Tag Archive: CMU

Daniel McGowan Sues the BOP

daniel_mcgowan_FREE!From HuffPost:

Daniel McGowan may have been the first person thrown in solitary confinement for writing a HuffPost blog. Now he’ll be the first person to sue the Bureau of Prisons over it.

The environmental activist and former prisoner filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against the prison system over an April 2013 incident in which U.S. Marshals threw him in a Brooklyn federal jail — ironically, for criticizing earlier violations of his free speech.

“The Bureau of Prisons does not like criticism and their reaction was unsurprisingly to try and crush someone who stepped out of line,” McGowan told HuffPost Tuesday in an email.

After a federal judge labeled him a terrorist in 2007 for arson committed with the Earth Liberation Front, McGowan spent years in some of the federal prison system’s most restrictive prisons, the communication management units (CMUs). The Bureau of Prisons denies it, but internal prison files strongly suggest McGowan was placed there because of his continued outspoken association with the environmental movement. (more…)

Free Marius Jacob Mason

From Free Marius Mason

We would like to let everyone know that Marius Jacob Mason will no longer be using the name Marie, and will be using male pronouns. We hope that you will all join us in supporting Marius through this transition, which will no doubt be extra challenging within the prison system. Until his name is legally changed, any mail sent to Marius in prison will still need to be addressed to ‘Marie Mason’ on the envelope. This goes for donations also. Please write to Marius at this time! Receiving supportive and friendly mail makes a world of difference. Below is a statement read out by Moira Meltzer-Cohen, one of Marius’ legal representatives, at a solidarity event organized by New York City ABC recently.

“My name is Moira Meltzer-Cohen. I’m an attorney working with a person of immense courage and integrity, someone who struggles for liberation and self-determination on behalf of other people, non-human animals, and life on Earth itself. This is someone whose courage and integrity are made even more salient by the fact that their own liberation and their own autonomy have long been severely circumscribed.

Even more than most people in prison, my client and those in their unit face rigid, arbitrary constraints on communication and expression that impact every part of their lives. But even more – I want you to imagine how difficult it would be if all your struggles toward liberation and autonomy were taking place not only in a prison, but in a world that always targets trans people for further violence, confinement, and abuse. (more…)

Previously-Secret Prison Docs Show Constitutional Violations in Experimental Prison Units

 

Daniel McGowan

Daniel McGowan

“This is the press release sent out by my attorneys at the Center for the Constitutional Rights regarding previously unseen documents about the Communication Management Units (CMUS) aka Lil Gitmo, run by the Bureau of Prisons. The documents reveal just what I have been saying since the day I got to the CMU in 2008-that myself and my former plaintiffs were sent there due to our political speech. A huge summary judgement motion brief was just filed and the protective order on these documents were lifted for the first time. We are asking the judge to rule on the case in our favor, with all that we have presented. The suit was first filed in April 2010 by CCR on behalf of myself and other CMU detainees. Despite my status as a released prisoner (and having been dismissed off the lawsuit by the judge for this reason), I maintain that political prisoner units are important to fight on multiple fronts. There are men in the CMU (and women at the FMC Carswell Admin Max unit) from our movements and many in need of support.” —Daniel McGowan

View all the documents in the CCR’s summary motion here.

For more information on Daniel’s case, see his article, “Court Documents Prove I Was Sent to CMU For My Political Speech.”

Docs Confirm Lack of Due Process in Communications Management Units, Attorneys Say

from Center for Constitutional Rights

April 23, 2014, Washington D.C.For the first time, hundreds of documents detailing the Bureau of Prisons’ process for designating prisoners to controversial Communications Management Units (CMUs) are public. The documents had been under a protective order in the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) lawsuit, Aref v. Holder, since CCR filed the case in 2010. (more…)

Mail Your Move Marie Letter in by November 25th

movemarieFrom Free Marie Mason

We’ve seen a great outpouring of support for Marie since the Move Marie campaign launched in October.  Events across the country and even the world have been organized, publishers such as AK Press and Burning Books have been sending out postcards with orders, bookfairs and other events have been gathering and mailing signed postcards to the BOP.  The response has been moving and powerful.

We’re calling now for those of you who haven’t yet sent in a letter, to do so by November 25th.  After this final push of sending letters demanding that Marie be moved, we’ll be entering into the next phase of the campaign.

Below is the address to send all letters to, and a sample letter. Please remain firm but polite in your communications with the BOP. (more…)

I ‘Got Snatched’: Daniel McGowan’s Bizarre Trip Through America’s Prison System

From Huffington Postdaniel_image002

Daniel McGowan was in the yard of the Federal Correctional Institution in Sandstone, Minn., when his name rang out over the loudspeaker. It had been eight months since he first reported to the low-security prison to start a seven-year sentence for conspiracy and arson. To pass the time, he worked as an orderly in the prison psychology department, took correspondence classes and exercised.

Sandstone, located nearly smack-dab in the middle of the country, was about as far removed as McGowan could be from his wife, Jenny Synan, in New York and from his former compatriots in the Earth Liberation Front in Oregon, with whom he had been caught in a national law enforcement sweep. But he still kept in touch with the outside world, writing passionate articles about the environment and prisons for publications like the Earth First! Journal. He was allotted 300 minutes of phone time a month. And on the rare occasions when Synan could get away from work, she would come see him. In the prison’s visiting room, they would hug and kiss and play board games together.

He was looking forward to such a visit when the loudspeaker told him to report to the prison’s shipping and receiving department. It was the day before his second wedding anniversary in May 2008, and he assumed that he was being called in for some routine matter. Perhaps the package full of books he had recently mailed to his wife had been returned for insufficient postage, he thought.

Instead, a prison staffer handed McGowan two boxes and told him to fill them up with his possessions. He was the one being shipped. When he asked his case manager where he was being taken, he was thrown in a cell.

He headed south the next day, still unsure of his destination. “When I got on the bus, they told me ‘Marion,'” McGowan says. (more…)

Campaign to Transfer Marie Mason from Special Isolation

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFrom Support Marie Mason

The campaign to have Marie moved from her special isolation unit is underway! Please write a letter today.

You can download the “Move Marie” here:

trifold color brochure (smaller version, 600KB)

trifold color brochure (larger version)

The text version and a sample letter are available here.

Daniel McGowan Loses Lawsuit Against Bureau Of Prisons

daniel_mcgowan_FREE!By Matt Sledge / Huffington Post

A federal court has dismissed an environmental activist’s claims against the U.S. Bureau of Prisons over a restrictive prison wing he was housed in, but a lawsuit filed by other prisoners against the government over its restrictive communication management units continues.

Daniel McGowan, 39, served seven years in federal prison for arson connected with the Earth Liberation Front, four of them in the secretive communication management units, or CMUs, dubbed “Little Guantanamo” by critics.

Along with dozens of other mostly Muslim inmates, McGowan’s phone calls with the outside world and physical contact with his family were severely limited. Even after he was released to a halfway house, McGowan was briefly tossed back into prison this year for writing a Huffington Post blog entry detailing his case. (more…)

NYC ABC Update on Daniel McGowan’s Reimprisonment

dm

UPDATE (5 Apr): Thanks to some great work by attorney Rachel Meeropol (CCR), the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) blinked and have allowed Daniel McGowan to return to the halfway house. Make no mistake, without  media coverage, radical attorney intervention, and the attention from folks on the streets, all over the world, Daniel would still be at MDC and would likely have spent the remainder of his sentence there. Through negligence, ignorance, or malevolence (or, as we presume, a mix of the three), the BOP targeted Daniel with an outdated regulation that has been struck down by the court as unconstitutional and allegedly removed from the BOP in 2010. Maybe they thought no one would notice.

While Daniel is going back to the halfway house, if you haven’t already seen it, you should watch this news report. The reporter for the Huffington Post puts it best: “Absolutely, this story is crazy.”

NYC Anarchist Black Cross:

We got word late yesterday that Daniel McGowan was told he wouldn’t be issued a pass to go to work the next day. According to his keepers at the halfway house, this denial came at the direction of the Bureau of Prisons (BOP). When he followed up, Daniel was told that it wasn’t merely a denial of a work pass, but a restriction on all movement. When asked if that meant federal marshals were coming to get him the next day, the halfway house administrators told him they didn’t know.

The state, and its for-profit halfway house minions, were clearly in collusion. This is just another way that opacity is used to mindfuck folks left to twist in the wind, not knowing what the future holds.

From our understanding, the reason for his re-imprisonment is directly related to an article Daniel recently wrote for the Huffington Post. An attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights has been to visit Daniel at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn. Once we know more, we’ll pas the information on.

For now, take time to send Daniel a card or letter. Let him know that regardless of how the state treats him, we have his back.

Write to Daniel at:Daniel McGowan #63794-053
MDC Brooklyn
Post Office Box 329002
Brooklyn, New York 11232

“Court Documents Prove I was Sent to Communication Management Units for my Political Speech”

dmby Daniel McGowan, Huffington Post

I currently reside at a halfway house in Brooklyn, serving out the last few months of a seven-year sentence for my role in arsons credited to the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) at two lumber companies in Oregon in 2001.  My case, and the federal government’s rush to prosecute environmental activism as a form of terrorism, were recently explored in the Oscar-nominated documentary, If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front.

What has received less attention, though, is what happened to me while in federal prison.  I was a low security prisoner with a spotless disciplinary record, and my sentencing judge recommended that I be held at a prison close to home.  But one year into my sentence, I was abruptly transferred to an experimental segregation unit, opened under the Bush Administration, that is euphemistically called a “Communication Management Unit” (CMU).  Since August 2008, when I first arrived at the CMU, I have been trying to get answers as to why I was singled out to be sent there.  Only now — three years after I filed a federal lawsuit to get to the truth — have I learned why the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) sent me to the CMU: they simply did not like what I had to say in my published writing and personal letters.  In short, based on its disagreement with my political views, the government sent me to a prison unit from which it would be harder for me to be heard, serving as a punishment for my beliefs. (more…)

Eco-prisoners Continue Exposing BOP’s Shady “Communications Management”

cmu-imageFrom Earth First! Newswire

Last weeks, the EF! Newswire reported on legal challenges filed by Susan Tipograph, an attorney representing imprisoned ELF activist Marie Mason, related to her placement in a “control-management”-type prison unit in Carswell, Texas, because of her status as a political prisoner.

       While the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) has continued to maintain that Carswell is not an official Communications Management Unit (CMU), we have learned enough from the BOP to know that they cannot be trusted. And this less-than-sneaky suspicion has only been re-affirmed by the ongoing work of the Center for Constitutional Rights and their client, another well known ecoprisoner, Daniel McGowan, who is currently finishing his sentence at a halfway house in NYC.
       McGowan’s lawyers at Center for Constitutional Rights have released a new flyer about the CMUs that the Bureau of Prisons operates. These are the units Daniel was held in for most of his prison 5.5 year sentence and the subject of a lawsuit (Aref v Holder) brought by Daniel and other former/current CMU prisoners. You can read the text of the flyer here and you can download a PDF of the two page flyer here or by clicking on the image above.  (more…)