Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Prisoner Abuse Scandal Unfolds: Jordan's Log

Friends and Allies,

By now many of you have probably seen the reporting in the New York Times, LA Times, and elsewhere, on the continuing revelations about prisoner abuse and torture in the aftermath of Katrina. Here are a couple quotes from yesterday's NY Times article, which, according to a friend who has been working tirelessly on this issue, understates the case:

"(Inmate's lawyers) estimate that as many as 2,000 people arrested for minor crimes just before the hurricane are still in prison five weeks later. They said that under normal circumstances, such low-level offenders would have seen a judge and been released within days." "Lawyers said that interviews with the 450 prisoners in Jena (a rural louisiana prison) produced complaints that guards had been beating them, stripping them naked and hitting them with belts, shaving their heads, threatening them with dogs, shocking them with stun guns and assaulting them after they attempted to report the abuse. The inmates said prison guards from Louisiana, as well as New York City corrections officers sent to the area after the hurricane, had participated in the abuse.'I'm afraid for my safety,' read one handwritten note that lawyers say was smuggled to them last week by a Jena prisoner. 'It's going to be worse when y'all leave. I was beaten 9-28-05.'"

Please help to keep this issue alive. Volunteers and funding are needed.

More updates and articles on this and other issues will be coming soon.

ALSO: Please pick up a copy of the new issue of Left Turn, in stores this week. You can buy a single copy, or a subscription, online at www.leftturn.org. If you would like multiple copies to use for fundraising, outreach or education for your local organization, please write to us at distribution@leftturn.org.


“I’m very much afraid of this ‘Foundation Complex.’ We’re getting praise from places that worry me.” — Ella Baker, June 1963

In May of 2004 the radical feminist organization INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence, organized an historic conference titled The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond The Non-Profit Industrial Complex. The conference addressed issues related to funding within the radical movement, specifically the role that large foundations were playing in restructuring grassroots organizations to fit within a corporate model. While attending the most recent INCITE! conference, in New Orleans in March of 2005, we decided to dedicate an upcoming issue to this theme.

MORE ABOUT LEFT TURN: Left Turn features first-hand reports from organizers on the front lines of movements for justice. We exist to build links between movements and create resources and networks for activists and organizers. The new issue features reports from Sista2Sista in New York City, California's Action In Defense of Education, Organizing Against the Minutemen in Arizona, the national Counter-Recruitment Movement, Domestic Workers United, Deporten A La Migra, and much more, including first-hand international reporting from Mexico, Western Sahara and Gaza.

We have a beautiful cover by Cristy Road, a powerful poem about New Orleans by Suheir Hammad, the first statement from The People's Hurricane Relief Fund and Oversight Coalition, plus writings by Grace Chang, Subhash Kateel, Eric Tang, Uda Walker, Hadeel Assali, Jamal Ju'maa, Kazembe Balagun, Marina Sitrin, Maria Poblet, and Mazin Qumsiyeh. Left Turn has received seven awards in three years from Project Censored for our reporting on issues ignored by the mainstream media. We received nominations for General Excellence in Magazines and International Coverage from the 2004 Utne Independent Press Awards, The New York Review of Magazines called us "a trade publication for a new generation of activist," and this year Clamor Magazine called us the Best Political Magazine in the US. As an anticapitalist publication with a all-volunteer staff living outside of the Non Profit Industrial Complex, we depend on grassroots activists around the country for financial support. Please take out a subscription if you can. More information is on our website at www.leftturn.org

In Solidarity,



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