Tag Archives: prison

Prisoner Letters Interview

From PrisonerLetters.noblogs.org
10thSep. × ’14
By Prisoner Letters
(A): Hey Sean, it’s you buddy (A) here. Would you like to start off by giving a little bit of personal background (how old you are, what growing up was like, what your interests are)?

Sean: I grew up in a suburb of Detroit, Michigan. Anchorville. It’s gone now. It was “annexed” away, split between two other townships or whatever. I lived in a trailer park surrounded by woods, and when I returned in the late 80’s, all the woods were gone.

It’s as if my childhood was annexed away and chopped down. As if the Matrix occasionally erases our histories, our pasts, everything that anchors us to a place or time.

That area of Michigan is where the idea of “Reagan Democrats” came from- working class communities filled with totally class-unconscious mall zombies. I was a boy scout. Played Baseball. I stuttered and was painfully shy until about 11th grade when I guess I just decided I was tired of living in constant fear of rejection or of others’ opinions. Until then, I worked very hard at being invisible and unnoticed. I lived totally terrified until 11th grade. Continue reading

Reformists Part III: The Third Option

angry-capuchin-monkey-4785558Third part in a series. Here’s part 1 and part 2
Sometimes bad news is good news. When you come to the conclusion that reformist action is impractical, unreasonable, and futile, it doesn’t foreclose on resisting completely. Every steel door that slams shut should always provoke us to contemplate how to cut the bars windows. Slamming the steel door of reformism liberates us to consider direct action, which is what anarchists WANT to do in the first place.

In the prison context, that again leads back to a discussi Monkeys. Now, before going any further, please kee that I wa the super-duper-uber-mega-ultra-hyper-tur the pretext of bei the Army of the 12 Monkeys– an accusation I have consistently denied. My counsel, Richard Kerger, has action, SWAIN VS. MOHR, now posted at seanswain.org, challenging this frame-up. Having said that, I was a witness to what occurred at Mansfield Correctional when the Army of the 12 Monkeys happened, and I think I’m fairly qualified to present an analysis of what this event implies for anarchists and for direct action in and outside of prison.
Continue reading


batishtThis first appeared on The Final Straw

I’m nuts. Totally bonkers.

I just found out last month. And, quite frankly, I was relieved. Up until the mental health people brought my file for my review and I saw the diagnosis, I thought everything I was seeing in the world was really happening… And I mistakenly thought I had a good grasp of what it all meant.

Turns out, I’m just a fruitloop. I can sleep much better now. It’s not the WORLD that’s gone mad, it’s just ME. I’m as mad as an 18th century glue sniffer in a hat factory. The mental health professionals of the Ohio Department of Retribution and Correction said so. So, I can stop worrying about the state of our world and the evil designs of the privileged few, the reign of terror we all face under a global tech-surveillance police state. I can better spend my time skipping naked around my cell or sculpting busts of dead presidents out of piles of my own harvested boogers. In fact, that’s probably what’s expected of me. Continue reading

Another Open Letter to the Delusional Hierarch Mental Health Worker… Blah, Blah, Blah

“The more completely the place of confinement eliminates sensory stimuli, the more deeply will the [subject] be affected. Results produced after weeks or months of imprisonment in an ordinary cell may be duplicated in hours or days… An early effect of such an environment is anxiety… [Captors] can benefit from the subject’s anxiety… The deprivation of stimuli induces regression by depriving the subject’s mind of contact with an outer world and thus forcing it in on itself… in /the simple torture situation/ the contest is one between the individual and /his tormentor/…”
–/The KUBARK Counterintelligence Interrogation Manual/, from the Central Intelligence Agency

Dear Mental Health Therapist(?),
In early October, I sent you a kite communication with a lengthy “Open Letter”  that was also posted at seanswain.org. I looked forward to your response but still haven’t received it. Also, since the open letter’s publication, you have stopped calling me out of the cell block to speak with me, and during rounds you say, “Mental health rounds, how are you doing?,” but by the time I respond, you are already down the range, out of earshot.
If I didn’t know better, I would almost think you are trying to avoid me. Continue reading

Voices from Solitary: “This Massive Mind-Fuck Machine”

From http://solitarywatch.com
January 5, 2014 By 4 Comments

COOEYSean Swain is has served 22 years of a 20-to-life sentence for a murder he maintains was committed in self-defense. He has done many long stints in solitary confinement, and is currently being held at the supermax Ohio State Penitentiary in Youngstown. A self-proclaimed anarchist, he has twice run for governor of Ohio from his prison cell. His writing appears at www.seanswain.org. The following comes from a letter to Solitary Watch written in December. He welcomes mail at: Sean Swain 243205, OSP, 878 Coitsville-Hubbard Road, Youngstown, OH 44505.  –Jean Casella

.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .

I arrived here at Ohio’s super-duper-uber-meza-ultra-max on 29 August. I call it that because super-max sounds so ridiculous. If maximum is maximum, the most, what can be “super” or “beyond” the maximum? If it’s more secure than the already-existing maximum, then it supercedes it as being the new maximum, but it doesn’t become super-maximum. This is my deliberate, hyperbolic use of multiple prefixes to heckle the state’s grammatical euphemists.

They even have to abuse language.

Since August I note there are days I experience heightened anger. I call them rage days. They happen seemingly at random and I am self-aware enough to know that my emotional response is exagerrated. Sometimes pencil cups tip over. It’s not a cause for murderous rage. So I breathe deeply and recall that the situation I’m in creates those symptoms, and I self-talk through recognizing the relative insignificance of a spilled pencil cup compared to all the very serious disasters happening in the world. Re-centering. Re-grounding….

I fear losing my mind. I fear that on a long enough trajectory I’m doomed. I’m like a flood victim stacking sandbags, contemplating that I can hold out for six months, or a year, and if I am ambitious and scramble, I can hold off the inevitable for 18 months, but sooner or later the water will begin to trickle over the top of the barricades and then…

Smash. Pencil cup hits the wall.

Solitary confinement is waking every day already stacking the sandbags in your head to stave off the flood of irrationality that seeks to consume you…while operating within slow-motion mundanity of sensory deprivation. It’s almost comic, really, how those two realities, the internal and the external, are so oddly divergent. The internal feels like everything is emergent–bells and buzzers and sirens–and the external, that which triggers the internal madness, is less eventful the cows grazing or paint drying. But that’s just it. It’s the vacuum, the absence the gets the monkey of the mind scrambling for some kind of sensory toy to grab.

I smirk to myself when the shrink comes around once a week. He asks me if I’m OK. My response is always, “I think so.” It’s the best I can do when I know there are prisoners smeared in their own fecal matter and muttering to unseen demons and they tell the shrink, “Yes, I’m doing fantastic.”

I’m not smeared in fecal matter.


I don’t hear disembodied voices screaming at me to check my tire pressure.


Am I OK? I think so.

I don’t tell him that I’m afraid. I’m afraid of the day when a shit suit sounds like a great idea, when Shabriri, the Demon of Blindness, screeches at me about unsafe driving conditions…

I also consider the irony that this massive mind-fuck machine works feverishly, day-in and day-out, prying out my psychological fingernails with a pair of rusty pliers, and then sends around this poor, well-intentioned, professor-ish clipboard dragger to inquire about my well being, prairie-dogging through the plexiglass bulletproof window of the steel door on my tomb, seeking signs of my inevitable mental disorganization.

I think so. I think so. I think so. Yes…

A pencil-pusher was making rounds recently. Thru the bulletproof glass he asked me, “Do you know why you’re here?”

I responded, “Because there was an open cell available and the director doesn’t like my criticism of his policy?”

He looked side to side and saw the coast was clear. He shrugged. “Well, yeah,” was his reply.

Am I OK? I’m still stacking the sandbags. I haven’t given up.


Goudlock’s War

Jason Goudlock got tricked.

He was Black, 18, and in legal trouble. So, he did what most criminal defendants do, he took a deal. The court sentenced him to six-to-twenty-five years plus nine years for gun specifications.

He’s still locked up after twenty years and there’s no end in sight.

See, what Jason Goudlock could not have known in 1993 is that the State of Ohio would introduce a new sentencing scheme in 1996. Instead of the indefinite something-to-something-more sentences that made every offender face the parole board, offenders under the new sentencing would get definite “flat time” sentences. As a consequence, the vast majority of offenders sentenced in 1996 and beyond do not see the parole board. They do their time, whatever it is, and they get out.

That’s terrible news for Jason Goudlock and everyone sentenced before the new law. It’s terrible because there exists a powerful bureaucracy called the Ohio Adult Parole Authority, and once all the Jason Goudlocks filter out of the system, they have no valid reason to exist.

Jason Goudlock is job security for powerful pencil-pushers who earn six figures a year, pencil-pushers who now have every incentive and vested self-interest in making every “old law” prisoner left in the system, stay in the system until the parole board members collect their 401Ks.

As a consequence, roughly 5,000 prisoners like Jason Goudlock remain in the clutches of the State’s machinery–a burden on the taxpayer who must pay for their food, clothing, and housing year after year–completely unrelated to those prisoners’ fitness to regain freedom. It’s a scenario where States employees are rewarded for continuing injustice.

The Governor and the ODRC’s director are afraid to take on the parole board, to place them under a set of definite guidelines or to get rid of them completely. Governor Kasich and Director Mohr would ratheer betray the people of Ohio and maintain a cash-cow bureaucracy that benefits a privileged few.

Does that really surprise anybody?

Didn’t think so.

So, in the absence of anyone in public office demonstrating any courage, character, or integrity, it fell to Jason Goudlock. He’s now waging his own war against this sprawling, powerful monster called the Ohio Adult Parole Authority. He seeks assistance from journalism students to help get his novel published and bring attention to the injustice of Ohio’s archaic system, and he’s looking for help in launching a campaign against this corrupt institution.

To learn more, go to freejasongoudlock.org



Introduction to The Colonizer’s Corpse

Introduction to The Colonizer’s Corpse:

Open response to CIIC Director Joanna Saul’s invitation to present advice on maintaining mental health in 23-hour lockdown.

I received a letter from Joanna Saul, Director of the Correctional Institution Inspection Committee (CIIC), which oversees the prison complex the the Ohio General Assembly. She wrote, in part, “…CIIC is currently working on a resource for inmates in segregation or maximum security. We would very much appreciate hearing from you and other inmates regarding your segregation experience and, in particular, how you stayed emotionally and mentally strong in segregation? [Bold type in original.] Our hope is to provide suggestions to inmates in segregation for how to cope with being locked down for 23 hours a day. What advice would you give an inmate who is going to segregation?”

Below is my response to this invitation:

The colonizer’s Corpse: A Liberatory Approach to Maintaining Mental Health While Subject to the Fascists’ Torture Machine.

“…For the colonized, liberation springs only from the corpse of the colonizer.” –Frantz Fanon, Wretched of the Earth

Segregation is a traumatic experience. To stay sane, to stay mentally organized, you have to first be sane and mentally organized. That is, a “crazy” person can’t stay sane because a crazy person isn’t sane to begin with. So this is key: You have to think in a way that makes sense; you have to care about yourself and you have to be committed to acting in such a way that serves you best. That’s kind of a working definition of sanity–thinking, and then, as a result, acting, in a way that makes sense.

Thinking is key. You have to use your head for something other than a hat rack. Especially if you are spending a long time in segregation or isolation, since you’ll be spending a lot of time inside your own head. Any place you spend that much time you have to pay attention to the furniture, so to speak, the stuff that fills up your space, what you’re putting in it. What do you put in your head space? This is important because what goes on inside your head is more critical than what’s going on in the world around you.

People caring about themselves have to make sure they see the world clearly. You can’t react in a way that makes sense if you don’t understand what’s really happening to you. So sane people–people who think and act in ways that serve their interests best–have to first face the reality that confronts them. This means not running away from painful truths. This means being honest with yourself. If you want to stay sane you can’t run away from your experience or try to hide from it. You have to face it. But you face it with clear understanding. You use your mind and you look deeply at the experience so you can understand what it is that is happening and why it is happening, and then you can develop for yourself a plan or an approach for acting sane, for acting in your own best interests, and maybe even using this experience to gain some wisdom, an opportunity to grow.

The place to start is by understanding the situation you are facing, how you got there, and why it is happening to you.

“Rehabilitation never offered mental health, just the reverse. It involves communication only with staff who are not worth any contact at all. To listen to their philosophy, or accept their outlook will destroy you…” –Huey P. Newton, Revolutionary Suicide

Segregation and isolation are trauma. It hurts. This is the reality of it. What you are experiencing is designed to be painful. The State, the authorities, the ones who keep you locked up, have designed a system, and have perfected that system, for causing you trauma. In fact, the government has written books and manuals on it. These manuals were written in order to teach the people who keep you locked up so they can use, “the principle coercive techniques”* of “arrest, detention, deprivation of sensory stimuli through solitary confinement…, threats and fear…” What this means is, the ones who keep you locked up will use a combination of these things in order to cause a response from you. The response they want to cause is “debility, dependence, and dread.” “Debility” means the opposite of “ability.” Debility is, in a sense, making someone worse, breaking them in some way. “Dependence” is the opposite of “independence.” Dependence is where you can’t do for yourself any more, and you must count on someone else to do for you. “Dread” is like fear, only it also means to lose hope.

So the reality of your situation is, the people in charge have figured out the method for turning you into someone less able, broken, and hopeless, all by putting you through conditions that are very painful. As the process continues, “day after day if necessary, the subject begins to try to make sense of the situation, which becomes mentally intolerable.” “Intolerable” means you can’t stand it. Your situation is designed to cause “the maximum amount of discomfort…” In this “mentally intolerable” situation you face, a situation designed to cause “the mximum amount of discomfort,” it deprives your mind of “contact with an outer world and thus forcing it in on itself…” The trauma you experience “after weeks or months of imprisonment in an ordinary cell can be duplicated in hours or days” in isolation. As the CIA manual concludes, describing the conditions of confinement you will experience in segregation and maximum security, “…in the simple torture situation, the contest is one between the individual and his tormentor…”

This is not presented to shock you or to scare you. It is presented so that you can have a clear idea of what you face. Only by seeing reality as it is can you react to it in a way that makes the most sense for you. You have to see what you face and what it is designed to do to you, and when you know that, when you can see it for what it is, you are better equipped to respond to it.

Whatever you did to come to prison (or didn’t do), and whatever you did to go to segregation or level 4 (or didn’t do), you are in the custody of people who want to make your life “mentally intolerable,” and they are putting you through “the simple torture situation.”

They know that what they are doing to you will not make you a better person. They are not doing this to you to help” you or to “reform” you. This is designed to destroy you. This is very important to know, because it can guide your approach to this trauma, this “simple torture situation,” if you recognize that you are not being “corrected,” i.e., made better, but you are being debilitated, i.e., made worse.

It is a necessary and healthy thing to call something what it really is. The words we use have an influence on how we see things. When you use words, even in your head, like “corrections officer,” and “inmate,” you create a picture of “correcting,” a picture of an offender who has offended; but when you use the same words, even if just in your head, that are used by the very same people who wrote the manuals and designed this system, you see a “tormentor” and a “subject,” you see a “simple torture situation” that involves a torturer and a victim.

Why is this important? Because you can’t expect ice cream to come out of a toaster. A toaster is a machine that is designed to do one thing. So if you hold your cone under the toaster and expect ice cream to come out, you are going to be very disappointed. The same is true for the prison’s isolation unit. This is a machine that is designed to do one thing.

Don’t expect this machine to do anything else. You are in the “simple torture situation.” It is a simple fact that you cannot expect those who subject you to this simple torture situation” to offer you any real assistance. People who torture are not nice people.

If you expect them to be kind and caring and good, you are expecting ice cream to fall out of a toaster.

It may be that you have met staff who seem like they are shocked and saddened by the conditions they witness. They may talk about how things are unfair and how the situation needs to change. They may even try to address some conditions that they think are too much. They take no personal joy from the suffering they see and they make it clear that they are “only doing their jobs.”

And that is the point, isn’t it? They do their jobs. They work, they keep it going, and they receive their pay-checks for doing “their jobs.” Their jobs include keeping you in “debility, dependence, and dread.” So “their jobs” are to serve the “tormentor” and they do those jobs, despite the harm it will cause you.

We must also consider that everyone working for this machine knows what it does to you. Hundreds of studies have shown again and again how isolation causes mental illness in humans. But more than that, by the manuals that were written, we know that’s what it’s designed to do. This is no mistake. This is no accidental result that happens again and again and again, any more than a Toyota Camry “accidentally” comes off the end of the assembly line at the factory over and over and over again.

The factory makes cars. It’s designed to. The isolation unit makes broken minds. It’s designed to.

And beyond that, think about it: Why is this “resource” being written? It’s being written because staff at the CIIC recognize that the brutal, harsh conditions of isolation are causing prisoners to become mentally ill so, rather than end the practice of driving prisoners insane, they opt to give you advice from prisoners who have survived a process designed to drive them insane. That speaks loudly. Would “kind,” “caring,” “concerned,” “nice” people work with every ounce of their beings to shut down a torture machine, or would they hand its victims a well-produced brochure?

So, for our purposes of staying sane and seeing the situation as it is, recognizing reality so we can act in our own best interests, we have to set aside false ideas that really do not fit, that do not serve us honestly. We have to use words that paint an accurate picture.

You have an enemy. Your enemy is evil–evil personified, and it takes someone evil to engage in torture. Your evil enemy intends to torture you for a long, long time, until your mind is broken. The best you can hope for is for the most sympathetic people to hand you advice on how to survive their “simple torture situation.” You can only count on you at this point.

“The State has never any object but to limit the individual, to tame him, to subordinate him, to subject him to something general; it lasts only so long as the individual is not all in all, and is only the clearcut limitation of me, my limitedness, my slavery.” –Max Stirner

You may ask, “Why do I want to face this? It feels very hopeless.” What we’ve done so far is simply an inventory of your reality. You have some serious forces stacked against you. But you aren’t better off if you don’t see it or if you ignore it. You aren’t in a better place if you convince yourself of some fairie tale, some myth that your enemy feeds you to keep you asleep and “under control.” If you buy into those lies and let them guide you, the damage you will experience will be the same; the only difference will be that your actions will be more predictable and more of a benefit for the torture machine to keep going and going and going.

If you buy into the false idea that your “tormenters” (the government’s word, remember) are the “good guys,” and you “put yourself here,” and you “deserve” this (whatever “this” is), and this trauma is to “correct” you or make you “better” or “teach you a (pro-social) lesson,” you will experience the same trauma as everyone who has the courage to face the truth. The only differences will be that (1) you won’t know why this is happening, (2) you won’t be able to figure out how to prevent your enemy from succeeding because you won’t see what your enemy is really trying to do to you, and (3) you won’t be able to act in your own best interests because you misunderstand your reality.

So, by facing this reality, you will be establishing a principle that’s absolutely crucial for maintaining your sanity. It’s this: Always seek the truth, no matter how bad it is.

One way to think of this is a scene from the movie, “The Matrix.” The main character, Neo, meets Morpheus, who offers Neo the chance to know the truth. If Neo chooses the red pill, he wakes up to reality. If he chooses the blue pill, he remains asleep.

If you want to get through “the simple torture situation” and survive what your “tormentor” does to you, choose the red pill.

Always choose the red pill.

Once your eyes are open, it gives you things to think about. You can look at every experience, every single element of your situation, and you can ask yourself, “Why is the enemy doing this to me? How is this supposed to make me feel? How is this supposed to impact my mind and my health and my struggle? How can I respond to this in a way that serves my survival and my long-term success?

For instance: Have you ever noticed that most segregation units are freezing cold all year around? Why is that? Why does the enemy keep you intolerably cold? First, there’s the discomfort so, on the most basic level, your enemy simply wants you to suffer. But second, cold people will seek to get warm and the only feasible strategy for that in segregation is to get under your covers; you remain inactive in bed. This serves the enemy in several ways:

1. Inactive people burn fewer calories, so the enemy can cut your food portions and you won’t lose weight. Your enemy saves money on food.

2. If you’re laying in bed, you’re not doing something else. You’re not writing letters or building muscles or sharing ideas or building unity or writing an inspiring poem.

3. People laying in bed will sleep, and sleeping people’s behavior is predictable.

4. Constant cold has a psychological impact, as it wears on your morale and makes you feel hopeless. It contributes to the assault on your mind.

Once you recognize this and see the truth of it, what can you do? Well, for a start, simply knowing what is being done to you (and knowing why) makes the intolerable a bit more tolerable. The cold is a tactic being used on you. And when you know your enemy’s designs, you can use your head to prevent his success.

How? Two ways. There are actions you can take to “adjust to the conditions,” and actions you can take to “change the conditions.”

Actions you can take to adjust to the conditions would be to find alternatives for staying warm. If you have 3 pairs of socks, wear 2 of them and use the third pair as mittens so you can stay up, stay awake, read and write. You can wrap blankets around you while you pace the floor. You can write a poem or a rap and between verses you do push ups–this keeps you in shape and keeps you warm. You can pace and think and get a good understanding of the situation you face, and then share your insight with other prisoners so they too have the tools to effectively struggle and maintain. You can read literature from others who share your perspective and write to them, finding ways to cooperate and build relationships and start projects.

Which leads to actions that “change the conditions.” You may decide that adjusting to conditions isn’t good enough; you want the conditions to change. Rather than wrapping yourself in blankets, you want to make the enemy’s torture machine turn the heat up. This is a very different approach from “adjusting.”

What can you do to make the torture machine turn up the heat? And, at the same time, within that question is another question: What can you do to stand up for your dignity and affirm your human value and combat the forces that work toward your destruction? And still another question: What can you do to take a healthy and affirmative approach to exercise your own personal power in order to change the world for the better and give yourself something to seel a sense of accomplishment?

There exists a prison grievance process, but this is an open joke among prisoners and staff alike. The grievance process serves to misdirect prisoners from engaging in any effective response to wrongs and serves as a kind of gauntlet where prison officials can identify future possible lawsuits and employ a harassment campaign to coerce potential prisoner litigants to give up. At its best, the grievance process represents an effort to get a career prisoncrat to declare that other career prisoncrats wronged a convicted felon no one cares about.

Being able to see the grievance process as a tool of your enemy’s program liberates you to think of other ways to exercise your personal power to change conditions. What else can you do?

Individual actions are very limited. The enemy has a vast machine. So, it is a good idea to build a working group, a collective of prisoners who cooperate in struggle. The larger the number of prisoners willing to struggle, the more collective power you can bring against the enemy.

Mention must be made here that your enemy may appeal to “rules” that the enemy imposes in order to keep you powerless while trapped in the torture machine. In reality, these rules do not exist. The enemy appeals to “rules” as part of his false mythology that he is “the good guy” and you are “the bad guy,” that he is “correcting” you because you are “maladjusted,” that all of this is for “your own good” and you “did this to yourself” and these “rules are necessary.”

Reality is quite the opposite. Your enemy tortures human beings. Your enemy is evil personified. Anyone who tortures has no respect for laws or rules or morals or the basic foundations of human relations, so any appeal to “rules” is really a trick, a manipulation to get you to abandon any strategy that would be effective for forcing real, substantive change. In reality, it is not “moral” or “right” to abide by the enemy’s “rules” and abandon efforts to stop his evil agenda. In fact, it can easily be argued that you have a moral duty, an ethical responsibility to stop torturers by what Malcolm X referred to as “any means necessary.” Your inaction, your following the “rules,” guarantees that others will be tortured and destroyed, perhaps generation after generation, their minds mangled by a machine designed to tear apart human beings from the inside out.

It is both immoral and psychologically unhealthy not to resist evil.

So, from this view, it becomes necessary to engage the enemy in the most effective way to save the most lives. To do that, you must bring pressure, leverage upon your enemy. To borrow from his own playbook, you must make his situation “intolerable,” and creat the situation where torturing you (or continuing those conditions you most wish to change) becomes more costly, more painful, and more troublesome than meeting your demands.

From a lockdown isolation unit there is little that can be done. However, those tactics that can be engaged can be very effective.

For instance, prisoners can simultaneously flush toilets and break pipes. Plumbing is designed to hold only a certain amount of water flow. Repeatedly breaking the pipes becomes costly, time-consuming, and disruptive for the enemy.

Also, prisoners can block cell door windows and barricade cells, requiring the enemy to summon cell-extraction teams. This becomes costly, time-consuming and disruptive.

These kinds of tactics are most effective if sustained by large numbers of prisoners over a duration of time.

From a superficial analysis, this kind of approach could be seen as “self-defeating” or “maladjusted,” particularly if someone sees the torturer’s system as legitimate. Persons under this kind of delusion would be horrified by this advice and would instead urge prisoners to go along with the program, to be the proverbial “good Germans,” little Adolf Eichmanns following orders and keeping the program going. Their position is built upon the false belief that “good behavior,” i.e., conduct that does not disrupt the torture machine’s efficiency, is rewarded, while “bad behavior,” i.e., conduct that disrupts the torture machine’s efficiency is punished appropriately.

This myth is so provably absurd it does not even merit a response.

However it must be pointed out that there is what seems to be a contradiction–since resistance will provoke a state response, is it not fair to say that engaging in struggle is not acting in one’s own best interests? This is a valid question, and the answer depends upo whether you look at your short-term, immediate interests, or whether you look at your long-term, larger interests. Do you care more about your immediate situation, your immediate personal comfort? If so, then you serve those interests better by going along with the enemy’s torture program and helping his evil agenda continue. But if you care about your sanity–which is really the important prioty, the true topic of all of this–then you must act in a way that preserves your dignity, your principles, and your sense of justice by exercising personal power and contributing to a greater good, even at the expense of your immediate well-being.

To give an example of this conflict of interests, consider a hunger-striker who suffers hunger and diminished health in order to force the enemy to meet important demands related to human dignity. One may argue that it is “insane” for the hunger-striker to harm self, that long-term sanity cannot be served if the hunger-striker starves to death. But from another view, the hunger-striker sees the “harm” of hunger and health effects far outweighed by the greater “harm” caused by the conditions that the hunger-striker struggles to change.

This is a far more valid conception from a mental health perspective, though an uneasy and uncomfortable one for apologists of state power since, by this conception, “suicide bombers” can be understood as engaging in a perfectly healthy response, from a psychological perspective, if the so-called “suicide bombers” are acting under a firm belief that their actions will result in changes that will benefit their children or future generations. In that way, a suicide bomber, psychologically speaking, would be no different from a soldier jumping onto a grenade to save his platoon, except one is a bit more assertive and proactive.

Concusion: Psychological Necessity of Revolutionary Violence

As a final note, those who defend the torture machine may object that the approach advocated here “promotes violence.” Again, this analysis proceeds from the delusion that the torturers are “good” and “valid” and “right.”

A more accurate assessment is to say that the stat itself is violence. Its every component is violence, from its means for maintaining itself to every project the state undertakes.

The state maintains itself through taxation: Pay, or else. It compels obedience: Obey the laws, or else. It defends the economic status quo and its ruling elite: Work, or else. It has now intruded into our mental lives, dictating what we can think and believe (or else). So, in this context, even the state’s most “benevolent” “service,” at base, rests upon a billy-club, a shot-gun, or an Apache attack helicopter.

In light of this, there is never an absence of violence so long as the state exists. The state makes violence inevitable. The only question is whether the state will be unilaterally punching the subjects in the frace, as it has for centuries, or whether the subjects will be punching the state back.

If peace, the absence of violence, can only be achieved in the absence of the state, which is itself violence, then with any action undertaken to limit or diminish the state, no matter how “violent” the action, the cause of peace is better served. This is not really an opinion, but is an objective observation of fact that really isn’t disputable.

If someone wants peace and not violence, it’s necessary to tear down the state’s torture machine. This is not just a matter of social justice, morality, or political theory, but is an indispensible approach for the maintenance of individual mental health for those trapped in the “simple torture situation.”


*All quotes in text taken from the KUBARK Counterintelligence Interrogation Manual prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency.

Sean Swain is a prisoner in Ohio State penitentiary and a regular contributor to Fubar. He does not have computer access and cannot receive email. Sean’s website http://seanswain.org is maintained by his supporters.

Sean’s address is:

Sean Swain 243205
Ohio State Penitentiary
878 Coitsville-Hubbard Rd.
Youngstown OH 44505

Fugitive Thoughts

From the back of an envelope…

The distant treeline beyond the yard
Stirs yearnings to intense
My thoughts often escape me
And take a blind run for the fence

Sometimes the tower shoots them
Sometimes the dogs attack
They’re always butchered bloody
By the time I get them back

Sometimes they’re dead and dangling
Sometimes they get away
Just to find no place to go
But that’s the price they pay.

You too may see this window view
Or face the gallow’s pole
So if you harbor my fugitive thoughts
Don’t ever tell a soul.

Letter About Migs

From: http://oppenpal.wordpress.com/2013/10/18/an-open-letter-from-sean-swain/

The following is a letter Rachel Allshiny recently received from Sean Swain, an anarchist prisoner who is behind bars indefinitely, after she sent him a copy of her Suicide Girls blog post on prisoner support work.

11 SEP 13

Allshiny + Everyone –

I got your 28 AUG letter.

As you’ll note from my address, I’m now at Ohio’s super-duper-über-mega-ultra-max. It’s a program for scientifically disassembling human personalities.

I seem to be getting my mail. It seems to be timely too. Here, I’m getting zines and other reading materials. I’ve been here 2 weeks, however, and still do not have a large box of my legal documents + addresses + writings, etc.

Having read your article again just now, I see a pattern. The fascists fear ideas. Ideas on paper. Mark’s. Mine. That speaks to the poverty of their own dysfunctional ideology and the unsustainable system it creates.

Rehabilitation: They kick us in the head until we get dumber. :)

Another pattern I see. You mentioned that Mark looked skinnier. A year ago, I weighed 215 pounds. I now weigh 151. I’ve lost 14 pounds in the last 2 weeks here at the super-duper-über-mega-ultra-max. I’ve been hungry since August. :)

Something I really don’t understand about what’s going on with Mark (and also with my situation). An anarchist is one who rejects hierarchy. It is a belief. Really, it’s an acceptance of provable, demonstrable data that hierarchy doesn’t work.

Anarchist literature + symbols are expressions of those who accept the truth that hierarchy doesn’t work as advertised.

What interest do the fascists have in punishing a community of people for knowing something that’s true?

Mark and I do not like hierarchy. Do the hierarchs imagine we’ll like them better after they torture us??? And I imagine this again speaks to the poverty of hierarchy. Hierarchs only know how to punch, bomb, torture, kick, punish, tame, train, deprive, tear-gas, bludgeon, starve… “Act like you like us…OR ELSE…” :) Like an all-powerful, petulant child.

You 23 AUG 13 article is a masterpiece. Really awesome. You feel the pain you witness, and you convey that pain + your sense of urgency very well. It’s really a moving piece. So I want to thank you for sending that, and for all that you’re doing for Mark.

I too hope Mark focuses on documenting his experiences. Something I’ve been thinking about for seanswain.org is a series of telephone interviews. That may be an option for Mark too. Audio files.

Not everyone writes. Not everyone reads.

Having read your article, there’s an observation I want to share with you. It takes a lot of courage to be so connected in the suffering of others. It takes a real fearlessness. The natural instinct is to close off oneself and erect barriers for self-protection. It is a real gift to feel as deeply as you do. But it is also a very difficult way to go. Don’t let it destroy you.

Some of what the fascists do, they create a situation as you aptly observed where every moment is a crisis. They create a situation of long-term intolerable trauma + keep changing the conditions, making it impossible for you to stay on top of it – every update is outdated, every effort addresses events already changed. They do this as much wear you down as to wear down Mark.

They don’t fear Mark or me or any prisoner. They fear us as members of a larger struggle. They fear us working with you. In my situation, when they found out about the website, they subjected me to torture + even now hold me hostage in an effort to get supporters to shut the site down. If I have anything to say about it, that will never happen.

There’s a line by Thoreau in Civil Disobedience where he describes the state as children who have a grudge against someone so, unable to reach him, they kick his dog. :) That’s what the state does. The state has no grudge against my body. Its principle annoyance is my mind. But they can’t get to that, so they feebly attack what they can reach. It serves no good end for them. Even as they subject the body to more + more deprivations, my ideas follow out behind them and drift above the concertina wire + get posted on-line, and end up in the hands of others.

Even if we accept the state’s story, that it actually believes that I was a creator of the Army of the 12 Monkeys, their manuals are on-line + can be accessed thru anarchistnews.org. Hundreds of people have printed off copies of their training manuals. How does it serve the state’s interests to lock me in a shoebox when I’ve never been on-line in the first place?

The state kicks the dog.

So, what I recognize is that we’re dealing with an enemy that is irrational, not very bright, and in control of Apache helicopters. :) It’s like being locked in a room with a cannibal. You don’t really have a hell of a lot of options. :)

But that’s not to say that it’s hopeless. It’s not. We only live once, as far as we know, so we have to make that life count for something. We also only die once, so we also have to make that death count for something. If we can live with purpose and die with purpose, what more could we ask for?

The enemy loses. But the enemy is doomed to lose because the enemy can only kill the body. It can only defeat the carcass. And in every conflict, the enemy reveals its true character.

Do you know what a dent you kicked in the system by humanizing Mark? Or the value of my friends’ work in documenting what happened to me? The enemy loses control of the narrative. Others recognize who the real bad guy is. Then you have another dozen Mark Neiweems being inspired.

A great tide is turning.

Don’t lose hope.

We own the future.

Thank you for writing. I hope to hear back from you.

Stay dangerous.


Declaration by Sean Swain



SEAN PAUL SWAIN,                                              : CASE NO. P-688-10

Petitioner,                                                                  : DECLARATION OF SEAN PAUL SWAIN

vs.                                                                                  :


Respondents.                                                            :


COMES NOW Sean Paul Swain, being duly sworn, and deposes to state:

  1. I have been held captive by the alleged State of Ohio1 since 1991, wrongfully convicted of crimes for which I am actually innocent. I can objectively demonstrate that I was not provided the protection of Ohio law regarding my criminal proceedings and appeals.
  2. While held captive by the alleged State of Ohio, I was subject to retaliatory and repressive treatment, to include treatment which the United States in highly-classified documents admits to be “torture.” I appropriately attempted to address this treatment through the available administrative remedies (i.e., prison grievance procedure) and I additionally reported my treatment to the Corrections Institution Inspection Committee of the Ohio Assembly. I thereafter wrote a book, FREEDOM: The Insight, Rage and Fury of Political Prisoner Sean Swain. When prison officials discovered that my book had been published, I was subjected to repression and retaliation, including treatment the U.S. admits to be “torture.” I attempted to address this treatment through available administrative remedies and through contacting the Corrections Institution Inspection Committee. This proved futile.
  3. With no other alternative, I filed a civil rights action in federal court, Swain v. Fullenkamp, et. al., U.S. District Court Case Number 3:09-CV-2659. The action was dismissed as frivolous, the court finding that prison officials had an interest in punishing me for my expression of views and beliefs beyond prison walls– contrary to well-settled precedents.2
  4. I appealed, Sixth Circuit Case Number 10-3755. The U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of claims. In so doing, the court has implicitly declared that prison officials can now regulate what information may enter the public forum from prison; prison officials can control what the public can know about the operation of public facilities. Far more troubling to me personally, the U.S. courts have effectively stripped me of all constitutional protections. Potentially, anything I have said or written to anyone can serve as a cause for prison officials to subject me to inhumane and mind-numbing deprivations that the U.S. courts have otherwise found to be unconstitutional.3
  5. I am stripped of all constitutional protections. I am left no recourse to the government of the United States nor to the alleged State of Ohio. My captors have been given free license to subject me to treatment that the United States government has referred to as “torture.” I have been left to my own devices to protect myself against an inimical and all-powerful government entity in order to maintain my own physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual integrity.
  6. I prepare this declaration out of necessity and where under duress, in the absence of recourse to courts for the protection of my rights, in order to secure my own safety. It is my intention to transmit copies of this declaration to proxies. Also transmitted to these proxies will be specific and explicit protocols that will govern the release and distribution of this declaration to media, to foreign governments, to the United Nations, to the Organization of American States, and to internet websites including Wikileaks, if and when protocols are triggered. Depending upon the triggering event, this declaration and other accompanying documents may be released incrementally from multiple sources, or may be released en masse. There will be no warning nor communication to the government or its agents by third parties possessing this declaration. There is no contingency in place for me or for anyone else to prevent transmission of materials once protocols are triggered.
  7. There exist multiple channels by which third parties maintain constant information as to my status. These multiple channels provide a fail-safe, preventing an accidental release of this declaration without legitimate cause.



  1. The United States government has undertaken a number of covert and illegal operations involving the United States Army’s School of the Americas (“SOA”). Those illegal operations include the training of foreign troops in state-sponsored terror operations; a program of compromising military personnel attending SOA training to become intelligence assets for the U.S., engaging in treason against their countries of origin; the maintenance of an illegal network that involves media personnel and State Department officials; the illegal training of drug cartel security personnel at the SOA in order to protect cocaine cartels and their smuggling operations; the smuggling of cocaine and arms by agents of the Central Intelligence Agency (“CIA”) and their proxies; and the covert political assassination of Communist Party Secretary Hu Yaobang of the People’s Republic of China (“PRC”) on April 15, 1989, contrary to international law. This declaration also demonstrates the existence of a direct link between (1) the CIA, (2) former President George H.W. Bush, (3) former Panamanian President Manuel Noriega, (4) the SOA, (5) the cocaine smuggling pipeline, and (6) the U.S. government’s employment of a known terrorist and mass-murderer to orchestrate arms-smuggling and terror operations in Central America.


My Background

  1. In my senior year in high school I scored in the top 5% of those who took the military aptitude battery. After moving to Sandusky, Ohio, in May of 1987, I was thereafter contacted by Orlando Rodriguez, who claimed to be a Cuban national. He worked in a free-lance capacity for the C.I.A. Like many others associated with military and quasi-military U.S. operations, Rodriguez had no formal relationship to the U.S. government. Operatives like Rodriguez floated from one unofficial status to another, sometimes employed by non-governmental organizations that served as fronts for military/intelligence services, sometimes hired as consultants or contractors. GeoMiliTech, DynCorp, and the ubiquitous Blackwater are all examples of ostensibly-private sector organizations that translate operatives and assets to and from the military and intelligence networks, their relationships to the government always plausibly-deniable. These are important facts to bear in mind when attempting to understand how military and intelligence systems operate in the real world.
  2. I entered basic training on November 4, 1987, at Ft. Knox, Kentucky. I attended Advanced Training at the Quartermaster School in Ft. Lee, Virginia. I arrived at my permanent duty station, Ft. Benning, Georgia, in February 1988. I was assigned as a supply clerk and armorer for a basic training unit, D-4-30. In addition I performed editing duties for the School of the Americas, integrating and synthesizing newly-developed information on irregular warfare into the already-existing S.O.A. manuals.


Background, SOA

  1. The SOA was made operational during the Kennedy Administration. It was a response to the emergence of Fidel Castro in Cuba, the Bay of Pigs, and the Cuban Missile Crisis. The SOA was a component in the shift of U.S. foreign policy, which became largely influenced by anti-Castro Cuban refugees. Many of these Cuban refugees were centered in Miami, and the CIA established its only domestic station there.
  2. Through Miami Station, the CIA secretly funded a number of anti-Castro/anti-Communist organizations that recruited Cuban refugees in large numbers, sometimes training in Guatemala and the Dominican Republic. The cadre for the illegal Bay of Pigs invasion would be pulled from these ranks, as would a number of operatives later assembled to conduct the Watergate burglary and Iran-Contra operations. Rolando Martinez and Frank Sturgis, both Watergate burglars, began their intelligence careers in the ranks of these secret CIA operations. Frank Sturgis trained guerilla warfare in Guatemala and the Dominican Republic. A number of Iran-Contra operatives including ChiChi Quintero, Manuel Artime, and Felix Rodriguez emerged from these CIA operations. Otto Reich, later the chief of the PLD, emerged from these groups; he would later plant propaganda in the New York Times and the Washington Post in order to generate public support for the Nicaraguan Contras. As all of these secret operations occurred through Miami Station, Miami Station became the central fixture for U.S. intelligence.
  3. It is important to note that, in the cases of the operatives and assets mentioned, most had no official relationship tot he U.S. government. Still, they became deeply-entrenched in the intelligence community, developing informal and personal connections to those who rose through the ranks in the formal intelligence and military services. These operatives, funded by slush-funds set up by the CIA, shared the values, worldviews, and agendas of their friends at Miami Station and often worked as a kind of out-sourced “shadow” operation. These shadow operations often accomplished the goals of U.S. intelligence that were in direct contradiction to the stated official policy of the U.S., and sometimes in contravention of U.S. law.
  4. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, many anti-Castro operatives joined the military or otherwise received military training. Among them Chi-Chi Quintero, Felix Rodriguez, Manuel Artime, and Luis Posado Carriles all had connections to Ft. Benning, Georgia, an Army base in relatively close proximity to Miami Station, the only domestic C.I.A. station.
  5. 1960 saw the formation of the 5412 Group, also known as the 40 Committee , the 303 Committee, and the Special Group, to formulate direct and covert action against Fidel Castro’s Cuba. This secret committee involved Robert F Kennedy, then U.S. Attorney General, and it shaped U.S. covert operations. The planning and organization of activities under the 5412 Group was carried out by many of the same operatives who conducted the 1954 CIA-sponsored coup against Jacobo Arbenz Guzman. The SOA became operational in this context, while the U.S. government orchestrated covert operations against Cuba and Miami Station enlisted anti-Castro Cubans for military operations against Cuba.
  6. Ostensibly, the SOA was to serve as a training facility where American military instructors would instruct visiting military personnel from nations in Central/South America in the strategies and tactics of irregular warfare. The stated purpose of this training was to form a bulwark against Communist destabilization of the hemisphere and to protect democracy throughout Latin America. In this view, the SOA was a component of an anti-Communist framework that included U.S. economic aid, sometimes in the form of military technological hardware, to those nations that opposed Communism (i.e. opposed Fidel Castro). Thus, the larger goal was the isolation of Fidel Castro’s Cuba. From a more realistic view, however, the SOA was part of a larger U.S. strategy to maintain hegemony, propping up dictators in “banana republics” with U.S training, guns, and money, thereby securing U.S. corporate investments. In this regard, the SOA was part of a larger plan to subvert real democracy and suppress human rights in the Americas by assisting undemocratic puppet regimes to maintain power throughout Latin America.


My Function at the SOA

  1. There are three (3) operational levels at the SOA, often referred to as “white,” “gray,” and “black” operations. White operations consist of those lawful operations that the government admits. Gray operations are the unlawful and denied operations that are often incorporated into white operations. Black operations are those operations not associated directly to white operations, and their existence is denied by the government. All three (3) levels are present at the SOA.
  2. With my first handler, rigid protocols were followed and I never exchanged any sensitive information with anyone by my handler. However, after his transfer in early 1988, I would become informally incorporated into the SOA intelligence community, exposing me to white, gray, and black operations conducted by those personnel.
  3. In 1988, the U.S. Senate investigated what later became known as the Iran-Contra Affair. Iran-Contra was a complex intelligence and military operation that violated U.S. law and subverted congressional authority. It involved U.S. military and intelligence operatives training and funding illegal proxy death-squads for the purposes of destabilizing the duly-elected government of Nicaragua. While the senate investigated these matters, I was synthesizing reports from the Nicaraguan combat theater into training manuals for use at the SOA. I was incorporating information from the illegal Contra war into SOA training manuals. I received uncensored materials that contained notes, references, and signatures from Colonel James Steele, Lewis Tambs, Jose Fernandez, Max Gomez, and Ramon Medina. All of these personnel were directly involved in supporting Contra death squads.
  4. I would later learn that “Max Gomez” was an alias name for CIA operative Felix Rodriguez. Rodriguez was a central figure in Iran-Contra, linked to (1) George H.W. Bush advisors Sam Watson and Don Gregg, (2) Air America II operations that smuggled cocaine into the U.S., and (3) Columbian drug cartel accountant Ramon Milian Rodriguez. This “Max Gomez” tied together the Contra death squads with the cocaine pipeline, George H.W. Bush, and Columbian drug cartels.
  5. I would also learn later that “Ramon Medina” was the alias of Luis Posada Carriles, an international terrorist and mass-murderer who was trained in the U.S. and employed by the CIA. In his capacity as a CIA operative, he once bombed a Cuban airliner, killing more than a hundred civilians. As “Ramon Medina,” he worked for the CIA coordinating logistics at a Salvadoran air base, supporting illegal Contra death squads in Nicaragua.
  6. My synthesis of death squad reports into SOA training manuals occurred under the supervision of Lieutenant Colonel Lou Rodriguez beginning in 1988. One of the consultants for the CIA involved in illegal SOA activities was Joaquin Powell.

Nature and Character of U.S.-Sponsored Terror Operations Recounted in Reports

  1. Some of the materials I synthesized related to infiltration of civil rights groups, the targeting of union organizers, torture of opposition leaders, and political assassination.
  2. Many reports detailed the successful use of terrorist bombings against both civilian and government targets in Nicaragua. I learned from these reports that the power of explosives is expressed in relation to TNT. If a demolition requires 1200 pounds of explosive, for example, that amount is a reference to the pounds of TNT required, However, C4 is two and a half times as powerful as TNT so that, if a demolition required 1200 pounds of TNT, that would translate to 480 pounds (or 60 blocks) of C4.
  3. As a general rule, demolitions of concrete or brick structures such as schools, courthouses, jails, or embassies require four pounds of explosives per square foot. I learned this by synthesizing reports of U.S.-sponsored death squads involved in terrorist attacks against Nicaragua’s infrastructure.
  4. U.S.-sponsored death squads reported pouring acid from batteries into glass cylinders adhered to the tops of gas lines. The acid would corrode the pipes, releasing natural gas, and causing explosions. This was used against both government and civilian targets.
  5. U.S.-sponsored terrorists used vans as explosives. They would place acetylene and oxygen tanks in the backs of vans, filling the vans with nails, bolts, bearings, and other projectiles. They duct-taped the vents and air-proofed the insides of the doors. They would use the electrical current through the filament of the dome=-light as the detonator. Parking the van in front of their target, they would disconnect the battery and screw in the dome light with a hole drilled through the casing. They would turn on the acetylene and oxygen tanks, then re-connect the battery and report the van as a suspicious vehicle. When authorities would open the van door, the electricity in the filament of the dome light would spark the oxygen and acetylene mixture, causing a tremendously destructive explosion.
  6. U.S.-proxy terrorists increased the explosive power of ammonium nitrate fertilizer and diesel fuel by as much as 60% by adding aluminum or other oxidizers. This is the same kind of explosive used by Timothy McVeigh in the Oklahoma City bombing. McVeigh attended basic training at Ft. Benning. I synthesized reports regarding these explosives at Ft. Benning. I have often wondered if Timothy McVeigh learned to make explosives by reading the training manuals I edited for the SOA.


Interrogations and Torture

  1. Information related to U.S.-sponsored death squad interrogations and torture was synthesized into SOA training manuals. I was also provided portions of The KUBARK Counterintelligence Interrogation Manual and Human Resources Exploitation Training Manual, both used by the CIA. Those manuals dealt with interrogation and torture, and both manuals used the term, “torture”. I integrated training in techniques of torture into SOA training manuals. The following paragraphs contain direct quotes from those CIA manuals.
  2. “The following are the principal [sic] coercive techniques of interrogation: arrest, detention, deprivation of sensory stimuli through solitary confinement or similar methods, threats and fear, debility, pain, heightened suggestibility and hypnosis, narcosis, and induced regression.” According to the manuals, the important objective is to cause three responses: “debility, dependence, and dread.” These “techniques… are in essence methods of inducing regression of the personality to whatever earlier and weaker level is required for the dissolution of resistance and the inculcation of dependence… As the subject slips back from maturity toward a more infantile state, his learned or structured personality traits fall away in reversed chronological order…” These “[c]oercive procedures are designed not only to exploit the resistant source’s internal conflicts and induce him to wrestle with himself but also to bring a superior outside force to bear upon the subject’s resistance.” This process serves to “obliterate the familiar,” so “as the process [of segregation and sensory deprivation] continues, day after day if necessary, the subject begins to try to make sense of the situation, which becomes mentally intolerable. Now he is likely to make significant admissions…” In other words, intolerable conditions break the subject’s will.
  3. At Toledo Correctional Institution, these techniques were used on me in an effort to break my will to complain, grieve, speak out against crimes, and litigate. In my time in segregation, there were suicide attempts on nearly a daily basis due to the intolerable conditions consistent with what is described in CIA manuals.
  4. As the CIA manuals describe, “What we aim to do is to ensure… the maximum amount of discomfort in order to catch the [subject] off balance and deprive him of the initiative. The CIA manuals instruct in techniques to most-effectively subject someone to will-breaking deprivations. These deprivations are employed at Toledo Correctional Institution: “The more completely the place of confinement eliminates sensory stimuli, the more rapidly and deeply will the subject be affected. Results produced after only weeks or months of imprisonment in an ordinary cell can be duplicated in hours or days in a cell which has… weak artificial light which never varies… An early effect of such and environment is anxiety… the [captors] can benefit from the subject’s anxiety… The deprivation of stimuli induces regression by depriving the subject’s mind of contact with an outer world and thus forcing it in on itself… in the simple torture situation that contest is one between the individual and his tormentor…”
  5. The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction employs techniques that the United States government refers to as a “simple torture situation.” In addressing this “simple torture situation,” the federal courts have declared that such conditions do not violate the constitution prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.4
  6. The CIA manuals advise to cause the subject serious psychological pain in such a way that the subject begins to identify himself and his resistance as the cause of pain, thereby diminishing the tortured subject’s “motivational strength.”
  7. The SOA training manuals produced through my editing and synthesizing were used to train troops from Central/South America in SOLIC (Special Operations and Low-Intensity Combat), to include state=terror employed against unarmed civilians and the liquidation of entire villages. The manuals instructed in torture, to include “simulated drowning,” now referred to as “water-boarding.” Some of the manuals described the process of out-sourcing state-terror operations to plausibly-deniably government-supported death-squads, a practice I believe to be particularly significant in light of the evolution of this practice: from U.S. use of DynCorp in the invasion of Panama to the CIA’s creation of Al Qaeda to fight a proxy war against the Soviets’ to the use of Blackwater as “consultants” in the U.S. Oil Wars. The implications of this evolving trend to out-source terror operations to non-government entities are vast.


SOA Training Drug Cartels

  1. Over the course of approximately eighteen (18) months I learned of the black operations conducted at the SOA under the direction of CIA case officers who were “consultants” and “contractors” who often worked through Miami Station. Many of these case officers had direct experience in the anti-Castro operations, to include the Bay of Pigs, and many had been transferred in and out of the Salvadoran and Nicaraguan theaters during the illegal Contra war. Some were involved in illegal black operations in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos during the Vietnam War.
  2. While the SOA black operations were highly classified and well above my security clearance, a very loose atmosphere prevailed among the intelligence community. They operated very informally on the basis of personal trust rather than following rigid protocols. Many operatives and case officers appeared to snub procedure with bravado as if they resented the imposition by bureaucrats who did not comprehend the reality on the ground. Their cavalier attitude toward security protocols made me party of a great amount of highly sensitive information for which I did not possess the appropriate security clearances.
  3. SOA profilers in a section typically called PSYOPS5 reviewed the personnel files that accompanied all of the SOA trainees upon their arrival. This was done in order to identify possible targets to compromise. Once identified, they would manipulate the subject in an effort to coerce him into betraying his country of origin and work as an intelligence asset for the United States. For these purposes, SOA trainees were highly monitored. The CIA had dancers at local strip clubs on pay-roll for purposes of seducing trainees so that their infidelities could be used for purposes of blackmail. One of the PSYOPS operatives once bragged that a mid-level officer married to the daughter of a general was compromised in this way and became a source for information on everything that the general did. Another operative bragged that another trainee was compromised for the cost of a Cabbage Patch doll for his daughter.
  4. These covert operations were conducted in order to turn trainees into spies against their countries of origin and it must be remembered that all of those countries were allies of the United States. The U.S. was engaged in illegal espionage against its friends.
  5. Files of the compromised SOA trainees were sent up through intelligence hierarchies and then transferred to the State Department so that CIA personnel assigned at various embassies in those countries could be assigned as handlers for the compromised trainee-turned-asset. As a consequence of this covert operation, the U.S. illegally developed the largest and most extensive spy network in the Wester Hemisphere without risking the lives of American assets abroad. The U.S. relies upon soldiers and agents embedded in allied nations’ military and intelligence services to provide a vast array of information.


SOA Training of Drug Cartels

  1. As part of its daily operations, the SOA trains in crop detection and eradication. This training is related to the stated objective of fighting a war on drugs. However, the trainees attending these classes are not military personnel but are, instead drug cartel enforcers. The cartel personnel can be identified by the tattoos between their thumbs and forefingers. Their employment for drug cartels is an open secret among SOA cadre.
  2. The U.S. government trains the enforcers of drug cartels in the latest techniques and technology for fighting the war on drugs. The cartels then use this training in order to protect their lucrative businesses. This trend of training drug cartels is linked to the CIA’s direct involvement in smuggling cocaine into the United States.


The CIA and the Cocaine Pipeline

  1. When smuggling weapons to the Contras during the Iran-Contra Affair, CIA smugglers established a lucrative business of smuggling cocaine into the country on return trips. Air America I6 pilots in Miami and New Orleans flew cocaine back into the country on return from El Salvador and Nicaragua. Some of the funds from the cocaine smuggling industry were diverted to supporting illegal wars in Afghanistan7 and Central America. CIA operatives Tom Clines, Ed Wilson, and Chi-Chi Quintero engineered the Air America II cocaine pipeline into the U.S., laundering money through a number of companies including GeoMiliTech Consultants, Southern Air Transport, Corporate Air, Energy Resources International, and Lake Resources, Inc. Many of these companies had financial connections to Panama, largely because Panamanian President Manual Noriega was directly involved in the CIA smuggling and laundering operations. Noriega’s side, Jose Blandon, worked as a liaison between “Max Gomez” (Felix Rodriguez) and an accountant for Columbian drug cartels named Ramon Milian Rodriguez. Ramon Milian Rodriguez provided the CIA cocaine smugglers with the blue-print for setting up “dummy” corporations and laundering cocaine money through them. He also assisted in coordinating cocaine shipments between the drug cartels and the CIA.


The CIA Cocaine Pipeline and George H.W. Bush

  1. Felix Rodriguez was directly involved in Contra death squad support under the alias name, “Max Gomez.” Felix Rodriguez was also linked to Manuel Noriega through Noriega’s aide, Joe Blandon. Felix Rodriguez also had direct ties to Columbian drug cartel accountant Ramon Milian Rodiguez. In this way, Felix Rodriguez was central to the weapons smuggling operations supporting Nicaraguan death squads and he was also central to the CIA cocaine-smuggling pipeline. In addition, Felix Rodriguez was directly linked to George H.W. Bush advisors Don Gregg and Colonel Sam Watson. Felix Rodriguez, in fact informed Bush advisors prior to the exposure of Iran-Contra, giving then Vice-President Bush the opportunity to destroy documents and conceal any links between himself and the illegal operations conducted in and around Nicaragua.8
  2. Felix Rodriguez’s connection to the White House was established by his own testimony before Congress on July 14, 1988. While Rodriguez testified, I was synthesizing his notes from his Contra death squad experiences into the SOA training manuals.
  3. Former President George H.W. Bush was involved in Iran-Contra, in the CIA cocaine-smuggling pipeline, and was connected with Columbian drug cartels and former Panamanian President Manuel Noriega.9


Political Assassination

  1. In late 1988 and through 1989, Anti-Castro CIA case officers who directed black operations at the SOA through Miami Station were consulted in an ongoing operation entitled, “Operation Glass Monkey.” This operation dealt primarily with the social and political de-stabilization of the People’s Republic of China (“PRC”). As part of this operation, prior to the involvement of anti-Castro case officers, the CIA had infiltrated the student protests in China, monitoring and manipulating student leaders Han Dongfang, Zhou Fengauo, and Xiang Yan.
  2. A meeting between Soviet and PRC leadership had been announced for May 15, 1989. It was determined to be essential to sabotage this meeting in order to hasten the economic collapse of the Soviet Union. Up to this point, the U.S. proxy war in Afghanistan had financially crippled the Soviet Union and the Soviets were seeking an exchange of technology-for-loans from the PRC. If the U.S. could obstruct this exchange, it was believed that it would be possible to hasten the economic collapse of the Soviet Union.
  3. Anti-Castro case officers were consulted to review a possible plan for political assassination to disrupt the May 15, 1989 summit. On the short-list of possible assassination targets was Premier Li Peng. This U.S. intended to use operatives it had placed in the inner circle of Zhou Ziyang, some of whom were later arrested and interrogated.
  4. The plan developed by anti-Castro case officers was to use a topical solution that had been developed for the intended assassination of Fedel Castro. As part of “Operation Mongoose,” and under the authority of the 5412 Group, a number of so-called “designer toxins” had been developed. Of specific interest were topical solutions that could be applied to a target’s skin and thereafter remain dormant for an extended period of time. These toxins could be activated by any number of triggers, to include the target’s body temperature or changes in the target’s Ph levels in the blood stream. Once activated, the toxins would simulate the symptoms of any number of fatal conditions such as a heart attack, a stroke, an aneurysm, or an epileptic seizure.
  5. One month prior to the Sino-Soviet summit, on April 15, 1989, Communist Party Secretary Hu Yaobang of the People’s Republic of China was assassinated by appearance of death by natural causes. In his absence, other PRC leaders took a hard-line approach to student protesters, leading to the Tienenman Square Massacre. In the midst of this social and political upheaval, the Sino-Soviet summit was derailed. That upheaval, during the summit and afterward, was largely facilitated by direct efforts to create international outcry over the Tienenman Square crack-down and foster a toppling of the ruling regime in the PRC. To this end, the CIA transmitted film from the CNN offices on the 14th floor of the Beigjing Hotel to New York on June 3, 1989. During these events the CIA relied heavily upon assets embeeded in the news media, including Nick Kristoff (New York Times), TD Allman (Vanity Fair), and Jim Sterba (Wall Street Journal). Since that time, the CIA has made a practice of using media personnel as spies, some of whom have been arrested and detained in foreign countries.
  6. In the absence of a technology-for-loans exchange, the Soviet Union economically collapsed shortly thereafter. The assassination of the PRC Communist Party Secretary Hu Yaobang by the United States government greatly contributed to this collapse.
  7. The CIA’s training manual for assassinations, A Study in Assassination, lists six (6) general categories of assassination: (1) manual, (2) accidents, (3) drugs, (4) edge weapons, (5) blunt weapons, and (6) firearms.




  1. I prepare this declaration out of necessity and under duress, as I possess no other means to protect myself from the crimes of my captors. I am willing to sign a release for anyone receiving this declaration to review my medical and psychological files currently held by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. I believe myself to be of sound mind and body. I currently take medications for high blood pressure and for low thyroid.
  2. I believe that within a year of the release of this declaration that I may die quickly from a quickly-metastasizing form of cancer.10 If the United States government kills me, my death will constitute a triggering event.
  3. I sign this declaration pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1746.




Sean Swain, Declarant

Prison Reg. A243-205

ManCI, P.O. Box 788

Mansfield, Indian Territory 44901


July 4, 2011

End Notes

1 The majority of Ohio was established as “Indian Territory” by the Treaty of Greenville in 1795. That treaty was never superceded. As a consequence, Ohio’s incorporation as an alleged state conflicts with U.S. treaty obligations and violates the U.S. Constitution. Ohio’s statehood is currently under challenge in the Inter-American Court for Human Rights, Organization of American States, Sean Paul Swain v. The United States of America, Case No. P-688-10.

2 See U.S. Supreme Court cases Procunier v. Martinez, 416 U.S. 396, 94 S.Ct. 1800 (1974), and Thornburgh v. Abbott, 490 U.S. 401, 109 S.Ct. 1874 (1989). See also, Abu Jamal v. Price, 154 F3d 128 (3rd Cir., 1998).

3 Filthy environs and pest infestations, Gates v. Cook, 376 F3d 323 (5th Cir., 2004), Hutto v. Finney, 437 U.S. 678, 687, 98 S.Ct. 2565, 2571 (1978); lack of adequate sanitation and laundry, Green v. Ferrell, 801 F2d 765, 771 (5th Cir,. 1986), Ramos v. Lamm, 639 F2d 974, 978 (2nd Cir., 1972) all constitute cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment– unless you’re Sean Swain.

4 See, Swain v. Fellenkamp, et. al., U.S. District Court Case No. 3:09-CV-2659, Sixth Circuit Case No. 10-3755.

5 “PSYOPS”: Short for “Psychological Operations,” more commonly applied to departments of phsychological operations conducting hostilities against enemies during war but, at the SOA, it was commonly (if not inaccurately) used to refer to the psychological section.

6 CIA pilots who flew covert and illegal missions into Cambodia and Laos during the Vietnam War were called “Air America.” They established a lucrative opium pipeline into the U.S., creating the heroin boom of the 1970s. Pilots flying into El Salvador and Nicaragua, some of whom had experience in Air America, were dubbed “Air America II.”

7 At the time of the U.S. invasion, Afghanistan was the largest opium producer in the world.

8 Felix Rodriguez was a CIA operative during George H.W. Bush’s tenure as CIA Director.

9 Within this context, it is much easier to imagine the actual motive for President George H.W. Bush to order the invasion Panama and the arrest of Panamanian President Manuel Noriega– an invasion and arrest unprecedented in American history and not rationally related to any security interests whatsoever.

10 The U.S. government has long developed a weaponized cancer conspicuously like that which killed Jack Ruby, the killer of Lee Harvey Oswald. Oswald served as a military intelligence asset at the time of the Kennedy assassination (HIDELL, Alex J., SSN: 433-54-3937; DOB: 18OCT39; EYE: Gray; HAIR: Brown; HT: 71”; WT: 145 lbs.; SERVICE NO. 1653230). It is also suspiciously like the cancer that killed Idaho Observer Editor Don Harkins in 2008.