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A lot of good news has happened since I last updated this blog. Some people have gotten out of jails and prisons! Some of you know everything already, some of you don’t. But let me share some news and thoughts . . .
Lynne Stewart was released from federal prison on compassionate release!!!! They wanted her to die in prison but she didn’t!! It was all the petitions, emails, calls, protests, interviews, events, talking, blogging, tweeting, posting! Yes! Stuff we do all the time! Stuff we sometimes feel like it never works! This time it was done with a lot of passion, love, and fury. There were several rounds of appealing to authority that never worked until it did. Lynne became a person with cancer that people wanted to help, circumstances alligned, and the feds gave her back to us. These victories still happen!
Now let’s send Lynne Stewart a valentine. She is out because of us. In prison, without effective treatment, the breast cancer spread to her lung, back, bones, and lymph nodes. She will begin new treatments that requre copays and deductables, as well as complimentary medicine that will require payment. As of now there are only 42 hours, and counting, left to be part of the fundraising campaign to help Lynne in the next stage of her struggle.
CeCe McDonald was released from prison!!! Okay, her release was not exactly a victory as she served out her sentence and was released. But I am looking at her support, her survival, and the way she and her supporters raised awareness to some of the struggles faced by trans women of color, particularly intersectional violence and the prison industrial complex. She served her sentence in a male prison and refused offers from her awesome friends at trans youth support network to advocate for her to be transferred to a female prison. She went on TV, on the Melissa Harris-Perry show, and said “Prisons aren’t safe for anyone, and that’s the key issue.”
And this is an ongoing thing.
Click here and help fund FREECeCe, a documentary produced by Laverne Cox and and Jac Gares: “Told from the voices of Laverne Cox and CeCe McDonald (exclusive interview shot in St. Cloud Correctional Facility) FREE CeCe examines the culture of violence experienced by trans women of color.”
Jerry Koch was released from federal jail!!! He endured and beat the grand jury by saying and showing all along that he had no intention of betraying his community and his beliefs. That did it. And the support for him did it. “Jerry Koch spent 8 months in jail in New York City for refusing to testify before a federal grand jury. But a district court judge has ruled that imprisonment only strengthened the anarchist’s resolve, and the court had no choice but to release him.”
And this just in from NYC ABC:
“After twenty months of imprisonment, antifascist political prisoner John Tucker is free. John is the second of the Tinley Park Five to be released and he’s written a thank you letter to his supporters.”
“For so much I am thankful for the supporters, but of greatest importance was the solidarity. Your constant stream of letters and cards not only kept myself sane, but also gave tangible, physical proof of solidarity which revealed the tremendous weight of the conviction of people from the real world who likewise are willing to make a stand against the far too often accepted evils of the world, to an incarcerated populace who had often not heard of such people before. The attention brought by the constant stream of mail peaked curiosity and drove many to question what was going on. This in turn lead to discussions, which in turn lead to some longer discussions that I hope have made a difference in at least a few lives over the course of my stint of incarceration.”
So, you know, I often feel discouraged lately as I’m sure many of you do too. And becomes very hard to keep doing the things I used to always do trying to look out for people, in and out of prison, who are trying to look out for people, while so often it seems to lead nowhere and we disappoint each other and ourselves. It is cold out. So I am trying to hold onto these victories and these releases, and carry the energy forward. Trying to look at the reminders of what matters and what works.
With that in mind, prisoners held in administrative segregation in Menard Prison in Illinois went on hunger strike on January 15th, demanding changes, including informal face-to-face 90-day review hearings, so that the solitary confinement will not be indefinite, with no way out. Now we are told they are also refusing liquids, and on THIRST STRIKE, as well as hunger strike, until the review hearings start. THIRST STRIKE IS NO JOKE. time is running out and they need a lot more support so their sacrifice can’t be ignored. CALL TODAY. SAVE LIVES. Amplify their voices.
Supporters can urge IDOC Director Godinez and Warden Harrington to accept the hunger strikers’ proposal immediately. Contact:
Illinois Department of Corrections Director Salvador Godinez, (217) 558-2200, ext. 2008, Illinois Department of Corrections, P.O. Box 19277, Springfield IL 62794-9277 or http://www2.illinois.gov/idoc/contactus/Pages/default.aspx
Warden Rick Harrington, (618) 826-5071, P.O. Box 711, Menard IL 62259
They were polite to me on the phone, which is great, but makes me think they are not getting nearly enough calls!! The phone should be ringing off the hook. CALL TODAY. SAVE LIVES. Amplify their voices.
Byron Chubbuck (aka Oso Blanco) called a close friend and supporter last night (not me) very upset and asking for help. He said a staff person was checking their cell for “extra clothing” and grabbed a sheet of paper laying (out in the open!) of a simple drawing Oso did. He has been trying to establish where various Cherokee memorials/battlefields/landmarks/burial mounds are in relation to his current location – Lee USP. The drawing is of a fenced in burial mound he thought he saw upon his arrival.
Oso and his cellmate were thrown into the “secure housing unit” (SHU) (solitary confinement) for possessing an “escape tool”. Oso says it’s an insane charge.
Oso is worried that any day now a DHO (disciplinary judge) will come and rule with bias on this bogus “escape tool” charge. Oso has been in the Special Management Unit (SMU), an extremely restrictive program, for years and was just recently released to USP Lee, a much more agreeable situation as far as prisons go. He is worried they will place him back in the SMU program.
Please be polite and just let them know you are concerned about Byron Chubbuck #07909051, and that you think he may be in SHU over a drawing that if looked at, has nothing to do with any escape plans or any conspiracy with any cell mate. No need to mention SMU, case history, or politics in my opinion.
Ask for his unit manager Ms. Willis, his counselor Mr. LaLonde, or someone else on Chubbuck’s unit team.
Another way to show support and let the prison know we are watching them is to send Oso a letter or postcard so the prison sees support that way too. Also to let Oso know he’s in your thoughts and he is not alone in there.
Byron Chubbuck #07909051
P.O. BOX 305
JONESVILLE, VA 24263
WHAT: Send Love Through the Walls Holiday Card-Writing For Political Prisoners (Free!)
WHEN: 2:00-6:00pm, Sunday, December 8th, 2013
WHERE: 263 Eastern Parkway between Classon and Franklin, Apartment 5D (on the left side!) Brooklyn phone: 718.783.8141
For more information, contact:
Resistance in Brooklyn– mmmsrnb at igc dot org
NYC Anarchist Black Cross– nycabc at riseup dot net
Scientific Soul Sessions–scientificsoulsessions.com
via Moorbey via Jericho . . .
Robert Seth Hayes is currently 65 years old. We are requesting an appropriate medical work-up in an outside facility for abnormal weight loss, because Mr. Hayes has lost 40 pounds in the last 3 months and currently weighs only 140 pounds max. 40 lbs of weight loss in a few months is very concerning for cancer and cancer needs to be ruled out. This is most urgently needed for Seth’s health right now. This weight loss is acute and clearly urgent.
(See a more developed version of this text on the Denver Anarchist Black Cross blog)
June 12 – June 13, 9am- 5pm, Mountain Time . . . .
Call USP Florence-High in Solidarity with Byron Chubbuck a.k.a Oso Blanco!!!
People to ask for and speak with if they are available . . .
- Mr. Charles Daniels, Warden
- Ms. McDermott, Hospital Administrator
- Mr. Leggit, Counselor
- Miss Hopkins
- “The Lieutenant”
NOTE: Any of these people may put you on hold indefinitely, hang up on you, talk over you, etc. If nothing else, let someone, even if it’s just the operator, know the reason you are calling.
Sample call talking points . . .
- Hello, may I speak to _________? This call is in reference to inmate Byron Chubbuck #07909-051. Byron has a painful, potentially cancerous mass in his liver. He needs an ultrasound to determine the problem, and has been asking for this since he came to Florence in January.
- He placed a sick call in April.
- He has high ammonia build up in his liver and experiences daily vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, drowsiness, and irregular breathing.
- Byron already has a medical record in the BOP concerning liver problems and has never asked for family/friends to help with a medical condition before.
- I know that HIPAA prevents you from sharing his personal health information (PHI) wtih me– I just want to make sure this is brought to your attention and that you take all actions necessary to ensure Mr. Chubbuck proper medical treatment.
- I know you have a protocol to follow. Why wasn’t he given a liver biopsy when he placed a sick call in April? How do you evaluate an internal medical condition?
- Thank you for doing the right thing and getting my friend the medical attention he needs.
Coordinating the effort
- Post a brief report of how your call went to social media with this announcement or a link to it! Lead by example! #OsoSolidarity
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know how calls are going!
- If you can, send a quick get card to Oso, letting him know that you called and that he is in your thoughts and/or prayers. This will lift Oso’s spirits and again remind him, as well as his captors, that he is not alone in his struggles.
Also, don’t forget about these other crucial ongoing campaigns against medical neglect of political prisoners . . .
Tell them to grant Lynne Stewart FMS CARSWELL-53504-054
compassionate release so she can pursue cancer treatment at Sloan Kettering.
CALL THURSDAY MAY 30th:
Attorney General Eric Holder - 1 202 514 2001
White House President Obama – 1 202 456 1414
B.O.P. – Director Charles Samuels – 1 202.307.3250
Former Black Panther Russell Maroon Shoatz (AF-3855) has been held in torturous conditions of solitary confinement in Pennsylvania prisons for the past thirty years. He has not had a serious rule violation for more than two decades. Maroon’s role as an educator, human rights defender, writer, and critical intellectual of liberation movements is widely renowned.
April 8—May 9: Flood the office of PA Department of Corrections (DOC) Secretary John Wetzel with phone calls, letters, and faxes.
PA DOC Secretary John Wetzel 1920 Technology Parkway Mechanicsburg, PA, 17050
Phone number: 717-728-4109 Fax number: 717-728-4109
For more information visit:
My letter to Wetzel:
1920 Technology Parkway
Mechanicsburg, PA 17050
Dear Mr. Wetzel:
I am writing out of concern for Mr. Russell Shoatz, inmate #AF-3855 recently transferred to SCI Mahanoy. I’ve been reading about the controversial nature of solitary confinement in the news and it came to my attention that this older man has been in solitary confinement here in the United States for thirty years!
My reaction is that surely this is a violation of Mr. Shoatz’ human rights that must be remedied immediately. I would certainly hope that this has not persisted because of his political affiliations, as that would make this even worse. I do understand that he has an escape in his past— but surely that can’t justify sensory deprivation into his old age.
I will be hoping every day for news that Russell Shoatz has been transferred into general population. Thank you for the action you will take. Please be in touch as time permits.
UPDATE: RELEASED BACK TO HALFWAY HOUSE– SEE UPDATE TO NYC ABC LINK BELOW.
Daniel McGowan used to be a political prisoner who did most of his bid in communications management units because of his political speech. He was in halfway house, halfway in prison, halfway in outside life and putting his halfway outside life together and enjoying halfway freedom. Just after publishing an article on Huffington Post (Court Documents Prove I Was Sent to Communications Management Units (CMU) for my Political Speech), when we thought we were almost done with this ordeal, Daniel was yanked back into federal prison today, April 4, 2013— which only proves his fucking point.
Under the united states, whether you are all the way in prison, halfway in prison, supervised by prisoncrats, or even like me and privileged enough to be in minimum custody out here in the world, you are under a system that warehouses people for social control and for political repression and it seeks to maintain its power. Until this system is overturned, it will always devise special units and inane rules to fuck with the lives of those who dare to speak out. Do not let them struggle alone.
Write Daniel. Support political prisoners.
“It’s hard enough to transition from life in prison to a “normal” life back home in New York. It’s especially traumatic to then be ripped from that, and put back behind bars. Please consider writing him a letter:” (Will Potter)
Now is the time.
“Tell them my clemency papers are There in Wash DC. We must send letters to Obama Fast”
In a previous post I recommended that people send letters to the TTW PO Box and that I would go through and send. I think it’s too late for that now and I haven’t received them. Will check again soon but — scratch that. Please send letters directly to Parole Attorney and Obama and send a copy to me at Through the Walls.
Email me or message me letters (throughwalls [at] rise up [dot] net) or send yourself. If you are outside of u.s.-occupied north america definitely email or message me.
UPDATE: Letters should be sent to two addresses: Office of the Pardon Attorney and Office of the President.
1) Correspondence to the Department of Justice, Office of the Pardon Attorney, may be sent to:
Office of the Pardon Attorney
1425 New York Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530
- “Please note: An attachment to an e-mail will be considered only if it has been requested by the Office of the Pardon Attorney. Attachments should be in PDF format and not exceed file size limits. Unsolicited e-mail attachments will not be opened.”
- Also, the Pardon Attorney is Ronald L. Rodgers so address letters to him if you’d like.
2) Obama . . .
President Barack Obama
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
See my previous post on this subject for a sample executive clemency letter on behalf of Oso Blanco.
Send electronically to me or send physically and/or electronically to Pardon Attorney AND Obama.
I’m sending mine off tomorrow so get at me soon!
Oso Blanco will appreciate your vigilance!
You saw it, you liked it, you shared it, you tweeted it, you reblogged it,
But have you actually written and sent off your character reference letter for political prisoner Oso Blanco yet???
It’s time. I just wrote mine.
Families staying together through political imprisonment is no joke.
Let’s do this.