2 Essays for Human Rights Day

The blogger Between the Bars asked two political Prisoners in WSPF to Write essays on Solitary confinement.

 The international community has deemed what US does here is cruel and inhuman. FFUP works with many prisons and any one in the “free world to end the abuse and overuse of segregation. 
 
Essay one
2-18-2013Beyond Solitary Confinement: Evolving the Standards of Decency
      By : Mustafa- EL K.A. Agala
I. Introduction
      Punishment for crime is the
loss of liberty, not humanity. Deprivation of the latter is not only cruel and unusual, but it is the denial of a human right; one the evolving standards of decency in today’s society should no longer permit. Then, why am I a witness to
it daily? I am imprisoned in Wisconsin Supermax, solitary confinement, where I’ve spent over a decade total on what I call “Psychological Death Row” for all around me is psychological death; prisoners who have literally been destroyed, annilated mentally. The assault on one’s sanity here is constant, and requires constant guard, sometimes to the expense of physical health. However, this is not an address to the panel to simply decry the conditions of this form of confinement, but rather for professional and legal aid, and  ACTION – to strike while the iron is hot and
end these inhuman conditions. We have the international community declaring long term solitary confinement as torture, a human rights violation, the U.S. congress taking up the issue, and an expose’ on Nightline , NO WAY OUT [inside solitary confinement – 9-20-2012] , reporting on the physical [including brain damage] and pschological damages of such treatment. Below is what I attest to before you, and will do so under oath, and  what I’ve been fighting as prisoner –to- prisoner legal aid, what I’m now fighting, and where your help is needed. Now is the time.
 II. Psychological  Deathrow
      As early as 2001, over a decade, in a case that I and another prisoner initiated, Jones-el[Agala] v.
Berge., 164  7 supp2d 1096[w,d,wis 2001)
, the federal court determined(based on expert testimony] that Wisconsin Supermax conditions bordered on the barbarous in its treatment of the mentally ill, and enjoined them from being confined here. That injunction expired  in 2008 and was never fully honored. Both then and now you had [and have] prisoners who have been diagnosed  as psychotic, who repeatedly attempt suicide, who have multiple personalities, who
argue with and fight themselves, smear their own feces, and crank out persistently[bang on metal sinks, toilets, or shout incessantly] to the point of causing mental illnesses [anxiety disorder, psychosis,  dysomnia, etc.] in other prisoners who had not been mentally ill. Medication is dispensed almost like candy, and many admit to taking psychotropic drugs just to sleep.
     It is psychological deathrow because it kills the sanity, and not by any mistake. The prisoners the administration think are strong mentally, particularly litigators, culturally conscious, politically astute, that challenge their status quo, they keep here indefintely – until forced to release due to release from prison or until they’ve destroyed them so bad mentally that they are attempting death, or even the clinical/psychological staff has said ‘enough”! [which is rare.]. Consider
the following 2 cases from here: GILLIS V LITSCHER,468 f.3d 658 (7th cir. 2006)7TH circuit described this place as a soviet style gulag. Gillis, not mentally ill, was driven mentally ill, began to engage in self mutilation [case settled for over $400,000], BARRETT VS. WALLACE, et. al.,12-CV-24-bbc (w.d. wis)   [now pending]. Sane prisoner driven insane,
repeated suicide attempts, c.o. who dispensed medication  gave him PCP[medical reports on him – public record, exhibited in the case on court docket.) I’m currently his only assistance. He’s pro se,  had the case
filed without my knowledge, now counsel and an expert witness in psychology is needed.
III.  Physical Harm
     Prisoners here for the long term [2-3 years and beyond, some much less] almost invariably suffer vision
loss; nearsightted, which oneoptometrist stated comes from only being permitted to see objects the short distances that
an 8×12 cell sllows for years on end.  I am one of those whose perfect vision has been destroyed.  Another visual ailment gotten here is a condition in which we sometimes see a white mass float across  the vision, similar to the “seeing stars “ phenomenon- just a white mass instead. The walls  here are all white[no objects permitted to be hung on them]; very diminished visual, as well as overall perceptual stimulation. High blood pressure development among previous fit ,
young men, who had ideal pressure[self included] prior to going here is also rampant, as is high blood pressure related heart problems, aggravated asthmatic condition and vitamin D deficiency due to the lack of meaningful exposure to
sunlight [2 1/2  hours or less, often less or none a week] – which affects sleep, blood pressure, vision and other functions.
    Moreover, excessive force is rampant. Two cases I helped litigate[draft and civil complaint, motions, briefs, etc. for pro se prisoners up to trial or counsel appointment] are indicative of this: Jackson v.Gerl, 2008 US District. Lexis 37672, para 10-14, published at 662 7 Supp2d 738 (w.d.wis. 2009) [lethal stinger grenade detonated in the cell on a prisoner 5’8’’, 135lbs. for covering up his window and disrespecting staff, left personal damage, settled for $50,000-attached exhibit #1 -#3, public records show the aftermath. It was unprecedented  in prison history]; Bracey V. Grondin 1#10-c-287-BBC(w.d.wis)( nearly 60 year old prisoner who was shackled, handcuffed behind his back, in waist
restraints, tethered to the cell door, on his knees, was punched in the face, rammed into the steel door, rammed into the concrete wall. , brutally attacked by several  c.o’s, left with lacerations and a lump on his head the size of an egg. He refused the state’s settlement offer, and is now in the 7th cir. Appeals court over the issue of spoilation– defendants destroyed the video] Now as I write this , the prevalent method is to charge the prisoner with asslaut/battery and disorderly conduct- outside criminal charges, when the staff uses force against them. The D.A. returns to press charges against the staff, but charges victimized prisoners regularly and usually offers a low plea deal, which most take and bar
themselves out of civil court. A U.S. Justice Dept. investigation is underway.
   IV Racial Discrimation
        WSPF [Wisconsin Secure Program Facility} , this Supermax, has approximately 100 prisoners on administrative Confinement[A.C.], overwhelmingly  Alkabulani[Black/African American], and that has been the case since its Nov. 1999 opening. We [prisoners] did a count Jan. 2010 and found out of 100 cells there were 72 Alkabulani, 12 Caucasian, 11 Latin and 3 Native prisoners on A.C. [2 cells were empty], These eliminate “chance” , and far exceed the standard deviation measured in Santiago v. Miles, 774 f supp.775(w.d.n.y. 1991) , where a similar practice was
enjoined. I am Muslim and Alkabulani, and they are targeting our racial class for this inhumane treatment and other deprivations – so many( like parole, which I’ve been eligible for since Jan. 2009] that the A.C. placement affects.
Racial slurs are spewed at times, including the following to me: “kill yourself nigger”, a message left in my clothes roll (prepared by staff,  in ink we can’t have), and for which my complaint was alterred. Civil action has been initiated on the race issue.
V  Help Needed
    Now pending, as 072-9-2013 [mailing], is Mustafa-El K.A. Agala. Etal V Rick Raemisch, et all.
#13-CV-BBC (w.d.wis) , a class action  on 2 issues: [1] Racial discrimination in A.C. segregation/solitary confinement
overall, in disciplinary write-ups, maximum security and supermax placement, and [2] that A.C. and other long term solitary confinement is per se, in todays evolved standard of decency, unconstitutional, cruel and unusual, and a human
rights violation. In order for class certification to be granted we need counsel , and we will need expert testimony on the psychological effects, and physiological affects of this confinement. The court has already held these conditions,
at this  very prison, are unconstitutional for the “mentally ill”, who are still housed here, so the illegality is clear; but, now is the time to show that it is the conditions themselves that also drive prisoners mentally ill and are , therefore, per se unconstitutional.
Do review the civil somplaint from the court docket – the “filing” date should be 2-12-2013, or we can arrange for a copy to be sent. Please do contact
me, or ms. Peggy Swan [local advocate, Forum for Understanding Prisons], as follows:
    Musafa-el K.A. Agala,#223971
[a.k.a. Dennis R Jones-el] P.O. Box 9900
–  WSPF , Boscobel, Wi.
53805-9900. [608 375-5656]- prison’s no. for arranging atty. Calls]
    Forum for Understanding
Prisons [FFUP] c/o Peg Swan,29631 Wild Rose Dr. Blue River, Wi. 53518’  [608] 5363993 (we are  not working with others, and seeking to network more)
Mustafa –el K. A. Agala
 
 
essay Two:  U.S. Prisoners Not Human?
Reply ID: B1og
4HR
RE:      International Human Rights (HR) Day. (12/10/20
12)
 
                                       
TO:     Between The Bars P.O. Box 425103
Cambridge, MA
02142
DATE: November 20th, 2012
1)1 put forth the proposition to all you Bloggsters out in the Blog theater, if American governments, both state and federal, can exempt American prisoners from the same standards of human rights (HR) as it advocates and agrees and demands from all “so-called” civilized and industrialzed, and, most importantly, technologically superb advanced countries, does that not mean, at least in name and letter of
the American law, and from the point of view of lawmakers, prisoners are not human!
2) Because only “non humans”would be exempt, correct?
3) In American prisons everyday,in one prison or another, is an “Abu Ghraib” prison experience. And the courts, from high to low, (See: CACI Premier Tech,Inc. vs.Rhodes, 536, F 3d 280), have not only permitted such civil and human rights abuse, they have developed
specialized jurisprudence to dehumanize this misanthropism body of law and practice. (See: Hamelin
vs. Michigan, 501, U.S. 957, at 962-65 (1991)). Also, Celia Rumann, Tortured History: Finding Our Way Back to the Lost Origins of the Eight Amendment, 31 Pepp. 2, Rev. 661, at 684-93 (2004).(Describing the courts interpretations of the word “punishment” in the Eighth Amendment).
4) Then, see: Mikel-Meredith Weidman’s The Culture of Judicial Deference and The Problem of Sut,ennax Prisons 51 UCLA L. Rev. 1505, 1517-21(2004).(Describing the high threshold that prisoners must meet to succeed in constitutional claims).
5) Which exempt American prisoners from the universal standards of HR that the U.S. demands from others.
6) Here is a concrete pointer of HR abuse this writer has witnessed and experienced personally:
(1) Harmful and torturous long term solitary confinement. Personally, 12 years straight And going, of supermax torture for
ones political,
cultural, and spiritual rights, advocating HR for prisoners.
(2) Electronic intrusions for no reason other than intimidation and attrit. 24 hour voyeuristic perversion when guards can watch
you shower and use the bathroom.
(3) Exploitation of social and medical phoebias which are recognized as disabilities, but not by the prisons, such as
prophesies and paruesis, collectively known as shy bladder, which they turn into
their tools of torture by using the perv-cam in (2).
(4) They feed you so punitively that you are always famished but yet enough to meet the minimum standards of health. Yet, if you
are a grown person, and not a child, exercise, and try to stay active,you need more than just eh minimum. You need more.
(5) Due to lack of food, you stop exercising and, not only do you start to suffer physically, but also intellectually and psychologically. Exercise, when entombed for 24 hours for decades, is not only necessary, it is medical.
(6) Courts allow prison officials to censor and suppress any and all dissent from prisoners on the HR for prison reform under the pretext of security and ethnocentric stylized re-education, clothed as rehab, yet when pouring out their retributionisms, they say rehabilitation and torture is one and the same.
(7) In Elizabeth vasilides, scholarly and compassionately, law review titled: “Solitary Cofinement and International Human Rights: Why the U.S. Prison System Fails Global Standards”, in American University International Law Review, Article #5, She highlights
this inhumaness, that is silently overlooked and kept secret, or people just don’t care to know.
(8) She explains the abusive history of the subject matter throughout U.S. history, (P. 73). She breaks down, with case law evidence too disturbing for those without horror movie stomachs, how confinement like this is creating psyche-incinerator that
are burning and destroying the minds in them. 
(P. 76).
(9) Suicide in SHU and Supermax(s) are the highest in the world. In the U.S., Wisconsin is highest in the nation. Yet, U.S. Court Appeals for the Cit., claims the prison can censor prisoners for pointing out this fact and abuse. In fact, this article here is
contraband under their philosophy
and can be censored under their case law. As anyone familiar with HR’s abuse know,
censorship is the tool used to conceal and control it and
perfect the same. (See: WI.DOC.com, Wisconsin Prison Suicide Twice the National Average. 28 from 2001 2005).
(10)1 have been told personally by a sitting U.S. Federal District Court that HR do not apply to me, to U.S. prisoners. I am currently appealing said ruling to U.S. 7th Court of Appeals. But I have no Stockholm delusions they will side with prisoners. But the law of the U.N. and other treaties say we are entitled. (See: U.N. Charter, Art. 55 (c), (p. 80).
(11) Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR),  states: “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” (G.A. Res. 217A, at fl, U.N. GAOR, 3d Seas., 1~ plen. Mtg., U.N. Doc A/81o (1948).
(12) the deceptions will spin you when they spiel you by claiming prisoners HR’s are protected and perfected by the U.S. 8thAmendment (8th Amd). That the 8th Amendment has the same language. But that is a creative lie, because, remember that specialized developed jurisprudence I spoke of. Yeah, well, that body of law has been emasculated and castrated, and devitalized, impoverished and
undermined that it affords a prisoner no more protection than a slave. (Modern slaves). That’s right, the sacred
8th Amendment has
specialized standards that are weakened stylized for application to prisoners.
(13) U.S. as a member of the OAS’ has agreed to specific prisoner rights in a more regional context. This agency put forth Article ~ and ~, that says, “every prisoner has the right to be free from cruel, infamous, or unusual punishment”, (p. 82).Organization of American States.3 (bloggers note: some of these have numbers missing_ will supply soon)
(14) OAS also created the “American Convention on HR”, which Article ~ states that “every person has the right to have his phisical, mental, and moral integrity respected2. It also prohibits torture or cruel inhuman or degrading punishment.” Id.
(15) ICCPR
(International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights), created in 1966, offers t
he same protection language previously discussed.
(16) In 1992, the U.S. ratified the ICCPR, yet they invoked exclusion clauses with said reservations providing the U.S. to put conditional enforcements on Article ~, prohibitions on cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment3( editors note_ numbers 17 and 18 are missing article numbers- clarifications coming) (17)  These conditional enforcements say that Art. – must afford prisoners (U.S. prisoners the rights that are defined by the U.S. ~, ~,and i4~ Amendment rights~ Now this is where the creative lies come in. These U.S. Amendments, as explained before, have been diluted specifically in definition and directly when in relations to prisoner, to be modified so badly that the standards are not the same as the ICCPR. So that Articles ~ ~ and ~3j. of the ICCPR has two standards.
One that is universal and the other the diluted American/selective version, which is the Catch 22. That Catch 22 is that, ICCPR does not apply to all American prisoners.(18) Also, Congress incorporated escape clauses (Article ~.Q (2), which permit’s a state to declare that it is not bound
by Article ~Q (1); (convention against torture, p.
85). (19) There is a colossal difference between the U.N. Charter ICCPR and convention against torture kinds of protection and that of the 8th Amendment. The 8th, for one, does not “protect the treatment of prisoners”. And this is based upon the case law and the rulings in which prisoner’s rights and abuses inflicted have been justifiably upheld4.
(20) You would think that in modern America this kind of abuse would not happen. Especially when the guiding principle and standard theory of the courts is that the 8th draws it’s meaning from “the evolving standards of decency”. Yet this does not fluidly
apply to prisoners, only to people not in prison or perhaps people with money and connections.
(21) The U.S. Supreme Court in Rhodes vs. Chai,man, 452 U.S. 337, at 349 (1981); reasoning that prisoners level of discomfort is a matter that politicians (get tough on crime people). The always bankable, and cheap/safe campaign election ploy that people swallow and pe~son officials (the rejected wannabe cops, wife abusers, unexposed sadists, and angry unemployed or rural neglected who hate their jobs but love the money) to decide. So, it is not surprising why this evolving standard of decency has been static and severely diluted.
(22) The only relief comes if you are mentally ill and, so, you have to not only sit in the SHU or Supermax for decades, but endure the maltreatment, dehumanization, and torture, until they break you and you either die or go crazy. And I’m not
either of those.
(23) In summation, I did not even go into the death penalty and it’s suspect use. But since it is “Thanksgiving” tomorrow, and Xmas the discipljnary month, it is worth noting that with over a thousand people on death row in America, it is an interesting perspective to see Obama play out a Thanksgiving ritual of pardoning a turkey while no real Christian forgiveness is extended within the next week of month by these so-called Christians who selectively apply their versions of Jesus (Isa peace upon) teachings.
(24) But in the end, I blame the 2.10 million or so prisoners in America who pretty much do not a thing to stand up for the treatment they say they deserve and want. Yet they do nothing. This is the coldest slavery to ever exist. Because, continue to
walk into the game and play a laced and loaded game, knowing they are being “hunted”. As Thurgood Marshal reportedly once said, before joining the enemy’s table, “If you cannot articulate what your rights are, then you don’t have any.” (Paraphrased). Because those in power are not going to treat you fair and equal when that equal and fairness rides against their own greedy interest;
weakens ~f takes power out of their hands.
(25) Taking that further, if you don’t believe and stand up, talk up, write and act like you have and deserve to be treated like a human being, then who can be blamed when others don’t treat you the same?
(26) This is not Pollyanna struggle. This is real political and legal war. They are not playing, so nor shall we. The pain and suffering are real. And the dehumanization is mind blowing literally.
(27) The cruelest thing I’ve seen so far is watching and starting to feel like the beast and monster they falsely and hyperbolized you to be, for your traumatic mind ration, at least, the abuse already being iaflicted, will be a consequence of you actually doing something as opposed to them abusing you for free right.
(28) As Nietzsche said, “You stare into the abyss too long, and the abyss will manifest back in you. Stare in the eyes and face of the monster and you become one.”Well, you treat a man like an animal and strip him of his humanity, eventually a beast will emerge. For no man or woman or child, nor even an animal, will endure constant abuse too long before backdrafting. Not even a slave is that
broken.
(29) If I may make a call to action for all you bloggsters out there, in the ether, I say let the President and Wisconsin DOC, and other officials, hear your voice by sending a tsunami of emails until action is taken. The ACLU in D.C., and others, have
made comprehensive recommendations that have been ignored. Send the tsunami’s of letters.

Send in the “NAMI’s”

A Voice From the Fire

Ras Atum-Ra Uhuru Mutawakkil

P.O. Box 9900 #228971

Boscobel, WI 53805

Norman C. Green JR U.S.A.

 

 

footnotes:2Nov., 1969, Art. 74 f2), O.A.S. T.S., NO ~.

~ See: John Hemy Stone’s “The International Convenant on Civil Political Rights and U.S. Reservation”- 7 U.C. Davis J. hit. LL & Pol’y 1, 9 10(2001). (Positing that these reservations allow the U.S. govt. to make laws in contravention of ICCPR standards).

4David Heffeman’s “America, The Cruel and Unusual?” An analysis of the Eighth Amendment under international law, 45 Cath. U.L. Rev. 481, 540 (1996) (quoting Manfred Nowak, U.N. Convenant CCPR commentary.

 

 

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