We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Shame of America’s Gulag

Click here to access article by Chris Hedges from Truthdig.

The author shines a much needed light on US prison practices that really constitute torture. Their methods have advanced from the well-known bodily forms of torture used in foreign prisons to forms that leave the body intact, but attack the minds of their victims. Yes, torture and many other oppressive methods used against foreign populations by Empire agents are coming home to be used against dissidents. For example, we are now seeing surveillance drones circling overhead, and I think we can expect that killer drones will be used next against rebellious US citizens. After all, our Obama appointed Attorney General didn't rule this out. Agents of the Empire regard everyone as a potential enemy regardless of citizenship. Remember, they think and act globally in this age of globalization--we must also.

The author learned of these prison practices through his contacts with Bonnie Kerness of the American Friends Service Committee who had been communicating with Ojore Lutalo, a prisoner at a New Jersey state prison.
Lutalo’s letter was Kerness’ first indication that the U.S. prison system was creating something new—special detention facilities that under international law are a form of torture. He wrote to her: “How does one go about articulating desperation to another who is not desperate? How does one go about articulating the psychological stress of knowing that people are waiting for me to self-destruct?”

The techniques of sensory deprivation and prolonged isolation were pioneered by the Central Intelligence Agency to break prisoners during the Cold War.