California Prisoner Hunger Strike: Countdown in the Struggle for Humane Conditions

Day 32


August 8, 2013 — Today is the one-month anniversary of a hunger strike initiated by prisoners at Pelican Bay State Prison that quickly spread to other correctional facilities across the state of California. To be precise, it is Day 32 of a month-long period of no solid foods for what are now hundreds of prisoners.

 

These are men risking their lives to insist on humane conditions and certain terms for those prisoners who have otherwise been banished to indefinite sentences of solitary confinement in California’s prison system. Many of these men have been isolated for decades with no windows, no contact visits, no outside sunlight and no real exercise.

 

Recent reports from these prisoners demonstrate that their brave efforts have been made all the more difficult by prison guards who are treating them very harshly.

 

Guards are knocking them into walls, handcuffing them incorrectly to cause suffering and bending their arms to provoke extreme pain. Guards are spitting out racial epithets or deliberately placing an African American prisoner, for example, in a cell with racist graffiti. Guards are also being strategically divisive by tactically treating some prisoners nicely and others in the most demeaning ways, hoping—as the guards openly discussed in front of some prisoners—to create division so the prisoners will begin to fight each other. The guards’ goal: to undermine the hunger strike. According to these same talkative guards, this unprofessional behavior is what they were instructed to do to help bring the hunger strike to an end. Continue reading

Taksim Commune: Gezi Park And The Uprising In Turkey

By Brandon Jourdan and Marianne Maeckelbergh, Global Uprisings,

This short documentary tells the story of the occupation of Gezi Park, the eviction on July 15, 2013, and the protests that have continued in the aftermath. It includes interviews with many participants and footage never before seen.

Since the end of May 2013, political unrest has swept across Turkey. In Istanbul, a large part of the central Beyoğlu district became a battle zone for three consecutive weeks with conflicts continuing afterward. So far five people have died and thousands have been injured.

The protests were initially aimed at rescuing Istanbul’s Gezi Park from being demolished as part of a large scale urban renewal project. The police used extreme force during a series of police attacks that began on May 28th 2013 and which came to a dramatic head in the early morning hours of Friday May 31st when police attacked protesters sleeping in the park.

Over the course of a few days, the police attacks grew to shocking proportions. As the images of the heavy-handed policing spread across the world, the protests quickly transformed into a popular uprising against the Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and his style of authoritarian rule.

Bomb threats to fuel new repressive terror?

[In the last few weeks, massive sentiment has grown -=- in the US and worldwide — against the US government suppression of whistleblowers who are exposing US war crimes.  The hounding and stalking and threats on refugee/expatriat NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, and the conviction of US Army war-crimes-whistleblower Bradley Manning, have been condemned and denounced by millions, throwing the credibility of the US’s repressive machinery into major crisis, even among its allies.

In this context, the US empire has a dire necessity to reassert its authority and credibility for ongoing and new imperialist aggressions under the banner of the “war on terror” — to justify further consolidation of their police state.  So the appearance — the claim — that serious attacks are imminent, by al Qaeda or someone, requiring the closure of US diplomatic, military, and CIA offices throughout north Africa and the Middle East, is very questionable by nature of its timing re the Snowden and Manning suppression-moves.

Of course, some violent attack on the US may or may not happen in coming days–we have no way of knowing nor predicting.  But we urge all democratic, anti-imperialist people to watch very carefully.  If no attack occurs, it may show that the claim of a serious threat was empty or false.  If an attack does occur, on one level or another, then one must ask if al Qaeda (or others of similar thought and practice) have provided a gift to US repressive forces once again.  And, given the history of covert and “false-flag” operations by the CIA and their closest partner Israel/Mossad, the theatrical production of an attack for repressive-justification must also be closely considered.  The bourgeois media won’t look into such possibilities, for obvious reasons.

Here below, the New York Times gives its report on this government-declared threat.

In this situation, things may not be what they seem, not by a long shot.  In coming days, keep an eye on new government moves to deny privacy rights, human rights, and to suppress whistleblowers’ exposures and investigative journalism.  — Frontlines ed.]


 

 

New York Times:  “Terror Threat Prompts U.S. to Close Diplomatic Missions”

 

 

A terrorism threat has prompted the United States to close dozens of American diplomatic missions in the Middle East, North Africa and elsewhere through the weekend, American officials said Thursday. Continue reading