I write this statement for consideration by the parole board in advance of the re-scheduled hearing to occur in December 2016, after having refused to appear on July 28, 2016. I write this statement to set forth the reasons I believe I should be given a parole.
IN both of my previous hearings, held in 2005 and 2011 respectively, I provided a description of the events in my case. In both hearings, despite my claims of innocence and despite the uncontroverted evidence that proves conclusively that events occurred just as I have always described, the parole board gave me seventy-some months and sixty months respectively. It is my experience that the parole board has no regard for the truth and I have no reason to believe that the parole board has somehow magically obtained any greater regard for it. So, related to the death of Andrew Crouch and the circumstances surrounding it, I will suffice to say that the events of 1991 have no changed since my last appearance and I remain as innocent of the crime for which I was falsely imprisoned as I was in 1991.
If the parole board seeks an admission from me that I did something that I did not do, I suggest they get some chips and beer. They will be waiting a while.
In the decision for my last hearing, the parole board indicated that I should obtain relevant programs and maintain a good record. Since that decision, I have been provided little opportunity to take programs, I have been prevented from reaching Level 2 security where programs are abundant, and there has been a deliberate and only thinly-veiled effort undertaken by prison officials to manufacture pretextual disciplinary charges for the purposes of justifying their invidious ideological targeting of me. In short, I have been deliberately prevented from meeting the expectation articulated by the parole board in my last hearing and I anticipate that state terrorists currently holding me hostage will continue the same pattern of retaliation and repression as long as I am in their custody, so I now abandon all hope of ever meeting the parole board’s asserted expectations.
Further, I am familiar with the comments made by former parole board chairperson Cynthia Mausser when she declared that all of the “old law” prisoners like myself who are going to be paroled have already received parole. This indicates that the parole board has no intention of providing me a parole and that they are now proceeding in bad faith, having already decided to keep me hostage for the rest of my life, even if I were to feed multitudes with bread and fish or walk on water or summon the dead from their graves.
I know this to be true. The parole board also knows this to be true.
So, to be clear, given these facts, I do not appear before the parole board in an effort to persuade them to “like” me. I do not expect to win a popularity contest or to be awarded “Ms. Congeniality,” based upon my sparkling personality. To the contrary, given that members of the parole board are employees of a terror state that reserves to itself recourse to torture captives for their “ideology,” and given that these parole board members have not in the exercise of their consciences resigned in protest, I am left to conclude that my fate is in the hands of the modern equivalent of “good Germans,” a band of little Eichmanns who are willing to compromise morality and sell their souls for adequate pay and a mediocre dental plan. The parole board’s participation in the maintenance and continuation of this terror state demonstrates their lack of character and integrity; as such, if parole board members were to “like” me, that would indicate to me that I would require some serious self-examination to determine my own moral failings. As it is, the parole board’s anticipated revulsion of me – surpassed only by my revulsion for them – is, I hope, a testament to my quality of character, an endorsement I must strive to earn.
Rather than come before bureaucrats of a terror state (who possess no real integrity and operate in obvious bad faith) and attempt to earn their approval that is objectively never going to be forthcoming, I appear before the parole board to assert a position presented first by Accius, who said, “Oderint dum metuant.” [1. Loosely translated, “They can hate us as long as they fear us.”]
As I mentioned, in 2012, prison officials “ideologically” targeted me, dragged me away, and tortured me. These events, by my understanding, constituted a “critical disjuncture,” in the relationship between the State of Ohio and myself. That is, the relationship that existed prior to my ideological targeting and torture, defined as it was by the rule of law and the norms of civilized societies, ended; the events of my ideological targeting and torture created a new relationship, one defined by the absence of the rule of law and the norms of civilized societies, previous unimaginable to me.
In subjecting me to torture for having an ideology, for having thoughts and ideas that the state found unpalatable or inconvenient, the state declared by its actions that all laws and rules were suspended, that the established norms of tolerance and nonviolence accepted in all civilized societies no longer applied in the state’s relationship to me. The state declared that our relationship is now defined by the infliction of brutality and violence as a means to achieve desired ends.
These events constituting a critical disjuncture, a relationship defined by infliction of brutality and violence in order to achieve desired ends, were intended to break me, to neutralize me, to terrorize me into silence so I would be cowed into assent for the state’s criminal agenda and refrain from speaking out further in opposition to its crimes against humanity.
The state failed.
A year of torture followed by years of isolation and deprivation did not break me but, instead, reaffirmed that my position was right. I have not found the state’s argument for obtaining my voluntary assent through torture very persuasive.
But, the state’s torture of me gave me valuable insight. The terror state, in employing brutality and violence, clearly believed that the infliction of intolerable conditions would succeed in breaking me; the agents of this terror state believed they would achieve their desired ends. Such an assumption could only originate from prison officials’ certainty that such brutality and violence would, if inflicted upon them, break them. As a consequence, we can now know with reasonable certainty that the infliction of brutality and violence upon prison officials will break them and will result in achieving the desired ends sought by such infliction. This is now an undeniable and accepted truth from which we must proceed.
Thank you for the lesson.
As a consequence of this valuable lesson, I now know that where futile efforts to obtain programming or to impress my captors with rule-compliant conduct will only result in being subjected to torture and to continuances of my imprisonment, there exist logical and rational reasons to believe that, if I am able to subject prison officials to brutality and violence, just as they inflicted it upon me, I will be able to achieve my desired ends.
The question before us, then, is not what constitutes a winning strategy for me to earn my release, as prison officials’ torture of me, and the implications we can derive from those events, have settled that question. The question before us is what level of brutality and violence must be inflicted upon prison officials to reach the requisite “intolerable pain” threshold that will result in my release from their unlawful confinement. Expressed succinctly, I think the question goes like this:
How many officials… with how much power… have to feel how much intolerable pain… for how long… before I achieve my desired ends?
In a relationship defined by the suspension of all laws and rules, defined by the absence of all reasonable norms of civilized societies, defined by the infliction of brutality and violence to achieve desired ends, that is the only question left to be answered.
How many officials… with how much power… have to feel how much intolerable pain… for how long… before I achieve my desired ends?
This is the reality that confronts us, however we may feel about it. I accept this reality, one that the terror state has unilaterally dictated. This is the reality that the terror state has deliberately manifested, one that I vehemently opposed at every step. I believe it is important to point out that while the terror state thoughtlessly imposed this brutal and violent reality of direct conflict, I did everything in my power to dissuade prison officials from this course, and contacted government agencies at every level including the courts, to no avail. In addition, to the extent possible, under the conditions imposed, I made every effort to take the proverbial “high road,” until such recourse was effectively foreclosed completely.
The historical record, the chronology of events and my responses to them is available at seanswain.org and I have no doubt that the record vindicates me.
This is important, I think, for purposes of demonstrating that my current course is not a means for obtaining revenge or vindication, for self-aggrandizement or for causing simple, malicious mischief. I pursue this course as a means for preventing future recourse to torture by the terror state, against myself and others, and I pursue this course as a means for defending the rights of everyone to hold an ideology, to express beliefs – norms of all civilized societies that this terror state has renounced. It is an unfortunate necessity that I must oppose this terror state through such extreme measures as advocacy for brutality and violence.
I believe this speaks not to any moral failing on my part, but speaks to the absolute intransigence of those who commit human rights atrocities and their unwillingness to cede even their recourse to such abominable practices.
Currently, Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction Director Gary C. Mohr’s home address is posted online at blastblog.noblogs.org along with tasteful photos of his home and a Googlemap application for visitors to the site to find the quickest route for getting there. ODRC Counsel Trevor Clark has confirmed that Mohr was directly involved in the decisions related to my torture. Numerous other prison officials who were instrumental in my torture who are co-workers of parole board members also have their home addresses and other personal information posted there.
I would suggest that, in light of the Colorado Director of Prisons being shot in the face in 2013 after his home address fell into the wrong (right?) hands, on a long enough timeline with these addresses posted at blastblog.noblogs.org, the unlikely occurrence of a cataclysmic event like prison officials’ cars or homes getting burned to the ground becomes not just likely, but inevitable. The good news is, based on the Colorado Director of Prisons getting shot in the face, with prison officials’ home addresses posted at blastblog.noblogs.org, their timelines probably won’t be that long.
Just an observation.
So the question now arises, in the context of a relationship defined by the infliction of brutality and violence to achieve desired ends, whether the mere posting of this information constitutes the “intolerable pain” threshold that must be reached for the terror state to meet my desired ends. If the mere posting of this information does not meet that threshold, we must inquire as to what will achieve that necessary threshold.
In all fairness, I can understand fully if the mere posting of information does not meet the “intolerable pain” threshold. When I think of “intolerable pain,” I think of my cellmate during the torture regimen, James Dzelajlija, passing out due to malnutrition; I think about looking in the mirror and seeing the sunken, haunted eyes of Jews at Auschwitz staring back at me; I think about catching a glimpse of myself in the window of the outside recreation cage and being able to count my ribs; I think about days and days of sleep deprivation, of filth and of unbearable cold, of constant harassment that caused me to hold my breath each time I heard the jangle of the corrections officer’s brass keys outside the cell door.
Perhaps just the posting of home addresses causes prison officials to feel the paralyzing fear I felt when I heard the jangle of brass keys. Perhaps not. It could be that the “intolerable pain” threshold will not be met unless the entirety of the governor’s staff, consisting of seventy people, has its addresses posted. It may require the posting of the home addresses of the Ohio Supreme Court or even members of the Ohio General Assembly, the lawmakers who control the prison system’s budget.
If the mere posting of information, however broadly, does not meet the “intolerable pain” threshold, it is conceivable that the terror state will require even more serious action, such as the burning of personally-owned vehicles. In that case, we must ask how many cars must be torched to reach the “intolerable pain” threshold and achieve desired ends. One car? Five? Ten? A hundred? A thousand? Whose?
It may require more serious consequences than torched cars. It may require the torching of homes. If so, how many? One? Five? Ten? A hundred? A thousand? Whose?
These are the questions posed to the parole board as thousands of introductory materials explaining blastblog are now circulating widely in state and federal prisons all over the country, reaching larger and larger audiences, thousands of whom are released from prison daily with a lack of opportunity and an overabundance of indignation. The longer this continues, the more it spreads and the more undesirable hands obtain prison officials’ sensitive information and the methods for obtaining it.
The longer blastblog remains in existence, not only does it create the greater potential for nameless and faceless rebels taking action against prison officials, but it also increases the chances of others duplicating the blastblog strategy far and wide, creating not only one brush fire but a thousand or a million, a veritable conflagration, improving upon the current strategy, creating the next evolution.
This is the reality that confronts the parole board however they feel about it. This is the reality that arises out of the terror state’s unilateral declaration, its recourse to torture, that laws and rules are suspended, that the norms of civilized societies no longer apply, that the infliction of brutality and violence are the currency that defines the relationship between the terror state and me – and, maybe, between the terror state and everyone else subjected to it.
The question before the parole board related to my release consideration then hinges upon the question of how much time the parole board wants to provide to me for continuing to pursue and perfect this winning strategy. Consider, I did not arrive at Ohio’s super-duper-max until August 2013 and it was only then that I could begin seriously formulating a strategy for confronting the terror state with potential counter-violence in the goal of forcing it to renounce its recourse to torture.
At this writing, the resistance strategy that I formulated at the super-duper-max and presented to the world is a mere 3 years old.
The question before the parole board is whether they want to keep this proverbial fire blazing for 5 more years to see just what it can consume, or possibly for 10 more years if the terror state can exist that long with its (mis)managers potentially sleeping in tents and riding bicycles to work, their homes and cars smoldering. Objectively, the amount of time the parole board assigns to me equates with a renewed lease for the resistance to continue for that same duration. The question is, just how destabilized will the terror state become in that amount of time? How can the (mis)managers of that terror state continue to conduct themselves while under the constant sword of Damocles represented by blastblog and the potential for real resistance that arises from it?
Of course, the reasonable and rational decision would be to simply issue me a parole. I am a non-criminal confined for two and a half decades without a lawful conviction or sentence whose actual conduct while imprisoned has been perfectly rule-compliant. Placing me on parole would provide the terror state leverage over me, forcing me to conform to specific requirements like employment and meeting other social responsibilities that would greatly diminish my opportunities for fomenting rebellion, and I would face the real possibility of returning to prison indefinitely if I failed to meet those requirements. If my practical neutralization is what the terror state truly seeks, my release on parole is the obvious answer.
The fact that such a solution is the most sensible speaks to the utter impossibility of the parole board ever considering it. Prison officials always do the right thing… after exhausting every other possible avenue.
No doubt, parole board members will object that they cannot possibly release someone who has detailed a strategy for undertaking brutality and violence, as my release would constitute a danger to society. Such an objection serves as an indictment against prison officials themselves.
Consider, this relationship defined by brutality and violence was unilaterally dictated by prison officials themselves. So, by asserting that someone devoted to brutality and violence should be confined forever, prison officials present that they themselves are a danger to society and should be locked up. I agree with that conclusion.
So, any reference to brutality and violence as a basis for continuing my imprisonment would be the ultimate hypocrisy committed by torturers, a hypocrisy that argues that my advocacy for counter-violence is somehow more dangerous to society than their actual commission of real brutality and violence.
Just an observation, but I do not believe that anyone who works for a terror state that reserves recourse to torture has the right to object to brutality or violence or to advocacy for either.
I must also clarify that nothing I have written constitutes “threats.” Such a clarification is necessary in light of ODRC Counsel Trevor Clark’s ever-evolving definition of “threats” designed to justify oppression and retaliation.
I am threatening no one; I am responding to agents of the terror state with oppositional action. Nothing I describe constitutes a threat so much as it constitutes an effective strategy for ongoing and escalating resistance to tyranny and oppression that will continue until the terror state meets non-negotiable demands or until the state itself is brought to defeat and dissolution.
The terror state declared that laws and rules are suspended. The terror state declared that the norms of civilized societies no longer apply. The terror state declared that the currency defining this relationship is violence and brutality. The terror state now speaks of “threats.”
I am not “threatening” the terror state or those who (mis)manage it; I am describing the potential necessity for people of conscience and courage, people opposed to tyranny and oppression, to torch officials’ cars, burn their homes to the ground, and knee-cap the officials themselves – or worse. In the absence of a sensible resolution, I am openly declaring my unconditional support for carrying out campaigns of counter-violence that I hope will provoke faceless and nameless others to join, to claim joint ownership of this resistance campaign, to participate in its inevitable evolution, to expand it, and to carry it through to eventual victory.
We are way beyond “threats.”
I would prefer that the terror state interpret this statement as a declaration of war.
I welcome the (mis)managers of the terror state seeking recourse to criminal charges and indictments and trials for “threats.” Such a forum would provide me access to a public arena to tell the whole truth, the real inception of this conflict. At the same time, such prosecutions will in no way restore torched cars or charred homes or remove slugs from knee-caps to allow state terrorists to walk again without noticeable limps.
If state terrorists bring criminal charges, I have no doubt that at the end of proceedings any jury hearing the truth will likely not only acquit me of any criminal act, but will likely shoot prison officials in the courthouse parking lot.
Everyone hates tyrants.
And so we reach the point where I attempt to articulate my non-negotiable demands…
I have considered a whole host of possible demands. As this is not about me, but is about a future where state terrorists no longer have the potential for employing torture upon any of their captives, and is possibly even about state terrorists no longer having the potential for holding captives in the first place, I attempted to formulate a number of non-negotiable demands that would serve those ends. I met with great frustration.
I considered, for example, the termination of specific officials whose roles in the torture regimen were instrumental. The problem, of course, is that each of those officials would simply be replaced by others just as bad or worse than themselves. Also, the replacements would be chosen by the same fascist who had hired this bunch. Further still, such a demand would not address other state terrorists who had gotten away with torturing others. So, such a demand would be pointless.
I also considered insisting upon new methods of oversight, a kind of committee outside the control of the prison system itself. The problem, of course, is that such a committee currently exists and has been corrupted and neutralized and rendered completely useless. So, such a demand is pointless.
I then considered the possibility of reformed rules, stricter standards of employee conduct and elevated sanctions for reprehensible behavior. The problem there is that the same officials who ordered the torture regimen in the first place would be the arbiters to judge what would qualify as reprehensible, and they have already proven that they possess no moral compass whatsoever. So, such a demand would be pointless.
I considered demanding that the ODRC turn over all digital recordings of all rules infraction board hearings to a watch-dog group for public posting. The problem, of course, is that the ODRC would have a veritable epidemic of recording problems. Just as dash-cams did not stop police shootings, posting digital recordings will have no deterrent on retaliatory use of the prison disciplinary process. So, such a demand would be pointless.
I also considered re-training security threat group coordinators and investigators with an emphasis on recognizing distinctions between actual “gang activity” that is punishable and “identification” and “belief” that is constitutionally protected. The problem is, proper training does not in any way prevent those with power from invidiously abusing authority for their own ends. So, such a demand would be pointless.
In light of all of these considerations, I realize that I cannot make any demands that will be enforceable, or assert rights for others who do not assert them for themselves. This demonstrates to me just how limited I am in even formulating any kind of broad demands. So, while I recognize that I am not the center of the universe and that resistance to tyranny undertaken by others does not center solely upon my well-being or my favorable outcome, the only real demand that I can present is that the parole board conduct itself as if I had decreased to a Level 2 in 2012, as I should have, absent the ideological targeting; that it conduct itself as if I had been provided recourse to programs as I should have been, and that I took those programs; that it conduct itself as if the disciplinary frame-ups were expunged from my disciplinary file as they should have been; that it conduct itself as if it truly serves the principles that it espouses in its public literature, and reach a conclusion related to my parole consideration that is just and fair – or, more accurately, that provides a cessation of injustice and unfairness.
I cannot speak for others or list their demands. I do not know what concessions from the terror state, if any, will persuade others to stop their direct resistance. So, I request the posting of this statement so that others can respond and can provide their list of non-negotiable demands for me to adopt.
If they would be unsatisfied with the mere release of one prisoner, and they feel that other demands are also necessary. It is my hope that those demands will be transmitted to me.
In the meantime, I expect that all of my communications mediums that have been suspended without cause will be fully restored, including phone access and access to the JPay kiosk for sending out emails and for holding video visitation. I expect the restoration of everyone purged without cause from my visitation list. I expect an end to the plausibly deniable “dirty war,” and for prison officials to afford me the same privileges as every other prisoner at my security level under like circumstances.
As the inception of this completely avoidable conflict began with the terror state declaring, by its actions, that all laws and rules were suspended, that the norms of civilized societies no longer applied, that brutality and violence defined this relationship, I fully expect the terror state, through its actions, to restore the rule of law, to reaffirm the norms of civilized societies, and to reject recourse to brutality and violence, through the actions described above.
Otherwise, we remain at war.
I do not believe the terror state can win from here.
Freedom or Death,
Anarchist Prisoner Sean Swain
Warren Correctional Institution
July 31, 2016