Friday, September 16, 2005

In today's issue of the LA TIMES (9/16) Sam Quinones writes about SNYs, internal Eme/NF politics and what could be the beginning of a new paradigm behind the walls. He touches on so many aspects of this situation that the article could be used as a jumping off platform for a month-long discussion.

The main point of the piece is that Eme/NF internal politics are creating dropouts at historic rates. It's a situation where the prison gangs are basically eating their own.

Let's look at this. There are a number of reasons why carnals and associates drop out. One is they're looking at some long time and decide to catch a break by debriefing and going into PC. The other is that they've broken some reglas and been put in the hat. The last one is the one that should have the big homies rethinking their stand about politics, personal feuds and staking a bigger claim to a pie that seems to be shrinking.

I'm a big believer in studying history. When you know what happened in the past, you might get a clue to what might happen in the future. When Chuco Castro debriefed back in the early nineties, one of the several reasons he gave was that he realized he's taken out more than a few brothers and associates that hadn't done anything wrong. But he went ahead and took care of business anyway because those were the rules. Somebody shows up on a lista and the rules say you got to do what you got to do. Chuco realized that even straight up soldiers who dotted all the I's and crossed all the T's, kicked up, played fair and followed the rules were getting put in ditches because somebody, somewhere, for some unknown reason decided they belonged there.

Chuco came to the realization that if he stayed in the mix long enough, even he could end up on somebody's list for reasons he couldn't even guess at. This is nothing new. But way back then, it was rare that somebody of his stature had to watch his back from the very people that claimed to be his closest allies.

What seems to be happening now is an acceleration of that reality among more and more soldiers. I mentioned a few posts back about the change in the power structure in County. That situation is a straight up power struggle. A "mine's bigger that yours" macho, power move that's only going to create more fault lines and fractures inside the organization. Going back to history, it's a replay on a smaller scale to the insane, self-destructive moves that Nicky Scarfo played in North Jersey. He whacked anybody and everybody, even his own blood family members in an out-of-control demonstration of raw power. The business and the personal got so mixed up in his head that the whole organization imploded from the inside. All the Feds did was find somebody in the mix afraid enough of nutcase Scarfo to tip the scales a little bit. We're seeing a lot of that right now in the Sureno Nation.

What the growth in PC yards is doing is taking away the brothers' power to project their influence beyond the SHUs. They've traditionally had the power because they had access to main yards. As more PC yards coming on line, the power to call shots dimishes. If you play that paradigm out to its logical conclusion, you'll be left with a handful of shot callers thrashing around in their SHUs, isolated from the rest of the inmate population and desperately looking for any willing homie to carry out orders.

PC or SNY yards, as Quinones alludes to, no longer have the negative connotation they used to. It used to be that solid soldiers, North or South, would rather take their chances getting stabbed up in mainline than being PC'd up with chesters, snitches and queens. That's not the case anymore. And you can't blame them. If the very people you grew up with and shed blood for can't be trusted not to turn on you on the say-so of some paranoid carnal in the SHU, then hey, PC sounds like the deal of a lifetime. Better to be a live dropout than bleeding out in a shower or choked out in your cell and not even knowing why the hell you just got hit.

Your thoughts?

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Levar Haney Washington and Gregory Vernon Patterson, the two converts to Islam accused of plotting to set off attacks against military and Jewish targets in LA, pleaded not guilty yesterday in Santa Ana Federal court. An old name popped up in connection to Washington. His lawyer is none other than Ellen Barry. For those of you with a long memory and a mind hungry for details, you'll remember Barry as the lawyer that represented Alex "Pee Wee" Aguirre in the first of the three RICO cases back in 1996. Pee Wee, an Avenues shot caller and alleged carnal, was eventually convicted and sentenced to life. He's doing his time in Marion.

During that trial, Barry's contention that all those meetings in hotels videotaped by the LA Task Force were nothing more than paroled convicts getting together to form a support group to help them adjust to life on the outside. Some of the people taped in those meetings include Huero Shy, Randy Cowboy, informant Chuco Castro and Pee Wee. Clearly, her argument didn't convince the jury.

Alex's little brother Richie was recently mentioned in a recent LA WEEKLY article. Story poacher Christine Pelisek wrote about his murder trial but didn't stick around long enough to cover the finale. Richie and co-defendant Scott Gleason were convicted of three homicides. An appeal is likely.