Writings

International Rogue

by Robert X. Holbrook 26 Dec 2004

When it comes to observing the rules and norms of international law the United States, far from being its protector, is one of the greatest and most habitual offenders. In 1989 the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child which established international standards for the treatment of children. The convention covers everything from thc state's protection of children to its punishment of children. Article 37(a) of the Convention states that State Parties shall ensure

(a) No child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Neither Capital Punishment nor Life imprisonment without the possibility of release shall be imposed for offenses committed by persons below eighteen years of age.

A New Era in Revolutionary Struggle

by Robert 12X Holbrook

In Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, the former guerrilla leader of the Sandinista Movement and one-time president in the 1980’s has been swept back into the presidency; not at the head of a guerrilla column but through elections and popular support. In Bolivia, Evo Morales, a former cocoa farmer from the Indian highlands of Bolivia is elected president and with large popular support nationalized the Bolivian oil industry and returns more of the proceeds to the poor. They join Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez in checking Amerikkkan imperialism and interference in Latin America. Brazil and Ecuador also have popularly elected leftist governments that have checked Amerikkkan plans to turn all of Latin America into a free trade zone, rejecting Amerikkkan neoliberal policies in the region. Even Chile, historically a staunch Amerikkkan ally, is ruled by a socialist government lukewarm to Amerikkkan plans.

Control Units: High Tech Brutality

by Robert X. Holbrook

The purpose of isolation and sensory deprivation is to disrupt one’s balance, inner equilibrium, to dehumanize, to strip away the prisoner’s unique individuality. -Dr. Mutulu Shakur

A prisoner’s whole existence, especially one in a control unit, is defined by numbers, statistics, and information transferred through an endless process of paperwork. When I go to the Program Review Committee here in the Special Management Unit (a control unit) at SCI Greene, my release to general population is repeatedly denied, they claim, because of a history of assaultive behavior. It is useless to defend myself against their rationale, yet I do to probe the predictable response of my captors.

Family Values

by Robert X. Holbrook

Lately within Department of Corrections (DOC) around the country all the rage has been around so called Family Values programs the institutions are implementing. The stated purpose of these programs is to introduce the prisoner to the values of society and to teach him the values that surround the family. The assumption being that prisoners have no sense of family and the D.O.C. can instill in us the values of family and our responsibility to society. I find this a incredibly sad approach. How in the world can the D.O.C. teach family values? How can an institution committed to the destruction of the family teach family values to prisoners. How can an institution that sends men 300 miles away from their homes and family as a matter of policy have the audacity to attempt to teach its prisoners family values? By comparison, this would be like a serial killer teaching a course on the sanctity of life and humanity. Only a psychopathic personality, in the case of the D.O.C. a psychopathic bureaucracy, would take such a course of action and see no hypocrisy in it.

Mo’ Money, Mo’ Money

I watched the evening news with stress today upon learning that the NAACP, the so-called pre-eminent civil rights organization in the country, elected former CEO Bruce Gordon as its new president. In hailing the election, NAACP delegates and observers praised Mr. Gorden as the man who could lead the NAACP in the right direction and open the doors to corporate America. This election illuminates a disturbing trend that has developed within the “mainstream” leadership of black civil rights organizations. That trend is the idea that the answer to the problems facing black people is “more money, more money.”

The Tragedy of Man

A philosopher once wrote, “The tragedy of a Man is he was once a child.” For the 332 men and women languishing in Pennsylvania prisons who were sentenced to life without parole (LWOP), as juveniles, that statement is all too true. I write this article from personal experience, reflection and observation having been sentenced to LWOP as a juvenile. As a juvenile awaiting trial in 1990 in Philadelphia, and certified as an adult in the Youth Study Center, I can recall some incredibly ironic moments that illustrate the lunacy of treating juvenile offenders as if they were capable of adult culpability in the so-called criminal justice system.

During the summer of 1990, while at the Youth Study Center, it was decreed that henceforth juveniles certified as adults would no longer be allowed to purchase or smoke cigarettes because we were under 18 and it was a criminal offense for the city to sell cigarettes to juveniles.

When Freedom is Outlawed, Only the Outlaws will be Free...

by Robert X - Prison Correspondent

Secret detention's. Secret Courts and Evidence. Closed Courtrooms. Racial Profiling. Indefinite imprisonment based on secret evidence or hearsay. Isolation and Sensory Deprivation inflicted on detained terrorist suspects to pry secrets from them. Americans seem shocked that their government is forced to resort to such measures in its ongoing War Against Terrorism ( or is it a War Against Dissent ). Yet many believe these tactics are necessary to protect the homeland against terrorists bent on mass murder ( Do the former sanctions on Iraq that claimed 1.5 million lives classify as mass murder?). Many Americans can rest well since the government has plenty of experience in the techniques it is now using to fight terrorism, as America has been perfecting its repressive methods within its vast prison system.

Indefinite confinement in isolation based on secret evidence and hearsay, closed tribunals, racial profiling and sensory deprivation are standard within the American prison system ( a.k.a. American Gulag ). Tens of thousands of prisoners, so-called American citizens, languish in American SuperMax prisons and Control Units in conditions not unsimilar to the treatment Al Qaeda and Taliban suspects and whoever else fits the government's vague definition of terrorism find themselves in when they are captured ( or is it detained? ) by America's global police. To languish in isolation in a prison cell for years based on secret charges and evidence or mere hearsay is a common feature in American prisons. The U.S. Supreme Court has sanctioned these authoritarian practices within American prisons in the name of preserving prison order and security. Should anyone be so naive to believe that it would forbid the indefinite imprisonment of foreign prisoners of war captured in America's so-called War on Terrorism?

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