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Tom Manning—Words of Remembrance, a statement by political prisoner, Jaan Laaman

The following is a powerful statement by Jaan Laaman, a political prisoner and one of Tom Manning’s co-defendants who is the last of the United Freedom Front members to be still locked up.

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Tom Manning—Words of Remembrance

Class war prisoner, Freedom fighter, Man of the People, long held political prisoner, Thomas William Manning, died on July 30, of a heart issue at the federal penitentiary in Hazelton, West Virginia.

Tom—Tommy to his many comrades, family, friends, people that knew him, was a life long Revolutionary Freedom Fighter. From the early 70s, Tom was a public activist and organizer and later, a quite successful armed militant in the anti-imperialist underground. Captured in 1985, he and some of his comrades became known as the “Ohio 7/UFF“ (United Freedom Front) defendants.

After many trials Tom was hit with 58 plus 80 year sentences. He was then thrown into some of the worst, harshest prisons in the United States. Being in captivity did not stop Tom from continuing to work and struggle for justice, freedom, Human Rights and the socialist and environmentally sustainable future so many people and our planet so need. Tom struggled against abuses inside prisons and continued to work for the independence struggles in Puerto Rico and Ireland, the Palestinian struggle and the then still ongoing anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa. In fact Tom was very likely one of the two last anti-apartheid activists still in captivity anywhere in the world. Tom of course always continued to support the struggles of poor and working people in this country, the struggles of Black people, Native rights and land struggles, against police abuses and murders of civilians, people of color in particular.

Tom was an artist, and accomplished painter. His artwork truly captures some of Tom’s essence: his portrayal of the dignity of working people, children, women, the strength and determination of the revolutionary fighters and leaders, and more. A beautiful book of some of Tom’s art was published in 2014 — “For Love and Liberty“.

Now Tom is gone. Our comrade, my comrade, who suffered years of medical neglect and medical abuse in the federal prison system, your struggle and suffering is now over brother. But your example, your words, deeds, even your art, lives on. You truly were a “Boston Irish rebel,“ a life long Man of and for the People, a warrior, a person of compassion motivated by hope for the future and love for the common people, a Revolutionary Freedom Fighter.

We miss you and love you comrade… and we will carry on the struggle!

Jaan Laaman
Ohio 7/Anti-imperialist political prisoner
(Black) August 2, 2019

 

 

To learn more about Jaan Laaman , his case and his plight, go here , and to send him words of encouragement and solidarity, the following is his current address:

Jaan Laaman #10372-016
USP McCreary
PO Box 3000
Pine Knot, KY 42635

When writing Jaan, remember you cannot send greeting cards, paper and envelopes must be white and no address labels can be used on the envelope.

To purchase some of the last remaining copies of Tom Manning’s “For Love and Liberty ” , go here or here

Anarchist prisoner, Jennifer Rose has court in Sacramento on September 6th!

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Mark your calendars! Jennifer Rose (who just recently changed her last name from Gann to Rose) has court here in Sacramento on September 6th at 9 am at the Sacramento Superior Court house ( 720 9th st.) in Dept. 20.

Jennifer is a trans anarchist prisoner who has been locked up since 1991. Originally sentenced to multiple 25-to-life sentences under the three strikes law Jennifer now qualifies for a sentence reduction under California’s Prop 36, and early release under Prop 57 that just passed in 2016.

Her re-sentencing hearing here in Sacramento is coming up! Let’s let Jennifer know we got her back and show up for her that Friday morning!

To learn more about Jennifer Rose, her plight and for her current address to use when sending her letters or cards, go here , and feel free to print off the flyer that’s up above to help spread the word.

 

Jennifer-Gann

Statement from Oso Blanco – A Revolutionary’s Farewell: Rest in Power, Tom Manning

The following is a statement on the passing of Tom Manning by Oso Blanco. To learn more about Oso Blanco, his case and his plight, go here where you can also find his current address to use when sending cards or letters showing support and solidarity.

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A Revolutionary’s Farewell: Rest in Power, Tom Manning

Brothers and Sisters of the Struggles:

I’m sad to learn I’ve lost a great and true Warrior Brother, Tom Manning, who left this earth only very recently.

He is free now. Dealing with our loss is not getting easier. The only positive way I can deal with the loss of our great comrade is to think of his transition in those terms. Tom is free now, and it is always better to be free.

I did threeandahalf years with Tom in USP Leavenworth, where he and Leonard Peltier taught me to paint with oils and schooled me on how I’d be treated horribly strictly due to my politically motivated actions that landed me in prison. Tom taught me what to expect from this imperialist empire. I truly loved this Brother Tom Manning, and also his brother Bob Manning who is still with us in New Mexico. Bob always helps me, and stays in touch with me and my mother, Melody.

We must stop wasting time, for these warriors laid the revolutionary foundation that the struggle lives upon today. These people must not be left to rot in the hell holes of this empire. All of you need to get your people out, and be for real, and put you comfortzone toys away so you can put in the real work it takes to the help men and women who have been locked up by the monsters of death and destruction running this empire. Get your asses in fucking gear.

I say this to all in the struggleevery activist, every warrior, every anarchist: be for Super Real and Powerful like Tom Manning and his co-defendants and start getting your actions rocking and rolling. Waste no more time.

Statement on passing of Tom Manning- by Ray Luc Levasseur

 

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members of the United Freedom Front during their trial; Richard Williams and Tom Manning are in the back, and then from right to left – Ray Luc Levasseur, Patricia Gros Levasseur, Carol Manning, Barbara Curzi, and Jaan Laaman

 

 

Tom Manning’s death on July 30 has me in the grip of an emotional riptide. I feel like part of me died with him.

 Tom was imprisoned at USP-Hazelton, WV at the time of his death. The ostensible cause of death, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, was a heart attack.

 I received Tom’s last letter on July 15. He wrote that he was in dire circumstances, his medical needs treated with deliberate indifference, delays in receiving necessary medication, his body weak from lack of oxygen. Supporters scrambled to get a lawyer in to see him, but death arrived first.

 Tom battled the Bureau of Prisons criminal negligence of his medical needs for the past 10 years, beginning when he almost died from an untreated knee infection while at USP-Coleman, FL. As a result of that infection, most of his knee was surgically removed and he was wheelchair bound for the rest of his days.

 But he was not through fighting.

 When he arrived at FMC-Butner, NC for further medical treatment he was kept in solitary confinement under abysmal conditions for 3 years. Much-needed knee and shoulder surgeries were repeatedly delayed until pressure from Tom’s supporters forced the BOP to act. But the surgeries came too late, and combined with the lack of necessary rehab insured that Tom remained in a wheelchair.

 Tom always had the warrior spirit, right to his last breath. Many more like him, and the ruling class would tremble. The ache in my heart over his passing will be forever.

 In remembrance, I offer words I wrote in 2014 for Tom’s book “For Love and Liberty,” a collection of his paintings:

 “When Tom Manning and I first met 40 years ago, we were 27 years old and veterans of mule jobs, the Viet Nam war, and fighting our way through American prisons. We also harbored an intense hatred of oppression and a burning desire to organize resistance.

 As members of a community action group called SCAR, we worked its ‘survival programs’ including a community bail fund, prison visitation program, and a radical bookstore. The Red Star North bookstore drew the venom of police – surveillance, harassment, raid and assault.

 Tom and I disappeared underground in the midst of this and COINTELPRO revelations. We remained underground for near 10 years, much of it on the FBI’s ten most wanted list. We were tagged as ‘terrorist’ and ‘extremely dangerous’ because as ‘members of a revolutionary group’ we used explosives against targets of empire: predators of apartheid South Africa, Puerto Rico’s colonialism, and the slaughter in Central America.

We considered our work anti-terrorist. It was a time, you see, when activists were killed, imprisoned, tortured and exiled. ‘Winter in America’ as Gil Scott-Heron put it, and raging hell in El Salvador. It was a time when the U.S. sub-contracted its terrorism and if you were on the wrong end of it – you died.

Sometimes when we met underground I noticed Tom sketched on scraps of paper. I was impressed with how well he drew. I said to him – man, you got talent, why not do landscapes, portraits, big pictures! His response – no time for that, for our priority was taking down this wretched system that disrespects and destroys life.

The government’s mandate is that Tom die in prison, as our comrade Richard Williams did in 2005 after a long period of medical neglect and solitary confinement.

Tom has risen beyond the gulag’s attempt to strip his humanity. You can feel the dignity and spirit of resistance in his paintings. He is one of those carrying heavy burdens, be they the ‘sans-culottes’ of the world, a Haitian health care provider, or a victim of police bullets.

Political prisoners do not exist in a vacuum. They emerge from political and social conflicts. The ruling class and media attempt to criminalize, demonize and marginalize these prisoners, because recognition of political prisoners is de facto admission that serious conflicts exist and remain unresolved.

In 2006 an exhibit of Tom Manning’s paintings – ‘Can’t Jail the Spirit’ – opened at the University of Southern Maine. Police organizations throughout the Northeast conducted an intense ‘shut it down’ campaign. The police were particularly disturbed with the characterization of Tom as a ‘political prisoner’ and his painting of Assata Shakur on display. When the police got to the university’s corporate funders, the USM president capitulated and the exhibit was ordered shut down. The exhibit’s supporters then carried Tom’s paintings through the city streets and rallied at Congress Square.

‘There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard,’ reads Psalm 19:3 and the gravestone of Black freedom fighters Jonathan and George Jackson. Voice, through its many forms, articulates vision. Call it subversive art, liberating art, art that challenges the one-dimensional. Tom’s art is a voice among the dispossessed that transcends concrete and razor wire with an affirmation of life. 

The paintings of Tom Manning and American Indian Movement activist Leonard Peltier; the creative work of Puerto Rican Independista Oscar Lopez Rivera; the poetry of anti-imperialist Marilyn Buck, which lives on; and the Earth defender poems of Marius Mason; the spoken word of Mumia Abu-Jamal and Mutulu Shakur. They are the voices of our political prisoners, principled and honorable men and women who communicate from isolation and suffering.

We must not let their voices be suppressed. They need to be heard and celebrated by freedom loving people everywhere.”

I extend deep gratitude to all those who provided some measure of support and solidarity to Tom during his 34 years in prison.

With Tom’s passing, Jaan Laaman remains the sole United Freedom Front prisoner. It’s time to bring Jaan home. 

 

FREE ALL OUR POLITICAL PRISONERS

Ray Luc Levasseur

Black August

August 1, 2019

 

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The U.S. Parole Commission Just Says No, an update from Bill Dunne

Four years ago we published an article Bill wrote after being denied parole. One of the reasons they listed for denying Bill parole back in 2014 was due to the fact that he maintains ties with anarchist individuals and anarchist organizations. Since that hearing where they did give him a 15 year “hit” (meaning he won’t be reconsidered for parole until 2029) he still gets what is referred to as statutory interim hearings every two years. At these interim hearings the best possible outcome could be that they reconsider the 15 year hit and give him a parole hearing before 2029. He has had two interim hearings so far since receiving the 15 year hit and after both he was denied the possibility of reconsideration. Over four years later they are still punishing Bill for simply maintaining connections with anarchists or anarchist organizations. Here is an article Bill wrote after most recently being denied reconsideration-

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The U.S. Parole Commission Just Says No

On Wednesday, 1 May 2019, I attended a statutory interim hearing before U.S. Parole Commission Hearing Examiner [FNU] Asbury. Also, in attendance was my U.S. Bureau of Prisons (BOP) Case Manager. Melissa Lawrence. This hearing was more than four months late, for which Ms. Asbury blamed Trump’s government shutdown (though that didn’t stop at least one hearing examiner from coming out here to conduct hearings five months ago). The main topics of discussion at the hearing were: my presence on political, and particularly anarchist, web sites and the continued failure/refusal of the commission to provide documentation for its giving me a 15 year “ hit “ ( postponement of a full reconsideration hearing as opposed to an interim hearing covering only the period since the last hearing)  for that reason in 2014; an incident report for fighting in 2017; codefendant disparity; and the elevation of my offense behavior severity category. We also discussed my participation in various recreational and educational programs and my work as a GED tutor.

As a result of my 5 November 2014 reconsideration hearing, Hearing Examiner Scott Kubic recommended, and the commission adopted the recommendation, that I be denied parole and the next full reconsideration of my case be put off until November of 2029. The rationale of this action included, according to the Notice of “ Action, that “ the Commission finds your continued association and affiliation with anarchist organizations is evidence you still harbor anti-authoritarian views that are not compatible with the welfare of society or with the conditions of parole”. Mr. Kubic assured me at the hearing that I would get the documents on which he (and, later, the commission) relied for this claim. Despite repeated requests, I was never provided any such documents because there are none. Maybe that’s why I was not on the docket for a timely hearing here the last time the commission visited: Mr. Kubic was the examiner for that docket. Being associated with, affiliated with, or an anarchist is not necessarily (there are right wing anarchists out there) “not compatible with the welfare of society or [even] the conditions of parole”.

For that reason, I have been asking and asked again at the recent interim hearing where the documentation is. The proposition that association or affiliation with anarchist organizations is somehow inherently contrary to the welfare of society needs further explanation because it is facially counterfactual. I would argue precisely the opposite! Ms. Asbury whipped out a one-page printout of what appeared to be an approximately 10-year-old picture alongside some text. She said, “You’re not hard to find out there. This popped up on my first try.“ She read a line about my being a political prisoner but would not let me have a copy or read it more closely than when she flashed it. “So what?” says I. “Does it attribute to me anything illegal?” She said it did not, which left hanging what was wrong with my appearance in it. She told me to file a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request if I wanted it. I said the content was important to defending against the allegation, and illustrated the point with jihadi vs. mainstream Muslim websites where both objectionable and salutary content may appear under the same rubric (even though I support no religion). Without the content, I could not – then nor previously – distinguish threatening material from the protected conduct/opinion/thought expressed in the material the commission alleges is the basis for concluding my anarchist connections warrant denial of parole. But Ms. Asbury said the commission has already addressed that issue in its denial of my 2014 appeal.

The second thing Ms. Asbury was exercised about was an incident report (infraction) I was given for fighting a couple years earlier. According to the infraction, a guy (to whom I’d never spoken and did not know) punched me in the nose without provocation (on camera!), and we adjourned to the bathroom (no camera!!) to address the issue that raised. The reporting employee wrote that when he entered the bathroom, he saw us “hugging “. The DHO didn’t think we were just making up, and he avoided having to dismiss the incident report on technical grounds with sleight of paperwork. We were found guilty, dude was released to population, and I was shipped, inverting the usual practice. Ms. Asbury said the commission relied on the DHO findings in such cases, so that is another issue for the court. I, in fact, want to litigate the incident report, not only for the improper finding, but also because the BOP keeps such negative records forever, but only keeps positive records like good work reports or grades for 18 months.

I also reraised the issue of codefendant disparity. Ms. Asbury (as did Hearing Examiner Mark Tanner at my previous hearing) said we were not there to discuss that issue because the commission had already “spoken” on it in its denial of my 2014 appeal of the new 15-year hit. I protested that no, it hadn’t, because the only reasons it has given for the now 15-year disparity (I’m not entitled to an identical release date and no infractions versus infractions) do not explain it. Plus, it is now two years greater. It appears the commission made my codefendant do about 200 months for his role in the offense and, according to the commission’s own guidelines, all my infractions are worth about 100 months. That would argue for a release date in the 300-month range. But even by the BOP’s count, I already have around 400 months served. Well, Ms. Asbury insisted on dodging the issue.

She also ducked on the same grounds the related offense severity issue. For 14 years my “offense behavior” had been rated at “Category Seven severity”. Then, in 2014, the commission raised it to category eight, the highest, which has no upper guidelines by so much and without explanation. My upper category seven guideline, infractions included, passed in 2006. The commission did two things wrong in raising my offense severity: it conflated vicarious liability and offense behavior; and it mischaracterized the wounding of a cop during an offense as attempted murder where the state had found only assault. But the hearing examiner wasn’t hearing any of that.

We also discussed at the hearing what the commission views as positive things I’ve done over the last two years. These included participating in various educational and recreational programs, working as a GED tutor, ad helping other prisoners with their paperwork. To my surprise, my BOP case manager saw all of that in a favorable light and did not interject anything bad. I tried to get a recommendation from the commission that I be permitted to participate in the electrical apprenticeship program. The BOP is denying me access to the apprenticeship programs on the allegation I am an escape risk (which would not enjoy club fed’s hospitality?), even though I don’t meet the escape risk criteria in the only program statement (BOP policy) to address the issue. But the commission don’t play that, Ms. Asbury said, not even a recommendation.

When Ms. Asbury got tired of evading the things, I was trying to make a record on, she announced she was ready to make her recommendation to the commission, as if she hadn’t been when I walked in. Her recommendation was that there be no change in the 2029 reconsideration date due the infraction and the disinformation that anarchist associations/affiliations were contrary to the welfare of society. The other fighting charge I received, in 2000, only warranted 0-2 months added to my parole guidelines range. Ms. Asbury apparently tried to avoid making  the anarchist association/affiliation charge too explicit on the record by saying, “the infraction and this”, pulling the folder into which she’d slipped the screen print of me on a web site forward and putting her finger on it, in stating her reasons. I don’t recall her mentioning what it was when she pulled it out, either. I didn’t catch it at the time, but still think the issue is sufficiently recorded as an illegitimate basis of the action against me.

I didn’t really expect favorable action from the commission, notwithstanding the favorable treatment of a few political prisoners in the last few years. But I did get another opportunity to resist my own oppression in court on the basis that I was denied parole (again) for improper reasons. I will challenge the codefendant disparity and increased offense behavior severity and disciplinary charge. More importantly, I will challenge the denial of parole to any extent for political reasons. Fill in the blank the U.S. Parole Commission here filled in with “anarchist” with any other “-ist” displeasing to the apparatus of oppression and its imperial capitalist owners, and it is clearly an attack not only on political prisoners. It is also an attack on people outside whose consciousness compels them to struggle for the most equitable social reality and against the political use of the U.S. gulag archipelago to control their expression of that consciousness. Continuing and defending such struggle, however, is necessary push back against exploitation and oppression in all its myriad forms.

Bill Dunne

FCC Victorville FCI-1

28 May 2019

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Bill would love to hear from any and all supporters, here is his current mailing address:

 

Bill Dunne  #10916-086

FCI Victorville Medium I

PO Box 3725 

Adelanto, CA 92301

 

Here is the half-sheet Bill Dunne support flyer for your upcoming letter writing nights or to post up at your local social center.

 

Don’t Restrict Visits in NYS Prisons!

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***Please sign and share with your network***
We really need to ramp up the pressure on this horrible visiting restriction Cuomo is about to jam in there. This is an issue that affects all of the NY State political prisoners, and thousands of other people in NY state prisons.
Governor Cuomo has just proposed to limit visiting at New York State maximum security prisons to 3 days a week instead of the current 7. If passed, this measure will be awful for thousands of people and their families.
The Governor talks a bunch of crap about compassion and reducing mass incarceration, but this proposal will seriously escalate suffering and family disruption. Under the current 7-day system, weekend visitors (many are women with young children) often wait 2-3 hours to see their loved ones. With reduced days, the wait will be longer, the visitor rooms more crowded, the visiting days and hours even more limited. This will be terrible for everyone and impossible for many.
Please email and write these people below and remind them how important visiting is and how this proposal is wrong on all levels.
***** Governor Cuomo *****
Call (weekdays) –> (518) 474-8390
Write:
The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224
Email these people:
1) Marta Nelson, marta.nelson@exec.ny.gov – Executive Director of the Governor’s Council on Community Re-Entry and Reintegration
2) Acting DOCCS Commissioner Annucci, anthony.annucci@doccs.ny.gov
3) Senator Gallivan, gallivan@nysenate.gov – Senate Chair of Corrections Committee
4) Assemblymember Weprin, WeprinD@nyassembly.gov – Assembly Chair of Corrections Committee
5) Senator Avella, Avella@nysenate.gov – Senate Chair of Children & Families Committee
6) Assemblymember Jaffee, JaffeeE@nyassembly.gov – Chair Assembly Committee on Children & Families

Support Political Prisoner Robert Seth Hayes!

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http://us12.campaign-archive2.com/?u=0aca83ec057f583557dec5ce0&id=721a830c53&e=0c81d8d002

New York City Jericho Movement

PLEASE POST AND SPREAD WIDELY AND TAKE ACTION!

URGENT MEDICAL CAMPAIGN
FOR ROBERT SETH HAYES

Political Prisoner Seth Hayes
Needs Us Again!

PLEASE CALL, WRITE AND FAX!
MONDAY, FEB. 6 THRU FRIDAY FEB. 10, 2017

Seth suffered another Diabetic Coma or Code Blue today, 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 almost 3 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

Jose H. Villarreal Still Being Held After His December 19th, 2016 Release Date!

Jose H. Villarreal was scheduled to be released from Pelican Bay State Prison in California on December 19th, 2016 after serving a sixteen year sentence. We received word from Jose in mid-December that his release date had been pushed back to January 2nd, 2017, for unknown reasons. We just received a letter from Jose dated January 3rd, stating that his release date had been pushed back again to TODAY, January 6th. We are anxiously awaiting to hear from Jose to see if he was indeed released today or if they continue to push back his release for no reason.

 We want to do one last call out for folks to contribute to the post-release support fundraiser for Jose! Sixteen years is a long time to be locked up, and as much as serving time in prison is its own struggle, the post-release period is sure to bring its own struggles as well. One thing we can do to stand with this comrade is to raise some money to help him start his new life with us on the outside. Once he gets settled he has some big plans for what lies ahead! Some of Jose’s goals for the future include working with Chican@ youth, creating a community art space and help Chican@ and prisoner writers and artists get their work out into the world!

https://rally.org/josehvillarreal

Jose is a 41 year old Chicano prisoner, currently being held at the infamous California State Prison – Pelican Bay, a prison that sits in the far northwest corner of California in the town of Crescent City.Pelican Bay State Prison sits just north of one of the most beautiful redwood forests, but you’d never know this if you were in a 6’ x 9’ windowless cell, subject to 23 and a half hours of lockdown a day in the Security Housing Unit (SHU).

Jose spent the majority of his sentence in the SHU, only having been moved back into General Population almost one year ago. During his time in the SHU Jose tapped into something within him and found a revolutionary spirit that kept him working hard with other prisoners held captive in the SHU to expose just what horrific conditions they were faced with every day.

Over the years, Jose has developed as a great writer, artist and organizer and he is dedicated to using his skills to create change. He and other Pelican Bay prisoners took part in three different hunger strikes to protest and put an end to long term solitary confinement. These hunger strikes at Pelican Bay inspired other California prisoners to join the hunger strike movement, a movement that contributed to substantial changes being made in solitary confinement practices in California. Jose wrote about these hunger strikes and the prisoner movement in a great piece titled “The Lumpen Has Stood Up!” which you can check out here: http://poormagazine.org/node/5119.

Jose’s writings have appeared in California Prison Focus, The Rock, SF Bayview, Poor Magazine, and 4strugglemag. Some of these radical publications have also featured Jose’s art. He was so honored to have one of his pieces of art in the 2015 Certain Days calendar (http://certaindays.org/), a wonderful project that comes out each year as a benefit for Political Prisoners. Jose Villarreal has become a familiar name within the modern day prison movement through his writing, art and will to stand up for fellow prisoners at Pelican Bay and nationwide.

There are those of us outside of prison that have gotten to know Jose as such a person of conviction and integrity, whose work ethic is inspiring. We have transcribed his articles, poems, book reviews and essays to get his words out there. We have celebrated his art that always has such a revolutionary pulse. We have also found each other. We have come together and now we are asking for you to join us in an effort to raise some post-release funds for Jose.

Here is a quote from one of Jose’s most recent articles: “Having been one of the many who have been let out of the control units (SHU), I can say that there is some victory in this development, but there is much work to be done outside the SHU and still a ways to go before victory is complete.”  sfbayview.com/2016/05/coordinated-offensive-on-stg-kickouts

Remember that every single donation counts. Donate what you can and please pass this along. Thank you so much for your support!

Ps – Be sure to check out the first Update on the crowd funding site, and take a look at all the gifts that are being offered if you donate to this fundraising effort!

* update: great news! Jose Villarreal was released from prison on the morning of January 6th , 2016 *

Post-Release fund for recently released political prisoner, Maliki Shakur Latine!

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donate here: https://rally.org/maliki

Maliki Shakur Latine just walked out of prison on parole on December 6, 2016, after 37 years behind the walls!! He is finally reunited with his family, friends, and community!

His transition into minimum security America is just beginning and support does not end with release from prison! Please donate to his release fund to help him cover the costs of basic survival needs and small comforts as he gets his footing.

Thank you for your support and for everything you do for freedom and justice!

from:http://www.thejerichomovement.com/profile/latine-maliki-shakur

“ My arrest and convection were a direct result and retaliation for my Islamic beliefs, political aspirations, and direct association and involvement with the Black Liberation Movement.  Nevertheless, I remain firmly and steadfastly committed and dedicated to the struggle for Black Liberation, Independence, and Self-Determination-by any means necessary!”

Maliki Shakur Latine was born in the Bronx on August 23, 1949. In his early years, Latine became involved with the Nation of Islam. It was during this time that he began on the path of confronting society’s oppressive forces.

In 1969, Maliki and his brother, Shaqwan, joined up with the Black Panther Party for Self-defense (BPP). Maliki described this period as a very trying time, but also a rewarding one. The discipline was not as rigid as in the Nation of Islam, but it contained the basic elements of discipline essential to any effective organization. With this experience came additional requirements in organizational discipline.

Maliki began taking political education classes offered by the Black Panther Party. He studied Chairman Mao, Franz Fanon, Lenin, Fidel Castro, Che, and many others. He was also involved in transforming the theoretical ideals of the BPP into daily practice.

Due to the Panthers’ public outreach, which included the Free Breakfast and Lunch programs, free clothing drives and free day care programs, the U.S. government took notice of the Black Panther Party. That such actions were anchored by a revolutionary message caused the US government to view the black radicals as a serious threat.

Latine stated, “It was during this period that the U.S. government’s covert hostilities towards the BPP became very overt and direct. Hence, the U.S. government unleashed its strategy of repression in the form of its infamous “COINTELPRO” (Counter Intelligence Program) in its effort to thwart the party’s community-based programs and organizational effectiveness, while at the same time targeting the party’s leadership by way of manufacturing false and fabricated charges in an attempt to criminalize the party’s membership and the BPP itself.”

Like many of the Panthers targeted by the US government, Maliki found himself behind prison bars, specifically in Riker’s Island. There he met one of the Panther leaders, Lumumba Shakur. Lumumba and 20 other Panthers (known as the Panther 21) were facing trumped up charges, which included a plot to blow up various locations in New York City. All of the Panther 21 would eventually be freed from the charges.

Maliki Latine was soon released from Rikers and returned to the Panthers, only to find that the government’s tactics against the organization forced many of them to go underground. Following their lead, Maliki and his brother decided to follow suit. Maliki then spent two years training and studying and engaging in various actions.

Two years after going underground, Maliki and his brother attended the funeral of Zayd Malik Shakur, who was killed during an altercation with police on the New Jersey turnpike. Maliki continued to participate in the liberation movement for six years before being arrested.

July 3rd Altercation

At 4:45 on July 3rd, 1979 NYPD officers pulled over a Chevrolet Malibu on 148th Street, near 7th, in Harlem. With guns drawn, the two officers approached the car. A gun battle broke out, leaving one of the officers and one of the occupants of the car injured.

The four occupants escaped, but in the car the police found two spent shotgun shells, additional ammunition, a .45 caliber revolver, and a .357 caliber revolver. Down the street they came upon a recently fired twenty-gauge shotgun. The police also claim they found the prints of Jose Saldana and Maliki Latine.

Several hours after the shooting, after the police followed a trail of blood, Arkill Shakur was captured outside a building at 285 West 150th Street, with leg and ankle injuries he incurred in the gunfight. He was taken to the hospital and was later charged for his involvement in the altercation.

Just over 2 weeks after the shooting, on July 18, police and FBI raided the apartment of Dwight (Jamal) Thomas in Astoria, Queens. They arrested him and charged him with the shooting.

A month later, on August 7, 1979, Maliki Latine was arrested in St. Albans, Queens, by a joint force investigating a series of bank expropriations. They charged him with the July 3rd incident. It wouldn’t be until six months later that the police would arrest their final suspect, Jose Saldana.

Sixteen days after the capture of Saldana, Latine and three other prisoners, who were also accused of killing cops, attempted to escape from the special security area of Rikers Island. The men managed to get outside of the prison walls, but three of them, including Latine, were immediately captured. The fourth escapee’s body was discovered days later, dead because of apparent drowning.

Maliki Latine and Jose (Hamza) Saldana were indicted on charges of attempted first-degree murder, four counts of criminal possession of a weapon, and criminal possession of stolen property. On October 1, 1981, the two were sentenced to 25 to life. Jamal Thomas was initially charged as a co-defendant in the case, but chose to have his case severed. He was later sentenced to life in prison for another altercation while in prison and an additional 15-year sentence for a prison standoff.

In August 1993, the district court overturned Latine’s conviction and ordered a new trial within 120 days or his release. The state appealed, and the second circuit reversed the district court’s decision to overturn the conviction. Finally, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear any further appeal and denied him a writ of certiorari, even through his appeal is founded upon the mandate of the U.S. Supreme Court’s own rulings.

The Latest from Leonard Peltier

leonard

Day of Mourning: Statement by Leonard Peltier

Day of Mourning
November 24, 2016

Greetings my relatives,

Here we are again. This time the year is 2016. It has been more than 41 years since I last walked free and was able to see the sun rise and sit and feel the earth beneath my feet. I know there have been more changes then I can even imagine out there.

But I do know that there is a struggle taking place as to whether this country will move on to a more sustainable way of life. This is something we wanted to have happen back in the seventies.

I watch the events at Standing Rock with both pride and sorrow. Pride that our people and their allies are standing up and putting their lives on the line for the coming generations, not because they want to but because they have to. They are right to stand up in a peaceful way. It is the greatest gathering of our people in history and has made us more connected than ever before. We need to support each other as we make our way in these times.

Water IS life and we cannot leave this issue for our children and grandchildren to deal with when things are far worse for the natural world then they are now.

And Mother Earth is already in struggle.

And I feel sorrow for the water protectors at Standing Rock because these last few days have brought a much harsher response from the law enforcement agencies there and our people are suffering.

At least they are finally getting attention of the national media.

My home is in North Dakota. The Standing Rock people are my people. Sitting Bull lies in his grave there at Fort Yates. My home at Turtle Mountain is just a few hours north of Standing Rock, just south of Manitoba, Canada.
I have not seen my home since I was a boy, but I still hold out hope of returning there for whatever time I may have left. It is the land of my father and I would like to be able to live there again. And to die there.

I have a different feeling this year. The last time I felt this way was 16 years ago, when I last had a real chance for freedom. It is an uneasy feeling. An unsettling one. It is a hard thing to allow hope to creep into my heart and my spirit here in these cold buildings of stone and steel.

On one hand, to have hope is a joyful and wonderful feeling, but the downside of it for me can be cruel and bitter.

But today I will choose hope.

I pray that you will all enjoy good health and good feelings and I thank all of you from the bottom of my heart for all you have done and continue to do for me and for our Mother Earth.

Please keep me in your prayers and thoughts as these last days of 2016 slip away.

I send you my love and my respect for all of you who have gathered in the name of mother earth and our unborn generations. I stand with you there in spirit.

Doksha.

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,

Leonard Peltier
______________________________________

  • Call President Obama for Leonard Peltier: 202-456-1111 (White House Comment Line)  or 202-456-1414 (White House Switchboard); and send a text to these numbers if your cellphone provider allows for text-to-landline service (a fee may apply) .
  • Email President Obama: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/submit-questions-and-comments.
  • Post a comment on Obama’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/potus/?fref=ts&hc_location=ufi or message him at https://www.facebook.com/whitehouse (or https://m.me/whitehouse).
  • Send a tweet to President Obama: @POTUS or @WhiteHouse and use hastags #FREELEONARDPELTIER #LeonardPeltier and/or #FreePeltier.
  • Write a letter: President Barack Obama, The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20500.
  • Watch the calls to action by our friends at the Human Rights Action Center. Then please urge President Obama to grant clemency.
  • Also visit the 2016 clemency campaign for Leonard Peltier hosted by Amnesty International – USA and take action.
  • The Office of the Pardon Attorney (OPA), DOJ, welcomes communications regarding clemency matters. Express your strong support of Leonard Peltier’s application for clemency in a letter, email and/or phone call to the OPA. Make reference to Leonard Peltier #89637-132 and his application for clemency dated February 17, 2016. Urge the OPA to recommend to President Obama that he grant clemency to Leonard Peltier:  Honorable Robert A. Zauzmer, Acting Pardon Attorney, U.S. Department of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC  20530; Telephone: 202-616-6070; Email: USPardon.Attorney@usdoj.gov.