Letter from Shactivist/Veganarchist Prisoner Dan Wadham

Infoshop

Since the arrests on May 1st 2007, I have lived a life in relative isolation from the animal rights community that has been my family since 2005. The list of bail conditions has been vast, prohibiting contact with many of my closest friends and restricting myself and others in terms of action, association and accommodation.

I just wanted to write this note as an expression of thanks and heartfelt gratitude to all of the friends, comrades and acquaintances who have helped me so generously throughout my time on bail, and in particular throughout the lengthy trial. Whether it has been a meal, a place to sleep, words of encouragement or the simple pleasure of your company.. you are all heros of unimaginable scale. It cannot be said enough how important prisoner/defendant solidarity is during times of heightened state repression, and you people – you all know who you are – are a testament to the strength of this community.

It also cannot be said enough how important it is that we respond to heightened state repression, with heightened action, heightened commitment and heightened determination to win. To all those still active in the struggle for freedom… I salute you.

x

Dan Wadham (WV9474), HMP Winchester, Romsey Road, Winchester SO22 5DF

 

Obama orders Guantanamo closure

Al Jazeera

Barack Obama, the US president, has ordered the closure of the Guantanamo Bay prison camp within one year and a review of the military tribunals set up by the Bush administration to try detainees.

Obama also signed an order ending the harsh interrogation of prisoners held by the US and the closure of any secret prisons run by the CIA.

On his second full day in office, Obama signed the three orders surrounded by retired military officers in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington.

Obama said the signing of the order showed “we are willing to observe core standards, not just when it’s easy, but when it’s hard”.

“The message that we are sending around the world is that the United States intends to prosecute the ongoing struggle against violence and terrorism,” Obama said.

“We are going to do so vigilantly; we are going to do so effectively; and we are going to do so in a manner that is consistent with our values and our ideals.”

Obama had promised to close the detention centre during his election campaign.

Prisoners future

Guantanamo was set up by the Bush administration in 2002 to hold prisoners it detained as part of its so-called war on terror.

Guantanamo prisoners will be treated in a
manner consistent with international law [AFP] More than 240 prisoners remain held there, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who is suspected of planning the September 11 attacks on the US.
The Bush administration has said it wants to try about a third of the remaining detainees.

Others cannot be returned to their home countries, for fear they may be tortured.

The White House said the order closing Guantanamo also sets up a series of reviews to determine whether it is possible to transfer prisoners to their home countries, if US national security is not threatened.

If that is not possible, the review will then look at options for prosecuting them, the White House said in a statement.

The order also orders that all prisoners held at Guantanamo be held in a manner consistent with the Geneva Conventions until the facility is closed.

Al Jazeera’s Anand Naidoo in Washington DC said it was likely that the five men facing charges over the September 11 attacks would face some kind of prosecution on US soil.

The US president also said he was setting up a task force that would recommend policies on handling “terror” suspects who are detained in future.

The force would look at where those detainees should be held instead of Guantanamo.

On Wednesday, Obama had requested a halt to military tribunals of al-Qaeda suspects held at the camp, including those suspected of involvement in the September 11 attacks.

Shane Kadidal, a senior lawyer at the Guantanamo Global Justice Initiative, which works on behalf of detainees, told Al Jazeera the move was a step in the right direction.

“We’ve always said that these military commissions were insupportable. The system was designed to launder evidence gained through torture and all those cases should be transferred to ordinary federal courts.”

Legal advice

The order ending harsh interrogations also requires that all interrogations follow the US Army’s Field Manual interrogation guidelines, which ban the use of techniques such as “waterboarding,” which simulates the sensation of drowning.

Rendition of al-Qaeda suspects could
continue [GALLO/GETTY] The order bans the CIA from operating secret prisons, and forbids them from opening any new such facilities.
It also ends US government reliance on a series of controversial legal advice notes on the treatment of prisoners drawn up by Bush administration advisers.

The order, however, does not ban the controversial practice of rendition, which involves the secret detention and transfer of “terror” suspects from one country to another.

It does, however, order a review of the practice.

Obama also issued a memorandum ordering a review of the case of Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, a Qatari citizen and the only “enemy combatant” held on US soil at a Navy prison in South Carolina.

Leonard Peltier Attacked

illvox

Dear LP Supporters

I am so OUTRAGED! My brother Leonard was severely beaten upon his arrival at the Canaan Federal Penitentiary. When he went into population after his transfer, some inmates assaulted him.

The severity of his injuries is that he suffered numerous blows to his head and body, receiving a large bump on his head, possibly a concussion, and numerous bruises. Also, one of his fingers is swollen and discolored and he has pain in his chest and ribcage. There was blood everywhere from his injuries.

We feel that prison authorities at the prompting of the FBI orchestrated this attack and thus, we are greatly concerned about his safety. It may be that the attackers, whom Leonard did not even know, were offered reduced sentences for carrying out this heinous assault. Since Leonard is up for parole soon, this could be a conspiracy to discredit a model prisoner.

He was placed in solitary confinement and only given one meal, this is generally done when you won’t name your attackers; incidentally being only given one meal seriously jeopardizes his health because of his diabetes. Prison officials refuse to release any info to the family, but they need to hear from his supporters to protect his safety, as does President Obama. His attorneys are trying to get calls into him now.

This attack on Leonard comes on the heels of the FBI’s recent letter, prompting this attack by FBI supporters as an attempt to discredit Leonard as a model prisoner. Anyone who has been in the prison system knows well that if you refuse to name your attackers or file charges against them, then you lose your status as a victim and/or given points against your possible parole and labeled as a perpetrator.

It is not uncommon, in fact is quite common for the government to use Indian against Indian and they still operate under the old adage “it takes an Indian to catch an Indian”. In 1978, they made an attempt to assassinate him through another Indian man who was also at Marion prison with Leonard. But Standing Deer chose to reveal the plot to him instead of taking his life in exchange FOR A CHANCE AT FREEDOM.

When Standing Deer was released in 2001, he joined the former Leonard Peltier Defense Committee as a board member. He also began to speak on Leonard’s behalf until his murder six years ago today. Prior to his murder, Standing Deer confided with close friends and associates that the same man who visited him in Marion to assassinate Peltier, had came to Houston, TX and told him that he had better stay away from Peltier and anything to do with him.

We are aware that currently, the FBI is actively seeking support for the continued imprisonment of Leonard Peltier and also seeking support from Native People. So please be aware, and keep Leonard in your prayers.
The FBI is apparently afraid of the impact we are having. If they will set him up to blemish his record just before a parole hearing, what will they do when it looks like his freedom will become a reality? We need to make sure that nothing happens to him again!
Please write the President, send it priority or registered mail. Email to Change.gov or email President Obama. Call your congressional representatives and write letters, not email, to them. Do what you can to get the word out to insure that Leonard is receiving adequate medical attention for his injuries.

I am asking you, supporters of Leonard and advocates of justice at this time to help. I don’t know what else to do. Please Help!

Thank you
Betty Peltier-Solano
Executive Coordinator
Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee
whoisleonardpeltier.info

Also call and request Leonard be treated with dignity and respect.
Canaan Federal Prison
570-488-8000

American activists take up case of Iraq war resister Robin Long

straight.com

Two American antiwar groups have taken up the case of Robin Long, a conscientious objector to the war in Iraq who deserted from the U.S. army and fled to British Columbia in 2005.

On Tuesday (January 13), two dozen members of Military Families Speak and Veterans for Peace gathered outside Marine Corps Air Station Miramar and protested Long’s imprisonment, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The Straight previously reported that Long was deported from Nelson, B.C., on July 15, 2008, and subsequently sentenced to 15 months in prison on August 23.

The LA Times story notes that the Canadian House of Commons passed a nonbinding motion calling on the government of Canada to allow conscientious objectors to remain in Canada. It goes on to state that Canada’s Conservative government has ignored that motion.

The activists fighting for Long in the U.S. argue that the former army private’s imprisonment is cruel and unusual punishment, the LA Times reports, because it is preventing Long from returning to his sick girlfriend and their two-year-old son, who remain in B.C.