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07.17 Planned Parenthood president Leana Wen forced out by board [Given that states have lost abortion rights on political grounds recently, Wen's philosophical approach to protect abortion rights based on ‘health care’ was smarter – therefore it was that smarter strategy that was killed at the secret meeting.]

07.17 Billions of air pollution particles found in hearts of city dwellers

07.17 What is happening in America's Cancertown is tragic, immoral and evil [Niggardly white government policies could change to produce better students, better jobs and net revenue instead of costs. But it seems they enjoy more cruelty—like Trump.]

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07.14 A Glacier the Size of Florida Is Becoming Unstable. It Has Dire Implications for Global Sea Levels [The willfully ignorant needn't read more, Trump]

07.13 'Climate Despair' Is Making People Give Up on Life [Willfully ignorant governments—having fired many of their best scientists—have made themselves too stupid to despair]

07.13 Trump administration to approve pesticide that may harm bees [The worst government money can buy!]

07.12 These solar panels don’t just generate power—they produce drinking water

07.12 David Attenborough: polluting planet may become as reviled as slavery [1:34 video]

07.10 Plastic Has A Big Carbon Footprint — But That Isn't The Whole Story [Fixing our world begins by educating your consciousness with the best truth from trustworthy news sources—so you'll then insist truly bad things will get fixed. But if instead you are educated by untrustworthy news sources—then your consciousness could be warped to where you are hating and fighting with your best friends. Clue: untrustworthy news sources never seriously report news about the world's most critical emergency—Global warming.]

07.10 Molly Scott Cato: ‘It’s the wealthy who are causing climate change’

07.09 Judge reinstates Madrid's low emissions zone [Yeh!]

07.07 How Solar Panels Work (And Why They're Taking Over the World) [Hope they leave space between panels for wild flowers to grow so birds and butterflies can flourish!]

07.05 Tree planting 'has mind-blowing potential' to tackle climate crisis

07.04 On reflection: how the 'albedo effect' is melting the Antarctic

07.04 US produces far more waste and recycles far less of it than other developed countries [As expected—and made worse by Trump—the U.S. is best at being the worst]07.03 Booming LNG industry could be as bad for climate as coal, experts warn

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07.03 Caravan of Americans battling diabetes heads to Canada for affordable insulin [3:36 video; Like Central Americans flee for their lives from criminal drug gangs, Americans flee for their lives for affordable pharmaceutical drugs]

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07.18 Deadly Delays in Jail Construction Cost Lives and Dollars Across California

07.18 Inside Trump's DC hotel, where allies and lobbyists flock to peddle their interests [Also, too much ignored by media, the $millions "donated" corrupting moderate Democrats and Republicans every election cycle must stop]

07.18 This Republican's Case for Medicare for All [A well-informed Republican is rare, so let's hold him in the light so others may learn]

07.18 Trump rally crowd chants 'send her back' after president attacks Ilhan Omar [1:03 video shows Trump pandering to his ignorant idolaters, and together they're making America a greater shit-hole country]

07.18 "Can't Change a Corrupt System by Taking Its Money": Sanders Urges All 2020 Democrats to Reject Insurance, Big Pharma Cash [48:58 video]

07.17 Why Democrats’ oversight machine is moving so slowly against Trump

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07.17 'Good,' Says Elizabeth Warren, After Billionaire Right-Winger Peter Thiel Says She's 2020 Democrat He Is 'Most Scared By'

07.17 The American Right Defines Patriotism As Complacency About Racism

07.17 This is what today's America looks like. The squad is us

07.16 As Trump Sows Discord, Chief of Staff Mulvaney Reportedly Focused on 'Building Empire for the Right Wing' [And the South shall rise again...]

07.16 George Will's startling assessment of Donald Trump

07.16 Describing 'Future We Want to Live In' Scores of Groups Unveil New Blueprint for Reproductive Rights

07.16 'Do not take the bait': congresswomen denounce racist Trump attack [3:50 video]

07.16 Money Laundering Scandal Forces Puerto Rico’s Governor to Cut His Vacation Short — Just in Time for Another Scandal

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07.16 Contempt [Variations of frequent loss & theft of property title by organized legal efforts against black owners]

07.15 Australia 'deeply concerned' about China's treatment of Uighur people [What are the reasons, exactly, that justify harsh imprisonment of a million people?]

07.15 Zuma tells South Africa corruption inquiry he is victim of foreign plot [Unaccountable corrupt governments are so in fashion these days...]

07.14 Warren vows to probe U.S. crimes on immigrants if elected [Can you imagine living in a nation with a working Justice System? How far we've fallen!]

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07.18 Corporate tax cuts blocked at least 15,000 affordable homes in California. Here’s how

07.15 China’s Economic Growth Hits 27-Year Low as Trade War Stings

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07.18 There are 16 million slaves around the world making our stuff

07.18 ‘No rioters, only a tyrannical regime’: Thousands of Hong Kong seniors march in support of young extradition law protesters [Most people around the world have more in common with these Hong Kong Chinese protestors than with the ignorant people at Trump rallies]

07.18 Dozens Arrested as Over 1,000 Jewish Activists and Allies Shut Down Entrances to ICE Headquarters Demanding Closure of Trump Detention Camps [Obviously these are not the immoral and less educated right-wing jews who support Netanyahu, Trump and ICE, and who slowly exterminate Palestinians when no one is looking]

07.17 Trump Murdered the Iran Deal—And Europe Isn’t Too Happy About It [Only psychopathic Saudi Arabia and Russia are U.S. ’allies’ now...]

07.17 Trump’s Unlawful Asylum Policy Is a Jab at Mexico

07.16 Trump’s race fantasy is clear: the US as home for whites fleeing Europe [1:09 video]

07.15 India’s Terrifying Water Crisis

07.15 Australia now has the highest minimum wage in the world [From 1960 to 2018 – the U.S. has fallen from 1st place to below the tenth place and off the chart]

07.14 Kasich: The chilling effect of British ambassador's leaked memos

07.14 'Just a matter of when': the $20bn plan to power Singapore with Australian solar

07.14 At least 24 Yellow Vests lost eyes in violent protests. Now they're more determined than ever [Protests of all kinds will continue until systemic inequality loses political dominance]

07.13 New Zealand Begins Gun Buyback Prompted by Mosque Attacks

07.13 After a Police Shooting, Ethiopian Israelis Seek a ‘Black Lives Matter’ Reckoning [Since so-called modern humans evolved there have been 10,000 generations of people. It is extremely far-fetched to think anyone is racially pure. SO ALL THIS HATE IS INCREDIBLY STUPID.]

07.13 After a Police Shooting, Ethiopian Israelis Seek a ‘Black Lives Matter’ Reckoning

07.13 Brazil’s President May Appoint Son, Friend to the Trumps, as Ambassador to U.S. [Friend of the Trumps, so we know they're all brain-dead except about near-term profits. They are clear-cutting the Amazon Rain Forest to feed-then-butcher millions of methane farting cows, over and over. Yep, that's there business plan. So therefore the rest of the world will hopefully plant billions of trees elsewhere to sequester CO2 to offset what the Bolsonaro family and investors are destroying. What's wrong with this picture?]

07.13 Trump’s Cruelty and Mexico’s Duty [Our president is immoral to his core and reacts to things like a child, not understanding that his actions are often crueler than they should be. And that cruelty will never completely be excused or forgotten—the people's hatred of Trump is growing, like the Texan's hatred when President General Santa Anna laid seige to the Alamo, which was Mexico's territory at the time...]

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  The Angola Three - 38 Years in Prison Hell

REPORT:

The Angola Three - 38 Years in Prison Hell

by Stephen Lendman
Friday, 7 May 2010
Louisiana has the highest per capita incarceration in the world, the ACLU getting over 80 complaints a month about guard beatings, overcrowding, poor medical care or its denial, mistreatment of mentally ill prisoners, squalid living conditions, and denial of access to lawyers.

On March 30, 2010, an Amnesty International (AI) Public Statement read:

"USA: Amnesty International calls for immediate end to nearly 73 years of solitary confinement endured by Louisiana prisoners Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox."

Both men are at the Louisiana State Penitentiary (called Angola and The Farm) - in terms of acreage, America's largest prison, a maximum security one with over 5,000 inmates and 1,800 staff members on 18,000 acres. Once a slave plantation, it's the same now as then, and it's legal under the 13th Amendment stating:

"Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."

Except for brief intervals, Wallace has been there for 38 years, Woodfox for nearly 35 - confined for 23 hours a day in 2 x 3 meter cells with little natural light, and "allowed outdoor exercise in a small cage, for one hour, three days a week, contrary to (what's) specified in the United Nations Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners. Restrictions are imposed on their personal property, reading materials, access to legal resources, work and visits." Their cages are unprotected from rain or oppressive heat. Overall, they're treated like animals, not human beings.

Until March 2009, both were at Angola. Wallace was then transferred to Elayn Hunt Correctional Center in St. Gabriel and remains in solitary confinement. They and Robert King are the "Angola 3," convicts since 1972, for the murder of white prison guard Brent Miller that year. No physical evidence linked them to the crime, their convictions based solely (as later documentation revealed) on bribed inmate testimony in return for leniency. Another witness later recanted.

Although not at Angola at the time, King was blamed but never charged. In 1973, he was bogusly accused of murdering another prisoner, freed only in 2001 after pleading guilty to "conspiracy to commit murder" as a condition for release on time served.

The three men have a civil suit pending against the state of Louisiana, one the US Supreme Court ruled has merit based on claims that their Eight Amendment "cruel and unusual punishment" rights were violated. It will be heard in the US Middle District Court in Baton Rouge, but don't look for any more justice this time than earlier, especially for poor and disadvantaged blacks.

King's autobiography was published in 2008 titled, "From the Bottom of the Heap: The Autobiography of a Black Panther." He's a member of the Common Ground Collective, a decentralized NGO network formed post-Katrina to help New Orleans residents. He's also an international speaker at colleges and community centers in America and before parliaments in the Netherlands, South Africa and Portugal.

Still in isolation, Wallace and Woodfox are reported to be in poor health, the result of decades of mistreatment. AI says Wallace's "osteoarthritis is aggravated by inadequate exercise, functional impairment, memory loss and insomnia."

Woodfox suffers from "claustrophobia, hypertension, heart disease, chronic renal insufficiency, diabetes, anxiety and insomnia."

Both men are victims of racism, retribution for their activism, prosecutorial injustice, and a state prison system the Louisiana ACLU calls "the most abhorrent in terms of violence and horrible living conditions."

Louisiana has the highest per capita incarceration in the world, the ACLU getting over 80 complaints a month about guard beatings, overcrowding, poor medical care or its denial, mistreatment of mentally ill prisoners, squalid living conditions, and denial of access to lawyers.

The Bill of Rights grants constitutional protections to everyone, including persons in custody, regardless of their crime. Especially abhorrent are rigged trials, judicial complicity, wrongful convictions, and appellate unfairness to keep innocent victims incarcerated.

Angola's Horrific History

Angola has always been hellish, especially in the 1970s when it wreaked of corruption and abuse. It was segregated with horrific rampant rage, frequent murders, and sexual bondage - inmates sold to each other as sex slaves or in exchange for favors. No wonder it was called America's worst prison, a distinction as true today, including chain of command encouragement of widespread, systematic violence, including guard beatings, sexual assaults, other abuses amounting to torture, and use of solitary confinement as punishment for activism or any other reason arbitrarily.

Today, Angola prisoners are 75% black under a compulsory 40 hour or longer workweeks (eight hours or longer a day, five days a week) plus weekends for bad disciplinary reports, often fabricated for more labor.

They till fields for 4 cents an hour, under constant watch as virtual slaves. In the 1970s, it was 96 hours (16 hours a day, six days a week) for 2 cents an hour at what was called the "Bloodiest Prison in the South" because of endemic guard-inflicted and prisoner-on-prisoner violence.

The Angola 3 fought conditions with nonviolent hunger and work strikes. Prison authorities retaliated by framing them for murders they didn't commit, Woodfox and Wallace for Miller's death, King for another prisoner.

Today Angola's mission statement says:

"The philosophy of Louisiana State Penitentiary (LSP) is to provide services in a professional manner so as to protect the safety of the public, staff, and inmate population. Consistent with this, it is LSP's responsibility to provide meaningful opportunities to enhance, through a variety of education, work, social service and medical programs, the individual's desire to become a productive member of society, while providing a safe, stable work environment for employees."

Inmates see it otherwise, calling reforms "cosmetic." Former prisoner and now Executive Secretary of the Capital Post-Conviction Project of Louisiana calls Angola a "sophisticated plantation (where) cotton is king" and inmates near slaves - "given enough food, clothing and shelter to be a financial asset to the owner," but little else.

Louisiana's entire prison system is no different, Angola the preeminent example, a de facto slave plantation, preventing its inmates from ever "becom(ing) a productive member of society" because long sentences without parole deny it - the idea being once incarcerated, free them only for burial on Angola's expansive acreage after extracting a lifetime of forced labor.

"The Case of the Angola 3"

For more information, visit Angola3.org.

In the late 1960s, Wallace and Woodfox were incarcerated for unrelated robberies, founded a Black Panther party chapter to improve prison conditions, and were targeted for their activism.

In 2008, a federal judge overturned Woodfox's conviction after a state judicial magistrate found damning evidence, including:

  • "inadequate representation;
  • prosecutorial misconduct;
  • suppression of exculpatory evidence; and
  • racial discrimination in the grand jury selection process."

Nonetheless, he's still in solitary because Louisiana officials want him held for life.

In 2006, a state judicial commissioner recommended reversing Wallace's conviction, again because of compelling prosecutorial misconduct. No matter. He's also in isolated confinement after a district court denied him, upheld by appellate level refusal to review without explanation.

A habeas petition is now pending in federal court that may prove as constitutionally futile, given their extremist right wing judges, showing little sympathy for oppressed minorities or the poor, and a reluctance to reverse local authorities.

On March 10, The London Guardian's Erwin James' article headlined, "37 years of solitary confinement: the Angola three," saying:

"....at (Angola's) heart....is an inhumanity that would make Jesus weep," two of the Angola 3 enduring "the longest period of solitary confinement in American prison history."

Having spent 20 years imprisoned himself, James:

"attest(s) to the mental impact that (isolation) inflict(s). My first year was spent on a high-security landing where the cell doors were opened only briefly for meals and emptying of toilet buckets. If decent-minded prison officers were on duty we were allowed to walk the yard for 30 minutes a day. The rest of the time we were alone....

As the days, weeks and months blur into one, without realising it you start to live completely inside your head. You dream about the past, in vivid detail - and fantasise about the future, for fantasies are all you have. You panic but it's no good 'getting on the bell' - unless you're dying - and, even then, don't hope for a speedy response. I had a lot to think about. When the man in the cell above mine hanged himself I thought about that a lot. I still do. You look at the bars on the high window and think how easy it would be to be free of all the thinking."

The film, "Land of the Free" tells their story, three men growing up poor in New Orleans. They feared police, "who would regularly 'clear the books' of crimes in the area," King explaining that they'd pin them on disaffected black youths.

"If I saw the police, I used to run," said King, admitting he committed petty crimes, but "nothing vicious." Eventually he was bogusly arrested for armed robbery and sentenced to 35 years.

Woodfox also bogusly got 50 years for armed robbery, escaped from the courthouse, returned to Harlem, and got involved with the Black Panthers. After being caught, he was taken to New York's Tombs, was called "militant," and returned to New Orleans "where he joined King on the parish block, known - due to the high concentration of Panther activists - as 'the Panther tier.' There (he) became a member of the Black Panther party."

Woodfox and Wallace extended it, "establishing classes in political ideology and exposing injustices." They worked to improve prison conditions, but their activism made them targets. At the time, guard Miller was killed. Two days later, four "black militants" were accused, including Wallace and Woodfox. One of the four was a plant. Charges against him were dropped. "Another, Chester Jackson, admitted to holding Miller while the guard was stabbed to death," Jackson turning state's evidence to cop a plea for a lighter sentence. Wallace and Woodfox were convicted by an all-white jury, sentenced to life without parole, and taken to Angola's CCR (Closed Cell Restricted) block - solitary confinement.

"King was brought to Angola from the parish prison two weeks after Miller's killing, as part of a roundup of black radicals. He never met Miller and was in a prison 150 miles away" when it happened. Yet he was identified as a "conspirator" before being held in CCR with Woodfox and Wallace.

The next year, a prisoner named August Kelly was murdered on the tier. Prisoner Grady Brewer admitted sole guilt, saying it was in self-defense. He and King were tried together, the only evidence against King "came from flawed prisoner testimony." He and Brewer had little counsel consultations before trial. After protesting, the judge ordered their hands shacked behind their backs and mouths gagged with duct tape during trial. They were convicted and got life without parole, King later released on appeal as explained above.

New lawyers later discovered "obfuscation after obfuscation" during trial, the state using a number of jailhouse informants who gave contradictory accounts of what happened. "One was registered blind. The key witness" was Hezikiah Brown who testified he saw the murder. He initially said he saw nothing.

"Three days later, when he was taken from his bunk at midnight by prison officials and promised his freedom if he testified, he agreed to say that he saw Wallace and Woodfox kill Miller." At the time, he was serving life without parole for multiple rapes.

Wallace and Woodfox persisted. In 1993, Woodfox won an appeal for a new trial that was just as bogus as the first one - an all white jury, a local author (Anne Butler) convinced of his guilt its chairperson, no witnesses called, evidence concealed or not properly investigated, so as expected he was again convicted.

It took King 26 years for his successful appeal after earlier witnesses recanted, and a federal court ordered the district one to reconsider. A deal followed, King pleading guilty to conspiracy for a crime he didn't commit, his price for freedom as explained above.

Then in 2008, Woodfox's conviction was overturned after a federal court ruled his constitutional rights were violated at trial. Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell contested. As a result, he, like Wallace, remains isolated in confinement, victimized by prosecutorial injustice under a system giving disadvantaged blacks none. Decisions are seldom reversed by higher courts, the fate Woodfox and Wallace still contest after decades of prison hell.


Stephen Lendman

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. His blog is sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Listen to Lendman's cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Mr. Lendman's stories are republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.



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This story was published on May 7, 2010.
 

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