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THE HOWS AND WHYS OF PRISON ESCAPES

September 16, 2014

swimming-to-freedomFrom Vice News

Over the course of his 50-year career, Donald E. Westlake wrote more than 100 books, the vast majority of them crime fiction—most often seen from the point of view of the criminals. In 1993, the Mystery Writers of America gave him their highest honor, naming him Grand Master, largely on the strength of his two classic series: one featuring hard-boiled burglar Parker (played on screen by Lee Marvin, Robert Duvall, Mel Gibson, and Jason Statham, among others), the other portraying hapless heister John Dortmunder (who lucked out and got Robert Redford—go figure).

Along the way, Westlake wrote a fair amount of nonfiction, usually relating in some way to the crime genre. In October, the University of Chicago Press will publish a selection of that nonfiction in The Getaway Car: A Donald E. Westlake Nonfiction Miscellany. The piece below, an essay originally published in 1961 in the third issue of Ed McBain’s Mystery Book, is a selected history of the hows and whys of great prison breaks. As a writer, Westlake always enjoyed putting his characters into agonizingly difficult situations and seeing how they get out; that enthusiasm for an impossible puzzle animates this essay.  Read more…

Cell Phone Guide for US Protesters

September 16, 2014

cellphone1From Electronic Frontier Foundation

With major protests in the news again, we decided it’s time to update our cell phone guide for protestors. A lot has changed since we last published this report in 2011, for better and for worse. On the one hand, we’ve learned more about the massive volume of law enforcement requests for cell phone—ranging from location information to actual content—and widespread use of dedicated cell phone surveillance technologies. On the other hand, strong Supreme Court opinions have eliminated any ambiguity about the unconstitutionality of warrantless searches of phones incident to arrest, and a growing national consensus says location data, too, is private.

Protesters want to be able to communicate, to document the protests, and to share photos and video with the world. So they’ll be carrying phones, and they’ll face a complex set of considerations about the privacy of the data those phones hold. We hope this guide can help answer some questions about how to best protect that data, and what rights protesters have in the face of police demands. Read more…

The Ex-Worker #28: Anarcha-Feminism, Part II

September 15, 2014

dont-try-to-break-us-well-explode-bFrom Crimethinc.

Back in Episode 26, theEx-Worker shared a panorama of dramatic stories from the lives and struggles of 19th and early 20th century anarchist women… but we didn’t focus much on their ideas. In the second episode of our three-part series on anarcha-feminism, we return our focus to the first generations of rebels who brought together anarchist and feminist currents, this time to explore their distinctive revolutionary visions. We survey the context of early revolutionary and feminist ideas, and the distinct perspectives of early anarcha-feminists on marriage, sexuality, economic and bodily autonomy, suffrage, revolutionary sexism, and strategies for women’s emancipation. The Chopping Block discusses Free Women of Spain, Martha Ackelsberg’s classic study of the Spanish anarchist women’s group Mujeres Libres. Listeners weigh in on sports, a special guest contributor offers a correction about indigenous resistance to fracking, and we begin a fascinating conversation on solidarity actions and anonymity amidst the news, event announcements, statements from political prisoners, and more.

Trigger warning: This episode includes a few passing references to sexual or domestic violence: nothing too graphic, but we wanted to give all of you a heads up. The references appear at 11:40, 35:50, 41:25, 1:04:50, and 1:33:44.

You can download this and all of our previous episodes online. You can also subscribe in iTunes here or just add the feed URL to your podcast player of choice. Rate us on iTunes and let us know what you think, or send us an email topodcast@crimethinc.com. You can also call us 24 hours a day at 202–59-NOWRK, that is, 202–596–6975.

From One North Carolina Prison, Reports of an Eight-Month Lockdown

September 11, 2014
Scotland CI

Scotland CI

From Solitary Watch/ by Lisa Dawson

Across the United States, even prisoners who have not been placed in solitary confinement or any form of “segregation” can be subjected to a “lockdown” in which they may be held in solitary-like conditions, confined to their cells nearly round-the-clock. Brief lockdowns are a common occurrence, and lockdowns lasting months or more are not unusual. Individuals subjected to lockdown are generally denied even the pro-forma review processes afforded to most others placed in solitary confinement.

In the “Close Custody” unit–a single celled, high-security unit–at North Carolina’s Scotland Correctional Institution, nearly 800 men have been on indefinite lockdown since December 28, 2013. Individuals subjected to the lockdown have been confined to their cells for 22 to 23 hours a day for eight months and counting.

When asked by Solitary Watch about the status of Scotland, North Carolina Department of Public Safety (NC DPS) spokesperson Keith Acree stated that he was unaware that the prison was on lockdown. Read more…

When Cops Stay Hiding & Go Running: A Report Back from 8/8 Night of Action & 8/30 March for Ryan Ronquillo in Denver, CO

September 11, 2014

fuckthepolice

From Anarchist News

When Cops Stay Hiding & Go Running:
A Report Back from 8/8 Night of Action & 8/30 March for Ryan Ronquillo in Denver, CO

As the event to raise funds for Ryan Ronquillo’s family drew to a close and the banner reading “Justice for Ryan Ronquillo” was lowered, the crowd seemed anxious. There were about 60 people left of the 250 who came through the door for the event that was co-organized with the family and their friends, along with local hip hop artists Brer Rabbit, Sole, Molina Speaks, Stay Tuned, Jonny 5, and Time. Maybe anxiety wasn’t really the feeling going around that night. People were on edge, sure. But mostly people. The District Attorney Mitch Morrissey had just made the decision to close the “investigation”—If you can call it that—of Ryan’s assassination at the Romero Funeral home on July 2nd of this year (2014). He concluded that because he was in a car, he wielded a deadly weapon and thus his death was justified and all the cops involved would face no further scrutiny. His parents didn’t even know about the DA’s decision until some of their friends found out on 9 News, and were in complete shock. They were shut out of the entire investigative process, and still hadn’t been able to learn the names of those who murdered their son until that night, with the publication of the DA’s decision. Read more…

The 119th Free Market

September 10, 2014
Free Marketeers making piñatas for next month. You can check out more pictures here.

Free Marketeers making piñatas for next month. You can check out more pictures here.

From Really Free Carrboro

Saturday September 6th was the 9 Year and 11 Month Anniversary of the Carrboro Really Really Free Market. That’s 119 Really Really Free Markets. We celebrated by making piñatas for the 120th Really Really Free Market, the 10 year Anniversary next month on OCTOBER 4th at 2PM. Did we mention we’re having a pinata contest? And a birthday cake contest!

This Saturday our world famous free market was visited by Ashanti Alston andSubmedia, both of whom just spoke on UNC campus.  Like always many things were exchanged, from the usual watermelon, ice cream, groceries, boots, books and clothes to the unusual, a telescope! One very happy young person will be doing some late night star gazing from the balcony of their Carrboro apartment.

And next month, cloud cover and light pollution allowing, we can all star gaze together on Carrboro Town Commons. A little astronomy is just one of the many things being shared during our 10 Year Celebration. We’ve confirmed bike repair, radical history, a harm reduction workshop, a puppet show and all kinds of music. Food Not Bombs and Prayers & Pancakes will both be serving up meals and snacks and there will be a grocery distribution as well. Read more…

In Legal Battle Over Grand-Jury Secrecy, Ninth Circuit Court Sides with The Stranger

September 9, 2014
The doors of the Ninth Circuit courthouse in downtown Seattle—the same courthouse that was vandalized on May Day 2012, sparking very aggressive law-enforcement activity over people's political beliefs.

The doors of the Ninth Circuit courthouse in downtown Seattle—the same courthouse that was vandalized on May Day 2012, sparking very aggressive law-enforcement activity over people’s political beliefs.

From The Stranger

Well, the court sided with The Stranger for the most part.

Last Friday, the Ninth Circuit published its opinion about our ongoing fight with the federal government over how secret its grand jury proceedings should be. The short version: They wanted automatic and almost total secrecy and opacity, we wanted transparency—or at least some clearly argued standards about why certain documents should be sealed and kept away from the public. On Friday, the court found in our favor. We won. Mostly.

The background: In the summer of 2012, law-enforcement officials began handing subpoenas to activists around the Northwest, ordering them to appear before a federal grand jury in Seattle. These weren’t all polite knocks on the door—in some instances, agents battered their way into activists’ homes before sunrise with guns drawn. The grand jury was supposedly investigating what happened on May Day, 2012, when demonstrators in an anti-capitalist march smashed out the windows of stores, banks, and the Ninth Circuit Federal Courthouse downtown.

The investigation landed several political activists in jail for months. Some, like Matthew Duran and Katherine “Kteeo” Olejnik, spent a few of those months in solitary confinement for reasons the federal government and the detention facility still refuse to explain.

These activists weren’t accused of any crime—prosecutors acknowledged they weren’t even in town on May Day. They were imprisoned because they appeared before the grand jury as ordered but refused to answer troubling questions about other people’s social habits and political opinions. Read more…

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