Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

News & Supplemental  

The Fire This Time: Aryan Prison Syndicates, For-Profit Prisons, Government-Sponsored Drug Trafficking and “Austerity”


Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash dri­ve that can be obtained here. (The flash dri­ve includes the anti-fas­cist books avail­able on this site.)

COMMENT: We’ve done a num­ber of posts about some recent mur­ders which may or may not have been com­mit­ted by white suprema­cist prison syn­di­cates, which, as we have seen, work with var­i­ous oth­er groups. Some of the (occa­sion­al­ly) col­lab­o­rat­ing ele­ments include prison guards and peo­ple with links to the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty.

Some of Amer­i­ca’s bur­geon­ing for-prof­it pris­ons appear to be using them as enforcers.

Prison-based Islamists may also be work­ing with some of them. (Some of the Islamist prison chap­lains have been trained by the Sau­di-financed Oper­a­tion Green Quest.)

An arti­cle that is as fright­en­ing as it is pre­scient was penned by a for­mer inmate in the cor­rec­tions sys­tem who wrote anony­mous­ly.

Not­ing the ante­dilu­vian nature of con­tem­po­rary cor­rec­tion­al sys­tems in this coun­try, a for­mer inmate who had inter­act­ed with some of the Aryan prison syn­di­cates has not­ed not only their large num­bers, but the fact that our pris­ons do not reha­bil­i­tate, tend­ing to exac­er­bate rather than ame­lio­rate the inmates’ dif­fi­cul­ties.

In addi­tion, we should note a num­ber of con­sid­er­a­tions brought up here:

  • Ele­ments of the white suprema­cist move­ment appear to have achieved a degree of geo­graph­i­cal and func­tion­al auton­o­my, as indi­cat­ed by the ref­er­ence to Moun­tain Home, Ida­ho.
  • One should note the explo­sion in the U.S. prison pop­u­la­tion since 1980. That was when Ronald Rea­gan assumed office. His admin­is­tra­tion was, essen­tial­ly, a front for the Under­ground Reich.
  • Note also that Aryan Broth­er­hood ele­ments quot­ed here dis­cuss hav­ing been impris­oned for drug offens­es. The Rea­gan admin­is­tra­tion was deeply com­plic­it in the drug trade, at the same time as it intro­duced dra­con­ian sen­tenc­ing for first time offend­ers.
  • The Rea­gan admin­is­tra­tion also dra­mat­i­cal­ly accel­er­at­ed the ship­ping of jobs off­shore, increas­ing the pres­sure on work­ing peo­ple to sup­ple­ment their incomes by sell­ing drugs–not unlike what hap­pened dur­ing the Great Depres­sion with boot­leg alco­hol in the pro­hi­bi­tion era.
  • We have also seen a dra­mat­ic increase in “for-prof­it pris­ons,” giv­ing the pow­ers that be added incen­tive to “lock ’em up and throw away the key.”
  • It is sear­ing­ly iron­ic that many of the mem­bers of the Aryan prison syn­di­cates hate black folks. The for-prof­it pris­ons are not all that unlike the slav­ery that was imposed on Africans in the U.S.
  • The cocaine epi­dem­ic caused by the mas­sive impor­ta­tion of drugs dur­ing the Rea­gan years also vic­tim­ized the very African-Amer­i­cans so despised by these Aryan syn­di­cate mem­bers.
  • As bud­getary strains brought about by the “aus­ter­i­ty” dog­ma and relat­ed phe­nom­e­na like “sequester” increase, the pres­sure to release bru­tal­ized inmates will increase. This bodes very poor­ly for the future. 

“Why I Fear the Aryan Brotherhood—and You Should, Too” by Anony­mous; The Dai­ly Beast; 4/1/2013.

EXCERPT: Law enforce­ment offi­cers may have a real prob­lem on their hands. They’re being tight-lipped about it, but it’s some­thing they should have been aware of for decades. They had to see it com­ing.

Four peo­ple have been killed since the begin­ning of the year in a series of shoot­ings that appear to be con­nect­ed to the home­grown jihadists of the Aryan Broth­er­hood. Mike McLel­land, the dis­trict attor­ney of Texas’s Kauf­man Coun­ty, and his wife, Cyn­thia Wood­ward, became the lat­est vic­tims this past week­end. Before that, McLelland’s for­mer col­league Mark Has­se was shot in Jan­u­ary. Col­orado pris­ons chief Tom Clements was gunned down in mid-March.

The Broth­er­hood, also known as The Brand, AB, and One-Two, was formed dur­ing the 1960s by a group of white con­victs serv­ing time at San Quentin. They alleged­ly were fed up with white pris­on­ers being vic­tim­ized by the two pre­dom­i­nant gangs, the Black Goril­la Fam­i­ly (BGF) and the Mex­i­can Mafia and decid­ed to form a gang of their own for self-pro­tec­tion. While ini­tial­ly close­ly asso­ci­at­ed with Nazism ide­o­log­i­cal­ly, many adher­ents belong to the group for the iden­ti­ty and pur­pose it pro­vides. The iron­clad rule for entrée into the Broth­er­hood is sim­ple: kill a black or a His­pan­ic pris­on­er. The oth­er rule, which is just as iron­clad, gave rise to their mot­to: “Blood In/Blood Out.”

Quit­ting isn’t an option. There’s only death. . . .

. . . . It was from Luke that I first heard of Moun­tain Home, Ida­ho, when he said, “If I coul­da just made it back to Moun­tain Home, I’da been OK.” The trou­ble he was refer­ring to was his last bank rob­bery for which he was now await­ing sen­tenc­ing, where he and his crew had kid­napped a bank-branch man­ag­er and strapped 10 sticks of dyna­mite around her chest and wired it to a remote det­o­na­tor. He was not some lit­tle des­per­ate punk-assed note pass­er; the crew he worked with would, after months of plan­ning, take over the whole bank and, in his words, “take all of the god­damn mon­ey.” They felt it was unpro­fes­sion­al to leave one dol­lar bill behind.

He was the only one of the four cap­tured and flat out told the FBI that he “didn’t know shit.” When they threat­ened him with a longer sen­tence, accord­ing to him his response was “rush it and you won’t owe it.” I believed him, since these were among the most standup dudes I’d ever encoun­tered.

I grad­u­al­ly learned (from men who had no need to embell­ish their deeds as some arm­chair neo-Nazi pseu­do-tough guys are prone to do) of Moun­tain Home and oth­er pock­ets of armed resis­tance sit­u­at­ed in rur­al areas of three or four west­ern states where fed­er­al author­i­ties are reluc­tant to enter to enforce the law.

“They know we’re up in there,” I remem­ber Luke say­ing, “but it ain’t worth riskin’ get­ting their ass­es blown off to come in and try to take us out. They want to go home too, and they know we ain’t fuck­ing around. We ain’t try­ing to over­throw the gov­ern­ment or noth­ing. We’re just fight­ing to pro­tect our wives, kids and our way of life, and them cow­ard moth­er­fuck­ers know it. All we’re ask­ing is to be left alone.” He con­ve­nient­ly for­got about all the banks he’d robbed to be able to afford all of the expen­sive, high-end toys he once pos­sessed.

Unlike David Kore­sh and his sheep­like fol­low­ers (and oth­er sects based on reli­gious fanati­cism), these are bat­tle-hard­ened and death-test­ed men (many of them, like Big Red, with exten­sive mil­i­tary expe­ri­ence) who are not set on dying for some kind of reli­gious cause; their thing is that, when the sit­u­a­tion calls for it, they’re killers. They’re not into dying—except to pro­tect the hon­or of the Broth­er­hood.

And they’re also sin­cere in their belief that many mem­bers of law enforce­ment are kin­dred spir­its, right-wingers who under­stand their hatreds, loss of hege­mo­ny, and rabid deter­mi­na­tion to pro­tect what­ev­er pow­er the white man has left in Amer­i­ca. And those who don’t buy into their hate­ful rhetoric they per­ceive as being weak-kneed sob sis­ters who will will­ing­ly mon­gre­lize and sell out their proud white her­itage. Tru­ly, every­one who is not with them is against them.

I nev­er spoke to this dude again for the next 18 months, until the Alfred P. Mur­rah Fed­er­al Build­ing was bombed in down­town Okla­homa City about a week before I was slat­ed to exit prison for the last time. Stand­ing in front of the TV in the day room he turned to me and said, “This ain’t shit, just wait until we get start­ed. They done took me from my fam­i­ly for over 30 years because of some of punk-assed drug-con­spir­a­cy bull­shit, and even­tu­al­ly they’re going to have to pay … We’re going to make them pay.”

If these recent killings rep­re­sent the Brotherhood’s twist­ed form of ret­ri­bu­tion, the fact that it has tak­en so long to begin is all the more chill­ing. To me this would demon­strate a hard-nosed deter­mi­na­tion that all cit­i­zens should find fright­en­ing. We shouldn’t be whistling past the grave­yard on these killings.

These are men with a huge ax to grind. While few of them would argue they deserve no time behind bars for their crimes, vir­tu­al­ly all of them feel the amount of time hand­ed out under fed­er­al sen­tenc­ing guide­lines is far, far too puni­tive … way out of pro­por­tion; that pun­ish­ments don’t fit the crimes, and some legal schol­ars actu­al­ly agree.

America’s harsh judi­cial sys­tem, cou­pled with a grow­ing nation­al affin­i­ty for uti­liz­ing com­plete iso­la­tion at super-max pris­ons as a cor­rec­tions tac­tic of first choice, in many cas­es turns men into mon­sters. And, truth be told, there is no such thing as tru­ly lock­ing away the gang lead­ers so they can no longer call the shots on the prison yard … or even on the streets.

Some­one has to feed these case-hard­ened con­victs three times a day, and who might you think car­ries this duty out? If you’re think­ing it’s the guards, you’re wrong. They’re not about to be turned into wait­ers for men they often view as the scum of the earth no mat­ter what. Instead, that duty falls to oth­er pris­on­ers known as “trustees.” And these trustees smug­gle all of the mes­sages the guards are not bribed (or threat­ened) into car­ry­ing back and forth. Hey, everyone’s got fam­i­lies, you know.

The true ter­ror­ist wins because of his or her will­ing­ness to die for what they believe in—history has taught us that over and over again. Many of the first men locked up when our nation embarked on a pol­i­cy of for-prof­it mass incar­cer­a­tion near the end of the last cen­tu­ry are now return­ing into soci­ety. And, as pre­dict­ed by numer­ous pro­fes­sion­als, they are sick­er and more dan­ger­ous than when they went behind bars.

While the U.S. pop­u­la­tion grew 2.8 times since 1920, the U.S. prison pop­u­la­tion grew more than 20 times, and most dra­mat­i­cal­ly since 1980. The fear among law enforce­ment is (or at least should be) is that now we have dozens upon dozens—if not hun­dreds (who knows, maybe even thousands)—of mur­der­ous chick­ens final­ly com­ing home to roost.


7 comments for “The Fire This Time: Aryan Prison Syndicates, For-Profit Prisons, Government-Sponsored Drug Trafficking and “Austerity””

  1. Thanks Dave. Now it is up to each of us to get this infor­ma­tion out to as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble.

    Posted by David | May 6, 2013, 4:54 pm
  2. Just FYI, if you’re a con­ser­v­a­tive Sen­a­tor try­ing to live down your pros­ti­tu­tion-scan­dal­re­lat­ed shenani­gans and you want to rebrand your­self as a tough, noble cham­pi­on of virtue, propos­ing amend­ments that make you look like a cal­lous sadis­tic mon­ster prob­a­bly isn’t the rebrand­ing “theme” you want to go for.

    On sec­ond thought, it looks like look­ing like a cal­lous sadis­tic mon­ster is the pop­u­lar thing to do:

    Fri­day, May 24, 2013 11:16 AM CST
    David Vitter’s hyp­o­crit­i­cal, puni­tive, hor­ri­ble new amend­ment
    Sen­a­tor’s new mea­sure denies food stamps for life to cer­tain class­es of ex-con­victs (solic­i­ta­tion not includ­ed)

    By David Dayen

    In a sleepy moment on the Sen­ate floor Wednes­day, Sen­ate Democ­rats accept­ed an amend­ment to the long-delayed farm bill that, if passed in its cur­rent form, would rep­re­sent anoth­er step in turn­ing pre­vi­ous­ly incar­cer­at­ed Amer­i­cans into a per­ma­nent under­class. Cer­tain class­es of ex-con­victs would be denied food stamp ben­e­fits for life, under the amend­ment offered by Sen. David Vit­ter (can­ni­ly, the crime of solic­it­ing pros­ti­tutes is exempt­ed from this ban). While the amend­ment may sound like com­mon sense, it’s actu­al­ly a harsh­ly puni­tive, coun­ter­pro­duc­tive pol­i­cy that will only increase crime and trap peo­ple in the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem.

    The amend­ment was clear­ly cre­at­ed as a wedge issue, a peren­ni­al Repub­li­can effort to get Demo­c­ra­t­ic sen­a­tors to vote for some­thing that can get used against them lat­er in attack ads. Tom Coburn is a mas­ter of this; dur­ing the health­care bill he offered an amend­ment ban­ning sex offend­ers from receiv­ing health insur­ance ben­e­fits for Via­gra.

    Vit­ter pre­sent­ed the bill as pro­hibit­ing “con­vict­ed mur­der­ers, rapists, and pedophiles” from food stamp ben­e­fits. And in gen­er­al those are the cat­e­gories – mur­der, rape, aggra­vat­ed sex­u­al assault, domes­tic vio­lence where sex­u­al assault is involved, child molesta­tion, and so on. No sen­a­tor would vote to “give” vio­lent offend­ers fed­er­al ben­e­fits, and in this case they didn’t have to. Rather than put the amend­ment up for a vote, the man­ag­er of the farm bill, Agri­cul­ture Com­mit­tee Chair­woman Sen. Deb­bie Stabenow, mere­ly accept­ed the amend­ment into the base bill. The amend­ment was agreed to by unan­i­mous con­sent, which is to say that nobody object­ed to it on the floor. In real­i­ty, it’s unlike­ly that most sen­a­tors even knew the amendment’s con­tents.

    “Some peo­ple say these are unsa­vory crimes, and I agree,” said Bob Green­stein, founder and pres­i­dent of the Cen­ter on Bud­get and Pol­i­cy Pri­or­i­ties, one of the first to notice the amendment’s pas­sage. “But there’s a broad­er prin­ci­ple here. Sup­pose you did some­thing ter­ri­ble when you were 19, and you were straight the rest of your life, you paid your debt to soci­ety, now you’re 82 and liv­ing in pover­ty, should you be stripped of food stamps? Is this the right thing to do?”

    47.8 mil­lion Amer­i­cans are enrolled in the food stamp pro­gram, and some sub­set of them may have a crim­i­nal past, even a vio­lent crim­i­nal past. By mak­ing the life­time food stamp ban retroac­tive, you just cut an inde­ter­mi­nate num­ber of ex-con­victs off from what has become a pri­ma­ry safe­ty net ben­e­fit. In addi­tion, under the amend­ment, any depen­dent chil­dren or fam­i­ly mem­bers would also lose ben­e­fits. Because the stan­dard is mere­ly “con­vic­tion,” you’re going to get peo­ple con­vict­ed of a vio­lent crime who may have been inno­cent – per­haps African-Amer­i­cans from the south con­vict­ed decades ago by seg­re­gat­ed juries, Green­stein sug­gest­ed – caught up in this ban. Giv­en crime sta­tis­tics, we know that minori­ties would be dis­pro­por­tion­ate­ly affect­ed. And once you estab­lish this prin­ci­ple in law, Green­stein adds, “the inevitable ques­tion would be, should you add oth­er crimes?”

    Actu­al­ly, we have expe­ri­ence with this, and the data show that ban­ning con­vict­ed crim­i­nals from fed­er­al ben­e­fits has tremen­dous­ly neg­a­tive effects for soci­ety. The 1996 wel­fare reform law impos­es a life­time ban from food stamps, as well as wel­fare ben­e­fits, on any­one con­vict­ed of a drug-relat­ed felony, alleged­ly to pre­vent the trade of food stamps for drugs. The law includ­ed an opt-out for the states, which co-man­age the pro­gram. And many states have tak­en advan­tage of that, alter­ing the law to exempt those who have com­plet­ed pro­ba­tion or parole or enrolled in a drug treat­ment pro­gram. Oth­er states end the ban a cer­tain num­ber of years after the com­ple­tion of the sen­tence. And 16 states, along with the Dis­trict of Colum­bia, opt­ed out of the ban entire­ly. In 10 states – Alaba­ma, Alas­ka, Geor­gia, Mis­sis­sip­pi, Mis­souri, South Car­oli­na, Texas, West Vir­ginia, Wyoming – the full ban remains in effect. So we have a nat­ur­al exper­i­ment, where we can see the effects of deny­ing ben­e­fits to ex-con­victs, who already are stig­ma­tized in ways that make it hard to find steady work and adapt back into soci­ety.

    The results are real­ly awful. One study shows that con­vict­ed felons denied food assis­tance have high­er rates of HIV than their coun­ter­parts; the ban push­es peo­ple into the sex trade to make a liv­ing. Those denied ben­e­fits also, as you might expect, have high­er rates of return to drug use and crime, lead­ing to high­er rates of recidi­vism. Far from reduc­ing costs for states, the law just shifts those costs from the food stamp pro­gram to prison man­age­ment pro­grams.

    Puni­tive post-sen­tenc­ing laws like this cre­ate a per­ma­nent under­class out of the large­ly minor­i­ty ex-con­vict pop­u­la­tion, a sit­u­a­tion that attor­ney Michelle Alexan­der described in her 2012 book “The New Jim Crow.” Ben­e­fits like food stamps are cru­cial in the ear­ly stages of tran­si­tion­ing ex-felons into com­mu­ni­ty liv­ing. With­out pub­lic assis­tance in this crit­i­cal stage, drug offend­ers tend to remain trapped in the crim­i­nal jus­tice cycle, which dis­ad­van­tages both their lives and the broad­er soci­ety. It also dimin­ish­es the cit­i­zen­ship rights of an entire group of mil­lions of Amer­i­cans. As Celia Cole of the Cen­ter for Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Pri­or­i­ties in Austin, Texas, puts it, “Who are we to say, ‘You made a mis­take. You paid your debt to soci­ety. We’re let­ting you reen­ter soci­ety, but you can’t eat?’”

    And states have begun to under­stand this. New Jer­sey, Delaware and South Dako­ta recent­ly soft­ened their bans on deny­ing pub­lic assis­tance to drug offend­ers. With strained state bud­gets and the explo­sion of spend­ing on pris­ons, state leg­is­la­tors are mov­ing in the direc­tion of ques­tion­ing the val­ue of the ban. Law­mak­ers in Mis­souri and West Vir­ginia have pro­posed lift­ing it.

    So just as the states start to rec­og­nize how coun­ter­pro­duc­tive this all is, here comes the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment with anoth­er ban. Per­haps deny­ing ben­e­fits to vio­lent crime offend­ers sounds more log­i­cal than deny­ing them to non­vi­o­lent drug offend­ers (though when you con­sid­er that crim­i­nals are fed through pub­lic resources in prison, the log­ic starts to col­lapse). But the dynam­ic is the same – these ex-felons will end up with­out enough sup­port to sur­vive out­side prison, and in many cas­es return to a life of crime. So in the name of moral preen­ing, bans like this only endan­ger soci­ety more, to say noth­ing of the social and eco­nom­ic costs. “The prin­ci­ple should be, if you were con­vict­ed, did you pay your debt, serve your sen­tence, com­ply with pro­ba­tion?” said Bob Green­stein of CBPP. “If you’ve done every­thing right, it doesn’t seem to me years lat­er that we ought to be doing this.”


    You have to won­der if we’ll ever fig­ure out that the whole “turn­ing the oth­er cheek”/Golden Rule approach to pub­lic pol­i­cy actu­al­ly cre­ate bet­ter poli­cies with bet­ter results for every­one. For­give­ness isn’t just a nifty slo­gan. It actu­al­ly works. There’s real­ly no excuse for being a mon­ster.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 26, 2013, 7:33 pm
  3. The new “King Alfred” plan

    I tried to post this under the Misc. archive “King Alfred” post sec­tion, but I don’t think there was a writ­ten post area for it at the time it was pro­duced.

    Sen­a­tor Mark Kirk (R,IL.) has called for a “King Alfred” solu­tion to “the black prob­lem”:


    Rep. Bob­by Rush (D‑IL) on Wednes­day accused Illi­nois Sen. Mark Kirk ® of propos­ing an “elit­ist white boy solu­tion” to gang vio­lence with his plan for the mass arrests of 18,000 gang mem­bers in Chica­go.

    Ear­li­er on Wednes­day, Kirk had joined with fel­low Sen. Dick Durbin (D‑IL) in call­ing on Illi­nois attor­ney gen­er­al nom­i­nee Zachary Far­don to focus on street gangs and gun vio­lence. But in an inter­view ear­li­er this month, Kirk had gone even fur­ther with a plan to tar­get mem­bers of the Gang­ster Dis­ci­ples.

    “My top pri­or­i­ty is to arrest the Gang­ster Dis­ci­ple gang, which is 18,000 peo­ple,” Kirk told WFLD. “I would like to a mass pick­up of them and put them all in the Thom­son Cor­rec­tion­al Facil­i­ty.”

    The sen­a­tor pro­posed that fed­er­al agen­cies — like the ATF, DEA and FBI — work togeth­er to charge mem­bers of the gang with “drug deal­ing” and “mur­der­ing peo­ple, which is what they do.”

    Rush react­ed to that plan on Wednes­day by insist­ing it was a “sen­sa­tion­al, head­line-grab­bing, emp­ty, sim­plis­tic, unwork­able approach.”

    Rush told the Chica­go Sun-Times that Kirk need­ed to “see the big­ger pic­ture” instead of propos­ing an “upper-mid­dle-class, elit­ist white boy solu­tion to a prob­lem he knows noth­ing about.”

    “I am real­ly very upset with Mark,” he said.

    In a fol­low-up state­ment, Rush explained that his colleague’s “cur­rent plan does not include the option to cre­ate jobs, pro­vide afford­able and safe hous­ing, qual­i­ty health care and improve schools in urban areas, BUT cer­tain­ly a plan to incar­cer­ate 18,000 black men is elit­ist.”


    REX-84 anybody...anybody? Kirk?

    Posted by Swamp | May 30, 2013, 7:28 pm
  4. The more guns the mer­ri­er when you’re talk­ing about a secret neo-nazi under­ground bunker with a 25 yard fir­ing range:

    NBC Los Ange­les
    Secret Stash of Ille­gal Weapons, White Suprema­cist Para­pher­nelia Found in Palm­dale
    “I was­n’t quite expect­ing what we dis­cov­ered,” Deputy James Moser said.
    By Samia Khan and John Cádiz Klemack
    | Thurs­day, Jan 9, 2014 | Updat­ed 7:35 AM PST

    Three men have been arrest­ed after author­i­ties in Palm­dale dis­cov­ered a secret bunker hid­ing ille­gal guns, ammu­ni­tion, and White Suprema­cist para­pher­na­lia, accord­ing to the LA Coun­ty Sheriff’s Depart­ment.

    “It’s not some­thing that any­body we’ve ever worked with has seen in their careers in law enforce­ment,” Deputy Julia Vez­i­na said.

    NBC4 got an exclu­sive look into the home that housed the secret bunker Wednes­day, which is locat­ed on the 10000 block of East Avenue S‑4, in the Lit­tle­rock area just out­side of Palm­dale.

    “When you open up the hatch, you look down and about 10 feet down, all con­crete rein­forced walls, sound­proof with bars,” Vez­i­na said of the bunker, which was home to a 25 yard under­ground fir­ing range.

    Deputies began the inves­ti­ga­tion last month after four guns were stolen from a stor­age unit in Palm­dale. The infor­ma­tion gath­ered allowed them to issue a search war­rant ear­ly Tues­day morn­ing, which is what led them to the dis­cov­ery.

    “Some of the weapons were ille­gal just on their face because of what they were, like machine guns. And then oth­er guns were con­firmed stolen,” Vez­i­na said.

    Inves­ti­ga­tors found six pis­tols, 11 rifles, a WWII machine gun, more than 1,000 rounds of ammu­ni­tion, more than 100 mag­a­zines, and sev­er­al items of White Suprema­cist para­pher­na­lia.

    “He had some Nazi flags and rebel flag, some oth­er pho­tos of him­self wear­ing Nazi attire and giv­ing the straight arm salute, stuff like that,” Vez­i­na said.

    Deputies arrest­ed 54-year-old Todd Hunt, 33-year-old Royce Gre­sham, and 62-year-old Lar­ry Finnell, all res­i­dents of Lit­tle­rock.

    “Lar­ry was a sur­vival­ist, he’s con­cerned about the direc­tion our gov­ern­ment is going now,” neigh­bor Dale Snide said of one of the sus­pects. “He was a good neigh­bor, nev­er caused any­one any trou­ble out here as far as I know.”


    It’s worth point­ing out that the youngest of the three men arrest­ed, 33-year-old Royce Gre­sham, appears to have been quot­ed in a 2007 arti­cle about the neg­a­tive long-term con­se­quences of the “lock ’em up!” men­tal­i­ty. Gre­sham is char­ac­ter­ized at the time as “a 26-year-old car thief who had the mis­for­tune to be ran­dom­ly stopped at a sobri­ety check­point while on parole” and describes the ter­ri­fy­ing sit­u­a­tion non-vio­lent pris­on­ers expe­ri­ence. It’s an anec­dote that rais­es the ques­tion: Was Gre­sham already a white-suprema­cist before he went to prison or is that one of the use­ful life skills he acquired on the inside:

    The Week­ly Stan­dard
    Cal­i­for­nia Behind Bars
    Over­crowd­ing, union­iza­tion and oth­er prison prob­lems.
    Apr 9, 2007, Vol. 12, No. 29 • By DAVID DEVOSS

    Lan­cast­er, Calif.

    Sur­round­ed by sub­di­vi­sions with names like Almond Val­ley and Sier­ra Vista, the Cal­i­for­nia State Prison in Lan­cast­er looks more like an indus­tri­al park than a max­i­mum-secu­ri­ty facil­i­ty. But the lethal throb of high volt­age elec­tric­i­ty cours­ing through its dou­ble-perime­ter fence leaves no doubt that this is a place one enters with trep­i­da­tion.

    “This prison opened in 1993 with a capac­i­ty of 2,200, but today we have 4,300 pris­on­ers, 468 of which are in tem­po­rary beds,” says war­den William Sul­li­van as we stroll across a com­mon mon­i­tored by marks­men in loom­ing guard tow­ers. “I get 200 new inmates a week and 8,000 more are wait­ing in L.A. Coun­ty jails for room to move in here.”

    The extent of the crowd­ing becomes appar­ent when we enter a gym­na­si­um filled with rows of bunks stacked three high. More than 120 pris­on­ers wan­der through the maze of beds wait­ing assign­ment to oth­er pris­ons. That they live in rel­a­tive peace is due to the small pla­toon of grim-faced guards arrayed about the room like Sta­tions of the Cross.

    “Right now every­body’s get­ting along, but things could turn in a minute,” con­fides Royce Gre­sham, a 26-year-old car thief who had the mis­for­tune to be ran­dom­ly stopped at a sobri­ety check­point while on parole. “It’s scary,” he whis­pers. “Peo­ple with light sen­tences are mixed with lif­ers com­ing through here with noth­ing to lose.”


    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 9, 2014, 10:25 pm
  5. Birds of a feath­er flock togeth­er. It makes crap­ping on every­one else so much eas­i­er:

    TPM Livewire
    Rick Scott Fundrais­er Found­ed Drug Clin­ic Closed Due To Abuse Reports

    Daniel Strauss – April 1, 2014, 3:12 PM EDT858

    Flori­da Gov. Rick Scott ® is host­ing a fundrais­ing event on Thurs­day in which the host com­mit­tee includes the founder of a sub­stance abuse boot camp that closed because of charges of seri­ous abuse, Moth­er Jones report­ed on Tues­day.

    The fundrais­er in ques­tion is Mel Sem­bler, who found­ed Straight Inc. in 1976. Over 17 years the Straight Inc. drug treat­ment facil­i­ties were repeat­ed­ly accused of abuse. As Moth­er Jones notes, there was at least one Straight Inc. staffer accused of kid­nap­ping adult patients and abus­ing them in men­tal, phys­i­cal, and sex­u­al ways. There were two state inves­ti­ga­tions that backed up that charge.

    Moth­er Jones report­ed in 2006 that “hun­dreds” of patients said they had been abused at Straight Inc. facil­i­ties. Saman­tha Mon­roe said she had been raped and starved and locked in a clos­et.

    Mon­roe also said that after she escaped from the pro­gram Straight Inc. staff put her in a “time­out room” and “hog-tied her,” accord­ing to Moth­er Jones.

    Straight Inc., offi­cials said those accu­sa­tions were not true.

    The Cal­i­for­nia Depart­ment of Social Ser­vices in 1990 ordered one of Straight Inc.‘s facil­i­ties, in Yor­ba Lin­da to close after inves­ti­ga­tors con­firmed alle­ga­tions of abuse. A year lat­er, state offi­cials in Vir­ginia took away the Straight Inc. facil­i­ty’s license there, caus­ing it to move to Mary­land.

    Thus far Sem­bler has donat­ed $25,000 to the Flori­da gov­er­nor’s re-elec­tion efforts.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 2, 2014, 7:54 am
  6. With Cal­i­for­nia on track to go up in flames from drought-induced wild­fires it’s no sur­prise that state offi­cials might be plac­ing a high pri­or­i­ty on main­tain­ing the state’s fire­fight­ing capa­bil­i­ties. Still, there’s a bit of a “the ends don’t jus­ti­fy the means” issue with the state’s approach since the means involves inten­tion­al­ly keep peo­ple in prison in order to pro­vide a large sup­ply of cheap labor to fight wild­fires:

    Think Progress
    Cal­i­for­nia Tells Court It Can’t Release Inmates Ear­ly Because It Would Lose Cheap Prison Labor

    by Nicole Fla­tow Post­ed on Novem­ber 17, 2014 at 4:53 pm Updat­ed: Novem­ber 18, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    Out of California’s years-long lit­i­ga­tion over reduc­ing the pop­u­la­tion of pris­ons deemed uncon­sti­tu­tion­al­ly over­crowd­ed by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2010, anoth­er obsta­cle to address­ing the U.S. epi­dem­ic of mass incar­cer­a­tion has emerged: The util­i­ty of cheap prison labor.

    In recent fil­ings, lawyers for the state have resist­ed court orders that they expand parole pro­grams, rea­son­ing not that releas­ing inmates ear­ly is logis­ti­cal­ly impos­si­ble or would threat­en pub­lic safe­ty, but instead that pris­ons won’t have enough min­i­mum secu­ri­ty inmates left to per­form inmate jobs.

    The dis­pute cul­mi­nat­ed Fri­day, when a three-judge fed­er­al pan­el ordered Cal­i­for­nia to expand an ear­ly parole pro­gram. Cal­i­for­nia now has no choice but to broad­en a pro­gram known as 2‑for‑1 cred­its that gives inmates who meet cer­tain mile­stones the oppor­tu­ni­ty to have their sen­tences reduced. But California’s objec­tions raise trou­bling ques­tions about whether prison labor cre­ates per­verse incen­tives to keep inmates in prison even when they don’t need to be there.

    The debate cen­ters around an expan­sive state pro­gram to have inmates fight wild­fires. Cal­i­for­nia is one of sev­er­al states that employs prison labor to fight wild­fires. And it has the largest such pro­gram, as the state’s wild­fire prob­lem rapid­ly expands arguably because of cli­mate change. By employ­ing prison inmates who are paid less than $2 per day, the state saves some $1 bil­lion, accord­ing to a recent Buz­zFeed fea­ture of the prac­tice. Cal­i­for­nia relies upon that labor source, and only cer­tain class­es of non­vi­o­lent inmates charged with low­er lev­el offens­es are eli­gi­ble for the selec­tive pro­gram. They must then meet phys­i­cal and oth­er cri­te­ria.

    In exchange, they get the oppor­tu­ni­ty for ear­ly release, by earn­ing twice as many cred­its toward ear­ly release as inmates in oth­er pro­grams would oth­er­wise earn, known as 2‑for‑1 cred­its. In Feb­ru­ary, the fed­er­al court over­see­ing California’s prison lit­i­ga­tion ordered the state to expand this 2‑for‑1 pro­gram to some oth­er reha­bil­i­ta­tion pro­grams so that oth­er inmates who exhib­it good behav­ior and per­form cer­tain work suc­cess­ful­ly would also be eli­gi­ble for even ear­li­er release.

    As has been California’s prac­tice in this lit­i­ga­tion, Cal­i­for­nia didn’t ini­tial­ly take the order that seri­ous­ly. It con­tin­ued to work toward reduc­ing its prison pop­u­la­tion. In fact, the bal­lot ini­tia­tive passed by vot­ers in Novem­ber to reclas­si­fy sev­er­al non­vi­o­lent felonies as mis­de­meanors will go a long way toward achiev­ing that goal. But it insist­ed that it didn’t have to do it the way the court want­ed it to, because doing so could deplete the state’s source of inmate fire­fight­ers.

    The incen­tives of this wild­fire and oth­er labor pro­grams are seem­ing­ly in con­flict with the goal of reduc­ing U.S. reliance on mass incar­cer­a­tion. But the fed­er­al judges over­see­ing this lit­i­ga­tion were nonethe­less sen­si­tive to the state’s need for inmate fire­fight­ers. That’s why they ordered the state to offer 2‑for‑1 cred­its only to those many inmates who weren’t eli­gi­ble for the wild­fire pro­gram. This way, inmates who were eli­gi­ble would still be incen­tivized to choose fight­ing wild­fires, while those that weren’t could choose oth­er reha­bil­i­ta­tive work pro­grams to reduce their sen­tence.

    The Depart­ment of Cor­rec­tions didn’t like this idea, either. It argued that offer­ing 2‑for‑1 cred­its to any inmates who per­form oth­er prison labor would mean more min­i­mum secu­ri­ty inmates would be released ear­li­er, and they wouldn’t have as large of a labor pool. They would still need to fill those jobs by draw­ing can­di­dates who could oth­er­wise work fight­ing wild­fires, and would be “forced to draw down its fire camp pop­u­la­tion to fill these vital MSF [Min­i­mum Sup­port Facil­i­ty] posi­tions.” In oth­er words, they didn’t want to have to hire full-time employ­ees to per­form any of the work that inmates are now per­form­ing.

    The plain­tiffs had this to say in response: “Defen­dants bald­ly assert that if the labor pool for their garage, garbage, and city park crews is reduced, then ‘CDCR would be forced to draw-down its fire camp pop­u­la­tion to fill these vital MSF posi­tions.’ That is a red her­ring; Defen­dants would not be ‘forced’ to do any­thing. They could hire pub­lic employ­ees to per­form tasks like garbage col­lec­tion, garage work and recy­cling … ”

    In a short order Fri­day, the fed­er­al court seem­ing­ly agreed with this argu­ment, order­ing Cal­i­for­nia to expand its 2‑for‑1 cred­its pro­gram.

    California’s resis­tance to the ini­tial fed­er­al court order is not sur­pris­ing. Despite mak­ing some real strides in reduc­ing its prison pop­u­la­tion rel­a­tive to oth­er states, the state has fought court orders every step of the way, as Gov. Jer­ry Brown claimed that the pris­ons were on the verge of being “gold plat­ed.” But its newest line of argu­ment reveals anoth­er obsta­cle to prison reform that may affect many oth­er states with­out a court order for reform.


    While this is obvi­ous­ly quite cru­el to Cal­i­for­ni­a’s pris­on­ers, note that, should this soci­ety ever actu­al­ly start send­ing frack­ing CEOs to prison for casu­al­ly poi­son­ing Cal­i­for­ni­a’s water sup­ply with frack­ing pol­lu­tants and those CEOs end up fight­ing fires for the state of Cal­i­for­nia, we could see a jus­tice sys­tem that’s not only cru­el but unusu­al­ly iron­ic too.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 20, 2014, 1:04 pm
  7. Ari­zona just had anoth­er neo-Nazi shoot­ing spree:

    TPM Livewire
    Tat­tooed Neo-Nazi Named As Sus­pect In Dead­ly Ari­zona Shoot­ing Spree

    By Cather­ine Thomp­son
    Pub­lished March 18, 2015, 5:28 PM EDT

    The man believed to have gone on a dead­ly shoot­ing spree Wednes­day in Mesa, Ari­zona has a crim­i­nal record and pur­port­ed ties to neo-Nazi and white suprema­cist groups.

    Fol­low­ing a man­hunt that last­ed hours, police took into cus­tody a gun­man who alleged­ly killed one per­son and wound­ed five oth­ers across mul­ti­ple shoot­ing scenes.

    The Mesa Police Depart­ment has not released the sus­pec­t’s name. But the Ari­zona Repub­lic report­ed that anony­mous police sources iden­ti­fied Ryan Eliot Giroux, 41, as the sus­pect in the shoot­ing.

    Giroux was released from prison in 2013 after serv­ing more than six years for attempt­ed aggra­vat­ed assault, accord­ing to records from the Ari­zona Depart­ment of Cor­rec­tions. He had served two pri­or prison terms on bur­glary and mar­i­jua­na charges.

    Giroux also sports mul­ti­ple face and neck tat­toos, includ­ing eye­brow ink that reads “Skin­head” and an “88” on his left tem­ple. The num­ber is a code used for the Nazi salute “heil Hitler.” In a news con­fer­ence Wednes­day, a spokesman for the Mesa Police Depart­ment described the sus­pect as a bald man with face and neck tat­toos.

    Retired Mesa Police Det. Matt Brown­ing on Wednes­day told the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter’s Hate­watch blog that he was famil­iar with Giroux. Brown­ing iden­ti­fied Giroux as a mem­ber of the Ham­mer­skin Nation, a racist skin­head group formed in the late 1980s.

    Wade Page, the gun­man in the 2012 Wis­con­sin Sikh tem­ple shoot­ing, had notably belonged to the same group.


    Beyond the obvi­ous ques­tion of what caused this guy to go on a shoot­ing spree, you have to won­der if he was the type of guy inclined to tat­too “Skin­head” and “88” on his face before he spent all those year in the neo-Nazi recruit­ment cen­ters know as Amer­i­can pris­ons or after. Based on state­ments by an acquain­tance of his, it might be the lat­ter:

    South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter
    Hate­watch blog
    Sus­pect in Ari­zona Shoot­ing Spree a White Suprema­cist Skin­head
    By Mark Potok on March 18, 2015 — 3:27 pm

    The man report­ed­ly arrest­ed in the after­math of a shoot­ing spree in Mesa, Ariz., today sports tat­toos that iden­ti­fy him as a neo-Nazi. What’s more, a local retired detec­tive says he is a long­time white suprema­cist skin­head asso­ci­at­ed with major racist groups.

    Ryan Giroux, who alleged­ly mur­dered one per­son and wound­ed five oth­ers ear­li­er today and was arrest­ed after a fren­zied man­hunt, was released from prison in Ari­zona in 2013. Accord­ing to prison records, he has con­vic­tions for attempt to com­mit aggra­vat­ed assault, mar­i­jua­na, theft, and sec­ond degree bur­glary. Records indi­cate that he was sen­tenced to a total of about 14 years in prison.

    The Ari­zona prison system’s mug shot of Giroux shows his face cov­ered in white suprema­cist tat­toos: where his shaven eye­brows used to be, the words “SKIN” and “HEAD”; on his left tem­ple, the num­ber “88,” which is neo-Nazi code for Heil Hitler (because H is the 8th let­ter of the alpha­bet); and on his chin, a Celtic cross, which for white suprema­cists rep­re­sents the white race.

    A retired Mesa Police detec­tive who once infil­trat­ed local skin­head groups, told Hate­watch that he knew Giroux from pre­vi­ous encoun­ters, and that Giroux was a mem­ber of Ham­mer­skin Nation, a noto­ri­ous­ly vio­lent racist skin­head group, and an asso­ciate of the Aryan Broth­er­hood, a nation­al prison gang with a long list of mur­ders to its cred­it. “He’s a vio­lent guy,” aaid the source, who knew Giroux as a young skin­head in the 1990s and ear­ly 2000s and request­ed anonymi­ty because of the ongo­ing inves­ti­ga­tion. “I think his time in prison con­tributed to that.”

    Giroux, 41, has been in and out of Ari­zona pris­ons since 1993, when he was arrest­ed for bur­glary and mar­i­jua­na pos­ses­sion. His most recent prison stint, for an attempt to com­mit aggra­vat­ed assault, began in 2007 and end­ed in Octo­ber 2013.


    “He’s a vio­lent guy...I think his time in prison con­tributed to that.”
    What? No pos­i­tive lessons in race rela­tions and self-dis­cov­ery? How unex­pect­ed.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 18, 2015, 7:09 pm

Post a comment