Monday, June 24, 2013

Transfered, Beaten and Abused: The Ongoing Persecution of Kevin “Rashid” Johnson by the u.s. Penal State

The following is from a letter just received from Kevin “Rashid” Johnson, of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party Prison Chapter. As previously reported here, Rashid was recently transferred from Oregon to Virginia, likely in retaliation for his ongoing work reporting on and challenging abuses by the prisoncrats.

As can be seen here, Rashid is once again being targeted for physical and psychological abuse, with the goal of “breaking him”, i.e. destroying who he is and reducing him to a compliant inmate of their torture system. Rashid explains:

I was flown here to Texas on Jun 14. The day after I’d talked to Ben and wasn’t set for another call for several weeks. It was all timed and premeditated to carry out foul designs.

First I was sent to a prison called Byrd Unit, where, as soon as I showed up they put me in shackles, and cuffed me at the waist so my arms were immobile. Then a goon squad in waiting (hiding) forcibly cut all my hair off. Then they use the fact that I quite predictably resisted to speciously justify sending me to their long term solitary confinement prison called the Estelle Unit, where I remain.

Soon as I got here I’m met by another good squad, then cuffed behind and leg shackled after a strip search. They then took me into an office where the Assistant Warden Wayne Brewer, Major David Forrest and Captain James A. McKee were. When I properly asked Brewer who he was, he barked “shut up motherfucker. I’m doing the talking!” I was then immediately attacked by Forrest and McKee who repeatedly choked and hit me in the face and head, while Brewer went into a tirade of curses and threats to “break” me, “kill” me, etc. When I could breathe I just talked shit back. When they got tired, I was kicked out of the office and taken to a cell by the goon squad, when an injured throat and swollen left jaw. All requests for medical care have been ignored.

I have since been subjected to cell and strip searches at least every 30 minutes to 2 hours around the clock, every day. When I questioned this on Jun 19, I was promptly met by another good squad. I came out for the search without issue. Then I was ‘escorted’ back into the cell, laid on the floor in back of the cell out of view of a present portable audio-video camera and punched and kicked several times in the head and face.

The cells are full of mildew, black mold and roach infested. Prisoners are routinely beaten and abused back here. In fact the one housed in the cell directly in front of me, Edward Long #579657, was beaten while handcuffed behind. His right face if bruised and he has a laceration on the left side held shut with sutures tape. His left eye is surrounded by a black ring and his back is badly bruised.

I protested the haircut on spiritual grounds and was told Texas allows no exceptions. VA and OR blatantly violated my rights by sending me to a system where they knew I’d be shaved by force when they could have compacted me to a system that has no such requirements. See, Gortrell v. Ashcroft, 191 F. Supp 2d 23, 38-40 (2002). Also frequent searches even one a day are illegal. Blanks v. Smith, 790 F. Supp. 192, 194 (1992).

Also they gave me several bogus charges from the Byrd Unit, which McKee, who assaulted me, presided as hearings officer over, refused to let me appear and found me guilty.

on the main Kersplebedeb website:

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Kevin “Rashid” Johnson Transferred From Oregon to Texas

Prison intellectual and radical critic Kevin “Rashid” Johnson has been transferred again.

Rashid had been held in Oregon’s Orwellian Snake River Correctional Unit – an unvarnished behavior modification programme – since last 2012. In Oregon he had written a series of articles exposing the racism, medical neglect, and psychological abuse to which prisoners in that state are subjected. Like his initial transfer from Virginia to Oregon over a year ago, this latest move – yet again, across the country – is clearly retaliation for his persistence in shining light on abysmal and destructive conditions that prevail in prisons across america.

So now Rashid is in Texas. We don’t know what condition he is in, or what conditions he is being held in, but the time after a transfer is often disorienting, and the prisoncrats and guards often seize the opportunity to practice their malice. For that reason, now is a particularly important time to reach out and let this comrade know that he is in our thoughts – even a postcard with a simple message saying hello would be welcome at a time like this – and in doing so, you also let his current captors know that he is not alone, and that despite their efforts he is not isolated from us.

Write to Rashid at:

Kevin Johnson

TDCJ # 01859887

264 FM Road 3478

Huntsville, TX 77320

Make sure a first and last name are clearly printed in the return address section of the envelope or your mail will be returned. Also, remember not to say anything that would give the guards an excuse to mess with Rashid more than they already are.

To learn more about Rashid, check out his website at

on the main Kersplebedeb website:

Monday, June 10, 2013

Sleep Deprivation Intensifies Torture Conditions for Prisoners in Advance of Hunger Strikes and Work Actions

Oakland— Less than a month before state-wide hunger strikes are set to resume, The California Department of Corrections has instituted a new policy at Pelican Bay State Prison which has resulted in chronic sleep deprivation for prisoners in solitary confinement.

Both guards and prisoners complained to lawyers conducting legal visits last week about a new policy requiring prison guards to conduct “welfare checks” every thirty minutes on prisoners isolated in the prison’s Security Housing Units (SHU). Normally, prisoners in the SHU are counted every three to four hours by guards who patrol each unit, ensuring prisoners are in their cells. Each prisoner must be observed physically moving or showing skin. The frequency and method of these counts have already been challenged in a Federal lawsuit, /Ashker v. Brown/. Experts claim the sleep deprivation caused by the counts violate prisoners’ 8th Amendment rights.

“Sleep deprivation has many significant psychological consequences including irritability and impairment of the ability to make rational decisions,” says Dr. Terry Kupers, a clinical psychiatrist and an expert on forensic mental health. “Because of the harm it causes, sleep deprivation has been described as torture by organizations such as Amnesty International.”

The new policy has been ordered by Jeffrey Beard, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s (CDCR) newly appointed secretary whose Senate Confirmation Hearing is scheduled for June 19, 2013. The directive applies to over 1,100 prisoners who are in solitary confinement in Pelican Bay.

“Tensions were very high at Pelican Bay last week,” says Anne Weills, an attorney who is representing SHU prisoners at Pelican Bay. “The guards are on edge and upset about this new policy. Obviously the prisoners are on edge and suffering because of the sleep deprivation. But they remain resilient and deeply committed to peaceful actions to make necessary changes.”

In January, prisoners at Pelican Bay announced in an open letter to Governor Brown that they would resume hunger strikes and include work actions to protest the conditions of their confinement. In 2011 over 12,000 prisoners in over a third of California’s 33 prisons participated in two waves of hunger strikes. The 2011 strike was called off when the CDCR promised new policies and other improvements that addressed five demands outlined by prisoners. Almost two years later, prisoners and advocates claim the CDCR’s promises have been empty, and prison conditions have worsened.

“This is torture,” says Azadeh Zohrabi of the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition. “This intensified sleep deprivation adds to the long list of human rights violations endured by thousands of prisoners held in solitary for prolonged and indefinite terms, some for decades.”

Lawyers and advocates have also received demands from prisoners who plan to go on strike in San Quentin, High Desert, and Corcoran State Prisons. Prisoners have been clear that the strike could be called off if Governor Brown engaged in good-faith negotiations. Brown’s office has not responded to their request.

on the main Kersplebedeb website:

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Rethinking class: from recomposition to counterpower – Paul Bowman

on the main Kersplebedeb website: