3 May 2013
AIM Leader Leonard Peltier: 37 Years in Prison Hell
Leonard Peltier is known throughout the world as one of the most prominent political prisoners in the United States. His 37 years of incarceration due to his courageous activism in the American Indian Movement (AIM) has come to symbolize the U.S. rulers’ racist repression of the country’s indigenous people, survivors of centuries of genocidal oppression.
Peltier emerged as a Native American leader in the late 1960s. In response to the hideous oppression he experienced and saw all around him, he became involved in struggles for Native American rights and joined AIM. It was in his capacity as a trusted AIM activist that he came to assist the Oglala Lakota people of the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota in the mid 1970s. AIM came into the government’s crosshairs because it was attempting to combat the enforced poverty of Native Americans and the continued theft of their lands by the Feds and the energy companies, which were intent on grabbing rich uranium deposits under Sioux land in western South Dakota. The hated Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and the FBI turned Pine Ridge into a war zone as they trained and armed thugs to terrorize and crush Indian activists. Between 1973 and 1976, these forces carried out more than 300 attacks, killing at least 69 people. (read more...)
3 May 2013
Defend the NATO 3!
For nearly a year, Brent Betterly, Jared Chase, and Brian Jacob Church have been locked away in Cook County Jail, facing possible 40-year prison stretches on an array of “terrorism” and other trumped-up charges, with bail set at $1.5 million each. Last spring, these Occupy activists traveled from Florida to Chicago in the lead-up to protests against a May 20 summit of the U.S.-dominated NATO imperialist military alliance. The city was under a virtual state of siege orchestrated by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, with thousands of National Guardsmen, troops and cops mobilized to shield the summit from over 10,000 protesters. On May 16, Betterly, Chase and Church—now known as the NATO 3—were arrested for a supposed plot to make four Molotov cocktails and hurl them at police stations and other targets. The highly publicized arrests were part of a campaign to brand the protests as violent, in order to chill opposition to the NATO war criminals who have the blood of untold thousands in Afghanistan and elsewhere on their hands.
As the Partisan Defense Committee wrote in a 21 May 2012 protest letter to the Cook County State’s Attorney (printed in WV No. 1003, 25 May 2012), “The arrests of Betterly, Church and Chase have all the earmarks of a classic case of police entrapment and provocation.” The arrests came less than a week after the defendants had posted a video on YouTube of a Chicago cop who had pulled their car over, threatening them: “We’ll come look for you, each and every one of you.” (read more...)
3 May 2013
Free Tinley Park Anti-Fascists!
Last May, some 18 anti-racist militants broke up a gathering of fascists in the Chicago suburb of Tinley Park called to organize a “White Nationalist Economic Summit.” Among the vermin sent scurrying were some with links to the Stormfront Web site run by a former Ku Klux Klan grand dragon. Such fascist meetings are not merely right-wing discussion clubs but organizing centers for race terror against black people, Jews, immigrants, gays and anyone else the white-supremacists consider subhuman. For their basic act of social sanitation, five of the anti-fascist fighters were sentenced by a Cook County court to prison terms of three-and-a-half to six years on charges of “armed violence.” (See “Freedom Now for Tinley Park 5!” WV No. 1018, 22 February.)
The Spartacist League and the Partisan Defense Committee stand by these militants and call on workers, leftists and anti-racist fighters to demand freedom for the Tinley Park Five. The fascists are a deadly threat to the integrated labor movement, which should be in the forefront of efforts to crush them in the egg. Four of the five who were sentenced—Jason Sutherlin, Cody Lee Sutherlin, Dylan Sutherlin and Alex Stuck—have agreed to receive $25 monthly stipends the PDC sends to class-war prisoners. The PDC program, which includes additional gifts during the holiday season, serves not merely to alleviate some of the harshness of incarceration but also as a message of solidarity from those outside prison walls. (read more...)
5 April 2013
Mumia Abu-Jamal Attorneys Challenge Resentencing Process
On February 25, attorneys for class-war prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal filed an appeal challenging the secretive court order that sentenced him to life without parole last August. The sentence was mandated by Pennsylvania statute following Mumia’s removal from death row in December 2011, after the Philadelphia district attorney’s office ended its campaign to legally lynch him (see “Drive to Execute Mumia Halted,” WV No. 993, 6 January 2012). Mumia’s legal papers note that while the outcome of a hearing may have been preordained, the deprivation of his basic due process rights jeopardizes future legal efforts to fight for his freedom.
Seeking a new sentencing hearing, the brief details how the court violated both Pennsylvania law and due process rights by imposing sentence without notice to Mumia or his counsel, preventing Mumia from being present and offering information and argument. The brief further notes, “In fact, there is no record that the sentencing took place in open court at all.” (read more...)
22 March 2013
Appeal by Husband of Imprisoned Leftist Lawyer
Lynne Stewart Critically Ill—Free Her Now!
The Partisan Defense Committee joins with the family of Lynne Stewart, whose cancer has metastasized, in calling for her immediate release from prison. To date, prison authorities have refused all requests for her to receive medical care outside the walls of America’s dungeons. In response to a January letter from the PDC, the warden of the Federal Medical Center in Carswell, Texas, where the 73-year-old Stewart is incarcerated, admitted that she is dying. But in the same breath he coldly stated that “a terminal illness is a life expectancy of one year or less,” concluding that by the state’s sadistic logic she does not qualify for compassionate release.
The PDC—a class-struggle, non-sectarian legal and social defense organization which champions cases and causes in the interest of the whole of the working people—has defended Stewart since she was first indicted over a decade ago. The government went after her for vigorously defending her client, an Islamist cleric, concocting the charge of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorism. After Stewart’s original sentence was quadrupled in 2010, we wrote: “This is a loud affirmation by the Obama administration that there will be no letup in the massive attacks on democratic rights under the ‘war on terror’” (“Vindictive Transfer to Texas Prison: Free Lynne Stewart Now!” WV No. 975, 4 March 2011). (read more...)
8 March 2013
Hail Bradley Manning! Free Him Now!
After enduring nearly three years of detention, at times under torturous conditions, on February 28 Army Private Bradley Manning confessed that he had provided WikiLeaks a trove of military and diplomatic documents that exposed U.S. imperialist schemes and wartime atrocities. Manning’s guilty plea on ten of 22 counts against him could land him in prison for 20 years. But this pound of flesh is not enough for the imperialist rulers, who not only seek vengeance but are also determined to silence anyone perceived as an obstacle to their designs for world domination. A day after Manning confessed, military prosecutors announced plans to try him on the remaining counts, including “aiding the enemy” and violating the Espionage Act. Trial is expected to begin in early June. If convicted on these charges, Manning faces life in prison.
In lifting a bit of the veil of secrecy and lies with which the capitalist rulers cover their depredations, Bradley Manning performed a great service to workers and oppressed around the world. All who oppose the imperialist barbarity and machinations revealed in the material he provided must join in demanding his immediate freedom. Also crucially important is the defense of Julian Assange against the vendetta by the U.S., Britain and their cohorts, who are attempting to railroad him to prison by one means or another for his role in running WikiLeaks. (read more...)
22 February 2013
Freedom Now for Tinley Park 5!
On January 4, a Cook County court sentenced five anti-racist militants to prison terms of three and a half to six years on “armed violence” charges that stem from the breaking up of a fascist meeting last spring. Plans to convene a “White Nationalist Economic Summit” attracted a group of the scum, some with links to the Stormfront Web site run by a former Ku Klux Klan grand dragon, to the Ashford House restaurant in the Chicago suburb of Tinley Park on May 19. Having gotten wind of this outrage, at least 18 anti-racists went to the restaurant and put an end to the “summit,” sending some of the creeps to the hospital. Shortly after, police pulled over and arrested a carload of five anti-fascists from Bloomington, Indiana—Jason Sutherlin, Cody Lee Sutherlin, Dylan Sutherlin, Alex Stuck and John Tucker—who have come to be known as the Tinley Park 5. The trouncing of the “white nationalists” was a courageous act in the interest of the working class and all the fascists’ intended victims. Free the Tinley Park 5!
Each of the five was initially charged with 37 felony counts, including armed violence, property damage and mob action, with bond set at $175,000 to $250,000 apiece. The cops and prosecutors applied continuous pressure to force them to give up names of those involved in sending the fascists scattering, which the five have steadfastly refused to do. Unable to meet the exorbitant bonds, they spent seven months in Cook County Jail while legal proceedings dragged on. Facing the prospect of up to another year behind bars to go to a trial whose outcome they could not predict, the five accepted a non-cooperating plea bargain in which each pled guilty to three counts of armed violence in return for guarantees of time off for good behavior. (read more...)
8 February 2013
Lynne Stewart’s Life in Danger
In order to receive urgently needed medical treatment for cancer that has spread to her lungs and back, 73-year-old radical lawyer Lynne Stewart requires immediate release from the federal dungeon in Texas where she is serving a ten-year sentence. The authorities have denied Stewart’s request to be transferred to the New York City hospital that previously treated her. Free Lynne Stewart now!
Stewart was already battling breast cancer when she entered prison in 2009 after being convicted in 2005 for her zealous defense of her client, a blind Egyptian cleric imprisoned for an alleged plot to blow up New York City landmarks in the early 1990s. In 2010, a judge quadrupled her original 28-month sentence at the instigation of the Obama administration. As we noted then, “The resentencing is for all intents and purposes a death sentence” (WV No. 962, 30 July 2010). Convicted along with Stewart were her translator, Mohamed Yousry, who has finished his sentence, and her paralegal, Ahmed Abdel Sattar, who is locked up for 24 years. Stewart, Yousry and Abdel Sattar should never have been charged and should not have spent a minute in jail! (read more...)
21 January 2013
Free Lynne Stewart
The following letter was sent on 21 January to Joe Keffer, Warden at the Carswell Federal Medical Center:
It has come to our attention that 73-year-old political prisoner Lynne Stewart is suffering a serious medical complication from her long-diagnosed breast cancer. The cancer has now spread to her lungs and back.
Ms. Stewart's very life is at risk. It would be inhumane to keep her locked up even one more day. She must be treated immediately.
We demand that Lynne Stewart be released forthwith to receive all necessary medical care and be with her family.
11 January 2013
San Francisco Cop Vendetta Against Protesters
Defend the ACAC 19! Drop All Charges Now!
OAKLAND—One of the defense cases highlighted at last month’s benefit for the annual Partisan Defense Committee Holiday Appeal for class-war prisoners was that of the ACAC 19. These 19 protesters were arrested on October 6 when San Francisco cops brutally attacked a march of nearly 200, part of a series of “Anti-Colonial, Anti-Capitalist” (ACAC) events. The march was called to protest the racist treatment of native peoples, the military’s Fleet Week and the war in Afghanistan. Videos show dozens of cops suddenly charging the march before it got more than a few blocks, beating demonstrators to the pavement and inflicting injuries that included a broken nose, deep facial cuts requiring stitches and multiple bruises. Initially hit with felony charges, the ACAC 19 now face vindictive prosecution for a range of trumped-up misdemeanor charges. Drop all the charges now! (read more...)
7 December 2012
Parti Québécois Government: No Victory for Workers, Youth
State Vendetta Against Quebec Student Activists
We reprint the following article from Spartacist Canada No. 175 (Winter 2012/2013), newspaper of the Trotskyist League/Ligue Trotskyste, Canadian section of the International Communist League (Fourth Internationalist).
In the aftermath of the student strike that rocked Quebec this past spring and summer, the capitalists’ cops and courts are pursuing a vindictive campaign against strike activists. A particular target is one of the student movement’s most prominent spokesmen, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois of the Coalition Large de l’Association pour une Solidarité Syndicale Etudiante (CLASSE). On November 1, Quebec Superior Court justice Denis Jacques found Nadeau-Dubois guilty of “contempt” for encouraging student protesters to ignore court injunctions. The CLASSE leader now faces up to a year in prison and $50,000 in fines. (read more...)
7 December 2012
Extradited to Spain for Defending Basque Rights
Free Aurore Martin!
We reprint below a November 2 leaflet by the Comité de Défense Sociale (CDDS)—a class-struggle, non-sectarian legal and social defense organization associated with the Ligue Trotskyste de France, section of the International Communist League. It was distributed in French and Spanish at a 15,000-strong demonstration on November 10 in Bayonne, in the French Basque country, protesting the extradition of Aurore Martin to Spain. Martin was arrested on the grounds that she had attended several meetings of the pro-Basque independence organization Batasuna, even though this organization is not illegal in France. Her arrest was made possible by a European Union (EU) agreement that introduced the so-called European Arrest Warrant. Under this agreement, any EU member state must arrest and extradite to the requesting EU state anybody deemed by the latter to be a criminal suspect.
The CDDS condemns the extradition by the French state of Aurore Martin to Spain, where she faces up to 12 years in prison. Just days before Martin’s detention yesterday, two other Basque activists, Izaskun Lesaka and Joseba Iturbe, were arrested near Lyon in a joint operation by the RAID [elite French cop unit] and the Spanish Guardia Civil. Both Lesaka and Iturbe are suspected of belonging to the ETA pro-Basque independence group, and Lesaka is purported to be one of three activists who in October 2011 read out the ETA statement that it was definitively renouncing armed struggle. (read more...)
7 December 2012
Accused of Lifting Veil on U.S. War Machine
Bradley Manning Pretrial Hearing: Drop All Charges!
DECEMBER 4—Army private Bradley Manning spoke publicly last week for the first time since he was detained in May 2010 for allegedly handing over a trove of classified documents to WikiLeaks that exposed U.S. imperialism’s schemes and wartime atrocities. Charging Manning with 22 offenses including espionage and “aiding the enemy,” military prosecutors are threatening him with life imprisonment, having decided not to pursue the death penalty. Taking the stand at a hearing on a defense motion to dismiss all charges on the grounds of unlawful pretrial punishment, Manning recounted the torturous conditions of his confinement, which one prison psychologist described as worse than at Guantánamo or on death row. The hearing is continuing as we go to press. (read more...)
7 December 2012
Veronica Jones Memoir
Witness Helped Expose Mumia Abu-Jamal Frame-Up!
“As I lay in a coma for two months in early 2007, I could hear the voices around me.... All I knew was that I wanted to live. I did not want to die, not like this. There’s a lot I want to do and say and have wanted to say for years.”
Veronica Jones did live for another three years, and before she died in 2009 at the age of 48, finally got her say in an autobiography as told to her sister Valerie, which was posthumously published earlier this year. Veronica and the Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal is the riveting story of a 20-year-old mother of three and part-time prostitute who was an eyewitness at the scene of the 9 December 1981 murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. This was the killing for which Mumia Abu-Jamal, a former Black Panther Party spokesman, a MOVE supporter and acclaimed journalist, was falsely accused and sentenced to death. (read more...)
12 October 2012
Free Bradley Manning!
U.S. Army private Bradley Manning, currently detained at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, awaits a February court martial on nearly two dozen charges that include “aiding the enemy,” identified as Al Qaeda. The 24-year-old Manning, who was stationed in Baghdad as an intelligence analyst in 2009-10, was detained in May 2010 under allegations that he gave WikiLeaks the much-publicized video of an Apache helicopter gunning down two Reuters journalists and the Iraqis who tried to rescue them, with the pilots gloating over the carnage. Manning is also accused of distributing more than 250,000 State Department cables as well as military reports detailing the torture of Iraqis and documenting the killing of some 120,000 civilians in imperialist-occupied Iraq and Afghanistan. He faces penalties of up to life in military custody or even execution. (read more...)
12 October 2012
Court Throws Out Mumia’s Challenge to Life Without Parole
On August 23, class-war prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal filed a pro se motion challenging a secretive court order that sentenced him to life without parole. The sentence, pronounced ten days earlier and mandated by Pennsylvania statute, was expected following Mumia’s removal from death row in December 2011, after the Philadelphia district attorney’s office ended its campaign to legally lynch him (see “Drive to Execute Mumia Halted,” WV No. 993, 6 January). Mumia’s legal papers sought to vacate the illegally imposed sentence, citing violations of Pennsylvania’s own rules of criminal procedure. More significantly, Mumia’s motion raised a challenge to his sentence of life without parole as cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution, citing his “almost thirty years in solitary confinement on death row under an illegal and unconstitutionally-imposed death sentence.” On October 1, Philadelphia judge Pamela P. Dembe threw out Mumia’s motion. (read more...)