Saturday, March 27, 2010


He's back. An evil old bud of the CIA in Afghanistan is back making the rounds and set to become our new friend. Gulbuddin Hekmatyar long time warlord whose band of thugs have committed too many atrocities to count is negotiating these days with the government of Afghanistan and the UN about joining up in the fight a.gainst the Taliban. Somebody named Matt Weems describes the warlord brilliantly on his blog. He writes:

 "In a Hollywood movie Hekmatyar would be the evil foil to the heroic Masud. He would be an angry Islamic fundamentalist dressed in black, throwing acid in the faces of unveiled women and assassinating local tribal leaders that might rival his power.

He would be the pawn of foreign secret service paymasters like the ISI, CIA, and Prince Turki of Saudi Arabia. He would unfeelingly sacrifice peasants for his cause, rocket the helpless civilians mixed in with his enemies, and his ruthless ambition would prevent the creation of a new peace. Unfortunately, in real life Hekmatyar was all these things."

The following is from UN Dispatch.

(left) Richard J. Kerr, the Deputy Director of CIA at that time, meeting with Gulbuddin Hekmatyar in Islamabad in 1988.

The Bloody Hands of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar

Representatives from Hezb-i-Islami, the smallest of Afghanistan’s three major insurgent groups, met with the Afghan president and the United Nations Assistance Mission this week to discuss a list of 15 conditions demanded in exchange for the group laying down its arms. Part 1 of a 2 part series about why these developments should be treated with extreme caution.

(Kabul:) The insurgent group Hezb-i-Islami (there’s an affiliated political party of the same name) is led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, arguably the most brutal Afghan warlord of the past 30 years.

During the first half of Afghanistan’s civil war in the 1990’s, Hekmatyar’s forces committed atrocities that elsewhere in the world are met with international arrest warrants and indictments for war crimes and crimes against humanity –not hints of future inclusion in government.

Hekmatyar’s fighters killed tens of thousands by deliberately shelling Kabul. They kidnapped, tortured, raped and killed countless civilians in ways so gruesome that many Afghans, especially Kabul residents, flinch at the mention of Hekmatyar’s name to this day. (An Afghan refugee once described to me Hezb-i-Islami fighters entertaining themselves by pouring hot oil on a freshly decapitated body to make it flail involuntarily.) When Hekmatyar was done with Afghanistan’s capital city, it looked like Hiroshima, and it will still be recovering decades from now.

In 1994, New York Times reporter Tim Weiner met Hekmatyar and described the attitude with which the militia commander approached butchering civilians:

"Talking with Hekmatyar is like listening to wind chimes tinkling on the porch of a burning building. A disarmingly feline man, he purses his lips and talks dispassionately of the death of millions. His aim is to build "a true Islamic republic," under his dominion, and he has the will and the weapons to fulfill that dream. If it takes another generation of war, so be it."

By then, Hekmatyar had presided over the killing of at least 10,000 people (for comparison purposes, that’s roughly the number of people killed in the Kosovo war). Hekmatyar’s body count is higher now, and still climbing. He’s never been indicted, and he probably never will be, but in the eyes of ordinary Afghans, he’s a war criminal unfit to live amongst his victims, let alone govern them.

It’s still unclear how exactly Hekmatyar would be brought into the Afghan government, but granting him any position of influence –and he wouldn’t likely settle for a symbolic post—would have a chilling effect on Afghanistan’s beleaguered democrats. Offering his deputies additional positions would be worse still. Hezb-i-Islami’s political wing is the most conservative in the Afghan government already, and while officially opposed to violence, it is also manifestly anti-democratic.

Among the demands made by the insurgent Hezb-i-Islami delegates in Kabul this week are presidential, parliamentary and provincial council elections in 2011 and the formation of a coalition government. If even some of these are acquiesced to, in violation of the constitution, Hezb-i-Islami could seize a greater share of power than it has now, by intimidating political challengers and voters, and rigging polls. If this happens, Afghanistan can expect the already low number of democrats and women in elected office to further dwindle.


Sometimes even I am at a loss for words. What kind of person dreams up the idea of leaving a caged kangaroo on the streets of Los Angeles as a promotion? A jerk kind of person would be my response I suppose. No, this isn't the worst thing to happen in the world today, but it is yet another example of the short comings of our species.

The following is from the Times.

Caged kangaroo stunt ‘dishonours land of Skippy’

Footage of a kangaroo rocking back and forth in a small cage on a busy street in Los Angeles has outraged Australians, including the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

The kangaroo display was part of the "G’day USA" marketing campaign by Tourism Australia, the government body charged with promoting the country to the rest of the world.

Kylie Mackenzie, a New Zealand expatriate, said that she was appalled when she saw the state of the 10-year-old kangaroo, named Fesnick, which was seemingly distressed after being kept in the small pen on a concrete footpath for hours at a time during the campaign in January.

In the footage, filmed by Ms Mackenzie and posted on YouTube, the lone kangaroo can be seen swaying constantly back and forth in the small enclosure.

Animal welfare groups have condemned its treatment and the Prime Minister said that the stunt involving the animal, which features on Australia’s coat of arms, was “pretty off”.

"Many of us grew up in the days of Skippy,” Mr Rudd said yesterday, referring to the 1960s Australian television series about a bush kangaroo.

“If you've grown up in the days of Skippy you want to make sure our national symbol is being properly respected in the way that Australia projects itself abroad.”

Other Australians voiced their outrage on websites. "Bindy" posted a comment on the YouTube video which best summed up the nation’s feelings: “I’m an Australian and I’m disgusted,” she said.

Bob Irwin, the father of the late wildlife expert Steve "Crocodile Hunter" Irwin who regularly campaigns for the Australian Society for Kangaroos, also condemned the stunt.

"It is a terrible image for Australia to send to the world, seeing a magnificent kangaroo treated in such a cruel way," Mr Irwin said from his hospital bed, where he is recovering from a heart attack.

"Where the bloody hell is the Government? I trust the Government will also take Tourism Australia to task on their poor judgment."

Tourism Australia – which came under fire in 2006 for the "Where the Bloody Hell Are You?" campaign – defended the stunt yesterday, saying that claims of animal cruelty were unfounded as the kangaroo was being looked after by a professional trainer while it was on display in four-hour stints, and it had been treated well.

Andrew McEvoy, managing director of Tourism Australia, told a radio station: “Any accusation... we take it very seriously if it's been poorly treated. But I've got to say again it does actually matter whether or not it was in distress and we can only take the advice of professionals who were on the scene at the time.”

Mr McEvoy added that America Humane – the US equivalent of the RSPCA – had seen the video and had said the animal was not in distress.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Is there anyone out there who can argue that the tea party movement is nothing more than the latest edition of white supremacist gang politics of the worst order? It's time to quit treating these folks as simply misled or even as a bunch of right wing libertarian populists. They are clearly the same people we've seen throughout history in this country spewing their racist hate, often masked just a wee bit behind some grievance or other. Well, the tea baggers latest bit of disgusting trash aimed at African-American representatives John Lewis and Emanuel Cleaver, as well as their homophobic screeching at Rep. Barney Frank clearly exposes these racists as the scumbags they've always been. As such it's time we on the left treat them as such. Isn't it getting to be close to the moment when we treat them the way we treat more blatant white supremacists, and nazis when they decide to march in our communities? Isn't it about time we confront them head on? Tea scumbaggers aren't the only angry militants in this country. Buy yourself and your friends some black hoodies and start thinking about about what's next.

The following is from the Black Commentator.

By Bill Fletcher Jr.

It was just a matter of time, and most Black people knew just that. 
At an anti-healthcare rally in Washington, DC, right-wing demonstrators associated with the so-called “Tea Party” movement verbally assaulted Congressman John Lewis.  Calling upon him to vote against the healthcare legislation, they chose to use the “N” word in describing the Congressman.
So, now the gloves are off and the sheets are on.  The entire pretense regarding an alleged non-racial movement of angry (white) people is gone.  What most Black people knew all along has been confirmed.  Lying only slightly beneath the surface was and is a toxin that has almost nothing to do with healthcare.  One finds one’s self reminded of the words of the Rev. Jesse Jackson from more than thirty-five years ago when he was commenting on white opposition to school busing for desegregation:  “It’s not the bus; it’s us.”  Well, team, the Tea Party opposition, and more particularly the vehemence of it, has more to do with their perception that the USA is no longer in the control of whites, and more specifically, that it does not pay to be white any more.
White anger about their collapsing lives in the midst of a declining living standard spanning more than thirty years compounded by the immediate crisis of our current Great Recession, has bubbled into all sorts of irrationalist thoughts and behavior, a point I have made in countless columns.  Until now, the right-wing Tea Party crowd has attempted to be coy in its crypto-racist attacks on the Obama administration particularly.  The use of the so-called Birther Movement (those who argue that President Obama was not actually born in the United States and, therefore, is ineligible to be President of the United States) by the Right is just one example.  The allegations by these lunatics have nothing to do with the facts.  It has been demonstrated time and again that Obama was born in the USA.  Yet, for the angry, white political Right all that matters is that in their minds it is inconceivable that a Black person was elected President. Their only answer is that it must have been fraudulent.
Now, however, the Tea Party crowd, in all of their anger and frustration, has let a few things slip.  If their opposition to healthcare had nothing to do with race, then why the use of the “N” word?  Was it some deep, irresistible impulse that was beyond their control?
Since the gloves are off, progressives, Black and non-black, need to face facts.  We cannot treat the Tea Party crowd as simply a set of angry and misled, but otherwise good natured people.  This crowd, as a crowd, constitutes a right-wing, racist movement that must be opposed; in fact, it must be disrupted.  Their version of populism may, at times, speak to a legitimate anger felt by many people in the USA as wealth polarizes, and as the Obama administration makes unacceptable compromises with corporate America.  But what is really at stake is not that at all.  It goes back to the country that they believe that they lost.
Here can be found the irony of this situation.  We, on the left side of the aisle, recognize that the Obama administration and the majority of the Democratic Congress have been half-stepping in addressing the current economic and environmental crises.  In some cases, they have been worse than half-stepping (such as through the escalation of US involvement in Afghanistan).  Yet the Tea Party crowd is actually angry about any tendency toward redistribution of wealth in favor of people at the bottom, even when those people at the bottom are themselves or their loved ones.  To the extent to which the Tea Party crowd has bought into the notion that healthcare reform (in whatever form) is for someone else, specifically, is for the so-called undeserving poor, blacks, immigrants, etc., they line up for war against it.  This, it should be noted, is a recurring pattern in US history where large sections of the white population regularly act against their own interests to the extent to which they perceive those interests as being the interests of people of color.
For progressives, the irony increases when we recognize that many of the reforms that the Tea Party crowd opposes are, at best, minimal efforts towards any sort of redistribution, environmental defense, or rule of law.  Right-wing populists wish to paint those who have no healthcare as both undeserving and black or brown despite the reality of how diverse the healthcare-less or those with minimal healthcare may be.  Right-wing populists, in general, are not particularly concerned about the deficit either, except and insofar as the deficit is aimed at addressing any of the gross wealth disparities in US society.  Their hypocrisy stands tall for all to see whenever there is a war and they are prepared to uncritically support or directly advance the plunging of this country into greater and greater debt, all in the name of patriotism. 
What became clear this weekend with the racial epithets as well as the gay baiting against Congressman Barney Frank by the anti-healthcare reform crowd is that for the right-wing populists the healthcare debate was really about the ‘other America,’ the one that they believe has come to eclipse them and their dreams. Editorial Board member, Bill Fletcher, Jr., is a Senior Scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies, the immediate past president of TransAfrica Forum and co-author of, Solidarity Divided: The Crisis in Organized Labor and a New Path toward Social Justice (University of California Press), which examines the crisis of organized labor in the USA. Click here to contact Mr. Fletcher.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


The BP Fortnight of Shame is a call to action from the UK Tar Sands Network, Rising Tide and the Camp for Climate Action to force British Petroleum to reverse their crazy plans to move into Canada's tar sands.

The tar sands are the most destructive project on earth – and the campaign to shut them down is gathering momentum.

Jess Worth writes in the New Internationalist, '"The tar sands are the biggest industrial development in the world, and the second fastest source of deforestation. They are leaving a hole the size of England in the Canadian wilderness. The lakes of toxic waste sludge are visible from space!"

A coalition of nine coastal bands in Canada issued a declaration today which states that "oil tankers carrying crude oil from the Alberta Tar Sands will not be allowed to transit our lands and waters."

Gerald Amos, director of the Coastal First Nations, said if despite all the opposition " goes ahead and tankers come through our waters, we are preparing to put boats right across the channel and stop them … Whatever it takes. Our position right now is that this project is not going to happen."

The following is from Rising Tide UK.

BP Fortnight of Shame
BP Fortnight of Shame
Take action to keep BP out of the tar sands – the single most destructive project on earth.

The BP Fortnight of Shame is a call to action from the UK Tar Sands Network, Rising Tide and the Camp for Climate Action to force BP to reverse their crazy plans to move into Canada’s tar sands. It runs between the annual Fossil Fools day on April 1st, which in recent years has seen a flurry of action against the fossil fuels industry, and BP’s Annual General Meeting on April 15th. Grassroots groups across the UK and around the world, will be taking action in solidarity with First Nations communities in Canada to stop BP's deadly plans in their tracks.

Why Tar Sands?
Attempts to avert the planet from sliding into climate crisis are being threatened by a single massive project in the Canadian wilderness. Already, millions of barrels of tar sands oil are being extracted every day, producing three to five times as many greenhouse gas emissions as conventional oil. The extraction process is immensely resource-intensive, currently using enough natural gas every day to heat 3.2 million Canadian homes. Add to this the mass deforestation the projects are causing, ridding us of desperately needed carbon sinks, and it becomes clear this project cannot be allowed to continue if we are serious about preventing runaway climate change.

BP Design 1
The effects tar sands are having on local First Nations communities are devastating. The tar sands development in Alberta covers an area the size of England, with toxic tailing ponds so huge they are visible from space, leaking poisons into the local water supply. Not only are indigenous livelihoods and futures being destroyed, but communities on land where tar sands extraction has been imposed are experiencing disturbingly high rates of rare forms of cancer and auto-immune diseases.

Why BP?
BP are the only major oil company with no tar sands extraction projects currently in operation. This is about to change. Since 2007, BP have quietly ditched the 'Beyond Petroleum' sham, because investing in renewables simply wasn't making them enough profit. They have decided to go Back to Petroleum, with a vengeance, under the leadership of new Chief Executive Tony Hayward.
Moving into tar sands was one of the first steps Tony Hayward took,, acquiring a half share in the Sunrise Project with Husky Energy. The Sunrise Project will be huge, producing 200,000 barrels of filthy oil a day, and using Steam-Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD), an extraction process even more energy and water intensive than the more visible surface-mining operations.

The recession has given us a window of opportunity. BP have been forced to postpone their final decision on whether to go ahead until the second half of 2010. This means it is not too late for us to stop this outrageous project. BP are desperate for Sunrise to go ahead, and will certainly not go down without a fight, but with effective and sustained action we can win this one.

BP Design 2
What can I do?
From Brighton to Scotland, groups across the UK are already plotting for the Fortnight of Shame. If your local group isn't already planning something, there’s still loads of times to pull off a fantastic action. If you aren’t part of local group, you could check out the list of local groups that form the Camp for Climate Action network. – or get together with your friends and get cracking!.

Need ideas or resources? Click here to join an online group set up to share resources and information that will come in handy for the two weeks of action.

The BP Fortnight of Shame is in solidarity with Canadian First Nations communities. When taking action, we need to be aware that actions here can have unintended but potentially serious repercussions for front-line communities in Canada. For advice and reflections on what it means to take action in solidarity with communities impacted by the tar sands, see our page on protocols.

Please take some time to read this page and discuss what it means for your action..

More info:
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Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Please support the struggle of prisoners at Ely State Prison in Nevada. For some what you will read here in regards to the treatment of prisoners you will think is exaggerated. For any of us whom have ever "resided" in one of these joints, we know it's reality. Locked away and out of sight, what goes on in regular old U.S. prisons everyday is Guantanamo...only worse.

The following is from the San Francisco Bay View.

Solidarity and struggle: More on the Jan. 31 riot at Ely State Prison
by Coyote Sheff

Ely prison is out in the middle of nowhere

Yes, it was a battle. My first report on this riot gave people a look into the ugly violence and bloodshed. I’ve reported it the way it happened, but nothing is to be glorified or celebrated here. It felt good to be a part of struggle and change, to see solidarity in action. You don’t see unity and struggle in these Nevada prisons, not in these days. Only under the most extreme situations will you catch a glimpse of it.

It should not have ever gotten this far or been taken to such extremes. Our grievances should’ve been looked into and taken seriously, and officers should have never provoked or assaulted any of the prisoners on Unit 4. But that didn’t happen; our pleas were ignored, our grievances denied and prisoners were unnecessarily assaulted. So in desperation after every other remedy had been futilely sought, all we had left was violence and frustration. I was wrong to call it a victory though. There’s no victory here.

I’m sure people on the outs who read my report were shocked at my cold and heartless attempt at describing the details of the incident. And probably took umbrage. I can understand how people out there could feel that way. Fortunately, they didn’t live in a world of predation, despair, violence, corruption, oppression and madness.

They don’t know about the effects of long-term isolation and confinement or about sensory deprivation and the effects that psychological warfare has on our minds in this warped environment. They don’t understand the wicked nature of prison and punishment and what it can do to a person.

And they don’t want to believe what this place has been known to do to these guards, how it has the capabilities of turning the guards into spiteful and uncaring animals. How they become vindictive and petty, mean and aggressive, fearful and disrespectful. They didn’t see how after each cell extraction the guards would gather in the unit hallway, high-fiving each other as they would physically display how they punched, stomped or beat the inmate into submission.

So, no offense to anyone, but if you haven’t lived in this foul-ass world of darkness and deterioration, then it’s not fair to judge it by your standards. Your standards don’t apply here in this concrete and steel jungle. We play by jungle rules in here, the guards and prisoners alike, and it’s called “the survival of the fittest.” We maintain an “us against them” mentality sometimes. I’m not glorifying it, I’m not praising it, I’m just trying to shed light on it, so people can be aware of the cruel and unloving nature of life in a graveyard.

For years, myself and others have been trying to bring positive changes to this prison. We’ve been trying to get people on the outs involved, attempting to bring a solid level of outside support to Nevada prisoners.
I’ve also been actively educating, politicizing and organizing other prisoners, in Nevada, Texas, Ohio and other states. I’ve been passing out literature, supplying the prison with books and educational materials, teaching prisoners to read, teaching them to write, showing them how to be resourceful and self-sufficient.
I’ve been doing all I can to raise consciousness and I’ve been trying to turn every tier that I land on into a learning center and doing everything I can to help prisoners – Whites, Blacks, Natives and Latinos. I’ve reached out to them all in real ways, striving to make real efforts at change, elevation and empowerment. Myself and other prisoners in here have been known to organize study groups, having study sessions, engaging each other, quizzing each other and testing each other intellectually, utilizing this time on lockdown as an opportunity to grow, learn and cultivate ourselves while living under such extreme conditions.

Other prisoners in here have been doing similar things. Like for example, a prisoner here at ESP just recently organized a stamp drive on his tier to donate to the victims of the Haiti earthquake, and he even donated $40 of his own money to the people of Haiti. So there are indeed many positive and productive things that do go on in this hellhole as well. It’s not all negative and violent. Unfortunately though, anything good that we try to get going in here, we have to do it ourselves. We don’t expect any help or support from the guards or prison administration.

I’ll be the first to say that violence isn’t always the best option. Usually it’s the last resort or the result of desperation and what usually happens under the most extreme conditions. All our attempts to grieve, kite or complain about our injustices through the proper channels have been futile and left us feeling hopelessly outraged.

If you take a look at the history of all the American riots and uprisings – in prisons and on the streets – like the L.A. riots, the Watts riot, Lucasville, Attica, New Mexico, the Cubans in the federal prisons, and even the recent one in Oakland, where a police officer, Johannes Mehserle, fatally shot a civilian, Oscar Grant, in the back, while he lay face down on the ground with his hands cuffed behind him.
You will see that these riots have happened in areas where people were living under extreme conditions. While sick and tired of the injustices and police brutality, or in places and conditions where people were frustrated and desperate, riots and uprisings seemed the only course of action available to express their hopelessness and outrage.

This is the face of abuse by the notorious “prisoncrats” of the Nevada Department of Corrections. Although only 7 percent of Nevadans are Black, 27 percent of Nevada’s prison population is Black.
Here in Unit 4 at Ely State Prison, many tensions were building up. A lot of retaliation against prisoners by the guards and many other injustices created a potentially hostile situation.

This riot did not happen solely because our appliances (radios, TVs etc.) were unjustly taken from us. Some of these guards in here were deliberately refusing to feed certain prisoners in retaliation for grievances they wrote and because the guards realized that these particular inmates were shunned by the rest of the convicts for internal reasons. These guards were also going out of their way to provoke and instigate prisoners, rudely jumping into our conversations with disrespectful remarks, “losing” or throwing away phone kites (messages), passing our mail out to the wrong cells – some of which housed sex offenders – refusing to answer our kites, not taking our grievances seriously.

In some cases, guards have even assaulted and injured certain inmates while in cuffs because of grievances they wrote and, again, because these guards realized that these prisoners were shunned by the rest of the convicts for being informants, sex offenders, “undesirables” etc.

Our appliances were unjustly taken for violations that occurred before the new rule change was in effect or for minor or general violations, and even prisoners who were found “not guilty” had their appliances confiscated as well – leaving us in our cells with basically nothing, while surrounding us by mentally ill prisoners and informants and protective custody inmates, who deliberately go out of their way to terrorize us through the means of noise, verbal abuse and psychological warfare.

We were deprived of the opportunity to buy food, coffee and other necessary supplies off of the canteen, while being left with no choice but to eat the foul-smelling, foul-tasting “mystery meat” and rotten vegetables that we are served for lunch every day, just to keep ourselves from starving in here.

They’ve put unnecessary limits and restrictions on our phone calls and on our visits, allowing us only one non-contact visit a month, with family only, causing a painful strain on our relations and communications with our family, friends and loved ones. This prison is located out in the middle of nowhere as it is, four hours away from the nearest big city.

What’s the point of having our people drive all the way up here and back – you know how much gas costs these days? – just to talk to your loved one through a plexi-glass window for half a day? There’s only seven rooms that facilitate these non-contact visits, so if 10 people get visits in one day, the remaining three are burnt, and their families will drive all the way back home for nothing!

We need all the love and support we can get from our own people on the outs. These are very important social ties to have and to stay connected to our families and with the outside world. They even went as far as illegally denying our right to receive books sent in from the outside, even dictionaries! And there’s so much more; everything just added up.

Every time we’ve tried to address the issues through the proper channels, they would retaliate on us, and even fabricate things to justify what they were doing, and they would completely ignore us. Weeks would go by before they’d supply the unit with kites and law library request forms, or first level grievances. Neither these guards nor the administration wanted to do anything to even try to fix these problems, and they were basically letting us know that they were gonna do whatever they wanted, regardless, making our situation seem desperate.

Then, it all jumped off when they came to take away a prisoner’s appliances for a write up he received. The prisoner refused to cuff-up because he wanted to speak with the lieutenant to try to resolve this issue. The lieutenant showed up with a squad of officers dressed in riot gear and helmets.

The prisoner tried to comply and wanted to cuff-up, but this is someone the guards have been wanting to get their hands on for a while. None of the other prisoners really spoke to this guy, so I guess the guards had assumed he was shunned by the rest of the convicts, so they figured they had no reason to fear retaliation. They cracked his door open in spite of his attempt and willingness to comply and ran in on him. He put his hands up in the air, refusing to resist or fight back, and they tore his ass up! They beat him so bad that they ended up dragging him to the infirmary as he was leaking blood everywhere.

Many of us were already exasperated about the hopelessness of our situation and all the foul treatment we’ve been receiving and we used this drastic situation as an opportunity to exert desperate measures. Two minutes of talking amongst ourselves led to two days of rioting. It’s all we had left. We felt the need to stand up for ourselves and for our rights to be treated fairly, with dignity and respect. We were frustrated and needed to get these frustrations out, and we didn’t see any other available option.

Whites and several Latinos kicked it off on the first day, flooding, burning, capturing foul slots, popping sprinkler heads, forcing them to come in our cells and extract us, so we could fight them. And we fought hard, and they were even more brutal towards us! Until, allegedly, an officer on the extraction team got stabbed.

They didn’t want to fight no more after that. The Blacks agreed to riot on the second day, but by then, we all felt that we got our point across, the guards showed defeat, so we called it off. This could have went on for days or even weeks, but we felt that this was enough for now. Every guard on the extraction team received injuries and one was even stabbed, from what I hear. Every prisoner involved was brutally beat by the officers, which led to the lieutenant and another officer getting fired!

So we figured enough had been done already, no need to go on.

Year after year it’s been take, take, take. The administration is always taking something away from us, without giving anything in return: no programs, no real educational or vocational opportunities, no incentive, nothing. They take a little here, take a little there, slowly but surely stripping us of everything.

They know better than to take it all at once, so instead they’ll take one thing now, and then a few months later they’ll take away something else, and when they see that none of us are coming together to try to stop them from taking away our privileges and necessities, they’ll take more. It’s the game of “take-away.” Subtraction is their favorite math subject. They don’t know how to add, divide or multiply, except for when they’re adding more rules and more restrictions, dividing us so that we can be conquered, or multiplying the number of beds. Other than that, it’s all a game of take-away.

Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons, touring overcrowded Warm Springs Prison, notes that cells designed for two prisoners now house four.

Everybody has been hearing about Ely State Prison in the news, and many websites have sprung up because of all the things that have been going on here in this graveyard. All of the many injustices and everything else that has been going on here clearly display how deplorable the situation is here at ESP.

The ACLU’s class action lawsuit because of the atrocious lack of medical care, the declaration of Lorraine Memory, the Noel Report, the situation with Ikemba, the situation with Kevin Lisle, not to mention the numerous accounts of all the staff working here being arrested and charged with various crimes, also the federal indictment and trial of the Aryan Warriors, who the government has labelled “domestic terrorists”!

The mysterious death of Timothy Redman and other deathrow inmates before him, the suicides, the indeterminate lockdown of the entire prison (except for one unit), the forcing of cellmates upon us, the riots and work stoppages, and not to mention that in the span of one year over 75 officers have either quit working here, transferred to other prisons, or were arrested, or fired … 75 officers in a year! Now if that doesn’t speak volumes on how deplorable the situation here at ESP is, then I don’t know what does. Because of the many deaths in this graveyard and other atrocities, Ely State Prison has continually been in the news.

There are eight units in this prison and all but one of them are locked down and have been locked down for over six years, with no solutions or remedies in sight, no programs and no incentives to do good. This prison has been under federal investigation and under serious public scrutiny, budget cuts have stripped us of everything from food to education, exposing how much they don’t care about our health or our rehabilitation and re-entry back into society.

Anytime you cut into our education, you are cutting into our rehabilitation, limiting our chances to make a successful return back into society. These people are heartless; they don’t care about us. They’re here to punish us, warehouse us, condemn us, and that’s it. Not only that, but it has apparently been the agenda and the desire of the prison administration and the system to keep us stagnant and stuck on stupid so that we can surely deteriorate while living in these degenerate conditions.

They know that “knowledge is power” and that “truth is revolutionary” and so they deliberately try to make it as difficult as they can for us to get books and literature sent in, trying to use this new A.R. (regulation) to justify the denial of books, which is illegal and violates our First Amendment rights. They’ve even made it against the rules to share a book with another prisoner.
It seems like they would rather see us pacified and complacent, locked down in general population, reading pop culture magazines and horror novels, or watching the “idiot box” all day than to see us reading a book on history, economics or politics or learning the law so that we can figure out productive ways to get off of permanent lockdown. They would rather see us stuck on stupid, anti-social, with gangbang mentalities, going against each other all the time, than to see us utilizing this time as an opportunity to build social bonds with our families and friends and as an opportunity to cultivate, uplift and educate ourselves.

They know that “knowledge is power” and that “truth is revolutionary” and so they deliberately try to make it as difficult as they can for us to get books and literature sent in, trying to use a new regulation to justify the denial of books, which is illegal and violates our First Amendment rights. They’ve even made it against the rules to share a book with another prisoner.

Rather than see us grow and get better, everything they do is to bring us down and break us down. They want to break our spirit, decimate our wills and keep us ignorant. That is what these rules are for, that’s what these restrictions are for and that’s what these cells are for.

It appears that these new administrative regulations (A.R. 733) are designed for those exact purposes as well! This new A.R. affects prisoners who are serving time in disciplinary segregation, taking everything away in the guise of creating an “incentive to do good.” But they fail to realize that when they confine all of the prisoners with records of serious disciplinary problems in one area and then take everything away, with years and years of disciplinary segregation (D.S.) time to serve, all they’re doing is creating a situation where we have nothing to lose.

This entire prison is locked down except for one unit, so the measures they have taken are impracticable and make no sense. Why implement such measures without a level system or steps program that allows us to advance through the process of demonstrating good behavior to get out of lockdown? Some of these prisoners have been suffering this already for years, with no end in sight.

These measures taken by the Nevada Department of Corrections (NDOC) are senseless and unreasonable and, as this recent riot displays, the only thing these rules are good for is creating anger and frustration that has led to prisoners and officers getting hurt and fired! It doesn’t make sense.

We need people “on the outs” to get involved in these struggles, to help us make changes and modifications that will be effective and beneficial to all. We need people to call and write letters to the head of the NDOC and to the governor of Nevada and ask them to make modifications to A.R. 733. Be sure to remind them of the Jan. 31 riot and of the officer, C.O. Stubbs, who got stabbed so that they can understand the seriousness of this situation. Here’s what we need the people to push for:

1) Allow us to purchase these items from the canteen: Vitamins, coffee, soups, peanut butter, laundry supplies, batteries for our electronic shavers, beanies, thermals and shoes.
2) Allow us one 30-minute call a week, as the policy says.
3) Allow us our First Amendment right to receive books sent in from the outside while serving time in disciplinary segregation.
4) Allow us to have a dip bar over our rec yards, for recreational purposes and exercise.
5) Allow us a “contact” visit once a month for family or friends.
6) House all mentally ill and psychotropically medicated inmates separately, preferably on a unit where they can receive the treatment they need.
7) Prohibit appliance denial for minor or general rule infractions and for prisoners found “not guilty”; limit it to 60 days total for major violations, then return all appliances.
8) Allow us to buy Mexican and Canadian stamps so we can write our families and friends there.
9) Allow us to be approved to purchase appliances and CDs after 90 days without any rule violations.
 10) Provide a level system or steps program to allow prisoners to advance through the process of demonstrating good behavior and to get out of lockdown.

A.R. 733 needs to be modified and a level system needs to be put in place. All mentally ill inmates need to be housed separately, on a unit where they can receive the treatment they need. These 10 things are all we ask for.

Please call, fax, email and send letters to the director of the NDOC: Howard Skolnik, Director, Nevada Department of Corrections, P.O. Box 7011, Carson City NV 89702, (775) 887-3216, fax (775) 887-3253,
And please contact the governor: Jim Gibbons, Governor, State Capitol, 101 N. Carson St., Carson City NV 89701, (775) 684-5670, fax (775) 684-5683, email through the website at

I’m proud to see so many prisoners of different races and factions coming together and standing up against the injustices being done to us in here. I’m proud to be a part of something that strives to bring real changes for the people in here. It feels good to be involved and to get caught up in the spirit of revolt. Violence isn’t always the best option and I hope that we can come together like this more often without having to take it to the extreme.

Solidarity and Struggle,

For more information on the Jan. 31 riot or for letters of encouragement and support, contact Coyote at this address: Coyote Sheff, 55671, P.O. Box 1989, Ely, NV 89301. Read more of his writing and reports at,, or

Monday, March 22, 2010


You've heard it before which doesn't mean you shouldn't hear it again. Global climate change is likely to lead to chaos, wars, revolution and more. What's more military leaders around the world are discussing the situation and how they should respond.

What it seems most likely  to lead  is growing racism and FASCISM... 
The following is from The Scotsman.

Drought, refugees, revolution and war – military prepares for climate doomsday
By Jenny Fyall

MILITARY chiefs are holding "back room" discussions on how to cope with the threat of a world ravaged by wars provoked by uncontrolled climate change, an expert has warned.

Gwynne Dyer, an influential lecturer in international affairs, said if the climate continues to change at its current rate there will be global conflict in decades.

Tens of millions of climate refuges unable to feed themselves in their own dried-up countries will aim for places like Scotland where conditions will remain favourable.

These countries will in turn use their military powers to barricade their borders, leading to wars over land, food and water.

Mr Dyer was speaking to The Scotsman ahead of the Edinburgh International Science Festival next month, when he will give a talk called "Climate Wars".

He said he had spoken to members of the military around the globe about climate change.

"It turns out that all the major military players are looking very seriously now at the kinds of roles they will be playing in a warming world," he said. "This was all being done in back rooms and not discussed in public, but definitely being done."

He believes conflict will occur for three reasons:

• Climate refugees. Tens of millions of climate refugees from the tropics and subtropics will sweep in waves to cooler countries, no longer to survive in nations where crops fail.

• Failed states. Africa and the Middle East are likely to have particular problems, with leaders ousted due to anger over famine. The fallout would be waves of refugees, terrorism and piracy.

• Water wars. Conflicts will flare up between countries – such as India and Pakistan and Iraq and Turkey – that share a river system – over the water supply.

Mr Dyer believes Britain would become a very desirable place to be under global warming.

Under a scenario where greenhouse gas emissions continue at their current rate, some tropical countries are expected to see a rise of 7C within the next half century.

However, the projections suggest Britain would get just 3C warmer.

"If you had to pick a place to sit it out, Britain is one of the most favoured places on the planet," he said. "Most of the land is farmable. In Scotland, any bit of land you can grow food on will grow better at 3C warmer. We are surrounded by ocean so it will always be raining here – and the ocean also keeps the refugees out."

He said hushed-up conversations were already taking place in Brussels about defence strategies.

The most drastic involved not just Africa but subtropical countries such as Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece.

"The third line of defence is that you cut the Mediterranean countries loose and put your defences on the Alps and the Pyrenees," he said.

"At the moment we've got freedom of movement, of course, so any Spanish or Italian or Greek citizen can come and set up here, which is fine if they do it in tens of thousands but not fine if they do it in millions."

Mr Dyer said he thought the situation was both "distressing" and alarming. But he added: "The happy side to it is that we don't really have to go there.

"If we can only get this sorted out and not get into those higher temperature rises, it never happens.

"This is not an inevitable future, this is a contingent future, but we are not doing very well at preventing it at the moment."


Have you ever heard of Joseph Kony? I bet for most of you the answer is "no." Well, you should have. Kony is the notorious leader of the brutal Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) one of the most nasty outfits floating around in Central Africa. Reports that Kony and his group have linked up with the genocidal government Khartoum and may be preparing attacks in the Darfur region are scary.

Reports from the anti-genocide group Enough! also say a series of LRA attacks in the Dungu region of the Democratic Republic of Congo this month call into question the view that the brutal Lord's Resistance
Army is struggling to survive.

The following is from Enough!.

 Sudan Is Still Up To No Good

 This post originally appeared today on Foreign Policy.

The Lord's Resistance Army has come to Darfur, Sudan, and that is not good news for anyone. The Lord's Resistance Army is a vicious militia led by self-proclaimed messiah Joseph Kony, and though he does not appear to be with the contingent that has moved into Darfur, Kony is widely and rightly regarded as one of the most heinous war criminals still on the loose in the entire world.

The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) has long operated as a hybrid between a cult and a rebel army. Kony and the LRA originally sprang up in northern Uganda and waged a brutal campaign trying to overthrow that country's government. Millions of Ugandans fled the fighting, and the LRA engaged in virtually every depravity known in warfare. The LRA's ranks have been swelled with kidnapped child soldiers, girls are regularly treated as sex slaves, and innocent civilians are maimed and killed in a fashion too brutal to describe.

In recent years, Kony and his forces have fallen on harder times, though their brutality has not diminished. Dislodged from northern Uganda, Kony and his troops first fled into northeastern Congo and
then the Central African Republic. However, the Ugandan army -- with quiet assistance from the United States -- has remained in dogged pursuit of Kony and his forces. The LRA is a relatively small force these days, probably numbering less than 1,000 hard-core fighters who remain loyal to Kony, but it is still causing mayhem and suffering well disproportionate to its size. Kony and his men have killed around 2,000 civilians in the last year and driven another 450,000 from their homes. Although the Ugandan offensive against Kony has suffered some significant missteps along the way, it has put increasing pressure on the LRA.

Just this week, the Enough Project learned from multiple, credible sources in the field that elements of the LRA had crossed into Darfur. These forces appear to be seeking safe haven under the protection of the Sudanese military, and Sudan's notorious president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, has been a longtime LRA patron, so this does not come as a surprise. Clearly, Kony and his deputies believe that Sudan is one of the few places left where the Ugandan army will not pursue them, and they are likely increasingly desperate.

The even larger story is what all of this says about Sudan and Bashir at a time when U.S. diplomacy has been geared to striking a new tone in the relationship. Although Bashir has been eager to portray himself as willing to repair relations with the world after last year's International Criminal Court indictment, and the United States in particular, giving safe haven to the LRA is yet another slap at Darfuris, at Washington, and at fundamental human decency. The evidence clearly suggests that advance LRA scouts coordinated with Sudanese armed forces well in advance of the LRA's arrival in Darfur, and it seems implausible that local Sudanese armed forces commanders would welcome the group in Darfur without seeking approval from Khartoum, including Bashir. There are also suggestions that the LRA has received direct logistical support from the Sudanese army since arriving in Darfur.

The last two weeks have offered breathtaking examples of Bashir's duplicity. Even as he traveled to Doha to proudly declare "the war is finished" in Darfur after signing a preliminary peace deal with a rebel faction, Sudanese troops intensified military attacks in Darfur that killed hundreds and displaced thousands, according to the United Nations. During a recent campaign speech in southern Sudan, Bashir equally proudly declared that his party is working to end "insurgent attacks by the Lord's Resistance Army in the south." As he spoke, Bashir's own armed forces were providing the LRA with the cover it needs to regroup in Darfur, rearm, and again terrorize innocent civilians across the region.

International diplomats are already deeply concerned that an independence referendum for South Sudan in January 2011 could result in a return to the North-South civil war that claimed 2 million lives in a conflict that ran for 20 years. The LRA's arrival in Darfur and a recent uptick of its activities in southern Sudan suggest that Bashir and his allies remain willing to once again use proxy forces as their favorite method for sowing mayhem and maintaining their grip on power. In Darfur and South Sudan, the Sudanese government has used proxy militias, such as the LRA and the janjaweed, to carry out the most egregious attacks against its enemies while trying to maintain a thin veneer of plausible deniability.

The news of the LRA's arrival in Darfur should be a clear wake-up call for not only U.S. President Barack Obama's administration, but the entire international community. It is precisely because Bashir has never been held accountable for his past actions that he feels fully empowered to welcome the LRA into his arms and engage in dangerous adventurism on multiple fronts. In recent months, there has been an increasing push by some elements within the Obama administration to ease sanctions against Sudan. The arrival of the Lord's Resistance Army in Darfur will likely let the air out of that particular balloon, and congressional oversight committees might take some genuine umbrage that they were not informed of these developments in a timely or transparent manner. Both Kony and Bashir deserve to face their charges fairly at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, but that will only happen if the world no longer treats accountability as an afterthought.


Once again British police are blaming anti-fascists for violence by the police themselves. United Against Fascism and others were protesting in Bolton Saturday against the English Defence League when mounted officers and police dogs were deployed agaisnt them. Several people were hurt, including at least two police officers, and 74 people were arrested.

(left) British cops "leading" fascist march  

A spokesman for the anti-fascist contingent, however, denied there had
been any intention to cause violence and said the police had been
hostile from the start."They sent riot squads into a peaceful
demonstration and that's how the violence happened," he said. "They
treated the EDL with kid gloves. We don't accept the police account at
all and are very concerned about the nature of the policing and would
like to see some kind of investigation."

The following is from The Morning Star.

Attack-mode police should be ashamed
Monday 22 March 2010
Pauline Wheat-Bowen

Last Saturday saw a fantastic show of strength and unity against the far-right English Defence League as it attempted to spread its hate-filled message at a demo in Bolton.

Unite Against Fascism activists were joined in the streets by fellow anti-racists, anti fascists, pacifists and trade unionists to show that there's no place for Islamophobia in modern Britain.

Victory belonged to the left - the EDL was unable to occupy the town square and was reduced to hurling insults and occasional bottles and coins from its side of the square.

But what should have been a day for celebrating chalking up a win against the far-right was marred by the brutality of Greater Manchester Police.

They seemed hell-bent on stoking up trouble with UAF activists, virtually ignoring the antics of the EDL.

Just looking at the scale of police presence - complete with helicopters, horses, dogs and riot police dressed up like Robocop - one would think that a riot, or even a revolution, was about to break out at any minute.

Surrounding shops, bars and restaurants had been advised to close and almost all did, such was the fear stirred up by the police.

The police were like machines that day - they were bullying, heavy-handed, intimidating and aggressive, with "snatch squads" intermittently breaking into the crowd to arrest unsuspecting activists in the anti-fascist movement.

When activists tried to move away from trouble spots, police would barge in to arrest people and drag them to the floor.

Police harassment was virtually impossible to avoid as they rolled smoke canisters in to the crowd. It seemed as if they were in total attack mode.

Whoever was giving orders was having a field day - instructing the police to link arms and surge forward into a crowd which had nowhere else to go.

By law, under the Human Rights Act of 1998, we have the right to peaceful protest. We have the right to meet safely and freely without threat of intimidation, bullying or degrading behaviour by the police.

Activists are required to inform the police if they wish to march, but there is no legal obligation to inform the police of a rally. It is usually out of courtesy that organisers do inform them.

Obviously the police have powers and weapons at their disposal to prevent serious disorder, violence or crime. But the law states that they must balance this with people's right to protest peacefully.

By gratuitously arresting people and deliberately intimidating the crowd, the police could then claim it wasn't a "peaceful" protest.

Those who stand up against racism and fascism in Britain do not deserve such ill-treatment.

Activists who witnessed misconduct or were put in danger should bombard the Police Complaints Commission with letters complaining about the excessive use of force.

A large contingent were prevented from joining fellow activists in the square, being held back by police for hours.

The police were holding them by force illegally. They had no right to do so - it was a direct attack on our human rights and civil liberties.

We have the right to protest, to democratically assemble peacefully, without fear of threat and intimidation from gung-ho police.

What happened in Bolton was terrible. It is miraculous that no-one ended up seriously or fatally wounded as a result of police aggression.

What activists witnessed was the true face of the police as an instrument of social control and protecting capitalist ruling ideology. Their strategy is simple - divide and rule.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


I think those of us who watched KU all year are much less "shocked" by this loss then everyone else around the country. I think we've seen this coming for a long time. What we've seen:

Way too often starting off real slow, then having a spurt of ten minutes sometime where we play real well and win. I think having seen that time after time we knew somewhere in the tournament it would come back to bite us.

When we didn't do the above, on a few occasions we get like twenty plus point leads and then slack off. We won almost all games in the teens, a few in low single digits, and we beat Temple by a lot. Again, if the above didn't bite is this would have.

All year we played "down" to competition. This is one of several reasons why I personally figured the Northern Iowa game was actually the most likely for us to lose in the tournament. I saw Northern Iowa enough (we get Missouri Valley games) to know they were good and to know they were the type of team that would give us fits. However, I figured we would take them lightly. I always thought if we got by them we would play our best against the name teams in the tourney (in our bracket that meant Mich. St., Ohio St. Maryland, even Kansas State if that had happened). After all we beat K State three times, yet played overtime in Colorado with Colorado, played real close with Iowa State, didn't do much with Texas Tech, almost lost to Cornell (who is good but doesn't have the name). On top of all this Northern Iowa had lots of seniors, big men to bang around with Cole, etc., experience in the tournament, won the conference and tournament in the Missouri Valley (which is no pushover league) and had a pretty respectable RPI. Personally I think Northern Iowa should have been a four, maybe a five seed, but oh well.

While everyone around the country ooohed and aaahed at Sherron, and while Bill and the players and the students and all of us really love the guy, lets face it this year wasn't his year. As often as he made key shots, he didn't make them more often. You can only go spinning into the lane (expecting to get a least a foul call) for so long before everyone figures out all they need to do is get set and stand in front of you...and the refs begin to realize there really is no foul (even though it looks like there should be one)

Yesterday before the game started I said to Karen in order to win we really need to see Xavier and Marcus play big time (I figured already that Cole and Sherronda weren't going to have the most dominant of games). Well, Marcus was okay, but not great, and Xavier, well, he just wasn't there.

I noticed after the game, and maybe this was just me, Xavier seemed the least upset of all the Jayhawks. Why? Could it be he always knew he was one and done and so this year was just part of a career move...not that big of a deal really. There were times this year when he looked great and times when he looked like he was asleep.

The game was played in Oklahoma City. For those of you familiar with our sad history there, need I say more

Outside of K State did we play a top ten team. I don't think so. Maybe a few of those games would have helped.

Finally, it's been apparent all year that the Jayhawks figured the championship was theirs (and I understand why) but you can't play entitled, because sooner or later teams come along who don't fold when they see the Jayhawk.

All that said KU really was a great team which could have been a once in a lifetime team. I love Bill Self. I know the guys are really hurting, but you know's just basketball. Unlike Roy Williams I don't think you'll hear Bill comparing this loss to the earthquake in Haiti.

The good news, for those of you who know what I'm talking about, is that Carrie got out of jail this week. That is something which really does matter.