Meet the new jailers-- Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad is at the centre of fresh abuse allegations just a week after it was handed over to Iraqi authorities, with claims that inmates are being tortured by their new captors.
Mass executions, torture again, etc. How bad is it when the inmates plead for us
to come back? (Warning--this second link is graphic evidence of what we did there--NSFW)
posted by amberglow
on Sep 10, 2006 -
That's the Sound of the Man Working on the Chain Gang
Among all genres of American folk music, prison songs
may be the most viscerally compelling. They evolved from plantation songs
and field hollers
of slaves in the American South before the civil war (whose origins can in turn be traced to patterns found in the music of West Africa
) but their tone and content is quite different. Limitless in length, bitter
, offering little hope of freedom
, these songs were first heard during Reconstruction. Harsh and unevenly enforced laws incarcerated legions of black American men, consigning them to long sentences of labor for minor offenses like insult, fistfighting, and shoplifting. To shore up a tanking Southern economy, prisons leased convict labor to plantation owners
as a low-cost replacement for slave labor. When reform efforts brought that to an end, state governments became the contractors
. Sweetheart deals awarded lucrative contracts to prisons to provide labor for rebuilding the railroads and highways of the war-destroyed South. Slavery in all but name, these work conditions gave rise to a body of music
that is one of the most significant antecedents of the blues
. In hundreds
, cadenced to axe-fall
, hoe stroke
, or the drop of a maul
, the songs set a working pace a man could sustain from dawn to dusk, while remaining fast enough to satisfy an armed 'Captain
' on horseback.
posted by Miko
on Aug 27, 2006 -
Mass. school punishes students with electric shocks
"They can be shocked for behaviors including ’failure to maintain a neat appearance’, ‘stopping work for more than 10 seconds’, ‘interrupting others’, ‘nagging’, ‘whispering and/or moving conversation away from staff’, ‘slouch in chair’ '
I have spoke before of American Enantiodromia
. Further, Thomas Moore wrote in Dark Eros: The Imagination of Sadism
, that in any culture that does not acknowledge it's skeletons, --it's sins, if you will-- will have that imagination played out in real life.
The ways of Sade are not limited to bedroom and scenes of bondage or porno theaters or forbidden books. Any aspect of culture, from the great to the small, insofar as it is engaged in issues of power has therefore Sadean qualities. Furthermore, since life is never perfect, every aspect of culture will know the split of power into torture and suffering, dominance and submission, or sentimentality and cruelty.
I wont editorialize anymore than I have, but I can't help but wonder, When did psychological abuse become entertainment?
or has it always been thus?
Also see: N.Y. report denounces shock use at school
I look forward to your Parallax View.
posted by Unregistered User
on Jun 17, 2006 -
...three decades of freedom denied. Thirty years ago today—February 6, 1976—the Canadian government arrested Leonard Peltier...later extraditing him to the U.S. for trial (sic).
Some Peltier FAQ
. Another informative site
. How the other side
sees it. Peltier and the American Indian Movement (AIM
). Sign the online petition
As Dylan sang about Hurricane
: "To see him obviously framed couldn't help but make me feel ashamed to live in a land where justice is a game."
posted by mickeyz
on Feb 6, 2006 -
Dead Man Eating:
THOMAS GRASSO, OKLAHOMA, 1995-- a dozen steamed mussels, a Burger King double cheeseburger with mustard, mayonnaise, lettuce and tomato, a can of Franco-American spaghetti with meatballs, a mango, half of a pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and a strawberry milkshake. But, there was a problem. Mr. Grasso had been served spaghetti and meatballs, but had actually requested Spaghetti-O's. He did not take this slight lightly, his last words included this complaint, "I did not get my Spaghetti-O's. I got spaghetti. I want the press to know this!"
posted by Secret Life of Gravy
on Jan 15, 2006 -
How is life
for accused war criminals
(see e.g. drag-down list at top) awaiting trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia? Stimulating if they enjoy chess or model ships, according to this brief Slate dispatch. How well do such alleged monsters need to be accommodated?
posted by grobstein
on Jan 9, 2006 -
Throw Away The Key dot org
seeks to lengthen the sentences of criminals on the premise of their mission statement: "Incarceration Works!" From their site: "If you believe a girl should be able to walk down the street in broad daylight without being abducted and murdered by a convicted felon, then it is time for you to get involved.
posted by fandango_matt
on Nov 29, 2005 -
Faith based prisons...
Can Gov. Jeb Bush's new drive to introduce God to the inmates make a difference, or was Jesus 'dying for our sins' not enough already? Is Jesus a solution or an excuse?
"Night has fallen. He has died now.
A fly crawls over the still flesh.
Of what use is it to me that this man suffered,
If I am suffering now?" - Jorge Luis Borges
posted by 0bvious
on Nov 25, 2005 -
The administration's latest innovation in its effort to export democracy: Soviet-style gulags
, a network of secret C.I.A. prisons known as "black sites." [From the Washington Post
]. Meanwhile, SecDef Rumsfeld says no thanks
to the idea of U.N. inspectors talking to detainees in Guantanamo Bay.
posted by digaman
on Nov 2, 2005 -
Photos Beyond the Wall
"We take you out of the visiting room and place you "inside" the romantic or exotic location of your choice!" Photographs taken in prisons can be photoshopped to magical lands far far away.
posted by keli
on Sep 21, 2005 -
Oriana Fallaci back in the soup.
She's being sued in Italy for defaming Islam in her last book, The Rage and the Pride
, and faces up to two years in prison.
The suit was brought by President of the Italian Muslim Union, Sig. Adel Smith
, a fellow who's activism even other Muslims sometimes profess to find a bit much
And now, as if this makes things right, he's gone to jail for defaming Catholicism.
Ms Fallaci's most recent book, The Force of Reason
, as radioactive as her last, is due out in America later this year.
The free speech in Europe thing is interesting, if crazy making, but does it distract us from the issues that dare not speak their names? Is she right, can East and West survive together? Or are we really best advised to go our separate ways
posted by IndigoJones
on Jun 24, 2005 -
"One lawyer said that his client... has told him that he was beaten regularly in his early days at Guantánamo, hanged by his wrists for hours at a time and that an interrogator pressed a burning cigarette into his arm." The age of this "client" when he was detained? 14 years old
. The reply of the camp's public affairs officer: "They don't come with birth certificates."
posted by digaman
on Jun 13, 2005 -
Stories from a prison in South Korea,
told by an English teacher imprisoned for teaching without a license. Punishment: deportation. But if a prisoner can't collect wages due, then the prisoner can't buy a plane ticket and stays jailed, where the prisoner can't make money, until such time as the prisoner can afford a plane ticket, ad infinitum. Part one
. "The massive Mongolian sings beautifully. A sad falsetto—I imagine it to be about missing a faraway homeland of vast, green pastures, endless fertile grasslands, deserts and broad skies." Part two
. "He should really go to a hospital outside of the detention center, but…he would have to pay for any medical treatment outside.…If he spends any money on medical bills he would have less money for buying his airplane ticket home. So he must go untreated."
posted by Mo Nickels
on May 18, 2005 -
The main business of Napanoch, N.Y., is a maximum-security prison, Eastern New York Correctional Facility, also known as Happy Nap... There is, however, a reason that inmates call the prison Happy Nap. Eastern is more relaxed than other maximum-security prisons, or 'maxes,' in upstate New York, with less hostility between staff and prisoners, and as a result fewer U.I.'s, or 'unusual incidents' -- stabbings and the like. It is said that the farther upstate you go, the harsher the prison conditions can be. Among New York's maxes, Eastern has one of the best reputations. It is one of only three maximum-security prisons in the state where you can still get an education -- not just in manual skills, but a proper college education with a degree at the end, thanks to privately financed initiatives. Uncaptive Minds
posted by y2karl
on Feb 27, 2005 -
Marine Refuses to Use Guns ...
Marine Cpl. Joel D. Klimkewicz converted to the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day saints while in the Marines, and now believes that killing is against Jesus' teachings. As such, he refused to train with a gun though he says he would be willing to clear mines and work the front lines. The result is that the military has jailed him for his religious beliefs, convicting him of disobeying a direct order. Anyone think that Bill O'Reilly is going to say the military is trying to destroy Christianity?
posted by nathanrudy
on Jan 1, 2005 -
A long-lost treasure too toxic to touch:
Construction at New York City's Harlem Community Justice Center recently revealed a room piled high with records documenting the building's former life as an early 20th century prison. They offer a peek into the street life of ca. 1900 NYC and scholars are already interested - there's only one problem: the room also contains decades worth of toxic pigeon droppings. (NY Times - registration required).
Photos (click on the "records rescue" link at the bottom) of the room are available at the great correctionhistory.org which also offers histories and photos of other out-of-the-way corners of NYC like the Hart Island Potter's Field.
posted by ryanshepard
on Nov 5, 2004 -
The Road To Abu Ghraib A generation from now, historians may look back to April 28, 2004, as the day the United States lost the war in Iraq... It was a direct—and predictable—consequence of a policy, hatched at the highest levels of the administration, by senior White House officials and lawyers, in the weeks and months after 9/11. Yet the administration has largely managed to escape responsibility for those decisions; a month from election day, almost no one in the press or the political class is talking about what is, without question, the worst scandal to emerge from President Bush's nearly four years in office... Given the particular conditions faced by the president and his deputies after 9/11—a war against terrorists, in which the need to extract intelligence via interrogations was intensely pressing, but the limits placed by international law on interrogation techniques were very constricting—did those leaders have better alternatives than the one they chose? The answer is that they did. And we will be living with the consequences of the choices they made for years to come.
posted by y2karl
on Oct 27, 2004 -
This is Jon's diary. Jon is in prison on money laundering and drugs charges.
"My new co-habitants are enduring the twin evils of a broken swamp-cooler and a cockroach infestation. A neighbouring asthmatic inmate happily described how he inhaled a cockroach that had crept into his nebulizer. He could feel the insect crawling around inside him and promptly vomited his stomach contents. Unfortunately the cockroach was not ejected, as it was lodged in his lung."
posted by urban greeting
on Sep 9, 2004 -
Blowing Up Gotti.
A weekly series from
The Smoking Gun featuring prison videotapes of John Gotti behind plexiglass talking to his kids and grandkids. Check out
Episode One: Grandpa Blows a Gasket (Quicktime required). Makes you think twice about your baseball career. (Via
posted by adrober
on Aug 18, 2004 -