This is one of those absurd stories that make you wonder what planet you live on. The injustice and cruelty in this story is mind-boggling. Here’s what I’m talking about, from the folks at Tim DeChristopher’s organization, Peaceful Uprising:
(Download a PDF of our press release here) On the evening of Friday March 9th, Tim DeChristopher (climate activist currently serving a 2-year prison sentence for outbidding oil and gas companies at an illegitimate BLM auction in 2008) was summarily removed from the minimum security camp where he has been held since September 2011, and moved into the FCI Herlong’s Special Housing Unit (SHU). Tim was informed by Lieutenant Weirich that he was being moved to the SHU because an unidentified congressman had called from Washington DC, complaining of an email that Tim had sent to a friend. Tim was inquiring about the reported business practices of one of his legal fund contributors, threatening to return the money if their values no longer aligned with his own. According to Prison officials, Tim will continue to be held in isolated confinement pending an investigation. There is no definite timeline for inmates being held in the SHU — often times they await months for the conclusion of an investigation.
In the SHU, Tim’s movement and communications are severely restricted. In the past two weeks, he has been allowed out of his 8 X 10 cell (which he shares with one other inmate) four times, each time for less than an hour. The SHU could have been designed by Franz Kafka. Tim is allowed one book in his cell, and four in his property locker. His writing means are restricted to a thin ink cartridge which makes correspondence extremely difficult. He can still receive mail from the outside, but has no other form of communication other than 15 minutes of phone calls per month.
Peaceful Uprising found Tim’s conviction and sentence to two years of prison time outrageous enough, and people all over the US demonstrated their dismay at this injustice through widespread solidarity actions. But now, Tim is being effectively thrown in the hole for no good reason we can see, other than to further restrict his communication. We are witnessing, once again, the hidden power of public and appointed officials in Washington DC to inflict cruel and unusual punishment on Tim because of his courageous stand in confronting injustice and speaking truth to power.
We firmly believe the only way Tim will be returned to the minimum security camp he’s been housed in for the last six months is to place outside pressure on elected and appointed officials in Washington DC, specifically the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) and members of Congress charged with overseeing the BOP. Peaceful Uprising wishes to express their solidarity with Tim by making this national call to action, asking Tim’s supporters to call officials at the Federal Correctional Institution in Herlong CA, the Bureau of Prisons in Washington DC, and members of Congress that sit on the subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security demanding that they immediately return Tim to the minimum security camp from which he came.
And get THIS:
It has come to our attention that William Koch entered into an antitrust settlement where his company, Gunnison Energy, and SG Interest, a Texas energy company, conspired to orchestrate the bidding at a BLM oil and gas lease auction in Colorado. They memorialized this conspiracy in a memorandum of understanding that was subsequently revealed by a whistleblower. The Department of Justice settled the matter by having each company pay a $275,000 fine, and allowed the conspirators to retain their successful BLM oil and gas leases, without any personal consequences. Tim was charged with conspiring to defeat the Act that created the auction, (a felony) and for making false statements to the Government (also a felony). These oil and gas companies actually conspired to defeat an identical BLM auction, and made false statements to the Government (according to the Department of Justice). No Oil and Gas executive was charged with felonies and thrown in jail. They were given a token slap on the wrist and went back to drilling. Tim, a peaceful protester, who simply embarrassed the BLM by catching them making big mistakes, is now in a TINY CELL because someone from CONGRESS wants to keep him even quieter? WTF is going on here??
This is not justice, it is political persecution.
Join us in stopping it. TAKE ACTION & DEMAND:
“Tim DeChristopher inmate #16156-081 be immediately removed from the Special Housing Unit (SHU) and placed back in the Minimum Security Camp at FCI Herlong.”
Richard B. Ives, WARDEN
Eloisa DeBruler, Public Information Officer
Charles E. Samuels, Jr.