Category Archives: News and Updates

February 2013: They Waited, Wanted and Watched For Me To Die…

Things I Don’t Do

Even before I began my political journey in 2001, I maintained certain principles; a variety of things I just don’t do.  And usually, if ever I deviated from those principles, even in error, I’d end up in a tangle of trouble.

February 2013 was an ordeal.  I broke some of my rules and things got ugly.  What happened is yet another experience that those who blindly trust the system, and those who don’t, need to know about.

Among my longstanding “don’t dos” are 1) I don’t do suicide and 2) I don’t do intoxicants.  Suicide’s a no-brainer.  Since I couldn’t fathom caving in to pressure – especially not from the opposition.  Which is the only way I could see taking myself out.  But more important is the political principle that my life is not mine’s to take.  It belongs to the people.  And that’s not to posture nor sound “politically correct.”  It’s a genuine commitment.  The intoxicant thing is a bit more complicated.  For one, I don’t like not being in control of myself.  Secondly, when under the influence I go soft in the head, being what some call “chemically imbalanced,” or in other words, I literally go berzerk when intoxicated.  And since I don’t use, it doesn’t take much to tip me completely over.

Meet Mr. Highjinks

My troubles of February 2013 were the result of breaking these two particular “don’t dos.”  Over a three day period I got intoxicated, then, under the influence, attempted suicide – twice.  And the pigs and “professionals” quite blatantly watched and waited for me to die, which compelled me, once I sobered up, into yet another life and death struggle to not let that happen.

The intoxication wasn’t intentional (on my part), but the practical joke I might say of an apolitical and particularly mischievous peer.  A fella who routinely makes and takes cocktails of various mind-altering prescription drugs he collects.  Although he has consented to being identified by name, being remorseful and willing to confess his role in the ordeal his shenanigans caused, I’ll just call him Mr. Highjinks (for obvious reasons).

For some time he’d tried to convince me to pop some pills with him.  Wanting to share his and many others’ method of escaping the maddening tedium of solitary confinement.  I declined of course.  But he kept at it, trying all sorts of enticements.  To no avail.  But what I didn’t realize was how determined he really was to get me pickled.  Nor that he’d use devious methods to do it.

Mr. Highjinks Spikes the Spread

To give a bit of diversity to the otherwise bland prison diets, prisoners – when we can afford it – sometimes make homemade pizza-like or casserole concoctions by combining foods purchased from the prison commissary and foods taken from our prison meals.  Sometimes several prisoners will contribute various food items and one person will make the “meal” that is then shared around.  The concoction is called different names depending what prison system you’re in.  Here in Oregon it’s called a “spread.”

Well, on January 31st, I “put in” with Mr. Highjinks to make a spread, contributing items left over from our special Christmas commissary purchase along with some ingredients from the meal trays.  Turns out Mr. Highjinks decided to spike the spread with one of his pill concoctions that has him bouncing off the walls for days at a time.  To him it was all in fun.

I didn’t consume my entire portion of the spread until Saturday, February 2nd, and that’s when and how things went south.  The result was a total loss of impulse control, and an odd compulsion toward self-annihilation.  In short, I lost my mind.

Outta My Head

First I got into a fracas with the goon squad (about seven guards dressed out in full body armor with gas, taser and a large plexiglass shield).  Then I overdosed on dozens of my own prescription anti-inflammatory medications.  Followed by another clash with the goon squad, as I was being prepared to be taken to the hospital for the OD.  At the hospital – St. Alphonsus Medical Center in Ontario, Oregon – no treatment was given, except a staged blood test while I was kept hidden away in an isolated back room.  Within a couple of hours of arriving I was dischaarged back to the prison, where that same night (shortly after midnight, Sunday the 3rd), I was placed on a Close Observation Suicide (SCO) watch, inside a suicide monitoring cell where I found a razor blade.  Obviously no coincidence.

The next day (Monday the 3rd), still out of my head, I broke the razor into three pieces and swallowed them.  This was witnessed by a sergeant and captured on camera.  The entire experience played before me like I was standing outside myself watching someone else.

I was again taken to the same hospital, where again no care was given.  Although they went through the motions of taking x-rays (which they wouldn’t let me see), the hospital staff, who were pretty blatant about not wanting me there (apparently a skin thing), claimed the films showed definitively that no razors were inside me.  By then I was sobering up, and, losing my suicidal compulsion, I contested that they were wrong or outright lying, and should do further investigation.  With a bit of attitude the doctor – named Bean – declined and told the guards to be off with me.

To Eat or Not to Eat

Knowing the fatal danger of a punctured intestine I protested to prison medical and security staff upon my return that I still had three razor pieces inside me.  They blew me off, citing the hospital report to the contrary.  So I declined to eat or drink, expecting that stimulating digestion would cause the razors to move along and slice through my contracting entrails.  Meantime I repeatedly requested medical staff to order further x-rays.  They refused, indifferent to my protests.

Several admitted my concerns were valid if I actually did have razors inside me, but of course I didn’t, they contended, because the hospital said so.  I went six days without food or liquids, and dropped twenty pounds in just as long.  I requested intravenous hydration from nursing staff and the doctor – named Garth Gulick – which was also denied.  I was told that I was choosing myself not to eat and drink, so they would not intervene.

The New Hippocratic Oath:  “Do Nothing”

On the fourth day without food and water, I fell unconscious in the cell, and was taken by gurney to the prison’s medical center.  Gulick was called, and simply told them to put me back in the cell.  That my severe dehydration was my own fault.

To validate refusing me medical hydration, a nurse named Folkman lyingly documented in my medical file that she witnessed me drinking water on my 5th day without food or liquids.  When on the 6th day without food or liquids Gulick assured me he’d watch me dehydrate to death, and he cited Folkman as a witness that I really wasn’t going without liquids (although my tongue was white and “furry,” my lips parched, and my skin scaly), I decided to risk drinking water.

Initially, I kept vomiting the water back up, while suffering extreme stabbing pains in my abdomen.  Gradually, the water stayed down.  Then later that night I defecated a puddle of blood laced with bile.  A nurse Fritz was alerted to the situation and ordered x-rays, taking seriously my protests that I still had razors inside and obviously cutting me.  The next day Gulick overruled her order for x-rays.

Meantime, everyday mental health staff attempted to meet with me to try and take me off SCO status.  I refused to talk to them in order to remain on SCO status for as long as possible.  This way I remained under documented close monitoring in case the razors otherwise caused serious complications.  On SCO status I remained in a completely bare cold cell, naked except for  sleeveless nylon smock and nothing else but two nylon sheets.  I was left to sleep and lie on a bare concrete slab.

Throughout the ordeal I endured constant severe abdominal and kidney pains, and was discharging blood in my urine daily.

Gulick made a game of it all.  Being such a fanatic for denying prisoners needed care, every time I saw him he’d play a debating game with me attempting to rationalize how he knew I was faking about the razors and why he would give me no medical care for that, my pain, nor an of my other issues.  He accused me of everything from malingering the abdominal and kidney pain (although urine tests repeatedly confirmed blood in my urine), and “tricking” guards into thinking I’d swallowed the razors, to trying to “extort” x-rays just so I could look at myself on film (!?).  He ultimately admitted a concern to save the state money by not giving prisoners needed care.

The Uncover Up

During the ordeal several prisoner witnesses sent letters out to my supporters and comrades, only one of which actually made it out – a letter from Cory Freiberg.  Cory’s letter succeeded in prompting outside protest and inquiries on my behalf.  Apparently officials didn’t expect word to get out — in fact they acted at every turn to prevent it.

Although I’d had consent for release of information on my medical condition and treatments on file for several of the inquirers since February 2012, the prison’s medical staff lied to them for almost a week, claiming they had no such consents on file so they couldn’t discuss my medical situation with anyone who called.  In fact the forms on record required them to alert the inquirers when I had to be sent out to the hospital or had any other serious medical problems, but they didn’t.

Each prisoner witness who sent out letters was promptly moved out of the unit with me under some pretext.  Meantime my mail was withheld and denied, then ultimately a large amount of it was “confiscated” by an Assistant Superintendent Judy Gilmore, without explanation or justification.

Also, based on a completely fabricated disciplinary report from February 2, 2013, that was later dismissed, I was placed on a completely unrelated status where once off SCO status, I could not possess any mail nor any other property (except legal papers in pending court cases) but for four hours per day.

A Cutting Edge Discovery

After repeated documented complaints of severe abdominal and kidney pain, another nurse ordered x-rays for me.  Gulick promptly overruled her, too.  Only with mounting outside pressure about my situation and a lawyer Benjamin Haile having arranged a call with me, did Gulick finally allow the x-rays, just to “prove,” he said, that I had no razors in me.

On February 21st the x-rays were filmed and the “independent” radiologist’s report came back confirming that pieces of metal were indeed in my intestinal tract, having passed through my system and settled in my transverse colon.

I didn’t see Gulick again nor find out about the x-ray report until February 28th, at which time he changed his tune.  He knew word had gotten out about my actual situation and I was scheduled to speak with Mr. Haile for the second time the next day.  So Gulick’s angle then became to try and interpret and “prove” the metal showing on the x-rays was something other than razors.  He admitted consulting with other doctors to this end.  Another set of x-rays was taken on that day also.

The next day, one of the more candid nurses assured me with the February 21st x-rays showing the razors having passed into my large intestine, they were unlikely to cause serious damage if I ate.  I then accepted my first meal in 25 days.  The next day I passed my first stool in 26 days, where one of the razor pieces was found and documented by the same nurse.  Overall I’d lost 29 pounds since February 4th.

Ducking Liability

I next saw Gulick on March 5th, where the February 28th x-ray results couldn’t be found and he then claimed belief that the metal showing on the February 21st x-rays were staples, or something I’d swallowed since my February 4th hospital visit.  Yet another theory he abandoned when I pointed out that I was on a closely monitored SCO status since returning from the hospital.

He finally admitted an initial concern to protect the hospital from liability, and now himself.  Once again it came down to placing monetary interests before human life and professional integrity.

On March 8th the nurse who confirmed the razor in my stool on March 2nd searched for, found and showed me the report for the February 28th x-rays, and it showed at least two pieces of metal in my lower large intestine, one of which she said matched exactly the measurements and dimensions of the razor piece I passed and she collected on March 2nd.  She said Gulick had not yet seen the report, and I haven’t seen Gulick again since.

This particular nurse went on to express relief that the razors had passed through my system without any apparent serious injury in light of Gulick’s and others’ persistence in doing nothing to help me.  She compared the “miracle” to one she said she’d experienced when her young daughter swallowed an open safety pin and it passed through her without injury.

Conclusion

From all this I recognized that from the hospital to the prison staff, a series of events played out that showed at very least gross neglect, and at worst a consistent and shared intent to see me die (no surprise to me by the way).  However foolish my actions that created the predicament, their responses can’t be justified.  Now granted, I’m not exactly loved by prison officials so they’ve some strong motives to see me out of the way once and for all.  But the outright indifference and intransigence of these medical “professionals” and the doctor’s admitting to prioritize penny-pinching over needed care even in life-threatening cases, demands that everyone who cares about human life, and anyone with loved ones behind these walls raise a sustained hue and cry, and mobilize resistance and awareness concerning medical “professionals” relating to us with such overtly fascistic mentalities.  Otherwise many loved ones will return to homes and others’ lives with all manner of medical disorders (even communicable ones) and expenses they didn’t leave with.  As for others, we should remember that the evil people do is in knowing of abuse and turning a  blind eye.

Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win!

All Power to the People!

Kevin “Rashid” Johnson Medical Emergency

Kevin “Rashid” Johnson is a New Afrikan Communist prison organizer and intellectual in the United States and one of the founders of the NABPP-PC (New Afrikan Black Panther Party-Prison Chapter). He has spent most of his adult life in the prison system and continually been subjected to political repression and violence in retaliation for his organizing efforts. He is currently held at Snake River Correctional Inst in Oregon.

A supporter recently received a very distressing letter informing us that Rashid was in a serious medical situation, and was not receiving adequate care. Details from this letter were circulated online, however are currently being removed in order to respect Rashid’s privacy.

On February 22, a lawyer managed to speak to Rashid. This was an invaluable first step, as up until then all we had to go by was a letter from a third party, which was already dated by the time it was received.

The good news is that new x-rays have confirmed that there are no razor-blades in his system and there is apparently no longer blood in his urine. Furthermore, Rashid is now drinking liquids.

According to the lawyer, the two biggest concerns currently are (1) that Rashid receive proper medical monitoring as he gets back to a normal diet, and (2) that he be allowed to receive his mail (which he says has been accumulating for more than a week in a box within sight of his cell).

Rashid explained to the lawyer that he currently has no access to his personal property and mail. Officials  have placed him on a security designation that precludes access to these  things, so he is unable to contact anyone or publish anything. He believes this is in retaliation for articles he published that are critical of the Oregon Department of Corrections. The pretext that the  officials are using to put him on this status is an alleged incident on January 28, 2012, even though he was cleared of any  misconduct in that incident after a disciplinary hearing. Furthermore, deprivation of property and mail  is not reasonably related to the alleged incident.

Rashid thinks thinks the best people to contact would be  Doug Yancey, the security threat manager for the Oregon Department of Corrections, and C. Schultz, the security threat manager at Snake River. They are the ones who made this decision to deprive him of his personal belongings.

As soon as we have phone numbers for Yancey and Schultz, we will post them here.

Apart a brief period in general population when he was transferred from Virginia to Oregon last tear, Rashid has spent close to twenty years in solitary isolation, as a direct result of his activities resisting abuse in various Virginia prisons in the 1990s, and to his political writings and articles documenting ongoing abuse in the prison system since then. Long-term isolation was developed during the Cold War as a method to neutralize political prisoners, both by cutting them off from the outside world, and by inflicting conditions upon them that are designed to inflict severe psychological/emotional distress.

Isolation imprisonment has been described as “clean torture,” for it does its damage without leaving any visible wounds. As Craig Haney of the University of California at Santa Cruz has noted, “There is not a single published study of solitary or supermax-like confinement in which nonvoluntary confinement lasting for longer than 10 days, where participants were unable to terminate their isolation at will, that failed to result in negative psychological effects. The damaging effects ranged in severity and included such clinically significant symptoms as hypertension, uncontrollable anger, hallucinations, emotional breakdowns, chronic depression, and suicidal thoughts and behavior.”

We see both aspects of the isolation-torture regimen playing themselves out in Rashid’s case. He is currently cut off from the outside world, deprived of his mail and of any easy means of informing us of what is going on with him, so that we need to rely on communications from third parties. At the same time, he continues to be held in conditions that are known and intended to be detrimental to his health and recovery.

We will continue to keep you abreast of the situation as it develops.

From Bad to Worse: Transferred from Red Onion to Wallens Ridge State Prison (2012)

This is the latest dispatch from Kevin “Rashid” Johnson, Minister of Defense of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party-Prison Chapter, and author of Defying the Tomb:

By Kevin “Rashid” Johnson

On January 20, 2012, I was transferred from Red Onion to Wallens Ridge State Prison. This transfer came on the heels of a December 12, 2011, incident where a large portion of my hair was ripped out by a Red Onion guard, a staged investigation by a Virginia Dept. of Corrections Internal Affairs agent Johnny Acosta, and my having sent out an article and report on it all. Obviously, no coincidence.

From one set-up to another

On the morning of January 20, I was confronted at my cell by Red Onion’s C-Building Unit Manager, Michael Younce, and Lieutenant Delmer Tate, who both lied telling me that agent Johnny Acosta wanted to speak with me in the prison’s video-court area. I was, upon being handcuffed and leg shackled, “escorted” by them to the prison’s transport area and put into a cell, and told to strip down to be searched by security chief Kevin McCoy because I was “taking a trip.” Numerous guards entered the area including one Joseph Ely, a prior Red Onion guard who’d transferred to Wallens Ridge to be promoted to a Lieutenant. Ely was carrying transportation restraints and a 50,000 volt electric stun belt which prisoners are made to wear when taken on road trips. I instantly realized I was being transferred to Wallens Ridge.

I asked McCoy several times about my property. He assured it’d be right behind me. It wasn’t.  It was all left at Red Onion, where much of it will likely be destroyed, “lost” and taken.

McCoy attempted to provoke a situation by having me given a pair of pants to wear that were too small. I refused to wear them. After a standoff, I was given a pair in the correct size, restrained, belted and taken to a transport van. Inside the van, I was crushed and locked inside a tiny steel cage measuring about 5 feet high and 2 by 2 feet square, in which I could barely move. Once on the road, Ely asked if I knew where I was going. I answered “obviously to Wallens Ridge.” He then asked did I really not know I was being transferred? I told him no, that I was told I was going to see someone. He added, “You know why you’re going back, don’t you?” “Not really,” I answered. He then stated, “Well, you know a lot of people don’t like you. You probably won’t leave walking.” I was to receive numerous similar threats by guards that I was being sent to Wallens Ridge to be set up for violence.

Upon reaching Wallens Ridge, I was met by numerous guards, especially ranking guards, whom I’d known from my 2000-2003 confinement at Wallens Ridge. All displayed openly hostile attitudes. One of the guards, who was holding one of my arms and “escorting” me from the van to the intake area, Dixon, repeatedly dug his fingers into my right arm. I was also accompanied during this walk by two large dogs barking loudly and straining wildly against their leashes.

I went through the strip search and endured another standoff over too-small clothes, by Sergeant Cochrane and Lieutenant Swiney, both obviously trying to provoke a situation to “justify” using violence. So I relented and wore the clothes for the brief walk to the unit.

I was leg-shackled, cuffed from behind and “escorted” by a mob of guards to the D-3 housing unit. Every cell in the unit was empty. I was put into D-301, one of only two cells in the block with a steel box approximately 8″ x 12″ x 18″ with a Plexiglas cover, welded to the outside of a cell door and around the opening in the door through which food and other items are passed and handcuffs applied and removed. I was made to kneel to have the leg shackles removed, and to put my hands outside the slot into the box where the handcuffs were removed. I then removed my hands from the box and a steel plate was slid in place across the door opening, closing off access to the box.

Cochrane and Swiney came to the door in turns, repeating the same threats Ely had made, adding that “this time there won’t be any witnesses,” indirectly referring to my placement in a completely empty unit. Major Combs then came to the cell asking if I’d changed, commenting that I’d gotten grey hair since last he’d seen me and was “getting old.” Every guard I’ve encountered from then to now has been invariably hostile, and verbally insulting. I’ve been called a “nigger” no less than 15 times and subjected to numerous homosexual taunts in efforts to provoke and enrage me, which I pay no mind to. One guard, R. Ricketts has gone out of his way to repeatedly verbally taunt and threaten me with abuses to come.

I’ve had my meals and beverages dropped into the visibly filthy box on the door which is never cleaned, indeed it can’t be where it contains rust, peeling paint, fermented food and beverages residue, and one must place dirty clothes, shoes, toilet cleaning items, etc. into the box to be searched by or exchanged with guards. Using the box for meal service is a per se health hazard. Not only is my food contaminated by being placed into direct contact with the box’s surfaces, but I’ve found paint particles, dirt, lint, etc. in my food and beverages from the box.

I was also brought clothes by Swiney that had been sprayed with mace or gas. I’ve been kept incommunicado – denied phone use, all property, and kept in a completely empty unit.

I’ve also received two trays with foods containing broken pieces of metal and rocks. Guards, including Cochrane, refuse to provide me with or to accept for filing forms needed to pursuer emergency and other grievances and complaints. I had to go through a Lieutenant Bergan to obtain complaint forms from Cochrane, who then gave me only two out of five requested by me.

As indicated in my last report/update, the December 12, 2011, assault where my hair was ripped out was preceded by threats by the assaulting guard, in that I’m now being faced with a consistent series of threats by a staff known to abuse and even kill prisoners – which I’ll elaborate on below – it is important that this situation be made known as broadly as possible. I believe outside exposure, support and pressure has kept many of the more serious violent official intentions at bay. These threats under the circumstances must be taken very seriously.

Wallens Ridge: A Nest of Vipers

Several of the threats here have been accompanied by guards making disparaging remarks about me being a “protester,” “Black Panther,” etc., often accompanied by racial slurs. It is well known that Black prisoners known to challenge or protest abuses or who are politically active are abuse targets at Wallens Ridge. John Gaskins, aka Mac, who was recently released from Wallens Ridge, has been both witness and victim. While at the prison, he witnessed prisoners inclined to protest being set up by guards, beaten and thrown into segregation. He was himself, for this reason, set up on a false infraction and thrown in segregation until he was released from Virginia’s prisons. He expected to be beaten by the guards himself at any time.

A—-, aka Outlaw, the prisoner with whom I engaged in written political exchanges in my book, Defying the Tomb, was also brutally beaten and hospitalized at Wallens Ridge a couple years ago.

In my prior update/article, I discussed a 2001 beating by 3 ranking Wallens Ridge guards of a Black prisoner, last name Plummer, which resulted in the guards being prosecuted. The charges were circumvented by the entire prison’s staff coming together to stage a scene at the prison to sway the jury to acquit the guards, and the investigator – Johnny Acosta – who found the guards to have assaulted Plummer, was in turn sued by them. Many of the guards involved in that cover-up still work at Wallens Ridge, including Major Combs, Cochrane, Swiney, etc.

Prisoners have also been killed by Wallens Ridge officials or at their prompting.

Most recent was the controversial killing of Harvey Lee Watson by his cellmate Robert Gleason, who pled guilty to the killing and implicated Wallens Ridge staff as complicit and responsible. Several were fired after-the-fact, when autopsies found Watson had been dead for half a day when discovered by guards inside the cell. The guards had falsified records claiming they’d been making routine checks of the prisoners. However, those who caused his death were passed over. Gleason personally told me numerous times that he only realized after killing Watson that Wallens Ridge officials had used him, set him up to kill Watson to remove a thorn from their side. He vowed to plead guilty to the killing and to use the case to expose what they’d done. Which he did, to no avail.

In that case, they wanted to silence Watson, who kept protesting that officials had knowingly transported him from Sussex One State Prison in Waverly, Virginia to Wallens Ridge with a dead prisoner sitting with him in the van. Watson had also just set his cell on fire the night before being transferred and had recently set another prisoner on fire. He had outstanding punitive segregation sentences to serve and was not supposed to have been released to population. He also was supposed at all times to have been housed in cells alone, even in population, due to mental health status. However, ranking Wallens Ridge officials and the counsellor, wife of Lieutenant A. Gallihar, conspired to put Watson in Gleason’s cell in population. Gleason was known to have been convicted, suspected, and charged with numerous killings. Officials felt he was their man for the job.

In the cell, Gleason complained to staff counsellor Gallihar, ranking officials, the warden, even people on the outside that Watson was sick and needed to be moved out of his cell before he was forced into a drastic reaction. Watson would drink urine, masturbate in the open, talk loudly to himself all times of night, etc. Lieutenant Gallihar, his wife and others told Gleason, “You know how to deal with it,” refusing to move Watson. Gleason admittedly snapped and killed Watson. The scandal has been widely reported in the media and Gleason is open about what happened and why. The day after the killing, A. Gallihar, who wasn’t at the prison the day of the killing, fabricated an incident report as thought he was, on his wife’s behalf to cover for her.

During or about 2003, a white Connecticut prisoner was strangled to death by Wallens Ridge guards who claimed the death a suicide hanging. A similar attack was attempted against another white prisoner, Michael Austin, now confined at Red Onion, during or about 2010. The guards disliked Austin because he’d grown up around and embraced Black urban culture and clashed with the prison’s rural white guards who’d ridicule him and try to influence him with racist values. In his case, guards premeditatedly rushed into his cell, claiming falsely he was attempting to hang himself, put a thick string around his neck and began choking him. Their designs to strangle him to death were foiled only because the string broke.

During 2003, another Connecticut prisoner, a Black man named Lawrence Frazier, was electrocuted to death by numerous Wallens Ridge guards while he was restrained to a steel bed frame by his extremities. The death was dismissed as caused by insulin shock, however an examining doctor found the electrocutions contributed to, if not caused, his death.

A documentary “Up the Ridge” was filmed by a local radio group exposing the racism and abuses surrounding the prison and reporting on Frazier’s killing.

During 2001, I was myself the victim of a brutal assault by a mob of Wallens Ridge guards, including two who beat Plummer just months later. In my case, I was drawn out of my segregation cell while fully unrestrained by a guard G. Sexton, inviting me to an off-the-record one-on-one fight (what we call “a fair one” in prison). His intentions, however, weren’t to fight but to set me up for a mob attack. Sexton never once put up a fight, but was knocked down almost immediately and began screaming for back-up. I was subdued without resisting and upon being handcuffed and shackled was repeatedly kicked in the face and head, electrocuted with multiple 50,000 volt stun weapons, had all but 3 of my then almost 2-foot-long dreadlocks systematically ripped out, and was left with multiple facial lacerations that had to be stitched closed, burns across my upper body and arms, and blood red and purple contusions covering the entire whites of my eyes across their front halves. The attack was covered up by Wallens Ridge officials at all levels and Internal Affairs agents who destroyed pod surveillance camera footage of the attack, moved all vocal prisoner witnesses to other units, and colluded reports claiming all my injuries were inflicted by Sexton defending himself against an unanticipated attack by me when the cell “accidentally” opened. At first they’d claimed I opened it, whereas Sexton himself told guards in the control booth to open it.

What’s more, Wallens Ridge’s present warden, Gregory Halloway, has subjected me to extensive past torture while a unit manager at Greensville Correctional Center, during 1998. At that time he kept me on an illegal status called “white cell status,” when I was left for 8 months, even during winter, with nothing inside the cell, but one pair of boxer shorts. No property was permitted. I could not even brush my teeth and ended up having to have several filled for cavities as a result. I was only allowed a mattress and bedding from 10 pm through 6 am. I contracted the flu, sinus infections and colds. Throughout the white cell confinement, my cell window to the outside was broken, letting in freezing and cold outside temperatures.

While on white cell status, Holloway accused me of knocking him unconscious in the medical department while my blood pressure taken with my hands cuffed, supposedly in response to his torturing me. I remained on white cell status until I was transferred to Red Onion in 1998 from Greensville.

Therefore not only is Holloway an official who’s known to illegally torture and abuse—and will admit having me on that illegal status—but one who has cause for vengeance against me. It is highly unlikely I can expect to receive any semblance of just treatment under him, nor that he would act to prevent threatened abuses. Indeed it is probable that he is privy to such abuses. Furthermore, Holloway is but a token Black figurehead, recently appointed to Wallens Ridge to counter a widespread image and reputation for racism like at Red Onion. Similarly, at Red Onion, a token Black warden was appointed in the early 2000s, under whose supervision racism and abuse escalated. Indeed, he went out of his way to avoid making waves with the local entrenched white supremacist status quo that de facto ran Red Onion, as it does Wallens Ridge.

Dark faces in high places is today’s chief tactic for masking institutionalized racism.

Conclusion

If officials did not send me to Wallens Ridge with deviant designs, then this admits I qualify to be housed at any other VDOC prison of the same level 5 security classification, such as Sussex One or Two State Prisons, where a more racially diverse and tolerant staff exists. At Wallens Ridge and Red Onion, I and other politically active prisoners and those who challenge abuses have been targeted in a clear pattern with official violence and abuse.

It’s my request to supporters and readers to raise as much protest and awareness about this situation as possible and press for my reassignment to a less volatile and more racially diverse and tolerant environment, such as the Sussex prisons. And to also be aware of the foul conditions that we live under on these razor wire plantations. For me, it just went from bad to worse.

Dare to struggle! Dare to win!
All Power to the People!

Kevin “Rashid” Johnson is a long-time revolutionary prison organizer, accomplished artist, Marxist theoretician, and the Minister of Defense of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party-Prison Chapter (NABPP-PC). He has been held in segregation for the past 19 years, since 1993. Some of his writings have been published in the book Defying the Tomb (Kersplebedeb, 2010), available from AK Press and leftwingbooks.net. Other of his writings and artwork are featured on his website rashidmod.com. In 2011, from Virginia, Rashid added his voice to those of thousands supporting the demands of California prisoners hunger-striking against isolation torture; his writings have been banned in many California prisons.

To read Rashid’s account of deteriorating conditions at Red Onion State Prison, and the assault by guards on December, 12, 2011, can all be found on rashidmod.com. Rashid can be contacted at:

Kevin Johnson #1007485
Wallens Ridge State Prison
P.O. Box 759
Big Stone Gap, VA
24219

Supporting Prisoners and Acting for Radical Change (SPARC) is a non-sectarian revolutionary mass organization based in Virginia and Washington DC, focused on building effective opposition to the prison-industrial complex. SPARC is demanding that the staff of Red Onion and Virginia Department of Corrections (VDOC) cease their consistent campaign of targeted physical violence, harassment, and administrative repression against the cadre of the NABP-PC, which is clearly being carried out with the intention of suppressing the basic human and democratic rights of prisoners in VDOC facilities. Furthermore, SPARC supports Rashid’s request to be transferred to a less hostile environment, for instance one of the Sussex prisons.

A petition to support these an end to political repression against the NABPP can be downloaded from http://www.kersplebedeb.com/vdoc_petition.pdf. People are also encouraged to contact Director of VDOC, Harold Clarke in support of these demands:

Harold W. Clarke, Director
Department of Corrections
P. O. Box 26963
Richmond, VA 23261-6963
Phone: (804) 674-3119
Fax: (804) 674-3509
Email: harold.clarke@vadoc.virginia.gov

Please send copies of all correspondence to SPARC, PO Box 345, Floyd VA, 24091

SPARC can also reached by email at sparcdc@hush.com or sparc@signalfire.org or search “Supporting Prisoners and Acting for Radical Change” on Facebook for regular updates and news.

Those of the in the New York City area, who wish to learn more about Rashid and conditions in Virginia’s prisons, are encouraged to attend the book event “Defying the Tomb – Struggle, Education, Survival and Liberation in Lock-Down” to be held at Bluestockings Bookstore (172 Allen Street, New York, NY 10002) on Saturday, February 11, at 7pm. The featured speaker is Rashid’s comrade, John “Mac” Gaskins who was in a neighboring cell with Rashid while at Red Onion and was recently released from the tombs of Wallens Ridge. It promises to be an evening where words will not be minced!

Abuse Reports Culminate In Hair-Raising Assault By Red Onion State Prison Guards (2012)

In the following report, Rashid details a vicious racist attack on his person by guards at Red Onion State Prison, which occurred on December 12, 2011. Since this report was written, Rashid’s situation has gotten even worse, as earlier this week he was transferred to Wallens Ridge State Prison (Virginia’s other supermax), where he was confined between 2000 and 2003, a period when he was repeatedly singled out for abuse by guards (many of whom are still working there). Already, he has been subjected to death threats from guards, has had his food tampered with (i.e. has found metal in it), been given clothes that were sprayed with an irritant, etc.

A subsequent report on this transfer will be posted here shortly.

In the meantime, here is Rashid’s January 10 article, detailing the December 12 assault:

Background to the Attack

On December 12, 2011, a Red Onion State Prison guard, sergeant Tony R. Adams, ripped a large mass of hair from my head, much of it from the roots. At the time I was handcuffed behind my back, leg shackled and held pinned against a locked door by several other guards. The torn out hair covered an area of about 3 inches by 7 inches across the front and side of my head. (See Exhibit A). Prior to the attack I had a headful of dreadlocks approximately a foot and a half long.

The attack follows a long history of reports I’ve sent out naming Adams as a major source of abuse and cover-ups at the prison. Previously employed in the prison’s dog kennel, Adams was appointed as investigator – from early 2005 through October 2011 – by Tracy Ray, who was Red Onion’s chief warden from October 2004 through October 2011.

Up through Ray’s appointment as warden, Red Onion maintained national notoriety for extreme brutality, racism and abuse against its predominantly Black prisoner population, by it’s almost exclusively white rural staff. Resulting in several critical reports by human rights organizations, a lot of bad media, U.S. Justice Department probes, and outside protests. As reported in a prior article, Ray came onboard to clean up Red Onion’s image, an agenda shared by Adams, who as investigator was directly responsible for investigating abuse complaints. Adams distinguished himself as a vengeful cover-up artist, who’d retaliate against prisoners who complained of abuses and especially those who challenged and complained against him. In addition to frequently destroying and obstructing our mail, his direct abuses included placing false gang profiles on prisoners including against me, inciting and facilitating violence between prisoners, destroying our property, etc. He quickly became and remained one of the most disliked of all Red Onion guards.

Subsequently an outside family and I co-founded an advocacy group called SPARC, to help organize exposure and challenge of abuses at Red Onion. Adams took immediate personal interest and counteraction.

When A—-, a SPARC member. contacted the prison’s mailroom clerk in response to a complaint of missing mail from a prisoner D—-, Adams personally called her back. He tried various angles to discourage her involvement with SPARC and supporting prisoners. When his efforts failed he then threatened to tell Carter that A—- had lied to him about contacting the prison about his mail issue, so to undermine her and SPARC’s credibility with prisoners. He also threatened to ban SPARC’s correspondences with prisoners by falsely accusing her of passing messages between gang members. He then had much of SPARC’s mail disappeared and blocked from delivery to prisoners, and confronted me with routine threats and harassments.

He took very personal my persistence in exposing abuses at the prison, involving outside people in doing so, and in effect counteracting his entire agenda of trying to protect the prison’s image. He also took personal offense to my winning support amongst whites and having white visitors whom he disparaged as “nigger lovers”. One frequent visitor and friend he had banned from visiting at Red Onion and another prison close by – Wallens Ridge – under false claims that she was trying to coordinate a prisoner uprising at various prisons. While she was able to have visitation privileges restored at Wallens Ridge, Adams succeeded in permanently banning her from visiting me at Red Onion.

It was only after several prisoners violently died at the prison under their watch, that Ray and Adams were removed during October 2011 as warden and investigator, respectively. Ray was reassigned to another prison and Adams was restored to his prior rank as a petty sergeant.

Ray was replaced by Randy Mathena as warden. Mathena was Red Onion’s assistant warden when the prison first opened in 1998 and during the early years when it won nationwide notoriety as one of the country’s most racist and abusive prisons. Mathena’s return has seen a resurgence of open abuse and assaults by guards.

The Attack

On October 27, 2011, Adams confronted me with threats that he was going to shut me up, that he had a better opportunity to do this now since he was “no longer the investigator”, and Mathena was warden. I made record of his threats by filing two emergency grievances, log numbers 030238 and 030239.

Subsequently, on December 12, 2011, he accompanied several other guards in confronting me on a segregation exercise yard while I was locked inside an exercise cage, claiming falsely that I’d refused to come off the yard when I had not. He immediately began threatening that he was going to “get” me, wanted “a piece of” me, was going to “fuck [me] up”, etc., obviously attempting to provoke me into actually refusing to allow myself to be handcuffed and leg shackled to come off the yard, so removal by force could be “justified”.

A portable audio video camera was brought out to film what followed, which made apparent they were expecting an altercation.

Ignoring the threats and provocation attempts, I allowed the guards to apply the handcuffs behind my back and shackles, and was then escorted from the exercise yard cage by two guards, holding both my arms and with palms against my shoulder blades. (See Exhibit B). This method of “escorting” segregation prisoners is used ostensibly so guards can maintain complete control while remaining behind the prisoner so he cannot butt, spit or otherwise assault them and can be easily maneuvered to place and pin against a wall. During such escorts guards are to remain behind and to the side of the prisoner.)

I was “escorted” in this manner from the cage to a doorway leading into the unit. The door was closed and locked. I was walked up to the door at which time the guard operating the audio video camera took the camera off of me. Adams then quickly stepped directly in front of me and in a low voice threatened to “fuck [me] up”. At that point he, claiming I attempted to head butt him, grabbed and proceeded to forcefully rip out handsful of my hair from the front and left side of my head. I never did, indeed I could not, resist, as the other guards shoved me face-first into and held me pinned against the locked door.

As Adams ripped out my hair I repeatedly stated so the camera could record it that he was ripping out my hair for no reason which he continued to do.

After he completely ripped out an area of hair about 3″ x 7″, they then threw me sideways to the ground and piled on top of me. I was at all times handcuffed behind my back and shackled at the ankles.

After several moments I was physically lifted from the ground, and observed a large mass of my ripped out hair lying on the ground where I’d been previously standing. I repeatedly asked that it be filmed showing how much hair was torn out and dropped right where I’d stood previously pinned securely against the door, before some four guards, including Adams threw me to the ground unresisting. They refused to film it.

I was then taken into the unit’s hallway, made to kneel, then stripped completely naked in direct presence of a female nurse, which I protested as an illegal and unwarranted cross-gender strip search. I was then, because verbally protesting the assault and cross-gender strip search, chained up in handcuffs and shackles inside a cell ‘til the next day. Guards claimed my protests were perceived as “threats”.

Staged Investigation

On December 15, 2011, I was taken to the prison’s video-court area to meet with Johnny Acosta, an investigator from the Virginia Department of Correction’s Inspector General’s office, a.k.a. Internal Affairs Unit. The very same office with whom Adams had worked for years covering up abuses at the prison.

Acosta stated he was there to investigate the December 12th incident. I recognized his appearance to be a swift official move at damage control, to extract a statement from me that might be used later against me, and to formally rationalize the assault to counter or answer any outside protests likely to follow. According to sources, news of the attack was already circulating on the outside.

In addition to the fact that Acosta is a VDOC employee himself and his office routinely worked with Adams on “investigations” at Red Onion that always absolve abusive guards of wrongdoing, Acosta himself has a bit of baggage that further renders an “objective” investigation by him dubious at best, which I’ll detail below under a separate heading.

Prior to “interviewing” me, Acosta showed me a box containing what he conceded to be “a lot of hair”. It looked to be all of my ripped out hair. He had a guard take still photographs and videotape of my head and scalp where the hair was torn out, noting numerous bald patches across the area – a lot of my hair had broken off near the scalp, other of it was pulled out from the roots.

Acosta animatedly showed me a pair of leg shackles which he said the guards claimed were the ones I was wearing during the assault. He promptly demonstrated several times that the shackles had a faulty locking mechanism, by locking them then yanking them back open. He repeated over and over that the guards claimed I’d “gotten out of the shackles” apparently as their justification for throwing me to the ground after I was securely pinned against the door.

I told him I believed the guards were lying since I didn’t recall the shackles coming off during the attack. I pointed out that the shackles had a prison identification number on them, and suggested that he check the equipment logs from the control booth in the unit where the attack occurred, to see whether the number on the shackles actually matched ones kept in that control booth. This because a daily record is kept for all equipment kept and checked in and out of each building’s control booth. If the malfunctioning shackles he had were actually ones I’d worn on December 12th, the unit logs would show their being assigned by number to that booth and when and if they were checked out that day, and by whom. He reacted very defensively to my suggestion as though it were an absurd proposal. He stated emphatically that he’d made no such inspection, commented that I was “very observant” for having taken notice of the identification number on the shackles, then quickly changed the subject. This suggested he knew the faulty shackles may in fact not have been the ones I’d worn on December 12th. I then told him I’d submit to a polygraph test on the incident and the fact that the shackles hadn’t come off. I asked him to ask each guard would they do the same and document their reply. He said he would. I don’t believe him.

He then gave several scenarios to “explain” how my hair had possibly “fallen” out, several of them patently ignorant, racist stereotypes, often heard to disparage Black/ New Afrikan culture. First he suggested I may have pulled the hair out myself and had it “sitting” atop my head before the incident occurred. He abandoned that line when I pointed out he had extensive video footage of me leading up to the attack which showed my hair firmly attached to my head at close range. Then he suggested that dreadlocks are dryrotted hair that easily falls out. I explained and demonstrated to him how absurd this was and racist in its implications. He also claimed he’d heard dreadlocks are bound together by dirt and filth and are worn by people who don’t wash their hair. He ended in admitting neither account could be true since he’d filmed, photographed and examined my scalp and hair and found them “very clean” and “healthy”, showing no evidence of dirt nor even dandruff, nor was there any foul odor to my hair and scalp. I pointed out that dreadlocks are actually strong like rope consisting of not only hair still attached at the root but also the shedded hair that most people comb or brush out. So they are thicker and more dense than even plaits. He acted not to comprehend how they form. I explained very simply that Black people’s hair is of a thick tough texture that naturally forms into small tight curls. If left alone it will entangle into thick tight masses, which separate into cords called dreadlocks. That nothing has to be done to make it do this, although some people use cosmetic methods (which I don’t) to make dreadlocks form quicker than the many months it takes them to begin to form naturally, or to make them all in a uniform small size. My dreadlocks were/are naturally formed and range in thickness, some several inches thick. I added that I wash my hair at least bi-weekly and take care to keep lint and other foreign matter out of it. Acosta, a white male, wasn’t secretive about his personal dislike of dreadlocks, expressing that because I wear them “it’s obvious you don’t care how your hair looks”.

He conceded a great deal of force was needed to rip out as much of my hair as was in the box. And it was difficult to imagine that level of force being justified under the circumstances of December 12th, even if I did attempt to butt Adams as they’d alleged. He avoided explaining why Adams would step so closely and directly in front of me, given the security requirements governing remaining behind prisoners being escorted, specifically to avoid any such potential danger. Acosta admitted despite what they claimed I did, the force used could still only be such as was needed to control the situation and no more. That if I were pinned to the door, the hair pulling and multiple guards throwing me to the ground were grossly excessive. He also admitted that as I’d observed just before Adams attacked me, the guard operating the camera took it off me so it didn’t film when Adams stepped in front of me and ripped out my hair.

Acosta didn’t film nor have a nurse check my shoulder and collarbone which I informed him had been dislocated when I was thrown to the ground and piled upon, nor other reported injuries.

The interview statement he prepared seemed focused on constructing the incident in a way that could be used to corroborate the guards’ false version of events, and to leave leeway for further “adjustments” in their story. But Acosta did admit knowing Adams personally disliked me, which he countered by expressing several times how he “couldn’t help” commenting that I come across as an extremely likeable and intelligent person. Also that he saw me as someone willing to put his own safety in jeopardy to try to help and expose others being abused. He didn’t record any of this however. I declined to sign the statement and again requested a polygraph test.

Acosta, Himself A Broken Victim of The System He Serves

Acosta told me he was selected to conduct the investigation because his superiors felt he was the only agent I’d talk to. This because a decade ago an investigation by him led to three ranking guards who’d beaten a prisoner at Wallens Ridge being prosecuted. But the system turned on him, and the 3 guards were all acquitted in a scheme that saw the whole staff body at Wallens Ridge come together to exonerate the 3, and made Acosta the target of a subsequent lawsuit by the guards. I was confined at Wallens Ridge during that time and followed the entire drama. An experience it’s highly likely he’d be unwilling to repeat. Halfway through the interview I reminded him of his experience. He was visibly pained by the memory.

Here’s what occurred:

During 2001 a Black prisoner, last name Plummer, was brutally beaten by several guards at Wallens Ridge. Wallens Ridge is located a few miles up the road from Red Onion and employs guards drawn from the same rural communities as Red Onion. Both prisons have shared notoriety for racism and abuse. Indeed, a documentary film called “Up The Ridge” was made about the abuses at Wallens Ridge.

Acosta was called in to investigate the attack. His investigation concluded that three ranking guards had beaten Plummer. They being Captain Isaac Hockett, Lieutenant Jeffrey Compton and Sergeant Matthew Hamilton. They were criminally indicted and put on trial. Regularly appearing on the local news these three guards were featured tearfully professing their innocence, while the prisoners were collectively demeaned. This to win local sympathy for the guards and provoke animosity towards the prisoners.

Then came the real scheme.

The guards’ attorneys had the judge order that the jury be allowed to tour the prison under criminal procedure that entitles the trier to view the crime scene. Wallens Ridge’s entire staff body closed ranks to give the jury an experience they’d not soon forget, to demonize the prisoners as beasts who posed mortal danger to the guards, thus justifying the violence used by the three ‘well-intentioned local good ol’ boys on Plummer. The plan quite literally was to terrorize the jury.

Almost an entire housing unit was emptied out of prisoners a few days before the scheduled jury tour. Wallens Ridge officials hand-picked a group of flunky inmates to move into the unit, whom they’d bribed to act out in front of the jury. Some were “paid” with extra meal trays, one was given a job cleaning showers, others were given extra telephone calls for the month, etc. in exchange for agreeing to create a disturbance for a group that they were told was a “scared straight” tour. They were told to do everything in their means to “scare” the group. All were assured they’d receive no disciplinary charges for misbehavior and should use their imaginations in devising ways to scare them.

Guards announced to everyone at the appointed time when the group was about to come in and to start acting out, which they all did on cue. The shocked judge and jury got a taste of pure pandemonium, with the prisoners doing everything from screaming vulgarities and threats of violence and rape at them, to deafeningly kicking and banging on their doors, to exposing themselves naked and smearing body waste in and on their cells door windows etc.

Staff of all ranks, including the warden Stan Young, went around the prison for weeks recounting and laughing about the scene and the jury’s utter shock, to anyone who’d hear. And they really laughed at how the jury returned to court to quickly acquit all three guards. Many of the guards, nurses and counselors, took great pleasure in mocking how easily they’d manipulated a few toady inmates to help exonerate guards caught red handed for abuse. The day after the jury tour all the prisoners who’d been moved around to stage the disturbance for the jury were placed back in their old cells.

The acquitted guards returned to Wallens Ridge radiating arrogance, and sued Acosta for his “false” investigative findings and causing their “wrongful” prosecution.

As I recounted these events to Acosta he remarked, admitting in a disconsolated tone several times, “I know what they did”, “I know what happened”. He remarked too, “You have a good memory”. I pointed out that all of what they’d done to create the scene to terrorize the jury is in prison records. That their moving numerous prisoners around just before and after the jury tour, and bringing the jury into the very unit where all these conspicuous moves had been made, all to influence the jury was blatant contempt, obstruction of justice, etc. And it involved the entire staff’s participating or knowing about it. One could easily also consult court records to identify and interview the jurors about the experience. He didn’t seem interested to expose or challenge it. The experience obviously took the fight out of him. He looked beaten, often spaced out and glassy-eyed as I described the incident.

So I asked him, how he expected me to have any confidence in his or any other official investigation or anything tangible coming out of it. “Look how an entire prison staff came together to cover up an assault, discredit your findings, protect their corrupt peers, then counterattack you, and it’s obviously affected you deeply”. I pointed out to him. He had no response. “Does it strike you as ironic”, I asked him, “that you’re expecting me to trust your role and intentions when the very guard who assaulted me was himself an investigator just like you?”

Knowing these things, only a fool would put confidence in such a system.

I rest my case.

All power to the people!

Living for the Oppressed: A Journal Entry (2011)

By Kevin Rashid Johnson

 *This “article” is an entry made into a journal I was keeping in 2011 – a sort of prison diary – which only lasted a couple of weeks. (KRJ)

A typical day.

Had a good one-on-one exchange with KB today. Although he’s housed in the cell next to me, we hadn’t talked for about a week. He expressed frustration with me. Feeling years in segregation has affected my mind – negatively – in that I don’t seem interested to use my “wits” to get out: of segregation and ultimately prison. He goes for the “be a good boy and they’ll let you out” line. Had to correct him.

He’s deeply idealistic. The affective type: highly emotional, sensational, which he attributes to his zodiac sign (sigh!) – Pisces.

I’ve had to explain – seems repeatedly – that I am avoiding trouble. It’s never worked. He’s heard numerous ranking pigs admit that many factors weigh against my ever seeing an open yard in Virginia, which include that I stir up too much trouble challenging and generating protest over foul conditions and our (mis) treatment, my past extreme (counter) violence (against pigs), a lot of ranking pigs and administrators deeply resent me, they feel also I “can’t be trusted” walking out and about, I have “too much influence,” I must be kept under close surveillance, etc.

Even under segregated confinement I’ve been on 24/7 video monitoring since 2008, and since 2009 anytime any pig opens the hatch on the cell door to give or receive anything to or from me, and whenever I’m brought out of the cell (handcuffed and leg-shackled of course), I’m to be audio-video taped on portable camera. I’m confined under “special” management —housed in a cell specially constructed just for me, with special reinforcements around and in front of the cell door, the bed, the light, the sink/commode unit and the back window; special glass in the cell door window, and all cell fixtures removed: no shelf, desk, mirror, electric socket, etc.

He sees, hears, knows all this, but believes in the general rhetoric, “if you lay back, sooner or later they’ll let up.” How do we keep falling for the old carrot on a stick?

In the end he conceded, I may just be stuck in seg after all. But he personally couldn’t do it, which is what it really boils down to. Projecting his own subjective “need” to get out onto me, his “need” to believe in the system, that the pigs are honorable and follow their own rules. Clinging to false hope, which flies in the face of his own lived experiences of 25 years, going back to his childhood. His earliest years were marked by being taunted and brutalized by the cops in his ‘hood.

He also once told me how he’s still emotionally and – also showed me – physically scarred by an experience in Richmond’s juvenile detention center. The pigs hog tied and tortured him for hours, after they’d already beaten him brutally (with fists, boots and bodily jumping onto him), and dislocated his shoulder and his collarbone, which is permanently deformed and chronically dislocates spontaneously.

When describing the experience sometime back, he implored – almost as if appealing to the pigs, who had brutalized his pre-adolescent body – “You can’t do that to a child! I don’t care what he did!” He’d actually done nothing but refuse to be bullied by the detention center pigs. My response: “I know. I know. That’s why we’ve got to change this system, this society. It’s happening everyday. You weren’t the first or the last.” The experience shattered his trust in “authority,” but he still clings to false hope.

The idea that the entire system is itself illegitimate is just too big for him to grasp. To him, it’s just too big and powerful. The world he knows – the ghettos and prisons – are completely regulated by the system’s enforcers who have absolute power. He can only fathom competing against and venting on other poor and powerless people. He doesn’t even grasp the world beyond the segregated city blocks and cellblocks.

He was studying for a while, and then shut down. I had him reading Mumia’s, We Want Freedom [1], and Zinn’s, A People’s History of the United States [2]. Like many from the ‘hood, he has a keen and gritty intelligence, and was moved by these works – he also expressed a sense of betrayal by a school system that never taught him these histories. But then he withdrew. I believe he found the history of systemic oppression by the powerful against the masses of common people and their struggles overwhelming.

All he cares about, he protests, is his family. “Fuck everybody else!”, unless he personally knows and likes them. His thinking isn’t exceptional. I struggle with him. Reminding him that his family is part of a much larger community. If the community isn’t safe and supportive, neither is his family.

He’s receptive. . . for a while, then retreats into his own world, working on writing a fantasy novel. Then resurfaces after a few days, or a week, or more, as he did today. Comes back for more. Each time he’s a little more receptive, his mind grows. It’s a protracted process. I know this. Winning hearts and minds.

He implores me to get out of prison. “We need you out there,” he tells me often. A lot of our peers tell me this. I reply, “You can do anything I can. United with others of like mind, you can change the world.” So I struggle to teach them, learn from them. And they struggle in return – even if only unconsciously at first – to grow, to learn, to teach me.

Many find it “odd” when I ask them to criticize me, to point out my flaws, to help me grow; they’re like, “How we gonna teach you?” Most, conditioned by bourgeois (il)logic, feel a teacher or leader is above criticism, I explain, one who cannot accept the people’s criticism and correction is not their leader, but is capable only of being their oppressor.

I give them Mao’s “Combat Liberalism,” [3] and his talks on Democratic Centralism [4]. Explain to them the mass line; the dialectical relationship between teaching and learning, and the dialectical materialist theory of knowledge – that learning goes on so long as we are alive. It’s what advances human society and relationships. I have them study Mao’s, “On Practice,” [5] then write and return to me summaries explaining the articles. They grow; I grow.

Some are more receptive than others. They all come back for more . . . sooner or later. They are “alive and learning,” some in spite of themselves. These are our people. The lowest of the low. To know them is to know oneself. They are me and I am them. How could you not love them? I live for them.

All Power to The people!


  1. Mumia Abu-Jamal, We Want Freedom: A Life in the Black Panther Party (Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 2004).
  2. Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States: 1492 to Present (N.Y., Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2005).
  3. Mao Tse-tung, Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung, Vol. 2 (Foreign Languages Press, 1975).
  4. John Chinnery and Tieyun trans., Mao Tse-Tung, “Talks at an Enlarged Central Work Conference,” Chairman Mao Talks to the People: Talks and Letters: 1956-1971 (NY: Pantheon Books, 1974) p. 158.
  5. Mao Tse-Tung, “On Practice,” Selected Works of Mao Tse-Tung, Vol. 1 (Foreign Languages Press, 1975).

Breaking Prisoners’ Fingers at Red Onion State Prison: Restraint Technique or Plain Old Torture? (September 12, 2011)

By: Kevin “Rashid” Johnson

Some things are just so obvious you don’t need rocket science to figure them out.  But those in power will still try and convince you your eyes are lying, your basic sense is failing, and the suffering is just imagination.  Routine torture by U.S. officials of poor people of color is a case in point.

I’m going to use the prison setting as an example.  Virginia’s Red Onion State Prison in particular.

In her new book, The New Jim Crow,1 civil rights attorney and legal scholar Michelle Alexander exposes modern U.S. mass imprisonment, and the so-called Drug War as the latest phase of ongoing political and racial oppression and containment of New Afrikan (Black) people.  She doesn’t, however, talk about the institutionalized sadism, brutality and torture we prisoners suffer under the guise of prison officials maintaining “security,” which is what I want to touch on here.

Breaking Prisoners’ Fingers – A Control Technique?

I want the reader to look at the illustration attached as Exhibit A.  Now ask yourself, under what circumstances could bending a human being’s fingers back against the natural band of the joints and knuckles be considered ‘reasonable’ preventive force.  And usually it is applied against a person already restrained in handcuffs and shackles.

Imagine this finger-bending technique (FBT) being used against you.  It’s terrifying, painful and almost guaranteed to cause permanent injury.

Here at Red Onion the FBT is frequently used, and not merely to subdue a struggling prisoners, but whenever a guard even speculates that a prisoners may be about to become disruptive.  And “disruptive’ can mean anything or nothing.  The guards have absolute discretion to make the call.  All the provocation they need is a sarcastic remark, or being in a foul mood, or resentment against a given prisoner.  Often, racial resentment is enough in a prison that pits a 98% rural white staff against an 85% non-white prisoner body.

And how can such a technique be applied with limited or restrained force under the stress and excitement of subduing a struggling person? Especially one who suffers mental health problems.  Try it, matter of fact, if you can find a willing partner—preferably someone you can trust not to get too carried away—try it while you’re completely at ease.  Your first reflex, like a reaction to having your eyes gouged at, will be to become combative, to resist and pull away.  These are instinctive and intelligent responses to the pain, and the protect fragile, sensitive and previous parts of the body.  Self preservation.

Ever jammed a finder playing sports?  That’s the least amount of pain you’ll fell.  And what’s worse, it’s not a brief experience, like jamming a finger.  When guards apply the FBT, they don’t let up! The initial grab for your  fingers is done suddenly, without warning, and with force, so you don’t have the chance to ball your hands up.  The finger bending then continues for minutes at a time.  Typically no less than 5 minutes.

And when—not if—you resist in response to the shock and pain, they apply more force often until your fingers touch your wrist.  It’s a lose-lost situation.  Your options: cry out or suffer silently (both of which eggs them on more), or try and twist away (which increases the risk and extent of injury), or try to fight them off (a highly dubious option, where the victim is typically cuffed behind his back leg-shackled, and contending with multiple guards—all grabbing at and being your fingers and worse).

Often, abusive guards initiate the FBT solely to make a prisoner react.  To make him appear belligerent or combative, so greater force is then ‘justified’ to ‘control’ him.

In any case, the result is dislocated and/or broken fingers.  I’ve had mine dislocated six times no less.  Once for committing the grave offense of questioning guards about racially discriminatory practices against us.

Due to permanent ligament damage caused by the FBT, my right thumb now spontaneously dislocates under moderate pressure and impacts.  A mild tug pulls it right out the knuckle socket.  It’s also lost about 25% range of motion at the middle joint.

Official Denials, Cover-ups and Denied Care

Red Onion medical staff generally deny and cover up the injuries their colleagues inflict.  Hundreds of prisoners have suffered them.  Attendant nerve damage is the norm.  In many cases, this results in total loss of sensation in parts of the hand.

A few examples are in order.

On October 27, 2005 Nathaniel Wright had the middle bone of his lift middle finger broken completely in half—courtesy of the FBT.  For weeks medical staff told him he was fine, to just apply cold compresses to the grotesque swelling.  Only after filing numerous complaints and involving outside prisoner advocates, did he finally receive x-rays revealing his injury.

To repair it, the bone had to be rebroken (because it had begun mending with the severed ends misaligned), surgically reset, held bolted together with screws, and a cast applied to immobilize his finger and hand.  To cover up their initial cover-up, Red Onion medical staff claimed Wright broke his own finger sometime after the October 27th incident.

On November 10, 2007 guards beat a restrained prisoner in presence of an entire unit of outraged prisoners, eleven of whom covered their cell door windows in protest.  Teams of riot-armored guards were then assembled to forcibly extract all eleven from their cells.  Each prisoner, after being tear-gassed, electrocuted, physically subdued and then manacled, had their fingers bent back and dislocated by the guards.  Several lost feeling in their hands and suffered permanent damage.

One prisoner, John Gaskins, whose fingers were broken, endured months of writing complaints for x-rays and treatment.  When he finally received x-rays, it was too late to be treated, leaving him with permanent deformities and fingers that now chronically dislocate.  This is a typical scenario.

Gaskins was recently released from prison in Virginia, and is willing to attest to and show evidence (i.e., his deformed hand) of the brutal FBT.  He can be emailed at: johngaskins[at]hotmail[dot]com.

On November 11, 2010 I wrote Red Onion’s warden Tracy S. Ray, asking how the FBT could be deemed anything but sadistic torture and calculated to cause pain and injury.  He avoided my request, and passed it on to his notoriously corrupt and deceitful investigator Tony R. Adams.  On November 29, 2011 Adams lyingly replied that, “No offenders have suffered dislocation or broken fingers or knuckles as a result of this hold.” (See attached).

Again, it doesn’t take rocket science to recognize that it’s virtually impossible to use such a technique on delicate joins like those of the fingers, and not dislocate or break them.  Fingers aren’t pliant like pipecleaners.  They bend in only one direction.  And it’s impossible to measure or limit the pressure applied when bending fingers backward, especially when one instinctively resists.

And again, try it yourself.  Don’t take my word for it.  Despite what those in power might say, I assure you, your eyes, senses and agony won’t deceive you.

Plain Old Torture

I can’t imagine that a victim’s panic and pain under waterboarding, genital electro-shock, or thumbscrews could be much worse than the FBT.  In more openly barbaric and honest times, (Europe’s Middle—especially Dark—Ages perhaps), the FBT would’ve been called exactly what it is: plain old torture.

So let’s have done with the hypocrisy of U.S. democracy.  If prisons are a microcosm of the larger society that births them, what sort of society is it that needs to mass incarcerate millions of its residents, uses mass imprisonment to press and persecute minority nationalities and races of people, and in turn needs to torture them?  I’ll tell you what kind…one that still needs to be fundamentally changes.

Dare to struggle Dare to win!

All Power to the People!

ROSP Expose – Addendum #8 (December 19, 2010)

This is an eighth addendum to an article I wrote and circulated which was published in 2004, entitled “Red Onion State Prison, an expose: Racism and Brutality equals kind and usual punishment in Virginia”.

That initial expose reported the conditions of racism and abuse prevalent at Red Onion. That report was seven updates, written between 2004 and 2007. Due repression targeted against me by Red Onion officials in response to these reports and consequent outside protests, isolation from prisoners in other units where abuses were ongoing, me being consumed with defending myself against a series of trumped up criminal charges (all of which I succeeded in having dismissed or dropped), and due to a lapse in outside organizational support, I have not compiled further updates since 2007.

Physical assaults at Red Onion

This update does not address the multitude of assaults by Red Onion guards against prisoners that have occurred since my last addendum, because I am unable to give full and fair factual accounts of each.

It does detail several recent incidents. As I pointed out in my original article, guards routinely assault prisoners then fabricate disciplinary reports claiming the prisoners attempted to or actually did assault them, yet invariably guards never suffer injuries except those consistent with their having assaulted the prisoners.

Red Onion has two forty four double occupancy cell housing units (A-1 and A-6), which house minimum security “cadre” inmates. These cadre are used as workers in and around the prison and enjoy greater privileges then Red Onion’s other segregation and “progressive housing” prisoners.

The cadre are regarded, treated and used by Red Onion officials as something of a junior staff, and are expected not to question, challenge or oppose officials in any manner, lest they lose their “privileged” status and treatment and find themselves locked up in segregation and treated harshly and abusively, like the non-cadre prisoners.

Ernest Darcus, a prisoner accustomed to serving time in the federal system refused to conform to the status quo of the cadre system, while housed in the ROSP cadre unit. Instead he wrote grievances and complaints against staff wrongdoing and racism. On October  21, 2010, Darcus was set up and beaten by guards; An incident witnessed by thirteen prisoners in my own segregation unit. I wrote up what I witnessed and asked him to explain what lead up to the assault, so I could expose it to the outside world. Here is what he wrote:

“I was brought here to work in cadre. The inmates in cadre are afraid and will not stick together. This is my first state bid. I’ve done federal time. I filed on racist abuses by [James] Wade, the Food Service Manager, also the medical department.

You know the games they play with the grievances. I continue to file and my family keep calling the Regional [Office]. In retaliation on September 20, 2010 they searched my cell.

They caught my roommate with gambling tickets, his notebook payment and extra clothing [all rule infractions], but didn’t charge him with anything.

They got me with an extra T-shirt and charged me with contraband. I wrote it up for discrimination and reprisal. On October 21, 2010 officer B.Hurley, officer Creech and Sgt J.Hartstock approached me coming out of the dining hall. They called me a “nigger” and “bitch” for writing grievances.

Then they told me they “kill niggers here”. And asked me if I didn’t see happened to [Aaron] Cooper [Cooper is a Black prisoner who was strangled to death during the summer of 2010 in a Red Onion segregation exercise yard. A White prisoner is alleged to have killed him and many prisoners believe guards set up and facilitated the killing] thats when they said they would find something to lock me up for. So they brought me to A-3, cell 317, they pushed me in the cell, pushed me to the floor, and started kicking and punching me in the head and chest. I got my family to contact the regional and I have written it up-but they have have not responded or given me any receipts…these people here are straight racists…I want you to know I’m thankful for everything you’re doing. The guys in cadre will not stand up for nothing. I never asked to come to cadre and don’t want to be here.

I write the stuff up and the cadre inmates get mad at me. I’ve heard about you and a few others that be filing on these racists here. I’ve about you all from a white inmate that works in the law library and the racist officers and the racist officers that work here…I was just in the medical department for three days hearing officers and staff talk about “niggers”. The guy [who is alleged to have killed Cooper] was back there joking with them [about] how he killed the Black guy. I was at a real KKK rally. I’m going to continue to fight and write this abuse up. Stay strong bro!”

In a  separate letter he explained how the guards involved in beating him fabricated disciplinary charges against him to cover up and justify the setup and assault.

On June 3, 2010 a cell commode overflowed flooding several cells in the A-3 unit, including that of Maurice Boykins. Unit guards S.Fields and J.Barraman refused to have the water cleaned from the other’s cells, including Boykin’s , telling them to sop it up by hand with their sponges. Boykin’s rightfully complained that it was the guard’s job to clean the flooding and have the area sanitized and not to serve meals in the unit under unsanitary flood conditions, they still refused to clean the water from his cell and proceeded to serve the dinner meals. Boykin’s informed Fields he was going to write a complaint up on him.

Fields became enraged and upon serving Boykin’s meal positioned his body to block view of a unit surveillance camera, and as Boykin reached out of the door’s open slot to retrieve his meal trey, Fields proceeded to try and break Boykin’s arm and hand in the slot, repeatedly slamming the slot’s steel door with his body weight behind it against Boykin’s hand and arm. Barraman also joined in the attack.

As a result of the assault, Boykins suffered several serious lacerations to his right arm and hand, including a cut across his fingers, a gash from mid forearm to elbow and swelling in his hand.

To cover up and justify the assault on Boykins, Fields fabricated a disciplinary report claiming Boykins

assaulted him. Fields has been involved numerous times in assaulting defenseless prisoners and fabricating disciplinary reports, usually in response to prisoners filing complaints against him.

During latter October 2010, I compiled and sent out an article about a torture unit under construction here at Red Onion entitled “Abu Ghraib comes to Amerika: Torture unit under construction at Virginia’s Red Onion State Prison.”

As that article which has now been widely disseminated, described, a list was already compiled of prisoners to be confined in that unit once completed, before its construction even began. The list consisted primarily of non-white prisoners, including myself, who’ve distinguished themselves for challenging and resisting abuses at Red Onion. Several officials here have implied that that article has drawn attention and scrutiny to the prison.

On November 26, 2010 I was confronted by the guard Fields a warning and threat that I am “on the list” to be set up for attack by guards. He proceeded, under my questioning, to describe an incident that occurred on November 18, 2010 in another building and unit (C-3), involving several other prisoners, who were also listed for confinement in the torture unit, who were set up and brutally beaten by guards, including Fields. The two prisoners who were set up and beaten were Derwin Osbourne and Kelvin Canada. Fields took especial delight in describing the event in details which I was able to later confirm, and which I could not have known except through him (an involved guard) having informed me, since most of what he described is classified security information.

Here is the account he disclosed and which has since been corroborated.

On November 18, Captain Kevin McCoy entered the C-3 unit with the intention of provoking an incident for the purpose of justifying the use of violence against prisoners in the unit-several of whom are listed for future housing in the torture unit.

Apparently the objective was to provoke what would appear to be belligerent behavior in order to give specious credence to the already planned transfer of the prisoners to the torture unit.

McCoy had guards direct the targeted prisoners to submit to degrading strip and visual body cavity searches in order to receive showers. Other prisoners in the unit were not required to do this. When the targeted prisoners who included Osbourne and Canada predictably protested, McCoy ordered them denied their showers. This resulted in several covering their cell door windows in protest.

Guards were then “suited up” in riot armor to  “cell extract” the prisoners. Cell extraction consists of one or more squads (five to seven guards per team), of riot armored guards (wearing metal helmets with face shields, bullet proof vests, elbow pads, knee pads and shin guards), first spraying large quantities of caustic gas into the prisoner’s cell, then opening the cell door and rushing the prisoner with the first guard carrying a 75,000 volt electric stun shield, (the modern prison version of the cattle prod), physically subduing while electrocuting the prisoner, handcuffing him from behind, leg shackling him, then putting him into ambulatory restraints (AR will be discussed in a future report).

All cell extractions are to be recorded by staff using hand held audio-video cameras, due to the tendency of guards to brutally beat prisoners during these events. Regardless after the prisoner is taken to the floor and handcuffs are applied, guards invariably in sly knees, kicks, punches, gouges at the eyes, bending of fingers and toes, grabbing of the testicles and throat, while yelling “stop resisting”, “stop resisting!”, for effect, and to make it seem as though they are struggling to restrain a continually combative prisoner, rather then mob assaulting a subdued, defenseless man.

These events serve as great morale boasts to abusive guards who somehow account such armored and armed mob attacks on one man as deeds of bravery rather then cowardice, and psychologically provoke prisoners to try fighting them on these unwinnable terms by characterizing those who don’t allow guards to cell extract them when provoked as effeminate and “scared”, rather then intelligent. Many prisoners fall victim to this game.

Derwin Osbourne was the first prisoner cell-extracted, he allegedly swung a weapon at the guards when the cell door opened, and one guard fell to the floor. The rest rushed Osbourne, subdued and restrained him, then, according to Fields “beat him bloody”. He was left bleeding profusely from the face with large knots on his head, and the front of his body and face bloody.

Right after the cell door was opened and the guard fell to the floor, the audio-video camera was turned off to prevent the beating from being recorded and guards claimed falsely that the battery “died”.

Recording of Osbourne recommenced only after he’d been beaten, brought from the cell, then made to kneel in the unit outside the cell. Two guards injured themselves during the assault on Osbourne (one cut his arm, the other scratched his face), then claimed Osbourne inflicted the wounds.

Next Kelvin Canada was targeted. Fields participated in this assault. He admitted being the “shield man” and he carried the leg shackles. Just as was done with Osbourne, as soon as Canada’s cell door was opened and the mob of guards rushed in, they cut the camera off, to prevent filming of their assault

on Canada after he was immediately subdued and restrained, claiming falsely that the battery went dead.

He was brutally beaten at length. Fields admits using the shackles as brass knuckles to beat him in the face, and that they repeatedly slammed his face and head into the concrete floor, after he was restrained.

Canada was put into ambulatory restraints without any nurse checking him. His face was severely swollen, bruised and deformed.

The audio-video recording of Canada only recommenced after the beating was over and he’d been locked or placed into a shower stall. He protested on camera that he had not been allowed to see a nurse.

Fields also claimed a weapon was planted.

Several other prisoners were also cell extracted, but were not beaten as Osbourne and Canada had been, nor were the cameras cut off on them. As a token measure, Warden Ray, apparently fearful of the backlash likely to follow, ordered that two audio-video cameras must be used to film all future cell extractions. Ray clearly knew it defied reality that in two consecutive cell extractions, preformed right behind one another, where both prisoners suffered injuries consistent with brutal facial assaults, the batteries of the recording equipment just happened to die, with recording resuming only after all use of force was over.

Ray also contacted Red Onion’s former security chief Leslie Fleming, who had just been promoted to assistant warden of Keen Mountain Correctional Center, to inquire about the situation.

Kevin McCoy who’d instigated, set up and oversaw the assaults and erasure and falsification of records

to cover them up, was and is acting security chief of Red Onion as the position is currently vacant.

When Fields told me about these assaults and warned/threatened that I too am “on the list”, I promptly

filed an emergency grievance to seek an investigation of the situation and make a record of his statements; facts which I had no way of knowing except through his testimony.

Fields became extremely angry about my grievance and threatened me further the following day.

To which I filed another emergency grievance. In revenge he fabricated a disciplinary charge against me claiming I threatened him at the time he was in fact at my cell threatening me.

Lt Travis McCoy (Captain Kevin McCoy’s brother), refused to investigate my grievances and blatantly mis processed them, claiming that a guard threatening to set me up for assault by guards who had just done the same to two others, did not constitute threat of harm and thus did not not qualify as an emergency1.

In fact Travis McCoy and numerous ranking guards were also involved in and supervised the assaults and cover-up of Osbourne and Canada, including Captain Stacey Mullins, Lt Anthony Mullins, Captain

Dewayne Turner, Lt Delmer Tate, etc.

I am attaching copies of the grievances I filed related to the November 26 and 27 incidents and Travis McCoy’s responses2.

I also filed “informal complaints” on Field’s actions, which the prison’s grievance department routed to Red Onion’s investigator, Sgt Tony Adams. However Adams refused to respond and instead rerouted them to a Lt Stacey Day3.

ROSP guards also likely targeted Canada because of the outcome of an incident occurring on April 17, 2010, where he was targeted for assault by a guard and shot for no reason. On that date Canada was outside on a segregation exercise yard, confined in a locked cage. A guard Ricky Fannin confronted him with verbal abuse and threats. To make good on his threats, Fannin then went into a building, obtained the keys to Canada’s exercise yard cage from other guards, returned and then unlocked and opened the cage while Canada was completely unrestrained, with the intent of assaulting Canada.

Defending himself, Canada fought Fannin off. Other guards rushed to the scene and guards in a gun tower ordered Canada to lay on the ground which he did. At which time guards with shotguns shot Canada and another uninvolved prisoner, Robert Oliver, who was locked in another cage on the exercise yard.

Apparently the intent was to set Canada up to be assaulted after he’d been restrained, but Fanin jumped the gun and, in blatant violation of basic DOC policy, opened Canada’s cage alone while Canada was fully unrestrained. The entire incident was recorded on surveillance cameras so Fannin’s violation could not be easily covered up. He was thus prompted to resign. Many Red Onion prisoners regarded this as a victory for us against the prisons largely racist and abusive staff. Whereas, guards-especially ranking ones who are veterans of  abuse-have since had an open vendetta against Canada.

Also, Canada, like myself is greatly disliked by Red Onion officials because he is a member of the NABPP-PC/WPO which political affiliation is a constitutional right4, but which officials oppose and persecute because this Party advocates the rights of prisoners and all oppressed people; opposes all forms of discrimination (racial, national, ethnic, gender, sexual orientation, etc); promotes Socialism, and practices the right to free and honest speech. We are also a predominantly “minority” Party.

In Red Onion’s blatantly racist and totalitarian environment, officials find this unacceptable.

As in most every case at Red Onion, the frequent assaults were committed by white guards against non-white prisoners. Fields and other Red Onion guards high and low also repeatedly attempt to provoke and create situations to justify assault and the use of violence against me.

However, I generally don’t feed into their designs or respond in the ways they anticipate.

Conclusion:

Brutal assaults continue to occur against Red Onion’s predominantly non-white prisoners, perpetrated by its almost exclusively white staff.

A favorite claim of officials is that audio and/or video surveillance equipment protects against such assaults or allegations of assaults.

But as can be seen, when it suits guards designs, such records are simply erased, “lost”, recorded over, or simply not made and blamed on “malfunctions” or loss of power. As with cell extractions, guards have also devised means of assaulting prisoners while under audio-video surveillance; or to avoid recording they take prisoners into blind spots (for example inside of cells as they did with Ernest Darcus), where surveillance cameras can’t see.

As a recent questionnaire which I circulated amongst prisoners in my unit demonstrates, Red Onion is pervaded by a racist and abusive staff, and a deeply corrupt administration and ranking guards.

In my experience, the environment and staff attitudes are such as one reads about in books and novels on the old Jim Crow South, where festive lynchings by white mobs and open persecution and degradation of Blacks was the order of the day.

As Darcus pointed out, and I have experienced innumerable times, one is apt to find oneself witness

to a genuine Klan rally where racist white guards and inmates openly exchange and express white supremacist sentiments and Nazi fantasies.

Overt bigotry still exists in Amerika, right alongside the more subliminal and equally timeworn racism, where white Amerika more willingly embraces “properly sanitized” and “Anglicized” Blacks-like Barack Obama, Booker T. Washington, “Uncle Tom” etc- while still hating, fearing and avoiding the masses of lower class Blacks and Browns who don’t ape the status quo (refusing to personify white culture as “superior” to their own).

Both forms of racial oppression operate hand in hand. And both forms need to be rooted out- a good starting point would be in rallying and organizing against what’s going on in these remote prisons.

Dare to struggle Dare to win!

All power to the people!

Kevin “Rashid” Johnson