Political Prisoners Herman Bell and Sundiata Acoli Denied Parole
After being held captive as prisoners-of-war for damn-near 4 decades in the United Snakes of Amerikkka’s concentration camps, 2 prominent Black Liberation Army [BLA] comrades – who sacrificed their physical freedom so that many others may enjoy theirs – were again denied parole recently.
Since those revelations, there have been various rallying demands from their supporters, for the courageous men to be set free from the belly of the beast.
This month, the plight of political-prisoners was again addressed at Harlem’s Assata Shakur/Guillermo Morales Center, during the weekly ‘Cop-Watch’ seminars conducted at their office. The recent rejections by the parole boards of their respective states brought the cases of Sundiata Acoli and Herman Bell to the forefront during the latest meeting.
Earlier, in March of this year, Acoli was again refused parole for the third time straight in New Jersey, while later, on July 16th, Bell was denied his physical freedom by the parole board of New York state for a fourth consecutive time.
Many contend that both men’s fight for self-determination, community work and affiliation with the Black Panther Party [BPP] and BLA as being the real reason for their unjust incarcerations, and not the crimes they are charged with committing.
“Joining the BPP was the most logical thing to do; through its survival programs, it sought to educate, protect, and organize the Black community. Since chattel slavery, Black Amerikkkans have long claimed the right to pursue happiness in their own fashion,” determined Bell.
The Black Liberation Army was established during the late ‘60s while the original Black Panther Party was being infiltrated and destabilized by J. [“Gay”] Edgar Hoovers’ clandestine “COINTELPRO” operations [Counter-Intelligence-Program]. Consisting of some original BPP comrades, and other Black revolutionaries who were battling imperialism, the BLA struck much fear into the powers-that-be.
“Under COINTELPRO, ‘frame-ups’, secret deals, coercion, threats, intimidations and planted news articles, were all part of its strategy to criminalize the Black Liberation Movement. Given these daunting circumstances, one either went underground or left the country. I chose to stay,” Bell clarified.
Just as their predecessors had done, the BLA was instrumental in providing much-needed food and education to inner-city youths, as well as combating against police executions of innocent civilians; throughout the wilderness of North Amerikkka.
On the other hand, the Justice Department reports claim that the BLA is responsible for approximately 100 various violent incidents nation-wide against the establishment during 1970-76; including the October 22nd 1970 bombing of Harold Hamilton’s funeral, a San Francisco cop who was killed while responding to a bank robbery. No additional casualties were reported.
The Fraternal Order of Police credits the freedom-fighting organization with over a dozen police murders, such as; the ambush of Joseph Piagentini and Waverly Jones, 2 NYC cops who were aired-out on May 21st 1971.
Jalil Muntaquim, Albert Washington, Francisco Torres, Gabriel Torres and Bell were framed for the murders.
Also, on August 29th 1971, John Victor Young, a San Francisco cop was gunned down in a vacant police station. Days later, a local newspaper received a letter allegedly signed by the BLA, claiming culpability. Then on November 3rd of the same year, James Greene, an Atlanta cop was clapped and killed in a patrol car – his badge, gun and wallet were taken. Investigators say research led to 2 BLA members – Twynin Meyers, killed in a 1973 shootout with pigs, and Kamau Sadiki, captured in 2002.
Arrested in 1973, Bell along with two comrades, Muntaquim and Albert Nuh-Washington, a.k.a. the NY3, initially received a hung jury. Then, even with no substantial evidence or eye-witness accounts, were later convicted in 1975 and hit with 25-life sentences for the 1971 murders of Piagentini and Jones.
Jalil Muntaquim Speaks On Their Frame Up & COINTEL Pro – Part 1
During the second trial, the government brutally tortured and forced a comrade of the NY3 to ante-up some secured, damaging evidence, and dropped charges against another witness, in exchange for her testimony. After 29 years behind bars, Washington died from cancer in 2000.
“Torture by law enforcement personnel, coerced witnesses, perjured testimony, manufactured and circumstantial material evidence, in conjunction with prosecutorial and judicial misconduct are what persuaded the jury to convict 3 out of the 5 of us at the end of our second trial,” stated Bell.
During an appeal hearing years later, a federal judge discovered that a detective had falsely testified regarding ballistics reports at the previous trial. Additionally, it was discovered that the government illegally destroyed the original ballistic evidence during the appellate process. It was established that the government consistently broke U.S. laws and the judge also mishandled the trial, in order to help ensure a conviction.
Due to their impressive prison records for 30-plus years – being ‘model-inmates’, earning college degrees, tutoring others – both men seemed to be great candidates for release when they faced the parole board in 2006, but were denied.
Jalil Muntaquim Speaks On Their Frame Up & COINTEL Pro – Part 2
The following January, a joint task-force from federal and state levels charged the BLA for Young’s murder in the case now known as the ‘San Francisco 8’. Hank Jones, Ray Boudreaux, Richard Brown, Richard O’Neal, Francisco Torres and Harold Taylor were all arrested; and along with Bell and Muntaquim were formerly charged with murder and conspiracy for various violent acts between 1968-1973.
By January 2008 the conspiracy charges against 5 of the men were dropped, and Richard O’Neal was dismissed completely from the case, whereas they were then known as the ‘San Francisco 7.
On June 29th 2009 Bell plead guilty to voluntary-manslaughter. The following month, Muntaquim plead no-contest to ‘conspiracy to commit voluntary-manslaughter’. Also in July, charges were dropped against Boudreaux, Brown, Jones and Taylor.
Previously, back in 1975 a judge ruled that police had used unconventional torture tactics – asphyxiation with hot, wet blankets, beatings, cattle prods, electric shock, plastic bags and sensory deprivation to gather coerced testimonies and fraudulent evidence against the defendants – and the charges were dismissed.
Even with an impeccable record of conduct within the institutions, a quality list of accomplishments, a reputation for conducting recreational activities and high recommendations from prison officials throughout the course of his incarceration; and Bell is still being denied parole.
Waverly Jones Jr., the son of a cop that Bell allegedly killed met the parole board in 2004, stating:
“Me, personally, have forgiven these men for the positions that they took back then. I don’t see them as someone that’s going to come out of prison and commit violent crimes or anything of that nature. I feel that Herman Bell and Anthony Bottom [Muntaquim] were both victims as well of a much larger scheme which got them incarcerated to this day.
And to me they have shown great resilience in prison, that their mind is still intact, that their spirit is still eager to do good, and I just pray that the parole board will look at the context and the time and send a message to me of healing.”
Bell’s soldier in arms Sundiata Acoli story may be more to known to others from his affiliation with Assata Shakur as he’s highly mentioned in her autobiography.
Sundiata Acoli was arrested for the shooting death of a NJ state-trooper on May 2nd 1973, in a highly publicized incident. Acoli, Assata Shakur and Zayd Shakur were driving north on the NJ Turnpike when they were pulled over and ambushed by the pigs.
The BLA comrades returned fire. Trooper Werner Forster and Zayd were both killed, while Assata and another trooper were wounded in the bloodbath.
Acoli escaped but was captured days later. He and Assata were eventually convicted, after a highly volatile trial, and given a life sentence, plus 30 years.
In 1969, as a member of the Harlem Chapter of the BPP, Acoli and 13 of his comrades had been arrested in the Panther 21 conspiracy case, which also involved Tupac’s mother – Afeni Shakur. Acoli was held captive until they were later acquitted after just 2 hours of deliberations.
Upon arriving in Trenton State Prison, because of his affiliation with the BPP & BLA, Acoli was confined to the special Management Control Unit, where he was only allowed to leave his cell 10 minutes a day to shower, and twice a week for rec-time, remaining there almost 5 years. Although he had no federal charges, Acoli has revolved through a number of federal prisons since 1979, where he’s on 23 hours-a-day lockdown.
Acoli was up for parole in the fall of 1992, but was not permitted to personally attend his hearing and told to participate via phone from Leavenworth instead. Despite an excellent prison work, academic and disciplinary record; numerous job offers and thousands of letters of support, Sundiata was still denied.
Instead, he was hit with another 20 years. Mandating he at least do 12 more years before being eligible for parole again. It’s the longest hit in NJ history. He was again denied when he applied in 2004.
The parole board’s stated reason for the 20-year hit was Sundiata’s membership in the BPP and BLA prior to his arrest, and that rehabilitation was not sufficiently achieved. The real reason for the 20-year hit is to attempt to force Sundiata to renounce his community ties and to proclaim to the world that he was wrong to struggle for the liberation of his people. Spokesman Neal Buccino said the NJ board has not decided when Acoli will be eligible for parole again.
Words from Assata Shakur:
“I want so much for Sundiata to know how much he is loved and respected. I want him to know how much he is appreciated by revolutionaries all over the world. I want Sundiata to know how much he is cherished by African people, not only in the Americas, but all over the Diaspora. I want him to know how much we admire his strength, his courage, his kindness and compassion. Sundiata loves freedom and we must struggle for the life and freedom of Sundiata.”
To Write These Brothers Held As Prisoners Of War:
Herman Bell # 79D0262
Sullivan Correctional Facility
P.O. Box 116
325 Riverside Drive / Fallsburg, New York 12733-0116
Sundiata Acoli #39794-066 (Squire)
P.O. Box 1000, FCI Otisville / Otisville, NY 10963-1000
Also To Petition NY Governor For The Release Of Bell Write:
Governor David A. Paterson
Albany, New York 12224
CHECK THESE WEBSITES REGULARLY FOR INFORMATION ON THE STRUGGLE!:
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The Jericho Movement / FBI Witch Hunt / BPP Freedom Archives