SF 8 in chains: Protest this assault on our elders!

Read about the video “Legacy of Torture” describing how the San Francisco 8 defendants were tortured 30 years ago to obtain the confessions that the current SF8 trial is based on.
Join the SF8 support e-mail list.

From the SF BayView Newspaper
Wednesday, 20 June 2007

by Kiilu Nyasha

I joined about 50 people in the San Francisco courtroom at 850 Bryant, the one that was fitted with a bullet proof plexiglas partition separating the observers from the participants – the lawyers, judges and prisoners.

After attending Monday’s hearing, I literally broke out in a rash, noticeable the following day. I was so angry when I left Monday’s debacle, I hardly knew how to contain my rage. Apparently, it decided to erupt in its own way.

We were forced to spend at least two hours in a hallway, including elders and disabled with health and mobility problems, two of whom were veteran activists, namely, Jane Jackson and Yuri Kochiyama.

There’s ample data on the website, www.freetheSF8.org, regarding the details of the hearing and much, much more. So I encourage you to visit it as soon as you can if you want to learn about this very significant case and its extremely important political ramifications.

What’s frustrating in the extreme for OGs like myself – I was in the Black Panther Party and part of the Black and international liberation movement – is to be back in this courtroom bullshit all over again. Many of us were full time revolutionaries who struggled for all we were worth to change this rotten system, serve the needs of our oppressed peoples and get our political prisoners out of jail.

Recall that FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, a straight up fascist, sent out a memo to all his field offices – 41 at the time; there are many more today – saying, “Be alert to have them arrested…” on virtually anything you can trump up. He even sent one out soliciting creative ideas on how to “discredit, disrupt, and neutralize” the BPP and its members and supporters.

I personally knew seven very young Panthers – my brothers – who were murdered either directly by the police or through their orchestrated madness. Without exception, they were comrades committed to serving the people, especially Black people, body and soul for life.

They loved people, cared for them, fed and clothed them, provided medical assistance, child care and alternative education, fought the greedy landlords and mendacious politicians for them and with them – as they organized them to act in their own best interests.

Those revolutionaries who got locked up back then continue to this day serving the people, outside and inside. Two of the San Francisco Eight are among those who for decades now have served the people from prison – Herman Bell and Jalil Muntaqim – not to mention Mumia Abu-Jamal.

So it causes me great stress to see my comrade elders in orange suits and chains forced to shuffle into court and compromise their dignity when they are the best of our kind. It’s outrageous for these men who have been a credit to their communities for nearly 40 years to be subjected to such humiliation and criminalization, when the real criminals, such as the greedy corporations and politicians, continue to wage war on innocent people in order to rob them of their land and resources – both at home and abroad. Think Katrina and Iraq! Afghanistan and Haiti! Somalia and the Congo! and Bay View Hunters Point!

It’s an outrage that we are subjected to a mass media that has been so cowed and controlled by the corpocracy – or so-called government – that they will surely parrot the prosecution’s presentation of our political party, our revolutionary cadres, as a “gang.”

How do you call a group of young people, volunteers who gave, and gave, and gave to their communities, criminals? Oh, I forget. We don’t have the right to self-defense.

In court on Monday, I met a lovely young woman, a librarian from Los Angeles, who had flown up here to testify in behalf of Ray Boudreaux, one of the SF 8, who was employed by L.A. County for 25 years as an electrician. Ray had given his time and energy free of charge to fix the lights in their library so folks could study with sufficient light. She had to return without testifying.

What do you call people who are paid extremely well to serve the people but instead deprive the people of their basic needs and often their very lives? Who send armies of armed mercenaries into other countries and domestic neighborhoods to brutalize and kill innocent men, women and children.

I’m also very disgusted with the lack of outcry and protest at this outrageous witch hunt and kidnapping of our community’s most respected elders – all good fathers, grandfathers and even great grandfathers.

And when I think of that monster terrorist, Luis Posada Carriles, whose CIA connection allows him to walk free after masterminding the bombing of a commercial airline in midair in 1976, killing all 73 civilian passengers, my blood boils.

At this point in our history of struggle – about 400 years – we should at least be where Venezuela is. Instead, we are going backwards as fast as we can as we stand by and let Cointelpro be legalized into the Patriot Act, consolidating the police state while criminalizing poor people, especially Blacks and Browns, who are filling prisons and jails faster than they can build them.

Our hoods are flooded with guns and drugs, including alcohol, a deadly concoction, deprived of jobs, decent housing, child care, education, health care and clean air. Our kids are being tracked straight into prison to provide slave labor for the fascist corpocracy, including the military industrial complex.

Young people today should be out in force protesting this assault upon their community elders! And those elders who benefited from the freedom fighters of yesterday should be speaking out fiercely, since there but for the grace of God go we.

And those who benefited big time should step to the plate with bail for all six of those eligible for immediate release pending the outcome of the trial. They risked their lives, but you can’t risk property? Moreover, if the prosecution gets away with this travesty – our collective silence being approval – who will they come after next?

I can understand that those who have to pay the bills with 9-5s cannot make it to court. But those of you who CAN should, and those of you who can’t can do other things to demonstrate in practice your loyal support to the brave men who risked their very lives to protect and serve you.

Power to the people. Free ‘em all.

Kiilu Nyasha, Black Panther veteran, revolutionary journalist and Bay View columnist, can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

How you can support the SF 8

Watch the SF 8 websites, www.freetheSF8.org, where there’s a new poster you can print and circulate, http://www.cdhrsupport.org, where you’ll find their addresses at the San Francisco County Jail so you can write and visit them, and www.myspace.com/freesf8, a rallying place for young revolutionaries, courtesy of the POCC, Prisoners of Conscience Committee.

The next event in honor of the SF 8 is Sunday, July 1, in San Francisco: Derrick Jensen in a night of solidarity with the SF 8, 6:30 p.m. at the Women’s Building, 3543 18th St., between Valencia and Guerrero in San Francisco. Admission is $5 to $25, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. Jensen is a longtime activist and author whose writings consider injustice and oppression and the part our technologized civilization plays in these atrocities. SF 8 committee member Penny Schoner will give an update on the case.

Court hearings are now suspended for a month while the judge goes on vacation. This is a major delay in attempting to set an attainable bail for some of the brothers.

Judge Moscone’s comments indicate that the case may be heard in Department 23, the judge’s normal courtroom, rather than Department 21, the high security courtroom where all of this week’s proceedings were held. Court shackling issues will also be scheduled for early August.

The next court date is Monday, Aug. 6, 9 a.m., 850 Bryant St. in San Francisco. Once again, spread the word and pack the courtroom. The court proceedings will resume on our turf – it’ll then be Black August!

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