Drone Whistleblower Thrown in Pen With Terrorists

Drone Whistleblower Thrown in Pen With Terrorists
Activist Post / Activist Post

By John Kiriakou

Drone whistleblower Daniel Hale was sent on Sunday to the notorious Communications Management Unit (CMU) at the maximum-security U.S. Penitentiary (USP) at Marion, Illinois to serve a 45-month sentence, rather than to the low-security prison at Butner, North Carolina, where federal Judge Liam O’Grady had recommended he go.

Butner is a prison hospital complex, and O’Grady was cognizant of Daniel’s need for psychological therapy to deal with post traumatic stress disorder from his time as a U.S. Air Force drone operator.

USP Marion, on the other hand, is a former “Supermax” prison that was built in the early 1960s as a replacement for Alcatraz. It was converted into a CMU to keep terrorists from being in contact with the media. The Bureau of Prisons, which apparently knows better than a federal judge, decided that the American public must be protected from Daniel Hale’s dangerous ideas, like the notion that we shouldn’t murder innocent civilians with drones.

Hale today should be sitting in the TV room of a low-security housing unit in a prison in North Carolina awaiting drug and alcohol counseling or speaking with a therapist. That’s what the judge’s order was. Hale is emotionally fragile. He’s occasionally suicidal. He needs some help and support through this experience. Instead, he’s on 24-hour-a-day lockdown. He will likely spend his entire nearly 4-year sentence in solitary confinement with almost no human contact at great risk to his mental health.

What is Daniel Hale’s day like? He is alone in a six-by-ten-foot concrete and steel cell. It has a steel bunk, a paper-thin mattress, a small steel sink, and a steel toilet. On the days that he’s allowed to exercise, which is two or three times per week, he is led into a six-by-ten-foot outdoor cage, where he can walk in circles for an hour.

He is permitted two showers per week and one phone call per month, but only to his attorney. Visitors are carefully screened (NSA whistleblower Tom Drake and I, for example, are banned from visiting him because we have criminal convictions for blowing the whistle on warrantless wiretapping and CIA torture, respectively.)

Even then, the few visitors he will have will be able to see him only through reinforced glass and with the use of an intercom. When Hale receives a letter, it will be scanned and then put on a monitor screen installed along the ceiling of his cell, where it will remain for five minutes while he reads it. At the end of five minutes, it will disappear permanently.

His Fellow Prisoners

Read full article at Consortium News

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