Friday, February 04, 2011


Trust me, I wish I could post happy stories here, but the world is just so screwed up...Stories of people like Deane Brown just below make me feel useless and ashamed to not be out in the street right now screaming instead of just typing at my computer.  The trouble is there are so many Deane Browns.  The amazing thing is there are also so many Deane Browns.  Those of us in the "free world" don't know how good we've got it.  Even the short time I spent in prison decades ago taught me lessons that I could have never learned anywhere else.  Although learning those lessons was damaging, there are times when I am thankful for the experience I wouldn't wish on anyone.  Behind the walls of the worlds prisons are some very bad people and a whole lot more folks no different than you or I.  When I left prison I promised myself I would never forget those I left behind.  I haven't and I won't.  I admit this "remembrance" doesn't do them a helluva a lot of good, not really.  It doesn't tear down the walls or melt the bars or create a world without solitary confinement, and all the rest.  It hasn't freed Leonard, it has not freed a couple of brothers just up in Omaha, it did nothing to save the life of Marilyn Buck.  I haven't really done much for all the nameless prisoners locked away.  I'm sorry. paraphrase the words of one of the men who helped build the prison industrial complex, let us all pledge to "tear down that wall" that separates so many from so many.

                                  Marilyn Buck


Fighting back in prison is just about as tough as it gets. Those who do deserve every bit of support and solidarity those of us out here can provide.  

Time to stand up for Deane Brown.

The following is from

Maine Prison Whistleblower Exiled and Isolated

FEBRUARY 3, 2011
by Jean Casella and James Ridgeway
For more than four years, Maine prisoner Deane Brown has faced isolation and exile for his role as a prison journalist and whistleblower.  Brown was serving a lengthy sentence for burglary and robbery in the lockdown unit of Maine State Prison when he began filing reports, by letter, which were aired on WRFR community radio in 2005. The following year he began broadcasting himself, by telephone, in a series of weekly reports on WRFR called “Live from the Hole.” Brown also supplied material to journalist Lance Tapley for his stories in thePortland Phoenix on abuses in the supermax unit.
In late 2006, after receiving letters from the warden warning him to cease “disclosing confidential information through the media,” Brown was suddenly transferred from Maine State Prison to a series of maximum security prisons in Maryland. As Tapley reported at the time, the Maine corrections commissioner called Brown “a very serious threat to the facility,” despite his lack of any violent offenses inside prison.
Now Brown has been moved once again, to a particularly brutal solitary confinement unit in New Jersey, according to a new report by Tapley:
Deane Brown, a Maine inmate shipped out of state because of his criticism of the Maine State Prison, is now being held in New Jersey in “one of the most repressive” prison units in the country, often reserved for “political” or activist prisoners like black radicals, says Bonnie Kerness of the American Friends Service Committee’s national Prison Watch. Inmates are not put there because of what they’ve done but because of who they are, she says, adding that the unit specializes in psychological “no-touch torture” techniques such as sleep deprivation, noise, and unsanitary conditions.
In Brown’s case, toilet water sometimes floods his solitary-confinement cell floor, and he has sores on his feet from his severe diabetes. Day and night he hears a mentally ill prisoner in the next cell banging on his metal door. Two inmates in his unit have recently set themselves on fire. His cell is cold, and he’s allowed only a thin cotton blanket and no pillow.
This picture is put together from reports from Brown’s friend, Beth Berry, of Rockland, who has received phone calls from him, and Jean Ross, a pro-bono attorney who recently visited him at the New Jersey State Prison in Trenton, where he’s in the harsh Management Control Unit.
Maine authorities transferred Brown to Maryland in 2006 after he blew the whistle to the Phoenix on inmate abuse at the state prison’s “supermax” isolation facility. In October Maine prison guards took him from Maryland to New Jersey. In a recent phone call, Brown, 47, told Berry that he had lost 40 pounds since then.
He told Ross he was feeling desperate because the prison wasn’t responding to his medical needs and was violating its rules for the placement of inmates in maximum security. She is relaying his concerns to prison officials.
Sentenced in Maine to 59 years for burglary and robbery, Brown also told Ross he believes he was put in the unit because Maine’s Department of Corrections told its New Jersey counterpart that he’s an escape risk due to his locksmith abilities. He has never tried to escape from prison, he says, or been violent.


We live in a prison nation called the USA.  It is a nation that likes to especially lock up African Americans, and other people of color...any anybody who challenges the Power.  Those of us who give a damn about this are too few.  Too many are those who just go on about their business as if all is well, as if living in a country with more than a quarter of the world's prisoners is normal.  The ideology of the prison nation got a healthy push forward, along with white racism, during the Reagan Administration.  I can understand that.  Unfortunately, I can also understand why President Obama will never say a word about it.


Time For A Political Response to the Crisis of Mass Incarceration: Join the Campaign To End Mass Incarceration

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by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon
  • Because the U.S., with 4.5 % of the world's population, has 25% of the planet's prisoners.  We are the world's first prison state.
  • Because African Americans, who are one eighth the nation's population, are almost half it's 2.3 million prisoners, and because Latinos, also an eighth of the U.S., are more than a quarter of the locked down.
  • Because prisons do not make us safer.  Incarceration rates DO NOT match rates of crime or drug use.  Whites, blacks and Latinos have nearly identical rates of drug use, but the "war on drugs" is almost exclusively prosecuted in nonwhite and poor neighborhoods.  Local police funding is often tied to drug arrests, and nonwhites are universally charged with more serious crimes, convicted more frequently, and sentenced more harshly than whites.
  • Because former prisoners are viciously and almost universally discriminated against in housing, employment, health care and the right to vote for the rest of their lives.
  • Because if Dr. King were alive today, he too would oppose the prison state the U.S. has become.
    Time For A Political Response to the Crisis of Mass Incarceration: Join the Campaign To End Mass Incarceration
    by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon
...we've waited in vain for black civic, media, religious and political leaders, our black elite, to come up with a political response to the nation's social policy of mass black incarceration. It's not coming.”
We've been writing for years, in Black Agenda Report, and before this, in Black Commentator about how the heinous impact of our nation's policy of mass incarceration is, whether our supposed leaders recognize it or not, the number one problem of Black America.  Fully thirty percent of black males between 18 and 30 are locked away.  In the depressed inner-city areas of Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, Atlanta, Jacksonville, Milwaukee, and a dozen other places, more than eighty percent of black males have a prison record by the age of thirty.  
Along with many others, we've identified the crisis of mass incarceration as stemming not from poor education, or broken families, not from disproportionate crime and drug use, not from fading morals or a supposed culture of poverty and violence. As legal scholar Michelle Alexander and many others have demonstrated, mass incarceration is a bipartisan political policy, conceived and implemented from the Reagan administration onward, first to build a political coalition on white racism, and afterward to sustain corporate profits, political careers, and socially useful myths.
Like many of you, we've waited in vain for black civic, media, religious and political leaders, our black elite, to come up with a political response to the nation's social policy of mass black incarceration. It's not coming. This kind of fundamental change will not be brought about by the professional political “pragmatists” whose vision is always limited to what they can get through a state legislature, a regulatory board, or the Congress this session.
In The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander points out that if U.S. incarceration levels were rolled back to those of the early 1980s, well over a million of the locked down would be released, and an additional million contractors, sheriffs, cops, judges, guards, prison administrators and others would be out of work. After more than a dozen years of campaigning against the 100 to 1 differential between sentences for crack vs powder cocaine, the best our pragmatic traditional leaders could do, with a black Democrat in the White House and Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, was to narrow the crack vs powder differential from 100 to 1 to 18 to 1, not by lowering penalties for crack, but mainly by increasing those for powder cocaine. Our pragmatic leaders simply have no stomach for this kind of change. They can't lead it, they can't follow it, they cannot even conceive of it.
Georgia is, we think, a propitious place to begin a campaign against mass incarceration.”
So Black Agenda Report and the Green Party of Georgia are taking the initiative. We are launching the Campaign to End Mass Incarceration. The Green Party of Georgia, the state committee of which this author is a member, is committed to raising the funds for an organizer, and by the summer we expect to be conducting public meetings around the state of Georgia, where almost any town of any size is a prison town.
Georgia is, we think, a propitious place to begin a campaign against mass incarceration. The state is 26% black, a percentage only exceeded by Mississippi, South Carolina and Louisiana. It not only contains metro Atlanta, the second largest concentration of black population on the continent, but large black populations in medium and smaller cities like Valdosta, Macon, Augusta, Albany, Savannah, and Columbus, along with small towns and a rural black belt. Georgia leads the nation with an astounding one in thirteen adults under lock and key or court or correctional supervision. The shadow of prison falls on nearly every black family in the state.
We invite everybody to visit us at, and register for our email lists, participate in the public discussion, and help us build and sustain this Campaign to End Mass Incarceration. Over the next few months, we will be building networks of prisoners and families, and concerned citizens who want to see the nation's policy of mass incarceration rolled back, who want to see the end of the prison state as we know it, and who value restorative justice over the regime of meanness, vengeance and profitability that currently exists.
We think the recent work of Georgia's Concerned Coalition to Respect Prisoner Rights, the ad hoc coalition that sprung up in immediate response to the strike by Georgia inmates in early December, has important lessons about the potency of civic action to challenge the prison state.
When the coalition, a broad based entity which included the state conference of NAACPs, the Nation of Islam, the Ordinary Peoples Society, the US Human Rights Network, Elaine Brown and others demanded meetings with state authorities and access to some of the prisons, the access was granted. Observer teams from civic groups pierced the walls of secrecy and denial to reveal the heinous and inhuman conditions imposed on prisoners and their families, and are expected to release a report on their findings soon. We hope the coalition will pursue its interrogation of conditions behind the walls, and expect with this campaign to make a significant contribution to their ongoing effort.
But political problems, imposed upon us by politicians for political reasons must have political solutions. So the Green Party of Georgia belongs in the middle of this. So does Black Agenda Report. Maybe you do too. Whether you live in Georgia or not, but especially if you do, visit and sign up.
The site is still a work in progress, and over the coming weeks and months will include many more resources and discussions than it does at present, but everything has to start somewhere. Please include your zipcode, and indicate whether you are a prisoner, an ex-prisoner, family of a prisoner or other status. Right now, although there are prisoners in nearly every extended family, it's something we bear as a very private mark of shame, something we rarely share with even our closest friends and neighbors. Solutions start when we acknowledge problems, and the fact that our neighbors, thousands upon thousands, have the same problems. Join the Campaign to End Mass Incarceration. Let's stand and be counted. And let's figure out how to make this happen.
Bruce A. Dixon is a member of the state committee of the GA Green Party, and based in Marietta GA. He can be reached at bruce.dixon(at)


Malaysian protesters shout slogans against Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in front of the US embassy in Kuala Lumpur Malaysian cops opened up with water cannons on anti-Mubarik protesters outside the US embassy.  What is with cops?  Give em something fun to hurt people with and they sure as hell will use it.  It gets old.  

The following is from

Malaysian police fire water cannons at anti-Mubarak rally

KUALA LUMPUR : Police fired water cannons at protesters as about 600 Malaysians held a noisy rally outside the US embassy on Friday to demand Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak resign immediately.

As the protesters - comprising opposition political and civil rights groups led by the Pan-Malaysia Islamic Party - marched, they shouted "Down, Down Mubarak!"

Many of them carried a banner saying "We march with Egyptians". Others held placards with the words "Down, down Mubarak" and "Mubarak your game is over", as a police helicopter buzzed low over them.

Security outside the embassy in Kuala Lumpur was tight with 200 heavily armed riot police displaying batons, shields and tear gas rifles.

Rally organisers handed a one-page memorandum to the US mission calling on Washington to influence Mubarak to quit immediately.

"The United States of America clearly has a big influence on Hosni Mubarak. It is time for the United States of America to state its stand, in no uncertain terms, that Mubarak must go," the demonstrators demanded.

"The Egyptian people deserve a regime change. Egyptians deserve their freedom, the right to self-determination and the right to build their own future."

S Arulchelvan, secretary-general of the Socialist Party of Malaysia, lashed out at police for firing the water cannons and arresting three people.

"It was unnecessary. The people were going home after a peaceful rally when police fired the water cannon," he said.

Normala Daud, 52, a teacher who joined the rally, said: "We are peaceful protesters. I am here to support the pro-democracy protesters in Egypt. Mubarak is a cruel leader. He must go immediately."

- AFP/ms

Thursday, February 03, 2011


Was it just yesterday that the Oread Daily cast a spotlight on the possibility of a popular uprising in Morocco?  Well, boys and girls, hold onto your hats, it's a comin'.

And remember in that very same article I speculated on what such might mean for the independence movement in the Western Sahara.   Check out the last two paragraphs of the article below.

And now we say to King Mohammed VI, it's time to be planning a career change.

The following is from AFROL NEWS.

Morocco next? Protesters start organising

Protests in Tangier on 30 January
Anti-government protests in Tangier, Morocco
© Anónimo/afrol News
A growing number of Moroccan civil society groups are calling for large scale protest marches in the Kingdom. As the first protests are already being organised in Tangier and Rabat, the army is regrouping.

Following the developments in Tunisia and Egypt, Moroccan youth groups have started organising the first protest marches in the country to demand political reform and greater human rights in Morocco.

The first mass protests have already been organised in Morocco. On Sunday, the group ATTAC Morocco staged a larger demonstration in the northern city of Tangiers, with protesters focusing on "the deterioration of social conditions and high basic food prices."

The Tangier protest however was brutally stopped by security forces, according to eyewitnesses. Batons and tear gas were used to disperse demonstrators who had gathered in the Square of Nations in central Tangier. Protesters had chanted slogans of solidarity with the people of Tunisia and Egypt, demanding a "right to employment, housing and a decent life."

But Moroccan protesters have not given up, despite the brutal response by security forces. Today, there are reports from the capital, Rabat, about demonstrations in front of the Egyptian Embassy, with hundreds of protesters chanting slogans in solidarity of their counterparts in Egypt.

Further protests are now being prepared by a magnitude of groups in Morocco.

A group of young Moroccans is currently spreading the protest call through the social network Facebook, calling for demonstrations on 27 February "in front of the prefectures and the wilayas in all regions and central authorities in cities and villages, to demand the freedom of political organisation, the alternation of power and human rights."

The so-called "Movement for Freedom and Democracy Now" in a statement specifies that this protest is "part of a spontaneous global transformation that aims at giving people their rightful place in society," further calling for democracy, freedom and the adherence to popular will.

According to the statement, there is a list of demands including "the abolition of the current constitution, dissolve parliament and government, parties who have contributed to the consolidation of political corruption and take immediate real action for a political transition."

The organisers further refer to "the terrible conditions of poverty, unemployment and human rights violations and restrictions on freedom of press" in Morocco. Morocco is known to be the poorest and least developed state in North Africa, facing enormous social problems.

Also other organisations are calling for protests. A grouping of the political opposition, trade unions, human rights organisations and an association of the unemployed has issued a statement calling for rallies and demonstrations to be held next Saturday, 5 February.

Also, the Labor Council of the Democratic Labour Confederation of Morocco has called for Sunday 6 February to be a day of protest. Marches are planned for in the south-eastern town of Ouarzazate "to protest the inhumane living conditions in Morocco."

As the calls for protests are widening in Morocco, the regime is increasingly insecure. King Mohammed VI has met with French government officials and his most trusted military leaders in his private chateau outside Paris to discuss the security situation.

Several unconfirmed reports from Morocco and occupied Western Sahara agree that security forces now are being pulled out from the occupied territory to be deployed in Morocco-proper in preparation of a possible popular revolt.

The reported regrouping of Moroccan troops may leave Western Sahara - a territory whose indigenous Saharawi population is always ready to revolt - open to rebellion. Security forces stationed in Western Sahara are famed for great brutality against civilians, which could bode unwell for protesters trying to organise marches in Morocco.


guess who is not coming dinner
It's kind of a drag when you aren't allowed to attend a dinner in your honor.  Well, that is what happened in the land of the Maple Leaf to Mohamed Harkat.  

The following is from

Mohamed Harkat barred from attending dinner in his honour


It it time for the Palestinian Authority to get its head screwed on straight already.  Somebody in the triumvirate of governing bodies in the whole of Israel and Palestinian has got to step up to the plate sometime and start making decisions that are correct, morally responsible, and on the right side of history.  I haven't much faith in Hamas.  I haven't much faith in the Israeli government.  I haven't much faith in the Palestinian Authority.  Maybe someday, the peoples, the Jews, the Arabs, the Bedouin, the Druze, maybe someday they'll all wake up one morning and get it.  However, I wouldn't start the coffee pot just yet.


More detentions in Ramallah at rally for Egypt

Published Wednesday 02/02/2011 (updated) 03/02/2011 14:19
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RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Palestinian Authority police beat back protesters with clubs and detained at least two at what witnesses described as a spontaneous rally and show of support for the Egyptian people as chaos hit Cairo streets.

"I was sick and tired of sitting at home and doing nothing," one Ramallah resident said, explaining that she had seen on the social networking site Facebook that friends were attending a peaceful protest at 9 p.m. in the city center.

When she arrived shortly after nine, she said one protester was already being dragged away. "There were only 30 people there at the start," she said, adding that after the arrests more gathered.

Palestinian police officials in Ramallah could not be reached for comment by phone, but told Ma'an earlier that officers would be "ready for any problems" that erupted.

Protesters said the event had been peaceful until police broke out batons and started pushing women at the front of the group back and away from the city center.

"Our rally was simply in support of Egypt," one protester told Ma'an by phone, "we said nothing against the PA, we were not even out in the street."

Earlier in the day, dozens of Fatah supporters had gathered in the same spot protesting in support of Mubarak. Protesters were said to have carried signs accusing Egyptian opposition leader Mohammed ElBaradei of being a CIA agent, according to a report in Israel's The Jerusalem Post.

The paper cited sources in Ramallah who said the demonstration was initiated by the PA leadership.

Turnout at the protest was low and there were no reports of arrests.

On Sunday, PA security forces shut down a demonstration in front of the Egyptian embassy in Ramallah, after calling in one of the organizers for questioning multiple times a day earlier, organizers of the rally said.

Forces pushed demonstrators and a man who identified himself as a police commander said the demonstrators were in a "security area" and would have to disperse, they said.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011


Liberté, égalité, fraternité, life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, France, USA...all lies...all bullshit...WHAT THEY MEAN FOR HAITI...

The following is from the Black Commentator. 

We could use a man like Francois Toussaint Loverture about now

Duvalier, Aristide
and the Crisis in Haiti

By Bill Fletcher, Jr. Editorial Board

Is it me or are events in Haiti taking a bizarre turn?

The arrival of Jean Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier defied the expectations of probably every observer of Haitian politics and history. This notorious monster who, along with his father “Papa Doc” Duvalier, presided over the rape of Haiti and the murder of thousands, returned to Haiti allegedly to help the people in their time of need.

There are many things about this turn of events that make it Twilight Zone-ish but one thing in particular struck me. How is it possible that an undisputed despot who was overthrown by the Haitian people has been permitted to return to Haiti from exile whereas the democratically elected president of Haiti, overthrown in a coup that had the blessing of the USA - but not the blessing of the Haitian people - has been refused reentry?

The answer to this question rests in the USA and France, rather than Haiti. The answer, also, presents a challenge, if not embarrassment, for the Obama administration. The evidence revealed this week demonstrates that Duvalier did not just appear unannounced in Haiti. He had the permission of France

This is of critical importance, given the collaboration between France and the USA in 2003/2004 in the overthrow Aristide. French antipathy to Aristide reached a crescendo when, in 2003, Aristide demanded that France repay Haiti for the millions extorted by France between the late 1820s and 1947. US antipathy towards Aristide went back to when he was first elected in 1990 under a progressive populist platform.

There never has been any French or US antipathy towards Duvalier. He was a good ally for both countries, irrespective of his crimes against the Haitian people.

So, while Duvalier was able, with French and, apparently US permission, to return toHaiti, President Aristide remains stuck in South Africa. He has no passport and no one can or will explain why he has been unable to return to his homeland. This past week Aristide issued a statement - printed in - clarifying his explicit desire to return to Haiti. There has, as yet, been no official response.

Supporters of democracy and national sovereignty for Haiti were not surprised when President George W. Bush permitted - or encouraged - the overthrow of President Jean Bertrand Aristide. What has been perplexing for many is why President Obama has done absolutely nothing to return President Aristide to his homeland.

The Obama administration’s attitude and actions toward Haiti are reminiscent of its approach towards the Honduran coup in 2009. When the democratically elected president of Honduras was overthrown, the Obama administration mouthed opposition to the coup, yet took no steps to frustrate, if not oust the “coup people.” 

In fact, the Obama administration permitted the “coup people” to solidify their control over the country. It has wanted everyone to forget that there was a democratically elected president of Honduras named Manual Zelaya.

Watching the inaction of the Obama administration in the face of the Duvalier embarrassment should remind us that what has been unfolding in Washington, DC has nothing to do with the personal feelings of President Obama. His feelings actually do not matter. What matters are his actions. His administration, instead of breaking with the past practice of the USA vis-à-vis Haiti, continues the subordination of Haiti and the undermining of its efforts towards genuine democracy. The holding of a fraudulent election without the participation of the largest political party in Haiti - Aristide’s FamniLavalas - is directly linked with the continued, silent exiling of President Aristide.

Now is the time to speak up in the face of this travesty. There are actually two demands. The first is that Duvalier should be jailed. In fact, he should never see the light of day again. His crimes are nearly indescribable. The notion that he has any popular support should be analogized with the popular support that Hitler and Mussolini had at the end of their lives: the support should not count and should not be counted.

On the other hand, the democratically elected president of Haiti must be permitted to return to Haiti immediately and with dignity. 

The Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Progressive Caucus should demand that the Obama administration take immediate steps to make this so, and Black 

America should insist that both caucuses not remain silent or neutral on this matter.

Enough is enough! Editorial Board member, Bill Fletcher, Jr., is a Senior Scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies, the immediate past president ofTransAfricaForum 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.