In Contempt #7: Charges Dropped, Charges Filed

from It’s Going Down

[This post only contains information relevant to Philadelphia and the surrounding area, to read the entire article follow the above link.]

A lot has gone on this month. From comrades like Loren Reed getting out (again!), to abolitionists in Florida getting their charges dropped, to Water Protectors like Jessica Reznicek now facing years in prison with a possible terrorism enhancement.

In this month’s column, we also bring you a whole roundup of news, prisoner birthdays, and updates on those facing repression in the wake of the George Floyd uprising.

Last up but not least, August is shaping up to be a busy month, with a call for people to organize #ShutEmDown rallies and much more! With so much to cover, let’s dive in!

Pennsylvania

A hunger strike involving several members of the Vaughn 17 has now been resolved, with hunger striker Alejandro “Capo” Rodriguez-Ortiz writing that “We look at the 10 day strike as a success… Now the world sees what the PADOC was doing.” The strike caused the PA Department of Corrections to publicly acknowledge the existence of their long term segregation program. According to the legal director for the Abolitionist Law Center, this had never happened before.

Mongoose Distro have published a short piece of writing by David Elmakayes, a Philadelphia defendant facing charges connected to last summer’s uprising. You can donate to help David’s legal costs here.

Upcoming Events

The month of August is commemorated as “Black August” by many radical prisoners in memory of George Jackson, and August 10 is commemorated in Canada and some other countries as Prisoners Justice Day.

Jailhouse Lawyers Speak are calling for abolitionist demonstrations under the slogan “Shut ‘Em Down 2021” on August 21st and September 9th. Reach out to Oakland Abolition and Solidarity if you’d like to get stickers to promote the events. Also, various international ABC groups observe August 23rd-30th as a week of solidarity with anarchist prisoners.

The annual Running Down the Walls solidarity event is scheduled for September 12th this year, with events confirmed for Austin, Lawrence, Chicago, New York, and Philadelphia already so far. For a list, go here.

Uprising Defendants

Everyone should support the defendants facing charges related to their alleged participation in the George Floyd uprising – this list of our imprisoned comrades needs to be getting shorter, not longer. The status of pre-trial defendants changes frequently, but to the best of our knowledge they currently include:

David Elmakayes 77782-066
FDC Philadelphia
PO BOX 562
Philadelphia, PA 19105
You can donate to David’s legal funds here.

Lore-Elisabeth Blumenthal 70002-066
FDC Philadelphia
PO BOX 562
Philadelphia, PA 19105

Upcoming Birthdays

Lawrence Michaels

A former Vaughn 17 defendant, and contributor to the Vaughn zines, “Live from the Trenches” and “United We Stood.” While the state has now dropped its attempts to criminalize Lawrence in relation to the uprising, he, like all of the Vaughn 17, deserves respect and support for making it through the entire process while staying in solidarity with his co-defendants and refusing to co-operate with the prosecution.

Pennsylvania uses Connect Network/GTL, so you can contact him online by going to connectnetwork.com, selecting “Add a facility,” choosing “State: Pennsylvania, Facility: Pennsylvania Department of Corrections,” going into the “messaging” service, and then adding him as a contact by searching his name or “NW2894.”

Birthday: August 14

Address:

Smart Communications / PA DOC
Lawrence Michaels – NW2894
SCI Greene
P.O. Box 33028
St. Petersburg, FL 33733

Pedro Chairez

A former Vaughn 17 defendant. While the state has now dropped its attempts to criminalize Pedro in relation to the uprising, he, like all of the Vaughn 17, deserves respect and support for making it through the entire process while staying in solidarity with his co-defendants and refusing to co-operate with the prosecution. You can read some of Pedro’s words here.

Illinois uses Jpay, so you can send him a message by going to jpay.com, clicking “inmate search”, then selecting “State: Illinois, Inmate ID: Y35814.”

Birthday: August 17

Address:

Pedro Chairez Y35814
Pontiac C.C.
P.O. Box 99
Pontiac, IL 61764

Russell “Maroon” Shoatz

Anarchist/anti-authoritarian-leaning Black Liberation/Black Panther prisoner, held since 1970 for his alleged involvement in attacking a police station in response to a police murder. Maroon is the author of the classic text “The Dragon and the Hydra: A Historical Study of Organizational Methods,” among others.

Pennsylvania uses Connect Network/GTL, so you can contact him online by going to connectnetwork.com, selecting “Add a facility,” choosing “State: Pennsylvania, Facility: Pennsylvania Department of Corrections,” going into the “messaging” service, and then adding him as a contact by searching his name or “AF3855.”

Birthday: August 23

Address:

Smart Connections/PA DOC
Russell Maroon Shoatz #AF-3855
SCI Dallas
Post Office Box 33028
St Petersburg, Florida 33733

 

David Elmakayes, BLM defendant, Needs $ For Lawyer

from Go Fund Me

David Elmakayes, who is being charged for his participation in last summer’s George Floyd uprisings in Philadelphia, needs money to hire a new attorney. Currently, his public defender is trying to get him to snitch on other defendants to benefit his own case and David wants no part of it.

David is being charged for:

-Maliciously damaging property used in interstate commerce by means of explosive (1 count)

-Carrying explosives during the commision of a felony (1 count)

-Possession of a firearm by a felon (1 count)

You can also write David at:

David Elmakayes 77782-066

FDC Philadelphia

PO Box 562

Philadelphia, PA 19105

Thank you for your time and consideration! With love and rage, Matt B

[Donate Here]

In Contempt: June 11th Roundup; Analysis of Biden’s New Domestic Terrorism Document

from It’s Going Down

It’s been a busy month and there’s a lot to catch up on.

In this month’s column, we roundup what all went down on June 11th, offer an analysis of the Biden administration’s recent report on countering domestic terrorism, a roundup by state across the so-called US of repression news, info on current George Floyd rebellion prisoners, prison rebel birthdays, and more news.

Let’s dive in!

Repression Roundup by State

Pennsylvania

We Love Lore have provided a few updates on Lore Elisabeth Blumenthal, who’s now been incarcerated for a year awaiting trial on charges connected to last summer’s uprising. You can see some of her recent art here, and her family were able to visit her for the first time in eight months.

David Elmakayes, another Philadelphia defendant, is trying to raise money for a new lawyer, as the public defender allocated to him is trying to get him to inform. You should be able to donate to his funds via his mother’s CashApp, $NaughtNelly. Contact addresses for both Lore and David are listed below.

Vaughn 17

The Vaughn 17, the collective of prisoners who came together in the wake of the 2017 Vaughn uprising in Delaware, have issued a statement on abuse, neglect and solitary confinement at Pennsylvania’s SCI-Phoenix prison, and have also put out a new zine of their writings and analysis. A hunger strike aiming to address the issues highlighted has now begun at SCI-Phoenix, with some of the Vaughn 17 being among the participants.

Upcoming Events

Occupy ICE PDX have called for July 17th to be a nationwide day of actions against ICE and for the freedom of all immigrant prisoners. July 25th is observed internationally as a day of solidarity with antifascist prisoners.

Further ahead, Jailhouse Lawyers Speak are calling for abolitionist demonstrations under the slogan “Shut ‘Em Down 2021” on August 21st and September 9th. As mentioned above, reach out to Oakland Abolition and Solidarity if you’d like to get stickers to promote the events. Also, various international ABC groups observe August 23rd-30th as a week of solidarity with anarchist prisoners.

Uprising Defendants

Everyone should support the defendants facing charges related to their alleged participation in the George Floyd uprising – this list of our imprisoned comrades needs to be getting shorter, not longer. The status of pre-trial defendants changes frequently, but to the best of our knowledge they currently include:

David Elmakayes 77782-066
FDC Philadelphia
PO BOX 562
Philadelphia, PA 19105

Lore-Elisabeth Blumenthal 70002-066
FDC Philadelphia
PO BOX 562
Philadelphia, PA 19105

Birthdays

Corey Smith

A former Vaughn 17 defendant. While the state has now dropped its attempts to criminalize Corey Smith in relation to the uprising, the Vaughn 17 have faced continued retaliation. Years after the uprising, these prisoners are still being abused for staying in solidarity with one another against the state.

Birthday: July 14

Address:

The most recent Vaughn 17 zine just gives Corey Smith’s address as “Wilmington, DE”, suggesting that his current location is unknown – please feel free to reach out if you can confirm his address.

Kevin Berry

A former Vaughn 17 defendant. While the court found Kevin Berry not guilty on all charges in relation to the uprising, the Vaughn 17 have faced continued retaliation. Years after the uprising, these prisoners are still being abused for staying in solidarity with one another against the state.

Kevin Berry is a contributor to the Vaughn 17 “Live From the Trenches” zine, as well as the newer “United We Stood” zine, and also wrote a June 11th statement for the 2019 day of solidarity with long-term anarchist prisoners.

Pennsylvania uses Connect Network/GTL, so you can contact him online by going to connectnetwork.com, selecting “Add a facility”, choosing “State: Pennsylvania, Facility: Pennsylvania Department of Corrections”, going into the “messaging” service, and then adding him as a contact by searching his name or “NT0583.”

Birthday: July 17th

Address:

Smart Communications/PADOC
Kevin Berry, NT0583
SCI Phoenix
PO Box 33028
St Petersburg, FL 33733

 

One year

from We Love Lore

It’s been a year since Lore Elisabeth was taken from us. She was apprehended violently in her home, tortured for weeks, infected with COVID, denied medical care throughout, and fights to this day for access to her case files. Federal authorities have shown no interest in proving their case against her, nor have they allowed her to defend herself.

Lore-sparkle.gif

Thanks to you, she can still fight. In this past year, you have kept our beloved Lore going with your precious messages of love and solidarity; you kept the pressure on the Bureau of Prisons until she and her women’s unit got access to the vaccine; you showed your joy online and onsite where she could see and feel it; and you raised an absolutely essential fund for her legal defense.

Let’s show Lore that we still love and haven’t forgotten her. Please never stop supporting our friends and allies leading the fights against police violence and mass incarceration. Keep sending letters and photos! And you can always donate to Lore’s commissary fund via PayPal or Venmo @WeLoveLore for food, clothes, and essentials. We couldn’t do it without you 🌈🙏✨

Statement from the Vaughn 17

from Abolitionist Law Center

The following statement was issued in coordination with Philly Anti-Repression on June 1, 2021 by members of the Vaughn 17 and other incarcerated community members subjected to abuse, neglect, and solitary confinement at SCI-Phoenix.

For those who are new to the Vaughn 17’s struggle for self-liberation, here is some context: On February 1, 2017, incarcerated community members confined in Delaware’s largest prison, the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center, staged an uprising and took over Building C. Prisoners took guards hostage and called the media, bringing international attention to the prison’s overuse of solitary confinement and demanded humane living conditions, rehabilitation, and education programs. Phone negotiations lasted 18 hours between prisoners and prison officials.

One correctional officer died during the uprising and 18 prisoners were charged with multiple counts of murder, rioting, conspiracy and kidnapping. One of the original eighteen suspects in the rebellion turned and became the State’s star witness; another committed suicide.

Since 2017, participants of the Building C takeover, now known as “the Vaughn 17”, have endured ongoing retaliation by the State. This has included transfers across state lines to Pennsylvania and long-term solitary confinement under the euphemistic measures of “Intensive Management Units” and “Restricted Release”. Prolonged solitary confinement (more than 15 days) is considered torture by the United Nations.

To learn more about the Vaughn 17 visit: vaughn17.com and follow their supporters and defense group on Twitter and Instagram.

June 1, 2021

– The Vaughn 17

Philly man is arrested for allegedly torching cop car during the racial injustice protests last year

from Mainstream Media

Lester Fulton, who was arrested Thursday in Massachusetts, is the sixth person facing federal arson charges in connection with the racial injustice protests in Center City last spring.

Philadelphia police make a wall to block protestors from approaching a burning Pennsylvania State Police car near the intersection of Broad and Vine Streets during May 30, 2020, protests over the death of George Floyd.

A 26-year-old Philadelphia man on Thursday became the sixth person charged with setting police cars ablaze during last summer’s racial injustice protests in Center City.

FBI agents arrested Lester Fulton Smith, 26, in Massachusetts, where he was working, and accused him of playing a role in the arson of a Pennsylvania State Police car ignited by protesters demonstrating May 30 in response to the murder of George Floyd.

Authorities had already charged a Virginia man — Ayoub Tabri, 25 — with igniting the blaze using a road flare stolen from the vehicle.

Charging documents in Smith’s case were spare on details of what role prosecutors believe he played in the incident, whether investigators believe he coordinated with Tabri, or how he was identified by agents.

Prosecutors have said they first flagged Tabri — wearing a black mask and holding a skateboard in one hand and the lit flare in the other — from video shared on social media of the chaotic scene that unfolded that day near the intersection of Broad and Vine Streets, where State Police had amassed to keep the crowd of demonstrators off of I-676.

Two parked police cars came under attack from the crowd, which beat them with a scooter, a hammer, skateboards, a bike lock, crowbars, and hands and fists.

The lit flare Tabri is accused of throwing at one of the cars not only hit it but also a nearby state trooper, whose uniform caught fire, investigators said. The trooper later suffered burns to his hand while reaching into the burning vehicle to retrieve a rifle that had been stored inside.

FBI agents identified Tabri, a restaurant worker in Washington, D.C., by cross-referencing video from the scene with social media photos of the same man — without a mask — shot later outside City Hall.

Tabri confessed to setting the blaze upon his arrest in October, according to court filings in his case. Six others have been arrested on state vandalism charges in connection with the damage to the State Police vehicles.

In a statement Thursday, acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams drew a distinction between Smith and Tabri and the hundreds of “peaceful protesters” who demonstrated in Philadelphia that day.

“Here, the defendants allegedly destroyed a police vehicle, endangering many lives including police officers and peaceful protesters nearby,” she said. “This conduct is not free speech and is not protected by our constitution; rather, it is criminal.”

For his part, Smith looked exhausted while appearing Thursday for his first court appearance via Zoom from a federal detention center in Massachusetts. He yawned repeatedly, rubbing his eyes throughout the proceeding.

But he leaped out of his chair and mouthed “No,” when U.S. Magistrate Judge Marianne B. Bowler outlined a mandatory minimum seven-year prison sentence and maximum of 40 years he is facing should he be convicted on the two arson counts with which he has been charged.

Lawyers for others charged with igniting police vehicles in separate incidents May 30 have criticized the decision to charge them — like Smith and Tabri — under federal arson statutes because of that stiff mandatory penalty. They argue that protest-related acts of destruction belong in state court.

Smith will remain in custody pending a bail hearing in Worcester, Mass., scheduled for Wednesday, at which prosecutors have signaled they intend to seek his detention until trial.

An attorney had not been appointed to represent him on the charges in Philadelphia as of Thursday evening.

Four others face federal arson charges in connection with Philadelphia police cars ignited in separate incidents near City Hall that day.

They include prominent activist and social studies teacher Anthony “Ant” Smith, 30, and Khalif Miller, 25, both of Philadelphia, as well as Carlos Matchett, 31, of Atlantic City and Lore-Elisabeth Blumenthal, a 34-year-old massage therapist from Jenkintown.

All have denied the charges and are awaiting trials scheduled for later this year.

In Contempt #4

from It’s Going Down

[This post only contains information relevant to Philadelphia and the surrounding area, to read the entire article follow the above link.]

Welcome, to the fourth installation of In Contempt, a collection of updates and information in relation to state repression and counter-insurgency, especially in the wake of the George Floyd uprising last summer.

Uprising Defendants

Everyone should support the defendants facing charges related to their alleged participation in the George Floyd uprising – this list of our imprisoned comrades needs to be getting shorter, not longer. The status of pre-trial defendants changes frequently, but to the best of our knowledge they currently include:

Lore-Elisabeth Blumenthal #70002-066
FDC Philadelphia
P.O. Box 562
Philadelphia, PA 19105

David Elmakayes #77782-066
FDC Philadelphia,
PO Box 562,
Philadelphia, PA 19105

Shawn Collins #69989-066
FDC Philadelphia,
PO Box 562,
Philadelphia, PA 19105

Steven Pennycooke #69988-066
FDC Philadelphia,
PO Box 562,
Philadelphia, PA 19105

When writing to pre-trial prisoners, do not write about their cases or say anything that you wouldn’t want to hear read out in court. If you have any updates, either about status changes meaning that people should be removed from this list, or about names that are missing and should be included, please reach out.

Upcoming Birthdays

Abednego Baynes

A former Vaughn 17 defendant. Baynes was found innocent of all charges in relation to the uprising, but he has still been punished with a move out of state, and deserves respect and support for staying in solidarity with his codefendants throughout the process and refusing to cooperate with the prosecution. You can read more about Baynes in his own words here.

Pennsylvania uses Connect Network/GTL, so you can contact him online by going to connectnetwork.com, selecting “Add a facility”, choosing “State: Pennsylvania, Facility: Pennsylvania Department of Corrections,” going into the “messaging” service, and then adding him as a contact by searching his name or “NT0594.”

Birthday: May 20

Address:

Smart Communications/PADOC
Abednego Baynes, NT0594
SCI Phoenix
PO Box 33028
St Petersburg, FL 33733

Looking Ahead

Looking further ahead, June 11th is the international day of solidarity with long-term anarchist prisoners, and further ahead still, there’s the Jailhouse Lawyers Speak call for demonstrations on August 21st and September 9th, so you may want to start thinking about plans for those dates now.

FOIA reveals that the DEA was ‘infiltrating’ BLM protests last June

from Twitter

Pa. National Guard activated as Philly preps for potential unrest ahead of Derek Chauvin murder trial verdict

from mainstream media

Members of the National Guard stand in guard in front of the Philadelphia Municipal Services Building in Philadelphia, Pa. Friday, October 31, 2020.

Philadelphia officials and community leaders Friday outlined plans for increased emergency operations and law enforcement staffing, while Gov. Tom Wolf activated more than 1,000 Pennsylvania National Guard members to the city in preparation for any potential unrest following the verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged in the killing of George Floyd.

At the request of the city, Wolf signed a proclamation of disaster Friday evening, activating the 1,000-plus state Guard members, to support “the current efforts in Philadelphia to protect our beloved neighbors and city.” The proclamation is effective for 90 days unless Wolf rescinds or extends it.

The activation of the Guard came after city leaders held a news conference Friday, saying they learned from the large-scale racial justice demonstrations and unrest in Philadelphia last spring following Floyd’s death, and have developed a “holistic plan” to address any aftermath of the landmark Chauvin verdict.

“Regardless of what may develop, I am confident that our department is prepared for whatever may come our way,” said Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw, standing in front of the Municipal Services Building — a flash point for conflict in 2020, where the statue of former mayor and police commissioner Frank Rizzo once stood, and where a mural highlighting Black Lives Matter protesters was later installed.

Last year, she said, ”while we made missteps along the way, we are committed to moving forward in a meaningful and productive manner.”

Closing arguments in the trial are set to begin Monday, with no timetable on when the verdict may be reached.

A review commissioned by Mayor JIm Kenney found that police were “simply not prepared” for the demonstrations that ensued in Philadelphia following Floyd’s death last May, where short staffing, lack of equipment, and insufficient planning had “cascading effects,” with “inordinate use” of tear gas and other less-lethal munitions by police and “at times, excessive force against protesters.”

This year, the Police Department is increasing staffing and canceling days off to ensure a presence across the city, “to enhance the protection of critical infrastructure, businesses, and neighborhoods,” Outlaw said. Beginning Saturday, the Office of Emergency Management will also be fully staffed every day for the next several weeks, said Director Adam Thiel.

The National Guard — which occupied Philadelphia for weeks last year following unrest after Floyd’s death and again in October after officers shot and killed Walter Wallace Jr. — is not in the city yet, Thiel said, but it is ready to deploy ”if needed.”

According to Wolf’s office, the Guard’s duties may include — but are not limited to — area security, manning traffic control points, and providing security at critical infrastructure sites. Citing security concerns, the office said that specific locations, numbers of troops, and locations could not be discussed.

Outlaw said that police have not ruled out using tear gas, rubber bullets, and other “less-lethal munitions,” but that they would not be fired “against peaceful demonstrators.” Following the tear-gassing of demonstrators on I-676 and residents in a West Philadelphia neighborhood, police implemented a moratorium on the munitions in June, and in November, Kenney signed a bill barring use of such devices “on any individual engaging in First Amendment Activities.”

Police intend to honor the moratorium and legislation, a spokesperson said.

Outlaw said the department would do “everything possible” to avoid disruptions, but that some streets may be closed to traffic.

“Things might look different in your neighborhoods over the coming days,” she said. “You will see officers on bikes, and some officers on foot. Some officers may be on horseback. You will even see some officers throughout the city, along with police clergy, offering prayer, opportunities for healing, and distributing City of Philadelphia resources. There’s even a chance that you will see a Pennsylvania National Guard soldier in your neighborhood. Please remember that they are all here to serve you.”

Officials encouraged residents to sign up for emergency updates by texting “ReadyPhila” to 888-777.

Ahead of the Chauvin verdict, the city will also assist in virtual “community healing circles” for residents to share their feelings and find support from neighbors, said Managing Director Tumar Alexander. He said the city is asking community leaders to hold their own events, and providing resources to encourage healing conversations offer support, and information on knowing your rights while protesting. Additionally, he said, business owners, volunteers, Town Watch Integrated Services, and the Office of Violence Prevention will “passively patrol the communities and commercial corridors … not as law enforcement, but just as citizens looking to engage other citizens and business owners.”

Some community and faith leaders also urged residents to refrain from destroying property in protest.

“We must be ready to embrace the opportunity to dig deeper to end racism, brutality, and injustice, we should embrace the right to protest to demand change,” said Sharmain Matlock Turner of the Urban Affairs Coalition. As the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,’” Turner added, but Dr. King “also gave us wisdom in our fight for justice saying, ‘Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon. It is a sword that heals, which cuts without wounding and nobles those who wield it.’”

“Speak up, protest, but do not tear up,” said state Sen. Vincent Hughes (D., Phila.), recalling discussions with city business owners whose stores were damaged during unrest last year, some who never recovered.

In Minneapolis on Thursday, after nearly three weeks of testimony, Chauvin’s defense rested after he declined to take the stand.

Last week, miles from where the Chauvin trial was underway, police in a Minneapolis suburb shot and killed Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, leading to several nights of unrest. In Philadelphia, protesters marched through the city for justice for Wright, and more demonstrations are expected this weekend.

Emails show DEA’s “covert surveillance” of racial justice protesters in Philadelphia, Chicago, Albuquerque

from Citizens for Responsibility & Ethics in Washington

Donald Trump walks with Bill Barr and members of the military out of a gated area

[This post only contains information relevant to Philadelphia and the surrounding area, to read the entire article follow the above link.]

The Drug Enforcement Administration conducted “covert surveillance” on people protesting the killing of George Floyd last summer in Philadelphia, Chicago and Albuquerque, according to emails obtained by CREW. The operations involved the use of undercover DEA agents to “infiltrate” protests, social media monitoring and aerial surveillance by the DEA Air Wing.

Justice Department leadership authorized the surveillance efforts in May 2020, per a DEA memorandum revealed last year by BuzzFeed News. The decision—which significantly expanded the DEA’s law enforcement authority nationwide for 14 days—was decried by members of Congress and civil liberties advocates as an invasion of First Amendment rights.

Representatives Jerry Nadler and Karen Bass urged the Justice Department to “immediately rescind” the decision in a June 5 letter, calling it “unwarranted and antithetical to the American people’s right to peacefully assemble and to exercise their Constitutional rights without undue intrusion.”

The new emails, obtained by CREW as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, provide a glimpse into how the DEA utilized its expanded surveillance authority in three cities.

 

Philadelphia

In a June 2 email, the Philadelphia Police Department requested that DEA’s local Special Agent in Charge, Jonathan Wilson, assign agents to “infiltrate crowds” at protests “for intel purposes.”

Within 30 minutes, Wilson obtained approval from Principal Deputy DEA Administrator Preston Grubbs, the agency’s second highest ranking official, to conduct “covert surveillance from within protests in the city of Philadelphia” in order to “identify protest leaders,” among others.

A June 3 email from a Philadelphia police sergeant provided “operational information” for DEA agents assigned to surveil a protest later that day. The email instructed agents to download a “communications app” to carry out their “surveillance operation,” even though DEA “doesn’t normally use” the app. The name of the app is redacted in the emails released to CREW.

An attachment to the June 3 email titled “Philly Riot Suspects.pdf” is redacted in its entirety.

Another operational email instructed DEA agents to dress so they could “b[l]end in with the crowds. Masks and bag packs [sic] are a good idea.”

A June 4 email shows extensive social media monitoring of protests expected through the weekend, with event names such as “Peaceful March: South Street to City Hall,” “Mt. Airy Solidarity March,” “4th Annual Stop Killing Us (SKU) March to DC!,” “George Floyd – Peaceful protest,” and “Candle Light Vigil for Breonna Taylor.”

Another June 4 email shows that DEA’s surveillance operation continued at least through June 7. An Assistant Special Agent in Charge thanked agents for their “tireless[] dedication to this mission, along with the sweat and blisters.”

What You Should Know About PPD Recruiting Community Orgs

from Twitter & Twitter






A #FreeAnt Update

from Instagram

Photo by #FreeAnt on April 01, 2021. May be an image of text.Photo by #FreeAnt on April 01, 2021. May be an image of text that says '**ALSO** Some people are also fighting (nonsensical) charges from over the past year of action and are starting trial/ pretrial this month. If you know who those people are, continue to support them. Maybe more info on that will be available as time goes by. I'm not sharing any specific info about them unless they find it necessary to do so. I mean generally, support people dealing with the courts in this pandemic. It's a mess forreal. **don't speculate names, actions or trial details on this post or any others**'.

A #FreeAnt update directly from our dude. Thank you all so much for being with us and mobilizing community support for Ant through this whole process. We still have a long way to go and we appreciate all of your help as we continue to fight for all of the charges to be dropped. Continue to follow and support and share the posts on this page and look out for some necessary fundraising needs coming this way soon. #DropTheCharges

In Contempt #3: Calls to Action from Behind the Prison Walls, ‘Blockade Defense’ Campaign Launched

from It’s Going Down

[This post only contains information relevant to Philadelphia and the surrounding area, to read the entire article follow the above link.]

Uprising Defendants

Everyone should support the defendants facing charges related to their alleged participation in the George Floyd uprising – this list of our imprisoned comrades needs to be getting shorter, not longer. The status of pre-trial defendants changes frequently, but to the best of our knowledge they currently include:

Lore-Elisabeth Blumenthal #70002-066
FDC Philadelphia
P.O. Box 562
Philadelphia, PA 19105

David Elmakayes #77782-066
FDC Philadelphia,
PO Box 562,
Philadelphia, PA 19105

Shawn Collins #69989-066
FDC Philadelphia,
PO Box 562,
Philadelphia, PA 19105

Steven Pennycooke #69988-066
FDC Philadelphia,
PO Box 562,
Philadelphia, PA 19105

When writing to pre-trial prisoners, do not write about their cases or say anything that you wouldn’t want to hear read out in court. If you have any updates, either about status changes meaning that people should be removed from this list, or about names that are missing and should be included, please reach out.

Upcoming Birthdays

Mumia Abu-Jamal

Mumia is an award winning journalist and was one of the founders of the Black Panther Party chapter in Philadelphia, PA. He has struggled for justice and human rights for people of color since he was at least 14 years old; the age when he joined the Party. In December of 1982, Mumia, who moonlighted by driving a taxi, happened upon police who were beating his brother. During the melee, a police officer was shot and killed. Despite the fact that many people saw someone else shoot and then run away from the scene, Mumia, in what could only be called a kangaroo court, was convicted and sentenced to death. During the summer of 1995, a death warrant was signed by Governor Tom Ridge, which sparked one of the most effective organizing efforts in defense of a political prisoner ever. Since that time, Mumia has had his death sentence overturned, but still has a life sentence with no opportunity for parole.

Mumia has a number of health issues as a result of medical neglect while in prison, and was recently diagnosed with COVID, lending a new urgency to the ongoing campaign for his freedom.

Pennsylvania uses Connect Network/GTL, so you can contact him online by going to connectnetwork.com, selecting “Add a facility”, choosing “State: Pennsylvania, Facility: Pennsylvania Department of Corrections”, going into the “messaging” service, and then adding Mumia as a contact by searching his name or “AM8335”.

Birthday: April 24

Address:

Smart Communications/PA DOC
Mumia Abu-Jamal #AM8335
SCI Mahanoy
Post Office Box 33028
St Petersburg, Florida 33733

Janiis Mathis

A former Vaughn 17 defendant. While the state has now given up on its attempts to charge Mathis in relation to the Vaughn uprising, he is facing continued retaliation, as he has been moved out of state to Pennsylvania, where many Vaughn defendants are being held on lockdown indefinitely (via placement on PA’s Restricted Release List) on vague and questionable grounds. Years after the uprising, these prisoners are still being abused for staying in solidarity with one another against the state.

Pennsylvania uses Connect Network/GTL, so you can contact him online by going to connectnetwork.com, selecting “Add a facility”, choosing “State: Pennsylvania, Facility: Pennsylvania Department of Corrections”, going into the “messaging” service, and then adding him as a contact by searching his name or “NU0423”.

Birthday: April 24

Address:

Smart Communications / PA DOC
Janiis Mathis – NU0423
SCI Greene
PO Box 33028
St. Petersburg, FL, 33733

FTP Banner and Communique from Revolutionary Abolitionists in Harrisburg, PA

Submission

To our comrades in Philadelphia, Rockford and across the so-called United States,

In the wake of the election and the subsequent putsch on the Capitol, the establishment and media apparatus have set out to douse memory of the multi-racial insurgency that spread across the country last summer and dampen the social contradictions that lead to it with slogans of calm and unity. Harrisburg was not been exempt from this revisionist trend in the slightest. During the summer, grifters and Black counter insurgents tried to funnel the long growing discontent into dead end electoralism and the bureaucratic machinations that grind the ember of revolutionary change in their gears at any given opportunity. In spite of this, the community rose up in defiance of both law enforcement and their neoliberal lapdogs in ways that have not been seen here in recent memory – cop cars smashed, streets shut down and police forced into retreat by a hail of bricks and debris.

As the heat of the summer lowered (relatively) to a tempered simmer and the electoral distraction served its role as sociological vacuum, the city’s leadership set its agenda on almost completely ignoring the events of the past year in order to return to some prelapsarian concept of normal – (a state which if it existed would be an amoral hellpit by any honest summation)- the exception of course, being their ongoing plan of repression against the true revolutionaries who participated in the uprising. At writing, there remains many ongoing struggles in the courts for the freedom of participants charged for their participation in the protests, both in Harrisburg and elsewhere. This is particularly disheartening as the loss of momentum of the movement from the summer means individual cases are harder to rally around, making intercommunal support from committed radicals that much more important.

Congruently, the local prison system has been revealed as the cauldrons of deathrot we have always known them to be. As Covid cases spike, the prison refuses to provide hand sanitizer, soap, masks and other lifesaving supplies to its inmates, resulting in the languishing of dozens of incarcerated people. What’s worse, there have been recent reports of widespread sexual abuse of inmates by guards, as well as many other violations of dignity, aided by an M.O. cultivated by deposed Warden Brian Clark, a well documented sex pest in his own right.
We are not liberals. We are appalled but not shocked by the injustice system acting as it always has no matter what century, context or administration – forever a punitive apparatus to repress the colonized and exploited for the benefit of a racist carceral state. Whether a red or blue chain, the shackle remains the same. Recognition of this basic fact informs our work building a culture of resistance to the inevitable crackdown on abolitionists and revolutionaries by the neoliberal state operating in the name of “fighting extremism”.

We believe that times like this, the seeming lulls between mass protests, uprisings and other sparks of civil unrest are as ,and possibly even more important than those moments of social fissure and are probably not even be so neatly disconnected as they may be initially perceived. It is of the upmost importance that we are expanding our networks, supporting our comrades , and deepening our roots in the communities we live in order to create a movement capable of not only sustaining itself in the calm, but also protecting itself when the pigs come knocking. This means building community defense councils and war chests to support our accomplices kidnapped and harassed by the State through every stage of their struggle. It is equally important to deny space and momentum to obvious opportunists and collaborators who attempt to swallow the flame of radical change through cooptation and subterfuge with the intent to isolate radicals and those members of the community willing to take justice into their own hands. This commitment lives and dies on solidarity with those most affected, and this communique is an representation of that commitment.

We unfurled this banner calling for the end to abuse of prisoners in Dauphin County Prison and mass release of all incarcerated in the death camps of Pennsylvania and across the United Snakes. We also want to uplift the connected struggle of the #FreeAnt movement, in order to echo the many voices calling for dropped charges for all and add to the cacophony of dissent against the police state. Finally, we uplift the demands of the Black Philly Radical Collective to for the immediate release of Mumia Abu Jamal, Major Tillery, Arthur Cetawayo Johnson, Russell “Maroon” Shoatz, Omar Askia, Joseph “Jo-Jo” Bowen, and all Black Political Prisoners.

We demand that all protestors across the country be granted amnesty. All charges must be dropped. We have unconditional solidarity to all rebels, radicals and revolutionaries facing State repression.

Free Them All.

Fuck DCP, Fuck Warden Clark and Fuck 12 Forever

Say no to the new Cointelpro!

Black Liberation Now.

Fire to the Prisons, Set the Captives Free.

In Contempt #2

From It’s Going Down

[This post only contains information relevant to Philadelphia and the surrounding area, to read the entire article follow the above link.]

Biden Administration Continuing Program to End Mail in Federal Prisons

Alec Karakatsanis of the Civil Rights Corps has highlighted that the Biden administration shows no sign of ending a Trump-era program aiming to replace all postal mail to Federal prisons with scanned and printed copies.

Alec writes:

From what we can tell so far: Biden admin transition team chose to keep this Trump pilot program to begin end physical mail in BOP, as is already happening in cruelest state prisons. It was probably easiest for Biden transition team to keep the company’s contract: these companies are powerful, BOP wants to surveil prisoner mail, they don’t care about families and prisoners, and b/c not enough people hold them accountable politically for this. Our staff still being barred from sending physical mail to a BOP institution and forced to send to this company–appears that BOP allows wardens to opt into or out of the pilot program. We are all so desensitized to this stuff that we don’t even recognize that, in a reasonable world, Biden transition would have immediately announced investigation and end to this profiteering instead of quietly continuing the contract that allows wardens to expand it. Keep in mind: Biden issued very mild (insufficient) order re: private prisons but didn’t touch all of the rampant profiteering inside and related to *public* prisons.

Although there’s not much coverage of this issue at the moment, it’s worth learning from the effects of the same policy when it was instituted in Pennsylvania, as covered in outlets such as The Appeal and Mother Jones. There, resistance to the policy included a number of lawsuits and a series of protests by families and outside supporters.

Call to Action from Jailhouse Lawyers Speak and Beyond

It’s Going Down has a reportback from the National Freedom Day actions calling for mass releases. Dreaming Freedom Practicing Abolition is calling for people to help defend their comrade Stevie Wilson against retaliation from staff. The Prisons Kill project is fundraising for Tim, who was released recently and needs re-entry support, and for Mustafa, a revolutionary prisoner in Ohio who needs help paying for legal funds. The Final Straw has just put out an interview with Perilous Chronicle about their work recording prisoner resistance during the pandemic.

A few notable upcoming dates: As noted above, Malik’s defense crew are holding a rally in the Tenderloin (in San Francisco) on March 7th, March 8th is International Working Women’s Day, which is observed in some countries as a women’s strike, and March 15th is observed in some countries as a day against police brutality, so you or your crew might want to organize something for one of those days. Further ahead, there’s a call for a day of actions focused on parole on April 3rd, and further ahead still, Jailhouse Lawyers Speak have issued the following call:

Nationwide call to action: August 21st, 2021 and September 9th, 2021 in the spirit of Abolition please clear your schedules to organize demos at your local jails and prisons. Time to raise the awareness levels during these dates. A full Jailhouse Lawyers Speak statement will be forthcoming!

Uprising Defendants

Everyone should support the defendants facing charges related to their alleged participation in the George Floyd uprising – this list of our imprisoned comrades needs to be getting shorter, not longer. Also, as this column was going to print, a post on Philly Anti-Capitalist brought our attention to the case of Anthony Smith in Philadelphia. Info on how to support them here. The status of pre-trial defendants changes frequently, but to the best of our knowledge they currently include:

Lore-Elisabeth Blumenthal #70002-066
FDC Philadelphia
P.O. Box 562
Philadelphia, PA 19105

David Elmakayes #77782-066
FDC Philadelphia,
PO Box 562,
Philadelphia, PA 19105

Shawn Collins #69989-066
FDC Philadelphia,
PO Box 562,
Philadelphia, PA 19105

Steven Pennycooke #69988-066
FDC Philadelphia,
PO Box 562,
Philadelphia, PA 19105