The lifetime risk of bone marrow cancer in the U.S. is .8%, less than one in 100. So why should two of the highest profile Black U.S.-held political prisoners/prisoners of war, both with histories of having been incarcerated at the same hell hole, Florence Colorado Super Max Prison, come down with bone marrow cancer at the same time?
In the case of Jamil Abdullah Al Amin (a.k.a. H. Rap Brown), age 76, news articles have reported that he is suffering from multiple myeloma. In the case of Mutulu Shakur, aged 70, news articles have reported that he is suffering from bone marrow cancer. Word games are being played here; they are the same thing. Something doesn’t smell right. When you take into the account the growing list of Black Political Prisoners/P.O.W. s around the country that have contracted diseases or died under medically suspicious circumstances, the stench stinkens.
Delbert Africa, age 74, died in 2020 of bone cancer. Phil Africa age 63, died in 2015, according to The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections and the Luzerne P.A. County coroner, of “natural causes.” However, he died after first going to the prison infirmary on Jan. 4 and then Wilkes-Barre General Hospital where he was held in total isolation, incommunicado for five days during a time of no pandemic. He was returned to the prison and placed in hospice care.
Hospice care generally means that a person is expected to die within six months. How did anyone know that a 63-year-old man was going to die of “natural causes” within six months. The phrase “natural causes” means nothing. Nobody dies of natural causes. Some illness, disease or injury generally kills everybody but certainly everybody under the age of 100.
Jalil Muntaquim, age 68, has had a stroke with consequent brain damage. He also has chronic bronchitis and has scarring on his lungs from T.B.
Mumia Abu Jamal, age 66, has hepatitis C that was allowed progress to cirrhosis because of refusal to treat him with effective drugs. His supporters actually had to go to court to force the prison system to treat him. The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in 2019 as did a lower court prior to that, that Abu Jamal can sue the prison system over their delay in giving him curative medications.
The few political prisoners or U.S.-held P.O.W.s mentioned in this article who have either severe and in many cases suspicious illnesses or have died of same is not comprehensive by any means. The list mentioned here is long enough, however, to assert that something is wrong with prison medical care in general and with the care of Political prisoners and P.O.W’s in particular. It is long enough to support the argument that all elderly and sick prisoners especially, political prisoners and P.O.W.s should be freed during this pandemic on compassionate release; Dr. Mutulu Shakur, Imam Jamil Abdullah Al Amin and Jamil Muntaquim specifically who are all both elderly and sick and have spent over 100 years between the three of them in prison should receive immediate compassionate release from prison.
Lastly there is enough evidence for the Medical Associations such as the American Medical Association, The American Nurses Association and especially the Black Medical associations such as the Black Nurses Association, The National Medical association, The Student National Medical association to demand an objective investigation of prison health in general, Florence Super Max in particular and the health of U.S. held political prisoners and P.O.W.s. The Trade Unions such as 1199 and their healthcare subsidiaries such as S.E.I.U., C.I.R., Doctors Council representing the medical professions and ancillary services should also be making the same demands.
If you read this article and are a member or a leader of any of these unions and medical organizations please request your leadership to address these humanitarian issues. If you are a Democrat ask Biden and his soon to be announced running mate to address this issue if they want your vote.
The Author James C. McIntosh, M.D. is the 2 term past president (1984-1986) the nation’s largest union of salaried physicians, of The Committee of Interns and Residents, (C.I.R.).
He is also Co-Chair of CEMOTAP, a member of the Black Solidarity Day Committee and the author of “The Unauthorized Psychoanalysis of Rudolph Giuliani,” and “The Unauthorized Psychoanalysis of Donald J. Trump.”