During their addresses to the UN General Assembly, both Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Honduran President Xiomara Castro called for Assange to be freed. Lula stated, “It is essential to preserve the freedom of the press. A journalist like Julian Assange cannot be punished for informing society in a transparent and legitimate way.” Castro struck a similar chord, calling Assange a “faithful defender of free expression.” Both Lula and Castro are left-wing leaders who were elected as part of what’s been dubbed in Latin America as a second or resurgent “Pink Tide." Lula had previously served as Brazil’s president during the original Pink Tide.
Criminal Justice and Prisons
Not long after moving to Topeka, Kansas, in the early 1980s, community organizer Curtis Pitts learned about a hidden slice of that city’s history that would come to shape his life’s work over the next four decades. He was introduced to the Kansas Technical Institute, or KTI, a Black vocational college that had prospered throughout the early twentieth century, only to close in the mid-1950s. Founded in 1895, KTI enjoyed the distinction of being the second Black college established west of the Mississippi. Built in part by its own students, the school became a self-sustaining campus, training them in agriculture, nursing, printing, tailoring, and theology, among other subjects.
If Michael Tomlinson KC, the Solicitor General, hoped that prosecuting Trudi Warner, a 68 year old retired social worker from Walthamstow, East London would deter others from doing the same thing, it’s not going to plan for him. On Monday, 25 September, a matter of days after the announcement of his decision to apply for the committal to prison of Ms Warner, for holding up a sign, more than 250 members of the public are replicating her action outside criminal courts around the country (including in London, Bristol and Manchester) as part of the growing public campaign, Defend Our Juries. Meanwhile many others, including the Climate Psychology Alliance and a Professor of Law have spoken out.
Six members of the Australian parliament landed in Washington D.C. on Tuesday armed with a bi-partisan agenda and the backing of an entire nation as they try to convince Congressmen and State and Justice Department officials that the American pursuit of Australian publisher Julian Assange is wrong and must be stopped. The cross-party delegation is spending two days in the U.S. capital arguing Assange’s case ahead of Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s state visit to the White House at the end of October, where it is expected that Assange will be brought up (as well as Australia being used to test U.S. hypersonic missiles).
More than 60 Australian politicians have called on the United States government to drop the prosecution of Julian Assange, warning of “a sharp and sustained outcry in Australia” if the WikiLeaks founder is extradited. The letter comes ahead of announcements that a contingent of parliamentarians are coming to Washington D.C. this week in hopes of securing Assange’s freedom. In the letter, the 63 MPs and senators said they were “resolutely of the view that the prosecution and incarceration of the Australian citizen Julian Assange must end”. The letter will be taken to Washington D.C. where it will be presented to US Congresspeople and others as part of the cross-party delegation made up of Senators Alex Antic, David Shoebridge and Peter Whish-Wilson, Barnaby Joyce MP, Monique Ryan MP and Tony Zappia MP.
A man tortured two decades ago by the CIA for his suspected role as a terrorist has sued two former Spokane psychologists, who made millions of dollars from the government for developing the techniques used during the brutal interrogations. Zayn Al-Abidin Muhammad Husayn, also known as Abu Zubaydah, says he underwent extreme torture, including prolonged extreme solitary confinement, waterboarding, mock executions and lack of medical attention that cost him his left eye. Zubaydah is suing psychologists and former CIA contractors Bruce Jessen and James Mitchell, who he says tortured him.
As Julian Assange continues to fight extradition to the United States to face prosecution under the Espionage Act, a growing chorus of voices is rising to demand an end to his persecution. Hounded by US law enforcement and its allies for more than a decade, Assange has been stripped of all personal and civil liberties for the crime of exposing the extent of US atrocities during the War on Terror. In the intervening years, it’s become nakedly apparent that the intent of the US government is not only to silence Assange in particular, but to send a message to whistleblowers and journalists everywhere on the consequences of speaking truth to power.
I’ve written in the past about an awful experience I had in prison a decade ago while serving 23 months in prison after blowing the whistle on the CIA’s torture program. I was doing my time at the Federal Correctional Institution at Loretto, Pennsylvania, a low-security prison in the Appalachian Mountains. One of the very first things I found, on my very first day, was that the food was bad. Very bad. I arrived in prison on a Thursday. The next day, Friday, was “fish day.” A fellow prisoner warned me to skip the fish. “We call it sewer trout,” he said. “you don’t want to put that in your body.” Sure enough, when I got in line in the cafeteria, I saw boxes stacked behind the servers.
As three Native women Water Protectors prepared for trial next week in Aitkin County, Judge Leslie Metzen dismissed all remaining criminal charges against Winona LaDuke, Tania Aubid and Dawn Goodwin late Thursday afternoon, September 14, 2023. The nearly three-year-old charges stemmed from a peaceful and prayerful gathering on the banks of the Mississippi River on ceded Anishinaabe land as Enbridge began construction of its Line 3 tar sands pipeline. Joined by several dozen other Water Protectors, the three women wore ceremonial jingle dresses, and sang, danced, and prayed for the water as heavy construction equipment tore into the earth.
Oak Park Heights, MN — Just days after prisoners at the Stillwater prison staged civil disobedience actions by refusing a staff lockdown, incarcerated workers at the nearby ‘level 5’ MCF-Oak Park Heights prison canteen have staged a work strike, according to activists who regularly stay in touch with prisoners. The use of segregation, or sending prisoners to ‘the hole,’ has increased in recent years. Oak Park Heights administrators sent prisoners there 694 times in 2018, according to state Department of Corrections (DOC) data. The Twin Cities branch of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC) sent out a press release on the Oak Park Heights work stoppage.
This week the state of Louisiana was expected to transfer a group of mostly Black boys out of the former death row unit of Louisiana State Penitentiary — a maximum-security adult prison also known as Angola. But a federal appeals court on Wednesday temporarily paused a judge’s order requiring the state to move the children out of Angola by Friday. The American Civil Liberties Union, the Southern Poverty Law Center and several law firms, pushed for a year to stop the state from detaining children at the prison, which is located on a former slave plantation. The legal advocates praised a federal judge’s mandate last week that Louisiana officials move the teens out of Angola and back to a juvenile-focused facility by September 15.
Craig Murray, a former British ambassador and close associate of imprisoned WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, said he was prevented by a U.S. marshal from entering the courthouse in Alexandria, VA where Assange would be put on trial if he loses his extradition case in Britain. In Washington on a U.S. tour, Murray told a gathering on Wednesday that with some time to kill he decided earlier that day to visit the federal courthouse in Alexandria “just to see what that was like.” “So I found the federal court and I went to enter, as any member of the public is entitled to do,” Murray said, according to a video recording of his remarks.
The US government has hounded Julian Assange since WikiLeaks first revealed the extent of US war crimes in 2010. In the process of persecuting Assange, the federal government has used every tool at its disposal and even pushed beyond the boundaries that supposedly restrict state power in defense of civil liberties. One of the most insidious tactics is the use of the Espionage Act, which had not been used for against whistleblowers and journalists for almost a century before Assange’s case. In the first part of a two-part conversation, lawyer and human rights defender Stella Assange, spouse of Julian Assange, joins Chris Hedges for a look at the vast and vicious campaign by the US to silence Julian Assange, and what it all portends for our democracy.
Enrique Tarrio , the former leader of the Proud Boys, was sentenced on September 5, 2023, to 22 years in prison. He was convicted in May on seditious conspiracy and other charges for the central role he played in organizing Trump followers to attack the Capitol on January 6, 2021, while Congress was certifying the electoral results of the 2020 presidential election. Until now, the longest prison term connected to the January 6 events had been 18 years. That sentence was issued to co-defendant Ethan Nordean. Three other men in the case — Joseph Biggs, Zachary Rehl, and Dominic Pezzola — were each sentenced to between 10 and 17 years in prison.
Housing is one of our best tools for ending mass incarceration. It does more than put a roof over people’s heads; housing gives people the space and stability necessary to receive care, escape crises, and improve their quality of life. For this reason, giving people housing can help interrupt a major pathway to prison created by the criminalization of mental illness, substance use disorder, and homelessness. For this briefing, we examined over 50 studies and reports, covering decades of research on housing, health, and incarceration, to pull together the best evidence that ending housing insecurity is foundational to reducing jail and prison populations.