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Pelican Bay: Campaigns against torture and censorship unite to end dehumanization

June 4, 2013

by Kijana Tashiri Askari

The Pelican Bay Human Rights Movement First Amendment Campaign stands in solidarity with the Stop the Torture Campaign, as our goals and objectives are mutual. We aim to eliminate torture in all of its many forms.

In 2006, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) created a Communications Management Unit (CMU) at Pelican Bay State Prison that literally reinforces their totalitarian rule by dehumanizing prisoners through the following methods of desocialization:

  • Being placed on mail and visiting restrictions based upon innocuous activity.
  • Being prohibited from talking to another prisoner, as all forms of communication are considered gang related.
  • Being prohibited from studying, reading and writing about our political, social and cultural history.
  • Being coerced to speak only in the English language as all other languages are deemed gang-related.
  • Keeping New Afrikan Black prisoners housed in isolation from each other.
  • Intimidating our family and members of the community to stop writing to us by sending them arbitrary notices of being involved in gang activity by writing to us.

These six social deprivations amount to torture! Key to human survival is our ability to socially interact with one another, as the lack of such activity is known to cause trauma to the brain.

Pelican Bay censored pelican drawing by Pete Collins, imprisoned at Bath Prison, Ontario, Canada, web
Pete Collins, a prisoner at Bath Prison in Ontario, Canada, drew this censored pelican to illustrate the torture and censorship that compelled prisoners at Pelican Bay State Prison in California to call the 2011 hunger strikes, which, at their peak, involved 12,000 California prisoners. The leaders at Pelican Bay have called for the strike to resume July 8.
We’re looking for community volunteers and sponsors to come join forces with us to learn how you can support the First Amendment Campaign and the Stop the Torture Campaign. Please log onto www.stoptortureca.org or contact us to request a copy of our mission statements. Write to Kijana Tashiri Askari, s/n Marcus Harrison, H-54077, D3-122 SHU, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City, CA 95532, or our attorney, Carol Strickman, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, 1540 Market St., Suite 490, San Francisco, CA 94102. You may also contact Azadeh Zohrabi at azadeh@prisonerswithchildren.org or (415) 255-7036.

As many in the captive community are aware, CDCR’s IGI intelligence agents at PBSP have launched an armed propaganda campaign against the SF Bay View newspaper by subjugating it to fascist censorship during the months of January, March, April and now May of 2013 for the sole act of our sistas and brothas supporting our human rights struggle.

This is in spite of a Notice Regarding CDCR Mail Policies signed by Attorney General Kamala Harris citing a statement by CDCR Senior Attorney Julie Sobel “to reaffirm that only mail which is an imminent threat to the safety and security of an institution should be confiscated.”

This notice was issued June 19, 2012, in my case, Harrison v. IGI, following a meeting of “officials from CDCR’s Division of Adult Institutions” and Sobel, represented by the AG’s office, “to discuss the Department’s mail policies. During the meeting, the DAI officials were informed of the various lawsuits that have been initiated by inmates following the confiscation of mail by prison staff. While the meeting’s participants agreed that the Department’s mail policies are appropriate, the DAI officials were told that the manner in which staff at some prisons have been implementing those policies has generated a significant amount of litigation in recent years.”

The Pelican Bay Human Rights Movement First Amendment Campaign is requesting that all mail stops for the Bay View, Prison Focus and The Rock be sent to attorney Carol Strickman at the address herein so that they can be documented for possible litigation. Thank You.

Stop the torture!

Send our brother some love and light: Kijana Tashiri Askari, s/n Marcus Harrison, H-54077, D3-122 SHU, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City, CA 95532.

 

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