Rolling Stone offers an article about climate activist Tim DeChristopher, who until recently was serving a two-year sentence for what could rightly be described as classic civil disobedience, disrupting a federal oil and gas lease auction. Recently he was summarily yanked from the minimum-security camp at Herlong federal prison, taken to their Special Housing Unit, and placed in an 8’x10′ cell with one other prisoner. DeChristopher is allowed five books and not enough ink to do any serious writing, is let out of his tiny cell only occasionally (four times so far) for exercise, and has a cellmate who talks incessantly.
Here’s one kicker: an unnamed US Congressman requested the investigation that led to this treatment. It is not clear from the article if the congressman suggested the harsh treatment or not.
DeChristopher’s infraction that led to his extreme confinement was writing an email in which he announced his intention to return a $25,000 contribution to his defense fund by a manufacturing company that, in DeChristopher’s opinion, was exporting US jobs overseas. The email contained the word “threat” but only in the context of possible further civil disobedience. But apparently that, coupled with the congressman’s request, was enough to get him tossed in the “hole.”
Exactly how a US congressman has the power to influence an individual’s conditions of imprisonment is a mystery to me. That’s at least the second time today I’ve encountered a clear violation of the separation of powers.
Please read the post just prior to this one about the forthcoming federal government (NSA) archiving of literally all emails and phone calls involving Americans. Read that; reread this post… and think twice before the next time you click Send.
(H/T Michael Moore.)