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War Repression

By Laura Whitehorn

Revolutionary greetings. Like all progressive people, I've been trying to get news (news, not military advertisements) of the war, and following the anti-war activities around the country that somehow fail to make it onto the TV news. Here at FCI Lexington, you will be pleased to know, the administration feels proud to be able to be a part of the imperialist war effort: Unicor (federal prison industries) produces military cable. Unlike the scene I left in D.C. Jail, very few of the guards here have friends, family or are themselves deployed to the Persian Gulf.

Patriotic fever has also hit this place. The following is a true story.

On Tuesday, February 26, four of us prisoners were watching the TV news and discussing the war. A guard came into the TV room and made a few comments, too. When I expressed the opinion that the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait was really no different from the U.S. invasion of Panama, or of Grenada, or on and on, he was shocked. He'd clearly never heard such traitorous thoughts before. In all seriousness, he turned to me and asked if I was from this country, or from someplace like "Russia." Another BOP functionary ("counselor") came in and also offered his opinions: he thought the U.S. should "nuke 'em all and get it over with." He then informed the gathered few that we were very lucky to live in this great country where you have freedom of speech, and where a poor boy like him could rise to the great success he's achieved in his life. The prisoners then pointed out that his being a white man had just a little to do with his ability to reach his lofty goals in life. A calm and very interesting discussion of what it is like to grow up as an African American woman in the U.S. then followed.

Two hours later, I was summoned to the Unit office (where the BOP hirelings gather to eat and gossip about US). There, I was sternly lectured for 15 minutes by two counselors, one guard, and a unit secretary. I was told that they had considered sending me to seg (the hole) for inciting to riot, but had decided to issue me a warning instead. IF I EVER again try to "rile up the girls(!)" and voice my "off the wall" opinions about U.S. government policy, I will be sent to seg. Ah, I sighed, how quickly freedom of speech becomes a thing of the past. What was it that same counselor had been saying about the freedoms in this country not two hours ago? At that point, the other counselor took over and said, "Look. There are three things you don't discuss in prison. Sex, religion and politics. For instance, if you are gay, you don't try to win others over to your way." Hmmm... Then she did a dramatic (I do mean DRAMATIC) reading of my charges, and informed me that "some people" think that I should be in seg just because of my charges. (I am one of the Resistance Conspiracy 6, serving 20 years for 'conspiracy' to resist the U.S. government and its domestic and international 'policies' such as racism and the denial of the right of oppressed nations to self-determination. Our 'conspiracy' included the bombing of the U.S. Capitol building following the U.S. invasion of Grenada and shelling of Beirut in 1983.) I humbly requested that, if FCI Lexington is still unable to deal with political prisoners (remember, this is the home of the High Security Unit, now closed), then please send me to an institution that can. Pipe dreams. There is no such institution in the BOP because there are no political prisoners in the BOP. I don't know why I keep forgetting that.

The 'interview' ended with a repeat of the warning on their part, and an added warning that I am not to speak in 'interviews' like this one, but just to Listen. I commented that I would certainly not stop voicing my opinions on politics and social issues. Once again, a non-meeting of the minds.

I send my love to all of you out in the streets that were trying to resist this vicious and unjust war. Those of us on the inside will continue making our opinions known, as you have done out there. And I guess all of us need to keep on fighting against the suppression and attempts to silence all our voices. Resistance is not a crime.

Laura Whitehorn, #22432-037
FCI Lexington, BG
3301 Leestown Rd.
Lexington, KY 40511

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