- Category: Repression
- Created on Monday, 23 September 2013 23:50
- Written by Ad Hoc Committee Against the Militarization of CUNY
This semester the war criminal ex-general David Petraeus was appointed to lecture at the City University of New York. Students at CUNY have righteously resisted this appointment by protesting outside of the building he teaches in; every single class. Last Monday six students were attacked by the NYPD, beaten and arrested. Today over a hundred people protested against Petraeus and in defense of the CUNY 6. The protests will go on as long as Petraeus lectures at CUNY, exactly as it should be. (Intro by Nat Winn)
The following article first appeared on the Revolutionary Students Coordinating Committee website.
PRESS RELEASE: UNPROVOKED POLICE ATTACK AGAINST PEACEFUL PROTEST BY CUNY STUDENTS AND FACULTY AGAINST EX-GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS
Ad Hoc Committee Against the Militarization of CUNY, email@example.com
Unprovoked police attack against peaceful protest by CUNY students and faculty against ex-Gen. David Petraeus
NEW YORK, 17 September — Six students were arrested this evening in a brutal, unprovoked police attack against a peaceful protest by City University of New York students and faculty against CUNY’s appointment of former CIA chief ex-General David Petraeus. Students were punched, slammed against vehicles and against the pavement by police captains and officers, after the NYPD forced them off the pavement and into the street. The demonstration was called by the Ad Hoc Committee Against the Militarization of CUNY.
The arrested students are presently being held and are to be arraigned this Wednesday, September 18, at some point between 9:00 a.m. and the afternoon in the Arraignment Court in the Manhattan Criminal Court at 100 Centre Street. All defenders of students’ basic right to protest are urged to come to the arraignment and show their support.
“As students were chanting ‘War Criminal Petraeus Out of CUNY Now,’ I was shocked to see several police officers grab and brutalize one of the demonstrators,” said City College student Yexenia Vanegas. “This was completely unprovoked, as demonstrators made clear that they were there to defend our university in a peaceful protest.” The attack occured in front of CUNY’s Macaulay Honors College, where Petraeus has been appointed to teach a class on public policy. “Protestors were marching in a circle on the sidewalk and chanting, but the police forced them into the street and then charged. One of the most brutal things I saw was that five police officers slammed a Queens College student face down to the pavement across the street from Macaulay, put their knees on his back and he was then repeatedly kneed in the back,” said Hunter student Michael Brian. The student was one of those pointed out by “white shirt” officers, then seized and brutalized. A Latina woman student was heaved through the air and slammed to the ground.
A broad range of CUNY students, faculty and staff members, have been carrying out a campaign of “protest and exposure” against the Board of Trustees’ appointment of Petraeus, whose documented actions as Iraq/Afghanistan war commander and CIA chief include drone attacks upon civilians, and the creation of torture centers and death squads. When Petraeus was setting up Special Police Commandos, the “dirty tactics” that were used included the use of white phosphorus, a chemical weapon, against the population in Fallujah. “Petraeus’ man” Col. James Steele, who organized death squads in Central America, had been brought to the area for the same purpose.
With the NYPD being sent to brutalize and arrest CUNY students on behalf of a certified war criminal, organizers state that this blatant use of police brutality against peaceful protestors wil not intimidate or deter those who expose the truth about the actions of David “Death Squad” Petraeus and oppose attempts to turn the City University into “a war college.”
- Category: Repression
- Created on Friday, 06 September 2013 19:30
- Written by Prison Hunger Solidarity
Below is the statement on the suspension of the California Prisoners Hunger strike. More updates, news and statements can be found on the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity website.
Greetings of Solidarity and Respect!
The PBSP-SHU, Short Corridor Collective Representatives hereby serve notice upon all concerned parties of interest that after nine weeks we have collectively decided to suspend our third hunger strike action on September 5, 2013.
To be clear, our Peaceful Protest of Resistance to our continuous subjection to decades of systemic state sanctioned torture via the system’s solitary confinement units is far from over. Our decision to suspend our third hunger strike in two years does not come lightly. This decision is especially difficult considering that most of our demands have not been met (despite nearly universal agreement that they are reasonable). The core group of prisoners has been, and remains 100% committed to seeing this protracted struggle for real reform through to a complete victory, even if it requires us to make the ultimate sacrifice. With that said, we clarify this point by stating prisoner deaths are not the objective, we recognize such sacrifice is at times the only means to an end of fascist oppression.
Our goal remains: force the powers that be to end their torture policies and practices in which serious physical and psychological harm is inflicted on tens of thousands of prisoners as well as our loved ones outside. We also call for ending the related practices of using prisoners to promote the agenda of the police state by seeking to greatly expand the numbers of the working class poor warehoused in prisons, and particularly those of us held in solitary, based on psychological/social manipulation, and divisive tactics keeping prisoners fighting amongst each other. Those in power promote mass warehousing to justify more guards, more tax dollars for “security”, and spend mere pennies for rehabilitation — all of which demonstrates a failed penal system, high recidivism, and ultimately compromising public safety. The State of California’s $9.1 billion annual CDCR budget is the epitome of a failed and fraudulent state agency that diabolically and systemically deprives thousands of their human rights and dignity. Allowing this agency to act with impunity has to stop! And it will.
With that said, and in response to much sincere urging of loved ones, supporters, our attorneys and current and former state legislators, Tom Ammiano, Loni Hancock, and Tom Hayden, for whom we have the upmost respect, we decided to suspend our hunger strike. We are especially grateful to Senator Hancock and Assembly Member Ammiano for their courageous decision to challenge Governor Brown and the CDCR for their policies of prolonged solitary confinement and inhumane conditions. We are certain that they will continue their fight for our cause, including holding legislative hearings and the drafting legislation responsive to our demands on prison conditions and sentencing laws. We are also proceeding with our class action civil suit against the CDCR.
The fact is that Governor Brown and CDCR Secretary Beard have responded to our third peaceful action with typical denials and falsehoods, claiming solitary confinement does not exist and justifying the continuation of their indefinite torture regime by vilifying the peaceful protest representatives. They also obtained the support of the medical receiver (Kelso) and Prison Law Office attorney (Spector—who is supposed to represent prisoners interests, and instead has become an agent for the state) to perpetuate their lie to the public and to the federal court — that prisoners participating in the hunger strike have been coerced — in order to obtain the August 19, 2013 force feeding order.
We have deemed it to be in the best interest of our cause to suspend our hunger strike action until further notice.
We urge people to remember that we began our present resistance with our unprecedented collective and peaceful actions (in tandem with the legislative process) back in early 2010, when we created and distributed a “Formal Complaint” for the purpose of educating the public and bringing widespread attention to our torturous conditions.
After much dialogue and consideration, this led us to our first and second hunger strike actions in 2011, during which a combined number of 6,500 and 12,000 prisoners participated. We succeeded in gaining worldwide attention and support resulting in some minor changes by the CDCR concerning SHU programming and privileges. They also claimed to make major changes to policies regarding gang validation and indefinite SHU confinement by creating the STG/SDP Pilot Program. They released a few hundred prisoners from SHU/AD SEG to general population in the prison. But in truth, this is all part of a sham to claim the pilot program works and was a weak attempt to have our class action dismissed. It didn’t work.
In response we respectfully made clear that CDCR’s STG-SDP was not responsive to our demand for the end to long term isolation and solitary confinement and thus unacceptable. (See: AGREEMENT TO END HOSTILITIES)
Our supporting points fell on deaf ears, leading to our January 2013 notice of intent to resume our hunger strike on July 8, 2013 if our demands were not met. We also included Forty Supplemental Demands.
In early July, CDCR produced several memos notifying prisoners of an increase in privileges and property items, which are notably responsive to a few of our demands, while the majority of our demands were unresolved, leading to our third hunger strike, in which 30,000 prisoners participated and resulted in greater worldwide exposure, support and condemnation of the CDCR!
From our perspective, we’ve gained a lot of positive ground towards achieving our goals. However, there’s still much to be done. Our resistance will continue to build and grow until we have won our human rights.
For the Prisoner Class Human Rights Movement
Todd Ashker, C58191, D1-119
Arturo Castellanos, C17275, D1-121
Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa (Dewberry), C35671, D1-117
Antonio Guillen, P81948, D2-106
And the Representatives Body:
Danny Troxell, B76578, D1-120
George Franco, D46556, D4-217
Ronnie Yandell, V27927, D4-215
Paul Redd, B72683, D2-117
James Baridi Williamson, D-34288. D4-107
Alfred Sandoval, D61000, D4-214
Louis Powell, B59864, D1-104
Alex Yrigollen, H32421, D2-204
Gabriel Huerta, C80766, D3-222
Frank Clement, D07919, D3-116
Raymond Chavo Perez, K12922, D1-219
James Mario Perez, B48186, D3-124
- Category: Repression
- Created on Monday, 08 July 2013 19:49
- Written by Occupied Media
STRIKE THE PRISONS is a one-shot bulletin to get the word out that prisoners are occupying the prisons.
Hunger Strikes staring today in the California prisons against their super-max isolation. SPREAD THIS.
- Category: Repression
- Created on Thursday, 27 June 2013 23:03
- Written by Gary Leupp
The Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, has the audacity to tell NBC News, “It is literally gut-wrenching to see” Snowden’s revelations… because of the “damage” they do to “our intelligence capabilities”! As though there were really an “our” or “us” at this point. As though we were a nation united, including the mindful watchers and the grateful watched.
No, there are us, and there are them. The tiny power elite that controls the mainstream press and cable channels, the corporations that dutifully hand over meta-data to the state (and then deny doing so to allay consumer outrage), the twin political parties, are sick to their stomachs that they’ve been so exposed.
This first appeared on Counter-Punch.
I don’t have a weak stomach, but I confess that watching TV news does get me nauseated. So I do so sparingly. I have of course been following the coverage of the Edward Snowden story, just to see how opinion is being shaped.
In the days immediately after June 5, when Snowden revealed that the U.S. government daily collects meta-data of all phone call records in the U.S. and beyond, the cable news networks seemed puzzled about how to deal with the story.
They couldn’t very well denounce Snowden out of hand, lest they be accused of being shameless lackeys of the state (even though that’s in fact what they are). They all like to posture as “fair and balanced,” so they did initially pose the question: is Snowden a hero, or a villain?
Early opinion polls showed considerable support for Snowden’s action; aTime poll released June 13 showed 54% of those surveyed in the U.S. thought he’d done the right thing. Some unlikely people (Bill O’Reilly, Glenn Beck) called Snowden a “hero.” But that may be changing, as the networks now compete with one another to generate outrage—not at the spying, mind you, but at Snowden for violating the law. O’Reilly’s current position is that while a hero, Snowden should be placed on trial and judged by a jury. Which is to say, he should be apprehended abroad, brought back in handcuffs and treated to the same benefits of the U.S. judicial system enjoyed by a Bradley Manning or a Guantanamo detainee.
He broke the law! He told us: “Any analyst at any time can target anyone.”
“He took an oath,” thunders Dianne Feinstein, chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee (and thus someone complicit in the spying programs). What she means by this is that he broke his pledge, made when he became an employee of the CIA contractor Booz Allen Hamilton—which helps handle the massive effort to monitor all of us daily—to conceal any secrets he obtained as an employee. She is of course notreferring to the oath he made at the same time, to uphold the Constitution of the United States, which says very clearly that “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated…”
Snowden has not merely revealed that the U.S. government has forced service providers Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube and Apple to share all their records with itself, in the form of meta-data that can only be accessed for content following the issuance of warrants from (secret) courts, in order to thwart real or imagined terrorist plots.
- Category: Repression
- Created on Monday, 10 June 2013 21:01
- Written by MSNBC/Glen Greenwald
Glenn Greenwald Blasts MSNBC Host’s "Misleading White House Talking Points" About The NSA Leaks
- Category: Repression
- Created on Wednesday, 22 May 2013 00:25
- Written by Jackson Free Press
On the day of and in the week leading up to Jackson's elections, reactionary hysteria is being whipped up about candidate Chokwe Lumumba, a founding member of the revolutionary New Afrikan People's Organization (NAPO), who is running for mayor of Jackson as a part of the Jackson Kush Plan, a plan attempting to use a combination of mass movement of the people and radical left participation in elections to spark a Black liberation movement in the South of the United States. While Chokwe Lumumba was projected to win, a new endless tirade of reactionary media attacks have been launched: fliers targeted at radical Black neighborhoods claiming that Chokwe was a police informant, radio ads of Chokwe discussing religion, and more. Kasama will continue reporting on these events as they unfold. -Eric Ribellarsi
Update: Chokwe Lumumba has won this round of the elections, and now will almost certainly win the mayor position.
This article first appear on Jackson Free Press.
In the final hours of the Jackson mayoral election, a group called Citizens for a Better Jackson is making a push to beat back gains made by Ward 2 Councilman Chokwe Lumumba.
The political-action committee statement of organization lists longtime political operative Bob Hickingbottom as a director. Hickingbottom's PAC, which has not submitted a legally required campaign-financial disclosure report showing the group's political fundraising and spending, is running radio spots featuring a portion of a speech Lumumba gave in 2009 in which he expresses doubt in whether Jesus Christ rose from the dead.
Reached this afternoon by phone, Hickingbottom refused an interview. "I'm out here today trying to vote and pick up my grandson and I'm just so doggone hot today and I'm just not up to it," Hickingbottom said, adding that he would speak to JFP editor Donna Ladd after the election.
In the radio ad, which a Jackson Free Press reporter heard Monday morning on BDAY 99.1, Lumumba states:
"Don't come down to Mississippi talking about organizing if you're not going to be able to work with church people because if you can't organize church people, then you're not going to organize Mississippi. Now I have enough sense to know what churches to go into. I had a discussion with my minister, and I said, 'I don't know if Christ died and rose again. That's not my thing. I'm not into that."
- Category: Repression
- Created on Thursday, 25 April 2013 19:08
- Written by Gary Leupp
Why It's Not a Chechen Thing, But All About the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
What Motivated the Boston Bombers
New details emerge every day, raising more questions. But the outlines of the stomach-churning story seem clear. Two young men, brothers who emigrated from Kyrgyzstan twelve years ago with their parents and sisters—high-achieving, “well-assimilated” immigrant men—planted bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three and injuring well over 250. They killed an MIT campus policeman for no apparent reason, hijacked an SUV, engaged in a gunfight with police, and sowed citywide fear for five days. Both self-identified as Chechens, although neither grew up nor spent much time in the Russian republic of Chechnya; and as Muslims, although the older was the observant one, the younger a pot-smoking (maybe pot-dealing) Hennessey drinker. The older held a green card and had applied for U.S. citizenship but had been denied it.
How to define these men, and to describe the event? Let us step back and survey the big picture.
Racism and Islamophobia Shape the Coverage
The U.S. remains a deeply racist society, the nature of its racism always evolving, old targets forgotten, new targets found. The habit of hate does not diminish but merely seeks new objects. The “No Irish Need Apply” signs of the 1860s (here in my city of Boston) are a distant historical memory after the election of presidents of Irish descent. Young people in the Obama era can hardly imagine the Jim Crow laws in the South in effect to the 1960s. The Japanese-American internment camps of the 1940s are treated officially as a national shame. Old racisms survive of course (just consider the Black unemployment and incarceration rates) but new ones more energetically flourish. Especially since 9/11, Middle Eastern ethnicities have been popular targets. Hate crimes against people appearing to be of Middle Eastern origin quadrupled in the following year.
After the 9/11 attacks, it was not difficult for those promoting a U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq to win over the majority of people in this country. They were able to convince them that al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein were in cahoots. They argued this based on contrived evidence too thin to persuade any critical mind, but that was not the point. The war-mongers knew they could rely on the (sometimes subconscious) racist reasoning: the attackers were Arabs, Saddam is an Arab, they all hate America, they must be working together to attack us, we must defend ourselves by preventative action. The plan worked, as it could not have if the “us vs. them,” essentializing anti-Arabism had not resonated somewhere deep in the American soul.
Most people in this country are unclear about the distinctions between Arabs, Iranians and Turks (the three major ethic groups in the Middle East), much less distinctions within the Arab nations. So when a “War on Terror” was declared, and targets as in fact dissimilar as al-Qaeda, Iraq, Yassir Arafat, Hamas, Hizbollah, Iran, Syria, a tiny faction of Iraqi Kurds, etc. lumped together and labeled “terrorist,” the way was paved, psychologically and ideologically, for ongoing war against anyone in the Middle East. GIs in Iraq decorated their barracks with posters showing images of bin Laden alongside images with Saddam, linking them both to 9/11, urging the troops to see their occupation of Iraq as somehow retaliation for those attacks.
- Category: Repression
- Created on Thursday, 14 March 2013 19:12
- Written by Will of Fire Next Time
The following is an excerpt from a report by Will, a member of Fire Next Time. Will witnessed nights of protests in East Flatbush following the police killing of 16-year old Kimani “Kiki” Gray. His larger report appears here.
We hope to post more reports and information as we get them. And we urge everyone to express strong solidarity and find ways to take action to oppose the police repression and murder. Share with us your thoughts.
* * * * * * *
...The legend of the outside agitator has returned.... I was there at last night’s rebellion, and let me tell you: there were fewer then 10 white people involved in a rebellion of hundreds of young Black militants. Last night was led by young Black militants. Period.
For hours, Black politicians and activists–many of them veterans of, or influenced by, the 1968 generation–yelled and berated the young people to keep the “peace” and “respect.” The NYC Black establishment brought its best efforts to bear in hopes of keeping the affair civil. Crowds of Black men and women listened for almost two hours. They were told that the keepers of the peace felt their pain, that they understood. There was silence from the crowd of angry faces. The tension could be felt. The crowd had selected no spokesperson to respond, and none emerged organically in the moment. Will one emerge tonight?
At some point at night, the Black militants decided to march. No white people told them to march. As the march moved through the streets of Flatbush, it was Black militants who picked up bricks, cinder blocks, and beer bottles and threw them at the police. There were almost no white and Latino or African American faces involved in this. It was largely a Jamaican and Afro-Caribbean rebellion.
And perhaps that is the problem. We need to flip the script of the outside agigator. Are brothers and sisters from the Bronx outside agitators? The same people who are stopped and frisked in the Bronx become outside agitators to Jumanee Williams and his friends. It is time for the rest of the NYC working class to jump in and get involved. If the divisions of racialization are going to be broken down, white, Brown, and Black working class people must face the cops and go to jail together. New solidarities must be built. Now is the time for everyone who has felt the pain of the police to converge in Flatbush. Bring presents, bring your anger, and bring your running shoes.
The target has been the 67th Precinct all week, but we have not had enough forces to take it on. All the crews across New York should converge in Flatbush and then march towards the 67th precinct.
During Occupy, hundreds of people joined up with Occupy the Hood in hopes of building movement in working class black and brown neighborhoods. Now the opportunity is here. Will those who identify with these goals come down on the side of the people in the streets, or toe the line of the politicians? Only they can decide.
- Category: Repression
- Created on Monday, 04 March 2013 02:15
- Written by Kevin 'Rashid' Johnson
I was then confronted by a mob of guards in riot armor and gas masks with a large canister of gas and told to submit to handcuffs which I did. I was brought out of the holding cell and chained by my waist to a wall, where an argument ensued and the guards attacked me literally ripped off all my clothes, put me in a pair of underwear, strapped me into a restraint chair and wheeled me to the IMU disruptive unit (unit A), where I was dumped enraged into cell 07...
the medical staff literally tried to let me die. Their actions and attitudes made clear to me and the attending guards that they didn’t want me there because of my race. Not only did they do nothing to have the drugs disgorged from my stomach, they had me sit for two hours in a secluded room with no care, extracted only a small syringe of blood ahtough admittedly needing 3 large vials to conduct appropriate blood tests, then sent me back to the prison claiming there were no traces of pills in my system. The entire incident of me swallowing handsfull of pills was audio-video taped and confirmed by the riot armored guards who immediately removed me from the cell, including segeant Morthorst.
The following undated letter comes from Rashid, a revolutionary communist political prisoner. It includes confirmation past reports from another prisoner that Rashid was in fact drugged by the police, beaten, and intentionally denied access to healthcare. -eric r
“Keep this will need it to recollect everything. Also use it as factual basis for protest and help. I’ve begun writing this at 10:00pm on Feb. 9th 2013. At this moment I am severely dehydrated, tongue coated with white film. Staff refuse any monitoring of vital signs or care. Urine looks like rust water. kidney (left) hurts.
The following is a chronology of events leading to my present state. All are significant jointly and severally in revealing gross abuse and corruption here.
Jan. 28 (on or about) while exercising inside my cell I cut my groin area on loose nylon stitching from my pants and began bleeding heavily. On noticing the stinging sensation then, upon inspection, blood. I notified the unit guard N. Claudio who contacted medical staff. After a bit of back and forth wrangling I was taken to the SHU nursing station where a nurse (name unknown) inspected the laceration gave me a wad of gauze and ordered me given a shower. She also instructed me to keep the area clean and dry.
A couple nights later I caught the same nurse while she was passing out evening medication and got a small packet of antibacterial ointment from her.
- Category: Repression
- Created on Wednesday, 27 February 2013 20:29
- Written by Brendan Kiley
After five months in solitary confinement - with no charges against them - for courageously refusing to testify to a Grand Jury on an investigation against other acitvists, Katherine Olejnik and Matthew Duran will be released tomorrow. A third refuser, Maddie Pfeiffer, is still in prison. The following report is from slog.thestranger.com.
Grand Jury Refusers Katherine Olejnik and Matthew Duran Are Free
by Brendan Kiley
Or they will be at 4 pm tomorrow afternoon. Judge Jones has granted Duran and Olejnik's attorneys' request to release their clients, who have been in prison—without convictions or charges—for five months and in solitary confinement for two months.
I wrote about visiting them in prison, and how they got there, in this story.
More details after I get Judge Jones's ruling—but this is happy, happy news. And it's a correction of a situation in the justice system that has seemed very, very far from just.
The third grand jury refuser, Maddie Pfeiffer, is still in prison, but his attorney did not join the motion to file for his release. That motion, I'm guessing, isn't far away.
Of course, they might eventually be charged with criminal contempt—but at least that would have a semblance of due process, an opportunity for a public trial, and a fixed term of incarceration instead of you-just-sit-in-this-cold-cell-until-you-tell-us-what-we-want-to-hear.
You know, the stuff most American citizens expect when dealing with judicial branch of American government.
Judge Jones's ruling is here, with selected paragraphs after the jump. In short, it reiterates what we've been saying for many months: That they weren't there on May Day, that their confinement is looking awfully punitive even though it's not legally supposed to be, that they have shown their resolve to not testify, and that the feds are asking them for testimony that would be tangential at best. (em>Who are these people and what are their political beliefs? instead of who threw a brick through a window?)
Read it in Judge Jones's words below the jump:
Both Ms. Olejnik and Mr. Duran have provided extensive declarations explaining that although they wish to end their confinement, they will never end their confinement by testifying. The court finds their declarations persuasive. They have been submitted to five months of confinement. For a substantial portion of that confinement, they have been held in the special housing unit of the Federal Detention Center at SeaTac, during which they have had no other contact with detainees, very little contact even with prison staff, and exceedingly limited ability to communicate with the outside world...
The government does dispute the witnesses' assertions that confinement in the special housing until entails 23 hours of solitary confinement in their cells and an hour of solitary time alone in a larger room each day, a single fifteen-minute phone call each month (as opposed to five hours of monthly phone time for detainees outside the special housing until), and exceedingly limited access to reading and writing material. Their physical health has deteriorated sharply and their mental health has also suffered from the effects of solitary confinement.
Their confinement has cost them; they have suffered the loss of jobs, income, and important personal relationships. They face the possibility of criminal convictions for contempt... both she and Mr. Duran have nonetheless refused to testify...
The court has observed both Ms. Olejnik and Mr. Duran in their prior appearances before the court. Whatever the merits of their choices not to testify, their demeanor has never given the court reason to doubt their sincerity or the strength of their convictions.
The witnesses and the government also invite the court to consider arguments specific to the grand jury investigation at issue. The witnesses argue, for example, that any testimony they could offer would be, at best, tangential to the investigation... Although they remain in contempt of court, the court finds no basis for their continued confinement.