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
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.