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  Communication Management Units (CMU)


On October 19, 2010, Daniel was moved out of the CMU and into general population at USP Marion. On February 24, 2011, Daniel was moved to the CMU in Terre Haute, Indiana. Close to a year prior, the Center for Constitutional Rights filed a lawsuit on behalf of multiple inmates, including Daniel and his wife. Legal documents and more can be found on CCR's site here: http://ccrjustice.org/ourcases/current-cases/aref-et-al-v-holder-et-al

In October 2011, Members of Congress wrote to the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) with questions and concerns about the policies and practices at the Communications Management Units (CMUs), and the circumstances under which they were established. The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) released the following statement in response:

“We are pleased that Representative Scott and Members of the House of Representatives have issued this Letter of Inquiry to the Bureau of Prisons outlining their concerns regarding the extraordinary communications restrictions, the lack of due process, and the disproportionate number of Muslims in the CMUs.
The Center for Constitutional Rights and CAIR met with members of Congress to brief them on the issue, and we commend them for standing up for justice.
We look forward to seeing the BOP’s response to this inquiry, and we will continue to hold the BOP accountable as long as they isolate prisoners in experimental units.”

For a copy of the letter, go here. Then tell the Department of Justice to uphold due process and fair treatment at www.ccrjustice.org/cmu-action.

Latest Media
March 17, 2011 - Backstory: Communications Management Units in Federal Prisons on WNYC, The Leonard Lopate Show.

March 10, 2011 - The Nation published Gitmo in the Heartland, an article discussing the CMUs and highlighting Daniel McGowan and his wife's experiences with the CMUs.

March 3, 2011 - NPR is aired the first part of a two-part series on the Communications Management Units (CMU) on its All Things Considered program.
Part 1: 'Guantanamo North': Inside U.S. Secretive Prisons
Part 2: Leaving 'Guantanamo North'
DATA & GRAPHICS: Population Of The Communications Management Units
Learn more about the prisoners NPR identified, including their cases and release dates. (Daniel listed on page 11 of 15)
TIMELINE: The History Of 'Guantanamo North'
A chronology of the Communications Management Units in Terre Haute, Ind., and Marion, Ill.

In light of this coverage, we are calling on concerned individuals to take action by telling the Department of Justice to uphold due process and fair treatment at www.ccrjustice.org/cmu-action. Also, check our Events page for CMU info related events.

Quick summary from GreenIsTheNewRed.com: 5 Things You Should Know About CMUs, America’s “Little Guantanamos”

Read Daniel's blog on The Huffington Post.
* Get the full article with clickable links and endnotes here.
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Download and view the official documents given to Daniel at the CMU.

Democracy Now! video from April 17, 2009: Segment on CMUs. More Media below.



Over the past two years, the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons has quietly opened at least two new prison units that severely restrict inmates' ability to communicate with the outside world. These units were opened either without the legally required public comment period or, there is good reason to believe, in spite of it. In April 2006, the Bureau proposed a strict new set of regulations for people involved with (not necessarily convicted in) investigations of "terrorism," and a public comment period followed. After a strong outcry from civil liberties advocates and other groups, the proposal appeared to be dropped. In December 2006, however, several men -- almost all of whom were Muslims -- were moved from the prisons in which they had been residing to a new "Communication Management Unit " (CMU) housed at the U.S. Penitentiary in Terre Haute, which looked remarkably like the unit that the Bureau had proposed1. There was no public comment period for the CMU.

In May of 2008, several men were moved without warning to what is believed to be the second CMU in the federal prison system -- this one located at the US Penitentiary in Marion, IL. Again, none of these men were given any notice that they would be moved, and it was not until they arrived at the CMU there that there was any public acknowledgment that the CMU existed. The rules at the second CMU are the same as those at Terre Haute. One striking difference is that there is a small non-Muslim population -- of which Daniel McGowan is one.

Once the news broke that the facilities had opened, CMU's came under immediate criticism for segregating inmates on the basis of religion and ethnicity and for punishing low-risk inmates by almost eliminating their ability to talk on the phone to loved ones, see them in person, or correspond to them through letters in a timely fashion. Inmates at the CMU's are allowed only one phone call per week, which is limited to 15 minutes, and which must be conducted in English. All mail that is sent or received is scrutinized and any mail written in languages other than English must be translated and transcribed before it is sent or received by an inmate. Visits take place behind glass and are limited to four hours each month. They must also be conducted in English. These restrictions are devastating to all of the inmates, who now have almost no contact with loved ones and very little ability to keep up with events in the outside world; the restrictions are particularly damaging to those whose first language is not English. The U.S. Bureau of Prisons continues to have very little to say publicly about the CMU's. The information we have is based on a few investigative articles about the CMU at Terre Haute1, 2 and on what we have learned from the inmates themselves. We need to know more. We need to know what is happening inside federal institutions that hold over 200,000 inmates and which may or may not be following the regulations that govern them. Please encourage local media in your area to investigate especially if you live near a federal correctional institution. Write letters to the editor and talk to your friends.

1. Van Bergen, Jennifer. "Documents show new secretive US prison program isolating Muslim, Middle Eastern prisoners." The Raw Story. 16 February, 2007. http://www.rawstory.com/news/2007/Documents_show_new_secretive_new_US_0216.html
2. Eggen , Dan. "Facility Holding Terrorism Inmates Limits Communication." Washington Post. 25 February, 20 07. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/24/AR2007022401231.html

MEDIA
December 10, 2009: Eugene Weekly
Eco-Saboteur Stays in Terrorist Unit by Camilla Mortensen

July 28, 2009: Khaleej Times Online
Prisoners of a Special Kind by Karin Friedemann (Letter From America)

July 24, 2009: New America Media
Secret Bush-era Prisons Continue commentary by John C. Trang

June 25, 2009: Democracy Now!
EXCLUSIVE: Animal Rights Activist Jailed at Secretive Prison Gives First Account of Life Inside a "CMU"

June 22, 2009: news-sentinel.com
Striking a balance between security and civil liberty, Editorial

June 22, 2009: Democracy Now!, Headlines
ACLU Files Suit over Communication Management Units

June 19, 2009: The National Law Journal
ACLU Lawsuit Challenges Prison Units Designed to Keep Tabs on Suspected Terrorists by Tresa Baldas

June 18, 2009: Los Angeles Times
ACLU suit to challenge isolation prisons by Dean Kuipers

May 2009: Earth First! Journal (Beltane issue)
Silencing the Sentenced: Daniel McGowan and Little Guantanamo by Lauren Regan

May 10, 2009: iReport.com
Imprisoned in a secret federal prison unit

April 24, 2009: Slingshot!, Issue 100
Political prisoner Daniel McGowan's voice not buried in the hole by Daniel McGowan

May 1, 2009: Nuclear Resister, #153
CMU Prisoner Seeks Support, Jack & Felice Cohen-Joppa, editors

April 23, 2009: The Global Research New Hour with Stephen Lendman
GUEST: Jennifer Synan is the wife of Daniel McGowan, an "eco-terrorism" victim of injustice, now serving a seven year sentence in federal prison for his environmental activism in the Pacific Northwest. This program is a cutting-edge initiative of www.globalresearch.ca.
Listen to the mp3 here.

April 17, 2009: Democracy Now!
“Little Guantanamo”–Secretive “CMU” Prisons Designed to Restrict Communication of Jailed Muslims and Activists with Outside World
Special thanks to Lauren Regan from CLDC and Will Potter from GreenIsTheNewRed.com for talking about Daniel's case.

April 14, 2009: GreenIsTheNewRed.com
Secretive U.S. Prison Units Used to House Muslim, Animal Rights and Environmental Activists

April 8, 2009: SteveLendmanBlog
Daniel McGowan - Another "War on Terrorism" Victim by Steve Lendman

April 2, 2009: The Nation
Guantánamo at Home by Jeanne Theoharis

March 15, 2009: The Daily Gazette, Schenectady
Re-examine prison unit for Muslims by Carl Strock

December 4, 2008: Eugene Weekly
http://www.eugeneweekly.com/2008/12/04/news1.html

May-June, 2007: Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Dr. Rafil A. Dhafir at Terre Haute Prison's New Communications Management Unit by Katherine Hughes

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