First is Amy Goodman's Truthdig column about Albert Woodfox and the Angola 3.

Second is this morning's Democracy Now radio/tv show with co-host Juan Gonzalez, featuring interviews with Robert King of the Angola 3, who was released in 2001 after 29 years in solitary confinement, and Mwalimu Johnson, an activist and longtime A3 supporter.



--Amy Goodman's Truthdig column is entitled "Albert Woodfox's 40 Years of Solitary Confinement." Below is an excerpt from the beginning of the article. Link to Truthdig for the full piece.

Albert Woodfox has been in solitary confinement for 40 years, most of that time locked up in the notorious maximum-security Louisiana State Penitentiary known as "Angola." This week, after his lawyers spent six years arguing that racial bias tainted the grand-jury selection in Woodfox's prosecution, federal Judge James Brady, presiding in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana, agreed. "Accordingly, Woodfox's habeas relief is GRANTED," ordered Brady, compelling the state of Louisiana to release Woodfox. This is the third time his conviction has been overturned. Nevertheless, Woodfox remains imprisoned. Those close to the case expect the state of Louisiana, under the direction of Attorney General James "Buddy" Caldwell, to appeal again, as the state has successfully done in the past, seeking to keep Woodfox in solitary confinement, in conditions that Amnesty International says "can only be described as cruel, inhuman and degrading."

Woodfox is one of the "Angola 3." Angola, the sprawling prison complex with 5,000 inmates and 1,800 employees, is in rural Louisiana on the site of a former slave plantation. It gets its name from the country of origin of many of those slaves. It still exists as a forced-labor camp, with prisoners toiling in fields of cotton and sugar cane, watched over by shotgun-wielding guards on horseback. Woodfox and fellow inmate Herman Wallace were in Angola for lesser crimes when implicated in the prison murder of a guard in 1972. Woodfox and Wallace founded the Angola chapter of the Black Panther Party in 1971, and were engaged in organizing against segregation, inhumane working conditions and the systemic rape and sexual slavery inflicted on many imprisoned in Louisiana's Angola.

"Herman and Albert and other folks recognized the violation of human rights in prison, and they were trying to achieve a better prison and living conditions," Robert King told me last year. "And as a result of that, they were targeted." King is the third member of the Angola 3, and the only one among them to have finally won his freedom, in 2001.

King went on: "There is no rationale why they should be held in solitary confinement--or, for that matter, in prison. This is a double whammy. We are dealing with a double whammy here. We are not just focusing on Herman's and Albert's civil- or human-rights violation, but there is question also as to whether or not they committed this crime. All the evidence has been undermined in this case." Since his release, King has been fighting for justice for Wallace and Woodfox, traveling around the U.S. and to 20 countries, as well as addressing the European Parliament.

The Feb. 28 episode of Democracy Now with Robert King and Mwalimu Johnson, viewed in full here, is featured below with an excerpt from the very beginning:

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: We turn now to the case of Albert Woodfox, who has been in solitary confinement for 40 years. That's right, 40 years, most of that time locked up in the notorious maximum security Louisiana state penitentiary known as Angola. This week, after his lawyers spent six years arguing that racial bias tainted the grand jury selection in Woodfox's prosecution, federal Judge James Brady agreed. This is the third time his conviction has been overturned. Nevertheless, Woodfox remains imprisoned. Those close to the case expect the state of Louisiana, under the direction of Attorney General James "Buddy" Caldwell, to appeal again, as the state has successfully done in the past, seeking to keep Woodfox in solitary confinement, in conditions that Amnesty International describes as cruel, inhuman and degrading.

AMY GOODMAN: Albert Woodfox is one of the Angola 3. Angola, the sprawling prison complex with 5,000 inmates and 1,800 employees, is in rural Louisiana on the site of a former slave plantation, getting its name from the African country of origin of many of those slaves. It still exists as a forced-labor camp.

Woodfox and fellow prisoner Herman Wallace were in Angola for lesser crimes when implicated in the prison murder of a guard in 1972. Woodfox and Wallace founded the Angola chapter of the Black Panther Party in '71 and were engaged in organizing against segregation, inhumane working conditions, systemic rape and sexual slavery inflicted on many imprisoned at Angola.

This is a clip of Albert Woodfox speaking, in his own words, on a prison payphone in the new documentary, In the Land of the Free.

ALBERT WOODFOX: If a cause is noble enough, you can carry the weight of the world on your shoulders. And I thought that my cause, then and now, was noble, so therefore, they could never break me. They might bend me a little bit. They may cause me a lot of pain. They may even take my life. But they will never be able to break me.