The "Muhammad Ali of the Criminal Justice System" Passes On

From: Angola3News:
Oct. 4th 2013

-Special thanks to PBS, who is currently honoring Herman by streaming the film Herman’s House. Watch the full movie here.

MEDIA COVERAGE:  NY Times  II  Amnesty International  II  Times-Picayune  II  ABC  II  Melissa Harris-Perry, MSNBC  II  NBC  II  The Independent, UK  II  UPI  II  Common Dreams  II Toronto Sun / Reuters  II  NY Daily News / Associated Press 


This morning we lost without a doubt the biggest, bravest, and brashest personality in the political prisoner world.  It is with great sadness that we write with the news of Herman Wallace’s passing.

Herman never did anything half way.  He embraced his many quests and adventures in life with a tenacious gusto and fearless determination that will absolutely never be rivaled.  He was exceptionally loyal and loving to those he considered friends, and always went out of his way to stand up for those causes and individuals in need of a strong voice or fierce advocate, no matter the consequences.

Anyone lucky enough to have spent any time with Herman knows that his indomitable spirit will live on through his work and the example he left behind.  May each of us aspire to be as dedicated to something as Herman was to life, and to justice.

Below is a short obituary/press statement for those who didn’t know him well in case you wish to circulate something.  Tributes from those who were closest to Herman and more information on how to help preserve his legacy by keeping his struggle alive will soon follow.
——————
 On October 4th, 2013, Herman Wallace, an icon of the modern prison reform movement and an innocent man, died a free man after spending an unimaginable 41 years in solitary confinement.

Herman spent the last four decades of his life fighting against all that is unjust in the criminal justice system, making international the inhuman plight that is long term solitary confinement, and struggling to prove that he was an innocent man.  Just 3 days before his passing, he succeeded, his conviction was overturned, and he was released to spend his final hours surrounded by loved ones.  Despite his brief moments of freedom, his case will now forever serve as a tragic example that justice delayed is justice denied.

Herman Wallace’s early life in New Orleans during the heyday of an unforgiving and unjust Jim Crow south often found him on the wrong side of the law and eventually he was sent to the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola for armed robbery.  While there, he was introduced to the Black Panther’s powerful message of self determination and collective community action and quickly became one of its most persuasive and ardent practitioners.

Not long after he began to organize hunger and work strikes to protest the continued segregation, endemic corruption, and horrific abuse rampant at the prison, he and his fellow panther comrades Albert Woodfox and Robert King were charged with murders they did not commit and thrown in solitary.  Robert was released in 2001 after 29 years in solitary but Herman remained there for an unprecedented 41 years, and Albert is still in a 6×9 solitary cell.

Herman’s criminal case ended with his passing, but his legacy will live on through a civil lawsuit he filed jointly with Robert and Albert that seeks to define and abolish long term solitary confinement as cruel and unusual punishment, and through his comrade Albert Woodfox’s still active and promising bid for freedom from the wrongful conviction they both shared.

Herman was only 9 days shy of 72 years old.

Services will be held in New Orleans. The date and location will be forthcoming.

For more information visit http://www.angola3.org and http://www.angola3news.com.

Herman Wallace in April 2013: All Power to the People!

83 year old Peace Activist with medical condition held in SHU with no heating (SEATAC)

“Forget about your doctor back home; I’m your doctor now.”
(a guard to a 83 year old peacemaker in federal prison)

This came to us via email. It concerns a 83 year old Jesuit monk, Bill Bichsel, aka Bix to his friends, who is a peace maker and who witnessed with his blood the naval base where nuclear weapons are stored in Washington State, Nov. 2009.

He is currently serving a sentence for another witness and pro-peace action, and he was released on what seemed like parole, a few days ago, before his final release on Feb 9th.

On his release he had to travel to a halfway house alone for hours, was not allowed to have contact with anyone for 72 hours after “release.” The following day he was returned to SEATAC, the federal prison in Washington State, for incredibly minor “violations.” What the prison does to him, is in fact criminal.

From: Blake Kremer, per email

Bix called around 2 PM today and said that he would like a visit from
me. He related to me the following:

“Found out at a hearing on Tuesday the BOP’s reason for taking him in
to custody. Brought two people in from the halfway house to describe
the incident when the monks came to greet me. I did not know the
monks were coming, but I threw them some kisses and that was it. The
next morning the marshal came and took me in to custody.

I am now on non-compliance and in the SHU. I entered in to a fast –
this is my ninth day. I am amazed at how much strength I am getting.
No food at all – just water. Every morning they bring me breakfast; I
just take two half pints of milk. I feel with all of this my spirit
feels great. It is very cold for me all of the time. I cannot sleep
at all – 24 hours a day without sleep, fighting off the chill. I have
asked for a jacket or a pillow or a mattress; they do not comply.

I am very delighted in the way that this has happened. Welcome
angels singing joy and peace is the theme that comes to me. Rejoice
Rejoice Rejoice – I loved the visit from the monks that lead to his
current imprisonment. I am where I should be. I am good.

I am cold all the time, I wear a blanket. I am in bed all the time
to stay warm.

I am deeply thankful for where I am and I feel a deep sense of god’s
presence. I would like to have others join in the fast if they want
to. There is a fast for Christian unity from 18th to the 25th. I
would like others to consider joining in or being more conscious of
our call to eliminate nuclear weapons or oppose unconscionable actions
and inhumane treatment. I told BOP that I would not comply, as a
matter of conscious. They said: this is a matter of policy not
conscience. I said: that is exactly my point. And that is what I
would like others to consider: that what is policy for some is not
acceptable for Christians.”

This is from an email from another supporter:

***Stay tuned today for information regarding a vigil in response to
prison abuse at SeaTac***

The final line of Bix’s call yesterday to Blake is what I want to
address. “What is policy for some (Bureau of Prisons) is not
acceptable for Christians.”

It is policy for prisons to deny the cries of inmate’s for basic human
needs. (See Plowshares News – May 11, 29 and 31, 2011). It is policy
for prisons to keep the environment cool/cold as well.

Bix is an octogenarian. At 83, I guarantee, our physical needs are
radically different than at 53, or even 73. In contrast, the age of
most prison guards (from my observations) is closer to 33. Supplying
additional warmth is not preferential treatment; it is simply a
rational response to basic physiology.

When Bix went into SeaTac on November 11, he brought a list of his
medications and a letter from his primary care physician. The bulk of
the letter related to Bix’s overall medical condition and needs; but,
it was prefaced by a cover letter specifically addressing Bix’s need
for extra clothing and warmth due to coronary and circulatory
deficits. His doctor explained, in detail, how painful it would be to
Bix if his extremities are subjected to ongoing cold. This letter is
in the medical file at SeaTac. It is being ignored.

Earlier this year, in response to a medical request from Bix, a guard
cut off the conversation to say, “Forget about your doctor back home;
I’m your doctor now.”

Yes, guards and administrators in jails and prisons can treat inmates
inhumanely simply because they can; but, it also seems that the milieu
of prison life is geared toward punishment. At the Knox County
Sheriff’s Detention Facility, where Bix was imprisoned in Knoxville, a
long document that listed the purposes of the facility was posted on
the bulletin board. The first 2 items on the list were their statement
of ownership and the mission statement of delivering “punishment.”

Whether or not jail and prison administrators are directly complicit
in the day to day cruelty of those they supervise; they are answerable
for maintaining an environment that caters to punishment, rather than
rehabilitation. By dehumanizing inmates, whether at Abu Ghraib or the
Podunk County jail, administrators at the top give tacit approval to
soldiers/guards all the way down the line to be creative in their
punishments.

It is important for us to voice disapproval of Bix’s cruel treatment.
Please take a few minutes today to let people on the list below know
that the community cannot tolerate this treatment of Bix or of any of
the 824 prisoners held at SeaTac today. If you know of others who
should hear from us, please contact them and then send me a note –
I’ll add your suggestions to the list. The more letters we get out,
the more likely someone with compassion will intervene.

Contact your government representatives

http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml

Also:

Charles E. Samuels, Jr.
Director, Federal Bureau of Prisons
320 First St., NW,
Washington, DC 20534
Office hours: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Eastern time
Monday through Friday
For general information, call 202-307-3198.

Willie Jusino, Warden
Federal Detention Center SeaTac
P.O. Box 13901
Seattle, WA 98198
Phone: 206-870-5700
Fax: 206-870-5717

Marion Feather, Warden,
SeaTac Federal Detention Center
mxfeather@bop.gov.

Terry McGuire
The Catholic Northwest Progress
710 9th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98104
Terry.McGuire@seattlearch.org
Phone: 206-382-4560
Fax: 206-382-4840

The News Tribune
P.O. Box 11000, Tacoma, WA 98411
Phone: 253-597-8742
David A. Zeeck
Publisher & President
(253) 597-8554
david.zeeck@thenewstribune.com

The Seattle Times
PO Box 70, Seattle, WA 98111
Newsroom: (206) 464-2200
Newsroom fax: (206) 464-2261
Newsroom and Seattletimes.com staff
Main: (206) 464-2111
Accepts letters of up to 200 words at opinion@seattletimes.com.

Leonard Peltier Walk for Human Rights

Posted on December 17, 2011 on Prison Radio’s Blog:

18 December 2011 – 18 May 2012

One good man or one good woman can change the world, can push back the evil, and their work can be a beacon for millions, for billions. Are you that man or woman? If so, may the Great Spirit bless you. If not, why not? We must each of us be that person. That will transform the world overnight. That would be a miracle, yes, but a miracle within our power, our healing power.

~ Leonard Peltier

With the goal of advancing the economic, social, and cultural rights of all people, the Leonard Peltier Walk for Human Rights will begin on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay on the morning of December 18, 2011.

The Walk will follow a route across the southern United States to the east coast and end in Washington, DC, on May 18, 2012.

The ferry to Alcatraz will leave Pier #33 at 8:45 a.m. (assemble at 8:00 a.m.).

The first 300 tickets are available for $14.00 (under 5 years free). Tickets can be purchased on the day of the event, or online at http://www.alcatrazcruises.com starting Friday, December 9th. Mention “AIM event”.

The next boat will leave Pier #33 at 9:10 a.m. (Tickets will be sold at the regular price, $26.) A ceremony will begin on Alcatraz soon after all have assembled on the island. A press conference will be held on Pier #33 beginning at 1:00 p.m.

[A reception is scheduled for December 17 at 5:00 p.m., at the Inter-Tribal Friendship House, 523 International Boulevard, Oakland, CA.]

Are you a freelance reporter/writer in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina, Virginia, or Washington, DC? Or maybe you’re a blogger? Help keep the world informed about the progress of the Walk. We strongly encourage you to file stories for publication in print or electronic media about this historic Walk for Human Rights.

This event is sponsored by Wind Chases the Sun, Inc., N5679 Skylark Drive, DePere, WI 54115.
For more information contact Dorothy Ninham at 920-713-8114 or (920) 869-2641.
Or contact Gina Buenrostro at (920) 713-2205
Or Geronimo Powless at (920-713-3828).

Get information and/or donate securely online at www.leonardpeltierwalkforhumanrights.com.

LP-DOC – PO Box 7488 – Fargo, ND 58106
Phone: 701/235-2206; Fax:701/235-5045

www.whoisleonardpeltier.info

Peltier Update

Remember Mr. Peltier during the holiday season.

SEND CARDS AND LETTERS:

LEONARD PELTIER #89637-132

USP COLEMAN I
U.S. PENITENTIARY
P.O. BOX 1033
COLEMAN, FL 33521

Mr. Peltier should be placed in a unit with other older prisoners, but USP Coleman has Leonard listed as being 57 years of age when, in fact, he is 67 years old. All of Leonard’s prison records over these many years clearly indicate his correct date of birth. Write to the warden at USP Coleman to demand that he correct this “clerical error”.

Warden Jorge L. Pastrana
United States Penitentiary-1
PO Bo 1023
Coleman, FL 33521

Overall, the conditions at USP Coleman are inhumane. The prisoners recently remained in lockdown for over 30 days. Peltier supporters, please write to demand that Leonard be moved to the medium security facility in Oxford, Wisconsin, in deference to his age, health, and current inability to maintain ties with family members and members of his Nation, the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians.

Contact:

Dr. Thomas Kane, Acting Director
Federal Bureau of Prisons
320 1st Street, NW
Washington, DC 20534
E-Mail: info@bop.gov
Phone: (202) 307-3250 (Director); (202) 307-3198 (Switchboard)
Fax: (202) 514-6620

Leonard Peltier moved to Florida prison

By LPDOC
Via: Censored News (http://www.bsnorrell.blogspot.com)

According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Leonard Peltier has been moved from Oklahoma City to the U.S. Penitentiary at Coleman, Florida.

The United States Penitentiary I in Coleman is a high security facility located in central Florida approximately 50 miles northwest of Orlando, 60 miles northeast of Tampa, and 35 miles south of Ocala.

LEONARD PELTIER #89637-132
USP COLEMAN I
U.S. PENITENTIARY
P.O. BOX 1033
COLEMAN, FL 33521

This is nearly 2,000 miles from Leonard’s Nation, the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, in North Dakota! Tell the Federal Bureau of Prisons that the only acceptable transfer is one to a medium security facility in close proximity to (within a 500-mile radius of) his family and Nation. Ideally, Leonard should be moved to the medium security facility at Oxford, Wisconsin.

[Address to write to for complaints:]
Dr. Thomas Kane, Acting Director
Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP)
320 1st Street, NW
Washington, DC 20534
Phone: (202) 307-3250 (Director); (202) 307-3198 (Switchboard)
Fax: (202) 514-6620

From: Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee
PO Box 7488, Fargo, ND 58106
www.whoisleonardpeltier.info

Leonard Peltier in the Hole

A Call to Action

14 July 2011

Updated: 14 Jul 2011
On June 27, the 66-year-old Leonard Peltier was thrown in “The Hole” at USP-Lewisburg where he purportedly will stay for the next six months. According to what is currently known, Leonard’s cell was searched that day. A guard allegedly was shocked by a wire(s) in the cell, placed there a long while ago by one of Leonard’s former cellmates. The guard claimed “assault” (apparently he didn’t know better than to touch an electrical wire). Leonard wasn’t present during the search, having already been removed to “The Hole”.

See here for the report.

Send Cards and Letters:

Leonard Peltier
#89637-132
USP-Lewisburg
US Penitentiary
PO Box 1000
Lewisburg, PA 17837

Leonard Peltier placed in Solitary Confinement

On June 27, Leonard Peltier was removed from the general population at USP-Lewisburg and placed in solitary confinement. We know this was not done for Leonard’s protection. We also are certain that Leonard has done nothing wrong. He should immediately be returned to the prison’s general population.

Our concern is two-fold. First and foremost, Leonard must not be railroaded by prison authorities as has happened in the past. Second, Leonard’s age and health status are a concern. Leonard suffers from diabetes and other health conditions. He must have the means by which to monitor his blood sugar. He must receive the proper diet. Leonard otherwise must continue to receive his prescribed medications. He must immediately be returned to the prison’s general population.

For more information on how you can help, please visit http://www.whoisleonardpeltier.info/alert.htm.

Marie Mason at Carswell, TX, in rumored CMU

As of August 6, 2010, Marie Mason is at the federal prison in Carswell, Texas.

It has long been rumored that Carswell is the location a third CMU (Communications Management Unit). The CMUs were previously secret detention wings of prisons which severely curtail prisoners’ access to the outside world; for more on them, see: http://www.supportdaniel.org/cmu/

Please write to Mason:

Marie Mason #04672-061
FMC Carswell
Federal Medical Center
P.O. Box 27137
Fort Worth, TX 76127

Marie Mason is serving almost 22 years for two acts of environmentally-motivated property destruction in which no one was harmed. This is the longest current sentence of any of the Green Scare prisoners. (The Green Scare is the name given to the recent prosecution of eco-saboteurs and animal liberation activists, in which the government has labeled them as “terrorists” and sought huge sentences.) Mason was turned in by her then-husband, Frank Ambrose, who had secretly spied on activists for years and then filed for divorce the day she was arrested. Mason eventually plead guilty to 14 actions; 13 were claimed by the Earth Liberation Front and one by the Animal Liberation Front. At her sentencing, the judge said she had “violated the marketplace of ideas” and gave her an even longer sentence than the prosecution had asked for (15-20 years).

More information on Mason is available at www.supportmariemason.org.