Radical media, politics and culture.

Political Prisoners Locked Down Following Sept. 11

DaaaihLoong writes: "Political Prisoners and Others Locked Down Following September 11th

The social and political pandemonium following the attacks against the
Trade Center and the Pentagon is allowing many governmental policies to
implemented with virtually no scrutiny from the general public. The
drastic of these measures to date has been the ability for repressive
institutions within the United States government to increase their
repression with impunity, particularly the Immigration and
Service (INS), law enforcement agencies and the prison system.

Within hours of the September 11th attacks political prisoners and POWs
across the country were surgically removed from general population and
thrown into Security Housing Units. They were classified as being
placed in
Administrative Segregation and detained officially "for investigation".
Known to be included in the roundup were Marilyn Buck, Tom Manning,
Alberto Torres, Sundiata Acoli, Richard Williams, Father Philip
Kojo Bomani Sababu, Haydee Beltran and Larry Giddings. Also targeted
muslims. These actions were the results of orders that originated in
the US
Department of Justice and came through the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Depending on which institution was contacted and individual
prisoner was inquired after, the reason given for this unprecedented denial
access was different, despite the fact that the orders came from one
Each institution interpreted the order inconsistently. Some said that
prisoner having explosives on their records were segregated out, others
that it was - as in the case of Father Philip Berrigan - for his own
protection. Father Philip Berrigan has never had a threat posed against
by another inmate. Who then was he being protected from? He has since
released to general population. Some, like Marilyn Buck and Tom
were supposedly being held 'for investigation' despite the fact that
both of
them have been incarcerated for over 20 years. Muslims, in general,
been locked down and in some cases, such as Lewisburg and Leavenworth,
remain locked down.

In Lewisburg, PA, for example, political prisoner Larry Giddings was
incommunicado for 21 days. He was finally released on Thursday, October
The muslims that were locked down at the same time he was remain so.
known to be still on lock down are political prisoners Sundiata Acoli,
Carlos Alberto Torres and Kojo Bomani Sababu. Very effort is being made
determine the status of others.

Political prisoners and prisoners in general have been subjected to
lockdowns ostensibly for security reasons before. The big difference in
these lockdowns is the fact that they are being denied access to
lawyers by
phone and/or visits. The right of access to courts has been a
right that has not been violated before. This denial of access to
makes it impossible for them to protest these unjust actions and
they are being held under as well as making it impossible for families,
friends and supporters to determine how they are.

We submit that the real reasons for the lockdown of these political
prisoners and prisoners of war at this time is to further alienate them
criminalize them. The government of the United States continues to deny
existence of political prisoners inside the prisons and jails of this
country. They have denied that there are legitimate political struggles
freedom, liberation and human rights going on within the borders of the
United States. They have long sought to label those involved in such
struggles as "terrorists". We submit that this latest move against the
political prisoners and prisoners of war is another step in defining
them as
terrorist and thereby vindicating themselves in their handling of these
people - another step toward criminalizing dissent in the United
This could only be the logical reason for what is happening here. These
people pose no physical threat to the United States, unless the power
reasoned analysis is a threat.

In a paper presented at the 60th International Federation of Library
Associations (IFLA) Conference in August of 1994 Vibeke Lehman, Library
Services Coordinator fo the Wisconsin Department of Corrections wrote;
the United States, inmates in both state and federal prisons are
certain constitutional and civil rights. They include freedom from
cruel and
unusual punishment, the right to due process, freedom of speech,
freedom of
religion, the right to adequate medical care, freedom from racial
discrimination, and the right to access to the courts. Only in unusual
circumstances and fr the sake of safety and security may limitations be
imposed on these right." The US government has denied these prisoners
rights without just cause or and without legitimate reason.

US corrections authorities and politicians have traditionally used
times of
crisis to strip inmates of the few rights they retain and to mete out
additional repression to political dissidents. In the wake of the
loss of life that we have all witnessed, we have seen the best of
as well as the worst. The behavior of those who attempt to use these
times to strip their fellow human beings of their rights is as criminal
the anti-arab and anti-muslim hate crimes that we have nationally
We need to hold Attorney General John Ashcroft and the Bureau of
directly responsible for these abuses of prisoners' rights.

We call on everyone with a conscious to write to the addresses below to
them know that their actions have not gone unnoticed and to demand an
end to
the lockdowns and a return the right to mail, visits and counsel to the
prison population victimized by September 11th.

Attorney General John Ashcroft

U.S. Department of Justice

950 Pennsylvania Ave, NW

Washington, DC 20534

E-mail: AskDOJ@usdoi.gov

FAX: (202) 514-5331

Phone: (202) 353-1555

Kathleen Hawk Sawyer

Director, Federal Bureau of Prisons

320 First Street, NW

Washington, DC 20534

FAX: (202) 514-6620

Phone: (202) 307-6300"