It’s happening in front of our eyes. It’s happened to many people, yet little to nothing has been said about it. It’s standard operating procedure for prosecutors the likes of Robert Mueller and Andrew Weissmann, and federal judges allow or facilitate it.
Paul Manafort is being tortured and killed — slowly and painfully — in solitary confinement because of Robert Mueller and Judge Amy Berman Jackson. He has been in solitary for almost eight months because he attempted to contact someone to serve as a witness for his defense. As 9/11 hero Bernard Kerik wrote in his book From Jailer to Jailed, Paul Manafort is “dying with his eyes open” little by little every day.
There should be a national public outcry over the conditions of his confinement. The ACLU is opposed to solitary confinement as are many other organizations, yet for Paul Manafort, there is silence.
Worse, there but for the grace of God go you — if you become a target of these ruthless prosecutors — regardless of whether you have done anything wrong.
When a witness or defendant from whom prosecutors want “cooperation” does not do as they demand, they put him in solitary confinement. And it works. It literally breaks people.
Experts confirm that solitary confinement is torture — abject torture for most people. It can drive a sane person completely insane within twenty-four hours. People will say or do anything to get out of it. It plays tricks with the mind. Like many other forms of torture, “information” produced as a result of solitary confinement has very little reliability.
As Kerik wrote, “deprivation of freedom — intensified by solitary confinement — makes you say and do and think things that you would never otherwise say or do or think.”
Solitary does have a place in our prison system, but only for those people who are simply too dangerous to be placed around others at all. However, the torture of solitary confinement should never be used as it is now to break people to prosecutors’ will — to torture them until they will say or do anything to get out.
Solitary is also called the “hole.” It’s a small space, barely large enough to stand, with a slit for light, to which prisons are confined/caged for 23 hours a day.
It is no place for people like the young Russian woman Maria Butina, whom prosecutors recently accused of acting as an unregistered foreign agent. Ms. Butinapleaded guiltyto a felony during her second round of solitary confinement. The young woman was known to be claustrophobic.
Kerik explained that pretrial inmates can easily be manipulated into confessions, and/or pleading guilty with promises or suggestion of being released from the box. A prisoner is willing to do anything to be freed from the isolation that is mentally and emotionally breaking her down every minute she’s there.
Likewise, solitary is torture for Paul Manafort, and was for former 9/11 Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, and young former Enron Treasure Ben Glisan — along with countless other prisoners. Only Kerik, a strong, highly trained, and decorated police officer, survived it without caving to the prosecutors’ demands.
The abusive use of solitary confinement to torture prisoners — especially “high value” political prisoners — has become one of the most egregious prosecutorial abuses of our time. Prosecutors will claim they have nothing to do with it — that it’s all Bureau of Prisons, but that is a lie.
As I document in my book, when the young former Enron treasurer, Ben Glisan, pleaded guilty to a felony but refused to “cooperate” with Andrew Weissmann — then prosecutor on the infamous Enron Task Force — Glisan voluntarily reported to prison only to find himself immediately put into the rat and bug-infested hole.
After almost two weeks, they dumped him into the regular prison population. He was totally broken. It wasn’t long before the young man was ready to “cooperate” with Weissmann, which meant testifying against innocent Merrill Lynch defendants and convicting them based on Glisan’s “understanding” of a conversation he did not participate in.
Solitary confinement is complete sensory deprivation — an utterly dehumanizing and debilitating condition.
It is well-documented that solitary confinement causes mental health issues, exacerbates existing conditions of any kind, causes deteriorating physical health — as prisoners are only allowed out of their cage for an hour or two a day. It causes hallucinations, and one must necessarily doubt the validity of any information that results from this impaired state.
“Researchers have proven that prolonged solitary confinement causes a persistent and heightened state of anxiety and nervousness, headaches, insomnia, lethargy or chronic tiredness, nightmares, heart palpitations, fear of impending nervous breakdowns and higher rates of hypertension and early morbidity. Other effects include obsessive ruminations, confused thought processes, an oversensitivity to stimuli, irrational anger, social withdrawal, hallucinations, violent fantasies, emotional flatness, mood swings, chronic depression, feelings of overall deterioration, and suicidal ideation.”
Paul Manafort, seventy years old, has endured this torture for eight months. He’s now in a wheelchair, while Judge Amy Berman Jackson mocks his rapidly deteriorating health. Where is the outcry from the ACLU?
Where is the outcry from the media? How is this tolerated in what is supposed to be a civilized society?
Paul Manafort, whatever crime he may have committed, is no danger to anyone. He is literally being driven insane and killed by the brutal treatment inflicted on him by Mueller’s abusive tactics with the full support of federal judge Amy Berman Jackson.
Perhaps all judges and prosecutors, as part of their training before taking their jobs, should be required to spend 48 hours in solitary confinement. Until that happens, Paul Manafort’s conditions of confinement are inhuman, and he should be put in safe and respectable prison housing. He is no danger to anyone.
Sidney Powell, a former federal prosecutor and veteran of 500 federal appeals, is the author of “LICENSED TO LIE: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice.” She is a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.