83-Year-Old Activist Priest Held in Solitary Confinement in Federal Prison

From SolitaryWatch:
Jan 23 2012
by Jean Casella and James Ridgeway
Jesuit priest and peace activist Father Bill Bichsel is reportedly being held in solitary confinement at SeaTac Federal Detention Center south of Seattle. According to friends, Bichsel has not eaten solid food since January 10 in protest of his treatment.

Fr. Bichsel, known to friends and colleagues as “Bix,” is a member of the Disarm Now Plowshares group. He has been arrested several times in connection with nonviolent civil disobedience at military bases, nuclear weapons manufacturers, and the School of the Americas. Most recently, he served a three-month sentence at SeaTac for a July 2010 action at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, future site of a new nuclear weapons plant.

On January 10, Bichsel was moved to a halfway house in Tacoma. According to the Disarm Now Plowshares blog, he was told that the facility had a rule prohibiting visitors for the first 72 hours of residency. But on the evening of his arrival, a pair of Buddhist monks and a small group of students, on their way to a local protest, “made a small detour and stopped by the house Bix was in, to drum and pray for him outside the building for a few minutes.” The blog continues:

Bix was very happy to see and hear all who came to visit and wanted either to invite everyone in or go out and be with them. He had a strong sense they were angels, which gave him intense joy. He went onto comment that “it was so right they should be there.”

His captors on the other hand had a slightly different experience. First reprimanding him for being out of compliance (whatever that meant), he was told he was going to be “written up” and what happened was to be “reported.” The rest is history – in early morning he was suddenly awakened, grabbed out of bed, shackled, and returned to SeaTac by the marshals.

Their actions and manner of treatment made it known to him how he would proceed. Upon his arrival at SeaTac he made it clear he intended to be in complete non compliance with their demands; their recourse, which was to be expected, would be to place him in “protective custody or the special housing unit (SHU)”…“the hole”!

Bichsel, who suffers from circulation problems as well as a heart condition, reported to friends that it was “very cold for me all of the time” in his SHU cell at SeaTac, and that he was going “24 hours a day without sleep, fighting off the chill. I have asked for a jacket or a pillow or a mattress; they do not comply.” After supporters held a candlelight vigil outside of the prison last week, he was provided with additional blankets.

According to an article in the National Catholic Reporter, “A spokesman for the Federal Bureau of Prisons said that while he couldn’t comment on the case of a specific inmate, he did say that the ‘typical issue’ for all inmates in the federal system is a blanket and sheet, and that there is a ‘full health services staff on duty at all of our facilities.” A public information officer for the BOP told the paper: “’If we receive information either from the inmate or the inmate’s doctor on the street that there was some sort of pre-existing condition that was being treated, obviously we would pick up the ball from there.’”

Several other religious peace activists have been held in solitary confinement at the SeaTac SHU in recent years. They include members of a group of others (all of them over 60 years old) who in 2009 broke into the Kitsap-Bangor Naval Base outside Seattle, where nuclear submarines are kept. At their trial for trespassing and conspiracy, the judge criticized the defendents’ “lack of remorse” and called their protest “a form of anarchy” that could lead to a “breakdown in the social order.”

According to fellow activist Blake Kermer, who visited Bichsel on Saturday, “Bix wants everyone to know that as he continues on his fast – yesterday was his eleventh day – that he feels stronger and more confirmed in his resolution…Bix says that Christians can unite in conscience where God speaks to all of us, to abolish nuclear weapons and to oppose those policies of the US that are without conscience. This was a point that Bix was reminded of when he was taken back to the BOP and told by his jailer that his re-arrest was a matter of policy, not of conscience. Bix talked about how policy without conscience reminded him…of the White Rose and their courage in protesting Nazi policies without conscience, even though they were beheaded for their resolve.”

Disarm Now Plowshares has provided addresses for public officials to whom supporters can write, as well as the prison address of Fr. Bichsel.

83 year old Peace Activist with medical condition held in SHU with no heating (SEATAC)

“Forget about your doctor back home; I’m your doctor now.”
(a guard to a 83 year old peacemaker in federal prison)

This came to us via email. It concerns a 83 year old Jesuit monk, Bill Bichsel, aka Bix to his friends, who is a peace maker and who witnessed with his blood the naval base where nuclear weapons are stored in Washington State, Nov. 2009.

He is currently serving a sentence for another witness and pro-peace action, and he was released on what seemed like parole, a few days ago, before his final release on Feb 9th.

On his release he had to travel to a halfway house alone for hours, was not allowed to have contact with anyone for 72 hours after “release.” The following day he was returned to SEATAC, the federal prison in Washington State, for incredibly minor “violations.” What the prison does to him, is in fact criminal.

From: Blake Kremer, per email

Bix called around 2 PM today and said that he would like a visit from
me. He related to me the following:

“Found out at a hearing on Tuesday the BOP’s reason for taking him in
to custody. Brought two people in from the halfway house to describe
the incident when the monks came to greet me. I did not know the
monks were coming, but I threw them some kisses and that was it. The
next morning the marshal came and took me in to custody.

I am now on non-compliance and in the SHU. I entered in to a fast –
this is my ninth day. I am amazed at how much strength I am getting.
No food at all – just water. Every morning they bring me breakfast; I
just take two half pints of milk. I feel with all of this my spirit
feels great. It is very cold for me all of the time. I cannot sleep
at all – 24 hours a day without sleep, fighting off the chill. I have
asked for a jacket or a pillow or a mattress; they do not comply.

I am very delighted in the way that this has happened. Welcome
angels singing joy and peace is the theme that comes to me. Rejoice
Rejoice Rejoice – I loved the visit from the monks that lead to his
current imprisonment. I am where I should be. I am good.

I am cold all the time, I wear a blanket. I am in bed all the time
to stay warm.

I am deeply thankful for where I am and I feel a deep sense of god’s
presence. I would like to have others join in the fast if they want
to. There is a fast for Christian unity from 18th to the 25th. I
would like others to consider joining in or being more conscious of
our call to eliminate nuclear weapons or oppose unconscionable actions
and inhumane treatment. I told BOP that I would not comply, as a
matter of conscious. They said: this is a matter of policy not
conscience. I said: that is exactly my point. And that is what I
would like others to consider: that what is policy for some is not
acceptable for Christians.”

This is from an email from another supporter:

***Stay tuned today for information regarding a vigil in response to
prison abuse at SeaTac***

The final line of Bix’s call yesterday to Blake is what I want to
address. “What is policy for some (Bureau of Prisons) is not
acceptable for Christians.”

It is policy for prisons to deny the cries of inmate’s for basic human
needs. (See Plowshares News – May 11, 29 and 31, 2011). It is policy
for prisons to keep the environment cool/cold as well.

Bix is an octogenarian. At 83, I guarantee, our physical needs are
radically different than at 53, or even 73. In contrast, the age of
most prison guards (from my observations) is closer to 33. Supplying
additional warmth is not preferential treatment; it is simply a
rational response to basic physiology.

When Bix went into SeaTac on November 11, he brought a list of his
medications and a letter from his primary care physician. The bulk of
the letter related to Bix’s overall medical condition and needs; but,
it was prefaced by a cover letter specifically addressing Bix’s need
for extra clothing and warmth due to coronary and circulatory
deficits. His doctor explained, in detail, how painful it would be to
Bix if his extremities are subjected to ongoing cold. This letter is
in the medical file at SeaTac. It is being ignored.

Earlier this year, in response to a medical request from Bix, a guard
cut off the conversation to say, “Forget about your doctor back home;
I’m your doctor now.”

Yes, guards and administrators in jails and prisons can treat inmates
inhumanely simply because they can; but, it also seems that the milieu
of prison life is geared toward punishment. At the Knox County
Sheriff’s Detention Facility, where Bix was imprisoned in Knoxville, a
long document that listed the purposes of the facility was posted on
the bulletin board. The first 2 items on the list were their statement
of ownership and the mission statement of delivering “punishment.”

Whether or not jail and prison administrators are directly complicit
in the day to day cruelty of those they supervise; they are answerable
for maintaining an environment that caters to punishment, rather than
rehabilitation. By dehumanizing inmates, whether at Abu Ghraib or the
Podunk County jail, administrators at the top give tacit approval to
soldiers/guards all the way down the line to be creative in their
punishments.

It is important for us to voice disapproval of Bix’s cruel treatment.
Please take a few minutes today to let people on the list below know
that the community cannot tolerate this treatment of Bix or of any of
the 824 prisoners held at SeaTac today. If you know of others who
should hear from us, please contact them and then send me a note –
I’ll add your suggestions to the list. The more letters we get out,
the more likely someone with compassion will intervene.

Contact your government representatives

http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml

Also:

Charles E. Samuels, Jr.
Director, Federal Bureau of Prisons
320 First St., NW,
Washington, DC 20534
Office hours: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Eastern time
Monday through Friday
For general information, call 202-307-3198.

Willie Jusino, Warden
Federal Detention Center SeaTac
P.O. Box 13901
Seattle, WA 98198
Phone: 206-870-5700
Fax: 206-870-5717

Marion Feather, Warden,
SeaTac Federal Detention Center
mxfeather@bop.gov.

Terry McGuire
The Catholic Northwest Progress
710 9th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98104
Terry.McGuire@seattlearch.org
Phone: 206-382-4560
Fax: 206-382-4840

The News Tribune
P.O. Box 11000, Tacoma, WA 98411
Phone: 253-597-8742
David A. Zeeck
Publisher & President
(253) 597-8554
david.zeeck@thenewstribune.com

The Seattle Times
PO Box 70, Seattle, WA 98111
Newsroom: (206) 464-2200
Newsroom fax: (206) 464-2261
Newsroom and Seattletimes.com staff
Main: (206) 464-2111
Accepts letters of up to 200 words at opinion@seattletimes.com.

Leonard Peltier Walk for Human Rights

Posted on December 17, 2011 on Prison Radio’s Blog:

18 December 2011 – 18 May 2012

One good man or one good woman can change the world, can push back the evil, and their work can be a beacon for millions, for billions. Are you that man or woman? If so, may the Great Spirit bless you. If not, why not? We must each of us be that person. That will transform the world overnight. That would be a miracle, yes, but a miracle within our power, our healing power.

~ Leonard Peltier

With the goal of advancing the economic, social, and cultural rights of all people, the Leonard Peltier Walk for Human Rights will begin on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay on the morning of December 18, 2011.

The Walk will follow a route across the southern United States to the east coast and end in Washington, DC, on May 18, 2012.

The ferry to Alcatraz will leave Pier #33 at 8:45 a.m. (assemble at 8:00 a.m.).

The first 300 tickets are available for $14.00 (under 5 years free). Tickets can be purchased on the day of the event, or online at http://www.alcatrazcruises.com starting Friday, December 9th. Mention “AIM event”.

The next boat will leave Pier #33 at 9:10 a.m. (Tickets will be sold at the regular price, $26.) A ceremony will begin on Alcatraz soon after all have assembled on the island. A press conference will be held on Pier #33 beginning at 1:00 p.m.

[A reception is scheduled for December 17 at 5:00 p.m., at the Inter-Tribal Friendship House, 523 International Boulevard, Oakland, CA.]

Are you a freelance reporter/writer in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina, Virginia, or Washington, DC? Or maybe you’re a blogger? Help keep the world informed about the progress of the Walk. We strongly encourage you to file stories for publication in print or electronic media about this historic Walk for Human Rights.

This event is sponsored by Wind Chases the Sun, Inc., N5679 Skylark Drive, DePere, WI 54115.
For more information contact Dorothy Ninham at 920-713-8114 or (920) 869-2641.
Or contact Gina Buenrostro at (920) 713-2205
Or Geronimo Powless at (920-713-3828).

Get information and/or donate securely online at www.leonardpeltierwalkforhumanrights.com.

LP-DOC – PO Box 7488 – Fargo, ND 58106
Phone: 701/235-2206; Fax:701/235-5045

www.whoisleonardpeltier.info

Peltier Update

Remember Mr. Peltier during the holiday season.

SEND CARDS AND LETTERS:

LEONARD PELTIER #89637-132

USP COLEMAN I
U.S. PENITENTIARY
P.O. BOX 1033
COLEMAN, FL 33521

Mr. Peltier should be placed in a unit with other older prisoners, but USP Coleman has Leonard listed as being 57 years of age when, in fact, he is 67 years old. All of Leonard’s prison records over these many years clearly indicate his correct date of birth. Write to the warden at USP Coleman to demand that he correct this “clerical error”.

Warden Jorge L. Pastrana
United States Penitentiary-1
PO Bo 1023
Coleman, FL 33521

Overall, the conditions at USP Coleman are inhumane. The prisoners recently remained in lockdown for over 30 days. Peltier supporters, please write to demand that Leonard be moved to the medium security facility in Oxford, Wisconsin, in deference to his age, health, and current inability to maintain ties with family members and members of his Nation, the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians.

Contact:

Dr. Thomas Kane, Acting Director
Federal Bureau of Prisons
320 1st Street, NW
Washington, DC 20534
E-Mail: info@bop.gov
Phone: (202) 307-3250 (Director); (202) 307-3198 (Switchboard)
Fax: (202) 514-6620

Human Rights Coalition Interview with Lynne Stewart

From: Prison Radio
By Patricia Vickers, Human Rights Coalition
August 31st 2011

The Political Prisoner, Lynne Stewart, was interviewed by mail by Patricia Vickers, a founding member of the Human Rights Coalition (HRC) of Pennsylvania. Ms. Vickers is the co-founder/editor of The Movement magazine of the HRC. A former 1960s student activist, Ms. Vickers is an eco-feminist whose youngest son, Kerry ‘Shakaboona’ Marshall, is a wrongly convicted juvenile serving Life Imprisonment as a Juvenile Lifer in Pennsylvania prisons and, though incarcerated for 25 years, is a political activist.

Human Rights Coalition: Hello. Welcome to THE MOVEMENT Sister Lynne. Thank you for granting me this interview with you. How are your health and spirits, and how are you being treated at FMC Carswell [Federal Prison]?

Lynne Stewart: My health is passable—the usual brushfires of aging, but good. My spirits are always high, especially with the mail I get to encourage me. I am being treated as well as can be expected. I receive heavy scrutiny—all mail, email and phone conversations.

Human Rights Coalition: There are people who aren’t aware of your unlawful confinement and the government’s repression of you for your legal representation of the Muslim blind Sheik. Can you enlighten the people about your situation?

Lynne Stewart: There are two aspects to my “situation,” as you so gallantly described it. First, I was prosecuted for doing what I believe is the duty and work of an attorney—to represent the client zealously and conscientiously. In the case of the original trial (1995) of the blind Sheik, Omar Abdel Rahman, of Egypt, we wanted to keep his name alive so that we could eventually try to negotiate a return for him even if it meant jail in Egypt. In that spirit I made a press release public, and to Reuters, expressing his point of view on a unilateral cease fire then in effect in Egypt. I believed that this was part of salvaging him from the torture of his solitary confinement and also that it was part of the work I had sworn to do. I was tried and found guilty for materially aiding “terrorism.”

Then, after I received a sentence of two-and-one-half-years, as opposed to the 30 years the government wanted, on appeal, the Second Circuit Court sent the case back for the Judge to give me more time. Without much ado, he sentenced me then to ten years, partially based upon on statements I made after the sentencing and before I surrendered in November 2009. That sentencing is currently on appeal and will be argued in the fall in New York City.

Human Rights Coalition: In the people’s eyes, mine included for sure, you are our [s]hero and represent a long line of principled and committed warriors of the struggle. How do you take being a Political Prisoner of the American government?

Lynne Stewart: I believe I am one of an historical progression that maintains the struggle to change the perverted political landscape that is the U.S. It seems that being a political prisoner must be used as a means of focusing people’s attention on the continuing atrocities around them. Nothing seems to be too shocking or corrupt to blast the complacency. Like my client Richard Williams used to say, I might think I hadn’t been doing my utmost if they didn’t believe I was dangerous enough to be locked up!

Human Rights Coalition: In April, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled that Political Prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal’s death sentence is unconstitutional. However, I am sure there are forces working behind the scenes within the Criminal Injustice System—like what happened in your case—to manipulate another death penalty outcome on Mumia. What is your opinion of the current news surrounding our brother Mumia?

Lynne Stewart: Mumia’s case is our greatest challenge because he is the best and the brightest, and they know it too. We, the progressive revolutionary movement, and Mumia’s lawyers, must create the strategy that forces the District Attorney to elect to try the death penalty issue. Then we get a chance in public, in court, to clearly present the overwhelming proof of his innocence. The worst thing that could happen is that the DA elects to give him life without parole—a living death that deprives our movement of one of its true leaders. I just hope that the blood thirsty Blue Line forces the issue and holds out for the death penalty so we are in the position to take advantage and advance our cause, and Mumia’s.

Human Rights Coalition: July 4th is widely celebrated as “Independence Day” in America, but the masses of people are experiencing their independence (freedom) taken away by the corporate American government, and by the big banks and mega-corporations that run them. Are the citizens of America truly free, or is their independence a grand illusion?

Lynne Stewart: I re-read Frederick Douglas’ great 4th of July speech every year to just remind myself of how little the ultimate issue has changed from the founding of the nation to today’s alleged “freedom.” Racism is at the core of the empire; and we can never be blinded by all the fireworks in the world.

Human Rights Coalition: Can you describe the difference between Civil Rights and Human Rights?

Lynne Stewart: For me the difference is the same as between the Constitution’s Bill of Rights and the UN Declaration of Human Rights. The Bill delineates the ways that Government may not encroach on our ability to operate freely. It is a prohibition on the Government limiting free speech, religion, the right to bear arms, and the right to free assembly. It delineates the rights within the legal system.

The Declaration guarantees fundamental human entitlements—freedom from hunger, freedom from fear, freedom to choose, freedom to live in an environment that doesn’t kill us, and our children.

We obviously fight for more than the political guarantee to be free of government interference—it is to be able to live an open and generous and contributing life toward the betterment of people on the entire planet.

Human Rights Coalition: Sister Lynne, What are human rights to you? What do you make of the growing human rights movement in the U.S.? And how can people advocate their human rights effectively?

Lynne Stewart: Advocating for human rights must always delineate that our struggle is not one of “self interest.” It is a fight for all of us. This raises the always-troubling question of the recognition that for some this may mean sacrificing their entitlements (i.e. skin privilege, class privilege) to better others’ lives. Nobody wants to give up what they feel that they have achieved legitimately, “within the system.” But without the recognition that one has benefited unfairly by the unwritten “code” that has favored certain groups over others, change cannot occur.

I also believe we have lost the sense that we enjoy the right of self-defense. Everyone is so busy announcing their “peacefulness” and willingness to be a victim for a cause, that we forget that a true measure of one’s seriousness is to defend oneself, and others—to live; Che’s observation that a revolutionary is moved by great feelings of love. This includes not only self-sacrifice but also daring to struggle, daring to win (to quote another hero, Mao).

Human Rights Coalition: What are some of the human rights violations that you see happening in the U.S. today that we, the people, need to eliminate?

Lynne Stewart: The most egregious and obvious violations are occurring in the prison system. Not only the obscenely long sentences but the torture holes of “Special Housing Units.” These are the equivalents of Belsen and Dachau, resulting in living death and mental deterioration. When I think that so many imprisoned without current hope of redress are political prisoners and have been held so for decades, it not only brings tears but also a feeling of grim determination to make it change!

Human Rights Coalition: What are some of America’s foreign human rights violations going on that people may not be aware of?

Lynne Stewart: I personally feel that the deterioration of the African sub Saharan continent and its descent into rapacious capitalism will ultimately translate into unparalleled destruction of people and resources. I include South Africa in this assessment. If the African National Congress (ANC) and Mandela had remained steadfast in the socialist principles that guided their resistance and not given in to the terrible temptations of compromise, greed and power, we might have seen the beginning of a different balance of power. Alas, this was not to be and instead we see the depredation of Africa, by absolutism and the American capitalist paradigm.

Human Rights Coalition: People seem to be oblivious or indifferent to the human rights abuses that occur daily in U.S. prisons against other human beings, women prisoners in particular. Can you shed some light on that human rights issue?

Lynne Stewart: Human rights do not exist in prison. Aside from the obvious violations described above, I see day-to-day a brainwashing that teaches all prisoners that they are less than nothing and not worthy of even the least human or humane considerations. This is reflected in the lack of adequate medical care, the appalling diet, the steady diet of spoon-fed mediocrity—TV (Archie Bunker re-runs), movies, no access to the Web, etc. There is an absence of legal advice or aid inside the walls. Law libraries with books have been eliminated; instead they have a computer program that is so anti-user that even I, an attorney of 30 years, have difficulty navigating it. Their goal is to keep us dumbed-down, docile and estranged.

The outside world is oblivious because they too have been brainwashed into believing that those locked away are less than human—based on differences of race and class. It is most difficult to struggle against the power if you don’t have a belief that the struggle is worth the sacrifice.

Human Rights Coalition: Do you consider the legal practice of sentencing children to life imprisonment without any possibility of release (a de facto death sentence) for homicide, to be a human rights violation?

Lynne Stewart: I am 100 percent opposed to anything that does not have a factor of human redemption or at least of remediation. I guess it is part of a whole belief system. If you are, like I am, committed to “changing” the world it must be ALL of us, who deserve to live in a system that recognizes that terrible psychic and physical damage can be done to human beings, and has a plan to make people, especially children, whole and restore them to our community.

Human Rights Coalition: In Pennsylvania, being debated is whether sentencing child offenders to life imprisonment without parole should simply be “reformed” by leaving the legal practice intact and simply give the child offender a sentence of life with parole eligibility or should the legal practice be abolished entirely and a new sentencing scheme be developed for child offenders instead? What is your position on the matter—reform or abolish it?

Lynne Stewart: Your question really asks if “reform” is possible within an inhumane system? This is an issue revolutionaries have wrestled with always. Do we give the starving a crust of bread or leave them hungry to make the greater change. I, like Rosa Luxemburg, always made it my practice to minister to immediate primary needs but also to render the explanation for their predicament in political terms and with political (group action) solutions. At least in that way, the baby was no longer starving for milk and there might be a spark ignited for the next confrontation with the oppressor.

In the strict context of your question, we do need to struggle to save people from the most inhumane punishments. However, until we resolve the burning questions of race and class, we must not forget that these are palliative, Band-Aids on a hemorrhage.

Human Rights Coalition: What do you say about the illusion of democracy in America that the people are now witnessing from the domestic austerity program that the federal and state governments are imposing on the American people?

Lynne Stewart: Our job is how to smash the myth of America and we haven’t really figured out as a movement how to blast our way past the sentimentality the media foists on us. We used to believe that if people knew the “truth,” this would shake their faith and move us toward change; or alternatively, if their personal shoe pinched, they would act in self-interest. Now people seem to know only fear and rely on the myths of Big Brother government to assuage them. Our job is to keep on struggling, keep on raising the contradictions, create an atmosphere where we the people are ungovernable.

Human Rights Coalition: Any final comments for the movement out there, Sister Lynne?

Lynne Stewart: In this struggle, once you enlist, it is for life. There are no guarantees and you will be disappointed. But you will also be uplifted when there are victories and enriched by friendship and dedication of the comrades. Most importantly, you can look in the mirror every morning and be at one with the person there because you made the difficult choice and decided to fight for the people against the evil empires. It is the best way to live and I have been on the lines for fifty-plus years, living it.

www.hrcoalition.org

www.lynnestewart.org

Leonard Peltier in the Hole

A Call to Action

14 July 2011

Updated: 14 Jul 2011
On June 27, the 66-year-old Leonard Peltier was thrown in “The Hole” at USP-Lewisburg where he purportedly will stay for the next six months. According to what is currently known, Leonard’s cell was searched that day. A guard allegedly was shocked by a wire(s) in the cell, placed there a long while ago by one of Leonard’s former cellmates. The guard claimed “assault” (apparently he didn’t know better than to touch an electrical wire). Leonard wasn’t present during the search, having already been removed to “The Hole”.

See here for the report.

Send Cards and Letters:

Leonard Peltier
#89637-132
USP-Lewisburg
US Penitentiary
PO Box 1000
Lewisburg, PA 17837

Leonard Peltier placed in Solitary Confinement

On June 27, Leonard Peltier was removed from the general population at USP-Lewisburg and placed in solitary confinement. We know this was not done for Leonard’s protection. We also are certain that Leonard has done nothing wrong. He should immediately be returned to the prison’s general population.

Our concern is two-fold. First and foremost, Leonard must not be railroaded by prison authorities as has happened in the past. Second, Leonard’s age and health status are a concern. Leonard suffers from diabetes and other health conditions. He must have the means by which to monitor his blood sugar. He must receive the proper diet. Leonard otherwise must continue to receive his prescribed medications. He must immediately be returned to the prison’s general population.

For more information on how you can help, please visit http://www.whoisleonardpeltier.info/alert.htm.

GA prison fails to help heart patient: More Questions than Answers about Jackie’s condition

Posted on May 30, 2011 by Disarm Now Plowshares

Friends,

This has been, and continues to be, a difficult time for all of us who know and love Sr. Jackie Hudson. First – Please know that there is an extraordinary convergence of people, including lawyers and physicians who are working virtually 24/7 on Jackie’s behalf. As of this moment none of us has had direct contact with Jackie, and so we cannot confirm her present health status. That having been said, here is what we know.

Since Sr. Carol Gilbert, who is also at Irwin County Detention Center (Georgia), informed us (on May 29th) of Jackie’s severe chest pain and that nothing was being done for her medical condition, Joe Power-Drutis immediately set a process in motion to secure her transportation to a hospital to reserve proper medical care. He contacted everyone possible, and engaged 2 physicians and 3 attorneys to engage directly with the prison staff. The prison has been completely uncooperative, only saying that Jackie “was being taken care of.” She is evidently in the prison medical facility (God only knows what that is like!!!).

At one point there was an indication that Jackie may have been transported to the local hospital and then returned to the jail. However, a followup conversation with staff at the local hospital confirmed that Jackie has not been admitted there, and he staff indicated that theirs is the only hospital in the area. There is absolutely no evidence that Jackie has been sent anywhere for proper medical evaluation.

The prison medical facility, as far as I know, is ill equipped to evaluate or treat Jackie’s possible medical condition and experts (MDs) agree that based on her presentation to prison medical staff, she should have been immediately transported to a hospital emergency facility for a thorough cardiac work-up.

Based on all the information we have received it appears that her treatment since her chest pain began, even beyond her basic medical needs, has been substandard and inhumane.

The legal team working on Jackie’s behalf includes Bill Quigley, Legal Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights; Anabel Dwyer, lawyer and international human rights expert; and Blake Kramer, Tacoma-based attorney who has been deeply involved in defending the Disarm Now Plowshares. I understand that the legal team is currently working every possible angle, and one involves getting the Judge for the Y-12 trial, which was the reason for Jackie’s current imprisonment, to order her release/transport to the hospital.

Another major concern and an egregious disregard for the rule of law is prison’s refusal to allow Jackie’s right to legal counsel. Jackie’s court-appointed attorney, Brad Henry, found out at the jail that the Warden told all the staff at the jail that no information was to be given out about Jackie, including her appointed council. The prison is stonewalling every step of the way.

Beyond the obvious moral and ethical implications of the prison’s treatment of Jackie Hudson, it is evident that she is being deprived of her Constitutional rights as well as essential human rights. This on top of Jackie’s very real status as a Prisoner of Conscience, quite literally a political prisoner in a nation that flouts both national law and international humanitarian law and then imprisons those who follow their conscience and the law to speak and act out to call on our nation to uphold these laws.

This maltreatment must not stand. The people operating Irwin County Detention Center, a private, for profit prison, must be held accountable for their actions. If this is how they treat Jackie, someone with a broad base of support, I can only imagine the mistreatment of a vast number of prisoners who have no one to advocate on their behalf. What of the forgotten???

Besides the work being done by this dedicated group to whom I’ve referred, many of you out there are working on Jackie’s behalf, and for this I thank you all! We evidently flooded the prison phone line with calls, and I have no doubt that this has had an impact. They know we are watching! I have contacted the ACLU of Georgia, asking them to act on Jackie’s behalf. We are working on alerting media locally(Georgia), regionally and nationally to Jackie’s plight, and will also be contacting members of Congress to act on her behalf.

What can you do to help Jackie? For one thing, we can continue to call, fax and/or email the prison to let them know we are watching and demand that they send Jackie to the hospital. The phone number is 229-468-4121. You may get a recorded message during some hours. There is also an email listed: info@irwincdc.com. Fax is 229-468-4186 Additional phone numbers: Warden Barbara Walrath – warden of Irwin County Detention Center, 229-468-4120, Dr. Howard C. McMahan – Medical Director of Irwin County Detention Center, 229-468-5177. If you get into a message system, LEAVE A MESSAGE!

Irwin County Detention Center
132 Cotton Drive, Ocilla, GA 31774
Telephone: 229-468-4121 Fax: 229-468-4186 Email: info@irwincdc.com

Here are some suggested talking points:

Sr. Jackie Hudson, who is in your care and for whom you are responsible, has had intense heart pain, which began Saturday afternoon. She is being obstinately denied proper medical care. Her symptoms suggest that she may have one or more occluded coronary arteries. If this is the case, her heart, as a muscle, will progressively worsen in the hours and days to come.

Jackie must be taken to an emergency room immediately. The Emergency Department at the Irwin County Hospital verifies that Sr. Jackie has not been taken to their hospital, and that there is no other local hospital to which she might have been taken. They Emergency Department has been in contact with the ICDC to no avail.

Such treatment constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, and if Sister Jackie is not moved to an emergency room immediately and suffers any negative medical consequences as a result I will hold Michael Croft Enterprises, operator of ICDC and in particular Warden Barbara Walrath and Medical Director Howard C. McMahon personally responsible.

Those supporting Jackie Hudson must have direct access to her and her physicians so they know her whereabouts, her condition and her treatment. These people include: Sue Ablao, Sr. Jackie’s housemate at Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action, Poulsbo, WA; Frank Hudson, Sr. Jackie’s brother; Sister Nathalie Meyer O.P., provincial of the Dominican Sisters of Grand Rapids, Sr. Jackie’s religious order; and Brad Henry, Jackie’s attorney.

Send an email to (or call) any news media contacts you have, or even if you don’t have any you email the newsroom (look them up in the contacts section of that newspaper’s Website).

I understand that the Koinonia Partners community in Americus, Georgia, is planning a vigil at the prison tomorrow.

As I stay focused on dear Jackie’s immediate needs I find myself also focusing on a much broader issue. Here is a person with so much support from so many wonderful people. And yet, there is a huge percentage of the U.S. prison population (with the largest incarceration rate in the world) for whom there is no support. What becomes of these forgotten prisoners when they become ill??? We will take up that issue once we get Jackie taken care of!!!

One last thing before I close; an excerpt from something by Liz McAllister and Chrissy Nesbitt of the Jonah House community that I find quite pertinent today:

It is Memorial Day as we write. Meaning no disrespect, but on this “war heroes’ weekend”, isn’t it time to also honor those who have “fallen” in a different battle – against the slaughtering wars?

It often takes a different kind of moral and, yes, even physical courage to resist a war and/or a weapons system that you believe is a crime, when all your family, friends, teachers and the vast American majority support them.

But what about the Sr. Jackie Hudsons who don’t want to kill people, who don’t believe it is right to build more and more weapons of mass destruction? They’re an odd breed who count among their number such as Muhammad Ali, Mahatma Gandhi, Sergeant York, David Hockney, three US weapon-refusing combat medics who won the medal of honor. What kind of guts does it take for war objectors, whether they’re Quakers, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mennonites or Roman Catholic, who simply don’t want to kill? On this Memorial Day, it might be a time to think about the outcasts who refuse to take life. Should Sr. Jackie Hudson be required to give her life in a jail that displays absolutely no respect for life? Is this what the U.S. is about?

That’s all for now. In between these emails I am regularly updating the Disarm Now Plowshares Blog as I hear of anything that you should know. Please check in at the top of the home page occasionally for updates. And – Please forward this email far and wide.

Thanks to all who have offered to help in so many ways. As bad as this all is, Jackie is surrounded by such a wonderful, loving community, and I can imagine that this knowledge is deeply embedded in Jackie’s heart and mind, and that it is a great comfort to her.

Peace,
Leonard

Update on Jackie May 31, 2011
Joe Power-Drutis

This day promises to be a pivotal one in Jackie’s life and ours.
Whatever struck Jackie in the afternoon of May 28th, we can only
assume it heart because of its symptoms, she has remained in pain,
frequently crying out for assistance, and at least many of her cries
have gone forth unanswered by her human captors.

Nearly 65 hours have elapsed since Sr. Carol Gilbert first called
pleading for someone to come and provide Jackie much need care. Yes,
65 hours have elapsed when medical authorities tell us minutes make a
difference. It is 65 hours that Ardeth, Carol, Jean and Bonnie had to
sit helpless, literally feet away from where Jackie would lay. During
these 65 hours the legal system would ostensibly shut down and
everyone would go to the beach over Memorial Day Weekend.

Well now we are at the end of that 65 hour period and I feel confident
in my heart that Jackie will be liberated from, as Dorothy Day would
say, “this dirty filthy rotten system” that keeps her in chains and
without the care she so desperately needs.

Over the past 48 hours you have been a part of a very large response
from people North to South and East to West, that have wrote, called,
planned and made contacts on behalf of our sister Jackie. This morning
Medical, Legal and Political representatives will weigh in on Jackie’s
behalf and I believe they will accomplish their objective.

Our main hope is that the courts will intervene and order Jackie either
released from Jail so that we might ensure her care or order the
Irwin County Detention Facility in Ocilla to send her to the Irwin
County Hospital immediately for proper evaluation and treatment.

Nothing short of this will be acceptable. I am making plans for going
to Ocilla soon and will send out word through this service when I
catch wind of any development.

I pray this day that the men and women, who will do all they can on
Jackie’s behalf, will be successful in ensuring she receives the care
she desperately needs.