Voices from Russia

Saturday, 12 October 2013

12 October 2013. Here’s Another Reason Why the Republicants Shut Down the Government

00 One Percent. Affluent Effluent. Too Big to Fail. 14.09.13


For-profit prison phone companies charge sky-high rates, making it expensive for families to stay connected. Such fly-by-nights charge prisoners up to 17 USD (550 Roubles. 17.50 CAD. 18 AUD. 12.50 Euros. 11 UK Pounds) for a 15-minute phone-call… a call that might cost 2 USD (65 Roubles. 2.07 CAD. 2.12 AUD. 1.50 Euros. 1.25 UK Pounds) outside of prison. One of these companies is Global Tel*Link; it’s one of the powerful corporations making billions of dollars by exploiting prisoners. In August, the FCC took an important first step by capping the price of prisoner phone-calls made from one state to another at 0.25 USD (8 Roubles. 0.26 CAD. 0.27 AUD. 0.20 Euros. 0.16 UK Pounds) per minute. However, most prisoners serve time in their home state.  The FCC should finish the job and end this predatory practise for all prison phone-calls.

Let’s not be coy… the Republican Party supports and upholds these corporate vipers. THIS is one reason why the GOP is against government regulation. You see, if the government regulates prisoner phone-call rates, why, the investors and owners wouldn’t have as much money! Their mortgages on their McMansions are due, they have wetback nannies and gardeners to pay, and the bill just came in for the country club… poor babies. The Republicans weep copious tears for them… and none for you. That is, the GOP supports Class Warfare of the most noxious sort, of the Haves against the Have-Nots. They’re backing the rich man… after all, that’s who’s bankrolling them and their pretensions in the District. They’re good little marionettes, aren’t they?

THIS is why the Republicans shut down the government. Mark it down well.



Tuesday, 8 October 2013

8 October 2013. You Can’t Make Up Shit Like This… 28 Prisoners Marry in One Day at Russian Penal Colony

00 Wedding in Russian Prison. 01a. 07.10.13


00 Wedding in Russian Prison. 02. 07.10.13


00 Wedding in Russian Prison. 01. 07.10.13


A penal colony in Russia’s Ural Mountains witnessed an unusual boom of weddings recently, with 28 of its male inmates getting married to women, some of whom they had just met, in one day. Local news site 74.ru reported that, on Friday, Strict-Régime Colony Nr 2 {equivalent to an American medium-security prison: editor} in Chelyabinsk Oblast held all 28 weddings in a banquet hall. Prison officials noted that the number was unusually high for a single session of the periodic weddings held at the facility. A video of the event showed dozens of brides in white dresses sitting at tables with their incarcerated grooms, who were sporting suits instead of their regular prison garb. The report noted that some of the couples met each other for the first time that day. After the ceremony, the authorities allowed the newlyweds to spend two days and a night together on the prison’s premises; later, they’d only be able to see each other only a few times a year.

7 October 2013



Editor’s Note:

Seeing IS believing. The Church has made great strides since 1988. The old Russian attitudes towards prisoners are returning, as these pictures illustrate (interestlingly enough, the communists agree with the believers… hell, most of the communists ARE believers, and better belivers than the “conservative” konvertsy poseurs in the American diaspora). The revival will not be televised… the revival IS alive (hat tip to the late Gil Scott-Heron)!


Friday, 30 November 2012

Army-Surplus Tents to Have Room for More Criminals: Tent City Gaol, the Legal Gulag of Arizona

01 fat cop


An inhumane and disgraceful situation has existed in Maricopa County, Arizona since 1993. Tent City is a gaol, where, instead of being locked up, inmates are kept outside in dirty old army-surplus tents, in a gated area. This modern gaol, which can hold up to 2,126 convicts, has an old-fashioned twist on how to deal with criminal offenses. The ham-fisted practises in this facility don’t differentiate between those gaoled for misdemeanours and felonies. Rick Edwards, a former prisoner and now CEO of an Arizona nonprofit named ExecuGive, told VOR exactly how Tent City operates. The majority of prisoners would most likely say that getting into brawls is the hardest part of their day, amongst other annoyances, but Tent City is different from other gaols. Once registered, inmates receive a black and white striped uniform, along with pink boxers, socks, and towels. Edwards told VOR, “This is to embarrass inmates and reduce theft of clothing. It’s become Sheriff Joe’s trademark”.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County is one tough cop, and an oddly creative man. It was his decision to set up army-surplus tents when his gaol reached full capacity. Instead of letting some criminals out earlier, he put up tents to accommodate them. A tall fence topped with barbed wire surrounds the tents, along with lookout posts so that prison guards can watch the facility. Edwards told us, “Inmates, criminals, and persons with direct knowledge of Arpaio and Tent City tend to hate and dislike him more than fear him. Still, many people love him and all that he stands for”. However, more and more people are speaking out against the sheriff… his “good deeds” for the county are starting to look like illogical torture for those under his authority. This past September, charges accusing Arpaio of abuse of office were dropped. Another allegation raising red flags was his usage of the county’s credit card. Reportedly, he used the card recklessly, to charge personal items. None of these claims went to court, as there was supposedly a lack of evidence. Besides all this, Arpaio barely won this past election, winning only 50.7 percent of the vote, his closest race in his 20 years of being sheriff.

Critics and ex-Tent City inmates aren’t convinced that his policing strategies are for the better. For instance, rumour has it that the food he serves is old, past its “use by” date. Instead of three meals a day, inmates only get two meals, which cost the county 40 cents (12 Roubles. 0.31 Euro. 25 UK Pence) per serving. The rules are even more rancid than the food, as he allows no tobacco, coffee, sugar, salt, or pepper. This neglect in providing proper meals isn’t the only accusation against Arpaio. A post on blog.novakazlaw.com claims that a former cook for Tent City saw cockroaches and rats crawling around the kitchen floor. Unsanitary food handling may seem minor, but the public worries about the conditions of the place, even if Arpaio isn’t letting the budget get out of hand. Edwards noted, “The heat’s a problem during the summer. You’re living outside in tents. Frequently, it’s in the 110s temperature-wise in Phoenix. The sheriff says that if it’s good enough for our military, it is good enough for criminals”.

Physically, prison is a daunting place, but Tent City is in a league of its own. Edwards, who’s a recovering addict, counsellor, and relapse prevention expert, said, “I’ve stayed in Tent City many times, some for an extended amount of time (you can be there up to two years). I’ve been treated rudely and unfairly in their continuing effort to rule by intimidation. I’ve also been denied legal rights many times. I’ve witnessed physical, mental, and emotional abuse daily. As an experienced and veteran prisoner, my inside knowledge allowed me to position myself to avoid much of the abuse. I followed the rules and used them to my advantage. Mental toughness and acuity was a strong defensive measure”. Edwards made it clear that medical care is hard to come by and, even if received, is of very poor quality in Tent City.

Edwards isn’t the only ex-inmate who remembers the dump Tent City has become, Deb Allenbaugh also experienced the jail’s “amenities” of portable toilets and fresh air. She got sent to tent city in 2004, and wrote the Tent City Survival Guide after her release. In the end, both Edwards and Allenbaugh learned to take nothing for granted, and to do everything possible to keep out of Tent City. The gaol in Maricopa County is one of a kind; inmates can barely function with inadequate food and scorching temperatures. People talk about the neglectful conditions, but they never seem to find legal proof, leaving its operation shrouded in questions. The modern American gulag has arrived; it’s here to stay, although one can hope for genuine improvements inside Tent City.

30 November 2012

Sarah Neary

Voice of Russia World Service



Nikolai Yaroshenko. Life is Everywhere. 1888

Life is Everywhere

Nikolai Yaroshenko



Editor’s Note:

There are two things to say about Arapaio’s abuse of prisoners. Firstly, the Church would condemn him for cruelty. Full stop. The Church teaches us that prisoners are human beings and deserve mercy (I’m thinking of the famous Russian painting Life is Everywhere depicting a 19th century convict transport to Siberia). Secondly, if a Russian gaol were to have only half the abuses of Arpaio’s crank operation, the US State Department would have a hissy fit. If all things are equal, that means that Joe Arpaio is a abuser and criminal himself… and deserves imprisonment. Reflect on this… the Republican Party supports the policies of this amoral monster. That’s a meaty thought…


Monday, 16 January 2012

US Forces Accused Of Torturing Afghans

The Deeds of the Antichrist (detail: Antichrist and the Devil)

Luca Signorelli

circa 1501


Don’t be fooled by appearances… the American “Religious” Right is anything but that… they SUPPORT imprisonment without trial, torture, “greed is good”, and “permanent warfare”… that’s not very Christian, is it? Remember… the Antichrist will be so “good” that he’ll fool the “elect”, let alone self-appointed Sectarians…


A Commission of Inquiry appointed by the Government of Afghanistan said that a prison under the control of the American military near Kabul violated prisoners’ rights, including the possible use of torture…

On Sunday, according to Reuters, the commission visited the prison in Bagram at the US airbase in Parwan Province. Gul Rahman Qazi, the head of the commission, said at a news conference in Kabul, “During our visit to detainees at Bagram, some of them reported ill-treatment to us. Some claimed that they were tortured”. He went on to say that the prisoners complained that they were beaten, forced to undergo humiliating personal searches, and held in extremely cold quarters. In particular, Qazi described a 71-year-old prisoner Abdul Jabar, saying that the Americans imprisoned Jabar in a cell “in pitch darkness”. Jabar said that he lost a tooth after one of the Americans hit him. Qazi said, “There didn’t appear to be evidence of torture on the prisoners, but they said that they were tortured”. The US Embassy in Kabul reported that they’d received a copy of the report of the Afghan Government Commission of Inquiry and would “carefully study it”.

In turn, the BBC, with reference to the Commission of Inquiry, reported that some of those in Bagram were in custody without any evidence of their guilt in any crime. This week, Afghan President Hamid Karzai urged the US to turn over the prison at Bagram airbase to Afghan control within the month. The commission published its report on violations of prisoners’ rights at Parwan two days after Afghan President Hamid Karzai demanded that the USA immediately transfer the prison to the the control of local authorities. The US and Afghans reached a preliminary agreement in early 2010, but in the middle of 2011, spokesmen for the US forces in Afghanistan said that the Afghan legal system still isn’t reliable enough for them to trust it in cases involving suspects from the Taliban and al-Qaeda, and proposed that the US postpone the transfer of control over Parwan until 2014. Karzai said that the delay allowed the US military in Parwan to violate and infringe on the sovereignty of Afghanistan. After the publication of the report, a spokesman for the US embassy in Kabul said that they’d investigate all allegations of torture in Parwan, and reiterated that the Americans will give the Afghans control Parwan, but they’d do so using the “greatest responsibility” {is that what happened to Gul Rahman, he was treated with the “greatest responsibility?”: editor}.

Parwan Prison (named for the province in which it’s located) is officially in under the joint administration of the Afghan government and the US military, but in fact, the Afghans control only a small part of it, which holds about 300 people indicted under Afghan law. The Americans hold the remaining prisoners, approximately 2,700, on suspicion of involvement in terrorism on the basis of US intelligence reports, which they can’t use as evidence in an Afghan court. However, the Americans insist that these people are too dangerous to let go, whilst the Afghans insist that those who don’t have formal charges against them must be set free. US military authorities have repeatedly faced accusations that they imprison terrorism suspects without charges and without sufficient evidence, as well as torturing them. The most serious were the scandals around the prisons at Abu Ghraib in Baghdad (transferred to Iraq in 2006) and Guantánamo Bay in Cuba (still operating).

8 January 2012

Voice of Russia World Service


Editor’s Note:

Many younger Americans are unaware of how degenerate our country has become in thirty years. Yes, Virginia, the slide started under Slobberin’ Ronnie. It got worse under Bush I (remember Silverado and Neil Bush?), it deepened under Clinton (as in the rape of Federal Yugoslavia and welfare “reform”), and it sank to its lowest levels under Bush II (the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the TSA). GWB presented Barack Obama with a pretty dish (two wars and a raging recession caused by crackpot “economics”)… which he did little to put right. Perhaps, he couldn’t do much more than he did do… but he did pass healthcare reform in the teeth of the most well-financed hate campaign in American political history (made possible by the Supremes in their Citizens United decision). That’s no small beer, kids. It’s why the GOP’s so angered at him… single-payer healthcare IS on the way, and it’ll impoverish some of the GOP’s most strident rightwing backers (hence, all the Sturm und Drang).

Let’s keep this short… al-Qaeda and the Taliban are fictive bogeymen of the Far Right. “Terrorism” will end as soon as the USA stops its unconditional support for the State of Israel and its violent expansionist policies (at least under the LikudHaAvoda (Labour) isn’t so bad). The USA needn’t support the Arab cause… it need only step back from Israel and demand that none of the arms sold to it are used in internal repression of the Arab population. There’s NO “Terrorism Central” and the killing of Osama bin Laden solved nothing. The Afghan fighters aren’t “terrorists”… they’re patriots fighting a major power with “asymmetrical tactics”, for that’s the only means open to them. The grunts on the ground know this… their immediate commanding officers know this… but the government apparat keeps the propaganda machine going… it has as much truth as the Totaler Krieg speech did, and, perhaps, a bit less.

This isn’t how America has been, traditionally. Shall it return to its roots or shall it take the Antichrist’s shilling and bow before raw power? Should I mention that the main apologists for this are the Left Behind crowd? Interesting, ain’t it? The most passionate advocates of “might makes right” are American Evangelical Sectarians… look at Pat Robertson, Franklin Graham, and James Dobson (with Rick Santorum in the peanut gallery and Jonas Paffhausen in the cheap seats). Who woulda thunk it… the Jayzuss Jumpers are the most vocal supporters of the Antichrist and his tawdry simulacrum of Christ and His Church. Bite the coin before accepting it… take no wooden nickels… appearances ARE deceiving. Make certain that you’re not being sold “Florida real estate“… you’ll not get a second chance…


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