Blog Jay Leiderman Law

Sentenced to community service for flatulence … but what is the crime?


A flatulent woman has received a lifetime ban from a Bradford bus company after repeatedly breaking wind in their vehicles. On one occasion a driver was physically sick.

Some bastard has squashed a Frog

Bradford Magistrates Court heard how Yolande Pogba, aged 48 from Lumb Lane, Bradford reveled in what she was doing and on most occasions would bend over to create the maximum impact.


Now infamous defendant Yolande Pogba

On 18th June 2016, Mrs Pogba (pictured) boarded a packed bus at Bradford Interchange and crouched next to an elderly gentleman. As the bus set off, she let off an excruciating sound from her bottom. Mrs Pogba, clearly impressed with her actions then shouted “Some bastard has squashed a Frog”

The bus company recorded 148 separate incidents. On the 22nd June, she boarded a bus in Holmewood and forced her way into the drivers cab, repeatedly breaking wind, cupping her hands and rubbing the atrocious smell into the drivers face until he was sick.

cupping her hands and rubbing the atrocious smell into the drivers face

Solicitor Rick Head, representing Mrs Pogba asked for the court to be sympathetic “My client is addicted to Jamaican Rum and kidney beans and unfortunately this brings out the worst in her personality and makes her bottom talk”

The court fined Mrs Pogba £375 and ordered her to pay £20 compensation to the bus driver – Mr Bob Aloo Bhuna. She was also sentenced to 120 hours community service.

Known as Yolande Pogba, aged 48, she bent over whilst breaking wind to create “maximum impact” and even managed to make the driver sick- due to the foul stench.


affects the comfort and convenience of life of Her Majesty’s subjects

It appears to be public nuisance:  At common law public nuisance is a crime for which the remedy is criminal proceedings. It is defined as an unlawful act or omission which endangers or interferes with the lives, comfort, property or common rights of the public.

From Wikipedia: “Public nuisance concerns protecting the public, unlike private nuisance, which protects an individual. As such it is not only a tort but also a crime. In Attorney-General v PYA Quarries Ltd, it was defined by Romer LJ as any act or omission “which materially affects the reasonable comfort and convenience of life of a class of Her Majesty’s subjects”


Her majesty’s subject were apparently subjected to the smell of processed rum and kidney beans on over 150 occasions.

California law may have a more specific statute.  May.  It’s a stretch, but check out the “gassing” statute, 243.9(b): For purposes of this section, “gassing” means intentionally placing or throwing, or causing to be placed or thrown, upon the person of another, any human excrement or other bodily fluids or bodily substances or any mixture containing human excrement or other bodily fluids or bodily substances that results in actual contact with the person’s skin or membranes.

Probably not.


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Know Your Rights by the Clash

You have the rights not to be killed, to food money and to free speech. But don’t try to exercise these rights lest you be crushed by the government.


The Clash – Know Your Rights – YouTube

Know Your rights

You have the right not to be killed; unless it is by a policeman #BlackLivesMatter



This is a public service announcement

With guitar
Know your rights
All three of them

Number one
You have the right not to be killed
Murder is a crime
Unless it was done
By a policeman
Or an aristocrat
Oh, know your rights

And number two
You have the right to food money
Providing of course
You don’t mind a little
Investigation, humiliation
And if you cross your fingers

know your rights

Human rights and civil rights are often trampled upon by governments

Know your rights
These are your rights
Hey, say, Wang

Oh, know these rights

Number three
You have the right to free speech
As long as
You’re not dumb enough to actually try it

Know your rights
These are your rights
Oh, know your rights
These are your rights
All three of ’em
It has been suggested in some quarters
That this is not enough

Get off the streets
Get off the streets

know your rights

Combat Rock, the 1982 Clash album, laid bare the fallacy that the people really have rights beyond what the government, the aristocracy and the corporatocracy feel like giving you.

“Know Your Rights” is a song by The Clash. It was released as the first single from the album Combat Rock, three weeks prior to the release of the album.

The song begins with the words “This is a public service announcement…with guitars!” The structure of the song revolves around the rights held by the poor and disenfranchised, in which the speaker of the song, presumably a villainous civil servant (whose identity is assumed in the song by vocalist Joe Strummer), names the three actual rights. At the end, the notion that more rights should be granted is rebuffed by the speaker

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For a discussion explaining the Fourth Amendment / Fifth Amendment difference as it relates to a claim that Miranda was required because the suspect was in custody, see an excerpt below from People v. Pilster (2006) 138 Cal.App.4th 1395, at 1405-1406.

When moving to suppress evidence prior to trial, it is often confusing whether to use a Miranda motion or a Fourth Amendment suppression motion.  The below text provides guidance and explains the Fourth Amendment / Fifth Amendment difference in such situations.

Whether a defendant has been unreasonably seized for Fourth Amendment purposes and whether that individual is in custody for Miranda purposes are two different issues

“Whether an individual has been unreasonably seized for Fourth Amendment purposes and whether that individual is in custody for Miranda purposes are two different issues. (United States v. Kim (9th Cir. 2002) 292 F.3d 969, 976.) To resolve the detention issue, courts examine whether handcuffing the defendant met the Fourth Amendment reasonableness standard. As Newton explains, “where an officer has a reasonable basis to think that the person stopped poses a present physical threat to the officer or others, the Fourth Amendment permits the officer to take ‘necessary measures . . . to neutralize the threat’ without converting a reasonable stop into a de facto arrest.  (Newton, supra, 369 F.3d at p. 674, original italics.) Thus, courts look to the reasonableness of the officer’s actions to determine whether handcuffing exceeded the scope of the detention and transformed it into a de facto arrest.

In contrast, Fifth Amendment Miranda custody claims do not examine the reasonableness of the officer’s conduct, but instead examine whether a reasonable person would conclude the restraints used by police were tantamount to a formal arrest. These two distinct analytical concepts may produce different outcomes. (See id. at p. 677 [officers’ actions reasonable under Fourth Amendment but restraints imposed during detention placed defendant in custody for Miranda purposes].) As Newton explains, “Miranda‘s concern is not with the facts known to the law enforcement officers or the objective reasonableness of their actions in light of those facts. Miranda‘s focus is on the facts known to the seized suspect and whether a reasonable person would have understood that his situation was comparable to a formal arrest.” (Id. at p. 675.)”

The totality of the circumstances surrounding an incident must be considered as a whole. (People v. Boyer (1989) 48 Cal.3d 247, 272, disapproved on another ground in People v. Stansbury (1995) 9 Cal.4th 824, 830, fn. 1.) Although no one factor is controlling, the following circumstances should be considered: “(1) [W]hether the suspect has been formally arrested; (2) absent formal arrest, the length of the detention; (3) the location; (4) the ratio of officers to suspects; and (5) the demeanor of the officer, including the nature of questioning.” (People v. Forster (1994) 29 Cal.App.4th 1746, 1753.) Additional factors are whether the suspect agreed to the interview and was informed he or she could terminate the questioning, whether police informed the person he or she was considered a witness or suspect, whether there were restrictions on the suspect’s freedom of movement during the interview, and whether police officers dominated and [138 Cal.App.4th 1404] controlled the interrogation or were “aggressive, confrontational, and/or accusatory,” whether they pressured the suspect, and whether the suspect was arrested at the conclusion of the interview. (Aguilera, at p. 1162.)


Fourth Amendment / Fifth Amendment difference

Criminal Defense Attorney Jay Leiderman is a California State Bar Certified Criminal Law Specialist


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In advance of Barrett Brown’s release on the 29th of November, I wanted to publish this batshit crazy email.  I have redacted the name of the sender and the blogs so that I can preserve her privacy.  But if you guess who sent it – whatever.  This person kept tweeting at me and I agreed to giver her my email address.  Big mistake.  So, in early celebration of Barrett’s release, here’s a batshit crazy email, full of lies and conspiracy theories.


Barrett Brown

Barrett Brown, via Project PM, was working on gathering information about the trapwire surveillance program

Prior to being arrested, Barrett Brown was working on gathering information about a project called TrapWire.  TrapWire is a government program involving cameras set up all over the place with facial recognition software.  It is supposed to be used to track terrorists, but in reality it is used to track ordinary citizens and their free movement.  It is out government spying on us.

The below individual hit me up on Twitter repeatedly within 24 hours of Barrett Brown’s arrest.  She wanted to insert herself into the case.  She wanted fame and glory, being the person who helped Barrett Brown ameliorate his legal situation.  She was soon shunned by all participants of the case.  I won’t elaborate.

In any event, you can see that this person has held the mysteries of TrapWire in her hands for 4 years but has refused to share them with anyone.  It’s either horrifically selfish to humanity of she is full of shit.


From: XXX [mailto:[xxx]]
Sent: Thursday, September 13, 2012 8:39 PM
Subject: Barrett Brown

Barrett Brown

Oh, teh sadness when one is unaware. Teh sadz.


it is me from Twitter.

I do not know the people at the law firm I suggested you call for Barrett Brown. I have heard of them and what I have heard is good. I suggest you call them unless you have a lead on someone better.


As you know or should know, BB threatened the FBI agent and his kids, and it is all on video. He needs good help asap. His only likely defense (in my non-crim defense lawyer opinion) is that he is in detox and not in his right mind. He was obviously not mentally right during the videos.

PLEASE be very cautious. I was online all afternoon/ evening while the raid/ arrest happened. It is my opinion that people set Barrett up to be on chat while he was arrested. I think many of those on the chat were part of the sting set-up to keep him online and on camera while the FBI went to arrest him. I think the FBI wanted to know where he was and to keep him off guard.

One of the people who keeps tweeting to you ( @Kaymee ) — I do not even know who this is, but this person was asking me idiotic questions on Twitter all afternoon and into the evening while Barrett was being arrested — I think trying to distract me, to keep me from tipping off Barrett that it looked like he was about to be raided — although he seemed to know anyway. @Kaymee was working with 2 others on this — I ended out blocking @Kaymee and another one that uses a male photo — and then the idiocy was continued by @WeallOccupy I thought at first they were genuine, and I do not mind answering questions and love to share information, which is why I write my blogs. I then figured out they are not genuine and were only trying to keep me busy by asking stupid repeated questions. I kept replying because I wanted to answer the questions posed by @WeAllOccupy simply because that account has 6,000+ followers and I did not want the followers to have incorrect info.

The questions were about TrapWire, which I have researched probably more than anyone else. I work all legally, and have come up with things no one else has, including the computer screens of TrapWire, etc. I have other information I am keeping to myself for now.

The questions were about TrapWire, which I have researched probably more than anyone else

Over time, I have come to see that agents/ infiltrators/ or whatever they are — often use a technique of pretending they don’t know, then arguing when you tell them — and then being abusive — and the purpose of it is to get you to TELL more and to reveal your sources.

I was trained in graduate school on how to do real investigative journalism, and I do not give out my sources or the path to my information.


Please be aware that the FBI DOES have and use online persona management software that allows one operator to create 6 realistic online personas and run all 6 at once. It can be that @TomRyanBlog @Kaymee @WeAllOccupy and others may be one person / operator. Unless you know them personally.

Also on the chat was @asshurtmcfags who is a male who dresses/looks female, who appeared to be in on trapping BB, in my opinion. Also @TomRyanBlog and @TyrKoil and possibly other people. The whole chat looked to me like a set-up, especially when taken together with their tweets

* * * *

I have done a good bit of research on topics of interest to Barrett, and he had been retweeting my links, etc. (I started a brand new blog where my first post is on TrapWire: http//[redacted] My research is all legal, but I dug up stuff no one else has come up with yet. I also run a few other blogs, one of which has also dealt with FBI surveillance, fake profiles, etc ( Http://[redacted] )

I write this to explain that I have been harassed online by obvious FBI infiltrators, multiple fake personas, fake “Anons”, fake “Occupiers,” etc. I have had these sorts of people contacting me daily for at least a year now, so I have a pretty good eye for it.

I have been harassed online by obvious FBI infiltrators

Also, the day before BB was arrested, he was concerned about being harassed and set up online by @Asherahresearch but he had someone forgotten who that is. I reminded him openly on Twitter that it is Jennifer Emick. She considers herself a “researcher” for the FBI etc. She may very well be an FBI informant, and she bills herself as someone who will harass people online for a fee. This is her site:

By my reminding him openly on Twitter about Jennifer Emick, I got the attention of a bunch of these FBI informant/ harasser types, and started getting a big dose of odd and harassing tweets and emails. By now, I am pretty good at sidestepping these things.

This very same person — Jennifer Emick — had been involved in some of the worst harassment of me about 9 months ago. I believe she uses the FBI online multiple persona management software. When it is employed, it can feel very overwhelming. Suddenly, you are being harassed by a whole crowd of people who are posting horrible things at you and about you all at once. And they ALL agree and interact with each other like old friends. ANd you notice, they all show up in the same place at the same time, they all agree and they all sound pretty darn similar to each other.

A bunch of these were posting things on my public Facebook page (which has been in unpublish mode for months because of this). What I did was — I bookmarked their URLs before blocking them. Then I went to a secondary FB account, and a few months later, went to the bookmarked URLs. The personas had changed their names, their photos, locations, personal info, etc. These are shell accounts that create a persona to harass people, and then swap out the personas.

Aaron Barr of HB Gary had reportedly created a whole bunch of pretty women profiles to infiltrate the Occupy movement. All the Occupy guys had these same pretty women as their “friends,” although none of them had met them in person. These profiles would have one knock-out photo, and that is all it took to get men to let them in as FB friends.

Barrett Brown

The extinct Dodo bird



But wait – there’s more – bonus overtime!

The person who tried to insert herself into the case actually advocated destruction of evidence!  Not only that, but above she admits that she is not a criminal defense lawyer and has no idea about criminal law.  Yet she gives this advice.


9/30/12 12:14 am:

Dear YYY,

I did hear from { } — about them wanting the videos made private.

I think Jay’s advice is not correct.  In fact, I think Jay’s advice and tweets are dangerous to Barrett.  I could write more about what I think about it, but I do not want to stray into that territory.

Jay is not Barrett’s lawyer.  I am not Barrett’s lawyer.  I am in touch with Barrett’s { } and she wants the videos made private n-o-w.   She was shocked to find the videos are still up.  She has asked for them to be taken down or made private.  Please respect her wishes.

I am not Barrett’s lawyer

The videos are very bad for Barrett’s criminal case, bad for his reputation, and very bad for his family.

Leaving the videos up any longer can lead to Barrett being charged with many more crimes. The videos should have been made private immediately.

The FBI has arrested Barrett for making threats and they say he has “counseled, commanded, and induced” others to act against the FBI agent.  By leaving the videos up, the threats continue on.

The most dangerous thing is that if someone acts on the threats, then Barrett can be charged with that crime.  This has actually happened before.  For example —  Say someone comes along and kills that FBI agent.  Barrett can be charged with the murder.  Even if he had nothing to do with it and the person is totally unrelated to Barrett.

Let’s say one of the children of the FBI agent is injured by someone.  Barrett can be charged with that crime, because he has asked it to be done on the internet.

Also, suppose  there is someone who did see the videos, and that person gets the idea of killing or harming the FBI agent or his children.  Even if that person does not act on this, Barrett can be charged with soliciting murder. [Ed note: this is the stupidest interpretation of the law I have heard in ages]

I DO know of a case where this happened when a man wrote a threat against a judge on his website.   He is now in prison in super max federal detention for 50 years.  50 years.  Make the videos private.

If you care even one tiny bit about Barrett, you will make the videos private immediately.



12:40 am: 9/30/12


i do not know what could be gained from taking the videos down. i have been in touch with { } since barrett and i started dating. she has not said anything to me, nor may she realize the futility of privatizing them as there are a million copies of them.

if barrett gets a lawyer, or if the fd thinks this is a good idea, of course i’ll take them down.

{ } is lovely but she is not barrett, and barrett would be very upset if i did that. i have to be loyal to { } but barrett comes first. he makes some stupid requests but when its not entirely clear i have to go with his wishes.

the fbi has the videos, millions have the videos mirrored on the internet and elsewhere, so anything that happens will be traced to barrett anyway, but barrett made no threats, unless you mean doxing.

i care immensely for barrett, i love him with all my heart, and i have to say i resent you implying my care for barrett depends on going into his youtube account against his wishes and private-ing videos.


From: XXX <[xxx]>
Date: Mon, Oct 1, 2012 at 12:49 AM
Subject: Re: Important!
Dear YYY,

Please make the videos private and the next time Barrett meets with his real lawyer — the public defender — he can ask if they should be private or left public.

No, I assure you { } has asked them to be made private and was shocked they are still up.

Yes, others have copied the videos.  But what is important is what Barrett has done or allowed to be done.

Also many of the other sites have embedded the youtube, so removing them off youtube assists.

it is important what Barrett does on his youtube account or what he gets others to do.  It shows whether he is responsible as a person or if he is not.  IF BARRETT CAN SAY:  I DID THAT WHEN I WAS ON DRUGS AND ALL CONFUSED AND NOW THAT I AM IN A BETTER MENTAL STATE, I SEE THEY WERE WRONG AND I HAVE HAD THEM REMOVED.  That means a lot to a Court trying to trust him.



[So she wants him to plead guilty without a fight!  Good thing he had a real lawyer!  Her advice would have sent him to prison for decades.]  

And it continues unabated:

From: XXX <[xxx]>
Date: Mon, Oct 1, 2012 at 12:59 AM
Subject: Re: Important!
To: <YYY>
Dear YYY,

Do you understand that what people call “doxing” is a very serious crime? it is a crime to do that to anyone. It is also a crime to do that to an FBI agent.

it is illegal to post anyone’s private information, even if it can be found elsewhere on the internet.

In the case I mentioned earlier, the man posted only the address of the judge on his website. He has been in prison for 10 years and is scheduled for release in 2037. He is in USP Florence ADMAX.

This is Florence Admax, where prisoners go who have threatened FBI agents, judges, etc. It has the strictest controls. you can download the rule books in pdf, if you like. The NEVER get phone calls and are not allowed mail in or out. They get visitors very rarely.


Gee, I’ve visited ADX 3 times and have done legal calls to inmates there.  Seems someone is misinformed.  

Barrett Brown

The last place they will allow you to take a picture at ADX is at the front gate.


It starts getting ugly


1:54 AM (1 minute ago)


Here is another write-up about stalking and harassment. Interstate stalking is a federal crime. Posting a person’s personal information — or threatening to — is a federal crime. I KNOW for a fact the FBI acts on this, when the victim reports it:

1:55 AM (0 minutes ago)

to XXX

stop contacting me.


From: XXX <[XXX]>
Date: Mon, Oct 1, 2012 at 1:41 AM
Subject: Re: Important!

Dear YYY,

I asked you to keep confidentiality about what I told you.

stop contacting me.

You should tell Barrett to ask his lawyer in Texas about the videos right away.

Not only is it a crime to post someone’s personal information, it is one of the crimes Barrett is being charged with, if the indictment going around is accurate.

Posting a person’s personal information online falls under crimes that are both federal as well as under many state laws. When something is done on the internet, it can go under ANY state law.

the laws this comes under are usually Cyberstalking, Cyber-harrassment. They can also come under threatening laws, or of release of personal information laws.

if it is done on the internet, it can come under interstate commerce law. No one is allowed to use a method of interstate commerce, such as the internet, to harass or stalk or pose a threat to any other person.

Here is a sampling of state laws. As I explained, what happens on the internet can come under federal law or under any state law. I think this chart is not fully up-to date because I know of others that have been enacted.

In addition, it is ALWAYS illegal in every state to pose a threat or menace any other person, including posting their personal information for the purpose of harassing or beleaguring them.

If anyone files a complaint with the FBI about so-called doxing, the FBI DOES act upon it. I know this for a fact. Those acts are illegal and no one has a right to harm another person in such a way.



OR was XX lying that { } wanted Barrett Brown’s YouTube videos removed?  Seems so! 

From: { }
Sent: Wednesday, December 19, 2012 4:20 PM
To: Jay Leiderman <>
Subject: Re: FW: Barrett Brown

Then she sent me a bunch of crazy emails

Or XXX? She asked me a lot of questions at the beginning, apparently she and YYY had some arguments about taking down his YouTubes. XXX then sent me letters with legal advice recommending YYY take down his You Tubes (apparently she still has control of that too) and I deferred to you, saying we were acting on your advice. Then she sent me a bunch of crazy emails about Aaron Socio somehow involving Barrett, which I didn’t reply. Haven’t heard from her in a while –

And there it is! 

Barrett Brown

Some people don’t know when to quit. And because I disagreed with this person’s legal advice, she has hated me ever since. Oh well, no loss.



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Each year America turns to the somber reflection of the day everything changed, September 11th, 2001.  As do I.  But there is more to ponder when the day is done.  There are three days in September that we should put in context, as each has its own lessons to teach.  On September 12th, 1977, Steven Biko was murdered in South Africa.  On September 13th, 1971, the riots exploded at Attica Prison in New York. What can we learn from these three days, when viewed together?  

Three Days in September: 9/11, Biko, Attica

Jay Leiderman, 9/11, 2011

Today is September 11th.  Many people today think that this very day, 10 years ago was the worst day in American history.  As it is the event that defined my age, and I wasn’t alive during Pearl Harbor or when South Carolina seceeded or Lexington and Concord and the like, I could certainly be easily persuaded to agree that 9/11 was the worst day in American history.  September 11th, 2001 is the first of three days in September that should all be a part of our consciousness.

Three days in September

Americans will never forget September 11th, 2001.

Years later, the pain of 9/11 has hardly subsided, and we still wage war on those that might consider similar acts of terror against Americans

Likewise, years later, I still search for context; a big picture.  9/11 spawned what has come to be known as the “War on Terror.”  Prior to that, the U.S. saw it’s role as the “World’s Policeman.”  War on terror/World’s Policeman: It’s the same basic concept with some new packaging.  The most striking thing in the evolution of this concept is that instead of the periodic conflicts that pervaded the past: Grenada, Panama, Libya, Serbia, etc; we have had perpetual war since soon after 9/11.  It appears that the war hawks are again beating the drums of war that will lead the U.S. back to Iraq.

What have we learned?  What were the root causes?  Many assign this to radical Islam and an intractable and, as we see it, irrational belief that the U.S. is the “Great Satan.”  It is hard for Americans, indeed almost all of the world’s rational citizens, to agree that foreign policy decisions made in Washington should have been revisited with vengeance on the citizens of New York in such a brutal and indiscriminate way. A view that none are innocent and all deserve to die seems a totally irrational to view to most everybody on the planet.  One even wonders if the people who planned and executed the acts still believe in them, considering the aftermath.  In other words, do they still see their actions as rational and necessary to achieve their ends?

Be they Muslim, Christian, Jew, Buddhist, Hindu, Wiccan or other, fundamentalists, like sociopaths, are hard to understand, and impossible to argue with.  They fixate and target.  Any person with a reasonably sized public profile will have someone that hates them. They will have someone that obsesses on them. Multiply that by a populous and that is what an “enemy” country faces.  Accordingly, countries have hordes of detractors always.  It is not my purpose to delve into that in this piece.  Fundamentalist beliefs are what they are.  The U.S. is a great power and will attract great fixations always.  Radical Islamists hate many, and the Great Satan is atop every list.  Irrational doesn’t always mean crazy, but it does always mean that until a rationality sets in, there can be no meaningful dialogue between the irrational and rational, as each side will view the other as irrational.

I don’t pretend to be able to simply and succinctly discuss the root causes of 9/11.  I write today to share that I often see this day as the beginning of a trilogy of days that should prompt thought among us.

I find it interesting and worthy of thought that 9/11 comes a day before Steven Biko, a teacher and respected anti-apartheid community leader, was killed, dying in Pretoria after enduring a nearly month-long beating by police in Port Elizabeth, South Africa in 1977.  Nelson Mandela said they had to kill Biko to prolong apartheid.  That could be true, but it was also a flash point that brought the South African struggle more publicity on the world stage.  It could, in some ways, be seen as the beginning of a more than 15 year rise of slight amelioration after slight amelioration, ever growing; seeing the Nobel Peace Prize given to Desmond Tutu, the release of Mandela, and ultimately culminating in the true imprimatur of equality: racially unbiased elections.  I wonder if anyone on September 12, 1977 could imagine President Mandela.  I hope all that reveled in a Mandela presidency understood that the blood of Biko was one step in the ladder that ascended toward the end of apartheid.

So powerful were Biko’s words that “He was banned by the apartheid government in February 1973, meaning that he was not allowed to speak to more than one person at a time nor to speak in public, was restricted to the King William’s Town magisterial district, and could not write publicly or speak with the media. It was also forbidden to quote anything he said, including speeches or simple conversations.”

Three days in september

You can blow out a candle. But you can’t blow out a fire. Once the flames begin to catch. The wind will blow it higher. Oh Biko, Biko, because Biko ~ Peter Gabriel

Steven Biko died on September 12, 1977 from his injuries inflicted at the hands of police in South Africa. He had been interrogated for 22 straight hours upon his arrest, then beaten into a coma, chained to a radiator, denied medical care and ultimately succumbed to his head injuries. The police claimed he had perished from a prolonged hunger strike. They wished to silence his voice and stifle the anti-apartheid movement.  That is why he died.

Biko’s passing on 9/12 is a great reminder of what could be.  South Africa healed their horrific rift, at least for the greater part, in a remarkably shore time. To the extent possible for each individual, the oppressed forgave the oppressor and the oppressor soon came to see the oppressed as an equal.  There was a great degree of forgiveness.  Healing.  This was accomplished without punishment or even atonement.  Alas, a hope arose for not only the enduring future of South Africa, but in some very real and profound senses, a model for the resolution of conflict.

Can the lessons of South Africa’s transcendence of apartheid be applied to the hate that pervades both sides currently waging the “War on Terror”?  Time will tell, but it sure doesn’t seem so at present.  Maybe this is the greatest question of our age: how do we move forward and live in a secure world without the constant threat of force being applied by people who disagree with a way of life?  Does the aftermath of 9/12 provide guidance to attacking the root causes of 9/11?

Maybe for future answers we can again look to the past to see if we have learned anything from a different struggle involving a ruling population and a subjugated population.

Day three of three days in September takes us back to America and a different kind of conflict. The late 1960’s saw the birth of the prisoner rights movement that swept quickly across the nation.  Another death of a vocal political leader, another flash point.  This time it was George Jackson.  He was murdered by guards at San Quentin prison in California, allegedly in retaliation for the deaths of guards that occurred in a prior riot.  Two weeks later, on the other side of the country in New York, perhaps the most famous prison riot in history occurred at Attica State Prison.  We should know more about Attica than that it was a rallying cry used by Al Pacino in “Dog Day Afternoon.”

Three days in September

The Prisoner Rights Movement bubbled over into violent riots at Attica State Prison in New York

The prisoners at Attica State Prison negotiated for better conditions, more equality, less brutality and more prisoner rights. For basic civil rights.  Basic human rights.  It ended in a bloody mess on September 13, 1971.

 After four days of negotiations beginning on September 9th, the talks between prisoners and NY Governor Rockefeller broke down.  The powerless could only go so far in forcing those in power to make concessions.  On the morning of September 13, 1971, force was applied by the State and 39 people died.

In 1971 Bob Dylan, reviewing these events, said: Sometimes I think this whole world is one big prison yard.  Some of us are prisoners, the rest of us are guards.

Three days in September

If you have seen “Dog Day Afternoon” starring Al Pacino, you’ll definately remember the scene where he starts the chant: Attica! Attica! Attica!

Did prisoner rights improve?  Was there less racism in the American judicial system?  We have the benefit of more than 40 years to look back and see what was learned, and what the results were of the whole prisoner rights movement.

How have the prisoners and the guards fared?

One of the most obvious things we see is that the prison population in the U.S. has exploded since 1971.  “Tough on crime” laws made the U.S. the country with the highest gross and per capita prison population in the world.  A dubious honor, to be sure.

New prisons were made that were more secure.  Inmate movements were restricted.  Rights and privileges were slowly taken away.  College courses, weight benches, conjugal visits are all but lost to prison history to the point that one wonders if they will soon pass into legend.  Time is harder.  The real legacy of Attica is places like Pelican Bay and ADX.

The prison population may have exploded, but did the demographic change?  Not really.  One profound change is that we no longer lock up predominantly black men.  Due to a shift in population, the U.S. boasts a racially bloated prison population of brown men alongside black men. This is not at all a change that displays positive growth.

9/13.  39 dead.  Did we learn anything?  Can we apply the lessons of the aftermath of Attica, wherein we actually saw more oppression, the aftermath of Biko, were we eventually saw healing and a way forward, to the present perpetual “War on Terror”?

For three days every September, these are the thoughts I have.  These are the questions I ask myself. Today I share these thoughts with you.

You can blow out a candle, but you can’t blow out a fire; once the flames begin to catch the wind will take it higher. ~ Peter Gabriel “Biko

What fire will we let burn higher?  Are we fanning the flames of hate or setting alight a greater path to freedom and understanding?  You tell me, I don’t know.

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Thanks for indulging my ramblings on a day such as this.  If you agree, disagree, hate me or want to talk more about it, hit up the comment section.

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