[Ppnews] Marie Mason is Being Denied Visitors and Mail in a Special Prison Unit
Political Prisoner News
ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Mar 16 14:52:03 EDT 2011
Marie Mason is Being Denied Visitors and Mail in a Special Prison Unit
by Will Potter on March 16, 2011
Marie Mason was arrested three years ago and
charged with destroying genetic-engineering
research and logging equipment. Her crimes did
not cause any physical injury. Leading up to her
sentencing, the FBI had warned that terrorists
might attend the hearing. She was sentenced to
nearly 22 years in prison. As I wrote at the
sentence was twice that of violent racists who
assaulted African Americans on the night Barack Obama was elected president.
From the outset, Masona mother of twowas
facing the longest prison term of anyone
associated with the Earth Liberation Front. Then
in August, 2010, she was transferred to FMC
Carswell in Fort Worth, TX, which is described by
the Bureau of Prisons as providing specialized
medical and mental health services to female offenders.
Since being transferred to FMC Carswell, she has
been denied all visitors except immediate family.
Every single request by non-family has been
turned down. In addition, for months she has not
been receiving mail (prison officials say they
have not officially refused any correspondence).
Marie Mason is not being held in solitary (as she
was previously at FCI Waseca), but she reports
that she is being housed away from the general
prison population, in a special prison unit.
Special Prison Unit
At least one other political prisoner is also
housed there. In 1984, Helen Woodson and others
entered a Missouri nuclear missile silo with
sledgehammer and jackhammer. They said they were
inspired by the Book of Isaiah, which says They
will beat their swords into plowshares and their
spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take
up sword against nation, nor will they train for
war anymore. Woodson is scheduled for release in
September, 2011, after 27 years in prison.
[Update: To clarify, that 27 years has been
cumulative. Woodson was briefly released from
prison during that time, but she committed
additional non-violent political crimes and was sent back.]
I have written extensively on secretive prisons
Management Units, which radically restrict
prisoner communications with the outside world.
Daniel McGowan, an Earth Liberation Front
prisoner, and Andy Stepanian, of the
7, were both imprisoned in a CMU. (These prison
units were recently covered by both
The Bureau of Prisons has not responded to my
inquiries about the CMUs, nor about Masons
conditions at FMC Carswell. However, Masons
supporters and attorneys report that federal
officials have repeatedly denied that FMC Carswell is a CMU.
Whether or not that is true, its clear that
Mason is being singled out for harsher treatment
than other so-called eco-terrorists, and
harsher treatment than other prisoners at that
facility. Her restrictions on visitation are
actually more extreme than those for CMU
prisoners, who are allowed non-contact visits with family and friends.
Masons case truly puts on display the
unaccountable, unchecked power that the
government has acquired in the name of fighting
terrorism. Like many other defendants, Mason
was labeled a terrorist from day one, and that
label has followed her into the courtroom,
through a draconian sentence, to these
disproportionately harsh prison conditions.
As the president
on his pledge to close Guantanamo, and alleged
Manning is inhumanely being held naked and
shackled, it should be clear that this is
fundamentally about a lack of checks and balances on government power.
An evening like this
Marie Masons support committee reports that she
has faced these three difficult years with
strength and courage, and she continues to do so.
She has been particularly interested in her
artwork and poetry. Here is an excerpt of
of her poems, dated August, 2008:
An evening like this: summer sunset
The air no cooler than my blood, and still, so still
The tiny humming of mosquitos hovering in my line of sight
I will remember this when I cannot see the sun for days on end.
to write her a letter and donate to her support fund.
You can write Marie at:
Marie Mason #04672-061
Federal Medical Center
P.O. Box 27137
Fort Worth, TX 76127
* LockedOut http://zinelibrary.info/lockedout-2010
* Prison Book Project http://www.prisonbooks.org
* Radical Reference http://www.radicalreference.info
* AM dial http://amdial.tumblr.com
"I don't believe in charity. I believe in solidarity." - Eduardo Galeano
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
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