The 'Friends of Marcia Powell' are autonomous groups and individuals engaging in prisoner outreach, informal advocacy, and organized protest and direct actions in a sustained campaign to: promote prisoner rights and welfare in America; engage the Arizona public in a creative and thoughtful critique of our system of "justice;” deconstruct the prison industrial complex; and dismantle this racist, classist patriarchy...

Retiring "Free Marcia Powell"

As of December 2, 2010 (with occasional exceptions) I'm retiring this blog to direct more of my time and energy into prisoner rights and my other blogs; I just can't do anyone justice when spread so thin. I'll keep the site open so folks can search the archives and use the links, but won't be updating it with new posts. If you're looking for the latest, try Arizona Prison Watch. Most of the pieces posted here were cross-posted to one or both of those sites already.

Thanks for visiting. Peace out - Peg.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Green Scare / AETA 4 updates

---------------Via Freedom Archives Political Prisoner News------------

Surge in government repression: FBI visits, warrants, more

by Voice of the Voiceless ( info [at] )

Tuesday Aug 31st, 2010 1:30 AM
A roundup of recent FBI visits, subpoenas, and other government assaults on the animal liberation movement

A roundup of recent FBI visits, subpoenas, and other government assaults on the animal liberation movement:

New AETA 4 DNA warrant

This week, Joseph Buddenberg of the AETA 4 was the target of a warrant for his DNA. A quote from the agent who authored the affidavit:

"I believe probable cause exists that Buddenberg was involved in the February 24, 2008 altercation at the L.H./J.R. residence in Santa Cruz.... The samples from the bullhorn found in Khajavi's vehicle will yield evidence that Buddenberg was involved in force, violence, and threats involving animal enterprises, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 43 & 371"

Read the full affidavit here.

Buddenberg submitted himself to FBI agents this week, who took four swabs of DNA.

While the AETA 4 indictment was recently thrown out, this recent government offensive indicates the case is not yet over. The case , if continued, stands to be a precedent-setting Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act case with implications for all activists.

Carrie Feldman Re-subpoenaed

Last week, Carrie Feldman was approached by FBI agents in Rock Island, IL, and handed a subpoena,ordering her to testify at the trial of Scott DeMuth. DeMuth is charged with a conspiracy role in the A.L.F. raid of the University of Iowa, in which 401 animals were rescued. The trial is set to begin on September 13th.

Feldman was previously jailed for four months after refusing to testify to the grand jury investigating the Iowa raid.

FBI visit

The FBI reportedly visited a former east coast activist last week, inquiring about an animal rights activist in Utah. The questioning appears to be related to the recent raid of an activist house in Salt Lake City.

Rod Coronado sent back to prison

Rod Coronado has been sentenced to four months in prison for a probation violation. A judge found him guilty of adding well-known Earth First! co-founder Mike Rosselle as a friend on Facebook, which the judge found violated his probation conditions. The conditions bar Coronado from associating with anyone involved with Earth First. He was also found to have used a computer which was not approved by the probation department.

Another FBI Visit

An activist in Minneaoplis was approached by two FBI agents at a gas station August 16th. The report does not specify what the agents were investigating, or what information was sought. The person refused to speak to them, and drove away. Read the full report below.


Here’s what I recall about my encounter with the FBI today: I was topping off a full tank of gas at the Holiday Gas Station in Plymouth (Rockford Road and HWY 169) at 10:28am this morning when two FBI agents approached me. They identified themselves. One was heavset with dark short hair. The other was skinnier with a goatee and shorter dark hair. The skinnier agent did all the talking. I mostly ignored their presence by looking at them and stating, “I have nothing to say to you guys.” I then hung up my gas pump and walked into the Holiday Gas Station to pay. The two agents followed me as I walked across the parking lot to pay inside the gas station. They stopped at the door and waited for me when I went inside to pay.

After I paid and exited the building, the two agents followed me to my vehicle. They were persistenly asking me to cooperate with them and repeatedly mentioned that they wanted to give me an “opportunity.” Again, I ignored their presence as I walked to my vehicle, opened my door, and drove away. It was 10:32am when I left the parking of the gas station. To my knowledge, they did not follow me.

They were standing by a red (metallic red) four door (pontiac?) with licence plate # MNB 615 (or a combination of those letters and numbers).

Dialogue I remember them saying to me as I was ignoring them:

“Dominoes are starting to fall all around,” and “we want to give you an opportunity,” and

“it would be shame if you didn’t talk to us.” My daughter was concerned because she heard them say the word “kids” when I was getting into the car and shutting the door. I don’t know what exactly they said, but it was probably something to push my buttons. My two children were with me when the agents approached me today. All three of us are fine now.

Feel free to pass this info on to any lists or groups that you wish.

Dr. Toxic

If you have been conctacted by he FBI, call the National Lawyers Guild Green Scare Hotline at: 1-888-NLG-ECOL.

- Peter Young

Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

415 863-9977

Questions and comments may be sent to

Monday, August 30, 2010

Conditions of confinement: Sheriff Joe's jail is our responsibility, too.

The following is a revised and somewhat more radical version of my post from AZ prison watch earlier in the night. It seemed appropriate for this blog, too. No one is listening to us at the Governor's office or ADC, so try the DOJ now. Please call or write today.

Amnesty International poster: Write a letter, save a life.

For those who missed Stephen Lemons' review of Shaun Attwood's new book, "Hard Time: A Brit in America's Toughest Jail", it's worth the read. I'd post it here but I've already packed in too much for the night. It is, of course, about the Maricopa County Hell they call a jail. Hit Shaun's blog, "Jon's Jail Journal" too, if you haven't already. He posts letters from prisoners there, and is a good friend to many who would otherwise have no audible voice.

As for the conditions of confinement in our jails and prisons: I don't understand why the Department of Justice hasn't held Arpaio criminally responsible for his abuse of so many people over the years - from medical negligence to conspiracies to deprive us of our civil rights. Their failure to do so thus far is akin to the feds' consent for every harm he's done under his tenure, and complicity with every additional prisoner he neglects or kills. I'm really starting to worry that they plan to make some kind of closed door deal with him, then pack their bags and walk away.

The Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act covers prisoners precisely because the People so often end up needing protection from the sadistic cruelty of those wielding power in our name, and few in America are more disenfranchised and vulnerable than those disposed of in jails and prisons - citizens and "aliens" alike. They include our elderly, our poor, our sick, troubled youth, our mentally ill, our developmentally disabled - all those people we once institutionalized elsewhere (and have thrown out into the streets) are thrown into the stew.

Of course, the more vocal idiots in our community argue after every article about prisoner abuse or suicide that because they are in a jail or prison they deserve whatever they get, whatever that may be. Just because those readers like to stone prostitutes, though, doesn't mean they are themselves without sin. Nor do they represent all of us. Those people are twisted bullies hiding behind fake identities looking for someone to kick who's already down. They've probably commented on this blog of Stephen's, in fact.

That's a tangent I can't stop from exploring in this context. The media shouldn't give such people the platform on which to celebrate brutalization, suicide, and murder, including among prisoners, in the first place. That's not supporting freedom of speech - it's just intimidating the voices of reason and humanity into silence. Giving hateful people our shared public space empowers them to use shame to perpetrate cruelty, and it perpetuates the stigma felt by prisoners' families who read "good riddance" from the community after their loved ones die. They screen such things out of printed "letters to the editor"; why not moderate their public forums? Only abusive and rich people seem to get amplified when they speak - the rest of us get censored, even if we head the nightly news.

Frankly, most of "free" Arizona should be locked up, looking at the multitude of laws that require jail or prison for those who break them - and at how unbelievably easy it is to put someone away, especially in this state. We are just privileged or very lucky if we've escaped such a fate so far. Those who think they will never be prosecuted because they really aren't "criminals" need to check out the Arizona Justice Project. There are all sorts of innocent people behind bars.

Once in a while the law reaches out and touches us where we never thought it would - and since it's not a common occurrence in our white, middle class communities, we are sure that there is just a deviant in our midst, or it is a fluke of the justice system that will work itself out. Dad's in an accident while on painkillers following surgery and goes to prison because he had an old DUI. Presumably he will get treatment in prison, but he's already been sober for 5 years - instead he just loses time from his kids' lives and his ability to support his family. The neighbor is arrested for embezzling to save the house from foreclosure and her kids from homelessness - losing everything and everyone in the process. We pay over $20,000 a year to incarcerate her for five years - and God knows how much to put the kids in foster care - while her banker gets a bonus from the taxpayer bailout.  

I hope everyone out there finds those images as disturbing as I do. It happens all the time.

As for the wrongfully-accused: Americans don't really presume innocence, which is why Joe's jail was allowed to get so bad. We recoil from the accused as soon as they hit the news because the possibility that agents of the almighty law might be corrupt or wrong threatens our sense of social order. We sacrifice Innocence like she's the designated virgin just to maintain the illusion that the guilty among us are eventually caught, and that those who are caught are always guilty. 

People who are innocent tend to believe that the truth will prevail, and if it doesn't they end up being punished worse than the real criminals who make a deal. Real-life case in point: Courtney Bisbee, the school nurse accused of touching a 14-year old liar and branded as a child molester, was a feather in the cap of the detective who arrested her and the prosecutor who got the conviction. To assure that the rest of us got our taste of blood, the judge slammed her with 11 years for fighting it out in court instead of taking a plea bargain that would have had her back home with her child by now.

Stephen Lemons even investigated Courtney's case and advocated on her behalf (here and here, too), but no one wants to hear the new evidence that would exonerate her because it implicates incompetence - or worse. For law enforcement's ego and our sense of order, she's been in prison for at least 6 years now. Maybe Romley is the man who will have the courage to help set her free - we'll see. He was the Maricopa County Attorney when she was originally prosecuted, so if he steps up to the plate and looks at it in a new light, I'll be impressed. Andrew Thomas was too much of a political coward.

In these ways the brutality of our courts, Joe's jail, and Ryan's prisons hits home. It's not a freakish thing for families to be ripped apart by "justice" in poor and minority communities - it's all too common. The legal system works exactly as it's designed to there, oppressing resistance to white supremacy and defiance of the rules of capitalism at every turn. Justice is the sheep's clothing that America dons to promote the interests of the few, and the myth that we are a model of democracy is what blinds us - and Her - to the deceit. 

But Justice is not supposed to prey on the rest of us "ordinary Americans"- it is supposed to protect us. It only seems to be when we fall from grace ourselves (or get falsely accused and imprisoned) that we begin to see the system for what it is. We get inside and see people doomed to spend the rest of their lives in prison for charges as petty as fraud, while murderers walk away with money in their pocket after 15 or 20 years. Looking around, we also realize that the majority of the people behind bars are not a public safety threat - most are public nuisances, eyesores, "sinners" and surplus laborers who legislators thought would be better hidden away. Those still claiming their innocence are all too often out-maneuvered by the state in legal proceedings, and seldom have the luxury of an attorney to help them once appeals are exhausted. 

Look closely and you'll see that America's prisons and jails have, by and large, replaced our mental hospitals, poorhouses, and plantations. And they are major money-making machines for those in power, as long as they skimp on human rights and basic needs like food and health care. That's why the prisoners who would expose them are discredited, discounted, and silenced in every way possible.

Never mind that the desperate and vulnerable are being relegated and abandoned
in these hellholes to sociopaths who will rape and torture them for the fun of it, or even kill them just to score a new gang tattoo. To the private and public prison industries alike, each new body is just an addition to their growing empire - they have no interest in anyone's innocence or special circumstances, and no reason to help prevent or reduce the effects of crime in our communities. 

Despite lamenting about the high recidivism rate (usually as an excuse to be better funded and more brutal), jails and prisons are just as well-paid for recycling the people they chewed up once already. Buying the industry's line of BS, a terrorized public decides that parole officers and prosecutors are always professional and responsible and work in a functional system, so it must be the criminal's own fault for getting put back in - he should have learned his lesson the first time. Our perceptions are too often shaped by the expectation that what we pay nearly 10% of our state budget for includes some effort at "rehabilitation" (hence the AZ Department of Corrections' designation as such, not the "Department of Confinement"). The criminal justice system isn't rehabilitating anyone - they're spending our money lobbying the governor and legislature to pass more laws and assure more prison sentences for less serious crimes than ever.

The prison industrial complex as a whole (of which Sheriff Joe is actually just a small part) cultivates the rest of us to feel exploited and victimized, though, so that we seem defenseless and helpless without them. Then they glorify themselves as our protectors (though they usually arrive after the crime, not in time to prevent it), and we willingly pay them some other kid's lunch money to keep it up.
It's a racket. Actually reducing crime and making us all more safe would just cut into their power and profit margins.  

Anyone who believes such a system really upholds justice or promotes the public good is delusional or has been duped. Law enforcement is an integral part of the fascist decimation of our rights, not the power protecting them. We - the People - are the only power that will protect liberty and justice for the future, but only if we have our eyes wide open and are ready to risk jail, prison, defamation, and even execution in the process. If we are not, then we have surrendered that which is most important in life for nothing more than illusion. We are on a leash, instead of in a cage. At least some prisoners, with their integrity intact, mange to remain free.

The DOJ is grossly negligent for failing to act aggressively under CRIPA against the MCSO, and therefore shares the blame for emboldening our greedy, bigoted, fear-mongering lawmakers and enforcers to continue to imprison, injure, and kill those of us whose nationality or skin color or gender or politics or religion they hate.
But we are also responsible for letting this go on so long without holding either the feds or Arpaio accountable ourselves. So, here are the names and contact info for the people at the DOJ who should be investigating the real public enemies - and taking action - under CRIPA, regardless of what else they're doing. Please call or write on behalf of those fighting  a losing battle to defend their lives. Don't wait for your loved one to end up in trouble: he or she may be the next prisoner of the MCSO or Arizona Department of Corrections to die.

So could you or I.


DOJ - Special Litigation Section

Mailing Address

Special Litigation Section

950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, PHB
Washington, D.C. 20530
For FEDEX: 601 D Street, NW, Washington, DC 20004

Telephone Number
(202) 514-0195
toll-free at (877) 218-5228

Fax Numbers
(202) 514-0212
(202) 514-6273

Acting Chief
Judy Preston
(202) 514-6258

Principal Deputy Chief
Tammie Gregg
(202) 616-2009

Deputy Chiefs
Julie Abbate (Acting)
(202) 353-4637
Mary Bohan (Acting)
(202) 616-2325
Luis Saucedo (Acting)
(202) 353-0299

Thursday, August 26, 2010

ARPAIO 5: Saving Grace.

This is an SOS to the Community.
Grace Daniels needs our support.

The first post is from the Phoenix Class War Council's blog.
I posted it as an echo, not just something to show.

Then comes Grace.

As for me, tonight I'll be working on letter about how when I was burglarized I was able to reflect on some community organizing ideas that Grace had shared to make the neighborhood safer, and how she joined the cause to support my friend with Hep C early on..that we need her out here, basically, more than anyone needs to lock her up or even tie her down for a year. We all need her to be free to create and express and - yes, to resist. In so doing she compels us all to reach a little beyond where we are to try harder to be better to the rest of life on this planet. How can you call someone like that criminal?.

I may not be a big part of Grace's community, but she's been a big part of mine, so anyone out there who knows her similarly who thinks that what you might have to say on her behalf is too insignificant, think again. The court needs to hear from more than just a few good friends - there's a whole lot of ways we all matter to the larger community we help create, and from my own experience, I can say that Grace's touch has only been a blessing in my life.

- Peg

----------------------from the Phoenix Insurgent------------------

An Urgent Request from Grace Daniels

Below my comments here I have re-posted a letter appealing for assistance in Grace Daniel's case. Please do everything you can to offer aid and comfort as requested. Your help is needed now more now than ever.

PCWC stands unequivocally behind everyone beaten and arrested by those thugs the Phoenix Police and MCSO at the January 16th anti-Arpaio march. We likewise denounce the leftist activists who collaborated in advance and after the fact with the attack and the bullshit press that, in the truest tribute to the Red Scare I've seen in some time, quickly tried and convicted our friends without bothering getting the facts.

One reason anarchists oppose law and policing is precisely because it focuses on process over substance, power over equality and the result therefore almost always resembles nothing even remotely like even a shadow of what we might call justice as most people understand the word. More often than not the outcome looks more like blackmail or, as Orwell put it in a slightly different context, a boot to the face. That the State is incapable of delivering justice in most cases -- for instance when factors like race, income or oppositional politics come into play -- reveals the entire spectacle to be a sham.

Often, when the cards are stacked against you as is the case with the majority of us without wealth and power, you are forced into a lose-lose situation, where the choice becomes more one of damage control and the hedging of bets in order to preserve ones already limited freedom. Deeper questions of justice and wrong and right frustratingly fade into the background.

Frustratingly, I say, because despite the sheer absurdity of the process when taken at face value, at every turn the so-called justice system reminds you with the grand language of guilt and innocence, justice and reparation, that although what you're going through feels a lot like extortion, instead it is supposedly a quest for truth and fact. Bullshit! Cognitive dissonance prevails nowhere in this society so much as in the courtroom. And since the State is built on laws, it is in the courtroom where we often get our purest look at its hypocrisies, as well as its failings. Consider, as a case in point, Grace's case in which two sentences, one a month and the other more than ten years are bandied about as equally viable options. Where does justice lie when the outcomes, both State-sanctioned, are so disparate?

Realistically, going to trial can be very dangerous given the tendency of the agents of the State and their masters to lie, cheat and manufacture/disappear evidence/witnesses. It takes strength and courage to stand up against that onslaught, even if the struggle isn't carried through to trial. As anarchists we reject the State's definitions of guilt or innocence and we stand with our comrades under attack, even as we understand the limitations that the legal framework puts on defense and the sad pragmatism that often must result from the pathetic application of the stinking law.

For my part, I do not begrudge anyone, with the obvious exception of those whose deals lead to collaboration with the State, for taking the better of two shitty deals, or of not risking a fight that can have catastrophic results.Battling the State on their home turf is not easy and in the courtroom they hold all the cards. I myself have faced this situation more than once in my life. My deepest sympathies to anyone who sits in a similar position. Decisions rarely come easy.

Justice in capitalist democracy is a sham and I would no more hold a comrade to its anemic standards than I would myself. It's failings reveal only more clearly the need for an uncompromising revolution that overturns this wretched order: an overturning of this justice death-machine that has left so many wrecked lives in its wake. Solidarity in struggle to all who face it in the name of liberty, freedom and equality for themselves and others, as well as to those who face it just to pay the rent or put food on the table.

Support our comrades under attack. Support Grace Daniels.

-Phoenix Insurgent

-------------------An Urgent Request from Grace Daniels--------------

Friends, Family, Comrades:

I just spoke to my lawyer regarding the current state of proceedings regarding the charges being alleged against me since my arrest on January 16th at the Anti-Arpaio march in Phoenix, Arizona. I had hoped my next post on this topic would at least contain semi-positive news; unfortunately that is not the case. The prosecutor has disclosed their final plea deal which would require me to plead guilty to a class 5 felony, with a mandatory 30 days in jail, and a minimum of 1 year supervised probation (which could be up to 3 years).

I have until Wednesday to agree to take this plea or not, if I decide to go forward with the plea it would be effective on September 3rd, Friday. If I decide to take this to trial, the date is set for September 14th. Given the case that we have I normally would see taking this to trial as the best option, however, because a special sentencing statute specifying that this was a “dangerous” offense was added, the judge has no leeway in my sentencing and if convicted it would mean a mandatory 10.5 years in prison. As of right now although we have witnesses, we do not have any video documentation showing the moment that the alleged “crime” was committed. The police as anyone who was there knows, and as we know through the video that we have seen, had numerous cameras throughout the protest and at that moment. However, they are claiming that it does not exist at this point, meaning that it has likely been destroyed.

I am writing this as a last urgent call out to whoever reads this. Things that may help if received by Wednesday would be; character letters (guidelines specified below, you can email them to me at, any video documentation of the protest, and witnesses who saw me directly before, during, and after my arrest. If you feel you have any possible information or documentation that may help in this case, please email me for my lawyers phone number.

Thank you to everyone who has provided unending support and to those who continue to fight despite tactics such as these used to try to scare us into submission.

If you are unfamiliar with the events on the 16th, please see links below for more background and current updates in regards to the other 4 who were arrested that day.


GUIDELINES (for character letters)

Who they are - brief

How they know you, how long, etc

Acknowledge that they know essentially what you are charged with

Then, FOCUS on your good character traits, with specific examples if possible.

Character for non-violence generally, and if they have experience with you at marches, rallies, etc, your non-violence at those.

They can then simply request leniency on your behalf.

They should NOT profess your innocence unless they were there and saw you right before and up to your arrest – and of course, we have found no such person yet.

They should NOT try to school the prosecutors and/or judge on the justice system, jail, prison, etc.

The latter stuff just turns off the professional who is reading it and they will ignore the good stuff!

The focus is on you, not the case.

Inside Shadows: Memorial for Marilyn Buck, NOV 11.

This comes from the SF Chronicle via Marilyn's friends in the Phoenix Anarchist Coalition. Maybe we should host a memorial here, too.

--------Women Prisoner News: Marilyn Buck obituary in SF Chronicle-------

A memorial gathering will be held on November 7th from 4-7 at the First Unitarian Church, 685 14th St., Oakland. Additional ones will be held in Texas, New York City, and Puerto Rico; details will be posted on

On Tuesday, August 3, 2010, long-time U.S.political prisoner and acclaimed poet Marilyn Buck, 62, passed peacefully at her home in Brooklyn. On July 15th, several weeks before the date originally set for her release, Marilyn had been released from the federal Bureau of Prisons medical facility in Carswell, Texas and paroled to New York. Marilyn served 25 years of an 80-year prison sentence for politically motivated actions undertaken in support of self-determination and national liberation and in opposition to racial injustice and U.S. imperialism. Throughout her years in prison, Marilyn remained a steadfast supporter of fellow political prisoners and an advocate for the women with whom she was imprisoned.

Marilyn became involved in the civil rights and anti-war movements and joined the Students for a Democratic Society during her college years and became an active supporter of the Puerto Rican, Native American and Black liberation struggles in this country. She was a consistent and outspoken advocate for the liberation of women and gay liberation.Marilyn was incarcerated in Dublin, California for 15 years, during which time she earned a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and Master of Arts in poetics. Her poetry and essays have been printed in a wide variety of journals and books. A new collection of her poetry will be published next year under the title "Inside Shadows."

In 2009, Marilyn was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer; treatment came too late to save her life. Marilyn is survived by three brothers, three sisters-in-law; cousins, nieces and nephews; her friend and attorney Soffiyah Elijah, and other loving friends worldwide. A memorial gathering will be held on November 7th from 4-7 at the First Unitarian Church, 685 14th St., Oakland. Additional ones will be held in Texas, New York City, and Puerto Rico; details will be posted on

This article appeared on page Z - 99 of the San Francisco Chronicle © 2010 Hearst Communications Inc.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Fascists, White Supremacists dominate AZ Republican Primaries.

The Fascists all but swept the Republican Primaries here last night, and in most of their strongholds the Democrats won't have much chance come November. We're still holding out hope that the corrupt Andrew Thomas loses to the incompetent Tom Horne, but overall, it's a bleak Wednesday morning in Phoenix.

Having no tv is a good excuse to get out and about on a night like last night, so I brought my "Bury Hep C..." signs with me to the AZ GOP Party HQ to witness the tragedy unfold. It was far worse than I expected. It looks like many of my friends took one step closer to spending the next few years in an Arizona state prison, all for the love of Food Not Bombs, music under the bridge, and sidewalk chalk. Freedom of expression and human rights will soon be tossed out of the back seat by Thomas' Law and Arpaio's disorder.

I was pleading more than protesting with my signs to fight Hep C , standing quietly across the street. When I saw what was happening on their big screen - and in the audience of small people - I thought it would be foolish to be caught disrupting the occasion without my own witnesses. The media was out in full force, of course, but seemed to be thoroughly co-opted. With the exception of a few words of encouragement from parting celebrants, I was virtually ignored.

from Monday morning's demonstration,
the message I brought to the Republicans Tuesday night.

The scene at the Republican's party - ringed by MCSO deputies - was truly disturbing. I had to close my eyes and imagine that it was just a bloodbath between klansmen and skinheads, as whomever was left standing would likely still go on to try to destroy the rest of us.

Huppenthal - chair of the Senate Education Committee that brutalized teachers and children last year - may be the next State Superintendent. They're moving in for the kill with the kids.

Unless there's a Libertarian coup in November, the Maricopa County Attorney's office is actually losing Romley to Arpaio's buddy, Bill Montgomery. I never thought I'd be sorry to see that guy go so quickly, but I think darker days are ahead.

Whoever went up against Russ Pearce didn't stand a chance in hell, of course - I haven't even trolled the internet to find out if there was some miraculous upset in his race. He wasn't to be seen in Phoenix, as far as I could tell - I suspected he was celebrating in Mesa with Tea Partiers, Neo-Nazis, and the other white supremacists out there.

Most troubling, perhaps, is that last nights winners didn't come out of far right field without a lot of help from the "center". These people were the official nominees of their party. The crowd unabashedly cheered Arpaio and Thomas (whose race remains too close to call) as they slapped each other's backs and smiled for the cameras without another protester in sight.

The list goes on and will be verified and complete to be pondered over by pundits soon enough. Suffice it to say, it looks like it's about to get a whole lot worse in this state before it gets better, so watch each other's backs out there, my friends. SB 1070 is what brought these people their victories last night. This may have been the Summer of Human Rights, but this fall will undoubtedly see some ethnic and political cleansing in a Season of Hate as this Republican slate solidifies their base by doing what they do best: demonizing unions and immigrants, incarcerating the poor for profit, and dismembering the traitors in their own ranks.

We can certainly hope that the legions of registered Republicans who voted for the lesser of their many evils will join the Democrats and the independent voters in an upset in November - it would suggest that we finally have a more progressive electorate, if nothing else.

For my part, though, even with a Democratic sweep I don't expect the oppressed to be liberated by any part of this political machine. Instead, I pray for revolution. Perhaps this blatant horror will be precisely what we need in order to unshackle our own feet, free our own neighbors, and take back both the land and the resources for the people and other living beings whose ancestors long pre-dated the Anglo invasion.

Until the next time we meet dancing in the streets, comrades - be strong, and remember the power of song. There remains a hell of a battle ahead, which will come to us if we don't go out and meet it full on.

With my utmost respect to the Resistance -

In solidarity, forever.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Fight with the Truth, Director Ryan, or get out of the way.

One of my e-mails to Director Ryan and his corporate counsel last week, addressing the shoddy medical evaluation of Davon's condition, and what I think is really underlying a lot of this resistance. We are collectively, silently lending our consent to the widescale extermination of people with addictions and serious mental illness via Hep C, diverting them from hospitals and treatment programs in order to feed the prison industrial complex in the process, where many will ultimately die of neglect.

I must have hit a nerve or two with this one - it was never answered by either of them. I wasn't that surprised - just disappointed. I'd been holding out hope that Ryan just had a bunch of incompetent subordinates who were covering themselves by keeping the truth from him, and that if he knew the truth, he'd step up to the plate himself. But I think he knows full well what goes on in that place, and it's him that his people cover for. What a no-win situation that must be for them.


This is Davon Acklin's prison doctor.


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    - 3:04pm
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    David Robertson, DO. Surgery. Maricopa Integrated Health System .... had no risk factors for viral hepatitis. She reported 1-2 drinks no more than 2-4 times ... - Similar


Or maybe this is.
(I Googled them both to see what he's doing about the epidemic of Hep C in AZ prisons.)

Your search - "david w. robertson, DO" hepatitis - did not match any documents.


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This is Julie's friend.


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  1. Millions of Hepatitis C Funding Dollars Hijacked

    Apr 27, 2009 ... William Remak, Chairman of the National Association of Hepatitis Task Forces and a two-time liver transplant recipient due to HCV is also ... - Cached
  2. The Status & Recommendation for Public Health Education ...

    National Association of Hepatitis Task Forces, CA National Association of Hepatitis C Task Force, William Remak, B.Sc. MT, B. Public Health, SGNA, Chairman ... - Cached
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    Hepatitis C Virus (HCV)

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    The focus of this paper is on the Hepatitis C virus (HCV), ..... William Remak, Chairman, California Hepatitis C Task Force (Phone interview Nov. 2008) ... - Similar
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    CALIFORNIA HEPATITIS C TASK FORCE Little Hoover Commission Stuart ...

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    Chairman, California Hepatitis C Task Force, Inc. Chairman, National Association of Hepatitis Task Forces. 2X Liver Transplant Patient, Cancer survivor. ...
  5. Bill Remak - Email, Address, Phone numbers, everything!

    Bill Remak is Chairman of California Hepatitis C Task Force ... 04 Continued from Segment .... William Remak Santa Rosa, US. William Remak West Warwick, US ...
  6. CDC DVH - Viral Hepatitis - Resource Center - National Viral ...

    Aug 27, 2008 ... Summary: This workshop will be provide an overview of viral Hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E, including basic epidemiology, risk factors, ... - Cached


He also goes by "Bill".


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  1. California Hepatitis C Task Force

    Jan 23, 2009 ... Bill Remak is Chairman of California Hepatitis C Task Force & Chairman of National Association of Hepatitis Task Forces. ... - Cached - Similar
  2. Mission Statement - California Hepatitis C Task Force

    CALIFORNIA HEPATITIS C TASK FORCE BOARD OF DIRECTORS AND ADVISORY BOARD. BOARD OF DIRECTORS. 1) Bill Remak, Petaluma -Chair. 2) Phyllis Borchardt, San Diego ... - Cached - Similar
  3. Bill Remak is Chairman of California Hepatitis C Task Force ...

    He is a survivor of liver cancer and two transplants and is diabetic. He was a laboratory scientist at UCSF, but after his illness he started organizations ... - Cached
  4. Bill Remak (wmremak) on Twitter

    Get short, timely messages from Bill Remak. ... To watch a webcast of the Congressional hearing on Viral Hepatitis, click here... 1:54 ... - Cached
  5. Hard Time: Hepatitis C in Arizona's State Prisons.: Remak: The ...

    May 4, 2010 ... By Bill Remak, B.Sc. MT , B. Public Health, SGNA, AHCJ. ( ) Chair, National Association of Hepatitis Task Forces and ... - Cached

Any questions?


August 18, 2010

Charles L. Ryan, Director
Arizona Department of Corrections
1601 W. Jefferson St.
Phoenix, AZ 85007

Dear Director Ryan,

This is actually the closest to a white flag that you may ever see from me. I'm just showing you part of my arsenal to get your attention because you think I'm outgunned. I haven't posted that Google yet (nor, as far as I know, has Julie, but Facebook is her territory). By the time what I'm offering here expires I'll have thought of something better, though. Hopefully I'll have also figured out the software for my camera so I can upload that video of Julie, too. I don't expect it to ever enter a courtroom, but that doesn't mean it doesn't carry weight.

Davon could be getting well right now, for all the money and staff time you've invested in diverting his mom from getting him appropriate health care. That kid needs to be seen by a specialist competent in treating Hepatitis C before you claim he doesn't have a life-threatening condition with any credibility. So far, I'm not convinced that he's not in imminent danger, and I'm leaning towards thinking there's a whole class of men and women in there who are dying from your neglect.

But no one wins if Davon dies from this illness; we both know there isn't time for a class action suit. You may have fallen for your people's BS (assuming you aren't the source), but we aren't, so please stop sending people who don't know what they're talking about as if we don't get it. You may not have been made aware of this, but Davon's liver enzyme values are not only way out of range, they've multiplied since he was tested nine months ago. He should have been seen by a specialist and considered for treatment immediately. Instead, ever since his most recent labs were done, people have been trying to convince Julie - and now the governor's office - that she's just ignorant and over-reacting.

If the rapid rate at which Davon's liver functioning has deteriorated doesn't trouble you enough, then open his medical chart yourself - the first thing Julie noticed was what was missing. She has volumes of information she provided you folks on his psychiatric history and needs. He had 8 case managers and an ACT team that couldn't keep him out of prison, but you've only given him nine pages worth of care? That's shameful. You're not treating his mental illness, you just have him in chemical restraints.

It gets worse from there. Apart from Dr. Robertson's show of ignorance about his patient's medical conditions and needs, your staff have given Davon medications for illnesses he doesn't even have on more than one occasion. Are we really supposed to be convinced they know him at all? Did Jim Clenney think that giving us some guy with credentials would make us shrug our shoulders and quietly walk away? Did either of you?

Do you know what an aggressive strain of Hep C can do in ten more months? We aren't giving it one more month. I won't wait for the Clemency Board - I'm not putting all my stock in them, and a qualified assessment of Davon's status should have been done at least 3 months ago. You could have had a huge lead on this disease if he started treatment of any kind sooner - he's not even getting vitamin or protein supplements, and Julie's been screaming to your people - and everyone else in range - for months about his fatigue and malaise. There's absolutely NO reason he should be expected to be his own advocate in the face - and custody - of the state. I think he's pretty competent, myself, but he's nonetheless been designated as disabled by the severity and persistence of his mental illness for a long time; his mother even has power of attorney. That should have given someone a clue.

But even the guys who are certifiably sane give up asking medical for help, there. I have volumes of mail to that effect. That tells me a lot. I already know you wanted to save money by revamping how you do things in that arena - like increasing co-pays to discouraging requests for MD visits by people earning pennies an hour (if they're lucky enough to have paying jobs in the first place). I hope you also want to save lives, given the chance, despite the fact that those under your immediate sphere of influence are slaves and criminals. If so, you're investing resources in the wrong places. Prevent lawsuits by offering consistent, decent care.

I don't need an attorney or Julie's okay to tell you that there's nothing more we'd like to see than solid evidence that Davon's health care needs are being competently met and he has a chance to get well. An attorney will want more from you than that, so please don't waste any more time or public resources stalling us. Prove us wrong with the truth. That's what Julie's been asking for all along.

A lot of your other families are hurting too, actually, and the longer you leave me standing out here challenging you, the more there are who will find me. I make no promises to you about how I'll deal with their loved one's illnesses - I won't agree not to come after your department myself again - with an attorney, even - and I'll probably help anyone poor enough to need me. I'll grant that you're stubborn, but you've been wrong about Davon, and your resistance has only made me stronger and more creative as an advocate for prisoners with Hep C - as has time, too much of which has passed now.

It's urgent that Davon is assessed by a hep C specialist - not just have his physician rubber-stamped by a committee. If he was home we'd be calling 911 for an ambulance - a whole lot of people would be.

I can't swing Davon's medical bills - I can't even keep him stocked with peanut butter. Catch up with my credit report if you didn't know that already - I can't keep up with my own doctors. But I'll sell everything I have down to my computer, pledge a part of my monthly income for the cause, sign whatever you draw up that gets the state off the hook for it, and take responsibility for finding more people to help cover it. I'm not shy about asking for help when I find someone in trouble, and I am a witness that this family is in trouble.

I can fundraise a lot easier if this offer is made publicly than if it's just between us, but right now, if you get Davon help this week, you can pretty much write the terms. I'll even surrender my ego - just not other prisoners. I'm sure my little brother - the one who does health policy stuff for the United Way - would tell me that an attorney would never be stupid enough to say such a thing, but I'm not the one with the law degree in the family. Not yet, anyway. I'm already pretty occupied as a writer.

You will ultimately be the villain or the hero here, Director Ryan. In either case, I'll give credit where it seems to be due. I'll figure out my next move in a day or two if you block this one - we aren't playing the waiting game any more with you. Please tell Julie you're having Davon seen by a specialist, and then offer him the option of a full course of the best treatment a guy can get in there - for all any of us know, once he gets a taste of what his mom is fighting for, he'll opt out of interferon treatment until something better for people like us hits the market.

I know what the algorithims boil down to, by the way, that no one wanted to dare say out loud to Julie, because she's going to nail you for it already: treatment "isn't indicated" because he's a bad risk by way of co-morbid psychiatric diagnosis and substance abuse history. Everything else but those things and income level is actually just right for treatment to be recommended, otherwise. In fact, looking at his age and even Dr. Robertson's appraisal of his physical presentation, Davon would be seen by most experts as a really good candidate for treatment now - someone who would probably be successful staying Hep C-free, too.

That's bigger than you, though, I realize. It's the case all across the country, in the prisons and the community (though your standards - as demonstrated by your failure to even assess Davon thoroughly for the Clemency Board's recommendation - are below the community's. You don't even know if he has AIDS???). The scale of the epidemic - and the amount of bureaucratic cowardice in its face - won't stop me from doing everything I can to stop it, though.

In fact, it compels me forward every time I begin to feel too old and tired to keep the pace up. The dually-diagnosed are outright slated to die off from this thing, and I bet the CDC is paying close attention to their mortality rates, co-morbidities, and resiliency factors. If they aren't yet, they should be. But I think it's more insidious than passive observation - they're helping to starve your medical budget by way of issuing treatment guidelines that are way behind current research. A decade, at least. Check it out yourself (don't entrust it to your medical staff, anyway). They're leading the pack in their complicity with something I see as being the equivalent of murdering AIDS victims because they're gay. Only these people are also overwhelmingly poor, too. And people of color - that's why it's taking so long to catch up to HIV.

Can you imagine how many people would be freaking out if they grasped the truth about this disease? They don't have a clue unless their loved one has been to prison - that leaves most of white America in the dark. I'm planning to shine avery bright light in their eyes, too. They think they prevent cirrhosis and liver cancer by being tea-totallers, and they don't even consider the possibility that this could escape like AIDS and kill their own kids. The CDC's leadership role in Hep C wreaking havoc through so many lives may actually be your best defense - but when you have to answer for how you dealt with this epidemic to the generation that will inherit it, do you want it to be "I was just following recommendations?"

You do realize that you're on the front lines, don't you? At least, your prisoners and lowest-paid employees are, anyway. They are directly in the line of fire. They are the fodder creating the illusion of a buffer zone for something that won't be contained and isn't about to burn itself out, at this rate.

I bet mentally ill prisoners with Hep C constitute a large portion of the CDC's control group - the main population that's pretty much guaranteed to be denied treatment. Ever think of that? That's what's driving me to deal with you - it is not the pleasure of your company I seek. I'm much more interested in breaking through your denial - if you have any to begin with - about what's really going on with Hep C than I am in suing you. I need the kind of help you might give someone who was a victim of your merciless enemy - that enemy being Hep C, and hopefully not me. I assure you I will not be shutting up soon about this, whatever you do, so please don't write that into anything I might sign, or it will waste our time. What's happening with this disease in America is extermination.

And my own family has been hit, so don't expect to shake me. I have nothing better to do with my life.

You actually have less than a day, now, before I write again, cc or publish. Consider this to be my call to 911 on Hep C brutalizing someone I love behind your walls - or think of it as your last shot across the bow; that's up to you. It's hard not to post this thing while it's fresh, but like most distress and warning signals no one else has to replay it if it's answered responsibly - it just gets filed. Everyone gets to hear if I have to keep yelling for help from your doorstep, though - and I won't be waiting for you to kill anyone before I holler again.

So, if you're sincere about the public welfare and deserving of any medals for courage under fire, then please stop waiting me out. Invite me in, again, instead. You control the time, the place, and the witness - I only trust Karyn, though, to have both a conscience and a clue. She's the only one I'll talk to other than you without bringing another Copwatcher along.

I'm not asking a lot for Davon, here, but I'm expecting a lot from you. I hope you appreciate what an extraordinary leap of faith I'm taking in both of you to offer to meet you by myself, in fact. That's why this window won't be open very long. Julie doesn't even know that I'm offering to do this, or she would probably stop me - as would most of my friends. You haven't exactly given us much evidence to think that you can be trusted. But, I figured if you were in the pockets of politicians I have good reason to be wary of, I'd already be incapacitated by now.

I'm counting on both your autonomy and your honor really meaning something to you. If they do not, then at least I know that whatever your response is, I will have done what I need to in order to retain mine - and in turn, my own freedom. You may hold a bunch of keys, but that doesn't mean you aren't bound by chains and auctioned off at the market when they're done with you. I won't be; not that way.

This is your chance to stop me, help me, or get out of the way - either way, I need to know where you really stand, and I don't think you can afford to ignore me any longer. I can put this thing on the November ballot, still, by making Hep C in the prisons a pivotal issue. I may yet. Please get back to me today.


Peggy Plews

“The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.”

- Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821-1881)

Prison Abolitionist
Arizona Prison Watch
Arizona Juvenile Prison Watch
Hard Time: Hep C in AZ Jails and Prisons
Free Marcia Powell

¡El pueblo unido, jamás será vencido!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Resign, Director Ryan: Former Deputy Warden breaks the silence.

What follows is an open letter to the Director of the Arizona Department of Corrections, Charles L. Ryan, from a former deputy warden of his, Carl ToersBijns. For those of you who missed it, Mr. ToersBijns was interviewed by Channel 12 recently, calling on Ryan to resign. Ryan was asked to respond, of course, at which point he called Carl a disgruntled employee, hence the reference to that in the letter below.

Mr. ToersBijns recently published two books about his career with the Arizona and New Mexico prison systems: "Wasted Honor", and "Wasted Honor II: Underground Power", which I ordered and skimmed through after we connected, wanting a better sense of the man before publishing his letter here. They aren't tell-all books; there are really only a handful of references to Ryan in them (though they serve as examples of how not to be a good department director). Carl's intent appears to be to train others going into the field of corrections, not to slander his former colleagues or boss. I suspect there are many secrets he still keeps.

I originally received the letter below by email on August 17, 2010. Between the several exchanges we had about it, his public posts and the interview, and my cursory review of his books, I am convinced that the letter is authentic.
Carl is hardly an abolitionist (he was quick to tell me he isn't a liberal either, but I do believe he's more progressive than most men in this state). We have vastly different perspectives on incarceration (especially on solitary confinement and special management units, or SMUs), but my impression is that he is a sincere man who does not frivolously engage in character assassination or vindictive crusades. He appears to be motivated by a genuine concern for the public's safety, the success of corrections officers in assuring security and facilitating rehabilitation, and the welfare of those committed to the custody and care of the state. Carl evidences considerable compassion for prisoners who are mentally ill, in particular.

I am not so sure that the same can be said for Director Ryan, however, as he and his staff have ceased communicating with me on all matters. I've had a couple of public demonstrations and challenged him on a few things, and I think he's punishing me with the silent treatment, now - he knows how much I hate it. I'd lose my mind in an SMU - which is precisely where he'd put me if he could, I'm sure, so watch my back out there please, folks. I'll be coming out with a lot more on the ADC soon.

The only edits I made below were for formatting purposes, by the way - the content is all Carl's.
This, I think, takes real courage...


Open letter to Mr. Ryan.

I have only told a few but I put it in my book about my relationship with you [Mr. Ryan]. I was somewhat taken by your name calling referring to me as a disgruntled employee. Yes, I did leave sudden and I gave the Agency my two weeks notice. However, what I didn't say out loud is why we are ethically apart.

On May 13th last year, you said something in a general [warden's meeting] setting about a family member of mine. A man [family member] I have never met to this day, but who was the brother of my wife and incarcerated in Lewis. You, Mr. Ryan, told the former warden of Lewis complex this man [family member] deserved to die. You told the warden on the pretense of an "inside joke" some inmates deserve everything they are entitled to (per the grievance policy) except RH, who deserves to die.

(Obviously, you didn't know this inmate was my wife's brother incarcerated in Lewis and who has a very serious crime and considered by me to be a very bad individual with poor moral values).

I kept this mentioning of your comments about her brother from my wife and my mother in law for a month - I never ever kept anything from my wife - we had no secrets and I felt like (inappropriate term) keeping it inside and pretending all was ok. We [Ryan] had a face to face and we agreed to disagree and we moved on. You gave me a director's coin and we parted. It was never pleasant around you nor did I believe you were sincere when you offered an apology to me in your email stating "Nor, would I have had any knowledge that you had a family connection to an inmate in our system."

Since then I let it go and worked on the issues at hand. Yes I left sudden cause I had the time of service and age to retire. He had no integrity with me and I could no longer work for this man. I said this in my resignation letter that I handed to my warden... Disgruntled, not me, disenchanted, very much, I thought leaders were men or women who serve others and not themselves. Character counts and you Mr. Ryan, have no character when it comes to leadership and taking care of your staff and the public.

Respectfully submitted "Kodiakbears" [Carl ToersBijns]