, for the last 5 years, "due to [my] case factors" and the resulting label put upon me as a "Northern Hispanic, " by the State, have had some time on my hands to focus, to explore, and develop ideas and ideals.

More than enough time, as I'd spent 3 years in the county in single occupancy cells, a year and a half on Solano's level three facility I on lockdown and I've spent over six months now in Administrative Segregation (the hole), where I'm facing a "gang validation." As is well known, the State applies social Judo tactics, so to speak, in order to keep the masses off balance and misdirected. In these divide and conquer scenarios social organizations and movements for resisting oppression and exploitation, and in furtherance of equality, empowerment, and dignity, find their focus degenerated and misdirected towards other members of their own backgrounds.

This is nothing new, and we still don't make it difficult for them to do. These tactics have literally been perfected to a science: within the confines of the CDCR. The technical aspects of these tactics are ever evolving, seemingly made up as they go, as well as laid out in a long winded maze of words (which seem really to only be there for show or manipulation) in the California code of Regulations Title 15 and the Department Operations Manual.

For example: "Gang means any ongoing formal or informal organization, association or group of (3) or more persons which has a common name or identifying sign or symbol whose members and or associates individually or collectively engage or have engaged, on behalf of that organization, or group, in (2) or more acts which include, planning, organizing threatening, financing, soliciting, or committing unlawful acts or acts of misconduct classified as serious pursuant to section 3315."

"Disruptive Group means any gang other than a prison gang." (of which there are (10) different general labels, (3) of which are relative to Latinos in particular.)

"Prison Gang means any gang which originated and has its roots within the department or any other prison system" (3 out of 5 labels are specifically Raza). "Member is an inmate/parolee who has been accepted into membership by a gang. This identification requires at least (3) independent source items of documentation indicative of actual membership. Validation of an inmate/parolee as a member of a prison gang whall require that at least (1) source item be a direct link to a current or former Validated member or associate of the gang…Associate is an inmate/parolee who is involved periodically or regularly with members or associates of a gang…"

"A dropout is an inmate/parolee who was either a gang member or associate and has discontinued gang affiliation. This identification requires that the inmate/parolee successfully complete the debriefing process."

"2. Except as provided at section 3335(a), section 3378(d) and subsection (c )(5), a validated prison gang member or associate is deemed to be a severe threat to the safety of others or the security of the institution and will be placed in a SHU for an indeterminate term."

"4. A validated prison gang member or associate shall be considered for release from a SHU, as provided above, after the inmate is verified as a gang dropout through a debriefing process."

"5. As provided at section 3378(3), the Departmental Review Board (DRB) may authorize SHU release for prison gang members or associates categorized as inactive. The term inactive means that the inmate has not been involved in gang activity for a minimum of (6) years. Inmates categorized as inactive who are suitable for SHU release shall be transferred to the general population of a level IV facility for a period of observation that shall be no greater than 12 months. Upon completion of the period of observation, the inmate shall be housed in a facility commensurate with his or her safety needs. In the absence of safety needs, the inmate shall be housed in a facility consistent with his or her classification score…."

"6. As provided at section 3378(f) an inmate categorized as inactive or validated as a dropout of a prison gang and placed in the general population may be returned to segregation based upon one reliable source item identifying the inmate as a currently active gang member or associate of the prison gang with which the inmate was previous validated…"

I myself, despite my objections, was labeled a "Northern Hispanic" by this system. In fact, probably a quarter of the prisoners labeled as such were and are not gang members of any kind, but are forced by the system into accepting this generic label, which in turn makes you an automatic target by other certain group segments. Perhaps most potentially detrimental is the system's obsession with validating each and every prisoner they label a (N/H/) as a prison gang member/associate in order to bury them alive in the confines of the SHUs.

Those prisoners labeled NHs are routinely placed on prolonged lockdowns, having constantly to defend themselves and to fight for basic safety and continually push for equality, as well as, and perhaps more harmful, the chronic violations and abuse of our rights and mental and physical well being, from the State, who, in their zeal to justify their actions, do so by habitually breaking the laws they pretend to uphold.

There are many clear and obvious discrepancies in treatment, as well as in application of the laws and regulations used to govern the CDCR. For instance, while NHs were on lockdown, they were denied visits, adequate and timely medical care, there were incidents of NHs being physically abused. The NHs often only came out of their cells 3 days out of the week for 5 minute showers, only to be yelled at and degraded throughout, and this, even during heat waves and times where there was no air circulation in the oven like cells due to air circulation system breaking down. The NHs were denied access to phone use, access to the law library, I can go on and on.

I myself ended up on Ad. Seg a few weeks before the NHs were let off of lockdown. On the day I was brought here, about 3 or 4 in the morning, the door to the cell my old celly and I occupied was opened, I was sprayed 3 times in the face with a chemical significantly more powerful than pepper spray, handcuffed, and here I am now, facing a ridiculous "gang validation" on trumped up charges.

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[Political Repression] [Maryland] [ULK Issue 1]
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Maryland transferring prisoners to "sanitize"

The MD prison system is currently going through some drastic changes. The new governor, M. O'Mally, is actively involved in the implementation of new tactics to stem the escalating violence (against correctional officers) in this system.

This past month, mass transfers have been conducted to and from the North branch facility in Cumberland, MD and the Supermax here in Baltimore.

MD is quickly becoming a "police state." Convicts are being snatched up 2 and 3 o'clock in the morning and sent to other max facilities and even out of state.

The MDOC is planning to "sanitize" its prison population by transferring all "influential convicts," gang leaders and so-called chronic trouble-makers out of state. A bus load of 20 have been shipped out to "Red Onion" in VA and to KY.

A new stage in the fascist movement? Predictably, as the fascist's tool, capitalism, is exposed to the harsh climate of maintaining its relevancy, it must speed up its pillaging and plundering. Nothing unnatural can long exist in a natural setting without creating basic corruptions in the environment.

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[Organizing] [Political Repression] [California]
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Peace between prisoners discouraged in California

In response to an article in the October Under Lock and Key about prisoner's attempting to organize a peace summit at Pelican Bay prison in California, one prisoner wrote:

I have yet to hear of any of this, however, I did hear about the 2001 attempted peace treaty. Which of course was purposely sabotaged by CDC. The very last thing these bastards (CDC) wants is peace amongst the races here in prison. It is not in the material interest of the white middle class who work for CDC to have this violence come to an end. Any time an institution goes on lock down, prison officials automatically get what's called "Hazard Pay" which doubles their pay. So for every violent incident they (CDC) can provoke, they stand to profit from it.

And it's not only the CDC that stands to profit. Other outside organizations are also profiting from what the CDC has created. Organizations such as the Sheriffs department and other police agencies. Which of course are staffed with middle class white amerikans. Every time an incident from in here spills out into our occupied communities, it is these organizations that come in and lock up everyone in sight, not to mention harass, beat and even murder us.

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