With all due respect to organized crime.
With all due respect to organized crime.
By Sean Collins
he Bureau of Prisons (BOP) announced late Wednesday that, due to Covid-19 concerns, all of those incarcerated in federal facilities will be under quarantine for the next 14 days.
The guidelines come as a growing number of incarcerated people and prison employees have begun testing positive for and displaying symptoms indicative of the novel coronavirus, and represent the BOP’s latest effort to reduce the rate of transmission in federal facilities.
But while the new guidance is certainly better than taking no action, critics of the policy argue there are better ways to curb prison-based coronavirus cases: namely, improved sanitation and commuting sentences to reduce the number of people in prison.
While all 146,000 federally incarcerated people will be confined to their cells for two weeks, the BOP said they will be allowed into communal areas on a limited — and, as much as is possible, socially distant — basis to eat, do laundry, bathe, access the internet, and use the phone. Incarcerated people will also still have normal access to educational and mental health services. New prison arrivals will be reduced during the quarantine period.
“Let my people go.” -Moses
By Barbara Bradley Hagerty
While millions of Americans shelter in place, one group simply cannot escape the coronavirus: prisoners. Among them are hundreds of people who have plausible claims that they are innocent, whose cases were working their way through the courts—until the coronavirus ground regular court business to a halt. What these stories reveal is the threat the virus poses to prisoners, both innocent and guilty, and to the wider population as a whole.
Walter Ogrod is one of those prisoners. February 28 brought the news that Ogrod had been waiting for ever since he was convicted of killing a 4-year-old girl and placed on death row 23 years ago: The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office told a court that Ogrod was “likely innocent,” and that his conviction was a “gross miscarriage of justice” based on evidence that was “false, unreliable, and incomplete.” He should be released. The judge set a hearing for March 27, then rescheduled it for June. Delays happen. Most everyone believed that Ogrod would soon walk out of prison.
Like so many paleconservative types, Tucker Carlson is excellent on gun rights, but horrible on civil libertarian and anti-police state issues generally (e.g. supporting the drug war, opposing weed legalization, opposing “criminal justice reform,” opposing coronavirus-driven prisoner releases, using standard conservative cop-lover rhetoric, etc.).
Coronavirus is causing a rise in gun sales and self-defense during the COVID-19 outbreak. Fox News’ Tucker Carlson speaks with USCCA’s President Tim Schmidt about self-defense in reaction to Coronavirus. Many people have recently purchased a firearm and you need to get the proper training to be your family’s first line of defense. The USCCA Is Here for You. The USCCA exists to serve those who have the courage to carry for good — people just like you who have made the commitment to be empowered protectors. Our family has grown to include over 325,000 responsibly armed Americans, and we invite you to discover the lifesaving self-defense education, training and legal protection benefits we offer law-abiding citizens. Founded in 2003 and headquartered in Wisconsin, we are the largest membership association dedicated to preserving your inalienable right to protect yourself, and your family, through self-defense. To learn more about membership you can click here: http://bit.ly/USCCA-Membership
Uh, no, Mr. Tobin. Let’s have a coronavirus jailbreak.
New York Post
No, we shouldn’t release prisoners en masse
The coronavirus has hit all New Yorkers hard, but among the places where the contagion is presenting an especially acute problem are the jails.
With confined spaces and so many people living in close proximity to each other, lockup conditions may be a perfect breeding ground for the disease; the city’s Rikers Island prison could prove among the worst examples in the country.
And with ever more cases of inmates and guards coming down with the bug, pressure is building for the state, the courts and prosecutors to both stop sending criminals to jail and start emptying out facilities. But that’s madness. A real solution has to be more targeted and careful.
The silver linings keep on coming. The question is: How do we make this permanent?
By Adela Suliman, Andy Eckardt and Gabe Joselow
As the coronavirus pandemic sweeps the globe, some countries are freeing prisoners to stem the spread of the virus in crowded jails or free up space for COVID-19 patients.
Iran have already released 80,000 prisoners, according to official reports. Among them were British-Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 42, who was jailed in 2016 on what the United Nations, activists and her family say are trumped-up allegations of trying to overthrow the Iranian regime, and U.S. Navy veteran Michael White, 48, who has been in prison since his 2018 after he was sentenced to 13 years for insulting the country’s top leader and displaying a private photo publicly.
The U.N.’s special rapporteur on human rights in Iran, Javaid Rehman, said in a statement that “recent reports indicate that the COVID-19 virus has spread inside Iranian prisons,” adding that “overcrowding, poor nutrition and a lack of hygiene” were also causes for concern.
“Houses Dems” are finally doing what they should have been doing decades ago?
By Tyler Olson
Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter Monday to Attorney General Bill Barr asking him to “release as many prisoners as possible” as federal prisons work to deal with uniquely difficult circumstances during the coronavirus pandemic.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., and Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., the chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security, sent the letter Monday in response to the death of the first federal prisoner due to the coronavirus and the hospitalization of one guard who worked in the same facility.
“We call on you, in the most urgent terms, to do the right thing and exercise this authority [to modify prisoners’ sentences] and immediately move to release medically-compromised, elderly and pregnant prisoners from the custody of the BOP,” the letter reads. “In addition, we urge that you use every tool at your disposal to release as many prisoners as possible, to protect them from COVID-19.”
Some jails are releasing people to stem outbreaks, but critics say it is not happening quickly enough to save lives and resources.
The coronavirus is spreading quickly in America’s jails and prisons, where social distancing is impossible and sanitizer is widely banned, prompting authorities across the country to release thousands of inmates in recent weeks to try to slow the infection, save lives and preserve medical resources.
Hundreds of Covid-19 diagnoses have been confirmed at local, state and federal correctional facilities — almost certainly an undercount, given a lack of testing and the virus’s rapid spread — leading to hunger strikes in immigrant detention centers and demands for more protection from prison employee unions.
Marilyn Mosby, Baltimore’s chief prosecutor, is going through a similar exercise, but has also announced that she will decline to prosecute certain low-level cases, including trespassing, drug possession, prostitution and urinating in public, during the coronavirus outbreak.
“We believe that no longer prosecuting individuals for substance-use disorder or sex work — that’s not going to increase crime,” she said. “The thing that we’re concerned with is public safety, and we don’t want to prescribe someone with substance-use disorder to a death sentence.”
A headline I never thought I would see in the Voice of the Ruling Class.
By Mary Bassett, Eric Gonzalez and
Dr. Bassett was the New York City health commissioner. Mr. Gonzalez is the district attorney of Brooklyn. Mr. Walker is the president of the Ford Foundation.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been an exemplar of leadership in this time of crisis, someone to whom other state and local officials are looking for guidance. On Friday, the governor took the crucial step of ordering the release of 1,100 people from New York’s jails and prisons. But he must do more. If we don’t act fast, we jeopardize the lives of many. Worse yet, we risk creating a uniquely deadly incubator for the virus.
America incarcerates more people than any other nation on earth — some 2.3 million people, nearly 80,000 of whom are locked up in various New York correctional facilities for young people and adults. No other country in the world faces the kind of threat gathering in our jails and prisons.
By Clare Hymes
U.S. Attorney General William Barr on Thursday directed the Bureau of Prisons to increase the use of home confinement among older inmates with underlying conditions as a means to mitigate the spread of coronavirus within the country’s prison system. As of Thursday, 10 inmates and eight staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 in federal facilities.
“There are particular concerns in this institutional setting. We want to make sure that our institutions don’t become Petri dishes and it spreads rapidly through a particular institution. We have the protocols that are designed to stop that and we are using all the tools we have to protect the inmates,” Barr said in a virtual press conference on Thursday.
According to the attorney general, the bureau holds 146,000 inmates spread across 122 facilities nationwide, not including the 21,000 inmates that are incarcerated in facilities run by private contractors. About 10,000 inmates are over the age of 60 years old, a third of which have pre-existing conditions.
The system wants to suspend habeas corpus.
Here we go.
By Eric Boehm
The Justice Department is using the COVID-19 outbreak to press for sweeping new powers that include being able to detain Americans indefinitely without a trial, Politico reports.
The department is asking Congress to allow the U.S. attorney general to ask courts to suspend court proceedings. These include “any statutes or rules of procedure otherwise affecting pre-arrest, post-arrest, pre-trial, trial, and post-trial procedures in criminal and juvenile proceedings and all civil process and proceedings,” reports Betsy Woodruff Swan, citing DOJ documents presented to Congress.
In other words, the Justice Department would be able to postpone trials, hearings, and other procedural steps that follow arrest. That represents a potentially huge violation of the constitutional right to a speedy trial.
Those powers would apply “whenever the district court is fully or partially closed by virtue of any natural disaster, civil disobedience, or other emergency situation,” Woodruff Swan writes, and would remain in place for “one year following the end of the national emergency.”
A silver lining in every cloud.
Virginia state officials are asking law enforcement agencies to avoid arrests when possible, amid calls from civil rights groups about jail conditions amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
Secretary of Public Safety Brian Moran said his agency was encouraging law enforcement officers to use summons instead of arrests when possible.
The administration of Gov. Ralph Northam is also asking magistrates and judges to consider alternatives to incarceration. It is also asking judges and prosecutors to consider modifying sentences for low-level offenders in favor of avenues like electronic monitoring.
“This is an encouragement. Obviously, public safety weighs on all of these decisions,” Moran said, adding that he hopes the effect will be to further protect the state’s incarcerated population and staff from COVID-19.
“We really would like to emphasize and encourage our entire criminal justice system to take this virus as seriously as all of us are doing.”
The state will also suspend enforcement of motor vehicle inspections by 60 days.
As well they should. It’s time to demand amnesty for all prisoners except those convicted of serious violent felonies.
By Natasha Maria
An awful tragedy occurs, a shooting, a riot, a brawl, and as usual we hear the immediate cry, “Won’t the government do something to stop this?”
Yes, yes it will, in fact it wants you to beg them to.
Whether it be a mass shooting, or a riot in the streets, both are symptoms of a dysfunctional and neurotic society. The causes of such are deserving of multiple papers and discussions. The response though…that is the rub these days, that is what we must reassess.
-To the Right-
Whether an innocent journalist gets beat down, stores get windows broken, or a man gets a metal lock to the skull, the right are quick to call Antifa a ‘terrorist organization’. This is inconvenient for me I assure you. I consider myself to the right, and have done my fair share of talking smack about Antifa and enjoying their many failures. Nonetheless, the right must put their partisan anger aside and look at the bigger picture. Supporting legally categorizing Antifa as a ‘terrorist organization’ is not just shooting yourself in the foot, it is sawing off your whole leg. Of course Trump and the GOP support this, whipping the right into a frenzy, ‘do something to stop these masked thugs!’ Yes, do something alright, place yourself into a circular firing squad, having your enemy shot and you along with him.
-To the Left-
Let’s complete the circle. Mass shootings are horrific and unacceptable. It is beyond the scope of this article to discuss the myriad of possible things that could be done to prevent or remedy what is causing this psychotic malfunction in society. Many of the shooters have had ‘manifestos’ which have espoused half-done White Nationalist-like thought. Again, Democrats and their constingency cry, “White Nationalism is the new terrorist threat!” And again, people are whipped into a frenzy, preaching that these dissident rightists must be labeled a ‘terrorist organization’ and handled as such. The latest, and most threatening development from this, is the idea of a ‘Red Flag Law’.
How vague, how flexible, how convenient. A man deported over ‘anti-American’ social media posts, or another jailed for social media posts that sounded ‘threatening’. Under such type laws, left or right, dissidence will be deemed a threat to the establishment, categorized as terrorism, and swiftly eliminated. It’s definition of dissidence will be flexible, and why shouldn’t it be? Both left and right have supported this flexibility.
Full story at the New York Times.
Press TV. Listen here.
Accused child sex trafficker, Jeffrey Epstein, is a “flight risk” particularly as he is in possession of a Saudi passport and, therefore should be held without bail, says a political commentator.
Virginia-based Keith Preston made the comments in an interview with Press TV Wednesday after a raid on the house of the American financier and close friend of President Donald Trump, who has been charged with sex trafficking underage girls.
The investigators found an expired Saudi Arabia passport and a “pile of cash” after the Monday raid.
PressTV-Did pedophile Jeffrey Epstein work for Mossad?Jeffrey Epstein’s sex scandal smacks of a sophisticated intelligence service compiling material to blackmail prominent politicians and other public figures.
“Under American law, it’s a fairly standard practice that if a person is charged with serious crimes, they will be held without bail; they will be held in detention before they go to trial,” Preston said, further calling Epstein a “flight risk.”
Being a billionaire, Epstein has “a lot of connections and support all over the world,” argued the commentator, therefore; such a case applies to him.
Preston further suggested that it is natural for such a billionaire to have Saudi ties.
“Someone of his class, a billionaire class, is typically going to have business that they’re conducting in countries like Saudi Arabia,” he said. “The American business class and the Saudi business class are heavily and intricately connected with one another in a number of different industries, not just petroleum.”
The expired Saudi passport was found in a “locked safe” in Epstein’s Manhattan mansion.
At a bail hearing in Manhattan federal court, Assistant US Attorney Alex Rossmiller revealed that the passport, issued in the 1980s, has a photo of Epstein but a different name.
Jun 11, 2019
14 minute read (full)
This month’s thematic has been a real challenge for us and raised many questions in our minds. Why? The history of decentralization is complex and non-linear. But most of all, it is difficult to be considered from an objective point of view, stripped of the predominance of the state.
Talking about decentralization leads obviously to discuss about centralization; to find the ghosts of history, to cross-reference the victories and failures of social-political movements; to discover some contemporary alternatives to the generalized centralization of our lives. Unless we consider that a technology is neutral, in the end, we cannot talk about decentralization without talking about governance, suffrage, politics or apoliticism, autonomy, organization… and the dominant model of centralization: the nation-state. Still, if a very vast literature and documentation concerns rise of states, it must be stated that the one granted to the opposite, i. e. the absence of a state, is almost non-existent. More…
In my perfect world, there would be nothing but voluntary communities, and particular communities could be as open or closed as their members wanted. I tend to think that for utilitarian reasons within the current state-capitalist system there needs to be at least some limitation on both immigration and discrimination. I don’t know that throwing open the borders and saying, “Come one, come all” would have a happy ending, just like I don’t think anyone’s freedom is being abridged when WalMart can’t put a sign out front saying, “No Coloreds Allowed.” Virtually the entire spectrum of the ruling class and the state benefits from mass immigration, i.e. more scab labor employers, more clients for social services bureaucrats, more constituents for ethnic lobbies, more voters for political parties, more students for the education bureaucracy, new parishioners for organized religion, etc. But immigration enforcement also benefits other state/ruling class interests, i.e. the federal police state, companies that get state contracts to build walls/detention centers, the prison-industrial complex, capitalist corporations that profit from prison labor, retrograde Republican politicians using immigration as political vehicle, etc. It’s a win-win situation for the power elite, and lose-lose for everyone else.
I don’t think it’s a Left/Right issue per se. Immigrant detention centers didn’t start with Trump. They’ve been around for quite a while spanning Democratic and Republican administrations. I’d argue immigrant detention centers are part of the wider apparatus of the police state/state legal racket/prison-industrial complex. So people in immigrant detention centers are in the same boat as people in jails, prisons, places of involuntary psychiatric incarceration, juvenile detention, etc, etc,etc Traditionally, the US prison system has overlapped with the older slave system as well as things like Jim Crow. I’d argue it’s also something that transcends boundaries of race, class, gender, politics, etc even if those categories aren’t irrelevant either. But the same traditional conservative vs traditional progressive dichotomy that defines US politics today has been in place for over a century with swings back and forth in different directions.
Progressives have exercised a great deal of influence over US society since around 1900 (Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson were Progressives, for God’s sake). Progressives have long been involved in facilitating authoritarian state policies (eugenics, racism, and drug and alcohol prohibition among them). During the course of the 20th century progressives did an about face on race, immigration, homosexuality, the “sexual revolution,” etc. But they’ve still favored authoritarian state policies in many other areas. For example, the modern “war on drugs” has been supported just as zealously by liberal politicians and civil rights leaders as conservative Republicans and the religious right, and the war on drugs is to a large degree the foundation/cornerstone of the modern American police state (though there are obviously many other contributing factors).
Most progressives are not anarchists or libertarians (left or right) and don’t claim to be. They accept the supposed legitimacy of the state, state law, state penal institutions, etc. They just don’t like it when these things are used against people they like (illegal immigrants, environmental protestors, etc) as opposed to people they don’t like (the Bundy clan, corporate executives, gun nuts, racists, etc). But given their acceptance of these things, they don’t really have a principled argument against the statist argument that says, “If you don’t want to go to jail, don’t break the law” or “The law is the law. If you don’t like the law, you can work to change it not break it” or “These people chose to break the law and choices have consequences.” Once the legitimacy of the state, state law, police, prisons, etc. is conceded, I don’t know that there is a principled counterargument that can be raised that doesn’t amount to special pleading.
Of course, my view is that anarchists and libertarians who wish to be consistent should stand in solidarity will ALL persons being held by the police state and prison-industrial complex (and, yes, that includes serial killers on death row, racist hate criminals, scumbag corporate executives, pedos, and every other kind of creep imaginable as well illegal immigrants, drug users/sellers, sex workers, “consensual criminals,” self-defenders, “survival criminals,” vagrants, etc). The struggle against the state/ruling class/power elite/globalism/imperialism/capitalism/Zionism is not a “Nice People Only” club.