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Herman Bell’s charges dropped and moved to Shawangunk

October 7, 2017

http://www.freehermanbell.org

Herman Bell now in general population! He was told that the charges will be dropped! From Herman (written earlier) with many thanks for all of our efforts:

September 27, 2017

My dear brothers and sisters,

Thank you for the outpouring of cards, letters, healing-love and energy that you sent me in response to the unprovoked brutal assault on me by NYS prison guards at Comstock, NY – a vicious slap aside the head from behind and shoved to the ground. I protected myself as best as I could. I sustained multiple kicks, punches to the face and eyes, repeated head slams into concrete, and 2 cracked ribs. They tried to bury me with raining blows, not knowing that I am a seed. But the burning pepper spray sprayed into my eyes and mouth is what did me in – and yet, here I am.

Now I know why visitors bring flowers and candy to the hospital. I was immediately sent, however, not to a hospital but to the Box for “assault on staff,” so the cards and letters and love you sent me were my flowers and candy. You did great!

I was astonished, not by the outpouring of your support, but by the enormity of it.

People are coming together and are standing up. They are finding that they are not entitled to the rights and freedoms they think they have as americans. Instead of the consideration americans – many of them voters – deserve, they are ignored by authoritarian and elected officials.

They lack healthcare, suffer from unrestrained police violence, mass incarceration, lack a living wage, experience poverty and homelessness, and suffer from a toxic environment. People are standing up against these injustices, insisting that their demands be respected and addressed.

The social injustice, jackboot repression, racist attacks, discrimination, wealth disparities, unemployment, lack of affordable housing (the list doesn’t just end there), creates waves of fierce discontent which ls gaining steady momentum, becoming a full-blown cleansing tsunami, the force of which is irresistible.

And that force is you, the People, coming together and taking a stand. My flowers and candy is your outpouring of support for me, our political prisoners, the mass incarcerated and the voiceless.

To write each of you (I’ve literally received hundreds of letters) a personal “thank you” at this time would be impossible. So, I send this “thank you!” instead.

Thank you! I thank you deeply one and all for the empathy, outrage, love and support you’ve expressed in the face of the assault on me. May our resolve to produce social change remain unshakeable.

Herman Bell
79C0262
​Shawangunk Correctional Facility
P.O. Box 700
Wallkill, New York 12589

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Political Prisoner Herman Bell Assaulted

September 11, 2017

Black Panther Party political prisoner Herman Bell was viciously assaulted by guards at Great Meadow Correctional Facility (Comstock) on September 5, 2017.  While being “escorted” by a guard back to his housing unit, a guard struck Herman, age 69, in the face causing his glasses to drop to the floor.  This same guard then repeatedly punched Herman about the face, head and body.  Responding to a commotion, 5-6 other guards arrived and joined in the assault.  One of them was able to knee Herman in the chest causing two cracked ribs.  Another guard took out a bottle of mace and sprayed it all over Herman’s face, eyes and mouth.

Herman was then taken to the prison infirmary.  X-rays have confirmed fractured ribs.  Herman’s left eye is damaged from the mace and blows.  He has bruises to his body and is suffering headaches, a sign of a possible concussion.

Herman Bell has now been charged with “assault on staff”.  Defying common sense, they allege that Herman, for no apparent reason, slapped the guard escorting him.   He did this, they claim, in a location out of the view of all inmates but in the presence of other guards. He is now in the Special Housing Unit (box) at Five Points Correctional Facility where he was transferred after the incident.

Herman Bell has not had a disciplinary violation in over 20 years.  He was scheduled to begin a three day family visit with his wife a few days after the incident, their first such visit in over 2 1/2 years.  In addition he is to appear before the parole board, for the 8th time, in February 2018.

Herman has, however, been the target of guard harassment due to his political background.  Visitors report that guards processing them and in the visiting room comment that they are visiting a “cop killer” or “terrorist”.  Some guards have been seen passing around the book “Badge of the Assassin” written by Herman’s prosecutor.

At this time, we are encouraging everyone to take the time to write to Herman or send him a get-well card, so that the authorities know we are paying attention and are concerned for Herman. Stay tuned for updates as we develop this campaign.

Herman Bell’s new address is:

Herman Bell #79C0262
Five Points Cor. Fac.
P.O. Box 119
Romulus, N.Y. 14541​

Drop Charges Against all #J20 inauguration protestors

August 30, 2017

https://www.change.org/p/us-attorney-for-dc-drop-the-charges-against-j20-protesters-dropj20

On January 20, 2017, tens of thousands of people converged in Washington, D.C. to oppose the inauguration of Donald Trump.A wide variety of demonstrations countered the spectacle of the inauguration, making it clear to the world that many of us reject Trump’s cruel and divisive leadership.

A day of defeat became a moment of resistance, and set the stage for the travel ban protests that followed. While Trump and his army of trolls have encountered few meaningful obstacles in the halls of power, grassroots resistance has persisted.

Unfortunately, with resistance comes repression. After terrorizing protesters (including children, the elderly, and people with disabilities) with pepper spray and ‘stinger’ grenades, DC police cordoned off an entire city block and mass-arrested more than 230 people.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Kerkhoff (under the authority of U.S. Attorney Channing Phillips) later sought an indictment charging more than 200 people with at least eight felonies each—for rioting, inciting a riot, conspiracy to riot, and property destruction—punishable by up to 75 years in prison.

With these unprecedented, excessive charges, the state is cracking down on dissent – allowing Trump to pursue his agenda challenged only by symbolic hand-wringing. This strategy corresponds with a broader wave of repression, from arrests and grand jury investigations of Indigenous water protectors at #StandingRock, to the demonization of #BlackLivesMatter.

Just as our struggles are connected, these arrests represent a threat to all people fighting for true freedom, dignity, and autonomy. 

Join the ACLU, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Partnership For Civil Justice Fund, the Committee to Protect Journalists, and other civil liberties advocates in standing with the J20 defendants.

Call on the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia to immediately drop all charges.

—————————

Learn more at dropJ20.org

Please follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram, and share this petition with your friends and family! (and use #dropj20 !)

This petition will be delivered to:

  • US Attorney for the District of Columbia,
    Channing Phillips
  • Chief – USADC Felony Major Crimes Section
    John Gidez
  • Head – DOJ Office of Professional Responsibility
    Robin Ashton

Postcards to support Jaan Laaman, currently held in segregation

July 7, 2017

We have been sharing updates on our editor, anti-imperialist political prisoner Jaan Laaman, who has been held in segregation for over three months.

You can help by contacting the prison administration, and by writing to Jaan to let him know he’s in our thoughts. You can also spread the word to supporters in your community by ordering these beautiful postcards from our friends at Prison Radio:

Postcard to BOP in Support of Jaan Laaman

Solidarity Postcard to Jaan Laaman

 

Kevin Rashid Johnson Snatched from Texas Prison

June 27, 2017

We have received word that Kevin “Rashid” Johnson, prisoner-organizer and revolutionary has been moved from Texas! He was picked up by his Virginia DOC officials (he was on an interstate transfer). Rashid is a very good organizer and he was moved from Red Onion State Prison because of his influence and leadership. It seems now that Texas also could not handle his principled determination.

Supporters learned that he is being held at a reception center in the state of Florida. We will forward additional information as soon as we know it. 

Transfers have been opportunities for prison officials to arrange for violence and abuse. Rashid was beaten and had his locks shaved when he was first brought to Texas, and lost much of his property. We are concerned about prisoners’ rights and basic human dignity and we will take action to make sure this does not happen again!

TAKE ACTION!

Who to call

Mr. Terry Glenn, Interstate Compact Supervisor
Virginia Department of Corrections
P.O. Box 26963
Richmond, VA 23261-6963
Phone: (804) 887-7866
Fax: (804) 674-3595

Call Script

I am calling on behalf of Kevin Johnson, Virginia inmate number 1007485. I am a friend of Mr. Johnson’s, and am highly concerned for his well-being and safety. I understand that he was recently taken by Virginia Department of Corrections from Clements Unit in Amarillo, TX.

Where in Florida is he being taken? Is he being returned to Virginia where his family would be able to visit him?

I demand that Mr. Johnson be moved to Virginia, that ALL of his property, including ALL his legal materials and his typewriter, be given to him upon his new location, and that his transport be safe and humane.

Please let us know immediately if you find out any information on Rashid.
Additional Resources

Rashid’s Website
Facebook Event to Call for Rashid

Rashid is Minister of Defense of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party (Prison Chapter); he is a Virginia prisoner organizer and revolutionary communist. As a result of his organizing he has been repeatedly transferred out of state, under a setup called the “Interstate Compact” which is used to remove rebellious prisoners and exile them to locations where they have no friends, support, etc. For the past four years Rashid has been held in Texas, where he has been beaten, threatened, had his property confiscated, been set up on bogus infractions, and more — nonetheless, he used his time there to forge connections with other prisoners and to write a series of powerful exposés about violence, medical neglect, abuse, and murder in the Texas prison system.

He has also been targeted because of analysis and belief organizing across boundries of race and class. Look carefully at his latest artwork, this is what the state finds dangerous:

Thank you for calling and taking action.

Cuando luchamos ganamos! When we fight, we win!

Noelle Hanrahan
Director, Prison Radio

Take action now! Political prisoner Jaan Laaman still in segregation, threatened with transfer to CMU

June 26, 2017
Dear Friends,

As of today, Monday, June 26, 2017, Jaan K. Laaman, long-time anti-imperialist political prisoner, is still locked down in segregation (minimum of 23 hours locked down in a 6×9’ cell).  Jaan has been in “segregation” for three months simply for issuing two statements, a clear violation of free speech and human rights. He is being threatened with transfer to a Communication Management Unit (CMU) or Special Management Unit; punishments that are not appropriate for a prisoner of Jaan’s age, and would be a violation for practicing free speech.

After a prison hearing on May 4, 2017, Jaan was found to not have violated prison regulations regarding “misuse of mail,” but was found to have violated prison regulations concerning “misuse of  the telephone,” for speaking on the phone to a friend and conveying his support of the “Day Without a Woman Strike” (International Women’s Day, March 8, 2017), and his feelings about the death of his friend, Attorney Lynne Stewart. Jaan was sanctioned by losing 10 days good time credit and by loss of the telephone for 6 months (in addition to the loss of email access which was imposed without a hearing one year ago). Jaan is currently appealing this ruling. Meanwhile, Jaan is still in “segregation,” and still being threatened with transfer to a CMU.

CMUs are prison units designed to isolate and segregate prisoners. People locked up in the CMUs are completely banned from any physical contact with visiting family members and friends, and other types of communication are also severely limited, including interactions with non-CMU prisoners and phone calls with friends and family members. For more info see: https://ccrjustice.org/home/get-involved/tools-resources/fact-sheets-and-faqs/cmus-federal-prison-system-s-experiment

How you can support Jaan:

Write/call/email the Bureau of Prisons Regional Director and ask her not to transfer Jaan to a Communication Management Unit.

Please remind her that Jaan is an elder prisoner, and you are concerned about his health in segregation and you would be concerned about his safety if he is moved to a Communication Management Unit.

Mary M. Mitchell, Regional Director
BOP Regional Office
7338 Shoreline Dr
Stockton, CA 95219
Regional email:   wxro/execassistant@bop.gov

Send a message through the Bureau of Prison (BOP) website here: https://www.bop.gov/inmates/concerns.jsp

– Select ‘USP Tucson’
– Send a message that includes his name and number: ‘Jaan Laaman #10372-016’

Please be polite but firm in your letters and send the responses you get to jaanlaaman@gmail.com

Write to Jaan and let him know he’s in our hearts and on our minds.

Jaan has no access to news and access to phone calls. It’s important we send him some letters right now. Send him articles, so that he gets some world news and messages of solidarity and support. Let the jailers see that Jaan has support from the community and cannot just be left in segregation or silenced.
Jaan Karl Laaman #10372-016
USP Tucson
P.O. Box 24550
Tucson, AZ 85734

Background Information

Jaan is imprisoned at United States Penitentiary (USP) Tucson in Arizona, and is one of the last two remaining Ohio-7 political prisoners still locked up. The Ohio-7 were convicted in 1986 of direct actions to protest U.S. support for the white-supremacist apartheid regime in South Africa, illegal U.S. attacks on Nicaragua, and repression against advocates for Puerto Rican self-determination.

Jaan was placed into solitary confinement because of two short messages: one in support of the “Day Without a Woman Strike” (International Women’s Day, March 8, 2017) which was printed in the NYC Anarchist Black Cross (ABC) update, and his “Farewell Thoughts to My Friend, Lynne Stewart” which was broadcast on Prison Radio. Lynne Stewart, revolutionary peoples’ lawyer passed away on March 8, 2017. When the NYC ABC magazine arrived by mail to the prison, Jaan was promptly placed in solitary confinement. Prison officials charged Jaan with “threatening the security of the prison” because of these First Amendment protected statements.

No one should be punished for exercising their First Amendment Rights. The United States District Court in Pennsylvania recently ruled in a case involving efforts to censure Mumia Abu-Jamal:  “A past criminal offense does not extinguish a person’s constitutional right to free expression. The First Amendment does not disappear at the prison gate.”

Pattern of Increasing Repression

Being placed in segregation is the latest act of repression by the prison administration, following increasing actions against Jaan. Over a year ago, the prison shut down Jaan’s access to email, and they have been censoring him in various ways since then, including withholding his mail and limiting access to his lawyer.

Jaan was placed in segregation on his birthday and has been there ever since. There is a growing consensus as to the psychological harm caused by solitary confinement. In 2011 the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture concluded that solitary confinement for more than 15 days constitutes torture and can cause irreversible harmful psychological effects.

Jaan previously wrote about the increasing censorship he has been facing, here. Jaan has been writing reflections about global events since he was first captured in 1984, so this level of censorship is certainly something new and different.

This update was written by friends of Jaan Laaman.  

jaanlaaman@gmail.com

Facebook: Free Jaan Laaman

Twitter: @4StruggleMag

Public Demonstration, Rally & Vigil to Liberate “Xinachtli” Luna Herdandez: June 9

June 7, 2017

Friday, June 9th, 2017, Austin, Texas

THE COMMITTEE TO FREE

ALVARO “XINACHTLI” LUNA HERNANDEZ,

is calling for a Public Demonstration,

Rally & Vigil to Liberate “Xinachtli”

 

We will gather on the 20th Year Anniversary of Texas Political Prisoner Alvaro “Xinachtli” Luna Hernandez’ wrongful conviction, to make public contact and protest statement for his excessive punishment of a 50-Year Sentence & Felony Conviction for Aggravated Assault, for disarming a sheriff in 1997, who had threateningly drawn his revolver after Xinachtli challenged his authority to arrest him without a warrant on suspicion of Aggravated Robbery, a bogus charge, at his home.

 

“Xinachtli, is an Aztecan ‘Nahuatl’ name meaning, if literally translated into English, is “Germinating Seed, “ and is how he prefers to be called. He is an Anti-Imperialist, Chicano-Mexicano, Human Rights Activist, and former Union Organizer and Civil Rights Advocate for his Community, and is in our opinion, and many of his support base around the world, a victim of an abusively cruel & overused Solitary Confinement form of isolation as ‘rehab’ or security, on the pretext of maintaining an orderly smooth-functioning prison facility.

 

As opined in a 1978-79 Prisoner Class Action, Ruiz v. Estelle, 550 2d 238, legendary Texas Jurist, U.S. District Judge William Wayne Justice, for the Eastern District of Texas stated. . .”the conditions of imprisonment within the TDC (now TDCJ) Prison System constituted Cruel and Unusual Punishment in violation of the United States Constitution.” “Xinachtli” has endured twice the maximum limit of this (20) year period that Wayne Justice figured as a cutoff point before the degrading conditions of ‘solitary’ would manifest into dis-ease and loss of sanity. This August, it will be (15) consecutive years of being subjected to this form of Texas Torture and sensory-deprivation they call “Administrative Segregation.”

 

By quarantining political dissidents like “Xinachtli,” they’ve labelled and denigrated as “trouble-makers,” and the 125 or so other recognized PP’s across this country in a similar manner, and in his case, all due to a damaging false accusation of an informant that said “Xinachtli” was responsible for a prison gang ‘hit,’ someone he didn’t even know; Texas’ ‘Control Units’ have become a sad reflection of a society that’s bottomed-up, by allowing these tax-payer-funded “Houses of Horror” to continue to maim and destroy human lives. LIBERATE “XINACHTLI” –GIVE HIM A NEW DATE IN COURT & ABOLISH SOLITARY CONFINEMENT NOW FOREVER!!

♦  At 12-Noon – to – 1 PM  ♦

At the Texas Capitol ‘South Steps’ Entrance – at the “T” & 11th & Congress Avenue

 

John S. Dolley, Coordinator: Committee to Free Alvaro “Xinachtli” Luna Hernandez ♦ We will be free to speak with media at this time – Contact: twitchon@gmail.comhttp://www.freealvaro.net