by Kijana Tashiri Askari
“Our desire to be free has got to manifest itself in everything we are and do.” – Assata Shakur
I am a New Afrikan Black political prisoner of war. As is the case with many Black youth of the inner city ghettos of the world today, I first came to prison at a very young age – via several previous stints in Juvenile Hall, the California Youth Authority (CYA) etc. While in prison I began to become politically and socially conscious through my individual studies and political educational classes that I was fortunate enough to be involved with while housed in the Adjustment Center at San Quentin State Prison with other like-minded brothas.
Due to my various political positions that became manifest in my active participation in speaking out against and my refusal to accept the many social injustices and abuses that were being perpetrated by our captors against the prisoner class, I became the latest target of these Gestapo agents’ neo-fascist scheme of Cointelpro on Aug. 12, 1994, as a brotha was commemorating the historical significance of my New Afrikan Black ancestors’ legacy of struggle that entails the liberation of and the redemption of all New Afrikan Black people from the subjugation of U.S. colonial slavery. I was removed from the general population mainline of New Folsom State Prison under the spurious premise of me planning a physical assault and organizing prisoners for a prisoner that I have never met or been around before in my entire life!
This prisoner was supposed to have sent me a letter through the regular U.S. mail system and ordered me to do this physical assault. It was later proven that no such letter ever existed, and I was never found guilty of anything. But nonetheless I was still given an indeterminate SHU term based on this one source of information, in which a roomful of informants corroborated this information to prison officials along with saying that I was supposed to be a prison gang member.
This corroborated information was coerced from these prisoners via arbitrary threat of them being removed from the general population mainline. It has been proved that some prisoners – like some civilians of the free world – would sell you their soul to keep from being locked up or, as in this case, from being placed in the SHU/CMU (Security Housing Unit/Communications Management Unit) indefinitely.
With me being validated as a prison gang member on this one source of information from Aug. 12, 1994, it violates the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s (CDCR) own rules and regulations. In particular C.C.R. Title 15, Sections 3321 and 3378 that state in relevant part: “That in order for a prisoner to be validated as a prison gang member there must be three (3) independent sources of information that is proven to be reliable.”
I was validated as a prison gang member on one source of false information, even though CDCR regulations require “three (3) independent sources of information that is proven to be reliable.”
My case is a concrete example of the fruit of the poisonous tree phenomenon, because as the years passed by with me now being housed in the SHU/CMU indefinitely, more and more informants have begun coming forth to accuse me of being a prison gang member, thus making it impossible for me to be released from the SHU/CMU to a general population mainline.
But in addition to these material factors, PBSP-CDCR Institution Gang Investigation Unit officers have instituted a new phase of fascism for purposes of implicating the indeterminate SHU/CMU class of captive New Afrikan Black prisoners as allegedly being involved in gang activities by way of the political and social commentary that we be sending out through the mail to people of the free communities. This practice amounts to state sponsored persecution for our political beliefs.
Being falsely accused of prison gang membership and consequently being housed in SHU/CMU indefinitely amounts to state sponsored persecution for our political beliefs.
This phase of fascism is continuing in spite of the court having ruled that PBSP-CDCR Institution Gang Investigation Unit officers have been utilizing a race-based approach – i.e. racism – to say that our political and social commentary is gang related activity. The court even went on to say that PBSP-CDCR Institution Gang Investigation Unit officers have not produced any evidence that said political and social commentary is gang related.
You may check out the court’s ruling – Harrison v. IGI, Case No. C-07-3824-S1, dated Feb. 22, 2010 – by logging onto www.cand.uscourts.gov. But make no mistake about it, 17 years later and my struggle still continues as a New Afrikan Black political prisoner of war!
Gang Investigation Unit officers have been utilizing a race-based approach to say – with no evidence – that New Afrikan Black political and social commentary is gang related activity.
Freedom is constant struggle!