CCI Step Down Program is Bogus: we shall stop participating Monday, May 11, 2015

CCI Step Down Program is Bogus

May 7, 2015 [received June 18th]

by Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa

I have taken the position to shut down this fake SDP crap. So, all of Step 4, who have the most to lose, meaning, some of them are a couple of weeks away from completing their Step 4, and for some they are one, two, three, four months away from being on a mainline and for some of them it’s been 13, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, and 39 years since they last been in general population, and for Step 3 it ranges from 4 to 31 years.

We all agree that these latest types of 115s/RVR’s is just another way to keep us held in SHU or a means of bringing us back, once we make it out to the GP mainline and we’d rather take our stance now!!  So, you can start spreading this good news to Corcoran, New Folsom and Pelican Bay by radio, news articles and when family members travel to PBSP and the other two SHUs.

We shall stop participating Monday, May 11, 2015, indefinitely. We won’t be attending any CC hearings, directly dealing with Steps 3 and 4, nor shall we go to those group meetings, or do any more of those journals. Now, there are two groups for each Step 3 and 4, and that’s a total of 40 prisoners who would have been attending those group meetings weekly. This SDP cannot function without prisoners participating.

I need for you to share that Steps 3 and 4 prisoners will not continue to participate in the SDP that is corrupt and discriminatory against all SDP prisoners, and has been trying to provoke all of us to rebel, get angry and act out.

Our problems come from the Warden, Kim Holland; Chief Deputy Warden, J. Gutierrez; Chief Deputy Warden W. Sullivan; Capt. P. Metzers; IGI Lt. J. Tyree; R. Diaz; Deputy Director of Division of Adult Institutions, Sacramento office, M. Tann; former SDP Facilitator, B. Snider; CC-II at CCI, Ybarra; and all of these Tehachapi officials and the one Sacramento official who have knowledge that we as SHU/SDP prisoners have been denied our fundamental SHU rights; and as of two weeks ago we are being denied the use of a razor, or should I say, we have a choice to take a five (5) minute shower or take a (5) minute shave, but not both.

Now, 90% of all SDP privileges have been denied us from Jan. 2014 to May 2015. This is a failed program and all of the Heads of CDCr know what is going on here at Tehachapi, CCI.

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Our Perspective on Understanding Subliminal Perception

OUR PERSPECTIVE ON UNDERSTANDING SUBLIMINAL PERCEPTION

“The struggle begins with each of us… Our mental freedom begins now! I shall exemplify my love for our people’s liberation / mental struggle!!!”

By Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa

Understanding Subliminal Perception

Mind control in the United States has a historical practice in that its production of subliminal perception – communication outlines the principles of mental programming, i.e., that an initial distraction must be followed by repetitive commands, and it tells you how these ideas are implemented.

Subliminal perception is a process, a deliberate process created by communications technicians, by which you receive and respond to information and instructions without being consciously aware of the instructions. The United States government continues the psychological manipulation of subliminal perception and communication (s.p.c.), within the civilian population and specifically within the armed forces (boot camp) to which it is a repetitive command to its subject’s sub-consciousness and conscious mind.

We have studied the effectiveness of how to confuse the human mind. The United States government clearly understands how to control the mind, body in order to defer most people from paying conscious attention to the things that affect the general public subconsciously. People don’t usually know what to look for. However, when pointed to, those things can be recognized and understood.

The principles of mind control, hypnotic suggestion and mental programming are intrusive subliminal techniques that are used through radio, television and movies. According to now declassified documents, the Central Intelligence Agency (C.I.A.) tested subliminal manipulation in movie theatres during the late 1950s. The term used does not matter, the principles remain the same.

The goal is to suspend the thought process of the conscious mind to cause a state of mind that is just like ‘day dreaming.” Stop conscious thought and the mind is in its most suggestible state and is more receptive to programming than at any other. Therefore, local police, District Attorney offices, Federal Bureau of Investigations (F.B.I.), State Attorney Generals offices and the CIA [know] the first principle of mind control is distraction. Distraction focuses the attention of the conscious mind on one or more of the five senses (sight, sound, touch, smell and taste) in order to program the subconscious mind. All humans do not think the same thoughts, but all humans think with the same mechanism – the brain. The brain works thoughts out one step at a time, just like a computer. The tools of the conscious mind are words (spoken, written and thought) and pictures and sound.

“I didn’t arrive at my understanding of the Fundamental laws of the Universe through my rational mind.” – Albert Einstein

The powers of intuition are the powers of the subconscious mind. The right side of the brain is the center of intuition, creativity and emotion. The purpose of propaganda is to direct public attention to certain facts. The whole art consists in doing this so skillfully that everyone will be convinced that the fact is real.

By clever manipulation, people can be led to believe something that is not true when such information is carefully timed and presented by an accepted and respected means (authority). Information is processed by the brain in a very specific way. At the base of the brain, there is a check “valve” called the Reticular Activating system that screens information. What seems to happen is this: when new information is introduced, it is compared with previously acquired information and then catalogued. When the information is required, it is retrieved and brought into conscious awareness according to need. Now, if there is no “file” for this piece of information, a file is begun and added to when related information is acquired. If you accept the information as true, it is catalogued that way. And if you reject the information as false, it is catalogued that way. However, if you don’t know if the information is true or not, your trust in the source of the information determines whether or not you accept it, even if you are not sure or don’t understand it.

It is not necessary to entrust yourself to another person to produce the hypnotic state of mind. Dr James braid demonstrated that the hypnotic state of mind could be produced by fixing your gaze upon a bright object. In fact, any repeating light or sound pattern can lead you into that state of mind that is just like “day dreaming.” There is selective attention and heightened suggestibility. There is acceptance of distortion only when distorted information is give and you don’t know that it is distorted information. The word “symptoms” is usually used when referring to an illness or disorder. The hypnotic state of mind is a natural state of mind; it is neither an illness nor a disorder.

Propaganda cannot effectively work without education. The mind is conditioned with vast amounts of information posing as “facts” and “knowledge” dispensed for ulterior motives. The educated and intellectuals are the most vulnerable to propaganda because they absorb large amounts of second hand information and consider themselves to be above the effects of propaganda. Remember that propaganda draws attention away from information that is true, and directs attention to information that is false.

Common sense tells us that one must first gain the confidence and respect of people in order to deceive them. We frequently have the illusion that we are in complete control of ourselves and the contents of our minds and psyches; and it is this illusion that makes it possible to be manipulated, all the more successfully. Most people do not exercise their intelligence and critical faculties in evaluating the vast amounts of information they are assaulted with. As a result, they abdicate their responsibility for what happens to them.

Think for a moment about the way newscasters speak, and you will realize that they all talk the same way regardless of their ethnic background. Whether they be black, white. Latino, Hispanic or oriental, they all sound alike.

“Newspeak has become a language pattern associated with the dissemination of true, factual information. Consider the laugh tracks that have become an integral part of tv-comedies. They “educate” the audience to “respond” to what is funny.” The audience has been programmed to associate a resonating low monotone voice with evil, because of the evil behavior of movie- and television characters with that vocal quality. Emotions can be stirred, attitudes and states of mind revealed by nuances of tone and variation in vocal quality. The camera can reveal the smallest movement and the most subtle change of expression and give them significance and definition. Popular performers, past and present are “role models” for the audience to admire and emulate, thus promoting a standard for behavior. The public has been programmed to accept stereotypes that categorize people and professions. All verbal and non-verbal communication has been identified, defined and reduced to a code that can be manipulated.

Education of the young is used to condition them to what comes later, thereby eliminating the differences [between] propaganda and education. Propaganda cannot work effectively without education. The mind is conditioned with vast amounts of information posing as “facts” and “knowledge” dispensed for ulterior motives.

Remember the first principle behind mental programming: distraction. With propaganda, distraction focuses attention on information that is false. Repetition of the false information imbeds it in your subconscious mind so that your acceptance of its truth and accuracy becomes a conditioned response, circumventing analysis. Therefore, you accept this information as true without thinking about it. What people think, can be controlled by controlling information. People can be led to believe something that is not true when that information is presented by an accepted authority.

Your subconscious mind accepts as true what your conscious mind believes to be true. What the conscious mind believes, the subconscious acts on. It works like programming a computer, and the computer acts on it. However, if the information you feed into the computer is wrong, it still acts on it! If you give yourself incorrect information or if others give you incorrect information, the memory banks if your subconscious mind does not correct the error, but acts on it! The conscious mind cannot be controlled by the suggestions of someone else when those suggestions are contrary to what you know from your own experience. But the subconscious mind is amendable to control by suggestion, by you and others. The subconscious mind can be manipulated without conscious awareness as evidenced by the phenomenon of subliminal perception.

In the book 1984, George Orwell warns “that people are in danger of losing their human qualities and freedom of mind without being aware of it while it is happening because of psychological engineering.” Now remember your subconscious mind hears all. Repetition of a message is mental programming. Research indicates that repeated hearings whether sought out or not, yield acceptance and even liking. When you do not hear the message clearly, you cannot make the conscious choice or to accept or reject it. When you cannot make that choice, or when that choice is taken away from you, the message is programmed directly to your subconscious mind without your knowing it, thus circumventing analysis and choice in accepting the content of the message. These effects can be physical, psychological and emotional. Most people don’t pay conscious attention to the things that affect them subconsciously because they don’t know what to look for. However, when pointed to, these things are recognized and understood.

Watching television often creates an altered state of consciousness, because the television screen, while appearing static, actually flickers, what causes you to go into an altered state? In hypnosis, it is actually body relaxation and a carefully patterned voice roll. The hypnotist speaks with a regular beat, as if matching his words to a metronome (an instrument that makes repeated clicks at an adjustable pace for making rhythm).

In fact, any repeating light or sound pattern can lead you into the hypnotic state of mind, a state of mind that is exactly like daydreaming. This is an altered state of consciousness. Think of the times you have caught yourself staring blankly at the television screen losing all sense of time and place. When you stop conscious thinking and your mind goes blank, then your mind is in its most suggestible state. It is in this state of mind where you are the most receptive to mental programming. Think of the many times you have seen flashing words in both local and national tv-commercials. The flashing words are the conscious distraction for the eyes, while the eyes are being occupied, the message being spoken is programmed directly to your subconscious mind. Anything consciously perceived can be evaluated, criticized, discussed, argued, and possibly rejected. Any information programmed subliminally to your subconscious mind meets no resistance. This subliminal information is stored in your brain with an identification that will trigger a delayed alarm-clock-reaction capable of influencing your behavior.

In summation: it is interesting to note that [with] the subliminal seductions that batter our resistance daily, we can’t get enough help in our fight to raise the threshold of suggestibility high enough to fend off these relentless assaults on our individual autonomies.

In Struggle –

Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa

Consultant: Hadari S. Kambon

S.N.J. © May 2004  –  Sitawa.org

Download as PDF: OUR PERSPECTIVE ON UNDERSTANDING SUBLIMINAL PERCEPTION

Our New Afrikan Origins

This was written by Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa in 1999.

Our New Afrikan Origins, by Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa, cop. 1999

Our New Afrikan Origins, by Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa, cop. 1999

You can write Sitawa directly via:

Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa, s/n R.N. Dewberry, C-35671
CCI SHU 4B-7C-209
P.O. Box 1906,
Tehachapi CA 93581
U.S.A.

Or send an Email which we will print and forward: Prisonerhumanrightsmovement [at] gmail.com

New Afrikan Prisoners of War (NAPOW)-case

Here is an Affidavit of Sitawa in the case Paul Jones v. G. Stewart et al. (CVUJ-06-1359, started in Sept. 2006). Sitawa wrote the following about this:

“This document was put together back in 2007 and [it is about] the struggles that Afrikan prisoners [endure.]

The case on Mr Vaughn Dortch, i was there when they, PBSP, tortured him and i was also a named plaintiff in the Madrid v. Gomez Class Action case. I am a named plaintiff of the enclosed case as well, and of the four (4) major Class Action Cases over the past 30 years.

Affidavit of Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa (s/n R. N. Dewberry) in support of the Civil Rights Complaint/Action CVUJ-06-1359 Paul Jones v. G. Stewart et al.

Affidavit of Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa (s/n R. N. Dewberry) in support of the Civil Rights Complaint/Action CVUJ-06-1359 Paul Jones v. G. Stewart et al.

Legal Case Announcement; Freedom, Justice & Human Rights (Sept. 8, 2000): the Civil Rights Complaint/Action CVUJ-06-1359 Paul Jones v. G. Stewart et al. page 2 of 6

Legal Case Announcement; Freedom, Justice & Human Rights (Sept. 8, 2006): the Civil Rights Complaint/Action CVUJ-06-1359 Paul Jones v. G. Stewart et al. page 2 of 6

Legal Case Announcement; Freedom, Justice & Human Rights (Sept. 8, 2000): the Civil Rights Complaint/Action CVUJ-06-1359 Paul Jones v. G. Stewart et al. page 3 of 6 with citations of Madrid case

Legal Case Announcement; Freedom, Justice & Human Rights (Sept. 8, 2006): the Civil Rights Complaint/Action CVUJ-06-1359 Paul Jones v. G. Stewart et al. page 3 of 6 with citations of Madrid case

Legal Case Announcement; Freedom, Justice & Human Rights (Sept. 8, 2000): the Civil Rights Complaint/Action CVUJ-06-1359 Paul Jones v. G. Stewart et al. page 4 of 6 with citations of Madrid v. Gomez case [Pelican Bay State Prison torture]

Legal Case Announcement; Freedom, Justice & Human Rights (Sept. 8, 2006): the Civil Rights Complaint/Action CVUJ-06-1359 Paul Jones v. G. Stewart et al. page 4 of 6 with citations of Madrid v. Gomez case [Pelican Bay State Prison torture]

Legal Case Announcement; Freedom, Justice & Human Rights (Sept. 8, 2000): the Civil Rights Complaint/Action CVUJ-06-1359 Paul Jones v. G. Stewart et al. page 5 of 6 regarding denial of Black August [Pelican Bay State Prison torture]

Legal Case Announcement; Freedom, Justice & Human Rights (Sept. 8, 2006): the Civil Rights Complaint/Action CVUJ-06-1359 Paul Jones v. G. Stewart et al. page 5 of 6 regarding denial of Black August [Pelican Bay State Prison torture]

Legal Case Announcement; Freedom, Justice & Human Rights (Sept. 8, 2000): the Civil Rights Complaint/Action CVUJ-06-1359 Paul Jones v. G. Stewart et al. page 6 of 6 regarding denial of Black August [Pelican Bay State Prison torture]

Legal Case Announcement; Freedom, Justice & Human Rights (Sept. 8, 2006): the Civil Rights Complaint/Action CVUJ-06-1359 Paul Jones v. G. Stewart et al. page 6 of 6 regarding denial of Black August [Pelican Bay State Prison torture]

Prisoner Human Rights Movement: Agreement to End Hostilities has changed the face of race relations without any help from CDCr

Published in the SF Bay View, January 28, 2015

by Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa

It is incumbent upon all men prisoners across the state of California and globally to embrace the struggle of women prisoners as a whole. We, the four principle negotiators of our Prisoner Human Rights Movement – George Franco, Arturo Castellanos, Todd Ashker and Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa (Dewberry) – recognize the women prisoner struggles and the PHRM supports them. These other prisoner activists do as well: D. Troxell, L. Powell, A. Guillen, G. Huerta, P. Redd, R. Yandell, J.M. Perez, J. Baridi Williamson, A. Sandoval, P. Fortman, Y. Iyapo-I (Alexander), A. Yrigollen, F. Bermudez, F. Clement and R. Chavo Perez.

These representatives, whom CDCr leading officials recognize as prisoner activists, are changing the face of race relationships within CDCr first, without any assistance from CDCr. Isn’t that amazing! The above named prisoner activists, along with the thousands of other prisoner activists throughout the California prison system, have changed the way prisoners should be treated as human beings.

I encourage all men and women prisoners to continue to press onward with our Agreement to End Hostilities (AEH) through all corridors of state and county facilities.

Prisoners’ era of retrospective study and constructive struggle

We are beacons of collective building while clearly understanding that we the beacons must take a protracted internal and external retrospective of our present day prisons’ concrete conditions to forge our PHRM onward into the next stage of development, thereby exposing CDCr’s racial discrimination and racist animus tactics against our prisoner class. This is why our lives must be embedded in determined human rights laws, based on our constructive development of our scientific methods and laws. Therefore, through our concrete conditions in each prison, our struggle shall be constructed through our Prisoner Human Rights Movement representatives and negotiators.

The PHRM has realized that CDCr has been setting up prisoners and creating racial tension among all racial groups, from various geographical locations up and down the state of California. It has become abundantly clear to the PHRM that Gov. Jerry Brown is an outspoken racist and overseer who has clearly shown that his discriminatory practices are directed at minorities and people of color: New Afrikan (Afrikan Amerikan), Mexicans (Latinos) and White working poor, who have all been suffering blatant discrimination in county jails and state prisons.

Gov. Brown went out and hired the most blatant racist prison superintendent in the U.S. as his secretary of corrections. Yes, CDCr Secretary Jeffrey Beard is continuing to torture, isolate, maim, racially assault, and racially, religiously and culturally discriminate against prisoners.

Gov. Brown and Secretary Beard are continuing their practices of long term solitary confinement. Now, it is a known fact that Gov. Brown and his personally appointed CDCr Secretary J. Beard do not want to STOP racial tension within the CDCr or the state of California as a whole, because if they did, the historical document, the Agreement to End Hostilities, would have been distributed by the CDCr to all women and men state prisoners, county jail prisoners, youth authority prisoners, juveniles, probationers and parolees throughout this state.

Since Oct. 10, 2012, when the Agreement to End Hostilities took effect, to the present day, California women and men prisoners’ racial and cultural hostilities have decreased, without any assistance from Gov. Brown or his subordinate, Secretary of CDCr Jeffrey Beard. It is important that all citizens here in California and throughout the United States realize that Gov. Brown and Secretary Beard do not care about reducing the violence among prisoners, nor do they care about the safety and security of Californians who are not incarcerated.

Our civil rights are violated daily. We citizens realize that the safety and security of California prisoners and our neighborhoods throughout California will only come from the people, not from corrupt law enforcement agencies! Because we know that the majority of California law enforcement policies have been brutal to our inner city citizens – killing and maiming our family members – and that the brutality has been sanctioned by Gov. Brown and carried out by CDCr Secretary Beard et al behind California prison walls against all prisoners and especially Level 3 and 4 prisoners.

CEASE the human torture! CEASE the racial profiling, Gov. Brown and Secretary Beard!

I want everyone to know that I agree with my co-principle negotiators’ articles in the October 2014 SF Bay View newspaper:

1) “California prisoner representatives: All people have the right to humane treatment with dignity” on page 5 and

2) “Unresolved hunger strike issues” on page 16. I want to encourage everyone to subscribe to this newspaper. It is the voice of all people!

To all U.S. citizens and the world community, support our Prisoner Human Rights Movement!

We are fighting for human justice. We are upholding the U.S. Constitution and California Constitution and the liberties therein, while establishing the freedoms that our ancestors struggled for over the past hundred years in California.

Determined to preserve our human lives and those of all prisoners within the state of California, we, the Prisoner Human Rights Movement, call on all citizens to get involved with social change now. In the course of our work, PHRM realizes that it is natural that we should meet opposition from CDCr, because of their ignorance and lack of knowledge manifested whenever CDCr ruthlessly deceives and deprives prisoners of our human rights and civil rights daily.

With the dawn of this new prison era, the Prisoners’ Era of Retrospect and Construct, know what its essentials are; know its principles and strive to attain our goals and objectives in the truest sense of our Agreement to End Hostilities. We know what forced solitude causes: psychological and physical warfare, for prisoners and their outside family members as well.

Politically speaking, the world has changed and so have prisoners. Human progress means change, and today we need to prepare for a higher life, for tomorrow’s liberty – educationally, socially and politically.

No one wants to be tortured, dehumanized, racially profiled, religiously profiled and viciously targeted by acts of sensory deprivation by Gov. Jerry Brown’s state government and his California prison officials to implement the New Jim Crow, i.e., the Security Threat Group/Step Down Program (STG/SDP), which is actually criminal acts of torture by way of low intensity warfare. This is an act against all California citizens and humanity itself.

Our PHRM was threatened by CDCr officials and employees as we championed the cause of the Agreement to End Hostilities, and we thank God that our prisoner class did not fall prey to CDCr’s threats to destroy our AEH across this state. Prisoners hold their destiny in the palm of their hands and we shall not allow any prison correctional officers, sergeants, lieutenants, captains, associate wardens, chief deputy wardens, wardens, the director of adult institutions, the undersecretary or the secretary or even Gov. Brown to destroy our faith in humanity. The Prisoner Human Rights Movement shall stand as ONE clenched fist in solidarity against CDCr oppression.

I want to make it clear that Gov. Brown and Secretary Beard operate with the mentality of Donald Tokowitz Sterling, the former Los Angeles Clipper’s owner. Just review their policies, rules, laws and practices directed at all prisoners and their family members, relatives, friends and all citizens within this state.

We shall not allow even Gov. Brown to destroy our faith in humanity. The Prisoner Human Rights Movement shall stand as ONE clenched fist in solidarity against CDCr oppression.

Stand up against injustice. Stand up against racism. Stand up against sensory deprivation.

People, get involved in struggle!

Revolutionary love and respect!

Brutha Sitawa

Send our brother some love and light: Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa, s/n R.N. Dewberry, C-35671, 4B-7C-209, P.O. Box 1906, Tehachapi CA 93581.

California’s savage system of confinement: An end to solitary is long overdue

Published in the SF Bay View, December 9, 2014

by Marie Levin

Marie Levin holding one of the few pictures of her brother Sitawa

Marie Levin holding one of the few pictures of her brother Sitawa – by Malaika

Less than two weeks ago the United Nations Committee against Torture issued a report strongly criticizing the U.S. record on a number of issues, among them the extensive use of solitary confinement. While the U.S. uses long-term solitary more than any other country in the world, California uses it more than any other state. It’s one of the few places in the world where someone can be held indefinitely in solitary. This practice is designed to break the human spirit and is condemned as a form of torture under international law.

Despite these repeated condemnations by the U.N., the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) is harshening rather than easing its policies, currently with three new sets of regulations. The administration’s iron-fisted strategy is emerging: Project the appearance of a reforming system while extending its reach, and restrict the ability of prisoners and their loved ones to organize for their rights.

While the U.S. uses long-term solitary more than any other country in the world, California uses it more than any other state. It’s one of the few places in the world where someone can be held indefinitely in solitary. This practice is designed to break the human spirit and is condemned as a form of torture under international law.

First, the CDCR has instituted a “Step Down Program” ostensibly to create a pathway out of indefinite solitary. However, the program actually widens the net of who can be considered a threat and therefore eligible for placement in solitary. Recently adopted regulations replace the old language of “gang” with “Security Threat Group” (STG) and the previous list of a dozen identified gangs is now replaced with a dizzying list of over 1,500 STGs.

Under these new regulations, even family members and others outside the prisons can be designated as part of an STG. Given the fact that indefinite solitary is used disproportionately against people of color – in Pelican Bay, 85 percent of those in isolation are Latino – the language used to justify placement in solitary eerily mirrors the rhetoric of the federal government and its permanent state of war against its declared enemies, all of whom are people of color.

The CDCR promulgated a second set of rule changes last summer with sweeping new “obscenity” regulations governing mail going both in and out of prisons. The original proposal was to explicitly ban any “publications that indicate an association with groups that are oppositional to authority and society,” yet after coming under heavy criticism, CDCR decided to mask its Orwellian motives by hiding behind the above mentioned language of STGs. This ominous language violates First Amendment rights and reveals a broader agenda: to censor writings that educate the public about what is actually occurring inside the prisons, and to stifle the intellectual and political education and organizing of prisoners themselves.

A third element of CDCR’s strategy of containment is the implementation of highly intimidating visiting procedures designed to keep family members away from their loved ones. Draconian new visiting regulations authorize the use of dogs and electronic drug detectors to indiscriminately search visitors for contraband, even though both methods are notoriously unreliable. These procedures effectively criminalize family members and deter them from visiting, especially in a period of a growing family-led movement against solitary.

The three new policies are also intended to extend CDCR’s reach beyond the prison walls. As an organizer and family member of a prisoner, I’m censored when sending letters to my brother, Sitawa N. Jamaa, subjected to gratuitous and intimidating searches during visits, and susceptible to being labeled an STG associate. These are all ways that CDCR is trying to keep me from knowing how my brother and others are doing, and to repress my organizing.

People locked up in California have a decades-long history of fighting for the rights and dignity of prisoners, affirming their humanity in the face of inhumane conditions and demanding change. The U.N. report calls on this government to “ban prison regimes of solitary confinement such as those in super-maximum security detention facilities.” It’s time for California to listen.

Taken individually, these regulations may seem to address unrelated issues. But given they are all coming down simultaneously – just a year after the last of a series of historic hunger strikes by people in California prisons has given rise to the highest level of self-organization and empowerment among imprisoned people since the 1970s – these regulations are nothing less than a systematic attempt to silence and retaliate against prisoners’ growing resistance.

Over 30,000 prisoners participated in 2013’s strike, some for 60 days, risking their health and lives for an end to indefinite solitary. Prisoners’ family members and loved ones also took up leadership roles in political organizing in unprecedented ways. The movement to abolish solitary continues to gain momentum around the country.

The hunger strikes were a significant part of an ongoing national sea change regarding the use of solitary, as states are waking up to its dangers. Illinois, Maine and Mississippi have closed or drastically downsized their solitary units without any loss of institutional safety. New York and Arizona were recently forced to reduce their use of isolation, with Colorado and New Jersey following suit.

Yet California steadfastly remains an outlier seemingly impervious to change, led by an administration that relies on tired rhetoric about “the worst of the worst” to justify torture. People locked up in California have a decades-long history of fighting for the rights and dignity of prisoners, affirming their humanity in the face of inhumane conditions and demanding change. The U.N. report calls on this government to “ban prison regimes of solitary confinement such as those in super-maximum security detention facilities.” It’s time for California to listen.

Marie Levin is the sister of Sitawa N. Jamaa, a prisoner in solitary confinement at Tehachapi. She is a member of California Families Against Solitary Confinement (CFASC) and Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition (PHSS). Mohamed Shehk, the media and communications director for Critical Resistance, also contributed to this piece and can be reached at mohamed@criticalresistance.org. This story previously appeared on Counterpunch.

Injustice Runs Deep

In: SF Bay View, September 27, 2013

by Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa

I am a 55-year-old New Afrikan man. I came to prison in 1980 for a first degree murder that I did not commit. The prosecutor, judge, victim’s family and my family know that I did not commit this murder. How is it that I can say it as a matter of fact? Because the actual killer confessed to the murder during the trial, did the time for the murder and he has since been released in 1986.

Sitawa2pics

Two photos of Sitawa show him in 1988 and 2012. – Photo: Adithya Sambamurthy, CIR

But because I wouldn’t give up information on an alleged drug dealer that the Oakland police wanted to take down, I was also charged for this crime and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law although everyone involved knew I was innocent. This is Amerika’s justice.

I was then sent off to one of the many CDCR prisons. I ended up, 22 years of age, young and very innocent and never been into any trouble with the law or involved with any criminal activity prior to being sent to one of the most violent prisons in the U.S., and there I was forced to make my own way.

Prison guards do not save or protect prisoners despite all the hype around the safety and security of the institution, nor do the police protect the average Amerikan or New Afrikan in the free world. People are literally on their own where there exist all kinds of predators. We all are prey and predators. I was a young man who was looked upon as prey and, in order for me to survive in an environment where my life was in constant danger, I had to learn the ways of a predator and it is this understanding that allowed me to survive.

But being that I came from a home where my mother was a follower of Martin Luther King Jr. and John Kennedy and my father was a follower of Marcus Garvey, violence was not and has never been a part of my household or something that I chose to indulge myself in. I know how to defend myself where there lurks danger, but preying on prisoners was something I personally despised, so I became someone who could help prisoners improve their lives!

I have never had a violent history nor do I aspire to have a violent future.

Since I had some schooling and my mother was a school teacher, I became a teacher, but behind these prison walls. I started educating some of the many prisoners who were given outrageous times by racist judicial proceedings for petty drug charges, three strikes laws – gang members who could not read or write nor understand some of the simplest curriculums.

My civilization was realized through my education, and I don’t care what anyone says; I’ve seen many, if not countless, prisoners change their lives and I have been privileged to have a hand in some of those changes. I have never been in no gang and never had the desire to be in any gang, but I understand their situation: Many of these individuals were born into these gang cultures in some of the harshest conditions. Just like when I lost my freedom, snatched off the streets and placed in the deadliest prison for a crime – murder – I did not commit.

But prison officials did not like the fact that I was contributing to the growth and development – education – of many prisoners and I am talking across the board: Whites, New Afrikans, Mexicans, Latinos, Asians etc. I have never had a violent history nor do I aspire to have a violent future.

I was locked up in solitary confinement because of my ability to educate prisoners successfully. Yes, I have been held in solitary confinement for the last 29 years because I am an “educated nigger” in the eyes of my captors.

My captors use gang labeling as a justification for subjecting prisoners in solitary confinement to cruel and unusual punishment – torture. For the 14,000 prisoners in solitary confinement, CDCR gets $70,000 a head annually to hold prisoners inside administration segregation units and security housing units and only $50,000 for holding prisoners on general population (GP). This is a waste because each and every one of us can program on general population. Yet we are deemed unable to program because CDCR officials do not want to lose any money they get for holding prisoners in solitary confinement.

People like Debra J. Saunders of San Francisco Chronicle speak from a position of ignorance or she’s a conspirator toward exploiting taxpayers out of their tax dollars. She generally casts her criticism based on information she has not investigated. So when she made a statement without taking the time to get the inside story of the individuals she spoke to, it’s obvious that she practices junk journalism, where people attempt to pop-off at the mouth to make a name for themselves off the backs of others’ pain and suffering regardless of their innocence.

She can care less that I am the one who has been subjected to many injustices by the state and continue to suffer at the hand of the state. Ms. Saunders believes that it is justifiable for me to be held in solitary confinement for the politics I chose to believe in, although I have not committed not one violent act or criminal act nor have I been associated with any rules violation reports (RVRs).

I was locked up in solitary confinement because of my ability to educate prisoners successfully.

I have been held in solitary confinement for 29 years, and if you think this is right, then the problem is people like yourself, which is what’s wrong with this country. It is the same mentality of the torturers: Gov. E.G. Brown, Corrections Secretary Jeffrey Beard and state Attorney General Kamala Harris. Ms. Saunders takes prisoners’ post-convictions that occurred over 20 years ago and re-prosecutes prisoners who are serving time for their alleged crimes.

To use their post-convictions to justify why they should be subjected to torture goes against everything this country supposedly stands for. This is still a nation of laws, isn’t it? Or do our captors get to arbitrarily persecute us however they see fit, whenever they want to?

Ms. Saunders, none of us were sentenced to torture. While I know you believe all the people in prison are criminals as long as they have been convicted, you do not know what are the circumstances that led to the alleged incidents in respect to the four [main hunger strike] representatives. You are speaking from a position of ignorance because you know no one and have no desire to meet any of us, especially since your interests stem from pure greed for prestige.

I know all these men and all of them have become my personal friends – men who, for over 30 years, were seen as my adversaries. This in itself is change. I’ve spent the last 13 years with these men and some longer, and I see their humanity every day. We’ve talked endlessly about many subjects that pertain to our livelihood and how we can, as men, improve on our lives and the lives of our fellow human beings – prisoners.

None of us were sentenced to torture.

Ms. Saunders, you know the system once said I was only three fifths of a human being and it was not true. They will not always tell you the truth. There were no weapons of mass destruction. The bill giving the media access to prisons and prisoners was vetoed by Gov. Brown so they can continue to control the narrative, always.

We are also clear here: CDCR officials cannot protect no one nor do they desire to. CDCR has for the last 40 years murdered, beaten and tortured prisoners while given immunity. Gov. Brown is continuing CDCR’s legacy. He clearly knows what is going on and what’s been going on and has no desire to end it.

Torture. Prisoners are the victims of state-sanctioned torture and any Amerikan or New Afrikan citizen who wants the facts to when, where and how CDCR has deliberately murdered prisoners, beaten prisoners and tortured prisoners in solitary confinement, I will personally give you a breakdown of these atrocities, historical and current.

This current strike is not about our captors; it is about prisoners and the civil and human rights afforded to us by the Constitution of the “USA.” The blatant violations of the Constitution when it comes to prisoners’ First, Eighth and 14th Amendment rights are a direct result of a society that has gone lawless and government’s abusing the powers they have been entrusted to use in the name of the people.

We prisoners fight for our justice because no one else will fight our cause.

Resist, resist and liberate

I hear demagogues go on their vicious attacks about how violent prisoners held in solitary confinement are, yet we are actually the role model prisoners, if there is such a title. Many of us have sat in these tombstones back here under concerted torture while correctional officers have violated and disrespected us routinely, subjecting us to physical and psychological torment each day we have been back here.

Photo: Occupy San Quentin Marie Levin, Sitawa’s sister, speaking 022012-4 by Bill Hackwell, web

Sitawa’s sister, Marie Levin, speaking here at Occupy San Quentin, a large rally outside the San Quentin gates on Feb. 20, 2012, has become a leading spokesperson in the struggle for justice for her brother and everyone in solitary confinement. – Photo: Bill Hackwell

We have collectively opted to refrain from any violence – even though CDCR has been very violent toward us! Especially when they took a mentally ill New Afrikan prisoner and forced him into boiling hot water, then laughed about it, saying, “He’ll be a white boy now,” as his skin fell from his flesh. [See the AP story dated Sept. 18, 1993, on the trial that first revealed the torture of Vaughn Dortch.]

I witnessed this with my own eyes. This was an insidious, racist attack that was unprovoked by prisoners. So we have been very disciplined, and this is just one of many attacks prisoners have suffered.

The “gang shot-caller or leader” rhetoric is a farce. One thing CDCR does well is label its prisoners as gang members or associates. Of everyone in solitary, 85 percent have been given a gang title; of the 137,000 prisoners in California, 11,600 are labeled as gang members or associates.

CDCR throws gang titles around to dehumanize prisoners to the public; that is why they label everyone. You’ve got to seek the truth. There are 14,000 prisoners held in solitary confinement. There are 3,000 who prison officials say are gang leaders or generals.

They say everyone they hold in solitary confinement is the most violent of prisoners. We are the masterminds, they say, but they cannot show the public anything but rhetoric. No violence, no criminal gang acts committed by these gang leaders or generals who are supposed to control or “lead.”

The “gang shot-caller or leader” rhetoric is a farce.

They try to use hype and old alleged incidents in order to propagate to the public. With all the rhetoric, one would think they could show and tell, but it’s all hype. And we prisoners have to dispel these lies because it’s done to pull the wool over the public’s eyes in order to win their support.

I am one of the four representatives. When CDCR uses a violent act to denigrate my character, they generalize and go back 40 years, as did Secretary Beard. Why do you think he referred to the 1970s in order to speak to violence he alleges we are associated with? Because he has no evidence. I wasn’t even in prison in the 1970s, nor were any of the other four representatives.

Then he went to the streets when he tried to link us to violence, because he had no record of any violence inside prisons. So he associates us with whatever violence he can out there! Those allegations are placed on us, but we’re never charged or prosecuted. They just use it to propagate to the public that we’re the worst of the worst.

The public needs to know we are under more scrutiny than those held in Guantanamo Bay. Our isolation has been for up to 43 years for the longest held prisoners, for me 29 years and others 10, 20, 30 years straight for only being validated as a gang member or associate.

There is NO VIOLENCE! The CDCR lied when they said we are violent men. Our lockups are “administrative lockups,” not in response to violence. They can show NO Rules Violation Reports – disciplinary reports. We have not committed any offenses to be placed in solitary confinement.

Allegations are placed on us, but we’re never charged or prosecuted. They just use it to propagate to the public that we’re the worst of the worst.

The prison gang officers screen our incoming and outgoing mail. They do not allow us to have phone calls. We sit in our tombstone 23 hours a day, if not 24.

There is no way any of us could do what CDCR is charging that we did, if we even wanted to. Their lies are not about your safety and security. They are about your hard-earned tax dollars. They have prisoners they hold in solitary confinement that they know are going home sooner or later, but they won’t let them out on a prison yard because they’re “too dangerous,” according to them. But it’s cool to release them back into the public after they have been subjected to years of torture.

So much for the public safety. Wouldn’t it be safer to allow a prisoner to program in a social atmosphere inside the prison in order to get him or her out of that isolated anti-social state? Plus, if we are to be tormented each day of our lives, why won’t the state just murder us? Why hold us back here under these torturous conditions?

We’re not animals, although we’re treated like animals. We’re not savages, although we’re treated like savages. The issue is that we are a commodity – a surplus – and CDCR is profiting off our lives and using violence as a premise to justify it.

This is why Gov. Brown keeps the media out of the prisons. The Office of the Inspector General (OIG), Ombudsman and Internal Affairs will never investigate against their own interests. They get paid because of prisons and prisoners’ placement in them.

We had the OIG Chief Deputy Rusty Davis walk the tier talking about he’s here to check on the hunger strikers. When people made complaints, he disregarded them, nor did he take one note. He just wanted to look at us. He had no interest in our suffering, nor did he care to see any facts in relation to our situation.

We’re not animals, although we’re treated like animals. We’re not savages, although we’re treated like savages. The issue is that we are a commodity – a surplus – and CDCR is profiting off our lives and using violence as a premise to justify it.

He used this opportunity to reacquaint himself with his old prison official colleagues. There were countless complaints he could have looked into, but he refused to do his job. This is what’s wrong with this system: no checks and balances.

The CDCR is run where all personnel fail to uphold their responsibility, which is why the system is self-destructing from the inside out. We can only do what we’re doing to secure our lives from such torture. Peacefully resist … Resist …

In struggle,

Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa

Sitawa is one of the four main prisoner representatives who called for the peaceful protest that began in 2011 and resumed July 8, 2013, with 30,000 participants.