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Prison Stories

Chairman Shaka Zulu: Resistance is the way forward

December 12, 2014

Our study group here has expanded exponentially since these demonstrations across the country. People here with me who only yesterday refused to come to terms with being victims of social injustice are now identifying with the forces of revolution. They no longer have a defeatist mentality. Ferguson has shown that RESISTANCE IS THE WAY FORWARD. We are moving – to what destination, only time will tell.

I grew up in Guantánamo: Now that you have heard my story, you cannot turn away

December 10, 2014

Fahd Ghazy is a Yemeni national who has been detained at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, since February 2002 when he was only 17 years old. One of the last remaining prisoners to have been detained as a juvenile, Fahd was cleared for transfer by President Bush in 2007 and again by the Obama administration in 2009. Now 30 years old, he has spent over one-third of his life in Guantánamo without charge. He is represented by the Center for Constitutional Rights.

Marie Levin holding picture of brother Sitawa, cropped (1)

California’s savage system of confinement: An end to solitary is long overdue

December 9, 2014

Less than two weeks ago the United Nations Committee against Torture issued a report strongly criticizing the U.S. record on a number of issues, among them the extensive use of solitary confinement. While the U.S. uses long-term solitary more than any other country in the world, California uses it more than any other state. This practice is designed to break the human spirit and is condemned as a form of torture under international law.

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Have NO contact with police – they are child killers

December 9, 2014

When we were growing up, we understood that most of these white, Black and Brown police officers were predators. They came to our communities pumped up, looking for action. And there are several profiles of them: cocky, scared, fearless, racist, prejudiced, biased, anxious, gangsters etc. We was warned as young boys to have NO engagement with police, under NO circumstances.

16 hours in the torture chamber

December 5, 2014

Officer Akers sexually harassed the entire unit – most of which is New Afrikan – by conducting a striptease in which we were ordered to “squat and cough and spread your buttocks open,” solely for the sadomasochistic pleasure of Officer Akers. Let me explain that I am in Red Onion State Prison (ROSP), I protested, and in return for my protest I was put in “five-point restraints,” stark naked into a totally empty cell, just concrete and steel.

A New Year’s call to action for the prisoner class: Support the Bay View

December 4, 2014

2015 is right around the corner. For those of us locked down behind enemy lines, what will our New Year’s resolution be this time around: Stop smoking? Eat healthier? Exercise more? Here’s an idea: for the entire month of January 2015 let’s donate money to the Bay View. At a time when print publications are quickly becoming obsolete, the print edition of the San Francisco National Black Newspaper is struggling to stay afloat.

Man up or perish: White America is showing its true face once again

December 3, 2014

As of July 11, 2014, Georgia State Prison (GSP) has placed all inmates who were previously being illegally held on 24-hour administrative segregation for indefinite periods at a time with a cellmate on the new Tier II program. The new Standard Operating Procedures for Tier II state that this new program is designed for violent and dangerous offenders, escape-prone offenders or disruptive offenders.

Spokesperson Melvin Ray, Free Alabama Movement

‘Let’s just shut down’: an interview with Spokesperson Ray of the Free Alabama Movement

December 2, 2014

My message is not just to the men and women in these solitary holes. I myself am in one right now. My message is to the whole 2.5 million victims of mass incarceration and prison slavery. Everyone! All of us around the country, let’s just shut down. Wherever you are, just stop working. If you are in solitary confinement, spread the word to those rotating in and out. When they try to lock up those who organize and lead the shutdowns in population, don’t even give up.

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Bringing the truth to light: Sunlight deprivation at San Quentin

December 1, 2014

A recent study concluded that even a moderate deficiency of Vitamin D results in a 53 percent increased chance of developing dementia. The most abundant source of Vitamin D is a chemical reaction which occurs when our skin is exposed to direct sunlight. Sunny California’s torture units feature dog-run style, walk-in closet yards which consist of four solid walls and a plexiglas or metal grating for a roof, both of which obstruct direct sunlight.

There is power in unity!

November 30, 2014

For many months here in Texas, Comrade Rashid, our minister of defense, and I have struggled hard to shed light on the heinous acts of barbaric violence perpetrated by Texas Department of Criminal Justice employees against prisoners of every race, nation and creed. If it was not for Dr. Willie and Sister Mary Ratcliff, publisher and editor of the San Francisco Bay View, revolutionary voices might never be heard by the public at large.

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“Solitary Confinement Is Torture” – Art: Michael D. Russell, C-90473, PBSP SHU D7-217, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532

CDCR’s new con game to undermine our class action suit

November 29, 2014

In order to successfully advance in each step of CDCR’s newly enacted Step Down Program (SDP), prisoners are expected to fill out and complete a series of thought policing or brainwashing workbooks. One such workbook is entitled “The Con Game” and purports to elucidate for the prisoner via “self-directed journaling” the ways in which he either consciously or unconsciously is a con artist and criminal.

The Angola 3 – Herman Wallace, Robert King and Albert Woodfox – when all of them were still held in the penitentiary at Angola

Angola 3: Robert King on the ongoing struggle to free Albert Woodfox

November 24, 2014

In Louisiana, a federal appeals court has affirmed a lower court’s ruling that overturned the murder conviction of Albert Woodfox, the last member of the Angola 3 still in prison. The Angola 3 are internationally recognized as political prisoners and symbols of a racist system of mass incarceration and solitary confinement. KPFA’s Ann Garrison spoke to Robert King, the other surviving Angola 3 member. Here’s that interview.

Albert Woodfox – Louisiana Attorney General James “Buddy” Caldwell has called him the “most dangerous man on the planet” for his affiliation with the Black Panther Party over 40 years ago.

The overturned conviction of the Angola 3’s Albert Woodfox is upheld in a unanimous decision – after his 42 years in solitary

November 21, 2014

The International Coalition to Free the Angola 3 declared today: “This is THE moment those of us whose lives have been touched by these men and this case over the years have been waiting for. This is the time when we must call upon the whole of our connections, creativity and courage to call with one voice for the immediate, unequivocal release of Albert Woodfox from prison once and for all without delay.”

Dallas SCI torture chair

Pack the courtroom for the Dallas 6

November 13, 2014

They are called the Dallas 6 – and we ain’t talking about Texas. Dallas, in Pennsylvania, is one of nearly 30 prisons in the state, located in its rural outback. The six are young Black men who, in 2010, tried to stage a peaceful protest in the prison’s “hole,” its solitary confinement unit. The Dallas 6 are potentially facing more prison time for refusing to submit to torture, for men have died, in America, while strapped into the torture chair.

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Strip search: California sets a high price for visiting a loved one in prison

November 13, 2014

In late September, the Bay View reported on draconian new regulations that the CDCr was then poised to implement, under the guise of an emergency. These regulations authorize the use of dogs and electronic drug detectors to indiscriminately search all persons entering institutional grounds for contraband. Both dogs and electronic detectors are notoriously unreliable, as both Mohamed Shehk and Peter Shey explained in the Bay View.

“Pelican Bay Censorship” – Art: Michael Russell, C-90473, PBSP D7-217, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532

Comments to CDCR: Banning the Bay View from California prisons would violate the First Amendment

November 13, 2014

This letter, Re: Comments on CDCR’s Proposed Regulations: Obscene Material, from attorney Leila Knox of Bryan Cave LLP, one of the world’s largest law firms, was emailed and mailed on Nov. 7, 2014, to Regulation and Policy Management Chief Timothy M. Lockwood, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, P.O. Box 942883, Sacramento, Calif. 94283-0001. The comment period is now closed.

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Inside a CCA private prison: Two slaves for the price of one, Part Three

November 8, 2014

Since CCA’s founding in 1983, the incarcerated population has risen by more than 500 percent to more than 2.2 million people. Some people would say that I am taking a risk exposing the truth about CCA and TCCF in particular; but as a revolutionary for humanity, I must place my heart in the eye of the storm and look oppression dead in the face and articulate the sentiments of the people of true merit.

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Stop the regulations that would ban the Bay View from California prisons

November 7, 2014

Under the guise of “obscenity” regulations, the CDCR has proposed sweeping new political censorship rules for mail going both into and out of the prisons. If the proposed regulations are approved, CDCR will be able to permanently ban any publications it considers contraband, including political publications and correspondence that should be protected by First Amendment constitutional rights. We called for your help in June, and we’re calling for it again. The public comment period is open now; it closes Nov. 10, 2014, at 5 p.m. Public hearing date is Nov. 10, 2014.

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Prison assisted suicide – the Texas way

November 3, 2014

During the 1980s-‘90s, Dr. Jack Kevorkian’s name achieved nationwide notoriety. He advocated and participated in the medically-assisted suicides of terminally ill people. His motives he said were compassionate. It is a twisted irony that the same sorts of deeds that put this professional pathologist in prison are carried out for sport rather than compassion by pathologists of a very different sort – these being ones who run the prisons.

Amerika don’t give a damn about women, so quit frontin’

November 1, 2014

We, the people, hear all this hoopla and hype about domestic violence on women. What about the state and federally sanctioned domestic and sexual violence against women in the many state and federal prisons in Amerika? The media hype over this violence against women offers no effective solution – hypocrisy at its best. Go inside the prison industrial slave complex (PISC) where Amerika holds countless women in bondage.

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