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

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,

Leonard Peltier

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


NYC ABC Illustrated Guide to Political Prisoners v14.9 released


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

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

Year-end Giving for Political Prisoners

As 2021 comes to a close, the Anarchist Black Cross Federation is stronger than ever before. With community support, we have been able to donate thousands of dollars so far this year to political prisoners. Plus, the ABCF can now accept tax-deductible donations through our fiscal sponsor. With your continued support, we can further the struggle for freedom for all political prisoners.

This year was huge for the ABCF. We welcomed home several comrades after many years in prison: Jaan Laaman, David Gilbert and Russell Maroon Shoatz. As the struggle continues, we also added some newly incarcerated people to the list of people we support: Jessica Reznicek, Dan Baker. We are following cases coming out of the George Floyd uprising and ready to jump in lending support as needed. In solidarity beyond the imperialist border of the U.S., we officially extended our direct support to political prisoners held in Mexico who are now also on our list: Fidencio Aldama, José Antonio Arreola, José Luis Jiménez and José Gerardo Talavera. We also do our part in sustaining the international database of political prisoners on and have been able to lend monetary support for political prisoners internationally.

In addition to one-time contributions of funds upon a political prisoner’s release or in other urgent situations, our Warchest Program currently provides 17 prisoners with $50 a month to cover basic needs like stamps and phone time. From its inception in November 1994 to date, we have distributed over $158,000 in funds [view our latest Warchest Report accounting for funds raised]. Our internal fundraising has been solid with large and successful Running Down the Walls events, but we want to do so much more in 2022.

We are an all-volunteer organization, dependent on contributions from people who are passionate about social justice. Please make a gift and invite your friends to do the same. Opportunities to free political prisoners are in reach– help us make them come to fruition!

To donate directly to the ABCF, send check or money order made out to Tim Fasnacht to Tim Fasnacht, P.O. Box 8682, Lancaster, PA 17604 or use the links below. To get a tax deduction for donations of $500 or more, make your check out to GLACTS and send to Philly ABC, P.O. Box 8643, Philadelphia, PA 19101 so that it arrives no later than December 27th.

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

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

U.K. Orders

10+ copies (Bulk Discount)

Order for prisoners

Stores that carry the calendar

Decolonizing Our Work & Supporting Political Prisoners held by the Mexican State

Historically, the ABCF has supported political prisoners in the so-called United States. So as to not base our work around imperialist borders, we are now explicitly supporting political prisoners held on all of Turtle Island. To this end, we have added four political prisoners to our list of people we support:

Fidencio Aldama: an indigenous political prisoner of the Yaqui Tribe, from the town of Loma de Bácum, Sonora. He is serving 15 years and 6 months after being wrongfully convicted of homicide. It is believed that he was targeted due to his support for the indigenous community’s opposition to a gas pipeline.

The Nahuatzen 3: sentenced to 7 years in prison for “sabotage” ostensibly for their work as Purépecha rights defenders through Concejo Ciudadano Indígena de Nahuatzen: José Antonio Arreola, José Luis Jiménez, José Gerardo Talavera

We encourage folks to read about their cases and extend support to them. Notably, all four of these prisoners are indigenous rights activists who have been repressed and criminalized by the Mexican state.

Some additional cases to lend support to as they face charges and repression for promoting indigenous rights:

Fredy García Ramírez: spokesman for the Committee for the Defense of Indigenous Rights (CODEDI), was arbitrarily arrested on November 6th, 2019. CODEDI is an organization that has a long-term commitment to the promotion of the rights of indigenous communities to land, autonomy and self-determination. It focuses on the defense of human rights violations produced by hydroelectric and mining projects in the state of Oaxaca

The Eloxochitlán de Flores Magón 7: locked up for defending autonomous Indigenous governance against cacíques and political parties held since 2014 without trial: Jaime Betanzos Fuentes, Herminio Monfil Avendaño, Fernando Gavito Martínez, Alfredo Bolaños Pacheco, Isaías Gallardo Álvarez, Francisco Durán Ortíz, and Omar Hugo Morales Álvarez

NYCABC PP updates 11.16.21

Here’s the latest compilation of every other week updates:

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,

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:

Certain Days 2022 calendar is back from the printer!

Back from the printer!!!! It’s the 2022 Certain Days: Freedom for Political Prisoners calendar! If you ordered already, they will be going out ASAP.
Now is your chance to order them. Here is how:

U.S. Orders:
Burning Books

AK Press

Canadian Orders:

Canadian orders (10 or more)

Prisoner orders:

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.

The Certain Days: Freedom for Political Prisoners Calendar is a joint fundraising and educational project between outside organizers in Montreal, Hamilton, New York and Baltimore, with two political prisoners being held in maximum-security prisons: David Gilbert in New York and Xinachtli (s/n Alvaro Luna Hernandez) in Texas. Founding members Herman Bell and Robert Seth Hayes (RIP) were happily welcomed home from prison in 2018. Learn more about them at