Mistreatment of Prisoners Is Called Routine in US

  Mistreatment of Prisoners Is Called Routine in US

Posted by CN Staff on May 08, 2004 at 08:59:37 PT
By Fox Butterfield 
Source: New York Times  

Physical and sexual abuse of prisoners, similar to what has been uncovered in Iraq, takes place in American prisons with little public knowledge or concern, according to corrections officials, inmates and human rights advocates.In Pennsylvania and some other states, inmates are routinely stripped in front of other inmates before being moved to a new prison or a new unit within their prison. In Arizona, male inmates at the Maricopa County jail in Phoenix are made to wear women's pink underwear as a form of humiliation.
At Virginia's Wallens Ridge maximum security prison, new inmates have reported being forced to wear black hoods, in theory to keep them from spitting on guards, and said they were often beaten and cursed at by guards and made to crawl.The corrections experts say that some of the worst abuses have occurred in Texas, whose prisons were under a federal consent decree during much of the time President Bush was governor because of crowding and violence by guards against inmates. Judge William Wayne Justice of Federal District Court imposed the decree after finding that guards were allowing inmate gang leaders to buy and sell other inmates as slaves for sex.The experts also point out that the man who directed the reopening of the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq last year and trained the guards there resigned under pressure as director of the Utah Department of Corrections in 1997 after an inmate died while shackled to a restraining chair for 16 hours. The inmate, who suffered from schizophrenia, was kept naked the whole time.The Utah official, Lane McCotter, later became an executive of a private prison company, one of whose jails was under investigation by the Justice Department when he was sent to Iraq as part of a team of prison officials, judges, prosecutors and police chiefs picked by Attorney General John Ashcroft to rebuild the country's criminal justice system. Mr. McCotter, 63, is director of business development for Management & Training Corporation, a Utah-based firm that says it is the third-largest private prison company, operating 13 prisons. In 2003, the company's operation of the Santa Fe jail was criticized by the Justice Department and the New Mexico Department of Corrections for unsafe conditions and lack of medical care for inmates. No further action was taken.In response to a request for an interview on Friday, Mr. McCotter said in a written statement that he had left Iraq last September, just after a ribbon-cutting ceremony to open Abu Ghraib."I was not involved in any aspect of the facility's operation after that time," he said.Nationwide, during the last quarter century, over 40 state prison systems were under some form of court order, for brutality, crowding, poor food or lack of medical care, said Marc Mauer, assistant director of the Sentencing Project, a research and advocacy group in Washington that calls for alternatives to incarceration.In a 1999 opinion, Judge Justice wrote of the situation in Texas, "Many inmates credibly testified to the existence of violence, rape and extortion in the prison system and about their own suffering from such abysmal conditions."In a case that began in 2000, a prisoner at the Allred Unit in Wichita Falls, Tex., said he was repeatedly raped by other inmates, even after he appealed to guards for help, and was allowed by prison staff to be treated like a slave, being bought and sold by various prison gangs in different parts of the prison. The inmate, Roderick Johnson, has filed suit against the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and the case is now before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans, said Kara Gotsch, public policy coordinator for the National Prison Project of the American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing Mr. Johnson.Asked what Mr. Bush knew about abuse in Texas prisons while he was governor, Trent Duffy, a White House spokesman, said the problems in American prisons were not comparable to the abuses exposed at Abu Ghraib. The corrections experts are careful to say they do not know to what extent the brutality and humiliation at Abu Ghraib were intended to break the prisoners for interrogation or were just random acts. But Chase Riveland, a former secretary of corrections in Washington State and Colorado and now a prison consultant based near Seattle, said, "In some jurisdictions in the United States there is a prison culture that tolerates violence, and it's been there a long time."This culture has been made worse by the quadrupling of the number of prison and jail inmates to 2.1 million over the last 25 years, which has often resulted in crowding, he said. The problems have been compounded by the need to hire large numbers of inexperienced and often undertrained guards, Mr. Riveland said. Some states have a hard time recruiting enough guards, Mr. Riveland said, particularly Arizona, where the pay is very low. "Retention in these states is a big problem and so unqualified people get promoted to be lieutenants or captains in a few months," he said. Something like this process may have happened in Iraq, where the Americans tried to start a new prison system with undertrained military police officers from Army reserve units, Mr. Riveland suggested.When Mr. Ashcroft announced the appointment of the team to restore Iraq's criminal justice system last year, including Mr. McCotter, he said, "Now all Iraqis can taste liberty in their native land, and we will help make that freedom permanent by assisting them to establish an equitable criminal justice system based on the rule of law and standards of basic human rights."A Justice Department spokeswoman, Monica Goodling, did not return phone calls on Friday asking why Mr. Ashcroft had chosen Mr. McCotter even though his firm's operation of the Santa Fe jail had been criticized by the Justice Department.Mr. McCotter has a long background in prisons. He had been a military police officer in Vietnam and had risen to be a colonel in the Army. His last post was as warden of the Army prison at Fort Leavenworth. After retiring from the Army, Mr. Cotter was head of the corrections departments in New Mexico and Texas before taking the job in Utah.In Utah, in addition to the death of the mentally ill inmate, Mr. McCotter also came under criticism for hiring a prison psychiatrist whose medical license was on probation and who was accused of Medicaid fraud and writing prescriptions for drug addicts.In an interview with an online magazine -- -- last January, Mr. McCotter recalled that of all the prisons in Iraq, Abu Ghraib "is the only place we agreed as a team was truly closest to an American prison. They had cell housing and segregation."But 80 to 90 percent of the prison had been destroyed, so Mr. McCotter set about rebuilding it, everything from walls and toilets to handcuffs and soap. He employed 100 Iraqis who had worked in the prison under Saddam Hussein, and paid for everything with wads of cash, up to $3 million, that he carried with him.Another problem, Mr. McCotter quickly discovered, was that the Iraqi staff, despite some American training, quickly reverted to their old ways, "shaking down families, shaking down inmates, letting prisoners buy their way out of prison."So the American team fired the guards and went with former Iraqi military personnel. "They didn't have any bad habits and did things exactly the way we trained them."Mr. McCotter said he worked closely with American military police officers at the prison, but he did not give any names. Source: New York Times (NY)Author: Fox ButterfieldPublished: May 8, 2004Copyright: 2004 The New York Times Co.Contact: letters Website: Articles:Counting the Costs of the Drug War Prison State, If Not a Police State Prison Population Tops 2 Million American Gulag in The Making

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Comment #57 posted by Jose Melendez on May 12, 2004 at 23:01:02 PT
From: Jose Melendez Date: Thu May 13, 2004 02:00:07 US/EasternTo: BobDuPont, JMazza, HDuPont, SWiggins, abumanis ibhinc.orgSubject: Wage peace.Best regards, and respect, to you all. - jm - - -Did George Washington Use Intoxicants to Buy Votes?
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Comment #56 posted by Jose Melendez on May 12, 2004 at 22:52:56 PT
do the math
Follow the money:"Peter B. Bensinger,   former director of the Department of Drug Enforcement, formed a partnership   with Robert DuPont with the creative name B and D Associates. Together they   effectively counsel corporations into establishing get-tough drug policies.   Business is booming. Bensinger is probably the most outspoken proponent of   mass testing. He has appeared on the Today show, and his articles appear   regularly in national op/ed pages. The media regard him as the unofficial   industry spokesman. Question on urine? Call Bensinger. It will be his job to   destroy the premises of this book.  Robert T. Angarola,   former general counsel to the White House Office of Drug Abuse Policy, is an   attorney with the Washington firm of Hyman, Phelps & McNamara. He is also a   urinalysis consultant. Angarola carried the Administration’s hardball   approach to his private-sector clients: "The constitutional right to privacy   protects people only against government (emphasis added) intrusion.   Individuals acting as private citizens are not bound by these constitutional   restrains. And this applies to private employers." Sounds like Edwin Meese?   Talk of giving such free reign to employers appeals to Angarola’s clients.   These include Syva and Kidder Peabody, a brokerage house that started its   drug-testing program in late 1985. Angarola’s job is to head off lawsuits by   disgruntled employees. To avoid them, he urges workplace candor; a worker   who knows about his company’s drug policy won’t mind having his privacy   violated. So if you understand how the guillotine works, you won’t mind   putting your head on the block.  In the small world of   drug testing, these four - - Angarola, Bensinger, DuPont and Willette - -   are affectionately referred to as the Gang of Four. Dr. John Morgan   explains, "They are the ones responsible for a good deal of drug testing’s   success, and some of the fear that goes along with it. Remember these names.   These men are among the most competent and knowledgeable about drug testing   - - scientifically and politically. They are well-informed: they have to be.   Their livelihoods depend upon their credibility. Unfortunately their   expertise represents the greatest threat to the civil liberties we seek to   protect. Know your enemy."from: contact info:
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Comment #55 posted by FoM on May 12, 2004 at 22:49:17 PT
I don't want to send anyone information that they haven't asked for. If he would want to comment he can register and comment. 
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Comment #54 posted by Jose Melendez on May 12, 2004 at 22:41:40 PT
I did not think DuPont would.
I figured if I emailed him the password and info, he might use it and we could mutually find a civil end to the drug war.That's all, - jmthe solution seems to be to send him his own account:BobDuPont
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Comment #53 posted by FoM on May 12, 2004 at 18:48:40 PT
Why would you register for someone else? It showed up as you so I didn't let it go thru.
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Comment #52 posted by Jose Melendez on May 12, 2004 at 18:45:40 PT
I tried to register a name for Robert DuPont, so he could join in.
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Comment #51 posted by FoM on May 12, 2004 at 15:28:54 PT
About Registration
I've watched this for a long time and haven't said anything but I really think I need to mention it. Some people try to register with names that I don't understand why they would want to use those names. Please use generic names if you want to post on CNews. Names shouldn't be inflamatory or be possibly offensive to others. Thanks.
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Comment #50 posted by FoM on May 12, 2004 at 15:15:33 PT
Yes I do understand.
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Comment #49 posted by Hope on May 12, 2004 at 15:09:51 PT
FoM, I believe every day is the "end of the world" for some people. (smile...I know you will understand that, too.)
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Comment #48 posted by FoM on May 12, 2004 at 14:33:50 PT
Off Topic
Jesse Ventura grew a beard and maybe even a little hair on his head too. He looks so different.He looks much better with no hair! He doesn't look like Mr. Clean anymore.
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Comment #47 posted by FoM on May 12, 2004 at 14:19:51 PT

You aren't a sissy or a wuss. My husband is non violent. My father was non violent. My mother was a pistol though! LOL!
 Hopefully I have enough of my mom in me that I won't be walked on but enough of my father to keep things balanced. As far as this war goes it is a religious war. Even in Vietnam most people were Buddhist and they are gentle people I think. Moslems, Jews and Christians all claim Abraham, Moses etc. as part of their faith. How will this war of beliefs ever end?PS: As far as music goes I was sent the Greendale Concert from Radio City Music Hall this last tour. When Neil Young came back to sing some of his old songs he sang Rockin' in The Free World but changed some of the words. When he sang this part it took a second but then the audience broke out in oh my god type applause.We have a kinder, gentlier machine gun handLosing boys everyday because we didn't have a plan.I said that to say this. Music is as important as anything else we do to get our message out whatever our message is.
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Comment #46 posted by BGreen on May 12, 2004 at 13:54:00 PT

Caring ISN'T morbid, FoM
I'm a very sensitive and emotional creature, the kind that loves animals, cries when I see others suffering, puts myself in other peoples shoes and shares their pain.These things make me a good musician and performer, but I'm not a very good "macho man." I don't like violence. I don't like fighting. I'm a sissy, wuss, pansy, wimp, fem ... whatever the testosterone driven brutalizers want to call me, but the truth is my actions and feelings are much more analogous to those of the Christ of the Bible known as Jesus.The antithesis of the God of the Bible was always described as a liar, thief and murderer, and was known as Lucifer, Satan and Beelzebub.Truth, Love and Compassion - the three redeeming qualities of Christendom are Missing In Action in the government of the police states, especially in those that claim a close, personal relationship with God, i.e. bush and ashcroft.That only leaves the prince of darkness as the spiritual leader of this government.The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #45 posted by FoM on May 12, 2004 at 12:00:12 PT

One More Comment
I sound so morbid when I get deep into thought and that's not the way I really am at least most of the times. Happiness and freedom are relative. Does that make sense? I guess I mean that life is good all in all even though the world is a real mess. Cannabis would help so many people cope with it all. I guess almost all Cannabis use is medical. 
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Comment #44 posted by FoM on May 12, 2004 at 10:45:03 PT

I hope that the Internet is as strong as we believe it is. I know that the Internet is our life line. I know that it would take a serious turn in the way things are currently for that to happen. One thing I always remembered is what Ron Bennett said years ago on He said we need many web sites that aren't connected in case one is brought down so all the other sites don't go the same way. Those aren't his exact words but the meaning was clear to me. The Internet going down would be one of the last things that would happen though.
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Comment #43 posted by afterburner on May 12, 2004 at 10:29:16 PT

Those Who 'See' the Future...
are not condemned to repeat the mistakes of the past."I hope that we never lose the Internet but if the Internet becomes a liability it could be wiped out." The Internet was designed to withstand a nuclear attack. I doubt even the terrorists could bring it down for long, as long as we invest in decentralized energy generation.
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Comment #42 posted by FoM on May 12, 2004 at 10:09:03 PT

One of These Days
I have very strong feelings about this war and one day I will try to explain how I feel and why. It's like I see it happening and am not surprised at all. I know BGreen would understand what I would say but I know many people wouldn't understand so I keep it to myself. I hope others are coming to conclusions about what is happening and why too. I hope that we never lose the Internet but if the Internet becomes a liability it could be wiped out. 
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Comment #41 posted by afterburner on May 12, 2004 at 05:55:56 PT

The March to Torture
[Toronto Star] OPINION & ANALYSIS, Back pages: Bushites set tone that led to abuse May 9, 2004. 01:00 AM
"After 9/11, torture went mainstream. It was no longer one of those universally condemned activities, like bestiality, slavery or incest. It was now possible to argue that, in the case of torture, there were shades of gray, situations where it might be okay — not ideal, but defensible. Linda McQuaig writes."
[Full Story] 
 What should be done in Iraq? May 5, 2004. 01:00 AM
The true threat that terrorism imposes upon us is not a physical one. It is a psychological one, a cultural one, an existential one. It is that, in fighting terrorists, we will become like them, will adopt some of their methods — like assassination — and accept that the means justifies the end, writes Richard Gwyn.
[Full Story]
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Comment #40 posted by BGreen on May 11, 2004 at 21:07:50 PT

Not only are the government's LIES being exposed
but the amerikan public is getting a first-hand look at the same evil government that we're all too familiar with.No longer will the people believe the government without question. No longer will they scoff at us when we tell them of the inhumane treatment inflicted on partakers of a plant substance."Our government would never do anything like that." "We're the best country in the world." "I trust my president."Fools! We warned you. If the government and law enforcement of the United States of America can treat their own citizens like animals in the largest prison nation in the world, all I can say is GOD HELP THE REST OF THE WORLD!The next president better have damn well learned his lesson from this fiasco.The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #39 posted by FoM on May 11, 2004 at 19:51:14 PT

I just read that article. I always try very hard to say what I feel is right but the more this all evolves in Iraq the less I can figure out. I like to be able to say if this or that is done it will be ok. It's beyond my simple answers. Even if we pull out of Iraq I don't think it will help. Many people have died and many people are suffering in Iraq. When people hurt they get angry and when anger isn't channeled right it can be disasterous. It's like a dam. You can put sand bags all along weak areas and it will hold back the water but only until that leak springs and the dam is doomed. The dam has broken and now all we can do is watch as the water damages all that it will. After this young man's beheading and what the administration did that could have contributed to his death what more should we be allowed to take? We worry about the world but slowly this is destroying our very foundation. I am worried that this really is the beginning of the end. I don't mean today or tomorrow but the process is happening.
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Comment #38 posted by BGreen on May 11, 2004 at 19:32:33 PT

Parents blame Bush for son's execution
Parents blame Bush for son's executionBy Joshua Chaffin in WashingtonPublished: May 12 2004 5:00 | Last Updated: May 12 2004 5:00Parents of a UScontractor executed by Islamic militants in Iraq are blaming the Bush administration for his death, saying that US authorities had contributed to the tragedy by unlawfully detaining their son for nearly two weeks before his disappearance.Michael Berg claimed yesterday that his son, Nick, was held by US authorities without access to a telephone or lawyer because of suspicions that he was an insurgent or terrorist. By the time he was finally released in early April, according to Mr Berg, the security situation had so deteriorated that it was difficult for him to make his way home."That's really what cost my son his life, the fact that the United States government saw fit to keep him in custody for 13 days without any of his due process or civil rights," Mr Berg said.Nick Berg, a small business owner from Pennsylvania, went to Iraq in December to help rebuild the country's infrastructure. Instead, he became the latest western contractor to have died a grisly death in that pursuit.His headless body was found on a roadside by US soldiers yesterday. A video from an al-Qaeda-affiliated website depicted his decapitation by a gang of men who claimed to be taking revenge for the abuses committed by US soldiers at the Abu Ghraib prison.The execution drew outraged comments from US leaders. White House spokesman Scott McClellan said those responsible had "no regard for the lives of innocent men, women and children".Rick Santorum, a Republican senator from Mr Berg's home state, called it "an outrage to the civilised world", and said: "If anyone wants to know what we're fighting and why we're fighting this war on terrorism, this is a very good example of it."The family's accusation comes as the Bush administration struggles to fend off allegations that it has denied the civil rights of thousands of mostly Arab detainees it is holding in military prisons around the world on suspicion of terrorism.Mr Berg was apprehended by Iraqi officials near the northern city of Mosul on March 24, according to his father, who claims that he was then interrogated by FBI agents.Mr Berg was released on April 6, a day after his parents filed a lawsuit in federal court naming defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld as a defendant, and claiming that their son was being unlawfully held. They last heard from him on April 9.The FBI said it was premature to comment on the case. An official familiar with the case acknowledged that FBI agents had interviewed Mr Berg, but said he was in Iraqi - not American - custody. The official was unable to clarify the legal difference between the two, given the US occupation.But Mr Berg's father disputed this, saying it was "the FBI", when asked in a radio interview who had detained his son."We named Rumsfeld as the responsible person, and I still hold him responsible," Mr Berg said. "It's the whole Patriot Act. It's the whole feeling of this country that rights don't matter any more because there are terrorists about," he added. Additional reporting by Edward Alden
Parents blame Bush for son's execution
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Comment #37 posted by FoM on May 11, 2004 at 16:01:57 PT

Here We Go Now Unfortunately
Now that they have beheaded an american contract worker what or who will be next? This is why war is no good. Everyone has a reason for getting even and it just doesn't stop. One lady who lost her son last week in Iraq said this. She said: We are making enemies faster then we can kill them. When will it stop?She was right.
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Comment #36 posted by afterburner on May 11, 2004 at 15:47:13 PT

Keeping our Leaders Informed
'Leadership failed,' U.S. general says
May. 11, 2004. 06:17 PMWASHINGTON - 'The U.S. Army general who first investigated prisoner abuse in an Iraqi prison told Congress today the mistreatment resulted from faulty leadership, a "lack of discipline, no training whatsoever and no supervision." ' [Toronto Star] [Full Story]'Republican Senator James Inhofe left some committee members bewildered today when he complained the gruesome photos are being politicized by Democrats and mocked the "humanitarian do-gooders" investigating the treatment of Iraqi prisoners."They're not in there for traffic violations," said Inhofe, who noted captive Iraqi president Saddam Hussein encouraged far worse brutality at the prison.'Apparently, he didn't read the Red Cross report that "up to 90 per cent of the detainees had been arrested by mistake.":GENEVA - "The Red Cross saw U.S. officers routinely mistreat prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison and elsewhere in Iraq that included both physical and psychological abuse, according to a report disclosed today. The same document also quoted U.S. officers as admitting that up to 90 per cent of the detainees had been arrested by mistake."
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Comment #35 posted by BGreen on May 10, 2004 at 22:13:56 PT

Many of us have been right all along
Remember us? We're the people who didn't want war and were called unpatriotic.Now, after the murder, rape and torture of hundreds of innocent Iraqis, are we any safer? Saddam has been in custody since December, 2003, but are we any safer?Now, blood stains the hands of the pro-war amerikans, but though I am completely right in disassociating myself with the murderers all along, I'm still considered unpatriotic.After seeing the dogs being used against the Iraqi detainee yesterday I'm convinced bush = hitler! Anne Frank and 6 million Jews had dogs used against them in the nazi camps.Every soldier should immediately quit the amerikan nazi military or be ready to face the war crime tribunal.The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #34 posted by FoM on May 10, 2004 at 21:36:11 PT

Yes it is disgusting. We want peace and we go to war. We want to be respected but we are aggressive and self righteous. I am quietly taking this whole thing in and trying to sort it out in my mind. I really don't understand why we think we are so much better then other countries. If we believe we are so superior it can only be because we are a wealthy nation. We've made money off of the weapons that make war work. Planes, helicopters, guns etc. We have people who think they are so much better then another person and yet I don't know how people come to those conclusions. This has been very hard to watch on the news. It goes against everything I believe in. 
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Comment #33 posted by Hope on May 10, 2004 at 20:53:00 PT

FoM: "how others are taking all of this" 
It's disgusting.
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Comment #32 posted by Jose Melendez on May 10, 2004 at 17:27:35 PT

prison profits kill
Money Spent on the "War On (Some) Drugs" this Year$6,975,775,604Preventable HIV Infections this Year 1,368Ratio of "War on (Some) Drugs" Dollars to Preventable HIV Infections$5,099,251.00 per PREVENTABLE HIV InfectionWe could make the bionic man for less.Truth: Priceless.Freedom. "Justice." Right. Camera: CLASS ACTION: the antitrust.
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Comment #31 posted by afterburner on May 10, 2004 at 10:19:03 PT

More Abuse Evidence
Red Cross witnessed Iraq abuse
May. 10, 2004. 12:19 PM
[Toronto Star]GENEVA - "The Red Cross saw U.S. officers routinely mistreat prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison and elsewhere in Iraq that included both physical and psychological abuse, according to a report disclosed today. The same document also quoted U.S. officers as admitting that up to 90 per cent of the detainees had been arrested by mistake."  [Full Story] am shocked at the extent of the abuse, but not that surprised considering all the years of practice during the WOSD. The heavy-handed treatment of "enemies" is becoming more abhorrent to churches, aid agencies, foreign governments, and world citizens alike. Only a thorough house-cleaning will save the reputation of the USA as "the land of the free, the home of the brave," and the champion of democracy. We can begin to restore "the blessings of liberty" and the American Dream in the coming election and in the one after that.
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Comment #30 posted by FoM on May 10, 2004 at 10:06:40 PT

MSNBC Question of The Day you think responsibility for the Iraqi prisoner abuse goes higher than Donald Rumsfeld? Current Results:* 16458 responses 
 Yes -- 62%  
No -- 38% 

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Comment #29 posted by FoM on May 10, 2004 at 09:44:58 PT

I understand what you are saying. It's the pictures that are making the difference. Abuse when it is not seen doesn't bother people. You can hear about abuse but so what you know? I'm not being flippant but just trying to say how I feel about this torture of prisoners issue. I feel terrible. I feel depressed. I feel ashamed. I feel sick. I want to cry but I'm too angry inside to even cry. I'm resigned. I don't know how others are taking all of this but this is where I am today. 
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Comment #28 posted by afterburner on May 10, 2004 at 09:37:29 PT

This Issue Is the Tipping Point...
Due to the Graphic Photos. This mistreatment of prisoners is the evidence that cannot be ignored. Even the controlled media is reporting these atrocities which call into question the "morality" of interrogation techniques and prison procedures (also used routinely at home). Mom and Pop Citizen can no longer sleep-walk through this election year as the lies and hypocrisy of our leaders and their minions are finally revealed in stark contrast to the managed news of press releases.Remember Mai Lai and Kent State: these relatively small but explosive events turned the tide of popular opinion against the Vietnam War and led to eventual pull-out.
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Comment #27 posted by observer on May 10, 2004 at 09:00:06 PT

Torture of Prisoners Is Routine in US
I have a few modest questions. Our hearts really go out to the poor, beleaguered, U.S. military personnel who are tasked with the thankless job of guarding those evil terrorist Iraqis held in prison. How were those poor schmucks to know that they would get in trouble for doing all the things they normally do to U.S. prisoners back in the "land of the free"? Dang! Why, slapping around the prisoners a little bit, and making a little fun of them every now and then isn't so bad -- they got to do that sort of thing all the time back in the USA, what's the big deal if prison guards there do the very same thing to a few Iraqis in Iraq? Prison guards do that sort of thing all the time to people jailed in the US, and no one ever says anything. When tender young dope-smoking punks are put in cages with 250-pound homosexual rapists, the little punk deserves what he gets (America agrees and laughs), so why all the ruckus when U.S. soldiers (who go back to "law" enforcement jobs back home), do the same thing to Iraqis? Why the big deal now? I have to wonder.
Press Release -- Stop Prisoner Rape Deplores Abuse and Sexual Degradation of Iraqi Prisoners, Notes That it Constitutes Torture
May 3, 2004
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Comment #26 posted by Jose Melendez on May 09, 2004 at 10:38:29 PT

Old slogans yield truths:
Just drop the 'r' and 'not': " . . . the land of the fee."And, OverwhelmSam, I was wondering: where cows are holy, do they also preach hypocrisy based damnations, or are they more forgiving? Just curious.Batman; - )

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Comment #25 posted by Jose Melendez on May 09, 2004 at 10:32:41 PT

Standard operating procedure: PROFIT.
Yes, Virginia, we spend exponentially more on prisons, poisons and weapons than on schools: also:"Over the past two decades, America's prison population doubled, then doubled again, before finally leveling off at about two million inmates. One result: a $50 billion corrections industry. That's bigger than tobacco. The crackdown on crime has enriched corporations that build prisons or sell products to them, prison guard unions, and police departments that use budget-fattening incentives to pursue drug criminals. " also: "Testimony ByCharles J. KehoePresidentAmerican Correctional AssociationSubmitted to the House Committee on the JudiciarySubcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Securityon H.R. 1707 - The Prison Rape Reduction Act of 2003I am here today to represent the American Correctional Association (ACA). ACA was founded in 1870 and is the nation’s only professional association representing all facets of corrections. ACA has nearly 19,000 individuals members from all 50 states and more than 40 countries. We promote broad-based public policies on crime and corrections, develop professional standards, administer a national accreditation program and provide educational programs for corrections officials at all levels. In short, we are a multi-disciplinary organization of professionals representing all facets of corrections and criminal justice, including federal, state, and military correctional facilities and prisons, county jails and detention centers, probation/parole agencies, and community corrections/halfway houses. ACA members bring a broad base of expertise that no other organization in the world can offer to the field. For more than 130 years, ACA has been the driving force in establishing national and international correctional policies. ACA is recognized as a worldwide leader on correctional policy and standards. Our standards pertain to both adult and juvenile corrections, and include guidelines designed to assist states and other agencies in their efforts to implement correctional policy and procedure, which provide safe, secure, and humane facilities for staff and offenders alike.  In his remarks introducing the Prison Rape Reduction Act of 2003, Representative Wolf said “prison rape has nothing to do with being tough on crime; it has to do with making our communities safer, reducing recidivism, and controlling the spread of communicable diseases.” I agree completely with Congressman Wolf. In fact, those are central tenants of the American Correctional Association, and we whole-heartedly support the efforts of Mr. Wolf and Mr. Scott as well as all others involved in their quest to reduce the incidence of prison rape.             The American Correctional Association supports the objectives of HR1707. We believe that there should be a zero-tolerance standard for the incidence of prison rape. We believe that prison officials should make the prevention of prison rape a priority. We want to ensure that prison officials are accountable for what goes on within their institutions. We thank the bill’s sponsors for incorporating into HR 1707 many changes that the corrections profession recommended to earlier versions of the legislation. However, there remain a few provisions of HR 1707 about which we retain some reservations or which we would like to see clarified. 
             The strength of the American Correctional Association is in the fact that we are the only organization that accredits total correctional facility operations, including health care programs. We have in excess of 1,600 facilities and programs that are involved in the accreditation process, including prisons and jails, boot camps, correctional industries, electronic monitoring, training academies, and community-based programs, for both adults and juveniles. We currently have accredited facilities or programs in 46 of the 50 states. Florida, Louisiana, New York, Ohio and Tennessee have accredited 100% of their correctional programs. And, approximately 95 percent of the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ facilities are also accredited." from google's cache of
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Comment #24 posted by John Tyler on May 09, 2004 at 06:25:33 PT

Virginia prisons
One of those Iraqi prison guards was a "professional" prison guard in the Virginia prison system. It makes you wonder if that is the standard operating procedure in Virginia prisons. 
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Comment #23 posted by jose melendez on May 09, 2004 at 04:57:24 PT

what happpened?
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Comment #22 posted by jose melendez on May 09, 2004 at 04:53:20 PT

wage peace, friends.http://pipepeace,com/vote
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Comment #21 posted by Cannabis Enthusiast on May 08, 2004 at 20:27:06 PT

FoM, I quit my meds
The mental healthcare system is just way the hell out of my price range. I had to see if I had enough money every day just for meds. $21 a day for my drugs, plus $400 just to go see the doctor the first time to write a prescription. That's averaging $700 per month for mental healthcare. I haven't graduated college (all I have is a high school diploma) so I can't get a good enough job to pay for this stuff.The best jobs I've had in my life were driving a forklift in a warehouse (paid $10.50 / hr, full time so I made $1500 per month) and working in a restaurant as a waiter (waiters & waitresses average $11 - $20 per hour depending on how much business a restaurant gets).Anyways, no more meds so the only expenses I have right now are food (I get lots of pasta and canned foods and rice to save money) and paying my girlfriend half the rent ($300).
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Comment #20 posted by Virgil on May 08, 2004 at 20:22:35 PT

"The best political weapon is the weapon of terror. Cruelty commands respect. Men may hate us. But, we don't ask for their love; only for their fear." 
- Heinrich Himler. "There is a point at which the law becomes immoral and unethical. That point is reached when it becomes a cloak for the cowardice that dares not stand up against blatant violations of justice. A state that supresses all freedom of speech, and which by imposing the most terrible punishments, treats each and every attempt at criticism, however morally justified, and every suggestion for improvement as plotting to high treason, is a state that breaks an unwritten law." 
- Kurt Huber , killed by the Nazis in 1943. 

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Comment #19 posted by FoM on May 08, 2004 at 17:53:45 PT

Off Topic: Froogle's Cool Too
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Comment #18 posted by FoM on May 08, 2004 at 17:47:27 PT

Cannabis Enthusiast 
I read your comment but I don't know what to say. I wish you good health.
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Comment #17 posted by FoM on May 08, 2004 at 17:14:49 PT

I really like Google news. The main page can be accessed on the left side of Google search. I like the health and sci-tech categories. They bring up a good cross section of papers on a given topic and it's easy to see what side the paper is on that way. The internet is our tool and our weapon to win our war. The pen is mightier then the sword...OverwhelmSam sad isn't it?Eve of Destruction:Don't you understand what I'm trying to say?Can't you feel the fear I'm feeling today?
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Comment #16 posted by cloud7 on May 08, 2004 at 17:01:02 PT

I think Ive got a new homepage. I like seeing news when I first get on the net and this is what Ive wanted, a full news site that's not TV backed. 
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Comment #15 posted by OverwhelmSam on May 08, 2004 at 16:58:58 PT

Holy Cow Batman!
You mean that America is not the land of the free? :)
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Comment #14 posted by FoM on May 08, 2004 at 16:55:45 PT

When I look for all types of news I use goggle's main news page. I barely go to a web site for news anymore. I hope google keeps up the good work.
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Comment #13 posted by cloud7 on May 08, 2004 at 16:26:16 PT

Fox News
I never watch news on tv. In terms of the main news on the Fox site, it's generally no more biased than the other main sites. Sometimes it is clear it is though. For example, the day the Iraqi prisoner abuse story was breaking it was listed as one of the smaller headlines, whereas at CNN it was the main story (as it should have been). My favorite news source is There is some anti-semitism on the site, but it comes with not censoring the comments or news posted and is easy to overlook. Wide variety of news that doesnt get covered/posted at other sites.
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Comment #12 posted by cloud7 on May 08, 2004 at 16:11:33 PT

Land of the free!
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Comment #11 posted by FoM on May 08, 2004 at 15:55:39 PT

I didn't know that about Fox News. I must confess I very seldom ever go to their web site or watch their channel. It gets me upset so I avoid it. It doesn't seem fair. People say we should change bad laws. We're trying! They won't let us present our side at all. You would think they would have a forum to post on so discussion could maybe help find a solution besides locking up people in JAIL! It sends a chill down my spine to even say the word jail these days.Only in America!
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Comment #10 posted by cloud7 on May 08, 2004 at 15:45:50 PT

I see anti-marijuana banners regularly at the Fox News site also. The ONDCP wants to make sure it's impossible to turn on your TV or surf the web without getting a dose of propaganda in. The worst part is that everyone from the U.S. that is a regular on this site is paying for these. There are no other government agencies that have to constantly justify their existence through rigorous ad campaigns.
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on May 08, 2004 at 15:37:54 PT

Just an Observation
I was checking for news about the Iraq prison torture problem and found that almost every page I went to on US News had an anti marijuana banner. Why can't the Marijuana Policy Project or NORML have a banner too? I don't know if it is a rotating banner or not so it might not be there if you check.
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Comment #8 posted by Cannabis Enthusiast on May 08, 2004 at 12:42:10 PT:

[Off Topic] I finally quit pharmaceutical drugs!
I quit Effexor and Risperdal last week (cold turkey), and although I went through a week of hell, now I am feeling better again... $15,000 in debt later from hospitals, shrinks, etc.My wallet is happy now. I was spending $630 cash [out of my pocket] every month just to support my psychiatric drug habit. Not only that but doctor visits cost a few hundred dollars every couple months.
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Comment #7 posted by Virgil on May 08, 2004 at 11:50:53 PT

So much to read and so little time
The disparities from the truth coming from the PTB are only meant to confuse everyone from working with the facts. I all but never watch television news or information as it is a negative thing to consume. If someone raises some stupid point they heard on the television, I ask them if they read the Internet. If they don't I hit them over the head with "Then you cannot know anything about what is going on."We do not see anything about the prisons or interviews of prisoners on television. We do not even hear of prison reform. The media shields us from a huge atrocity of what would be a large city if all the prisons were in one place. A place where millions could not receive any aid in guidance, education, or substance abuse that got them in prison in the first place. A place where millions lived in tiny cells and lived off of 2000 calories a day of no telling what chemicals and putrid concoctions.The US prison story is now tied to the Iraq torture story. Bernard Weiner wrote an excellent piece for - that furnishes links and commentary to more than most people would want to know. He also made a contribution on the subject to DU titled "Horrid Thoughts About Horrid Leaders" and is dated May 8, 2004- Prohibition is horrid. We have CP because the entire system is corrupt in its design because its purpose has been corrupted. The Weiner piece at DU has two paragraphs worth mentioning. The first one has to do with a misadministration that went on pillage and plunder the minute it took office.Basically, he said, virtually every initiative of the Bush Administration was taken for partisan political reasons. There was precious little, if any, loftier discussion of whether something might be good for the American people. Everything flowed from the top down, from the cynical, manipulative minds of Rove and Cheney and their ilk. The major question dealt with was: How could this policy benefit Bush&Co. and their friends? The second paragraph shows the complete breakdown of the system and speaks to the $700 million appropriated by Congress to go after Al Queda after 9.11. The money was used to pursue war on Iraq and is an impeachable offence and not one person in the House of Representatives has put forth articles of impeachment on this or any other truly impeachable offence of this war criminal president. More than $700 million dollars that Congress authorized for going after Al Qaida in Afghanistan serreptitiously is diverted to preparations for the Iraq war, and troops searching for Bin Laden are pulled out of Afghanistan and made ready for action in Iraq. Instead of concentrating on Al Qaida and taking the group out once and for all, the U.S. focuses its energies on attacking a country that had nothing to do with 9/11.We are ruled by treason and all of the cannabis prohibition laws are unlawful and an infringement of the unalienable rights of man. We have a government that ignores the guiding principle of the Constitution to create a more perfect union and are ruining the country's finaces, environment, social order, and standing in the world. And what do the fuckheads in Congress say about it. Not much and it is time to clean house and take back the public airwaves and bust up some corporations and levy some heavy penalties.
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on May 08, 2004 at 11:24:39 PT

The Pictures Made Everyone Aware
Yesterday as I watched the hearings I thought will prison reform activists and writers use the horrible events in the prisons in Iraq to remind the people of the USA that it happens right here in the US in our prisons. I'm glad we have this article and I hope we will see more.
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Comment #5 posted by E_Johnson on May 08, 2004 at 11:19:13 PT

The LA Times covers prison abuse regularly
The LA Times has been covering prisoner abuse in California since the recall. Getting rid of Davis opened the lid on a huge can of worms, as they say, and luckily Arnold has chosen to support the reformers, not the guards.Arnold Schwarzeneggar has done a lot of good for prisoners already just by not being Gray Davis.And the LA Times has been on the story and done a really good job of it.
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Comment #4 posted by Dankdude on May 08, 2004 at 11:18:47 PT

one more comment...
How do you expect this lunacy to stop in the military when we can't even stop this crap on the home front?
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Comment #3 posted by E_Johnson on May 08, 2004 at 10:49:08 PT

I have a snide comment to make ;-)
"Physical and sexual abuse of prisoners, similar to what has been uncovered in Iraq, takes place in American prisons with little public knowledge or concern, according to corrections officials, inmates and human rights advocates."I would rewrite this as:"Physical and sexual abuse of prisoners, similar to what has been uncovered in Iraq, takes place in American prisons with little previous coverage or concern from the New York Times, until it became connected to a topic like Iraq that makes us look important."
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Comment #2 posted by Cannabis Enthusiast on May 08, 2004 at 09:51:37 PT

How do we stop the bad parts of jail/prison?
It seems the only way to stop all the bad things in jails and prisons is to separate every inmate from each other. How is this possible? Obviously just build a cell for every inmate.Im not saying this would be fun, but you could have the *inmates* do construction of separate cells for themselves/others. If inmates are allowed to contact each other physically, then this stuff will always happen - rape, violence, etc.Either way if I was in prison all I would do is shoot up Heroin, as the psychological pain of being in a hell like that would make me want to numb all the pain and zone out into the dream world.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on May 08, 2004 at 09:13:08 PT

Just a Comment
The news is slow like it is on the weekend and I wanted to mention that I am listening to Steve Earles CD called Just an American Boy. I normally listen to Neil Young's music but this CD fits so well into what is happening in the prison populations of the world. Steve Earle has been down about as low as anyone can go and come back after drug and alcohol problems. His music has a gritty soul. There is one song that he made that some of us here might remember. The song is called Coppperhead Road. Have a great weekend everyone! 
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