GITMO Comes to North Carolina

June 9th, 2014

Obama faces some heavy charges of violating congressional process by trading Gitmo prisoners for an American held in Afghanistan for five years. While I won’t comment upon the politics of prisoner exchanges, I will applaud this action if it is the only way to close down Guantanamo Bay Prison. It is proof that we no longer reference the constitution when it comes to the justice system. Obama ran on a promise to close down Guantanamo Bay because WE do not torture prisoners. Studies show that anyone can be made to confess to anything in order to cease unspeakable practices like beatings and water-boarding. ‘Modern history’ is rife with tales of Russian, Chinese and Nazi prisons that were supposedly dismantled. In fact, stories of the Russian ‘conveyor belt’ of the Stalin era revealed that routine arrests were guarantees of execution. The only choice for a prisoner was to sign the pre-printed confession before torture or after it.


An article in The Times of Israel describes horrific and repeated incidents of torture in the North Carolina prison where Jonathan Pollard is serving a life sentence. He was convicted for giving information to Israel which, by treaty, they were allegedly entitled to have from the US government. Whether the conviction for treason stands up to scrutiny does not justify the descriptions of Pollard’s treatment as he described to Prime Minister Netanyahu. Outrages include the man being chained to an iron chair while hosed down with freezing water and being tortured with electric shocks.


When did we officially deteriorate into a fascist government that doesn’t consider incarceration for life in solitary confinement to be adequate punishment? Already convicted, what do they hope to learn during torture sessions or is it merely an urge to ‘break’ humans in half? In a war, we’d consider these reports to be worthy of a hearing before the Hague, just as Nazis were tried at Nuremburg for war crimes. If we are living in a time of ‘peace’, apparently that is with other nations and not an internal state.


Violence in our prisons is nothing new and many movies demonstrate how prisoners torture one another with the knowledge of prison guards and wardens. Many years ago, I met a male nurse working in a NY prison and was horrified by tales of activities that he considered normal, such as beating prisoners who were deemed difficult to manage. Knowing you can simply restrain a prisoner until they cease to be violent makes the infliction of further bodily harm a senseless act.   How can civil servants be encouraged to become criminals in order to manage criminals?


In this post, I told of the mistreatment of a fictional character by the police in present day Spain.  In actuality, this event really did happened  when I was ‘mistakenly’ arrested for car theft in Madrid in 2013.  That contractual misunderstanding and my subsequent release the next day, left me with a horror of prisons for non-violent offenders. In a Franco-era building, officers are still acting out historically evil roles. I was told by the American consulate afterwards that I had been lucky in such minor mistreatments (really!) in comparison to reports by other American detainees. It was only when the police saw me writing down their early behaviors (spraying aerosol cans near me despite the fact they knew I was severely asthmatic), that they ceased to continue spraying. Further harm waited until after the prison doors clanged shut on me.

There is a reason people invented ‘fountain pens’. The flow of words revealing truths is the greatest form of preventive medicine.

Categories: Newspaper Commentary, NY Times, The TImes of Israel

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  1. Barbara Rubin


    I wrote to the North Carolina Attorney General, Roy Cooper on their Department of Justice website. His job is to defend his state’s position and actions so permitting torture to remain policy in prisons is a threat to self-government privileges accorded them when housing someone convicted of federal crimes. Here is the message sent:

    The above-mentioned article describes how a N.C. prisoner in solitary, Jonathan Pollard, undergoes torture, evidently condoned by prison officials and their agents. While our federal government has not been able to part ways with Guantanamo style torture outside of our borders, these actions are taking place within an area under your control. These events compromises the position of every state agency in North Carolina and should therefore be investigated.

    Thank you for your attention.

    Barbara Rubin

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