The Shame of America’s Gulag

Via: Truthdig

Posted on Mar 17, 2013
By Chris Hedges

If, as Fyodor Dostoevsky wrote, “the degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons” then we are a nation of barbarians. Our vast network of federal and state prisons, with some 2.3 million inmates, rivals the gulags of totalitarian states. Once you disappear behind prison walls you become prey. Rape. Torture. Beatings. Prolonged isolation. Sensory deprivation. Racial profiling. Chain gangs. Forced labor. Rancid food. Children imprisoned as adults. Prisoners forced to take medications to induce lethargy. Inadequate heating and ventilation. Poor health care. Draconian sentences for nonviolent crimes. Endemic violence.

Bonnie Kerness and Ojore Lutalo, both of whom I met in Newark, N.J., a few days ago at the office of American Friends Service Committee Prison Watch, have fought longer and harder than perhaps any others in the country against the expanding abuse of prisoners, especially the use of solitary confinement. Lutalo, once a member of the Black Liberation Army, an offshoot of the Black Panthers, first wrote Kerness in 1986 while he was a prisoner at Trenton State Prison, now called New Jersey State Prison. He described to her the bleak and degrading world of solitary confinement, the world of the prisoners like him held in the so-called management control unit, which he called “a prison within a prison.” Before being released in 2009, Lutalo was in the management control unit for 22 of the 28 years he served for the second of two convictions—the first for a bank robbery and the second for a gun battle with a drug dealer. He kept his sanity, he told me, by following a strict regime of exercising in his tiny cell, writing, meditating and tearing up newspapers to make collages that portrayed his prison conditions.

“The guards in riot gear would suddenly wake you up at 1 a.m., force you to strip and make you grab all your things and move you to another cell just to harass you,” he said when we spoke in Newark. “They had attack dogs with them that were trained to go for your genitals. You spent 24 hours alone one day in your cell and 22 the next. If you do not have a strong sense of purpose you don’t survive psychologically. Isolation is designed to defeat prisoners mentally, and I saw a lot of prisoners defeated.”

Lutalo’s letter was Kerness’ first indication that the U.S. prison system was creating something new—special detention facilities that under international law are a form of torture. He wrote to her: “How does one go about articulating desperation to another who is not desperate? How does one go about articulating the psychological stress of knowing that people are waiting for me to self-destruct?”

Read more: here

Land of the Free!
-Moose

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Private Prisons: The More Americans They Put Behind Bars The More Money They Make

Via: Investment Watch

March 11th, 2013
By Michael

How would you describe an industry that wants to put more Americans in prison and keep them there longer so that it can make more money?

In America today, approximately 130,000 people are locked up in private prisons that are being run by for-profit companies, and that number is growing very rapidly. Overall, the U.S. has approximately 25 percent of the entire global prison population even though it only has 5 percent of the total global population.

The United States has the highest incarceration rate on the entire globe by far, and no nation in the history of the world has ever locked up more of its own citizens than we have. Are we really such a cesspool of filth and decay that we need to lock up so many of our own people? Or are there some other factors at work?

Could part of the problem be that we have allowed companies to lock up men and women in cages for profit?

The two largest private prison companies combined to bring in close to $3,000,000,000 in revenue in 2010, and the largest private prison companies have spent tens of millions of dollars on lobbying and campaign contributions over the past decade.

Putting Americans behind bars has become very big business, and those companies have been given a perverse incentive to push for even more Americans to be locked up. It is a system that is absolutely teeming with corruption, and it is going to get a lot worse unless someone does something about it.

Read more: here

We just need to lock up the right criminals…here….here….and here.
-Moose 

How Deregulation Resurrected American Economic Insecurity

Via: ICH

By Paul Craig Roberts

March 10, 2013 “Information Clearing House” – “PCR” – The US might not be in a Great Depression, but economic insecurity has nevertheless returned to America.

John N. Gray, a distinguished intellect and retired professor of intellectual history at the London School of Economics, disagrees with the view that “the end of history” has placed humanity on a course of ethical and economic progress. History, Gray believes, is not progressing to a higher stage. Instead, humanity is repeating the same follies and is destined to endure the same disasters. It is the Enclosures, the Repeal of the Corn Laws, and the Poor Law Act of 1834 all over again.

The problem is humans themselves. They are not questioning beings. “Human beings use the power of scientific knowledge to assert and defend the values and goals they already have.” Instead of ethics and politics having advanced with the growth of knowledge, we are experiencing today state terror and murder on unprecedented scale as Washington kills people with drones and invasions in seven countries and threatens others. The US claims to be the democratic “light unto the world,” the “indispensable nation,” but it has resurrected in violation of its own law and international law the torture dungeons of the unaccountable governments of medieval Europe.

Few people see the disconnect between the propaganda about the goodness of America and the evil that its government practices. Torture was banned. Its practice was made the act of a war criminal government. But the Bush and Obama regimes have resurrected torture as a defense of the state against citizens who reveal its crimes and against those who resist its aggression.

Read more: here

If Guantanamo Prisoners Stage a Hunger Strike, Does Anybody Care? (Hint: Yes)

Via: The Atlantic Wire

Despite the lawyers of over a dozen inmates reporting a widespread hunger strike happening right now inside Guantanamo, a prison spokesperson issued a no-such-thing statement on Monday.

The alleged hunger strike started over three weeks ago when, in the lawyers’ words, guards began “personal items, including blankets, sheets, towels, mats, razors, toothbrushes, books, family photos, religious CDs, and letters, including legal mail; and restricting their exercise, seemingly without provocation or cause.” The lawyers continued in a letter to prison commander, Rear Adm. John Smith, “Arabic interpreters employed by the prison have been searching the men’s Qur’ans in ways that constitute desecration according to their religious beliefs, and that guards have been disrespectful during prayer times.” These lawyers weren’t talking about one or two prisoners, by the way. They say these transgressions and the hunger strike that’s followed affects “all but a few men.”

Read more: here

Land of the Free! We stand for Freedom and Democracy!
-Moose

US Bureau of Prisons Location Maps

Via: Cryptome

US Bureau of Prisons Location Maps or America’s biggest business outside of Our Murderous Military…

Read more: here

I know of about 600 individuals that could be immediately added to the prison population…I have their locations here, here, and here….
-Moose

US Bureau of Prisons Location Maps

Via: Cryptome

US Bureau of Prisons Location Maps or America’s biggest business outside of Our Murderous Military…

Read more: here

I know of about 600 individuals that could be immediately added to the prison population…I have their locations here, here, and here….
-Moose

FAU Stadium Strikes Deal With Prison Firm

Via: The Miami Herald

By Brenda Medina

Florida Atlantic University’s announcement to change the name of its football stadium to that of a private prison corporation accused of human rights violation has surprised and outraged students as well as South Florida’s pro-immigrant activists.

FAU announced Tuesday that it would name its stadium GEO Group Stadium after reaching an agreement with the private prison company that included a $6 million donation to the university, to be paid over 12 years. GEO is the company that owns the immigration detention center in Pompano Beach, about 10 miles from the stadium.

FAU President Mary Jane Saunder initially agreed to talk about the news, but after hearing questions about the immigration detention center, a university spokesperson said they would have to return the call later. At press time, the university had stopped responding to El Nuevo Herald’s calls.

But in a press release sent out earlier on Tuesday, Saunder praised GEO’s philanthropic gesture of making the largest donation the university’s athletic department has ever received.

“This gift is a true representation of The GEO Group’s incredible generosity to FAU and the community it serves,” she said.

Noor Fawzy, a political science student at FAU whose parents are Palestinian immigrants, is not so happy with the news.

“The fact that they are locking up people of color and immigrants like my parents is shameful,” said the 22-year-old, who is an elected member of the student government. “We don’t want our university to be associated with an entity that is being investigated for human rights abuses.”

Read more: here

Land of the Free….Anything for money….
-Moose

FAU Stadium Strikes Deal With Prison Firm

Via: The Miami Herald

By Brenda Medina

Florida Atlantic University’s announcement to change the name of its football stadium to that of a private prison corporation accused of human rights violation has surprised and outraged students as well as South Florida’s pro-immigrant activists.

FAU announced Tuesday that it would name its stadium GEO Group Stadium after reaching an agreement with the private prison company that included a $6 million donation to the university, to be paid over 12 years. GEO is the company that owns the immigration detention center in Pompano Beach, about 10 miles from the stadium.

FAU President Mary Jane Saunder initially agreed to talk about the news, but after hearing questions about the immigration detention center, a university spokesperson said they would have to return the call later. At press time, the university had stopped responding to El Nuevo Herald’s calls.

But in a press release sent out earlier on Tuesday, Saunder praised GEO’s philanthropic gesture of making the largest donation the university’s athletic department has ever received.

“This gift is a true representation of The GEO Group’s incredible generosity to FAU and the community it serves,” she said.

Noor Fawzy, a political science student at FAU whose parents are Palestinian immigrants, is not so happy with the news.

“The fact that they are locking up people of color and immigrants like my parents is shameful,” said the 22-year-old, who is an elected member of the student government. “We don’t want our university to be associated with an entity that is being investigated for human rights abuses.”

Read more: here

Land of the Free Fee…Anything for money….
-Moose

Louisiana is The World’s Prison Capital

Via: The Times-Picayune

Louisiana is the world’s prison capital. The state imprisons more of its people, per head, than any of its U.S. counterparts. First among Americans means first in the world. Louisiana’s incarceration rate is nearly five times Iran’s, 13 times China’s and 20 times Germany’s.

The hidden engine behind the state’s well-oiled prison machine is cold, hard cash. A majority of Louisiana inmates are housed in for-profit facilities, which must be supplied with a constant influx of human beings or a $182 million industry will go bankrupt.

Read more: here