Prison conditions

Comrade Malik speaks from inside the South Texas Gulag – McConnell Unit Ad-Seg

Originally posted on incarceratedworkers.org

Revolutionary Greetings Comrades! Today is August 26th, 2018. I’m holding on, not sure if my pleas for help are making their way out. Things keep on getting progressively worse here.

I arrived here on June 25th, 2018. I was classified a Level 1 in security class and a 5-4 Line Class in excellent standing, with nearly two years clear disciplinary record.

In fact, I was actually released from ad-seg on the 21st of June, 2018.

I walked the prison hallways of Ramsey I Unit in Rosharon, Texas for one single day!

Y’all should have seen all the hugs I received from Muslim brothers and other well-wishers who hadn’t seen me in person for a few years. It sure felt good – one day of quasi-freedom. Then I was literally kidnapped! Texas initiated an extra-judicial rendition program against me on U.S. soil!

Sisters and brothers, what is going on here at McConnell Unit is a well-coordinated, highly illegal, and malicious campaign to retaliate against me for filing civil lawsuits – but that ain’t all!

The relentless human rights and abolition works that I’ve been doing with the help of some very dedicated ABC collectives throughout the U.S. and Europe, along with my comrades at IWOC & IWW – well folks, I’ve been labeled Public Enemy #1!

When I first arrived here, Senior Warden Philip Sifuentes kept moving me just about every 3 days – F-61, B-79, F-45, and then the torture chamber F-82! F-82 was badly smoke damaged with black soot, and it became a burning hell-fire inferno at night when that cement releases a torturous thermal attack on your body – it hurt me.

I am so very thankful for all of the phone calls and emails y’all made on my behalf to get me moved downstairs to F-74. It’s for from comfortable, but I will survive! I always do! Thank Allah!

I’d like to give a special revolutionary salute to Comrade Julie Schneyer of the awesome Blue Ridge ABC Collective in Asheville, North Carolina. Julie gave the corrupt and unethical Warden Sifuentes an earful – regularly! Her work, coupled with the radio support from the Final Straw Radio, made one helluva difference, but we got a lot more work to do!

I’m being isolated and silenced! I’ve tried to send out pleas for legal help and mail room supervisor Janet Salles and STG [Security Threat Group] Sergeant Joe D. Mireles have been literally picking specific letters to throw away! My mail is being blocked!

On July 5th, 2018, I was convicted of attempting to solicit help from Professor Victor Wallis for ending a lengthy essay about my conditions with the words “On August 21st we rise”.

When I tried to appeal this bogus case, Unit Grievance Investigator Jessica Garcia “lost” my grievance – corruption! I’ve reached out to Julie Schneyer and Calvin Burnap about this and still no response – it’s been weeks since I wrote them, something is wrong!

I don’t feel safe here, comrades! When the oppressors start intercepting your outgoing mail, that is a big red flag – it spells DANGER! Can y’all hear me?

I hope y’all can get me moved from this place! Obviously, this entire move was a set-up. I’m strong, but not invincible. Something unjust & illegal is going on here!

Dare to struggle, dare to win, all power to the people!

Keith “Malik” Washington is co-founder and chief spokesperson for the End Prison Slavery in Texas Movement, a proud member of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, an activist in the Fight Toxic Prisons campaign and deputy chairman of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party Prison Chapter. Read Malik’s work at ComradeMalik.com. Send our brother some love and light: Keith “Malik” Washington, 1487958, McConnell Unit, 3001 South Emily Drive, Beeville, TX 78102.

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Prison conditions

Imprisoned human rights activist and journalist Keith Malik Washington teams up with Texas CURE for Prisoner Fan Fund Drive

“There are two kinds of pain in this world pain that hurts and pain that alters.”

Denzel Washington (actor) an excerpt from The Equalizer 2

Peace and blessings sisters and brothers!

It is August in Texas and climate change is real and not a hoax!

Some of you may read this quote from Denzel and be like, “hmmm, that’s different.” The point I want to make perfectly clear is that the extreme heat inside Texas prisons is hurting human beings! And what is remarkable is that I am witnessing harm being done to prisoners and prison guards who happen to work for the State of Texas! I’m currently housed at the McConnell unit which is located in Beeville Texas. Now I have been friends with Joan Covici he and Michael Jewell of Texas CURE for approximately seven or eight years. In 2012 during a deadly heat wave, an immature TDCJ Lieutenant unplugged my whirlwind fan which was plugged up to the pipe chase. The pipe chase is a small utility closet outside of a prison cell here in Ad-Seg (solitary confinement).

At the time I was on level III disciplinary housing wing and Estelle high security located in Huntsville Texas. Electrical outlets had been removed from all cells on 1-row for “security reasons” the HVAC system at Estelle had just gone out during a deadly heat wave which had just claimed the lives of two prisoners on July 1, 2012. On July 2, 2012, the very next day, this Lieutenant unplugged my fan and the fan of all 1-row prisoners house on C wing high-security unit. That young lieutenant is now a major on the Eastham Unit!

After this incident, I immediately wrote a letter to Joan and Michael in they intervened and advocated on my behalf and many other prisoners housed at Estelle.

The executive director of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice at the time was Brad Livingston. Texas CURE encouraged Mr. Livingston to craft a new policy which is still in place today! All level III prisoners in Texas may have their fans plugged up in the pipe chase!

I am saying all that to say – is that sometimes humyn beings must come together in order to make smart decisions that will save lives!

Hello? Brian Collier… Lorie Davis, can you hear me now?

A life is precious, whether it be the life of an old convict like me or green as the grass TDCJ correctional officer who is trying to make an honest days pay for an honest days work – although I definitely don’t agree to their career choice -Prison guards are people too!

Right now many of these prison units in Texas are super hot! There are thousands of prisoners who have loved ones who can help purchase one of these life-saving whirlwind fans. There are also officers who sit at their duty posts drenched with sweat who also could benefit from a cool breeze every once and awhile. You see these prison guards can’t speak to Y’all, but I can!

I am pleading with you today to look deep inside your heart and consider making a donation to the cast Texas CURE fan fund!

Think about the lives you may alter and change in a positive way. Some prisoners languish in these super-heated environments thinking that no one really cares – so why should they change their outlook on life?

My life changed dramatically because Texas CURE cared about me!!

Now I am leading a movement which seeks to Abolish Prison Slavery and Amend the 13th Amendment of the US Constitution.

We will share with you all the info you need. Please donate today and tell them, “Comrade Malik sent you!”

May God bless you all Today – PEACE

DONATE NOW!

You can help bring such joy to an indigent prisoner by donating $20.00, the price of a fan, to the Texas CURE Fan Program today. Money donated is used only for fans. Texas CURE is a 501 (C3) nonprofit organization. Donations are tax deductible. Since our inception, we have purchased 10,000 fans for indigent Texas prisoners

Please help, Send donations to Texas CURE Fan Program, P.O. Box 38381, Dallas, TX 75238-0381  

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Prison conditions

Deadly Extreme Heat & Deliberate Indifference inside Texas Prisons: The Culture of Neglect and Abuse Continues

“Plaintiffs allege that “sweltering temperatures inside buildings where [TDCJ] houses inmates”, including the Wallace Pack Unit, have caused at least twelve prisoners in the Texas prison system to die from heat stroke, and hundreds more prisoners to suffer from heat-related illnesses since 2011/ They (plaintiffs) allege that defendants (TDCJ) have done nothing to lower the temperatures inside the housing areas.
They ask the Court to “[r]emedy ongoing violations of the law and the Constitution by granting declaratory and injunctive relief, as set out in [the] Complaint, on behalf of Plaintiffs, and the class” and to “[p]ermanently enjoin Defendants to abate the risk of serious harm described above by taking steps including, but not limited to, maintaining a heat index of 88 degrees or lower inside the Pack Unit’s housing areas.”1) – Excerpt from Memorandum and Order of Federal Judge Keith P. Ellison in Civil Action NO. 4:14-CV-1698, Keith Cole et al, Plaintiffs, vs Brad Livingston et al, Defendants, United States District Court, SD Texas, Houston Division, June 14, 2016
A settlement has been reached in the Pack Unit lawsuit, and air conditioning will be installed temporarily during the summer months, until the Texas legislature allocates funding for the installation of permanent AC units.
Last year, I attempted to file a motion on behalf of myself and all Texas prisoners who are similarly situated to the prisoners at the Pack Unit. The Texas Civil Rights Project, based out of Houston, requested that I withdraw the motion because it had the potential of delaying relief for Pack Unit prisoners. I considered the argument made by the lawyers at TCRP, and I agreed to withdraw my motion. I let the TCRP know that Ad-Seg prisoners housed at the Eastham Unit, and many other units like it, were suffering horribly in the summer months, just like those at Pack Unit.
It has been my hope that lawyers with the TCRP and the Edwards law firm would consider placing Eastham Unit, especially the Ad-Seg section, on their list of probable contenders to represented in the next deadly extreme heat lawsuit against the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (sic!)
It’s Hot in Here!
In early May 2018, Calvin Burnap, Julie Schneyer, Twitch and other members of our support team filed an ombudsman complaint on my behalf and on behalf of every heat-sensitive prisoner housed at the Eastham Ad-Seg Unit. What brought this complaint about was the fact that although I am a chronic seizure patient, who takes the anti-convulsant medication Dilautin, I was being housed on 3-Row and the temperatures were climbing fast in Texas, as we have been experiencing unseasonably hot temperatures here.
Just like in 2017, I and many other prisoners housed at Eastham were noticing TDJ employees weren’t very interested in ensuring we received cold water and ice continuously, as stated by TDCJ Ombudsman Bryan Buck. Furthermore, University of Texas Medical Branch personnel forgot that I should be on the heat restriction list, and should therefore be housed on 1-Row instead of the ultra-hot 3-Row. So our thinking was, “how many others did they ‘forget’ about?”
As a result of the ombudsman complaint, I was moved from 3-Row to 1-Row on E-Line, that was on May 16th 2018. Eastham Unit was on lockdown and the yearly Ramadan Fast had begun. I am an observant Sunni Muslim.
During lockdowns, we are given very paltry “johnnies” or brown bag snacks, which consist of a peanut butter & jelly sandwich, a meat sandwich and a couple of raisins or prunes.
By policy, no beverage is provided during a lockdown until one week has expired, but there was a problem! The heat index had been creeping way past 90° F, and TDCJ policy specifically states in AD-10.64 (rev 8) 2) that water and ice shall be provided at meal times – but that didn’t happen.
However, for those of us fasting for Ramadan, things got much worse. On May 18th, 2018, during the Iftar (evening meal), Muslim prisoners received no water, no ice, no cold beverage – nothing, just an extremely paltry “johnnie bag”! The heat index that day was 99° F! This incident was documented.
When you encounter incidents such as this, it is customary for conscious prisoners to utilize the TDCJ Offender Grievance Program in order to resolve such complaints. Eastham’s Grievance Department has established a history of not processing grievances properly, going as far as hiding grievances, refusing to investigate thoroughly, or conspiring with TDCJ employees to retaliate harshly against grievance filers so as to dissuade us from utilizing this corrupt vehicle for review.
It is worth mentioning that Eastham Unit Grievance Investigator Terri Hall was fired in January 2018, and her supervisor Delores Washington was removed by the agency because they engaged in activities which totally destroyed the integrity of the grievance process and sabotaged our access to the courts.
Delores Washington was a long-time TDCJ employee who knew better, but she had been seduced by the younger Terri Hall into engaging in nefarious behavior which enabled the wilful neglect and abuse of prisoners at the Eastham Unit.
What we are dealing with at Eastham Unit is a corrupt culture. A culture which I falsely thought was changing, but the reality is that it is more entrenched than ever, and getting progressively worse as I write this piece. Allow me to illustrate a case in point.
Blatant Deliberate Indifference
On Friday, June 1st 2018, on E-Line at the Eastham Ad-Seg Unit, the inside temperature had fluctuated between 96 and 100 ° F. My neighbor Eric Munoz, TDCJ # 1996614 had been complaining to me about headaches, dizziness, and nausea all day. I am housed in E-1-15 and Eric lives in E-1-16, we talk every day and get along well.
One of our main complaints here at Eastham has been the absolute refusal of the food service departments to provide us with cold water and ice. The problem has been especially bad during the afternoon shift (2pm-10pm), The correctional officer working E-Line on the afternoon of June 1st was Lacilynn Washington – remember that name. By 7:30pm, no ice or cold water had been provided to prisoners housed on E-Line – this is a regular occurrence.
Cold water and ice is the number on mitigation measure that TDCJ claims to make available to prisoners housed in their super-hot facilities. In fact, cold water and ice is the only heat mitigation measure available to ad-seg prisoners at Eastham, yet they refuse us access to that!
And now TDCJ has brought in new grievance investigators at Eastham, Carrie L Whatley, and Deborah A Phillips. They are performing horribly. They are boldly lying in their responses to our Step 1 grievances, stating that there is no evidence to substantiate our claims that ice and cold water are not being provided continuously. Eastham Unit has state-of-the-art Panasonic network surveillance cameras. Somebody is lying, and I can prove it if I can get access to the surveillance camera footage!
At 7:45 pm on Friday, June 1st, 2018, Shift Supervisor Sergeant Michael A Manning conducted his “security rounds” on E-Line. My neighbor Eric Munoz told the sergeant about his headaches and dizziness. He informed the Sergeant about the fact that no cold water with ice had been made available on this extremely hot day on his shift.
After Sergeant Manning spoke with Mr. Munoz, I spoke with him and asked if he would ensure that Muslim prisoners were provided with ice and cold water when we break our fast, which would be about 8:15 pm that day. I quoted policy AD-10.64 (Rev 8), and Sgt. Manning got on his radio in order to contact the officer who was passing out cold water that evening, CO Miri K Duhon.
At approximately 8:00 pm, Sgt Manning left E-Line.
The entire time Sgt Manning was on E-Line, officer Lacilynn Washington sat on her stool, neglecting her obligation to carry out her required welfare checks. Remember, they have surveillance cameras here. Lacilynn Washington is in her early twenties and is a third-generation TDCJ officer. Her grandfather, grandmother, and father all work or worked for TDCJ. Lacilynn Washington is a white woman – the name Washington is kind of rare of white folks nowadays. How much do you want to bet that former Grievance Supervisor Delores Washington is related to Lacilynn? Cronyism, nepotism, and obstruction of justice tactics are the hallmarks of the prison agency TDCJ.
At approximately 8:15 PM, CO Duhon, the officer passing out cold water, showed up at E-Line’s front door. CO Washington waved her off!
At this time, my neighbor, Eric Munoz, said “Malik, man I don’t feel good – man I need some help man.” I heard a thud. I began to yell for help – other prisoners began to bang and yell loudly.
CO Washington didn’t budge. Now, remember, this is on 1-Row, and all she had to do is walk down the row to see what was going on.
At 8:45 PM, Officer Duhon was finally let on the block to serve cold water, for the first time all afternoon. I personally screamed at Duhon, saying “Ms. Duhon, we got a man down here! We need help!” Ms. Duhon had started serving cold water on 3-Row. When she arrived at my neighbor’s cell, she was visibly shaken to see Eric Munoz passed out on the floor.
Duhon called CO Washington to Eric’s cell, and told her “call for help!” At 9:00 PM, three supervisors showed up at Eric’s cell – Sergeant Curtis Runels, Sergeant Berta L Harris, & Lieutenant Michael S Brown.
They had Eric’s door opened, cuffed him, and helped him into a wheelchair. Eric was taken to the medical department, where he spoke to a physician via video link. One of the main things the physician admonished TDCJ officers about was their failure to make cold water and ice available to prisoners.
However, the unethical Eastham Grievance Department continues to state “there is no evidence to substantiate your claims – no further action warranted.” Their “go to” response to every grievance we file.
What really added insult to injury here was that CO Lacilynn Washington had the nerve to write disciplinary cases for creating a disturbance against prisoners who banged in order to get help for Eric Munoz!
What is really crazy is that CO Washington wrote an incident report against Eric Munoz, claiming that not only was he banging and creating a disturbance while unconscious but that he used profane and vulgar statements against her! When Sergeant Douglas Skaggs read these allegations against Eric, I immediately spoke up and directed Sergeant Skaggs to the surveillance camera digital footage, which would clearly show CO Washington never got up off her behind to investigate the problem.
This is a classic example of why prisoners die of heat stroke inside Texas prisons, and why we continue to plead for the Texas legislature to create an independent oversight committee. A committee consisting of individuals with no historical ties to this unscrupulous and corrupt establishment.
In closing, I would like to state that TDCJ refuses to acknowledge the risks placed on prisoners who take medications or have conditions which compromise their body’s ability to cool itself. It is as if the Pack Unit lawsuit never happened.
I keep hearing Mavis Staples and the Staple Singers, singing loudly: “Let’s Do It Again!” Litigation is the only thing these oppressors understand.
In the Pack Unit lawsuit, the plaintiffs had medical experts on their team. One was Dr Michael McGeehin, an epidemiologist and former Director of the Division of Environmental Hazards and Health Effects at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Allow me to quote Dr McGeehin:
If people in a hot environment were experiencing symptoms like dizziness, sweating, and headaches, Dr. McGeehin testified, “every public health person I know would be alarmed.” He explained: “If you are saying these people are exposed to these temperatures and they are experiencing symptoms in the normal flow of symptoms that lead to heat exhaustion and heatstroke and death or impacting on other systems that may already be compromised, like their cardiovascular or respiratory system, of course, that’s alarming.” 3)
There is no accountability here at the Eastham Unit – that must change now! Will you help me make that change?
Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win, All Power to the People.
Keith “Malik” Washington is co-founder and chief spokesperson for the End Prison Slavery in Texas Movement, a proud member of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, an activist in the Fight Toxic Prisons campaign and deputy chairman of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party Prison Chapter. Read Malik’s work at ComradeMalik.com. Send our brother some love and light: Keith “Malik” Washington, 1487958, McConnell Unit, 3001 South Emily Drive, Beeville, TX 78102.
Postscript:
One of the reasons that officers at the Eastham Unit feel comfortable in violating the human rights of the prisoners in their care, is that they have had the backing of high-ranking administrators.
Senior Warden Billy Lewis, Major James Kent, Major Blake Norman and Assistant Wardens Bruce Johnson & Kenneth Hutto are well aware that the conditions at Eastham pose an extreme risk to the health and lives of prisoners.
However, the culture of deliberate indifference starts at the top. There are officers who have complained about the deadly extreme heat, and they requested to be allowed to purchase special carriers which store ice and cold water.
Eastham has no way to provide ice for prisoners and guards. Senior Warden Billy Lewis shot down the request! He lounges in an office with cold air conditioning while prison guards and prisoners suffer in this inhumane setting.
Right as we speak, prisoners at the Eastham Unit are preparing to file another class action lawsuit which challenges the deadly heat and the toxic water.
Litigation and activism are the only ways to change these conditions inside Texas prisons. The State of Texas has absolutely no desire to recognize our humanity, so we must band together and make our voices heard in Federal Courthouses across the Lone Star State. Regardless of what anyone thinks, prison lives matter!
  1. TDCJ Policy on Extreme Temperatures, Administrative Directive 10.64 (rev 8)
  2. Testimony of Dr Michael McGeehin, cited in Memorandum and Order of Federal Judge Keith P. Ellison
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Prison conditions

All Hands on Deck:  Get Malik Washington out of Ad-Seg!

Several weeks ago, friends and supporters of incarcerated freedom fighter Comrade Malik Washington were overjoyed to hear that he was getting released, finally, from Administrative Segregation (solitary confinement) at Eastham Unit in Texas–until TDCJ pulled a fast one, falsely claiming that he refused to participate in the Ad-Seg Transition Program to get him released back to general population.

This is a complete lie:  Malik has been fighting to get out of Ad-Seg from the moment he was thrown in there two years ago on a bogus riot charge (which was, itself, retaliation for prison strike organizing and agitating against inhumane, discriminatory conditions).

Here’s what actually happened:  when Malik arrived at Ramsey Unit on June 21, he was assigned to a top bunk, which is prohibited by his medical restrictions as a seizure patient.  TDCJ had failed to transfer his medical restrictions records, or had erased them, and are now claiming no record of these restrictions, which have been on file and in place for the past ten years.  Malik wrote a detailed statement requesting to be placed on a lower bunk in order to avoid injury; later that night, he was abruptly transferred back to Ad-Seg at a new Unit (McConnell).

Malik was told that Ramsey staff claimed he refused to participate in the Ad-Seg Transition program–this is NOT true, and he needs to be re-instated to the program immediately!  He also urgently needs his medical restrictions put back into his records!

—–

We are extremely concerned for Malik’s safety, and urgently need the help of everyone reading this. Please take one or more of the following actions, and get a couple friends to do the same!

  1. Call or email Senior Warden Philip Sifuentes at Malik’s current facility (McConnell) and tell them Keith Washington (#1487958) must be transferred out of McConnell and re-admitted to the Ad-Seg Transition Program!

Phone #: (361) 362-2300 (**048) 00 —  ask to be connected to the senior warden’s office/receptionist–try to talk to someone, but also can leave a message.

Email: Philip.Sifuentes@tdcj.texas.gov, Miguel.Martinez@tdcj.texas.gov (Regional Director: Miguel Martinez, Region IV)

Sample Script: “Hello, I’m calling because I’m concerned about Keith H. Washington (#1487958) who was recently transferred to your facility.  I understand he was transferred there from Ramsey Unit, because he supposedly refused to participate in the Ad-Seg transition program there, but this is not true; Keith never refused to participate, and he needs to be re-admitted to the transition program immediately!  I am also concerned that his heat restrictions seem to have been removed from his records.  He is a seizure patient and has been on heat and work restriction for years, and these restrictions must be reinstated immediately.”

Please let us know how your call goes at blueridgeABC@riseup.net

  1. Flood TDCJ Executive Director Bryan Collier with calls/emails!You can use the above phone script as a guide for emails.

exec.director@tdcj.texas.gov

(936) 437-2101 / (936) 437-2123

  1. Flood TDCJ with emails demanding that Malik’s health restrictions and work restrictions be restored: Health.services@tdcj.texas.gov

You can use the call script above as a guide; you don’t need to mention the Ad-Seg situation, but just focus on the need to restore his heat and work restrictions!

  1. File a complaint with the Ombudsman’s Office(the office in charge of investigating departmental misconduct); you can use the above phone script as a guide for emails.

Ombudsman@tdcj.texas.gov

  1. Write to Malik! Every letter he receives lifts his spirit and PROTECTS him, because prison officials know he has people around him, watching for what happens to him.

 

Keith H. Washington

#1487958

McConnell Unit

3100 South Emily Drive

Beeville, TX 78103

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End Prison Slavery, In solidarity, Prison conditions

Please Support Prison Lives Matter Event on July 18, 2018!

By Keith Malik Washington

Chief Spokesperson for End Prison Slavery in Texas Movement

 

“Those who sell out their people to the highest bidder do not have the same relationship with the power-broker that the 99% have.  Our response is not patient or conciliatory–it is about chopping off heads and taking no prisoners. I am speaking philosophically here, as warfare is more spiritual than physical.  We are so powerful, we can think the enemy into his grave.” — Wanda Sabir, “Black Panther:  Reflection on cultural solidarity and historic debt”

Peace and Blessings, Sisters and Brothers!

All of my life, I have wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself.  We have been taught to want for your brother what you want for yourself. In this moment in history, I want freedom for ALL political and politicized prisoners.  Power to the people!!

Kwame Shakur is the co-founder and chairman of the New Afrikan Liberation Collective, and he has begun a Prison Lives Matter movement which is holding a remarkable event in Indiana on July 18, 2018.  The theme will be “Prison Lives Matter: In the Spirit of Nelson Mandela.”

The intention of holding this event is to draw international attention to the freedom struggles of our long-held political prisoners here in the United Snakes of Amerika!!  The U.S. continues to strut across the world stage falsely portraying itself as a bastion for human and civil rights. We all are clearly seeing that these are lies being fed to a blind public. Well, the time has arrived to remove the blinders, remove the rose-colored glasses, and open people’s eyes.

Wake up Amerikkka!  The time for talk about New Afrikan unity is over!  Like the great rapper Keith Murray would say: “It’s time for some action!”

Imprisoned Comrades such as Jalil Muntaqim, Mutulu Shakur, and the venerable Sundiata Acoli have been locked up in Amerikan prisons for far too long.  We must not remain silent.

There has been an epidemic of prisoners murders by employees of the Florida Department of Corrections and legalized slavery is promoted, sanctioned, and condoned by the buffoon in the White House.

Meanwhile, here in Texas, we are suffering from deadly heat on a daily basis, with summer temperatures inside these un-air-conditioned units sometimes reaching into the triple digits!

So you can see why it is necessary to say loudly and publicly that PRISON LIVES MATTER!  I am requesting that anti-racists, anti-fascists, anti-imperialists and freedom fighters of every stripe come to Indiana to support us on July 18!

On a personal note, I’d like to inform all of you that July 19, 2018 is my 50th birthday!  It would be a wonderful gift to me if you would consider traveling to Indiana to support Kwame Shakur and his comrades!

I leave you as I came:  in the spirit of peace. And remember, prison lives matter!

Dare to struggle, dare to WIN.  All power to the people.

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In solidarity, Prison conditions

Hog farms, toxic water, and more toxic prisons in Texas and beyond!

By Keith “Malik” Washington

The pre-eminence of environmentalism in the 21st century is a novel political and historical development. Ecology is a new body of scientific description and knowledge upon which social, economic, political and ethical ideas and practices have become premised. Ecosystem science suggests that political, social, and economic arrangements must be compatible with, and ideally optimize, natural ecological processes. Harming ecosystems is considered ethically, politically, and ecologically wrong.” – Graham Purchase, Green Flame: Kropotkin and the Birth of Ecology 1)

When a persyn says that they are a “water protector”, an animal and plant lover, they more often than not identify with being classified as an environmentalist. However, if you live in the United States of Amerika, you must become an expert in biology, water analysis, and be proficient in identifying poisons and pathogens which routinely appear in your immediate environment, your food, and your water supply.

More specifically, you must actually transform yourself into a private investigator. For who is able to decipher and figure out the complex and conspiratorial relationships which currently exist between capitalist corporate entities who persistently pollute the environment, and federal and state agencies? Government departments who have been commissioned to protect the people, our land, air, and water from being corrupted and exploited by these immoral and unethical corporate capitalist entities. Our planet and our health is in peril and total jeopardy.

What I have discovered is that the State of Texas has conspired with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to downplay and cover-up toxic and contaminated water supplies in State-run prisons as well as the rural communities which have found themselves in close proximity to these toxic sites. It is not just the prisoners in Texas who are suffering the ill effects.

I have also discovered that what is happening in Texas is not unique. I’ve learned of another imprisoned environmentalist in the State of Pennsylvania who is housed at a prison known as Frackville. The prisoner’s name is Bryant Arroyo and he has uncovered the exact same custom, policy, and corrupt government practices in his state.

In a recent essay published in Socialist Viewpoint Magazine, Arroyo stated “In general, Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) knows it has a water crisis on its hands. The top agencies like the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and EPA know about this open-secret and have conspired to deliberately ignore most, if not all, of the prisoners’ official complaints. DEP has received four drinking water violations from the EPA. But the underlying problem is money, money, and more money.” 2)

Bryant Arroyo cites money as the underlying problem. I find that quite remarkable because recently I have been studying the spending habits of Scott Pruitt, the director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 3) As I see it, Pruitt and his cronies have aggressively forced roll-backs of anti-pollution measures. Simultaneously, Pruitt has conspired to line the pockets of close associates and other cronies. $100,000 a month for private jet memberships, bulletproof vehicles, and bulletproof desks?

Pruitt has been so busy squandering and wasting taxpayer dollars that he has virtually ignored environmental disasters taking place in plain sight! Senator Sheldon Whitehouse from Rhode Island has begun to investigate Pruitt’s careless spending. My question is, when will the Environmental Protection Agency start doing some protecting of the environment?

Hog Farms & Toxic Water

I first discovered the connection between hog farms and e-coli in the water supply in the years 2015 and 2016. I was housed at the H.H. Coffield Unit. Coffield, which is located in the eastern portion of Texas, specifically Tennessee Colony, is the largest state prison in Texas. This prison, in Anderson County, is approximately an hour and a half from Dallas, Texas. There are many prisoners from the Dallas and Fort Worth areas housed there. Right across the field, you can see another large state prison, the Michaels Unit, and it shares the same water supply system with Coffield. This water system has been plagued by problems with e-coli contamination. 4)

On numerous occasions, boil notices were issued by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), but it has been well established that Texas prisoners have no way to boil their water. TDCJ often lies to the public about trucking in clean water when these notices are issued.

While housed at Coffield, I noticed many prisoners had these weird keloid-like growths and tumors on the side of their necks and heads. Some prisoners had recurring respiratory problems and gastrointestinal abnormalities. Then some, like Kevin Wayne Handy, TDC # 1826610, was diagnosed with throat cancer!

There are three large prisons in the Tennessee Colony/Palestine area: Coffield, Michaels, and Beto Unit, and they all have some type of industrial hog operation functioning. The prison agency TDCJ and the TCEQ know that these hog operations are contaminating our drinking water, but because we are prisoners, our health and our lives really don’t matter to these violators of the public’s trust!

It is very hard to comprehend how the medical personnel who work for the University of Texas Medical Branch and provide health care to the prisoners at these facilities have not been able to draw the correlations and connections between particular health problems and the toxic water supplies. Actually, I have observed in the past, while I was housed at Pack Unit in Navasota, Texas, that UTMB medical staff were well aware of the high levels of arsenic in the water supply for years, but they decided to keep their mouths shut!

Lawsuits have certainly been filed citing the toxic water at both Coffield and Michaels Unit, but we have discovered that the conspiracy to cover up the existence of these toxic water supplies extends far beyond the offices of TDCJ and TCEQ. Corruption, collusion, and complicity exist in the U.S. Magistrate Judge’s chambers in Tyler, Texas and in Lufkin, Texas. Something very foul is going on in the Eastern District of Texas.

I am now at the Eastham Unit, located in Lovelady, Texas, and like Coffield, the water is toxic and hog operations are located here also. We have discovered a bacteria known as h. pylori in our water supply as well as another parasitical bacteria called crypto-spiridium. This nasty parasite has effected TDCJ employees as well as prisoners at Eastham! And TDCJ employee Dr Owen Murray continues to lie to the media and the public at large about the water quality at Eastham and numerous other Texas prisons.

It won’t be until the Federal Courts issue a significant monetary award to prisoners that TDCJ will finally clean up their act and stop poisoning the water supplies.

In 2017, the Earth First! Journal published an article I wrote in their Fall issue, entitled Horrific Conditions for Livestock Animals in Texas Prisons Exposed. 5)

I not only exposed the mistreatment and abuse of chickens and hogs, I also began to scrape the surface of factory farms which raise hogs, and the connection with toxic water supplies created by toxic waste from livestock animals!

Recently, Rolling Stone Magazine published a very informative expose entitled A Crap Deal for Duplin County (How China Outsourced Pork Production), by Doug Bock Clark. 6) This article is a must-read for any serious water protectors or environmentalists. This expose serves as a case in point which clearly illustrates the high level of corruption which exists in Amerika and how capitalist corporations such as Smithfield Foods have entered into an agreement with the Chinese government to poison the environments and communities of poor black and white people. This expose will make you scream at the top of your lungs: Fire Scott Pruitt right now!

  1. I took the time to summarise some of the most relevant points Mr Clark made in order to educate the public and my fellow prisoners, as well as my comrades at Fight Toxic Prisons. It is time for us to take the legal and activist fight to these oppressors!
  2. A mature hog whose only activity is to eat, excretes around 14 pounds of manure a day. Respiratory health problems can arise from exposure to manure.
  3. In 2008, a Government Accountability Office Survey found 15 studies that linked animal waste from industrial livestock farms to widespread health problems.
  4. A North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services study found that students in middle schools up to three miles away from hog farms had higher rates of asthma. So it is not a far-fetched conclusion to state that these prison farms in Texas that raise hogs have the potential to harm children living nearby.
  5. Leaks through the clay bottoms of lagoons which store hog manure can spread e-coli into ground water and nearby wells. This point of contaminating the ground water with e-coli has been a major problem in Texas, because the prison agency TDCJ has been allowing this toxic hog waste to be deposited into the Trinity River for decades, and they actually just allow the waste to seep into the ground. And the EPA ignores this!
  6. Hog waste has not been proved to correlate with cancer, but researchers at Duke University in North Carolina are currently conducting wide-ranging studies into possible links. Texas A&M University students often come to prisons in Texas to study horses and engage in other agriculture-related projects, but for some reason the aggies won’t help discover the connections between these toxic factory farms and our contaminated water supplies! Way to go aggies!
  7. Shane Rogers, a professor at Clarkson University and former EPA engineer, has studied this particular issue extensively, and he says “a wide body of research shows that living near pig farms can be hazardous to people’s health.” 7)

Who is liable?

When I first began to do my own research as to who was responsible for the abuse and mistreatment of livestock animals in Texas Prisons, my focus was on uncovering what companies or individuals were buying eggs and hog meat from TDCJ. My free-world friends and I were provided misleading information and deceptive lies by a TDCJ employee named Jane Goolsby, who works for the TDCJ Manufacturing, Agribusiness, and Logistics Division, Planning and Research Department. TDCJ does not sell eggs or pork meat to anyone – it is the agency’s ‘shell corporation’, Texas Correctional Industries, that does all the for-profit business which exploits free prison labor, but of course that is another can of worms.

I have now found out exactly who is responsible for the abuse of the hogs and chickens and who is responsible for the contamination of our water supplies!

Bobby Lumpkin is the Director of TDCJ’s Manufacturing, Agribusiness, and Logistics Division.

Allow me to briefly detail a few of his responsibilities as they relate to livestock operations: “manages the commercial cow herds and stocker operations, broodmare and horse development operations, laying hen operations, farrow-to-finish swine operations, feed production facilities and meat packing plants”. 8)

If Lumpkin’s hogs are poisoning our water supplies, which in turn are causing us serious health problems which last for years, then we have found the person and the TDCJ department which is liable! It is time we re-craft and amend our list of culpable defendants to include Mr Bobby Lumpkin (remember that name).

Connecting the dots!

In the age of Trumpism, I’ve noticed that the Federal and State governments in Amerika relish the opportunity to abuse, exploit and mistreat the nation’s most vulnerable, disenfranchished and oppressed populations. Toxic prisons like Eastham in Texas and Frackville in Schuylkill County in Pennsylvania are no longer the exception, they are the norm. We, the prisoners who inhabit these institutions, are mostly black, latinx, and poor white human beings.

We have been the victims of rare diseases such as Polycythemia Vera (PV). Bryant Arroyo found this disease to be quite prevalent in Frackville. 9)

At Eastham, we are plagued by multiple problems which affect our water quality. The pipes at Eastham were installed in 1953 when lead pipes and lead base solder were used quite liberally in plumbing projects. In 1986, lead pipes and lead base solder were outlawed by the EPA. The State of Texas has refused to spend the money to completely replace these corroded and deteriorated pipes which continue to leak high levels of copper and lead into our water supply at Eastham.

And then there is the hog operation!

The Fight Toxic Prisons campaign is real, and I am one of an ever-growing number of imprisoned correspondents and environmentalists who have dedicated themselves to this fight. I end this essay with a final quote from Graham Purchase, who describes some of the work of Peter Kropotkin:

“Peter Kropotkin (1842-1921) is a leading historical and philosophical figure in the early development and emergence of environmentalism. Kropotkin’s major works were all republished and discussed in the 1970s such that his late 19th century ideas and insights influenced and shaped the direction and definition of the early-modern environmental movement. Kropotkin was the first person to mould proto-ecological concepts within the then fledgling fields of economics, agricultural science, conservation- ism, ethology, criminology, city planning, geography, geology and biology into a coherent new scientific outlook combined with a radical political or social ecological program for rejuvenating society and our relationship with the Earth.”10

Few people realize that in a small solitary confinement cage inside a Texas prison dwells the spirit and legacy of the anarchist Kropotkin! Let us all continue to fight to preserve and protect our planet Earth! Dare to struggle, dare to win, all power to the people!

Keith “Malik” Washington is co-founder and chief spokesperson for the End Prison Slavery in Texas Movement, a proud member of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, an activist in the Fight Toxic Prisons campaign and deputy chairman of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party Prison Chapter. Read Malik’s work at ComradeMalik.com. Send our brother some love and light: Keith “Malik” Washington, 1487958, Eastham Unit, 2665 Prison Rd 1, Lovelady TX 75851.

  1. Green Flame: Kropotkin and the Birth of Ecology by Graham Purchase

  2. Frackville Prison’s Systemic Water Crisis by Bryant Arroyo, published at fighttoxicprisons.org and in Socialist Viewpoint, Jan/Feb 2018.

  3. EPA Chief Spent Millions on Security and Travel by Michael Biesecker, (Associated Press), published in El Paso Times-Newspaper, April 8 2018

  4. Prison officials, ACA inspectors ignore contaminated water in Texas prisons by Keith “Malik” Washington, published in the San Francisco Bay View, October 21 2015.

  5. Horrific Conditions for Live-Stock Animals in Texas Prisons Exposed by Keith “Malik” Washington, published at fighttoxicprisons.org and in the Earth First! Journal, Fall 2017.

  6. Why Is China Treating North Carolina Like the Developing World? by Doug Bock Clark, Rolling Stone Magazine, March 22-April 5th 2018

  7. All points ibid.

  8. TDCJ Directory – Manufacturing, Agribusiness and Logistics Division

  9. Frackville Prison’s Systemic Water Crisis by Bryant Arroyo

  10. Green Flame: Kropotkin and the Birth of Ecology by Graham Purchase

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In solidarity

A Feminist Always!

By Keith ‘Malik” Washington

Revolutionary Greetings Comrades! I m 6’4” 240lbs — I am a devout muslim and anti-imperialist who embraces ecosocialism. I am a close comrade and friend to many anarchists and anti-fascists. Could I be a feminist?? Well, yes! In fact, I AM A Feminist!! It did not happen over-night, first I had to come to the understanding that a womyn was more than her physical attributes, I had to force myself to look her in the eye when I spoke to her and sometimes still find that difficult. Then I had to come to the realization that a womyn’s intellect was just as sharp f not sharper than any mans. Then I embraced the reality that from a revolutionary perspective, a womyn could stand shoulder to shoulder with me, armed with an AK-47 or carrying a mega-phone/microphone leading the masses in battle. Sometimes the ‘battle’ may be political or ideological and at times the battle may be a military confrontation in a urban concrete jungle or in a foreign land where the imperialist oppression has decided to set up shop. Don’t underestimate wimmin!!

As a racially mixed humyn being, living in Amerikkka and trapped in one of the many Amerikan gulags and slave kamps, I know how it feels to have your voice silenced. I know how it feels to be abused and when you cry out for help to be ignored. I know that feeling. That is why I began a #metoo project inside Texas prisons. I have discovered that there thousands of poor black, latina, and white wimmin in Texas who have been thrown away by the state of Texas!

Many sit in the comfort of their living rooms and watch the TV program, ‘Orange is the New Black’ and they think that this is a realistic depiction of prison lives. You are sadly mistaken!!! Hollywood like the corporate mainstream media in Amerika, is in a relationship with the ruling elite of the United States of Amerikkka!

What you are seeing in your living rooms is a little bit of truth mixed with a whole lot of LIES. There are journalists and activists who are out there who are doing their best to propagate the Truth, although you may not know them!! Victoria Law, Marcy Wheeler, Kamala Kelkar, Raven Rakia, Noelle Hanrahan, and Asha Bandele to name a few. There are more, many more but the Truth is hard to find in Trump’s Amerikkka!! But you don’t hear me.

A lot of people think they know me, they think they know how I think, what my strategies are or my aspirations. There are very few people who have a clue what I’m really about. But this piece is not about me, it is about me introducing you to a couple feminist warriors who have gone on to join the ancestors. The mainstream capitalist pigs won’t tell you this side of the story!

Lately, I have had the pleasure of interesting and organizing with comrades from the Revolutionary Abolitionists Movement (RAM). They helped introduce me to the grassroots feminist/anarchist and socialist revolution of the inhabitants of Rojava. Rojava is the autonomous Kurdish region in Northern Syria. I personally support these comrades because they have been on the front-lines against ISIS better known as the Islamic State! And for those who really know me, they know that I DO NOT SUPPORT ISIS IN ANY WAY!

Recently, a beautiful, intelligent, and passionate warrior of the people’s internationalist volunteer named Anna Campbell was killed in Syria. Anna was fighting alongside her comrades who are a part of the Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) in defense of Afrin.

Anna was killed by Turkish forces. Anna was a dedicated feminist, social justice and environmental campaigner known to members for her activism around the student occupation movement, ecological and community outreach projects in the United Kingdom specifically Bristol and Sheffield. Anna was a key organizer in the IWW’s IWOC group, and also involved with the Empty Cages Collective, Smash IPP and Bristol ABC.

If any of you know anything about me then you will understand why I am honoring this dedicated Servant of the People. And if you consider yourself a feminist then it should not be hard for you to share this brief essay and take moment to reflect and meditate on the life, death, and revolutionary work of Anna. More of us should aspire to be like her! You won’t be reading about Anna’s life in the New York Times, Cosmopolitan, or Wall Street Journal.

The next feminist warrior I will honor here is Brazilian politician and activist named Marielle Franco. On March 14th 2018, Marielle was murdered with her driver in Rio de Janeiro. Marielle had just spoken at an event aimed at empowering black wimmin. In 2016, Marielle was elected to city council, she campaigned against police brutality, in fact, Marielle was an expert on police violence.

Marielle Franco was not just murdered, she was assassinated! You must understand and know that Marielle vigorously opposed and strongly criticized acting Brazilian President Temer’s military and federal police take-over of security in Rio’s slums also known as ‘favelas’. Marielle had recently been chosen to be the speaker of the commission which is examining the deployment of federal security forces into Rio’s favelas.

This is becoming a pattern that we are seeing all over the world. Fascism is becoming the status-quo and norm. When freedom fighters and servants of the people come on the scene and start to speak Truth to power and challenge the oppressive practices and policies, these valiant fighters become marked for death or imprisonment. Trump and his US Attorney General, Jeff Sessions is laying the groundwork for similar campaigns of repression, right here on the streets in Amerika where wimmin and men of all genders and races are challenging the Trump’s Administration’s bigoted and racist immigration policy.

I must tell you that tens of thousands of people in Rio de Janeiro and other cities across Brazil demonstrated in the days following Marielle’s killing. They demanded answers and got none.

Marielle had a sister that she left behind named Anielle and she said: “I’m seeking justice with blood in my eyes.” A banner at a mass protest in Rio on March 21st read: “WOMAN, MOTHER, REVOLUTIONARY, FEMINIST, BLACK LESBIAN, FIGHTER ALWAYS”. This is how Marielle Franco will be remembered!!

A long time ago, when I was a young man, my mother told me: “You know Malik, the hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world.” Back then, I didn’t have a clue what the hell she was talking about. However, today as I observe this arrogant buffoon in the white house and how he flaunts his power in such a way that shows us what he is all about, I see ‘rude awakening’ coming in November 2018 for him and all his cronies both the complicit wimmin and males!!

So wimmin in Amerika most certainly have the power to change the political landscape in Amerika and possibly even the world but the question that keeps me and many others dedicated revolutionaries awake at night– “Will they give socialism a chance?” Or will they be fooled once again by the false purveyor of “hope and change?” Only time will tell.

 

Dare to struggle, dare to win, All power to the people!!

 

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