By Jonathan Bix of Hudson Valley Black Lives Matter Coalition. Poughkeepsie, NY – On Thursday, the Hudson Valley Black Lives Matter Coalition and Samuel Harrell’s family and friends gathered in Hulme Park to call for justice for Mr. Harrell, a Black prisoner diagnosed with bipolar disorder who was killed by corrections officers at the Fishkill Correctional Facility. Fifty people gathered around enlarged photos of Mr. Harrell with his family, as his widow and sister spoke of their love for Samuel, their grief at his murder, and their commitment to fight until justice is won. The group marched down Market St., with several people wearing paper “bloody” hands and wearing signs with the names of the District Attorney (DA) and corrections officers known to have killed Samuel Harrell.
By Mike Ludwig in TruthOut. The prison industry in the United States has grown so large that there are no less than seven professional associations for people who work at prisons and jails. The industry conferences held by these associations provide a perfect venue for private corrections companies to influence government officials with little public oversight, according to a recent report by the watchdog group In The Public Interest (ITPI). The biggest names in the prison business spend millions of dollars sponsoring these conferences and wooing prison officials with free massages, awards ceremonies, luxury dinner cruises and plenty of corporate schwag. Over the past week, one of the most prominent associations, the American Correctional Association (ACA), held its summer conference in Indianapolis
By Noelle Hanrahan for Prison Radio – Mumia Abu-Jamal remains weak, ill, and in the prison infirmary. Five months after being admitted to the hospital with lethal blood sugar levels and in renal failure, he continues to have a debilitating skin rashes, open wounds and swelling across his lower extremities. Because of our relentless demands for medical testing and treatment, we finally know the likely cause of his severe ailments: Hepatitis C. But what is news to us is not news to his jailers. Prison officials have known that Mumia was Hep. C positive since 2012– and have done nothing. Even now that prison doctors know that Mumia’s Hep. C is active -from testing they performed solely because we demanded it-they are refusing to provide treatment. Today, we are going back to court to demand justice for our brother.
By Gavin FinchLiam Vaughan for Bloomberg – Former UBS Group AG and Citigroup Inc. trader Tom Hayes, the first person to stand trial for manipulating Libor, was sentenced to 14 years in prison after being found guilty of conspiracy to rig the benchmark rate. After a week of deliberations, jurors unanimously found that the 35-year-old worked with traders and brokers to game the London interbank offered rate to benefit his own trading positions. Judge Jeremy Cooke’s sentence after the verdict is among the longest for financial crime in the U.K. “Probity and honesty are essential, as is trust. The Libor activities of which you took part in put that in jeopardy,” Cooke said as he handed out the sentence in London Monday. “A message needs to be sent to the world of banking.” Prosecutors said during the nine-week trial that Hayes was the “ringmaster” of a global network of 25 traders and brokers from at least 10 firms who tried to manipulate Libor on an industrial scale. He would bribe, bully, cajole and reward his contacts for their help in skewing the benchmark, used to price more than $350 trillion of financial contracts from mortgages to credit cards and student loans.
By Renee Lewis in Al Jazeera. Hempstead, TX – More than 100 people staged a protest Friday outside the county jail in Hempstead, Texas, where a black woman was found dead one week ago after being arrested following an altercation with police. Officials have called the death a suicide. But protestors led by Quanell X — leader of the Houston New Black Panther Party — disputed that, shouting “No justice, no peace!” and “We demand answers!” Twenty-eight-year-old Sandra Bland was arrested during a July 10 traffic stop in the Texas town of Prairie Ville after allegedly kicking the officer who pulled her over. A witness said the policeman dragged Bland from her car and then roughly detained her. In a video showing the arrest, Bland can be heard saying the officer had slammed her head into the ground.
By Rev. Edward Pinkney. My name is Reverend Edward Pinkney. I am at Lakeland Correctional Facility, otherwise known as a prison, in Coldwater, Michigan. I am a victim of racial injustice and over-reaching corporate power in Berrien County, Michigan. I am an internationally recognized activist who acts and fights for justice for all, and I am the leader of the Black Autonomy Network Community Organization (BANCO). I was sentenced to 30 months to ten years. This is a death sentence for a 66-year-old man. I was accused of a crime I did not commit. Because I exercised my democratic right to petition to recall the Benton Harbor Mayor James Hightower, who supports the Whirlpool Corporation and not the residents of Benton Harbor, I was charged with five felony counts of changing dates on petitions!
By Chris Hedges for Truthdig. “We have to shut down the prisons,” Council, known as Kinetik, one of the founders of the Free Alabama Movement, told me by phone from the Holman Correctional Facility in Escambia County, Ala. He has been in prison for 21 years, serving a sentence of life without parole. “We will not work for free anymore. All the work in prisons, from cleaning to cutting grass to working in the kitchen, is done by inmate labor. [Almost no prisoner] in Alabama is paid. Without us the prisons, which are slave empires, cannot function. Prisons, at the same time, charge us a variety of fees, such as for our identification cards or wrist bracelets, and [impose] numerous fines, especially for possession of contraband. They charge us high phone and commissary prices. Prisons each year are taking larger and larger sums of money from the inmates and their families. The state gets from us millions of dollars in free labor and then imposes fees and fines. You have brothers that work in kitchens 12 to 15 hours a day and have done this for years and have never been paid.”
By Carol Rosenberg for the Miami Herald. U.S. troops delivered six long-held Yemeni prisoners from Guantánamo for resettlement in the Arabian Sea nation Oman on Friday, the Pentagon said early Saturday, resuming transfers that had been stalled for months. The mission reduced the detainee population at the prison camps to 116 captives, 51 cleared for transfers with security assurances from the nation taking them in. Among those released was Emad Hassan, 35, whose lawyers said had been on the prison hunger strike since 2007, and failed to get a judge to stop his forced-feedings. Hassan, captured in Pakistan in March 2002, became a devotee of the “Game of Thrones” series and Dan Brown novels from the prison library, according to his attorney Alka Pradhan. All six had been cleared for release for at least five years. None was ever charged with a crime. All were taken to the prison camps in the summer of 2002.
By Ben Reynolds for ROAR. How can we create the fundamental change we so desperately need? We need a superior strategy to the failed strategies of the past; we need a means to turn an uprising into a revolution. History offers a few successful examples of popular organizing we can draw from. During the French Revolution, the popular assemblies of the Paris sections formed a radical base that pushed the developing revolution forward. The Russian Revolution of 1917 saw deliberative popular bodies known as “soviets” overthrow the provisional government in the name of bread and peace. These kinds of systems — based upon deliberative councils and assemblies — frequently appear in any period of unrest or upheaval, and have recently emerged in Argentina, Spain, and elsewhere. In the present, the Kurdish movement in Turkey and Syria employs a developed version of this system known as “democratic confederalism.” Face-to-face neighborhood assemblies form the base of political decision-making, while successive councils operate at the district, city and regional levels. The councils and assemblies deliberate upon all of the issues facing the community and attempt to organize the means to effect necessary changes.
By Al Jazeera Staff. Jailed activist Mohamed Soltan, who has been on hunger strike for over a year in protest against his detention in Egypt, has been freed and sent back to his home country, the United States. Soltan, a 27-year-old US-Egyptian dual citizen and human rights activist, was arrested in September 2013 when police was searching for his father, a senior member of the now outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group. Last month, Soltan was sentenced to life in prison for allegedly supporting the group, a verdict his family challenges, saying that there was no evidence against him. A website calling for his release also said he was not a member of the Brotherhood, describing him as a US-educated peace activist who was involved in youth events and charities.
For the past three years, Ashley Diamond has been denied health care as well as protection from recurring violence from the men around her. But she has been fighting back — and her fight has been making headlines and wresting small changes from the Georgia Department of Corrections. Her story starkly illustrates the challenges facing trans women behind bars — from frequent violence and sexual assaults to the denial of hormones and other medical neglect. But Diamond’s experiences are far from unique, or even unusual. Nor is her decision to challenge prison policies around trans health care and safety an exception. Across the country, trans people have individually challenged and collectively organized to be free from physical, sexual and medical violence.
Four activists, who appeared in court on May 15th for a pre-trial status hearing, will have to return to Washington, DC on July 7, 2015 to stand trial on the charge of unlawful entry, which carries a maximum sentence of 6 months in prison. The four were arrested on April 24, 2015 at the Embassy of El Salvador where they staged a sit-in to call attention to 17 Salvadoran women currently serving extreme 30-year prison sentences for having had miscarriages. The charges are for aggravated homicide and receiving illegal abortions, though there is little to no evidence as to the causes of their miscarriages. Carmen Guadalupe Vásquez Aldana made international headlines last month as the first of the 17 to be released. “This is a grave injustice. Where there is injustice, silence is complicity,” said Father Roy Bourgeois.
Raise your fist, but not to fight. This week it’s about the power of the mind – to overcome, to evolve, to rise up and to stand resolute against injustice. We go through some bullet point rights, yours to flex any and every time you’re on U.S. soil. Knowledge is power. We go to LA to see how artists are manifesting justice through their various mediums: theater, discussions, forums, workshops on screen printing, spoken word, health and wellness. We then take you to the front lines of the Million Moms March, where mothers took a list of demands to the Department of Justice seeking answers for unsolved crimes that killed their children and destroyed their communities. Not one to end on a somber note, we wrap up this week with a rap/rock piece that reminds you to use your mind, find your fight and raise the floodlight.