by Robert X - Prison Correspondent
Secret detention's. Secret Courts and Evidence. Closed Courtrooms. Racial Profiling. Indefinite imprisonment based on secret evidence or hearsay. Isolation and Sensory Deprivation inflicted on detained terrorist suspects to pry secrets from them. Americans seem shocked that their government is forced to resort to such measures in its ongoing War Against Terrorism ( or is it a War Against Dissent ). Yet many believe these tactics are necessary to protect the homeland against terrorists bent on mass murder ( Do the former sanctions on Iraq that claimed 1.5 million lives classify as mass murder?). Many Americans can rest well since the government has plenty of experience in the techniques it is now using to fight terrorism, as America has been perfecting its repressive methods within its vast prison system.
Indefinite confinement in isolation based on secret evidence and hearsay, closed tribunals, racial profiling and sensory deprivation are standard within the American prison system ( a.k.a. American Gulag ). Tens of thousands of prisoners, so-called American citizens, languish in American SuperMax prisons and Control Units in conditions not unsimilar to the treatment Al Qaeda and Taliban suspects and whoever else fits the government's vague definition of terrorism find themselves in when they are captured ( or is it detained? ) by America's global police. To languish in isolation in a prison cell for years based on secret charges and evidence or mere hearsay is a common feature in American prisons. The U.S. Supreme Court has sanctioned these authoritarian practices within American prisons in the name of preserving prison order and security. Should anyone be so naive to believe that it would forbid the indefinite imprisonment of foreign prisoners of war captured in America's so-called War on Terrorism?
The government has also used 9/11 as an opportunity to strip Americans of many of their most important civil liberties, and as a justification for waging its so-called War on Terror, and while many Americans, scared and in fear, are willing to sacrifice many of their core civil liberties, in the long run, these same people will come to regret their passivity in the face of unchecked government repression. The constitutional amendments that guarantee the people's right to be free of unwarranted searches and seizures, the right to privacy, and, to an extent, the freedom of speech and association have all been gutted by an overzealous and fanatical Attorney General in his personal crusade to fashion a dissent-free society. The same ease with which prison authorities deprive prisoners of our constitutional rights in the name of the ever-ambiguous "preservation of institutional security", the government now use to deprive citizens of their constitutional rights in the name of "preserving Homeland Security". Due process of law has become a mere formality to impose and legitimize government repression.
For a society that so often ignores the issues and plight of prisoners it is ironic that the government is now subjecting them to repressive practices perfected in American prisons. While a majority of citizens go about their travels unconcerned until the government boot lands on their heads, prisoners can only watch as the walls and barbed wire fences extend further and further as the perimeters of prisons now engulfs society. The Police State is not coming, it has arrived. There is no need to keep looking for it, it is already here.