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Hunger strikers, weak and sick, transported 8 hours by bus: ‘Our strength is a reflection of your strength’

September 2, 2013

by Mutope Duguma

Written Aug. 25, 2013 – How long must we continue to suffer? On Aug. 23, 2013, early in the morning, Pelican Bay State Prison Ad Seg (Administrative Segregation) was emptied out and placed on two buses. Every individual on the buses had been on the hunger strike since July 8, 2013, and there was not one medical staffperson on those buses.

'Stop the torture' PHSS graphicThe trip was an eight hour trip that subjected Lorenzo Benton to extremely low blood sugar. We had to demand that the bus be stopped immediately, which led to a 40 minute delay. They had three cars from SSU (Special Services Unit) escorting the whole trip, but not one medical staffperson, knowing that we had been on a hunger strike 45 days when they placed us on those buses.

Lorenzo Benton’s eyes were blurry; he couldn’t see nothing. I tried to take his pulse but couldn’t get one because his heartbeat had dropped so low. We switched position on the bus with Danny Troxell and Frank Clement so that Lorenzo would have more space. This did nothing for him.

We asked for water and the sergeant of transportation said he was instructed to not give us nothing but Gatorade. I said, “We can’t have water?” He said no. I said, “Where is the Gatorade?” Initially Abdul, HB and Mutawally demanded that they go back, but I asked how far are we from a medical facility going forward. Sergeant said six miles. We were already on the road 50 miles.

I told Lorenzo to gulp down cups of Gatorade because when my sugar is low and eyes are blurry, I just need the Gatorade to clear it up. After gulping down three canteen cups – 12 ounces – each he started to see a little better and he felt better. The sergeant asked him was he all right and if he was going to make it. The sergeant was pissed off that there wasn’t no medical staff on this trip, considering who was being transferred. At least he let us see these sentiments. If he was sincere or not I don’t know.

How long must we continue to suffer?

Once we got to New Folsom Prison (California State Prison Sacramento) we got nothing, and that is our status right now as I write this. They say on Aug. 26 it will get better. The officials knew we were coming a week in advance, so it is no excuse for subjecting us to such cruelty.

We also are receiving low quality vitamins, down from the high quality vitamins that the receivership ordered. [California prison medical services were placed under receivership by the federal court because at least one prisoner a week was dying due to medical abuse or neglect. – ed.] The Gatorade is a better quality, but we are suffering because of what we are being denied, although the hunger strike alone should be enough suffering.

But denying us linen – while holding us in ice cold cells – equals torture. It’s obvious that these actions are intended to break us, but the 60 of us have a collective strength and are committed all the way to the force feeding, for better or worse.

We can only hope that our strength is a reflection of your strength. All RACES – prison solidarity.

We do not care about how much worse our conditions get because the pain and suffering from not eating trumps it all. Also, the only prisoners in PBSP Ad Seg who were left there were Sitawa Jamaa (Ron Dewberry), Todd Ashker, Antonio Guillen and Arturo Castellanos, our four reps. We can only hope that they are safe under those circumstances. Everyone on the bus is medically on high risk status (see CDC Form 114-D), and everyone is doing very bad as well.

And it’s old age, middle age and young age prisoners inside that 60, and we can only hope that our strength is a reflection of your strength. All RACES – prison solidarity. We don’t believe that CDCr CSP-Sac can force feed each and every one of us at the same time, because obviously we will deteriorate at the same time.

[In a note dated Aug. 26, he adds: We’ve been on vitamins and Gatorade since July 25, 2013, to now, which is to sustain our organs, but they will eventually start going when our body weight is gone. I am down 63 pounds now today, according to their scale.]

One Love, One Struggle.

Mutope

Send our brother some love and light – and writing paper, envelopes and stamps to share: Mutope Duguma (James Crawford), D-05996, CSP-Sac ASU B8-232L, P.O. Box 290066, Represa CA 95671.

 

10 thoughts on “Hunger strikers, weak and sick, transported 8 hours by bus: ‘Our strength is a reflection of your strength’

  1. Denise D'Anne

    This is unbelievable and sad. It is admirable what these men are doing to bring us all to the realization that what these men are suffering is pure torture. Everyone no matter what the circumstances deserve respect and dignity simply because they are human. This Medieval prions situation is unacceptable and needs to go.

    Reply
  2. Malaika H Kambon

    This latest CDCR action was in my estimation an assassination attempt.

    It is more than just attempted "divide and conquer" tactics on the part of the state. It is more than a corrupt government attempt to justify their heinous assertion against the longest prisoner hunger strike in history: that the strike is being led by “gangs” who are alleged to have coerced an initial 30,000 prisoners’ participation.

    It is more than a corrupt CDCR attempt to justify their threats of force-feeding prisoners to break the strike.

    This is an attempted cover up of prisoners speaking out against the inhumanities faced every second of every day.

    On July 8, when the strike began, Governor Jerry Brown took his *** off to vacation in sunny Arizona – the state where the racist Senate Bill 1070 on immigration was recently signed into law.

    Senate Bill 1070 allows warrantless arrests based upon ‘probable cause’ that a person has committed “any public offense that makes a person removable from the United States.”

    This of course can get everyone deported, and if the target destination is reached, will land you either in prison/jail or dead. As soon as the select prison is reached, if you're still alive, then the 13th Amendment will take over, and you’re going to be officially a slave.

    If you just die en route, then you’re just dead as though you didn’t exist.

    Brown has also sanctioned Guantanamo Bay’s force-feeding tactics to be used to break the resistance of hunger strikers, not out of any care for prisoner lives.

    Yet Gerry obviously isn’t keeping up with current events. An article posted on 10 July 2013, in the American Spectator, states:

    “On Monday, federal judge Gladys Kessler ruled that she cannot stop the force-feeding of hunger-striking prisoners at Guantanamo Bay because her court does not have jurisdiction to change policy at the prison near the southeastern corner of Cuba.

    Currently, approximately 106 of Guantanamo’s 166 detainees are classified as hunger strikers (reportedly defined as intentionally missing 9 meals in a row), with about 45 of them currently being force-fed.
    Judge Kessler went on to say that there “appears to be a consensus that force-feeding prisoners violates Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which prohibits torture or cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment.” She notes the prisoners’ citations of statements from multiple U.S. and international organizations “condemning the force-feeding of detainees.”

    The judge helpfully points out that “there is an individual who does have the authority to address the issue,” namely President Barack Obama, and proceeds to subtly chastise the president for hypocrisy by using his own words (from his May 23 speech in which, as usual, he spoke far too long in order to accomplish little but sow confusion among our allies and enemies alike):

    Look at the current situation, where we are force-feeding detainees who are being held on a hunger strike… Is this who we are? Is that something our founders foresaw? Is that the America we want to leave our children? Our sense of justice is stronger than that.

    Less than a month earlier, Obama said, “I don’t want these [hunger-strikers] to die.” Obama’s two statements are not so much mutually contradictory as representative of his deep desire to close the prison.”

    And, In a letter published in the Lancet (2006; 367: 811), (because of a debate in Switzerland where an imprisoned cannabis farmer has been on hunger strike for about 3 months, protesting his 5 year sentence “…doctors have argued that force-feeding prisoners who were on a hunger strike violated established standards in medical ethics, which acknowledge that patients – including detainees – have a right to refuse treatment, even of a life-sustaining kind, provided that they enjoy decision-making capacity (or more briefly, capacity).”

    Part I

    Reply
  3. Malaika H Kambon

    So – the same position that the Swiss judicial authorities seem trapped in: that it is indeed inconsistent to, on the one hand, uphold people’s right to refuse treatment out of respect for their autonomy, and on the other hand, to stipulate that a prisoner on a hunger strike should be force-fed on the grounds that the importance of preserving life trumps all other considerations in such a situation; is the same inconsistent position that all DCR’s are in re: force feeding to end hunger strikers.

    Adults have the right to the autonomy of refusing treatment. Neither Guantanamo Bay nor prisoners in the continental U.S. should be force-fed. Additionally, doctors who refuse to do so have a good justification for their decision, particularly as there is no evidence e.g. that prisoners on hunger strike in Guantanamo Bay nor U.S. DCR’s have been coerced by anyone to go on a hunger strike nor was the prisoners’ capacity for autonomous self-determination in either place impaired when the strikes were called.

    But neither Obama nor Gerry Brown nor any other DCR’s actually care about the hunger strikers, in Guantanamo Bay or in the continental U.S. Nor is Obama trying to close Guantanamo Bay Prison.

    In fact, in the 27 August 2013 issue of the Capitol Alert, Brown it seems would rather build more prisons than release the 10,000 prisoners by the end of this year, as mandated by court order: “Under court order to reduce California's prison population by nearly 10,000 inmates by the end of the year, Gov. Jerry Brown asked the Legislature this afternoon to authorize about $315 million to avoid a mass release.

    Legislation proposed by the Democratic governor would ease overcrowding in the short term and and "make thoughtful changes over the longer term," Brown said. "This is the sensible, prudent way to proceed."
    The bill would allow the state to lease more private prison space and send more prisoners to out of state facilities.”

    And since prisoners are under the “care, custody and control” of the state and federal governments of the U.S., if Obama was so concerned about prisoners not dying, he would accede to prisoner demands, and signal for his “staff” (which includes all state governors) to do so as well.

    But recall if you will, that Obama callously approved Troy Anthony Davis’ execution. And that the judge who signed the order for force feeding in the U.S., along with the Prison Law Office and the Medical Receiver’s office have by doing so, aligned themselves with the DCR’s political repression of a peaceful protest, while sanctioning an attack on hunger strikers in the U.S., and by default, in Guantanamo as well.

    But the hunger strikers are proving – once again – to be stronger than the state and federal killing apparatuses. So – in a blatant effort to "cut off the head" so that the body will die, the U.S. has moved all but the four prisoner reps from Pelican Bay. Oddly, the only ‘move’ that the feds could perpetrate in Guantanamo is release: via death or otherwise.

    Anything could go down, in either place without enough eyes to see. That isn't good, under the best of circumstances…. especially if there are now only four prisoners in the Pelican Bay Administrative Segregation unit.

    But the world is watching, president Jerry Obama and governor Barack Brown.

    The world is watching, and you’d better be careful how you roll.

    Patria O Muerte.

    ALL POWER TO THE PEOPLE

    Part II of II

    Reply
  4. Julie Cunningham

    WHEN WILL PRESIDENT OBAMA STEP UP AND ENSURE THAT THESE MEN GET A FAIR HEARING? He obviously can't leave it to Jerry Brown!!!

    Reply
  5. Christina Aguilera

    I am so upset, mad, frustrated, furious!! My family finally received correspondence from my brother Criss Garcia (j93559) who was one of the men who were transported from Pelican Bay to Folsom. We finally heard from my brother and the letter he wrote to us is horrendous!! The cruel and torture is undiscribable. I cried and I am in so much fear for my brother life. He wants to be heard! He wrote very descriptive information about the conditions and how they are treating the “hunger strikers” . Just to share a few lines he wrote. ” I’ve been held in these conditions since 2000- 13 yrs in the AD SEG & SHU . I’ve participated in all 3 hunger strikes. On 8/3/13 I was transferred from Pelican Bay to CSP SAC (new Folsom) under pretext o high risk medical due to te July 8th H.S. I say pretext because instead of being placed in an appropriate medical setting – I was housed in an even higher risk & dangerous environment (an ASU / AD SEG unit) 8 of us were origanally transported down here. We were alone, completely isolated & vulnerable from H.S. and disoriented … These housing units tiers are long and desolate. It’s very difficult to get any staff attention in case of an emergency . They are no call buttons on the cell in case of ” man down”. Medically emergency situation. This happened twice since 8/25/13 and it took 25 to 3o minutes for any staff to respond.” My brother Chris wrote a 7 page letter. In two different cases my brother passed out twice and came about on his own. He had bumps on his head and the staff didn’t do anything about his injuries. My brother is suffering of chronic headaches and all they tell him is to eat and drink water. They have also not given him his personal belongings such as his stationary, address book of all his loved ones addresses, personal clothing to stay warm books and appliances so he can be informed of what is happening. He gave us leads to some people that may be able to help. So with this information, I will try to be my brothers voice. He has asked for anyone who would like to send a post card to please do so. He needs encouraging words in this tough ordeal he’s going through. His address is Chris Garcia J93559 , Z-F-166, po box 290066, Represa Ca 95671. Thank u and God bless

    Reply
    1. Audrey

      Also he can requests copies of his medical records – he has to pay for copies – so make sure there is money on his books – mail request to: Health Records Center. PO box 942883. Sacramento ca 94283 -

      Reply
  6. Audrey

    Praying for your brother and all of those subjected to the torture by cdcr – you are his voice – call medical – I hope he has signed a medical consent for you – call medical to check on him 916 985 8610 ext 5511 – I am so disgusted with the system – we have to continue to support our loved ones in any way we can -

    Reply

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