All Power to the People, Black liberation, Black Panther Party, Black Riders Liberation Party for Self-Defense, Buckingham Correctional Center (BCC), Civil Rights Movement, COINTELPRO, d, FBI, Free Alabama Movement (FAM), Free Virginia Movement (FVM), Institutional Classification Authority (ICA), J. Edger Hoover, prison, solidarity, Step-Down Program (SDP), Uhuru B. Rowe, Virginia, Virginia DOC
By Uhuru B. Rowe
May 19th, 2016
Many of you are aware of my current plight: on April 10th, at close to midnight, several prison guards rushed into my cell in an ambush style raid to search me and my cellmate’s personal belongings. I was jolted out of my sleep and nearly fell off the top bunk as a result of the guards screaming and beating on the door in an attmept to disorient us.
This is the same tactic that pigs in SWAT utilize in pre-dawn raids: break windows, deploy flash bang grenades, smash in the front door while screaming vulgarities – all meant to strike fear and terror in the hearts and minds of the occupants.
During the course of the guards search of our cell a cellphone was found which I claimed ownership of. I was interrogated by a Lieutenant Brogden and then whisked away to solitary and written a major disciplinary offense report after I refused to reveal any details about the cellphone.
After 29 days I was ordered released back to General Population (GP) by the Institutional Classification Authority (ICA) after completing the newly implemented Step-Down Program (SDP). Within two hours of being in GP I was questioned by an old comrade of mine about how I was able to navigate my way back to GP after bing convicted of a possession of a cellphone infraction. He revealed to me that during the fifteen years he’s been housed at this facility, every prisoner found in possession of a cellphone was transferred to a higher security prison from solitary. Thus the plot against was finally revealed.
The ICA ordered me released back to GP so that it would appear to the larger prison community that I “earned” my way back to GP by informing on other prisoners. It became clear to me that this was an attempt to have me physically assaulted or even murdered by the easily manipulated, reactionary elements within the prison population here at Buckingham Correctional Center.
If it wasn’t for my well-known reputation through out the VA prison system for being a solid, stand up individual, the assassination attempt probably would have been successful.
When I took my concerns to the shift commander on May 17th, I demanded to be placed back in solitary and transferred to another facility in a display of solidarity with all prisoners ever caught with a cellphone and shipped off to higher security prisons. On May 19th, the ICA voted to transfer me to a higher security facility although I am not sure which facility.
Because of my political beliefs and consistent organizing against the many injustices taking place behind these wretched prison walls out of public view, this newly installed tyrant of a warden, Rodney Younce, and his henchmen sought to exterminate me, or at the very least, discredit me in the eyes of the larger prison population. For, if they can successfully discredit me, then they can discredit the Free Virginia Movement and the Black Riders Liberation Party for Self-Defense.
This episode hearkens back to the days of the FBI’s Counter Intelligence Program (CoinTelPro) when, in the ’60s, J. Edgar Hoover set out to cripple the radical movements that were budding at the time.
According to a FBI internal memo dated 8/25/67, the purpose of the FBI’s CoinTelPro was to “expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize the activities of black nationalist, hate-type organizations and groupings, their leadership, spokesmen, membership, and supporters…”. The memo goes on to state that “you must discredit these groups and individuals to, first, the responsible negro community. Second, they must be discredited to the white community and to “Liberals” who have vestiges of sympathy for militant black nationalist [sic] simply because they are negroes. Third, these groups must be discredited in the eyes of the Negro radicals, the followers of the movement.”
These tactics were successful in destroying the original Black Panther Party and radical white anti-imperialist organizations, and they are successful in disrupting any unity within the prisoner-class and keeping us divided and at each others’ throat. It is a common practice for Institutional Investigators to order their prisoner informants to spread rumors and gossip on those of us who are bound to be natural leaders behind these walls, especially those of us deemed a threat to their power and control. Rumors and gossip are tactics of pigs and snitches.
We must be ever vigilant in recognizing the oppressor’s tactics and weeding these pig agents from out of our circles and the larger revolutionary movement.
The FVM that I spoke of is the vehicle by which a collective of VA prisoners are trying to organize a coordinated, statewide work stoppage-in solidarity with the larger prison movement – beginning September 9th, 2016. To learn more about the FVM and our list of demands, write to the Free Virginia Movement, P.O. Box 4571, Midlothian, Va 23112. And ask for our four page manifesto in zine form. A three stamp donation is welcome.
All Power to the People who don’t fear Freedom!!