Support Byron Chubbuck aka Oso Blanco

Byron Chubbuck, who's Indian name is Oso Blanco, is serving 80 years for expropriating money from banks and sending thousands of dollars to Chiapas Mexico to help fund the Zapatistas and feed indigenous children. Because of his political background he has been subject to horrendous treatment at U.S. Penitentiary Lewisburg which must be stopped!

Arizona Prison Watch members have been informed by the NYC Jericho Movement that Byron Shane Chubbuck #07909051, an institutionalized person in your custody, has been subject to repeated abuse and civil rights violations at the hands of your employees, and is vulnerable to retaliation for complaining about such treatment. As requested by his supporters, we writing in solidarity with many others across the nation to demand a full investigation into Mr. Chubbuck's treatment on November 7, 2009 and to see his assault charge from that day be dropped. We also ask that the June 24, 2009 charges against him be reviewed and dropped.
Thats from the letter drafted by Oso's friends; I am sure you are aware of the details of his case. Theyll be helping him go through '"proper BOP channels"with these allegations of abuse. I presume those are the channels fine-tuned by the Prison Litigation Reform Act designed to bog prisoner grievances down so they never meet the threshold for having exhausted prison administrative procedures before proceeding to a lawsuit. Well be working on tossing that thing out this year and making sure prisoners are better protected.

Whats been happening at your prison to our brother is an outrage. If I was a DA I'd see the cutting of Mr. Chubbuck's braid in this context as an outright assault that should be prosecuted, not just an insult to his people and their traditions. It was excessive force - completely unnecessary. It would certainly constitute assault if a prisoner pinned down a guard and snipped a lock of hair from his head, whatever the motive. You should have recognized and responded to that immediately for what it is. I suspect the employee referenced in that incident got a pat on the back, instead, not disciplined or reported to police as a perpetrator of violence against institutionalized persons. 

We''ll be paying attention.

If necessary, we'll urge our allies to contact their respective congress members  all across the country - about Mr. Chubbucks safety and welfare in your custody, and the well-being of other prisoners. If you throw him into isolation and try to cut him off from us, we''ll lobby to get him featured prominently on the new Solitary Watch News website, and assure that intense media scrutiny is focused back on USP Lewisburg. Even the people who live in your town will be so disturbed by the abuse associated with your institution  and the torturous conditions of solitary - that they'll be at your gates holding you accountable, too.

We will expose any effort made to retaliate against Mr. Chubbuck for challenging such gross violations of his civil rights in the meantime. You are the one ultimately responsible for protecting him, and we%u2019ll hold you accountable for what your staff do.

Every bit of information we get from Mr. Chubbuck and his fellow prisoners about their treatment there '- including any trouble they have communicating with the outside world - will contribute to Arizona Prison Watchs letter to Senator Webbs committee on criminal justice reforms as an example of whats wrong with the Federal Bureau of Prisons and hopefully what you''re doing to fix it. The more clear and responsive you are regarding these concerns, the more fairly we can reflect your positions and actions to our members and readers - otherwise we are left to speculate aloud based on what limited view we may have from out here.

As for the allegation that Mr. Chubbuck himself assaulted a guard: we are skeptical about claims of officers who have been "assaulted"by prisoners that they (and usually five other officers) have beaten mercilessly (or tried to scald) while they were handcuffed and shackled. People like that just dont make convincing victims '- they don't even make credible witnesses- We'd like an outside investigation of any such allegations. We suspect those are counter-charges being levied as retaliation and intimidation and perhaps an excuse to restrict Mr. Chubbucks mobility and human contact even more. His friends are quite concerned about the effect this is having on his mental health, understandably.

The law enforcement profession has all sorts of technologies and techniques for controlling and restraining men safely without inflicting excess pain, humiliation, or injury. Granted, prisons cant function without the threat and periodic use of state violence no one would stay there if they didn''t have to. And you have some pretty mean people  but not the vast majority of them. If you depend heavily on any of those three elements for your prisoner management practices, you have long since lost "control" of your prison, and your leadership is obsolete. You are engaging in torture, not behavior management. If it becomes apparent thats what''s going on, we'll call you on it and demand that you step down.

We believe that the greater burden of responsibility for restraint when it comes to using violence is on the party with the greatest power to do harm  in this case, your guards (especially when they have someone already restrained). Mr. Chubbuck's constitutional status may be as a slave of the state, but you are sworn servants of the people all the people - and we expect better treatment of prisoners in this country than this. Mr. Chubbucks criminalized status and prison sentence doesn't give anyone license to exploit their power over him for sadistic purposes, and Americans dont take to enslaving and abusing Native Americans like we used to. Legislation is going to be changing soon.

In the meantime, if one prisoner is experiencing this kind of abuse, we can only assume that others are at risk as well. It only takes one to trigger a CRIPA investigation, though, and this sounds suspicious enough to me.

Please let us know soon how you''ll be responding to the abuses identified above. Well be waiting to hear back from Oso, too, and expect his mail and other methods of communicating with his community to be reasonably unhindered from now on. Do be mindful that what you do to this man touches his people as well. Neither he nor they stand alone. In fact, you can count us among his people now, too.

We the undersigners want to restore the rights for Oso and that his treatment will be fair and respected,we would like to recieve his mail and outgoing mail in order.
Thank You
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(--->for Dutch translation,go to  *under construction & copyright art&poems* )
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