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Life Arts

The Bureau of Prisons, The Flood and Your Tax Dollars At Work

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My guest today is frequent OpEdNews visitor, Judy White. Welcome to OpEdNews, Judy. Your husband has been in federal prison since September, 2010. What's new? 


January, 2005

We got our year-end "gift" from the BOP.  As expected, they recycled and re-gifted, with solitary confinement, the withholding of Gary's prescription medications, banning us from communications, and they threw in torture of Gary as a bonus.  They "bundled."

What do you mean, that they recycled and re-gifted?

It has been our experience, as I've shared with you during the past 28 months, that BOPers go to extreme lengths to silence anyone who tries to expose the corruption and criminality that is standard operating procedure at federal prisons and throughout the entire system.  Their public lies and written policies stress the importance of maintaining family and community ties, and guarantee prisoners' freedom from retaliation for exercising their First Amendment rights, including specifically "making known the conditions of their confinement."  Apparently, those are just words written, said with a wink and a nod, as that is not what they actually do.  What they do, and what they have done to Gary and me, is the opposite, and the standard "cost" of free speech is solitary confinement, withholding of prescription medication, termination of communications and endless threats.  They added torture this time, as defined by the UN Convention on Torture.  Gary has been locked in solitary confinement since January 10th with no heat as temperatures have been in the low to mid-20s, and his critically needed prescription medications have been withheld.  The BOPers have illegally terminated visitation, telephone calls and e-mail entirely for six months.  They have threatened both Gary and me separately that they will move him again and that they will send him to a more dangerous, higher security prison and further away.  Additionally, Gary has been directly threatened with termination of mail and indirectly threatened with death.  Expanding this heart-breaking and outrageous situation, they have lied to our US Senator and to Gary's attorney about his whereabouts, while changing what is on "Inmate Locator" back and forth between Memphis and Edgefield.  Just before all of this began, many of the prison employees, including those responsible for controlling Gary, were seen reading print-outs of our last interview , with one of the prison employees making the statement that it was not just at the prison, but it was being read throughout the BOP.

It must have been something I said, and I'm guessing it could be The Flood.

What you said raises many questions about the BOP's continual threats, but let's first talk about The Flood.  What's that all about?

I did not initially learn about The Flood and Fraud from Gary, but from someone else.  And a former prisoner who was imprisoned at Millington/Camp Cupcake at the time has now written a book about his experiences, including The Flood and Fraud.

In May, 2010, Camp Cupcake flooded.  The prisoners were evacuated and later returned.  But the government mentality was in full force:  Never let a crisis go to waste.  After the prisoners were returned, they were ordered by prison administrators and employees to carry out a massive fraud.  If I may quote directly from the book, Nasty Bear - Prison Adventure , beginning when the prisoners were being returned to the camp:

Referring to the warden's speech, "What he didn't say but should have was, "I've milked this for all it's worth.  So tomorrow morning at 6:00 a.m. we are going to ship your asses back to Millington....  Oh, and since there isn't going to be any more media coverage, we won't be using a SWAT team escort.  And another thing, when we get you back to camp, we are going to need some help with our Fraud Plans.  (Specifying a particular prisoner), I'm going to need you to use the bulldozer to run over some of our equipment so we can say that it was destroyed in the Mayday Flood of 2010.  And remember those freezers that quit working a couple of months ago? Someone needs to write a claim on those, as if the flood caused them to quit working.'  " The government-employed staff at Millington used the Mayday Flood of 2010 to get all new equipment - not just for Millington camp - but for their homes."


And it goes on and on, detailing prison employees taking home new chainsaws, new mowing equipment, new replacement air conditioning units - a massive criminal fraud involving the destruction of government property, theft by prison employees, fraudulent insurance claims and so much more, with that chapter of the book ending with, "There are 300 inmates who could all add a little to this story.  Most will never say a word, they just want to go home."

Maybe "most will never say a word," but not all, as we learned.  Those things all happened, and even more, according to those who were there at the time, including some who were forced to participate and confirmed the events to Gary, who shared with me what he learned.  Right now, the others told Gary, there is heavy equipment sitting in Memphis, including "a Caterpillar-type tractor which was "destroyed' but they were able to crank and drive to the place where the flood damaged items were stockpiled to be removed.  The insurance replacement of that tractor sits at the FCI with plastic still on the seat.  They were attempting to trade it the other day for a backhoe.  The riding lawn mowers "destroyed' in the flood - they cleaned up two or three of them and used them....  The zero-turn-radius lawn mower replacement - one just happened to disappear.  Somewhere between $12,000 - $15,000 (maybe $20,000).  New in a box."

There is enough credible and verifiable information about this that someone - meaning the US Attorney, FBI, Special Prosecutor, SOMEONE - needs to investigate and prosecute, because when prison employees and administrators, the very ones charged with and entrusted to "rehabilitate" prisoners, instead demonstrate only that it's perfectly fine for government employees to carry out massive criminal conspiracies and fraud, break the laws the rest of us have to follow, and trash the US Constitution every single day, what they are teaching and demonstrating is that crime does pay - as long as you work for the government and cover-up and back each other up.

Our interviews are read by the BOP as well as prisoners and you maintain that the officials are afraid that Gary will talk about The Flood. How do you know that? What's the connection? It's not like they've been nice to him up until now.

You are so right, Joan.  The BOPers have been abusive to Gary from the beginning, but the common theme - from the beginning - has been that they want us to shut up .  When Gary was in Edgefield [SC], the camp administrator called me three times to convey that message.  Gary was threatened by prison employees, including one who told him directly that anything I said or did would be taken out on him, that he would pay the price.  We've talked about "little" criminal acts by lower-level prison employees, difficult to prove who did what or prosecute, such as the chicken and other food thefts, mail crimes, smuggled contraband, things that don't have serial numbers and crimes that don't reach to the top.  The Flood is different, both because it involved the top administrators and because of the huge dollar value involved.  Fraud.  And somewhere there is an insurance company that paid a lot of money.  And there are those pesky identifiers, including serial numbers.

After the last interview, too, when I visited Gary, a number of the prisoners and their families or visitors openly thanked me for going to bat for all of us.  Some of the prisoners also then filed complaints about their visitors being abused or other matters.  Visitors may have felt empowered, as we wore our scarves and coats with hoods, and at least one of them also stood up to an abusive prison employee.  No more of the inside/outside sunglass-wearing prison employee, as he wore regular glasses.  It was as if - only for a moment - prison employees had to stop mistreating visitors and follow the written rules.  Gary encountered threatening or menacing dirty looks from the prison employees, though.

Then, he found the "smoking gun" - a BOP document admitting that Gary was abused by a prison employee at Edgefield.  The document went on to state that an investigation had determined that Gary was telling the truth, that he had, in fact, been abused.  The prison employee - M.F. Huger - was facing "disciplinary action" and there were "threats of reprisals" against Gary.  The other employees were aware that one of their own was being punished, as well as that Gary had reported others for so many violations.  He had credibility and he had told the truth, so he was not safe there.  Rather than deal with the abuse and threats by the prison employees by terminating them (after all, Gary was far from being the only prisoner they abused), the prison administration abruptly shipped Gary to Millington.  And they repeatedly lied to him and to his attorney, telling both of them that Gary was moved at his own request.  Of course, Gary had filed administrative complaints about all of this, and every step of the way, the BOP denied everything, while, at the same time, they prepared and placed in his file a secret document he never knew about, admitting the abuse and using it and threats by prison employees as the written reason for moving Gary.

Gary became aware of the document and saw it for the first time on January 9th.  He asked for and was refused a copy of it.  He was very excited and felt vindicated, as he shared with me during our monitored calls and e-mail.  The very next day, when he asked to see his file again, he was taken and locked in solitary confinement, where he has been tortured ever since.

It's hard to conclude that this is anything other than a stacked deck, Judy. I understand that you confirmed a visit and then ran into complications. Can you tell us about that?

After Gary disappeared on January 10th, I began to call the prison, desperate to find out what had happened to him.  That evening, prison employee Brooks told me Gary had been moved to Memphis and locked in solitary confinement.  When I asked, she told me that the only time he could have visitors was the third Thursday of each month from 5:00 - 8:00 p.m.  I said, that would be next Thursday, the 17th.  She agreed.  The next morning, prison employee Johnny Williams told me the same thing.  (He also threatened me and lied to me, but that is what prison employees do, I've learned.)  I arranged to take the day off work.  But then, an ice and snow storm was predicted.  This is the South, and we don't have road-clearing equipment, so the trip became even more hazardous.  The day before, I exchanged e-mail with the deputy regional counsel, warden and camp administrator - none of whom indicated there would be any problem with me being able to see Gary after making the trip.

Sadly, that didn't happen.  After two of Gary's friends and I took off work and travelled over 250 miles through the ice and snow storm, the prison employees said Gary could not have visitors at all. 


Gatlinburg, 2009. A little more than three years and 400 miles separate past from present. Then: cold but together. Now: freezing and alone.

What  happened?  

On the Monday night before the trip, Gary was allowed to call me for the only time.  Locked and freezing in an unheated, sewage-filled, filthy black-mold infested solitary confinement cell with his prescription medications - without which he will die - held hostage, as the prison employees listened to every word, Gary said, "DO NOT STOP! NAIL THEM TO THE CROSS! NO MATTER WHAT, DO NOT STOP, EVEN IF THEY SEND ME TO TIMBUKTU!"  I'm guessing that was not what they wanted him to say to me.

So there we were, in Memphis on Thursday night.  I asked, "What happened that we can't see Gary?"  One of the prison employees told me Gary had had a hearing "last night" and had been found guilty of an infraction, so he was "suspended."  Based on what Gary had told me Monday night and my research, I said, "Well, that presents another problem.  He could not have had a legitimate hearing.  He didn't receive proper notice and, since he named me as being his witness and I was not a witness, he didn't have a proper hearing."  The prison employee said Gary didn't ask for a witness, that he had waived having any witness.  I told him that was just not true, that Gary had told me specifically on Monday that he had named me.  He said, "How do you know?  Those forms never leave here."  I smiled and said, "How convenient."  All the easier to falsify.  I made it very clear that there was not a legitimate hearing, even according to the BOP rules, in the course of which he told me the hearing was conducted by satellite with the DHO (hearing officer) being in Maryland.  I believe he said Baltimore.

Then, another smoking gun - the prison employee said specifically that "everyone knows " all the DHO hearings are always on Thursdays."

"All the DHO hearings are always on Thursdays."  I was standing there on Thursday.  He had told me Gary's hearing was "last night."  That means Gary's hearing was not like all other hearings, being on Wednesday, rather than Thursday.  And at night.  No one anywhere in BOP world, especially in administration, is ever present anywhere near the prison after 4:00.  Also, Gary is in Memphis, which is in the Central time zone.  Maryland is in the Eastern time zone, an hour ahead.  So somehow, having a "hearing" in time to stop me from visiting Gary was of such urgency that not only did they have to do it the day before "all" the hearings are held, they had to do it at night, and at a time when whoever in Maryland would not even have normally been at work.

I later learned from Gary that there was no satellite "hearing" at all, just a Memphis prison employee named Davie Carpenter who conducted a hurry-up proceeding at night that was in violation of every rule and due process safeguard, who threatened, insulted and verbally abused Gary as he sat in a room for a "hearing" with his hands in handcuffs behind his back without even being able to turn pages on documents, denied proper notice, denied witnesses, denied legal counsel, assistance and with his legal mail withheld, denied law library access, denied his prescription eyeglasses and having been deprived of his needed prescription medication for six days - denied everything he had asked for, including even the prison handbook, all of which proved Gary had done nothing wrong.

All cloak and dagger and darkness of night.  They don't go to such lengths for any prisoner charged with even violent offences, but they sure did it for Gary.  Because what is most important to BOPers is protecting - not the public, but protecting the BOP (its employees and agents) from the public and prosecutors learning about their corruption.  The First Amendment is BOP Enemy Number 1.

So, what are you going to do for the next six months while you're barred from seeing Gary? Are you going to toss in the towel? People would certainly understand if you did.

This won't stand.  Gary provably did absolutely nothing wrong, while I have absolute proof of violation after violation by prison employees.  There will be appeals through the BOP, likely denied all the way through, as promised by Johnny Williams.  That establishes futility.  But sooner rather than later, we have to have the protection of the court, as Gary's life and permanent health (not to mention mine) are in imminent danger.  Right now, we can prove criminal deprivation of civil rights under color of law, depraved and deliberate indifference, and violations of the First (including retaliation), Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments, Privacy Act, HIPAA and other federal laws.

Along with family and friends, I have also asked for help from our US Senators and members of Congress, and, again, the president.  I would so appreciate and welcome others to join me in standing up against this broken system, not just for Gary and me, but there are over 217,000 prisoners under the control of those I wouldn't trust to manage a goldfish, much less any human being.

I look forward to being with my husband in the near future, as I pray for his safety and protection, and that he will feel my love and be warmed.  And I look forward to returning to Memphis to testify in criminal proceedings against the prison employees and anyone else who has participated in this matter.  Next time, if you're interested, we can talk about the escalation in the medical abuse of Gary and the bizarre involvement of a private doctor in Memphis named Charles Wallace.

Of course, I'm interested, Judy. Thanks so much for keeping us in the loop. Good luck in your crusade for justice.

*** 
Photos from White family collection

Interview series, in its entirety:
 
Judy White Fights For Incarcerated Husband's Access to His Prescriptions  October 13, 2010   

The Feds and the Prisoner's Wife - Do Unto Others... as You Please  October 27, 2010
 
Come and Get It! Prisoners Served Expired Food, "Not for Human Consumption"   November 10, 2010

Judy White's Giving Thanks for Prison Visit: It's All Relative  November 29, 2010   

No Heat in the Cooler: More Tales from Edgefield Federal Prison  December 16, 2010

The Devil's in the Details: More Tales from Edgefield Federal Prison , January 11, 2011

Hello Kitty Mysteriously Disappears from Prisoner's Mail at Edgefield , January 24, 2011

Edgefield Prison's Commitment to "Maintaining Family and Community Ties"?   March 6, 2011  

Winter in July? Trying to Stay Warm in Edgefield Prison   July 6, 2011

Neglect at Edgefield Federal Prison Causes Inmate to Lose Toes  September 27, 2011

Bureau of Prisons "Disappears" Federal Prisoner Just In Time for His Birthday December 29, 2011

Magic Behind Bars: The Case of the Disappearing 600 Pound Chicken February 22, 2012

Are Federal Prisons Finding it Hard to Let Go?  April 24, 2012

Happy Father's Day! and the Justice Department's War On Families June 16, 2012

Federal Prison's "Camp Cupcake" - Putting the Fun[ny] in Dysfunctional August 14, 2012

Gary White and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week , November 29, 2012
  
Scrooged! Millington Federal Prison Camp's Version of Christmas Spirit , December 24, 2012

 

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Joan Brunwasser is a co-founder of Citizens for Election Reform (CER) which since 2005 existed for the sole purpose of raising the public awareness of the critical need for election reform. Our goal: to restore fair, accurate, transparent, secure (more...)
 
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Outstanding series, Joan.   I've read most ... by Ned Lud on Monday, Jan 28, 2013 at 6:36:42 AM
Thank you for your kind words, Ned.I can't tell yo... by Joan Brunwasser on Monday, Jan 28, 2013 at 7:38:03 AM
Joan, if I could get those two back together with ... by Ned Lud on Monday, Jan 28, 2013 at 9:23:26 AM
want to check out this to learn that they are expo... by Mark Adams JD/MBA on Monday, Jan 28, 2013 at 8:08:06 PM