A mother’s cry

by Billie Bottom-Brown

I am writing this statement with the hope of enlightening the media, social media and our United States government, attempting to make them aware of our forgotten political prisoners languishing away in prisons across America without any empathy for them and their families. Parole boards are abusing the Constitution and civil rights laws by consistently using the outdated verbiage “nature of the crime” and “impact of the crime on victim and victim’s family” to deny their freedom. Political prisoners are victims of our government which also impacts us as their families.

This is the voice of a mother crying for the freedom of her child, Anthony Leonard Bottom, aka Jalil Muntaqim, who has been swallowed up in the New York penal system for 37 years, 1977-2014. My child has been held captive in the belly of New York state prisons without any regard for his constitutional human rights.

Jalil-Muntaqim-Anthony-Bottom-mom-Billie-Bottom-Brown-web, A mother’s cry, Abolition Now! Consequently, as a political prisoner, he has become a forgotten, disenfranchised citizen of the United States of America. Anthony (Jalil) was 19 years of age when he was arrested in San Francisco, California. The California penal system sentenced him to five years for aiding and abetting; he served his time in San Quentin State Prison.

Anthony (Jalil) was 25 years of age when he was extradited to New York, where he has been since 1977; in October 2013 Anthony had his 62nd birthday. He is America’s Nelson Mandela; in fact, he has been incarcerated longer than Mr. Mandela, who was incarcerated 27 years.

Our government has negotiated release of foreign political prisoners but unfortunately has not acknowledged or negotiated the release of its own domestic political prisoners. Perhaps it’s because our government is the perpetrator of these disenfranchised citizens.

If we go back 46 years, our government – John Edgar Hoover’s FBI and presidential advisor John Erlichman collaborated with President Richard Milhouse Nixon and initiated their Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) under the guise of protecting our “homeland security” against those accused of Communist ideals and the Black Panther Party (BPP) and planned a full-fledged war against these citizens.

We can go back further to the 1960s, when John Edgar Hoover’s FBI infiltrated the Civil Rights Movement, resulting in the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy, Robert (Bobby) Kennedy and let’s not forget Malcolm Little, aka Malcolm X. Now we can go back to 1972, when the FBI, President Ronald Reagan and the Regents of the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) collaborated against Professor Angela Davis, the Black Panther Party and the Black Liberation Army. COINTELPRO raised its ugly head again along with state police departments to stop all civil rights activities.

Then our government developed their Three Strikes laws, resulting in our Black and Brown men being incarcerated for minor infractions for longer periods of time. They have become resource commodities for rural America. They are the new slaves without restitution.

Prisons are modern day investors’ gold mines. It’s so sad that the American Dream now is to invest in building more prisons rather than building better educational systems. What kind of monster has our society become?

The Stand Your Ground law permits the killing of young Black males, at the discretion of inferior White men. I say inferior because they seem to attack only Black teens. Would they challenge a Black adult man in the same manner? I don’t think so.

Free-Jalil-Muntaqim-graphic, A mother’s cry, Abolition Now! It’s time for the Black American community to stand our ground and stop the slaughter of our youth and the incarceration of our men. The Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis cases take me back to April 1989, when the state of New York erroneously convicted five Black teens – known as the Central Park 5 – of heinous crimes knowing they were not guilty. But, rather than admit their error, they chose to strip them of their youth.

The state of New York is guilty of making the same error with my son, one of the New York 3. No one has attempted to discover the truth about the 1972 campaign code named NewKill initiated by J. Edgar Hoover’s COINTELPRO (and NYPD. Short for “New York killings,” NewKill rounded up Black leaders after two police officers, Waverly Jones and Joseph Piagentini, were killed – ed.).

That being said, I would like to bring your attention to the fallen Black police officer Waverly Jones, whose son wrote a Family Impact Statement in 2004 stating the men accused of the alleged killing of his father were victims of the system – of COINTELPRO – during the ‘60s and ‘70s. His impact statement and Officer Waverly Jones’ life seemingly have been disregarded by the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association (PBA) with all their attention focused only on Officer Joseph Piagentini’s family.

Is this because Officer Waverly Jones was Black that his life has no relevance? This leads me to believe Officer Jones’ life, the impact statement and the appeal from his son have been disregarded by the New York State Parole Board and the PBA. The PBA needs to reevaluate its actions toward political prisoners, channeling its negative energy – referring to them as “cop killers” – into positive energy by investigating the source of COINTELPRO and the struggle of Black Americans fighting for their equal rights in the United States of America’s apartheid.

Hopefully, my statement will raise the consciousness of readers to act by joining me and the families of all political prisoners across America to sign the petition Free Jalil Muntaqim (Anthony Bottom) and write letters to the New York state penal system and New York’s governor regarding its parole policies.

Attention officers who are so willing and ready to slander these prisoners as “cop killers” and those who are not familiar with the history of the ‘60s and ‘70s: You all are so full of venom feeling it’s your empowered duty to slander these prisoners; shame on you. Your actions are proving not to be any better than the prisoners you are victimizing with your slanderous attitudes and stop and search procedures without provocation.

I implore you to overcome your hatred; take time to research America’s long history of oppression and of its Black citizens fighting to eradicate this oppression. I don’t know if you are aware that your civil rights are also being violated on a daily basis, that you are not above reproach. You never know when you will be the next victim of COINTELPRO. Stop! Think!

You are probably also on a Homeland Security blacklist.

Hopefully, my statement will raise the consciousness of readers to act by joining me and the families of all political prisoners across America to sign the petition Free Jalil Muntaqim (Anthony Bottom) and write letters to the New York state penal system and New York’s governor regarding its parole policies.

Billie Bottom-Brown is the mother of political prisoner Anthony Bottom, aka Jalil Muntaqim. Send our brother some love and light: Jalil Muntaqim (Bottom), 77A-4283, Attica Correctional Facility, P.O. Box 149, Attica NY 14011. To learn more about political prisoners, visit www.jerichony.org and sign the Jericho COINTELPRO petition. Jericho can be reached at nycjericho@gmail.com.

Jalil has been to the parole board seven times since 2002, when he first became eligible for parole. The parole board denied him release each time, stating, “To grant your release at this time would so deprecate the seriousness of your crime as to undermine respect for the law, and your release to supervision is not compatible with the welfare of society.” While imprisoned, Jalil has earned bachelor’s degrees in sociology and psychology and is legendary as a teacher, peacemaker and jailhouse lawyer.