US gulags exposed despite reporters denied access
Two of Naomi Wolf’s ten steps to creating a fascist police state are being exposed in the United States by the historic action of some 6,000 prisoners at thirteen California prisons now committing slow suicide, some now near death, through the nation’s largest hunger strike in ten years. The human rights defenders’s supported prisoners’ actions are highlighting one of the first steps to creating a police state, create a gulag for torture and cruel and unusual punishment plus another step, control the press, both apparent in the three-strikes-your-out-state, California, that leads the nation in waste, fraud and abuse to the point that Human Rights Alert this week called on Congress to impeach its US Attorney General.
California prison human rights abuses are so severe, some rights experts say they meet criteria of torture, as discussed in the recent Russia Today interview. (Youtube on page left) Prisoners at thirteen prisons chose slow suicide over continuing as torture victims. Corrections officials refused to allow KPCC to visit the Security Housing Unit (SHU) at California’s Pelican Bay Prison where summer heat has reached 110 degrees F, even hotter inside the SHUs according to San Francisco Bay View.
“Everyone who is against torture needs to support this hunger strike by matching the courage of these prisoners,” stated Molly Porzig of Critical Resistance, a Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity coalition member.
“Historically, people have taken up civil disobedience to prevent mass death, and we’re in such a moment now.”
Prisoners at Pelican Bay are forced into total isolation 22½ hours a day, “a punishment that can lead to insanity and counts as torture, according to critics” reported The Economist on Thursday about the California prisoner hunger strike, stating, “This was just the latest reminder to the outside world of the barbarism that prevails inside the state’s prison system.”
Advocates report that 200 inmates on the strike at Pelican Bay Prison and at Corcoran Prison are “progressing rapidly” toward death due to organ damage from extreme dehydration, a statement denied by some prison officials, but not by a medical team member who asked to remain anonymous.
San Francisco Bayview reported Thursday on deteriorating conditions of prisoners refusing food:
“Many prisoners are experiencing irregular heartbeats and palpitations; some are suffering from diagnosed cardiac arrhythmia. Many are also experiencing dizziness and constantly feel light-headed. Many struggle with shortness of breath and other lung and respiratory problems. Dozens of prisoners have fainted and been taken to either the infirmary and/or outside hospitals. Some prisoners also have Chrone’s disease, which leads to extreme loss of fluids and electrolytes and needs to be treated by adequate nutrition and hydration.”
Despite growing support for this unprecedented in size hunger strike, Calif. Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) have refused negotiations with the prisoners until Thursday.
California, the state with the largest number of Falsely Imprisoned Persons (FIPs), over 30,000 in Los Angeles alone, has had twelve prisons join Pelican Bay Prison in the hunger strike due to torture and cruel and inhumane conditions. It is estimated that 1700 inmates are refusing food. Some prisoners are said to be near death.
The prisoners are participating in a peaceful protest to “draw attention to, and to peacefully protest, twenty-five years of torture via [California Department of Correction and Rehabilitation]’s arbitrary, illegal, and progressively more punitive policies and practices,” they wrote in their July 1 official statement.
“Prisoners are not able to drink water because when they try to, they vomit it back up. Some prisoners are suffering from renal failure and are unable to make urine for three days,” according to a prison medical team member Tuesday.
Tuesday, when legal representatives visited Pelican Bay SHU to interview hunger strikers, each prisoner explained how medical conditions of hundreds of hunger strikers in the SHU are worsening according to Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity, in touch with the facilities daily.
“After mild seizures and severe diabetic shock, some people have been taken to the infirmary.”
Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity reports that human rights investigator and private correctional medical consultant with 40 years experience in providing health care to California prisoners, Dr. Corey Weinstein explained:
“The strikers’ claims of substandard and prejudicial medical care at Pelican Bay are certainly true. As well the medical staff refuses to take on their responsibilities as health professionals to advocate for their patients in matters of daily life related to food, nutrition, exercise and mental hygiene. Those who should be providing care act the jailer instead.
“Given my long history of working with California prisoners, I have grave doubts about the Department of Corrections’ ability to adequately carry out their own guidelines and protocols even during this urgent and public moment. Reports such as prisoners with very low blood sugar levels and lack of urination for 3 days should not be coming from the prison.
“These are men who require hospital care under prison protocols. We should ask why do they remain at the prison?”
Prisoner advocates report that the prisoners are in dire need of adequate food and hydration. The only way to prevent people from dying right now is for the CDCR to negotiate with the prisoners with the outside mediation team the prisoner’s have approved of.
On July 12th, Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity received an urgent update that over 200 prisoners’ medical conditions in the SHU at Pelican Bay and Corcoran prisons were severely deteriorating.
“[T]he idea of death is preferable to continuing down a path that offers no hope or relief from suffering. I live in such a place; I know,” wrote Bomani Shakur, an inmate at Ohio State Penitentiary (OSP) who wrote in solidarity with the California prisoners.
“[T]here are places on this planet where the idea of death is preferable to continuing down a path that offers no hope or relief from suffering.”
According to Diane Sawyer for ABC News on Friday, the highest-paid state employee in California last year earning $777,423, is a prison doctor.
On Friday afternoon, human rights defenders advocating for California prisoners are conducting what they have called a loud and visible march through downtown San Francisco at 5 p.m. rush hour at UN Plaza at 1150 Market St. near Seventh at Civic Center BART in San Francisco.
Do such direct actions impact the system? With Pelican Bay prison hunger strike entering its third week, mediators reported Thursday that Calif. Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) responded to pressure from strikers and outside supporters according to San Francisco Bay View on Thursday. The Department of Corrections is beginning initial negotiations on Friday with strike leaders in the prison’s Security Housing Unit, along with an outside mediation team.
“Mediator Dorsey Nunn says the team will continue to urge CDCR to negotiate in good faith: ‘The strikers’ demands are so minimal, they want to have hope like anyone else. The CDCR could end the strike by providing even a little bit of hope for these prisoners.’”
To support the prisoners in winning their demands to end torture in California prisons, take action now by clicking here.