Monthly Archives: July 2008

Information on Major U.S. Political Prisoners

A couple of days ago, when I posted my manifesto for this blog’s future, I gave a list of people whom I consider to be political prisoners of the United States with the demand that they be freed from their unjust imprisonment. That list, more than any other part of the manifesto, elicited great response, from positive comments of solidarity, to very negative ones accusing me of being a murder supporter and terrorist apologist, to comments by people who wish to know more.

It is for that last group of people who contacted me that I am posting this. I have done the best I can to scour the internet for the best websites and other information (including contact information where available) for many of the prisoners. I will split the prisoners up into various categories to help in sorting through them.

American Indian Activists and Freedom Fighters:

Black/African Freedom Fighters:
Environmental & Animal Rights Activists
  • Tre Arrow
    CS# 05850722
    Vancouver Island Regional Correction Center
    4216 Wilkinson Rd.
    Victoria, BC, V8Z 5B2
    Canada
    www.trearrow.org
  • Rodney Coronado # 03895-000
    FCI Tucson
    PO Box 23811
    Tucson, AZ 85734
    www.supportrod.org
  • Joshua Harper # 29429-086
    FDC Sheridan
    Federal Detention Center
    P.O. Box 6000
    Sheridan, OR 97378
    www.joshharper.org
  • Dariud Fulmer # 26397-050
    FCI Fort Dix
    P.O. Box 2000
    Fort Dix, NJ 08640
    www.shac7.com/dari
  • Lauren Gazzola # 93497-011
    Federal Correctional Institution
    FCI Danbury
    Route #37
    Danbury, CT 06811
    supportlauren.com
  • Joshua Harper # 29429-086
    FDC Sheridan
    Federal Detention Center
    P.O. Box 6000
    Sheridan, OR 97378
    www.joshharper.org
  • Kevin Kjonaas # 93502-011
    Unit I
    FCI Sandstone
    P.O. Box 1000
    Sandstone, MN 55072
    www.supportkevin.com
  • Andrew Stepanian # 26399-050
    FCI Butner Medium II
    Federal Correctional Institution
    P.O. BOX 1500
    Butner, NC 27509
    andystepanian.com
  • Nathan Block
    #1663667
    Lane County Jail
    101 W 5th Ave
    Eugene, OR 97401
    supportersofnathanandjoyanna@gmail.com
  • Eric McDavid
    X-2972521 4E231A
    Sacramento County Main Jail
    651 “I” Street
    Sacramento, CA 95814
    www.supporteric.org
  • Daniel McGowan 63794-053
    FCI Terre Haute
    Federal Correctional Institution
    P.O. Box 33
    Terre Haute, IN 47808 www.supportdaniel.org
  • Jeffrey “Free” Luers #13797671
    OSP
    2605 State Street
    Salem, OR 97310
    www.freefreenow.org
Latino, Chicano/Mexicano & Puerto Rican Activists and Freedom Fighters:

The above information is largely derived from the Prison Activist Resource Center, Anarchist Black Cross Network and other groups.

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos to Leonard Peltier

peltier and marcos

Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional México
October of 1999
From: Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos

Leonard,

Through the NCDM and Cecilia Rodriguez we extend greetings from the men, women, children and elders of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation.

Cecilia has told us about the grave injustice the North American judicial system has committed against you. We understand that the powerful are punishing your spirit of rebellion and your strong fight for the rights of indigenous people in North America.

Stupid as it is, the powerful believe that through humiliation, arrogance and isolation it can break the dignity of those who give thoughts, feelings, life and guidance to the struggle for recognition and respect for the first inhabitants of the land over whom, the vain United States has risen. The heroic resistance that you have maintained in prison, as well as the broad movement of solidarity, that your case and your cause have motivated in the U.S. and the world reveal their mistake.

Knowing of your existence and history, no woman or man if they are honest and conscious can remain silent before such a great injustice. Nor can they remain still in front of a struggle, which like all that is born and grows from below, is necessary, possible, and true.

The Lakota, a people who have the honor and fortune to have you among their blood, have an ethic that recognizes and respects the place of all people and things, respects the relations that mother earth has with herself and other living things that live and die within her and outside of her. An ethic that recognizes generosity as a measure of human worth, the walk of our ancestors and our dead along the paths of today and tomorrow, women and men as part of the universe that have the power of free will to choose paths and seasons, the search for harmony and the struggle against that which breaks and disorders it. All of this, and more that escapes because we are so far away, has a lot to teach the “western” culture which steers, in North America and in the rest of the world, against humanity and against nature.

Probably the determined resistance of Leonard Peltier is incomprehensible to the Powerful in North America, and the world. To never give up, to resist, the powerful call this “ foolishness”. But the foolish are in every corner of the world, and in all of them, resistance flourishes in the fertile ground of the most ancient history.

In sum, what the powerful fail to understand is not only Peltier’s resistance, but also the entire worlds, and so they intend to mold the planet into the coffin the system represents, with wars, jails and police officers.

Probably, the powerful in North America think that in jailing and torturing Leonard Peltier, they are jailing and torturing one man.

And so they don’t understand how a prisoner can continue to be free, while in prison.

And they don’t understand how, being imprisoned, he speaks with so many, and so many listen.

And they don’t understand how, in trying to kill him, he has more life.

And they don’t understand how one man, alone, is able to resist so much, to represent so much, to be so large.

“Why?” the powerful ask themselves and the answer never reaches their ears:

Because Leonard Peltier is a people, the Lakota, and it is impossible to keep a people imprisoned.

Because Leonard Peltier speaks through the Lakota men and women who are in themselves and in their nature the best of mother earth.

Because the strength that this man and this people have does not come from modern weapons, rather it comes from their history, their roots, their dead.

Because the Lakota know that no one is more alive than the dead.

Because the Lakota, and many other North American Indian people, know that resisting without surrender not only defends their lives and their liberty, but also their history and the nature that gives them origin, home, and destiny.

Because the great ones always seem so small to those who can not see the history that each one keeps inside.

Because the racism that now governs can only imagine the other and the different in jail…or in the trashcan, where two Lakota natives were found last month, murdered, in the community of Pine Ridge. This is justice in North America: those who fight for their people are in jail, those who despise and murder walk unpunished.

What is Leonard Peltier accused of?

Not of a crime he didn’t commit. No. He is accused of being other, of being different, of being proud to be other and different.

But for the Powerful, Leonard Peltier’s most serious “crime” is that he seeks to rescue in the past, in his culture, in his roots, the history of his people, the Lakota. And for the powerful, this is a crime, because knowing oneself with history impedes one from being tossed around by this absurd machine that is the system.

If Leonard Peltier is guilty, than we are all guilty because we seek out history, and on its shoulders we fight to have a place in the world, a place of dignity and respect, a place for ourselves exactly as we are, which is also, very much as we were.

If the Indian people of the North and Indian people of México, as well as the indigenous people of the entire continent, know that we have our own place (being who we are, not pretending to be another skin color, another tongue, another culture), what is left is that other colors that populate the entire world know it. And what is left is for the powerful to know it. So that they know it, and learn the lesson so well that they won’t forget, many more paths and bridges are needed that are walked from below.

On these paths and bridges, you, Leonard Peltier, have a special place, the best, next to us who are like you.

Salud, Leonard Peltier, receive a hug from one who admires and respects you, and who hopes that one day you will call him “brother”.

Vale, and health to you and I hope that injustice disappears tomorrow, with yesterday as a weapon and today as a road.

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast, Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos México, October 1999

The Case For Mumia Abu-Jamal

I’ve decided to make this post because it seems that whenever I mention the name Mumia Abu-Jamal on this blog in conjunction with words and phrases like “release”, “free” or “is innocent” I get emails and comments from conservative folk asking why exactly it is that I would seek the release of a convicted, cop killer like Abu-Jamal.I should say first that I previously did not support the case for release for Mumia, and at one point was quite convinced of his guilt. I used to find those who supported him to be odd, but that was until I had actually had the facts, or rather the discrepancies, of the case put before me and I took the time to seriously consider them, rather than just writing them off as the ramblings of crazies. I found the evidence of his innocence, or at least the case was fudged by the state, quite compelling. I also supported the case Mumia back in my days of simple conformative liberalism.

The Scene
In 1981, Mumia worked as a cab driver at night to supplement his income. On December 9th he was driving his taxi through the red light district of downtown Philadelphia at around 4 a.m. Mumia testifies that he let off a fare and parked near the corner of 13th and Locust Streets. Upon hearing gunshots, he turned and saw his brother, William Cook, staggering in the street. Mumia exited the cab and ran to the scene, where he was shot by a uniformed police officer and fell to the ground, fading in and out of consciousness. Within minutes, police arrived on the scene to find Officer Faulkner and Mumia shot; Faulkner died. Mumia was arrested, savagely beaten, thrown into a paddy wagon and driven to a hospital a few blocks away (suspiciously, it took over 30 minutes to arrive at the hospital). Mumia somehow survived.

The Trial
The trial began in 1982 with Judge Sabo (who sent more people to death row than any other judge) presiding. Mumia wished to represent himself and have John Africa as his legal advisor, but before jury selection had finished, this right was revoked and an attorney was forcibly appointed for him. Throughout the trial, Mumia was accused of disrupting court proceedings and was not allowed to attend most of his own trial. Sabo lived up to his nickname of “Prosecutor in Robes.”

The Evidence
The prosecution claimed that the shot which killed Faulkner came from Mumia Abu-Jamal’s legally registered .38-caliber weapon, contradicting the medical examiner’s report that the bullet removed from Faulkner’s brain was a .44-caliber. This fact was kept from the jury. Moreover, a ballistics expert found it incredible that police at the scene failed to test Mumia’s gun to see if has been recently fired, or to test his hands for powder residue. One of the most damning prosecution claims was that Mumia confessed at the hospital. However, this confession was not reported until nearly two months after December 9th, immediately after Mumia had filed a brutality suit against the police. One of the officers who claims to have heard the confession is Gary Wakshul. However, in his police report on that day he stated, “the Negro male made no comments.” Dr. Coletta, the attending physician who was with Mumia the entire time, says that he never heard Mumia speak.

The Witnesses
The star prosecution witness, a prostitute named Cynthia White, was someone no other witness reported seeing at the scene. During the trial of Billy Cook (Mumia’s brother) just weeks before Mumia’s trial, White gave testimony completely contradictory to what she stated at Mumia’s trial. Her testimony at Billy Cook’s trial placed someone at the scene who was not there when police arrived. This corroborates the other five witness accounts that someone fled the scene. In a 1997 hearing, another former prostitute, Pamela Jenkins, testified that White was acting as a police informant. Other sworn testimony revealed that witness coercion was routinely practiced by the police. In 1995, eyewitness William Singletary testified that police repeatedly tore up his initial statement–that the shooter fled the scene–until he finally signed something acceptable to them. The following year, witness Veronica Jones came forward to testify that she had been coerced into changing her initial statement that two men fled the scene.

The Sentence
Due to the obvious use of police manipulation of witnesses, fabrication and withholding of evidence, and the denial of the defendants constitutionally guaranteed rights, the defense severely hampered in its ability to present a meaningful case, Mumia was found guilty. He was sentenced to death during the penalty phase based almost entirely on his political beliefs, which were radical in nature and supported the Black Panthers and MOVE.

New Witnesses
In 2001, court stenographer Terri Maurer-Carter came forward and stated that in 1982, before Mumia’s trial began, she heard Judge Sabo say, “Yeah, and I’m going to help them fry the n****r.” He was referring to Mumia. This backs up evidence of judicial bias and racism in Mumia’s case. In the same year, esteemed Philadelphia journalist Linn Washington stated that on the morning of December 9th, 1981, he went to the scene to report on it–and no police were present. This backs up prior claims that police didn’t handle the crime scene properly.

The Confession
In 1999, Arnold Beverly confessed to killing Officer Faulkner. This confession is validated by a lie detector test administered by eminent polygraph expert Charles Honts. Despite concrete evidence supporting this confession, the Philadelphia District Attorney has refused to investigate, and the courts have not even allowed it to be heard.

The Decisions
On December 18th, 2001, Judge Yohn issued a decision on the Habeas Corpus petition in Federal District Court. He upheld Mumia’s unjust conviction, but challenged the sentencing phase (the death sentence). This means there could be a new sentencing hearing after all appeals are resolved, but the only options are life in prison with no possibility of parole or another death sentence. This is not justice. There is massive evidence of Mumia’s innocence and he should be absolutely free. Mumia’s legal team filed an appeal of this decision in January of 2002. Mumia remains on death row until all appeals by both sides are heard.

Judge Pamela Dembe’s November 21, 2001, rejection of Mumia’s request to reopen the PCRA hearings was appealed by Mumia’s legal team. Judge Dembe based her decision almost entirely on the Peterkin case, which has just been overturned! On October 8, 2003, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court rejected the appeal, stating that the Beverly confession cannot be heard due to time limitations. The court also stated that Terri Maurer-Carter’s testimony is irrelevant.

If you want to learn about this case and others, please check out these sites and read the Amnesty International Report A Life in the Balance – The case of Mumia Abu-Jamal

Brick by brick – wall by wall
We wont sit back – let our brothers and sisters fall
The unjust justice system
Our voice will overthrow

No justice, No peace, No racist police!