Author Archive: Prison Books Collective

The Final Straw: Prisoner hunger strike @ Menard, IL, Khimki Forest defense and more

Pirate_radio_station_5417.jpgFrom AFM

This week’s episode of The Final Straw features, as usual of recent, three segments. It can be heard between 3AM EST Monday, February 3rd 2014 through Sunday, February 9th 2014 at AFM

First, we hear Sean Swain, anarchist prisoner in Ohio’s super-duper-mega-ultra-uber max prison at Youngstown talk about accusations of Utopianism thrown at him for his anarchism. More of his thoughts at http://seanswain.org

Secondly, we speak with author, activist and advocate Staughton Lynd. Mr. Lynd speaks with us about the ongoing hunger strike at Menard Correctional Facility’s administrative segregation units in Illinois. The strikes are in response to prisoner complaints of lack of heat and hot water in the freezing facility that was built in the 1870’s, leaks around the windows, rodent infestations and the lack of transparency around how people get put into the hole or get out of it. Upon initiating the hunger strike, prisoners (in particular Armando Velasquez who was witness being beaten, thrown down stairs and stomped by correctional officers/screws) have faced threats of force, including forced feeding for which Illinois law does not require court orders. You can find out more by contacting the Alice and Staughton Lynd at salynd(aat)aol (d ot)com. Also, check out articles at The SF Bay View on the subject.

If you care to call/write officials to press for an end to the torture:
Warden Rick Harrington, (618) 826-5071, P.O. Box 711, Menard IL 62794-9277
Illinois Department of Corrections Director Salvador Godinez, (217) 558-2200, ext. 2008, P.O. Box 19277, Springfield IL 62794-9277
Gov. Pat Quinn, (217) 782-0244, http://www2.illinois.gov/gov/Pages/ContacttheGovernor.aspx, 207 State House, Springfield IL 62706 (more…)

MI CATS 3 Found Guilty by Jury, taken into custody

heroesAddresses and letter writing information at the bottom of the article.

from Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands

The trial of peaceful activists from Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands (MI CATS) ended today with the jury finding Vicci Hamlin, Lisa Leggio, and Barb Carter guilty of both charges brought against them:  trespassing and resisting and obstructing an officer. Supporters are deeply saddened that after deliberation for over 10 hours the verdict returned as guilty of all counts. The jury was split most of this time, returning to the courtroom several times for clarification. Sentencing was scheduled for March 5th and the defendants’ bail was revoked and immediately taken into custody.

On January 15th when a denied motion to quash was heard by Judge Collette, he told the MI CATS that they would not be allowed to argue that their actions were “environmentally necessary”. Collette said, “If there is somebody leaking oil on a piece of property and you race out in the yard, and you go in and you stop it, and they charge you with trespassing, I’d throw that case out in a heartbeat. That’s what I think of as ‘Environmental Necessity.” The judge obviously does not understand the severity of the looming climate crisis and that unjust laws allow for the destruction of communities and public health so corporations like Enbridge can maximize their profit. Moreover, the outcome of the case was especially discerning since Judge Collette previously stated that he wanted to make an example out of the three protesters.

This action in which Lisa, Barb, and Vicci were a part of, was not only aimed at stopping the expansion of a Enbridge tar sands pipeline before the next disaster, it was also to stand in solidarity with First Nations land being turned into a sacrifice zones to mine tar sands. They used their positions of relative privilege to support communities currently being poisoned in Detroit and others because of extraction industries that put profit before people. Their actions were nothing less than necessary. (more…)

Grand Jury Resister Jerry Koch is Free!

jerrysketch-webFrom NYC Anarchist Black Cross

On Tuesday, January 28th, anarchist grand jury resister Gerald “Jerry” Koch was released from the federal Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan. Koch’s release comes over eight months after his imprisonment for refusing to testify before a grand jury convened under the auspices of investigating the so-called bicycle bomber case.

Judge John Keenan, the presiding judge over Jerry’s case, believes that taking the position of a government run amok, using grand juries as a witch hunt is, “a delusion of grandeur.” Judge Keenan goes on:

There is simply no evidence that the Government [sic], threatened by Koch’s subversive prowess, seeks to bring him before the grand jury on a pretext, either to gain access to the treasure trove that is his circle of friends or to send an ominous message to political dissidents.

In reality, the United States government was following a pattern of using grand juries as fishing expeditions in hopes of better understanding social and political networks of anarchists. (more…)

Eco-Saboteur Rebecca Rubin Gets 5-Year Federal Prison Sentence

The Two Elk Lodge restaurant, foreground, on top of Vail Mountain burns along with another structure at right on Oct. 19, 1998, in Vail, Colo

The Two Elk Lodge restaurant, foreground, on top of Vail Mountain burns along with another structure at right on Oct. 19, 1998, in Vail, Colorado

From The Oregonian

A federal judge on Monday sentenced eco-saboteur Rebecca Rubin to five years in prison — less than what prosecutors sought for the former fugitive from Canada.

Rubin, voice shaking, apologized to her family, the court, firefighters as well as targets of the Animal Liberation Front and Earth Liberation Front.

“I was so convinced at the righteousness of my beliefs, that I chose to ignore my own wrongdoing,” Rubin said.

Chief U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken, who presided over the sentencing hearings in 2007 of Rubin’s co-conspirators in Eugene, praised Rubin’s statement, calling it “the most thoughtful, well-stated, honest, unvarnished apology/explanation.”

“I understand more than you know when you work in a democracy that all things look like they’re black and white when you’re young,” the judge said. “And there are so many shades of gray.”

Federal prosecutors had asked Aiken for a 7 ½-year prison sentence for Rubin. Rubin’s attorney argued for five years.

rebecca rubinRubin pleaded guilty last October before Aiken to arson, attempted arson and conspiracy to commit arson in Oregon, Colorado and California as part of the underground Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front. She participated in four crimes, including planning the eventual $12 million fire that destroyed a ski resort under construction in Vail, Colo., in 1998. (more…)