Thanks for the last issue. I should be leaving Lompoc Camp this month after 9 long years. I hope to be able to help you once I get on my feet again. I have a list of people I feel could be of help in spreading the word on repeal and amnesty to the drug war and its prisoners. Once again, thank you and may God's hand guide you to great works.
Michael Cincola, POW
Subject: Re: 2/20/98 Report
Date: Wed, 25 Feb 1998
From: Mary K. Phillips
Let me tell you that I am a recent law school graduate. I excelled in law school in research and writing and my reason for attending law school was to be a pioneer in the legalization of drugs and the ending of the drug war. I have vowed to make the ending of this God-forsaken war against Americans my contribution to this country and this life.
I'm not sure I have the connections to be a leader but yes, please, start sending me whatever I need to become actively involved. I'd LOVE to edit any publications (I'm known as a "grammar nut"), I'd love to research and write essays and my degree helps me to back up my arguments with the Constitution, Federal laws, treaties, cases, public policy . . . anything!!!
What we are up against is not only ignorance, but lots and lots of money. There is a ton of money involved in this war. THAT is where we will meet the most resistance and those who make money on the war are the government's most powerful people (FBI, CIA, ATF, DEA, etc.)
Anything that has to do with editing, writing essays, letters, whatever . . . I'm at your disposal. Once I am licensed to practice law, my main focus will be on POWs and changing the law.
Thank you for getting back to me so soon. I'm really excited to get started.
Mary K. Phillips
Someone recently gave me a copy of the November Coalition paper. I read it and knew right away that I had to write for two reasons. The first reason is that I'd almost given up hope that there was anybody left on the outside, short of family and close friends, who cared about us. You changed my mind.
You have truly given us all hope and a chance to voice our pain, anger and a chance to speak our minds. You have given me the desire to once again stand up and try to do my part in carrying the truth to the people who do not know it, or those who are too blind to see it.
The second reason I write is because of two names that appeared in you last issue. One if Dr. John Beresford and the other is, Michael Krawitz.
In 1994, my wife and I were arrested in Arkansas for the manufacture with intent to distribute of 257 marijuana plants. I was asked to become an informant, but I chose to plead guilty in state court. This did not please the local authorities and so the federal government took over the case.
We were threatened with more than 25 years in federal prison. My wife and I sold all we owned and fled to Holland. We lived peacefully for about 20 months before the DEA located us and we were put in a Dutch prison.
The Green Prisoners Release Organization formed on our behalf and we became an international symbol for freedom (on the Dutch side), and America's determination not to loose on the other. Our case went from legal battle to political maneuvering and included Janet Reno.
During this time, Dr. Beresford wrote a wonderful letter for me and many times I wished I knew who he was so that I could thank him. And Michael Krawitz spoke of helping the Green Prisoners Release with their auction. It would be nice to correspond with him also.
James (Les) Mooring, POW
Subject: A dollar spent is a dollar spent...
Date: Fri, 13
From: C Cross
Let me suggest that everyone needs to be reminded...over and over and over and over and over...
..that EVERY SINGLE ONE of the billions and billions of dollars spent on eradication, intervention, paraquat spraying, border patrols, SWAT teams, surveillance, midnight raids, prosecution, informants, deals, attorneys, bail, drug tests, imprisonment, parole, legislation, hearings, trials, juries, appeals, etc. ad infinitum...
Every dollar SPENT on this twisted idea of justice...is a dollar NOT spent on food and clothing for the poor; shelter for the homeless; a cure for cancer; a cure for AIDS; advances in spinal cord injury recovery; conquering children's diseases; better roads and highways; air traffic safety; cleaner air; streams and rivers; parks and playgrounds; safe communities; creating and preserving magnificent works of beautiful art, music and theater; education, education, education!
Is this our generation's legacy? As a society, we are now trading these priceless treasures for the perverted ideal of imprisoning more of our own people than any other country in the world.
Are you willing to sit by silently as the conscienceless machine
silently prepares the paperwork, clears the ground and builds
one McPrison after another. It's a self-perpetuating growth industry-and
you know what drives America!
I heard about your group through my brother. Along with my father we are serving mandatory sentences. We are first-time, nonviolent drug offenders. My brother is serving 19 years 2 months, my father 18 years and I am serving 11 years 4 months. We were charged with 200 pounds of marijuana per motel receipts. The guy that took the stand against us was arrested with 32 pounds. They found motel receipts in his name and because he said that he made all these trips and had 200-250 pounds per trip, we were charged with 200 pounds each. I was arrested with 1 pound.
I would like to receive your newspaper if possible.
C. Duane Brown, POW
Subject: send information
Date: Fri, 13 Mar 1998
I have recently received an issue of The November Coalition. I am really interested in this cause. First I would like to obtain a subscription. Second I would like to be updated on activities that will take place in the near future. I would appreciate any information you could send me.
I live in Grand Junction, Colorado. I am a senior at Mesa
State. I have a dear close friend that has been under attack
by the government for some time. I know that many people are
uninformed about the issues surrounding the war on drugs. I was
extremely thrilled to see a newspaper that dealt with the injustice
of the laws that are so merciless towards nonviolent, first offender,
American people. The so called "War On Drugs" is a
miserable failure. People need to be educated on this subject.
Dear November Coalition,
This letter is to first to thank TNC staff, for their relentless effort to free all drug war prisoners. It's a natural fact the only way that will ever be accomplished is by amnesty, a special parole or probation. I don't believe Congress will ever authorize a open-door release for drug war prisoners, but the public can demand release through paroles or probation. In other words, another chance at freedom maybe authorized, but only under some type of supervision. That deal alone will be like moving a mountain, but it can be done.
All inmates, family, friends and supporters will have to get involved and push hard. A copy of every November Coalition Newsletter should be sent to President Clinton, Attorney General Janet Reno, Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey, and members of Congress. Specifically the House and Senate Judiciary Committees who make the criminal laws. In addition, Rep. Maxine Waters, Sen. Edward Kennedy, and any others who are a warriors of justice, should have a copy along with the U.S. Sentencing Commission and definitely to the new Civil Rights Chief.
The second step would be to seek the support of the Church and the ministers. No matter what denomination, Congress listens to the church! Another step would be to seek the support of influential business leaders, corporations, etc. November Coalition and its objectives must reach the people in every household. There are still a lot of drug war prisoners who are unaware of November Coalition right here in El Reno FCI. Freedom can be won for every non violent drug war prisoner if the people start demanding the politicians in their district to implement a release program.
Amazingly, we have never had a march on Washington D.C., to free all drug war prisoners. Believe me, a march of that stature would have a tremendous impact on getting a program implemented to release the drug war prisoners! It would definitely get the White House's attention. The media would be free of charge. A million man, woman and child march, all united with one goal, to demand the release of their fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, sons, daughters, uncles, aunts, cousins, and friends; featuring keynote speakers such as "Nora Callahan," "Maxine Waters," "Julie Stewart," etc., who will proposition Congress to end the drug war and release all drug war prisoners, thereby making room for violent prisoners and save the taxpayers billions of dollars!! November Coalition can do it, think about it. Other drug reform organizations will join in. I strongly urge you to write The November Coalition and let them know you will stand in support. It's time for business!
Haywood Alexander, Prisoner of the Drug War
Your ideas have merit and we are expecting input from our readers. Will friends and family of drug war prisoners come together to oppose this war? Will they demand release? I think that they will. On releaseI don't think we should stop short of full pardon, but I will see what our membership has to say about what they want. Standing by. . .
Amazing! Truly amazing that your paper found it's way into my hands. It shocks me that my mail arrived at my current location even after being transferred over 1 1/2 years ago. How you got my name and address in the first place, may be a mystery that I'll never solve (us too, Matt!) but nevertheless, the message of your organization has been received and I will do what I can to help in our struggle to educate citizens about the destructive, unsuccessful war on drugs.
I had slipped back into non-involvement until I received a copy of The Razor Wire. The articles and letters I read in the last issue have inspired me t become involved and active again. I will be sure to pass my issue on. Thanks again for the encouragement!
Matt Piper, POW
Subject: Re: Harriet Tubman Freedom Fighter
Date: Sat, 7 Mar 1998
From: Kevin and Melodi
Our newspapers are starting to run stories about the prison population. The overcrowding, the takeovers by corporate organizations, the use of prisoners for profit. This is the perfect opportunity for Americans to speak out.
We must all make a commitment to write our local papers. Any article that is run concerning law enforcement, arrests, prison and jail overcrowding MUST be responded to. Almost any social problem we have right now can be attributed to the "war."
We must make our voices heard. By writing, speaking and calling our local media outlets we CAN MAKE A CHANGE in the general public's opinions. The more people we can educate on the injustices occurring, the closer we are to change. The majority of the people are ignorant or apathetic of what is happening. By bombarding our media, particularly local papers, with information, we can in turn educate the uneducated. Even if they don't publish your letter, keep writing. Input from readers has an effect.
Only when the majority of people start demanding change in the government will change occur. Unfortunately, we are still the minority. But that can change.
We who have computers must use them to their full potential to teach those blinded by government rhetoric.
This is how we tell the stories of our brothers & sisters, sons, husbands, friends.
We must cultivate relationships with our local papers so that our voices will be heard. We must speak out now, LOUDLY, against the horrific oppression which is being enforced by current laws.
If anyone would like help and information on implementing the media to force the change, visit the websites listed here.
Below is one of my letters, maybe this will help give those who are stuck at "what do I write?" a place to start. If you need input or assistance, please e-mail me, I'm happy to help.
"Counties see inmates as source of income" brought home the practice of warehousing humans as a means of profit. Current policy is forcing our nation into a prison dependent society, with economy based more and more on prison building and staffing. The availability of big profits in the prison industry combined with corruption in law enforcement and government is jeopardizing our future as a free nation.
Violent criminals are not the ones filling our jails and prisons beyond capacity. The drastic increase since the early 1980's is not because of a huge increase in violent crimes. The overcrowded jails and prisons nationwide are the result of the "war."
This nation's "War on Drugs" is a war against the people. There are currently more people per capita incarcerated than at any other time in history. The U.S. imprisons more of its citizens than any other country in the world. Rights that have been protected since our nation's beginning are being thrown out in the name of the War. Prohibition creates huge organized crime rings and the violence that accompanies them. Keeping certain drugs illegal and controlled by the black market ensures big profits. The availability of easy money attracts the poor and uneducated, ensuring a steady stream of drug offenders.
Is the fear of drugs worth losing our freedom over? Is that what we want for our children? I challenge the readers of this paper to learn the facts and speak out. This war is going to destroy our nation if we don't stop the madness.
Information on drug policy can be found on the Internet,
So President Clinton is requesting approximately $200,000,000 added to the amount currently spent to drug test prisoners and provide drug treatment for prisoners who fail these tests.
When did prisoners start receiving drug treatment for failing urine tests? I've never seen such a thing at any of the facilities that I've been housed in since being imprisoned in Louisiana. In fact, at this prison a dirty UA will land you in the Working Cell Block for 90 days and deduct 30 days good time. Perhaps this is the "drug treatment" Clinton describes? Lock us up, take our good time and keep us in prison longer.
We are where the government wants us and President Clinton will do all he can to keep us here, even if it means millions more taxpayer dollars.
A prisoner of the marijuana war,
Subject: healthy discussion is vital!
Date: Thu, 19 Mar 1998
From: email@example.com (SCN User)
Did anybody else see Nightline tonight!? It was incredible!! The walls that imprison the minds of America are crumbling as we sleep and play, as we type and think, as we love and fear.
I believe that we will see amnesty in our lifetimes...I believe that we are making history and doing the work of the Truth. I believe that the November Coalition is one of the most potentially effective and direct ways to realize our dreams of freedom for our loved ones.
Date: Fri, 20 Mar 1998
From: Bill Harper
I wanted to drop you a note and tell you an experience I had this week.
I was called to serve as a juror in a trial. The defendant was a poor black male declared mentally retarded who in an attempt to quiet his screaming child shook it. and it later died as a result. He had been in jail over a year because he couldn't raise the $750 needed to get out.
It was clearly an accident , as both sides admitted. He had no criminal record, this was a first-time offense. What amazed me was the attitude of my fellow jurors. Some said even though they knew it was an accident that he should never get out of jail. They casually talked about 20 year sentences without thinking what that is. I felt the pain of losing a family member to prison when my father went for a drug offense.
Twenty years in such an incredible amount of time. And these people were not putting any thought into it. The only 3 black jurors and myself were for a lighter sentence. I spoke out in favor of no sentence due to the fact that he was retarded and it was an accident. We managed to win the other jurors to our side, with common sense and reason.
They were angry at us because we ruined their chance to "take a bite out of crime." They were anxious to throw the book at him.
It seems as though this country has a television mentality. They believe the Dirty Harry view that criminals always get off and are paroled early. They were basing the sentence on the parole date, and not the actual amount they were sentencing him toas if parole was automatic.
I explained to them that there were a lot of people languishing
in prison. The United States has the more of its population in
prison than any other country in the word. Why is the country
so anxious to take someone away from a home a family and a job?
I am going to continue to tell everyone that I know about the
injustices that are going on. I believe that we can make a difference.
Please, please, please include me as a newly recruited member in your next convenient subscription mailing. Your Feb-Mar issue has been passed from hand to hand over the last few weeks, tattered and exhaustedly read before it reached my eager hand.
Your newspapers bring hope and consolation to many inmates here at Allenwood and I'm sure to many thousands of POWs around the country. Just the knowledge that there are wonderful, caring people like you out there fighting for us, lifts the cloud of hopelessness and despair for many of us POWs.
It is the most encouraging newspaper for incarcerated folk I have had the opportunity to read, not withstanding the persistent and helpful efforts those other periodicals provide in support toward the same goal, the inevitable end to the drug war, and the insanity of it.
Your compassionate articles about our beautiful children suffering back home would only fail to touch the hardest of hearts, namely our Congressmen and legislators.
Your efforts to educate and illuminate us about minimum mandatory sentences, government oppression, effects upon our families and loved ones, all serve to give us hope that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
WRE, POW, Allenwood FPC
Date: Thu, 19 Mar 1998 01:00:39 EST
From: C Cross
Welcome to the Prison Cult!
"We Never Let Our Members Go." We shave their heads, make them wear drab or ugly uniforms, we control and observe their every movement, we exploit them, we profit from them, like cattle, we process them by the hundreds of thousands, we make a nice living off them, (more reliable than ranching, year round indoor work, cleaner, too), we dictate their diet, their medication, they are strictly regulated, they growl and talk tough, but most of them are as docile as cattle to slaughter.
"We chain them, we cage them, we provoke them, we punish
them, we humiliate them, we regiment them, we expose them to
great risk, but hey, that's what society wants, I'm just doin'
my job... and, imagine this... the damn fool taxpayers think
it's great! They're footin' the bill to lock themselves up!"
Most drug war prisoners have been historically apolitical and consequently, self-disenfranchised from the political system. But we can do what you suggested. We can communicate with our relatives and friends via The November Coalition to create awareness that our status as "drug war prisoners" are not unique. There are literally millions of American citizens who are drug war prisoners or the families of drug war prisoners.
All of us must stop hiding with humiliation and come out of the drug war closet. Self- awareness of a common predicament will invariably lead to a marshaling of resources to end this senseless, sick war.
William E. Hall, POW
Subject: It's Time.
Date: Wed, 25 Feb 1998
I don't take lightly for a minute that this country is moving towards complete barbarism in the fervent hysteria and McCarthyist scapegoating and witch hunting that this domestic "war" is producing. This is a holy jihad that relies on control and power. It's a class war, a religious war, a cultural war, and a huge economic meat grinder. The first wars are meant to justify the real war...driven I believe by $$$. It is fueled by those who believe the rhetoric..."this is for the children...this is for your safety..." and promulgated by those who stand to profit by dominion over the weak, meek and helpless.
For the last several weeks I have been going around to stores and coffee shops with the November Coalition periodical. When my friends, or people who are looking at the inside for the first time read the stories and see the pictures of not beasts or animals, regular people with regular families and then see the sentences they are appalled.
If the German people, the nation, the soldiers, really knew of the torture and murder of the Jews it would have been very difficult to complete.
Only when Americans come to understand the torment that is going on behind the walls of buildings in America. The broken lives, the children crying in their beds. The spouses and parents sobbing at the red-light at the intersectionlost hopes and shattered dreams over nothing more dangerous than an herb or a powder, over an arbitrary judgment by someone who hasn't even a clue about the poverty in America, or the medical conditions and treatment, or the double standard we have in the US of approving the 2 most deadly drugs (as far as us deaths).
Until Americans are forced to see through the drug war infomercials on the news and see the destruction. The evil. The suffering. Until they see torture, the inhumanity of our current drug laws and the path of destruction that these bogus laws leave behind in the families...it's not gonna change.
It's a lot like Nazi Germany, you are afraid that if you speak out you will be labeled as a 'druggie'. The worst thing short of child molester in the US these days. You'd be better off a communist in this atmosphere.
I didn't want this to be such a long rant...my point is that the November Coalition is doing exactly what it will take to turn things around. Thanks so much for that.
Subject: It's working...
Date: Wed, 25 Feb 1998
Back again. I'll be swift but I wanted to impart this story...
I took my 20-year-old son to my chiropractor today. It's a family run business. The last time I was in I handed them a copy of the November Coalition newsletter. That was last week.
Today we went in and my chiro pulled me aside and requested as many copies as I could spare, which he placed right on the counter where you pay and reschedule.
It is organizations like November Coalition that are the key to defeating the WOD and it's proponents. Medical mj and industrial mj are great causes, causes dear to my heart. But they do not go far enough in addressing the overview that includes the huge sweeping cross section of Americans incarcerated for drug offenses.
I'm sure I have just told you all something you already know...but it makes me feel better just to proclaim it. I intend to become more and more active in promoting the goals and the actual organization of TNC.
We must put faces and names on the prisoners. Only the American populace can end this craziness. It's just like Vietnam...the pictures and stories of the victims must be told before the outrage will come.
I was recently given your paper to read and was very impressed. I am a 54-year-old, white female doing 87 months on a drug charge. I'd never been in trouble before, did all the right things, believed in my government and the Constitution. What a surprise this has been to me.
I would appreciate receiving future issues. I have no way to send any moneyit's tough on 17¢ an hour. I believe with all my heart in what you are doing.
Jeanne Scott, Prisoner of the Drug War
Subject: Re: You email of inquiry
Date: Mon, 2 Mar 1998
From: "William Richmond", Hannibal County Commissioner
I appreciate your response. Yes I would like to receive your newspaper. Here in Hannibal we have the Northeast Missouri Drug Task Force run by our sheriff through grants. They get all this money so they can go out and play Miami Vice. After they make these busts they become county prisoners.
This adds a great cost to our county budget just to house these prisoners.
Then the system is back logged and these prisoners are incarcerated for quite some time before getting to court. Just recently the local police, along with a NEMO Task Force narc, did a reverse sting. They posed as sellers with (FAKE!!) meth and busted people for "attempt to possess." In an interview a police officer is quoted as saying "your target group is the drug user instead of the seller. Hopefully we can make people who are buying drugs think twice about it, if we can instill enough paranoia."
Is the world going NUTS or is it just me? I do speak with other county commissioners about this and some of them are listening. They are starting to see the cost with no end result. My brother agrees with me also but says we should either go one way or the other. Since he isn't involved with drugs and has a child in junior high he doesn't really care. He said he would accept very harsh punishment to stop drugs.
I also spoke with the public defender's office and was told that they are getting backlogged with clients. These clients are terrible to deal with and put a great strain on the system.
It seems we are at a crossroads about which direction we should
go and the unfounded hysteria seems to be pushing it the wrong
way. Yes, you may use my name and I am just glad to know that
there are others out there that can see what's going on!
Subject: Re: From a Hannibal, Missouri County Commissioner
Date: Sat, 7 Mar 1998
Thanks for the update Nora, It is refreshing to see someone in charge getting the idea that this whole civil war is stupid and a tremendous waste of resources that can be better spent elsewhere. I pray that more people in charge come to the same conclusion and are able to overcome the massive propaganda machine arrayed against all of us, Joseph Goebbels would be proud of the US gov't. May GOD bless you and all the people fighting against the WOD.
Your's David Ketttlewell.
P.S. "attempt to possess" what's next, thinking
Re: Counter-narcotics, waivers and certification, Re-submission
Futility strikes again in the form of certification for Mexico and waivers for Columbia's drug eradication efforts. Source eradication is pure folly, here's why:
Using a mere 1/20 of one percent of the entire coca-growing region, 795 metric tons are produced annually using primitive farming methods.
The coca-growing region of South America is approximately the size of the U.S. east of the Rocky Mountains.
One hundred percent of the world's cocaine comes from South America.
Most Americans can't keep crab grass out of their own backyard. And yet they continue to fund a glorified weed pulling program in a tropical jungle.
The certification process begins with "certified idiots," utopian policy-makers in lock-step with warmongering drug cartels.
Let's eradicate stupidity. Let's certify harm reduction and tolerance.
John F. Wilson
Thank you very much for your efforts. I found out earlier today that there is actually some people out there who hear the silent cries of men and women being bars. People who understand that the drug war is causing more harm to society than anything imaginable.
Please keep up the good work. Thanks.
Michael Aloysius, POW
Subject: more information
Date: Tue, 03 Mar 1998
From: winnie crowley
I am on your site on the web. This is so disturbing to us. We support your effort, our daughter is in federal prison for 11.3 years for marijuana, a first-time nonviolent offender.
We will send the information to load on the web... people
really need to see faces attached to their laws... please send
newspapers and I will pass them out.
The Razor Wire is like a Tsunami from the West, drenching the high plains with energy. "The Concept of the November Coalition" is superb. Dozens of people have volunteered to send a copy of it to five friends each, with instructions to have them send to five friends each . . . ad infinitum.
The problem is when the page is reduced to 8.5 x 11 it is hard to read for many and the ink is uneven. Is there a way you can re-layout the page to fit on 2 sides of 8.5 x 11 paper? Every prison has a copier. The tradition of Thomas Paine and the pamphleteers, coupled with Xerox. Powerful stuff.
I'll pass on my name being printed, diesel therapy is uncomfortable this time of year.
Johhny Novemberista, POW in Texas
Date: Tue, 17 Mar 1998
Hello, I received a poem in the mail from a prisoner who I write to with your web address on it. I came out of curiosity. Anyway, the poem appeared to be a copy of a copy of a copy . . . . It was about the Guardian Angel written by Larry Bolain, Sr., Prisoner of War in America.
She said it was special to her and that's why she shared it
with me. Poignant, I thought. Anyway, your material is being
circulated and shared and touching lives in a positive way.
Enclosed is a list of family and friends in response to your appeal in the last paper. Don't be too hard on the prisoners of war for being reluctant to share their experiences. Being a convicted felon in America is a hard cross to bear. I just read the paper yesterday and was overwhelmed by the words that I read and felt. We thank you all from the bottom of our hearts.
Tom Walker, II - POW