Monday, June 19, 2006


Here's the latest for LFA by Don Meinshausen. Don is currently imprisoned at FCI Ft.Dix, as he puts it, "for his unorthodox interpretation of the First Amendment and the doctrine of free enterprise (or as the state says it, conspiracy to distribute hemp and MDMA)." Don would love to hear any feedback you have for him. You can send him a letter to: Don Meinshausen, Inmate #08496-050, FCI Ft Dix Box 1000, Ft Dix NJ 08640. Contributions to Don's commissary fund can be sent to: Lockbox, Federal Bureau of Prisons, Don Meinshausen, Inmate Register Number 08496-050, PO Box 474701, Des Moines IA 50947-0001. (They only accept money orders and money grams.) Don expects to be released in 2008.


We have been under a state of siege for awhile. You could say we have been sent to our rooms for being naughty. They don’t tell us why these things happen, they just happen.

As near as I can figure out the new warden issued a new set of rules that were a little more obnoxious than the usual petty bullshit. They cut evening visiting hours, limited how many sets of underwear people can have and more of the usual “necessary rules for the order of the prison.” Now some people, including some of the black inmates, said the warden was compensating for being black, short and maybe even gay. I don’t know if this is true. Ask Condoleezza Rice.

The inmates replied with the mildest protest imaginable. They did not go to meals. I did not protest. I did not even know about it even though I work in the dining hall. Despite my reputation I prefer to let the grassroots move first and then offer my services. I also pick my issues very carefully and this issue although close to home was not enough to move on. People far wiser than myself and more practiced in working against the system said to hang back and wait to be asked to participate.

So for a week we have been more or less confined to our building. No recreation, work, gym, library or even chapel. Two or three hundred guys were packed up and sent to SHU or even to prisons unknown where it will be practically impossible to contact them again.

The CO’s had a lot of overtime. We had a lot of spare time. Time passes. Nothing to really be concerned about. Terror alert yellow. Bullshit alert orange. Tyranny alert red.

The only reason to pay attention to stories like this is to find the ominous parallels in everyday life. Things get tight, get a little looser but never as free as before, then get even tighter again. No explanations are offered, or real ones anyway. Those who complain are sent off, punished or ignored. Still it is important to understand what is happening, expand contacts and to know when, how and where to react against the unknown force which does not even know itself.

The searches of our belongings (shakedowns) and of our persons (patdowns) that accompany the lockdown are over, at least for now. The only thing left of the experience is the feeling of being “down,” as in hunkered down awaiting the next attack on our liberty, possessions and persons. They want you to expect, not protect against, the next violation. The justice system with its prisons is to educate the American public as well as aspiring immigrants about the real nature of the state: to punish those who act against it.

Here one does not hear such bromides as “it’s a free country.” No talk about how the system knows better than you or has your interests at heart. There is no rehabilitation here even for those who need it. There is also no efficiency, honesty or kindness either. It is the same on the outside as well. It’s just more open here.


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