Author Archives: dmcg

“Tight ropes, taut lines” by Eric King

In the past three plus years I’ve been in the SHU (segregated housing unit), I’ve been directly aware of nine hangings. That is, occurred either on my range, in my cell, or near enough that I could hear the body hit the ground. Some of these were “cries for help”, some were serious, all were scarring and devastating. Almost always BOP staff hides behind either indifference towards our lives, or bureaucratic policy to avoid actually helping… at USP Atlanta they rushed in and yanked the prisoner down (by the legs), slapping them, yelling to “be a man, not a bitch!” at other institutions they laugh, yelling to quit faking. 

Two years ago here at Englewood Levi hung up, and it took minutes before his door was opened… The guards who cared (there were a few), hamstrung by the policies they were too worried to violate. While some officers were distraught, others laughed calling Levi a “Turkish piñata”… rage swelling in my chest seeing how a desperate death could be mocked and belittled… at that time in the SHU we were not allowed radios, newspapers, magazines or personal books. We were told to deal with it “don’t come to SHU if you can’t handle it”. Neverminded the fact that for some..  the SHU came to us, we could not avoid it, escape it, work our way out. You handle it or become a “piñata”.  

A few nights ago, Englewood’s evening staff displayed its humanity and treated a human life like a human life. My next door neighbor hung from his sprinkler, his awoken cellt lifting up his legs to relieve the pressure, screaming for help… and it came…the C.O’s Rushing in to get him down, the Lieutenant wasting no time, there would be no Levi repeat. Bravo really. 

 Despite this redeeming display, there will be more acts of desperation because being in the SHU pretrial is an exhausting, deeply desperate situation. We are allowed radios (if you have $70 to spend), you can have reading material mailed in (if you have people to do it) but those things mean little in the late of the night, these tiny 6×8 noise boxes allow little comfort, yet plenty of despair. People who suffer withdrawal while the pharmacist refuses to institute the MAT  program ). People suffer anxiety, anger, migraines after losing access to coffee cold turkey, we suffer the loss of loving contact, going months or years being denied physical contact with our families during the most stressful periods of our lives. We still only see one hour outside a day, pacing around in a degrading dog kennel, most still only get one 15 minute phone call a week. My visiting situation is better than most (after a year plus during the pandemic with no visits or calls I have For the last couple months been allowed 1 hour visit a week) while the phone situation is worse… but for me right now visits>calls.  

The first time in my bid I can say that it isn’t even the staff that are the issue, back here right now we are being treated more decent, often guards will go out of their way to be respectful. The major issue is they are also constrained by policies. Personnel isn’t the problem, policy is the problem, the SHU is the problem. The bureau leadership and policies they author. The problems are limitless… the lack of information, the once a week chance to get any news only to be told “nothing”, the stress of trying to fight your case with drastically limited access to your legal team (and family and friends), the constant noise that refutes any hopes of thinking clearly for a minute, the being stuck and knowing all the kindness or good behavior in the world won’t open that door. That combination would break the strongest back and it often does. 

This (FCI Englewood) is the “easiest” SHU possible, and people still hang here, because even the softest SHU is a soul crippling death trap… we still have to beg and plead for medical attention, we still sleep directly next to our toilets… we still can’t hug or kiss our families. We are stuck.. long-term segregation must be abolished, the people who are chosen to write policies should not exist unchecked and have limitless ways to torture at their disposal, non-contact visits must be reverted back to contact, basic comforts like real hygiene and coffee must be allowed for purchase, access to information and those who have it must be increased. We need out of these cages. 

Abolish the SHU, abolish state domination.  

Anarchy Always (A)  

-EK  

The Final Straw Radio interviews Dan Baker supporters

On January 15th, 2021, two men received a knock on the door of their Tallahassee apartment from someone claiming to be delivering a Postmate parcel. The two hadn’t ordered anything and raised suspicion that someone was trying to break in and rob their home so they said they didn’t order anything and refused to open the door. Moments later, their door crashed open and a percussive grenade ignited as FBI swarmed in with guns drawn, yelling.

Listen to the interview with two supporters of Daniel Baker at
https://thefinalstrawradio.noblogs.org/post/2021/12/05/the-case-of-daniel-baker-online-speech-and-community-defense/

Write Dan Baker:
Daniel Alan Baker #25765-509
FCI Memphis
P.O, Box 34550
Memphis, TN 38184

Ruby Montoya Case Raises Questions about Cooperation and Movement Lawyering

Ruby Montoya is doing whatever she can to lighten her punishment after publicly admitting to a string of arson and sabotage attacks against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) in 2017. 

According to a recent article in The Economist, “Montoya agreed to cooperate with the FBI” in fall 2020. During such FBI debriefs, agents typically attempt to solicit information on other activists and pressure co-defendants to testify against each other. (The Economist declined to reveal its source for this information, and in an email to Unicorn Riot, Montoya denied cooperating with the FBI).

Since summer 2021, Montoya’s lawyer has repeatedly filed motions on her behalf asking the court to allow her to file documents under seal—a practice typically avoided by those facing political charges in an effort to be transparent about engagement with law enforcement and the courts. In a motion in federal court in August, Montoya claimed she was coerced into taking action by her co-defendant Jessica Reznicek, members of the Des Moines Catholic Worker Community and others, and that she felt forced into pleading guilty to the charges against her by her former attorney.

On June 30, Reznicek was sentenced to 8 years in prison after accepting a non-cooperating plea deal.

Read the rest at https://unicornriot.ninja/2021/ruby-montoya-case-raises-questions-about-cooperation-and-movement-lawyering/

Leonard Peltier Day of Mourning Statement

Greetings Relatives,

Each year as November nears I try to think back on all that has happened in my world in the past 12 months. And I know that in my world I can only see a very small part of what is happening on the outside. For me, this year somehow seems to carry more weight than usual.

I have passed ever so slowly into the world of the elderly. I am now closer to 80 than to 70. The truth is I never believed I would live this long. I was just past 31 years old when I came to prison. It was almost half a century ago. My body is now the body of an old man. And it is harder to try to keep myself from being overtaken by sickness or depression or loneliness. They are constant companions here. I keep them at arms length and I know I cannot ever let them overtake me. If I allow that to happen it will be the end. There is no mercy here. No compassion.


I cannot even imagine what it is like on the outside. I only hear stories and cannot believe half of what I hear.

For me, the best days here at USP Coleman 1 in Florida were the days when we could be outside in the yard and feel the sun. Even though they purposely built the walls so high that we cannot even see the treetops, the occasional bird or butterfly gives a welcome glimpse of our relatives in the natural world, but even that is very rare now.

I know Covid has cost all of us, you and me, in many ways. And I offer my condolences for all of you who have lost loved ones and friends to it.

Here inside the steel and concrete walls it is no different. Constant lockdowns caused by both Covid and violence have made life here even harder than usual. I have not been allowed to paint in eighteen months and we are almost always in some form of lockdown.

We are stuck in our cells for days at a time. It is an extremely rare day when we get to go outside to the yard.

I feel moved to try to explain something that has been on my mind for many years. I think maybe it will be helpful if I say the words out loud.

When we started to emerge from the darkness of Residential schools it became clear that we had to go back to try and reclaim what they robbed from us.

And what they robbed us of was the very heart of who we were. Our language, our ways and our connections back home. They wanted us leaving those “schools” thinking like little non-indians who would just go along with the program and not rock the boat. Even with all the terrible damage they did to so many of us, many of us did survive them. And then we began the process of reclaiming our culture and way of life. I know that process continues to this day.

I am so deeply saddened in hearing the stories of all the children’s graves they are finding at Residential schools. I guess I was one of the lucky ones who made it home. But the death of those children is so sad and outrageous and I am glad the world is finding out at last.

Back then even our home at Turtle Mountain was under threat of Government termination. I remember how hard my Dad who was a World War II veteran fought to save us.

Over the years we fought so many fights to keep our way of life alive and protect the natural world.

After our family was relocated to Portland, Oregon I took part in the fishing struggles with Billy Frank and his Nisqually people at Frank’s Landing. The rednecks were cutting up their nets and attacking both woman and men who just wanted to continue to fish as their ancestors did.

And when they shot Hank Adams it was a very dark time and outraged all of us but we stood strong to protect the Nisqully people. I will always be proud of that.

There were so many outrages back then.

When the land at Fort Lawton in Washington State fell into disuse we went there and occupied it under old treaty law. That was also a hard time. At one point soldiers were pointing flame throwers at us. But we held our ground and eventually they gave in. We put our good friend Bernie White Bear in charge and he helped to build the Daybreak Star Center that is still a great asset to Indian people today. Bernie is gone now as are so many of the others from those days.

Same thing when we took the abandoned Coast Guard Station in Milwaukee with Herb Powless. Our actions might have been unpopular at the time but they led to a school, alcohol treatment center and employment office. The school is still thriving and is an asset to the Native community and the Milwaukee area. Herb is gone too.

So even though the price we paid was very very high we did make things better for our people and we did help to turn things around.

I wonder if many people understand the events in our history and how connected they are. I was born in 1944. The massacre at Wounded Knee was in 1890. That was just 54 years earlier and both Geronimo and Chief Joseph died only 35 years earlier in 1909. Think about that. 35 years ago now it was 1986. Not very long ago at all.

I want to leave you with some positive thoughts.

Retired United States Attorney James Reynolds did an interview with the Huffington Post last week and actually apologized to me for all the wrong they did to me. I hope that is spread all over the world and I am grateful to him.

I can say that I am heartened and encouraged by the courageous water protectors from Standing Rock to the beautiful manoomin (wild rice) lands of Northern Minnesota.

I am proud of Winona LaDuke and her people’s work to protect those beautiful lands and lakes and her work to offer alternatives to fossil fuels.

Using hemp could fix so many things. It is not something we can fix in a year or ten years but it is something that all reasonable people should understand.

We cannot poison the water that sustains us. All of us. Not just Native and First Nations people, but all people. We have that in common. People should understand, we are trying to protect our homes and our natural lands. Water IS life.

And I am deeply grateful for the courage and Vision of Deb Haaland the new Secretary of the Interior Department. I know she went to Alcatraz this week. That is an acknowledgment that what we did was right and honorable. I was not at Alcatraz but those of us, woman and men who stood up in those days were right. And in other parts of the country we formed our own branches of United Indians of all Tribes. So their efforts led to others joining in.

I heard that Deb Haaland said that the day has come when Indians no longer have to protest to be heard by the U.S. Government. That is music to my old ears.

Our people were, and many still are, suffering.

Anyone of any race would do the same things to stop the sufferings of their people.

I wish all of you good health and happiness in all you do. You are in my prayers and I am grateful to all of you who have supported me or will support me going forward.

I still hold out hope that I can make it home to Turtle Mountain while I can still walk out under my own power.

I remain grateful for the gift of life.

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,

Doksha,
Leonard Peltier

Leonard Peltier #89637-132
USP Coleman I
PO Box 1033
Coleman, Fl 33521

SIGN THE PETITION TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: 
https://www.freeleonardpeltier.com/petition

NYC ABC Illustrated Guide to Political Prisoners v14.9 released

Via NYC ABC

We’ve finished the latest version of the NYC ABC “Illustrated Guide to
Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War” and it’s available for viewing
(and download) at https://nycabc.wordpress.com/guide/

This update includes updated mini-bios, photos, and address changes for
several prisoners. Unfortunately, we are adding a prisoner to the guide
this month–antifascist Daniel Baker.

Download at https://nycabc.files.wordpress.com/2021/12/nycabc_polprisonerlisting_dec2021.pdf

Get your hands on the 2022 Certain Days calendar

Get your hands on the Certain Days calendar today! Your favorite intercontinental, inside/outside collective has produced our SECOND calendar during the COVID-19 pandemic and despite major obstacles, we think you will love it.

This year’s theme is “Creating a New World in the Shell of the Old” and features art and writings by Alanna Kibbe, Comrade Z, David Gilbert, Daniel McGowan, Eric King, Hanif Bey, Jesus Barraza, Leila Abdelrazaq, Martha Hennessy, Montclair Mutual Aid, Oso Blanco, Peter Railand, Roger Peet, Shukri Abu-Baker, Tauno Biltsted, Wendy Elisheva Somerson, Windigo Army, Virginia Lee, Xinachtli and Yumigou.

Here is how to get them:
U.S. Orders
Burning Books
AK Press
justseeds

Canadian Orders
(1-9 copies)
Kersplebedeb/Left Wing Books

U.K. Orders

10+ copies (Bulk Discount)

Order for prisoners

Stores that carry the calendar

NYCABC PP updates 11.16.21

Here’s the latest compilation of every other week updates:
https://nycabc.files.wordpress.com/2021/11/updates-16-nov-2021.pdf

NYC ABC, along with several other individuals and prisoner support
crews, now send hard copies to all political prisoners and prisoners of
war we support.

If you consistently mail the latest updates to a specific prisoner,
please let us know so we can insure there’s no overlap. The goal is to
have copies sent to all of the prisoners we list.

We’ve also been told that some prisoners are not receiving the copies
sent in, yet we aren’t getting rejection notices. If you are in steady
contact with a prisoner, please ask them whether or not they are
receiving the updates and let us know.

Free ’em all,
NYC ABC

Live discussion on Jamil Al-Amin’s case- November 11th

The live discussion will provide background on the unjust trial of civil rights and Muslim leader Imam Jamil Al-Amin aka H. Rap Brown, his relationship with Imam Luqman Abdullah who was killed by the FBI, and the ongoing effort to free him from unjust incarceration.

The speakers will include Attorney Kairi Al-Amin who is the son of Imam Jamil, and Attorney Maha ElKolalli who serves as legal counsel for Imam Jamil.

For more background information, read the recent Time magazine article “The Many Lives of H. Rap Brown.” 

Streaming live at: https://www.facebook.com/CAIRMichigan