THIS BLOG is NOW RETIRED

I began this blog in May 2009 following the death of Marcia Powell at Perryville State Prison in Goodyear, Arizona. It is not intended to prescribe the path that leads to freedom from the prison industrial complex.

Rather, these are just my observations in arguably the most racist, fascist, militaristic state in the nation at a critical time in history for a number of intersecting liberation movements. From Indigenous resistance to genocidal practices, to the fight over laws like SB1070 and the ban on Ethnic Studies, Arizona is at the center of many battles for human rights, and thus the struggle for prison abolition as well - for none are free until all are. I retired the blog in APRIL 2013.

Visit me now at Arizona Prison Watch or Survivors of Prison Violence-AZ

David Rovics: We Are Everywhere

To my fellow activists now struggling through life - let this be a reminder that you are not alone and that we desperately need you here. All the injustice, grief, war, and human suffering calls for us to stay and do everything we can about it - you can't help us anymore when you're gone. Don't give up the fight - your last shred of hope may just keep someone else alive, too.
BLOG POSTS

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Phoenix police beat polio survivor...

I love our noble cops - so courageous. These three took on this real dangerous guy who was no doubt about to demolish this church that probably had hundreds of children inside. Thank god they beat him - someone has to stand up for property rights or human rights will end up trumping them one day!

Anyway, this is just another reason why not to trust the Phoenix Police (add Maryvale to the same list South Mountain cops are on) -

                                                      and a good reason to join COPWATCH



--------------------------

Paralyzed Man Beaten by Phoenix Cops After Officers Say He Ran From Police



A Phoenix man who claims polio caused severe paralysis on one side of his body is suing the Phoenix Police Department because three officers severely beat him after they claimed he ran from them.

In a complaint filed in Maricopa County Superior Court, Refugio Rodriquez says the officers' claim that he ran from police is impossible because of his paralysis.

"He walks with a cane," his attorney, Jimmy Borunda, tells New Times, "but they still beat him up pretty bad."

According to the complaint, Rodriquez was in a church parking lot when he was approached by the three officers.

"It was late at night, and they said they thought he was damaging the building," Borunda says.

When they approached him, Rodriguez claims the officers said, "You better not run, you fucking wetback." They then slammed him onto the concrete driveway "in a manner which obviously exceeded the minimal amount of force necessary to accomplish a lawful purpose and continued to brutally assault plaintiff Refugio in the driveway," the complaint states.

The officers then hit Rodriquez with a Taser and beat him "with their police-issued long flashlights."

Rodriquez was taken to the Maryvale Precinct, where he claims one of the officers asked him "what's the matter, you can't take an ass-whipping?"

Rodriguez was then taken to the Fourth Avenue Jail, where an intake nurse told him she was going to have him taken by ambulance to the hospital because of the severity of his injuries. However, Rodriquez claims, the nurse came back a few minutes later and told him "if she sent him to the hospital emergency, she was told she would lose her job."

After he was released on bail, Rodriquez was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital, where the emergency doctor told him he "could have died because a blood clot near his brain was beginning to develop,"

The problem with Rodriquez's lawsuit, his attorney points out, is that he already pleaded guilty to assaulting a police officer, which  definitely will be brought up should the case go to trial.

"He only pled to [assaulting an officer] so he could get out of jail," Borunda claims.

Rodriguez is seeking punitive damages and medical expenses for alleged assault, battery, negligence, and civil rights violations. The city of Phoenix, Maricopa County, Maricopa County Correctional Health Services, and the three Phoenix police officers are all named as defendants in the suit.

The Phoenix Police Department did not immediately respond to our request for comment.

Privatization of Punishment

This is a well-done university student project on prison privatization - worth the ten minutes it runs. Sources listed in credits at the end.


Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Revolution remembers Gil Scott Heron

Gil passed away Friday, May 27, 2011.

Blessings on your journey, Brother.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

POLICE BRUTALITY: This is also what resistance looks like.









Montgomery's Follow-up Response HERE

(SEPTEMBER 2011)


























FBI WATCH: documents reveal attack on democratic rights of anti-war and international solidarity activists

Just a reminder, my cross-organizing and international solidarity comrades, that they really are out to get us...here's a good resource to look at before they come for you:

(click link below image)




"If An Agent Knocks"
Center for Constitutional Rights




------from the Committee to Stop FBI Repression (stopfbi.net)------

Secret FBI documents reveal attack on democratic rights of anti-war and international solidarity activists

Documents Released on May 18th (PDF format):

Committee to Stop FBI Repression Statement (May 18, 2011)

FBI agents, who raided the home of Mick Kelly and Linden Gawboy, took with them thousands of pages of documents and books, along with computers, cell phones and a passport. By mistake, they also left something behind; the operation plans for the raid, “Interview questions” for anti-war and international solidarity activists, duplicate evidence collection forms, etc. The file of secret FBI documents was accidently mixed in with Gawboy’s files, and was found in a filing cabinet on April 30. We are now releasing them to the public.

The raid at the Kelly/Gawboy home was one of the many coordinated raids at Minneapolis homes and the offices of the Anti-War Committee on September 24, 2010. Two additional homes were raided in Chicago. To date, 23 anti-war and international solidarity activists have received subpoenas to appear in front of a Chicago Grand Jury headed by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald.

Taken as a whole, the secret FBI file shows the willful disregard for the rights of anti-war and international solidarity activists – particularly the first amendment rights to freedom of speech and association. The documents make it clear that legal activity in solidarity with the peoples of Colombia and Palestine is being targeted. The documents use McCarthy-era language, which gives one the feel that the 1950s red scare has returned. And finally, the documents show the chilling plans for the armed raid that took place at the home of Kelly and Gawboy on September 24, 2010.

The documents show that public advocacy for the people of Colombia was the genesis of the FBI investigation. The ‘Operations Order’ for the FBI SWAT Team states “The captioned case was initially predicated on the activities of Meredith Aby and Jessica Rae Sundin in support of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, a U.S. State Department designated foreign terrorist organization (FTO), to include their travel to FARC controlled territory.”

While we have no way of knowing if it was speaking tours or educational events on Colombia that got them so riled up, there is something we can state with certainty: There is nothing illegal about traveling to Colombia, or visiting the areas where the FARC is in charge. This is something that journalists, including U.S. journalists, do, and we have yet to hear of their doors being broken down. Upon returning from Colombia, Aby and Sundin spoke at many public events about their experiences.

The FBI interview questions for Meredith Aby ask “1) Have you ever met Lilia [sic] Obando? 2) Where? 3) When? 4) Why?” Liliana Obando is a well-known Colombian trade unionist who spoke in the Twin Cities at an event organized by the Anti-War Committee. She received a visa to travel in the U.S. from the U.S. government.

She spoke about the sickening human rights violations that were being carried out by the Colombian government and its paramilitary allies. While we understand that the Colombian government is the third largest recipient of U.S military aid, and that government officials would prefer that that people here in the U.S. don’t get a chance to hear about human rights abuses committed with their tax dollars, the fact remains: there is nothing criminal in trying to learn the truth. The FBI is attacking the right of anti-war activists to speak out against U.S. foreign policy.

Likewise, the “interview questions” make a big deal about delegations that visited Palestine. The Israeli authorities try to disrupt these trips because people return from them and expose the gross human rights violations that are carried out in the context of the military occupation. But once again – this is a legal activity that activists have every right to engage in.

The documents show how the FBI investigation expanded outwards, starting with Colombia and soon focusing on Palestine. How did the FBI get involved? The most likely explanation is that a undercover police officer going by the name “Karen Sullivan” infiltrated the Anti-War Committee shortly before the 2008 Republican National Convention. Among the first people she met were Meredith Aby and Jess Sundin, who often spoke at public events about what they saw in Colombia.

Karen Sullivan - the professional liar - then gave her reports to the FBI, paving the road to the September 24 raids.

The New McCarthyism

When Wisconsin Senator Joe McCarthy went on a red-baiting witch hunt in the 1950s, communists, socialists and progressives of all stripes were hounded out of jobs, housing, the entertainment industry and institutions of higher education. More than a few people were jailed for their ideas. The secret FBI documents indicate an investigation is underway that takes its cues from this shameful past.

The FBI documents include 57 interview questions about Freedom Road Socialist Organization, the organization that some of those who were raided or subpoenaed to the Grand Jury are members of. The questions include; “Are you a member?” “How many members are there?’’ “Who are the leaders?” And on and on and on. It is like pages of the calendar have been turned back 60 years.

In the United States there is a constitutional right to association. Like-minded people are allowed to form groups and political parties that promote their views. FRSO members, along with others, were very active in organizing the massive anti-war protests at the Republican National Convention. They participate in the labor movement, community organizing, and the anti-war movement too. And they advocate that capitalism should be abolished and replaced with socialism. Given the bank bailout, continuous wars and the economic crisis it is not unreasonable to see these activities and views as a breath of fresh air.

“Dangerous” raid

In the documents, the “Operations order” for FBI SWAT for “Operation Principal Parts” the raid on the Kelly/Gawboy home has the word “DANGEROUS” in underlined bold type at the top of the page. FBI agents were told to bring assault rifles, machine guns and two extra clips of ammunition for each of their side arms. Two paramedics were to stand by in the event of causalities. Other documents include photos of Kelly and Gawboy, as well as pictures of stairs leading to their front door and the front door itself.

What transpired on September 24 was this. Gawboy was awoken by the FBI pounding on the door. When she stated she wanted to see the search warrant, agents used a battering ram on the door, breaking the hardware and shattering a fish tank in the process. Gawboy was taken down the front steps in her nightgown while the FBI swat team entered her home.

The justification for this armed home invasion is given in the “Operations plan” - “Kelly is believed to be the owner of an unknown number of firearms which may be at his residence...”

Kelly, who learned to shoot while in Boy Scouts, owns guns – just like a lot of Minnesotans. The “Operation Plan” also claims that Kelly “offered to provide weapons training” - an outright lie that originated with the police infiltrator “Karen Sullivan” or a fiction writer at the FBI office.

The bottom line is this: there can be no justification for the raid in the first place, and still less for it to be done by agents smashing doors and wielding machine guns. This is a recipe for people getting hurt or killed. The events of September 24 and the ongoing grand jury are not about “material support of terrorism,” as any normal person would understand it. What is happening is this: anti-war and international solidarity activists are being targeted for practicing our rights to speak out and organize. We have done nothing wrong. Our activism is making this world a better place.

AttachmentSize
1-CSFR statement.pdf74.42 KB
2-Operation Order.pdf1.6 MB
3-Interrogation Questions.pdf2.2 MB
4-Surveillance photos.pdf3.66 MB
5-Seizure and Subpoena.pdf2.45 MB
6-Blank forms.pdf2.56 MB
CSFR May 18 documents ALL.pdf12.54 MB

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

MCSO Brutality update: Kevin Gerster and William Hughes


UPDATE (10/21/11):

Gerster's Sentencing


-----------------





NEXT HEARING:

Comprehensive Trial Management Conference
June 9, 2011 - 8:45am
Maricopa County Central Court Building
(W. Jefferson St.)
Judge Verdin.



Maricopa County Courthouse
May 18, 2011


The Comprehensive Trial Management Conference was to be held today (May 18, 2011), but it was pushed back and everything that occurred was done up at the bench, where the public couldn't witness it or determine what was said in the transcripts.
..I suspect because I had been protesting loudly outside before the hearing, confronting Gerster when he arrived (my taxes paid his salary, after all - and he hurt people in violation of my trust). All I was able to catch Judge Verdin saying to his attorney, who requested that they approach to discuss the case, was that "this is a delicate situation."

Damn straight it is. There are a lot of us mad as hell about what Gerster and fellow officer Alan Keesee did. Gerster and Keesee have more rights as perpetrators of assault than William Hughes has as their victims do now. As some of you may recall, if we, as citizens, are victimized while in custody, we're excluded from the constitutional protections and rights we have when crimes are perpetrated against us in the community, effectively silencing our voice in court proceedings, rights to restitution, etc. if a cop is the perpetrator.

I believe they are buying time for people to forget what Gerster did to us, the rest of his "victims"; chances seem very good that the Maricopa County Attorney is about to offer him a deal. The upcoming trial was cancelled in anticipation of a deal being reached beforehand.

Please contact Bill Montgomery's office and urge that this officer's entire prosecution be made visible and transparent to the public, as he violated us all with the abuse of his office and the assaults on his prisoners.

Remind him that Gerster assaulted at least two "VULNERABLE adults" in custody (making him a repeat, violent offender), and could have been charged with class 2 (not the lower class 6) felonies for that, and must not be allowed to walk with anything less than felony charges and prison time if they give him a deal.

Put your concerns in writing ASAP to:

Mr. Bill Montgomery
Maricopa County Attorney
301 W. Jefferson St. PHX 85003

I'd appreciate copies of your letters to post publicly. Send them to:

Peggy Plews / PO Box 20494 /PHX, AZ 85036

Please also express your continued outrage over the conduct of MCSO officers, and your desire to see justice served, to:

Editor, Arizona Republic / P.O. Box 1950 /Phoenix, AZ 85001


Finally, I looked up the status of William Franklin Hughes III's case. The MCAO still appears to be prosecuting him for the petty offenses (like criminal damage and indecent exposure - most likely secondary to the symptoms of his mental illness) that landed him in Gerster's and Keesee's pre-trial "care" in the psychiatric wing of the county jail in the first place...he was even ordered to undergo competency exams by the judge before they would proceed any further. I don't understand why he's going on trial, given what Montgomery had to say recently about the need to divert these folks from prosecution in the first place. I just discovered that his trial was supposed to begin this am, which I missed.

You would think the MCAO would recognize the beatings he received in jail as punishment enough - and poor William was out of his mind when he got pounded on by those guys. So, folks, please also ask Mr. Montgomery what the deal is with William's prosecution. Those are our tax dollars he's eating up in this unnecessary and cruel endeavor to punish a young man who was already terribly traumatized in custody over "crimes" that really hurt no one else...




Maricopa County Courthouse
(3rd St/W. Jefferson, PHX)
March 11, 2011

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

FOOD NOT BOMBS Days of Action (May 18-24)!

Took this important story off a Spacebook site. PHX Food Not Bombs will be participating in some fashion. Read on for more info...this is really troubling.


---------------GLOBAL SOLIDARITY WITH FOOD NOT BOMBS---------------


Arresting Food Not Bombs is Censorship! Support the Orlando Volunteers!

Global days of action May 18 - 24, 2011

"There has to be some kind of (police) action. At this point it seems to be a political statement on their part not a food give away issue."
SAN FRANCISCO POLICE SPOKESMAN JERRY SENKIR 1988

"They don't want to feed the hungry, they just want to make an anarchist type statement and we aren't going to allow it."
SAN FRANCISCO POLICE CAPTAN DENNIS MARTEL 1989

"I certainly hope that law abiding citizens that are not out to make mischief would adhere to the ordinance."
ORLANDO BUDDY DYER 2011

On April 12, 2011 the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the City of Orlando could limit Food Not Bombs right to share information and food to the public to twice a year per park. Other Florida cities may follow Orlando's path. This ruling comes at a time when the message of Food Not Bombs is more important than ever. Poverty and hunger are increasing as military spending grows and public investment social services, education and healthcare are slashed. The city of Orlando could begin its arrests of Food Not Bombs volunteers as early as May 18, 2011, the first meal 30 days after the ruling. Food Not Bombs groups have been invited to share free food and literature under their banner that week in a global defiance of this order.

The authorities don't object so much to the groups feeding of the hungry. What worries government and corporate leaders is our message. The San Francisco police made this clear in 1988 when they offered to provide city buses to take the hungry out to an armory at Ocean Beach telling the media that they didn't object to our providing food and that the problem was that we were "making a political statement" and that was not allowed. 

After 1,000 arrests the San Francisco Police used a more effective strategy. They figured out a way for the group to discontinue bringing literature and a banner to the meals. San Francisco Food Not Bombs slowly became invisible and they fed less and less people. People passing the meal assumed they were a well meaning church group. The discussions about national priorities ended. Instead of feeding two or three hundred people the group was sharing food with forty or fifty of the cities most needy people at a time when more people need food and the economy was in decline. 

People that happened to know this meal was organized by Food Not Bombs naturally assumed this was the method that had inspired ten years of police repression and reproduced the food only meals in other cities around the United States. Those groups were sending the message that as long as we are providing food to the hungry our political and economic system is fine. Most people had no idea they were part of a global movement organized to change society so no one had to rely on a soup kitchen for food and that everyone would have the freedom to eat when and where they wished without having to worry about where their next meal would be coming from. The impact of sharing food, information and conversation with hundreds of people with the goal of inspiring social change and rebellion was absent. 

When millions of Americans go hungry each day how can we spend half the federal budget on preparing for war? In the past year San Francisco Food Not Bombs is turning this image around. Encouraging this debate is easy. Collect stacks of literature from local organizations, print up some flyers about Food Not Bombs, place them in a bag or box and place your Food Not Bombs banner on top. Take this to the meal, set out the literature and hang the banner in a way where the most people possible can see it and start sharing your tasty vegan dishes. After two hours dozens of people, maybe hundreds will have contemplated the idea that we really can end hunger and poverty if only we redirected our resources from wasteful programs like the military. Repeat this every week and before long as happened in Iceland at our weekly Food Not Bombs action people will be marching to the parliament and inspiring change.

We first realized the power of sharing vegan meals and literature on March 26, 1991 when the first Food Not Bombs collective dressed as hobos and shared soup outside the stockholders meeting of the National Bank of Boston to protest their investment in Seabrook Nuclear Power Station. Over 50 people came to share food and express concern about the dangers of the nuclear industry. We were attempting to build popular support against the nuclear industry. We were seeking to stop the board of directors from investing their depositor's money on risky and dangerous projects. Projects that could lead to nuclear meltdowns, ecological collapse or as Reagan suggested, nuclear war. The Board of directors of the Bank of Boston also sat on the board of Babcock and Willcox, the company that was building Seabrook Nuclear Power station and many of them also sat on the board of the Public Service Company of New Hampshire who was buying the power station. These bankers also profited from the nuclear weapons industry. Their policy of lending themselves millions of dollars with little public oversight was reminiscent of the bank practices that caused the Great Depression in the 1930's.

We decided to make that point visible by dressing as hobos and setting up a soup line outside the annual stockholders meeting of the bank. I was a produce worker and discarded several cases of produce every morning so soup was an easy vehicle for our protest. As we prepared tour huge pot of soup we became concerned that there would not be enough people participating to represent a Depression era soup line so I went down to the Pine Street Inn and told the assembled homeless that we were planning a protest at noon outside the Federal Reserve Bank at South Station. They responded with excitement about the protest. Even so we were surprised when over 50 people showed to partake of the first Food Not Bombs meal. 

We set out literature including the details of how the board members of the bank also controlled companies like General Electric, Raytheon and other leaders in military contracts. We also shared literature from the War Resisters League showing that half the federal budget was spent on the military.Our banner and literature caught the attention of stockholders and business people passing our table and before long men in expensive suits were having serious conversations with people that often slept at the Pine Street Inn. People that never spoke to one another discovered that there wasn't much difference between them. Our literature inspired debate on the issues of military spending and the real security of housing, education, healthcare and food.

Thirty years later the world is facing the most lethal nuclear disaster since the atomic bombings of Japan. The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station is on the verge of melting down. The global economy is in crisis due to the policies of bankers investing for their own benefit. Experts might call it the "Great Recession" but for billions of people it feels more like a Great Depression is on the horizon. Bank executives lobbied for deregulation, sold bad mortgages, reaped the profits letting the economy collapse. Food prices are increasing at fastest pace in thirty years as speculators move to invest in commodities. At the same time the Supreme Court ruling in the Citizens United case claims that corporations have the First Amendment right to spend unlimited money to influence American politics while the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Food Not Bombs is limited to express it's message to twice a year per park in Orlando. Food Not Bombs volunteers are defying the ruling and continue to share food and literature under the banner Food Not Bombs willing to risk arrest to defend the First Amendment right to express our message that food is a right and not a privilege and that real security could be achieved by diverting military spending towards human needs.

When the San Francisco police started arresting us in 1988 they told the media that they didn't have a problem with us feeding the hungry but that Food Not Bombs was trying to make a "political statement" and they wouldn't "allow that." The banner and literature were the first targets of the police during the nearly nine years of arrests and beatings in San Francisco. When it was clear that strategy was backfiring the police developed a more effective policy of sending informants to discourage the use of banners and literature. Having erased the political statement Food Not Bombs was free to share food and the chapter slowly devolved into the environment feeding less and less hungry, recovering less and less food and retaining fewer volunteers until it became an invisible "Nine Gallons" of soup as described in Susie Cagle's graphic novel. 

Church groups handed out their bible tracts and potential volunteers called discouraged that they had gone to United Nations Plaza but could not find Food Not Bombs. Those activists that were persistent and learned that it was Food Not Bombs started their local chapters based on their impression that the San Francisco group was he most significant chapter and reproduced the model sharing vegan meals without literature and a banner not realizing volunteers had suffered violent beatings, torture and faced long prison sentences defending the First Amendment Right to share literature under the banner Food Not Bombs. Food Not Bombs volunteers in San Francisco are working hard to make sure banners and literature are at every meal. Authorities will not silence their message. Their visible presence is sure to encourage more volunteers, food donations and attract more hungry to their meals. Their historic position in the Food Not Bombs world is sure to inspire a stronger more visible challenge to a militaristic United States as they influence the use of banners and literature at chapters all over the United States at this critical time.

April 5, 2007 Orlando Food Not Bombs activists Eric Montanez, was arrested for sharing food with more then 24 people in violation of the cities "Large Group Feeding Permit" law. Eric was found innocent and a Federal judge ruled the law unconstitutional and a violation of our First Amendment right to Free Speech but on April 12, 2011 the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeal ruled the city could restrict Food Not Bombs to sharing it's message and food to twice a year per park. The message that resources should be redirected from the military to basic human needs should be supported. The impact of showing volunteers are able to provide nutritious vegan meals to hundreds of hungry Americans while encouraging conversation on our national priorities should happen every day on every corner and park in every town and city in the United States not restricted to twice a year per park.

The United States is not alone in attempting to silence Food Not Bombs. The Belarus dictator Alexander Lukashenko is also ordering the arrest of our volunteers each week in Minsk attempting to silence efforts to develop a free and democratic future.

A young Tunisian produce worker Tarek al-Tayyib Muhammad Bouazizi set himself on fire on December 17, 2010 fed up by police abuse and high price of food sparking a global wave of uprisings. Those wealthy bankers are seeking to squeeze every last cent out of an increasingly desperate people. Hunger and cruelty of the super rich is sparking a global uprising. The billionaires are responding by murdering their people. The global revolt is spreading from Tunisia, Egypt, Oman, Libya, Bahrain, Yemen, Algeria to China, Korea and the United States. People are rising up from Wisconsin and Michigan to England, Iceland, Greece, Croatia, and France. Replacing failed social structures with a sustainable system maybe more difficult then over throwing governments. 

But still there is an urgent desire to bring democracy, dignity, basic necessities, if nothing else some sanity to our world. The richest 2 percent already own over half the world's wealth and resources. And they seem to want more even though nearly a billion people go hungry each day. Are we really prepared to allow our last penny to be delivered to the ruthless destroyers of our future? 

As the Food Not Bombs faces repression in the United States we are witnessing unprecedented disasters stemming from the public's cooperation with a mad political and economic system. We let the billionaires lead us to this point. Too many of us bought their products and their philosophy. The owners of BP continue to live in spender after they commanded one of the world's worst oil gushers as do the Wall Street executives that plunged millions into unemployment, homelessness and hunger. These mad men claim ownership of billions of suffering animals farmed in factories, the genetics of our food seeds, acres of ancient forests, gallons of fresh water, oil, gas and minerals all treated as products to be sold to a world of consumers. 

Now we are a world of consumers without money, shelter, food or dignity. Consuming war, radioactive fallout, near slavery and toxic "food." What near apocalyptic event or poverty inducing theft is in our future? While ladling soup outside stockholders meeting we were concerned that we could face a future of nuclear disasters, environmental catastrophes and a global economic collapse. We urged those visiting our first Food Not Bombs meal to join us in building resistance to the policies that could bring ruin to our world. Our literature and speech invited them to withhold their support of the "culture of death" and join us in transforming society. 

Maybe by practicing democracy using consensus in our groups or sowing hope and a feeling of abundance with our sharing of vegan meals we would have some influence in our community. Thirty years later it is clear that our concerns were well founded and the need for change couldn't be more urgent. There has never been a time when encouraging dialog on the issue of redirecting military spending towards food, healthcare and education is more urgently needed. Defying the courts order to restrict our ability to reach the public with our message and feed as many people as possible is our obligation under the current conditions.

Back in 1981 we could not have seen was that our tiny theatrical soup line would be joined by thousands of others. Not only seeking to end their own painful hunger but to join us in our effort to stop the web of disastrous policies. Each crisis has inspired another wave of volunteers eager to participate with Food Not Bombs. Eager to take a stand and feed the hungry. Rushing to participate, having been forced into poverty or inspired to insurrection by the untenable conditions.

We are eager to welcome you to our table. There is enough for everyone if we withdraw our support for the system of exploitation and have the passion to implement a nurturing community where everyone's ideas are respected. Cultivate community and reap revolution. Cook for peace and transform the world with food not bombs.

Orlando Large Group Feeding Permit Law

Except for activities of a governmental agency within the scope of its governmental authority, or unless specifically permitted to do so by a permit or approval issued pursuant to this Chapter or by City Council: (a) It is unlawful to knowingly sponsor, conduct, or participate in the distribution or service of food at a large group feeding at a park or park facility owned or controlled by the City of Orlando within the boundary of the Greater Downtown Park District without a Large Group Feeding Permit issued by the City Director of Families, Parks and Recreation or his/her designee. (b) It is unlawful to fail to produce and display the Large Group Feeding Permit during or after a large group feed- ing, while still on site, to a law enforcement officer upon de- mand. It is an affirmative defense to this violation if the offender can later produce, to the City Prosecutor or the Court, a Large Group Feeding Permit issued to him/her, or the group, which was valid at the time of the event. (c) The Director of Families, Parks and Recreation or his/her designee shall issue a Large Group Feeding Permit upon application and payment of the application fee as es- tablished by the City. Not more than two (2) Large Group Feeding Permits shall be issued to the same person, group, or organization for large group feedings for the same park in the GDPD in a twelve (12) consecutive month period. (d) Any applicant shall have the right to appeal the denial of a Large Group Feeding Permit pursuant to appeal procedure in Section 18A.15 with written notice to the Director of Families, Parks and Recreation and with a copy to the City Clerk.

FOOD NOT BOMBS GATHERING - Orlando Florida

Wednesday, May 18, 2011 - Orlando Food Not Bombs City Hall Action - Risk arrest sharing vegan meals and literature under the banner Food Not Bombs at 400 South Orange Avenue and the corner of South Street in Orlando, Florida

Friday, May 20, 2011- Opening show at the Banana Hammock in Orlando, Florida


Saturday, May 21st and Sunday, May 22, 2011 - Florida Food Not Bombs Gathering - Communications Workers of America Union Hall - Local 3108 - 2220 Edgewater Drive, Orlando, FL 32804 - All Food Not Bombs groups and activist groups are welcomed, Co hosted with One Struggle, and Direct action South Florida. We will be discussing how to build a stronger Food Not Bombs movement in Florida and how to build a stronger anti-capitalist movement in Florida

(Photo: Eric Montanez arrested sharing food and literature in Orlando, Florida)

http://www.foodnotbombs.net/arresting_fnb_censorship.html

Tucson: Art of Resistance!

Check out this awesome video (found at the Tucson Citizen's Three Sonorans' blog). Photos by Chris Summitt; words by Raul Alcaraz...

Monday, May 16, 2011

Kantar: The Ballad of Alvaro Luna Hernandez


Excellent guest post today from Max Kantar (originally published at Counterpunch): Max is a Michigan-based independent writer and the Midwest representative for the Committee to Free Alvaro Luna Hernandez. For more information on Alvaro's case, visit www.freealvaro.net. Max can be reached at maxkantar@gmail.com.





--------------------

May 16, 2011

Without Fear

The Ballad of Alvaro Luna Hernandez

By MAX B. KANTAR

"I will never surrender my pride and dignity nor allow the system to 'cut my tongue' and I will always, without fear, speak out against these war crimes and crimes against humanity, no matter if I spend the rest of my life in a prison cage, and draw my last breath of air laying down in this steel bed surrounded by razor-wire fences and cages, and its prison policies that are designed to destroy one's humanity…."

—Alvaro Luna Hernandez, October 18, 2010, Hughes Unit Prison, Gatesville, Texas.


Locked in solitary confinement in a tiny cage inside one of the most notorious control units in the Texas state prison system, Alvaro Luna Hernandez is immersed in a stack of old law texts, his eyes glancing back and forth between court transcripts and a thick legal book every few moments. The streaks of gray in his full, and otherwise dark, beard betray his age in spite of his healthy, powerful frame as he reaches towards the ledge of the sink for a lone Styrofoam cup to take a sip of the stale, lukewarm commissary-bought coffee he drinks every morning, when he can afford it.

Just fifteen months shy of 60 years old, Alvaro has a remarkable amount of energy and routinely gets more work done before noon than most attorneys do in an entire day. Today he's putting together the documents to get a new trial on a writ of habeas corpus proceeding for another prisoner who is both indigent and illiterate and feels he has been wrongly imprisoned. After that, it's on to the cases of two other inmates Alvaro is helping out who are each facing several decades behind bars if their appeals fall through before the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in Austin. Other prisoners know to go to Alvaro for legal help; he has a well-known reputation throughout the state—indeed nationwide, as highlighted in the recent book Jailhouse Lawyers (City Lights: 2009) by Mumia Abu-Jamal—as a tenacious and effective "jailhouse lawyer" who has filed and won no small number of civil rights suits over the past four decades.

* * *

Alvaro Luna Hernandez is a political prisoner of the State of Texas and the U.S. government. He is nearly 15 years into a 50 year prison sentence for an "aggravated assault" conviction stemming from a July 1996 incident in which he disarmed a Brewster County Sheriff attempting to shoot him. Alvaro vehemently denies the charge that he assaulted the Sheriff. To Mexican-Americans in the cities, slums, plains, deserts, and prison cages of the Southwest, he is a civil rights hero, a Chicano freedom fighter true to his barrio roots and eternally fearless in the face of injustice. For years, he has been internationally recognized by amnesty movements and human rights lawyers and experts as a U.S. political prisoner, yet inside the United States, the name Alvaro Luna Hernandez remains largely elusive on the lips of progressives and social justice advocates.

* * *

A high-school dropout with no formal education, Alvaro hasn't always been such a capable, and indeed, brilliant, litigator. It was during the late 1970s that he transformed himself from a rebellious, zoot suit-wearing "pachuco" hustler in his youth into a prominent leader in the struggle for racial justice and human rights in the Southwest United States. While serving hard time for a crime he didn't commit, Alvaro educated himself about Chicano history, the prison system, and revolutionary political theory. He founded and headed up prisoners' study groups designed to rehabilitate and politicize other inmates.

With Alvaro in the lead, a powerful prison reform movement swept across Texas' criminal justice system and through the state's federal courthouses in the late 1970s and early '80s. Alvaro diligently studied the law and used his newly found skills to file an impressive array of constitutional and civil rights lawsuits against Texas police, judges, and prison officials. He and other prisoners utilized hunger strikes, work stoppages, yard takeovers, and federal civil rights lawsuits in a concerted effort to compel the brutal Texas prison machine to respect the human rights of its exploding prison population, made up almost entirely of poor men of color. Along with a handful of other prisoner-plaintiffs, Alvaro won a landmark federal civil rights lawsuit against the Texas Department of Corrections (TDC) after a trial that lasted 159 days in 1978 and '79 (Ruiz v. Estelle). The court ruled, in a scathing denunciation of the widespread abuse of inmates by the prison system, that the practices of the TDC constituted "cruel and unusual punishment," and ordered a number of substantial reforms.

"Unfortunately," Alvaro says, "most of these 'reforms' were merely cosmetic….Despite these 'prisoner victories' in reforming the system, the federal-nation-state will only go so far because in Texas, the super profits of the state policy of mass incarceration has replaced oil, cotton, and cattle [as the biggest industry in the state]."

Alvaro's principled work to rehabilitate prisoners and enforce human rights standards in Texas prisons earned him the disdain and contempt of prison officials who locked him in administrative segregation, forcing Alvaro to spend almost the entire decade of the 1980s in solitary confinement as part of a campaign of repression aimed at political prisoners and jailhouse lawyers who threatened to expose abuses in U.S. prisons—including torture, killings, and beatings at the hands, or directions, of prison guards and administrators—and unite inmates under a banner of revolutionary change.

* * *

In March 1991, one year after he was moved out of solitary and back into the general prison population, Alvaro was freed from prison, having served over 15 years, after an investigative journalist for the Houston Post, Paul Harasim, uncovered a gross pattern of systematic prosecutorial misconduct and abuse (which included paying off the lead witness and suppressing physical evidence) in the murder case in which Alvaro was wrongfully convicted, narrowly escaping the electric chair. Certainly no bleeding heart liberal, Harasim nonetheless told readers that "What I learned about the prosecutorial behavior in the trial of Alvaro Hernandez in West Texas made my stomach turn….I wonder if I can support state sanctioned executions any longer."

Settling in Houston with his wife following his release, Alvaro wasted no time throwing himself into community organizing and political activism. He founded, and became National Executive Director of, the National Movement of La Raza, a civil and human rights group dedicated to empowering Mexican-Americans and struggling for social justice. Alvaro also helped organize and form committees to support the families of prisoners and bring about "truces" between Chicano street gangs in Pasadena, Texas following a number of tragic shootings. Spearheading the campaign to stop the execution of Mexican national, Ricardo Aldape Guerra, Alvaro founded and headed up Guerra's defense committee. Following years of tireless campaigning and legal battles, his frame-up conviction for killing a Houston cop in 1982 was overturned and Guerra was freed from Texas' Death Row in 1997.

Alvaro's impassioned and successful activism in the Houston area earned him international recognition. In the spring of 1993, serving as a delegate for an NGO, Alvaro addressed the United Nations General Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland, criticizing the U.S. government for its record of human rights abuses of political prisoners and Mexicans in the Southwest. Alvaro's delegation was headed by Rigoberta Menchu of Guatemala who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992 for her courageous human rights activism during the U.S.-backed genocide against Mayan peasants in Guatemala during the 1980s. Upon returning from Europe, Alvaro was invited to speak on national television in connection with the Ricardo Aldape Guerra defense case and began hosting Houston-area radio talk shows to spread a message of racial equality and Chicano empowerment. In the following years, Alvaro worked to inspire and educate young people across the United States, speaking not only at universities and conferences, but also at elementary and high schools, lecturing on an array of social and political issues ranging from human rights and grassroots activism, to American history, the criminal justice system, and the death penalty.

* * *

Following his divorce in August 1995, Alvaro moved back to his hometown of Alpine, Texas, located just 80 miles from the Mexican border. In spite of the fact that Alvaro had virtually zero interactions or confrontations with police in the five and a half years that he lived in Houston, almost immediately the local police forces in Alpine were all over him—arbitrary searches day and night, K-9 drug dogs, and frequent "traffic violation" vehicle stops resulting in no citations.

The police hatred of Alvaro in West Texas, especially in Alpine, is fierce, both personal and political, and decades old. Alvaro has always refused to submit to police authority and abuse; sort of like a rebellious slave in the spirit of Fredrick Douglas, but more like a modern-day Gregorio Cortez. When he was 17 he smashed up some police squad cars as well as the personal vehicle of a racist Sheriff following a police confrontation, a stunt which landed him three years in prison. Years later, in 1976 following an escape from county jail—at which he was awaiting transfer to state prison for the wrongful murder conviction—and subsequent shootout with law enforcement, Alvaro was taken to a windowless "conference room" in the jail where he was beaten within an inch of his life by several on-duty police officers. The cops took turns beating and stomping their handcuffed captive, causing him to lose consciousness, his face, eyes, and lips swollen and bloodied beyond recognition, his scalp ripped open with blood pouring from his head onto the cold concrete floor. Once the police were finished, they dragged a bloodied and unconscious Alvaro across the jail and threw him in a cell, leaving him for dead. The near fatal beating meted out to Alvaro resulted in federal criminal civil rights indictments of Pecos County Chief Deputy Sheriff Mike Hill and Deputy Sheriff Bill Mabe, culminating in misdemeanor convictions and probation for the officers. For his part, Alvaro was awarded substantial monetary compensation for damages following a civil suit. The convictions of the officers, however mild, ultimately destroyed their careers as policemen, thus earning Alvaro a special animosity in local law enforcement circles for daring to fight back against police on their own terms, both in the streets and in the courts.

Alvaro's persistent defiance against oppression has always stemmed from a deep-rooted thirst for the freedom so cruelly denied to him and millions of other Chicanos in the Southwest United States since the colonization and annexation of the Mexican territories north of the Rio Grande following what is commonly known as the U.S.-Mexico War (1846-1848). In a very real sense, the rural West Texas community of Alpine is like a microcosm of race-relations in the region. Like all of Alpine's Chicano residents, Alvaro grew up on the south side of the Southern Pacific railroad tracks which served as the de facto racial dividing line between Mexican-Americans and whites. Much like the Jim Crow South at the time, the parallel social universe of rural West Texas manifested harsh economic and political means of control to ensure the subordinate position of Mexicans in an Anglo-dominated society. The town's Mexican population was largely impoverished, locked into a near-permanent state of economic subservience to white business interests while the gross disparity in social services and infrastructure served as a very visible reminder of the prevailing racial hierarchy, not only in Alpine, but in the American Southwest in general.

The Alpine police and the Brewster County Sheriff's office were, of course, all white and patrolled the Chicano barrio south of the tracks daily and nightly with a brutality usually reserved only for the town's "meskins."

"People were scared of them," Alvaro writes in a letter from his prison cell, recalling how as a young boy he would go looking for his father or grandfather in the local bars, the Sheriff would often barge in, gun on his hip, to intimidate, arrest, and humiliate Chicano men and elders simply as a means of letting them know "who was boss."

Whether at the pool hall or walking the streets, Chicano youth were routinely singled out for arbitrary beatings and harassment by the cops. Alvaro was a tough kid, a self-proclaimed "vato loco" and product of the "pachuco" subculture. He was often getting into trouble for drinking beer or fighting, and had many violent confrontations with police as a teenager. Once at a high school football game some policemen were trying to arrest another Mexican kid and started beating the young man; Alvaro intervened to stop the assault and the cops turned their attention, and rage, to him, beating and pistol whipping young Alvaro as a hostile crowd gathered around, throwing garbage at the officers. The police busted open his skull, requiring several stitches, but not before taking him to jail, charging Alvaro with "assault on a peace officer." Alvaro's run-ins with the police landed him, at the age of 15, in a juvenile prison run by the Texas Youth Council (TYC) for a year. The juvenile detention centers in Texas had reputations for being extremely brutal and abusive—so much so that the Texas Youth Council was ultimately shut down by federal courts in 1983 following over a decade of lawsuits.

* * *

Just months after getting released from the custody of the TYC, something happened that would change Alvaro's life forever. It was June 12, 1968. Alvaro was hanging out with his best friend, Ervay Ramos. The two buddies were cruising around Alpine in Ervay's brother's car when red police lights started flashing in the rear view mirror. Ervay was, like Alvaro, 16 years old, but didn't have a valid driver's license. He sped off and the police car gave chase. Fishtailing through a back alley with the wail of the siren growing louder in the distance, Ervay quickly stopped and told Alvaro to jump out of the car. He drove off and struck a nearby fence next to the football practice fields and landed in a ditch. With the cop car getting closer, Ramos jumped out of the car and ran down the alleyway hoping to escape. Alvaro was just feet away and saw with his own eyes what transpired next.

"The police car, driven by Bud Powers, a well-known cop with a reputation in the barrio for being racist and brutal, pulled up and stopped [behind] the Ramos car," Alvaro vividly recalls. "[Powers] stepped outside, pulled his revolver and shot the fleeing Ramos in the back with his .357 magnum pistol killing him instantly."

The murder of Ervay Ramos was one of a number of similar killings of Chicano youth by police in the Southwest at the time. Officer Bud Powers received a proverbial slap on the wrist—five years' probation—and never served a day in jail. The killing of Ervay Ramos was cited by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in their 1970 report to the President entitled "Mexican Americans and the Administration of Justice in the Southwest" as one of several examples of what the Commission referred to as a pattern of "serious police brutality" and "widespread discrimination" suffered by Mexican-Americans at the hands of law enforcement officers and the U.S. judicial system in the Southwest United States.

* * *

So when Alvaro moved back to Alpine in 1995 with political struggle and courtroom justice for his slain childhood friend on his mind, he was met with considerable police opposition. He was working as a freelance paralegal for attorneys throughout the state when Alpine community members began approaching him for help regarding police brutality and other injustices in town. They had seen Alvaro on television when he was in Houston, working against the death penalty and police oppression. They knew about his impressive record of civil rights activism and how he had litigated a number of successful federal and state civil rights lawsuits against Texas police, judges, and prison officials. Moreover, citizens sought out Alvaro for help because, in addition to being a prominent public critic of racial and social inequalities in Alpine, it was well known—both by the general public, as well as by law enforcement—that he was working on re-opening the 1968 Ervay Ramos murder case with the intention of bringing his killer, policeman Bud Powers, into federal court on murder charges.

The response of the Alpine police to all of this was to organize and carry out a sophisticated campaign, in the spirit of the F.B.I.'s "counter intelligence program" (COINTELPRO) of the 1960s and '70s, of surveillance, harassment, and repression against Alvaro. They hired a local heroin addict, Mary Valencia, to work as a police informant, ransacking his legal files and personal belongings while working as a maid at the motel he was staying at. Police followed him around, subjecting him to unjustified searches and harassment.

Worse yet, the police convinced the father-in-law of an Alpine Police Sergeant—a man who was known around Alpine as a local town drunk—to falsely accuse Alvaro of armed robbery—a ridiculous frame-up charge which Alvaro ultimately ended up getting dismissed in court while acting as his own attorney. In the meantime, however, Alvaro bonded out of jail by selling his car to the bail bondsman, but just weeks later the bondsman "withdrew" from the bond, unbeknownst to Alvaro at the time.

* * *

On July 18, 1996 Sheriff Jack McDaniel showed up on Alvaro's doorstep looking to re-arrest him. Brewster County's new sheriff was far from an anonymous cop just "doing his job." McDaniel had been cited in a victorious civil rights lawsuit filed by Alvaro against then-Sheriff Jim Skinner a few years back. Moreover, it was no secret around town that Alvaro was investigating Sheriff McDaniel for corruption and embezzlement of funds from the county treasury—funds that Alvaro alleged were being used at McDaniel's private ranch in West Alpine. Coupled with his work on re-opening the Ramos case and his long history of resistance to local police power, Alvaro argues that the prerogative of the cops was clear: "The police all knew what I was up to and they were determined to stop me at all costs."

When questioned on the legality of the arrest—for which no warrant was presented—an enraged McDaniel pulled his gun on Alvaro. Fearing quite literally for his life, Alvaro disarmed the Sheriff in self-defense before he could shoot, told McDaniel to leave, and then fled the scene. Nobody was injured. For three days Alvaro was able to evade law enforcement in the rugged countryside of Brewster County during the course of what was one of the most massive manhunts in recent West Texas history. Following a shootout with police at his mother's house, Alvaro was captured and charged with two counts of aggravated assault; one for allegedly pointing the gun at Sheriff McDaniel after disarming him, and another count for allegedly shooting an officer, Curtis Hines, in the hand during the shootout.

At the trial, witnesses testified that Alvaro never pointed the gun at McDaniel. McDaniel accused Alvaro of pointing the gun at his chest—threatening him with a deadly weapon—but Alvaro swears this is a lie. In a live interview on local television on July 18th following the confrontation at Alvaro's house, McDaniel told viewers that Alvaro had only disarmed him and neither threatened nor shot him.

"Days later," Alvaro explains, "when the Sheriff met with the District Attorney he changed his story to say that I had not only disarmed him but had pointed the gun at him—the difference between a minor misdemeanor and a first degree felony offense." The videotape was ultimately kept out of court proceedings; Alvaro's lawyer Tony Chavez is rumored to have potentially struck a backdoor deal with the prosecution. At the time, Chavez was under investigation himself for drug trafficking and was facing many years in prison under a plethora of forthcoming RICO charges. In fact, just months after Alvaro's trial, Chavez immediately took a plea bargain and was sent to federal prison for 30 months and disbarred from the practice of law.

Throughout the trial numerous witnesses, including former law enforcement officers, also testified to the intense, longstanding police hatred of Alvaro. Alvaro was found not guilty on the second count of shooting Officer Hines in the hand (it was determined that Hines was hit by a ricocheting police bullet). Despite considerable public protest, however, the nearly-all-white jury found Alvaro guilty of "aggravated assault" for allegedly pointing the gun at McDaniel's chest—an accusation which Alvaro vociferously and consistently denies to this day.

Alvaro Luna Hernandez was sentenced to 50 years in state prison in the summer of 1997. He will not be officially "eligible" for parole until 2021.

* * *

Though his appeals have all been exhausted, options still remain within the legal system to bring about Alvaro's release. The KOSA TV videotape interview with McDaniel may still exist, and a full review of federal, state, and local files pertaining to Alvaro, and his ex-lawyer Chavez, is likely to shed light on Alvaro's conviction and political imprisonment. Obtaining the pro bono assistance of one or more bright legal minds to help pursue other existing, and very promising, legal avenues to reenter the courts continues to be a top priority and a potential source of hope.

There is one thing, however, that remains clear and undisputed: absent a substantial popular mobilization and grassroots campaign pushing for his freedom, Alvaro faces a virtual life sentence of incarceration in the brutal control units of Texas' state prisons. Yet in the meantime, although buried deep beneath the razor-wire fences, uncounted tons of cold steel, and the rows of soul-destroying concrete cages of Hughes Unit Prison, Alvaro Luna Hernandez remains among America's most fearless political prisoners, incessantly struggling for freedom, locked up but never defeated.

Max Kantar is a Michigan-based independent writer and the Midwest representative for the Committee to Free Alvaro Luna Hernandez. For more information on Alvaro's case, visit www.freealvaro.net. Max can be reached at maxkantar@gmail.com.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Toersbijns: Plausible deniability, neglect, and abuse at the AZ DOC

What follows is a former Az Department of Corrections' Deputy Warden's response to:


(read that first, folks)


ACLU-AZ: "Demolish the Prisons"
Prisoner Names Project
April 25, 2011


---stolen from Carl Toersbijns' blog. Read it daily to keep up on the ADC---


Open Letter to Arizona Prison Director Charles L. Ryan

By Carl ToersBijns

May 13, 2011

In writing an open letter addressing the abuses of inmates by employees working for the Arizona Department of Corrections, you, as the prison director omitted much information during your recent attempt to illustrate compliance with guidelines and responsibilities already in policies and procedures and still not being followed. You are obviously failing as you are trying to reinforce your position on this matter but appear to be falling on the deaf ears of your own wardens. An obvious attempt to cover your own administrative weaknesses and shifting the blame of these abuses to others, you are continuing a strategy of plausible deniability and credibility within your own agency and expectations of subordinates.

According to Wikipedia, "plausible deniability" refers to the denial of blame in loose and informal chains of command where upper rungs quarantine the blame to the lower rungs, and the lower rungs are often inaccessible, meaning confirming responsibility for the action is nearly impossible These positions of "power" and "authority" must stay "clean" and be in a position to denounce any unethical approaches or innuendoes that impacts their own sovereignty and domain. Such is the case where you point the finger at someone else and act like you condemn their actions but in all reality, you endorsed it through several means provided in a chain of command that is intact by careful grooming and selection of those individuals hand-picked for such tasks. In other words, you must "walk the talk" to be a solid role model and it appears your rogue wardens are doing their own walking and talking behind close doors contrary to your expectations of program delivery and soundness of operational issues. Because they work for you, I, along with many others, blame you for failure to supervise issues.

In your most recent open letter paragraph titled Abuse of Inmates and dated May 9, 2011, I find it curious that it states that '"Abuses of inmates by anyone in the Arizona Department of Corrections is never acceptable or justified." You opportunely avoid the subject of unusually high prison deaths that are listed either as natural, suicide or homicides yet they are the highest ever. You also avoid mentioning the private prison contractors who do not report any statistics on such events and are not obligated via contract or any other means to collect such data for statistical purposes available to the ADOC and the public. I am sure that if there was a level of transparency here, your words would be more trustful regarding their operational status and efficiency to the taxpayers. You go on by writing "It is the responsibility of all employees to ensure that the inmate population is managed and controlled in a manner that is both professional and requires the minimal force necessary to maintain control. You wrap this deniability approach by stating that "It is not acceptable or reassuring that a supervisor's or manager's response was they "did not know" what was going on in their unit when you stated the very same comment when the Kingman prison escape security report was released and identified so many security deficiencies right under your direct command.

More generally, "plausible deniability / credibility" can also apply to any act that leaves little or no evidence of wrongdoing or abuse. In a prison setting, this could range from physical and psychological abuses through misguided management practices, tacit approval for excessive force. You also deliberately omit other known inmate abuses in this letter as you cite a case out of ASPC- Florence and another out of ASPC-Lewis to strengthen your position on the "good job" closing.

It is true that many of the agencies employees are doing good or great work and that is important to be recognized. However, although strong and driven to excel, they are getting their most of their work done through multi-tasking and forming shortcuts to be in compliance. This achievement is not without hindrance from you administrators and their lack of support to do a good job. Your circle of influence that surrounds your decision making mechanism is flawed as many have their own agendas and not in step with your policies or expectations. You can deny this all you want but recent security audits revealed that even after your "stricter" controls and oversight of the Kingman prison, two of your own state prisons reflected the same problems found in Kingman nine months after your directive to correct these "flaws." This falls on the wardens and deputy wardens for not following your orders to make prisons safer for the public.

Clearly an attempt to circumvent the horrific events such as "preventable suicides" in ASPC Tucson and ASPC Eyman and less than acceptable medical conduct that contributes to "natural deaths" within the prison, I am appalled that you continue this crusade to blame everybody else but yourself for the agency's shortcomings. Plausible deniability is a legal concept. It refers to lack of evidence proving an allegation. In civil cases, the standard of proof is "preponderance of the evidence" whereas in a criminal matter, the standard is "beyond a reasonable doubt."

It is highly likely because of so many incidents of staff mistakes [misconduct] and poor decision making by command staff , the agency will continue to pay out court settlements to inmates who have been subject to these acts considered "abused" and sue for the agency's mistakes and misconduct. Your letter only incited more fear and more intimidation into the workplace. You have shown by selective enforcement methods and through careful dissection of the facts you do not care if your wardens don't follow your words to provide proper custodial care and operational soundness. Your sanctions imposed to these administrators are mild compared to line staff and illustrates a desire to protect them as they protect you. In fact, I suspect you are facing several lawsuits at the moment that will embarrass you and your administration when it gets aired on the media evening news in due time.



Disclaimer: this article does not reflect the opinions of the web site Thunder Rolls Inc. where this link is located.

Link to open letter from Charles Ryan to ADC Employees dated May 9, 2011:

http://www.thunderrolls.net

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Surviving Susan Lopez: Mother's Day Grief.



One of the hardest, yet most profoundly meaningful, aspects of the work I do is to bear witness to the suffering of others and help them amplify their voices in any number of ways, in hopes that the rest of us are moved enough by them to change the trajectory we're on.


This is the grief of the parents of Susan Lopez, going into this past family-oriented weekend. Soon it will be their first Father's Day without her, each of her kid's birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the anniversaries of her birth, and of her death...



"When Jesus was a prisoner"
Matthew ch 25: v 35

Christmas, 2010
Phoenix, AZ


Rick Lopez and the Flores families have a difficult, deeply painful road ahead yet - all of the survivors of prison violence and neglect do. May we never again need to hear the grief of a mother who has buried her child in order to bring about a fundamental change in how we view and treat each other here, whatever our respective status or class...


Thank you, Sammy and Gina, for sharing this with us. Our condolences to the entire family.



-----------------left with broken hearts #2------------



A few years ago, my husband and I, together with Susan and her husband Rick, built a beautiful horse corral. I bought a mare, and someone gave us this big black gelding. Susan loved him. One day I went outside our 2 1/2 acre home, and I saw Susan on top of Moose, Rick leading the horse with a rope. I couldn`t believe what I saw, Susan riding Moose! She looked like a giant, but she was so happy, it seemed like nothing in the world mattered. Rick looked nervous, and would tell her "come on get down, get down!"

She loved horses like her mom. She loved cats, they were her life. She hated when anyone messed with them. She loved to look at the stars, and loved Jesus with all her heart. Our hobby was taking care of the horses; me and Susan would feed them and bathe them. I will always miss that...

From my horse corrals, about 4 miles from my back yard, you can see a hill with two giant water tanks. My daughter is buried on the other side of that hill. I am torn apart in my heart, its so hard to go feed the horses. Everytime I do, I see that hill, and I think of her. I break down crying; I'm torn apart. I then go to my front yard to sit on my deck. I look to the right and again I see the hill. I drive to town and I see the hill. It hurts, we loved her so much.

If you, the people working in Perryville prison, have any children then you know the love a parent has for their children, if you truly love them. I know me and my husband do; we loved Susan. And if you, the people working at Perryville prison, would have just listened to the cry of a wonderful woman, she may have touched your heart. And you might have change your ways, and done your job right. My daughter Susan would probably still be alive, that's what she was about. A beautiful woman full of love and kindness.

Again, whoever is responsible for the wrongful death of our daughter: God knows the truth. and may he find it in his heart to forgive you.

sammy & gina flores

(dad, mom)

Action Plan to Prevent, Care and Treat Viral Hepatitis. Live Webcast


Webcast from The National Press Club

http://www.visualwebcaster.com/hepatitisplan

First Amendment Lounge, 13th Floor
529 14th St, NW
Washington, DC 20045


Thursday, May 12
1:00pm
- 2:00pm



Created by: Hepatitis C - Caring Ambassadors Program

It is our pleasure to invite you to join HHS Assistant Secretary for Health Dr. Howard Koh and other HHS officials on Thursday, May 12, 2011 as they announce the new

Action Plan to Prevent, Care and Treat Viral Hepatitis.

Though hepatitis is a leading cause of death in the U.S., many people who have it don’t know they are infected, so they are at greater risk for severe – or even fatal – complications of the disease, and at greater risk of unwittingly spreading the virus to others.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is committed to ensuring that new cases of viral hepatitis are prevented and that persons who are already infected are tested, informed about their infection, and provided with counseling, care, and treatment. Comprehensive and sustained efforts are necessary to effectively eliminate this epidemic. Please join HHS officials and community representatives as they discuss the actions necessary to achieve this goal.

Howard K. Koh, M.D., M.P.H., HHS Assistant Secretary for Health

Kevin Fenton, M.D., Ph.D., FFPH, Director, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Jim Macrae, M.A., M.P.P., Associate Administrator for Primary Health Care, Health Resources and Services Administration

Michael Ninburg, Community Perspective

Su Wang, M.D., Provider Perspective

WHEN:
Thursday, May 12, 2011
1:00 – 2:00 p.m. ET

WHERE:
The National Press Club
First Amendment Lounge, 13th Floor
529 14th St, NW
Washington, DC 20045


To attend the event in person, please RSVP to rsvp@team-psa.com by 5:00 p.m. Monday, May 9, 2011.


The event will also be webcast live at: http://www.visualwebcaster.com/hepatitisplan

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mental Illness in CJ System Commission: Maricopa County.

TUESDAY, MAY 10, 10am
125 W. Washington St. (Old Courthouse), PHX
6th floor conference room

Come to this meeting, folks. Ask the CJ SMI Commission to solicit public testimony from families and prisoners - they need to go visit the prisons these folks are being held in.

Here's the agenda and the minutes from the last meeting where the ADC made their presentation.
..if you can't make it, contact the members, listed in the left hand column below.

Hope these are all legible.



(double-click documents to print
)