By Popular Resistance. Seoul, South Korea – As we have written before, the South Korean government of Park Geun-Hye, the daughter of the former military dictator Park Chung-Hee, is using the National Security Law to arrest and jail peaceful activists. One young activist in particular needs our help. Her name is Kim Hye-Young and she was arrested in the summer of 2015 during a sit-in at a peaceful protest. She has thyroid cancer and a panic disorder and she has been in jail ever since. She was sentenced to two years in prison. She must be released because not only is this an outrageous sentence for her political expression, but the conditions in jail are harming her health. Kim Young-Hye went on hunger strike shortly after her formal sentencing on May 26, 2016. Her health is deteriorating further.
By David Omondi, Dennis Apel and Jeff Dietrich. The letters below were sent by Felton Davis and were written by three peace activists who were recently sentenced to jail in Los Angeles for their nonviolent action at Vandenberg Air Force Base. Felton writes: Activists from California have been sentenced to federal prison following a nonviolent witness for peace at Vandenberg Air Force Base earlier this year. They began their sentences at the Los Angeles Metropolitan Detention Center , but may be transferred to other prisons. Here in the East, four of us who were arrested at the Pentagon on March 25th have had our charges dropped. Libby Johnson, Sr. Carol Gilbert, Sr. Ardeth Platte , and myself were scheduled for trial on May 20th for “failure to obey a lawful order,” but were informed by the US Attorney’s office that they would not be proceeding with the case. It’s impossible to compare these short sentences handed out to people who are coming from a position of social privilege, with the fate of those who are entrapped, stigmatized, convicted through “guilt by association,” loaded with trumped-up charges, and taken away to be held in isolation for long periods.
By Alice Speri for The Intercept – ALABAMA PRISONERS WHO have been on strike for 10 days over unpaid labor and prison conditions are accusing officials of retaliating against their protest by starving them. The coordinated strike started on May 1, International Workers’ Day, when prisoners at the Holman and Elmore facilities refused to report to their prison jobs and has since expanded to Staton, St. Clair, and Donaldson’s facilities, according to organizers with the Free Alabama Movement, a network of prison activists.
By Polly Hughes for Counter Punch. Michigan – Little bitty Benton Harbor was the testing ground. It was the testing ground to see what they can get away with….It’s comin’ to your city next, whether you like it or not. (Rev.Edward Pinkney) What do Michigan emergency managers, water rights, illegal corporate land acquisitions, and gentrification have to do with political prisoner Rev. Edward Pinkney? Rev. Pinkney has been fighting against injustice for decades in the small town of Benton Harbor, Michigan. But, his activism has reached far beyond Benton Harbor, the first city in Michigan to fall under the control of an emergency financial manager (EFM) in 2010. In July 2014, Pinkney joined many (estimated 5,000-10,000 activists) in a defiant protest, organized by Nurses United, and in walking through Detroit turning the water back on at residences.
By Eric Ortiz for TruthDig. Starting Sept. 9, prisoners in the United States will begin a coordinated effort to shut down prisons across the country. They plan to stop working in correctional institutions. Without prisoners doing their jobs, these facilities cannot be run. According to Support Prisoner Resistance, the nationwide prisoner work stoppage will serve as a protest against prison slavery, the school-to-prison pipeline, police terror and post-release controls. Prisoners organizing the strike are not making demands or requests in the usual sense. They are calling themselves to action in a planned protest and want every prisoner in every state and federal institution across America to “stop being a slave.” Some people may bristle at the notion that prisoners are slaves, but they are forced to work for little or no pay.
By Jose Manuel Lopez of TodosUnidosDescolonizarPR. Bayamon,Puerto Rico – Our partner, reporter and political activist Edwin Chungo Molina is promoting an interesting campaign to force the United States (US) government to release Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar López Rivera. Oscar has served 34 years in a US prison for exercising his inalienable right to use all means necessary to decolonize Puerto Rico. The US government is the criminal for ignoring 34 United Nations (UN) resolutions asking it to immediately decolonize Puerto Rico. In 1960, the UN determined democratically that colonialism is a crime against humanity because it threatens world peace.
By Leonard Peltier for CounterPunch. Coleman, FL – What can I say that I have not said before? I guess I can start by saying see you later to all of those who have passed in the last year. We Natives don’t like to mention their names. We believe that if we speak their names it disrupts their journey. They may lose their way and their spirits wander forever. If too many call out to them, they will try to come back. But their spirits know we are thinking about them, so all I will say is safe journey and I hope to see you soon. On February 6th, I will have been imprisoned for 40 years! I’m 71 years old and still in a maximum security penitentiary. At my age, I’m not sure I have much time left.
By Staff of Free Marrissa Now – Together, members of Stand With Nan-Hui, Love & Protect, California Coalition of Women Prisoners, and the Free Marissa Now Mobilization Campaign recognized that the criminalization and punishment of survivors of gender violence is a widespread problem embedded in systems of domestic & sexual violence, prosecution, incarceration, and policing. We organized several twitter discussions to keep the spotlight on these issues and helped advocate for the immediate release of many other survivors such as Tondalo Hall, Cierra Finkley, Naomi Freeman, Rosa Martinez, Eisha Love, Rajeshree Roy, and Kelly Ann Savage.
By Chris Hedges for Truthdig – If you are poor, you will almost never go to trial—instead you will be forced to accept a plea deal offered by government prosecutors. If you are poor, the word of the police, who are not averse to fabricating or tampering with evidence, manipulating witnesses and planting guns or drugs, will be accepted in a courtroom as if it was the word of God. If you are poor, and especially if you are of color, almost anyone who can verify your innocence will have a police record of some kind and thereby will be invalidated as a witness.
By Judith Bello for Upstate Drone Coalition. On January 12, the National Day of Action to Stop Killer Drones, grandmother and drone resister Mary Anne Grady Flores learned that she is to go back to jail for six months starting Tuesday, January 19. Mary Anne had been out on appeal of a lower court convicting her of violating an order of protection. It had been given on behalf of Col. Evans of the Hancock Air National Guard Base 174th Attack Wing (in Syracuse, NY), to “protect” him from nonviolent anti-drone activists. She had been charged with violating the order while taking pictures of eight Catholics protesting the US drone assassination program at Hancock on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013. Onondaga County Court Judge Miller upheld the lower court conviction. Of note is that all eight Catholic drone resisters were acquitted because they went to uphold law, not break it.
By Tony Newman for Drug Policy Alliance – More than 1,500 folks from 71 countries met in the DC Metro area last month at the International Drug Policy Reform Conference to come up with an exit strategy from the unwinnable war on drugs. The gathering left people inspired and energized. One of the people who attended the conference was Jeff Mizanskey. Jeff was just released from prison a couple of months ago after serving 22 years behind bars. Jeff was serving a life sentence for marijuana. The draconian sentence was because of Missouri’s three strikes laws.
By Julia Craven for Huffington Post – Hillary Clinton was drowned out by student activists while introducing her criminal justice reform platform in Atlanta on Friday. Two of the student activists who interrupted Hillary Clinton’s rally Friday at Clark Atlanta University said the title of the event — “African Americans for Hillary” — explains why they decided to drown out the presidential candidate’s remarks. “That raises a question, because I’m wondering, why it isn’t Hillary for African Americans?” Avery Jackson, one of the students, told The Huffington Post. “Because that’s the issue. She continues to exploit the spaces that black people value.” “She doesn’t really express the centering and prioritizing of black issues, which are at the root American issues,” he continued. “I think we see that with the campaign — that she sees the issues of black people outside of the American agenda.” Clinton was at the university to unveil her criminal justice reform plan. She has been heavily criticized during the campaign for her past support for tough-on-crime initiatives that facilitated mass incarceration.
By Carl Dix for Stop Police Terror – We are just over a week away from #RiseUpOctober — three powerful days of action to STOP POLICE TERROR! This is so urgent and so important. Two new reports were just released trying to justify the police murder of 12 year old Tamir Rice! Also, this past weekend, tens of thousands of people went to DC as part of “Justice Or Else.” While the diversity and breadth of people joining together in Rise Up October certainly have different views on what went down in DC with “Justice or Else.” Momentum is building in many ways — last week we had a packed (more than 550 people, mainly students) event at Columbia University calling for #RiseUpOctober featuring Eve Ensler, Cornel West, Kimberle Crenshaw, Nicholas Heyward, Jamal Joseph and me.
By Alice and Staughton Lynd for Popular Resistance. Menard, IL – On September 23, 2015, at least 19 (and possibly as many as 22) men in Administrative Detention at the Menard Correctional Center began a hunger strike that ended on September 28. It was nearly a week after the hunger strike ended before we received any mail from them. The following is a composite account based on what they sent us, written on the first and last days of the hunger strike. Alice Lynd. Day 1, September 23, 2015 “On 9-23-15, after filing multiple grievances dealing with my diet tray, indeterminate seg hearings, yard conditions as well as living conditions, . . . and no response or action taken, I declared a peaceful hunger strike. . . . I declared my hunger strike only after trying multiple ways to bring relief to my issues which were and still are being completely ignored.”