US POLITICAL PRISONERS NEWSLETTER #3. July 21, 2016.
Compiled by Dick Bennett for a Culture of Peace and Justice.
(#1 June 18, 2012; #2 Jan. 18, 2013).
OMNI newsletters: For a knowledge-based peace, justice, and ecology movement and an informed citizenry as the foundation for change.
Contents: US Political Prisoners Newsletters #3, July 22, 2016
(arranged in reverse chronological order of publication)
At the Democratic National Convention, Philadelphia, July 2016
Google Search April 15, 2016
The Nuclear Resister, Reporting Protests, Arrests, and Jailings, 2016
2002 World Bank Suits Settled, 2016
Assata Shakur in Cuba, 2014
Eddie Conway Released after 44 Years, 2014 (will be at DNC 2016)
Riegle, Crossing the Line, from WWII CO to Contemporary Activists, 2013
Swann on Adam Kokesh, 2013
Chris Hedges on Jeremy Hammond, 2013
Food Not Bombs History, 2012
Norman Lowery’s Prison Letters Published, 2012
Individuals: Riegle, Conway, Hammond, Kokesh, Lowery, Shakur
Groups: 2002 World Bank, Food Not Bombs
The U.S. has imprisoned tens of thousands of its citizens for their beliefs—trade unionists, suffragettes, communists and socialists, conscientious objectors, anti-war demonstrators, civil right protestors, and many more. See my Political Prisoners and Trials (1995), pp. 267-304.
This Sunday: During the DNC - Demand freedom for political prisoners!
GOOGLE SEARCH APRIL 15, 2016
Sep 11, 2013 - Mumia Abu Jamal is the most prominent political prisoner in the US. In 1981, Cointelpro style, he was arrested and sentenced to death in an ...
Jul 24, 2015 - With President Obama focusing on more reasonable prison sentences, he could consider healing wounds by releasing some of the many ...
A political prisoner is someone imprisoned because they have opposed or .... AfricanAmerican boxer wrongfully imprisoned for 19 years in the US due to "an ...
There are about 100 political prisoners in various prisons across the United States. These women and men are listed and recognized as political prisoners by ...
Probably not by the strict definition of the term: people incarcerated for their politicalbeliefs. But there are millions of American citizens in the criminal justice ...
Updates to Political Prisoner Database « Denver Anarchist Black Cross, on August 6, .... There are many other U.S. political prisoners who desperately need our ...
The United States government is imprisoning dozens of political prisoners and prisoners of war. The Jericho Movement is raising up their voices and working for ...
Dec 16, 2013 - “If the United States of America or Britain is having elections, they don't .... “The U.S. government categorically denies it has political prisoners in ...
Two US political prisoners, Mumia Abu-Jamal and Kwame Cannon, will lose their .... in Japan; the other 3100 live on death row right here in the United States.
In this country, however, where the special category of political prisoners is not .... US, specifically racism and national oppression, must be taken into account.
Searches related to political prisoners us
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US, DC settle final lawsuit after 2002 World Bank protests
WASHINGTON (AP) — District of Columbia and U.S. authorities have settled the final lawsuit related to the arrests of hundreds of protesters during a 2002 demonstration against the World Bank.
The Washington Post (http://wapo.st/1Vmz4bU ) reports that authorities agreed to pay $2.8 million to four former George Washington University students and their attorneys without admitting wrongdoing.
The District will pay $110,000 to each of the former students and $2.35 million to the plaintiffs' attorneys. The student will each also receive $5,000 from the U.S.
The settlement means Washington paid $11 million of the $13.25 million total paid to resolve litigation that resulted from the arrests of about 400 people during International Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings.
Washington police have since abandoned "trap and detain" tactics in which officers surrounded and arrested large groups of people.
Information from: The Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com
(Copyright 2016 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
DECEMBER 30, 2014
An Open Letter to the Media
I am a 20th Century Escaped Slave
by ASSATA SHAKUR in Counterpunch
My name is Assata Shakur, and I am a 20th century escaped slave. Because of government persecution, I was left with no other choice than to flee from the political repression, racism and violence that dominate the US government’s policy towards people of color. I am an ex-political prisoner, and I have been living in exile in Cuba since 1984.
I have been a political activist most of my life, and although the U.S. government has done everything in its power to criminalize me, I am not a criminal, nor have I ever been one. In the 1960s, I participated in various struggles: the black liberation movement, the student rights movement, and the movement to end the war in Vietnam. I joined the Black Panther Party. By 1969 the Black Panther Party had become the number one organization targeted by the FBI’s COINTELPRO program. Because the Black Panther Party demanded the total liberation of black people, J. Edgar Hoover called it “greatest threat to the internal security of the country” and vowed to destroy it and its leaders and activists.
In 1978, my case was one of many cases bought before the United Nations Organization in a petition filed by the National Conference of Black Lawyers, the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, and the United Church of Christ Commission for Racial Justice, exposing the existence of political prisoners in the United States, their political persecution, and the cruel and inhuman treatment they receive in US prisons. According to the report:
“The FBI and the New York Police Department in particular, charged and accused Assata Shakur of participating in attacks on law enforcement personnel and widely circulated such charges and accusations among police agencies and units. The FBI and the NYPD further charged her as being a leader of the Black Liberation Army which the government and its respective agencies described as an organization engaged in the shooting of police officers.
This description of the Black Liberation Army and the accusation of Assata Shakur’s relationship to it was widely circulated by government agents among police agencies and units. As a result of these activities by the government, Ms. Shakur became a hunted person; posters in police precincts and banks described her as being involved in serious criminal activities; she was highlighted on the FBI’s most wanted list; and to police at all levels she became a ‘shoot-to-kill’ target.”
I was falsely accused in six different “criminal cases” and in all six of these cases I was eventually acquitted or the charges were dismissed. The fact that I was acquitted or that the charges were dismissed, did not mean that I received justice in the courts, that was certainly not the case. It only meant that the “evidence” presented against me was so flimsy and false that my innocence became evident. This political persecution was part and parcel of the government’s policy of eliminating political opponents by charging them with crimes and arresting them with no regard to the factual basis of such charges.
On May 2, 1973 I, along with Zayd Malik Shakur and Sundiata Acoli were stopped on the New Jersey Turnpike, supposedly for a “faulty tail light.” Sundiata Acoli got out of the car to determine why we were stopped. Zayd and I remained in the car. State trooper Harper then came to the car, opened the door and began to question us. Because we were black, and riding in a car with Vermont license plates, he claimed he became “suspicious.” He then drew his gun, pointed it at us, and told us to put our hands up in the air, in front of us, where he could see them. I complied and in a split second, there was a sound that came from outside the car, there was a sudden movement, and I was shot once with my arms held up in the air, and then once again from the back.
Zayd Malik Shakur was later killed, trooper Werner Foerster was killed, and even though trooper Harper admitted that he shot and killed Zayd Malik Shakur, under the New Jersey felony murder law, I was charged with killing both Zayd Malik Shakur, who was my closest friend and comrade, and charged in the death of trooper Foerster. Never in my life have I felt such grief. Zayd had vowed to protect me, and to help me to get to a safe place, and it was clear that he had lost his life, trying to protect both me and Sundiata. Although he was also unarmed, and the gun that killed trooper Foerster was found under Zayd’s leg, Sundiata Acoli, who was captured later, was also charged with both deaths. Neither Sundiata Acoli nor I ever received a fair trial We were both convicted in the news media way before our trials. No news media was ever permitted to interview us, although the New Jersey police and the FBI fed stories to the press on a daily basis. In 1977, I was convicted by an all- white jury and sentenced to life plus 33 years in prison.
In 1979, fearing that I would be murdered in prison, and knowing that I would never receive any justice, I was liberated from prison, aided by committed comrades who understood the depths of the injustices in my case, and who were also extremely fearful for my life.
The U.S. Senate’s 1976 Church Commission report on intelligence operations inside the USA, revealed that “The FBI has attempted covertly to influence the public’s perception of persons and organizations by disseminating derogatory information to the press, either anonymously or through “friendly” news contacts.” This same policy is evidently still very much in effect today.
On December 24, 1997, The New Jersey State called a press conference to announce that New Jersey State Police had written a letter to Pope John Paul II asking him to intervene on their behalf and to aid in having me extradited back to New Jersey prisons. The New Jersey State Police refused to make their letter public. Knowing that they had probably totally distorted the facts, and attempted to get the Pope to do the devils work in the name of religion, I decided to write the Pope to inform him about the reality of’ “justice” for black people in the State of New Jersey and in the United States. (See attached Letter to the Pope).
In January of 1998, during the pope’s visit to Cuba, I agreed to do an interview with NBC journalist Ralph Penza around my letter to the Pope, about my experiences in New Jersey court system, and about the changes I saw in the United States and it’s treatment of Black people in the last 25 years. I agreed to do this interview because I saw this secret letter to the Pope as a vicious, vulgar, publicity maneuver on the part of the New Jersey State Police, and as a cynical attempt to manipulate Pope John Paul II. I have lived in Cuba for many years, and was completely out of touch with the sensationalist, dishonest, nature of the establishment media today. It is worse today than it was 30 years ago.
After years of being victimized by the “establishment” media it was naive of me to hope that I might finally get the opportunity to tell “my side of the story.” Instead of an interview with me, what took place was a “staged media event” in three parts, full of distortions, inaccuracies and outright lies. NBC purposely misrepresented the facts. Not only did NBC spend thousands of dollars promoting this “exclusive interview series” on NBC, they also spent a great deal of money advertising this “exclusive interview” on black radio stations and also placed notices in local newspapers.
Like most poor and oppressed people in the United States, I do not have a voice. Black people, poor people in the U.S. have no real freedom of speech, no real freedom of expression and very little freedom of the press. The black press and the progressive media has historically played an essential role in the struggle for social justice. We need to continue and to expand that tradition. We need to create media outlets that help to educate our people and our children, and not annihilate their minds. I am only one woman.
I own no TV stations, or Radio Stations or Newspapers. But I feel that people need to be educated as to what is going on, and to understand the connection between the news media and the instruments of repression in Amerika. All I have is my voice, my spirit and the will to tell the truth. But I sincerely ask, those of you in the Black media, those of you in the progressive media, those of you who believe in true freedom, to publish this statement and to let people know what is happening. We have no voice, so you must be the voice of the voiceless.
Free all Political Prisoners, I send you Love and Revolutionary Greetings From Cuba, One of the Largest, Most Resistant and Most Courageous Palenques (Maroon Camps) That has ever existed on the Face of this Planet.
Assata Shakur lives in Havana, Cuba.
Amy Goodman and Nermeen Shaikh, Video Report, NationofChange, March 9, 2014: Former Black Panther Party leader Marshall “Eddie” Conway joins us less than twenty four hours after his release from nearly forty four years in prison. Supporters describe
Crossing the Line
Nonviolent Resisters Speak Out for Peace
By Rosalie G. Riegle. 2013
"'Of course, let us have peace,' we cry, 'but at the same time let us have normalcy, let us lose nothing, let our lives stand intact, let us know neither prison nor ill repute nor disruption of ties . . .' There is no peace because there are no peacemakers. There are no makers of peace because the making of peace is at least as costly as the making of war—at least as exigent, at least as disruptive, at least as liable to bring disgrace and prison and death in its wake." Daniel Berrigan, No Bars to Manhood
More than sixty-five peacemakers have contributed oral narratives to this compelling history of those who say no to war making in the strongest way possible: by engaging in civil disobedience and paying the consequences in jail or prison. Crossing the Line gives voice to often neglected social history and provides provocative stories of actions, trials, and imprisonment.
This fascinating volume serves as an excellent supplement to conventional histories. Almost all the storytellers here are people of faith or are inspired by those who live by faith. Many work at conventional careers; some do full-time peacemaking by living in Catholic Worker houses or in the Jonah House community; several are priests and nuns who minister worldwide. Also featured are three resisters prominent in War Resisters League history.
From World War II conscientious objectors to contemporary activists, these narrators have refused to be helpless in the face of a violent world, and have said with their bodies that they do not accept the status quo of permanent war and war preparation. In short, the voices illustrate hope at a time when it seems in short supply.
Endorsements & Review
ADAM KOKESH, A Modern Day Political Prisoner
Ben Swann, reported on this modern day political prisoner 2013
Chris Hedges, The Revolutionaries in Our Midst Chris Hedges, Truthdig Op-Ed, NationofChange, TUESDAY, 12 NOVEMBER 2013: Jeremy Hammond sat in New York’s Metropolitan Correctional Center last week in a small room reserved for visits from attorneys. He was wearing an oversized prison jumpsuit. The brown hair of the lanky six-footer fell over his ears, and he had a wispy beard. He spoke with the intensity and clarity one would expect from one of the nation’s most important political prisoners. READ | DISCUSS | SHARE http://www.nationofchange.org/revolutionaries-our-midst-1384266738
FOOD NOT BOMBS
Hungry for Peace: How You Can Help End Poverty and War with Food Not Bombs. Seesharppress.com, 2012.
History of Food Not Bombs, its anti-nuclear roots and the political repression of free food across the globe. This revised and updated guide to starting your own Food Not Bombs group also includes over 100 photos, how to do things, recipes, and more. Get it free online at foodnotbombs.net or from publisher for $12.50. (Info from The Nuclear Resister—Dick). From Dennis Rivers’ intro.: In a war-making culture, seeing the life of conscience lived boldly will help each of us to be truer to the best that is within us.
CONSCIENCE BEHIND BARS—THE PRISON LETTERS OF NORMAN LOWRY.
Avail. as a free download or printed edition ($5, 96pp.) at lulu.com.
Posted on May 26, 2012
A Pennsylvania man will spend seven years in state prison unless he promises never to block the entrance of any military recruiting office in the future.
On May 21, Lancaster County Judge Louis Farina told Norman Edgar Lowry, Jr. that unless he would forswear his nonviolent protest, the court would be obliged to impose the maximum sentence for Lowry’s third consecutive arrest at an Armed Forces Recruiting Station in Lancaster.
If only he would make such a promise, the judge implied, his sentence would be much lighter. Did he understand?, the court asked. Yes, Lowry answered. Will you make the pledge? No.
Asked if he had anything more to say before being sentenced, Lowry presented a written statement and was invited to read it.
For research purposes, specific subjects can be located in the following alphabetized index, and searched on the blog using the search box. The search box is located in the upper left corner of the webpage.
Newsletter Index: http://omnicenter.org/dick-bennetts-peace-justice-and-ecology-newsletters/dicks-newsletter-index/
Newsletter Index: http://omnicenter.org/dick-bennetts-peace-justice-and-ecology-newsletters/dicks-newsletter-index/
Contents #1 June 18, 2012, USA and World
Bradley Manning (see newsletters on Manning, Snowden, Assange)
US Political Prisoners, Writings
Bennett, Political Prisoners and Trials
The Nuclear Resister
2010 Conference in
April 14 Palestinian Political Prisoners
Contents #2 USA, January 18, 2013
Riegle, Doing Hard Time for Peace
Quick Survey of US PP History in 6 Books
END POLITICAL PRISONERS NEWSLETTER #3, July 21, 2016