URGENT MEDICAL CAMPAIGN FOR ROBERT SETH HAYES

February 16, 2017

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Political Prisoner Seth Hayes
Needs Us Again!
PLEASE CALL, WRITE AND FAX!
MONDAY, FEB. 13 THRU FRIDAY FEB. 17, 2017
NYC Jericho visited Seth on Sunday, Feb. 12th. We had an excellent visit despite the current dire circumstances. The giant lump on Seth’s head has subsided. The gash above his right eyebrow is butterflied with two or three butterflies. Seth reports that he awoke in the shower in a pool of blood and does not really remember passing out. He was taken to the nearest outside hospital with a possible fractured skull, which was ruled out. Seth did suffer a severe concussion and is still having headaches as a result of this. He was kept in the so-called infirmary at Sullivan for two days for observation. Seth reports that being in the infirmary is like being in SHU, all by himself with two COs constantly present and no witnesses except the nurses, who do everything the COs tell them to.

Seth is also concerned because the medical personnel at Sullivan have told him that, even if he gets the insulin pump, he will still need to be monitored three times a day. This is leading Seth to believe that he will be getting an insulin pump without a monitor, which is not what the endocrinologist at Coxsackie told him back in October. Seth absolutely wants the pump with the monitor, as he can no longer tell when his sugars are high or low. He feels that having an insulin pump without the monitor may actually worsen his current situation. WE WILL CONTINUE TO DEMAND THE INSULIN PUMP/MONITOR AS A LIFE-SAVING MEASURE FOR SETH.

Seth suffered another Diabetic Coma or Code Blue on Feb. 5, 2017! This time he fell so hard he broke a tooth and opened a cut above his eye. He is currently with stabilized sugars in the infirmary with a headache and being monitored and getting X-rays.

Seth has been suffering from uncontrolled diabetes for over 16 years now. His sugars go up to the 400’s, then down so low he falls into a diabetic coma. Each diabetic coma he goes into could end in death if not noticed and treated right away or from a fall such as the one that occurred today.

We are asking that Seth be given an insulin pump/sugar monitor immediately to avert these near fatal incidents. He had consultation with an endocrinologist at Coxsackie in early October 2016 and was told the paperwork to receive a insulin pump would be pushed immediately. On November 20, 2016 Seth wrote a grievance stating he has not heard anything. He has still not received any response to this grievance almost3 months later. Despite the endocrinologist’s recommendation, call in campaigns, and the grievance, it is months later and still no pump.

The NYS DOCCS is completely aware of the situation and is stalling; we cannot afford to have another incident of low sugar. THIS IS A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH!

Seth’s constant extreme fluctuations in sugar levels have led to him no longer being able to tell when his sugars are high or low. The sugar monitor sends a loud warning if his sugars are beginning to get either too high or too low and the pump allows him to use small dosages of insulin when needed along with his eating schedule and daily activity.

Here is the grievance Seth wrote due to the long delay in approval of the insulin pump/sugar monitor:

In addition, Seth had another incident of low sugar on Monday, November 28, 2016, and was in the infirmary for overnight observation. It really is a matter of life and death that Seth be provided with an insulin pump/sugar monitor as soon as possible.

Seth called on December 4 to state the following:

If Seth’s sugars are high in the morning, he is given a dose of Levamir. If his sugars are still high at 11 a.m., he gets a dose of actual insulin. By the time his sugars are checked at 4 p.m. they are usually in the 30’s, prompting an emergency response.

We therefore urge you to call, write and fax to demand immediate provision of an Insulin Pump/Sugar Monitor to Robert Seth Hayes 74A2280. Seth needs this device immediately!

The Demands

1. Immediate provision of an Insulin Pump/Sugar Monitor to Robert Seth Hayes 74A2280. Seth needs this device immediately!

2. A Diabetic Diet that consists of fresh fruits and vegetables and all the current recommendations for diabetics. Not the false diabetic diet that is currently being issued. A bologna sandwich on white bread at night is NOT A DIABETIC DIET!

We ask people to please remain calm and respectful but to be clear in these demands

PHONE, WRITE, FAX THIS DEMAND TO:

Carl J. Koenigsmann M.D.
Deputy Commissioner/Chief Medical Officer
NYS DOCCS Division of Health Services
Harriman State Campus, Building #2
1220 Washington Avenue
Albany, New York 12226-2050
Phone: 518-457-7073
Fax: 518-445-7553

Acting Commissioner Anthony J. Annucci
NYS Department of Corrections
and Community Supervision
Harriman State Campus, Building 2
1220 Washington Ave
Albany, New York 12226-2050
Phone: 518-457-8134
Fax: 518-457-0076

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224
Phone: 518-474-8390
Or Email: https://www.governor.ny.gov/ content/governor-contact-form

Thank You for Your Time & Effort. It has and continues to make a difference!

Write to Seth and let him know he is in our hearts and on our minds:

Robert Seth Hayes #74A2280
Sullivan Correctional Facility, P.O. Box 116, Fallsburg, NY 12733-0116

To contribute to ongoing efforts supporting Robert Seth Hayes, please donate online at:
https://fundrazr.com/ campaigns/810a58

Urgent! Save Mumia’s life! Please forward widely and donate now!

February 16, 2017

PMUMIA07Z-A

Dear Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal,

Below is an emergency appeal for funds to cover Mumia’s immediate legal costs. We are seeking to raise $25,000 in the next few weeks. Please act accordingly and generously.

The appeal below is from the NY-based Committee to Save Mumia Abu-Jaml, Mumia’s loyal supporters with whom we in the Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal, Northern California have worked closely for decades. The funds raised will go to our dear friend, attorney Bob Boyle, who has diligently carried the burden of Mumia’s medical appears for years. You may recall that Bob was key to winning Lynne Stewart’s freedom. And you might remember that I served as the West Coast Coordinator of Lynne’s defense case.

Please read the information below and mail your tax-deductible check payable to:

National Lawyers Guild. In the memo box be sure to write: “For Mumia Abu-Jamal’s Defense.”

Mail you check directly to:

Johanna Fernandez
158-18 Riverside Drive W. Apt. 6C-50
New York, New York 10032
Please forward this email far and wide and let’s make the raising of $25,000 a reality.
In solidarity,

Jeff Mackler, Director, The Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
510-268-9429

Here’s Johanna Fernandez’s letter and all the details you need to know.

Dear Friends of Mumia,

I’m writing on behalf of the Committee to Save Mumia Abu-Jamal to ask if you might help us in an emergency. The Committee is the official fundraising venue for Mumia’s legal defense today. It has been raising funds, quietly, since Mumia was facing execution in the 90s. TheCommittee was initiated and led by Frances Goldin, Mumia’s literary agent. She is 93 years old today and continues to be actively involved in this work. Our letters are reviewed and signed by Angela Davis. Our efforts focus exclusively on Mumia’s legal defense, and on the few occasions when we’ve deemed that raising funds for other projects was critical to Mumia’s safety, our letters have explicitly outlined our thinking.

Since Mumia fell ill we have been behind on payments to Mumia’s lead health attorney and we need to raise funds–quickly. Would you consider making a donation and identifying one or two others who might do the same?

A word on Mumia’s condition. Although the symptoms of his Hep C condition wax and wane, he is much improved since his near death crisis two years ago. That moment was harrowing, and having been in the center of it, I can truly tell you that the movement saved his life. Heidi Beghosian, former Executive Director, National Lawyers Guild, and I had been concerned about Mumia’s declining health two years ago, and we happened to visit Mumia the morning that he collapsed in the infirmary. At that moment we called his family, identified the hospital to which he had been taken, then drove there to make our presence known. We alerted the movement, and dozens joined us at the hospital that evening. The next day we held a press conference at the hospital to which surprisingly the Philadelphia mainstream media showed up. The conditions under which Mumia was hospitalized were horrendous and we visited the hospital daily.

After these dramatic days, when we realized that Mumia was in danger of dying, we went into emergency mode for several months. This included identifying outside doctors to visit him, taking out an add in the New York Times, mobilizing the movement, and testifying in court about what we saw. We even took Mumia’s hair sample covertly to be tested at an outside laboratory. It was our doctor, not the hospital physicians, who in the end diagnosed Mumia with Hep C and made the connection that his terrible skin condition was a symptom of that disease. In this moment of crisis, Pam Africa’s experience was indispensable.

The legal situation and our request for funds: As you know, his attorneys, primarily Bob Boyle, scored an unprecedented legal victory in Mumia’s Hep C health suit. On January 7, a federal judge, Robert Mariani, in an unprecedented decision, ordered that Mumia be treated with the 95 percent effective cure rate antiviral medicines within 21 days. He condemned the barbarity of the DOC’s (Department of Corrections) Hep C protocol his opinion establishes the groundwork for the treatment of the 7,000 others with Hep C in the Pennsylvania prisons. The PA DOC is fighting this all the way to hell. On the 10th day after the ruling, right before the Martin Luther King holiday, the DOC attorneys filed a stay and a notice of appeal in the Third Circuit District Court of Appeals.

Our legal filings are voluminous. Bob Boyle has been working for two years at reduced legal fees, and we are behind on payments. He has literally had to borrow money to stay afloat. We’ve also put in some personal funds, and are sending out another appeal to our members, but we need an infusion of $25,000 in the next week.

Thanking you in advance for your consideration.

All the best,

Johanna Fernandez, Ph.D.
Committee to Save Mumia Abu Jamal
Department of History
Baruch College, City University of New York

Legal particulars

Federal Judge Robert Mariani presided over Mumia’s health suit. Judge Mariani granted Mumia his claim of deliberate indifference (meaning that Mumia won the preliminary injunction for immediate treatment). The judge ordered that a PA Dept of Corrections (DOC) doctor must see Mumia within 14 days of his January 7th ruling and instructed that treatment begin 7 days after that. (In other words within 21 days of the ruling)

But on the 10th day after the ruling, right before the Martin Luther King holiday, the DOC lawyers filed a challenge to the judge’s ruling. They filed “a stay” which essentially asked the judge to halt all legal actions and proceedings. The DOC attorneys also filed a separate notice of appeal that made known their intention to appeal the decision in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, which is the court immediately below the Supreme Court.

Here are the different scenarios that can emerge.

If Judge Mariani denies the stay and upholds his original decision, the DOC can seek a stay from the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. This would happen in advance and separately from the DOC’s full appeal in that court. If the Third Circuit grants the stay, the appeal process could take 2-3 months, even if “expedited.” If the Third Circuit denies the DOC’s request for a stay, Mumia basically wins because it would mean that the injunction must be carried out, meaning that MAJ gets the drugs.

If Judge Mariani grants the DOC’s request for a stay, Mumia’s attorneys can ask the Third Circuit to vacate (overturn) the stay; However, it would be unlikely that the Third Circuit would do so since they would take Judge Mariani granting the stay as an indicator that he feels his ruling would not withstand an appeal.. We then would have to litigate the appeal in the Third Circuit Court, again a 2-3 month process.

Profile of the attorneys litigating Mumia’s Health Suit

Bret Grote is a young attorney and the founder of the Abolitionist Law Center in Pittsburgh. He was the only lawyer willing to file a preliminary injunction to get Mumia immediate treatment after he fell ill. All the attorneys with whom we consulted argued that the case was impossible to litigate and win. Shortly after Bret Grote filed the motion, the movement recruited Bob Boyle to join Bret Grote.

Bob Boyle is one of the most noted and accomplished attorneys representing political prisoners today. He is comparable to Len Weinglass in his political analysis of these cases.

Bob Boyle

1) litigated the Lynne Stewart case, which led to her compassionate release
2) Litigated the case ob Black Panther Dhoruba Bin Wahad and secured his freedom
4) Secured the release of Black Panther Marshall Eddie Conway who spent close to 43 years in Prison
5) His appellate work overturned the 75 year sentence of Mohammed Al-Moayad who was convicted of providing material support to Hamas.

TOP ELECTED OFFICIALS, CLERGY, AND HUMAN RIGHTS LEADERS TO DELIVER PETITIONS TO WHITE HOUSE TODAY DEMANDING CLEMENCY FOR IMPRISONED PUERTO RICAN ACTIVIST

January 15, 2017

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from anna lopez

January 11, 2017, Washington D.C.

Prominent supporters of imprisoned Puerto Rican independence activist Oscar López Rivera, who turned 74 years old last week in his thirty-fifth year behind bars, will deliver 100,000 petitions to the White House this afternoon, Wednesday, January 11. Grammy-award winning artist Rene Perez, Illinois Congressman Luis V. Gutiérrez, Florida Congressman Darren Soto, New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz Soto, will lead the delegation demanding that President Obama use his presidential power of pardon to grant López Rivera clemency in the last week of Obama’s tenure in office. “Our deeply profound and moral commitment to Oscar and his freedom,” asserted the group, “once again brings us to the gates of the White House.”

An additional 108,000 digital petitions on the White House website, We, The People, have called for López Rivera’s release, which is also supported by leading international human rights figures including Nobel Peace laureates former President Jimmy Carter and South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Connecting Obama’s, Carter’s and Tutu’s Nobel Prizes with that of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (whose birthday is commemorated on Monday, January 16), Tutu – in a special message written to coincide with today’s action – stated that the participants “feel for good reason that all avenues and channels have been exhausted, and that leaving the elder López Rivera to face the coming years behind bars would constitute a grave injustice to all the peoples of Latin America. As a growing number of heads of state throughout that continent are calling him ‘the Mandela of the Americas,’ I am reminded of the prophetic words of Dr. King – who was, after all, also a political prisoner: ‘I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states,’ King wrote. ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’”

López Rivera, widely considered to be a political prisoner, is one of the longest held in this hemisphere. He was arrested in 1981 and sentenced to 70 years in prison on charges including seditious conspiracy, despite no evidence or charges of involvement in any act of violence. Twelve of his 35 years behind bars were spent in solitary confinement, and support in Puerto Rico for his release comes from across the political spectrum, including from strong opponents of the independence option advocated by López Rivera, and from the island’s current and former governors.

The January 11 protest follows a video release last Thursday by Our Revolution, the successor to the campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders, with the former presidential hopeful calling for clemency for Lopez Rivera and urging his supporters to contact the White House. Emails, texts, and tweets continue to flow demanding that President Obama take immediate action, and – in San Juan – a supporter of López Rivera is on hunger strike to draw attention to his cause. United Nations Special Representative and Nobel Peace Prize recipient José Ramos-Horta, the former head of state of the Pacific island of East Timor, sent a message to President Obama and the January 11 organizers noting, “Eight years ago, approaching the Presidency, Barack Obama was heartily welcomed into the community of Nobel Peace laureates with great hope on the horizon. Now, as President Obama approaches civilian life, there can be no better way to demonstrate restorative, peaceful and just practice than by granting full clemency to Oscar Lopez Rivera.”   

Greetings from Frantz Fanon Foundation   2017, a year of resistance and mobilization

January 15, 2017
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English version
 
Wednesday 4 january 2017
The Frantz Fanon Foundation wishes everyone a year 2017 of resistance and mobilization.
The year 2016 has been difficult for all peoples and the damned. It nevertheless ended on a historic decision for the Saharawi people. On December 21, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that Morocco and Western Sahara are two distinct territories under separate sovereignty.
Therefore, the economic exploitation of Western Sahara can only be done in the context of self-determination, that is to say, with the consent of the Saharawi people.
2017 begins with an excellent legal decision for Mumia Abu Jamal and all prisoners with chronic hepatitis C. It states that there is an obligation for the prison department to provide appropriate anti-viral treatment to all those who need it. Failure to do so amounts to violating, on the pretext of high cost of treatment, the eighth amendment guaranteeing the obligation of adequate medical care.
Both victories were only possible because of the pugnacious determination of the Saharawi people to have their right to self-determination recognized, on the one hand, and because of the international solidarity movement that is organized around Mumia Abu Jamal and prisoners who are left without care,  and which refuses that they are treated with deliberate indifference, on the other. 
The Frantz Fanon Foundation will continue to be actively involved with those who are fighting against domination under the coloniality of power and knowledge. It will work on the emergence of the decolonial project in which the damned can finally breathe in a world without perpetual war.
2017 will mark also the tenth anniversary of the establishment of the Foundation. Let’s join together and move forward!
Together, let’s mobilize for more victories and let’s continue to resist.
The Bureau of the Frantz Fanon Foundation

Freedom now for Leonard Peltier

December 8, 2016

 

Due to the below health crisis, it’s doubly important for supporters to join the activities in DC this week–the 12/10 candlelight vigil, in particular. Information:http://www.whoisleonardpeltier .info/home/events/2016-human-r ights-week/. download-4!

December 5, 2016

Greetings my friends and relatives,

Early this morning I was taken out of my cell in chains and taken to the infirmary where I was told to wait, sitting up in a chair which was very uncomfortable.

After about an hour an outside doctor came in and talked to me. He said that they need to do surgery on my prostate right away. As you know I have been complaining about prostate symptoms for years. He described what is usually a very long and painful recovery period, but then said that he does a new procedure that is much less difficult.

I do not know when or where this will take place. All I know is that he said it has to be done ASAP.

I would like to thank all of my friends who reached out to ask that my health issues be addressed I believe that without that help I would not be seeing an outside doctor now.

I will ask that people keep me in their prayers going forward.

I will try to let someone know as soon as I hear more if there is time.

Doksha,

Leonard Peltier

Update on Mumia’s Hep C Lawsuit

December 8, 2016

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— Rachel Wolkenstein, November 28, 2016

On August 31, 2016, Federal district court judge Robert Mariani denied Mumia Abu-Jamal’s motion for a preliminary injunction that would have compelled the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) to provide him with the direct-acting antiviral drugs capable of curing his chronic hepatitis C and his secondary symptoms, including his continuing painful and often debilitating skin problems.

The court’s denial was based on Judge Mariani’s conclusion that the DOC defendants were “not the proper parties to whom an injunction could issue.” At the same time, the court found as a matter of law that the DOC’s hepatitis C treatment policy violated the Eighth Amendment.

Judge Mariani ruled, in accord with the evidence presented by Mumia during the three-day evidentiary hearing held in December 2015, that “the standard of care with respect to the treatment of chronic hepatitis C is the administration of the newly-developed DAA [direct-acting antiviral] medications.” This standard of care calls for treatment of anyone who has active hepatitis C, regardless of disease stage.

The court found as a matter of law the DOC’s hepatitis C treatment protocol “presents deliberate indifference to the known risks which follow from the untreated hepatitis C” in violation of the Eighth Amendment. The protocol “prolong[s] the suffering of those who have been diagnosed with chronic hepatitis C and allow[s] the progression of the disease to accelerate so that it presents a greater threat of cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma [i.e., liver cancer], and death of the inmate with such disease.”

Mumia’s attorneys, Robert Boyle, Esq., and Bret Grote, Esq., of the Abolitionist Law Center, filed objections to Judge Mariani’s conclusion that the “wrong” DOC defendants were named, stating the authority of the SCI Mahanoy Superintendent for the care of inmates and that the DOC Hep C Committee did not exist and wasn’t known to Mumia and his lawyers until the start of the hearing in late December.

On September 30, 2016, Mumia filed a new lawsuit citing the decision of Judge Mariani that the DOC protocol for hep C violates the Eighth Amendment; that the standard of care is to provide the new antivirals to anyone with active hep C, regardless of the progress of liver disease; and a medical update of Mumia showing that his disease has progressed and the failure of treatment by the DOC. The action was brought against the DOC defendants stated by Judge Mariani to be the “proper parties,” including DOC Commissioner John Wetzel, the DOC Chronic Care Committee, and Correct Care Solutions [the private company hired by the DOC to provide medical care to prisoners].

On November 18, the DOC filed objections to the new action, with a motion to dismiss and a motion to deny the request for a preliminary injunction. The DOC objects on technical grounds that the court should dismiss this as a “second action.” The DOC’s central challenge is to Judge Mariani’s finding on the Eighth Amendment violations of the DOC in not treating those with active hep C. The DOC insists, “There is no clearly established right to receive immediate treatment with the direct acting anti-viral medication, rather than monitoring and treatment under a prioritizing protocol. Because it is clear, based on the record before this Court in Mumia I, that Plaintiff has received extensive testing and continues to be monitored, he cannot establish deliberate indifference by the Corrections Defendants.”

The DOC revised its hepatitis C protocol on November 7, 2016, to “prioritize treatment protocol.” The “new” protocol merely categorizes hep C sufferers. Nowhere is there a timetable to treat anyone.

The “new” protocol includes lengthy lists of testing and screening of prisoners by the Chronic Care Clinic, stating that it is now following the Federal Bureau of Prisons Priority Criteria for evaluation for treatment, changing the evaluation scores. This continues the medieval evaluation that “all patients with cirrhosis will be scheduled for a baseline EGD to evaluate for esophageal varicies [bleeding from the throat].” In other words, this “revised protocol” is functionally the same as the hep C protocol that Judge Mariani rejected as unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment.

The DOC, an agency of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, rejects the medically universally accepted standard of care for all those with active hepatitis C of treatment with the new antivirals, and its constitutional obligation under the Eighth Amendment to provide health care to prisoners. The DOC continues the barbaric as well as unconstitutional practice of refusing treatment until the prisoner is at the cusp of death from liver disease.

Under both the old and “new” protocol, the DOC admits that Mumia is in the “high priority” category for treatment and that his disease is progressing. In rejecting treatment to Mumia, and to the other 6,000 prisoners in the state with chronic hepatitis C, the DOC argues the high cost of the new antivirals. This is currently somewhere between $50,000 and $100,000 per prisoner, depending on what “deal” the DOC can make with the drug company. Mumia’s hospitalizations last year for secondary symptoms of his hep C cost over $150,000, substantially more than the hepatitis C treatment that would cure his liver disease and end his painful skin rash.

Tens of thousands of dollars is being spent by the DOC to “prioritize” and repeatedly test prisoners to determine just how near a prisoner is to the full progression of liver disease and cancer before being considered for treatment. The DOC budget request for 2017 states it treated 50 hep C patients in 2016. In fiscal 2017, it budgets treating 50 more. At this rate it would take 100 years to treat the prisoners who today have chronic hep C.

From the New York City Jericho Movement

September 26, 2016

 

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via Nate Buckley

Greetings Everyone, here’s an update on Seth’s health from his amazing Daughter Crystal.

#BLACKLIVESMATTER in prison too!

I just got off the phone with my father, who’s health is a constant roller coaster. This month alone, he was sent to the infirmary overnight for observations twice and to an outside hospital for emergency treatment. Every time that he returns, all of his belongings are gone — pictures of family, his food that helps him manage his diabetes so that he doesn’t have to eat unhealthy state food, letters, clothes — everything just gone!

One of his friends told him that he asked prison personnel why were they taking my father’s stuff, and they responded, “he’s not coming back, he’s going to die anyway.”

They take his stuff & clear out his cell in anticipation of his death because they know that they’re trying to kill him. They mess with his meds, food, etc every time as if he’s not a person with actual rights!

Prisoners have rights, but I know we aren’t dealing with the kind of system that sees us as human anyway.

He just told me not to worry, but that’s not possible. I am going to worry, because I know that if we don’t get him home soon they will not stop until he’s dead. They do it, just like police shootings, because there’s ZERO accountability.

I am calling the prison tomorrow to complain. It won’t really do anything, except that it’s a reminder to them that he has family who loves him and that we’re all watching them.

We need to stop talking “reform” and talk abolition of this entire criminal justice system. There’s NOTHING humane or just about this system. They treat the US Constitution like a suggestion when it involves Black and Brown people, poor people, people in prison, etc whether you’re in prison or not.

We have no rights that they feel obligated to respect, legal or otherwise.

This was a hard week, but to learn of my dad’s illness and how they took all of his personal items just to mess with him when he’s already vulnerable and sick, only further confirms what I know to be true – this system needs to be abolished! It’s cruel, inhumane, and degrading. Prisoners have rights! We ALL have rights.

They don’t get to arbitrarily decide who lives and who dies! We need to remind the world that #blacklivesmatter in prison too!

I know some people will read this and ask “but don’t we need the police and prisons to be safe?” Really? White people already live a life of prison abolition. Go into any predominately white middle-class community and I will show you what prison abolition looks like. It means a life free from constant police harassment, arrest, and incarceration. It means a life where there are resources like excellent schools with well-paid teachers, and healthy food. It’s a life where you have safe parks where kids get to play without fear of being shot by the police. Don’t tell me prison abolition isn’t possible when white people are already living it!

We need to combine our call for #BlackLivesMatter with a call for prison abolition and freedom of political prisoners! Until we connect these dots, not much is going to change.

COINTELPRO made sure that prison was going to be the state-sanctioned way to end dissent. This isn’t a pipe-dream. Either we abolish this prison/police state now or we just need to accept that these street style police lynchings will never stop nor will we ever get to a place where we shift resources from punishment to human rights strategies that address our social problems. We can’t demand better healthcare and education, but then send poor people to prison!”

Seth is scheduled to see an endocrinologist in the near future and feels the current doctor is trying to address his medical needs. We will keep people posted as the results and if there is any need to advocate on his behalf. Thank you for all your support and please send Seth a letter of encouragement and support and/or include funds.

Robert Seth Hayes #74-A-2280
Sullivan Correctional Facility,
P.O. Box 116,
Fallsburg, NY 12733-0116

United States

Birthday: October 15, 1948

call for concerted solidality campaign for the struggle of US prisoners

September 17, 2016

_74610271_93074268Prisons in the usa – The dark side of slavery in American society

In order to be in the position to understand the importance and necessity of the us prisoners’ struggle, we first need to analyze the role of slavery in the foundation and evolution of the American state and its historical and integral ,until today, link with the capital.

Slavery in its many forms was actually the foundation on which the omnipotence of american over lordship was gradually built. The root of this phenomenon can be traced back in the era when the Christian empires of europe started a race to conquest unknown lands, founding colonialism regimes, in the era of brutal genocides of the indigenous populations and the slave trade of the non-white African population.

Since then and until today, the social and political circumstances have rapidly changed, mainly because of a heavy blood tax that has been paid from beneath, towards the direction of the total shaking off of slavery as an institution. However, it continues up until today, more or less covered.

Today’s prisoners’ class and racial composition, the spreading of private prisons, the institutionalization of enforced labor as a form of criminal sanction, the exploitation of prisoners by big companies highlight the fundamental connection between state-capitalism-slavery and prison.

Slavery in the first colonial systems

During the first years of the “new world’s” colonization and until the early 18th century, most of the settlers were not free but were under a status of an idiotype slavery, known as “indentured servitude”, which aimed in equipping the colonies with cheap workforce. The “indentured servant” signed a contract according to which she/he was mortgaging her/his freedom and provide her/his work to a master for a period between 5 to 7 years and, in exchange, the latter covered her/his transportation expenses to the colony. In practice, it was happening by the signature of the contract between the “indentured servant” and the ship owner and the subsequent transferring of the contract to the new master, as soon as the ship arrived to the “new world”. The institution was initially introduced in 1619 through Virginia Company. It has been calculated that 80% of the refugees in the american colonies before american revolution were under this status, while only 40% managed to survive.

Inter ventured servants” consisted of three categories : 1) poor immigrants seeking for a better life in the colonies 2)immigrants forced to leave their country because of religious prosecutions or other reasons 3) convicts. It constisted of both white and non-white population. More specifically, in the plantations of the south, the institution favored the further expansion of the land ownership, since it got connected to the headright system. Headright was the right of every coloneler in about 4 acres of land. The big landowners managed to expand the landownership since they were both subsidized with the 4 acres for every worker they brought in through the “inter ventured servitude” system and took profit on the workforce of the “inter ventured servant” that had in their ownership.

So, although slaves existed in the English colonies already since 1600, this constitution was preferred among plantation owners. But, when the “inter ventured servants” started to gradually regain their freedom somewhere in the middle of the 17th century, the land they were given was of bad quality and under the danger of indigenous raids, soon resulting in the creation of a poor and unsatisfied social layer, whose existence annoyed the bag landowners who later manned their plantations with permanent slaves.

Moreover, although european “interventured servants” were already under a status of transient slavery compared to the permanent slaves, many of them acted together with non white, african and american indigenous slaves in order to escape, resist to their masters or organize uprisals. The ruling class was displeased by this alliaance and answered with a tactic of separation between the white and the non white population, like happened, for example, in Virginia with the voting of Virginia Slave Codes in 1705. In an case, already during the 18th century, europeans willing to travel to the american continent under the status of “interventured servitude” had considerably decreased, especially after the disclosure of the conditions in the plantations. The ruling class, on the other hand, within the tactic of separation had started to grant privileges and lighter work to the white” inteventured servants” compared with the non-white, african and american indigenous slaves. In this way, the alliance between whites of all layers and racial discrimination gradually started to form a structure. The “interventured servitude” system was abolished after the civil war through the 13th amendment of american constitution in 1865.

First prisons and enforced labor until the end of the civil war

Imprisonment as a form of criminal sanction was established in america a little before the american revolution of 1765. The first period, during which imprisonment was massively used as a means to deal with offenders, the “mentally ill” and the poor, can be found in the early 1800, in the jackson era. During this period, imprisonment and enforced labor constituted the main sanctions for most crimes until the civil war. In the south, however, were slavery was widespread, imprisonment didn’t have much to offer to the sustainment of order, since slaves were in the mercy of their masters. Despite this fact, imprisonment of white people took place in some parts of the south.

The first occasion of enforced labor of prisoners in favor of private companies and of the state is found in 1820 in the prison Auborn in New York. The constitution quickly expanded to the north and, later, to the west. In 1825 in Kentucky, joel scott paid 1000 dollars in order to use the prisoners of the local prison as a work labor in construction projects. After that, he proceeded in building his own private prison to house them. Deals like this can be found in 1844 in Louisiana and in 1852 in California. Despite the above, the main exploitation of prisoners as a work labor and the evolution of the conception around the utilization of the excluded populations will take place after the end of the civil war.

The inclusion of enforced labor in the criminal system (convict leasing)

After the end of the american civil war (1861-1865), capitalism will dominate in the usa and will gradually highlight it into the superpower that is today. Between 1865-1920, corporate interests were served in all government levels. Governments obeyed almost completely to the big companies. In many occasions, industrial corporations were the ones to set the value of their own property for tax reasons, instead of tax inspectors. Private and public sectors were, in a great degree, undividable, for example, in 1880 the owner of the biggest bank in Montana was at the same time its governor. Capitalistic development, however, did not follow a straight line. Since the middle of the 1870s until the middle of the 1890s (a period named the “great depression”), economy wobbles from massive bankrupts, inflation and the merciless competition between the companies for the reduction of labor costs. Within this framework, the utilization of prisoners as a workforce constituted an ideal solution and the institution of “convict leasing” was spread in both the south and the north and the 2/3 of prisoners were assigned to private companies. Companies signed contracts with the state that the workforce would be replaced in case a prisoner got ill or was considered as unsuitable.

The explosive development of the industry and economy was, in a big degree, connected with the specific configuration of the criminal system. The need for cheap labor force leaded to massive criminalization of behaviors and massive arrests. People were sent to prison for insignificant excuses, like gambling and consuming alcohol. While capitalism was gradually evoluting towards its monopolistic form (which will reach after 1890) prisoners started to be assigned only to the most powerful corporations of every state.

The institutionalization of slavery as a criminal sanction through the 13th amendment of the us constitution served as the legal base for the institution. In the south, convict-lease system was spread everywhere and constituted the new way of utilization and disciplination of the recently libareted slaves who were now under a status of discrimination, imposed on them through jim crow’s laws, under the ideological construct of white supremacy. In the prisons of the south after 1985, 90% of the prisoners were non-white. Prisoners were assigned to the mines, to railway companies and to the iron and steel industry. All the extractive companies of the south, as well as the agricultural economy of cotton and sugar, was based on the prisoners’ labor. In the north, there was also a close cooperation between the industries, commercial and agricultural companies and all of the order enforcement authorities as well as the judicial system. Sheriffs, local magistrates, policemen, judges and governors were all working together for the systems’ conservation. Labor unions, syndicates and labor parties reacted to the institution, initially as far as the utilization of prisoners as specialized workforce was concerned, because it was against their interests.

Prison labor was also utilized as a counterweight against the workers’ effort to organize. Companies, in cases of strikes and claimings, could replace their workforce with prisoners who worked under harsh and lethal conditions. This way, a lot of mine strikes were broken.

But, in 1890, during a mine strike, TC&I company tried to use prisoners in order to break the strike. Strikers and their allies, friendly towards the workers’ movement “the knights of labor” started guerilla war with attacks to the prison’s fence and liberated prisoners. They after denied to obey to the governor’s order to return them back and armed conflicts followed. Since 1890, uprisals and prisoners’ strikes started to happen more and more often, especially in the north, where an important percentage of prisoners were veterans of the American civil war, but also, ex- workers.

 

The development of the prison-industrial complex

Since the 70s and until today, prisons continued to constitute a privileged field of profit and repression in the usa, while, at the same time, through the the prison-industrial complex, we are passing into new forms of social control and surveillance. The interaction and cooperation in the prison system between industry and private prisons, construction companies, prison supply companies, companies exploiting the enforced labor of the prisoners and of the political conservation in general, is conceived by this term.

This way, american state’s propaganda for the social legalization of the army-industrial complex, making huge profit during the cold war, was gradually replaced by the prison-industrial complex, this time, using the excuse of the “war on drugs”.

During the 60s, 70s and 80s, CIA, after secretly getting involved in the drug trade taking place in vietnam and nicaragua, channeled large quantities into the poor neighborhoods of people of color. During the 70s, a lot of companies got transferred out of the usa seeking cheaper workforce resulting in a rise of the unemployment in the poor neighborhoods and a big part of the non-specified unemployed turning to thefts and drug dealing. This phenomenon, offered the suitable political excuse in order for reagan to start, in the middle of the 80s, the campaign of “war on drugs”. A big wave of arrests of non-white people followed this tightening of the legal armory, leading to the overpopulation of prisons. While the expenses for the maintenance and building of new prisons overcame the abilities of the state’s budget, private prisons constituted an advantageous solution, not only for the state but, for the capital as well. In 1984, investors in Tennesee, having connections in the government, structured Corrections Corporations of America (CCA). The idea was to fοund private prisons and rend the bed to the government. The utilization of private prison reached its peak in the 90s during clinton’s presidency, when private prison companies took on the imprisonment of refugees without a residence permits and prisoners of “high risk”. In 2000, private prisons’ industry donated 1,2 millions to 830 candidates. Today, the largest of private prisons’ companies are CCA and GEO Group (ex Wackenhut), while the percentage of inmates in them in 2013 was calculated to be the 8% of the total population of prisoners in the usa.

Together with the institution of private prisons, prisoners’ enforced labor, based -as referred above- on the 13th amendment, is still a field of profit and management of the excluded populations.

Prisoners work without syndicate rights, days off or alliances, under miserable conditions. Their denial to work has as a consequence disciplinary punishments and privilege deprivations. The last 30 years more than 37 states allow private companies to use prisoners with the symbolic payment of between 0,93 and 4,73 dollars a day. Companies exploiting the work of prisoners are, among others, IBM, Boeing, Microsoft, AT&T, Wireless, Texas Instrument, Dell, Compaq, Honeywell, Hewlett-Packard, Nortel, Lucent Technologies, 3Com, Intel, Nothern Telecom, TWA, Nordstorm’s, Revlon, Macy’s, Pierre Cardin, Target Stores, Starbucks and Honda.

 

Prisoners’ struggles – Resistance finds its ways and spaces to be manifested

As expected, the asphyxiating status of enforced labor as part of the penalty, this disguised form of modern slavery, compresses and crushes the prisoners so much that, little by little, the seed of resistance is being born, a seed growing on anger and desperation. Since quite some time, a series of fermentations inside the American hellhole, which are actually slave galleys, has led to the planning of a concerted struggle inside prisons, targeting towards the definitive abolition of this brutality which euphemistically calls itself “social contribution”. Despite the great difficulties in the communication among prisoners, the thirst for fighting managed to overcome all obstacles so to finally the struggle plan to be communicated in such a degree, that we can maybe be talking about one of the biggest concerted fighting campaigns form the prisoners themselves.

The starting point of such a struggle has been set by the commissions of prisoners themselves on 9/9/16, a date-symbol for the struggles of us prisoners since, 45 years ago, on September 9 1971, the uprisal in the Attica prison of New York took place which constituted the biggest and most dramatic prison uprisal in the usa history. The basic occasion was the murder of the inmate George Jackson from the Black Panthers by the jailers.

As Anarchist Black Cross, we consider that the peak of this struggle has a special importance, since it constitutes a collective scream of dignity form the inside of the modern hellholes of a state that has made imprisonment into a science, being a model and example for every ambitious totalitarian state.

The status of slavery in prisons is the epitome of brutality inside imprisonment conditions since it abolishes the individual status of every person and targets towards her/his total submission between the gears of multinational leviathans.

As anarchists, we cannot whistle with indifference in front of a struggle orienting from the damned of the social margin, being under an idiotype status of slavery and still claiming, even under the adverse conditions of imprisonment, a breath of dignity and self-determination.

The inmates will conduct their struggle by actually denying the procedure of enforced labor, carrying out an abstention of their predicted duties, actually a kind of strike from inside the prison, which is being punished with disciplinary punishments and isolation. A struggle in the root of which there is political disobedience and sabotaging to corporate interests which have identified themselves with the most ruthless forms of exploitation.

The prisoners have outwardly addressed a call for the support of their fight from whoever feels that this struggle has anything to do with her/him and finds a piece of herself/himself inside it.

Inside this framework, as Anarchist Black Cross-solidarity cell we had conducted an event and notification on 4/8 in the squat Themistocleous 58, together with comrades from the translating network of antireport Contra Info, during which, a comrade from Anarchist Black Cross of Portland had extensively spoken on these issues aiming to the notification of the domestic anarchist movement for the struggle that would follow from 9/9.

We are willing to manifest our solidarity to the inmates of us prisons by any means and for all the duration of their struggle. Towards this direction, we are calling all the collectives, all the Anarchist Black Cross cells internationally but also anyone wishing to support in her/his way, to concert our powers in an International Day of Solidarity which can be a point of reference for the international solidarity movement for that struggle and will constitute an occasion for further sharpening of our later actions. We propose that day to be the 1st of October.

We consider that the perspectives, the at-stake-issues, and the stockpile that this specific struggle can leave behind, constitute an open challenge for every fighter wanting to contribute to the conduct of an internationalized and concerted struggle inside and out of prisons, against the modern slavery and the economical dictatorship of multinational companies.

Solidarity and Strength to the struggle of the inmates in the us prisons!

Struggle is the only perspective in order to live with dignity!

Fire to the prisons!

Anarchist Black Cross- solidarity cell(atherns )

 

 

REPORTED HEALTH HAZARD: WATER AT MAHANOY PRISON

September 17, 2016

 

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URGENT – PLEASE CALL IMMEDIATELY
CALL ALERT – ENVIRONMENTAL HAZARD -UNSAFE DRINKING/BATHING WATER
SCI MAHANOY
301 Morea Road
Frackville, PA 17932
INFO:
Prisoners are calling home complaining that the water at SCI Mahanoy is brown and it stinks very badly. They cannot drink the water. Many prisoners are scared they will die. This is an environmental hazard to the health of all as water is needed to sustain life. There are reports that this has been the case for 3 days. They are threatening the prisoners with lockdown so they cannot call and report what’s going on. Please call immediately.
I will provide more information as it becomes available.
PLEASE CALL/EMAIL
DOC SECETARY WETZEL– 717-728-4109
Talking Points
• There are reports of stinky, brown water that is undrinkable at SCI Mahanoy
• This is unacceptable and an environmental hazard
DEMANDS
• Give all prisoners a supply of bottled water immediately for drinking
• Give prisoners access to clean water for showering and personal use
GOVERNOR WOLFE– 717-787-2500
Talking Points
• There are reports of stinky, brown water that is undrinkable at SCI Mahanoy
• This is unacceptable and an environmental hazard
DEMANDS
• Make sure all prisoners are receiving a supply of bottled water immediately for drinking
• Make sure all prisoners are getting access to clean water for showering and personal use
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (EPA) – 800-438-2474
Talking Points
• There are reports of stinky, brown water that is undrinkable at
SCI Mahanoy
301 Morea Road
Frackville, PA 17932
• This is unacceptable and an environmental hazard
DEMANDS
• Immediately investigate these reports
• Make sure all prisoners are receiving a supply of bottled water immediately for drinking
• Make sure all prisoners are getting access to clean water for showering and personal use

Shandre Delaney

Path to Mumia’s Freedom

September 5, 2016
mumia
 By Rachel Wolkenstein
A new legal action filed by Mumia Abu-Jamal in the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas on August 7, 2016 provides a path in the courts to overturn Mumia’s conviction and win his freedom. The legal underpinning is the recent precedent-setting U.S. Supreme Court decisionWilliams v. Pennsylvania, 136 S.Ct. 1989 (2016), which holds it is a violation of the due process right to an impartial tribunal free of judicial bias if a judge participating in a criminal appeal had “a significant personal involvement as a prosecutor in a critical decision” in a defendant’s case.

Ronald D. Castille was a senior Assistant District Attorney during Mumia’s 1982 trial and the Philadelphia District Attorney during Mumia’s direct appeal of conviction and death sentence. Ronald D. Castille was a Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court during the entire period of Mumia’s appeals of his post-conviction proceedings from 1995-2008.

Mumia made motions to Justice Castille to recuse himself from his post-conviction appeals to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court from 1996-98 and again in 2002 on grounds of bias and conflict of interest, but Castille refused. Mumia raised Castille’s denial to recuse himself as an appeal issue in the federal courts, but it was ignored.

The District Attorney’s office and Justice Castille did not disclose, or denied or minimized any direct role District Attorney Castille had as a prosecutor in capital prosecutions, including jury selection and other prosecutorial trial conduct and appeal strategy and preparation. As stated in the new filing, “The high profile and political sensitivity of Mr. Abu-Jamal’s case, increases the likelihood that Justice Castille’s minimization of his involvement in the case was not credible.”

Castille’s role as both prosecutor and judge in Mumia’s case, in light of the Williams decision, opens the door to a court decision vacating (overturning and dismissing) all Pennsylvania Supreme Court denials of Mumia’s post-conviction petitions. If this new legal action succeeds Mumia would get “do-overs” to the legal challenges he made to the racist frame-up conviction, for which he has now spent close to 35 years in prison, almost thirty in solitary confinement on death row.

This new legal action can lead to renewed challenges to all the state’s unconstitutional racial, political and class biased procedures and state misconduct that resulted in Mumia’s frame-up conviction before the pro-cop and racist judge Albert Sabo who declared before trial, “I’m going to help them fry the n—-r.”

Mumia’s other challenges to his conviction include: Ineffective assistance of trial counsel; The prosecution’s intentional exclusion of African-Americans from his jury; the Prosecution’s summation argument that Mumia would have “appeal after appeal” depriving Mumia of the constitutional standard of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt and the importance of the jury decision in determining guilt and a death sentence; Denying Mumia the right to self-representation and to be in the courtroom during his trial; Police and prosecutorial fabrication of evidence of guilt—false hospital confession, phony ballistics evidence, lying witnesses Cynthia White, Priscilla Durham, Robert Chobert—and suppression of evidence of Mumia’s innocence—Veronica Jones, Dessie Hightower, William Singletary, Ken Freeman, Arnold Howard and the confession of Arnold Beverly.

In other words, Mumia would be able to re-appeal the entirety of his frame-up conviction before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. If the new appeal wins, Mumia will get a new trial, if not dismissal on grounds of gross state misconduct in prosecuting Mumia.

And should a new trial be ordered, the prosecution has no evidence to present against Mumia—the three legs of the case—eyewitnesses, confession and ballistics—are proven to be manufactured by police.

This is what should happen under the U.S. Supreme Court holding in Williams.

But Mumia’s case isn’t any case. There is no other case in the United States that has faced as much orchestrated hostility from the Fraternal Order of Police and both parties of U.S. capitalism as that of Mumia Abu-Jamal.

The legal and political caveats for a winning strategy to free Mumia: Legal action that underscores Mumia is innocent and framed in a political and racist prosecution that denied every aspect of due process and a fair trial; and an intensified international campaign of publicity and protest demanding Mumia’s freedom now!

Mumia’s case embodies the police terror and shootings on the streets, the false and frame-up prosecutions in the courts, the dehumanization and warehousing of mass incarceration, and the ultimate act of “legal” lynching in the racist death penalty.

Mass international protest kept Mumia alive

The state tried to kill Mumia on the street on December 9, 1981. They tried and failed to lynch him by state execution in 1995 and 1999. In December 2011 the state gave up trying to execute Mumia and instead put him on “slow death row”—life imprisonment without parole—and tried to silence him. Mumia has not been silenced, but has been subjected to medical mistreatment and the deliberate refusal to cure his hepatitis C.

Mumia was targeted for state extermination as a Black Panther Party member when he was 16-years-old, renewed when he became a renowned radio journalist, “the voice of the voiceless” and a supporter of the MOVE organization. In the face of execution and life imprisonment Mumia has never wavered in his opposition to and exposure of the racist oppression, class exploitation and murderous terror perpetrated across the globe by U.S. imperialism.

The combined forces of the capitalist state, its police, courts, supported by politicians in both parties of capitalism are united in keeping Mumia locked in prison.

Now is the time for a renewed international campaign to free Mumia! Winning Mumia’s freedom is a blow against the class and race biased American criminal injustice system, a win for all those in imprisoned nation and for us all.

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