Feb 23

Texas prison riot: 2,800 inmates to be moved from now ‘uninhabitable’ facility (RT, Feb 22, 2015):

After 2,000 inmates, mostly immigrants, took over a Texas prison in a riot over poor medical services, federal authorities have decided to relocate all the detainees from the now “uninhabitable” correctional facility.

The riot at the Willacy County Correctional Center erupted on Friday afternoon, when prisoners refused to eat breakfast or report for work to protest medical services at the facility.

The prison was practically run over by the inmates, who continue to hold down the fort. It still remains unclear what medical service issues had upset the inmates. Only around 800 to 900 inmates have refused to riot in a facility that holds some 2,900 people, most of whom are immigrants with criminal record.

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Jun 28

​Nebraska releases hundreds of inmates by mistake, now wants them back (RT, June 28, 2014):

Authorities in Nebraska have mistakenly freed hundreds of prisoners over several years due to correction officials miscalculating their sentences. Law enforcement is now looking to put dozens of them behind bars again.

All in all, 306 inmates were freed erroneously, a situation first exposed by local media outlet Omaha World-Herald. 257 of them won’t be pursued, on condition that they don’t commit any offenses – because they would have completed their sentences by now. Three others died since they were let go, and five have successfully completed their parole. Continue reading »

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Feb 19

Half of U.S. prison sex crimes involve staff toward inmates: fed study (Reuters, Jan 24, 2014):

Nearly 9,000 incidents of sexual victimization against inmates in U.S. prisons and jails were reported in 2011, with roughly half of them involving corrections staff, according to a report by the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics.

The number of incidents showed a “significant increase” over about 8,400 incidents reported in 2010 and 7,855 reported in 2009, it said. The year 2011 was the most recent cited in the bureau study, published on Thursday.

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May 24

Flashback:

Feb. 15, 2009: Cash crisis forces California to free 55,000 prisoners

Feb. 10, 2009: U.S. judges seek massive California prisoner release


Supreme Court orders California to free up to 46,000 prisoners (Telegraph, 23 May, 2011):

California has been ordered by the US Supreme Court to release up to 46,000 prisoners because of chronic overcrowding, despite one jail in the state only having only two inmates.

The Supreme Court said cramped conditions in the state’s prison system were causing “needless suffering and death.”

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Mar 10

Two thousand inmates in Yemen jail revolt (Independent):

About 2,000 inmates have staged a revolt at a prison in the capital of Yemen, taken a dozen guards hostage and joined calls by anti-government protesters for the country’s president to step down, a Yemeni security official said.

He said the unrest in the Sanaa jail erupted late last night when prisoners set their mattresses ablaze and occupied the facility’s courtyard.

He said the guards fired tear gas and gunshots into the air but could not subdue the inmates.

The official said today that troops have beefed up security outside the prison. He added that a number of inmates were hurt in the unrest.


Yemen’s President moves against protesters seeking to unseat him as students and prisoners call for him to quit


An elderly protester holds up his dagger during a demonstration in Sana’a, Yemen’s capital; 98 were wounded, many critically, when the army tried to break up a sit-in at Sana’a University. Photograph: Muhammed Muheisen/AP

The Yemeni government escalated its efforts to stop mass protests yesterday calling for the president’s removal, with soldiers firing rubber bullets and tear gas at students camped at a university in the capital during a raid that left at least 98 people wounded, officials said.

The army stormed the Sana’a University campus hours after thousands of inmates rioted at the central prison in the capital, taking a dozen guards hostage and calling for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down. At least one prisoner was killed and 80 people were wounded as the guards fought to control the situation, police said.

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Feb 27

We need to throw all Americans into prison to close the budget gaps these days.

Oh, and even that might be not enough.



Inmates at the California Institute for Men at Chino in training to perform underwater welding work.

JAY, Fla. — Before he went to jail, Danny Ivey had barely seen a backyard garden.

But here he was, two years left on his sentence for grand theft, bent over in a field, snapping wide, green collard leaves from their stems. For the rest of the week, Mr. Ivey and his fellow inmates would be eating the greens he picked, and the State of Florida would be saving most of the $2.29 a day it allots for their meals.

Prison labor — making license plates, picking up litter — is nothing new, and nearly all states have such programs. But these days, officials are expanding the practice to combat cuts in federal financing and dwindling tax revenue, using prisoners to paint vehicles, clean courthouses, sweep campsites and perform many other services done before the recession by private contractors or government employees.

In New Jersey, inmates on roadkill patrol clean deer carcasses from highways. Georgia inmates tend municipal graveyards. In Ohio, they paint their own cells. In California, prison officials hope to expand existing programs, including one in which wet-suit-clad inmates repair leaky public water tanks. There are no figures on how many prisoners have been enrolled in new or expanded programs nationwide, but experts in criminal justice have taken note of the increase.

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May 10

More than 25 of the CIA’s war-on-terror prisoners were subjected to sleep deprivation for as long as 11 days at a time during the administration of former president George Bush, according to The Los Angeles Times.

At one stage during the war on terror, the Central Intelligence Agency was allowed to keep prisoners awake for as long as 11 days, the Times reported, citing memoranda made public by the Justice department last month.

The limit was later reduced to just over a week, the report stated.

Sleep deprivation was one of the most important elements in the CIA’s interrogation programme, seen as more effective than more violent techniques used to help break the will of suspects.

Within the CIA it was seen as having the advantage of eroding a prisoner’s will without leaving lasting damage.

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Jul 13

Brothers that live when we are dead,
don’t set yourself against us too.
If you could pity us instead,
then God may sooner pity you.
We five or six strung up to view,
dangling the flesh we fed so well,
are eaten piecemeal, rot and smell.
We bones in a fine dust shall fall.
No one make that a laugh to tell:
pray God may save us one and all.

The United States is operating “floating prisons” to house those arrested in its war on terror, according to human rights lawyers, who claim there has been an attempt to conceal the numbers and whereabouts of detainees.

Details of ships where detainees have been held and sites allegedly being used in countries across the world have been compiled as the debate over detention without trial intensifies on both sides of the Atlantic. The US government has been urged to list the names and whereabouts of all those detained.

Alexa :: Ghost Ships

Since 2006, when Stephen Gray’s revelations of Ghost Planes confirmed the suspicions of human rights activists, we have known that our government kidnaps and tortures “suspicious” individuals as a matter of routine. Extraordinary rendition is the NewSpeak term used when this practice is denied. The denials and non-denials have become a mockery, a stain on the soul of America, when the truth is brought to light by an individual such as Maher Arar, who lived to bear witness.

And then they would take me back to the interrogation room. Again another set of questions, and the beating starts again and again. On the third day the beating was the worst. They beat me a lot with the cable. And they wanted me to confess that I have been to Afghanistan. This was a big surprise to me because even the Americans who interviewed me, the FBI officials who interviewed me, did not ask me that question. I ended up falsely confessing in order to stop the torture. The torture decreased in intensity.From that moment on they rarely used the cable. Mostly they slapped me on the face, they kicked me, they humiliated me all the time.

The first 10 days of my stay in Syria was extremely harsh and during that period I found my cell to be a refuge. I didn’t want to see their faces. But later on living in that cell was horrible. And just to give you an idea about how painful it is to stay in that place–I was ready after a couple of months, I was ready to sign any piece of document for me, not to be released, just to go to another place where it is fit for human being.

Stephen Grey, investigative journalist, exposed the CIA’s ghost planes with actual flight logs from the air carriers and photographs from hobby “plane spotters.” The flight logs were proof.

Proof of kidnapping and torture of so-called suspicious persons? Highly inconvenient for the Torture Administration. They may have started the ghost ships before, but certainly, they have used them extensively as an alternative to air torture and rendition — and as a matter of expedience.

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Jun 25

Q1x00021_9

The U.S. general who led the Army’s investigation of the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal says the Bush administration “has committed war crimes” as a result of what happened to detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay “when the Commander-in-Chief and those under him authorized a systematic regime of torture.”

Those declarations, by retired Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba, are contained in the preface he wrote for a new report by Physicians for Human Rights, “Broken Laws, Broken Lives: Medical Evidence of Torture by US Personnel and Its Impact.” The group said its findings – “based on  internationally accepted standards for clinical assessment of torture claims” – are the first to use medical evidence to document first-hand accounts of torture. Eleven former detainees were examined.

Taguba testified before Congress in 2004 about the abuses at Abu Ghraib after the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003. His damning report ultimately led to his being pushed out of the Army.

ABC News correspondent Jake Tapper noted Taguba’s statements and the report on his blog.

Some other excerpts:

Our national honor is stained by the indignity and inhumane treatment these men received from their captors.The profiles of these eleven former detainees, none of whom were ever charged with a crime or told why they were detained, are tragic and brutal rebuttals to those who claim that torture is ever justified. Through the experiences of these men in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo Bay, we can see the full scope of the damage this illegal and unsound policy has inflicted-both on America’s institutions and our nation’s founding values, which the military, intelligence services, and our justice system are duty-bound to defend. …

After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts, and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.

The former detainees in this report, each of whom is fighting a lonely and difficult battle to rebuild his life, require reparations for what they endured, comprehensive psycho-social and medical assistance, and even an official apology from our government. …

Source: USA Today

Here’s the entire preface:

Preface to Broken Laws, Broken Lives

By Major General Antonio Taguba, USA (Ret.)

Major General Antonio Taguba (Ret)
Maj. General Taguba led the US Army’s official investigation into the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal and testified before Congress on his findings in May, 2004.

This report tells the largely untold human story of what happened to detainees in our custody when the Commander-in-Chief and those under him authorized a systematic regime of torture. This story is not only written in words: It is scrawled for the rest of these individuals’ lives on their bodies and minds. Our national honor is stained by the indignity and inhumane treatment these men received from their captors.

The profiles of these eleven former detainees, none of whom were ever charged with a crime or told why they were detained, are tragic and brutal rebuttals to those who claim that torture is ever justified. Through the experiences of these men in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo Bay, we can see the full scope of the damage this illegal and unsound policy has inflicted-both on America’s institutions and our nation’s founding values, which the military, intelligence services, and our justice system are duty-bound to defend.

In order for these individuals to suffer the wanton cruelty to which they were subjected, a government policy was promulgated to the field whereby the Geneva Conventions and the Uniform Code of Military Justice were disregarded. The UN Convention Against Torture was indiscriminately ignored. And the healing professions, including physicians and psychologists, became complicit in the willful infliction of harm against those the Hippocratic Oath demands they protect.

After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts, and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.

The former detainees in this report, each of whom is fighting a lonely and difficult battle to rebuild his life, require reparations for what they endured, comprehensive psycho-social and medical assistance, and even an official apology from our government.

But most of all, these men deserve justice as required under the tenets of international law and the United States Constitution.

And so do the American people.

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Jun 17


This picture from a U.S. court martial file, drawn by military polygraph examiner George Chigi III, shows how Afghan detainee Dilawar was shackled by his wrists to the ceiling of an isolation cell at Bagram Air Base before being beaten to death in December 2002.

KABUL, Afghanistan – American soldiers herded the detainees into holding pens of razor-sharp concertina wire, the kind that’s used to corral livestock.

The guards kicked, kneed and punched many of the men until they collapsed in pain. U.S. troops shackled and dragged other detainees to small isolation rooms, then hung them by their wrists from chains dangling from the wire mesh ceiling.

Former guards and detainees whom McClatchy interviewed said Bagram was a center of systematic brutality for at least 20 months, starting in late 2001. Yet the soldiers responsible have escaped serious punishment.

The public outcry in the United States and abroad has focused on detainee abuse at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, but sadistic violence first appeared at Bagram, north of Kabul, and at a similar U.S. internment camp at Kandahar Airfield in southern Afghanistan.

“I was punched and kicked at Bagram. … At Bagram, when they took a man to interrogation at night, the next morning we would see him brought out on a stretcher looking almost dead,” said Aminullah, an Afghan who was held there for a little more than three months. “But at Guantanamo, there were rules, there was law.”

Nazar Chaman Gul, an Afghan who was held at Bagram for more than three months in 2003, said he was beaten about every five days. American soldiers would walk into the pen where he slept on the floor and ram their combat boots into his back and stomach, Gul said. “Two or three of them would come in suddenly, tie my hands and beat me,” he said.

When the kicking started, Gul said, he’d cry out, “I am not a terrorist,” then beg God for mercy. Mercy was slow in coming. He was shipped to Guantanamo around the late summer of 2003 and imprisoned there for more than three years. Continue reading »

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May 31

After CIA Director Michael Hayden publicly admitted that the CIA has, in fact, waterboarded detainees, the agency could no longer cling to its last excuses for covering up the use of the very word “waterboarding” in CIA records. As a result, yesterday we obtained several heavily redacted documents in response to an ongoing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit brought by the ACLU and other organizations seeking documents related to the treatment of prisoners in U.S. custody overseas.

While the documents do, in fact, reveal the word “waterboarding” or some variation, they leave pretty much everything else to the imagination. The pages that haven’t been completely withheld (many of them contain the words “Denied in Full” instead of any actual content) have the clandestine blacked-out look that’s become a sort of trademark of this administration. This is my favorite:

One of the documents is a heavily redacted version of a report (PDF) by the CIA Office of the Inspector General (OIG) on its review of the CIA’s interrogation and detention program. The report includes information about an as-yet-undisclosed Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel opinion from August 2002. Interestingly, this opinion appears to be the same OLC memo authorizing specific interrogations methods for use by the CIA that is being withheld by the CIA as a classified document in the ACLU’s FOIA litigation — but the OIG report refers to this document as “unclassified.”

The CIA continues to withhold many more documents that should not be secret. The incomplete response to the ACLU’s demand for records reflects a complete disregard for the right of the American public to know when and how often the government has employed illegal interrogation methods. Continue reading »

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May 15

The U.S. government has injected hundreds of foreigners it has deported with dangerous psychotropic drugs against their will to keep them sedated during the trip back to their home country, according to medical records, internal documents and interviews with people who have been drugged.

The government’s forced use of antipsychotic drugs, in people who have no history of mental illness, includes dozens of cases in which the “pre-flight cocktail,” as a document calls it, had such a potent effect that federal guards needed a wheelchair to move the slumped deportee onto an airplane.

“Unsteady gait. Fell onto tarmac,” says a medical note on the deportation of a 38-year-old woman to Costa Rica in late spring 2005. Another detainee was “dragged down the aisle in handcuffs, semi-comatose,” according to an airline crew member’s written account. Repeatedly, documents describe immigration guards “taking down” a reluctant deportee to be tranquilized before heading to an airport.

In a Chicago holding cell early one evening in February 2006, five guards piled on top of a 49-year-old man who was angry he was going back to Ecuador, according to a nurse’s account in his deportation file. As they pinned him down so the nurse could punch a needle through his coveralls into his right buttock, one officer stood over him menacingly and taunted, “Nighty-night.”

Such episodes are among more than 250 cases The Washington Post has identified in which the government has, without medical reason, given drugs meant to treat serious psychiatric disorders to people it has shipped out of the United States since 2003 — the year the Bush administration handed the job of deportation to the Department of Homeland Security’s new Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, known as ICE.

Involuntary chemical restraint of detainees, unless there is a medical justification, is a violation of some international human rights codes. The practice is banned by several countries where, confidential documents make clear, U.S. escorts have been unable to inject deportees with extra doses of drugs during layovers en route to faraway places.

Related Article: Vaccines and Medical Experiments on Children, Minorities, Woman and Inmates (1845 – 2007)

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