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

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Jury Duty Calls...Anarchy Answers.

Look what I got in the mail! Here I thought they were going to be charging me with a felony, and they want me to sit on a jury instead.

I politely declined, of course.
I could have gone the subversive route and helped hang a jury or nullify charges against some poor tagger, instead, but while I do love theater, I'm not that good at masquerading as something I'm absolutely not - which, in this case, would be a "good citizen".

Anyway, I thought a lot before filling this out and dropping it in the mail. I guess it's fair to say that I'm a declared anarchist now - sworn and signed to in my declaration to the state about why I'm just not fit for their jury duty. Sooner or later, I'll be able to articulate just what kind of anarchy I embrace - I try to avoid labels like that, but nothing else really seems to explain my critique of American "democracy" and the criminal justice system. Quakerism competes, though, when it comes to sorting out what strategies and tactics I prefer...real anarchists would probably call me something of a wuss (which is probably one reason I've avoided claiming to be one of them until now).

I hope the courts don't think I'm just kidding around with my answers. I mean, I do dress like an outlaw, draw on the sidewalk, and taunt the cops sometimes, but that doesn't mean I don't take this business of crime and punishment very seriously. I just thought they might not want to waste their time (and mine) by dragging me all the way down there just to shake their heads when they get a look and send me home.

O'odham Solidarity: Border Patrol Lockdowners Not Guilty

I can't begin to articulate how proud I am to call these people my friends and comrades...

love and power to you all.


Border Patrol Headquarters Occupation Protesters Found Not Guilty-Reaffirms Call to End Border Militarization

by Alex Soto on Thursday, June 30, 2011 at 2:34am


DATE: Thursday June 29, 2011

Contact: Alex Soto

Phone: 602-881-6027


Border Patrol Headquarters Occupation Protesters Found Not Guilty

Reaffirms Call to End Border Militarization

Chuckson (Tucson), AZ - The six protesters who locked-down and occupied the United

States Border Patrol (BP) – Tucson Headquarters on May 21, 2010 were found not guilty on the remaining count of a disorderly conduct "with serious disruptive behavior” charge.

The legal defense, William G. Walker and Jeffrey J. Rogers, argued that the remaining charge of disorderly conduct did not apply because it did not meet any of the statutes of the charge. After three hours of deliberation, the judge found the six not guilty.

The city prosecutor had attempted to re-introduce the previously misfiled criminal trespassing as a misdemeanor charge, but this charge was dismissed after the first trial date for the occupiers in February. After an objection by the defense, the state’s motion was denied.

“Today’s not guilty verdict shows that we, as O’odham, are not the ones who are disorderly. It is the Border Patrol, the Department of Homeland Security, and the various levels of government that perpetrate the violence in our communities,” stated Alex Soto, Tohono O’odham, one of the protesters and member of O’odham Solidarity Across Borders Collective. “When will the institutions, whose conduct continues for more than 500 years of trespassing, that terrorize indigenous and migrants communities, be held accountable?”

“No state entity can deny peoples’ inherent right to freedom of movement," said Marisa Duarte, one of the protesters standing trial. "Borders are a colonial weapon used to continue the genocide of indigenous people and their culture. Through trade they exploit natural resources and use the profits to further the progress of neo-liberal infrastructure projects such as CANAMEX and NAFTA. This results in the criminalization of those who defy borders through living their lives traditionally. You see the forced relocation of families from borders all around the world. Today we say no more to this criminalization of people.”

O’odham Elders and community members attended the court proceedings to demonstrate their support.

“Today we celebrate our victory in court, but understand this is just one step in ending border militarization. We took action last May in order to directly confront the issues in our communities by physically intervening and occupying the Border Patrol station.

Since that time, many have answered the call to end border militarization, and victories like today have inspired more action,” said Franco Habre.

As the six waited for the state’s decision, 16 angry community members targeted the prison firm G4S (formally Wackenhut) and were cited criminal trespassing charges. The 16 declared in no uncertain terms their opposition to the company’s profiteering at the expense of immigrant communities in Tucson, across the nation and throughout the world. Their action, which was organized autonomously by Tucson community members, was carried out under the banner of Direct Action for Freedom of Movement

The six still stand firmly with their commitment and demands to end border militarization and their initial demands are listed below:

- Immediately withdraw National Guard Troops from the US/Mexico border

- Immediately halt development of the border wall

- Immediately remove drones and checkpoints

- Decommission all detention camps and release all presently held undocumented migrants

- Immediately honor Indigenous Peoples rights of self-determination

- Fully comply with the recently signed UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous


- Respect Indigenous People's inherent right of migration

- End NAFTA, FTAA and other trade agreements

- Immediately end all CANAMEX/NAFTA Highway projects (such as the South

Mountain Freeway)

- Immediately repeal SB1070 and 287g

- End all racial profiling

- No BP encroachment/sweeps on sovereign Native land

- No raids and deportations

- Immediate and unconditional regularization (“legalization”) of all people

- Uphold human freedom and rights

- Uphold the rights of ALL Indigenous People - repeal HB 2281, support the UN

Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People

- Support dignity and respect

- Support and ensure freedom of movement for all people

Soto concluded, “This action was a prayer. We’d like to thank those who stood with us during this process and to all who firmly stand with us to end border militarization. The occupation of the Border Patrol station was never about any group/organization, or us, it was about directly confronting the terror that the state unleashes upon indigenous and migrant communities, so we can critically challenge border militarization. As an O’odham, I always think back to my grandparents’ teachings: We as O’odham people have always traveled freely, regardless of the border. It’s our land, who we are, and we will defend it.”

To view the occupation video and for additional resources please visit:

Peltier: A Fuse Called Geronimo

Political prisoner Leonard Peltier, celebrates below the life and journey of Geronimo Pratt (Geronimo Ji Jaga), who passed away as a free man in Tanzania on June 3, 2011.

Even throughout his incarceration, Geronimo was so much more free than most of the rest of us.
A bright, decorated Vietnam War veteran with a critical perspective on the exploitation and oppression of African Americans, he joined the Black Panther Party, becoming a Deputy Minister of Defense.

Consequently, Pratt was targeted in the 1970's by the FBI's notorious COINTELPRO campaign under J. Edgar Hoover, which sought to destroy the budding liberation movements of the mid 20th century by discrediting, attacking, harassing, framing, killing, and imprisoning leaders and members.

COINTELPRO document targets Pratt

Once set up by the FBI for neutralization, Pratt was falsely accused and convicted in 1972 of a young schoolteacher's murder, spending 27 years in prison - 8 in solitary confinement. His conviction was finally overturned due to prosecutorial misconduct (concealing exculpatory evidence); he was ulti
mately awarded a $4.5 million settlement for false imprisonment.

Geronimo Pratt was an amazing, soulful man - evidence that prison doesn't have to destroy a man - or woman. Most remarkable, perhaps, was his lack of bitterness and vindictiveness after all those years. If the rest of us possessed even a measure of such Grace, it would go a long way towards helping us build a system of transformative, rather than retributive justice, in which whole communities can move towards healing and peace...

Geronimo Pratt

But those are just my observations from afar: here's what Leonard has to say, as published at Counterpunch...

June 28, 2011

A Warrior for Liberation

A Fuse Called Geronimo


Everyone it seems knows something about Geronimo Pratt. To all of us, to every human being on the planet, he was a beacon of principle that we should all aspire to emulate. To those directly involved in the struggle, he was one of those gifted, tough as nails warriors who not only had the vision to know what was right, but the strength and courage to stick to his convictions no matter the cost. When he had to be, he was a terror to his enemies.

To me, he was a friend and an ally. I met him in jail, of course, so many years ago. He always had so much of my respect.

He gave his all to the fight for liberation, justice, and equality. His effectiveness as a man and a leader can be measured by the extent to which the enemies of justice and equality went to in order to try and silence him. It wasn't enough to frame him for murder. It wasn't enough to flush twenty six years of his life down a hell hole. No, they had to take those closest to him as well. But even the simultaneous losses of his freedom and the lives of his wife and unborn child could not break him. All the lies and injustice they could muster could not subdue such greatness. The combined resources of the FBI, Los Angeles police, and the L.A. District Attorney's office couldn't defeat him. What those in power did not understand was that Geronimo Ji Jaga Pratt was no ordinary man. He was a giant among men and remained focused during the most trying times. What they did not comprehend was that you can jail the warrior but not his ideas, not his strength, nor his affect on others.

No one would have blamed him if after twenty six years in jail he wanted to live a private life and age gracefully. True to his nature he continued to be a light in the darkness, fighting for human rights until his death. He gave everything to the issues which he held most dear. In doing so he inspired generations of young people who carry on his legacy.

Perhaps it is fitting that this statement is being prepared on the anniversary of his false conviction being vacated. With that in mind, now that I think about it, this can and should be a time of celebration. Rather than mourn a loss of such magnitude, let us rejoice that we were blessed with such a presence to begin with.

The history of mankind is not written by corrupt governments or their shadow agencies, it is formed by greatness of spirit and strength of mind. This is why Elmer Pratt will always be remembered and honored as a prophet and perhaps even a saint to his people. I know wherever he is, he is speaking truth to power, and rallying spirits to his cause.

This was not a spark that died! He was a fuse, igniting a series of events that we have yet to fully understand. I am certain in the fullness of time he will be celebrated while those who opposed him and their descendants will hang their heads in shame. It is this knowledge that makes me smile, and weep tears of great appreciation. So raise your hands, raise your hearts, raise your voices. Give thanks to Wankan Tanka that such a Titan walked amongst us. Never forget this incendiary spirit that opened minds and knocked down walls. Say his name with reverence, for he represents the very best of us all, and in that he will live forever.

Leonard Peltier
# 89637-132
U.S.P. Lewisburg,
P.O. Box 1000,
Lewisburg, PA USA 17837

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Protect the Sacred: Defend the Peaks!

Solidarity with the Defenders of the San Francisco Peaks !
(seen over W. Washington St. in Phoenix, AZ / June 2011

HUFFPOST on Martori's prison labor.

This popped up in the Huffington Post blogs...just a little background to the WalMart / Martori Farms relationship with prison labor.

Resistance Alley, Phoenix

June 3, 2011


"I Ain't Gonna Work On Martori's Farm No More"

Al Norman founder of Sprawl-Busters
Posted: 06/29/11 02:18 PM ET

For the past 20 years, Wal-Mart has fed its stores with agricultural produce from a company called Martori Farms. According to Hoover's profile of the company, Martori is "a fruit and vegetable grower, packer, shipper, and wholesaler and is the largest commercial agricultural company in Arizona.

The agra business was "hand-picked" by Wal-Mart, and in 2007, the giant retailer showcased Martori Farms as part of its "Salute To America's Farmers" program. The Martori farm operations took seed in the 1930s Arizona soil, later specializing in melons and broccoli. The company today has 3 major locations in Arizona, and one site in California. One of its holdings contains more than 15,000 arcres of farmland.

Wal-Mart has described its relationship with Martori Farms as an example of "fruitful collaboration." The retailer's first 35 superstores were stocked with organic cantaloupes from Martori Farms. "Our relationship with Martori Farms is an excellent example of the kind of collaboration we strive for with our suppliers," a Wal-Mart spokesman said four years ago. "Wal-Mart buys more United States agricultural products than any other retailer in the world and we're proud to salute American farmers like Martori Farms."

But new allegations about the use of prison labor at the Scottsdale, Arizona-based Martori Farms could blight the fruitful relationship between the retailer and the farmer.

For almost 20 years, Wal-Mart has had a clear policy forbidding the use of prison labor by its vendors. "Since 1992 Wal-Mart has required its supplier-partners to comply with a stringent code of conduct," Wal-Mart said in a 1997 press statement. "This code requires factories producing merchandise for Wal-Mart to be automatically denied manufacturing certification if inspections reveal...evidence of forced or prison labor."

The Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) has supplied prisoner labor for private agricultural businesses for almost 20 years. For at least the last four years, the state of Arizona has fined employers who knowingly hire undocumented workers. Farmers responded by calling up the ADC for workers. "We are contacted almost daily by different companies needing labor," the manager of the business development unit of Arizona Correctional Industries (ACI) told the Christian Science Monitor in 2007. "Maybe it was labor that was undocumented before, and they don't want to take the risk anymore because of possible consequences, so they are looking to inmate labor as a possible alternative.

One of those businesses that turned to prison labor was Wal-Mart's vendor, Martori Farms. According to a disturbing story published June 24th by, Martori Farms "pays its imprisoned laborers two dollars per hour, not including the travel time to and from the farm." Women from the Arizona state prison complex at Perryville Unit are assigned to work at Martori Farms." Arizona law requires that all able bodied inmates work.

One of the women prisoners at Martori Farms told Truth-Out: "We work eight hours regardless of conditions .... We work in the fields hoeing weeds and thinning plants ... Currently we are forced to work in the blazing sun for eight hours. We run out of water several times a day. We ran out of sunscreen several times a week. They don't check medical backgrounds or ages before they pull women for these jobs. Many of us cannot do it! If we stop working and sit on the bus or even just take an unauthorized break we get a MAJOR ticket which takes away our 'good time'!!! We are told we get 'two' 15 minute breaks and a half hour lunch like a normal job but it's more like 10 minutes and 20 minutes. They constantly yell at us we are too slow and to speed up because we are costing $150 an acre in labor and that's not acceptable... In addition, the prison has sent women to work on the farms regardless of their medical conditions."

Wal-Mart's focus on labor conditions has basically been in Third World producer nations, not on domestic shores. In 1997, Wal-Mart wrote: "The issue of global sourcing and factory conditions is very important to Wal-Mart and to our suppliers. Since 1992, we have spent enormous amounts of time and money to assure compliance with our standards and there has been much improvement."

Yet here in America, prisoners are working under intolerable conditions picking produce for Wal-Mart superstores. In its Standards for Suppliers, Wal-Mart acknowledges that "the conduct of Wal-Mart's suppliers can be attributed to Wal-Mart and its reputation." If for no other reason than to protect its reputation, Wal-Mart should take immediate action against Martori Farms. Such actions should include:

1. an unannounced inspection of working conditions at Martori Farms by an independent auditor

2. enforcement of the Wal-Mart's own Conditions for Employment, including fair compensation of wages and benefits which are in compliance with the local and national laws, reasonable employee work hours in compliance with local standards, with employees not working in excess of the statutory requirements without proper compensation as required by applicable law.

As long as Wal-Mart allows Martori Farms to exploit its prison workers, Wal-Mart is complicit in the scheme. This arrangement violates the company's ethical sourcing standards. Such working conditions are not right in Sri Lanka, not right in Bangladesh, and they are not right in Scottsdale Arizona either.

The next time you squeeze a melon at Wal-Mart, think about the prison farmworkers who got squeezed to produce it.

Wal-Mart's Global Ethics Office can be emailed at

Al Norman is the founder of Sprawl-Busters, and is the author of organizer's classic big box story, Slam-DunkingWal-Mart.


Anarchist Artwalk
Resistance Alley, Phoenix
June 3, 2011

Hackers without Borders: CHINGA LA MIGRA II.

ANTISEC just released a second dump of data from their hack into the AZ DPS computer system - I was going to post the link, but Stephen Lemons wrote a thoughtful blog post in the Phoenix New Times this week after reviewing some of the records released in the first release, which I didn't read all of myself, and I'm deferring to his concern that innocent people's safety could be compromised by some of the information released.

Nevertheless, these folks have an interesting message. Repeating it doesn't mean I agree with all of it - just that I think it's an important voice to hear. Here's the intro to the latest data dump:

--------------Hackers without Borders----------------

Just when you thought it was over, we're hitting the Arizona police state with our second round of attacks. In our first bulletin we dumped a treasure trove of secret law enforcement documents. In this second bulletin, we're dumping booty pirated from a dozen Arizona police officer's personal email accounts looking specifically for humiliating dirt. This leak has names, addresses, phone numbers, passwords, social security numbers, online dating account info, voicemails, chat logs, and seductive girlfriend pictures belonging to a dozen Arizona police officers. We found more internal police reports, cops forwarding racist chain emails, k9 drug unit cops who use percocets, and a convicted sex offender who was part of FOP Maricopa Lodge Five.

We also hit the AZDPS spokesperson Stephen Harrison who been bragging to the news about how they are upgrading their security and how they will catch the evil hackers who exposed them. Clearly not secure enough, because we owned his personal hotmail, facebook and accounts and dumped all his personal details for the world to see. The same fate will meet anyone else who tries to paint us as terrorists in an Orwellian attempt to pass more pro-censorship or racial-profiling police state laws.

We also found details of Jeff Wilson, a former DPS officer and member of a Navajo tribe, planning on suing the department for racial discrimination charges. Amongst the civil rights violations occuring in AZDPS, Sgt. Jeff Eavenson and others were illegally issuing tickets to Navajos in AZ state court jurisdiction instead of tribal courts. When Jeff Wilson brought these charges up to the department, they punished him and pushed him out of the police force. We welcome Wilson's attempts to expose his racist administrators and so we won't we releasing his info.

Yes we're aware that putting the pigs on blast puts risks their safety, those poor defenseless police officers who lock people up for decades, who get away with brutality and torture, who discriminate against people of color, who make and break their own laws as they see fit. We are making sure they experience just a taste of the same kind of violence and terror they dish out on an every day basis. Our advice to you is to quit while you still can and turn on your commanding officers before you end up in our cross hairs next, because we're not stopping until every prisoner is freed and every prison is burned to the ground.

To other hackers: it's time to set aside our differences and join the antisec popular front against the corrupt governments, corporations, militaries, and law enforcement of the world. We promise you much more bounty to come guaranteed to bring smiles to the faces of all those who have hated the police. Unite and fight, for the flames of revolution burn bright!

The Phoenix Police "Red Squad" Detectives.

For those of you not quite so familiar with Phoenix and political protest, I wanted to introduce you to the Phoenix Police Protest Detectives from the Red Squad (also know as the Community Response Team).

Top Row
Lt. Bryan Coley, Det. Rick Tamburo, Det. Dottie Conroy, Det. Al Ramirez, Det. Rick Flum, Det. Tony Davis

Bottom Row
Det. Jeff Wood, Sgt. Mark Schweikert, Det. Jerry Oliver, Det. Chris Wilson, Det. Chris Abril

I found this photo on-line with a memo from the Secret Service thanking them for assuring that everything went smoothly with George Bush's last visit to town (I believe a bunch of people were planning to arrest him for crimes against humanity). Get to know these faces now, so you recognize them casually chatting it up with our less-alert buddies in the street.

These are the folks who are supposed to convince the r
abble that the cops really aren't so bad after all - I mean, look at Al. Everyone loves Al. He just wants us to have a safe protest experience - he's really there to protect our first amendment rights, not inhibit them....right? In fact, he was the first Phoenix Cop to give me the okay to chalk the sidewalks ("just keep it clean, off private property, and on the ground" were the parameters I got).

Thanks for that, Al. I probably wouldn't be facing felony charges for graffiti today if you hadn't nurtured my blossoming artist within when I still thought of you as one of "the good guys"...hmm.

Anyway, this is to remind folks that the real job of every cop - no matter how sweet their smile or gentle their touch when they cuff you - is to maintain order - and that's the same order that has so many people hurting and dying at the bottom with a few living at the top in the luxury they stole from our labor (which we thank them incessantly for the opportunity to provide them at cut rates as we clean their toilets, wipe their asses, and tend their rock gardens...)

That's the order that even the nicest cops maintain for society, and they'll do their duty and haul you off to jail if you disrupt it. A little chalking and chanting from 11am-1pm is okay; channel our energy that way and it helps keep us from launching any meaningful resistance. These guys will almost always police us with a smile (don't be mistaken that that's precisely what they're doing), but that doesn't mean they wouldn't use every other weapon at
their disposal, if they have to. In fact, I think they pull them all out for the Anarchists when the Nazis come to town just to keep their training current.

It's been increasingly my observation that - as a rule of thumb - if you're a community organizer and have a "friendly" relationship with your own Red Squad, it's probably a sign you've been co-opted, and your resistance is only enough to make both you and the cops look like you're doing your jobs. In fact, if that's the relationship, then they're keeping you and your people down more effectively than anyone is rising up. If you're really posing a threat to the status quo, even good old Al will come after you and try to take you out - so be heartened if he ever does. Overt tension with the protest detectives seems to worry some folks across progressive and even some more radical movements, but trust me, hearing an occasional "fuck the police" fly through the air - followed by a canister of tear gas being returned to the owner - is a really good sign of resistance.

In Phoenix, for the most part, the Left is much too friendly with the Red Squad, which is employed in the service of the Right (the so-called "People" here - not the real human beings). The cops define the boundaries of what's acceptable and what's too extreme for good citizen protest, it seems - and most progressive cause protestors are really just trying to be good citizens, in the end (listen to the language they use). The cops show us where free speech is and isn't allowed, and remind us when it gets to be a little too obnoxious. We politely police ourselves, even, so they don't have to.

Here's an example of diminished resistance. One day, Al actually convinced some protesters who had chalked outside the PLEA Union Hall to clean up after themselves when the action was over. They complied. Now, I flipped out when he asked me to do that, frankly. What's the point of screaming the truth at them across the sidewalk if you're just going to take it back when you get it all out of your system and pack up to go home? (actually, I apologized for screaming about that at Al that day, but that's different...)

They keep us corralled in invisibly-marked "free speech zones" where we can "safely" let off steam and think we fought a good battle before we all pack up for our parties that night and go back to our daily lives the next week, where we may or may not have the time or energy or means to resist until the Nazis march again in Phoenix...
and in that way they have been winning - subduing the restless masses with their paternalism and smiles...maintaining the illusion that we are a real democracy because the people can protest...

Tell me, though, Red Squad - what if Americans, like the young and old alike across the Middle East - seriously demanded more democracy, more equality, more freedom, more justice - and threatened to kick our government out by force if we didn't get it in this election cycle? What would our police state look like then? Would it not look much like theirs?

See, I think that's precisely what we need to be doing, as too many of us have grown too numb to the growing human rights and civil liberties crises around us - much like some of us have stopped actively resisting the fact that we are still at war...too many wars.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Wal Mart, Women's Resistance, and Martori Farms

I've posted here and there already about Martori Farms and the news I was receiving from Perryville prisoners regarding the work conditions, but Vikki Law managed to unpack it, put it all into the larger context of women's resistance, and make sense of the women's complaints in a way I hadn't quite been able to. So, for those of you interested in the Martori Farms prison labor situation here in Aguila, Arizona, this is the best summary we have of it.

If you're interested in doing some organizing around these issues, please contact Vikki Law, as she's picking up the slack on this while I'm out with family matters. Vikki compiles the zine Tenacious for women prisoners, and can be reached at:

Victoria Law

PO Box 20388
Tompkins Square Station
New York, NY 10009

or e-mail:

She's on-line at her blog: Resistance Behind Bars, and you can order her book about women's resistance to the prison industrial complex through PM Press. Thanks again for this, Vikki...and to Truth-out for putting it up there.


Martori Farms: Abusive Conditions at a Key Wal-Mart Supplier

Friday 24 June 2011
by: Victoria Law
Truthout | News Analysis

(Photo: Walmart / Flickr)

In 1954, an 18-year-old black woman named Eleanor Rush was incarcerated at the state women's prison. She was placed in solitary confinement for six days.

On the seventh day, Rush was not fed for over 16 hours. After 16 hours, she began yelling that she was hungry and wanted food. In response, the guards bound and gagged her, dislocating her neck in the process.

Half an hour later, Rush was dead.

The next morning, when the other women in the prison gathered in the yard, another woman in the solitary confinement unit yelled the news about Rush's death from her window. The women in the yard surrounded the staff members supervising their activities and demanded answers about Rush's death. When they didn't get them, the women - both the black and the white women - rioted.

The riot lasted three and a half hours, not stopping until Raleigh, North Carolina, police and guards from the men's Central Prison arrived.

The women's riot brought outside attention to Rush's death. As a result:

  • The State Bureau of Investigation ordered a probe into Rush's death rather than believing the prison's explanation that Rush had dislocated her own neck and committed suicide.
  • Until that point, nothing in the prison rules explicitly prohibited the use of improvised gags. After the riot and probe, the State Prisons director explicitly banned the use of gags and iron claws (metal handcuffs that can squeeze tightly).
  • The prison administration was required to pay $3,000 to Rush's mother. At that time, $3,000 was more than half the yearly salary of the prison warden.
  • The prison warden, who had allowed Rush to be bound and gagged, was replaced by Elizabeth McCubbin, the executive director of the Family and Children's Service Agency. Her hiring indicated a shift from a punitive model toward a more social service/social work orientation.

The women themselves testified that they had rioted to ensure that Rush's death was not dismissed and that the circumstances would not be repeated.

Fifty-five years after Rush was killed in solitary confinement, Marcia Powell, a mentally ill 48-year-old woman incarcerated at the Perryville Unit in Arizona, died. The Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) has more than 600 of these outdoor cages where prisoners are placed to confine or restrict their movement or to hold them while awaiting medical appointments, work, education, or treatment programs. On May 20, 2009, the temperature was 107 degrees. Powell was placed in an unshaded cage in the prison yard. Although prison policy states that "water shall be continuously available" to caged prisoners and that they should be in the cage for "no more than two consecutive hours," guards continually denied her water and kept her in the cage for four hours. Powell collapsed of heat stroke, was sent to West Valley Hospital where ADC Director Charles Ryan took her off life support hours later.

The ensuing media attention over Powell's death caused the ADC to temporarily suspend using these cages. Once the media attention faded, the ADC lifted the suspension.(1)

Abuses at Perryville have continued. The ADC has sent its prisoners to work for private agricultural businesses for almost 20 years.(2) The farm pays its imprisoned laborers two dollars per hour, not including the travel time to and from the farm. Women on the Perryville Unit are assigned to Martori Farms, an Arizona farm corporation that supplies fresh fruits and vegetables to vendors across the United States (Martori is the exclusive supplier to Wal-Mart's 2,470 Supercenter and Neighborhood Market stores).(3) According to one woman who worked on the farm crews:

They wake us up between 2:30 and three AM and KICK US OUT of our housing unit by 3:30AM. We get fed at four AM. Our work supervisors show up between 5AM and 8AM. Then it's an hour to a one and a half hour drive to the job site. Then we work eight hours regardless of conditions .... We work in the fields hoeing weeds and thinning plants ... Currently we are forced to work in the blazing sun for eight hours. We run out of water several times a day. We ran out of sunscreen several times a week. They don't check medical backgrounds or ages before they pull women for these jobs. Many of us cannot do it! If we stop working and sit on the bus or even just take an unauthorized break we get a MAJOR ticket which takes away our "good time"!!!

We are told we get "two" 15 min breaks and a half hour lunch like a normal job but it's more like 10 minutes and 20 minutes. They constantly yell at us we are too slow and to speed up because we are costing $150 an acre in labor and that's not acceptable.

The place is infested with spiders of all types, scorpions, snakes and blood suckers. And bees because they harvest them. On my crew alone, there are four women with bee allergies, but they don't care!! There are NO epinephrine pens on site to SAVE them if stung.

There's no anti venom available for snake bites and they want us to use Windex (yes glass cleaner) for scorpion stings!! INSANITY!!! They are denying us medical care here.(4)

Although Martori Farms contracts with the local fire departments to provide medical attention for injuries on the farm, farm supervisors do not always allow women to stop work when they need medical care. When "N" complained of chest pains, the farm representative refused to allow her to stop working. The next day, an hour after returning to work, she began experiencing chest pains. The farm representative told her, "Come on, the big bosses are here. You'll be in trouble if you stop. It's not break time. Work, work, work." "N" complied, working while in pain, until the break. She resumed working for another half hour before she experienced even more severe pains: "I have a steady deep dull pain with sharp stabbing pains periodically ... Then all of a sudden, I can't even lift the hoe in the air. My arms are no longer strong enough. By now, the chest pains are so bad it's knocking the wind out of me. I'm straight seeing stars. I tell our substitute boss officer Sanders I can't do it no more. I'm having really bad chest pains. I can't even lift the hoe anymore." The man accused her of faking these pains, but allowed her to stop working. While the woman was receiving medical attention, another farm representative stated, "Oh, so now they're gonna start faking fucking heart attacks to not work. Great."(5)

In addition, the prison has sent women to work on the farms regardless of their medical conditions. "N" was sent to West Valley Hospital where an emergency room doctor ordered that she be exempt from the farm work crew and any other physical exertion for three to four days. However, when "N" was returned to the prison, the nurse told her that they could not honor the doctor's order and ordered her back to work.

Another woman concurs. "There was one woman that is on oxygen, in a wheelchair, has an IV line and cancer that they sent to the gate to work on the farm ... The captain asked if she could stand. She said yes. His reply was if you can stand, you can farm. She told him no and was issued a disciplinary ticket."(6)

The women have not accepted these abuses quietly. They have launched complaints to prison administrators:

"Women have made their complaints on inmate letters and verbally to the lieutenant, sergeant, captains, deputy warden, counselors, supervisors and the major. Their solution was to give us an extra sack lunch and agree to feed us breakfast Saturday mornings. UGH!! Really ... food is not what we were asking for. Though being fed on Saturdays is nice. Yah! They were not feeding us Saturdays because that's a day Kitchen opens late because they give brunch on weekends. No lunch, so we were getting screwed! But as of this past Saturday they said they would feed us before work! Let's see how long it lasts."

Women have also stood up to unfair demands from the bosses at the farm. One woman recounted:

On Wednesday I go to work ... it's the second day in a row we are doing weeds. [I'm] up to my chest trying to weed to save a minimal amount of watermelon plants. Needless to say, the work was excessively hard - to put it mildly. So I must confess the day before I was "on one," so to speak. My haunted mind was lost in the past and so I was just trucking through the weeds, plowing them down, not even connecting with my physical exertion and pain. So the next day I was completely exhausted and physically broke down!! I was in so much pain because the day before I did like double the work everyone else did. So anyways, the M Farm representative was pushing me so hard trying to get me to produce the same results as the day before ... [He] has everyone at minimum teamed up helping each other plow through these weeds. Well everyone but me that is. I repeatedly asked him to give me a partner. I kept telling him that I was in pain. I also went as far as to tell him that I don't think I can do this anymore, to PLEASE give me a partner also. His response was "No. You're strong. You can do it by yourself." I told him not true; I over-exerted myself yesterday because I was going through some things. Now I'm hurt and need help.... He thought my pleas were funny. I hated to degrade myself and plea so I stopped and continued.

After "N" had finished her assigned row, the farm representative demanded that she finish weeding two other rows that had been abandoned. When she again requested a weeding partner, stating that she was in pain, the representative replied, "When you get to the end, I'll think about it."

By this time, all the girls are finishing their rows because they're all teamed up with 2 or three girls per row. Except me. So there are only two whole rows left on the field by now and he already placed six girls per row. That's twelve women on two rows. And I can't even get one helper. That's RIDICULOUS ... I tell him "Mariano all joking aside, all the others are finishing. Can I please get a helper?" He tells me "Seriously, no joking. When you get to the end, I'll think about it." At that point I'm pretty upset and broke down. I looked at him and said "Is that right?" I paused staring at him waiting for him to stop his male chauvinist domination games or whatever he's playing. When he didn't say anything, but just stared. I told him, "Fine Mariano I'm done. I can't do this anymore. I'm hurt and struggling through this. After what happened to me before I would think you would provide me help when I need it. Since you won't look out for my health and well-being, I will. Someone has to. I'm done for today. I'm going to sit on the bus."

The supervisor demanded that she return to work, threatening to call the prison to have disciplinary tickets written up. She refused.

At this point I'm so angry that this jerk would make me lose everything because I'm not submissive and I don't obey him like the women back in Mexico do that I admit I blew up and acted unprofessional. I told him "Mariano, Fuck you and your tickets. Go write them if you want. In fact I'll write them for you to make sure you get the facts straight."...

At this point the two women who were on the bus got all riled up and were yelling, "That's not fair. She's your best worker and you're going to punish her with tickets!!!" "She's hurt I heard her asking for help all day!" "We've been sitting on the bus for over an hour and we're not getting tickets, why is she the only one getting a ticket?"(7)

Not only did "N" stand up for herself, but the other women defended her actions at the risk of being ticketed as well. Their combined efforts ensured that "N" was not issued a ticket in retaliation for standing up for herself.

Women have also alerted outside advocates and activists about these inhumane conditions, again at great risk to themselves. If not for their courage in speaking out, the outside world would remain unaware of the exploitation and abuse on the farm.

While the women both endure and challenge these abuses, those outside prison gates remain largely unaware of their struggles. Those involved in social justice organizing need to recognize that prisons and prison injustices are exacerbations of the same social issues in the outside world and recognize that these struggles intersect. Safe from the retaliation of prison authorities, outside organizers and activists can and should raise their voices and take action to help the women inside challenge and ultimately stop these abuses.


1. As of April 15, 2010, these cages (or "temporary holding enclosures") remain in use. Arizona Department of Corrections, Department Order Manual, Department Order 704: Inmate Regulations.

2. Nicole Hill, "With Fewer Migrant Workers, Farmers Turn to Prison Labor," Christian Science Monitor, August 22, 2007. Reprinted here.

3. Press release, "16-Year Relationship Between Wal-Mart and Arizona Business Grows, Thrives," September 7, 2007. The 2470 figure is as of August 1, 2007.

4. Letter from "N," dated April 24, 2011.

5. Letter from "N," dated April 24, 2011

6. Letter from "H," dated May 22, 2011.

7. Letter from "N," dated May 7, 2011.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Crime really pays for the privileged few...

This article from the Daily Kos comes to us via our friend Lois Ahrens at the Real Cost of Prisons Project, a great source of information on the prison industrial complex in America...

So, as I've been saying, if you have a private prison in your community, you embrace a business which has invested in the continued crime - and thus victimization - in more devastated communities. That's part of what corrupts prison towns so thoroughly.


Report: Private prison companies boost incarceration rates for profit

by Meteor Blades for Daily Kos
June 25, 2011

A new report from the reformist Justice Policy Institute concludes that private prison companies have not only benefited from increased incarceration, they have also helped fuel it.

According to "Gaming the System: How the Political Strategies of Private Prison Companies Promote Ineffective Incarceration Policies", ( private prisons have increased their "market share" of the overall prison population. While the number of inmates over the past decade has risen 16 percent, the number in private federal facilities has risen 120 percent and the number in state facilities has risen 33 percent. Meanwhile, the two largest private prison operators, Correction Corporations of America and GEO Group (formerly Wackenhut), raked in a combined $2.9 billion in revenue in 2010.

While private prison companies may try to present themselves as just meeting existing 'demand‛ for prison beds and responding to current 'market‛ conditions, in fact they have worked hard over the past decade to create markets for their product. As revenues of private prison companies have grown over the past decade, the companies have had more resources with which to build political power, and they have used this power to promote policies that lead to higher rates of incarceration...

While private prison companies may claim that changes in criminal justice legislation are "outside our control," they are in fact engaged in a number of activities aimed at increasing their control of the market; this includes applying political pressure to lawmakers, working to influence elections, and building relationships within agencies or with government officials to directly formulate policy. ...

In order to ensure that they have a stable or increasing ‚market share‛ of incarceration (and therefore increasing revenue), private prison companies engage in a political game to influence policy and incarceration. Over the last two decades private prison companies have developed a three-pronged approach to influence incarceration policy and secure government contracts. Through campaign contributions, lobbying and building relationships and associations, private prison companies engage in an aggressive political strategy to influence criminal justice policies in ways that lead to more people in prison and more money in their pockets. ...

One way to do that is to make direct, monetary contributions to political campaigns for elected officials and specific policies.

How much? A bundle. In the past five election cycles, the three biggest companies in the private prison industry have contributed $835,514 to federal candidates and $6,092,331 to state politicians. Democrats received 31.8 percent of the money, Republicans got 59.1 percent, and 8.7 percent went to ballot measures, according to the institute.

Lobbying is a big part of the industry's approach. CCA had 41 lobbyists in just three states—Tennessee, Nevada and Florida—from 2003 to 2010. The institute found it impossible to track all the money spent on lobbying at the state level by these companies as a consequence of widely differing disclosure laws. With the arrival of the Citizens United ruling, that task will not become easier.

The "revolving door" also benefits the private prison industry, with many former government officials joining prison companies the same way ex-colonels and ex-generals join the weapons industry upon retirement, and for the same reason: influence among their former colleagues. It works in the other direction, too, of course. One example cited in the institute's report is Stacia Hylton, director of the United States Marshals Service.

In 2010, Hylton started a private prison consulting firm, called Hylton Kirk and Associates, while still working at the Department of Justice as the Federal Detention Trustee. After retiring from the trustee position, Hylton agreed to a consulting contract with The GEO Group worth $112,500.90. As Director of the U.S. Marshals, Hylton will head an agency that has a long-standing contractual relationship with The GEO Group. In 2010, the U.S. Marshal’s accounted for 19 percent of GEO’s revenue. With Hylton in a position to oversee government contracts with private prisons, the ongoing influence of private prison companies in the public sphere is virtually guaranteed.

One of the key claims of the prison industry is that private is cheaper. That may be true in some instances, but studies by the Government Accountability Office, the National Institute of Justice and the University of Utah have found no cost savings. Often, this is because the private companies fail to mention hidden costs of their operations and make low-ball estimates of their expected overhead when bidding on a new prison. The one place they regularly beat the public sector is the speed with which they typically build a prison.

Globe's prison town prospects: with what will crime pay?

This letter is a sorry reflection of all those "economic planners'" and "community leaders" who see only short term cash rewards from private prisons, and have little concern for the long term corrosion it brings to a community - look at what's happened to the City of God, Eloy...who planned all that, anyway? It wasn't the people - it was none other than Corrections Corporation of America and the politicians and businessmen they seduced. The Eloy mayor is even on their payroll.

Those prisons reflect on their host communities, you know, and it's pretty sad what becomes of prison towns once the mentality that abuse of prisoners is an acceptable externality of the market in today's society sets in. Even decent people become complacent with the illusion that they aren't responsible for changing such conditions - they are coopted even in the face of evidence of evil there in order to continue their income, pay rent, cover their health care, assure new books for their kids schools, etc.

This guy talks about how the community will profit from the rewards Emerald and the State collectively promise - but how will this pay? Most residents can't really wish for the children of Globe to be transformed by a prison-dependent labor sector into abusive, callous people capable of
torturing and raping others bound in chains - yet this proposal offers little hope for other ways for townspeople to support themselves that doesn't require that they buy into this racist, misogynistic, repressive system of "justice".

What a new prison will NOT bring is a healthier town, that's for sure. You begin to die the day you break ground. Don't trust anyone who tries to tell you otherwise - they're sucking the real profits off for themselves, and will leave your town to wither once the American prison boom goes bust.

So, good luck to the Resistance in Globe. Don't let the creeps at Corplan/Emerald rape your lovely community of its humanity, at least not while it sleeps. Wake your neighbors up, and fight their propaganda and politics back with everything you have...

Well-done university project on private prisons in America...

---------------from the AZ Silver Belt, in Globe-----------

EDC president responds to ballot initiatives on prison prospect

Letters to the Editor /
Arizona Silver Belt

Wednesday, Jun 15th, 2011

There will more than likely be a public hearing in our area sometime before June 30, 2011 in response to whether the residents of the City of Globe are interested in having an additional prison built within the City limits. At this time none of us know exactly when or if this will be, we only know that the State plans to award contracts on or around July 1, 2011, which will add 5,000 beds into the Arizona State Department of Corrections (DOC) system.

The Southern Gila County Economic Development Corporation has been working with Emerald Companies, a private corporation, along with their engineers, developers and the AZ DOC in an effort to bring 1,000 beds to our area. You might ask why the SGCEDC would continue to work on this project after hearing that 2,700 people are opposed to this project. Please let me offer our position on this project. We represent approximately 27,000 residents in southern Gila County and we strongly believe that we have heard personally from the majority who recognize the benefits of this project. While the SGCEDC has made an effort to keep the public informed on this project, we did not feel that it would be proper to debate this project in the media before knowing if it was even available to us.

At this time Emerald Companies have been asked to provide their Best & Final offer, which means that their proposal is being considered. We have assimilated a lot of information and have made this information available to the public at many past meetings, at my monthly Meet & Greet meetings, and a couple of advertisements in the local newspapers. Also Mr. Mickie Nye attended several radio programs with Mr. Jim Moss to thoroughly discuss this project. We have not withheld any facts about this project. The following information has been researched and compiled very carefully to bring you an accurate review of this project. We have heard from many residents and business that this project will offer many more assets to our communities than disadvantages.

A project this size will bring over 300 direct jobs and approximately another 100 indirect jobs. As of the end of 2010 Gila County was suffering with an unemployment rate of 11.1 percent which means that there were approximately 6,000 people either unemployed or actively looking for employment. We believe that this project will help our economy and better the life style of many of these residents. We recognized that this project will also relieve a large strain from our social programs design to help unemployed people. If you are currently unemployed and seeking work locally, please watch for the Public Hearing Notice and join the meeting to show your support for this project.

If a contract is awarded for our area, this project will be totally developed by Emerald Companies. This includes all of the financing arrangements. None of our local governments will be responsible for the financing. Emerald will build this property to the State DOC specifications and the operations will be stipulated by the DOC. Since this project is under an AZ State contract it is strictly regulated by the DOC. The construction of this project will bring a new sewer line through the City’s North East Corridor proposed development. This along with improvements to the water infrastructure will benefit the City of Globe by two million dollars.

What are the monetary benefits? The salary range is $29,000 to $200,000 annually. These are not minimum wage jobs. The current prison located in the same area provides approximately $3.5 million dollars in annual wages along with another half million dollars in local revenues. Economists will tell you that the dollar turns five to seven times before escaping local communities, which calculates out to $20 - $28 million dollars annually. This is a nice clean industry with continuous sustainability. We need these jobs!

I have heard so many stories about the bad things that come with private prisons and I will tell you that I cannot accurately respond about this because, like any private business, they all operate differently. However, I can tell you that we, as a team, have investigated Emerald Companies very thoroughly. They are a very good private prison operator. If they are awarded this contract for a 1,000 bed facility they will have to provide the same service and safety standards that are required within the state operated facilities.

In closing I would like to ask that if you are a registered voter within the City of Globe and are asked to sign any petition to put this issue on the ballot in March of 2012, please strongly consider saying no. This would be a tactic to interfere with the DOC process and the true feelings of the citizens of Globe would not be known until long after the contracts have been awarded. Some other community will receive this huge economic benefit. That would be a shame during these economic times.

Jerry McCreary

SGCEDC Board President

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Chinga la Migra: AZ DPS Computer Hacked.

A group of apparent anarchists hacked into AZ Law enforcement computers this week and dumped a ton of documents on the internet. Here's the group's intro...

-------CHINGA LA MIGRA BULLETIN #1 6/23/2011-----------

"We are releasing hundreds of private intelligence bulletins, training manuals, personal email correspondence, names, phone numbers, addresses and passwords belonging to Arizona law enforcement. We are targeting AZDPS specifically because we are against SB1070 and the racial profiling anti-immigrant police state that is Arizona.

The documents classified as "law enforcement sensitive", "not for public distribution", and "for official use only" are primarily related to border patrol and counter-terrorism operations and describe the use of informants to infiltrate various gangs, cartels, motorcycle clubs, Nazi groups, and protest movements.

Every week we plan on releasing more classified documents and embarassing personal details of military and law enforcement in an effort not just to reveal their racist and corrupt nature but to purposefully sabotage their efforts to terrorize communities fighting an unjust "war on drugs". Hackers of the world are uniting and taking direct action against our common oppressors - the government, corporations, police, and militaries of the world. See you again real soon!"


What I've read of the documents is very troubling, but not too surprising, sadly. It just confirms what a fascist, hateful state we have been too long subject to in Arizona. Brenda Norrell at Censored News does a great job of sorting through some of the data and pulling out the important pieces. Check out her blog for the best coverage of indigenous and human rights issues that no one is talking about.

The following post is from her site.


Hacked data reveals US Marines as contract killers, hunting migrants on the border

Friday, June 24, 2011

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News
Photo: San Xavier crosses for migrants who died in the Sonoran Desert by Brenda Norrell

(Updated on Friday 2 pm: Arpaio tweets)

The hunting and murder of migrants by US Marines along the Arizona border was among the first facts revealed, after LulzSec hacked the Arizona Department of Public Safety on Thursday.

Describing the hacked data,, said, "There are countless mundane documents covering hours worked, officers' personal information and other stuff of minimal journalistic interest. But the bulletins often offer fascinating stories of law enforcement encounters, such as this one with off-duty Marines patrolling the U.S.-Mexico border with assault weapons."

The data describes heavily-armed US Marines, working on contract, to hunt migrants:

"In other incidents reported in October, U.S. Border Patrol agents encountered two subjects who claimed to be members of the Border Watch Group the Blue Lights based on the Caballo Loco Ranch. The subjects, armed with pistols and at least one M4 rifle, were dressed in full desert camouflage uniforms, similar to those of the United States military. They stated they were not members of the Minutemen, but paid contract employees who ‘get the job done’ and ‘were not just volunteers.’ They possessed valid United States Marine Corps identification cards."

A large percentage of the migrants in the Arizona border region are Indigenous Peoples from Central and South America, including many Mayan women and children from Chiapas, Oaxaca and Guatemala. Murders and rapes by the US military, Arizona law enforcement, the US Border Patrol and anti-immigration groups and other hate groups, are often ignored or concealed.

As it released the hacked data, Lulz Security said in a statement, “We are targeting AZDPS specifically because we are against SB1070 and the racial profiling anti-immigrant police state that is Arizona.”

“Every week we plan on releasing more classified documents and embarrassing personal details of military and law enforcement in an effort not just to reveal their racist and corrupt nature but to purposefully sabotage their efforts to terrorize communities fighting an unjust ‘war on drugs.’”

Arizona officials confirmed on Thursday that Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Twitter account received a message from LulzSec, after Arpaio complained of heat from the media on Thursday.

"The media has been giving me a lot of heat lately but nothing compared to tent city! You think you're hot? It's 128 degrees there today!" said Arpaio, who uses the name of RealSheriffJoe on Twitter.

Lulzsec responded, "Media? Heat? You? Chinga La Migra!" using the Spanish words for "F--k the Border Patrol."

Arpaio continued to tweet away on Friday, announcing that he would be speaking to the Gun Owners of America tonight in Reno. Yesterday, after Lulzsec's tweet, Arpaio said he met yesterday with Brazilian Counsel General Jose Alfredo Garicia Lima. Arpaio said "illegal immigration" was among the issues discussed.

As the data was slowly released on Thursday night, Arizona human rights activists waited to learn more about police spying on peaceful protests by immigration and border rights activists.

Tagged "SB 1070 Protests and Civil Disobedience," the data is a bulletin from the Arizona Counter-Terrorism Information Center. The bulletin states that police were watching demonstrators from Tucson, Phoenix and Flagstaff as they prepared for civil disobedience in reaction to SB 1070 on July 26-31, 2010. However, the bulletin also points out the non-violent nature of the July 22 act of civil disobedience at the courthouse in Phoenix. It also states that counterprotesters at events thus far were non-violent.

On the subject of racial profiling, concludes, "Even after controlling for other explanatory factors, racial/ethnic disparities exist for warnings, repair orders, citations, arrests and seaches. Further analyses of searches and seizures illustrate that hispanic, black and native american drivers were significantly more likely to be searched compared to whites." (This report was previously made public in regards to Native Americans being racially profiled by Arizona law enforcement.)

There is also an admission about the intent of an officer for police brutality. It follows a guide to social networking sites which cautions officers not to boast about beating arrestees on Facebook, because that may be of use to defense attorneys, according to

One of the notable postings introduced to the jury was that the officer watched the movie "Training Day" (a motion picture that displayed corrupt police behavior and brutality) to brush up on "proper police procedure." One of his postings said, "If he wanted to tune him up some, he should have delayed cuffing him." In another he added, "If you were going to hit a cuffed suspect, at least get your money's worth 'cause now he's going to get disciplined for a relatively light punch."

Meanwhile in Arizona, O’odham and other Native Americans continue to call for an end to the militarization of the border and their homelands. Indigenous rights activists continue to document the abuses of the US Border Patrol in their homelands, from California to Texas.

In Arizona, border rights activists continue to search the Sonoran Desert for those dying and dead, and battle for the right to legally give water to dying migrants on the Tohono O’odham Nation.

While the United States provides media spin to avoid responsibility for the drug war in Mexico, the fact is there would be no drug war without the appetite for illegal drugs in the US.

Recently it was also revealed that the weapons used in the violent drug war come not just from illegal weapons trafficking in the US, but also from the ATF. ATF agents revealed that they were ordered to let weapons “walk” across the border into Mexico, supposedly in sting operations. Ultimately those ATF weapons, in at least two cases, were used to kill US federal agents.

Further, the US has not fully disclosed its role in training members of the Zetas who were initially US Special Forces trained in the US.

In related news, the Southern Poverty Law Center revealed that a neo-Nazi accused of making illegal explosive devices apparently was interested in supplying those munitions to anti-immigration groups patrolling the U.S.-Mexican border in Arizona, according to court documents. Jeffery Harbin, a member of the white supremacist National Socialist Movement, was allegedly building homemade grenades and pipe bombs at home.

A federal grand jury indicted Harbin, 28, of Apache Junction, Ariz., on three counts of possessing explosive devices in January.

One area heavily patrolled by anti-immigration and hate groups, and a site of their camps, is along the eastern boundary line of the Tohono O'odham Nation, between Three Points and Sasabe.

Friday, June 24, 2011

ACLU-AZ: "In their Own Words" Detention abuse.

This broke my heart, and is sadly nothing new - except that it's so well-documented now. I have to say that the ACLU of Arizona has been earning their keep here recently...thanks to Dan Pochoda and crew for all their work. Sorry I don't always give you enough credit - you really did come through here. Victoria Lopez - you're especially amazing. You get our Human Rights Warrior award today.

------------from the ACLU-AZ website-----------

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Contact: Alessandra Soler Meetze 602-418-5499 (cell) or 602-773-6006 (office)

PHOENIX – The U.S. government’s heavy reliance on immigration detention has led to inhumane conditions in Arizona’s five immigration detention centers, unnecessary and prolonged detention and abusive treatment of immigrants, according to a new report released today by the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona. The 36-page report, “In Their Own Words: Enduring Abuse in Arizona Immigration Detention Centers." is the most comprehensive report documenting the experiences of immigrants detained by the federal government in Arizona.

“Many of the men and women that we spoke to are needlessly detained for many months to several years in terrible conditions that jeopardize their safety and well-being,” said ACLU of Arizona staff attorney Victoria Lopez, who authored the report based on 115 face-to-face interviews conducted with people detained in Eloy and Florence, Arizona over a two-year period from March 2009 through March 2011. “Until there is independent oversight and monitoring of facilities where immigration detainees are held, detainees have no choice but to speak up for themselves.”

As part of the ACLU’s documentation efforts, Lopez spent countless hours corresponding with detainees, interviewing their family members, and culling through hundreds of government records, including more than 500 grievances. The report illustrates the real stories of people, including vulnerable women and transgender detainees, who have suffered from abuses related to inhumane conditions and inadequate legal protections while detained.

According to the report, flawed immigration policies, including local immigration enforcement, have led to a 58% increase in immigration detention in Arizona over the past six years. In addition, because there are no legally-enforceable standards and the majority of immigration detention centers in Arizona are operated by either private corporations or a local county jail, there is very little oversight over the delivery of medical care, grievance procedures, and overall treatment of detainees.

One of the cases cited by the ACLU in its report documents the story of Leticia, a single mother of two U.S. citizen children with no criminal history who was detained for almost two years by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at the Pinal County Jail (PCJ), which is operated by Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu. During most of that time, she was not allowed contact visits with her children or outdoor recreation and endured deplorable conditions.

Despite statements by the Department of Homeland Security almost two years ago indicating initiatives to reform the immigration detention system, major failures persist in the Arizona facilities, the ACLU said. Among its recommendations, the ACLU-AZ called on ICE to terminate its contract with PCJ, which received “deficient” ratings in 2007, 2008 and 2009, and where the ACLU documented the most egregious examples of human rights abuses.

For example, in the winter 2010, ICE transferred hundreds of immigrant women out of PCJ after the women submitted petition letters complaining of abusive treatment by guards, insufficient hygiene supplies, and poor medical treatment. In the spring 2011, men detained at the same jail began a hunger strike to protest many of the same problems. Over the course of the past year, the ACLU-AZ has also received reports from PCJ involving excessive use of force against detainees and jail officials’ failure to accommodate detainees’ religious needs.

“No amount of cosmetic fixes will take care of the fact that immigration detention presents major fiscal and human costs for immigrants and citizens alike,” added Lopez. “DHS should take immediate steps to end its contract with Pinal County Jail officials who aren’t being held accountable and operate a facility that fails to meet even minimum constitutional standards."

With 3,000 people detained on any given day in ICE facilities in Arizona, the ACLU-AZ also called on the federal government to reduce the number of people subjected to detention in Arizona by utilizing more cost-effective alternatives to detention and ensure that conditions in Arizona detention facilities comport with basic human rights and needs.

Read the ACLU-AZ’s full report, “In Their Own Words: Enduring Abuse in Arizona Immigration Detention Centers."

Nuevo reporte de la ACLU de Arizona documenta condiciones inhumanas y políticas fallidas en los centros de detención de inmigración en Arizona

El grupo insta a la terminación del contrato con la Cárcel del Condado Pinal

Jueves, Junio 23, 2011

Contacto: Alessandra Soler Meetze 602-418-5499 (celular) ó 602-773-6006 (oficina)

PHOENIX – El exceso de dependencia en la detención de inmigración por parte del gobierno de los Estados Unidos ha llevado a condiciones inhumanas en los cinco centros de detención de inmigración de Arizona, a la detención innecesaria y prolongada y al trato abusivo de inmigrantes, de acuerdo a un nuevo reporte de la Unión Americana de Libertades Civiles de Arizona (ACLU por sus siglas en inglés) publicado hoy. El reporte de 36 páginas, titulado “En sus propias palabras: soportando el abuso en los centros de detención de inmigración en Arizona”, es el reporte más exhaustivo que documenta las experiencias de inmigrantes detenidos por el gobierno federal en Arizona.

“Muchos de los hombres y mujeres con los que hablamos son detenidos innecesariamente durante muchos meses hasta varios años en condiciones terribles que ponen en peligro su seguridad y su bienestar”, declaró Victoria López, abogada del personal de la ACLU de Arizona, quien redactó el reporte basado en 115 entrevistas personales con individuos detenidos en Eloy y Florence durante un periodo de más de dos años, desde marzo de 2009 hasta marzo de 2011. “Hasta que exista una supervisión independiente y un monitoreo de las instalaciones en donde los detenidos de inmigración son recluidos, los detenidos no tendrán otra opción más que hablar por sí mismos”.

Como parte de los esfuerzos de documentación de la ACLU, López pasó incontables horas manteniendo correspondencia con los detenidos, entrevistando a miembros de sus familias, y seleccionando entre cientos de registros del gobierno, incluyendo más de 500 quejas. El reporte muestra las historias reales de las personas, incluyendo las de mujeres vulnerables e individuos transgénero detenidos, quienes sufrieron a causa de los abusos relacionados a las condiciones inhumanas y protecciones legales inadecuadas mientras se encontraban detenidos.

De acuerdo al reporte, las políticas fallidas de inmigración, que incluyen la aplicación local de leyes de inmigración, han llevado a un incremento del 58 por ciento en las detenciones de inmigración en Arizona durante los pasados seis años. Asimismo, a causa de que no existen normas que se hagan cumplir legalmente y de que la mayoría de los centros de detención de inmigración en Arizona son operados ya sea por corporaciones privadas o por una cárcel local de condado, existe muy poca supervisión sobre la prestación de cuidado médico, los procedimientos para presentar quejas, y el trato en general de los detenidos.

Uno de los casos mencionados por la ACLU en este reporte documenta la historia de Leticia, una madre soltera de dos hijos ciudadanos de Estados Unidos y sin historial de antecedentes criminales, quien fue detenida durante casi dos años por la Oficina de Inmigración y Control de Aduanas de los Estados Unidos (ICE por sus siglas en inglés) en la Cárcel del Condado Pinal, la cual es operada por el Sheriff del Condado Pinal Paul Babeu. Durante la mayoría de ese tiempo, a ella no se le permitió tener visitas para tener contacto con sus hijos ni tener una actividad recreativa en exteriores, y soportó asimismo condiciones deplorables.

No obstante las declaraciones del Departamento de Seguridad Nacional de los Estados Unidos (DHS por sus siglas en inglés) hechas hace casi dos años indicando iniciativas para reformar el sistema de detención de inmigración, persisten muchas fallas en las instalaciones carcelarias de Arizona, informó la ACLU. Entre sus recomendaciones, la ACLU-AZ hizo un llamado a ICE para que dé fin a sus contratos con la Cárcel del Condado Pinal, la cual recibió evaluaciones “deficientes” en 2007, 2008 y 2009, y en donde la ACLU documentó los ejemplos más atroces de abusos a los derechos humanos.

Por ejemplo, durante el invierno de 2010, ICE transfirió a cientos de mujeres inmigrantes fuera de la Cárcel del Condado Pinal (PCJ por sus siglas en inglés) después de que las mujeres sometieron cartas de petición quejándose de un trato abusivo por parte de los guardias, de no tener suficientes artículos para la higiene, y de un cuidado médico inadecuado. En la primavera de 2011, hombres detenidos en la misma cárcel comenzaron una huelga de hambre para protestar en contra de los mismos problemas. Durante el curso del año pasado, la ACLU-AZ también ha recibido reportes desde la PCJ que involucran el uso de fuerza excesiva en contra de los detenidos y la falla por parte de los guardias carcelarios de proveer acomodo para las necesidades de carácter religioso de los detenidos.

“Ninguna cantidad de remedios superficiales resolverán el hecho de que la detención de inmigración representa grandes costos fiscales y humanos para inmigrantes y ciudadanos por igual”, añadió López. “El DHS debe tomar medidas inmediatas para dar fin a su contrato con los funcionarios de la Cárcel del Condado Pinal, a quienes no se les está haciendo responsables y operan una cárcel que no cumple aún con las mínimas normas constitucionales”.

Con más de 3,000 personas que son detenidas en cualquier día determinado en las instalaciones de ICE en Arizona, la ACLU-AZ también hizo un llamado al gobierno federal para que reduzca el número de personas que son sujetas a la detención de inmigración en Arizona al utilizar alternativas que sean más rentables a la detención y que aseguren que las condiciones en las instalaciones de detención en Arizona se adhieran a las necesidades y derechos humanos básicos.

El reporte completo de la ACLU-AZ “En sus propias palabras: soportando el abuso en los centros de detención de inmigración en Arizona”, está disponible en-línea en este nexo: