What an Alabama Prisoners’ Strike Tells Us About Prison Labor

People incarcerated in the Alabama prison system began striking Monday over what they’ve described as inhumane treatment. Organizers say thousands have participated in the work stoppage.

The protesters have a list of demands, including changes to the state’s parole and sentencing laws. Gov. Kay Ivey has called the list “unreasonable.”

In the wake of the strike, some Alabama prisoners have shared pictures of the miserable portions of cold food now being served, with some calling it an “attempt to starve out protests.” One image shows a hard dollop of grits served with a single slice of cheese and a few bits of canned fruit. Prison officials have said the change to meals is not retaliation, but simply a matter of capacity, since the people who typically cook are not working.

Whether or not you buy that, one thing is indisputable: Incarcerated people, in Alabama and across the rest of the country, perform a tremendous amount of labor both within

— source themarshallproject.org | Jamiles Lartey | Oct 12, 2022

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Israel Doesn’t Allow Female Soldiers to Write

The Israel Defense Forces does not allow female soldiers to write. Yes, you read correctly. It applies “only” to soldiers incarcerated in the new military prison at Neve Tzedek (in Hebrew, Oasis of Justice), but they’re not allowed to hold writing implements, except for a half hour or 20 minutes a day at best. This ban did not exist in the old military prisons, which have been closed. It’s happening only in the new one, which has won praise.

MK Gaby Lasky (Meretz) posed a query on the issue on September 19. Two months later, on November 15, attorney Gali Ofir, an adviser to Defense Minister Benny Gantz, answered that: “The decision to restrict the use of writing implements was made by the commander of the prison base.”

The answer that I received from a military official on November 11 was different: “An initial examination revealed that there are no restrictions on writing implements.” In

— source Jews For Justice For Palestinians | Amira Hass | Nov. 22, 2021

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Navalny vs Assange, or the geopolitics of selective outrage

The hearts of political leaders in the United States and its imperialist allies are bleeding for imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Jailed on February 2 this year, after returning from Germany where he received treatment for an alleged poisoning by the Russian state, Navalny has since gone on hunger strike.

The outrage over Navalny’s imprisonment and resulting health crisis is an object lesson in imperialist cynicism and intrigue. Those most passionately invoking his democratic rights are the architects of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s continuing and vastly more severe persecution.

There is nothing remotely comparable between the two men, and the differences are not in Navalny’s favour.

Assange is a heroic journalist who played a leading role in the exposure of some of the worst imperialist crimes of the 21st century, from covered-up details of the brutal occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan to US torture camps and extraordinary renditions.

Navalny is a right-wing, nationalist politician, who has referred to migrants from the Caucasus as “cockroaches” that should be killed. He represents a wing of the Russian

— source wsws.org | Thomas Scripps | 20 Apr 2021

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Guantánamo’s Youngest Prisoner Cleared for Release 20 Years After He Was Jailed Without Charges

The U.S. government has cleared Guantánamo’s youngest prisoner for release. Hassan bin Attash has been jailed by the U.S. for the last 20 years, even though has never been charged with a crime. He was just 17 years old when he was captured in Karachi by Pakistani security services in 2002 and turned over to the United States. Attorneys say Attash was tortured by the U.S. and its allies for up to 12 hours a day over a two-year period, including at a CIA black site. The Biden administration says Attash will remain at the Guantánamo Bay prison while it tries to find a country willing to offer him rehabilitation.

— source democracynow.org | Apr 28, 2022

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Lithuania to sell secret U.S. ‘rendition’ site

A huge steel barn outside Lithuania’s capital, whose long corridor and windowless rooms with carpets and soundproof doors once served as a CIA detention centre, will soon go on sale.

Washington’s so-called “rendition programme”, under which suspected Islamist militants from conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq were spirited to jails outside U.S. jurisdiction, remains shrouded in secrecy more than a decade after it ended.

European Court of Human Rights has confirmed that the 10-room building, in snowy pine forest in the village of Antaviliai outside Vilnius, was used by the CIA to hold terrorist suspects from 2005-2006.

It was known as “Project No. 2” or “Detention Site Violet”.

— source wtvbam.com | Andrius Sytas | Jan 24, 2022

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A torture chamber for the sick and old

The jailed Native American activist Leonard Peltier has tested positive for COVID, less than a week after describing his prison as a “torture chamber.” Peltier, who suffers from multiple health conditions, says he and others held at the Coleman Federal Correctional Complex in Florida have yet to receive their COVID booster shots and describes worsening neglect and uncertainty. In a statement, Leonard Peltier writes, “Left alone and without attention is like a torture chamber for the sick and old.”

The 77-year-old Leonard Peltier is a Lakota and Chippewa Native American from the state of North Dakota. He’s been jailed for 46 years. In 1977, he was convicted of killing two FBI agents during a shootout on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in 1975. At the time, Peltier was a member of AIM, the American Indian Movement. He has always maintained his innocence. Amnesty International considers him a political prisoner who was not granted a fair trial.

The 1975 shootout occurred two years after AIM occupied the village of Wounded Knee for 71 days. The occupation of Wounded Knee is considered the beginning of what Oglala people

— source democracynow.org | Jan 31, 2022

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Ill-Treatment of Stan Swamy in Jail

A pretrial detainee at the Taloja central prison in the outskirts of Mumbai, who spent close to a year with 84-year-old Jharkhand-based tribal rights activist Father Stan Swamy, says the Jesuit priest struggled for a long time before he finally died in July last year.

The prisoner, Iklakh Rahim Shaikh, arrested in March 2019, has written a 14-page scathing letter accusing the prison administration of ignoring Swamy’s deteriorating health conditions and denying him treatment even when he was rapidly slipping.

The letter, sent to The Wire through a co-prisoner also at Taloja jail, gives a vivid account of the hardship that prisoners are made to suffer. Shaikh’s name is mentioned with his consent, as he wants “the world to know what he and many like him have been subjected to inside jail”.

Shaikh writes that when Swamy was first brought to jail in October 2019, he was stable although elderly. “He eventually, however, developed heart and spinal complications soon

— source thewire.in | Sukanya Shantha | 06/Jan/2022

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Muslim Army Chaplain at Guantánamo

But I converted to Islam back in the early ’90s, and I was already in the military as a graduate of West Point, serving in the Air Defense Artillery as a young lieutenant, and then, after converting to Islam, thought I could fulfill a pretty unique role in becoming a chaplain in the U.S. military, because at that time there were no Muslim chaplains in the U.S. military. And I entered — I reentered active duty in early 2001 as a Muslim chaplain. And in the immediate post-9/11 aftermath, I was someone who the U.S. Army Public Affairs looked to to handle media requests that dealt with anything that had to do with Muslims who were serving in the U.S. military, especially following the tragic attacks on 9/11 where many of these Muslim servicemembers were experiencing backlash.

So, my name was out there not only in U.S. Army Public Affairs but in the Department of Defense, also the State Department. And so, when we started bombarding Afghanistan and opened the prison camp at Guantánamo, I was earmarked for that assignment down in Guantánamo. And I would arrive to the prison camp in early November, almost exactly at the same time that the now-infamous Major General Geoffrey Miller took command of the Joint Task Force. And like you said in your intro, I was there for 10 months. I was supposed to have

— source democracynow.org | Jan 11, 2022

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Guantánamo Turns 20

Twenty years ago today, the United States began imprisoning Muslim men at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba. Over the past 20 years, the U.S. has held 779 men at the secretive prison. Most were never charged with a crime. Many were tortured, held in isolation, shackled, hooded, kicked, threatened with dogs. When prisoners organized hunger strikes to protest their mistreatment, they were force-fed in a manner described as torture by the United Nations.

Today 39 prisoners remain. Guantánamo opened under the administration of George W. Bush. It continued under Barack Obama, Donald Trump and now Joe Biden. While Biden has said he wants to close the prison, his administration is making preparations to stay for years. The Pentagon is now building what The New York Times has described as a new secret courtroom at Guantánamo. The Biden administration has so far transferred just one prisoner since Biden took office.

On Monday, the interagency Periodic Review Board recommended the transfer of a Somali man named Guled Hassan Duran, who’s been held by the U.S. without charge since 2004 as a so-called high-value detainee. He was held first at a CIA secret black site and then Guantánamo. It remains unclear if he will actually be freed. Over a dozen other Guantánamo

— source democracynow.org | Jan 11, 2022

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Guantánamo, Injustice Continues Even After Release

You know, I have today important message for Americans. I would like — I wish, if George W. Bush and his gang was with us today, to have a friendly conversation. You know, what is America? From my perspective, America is not the nuclear arsenal. It’s not the military power, economic power. It is a set of values, that founded — founded by the Founding Fathers.

So, if we just look at the core of the problem, just zoom out, we are dealing for 20 years of war on terror, or war of terror, 20 years of the Guantánamo, 20 years of war anniversary of Afghanistan, will be also 20 years of War in Iraq. Then we are marking also one year of raid, riot on the Capitol Hill. The core of the problem is the Republicans, the one who created destruction outside the — created destruction outside the country, then brought that destruction to in the country. And, you know, we are dealing with the legacy of Republicans now. What put us all in that position, what put Americans in that position, it is the legacy of the Republicans. And anyone who can destroy America is the Republicans themselves, not any force, not al-Qaeda, not terrorism, not any force. It is the Republicans themselves, the way they behave, the way they abandoned American morals and values. So, basically, if anyone destroy democracy at all are the Republicans themselves, because what we are dealing here, it is the legacy of them for the last 20 years. If we look at the 20 years, what happened there, it is the legacy of Republicans. Now we are dealing for 20 years of Guantánamo. You know, those groups, I believe, and I recommend the Americans, they should be banned to practice any political for the next 20 years, end their [inaudible] of their minds.

So, 20 years now we are talking about Guantánamo. We are talking about 20 years of indefinite detention, 20 years of torture, 20 years of injustice, 20 years of failure of and abuse to the American justice system. You know, it’s not about the detainees. It’s not about the place. It’s about us as a human being, as humanity. So, today I’m so sad. You

— source democracynow.org | Jan 11, 2022

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