Starving for justice in America's gulag from Cuba to California

This morning in the Oval Office they had a weekly event called “Terror Tuesday.” Terror Tuesday is when the meeting where President Obama, leader of the free world, looks over his disposition matrix and decides who will be killed by drone and who will be taken from their homes by Special Forces to torture and indefinite detention without trial. The Columbus Free Press has previously discussed how this technocratic extrajudicial process results when a terrorist or wedding is incinerated for the profit margin of the President's Democratic party cronies. The other results, eternal detention without trial, have not been recently examined. This practice, which presents itself as a feature of the war on terror, has it's actual root in America's vast domestic prison system. Thousands of people under its heel are literally willing to die to escape.

The prison at Guantanamo that candidate Obama had promised to close in 2008 remains open and directed by President Obama's executive branch in 2013. In this undying hell hundreds of men have been held without charges or access to lawyers for over decade. Some have been deemed ready to be released by some secret administrative process, yet have not been sent back to their country of origin, instead they are used as diplomatic bargaining chips. Over hundred of them are dying to get out. hey have been on indefinite hunger strike.

The United States government is undeterred by their antics. The hunger strikers have been force-fed for months. The method of this feeding is torture as demonstrated in this video:

Unlike Mos Def, who in the video walked to the chair and submitted to torture so that we could all see the reality of America's might, the detainees are often beaten and dragged to their daily clinically administered torture feeding session. Like the so-called medical professionals that handed out custom torture prescriptions to detainees without being charged as war criminals, the people running this living hell try to appear sensitive and correct by only force feeding after sundown for Ramadan. The uncharged victims of this eternal torture can not be tried, can not be released, can not be charged and can not die. By the decree of the President they will be held in solitary and tortured for all eternity. American ingenuity has finally invented the perfect hell on earth.

According to an AP report today, Judge Rosemary M. Collyer refused to hear the detainee's pleas, claiming that the Court and Congress have no jurisdiction. The executive branch with it's police powers claims jurisdiction above and beyond international law, ready to reach directly into any home or aircraft or conversation in the whole world and deploy bombs, drones, or listening devices at will.

Meanwhile in California the same resistance to the same type of hell has begun. Pelican Bay prison was the first home to the security housing unit or SHU. We would call it solitary confinement. Our parents would call it “The Hole.” Nearly every prison in California has one. Prisoners interred in these tombs like Bradley Manning never see daylight. They never see anyone but guards. They shower three times a week, they exercise one hour per day. They are permitted one phone call per year. Their access to the prison commissary is limited, often forcing them to chose between stamps and toilet paper. It's a regime that is designed to break a person. And it lasts until one confesses.

Over 3000 people are being held indefinitely in SHUs in California. Placement in an SHU is done by administrative process, a hearing in which the prisoner may not speak without permission, see evidence against them or have an attorney. The leading cause for permanent confinement is reputed gang affiliation. The evidence of this can take many forms, such a possession of the wrong book, or artwork construed by guards as “gang related” or association with gang members, such as speaking to or waving at one. Men have been called gang associates for helping other inmates learn to read outside of approved programs or helping other prisoners. The only way out is to “debrief,” endanger oneself by giving information on other gang members. If one is falsely accused and has no information to give, this means eternal solitude. This solitude is called torture everywhere but America.

On July 8, 12,500 prisoners began a mass hunger strike, the largest in the nation's history. Some media reports put the number as high as 29,000. The prisoners demands are simple. They demanding an end to starvation, isolation, exposure and monotony for all eternity in California's living hell. This is the third hunger strike over these same issues in California since 2011. The first two strikes ended with prison officials making concessions that they never delivered. This time prisoners have vowed it will be different. Striking prisoner Todd Asker was quoted in In These Times as saying “there's a core group of us committed to taking this all the way to the death if necessary.”

Rather than comply with the prisoners demands for basic human and constitutional rights, the California prison system has labeled the hunger strike as disruptive to prison order and thus participation is could be punishable by a one-way ticket to SHU hell.

The one right that California has not yet appropriated for itself is the right to force feed prisoners without a court order, which they have not yet commented on seeking. Should it be sought, it would almost certainly be granted, especially in the current national climate of blanket court orders that ignore the Constitution and serve to legalize appropriated executive power. California's prison system is itself in violation of a court order to reduce prison overcrowding. Democrat Governer Brown himself is in danger of being held in contempt of court on this issue.

A showdown is brewing, one that could bring Guantanamo Bay home to Pelican Bay. An even more brutal regime may be implemented, one that could bring 58,000 instances of torture per day to American soil, complete with beatings of men to strap them down, invade their stomachs via their noses and force them to live yet another day in America's eternal hell. It's another Happy Terror Tuesday here in Obama's transparent accountable America.

Date Originally Published: 
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
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