Friday, October 01, 2010


I can't believe I have to print this but folks, hey, my intro to the stupid article from the guy in New Zealand on Obama and the FBI raids was SATIRE.  AGAIN, I WASN'T SERIOUS.  HELLO

I cannot believe how many folks didn't get this.



Today marked the time when some of the first trees came down behind police baracades in Stuttgartt's historic palace garden to make way for a rail tunnell. 

Thousands have been protesting and they kept it up this afternoon.

Chants of "Shame on You!" and a cacophony of vuvuzelas rang out from the crowd which organisers pu
t at more than 100,000 people, hours after Chancellor Angela Merkel had appealed for calm.

The project, dubbed Stuttgart 21, is not as environmentally friendly as it might sound. According to campaigners opposing Stuttgart 21, it will require the destruction of old – and beloved – forestland and disturb the city’s underground water springs. They also believe the new expensive tunnel system won’t even discourage road traffic.

During clahses with police yesterday hundreds were injured including a number of school children. Der Spiegel wrote, " In the past, many would have been happy to see long-haired students get their knuckles rapped during environmental protests, believing it served them right. But in Stuttgart on Thursday, it was middle-class schoolchildren, grandparents and lecturers who were getting beaten up and dragged away by the forces of the state."

Middle class citizens don't like it so much when those attacked look just like them.

The following is from Expatica.


Tens of thousands of people rallied in the southwestern city of Stuttgart Friday to protest against a contentious rail project, a day after riot police clashed with demonstrators.
Chants of "Shame on You!" and a cacophony of vuvuzelas rang out from the crowd which organisers put at more than 100,000 people, hours after Chancellor Angela Merkel had appealed for calm.
The night before police used water cannons, tear gas and batons to disperse 20,000 protestors, leaving hundreds of people needing medical treatment.
"Many people are traumatised, because yesterday ... was a catastrophe, we weren't expecting such violence from the police," said Stuttgart native Werner Braetschkus.
Local police spokesman Stefan Keilbach said Friday's demonstration had so far passed of without injuries. Police had yet to release a crowd estimate for the protest.
"I would hope that demonstrations like these would pass off peacefully," Merkel told public broadcaster SWR. "This must always be tried, and anything that leads to violence must be avoided."
Following the clashes with police on Thursday more than 400 people including minors needed medical treatment, mostly because of the tear gas and pepper spray but also for broken noses and wrists as well as cuts, organisers said.
A blast from a water canon knock an eye out of one protestor, both organisers and police said.
A total of 130 people were injured and 16 taken to hospital, police said. Twenty-six were arrested, the youngest 15 and the oldest 68, they added. Three police officers received cuts and bruises.
Police originally said protestors had thrown rocks and bottles at them, but on Friday a spokeswoman told AFP that only chestnuts had been lobbed at officers.
The demonstrators have been protesting a seven-billion-euro (9.5-billion-dollar) project that aims to make Stuttgart and the surrounding region part of a 1,500-kilometre (930-mile), high-speed rail route across Europe.


Think, my friends in the "free"world, of a life behind bars for decades and decades.  Think of men and women maintaining their humanity, their dedication, and actually growing in the most horrendous of conditions.  Think of all those who fought for justice for their people and all those who just were their people.  Think of them every single day.  It might make you crazy.  It has to make you angry.



by Kiilu Nyasha
“Trust no one in whom the desire to punish is strong.” – Fyodor Dostoevsky

Cartoon by Marcus A. Bedford Jr., K-00220, D-Wing 239L, P.O. Box 689 Central Fac, Soledad CA 93960
I’ve been corresponding with prisoners since 1970, shortly after joining the Black Panther Party in 1969. At that stage of the struggle, the ‘70s, I was writing so many prisoners I had to keep files and carbon copies so as not to get mixed up with who said what. There were fierce arguments being waged regarding individual leaders, strategies and tactics, and ideology. I was also able to keep various political prisoners in touch with one another when they were transferred to different gulags in separation.
Recently, after a picture of “Pat” (my birth name) with Huey Newton and Charles Garry surfaced, one of the brothers I wrote and visited during the ‘70s saw it in another prisoner’s Bay View newspaper and sent me a kite via the SF Bay View. His name is Arthur Anderson, aka Andy or Frelimo. He was in the San Quentin AC (Adjustment Center) on Aug. 21, 1971, when George Jackson was killed. It grieved me to learn he’s been down 47 years and was just denied parole for three more. Here’s some of what he said:
“And well for the last (30) some years I have been in war zones and I had to keep the oppressors knives out my back and to help protect some of these ndugos up in there who didn’t have the heart to protect themselves. And so I got caught up … and when I was at Folsom and the Mex M. came to serve me … his ass got served. And that’s what I got the other 9 years to life for, they stretched me out on that one…. To defend ones self when you’re being attacked and you’re given 9 years to life for assault … How do you justify keeping a human being locked up and away from society for 47 years? … And now for the past 17 years I have been involved with a program here and in another prison called convicts reaching out to people, CROP (a mentoring program for youth).”
When I told Yogi, (Hugo Pinell) that I heard from Frelimo, he said, “Of course I remember him and love him a lot … I’m so glad you’re in touch…. I hope he is in good health and holding on strongly. My best to him and his family and all other true loved ones.”
As many of you know, Yogi has been in Pelican Bay’s torture chamber known as SHU (Security Housing Unit) for over 20 years, in prison for nearly 46 years, most in solitary. He was one of George Jackson’s closest comrades and one of the San Quentin 6 who was convicted of assault and is repeatedly denied parole despite having clean time since 1985.
Terry Collins also writes to Yogi, and he wanted to share some of his last letter:

Hugo Pinell in 1982
“Greetings Brother Terry, Best of love, care and health to you and family…. Terry, my first 2 or 3 years in here I had to do. I did something really wrong and shameful in Oct. 1964 and I turned myself in. I explained what I did and wanted to plead guilty and start my time, but they started talking about deals.… And the case was prolonged because I didn’t want to go for their deals. In January of 1965, after allowed to talk with my mom about it, I accepted their deal and was given 18 months in the CDC … I was 19…. The first 2 years were bad. In Tracy and Soledad, most of us in our late teens and early 20s got caught up in the racial violence, the reputation status and so much b.s., Dracula was feasting and gradually converting us, but this was on me, too, because I committed that crime in 1964. Then, in March 1967, they put me on a bus, said I was going to San Quentin?! One of the most notorious max factories in the states, so I expected worse experiences and negative effects. Instead, the freedom struggle was in motion, thanks to some Beautiful Brothers. One of them, W.L. [Nolen], with whom I came in contact right away … and my mind, my energies and ways began to change for the better, and tho I’ve experienced hard, low and stagnant times, I’ve continued to grow better and better?? Because I met some beautiful individuals who were in the business of human evolvement and contributing towards the building of a new ‘beautiful’ world in which all people will live in true freedom, harmony and peace. Yes, they were into Black Consciousness, Black Unity, Black Power, Self Reliant Principles of living, but they were very aware of the fact that the new world had to be built by all people. I know because we would have conversations about that new world, about liberation and about humanity.
“But, of course, the focus and main concern was on Black People. We had Black history literature and it was important to learn and understand as much of that history as possible. How things were set up for us to fall into so many traps, including these max custody factories, so what to do about Blacks in the CDC? W.L. said we had to really study, wake up, grow up, get ourselves together and prepare to return home as New Men who will work hard with our people to get with the business of self evolvement and the business of real changes and our way to freedom. W.L. … had changed so much from his hard core mad ways that I felt his impact. He was so serious about transforming and being in our struggle that he led by example. Plus, he understood my situation and gave me literature and notes that explained how our ancestors had suffered similar experiences and how Dracula was causing us graver damage to the present.
“I began to study hard and getting myself together in 1967, and should have been released in 1968, but they have come down brutally hard on me for 42 of the 45+ years, for taking control of my mind, my life, and for living on our freedom road. So, 42 years for wanting to be free it’s a horrible ordeal to experience, but you and I know who we’re dealing with. In the 1960s, we used to refer to these oppressors as the man, remember? The man this, the man that. And, oh, my brother, the horrors they were committing then. But that man has become a full grown monster, and growing worse by the day, and the horrors against humanity are so excruciatingly painful that my situation seems so minimal. If it weren’t for the fact that every life is precious and it counts, my situation would be almost non-existent., for I understand and I’ve taken great care of myself to deal with Dracula. That’s why I don’t complain, Terry, nor bother anyone. I’ll continue to resist, to keep on pushing, evolving, and transcending.
“It is why I give you, Kiilu, Yuri, and a few others, so much credit and care, for you’ve been in the struggle for all these years, in a much more complicated and demanding environment, and you keep speaking out, standing up for the people, for us, for real issues. No matter the results, your voices, efforts and free energies keep alive our visions and struggle for liberation. You give me extra strength to keep on growing, building the New Man, of that future new free world. Take great care of yourself, in everyway, and keep using your consciousness, your best energies and best emotions to keep growing a much more compassionate, kinder and more together human being. We haven’t saw the worst of Dracula, but they haven’t saw the best of us. We have to keep evolving, Terry, to avoid any form of complicity with Dracula and to find out how personally ‘free’ we can become, in our times, before we physically pass on. Dracula is so venomous and rotten inside, they might self destruct, or give in to the health, positive and compassionate energies of the righteous and transform.

Hugo Pinell in a more recent photo
“Sure, I miss not being there, the human contact, but my Mom, my family, my true loved ones, people like you, have extended me so much love and warmth, to live in me and help me keep growing. Know that everyday I’m sending the best of my emotions and energies to keep you company and to help keep you pushing and growing. For real, take good care of your health and feel like 73 is very young still. Thank you for thinking of me and wanting to be my friend. Keep freeing your mind, emotions and energies. Monster can have the physical only. In life and struggle, we are together. Venceremos! Hugo”
In a recent letter to me, Yogi wrote about the passing of Marilyn Buck:
“I did receive your general letter with the photo of you surrounded by all those beautiful youngsters. In that letter, you also let it be known of Marilyn’s passing. I’ll never get used to death and dying and when it happens to our freedom servants, I do mourn quietly and shortly, then I celebrate their lives and times because I know that their free energies will live on in us and in the world. Also, I learnt that in the way we live and keep growing reflect what their lives were/are all about, because they really are always with us, so it is all in the living.
“However, upon getting the news of Marilyn from you, I was jolted with so many emotions and I couldn’t respond, so I shut down…
“The powerful and mixed emotions I felt when you let me know of Marilyn’s passing, that I know how hard it is to maintain a clean bill of health in these max confined SHUs because you can’t really get the health care and attention you warrant and deserve even if regular check ups are kept by medical staff.”
You can learn more about Yogi here:
Let’s begin a campaign for amnesty for the release of all prisoners who have served 25 years or more in these gulags and pose no threat to society.
Power to the People! Venceremos!
P.S. If you wanna send some love (or money orders) to these brothers, here are their addresses: Arthur Anderson, A-81622, CSP LAC, Facility A Build, P.O. Box 4430, Lancaster, CA 93539; and Hugo L.A. Pinell, A-88401, D3-221, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City, CA 95531-7500.
Kiilu Nyasha, Black Panther veteran, revolutionary journalist and Bay View columnist, blogs at The Official Website of Kiilu Nyasha,, where episodes of her TV talk show, Freedom Is a Constant Struggle, along with her essays are posted. She can be reached at Terry Collins is the president of one of the few remaining Black radio stations in the country, KPOO 89.5 FM in San Francisco ( He hosts a weekly two-hour program on Tuesdays, 10 p.m.-12 a.m. PST. It’s a powerful mix of music, commentary and interviews.

Related Posts

Thursday, September 30, 2010


Mr. Loudon has figured out that several of the people targeted by last friday's FBI raids are really comrades of Barack Obama and were involved in, hold onto your hats cowboys and cowgirls, the Chicago New Party in 1998.  Not only that but Joe Isobaker, one of those whose Chicago home was visited by fbbis , "..' had been working election day at this same precinct for “progressive” candidates for about a decade – since far left Chicago mayor Harold Washington won re-election in 1987."

Oh my god, Harold Washington.

Not only that but a known communist party "supporter" was also associated with the New Party of Chicago along with Obama and, get this, New Party candidate for thye the 35th ward seat in the Illinois House (does that make any sense) in Chicago, maybe in 1998, Willie Delgado was endorsed by the Chicago Democratic Socialist of America...and so was Obama.

It goes on and on, but anyway now we know why the raids happened...Think about it.  I bet Obama sent in the FBI to seize and destroy any evidence which linked him with this dangerous collection of radicals and revolutionaries.

The following eye catching investigative report comes to you from



By: Trevor Loudon
New Zeal
On September 24, about 20 FBI agents spent most of the day searching the Logan Square residence of Chicago activists Stephanie Weiner and her husband,Joseph Iosbaker, reports the Chicago Tribune.
Working for Willie Delgado
In 1998, the duo worked as leaders of the ChicagoNew Party, alongside Frankie Torres, Deborah McCoy, Jose Kader, Bob Palmer, Rafael Rodriguez (Board of Directors, Rosenberg Fund for Children), Yakira Nunez, Vinnie Izurieta, Pryianka Basu, Dave Rolston, and Mary Robles. Joe Iosbaker was at the time serving as Precinct Captain for Miguel del Valle in the 13th Ward (Remember that name, we investigate del Valle a little further down). He had been working election day at this same precinct for “progressive” candidates for about a decade – since far left Chicago mayor Harold Washington won re-election in 1987. Weiner and Iosbaker supported New Party candidate and member, Willie Delgado, in his bid for the 35th Ward seat in the Illinois House of Representatives.
Delgado had signed up for the New Party in 1995, along with Barack ObamaLou Pardo and Communist Party supporter Alice Palmer. Like Obama himself, Delgado was also endorsed by the Chicago Democratic Socialists of America. In 1998, he won the seat against Elba Rodriguez by a very slim 241 votes. Delgado was to hold the seat until 2006.
Willie Delgado Supported (and Succeeded) Miguel Del Valle
As of 1995, Delgado was a key supporter of Illinois State Senator Miguel Del Valle. Del Valle had also enjoyed the endorsement of the Chicago Democratic Socialists of America. He met Barack Obama in 1992, when the latter was directing a voter-registration drive called Project Vote. In 1993, he was listed as a “contact or potential member” of Progressive Chicago (parent and sister-organization of the Chicago New Party). Then in the mid-90s, he was listed as a member of Friends of Alice Palmer, alongside Danny K. DavisTony Rezko,Timuel Black and Barack Obama. While both Illinois State Senators, Miguel Del Valle and Barack Obama, along with State Rep. Mary Flowers, were to work closely together withACORN representative, April Troope, on the passage of “energy assistance legislation.”
In 2006, Del Valle left the Illinois State Senate, rewarding Willie Delgado’s ongoing support by appointing him to his old seat.
What was the New Party and what was Obama’s involvement?
The New Party was an electoral alliance dedicated to electing leftist candidates to office – usually through the Democratic Party. It dissolved in 1998. Three organizations formed the backbone of the New Party – the Democratic Socialists of America, the U.S.’s largest Marxist organization, ACORN and radical labor union SEIU. Also heavily involved were theCommunist Party USA breakaway group Committees of Correspondence and far left “think tank” the Institute for Policy Studies.
Obama not only worked closely with these New Party candidates, he himself was both amember of the New Party and its parent organization Progressive ChicagoNew Party News Spring 1996 page 1, celebrated Danny K. Davis’s Congressional victory and went on to say:
“New Party members won three other primaries this Spring in Chicago: Barack Obama (State Senate), Michael Chandler (Democratic Party Committee) and Patricia Martin (Cook County Judiciary)…”these victories prove that small ‘d’ democracy can work’ said Obama.”
New Party News Spring 1996 page 2: “Winners! NP-endorsed candidates Patricia Martin (far left), Danny Davis (center) and Barack Obama (far right), celebrate with Chicago New Party members Ted Thomas and Ruth Schools after their victories in the Democratic Primary last month. (Click here for full page.)
What goes around comes around. In 2004, Barack Obama was able to win his 2004 U.S. senate race by stitching together a coalition of socialist/communist dominated unions and “community organizations.”
He also received the backing of several independent Latino elected officials led by State Sen.Miguel del Valle, Rep. Cynthia Soto and Alderman Ray Colon. Alderman Joe Moore also backed Obama, as did USAction leader and Communist Party sympathizer William McNary. Returning the favor once again on the event of del Valle’s election as Chicago County Clerk in 2006, Obama stated, “I am thrilled that Miguel Del Valle is now our City Clerk and I can think of nobody better to serve out a full term than Miguel Del Valle.”
The New Party folded in 1998 after its voting tactics were ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. The FBI is now undertaking what has become a high-profile investigation of former members of the organization. Was Barack Obama a member? Undoubtedly. Will the FBI investigate him? What do you think?


In a move that would have made the Rev. Fred Phelps proud, some group called the Islam Defenders Front attacked a gay film festival in Indonesia.  These Defenders were dressed in traditional white Muslim attire and waving posters showing screenshots of the movies featured in the festival.  

It is not known if they had signs that read ,"Allah hates fags."

The festival aimed to celebrate diversity and was meant to allow people to learn to appreciate human beings for who they were.  

Obviously a part of the now international homosexual agenda.

The Islamic Defenders Front has in the past smashed bars, attacked transvestites and went after those it considered blasphemous with bamboo clubs and stones. A recent GBLT conference was forced to close when hardliner rampaged through a hotel where delegates were staying.

Word has it they plan to merge congregations with the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas in a show of solidarity in the struggle for bigotry and hatred everywhere

heterosexual extremist extreminating in Jakarta
Late reports  have it that more than a hundred heterosexual extremists (pictured here)  from the University of Indonesia staged a demonstration of their own Wednesday afternoon demanding those damnable gays and their ilk take their films and try and show them in Red Square...or something.

Where do they find these people and why do they keep finding them.

The following is from The Jakarta Globe.


Jakarta. Indonesia’s embattled gay and lesbian film festival has been forced to cancel another screening, this time at the Kineforum, the Jakarta Arts Council’s cinema, for security reasons a day after members of the Islamic Defenders Front launched demonstrations.

Organizers of two-week Q! Film Festival, which opened on Friday, however, insisted on Wednesday that the event would continue and  called for support.

In a statement on its Web site, organizers say the festival will continue with the support of its sponsors, including the venues that have been targeted by FPI protesters.

“That this festival is part of our bid to the public to raise awareness about human rights, particularly from the perspective of gender and sexuality in the human identity ... If there are parties who are not in line with the idea of this festival, we advise them to express their thoughts through discussion forums or to initiate a forum such as a festival ... that allows the exchange of ideas without fear,” the statement said.

More than 100 University Indonesia students, meanwhile, added their voices to those of the hard-line Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), demonstrating outside the GoetheHaus on Wednesday afternoon to demand the festival be scrapped.

Jakarta Police were at the venue to ensure the safety of attendees, organizers said.

In the interests of safety, festival organizers have also canceled tonight’s scheduled filming of Take Cong Out, a show where men compete to date each other in front of a live studio audience.

The filming has been replaced with a screening of the film Pyuupiru, which has featured at a previous festival.

As of 1:20 p.m. the festival’s official Twitter feed said scheduled events at Erasmus Huis and the French Cultural Center (CCF) on Jalan Salemba Raya in Central Jakarta would go ahead as planned.

One film screening was abandoned on Tuesday.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


It is virtually impossible to know what  goes on in prisons in this country unless you are there.  

And then there is solitary confinement.  

When prisoners complain, guards and administration say they are lying...and the public always believes the prison staff.  The only people who don't are activists, families of prisoners, and folks who have been there.

For a number of years now, the Human Rights Coalition has been taking and documenting prisoner statements on abuse and outright torture. In April of this year, it released "Institutionalized Cruelty: Torture at SCI Dallas and in Prisons Throughout Pennsylvania," which alleged that COs routinely abuse SCI Dallas prisoners, and deprive them of "food, water, and other rights"

And the prison system retaliated...against those in its custody.

The group noted in a follow up report released in August, 

"Over a period of five days, prison staff subjected seven men to abusive tactics starting with deprivation of food and water, racist slurs, and threats of violence, and culminating in physical assaults with pepper spray, electroshock weapons, fists, and boots. Seven men were beaten bloody and several were left naked in cells without property and in restraints for hours."

These attacks were carried out by European-American guards against prisoners of color and were in reprisal for the prisoners' participation in the recent publication of a report by the Human Rights Coalition/FedUp! (HRC/FedUp!) that documents severe torture and other human rights violations at SCI Dallas. The report, Institutionalized Cruelty2, detailed the findings of a ten-month investigation into SCI Dallas, largely focusing on the solitary confinement unit, and featured testimony from several of the men beaten in the recent attacks."

And that brings us back to the case of Mathew Bullock, a mentally disturbed young man who killed himself, well sort of, at SCI Dallas.

Held in solitary confinement, Bullock, who had a long history of mental illness, psychotic episodes and auditory hallucinations, had tried to kill himself at least 20 documented times in the decade before his 2003 incarceration, and several more times since. Autopsy photos taken after Bullock's suicide showed that his forearms were covered from wrist to bicep with scars, apparently self-inflicted by razors and knives. One scar on his right inner wrist appeared to be recent, with scabs only superficially formed. The scars were both horizontal and vertical. Veins were crossed and traced while cuts intersected and mingled. The number of suicidal cuts in both arms was too high to count.

Prison administration said they had no idea he was suicidal or even depressed.

A law suit filed by his family alleges someone slipped him "instrumentalities which are commonly used to commit or attempt suicide" — a bed sheet, which suicidal inmates in "the hole" are not supposed to have — and COs "incited [Bullock] to 'kill himself.'"

Of course, the state of Pennsylvania claims there is no such thing as solitary confinement in their prisons.  What do they mean by this.  A spokesperson for The Department of Corrections says, "Solitary confinement is considered where an individual has no contact with other individuals. This is just not the case [in Pennsylvania]."  The same spokesman goes on to explain inmate in state prisons' restricted housing units (RHUs) has contact with prison staff and is granted brief outdoor recreation time, where, according to McNaughton, "they may have non-contact interaction with others, including other inmates in the individual exercise pens. ... So, that is why we don't consider it to be 'solitary confinement.' They are housed in our restricted housing units, which are maximum security units within our prisons."


What follows is a fairly lengthy investigative piece on Mathew Bullocks death and related matters published in the Philadelphia Citypaper.

Hell is the hole in a prison near Wilkes-Barre
by Matt Stroud
August 14, 2010

When Matthew Bullock, a 32-year-old convicted killer, fashioned a noose from a bed sheet that he wasn't supposed to have, secured it around his neck, tied it to thin steel bars in the face-high window of his solitary confinement cell, then sat down hard in an effort to break his neck and suffocate himself, it wasn't the first time he'd attempted suicide. In fact, according to a civil lawsuit filed in November 2009 by Bullock's parents against officials at the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) and officials and state-contracted health care providers at the State Correctional Institution at Dallas (SCI Dallas) — where Bullock's lifeless body was found hanging on Aug. 24, 2009 — Bullock, who had a long history of mental illness, psychotic episodes and auditory hallucinations, had tried to kill himself at least 20 documented times in the decade before his 2003 incarceration, and several more times since. Autopsy photos taken after Bullock's suicide showed that his forearms were covered from wrist to bicep with scars, apparently self-inflicted by razors and knives. One scar on his right inner wrist appeared to be recent, with scabs only superficially formed. The scars were both horizontal and vertical. Veins were crossed and traced while cuts intersected and mingled. The number of suicidal cuts in both arms was too high to count.
Yet Richard Elders, DOC's director of the Bureau of Health Care Services, wrote in a Sept. 2 report obtained by Bullock's parents' attorneys: "Offender Bullock did not give any indications that he was going to harm himself. ... There was no indication noted by staff members who regularly interacted with Offender Bullock that he was depressed and would take his own life."
Bullock's parents say that's simply not true. In their lawsuit, they claim that not only had Bullock tried to kill himself while in custody on multiple occasions, but their son also had repeatedly told SCI Dallas' corrections officers (COs) about his suicidal inclinations. The COs didn't ignore him, according to the lawsuit and written statements provided by fellow inmates: They taunted him — and actually encouraged him to take his own life.
When he told COs of his suicidal tendencies, the lawsuit continues, prison officials moved him from a solitary cell that was within view of an observation camera to one that wasn't. Then, the lawsuit alleges, someone slipped him "instrumentalities which are commonly used to commit or attempt suicide" — a bed sheet, which suicidal inmates in "the hole" are not supposed to have — and COs "incited [Bullock] to 'kill himself.'"
After that, family attorney Shelley Centini says, Bullock was left alone for hours, though DOC policy mandates that inmates in solitary be checked on every 30 minutes.
During that time, Matthew Bullock made good on his death wish.
The Bullocks' lawsuit not only raises the possibility that SCI Dallas COs played a role in Bullock's suicide. It also paints the picture of a prison system that is woefully ill-equipped for handling the mentally ill, and implies that, at least in Bullock's case, it relied on a horrific solitary confinement unit guarded by abusive COs to sequester the insane.
Additionally, according to the lawsuit, DOC health care contractors MHM Services Inc. and PHS Correctional Healthcare had "policies or customs includ[ing] providing the least amount of medical care possible to [SCI Dallas] inmates so that MHM and/or PHS could reap the largest possible profit." (Citing the pending litigation, PHS and MHM declined to comment on the allegations. MHM vice president and general counsel Edwin Hightower points out that because MHM's contract with DOC to provide inmates with mental health care is based on services provided, there's no financial incentive to cut corners.)
After the dosage of Bullock's antipsychotic medications was decreased to dangerous levels, the suit says, Bullock attempted suicide inside SCI Dallas' solitary confinement unit. (Hightower could not comment on the specifics of Bullock's care, other than to say that MHM's psychiatrists prescribe medications as they deem medically necessary.) Bullock was denied food and water, and crammed into a cell with "24-hour light and inoperable ventilation," the lawsuit claims.
These claims of mistreatment mirror those in a report released this spring by a branch of the Human Rights Coalition (HRC) called FedUp!, a leftist prisoner-rights organization headquartered in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Titled "Institutionalized Cruelty: Torture at SCI Dallas and in Prisons Throughout Pennsylvania," the report alleges that COs at SCI Dallas physically abuse, assault and deprive inmates of "food, water, and other rights."
Compiled mostly from letters inmates wrote to HRC, the report claims that COs in SCI Dallas' solitary confinement unit — also known as the Restricted Housing Unit, or RHU — sometimes encourage prisoners to commit suicide, and that prison medical staffers regularly deny inmates medications, surgery, hospitalization and other necessary care. It calls mental health care inside SCI Dallas "substandard," and says the system provides "a pretext for holding prisoners in prolonged, sometimes indefinite, solitary confinement."
Bret Grote, an investigator with HRC, says SCI Dallas exemplifies a broken system. "The DOC is constructed to implement abuse ... from the top down," he says. "Bullock's case is just one example of that abuse."
Matthew Bullock was no saint. On Jan. 1, 2003, he committed the crime that would land him in prison for the rest of his life: the frenzied strangulation murder of his girlfriend, Lisa Hargrave, and the fetus she carried in her womb. By the time Bullock turned himself in to police, Hargrave's body had been decomposing in the couple's Wilkes-Barre-area apartment closet for nearly a week. Bullock told the cops that he'd blacked out and didn't remember strangling Hargrave.
Prior to 2003, his criminal record was fairly mundane: a burglary charge at 18, a charge of receiving stolen property two years later, an attempted escape from the Luzerne County Correctional Facility two years after that. There was little indication that he would turn into a killer. But there was also little doubt that he was troubled.
At his murder trial, a defense psychiatrist testified that Hargrave's murder was set off by issues stemming not only from Bullock's severe mental illness, but also from more than a decade of drug abuse and the sexual abuse he suffered as a 5-year-old at the hands of his stepbrother and his stepbrother's girlfriend. The psychiatrist testified that they forced Bullock to dress up like a girl, sodomized him and turned him into a sexual plaything.
After these allegations became public, Bullock's stepbrother, Brock Bullock, released a statement calling the allegations "malicious and untrue in all regards."
But Centini, a civil rights attorney for the Dyller Law Firm who represented Bullock at trial and is representing Bullock's family in its civil suit, believes them: That trauma, she says, haunted Bullock his entire life. He began using drugs at 13, and his family began to notice wild mood swings. He attempted suicide. At 15, his family committed him to a mental institution. Over the next decade, he entered in-patient psychiatric hospitalization and in-patient drug and alcohol rehabilitation more than 20 times. He was diagnosed with impulse control disorder, major depressive disorder, dysthymic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder with agoraphobia, bipolar disorder, intermittent explosive disorder, antisocial personality disorder and traits of borderline personality disorder, as well as alcohol abuse and polysubstance dependence, according to the Bullocks' lawsuit. He also struggled with auditory hallucinations and psychotic episodes — particularly under stress.
Then, Centini says, he would hear voices that told him, Go to hell. Go kill yourself.
"They were kind of like command hallucinations," she says. "And then, almost every time that he would hear these voices, the next thing that would happen was a suicide attempt or a drug overdose."
Bullock stabilized on various antipsychotic medications: He held down jobs at Walmart, landscaping companies and at least one telemarketing agency. But like many on antipsychotic medications, he tired of side effects, and opted to self-medicate with alcohol, cocaine and heroin.
Eventually, Centini says, he took up with Lisa Hargrave, a fellow addict. Hargrave marked a new beginning for Bullock. Though he would later lapse, he got clean when they discovered in June 2002 that she was pregnant. Hargrave was still struggling with addiction, Centini says, but Bullock confided in her: Hargrave was the first non-professional person — non-counselor, non-psychiatrist, non-psychologist — Bullock told about the sexual abuse he purportedly suffered when he was 5.
On New Year's Eve 2002, Bullock and Hargrave went to a party where there was an ample supply of cocaine and booze. They both indulged. Early the next morning, Centini says, Hargrave began smoking crack. Bullock asked her to slow down, but she didn't. They went to another party that night — where there was more blow. Hargrave bought more coke before they left. Back at their apartment, she was still at it — snorting lines, smoking rock. Bullock started in on her, Centini says: "This is it. I can't believe you're still using cocaine. It's like hours now. What the hell do you think you're doing?"
After a scuffle, Centini says, Hargrave retorted: "Oh, what are you, the voice of the moral majority? You're gonna yell at me for using cocaine? Who do you think you are? I know who you are. You're a 5-year-old little boy who likes to get dressed up like a little girl. You like to take it in the ass."
And that, Centini says, is when the voices in Bullock's head returned: You know she's right. Shut her up.
He choked her. Bullock later described the scene to his lawyer: "She's still struggling. She's still moving. She's still yelling at me, she's still taunting me, she's still talking. The voices are still telling me these things."
Bullock taped Hargrave's arms. He taped her legs. He taped her mouth shut. And he didn't just tape her mouth shut once; he used the remainder of the duct tape roll and wrapped it around her head more than 30 times. Bullock claimed he had blacked out; at trial, the defense psychiatrist said Bullock had entered a state of psychosis.
Bullock stuffed Hargrave's body in the bedroom closet and went to sleep.
Of course, this version of events is secondhand: The only two people who were there are no longer alive. But the judge and jury seemed to have some sympathy for Bullock's condition: After hearing Bullock's history at trial, a Luzerne County jury found him "guilty but mentally ill" of third-degree murder in Hargrave's death. (The accompanying fetal homicide conviction was the first in Luzerne County, and one of few in Pennsylvania following the 1997 Crimes Against the Unborn Act.) On Nov. 17, 2003, Common Pleas Judge Joseph Augello sentenced Bullock to 20 to 60 years in prison, with the direction that he "be transferred to a secure mental health facility for the needed period of treatment."
DOC would not discuss Bullock's transfers or mental health treatment for this story; Centini says he was moved from the Luzerne County Correctional Facility — where he was treated with "good medications for the first time" — to SCI Camp Hill, generally thought of, along with SCI Graterford, as one of the most violent and raucous prisons in the state. SCI Camp Hill is part holding pen, part melting pot: It's generally where prisoners go post-conviction, while DOC figures out where to place them.
Of Pennsylvania's 26 state prisons, several contain special needs units for those with mental or physical health care needs, but only one prison is officially designated as a mental health facility: SCI Waymart. According to DOC's website, Waymart houses "mentally disabled male inmates who require inpatient psychiatric care and treatment." (As of June 30, SCI Waymart was one of only five state prisons not over capacity.)
Despite the judge's orders that Bullock be placed in a secure mental health facility, Bullock wasn't transferred to SCI Waymart. Instead, he stayed at SCI Camp Hill until sometime in 2004, when he was sent to SCI Huntingdon.
From there, he was transferred to Waymart, where he stayed until early 2005. But then he was transferred back to Huntingdon for more than two years.
About this time, Centini says, DOC stopped providing Bullock with Seroquel, an expensive antipsychotic medication used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. (Citing pending litigation, DOC officials declined to address this claim.)
Centini believes Bullock was transferred from prison to prison because of his multiple suicide attempts.
"The pattern that seems to have developed was that they would put him into general population somewhere, and when he would start to decompensate, they would transfer him to a place that has a special needs unit or a mental health unit," she says. "He would start to show signs of improvement, they would put him back into general population, and the cycle would continue."
Between 2007 and 2009, Centini says, Bullock was transferred to at least five different prisons within DOC. During this time, she adds, DOC's health practitioners would not provide Bullock with Seroquel even when he showed suicidal ideation, which he did frequently: Bullock attempted suicide as many as five times during this span.
Last year, after Bullock's final stay in a DOC mental health facility, he received news that he would be transferred to SCI Dallas. This prospect frightened him: According to his parents' lawsuit, Bullock told prison officials that one of the COs at SCI Dallas was a relative of Lisa Hargrave, his victim.
SCI Dallas officials were aware that one of the COs guarding inmates in the prison's general population was related to Hargrave, Centini says, and at Bullock's request, they twice asked DOC to transfer Bullock.
According to DOC deputy press secretary Sue Bensinger, prison superintendents have absolute discretion to reject prisoners' transfer applications before passing them along to DOC. That Michael Klopotoski, SCI Dallas' then-superintendent, sent Bullock's two transfer requests to DOC brass may indicate that he felt Bullock's concern was at least somewhat legitimate.
However, Centini says, citing DOC Office of Professional Responsibility records she obtained in discovery — but declined to release to City Paper — in SCI Dallas officials' first attempt to transfer Bullock, they forgot to include the name of the CO allegedly related to Hargrave, so DOC declined the transfer. The second request was turned down due to Bullock's "misbehavior" — "scratching his arm with a staple," Centini says.
(Because his name is not included in the lawsuit, his relationship with Hargrave could not be independently verified and he could not be reached for comment by press time, City Paper is not identifying that CO.)
After Bullock requested the transfer, Centini says, SCI Dallas officials moved him into administrative custody in the prison's RHU while DOC processed his petitions.
Here, Centini says, Bullock started hearing voices again. He scratched his wrist with a staple he found — which, Centini says, prompted DOC to deny his second transfer request. SCI Dallas officials then placed Bullock in disciplinary custody — in a cell Centini calls the "torture cell," which she says was outfitted with 24-hour lighting and no amenities except a tiny desk and a hunk of concrete to sleep on. Centini calls this transition "a punishment" handed to Bullock for again attempting suicide.
"Institutionalized Cruelty," the Human Rights Coalition's 93-page report released this spring, details numerous allegations of inhumane, unsafe and vicious treatment inside SCI Dallas' RHU at the hands of COs the report describes as some of the most abusive in the system.
Walberto Maldonado, of Philadelphia, is serving five to 10 years in SCI Dallas for drug-dealing charges he incurred in 2003. Last September, he wrote to HRC to protest the conditions inside solitary confinement, which, he said, "has become a chamber of cruel and unusual punishment ... a torture camp." The hole resembles "a cattle ranch where people are tortured ... then released back to society without a chance in the world due to being treated like animals."
Wrote another RHU inmate, who requested anonymity for fear of retaliation by SCI Dallas COs: "The conditions are horrible. The cell was disgustingly filthy when I first entered it. There were stains on the walls and the bunk that looked like boogers/snot and dried blood. ... Also, the cells have no windows and very minimal air circulation. [Plexiglas] 'spit shields' prevent air from flowing in cells."
He continued: "We are let out for one hour a day, Monday through Friday, for recreation which consists of being cuffed and led by a 'dog leash' attached to the cuffs to an outdoor area where there are a whole bunch of cages similar in size to our cell. We are placed one person per cage and left out there with nothing for one hour. This is where some inmates smuggle containers filled with feces, urine and other bodily fluids and fling it on each other.
"Some inmates actually undress, squat down and defecate into their hand and throw it like that. We also come out [three] times a week for a shower, which lasts anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes usually. Occasionally I've been left locked in the shower stall for close to an hour or more, obviously forgotten about. This is another area where inmates can throw feces, etc., because they put [two] inmates per shower stall, next to each other only separated by a fence-like partition. Other than special circumstances, these are the only times we come out of our cells."
This inmate told HRC that he hears constant banging on desks, beds and walls from inmates in the RHU — an unending barrage of noise. He hears loud sounds he can't identify, yelling from COs, and the screams of men shouting in mania from inside their cells. "Thankfully," he wrote, "I've never had an impulse to hurt myself, or at least a serious one I should say. This place definitely makes you think about it though."
SCI Dallas Deputy Superintendent Vincent Mooney dismisses these complaints. The claims, he notes, are purely anecdotal, and don't come from the most trustworthy of sources. "Not only do [those prisoners] have a reason to lie," he says, "but we look into every grievance filed by every prisoner, and if there's a problem with an officer or an inmate or a part of the prison itself, we fix it."
The debate over the propriety of solitary confinement is nothing new — it was even the focus of a recent Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode. Many psychologists argue, as Craig Haney of the University of California at Santa Cruz did for Wired in April 2009, that "for some people, the actual experience of isolation is so painful that it generates an anxiety or panic reaction. People lose their ability to control themselves. They become uncontrollably and sometimes permanently depressed in the face of this kind of treatment. Others become angry and unable to control those impulses."
A U.S. military study referenced in a New Yorker piece last May found that, "of almost a hundred and fifty naval aviators who returned from imprisonment in Vietnam" — many of whom were tortured for years — most "reported that they found social isolation to be as torturous and agonizing as any physical abuse they suffered."
Jules Lobel, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh who has argued in federal court against prolonged solitary confinement, wrote in an article on the subject for the University of Pennsylvania's Journal of Constitutional Law in 2008: "One important aspect of human existence is social contact with others; such contact does constitute a basic human need."
Lobel argues that solitary confinement is no place for the mentally ill. "Many of the people that [prisons] confine to solitary are there because they have trouble conforming in general population," he says in an interview. "And they have trouble conforming because they're mentally ill. And so then they're basically being warehoused in these solitary confinement facilities."
The theory in the United States, he continues, "is that you're supposed to take everything you can from a prisoner — make his life miserable — so that he'll want to get back into general population. But for mentally ill people, the problem is not that they don't want to conform, but they can't. Because they're mentally ill."
But what's a prison system supposed to do with someone like Matthew Bullock?
"They're supposed to give them treatment," Lobel says. "But that's antithetical to the philosophy most people have about prisons — which is that they should treat these people harshly."
SCI Dallas sits atop a giant hill in the suburbs of Wilkes-Barre, 120 miles north-northwest of Philadelphia. Jerome Walsh is its acting superintendent. (He took over after Bullock's death; Klopotoski was promoted in November 2009 to regional deputy secretary of DOC. He declined to comment for this story.) "Our mission is to run this place like a small city," Walsh says. "It's got a cafeteria, workers, schools, places where inmates can worship and congregate. Our goal is to keep them safe and orderly."
SCI Dallas houses about 2,140 inmates, some 400 of whom are serving life without the possibility of parole. It has 119 beds in its RHU, but not all of them are filled, Walsh says. This is in contrast to the rest of the facility: SCI Dallas, which was built to house 1,750 inmates, is overcrowded.
Mooney, SCI Dallas' deputy superintendent, says prisoners enter RHU primarily for their own protection, or if "they are a significant security risk" — either because they've attempted to escape or because they assaulted another inmate or a CO, or if prisoners have information about someone who has done something wrong.
The prison's rules call for a 15-day stay in RHU for disciplinary cases, which can be renewed another 15 days at the discretion of prison officials. Those in RHU for protection or other administration reasons can stay there indefinitely.
SCI Dallas officials reject HRC's allegations of abuse inside their RHU. "We know what's going on in our prison," Walsh says. "We take every allegation seriously. But we keep our investigations in-house for security reasons, and because it's in our policy that we're allowed to keep those investigations internal."
That means the complaints prisoners file against their COs aren't public record. Moreover, while Bensinger, the DOC spokeswoman, says the department investigated the allegations in HRC's report — as it does with all allegations of abuse, no matter the source, she says — it also means that neither DOC nor SCI Dallas have made public the results of whatever inquiries were conducted.
Asked about the claim in the Bullocks' lawsuit that Bullock was moved from a cell in RHU that had a video camera in it to one without a camera shortly before he committed suicide, Walsh says the RHU has only one cell with a camera. Mooney adds that "there was a very good reason" why Bullock was moved into a cell not monitored by a camera, but he would not say what it was. Beyond that, the SCI Dallas officials declined to answer any more questions about Bullock's death, citing the ongoing litigation.
"It's very easy to pick up on the bad things," Walsh says, "but the truth of the matter is that we run this prison as effectively as we can, and I think we do that job very well."
A former inmate at SCI Dallas, Tom — not his real name — served less than a decade in various state prisons on sexual assault charges until his release a few years ago. He was in SCI Dallas' RHU for several weeks in the late 1990s, while awaiting a court hearing.
After reading about Bullock's case last year, Tom contacted Centini to say he had experienced similar abuse. (Centini, in turn, made Tom available to be interviewed for this story.) His stint in administrative custody began on the RHU's top tier, where he says he felt safe. But almost immediately, he was moved downstairs to a different section of the RHU — where a friend of his victim was working, he says. He believes SCI Dallas officials wanted to place him in harm's way. (They categorically deny his accusation.) Tom says the ensuing three weeks were some of the worst of his life. The COs constantly told him to kill himself, he says. They pounded on his door whenever they went past, searched his room frequently and refused to feed him, and when they did feed him, he says, they served his food with shit — literally, fecal matter — on his plate.
"I've been in solitary a few times," he says. "And being in solitary is a terrible thing. But at Dallas, it was torture. I did not sleep. I did not eat. I still have nightmares about it. It follows me."
At the same time, Tom says much of the problem with prisoner abuse — and the continued use of solitary confinement — lies with the inmates themselves. Some prisoners file "frivolous grievances and lawsuits, tying up the courts and hearing boards, preventing legitimate issues from being addressed."
But even then, he says, valid complaints likely wouldn't go anywhere at Dallas: "[COs] have way too much power. And in some places, you got COs who just go to work their eight hours. But at Dallas, it's like a brotherhood. They combine as one. And if they want to stop you from saying something — or if they want you dead or gone — they will break you down."
Prison officials did not allow SCI Dallas COs to speak on the record about Bullock's case. However, one CO who works in the solitary confinement unit of another state prison — who asked that neither his name nor the prison at which he works be revealed — says he thinks Tom's story about being served feces is "total bullshit."
The rest of it, though, he believes: "If an inmate is acting like an ass by kicking their door or screaming for no reason or threatening COs — or acting like whining children — then we have every right to burn them on food, refuse to give them their hour of yard and treat them like children. If they act like grown men, then we'll treat them like grown men."
It's unclear how many prisoners at SCI Dallas, or at any other state prison, are mentally ill. A study released in July by the International Association for Correctional and Forensic Psychology that looked at New York City's Riker's Island, Chicago's Cook County Jail and the Los Angeles County Jail determined that 15 percent of each of those institutions' populations was mentally ill. Other studies put the percentage much higher, as much as 50 percent or more. But if you assume that 15 percent of SCI Dallas inmates are mentally ill, that's at least 320 inmates, who are treated by the four psychologists and one psychiatrist the prison usually has available each day, Walsh says. Many of these inmates, because of their disruptive nature, are bound to wind up in the hole.
Under any circumstance, says Lobel, the Pittsburgh law professor, that's not where they should be. Even more so if the abuse claims made about SCI Dallas' RHU are accurate.
Nonetheless, he acknowledges, "People don't really want to hear about what's going on in prisons. We want to keep prisoners out of sight and out of mind. And so legislators, the elite, Congress, they just don't really want to hear about prisoners unless one has been murdered or something like that. But if a prisoner's locked up for 10 years, I don't think anyone really wants to hear about how their mental health is being influenced by the prison system."
Walsh, strangely enough, offers a somewhat concurring thought. He began his career working for the state in mental health facilities outside DOC's jurisdiction.
"I understand the importance of mental health," he says. "But I realized very early on in my career that it was a shrinking field and that the Department of Corrections is always growing, always getting bigger. I knew there were opportunities for advancement here. You just don't have that when you're working in mental health care."
An unidentified inmate made reference to Bullock's death in his letters to HRC: "[A]t least one inmate committed suicide by hanging himself in his cell while I've been in this RHU. ... The jail swept that incident under the rug and put a new inmate in that cell the very next day."
The HRC report contains eight separate accounts from inmates in SCI Dallas' RHU who say Bullock was driven to suicide by abuse and harassment. Though Bullock was clearly predisposed toward killing himself, one inmate, Carrington Keys, who's serving up to 70 years following robbery and assault convictions, said there were COs who "encouraged prisoner Matthew Bullock to kill himself." Keys also claims that COs in Dallas' RHU bragged about their role in Bullock's suicide.

Isaac Sanchez, 24, serving up to seven years for charges related to a York burglary in late 2006, wrote that COs at Dallas had called Bullock a "child molester, snitch, pedophile and many other disrespectful names." Sanchez wrote that COs also told Bullock "that they don't take his suicide threats seriously and that if he wanted or needed a helping hand to assist his suicide task/threat," all he had to do was ask.
David Sierra, 30, who's serving time at SCI Dallas for a slew of 1997 Lebanon County charges including multiple counts of arson, robbery and aggravated assault, wrote that COs called "Bullock a child molester, and rapist," and "antagonized Bullock for days, telling him to kill himself," Sierra wrote. "This was an ongoing process until [Bullock] did what they forced him to do."
And John Paolino, 40, who's serving up to five years for DUI- and drug-related charges, wrote, "I hung myself Nov. 12 [2008], and all these people did was lock me in a room naked for 18 days and take every medication that had helped me. I wouldn't have hung myself if they would've [listened] to me. If they wouldn't have continually messed with all my medications."
According to DOC statistics, 13 prisoners died at SCI Dallas in 2009. Aside from Bullock's suicide, 11 deaths were listed as "natural"; another was considered "undetermined."
The HRC report doesn't blame any one person for Bullock's death; instead, it holds the system responsible. The report says, COs' physical abuse, combined with the system's unwillingness to deal with mental health issues, disinclination to listen to inmate grievances and reliance on solitary confinement — HRC labels solitary confinement "torture" in and of itself, a controversial position — creates an environment in which "physical abuse and assault, sexual harassment and violence ... psychological torment, medical deprivation, deprivation of food, exposure to dangerously unhygienic conditions, constant intimidation and retaliation, and the subversion of prisoners' due process rights are normative features of prison life in Pennsylvania."
No trial date has been set for the Bullocks' lawsuit, and DOC has yet to file its answer to their complaint. But when all is said and done, Bret Grote of HRC hopes the case sheds some light on how DOC operates.
He writes in an e-mail: "The death of Matthew Bullock and the routine torture and abuse of prisoners in solitary confinement should open people's eyes to the reality that the prison system is anything but a correctional system. ... [DOC] needs to be completely overhauled."
This article originally appeared in Philadelphia's City Paper