“I’m so bored. I hate my life.” - Britney Spears

Das Langweilige ist interessant geworden, weil das Interessante angefangen hat langweilig zu werden. – Thomas Mann

"Never for money/always for love" - The Talking Heads

Friday, December 19, 2003


The Washington Post reports on the Ashcroft version of ethnic cleansing – arresting anybody named Mohammed – that was allowed after 9/11. Many of the detainees were held in a Brooklyn jail and were routinely bounced off walls – meaning rammed into walls, kicked, held in restraints for up to seven hours, and had their conferences with their lawyers illegally taped and eavesdropped upon.

These were charges denied by the officials of the prison – a Federal prison – until a stash of videos were found recording it all. The videos, according to the director of the prison, had been ‘recycled.” During the investigation, prison officials blankly denied the charges. Are these prison officials going to be fired? That’s a good question.

The second and third grafs:

“An investigation by Inspector General Glenn A. Fine also found that officials at the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Brooklyn, N.Y., which is run by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, improperly taped meetings between detainees and their lawyers, and used excessive strip searches and restraints to punish those in confinement.
The report concluded that as many as 20 guards were involved in the abuse, which included slamming prisoners against walls and painfully twisting their arms and hands. Fine recommended discipline for 10 employees and counseling for two others who remain employed by the federal prison system. He also said the government should notify the employers of four former guards about their conduct.”

Of course, this is lenient to the point of lunacy. Fine was systematically lied to in his investigation, and the lies lead to the head of the prison, Michael Zenk. Zenk should certainly be fired and charged with assault.

Who is this Zenk, and why are we putting up with him?

He is a big advocate of that torture known as solitary confinement. Last year, he defied a judge’s order to release Peter Gotti from solitary.

There’s a glimpse of the bureaucrat in this account of an Indian man kidnapped by the FBI after 9/11 and stashed in Brooklyn. The man, Mohammad Azmath Jaweed, was taken off a train in Fort Worth, interrogated with the presumption that he was a terrorist, shuffled to Brooklyn with no charges or evidence to justify imprisonment, shackled, thrown against walls, awakened at night in his cell, which was kept perpetually lighted, and subjected to freezing cold – all, as he says, because “The warden used to tell his men not to show us any mercy.” Jaweed, who seems to be an utterly reasonable man, wrote to Zenk about this, and received this reply: “You are under investigation for terrorism. We have information from intelligence agencies you have terrorist links. This is the reason you are kept in solitary confinement.” Not, mind you, because you are being investigated in any particular act of terrorism. Not because of your individual behavior. No, solitary comes out of the accusation that is being investigated – an accusation that could be leveled at anyone.

At, say, Zenk himself, if he was put in prison for the complicity in assault and corruption – not to say that he is guilty of these things. We’d suggest that during the investigation to determine if he is guilty, however, he be put in solitary, shackled, and prevented from sleep. Don't slam him into any walls though! (wink, wink)

As for the system he serves – future Foucault’s might want to peruse this fascinating document, released this summer by the DOJ, full of contradictions and false information, but more importantly full of the most astonishing exculpatory language and classifications. Here, for instance, is the DOJ talking to itself in that inimitable mumble of acronyms that always results in injury and state sponsored terror for someone:
“The BOP initially classified all September 11 detainees it housed as Witness Security, or WITSEC, inmates.91 Witness Security inmates generally are individuals who agree to cooperate with law enforcement, judicial, or correctional authorities by providing evidence against persons or groups involved in illegal activities. Because their cooperation with the Government can place their lives in jeopardy, the BOP takes significant precautions to ensure the safety of WITSEC inmates. Accordingly, any information about WITSEC inmates is closely guarded, such as their identity, location, and status.
Normally, the arresting agency would inform the BOP of the person's status and the need for WITSEC protection, but the BOP classified the detainees in this category without any individual assessment of the circumstances of their arrests.
When applied to the September 11 detainees, the WITSEC classification resulted in MDC officials withholding information about the detainees' status and location.”
Is this clever or what? Witness protection used against witnesses who witnessed nothing, and were protected against their own use of their constitutional rights. Whoever thought this one up would have been promoted quickly in Stalin NKVD: it was just the kind of mindfuck Beria loved.

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