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Under Lock & Key

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[United Front] [Security] [Organizing] [Texas] [ULK Issue 35]
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Report on United Front for Peace Work in Texas

I do all I can here to educate prisoners in the science of revolution. I share Under Lock & Key, I pass MIM(Prisons)'s address around, I conduct study groups, I raise consciousness and awareness while showing solidarity. Yet, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice officials are agents of repression using all kinds of divide and conquer tactics against these efforts.

The other day I was conducting a study group in solitary confinement and the pigs were using disruption by instigating a racial argument between two Black prisoners and a Mexican prisoner. I tried to keep the peace and unity among prisoners, but the pigs are constantly breaking the unity and provoking racial conflict. I tried to intervene by telling these three prisoners to stop arguing about insignificant things and to set aside their differences and come together in unity, solidarity and cooperation. Then two of the Black prisoners started caling me "wet back." I just had to terminate the study group at that moment to prevent further altercations and racial conflict among these three inmates. I had similar experiences in the past when I tried to educate fellow prisoners; sooner or later the pigs manipulated the situation and use these ignorant inmates to turn against me and start calling me racial slurs.

Look comrades, I have to be very cautious when I give your address to some of these prisoners because some of them are agent provocateurs, snitches, double agents, pretenders, informants and just brainwashed. So be aware of this matter. I just don't let these pigs get to me with their dirty tactics of divide and conquer. Some comrades over here are willing to learn, others are just playing games, and others are just brainwashed and it will take too long to make them conscious of revolutionary knowledge so I rather concentrate more on those comrades willing to learn and to assimilate Maoism into their thinking.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This report from a United Struggle from Within (USW) comrade is an example of United Front work among the imprisoned lumpen. This is the more tedious stuff that dedicated comrades must engage in over years and decades before getting to more glorious examples like 30,000 prisoners refusing food on the same day in California. So we want to recognize all who, like this comrade, keep working and not letting the pigs get to them.

It's true those who follow the pigs' manipulations are ignorant, and someday they will probably recognize that and feel great shame. But this story itself is an example of a teaching moment. By setting a good example, others learned something that day about the roles of the pigs because of the efforts this comrade made to build unity. And it is by consistently providing examples like this to the masses that ignorance is overcome. When an individual overcomes their ignorance and opens up to new ideas, those are the people who should get your persynalized attention to develop their theory and practice.

Finally, we are aware that many people write us with bad intentions. Some have requested that we not send materials to such people. But this allows the very people we are trying to avoid to manipulate us into censoring ourselves. And in the current format of our work, there is no certain way for us to identify all pigs. As we have written in articles about security in the past, we must judge people based on their actions, and only give out information on an as needed basis. So we are very conscious about what information is public and what is not, and we will spread public information as widely as we can. As we recently wrote, comrades should not mistake Under Lock & Key subscribers for USW members. Just because we send someone mail, does not tell you anything about our assessment of that individual's political reliability.

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[Spanish] [Security]
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El Negocio del Web en el U.$. no es Seguro - MIM(Prisiones) Cierre del Correo Electrónico

El burguesía parece estar perdiendo la batalla por libre empresa contra el gobierno represivo de Estados Unidos, y no puede más ser que algún servicio comercial de correo electrónico que no proporcione acceso directo a toda la información de los usuarios a Las Agencias del Inteligencia del los Estados unidos. Nos enteramos de esto hoy cuando nuestro servicio de correo electrónico, Lavabit.com, no estaba más accesible y el propietario envío puso un mensaje declarando,

He sido forzado a hacer una difícil decisión: estar en complicidad con crímines contra la gente americana o alejarme de cerca diez años de duro trabajo cerrando Lavabit. Después de significativo examen de conciencia, he decidido suspender operaciones.

La clara implicación es que los federales se acercaron a el a demandarle acceso a las comunicaciones en su servicio. Comunicaciones que existen fueron anunciadas como inaccesibles a cualquiera menos a el usuario quien poseyere la cuenta. Para no soltar mas información del usuario a los federales el cerro la mesa de servicio; una decisión seguramente no tomada a la ligera cuando personas dependían en sus correos electrónicos para mucho en sus vidas diarias.

Justo a principios de esta semana esto fue revelado por un servicio popular de presentación, que Tor Hidden Servicios estaba comprometido y sitios en ese servicio estaban infectados con malicioso lenguaje computarizado (Javascript) para revelar las direcciones IP de los usuarios (usualmente escondidos por la Red Tor) a un servicio localizado en Virginia. La implicación evidente allí esta operación estaba relacionada a las Agencias de Inteligencia del Estados Unido$ las cuales dominaban la región. Uno de los más populares sitios afectados por este ataque fue Tor mail, otro proclamado el mismo como un servicio seguro de correo electrónico.

Todo esto comenzó inmediatamente después de la liberaciones de información sobre el sistema de la Agencia de Seguridad Nacional (NSA) de los Estados Unido$, de monitorear todas las comunicaciones electrónicas en el mundo. La información publicado hace esto claro que todas las mayores compañías comerciales de computadoras (software) han proporcionado acceso para entrar en la red de sus computadoras y servicios por linea, al gobierno de Estados Unido$. Con la destrucción de Lavabit y Tormail, esto parece evidente que los Estado$ Unido$ no tiene intención de dejar algunas excepciones para que ese sistema continuara. El anunciador, Edward Snowden era conocido por usar Lavabit, como su correo electrónico, llevando a muchos a deducir que Lavabit fue una víctima de la cacería de Estados Unido$ por Snowden mismo. Otros han especulado que el ataque a Tor fue un intento de asustar gente de la tan llamada Red Oscura (Darknet) y de regresarlos a los brazos amistosos de Google, Microsoft, et al.

Mientras que usando supuestamente servicios seguros en línea que puedan proporcionar una capa extra de protección, no puedes confiar en un grupo desconocido para tu seguridad en todo caso. Eso es porque servicios con medidas de seguridad PGP encriptadas, como hushmail.com, son un chiste desde el principio. Hushmail.com, trabaja abiertamente con el gobierno americano aunque ellos no son una compañía de Estado$ Unido$. Ciertamente otras naciones intentaran apoderarse de la ventaja competitiva que ellos ahora tienen sobre un negocio que hace tiempo ha sido dominado por las compañías del Estado$ Unido$. Y como recientemente dijimos, lo positivo de todo esto es un aumento en demanda e innovación en el terreno de seguridad informática.

Por ahora, no puedes enviar correos electrónicos a MIM(Prisones); en vez de eso, ve a nuestra pagina de contacto. Estaremos investigando soluciones alternativas y las imprimiremos en nuestros anuncios en la pagina de contacto una vez que ellos estén disponibles. Si todavía estas usando correo electrónico sin inscripción para trabajo político, tomate el tiempo y empieza estudiando nuestras conexiones de seguridad en nuestra pagina de contacto. La última generación revolucionaria subestimado el papel de COINTELPRO hasta que esto fue demasiado tarde. Esto sería un crimen contra la gente como para que nosotros hagamos el mismo error con todo lo que sabemos hoy.

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[Security] [Civil Liberties] [ULK Issue 34]
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No More Secure Web Business in U.$. - MIM(Prisons) Email Shut Down

mimprisons@lavabit shut down by thought police

The bourgeoisie seems to be losing the battle for free enterprise against the repressive U.$. government. There can no longer be any commercial email service that does not provide direct access to all its users' information to the U.$. intelligence agencies. We discovered this today when our email server, lavabit.com, was no longer accessible and the owner posted a message stating,

I have been forced to make a difficult decision: to become complicit in crimes against the American people or walk away from nearly ten years of hard work by shutting down Lavabit. After significant soul searching, I have decided to suspend operations.

The clear implication is that the feds approached him to demand access to the communications on his server. Existing communications were advertised as not accessible to anyone but the user who owns the account. In order to not release any future user info to the feds he shut down the server; a decision surely not taken lightly when people depend on their email for so much of their lives.

Just earlier this week it was revealed that a popular hosting service for Tor hidden services was comprimised and sites on that server were infected with malicious javascript to reveal users' IP addresses (usually hidden by the Tor network) to a server located in Virginia. The obvious implication there was that this operation was related to U.$. intelligence agencies which dominate the region. One of the more popular sites affected by this attack was Tormail, another self-proclaimed secure email service.

All of this comes on the heels of the release of information on the U.$. National Security Agency's (NSA) system of monitoring all electronic communications in the world. Information released makes it clear that all major commercial software companies have provided backdoors to their software and online services to the U.$. government. With the destruction of Lavabit and TorMail, it seems clear that the United $tates has no intention of letting any exceptions to that rule continue. Whistleblower Edward Snowden was known to use lavabit.com for his email, leading many to conclude that Lavabit was a victim of the U.$. hunt for Snowden himself. Others have speculated that the attack on Tor was an attempt to scare people out of the so-called darknet and back into the friendly arms of Google, Microsoft, et al.

While using allegedly secure online services can provide an extra layer of protection, you cannot rely on an unknown party for your security anyway. That is why services with built in PGP encryption, like hushmail.com, are a joke from the get go. Hushmail.com openly works with the Amerikan government already even though they are not a U.$. company. Certainly other nations will attempt to seize the competitive advantage they now have over a business that has long been dominated by U.$. companies. And as we recently said, the positive of all this is a surge in demand and innovation in the realm of computer security.

For now, you cannot email MIM(Prisons); instead, see our contact page. We will be investigating alternative solutions and post them on our announcements and contact page once they are available. If you're still using unencrypted email for political work, get with the times and start studying our security links on our contact page. The last revolutionary generation underestimated the role of COINTELPRO until it was too late. It would be a crime against the people for us to make the same mistake with everything we know today.

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[U.S. Imperialism] [Security] [ULK Issue 33]
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Global Telecom Monitoring for Global Domination

A lot of talk and discussion has been flying lately about the recent exposure of the United $tates's massive worldwide spying apparatus. While the European Union superstructure of imperialist nations and empires cry "Foul!," their cries are for show only. In January 2012 the E.U super-state shot down a proposal that would have made it illegal for the United $tates to spy on E.U. citizens. The Amerikans threatened economic warfare and the U.$. administration heavily lobbied E.U. officials to crush the proposal before it was brought to member nations for referendum. E.U. officials promptly did so, proving the United $tates to be the current dominant world imperialist superpower.(1)

A reason some European countries/empires are reluctant to raise much of an outcry is because most communications at some point have to travel thru U.$. telecom and internet servers. European imperialist countries can then backdoor their own countries' warrant requirements by just requesting the information from U.$. spy agencies. Britain has also been known to do this to monitor insurgencies in its colonies.(2)(3) These revelations bring about the question, how else does this issue affect colonized peoples and the Third World?

The United $tates set up the notoriously corrupt Mexican government's entire telecommunications network to spy on its own citizenry, and of course to allow the United $tates to monitor all communications passing thru Mexico.(4) As stated above most of the world's communications will pass thru U.$. systems and systems set up by the United $tates. This allows the Amerikans to spy on the entire world's communications, thereby helping them to control entire populations, and manipulate governments and markets, which explains why the United $tates is so willing to export this technology.(5)

The United $tates and Israel have been exporting this technology for years.(6) One of the largest electronic surveillance companies Verint was founded by former Israeli intelligence officer Jacob "Kobi" Alexander. The CEO is Dan Bonder, former Israeli army engineer.(7) The United $tates uses a lot of Verint software for eavesdropping. Another major client of Verint is the government of Vietnam, who uses Verint technology to monitor dissidents and silence them.(8)

Another large U.$./Israeli intelligence firm, Narus, provides eavesdropping technology to the Chinese Government, which uses the technology to monitor citizens, silence dissidents and to prevent Chinese workers from organizing. Narus also provides and has provided its services to the oppressive regimes in Egypt (Mubarak), Libya, and Saudi Arabia.(9)

Without this U.$./Israeli technology these repressive governments could not track VOIP calls or block "unapproved" websites or track dissidents.(10) These systems allow these repressive regimes to impose a stranglehold on their citizenry/workers on behalf of the U.$. imperialists. This makes these U.$./Israeli firms not only responsible for helping to maintain this stranglehold but also largely responsible for the death, torture, and detention of the citizens and workers of these countries.


MIM(Prisons) adds:In issue 33 of Under Lock & Key we are focusing on the importance of independence in order to achieve self-determination. U.$. surveillance is just one more thing to consider in trying to maintain independence. One positive result coming out of the information released about the NSA's global data mining operations is a flurry of support in the First World (from people who haven't had to worry about things like COINTELPRO in the past) for independent, open source technology projects that focus on providing security to all. Many of these we mentioned in our article Self-Defense and Secure Communications in ULK 31. But using better technology is not the only lesson to take from this. Another lesson is that more traditional forms of communication, in societies less integrated into the imperialist system (where resistance also happens to be more fertile) will be an even better route than depending on technologies, such as social media, where the imperialists can easily dominate.

Sources:
1. James Fontaella-Khan, "Brussels bows to US over data protection", Financial Times, Thursday 13 June 2013.
article is called by
2. J.Mooney & O'Toole. Black Operations, Maverick House, 2005.
3. James Bamford. The Shadow Factory, Anchor Press, 2009.
4. ibid pg. 225-228
5. ibid pgs. 177,181,184,186,209,291,304
6. ibid pg. 254
7. ibid pg. 238
8. ibid pgs. 254 & 259
9. ibid pgs. 259
10. ibid pgs. 256 & 260

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[Security] [ULK Issue 31]
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Self-Defense and Secure Communications

Self-Defense arm yourself physically and mentally
The digital age is slowly reaching behind prison walls. So much so that the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation recently began implementing cell phone blocking technology around its prisons. MIM(Prisons) regularly receives emails from comrades behind bars via state-run email systems for prisoners. While we have long promoted careful study and practice around the use of computers for revolutionary work, we have generally felt this material had little immediate relevance for our comrades behind bars. This is changing.

While pointing to resources for further study and giving pointers on what the risks of using computers and cell phones are, we have historically veered away from recommending certain technology. This was partly due to a desire to prevent the state from building a profile of the technologies that we rely on, and partly because there are organizations more focused on these questions that will have more up-to-date and in-depth information to offer. While the latter is still true, there are a few technologies that are so standard that we see little risk in mentioning them by name.

Another thing we want to touch on here is imposing higher standards for our electronic communications from other revolutionary organizations. Recent communications we've received have reinforced to us the need for diligence in having secure communication networks. So let us begin with some basic principles.

Assuming that we have a practical interest in developing communications with another revolutionary organization, there are three political questions that we must ask about the organization: 1) what is their political line? 2) what practice can we see to prove they are consistent in implementing that political line? 3) can we confirm that we are talking to someone that represents the organization? Once we decide to communicate with an organization we must then be concerned with who knows that we are communicating and who knows what we are saying to each other.

On our website we have our public email address, a form to submit anonymous messages, and our public GPG key to encrypt messages to us. Our website has been online for over 5 years and has material dating back that far demonstrating our work and our political line. We believe this is a good model that would allow another group to confirm who we are and communicate with us securely and anonymously via the internet.

The downside to the public email address is that it is easily targeted for monitoring, allowing the state to know who is contacting us. This is why we have the anonymous form and why we tell people to email us from addresses that are not linked to them persynally. For prisoners, one may think that one's mail is monitored anyway, so emailing is no greater risk than sending a letter. However, there is an increased risk in that digital communications provide for permanent documentation of who you communicate with and what you say, allowing for easy data mining of that information later. This is possible with snail mail, but it requires more effort by the state and is not done consistently; at least for most people. Emailing is convenient, and is a fine way for prisoners to contact us, but be aware of the increased ease of surveillance. If you are using non-state-sponsored technology, then you should consider using the tools we mention below if you have access to them.

For other revolutionary organizations, if our only communication is via anonymous email then we need a way to confirm who you are. Having an established website with your public email address and public GPG key on it and then using that GPG key to encrypt all email is a way to do this. GNU Privacy Guard (GPG) encryption should be used for all communications. Not only does it prevent a snooper from reading intercepted messages, it allows the receiver to confirm the identity of the sender if they have a trusted GPG key from that party. Email addresses are easy to spoof, while it is practically impossible to spoof GPG signatures.

One of the documents we link to on this subject is titled Surveillance Self-Defense. We think this is an appropriate title, and we need comrades to think beyond fists and guns when they think about "security" and "self-defense." Even if you don't use computers or cell phones at all, then you must have a basic understanding of the risks to come to that decision (unless you are in prison and have no choice in the matter). While martial arts are great in many ways, we do not see hand-to-hand combat as a decisive aspect of the struggle at this time. And since we have assessed our strategic stage to be one where armed struggle would be a fatal mistake, we do not require or promote weapons training. We do require regular study, review and practice of anti-surveillance technology of our members. And we hold those we relate to to similar standards. The worse your security practice, the more risk you are to us, and the less we will interact with you. Simple as that.

While being effective in self-defense requires further study than this document, we want to give some simplified recommendations here to get people started:

  1. When you carry a cellphone it is easy for the state to know where you are and to electronically record sound and even video of your surroundings, even if your phone is off
  2. Encrypt your data, if possible encrypt your whole drive including your operating system; there are different tools to do this effectively, but TrueCrypt is a popular cross-platform tool
  3. When connecting to a website or your email you can be identified by your IP address; the best way to hide this is through The Onion Router via the Tor Browser Bundle, the TAILS operating system or Orbot for Android cell phones
  4. As discussed above use GPG to encrypt messages and confirm who messages are from

how tor works

Of course, prisoners using state-owned computers will not have the option to use any of these technologies, so it is mostly just a question of using email or snail mail. But if you are looking forward to a release date and hope to keep in touch with MIM(Prisons) then it would be worth learning more about these technologies and tactics to protect yourself.

How we approach self-defense is very much informed by our political line. Our line leads us to focus more on the First Amendment than the Second. But ultimately there are no rights, only power struggles. Currently, we do not have the ability to defend the movement militarily, but we do have the ability to defend it with a well-informed electronic self-defense strategy. And just as computer technology, and the internet in particular, was a victory for free speech, it has played a role in leveling the battlefield to the point that the imperialists recognize computer warfare as a material vulnerability to their hegemony. The Obama administration has gone so far as to call journalist Julian Assange a "terrorist" after WikiLeaks published documents that the United $tates did not want the world to see.(1) As the means of production advance, we must learn to utilize the emerging technologies for both offense and defense in the interests of the international proletariat.

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[Abuse] [Security] [Calipatria State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 31]
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Confusion About Snitching Means Pig Gets Away with Murder

do not snitch CA prisons
The pigs have been up to the same old stuff around here. Three days ago they shot and killed one of the brown brothers with the mini 14 assault rifle, the same rifle type the media and congress has been trying to ban. Two guys were attacking another guy and they were on him and wouldn't stop. So the pig stopped it with the assault rifle. The official report is that the victim had a stabbing instrument in his hand. But the men who were closest to the incident said they saw no weapon.

Of course they did the routine investigation and sent out some COs to ask if anybody saw anything. And of course no one wanted to talk. The pigs have brainwashed so many of us that we believe if we report on the pigs' wrongdoing then that makes you a snitch. A lot of guys are afraid to write a grievance for fear of being labeled. The bad thing is the pigs have their compradors in place to push this point.

Some guys here on a facility organized a food strike to protest the fact the kitchen has a mice/rodent problem. It was only one building. There was no communication that it was going to take place. They did it and got some people's attention. Inspectors came out and looked at the kitchen and gave the kitchen workers a pep talk and told them they needed to tell the population that the problem was being taken care of. All they did was put some mouse traps down and nothing else.

Hopefully the population continues to stand up for themselves. If this is a sign of change I hope it continues because the pigs got nervous when those guys refused to eat.


MIM(Prisons) adds: The righteousness of opposing "snitching" is in the idea that you don't go running to the oppressor to deal with problems among the oppressed people. In other words, don't snitch to the oppressor on the oppressed. There is no such thing as snitching on the oppressor. To report abuse of the pigs, you are not bringing the oppressor into a conflict among the oppressed; the oppressor already is the source of the conflict. And if the oppressed don't have the means to resolve that conflict, then it may be tactically correct to turn to other oppressors to resolve that conflict.

It is true that the prison administration gets nervous when prisoners organize. The more we can unite around common goals, the more power we will have. If the oppressed stay quiet and disunited, there is no counterbalance to the abuse that prisoners face.

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[Organizing] [Security] [ULK Issue 29]
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Making Prisons Safer with Revolutionary Education

safe zone in prisons
Let's face it, most people coming to prison don't arrive with people's safety at the top of their priority list. Most come to prison with their homies' or comrades' safety in mind, but that is about it. Most come from an existence where, if you are not sharp-witted, treacherous or a cold hustler, you don't eat or you don't survive.

Being raised in this mind frame is not easily forgotten, so the economic hurdle is key in a prisoner's mindset. Many grew up in an environment where other nationalities are frowned upon or there are open hostilities between different nations. Then there are the mentally ill prisoners who may kick off some shit over nonsense and others follow suit. There are so many factors that make prisons unsafe that one can write a book on them rather easily. Each factor has many ways in which to approach it and combat it as well. But at the end of the day safe prisons anywhere in Amerika will only come from the hands of prisoners ourselves.

In a capitalist society prisons are not created to rehabilitate prisoners or teach us, they are designed to warehouse and neutralize us. So the first step in attempting to create safer prisons is understanding this. There is one key that unlocks the door to getting safer prisons and that key is education! I am not talking about Amerikan education, I am talking about revolutionary education. Rev Ed transforms people and betters people in all areas, including interacting with one's fellow prisoners. Take away Rev Ed and one is left with backwards thinking, reactionary behavior, abuse, set tripping, predatory behavior, religious nonsense, drug and alcohol addiction — all the tore up tradition that has self-destructed entire generations.

Ignorance of who you are will always bring out the worst in you. Knowing where one comes from, the deep tradition of resistance and legacy of struggle will always propel one in a positive path, a peaceful path, because when we learn who the real oppressor is we no longer look at another prisoner as the bad guy. Rev Ed teaches us that prisoners in general are an oppressed class and when we really grasp this there's no way can we walk around trying to pick fights with our fellow prisoners. Even the thought of this becomes absurd. Instead we are walking around trying to share revolutionary ideas and exchange revolutionary literature in our quest to revolutionize these hell holes. This must be our focus if we want to have the greatest impact that we can to make prisons safer.

I won't sugar coat it: this is hard work. When I read about shit popping off in what amounts to lumpen-on-lumpen crime I feel your pain because I been there and I still experience bullshit that clings to many of those who continue to hold on to nonsense or reactionary views. So I know how it is when violence ensues around you, especially if you have been working to educate people for a period of time.

These challenges don't change the fact that if you want a safe environment in prison you need to educate your fellow prisoners. The best way to do this is to start with yourself and your cellmate if you have one. I have always had long exchanges of ideas with a cellie. Whatever revolutionary publication I had I would read it, or my cellie would, and we would discuss what we agreed with or disagreed with. Once me and my cellmate were on the same page we would begin to educate our neighbors on either side regardless of who it was, passing publications and eventually books, and eventually involving the whole tier or pod. Many times this process would begin by just passing a publication to someone or telling one persyn to read it and pass it down the line. After a while the questions will begin. This is one way I have experienced creating more educated prisoners and thus safer conditions.

I have also found prisoners who could not read or write, and the state usually does not have material or classes for these people, so I would tell these prisoners I'll spend the time and effort to teach them to read on the condition that they must in turn teach someone else once they are able. One time I taught a prisoner to read out on the mainline and when I saw he had not found someone to tutor I went around and found someone for him. I would go to the law library when I was on the mainline and see someone trying to maneuver in the law and I'd reach out to help this persyn. These people were all different nationalities but in order to create "peaceful prisons" I have learned that you can't limit yourself to your own nation; someone has to build that bridge of relations. If I get to a yard where there is no bridge, I will fill the vacuum because someone has to.

What I have experienced in doing time (and I have spent more time of my life incarcerated than out in society) is that the majority of violence that occurs is over a business deal gone bad, either drugs or gambling debts. So if we have enough discipline to cut this out of the picture would reduce a lot of the violence. The next issue is predatory behavior which is just one persyn or group oppressing or attempting to oppress another, either because of ones nationality or what geographic location one grew up in. If you refrain from this behavior safer prisons become even more of a reality.

In California, prisoners in Pelican Bay recently issued a statement to end hostilities between all nationalities in California prisons, county jails and streets. This is unprecedented in California where lumpen-on-lumpen crime has gone on with deadly consequences for many years. This is only a step, but it is a necessary step in building any type of serious change or any transformation in each nation. The days when the state would pit prisoners on prisoners in California and use us as gladiators for their amusement are over. Prisoners have finally identified the real problem we face, i.e. the real oppressor. And if California can do this and if those in Pelican Bay SHU, who the state claims control all California "gangs," can do this then there is no reason why every prison in Amerika can't do the same and call for an end to all hostilities in all prisons, jails and streets! This is a necessary step if prisoners ever hope to create real safe zones in prisons.

We are seeing history play out in California where our future is in our own hands. If we want to have prisons where we can really rehabilitate ourselves then we must make it happen and the only way for this to happen is if we do so collectively and by ending the hostilities between all nationalities. This knocks down barricades that would otherwise slow down this process. This is not saying we don't have differences, there are many differences, but once you identify your oppressor you realize that lumpen-on-lumpen crime is not helping to reduce our oppression. It's very simple and all groups of all nationalities here in Pelican Bay SHU have agreed to this agreement. If we can do it so can you!

The real safe prisons will come when prisoners can exercise forms of people's power in these concentration camps. People's power exists when contradictions are resolved without having to rely on the state. Like the example I gave of helping my fellow prisoners to read and write or do legal work. Most prisons do not have programs for this, so rather than sit around and complain about it I started my own program on the mainline.

People's power can also be solving problems and preventing violence through mediation which does not involve the state. In Pelican Bay SHU there is the "Short Corridor Collective" which is a representative from each group Chicano, Black, white and sub groups, which seeks peaceful mutual resolutions to problems affecting prisoners. They even have come out with certain demands to the state. If Pelican Bay SHU can do it why can't other prisons across the United $tates form collectives that seek peaceful resolutions to issues affecting prisoners? The answer is they can, and they must, if real peace and progress are to be achieved within prisons.

Political education is the key. Once someone learns real history and understands the class contradictions in the United $tates, and how our oppression can actually be traced directly to capitalism, there is no way they will want to waste time on nonsense. Instead of sitting around gossiping about other poor people who are locked up and plotting on how to hurt other poor people, these educated people will instead study, educate others, form study groups, share progressive literature and books, and create independent institutions behind prison walls in order to advance the prison movement as well as the movement, for humyn rights more broadly.

The only thing I see in the way of us not having safer prisons is us not making these prisons safer!

People's power siempre!

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[Spanish] [Security]
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Protectar Aoki Como Rata

El 20 de Agusto 2012 salió un articulo alegando que el Richard Aoki un Japonés y también unos de los primeros miembros del "Black Panther Party" (BPP) era una rata del FBI, esta declaración esta hecha por el periodista y autor Seth Rosenfeld en su libro titulado: subversivos. La guerra del FBI contra estudiantes radicales y el crecimiento del poder de Reagan, que estuvo disponible convenientemente el 21 de Agusto. También el 7 Septiembre 2012 Rosenfeld publicó un artículo consecutivo con 221 paginas de documentos recién liberados del FBI los cuales él cree que implican mas a Aoki como agente del FBI.(1)

Pero hay que empezar con la perspectiva política de Rosenfelds porque todos sabemos que no existe un periodista imparcial. La opinión de Rosenfeld sobre las luchas liberativas es revelada en su caracterización del frente de liberación del tercer mundo (TWLF) en el cual Aoki se enredó era un movimiento estudiantil violento (2). El le echa la culpa a los huelguistas del TWLF por la violencia en 1968-69 en los colegios universitarios en la área Bay, y no a los puercos. Aunque los estudiantes nunca iniciaron la violencia y de hecho fueron rociados con tanto gas lacrimógeno por los puercos que los arboles en la plaza Proul dentro la Universidad de California en Berkeley todavía molestaban los ojos de los estudiantes hasta el próximo año de escuela. Asi mirando las cosas de esta perspectiva debemos poner en cuestión la estimación que hizo Rosenfeld de el FBI.

Richard Aoki influenció el partido mucho al principio y es famoso por conseguir las primeras pistolas para el BPP de acuerdo con su biografía Aoki ayudo a construir la ideología tremprana de los panteras Bobby Seale y Huey Newton mediante su relación colegio Merritt y por su sugestión con literatura material y político debates con ellos.(3) Ademas del con ellos en el trabajo por la frente liberativa Tercer Mundial vía la política alianza - Americano Asiatico, Aoki se quedo cometido político y revolucionario hasta su muerte en 2009, sorpresivamente señor Rosenfeld es de San Francisco y estuvo investigando para su libro desde 1982 pero apenas en 2002 o 2003 se entero de Richard Aoki.

La demanda de Rosenfeld inició mucho debate por la internet y el radio si será verdar o falso, aunque nosotros reconocemos que siempre esta presente la posibilidad que cualquier persona puede ser agentes del estado pero MIM(Prisiones) prefiere estar de acuerdo con los que vienen a concluir con evidencia reales antes de denunciar al legado de Aoki al estado, viendo objetivamente la evidencia siguiendo la demanda es inconcluyente porque el articulo original estaba muy sensacional, vago y con mal cotizaciones de la entrevista con Aoki en 2007 por cual el autor entremete como su admisión. Además de estas distorsiones la única otras evidencias son los documentos del FBI por cual son ambiguos con cotizaciones diciendo que Aoki proporciono información "única" pero no esta al disponible por otros recursos y el testimonio de los ex-agentos FBI de por cual abra nomas uno que conoció a Aoki también esta muerto.(4) Pero todavía ningunos de los documentos dicen cual tipo de información Aoki proporciono al FBI porque todo estuvo borrado. En el programa de radio Apex Express un amigo cercano de Aoki, Harvey Dong ofreció a los escuchadores una lectura de las partes pertinentes de los documentos del FBI, citados por Rosenfeld (y también excertas de los papeles de colegio de Aoki) (2). La única información que alegan que vino de Aoki en los primeros documentos del FBI es supuestamente de el mismo Aoki y podiar ser obtenido usando intersepciones telefónicas o un agente dando información de Aoki, soponer que los documentos liberados por el FBI son real, los que fueron liberados el 7 Septiembre si establecen que Aoki estaba dando información al FBI desde 1961 hasta 1977 pero muy poco de la relación esta revelado.

El hecho de que el FBI borró todos los nombres de las personas y organizaciones que alegan Aoki proporciono información hace imposible el especular su asunto y enredo con el bureau el articulo consecutivo de Rosenfeld usa muchas citas de las 221 paginas/documentos indicando que Aoki dio información valorosa pero cualquier detalles que pueden soportar esta demanda están asbestos o borrados y aunque salieron las publicaciones de estos nuevos documentos todavía no hay ninguna información por cual el tipo de inteligencia que dicen que el dio al FBI del BPP u otros grupos, aunque nosotros siempre tenemos que estar trucha por la posibilidad que un camarada puede ser un agente, pero primero tenemos que ver evidencia de sus males hechos contra el movimiento antes de condenarlo especialmente si hizo mucho para avanzar la causa.

Es muy probable que el FBI esta dandole la imagen de rata al Aoki para quitarle su crédito como tercer mundial activista y revolucionario, quitarle crédito a los pantheros como peones por el FBI y mas simple para vender copias del nuevo libro de Rosenfeld. Una lección que aprendimos con los Pantheros y otros movimientos políticos de los 1960s es la importancia de seguridad. Los ataques del cointelpro contra los Pantheros ayudó a MIM construirse como una organización semi-clandestino por cual practicamos nuestros relaciones como camaradas alrededor de asuntos políticos y no de relaciones personales. Lo más interesante es en 20 Agosto el FBI todavía tenia que liberar 4,000 más páginas de documentos que tenía contra Richard Aoki, pero estaban diciendo que no tenían un archivo del Aoki, esto no pueder ser la verdad porque él éra muy activo políticamente. Rosenfeld y otros miraron el FBI retener los documentos como implicación de Aoki como rata soponer que estos reportes eran proporciones de Aoki dentro el tiempo de 20 Agosto y 7 Septiembre.

La FBI liberó 221 paginas de documentos que tenio de Richard Aoki y adentro del debate nosotros vemos que la FBI seleccionó un tiempo tan oportunistico para liberar estos documentos por lo cual llegamos a cuestionar su legitimidad ¿porqué la FBI liberó documentación que dice Aoki no ha proporcionado información con valor? Esta controversa esta jugando con sus agendas para socavar activistas revolucionarios y sus movimientos… La desconfianza que vino al resultado de esta demanda es en un clásico ejemplo perfecto en cual el BPP siempre citó al Mao por decir "no hay derecho de hablar, sin investigación, este escandalo en contra de Aoki debe servirlos como un recuerdo como el dar la imagen de rata a uno puede impactar nuestro movimiento anti-imperialista y especialmente nuestro organización dentro prisiones porque unos de los principales del frente unidos por la paz en prisiones es "unidad." Nosotros luchamos para unir a los mismos que luchan por nuestros mismos intereses y para mantener la unidad, nosotros debemos que tener una linea abierta de comunicación, cadenas y asegurar resolver cualquier situación con hechos reales, esto es una necesidad, porque asi como los puercos usan tácticos como rumores, ratas, y falseamiento para dividir los oprimidos, los puercos miran a nuestra unidad como el fin de su reinado(5).

Desgraciadamente esta es una lección que vamos aprender cada tiempo como la demanda que todos en las yardas SNY o custodia protectiva son rata y rumores en la yarda no significa nada si esta ausente la evidencia suficiente para llamar alguien más como un agente del estado, algunos veces recibimos sugestiones de otros camaradas que debemos pedir papeles y archivos del estado correccional vía los camaradas antes de aceptarlos en USW para determinar si están bien por sus cargos y dónde y cúal yarda estaban en sus pasados, esto es como decir que debemos preguntarle al estado a quién debemos dejar entrar al USW. Esto no nadamas suena ridículo en teoría, porque sabemos de un caso donde una rata le dieron falsos papeles y lo dejaron salir a la población general para ser un lugar teniente en un LO en California.

El estado siempre va poner energía para hacernos suspechar a uno de otras, como revolucionarios compañeros nosotros no debemos de hacer las cosas mas fácil para ellos, al reverso nosotros debemos comunicarlo directo si pensamos que algo esta mal porque nuestra lucha es muy importante para enredarlos en lo sectario y rumores. Aunque salga evidencia en el futuro que pruebe Aoki proporciono información al FBI y les ayudo atacar la lucha liberativa todavía no vamos estar devastados y también no estamos de acuerdo con Fred Ho's método subjetivo en defender a Aoki aunque si estamos de acuerdo con las consecuencias por las alegaciones si sale real si es verdad que Aoki era un agente, qué importa? Porque sí es era un pobre agente, porque hizo mas para el movimiento que para destruirlo (6) Mirandolo así es correcto y junto a nuestra mirada como mantener seguridad dentro el movimiento prisionero - anti-imperialista, nunca hay que darle al puerco oportunidad a destruirnos más - dando más información de la que se debe saber y aplicando altos estados de nivel diferentes a los miembros nos va ayudar a asegurar que de gente más por la causa que al enemigo.


Notas:
1 .Centro por reportes investigaciones: 7 Septiembre 2012. Archivos del FBI revela nuevos detalles de un informante que armo a las panderas negras, Seth Rosenfeld
2. Apex Express 23 Agusto 2012: "Richard Aoki, Ramadan y derecho de agua maui, 7pm Jueves KPFA.
3. Diane Fujuno, Los Samurai's entre panthero: El Richard Aoki en raza, resistencia y vida paradoja preso de universario de Minnesota 2012
4. El chrono de San Franscisco 20 Agusto 2012 "Un activista Richard Aoki nombrado informante" Seth Rosenfeld
5. Mirad Bahia SF 21 Augosto 2012 "Fred Ho refuta clamo que Richard Aoki era informante de FBI" Fred Ho.

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[Theory] [Security] [ULK Issue 28]
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ULK 28: Editor's Note on Security and Correct Leadership

united we stand too

This issue is going to production on the heels of the first countrywide action engaged in by a yet-unknown number of members of the United Front for Peace in Prisons (UFPP), representing many political, religious and lumpen organizations and hailing from the prison systems of Nevada, North Carolina, Florida, New York, California, Texas, Missouri, Pennsylvania and the Federal system. Initially called for by UFPP signatory SAMAEL, MIM(Prisons) promoted the call for the Day of Solidarity on September 9 in our last issue of Under Lock & Key as something we felt embodied what the united front is about. In this issue we summarize what we know so far, but we expect to learn more in the coming weeks and will continue to report on this important action.

For our part, MIM(Prisons) made a strong effort back in July to directly contact all other prison rights organizations and activists on the outside to let them know about the Day of Solidarity. We also promoted it generally online and handed out fliers with the five principles of the UFPP on them at many events related to prisons and peace on the streets. Other media outlets that promoted the call included the San Francisco BayView Newspaper, anti-imperialism.com and NorthBay Uprising Radio (89.5 KZCT in Vallejo, CA), which did an extensive interview with a comrade about the day of solidarity, the united front and the prison struggle in general. Other articles in this issue discuss some of the repression faced by prisoners and MIM(Prisons) leading up to the action.

All that said, the primary focus of the day was the organizing of prisoners. To facilitate this we distributed updates to everyone involved about the plans of other groups participating, similar to what we did during the California strikes. One story we distributed from New York was from a handwritten kite a comrade passed to another brother at his facility: "Bro. - Please pay close attention to the article 'Call for Solidarity Demonstration September 9' on page 3. Let me know what you think. I've decided to fast on Sept 9th." The response was written on the same paper: "Yes I will fast on that day, it looks better when we all go to chow but we just don't eat. Thanks for that information." (This was what the 800 Attica comrades did on that day in 1971 in honor of George Jackson's murder.) The original organizers got this report and adjusted their own plans to go to chow and dispose of meals as outlined in their cheat sheet (see "Solidarity and Peace Demonstration Builds, Guards Retaliate"). This cheat sheet was passed on to the comrades in Florida whose report appears below, who also adopted the tactic:

On 9 September 2012, at Everglades Correctional Institution in Florida, individual members of The Blood Nation honored the soldiers of Attica by doing one or more of the following: fasting, boycotting the canteen/commissary, accepting chow hall trays and dumping them, and explaining why. Also participating individually were one or more members of the following groups (in alphabetical order): Black Gangsta Disciples, Crip Nation, Insane Gangsta Disciples, Almighty Latin King Queen Nation, Nation of Islam, Spanish Cobras, Shi'a Muslim Community, and Sufi Community. My apologies to anyone I missed. It was a small step at a spot with no history of unity, but even a single drop of water in a dry glass makes it wet. Respect to those who made the sacrifice, those who joined us midday, and those who expressed interest the day after. I'm as human as anyone, but let's TRY to remember who the enemy is!

Good work comrades! Seems like organizations in Florida are open to solidarity as another comrade from that state reports: "Being that today is September 9 and a day of solidarity and peace, all sorts of nations (organizations) got together here in the rec yard and had a jailhouse BBQ and lived in peace just for the day here at Cross City, Florida."

Many of our supporters are suffering in long-term isolation, so the opportunity for mass organizing is greatly limited. A report from Missouri read:

Today is September 9, 2012. My comrade (my celly) and I are participating in the mass stoppage of work and fast for our comrades who fell in Attica. Although we are in Ad-Seg we have chosen to sacrifice: no food, no [petty stuff], no arguing out the door, only working out four times for one hour each time, reading, studying and talking politics. For me fasting is something I do once a month, but today is the first time I've worked out during my fast. My comrade is pushing me and I'm not stopping. From midnight to midnight is how we're moving.

This white comrade also reported that he received ULK 27 announcing the Day of Solidarity, while his Black comrade's was censored. They report this is a common form of discrimination in Missouri.

Another great success occurred in Nevada where SAMAEL led the organizing of a good cross-section of prisoners representing about 30% of the population. Even if we get no other reports on the September 9 action, we'd say it was a success just from these examples. But we know from the list of states above that the day had much broader participation.

The progress represented by prisoners across the country acting in solidarity as a class took place in the context of the many other strikes and mass actions prisoners have led in the past year or more that have built off of each other as cipactli writes about in "Prisoner Uprisings Foretell Growing Movement". This progress is exciting on the subjective level. And we can look at periods of mass uprising to see what happens when times are "exciting." They tend to be crazy as well. People are confused, trying to figure things out and the enemy is working hard to confuse them more and divide them. So it is of the utmost importance that as the new prison movement emerges that we take time to study questions of security and correct leadership.

There is the question of security at the individual level, and how we judge someone by putting politics in command, as discussed by PTT in relation to Richard Aoki. In the belly of the beast, where there is so much wealth and privilege, security at the group level is very tied up with our class analysis. As our Nevada comrade points out in "Fighting Enemies in the Prison Movement", most people in this country will actively support imperialism without directly getting a paycheck for it, and this is true for a portion of the prison population as well.

One thing that sets communists apart from other revolutionary trends is our stress on the importance of correct ideological leadership. Putting politics in command can guide us in dealing with all challenges we face, not just security. We recognize that the truth will come from mass struggle, but that it will not always be recognized by the masses when they see it because everyone needs to learn to think in a scientific way first. In order to pick the best leadership, we must all be well-studied to think scientifically about both history and our current conditions. As we point out to the comrade who suspects we might be CIA, you should be able to judge the correctness of ULK and to struggle with us where you think we are wrong to decide whether the risk of subscribing is worth it.

Our comrade in BORO puts the September 9 Day of Solidarity in this context well when s/he writes: "Through the lens of a dialectical-materialist, we must see history as a never-ending stream of past events that gave and constantly give birth to present realities. This chain of historical events is constantly moving us forward into the ocean of endless possibilities. We must use this view of a 'living history' as a source of defining who we are and the direction we're heading as a people." (See "Black August and Bloody September: Stand Up and Remember on September 9.")

This September protest wasn't just to spend a day sitting quietly honoring the past; it was a time to learn from the past and apply lessons to address our current conditions. The day was a success, but it was only one step in developing a class-conscious prison movement that can change conditions. In the coming weeks, we look forward to hearing of more successes and accomplishments that organizers achieved on September 9.

We hope that some of the articles in this issue can push forward among the masses the question of recognizing correct leadership to avoid the traps of the state and its sympathizers. For those who want to learn, MIM(Prisons)'s Serve the People Free Political Literature to Prisoners Program and correspondence study groups operate year round, not just in August.

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[Security] [ULK Issue 28]
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Snitch-Jacketing Aoki

On August 20, 2012 an article was released alleging that Richard Aoki, a Japanese national and early Black Panther Party (BPP) member, was an FBI informant. This claim was made by journalist and author Seth Rosenfeld, whose book Subversives: The FBI's War on Student Radicals, and Reagan's Rise to Power was conveniently released on August 21. On September 7, 2012 Rosenfeld published a follow-up article, with 221 pages of "newly released" FBI documents which he believes further implicate Aoki as an FBI informant.(1)

Let's start with Rosenfeld's political worldview, because we know no journalist is truly unbiased. Rosenfeld's opinion on liberation struggles is revealed in his characterization of the Third World Liberation Front (TWLF), that Aoki organized in, as a violent student movement.(2) He blames the violence of the 1968-69 strikes of the TWLF on Bay Area college campuses on the strikers themselves, not the pigs. Yet the students did not initiate violence, and in fact were sprayed with so much teargas by the pigs that the trees in Sproul Plaza on the University of California at Berkeley campus were still irritating students' eyes even into the following school year. Coming from this perspective we must question Rosenfeld's assessment of the FBI right off the bat.

Aoki
Aoki in confrontation with police at a protest near UC Berkeley

Influencing the Party greatly from its beginning, Richard Aoki is most famous for supplying the BPP with their first guns. According to his biography, Aoki helped shape the early ideology of the Panthers through his relationship with Bobby Seale and Huey Newton at Merritt College by suggesting reading material and engaging with them in political debate.(3) Besides his work with the BPP, Richard Aoki also did much organizing and protest work with the Third World Liberation Front via the Asian American Political Alliance. Aoki remained politically active and revolutionary-minded even until his death in 2009. Surprisingly, Rosenfeld is from San Francisco and has been doing research for this book since 1982, yet it wasn't until 2002 or 2003 that he learned of Richard Aoki.

Understandably, Rosenfeld's claim has sparked a lot of debate on the internet and radio as to whether it is true or not. While we are open to the possibility of nearly anyone being an agent of the state, MIM(Prisons) agrees with those who have held out for clear proof before we will consider denouncing Aoki's legacy of the state. Objectively, the current evidence supporting this claim is inconclusive at best. The original article was highly sensational, focusing on vague, chopped up, and misquoted sound-bites of a 2007 interview with Aoki that the author interprets as admissions of guilt. Besides these sound-bites, the only other evidence offered are ambiguous FBI documents, citing Aoki as providing "unique" information not available from any other source, and the testimony of former FBI agents, of whom the only one that supposedly knew Aoki is also dead.(4) Yet none of the documents say what information Aoki supposedly gave the FBI; it has all been redacted.

On the radio program APEX Express, Harvey Dong, a close friend of Richard Aoki, offered the listener a thorough reading of the relevant parts of the FBI documents cited by Rosenfeld (as well as excerpts from Aoki's college term papers).(2) The only information which allegedly came from Aoki in the first set of FBI documents is about Aoki himself and could have been obtained using a wiretap (or informant) on Aoki. Assuming the released FBI documents are real, the set released on September 7 does establish that Aoki was giving information to the FBI from 1961 to 1977, but very little about that relationship is revealed.

Richard Aoki FBI file FOIA
First page of FBI documents released under FOIA
documenting his role as an informant for the Bureau.

The fact that the FBI redacts all names of individuals and organizations that Aoki allegedly provided information on makes it impossible to speculate on the nature of his interactions with the Bureau. Rosenfeld's follow-up article pulls many quotes from the 221 pages of documents indicating that Aoki provided valuable information, but any details that might substantiate these statements are redacted or absent. Despite this release of new documents, there is still no information on what intelligence he allegedly gave to the FBI on the BPP or other groups. While we should always be prepared for the possibility that a trusted comrade is an agent, we need to see evidence of harm done to the movement to condemn someone who did so much to advance the cause.

It is very conceivable that the FBI is snitch-jacketing Aoki to discredit his work as a Third Worldist revolutionary activist, discredit the Panthers as pawns of the FBI, and more simply to sell copies of Rosenthal's new book. One of the lessons we learned from the Panthers, and other political movements of the 1960s, is the importance of security. The COINTELPRO attacks on the Panthers led MIM to develop as a semi-underground organization that keeps comrades at arm's length, centering around political, rather than persynal, relationships.

Interestingly, on 20 August the FBI had yet to release about 4,000 pages of documents on Richard Aoki, and was claiming to have no main file on Aoki himself. This cannot be true considering how politically active and outspoken he was. Rosenfeld and others saw the FBI withholding these documents as indicative of Aoki's status as an informant, assuming these were reports given by Aoki.(4) Then supposedly some time between 20 August and 7 September, the FBI released at least 221 pages of documentation just on Richard Aoki. With all the heated debate, we note that the FBI chose a very opportunistic time to release these documents, which causes us to further question their legitimacy. Why would the FBI release documentation that says Aoki didn't provide valuable information? This controversy is feeding right into their agenda to undermine revolutionary activists and movements.

The distrust that has evolved surrounding this claim is classic, and a perfect example of why the BPP often quoted Mao by saying, "No investigation, no right to speak." This Aoki "scandal" should be a reminder of how snitch-jacketing can impact our anti-imperialist movement, and our prison organizing especially. One of the principles of the United Front for Peace in Prisons is UNITY,

"WE strive to unite with those facing the same struggles as us for our common interests. To maintain unity we have to keep an open line of networking and communication, and ensure we address any situation with true facts. This is needed because of how the pigs utilize tactics such as rumors, snitches and fake communications to divide and keep division among the oppressed. The pigs see the end of their control within our unity."(5)

This is a lesson we've unfortunately had to learn time and time again. A claim that everyone on SNY or Protective Custody is a snitch, or a rumor on the yard, is not sufficient evidence to call someone out as an agent of the state. Sometimes comrades suggest that we require USW members to submit their files from the Department of Corrections to determine whether they are compromised in any way based on charges, and where they've been housed in the past. They tell us we should ask the state who we should let into USW. Not only is this ridiculous in theory, but we know of at least one case where an informant was given doctored files and released back onto general population to be a Lieutenant in a prominent LO in California. A piece of paper from a government agency should only be considered as one piece of evidence, not the sacrosanct truth.

The state is already putting a lot of energy into making us suspicious of our fellow revolutionaries; we should not make their job any easier. Instead we should be communicating with each other directly if we suspect unprincipled divisions are being fomented. Our struggle is too important to get caught up in rumor mongering and sectarianism.

Even if evidence does eventually come out which proves Aoki was providing the FBI with information that actually helped them attack the liberation struggle, we will still not be devastated. While we don't agree with Fred Ho's subjectivist methodology of defending Aoki overall, we do have unity with his perspective on the consequence of truth in the allegation. "If Aoki was an agent, so what? He surely was a piss-poor one because what he contributed to the movement is enormously greater than anything he could have detracted or derailed."(6) This view is right in line with our view on how to maintain security within the anti-imperialist prison movement; don't give a pig the opportunity to do more damage than good. Distributing information on a need-to-know basis and applying high standards to different levels of membership will help ensure people contribute more to the cause than to the enemy.

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