Thursday, December 15, 2011

Kevin Johnson Attacked at Red Onion State Prison - VA

Kevin "Rashid" Johnson Assaulted by Red Onion Prison Guard

On December 12, Kevin "Rashid" Johnson was assaulted by Sergeant Tony Adams at Red Onion State Prison in Virginia. Rashid was accosted him as he was coming out of the exercise cage. He was handcuffed and ordered by Sgt. Tony Adams to turn his back on them, which he didn't do. Adams then ripped out a swath of Rashid's hair, extending from above his right eye all the way over to his left ear. The guards then threw him to the ground and dislocated his left collarbone.

As of December 15, Rashid still has not received adequate medical attention.

Rashid has spent the past 21 years in prison, 18 of which have been spent in segregation. Jailed as a young man, he has used his time in prison to educate himself, and, developing a political analysis of the society that condemned him and so many others to a life behind bars, Rashid founded the New Afrikan Black Panther Party Prison Chapter, a revolutionary communist organization. In his years in prison, he has honed his skills as a jailhouse lawyer, an artist, and author, writing several exposés of ongoing conditions of racism, violence, and other forms of abuse at Red Onion prison, where he has been held since __.

In 2010, several of Rashid's writings, and his clandestine correspondence with another prisoner, were published in the book Defying the Tomb. Since that time, a website has been put up making Rashid's writings more widely accessibly (, and artwork by Rashid was used prominently by supporters of the California prisoners' hungerstrike in 2011. Rashid has also continued exposing the deteriorating conditions at Red Onion prison, especially since Randy Mathena replaced Tracy S. Ray as Chief Warden in October.

Over the past year, as Rashid has brought increased attention to conditions in Virginia's prisons, he has also been increasingly targeted by prison staff. His mail has been disrupted, both incoming and outgoing. Political essays and reviews of his book have been refused on the spurious grounds that they pose a risk to the security of Red Onion prison. He has been transferred to Red Onion's new B-3 isolation unit, where he has had his cell "searched" by guards throwing his belongings on the ground and the stamping on them with their dirty boots, and where he has been kicked and threatened by guards. Rashid has pointed out that this abuse has likely been intended to provoke a response whereby the guards could "justify" violent reactions.

This is the context in which the  December 12 assault on Rashid took place. The prison guards, working for the new warden Randy Mathena, are clearly targeting Rashid for abuse as payback for his work in exposing the conditions at Red Onion.

The only means of defense that prisoners like Rashid have is outside support and attention. Letting those who run the prisons know that we are watching, and encouraging human rights and progressive organizations to speak out about such cases, can save lives.

Telephone the office of Harold Clarke, direcor of Virginia's Department of Corrections, at:

Demand that Kevin "Rashid" Johnson be provided with appropriate medical care, that Sergeant Tony Adams be suspended from duties, and that criminal proceedings be launched against him for assault. The incident apparently occurred in front of a video camera - this film footage should be secured as evidence, and made available to the public.

Telephone Warden Randy Mathena at:

Demand an end to the targeting of Kevin "Rashid" Johnson for abuse. Demand the Rashid be provided with adequate medical care, and that Sergeant Tony Adams be suspended from duties.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Three Prisoners Die in Hunger Strike !

Hungerstrike News
November 20, 2011 Vol. 3, No. 1

Three Prisoners Die in Hunger Strike Related Incidents: CDCR Withholds Information from Family Members, Fails to Report Deaths

Image by Pete Collins, imprisoned at Bath Prison, Ontario, Canada
Nov. 17: In the month since the second phase of a massive prisoner hunger strike in California ended on September 22nd, three prisoners who had been on strike have committed suicide. Johnny Owens Vick and another prisoner were both confined in the Pelican Bay Security Housing Unit. Hozel Alanzo Blanchard was confined in the Calipatria Administrative Segregation Unit (ASU).
According to reports from prisoners who were housed in surrounding cells and who witnessed the deaths, guards did not come to the assistance of one of the prisoners at Pelican Bay or to Blanchard, and in the case of the Pelican Bay prisoner (whose name is being withheld for the moment), apparently guards deliberately ignored his cries for help for several hours before finally going to his cell, at which point he was already dead. “It is completely despicable that prison officials would willfully allow someone to take their own life,” said Dorsey Nunn, Executive Director of Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, “These guys were calling for help, their fellow prisoners were calling for help, and guards literally stood by and watched it happen.”
Family members of the deceased as well as advocates are having difficult time getting information about the three men and the circumstances of their deaths. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) is required to do an autopsy in cases of suspicious deaths and according to the Plata case, is required to do an annual report on every death in the system.
Family members have said that their loved ones, as well as many other prisoners who participated in the hunger strike, were being severely retaliated against with disciplinary actions and threats. Blanchard’s family has said that he felt that his life was threatened and had two emergency appeals pending with the California Supreme Court at the time of his death. “It is a testament to the dire conditions under which prisoners live in solitary confinement that three people would commit suicide in the last month,” said Laura Magnani, Regional Director of the American Friends Service Committee, “It also points to the severe toll that the hunger strike has taken on these men, despite some apparent victories.” Prisoners in California’s SHUs and other forms of solitary confinement have a much higher rate of suicide than those in general population.
The hunger strike, which at one time involved the participation of at least 12,000 prisoners in at least 13 state prisons was organized around five core demands relating to ending the practices of group punishment, long-term solitarily confinement, and gang validation and debriefing. The CDCR has promised changes to the gang validation as soon as early next year and were due to have a draft of the new for review this November, although it’s not known whether that process is on schedule. “If the public and legislators don’t continue to push CDCR, they could easily sweep all of this under the rug,” said Emily Harris, statewide coordinator Californians United for a Responsible Budget, “These deaths are evidence that the idea of accountability is completely lost on California’s prison officials.”


What is the meaning of the California prisoner hunger strikes? A statement in support of the hunger strikers

by Kevin "Rashid" Johnson 

Rashid Johnson, a prisoner in Virginia, has been held in segregation since 1993. While in prison he founded the New Afrikan Black Panther Party – Prison Chapter. Rashid is also the artist who drew the image that has been used extensively during the strikes of arms linked in unity and a crossed out spoon and fork. His book, “Defying the Tomb,” with a foreword by Russell “Maroon” Shoats, has been banned as “gang literature” by Pelican Bay State Prison. It can be ordered at, by writing to Kersplebedeb, CP 63560, CCCP Van Horne, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3W 3H8, or by emailing Send our brother some love and light: Kevin “Rashid” Johnson, 1007485, Red Onion State Prison, P.O. Box 1900, Pound, VA 24279.
“If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” – Frederick Douglass
Six thousand six hundred California prisoners participated in a 3-week-long hunger strike in July, seeking relief from unjust and inhumane conditions. In the face of California Department of Corrections (CDC) officials failing to honor settlement negotiations, the hunger strike resumed on September 26th, with nearly 12,000 prisoners participating in thirteen of that state’s prisons.
It is a truism that oppression breeds resistance. Indeed, the U.S. Declaration of Independence enshrines the right and duty of the oppressed to resist their oppression.
In this era of capitalist oppression on a global scale, the hunger strike exhibits the very same humyn spirit, courage and outrage that drove millions across North Afrika and the Middle East this year, to take to the streets in protest against oppressive governments. U.S. rulers, in the face of pretending to champion and support human rights, democracy, and the demands for basic rights by people half a world away, can’t admit they practice abuses just as vile against their own subjects – right here in Amerika.
Hosni Mubarak, the U.S. puppet and Egyptian dictator who was driven out of Egypt by mass protests this year, was notorious for torturing his own people. But so too are U.S. officials. Indeed, one of the key protest issues of the California prisoners is the acute psychological torture of sensory deprivation in the CDC’s Security Housing Units (SHUs) – Pelican Bay’s SHU in particular. This torture can’t be honestly denied.
It has long been the game of U.S. officials, especially since the 2004 Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib torture scandals, to pretend that psychological torture isn’t really torture at all. However, they secretly know the exact opposite to be true. According to torture experts, psychological – or ‘clean’ torture – is the most destructive, sadistic and inhumane type of torture. Among the most proven effective methods is the very sort inflicted by design in the isolated cells of the SHUs, namely sensory deprivation.
Noted psychologist and torture expert, Dr. Albert Biderman, long ago found as to sensory deprivation, “the effect of isolation on the brain function of the prisoner is much like that which occurs if he is beaten, starved or deprived of sleep” [1]. The very same U.S. Central Intelligence Agency that employed Biderman as one of its torture researchers and experimenters, encoded these findings in its 1963 “Kubark Counterintelligence Interrogation” torture manual, confirming that:
  1. The deprivation of sensory stimuli induces stress;
  2. The stress becomes unbearable for most subjects;
  3. The subject has a growing need for physical and social stimuli; and
  4. Some subjects progressively lose touch with reality, focus inwardly, which produces delusions, hallucinations, and other pathological effects.
What’s more, over a century ago the U.S. high court found and denounced the same in U.S. prisons, in the face of In Re Medley, 134 U.S. 150 (1890) [2]. These findings have been repeated in U.S. courts today in response to the conditions of SHUs and super-maximum security prisons that have swept Amerika since the 1970s, alongside massive imprisonment of the poor and people of color. In one case concerning Pelican Bay’s SHU, the California federal courts found “many, if not most, inmates in SHU experience some degree of psychological trauma in reaction to their extreme social isolation and the severely restricted environmental stimulation in SHU.” Madrid v. Gomez, 889 F. Supp. 1146 (1995).
So it’s no wonder thousands of prisoners have been driven to starve themselves in desperate efforts for exposure and redress, and to show they are worthy of basic humyn rights and dignity.
But the typical response of officials is to discredit the resistance of those who suffer at their hands by villainizing (or “dirtying up,” as Johnnie Cochran used to called it), the victim. It was done to Civil Rights activists from the 1950s-1970s who opposed and exposed racism – U.S. officials projected them as fronts for foreign communists, and denounced as “Soviet propaganda” graphic photos of Southern lynching that appeared in world media.
Whatever happens to be the popular official enemy and bogeyman of the day, is the label used to discredit those who resist official oppression. During the Cold War, the ‘enemy’ was communists. Then it was terrorists. In the era of mass incarceration and ongoing persecution of Black and Brown youth, it’s gangs. These labels are used to provoke visceral reactions in the population at large of fear, hatred and consequent disregard for and alienation against the oppressed. And true to form, the hunger strikers have been “dirtied up’”as the work of prison gangs:
“The CDCR has continued to lie about the hunger strike – saying it was organized by gangs and attacking representatives of the strikers and others, depicting them as the ‘generals’ of the prison gangs and the ‘shot callers’ who order other prisoners to engage in gang violence.
“Dolores, whose son has been in the SHU for 10 years, said “If that is their [the prisoners’] way of thinking, then why did they just conduct a hunger strike willing to risk their own lives, to suffer on a daily basis in a nonviolent demonstration that spread across California prisons involving thousands and thousands of men crossing all racial lines? It’s because they are human beings. They do have dignity, and they want to be heard.” [3]
Not coincidentally, another of the hunger strike’s main protest issues is the CDCR’s labelling prisoners as gang members upon the flimsiest grounds, then confining them in SHUs until they “debrief” – that is, finger other prisoners as gang members to be thrown in the SHU. Thus the only way to leave SHU is as a known informant to be ostracized and targeted as such by others.
The Real Purpose of SHUs and Super-maxes
The true purpose of SHUs isn’t to control gangs and racial violence. In fact, the CDCR has long instigated and facilitated prisoner-on-prisoner violence. From the notorious ‘gladiator fights’ – where guards at CDCR’s Corcoran State Prison set up prisoner fights, gambled on the outcomes, and then shot the prisoners for fun, killing 8 and shooting 43 just between 1989 and 1994 – to massive numbers of prisoner-on-prisoner clashes instigated and manipulated by the notoriously corrupt California prison guards’ union, to generate public support for building more prisons to increase prison jobs and dues-paying membership.
In 1999, prisoners at the New Folsom Prison went on a hunger strike protesting being forced onto prison yards with rivals. CDOC Ombudsman Ken Hurdle rejected negotiations, stating “Then you’d have two groups normally aligned on the yard together. They would have only staff as their enemy” [4]. This admits officials deliberately facilitating prisoner-on-prisoner violence as a technique of prison control. This is what they fear in the unity shown by the hunger strikers. And it undermines the disunity they need to project them as animals.
Officials welcome and incite gang violence. It creates jobs, justifies their oppression, and enhances their ‘control.’ Even Crips co-founder Stanley ‘Tookie’ Williams, who was killed by the CDCR exposed this [5].
More revealing is that then-California Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, rejected massive international pleas to stay Tookie’s execution on grounds that Tookie dedicated his book, Life in Prison, to Black revolutionary George Jackson, who was murdered by CDOC officials in 1971. Schwarzenegger said the dedication “defies reason and is a significant indicator that Williams is not reformed.” Which brings us closer to exposing the real reasons SHUs exist.
The actual “leaders” officials fear, and who are the prime targets of SHUs and super-maxes are those who are politically conscious and prove able to unite prisoners across racial and other lines.
The proliferation of SHUs and super-maxes began with the Marion Control Unit, which opened in 1972, following the murder of George Jackson and the peaceful 1971 Attica uprising that officials ended with the coldblooded murders of 29 prisoners and 10 civilians, and systematic humiliation and torture of hundreds of prisoners, provoking international outrage. Like the brutal government responses to mass protests in Asia and Afrika this year, when the prisoners of Attica took to the yard in protest, with grievances articulated and represented by politically conscious prisoners, the official response was murder and torture, then high security torture units. In one of the few admissions on record, Ralph Arons, a former warden at Marion, testified in federal court: “The purpose of the Marion Control Unit is to control revolutionary attitudes in the prison and in society at large” [6]. Yet U.S. officials deny confining or persecuting people for political beliefs.
In fact, Pelican Bay officials recently banned my own book, Defying the Tomb, as “gang material,” a book of political writings and art, which many readers and reviewers have compared to George Jackson’s writings, whose books CDOC banned in the 1970s as well. And with the resurgence of prisoners’ political consciousness, they’ve recently begun confiscating this book as “gang material.” Like Nazi book burnings and concentration camps, the object is to censor and persecute political consciousness and revolutionary culture amongst the most oppressed peoples. And ‘gang’ labels are used to “dirty up” the people, practices, and ideas they seek to repress.
Just as I am confined in a remote Virginia super-max, under ‘special’ conditions of a SHU because of my political beliefs and having co-founded the New Afrikan Black Panther Party as a Party of the oppressed, so too you’ll find in these units across Amerika those who hold and practice revolutionary political views and affiliations that are supposed to be constitutionally protected, not persecuted. As the high court once proclaimed:
“Our form of government is built on the premise that every citizen shall have the right to engage in political expression and association. This right was enshrined in the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights. Exercise of these basic freedoms in America has traditionally been through the media of political associations. Any interference with the freedom of a party is simultaneously an interference with the freedom of its adherents. All political ideas cannot and should not be channelled into the programs of our two major parties. History has amply proved the virtue of political activity by minority, dissident groups…” [7]
But contrast these political ideals with the political reality that such parties face at the hands of officials, as admitted by Justice Hugo Black: “History should teach us…that…minority parties and groups which advocate extremely unpopular social or governmental innovations will always be typed as criminal gangs and attempts will always be made to drive them out” [8].
This is the function of the SHUs like those that California’s prisoners are protesting, and the ones used as a weapon to censor and repress political consciousness.
Resistance to the oppression of these units is the meaning of the hunger strikes. Amerika’s oppressed and disenfranchised victims of modern penal enslavement and the New Jim Crow, are struggling like those of generations past for recognition and respect as humyn beings. As a Party of the oppressed, especially the imprisoned, the NABPP-PC stands in unity with the heroic struggles of California’s entombed, and call on all freedom-loving people everywhere to take up their cause.
Dare to struggle! Dare to win!
All Power to the People!
  1. Albert D. Biderman and Herbert Zimmer, eds. The Manipulation of Human Behavior (New York: Wiley, 1961), 29.
  2. The court found under conditions of solitary confinement “A considerable number of prisoner fell, after even a short confinement, into a semi-fatuous condition, from which it was next to impossible to remove them, and others became violently insane; others still committed suicide, while those who stood the ordeal better were generally not reformed, and in most cases, did not recover sufficient mental activity to be of any subsequent service to the community.”
  3. “Hunger Strike to Resume September 26 – Support the Just Demands of the Pelican Bay Prisoners,” Revolution #243, September 25, 2011.
  4. Quoted from Sacramento Bee, December 8, 1999.
  5. “Yes America, as unbelievable as it may seem, ‘hood cops, with impunity, commit drive-bys and other lawless acts. It was common practice for them to abduct a Crip or Bounty Hunter and drop him off in hostile territory, and then broadcast it over a loudspeaker. The predictable outcome was that the rival was either beaten or killed on the spot, which resulted in a cycle of payback. Cops would also inform opposing gangs where to find and attack a rival gang, and then say ‘go handle your business.’ Like slaves, the gang did exactly what their master commanded. Had they not been fuelled by self-hatred, neither Crips, Bounty Hunters, nor any other Black gang, would have been duped: “The ‘hood cops were pledged to protect and serve, but for us they were not there to help, but to exploit us – and they were effective. With the cops’ Machiavellian presence, the gang epidemic escalated. When gang warfare is fed and fuelled by law enforcement, funds are generated for the so-called anti-gang units. Without gangs, those units would no longer exist.” Blue Rage, Black Redemption (2004).
  6. Stephen Whitman, “The Marion Penitentiary – It should be Opened-Up Not Locked-Down.” Southern Illinoisan. August 7, 1988, p. 25.
  7. NAACP v. Button. 371 U.S. 415, 431 (1963).
  8. Barenblatt v. U.S., 360 U.S. 109, 150 (1959) (J., Black, dissenting).

Recent Media Coverage

Needless to say, a link to an article does not imply endorsement.



Hungerstrike News can be reached at

Throughout the month of July, and for weeks in September and October, 2011, thousands of prisoners across California participated in a hunger strike against torturous conditions at Pelican Bay State Prison's Security Housing Unit.
Hungerstrike News documented their struggle and the actions of those who stood in solidarity with them.
In the current period, Hungerstrike News will be released intermittently to provide updates about the struggle against isolation torture in the California gulag. 

Has Your Mail to Someone in Prison Been Refused?

From Julie Tackett:
Having your mail rejected is one of the most upsetting things to have happen when you have a loved one in prison. Whether is just a mistake on your part, a concerted effort cut family bonds or blatant retaliation for things like the Hunger Strike, it will help to keep track of trends. I have a spread sheet to record mail rejected by CDCR. I will watch for trends of increased rejections by facility, type of rejections, reasons for rejections, and otherwise keep an eye on things.

If you ever have a piece of mail rejected by CDCR for any reason, just message me, email me at or call 206-214-8208.

Thanks, Julie

Secretary Matthew Cate
1515 S Street
TEL: (916) 323-6001
Governor Jerry Brown
State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814
CDCR Public Affairs Office: (916)445-4950

If you have a website or blog and would like to help promote Hungerstrike News, get in touch.
follow the Prisoner Hungerstrike Solidarity Coalition on twitter:


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Oh Yeah - BranScam Needs a PenPal...

Brandon (the artist that did the devil-girl on the letter below) needs a female penpal pretty bad - so if anyone knows a girl who's willing to write him, he'd be grateful.
You can write him at: Brandon Begay, #83195-008, CADC, P.O.Box 6300, Florence, AZ 85232.
He's a good guy - 26, Navajo, a party animal, and a helluva artist. Write him, OK ?

Finally...More Prisoner Art

Well, here's some prisoner art - been a while.
I receive it from time to time, but little lately has been worth a shit, frankly.
Anyway, have a Happy Halloween !

A Little Halloween Prisoner Art

Friday, October 21, 2011

Burnin' a New CD

Hi Folks,
Just burnin' a new cd, and thought I'd share a little electronica tune I found.

Symphonic Metal - Stormbringer

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Hungerstrike News

Prisoners at Calipatria Call Off Strike

Image by Pete Collins, imprisoned at Bath Prison, Ontario, Canada
October 15: Prisoners at Calipatria State Prison have decided to temporarily end their hunger strike to regain strength. Hunger strikers were subject to extreme retaliation at the hands of warden Leland McEwen and guards, including witholding water and vitamins. Reports from prisoners that indicated that many men were collapsing in their cells and that the guards were doing nothing when alerted. A family member said that the infirmary there was full and that prisoners needing medical care were being transferred to Centinela.

It is becoming apparent that Calipatria is basically used as a stepping stone to Pelican Bay or other California SHUs. A majority of the men held there have been validated as gang members and have effectively been given SHU status. Some spend as long as 4 years in solitary confinement, awaiting transfer. Calipatria has virtually no programming for prisoners, and prisoners frequently have nothing in their cells to enrich their days. The prison has prohibitted radios and television, which violates CDCR policy. The hunger strikers have added these items to their demands.
As prisoners throughout California continue their struggle for human rights and against torture, we must keep up the pressure on Governor Jerry Brown and the CDCR as the 5 core demands have only been minimally addressed We will continue to post updates as we get them. A recent letter from a hunger striker stated:
“A caged man is a spirit trapped in steel — leave him alone and his spirit becomes one with his cage — it’s all he knows. Motivate him, nurture and socialize him, and his spirit soars. It’s only then that the man realizes the difference between him and his cage — the reasons for it. Thus, allowing him to finally be free from it.”


Why I Chained Myself to the State Building in LA

by Keith James 

Two videos of acts of Non-Violent Civil Disobedience in Support of the Prisoners Hunger Strike, to demand an end to the retaliation and torture at the hands of the CDCR and governor Jerry Brown, and a demand that CDCR and Gov. Brown immediately meet the Prisoners' Five Demands.
In a word, torture… torture in a brutal and barbaric penal system hell-bent on the destruction of thousands of prisoners in high-tech torture chambers called Security Housing Units or SHU’s.

In the SHU you’re locked up in a small, windowless concrete cell 23 hours a day, with minimum human contact and maximum sensory deprivation. Imagine your only human contact with the outside world is the punch of a prison guard, or a violent gas explosion as part of “extracting” you from your cell. Imagine never hearing music ever again.

Think about everything that makes you human… that keeps you physically and mentally alive… that connects you with the world and other people… that gives you a reason to live, to love, to learn and think…. All this is what the SHU tries to extinguish.

Of the 1100 prisoners in the SHU in Pelican Bay State Prison, over 500 have been literally buried alive in the SHU, entombed, for over 10 years; 78 for over 20 years. The cruelty and illegitimacy of the State of California ’s actions must stop and stopping torture requires such inhumanity becoming a MAJOR focus of resistance in society.

Prisoners at Pelican Bay and other state prisons have rebelled against all this; for 20 days in July and now for 19 days, from September 26 to October 14, upwards of 12,000 courageous prisoners have carried out a hunger strike. The prisoners stopped eating, risked their lives, and made their just and reasonable demands to end long term solitary confinement and torture, and snatched the initiative from the prison authorities, spotlighting a towering crime that has been for far too long covered up.

What these prisoners have done is truly heroic. They are an inspiration, setting an example for everyone fighting for an end to injustice, and we must come to their side.

Yet in California the Governor supports the prison officials in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation(CDCR). As the CDCR viciously intensified their almost unimaginably cruel treatment of prisoners who are on a hunger strike with even greater repression and violence these past weeks and months, Gov. Brown fully backed the assault, saying: “We have individuals who are dedicated to their gang membership who order people to be killed, who order crimes to be committed on the outside. My recommendation is to deal effectively with gangs in prison.” No, Governor Brown - torture is unequivocally unacceptable, no matter what labels are put on prisoners. This is why I chained myself to the State Building in Los Angeles .

The CDCR response to this hunger strike has been vicious, outrageous, and ominous: intimidation and retaliation against prisoners and their families; “general population” prisoners put into isolation for participating in the hunger strike; fluids and vitamins deliberately withheld to further incapacitate the striking prisoners; expulsion orders to two key mediation team lawyers who have been banned from Pelican Bay prison pending an investigation into whether they had “jeopardized the safety and security of the CDCR”; denial of family visits; further isolation of hunger striking SHU prisoners by placing them “down under” in Administrative Segregation Units, in extreme cold with no medicine and medical attention; brutal cell extractions of hunger striking prisoners, with the use of suffocating gas explosions in the prisoners cells….

What people do on the outside of prison will be a big factor in what happens now that the prison authorities have reacted with vicious reprisals against prisoners, families, and legal advocates. The hunger strike has been halted for now. The torture, despite an epic struggle, continues… the 5 demands of the prisoners have NOT yet been met… but many, many more people, millions more, learned about the SHU’s and thousands today are looking for ways to act to put an end to such inhuman, punitive treatment.

We have a moral responsibility to act in a way that corresponds with the justness of the prisoners’ demands and with what is truly at stake. In the words of Revolution newspaper, a determined and bold movement outside the walls of prison is urgently needed to expose and demand an end to these high-tech torture chambers called “SHU’s”. That’s why I chained myself to the State Building in Los Angeles .

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Hungerstrike News
October 7, 2011 - Day TwelveVol. 2, No. 7

Medical Conditions of Hunger Strikers Worsen, Strikers & Supporters Keep Fighting Back

Image by Pete Collins, imprisoned at Bath Prison, Ontario, Canada
Numbers of hunger strikers began to drop this week after the CDCR intensified retaliation on the strike. The hunger strike representatives at Pelican Bay who were kept in the D Corridor of the SHU were moved to Administrative Segregation at Pelican Bay. Lawyers who were finally able to have one visit last week (after some lawyers of the prisoners’ mediation team have been banned) report that the CDCR has the air conditioning on high in 50 degree weather. The hunger strike representatives continue to be willing to risk their lives in order to win the 5 core demands.
The CDCR’s numbers also appear to be low due to guards falsifying records of hunger strikers. At Calipatria, for instance, hunger strikers report they were finally given their liquids after filing medical requests (even though they were still denied liquids for the first several days of the strike). Now, however, guards have been delivering liquids on the prisoners’ food trays.  Once strikers take the liquids off of the trays, the guards record they are not striking (CDCR counts strikers based on who touches the state-issued food trays and who doesn’t).
Medical conditions are also worsening for strikers throughout the state. We’ve received reports that after 12 days of no food, prisoners are once again losing severe weight and fainting. One hunger striker at Pelican Bay was denied his medication and consequently suffered from a heart attack and is now is an outside hospital in Oregon.
Family & community members continue to support the hunger strikers by holding rallies, community events and vigils, publicizing the courageous action inside prison and building pressure on representatives to intervene  in the CDCR’s handling of the strike.
Families of SHU prisoners are calling for supporters everywhere to hold mass vigils in support of the hunger strikers on Thursday nights. If you can organize a vigil in your community, please email prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity[at] For more events, check out our events page here.

Hip hop community,
support our hunger strike!

by Mutope Duguma, s/n James Crawford, for the Pelican Bay Human Rights Movement
We prisoners held in Pelican Bay State Prison Security Housing Unit (PBSP SHU) seek support from all hip hop celebrities, fans and supporters to assist us in shutting down all solitary confinement units – i.e. Administration Segregation (Ad-Seg), SHU and Maximum Security units and the like – that hold New Afrikan prisoners and other races in solitary confinement indefinitely.
We embarked Sept. 26, 2011, on a peaceful hunger strike here in PBSP and throughout the state of California in order to obtain our civil and human rights. We are being denied our five core demands (submitted prior to the first phase of the hunger strike in July).
Prisoners are being held in solitary confinement indefinitely on the word of a prison debriefer – i.e., snitch, informer, rat, turncoat – or some false prison gang validation. Therefore, we seek your support and give you all the right to advocate on our behalf:
  • MC Lyte
  • Baby
  • Keyshia Cole
  • Lil Wayne
  • Eve
  • Jay-Z
  • Goapele
  • Scrappy
  • Lil Kim
  • Kam
  • Yoyo
  • Kwame Kweli
  • Nicki Minaj
  • The Coup
  • Erykah Badu
  • The Game
  • Foxy Brown
  • Kanye West
  • Free
  • Mos Def
  • Diamond
  • Chuck D
  • Queen Latifah
  • MOB Deep
  • Rashida
  • E-40
  • Terez McCall
  • Snoop Dogg
  • Jada Pinkett
  • Rihanna
  • Scarface
  • Lena
  • Ryakin Rip
  • Slim Thug
  • Solange
  • Tyrese
  • Solē
  • Bun B
  • Jamie Fox
  • Will Smith
  • Chris Brown
  • Jadakiss
  • Gorilla Zoe
  • Black Rob
  • Rev Run
  • Busta Rhymes
  • Ice-T
  • Ice Cube
  • WC, Mack-10
  • Ti
  • Dr. Dre
  • Joe Budden
  • Eminem
  • T-Bone
  • LeCrae
  • Drake
  • Too Short
  • Flame
  • 50 cent
  • Loyd Banks
  • Raphael Saadiq
  • Maino
  • Terrence Jenkins
  • Rosci Diaz
  • Big Boi
  • KRS-One
  • DMX
  • 2-Mex
  • Gucci Mane
  • JT The Bigga Figga
  • Chino XL
  • Chingo
  • Bling
  • Rebel Diaz
  • Fat Joe
  • Tego Calderon
  • Pitbull
  • Bubba Sparks
  • Cypress Hill
  • Nas
And all the original hip hop heads etc.
We ask that you all support us in our struggle to be liberated from these man-made torture chambers by doing the following:
1. Support the peaceful hunger strike by having your fans contact the governor of California, Edmund G. (Jerry) Brown Jr., and the president of the United States of Amerika, Barack Obama, to end torture in California prisons, where prisoners are held indefinitely in solitary confinement – in PBSP SHU, Corcoran SHU, New Folsom SHU and Tehachapi SHU.
2. Donate $10 or more to our Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity coalition, via California Prison Focus’ PayPal account, which can be accessed at, and mark it for the hunger strike coalition, or mail your donation to California Prison Focus, 1904 Franklin St., Suite 507, Oakland CA 94612. Watch our blog,, for information.
3. All of you have power, and that power is in your voice. We ask that you lend that power to our hunger strike. Yes, we will make the sacrifices. There are countless prisoners held in solitary confinement throughout this nation, who come from exclusively poor communities, being tortured. Contact the following New Afrikan prisoners who have been held in SHU since as long ago as 1976 to 2011:
  • Mutope Duguma, s/n James Crawford, D-05996, PBSP, D-1-117, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532
  • Michael Mutawally Cooperwood, C-46411, PBSP, D-1-214, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532
  • Abdul Olugbala Shakur, s/n J. Harvey, C-48884, PBSP, D-4-212, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532
  • James Baridi Williamsun, D-34288, PBSP, D-4-107, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532
  • Yafeu Iyapo-I, s/n Leonard Alexander, B-73388, PBSP, D-3-104, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532
  • Marcus Tashiri Harrison, H-54077, PBSP, D-3-122, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532
  • Abasi Ganda, s/n Clyde Jackson, C-33559, PBSP, D-2-101, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532
  • Kubaua Gitu, s/n Rubben Williams, B-72882, PBSP, D-2-121, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532
  • Paul Redd Jr., B-72683, D-2-117, PBSP, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532
  • J. Heshima Denham, J-38283, COR SHU, 4B-1L-46, P.O. Box 3481, Corcoran CA 93212
  • Michael Zaharibu Dorrough, D-83611, COR SHU, 4B-1L-53, P.O. Box 3481, Corcoran CA 93212
  • Kambui Robinson, C-82830, COR SHU, 4B-1L-49, P.O. Box 3481, Corcoran CA 93212
It is important that you in the public know that all of us come from the very communities you all come from. Unfortunately, we have been held in these solitary confinement units from 10 to 40 years, simply put, for nothing. The CDCR (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation) has used every strategy and tactic to get us to debrief, as the only way for us to get out of solitary confinement.
Since we refuse to be emasculated and become the prison stoolie for the prison gang intelligence unit, CDCR has sanctioned the torture of each and every last one of us. Therefore, we prisoners, all races, decided to come together in order to end this cruel and unusual punishment.
Yes, many of you have heard or know firsthand of the horror stories CDCR officials have used to propagate us to the world in order to label us the “worst of the worst” held in Pelican Bay state prison solitary confinement units. Yet ALL RACES – i.e., New Afrikans, Mexicans South and North, and whites etc. came together to end and fight against the torture we all have endured for 21 years here at PBSP SHU by way of a peaceful hunger strike, which we intend to carry out indefinitely.
We, Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa, George Franco, Arturo Castellanos and Todd Asker, the four principle negotiators and representatives of the Pelican Bay hunger strike, are requesting for all bodies and minds who are participating in the Sept. 26, 2011, human rights movement to be mindful that we prisoners are in a protracted struggle so that no other prisoners will be held in solitary confinement. All California-held prisoners can be subjected to inhumane, torturous and intentional harsh treatment by CDCR officials, enforced by their subordinates, if the use of solitary confinement is not stopped.
For this struggle to go forward, we need supporters to donate $10 or more to our prisoners’ cause, to shut the SHUs and all solitary confinement units within the state of California and spread this resistance across the U.S. by way of peaceful hunger strikes and other peaceful demonstrations.
Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity is a coalition of non-profit organizations that have been working many years on prisoner rights issues and shutting solitary confinement units throughout California and the U.S. We prisoners appreciate and continue to need their legal support.
Note: California Prison Focus is the member of the coalition responsible for meeting with the spokesmen for the prisoners. Donations will be used to travel to Pelican Bay once a week and to travel to the other SHUs as often as possible this winter in order to report to the state legislature and to protect the spokesmen as much as possible. Each trip costs $300 to $400 for two investigators for two days for gas and lodging only.
Recent Media Coverage

Needless to say, a link to an article does not imply endorsement.


Upcoming Events

In the US:


San Francisco
Saturday October 8th from 12:00 to 3:30 p.m: social gathering and potlock with Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition members, local activists, friends and family members of incarcerated loved ones in California prisons, to meet and socialized. Come and join us and share your favorite treat with us. Mosswood Park, 3612 Webster Street, Oakland, CA.
Thursday, October 13, 5-7 p.m.: Vigil at 24th  & Mission, SF.
Thursday, October 20, 5-7 p.m.: Vigil at Fruitvale BART, Oakland.
Santa Cruz
Saturday, October 8, 6:30pm: Noise Demonstration in solidarity with hungerstrikers. Marching from Louden Nelson Park to County Jail. Bring Noisemakers! Click here for mor info.

New York
New York
Saturday, October 8, 11am-2pm: Letter and card writing for PPs, POWs, and prisoners on hunger strike in California. @ Zuccotti Park (Liberty Street and Broadway, New York, New York). Organized by Anarchist Black Cross NY and Resistance in Brooklyn.

This list is of upcoming events we know of. If you are organizing an event in your area, let us know!
Hungerstrike News can be reached at

Throughout the month of July, 2011, thousands of prisoners across California participated in a hunger strike against torturous conditions at Pelican Bay State Prison's Security Housing Unit.
Hungerstrike News documented their struggle and the actions of those who stood in solidarity with them.
As we enter this new period, Hungerstrike News will continue to support the prisoners and report on their struggle.

Has Your Mail to Someone in Prison Been Refused?

From Julie Tackett:
Having your mail rejected is one of the most upsetting things to have happen when you have a loved one in prison. Whether is just a mistake on your part, a concerted effort cut family bonds or blatant retaliation for things like the Hunger Strike, it will help to keep track of trends. I have a spread sheet to record mail rejected by CDCR. I will watch for trends of increased rejections by facility, type of rejections, reasons for rejections, and otherwise keep an eye on things.

If you ever have a piece of mail rejected by CDCR for any reason, just message me, email me at or call 206-214-8208.

Thanks, Julie

Palestinian Prisoners on Hungerstrike in Israeli Prisons

Isolation torture is a worlwide scourge, often directed at political prisoners and others who resist oppression. In some contexts these people are accused of being "gang members", in others they are accused of being "terrorists". In all cases, this dehumanization is used as a justification for the unjustifiable: the purposeful attempt to scientifically drive a human being insane.
As of September 27, Palestinian prisoners have begun a hunger strike against the abusive conditions they are made to suffer. Their demands are:
"1. End the solitary confinement and isolation of our comrade, General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, member of the Palestinian Legislative Council and the PLO Central Council, Ahmad Sa'adat, Abu Ghassan.

2. End the policy of isolation for all prisoners;
3. End the policy of systematic humiliation by the occupation army against the Palestinian people at checkpoints and crossings, particularly targeting visitors to prisons, and end the arbitrary denial of visits to the prisoners, especially the prisoners from the Gaza Strip. End the humiliation and abuse of prisoners during transfer."
For more information on this struggle:

Secretary Matthew Cate
1515 S Street
TEL: (916) 323-6001
Governor Jerry Brown
State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814
CDCR Public Affairs Office: (916)445-4950

If you have a website or blog and would like to help promoteHungerstrike Newsget in touch.
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