Prison Stories

Thoughts on Gitmo

In the not so distant pass President Obama went to the microphones and made a pitch to close down Guantanamo Bay. Under current law, in order for Congress to approve such a move the Obama Administration would first have to explain where the detainees will be placed. As a federal prisoner, I would like to throw my two cents in on this.

On September 11, 2001, I was in the Special Housing Unit (SHU) inside USP Leavenworth when 9/11 went down. I will never forgot how most of my fellow prisoners where cheering and shouting, celebrating that the United States was under attack. In the days that followed, civilians with alleged links to “terrorism” were gaffled up and arrested, taken off the streets and placed in prisons around the country, one of which was the SHU at Leavenworth, where I happened to be the orderly.

In all, six men of middle-eastern decent were placed on each range in cells by themselves, and let me tell you, these guys did not have a pleasant time. To begin with, they were given no clean clothes – whatever they came in with is what they got. Next, I personally witnessed at least two of them not get served a single meal for more than 48 hours. And finally, the inmates torched them; all night long guys were screaming and yelling, threatening to kill them, their families and even going so far as to throw piss in their cells as they walked by for recreation.

My point is, these civilians, guys whose only crime was to be from the wrong country, suffered psychological abuse. I remember one guy inparticular crying, “I swear, I don’t know Osama bin Laden! I am not a terrorist.”

Shortly after the US and Coalition forces invaded Afghanistan, the Americans detained John Walker-Lindh, a 19-year-old American from San Francisco, who went to Pakistan and ultimately joined up with the Taliban. Known as the “American Taliban,” Walker-Lindh was ultimately extradited back to America and convicted on terrorism charges. FCI Victorville is where he started his time. According to inmates who served time with him, not only did the guards treat him like shit, but he was assaulted at least once.

john-walker-lindhToday, John Walker-Lindh is housed in the Communications Management Unit (CMU) at Terre Haute, a place where inmates are confined to one unit 24 hours a day and are under close supervision There are cameras on them, microphones hidden throughout the unit, their mail and emails are all screened, phone calls must be approved in advance and visitation is through a glass. Although the CMU is not consider “punishment,” according to at least one inmate who served time in the CMU, the place is “torture.”

In addition to Walker-Lindh being in the CMU, there are allegedly several other “terrorists,” including the Somali pirate featured in the film, Captain Phillips. In fact, there are so many Muslims in the CMU, that it has been dubbed the “terrorist unit.”

Which brings me to my point.

I am all for “black ops prisons” and detention centers around the world were the US houses terrorists. However, to think that our government cannot handle them in the states, or that these prisoners will somehow mix with the general population and become influential is foolish, to say the least. Not only do we have lockdown prisons such as the ADX in Florence Colorado, we also have Communications Management Units, Control Management Units, Special Management Units, and many other places where the Gitmos detainees can be transferred to.

And I want to make another point. The biggest safety concern we face in regards to prisoners is not a bunch of alleged or confirmed terrorists stuck in Guantanamo Bay, its the Illegal Aliens that are currently mixed in general population prisons throughout the United States. So many of them have ties to drug cartels right on the other side of the boarder, and its become common for them to make connection with convicted drug dealers who will soon be released

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