Editor's notes

By Chuck Armsbury, Senior Editor

Yes, Razoristas, we live in difficult times for sure. Attorney General John Ashcroft talked publicly in March about accused spy Robert P. Hanssen, offering the view that before the government made a decision on the death penalty in any case, it would want to know what information might be available in the context of a plea bargain. In other words, Ashcroft is saying we'll kill you unless you roll over, snitch, or rat as required. "Can't do that," howled critics. Yet, don't drug war prisoners know and feel this type of threat also? Answer: it happens daily in courtrooms across the land.

Thanks for well-edited submissions, as in letter from Ella Rose Felton in this issue. It helps tremendously if you can send us writing looked over carefully for spelling and punctuation at least. Remember too that, for publication, you are writing for Grandma to understand.

What's to say about a man like Bernardo LaCour, accepting his stay in prison, helping others in need, and asking us not to bother about him? Don't bother? Do you know how many people like Bernardo that I hear from, of hundreds of letters received from prisoners each week? Very few, very very few. We salute your spirit Bernardo and hail you as a servant to the people.

I know it's popular to be against The Government, but couldn't this just be the result of 60 years of intense corporate propaganda shaping our thoughts? Government officials are still accessible, and there is room to maneuver, unlike other countries where repression is intense.

In Bolivia the San Francisco-based Bechtel Corporation is still maneuvering to steal Bolivian water from farmers (including coca growers) for diverting to Bechtel mines in Chile. Remember Oscar Olivera, the international recipient of the Letelier/Moffit human rights award shared, domestically, in 2000 with November Coalition? We met Oscar, his wife and son in Washington, DC last October. This man, along with thousands of other workers and peasants in Bolivia, stood up to Bechtel and the murderous Banzer government. We learned recently that "Leaders of Campesino March Towards La Paz Believe They Could be Assasinated," according to the Spanish newspaper headline.

The key members of the Coordinadora de Movilizacion Unica Nacional (Comunal) of Bolivia, that are leading a march from Cochabamba and other surrounding areas to La Paz,
insisted that they were not afraid to die, but that they were worried about the social reaction that might derive from their possible extermination. "The Intelligence Services, the Police, and the Army have a list of the names of people that must be physically exterminated because they think we are are permanently disrupting the peace in the country," explained Comunal spokesperson Oscar Olivera.

Olivera heads up the march of nearly 1,000 campesinos and farmers that left Cochabamba in April in hopes of arriving in La Paz to demand that the government comply with the agreement reached last year, the heart of which was Bolivian control over their own water. Coca farmers are part of this large alliance of Bolivians, coca-growing and use itself a centuries-old tradition in the Andean Region. If you're thinking your own desperate situation is the worst, travel in your mind to Bolivia and feel the heat of the Bolivian activists' beat. Solidarity with Oscar Olivera and the Bolivian people.

Doug Hockin is a Spokane activist with TNC, and I can't say too many good things about this quiet friend who programs software for income to support his wife and two children. He drives 80 miles each way every two months to help tape and label Razor Wires. He holds up the TNC banner at Spokane events, including the huge Bloomsday Race in May. Doug helps us at public events where someone must manage our literature and information table. He's the Man, and he does it all with one leg considerably smaller than the other caused by childhood polio. Hundreds of TNC volunteers across the country, people like Doug, are the real movers in TNC. We salute you, Doug!

I don't know what it's gonna take to get law firms to do some pro bono work challenging censorship. I get tired of hearing only 'bad' stories about dump truck attorneys, yet only a handful of legal workers (Hi Steve. Hi Jeff) support TNC with money or time. It was much different in the 60s, when even some large firms still cared about people. Not now, of course, gotta have that bottom line. Gerry Spence even turned us down, saying he couldn't (wouldn't?) challenge the BOP. One private firm in Colorado sent me some excellent legal forms to use, but I'm an Editor, folks, not a barrister, and not a jailhouse writwriter anymore either. Besides, how many other jobs can I add to my own TNC multi-tasking? So whaddya think, Razoristas, are we just gonna let Warden Pugh at Florence ADX have his way with our newspaper? What about those men buried alive in Marion? Can't they at least have a Razor Wire? Like the Little Red Hen, I'm looking for some real help here before I end up filing and winning millions on my own. There'll be no cookies for you guys then.

It's a circular kinda thing. You feed us, and hopefully we feed back with a newspaper you can rely on for the real-deal drug war news in hard copy, cuz there ain't no email in the joints. No parole, no real hope, just hope springing eternal, and that's why we'll win.