Category Archives: NCTTCorSHU

Power Concedes Nothing: A Discussion on CDCr’s Insidious Regulatory Semantics and Judicial Collusion in Maintenance of SHU Torture Units

Power Concedes Nothing:
A Discussion on CDCr’s Insidious  Regulatory Semantics and  Judicial Collusion in Maintenance of SHU Torture Units
From the N.C.T.T.-COR-SHU

“Revolutionary activity in every area of human existence will come about by itself when the contradictions in every new process are comprehended; it will consist of an identification with those forces that are moving in the direction of genuine progress. To be radical.. .means “getting to the root of things.” If one gets to the root  of things, if one grasps their contradictory operations, then the overcoming of political reaction is assured… hence, a critique can only be significant and have a practical value if it can show the contradictions of social reality were overlooked.”

          Wilhelm Reich, Ideology as a Material Force

Greetings Brothers and Sisters. The 3rd Law of Dialectical Change, “The Negation of Negation,” dictates once social conditions undergo a qualitative transformation there is also a corresponding evolution in the contradiction between opposing social forces. Over the course of the past 3 years progressive social forces in America (i.e. Decolonize & Occupy Movements, PHSS and SHU Abolition Activists, Strike Debt, BRLP, and other Revolutionary Scientific Socialist Formations, etc.) have waged a struggle to wrest cultural hegemony from the U.S. ruling class on multiple fronts and at multiple levels of society-including at its most desperate and wretched level: PRISONS. As a result, there has been a qualitative transformation in the consciousness of significant segments of society.
With this in mind, the most dynamic aspect of the peoples struggle against the maintenance and expansion of the Prison Industrial Complex is our current movement to abolish SHU torture units in America (and around the world), initiated by the Pelican Bay D-Short Corridor Collective. With the resolution of the historic “Agreement to End Hostilities,” the cooperative efforts of People from diverse cultural groups, socio-economic backgrounds, and schools of thought and the sacrifices of thousands here in California (and around the globe) in three Historic Hunger Strikes (the third being the single largest in human history) the People have seized the moral high ground on this issue, drastically narrowing CDCr’s base of support and room to maneuver.. .but not eliminate it.

Instead of a definitive transformation in the culture of prison torture resulting in an abolition of indefinite SHU, the contradiction has now evolved, with CDCr releasing its new regulatory policy language governing “Security Threat Group Management,” and the 9th Circuit Courts releasing two pro-torture rulings, which viewed in their interconnections, represent the state’s response to our challenge to their cultural dominance. The message is clear: “You are slaves; we will continue to treat you as slaves; and we refuse to have our socio-political dominance challenged by slaves.”
The reactionary view of reality shuts its eyes to its own authoritarian contradictions and the conditions of the people. Political reaction reflexively makes use of those social forces that oppose progress; it automatically consolidates to defend its dominance over the People’s lives. Instead of capitulating to progressive social forces and ending torture in SHU units, the state has closed ranks and seeks to redefine the nature of the conflict itself by redefining the language  (i.e. semantics) in its policy governing STG validation and torture unit confinement. In true reactionary fashion they’ve adopted language that reduces (and in some cases eliminates) its burden to establish a factual basis of genuine criminal behavior on the part of those subject to these policies, while simultaneously increasing the burden on prisoners, and  the People, to avoid falling prey to these new regulations which in essence criminalize anything those “validated” as STG’s do, say, or think…. all with the explicit support of the courts. To truly understand the degree of political reaction at play here, we must first acknowledge the role of authoritarian institutions in U.S. society. Authoritarian society reproduces itself in the individual structures of the masses (through its economic system, ideology, and culture) with the help of authoritarian institutions (i.e. school, courts, church, prison, etc.). It thus logically proceeds that political reaction has to regard and defend these authoritarian institutions as the foundation of the state, culture, and capitalist civilization itself.
When these authoritarian institutions are challenged in the arena of public opinion-and are found lacking as they have been in this stuggle -the very foundation of the authoritarian social order is undermined, and a corresponding shift in the consciousness and character structure of the People follows. This, in turn, threatens the authoritarian mass psychology in America. The state can not allow this, and so their reactionary defense response is to delegitimize, to criminalize, to vilify those actors and activities who, in their view, are making a significant contribution to this process; in this case, activists, politically conscious prisoners, and their contemporaries. This policy is the state’s effort to forestall our continued contributions to changing the dynamics of cultural hegemony in the U.S., and the language of the regulations makes that clear.
The offensive content in the newly released regulatory language is far too voluminous for us to address each and every point. Instead, we wish to share with you some of the grosser contradictions in hopes you will not only see the contrapositive aim of the state (to maintain SHU torture units as coercive leverage to psychologically bend or break prisoners), but also gain a deeper understanding of the social forces acting upon us all. The language of CDCr’s STG/SDP Management policy (released as a Directors Rules Change), like the irrational character structure of reactionary man upon which the state is based, is a study in contradictions. CDCr’s “Background” and “Purpose”-language for the new policy on the one hand contends,

“California (STG’s) are routinely and consistently connected to major criminal activities in communities, including such crimes as homicides, drug trafficking, prostitution, human trafficking, and extortion…(STG’s) are largely responsible for criminal activities within institutions, to include the trafficking of narcotics, committing and/or directing violence.. and directing criminal activity…”

… while on the other hand the “STG Disciplinary Matrix” (p. 43-) they’ve developed is dedicated largely to elevating petty, innocuous, non-criminal activities and matter to the level of “criminal STG behavior.”
Why would their public propaganda hype these serious and violent crimes as the focus of state interest, while the policy itself focuses primarily on criminalizing things which are in fact notcrimes? The answer is as obvious as it is condemning: MOST PRISONERS VALIDATED AS “STG AFFILIATES” AND CONFINED TO SHU TORTURE UNITS HAVE NOT COMMITED ANY SUCH CRIMES WHILE IN PRISON, AND MANY HAVE IN FACT DONE NOTHING AT ALL.
Never the less, the state must re-create a basis upon which the primary end of the SHU torture unit will not only be maintained, but reborn : The aim of breaking men’s minds. However, the reactionary politician can not divulge his actual intentions in his propaganda. We doubt if anyone (even other reactionaries) would have responded positively to a CDCr statement of intent to break some men’s minds, brainwash others, and indefinitely torture the rest. In political propaganda- which much of this new STG policy is -it is a question of producing a psychological effect in masses of people. In you. One that seeks to legitimize what is clearly the maintenance of torture by another name, and your support for that legitimacy. Let’s take a look.
The “STG Disciplinary Matrix” (§3378.4) (pp. 43-46) criminalizes “conversations,” “greeting cards,”  “clothing,” “communications with offenders/others,” “group exercise,” “handshakes,” “artwork,” and believe it or not, a “color.” That all of these “behaviors” are left to the imagination and interpretation of prison staff only increases the arbitrary standard attached to criminalizing activities and matter which are not of themselves “criminal.” It makes sense, after decades of presiding over the brutalization and degradation of validated SHU prisoners, that these staff members maintain a vested interest in ensuring imprisoned human rights activists remain isolated or broken.
To be sure, new §3378.2(7) allows to “staff visual and audible observations” (p. 22) to be actionable as “STG Offences” which can and will land you in (and/or keep you in) a SHU torture unit.
The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states, “Congress shall make no law..  abridging the freedom of speech,” yet apparently CDCr can, and is doing just that. They have included new language, specifically intended to criminalize peaceful protest action against SHU torture units, SHU abolition activists, and rights groups as “STG Behaviors or Activities.”
New language in §3315(a)(3)(AA) (p. 11) prohibits protestation, while §3315(a)(3)(Z) gives CDCr a basis to charge representatives as protest “leaders.”
New §3323(h)(12) (B) (p. 14) prohibits “communication between offenders/others in support or furtherance of STG activities or behaviors,” which includes letters or discussions surrounding peaceful protest actions against SHU torture units. To be sure, they have even introduced language which criminalizes visits between prisoners and Human Rights groups who do, or have in the past, supported peaceful protest actions against SHU torture units.
On p. 9 of the policy (§3378.7(9)) [3378.2(b)(9) on p. 37] outlines violations for “visits from persons or entities that are documented as willfully promoting, furthering or assisting STG affiliates in activities associated with the STG.” In every hunger strike-related 115 issued, and in countless pro-P.I.C. articles, CDCr and some mass media elements, have consistently reduced it to “gang activity.” This means the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, P.H.S.S., C.F.A.S.C., Our Lives Matter, Prison Watch Network, C.P.F., L.S.P.C. and countless other progressive human rights entities, journalists and individual activists who oppose the preservation of torture in their society are subject to “validation” as an “STG,” and those prisoners conferring with them are in turn subject to sanctions.
The First Amendment prohibits any regulation “Abridging the…right to peaceably assemble, and to petition government for a redress of grievances,” yet again CDCr seems to have not gotten the memo. In the circuitous logic of irrational authoritarian man they seek to create new laws to protect their capacity to violate established law. Organizing to resist state-sponsored torture is not a crime. So again we ask you, why does CDCr’s “Initial Statement of Reasons” cite this litany of serious and violent crimes, yet its regulations focus on activities and matter which are not themselves criminal?
Under the language in this policy CDCr can (and surely will) criminalize anything prisoners- and some of you in ‘society’ reading this now- say, think, or do. The only “safe” activity we may possibly engage in is exiting our cells and taking a breath… however, if one were to take 2 deep breaths, one may be cited for “STG Harrasment-Directly or Indirectly,” because some CDCr staff person may be intimidated by how your breathing. To be sure, they’ve actually introduced an unspecific category of STG misconduct in §3378.4(a)(3)(M) termed “Unique Behaviors” that is actually whatever the state wants it to be.
CDCr, making their authoritarian political position clear, posits in its “Statementof Reasons”  surrounding §3378.4(c)(7) that behavior need not be actionable as a rules violation to be used to validate prisoners or retain them in SHU torture units (see p.31 of the policy). CDCr has included this language despite having touted to every media outlet and public official who would listen that they are “moving to a behavior based model.” It is a contradiction, wrapped in a lie, cloaked in semantics.
Yet as fundamentally contradictory and irrational as it is to criminalize activity and matter which is not criminal, to increase the magnitude of petty offences and observations which can land prisoners in a SHU torture unit; what’s equally offensive is they’ve actually lowered the bar for themselves in proving if such matter is actually “STG”- related. If you go to p.23, at §3375.3-CODE G, CDCr can establish STG association withouthaving to show direct contact with a validated STG affiliate. Exactly how anyone can rationally demonstrate how someone is associating with someone else without having to show they’ve associated at all is mind boggling. Yet, if we move to the new language on “Direct Links” (for validation purposes) on p.35 we find that unilateral action by either party is sufficient to demonstrate a “direct link” to an STG, and CDCr staff need notestablish that the subject knew the other was ‘validated’ as an STG, or knew each other at all. Under this rubric, any of you reading this right now could write an N.C.T.T. coordinator here in Corcoran or at Pelican Bay SHU, having never met or known us outside of reading this article, and find yourself “validated” with a “direct link” to an STG. Does this strike you as a means to combat “homicides, narcotics trafficking, and extortion,” or a means to combat political progress, to criminalize and sanction segments of the population who’ve exposed and damaged their inhumane agenda politically and socially?
Throughout the regulatory language there has been a great emphasis on “criminal STG behavior,” even making things which are not behaviors “behavior” (clothing, artwork, handshakes, etc.) -yet contradicting this all, on p.35 they create a loophole for themselves (just in case the STG Disciplinary Matrix isn’t enough) stating placement in SHU/SDP, or validation as an STG affiliate, does not need to occur with behavior, “source criteria” alone is enough. To be sure, though they contend they’ve put a 4 year cap on the “age” of “source criteria” (information) used for STG purposes, they have included another loophole for themselves on the same page which actually expands the time frame for using “source criteria” to “anytime in the individuals personal STG history.” How they are able to assert such contradictions under color of law is a riddle which should concern every citizen and inhabitant of the U.S… Unfortunately the answer to this riddle is even more disturbing.
Judicial Collusion
It is the fact of judicial collusionwhich allows for such abuses. For example, CDCr has made a great deal about the new provisions which are supposed to ensure confidential informants/information used to validate or place prisoners in SHU under STG regulations must be independently  corroborated before it can be used. However, new §3321(b) (1) includes language which completely undermines this by stating, “other circumstantial evidence” may be used to “corroborate” confidential informants/information (1030’s). We have recently discovered “investigation” is sufficient “corroboration” under this “other circumstantial evidence” standard. In other words, they can have an informant say you had plans to blow-up a gun tower, and that informant becomes “corroborated” when they “investigate” this baseless lie. Under this logic, “corroboration” is just empty semantics.
However ridiculous this sounds, they have no fear of the courts striking such an absurdity down because in a recent ruling on Brother Zaharibu’s 9th Circuit appeal, the courts took the position THE ACTUAL  EVIDENCE DOES’NT  EVEN HAVE TO EXIST – AS LONG AS THE RIGHT BOXES ARE CHECKED ON THE 1030 form, THAT’S “SOME EVIDENCE.” The evidence the 1030 is supposed to be based on does not have to exist at all. The ‘word’ of CDCr staff, according to the courts, is good enough for them. Mind you, this ruling comes on the heels of the third Hunger Strike, only days before recent legislative hearings on SHU torture units, and almost simultaneously as these regulations were being released. As it stands, IGI/Prison Staff can say anything on a 1030, check some boxes, and you’ll receive a 115 and a 4-year to indefinite SHU term in CDCr’s SDP-and the courts will support this.
Judicial collusion in the maintenance of SHU torture units is long standing and pervasive in the U.S., and in California in particular, (see, Ruiz v. Estelle, Coleman v. Wilson, Madrid v. Gomez, In Re Castillo, Koch v. Lewis [AZ], etc.). Despite the massive public outcry against the perpetuation of SHU torture units in America, the 9th Circuit court (in apparent reactionary support of CDCr’s maintance of the practice) is actually reversing progressive District court rulings when they favor  prisoners subjected to long-term SHU torture.
In In Re Griffin the District Court ordered CDCr, on three separate occasions, to release Griffin to the general population (G.P.), or a less restrictive environment than SHU. After several moves to mock the court’s ruling, such as moving Griffin from Pelican Bay SHU to Corcoran SHU, which failed miserably after the District Judge toured Corcoran SHU and told CDCr they were not in compliance with the order, CDCr basically took the position they’d go to jail before they released him to the G.P.. The 9th Circuit finally weighed in. The Attorney General, representing CDCr passed on to the court some speculative information provided by OCS, and the 9th Circuit in essence took the position the District Court made an error by abiding by the Constitution in Griffin’s case. The 9th Circuit Court rebuked the District Courts’ findings that over 2 decades in the SHU, simply because one would not debrief, does in fact violate the Eighth Amendment. The 9th Circuit Courts position is that torture Is not cruel and unusual as long as it’s a validated prisoner on the receiving end, and further held (based on whatever information OCS trumped up) that Griffin could “earn his way back into Pelican Bay.” They made no move to enforce the District Courts order to release Griffin to the general population or to sanction CDCR for repeatedly disregarding the order.
That CDCr has been maintaining the largest collection of torture units in the U.S. is the best proof the courts will defend the integrity of authoritarian institutions before it upholds its own ‘law.’ Which is why it should come as no surprise that CDCr can assert in its “Evaluation of Consistency/ Compatability WithExisting Laws/Regulations” (p. 2) that: “The Department has researched existing statutes and regulations and has determined that these proposed regulations and has determined that these proposed regulations are not inconsistent…with existing laws”… then turn around and violate the very statutes it cites as its controlling language with impunity. To state that many of the provisions of this policy violate the 1st, 8th, and 14th Amendments is too obvious, and frankly too easy. Let’s go for the less obvious.
If we look on p.3 of the “Initial Statement of Reasons,” CDCr cites Castillo v. Alameida  [Castillo v. Alameida, Case No. C-94-2847-MJJ (N.D.Cal.) ] as controlling case law, yet throughout the policy “laundry lists” of every sort (i.e., membership lists, enemy lists, roll-call lists, etc, see-p.14, §3323(h)(12)(E); p.22,§3375.3(a)(4)(B)(3); p.36, 0378.2(5); p.45, STG MATRIX, Sec.6(g), etc., etc.) are cited as legitimate “source criteria.”
The ‘Castillo’ settlement agreement expressly prohibits the use of such laundry lists for validation/SHU placement purposes. The ‘Castillo’ settlement agreement (CIVIL NO.C-94-2847) on p.7, at point 21 states, “Defendants (CDCr) agree that “laundry lists” shall not be relied on as a source item,” yet in spite of this they’ve added new provisions for additional “laundry list” classifications, such as ‘roll-call lists.’ CDCr’s regulatory semantics and the courts collusion in their maintenance and perpetuation must be seen for what they are: This is THE STATE’S— response to the Protest Movement responsible for exposing its contradictions and inspiring resistance from multiple segments of society. As one apparatus of the authoritarian state becomes intransigent in the face of change, others leap to support it (in this case the courts, the Govenor’s Office, conservative mass media, and The Dept. of Justice) on a broader and broader basis giving the appearance of a shift back in the struggle for cultural hegemony in their favor.
This, of course, results is a further deepening of the contradiction in the peoples character structure between reactionary and freedom loving tendencies; not simply among the broader masses but those actively engaged in, or supportive of, the struggle as well. However, such vacillation is insufficient to reassert continuity in the authoritarian order… or to halt determined spirits from actively seeking to transform the nature and structure of capitalist society and structure of capitalist society and it’s institutions in America. Therefore, the state must resort to other measures: Enter the Step-Down Program.
CDCr’s Step Down Program, as we’ve already explained in a series of dissertations, is simply a sham system by which CDCr seeks to leverage indefinite torture in SHU to coerce those subject to it to submit to psychological reprograming consistent with the social values of the authoritarian state. According to these new regulations, should you resist this ideological (re)assimilation you will remain in the torture unit indefinitely-and you (not the state) are then “responsible” for your own torture. On p.41 of the policy (3378.3(a)(2)) they state,

“Each step provides progams and privileges and,  it is the responsibility of the affiliate to demonstrate they can be released to a less restrictive environment while abstaining from STG behaviors If the offender chooses not to progress through any step of the program the offender may be returned, by ICC, to one of the previous steps until they demonstrate appropriate behavior for movement into the next step. Any time the inmate wishes to begin participating in the SDP, they may notify their assigned counselor…”

As we’ve already demonstrated, “abstaining from STG behaviors” is next to impossible under these new “regulations” which criminalize everything from a hand shake to a conversation, but when they speak of “appropriate behavior,” exactly what are they talking about? For the answer we must go to the “SDP Notice of Expectations” [p. 41]. There is a “Notice” for each step (1-5), with each containing 5 to 7 ‘expectation’ points, depending on which step you’ve been assigned to. The most obvious and glaring contradictions of the SDP, and what actually reveals the states true motivation here, is the fact that only 1 of the expectation points has any association to legitimate penological interests as it relates to “behavior” in prison: “Remain disciplinary free adhering to all Departmental rules and regulations.”
Now if CDCr were sincere in their assertion that “The SDP will be a individually behavior based program” one would need only “remain disciplinary free” for 4 years and be released to the general population in step-5. This however is not the actual intent of the SDP… subordinating the population to the authoritarian dictates of the state is.
Under this new policy you can be disciplinary free for decades (as most current indeterminate SHU prisoners are today) and never be released  from SHU. This is not simply a “behavior based” program (despite the term “behavior” being such an ambiguous term to CDCr) as you are also expected to “participate in and successfully complete all mandated educational and cognitive (restructuring) instruction (including self-directed journals), as well as risk-educational assessment, as determined by ICC.”
They also expect you to “follow all staff recommendations and directions,” as a part of “positive” SDP participation. Since we’ve already made a definitive analysisof the cognitive restructuring and forensic profiling components of §700.2 of the SDP and COMPAS assessment in 3 previous NCTT-Cor-SHU analyses, there is no need to do so again here. What is necessary for us to discuss here is why this duplicitous contradiction is so necessary to the state’s efforts to reassert political reaction in populations currently committed to progressive struggle.
Our struggle to abolish SHU torture units is inextricably linked to the broader struggle to seize cultural hegemony in the U.S. from the ruling class and it’s tool, the state. This struggle has contributed to progressively changing attitudes in society and prisons. Our collective efforts have repeatedly exposed the state’s contradictions and sparked the Peoples appetite for freedom and new social relationships. These activities undermine the reactionary character structure upon which authoritarian society is based. These actions are thus revolutionary. “Revolution” is, at heart, “a war for the minds of the masses,” it moves us positively from one way of life and set of social values, to one more conducive to principles of collective life. The state makes no secret in this new policy that reintroducing its  “social values” is central to their SDP’ strategy. On p.2 of its “Initial Statement of Reasons,” it states its “strategy is designed to [last point] “provide programs designed to promote social values and behaviors in preparation for the offender’s return to the community.” (p. 2)
It is only as a result of seeing the masses organize and resist its callous inhumanity that the state now seeks to force the restructuring of the “social values” of prisoners at the source of this resistance to more closely reflect the dominant mass psychology (i.e. ideological conformity). It is only when the suppressed segments of society begin to organize themselves, begin to fight for socio-economic and political improvements and raise the cultural level of the broader masses, that moralistic inhibitions set in; only then do ruling elements, and their tools, begin to show concern for the “values” and “morality” of the oppressed.
As organized resistance rises, so does a contrary process activate in direct proportion from the state: The ideological assimilation to the ruling class. However, such a process among the prison class and lumpen strata (where oppression is a constant of existence) is simply not as easily achieved as it is in the middle class. Consciousness, relatively speaking, is directly proportional to oppression. Couple this fact with the lumpen strata’s desperate historic relationship to the productive system and the daily assaults on our humanity that all prisoners endure, and the prospect of conforming to authoritarian dictates, or being ideologically assimilated by mundane means to just accepting the role of oppressed man is simply unrealistic to say the least. Thus the need, the requirement, the mandate of the state that all prisoners subject to the SDP must submit to cognitive restructuring or face the prospect of continued indefinite torture.
If we view the state’s response in these regulatory and judicial positions within their correct social, political, and historic context it becomes clear this is an automatic, reactionary gambit to reawaken contrary structural tendencies which lie active, dormant, or repressed (depending on your relative degree of political maturity) in all of us who’ve developed in the patriarchal-authoritarian miasma of capitalist America. Concessions in this struggle, on the part of the state, have thus far been superficial and cosmetic. The view of authoritarian institutions is power does not concede-it compels.
We have demonstrated here how these policies and judgments are a collection of contradictions justified by lies. As resistance to the dictates of authoritarian ideology continues to spread and flare across the surface of the American social structure, truth begins to intrude rudely upon the hypocrisies and irrationalities at the foundation of authoritarian society. The lines between the socially hostile microcosm of prison and the politically reactionary macrocosm of society are being blurred as progressive activists across the spectrum begin to join hands across the walls with progressive and Revolutionary prisoners, producing new social relationships, new political perspectives, and moving toward truly Revolutinary (i.e., rational) character structures and ideology. As we speak, ideas, rational ideas based in truth, like the Sustainable Agricultural Commune, the Pelican Bay Human Rights Movements’ First Amendment Campaign, and the Agreement to End Hostilities are finding resonance among the People, and taking root in communities in society at large. These ideas are influencing -to a greater or lesser degree- the mass psychology in America, and the state must move to stop it, to prevent these ideas being fully manifested into a social force of even greater transformative quality. Power thus reveals its nature in its contradictions.
Wilhelm Reich, in his treatise, The Human Struggle for Freedom observed:

“The dilemma is this: Without the power to put them into practice, truths are of no use. They remain academic. Power, no matter what kind of power it is, without a foundation in truth, is a dictatorship, more or less and in one way or another, for it is always based on man’s fear of the social responsibility and personal burden that “freedom” entails. Dictatorial power and truth do not go together. They are mutually exclusive… “power” always means the subjugation of others.”

It is here finally, we strike at the “root” of the matter: The state’s preservation of dictatorial power is the origin of the lies and contradictions within the new STG regulations and the judicial collusion which allows them to move forward as a material force.
With all this in mind, state Assemblyman Tom Ammiano has sponsored a bill to cap “administrative” SHU confinement to a 3 year determinate term. We’ve no doubt Mr. Ammiano is sincere in his genuine desire for progressive change. However, CDCr, and the state they both represent, is not. As we’ve demonstrated here, semantics is as viable as reality to the state. If there is no explicit language stating the bill applies retroactively, those who’ve been here for 10-40 years will have to spend another  3 years here. CDCr can take the position, the SDP is “segregated housing” and not SHU (though it is none the less in the SHU and your torturous living conditions are no different) and continue to hold you in the SHU for another 5 years to forever. Because the bill speaks exclusively to validated SHU prisoners, with this new regulatory language in mind, which manufactures an entirely new reality for “behavior” (transforming non-criminal activity and matter into “crimes”), it’s a simple matter of having validated prisoners housed in SHU issued repeated petty 115’s-which could hold prisoners in SHU indefinitely. SHU torture units are real, the human misery they are responsible for is real, and the intent of the state to maintain this practice is equally real.
There are some of us, despite this bill, that the state is simply not going to release to a mainline. To be sure, these new regulations contain provisions whereby, “…STG affiliates who are… in segregated housing for non-disciplinary reasons with privileges associated… with step-4 if they have completed the SDP but were retained for non-disciplinary reasons.” In other words, you can jump through every hoop in the SDP, and if they feel you have too much influence, or for other Non-disciplinary reasons, they can keep you in step-4 (in the SHU) indefinitely (see “InitialStatement of Reasons,” p.12, §3044(j) through§3044(j) (2)(H)). With this in mind, if the legislature will not consider restoring the “Prisoners Bill of Rights,” perhaps at least they will consider including contact visits for those housed in SHU for non-disciplinary reasons?
In the final analysis it is our collective determination to not simply abolish SHU torture units, but to transform the sick culture and warped ideology of this society which has allowed them to endure for so long which, in turn, will realize a victorious Revolutionary change. The Prison Industrial Complex is but one cog in the machinery of the authoritarian order. Truly dismantling it requires striking at the very foundation upon which this world is currently organized: THE AUTHORITARIAN MASS PSYCHOLOGY OF REACTIONARY MAN/WOMAN. By changing our minds and actions, we will change the world. This kind of change, a Revolutionary change, only progresses in the crucible of struggle. Come struggle with us.
We wish to leave you all with the wise words of Arundhati Roy: “Another world is not only possible, she is on her way; on a quiet day I can hear her breathing.”

Until we win or don’t lose.

N.C.T.T.-COR-SHU
For more information on the N.C.T.T.-COR-SHU, contact:
Michael (Zaharibu) Dorrough D-83611, 4B1L-#43
J. Heshima Denham J-38283, 4B1L-#43
Kambui Robinson C-82830, 4B1L-#49
Jabari Scott H-30536 4B1L-#63
CSP-COR-SHU
P.O. BOX 3481
Corcoran, CA. 93212
Online @: NCTTCorSHU.org
Twitter: Twitter.com/NCTTCorSHU
Facebook: Facebook.com/nctt.corshu.3

                                                                                                                     
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On Unity of Purpose Within the Protest Movement

“A Small Body of Determined Spirits Fired by an Unquenchable Faith in Their Mission Can Alter The Course of History”   Gandhi


Greetings Brothers and Sisters,

History teaches us that unity is strength; that the collective will of a people expressed toward a common goal often results in that goal being realized. This should indicate to us all the vital nature of preserving unity of purpose within the protest movement, and within the movement to abolish domestic torture units in particular (solitary connement units, SHUs, super-maxes, etc). Protest movements in the U.S. are often formed out of necessity because the U.S. state and the oppressive, exploitive methods it uses against the people who stand in opposition to, are one and the same, sharing a mutual interest in repressing a specic segment of society or reaping some material benet from their exploitation. In the case of indenite sensory deprivation connement and mass incarceration in general, we nd both an oppressive and exploitive dynamic.

The unemployed area, a necessary component of surplus labor value expropriation in the U.S. capitalist arrangement (wage slave system) is key to a process we can call underdevelopment. In the U.S. such underdevelopment is targeted and contained, for the most part, in poor and minority communities, where no viable place in the mainstream economy is available to these segments of the population. They must resort to the underground economy to survive. These survival activities, be they service based (narcotics, prostitution, illegal gambling, etc), or predatory (robbery, extortion, identity theft, etc) are all “against the law.” Exposing those forced into the underground economy to imprisonment being the predatory capitalist state that the U.S. is, corporate and political interests from across the industrial spectrum, saw an opportunity in this, reminiscent of the old southern prison bond system, only in this case it was not the prot that could be made from exploiting prisoner labor, but the prot that could be made from each prisoner representing a portion of the publics’ tax dollars which could be expropriated (taken) by a new joint venture of industry and labor aristocracy (prison guard unions and administrators) on an ever-expanding industrial scale.

With the cooperation of the politicians, who overnight created a new and powerful constituency which only required them to parrot the ‘tough on crime’ rhetoric to harness such powerful lobbying and polling resources, law enforcement and judiciaries who would, of course, see an expansion of power and privilege of their own, as legislators enacted ever more intrusive laws broadening the net and widening the gavel for potential citizens daily lives to be intruded upon by the ‘rule of law’ – and more of their tax dollars. The prison industrial complex was born, forming a sixty four billion dollar oligarchy of corporations, and the state that tendrils extend well beyond that meager dollar amount annually.

As the U.S. became the most populous prison population on earth, those subjected to those contradictions, prisoners, resisted, some becoming advanced socio-economic and political activists, who sought to actively resist the social evil of the P.I.C. The state and its corporate masters saw no distinction between these and other groups of prisoners that formed within these environments, and when pitting them against each other did not work the concept of the supermax was born, a place where those who would not submit to the prescribed role of oppressed man would be sent to, subjected to, experimental psychological torture techniques until they “paroled, debriefed or died.” These units were even more lucrative than the expanded prison yards sprouting up like mushrooms across the rural areas of the nation, their very concept and purpose requiring a more robust infusion of tax payer dollars, and giving rise to an interest to manufacture the fantasy of the “worst of the worst,” while simultaneously media access and independent oversight, but capitalism, with its imperative of “unending growth” is, as always, unsustainable, and the prison industrial complex is no different.

As contradictions of its own explosive expansion collided with the limits of U.S. socio-economic capacity, the prospect of eternal damnation in these torture units nally burned away the miasma of disunity affecting the thousands of men and women consigned to these torture units, leaving only their mutual interests behind. Finding its organizational expression within the Pelican Bay D-Short Corridor collective and its unity of purpose in the historic “Agreement To End Hostilities” the movement to these torture units which began so many years ago when the U.S. government replaced Alcatraz with Marion, has not reached its highest form with this national coalition.

But, as most may realize, the unity of our coalition and thus its very purpose is under constant assault, everything from political immaturity to cointelpro-style attacks, challenge our resolve every day. As such, we feel it important to have a discussion about the most fundamental aspects of unity and how adhering to them will not only preserve our purpose, but ensure our circuit. Unity is based on dialogue and commitment; dialogue which is egalitarian and open in its inclusion, yet productive and efcient in its outcome. We should dialogue regularly at all levels around those points which we seek to unify on and from that common ground, commit to those actions and ideas which will most effectively realize our purpose.

Unity does not require uniformity. Coalition building is all about people from different walks of life, politically, socially, sexually, culturally, economically, educationally and geographically coming together to realize a shared value. In this case, the very basic human right that we should all be allowed is to live free of torture. Unity is a broad enough concept to encompass differing opinions and perspectives without it fracturing into a factualism which can be exploited by our collective opposition.

This is why dialogue is such a vital component of unity. The views and perspective of those we are waging struggle with are important, and bilateral communication is the cornerstone of conict resolution. If unity is based on its purpose, it will be difcult to encounter a dispute which cannot be resolved through dialogue. Commitment to a course of action, and to one another, is often as powerful as the unity itself.

Power concedes nothing without demand and actively seeks to destroy opposition to its authoritarian dictates. Commitment to remain unied is a form of unilateral political discourse all its own, which demands that he oppressive power bend – or break. As July 8th approaches and principled people across this nation and abroad prepare to take up this struggle with us, we should all be comforted by the victorious win underlying our unity of purpose. As we speak, hunger strikes in Guantanamo Bay have gripped international attention, yet right here on U.S. shores, over 80,000 men, women and yes children, are languishing in identical conditions, in SHUs, supermaxs and Ad Seg units, from Pelican Bay, Corcoran and Tehachapi to ADX and Oregon State Prison – solitary confinement.

There is only one force which has any hope of abolishing this inhumanity in the U.S. once and for all: The Unity of Purpose of Principled People Like You and Us. Be amazed and inspired!

N.C.T.T. – COR-SHU

Published first in: The Rock, vol. 2 (2013) nr 7 July, pp. 9-10.

Cellmate or not: Indeterminate SHU confinement is torture

Cell of Todd Ashker in PBSP
Indeterminate SHU confinement is torture, and though not all those thus situated are in cells alone (some have cellies), this makes the torture no less acute, and in some ways even more challenging.

Like all oppressed people, prisoners confined to these torture units must not only contend with seeking ways to resist the unrelenting, daily assaults on their psyche and humanity, but must also contend with the prospect of people who have never been subjected to the inexorable psychological and physical degradation of being confined to a bathroom with 2 bunks crammed into it for 23-24 hours a day, every day, trying to define ourreality.

It has recently been suggested that those confined to these sensory deprivation torture units indefinitely, but who have a cellie, are not in “solitary confinement,” as though another human occupying a space not even large enough for one will somehow mitigate the deleterious effects of this isolation. It doesn’t. The only marked difference is the number of stressors you must contend with in a day. Having a cellmate under this circumstance forces you to modify your daily life to account for the mood swings, biological activities, and other idiosyncrasies of someone who is always– no matter how far in this tiny cell you go – only 2 steps away from you. 

As men who have a collective 60+ years in these torture units, both with cellies and without, we can state definitively what constitutes “solitary confinement” is the complete and total isolation from sensory stimuli and “normalized” human social interactions which accompany the unique conditions of torture unit confinement (i.e. S.H.U.’s, S.M.U.’s, supermaxes, ad-seg’s, etc.), not whether another human has been crammed off into this tiny space with you.

The love, friendship, admiration and respect we hold for one another is genuine and abiding, but has no impact on how isolation affects the mind, and how you may perceive others or their activities. We may hold a conversation with one another, or a neighbor through the vent, then not say a word to another for 2 or 3 days save “excuse me” when sliding past or using the toilet; that anyone truly believes having a cellmate somehow lessens the effects of this isolation only reveals their ignorance of this reality. 

For someone to attempt to define our reality in these torture units, who’ve never experienced it for a month, let alone decades, is no different than U.S. government officials and policy makers attempting to define the realities of the First Nations (Native Americans) who they had massacred, forced onto reservations, and then into “boarding schools” where they raped children of their language, culture, identity and innocence. Can anyone identify the reality of the Apache child whose hair is cut to serve his tribal identity  and then beaten for speaking their native tongue, but that Apache child? No, of course not! Neither can anyone define the reality of the prisoner(s) confined in U.S. domestic torture units across the U.S. like Pelican Bay, Corcoran, and Tehachapi save those of us who have, and do, live this reality. Just as many men who have had cellies have committed suicide to escape these torture units as those without.

Solitary confinement must be defined by the effects this isolation, and the torture techniques used to break men, has on those so situated. We should know. All of us have been both with and without cellies over our periods of indefinite SHU confinement. Despite our level of development and continued advancement it would be the height of hubris for us to contend this isolation has not adversely affected our minds and bodies. For anyone to consider these conditions anything less than torture could only be a prison industrialist, or some other type of draconian public official.

In the final analysis, torture must be defined by the effects it has on its victims and no one who has been confined to these indefinite torture units for any length of time, either single or double celled, has escaped the psychological and physical devastation of the torture unit.

N.C.T.T.-Cor-SHU
May 2013

NCTTCorSHU.org

July 8th: Peaceful Protests of refusing food in CA SHU’s and elsewhere will resume if demands are not met!

Please spread this flyer, thank you! Also follow NCTTCOrSHU.org (this site), Californiaprisonwatch.org, Stopmassincarceration.org, SFBayview.com, Prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com, and other sites with updates.
Also actions of solidarity are planned in other states (Louisiana for one, Ohio may follow). CDCR should at least hear and talk with the prisoners and their representatives!

Latest on CDCR’s proposed new ” STG” program is that NONE of the prisoners in the units in at least Cor-SHU 4B 1L have signed a “contract” that CDCR has installed to push prisoners to comply with their new solitary confinement punishment rules.

Occupy or Decolonize?

The NCTT-Cor-SHU has always been a supporter of and participant in the Occupy Movement, by offering 10 Core Objectives (earlier called “demands'”) and by trying to engage in discussions and support for the movement.  

This is a discussion-working-piece written by Heshima and Zaharibu after discussions on whether an Occupy Movement is still active or existing, in California at least. They learned about “Decolonize” fairly late and found it an interesting and important development. As it seems now, Decolonize Oakland seems no longer to exist online (or only on Facebook?). There is Decolonize Portland, Occupy/Decolonize Vancouver. This last mentioned group still has a more active website) and maybe more Decolonize groups we are unaware of. 

Jan. 24, 2013
On “Occupy” and ‘Decolonize” – after reviewing everything – what you see here is the inevitable and inherent contradictions of a movement in its infancy; and these types of discussions are essential and necessary if the movement is to develop the degree of political maturity to attain the aims we’ve set for ourselves.

The sister who drafted the “decolonize” piece [on the now disappeared website Decolonizeoakland.org] articulated an inescapable truth of virtually every progressive movement that has sought to transform the nature and structure of capitalist society in the U.S.: opposition to inequality in one segment of social activity does not negate the preservation of oppressive and authoritarian attitudes of those waging that struggle. Most everyone (New Africans, Latino’s, Natives, women and L.G.B.T.Q.’s included) in Occupy was developed in the same capitalist, patriarchal authoritarian U.S. society and its values were instilled in them (classism, racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, religious intolerance, etc.).

That they’ve joined a movement to combat and eradicate socio-economic inequality does not automatically translate into them having confronted, struggled against, and eradicated those unprogressive tendencies within themselves.

This discourse is necessary to ensure that process is completed. But that’s only one aspect. In the course of that process, some greater realizations may be gained by sisters and brothers in both “Decolonize” and “Occupy.” For example, U.S. market capitalism is not simply composed of an integrated system of expropriation of surplus value of labor and enforced debt accrual, but is maintained through the systematic, and antagonistic, stratification of society via the economic class and race caste systems – which are both further stratified by gender & sexuality with white hetero-sexual males maintaining a decided social privilege.
Racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, and other manifestations of U.S. patriarchal authoritarian culture are not simple social phenomena unique to these particular social ills- they are fundamental, institutional aspects of capitalism.

Acknowledging and confronting these contradictions, and their continued preservation in the movement, is not “divisionary” or “negative”, quite the contrary, they are necessary and progressive, imperative if we are to purge the very contradictions we all claim to be in opposition to. When this process reaches its logical conclusion, we’ll be left with a strong, politically mature, and effective movement truly representative of those who are, and historically have been, the most adversely affected by the global capitalist construct and system of white supremacy.

The only question is, will occupiers, particularly those who responded so negatively and reactionary to the legitimate, and for the most part accurate (there were some incorrect points), analysis of “Decolonize,” have the requisite maturity, courage, and psychological composure to engage – seriously – in that process?
NCTT-Cor-SHU
Ncttcorshu.org

CDCR’s Security Threat Group Pilot Program: a document intentionally designed to fail

California’s CDCR’s Security Threat Group Pilot Program (which includes its proposed step down program [S.D.P.] ) is a document intentionally designed to fail. It not only grossly deviates from the behavior-based intent the department swore to the public, legislators, and prisoners subjected to these torture units for the past 10, 20, 30, or 40 years – but actually codifies an expectation of all prisoners to become state informants in the service of maintaining these torture units in violation of already established law.


As you can see on the “Reporting S.T.G. involvement” segment of the “Step Down Program” in the official CDCR press release ( see illustration below, marked with our *, page 4), CDCR has codified an expectation that one becomes a “confidential informant,” qualitatively no different than debriefing. They state in clear language that prisoners “have the responsibility to report S.T.G.  or criminal activity when known or observed by you.”
This is informing, snitching, ratting and will result in someone else being subjected to years of torture. They go on to state:

“This process is not intended to compromise your safety, but to enhance your safety through the identification and removal of those involved in S.T.G. or criminal activities.”

This is an intentional lie. By CDCR’s own admission, one of the primary reasons they have maintained these torture units and created ‘sensitive needs yards’ is that such informing will incur violent retaliation against suspected informants. Their inclusion of this provision has a more insidious purpose related to their Schenerian behavior modification program, but for purposes of this discussion we’ll stick to the 8th Amendment violation inherent in this action by the state.

In Griffinv. Gomez, the U.S. Northern District Court held,

“The crushing conditions of the SHU present an overwhelming incentive for an inmate to risk debriefing… (and) [CDCR’s] refusal to reconsider the classification of former gang members who are unwilling to risk retaliation (for informing) renders their segregation effectively permanent (Docket no. 120, at 8). It is this mutual reinforcement that extended (prisoners) stay in the SHU for over 20 years… Further confinement is tantamount to indefinite administrative segregation for silence – an intolerable practice in modern society.”


The court accordingly found this compulsory requirement to inform violates the 8thAmendment of the U.S. Constitution, yet here we see CDCR not only expanding it outside the confines of the debriefing process, but codifying it as an expectation for inclusion in the S.D.P., something no principled man or woman currently consigned to these torture units will submit to under anycircumstance, and CDCR is fully aware of this fact. They are fully aware that it ciolates established law. They are fully aware that it violates the U.N. Treaty against Torture and other cruel and degrading treatment… They just don’t care. They are counting on the disinterest and political apathy of youthe people – to turn a blind eye to their maintenance if these torture units in your name, with your tax dollars. The only question facing us as a society is: will you? Only you can answer that question.

Our solidarity always – N.C.T.T.-Cor-SHU
NCTTCorSHU.org

“Reporting STG involvement”

Creating broken men? A discussion on the U.S. domestic torture program

December 4, 2012: SF Bay View

by Zaharibu Dorrough, J. Heshima Denham, Kambui Robinson and Jabari Scott, NCTT Corcoran SHU

“Any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person, information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing a third person.” – United Convention Against Torture, Art. 1, Sec. 2

We extend our heartfelt greetings to you, brothers and sisters.

Many discussions are taking place on the nature of the indefinite solitary confinement program in the U.S. prisons and whether or not it constitutes torture. The debate on what to do about the program itself is being held at every level of social organization, from the U.S. Senate to the United Nations, from the California Legislature to the short corridors of Pelican Bay and Corcoran SHUs.

[Corcoran State Prison – Photo: Ben Margot, AP]

Academics from multiple disciplines, from psychologists to sociologists, have all weighed in with the objective, scientific analysis that indefinite SHU confinement is not only torture, but even limited SHU confinement results in irreparable psychological damage. Yet, as with the Bush era “torture papers,” the socio-economic and political interests of the capitalist tend to supersede and supplant objective evidence, moral reason and human decency.

Such debate, which only continues in the presence of arguments contrary to the obvious reality of the U.S. domestic torture program in SHUs across the U.S., is not only ludicrous, it’s reality, and it is this lethal component to the debate which forces us to share a perspective which should end the debate definitively, leaving behind only the inescapable truth: Amerika maintains the largest domestic torture program on earth. The state of California runs the largest torture program in Amerika, and it continues to exist in your name, with your tax dollars, because you allow it to.

A recent incident here in Corcoran SHU’s short corridor compels us to give voice to the outrage we should all feel at the continued maintenance of the indeterminate SHU debriefing process of the U.S. domestic torture program: Another suicide, Armando Morales (Baby Paya), a validated Mexican prisoner from Los Angeles who had been confined to SHU for almost a decade, hanged himself after the IGI moved him from the 4B-1L-C-Section short corridor, to 4A-1R.

The reason(s) that Armando was moved are the typical ones associated with the coercive tactics employed to break men’s minds: After his girlfriend had been compromised by IGI and other state and federal law enforcement, those same agencies mounted an effort to put pressure on Armando, who was actually a baby in terms of what he did and did not know, as it relates to the enormous pressure that law enforcement will apply to coerce information from persons they’ve targeted.

In response to that pressure, he took his own life. Naturally, IGI and the state will seek to escape any culpability, and their response to this is that each person is responsible for his own conduct. We should all recognize the illegitimacy of such a position – that this is nothing more than an excuse to try and separate themselves from a situation that they are responsible for by their reckless and barbaric disregard for our humanity.

Amerika maintains the largest domestic torture program on earth. The state of California runs the largest torture program in Amerika. 

We know this primarily because the vast majority of us have been in these tortuous madhouses for decades. One day is too long and not a single illegal act or rules violation has been committed by us to justify this, which is, by international law, unjustifiable.
But we also know this because our research into the origins of the torture program reveals that this type of systematic psychological degradation to coerce information and create broken men is its purpose. The domestic U.S. torture program carried out in SHU (aka SMU, control unit etc.) style prisons finds its origins at a meeting of social scientists and prison wardens held in Washington, D.C., in 1962, recruiting the findings of Dr. Edgar Schein, which he delivered to them in his man-against-man brainwashing. In addressing the group Dr. Schein stated:

“I would like you to think of brainwashing not in terms of politics, ethics or morals, but in terms of the deliberate changing of human behavior and attitudes by a group of men who have relatively complete control over the environment in which the captive populace lives.” 

The techniques he espoused would also require, to be effective, a new type of environment conducive to altering the very foundations of one’s perception of reality. For this the state took Dr. Levinson’s sensory deprivation prison unit design and a form of Skinnerian operant conditioning called “learned helplessness.”

This last technique is a key factor of both validation based indeterminate SHU confinement and the debriefing process. “Learned helplessness” is a systematic process of conditioning to crystalize in the imprisoned victim’s mind that he has no control over the regulation of his existence, that he is completely dependent on the state and its guards for the necessities of “life,” that he is helpless and must submit to the state’s power and control.

Our research into the origins of the torture program reveals that this type of systematic psychological degradation to coerce information and create broken men is its purpose.

This is, of course, contrary to core human consciousness and a linear thought divergence into two options, “resistance or escape.” The program is designed to apply maximum punitive coercion against “resistance” from the outset – from physical removal from the general (prison) population to sensory deprivation, using informants, collaborators and agent provocateurs to erode trust amongst those of like circumstances, punishing uncooperative attitudes, prohibiting collective thought or expression while simultaneously employing group punishment, arbitrary punishment and property restrictions etc.

At the same time, those who are capable of prolonged or indefinite resistance through ideological consistency, political development or force of will – like victims of crucifixion left to rot on crosses during the Roman Empire – they serve as powerful deterrents to those of lesser psychological resilience or those in general population to not resist and instead explore the second option: escape.

The state of California has made its escape option clear since taking the Schein-Skinnerian-Levinson system to its heights in erecting the torture units at Pelican Bay SHU. There are only three escape options available to you: parole, debrief or die. Due to the successful corporate influences of the prison industrial complex on the legislative, political and, to a degree, cultural processes in the nation over the past quarter century, most validated SHU prisoners are serving mandatory minimum, enhanced or BPT (Board of Prison Terms) based sentences and their very confinement to SHU is prohibitive to their parole.

A cell in the Corcoran SHU

The Board of Prison Terms has repeatedly stated to validated prisoners seeking parole:

 “If you want a parole date, you probably want to think about debriefing.” 

This reinforces the psychological pressure on those already weakened by the enforced conviction that they have been abandoned by and isolated from society – and only through submission and subserviency can they be socially accepted as human beings.

This form of “escape” – debriefing – is consistent with points 7, 8 and 9 of Dr. Schein’s behavior modification techniques: (7) exploitation of opportunities and informers; (8) convincing prisoners they can trust no one; (9) treating those who are willing to collaborate in far more lenient ways than those who are not.

Again, our personal experience with the state and its use of such opportunistic broken men against those of us who are committed to resistance has been demonstrated here at Corcoran-SHU on a number of occasions in which agents posing as revolutionary progressives have tried to undermine the efforts of the NCTT (New Afrikan Collective Think Tank), and when those efforts failed, they locked up and debriefed.

It was only through our collective education and insight and experience with these periodic Cointelpro-style attacks on progressives which allowed us to identify and resist the attack and mitigate its political disorder. But this does not negate the damage done by the broken males to the unity and progress of resistance in the SHU population.

Though political immaturity by some elements played a role in the mistrust and disunity that resulted from it, in the broader population, it is the nature of the domestic torture program itself to create such broken males that we must understand is prohibited by the international community – and the U.S. knows this in analyzing the effects of such broken males on the psychology of certain elements in SHU. Other such examples of torture being put to such use against those who resist in Pelican Bay, here and across the U.S. is legion.

The state of California has made its escape option clear since taking the Schein-Skinnerian-Levinson system to its heights in erecting the torture units at Pelican Bay SHU. There are only three escape options available to you: parole, debrief or die. The Board of Prison Terms has repeatedly stated to validated prisoners seeking parole: “If you want a parole date, you probably want to think about debriefing.”

In the etiology of the U.S. domestic torture program, Marion Control Unit was the first. When former Marion Warden Ralph Aron was asked why the torture unit was built, he replied, “The purpose of the Marion (and all) controls unit(s) is to control revolutionary attitudes in the prison system and society at large.” These broken males thus serve to not only damage or destroy progressives in prison but the attitudes and ideas of progressives in society at large.

It was always meant to be this way. To be sure, Dr. Broder, the psychotherapist who implemented Dr. Schein’s brainwashing program at Marion envisions those paroled broken men as “therapeutic technicians” who will take these techniques and warped views back into the community. Some 30 years later we have a snitch culture that derides objective facts in favor of a corporate media-created fantasy, and it owes some of its existence to the disastrous effects of isolation, which leads to the inevitable final “escape”: Death! Suicide rates in these sensory deprivation torture units are magnitudes higher than those in general population.

Speaking these words simply does not convey the reality of what we all know intimately: the transient appeal of the void as an alternative to endless isolation. We all know of the disastrous effects of isolation because we have seen what it does, along with the pressures that the state brings to bear on us all daily in its efforts to break us, efforts that include compelling the taking of one’s own life.

“The purpose of the Marion (and all) controls unit(s) is to control revolutionary attitudes in the prison system and society at large.”

If this domestic torture program did not exist, Armando and so many others would still be alive today. But his is only the “escape” view of death. There is also a “resistance”-based view of death – that all of us who will never be counted amongst the broken men not only understand, but have demonstrated twice before, and may well be compelled to do again: peaceful protest in the form of hunger strikes, mass single cell, work stoppage etc.

Christian Gomez died [a year ago], not “escaping” these torture units but “resisting” these torture units, and it is this dialectical view of this final option – that death is an active and practiced form of both escape from and resistance to indefinite SHU confinement – is the final and definitive proof that it is, undebatably, torture.

During an assembly hearing on solitary confinement on August 24, 2011, a former Corcoran-SHU prisoner testified, “For someone to be willing to lie down and die just for someone to hear the situation … in the SHU program, they must be serious.” His assessment was correct. We are serious. The question is, are we as a society serious about upholding basic tenets of humanity. People are dying who could be saved while you are reading these words.

A former Corcoran-SHU prisoner testified, “For someone to be willing to lie down and die just for someone to hear the situation … in the SHU program, they must be serious.” His assessment was correct. We are serious. The question is, are we as a society serious about upholding basic tenets of humanity.

And now you know. This is a system that must be abolished. It is a system that has robbed us all of some part of our humanity and has caused us to lose our way as a nation. So many of us have stood idly by as the U.S. has strode the world stage criticizing other nations for systematic human rights abuses and demanding that others meet their obligations to the world community, while they maintain the single largest domestic torture program and the single largest prison population on earth. If the U.S. is going to continue to insist that other nations meet their international obligations under U.N. treaty resolutions, they must do the same and adhere to the U.N. Convention against Torture.

They have proven that they will not do so without compulsion. We must ensure that they do so, as a nation of the people, for the people and by the people. If we are doing anything less, we are complicit in the state’s hypocrisy.

The Pelican Bay D Short Corridor has given us the proper onus for unity in their historic “agreement to end hostilities” issued for Oct. 10, 2012. We call upon all of you brothers and sisters across the nation in prison yards and hood blocks, in SHUs and barrios: Take up this call also. Turn your attention not toward one another, but to those who have condemned us all to languish at the lowest rungs of this locked anti-poor society: the ruling 1 percent.

Many of us have stood idly by as the U.S. has strode the world stage criticizing other nations for systematic human rights abuses and demanding that others meet their obligations to the world community, while they maintain the single largest domestic torture program and the single largest prison population on earth. If the U.S. is going to continue to insist that other nations meet their international obligations under U.N. treaty resolutions, they must do the same and adhere to the U.N. Convention against Torture.

Join the movement – embrace, support, join or form your own local Occupy or anti-prison industrial complex formation. Build coalitions. And in doing so, change this world. Come, let us make peace.
Our love and solidarity,
Corcoran SHU NCTT:

  • Zaharibu Dorrough, D-83611, 4B-1L-53, P.O. Box 3481, Corcoran, CA 93212 [53?]
  • J. Heshima Denham, J-38283, 4B-1L-43, P.O. Box 3481, Corcoran, CA 93212
  • Kambui Robinson, C-82830, 4B-1L-49, P.O. Box 3481, Corcoran, CA 93212
  • Jabari Scott, H-30536, 4B-1L-63, P.O. Box 3481, Corcoran, CA 93212

NCTT stands for NARN (New Afrikan Revolutionary Nationalism) Collective Think Tank. All are held in solitary confinement, an internationally recognized form of torture, in the SHU (Security Housing Unit) at Corcoran State Prison.

Published in: SF Bay View, Dec. 4th 2012

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Yes on Prop. 37 (California)

As a think tank that wrote the proposal for the “Sustainable Agricultural Commune,” we support Prop 37 Labeling of genetically modified food (GM), so please Vote Yes on Prop. 37 if you are in California and if you are voting tomorrow. 

In more than 60 countries worldwide the labeling has already been made into law. It is time Californians know what goes into the food they buy. It will save your health and also the natural environment.

Please check: www.carighttoknow.org especially this facts-page where all is explained.

[added on Nov 6th: Also, how are farm workers effected? Read this article in Nation of Change. ]

Read this article from Nature from 2003 about GM labeling in the EU (this year’s Nobel Peace Prize winners):
and:
http://ec.europa.eu/food/food/biotechnology/etiquetage/index_en.htm

Also this from Natural News in September of 2012:

Don’t let the torturer define torture

by Michael Zaharibu Dorrough, Oct 23rd, 2012
In: SF Bay View and California Prison Watch

In the Crawford case (In re Crawford, 206 Cal.App.4th 1259 (2012)), won by Mutope Duguma (s/n James Crawford), the three-judge appeal panel ruled unanimously that the CDCR cannot confiscate mail and claim that it contains some kind of “coded” message without proving it. It’s an important case not only because it strips the CDCR of an illegal tool that it considered important in burying people in these dungeons.

Equally important is that the judges finally had the courage to actually uphold the law for the sake of upholding the law, and there was no trade-off. There was no “I’ll do this in exchange for that,” which is pretty routine when it comes to the rights of prisoners and criminal defendants.

It really is foul and obviously so. You cannot bury thousands of human beings under conditions that amount to torture – and you cannot leave it up to the torturer to establish the criteria for what constitutes torture. They never see anything wrong with what they do even when violating the law and the humanity of people.

Correcting madness only requires courage. We are a nation governed by bullies. The judge in the Crawford decision, like Crawford himself, had courage.

Equally important is that the judges finally had the courage to actually uphold the law for the sake of upholding the law, and there was no trade-off.

You, the Bay View, your husband, the Pelican Bay representatives, the thousands who resist and supporters who have stood up and continue to stand up and really stand up against the state have courage.

We also received a copy of the latest draft – version 7.0 – of the STG (Security Threat Group, or gang) proposal, and it appears as if this will be the policy. I did not think it could get any worse.

You cannot bury thousands of human beings under conditions that amount to torture – and you cannot leave it up to the torturer to establish the criteria for what constitutes torture. They never see anything wrong with what they do even when violating the law and the humanity of people.

You can actually be given an additional SHU term for what is being called an “STG handshake.” This is the 21st century and a nation that defines itself as the greatest democracy on earth and we actually penalize citizens, put them/us in isolation for shaking someone’s hand.

This drawing by acclaimed prisoner artist Kevin “Rashid” Johnson is titled “Control Unity Torture.” The term control unit refers to the extremely restrictive solitary confinement called in California a Security Housing Unit (SHU) or Administrative Segregation Unit (ASU). U.N. torture czar Juan Mendez classifies as torture confinement in a control unit for more than 15 days. Yet the average stay in the Pelican Bay SHU is 7.5 years, 89 have been there for over 20 years and one, former Black Panther Hugo Pinell, for 42 years.

This is the best proof of how irrational the thinking is: People literally create their own reality, give it a name and then do with it as they please. There is no such thing as an “STG handshake.” There is also a provision that makes it possible for a person to be given a SHU term for “group exercise.” People are actually paid huge salaries to come up with this shit!

The sanity of these people should be called into question. The Pelican Bay representatives and SHU population are absolutely correct: This must be resisted. To not do so, particularly in the face of such disrespect, would be deplorable. It would be weak! And nothing is as pathetic as weakness.

Our hope is that we might be able to come up with something to contribute to the efforts being made by the Bay View, you and others who have been so supportive and so inspiring in the struggle. However it is that we can contribute to any of your endeavors, please don’t hesitate to let us know.

The road is long and hard and rough, but anything worth loving is worth fighting for. Take good care.

Strugglin’ with you – Michael Zaharibu Dorrough

Send our brother some love and light: Michael Dorrough, D-83611, Corcoran SHU, 4B-1L-43, P.O. Box 3481, Corcoran, CA 93212. This open letter was written to and transcribed by Kendra Castaneda, a prisoner human rights advocate whose husband, Robbie Riva, T-49359, is being tortured in segregation at Calipatria State Prison ASU.

In a personal, introductory note, Michael wrote: “Dear Kendra, Hello sis. It is my/our hope that you continue to be of sound health upon receiving this and that you will continue to maintain that magnificent fire that you possess. It is the difference between being committed to changing the inhumanities that confront us all and those who are just paying lip service to it. You could never be confused with the latter group.”