Prisons & Prisoners

"A Dangerous Mind?"

Dan Oppenheimer, Hartford Advocate

The movie of The United States v. Steven Kurtz would be film noir. It would begin with an aerial shot of Buffalo photographed in the cool, dystopian, postindustrial blues of that city, and descend past the empty streets and abandoned buildings into the heart of downtown, through the windows of a home in the Allentown neighborhood, the Greenwich Village of Buffalo, where artists, professors and graduate students mingle with the poor and indigent. The camera would rest on a couple in their forties, Steve and Hope Kurtz, lying in bed.

Kurtz would awaken to discover that his wife, Hope Kurtz, wasn´t breathing. He would call 9-1-1. The ambulance would rush to the scene but paramedics would be unable to resuscitate her. The camera would track her body to the hospital, where a white-coated doctor, surrounded by pristine nurses and shadowed in the background by men in brown suits, would pronounce her dead, the cause to be determined later. We would follow the men in brown suits -- agents of the FBI´s Joint Terrorism Task Force -- back to the house, where they would consult, out of earshot, with the mustachioed officers of the Buffalo police department.

Saying No to the Prosecutor

Why Steve Kurtz's Colleagues Refused to Testify to the Grand Jury

Bruce Jackson

A death and a taste of blood

Steve Kurtz's wife Hope died of a heart attack May 11. Steve, an associate professor of art at University at Buffalo, called 911. The police who came saw some of the materials for an art exhibit on genetic modification and called the FBI. The FBI came in, cordoned off half the block, confiscated Hope's s body, Steve's computer, his notebooks, his art supplies and their cat. They took him into custody. Two days later they let him and the cat go and whoever had the wife's body released for burial. There was no supposition of foul play in the death. Kurtz is a member of the highly-regarded Critical Arts Ensemble, a group that does confrontation art works designed to make people think about the role corporations play in modern life.

Frank Wallis writes:

"Bush, Torture, and American Values in Iraq"

Frank Wallis

The highest levels of the Bush government authorized torture. What is more astonishing is the active participation of religious Christians in policy-making which led to crimes against humanity. Bush warned Iraq about mistreating American POWs, and spoke of dignity, good vs. evil, morality, values, and compassion. This fully sourced article shows Bush to be a hypocrite: complaining about rape rooms under Saddam, while at US-administered Abu Ghraib captive Iraqis were tortured.

Full article here: A 25 page report with 90 footnotes is also available for download from the same web page.

Sureyyya Evren writes:

"Torture and Its Show"

Sureyyya Evren

It is a known fact that children unable to feel pain tend to die early and require an extra diligent care. Painlessness is not a gift but a disguised curse for them.

On the other hand, the painless adult is usually imagined as a fantasy, a super power. In some adventure novels and movies, we see characters who went through a certain operation with their nerve system so that they do not feel pain anymore, they usually find themselves in most dreadful tasks and because they are painless, it is not possible to torture them. Painlessness is introduced as a kind of superhuman peculiarity. But even in these stargazing of painless superhumans, painless person has a sufferer side; for example 'they' use him as a hit man, a homicide, always on the front line in most difficult tasks, and then 'they' throw him away. When he gets kidnapped, 'enemies' operate new techniques to find his weak point. In a way, you feel like his humanity has gone with his sense of pain. You can be insensitive to him, as much as you are afraid of him. It is difficult to feel pity for him, his senselessness and dehumanization makes him away from good and bad. Painless hero is like a robot-man, far away as an android –and wasn't this tragedy, one of the strong themes of Blade Runner?

sidewalk lichen writes:

Torture, Disappearances, in Guadalajara, Mexico

FYI the # of the Mexican Embassy: (202) 728 1600.
The telephone #s of Mexican consulates can be found at:
please read below, make the call & forward this message...

* * * * * * * * *
~ Please forward widely ~
In Guadalajara, Mexico, violent repression and torture is occurring during protests of the meeting of Latin America and the Caribbean and the European Union May 26-29th. Activists are protesting the meetings of an exclusive group of heads of state who do not represent needs of their communities, who are signing agreements that will increase poverty and exploit resources and labor.

Bringing "Maximum Security" to Iraq

Yoshie Furuhashi

One of the most astonishing remarks that George W. Bush made in his Army War College speech laying out a five-step plan to re-engineer the occupation is his declaration that "America will fund the construction of a modern maximum security prison. When that prison is completed detainees at Abu Ghraib will be relocated. Then with the approval of the Iraqi government we will demolish the Abu Ghraib prison as a fitting symbol of Iraq's new beginning" ("Transcript of Bush Speech on US Strategy in Iraq," Financial Times, May 25 2004). Then again, it is quite fitting that an empire built by a prison state -- "a nation that incarcerates 2.2 million people -- one-quarter of all the world's prisoners" (Alan Elsner, "If US Plays Global Prison Ratings Game, It Ought to Play by Its Own Rules," Christian Science Monitor, March 4, 2004) -- will be a prison empire.

A Dozen Long Island Activists Reported Under FBI Arrest

This morning up to ten Long Island-based animal liberation activists were arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to local activist sources, who report further below:

"Andrew Stepanian was
one of these activists and was arrested at his home at approximately 6:15
AM on May 26.  We are not sure who the other activists were, but we know
Kevin Jonas and Josh Harper were amongst the other activists the agents
mentioned to Andy's mother when they arrested Andy.  The agents refused to
produce a copy of this warrant at the time of arrest.  If you have any
information as to the location of these activists (we think they'e in Newark, but
they're being denied telephone calls), please respond to this email address:

Monday evening two activists were arrested on Long Island in the vicinity
of a Forest Labs Demo at Cold Spring Laboratory. The two activists are Jon and Vanessa and they are being held at the Nassau County Second Precinct.  At this time, we do not know what the charges are but we are relatively certain that at least one of them
will be released with a desk appearance ticket. The other activist doesnt
have ID with her and may be held over night.  More details will be
posted as they become available.  For now we are asking for calls to
the precinct inquiring about the whereabouts and safety of the two

Job Opening: Organizer

Critical Resistance (CR), a national grassroots organization working to end
the prison industrial complex (PIC), seeks Regional Coordinators to staff
its New York and New Orleans offices.

Rafah's Human Face

Just over a year ago, I held Nehad's six-year old, curly haired charmer of a daughter on my lap and scooped eggs from a plate shared by her five other children as bullets thudded into the walls of her home in the border zone of Rafah. With shy pride, Nehad told me the eggs were from her own chickens, the oranges from the few trees that remained undamaged in her garden. The kids watched cartoons on TV , inured to the rat-a-tat-tat of constant fire until the bullets grew so loud that even they dived to the floor.

Anonymous Comrade writes:

"The Thing With No Brain"

John Chuckman

I had an unpleasant moment on the day Bush decided to address "the Arab world." He is a man I cannot stand hearing, so when his voice comes on the radio, I always switch it off. Well, this time I was too far away and necessarily heard a couple of sentences, the ones starting with "People in Iraq must understand…And they must understand…."

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