Recent Indictment of Rashid, Co-Founder of FedUp! (2006)

Since last year, the Virginia Department of Corrections (VDOC), and especially its highest security level prisons located in rural southwestern Virginia, have been waging a battle to whitewash abuses occurring, and to demonize prisoners housed at these remote prisons. Routine torture and abuses occur at these prisons – Red Onion and Wallens Ridge State Prisons (ROSP and WRSP) which differ very little from the scenes exposed in the scandals surrounding U.S. military prisons at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay. At these Virginia prisons, prisoners routinely suffer racially motivated beatings and usually while handcuffed and shackled, which result in broken bones and teeth and need of outside emergency room care. Many times no care is given to them at all.

Because Virginia prison officials at all levels have acted at every turn to conceal and deny these abuses, and to maintain strong relations with local communities and media outlets, so as to neutralize local concern and exposure about our treatment, I along with an outside contact, founded an organization called FedUp!, with the aim of collecting and publicly exposing reports of our actual treatments at these remote prisons, and to bring prisoners families out in protest against these abuses.

Within a short period of coming into existence, FedUp! was flooded with many complaints and accounts of prisoner abuses, tortures and beatings at ROSP and WRSP. Copies of this information was made public, turned over to prisoners families and supporters and to top level Virginia Government officials. These exposures led to outside rallies and demonstrations outside of ROSP, and demands for answers from officials. Within Red Onion I was a principal source of spreading the word about FedUp!, and collecting facts and articulating reports on the routine abuses. My activities did not escape attention of prison officials.

In response to my activities I’ve been routinely threatened by guards with attacks and destructions of my property, my mail has been routinely destroyed and mishandled. There have been efforts to set me up to have feces thrown on me by inmates who work with guards to carry out such attacks .. prisoners, etc. My activities continued. Meantime I was appointed as a leading member of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party- Prison Chapter, an autonomous political organization that is working to develop self-help initiatives for oppressed black communities and people. I’ve also been working in collaboration with various other social support and prisoner advocacy groups. Prison officials have been as much and more opposed to and obstructive of these activities as well.

Because of my refusal to back down and so to project me in a certain derogatory light as on attack on the credibility of my activities, on January 27, 2006 I was served with a five count indictment on criminal charges relating to events occurring two and ½ years ago. The indictment charges me with one count of attempted capital murder of a prison guard, three counts of felony assault and battery on three other guards and one count of possessing a weapon. These charge stem from incidents involving guards having beaten a fully restrained black prisoner inside the cell next to me, which was followed by confrontations with myself and five other prisoners by several teams of guards in full riot armor, and yet another confrontation with me by armored guards while I was shackled. Any actual injuries suffered by any guards were the result of my defending against their actions and unprovoked attacks, and in an environment where beatings and abuses of defenseless Black prisoners by white guards are routine; where local courts refuse to prosecute white guards for brutalities and systematically slam their doors in the faces of prisoners attempting to litigate against abuses; where prison grievance and investigative officials frequently invalidate, cover-up and refuse to process abuse complaints; and where guards abuses and overall conduct are protected and condoned, giving them complete license to abuse us free of all accountability.

This license to abuse given to politically empowered and armed poor whites against disfranchised and powerless blacks duplicates the historical divisive conditions created by the wealthy whites who monopolized high political offices, which produced the cost heinous an sadistic violence against Blacks during Amerika’s chattel slavery system. Indeed many of the abusive guards at ROSP and WRSP are known to be active members and supporters of white supremacist hate groups.

This recent indictment brought against me is a strategically timed act of political violence calculated to attack prisoner dissent, self defense, and exposure of corruption and duplicity, and deter challenges and organizing against institutionalized racism and governmental excesses. This political attack is also calculated to send a message that oppressed classes and races have no right to resist abuse, that the political institutions with protect their abusers and punish their resistance against abuse. It is because the pretended democracy under capitalism is inherently oppressive of the common working class people, and oppression breeds resistance that Amerika’s political economy inevitably produces multitudes of outlaws. And it is because of this fundamental contradiction that the common people must seize and themselves control political and economic power.



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