Prisoners Report on Conditions in

Federal Prisons

Can you do layout? Help out by laying out pamphlets and study packs to mail to prisoners. help out

www.prisoncensorship.info is a media institution run by the Maoist Internationalist Ministry of Prisons. Here we collect and publicize reports of conditions behind the bars in U.$. prisons. Information about these incidents rarely makes it out of the prison, and when it does it is extremely rare that the reports are taken seriously and published. This historical record is important for documenting patterns of abuse, and also for informing people on the streets about what goes on behind the bars.

We hope this information will inspire people to take action and join the fight against the criminal injustice system. While we may not be able to immediately impact this particular instance of abuse, we can work to fundamentally change the system that permits and perpetuates it. The criminal injustice system is intimately tied up with imperialism, and serves as a tool of social control on the homeland, particularly targeting oppressed nations.

[Control Units] [Abuse] [Tabor Correctional Institution] [North Carolina]
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Mass Placement into Segregation

This Tabor City Correctional Institution had a dead-line to meet to empty 3 Close Custody blocks and turn them into modified housing. First D-Block was emptied. Moving prisoners into E and F Blocks. D-Block was filled with modified prisoners. There was talk of the dead-line among prisoners as many prisoners were shipped out every week to other prisons. Finally it's April and the 3 blocks aren't empty!

Someone's planning and plotting behind the scenes?

Sunday night, 17 April 2016, as the NBA play-off games are on, prisoners look forward to late night. No count was called, only an alleged pig supposedly said "lock down" and E and F block supposedly said "no!"

No code was called, everyone did lock back.

Monday night, it was late night. Tuesday at 4pm over 30 prisoners were kidnapped from their cells during count and placed in an empty block (seg.) and given A-2 and C-3 charges. These were brothers who were asleep and brothers who were not in the day room!

This demonstration put down by the Superintendent Perry and Unit Management is a clear violation of rights. And a fast way to clear E-Block for modified housing at the expense of over 30 prisoners. The grievances are moving and letters are being written to lawyers. I’m writing to MIM to inform you of this move that's being played out at the expense of prisoner's livelihoods. Please let the world know what this Tabor Correctional Institute is doing. We need help! Lastly I’ve received 47, 48, 49 issues. Thank you Comrades! I await Issue 50. Keep us informed and I shall remain in this struggle to free all prisoners from control units.

Peace, Unity.
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[United Front] [California]
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FFU Joining the United Front for Peace in Prisons

Our group's name is FFU, or Frantz Fanon University. Our statement of unity is to actively educate "the people", radicalize gang members in aims of putting an end to ALL OPPRESSION.

We believe in having peace amongst the oppressed in working together arm-in-arm. We know that it takes unity to rise up against the power structure that holds us down. Growth is tantamount in the struggle. Internationalism needs to be reached. Independence is what we're striving for.


[signed by the members of FFU]
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[Control Units] [Abuse] [Hays State Prison] [Georgia]
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Need help exposing abuse in Georgia

I am incarcerated at a prison in all ways like what is talked about in Under Lock & Key. I was given the Sept/Oct 2015 No 46 issue and the same things about the lack of medical attention, guards beating, tasing, and killing prisoners are taking place at my prison. This is genocide in a very obvious form. There are little to know classes to enroll and very hard to get into a class that helps you to parole so guys can get out of prison faster. Censorship is getting worse also. There is a control unit that keeps guys locked down for 9 months to 2 years called Tier 2 which is causing mental anguish and deterioration and mental health counselors are not helping at all. I am in this unit. They take all our hygiene items that are needed, depriving us of maintaining ourselves. We need help and your mag is a light in our eyes. I want to subscribe and get info on things that can help us and teach us how to stop these things.

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[Abuse] [Gender] [Oregon]
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Funded Security is Setup for Target Harassment

After reading "The 2 Strikes Law" article in ULK 49, where the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) was referenced, I decided to write the following article about something that happened recently in this prison regarding PREA funding.

Over the fall of 2015 and into the early winter of '16 this prison received more federal funding to implement PREA safeguards including the following measures. Now every unit officer has to display and provide a stack of pre-printed PREA cards with information on how and what to report. The leading PREA investigative Lieutenant at this prison, Lt. Carey, stands around the chow hall to randomly pull individuals over and ask them: "If you are sexually assaulted, what will you do?" Looking for the answer: "I will dutifully report it to you sir, of course."

And every unit and building in this facility has had the restrooms and showers reformed and renovated with large metal stalls and divides in them built from the small welding shop here so that during the upcoming PREA audit this smartass Lieutenant can show the public everything they've done to make sure "inmates'" genitals aren't in constant view of each other or any staff that walk by a bathroom or shower.

This was after doorbell alarms were installed on every unit to alert "indecent" prisoners as to whenever female staff entered a unit, to make themselves decent and to not accidentally sexually assault them or intentionally be exposed when they come around; i.e. when a female staff comes onto a unit to relieve the duty officer and then does a "shower check" to see who on the shower list is still naked and in there. Although none of the female staff seem to enjoy having a bing-bong doorbell ring every time they enter a housing unit, Lt. Corey personally installed most if not all of them, with pride.

But the most scathing display and culmination of target-harassment for generating PREA funding came in these early months of 2016. It's not female officers performing count at midnight, one, five o'clock in the morning and ringing a door bell while prisoners are trying to sleep that generated the imagined need for PREA awareness. It was this: DOC added revisions to certain rules in this state on 5 January 2016, including 291-133: "Marriages and domestic partnership solemnization ceremonies for inmates." which states: “These revisions are necessary to update the department's policies and procedures regarding marriages and solemnization ceremonies for prisoners in department facilities. The rules will recognize same-sex marriages to reflect changes in state and federal laws. The department will no longer transport inmates between facilities for the purpose of participating in a marriage or solemnization ceremony. Married or domestic partnership inmates who reside in the same facility will not be housed in the same cell.

Here is also what happened in January 2016. From one of this prison's units approximately 15 prisoners were taken to segregation from the same unit for alleged "sexual activity" and/or "unauthorized organization." They were all given 120s in seg. 120-day sanctions for the “unauthorized organization” convictions and those who could have been were convicted of “sexual activity” if they were “known homos” or even “suspected homos” if their names were close enough on the shower log to have communally showered together.

Many, or most, of the “known homos” and “suspected homos” were all transferred to this unit in the late months of 2015, to set up this target “unauthorized organization” and inevitable communal-shower-sign-up. Many prisoners lost their prison jobs, incentive levels, etc. for being a casualty of what the officer-pigs refer to as 2016's “Operation Fruit Roll-up.” All to bring more necessity to the prison's gathering of federal PREA funding for the April audit.

PREA information has also now been blasted nonstop on the prison's “information and education” channel since January. When the prison posted the 291-133: “Marriages and domestic partnership solemnization ceremonies for inmates” memo on units in early January, the prison then used that to say “unauthorized – organized” “suspected homos” thought it was ok to come out, so we sent them all to segregation for 120 days and set them up to be “identified homosexuals” for fellow prisoners and staff to “watch out for.”

I was not an individual who was segregated and I do not identify as homosexual, but other prisoners who were D-seged and other individuals who weren't, are too scared to associate with each other or stand up for themselves for successive retaliatory target harassment of this sexual nature. I am writing to bring attention to the korupt and disgusting lengths these pigs will go to, to secure prison rape funding “just in time” for the audit, but nobody is fooled.

This is one of the most disgusting and damaging pig setups I have witnessed and likewise read about. But what now can be done?


MIM(Prisons) responds: This is a good example of the so-called Prison Rape Elimination Act actually leading to more harassment and gender oppression. We can't rely on the oppressors to take action to eliminate oppression. If we want to see an end to rape in prison, prisoners must come together to build unity and peace, and protect one another from any predatory or violent individuals. Of course the guards have the power, and when they are the rapists it is very hard to fight back. Even when the rapists are other prisoners, when this is sanctioned or at the bidding of the guards, it becomes very difficult to fight. But we will build far more peace and security through independent institutions and organizing of the oppressed than will ever be achieved by appeals to the administration or government for protection and new rules and regulations.

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[United Front] [Aztlan/Chicano] [California State Prison, Sacramento] [California] [ULK Issue 50]
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Unity Growing on the Yard at Folsom

18 April 2016
Revolutionary Greetings to you all,

Today we had a tournament of handball here in Folsom Prison C-Yard. It was a tournament where my homies from the south and the fellas from the north played with each other. We opened our courts for them to come and just have some fun and express solidarity and unity not only to our people but to the other factions of people and tribes. It was a beautiful thing to see, for we had all the Raza from Aztlán and other comrades in the courts of handball. Two months ago we had a few baseball games where north and south Raza had a go and for a minute we thought that would probably be it. But no. Efforts are being made from both ends and others as well, to keep the peace amongst the lumpen organizations (LOs). We understand it's a small token here, but a big step for emancipation for sure. It's been a good year so far. We are constantly working to unify the lumpen, I myself struggle to spread the view of one united Aztlán. It's a slow but steady process.

I received the book, [email protected] Power and the Struggle for Aztlán. It helps me out, not only to understand more, but also to teach others. And now I can provide more info when we teach each other.


Update 18 May 2016: The next step we have taken is to mix the teams — no more north against south — We just play. So we'll see what's next. It's as if we've been waiting for this to happen but wouldn't say it. Now that it has it is embraced by the majority here. Of course, there is still those that have an Amerikanized divide and conquer mentality. But they will adapt and learn.


Campaign info:
Agreement to End Hostilities
This article referenced in:
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[Rhymes/Poetry] [ULK Issue 49]
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Uncle Sam's Big Top

Pig Circus
U.$. elections are a pig circus, a tactic to keep people
distracted while the U.$. military bombs the world.

Hark now all you merry souls
and listen as the drumbeat rolls
oh what sounds, and sights abound
come one and all, let's gather round
no worries friends, no danger here
no cause for panic, fright or fear
we're all friends, make no mistake
don't mind these guards, guns, dogs and gates
just follow me yes, right this way
cause in this tent you're here to stay

Now step to the right folks, here you'll see
stacks and rows of new TVs!
such a thrill to sit and watch
these flashing pictures as you rot
now pay attention, here comes the end
as you smile and nod at the message they send,
as they tell you what to want and wear,
on what to spend and when to care,
on whom to hate, and emulate
and who should run this police state
it's all for your own good you see
cause freedom of thought saps your energy
yes, that's it, makes perfect sense
now sit and stare and lets commence

Now once you're done with program phazing
we've something else that's just as amazing
a feast for the mind now, if you will
euphoria! in just one little pill
yes prozac, yes oxies, yes sweet ridalin!
and xannies, and valium and yes vicodin!
we've got benzos and dexos and zicobilafral
we've got shit you can't pronounce at all!
we've got your poison, whatever your vice
opiate derivitives and pharmaceutical ice
we'll fix your brain, your chondriatic disease
your moods, your stress, even your shakey knees
with only the sagest in new medications
designed by private health care corporations
profiteers in big business competition
for capital gain and political position
so pay no mind to that small print warning
pay for your pills and take two every morning

And now that you're passive on new medication
let's move right along to the next demonstration
onward we go into the main tent
just purchase your seating arrangement for rent
oh yeah, almost forgot to tell you
we also reserve the full right to sell you
and to buy you, and steal you
and to enslave you, even to kill you
but never you mind all of that just yet
I'll explain it all later (once you forget)

Now come one and all, to the main demonstration!
it's about to begin, oh what a sensation!
oh what brilliance, oh what drama!
the procession is even being led by Obama!
it's the greatest of shows, the biggest one ever!
the world's never seen such a grand endeavor
you see, the producers and directors who hid in the shade
have learned from mistakes that through history've been made
from Rome to Germany, and even from Stalin
we've studied the pitfalls in which they have fallen
plus with post-industrialist balloons, toys and clowns,
and gadgets and gewgaws, distractions abound
in this consumerist culture, it's a glorious ride!
but if you resist - force will be applied.
now sit in your row, your correct social class station
with your face to the front for the big presentation
pay no attention to the stage hands behind
who are locking the exits and changing the signs

Now the music fades, the lights have gone low
and the ringmaster enters to start off the show
oh what will he do? what will he say?
for what grand gala did we come all this way?
such anticipation and so much suspense
but his smile drops, and now he comments,
"we're sorry folks, but there's been a mistake
truth is, you get jack for the tolls we do take
you've read the signs wrong, yet now they are gone
but since you're all here, the show must go on
so you there" he points to the bottom rung seating,
cracking his whip at those few retreating
"Black folks, [email protected] and freaks with mohawks!
into the freakshow cages with locks!
now don't waste your time and try to resist
cause our bullies are on roid and you DON'T want them pist!
as for the third world ladies and gents
you'll be the labor to prop up our tents
you best not complain, get your asses in gear
as we control you with tactics of fear
don't worry kind Amerikans, no cause for alarm,
just cooperate, I promise, we'll bring you no harm
have a laptop, a smartphone, a "binky" of sorts
a gesture of thanks for being such good sports
we'll keep you medicated and very well fed
we'll play your favorite cop shows and then send you to bed
but don't get empathetic with those in our cages
or we'll send in the drones to drop pies in your faces
can't you see the benevolence of our militarization?
it's all just for you, such insane exploitation
such death to our slaves in third world countries
such death to our ecosystem and our cute little monkeys
and death to you dissenters who don't like our shows
and death to nature, care of money-hungry CEOs
and death to our search for meaningful progression
and human progress itself, by way of oppression
and death to all those that we can't squeeze for money
and death to all those who even look at us funny
as we pump millions in tons of poisonous fumes
into the atmosphere in visible plumes
all so your luxurious leisure can grow
thank you for voting, now on with the show
for the biggest one ever, too big to be stopped
come one, and come all to Uncle Sam's Big Top!

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[Release] [Texas]
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Parole on Paper but No Way to Pay

I was close to seeing parole for my third time. Even if I would make parole, I have no place to go. The half-way houses in Texas want money before you parole there. How am I supposed to pay them if I've been incarcerated for the past 4 years in a state that doesn't pay their inmates to work? I've seen numerous people make parole, not have a place to go, and remain here for 15 month after they were granted parole! What kind of sense does that make? But Texas is good with it because it looks like they are using their parole and they are still collecting money from the government for said prisoner. My time for release is coming soon and I have no place to go or any type of plan. I'm more than capable of working, but I need some help getting started.

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[Control Units] [Campaigns] [Hunger Strike] [Waupun Correctional Institution] [Wisconsin] [ULK Issue 50]
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Prisoners Plan Hunger Strike to Protest Wisconsin Long Term Isolation

WaupunSolitary
Waupun solitary confinement cell

Wisconsin prisoners at Waupun Correctional Institution are planning a hunger strike to begin on 10 June 2016 to demand an end to the torture of long-term confinement in control units in Wisconsin.

In 2015, the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (WI DOC) made some policy changes to their use of long-term solitary confinement. According to the DOC, the number of prisoners in "restrictive status housing" was reduced by about 200 by reducing the maximum time prisoners can be put in control units (which varies depending on the justification given for this isolation). The WI DOC refused to release any information about these changes until compelled by records requests, and the total number of prisoners in control units reported by the DOC is highly suspicious as it is far lower than information gathered from surveys.(1) In addition, Waupun prisoners were not notified of the change to this policy, and months later were still being held for longer than the new regulations allowed.(2) It's unclear if the new policy is being applied uniformly across Wisconsin prisons at this point, but small reductions in the length of solitary confinement sentences will not solve the fundamental problem of this system of torture.

The actual policies are available on the Wisconsin DOC website and include a table listing maximum time in "disciplinary separation" for various offenses. This includes 180 days for "lying" and 360 days for "lying about an employee," 180 days for "disrespect" and 180 days for "misuse of state or federal property." These are all easily abused accusations that prisoners are powerless to dispute. Furthermore, a Wisconsin prisoner can be put in a control unit for up to 180 days for "punctuality and attendance" issues and "loitering," and up to 90 days for "poor personal hygiene," "dirty assigned living area," and "improper storage."(3) The policy also states "More than one minor or major disposition may be imposed for a single offense and both a major and minor disposition may be imposed for a major offense" which sounds like they can just pile on lots of offenses and sum up the total max days in isolation so that prisoners are held there for years.

The demands of this protest include the release of prisoners who have been in solitary confinement for over a year, a length of isolation far exceeding what is commonly considered torture by international human rights organizations.

As one prisoner reported to Under Lock & Key a few years ago:

"I have reasons to believe that these people have no plans of removing me off A.C. ... They have me in the worst conditions in the Wisconsin DOC. ... It is fly infested. I have black worms coming out of the sink. We can't have publications.

"I have been in seg for over 13 years. and I haven't given these people any trouble in a long time, and what I'm in seg for is solely political. I am being punished for organizing for Black Unity and against institutional racism. I simply created organizations that advocated the advancement of Black people and that fought against Black on Black crime, poverty, ignorance, etc. It wasn't created to terrorize white people, as the totalitarian state would have you believe.

"As a result of being in seg I have developed a long range of psychological issues, issues that have left me scarred permanently. These issues have caused some professionals to label me psychotic and delusional among other things. I was diagnosed with Delusional Disorder and am being treated for it."(4)

It is well documented that long-term isolation causes mental health problems including hallucinations and delusions. This technique is used in prisons like Guantanamo Bay to torture military prisoners into making confessions (or making up confessions for the many innocents who suffer this torture). But in the Amerikan prison system this torture primarily serves to slowly erode the health of prisoners who are either confined to waste away for the rest of their life, or released back to the streets unable to care for themselves.

The petition put together by prisoners at Waupun is printed in full below:

Dying to Live

Human rights fight at Waupun Correctional Institution starting June 10, 2016. Prisoners in Waupun's solitary confinement will start No Food & Water humanitarian demand from Wisconsin Department of Corrections officials.

The why: In the state of Wisconsin hundreds of prisoners are in the long term solitary confinement units a.k.a. Administrative Confinement (AC). Some been in this status from 18 to 20 years.

The Problem: The United Nations, several states, and even President Obama have come out against this kind of confinement citing the torturous effect it has on prisoners.

The Objective: Stop the torturous use long-term solitary confinement (AC) by:

  1. Placing a legislative cap on the use of long term solitary confinement (AC)
  2. DOC and Wisconsin legislators adoption/compliance of the UN Mandela rules on the use of solitary confinement(5)
  3. Oversight board/committee independent of DOC to stop abuse and overclassification of prisoners to "short" and "long" term solitary confinement.
  4. Immediate transition and release to a less restrictive housing of prisoners who been on the long term solitary confinement units for more than a year in the Wisconsin DOC
  5. Proper mental health facilities and treatment of "short" and "long" term solitary confinement prisoners
  6. An immediate FBI investigation to the secret Asklepieion* program the DOC is currently operating at Columbia Correctional Institution (CCI) to break any prisoner who the DOC considers a threat to their regimen

How you can help

  1. Call Governor Scott Walker's office and tell him to reform the long-term solitary confinement units in the Wisconsin DOC and to stop the secret Asklepieion program at once. The number to call is 608-266-1212.
  2. Call the DOC central office and demand that all 6 humanitarian demands for this hunger strike be met and demand an explanation as to why they are operating a torture program. The number to call is 608-240-5000.
  3. Call the media and demand that they do an independent investigation on the secret Asklepieion program operating at Columbia Correctional Institution, and cover this hunger strike.
  4. Call the FBI building in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and demand that they investigate the secret Asklepieion torture program being run at CCI. The phone number to call is 414-276-4684.
  5. Call Columbia Correctional Institution and tell them you are aware of their secret torture program. Harass them! 608-742-9100.
  6. Join in on the hunger strike and post it on the net. Convince others to join as well.


    * Asklepieion is a secret DOC torture program based upon Dr. Edgar H. Schein's brainwashing methodology that in the 1960s was disguised and turned into a Behavior Therapy Treatment program that deals with the literal brainwashing and enslavement of an individual's mind. It retrogresses the individual to the character role of a child and reinforces the need for paternal authority. To achieve such effect the prison authorities, with the help of collaborating inmates, must first break the individual's mind through sleep deprivation and character invalidation techniques, and then, recondition it with Stockholm Syndrom. To see more go to https://iwoc.noblogs.org/post/2016/02/16/personal-experience-with-behavior-control-in-a-wisconsin-prison/
Notes: 1. The The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism reports that 1,500 inmates are held in segregation, while MIM(Prisons)'s own survey counts 1,800. These numbers are much higher than what the WI DOC is reporting even before the supposed reduction in 2015.
2. Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, "Maximum stints in solitary cut, but Waupun inmates left in dark", January 17, 2016.
3. Wisconsin Legislative website, DOC code 303.
4. A Wisconsin Prisoner, October 2012, Torture in Control Units for Black Organizers, prisoncensorship.info.
5. see "Rule 43
1.In no circumstances may restrictions or disciplinary sanctions amount to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. The following practices, in particular, shall be prohibited:
  1. Indefinite solitary confinement;
  2. Prolonged solitary confinement;
  3. Placement of a prisoner in a dark or constantly lit cell;
  4. Corporal punishment or the reduction of a prisoner’s diet or drinking water;
  5. Collective punishment"
and "Rule 45 1. Solitary confinement shall be used only in exceptional cases as a last resort, for as short a time as possible and subject to independent review, and only pursuant to the authorization by a competent authority. It shall not be imposed by virtue of a prisoner’s sentence.
2. The imposition of solitary confinement should be prohibited in the case of prisoners with mental or physical disabilities when their conditions would be exacerbated by such measures. The prohibition of the use of solitary confinement and similar measures in cases involving women and children, as referred to in other United Nations standards and norms in crime prevention and criminal justice,28 continues to apply."
United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Mandela Rules), 21 May 2015.
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[U.S. Imperialism] [Idealism/Religion] [ULK Issue 52]
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Guantanamo Diary Book Review

GuantanamoDiary
Guantánamo Diary
by Mohamedou Ould Slahi
2015

Mohamedou Ould Slahi has been held in secret detention centers by order of the Amerikan government since 2001, first in Mauritania (the country where ey was born), then in Jordan, and finally in 2002 in Guantánamo Bay where ey is still imprisoned. Slahi voluntarily turned emself in to the Mauritanian police on 29 September 2001; sure that ey would quickly be cleared since ey was innocent of any crimes. Instead ey faced years of torture, through which ey initially maintained eir innocence, until it became clear that ey would never be released and ey could no longer stand the suffering. After that point Slahi began to confess to anything eir captors wanted em to say. Slahi still occasionally told them the truth when they asked directly, but for the most part their stories were not possibly consistent or confirmable since the "confessions" were entirely fabricated. But after ey began to make false confessions and falsely implicate others Slahi was allowed to sleep and eat, and the extreme physical abuse stopped. The details of eir torture will make readers wonder how Slahi held out for so long.

Slahi started writing down eir experiences in 2005 (after ey was finally given paper and pen) and after many years of legal battles eir heavily censored manuscript was finally released by the Amerikan government. This book is an edited version of Slahi's story, complete with the original redactions. The editor, Larry Seims, includes some speculation about what is behind the redactions and documents other declassified information that corroborates what Slahi wrote. In spite of heavy censorship, the released manuscript includes surprising detail about Slahi's experience including years of torture, the clear evidence that ey is innocent, and the Amerikan government's desire for a false confession.

The book is written in English, Slahi's fourth language, one that ey learned in prison in order to better communicate with eir captors and understand what was going on around em. For six and a half years Slahi's was allowed no contact with the outside world and was even hidden from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) which has a mandate under the Geneva Convention to visit prisoners of war and others detained in situations like Slahi's to ensure humane treatment. For the first year of incarceration Slahi's family didn't even know where ey was, they found out when one of eir brothers saw an article in a German newspaper. In 2008 Slahi was finally granted the "privilege" of twice-yearly calls with family. In 2010 Slahi's petition of habeas corpus was granted by the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, ordering eir release. But the Obama administration filed an appeal and Slahi remains in custody.

Amerikan Imperialist Global Domination

The many people who were arrested and kidnapped from their home countries to be sent to Guantánamo Bay underscore the neo-colonial status of those countries. As Slahi explains "November 28th is Mauritanian Independence Day; it marks the event when the Islamic Republic of Mauritania supposedly received its independence from the French colonists in 1960. The irony is that on this very same day in 2001, the independent and sovereign Republic of Mauritania turned over one of its own citizens on a premise. To its everlasting shame, the Mauritanian government not only broke the constitution, which forbids the extradition of Mauritanian criminals to other countries, but also extradited an innocent citizen and exposed him to the random American Justice."(p. 132)

When the ICRC finally got in to see Slahi, the last detainee they were allowed to visit, they tried to get em to talk about abuse ey experienced. "But I always hid the ill-treatment when the ICRC asked me about it because I was afraid of retaliation. That and the fact that the ICRC has no real pressure on the U.S. government: the ICRC tried, but the U.S. government didn't change its path, even an inch. If they let the Red Cross see a detainee, it meant that the operation against that detainee was over."(p. 348)

This book underscores the power of Amerikan imperialism to do whatever it likes in the world. There is no government or organization able to stand up to this power. This is something that many Amerikans take pride in, but this is the power of a people who seek to dominate the world for economic gain. When the oppressed fight back, that power is deployed to squash the resistance by any means necessary. Of course there is a contradiction inherent in this power: Amerikan imperialist domination breeds resistance from the oppressed around the world. So-called terrorist attacks on Amerikan targets are responses to Amerikan terrorism across the globe.

As Slahi noted when ey was watching the movie Black Hawk Down with a few of eir guards: "The guards went crazy emotionally because they saw many Americans getting shot to death. But they missed that the number of U.S. casualties is negligible compared to the Somalis who were attacked in their own homes. I was just wondering at how narrow-minded human beings can be. When people look at one thing from one perspective, they certainly fail to get the whole picture, and that is the main reason for the majority of misunderstandings that sometimes lead to bloody confrontations."(p. 320)

We would not agree that it is just misunderstandings that lead to these bloody confrontations. Rather it is the blood thirst of imperialist aggression constantly seeking new sources of exploited and stolen wealth that inevitably leads to bloody confrontations.

While Slahi is far from politically radical, eir experience educated em in the reality of injustice and the definition of crime by those in power. Writing about eir arrest and initial imprisonment in Mauritania: "So why was I so scared? Because crime is something relative; it's something the government defines and re-defines whenever it pleases."(p. 92)

War on Islam

The target of Amerikan aggression changes depending on where there is the most resistance to imperialism. Back in the mid 1900s it was focused on the communist countries, this shifted to the "War on Drugs" and attacks on Latin America in the late 1900s, and then to the Arab world in the early 2000s. Slahi is acutely aware of this latest wave of aggression by the Amerikan imperialists targeting Islam and the hypocrisy of this attack:

"...Americans tend to widen the circle of involvement to catch the largest possible number of Muslims. They always speak about the Big Conspiracy against the U.S. I personally had been interrogated about people who just practiced the basics of the religion and sympathized with Islamic movements; I was asked to provide every detail about Islamic movements, no matter how moderate. That's amazing in a country like the U.S., where Christian terrorist organizations such as Nazis and White Supremacists have the freedom to express themselves and recruit people openly and nobody can bother them. But as a Muslim, if you sympathize with the political views of an Islamic organization you're in big trouble. Even attending the same mosque as a suspect is big trouble. I mean this fact is clear for everybody who understands the ABCs of American policy toward so-called Islamic Terrorism."(p. 260-61)

Slahi also documents the denial of religious practice in detention camps:

"But in the secret camps, the war against the Islamic religion was more than obvious. Not only was there no sign to Mecca, but the ritual prayers were also forbidden. Reciting the Koran was forbidden. Possessing the Koran was forbidden. Fasting was forbidden. Practically any Islamic-related ritual was strictly forbidden. I am not talking here about hearsay; I am talking about something I experienced myself. I don't believe that the average American is paying taxes to wage war against Islam, but I do believe that there are people in government who have a big problem with the Islamic religion."(p. 265)

Slahi misses that this chauvinism is not at root a problem Amerikans have with the Islamic religion. Rather it is a problem they have with oppressed people who rise up to oppose Amerikan imperialism. Islam is just one of many targets because it is a religion of the oppressed. The Amerikan government (and its people) had no problem with Islam when al-Qaeda was an ally in the fight against communism. In fact Slahi himself trained with al-Qaeda for six months in Afghanistan, but this was during the time when that group was supported by the Amerikan government and fighting against the Soviet-backed government in that country. This action was legal for Mauritanian citizens, and in fact encouraged by the Amerikan government. Nonetheless this fact became one of the cornerstones of the Amerikan insistence that Slahi was behind the World Trade Center attacks, among other things.

Will Amerikans Oppose Torture?

After years of torture and unjust imprisonment at the hands of the Amerikan government Slahi remains relatively moderate in eir views about the country and its people. Ey sees fundamental good in all people, a view that communists share, but one that has blinded Slahi to the economic interests of the vast majority of Amerikans which leads them to support the torture in Guantanamo even after reports like this one are released.

"What would the dead average American think if he or she could see what his or her government is doing to someone who has done no crimes against anybody? As much as I was ashamed for the Arabic fellows, I knew they definitely didn't represent the average Arab. Arabic people are among the greatest on the planet, sensitive, emotional, loving, generous, sacrificial, religious, charitable, and light-hearted.... If people in the Arab world knew what was happening in this place, the hatred against the U.S. would be heavily watered, and the accusation that the U.S. is helping and working together with dictators in our countries would be cemented."(p. 257)

The reality is that most people in the Arab world do know about Amerikan injustice. In fact, in Mauritania the police told Slahi "America is a country that is based on and living with injustice"(p. 134) when Slahi asked why they were extraditing em when they believed ey had already proven eir innocence. And it is this knowledge that leads to many taking up the fight against Amerikan imperialism. At the same time most Amerikans now know about the torture of detainees at Guantánamo Bay and still public sentiment is far from outraged at these actions. Large portions of the population rally around political figures like Donald Trump when ey calls for more torture.

From all of this we see further evidence for the potential of Islam as a liberation theology for those fighting against Amerikan imperialism. Just as the masses in Latin America were drawn to Catholic liberation theology as a reaction to oppression and injustice in that region, segments of any religion are likely to adapt to popular sentiments. Liberation theology was a valuable ally for the revolutionaries in Latin America.

Regardless of the format this liberation struggle takes, we know that the oppressed people of the world can not wait around for Amerikans to wake up and stop the torture themselves. Now more than a year after Slahi's book was released (which even spent some time on the best seller's list), still nothing has been done about eir situation. The masses must liberate themselves; their captors will never willingly give up power. And the Amerikan people are enjoying the spoils of the captors, so most Amerikans are happily going along with imperialist torture worldwide.

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[Abuse] [Campaigns] [McConnell Unit] [Texas]
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Trying to Defend Rights in Texas

As of now, several other prisoners and I are having major problems with our grievances not being processed. The reason given for not processing the grievances is "issue not grievable." One of my grievances was against a Corrections Officer (CO) who refused to issue confiscation papers after taking something from a prisoner. The other one was against another CO who forced me to stay in the day room with my commissary (when it's strictly against policy). In that grievance I cited such policy and it was immediately (the very next day) sent back to me with the excuse "issue not grievable". So, I've send a letter to the Administrative Review & Risk Management (ARRM) Division Administrator. I still haven't heard back from them. Still waiting. But I won't at all be surprised if I don't get an answer. I know very well how these people work. Please send me some grievance petitions.

In your March/April 2016, No.49 news letter you published an article by a South Carolina prisoner, "One More Doctor Replaced". Very interesting article. Because here at the McConnell Unit we have a P.A. Erie Echavarry that would do anything in his power to deny prisoners as much medical care as possible. I've filed grievances and complaints with the Texas Board of Examiner's in Austin, Texas. But to no avail. Things have gotten worse, especially for those of us who file complaints against him. You will never see the end of medical negligence. And the worst thing of all is that you will stay stuck seeing the evil P.A. Echavarry. I was told that I don't have a say in who I get to see.

The Texas Board of Examiners responded that there was insufficient evidence to substantiate my allegations against P.A. Echavarry. I'm not the only one who's filed complaint's with T.B.E in Austin, TX against this P.A., and nothing is being done about it. Is there anybody that you can refer me to that can help me in regards to this matter?

I was at the Connally Unit. I know how bad the food is over there. Here at McConnell is no different. The food is 100% inadequate. While we are served casserole about 98% of the time, which is mainly noodles more than anything else, the officers are fed ribs, fried pork chops, chicken, or chicken fried steak. Some days they eat Mexican food such as chalupas. This is even though the law is that they are to eat what we prisoners eat. With the exception that the chicken be baked or fried, the same with fish, and chicken patty, or burrito etc.

But it's very rare that these officers eat what we prisoners eat. It is a known fact. On my next letter I will try to have documentation to send you to this matter.

I try my best to fight these injustices, even filing "Citizen Complaints" with the Ombudsman. But lately, either the Ombudsman is not taking into consideration the complaints that have been filed with his agency, or here at the McConnell unit they are disregarding them. I helped a friend file one through one of my nieces, Which he hasn't heard anything of yet. It's been already 2 weeks now. Well, i think this will be all for now. Until next time.

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