Police State Repression

They Murdered Troy, But We Must Never Forget Him!

By Carl Dix

This system executed Troy Davis—no they murdered him. They delayed his execution a few hours while the Supreme Court considered and rejected a last-minute appeal from Troy's lawyers. The court issued a one-sentence statement explaining why they refused again to reopen his case and look at the mounting evidence of his innocence.

It might as well have said Black people have no rights we are bound to respect! The content of what the system has told us in this case, as they told us in the case of Shaka Sankofa eleven years ago, is that innocence is no bar to execution.


Troy Davis and Our Pro-Life Government

by David Swanson 

Wednesday evening, when the news was mistakenly announced that Troy Davis would not be killed, the crowd that I was with erupted with joy and with the enthusiastic realization that we all were capable of believing that something good had been done by our government.  I was at the dedication of the Howard Zinn room in the new Busboys and Poets restaurant in Hyattsville, Maryland.

Some of us had been assigned to read selections from the late Zinn's "Voices of a People's History of the United States."  I was asked to read John Brown's courtroom speech in which he said, "Now if it is deemed necessary that I should forfeit my life for the furtherance of the ends of justice, and mingle my blood further with the blood of my children, and with the blood of millions in this slave country whose rights are disregarded by wicked, cruel, and unjust enactments, I submit: so let it be done!"


The ACLU on Obama and core liberties

The leading civil liberties group documents the dangerous continuity between this President and the last one.

By Glenn Greenwald

The ACLU decided to use the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attack to comprehensively survey the severe erosion of civil liberties justified in the name of that event, an erosion that -- as it documents -- continues unabated, indeed often in accelerated form, under the Obama administration.  The group today is issuing a report entitled A Call to Courage: Reclaiming Our Liberties Ten Years After 9/11; that title is intended to underscore the irony that political leaders who prance around as courageous warriors against Terrorism in fact rely on one primary weapon -- fear-mongering: the absence of courage -- to vest the government with ever-more power and the citizenry with ever-fewer rights.  Domestically, the "War on Terror" has been, and continues to be, a war on basic political liberties more than it is anything else.  The particulars identified in this new ACLU report will not be even remotely new to any readers here, but given the organization's status among progressives as the preeminent rights-defending group in the country, and given the bird's-eye-view the report takes of these issues, it is well worth highlighting some of its key findings.


Call in Day to Support Carlos Montes, August 29 - Honor the Chicano Moratorium!

We need to stop the persecution of political activists like Carlos, the 23 Midwest anti-war and international solidarity activists, and other activists in the movement.

From the Committee to Stop FBI Repression

On Monday August 29, call:
President Barak Obama at 202-456-1111
Attorney General Eric Holder at 202-514-2001
Sample message: “My name is ________ and I am calling from [city, state]. I’m calling about Carlos Montes of Los Angeles. He is one of the anti-war activists being targeted by the FBI. I want you to tell Attorney General Holder [or President Obama]:
Drop the charges against Carlos Montes!
Stop the FBI and the Grand Jury repression of the other 23 anti-war and international solidarity activists.
Return all property to Carlos Montes and the other activists raided by the FBI. The U.S. government should not be prosecuting us when we exercise our rights to freedom of speech and dissent.”


Chicago Forum on California Prison Hunger Strike & Torture in U.S. Prisons

...international law and UN treaties consider long-term solitary confinement and sensory deprivation to be forms of torture or "cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment."

From Revolution newspaper

Taking inspiration from the courageous actions of the California prison hunger strikers, who came together across racial and other dividing lines from within the depths of the most dehumanizing and degrading conditions, and recognizing the moral imperative to take urgent action commensurate with the heroic stand of the hunger strikers, I took the lead in organizing a Forum on the California Prison Hunger Strike & Torture in U.S. Prisons, held in Chicago on August 4, 2011.


Hellhole: Long-Term Solitary Confinement in US Prisons, and Why It Is Torture

By Andy Worthington 

With contested claims that the three-week long hunger strike in California’s prisons has come to an end (as I discussed in a recent article, The California Prison Hunger Strike Opposing Solitary Confinement as Torture — and the Insulting Response of Prison Officials), the horrendous human rights abuses in America’s prisons may once more slip off the radar, which would be a depressing development, as the hunger strike that began in Pelican Bay prison — and specifically in the Security Housing Units, where prisoners are held in solitary confinement, often for years and often for reasons that have nothing to do with them posing a threat to anyone or having engaged in violent behaviour — is highlighting a problem that is largely ignored in the mainstream US media.

That problem, in a nutshell, is that at least 100,000 prisoners in America’s prisons — both in “supermax” facilities and in other prisons — are held in long-term solitary confinement, which, to be blunt, is a form of torture.


Prisoners at Pelican Bay End Hunger Strike... The Struggle Against the Inhumanity of Solitary Confinement Continues

By Li Onesto 

On Thursday, July 21, prisoners in the Security Housing Unit (SHU) at Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP) were about to enter the fourth week of their hunger strike, demanding an end to the inhumane conditions of solitary confinement. Hundreds of prisoners in other prisons had joined them in solidarity, refusing food.

That morning, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) issued a press release saying the strike was over. And later that night, Marilyn McMahon from California Prison Focus reported that she and Carol Strickman, an attorney working with the mediation team representing the hunger strikers, had spoken with four of the hunger strike leaders who were eating again. McMahon said the prisoners had “extended their deeply heartfelt thanks to all their supporters outside” and “they emphasized that that support was responsible for their wins and their safety from retaliation. Above all, they hammered home the message: This is just the beginning!”

The heroic struggle of prisoners from the most brutal hellholes of the U.S. prison system is an extremely significant and extraordinary development. These prisoners have set a courageous example and inspired people all over the world.


Support the Hunger Strikers of Pelican Bay, California, Calling for An End to Solitary Confinement as Official US Prison Policy

By Andy Worthington  

On July 5, I received a press release from the Prison Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition in Oakland, California. Under the heading, “Prisoners Across at Least 6 California Prisons Join Pelican Bay Hunger Strikers: Strike Could Involve Thousands of Prisoners,” it read:

More than 100 hours into an indefinite hunger strike started at Pelican Bay State Prison’s Security Housing Unit, prisoners in at least 6 state prisons have joined in, with participation potentially growing into the thousands. Hunger strikers at Pelican Bay and other prisoners participating are protesting the conditions in the Pelican Bay’s Security Housing Unit (SHU).

Dozens of US-based and international human rights organizations have condemned Security Housing Units as having cruel, inhumane, and torturous conditions. SHU prisoners are kept in windowless, 6 by 10 foot cells, 23½ hours a day, for years at a time. The CDCR operates four Security Housing Units in its system at Corcoran, California Correctional Institution (CCI), Valley State Prison for Women (VSPW) as well as Pelican Bay. As of Tuesday morning [July 5], advocates had confirmed hunger strike participants at Corcoran and CCI, as well as Folsom, Centinela, and Calipatria State Prisons.

I paid it attention, but didn’t have time to follow up. Then, on July 17, my very good friend Debra Sweet of The World Can’t Wait also sent me a message, asking me to examine the cause of the hunger strikers, and to see if I saw similarities between America’s domestic prisons and the hunger strikers of Pelican Bay and the prisoners at Guantánamo, my chosen field of expertise for the last five years.


The U.S.Congress and the Dangerous Drive Towards Creating a Military State

By Andy Worthington 

“Some issues,” the New York Times declared in an editorial on June 25, “require an unwavering stand. Preserving the role of law enforcement agencies in stopping and punishing terrorists is one of them. This country is not and should never be a place where the military dispenses justice, other than to its own.”

Fine words, indeed, although the Times itself has, over the last ten years, in common with most, if not all of the American establishment, failed to thoroughly and repeatedly condemn efforts, first by George W. Bush, and then by the Obama administration, to hold military trials for the mixed bag of soldiers and terrorist suspects held at Guantánamo.


Isolation, Indeterminate Sentences Used to Extract Confessions at California Supermax Prisons

By Jeff Kaye

Adding to Kevin Gosztola’s recent coverage of the hunger strike at Pelican Bay prison (which has spread to at least six other prisons, including Corcoran California Correctional Institution and Valley State Prison for Women), I want to look more closely at one of the prisoner’s demands, in particular their call for the abolition of the “debriefing process.”

The conditions at Security Housing Units (SHU) at Pelican Bay Prison, and other Supermax prisons, clearly constitute torture and/or cruel, inhumane treatment of prisoners. It relies on the use of severe isolation or solitary confinement, the effects of which I’ve written about before in the context of the Bradley Manning case (see here and here). At Pelican Bay, the prisoners in “administrative segregation” are locked in a gray concrete 8′X10′ foot cell 22-1/2 hours per day. The other time (if that privilege is granted) is spent alone in a tiny concrete yard. There is no human physical contact. No work, no communal activities. If the prisoner has enough money they can purchase a TV or radio. Meals are pushed through a slot in the metal door.

An end to solitary confinement, and in particular to long-term solitary confinement, of an indeterminate nature, is one of five “core” demands of the hunger strikers (see Word document).


Letter from a Pelican Bay SHU Hunger Striker

The psychological effects from supermax cannot be reversed by rehousing into a regular general population in another prison, yet some have been here in shu for decades, this in a country that claims to uphold human Rights, even occupying other counties under the excuse of their citizens having their human rights violated.

We received this letter, written by a prisoner incarcerated at the Pelican Bay SHU and postmarked July 8, 2011, from the Prisoner's Revolutionary Literature Fund

Greetings, I write in concerns of the hunger strike that begun on July 1st of 2011 here in Pelican Bay Shu. And as I get into the current effort made at Pelican Bay let me give some background to what lead to this social protest from the viewpoint of one of the hunger strike participants and its important to see the Repression unleashed on the Barrios and ghettos that lead to being wharehoused in koncentration kamps like Pelican Bay throughout America.

The prisons in California hold the most prisoners than any other state in America yet many of the conditions are the same. Pelican Bay opened for business in 1989, taking a page from the Federal Prison system and what it was doing with its new ‘supermax’ concept of incarceration. California began a new dawn in its housing of those prisoners it felt unruly. Pelican Bay Security Housing unit or Shu as it’s known is a prison within a bulging state prison system and is the future of what is the supermax America.


Main Police State Repression


World Can't Wait mobilizes people living in the United States to stand up and stop war on the world, repression and torture carried out by the US government. We take action, regardless of which political party holds power, to expose the crimes of our government, from war crimes to systematic mass incarceration, and to put humanity and the planet first.