Tag Archives: 2013

Legislative alert: CDCR’s Step-Down Pilot Program is in fact systematic, mandatory brainwashing

By NCTTCorSHU

There is a matter of some urgency that should be passed along as broadly as possible, because it is just that serious. We issued a statement, “Creating broken men, Part 2,” where we voiced our outrage at the inclusion of the mandatory brainwashing components of Section 700.2 [p. 42-45] of the CDCR’s Step Down Program (SDP.) Since that time several things have developed:

1. The doctors took Zaharibu Dorrough to the review board and attempted to bribe him with the promise of transfer to Tehachapi and touch visits in Step 3 IF he agreed to participate in Step 2 for six months – most centrally the “self-directed journal” outlined in Section 700.2 [p.42-45] – their hope being if Zah does it, then countless other younger, more vulnerable prisoners can be herded into this brainwashing program. He of course refused, and we’re putting the finishing touches on a new statement on all of this, so I’ll leave that point.

2. We had an opportunity to review one of the journals (“The Con Game”) and it’s even worse than we thought – well, more accurately, it’s exactly what we knew it would be: a blatant character invalidation and brainwashing tool.

3. Most disturbing of all, they’ve announced a director’s rules change to provisions of CCR Section 3040, which introduces mandatory brainwashing for EVERY PRISONER IN CDCR – called “cognitive behavioral therapy” – and attaching it to this same regulation that governs mandatory work and education assignments while confined to CDCR.

All of this is in violation of Article 1 of the Nuremburg Code and the most fundamental basics of human rights. I don’t know if this is simply an issue most don’t genuinely understand or if CDCR has so thoroughly hidden and downplayed what they are attempting – but this is the single greatest evil this struggle faces. It is even more urgent than the issue of indefinite solitary sensory deprivation confinement.

What we have determined is CDCR’s SDP Pilot Program has zero to do with “a behavior-based path for ‘validated’ prisoners to exit the SHU” and is in fact a systematic and mandatory brainwashing program using the prospect of eventual SHU release as the coercive component to force men and women to submit to these techniques.

According to the SDP/STG [Security Threat Group] policy, if you refuse to submit to the “cognitive restructuring” components of the SDP, such as “self-directed journals,” you will be “stuck” in whatever step they decide to stick you in … forever – or, like the debriefing process, until you finally capitulate and ask them to brainwash you. In other words, you can be “STG behavior”-free for, presumably, the rest of your life and you’ll still be stuck in say, Step 2, in the SHU.

They have changed nothing, but are creating a new and more efficient means to produce the same broken minds and subservient slaves as the debriefing process – only on a much grander scale. It is in fact worse than the debriefing process – and not simply in the SHU. They seek to extend this to every prison and prisoner in CDCR’s custody.

CDCR is in the process of changing their regulations to incorporate mandatory brainwashing – what they’re calling in this proposed rules change “cognitive behavioral therapy,” which they define as “evidence-based psychotherapeutic treatment which addresses dysfunctional emotions, maladaptive behaviors, and cognitive processes in all three areas to reach proscribed goals” – to ensure everyone who enters CDCR will leave it a warped, submissive and subservient slave.

What we have determined is CDCR’s SDP Pilot Program has zero to do with “a behavior-based path for ‘validated’ prisoners to exit the SHU” and is in fact a systematic and mandatory brainwashing program using the prospect of eventual SHU release as the coercive component to force men and women to submit to these techniques.

To ensure their capacity to force this conditioning on prisoners, they’ve actually attached this sick, twisted assault on the underclass to provisions of CCR Title 15, Section 3040, Participation, which makes work, education and “other programs” mandatory for all CDCR prisoners. It in turn derives its authority from the slavery provisions of the 13th Amendment. I can only describe this as evil. Every activist, family member and citizen should be mobilizing against this manifestation of fascism in their midst.

Here they seek to instill beliefs and values which are synonymous with those of right-wing, authoritarian conservatism – while simultaneously seeking to absolve the nature and structure of capitalist society and contrapositive authoritarian conditioning inherent in the U.S. fascist mass psychology for any of society’s ills, including institutional racism, sexism, intentional underdevelopment, social containment and criminalization.

Instead they seek to lay all blame at the feet of the individual and their choices – a view rejected and debunked by sociological and criminological academia for decades. The origin of all crime is the disproportionate distribution of wealth, privilege and opportunity in a society – not simply individual choices. It is the lack of viable choices which coerces people into the underground economy – and inevitably into prisons where they’ve erected a multi-billion dollar industry built on jailing millions of poor people and people of color.

CDCR is in the process of changing their regulations to incorporate mandatory brainwashing – what they’re calling in this proposed rules change “cognitive behavioral therapy,” to ensure everyone who enters CDCR will leave it a warped, submissive and subservient slave.

These journals stress “taking personal responsibility,” but CDCR takes none for the hundreds of female prisoners they forcibly sterilized in California prisons, the tens of thousands subjected to years of psychological torture in U.S. SHU units, the tens of billions of dollars pillaged from underclass and minority communities by lending institutions during the subprime loan fiascos, the centuries of institutional racism, sexism, xenophobia and state-sponsored hate that adversely affects the “choices” available to the people subjected to these structural components of U.S. capitalism.

Financial corporations embezzled billions of dollars from hundreds of millions of U.S. citizens – via credit default swaps and other exotic financial instruments – in 2008, and not one of these Wall Street executives or government regulators has spent a day in jail.

There’s a guy in 3 Block who got caught with 20 rocks of cocaine and another guy in B Section who stole two pizzas, and they both got 25 to life under the three strikes law – and CDCR and “The Change Company” [the name of the vendor providing them with the journals] have the audacity and unmitigated gall to speak of “responsible” vs. “irresponsible” thinking.

The origin of all crime is the disproportionate distribution of wealth, privilege and opportunity in a society – not simply individual choices. It is the lack of viable choices which coerces people into the underground economy – and inevitably into prisons where they’ve erected a multi-billion dollar industry built on jailing millions of poor people and people of color.

Prisons are tools of repression to enforce property rights and maintain the current social order. Social conditions in these capitalist nations are such that “perpetual growth” has met the boundaries of planetary ecological/environmental capacity. They can’t keep on reaping super profits from the appropriation of surplus labor value without meeting ever increasing resistance from those suffering the ever decreasing share of wealth and resources available.

Their solution is to increase the psychological and behavioral malleability and passivity of the most potentially revolutionary segments of U.S. society: the underclass, the working poor, the unemployed … the prisoner. CDCR is and has always been a model for the nation in prison “best practices.” As goes California – so goes the nation.

The introduction and imposition of mandatory brainwashing – cognitive behavioral therapy, cognitive restructuring, self-directed journals, behavior modification etc. – across CDCR facilities will produce a steady stream of broken men and women; who will in turn take these techniques, warped values, authoritarian beliefs and twisted ideals out to their communities where, just like those female slaves who were subjected to “slave seasoning” would raise their sons to be “good boys” – physically strong, so they could work hard, but psychologically and emotionally weak, so they would not rebel against the institution of slavery and thereby be murdered brutally by the slavemaster.

Prisons are tools of repression to enforce property rights and maintain the current social order.

These broken men and women will warp the minds of others, who will in turn warp others, until we will have a docile, submissive, subservient U.S. underclass population, content to continue enduring even more exploitation, more severe repression, and even greater usurpations – all because we, the progressives, the revolutionaries, the social justice activists, the common man and woman failed to act.

I feel at times as though many simply don’t understand what’s transpiring, its interconnections and its ultimate social impact. There are no disparate social forces – all is interconnected, and it is within these interconnections that the vast, horrifying, awe-inspiring scope of what these evil people are trying to do becomes sickeningly clear.

I don’t believe the legislators in Sacramento know this is the case. Coercive behavior modification and/or cognitive restructuring techniques are prohibited under Article 1 of the Nuremburg Code. The forced sterilization of female prisoners is a war crime.

Female slaves who were subjected to “slave seasoning” would raise their sons to be “good boys” – physically strong, so they could work hard, but psychologically and emotionally weak, so they would not rebel against the institution of slavery and thereby be murdered brutally by the slavemaster.

The fact that we must invoke the Nuremburg Code and war crimes statutes to oppose what a prison system in the U.S. is doing is the best proof of 1) how racist, sick and inhumane the U.S. actually is and 2) how completely oblivious the U.S. population is of this fact – and the U.S. mass media is complicit in this. It is my assessment that U.S. journalists have so thoroughly crafted this image of what they want the world to believe American society is, they willfully conceal, under-report and ignore and fail to investigate its vilest contradictions in order to preserve this illusion. Any journalist who claims ignorance must acknowledge it is a willful ignorance.

We simply can’t stand idly by and allow something like his to sweep up untold generations in this sick process. History will judge us all harshly should we do so. Every activist, every able-bodied person, period, should be mobilizing to oppose these violations of the Nuremburg Code.

Now as it relates to Section 700.2 of the SDP [p.42-45], noise has to be made about it, like nothing before, but as it relates to the new director’s rules changes to Title 15, Section 3040 and related sections, there will be a public hearing on this on Jan. 7, 2014, at 10-11 a.m. in the Kern Room at 1515 S St., North Building, Sacramento.

Written comments may be sent by mail to CDCR, Regulation and Policy Management Branch (RPMB), P.O. Box 942883, Sacramento, CA 94283, by fax to (916) 324-6075 or by email to RPMB@cdcr.ca.gov, by 5 p.m. on Jan. 7, 2014.

There will be a public hearing on this on Jan. 7, 2014, at 10-11 a.m. in the Kern Room at 1515 S St., North Building, Sacramento.

The Kern Room should be packed with protestors on Jan. 7 at 10 a.m. to bring media attention to the reality of this evil. A letter writing and email campaign should be organized to flood them with complaints about this continually leading up to Jan. 7.

I’m contacting everyone I can on this, and I do encourage you to do the same. This is even more important than the abolition of SHU.

The Kern Room should be packed with protestors on Jan. 7 at 10 a.m. to bring media attention to the reality of this evil.

It is these people’s intention to subject tens of thousands of prisoners, 95 percent of them hailing from underclass communities, to systematic cognitive restructuring where they begin with “character invalidation” and end with the complete subordination of their minds and behaviors to the dictates of authoritarian conservatism, manufacturing a docile, subservient population of men and women WHO WILL TAKE THESE SAME TECHNIQUES OUT TO THEIR COMMUNITES, warping the minds of generations to come.

In so doing, they not only make the expropriation of tax dollars, at the expense of prisoners, a more orderly process, but also make the exploitation of labor in society at large a less burdensome ordeal for corporations by stamping out the very thought of resistance or progressive, pro-people organizing.

Viewing all of this through the prism of its Hitlerian magnitude, the insidiousness of this undertaking is inspiringly horrific. We shouldn’t be having this discussion – these people have gone mad!

It is these people’s intention to subject tens of thousands of prisoners, 95 percent of them hailing from underclass communities, to systematic cognitive restructuring where they begin with “character invalidation” and end with the complete subordination of their minds and behaviors to the dictates of authoritarian conservatism, manufacturing a docile, subservient population of men and women.

The contact person on the brainwashing provisions of the new Section 3040 (et al) is Timothy Lockwood, (916) 445-2269 or RPMB@cdcr.gov. Regarding the subject matter, contact Michele Gonzalez at (916) 323-6662.

A note on those “self-directed journals,” at least all those CDCR is using: They have printed at the bottom of each page and the answer sheets: “It is illegal to photocopy this in any shape or form.” That alone should show anyone interested there’s something very wrong here.

Screenshots of the par. 700.2 (page 42-45) Step Down Program about the journaling:

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Petition: Please grant the requests of California SHU-prisoners in CSP-Corcoran-SHU 4B-1L-C Section and 4B Facility

To be delivered to: Connie Gipson, Warden, Michael Stainer, Cherita Wofford, Ombudsman, and Sara Malone, Ombudsman


Petition Statement

These requests to the warden are basic, humble and doable, all pertaining to local issues like food, cleaning of the unit, visiting, and tv-access paid for by the prisoners themselves.

Petition Background

This petition asks you to review and respond to a few simple requests that prisoners in Corcoran-SHU have asked us to negotiate for on their behalf:

See the added list of 13 items, all very logical and humane, humble, none are undoable or unreasonable. They wrote these requests in a letter they sent you more than a month ago (around September/October 2013), to which you have yet to respond.

Some of these demands were negotiated successfully at Calipatria ASU. For instance, on the Memorandum of Sept 3rd 2013, the warden of Cal stated: “expanded the Canteen list effective September 2013…” Also: “two phones are installed in A5 pending activation.”

13 Local Requests of 4B-1L-C Section and 4B Facility, CSP-Corcoran-SHU

To: The Warden, Mrs Connie Gipson
Facility Captain
cc: Ombudsman Cherita Wofford, Sara Malone

1) Visiting
We are requesting that visiting be increased to 2 1/2 hours, and 3 1/2 hours for visitors who travel 100 miles or more.

2) Additional TV-stations
We are requesting that the administration add eight (8) additional stations to the basic package made available to us.
We are requesting that a contract with a cable service provider (such as Direct TV) be established with money from the Inmate Welfare Fund.

We were told that this was supposed to have occurred well over a year ago. By contracting with a cable service provider it would improve the quality of the picture on several stations (channels: 2 (PBS), 6 (NBC), 8 (My TV), 5 (CW). The picture is, always, so bad that they cannot be watched.
We would like to request that the following stations be added to the basic package: …

3) Packages
Policy changes to the title 15 now allow those of us in segregated housing to be issued clothing items, a bowl and tumbler, as well as religious items.

We are requesting that we be allowed, consistent with the new rules and regulations:
one (1) special purchase, “non-food”-package per year.

In the alternative we are requesting that the Administration establish a “grace period,” and in this grace period allow us to receive one (1) special purchase “non-food”-package.

4) Food
While the CDCR policy does require that we be provided with a “heart-healthy diet,” we are not. The quality of the food is so bad that on more than one occasion the food during the evening meals has been referred to as “looking like brains.”

In the alternative, if the administration will not require that changes be made in the quality and quantity of the meals, then we are requesting that we be provided the opportunity to order two (2) annual food packages a year.

We are also requesting that the administration include in the lunches more variety. Processed lunched meat and peanut butter are all that we are issued. The only fruit that we receive are one (1) apple or banana. The apple and banana are routinely rotten / overripe.

Canned fruit, peaches, pineapples, pears can be provided and are available.

Tuna fish, cheese and meat spreads can be provided instead of the processed meat is that we are routinely given. It has been established that processed foods do contribute to increased health risks. (see for instance: Harvard School of Public Health: “Beyond Willpower: Diet Quality and Quantity Matter”, page visited on 12/2/13).

5) Yard
Rarely do we receive our ten (10) hours of yard per week, as policy requires.
One reason for this is because the concrete yards in this building are not used.
If two (2) cells are allowed out to the concrete yard, three (3) times a day, it would go a long way toward our having an opportunity to receive our ten (10) hours of yard per week.

Even on those occasions in which regular yard is not allowed, the concrete yards can be.

This has been done over the years on the 4B-yard. And was being done in this building, briefly, last year.

6) Additional canteen items.
Particularly in light of the food department’s failure to provide us with a heart-healthy diet, as well as a diet that lacks any qualitative or quantitative value, we are requesting that additional canteen items, similar to those items that were on the canteen list previously (tuna, chicken breast).
And that chili-flavored soup be included on the canteen list.
And that one other or additional cold cereal be included on the canteen list.

7) Showers.
Presently, the showers are only cleaned three (3) times a week. We are requesting that an additional shower cleaner be allowed to come out so as to ensure that the showers will be cleaned six (6) days a week, as they should be.

8) Telephone calls.
We are requesting that one (1) non-emergency phone call per month be allowed for all SHU prisoners.

9) TV accessories.
We are requesting allowance of TV-accessories that are approved for privilege group D (earphones, headphone extension, splitters, RCA signal amplifiers).

10) Cleaning.
We are requesting authorizing , in addition to the showers to be cleaned six (6) days a week, that the section be cleaned three (3) days a week (swept, mopped, as well as cell fronts, stairs and rails, and holding cages inside of section).

11) Step Down Program
We request to have the time in the Step Down Program reduced.

12) Step 3
We request STEP 3 for prisoners who are validated as STG1 member or associate, and who has been housed in solitary confinement for a minimum of five (5) years.

13) Contact Visits.
We request contact visits pursuant to paragraph 3334 (K) of the Title 15.

We have been told on several occasions that each of the approved vendors (Walkenhorst’s, Access, Union Supply and Golden State Packages) have been contacted and informed that we are allowed to purchase and possess additional personal property items as well as religious items. However, only one of the vendors, Golden State Packages, will send all of the items. None of the other vendors have been notified of any changes.

Also, we are no longer allowed to receive tennis shoes. This prison has reneged on this altogether. They have told us that the vendors would be contacted over the past two (2) years.

In closing, we would like to thank you for your patience and understanding in this matter. And hope that we might hear from you in an effort to resolve this.

Respectfully,
On behalf of 4B 1L-C-Section, and 4B Facility. 

Resistance to Torture is not a Game

A reply to Debra J. Saunders from the NCTT in COR – SHU
“Search for the truth is the noblest occupation of man, its publication is a duty.” 
 Anne Louise Germaine de Staël
Here’s how you know corporate mass media journalists like San Francisco Chronicle columnist Debra J. Saunders are simply the public mouthpieces of the state’s authoritarian apparatus:  the U.S. Prison Industrial Complex has been maintaining the single largest domestic torture program on planet Earth in SHU torture units across the nation, with 12,000 of its 80,000 victims in California and instead of every investigative reporter in the nation researching and reporting on the existence of systematic torture in U.S. prisons it barely gets a mention in mainstream media and when it does, it is nothing more than a recycled version of the same distortions and mischaracterizations issued by the very prison administrators responsible for the inhuman practice.  Because of the blatant distortions and outright lies contained in the Op-Ed piece masquerading as “journalism” such as Debra J. Saunders “Prison Hunger Strike Is a Dangerous Game” (S.F. Gate 8/23/13), we feel compelled to correct them with the truth.
A good place to begin this discussion, because it was so thoroughly mocked by Ms. Saunders and CDCR masters, is settling once and for all the fact that indeterminate SHU confinement is torture, and why.  It is a three-prong, systematic process including “validation, indeterminate SHU confinement, debriefing,” which taken together is by definition torture.
Let us first define torture. The U.N. Convention Against Torture (C.A.T)of which the U.S. is a signatory, defines “torture” in Article 1 as,
”Any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purpose 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 him or a third person or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of, or with the consent of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity.”
Let’s begin with, “Any act which pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted…”
The body of evidence cataloging the severe mental pain irreparable physical and psychological damage of prolonged and indefinite sensory deprivation confinement is so overwhelming, so irrefutable that it stretches back over 100 years in U.S. science and jurisprudence alone.  In 1890, the Supreme Court ruled, In Re Medley the court observed of the practice,
“A considerable number of prisoners fell, after even a short confinement, into a semi-fatuous condition, from which it was next to impossible to rouse them, and others became violently insane; others still committed suicide, while those who stood the ordeal were non-reformed, and in many cases did not recover sufficient mental activity to be of subsequent service to the community.”
(U.S. Supreme Court, In Re Medley, 134 U.S. 160, 168  (1890) ). In Great Britain, as in other countries, public sentiment revolted against this severity, and by the Statute of 6 and 7, William IV, Chapter 3, the additional punishment of solitary confinement was repealed.  (In Re Medley, 134 U.S. 160, 168, 170 (1890)).”
Experts in the field of psychology, psychiatry and human behavior from Bonnie Kerness, Craig Haney, to Doctor Stuart Grassian have universally determined even brief stays in sensory deprivation confinement causes significant psychological injury: 
To quote Craig Haney of U.C. California, Santa Cruz,

“There is not a single published study of solitary or super-max-like confinement in which non-voluntary confinement lasting longer than ten (10) days, where participants were unable to terminate their isolation at will, that failed to result in negative psychological effects, including such clinically significant symptoms as hypertension, uncontrollable anger, hallucinations, emotional breakdowns, and suicidal thoughts and behavior.” 

The SHU torture units in California were uniquely designed for this purpose, and as CDCR spokesperson, disguised as a journalist, Debra. J. Saunders, seeks to reduce prisoners’ legitimate resistance to indefinite torture to “a game”, men like Billy “Guerro” Sell and Armando “Baby Paya” Morales are being driven to hang themselves right here in Corcoran SHU because these conditions in fact do intentionally inflict mental and physical pain and suffering of such severity that men kill themselves to escape it. 
50% of all California prisoner suicides occur in SHU, though it houses only 5% of the prison population. The cause of this disproportionately lethal impact has been crucial and articulated by experts in the field ad-nauseum, with universally agreed-upon findings, that long-term SHU confinement causes severe mental and physical suffering amounting to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or…torture.  Instead of relying on the overwhelming body of  scientific evidence and the leading psychological experts in the field of solitary and supermax-style confinement – CDCR groupies – like Debra J. Saunders rely on baseless opinions and outright lies of prison industrialists like Jeffrey Beard, who say that neither solitary confinement or torture exist in California.  

In an August 13, 2013 Rolling Stone– article, citing the California Penal Code definition of torture, CDCR spokesperson Terry Thornton claimed this penal code didn’t fit the definition of torture, “The intent to cause cruel or extreme pain and suffering for the purpose of revenge, extortion, persuasion, or for any sadistic purpose.” 
Oh, but it does fit that definition and countless personages over the last 100 plus years have reported just that. But before we get into the “purpose” aspect of SHU, we think it’s important for us to analyze the psychosis, which seeks to justify and has always sought justification for this type of inhumanity.
Authoritarian powers of the world, and those who support them, like Debra J. Saunders, have always cloaked their dehumanization and abuses of certain segments of the population in the name of “the law,” “nature,” and in some cases, “God.” The U.S. since its inception has been a nation founded upon the patriarchal authoritarian mass psychology, The cultural foundation of reactionary man in which the values, cultural mores and ideas of the ruling elite are reproduced in those they exploit. For centuries it was illegal for women to own property, vote, or have any meaningful control over their daily lives, their bodies, or their futures. When women resisted this patriarchal enforcement of their second-class citizenship, they were brutalized, jailed, reviled, and often killed.
Though the intimate oppression of women finds its origins in the development of the modern family unit, the economic role women played as sexual and domestic chattel, is equitable in most men’s minds to any other valued beast (cattle, sheep, horses, etc). This oppression was enforced with biblical scripture which cloaked women’s subjugation in “the word of God”. Laws flowed directly from the pulpits that mirrored the same. After centuries of resistance and progress this same patriarchal authoritarian mass psychology responsible for 19th century sexism, misogyny and brutality of women is the same psychosis responsible for its modern perpetration, and the creation of torture units across the U.S. prison industrial complex.
The same authoritarian psychosis which rationalized the systematic genocide of over 50 million Native North Americans as “the white man’s burden” in service to Amerika’s “Manifest Destiny,” is the same authoritarian psychosis that pits prisoners against prisoners in gladiator fights in Corcoran SHU, and boiled them alive in Pelican Bay SHU; is the same authoritarian psychosis that invoked biblical ”scripture” and “the law” to justify enslaving 100’s of millions of Afrikans in Amerika and murdering 100’s of millions more during the trans-Atlantic slave trade; is the same authoritarian psychosis responsible for Jeffrey Beard reducing tortured prisoners’ peaceful hunger strike to end indefinite torture, to a “gang  power play”; is the same authoritarian psychosis which stripped Jews in Europe of their rights under Nazi occupation before marching them to extermination camps; is the same authoritarian psychosis responsible for Debra J. Saunders advocating that the label ”gang member” is a justification for the U.S. prison industry to erect the largest domestic torture program on the face of the earth.
The authoritarian psychosis of reactionary men and women is infinitely capable of rationalizing its own evil and justifying it under “the rule of law.” The CDCR spokesperson, Terry Thornton, can bluntly say torture isn’t torture, and somehow convince herself of the delusion that it is the same way the Victorian-era preacher convinces himself the repressed woman is “happy,” docile and joyous in her submission, and it is the same waythe union soldier convinces himself he is “doing the  native savages a kindness by resettling them on a reservation to be taught the proper ways of civilization; is the same way the prison industry convinces themselves that the prisoner who “bed checked” in the same tiny cell for years, decades, deserves it because he is a validated prisoner; and it is the same as the District Court Judge today who convinces himself that the SHU prisoner has no 8th Amendment rights to be free of torture.
At Corcoran SHU there is a forced double-celling policy. The legal minimum requirement for the amount of cell space for two people in one cell is 60 square feet. In Corcoran SHU cells, because the beds sit next to each other here, there is no more than 15 square feet for two people. The toilet is less than 2 feet from the bed. The toilets are on metal and stick out into that space. Only 3 flushes are allowed every 12 minutes.  It is common for the cell and tier to reek of feces, including during morning and evening meals. We routinely have our yard privileges taken away and find ourselves regularly confined to the cells 24 hours a day almost every single day for weeks.
The c/o’s (correctional officers) also function under the same warped psychosis of the patriarchal authoritarian mass psychology. It is a psychosis, which is cultural in capitalist society and all encompassing.  In each case, dehumanization plays a central and necessary role in the function of the psychosis. To inflict inhumane treatment on another human, the mind forces the perpetrator to dehumanize the subject of his or her cruelty. In this instance, the justification for our dehumanization is the label “violent gang member”.  As some read these words, a part of your mind is automatically and irrationally skeptical and repulsed by anything, no matter how noble or correct you may feel you are, associated with the term “violent gang member,” and that’s because you’ve been conditioned that way over the course of the past 35 years. 
In that same time period, the U.S. prison population has exploded by 800%!  A monolithic, multi-billion dollar prison industrial complex has spread its tendrils into almost every aspect of economic, social, political, and cultural life in AmeriKa. SHU torture units have sprouted up in almost every state in the union, with more and more human beings consigned to them indefinitely for ever more arbitrary and nonsensical reasons, all fueled by your tax dollars and political will. They accomplished this the same way they accomplished the invasion of Iraq, by telling you enough lies, enough times, with sufficient intensity that in your mind it’s taken on the aura of truth. Even though it’s a lie. 

This brainwash has gone on so long that it’s now become the standard “go to” narrative of CDCR. Reality, veracity and common sense have little place in that narrative.  It is designed to frighten you by dehumanizing you, and by doing so they create the social illusion that you and I are separate and adversarial entities; that we lie outside the legal definition of ”person,” as though we did not come from and will not return to the same communities you now live in; the same communities our mothers, fathers, siblings, spouses, children and kin live and pay taxes in, right alongside you. It’s both insidious and evil, and more to the point, prohibits a basis for torture.

We’d like to elaborate:
On August 23, 2011, former CDCR Under-Secretary, Scott Kernan, in response to several psychiatrists and psychologists’ expert testimony that indefinite SHU confinement was a violation of international standards prohibiting torture, responded, “The real human rights violation is the violence the gangs carry out.” This is the identical narrative of every CDCR spokesperson, official, and administrator, at present.  Current CDCR spokesperson Terry Thornton, who, in some of the most warped logic we’ve ever seen, put into print, stated in the wake of Billy “Guerro” Sell’s  alleged suicide here at Corcoran that the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition activists and Billy’s family members were somehow “exploiting his death”  in order to “mislead the public: about a hunger strike orchestrated by violent gang members.”  As previous analysis has already established, suicide is often employed to escape the torture of the SHU. 50% of all prison suicides occur in SHU, though only 5% of the prison population is housed there.  Implicit in such statements is, “So what?   We’re torturing them, they are “violent gang members,” so why should anyone care?”
This very rationale is prohibited under C.A.T., Article 2; and the Convention Against Torture, states, “No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or threat of war, internal political instability, or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture,”  that includes the label “violent gang member.” When the U.S. signed C.A.T. at the close of WWII they were conscious of this type of dehumanization, as they had just witnessed it in liberating the Nazi death camp footage; so inflicting it on their own citizens within their own borders proves the acts intentional.  We have established that indefinite SHU confinement causes “severe pain and suffering, both physical and mental.”
We have established that CDCR officials are actually aware of this, which brings us to the “purpose”aspect of the torture definition. CDCR has stated on multiple occasions, the purpose of indefinite SHU confinement is to “administratively segregate gang members from the general population so the other 95% of prisoners can program without the violence of gang members.” Since the beginning of the validation – indeterminate SHU – debriefing process in the mid 1980s, violence in CDCR facilities only increased exponentially. So this is either an outright lie, or “gang members” are not the origin of prison violence. This fact was one of the many contradictions former Undersecretary Kernan was confronted with by legislators at the August 23, 2011 Public Safety Committee Hearings in Sacramento, concerning the CDCR practice of “administrative segregation” which in actuality, does not necessitate indefinite confinement in SHU torture units. If indefinite confinement in solitary was truly not the aim of prison officials, a standard level IV 180 design prison yard setting exclusively housing “validated prisoners” could serve the same end for $24,000 less per prisoner per year.
Current costs per year are $78.000 per prisoner to house men in SHU, but only $54,000 per prisoner to house men on a normal level IV 180 design yard, annually.
No, the true purpose of indefinite SHU confinement is to break men’s minds; to coerce them through punitive sanctions to debrief; to provide information on yourself and/or others to prison officials; to become a state informant; to snitch. This process has been articulated, its etiology explained, its key architects named, in the NCTT-COR-SHU article, “Creating Broken Men.” The process is further analyzed in the article “Creating Broken Men 2” and mentions its current evolution in CDCR’s STG Pilot Program.
We encourage you all to review them at www.sfbayview.com or ncttcorshu.org  or in the newsletter Prison Focus #39, available on line at www.prisons.org along with the inspired thoughts by the many prisoners who have written on these issues. 
However, we can illustrate the CDCR’s methods briefly by using CDCR’s own language:  Article 22 of the Department Operating Manual (D.O.M.)(50270) of their governing “gang management” system.  In D.O. M. (52970.5), CDCR states their gang management strategy shall be to identify gang affiliated inmates and parolees; …take interdiction action, and apply sanctions.”   In D.O.M.(52070.5.4) “Gang activity sanctions: “inmates… in violation of criminal and administrative statutes shall be dealt with in the strictest possible…manner.  This shall include, but not be limited to loss of privileges, increase in custody, loss of work credits (read: loss of parole), enhancement of penalties; segregation from the inmate general population (read: indefinite solitary/sensory deprivation confinement).
Let’s stop for a moment; the language here is grossly misleading at its outset. The disturbing truth is, though CDCR uses language like “violent gang members” and  “violation of criminal and administrative statutes”, very few, if any “validated” prisoners were consigned to SHU for committing any act.  It is these alleged “administrative statutes” – the arbitrary standard – that allows this.  “Validation” is not, nor has it ever been about “behavior.”
The violent crimes that Debra J. Saunders definitively attaches to the D. Short Corridor Main Reps occurred 20 – 40 years ago.  Are any of us the same persons that we were two (2) decades ago?  Of course not.  Most validated prisoners have had no rules violations of any kind in years – or even decades. The “validated “ gang theory is predicated not on what you have done, but instead, like in the Tom Cruise Dystopian film, “Minority Report,” you are punished for what officials believe you may do; that just their suspicion that you are a so-called “gang member” is sufficient to determine you are predisposed to inevitably carry out an act of violent crime.  Such a systematic process in a supposed “open and democratic society” should horrify and outrage every citizen. Yet these dubious “gang activity sanctions” have been codified in CDCR regulations, “calculated to force an individual or group of individuals to comply with an obligation or submit to that authority, state or group of states; (2) a coercive provision of law or penalty designed to enforce obedience.”  In each case we see “sanctions” equated with force. But what is the end in this case?
We find out answer in D.O.M. 52070.29.2  “Role and Responsibility of the Gang Intelligence Operations. Debriefing Team,” which states, “the primary objective of the team shall be to debrief validated prison gang members housed in the SHU.”  Here we see “validated prisoners in the SHU” are identified as the primary focus of debriefing efforts by CDCR. The purpose provision of the torture definition under C.A.T., article 1 states:  “pain suffering… intentionally inflicted on a person for such purpose 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 him or a third person… When such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity.”  This is the very definition of debriefing.  “To learn enough about the subject and the object’s current gang (D.O.M.52070.19.2)..Information obtained during a debriefing shall be documented on…a debriefing report.” (D.O.M. 52070.19.8) Validation/indeterminate SHU confinement/debriefing is all about gathering information, coercing the subject to become an informant on others (a third person), and this becomes a tool of the state. This is unequivocally torture by any definition.
Any narrative to the contrary, be it asserted by CDCR groupies like Debra J. Saunders or a CDCR spokesperson like Terry Thornton, you now know what you are hearing is sick people trying to justify torture.
The representation of “lies as truth” and the employment of state-controlled journalists to give those lies the air of legitimacy has always been the preferred method of the authoritarian order to maintain cultural hegemony, and the August 24, 2013, article by Debra J. Saunders is a prime example of this process.  Here we have a collection of completely uncorroborated sound bites by CDCR officials and outright lies being presented by a so-called journalist that has made no effort to verify the truth of any of her “fun SHU facts”. Obvious contradictions are often the first indication of state duplicity.  Ms. Saunders opens this pro-CDCR Op-ed piece (It is not serious journalism) by castigating the commitment of hunger strikers by noting participation went from 30,000 persons to 79 persons in 16 days, then 4 paragraphs later puts forward the absurd contradiction that so-called “gang leaders” have coerced everyone with threats to go without food. The truth is repression breeds resistance. We’re discussing indefinite torture. No one requires compulsion to resist torture, or the prospect of the same happening to them.  That CDCR, with the aid of irresponsible journalists like Ms. Saunders, were able to “force feed” that contradiction to Judge Henderson does not lend that false narrative any credence.
U.S. Courts have allowed this torture to continue in numerous cases for over 30 years knowing full well all the actual facts articulated in this piece, in consistent support of prison officials maintaining SHU torture units. Taking judicial steps to neutralize the lethal component is in the interest of the State, of which the Courts are a part.  A convenient lie was floated devoid of any verifiable evidence, it was accepted by the judge, and he pulled the fangs from the hunger strike. This tripe by Ms. Saunders is no more journalism than is “The National Inquirer.”  One of the standards of American journalism is to always verify sources; “facts.”  The entirety of the “article” posted on SFGate, is to justify CDCR employees telling Deborah J. Saunders one unsubstantiated lie after another, and Ms. Saunders just putting it into print without bothering to verify it, or if any of this even occurred.
Joyce Hayhoe, of the Federal Receiver’s Office, allegedly told Ms. Saunders one hunger striker would take food “if he could hide it” and yet another would eat “if he could be transferred”; yet neither Ms. Saunders nor anyone at the SFGate site bothered to contact, or even identify, these alleged prisoners to verify this, or if they even exist. Saunders quotes CDCR as reporting that “a hunger striking prisoner assaulted his cellmate who refused to share food,” yet the columnist did not seek to verify the existence of either prisoner, or even if such an incident occurred. This far surpasses irresponsible reporting, and is a smear piece masquerading as journalism, which is equitable to some state official telling a journalist that Barak Obama is really a member of the Taliban, that journalist having printing up the story, and the newspaper publishing it, with no attempt to verify this with either Barak Obama or the Taliban. That “journalist” would be fired, and rightfully so.
Debra Saunders goes on to state that CDCR employees gave all hunger strikers “Gatorade and vitamins”, but no such thing occurred here at Corcoran. If a hunger striking prisoner accepted Gatorade here, it would take you off the hunger strike. Officers not only did notmake daily rounds to see who needed medical attention, but custody staff went out of their way to not offer strikers any attention. It was the exclusive province of CCHCS medical staff and they were instructed by Chief Medical Officer, J. Wang, to ignore the CCHCS mass hunger strike, fasting, and re-feeding care policy (IMSP&P, vol 4,Chapt.22.2).  Daily rounds, consisted of nothing more than a nurse with a clipboard coming by your door and asking, “are you still on a hunger strike?,” then walking away. That’s it. 
We have 4 appeals with documentation of intentional medical neglect/deliberate indifference, by COR-SHU medical staff toward hunger strikers here. You would appear very thin, in the face of the July 28th, 2013, 68 page Corcoran State Prison Health Care Evaluation Report condemning Corcoran CCHCS as the worst in the state, that she would make some effort to determine if  “care” for prisoners was actually what CDCR was “reporting” it was. But again, that would imply serious journalism, and that’s simply not what we’re discussing here.
Here are some NOT so fun facts about SHU:
  • SHU does constitute “extreme isolation:, with or without a cellmate, as the conditions of sensory deprivation confinement, enforced idleness, sharing a space barely large enough for one person, let alone 2 (the physical structure of Corcoran-SHU cells affords even less room), and the inescapable psychological degradation that accompanies the horrifying realization that you will never get out of this tiny, monotonous, sterile space is universally experienced. None of this is mitigated (and is often exacerbated) by having a cellmate.  SHU is torture; SHU is extreme isolation, and that must be judged by its effects (which are objective and quantifiable), not by the sarcastic commentary of a CDCR groupie’s opinions, who could  not begin to fathom, let alone accurately report on, what a day in SHU is like.
  • According to the information CDCR spokesperson Terry Thornton provided Debra J. Saunders (accounting for its dialectic), 50% of Tehachapi SHU prisoners are in solitary confinement; 60% of New Folsom SHU prisoners are in solitary confinement; 65% of Corcoran SHU prisoners are in solitary confinement’ and 90% of Pelican Bay SHU prisoners are in solitary confinement  – and at the same time, she continues to insist, there are no prisoners in solitary confinement in California.
  •  SHU prisoners can purchase a small, 13” TV or am/fm radio, at their own expense. There is no “cable TV” in Corcoran SHU, and the reception fed to us from the antenna is so poor, you’re lucky to get 5 of 13 local stations they air to come in clear at any given time.  Corcoran needs cable service.  In other SHU torture units that may have a few cable stations, it’s due to the remote locations of these prison. Cable service is the only way you’ll get any TV reception at all (like Pelican Bay).  All TV programming, equipment, and service is paid for in full by prisoners from our Inmate Welfare Fund, not the state. As you read this, COR-SHU prisoner Reps are seeking to negotiate with the Corcoran administration to pay for our own wireless cable channels from our IWF, which is managed badly by the State.) 
  • SHU prisoners, with enough money, can pay to earn a degree; and this opportunity is only as a result of concessions realized after the 2011 hunger strike.  Prior to this, SHU prisoners were not allowed access to any education at all.  If you don’t have the thousands of dollars to pay for college courses, you will remain without it, and as woefully uneducated and unemployable as when you arrived in SHU, just as CDCR likes it.
  • In SHU, your mail is screened, and routinely withheld, by I.G.I. staff. Should they take exception with your political views, artwork, culture, or most anything they choose, your mail will be confiscated and you’ll be subjected to even more punitive sanctions by CDCR.
  • You can receive visits with your family on weekends; behind a thick pane of glass, talking over a telephone in the wall, for only an hour – no human contact. SHU torture units are by design, situated in remote, rural areas of California, far from the urban centers most SHU prisoners hail from, which makes visits difficult to impossible for most SHU prisoners to get any outside contact at all.

In the final analysis, misinformation disseminated by pro-torture activists like Debra J. Saunders moves beyond the realm of “irresponsible journalism”: and into active support for systemic torture. In U.S. capitalist culture, the news is a powerful tool of the ruling class and the State to a degree that misinformation is now par for the course, but that doesn’t make it correct. Misusing it in such a way as to justify a practice dependent on dehumanizing and brutalizing other humans to achieve its ends, is neither “objective” nor in the public interest.
When such reporting is grounded in lies, intentional distortions, and rampant mischaracterizations, it becomes complicity in these human rights abuses themselves.  Article 4, section 2 of C.A.T. states in part, “Each State party shall ensure that all acts of torture are offences under its criminal law (and) shall apply to an attempt to commit torture and to any act by any person which constitutes complicity…in torture.”  This “article” by Debra J. Saunders places her in violation of article 4, section 2 of C.A.T. and makes her complicit in torture.  If there is any justice in this world, when pro-torture prison industrialists are judged by the people, Debra J. Saunders and her ilk will be right with them. For now, history has already judged them, and they have been found wanting. 

NCTT– COR-SHU
For more information on the NCTT-COR-SHU and its work product, contact:
Michael Zaharibu Dorrough, D83611
J. Heshima Denham, D38283
Kambui Robinson, C82830
Jabari Scott, H30530

Address for all is: 

CSP-COR-SHU 4B-1L
P.O. Box 3481
Corcoran, CA 93212

An extreme form of political discourse

Greetings sisters and brothers. To those of you familiar with the CDCR domestic torture program and the ongoing protracted struggle to realize the 5 core demands, the state’s loose relationship with the truth comes as no surprise. For those of you just gaining familiarity with this social ill, what follows should prove helpful in providing you with a greater insight into the dynamics of power relationships in the U.S.
During the July 2013 hunger strike, unlike other prisons, the unique conditions and repressive staff culture here at Corcoran-SHU required a range of peaceful protest tactics, some of which are still underway. CDCR officials, including chief ombudsman Sarah Malone, have been engaging in ongoing negotiations with Cor-SHU Reps since August 16th on local issues unique to the conditions here at Corcoran State Prison. 

The decision to accept nutrients, or continue fasting, has always been an individual choice. However, here in Corcoran-SHU, because of the degree of intentional deviation from CCHC’s Mass Hunger Strike, Fasting and Refeeding Care Guide (CCHC Hunger Strike policy Chapter 22.2) by CSP-Corcoran medical staff, most refeeding has occurred as a result of potentially, or immediately, life threatening complications related to the hunger strike itself.
In mid-August, Z. was hospitalized with highly elevated ketone levels, hunger strike related acute pancreatitis, a severe kidney infection and he was on the brink of kidney failure. The life-sustaining treatment he was given, included “electrolytes” and I.V. liquid nutrition which took him “off” the hunger strike, though he consumed no solid food. Accepting “Gatorade” here at Corcoran-SHU would also take you “off” the hunger strike, so long term participants (over 30 days of fasting like Z. and H.) had to make due with water and a multi-vitamin a day. Z. resumed the hunger strike as soon as he returned to the facility.
H. was hospitalized 6 times over the course of the 40 plus days they starved, 3 days in a 5-day period in late August due to severe dehydration, extremely low blood pressure, tachycardia arrhythmia and electrolyte levels so unstable two different E.R. doctors were afraid his heart would simply lose its bio-electric charge and stop. On the third visit to the E.R. that week the doctor (Sao) actually told him he would seek a psych override to remove his capacity for informed consent (trying to assert he was suicidal) and invoke his p.o.l.s.t. (physicians’ order for life sustaining treatment). 

This doctor asserted H.’s heart was going to stop imminently, and because his electrolyte levels were so unstable, his phosphorous levels so low, and ketone levels were so high, no amount of epinephrine and electrostatic paddles would be able to resuscitate him. He still refused LNS (Liquid Nutritional Supplement) treatment and returned to the facility. 

In both cases, though facing imminent death, they continued to refuse treatment until CDCR officials agreed to negotiate in good faith with Pelican Bay, move local reps and participants out of the 4A and 3B debriefing blocks- surrounded by informants- where the administration had isolated them in and back to the 4B yard, and negotiate the terms of resolving the local issues unique to Corcoran SHU, that as of the September 3rd meeting with Corcoran administrators, included:
          Additional canteen items
          Additional t.v. stations (i.e. a Direct TV contract at prisoners’ (iwf) expense
          Additional package and special purchase items and access
          Extending visiting to 2 ½ hours (and 3 ½ hours for those traveling over 100 miles)
          More regular yard access (we’re lucky to get 3-5 hours of yard access per week)
          1 non-emergency phone call per month
[beginning of November Cor-SHU was still awaiting a response to these local demands]

Unlike other prisons, the Corcoran-SHU peaceful protest had 3 components:

          Hunger strike
          Work stoppage
          Mass single-cell event.
The last by far the most impactful. Participants could have chosen any one, or a combination, of these options to contribute to supporting the Pelican Bay D-Short Corridor Collective and this historic Human Rights Struggle.
Hunger strikes are a form of unilateral political discourse designed to raise social awareness of a particular injustice, while simultaneously shaming the perpetrating officials in the realm of public opinion. It is an extreme form of political discourse, the effectiveness of which lies in the potential for participants to die. With the insertion of judge Thelton Henderson’s ruling giving CDCR leave to force feed hunger strikers, the lethal component of the hunger strike was removed as an active threat (regardless of how incorrect and absurd the false narrative of “gang compulsion” was that CDCR used to dupe him into this ruling, the concrete analysis of concrete conditions still leads to this irrefutable materialist interpretation).
To be sure, the next day, here at Corcoran, those still maintaining their fast were confronted with the prospect of a process (force feeding) they could not resist without breaking the “peaceful” posture of the protest; coupled with the degree of disrespect participants here at Corcoran have had to endure and absorb over the course of this protest, each man’s decision was one grounded in the knowledge that there are still hundreds of participants who remain single-celled (and will continue to do so), and thousands more prepared to follow suit – or re-consolidate- according to the rate of progress and success reached in these ongoing negotiations. There remain a significant number of courageous hunger strike participants here still hospitalized, and their sacrifices, all of our sacrifices – should never be marginalized because conditions require a change in tactics.

As you read these words, there are new tactics being discussed, in the limited scope of our capabilities and maintaining a peaceful posture, should the need arise to resume an even more intense form of unilateral political discourse to resolve this contradiction. Let there be no mistake, elements here at Cor-SHU are more than willing (and capable) of having that discussion and taking it to its logical conclusion.
In the final analysis, it is neither true that no negotiations are being held or that the peaceful protest action here at Corcoran is over. 
The struggle continues.
Our love and solidarity to you all.
N.C.T.T.-Cor-SHU

September, 2013
Edited Nov. 2013

Statement Suspending the Third Hunger Strike

Posted on September 5, 2013 by prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity
Greetings of Solidarity and Respect!
The PBSP-SHU, Short Corridor Collective Representatives hereby serve notice upon all concerned parties of interest that after nine weeks we have collectively decided to suspend our third hunger strike action on September 5, 2013.
To be clear, our Peaceful Protest of Resistance to our continuous subjection to decades of systemic state sanctioned torture via the system’s solitary confinement units is far from over. Our decision to suspend our third hunger strike in two years does not come lightly. This decision is especially difficult considering that most of our demands have not been met (despite nearly universal agreement that they are reasonable). The core group of prisoners has been, and remains 100% committed to seeing this protracted struggle for real reform through to a complete victory, even if it requires us to make the ultimate sacrifice.  With that said, we clarify this point by stating prisoner deaths are not the objective, we recognize such sacrifice is at times the only means to an end of fascist oppression.
Our goal remains: force the powers that be to end their torture policies and practices in which serious physical and psychological harm is inflicted on tens of thousands of prisoners as well as our loved ones outside.  We also call for ending the related practices of using prisoners to promote the agenda of the police state by seeking to greatly expand the numbers of the working class poor warehoused in prisons, and particularly those of us held in solitary, based on psychological/social manipulation, and divisive tactics keeping prisoners fighting amongst each other. Those in power promote mass warehousing to justify more guards, more tax dollars for “security”, and spend mere pennies for rehabilitation — all of which demonstrates a failed penal system, high recidivism, and ultimately compromising public safety.  The State of California’s $9.1 billion annual CDCR budget is the epitome of a failed and fraudulent state agency that diabolically and systemically deprives thousands of their human rights and dignity. Allowing this agency to act with impunity has to stop! And it will.
With that said, and in response to much sincere urging of loved ones, supporters, our attorneys and current and former state legislators, Tom Ammiano, Loni Hancock, and Tom Hayden, for whom we have the upmost respect, we decided to suspend our hunger strike.  We are especially grateful to Senator Hancock and Assembly Member Ammiano for their courageous decision to challenge Governor Brown and the CDCR for their policies of prolonged solitary confinement and inhumane conditions. We are certain that they will continue their fight for our cause, including holding legislative hearings and the drafting legislation responsive to our demands on prison conditions and sentencing laws. We are also proceeding with our class action civil suit against the CDCR.
The fact is that Governor Brown and CDCR Secretary Beard have responded to our third peaceful action with typical denials and falsehoods, claiming solitary confinement does not exist and justifying the continuation of their indefinite torture regime by vilifying the peaceful protest representatives. They also obtained the support of the medical receiver (Kelso) and Prison Law Office attorney (Spector—who is supposed to represent prisoners interests, and instead has become an agent for the state) to perpetuate their lie to the public and to the federal court — that prisoners participating in the hunger strike have been coerced — in order to obtain the August 19, 2013 force feeding order.
We have deemed it to be in the best interest of our cause to suspend our hunger strike action until further notice.
We urge people to remember that we began our present resistance with our unprecedented collective and peaceful actions (in tandem with the legislative process) back in early 2010, when we created and distributed a “Formal Complaint” for the purpose of educating the public and bringing widespread attention to our torturous conditions.
After much dialogue and consideration, this led us to our first and second hunger strike actions in 2011, during which a combined number of 6,500 and 12,000 prisoners participated. We succeeded in gaining worldwide attention and support resulting in some minor changes by the CDCR concerning SHU programming and privileges. They also claimed to make major changes to policies regarding gang validation and indefinite SHU confinement by creating the STG/SDP Pilot Program. They released a few hundred prisoners from SHU/AD SEG to general population in the prison.  But in truth, this is all part of a sham to claim the pilot program works and was a weak attempt to have our class action dismissed. It didn’t work.
In response we respectfully made clear that CDCR’s STG-SDP was not responsive to our demand for the end to long term isolation and solitary confinement and thus unacceptable.  (See: AGREEMENT TO END HOSTILITIES)
Our supporting points fell on deaf ears, leading to our January 2013 notice of intent to resume our hunger strike on July 8, 2013 if our demands were not met.  We also included Forty Supplemental Demands.
In early July, CDCR produced several memos notifying prisoners of an increase in privileges and property items, which are notably responsive to a few of our demands, while the majority of our demands were unresolved, leading to our third hunger strike, in which 30,000 prisoners participated and resulted in greater worldwide exposure, support and condemnation of the CDCR!
From our perspective, we’ve gained a lot of positive ground towards achieving our goals.  However, there’s still much to be done.  Our resistance will continue to build and grow until we have won our human rights.
Respectfully,
For the Prisoner Class Human Rights Movement
Todd Ashker, C58191, D1-119
Arturo Castellanos, C17275, D1-121
Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa (Dewberry), C35671, D1-117
Antonio Guillen, P81948, D2-106
And the Representatives Body:
Danny Troxell, B76578, D1-120
George Franco, D46556, D4-217
Ronnie Yandell, V27927, D4-215
Paul Redd, B72683, D2-117
James Baridi Williamson, D-34288. D4-107
Alfred Sandoval, D61000, D4-214
Louis Powell, B59864, D1-104
Alex Yrigollen, H32421, D2-204
Gabriel Huerta, C80766, D3-222
Frank Clement, D07919, D3-116
Raymond Chavo Perez, K12922, D1-219
James Mario Perez, B48186, D3-124
Link to original

From a letter by J.

7/18/13
From a letter:
Yesterday – 9 days into fasting – they finally took my and my cellie’s weight and vitals. Because it’s the first weight they’ve taken since this began, they’ll attempt to use it as a ‘baseline’ weight to measure how much weight we’ve lost. 
The problem with that is obvious: we’ve already lost an enormous amount of weight in the first 9 days of not eating. I used my weight from the last time I went to nurses line back in May (223 Lbs) to calculate how much I lost (I weighed in at 214 Lbs – 212 Lbs minus the weight of the waist chains [2 Lbs]), so as of yesterday I lost 11 Lbs. Zah went from 178 to 164 – a loss of 14 Lbs.
According to the CCHS mass hunger strike policy (IMSP+P, Vol. 4, Chpt. 22.2) states PCP visits to record vital signs, weight, and BMI should be done 1-3 days after hunger strike participation (see for a summary: http://www.prisons.org/documents/HungerStrikeSUMMARY7-13.pdf). With those of us they gaffed up in their version of ‘extraordinary rendition’ and isolated us in this rat block [unit 4A], they waited until the 9th day. 
This exposes us to the risk of premature hunger strike complications due to this negligent medical care and deviation from the established hunger strike policy. No one can tell me this is not intentional.
Also included in the policy is the provision that an FTF visit to again assess vitals, weight, height, etc. is to take place at the 4-7 day mark, the 7-14 day mark and then every week thereafter. They’ve obviously not adhered to their own policy, but instead subordinated themselves to custody and the dictates of this warden.
In any event, I.G.I. came by yesterday and returned some of my paperwork and gave me a receipt for over 100 pages of other stuff they’re characterizing as “gang material.” To give you an example of their fundamentally contradictory thought process and the arbitrary/capricious nature of how they characterize info – one document they are now characterizing this way is a document I wrote in 2005, “Cadre Development: Usalama” [Kiswahili for “security’) [C.D.U.], for revolutionary socialist parties like the “Afrikan Socialist Party,” “New Black Panther Party,” etc. to use to protect their political activities, organizations and personnel from counter-intelligence and infiltration operations by hostile capitalist state agencies. 
The I.G.I. officer in question stated the reason it was confiscated (mind you I’ve had this document in my possession, in one form of another (typed, handwritten, etc.) since 2005 when I wrote it and this same I.G.I. c/o has reviewed it at least 10 times in subsequent searches of my property and never responded this way) was the use of the term “party,” which they considered synonymous with the “B.G.F.”
When I am faced with such an obvious contradiction, the running commentary in my mind is often: “if it is your assertion that the language, activities, and information you are attaching to a particular group of people is all political in nature, and even you (the I.G.I.) are identifying what you believe this group to be as a “political party,” why then do you continue to disrespect imprisoned political activists by referring to them, their ideas, and work-product as “gangs,” “gang activity,” or “gang material”? The answer is obvious and it is the same reason I wrote the essay in the first place: in order to de-legitimate N.A.R.N. [New Afrikan Revolutionary Nationalism] / Revolutionary Scientific Socialism, the state must criminalize leftist ideologues, activity, and ideas.
In the 1900s they did it with the Haymarket Massacre; in the ‘40s and ‘50s they did it with the McCarthy Hearings and the Church Committee; in the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s they used the Counter-Intelligence Program (CoIntelPro); today they’ve evolved and expanded CoIntelPro and use control units and the “gang” moniker to achieve this end.
Case in point, they also confiscated 43 pages of stuff a N.A.R.N. couple in Baltimore sent me over the course of a year. Virtually all of their communiqués discussed gaining a better scientific understanding of the ideology and economic applications of socialism to the modern world, as well as the challenges their communities were facing in combatting the criminal / gang mentality among some youth and the challenges of transforming that mentality (actually an expression of the dominant oppressor culture and the effects of class/race-based disparities) into a progressive or revolutionary mentality.
As you well know, I.G.I. monitors all my incoming and outgoing mail – and it was no different here – they allowed this political discourse to continue over the course of a year, and I knew why they did so – and told the sister and brother as much in two separate communiqués: this gave law enforcement an opportunity to gather intelligence on the political development and interactions of socialist activists in different parts of the nation.
Now apparently Maryland is also engaged in a peaceful protest action, and suddenly the I.G.I. assigned to monitor my mail is telling me – “I did not see this stuff” –  is both ludicrous and insulting – but not unforeseen. He (I.G.I.) told me I would be receiving an 115 for “gang activity” for numerous letters that they reviewed [and] then delivered to my door – not to mention my responses.
Of course none of this political discourse is “gang activity,” but that’s all academic. The state must have its narrative to repress political and socio-economic  development along the lines of scientific socialism, N.A.R.N. (New Afrikan Revolutionary Nationalism), or any other leftist tendencies. There are some 2-300 different political parties and organizations who employ N.A.R.N. as their ideological base – but in every instance – be they imprisoned or in the field – the state characterizes them as “gangs” and treats us accordingly. It sets up this automatic ambiguity in the people’s minds with 2 distinct emotional and political reactions:  “gangs” are dehumanized, castigated, and treated with political disdain; “revolutionaries” are romanticized, supported and treated with political interest and consideration.
Though there is under the D.O.M. section governing “disruptive groups” a designation for “revolutionary groups,” CDCR instead chooses to characterize N.A.R.N. and Scientific Socialist prisoners as “gangs” and “gang members.” Understanding the motive force behind it does not lessen its incorrectiveness or illegitimacy. But there is always a price for progress – revolution is illegal. The state is a tool to impose the interests of one class over all others and challenges to that status quo – no matter how principled or well intentioned – are viewed as threats, attacked, vilified, and in the case of those imprisoned: confined to sensory deprivation torture units and given 115’s for someone else writing you. Perhaps in the state’s mind – this will prove a deterrent – instead it only motivates me to build even more.
As we speak I am watching an episode of Dr Oz about the profit motivation behind food fraud (false labeling of poorer quality food items: fish, spices, juices, tea, etc., etc.) and the market correlation to lax U.S. enforcement of food standards. This system is so pervasively corrupt on every level of human activity it simply cannot be “reformed.”
When we make A critical analysis of CDCR’s continued opposition to the abolition of long-term sensory deprivation confinement and characterization of our peaceful protest as “gang activity,” what we are looking at is the same antagonistic authoritarian psychosis which not only compelled George Zimmerman to profile, hung, confront, harass, and ultimately murder Trayvon Martin – but more essentially it was behind the American legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) that drafted and lobbied to pass the “stand your ground laws” he relied on, and the initial, and later, failings of Sanford law enforcement in first not bringing charges, then later bungling the prosecution.
Zimmerman believed Trayvon was a criminal and a threat because he was a young New Afrikan man, the Sanford police believed he was correctly killed for the same reason, and the jury believed Trayvon did not have a right to fight back against a grown man and a stranger preventing him from going home, but Zimmerman did have a right to murder Trayvon after being on the losing end of a fight he (Zimmerman) started – for the same reason. 
Equally, CDCR feels we are “gang members” and a “threat” worthy of indefinite torture, simply because we are in prison with ideals divergent from the dominant theme, the psychosis prompts them to violate their own laws in characterizing- (and issuing 115’s based on this characterization) – this peaceful protest action as a “gang activity.” (the 1st Amendment states clearly: “Congress shall make no law… abridging … the right of the people peacibly to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”) , and to continue to resist making the necessary and humane decisions required by this circumstance, the times, and international law. Both sets of phenomena emerged from that single psychosis prevalent in U.S. white male privilege. Hold on.
Now 2 things happened today which were both positive and shocking:
  1. This morning at 6AM, the same identical I.G.I. officer responsible for most of the most inane assaults on my artistic expression and politics, went out of his way and tracked down me and my cellie’s lost laundry. He did not have to do that, and whether he was told to or did so out of pure human decency, I can only speculate  – but it was commendable and respected in either event. I actually have my thermal bottoms back 🙂 Unfortunately, over $100 worth of my books are still missing 😦
  2. They just pulled me and Zah out, took our weight and vitals again (I’m down to 210 Lbs now). We were both surprised and pleased and clearly it’s as a result of you all on the outside calling up here and checking on us – thank you.
Please relay what you can of this to my family, the comrades in the struggle across the nation.

A Discussion on the Agreement to End Hostilities as a Basis for Socio-Economic Empowerment and Inter-communal Independence From the NCTT-COR-SHU

A Discussion on the Agreement to End Hostilities as a Basis for Socio-Economic Empowerment and Inter-communal Independence. From the NCTT-COR-SHU
“To overcome the intelligent by folly is contrary to the natural order of things; to overcome the foolish by intelligence is in accordance with the natural order. To overcome the intelligent by intelligence, however, is a matter of opportunity” (Zhuge Liang)
Greetings brothers and sisters. On August 12, 2012 the Pelican Bay D-Short Corridor Collective issued the historic Agreement to End Hostilities (A.E.H.) in all prison and juvenile facilities and called for its extension to our communities. The strategic and material benefits for our ongoing human rights struggle, [for] thousands of prisoners and their families is obvious.
What may be less obvious is the unprecedented opportunity for social progress and community development represented by the A.E.H.; and more precisely why its popularization in the communities from which prisoners hail, and all similarly affected communities nationally, is so vital. The potential benefit to our interests collectively is equally as vital as the abolition of domestic torture units and mass incarceration as a whole, and in fact, may serve as a new front in that struggle.
In a recent 60 Minutes” exposé a New Jersey state trooper and former Iraq/Afghanistan Occupation Force Veteran began employing counter-insurgency techniques imported from those Middle Eastern battlefields to “clear and hold” poverty-stricken communities in New Jersey. As we watched this program they employed everything from quantification of tattoo I.D. and inter-communal violence data, to “winning the hearts and minds” of residents in order to increase informants amongst the population. The increase in arrests and convictions stats which followed came as no great surprise…nor did the corresponding imprisonment that followed. We noted the lamentable that followed. We noted the lamentable economic condition of the state and this community, in particular at the outset of the story, but only a passing reference was made to potential economic development opportunities that had any hope of empowering that community and those that lived in it.
One of the prevailing factors which prompted this further militarization of law enforcement was the alleged violence between street tribes (i.e., “gangs”) and that surrounding the local drug trade knowing full well these phenomenon are structural aspects of the capitalist arrangement which force many in those communities to form (or join) street tribes for social empowerment or enter the underground economy (narcotics trafficking, etc.) as a survival activity, it reveals this new counter-insurgency-inspired approach was just the latest tactic to win public support for yet another streamlining of the school/poor community to prison pipeline and expansion of the prison industrial complex (PIC).
The NCTT is not simply an analytical body. It is an analytical body whose goal is to provide practical solutions to society’s ills. We immediately began to make inter-connections on the theoretical level between these phenomena, the Agreement to End Hostilities (A.E.H.), collective community development programs, and a commitment to total community inclusion. This New Jersey community could have been any community in Watts, L.A., West Oakland or Southeast San Diego. We thought: would such repressive and authoritarian state measures be justifiable if an effective A.E.H. was in place?
Furthermore, if there were community-owned and operated economic ventures, educational development initiatives, and socio-political empowerment platforms inclusive of, and beneficial to, everyone in the community would there even be a needfor the residents to sell dope to, or ride on, one another?
If our communities were self-sufficient, politically-empowered, and markedly less violent would that not translate into less of our brothers, sisters and children being exposed to the prospect of imprisonment and our communities being subjected to the militaristic occupation tactics of the state? It is our contention that the potential exists for this and much, much more.
The violence and rebellion against private property and bourgeoisie “law” which accompany the desperation of poverty and social alienation have long been the foundation for justifying the introduction and passage of draconian laws and GeStaPo-style enforcement tactics in depressed communities. We can assure you, the NYPD is not pushing “stop and frisk” on the [denzins] of the Upper East Side. These self-fulfilling prophesies of underdevelopment have decimated entire generations of young men (and women), consigning them to the (maw of the) PIC. It has also been utilized as the chief cornerstone in the state’s justification for the maintenance and expansion of SHU torture units. It is the very basis of the “worst of the worst” propaganda that Stainer and his ilk continue to spout.
The A.E.H., designed to preserve and expand the solidarity of our prisoner human rights struggle has also had the objective effect of further undermining the state’s untenable position by taking that argument away from them. If intra-prisoner violence is no longer occurring as a result of the A.E.H., how then can intra-prisoner violence be used as a way to confine men to torture units indefinitely as “the worst of the worst?” It obviously can’t.
However, what may not be obvious is the A.E.H. provides us with a unique opportunity to also take that argument from community-based law enforcement agencies and remove tenuous justifications they’re currently employing to terrorize our communities. It is a crime to be poor in America. From the indentured servitude and pauper’s prisons of the 18thand 19th century, to the array of criminalization measures used today (i.e., “gang injunctions,” prohibiting citizens from congregating with their own friends and neighbors; “stop and frisk”- powers which legalize profiling, and mandatory drug testing for recipients of public financial aid–the ugly essence of criminal presupposition) the U.S. capitalist state has always sought to criminalize the poor.
The A.E.H. can alter the historic dynamic by providing our communities with an environment in which to restructure our socio-economic reality and common ground upon which to pursue mutually beneficial cooperative efforts, independent of the hostile, antagonistic state and its modern predatory capitalism.
But how would that look on the ground? To answer that question we discussed the validity and practical application of such an undertaking, in relation to the realities on the ground. The final interpretation of that analysis led us to two basic conclusions:
1) Many of our younger brothers and sisters are so embroiled in these cycles of violence and retribution that if the A.E.H. were embraced en masse beyond the walls, not only would it require a productive program of genuine material benefits for them, to act as an incentive and fill the void previously occupied with contra-positive activities, but
2) We’d also need principled and respected soldiers on the ground to mitigate misunderstandings.
The remainder of this discussion will thus be a direct outgrowth of these two primary prerequisites.
The NCTT-COR-SHU has previously articulated within the context of comprehensive community development and social transformation three pilot programs. It is our contention that these same pilot programs and other initiatives specifically developed for youth social empowerment, such as “The Youth Community Action Program (YCAP)”, initiated within the confines of a universally-adopted and mutually enforced Agreement to End Hostilities (AEH) can give us the tools to reclaim our own communities from police state occupation, rebuild them into bastions of collective prosperity and shared success, while denying the PIC and the capitalist state the opportunity to exploit our young homies, g.homies, comrades and the intra-class/race contradictions we’ve had to endure under this corrupt system (divide and rule).
We took the time to explore the viability of these ideas by engaging those right here in this torture unit (Corcoran-SHU) from every cultural group on whether this would be something their homies and communities would be interested in. If brothers and sisters didn’t have to worry about being tripped on, or having to ride on cats that rode on their homies, would they be interested in pursuing and working in community-owned businesses and agricultural communes that kept all the funds, fruits and employment in their community? Prison industrialists, corporations and politicians are consistently drafting laws to criminalize our daily lives and cultures. Would they be interested in organizing all their families, homies and home girls without felony records into voting blocks and lobbying bodies to push legislation that benefited theirinterests (i.e., abolishing the slavery provision of the 13thAmendment that precludes those convicted of a felony from voting, creation of community-based parole boards so their loved ones could finally get a date, or abolishing “gang injunctions” that criminalize associating with friends and neighbors you’ve grown up with all your life)? We held these conversations with young and old alike, from every cultural group and affiliation, and the response was universally positive. Some had never even viewed these concepts as a possibility, but by the wisdom of the Pelican Bay D-Short Corridor Collective the A.E.H. has given rise to possibilities previously unimaginable.
It is our contention that a concerted effort by all cultural groups and affiliations to extend the Agreement to End Hostilities (A.E.H.) to all communities in society where we have influence, coupled with designating specific personally-respected and reputable soldiers – to ensure the A.E.H. is understood and adhered to by their communities would give us both the social climate and manpower to organize effective closed-circuit economic initiatives, sustainable agricultural communes, and block-vote democratic initiatives.
In so doing we would transform the socio-economic paradigm in our communities, increasing the options and opportunities of our peoples without having to submit to the expropriation of our labor and talent by those who’ve built an industry around our inequality and enforced human misery.
What are we suggesting is extending the A.E.H. to the streets as a basis upon which to build an independent economy, our own self-sustaining agriculture and organized political power capable of ensuring our communities and loved ones are no longer a marginalized segment of the population preyed upon the fuel the prison industrial complex (for more information on the NCTT three pilot programs go to: NCTTCorSHU.org or see “A Discussion on Strategy for the National Occupy Movement” @sfbayview.com and nettcorshu.org.
But there is even more opportunity for us here, brothers and sisters. One of the universal complaints of responsible thinking soldiers from all cultural groups is [that] our young brothers and sisters are receiving no meaningful development and are left to the tender mercies of the U.S. capitalist counter-culture of predatory greed and reactionary violence. They are emulating the irrationality inherent in the poor and powerless preying on the poor and powerless as a path to power and prosperity. This is not to castigate the quality of our young soldiers but to acknowledge structural setbacks in orientation and development.
Those who were following the “Each One, Teach One” tradition are either (to a great degree) isolated in prisons, SHU’s or have turned their backs on the community completely for upward class mobility. There is even an unsavory segment who are actually taking advantage of this situation of uneven development for their own selfish gain. In either regard, all of us can agree that increasing the quality of young men and women being developed in our communities will empower us all, further improve the problem-solving skills of our young brothers and sisters, and improve the quality of life for all our people(s).
To that end, we propose the adoption and implementation of the “Youth Community Action Program” as a model for both developing and empowering our young sisters and brothers in the hoods, projects, barrios, rural towns, suburbs and trailer parks where our communities are situated. The Youth Community Action Program (YCAP) is both an educational/training program and a co-operative economic nonprofit initiative which targets underclass youth and neighborhoods employing volunteers from the youth’s own community and family to work in concert with YCAP activists in a two phase development initiative.
Phase I – Involves a five (5) times a week, 2-½ hour (after school) educational and training initiative that focuses on history (from the true perspective, think: Zinn, Diop, and Dela Valle); cultural awareness to retard racial conflicts and strife between oppressed nationalities and citizens stemming from stereotypes and misconceptions of Asian, New Afrikan, Mexican/Latino, Euro-American, and Middle Eastern (etc.) cultures; computer- and technological literacy, the arts (visual, music, dance, etc.) and science/engineering; three out of every five days a week the final hour will be devoted to martial arts, self-defense training and strategic thought (to promote self-discipline and critical thinking). Participants must comply with participation in Phase I to be eligible for Phase II inclusion.
Phase II – Involves establishing a collectively-owned community-based venture which each youth participant will own an equal stake in and be trained in the area of the venture which best suits them. All will receive equal revenue portions/pay (collective work and responsibility, equalitarian distribution of wealth).
Perhaps one of the more enjoyable commonalities shared by all the cultural groups engaged in A.E.H. is a fondness for the custom-car cultures. Building on the intra-cultural commonality, the pilot venture can be a custom-car garage (think “pimp by ride”) where we can seek in-kind donations of equipment and old cars (all tax-deductible), cash donations and fundraiser revenues to fund the rest. Volunteers from this industry will train such youngsters in exchange for marketing publicity for their own ventures while we also seek industry-related sponsors. The cars will be retrofitted, rebuilt and “pimped out” into custom low riders, donks, and euro-tuners and then put on the lot for sale and website auction. The proceeds from each sale or client “fix-up” will be split equally among the youth (50% of the profit), 20% will go to expand the nonprofit initiative, 20% will go to a college fund for them all, and 10% will flow back into expanding the venture. We, in this manner, provide them with an economic incentive to be indoctrinated into collective practices and progressive activism, bring the community closer to one another, and introduce a new source of revenue into the underclass community where that chapter of YCAP is based.
The positive social impact on our communities for our people who live in these communities should be significant. But equally impact-ful is all this progress would originate with the A.E.H., and the A.E.H. originated from prisoners in the SHU (the Pelican Bay D-Short Corridor Collective, to be precise). Can you all imagine the political success for our movement to abolish indefinite SHU confinement which would glow from such irrefutably positive public opinion? In the face of such success we would eradicate the myth that we are “the worst of the worst” while exposing the intention underdevelopment and predatory law enforcement practices of a capitalist state which has effectively dehumanized our communities, our families, our very children.
Central to understanding and responding to our indefinite torture as validated SHU prisoners and to human misery endemic of underclass communities where the majority of us come from is understanding the nature and structure of U.S. capitalism and our relationship to the productive system. The fact that we are holding this discussion with you from a SHU, and underclass men/women are virtually the entire prison population, is the best proof that the relationship between our communities and the ruling class of the productive system is a hostile one, one where we seek to wrest power from them sufficient to reclaim our humanity and enforce our dignity in the arenas of social life, while they in turn are disinclined to relinquish their authority to dehumanize and exploit us. As long as we are bound by the paradigm of the dominant culture, functioning within the labyrinth of our own exploitation by a socio-economic structure which institutionally disfavors both our communities and ourselves, regardless of cultural character, will continue the cycle of torture and misery.
What must be understood is the small social forces which have deemed our communities “high crime areas” and we (SHU prisoners) “the worst of the worst” are the same social forces that have reduced the social ties between people to naked self-interest and callous cash payment; the same forces who have transformed personal worth into mere exchange value, and subordinated countless of our hard-won freedoms to their one and only freedom – the freedom of “free trade.” We are mere commodities to them, piles of human flesh they can use to expropriate a specific annual amount of the social product (taxes) depending on where they warehouse our flesh (G.P., SHU, Administrative-Segregation (Ad-Seg.), etc.) – our exchange value tabulated by prison industrial labor aristocrats (CCPOA, Administrators) and corporate interests to determine exactly how they need to manipulate public opinion and the electorate to maintain their privilege. We have an opportunity with the A.E.H. to fight back!
We have the opportunity to forge a new socio-economic and political paradigm which is structured outside the confines of the dominant culture, and definitely serves the interests of our communities, our families, us. The only question is do we collectively possess the political will to carry the Agreement to End Hostilities (A.E.H.) to its logical and victorious conclusion?
But this is all theoretical, a discussion designed to promote and inspire a glimpse of one possible future and encourage us all to consider it. We have a chance to not only change our communities for the better, but to definitively turn public opinion in our favor in the protracted struggle to abolish the domestic torture units SHU prisoners are condemned to endure.
No matter where this discussion leads, the very foundation of the premise would not exist if not for the wisdom of the Pelican Bay D-Short Corridor Collective in enacting the Agreement to End Hostilities (A.E.H.). We all, and society as a whole, owe them their thanks. Think on these things. They are cause for great meditation.
NCTT-COR-SHU.
For more info on the NCTT-COR-SHU or its work product go to NCTTCORSHU.org or contact:
Zaharibu Dorrough, D80611, CSP-Cor-SHU, 4B1L-43, P.O. Box 3481, Corcoran, CA 93212;
J. Heshima Denham, 38283, CSP-Cor-SHU, 4B1l-43, P.O. Box 3481, Corcoran, CA 93212;
Kambui Robinson, C82830, CSP-Cor-SHU, 4B1L-49, P.O. Box 3481, Corcoran, CA 93212;
Jabara Scott, H30356, CSP-Cor-SHU, 4B1L-49, P.O. Box 3481, Corcoran, CA 93212.
For more information on the NCTT three pilot programs go to:

Twitter: @NCTTCorSHU

This essay was also posted on: SF Bay View (August 30th, 2013)

Report from 4B-1L concerning threats of violence by staff used to move peaceful protesters on hunger strike

Letter from J., July 11th, 2013, received on July 27th:
Also posted on: SF Bay View

I write these words in the very utmost respect and solidarity to you and our ongoing protracted peaceful protest to bring about change to our torturous conditions and environment.

I’m writing to inform you of the latest events that occurred here at Corcoran State Prison, 4B-1L Short Corridor on July 11, 2013 at approximately 11 a.m.

On this day and time Sgt. Vogel and two of his CO’s entered the short corridor with a list of names of guys from  all racial groups in which they went door-to-door informing them that they were moving immediately–no if’s, and’s, or but’s–willingly or by force!!!

Z. and H. were first on that list in which the strategy employed here by CDCR’s enforcers was clearly to provoke these brothers into taking a violent stance, because at the same time as Sgt. Vogel and his CO’s were following their orders (which he made clear his orders were handed down by the very top, Warden Connie Gipson and Associate Warden J.C. Smith, along with IGI’s coordinating from behind the scene) the riot team was out front strategizing and preparing for a full-scale war. Again it was clear that the strategy here was purely to provoke our beloved brothers into taking a violent stance to turn our peaceful protest into a violent one so that they could run to the media with these latest events to taint the strength and momentum of our peaceful protest.

As soon as all the guys on the list were informed of their immediate departure the riot team began to put their scare tactics into motion, sandbags were dragged in and placed in front of each person’s doors that were on the list to prevent guys from doing any last minute communicating or returning any items they may have had of someone. Next they bring in a giant plexiglass barricade used for cell extractions, and placed it in the middle
of the dayroom so it would be clearly seen.

Then about 25 CO’s came filing in in full riot gear with a cameraman in tow to record the whole event. Each cell they approached, all the guys were packed and ready to peacefully move. In total about seven cells and ten men all peacefully moved!!

You could see the dismay on the majority of the CO’s faces which prove their intent was violence and it was clear that they were upset that every man stayed/remained peaceful and left peacefully even though it was greatly inconveniencing to everyone. We will survive and keep the peaceful protest moving forward towards victory.

We all would truly appreciate it if you could tap into all your resources to do all you can to track our brothers down because we are not 100% sure on our loved one’s exact locations, and get back to me as soon as possible.

Thank you tremendously. In solidarity and strength.

P.S. Could you pass this information to the supporting coalition members, organizations, newspaper, newsletter, and attorneys.

J.
CSP-Cor-SHu 4B 1L

We are being isolated in Corcoran-SHU! No medical checkups! Stripped of property!

From a letter by Zaharibu to a friend:

7/14/13

Forgive me for not being able to write sooner. It has been very, very tiresome. [Thinking of you
all has been quite the motivator]

On Thursday, 7-11-13, the warden here ordered the supposed leaders of the protest be isolated from good people. That meant that the reps from each cultural group from the section that we were in: 4B-1L, C section have been moved. Myself, H., two Southern Hispanics, and two Northern Hispanics.

We are now housed in: 4A-3R. [And three of the guys have been housed in 4A-3L] These blocks are designated as SNY/PC buildings . All of the guys in this building [as well as 4A-3L] are informants. They have debriefed.

A day after we were moved here, mattresses were placed in front of our cell. This we designed to re-enforce, psychologically, the feeling of being isolated. And, I guess, to prevent us from receiving food or beverages from anyone. It’s so silly that is borders on being offensive. We have absolutely nothing at all in common with any of the people housed in the building. There is no reason at all to communicate with or accept anything from them. As is said, it’s a building full of stool pigeons. This is the CDCR’s version of sending us to a black site. The conduct of these guys would be comical were it not so disrespectful. You cannot help but hear the idiot shit that is directed at us. And it’s not just daily, it’s all day.

It’s an Absolute Madhouse.

Moving us down here was an extremely tense situation. The warden did authorize that force be used to move us. And it came very close to that happening. It was incredibly irresponsible of the warden. And a clear case of trying to provoke us into a military posture.

We were naturally stripped of our property. And, just as predictable, some of our personal property items came up missing. Thermals, photos [they took the only two copies of the photo I had of me],dictionary, stationary. I’ll have to replace some of it when I am eligible for my package. The Prison Focus, Bayview, gone! At this point it’s the kind of thing that causes you to think and say-when it’s too hot for everyone else, it’s just right for us!-

We have not been to yard in almost 2 weeks. We have not been allowed to shower in a week.

We received no medical attention. NO WEIGH-INS, NO vital signs checks-nothing. A nurse came to the cell this morning, stood approximately 3-4 feet from the cell, stated “drink plenty of water”, wrote something down and walked away. I called her several times in an effort to explain to her that we are both experiencing light headedness, extreme fatigue, nausea, blurred vision, cold chills, dizziness. The nurse just ignored me and kept walking. It was very obvious that she was reading from a script that she, perhaps all of them have been given. And it is either to not say anything at all to us-or only the bare minimum….

Ordinarily, efforts such as those being made by the state now [Everyone was issued a 128, a Chrono alleging that our participation in a statewide hunger strike with gang members and associates in support of “perceived overly harsh SHU issues”, is gang related activity. And our continued participation will result in progressive disciplinary action] occur in response to efforts, just as enthusiastic, by those of us who have been under the yoke of tyranny for far too long, resisting.

I know that it has been said before, but it is worth saying a thousand times …you all are amazing, brave and inspiring people. Whatever victories that result from this struggle will, in no small measure, be because of your contributions, support, and commitment.

                                                Please take care
                                                 Always with you

                                                             Love, hugs   Z.

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.