State Prison attacks solidarity, threatens advocates of human rights for prisoners

As new hunger strike begins, prison officials investigate advocates

October 1, 2011 | Michael Montgomery
The hunger strike is being led by inmates housed in Pelican Bay State Prison's Security Housing Unit

The hunger strike is being led by inmates housed in Pelican Bay State Prison's Security Housing Unit

Michael Montgomery/California WatchThe current prison hunger strike is being led by inmates housed in Pelican Bay State Prison’s Security Housing Unit.

Just days after thousands of California inmates renewed a hunger strike, two Bay Area attorneys closely involved in mediation efforts got a surprise: They were under investigation by the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation for allegations of misconduct and unspecified security threats.

The attorneys – Marilyn McMahon, executive director of California Prison Focus, and Carol Strickman of Legal Services for Prisoners With Children – have been banned from state institutions until the investigation is resolved, according to temporary exclusion orders signed by Corrections Undersecretary Scott Kernan on Sept. 29.

The investigation will determine whether the attorneys “violated the laws and policies governing the safe operations of institutions within the CDCR,” the order states.

The document does not provide details about the allegations. It cites a section from the California Code of Regulations that reads:

“Committing an act that jeopardizes the life of a person, violates the security of the facility, constitutes a misdemeanor or a felony, or is a reoccurrence of previous violations shall result in a one-year to lifetime exclusion depending on the severity of the offense in question.”

Corrections spokeswoman Terry Thornton confirmed the department had banned “some specific attorneys” from one facility for alleged misconduct. She declined further comment, citing an ongoing investigation.

The move is another indication that the corrections department intends to handle the current protest differently from an earlier hunger strike, which ended July 20 after officials agreed to some concessions, including a review of policies governing the state’s controversial Security Housing Units, where some inmates have spent decades housed alone in windowless cells.

Since then, strike leaders have accused corrections officials of failing to carry out their promises. Continue reading

The Futile Undertaking of Palestinian Statehood

[This article by Esam Al-Amin traces Mahmoud Abbas’ bid for UN-recognized sham “Palestinian statehood” as a maneuver to block and bury popular moves toward a secular, multi-ethnic single democratic state encompassing all the peoples of historic Palestine.  Such a one-state solution would empower the divided peoples of that land, but would dis-empower the Zionists and Mahmoud Abbas’ “Palestine Authority” at the same time–which is why Abbas is so determined to prevent the single secular democratic state.

El-Amin argues, at the end of the article, that “Until U.S. politicians, power brokers, military leaders, corporate executives, media conglomerates, and opinion makers are forced to side with what is morally right, a heavy price must be exacted through the ballot box, sanctions, boycott, and shaming them in public.”  But a growing number of solidarity activists and anti-imperialists believe that the notion of “U.S. politicians, power brokers, military leaders, corporate executives, media conglomerates, and opinion makers” EVER talking and walking from a “morally right” position is hopelessly illusory–and sights must be set, and long-terms preparations made, for revolutionary challenges to the entire system. — Frontlines ed.]

Weekend Edition, Counterpunch

September 24-25, 2011

One State, Two States, No State


Today, September 23, Palestinian Authority (PA) leader Mahmoud Abbas submits, to the UN the application for Palestinian statehood for the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel since 1967.

What are the implications of this effort? Does it serve the Palestinian cause? And why do Israel and the U.S. oppose this action? What’s the alternative?

Paradoxically, this month marks the eighteenth anniversary of when Abbas stood alongside Bill Clinton, Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin on the White House lawn in a ceremony celebrating the signing of the Oslo Accords.

As one of its architects, Abbas sold the Oslo agreement to the Palestinian people as the vehicle towards the establishment of an independent Palestinian state and the restoration of the rights of the Palestinian people. Continue reading

National Day of Action against FBI subpoenas on Tuesday, January 25, 2011‏

[As the US government faces deepening global opposition to its wars of aggression and neo-colonial occupations, it aims its domestic fire at the activists who organize anti-imperialist solidarity with the people’s liberation movements around the world.  Seeking to crush this solidarity, the only way to defeat such repression is to defend those attacked, and intensify the commitment and work for broader, active solidarity.  We urge all to join the actions against FBI subpoenas on January 25!–Frontlines ed.]

Join the National Day of Action on Tuesday, January 25, 2011

In December 2010, under the direction of U.S. Attorney Patrick
Fitzgerald, the FBI delivered 9 new subpoenas in Chicago to anti-war
and Palestine solidarity activists - bringing the total number of
subpoenaed activists to 23. Patrick Fitzgerald’s office is ordering
the 9 to appear at a Grand Jury in Chicago on January 25.

In response, we are calling for protests across the country and around
the world to show our solidarity. Hundreds of organizations and
thousands of people will be protesting at Federal Buildings, FBI
offices, and other appropriate places, showing solidarity with the 9
newly subpoenaed activists and with all the activists whose homes were
raided by the FBI. Continue reading 

Arab American Action Network (AAAN) Board Statement on FBI Raids

October 1, 2010

Last Friday, September 24th, the FBI raided the homes of, and served Grand Jury subpoenas to, Hatem Abudayyeh, Executive Director of the Arab American Action Network (AAAN), and several other anti-war activists in Chicago, Michigan, and Minneapolis, and questioned others in North Carolina and California—essentially attempting to criminalize their strong and tireless advocacy against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and support for the rights of the peoples of Palestine and Colombia.

For many years, Hatem Abudayyeh has led the social services, cultural outreach, adult education, and youth development programming of the AAAN; and has advocated for the civil and human rights of Arabs and other immigrants in the U.S., as well as Palestinians and oppressed peoples across the world. The Arab American Action Network denounces the raids on the homes of, and the serving of Grand Jury subpoenas to, these anti war activists in Chicago and across the country. The FBI has overstepped its boundaries and targeted individuals based on their commitment to peacefully challenge U.S. policies in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, and Colombia. Continue reading