We Just Called it "The Hole”! by Ambassador mo

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I'm probably one of few people who can speak personally about the time in "The Hole,” who is now out here. It’s purpose is more about submission to the will/demands of the system as well as punishment. As in those not that old films about WWII prisons like “The Great Escape” and “Bridge Over the River Kwai,” the hole is a weapon to break the spirit, body, and mind. The notion that you have no control over even the most minute aspects of life, presses you into submission. I have written of my own experience on The Hole – but have never put it out in the public domain. There will be a time to share. The reality of Gitmo and various other secretive Black Sites somehow always makes my experience in The Hole (45 days) seem less by comparison. In the meantime, I received this great blog by Joe Scarry which highlights the film “Beneath the Blindfold.” Ironically, Joe Scarry and I share friendship with Professor Cherif Bassiouni, one of the globe’s great human rights lawyers, and also one of my legal counsel, including while I spent my time in The Hole. "The United States holds tens of thousands of inmates in long-term solitary confinement. Is this torture?" ‘Beneath the Blindfold’ provides additional information about the effects of sensory deprivation. In particular, I was struck by the information provided in the film about how the effects of sensory deprivation have been well-known since the '50s -- particularly as a result of the "Hebb experiments". Under the circumstances, the terrible impact of sensory deprivation of prisoners can only be intentional. As one speaker summarized those experiments, "It became clear that within 48 hours of sensory deprivation, the mind starts to break down….the continuing trauma of those who have experienced torture. It is perhaps the signal achievement of the film that it portrays four different survivors, each of whose experience of torture was distinct from that of any of the others, and each of whom has an otherwise unique personality, and yet each makes clear that they share a long-lasting trauma.” Read More & Link to “Beneath the Blindfold.”  My experience of dealing with The Hole was a form of meditation – I tried to gain mental, spiritual and physical strength always cognizant of the war waged against me. I had hopefulness as an ally, perhaps something much more difficult for those who remain even anonymous in The Hole – there were a few held in the same wing as I. If they were not US citizens, then there was generally little reason for hope and much less expectation that the judicial system would address their infinite “detention” even as they were not charged with a crime. What struck me the most though is how little Federal Judges had control over the Federal Prison next door in Manhattan. When inquiries were made by my counsel as to why I was being held in The Hole, the Federal Prison Warden was offered an official response “that it was for my own safety.” He did not define an internal threat but inexplicably a purported threat from outside the prison and offered absolutely no evidence. The Federal Prison Warden’s decision to continue to detain me in The Hole went effectively unchallenged by the Judge on the case, Federal Magistrate Frank Maas. On a related legal petition by me while held in the Federal Manhattan Metropolitan Correctional Center, Judge Maas agreed to the petition, but then declined to enforce it bluntly stating in Court that he was not going “to order the Warden to do something that he would ignore anyway.” The first step in lifting our blindfold on the “Holes” run by the US Government is judicial review and the courage to at least gain some level of transparency and accountability. By Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey Facebook Become a Fan at “Diplomatically Incorrect” Twitter – Follow at DiplomaticallyX FOLLOW mo @MuhamedSacirbey

About the author


"Voice of the Global Citizen"- Diplomatically Incorrect (diplomaticallyincorrect.org) provide film and written reports on issues reflecting diplomatic discourse and the global citizen. Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey (@MuhamedSacirbey) is former Foreign Minister Ambassador of Bosnia & Herzegovina at the United Nations. "Mo" is also signatory of the Rome Conference/Treaty establishing the International…

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